I am finally posting a blog about our 8th and final Winter Wonderland mini-sessions! This idea was born in 2011 when we wanted to create a memorable experience for our Artigraphs clients who had already used our services. When I first ran my vision by Chris, he thought I was nuts. How would we set up a Winter Wonderland forest in our backyard?! Each year, we purchased five real trees and faux snow to set up the scene. We sprayed snow on the trees and changed up the additional props annually. We had different ornaments, a mailbox for Santa letters, candy canes, a sled, and a sleigh to give you an idea. SO. MUCH. FUN!!
When our son was born in 2013, we took his picture on the set inside of a little sleigh, and I looked forward to his annual pictures. After his Autism diagnosis in 2016, our world flipped upside down. Bryce had regressed and had more anxiety than excitement when we tried to take his picture at age three. At this point, I had returned to a full-time job in addition to our photography business which changed the whole dynamic of photographing eight mini-sessions in one day followed by a week of edits, card designs, and producing orders - in addition to all of other other sessions! Whew! Chris was ready to end it after that year ... But I asked him to wait two more years until Bryce was five. I was hoping and praying that he would progress and enjoy the experience like the other kids who visited our set year after year.
Chris and I made a deal - No more Easter mini sessions in exchange for keeping Winter Wonderland two more years. Last year, Bryce did better but still wanted nothing to do with the snow. He didn't have the ability or desire to blow it - and he freaked out when it came down from the sky. This year, he is much more cognitive, so we were able to prep him in advance. He was willing to dress up in his Rudolph jammies and gave us about ten minutes to work our magic. The look of awe and wonder on his beautiful face as snow fell down toward him is absolutely priceless to me!
We had an amazing final round. Each year, we have donated the trees to different families. This year, we were able to be a blessing and give them to families in our Autism community. We had complete peace with a bit of relief knowing this would be our last time doing a full-day of mini sessions. We are already beginning to plan sessions for next Christmas with some of our families - regular sessions. Looking forward to sharing them with you! ☺