Male Bonding

June 30, 2009

It rained for the entire past week so when the sun came out for a few hours this weekend my husband went out to mow before the neighbors could start to complain. Our son, Aiden, decided that it was an absolute necessity to join him outdoors. A little sunscreen and a hat later, we were outdoors watching my husband, Josh, mow.

Aiden excitedly waved, bounced and squealed until he got his father’s attention. Once he’d stopped the mower I offered to switch with him and finish the lawn, however, they both had other ideas. A few minutes later Josh was mowing the lawn with Aiden on his hip, both with grins big enough to light up a room.

I reached in my back pocket for my camera which was no longer there. I jogged into the house and up to Aiden’s room where I’d last had it but it was nowhere to be found. Not one to be thwarted when it comes to photographs, I grabbed my 35mm camera out of the closet and ran back outside.

Father & Aiden

Father & Aiden

They were so cute together, father and son, pushing the mower around the yard like it was the only thing in the world. I got photo after photo of Aiden’s excitement and Josh’s proud smile as our little boy tried to hold onto the handle and run the mower himself. It was quite the bonding experience. Aiden wouldn’t let me take him in while Josh finished and then later in the weekend every time he heard a mower he got very excited and had to climb on his Dad.

I wasn’t surprised that the pictures turned out great; my 35mm never let me down before its retirement. The real trouble was finding someplace that still develops film because the one hour photo I had been using for the past decade took out its wet lab six months ago. My fingers walked the yellow pages and I found a developer, although I wasn’t terribly impressed with the service, the pictures were still great. And after a much more thorough search I found my digital camera under Aiden’s blanket where one of us must have hidden it. I am digitally equipped once more to catch each magic moment with our wonderful son.

Save Photos Online

Save Photos Online

Father’s Day Project

June 29, 2009

There are few things that show your love like a personalized photo gift. Taking the time to select a special memory, the one that will invoke the exact response you want in the recipient, illustrates a level of caring that ordinary gifts don’t achieve. With today’s technology you can turn a precious photo into just about anything that you can imagine.

Father’s Day snuck up on me just a little bit. I had the perfect gift picked out for my Dad and potentially the perfect picture. All of his grandchildren were visiting me the week before Father’s Day so I planned a little photo shoot. I threw a sheet over the couch and got out my camera.

Unfortunately in was a hot sunny day and corralling the children when the sprinkler outside was calling to them was unbelievably difficult. I stopped even trying to get them into coordinating outfits after they kept sneaking out the back door. In fact, it wasn’t long before I gave up on the living room photo set altogether and followed them outdoors.

Once they had exactly what they wanted, swimsuits and a sprinkler, they were much more amenable to my wishes. Happy as can be they hugged each other, huddled under the water, and splashed together in dozens of cute poses. Finally having the perfect photo in hand, and the kids in a bath, I rushed off to the computer to upload my photo and order the small keepsake box that I had been wanting for my father.

A few minutes later I was totally crushed when I discovered that I hadn’t taken into consideration the time the company needed to create the project. Even with next day shipping it would never arrive before Father’s Day. I ordered it anyways, determining to at least send candy or something on time so he would know I was thinking about him on Father’s Day.

The next day in the grocery checkout I found a photo keychain that you can load with fifty pictures. I was thrilled, I quickly took it home and loaded it with lots of family photos and sent it on its way. He absolutely loved both the photo gifts, personalized to his specific tastes and filled with love. The lesson I learned is that time is of the essence, start your project today.

Mother & Son

Mother & Son

Michael Jackson – A Childhood Lost

June 27, 2009

The television is filled with talk about the life of Michael Jackson, about his star power, his impact on the music industry, his financial problems, his children and all of the minutiae of his life. Continuous talk of the accusations against him for child abuse abound, and people are coming out of the woodwork to render yet one more mindless observation.

The truth is Michael Jackson was a damaged human being, and now with his death the attacks against him not only continue, but are ugly. I am sure by now you are hearing the cruel jokes about Michael and his past, raw, uncouth, unkind and simply nasty.

And what, if anything, did this poor man do to deserve this treatment? Many forget that after nearly 15 years of litigation, dragging his reputation and name through the courts, bankrupting him and forcing him to divest himself of his prized “Neverland Ranch” where he entertained children with all kinds of disease, and treated them with respect and kindness, he was left penniless and broken.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

As child photographers, and yes even as parents, we need to respect children, honor their privacy and space, and keep them safe. If you post their photos on the internet, be sure to not disclose where they live, their names or anything that can identify them to predators. If you enter them in a cute kid contest to win a scholarship that is O.K., but don’t promote their careers. Be careful and watch over them, protect them and make sure you keep them safe at all times.

I wish we could say that Michael Jackson’s parents did that for him, but it is clear we can’t. Putting him out in the limelight from the age of 5, monetizing him and robbing him of his childhood no doubt had a profound effect on his life as an adult.

As parents and child photographers we should be sad at the passing of this poor man, and use the tragic lesson of his life to remind us to take care of our own precious little ones.

Betty, Child Photographer

Betty, Child Photographer

Be Prepared

June 26, 2009

When it comes to photography I try to keep the Boy Scout motto and always be prepared. I have a small digital camera that I try to keep on me at all times. Granted life often trips me up and I have to run around the house trying to find the last place I had it, so I can get pictures of my son covered in his first Oreo or playing with his favorite toy.

It is always hardest to remember to slip it in my purse when I’m just jetting out for a quick shopping trip. Luckily, this week it was there when I needed it. I captured the cutest pictures of my little savvy shopper. Aiden sat in the cart at Carter’s, calm and patient as can be, just checking tag after tag. It was so adorable to see him coolly entertaining himself and looking like he was twenty years older and trying to find a bargain.

Without disturbing his peaceful demeanor I fired off a dozen shots of his thoughtful face as he comparison shopped. I got another three as he delightfully analyzed the sticker that the sales lady gave him. A few pictures of him raiding my purse are all I need to complete some adorable shopping themed scrapbook pages. I even used one of the pictures to make a birthday card for my Aunt Dale, the ultimate shopper. I have no doubt she will love it.

Without the camera I doubt I would have remembered those moments, precious as they were, long enough to share them. It’s interesting that when you capture a moment with a photo, you really do capture it. It is there to stimulate your memory whenever you need it. By actually taking out the camera you are acknowledging that the moment is something that you want to remember. You just have to keep a camera handy to catch those moments and supplement your memories.

Scrapbook Photo Keeper

Scrapbook Photo Keeper

Competitive Parenting

June 25, 2009

The contest of choice for new parents is the beautiful baby contest. Having a baby makes you feel like the contestants of Survivor and Amazing Race have nothing on you. Twenty hours of labor preceded and followed by months of sleep deprivation doesn’t compare with eating a couple of bugs or taking a zip line across a canyon. But with your new little one in tow you won’t find time to do any of those now seemingly simple things. However, your greatest accomplishment is right there riding on your hip.

Those six minutes of uninterrupted naptime you are promised each day is exactly enough time to enter a baby contest. In fact you will probably have two or three minutes left over to squeeze in a shower. You just take a picture of your adorable child, that is probably already on your computer, upload it with your name, email and maybe a caption. Some are free; others have a low entrance fee that is compensated for by gifts.

I’ve done a lot of things in my life, even some that I am very proud of, but my ten month old miracle is by far my finest accomplishment. His smile lights up the room. I have entered him in several beautiful baby contests as much for his sake as mine. The prizes are child oriented like scholarships which would help his college fund immensely.

There is another draw to the contests; talent agents use them to scout children for advertisers. I was just notified that Pottery Barn is looking for child models this month. That could be my child or yours. It is just human nature to compare everything. You eagerly await your doctor to tell you what percentile your child falls into and you glance at the other kids in the playgroup to see who is bigger.

Now you don’t even need to leave the house to check out other kids and take pride in the fact that your baby is cuter. You can judge others from the comfort of your own home while professionals are judging your little one. As your baby grows and becomes even more beautiful you can keep entering. The competition is calling, don’t wait to enter.

Baby Photo Contest Entry

Baby Photo Contest Entry

Christy

Thomas Comes To Town

June 24, 2009

This weekend Thomas the Train came to my town. My niece and nephew beat him here by a few hours and the chorus of “Are we there yet?” from the long drive in the car quickly became “Is Thomas here yet?” There are plenty of distractions at my house but no amount of legos or even the sprinkler could deter them for long. Our tickets to ride the train weren’t until Sunday, but mid-Saturday morning found us parked along the track so Dylan and Madie could catch a glimpse of that smiling blue engine.

The excitement in the house was palpable by Sunday. We usually wait for a weekday to avoid the majority of the crowds, but our schedules were not so kind this time. By nine thirty that morning we were pushing two strollers and three kids under the age of three across the field of cars near the train station. With the tents and vendors it was more like a fair than a simple train ride.

My son isn’t old enough to care, but Dylan and Madie were dressed in little conductor’s caps and eagerly straining for glimpses of the train. I took photo after photo of their excitement, their emotions blazing across their faces. I got pictures on and off of the train, waving and greeting the conductor. However, there was one shot I just couldn’t manage to get.

On previous visits to see Thomas we were able to get souvenir type photos right in front of the engine while it was in the station to reload. This time, however, we didn’t even make it halfway through the line before the train left again. With three little ones we couldn’t wait in the heat for another pass or two so we headed back to the car. That is when I got the opportunity to get almost the same photo without the staging. The engine pulls out backwards so we just lined up the kids against the railing by the tracks and snapped shots as he left. It was so simple I couldn’t believe only one other parent was doing it.

If necessity is the mother of invention, than three tired children are the perfect inspirations to think outside the box. I think the creator of Photoshop must be a mother, whomever created it has certainly made my life easier.

Photograph Mom and Child

Photograph Mom and Child

Christy

Storybooks Of Your Life

June 23, 2009

What defines album photos from every other kind depends on the person and the available photos. Most people end up dividing their photos the same way. They pull out the best and display them in some way; a frame, a canvas, or even just the fridge. The rest usually end up divided by quality between albums and photo storage.

I used to shop for photo albums more often than I did for clothes. For a girl in her twenties that says a lot. The available variety is what always gets me. It seems like everyplace has a whole different set to choose from and when you add in the internet the possibilities are endless. Personally, I try to match the photos or the event I’d photographed with the album.

Thick black leather albums hold my black and whites while colorful albums scattered with hearts would be the residence of images of my husband and I dating. There are half a dozen embroidered white albums on my shelves that are bursting with wedding pictures and after my son was born the albums got even more fun.

I try to have the photos in my albums tell a story. I keep them in chronological order whenever possible and let them speak for themselves. While I weed out pictures that are blurry or otherwise poorly shot, I know plenty of people that don’t bother. There is no right or wrong way to choose album photos, just what means the most to you. Photo albums are the storybooks of your life, and you needn’t actually write a word.

With the variety available today, you have no limits. The choices are endless. There is no reason for the precious moments in your life, the ones you captured and immortalized in photos to live their life in a box or a file. It is the perfect time to judge a book by its cover. Browse around, find the ones that define you and fill them with the pictures that illustrate your life.

How to photograph baby and mother

How to photograph baby and mother

Christy

Lessons Every Parent Needs

June 22, 2009

Every mother needs a camera and at least some beginner’s photography lessons, even if it is just taking the time to read the camera’s handbook. Keep in mind, though, that many online photography courses are simpler than wading through that mire of technical jargon. In fact, if you are a parent then you know just how precious free time is. Finding a photography lesson that is simple will save you hours.

My best friend, Amy’s little sister had a baby just a few days after I’d given birth to my son. We were in the same hospital at the same time. Amy came to visit me and mentioned that between the five adults in the room with her sister’s two hour old infant there was only one camera and no one could figure out how to use it. Her nephew had yet to be photographed at all when I had so many pictures of my new son that my husband had to bring in his laptop twice so I could dump my rather large memory card. I was a bit shocked.

In fact, I had two cameras with me so I quickly made sure my friend knew how to operate one of them and sent her back to her sister’s room with it. I don’t think of myself as naïve, I know some people can’t afford cameras and some have no interest. But I knew she didn’t fall into the former category and being a new mother it blew my mind that she would fall into the latter.

When I finally dragged myself down the hall to visit her myself I was soon relieved. She wanted to know where she could send her husband to buy a camera like mine and maybe a guide book. I sent him out to buy the camera and told her that she would be better off downloading some beginner’s photography lessons from the internet.

The photo lessons available are so versatile. You can skim through quickly to find what you need in a pinch and you can pour over every detail when you have the time. Once you find one that works for you it is like the ultimate reference guide, all the information you need in one place without the unnecessary information that pops up when you use search engines.The bottom line is: if you want nice pictures of your children for yourself, to share, and for them to look back on then you can’t go wrong with an online photography course.

How To Photograph Babies

How To Photograph Babies

Christy

Photo Gifts for Everyone

June 19, 2009

Think photo gifts are played out? Not possible. You just need to put your own spin on things. I love photo gifts because it is like sharing an emotion or a memory, something truly personal and one of a kind. There really is something out there for everyone; you just have to shop outside the box.

With Father’s Day fast approaching I’ve run into the same dilemma I do every year; what should I get for my father? My husband is easy to shop for. I see him every day and I know what he likes and what he’s run out of. My ten month old son will be getting him a photo collage mousepad and maybe a bottle of scotch.

My father is a different story. He works in construction, so the traditional office supplies or tie would be a lost cause. He doesn’t even drink coffee so the wide variety of mugs available is off the list of possibilities as well. I browsed all the available photo products twice before I saw the perfect gift. My father has a hearing aid and when he isn’t wearing it he keeps it in a candy tin to protect it.

Within minutes my son’s smiling face was on the cover of a similar tin and on its way to my house for wrapping and other final touches. I am positive he will love it, and it will be even more useful to him than a new tool or a restaurant gift card. The process is so easy; any photo that you can get into your computer can be on just about anything in minutes.

If you have only skimmed through the product pages of photo websites you are missing out. When you take the time and have someone in mind, photo gifts will leap off of the page. Would you deny someone special in your life a gift that is precious and meaningful because you didn’t take five minutes to browse all the options that are available today?

Family Photographer With Child

Family Photographer With Child

Christy

Take Pride In What You Love

June 18, 2009

There is no question that art enriches your life, whether it is your child’s finger painting on the refrigerator or the watercolor in the den that reminds you of your honeymoon. When the art is photography it tends to be even more special; one unique moment in time, captured in exact detail, set aside just for you. Getting your photo to canvas from your camera is easier than you would believe.

After discovering that my pictures could be converted to beautiful canvases with just a few clicks I became addicted. I’ve recently reached that point in my life where I relegated posters to children’s bedrooms and maybe the game room. For decorating the rest of my home the decision was between art and photos. Once I found I could combine the two, very reasonably, my house started to look like a gallery.

Like any addiction, even though I had enough, I wanted more. The canvases came out so beautifully, they were my own artwork larger than life or at least the typical 4X6. I was just so proud of them, plus many of them were gorgeous shots of my little boy in wonderful poses. My living room is like an Anne Geddes show without the flower pots. To keep them from overlapping on my walls photo canvases soon became my gift of choice.

Like at home, most of the gift canvases were photos of my son. Though, sometimes, I was inspired to convert other photos to canvas. Both of my uncles are artists, although Robbie, the photographer passed away several years ago. My grandmother has several large oil paintings from my other uncle, but Robbie’s photos, while framed and displayed, are no larger than the 5X7s that he originally gave her. When she went out of town I borrowed one of the photos, scanned it into my computer, and had it back on the wall with her none the wiser. When the canvas was delivered, she recognized it immediately and was ecstatic. A moment recaptured with her lost son, and his work on full size display beside his brother’s.

Have you run across a photo to canvas website thinking that there was nothing there for you? You should spare it another thought. You may not have a family photo that you want to hang in your galleria, but how about something else that you are proud of. It is the things that build who you are that deserve to be on display; your children, your pet, even your garden. If it makes you smile while you are tending to it, no matter what it is, won’t it make you smile when the reminder is right there on your wall?

Mother With Child

Mother With Child

Christy

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