Holiday Photo Pop-Up @ M.O.A.R

Madi & Brian (my sister in law and brother in law) own and run a specialty egg roll business called Madi’s on a Roll. This past April, they opened their first physical location in Exton, PA which is about 40-45 minutes outside of Philadelphia. Not only does their front of house have lots of natural light, but their office space in the back of house also has beautiful natural light. After texting back and forth with Madi, she and I dreamt up the idea of offering holiday photos with Santa in their office space on Saturday and Sunday earlier this month. 

Below are some of the photos from the weekend. 

The event overall was a great experience – I got to photograph lots of families and friends and received lots of positive feedback from them. After having moved to Philadelphia, PA from Brooklyn, NY a little less than a year ago, it felt really good to be connecting with people and shooting again. This was my second holiday photo pop-up and looking back on that first experience 8 years ago, it’s hard not to reflect on my personal and professional growth.

Back in December of 2015, I was working at a family-friendly cafe in Brooklyn called ELK and we offered photos with Santa. The year before, I had launched my family photography brand (fka Janae Sprouts) and the owner of the cafe was a big supporter in helping me grow my business. She not only allowed me to use the space for a family photo pop-up at her other location called LARK, but she also hired me to take photos of families with Santa at ELK. Both of the locations of the cafes were in very high traffic areas, so I took a lot of photos and made of a lot of connections in those early years. Some of them became reoccurring clients throughout my time in New York. 

Looking back at that first holiday pop-up specifically, I will never forget how unprepared I was. The space for the photos was much smaller and had no natural light. So while I brought my lights and flash to accommodate this, I didn’t test anything before. I also didn’t think about framing for larger group sizes in the small space. Needless to say, some of the feedback that I received from families wasn’t all positive, and I definitely took that feedback to heart and the experience as a lesson learned. Flash forward to 2023, weeks ahead of this holiday photo pop-up I bought decorations and set them up in the space. I also did lots of light tests and was prepared with various seating arrangements should more than 3 people arrive to be photographed.

I’ve spent the past 16 years growing as a photographer. While some years have been more focused than others, I am very much looking forward to what this new year has in store. I am predicting a lot more photography (both film and digital) and hopefully lots more growth along the way. 

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