What should you do with your holiday cards?

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What should you do with your holiday cards?

Organize the holiday cards you receive to be enjoyed for years after the joys of the season have passed.

As a documentary family photographer, you can imagine how much I enjoy receiving holiday cards with photos on them. I LOVE receiving them, I LOVE sending them, I LOVE keeping them and I LOVE looking back at them. (I don’t always love taking my own family’s pictures for them, but that’s a story for a completely different blog post! LOL)

I organize my holiday cards so that I can keep track of, and document in a way, how our family and friends’ families have grown and changed over the years. If you can’t bear to trash these keepsakes every year when the season ends, try this out.

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Organize your cards into groups.

I made the following groups: Family, Local Friends, College Friends, High School Friends, and Friends from Other Places We Have Lived. (So, that last one is a long one, but it makes sense for my life and the cards we receive.)

Next, go through each pile and stack the cards, corner-to-corner, as you wish. I stacked mine so that when I flip through the cards they will all have the same orientation, or at least will be able to be flipped through without too much hassle.

Use a hole-punch to make a hole in one corner of each card and use a binder ring to keep each stack of cards together.

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Each year, you can add a new set of holiday cards to the rings to enjoy.

I display the newest cards around the house during December and keep the older ones in a decorative bin. My kids like looking through them, too. Sometime after January 1st, I add the newer cards to the rings, placing the newest on top of the previous years’, by family.

This way, I can flip through and see one family at a time and how they have changed over the years.

I love having them organized this way. By doing this, I guarantee that each year I will look through the cards from my loved ones at least two times - when I take them out and when I add the new ones. Let me know in the comments if you decide to try this out or if you have another way to enjoy your holiday cards year after year!

Happy Holidays!

~Laura :)

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5 things to consider when choosing a family photographer

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5 things to consider when choosing a family photographer

Photographers range in abilities and offerings. Deciding when and who you will hire to photograph your children is a very personal decision, usually based on style, budget, location and products offered.

1. Why – I consider this to be one of the most, if not the most, important thing to think about when choosing a children’s or family photographer.

Why do you want these images? Will you have a newborn? Is it a special age? Is it because you have a special holiday or event coming up? Do you want to document your days with your little ones? Looking to capture a toothless smile? Want to show a special relationship between a grandparent and a child? Do you need one large piece of art for your family room? Start with the end goal in mind when you search for a professional family photographer.

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2. Style – Photographers tend to have a particular style in their images.

You can get a good sense of a photographer’s style by going through their portfolio on their webpage. Facebook and Instagram feeds are another good place to look to get a feel for a photographer’s style. As a small business owner myself, I would recommend a smaller studio if it offers the style you prefer.

Traditional Portraiture - These sessions are typically very well planned and thought out. Photographer will consider clothing, backdrops, where the portraits will be on display, etc. This can be in a studio or outside but generally the photographer uses backdrops, studio lighting and sometimes props to create traditional posed portraits (everyone looking at camera, smiling usually)

This image is being used with the permission of its creator - Aurora D Photography. See more of her traditional portraiture  HERE .

This image is being used with the permission of its creator - Aurora D Photography. See more of her traditional portraiture HERE.

Lifestyle - These sessions are also very well planned out as far as clothing and location (usually outdoors or in your home). The difference is in the resulting images. These have a more relaxed feel to them, people are usually interacting and not always looking at the camera, which results in photos that show more connections than smiles. People aren’t necessarily posed but are given directions by the photographer.

This image is being used with the permission of its creator - Heidi Doroghazi Photography. See more of her traditional portraiture  HERE .

This image is being used with the permission of its creator - Heidi Doroghazi Photography. See more of her traditional portraiture HERE.

Documentary - During these sessions, the photographer is purely capturing action as it unfolds, documenting the child and family. Whatever the family is doing is photographed. These sessions can be in-home, they can be at a favorite place, they are basically wherever the family is. Think of the photographer as a “fly-on-the-wall” capturing the everyday moments.

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3. Location – Photographs of your baby, children, and/or family can be taken just about anywhere.

Typical options include: at a studio, in your home, at a park, on the beach, in a field, etc. Look through the photographer’s portfolio to see if they shoot in the type of location that you want for your family photos.

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4. Products  - Ask yourself: What are you planning to do with the images after they are taken?

Are you planning to create a portrait wall or collage? Do you prefer canvas, metal, heirloom papers, etc.? Do you want an album or keepsake book to keep for yourself or to give to grandparents as a gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, a special birthday, or holiday? Do you prefer digital images you can print on your own or not at all? Be sure you look at what products are offered by the studio. If you don’t know what something is, ask them about it. It’s probably on there because it’s amazing!

5. Budget – Professional photos are an investment and unfortunately not many things in life are free. Whether you go to a big, chain portrait studio or if you hire a small boutique business, you will be spending money. Consider the following:

How much do you want to spend on family photography? Some photography sessions have a lower buy-in price and then cost more on the back end. Hiring someone just starting out in the business will cost less than hiring someone that has been a photographer for a long time.

What products, if any, are included in the session fee? Sometimes it is a payment for the photographer’s services and does not include products and sometimes photographers have all-inclusive pricing.

Why does an 8x10 image cost $75 (or more?!?) when I can buy an 8x10 at Costco for a couple bucks? You may think that you are paying for a piece of paper that happens to have an image of your children or family on it. You are in fact paying for all the things, especially the photographer’s eye, education, equipment and creativity that went into making that beautiful family portrait for you. As with all purchases, you will get what you pay for. Choose wisely!

 

 

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