How To

Photographing YOUR Kids || Photography HOW TO

A few years ago I did a blog post on How to Photograph YOUR Kids, and I thought it was worth sharing again. Enjoy! :)


A few summers ago my daughter and I were having a lazy day and I was down right bored. I didn't have a whole lot on the "To Do" and needed to get my creative juices flowing.

I  had purchased a white vintage children's dress at a local antique store that was sitting in her closet and had never been used, so I quickly grabbed it, made a simple headband out of twine and threw a fake flower on it. I had ZERO expectations on how the session would go and really didn't care if I was able to capture anything "good" to my standards... it was all about just getting out and having fun.

When it comes to photographing other people's children, it comes easily for me. The majority of children who meet someone new have a shyness about them that lasts about 5-10 minutes while they are getting to know them. For me as a photographer, I provide that space and get down on their level to show them I am their friend and we are going to have fun... But that is for another blog post... This is post is how to photograph your children in 15 minutes or less.

Believe it or not, ALL of the images taken in this post were taken in less than 15 minutes. And no, it is not because I am a professional photographer and know how to use my camera. Photographing my own vs. clients' children is completely different. So, here's a few quick tips on how to make it less stressful in photographing great photographs of your children in less than 15 minutes:

1.) CREATE A FUN IDEA: Prior to taking Brooklynn out for a quick photo shoot I know I have to create an idea for her to jump on board and participate. I also have to be enthusiastic about the idea, which in turn, makes her excited. Ideas could be as simple as:

  • Dressing like a Super Hero
  • Wearing a Princess Dress
  • Wearing their favorite dress etc.
  • OR just letting them wear what they've got on

2.) DON'T FRET OVER THE GETTING THE PERFECT PORTRAIT: As mentioned, I had ZERO expectations on how this fun photo shoot would happen. I didn't want any forced smiles or poses. In fact, I let HER choose how she wanted to pose. It was not about getting the "perfect shot" for social media to blubber over. It was about just capturing HER in her purest state of who she.

3.) NO CHEESE PLEASE: One little challenge I would like to encourage you with is to not use the word "cheese" with your children. Let them smile OR not smile in photos. One of my all time favorite images, which hangs as a 16x24 Canvas in my house is the image above of Brooklynn NOT smiling and looking at the camera. I love everything about this image... from her look to the wind blow hair. Allowing children to just BE creates stunning images. Forcing kids to smile feels in-genuine. Instead - get them to LAUGH. Their eyes will light up and sparkle! 

4.) GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO DO: When Brooklynn was out in the field, I had her look for bugs, pick flowers, pull grass, twirl... I gave her suggestions on to keep her busy. Then every once in a while I'd say, "Hey Brooklynn, look at me real quick." She'd glance up and I'd take my shot. Capturing great images of our kids doesn't have to be overly thought out and drawn out for hours... It's about capturing just capturing THEM. My friend, and fellow photographer, Rachel Vos does this amazingly with her identical twin girls. Check out her Instagram feed HERE or on Instagram @rachelvos. 

5.) GET ON THEIR LEVEL & SHOOT FROM A DISTANCE: While your child is playing, get down on their eye level before taking a photo. It will allow their eyes to connect directly with you when you call out their name to grab their attention. Another thing I love doing is photographing Brooklynn from about 10-15 feet away. By creating a little distance, it allows her to have space to do what she wants vs. me being up in her grill telling her what to do for a photograph. Instead, I use my lens to zoom in on her to capturing an up close portrait.

6.) NO FANCY GEAR NEEDED One more little thing... Don't let the fact that I have a "fancy camera" keep you from photographing cute pictures of your kids! Below is a shot I took of my daughter dressed up like a farm girl ready for a birthday party. She looked adorable and I love her authentic smile in this picture! :)

The most important thing is to HAVE FUN photographing your kids. I think parents' biggest frustration is that they are trying to get that "PERFECT" photograph vs. just allowing their children to have fun. We force our own preconceived expectations onto our kids for photos, which makes them anxious, upset, and frustrated because they're not "living up to what we want." 

When I took Brooklynn out on that fun little photo shoot, we pretended we were finding fairies. We made it a fun experience... and out of that fun experience came some beautiful portraits that I now love and adore. So HAVE FUN! Put the "perfection expectations" away and photograph your children in creative ways! I would love the SEE those creative photos of yours too! Share them with me and I'll feature them on my blog!

Don't forget to also BE PRESENT in Portraits with your kids as well!!!

Photography on Display at Home || Pacific Northwest Portrait Photographer

I shared this earlier this year and wanted to re-share! Enjoy!

I love displaying my images in different ways around my house and want them to make an impact and statement, rather than just an after thought.

Often times walls can feel very overwhelming standing there all bare and big. We look at them with mass amounts of intimidation and wonder, "What am I going to hang there?? And HOW?" I think the HOW is the biggest question.

I absolutely LOVE Pinterest  for this very reason. Type in "Photography on Display" and it provide enormous amounts of ideas for how to display photos.

I came across this example on Pinterest and KNEW I had to do it in my house. When we moved 4 years ago, I had this really large hallway wall that needed something dramatic. Remembering the example below, I went BINGO! There's my solution! I purchased square frames from IKEA with mats and printed all of my images in black and white. I love hearing people's expressions when they see our "gallery wall" because it does the trick to not only make an impact, but solve the ever dreaded "big wall" problem.

Photography on Display

I am in a massive gold and brass obsession right now. And when I came across these vintage inspired frames from Anthropolie, I totally drooled! Not really =) I absolutely love them and will be purchasing a few of these to hang with vintage images of my grandparents and childhood photos.

Anthropologie Picture Frames

Clustering images can also feel overwhelming. But I found this awesome little chart on Pinterest that helps those who need the visual help on how to display images.

One little tip when doing clusters is to choose images that are either all shot from the same photo shoot OR to have all of your images in black and white. Often times photo cluster walls can look "messy" when there are a bunch of different images that have different styles in color and lighting. So choosing images that compliment each other in color and tone will help pull your wall display together.

One thing I love to do for my clients is create a visual using THEIR images so they can see and understand how they might display their images at home. Ariana Falerni Wall Guides helps make this quick and easy for me with endless options for my clients!

So then next time your photo shoot, don't fret! I'm here to help you from start to finish from stylizing your shoot to displaying them beautifully at home!

Understanding Safety Within Newborn Sessions

I think it is pretty obvious by now that I love what I do. :) I have been a professional photographer going on 8 years and still can't believe I have the opportunity to do this as my career. It is by NO means "easy" to own your own business. I don't get to lounge around photographing people while someone feeds me grapes. I have to hustle and work hard to pay my bills like the rest of humanity. But I am getting off topic...  That's for another blog post. Ha! :)

As mentioned, I have been a professional photographer for 8 years. That number seems crazy to me. || EIGHT YEARS || I have loved every moment of it! These eight years have opened so many doors to be able to share one of my passions, which is safety within newborn sessions. I have had the opportunity to speak at Photography Conferences on this topic as well as teach many Newborn Workshops and 1:1 Newborn Mentoring classes. In 2011 I wrote my first Guide to Newborn Safety, which has been sold worldwide to help educate and assist aspiring newborn photographers on their journey within their career. Then, in 2014 my second guide to newborn photography was released to further on the quest to teach those who want to pursue a career as a newborn photographer. It has been a wild ride to say the least, but an awesome one at that.

I want this post to help continue that education for aspiring newborn photographers, but also help educate parents considering a newborn photographer and what to look for in finding a baby safe newborn photographer.

I remember being a new parent and practically spraying hand sanitizer on anyone who came within a few feet of my daughter. I would do ANYTHING (and still will) to keep her safe from harms way. And I approach each newborn session in this same way.

Prior to a newborn session, each client receives a copy of my Newborn Session - What to Expect PDF (available to purchase here for photographers) which answers questions from room temperature, when to schedule baby boys post circumcision, to what to wear. It also discusses our studio safety practices and how we go about sessions.

This is an awesome tool I love using with my parents because it alleviates questions and worries they may have for their new little one. The more information I can provide my clients, the better. You can never over-communicate/educate your clients. I also have a "Newborn Safety" section on my website within my portfolio to show parents the type of safety measures I take within newborn sessions. And for the photographer wanting to understand HOW a session flow might take place and the intricate details of safety, you may purchase my Newborn Guide with full details.

One of my favorite images to do is the above cradle position. This image is taken with baby laying on my beanbag while the daddy's arms in a cradle position around baby. I have had clients ask me how I get a baby to stay slung in the dad's arms, and I show them an example of the image so they understand baby is never in harms way.

During newborn sessions I also take the time to explain to parents my process for posing as I prepare and ask Dad or Mom to assist me when needed, like the composite below.  I love seeing their enthusiasm to help and then see the edited version of the image later on.

My goal for each session is for my parents to leave knowing their baby was in good hands. That they came feeling prepared from the information I provided them and not anxious in having their baby's portraits taken. As new parents, they have enough to worry about, and a newborn session [with me] should always be relaxing and enjoyable. They should leave excited and anticipating their images.

I am so grateful to have photographed hundreds of these tiny humans. To be a part of such little bit of their journey into this world is a privilege and an honor - and I take it extremely seriously. I love what I do!