A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words . . . So Make Your Holiday Family Photos Spectacular!
If you’re looking to make those holiday photos special with lasting memories for family and friends, it’s time to call in the professionals rather than just snapping random shots with your own camera or phone.
Why leave these treasured memories to chance when you can book time with a professional photographer, find that special outfit and get your hair and makeup professionally styled so that the photos on your custom Christmas cards or on the wall of your home are perfect?
With Halloween now just a memory, Christmas is just around the corner and bookings at area photography companies are filling up fast for those families wishing to send out custom cards to friends and family across the country.
While most photographers shy away from outdoor settings at this time of year because of weather uncertainties, if mother nature cooperates, there are still opportunities for families to have photos taken at any number of festive outdoor events.
The City of Windsor’s “Bright Lights Festival,” which features thousands of lights, refreshments and entertainment, takes place in Jackson Park from December 6 to January 7.
“It’s one of the most popular photo destinations we have,” says Jan Wilson, Executive Director of Recreation and Culture for the city. “We have four tunnels of lights, which are very popular, and there are large decorations that people can step into and those work very well in photographs.”
This year’s event will also include an expanded lineup of food vendors, local artisans and opportunities for charitable organizations to collect donations of canned goods and clothing.
“The word is getting out and we are seeing interest from out of town visitors as well,” adds Wilson. “We have new light displays this year and the plan is to add something every year.”
Out in the county, the popular “River Lights Winter Festival” runs November 16, 2019 to January 6, 2020 in Kings Navy Yard Park and Toddy Jones Park in Amherstburg (learn more on page 17 of this issue).
“It’s become a family tradition in Amherstburg,” says Anne Rota, Manager of Culture and Recreation for the town. “It’s a family gathering spot and a perfect place for family photos. We have a lot of new colourful displays this year, which should make it even more fun and exciting for the entire holiday season.”
The Town of Kingsville also holds a light display in Lakeside Park. The “Fantasy of Lights Festival” is something the whole family can do together from November 16, 2019 to January 8, 2020.
The Friends of Willistead and the City of Windsor will also be opening the doors for tours of Willistead Manor in Walkerville on selected dates throughout December.
Of course you can take your own shots at the events above but, professionals should be called upon to make sure those special photo occasions go off without a hitch. And to help organize those appointments, Biz X magazine has put together a little primer on how to take the stress out of planning the holiday photo shoot.
Tricks Of The Photo Trade
The focus for any family wishing to have a holiday photo taken is to relax and be as stress-free as possible.
“It’s all about having family come together and letting the photographer take care of the details,” says Photographer Clarissa Mitchell of Clarissa Marie Photography (ClarissaMariePhotography.com). “It can be a stressful time of the year but try to have some fun with it and don’t worry about how the kids are acting.”
She adds, “All photographers have a bag of tricks to get kids to pay attention to what’s going on. Trust me, they will be fine.”
Mitchell likes to play with the children to help them relax and sing children’s songs until they’re all laughing.
“The shoot takes about 20 to 30 minutes and I have two set-ups so we move quickly from one to the next before the kids have a chance to become bored or restless,” she explains.Mitchell finds that interior studio shots work best for most families because weather is never a factor and families are able to schedule the shoot with the certainty that it will take place.
“When people are trying to decide what to wear for their shoot, I always recommend they wear something that blends in with their home décor if they plan on hanging the photo on a wall in their home,” she advises. “If they have muted colours at home, then bright yellows and reds in the photo may not work as well as neutral colours.”
For photographer Tracey Ellen Lesperance of Tracey Ellen Photography, the key for parents is to relax − and their children will follow their lead.
“It’s an excitable time of the year with Halloween just past and Christmas around the corner, so I just ask parents to put their faith in me and everything will work out just fine,” she states. “We’re only doing one or maybe two set-ups, so families can be in and out in 20 minutes so the children don’t really have time to get impatient.”
Lesperance indicates her studio is child-friendly so even if kids run around for the first few minutes, there’s not much trouble they can get into!
“I also suggest that parents dress their children in matching outfits and highlight those outfits with accessories such as bows or ties in bright festive colours,” she says.
Lesperance also focuses on indoor shoots because weather is never a factor and there’s no stress involved when families know the session can take place without any worries about rescheduling.
For those indoor sessions, Lesperance focuses on woodsy settings and also poses children on beds as if they are waiting for Santa to arrive.
She points out, “We use a lot of green and red colours since they are traditional Christmas colours.”
Lesperance adds that she’s able to find a great many of her props at hobby and craft stores and also online where she taps into companies specializing in providing props for photographers.
“There’s a lot to choose from and it’s a matter of using your imagination and working with families to create the look they want,” she expresses.
For more information, refer to: TraceyEllen.com.
Melissa Apthorp of Melissa Apthorp Photography says Christmas is her busiest and most enjoyable time of the year.
“I love Christmas myself, so it’s fun to see families enjoying themselves during my photo shoots,” says Apthorp. “This is right up my alley and I love it.”
She also believes the secret to a successful family photo session is to get everyone to relax and be themselves.
“I get loud and silly myself and that seems to help with the kids,” explains Apthorp, laughing. “If they’re babies, I get down on the floor with them and if they are older, I find other ways to interact.”
Apthorp uses props such as a backdrop, which looks like a bed and she also brings out milk and cookies to help families get in the mood for their Christmas photos.
“This year, I’m encouraging families to wear matching pajamas for their shoots and that seems to be going over well,” she says. “I’m also getting a lot of repeat clients, so we already have a rapport, which makes the entire experience go so much smoother for everyone.”
“The key is to just have fun with it,” she adds.
More information about Melissa Apthorp Photography can be found on Facebook.
Dress For Success
Iman Youssef, who owns three Amour Boutique locations across Windsor and LaSalle, suggests wearing something sparkly and shimmering to pair with burgundy, red, silver and other holiday-themed colours when dressing for a holiday photo shoot.
“I think people should dress up for the season and wear something festive that they probably wouldn’t otherwise wear,” says Youssef whose store at 5841 Malden Road features women’s wear and accessories. “Wearing something with sequins would also work very well with holiday colours.”
She emphasizes, “The whole idea is to make it special and get into the holiday spirit.”
Youssef’s other boutiques, which feature fragrances and accessories, are located at 1555 Talbot Road in Windsor Crossing Premium Outlets and at 7654 Tecumseh Road East inside Tecumseh Mall.
Clothing choices for the younger set can be expensive, especially if they are only going to be worn once or twice over the holidays, so buying from Siblings Children’s Consignment Shop at 818 Ottawa Street in Windsor can make a great deal of sense.
“Over the past couple of years, I’ve found that parents like to dress their children in similar colours,” says Owner Jessica Ryan. “Red and black plaids can be effective and you can find something for every age of child including sleepers, casual shirts, dress shirts and even a smart pair of jeans.”
Ryan adds that depending upon the child and how many children there are in the family, these outfits can be accessorized with bows, belts and earrings.
“I often find that the younger children follow what their older siblings are doing and that’s when you find the most accessories being worn,” she mentions. “Shoes can be an expensive item as well, so it’s often a good idea to take a look at a consignment shop such as ours to find what the kids want to wear.”
More information on Siblings can be found on Facebook.
For men, the choices are somewhat more limited, according to Nat Milana, Owner of Milana’s Menswear at 46 Erie Street South in Leamington (find them on Facebook too). However, men can still add some festive colours to their suit or blazer with ties or bowties for an added pop of colour.
“Black is still the number one suit colour,” Milana notes. “But, we’re seeing a lot of burgundy blazers being bought this year along with charcoal and grey suits.”
He adds, “Whether or not a man wears a tie or simply an open collar depends upon the style of the photos they want to have taken. An open collar would lend itself better to casual family photos compared to a more formal suit.”
Milana says it’s often easier for a woman to accessorize and create a holiday theme with her clothing, but a man with some imagination can achieve the same result.
As far as footwear is concerned Claudine Thibodeau, Owner of The Shoe Box at 1640 Lesperance Road in Tecumseh, is firmly convinced that the right shoes can make all the difference in accessorizing any outfit.
FEATURE STORY CONTINUES ON PAGE 72