Christmas Mini Sessions

December 27, 2023

Christmas Studio Minis

My favorite subjects to photograph all year are babies and motherhood, but there’s just something special about Christmas studio minis each year. It’s fun to sketch out a new scene in pencil and then watch it come to life through painting and 3D sculpture. I’ve written about my planning process before in a previous post. Click here to read more about that.

boy and girl standing in front of birch trees and snowballs for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland
boy sitting on a bridge and girl sitting on a green velvet bench in front of birch trees and snowballs for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland
family sitting in front of birch trees and snowballs for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland
boys standing in front of birch trees on bridge for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland
girl sitting on a bridge in front of birch trees and snowballs for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland
family sitting in front of birch trees and snowballs for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland

Birch Trees

Some years I create a festive room, while other years, a winter scene. I usually plan a year in advance, so I knew I would be painting birch trees. When my family and I visited Oregon and California this past summer, I saw many birch trees and I observed the details to inform my painting. And of course I look at my photos and the actual birch logs I bought at an art store to help me paint my background.

I liked the juxtaposition of the real birch logs in front of my acrylic painted background. The texture of both differ slightly, as I wanted the painted trees to have a soft appearance. I achieved this with my loose painting method by having a slightly watery brush mixed with acrylic paints. Sometimes I would pre-mix a value scale of white, grays, and black to have readily accessible for application. Other times I would mix as I went along, or added tints and shades by blending paint directly on the paper.

Birch trees have an inherent amount of contrast, with the white or sandy white trunk broken up with many black and gray lines and textures. So, in order to achieve the soft background that I wanted, I had to strategically use black paint in smaller amounts, so not to create too much contrast. All in all, it was a relaxing and fun experience painting, while listening to music.

mom and children in front of birch trees and snowballs for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland
children standing on bridge with birch trees background
Family of four sitting on a green velvet bench in front of birch trees
boy and girl standing in front of birch trees and snowballs for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland
family sitting on bench in front of birch trees painting
family sitting in front of birch trees and snowballs for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland
 girl standing in front of birch trees and snowballs for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland
triplets sitting in front of birch trees and snowballs for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland
family sitting in front of birch trees and snowballs for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland
girls sitting on bridge in snowy birch tree scene

Ice and Snow

I thought it would be cute to have a wooden bridge over an icy river, so I found a wooden bridge kit online to build at home. Most little kids think the bridge is fun to walk on, which is helpful for taking photos because they naturally gravitate toward it. Thankfully, I have a collection of white fabrics and snowballs to reuse between sets over the years. I thought of the icy lake idea for the 2022 set, and reused the same concept again this year. Reflections add a nice touch with photography. Some of the evergreen trees were new, and some were from my previous sets. It makes sense to repurpose items whenever possible, as I am running out of storage space for new items, and often something I already own works perfectly.

Some years I hang snowflakes, marshmallows, or snowballs on fishing wire from the ceiling, so it helps that I keep the tiny plastic hooks on the ceiling. This year it was snowballs. And underneath a green velvet bench was the perfect pop of color for Christmas.

Christmas Studio Minis

Check out some of family portraits who came for Christmas Studio Minis this year in 2023. If you’d like to join the email list to be notified when Christmas Minis open up for next year in 2024, Click HERE. The sign-up usually opens in July or August and sessions take place in early November.

Boy wearing plaid shirt and standing on bridge in front of birch trees
Family of 3 sitting on a velvet bench with birch trees in the background
boy standing on a bridge in front of birch trees and snowballs for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland
boy standing in front of birch trees and snowballs for Christmas Studio Minis Maryland
3 children standing in front of birch trees holding bells for Christmas minis in Ellicott City
3 children standing in front of birch trees with jingle bells and girl standing on bridge with jar for Christmas Minis in  Maryland
Family of 5 sitting in front of birch trees
Girl in green velvet dress and red hair bow sitting on a bridge for Christmas studio minis in Maryland
Family of 4 in front of birch tree painting
two girls in red dresses holding jingle bells in front of birch tree background
Reply...