Wilhelm Photography Blog

The Evolution of the Wilhelm Family Christmas Card

 

The making of our Christmas card started out a silly, super amateur, low quality joke about our dog. What used to take part of an evening to create now takes days of shooting and editing for me. All year this card is in the back of my head with thoughts like, “What am I going to do this year?, How can I make it better?, and Why did I ever do this to myself?”  However, once it is done, it is one of my favorite projects of the year because I get to create it with the family. My kids are completely aware of the whole process now and are fantastic little actors. It is exciting to explain my vision, know they are going to actually keep it a secret, and watch them pretend in front of the camera.

I am excited to have this blog as an avenue of sharing my card with friends, clients, and those that I hope to meet in the coming year since I unable to mail it everyone! Come back to see the new card each year!

 

I shot the first card with 35mm film and the next few with a lousy 2 megabyte  point and shoot.  You can see that as our equipment progresses the image quality does as well.  After starting our business and investing in professional gear we have been able to pull off crazier scenarios.

Every year, we hear one of three questions:

1) How did you get your dog to do that?

My answer: Really big treats.

2) What are you doing this year for your Christmas card?

Answer: I can’t tell you! First of all, I don’t usually know. Second, sometimes “plan A” doesn’t work out.  Third, it is a surprise, of course!

3) Can we be added to your mailing list?

Answer:  Our mailing list is getting ridiculous, so I am very glad to have internet and Facebook to share easily with all of our friends, family, and clients!

Here are our cards starting from 2004 in case you want to see them all!

2004 Where’s Wallace

Card Caption: Merry Christmas from Ben, Tonya, and… Wallace?  Wallace? WALLACE?

2005 Merry Mistletoe

2006 The Star of Christmas

2007 A Simple Family Portrait

2008 Up, Up, and Away!

2009 Wallace Saves Christmas

2010 “You aren’t taking a ridiculous photo of me this year!” ~ Wallace

 

2011 “Just Wrapping Things Up for Christmas.”

2012  is a sad year for our tradition.  Wallace passed away in January, but we have a card to close the chapter on this series.

2012 “Sorry, without a dog we just don’t have enough talent to do our Christmas Card this Year.”

2012 Wilhelm Photography

2013 Walking in a Wilhelm Wonderland

2013 Wilhelm Photography Christmas Card

2014 We Got a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Our family got a big surprise this year! Fortunately for me this isn’t our real gift. I just rented the hippo *wink*If you don’t know the song that inspired this you can hear it here: I WANT A HIPPOPOTAMUS FOR CHRISTMAS (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oOzszFIBcE)

Hilarious family Christmas Cards

2015 May the Force be with you

I didn’t intend to ride the StarWars trend but it happened anyway. I still can’t believe the Death Star made it into my Christmas Card! Although, I this required some major photoshop work, if you click the image to see the original post, you will know actual damage occurred in my home last year for the making of this card. If you follow the blog, you know that we did very elaborate costumes from Episode 1 this year for Halloween which inspired this design. You can see them here: StarWars Halloween 2015

 

I hope this makes your Christmas merry and adds a good laugh. I love to hear what you think! So feel free to comment, share, and pin away! Watch for my 2016 card!

Merry Christmas!

I didn’t intend to ride the StarWars trend this year, but it happened anyway. If you follow the blog, you know that we did very elaborate costumes from Episode 1 this year for Halloween. You can see them here: StarWars Halloween 2015

I was one week into December and still had zero plans for the Christmas card. That is when my friend’s son Noah showed me that he has last year’s card on the fridge. I looked at the photo of my three kids on the back and panicked. Not only did I not have a plan for the card, but I had been so busy this year that I didn’t take a photo of the kids for the back of the card. The most recent images I had were from Halloween. Between that and my friend’s son talking about how Darth Vader should be on my card, the idea was born.

full border

The next two weeks, I tried to figure out how to make the tree look like it fell over after being sliced with a lightsaber. I came home one day to find my tree on the ground with balls smashed to smithereens. I was a bit heartbroken, but obviously this meant less photoshop. We bought lightsabers and cleared the evening for our annual photo shoot. I spent the rest of the week repairing ornaments. I was able to fix all the ones with sentimental value, and we all agreed that our star was lame and needed replaced.  I added snow to the back images for that Star Wars classic Christmas effect- hehe

back

So, the Death Star made it into my Christmas card… Not going to win any awards for beauty this year!

I hope that makes your Christmas Merry!

Need to see the previous years? Check out our

Christmas Card Traditions Blog

Merry Christmas! Our family got a big surprise this year! Fortunately for me this isn’t our real gift. I just rented the hippo *wink*

If you don’t know the song that inspired this you can hear it here: I WANT A HIPPOPOTAMUS FOR CHRISTMAS (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oOzszFIBcE)

If you haven’t seen the past Christmas Cards my family has made a tradition of creating you can see those here: Christmas Card Tradition (https://wilhelmphotoblog.com/our-christmas-card-tradition/)

 

Hilarious family Christmas Cards

Hilarious family Christmas Cards

I hope this makes your Christmas merry and adds a good laugh. I love to hear what you think! So feel free to comment, share, and pin away! Keep following WP for exciting things in 2015!

The making of our Christmas card started out a silly, super amateur, low quality joke about our dog. What used to take part of an evening to create now takes days of shooting and editing for me. All year this card is in the back of my head with thoughts like, “What am I going to do this year?, How can I make it better?, and Why did I ever do this to myself?”  However, once it is done, it is one of my favorite projects of the year because I get to create it with the family. My kids are completely aware of the whole process now and are fantastic little actors. It is exciting to explain my vision, know they are going to actually keep it a secret, and watch them pretend in front of the camera.

I am excited to have this blog as an avenue of sharing my card with friends, clients, and those that I hope to meet in the coming year since I unable to mail it everyone! I hope it is a favorite, and that you keep reading for some behind the scenes images!

Click the image to enlarge

2013 Wilhelm Photography Christmas Card

This was the back of our card: These images were inspired by the new Disney movie Frozen which was a big hit with my kids.

2013 Wilhelm Photography Christmas Card back

This is our first year to break away from our theme with the dog (You can see all our past cards here: https://wilhelmphotoblog.com/our-christmas-card-tradition/) This is also one one of the most photoshopped cards I ever created. This year I have decided to show just a peek at some of the “before” images.

I shutter to show you the poor “studio” set-up I arranged in my messy basement for this shot, but this year I shot the initial image after a snowfall and it started to rain while we were getting the base images. All of the final images of our family were shot roughly like this and pieced together. No one was added in one piece. I was very picky about details like blowing hair and clasped hands.

WP Behind the Scenes

Here are close ups and a before and after of the frozen images. I am printing these large and on pearl paper (a metallic reflective finish) for my home this winter!

You can click this image to see all the detail close up.

Wilhelm Photography Frozen Art1

Wilhelm Photography Frozen Art2

Wilhelm Photography Frozen Art3

I love the editing process. Without a camera my skills as an artist fall flat. This is the closest I come to painting and creating my visions.  These were very intricate processes with tons of layering in various blending modes. Every snowflake is a separate layer. Textures, and actions were tweaked for hours. But since I knew that ice is essentially still water, I decided the best place to start was in the bathtub which is where these were taken.

Wilhelm Photography Art

My family is blessed with so many friends and loved ones! My WP clients are AMAZING! I look forward to another year with all of you!  Can’t wait to meet my new clients of 2014 and to see all the changes this year has in store!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

If you enjoyed our card…Please share it with your friends!