• Austen Hunter

Christmas Portraits with the Arrants Family

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

'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.


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 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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