It is this time of year that you can find the parks and secret spots around town filled with photographers chasing around families trying to capture that one special photo for the holiday card. PVMOM is fortunate to have a wonderful photographer who has captured memories of so many of our very own families. We asked her to share a few tips that to help make family photos a little less stressful and a lot more fun!
Of course we had to share some of the beauties from the mini session fundraiser she did for us! Thank you Sara Waterman for not only these photos but your generous donation to PVMOM.
Think coordinating not matchy matchy (except the kids, kids can always match especially multiples). What does your dream family photos look like? Is it elegant? Then think cream colors, tans and browns or black and white, flowing light fabric can look gorgeous in a little wind. Do you want a modern and fun feel, then choose coordinating colors, I love yellow and blues, deep purple and yellows, jewel tones then add a pop of accent color, add a scarf, headband, boot socks for a bit of fun. Keep in mind darker color clothing will frame your face better (the eye travels to the brightest part of the picture) so typically that should be faces. Please remember that it is important for no one member of your family to draw attention away from the group with a bold outfit that stands out. Layer it up! I love jackets they really polish the look for a man, a cardigan can be slimming for a women and also makes it easy to take it off for a quick change of look.
Cheese is for nachos:
Mom, dad…. leave the “say cheese” at home. If your having your pictures done by a photographer don’t stand behind the photographer and hollar “smile, say cheese”. Demanding kiddos to look at the camera and smile will cause anxiety, rebellion and will most likely result in that fake smile you can feel a mile away. A photographer will interact with your kiddos to produce those beautiful natural smiles, if your doing it on your own I find that for 3-6 year olds talking about farts and dad’s stinky feet, which usually does the trick. For the itty bitties, I use a feather duster… works like a charm! Try picking up your kids and tossing them in the air, give your kids kisses, go in for a family tickle… all ways to create genuine moments of family bliss. Bonus tip: For posing your kiddos, try a fun game of simon says!
Time your session:
Leave ample time to prepare for your photoshoot, when mom shows up to the session rushed and frazzled it sets the tone for the session. Eat before your session and have snacks on hand. Kids and adults get cranky when hungry and become unwilling participants when their bellies are rumbling. Try not to plan your shoot during nap time or “cranky” hour. A good photographer can shoot anytime of day, and happy kids trump perfect lighting any day of the week!
Where will you be displaying your images? Think of the colors of your home. Will graffiti walls background look odd in your Mediterranean styled home? What are you going to wear? You don’t want to be wearing high heels and pearls on by a rustic fence in the middle of the Sonoran desert. Where do you feel comfortable? You want your images to show your family and the joy you have together. Think of a location that helps you feel comfortable, relaxed and where you can be yourselves.
If your doing them yourself even if you have the most scenic, beautiful location on earth, if that location does not offer good natural lighting, then your photos will probably turn out poorly. You need to consider the lighting conditions at your location before you commit to it. Your best light for taking photographs outdoors typically occurs in the hour or so after sunrise and then again during the hour or so before sunset. Also if taking pictures of your kids, make sure their back are to the sun, you don’t want harsh shadow or squinty eye. Bonus tip: a covered porch where the family is under the porch and your camera is outside, will most always produce near perfect lighting - seriously try it.
PS - aren't our families beautiful!!!!?
All photos were used with permission and taken by Sara Waterman Photography.
Visit her Facebook page to learn more and see her gallery.
By Jill Scott
Hi, my name is Jill, and I love to coupon.
Now, you may have seen shows like Extreme Couponing where people come away with 94% savings on shopping trips. These usually give them a lifetime supply of small toothpaste tubes and 100 yogurts that are going to expire in a week. I am not one of those couponers. I am, however, a parent of three young boys whose family is having a go at being a one income household.
The cost of diapers is a nightmare. I was blessed with a six month supply from friends and family after the birth of the twins. Like all things, it ran out while the cost of living (and formula for another six months) remained. This led me to research and try out the many methods of saving money out there.
There are tons of options for buying diapers on the cheap and not one of them works all of the time. What does work is knowing your options, having a game plan and following through with your couponing.
Step 1 - Gather coupons
Companies like Proctor and Gamble, Kimberly Clark, and even Fry’s generic brands want to introduce you to their products. Coupons are marketing tools to get products into your home so that you will buy them again. This means companies are in constantly putting coupons out there. Here are a few ways to get them.
Lost coupons never get used. Even worse, they stick to the graham cracker crumbs and uncapped lip balm in the bottom of your diaper bag. Do yourself a favor and buy an organizer to keep in your bag everyday. Find one with sections and label them (food, baby, cleaning, health, Target, etc). Put the new coupons in the back of each section and purge expired ones at least once a month. This is the model I have been using for a while.
Step 3 - Be Loyal
The reality is that joining Fry’s Rewards programs or Safeway Club Card allows retailers to track your purchases and keeps a tab on your spending habits. While this may have you hiding in your master closet wearing a tin hat, the upside is that it allows businesses to customize their offers to you. Fry’s knows we’re a young family and is very generous with their coupons and specific-to-our-family promotions called Best Customer Bonuses often on young child items (including diapers, but also food pouches, eggs, and breakfast sausage - don’t keep the Scott Boys away from their turkey sausage).
Step 4 - Throw All Loyalty Out the Window
Children have sensitivities and allergies and preferences, but if you want to make things really work you can’t have a favorite brand. Cartoon logos might be different. They smell different. Certain styles may hug them more or allow more movement, but overall diapers are all the same thing. Huggies and Costco’s Kirkland diapers are made in the same place as are Pampers and Luvs. So long as they don’t leak or cause an irritation, buy everything.
Step 5 - Stack Stack Stack
Some retailers have really cool ways to extend savings. Target for example, has its seasonal promotions on diapers ($25 gift card for $100 purchase or $15 off instantly of $100), What they’re not telling you is that the boxes sold are generally at a higher price. However, you can bring in a Manufacturer’s coupon, a Store coupon (often found in those mini coupon books for newborns), and add on Target’s Cartwheel (again an electronic app with offers that download to your phone for 5%, 10%, etc items). If you aren’t brand loyal, you can walk away great savings on diapers to create a small stash (not stockpile) of diapers that will keep you in business until you breathe a sigh of potty-trained relief or another promotion is offered, whichever comes first.
And two brief bonuses for overachievers:
Many stores price match if you bring in a physical ad of a competitor. If you know what’s going on at Walmart, Target, Fry’s, etc. most stores will honor the price to keep your business.
If prices drop within a week or a new promotion is offered within a store you shopped, you can normally bring in a receipt for a refund.
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