This is the blog you will want to read for EVERYTHING Christmas over here at LG! We will cover Awesome Santa (indoor only this year) and Tree Farm info, dates and booking, as well as a recap of Christmas Studio Mini Sessions which you have already BLEW ME AWAY with on booking night this week! There are two of these sessions left for grabs. We will also cover ways we’ll be able to pay it forward this year.
Here’s a refresher for new clients and returning if you are wondering which session is for you:
What is "Awesome Santa"? We used to have a session called "Workshop Santa" and then we had "Regular Santa". While trying to compare the two, I was tired of saying "regular" when our Santa is anything but regular and everything awesome. So somewhere along the line the word "Awesome" started getting thrown around and I officially changed the name to Awesome Santa sessions and it stuck. If you've had the pleasure to meet the big guy, you'll agree that name is appropriate. All Awesome Santa sessions are held in my studio in Coplay, PA.
What does a Tree Farm session entail? Tree farm is so fun! Kemmerer's Christmas Tree Farm on Valley View Drive in Bath, PA allows me to come there as I please and grants me exclusivity as the only photographer that they will allow to shoot on the farm. They are so supportive of my business and I return that sentiment. I have gotten my tree there every year for the last 7 years now and I love it every time. They just built their new building two years ago and this year's sessions will be held at the newer field. Every session at the farm gets you a $10 off coupon for your fresh cut Christmas tree at Kemmerer's for this season. It's a win win!
What are Studio Christmas sessions? Studio Christmas is just that. Christmas and winter themes at the studio. No Awesome Santa in attendance, just me and lots of fun sets and props. This year I am offering Three Rounds of 4 different backdrops each round. One of the backdrops each round will be big enough for standing family photos, but sometimes families can squeeze in on the other ones but are just more limited on space. You will be able to choose from 1, 2 or 3 backdrops upon booking and you can upgrade or downgrade at anytime, even during the session if your child is behaving better (or worse) than expected. These sessions booked already this past week and there are only TWO MORE sessions left for booking. However, once Santa and tree farm book, a few more of these might open up!
Prices for all of these sessions are discussed later in this blog. Please note: ALL HOLIDAY THEMED SESSIONS ARE PRICED PER FAMILY/HOUSEHOLD! No exceptions to this rule. What does this mean? Many people like to make a cousin photo for the grandparents. I love this and encourage it but price is per household. When there’s lots of eyeballs I have to get to look at the camera, it turns into a lot more work. I also photograph each child and sibling/family as well, this is why I’ve always done it this way.
IF YOU’RE TRYING TO BOOK AWESOME SANTA, HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW::
Cost: $159 ($150 + tax)
1. Retainers/Deposits will be collected upon booking for all sessions. For Awesome Santa, a $109 retainer will be collected in order to book Santa and the remaining $50 is due in cash at time of your session.
2. You will receive a gallery link to your downloadable photos by the end of the shoot day but most times, barring any computer malfunctions, you will have them before you get home! All digitals in the gallery are yours.
3. We have roughly the same amount of sessions that we had last year, which is way less than previous years, but we are thankful for any time we get with our favorite man in red. Sessions are booked every 15 minutes as they were last year. Much less hectic and allows Santa more breaks to recover between sessions.
4. Our new procedure for Awesome Santa Booking last year had some mixed reviews. Mostly good, but every year there are those comments that go straight to my heart. If I could give absolutely everyone a session that wanted one, I would in a heartbeat. However as I said in number 3, with limited spots available in Santa’s busy schedule, there seems to never be enough for all who want one. Last year we did a split between giving guaranteed sessions to the first 60 names on the google form and then the rest of the spots available were chosen by a lottery system with a random number generator. This wasn’t smart because we literally “broke Google” with so many requests at the same time, which froze the page from even loading for some of you to put your name in. We then turned off the form and a bunch of people who were on right when it opened, didn’t get their name on the list. People who have gotten a spot every year. Because of this, I believe the most fair way to give everyone equal opportunity at a spot is to do the lottery system for all of the spots available this time. So we will open booking at 9pm and leave the form open for THREE MINUTES. At 9:03 we will turn off submissions. ALL of the names to fill the sessions available will be chosen by a random number generator. This way allows for computer error or google overload issues to become a non issue. If you want a chance at a spot, be on at 9pm, and have your information submitted before 9:03 pm, which is when it will be turned off. As in previous years, the form will ask for your Name, Email and Phone Number. We have a little over 100 spots available. If it’s anything like previous years, 500+ people will be attempting the same thing at the exact same SECOND as you. Don’t be discouraged, I hope you still try for a spot! Last year we said we will let it open for x amount of minutes OR until we have 300 names. We got 300 names in a minute right after booking opened. While all of that craziness ensued with Tanya and I on the back end, we got bombarded with messages asking “can you tell me if I made it into the first 300 names” because if they didn’t, they wanted to try to figure out other options and it was very overwhelming. This eliminates that uncertainty, if you get a message saying your form was submitted, you made it on the list to have a chance at a session. This is the best way for all involved. I still wish there was a better way. More than one person per household can try for a spot but only one will be given and only one attempt per person.
5. ALL Digital images included- we are once again giving you all the digital images which will be in your gallery with a download button included in the cost of the session.
Price, dates and booking times and dates.
A: AWESOME SANTA
Address: 2354 Old Post Rd, Coplay, PA 18037
Thursday, November 21st
Friday, November 22nd
Saturday, November 23rd
Friday, November 29th
Saturday, November 30th
Monday, December 2nd
Tuesday, December 3rd
& Wednesday, December 4th
Booking opens: Sunday September 15th at 9pm
Price: $159 includes tax. $100 retainer due at booking/ $50 cash due the day of the session.
Includes gallery of all digital “keepers” with print release and the option to buy additional products. Each session will receive a $5.95 discount coupon code for free shipping on a print order or off of a canvas or album order. $5 from each session will go to justembrace.org, my cousin/Santa's daughter's non-profit organization in Chicago.
As always, we book Santa with a Google form. We have you put in your name, email, and phone number. Those submissions come in time stamped down to the mili-second and are numbered in a list. We will use the lottery system as mentioned above for drawing numbers of who will get a Santa session.
B: KEMMERER'S CHRISTMAS TREE FARM
Address: 3266 Valley View Dr, Bath, PA 18014
Session Dates: Saturday, November 2nd & Sunday, November 3rd
Booking: Tuesday, September 17th, 9pm
Price: $250 plus tax. $50 retainer due at booking/ $200 plus tax the day of the session. (price hasn’t changed from last year)
Includes your choice of 8 digital images from your gallery of all of the "keeper" images from your session with print release, the option to buy additional digital images and products, and a $10 off a fresh cut Christmas tree at Kemmerer's.
As always, we will use the Google form and we have you put in your name, email, and phone number. Those submissions come in time stamped down to the mili-second and are numbered in a list. There is roughly 20 sessions available. First 20 names on the list get a spot
C: CHRISTMAS STUDIO MINI SESSIONS
Address: 2354 Old Post Rd, Coplay, PA 18037
ROUND ONE- Tuesday, October 1st, Wednesday, October 2nd & Thursday, October 3rd
ROUND TWO- Monday, October 28th, Tuesday, October 29th, Wednesday, October 30th & Thursday, October 31st
ROUND THREE- Saturday, November 16th, Monday, November 18th, Tuesday, November 19th & Thursday November 20th
Booking: Already opened for booking :) There are TWO MORE sessions available at the time this blog was posted. You can grab one here: bit.ly/LGBookingStudio2019
If none of the available times left work in your schedule, please send us a message or email if you would like to be added to our waiting list for cancellations.
Price: $125 (1 backdrop)/$145 (2 backdrops)/$165 (3 backdrops) plus tax
$50 retainer due at booking- $75/$95/$115 plus tax due the day of the session.
Includes your choice of 5/7/10 digital images from your gallery of all of the "keeper" images from your session with print release and the option to buy additional digital images and products.
*If you have already booked one of these- yay! If you have booked a studio mini, you have committed to that time slot EVEN IF you get a Santa or Tree Farm session. The only way we can return you retainer is if we can fill your time slot with someone from the waiting list.
Now to answer a few questions you might have:
6. Question- If I am chosen for a Santa spot in the lottery, how/when will I choose my Santa date/time?
Answer- Those who made it in the lottery will be given a specific date and time that they will be able to choose their time slot and date for their Santa session. That scheduling date will only be released to those who made it on the list and have received the spot. Once we determine our final list, you will receive an email that lets you know either way if you made it or didn’t and what day and time you will be able to book your specific time slot. Please add email@example.com to your email address book so you don't miss an email from us.
7. Question- Can I still book a cousins back to back Awesome Santa session if we all get on the list in time or get chosen in the lottery?
Answer- No, I'm sorry. We can no longer promise this, it becomes too hard to work around with the amount of sessions being scheduled.
8. Question- Can I book both an Awesome Santa, Tree Farm and/or a Christmas Studio Mini session?
Answer- Yes! As long as you make it in on time for a spot or are chosen for a Santa spot through the lottery system, you may book more than one or all 3 if you like!
9. Question- Can we bring our pet dog, cat, fish, hamster, rat, snake, etc. to our Santa session?
Answer- We'd love to be able to allow you to bring your dogs but with allergies and the safety of so many kiddos being around I must say, sorry, but no.
10. Question- How soon will we know if we got a Santa Spot?
Answer- No more than 24 hours after booking opens up. Maybe sooner.
11. Question- Is my retainer refundable or transferable to another session?
Answer- Unfortunately no, not unless I have enough time to fill your spot. For Santa, we will most definitely be able to fill your spot if you give us as much time as possible.
12. Question- What if my child wakes up sick on a Santa day?
Answer- Please cancel. We don't want anyone getting sick. We will try our best to get you in another day.
13. Question- What if I have very limited availability?
Answer- If you are trying for a Santa spot this year, please try to be extremely flexible with your availability if you receive a spot and try to accommodate any date/time that you can. After Santa is booked, we will post a thread for anyone who got a spot that is 100% flexible to any date/time who would be able to switch should someone need to, but there will be no promises we can make switches or rescheduling work. We understand kids are in school so we try to be sensitive to this.
14. Question- What if my child is afraid of Santa?
Answer- If you're child is afraid of Santa, choose one of the later date sessions for your best chance at them not being afraid to sit with Santa. We tend to have the most success with non-screamers the last weekend because the children have been surrounded by Santa Claus for a longer amount of time versus beginning of November when he's not really everywhere. It's just a theory but I think it is a legitimate thought.
15. Question- Can we use gift certificates on Santa or holiday minis?
Answer- Gift certificates can NOT be used on Santa sessions. They can be used on tree farm and Christmas Studio minis.
16. Question- How do I get on the waiting list?
Answer- The waiting list is reserved for those who made it in on time on the initial booking night on 9/15 at 9pm.
17. Question- How will you be posting/sharing the link this year? Will it be posted in one place or two and how will the link work?
Answer- We will always post to Facebook, website and newsletter BUT we put the link to the deactivated google form out the day of so you have it and you can just refresh from there. We actually did the same thing last year that we’re going to do this year. We will post a deactivated link to the Google form the day before or the morning of- not sure which yet. Everyone will have the link and if you click on it before it’s activated, you’ll just get an error message that says, “this form is no longer accepting responses.“ Everyone will have the link to the Google form prior to booking and all they have to do is keep refreshing when the clock strikes 9pm to the second.
DONATIONS AND PAYING IT FORWARD OPPORTUNITIES.
Every year during the holidays, I like to help people pay it forward and give back to the community. Since the last two years were such a great success and we made such a huge impact, we've chosen to work with The Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley again to make #HolidayHopeChests. They're wrapped shoe boxes filled with goodies and necessities for boys and girls ages 2-14. We pledged to donate 500 Holiday Hope Chest boxes again this year, but I definitely need your help. Each one you make, you have the chance at a $500 LG GIFT CERTIFICATE! We will be collecting these boxes at several drop off spots in the Lehigh Valley to make it more convenient for you. To make sure we have them split them evenly for the children receiving them, we will create a sign up for you to pledge how many boxes and the age group/gender you will be making them for. You may sign up for multiple boxes!!!! We know that with all of us coming together, we can reach or even exceed our goal of 500 boxes this year. We will be posting another blog shortly with the sign up link and all the details including suggestions and no-nos for the boxes as well as drop off locations.
I’m happy to report, we will continue to collect PB&J from now until forever! For every pair of peanut butter (or other types of nut butter) and jelly you bring to the studio, you will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card. I’ll do the drawing once a month during the busy season and once every other month during the winter months. This is an easy way to give back to local food banks in our area.
Link to Pay-It-Forward LG STYLE facebook group to stay in the loop with our giving back opportunities!
If you have read this entire blog, thank you for bearing with me through all of my long-windedness, but there is just sooooo much information!!! If you have any questions, please let us know. I love you all so much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
God bless us everyone. Xo Lg