Hark! It’s time for slew of holiday cards | ParkRecord.com

Hark! It’s time for slew of holiday cards

Forget the manger scene. Often, modern day family portraits are not pictures of peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

They are warfare, parents say.

Whether portraits are taken against the scorched landscape of fall or at the base of snow-capped mountains, they are sources of anxiety, and even panic, among some Park City residents.

Frenzied moms throw kids in denim, powder faces, and tell spouses, through clenched teeth, to smile. Pets, noosed in snowflake kerchiefs, sit still only long enough to chow down treats and must be pinned with wrestling holds to keep from escaping.

"Dogs aren’t any harder than teenagers," laughed Connie Rossmiller of Rossmiller Photography. "Actually, they can be easier." Rossmiller and her husband, Neil, have been in business at Park City Mountain Resort for 21 years. Far from conventional portraiture, the Rossmillers snap action shots of giant slalom skiers bending around gates and, through the magic of digital photo editing, whole families tumble over ski jumps and cliffs in their holiday pictures.

Conventional techniques of portraiture are useful, but not strictly necessary. "It’s really nice to have everyone matching," Connie admitted. "It shows that you took the time to put something together. But it’s also nice to have people being themselves."

For candid Christmas Cards, photographers rarely have the luxury of color coordination. For the right on-the-spot shot, Connie recommended keeping subjects dressed in bold patterns, such as plaid and polka dot, away from each other to minimize distraction.

Reds attract the eyes, so avoid putting two people in red next to each other. "The best place for them in on each end," she said.

Although March, not December, is the busiest time of year for the Rossmillers, many clients are much more last minute. And some of those clients still manage to send out hundreds of cards a year in ground mail and email.

The Rossmillers send out about 50 cards a year. In 2007, Connie borrowed a neighbor’s chicken named Gurdy to pose with her husband and their standard poodle named Oliver. way of explanation, she said simply, "Christmas cards should provoke a response."

It’s OK to be whimsical, photographers say, but when in doubt, stick to classic themes, says Tara Sylvester of Mountain High Photography. Snow and Santa Claus are relatively easy options; humor can often be hit or miss, they say.

About 50 percent of Rossmiller’s clients choose to take photos with pets, to which she says, "The more the merrier."

"I personally like taking photos of the whole family, including members with four legs. Christmas cards are a great time to show off your family, and what better way to do that than with a picture?"

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