Happy New Year's Eve!!! Thank you so much to all of my clients that chose to work with me this year. It was so nice to restart my business here in Sunnyvale/the Bay Area after moving here from Pennsylvania. Thank you so much to you all who made it great! It's been a great year full of new babies and families. I photographed my first adoption baby and my first Indian family (not a lot of Indians in PA , lol!). I even got to photograph my first set of boy twins (who just turned 1!) and my first set of girl twins (my sweet nieces!) in the last 12 months! And my new digital background offerings has been such a success! I'm so glad I could start offering designs from Luisa Dunn and Sweet Bambini this year. It really has made taking creativity into my clients' homes so much more streamlined and easier for everybody. I was also able to donate a couple of sessions to deserving rainbow babies, and I will continue that work in 2019. Looking forward to capturing your 2019 moments!!
Many of my clients are pictured here in my annual client collage but of course I respect my clients' wishes for privacy. Only clients who chose to sign a model release are shown here on my website or in any of my portfolio material.
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:11-14
To my fellow Christians I wish you a very happy celebration of Christmas and may we remember the "reason for the season". To my non Christian friends, may we all share peace on earth and good will towards all people.
It's Hanukkah this week and the Christmas season is already in full swing! We've already visited our annual Nativity exhibitions this week both at the Creche of Palo Alto and at A Night In Bethlehem in Santa Clara. We are also planning on visiting the Holiday Train at Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos. We might even brave the crowds to see Christmas in the Park at Downtown San Jose this year (we'll see if the introverts in my family can handle it!).
We are still new to the Bay Area so we're still learning about all of the most fun holiday events so feel free to tell me your favorite activity that your family does every year in the comments (especially celebrating Hanukkah, I have know idea where those events might be held, but I'd love to visit!!)!
Anyways. On to today's topic. With all of these holiday happenings I think it's important to take photos when you can to capture the magic on your child's face so you can remember it in the years to come. Here's my top tips for taking a better photo!
1. Watch your light! The biggest photo mistake (especially with babies) I see on my Instagram and Facebook feeds happen when the child has been lit from the bottom of their face. It's called up-lighting or ghoul lighting (yikes!) and it's a big no no. The best light should come from top of the face ideally from about a 45 degree angle and either from the front or either side (the light from behind is called back-lighting and can be tricky but doable with practice). (see my... quirky... stick figure guide for what I mean)
2. Don’t ask them to smile. There's nothing more cheesy than a child that's told to say "cheese!" (pun intended!). Just let them be kids and have fun. Let them enjoy the moment. If you do want them to look at the camera (and at you!) ask them questions, sing a song or do something silly! Make it fun! Start a tickle fight. If they have siblings have them do bear hugs. And if all else fails... bribe! No punishments though, those will just inspire resentment for future photos. :(
3. Focus and expose (balance the light on the subject) on the face (eyes or mouth area). If you're using a phone camera this can sometimes be tricky but click on the screen for where you want to focus (and expose at the same time). If you're using a DSLR try shooting in Program mode and use selective focus. (I wish I had time to share more DSLR tips, but that would take a lot more time than I have now in one post!)
4. Avoid flash if you can. A camera flash can be useful for freezing moments but most flashes that are attached to the camera are too close to the lens so the flash's light is quite harsh and flat on your subject. If you need more light in your photo get creative. Use a lamp or even a flashlight pointed towards the face (light needs to be above as in the diagram indicates). Use window light (open those blinds and curtains!). Turn on all the lights!
5. Know when to put your camera down. This might sound crazy but sometimes your kids just need you to have fun with them without something between you. It's okay to let go of capturing the perfect moment. Sometimes the moment even becomes more memorable. Trust your instincts and your children's instincts to let you know when to join them instead of photographing them.
And the most important bonus tip this holiday season: absolutely do NOT wrap your child (or anyone!) in Christmas lights. While cute and "pinterest worthy" it is dangerous. Wires can fray. Bulbs can break.
Glass + electricity = very dangerous. Add in possible baby drool and it's a recipe for disaster.
Please don't do it. Just say no.
This week I'll be sharing a fun post about some great gifts to get for your baby or new mom in your life. I have scoured the internet for you keeping in mind (as a mom of three) as to what I think would actually be useful and/or fun! (no affiliate links, just honest opinions!)
Oball Rattle: or similar. Great for young babies that are learning motor movements. Some varieties of the Oball rattle are great teethers too.
WubbaNub Stuffed Animal Pacifier: A multi tasker: snuggle with a stuffie and keep that binky where it needs to be!
Cuddle Blankie: or similar. Each of my kids had their own stuffie blankie. They each loved them and would snuggle in bed with them or take them around. And look how cute they are!
Infantino GaGa Spiral Car Seat Activity Toy: Easy fun on the go! It's very easy to take this in the car seat, stroller or even just for baby to hold.
Infantino Gaga Balls, Blocks & Buddies: Great for building fine motor skills. Just make sure if you decide to use these or other similar plastic toys in the bath that you first plug up the hole (a dap of hot glue works great!) to prevent mold from getting inside.
Rock n' Sleep: Great for baby to have a (supervised) nap! (But remember the safest place for baby to sleep is on a firm flat surface!!)
Graco Pack n' Play: Great for sleeping on the go or in a tight space!
Check with your insurance first to see if you could get a breast pump covered by them!
Medela Breast Pump in Style Advanced: a must for first time moms to make sure your supply comes in fast and strong!
Lansinoh Hand Breast Pump: great for pumping on the go! Believe it or not I actually took all three of my babies on road trips and this saved us loads of time as I could pump and then feed the baby while we were still in the car!
Boppy: an easy to use nursing pillow to help prop up baby while you feed them. If you happen come to my home for a session you can borrow mine to see if you like it! It's also useful for tummy time.
Ikea Antilop High chair with tray: a no nonsense simple high chair that is super easy to use and clean.
Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair: my preferred high chair, it is very versatile and saves space in your dining room.
Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat: great for on the go meals. We keep our in our trunk so when we visit someone and baby is hungry we can just pull it out for a feed.
Ergo 360 All Carry Positions: highly recommended. This carrier has an advantage over other carriers as to be more ergonomic on baby's pelvic area: no straining!
Moby: great for around the house or with a small baby on the go. I actually didn't get one of these until my third baby and I wish I had gotten it sooner! Baby wearing is amazing!!
6. Diaper Bag:
We honestly just used a backpack for all three of our babies, but anything with a ton of pockets will work. Make sure there's room for all of these necessities: diapers, wipes, diaper changing pad, diaper rash cream, hand sanitizer, spare pacifiers, small baby first aid kit, bottles/cups, nursing pads or formula (if either is applicable), snack containers, bibs, spoons, burp clothes, a couple of small toys/books for entertainment on the go, change of clothes for baby (and for you if your baby tends to spit up a lot!), snacks/water for you if you're breastfeeding.
If you have any other must have baby gear that you love that I didn't share here, please let me know in the comments so other moms can see!
Please note that I’m not a medical professional and that these are just my opinions as a parent. If you ever have any questions about the safety of a baby product or your baby's behavior, please consult a physician.
This blog will feature new parent advice, what to expect when working with my business, as well as an ongoing series about safety when interacting with newborns
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