For some families, having a holiday photo taken is a stressful experience. Traditional photo studios can be total chaos this time of year, and kids -- though decked out in their holiday best -- sometimes have eyes brimming with tears instead of faces filled with holiday cheer.
To avoid the portrait studio blues, some families chose to hire freelance photographers to capture their little ones in their dapper red-and-green get ups.
Waukesha's Allie Gadziemski is a photographer who specializes in child photography. She started her business, "Proud To Introduce," seven months ago after feeling frustrated at a large chain portrait studio.
"I came to a point where I just couldn't deal with one more late-running appointment at a department store studio, only to get two halfway-decent pictures," says Gadziemski, the mother of two boys, ages seven months and two years.
Gadziemski travels to families' homes or to an agreed-upon location, such as a park, for a casual photo shoot that usually last between 30 minutes and two hours. She then proofs the photos or designs cards within 48 hours. Everything is done over email so families don't have to leave their home again.
"As a mother of two young boys, I know how time escapes you," says Gadziemski, who also creates birth announcements, graduation announcements and invitations of any kind.
Deone Jahnke also photographs children and families from her Walker's Point studio or on location. She says photographing kids can be challenging, but she has learned a few tricks over the years, like using a short lens, instead of a telephoto, so she can remain physically near the children and interact with them in a natural and fun way. She also asks parents to bring their child's favorite toys to the shoot, and recommends they choose a time to photograph when the kids are at their best.
"The key is always to keep kids comfortable and relaxed, so that they can be themselves, and to involve the parents as much as possible in coming up with options that are appropriate for them personally," says Jahnke, who has been photographing for 20 years.
Hiring a photographer is usually more expensive than the traditional Sears or Wal-Mart route, but the results are usually more natural and capture the true essence of the children, something both Gadziemski and Jahnke strive for in their work.
"Those kid portraits where the children are dressed up as fairies or bugs just kill me. Who are those parents kidding?" says Jahnke.
The Proud To Introduce Web Site is proudtointroduce.com.
Jahnke's Web site is deonejahnke.com.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.