Friday, November 21, 2014

How to get the BEST Santa Photo!

Santa has already started making his appearance in shopping centres around the country.  In Christmases past, I have been a photographer at one of the busiest Santa sets in SE QLD.  This means I have seen it all.

From over the top outfits, to spur of the moment photos.  Adult children having a photo to give to their parents, to mates having a laugh and workmates celebrating the holidays.

I love Santa photos.  For many reasons.  The main reason is it is a Tradition.  And you all know what I am like with traditions.

We have a "Santa" album exclusive for the Santa photos.

I have seen more tears and tantrums that you could imagine, but it doesn't have to be that way. 

Here are my tips to getting a picture perfect Santa photo!

1:  Prepare, prepare and prepare some more.  Some little children are not fond of Santa.  If I had a dollar for every parent that says "Well, we have taught them to not talk to strangers".  ::sigh::  Santa doesn't have to be a stranger.  At our set, we welcome children and parents to visit as many times as they like.  As soon as the silly season starts, everytime you walk past Santa, go in for a visit.

2003 - 21st December - Hayden's "First" Christmas photo - on his 1st birthday.
We were still in hospital on Christmas day for his "real" first Christmas!

One year, Joshua was quite frightened.  We walked past a number of times and he wouldn't have a bar of it.  Finally, after a few "over the fence" high fives with Santa, he decided he wanted to line up for a visit.  When it was our turn, he walked in, turned around and walked straight back out again.  The next time, he was happy enough to approach Santa, give him a highfive.  The next time, a hand shake.  A few more times and we got a wonderful photo.

Don't give up.

2:  Do NOT make it a negative experience.  DO NOT under ANY circumstances force your child onto Santa.  Be prepared for your child to not like it.  Don't get disheartened or angry at your child because they don't want to do it.  It breaks my heart when I start hearing parents telling their child off for not siting with Santa, and it makes me very angry when they are smacking or abusing their child in front of me.  Try again another time.
3:  Make sure you choose the best time for your child.  It's a no-brainer to not go when your child is due for a nap or is in a bad mood.

4:  Take your time.  If you feel like you are being rushed by the set staff, ask politely if there is a quiet time that they recommend to come back.  During peak periods you obviously won't have the luxury of being able to ease your child in.  Even our very busy set has down times.  Come back when the staff have plenty of time to play and talk to your child to get them comfortable.

2008 - 23rd December (Oliver 4 days old!)

2008 - 14th December

5:  Suggest a different pose.  For some children, they are happy to sit in the chair without Santa.  At our set, I would suggest a "hide" photo.  We get the children to close their eyes (or distract them with toys) while Santa disappears.  They are then free to sit in Santa's chair while we take the photo.  They have no idea that Santa is actually "Peeking" from behind the chair on cue for the photo.    Some children are frightened of siting in his knee - so suggest they stand next to Santa, or maybe they would prefer to sit on the floor at Santa's feet.  As the staff if they have any suggestions suitable for their set.

6: Make it a family photo.  If you still haven't been able to manage to get one with the kids on their own, I suggest you frock up and have a lovely family photo.  Make it your tradition every year.  :)


7:  Go for a "Dump and Snap".  Sometimes, the ones with a crying baby are part of the "tradition".  If you are really set on getting a photo, but your child is not, ask the photographer to be ready... dump your child... snap a photo and quickly pick them up.  Be happy with whatever the photo looks like.  Crying?  Screaming?  Mid-air jumping off Santa?  Line them up in your album and remember how much they protested that year.  That said, know when to draw the line.  Don't make it terrifying.  A tear or a scream is one thing, but having a child shaking in absolute terror is not something you want to remember (or will they!)

8:  Finally - and my most passionate point is to remember that it is ONLY a Santa photo.  If after a few weeks of visits and high-fives and test runs your child is still totally terrified, please please do not force them.  It just isn't worth it.  It is just a Santa photo!

Do you get Santa photos?  How do you prep your Children?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Photography Course with Click Love Grow {Sponsored}

I bought my first DSLR about 5 years ago.  My main objective was to have a good camera to document the Reason's lives.  I read the instruction manual that came with my camera and off I went.

5 years later, I am 100% self-taught.  I don't use auto, but I don't 100% use Manual.  I mainly get stuck on TV - which is 1/2 manual.

Now, I am going to be really honest with you.  I still don't fully understand all the camera lingo.  I mean, I get the gist -  aperture, depth of field, shutter etc, but if you asked me to explain it to you - I wouldn't have a clue!

One of my 2014 bucket list items was to do a Photography course.  I searched for a while, but never found one that I thought would be a  great starting point.  I wanted to master my camera step-by-step.

Then I met Louise from Click Love Grow and knew straight away that her online photography course was the perfect fit.

In Click Grow Love's  8 week Online Course you will master your camera settings and build and improve the skills you already have.

The course is delivered by email - which takes you to your virtual classroom where you will find all your resources in formats such as Video & Audio lessons, Workbooks & Notes as well as one-on-one feedback of your weekly assignments.  The best bit  - you will join your classmates in a friendly online community to share your ideas and support one another throughout your learning.

By the end of the course, you will have learned all about:
  • Composition
  • Light
  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed
  • Portraits
  • Travel, Landscapes & Moments
  • Workflow and Simple Editing

I am really excited to start the course and would love my readers to join in.
The next course starts THIS WEEK!  So head over now to sign up.  

Enrolments close 7th April!

And remember - Mother's Day is just around the corner - Hint-Hint!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

For the Love of Photography.

I am not a photographer.  And I actually cringe when people imply that I am.  Would I secretly like to be one ? absolutely.  Do I have the confidence to be one? no way!

I constantly hear photographers talk about how they always knew that they wanted to get into photography.  That they fell in love with a camera in their childhood/teenage years.

I fell in love with photography later in life.

I wasn't one of these "I grew up with a camera in my hand" kind of a girl.   I grew up in a working class family, so a camera wasn't something we had lying around the house.  I remember buying my first camera when I was 17.  A cheap point and shoot film camera, which I barely used, as film and developing was so expensive.

Then, when Reasons #1 was born, we took the plunge and bought our first Digital Camera.  They were  very expensive and very low quality - but really a step up from the original we possessed.

I didn't really discover a love for photography until 5 years ago, when I purchased my first DSLR.  And it wasn't love at first sight.  It grew on me.

However the past 12 months, I felt like I lost it.  Lost the love.  Lost my confidence.  And also got addicted to my iPhone which was really putting a lot of strain on my relationship with my DSLR.

I have spent the week going through my photos.  Remembering the love I have for taking them.

And I really do love taking them.

Have you stopped yourself from reaching your full potential with something you love?

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