The Story of My Christmas Card ~ Candid Family Portraits on the Westside, Rochester, NY

When I look at Christmas lights, snow and emails littering my screen with coupon codes and discount offers, I also want to see a fridge smothered in cards.  Any kind is fine - preferably the type that lay flat with a great photo (ones I took are especially fun) and some sort of Holiday-ish greeting is fantastic.  Some people who have it together even hire me in September for this picture, intended to grace the front of their Christmas cards three months later.

Several years ago I set out to do what is condescendingly called shoot and burn photography in the photog world.  I found most people hiring me actually wanted products and were excited about them, which gave me the bug too.  I discovered a fantastic lab that prints custom everything and have now given me a card addiction.

I had become bored with standard designs.  Now that I had the whole quality and design thing under control, I set out to also have the whole family portrait thing under control.  Yes - my family photos tend to be your garden variety snapshot (albeit with a real camera and usually without me in them).

The problem is that our special needs son, Christian, has been losing the ability to walk for several months and doesn't travel well.  I really wanted to include him, but the summer was crazy and by fall it got really difficult to get him outside so we couldn't do a true location portrait, which is my first love.  So I settled for the living room. I even ordered a specially mounted photo of Matthew for the kids to hold.  We tried on two different days.

I would call this an epic fail.  Day two was so bad I won't even show those.  I reverted to my usual go-to candid, semi-bad portraits with Christian and Matthew added via collage.

Somehow this photo makes me happy.  Jason and I look great, there's a beautiful waterfall in the background and it was one of our first honest hikes as a family (though it does feel weird without everyone there).  I'm still happy with it.  It was a great memory and the kids are being their usual non-smiling-for-the-camera selves.  I trained them to ignore me with a camera, so I guess that backfired.

I'll take this over the sitting on the couch in matching clothes any day.  Maybe next year I'll get my act together a bit earlier and we can arrange for Christian to be wheeled to some snazzy grassy area... shoot, maybe I'll even hire a professional. :)

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