Updated: Sep 30
Are you getting excited for your kiddos to get to spend quality time with Santa? I know I am! It's so much fun to see how excited they get, or even to see the older kids let themselves be little again for a bit.
I wanted to put this guide together for my clients, just in case you needed a little bit of inspo or ideas for outfits as well as to give a little info on how things will go that day. This will hopefully help everyone feel a bit more prepared for the experience!
Arrival to the Location
If you haven't been to my studio yet, it is a two-story, historic brick building located in downtown Leslie. It's easy to find - it's Exit 56 off US-127, turn east onto Bellevue St. and it's less than a mile down the road.
115 E Bellevue St Leslie, MI 49251
Parking will be free street parking - either in front, on the side, or across the street.
Please do not arrive more than 5 minutes before your set time.
Parents, please wear a mask when entering the studio. Children do not have to wear a mask since they will be having photos taken. I'm asking this because I am immunocompromised at this time.
What to Wear
You may already have something in mind for what you want your kids to wear for the photo session, but I like to give suggestions on what works best for these photos. If you're looking for some ideas, here's some things I've found that work well and how the set will look so you can plan accordingly.
This is approximately how the studio set-up will look for the Santa photos (this is from 2020):
The settee I have for Santa to sit on is dark green, and Santa will be wearing his red and white suit. As far as what colors to wear, I would advise against anything too dark (black, navy blue) or anything pastel. Solid colors are the best choice, if possible, since it makes editing a bit easier. Patterns tend to take away from who you want to see in the pics - your cute kiddos and Santa!
Color suggestions would be off-white, red or maroon, medium greens, and gold.
This is entirely up to you! If you have more than one child and want them to coordinate, it's best to choose outfits that compliment and aren't exactly the same. The exception here is pajamas - those look cute when they all match!
I think the cutest outfits are the simplest when it comes to photography. These are thermal underwear sets on Amazon, but they look like pajamas and are darling on kiddos!
Old Navy has some super cute matchy PJs right now! Always an adorable option for Santa photos!
Other Things to Note
SHOOTING TIME: Although the sessions are in 30-minute time slots, I allot about 20 minutes per session. That way, we have a small window of time between families and have a couple extra minutes in case a little one has trouble meeting Santa.
Also, sometimes kids are "over it" in less than the scheduled - and that's okay! I try to get in shots throughout the time, but not so much that the kiddos are distracted by me. I want to capture those pure moments while they interact.
Please note that I will probably not be continuously shooting the entire 20 minutes.
CONTACTING ON THE DAY-OF: If the sessions have already started for the day, I will NOT be able to answer any texts or messages about the location, last-minute cancellations, or anything like that because I will be focusing on the clients I'm photographing.
If you're going to be arriving late, I won't be able to respond. Just note that if you are late to your session, I do NOT guarantee any number of shots or amount of interaction and it WILL cut into your session time! Meaning that if your appointment is at 4:00pm, and you arrive at 2:11, you will still be ending by 2:20pm.
Please be sure to check directions on Google Maps or GPS at least the day before and allow a few extra minutes for any unforeseen traffic issues.
SEPTEMBER 2022 NOTE: US-127 is down to one lane each direction from about Mason to Leslie. Plan for a bit of extra time to get to your session!
Final Dos & Don'ts
Some other things to remember:
DO feed them or give them a snack before you leave to avoid being hangry!
DON'T give your kids any candy, drinks or food beforehand that could stain their faces, lips or tongue. Especially anything red, orange or blue.
DO talk beforehand about meeting Santa.
DON'T be upset if your little ones are shy or afraid at first; most kids warm up after a couple of minutes. If they don't, we can distance Santa and the kiddo or do just a simple holiday setup minus Santa. Please don't be upset if young children are afraid of him.
DO cancel if you or your immediate family (including children being photographed) have been exposed to or had COVID within 14 days prior to the session!! PLEASE also do not bring generally sick children to the session. This is important for Santa's health, my health, and any other clients who may be immunocompromised.
DON'T bring any additional props (unless discussed beforehand with me) or friends/family members!
Your balance is due in full the DAY BEFORE the session. This allows me to make sure everyone is ready to be photographed the day of without having to cut your session short to handle payments. This is no longer negotiable.
Please be sure you have read your entire contract. I realize it's a lengthy read, but it does contain answers to questions such as approximately how long my turnaround is on images, what is included in your session fee, etc.
UPDATED NOTE ON TURNAROUND TIMES (9/20221): I do spend a bit of extra time on editing the Santa sessions as compared to, let's say, a family session. So please know that I will work as fast as possible on editing while still providing you with quality images. At this time, I am about 2-3 weeks out with my turnaround. You'll have your gallery in time to order prints for the holidays.