Holiday Tips for Santa Photos

It’s that time of year…sing along with me now….Christmas time of year…..la la la….anyway….it’s that time of year when we get our kiddles all dolled up in fancy clothes that they hate and are going to spill something on immediately, truck them off to the local mall, strap them into strollers all the while chatting happily about how much FUN it will be to see…yep..you guessed it….SANTA!  As a helpful guide (I’m always so helpful) to all the mommies and daddies about to undertake this treacherous ….er….exciting feat….a few suggestions to avoid the following Christmas photo (borrowed from South Florida Sun-Sentinal):

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1. Trust your photographer. If your child is IN THE LEAST BIT apprehensive, and under the age of say 18 months, and your photographer says “it’s best to back the child in”, DO NOT turn the child around and say in that screeching “please don’t freak out and embarrass mommy in front of all the other mommies” voice LOOK HONEY, IT’S SANTA! Bad move. Bad bad move.

2. Yes, you may know your child better than we do, but we take hundreds of photo’s each day. Trust that we know how to get your child to look, smile, not flip out. When your photographer is trying to capture your darling child’s attention, do not yell across them. If you are shouting, and we are jingling our little jingler, it just causes havoc.

3. I’ll leave you with this actual conversation as a hint. You can do the math. *name changed to protect the poor child.
Father: Richard, Richard Richard Richardrichardrichardrichardrichardrichard look. here.
Photographer: (being drown out by father) Ok honey, when you are ready, look right here ok? (child looking, about to smile ….father interjects while standing 6 feet in the opposite direction of camera)
Father: Richard, Richard Richard Richardrichardrichardrichardrichardrichard look. here.
Photographer: *sigh* Ok honey, Let’s look right at me…see my little bear? look right at him and smile.
Father: Dont’ say smile. He looks stupid (I swear!!!)
Photographer: (looks at father as though he has 2 heads) Um…ok honey….say cheese.
Father: Don’t say cheese. He makes a stupid smile and looks stupid.
*second photographer steps in after 10 minutes and starts talking to child about what Santa is going to bring him…trying to establish trust.. While being drown out by father.
Second photographer: Ok buddy, look at me and say pizza (as father shouts DON’T SAY CHEESE)
Child: Pizza *snap*
Father: Don’t say smile. Don’t say cheese. He looks stupid. Richard, Richard Richard Richardrichardrichardrichardrichardrichard look. here.
Second photographer and photographer want to flog father. Regain child’s attention, snap snap snap. Mother comes to look at photos.
Mother: He’s not smiling. Photographers want to flog mother.

4. Please primp your child while in line. ESPECIALLY if the child is apprehensive. What purpose can it serve to take a freaked out kid, plop him on Santa’s lap, and attempt to fix his/her hair while shrieking at the top of their lungs? Not to mention, your butt is the only thing we can see, so if same said child has a moment of calm, we can’t get it.

5. Keep in mind that we spend every waking moment as parents telling our children NOT to talk to strangers, keep their hands to themselves, don’t take candy from strangers, THEN we take them to a mall, drop them on a GIANT RED FURRY man’s lap, and walk away, and tell them to smile! Put yourself in their shoes. It is a terrifying event for LOTS of kids! If they cry, ok. Take the photo, chalk it up to experience, and know that you have a funny memory to share for the rest of their lives. Gramma will love it. We’ve all been there. Don’t flip out on the child.

6. The rule about not taking your own photographs. That is not the photographers fault, it is a company rule. We cannot change it. BUT they do get in a lot of trouble if you break the rule. Do not tell the photographer you are “just visiting” then pull out your $2000 camera and proceed to take 40 photos. How would you like it if we came to your job and stole your work?

7. This could possibly be my PET PEEVE. Do NOT (at least in my presence) tell your child that if they do not smile Santa will not bring them presents. It just PISSES ME OFF! It’s not nice. It’s not parental. It’s just crappy and ….well….see “flog” above! ADDITIONALLY do not tell the child that Santa will take/you will take back their lollipop/candy cane if they don’t smile. I assure you, if YOU touch that child’s candy and make them cry, I will load their hands and pockets with candy before they leave the set. Do NOT purposely hurt children. GRRRRRRRRRRRR

8. Grandma’s. You have snuck your grandchild off to the mall to surprise mommy with a photo. What a lovely idea. NOW just step back and let us do our job! Another actual conversation serving as an example.
Grandma: Abby, abby smile nice for nana. We have to make mommy happy. (interjecting here….you just made a NOT happy child 100 times more apprehensive by telling her that if it’s not perfect, mommy will be mad at her. does this seem smart to you???) I digress.
Abby – lip stuck out, face down, tears welling.
Grandma: *increasing volume to 480 decibels* ABBY. ABBY ABBY ABBY LOOK AT NANA. SMILE NOW. SAY CHEESE. SAY CHEESE SAY CHEESE SAY CHEESE 123 CHEESE 123 CHEESE 123 CHEESE.
Abby- lip going farther out, tears running, hiccup breathing started…..
Grandma: ABBY. ABBY ABBY ABBY LOOK AT NANA. SMILE NOW. SAY CHEESE. SAY CHEESE SAY CHEESE SAY CHEESE 123 CHEESE 123 CHEESE 123 CHEESE.
Photographer steps in. Takes abby off Santa’s lap. stands and talks to her. Asks if she’s ok. wipes her face and asks if she would like a lollipop. tiny nod. Photographer says “you must be about 3 years old, you are so grown up.” small smile. Photographer gives abby a blue and a green (now all together, in the privacy of your own home, say the word green. did you smile? YES, YES YOU DID. Follow me now.) Says to abby “do you know what color this is?” “blue” says abby. VERY GOOD Abby. 🙂 And this one? “Green” Ah! You are so smart! Hey, do you want to show Santa how smart you are? Ok. she says. Plop her back on Santa’s lap. “Santa, lemme show you how smart our abby girl is!” he smiles, knowing what’s coming. *note, entire time we have gramma going ABBY. ABBY ABBY ABBY LOOK AT NANA. SMILE NOW. SAY CHEESE. SAY CHEESE SAY CHEESE SAY CHEESE 123 CHEESE 123 CHEESE 123 CHEESE.
Photographer goes back to camera, shooting gramma the flogging look.
Photographer: Ok ms. abby, can you show me blue? she does. Show me green? she does. AWESOME! Isn’t she smart santa? Yes, says santa she’s very smart. She must be about 7 or 8 years old! smile from abby. “I’m 3!”
Photographer: (yes, this IS going somewhere) Ok abby, can you say blue? “blue” Can you say green “green” *snap.
Grandma: ABBY. ABBY ABBY ABBY LOOK AT NANA. SMILE NOW. SAY CHEESE. SAY CHEESE SAY CHEESE SAY CHEESE 123 CHEESE 123 CHEESE 123 CHEESE. DON’T SAY GREEN SAY CHEESE. SAY CHEESE. CHEESE NO, NOT GREEN, CHEESE. CHEESE CHEESE.
Photographer: Ok abby, say green and look at me, ok? Ready, 1, 2, 3, “green” *snap. good shot, “Great Job Abby, you are so smart! Wanna see your picture?”
Grandma: 123 CHEESE 123 CHEESE 123 CHEESE. DON’T SAY GREEN SAY CHEESE. SAY CHEESE. CHEESE NO, NOT GREEN, CHEESE. CHEESE CHEESE
Photographer (to grandma as abby, now happy, walks up): You know, if you actually think about it, cheese, green, they make the same face. She smiled, we got the shot… Get it?????????????

So there you have it.  I promise, if you follow these few simple steps, you will end up with a photo you love…whether laughing or crying…it is a memory you will relish for years to come. 

*Suzy has been photographing her own, and other kids for LOTS of years, and promises she never, EVER makes them say cheese!

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Holiday Tips for Santa Photos

  1. Those poor children in that photo. I loved your list and what the dad and grandma said was hilarious. I just kept shaking my head and laughing. :o)

  2. I’m tagging you with a meme :o)

  3. I have a special Christmas award for you. :o)

  4. Pingback: Santa Photos and the TSA?

  5. Hello there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was
    wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

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