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Bernice's Family Christmas Portraits

'Tis the season to be jolly! Despite an unprecedented year, the Arrants family's holiday spirit remains invincible. We recently got the whole family together for a delightful Christmas Card-worthy family photo session.

Austen Hunter Photography Family Maternity Couples Engagement Fashion Photographer Holiday Christmas Card Portraitures Outdoor Flash Session Outfit ideas inspiration

Holiday Sessions are very fun for me as a photographer. With each passing year, my collection of seasonal props grows. I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting props to include. from imitation 'presents' to holiday wreaths and mistletoe. This year, my Christmas Collection got a huge upgrade with this delightful plastic tree that looks just like the real thing, and it's perfect for Xmas portrait sessions.

The Arrants entrusted me with capturing their beautiful family, and I was happy to oblige. After listening to their expected outcomes and providing my professional input, we had a date set & outfits planned.

Christmas Pictures with Family

When photographing families, there's a few extra considerations I need to make in preparation for the shoot. The chief concern is framing everyone without the composition looking cluttered or smushed-together. One way I solve this is through the use of the ubiquitous 'Apple Box'. Named after the crates that store the fruit, Apple Boxes are basically study wooden boxes of various dimensions than can either be sat or stood upon. I find them very necessary when working with families, as they allow me to better frame large families as well as add some posing options.

The next consideration is lighting. In the past, I was a Natural Light Photographer. Since the beginning of 2020 however, I have become a Flash Photographer. I guess you could say I've seen the light - err, the flash. So to speak. The reasons why I prefer off-camera Flash is that it gives me more creative control when shooting portraits, while also ensuring that my subjects pop out from the image. For families, I always back my 38" Pro-Studio Solutions Beauty Dish so I can have maximum surface area for lighting big groups. Additional lights are used as kickers/hair/background light as needed.

It took a pickup truck to transport all the lighting, props, and apple boxes. We set up in a park in Covina for the location. The skies were a bit gloomy and windy, but the trees around us provided a convenient windbreak. Here's what the setup looked like:

Austen Hunter Photography Family Maternity Couples Engagement Fashion Photographer Holiday Christmas Card Portraitures Outdoor Flash Session Outfit ideas inspiration

The Arrants showed up in snappy Red & Black color-coordinated outfits. A great choice! The red provided a nice complementary color contrast with the green foliage in the background. After signing the contract, we got right to work. One thing I really enjoyed about the Arrants was their great sense of humor. It was really easy to have everyone smiling for the camera while they teased each other just out of frame.

Family Christmas Pictures

Family is a precious thing. It's moments like this that remind me why I enjoy portrait photography so much, because it allows me to help people create memories & share joy. I'm looking forward to working with more families in 2021! And lastly, here are the highlights from our session:


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Austen Hunter Photography is a photographer based in Pensacola, Florida who specializes in family beach photography, military portrait photography and professional headshot in a bold and clean style. Austen Hunter has been locally recognized and internationally published . He uses a variety of both natural light and off-camera flash to capture images. People usually book Austen for outdoor portrait sessions or sessions conducted at his home studio.

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Chelsea, Headshot Client

"Wonderful experience! Wanted an updated headshot and Austen and Sarah were amazing. The studio was clean and incredibly nice, Sarah even provided blotting pads to help with shininess I had during photo shoot. 10/10 recommend to anyone wanting to get a photo taken! Thank you again!"


Tammy, Headshot Client

"We are so glad that we found Austen. He did a wonderful job providing us with quality headshot photographs. He made us feel comfortable and gave us good suggestions for posing. We look forward to working with him again in the future!"


Daryl, Beach Client

"Austen and his team were amazing! They were able to capture exactly what we wanted for our engagement pictures and also provided us a tent to change clothes. I would highly recommend him and I would definitely use him again."

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