the light at the end of the tunnel|Chicago Photographer|Tinley Park

It’s December!  A time known for picking up the pace and counting of days, then the hours to get everything done like no other time of year.  It is a time we try to fill with family traditions, making it special, and finding the joy in our lives.

I somehow have blinked and it went from September to December.  Like seriously, I feel like I just was going to the apple orchard with the kids for cider donuts {oh does that sound good}.  However, in reality my family can’t wait to put up our Christmas tree ornaments tonight, now that I am done editing.  Yeah!!  Yes all your edits should be in your mailbox and ready to be made into cards, gifts or even prints to put on your wall {yes you should put them up}.

The fall was busy and full of wonderful sessions.  However, with shooting more sessions this time of year,  I would come home and backup the images and then the next day head out to start again.  I try to take advantage of the nice weather as much as I can and edit toward November.  I often say the one man business is an art of juggling in the fall crazy months between admin, shooting and editing.  I often get asked WHY are you done shooting holiday pictures before December, as there is still time before Christmas.  Let me tell you why and how this really is good for you too.

Chicago weather:  The Chicago weather becomes volatile this time of year and we are not guaranteed dry and non-freezing weather.  I am a mom of three and know what it takes to plan a photo session. So I try to avoid making my schedule at times that may not be ideal, as outdoor in November in Chicago may not bring out the best in your family and the studio use is limited. So that is why October is busier and let’s face it it’s beautiful out and sometimes we don’t plan ahead so I try to fit people in as I can.


Fun & Relaxed Sessions – My goal for sessions is to make them fun and relaxed so I can capture your family as they are.  When you arrive to the session already stressed about when your sessions is getting back or how long everyone will be able to last in the cold, it doesn’t make you feel relaxed, unless you are suited up for the cold weather.

Chicago Family Photographer. Christina Bailitz Photography

3 – Processing Time – While I would love to be a magician and wave a wand for all my editing to be done, it takes time {sometimes lots of time}.  I personally do all my culling, editing, and delivery.  This is the part many don’t “see” since it is behind the scenes and where the majority of the “work” goes in. I have a three week lead in the fall so I can shoot and edit.  While, sometimes your images may arrive earlier, I promise three weeks to make sure your session has the time it is entitled to.  I know this time seems like it is long but trust me it’s worth it for time to be taken on your precious images.

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The Panic Feeling for your cards – Once Thanksgiving arrives, despite the fact that when sessions are booked and a delivery date is given, there is always a sale or the feeling after cards start coming in, that you need to get yours out.  By ending my shooting session earlier in the season, I try to avoid this feeling by returning all my images the week after Thanksgiving.  Well I am not going to lie, I still get messages that will ask if can you just send me a few pics for cards before delivery date.  The reason I don’t, is you paid for a session with multiple images and agreed to the delivery date.  I want you to have the images to make the best selection. There is always a rush option if needed and otherwise edits are done in the order they are shot in {hint…. book earlier in the season to get them before Thanksgiving}.

Tinley Park Family Photography

Family Time – When I first started this journey in photography, I would be shooting holiday sessions well into December.  However, after a few busy falls, I realized that I need to have that time with my family not working on the weekends to do holiday stuff.  So I make my schedule so I can take this time count with my family, as the kids are growing fast and traditions keep coming and some going, but whatever it is I want to be a part of it!!

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Gift Giving – And even though I am not shooting in December for holiday sessions, I am available to help order holiday gifts.  Grandma and Grandpa, or other family, would love prints of the kids or maybe a canvas or collage.  Yes I can help with that. Photographs make the best gifts.  Three Christmas’s ago, I gave my grandma a matted print on an easel as I was struggling finding that perfect gift.  When she opened it she had a big smile and she said this is a wonderful gift.  At the age of 77, and her last Christmas present, I will always treasure those words.  Sometimes we don’t have to go to so many stores to get a great gift.


So here I am, finished with 2015.  I will have lots of blogging to catch up on so you will get to see what was going on this fall.  Looking back at what an amazing year it has been thanks to each and every person that shares my work and books a session.  I thank you for letting me be creative and do something I love.

And as part of my giving back to all of you I will be raffling off a year of Shoot Along.  This is a great year long program presented by Amy Tripple Photography  & Heidi Peters Photography helping you capture your family using a DSLR or even an iphone.  At the end of this year long experience you will have a great album of family memories to create!  I HIGHLY recommend making the time for this class.  You will learn and capture moments to treasure.  Please leave a post on this blog or the facebook post with your favorite holiday tradition.  I will choose one person on Sunday evening.  It’s an awesome program to follow,learn and capture your family memories.

XOXO,  Christina



December 6, 2015 - 5:05 pm

Lori - I have a large extended family and we start celebrating Christmas the minute it strikes twelve on Thanksgiving night. My mom, aunts, cousins and even Nana, collaborate and get everyone’s homes ready for the holiday season. We bake cookies and spend a full day making pierogi from scratch for our Christmas dinner. The season is filled with family dinners and spur of the moment snowball fights and cocoa with cousins. I guess my favorite holiday tradition – is making time for quality time! Christmas is a time of yes!

December 6, 2015 - 3:14 pm

Debbie DeBoer - My favorite family tradition as a child was baking cookies together as a family and then bringing them to all the elderly and widows from our church and singing Christmas carols to them. With my little ones we bake and bring our cookies to all our neighbors.

December 6, 2015 - 11:31 am

Tina Saldana - My favorite Christmas tradition is taking pictures of my family during the holidays and use those photos for personalized gifts.

December 6, 2015 - 8:14 am

Kate romero - We take our time decorating in December. We put white lights and purple ribbon on the tree at the beginning of advent. We add Jesse tree ornaments daily. On the 3rd Sunday we add pink ribbon to the tree. On Christmas Eve we take the ribbon and Jesse tree ornaments off and put the Christmas ornaments on. The we celebrate through the 12 days of Christmas and the Feast of 3 Kings.

December 6, 2015 - 7:50 am

Hilary - I was so excited about it, I pushed send before I posted my holiday tradition! My favorite tradition is putting up the Christmas tree with the family. Hanging the ornaments together and remembering years past. We listen to Christmas music and always have unlimited Christmas cookies!

December 6, 2015 - 7:49 am

Hilary Rhodes - I have always been the one to capture memories in my family, but even though I took a photography class in college (hello darkroom!), I feel like I have so much to learn. I want to capture moments in my family that will help them to remember their happy childhood. But I need help! I would love this opportunity!

December 6, 2015 - 7:27 am

Bridget borrelli - My favorite holiday tradition (and my daughter, Bella’s favorite too) is our advent calendar. We do an advent calendar of activities. Every day there will be a Christmas themed activity. Every day is different and big or small we do something together. Some days it’s drinking hot cocoa, or having a dance party to Christmas music, or driving around and looking at Christmas lights, or going and having Christmas tea at the drake, or seeing the zoo lights. It’s so fun to have this tradition where we are taking special time, every single day, to spend as a family.

December 6, 2015 - 6:56 am

Kim - My fabotite tradition is making cookies with my family!

December 6, 2015 - 6:54 am

amy - My favorite holiday tradition is going to zoo lights with my family. They love the lights and we all have so much fun!

December 5, 2015 - 11:02 pm

Laura S - Having the kids decorate the tree is becoming our tradition. The kids love getting our their boxes of ornaments and adding them to the tree. I love looking at the tree

December 5, 2015 - 10:42 pm

Mais Rihani - My favorite tradition for this time of the year and the holidays is to spend one whole day at the house with lots of food, snacks, games and watching a movie with the kids and have some real quality family time! We usually never don’t even get out of the house 🙂 There is nothing like a lazy family day after the holiday rush.

December 5, 2015 - 10:17 pm

Janis Dennis - Cookie day has been a tradition in our family since I was a little girl. Back in the day cookie day would go from 9AM to 9PM on a Saturday in December. That’s when our weekend schedules were a little less hectic. However we still do our best to get together and bake for the holidays. We now bring several dozen to share and decorate in the AM- have a quick lunch and call it a day! Even though my children are older now- they look forward to it each year- even my 17 yr old son!

December 5, 2015 - 9:39 pm

Jennifer Kibbon - Family Christmas dinner at Lawry’s!

December 5, 2015 - 6:17 pm

Dana - My favorite tradition is baking and decorating Christmas sugar cookie cut-outs. Over the years, they got pretty ornate and fancy. They’ve even traveled from San Diego to Chicago! Now I do them with my little ones. They are very messy- but even more tasty and definitely filled with love! (Cookies are acceptable as a breakfast food in December, right?!)

December 5, 2015 - 5:37 pm

Jenny - My favorite Christmas tradition is spending Christmas Eve at my aunt and uncles house :)))

December 5, 2015 - 4:56 pm

Michelle - So many great traditions to choose from, but now that I have kids, my favorite is our all day “bake-a-thon” where we stay in our pjs and bake Christmas cookies all day!

December 5, 2015 - 4:52 pm

Megan - Hi Christina! My favorite Christmas tradition is going out to dinner on Christmas Eve with my childhood best friend and her family. This started randomly one xmas eve decades ago when our families ran into each other at the same restaurant. They decided then & there we should plan to eat together and it’s happened every Christmas since then. I was in elementary school at the time. Our families have managed to keep the tradition alive even though some of us kids miss it… But two years ago, we had my in-laws from Ireland, my grandmother, and my best friend & her family who now live in Australia ALL together for the evening. I’ll never forget it! xoxox

December 5, 2015 - 4:46 pm

Stephanie Dylkiewicz - Our favorite tradition is hosting all of our family for brunch Christmas morning. Waking up early to open our own gifts and then welcoming everyone into our home to spend the day together.

December 5, 2015 - 4:02 pm

Pat Mullin - Our favorite tradition is our family photo in front of the Christmas tree . . . after 25 years together, there are a lot of memories in those pictures 🙂

December 5, 2015 - 3:38 pm

Vicki - Hmmm…I have a few. Brunch at the Walnut Room, putting our shoes out for St. Nicholas Day, lighting our advent wreath, and drinking egg nog late at night with my mom and my sisters on Christmas Eve. Perhaps we’ll make a few new traditions starting this year as we learn about Christmastime in Europe!

December 5, 2015 - 3:33 pm

Kelly Donlevy - My favorite tradition is decorating Christmas cookies with the kids, making gingerbread houses and seeing the tree at the Walnut Room each year are some of my favs!

December 4, 2015 - 2:48 pm

Amanda Taglia - My favorite holiday tradition is opening matching pjs each year on Christmas Eve!

December 4, 2015 - 1:44 am

Maria pesavento - I love baking Christmas cookies with my mom and sister!

December 3, 2015 - 8:41 pm

Crystal - My favorite holiday tradition is chocolate oranges. We always share one as a family on Christmas day. They are so yummy!

December 3, 2015 - 5:03 pm

Michelle bulow - My favorite tradition is going up to Michigan the day after thanksgiving and cutting our Christmas tree down with the kids!!

December 3, 2015 - 3:01 pm

Megan Wrzesinski - One of my favorite traditions is Brunch with Santa with all of the cousins.

December 2, 2015 - 7:56 pm

Ann Heitner - My favorite holiday tradition is going to my cousins house for cookie baking day.

December 2, 2015 - 6:57 pm

Cathy Stoecker - One of my favorite Christmas traditions is getting personalized Christmas ornaments every year for my children. The ornaments tell a story about something the kids loved or loved to do that year.
I was given this idea from a former student that told me all about the ornaments that his grandparents had given him throughout the years.

December 2, 2015 - 6:37 pm

Beth - My favorite holiday tradition is watching national lampoons Christmas vacation! That and peppermint mochas 🙂

December 2, 2015 - 2:18 pm

Carrie - My favorite holiday tradition is on Christmas Eve, my husband and I exchange an ornament. This year, the kids are going to exchange, too!

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