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Countdown to Christmas day 1: the sign of a great photo shoot


Hi everyone! Kelly (kenandbelly) here today. I’m so excited to kick off the Twelve Days of Christmas Countdown celebration here on the Weeds and Wildflowers blog!

For each of the next twelve days, one of the creative team members will be posting a digital scrapbooking freebie here.  As you might guess, festivities are going on in the Shoppe as well.  A different item in the shoppe will be on sale for half price each day until 12:00 midnight, EST.  These freebies and these sale prices will only be good for 24 hours so plan to check back each day!

I have several goodies to share with you today, including a photo shoot tutorial in addition to our first Countdown to Christmas freebies.  The tutorial lets you in on my secret to a great photo shoot technique that I used on my Christmas card this year.  Before I share my freebie with you—and the secret to a great photo shoot technique that I used on my Christmas card this year but that is usable for any occasion—

First, however, let me show you today’s half-price product, the Wildflower Holiday Kits Collection.

kit preview

The collection includes three kits by Patricia Christensen,  “At the North Pole,” “Expecting More Snow,” and the original “Wildflower Holiday” kit.  You’ll get textured digital papers, overlays, frames and all sorts of embellishments.  Her doodled elements are so merry!  Remember, the collection is half off today only so don’t miss it!


And now onto the freebie I have for you!  I’ve made a quick page (QP) out of our Christmas card for you all, just in case you’re waiting till the last minute.  And I’m going to suggest a zippy way for you to customize it with your own pictures.  The secret to my photo shoot technique is in your favorite graphics design program.  I use Photoshop Elements but this effect should be achievable with most any program.

Here’s what the card looks like with my pictures in it.


I’m pleased to be sharing this freebie with you all because I’m really happy with how our card turned out this year — and from the comments I got in the gallery, I can tell that a lot of people are interested in how I did it.  So, before I give you the download link for the QP, I’m going to give you a little tutorial about how I got the “Fa La La” to photograph so well.

Don’t you just love pictures with kids holding up signs? They seem magical somehow, perhaps because of the “how’d they get that kid to do that” effect.  Here’s the thing: this photo shoot is a LOT easier than it looks. If you do it the easy way, that is. Doing it the hard way, the way you might think I did this, is really frustrating and difficult to pull off. Trust me, I’ve tried it the hard way.  Getting a little one to hold the sign so it’s readable is really tricky. Making the sign look nice in the first place is tricky, too.  I know I don’t like looking at my own sloppy handwriting on signs!

This year… it dawned on me.  Duh.  There’s an easier way.

So, you wanna know how to make a kid-with-a sign photo shoot work? The easy way? (I feel like I should cue a drumroll here…)

Give the kid(s), your spouse, your friends, your dog, your snowman, whoever, a BLANK sign to hold.


Use your digital scrapbook stash to fill the sign in later! (hint: something with a felt-tipped marker look like Gina’s little whimsy alpha works great for this). Simple, yes. Effective, yes. Neat-o?


This way, it doesn’t matter what way they’re holding the sign, how they’re holding it, or where they’re holding it. They can hold it backward. They can hold it upside down.  They can wave it around.

They can actually get silly about the whole thing– and they just might get silly because they’ll likely start to think that YOU are nuts for taking pictures of them doing this—and pictures of them laughing at you behind the camera are exactly the kind you want to capture, am I right? Just keep snapping away and get ’em to have some fun with it.

A regular piece of printer paper would work fine for this photo shoot. Bigger can be better, though. Cardboard works great for this—my daughter’s holding a piece of cardboard I scavenged from the back of a pad of construction paper. How easy is that?

candy tip

Oh, and one more tip. Never underestimate the power of a good bribe, I mean, treat to bring out their grins. My daughter loves candy canes so I gave her one during our photo shoot and it turned out to be a really sweet prop.

There you go! That’s my secret for a kid-with-a-sign photo shoot. Click on the preview *** SORRY, LINKS HAVE EXPIRED*** to download the card QP. Grab it, grab your kid(s)/spouse, snowman, whoever, grab your camera and a blank sign and get snapping! I bet you can have your card ready to go before you know it! Do share—we LOVE to see your work in our gallery.

preview card

Since I’m in a festive mood, I’m also going to share a QP of a LO I did about my girl’s love of holiday candy, especially candy canes.  The journalling reads, “first candy cane of the year. Wait, I mean second. Third…? We’re going to have a hard time keeping ANY on the tree, aren’t we.”


Here you go! Enjoy (preview is clickable) *** SORRY, LINKS HAVE EXPIRED***

preview qp

I hope your holidays are sweet!


49 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. I love this idea Kelly, and will definitely take some photos of my little grandson with a blank card this week. Your quick page and card are just gorgeous! Thank for sharing these with us here for the ‘first day of Christmas’.
    Merry Christmas Kelly!!

  2. I loved your card. Thanks for the quick page too.

  3. help, what am i doing wrong? when i click on the QP i get a video download that sez it will take 8hrs to load???!!!

  4. What a totally brilliant idea! I have had my son hold signs up that I’d written on and it was a disaster. Your way sounds MUCH better!!! WHOOHOO I can’t wait! Thank you very much for the cute freebies!

  5. genius – thx ever so much!

  6. Very cute and smart idea!
    Thanks for the QP, too cute!

  7. How cute! And what a great idea! By the way, bribery and threats (you better not pout…!)are a TRADITIONAL part of Christmas! Lol!

  8. wow so beatiful !! your family looks great!! and thanks for sharing this gifts with us!!.. a big big hug from colombia!!


  9. Thank you for these goodies. I was jealous of your penmanship but now I know!! Very sneaky.

  10. Great idea and cute pages. Thanks!

  11. Great idea to use with the grandkids and thanks for the QPs.

  12. Thanks so much for the goodies. Great idea for the photoshoot!

  13. I agree..great idea for the kids and signs.Don’t you just take the cake!! I think that is what Mom use to say.hehe
    Thanks so much for the COOL QPs:)

  14. GREAT FABULOUS WONDERFUL Idea! WOW and thanks for both of the QP’s too!

  15. Very sweet! Thanks for the QP

  16. What a wonderful idea. Love the pages.

  17. Very clever. Thank you for the card and QP.

  18. Super duper job. What a festive card and page. Thanks for the gift.

  19. Love your idea with the blank card – how clever!

  20. THANK YOU for the simple yet creative photo tips!!! Your photos turned out so adorable!!! Thanks for the card & QP!!!

  21. great idea for a photo shoot!! very clever!! thank you for sharing kelly!!

  22. thank you! i’m going to copy your idea for our Christmas Card – i love it! thank you so much for your generosity!

  23. This is awesome!! What a great idea! Thanks for the tip and QP’s!

  24. I’m so glad y’all like it! Do share your work in our gallery so I can see it! :)

  25. Hey, why didn’t I think of that?! LOL. Thank you for the tip and also for the freebie :o)

  26. Beautiful card & quick page, thank you kindly for sharing! I used the same trick for my Mom’s birthday last year. I got all her siblings and her parents to each hold a blank white card that I later filled in. Worked out GREAT!

  27. Kelly, thanks so much for the adorable shares, but most of all for “THE” way to get my grandchildren to cooperate, lol. Hugs, and Merry Christmas!

  28. Fabulous ideas! Thank you for the card and quick page!

  29. Beautiful layout! Thanks for sharing the quick page and all the tips on taking photos.

  30. Brilliant! Thank you for sharing your talent!

  31. Adorable! Using the blank cardboard is brilliant!

  32. thanks for the QP and your idea is brilliant! I tweeted and facebooked about it :)

  33. Kelly,
    Thanks for the QPs and I love your photo op idea. I will definitely have to use that some time.

  34. How cute! Thanks so much for the quickpages.

  35. Kelly – thanks for sharing your great QPs and also the photo tip! Have a wonderful Merry Christmas!

  36. Oh wow Kelly- what a lightbulb moment! Never thought of that- I tried the sign thing and kept asking the kids to “turn it round”, “hold it straighter” etc! Thanks for sharing your QP too!

  37. Thanks, Kelly!!
    These are so super cute!! And I TOTALLY want to do this for our Christmas card next year – who knew it could be so EASY!! Now I just have to remember the idea for next year! LOL!

  38. Wow, great tip, I would never have thought of doing it that way!!!

  39. What a clever little cookie you are!! That idea takes all the pain out of trying to get it right!! Thanks so much for sharing!! xxx

  40. Lovely pages, thank you.

  41. Thank you so much for the great photography tip and the cute QP!

  42. what a great idea!

    — dalis

  43. Kelly,

    I love the treat but I especially love your Christmas card and the *easy* instructions to do it ourselves. Wow….you made it sound so easy. THANK YOU!!!

  44. Strange this post is totaly unrelated to what I was searching google for, but it was listed on the first page. I guess your doing something right if Google likes you enough to put you on the first page of a non related search. :)

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