My sister in law asked if I’d be up for a doing a shoot with her and my brother during my last trip to Michigan. She was lamenting having very few photos of the two of them, which I get. That’s a pretty common pain point for couples as they move along after their wedding. I was so happy to have the opportunity to gift them this session for their anniversary.
I asked what, if anything, she had in mind and she mentioned she really loves the themed shoots I’ve done. After tossing out a few ideas, we had a clear winner with The Nightmare Before Christmas. What can I say? We’re a bunch of geeks. LOL. We were aiming for lots of photos of just the two of them, a few with their kiddo, and hopefully a Christmas card worthy shot!
I was pretty excited to get to dabble in this theme for them. I was inspired to suggest it because they had recently been to a wedding where my sister in law was a bridesmaid. She wore was a flowy, deep purple dress and I thought it would be a perfect for a Nightmare Before Christmas theme. Remember ladies, that bridesmaid dress can be repurposed for all kinds of scenarios!
We used the pergola at the back of my parent’s property to decorate a simple scene. Black cheese cloth hung down on one side, with teal and purple tulle draped down the other. We incorporated a variety of decorated pumpkins. Some were dripped with milk paint, two were carved including my nephew’s which he was excited to have in the photos. We painted a few pumpkins with white acrylic paint right away (skipping the normal curing process) so the paint would slightly peel to add a rustic element. One had the face of Jack Skellington and one had the popular lyric “What’s This” from the corresponding movie song. Another pumpkin was painted to represent Sally.
The flower filled pumpkin we used in place of a traditional bouquet was my most favorite detail from the shoot. It was easy to make: scoop out a sugar pumpkin, poke a hole on each side about an inch from your opening on the top, feed through a ribbon (I used a pretty piece of tulle) and knot on the inside, add water (either pour it right in, or to extend the life place a cup inside), and fill with flowers.
I made sure to have a variety of props ready to ensure we’d get some great photos with their kiddo. HINT: six year olds like having a job that includes using cool props and making a mess. With the help of my mom’s mad sewing skills, we made a Zero with white fabric, satin tulle, black felt and a dowel rod. My nephew was tasked with operating Zero in the photos, which he loved.
Of course no Nightmare Before Christmas shoot would be complete without a shoutout to Sandy Claws. They wore their santa hats liberally and with childish joy! I also pulled petals off flowers left over from our bouquet alternative for my nephew to toss at his parents. I really wanted to make sure I had a variety of things for him to do that would be fun and ensure at least a few photos with him laughing.
Last but not least we incorporated some smoke bombs. I used Enola Gaye wire pull smoke grenades. They produced enough smoke for the effect I wanted that we were able to use just one at a time. Each one produced a solid stream of heavy smoke for a little over a minute and made a really whimsical effect. It was fun to take this dark and moody theme and flip it on its head to a bright, colorful, lighthearted look.
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