I have found over the years that I have a love for building scenes for my photo sessions. Most of these sessions have been done for my grandchildren for either Christmas cards or for their Christmas Holiday pictures. In 2019, I intended to build a Winter Wonderland scene, however, my plans were interrupted due to a sickness that affected my grandchildren right around the holidays. I kept the idea and purposed to revisit it this past Christmas (2020).
As the 2020 holiday season approached, I started gathering props to make my granddaughter look like she was in a Winter Wonderland. I would now like to share with you my process on how I prepared for this session.
First, I brainstormed and wrote down my ideas as to how I wanted this set to look. To help visualize what it would look like, I made a vision board on Pinterest. My next step was to figure out where I could go to get all the props needed to use in my scene. Places like Michaels, Joann, Hobby Lobby, HomeGoods, Marshalls, Kirklands, TJ Maxx, and Amazon became my stomping grounds. I visited these stores in different towns and found that based upon the neighborhoods, they had different varieties of merchandise. It was exciting to find these treasures hidden in various locations. I gave myself a deadline to find what I needed so that I could have them all ready before Christmas.
As I collected my props, I began to visualize how I wanted the scene to look. Background...check...fake snow...check...wonderland animals...check...trees...check, etc. This was so exciting to me! I spent hours working on this area. Setting up, rearranging and thinking of better ways to organize my area.
I discussed my ideas with my granddaughter to see what she wanted to look like. Her response...A Snow Princess! Ok...she had a cream colored gown that she had worn in her uncle's wedding. That would work! She needed a cape! Amazon was great for that! Now, I had to make sure her hair was done. Because of the current pandemic, we have not been to a Beauty Salon since February of 2020. I had no other choice but to be the hairstylist. You see, I had envisioned her having barrel curls and that is exactly what I would do.
The day before the photo session, I made sure I had everything in place for my scene. My camera batteries were charged, and lenses were cleaned. The dress and cape were steamed and ready to go. Now, I took a deep breath. My granddaughter's hair had to be washed and braided. You may be wondering why I took a deep breath. She has extremely long hair and it takes a long time to do. Oh well, I digress. This was still going to be fun!
The day of the shoot! I had prepared for this as if I had a paying client. Everything was ready to go! The scene was ready, her hair was done, the little girl was dressed and ready for her portraits. As I placed her in the scene, I could see her demeanor change into what she deemed as a true princess. She seemed to float as she walked. She sat down and spread her dress out as if she was in a fairytale. Her eyes were bright and as she looked at me she had the biggest smile on her face! As I walked over to her, to meter the light on her face, all I could think was...she will remember this moment for the rest of her life. I had made her feel special!
As I picked up my camera, I pushed play on my phone. The music to the movie "Jingle Jangle" could be heard in the background. Her favorite soundtrack for the moment! As I worked through the shoot, I noticed that she suddenly had a mood change. A melancholy expression. Oh...where did that come from? I paused. "Are you okay?" She became worried that she would mess up the portraits. The mind of a little girl! I reassured her that she was beautiful and that everything would be just fine. Immediately, she went back to singing, smiling and enjoying her princess moment!
Here are a few of the portraits from this session.