Hire a Santa for this Holiday Season..

© Michele V. Wagner Photography

Santa in Chicago is a busy guy this time of year but if you hurry you can hire Santa for your party or event. To book this classic Santa go to this page to |Find out more...

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How to Get Great Pictures with Santa

Tips on getting the Best Pictures of your child with Santa that you will cherish for a lifetime.


Santa in Chicago

                          photo © Jenny Grimm Photography - Link to Jenny’s website

There’s nothing more authentic than a small child seeing Santa for the first time.

John Sullivan, Santa in Chicago has been working with photographers taking Santa pictures for over 25 years. He has been the Santa for some of the top child and family photographers in the Chicago area—this picture was taken by Jenny Grimm.



                      © Michele V. Wagner Photography - Link to Michele's website

            A  child’s excitement when they meet Santa can’t be faked.

The following are things John has learned over the years and some of his suggestions on what to do and not do to get truly memorable photos of the little ones.

1 - Should I Go to the Mall for Pictures of Santa? - Absolutely not! He can tell you from personal experience, shopping centers and malls can be one of the worse places to get photos with Santa.

Usually the mall camera is a mounted digital that any helper can use to take quick, one of a kind unimaginative pictures.

Most malls won’t let you take your own photos, they don’t have professional photographers, plus after a long wait you’re probably rushed through. It’s possible you’ll get over priced pictures of the kids or Santa with their eyes closed.

2 - Don’t Take the Pictures Yourself - It almost seems counterintuitive to say this. However, unless your’e a professional photographer or a genuinely competent amateur, it’s best to have someone who really knows what they are doing to photograph your child or children. Remember, you don’t want just a photo you want a lifetime keepsake.


                      © Michele V. Wagner Photography - Link to Michele's website

John says don’t just hire just any photographer, but find a gifted child and family photographer and have them do their magic.

3 - Why a Child Photographer? - Most of the child photographers John has worked with are mothers or fathers with children. They know small children from years of working with them, possibly better even than some child psychologists. Child photographers are creative people like the ones you see on this site.


                         Mark Wedow - Photo © Santa Claus Inc. Link to Mark’s website

   Look how awestruck the girl is in this perfect picture by Mark Wedow.

Their equipment is the best, they spend a lot of money on cameras and lenses, umbrellas, lighting and all the other professional gear you would never think about.

If this is your child’s first Santa visit it’s a momentous occasion. You want to be sure you come home with the right picture. Remember, the years from newborn to seven or eight are the special years for kids getting Santa photos—you really don’t want to miss out.

4 - Just What Can a Professional Do? - The following pictures will show you exactly what they can do. First the child photographer knows how to set the scene, get the proper lighting, where to place the kids as well as Santa so everything is perfect.


                              photo © Jenny Grimm Photography - Link to Jenny’s website

             See how intense these kids are decorating cookies with Santa.

Jenny Grimm's picture is totally authentic and something that will be a true holiday remembrance.



                                 Mark Wedow - Photo © Santa Claus Inc. Link to Mark’s website

Props include many things besides Santa sitting in a chair. It can be asleigh—which Mark the photographer has—Christmas trees, a child in bed an outdoor scene, cookies with Santa, elaborate settings and many, many other things.



                              Mark Wedow - Photo © Santa Claus Inc. Link to Mark’s website

John loves it when a photographer uses humor and imagination to create that one of a kind shot like Mark Wedow did here.


                               © Michele V. Wagner Photography - Link to Michele's website

   Michele Wagner's action picture with the Chicago skyline is fantastic!

Most photographers carefully stage their events and know exactly what they are going to do before anyone arrives. Santa has worked with some professionals he compares to combat journalists. They move around rapidly firing away to get unforgettable pictures like Michele’s above.


                photo © Jenni Kenney Photography & Design - Link to Jenni’s website

                          Sometimes it takes awhile to warm up.

Others are more deliberate and carefully line everything up like Jenni Kenney did in these photos until she was satisfied. What’s interesting is to see how she works with even the shyest kid . . .


                        photo © Jenni Kenney Photography & Design - Link to Jenni’s website

                                      A smile you won't soon forget!

. . . or someone who is nervous and scared and then gets them to open up with an awesome smile.


                               photo © Gracie G. Photography - Link to Gracie’s website

                                   She wanted nothing to do with Santa

Often children from about fourteen months to around two and a half years won’t have anything to do with Santa. If they even see him they will freak out and start screaming. To get a picture—like the one Gracie took above—John had to carefully get behind the child without her seeing him. When it works, the family has a photo they love.

                                photo © Gracie G. Photography - Link to Gracie’s website

                                                   Hey what's this?

Little ones under a year old are rarely afraid of Santa, they aren’t into the stranger-danger age yet. If anything they are curious. How about this young fellow in GracieO’s photo pulling on Santa’s beard?


                                 © Michele V. Wagner Photography - Link to Michele's website

                              I got my candy cane, the heck with Santa!


Here’s another one where this young man didn’t want to get near Santa, but wow, look at the result.



                                     © Michele V. Wagner Photography - Link to Michele's website

                                              Am I on the good list Santa?

                                  photo © Gracie G. Photography - Link to Gracie’s website

   When Santa stays in character a child’s reaction is precious and genuine.

Often photographers have to sort through hundreds of pictures before they find the right one that meets their stringent standards. Then the real work starts. All good professionals will Photoshop and correct errors in pictures to get the best result possible.


                           photo © Jenni Kenney Photography & Design - Link to Jenni’s website

                                  Do you think we'll make it to the North Pole?                       

It’s not often you get a day like this when you are working with a family photographer. This was an early in the season picture. When Jenni Kenney, realized how hard it was snowing, she asked John and the little girl if they would mind going outside. This was what she captured!


                                photo © Jenni Kenney Photography & Design - Link to Jenni’s website

                                      Mom, you promised this was going to be fun!

To be honest, you’re not always going to get shots of happy smiling kids. There will be days when no matter what you do the kids will be hollering at the top of their lungs, struggling and trying to get away from Santa. But remember,these can be some of the best, never to be forgotten photos.


                                      photos © Jill Kelly Photography - Link to Jill’s website

                                          Is everything you want on my list?

            See how focused this girl in Jill Kelly’s photo is while checking her list.

                   photo © Jenni Kenney Photography & Design - Link to Jenni’s website                       

                The first Christmas is always a very special one.


                           photos © Jill Kelly Photography - Link to Jill’s website

These are the type of pictures you get in a photo package from  Jill Kelly.


                        photo © Jenny Grimm Photography - Link to Jenny’s website

And finally, a sweet little girl in Jenny Grimm's picturel playiing peek-a-boo with Santa.


5 - OK, What Do You Get When You Book a Child Photographer? - For usually around $200 (possibly a little more or less) you will receive edited photos you will treasure forever, your children will have a a once in a lifetime visit with a classic Santa, plus—depending upon what the photographer offers—a package of beautiful prints, usually with the exclusive right to reprint additional photos.

So far we have been talking about why you should consider a professional child photographer. It’s just as important is to get a professional Santa Claus. Santa has to be someone who can build trust with the little ones and knows how to work with both children and photographers.

If you get the right Santa, this is your children’s chance to experience the magic, excitement and joy in meeting the person they truly believe is the real Santa Claus—someone who captures the true spirit of Christmas!

To contact any of the professional photographers listed on this site about their Santa photo sessions check the information below. Also you can click on the links under their pictures.


Mark Wedow
Santa Claus Inc. Productions

Mark Wedow Photography
Photo sessions at: Procam Photo
4300 Westbrook Drive
Aurora, IL 60504
Email : Mark@SantaClausIncorporated.net 
Website: SantaClausIncorporated.net                                                             

Gracie G.
Gracie G. Photography

31 W. Downer Place
Aurora, IL 60506
Email:graciegphotography@gmail.com                                               Website: graciegphotography.com 


Jenny Grimm
Jenny Grimm Photography

4125 N. Bernard St.
Chicago, IL 60613
Email : jenny@jennygrimm.com                                                            Website: jennygrimm.com

Michele V. Wagner
Michele V. Wagner Photography

Photo Sessions at North Avenue Beach
1600 N. Lakeshore Drive.
Chicago, IL
Email: Micheleotography@gmail.com                                                  Website: michelevwagnerphotography.com                                   


FrankfortJill Kelly
Jill Kelly Photography

8700 Cullen Court
Frankfort, IL 60423
Email: jenny@jennygrimm.com                                                                Website: jillkellyphotography.com 


Jenni Kenney
Jenni Kenney Photography & Design

316 San Carlos Road
Minookat, IL 60447
Email : jenni@jennikenney.com                                                            Website: jennikenney.com 



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