couple in leather jackets embrace with eyes closed, foreheads touching, in front of sea rocksGrowing up with a non-nuclear family, holiday cards—and the matching outfits and trips to Sears they entail—were something that I never had to participate in (#sorrynotsorry). I always just assumed they were something you only did if you had kids. But then suddenly more and more friends started sending them, and I started working at APW, where holiday cards are a thing, and suddenly I really love this ritual of marking the end of a year and sharing the holidays with the friends and family I really need to do a better job of keeping in touch with. Cue: annual panicked efforts to find a good photo of us at the last minute. (Spoiler alert: I can never find one.) Thankfully my husband is a Photoshop wizard who can do wonders with even the blurriest selfie. But this year, I want to do something different. After five years of no nice photos of us, I want something that represents this moment we’re at in our lives. You know, before another five years pass, and we get even older.  And when it comes time to choose photographers I trust with that job, there’s only one place I look: APW sponsors and vendors.

Here’s a trade secret: if you don’t want to spend all the moneys on a professional photo of you and your partner, fall is the best time to snag a deal. Many professional wedding and portrait photographers set up “mini-sessions” in late fall or early winter, which are short portrait sessions that you can get for a fraction of a normal sitting fee. We’re talking starting prices of $150 for absolutely stunning photos that only require about twenty minutes of your time.

So, to save you from searching, here are a handful of mini-session specials being offered by APW vendors and sponsors. And if you’re not seeing anything in your area below, you can always cruise the vendor directory to find someone who’s nearby.

couple kisses in a secret spaceJulie Pepin: One-hour couples sessions ($350)

San Francisco Bay Area, California

Julie is offering couples sessions in the San Francisco Bay Area and surrounding areas for $350. Includes 50+ fully edited images and the offer is valid through February 28th!

woman in red gown holds hands with man in jacket on a rocky shorelineVivian Chen: Mini engagement sessions (starting at $350)

Oakland and San Francisco, california

Vivian’s offering engagement mini sessions from now until March 1, $350 for 30 minutes or $500 for her regular one-hour session. Couples will receive hi-res photos (40–60 photos) in color and black and white via downloadable web gallery. Perfect for couples that need a quick and simple photo session for wedding websites, announcements, and save the dates. Go here for all the details and locations.

Graphic over white brick wall reads: Diana Ascarrunz Photography Fall + Holiday Mini Sessions Starting at $200 | Limited availability—email me for more details: dianaascarrunzphotography at gmail dot comDiana Ascarrunz: 20-Minute Mini Photo SessionS ($200–$350)

Austin, Texas

Diana is offering 20-minute sessions at the beautiful and modern event space One Eleven East near Austin, Texas, on Sunday, November 5, 2017. You’ll receive 5–10 high-resolution images, depending on your package. Perfect for holiday cards, just an updated photo of you and your love, or even a headshot. More details here.

family sits on felled tree near lake, lauging in golden sunlightKara Schultz: Last-minute holiday sessions ($150)

St. Charles, ILlinois

Kara is offering mini-sessions on November 19th from 10am to 2pm in St. Charles, Illinois. Each session is 30 minutes, and you’ll receive a digital download of photos. Check availability here, and email Kara (kara at karaschultz dot com) with any questions.

Woman in decorated denim jacket stands with her back to you in the foreground, her partner farther away slightly out of focus, both face the sunset over the oceanEvangeline Lane: holiday mini-sessions ($350)

Los Angeles, california

Evangeline is offering couples, families, and individuals 30-minute mini sessions at your home or outdoors in the Los Angeles area for $350. You’ll receive 30 high-resolution fully edited images. Available October through December!

holiday card stationery suite with picture of couple gazing at each other in front of green ivy-covered wall43rd Ave Photography: holiday Mini-sessions ($300–$350)

San Francisco, california

Forty-Third Ave Photography is offering mini sessions on November 5, November 11, and November 25. Their 30-minute mini-sessions include 25 high-resolution digital images and an online gallery connected to a professional print lab to order prints and holiday cards. Plus! They are offering an exclusive collection of holiday cards designed by a local graphic designer. All the information on their sessions can be found here.

young child in a blue and fur flap cap sits in a pile of leaves, smilingKYO MORISHIMA PHOTOGRAPHY: Couples or family sessions ($600)

New York City and Princeton, New Jersey
Includes a one-hour photojournalistic photo shoot with Kyo (lots of candids and posed portraits as well) and delivery of complete high-resolution image files (40–50 photos).

family portrait with woman on treadmill drinking wine from the bottle and eating powdered sugar mini donuts, which are falling out of the bag to an awaiting grey dog; child on the ground viewing tablet holds large barbell overhead, another child does a one-handed handstand on the barbell and shoots man with water from water bottle; man balances in tree pose on a yoga ball while holding an open beer growler, turning his head to avoid the squirt from the water bottle; white furry dog sits on a fan treadmill in the cornerDave Shilling Photography: Holiday card sessions ($500)

Sacramento, CAlifornia

Dave is booking for weekdays in October and select weekends in November/Early December for holiday card sessions. Full-resolution digital copy provided, plus free holiday card design!

couple holding and hugging a young child in red hat in a park. they smile. Stephanie Court Photography: mini-sessions ($275) or Full family sessions ($550)

San Francisco, CAlifornia

Stephanie is offering lifestyle portrait sessions for families, couples, and individuals. Choice of either one 30-minute session at an outdoor location in San Francisco with 20 to 25 final, fully edited high-resolution images in a private online gallery; or full session (up to one hour) at an outdoor San Francisco location with approximately 50 final high-resolution images in your own private gallery. Weekend dates: November 4–5, November 11–12, and November 18–19. Weekday dates: Monday or Wednesday mornings (November 6, 8, 13, and 15 are still open). Contact Stephanie to book!

family of four reads board books on a marble stepCHLOE JACKMAN PHOTOGRAPHY: Mini-sessions ($250)

San Francisco, CAlifornia

Chloe is offering 20-minute sessions including gallery of 35–35 images for $250. (Up to 4 people, $25 for each additional.) See here for session dates and locations and all the details—book soon, as several dates as almost sold out!

The post Been Meaning to Take a Photo for Your Holiday Cards? appeared first on A Practical Wedding: We’re Your Wedding Planner. Wedding Ideas for Brides, Bridesmaids, Grooms, and More.

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