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Elm Grove, WI Child Photography | Portraits as Family Traditions

This family has a tradition. It involves having a portrait taken of their children at a certain age - about 15-18 months - with a certain look and a particular pose. 

The most recent model is little Walter...

2017. This is Walter. 

2017. This is Walter. 

2015. This is George.

2015. This is George.

These portraits (plus three more!) are all lined up in their family room, proudly and lovingly displayed.

If you've never considered it, family portraits make excellent family traditions. Imagine having a timeline of portraits hanging on your wall... whether it's just the kids or the family together... or even your extended family.

Here are some great reasons for creating a new family tradition out of picture day... with a little help from this adorable Walter character. 

Elm Grove Family Portraits little boy and mom

1. It's a built in reason to get your family together in one place at one time. And as the photographer, I am willing to take full responsibility for "setting the date" so when your older kids complain that it's too early, it's totally my fault. (You're welcome.)

Elm Grove Child Portraits boy and bubbles

2. Once you are all together, the likelihood of siblings fighting is greatly decreased. Yes, I said DECREASED. Why? Because I'm not the mom. I can't explain it, it just is. Enjoy the moments while they are fleeting. 

Psst. If there are any sourpuss faces, I will be sure to capture them so you can post it in his senior yearbook.

Psst. If there are any sourpuss faces, I will be sure to capture them so you can post it in his senior yearbook.

3. When the photo session is over, all the laughter and fun has been had, you can bribe your family with food and drinks. Add on a BBQ to the end of your session, go out to lunch or dinner, go see a movie! You're together - decide as a group. Better yet, surprise them!

Elm Grove kids little boy smiling

4. Once your family portraits are in your hands, hanging on your wall, sitting on your coffee table or wrapped and ready to give as gifts, you will be SO GRATEFUL for having captured those moments. It's so simple and so very true. Frankly put, you will NEVER regret having the photos taken. (But if you don't schedule photos? You will regret that.)

Elm Grove child portraits boy with drool

5. You will see these portraits every day and you will look at your kids and think, they have grown so much! And you will be glad you committed a small part of a single day to your new family tradition. And then we can do it again next year and see just how much they've grown and changed.

Elm Grove WI family photography little boy standing up

 

BONUS reason for your family picture tradition  -- built in Christmas gifts for grandma every single year! 

Are you ready to commit to your own family portraits? Click below to book your session. I can't wait to create a new tradition for you and your family.

5 Quick Tips to Look Good in Pictures

Getting ready to take family portraits? I know, I know. It can be a struggle.

The kids are easy. They're cute. Done. 

Grownups? Not so simple. So many of us (too many of us) are overly self-conscious. I get it. You don't like something about your face, this dress makes you look like a whale, you always look awful in pictures. This is why you hire a professional to take your portraits. We are trained in posing and angles and proper lens use when photographing various subjects. 

So that's my #1 tip: Hire a pro.

Here are some other quick tips to make preparing for your portrait session a little easier....

2. Wear comfortable clothing that flatters. If you are at ease in your clothes you will be a better subject and it will come through in the photos. This is not the time to try some crazy new style* or squeeze into a dress from before you had kids. Trust me. Not only will it not fit quite right, you will be fidgeting the entire time. Plus, I don't want you fainting because you can't breathe! 

Instead, choose a favorite outfit or a beloved shirt or even just choose a color you know you look good in. 

Another thing - you may not like to hear it but it's true: fitted clothing photographs best. That doesn't mean it has to be tight. But baggy clothing will add pounds. If your clothes fit you properly and are not too loose, they will flatter you.

This family knows what colors look good on them! They were all comfortable, coordinated and looking good. Way to go, Espinosa family!

This family knows what colors look good on them! They were all comfortable, coordinated and looking good. Way to go, Espinosa family!

3. Focus on your hair. Again, this is not the time to do something so extreme that you don't look like YOU.* Go with your usual hairstyle, but maybe amped up a bit. In this case, we want to add 10 pounds to your hair! 

I was reading the December 2014 Shape Magazine (that's just funny on so many levels) and they suggested two products that I thought would be worth a shot (haha, get it?):

Also, try shaking your head upside down and spray some hairspray while you're there. That will add volume. (Oh my, you should only see ME do this... CURL EXPLOSION! Perhaps this tip is not for everyone?)

Sam has naturally straight hair, but for her senior portraits she added curls and volume.

Sam has naturally straight hair, but for her senior portraits she added curls and volume.

4. Makeup rules. I believe you don't need a ton of makeup to look good. But when you're in pictures, you do want to at least add a little more than usual.

  • A little powder goes a long way to ward off the infamous and ever-present nose-cheek-and-forehead shine.

  • When applying eyeshadow, just add a little more to deepen the color and shimmer.

  • Your kisser. Get that lipstick out. Use it. Blot. And then use it again. While you're at it, add some gloss on top. Don't use lipstick? Try a bit of clear or lightly tinted gloss.

Kenzie's makeup colors are all very natural. For this session, she chose to add some foundation and powder to even out her skin. Notice her eye makeup - it's very clean - mostly mascara was used to accentuate her - omg! - beautiful blue eyes.

Kenzie's makeup colors are all very natural. For this session, she chose to add some foundation and powder to even out her skin. Notice her eye makeup - it's very clean - mostly mascara was used to accentuate her - omg! - beautiful blue eyes.

5. RELAX. Have fun. We are taking pictures, not doing surgery or taxes. You hired me (see tip #1 above) and my primary job is to make you look awesome. If - and that's a big IF - there are any unflattering photos of you, they will never see the light of day. I promise. I want you to be happy with your family portraits. I want you to cherish them. I want you to be proud of how you look. So while we're in the midst of it, let's enjoy it! 

This lovely couple was relaxed and happy - and it shows! That's a real, genuine smile.

This lovely couple was relaxed and happy - and it shows! That's a real, genuine smile.

Now, take five deep breaths and look into my camera.... 


*For a stylized or high-fashion photo shoot, none of these rules apply. Do crazy. Do wild. Do different. Nothing is off limits. 

Ready to get started? Click this button:

Monday Motivation | Six Tips to Get Moving

Monday, Monday

No one is motivated by Monday. NO. ONE. Even if you work in an industry where Mondays are your weekend, you are still somehow affected by Moday-itis. It's all about the name. Monday. Might as well say "Blahday". And blow raspberries anytime you say the word. 

Unfortunately, what we (I say "we" because I'm guilty of this too) are missing out on is that Monday is really just a fresh start EVERY SINGLE WEEK. If we thought of it like a mini New Year's Day - New Week's Day, perhaps? - then I think we would be a lot more excited and motivated to get moving on Mondays. 

Think about it... 

  • Your diet fell apart over the weekend so Monday will be your diet re-start day.
  • You forgot to workout for the last 2 weeks. Monday is the day you begin again. 
  • House cleaning and laundry have been ignored. Monday is the day you start attacking the piles.
  • All those phone calls you plan on making (like to your photographer, cough cough, 262.366.7980) - make Monday the day you start dialing.

You get the idea. 

Now, it doesn't mean Monday is the day you do it all. It is simply the day you make a plan and set it into action. Just like New Year's Day - you don't accomplish all your goals on the first day of the year, nor should you accomplish them on the first day of the week.

Here are some tips I've gathered to help get your Monday fire started...

Tip #1. Get dressed to the shoes.

Tip #1. Get dressed to the shoes.

Six Tips for Mondays

  1. Get dressed down to the shoes. Flylady swears by it. So do I. Even though our PJs and fuzzy socks are incredibly comfortable to wear all day (if you work from home you cannot deny you do this.... daily), there is something to be said for wearing "real" clothes. Getting dressed makes you feel like you have intention for the day. And shoes in the house? Get a pair of shoes that you will keep just to wear at home. Not slippers. SHOES. I don't know why, but I tend to move faster and with more gusto when I have shoes on in the house. More stuff gets done. Like magic.
     
  2. Pick out your clothes the night before. If you choose an outfit to wear, you will be more likely to actually PUT IT ON. And besides, it will eliminate the Early Morning Pre-Coffee Zombie Stare into your closet.
     
  3. Make your bed. This is another one from the darling Flylady. Such a simple task and it makes our day so much brighter. Just do it. It doesn't have to be Army-quality. 
     
  4. Write a list. Make a list of the things you HAVE to do this week (appointments, deadlines), SHOULD do this week (laundry, cleaning) and WANT to do this week (craft project, thank you notes from Christmas). Assign the tasks to a day. Check them off as you go. Actually, I prefer scratching them out. Until you can't see them anymore. And there is nothing wrong with adding as you go. Cleaned out the fridge (because something spilled and you were forced to)? Write it down, check it off. It's so pretty to see all the checkmarks! Need some ideas on lists and projects? Check out my Pinterest board on Organization.
     
  5. Plan your menu. This is one of those things that is SO EASY but never gets done. And then we are left scrambling.... eggs for "breakfast for dinner". Again. Plan ahead. Use your crockpot. Take this daily stressor off your back. Use all those recipes you pinned on Pinterest. (I hear that's a thing....um....)  
     
  6. Take a picture. Sometimes when I'm feeling unmotivated, uncreative and un-everything, I just pick up my camera and start shooting what I see. Little by little, my blood starts flowing and I start feeling better. And then, next thing I know, I'm energized and ready to take on the world (or at least the pile on my desk). Maybe taking pictures isn't your motivator. Maybe it's taking five minutes to knit, paper craft, play a video game, do some yoga. Whatever your passion, just getting started will help push you past the wall of defeat.
Tip #4. Make a list.

Tip #4. Make a list.

I hope this list helps you rock your Monday. Let's go do this...