10 Tips for a Successful (not stressful!) Family Photo Shoot

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Family Portraits can be so stressful, high energy, high anxiety and overwhelming for both kids and parents.  We just had our most recent family photo shoot and it went without a hitch, it was relaxing, fun and easy.  I was shocked really. I chalk it up to two BIG things 1. Planning 2. Katie Beverley (our photographer).

Katie is seriously incredible to work with and she really made the experience so enjoyable. She is professional, artistic, and super good with kids that is brought the pressure of being the "perfect family" off our shoulders, because we knew she could relate and knew how to get the "shots" we needed out of the kids! If you are in the Southern California area and need a photographer, you have to get in touch with her!

There are so many things that go into my planning a family photo shoot, so Katie and I collaborated on 10 tips for you in order to pull off a fun no stress family photo shoot, I hope they are helpful!

Cassie's 5 Tips (the client):

1. Take care of kids needs first. This might be duh! but its important when planning a photo session to keep in mind all of the children's needs.  We wanted to take the pictures at 6pm because Katie said that is the best lighting when taking outdoor photos, so we worked from there.  Gigi is easy, I knew she would be fine and game for anything, but we did have to negotiate on somethings about the outfit (the tights were her add on) so I chose my battles.  Charlie eats at 5:30 then bottle at 6:30, so I knew we would have a short sweet spot to take care of photos with him. I made sure both kids were fed and happy before pictures were taken. Also had them in completely different clothes until literally we were ready to take pictures, because my kids can get filthy by just blinking, I swear! If you have older kids, I highly recommend bribery. It is sometimes the only solution. We promised Gigi an ice cream after everything, for having a good attitude working with Katie, and making sure to smile...a lot! I had puffs and little snacks for Charlie to keep him happy too.


2. Bring someone to help with kids.  If you plan to do any photos of just you and hubby then this is definitely a must. Even if you don't though, having another person around to shuffle the stuff from here to there and make the kids laugh or smile when the photographer is taking pictures is always helpful. Mike's mom was visiting us from Florida at the time, so it worked out perfectly to have her there to help us with the kids!

3. Choose a photographer that is family friendly.  I prefer to have a photographer that has kids take pictures of my kids, because I know they understand how to capture all the sweet nuances of children.  Most importantly they will know how to handle my children in a way that is approachable, calm and fun. Katie was all those things and more! She really made me feel relaxed, because I knew we both were working together to get the kids to have fun, smile and get those perfect pictures ;)

4. Have an idea of what you.  I scored through pinterest to find ideas of poses I wanted to do for our family and other shots I know I wanted to get. Have in mind before hand any "must" poses or combinations of people you want to take (I knew I wanted solo shots of the kids, solo pic of Mike and I, etc.).  Your photographer will work with you to accomplish those "musts" but listen to their professional advice and seek out what they recommend...remember they are the artists and have that professional "eye". I was very happy to trust Katie's guidance and sure enough the pictures she posed and created were the ones I liked better anyway! ;)

(My idea, the only thing I really love about it is Gigi's face)

(one of many of Katie's ideas)

5. Choose a venue and get all the information about it ahead of time. This is a tip from an unfortunate bad planning incident.  Our original venue (a winery) once we got there, closed  15 minutes after we were there, boo. I should have called ahead of time and checked on all that, also they had a policy on taking pictures on their property, so make sure you look into all that too.  We scrambled to find a place, but we were fortunate enough to find a PERFECT place not far from where we were! So grateful!  That really could have screwed us up a lot, especially the timing with all the kids! Phew, crisis averted.

Katie's 5 Tips (the photographer):

1. Choose your photographer based on their style-definitely look around and see whose images resonate with you the most. 

2. Prepare for your shoot early so that when it finally arrives, the grown-ups and the kids can all feel relaxed and happy. Kids pick up on any stress or anything that feels rushed.

3. Rather than choosing clothing that is matchy-matchy, clothing that is color coordinated works better. I recommend choosing Mom's outfit first (That's the most important, right?!), then styling any little girls in the family next. It's usually easiest to add the boys' clothing after the girls of the family are styled. Layering usually looks fabulous, and so do accessories.

4. Mom should treat herself to professional hair and makeup that day! Not only will you look fabulous in your pictures, but a little pampering always helps you to feel amazing and confident as well--and that shows in your photographs!

5. When you arrive to your shoot, definitely feel free to share fun ideas with your photographer, but then, put your Pinterest must-have poses aside. A great photographer will be able to incorporate your props and ideas and come out with something that is authentically you. Have fun!

And just a few more, because I love them so much! Thanks Katie Beverley Photography!

Finding your "Drop Zones" and Organizing them! + Weeks End Link Up

Monday, September 15, 2014

I am so excited to be a part of a Organization based series, sponsored by Sarah over at Joyfully Organized! Please head over to her blog for the full post and more posts by other amazing ladies to help you be inspired to get organized!

We all have them. Drop Zones. Places where clutter congregates. They are places that your everyday necessities tend to end up and are usually placed in places in your home at a central location. So how can we tackle this dilemma? Lets chat about it. 

First lets admit we have a problem.  Before you can help the problem you have to find it. So be aware of where you, your husband or any little members of the family tend to throw their junk.  One of my husband's drop zones is on the kitchen counter. He comes through the door closest to the the kitchen and throws his stuff on the next available surface- the kitchen counter. Phone, keys, sunglasses, chapstick, all that stuff ends up there.

So what is the solution?

Conceding to the drop zone and giving the clutter a home.  Here is what I have done that works...

I found this basket at a garage sale. Its cute and just the right size. Perfect home for the hubbies odds and ends.....there is more! Check out the full post for more handy organization tips HERE
Thanks so much for having me Sarah!

So much happening today on the blog! I also am co-hosting today an incredible weekly link up called, Weeks End, with the amazing Beth, from Oak&Oats! I LOVE her blog and I am so honored to be a part of the fun this week! Please link up any post you love from the past week and do not forget to share the love around!  Hope you all have a great start to your week!


Every Monday I host a link up called Week's End! It is a place for you to link up your favorite post from the week and meet new bloggers. I love community and think that we can all learn something from each other! This week Cassie of Kent Heartstrings is my co-host!

If you are wanting to join the co-host line up, you can sign up here and use code: WEEKSEND for 25% off any Oak + Oats packages.

Kent Heartstrings is a place that documents the Kent families encounter with things in life that tug on the heart. You will find mommy musings, fun DIY and craft projects and anything under the sun that inspires and brings joy.

Click here to read the most read post from last week! 

1. Link up ANY POST from last week!
2. Make sure it is a POST and not your BLOG URL. We love your blog but we want you to share a post.
3. Click on one, two, three, or more posts and LEAVE ENCOURAGING COMMENTS. The whole point of this is to find new blogs, make new friends, and all that good stuff! You MUST read the post right before yours and comment.
4. Follow Oak + Oats and Kent Heartstrings

Link Up with your favorites!

Motivational Monday Party Link Up

What I have been up to is...still beaming over my new blog redesign, pinching myself I am so happy!

Ready to share what motivates you? Link up a recent post of yours something that motivates you to create or just be awesome! Our goal is for this link up to focus on craft, DIY, & home posts so please try to remember that when linking up. Please limit it to three links per week and remember to link directly to your post. Do not link stores, giveaways, or other link parties. Also, hop around some of the other posts that have been linked up to share the love and get motivated by what others have been up to...because of course, this is Motivational Monday after all.

Each week, each hostess will feature their favorite post from the previous week. By linking up, you agree to let each host share your photo and link back to your site. Link party goes live Monday and ends at 5:00pm PST on Friday.

Don't forget to grab a Motivational Monday button in the sidebar to put on your own blog to help spread the love! 

This is I was blown away by Amy from Delineate Your Dwelling, I mean these clay animal heads are the cutest! I would love to make these and put them up in the kids room! Thanks Amy!

Make sure to grab this button and boast away!

Kent Heartstrings

Kent Heartstrings...Hello New Design!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Well HELLO friends! Welcome to my brand spanking new Blog...isn't she pretty?!! I could not be more proud of it! Jana Tolman, from Life Could Be A Dream, did all of this crazy work! She made my dream of  a relaxed, whimsy, little beachy vibe come true! She works wonders folks! Oh, and let me tell you how incredible she is to work with....S he has a fabulous way of getting into your head and really understanding what you want- using tools like pinterest to gleam inspiration and a general gist of what you want. She answered all the bazillion emails I dished out, which were loaded with questions and accomplished all this work in a very short time frame....all I can say is she the best! If you are ever in need of any design help please check her out and see what packages she has to offer that work best for you,  it will be the best investment ever...trust me! Thank You Jana!

So Let me show you around a bit.....

Navigation Bar :: All the usual suspects up there. I have included a DISCLOSURE in big hopes that one day I can make money with this blog...dreaming big here people! So I put that up there for me as motivation to keep on keepin on =).  Please check out the KREATIVE tab, it is not new, but its my favorite because it represents the little side business I run and it truly comes from my heart- a love for creating and a love to love on people! The sponsor tab is coming soon too, dreamin' big again here! Please CONTACT me anytime...even just to say hi, I would love it! Oh, and if you happen to not know anything ABOUT me or my squishy little family, hop on over and stalk read away...we all do it ;)

Categories::  I hope these are helpful in guiding you to find a post you may want to read depending more on topic.  I have all my main topics and things I love writing about right here! 

Popular Posts :: These are the heavy hitters on the blog thus far and will fluctuate depending on how many page hits it gets. Get to browsin'!

Sponsors :: The beloved ladies I enjoy following and are so good to me!

Blog Button :: She is also new and shiny, you like? Go for it, take me with you =)

Archives :: Another way for you to meander around the site
Thanks for taking a tour around my space! All of you are so fantastic, I am enjoying this fun journey so much and am so thankful for all of you that are on it with me! Lets keep having some fun, yes?!

(Family pictures taken by the talented Katie Beverley)

Heartstrings :: Share. Grow. Love // Featuring Mama Collective

Thursday, September 11, 2014

So happy to launching this new series today!  A little recap of what this thing is all about:

 Heartstrings is place which introduces you to a post from a fellow blogging buddy that will hopefully inspire you and tug on your heartstrings. I reached out to Tawnya to collaborate on this series with her and she happily accepted the challenge, I love connecting people through my blog and when I find a post that makes me want to jump out of my seat I couldn't be happier to share it with my readers. Our hope is that this series will allow us to share new perspectives, stories, projects and inspiration that will make you want to connect with the bloggers we feature. Just one simple way to connect minds, souls and hearts.

We both would love for you to follow us along this exciting journey of discovery!

Cassie  Facebook  // Pinterest // Instagram // Bloglovin // Twitter
Tawnya  Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Bloglovin // Twitter

If you have a specific post that you feel would be great for this series, please contact kentheartstrings(at)gmail(dot)com or Tawnya littlebabyscarlett(at)gmail(dot)com! The post can range from a unique DIY project to thoughts on marriage and family...all aspects of our lives are important and we want to hear about all of them! We look forward to hearing from you!

Today to kick us off, we are bring you Jenna, from A Mama Collective. She is a wife and mama to three beautiful girls and I think you will see for yourself has a wonderful relate-able writing style and a genuine heart to love and serve people.

Her post on Social Media Effects of My Mothering, really puts things in perspective and is a great food for thought post. Hope you enjoy her as much as we do!

Do you use social media in your daily life? What are the social media effects on your life? Do you think it adds to your relationships with others, or takes away from them? And furthermore, do you think social media adds more positive or negative to your life? Write about your relationship with social media, and talk a bit about how you got started, and what role it plays in your world.
Dang, I love this prompt. Do I use social media in my life? How is that even a question?! Do you KNOW me?!
I mean, obviously, Danielle doesn't know me, but if she did, it would not be a question.

The simple answer: yes. I use social media. Daily. Hourly. Minute-ly (is that a word?).

The longer answer: yes. It consumes me. Daily. Hourly. Minute-ly. All consuming.

Pretty sure something else is supposed to be all consuming. You know what I'm talking about. (In case you don't, I mean God.) He's supposed to be the all-consuming one. But what do I do instead of being consumed by him? I jump on my phone. And I find comfort in someone retweeting me, or liking my picture, or writing me a blog comment. I am consumed by the pridefulness of a "Yes, I got another one."

How gross that makes me feel. How incredibly sad that makes me to admit that to you.

I have an iPhone 5S. Anyone else think that this phone dies SO QUICKLY?! I mean, I charge it all night long, and then a few hours into a busy day at work, it's at like 40%!! Gah! I'm forced to put my phone in the locker room to charge it and then, voila! I am phone-less.

And then I am forced to look at people in elevator. My eyes are open to those lost in the hallways for me to help them find their way. I am aware of the family waiting to hear the news about their daughter, their sister, their mother. I look them in the eyes. It seems, for the first time.

And I see them. That's what phone-lessness and social media-lessness does to me. It forces me to see.

When I'm with the girls, I have it in my pocket almost all of the time. When it's time for me to nurse Lucia, I make sure it's in my pocket so I can scroll through my mentions and my thumbs' ups and my messages while she nurses instead of looking her in the eye.

But when I'm aware, and when I set my phone to charge, intentionally, in another room, I am so much more there. I see them. I hear them. I anticipate what is about to happen instead of reacting to what happened. This doesn't mean I'm a perpetual playmate who is drowning in a sea of toys and dress up and losing myself. It means I am a mother. Who cooks the dinner before the "I'm hunnnngggrrryyyyy"s kill me to death. I am a mother who sets them up at the counter to do the dishes with me, who sits with them to color while I do my daily readings, who goes on a walk with them and actually looks at the world that they see.

I see them. For the first time in a long time.
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And I bask in their goodness and their love and their generosity and their fervor for loving me. And I think nothing could ever be better than this. No "likes," or comments or messages. Nothing beats it.

But I am beat by it, yet again. And I reach for it time and time again. My phone. My social media apps. My brain needs to be told, "Someone likes you and thinks you took a good picture." Screw that, I want to tell my brain.

But if I'm not intentional, I get sucked back in, time and time again. I need to do it just as I've been intentional about reading the Word every morning, and my, how that's changed me. Just as I've been intentional about cooking more for my family, just as I've been intentional about looking Lucia in the eye while she nurses instead of looking at my screen, just as I've been intentional about reading books daily. I need to stay intentional and put down my phone.

I read posts on the internets. Ones that strike a chord with me and straighten my spine and force me to listen. A post like this from Emily Wierenga that crushes me only to build me up, piece by piece, to be more whole.
Another wonderful post came from one of my great blogging friends, Kristen, who wrote recently about an idea she had: a Tech-Free Challenge. She struggles, just like me, to be present to her babes, so she decided to challenge herself to put down the phone and the computer and really look her kiddos in the eye and have real, intentional relationship with them.

I have to be honest with you, I didn't want to take the challenge. I thought, I'll try to be more aware and put my phone down more often, but I didn't want to openly say, "Yes, I want to be tech-free with my kids." Because (this is so sad!) I didn't think I'd survive.

Survive. My God, I didn't think I'd survive without my phone, without my computer, without logging into Facebook and Twitter and Instagram (thank goodness I'm not a Pinterest lover or it'd be an even BIGGER problem). Makes me cringe, friend.

But it's time to do this, step by step, together. We can pursue authentic motherhood, real relationships, living for the little things, and telling His story. We can encourage each other daily, and find the love and beauty in the every day.

We CAN put down our phones and our computers (I'm telling myself this!), we can do this. I am excited to see what comes of this. There WILL be fruit from it, even though it seems difficult. And, ladies and gents, we can be better mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, humans, because of it. The fruit will overflow and we will be better. We will be better. Let's go.

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Hope you will join us next week!