It’s been on my mind to run Christmas mini sessions with Santa for years. One of the main reasons I put it off was the pandemic. You know the one. The world shut down and we weren’t allowed near eachother. That went for Santa too!
I then wanted to make sure I found a Santa that aligned with my values of kids being kids.
It never sat right with me that children were thrust onto the lap of Santa in the shopping centre and allowed a quick snap snap snap before being sent on their merry way.
While there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with it as such, it missed the whole experience of meeting Santa in my eyes. (And I’d be lying if I haven’t come across some questionable Santa’s in the last few years!)
I grew up in the UK, where meeting Santa included a visit to Santa’s grotto. A walk through a magical kingdom of elves, decorations, lights and a beautiful introduction to the main man himself.
As a child it felt everything like what you’d expect meeting Santa would be like. Like being taken into another world.
As an adult, I feel like it gave a wonderful introduction into a magical world that is safe and not to be afraid of. Like entering your favourite storybook and meeting the characters.
While I knew I couldn’t create a grotto like experience for my first year with Santa, as an experience based photographer I wanted my Santa mini sessions to still reflect that magical feeling.
I didn’t want it to be a stressful experience for parents, an unsafe feeling for children and just a click of a button.
So I created my own little Santa experience – classic meets tropical.
Each of my sessions lasted 15 minutes. Short enough that I could meet demand, but plenty of time to chat, play, hug, high five, read a Christmas book, feel a little shy and relax into the experience naturally.
Santa and I chatted before hand about how I wanted to run the sessions and we both had the same ideas. If children didn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap, that was ok. We would work around it so there was still beautiful interaction, without the pressure.
This created natural photos with Santa that showed the uniqueness of each child.
While lots of families prefer to keep their photos private for various reasons, I am excited to share a selection from a few of the families that have given me permission to share.
Let me know what you think? I’m so happy with how they turned out and so grateful to Santa for sitting through a hot afternoon on the beach for some Christmas magic ❤️
** To join the nice list for potential Santa sessions in 2024, click here.
Lizzy Hannaford Photography specialises in family photography, and is based on the northern beaches of Cairns. Her main focus is maternity, newborn, baby and family photography.
I would love to photograph special memories for your family in your home or out on location.