Why holiday family photos are STRESSFUL

Coordinating outfits. Check.

Nap, feed, and dress kids. Check.

Pack a variety of non-staining, easy to clean, crowd pleasing snacks to bribe the kids. Check.

Get spouse to rally with you on this whole production of family photos... Yeah, we'll get back to that one.

It's holiday family photo season, and when it comes to planning for them, we have such high hopes that our photographers will capture beautiful, magazine worthy photos of our family, laughing and enjoying each other's company. We Pintrest. We Etsy. We Amazon Prime. We even track our kids nap schedule to a T the week before to ensure optimal cheerfulness.  But no matter how much we plan, we are all subject to Murphy's Law, and when things don't go as we planned, it feels like ultimate failure.

Crying man hold crying boy

So why do I think holiday family photos are so stressful?  

Because we want them to be perfect.

And there in lies the issue.  Life is never perfect.  For anyone.  And while we all know that intellectually, deep down we still want brag worthy holiday family photos each year.  And why shouldn't we?  My kids are way cuter than any kid in the latest Crewcuts catalogue.  Surly I could capture that on camera.  But does it really need to be that hard?

The holidays are supposed to be about spending quality time with the ones we love, sharing the traditions we grew up on, as well as creating new ones with our children.  And when I stopped paying attention to how Pinterest or the holiday JCrew catalogue thought my family should look like, I realized that my family is already perfect, exactly the way we are.  The very first time I photographed this way, I was astounded with the results (refer to my blog for more photos).  I want to remember the excitement on my children's faces when we pulled out the box of ornaments, like a buried treasure waiting to be opened.  I want to hear the crinkling paper as my girls attack the box of wrapping paper and wear its contents as a cape.  When I look at holiday photographs of my family, I want FEEL those memories. 

Viola topping off the tree with a star, circa 2014.  I know I'll be crying the day she is too big to do this.

Viola topping off the tree with a star, circa 2014.  I know I'll be crying the day she is too big to do this.

So last year, I decided to do the same for my clients, and I think the results were priceless.  During Thanksgiving weekend, I held a charity event for the Magic Hour Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that pairs those in the fight against cancer with photographers for free photo shoots. I spent the day photographing families in search for their perfect Christmas tree at the gorgeous Emmerich Tree Farm in Warwick, NY.  The best part was, all my families showed up exactly as they were.  Were there any melt downs? A few. Was there love and laughter and a million little once in a life time stories to be retold at the dinner table?  You bet.  How could there not be when you're hanging out with the ones you love?  And to me that is definitely brag worthy.

I'll be back this year, shooting Tree-Cutting sessions this Thanksgiving weekend! (Nov 24th and Nov 26th)  If you're interested you can find more info here, or call/email me and I'll get you scheduled.

In the mean time, check out the video slideshow of my awesome families from last year's session!