Ahh The Annual Holiday Card…

Of course the happy smiles fall leaves family portrait looks amazing on any Holiday Card!  But I love to see the fun and quirky included as well!!  Need some ideas on Charlotte hot spots?  I was recently featured in an article on Scoop Charlotte full of great local spots and pro tips!  I love Holiday Cards and have put together a list of my

Top Five Tips for Making Holiday Cards FUN Again!!

RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater and Portrait Photographer | Holiday Fireside PJ Session | Hot Chocolate | Cookies and Milk

#1 Remember What Makes Your Family Smile?

Is there an activity that just “fits” your family?  Something that makes them shine?  Often these Holiday Cards are going out to friends and family we don’t see often. 

What do you want them to know about your family? 

Are you big sports fans?  How about putting the kids in your favorite team’s jersey (or team(s)!) and heading to a beautiful park like The Green.  The Ivy or Brick walls make easy beautiful backdrops for a quick photo shoot!  

RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater and Portrait Photographer | Notre Dame Three Boys

Do you like a more Urban Feel?  What about heading to Camp North End and exploring the stairs, concrete, brick and old buildings for some fun backdrops. 

Are you new to Charlotte and want to show off your new city??  How about heading to the top of one of the parking decks for a family photo with the city skyline behind you.  The 7th Street Station Public Market Parking Structure is just one of several locations that offers a fantastic view. 

Of course, as an Underwater Photographer I am partial to the Underwater Family Portrait as something unique and fun ~ and sure to be different than all the other photos on your family member’s mantels!

RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Portrait and Underwater Photographer | Family Jumping in Pool for Family Holiday Photo | Family of Five

#2 Have Some Fun CREATING!

I saw a meme recently that absolutely made me cringe…

“Behind every Holiday Photoshoot is a Mom threatening to cancel all joy and happiness until the end of time if everyone doesn’t sit still and smile for 2 freaking seconds!” 

And while ~ as a mom of three boys ~ I certainly understand the idea behind it!  As a photographer, I work really hard to make sure my families walk away from every photoshoot with happy memories for all involved! 

One way I love to make Holiday Photos fun is with Fireside Cookies & Milk Sessions.  I have fresh baked cookies from a local baker, hot chocolate, and peppermint sticks.  I wear a Mrs. Claus apron and we talk about the upcoming Holidays.  We have fun building up excitement about Christmas.  My littles always look forward to coming back year after year because we just make it fun! 

RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater and Portrait Photographer | Holiday Fireside PJ Session | Hot Chocolate | Cookies and Milk

Even if you don’t book a Professional Holiday Session ~ think about adding some favorite treats or incorporating a fun tradition into your session to make it about more than just a card photo.  Things like cookie baking, tree decorating, or reading a favorite holiday book are so fun and memorable for the little ones.

Make it about creating the first of a season of Holiday Memories!

RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater and Portrait Photographer | Holiday Fireside PJ Session | Hot Chocolate | Cookies and Milk

#3  Add a TWIST!

Still want that traditional Fall Family Portrait?  Then why not add a twist of fun to the mix!?!  Something for the kids to look forward to (and to bribe them with during the more traditional portion 😉  Add a little flare to that Holiday Card! 

Have tweens or teens? NODA is full of eclectic taste, colorful murals, and beautiful brick for creating uniquely local holiday greetings this year. One of the cities new favorites is the Confetti Heart Wall by local Charlotte artist Evelyn Henson!  I can’t wait to shoot a session there in 2019!  (Valentines Photos Anyone?? )  

Do an urban session in Uptown or NODA and take advantage of some of the amazing mural walls or garage doors.  Then end at a quirky local Coffee Shop for Hot Chocolate and Pastries. 

RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater and Portrait Photographer | 1st Birthday Donut Cake Smash | Duck Donuts North Carolina

Do your session at Freedom Park and then head to Duck Donuts in Dilworth for a sugary treat!  Or take a page from one of my recent sessions.  We had a traditional Fall Leaves Family Photo Session at the park next to the Mint Museum Randolph – but mom brought rain boots along and we let the boys splash and play in a tiny creek afterwards.  Oh what a muddy mess!  Those muddy face joyous splashing photos are going to look amazing on the inside of their Holiday Card this year!!

#4 Don’t forget the Back!

I have a blast custom designing cards for my clients as well as my own family.  And I love to use up ALL the space on Holiday Cards!  I don’t mean cram it all in and make it look cluttered ~ but I do mean, don’t forget to use the back!

The 5×7 Flat Card is very popular.  And the back of the card is a great place to use some of the fun, quirky, or detail shots that you might not choose for the front. The kids giggling or hugging, Mom and Dad kissing while the kids hide their eyes, sweet details of baby toes, little hands reaching for ornaments or playing with jingle bells, or a close up of freckled noses!

 

Of course, the back is also a great spot for individual portraits of each child.  And I love including each of their names and ages on the back!  My youngest son is a bit of character.  And this scrunchy nose “mad face” is quite the classic from him.  So of course we had to include it in our card this year!!

RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater and Portrait Photographer | Holiday Card Custom Design Green and Gold Dots

A few examples from our cards in years past…

Photography | Charlotte Underwater and Portrait Photographer | Holiday Card Custom Design

And with a Tri-Fold card you have even more space to include all the fun moments from a session!

RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater and Portrait Photographer | Holiday Card Custom Design Trifold Ombre Navy Underwater Family

#5 It’s all in the Details Boo!

Looking for *that one* special way to set your Holiday Card apart from all the rest?  Custom return address labels are a fun addition to any card!  I love including them as my gift to clients who place their custom design card order with me.  My own family uses these year round and those cute faces in the top left of every envelope definitely get noticed!  Other fun options include a custom return address ink stamp, colored or pearl envelopes (also included for my clients!), or adding a wax seal or sticker to seal the envelopes!

RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater and Portrait Photographer | Holiday Card Return Address Label | Custom Design

 

Need some more tips on the nuts and bolts of getting your cards out and other ways to reduce your holiday stress?  I have a series of tips coming out every Monday throughout the Holiday Season!!

My YouTube Playlist of Holiday Tips

 

How can I help YOU create the Holiday Cards of your dreams!?!

RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater and Portrait Photographer |

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