Wow, I’ve been a Phoenix family photographer serving the East Valley for quite a few years now. This will be my 8th year in business! As we start our photography journey in 2017, be sure you’re keeping up with all the latest news and receive exclusive invitations to our new Limited Edition sessions! This fall we’ll be offering our beautiful Snow Sessions, only you don’t have to head north! These photo shoots take place right here in Gilbert, AZ! All you need is your winter gear and an imagination! These are an excellent addition to any portrait session or a fun way to have seasonal family portraits to display in your home! Feel free to bring some hot cocoa, cups, s’mores, or other treats too! They also make perfect Christmas cards! These make such amazing portraits for your family to enjoy or purchase one as a gift!
Winter Wonderland in Phoenix, AZ
The Whitehead family brought out their winter gear and we transformed a small area in Gilbert into a winter wonderland! Cade and Kel are just too cute in their snow gear of course, and the best part is that Kelle’s winter scarf isn’t actually a scarf…it is a pair of pj pants! I love it when my clients think outside the box! These are just a few images from their family portrait session. At their reveal session, they chose to create a beautiful custom storyboard of just their snow images! It will be displayed during the holidays and winter months, and then it will be switched out for their favorite family portrait the rest of the year! Simply amazing! Want to see more of our snow portraits and get other creative ideas for your photo shoot? Just check out our new “Themed” gallery of images!
As a Gilbert family photographer, I’m always trying to learn new skills so I can provide the highest level of quality and creativity for my photo shoots. I have played with snow images quite a bit in the last few years, but over this past holiday season I had a client request them for her family. Typically these images are done with just one of two people, often for BFF teen photo shoots. I’m always up for a challenge, but adding snow in Phoenix? Wouldn’t it be easier to just head north to Flagstaff? Well, not in this case! After a sleepless night, I gave in and sat at my computer editing at 2:00 a.m. until I finally got the results I wanted. Until now, my snow photo shoots have only been of one person, so getting realistic results of a family of 4 was a bit of a learning curve. After about an hour playing with some new techniques, I knew I had gotten the images any family would love! One key aspect is being prepared for a photo shoot in the snow. Winter coats, hats, and hot cocoa are perfect for these family pictures and help create fun memories as well as beautiful portraits!
This kid is such a ham!! Kel played it up just perfectly when I asked to him to pretend he was freezing in the cold snow! You’d never know that he’d been with his new family for less than a year! Now that is an amazing story, and one I’ll hopefully be sharing soon! A beautiful happy ending and perfect fit for this little guy and his family!
Family Keepsake Storyboard
What good is it to have memories you can’t display? You’re busy, and it takes time to sort, measure, order, and print your family pictures. Don’t stress, Magical Memories by Michelle has a ton of beautiful products that are easy to display! There are many samples to see in person and sizes so you can visualize what fits best in your home. In this case, Kelle had a 20×30 frame in her kitchen. Of course we did beautiful family portraits too, but during the winter season she can display these amazing snow pictures of her family! It really does look like it’s snowing, doesn’t it? I promise, it wasn’t! I love how the kids pretended to be cold and the family had pretend hot cocoa! It really made these unique family pictures come to life!
It’s definitely the happiest time of year in our home!!! Christmas is my favorite holiday and I love everything about it! Decorating, celebrating, baking, spending time with family…it’s just the best! Every weekend we try to head out in our community in East Mesa to check out some of the fabulous displays that neighbors have created. We have some awesome displays right here in Bella Via, but these are some of our favorites in the East Valley.
Taylor Residence in Ahwatukee
While I haven’t personally seen this one, you can bet it is in on my list for this year! This gorgeous Christmas display has more than 300 hand-carved cutouts featuring all of our favorite characters including Peanuts and Disney as well as a new addition of Emojis!
We’ve been visiting Frank Polimene’s home, called “The Santa Train” for at least 17 years now! Back when we started going, it wasn’t as well known, and we had a hard time finding it since it is set back in the foothills of Ahwatukee. We were told that you could simply flash your lights from the car to activate the train! Since then, it has become much more popular, the train runs more because everyone is out of their cars to see all the details. It is definitely one of our favorite family traditions!
The display has a candy cane factory that fills the train, then real candy canes are dumped into the train for visitors to enjoy.
Visit their site to read the story of how this display came to be. It really is a fun story!
Display Hours: Thanksgiving Day (November 23, 2017) until January 1, 2018. Open nightly until 11:00 p.m. with candy canes given away to the kids until 9:00 p.m.
Snowfall on Fridays and Saturdays every 20 minutes
Don’t miss the dancing Santa and the mouse that reads Twas the Night Before Christmas
This is another long standing tradition in our family. I remember taking our kids all bundled up in the stroller, to walk the cul-de-sac and see all the beautiful lights. Since our evenings are so mild, it is nice to walk and see all the beautifully decorated homes in this Rancho Del Mar community. Typically the road is closed to traffic.
Natal Circle is located near Country Club and Guadalupe in Mesa. Take Guadalupe west, pass Country Club, then turn on Cherry Lane. When you see the traffic, you’ll know you found it!
Park outside the cul-de-sac on the street, or across from Natal Circle at Rancho Del Mar park.
Display Hours: Most displays are on nightly from 6:00p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Don’t miss the the beautiful Walk Through Bethlehem at the end of the block, open through December 24, 2017
Beautiful light show set to music in Bella Via near Signal Butte and Warner
This home is located 11161 East Starkey Avenue in Mesa.
Display Hours: Monday through Saturday until 10:00 p.m., Sunday until 8:30 p.m.
And finally, we’d love for you to stop by to see our decorated home! While we don’t have a huge holiday light display with music, we do have a lovely display that we’ve created over the last 17 years. Each piece is hand drawn, cut, and painted by our family. Every year we try to add a new piece, so if you’ve been by before, see if you can figure out what is new for 2017! We might not be the biggest or best display around, but we’d still love it if you stopped by!
Beautiful lights and handmade cutouts
This home is located 11102 East Rutledge Avenue in Mesa.
Display hours: Every night until around 10:00 p.m.
P.S. If we’re home, you’re welcome to see the inside too!
Loop of Lights (coming back for Christmas 2018)
The main attraction at the Loop of Lights is taking a break this year, after 10 years of fabulous shows. However, many of the other homes are still decorated including the your favorite characters from The Grinch and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer! The area is in Queen Creek in the Pecan Creek South neighborhood. Stop by and take a look!
This is definitely my favorite place to go to during the winter. I’ve gone the last couple years and every year it’s been a blast! I love to bring my camera and get some good pictures! Wandering around, with friends admiring the lights and making new memories! It takes place at the Pheonix Zoo, dates, times, and prices are all online! Be sure to check because on a certain day the price is lower than others! I love going here and I’m already planning with my friends on going again! They even have a light show with all of the lights that are timed to different holiday songs! This is a must-do for me and I always recommend it!
Ice Skating is a fun opportunity to do something that you normally don’t think of when you think of something fun to do in Arizona! However, Arizona actually has many skating rinks throughout the state! Some are even outdoor rinks! Many vary in prices but the experience is fun and exciting! Then you can tell people you went ice skating in the desert!
Living in the desert there isn’t much snow! Unless you want to drive up north to places like Flagstaff. Something fun and active to do during the winter would be to hike! Which I think every Arizona resident has done at some point. What makes the difference is the snow! You don’t have to wake up extremely early to get a good hike in before you melt from the heat. Plus the scenery gets 10 times better with snow draped over everything! Just make sure you dress appropriately and be sure to take advantage of the perfect photo opportunity!
Illumination Symphony Of Lights
This is something I’m definitely going to go to this year! I heard about it from my brother and it sounds absolutely magical! You can drive through this extreme light show timed with music! You can also park and get some food! Pricing can be a little expensive depending on what your budget is but I think it’s worth it! It’s about 30 dollars for up to 8 people traveling in one car. This amazing light show takes place in Phoenix and is available every night starting at 5:30 every night until January 14! You have to visit their website and select a time slot for driving through the amazing exhibit! I plan on going with some friends in the next coming weeks!
Nowhere (Stay Home)!!
Ah yes, my favorite option! Cost effective and comfy! Who doesn’t love enjoying cuddling up by a warm fire with some hot cocoa and a good movie! A perfect way to do something when you don’t really want to leave the warmth of your place! Get some friends together and make it fun! Or maybe a significant other and enjoy the cuddles! Even by yourself, you can still enjoy a fun, relaxing night in!