Ho! Ho! Ho! How to create fake snow, and a super-secret (to me) location for holiday card photos

First a warning. Proceed with caution. There is some cuteness overload in this blog, 100% due to my fabulous subject.

I was asked to shoot this family’s Christmas card the day after Thanksgiving but had a dilemma: Where to shoot that would not look like fall.

I drove around Northern Virginia in search of decorated hotel lobbies, town centers with displays, and Christmas tree lots that didn’t have grocery stores in the background, but came up empty. It seemed I was two days too early for the Christmas season to come into full swing.

Then I remembered a gorgeous local garden store, Merrifield Garden Center.

If you are in the area and haven’t shopped or just walked around there, you should. They have incredible customer service, cater to families (with free popcorn, hot chocolate and cider, and visits from Santa during the season), and have just absolutely incredible plants and garden goodness — all guaranteed to survive and thrive if tended to properly.

Anyway, once I saw their displays I asked the nearest employee if I could do a photoshoot at the store. They agreed, and pointed out that they also have a professional photographer on staff and set up as well as an option for holiday shoppers. So cool.

Below are some photos from the session. Click to scroll.

I also thought it would be fun to play around with using fake/digital snow. It was a blast. I bought a snow preset for Lightroom to save time, but you can create by hand using the radial filter tool.

To me, it works best in a muted black and white. What do you think?