So now that it’s September, it’s not unreasonable for true paper lovers like moi to start thinking about their holiday cards.
Seriously – I am.
Is it really so unreasonable for moi to start thinking about holiday cards in September if my kids begin obsessing over Halloween costumes in late August when those damn magazines start arriving in the mail slot? And really magazine people – do we really need Halloween costume catalogues in August? Try as I might to intercept the mail before they see, their grubby hands still manage to score a magazine or two before I can discard the evidence. And please, tell me, who are the people who buy enough of the $89 Marie Antoinette costumes that they keep making them year after year? Reveal yourselves…..
But back to holiday cards – I love a good holiday card and I start obsessing over mine as soon as we turn the calendar to September. I would start sooner if I didn’t think that might classify me as somewhat psycho. And we all know very little makes a good holiday card better than a good family picture or two.
But then I start to sweat.
Think about trying to stage that family picture. It’s like herding kittens. Someone is always pouting, a shoe randomly comes off, the hair might have been washed the night before but mysteriously there is blue and purple paint coating one side of their coiffed style which goes undetected until everyone is posed and attempting to look at the camera, inevitably there is a crusty nose to go along with the pout and then an adult keeps closing their eyes. It’s mayhem. Yet we try. Chez moi, we typically head off to the pumpkin patches decked out in our autumn best, imagining the day rich with photo opportunities, discounting the inevitable October heat and the children’s chronic need for snacks though they just ate 3 minutes prior. We have our bags packed with bribes, candy, juice, whatever it takes to capture that perfect moment. Yet that perfect photo-op rarely ever materializes. It happens to the best of us.
But not me. Not this year. It is not my first rodeo and when an enterprising and creative local photographer named Maggie Winters reached out to me about advertising on my site, I knew this would be the route we would take this year. (Full disclosure – I also am lucky enough to have a sister who is an amazing professional photographer and pretty much takes all our family pictures every year but she lives in Brooklyn and just had a baby – so the time was right to try out Maggie.)
Maggie had me with her slogan, which is Photography for Awesome People – because it is the year of I Am Awesome here on Wired Momma. Then she had me with her pink hair because moi loves pink. She also had my girls with that pink hair and they still are debating which colors to dye their hair for Halloween.
We met Maggie at Brookside Gardens one Sunday morning a few weeks ago. Her web site offers great tips on how to dress, how to come prepared and she emailed me in advance with some pretty creative ideas and suggestions to help capture the kids naturally. She encouraged we come with the youngest Wired Momma’ette’s assortment of superhero costumes and she also suggested we bring a kite. I appreciated her emailing me with questions about my kids and suggestions for what to bring to make the shoot flowed smoothly and effortlessly. Her advance planning and attention to details showed me that she really does cultivate photo shoots that are natural, which is my preference. Sure, I want a staged family picture, but I also want it to look natural and I want images of my girls that reflect their real personalities.
Between her totally fun hair and free-spirited, lack back personality, my girls immediately took to Maggie, were unusually cooperative and happily posed around the beautiful grounds of Brookside Gardens, playing, looking at turtles, twirling and whirling at Maggie’s encouragement and basically having a great time. You can see more of her beautiful images here.
It was the most drama free, cooperative family photo shoot to date. I think, in part, it is because with every year they age, the easier it actually does get to take a picture with the kids, and Maggie’s suggestion that we go early – meet at 9:30am - was spot on. They kids were well rested, fed, and eager to play and explore.
She blocked off two hours for our photo shoot but after an hour, we knew she’d captured plenty of amazing pictures and it seemed sufficient. The entire time we were there, she never stopped click click clicking away. To give you another example, I also love the more whimsical pictures and having worn the worst shoes possible to walk around Brookside Gardens, I went barefoot and quickly found the elder Wired Momma cruising around like this:
Bottom line – I can’t recommend Maggie enough if you’re looking for family pictures, newborn pictures, pregnancy pictures, engagement pictures (check these out – I love how creative this couple’s shoot was with Maggie – how fun to do something similar with kids)…and I also love using local small female run businesses. Her easy-going demeanor definitely worked well with my kids and helped all of us relax. I was also impressed with how quickly she turned around the image gallery. She emailed it to me by 2:30pm on the day we’d taken our pictures. The fully edited version came the next day. Very quick work!
So…if you’re thinking of doing family pictures – here are the nuts and bolts details about Maggie in terms of pricing and booking the shoot:
- Photo shoots start at $250, average price is around $500
- Maggie’s new “friends & family” package offers two families, two deluxe sessions (with digital negatives) for $700 (weekday or weekend). This is a $150 discount on what a Deluxe session would run one family on a weekend, and she would love to do more of them!
- She usually books up about 3-5 weeks in advance for weekends, but weekdays 2-3 weeks. For holiday photos, book soon since the calendar is filling up quickly!
Another important thing to note – Maggie has started the Pause Project. She is accepting nominations for 12 local families going through tough times to enjoy a free photo shoot with her. Each month one family will win a free photo session and a DVD of all the images – so please spread the word and nominate a deserving family!
Disclosure: In exchange for advertising on Wired Momma, Maggie gifted us the photo session. I am purchasing the lovely pictures from our shoot and my opinions here are all my own.