Ho Ho Humbug

ho-ho.jpgIt’s that time of year where I break out my Christmas tree, pull out the Santa hats, and prepare for the onslaught of holiday portraits. Every year, families who come back season after season ask me, “What’s new this year?”

Well, this year it is *supposed* to be my Ho Ho Ho props. I saw these on a Christmas card last year and loved it. And since I had already created the elaborate Not-Frosty snowman out of grapevine for the outdoor shoots (and some families will opt to use him outside the house), I thought I would keep it simple for the studio shots. The Ho Ho Ho was perfect. Families could do it. Big kids could do it. Even babies. Cute all the way around.

Until I started working on the prop.


First was the massive search for just the right H and O. Big, but not too big. Sturdy but not heavy. And most of all, I wanted to be able to glue the H and O together to make it easier for small children. The original shot I’d seen had them separate, with a child holding a letter in each hand, but with my age clients, we’d probably see as much “OH!” as “HO!”

I finally spotted just the right thing at JoAnns, but with “Halloween” taking up many of the H and Os, I had to drive all over town to find three sets. Then I had to search for paint (I wanted them red and sparkly). Just today, a mere 48 hours before my first scheduled shoot, did I finally assemble all the supplies.

And nothing’s working. The H and Os won’t stay together. They’d never survive the kids who would handle them. The paint is too thin, not glittery enough. It shows all the flaws in the letters. It doesn’t pop the way I want them to for hand tinted black & white, which is how I envision the final images. I’m giving up for the day, well aware that if I don’t finish them tomorrow, they won’t be dry in time for Friday.


I’ll cheer myself up with a couple of my favorite images from all the outdoor shoots. I’m remembering now why I love photographing babies and kids–they don’t worry about backgrounds, props, perfect pictures, or that Christmas card shot–they just have fun. I’m lucky that I get to play with them almost every day and most everybody comes out of their photo shoot laughing.

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