Thursday, December 17, 2015

Family Pictures and Christmas Cards 2015

I used to not really be into professional photography...except for our wedding, of course.  I could never justify the money, as they can be a pretty big investment.  I was always content to have a family member take pictures for us, and they usually turned out pretty good.  I changed my mind when Stella was born.  Mark and I both tend to be pretty frugal and it serves us well, but professional family pictures are something I don't mind spending the money on anymore.  They last a lifetime, are impossible to capture on your own, and these days there is an abundant selection of photographers at various price points.  Their talent, creativity, and detailed editing are worth every penny in my opinion!

Last winter I wanted to test out a local photographer before booking an entire photo shoot, so we did a holiday mini-session for a discounted price.  This is also a great option if you are looking to save money and are OK with only getting around 10 images (might be difficult if you have young children because you only get a 10-15 minute time slot, so you just kinda have to judge their temperament).  You can read about that photo session HERE.  I was very impressed with her work, so we did a full session at the end of August this year. 

We had to re-schedule once because it was a gloomy, drizzly day on the original day we booked.  The photographer specializes in her beautiful use of sunlight, that is what drew me to her work, so it was really important to have a day with a good sunset.  We had the perfect day on the second shot!  We met at a local park about an hour before sunset and she was able to get lots of beautiful images.  I was so happy with it!  The only downside to our session was when we tried to get our dog Kaiser in some shots.  He listens pretty well, but he was overly excited.  Normally this wouldn't be a huge deal, he would have calmed down, but at the time Stella was going through a (jealousy?) phase where she didn't even like us to talk to Kaiser.  She cried every time we even said his name.  So in the image with him you will see her tearing up.  I still like the picture, even if not every shot is perfect it is all about capturing what your life is like at that point in time.  That's what you want to remember when you look back!  So that is one of my favorite images of the day :-) 

A few weeks after our photo shoot I went to the (beautiful!) photography studio to view the images and place my order.  She has handmade Organic Bloom picture frames that are simply stunning!  I ordered a collage of those plus an extra frame.  When we re-do our master suite this winter those will be making an appearance!  I was so pleased with the whole experience, Sarah's attention to detail is just amazing.  She even sends you off with a delicious red velvet cake and bottle of wine as a thank-you doesn't get better than that!  If you live in the area you have to check out her work (Sarah Sunstrom Photography).  I see us doing pictures again in a few years!

OK, now that I've bragged on how well our session went and how in love I am with Sarah's work it's finally time to share my favorite images!  I compiled them into a collage for easy viewing, but you can see them all individually HERE (if you have Facebook).
Once I owned the rights to the photos, I was able to share them with family.  I ordered wallets of Stella (to pass out as her 2 year pictures), a few family gifts for Christmas (some came complimentary from Sarah!) and of course our annual Christmas cards from Shutterfly.  I must say I wasn't really impressed with Shutterfly this year.  Their prices have gone up, and when I ordered our cards on Cyber Monday it took FOREVER!  I will definitely be looking into a different site next year.  I also couldn't figure out how I uploaded our Christmas cards on here last year, so I had to take a picture and then upload them this year.  Not the best quality but it will have to do!

I am grateful to say we have been healthy thus far this holiday season (knock on wood!)  My house is decorated, our real tree is up, holiday Scentsy has been burning, and almost all of my shopping is done!  This weekend I'm grabbing the rest of the gifts, wrapping them and we're taking Stella to see Santa (or HOHO as she calls him) and look at Christmas lights.  Tomorrow night we also have Mark's work Christmas party.  I'm excited to try out a new festive appetizer and I bought myself a bottle of sparkling cider...looking forward to a date night before a crazy Christmas weekend!  I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, I will do a post on all our holiday adventures next weekend.  Stay safe, stay healthy, enjoy the holiday and remember the reason for the season!!

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