Capturing the Magic Of Christmas

Every year I make a calendar, like many of you, to give to the grandparents and great grandparents, aunts and uncles who all live far and wide. This has been my tradition for 5 or so years, but as my business had gotten busier, the calendar has gotten harder. Right in the middle of the busy season I am trying to scrounge through the catalogs of my year looking for photos that are calendar worthy. Lately, I find that I don't have enough photos of my own family and it makes me a little sad. Now let's be clear, I have THOUSANDS of phone photo. And if you count child taken selfies, my middle child alone once logged 5,236 selfies on one iPad. (so not kidding)  I do include cell phone shots, especially from fun family outings and trips to Disney when suddenly Mickey appeared. I also try to fill the calendar with some of my favorite more formal photos; as an artist I am not as drawn to the beauty of everyday moments as I am to the magic of special moments. 

One of the hardest months to fill has been December. I have amazing summer beach photos, great fall family photos, and special Halloween shoots. Spring saw flower swings and blooming fields of mustard. December though, is hard. So this year I made a promise to myself to try to capture the magic of Christmas. I am a bonafide Christmas junkie. You know the movie Elf, totally me. I really truly believe in Christmas magic, and I believe in Santa. I love lights and sparkles and huge trees right in the middle of living space. (why can't that be an everyday thing?) So why is it that I was failing to capture this for my family? Honestly, it seemed like too much work to add one more thing onto the list of the EVERYTHING I do to make the holidays magic for my three little people and extended family. 

So here is a little Christmas Magic for you. The photo on the right? If you zoom in on the lower part of the window you can see the outline of Santa on his sleigh. I swear to you there is nothing in my house that would make that reflection. Nothing in the yard, no possible answer as to where it came from. Crazy, right?!? Magic. 

So here is a little Christmas Magic for you. The photo on the right? If you zoom in on the lower part of the window you can see the outline of Santa on his sleigh. I swear to you there is nothing in my house that would make that reflection. Nothing in the yard, no possible answer as to where it came from. Crazy, right?!? Magic. 

Once I set my mind to it, I captured these magical Christmas photos for my family in under 10 minutes. Yes, under 10 minutes! I started with the youngest and then added them in order of age. My little one actually loves having her photo taken. My oldest, well let's just say he was bribed. All these photographs were take with a 35mm lens on a Nikon D600. Neither of which I use that often. I am, generally, a long lens gal. 200mm being my preferred focal length. The reason I tell you this, the 35mm lens is generally one of the most affordable lenses to branch out with when you have a new DSLR camera. If you don't have one, a 50mm will do, you will just have to place yourself further back. I find the 35mm to be the best lens for taking pictures inside the house. You too can absolutely capture photos just like this of your family!  

Taking Christmas Tree Photos- Angelika Mitchell Photography

In order to get the tree lights looking their best, place your subject a few feet away from the tree. I you want the lights to blur out and give you nice big balls of light, use an aperture around f1.8, or as open (low number) as your camera can go. I had my ISO at 800, which is the highest I go with this camera. All of these were hand held, with me laying on my belly on the floor. Spot meter to your subject and adjust the shutter speed until you have enough light. You can also get little flares on the lights by moving your focal length closer to f15. It's a totally different, and also fun look. 

I can't tell you how happy I am to have these photos. They really capture, for me, what is magical about Christmas. The tree with sparkling lights, the togetherness of family, the magic of waiting for Santa. The book the kids are reading is The Night Before Christmas, and it's one of those books where you record your voice to read each page. My Dad made it when my oldest was a baby. Every Christmas eve, we gather around and let Gramps read us the Christmas book before we tuck in and wait for Santa. It really is Magic. 

Cinderella Storybook Session - Santa Rosa Child Photographer Angelika Mitchell

A sweet little girl was turing two, and wanted nothing more than a photoshoot inspired by her favorite movie, Cinderella. Her Mom and I had so much fun designing her shoot! I just love how it turned out. There is nothing more magical than the imagination of youth; the hard held belief that if you wear the right dress, and play the right music, and you have courage and be kind, you can really truly be a princess! Happy Birthday Sweet Cinderella! 

Storybook Session- Santa Rosa Child Photographer Angelika Mitchell

If you have been following my work for any length of time, you have probably noticed that I love the land of make-believe. I was obsessed with fairies as a child; I have a large flower fairy tattoo on my back. (zinnia, in case you are wondering) My heart really cherishes the time in childhood when all things are possible, when the lines between reality and fantasy are thin, and when children adore playing dress up. This is why the storybook session will always have my heart. 

There is definitely a time to the storybook session. I have had children as young as one who were gorgeous little fairy cherubs. I've seen lots of toddlers and preschooler with their eyes full of wonder. I've adored the elementary school girls with the elegance they bring to their adventures. I do think that there comes a time though, when your kids won't want to play make-believe, and dress up, and become a fairy or Little Red Riding Hood, or Cinderella. Capturing the innocence of childhood is really what these sessions are all about. When you look back at the story your album tells, it will so potently remind you of this special time in your child's life.

 

 

Masto Wyatt Warrior- Bay Area Child Photgrapher Angelika Mitchell

New site, new look, and a new story to share with you all.

If you know me in my everyday life, you know that I have a love affair with children's clothing. It's one of the reasons I love styled portraiture so much. I think it all traces back to my love of dress up as a child. Especially that highly coveted frilly white shirt in the dress up box at preschool. I loved dressing my little boy in dapper outfits from the time he was born. When I had a girl, and then another girl, I took to finding cute little outfits like it was my second job. I discovered so many cute brands. I also discovered that there is this whole world of groups dedicated to buying and selling these cute kids clothes, and that this world was full of people just like me!

Mind blown. 

Bay Area Child Photographer- Angelika Mitchell

In one of these groups I met a Mom who shared my love of classic and beautiful clothing. Clothing that emphasizes the sweetness and innocence of childhood; where little girls dressed like little ladies, and little boys like dapper young gents. This Mom has three beautiful children, the youngest of which was born with a very rare skin disorder called Diffuse Cutaneous Mastocytosis. His tiny body makes too many mast cells, which makes his skin blister easily and puts him at risk for severe anaphylaxis. Many Moms would feel crushed by a diagnosis like this, but not Shannon. She took the diagnosis in stride, and then went out full force educating people, advocating for her son, and raising much needed funding for research. She is a true inspiration. 

Bay Are Child Photographer- Angelika Mitchell

 

Last month I was given the opportunity to help raise money for Mastocytosis research. We had a photoshoot with a group of Moms, who all met through a love of clothes, and together we raised money for Wyatt! Below are some of the photos from our Let Your Light Shine Benefit. Please consider making a small donation in Wyatt's honor. Every dollar counts, and this handsome little boy would love to have your support. 

Bay Area Child Portrait Photographer Angelika Mitchell
Bay Area Child Portrait Photographer Angelika Mitchell
Bay Area Child Portrait Photographer Angelika Mitchell