December 10, 2020

Holiday Magic Brings Joy and Safety to Santa Portraits

Technology Helps Reimagine a Holiday Tradition

Celebrating holiday traditions in 2020 looks very different during a pandemic. As social distancing and mask-wearing become commonplace, many families are having to adjust their traditional holiday outings, interactions and most of all—the ever-popular holiday portraits with Santa Claus. Thankfully, Holiday Magic Studios is here in the Central Valley. (The super-cool part is we helped build the technology behind it!) 

Located at Fresno shopping centers this holiday season, this self-contained holiday photo experience is a kiosk-based web application where users can either sign up on site or online to book an appointment to have their holiday photos taken with Santa. 

Any customer who wants holiday photos taken of or with their loved ones can visit to schedule their distanced photo session on this fast and convenient system. Moreover, users have minimal contact with people—just one masked-up elf photographer with ample space between the camera and your family just to be safe. 

This entire amazing experience is automated for expediency, so you can get back to the safety of home quickly. The only catch? Santa is brilliantly added to the photo in post-production, so Santa can stay safe for next Christmas.

Safely Sitting with Santa

Families who want to take advantage of safe Santa portraits can find Holiday Magic Studios at River Park Shopping Center this year. Keep an eye out for the frosty, festive house, where families can walk right up to the online kiosk outside to book their session. 

Once at the kiosk, users create an account and schedule their time via the kiosk—completely safe without human contact. Following the photo session, users can view or purchase their photo packages directly from the kiosk. Print your photos right on site or have them sent to your home. 

It’s so easy, ABC30 Action News in Fresno featured Holiday Magic on a recent newscast, which you can visit here: New Change at Holiday Magic Studios in River Park.  

Safety is the number one concern within the tiny photo studio this year. The on-site staff will be wearing masks, conduct temperature checks daily, sanitize the photo site in between every use, and they’ve installed a high-grade filtration system.

The Science Behind Santa’s Software

Holiday Magic Studios is the perfect example of how we marry technology with tradition. Instead of having to wait in long lines for Santa time, the whole process is now automated. Typically, there are two staff members managing the studio—Santa and an elf photographer. With COVID-19 precautions, we’ve kept Santa safe in the North Pole to limit staff. 

With the new automated scheduling kiosk, customers no longer have to endure a sometimes time-consuming process to schedule an appointment via a phone call or a first-come-first-serve process. Additionally, photos can be printed at home; no need to wait for them to arrive in the mail. Though the process allows customers to capture memories fast and easy, developing the software was a fun challenge for Shift3.

Holiday Magic Studios was a complex system to build out, as there were several components to consider. The kiosk software was built using .NET with an Angular wrapper, while the user website was built using Angular 4. Other factors woven into this build were the QR code check-in to track appointments, payment interface via a card swiper (which utilizes a Mag-tech API with Stripe), an uploader to handle image processing (and uploading into the account system), and developing the website portal where users created their accounts. And this year, a digital Santa Claus can be added to photos in post-production. 

The entire application took four months to build and our team continues to augment and update the software as needed to accommodate the growth of the client’s business. Additionally, Holiday Magic Studios is preparing to be available for other upcoming holidays, such as Easter! 

Ho Ho Hope You Can Check It Out

If you’d like to capture memories with Santa this holiday season, be sure to check to schedule your appointment. Once the appointment is booked, you’ll be assigned a QR code for your photo sitting. 

When you arrive at Holiday Magic Studios, you’ll be greeted by an elf photographer. Just display your QR code and your photo experience will begin. When completed, you’ll be able to easily review photos and make purchases via the website portal. Fast and easy—and safe. No more waiting in lines to capture those memories you’re sure to hang over the mantle.

Bring Your Holly Jolly Ideas Here

Need help developing an idea suitable for holidays or normal days of the year? Bring us your holly jolly ideas and see what we can do! Pitch us your idea via this link! Do you think an app or website could help your business thrive? Check out Technology Can Help Your Business and We Can Prove it!

This post was written by Celeste A. Barron, Content Development Manager for Shift3 Technologies. You’ll find her performing a home production of Broadway’s sensation Wicked for her dog.