Taking the annual Santa Photos is an exercise in holiday patience

Posted by Tammi Bowles on Mon, Dec, 04, 2017 @ 10:12:00 AM


The President’s Christmas Reception is something that I have photographed for 25 years. But over the last 10 or so our department (Public Relations), along with Community Relations, has put together a pretty fantastic, and always interesting, “Santa Photos” section!

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When we started the task of taking a photo with Santa, I don’t think we knew just how difficult it would be. I am pretty sure that Colleen Hartfield (above middle) or Jackie Granberry came up with the idea about 10 or 11 years ago. (Neither will take credit, or shall I say blame.) It was simple, we thought…just take a photo and give the camera's memory card to the guy (or gal) behind the laptop and, voila, a photo comes out of the printer! Oh, if it were actually that simple.

The printer we started with was extremely slow, then we had one that was just slow and now we have one that is really fast, but it still seems slow when you are waiting patiently for yours to be laid out on the table.


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Now I feel like 10 years later we pretty much have it perfected. There is a lot that goes into this for it to work. It takes a team, some photographers, some major setting up of equipment, some patience, some really quick photoshopping, some rearranging of the lights and tripod, some more patience, some quick cropping, some tech savvy coworkers and a bit more patience. Yep, I would say another year or two, and we will have our first year where it all goes perfectly!

Below are just a few of the many workers from the PR/CR departments who have helped out over these years.

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Even though there might be a long line to have your photo made with Santa — and sometimes yours isn’t ready before you leave — no matter what, I think most everyone loves this portion of the party.

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There are always some who are not too happy about it, like the sweet little girl below, but that usually doesn’t stop the moms… or the photographers. Below (right) was a sweet little boy who didn’t want anything to do with Santa. But the mom really wanted a photo of her little one with Santa. So she sits down on the floor holding her son and Jeremy Cole, director of Web Communications (who was giving me a break so I could eat some of the yummy food at this year's party), swipes the camera off the tripod and plops down on the floor, in his nice clean suit, to get Santa in the shot for mom. Props to Jeremy! (And props to Cathy Hayden for taking this photo with her phone!)

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This might have started out to be all about the kids, but we knew right away that the grownups were just as much into having their photo made with Santa as the little ones. Below are a few of the young and the young at heart from the past 10 years.

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My kids have been coming to this event with me since they were born. Below are a few of us from the past 10 years.

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There have been many different photographers over the years taking these fun photos, and I think we all enjoy it. But I have to admit, that deep down, past all the stress of it, I enjoy it more than most!

Below is me doing what I love, and to the right is our crew this year!

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