You don’t have to spend a fortune on professional photography, but every family NEEDS professional photos to capture moments of family history. Let’s be real, you cannot compare your so-so phone pictures with the crisp clear beauty of professional shots.
While I don’t use a TON of photographs in my home to decorate, I always sprinkle them throughout the house to add ‘us’ into the mix. Photos add personality to a room and make it feel more like a home and less like a showroom. So if I’m going to use them in my home décor, I want them to capture my family at their best AND look absolutely amazing.
I typically plan one photo shoot a year for the family. I fell off my schedule about two years ago and missed professional shots when my son was missing his two front teeth! I’m still kicking myself for that oversight. The yearly photos tend to be around the holidays if I can kill two birds with one stone for holiday cards. And this year I did precisely that.
With a combination of a little research and a little help from Minted.com, we took some fantastic family photos and got a head start on the holidays.
How to get professional affordable family photos
Do a Family Photo Mini Session
It doesn’t take an eternity to get good shots. My family’s last photo shoot lasted 30 minutes. And we got enough GREAT shots to call it done. Tons of photographers in your area offer what’s called a ‘mini-session.” These sessions are on-location and take very little set up. They’re great for fussy children because they don’t require they stay clean and happy for very long. Bring them fed, changed and fresh from a nap and you’re good to go.
Search for local photographers online in your area who offer these mini sessions. Cinthia at Lifewiththecrooks.com offers these sessions for only $30 and I received all my digital images, a few printed 4×6 images, and the digital printing rights. An absolute steal when compared to any of the mall photography studios. I have nothing against mall studio photos, I just tend to prefer outdoor settings. Using a typical mall studio will also limit the number of poses you can select and they make you buy in expensive sheets. No bueno. I like the flexibility freelancers provide.
Each photographer is different, so you’ll need to shop around. BUT trust me…these deals are out there.
Search for Professionals who take Family Photos on Deal Sites
Speaking of deals… a great place to start is with Groupon.com (another commission partner of mine) During low seasons, you’ll often find great prices for professional photography. Many of the packages are in-studio, but you’ll also find photographers willing to do on-site locations. In just one quick search I found 10 affordable photographers on Groupon in my area. New businesses often offer up amazing deals to boost their name recognition. Business also slows during some periods of the year. Both scenarios add up to great savings for YOU! Snatch up a pro at a rock-bottom price.
I’m all about making memories, so we chose our favorite park for the shoot. We’ve frequented it since my son was a toddler. The dirty and crayon-colored background will always remind me of the days he served me fake ice-cream from the window and asked me how many “sthoops” (scoops said with a 3-year-old lisp) I wanted.
Use a Student Photographer to shoot your family photos
If you have a university or photography school nearby, you can reach out to a budding newbie to capture your family in action. To do this, I suggest asking a professor of a student they know who does work on the side. Generally, their prices will be much lower than a seasoned photographer, yet they have a good amount of experience under their belt to net awesome results. The students will make a little cash, build their portfolio and possibly extra credit. Everyone wins big! I did this 15 years ago for my wedding photos and I was extremely pleased with the outcome.
Use Minted.com for your Holiday Photo Cards
If you purchase your cards from minted.com I receive a small commission that helps with the cost of running this site.
A lot of the mini-sessions won’t have a lot of options for printed photos. But that’s okay. Usually, the prices are astronomical anyway. As long as you can obtain the digital printing rights, you can print them anywhere.
This year I’ve decided to get a jump on the holidays and get my cards done EARLY. I chose Minted.com because they offer high-quality designer stationery. Now I know you’re saying you could just send them off to a drugstore to be printed, but you can’t skimp everywhere. These are truly designer cards. You also work get to with a human to style your card. Anyone who loves stationary can appreciate that type of value. My second reason is they have some really awesome cards in the 2017 Holiday Card collection. I especially like the ones in the Top Voted section. plus you can style them out and make them all yours with different colors shapes. Thirdly the offer FREE addressing. Umm, yes please.
I used Minted’s Find It Fast feature to browse through all the cards at once. Such an awesome feature. Here are my top picks:
There are so.many.good options!
Here are some more from the Top Voted Holiday Card Collection
So, if you’ve waited too long to get your family photos taken, promise me you’ll look into one of these options. Time passes too quickly to neglect capturing the memories you want to cherish forever. And you don’t have to send a fortune to make it happen–but you do need to get them printed.