Monday, December 31, 2012

The making of our holiday card

This year was similar to last year in that I completely and knowingly procrastinated when it came to planning a photo for our Christmas card.  Sure, I thought about it but actually setting my plan into motion was another story.  I was imagining the girls sitting on the fireplace hearth with notes and cookies for Santa. While that may sound like a typical Christmas photo, I was relying on one (or more) of them to do something silly or creative to make the picture unique.

At the end of November, my niece asked if I could take pictures of her son.  Of course, I could.  The girls and I just adore Baby Patrick.   My dad currently doesn't have space for his paper stand or large roll of white paper so I've borrowed it, which has made these type of photo sessions so much easier.

Patrick was not in a good mood at all and April and I joked that maybe I should give wedding photography a try.


Turns out the little guy was sick.  And we had been torturing him.

Emily watching on the sidelines.


So while we were giving Patrick a break, I asked the girls if I could take a few pictures of them together on the paper.  We were heading to a local Christmas parade later that afternoon and they had dressed themselves in appropriate holiday attire.  Emily was happy to sit for an individual photo.


Group photo?  Not so much.


So I ended bribing them with M&Ms and it worked, of course.  But I was only able to take a handful of photos and I wasn't able to fix Allie's hair.  It was one of those pick your battles type of moment.  When I was able to sit down later that night and view all of the photos on my laptop, I realized that didn't have very many good ones and Rich commented that he didn't like the hair across Allie's face.

I delayed ordering cards until the weekend before we left for Florida, mainly because I wasn't 100% happy with the photos that I had.  I almost scrapped those photos for this one


but I couldn't find a card template that fit with the photo.

So I guess the whole point of this is to say that sometimes real life photos are better than perfect ones.  I know this but lost sight for a few moments.  Which was a bit funny considering I waited until the last minute to pull together a card.



This one would have made the back if Anna had been in focus and looking at the camera.  Emily was trying to make Allie smile.  


So now it's time for a little bit of photography talk.  If you are new to seamless background paper, I wouldn't suggest white.  I admit that I am not the best at post processing so I try to keep it simple and take photos that don't need much editing.  The white paper can easily look very dingy and not white.  It's been awhile since I've been active on a photography forum so I don't know what's "in" now but thunder-grey used to be a favorite.  Unfortunately, I didn't have time to research and order more paper before that photo session but it's on my list.

And apparently, plexiglass makes a good dance floor too.



Lindy said...

LOVE your blog! Quick wuestion though...did you use a flash on these pictures, and how do you keep shadows from showing up on the white paper? Thanks!

Sarah said...

Yes, I did use a flash. I had the set-up facing my windows for as much natural light as possible, which in my house, isn't very much. I used my Speedlight and bounced it up and behind me, which lights up the whole room. Because it is an indirect flash, it doesn't leave a shadow. I should note too that the kids are not against the paper - it is a few feet behind them.

Let me know if you have other questions!

Christi said...

you did a great job with those photos - the white background really makes the colors pop.

I tried photographing my friend's 3 kids and it is HARD to wrangle a 5 year old. Bribing didn't work for us. I don't know how you do it with 3. LOL

Happy New Year!!

B. said...

I love the holiday photos! If a photo is too perfect, it's boring. At least that's what I tell myself!

Ashlee said...

Love these!!

Wendy said...

Shooting with your 85? I would love some seamless and a hunk of plexi now that we have the space for it. Siigh. And a 35mm. And....

Sarah said...

Wendy - I used my 35. I didn't have enough room to use the 85. I had the f stop at 4.0. The plexi is behind our hutch - lol.

Nadine said...

I just love your blog! These pictures are so amazing. Your girls are adorable!! Happy New Year!

Lily said...

How big is your plexiglass?

Sarah said...

Happy New Year to you too, Nadine!

Lily - the plexi is about 4 ft x 3 ft.

Lily said...

Thanks! I've been meaning to buy one for photoshoots. I just got a Speedlite so it's time to move on to indoor photography! I actually looked back on one of your old posts for purchasing advice.

Adam Share said...

I just stumbled upon your blog so thought I would have a quick peep. I enjoyed it and thought your pictures were beautiful. I have 3 little girls too (8 months, 2 & 3)so know how much fun they can be and also how much work they are. Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

You are an amazing photographer :) And your girls are adorable! Any tips or secrets?