Surprisingly, the goal of this session was to photograph her brand new Christmas dress. She had been selected to sing not one, but two of the main solos in her school's Christmas musical, so a new dress and new shoes were immediately needed.

For this setup, I used a single large umbrella, but a rather special one. It creates a quality of light unlike any other umbrella on the market. Perfect for the pleats of the dress and her colored hair, yet still adding the punchy softness only this modifier can create.

We warmed up a bit with a few fun poses she chose, then added a few that I needed, then back to her to keep her interest. As she began to tire, I thought I would add a bit of extra fun. We had been setting up our Christmas tree, which meant I had lots of tinsel and garland lying around. I asked her to close her eyes, then I proceeded to toss the garland at her, right as she opened them. That's all it took. She was revived and excited to play with the garland. I simply clicked the shutter. Well, sometimes I asked her to look at the camera. :)

I have to admit, I was surprised at how fast she began working with the garland. I suggested she pretend to get caught in it, which gave us the first picture. Then, she began working it around her hair, but a little sheepishly, as though to see if I was accepting to the idea. "Yup." Below are a few of the photographs I caught as she worked with the garland.

Here, you can see she's testing the water. She figured out how to make the headpiece all on her own, then let me photograph it. I suggested she continue working with it, after she ran over to see the photo.

portrait of girl wearing headdress made of gold garland from the Christmas tree

Now we are getting somewhere! At this point, she was "all in" with the garland headdress idea. She asked me to wait a sec, then "don't look" then, "turn around." "Whoa!" [click click click]. I was impressed. But hey, let's keep working with it. After a few shots, she grabbed the gold garland and got to work...

portrait of girl wearing headdress made of red garland from the Christmas tree

The finished Christmas headdress. What was supposed to be a session photographing the dress, turned into a session that included headshots, full-length, 3/4, and close-up shots. I'm still so impressed by her ability to create the piece all by herself. She was very proud of it and I am glad I had the opportunity to photograph her in it!

portrait of girl wearing headdress made of red and gold garland from the Christmas tree

For those interested in the technical elements of the session, I used a Nikon D850, Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 G2 lens, a Broncolor Siros S light with a Focus 110 umbrella.