Our First Holiday Photoshoot as a Family


Anyone who knows us knows that we aren’t the most spirited people. We don’t really decorate for any of the holidays and always keep it very minimal if we do. This year, however, something very bizarre happened:

We got in the Christmas spirit. 

It all started with the matching Christmas pajamas my sister in law bought for us to wear on Thanksgiving while we decorated their Christmas tree. Yes, you heard that right – Thanksgiving, in my husband’s family, is a special holiday: it means it’s officially acceptable to start Christmas decorating!

Then, about a week later, we bought our own Christmas tree. Shocker, I know. Cyber Monday deals, what can I say?  I just couldn’t resist the price.

And when our 7.5 ft. tree lit up our living room that night, it was as if it sparked our nonexistent Christmas spirits as well. Since that night, Michael Bublé’s Christmas album has been on repeat and I’ve had a hot chocolate with marshmallows basically every single night.


Last Saturday was our first holiday photoshoot as a family. Actually, our first holiday photoshoot ever. And if I said it went absolutely perfectly the whole time, it would be a straight up lie. It was a freezing cold morning with lots of wind, our dogs thought it would be funny to photobomb every picture, and Liam wasn’t cooperating most of the time.

Yet, somehow, our photographer (aka magician) managed to capture the beauty within the chaos. We were afraid to open his e-mail and view the photos, and our mouths did, indeed, drop when we saw how incredibly beautiful they’d turned out.The last photo just goes to show how little control we had over our stubborn little toddler. Liam decided to face the other way and at that point, we just went with it. Not much of a choice there!

All in all, I can’t emphasize how incredible Rick Lash, our photographer, was. He remained patient through it all (he smiled even with the dogs circling his legs the whole time) and knew exactly what to say to make my husband relax and seem “natural” on the photos. The candid photos were the best ones! Rick also had a true creative vision in terms of backdrops, lighting, and angles, and I couldn’t believe how well he captured our family dynamic and personalities. Like a true conductor, he guided us through the photoshoot smoothly and effortlessly, and before any of us could get antsy, it was a wrap. Bonus? He sent us a handful of edited photos that night! How did he know I was the most impatient person ever?

Mamas, if you’re in Westchester County, I highly recommend working with Rick. A true professional and master of his craft, he will not disappoint!

@RickLashPhotography / RickLash.com

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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