Affordable Holiday Photos—If You are Willing to Be Creative

So I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but Thanksgiving is days away!  Did I miss something or is the year just flying by?  That being said, I reluctantly accept the fact that the Holiday Season is upon us — but I am soooo not ready. Yikes!

When I was raising my daughter, I always wanted to have professional Holiday pictures taken of her in a fancy dress and sparkly shoes so I could send them off to the relatives scattered throughout the country in their greeting cards.  But I never got around to it because those professional pictures were super expensive.

From the “nominal” sitting fees to the photo packages to the extra special poses to buying cute frames, it was way over my budget.  Lucky for me I discovered an unconventional way to get those Holiday photos for a nominal cost and it changed everything for the better.

I’m nothing if not creative, so when my daughter was about 6, I accidentally found a way to get affordable holiday photos without having to go to a studio.  While walking through a local mall right after Thanksgiving with her pretty dress on, my daughter was running ahead of me as kids do, and she kept stopping at all of the decorated displays that were set up with different holiday themes.

She would stop in front of each display and wave at the wire reindeer, or talk to the well lit snowman because she thought they might be real.  It was so cute.  I happened to have my camera with me, and since it was a few years ago it wasn’t a fancy digital one, just my 35mm which was trendy at the time.

When we reached the Village that was set up for the mall Santa the idea hit me.  Why don’t I just take pictures of her among the holiday displays?  The background was all set, the air smelled like Christmas, so why not?  And that is exactly what I did.

There was a large decorated tree with the prettiest ornaments I had ever seen on one end of the fenced in Santa area and at the other end his large Red Santa chair and Santa sack were perched upright waiting for the return of Santa the next morning.

Since Santa was gone and the area was not crowded, I had my daughter stand in front of the tree next to all of the glamorous decorations and I started taking pictures.  We moved around the fenced area and got some great shots.  I made the zoom close enough so she appeared to be smack dab in the middle of the North Pole, or at least in front of a fancy expensive back drop.

It was fun and inexpensive.  When we were done, I went to the local  photo store and had the pictures developed at a much lower cost than a studio would have charged.  I chose all of the poses I wanted had reprints made and bought cute holiday frames, on sale of course, and wrapped them up to give at Christmas.

Everyone loved them and wanted to know what studio I had used.  I still smile thinking about that little secret.

Over the years that followed, I upgraded my camera and got more creative.  We’d go to different malls during the day and at night, we’d bring along a few outfit changes so we could go from casual to fancy holiday photos in an instant.

My daughter felt like a model.  Heck, I even dressed up on occasion and got people walking by to take pictures of the both of us — viola instant family photo!  Hey, they didn’t know we weren’t from out of town.

These days with photo printers, fancier cameras and thousands of online choices for borders, you can do the same thing right at home with your digital media.  It also helps that we live in such an amazing city.

Between the actual mountain that get snow in the Winter, to the outlet mall ice rinks and the plethora of decorated malls, you can spend an entire Saturday visiting a few and creating the perfect Holiday pictures at an affordable price.  It’s up to you.

If you have the time and desire to save money it can be quite a family adventure.  As always, you will be surprised at how creative you can be if you put your mind to it.  It worked for me and we had fun doing it.  It even became a Holiday tradition.

So grab your camera, fancy dud’s and kids and head on out.  Have fun with it and enjoy!  I’d love to hear how your adventure goes.

Remember to keep the spirit of the Season alive each day.  For we all need Kindness, Joy and Love in our lives.

Be well.

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