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November 12, 2011
By BRENT KEPNER , The Inter-Mountain

Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! OK, I'm glad to get that all out of the way.

Did that sound like I'm really enthusiastic about the holidays? I think not.

Around my house when I ask what's for dinner, sometimes about 30 seconds later I hear the microwave ring and a couple hotdogs appear on a bun. I jokingly tell my wife that I was hoping to have something made with love. When holiday meals are made, she will pull out all the stops and nothing will be overlooked. Preparations will be made in plenty of time to make sure everyone is happy. The main ingredient for the meal is definitely love.

The same thing goes for Christmas gifts. If you plan ahead and really put some thought and research into what you are going to get someone, they are much more likely to appreciate the gift more than a last minute pair of socks or underwear.

That's where I come in. Your friendly PhotoClaus. You don't want to be known as the person who picks out his gifts at the gas station on Christmas eve. One thing that I can guarantee people love is a gift that keeps giving and photography gifts are perfect; but you can't wait until the last minute if you want the gift to be perfect.

Here are a few ideas to make sure your gift is the highlight of the season. Portraits are a good place to start. If the best picture of you or your family was taken on a cell phone, then it's time to have a professional portrait done. A professional portrait with proper posing and lighting is something you would be proud to have hanging in your living room and, yes, I can make you look skinnier.

My next great gift idea is copies of old family pictures or videos. It's great to reminisce about the good old days and family members always appreciate this. Young children might not appreciate it today, but I know someday it will mean a lot more than a new video game. It takes a while to go through your old videos, prints and slides and the process is time consuming for us, so head on up to the attic and get started. Christmas is right around the corner and I don't want you to be disappointed when you get a new ice scraper and a bottle of windshield washing fluid under the tree.

(Brent Kepner is the owner and photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. He is a Master Photographer, Certified Professional Photographer and past president of the Professional Photographers of West Virginia.)



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