Friday, December 13, 2019
In 1983 I was working as an engineer at the Bettis Atomic Power Lab in West Mifflin. The company was planning their first employee Holiday Party, and they wanted to give everyone a free 4x6 print of their children sitting on Santa's lap. They asked if I would be interested in taking the photos and distributing them to the employees afterwards.
Back then, of course, everything was shot on film. The biggest problem was making sure that the photos were sent to the right parents. Each parent filed out a card with their name and address,and we had to make sure we kept them in order to they would match up with the prints. We also had to limit each family to one shot per family.
The one thing I remember most from those early years was the line waiting to talk with Santa stretched around all 4 sides of the hall we were in, with a 2 hour wait to talk to Santa! After that we implemented a numbering system so that no more than 10 families were in line at any given time.
I've been shooting this with a digital camera since 2003, which has simplified things immensely. The photos are uploaded to an online gallery, and parents can download the file to print on their own. I have also kept previous years' files online as well, and it seems every year I have one or two parents who will go through the earlier files and order prints from 4 or 5 years' worth of visits. I love seeing the progression as the kids grow older and new siblings are added.
Shooting digital also means I can shoot more than one photo per family. In recent years, in addition to the standard posed shot, I've been trying to include more candid shots of the kids as they intently tell Santa what is on their list, and that they've been good this year.
If you are looking for this year's photos, please click here