The Storybook Santa Experience Interview

The Storybook Santa Experience by Ivey Photography interviews Santa Chuck Lee.  Santa details his feelings on the process, the set design, and even how to handle scared children.  Mrs. Claus joins him for a look at his feelings on the artistic approach by the Ivey Photography staff.  Interviewed by Ivey owner and photographer Chris Smith.  Learn more about The Storybook Santa Experience and book online at

Chris: Yes, good morning, good morning, how are you? I’m glad you’re here.

Santa Chuck: Thank you very much.

Chris: How was your New Year?

Santa Chuck: It is wonderful. So far I’ve been on an extended vacation.

Chris: Not overly celebrating or family over?

Santa Chuck: Well, we did have extra movie night and cookies.

Chris:  Cookies?

Santa Chuck: Cookies.

Chris: How many times have we done the story about the Santa experience?

Santa Chuck: About three hundred times.

Chris:  Have you ever done the mall type, sit on your lap, Santa?

Santa Chuck: Not like you would think of them all, Mrs. Claus and I’ve done the Waxahatchee parade and tree lighting, which has an event where you can come get pictures with Santa.

Santa Chuck: And that’s probably the closest I’ve ever gotten to a mall. Santa events like parades, the mall, Santa, almost every event out there is get through fast. You may have 30 seconds in the mall to a minute and a half at some more relaxed events. But it’s all very fast. Even if it’s a party at a home visit, they generally have more children than you can spend. Just a couple of minutes.

Chris: Well, what was your experience with spending more time with kids?

Santa Chuck: Those events were at a play than you, and they were an hour and a half long. There’s a point when you interact with a child and you can see them relax and the magic and the joy began and that’s where it’s really cool.

Chris: So that takes more than 30 seconds.

Santa Chuck: It takes more than 30 seconds. Sometimes it takes 30 minutes.

Chris: One of the things that we most enjoyed about working with you was that it seems that you’re immersed in Santa for more than just the day that you’re here. Can you talk about that?

Santa Chuck: Yes. What’s really interesting is I’m actually very much an introvert and a recluse. The last thing Mrs. Claus would think I would want to go do was spend time with families and children.

Chris: Can you tell us who Mrs. Claus is.

Santa Chuck: Mrs. Claus is my wife.

Santa Chuck: We are married over forty-one years at this point and that some of the magic and what happens in this environment is because the natural psychic connection, if you will, occurs and we’re reading each other and how to support one another, where that’s not possible if it’s not something that you don’t know extremely well.

Santa Chuck: When I started Santa, I had a vision in mind and that was I wanted to remake Christmas because as a child, Christmas was not a pleasant experience for us.

Santa Chuck: And it often ended in arguments, in tears.

Santa Chuck:  And in two thousand eleven, I decided that I wanted to remake Christmas. Everything I do, I do with all my attributes, everything that I have to offer. It’s not one hundred percent, it’s total.

Santa Chuck: So when I started to be Santa, I wanted clothes that were becoming of a real Santa. What would Santa really wear every day? And I went out and I looked, there’s a whole industry for Santa’s clothing and it is all costume clothing.

Santa Chuck: And I wanted clothing as a tailor would make it.

Santa Chuck: So I learned to sew and I learned to tailor and I learned to design patterns.

Santa Chuck: And I make all of the clothing for Santa and for Mrs. Claus with all the proper structure and detail that is required and a finely tailored garment.

Chris: How do you use this experience to fuel you year-round?

Santa Chuck: Well, I am maker of things. Naturally, I’m a musical instrument maker. And so I really do have a workshop in my backyard where Santa works year-round and I create and design all the time. I do a lot of it in my sleep. I’ll wake up and I’ll have an idea for a piece of clothing or a prop that you may want to consider in the workshop. And then I’m able to go out and design all the pieces necessary to make that prop or that piece of clothing. Everyone who portrays Santa has a list of what they want to accomplish in their career. And sometimes those are parades or parades in your hometown or to work for your hometown might be a professional sports team. It could be a certain mall. It could be anything you can imagine. But every Santa has a list. When I learned about the story about Santa experience, I knew from the very beginning that that’s what I wanted to do. I have a colleague in North Carolina that I’ve followed his career in that type of program.

Santa Chuck: And I knew from the very beginning that was my goal. I need every person that I interact with in Santa to leave. Feeling that Santa is real in Santa truly loves them. And this gives me the opportunity to do that.

Chris: Let’s have Mrs. Claus come in and you can lead him into his love of art, as you know him as a person better than anybody.

Chris: So you want to talk about his love of art?

Mrs. Claus: Well, I think another point about why you love working at Ivey and I do, too, is it’s art at work. We have artists doing the photography and they’ve spent a long time to learn and develop the sets. And when we see the results, we feel really happy and excited to be part of that.

Santa Chuck: That’s something that I enjoy showing pictures when they say, you know, you look a lot like Santa Claus. And I say, well, there’s a reason for that and I’ll get out and I’ll show them some pictures.

Santa Chuck: But we have an opportunity to show them a picture that you produce that’s on the set.

Santa Chuck: Their first question is always after their oohs and ahs is, is that a backdrop? And I get to open up the picture and say, no, everything in here is real.

Mrs. Claus: I know there’s a place for the crying kid on Santa’s lap, but I feel like the people who come to me are looking for a happy experience for the kids, not a drama that’s going to take counseling to get them over it.

Mrs. Claus: And so if a child is a little reluctant then and especially if Santa is scary to them, then I can be at least a female. Some of the babies will go for me before they go for Santa while they’re getting used to it, get down on the floor, play with them or hand them a toy. I have a little puppet I can bring out or a book. I get to often have the privilege of meeting the families because Santa does and just to helping them understand what’s going to happen in the recession. Really like to do that.

Santa Chuck: The storybook Santa experience is the top of my goal. And what’s exciting is this expands every year and I love a program that doesn’t stand still.

Santa Chuck: Storybook Santa experience has been different every year with new creativity, new sets, new opportunity. I really love that.

Chris: I have a hold on mom’s leg and I’m not going to let go. How do you still maintain Santa’s composure?  Mrs. Claus what is your role?

Santa Chuck:  Well, you know, that’s an interesting question. And it is a challenge for Santas in general. And the answer is this event is not about me. This event is about that child.

Santa Chuck: It’s about that child leaving and feeling as loved and comfortable as possible. All right, Misty, let’s have you out and we’ll get a final couple of things with Santa.

Chris: Tell me something I don’t know about you.

Santa Chuck:  Something that you may not realize, even though we’ve worked many years together at this point, is when I work with Mrs. Claus, I’m able to be a different, more real in-depth person, because as that introvert and recluse, when we work together, I feel more content and peaceful and I’m able to transfer that to the people that we work within the studio.

Santa Chuck: I really have to get back to the North Pole. We’ve got two days to make plans and I have some new clothing for Ivy for next year.

Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Mentors Care Golf Tournament 2020

Today we had the honor of photographing for the Mentors Care organization’s annual golf tournament and fundraiser.  We’ve worked with the Petty family and their amazing group for several years now and we were proud to be the official photographer again this year.  Mentors Care is a fabulous effort to connect at-risk high school students with adult mentors.  Their goal is to provide a new outlook, accountability, and reliability in a student’s life.  Learn more about their work here.

If you played in the golf tournament today, we invite you to FOLLOW THIS LINK and download your free team photo.  You may find yourself in an action or candid photo, too.  If you have a need for an event photographer, please give us a call.

Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

MISD Official Senior Portraits 2021

Welcome to the Official 2021 MISD Senior Portrait Page for Midlothian and Heritage High Schools




Midlothian ISD has selected Ivey Photography to be the official senior portrait photographer for the Class of 2021.

About Our Studio

Ivey Photography is located at 403 West Main Street near downtown Midlothian.  We have a spacious 2200 square foot studio with easy access from all over town.  We offer a variety of indoor set options, as well as an outdoor shooting space.  Parking is easy along 6th Street and you’ll be in and out from your session in only a few minutes.

Photography is Safe

COVID19 Health and Safety Guidelines

  • If you are being photographed, you do not need a mask
  • If you are not being photographed, please wear a mask
  • If you do not have a mask, please wait in the theater, not the lobby or camera room
  • Please use hand sanitizer when you enter (on the counter)
  • We are sanitizing all garments worn by students as they are used, and no students wear the same garments the same day
  • If you have been sick or in contact with a person known to have COVID19, please reschedule your appointment


Required Yearbook Portraits

MISD Requires two portraits for your senior year.  The first is a formal photo.  Gentlemen will wear a provided “tuxedo”.  Ladies will be provided with a classic black drape.  Each is a simple look and will be the primary image used in each yearbook.  The second required image is a cap & gown photo.  We have three session options for you, all designed to maximize your experience with us and provide great looking images for your yearbook and home use.


VIEW the Senior Portrait Guide on your device HERE

Choose a Session

Yearbook Basic

  • Free Session Weekdays
  • Available Tuesday-Friday Only
  • Formal + Cap/Gown
  • 2 poses in your preview gallery
  • Retouching is not provided on yearbook submitted images
  • Retouching is available on ordered images for $10 per image

Yearbook Extended

  • $10 Session Fee
  • Available Weekdays Tuesday-Friday Only
  • Formal + Cap/Gown
  • Up to 8 poses in your preview gallery
  • Free retouching on required yearbook image
  • Free retouching on all ordered images
  • Standard Senior Pricing


Yearbook Premium

  • $25 Session Fee
  • Available Tuesday-Saturday
  • Includes the Formal + Cap/Gown session plus your choice of outfits
  • Choose from any of our other studio or outdoor sets
    • Black & White Headshot Set (most popular)

    • Neutral Grey Living Room Set
    • Colorful Mural Walls

    • Casual Outdoor

  • An average of 25 poses in your preview gallery

  • Free retouching on required yearbook image

  • Free retouching on all ordered images


Boomerang Session

  • $125 Session Fee
  • Includes your Yearbook Premium Session
  • Plus an additional outdoor session at a later date (Fall or Spring)
  • No minimum order
  • Locations all over Midlothian to suit your style



VIEW the Senior Portrait Guide on your device HERE

GUYS:  Do you need a hair cut?
We’ve partnered with Lucky’s Barbershop to get you looking sharp for your senior photo appointment. Mention Ivey Photography or that you are a 2021 Senior and Dustin will knock a cool $5 off any of their killer services!  That means you can get a great hair cut from a locally-owned shop for just $20

Image Examples of Required Portraits

MHS Senior Cap & Gown Photo

MHS Senior Cap & Gown Photo

MHHS Ladies Formal Portrait

Ladies Formal Portrait

MHHS and MHS Yearbook Formal

Men’s Yearbook Formal

MHHS Cap & Gown Portrait

MHHS Cap & Gown Portrait

Dramatic lighting on brick walls

Hand Painted Set to match any casual outfit

Outdoor example from just a block away

New natural light “Grey” set

New natural light “Grey” set


Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for PORCHraits

Free family photos at your home during the COVID19 self-quarantine period.  Sign up here

Photo sessions are FREE.  Each family gets one free download and the option to purchase.  Prices for additional purchases range from $10-75.  A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Midlothian charity organizations.

Starting Wednesday, March 25, Ivey Photography will be starting an unprecedented campaign to capture a portrait of every family in Midlothian.  There has been no time in recent history where we have been together as a family as much as we have been in the past week. And if the trend holds, we will continue to be together, whether we like it or not. With that said, here’s how you can participate.

The project is called Porchraits #PORCHraits.  The idea is that we will choose a street and when we come by, if you wish to participate, you simply come out on the front porch. We’ll be taking a few quick images of your family. Dress up if you want. Or Come As You Are (RIP Kurt). We’ll spend 1-2 minutes creating a portrait and we’ll move on to your neighbor. We’ll keep our distance, and you keep yours. Smile, laugh, cry, whatever it is, we’ll make the best of it and tell your story during this crazy time.

In a couple of days after your session, we’ll create a link you can access to download your portraits for free. Each family gets one for free. The rest, you can purchase at discounted prices in print or digital format.

As a PPA Professional Photographer, I feel it is my duty to capture images. I generally do that in a school or at a wedding or in our studio. Obviously, none of those exist for a while. So, we are coming to you. I’ll be posting the neighborhood routes here soon. Please share this and let’s make this about our community. Let’s show that we are a proud, family-based community that sticks together, works together, and adapts together.


Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Jordan’s Dallas Cowboys Bar Mitzvah

The Dallas Cowboys practice field The Star at The Ford Center was host to Jordan’s Bar Mitzvah Party.  After his Temple Emanu-El service, Jordan and friends were treated to a fun bus ride to Frisco.  The Dallas Cowboys’ practice field was the home to four amazing hours of food, fun, drinks, fun for kids and plenty of crazy dancing.  Rowdy, the Cowboys mascot was on hand to entertain, along with an amazing performance by The Cowboys Drumline!  Laura Schindler of L’Events planned Jordan’s entire Bar Mitzvah weekend.

Temple Emanu-El Stern Chapel


Jordan’s Bar Mitzvah service was held in the Stern Chapel at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas.  No photography is allowed during the actual service, so we made a few portraits of Jordan and his family prior to the service.  We were allowed to capture video and audio of the events.  We will have a highlight video of the service and party coming soon.

The Star at Ford Center

What’s good enough for The Dallas Cowboys is good enough for Jordan!  Imagine having a party the size of a football field.  Jordan’s bar mitzvah party covered the entire indoor practice stadium at The Star.  On one end was a complete Punt, Pass and Kick event station setup.  Each guest was invited to run an obstacle course, punt a football, make passes to targets, and run routes to catch a touchdown.  The best times and performances were awarded prizes at the end of the night.  The middle of the field was filled with tables for over 150 guests.  The opposite end was filled with a giant stage and dance floor where the real party was taking place!  DJ Roger Haze and his crew made the most of the space with an amazing sound system and a killer light show.


Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Bandits Volleyball Club of Texas Team Photos

Ivey Photography is the official photographer for The Bandits Volleyball Club of Texas.  The Bandits are made up of girls ages 11-18.  Club volleyball is very competitive and The Bandits are one of the top programs in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

Bandits North Texas US Volleyball Club USAV

Bandits North Texas US Volleyball Club USAV

Bandits North Texas US Volleyball Club USAV Bandits North Texas US Volleyball Club USAV

Volleyball players from all over the world make up their roster.  Not only are players from North Texas trying out, but they also have players from Russia and Serbia.  If you’d like more information on how you can join The Bandits, take a look at their site.  USA Volleyball is the governing body for The Bandit’s League.  They play in the North Texas Region of USAV.

Team sports photography is one of Ivey Photography’s specialties.  We have the systems, the photographers, the graphic artists, and the administrative support needed to handle leagues large and small.  For most leagues, or in this case, an entire club, we prefer a controlled environment and a single photo day where we capture all of the players and teams in one sitting.  In the case of The Bandits Volleyball Club, we had two 2-hour blocks available during their practice time.  We usually need 15 minutes per team of 10-20 players.  The club admins scheduled each team 10 minutes apart and we overlapped slightly between each.  We use a QR Code tracking software to keep track of each player’s name, team name, and player number.  When we get back to the studio with the images, we let the computer identify each player’s images.  From there, we use green screen extraction to remove the background and place each player on a custom background.  We use special images made for the “team photo” and build a composite image for each team.


Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Ford’s 1st Birthday Party

Ford turned ONE!  His birthday party was a small celebration at home.  Family and friends gathered over a light lunch, cake and punch.  Rather than chase her cell phone around the entire party, Ford’s mom decided to hire us to capture the event for her.  We took a few minutes to make some portraits of the birthday boy, followed by some quick family portraits.

Dallas Child One Year Birthday Party Highland Park Home

Dallas Child One Year Birthday Party Highland Park Home Dallas Child One Year Birthday Party Highland Park Home Dallas Child One Year Birthday Party Highland Park Home Dallas Child One Year Birthday Party Highland Park Home Dallas Child One Year Birthday Party Highland Park Home Dallas Child One Year Birthday Party Highland Park Home Dallas Child One Year Birthday Party Highland Park Home Dallas Child One Year Birthday Party Highland Park Home Dallas Child One Year Birthday Party Highland Park Home Dallas Child One Year Birthday Party Highland Park Home

As you can imagine, one-year-olds are unpredictable, so when I arrived little ford was fast asleep.  Luckily, when he woke up to a house full of people, he was all smiles.  The home is spectacular, with huge windows in the front and back.  Of course, I love that because window light is the only light I ever need.  We played a bit with Ford getting a few individual portraits and then his brother and sister joined us.  We grabbed a quick family group while we had the chance.

I always like to capture the details and the decorations of the party.  One day they can look back at their home and the decorations and it will always remind them of his first birthday party.  Once I had the detail photos, I started just capturing the interactions with family and friends celebrating Ford.  I tried to remain invisible with the camera and let people enjoy the party without “having their picture made”.

Ford smashed his birthday cake and got an assist from his big brother on the candle.  We made a few family photos of the extended families who were able to make it into Dallas for the party.

If you are looking for event coverage, please contact us.  We offer hourly rates and you receive a set of high-resolution digital files.

Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

DeSoto Girls’ Basketball Team Photos and Banners

The nationally-ranked DeSoto Eagles girls’ basketball team is one of our new clients.  We photographed them for their team and individual photos.  We created custom stadium banners for them to show off their school pride.  The photos were taken at the DeSoto High School campus in the gym.  They have an awesome basketball floor and it made a perfect backdrop for their individual portraits.

Gym lighting is not ideal for portraits, so we used a combination of 2 off-camera flash units to add the lighting style.  Our main portrait light produces beautiful skin tones and detail in the uniforms.  The accent light provides a separation from the dark background areas.  Our technique of lighting, combined with a long lens, produces the 3D look.

We produced a unique banner for each player.  Starting with a photo on a green screen, we extract the photos to add to our digital art.  We worked with Coach Robinson on the look she thought best represented her team.

Congratulations to DeSoto on all of their success this season.  Good luck in the State playoffs.

Desoto High School Eagles Lady Girls Basketball Team

Desoto High School Eagles Lady Girls Basketball Team Desoto High School Eagles Lady Girls Basketball Team Desoto High School Eagles Lady Girls Basketball Team
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

connect with us

Ivey Photography
Studio and Gallery located at

403 West Main Street
Midlothian, TX 76065

Santa Studios in Richardson and Keller, TX

Contact Us

972.723.2464 |