Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. When does your Santa Studio start taking photos?
A. We officially start taking Santa photographs from the 18th of November through until Christmas Eve.
Q. What time does your Studio open?
A. We open from 9.30am to 3pm for bookings from the 18th of November until the beginning of December. From the beginning of December - we open from 9.30am to 3pm and from 6.30pm to 9.00pm through until Christmas Eve.
Q. What time does Santa arrive?
A. Santa is in attendance for all bookings that are made during the Studio's opening hours. Santa usually arrives at our studio nightly at 6.30pm and finishes around 9.30pm dependant upon the weather and how many visitors want their photo taken with Santa
Q. Can we arrange a Private Time for a shoot with Santa?
A. YES! Our studio can be booked for sessions during the day and on weekends to have your photographs taken with or without Santa. Bookings must be made for daytime sessions and they fill up fast! So be quick if you require one of these Photo Sessions.
Q. Why does Santa spend a lot of time sitting inside behind the glass waving and not come out to see us?
A. Our Studio is fully Air-Conditioned and it is a chilly 16 degrees inside - the perfect temperature for Santa in his Heavy Red Velvet and Fur Suit! (After all - he does live at the North Pole all year round!) Santa does try to come out on occasions for very brief chats - however due to our hot humid Brisbane Summer nights where it is 30 degrees and 70% humidity - if we were to keep Santa outside - within minutes he would be literally melting and his face turning as red as his suit - which doesn't make for good photo's for our visitors!
Q. What characters are in your studio?
A. We have Santa visit us from the North Pole every night! We also have an elf and Grinchly who randomly visit us on occasions.
Q. What security checks have been done on your staff to ensure our kids are safe?
A. Our Santa, Photographer and helpers all have their Positive Notice/Blue Card's for working with Children. It is our studio's employment policy that due to the high volume of work and contact that we have with children and minors throughout the year that all employees undertake an annual Queensland Police Check to ensure the integrity of their character and background.
Q. Is the snow around the sleigh real?
A. Yes its real snow!. Well considering it's summer here in Australia - it hasn't exactly fallen from the sky but its light and fluffy - you could ski on it if we had more of it! Its actually an artificial snow the same stuff they use in movies and its very expensive! It costs about $1500 - $2000 for the amount that we have in the studio so that is why we are very protective of our snow and try to ensure people don't walk through it or play with it! - so who says it doesn't snow in Brisbane?
Q. Where does the money we donate go?
A. The money we collect is donated to Bravehearts Children's Charity. Our staff are all volunteers and donate their time for free. We have raised thousands of dollars for this organisation over the last several years during the Christmas Lights period. Bravehearts' relies heavily on public donations as well as government grants for funding. For more information on this wonderful charity please go to www.bravehearts.org.au
Q. Why can't we photograph or video your studio?
A. There are several reasons why we have this policy in place. Firstly and most importantly there are predominantly children sitting for photographs in our studio, therefore we have no control over any member of the public who enters the property and attempts to photograph or video the children while they are on our premises. While we can ensure that our staff have been checked and authorised to work with children and we have the parents permission to capture their child's image, we cannot verify the integrity of anybody else taking photographs or video images from the public area and their intended use of those images. Secondly the Sleigh, Backdrop, Layout and Conceptual design of the Studio have been custom designed for our use and have been Copyrighted and Trade Marked to protect our studio from replication. Reproduction of any of these items or any of our images without the express written permission of Belmont Santa Studio is unauthorised and illegal. Photographing or videoing of the lights on the rest of the property is welcomed.
Q. Why can't we bring dog's into your yard?
A. We made a policy that we don't allow dogs or other animals in our yard for two main reasons. Firstly for our guests comfort - it wouldn't be very pleasant coming into see our display if several hundred dogs had used our yard for a toilet. Secondly for safety reasons - we have no control over the animals and if a dog was to bite a guest, or two dogs were to start fighting and a child or parent was injured in the melee, we would be liable for any injuries that happened while on our premises. So to ensure the safety and comfort of our guests we don't allow animals on our premises with the exception of Assistance/Guide Dogs or of course.
Q. Do your lights stay on in the rain?
A. Yes our display is 99.9% waterproof, however in the event of severe storms where there is severe winds and hail or torrential rain then we would need to temporarily turn the display off to assess visitors safety and if there is any damage to the lights and effects. Our studio will close to the general public for walk-in photo's during inclement weather for everyone's safety - however we will still photograph confirmed bookings that have already been made (Unless there are severe storms or weather events making it unsafe to do so).
Q. How long does it take to put the lights up?
A. We normally start setting up around the end of September. The set-up takes approximately 5-10 weeks with around 3-4 hours of work each night. Planning for next year starts the minute our display is turned on with any changes to the display and plans for the following year being planned and sketched in preparation for the following year.
Q. Is your Santa the Real Santa?
A. Hmmmmm - well he's as real as it gets! He's very tall, very round, very red and very jolly! We think our Santa is the best in Brisbane, because he's been asked to appear at the Lord Mayors Christmas Carols, Brisbane Bullets Christmas Games as well as appearing at the Wakerley Christmas Carols for the last 5 years. For the 6 weeks he's in our studio we seem to go through lots of milk and there seems to be lots of cookie crumbs everywhere! Nobody sees him arrive and no one sees him leave - yet he is always here ready to meet the families and the boys and girls. So who knows - maybe he really is the real Santa?