It’s beginning to look at LOT like Christmas!!!

We’ve been receiving some questions around my holiday mini-sessions and the vendors I used in my sets this year, so I thought I would share some tips and links to vendors I used all in one place for you!

Feel free to pin these images (in fact, I recommend it, so you can easily refer back to this blog post later on!):)

But before you get to that – a question!

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holiday minis - TheMilkyWay.caHOWEVER – I first want to say this…you do not need lots of props…nor do you need to get them all in one year!

What you see in my images is a collection of items I have purchased throughout the years (many items I was lucky to get on sale at the end of the holiday season…so, if you are just starting out, keep that in mind when you see the 50% off sales come up!) You also can sometimes find great holiday items at second hand shops!

Here are the links to the vendors used

Mittens banner – these are actually a “Mitten Advent calendar” from Restoration Hardware that I turned around. Super cute – and these can be used for any winter-styled shoot!

Whitewashed Wood backgroundWood floor 607  from Photo Prop Floors & Backdrops
Vinyl 61″ Wide x 7FT High – I always get vinyl vs poly paper. I am too rough on my stuff and I find it more durable.

Light-coloured Wood flooring – “Bleached Barnwood” from Floor design revolution

Little Knit Pajama set – The Gap (2 years ago)

Little Striped pajamas – The Gap (2 years ago)

Red long johns – brand iswild & cozy” purchased at a local boutique last year

Vintage nightgowns – custom designed from a vendor on Etsy

Wrought Iron BedDream come True Beds

Flokati Rugs  – Rugs USA in natural + chocolate

Other props used throughout the sets came from Home Decor stores, like Winners + HomeSense

I LOVE mixing and matching the different props to create unique images for each family.

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(Learn to make your own Angel Wings like these here)

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This was a great find in an antique shop that allows me to keep little ones ‘contained’ between older siblings. I’ve also used it in newborn sessions with siblings (doing a composite with the older sibling riding the bike with an empty bucket, and then adding the newborn after – safety first!)

I provide PJ’s that my clients can use (and a selection of different sizes Santa hats!)holiday minis -

This year, I had my awesome hubbie build this little ‘sleigh ride’ stand (which I’ll be able to modify for other sessions!) I added a couple vintage and home decor sleighs to the stand as well.

The “L’il Red Rocket” one on the left is from Photo Prop Floors and Backdrops .

(these cute plaid PJ’s from Wild & Cozy)

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While this bottle contains ACTUAL milk, you can also create ‘milk bottles’ by pouring in white acrylic paint and twisting the bottle around to create the illusion of milk!

(that tip was shared in our awesome alumni group!)

I then had a local business bake the amazing looking cookies (always ask parents about allergies…and work with a reputable, licensed baker!)

The cute little straw is a paper straw found at Michaels & at Target!


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You also can change “the look” by changing up your aperture (and/or distance your subjects are to the backdrop). If you want things to be more ‘blurred’ shoot more open (f2.0, etc)
If you take a peek at the first image in this series, you’ll see that there is much more detail in the mittens than in the photo below.

And, if you compare the level of detail that you see in this image (vs the one below it with the girl in the cape), you’ll see a difference too!

It’s all about the story YOU want to tell, and the details you want to highlight. Have fun with it!

(Flokati rug below is from RugsUSA – natural)

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Remember that sometimes a close up of their child is what the parent will love the most! So, if you are offering a number of images with your session, you can also create variety by how much you fill the frame with your subject!

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I really love monochromatic set ups too…where I keep it mostly white tones, and then add in some gold or silver as accents.

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This backdrop is the ‘Holiday Princess Backdrop” from Design Revolution

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This is a great set up for babies – especially ones that can’t quite sit up yet on their own! The “bed” trick! (see our behind the scenes on that here)

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(of course it’s also great for the older kids too!0

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For the floor here, I used cotton batting that you find in a craft section of a department store…then I pulled it a part!

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Here’s a super simple set up, where you need very little – using the Dream Lighting technique which I cover in Illuminate holiday minis -

(you can have your clients looking at an object like a simple Christmas ball. I’ve also used a little ‘bird’, and candle like in the next image)DSC_3148holiday minis -

With the banner, you can also change up the look based on how tight you tie it – in the image below, I have it looped lower than in some others)

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With the tricky 12-18 month clients, having them do an action can ‘keep their attention’ (and keep them ‘on the set!’) It’s also really adorable!

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Another way you can add variety, is to alter your processing a little as well.

In the image above, I’ve used really light, airy processing to go with the fairly mono-chromatic set up.

In the image below, the red jumper seemed a touch ‘out of place’ with such light processing, so I played up the shadowing in the backdrop + floor.

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Remember, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to style your holiday sessions (or any session for that matter!)

Play around…find your style.

And then, ideally SHOW images of that set up in your promotions.

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