How to Prepare Your Child for Photos

I wanted to compile a resource for my families who are preparing their children for a photoshoot. It can be quite scary thinking of what your child is going to do during this time. But, I have found with a little thoughtful planning, things run extra smooth. Here are my tips:

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1. Clean faces, ears and fingernails.  Kids can get incredibly dirty in a day’s play.  Make sure to wipe their faces paying special attention to their noses and ears.  Fingernails are also important because you never know when you might get a detailed shot of some cute chunky fingers in your session.

 

 

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2.  Let them wear what is comfortable for them.  For instance, my child does not do overalls.  As much I would love to take pictures of him in some classic Osh Kosh’s.  He whines and complains and is very unhappy.  On the other hand, I have met some children who love dressing up.  Remember happy kids = happy photos.

 

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4.  If your child is wearing special shoes, ties, boots, hats, suspenders, etc., have them wear them around the house first so they are used to them.  In the middle of the photoshoot is not the best time to figure out that something is too big or too small.  Also, let them know how much you love the new clothes on them and make sure that they approve.

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5.  Tell your child that we are going on a photo adventure.  I can’t tell you how important this is for getting your child ready to take photos.  I always start out my sessions with connecting with your kiddos and letting them know that this is going to be a very fun day for them.  Taking pictures is just part of the play time.  A lot of children are burnt out from our overuse of cameras these days.  Taking pictures is not really the funnest thing for kids but actually can be more like a chore.  We need to remove this stigma of photos for our children.  After each session, I will ask your kids and confirm how much fun we are having.  This is not just for me but to help you enjoy the process with your kids.  Now…. my son asks ME to take his picture.  Nothing makes my heart skip a beat more than hearing my child WANT for me to take a picture.  I swear I don’t bribe him or anything.  I just make it a fun way for us to spend time together.  If you are on a Dream Focus Studio Model shoot, make a big deal about them being a model ahead of time.

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6.  Location is key for keeping children engaged.  Every time a parent calls me and says they have a “difficult” child, I have a little chuckle.  “O.K. well we will just pick a spot that will keep little Johnny engaged,” is my usual response.   And that is when I go through some of my favorite locations.  This is not so much about the actual locations as it is about environments where there is much to look at and play in from a kid’s point of view.  Remember, we are on an adventure!! So our journey must begin and end with stimulating points of interest for kiddos.  For example, when I first started photographing families in parks, I saved the playground for last.  This keeps my kiddos excited about the next thing that we are going to do.  It works like a charm and they are good because they want to see the next part of our adventure.

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7.  Plan your shoot for when your child is most happy.  For younger children, usually after a nap is the best time.  Even though we try to plan our outdoor shoots for close to sunset; some children become complete grouches come nightfall.  In this instance, you may want to consider a studio session or early morning shoot.  Another option is planning a lifestyle session in your home which could happen at any time of the day.

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8.  Consider the weather.  Some children have a very low tolerance for very cold or even hot weather.  If you know that your child will not be happy under these conditions, I would consider a studio or lifestyle session in the home.   Remember our most important thing is having happy children during our photoshoot.

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9.  Be flexible!!  This is more a tip for parents DURING the photoshoot.  I’ve noticed that when your child is not doing what you want him/her to do, you may think I’m upset about it.  But, I am not.  In fact, I’m expecting your child to test the boundaries and see what they can get away with.  I’ve learned that I have much less struggle with children when I allow them to think they are in control.   So asking your child to smile and look at the camera is not always the best practice.  I’ve also noticed that sometimes children misbehave much more when you are present. For that reason, I may ask you to step back for a bit.  Do not be offended.   Your children sometimes turn into complete angels once you leave the area.  ;)  It’s pretty amazing and I have witnessed this with my own child – which is fascinating.  So just relax, and let me do the hard work of keeping them happy.  Now let’s play!!

 

Newborn Baptism at Saint Cecilia Catholic Church

I love photographing newborns and babies.  But, one thing that has become super important to my business is photographing the baptisms of new babies.  This is such a special time for the whole family as they welcome the newest family member into their spiritual practice.  I was honored to shoot baby Michael’s recent baptism at Saint Cecilia Catholic Church.

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Gary & Leslie | Dream California Wedding at Pierce Point Ranch

There were so many magical moments for Gary & Leslie on their wedding trip to California. First, the same tree painting that the couple have in their home in Dallas, just happened to be in the cottages that they rented in Point Reyes. Then, a sparrow flies through my shot right after they were wed on the mountaintop at Pierce Point Ranch. I did not notice it until later and couldn’t help but think that the bird showed up at the right moment and there was something more to that.  My husband, who was officiating the wedding, told me that sometimes other people don’t hold as much weight to signs from the Universe like I do.  But, Leslie told me later that the bird was significant to them as they have sparrow decorations all over their bedroom.  But, she also mentioned that sparrows had always made her think of her grandpa who had been in the Navy when he was alive.   Life is always giving us signs and confirmations.  The moment that I  found photography was when I really started paying attention.   Leslie and Gary were meant to be on this mountaintop, in this cottage, at this time. July 7th 2014.

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Bryan & Kimberly | Backyard Wedding

Bryan & Kimberly have a beautiful love story and I loved capturing it.  They choose to do a small celebration at Bryan’s parents’ home and I love backyard weddings!! Bryan & Kimberly have this way of getting lost in each other.  It was so adorable and they made my job really easy. ;)  I’m so glad to have met them and made new friends.  Wishing them all the best and many years of happiness with their new combined families.
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Trip to California | Part 4 | San Francisco

When we drove into San Francisco on this day, there was a complete fog over the Golden Gate Bridge.  Here is a sample of our experience including visiting the Most Crooked Street and Chinatown.  We didn’t make it to the Pier or Fisherman’s Wharf, but, I vow to return with Gabriel for that one.  IMG_4679 IMG_4682IMG_4688 IMG_4691 IMG_4694

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Trip to California | Part 3 | Wine Country

We decided to go to Wine Country since we were so close to the Sonoma-Napa Valley area.  There was a Redwood park there called Armstrong Park that I really wanted to visit.  We came upon Dutton Estate first, a small family owned vineyard with the most charming young man that told us all about the best spots in California.  Then, we somehow ended up at the famous Korbel Winery where we learned all about the process of turning wine into sparkling wine. Who knew it was such an endeavor – fascinating. And finally found ourselves in the middle of the Redwoods where we stumbled upon an old Pottery Farm, Pond Farm Pottery.  Owned by recently deceased Marguerite Wildenhain whose work has been featured in the Smithsonian. We really felt like we were on sacred ground in this little spot of the Redwoods that was closed to the public.  I really hope something becomes of this historical spot. IMG_4496

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Trip to California | Part 2 | 4th of July at Marin County Fair

Part 2.   We went to Marin County Fair for 4th of July Fireworks.  IMG_4344

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Trip to California | Part One

So my husband and I were asked to join good friends of our Leslie and Gary Pierce as they eloped in a beautiful area close to wine country in California.  Here is our first day of arrival.  We picked up our car in San Francisco and drove the curvy highway 1 all the way to Point Reyes.   We stopped in the city for lunch and I had to check out the Arts District.

 

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Tunnels now make me think of Gabriel.   He loves driving through tunnels and I love slowing down the shutter every time.

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The Golden Gate bridge literally wraps its arms around you welcoming all into San Fran.  What a charming bridge. ;)

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This is where we stayed in Point Reyes.  IMG_4269 IMG_4264 IMG_4262 IMG_4258 IMG_4255 IMG_4253 IMG_4252 IMG_4246 IMG_4243 IMG_4239 IMG_4237 IMG_4234 IMG_4225 IMG_4218 IMG_4214 IMG_4212 IMG_4211 IMG_4209

Every morning we had coffee in the quaint little town of Point Reyes. That was the only spot I could successfully get WIFI connection.  IMG_4271IMG_4274 IMG_4275 IMG_4276 IMG_4277

Our first morning we ate at the Pine Cone Diner.  The owner has a affinity with the Virgin Mary.  All the food in this town is organic.
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Gaby & Mando Wedding | Mediterranean Villa

I have loved every minute with Gaby and Mando as they have crossed the threshold of marriage together.  They taught me so much about staying excited about the love of your life.  Every single decision they made -they made together and I appreciate that as a true partnership with complete respect for each other.  When I asked them each what their favorite thing was about their mate, this is what they told me:

Gaby:  I loved that he was silly and I found I could be myself 100% around him. His passion for art blew me away and I have always wanted to write children’s books. He was so easy to talk to…he stole my heart.

Mando:  I love that she can be goofy around me. She is very romantic and is always good at planning little getaways. She always liked writing and I always loved drawing. She stole my heart with her stories and I loved that she told me she has always wanted to write a children’s book because I’ve always wanted to illustrate one. I am confident that we will someday be published!

I can not wait to see what these two create together.  So happy for these two!!

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Alexis Nicole | Quinceanera

Nicole Alexis had her quinceanera at the Diamond Oaks Country Club.  Everything was decorated in black and white with ostrich feathers.  Nicole has 6 brothers who all adorned her with gifts for a princess.  Then, we had a dance instructor come out and show us some dance moves. It was such a beautiful celebration! IMG_9912 IMG_9944dress-cake DSC_5914 DSC_5918DSC_5947 IMG_9961 IMG_9983 IMG_9986-Edit IMG_9991 IMG_9998 IMG_0005-Edit IMG_0006

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