Behind the Scenes 2014

the baloney bug

I think this year’s card might just be my favorite one yet.  We were a bit intimidated at the thought of trying to get a toddler and a dog to cooperate, but give them a cookie and some cream cheese and you’ve got a sure fire way to keep their attention.

I’ve been tossing around ideas for a kitchen scene for a while, and Jon was never on board.  When I suggested that he could be in the background pouring some booze into his coffee, he was suddenly a lot more interested.  I figured my favorite cards have always been the ones where something funny has been happening (Jon tied up in the Christmas lights and Brady pulling Jon down the street), so we went with it.  The original idea was for us to be dressed up in suit/tie/sparkles but last minute ditched the idea for pajamas.

Adelaide sat on her mark the entire time, happily gobbling down two very large chocolate chip cookies that we made earlier in the week.  I was running back and forth putting cream cheese on the island so Brady would jump up and lick it.  We had to take a small break to get him a step stool, because he was too short to really be seen in most of the photos.

This was our first year using lights.  We don’t get great lighting in our apartment, so Jon brought home some strobe lights to light the set.  I wish we had taken a photo of the entire setup, but it was too hectic to even think about it.  My friend Ashley came over to stand behind the camera and to get Adelaide’s attention, which was crazy helpful.

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

^^I swear he wasn’t about to bite her.  Adelaide spent a good amount of the shoot trying to snuggle Brady.  She loves him so much.  Seriously, she just loves her dog.  Brady is so good with her, especially when she’s sneaking him food.

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

The final image was actually 3 photographs (Adelaide and me + Brady + Jon).

I guess there are some benefits to being married to a photo geek.

(PS. You can see all of our past Christmas cards here.)

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • RSS

Happiest of Holidays

m4s0n501

 

the baloney bug Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season with a lot of nice (and maybe a little bit of naughty).  Check in tomorrow for out takes and how it was done!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • RSS

The Outtakes — 2013 Edition

the outtakes This years card was easily my favorite of all the ones we’ve done.  I thought between a baby and a dog that it would be a nightmare to shoot, but it turned out to be pretty fun.

To answer the most popular questions: yes, Jon is holding the gifts, this is on Park Avenue and it is three pictures Photoshopped together.  Our most complex post-production card to date.

The gifts were empty boxes I had around the apartment that I wrapped with paper from the dollar store.  I then used packing tape to tape the boxes to each other so they wouldn’t topple over when Jon was holding them.

We originally wanted this to be two photos that were photoshopped together (Jon and Brady, Adelaide and me), but after we were done decided it was best to combine three different shots.  More on that in a bit.

outtakes I love this picture of Brady, Kristin and Brian howling at a siren that was going by.  We shot their Christmas card minutes before for them to announce their pregnancy and then they stuck around to help us with our card.  Check out their card here.

outtakes Brady getting a bit too excited.

outtakesAnd, Brady letting the Upper East Side know what’s up.

And now, for how it came together (also known as, my husband has mad skills):

Shot 1: Jon and the gifts

how it came together

Shot 2: Adelaide and me

how it came togetherShot 3: Add in the dog

how it came together

The final product:

Screen-Shot-2013-12-23-at-9.03.33-PMI wish I had video of Kristin and Brian calling Adelaide and Brady and getting them to look at the camera.  We all looked a bit crazy, but we had so much fun with this card.

It just makes me even more excited for Adelaide to get to be a part of our traditions, and to add in her ideas in the future.

Sky’s the limit.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • RSS

Outtakes: 2012 Edition

Jon and I wanted to try for a slightly simpler card this year, something classic and New York. The Brooklyn Bridge seemed like the perfect place, so we set about finding a date to shoot the photo.

We wanted the photo to be as late as possible in the year before having to send them to the printer so that my belly would be as big as possible. In hindsight we could have taken these photos last year for all it mattered because even though I was five months pregnant when we shot them I have absolutely zero bump. Zero. Whatever, let’s move on.

The date we chose just happened to be the weekend after Hurricane Sandy hit. It didn’t really seem like the storm would affect our photos since the power had been restored to lower Manhattan at this point.

We got up at 5am to get to the bridge by sunrise. We figured sunrise was the only time that we could shoot these without having a million other people also in the photo.

Except we didn’t take into account that there was no subway service from Brooklyn to Manhattan. So all the Brooklynites that would normally be on the subway at 6am were walking the Brooklyn Bridge. MAJOR oversight on our part. The bridge was packed. People biking, running and walking from one side of the bridge to the other…

The next oversight we had was Brady related. We didn’t let him run or get any energy out before we shot the photo, so all the extra stimulation on the bridge made him go crazy. He would not for the life of us sit down for a photo.

Our camera takes 10 consecutive photos and then stops, but it was never until we got to photo 10 that we could even get Brady turned around and facing the camera.

I vowed then and there to never try to take the photos alone ever again. It’s so much more helpful to have someone hitting the shutter and calling Brady’s name to look at the camera.

I didn’t think it could get more difficult than trying to shoot a photo on a boat, but apparently it can. Just throw in a hyper dog, a hurricane, a downed subway system and you’ve got yourself one very difficult photo op.

Can’t wait to see how fun it is to shoot with a baby thrown in the mix next year.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • RSS

2012 Christmas Card

I’m going to go ahead and chalk twenty twelve up as the best year yet. Better than the year I got engaged, better than the year I got married. Just the best year.

Lately I have been having overwhelming feelings of realizing just how blessed I am. Blessed to have my husband, my health, my family and a daughter on the way. Blessed.

Thank you to everyone out there who is taking the time out of your day to read this. You don’t know how much you all mean to me. So thank you.

 

PS. Check back tomorrow to see how what should have been a simple Brooklyn Bridge photoshoot became by far our hardest Christmas card yet. It’s almost comical how much went wrong in the shooting of this year’s card.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • RSS

Outtakes

This year I was really inspired by all things nautical.  I’m obsessed with stripes and thought hubs was going to lose it when I kept coming home with countless striped shirts.  So when I was brainstorming ideas for our Christmas card I naturally decided that it should happen on a boat.  With striped shirts.

Luckily my Aunt Joan lives on the bay and enlisted the help of her fabulous neighbor who would lend us his boat.  Unfortunately on our way to his house we got stuck in a ton of traffic and wound up only being able to shoot for a couple of minutes.

Cue the panic attack.  We have a couple of minutes to set up, get a dog to cooperate and get the shot.  We normally leisurely shoot for the better part of an hour, look at our images, shoot some more.

Unlike last year, we couldn’t leave the camera in one spot and Photoshop Brady in.  We were on a boat, ON THE WATER which meant no two pictures were in the exact same spot.

This first picture you can see Jerry, the neighbor getting the boat in place.  He was actually in the water holding the boat for us the whole time.  For the first time ever we had a crew!  I felt like yelling for someone to touch up my hair and makeup.  But then remembered I’m not actually a model. Whomp whomp.

Every year before this one the Christmas card has been something between just the hubs and myself.  It’s almost like a sacred time that we get to set up our cameras, have fun and be creative.  But we had quite an audience this year.  Which can be fairly intimidating.

I’m actually totally smitten by this picture of Brady and me.  If only we could send out a picture without the hubs…

I would like to caption this next one, “I hate my parents.  Love, Brady”

Brady DID NOT want to leave our side in the boat.  A bit of a scaredy cat if you ask me.  So getting him to cooperate and not look completely terrified was a bit of a daunting task.

We took almost all of the pictures with the hubs and I both sitting down.  There’s probably only one or two where he’s standing, but those ones look so much better.  They have more movement and take up more space in the photograph.

Please note Brady licking his face in this picture.  He was licking his face in almost every picture.  Between the boat, the dog, the small amount of time and the crowd of onlookers this picture almost didn’t happen.  Normally we have four or five images that we sort through to choose our favorite.  This year we literally had one.

I’m already brainstorming ideas for next year.  And I have my hopes set real high.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • RSS

It’s Christmas Card Time!

You’ve waited long enough…Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to present our Christmas Card 2011:

Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you the secret behind how the magic was made.  And trust me, this year we needed all the magic we could get.  Just take my word for it that two people, a dog and a boat are not easy props.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • RSS

Christmas Card Saga

Well… the Christmas cards have been delayed.  I was hoping to post the card today, but that’s not gonna happen.  Last year the cards got delayed because FedEx sucks and this year they’re getting delayed because the printer sucks.

We took the picture this past June.  Yes, six months ago.  And then hubs procrastinated until November to actually work on it.  So by the time we sent it out to the printer we were still on track to send them out in a timely manner.  And then we got them back and they were way too light.  They sucked.

This is the first year we’ve ever had an issue with printing, so this definitely caught us off guard.

We decided they needed to be reprinted so hubs made some tweaks and we sent them to get printed again.  And paid for rush shipping.  And we got them back and they were ridiculously yellow.  They sucked.  At this point I’m about to have a panic attack because we’re leaving for a cruise and will be out of pocket and all we have to show is two messed up versions of our Christmas card.

Our solution: reprint them FOR A THIRD TIME, have them sent to bff Kelly who will stuff the pre-addressed envelopes and mail them out for me.  I’ll try to make an appearance here at the blog to debut the cards once everyone has received them.  It will just cost me a million dollars a minute since we’ll be in the middle of the ocean somewhere.  But I’m dedicated like that.

So while we wait let’s recap the last two years, shall we?

I’m so excited to show you this year’s card.  It was by far our hardest card yet and I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

xoxo,

Joan

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • RSS

The Magic Behind the Card

Here’s our big dirty secret: it’s two photos.

The hubs thought it would be easier to keep the camera mounted on the tripod, shoot us on self timer and then shoot Brady separately.  I objected at first.  Would it look authentic?  Is that considered Christmas card cheating?

But I went along with the hubs’s grand plan, and have to say he did a great job pulling it off.

First, I watched numerous YouTube videos about how to get my hair into a beehive hairstyle.  Then I tried to get the cookies to stay on the cookie pan.  I tried peanut butter at first, but the organic peanut butter the hubs bought (the kind with the oil on top) was just too thin.  Wasn’t working.  So I switched to cream cheese.  Worked like a charm.

Here’s what our mini-photo shoot looked like:

Trying out poses while the hubs got the camera set up:

Take one.  This one doesn’t exactly scream “1950’s Christmas Card”:

Um, I think we need to fix the self timer…

Our final pose, dog nose and all:

Brady’s final pose:

There you have it.  Brady sat still because I was bribing him with treats, the cookies stayed put with cream cheese and our Christmas card is really 2 photos, not one.

A Christmas Miracle.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • RSS

Drumroll, please.

Since our Christmas card turned out to be a big hit last year we now realized people expected creative cards EVERY YEAR.  Do you know how hard it is to think of something creative and not cheesy that is also related to Christmas?  And involves a dog.

It’s hard.

We’ve literally been thinking since the moment we sent out last years card, “What are we going to do for the next one?”

Drumroll please……………….

Stay tuned and I’ll show you tomorrow how we pulled this shenanigans off.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • RSS