Christmas Portraits. Um, Kind of.

For the first time in my life I've been contemplating going to Sears or JC Penney to get a portrait done.  Not of me, but of Hazel.  My grandma, Hazel's only great-grandma, gave us a beautiful white dress & bonnet with adorable satin slippers to match.  I suppose one would wear this type of thing to a christening or baptizing; since we don't believe in that, it's been hanging up in our room, making me happy when I look at it.  My not-very-subtle grandmother has been hinting around that she would like a photo of Hazel wearing it, though, which brought to mind having her portrait taken. That, plus it's her first Christmas, and I would like a nice reminder besides the zillion crappy snapshots I'm sure we'll end up with.

So the age-old question (for photographers) arose:  hire someone or diy?  Normally I would yell "DIY!" from various rooftops or tattoo it across anyone's face who asked me, but two things gave me pause.  One, I really want a nice photo, and two, I don't have a studio.  Not a big deal when you're photographing earrings under melting-hot lights, but I can't very well stick a baby in what amounts to a wall-less oven and tell her to hold still & ignore the 1st degree burns on her eyelids.  Our living room has 5 big, huge windows, though, and I have this white fabric…so I did some test ones myself, just to see what would happen.

They are both lovely and annoying.  Lovely in that they are bright, sweet, portraits, even if she's not smiling and is eating her dress.  Annoying in that they are too bright.  "Blown out" comes to mind.  "Freakish" is also a good description.  She looks beautiful, but I'm afraid any prints will have a halo of pixelated crappiness radiating from my darling child.  So, for what they're worth (and I will probably do these again, or maaaaaybe take her in) here they are.
HazelHazelHazelDresses are delicious

She was talking to me in this one <3HazelHazelHazel


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9 thoughts on “Christmas Portraits. Um, Kind of.

  1. You know what? I took my son to Wal-Mart and Sears portrait studios just to have those formal portraits of him. I was horrible about capturing the portraits that help you compare ages, and I know that as a parent I want those. So I say go for it. It's impossible to photograph your own child in any kind of formal setting, and I just liked having those photos. Are they any good? Nah, usually not. But at least I have them. 🙂

  2. You're right – these don't look like formal portraits at all. Besides, I'm too nitpicky with my own stuff to enjoy the picture. I'm thinking I'll get her photo done with Santa, and maybe next year get a one-year-old portrait done. Maybe we'll even get a family portrait and cheese it out to the max!

  3. They're adorable pictures, but I don't know if Grandma wants to see Hazel chewing on her lovely dress. :)I've been debating taking Flora to get her portrait done at Wal-Mart or Sears, but that is more because I am not a professional photographer. If you do decide to go that route, here is an interesting link I found recently giving advice on how to do portraits with babies: I also debated buying some ugly Christmas sweaters and doing a non-professional portrait to put on Christmas cards, with some goofy statement inside. However, I haven't run that past my husband yet, and honestly I don't think I can be bothered to search the thrift stores for ugly sweaters for a joke.Do get her picture taken with Santa though – that was fun. Go during the day when the bigger kids are still in school, so the lineups consist of other people with their babies and toddlers.

  4. I took Elaina to so many different studios as a baby. I had her studio photographed every 3 months, then every 6 months, then every year and I'm really glad I did because I have this lovely book of consistent photographs documenting her growing. I would suggest the olan mills studio because they think outside of the box a little bit more than the "pull down" back drops. All my favorite shots of Elaina were done by them.

  5. She has started to teethe and will not keep her clothes out of her mouth! The few shots of her without the dress in her mouth happened because Amos is pulling her dress down, lol. Just give Flora a few weeks and she'll be doing the same, if she's not already!

  6. I probably will take her in; the more I look at these, the more they just look like nicer home shots. Even though they're way blown out, I still love them, so thanks for the compliment! We used Olan Mills for all our school shots, even senior pictures. I didn't realize they were up here, though, so I'll have to look for them, thanks!

  7. I have used Olan Mills and they are so reasonable. I liked the pictures. I did not think they were bad at all. I think we are planning on trying some home shots with our six and 3 month old. Wish me luck trying to get them both smiling and looking at the same time. 🙂

  8. Laura, you should see if you can find another local photographer and do a sort of trade for photos. You can take a family portrait for them and they can do the same for you. I know the portrait studios are fine, but I was really disappointed with the quality of the prints themselves. The digital files (if available) will be just as bad, no doubt. So maybe you can work something out with someone local. Kind of like the Pay It Forward family portrait project that altF started. It's the first real family portrait I have, and Kaelin's 2 1/2!

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