Photographers help kids click with Saint Nick


LEXINGTON-- When a child meets Santa Claus, it can be a magical moment or a not-so-merry meltdown.

The folks at Travis Clark Photography in Lexington Green know it's not always easy to put a child at ease.

"Really, it's about timing," says owner JT Marshall. "If it's a baby you've got to get their attention with the squeaker."

As many as 10,000 people will come in this season for sit-down with Santa. And most of them will leave with photos that will become Christmas cards or live for generations in family albums. That's why the photographers make Santa shoots a little different than other photo sessions.

"When you're taking portraits, it's more of an orchestrated event," Marshall says. "This way, you're capturing an actual moment."

Often, the secret to a good picture is keeping the attention on Saint Nick and away from the cameras, because moods can change in a flash. But those crying photos can be just as precious as the smiling ones.

Marshall says, "We have families that come in and actually want those screaming pictures."

Customer Angela Lanter says her family gets a Santa picture every year. Some years, everyone is crying. But this year, her whole crew was happy.

"The whole family comes out and watches, so we can tease them about this someday," she says. She "definitely" wants to show the crying photos to her son's girlfriend some day.

The photographers do their best to make sure there are no ho-ho-hum pictures, but some of it is out of their hands. It's mostly up to the interaction in the chair.

Lanter sums it up: "There are no bad Santa pictures."

Especially not when you're around people who know how to make them good, for goodness sake.


Travis Clark Photography takes reservations and also accommodates walk-in customers. You can find hours at

Spirit of the Bluegrass is sponsored by Regency Memory Care.

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