Daily Archives December 7, 2022

Myself, my daughter Isla, my wife Nichelle, and Oliver the Pomeranian in our 2011 Christmas family portrait

Editor’s Note: Keeping in the holiday spirit, here’s another classic post from 2011! You can also see more of the Keatley Family Photos in the years since this post right here.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone.

Four years ago, my friend Jessica asked me to take a picture of her and her boyfriend Brian to send out to friends for the holidays. This was not really the type of thing I typically do, but Jessica is a good friend and a really creative person, so I agreed. It would be fun. Jessica happens to be an amazing producer with a great sense of humor, so I knew it wouldn’t be your typical family portrait.

When the shoot day arrived, the studio was filled with bags of old sweaters, tights, tutu’s, suspenders and some pretty funny props. It looked like tacky Christmas threw up all over the studio. It was awesome.

Ugly Christmas Sweater portrait of an awkward couple by John Keatley.

It didn’t take long until I was laughing so hard I was crying during the shoot. It was a completely new experience for me. I have had some laughs at photo shoots before, but never to the point where I was crying. When it’s personal work, and you have total freedom, you can laugh so hard you cry. Who knew!? That shoot got me thinking about photography in a different way, and really opened up my eyes to something new. Humor, and laughter have always been a big part of my life, but learning how that can be integrated into my photography was an exciting thing. It was also a good reminder of why I like photography so much, and why it is so important to shoot what you enjoy.