Santa Survival 101

Professional tips on how to get the best possible photo of your child and the jolly man in the red suit.

Everyone seems to get a laugh from a photo of a child screaming on Santa’s lap, but when it’s your kid whose meltdown was captured suddenly it’s not so funny. Laura Novak, professional photographer and owner of Little Nest Portrait Studios in Wayne and Glen Mills, offers a few tips that may increase your odds of having a holiday card-worthy smiling shot with Santa. If not, there’s always next year.

Timing is everything: Go around your child’s best time of day. “Plan to arrive well before nap time or food time,” says Novak. “If they’re hungry or exhausted, waiting in line might push your kids to the limit.”

Be merry: If a parent is feeling stressed about the experience, your child will pick up on that stress and act accordingly. “Keep the planning lighthearted and fun,” says Novak. If you seem excited and upbeat about the photo, your child mostly likely will, too.

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Do a dry run: “If your child is at all apprehensive or nervous it may help to go to the mall or the studio beforehand to let the child explore and experience it so they know what to expect,” says Novak.  

Say cheese: Yes, you may have spent weeks trying to find the perfect coordinating outfits for your kids to wear for the photo, but the most important thing is the expressions (hopefully a happy one) on their faces. Speaking of smiles, Novak advises her clients not to force a child to smile if they’re looking serious or frightened. “That’s just what they are feeling in the moment and it’s ok,” she says. “If you try to force them to smile that might send them into tears.”

Keep perspective: Parents need to remember that it’s just a picture with Santa. Getting a perfect picture shouldn’t make or break your holiday season. “The picture is something you will look back on and laugh about years from now with your child,” says Novak. “It’s a fun memory that you’ll want to share.”

*There are still a limited amount of appointments available for Little Nest’s Santa Sessionettes on Monday, Dec. 7 at the Wayne and Glen Mills studios. 

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