It is with great pleasure I recommend Bob and Carol Hildreth as Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  They are wonderful people to work with!  I first met Bob and Carol at the charity event, Pet Photos with Santa, for the Elgin Police Department.  We worked together at this event for the past three years. They were cordial and professional as they interacted with each family who brought their pets in to be photographed.  They also worked calmly and lovingly with the animals placed on or near their laps.  I enjoyed working with Bob and Carol at this charity event so much, I hired them for my own Christmas mini sessions and have used them for the past two years.

When it came to my own mini sessions, I found that Bob and Carol work just as well with people as they do with the animals.  My clients absolutely rave about them.  Not only do they look authentic, but they are extremely good with children.  The married duo are retired educators and know how to work with children who have special needs and/or who might be afraid to meet them.  They are able to quickly “size up” a situation and approach my young clients in a way that makes getting those cute shots achievable. They know when not to force things, which could make matters worse and possibly more stressful.  In addition, when things weren’t going as smoothly, they offered some suggestions of things we could try so that we could still get a shot with Santa in the picture without traumatizing the child.

Another thing I really enjoy when working with Bob and Carol is that they help me to feel at ease when I am photographing my minis. Oftentimes, mini sessions are scheduled back to back so the photographer can photograph as many families as possible in a short time.  When you add in the factor that a child might be hesitant to take a picture with Santa, the pressure can be great when trying to stay on schedule.  Together, Bob, Carol and I work as a team to get each session accomplished. Their flexibility and intuitiveness is always appreciated.  They know when to step aside and let me get holiday pictures without them and when to jump in.  What I really love is that when they are not needed, they interact and talk with clients who are early and waiting for their session. I have noticed that when they do this, it often “warms up” my clients so that they aren’t scared and they are ready to go when the time comes.

Perhaps my most favorite thing about working with Bob and Carol is the little bit of magic they give at the close of each session.  Upon saying goodbye to my young clients, Santa pulls out a special wooden coin for each child to take and tells them to put it under the tree on Christmas Eve.  He explains to the children that the coin will remind him they met and he will leave them something a little extra special that year.  That look of anticipation on the children’s faces, wondering what Santa will leave them for Christmas, is priceless and takes me back to when I was a kid.  Not to mention, it’s a special added touch that my little clients’ parents remember and love.

It is for all these reasons that Bob and Carol Hildreth will always be my Santa and Mrs. Claus.  I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing such an important role in my Christmas mini sessions.


Shannon Lesko

Lens 2 Life Photography