| Catherine and Jackson |
One of the many things that I look forward to during the holiday season is receiving Christmas cards in the mail. The moment they arrive, I open them because I can’t wait to see the photos. Recently, my friend Kirsten told me of her tradition that I absolutely love. When she and her husband start getting cards in the mail, they tuck them all away unopened. On Christmas Eve, they light a fire, open a bottle of wine, grab their stack of cards and snuggle up together to read each card. I can totally see how much more meaningful this experience is and Kerry and I are definitely going to do it this Christmas.
Like many of my friends, I plan a family photo session at least once a year. Not only do I want the photos to use for our holiday card, I want them to frame so I can put them up in our home and for gift-giving. My family is camera-shy and a bit reluctant about these photo sessions, so this year I changed things up a little. I decided that I wasn’t going to even tell them about a photo session and see if being spontaneous would work in my favor. A lot of the tips that I wrote about in Tips For an Awesome Family Photo, still apply if you’d like to check out that blog post.
This time, I secretly planned a photo shoot for my family while we were on summer vacation at the Outer Banks, N.C. I figured that I would catch them off guard while they were relaxed and happy – and had eaten more ice cream in one week than they do all year. I told them that while we were on vacation we were going to go to a really nice restaurant and everyone had to dress up.
We went to the fabulous 1587 in Manteo, North Carolina and got seated at a table with views of the water. After our pre-dinner drinks had been served, I suggested that we take a walk outside to see the boats. My kiddos are so used to seeing me with a camera, they didn’t even notice it. After looking at the boats, I found the ideal backdrop and said to Jackson and Catherine “Let me take some pictures of you two.”
What unfolded was pure joy, a photographer’s dream. I’m not sure if it was my strategy to be spontaneous or if both my kiddos were just in the mood to have their photos taken. Catherine flashed me her beautiful brown eyes and a shy smile and wrapped her arms around her brother’s neck. Jackson started making wisecracks that had his sister belly laughing – which made him laugh. The entire series of pictures turned out beautifully and I could hardly wait to get them printed and framed.
I started with them in the kitchen and posted that story on Instagram (see below) but I needed to move them to our master bedroom. I know this is totally cheesey, but these are the faces that I want to fall asleep to and wake up to. I warned you it was cheesey.
Here are the images of the photos in the master bedroom.
The Best Online Framing Store
Typically, I go through the hassle of framing them myself. I order prints to pick up at the local pharmacy or big box store and hope that they come out okay. Then I have to go to another store to find mats and frames that fit. I’ve found that when I try to do this myself, the quality just isn’t there – and it takes me days to do all the running around. Because these photos are so precious to me, I went to the experts at Frame It Easy to handle the entire process. This was my first experience using an online framing company and after I read their Our Story page, I could tell that my order would be carefully handled by people who take pride in the quality of their work.
The online ordering experience was a breeze and a lot of fun too. They guide you through a simple 5-step selection process and you can preview exactly what your frame will look like every step of the way. You can upload a photo or digital artwork and play around with different frame styles and colors, mat size and colors until you are happy with it. Frame it Easy is the perfect name for this online store, they made simplicity the very center of the customer’s online experience. Below, I’ve taken screenshots of the previews you get when selecting your frame style and mat color.
| here’s the photo with a white wooden frame |
| here’s the same photo with a shiny silver frame |
Once my order was placed, I got an email confirming it and a few days later I got another email letting me know that it was being shipped. When opened the box, I was blown away at the packaging. I normally don’t take photos of packaging, but this needs to be seen. This box could have fallen off the back of a truck and the contents wouldn’t have flinched.
| I ordered 6 framed photos, here’s a look at how the frames were packaged in the box |
| here’s the front of one framed photo, it is totally protected with cardboard |
| here’s the back of a framed photo, they include protective felt squares and hardware to hang the picture |
With the holidays around the corner, this is a great personalized present. I’m going to order a couple more framed photos of our children for my husband’s office and I will pick a frame in the same wood tone as his desk. I know that he’ll think it is the best thing under the tree and it is a gift that will last.
If you have photos, prints or artwork that needs to be framed, Frame it Easy has provided a 10% discount to my readers (see below). Check out their website to see all the options available for a truly customized frame, proudly made in the USA.
Enjoy 10% off using the following code through the end of the year, just copy and paste it in the Coupon field during checkout : CTINSTYLE16
click frameiteasy.com to go to their website
Thank you to Frameiteasy.com for sponsoring this post and for taking such excellent care of my photos. All opinions are my own.
The Best Online Framing Store