My First Christmas Sitting!

Judging by the Thanksgiving left-overs, the jam-packed malls, and the lack of monetary funds due to spending on loved ones that the holiday season is once again upon us! For portrait studios and photographers across the globe, it also means helping mom and/or dad snap the perfect picture of their little ones; pictures that will be sent to their family and friends. What better way to show your photography skills to (hopefully) a growing audience than by being that photographer?

Meet Mia. She’s currently 23-months old, and is absolutely adorable. Her favorite movies are The Lion King and Annie. She enjoys eating eggs, dancing to “Party Rock“, and Boots from Dora the Explorer. I had the pleasure of photographing this sweetie just a few weekends ago at her home.

The greatest advantage behind photographing children at their home is comfort level. I don’t know how many of you have walked by a portrait studio since November began, but this time of year they’re pretty much hell on Earth (Confessions of a Former Portrait Studio Performer: Holiday Edition): overcrowded, loud, hot, and TENSE. For an average baby to four-year-old, it basically spells disaster. It’s no one’s fault, kids just sense things. Anyway, the point is if you can do it at home, especially with little ones, I recommend it. Otherwise get your Christmas photos taken in the studio before October. It sounds crazy, but it’ll save your sanity.

Another nice thing about not having your photographs done at a busy studio is freedom. Mia wasn’t exactly cooperative when we first started. After almost an hour of trying to get the right shot, we took a break and had lunch before our second attempt. A studio would make you re-book, and around this time of year you’d be lucky to find a slot of time available that would fit your child’s, let alone your, schedule. The second half of the session went really well. Mom proceeded to make her laugh by falling on the couch while Dad played some of her favorite music from his phone. Both worked wonders.

A big hurdle for getting the perfect picture of your subject is eye contact. The picture can be as cute as can be, with great lighting and focus and what not, but if you don’t have eye contact it doesn’t mean much. That was our challenge for the day. Mom wanted eye contact, and with an easily distracted little girl it took a little anticipation and a lot of patience.

Alright, so I’ve been wishing and hoping to be able to afford Photoshop CS5 (now 5.1). In the meantime, I went and downloaded the trial version. Thirty days of free Adobe Photoshop, Bridge, and Mini-Bridge. It made my life so easy, and made editing the RAW photos so nice! Yes, I also downloaded Gimp, but never got the hang of it and now I’m having trouble removing it from my computer. I’ll get back to you when I figure that out. Once the photos were all edited to my standards, I renamed them on Adobe Bridge and promptly burned them to DVD.

The only thing I regret doing, and HighReleaseHandler pointed this out to me 24 hours too late, was burning every image, no matter how good, to the DVD that I handed to my customer. In my defense, I was bleary-eyed by the time I finished renaming the files and common sense wasn’t on my side. HighReleaseHandler brought up a good point: “If she shows these pictures to her friends and family, they’re going to see EVERYTHING. Even the blurry second rate shots that you shouldn’t have put on there.” And he’s right. Oh well, live and learn…

And enjoy! 🙂


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