Category: babies & children


Little Ralphie needed his photo taken, and I was more than happy to oblige! He’s a little friend of my Simon.
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I especially thought this little moment was sweet when he needed a little snug and reassurance from mom. 2013-12-19_0004

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Do you spend money on the run of the mill school photos your kids take each year in front of the swirly blue background? Each year are you disappointed because you don’t feel like this photo captures who they are, and their personality? I know how you feel! I’ve felt the same way! Because of this, I have found photos are so much more meaningful when their personalities shine through! Therefore, I am running a back to school portrait special!

Back to school portrait special includes:

15-20 minutes of shooting

Full editing of selected images

An online galley with 5 full resolution digital files with print release for downloading, printing, and sharing

Price: $79 per child

($15 off per child if booking more than 1 child per family)

Print add on- One 8×10, Two 5x7s and Sixteen wallets for $30 extra

Digital add on- All the edited full resolution digital files with print release for downloading, printing and sharing from your session for $100 extra

Very limited sessions available Email me for times and availability.

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I was featured on a local lifestyle TV show called Studio 5 and talked about this idea. You can see the segment by clicking HEREbacktoschool

You don’t need any fancy props, or fancy locations to create a fantastic back to school photo tradition. All you need is your camera, your child, your porch and maybe your backyard. Here are my top 5 ideas for creating a back to school photo tradition you can carry out each year.

1. Take the photo of them with what grade they are entering

This is just a classic photo that will be cherished as they grow, change, and enter new grades each year. Printable’s used found at:

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2. Take a photo of them with their favorite book

Their favorite book tells a lot about them at their particular age. Their likes, favorites, and tastes will change and evolve as they get older. It will be memorable to look back and see what their favorite book was at their particular grade.


book8 book6 book4 book5

3. Take a photo of them with their friends

Do your kids have friends they have grown up with since elementary school? What a great memory it is to have photos of them together as the years go on. Sometimes friends move in and out and friends change so it is a great memory to look back and remember your best buds.

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4. Take a photo of them in front of their school

The elementary school and high school that I went to was torn down, and they built a completely new school that looks nothing like the one I went to. I would have loved to have a photo of me and my school as it is in my memories (since I can’t drive past it anymore!) Take a photo of them in front of their school as they remember it. Who knows? Years and years down the road, they may demolish their school and rebuild. It will be reminiscent to look back at the school your child went to as they remember it.

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5. Take a photo with a Class of 20_ _ t-shirt

Have a t shirt printed with their graduating class on it in an adult size shirt. The idea is, they will grow into the shirt as the years go on. And as they grow you can see each year’s photo in the t shirt with the year they will graduate. It really shows how fast the years go by, and how much they grow in a year’s time. You can have your t shirt printed at Costco, wal-mart, or Vista Print.

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If you love the tips, please also like my page!

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I was interviewed our local lifestyle NBC affiliate TV show called Studio 5 and talked about this topic. You can see my segment by clicking HERE!


What is an authentic smile? A genuine smile is in the eyes. When someone genuinely smiles or laughs, their eyes light up. A “say cheese” smile, is forced, shows the teeth, and the eyes aren’t as vibrant. Anyone who knows you well will be able to see the difference between the genuine smile and a forced smile.

Can you tell which smile is authentic and which is cheese in the pictures below?

What is genuine smile what is genuine smile 2


- Distract them from the fact there is a camera right in front of their face.

- Tell them an inside joke! My sister can be a little camera shy, so we have this joke about a whale. Every time I want to make her laugh, I bring up the whale joke, and she can’t help but laugh. Or if they’re being photographed with someone, have them share a joke with each other!

Adult Inside Joke

 -Burst the personal space bubble If they are being photographed with someone (their spouse, child, parent, sibling, friend), have them get close and hug. They can’t help but to be distracted and smile.

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- Compliment them! It gets them to relax and smile, usually they’ll laugh

Adults-Tease Them

- And then tease them about how you’re going to submit their photos to a modeling agency.


Most teens are concerned with how good they look in a photo. Here are tips to get them to relax.

-Teen girls: compliment! They want to know that they look good. Tell them you love their eyes, they have great skin tone, they have a great smile. Always you can find something beautiful in your subject to compliment.

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 -Teen boys: Teen boys aren’t as keen on being in front of the camera as teen girls. To get them to smile genuinely and laugh, tease them about their girlfriend. Even if they don’t have a girlfriend! This always makes them laugh.

 teen boy

 -If they won’t cooperate tease them about being too cool. I had a teen girl in a family shoot one time who was not happy whatsoever to wake up early for family photos. She wouldn’t really warm up until I teased her about being too cool about having her photo taken. She laughed and warmed right up.


-Use reverse psychology Tell them the opposite of what you want them to do. Tell them not to laugh. “Don’t even think about laughing!” Or play “Be serious”. Have them make a serious face..hold it…hold it! They can’t help but to burst out laughing.

Reverse Psychology

 -Have them make silly faces. You will usually get a great smile between those silly faces.

child silly faces 2 Child Silly Faces

-Play “I bet you can’t”. Children love to prove you wrong. If they aren’t cooperating, say “I bet you can’t stand right here. I bet you can’t hold your hands like this. I bet you can’t laugh.” They will always want to prove you wrong, and you will get them in the pose/smile that you want them to be in.

-Let them play! So often I will kids engrossed in an activity like building a lego tower, or a sand castle, or making sugar cookies and the mom will tell them “look here! Look here! Smile!”. Almost always in this instance, the kid will give the fake smile. Instead of having them look at the camera, just take the photo of them playing. It tells the story of what your child is interested in at that time in their life. Plus, no one likes to be interrupted when they’re concentrating.

 Children- let play Children- Let Them Play

Parent tip! Hold off on the bribes till the very last second. If you’re taking your child to have their photos taken, don’t tell them on the drive there “Now you’re going to get your photos taken, and you’re going to smile real big. And if you smile real big, you’ll get an ice cream cone at the end.” This sets them up mentally that they are going to have to perform, or do something miserable so they can earn a treat. Instead tell them “We are going to go meet Kate at the park, we are going to play and have so much fun and she’s going to take our pictures while we play!” This is a lot more exciting for them.


- Place them somewhere precarious (with a helping hand nearby). If they are crawlers or new walkers, they are not going to want to sit still in the spot you want them to sit in. By perching them on something (safely) precarious, they won’t be able to move and you’ll get the shots you want. Have another adult just out of the sight of the camera to catch them if they topple.

Baby somewhere Precarious Babies- Somewhere precarious

- If they can’t quite sit up on their own, have mom/dad or sibling help. You can focus in on the baby to get their photo without them having to lay down.

Babies- Mom Help Babies-sibling help

- Give them something to hold. They’ll usually give you a “look how cool this is mom” look in their face that is just precious.

Babies-Something to hold

- Doggie toys! Squeaky silly doggie toys will always get their attention looking in the direction you want them to look. You will get a genuine expression of wonderment.

Baby Squeaky toy

 – Act super silly. Just dance and sing. They can’t help themselves but to smile.

Babies- Act Silly

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