When the holiday season rolls around and you add “photos with Santa” to your advent calendar, you probably dream of your fancily clad child beaming up at Santa while shyly whispering their wishlist. You envision photos that capture their innocence and the magical moments shared with a picture perfect “real” Santa Claus. What you don’t see in this ideal experience are the long lines, blurry photos and a crying child because they didn’t have time to share EVERYTHING from their list. Unfortunately, those are all aspects that often come with the free event and mall Santas. Let’s consider some of the benefits of getting professional photos with Santa at a studio.
Long lines vs scheduled time slot
One of the biggest downfalls of community Santa photos is the long lines. There are often wait times of an hour or more where you painstakingly try to keep your young child entertained. And we all know patience isn’t a quality found in most children.
Now imagine, instead of spending an hour waiting in line, you get to schedule a specific time slot to visit Santa- a time slot chosen by you that considers your child’s daily routine and when they’ll likely be the happiest. You arrive about 5 minutes early to settle in, fix outfits and hair, and then go right in to see Santa. No whining, no messy snacks, no bathroom breaks. Just a happy arrival to visit a magical friend.
Sit & Smile vs true connection
Another drawback to the community events is your child’s limited time with Santa. Those long lines mean there are A LOT of other anxious children waiting for their turn. Because of that, the staff elves tend to move families along very quickly. Your child sits down, smiles for a photo, requests a couple toys, gets a candy cane, and then it’s time to move on. All in under 5 minutes. Your child waited an hour to spend 5 minutes with Santa.
Alternatively, getting professional photos with Santa through a studio allows for more one-on-one time. Your shy toddler has time to warm up while your overexcited child can dive right in. They can share their list, tell jokes, talk about holiday plans, read a story, dance, etc. Your family can connect with Santa for a truly unique experience.
Cellphone vs professional photos
We can’t compare photos with Santa without comparing the resulting photos. Many community events allow you to take your own photos, usually with a cell phone. Most malls have a photo service where you can buy prints. In both situations, the photos are generally low quality, blurry, and/or taken with poor lighting. Even as a photographer, my cell phone Santa photos are terrible. And as seen below, they can’t be entirely saved by professional editing software.
But, getting Santa photos through a professional studio will result in amazing photos. Your photographer will have the gear, lighting, software and experience to create high quality images. They know how to get the smiles and capture the special moments. Let them do the work while you enjoy the experience with your family.
Early in the season vs holiday chaos
The community Santa events are generally held during the heart of holiday season. Often this is mid-late December when everyone is extremely busy trying to fit in activities, parties, and shopping. It can often be stressful trying to squeeze everything in.
In contrast, many studios schedule their Santa sessions very early in the season. Doing photos early on takes the pressure off of the other community Santa events. If your child get antsy in line, if they cry, if it’s freezing cold, then it will be easier to lower your expectations or skip that event completely because you already have amazing photos. The early session also lets you cherish this time at the events instead of feeling compelled to document everything with your cell phone. Instead you could actually participate in the Santa visit with your kids. Last, having professional photos with Santa ahead of the holiday chaos provides ample time to order and mail Christmas cards.
How will you remember these moments?
So, when you look forward to this year’s Santa photos, or look back on past encounters, what do you want to reminisce about? The stress of the long lines and having to check a tradition off your holiday list? Or an enchanted time when your whole family got to experience the magic of Santa together? Take the pressure off of yourself and your family, and make your dream a reality by scheduling professional photos with Santa this year.
“We thoroughly enjoyed our Santa session last year with Erin Massie photography! It was a fun relaxed atmosphere that really captured the joy of Christmas! The pictures of my boys reading a book with Santa are some of my many favorites! Our little guy wasn’t having it but Erin got creative and managed to get pictures of our little Ollie with Santa. Thanks Erin! We will treasure these pictures with Santa!!” – Alicia