“Sisters, sisters. There were never such devoted sisters…” -Irving Berlin
It was such a pleasure to photograph these two sisters earlier this year at George Rogers Park in Lake Oswego. By the way, it’s my new favorite location… this and the Tualatin Wild Life Refuge. It’s so fun when you are able to relate to your clients. I am the oldest of three and my sister is the middle. It’s true- we faught a lot when we were younger. Mainly the high school years, of course. But now we are closer then ever. We were married to our husbands only 6 months apart, we also have had our babies only 6 months apart. It’s been such a fun blessing to have her as a sister in my life, I couldn’t ask for a more caring person to share live with.
Meet Oscar! This post is a little different from my typical posts– it’s all b&w!
There is classic simplicity that comes with black and white imagery. It’s romantic, it’s striking, it’s clear and clean allowing the subject to really stand out. I learned photography on b&w film, developed my own film and photographs in the darkroom for years so maybe it’s nostalgic too. I love it.
Mom and dad requested more b&w than color for their newborn session with Oscar, I was apply to oblige. In fact, they ordered Oscar on the chair as a 30×40 canvas! I only wish I could see it displayed. I love newborn babies. Why do they have to grow so fast?
Last year I did a write up on the importance of business portraits, specifically online. Today, even more then last year, you are connecting with new friends, old friends, and clients online first and more than you would be in person. Your online impression is not only important, it’s most likely your first and lasting impression! I, myself, always look online when booking professional services. It’s amazing what impression I make of a company or person when looking at their portrait… or lack of one!
Here are a few key idea about what a business portrait should “say”
- Hello, nice to meet you.
- Be welcoming.
- Be professional and polished.
- You want people to feel like they can work together with you.
- Appeal and connect with your key clients.
- A technically correct image is important to present professionalism.
What does your business portrait or profile portrait say about you?
Gallery walls are popular right now, the first one I happened to see was 10 years ago while I was studying in Italy. I believe it was actually in Belgium at the Groeninge Museum… all that to say they are classic and not going anywhere. Don’t be afraid of them! They just take a little thought, organization and planning and you can be well on your way to a cohesive wall of art. You can also see more inspiration in my pinterest board.
I love a good before and after post, don’t you? I love it in photography, furniture, outfits, hair or house renovations. The “before” is a great image, but I think it could be better. You can do this at home in photoshop with 5 easy steps. Read on!
1. Adjust your shadows. By deepening the blacks in your shadows it brightens color and places a higher contrast on your levels without changing your highlights.
2. Soften Skin. I’ll go into this at another time. It’s far too time consuming to describe here. Wiser women AND men appreciate this but I also use it on newborns, and seniors… and myself!
3. Darken the eyelashes. Annie has had her makeup professionally done and it looks gorgeous! However, makeup doesn’t show as much on camera as it does in real life. I like to darken the last line of all my females to make their eyes stand out.
4. Smooth blemishes and brighten under eye circles. You can do this with your clone tool in Photoshop. It’s my favorite. Simply select an area that is closest to the blemish and replace that color and texture by using the clone tool. It’s important to use a area that is close because of color, highlight and shadow gradations.
5. Brighten eyes. Eyes are the first thing we see when looking at the face. By brightening and erasing veins in the eyes it really draws attention in and makes the face look fresh and alive.
Try it and let me know how it goes!
Last season I worked with a clothing boutique here in Portland, Oregon, Shop Adorn to shoot their 2012 summer lookbook. They are located in NE Portland but also have a huge online presence caring brands such as J Brand, Free People, Ms. Wood, and Prairie Underground. Order online or pop into the adorable shop on NE Fremont. I also shot the Portland Pendleton Collection 2012 but more on that later…
Registering for your baby is like registering for your wedding and encountering the gadget wall at Bed Bath and Beyond. To be kind, it’s very overwelming. There are essentials and also an abundence of products you don’t actually need. I had such a hard time registering! Take for example, a carseat. Easy enough you might think but once you thing about the carseat that leads to safety research, friends recommendations, looks, availibity, cost… and then you’ve got to pick the stroller to fit the carseat and so on. See the problem?
Many people have asked for my help registering or simply expressed exaustion about the effort of going through it. I know this list will be helpful to new mamas for this list to live online. I hope this helps you with a basic list to get you going. There is a lot of stuff a baby needs, but there is a lot that they don’t need. Here goes nothing:
- Carseat. I would recommend heading to your nearest baby supply superstore and test driving some carseat and stroller options. Make a mess, ask some questions and actually “play” with the product. I went with the Britax B-Safe carseat in black. It’s safety ratings are at the top, it functions well, and it looks classier than most. As you’ll see I err on the side of “less is more” and that goes for colors and patterns too. Don’t forget the extra base if you want to have baby ride in different cars.
- Stroller. I wanted something light and easy to use on a everyday basis, that worked well with a car seat and could possibly use with one hand. It was also important wanted something that was good for walks around the block. I choose the Britax B-Aglie stroller (or just go with the travel system). I’ve been using it for 2 months and it’s awesome. I really like that my carseat “clicks” into place. I didn’t feel comfortable with the attachment bars when mixing companies. The stroller is light and easy to use in and out of my car at only 16lbs. It has one handed functions such as the click and release for folding down. UPDATE: at 7 months old it’s still a great stroller, compact and easy to use, in and out of doors etc but I would not use this for any sort of serious walking or running. I have since purchased the BOB revolution and have never looked back. I love the BOB for long walks and runs (I trained for a quarter marathon and used it the entire time). We have also taken the BOB on the beach, hikes and such. If you are active then the BOB is great, if you want to go shopping thn the Britax is better because it’s slimmer and shorter.
- Pack N Play and Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper. As a little one my babe takes all his naps in the Rock and Play Sleeper which is great to move from room to room during the day. It’s light and easy to fold. I also like that it’s elevate off the ground because we have a dog that loves to “give kisses”. I like using the Pack and Play at night because I’m hoping it will be a easier transiting to his crib in the nursery (currently he’s sleeping in our room in the Pack and Play). I also like that he’s sleeping on his back.
- Swaddle. We do a double swaddle at night and it seems to be working like magic! Little Mister has been sleeping through the night at 8.5 weeks. NOT normal but I’m SO greatfull. We use the Aden and Anais swaddle blankets and the also the Summer Infant Swaddle Me in fleece (because we are in the winter season… once switching to the fleece from the cotton he slept better). The Aden and Anais have been great and they come in really cute designs. You can use them for blankets to put on the ground or burp cloths. The Swaddle Me come in 3 different sizes which is awesome because babies grow like weeds! I would recommend registering for all 3 sizes. We swaddled until he no longer fit in the large swaddle. UPDATE: At 6 months we have transitioned baby into the Halo Sleep Sack (baby sleeping bag with arms). I love that and can rest easy that babe is warm but without fear of him getting blankets wrapped around his head.
- Burp Cloths. The best burp cloths are thickest traditional cloth diapers… they were gifted to me. All in all you are wiping up everything… get a lot and then get some more.
- Diaper Bag. I have the Skip Hop Versa Diaper Bag. I thought I’d do a ton of research on this to find the end-all-be-all. However, I didn’t. I saw this, liked it, liked the amount of pockets, went for it. After 7 months of using it, I still love it. It has enough room for what I need, it wipes clean, and looks stylish. Done and Done. The least amount of shopping I’ve done on a purse ever. Of if you plan on using a purse or something else you might want to check out the Skip Hop Pronto Changer. I also have this and like it for the times that shlepping in the whole diaper bag is a nuisance.
- Changing pad and 2 covers. I went with the Summer Infant 4 sided pad (so glad I did because again, my little boy is long!) and Carters Super Soft Changing Pad Cover in Ecru. It’s nice to get some neutral colored items incase you are aiming for the opposite gender in baby #2. I also got some waterproof pads because there are a TON of accidents. Nothing too complex here. You need these if you plan on changing baby on top of the dresser.
- The Bumbo. These are great for the time when baby wants to sit but can’t on their own. I did use one of these for a short time, maybe 2 months. It was perfect to move from room to room… I did put it on the counter when I was getting ready, I have also got the tray and used it to entertain him when the husband and I were eating dinner. It was SO great but he did grow out if it fast. He did love it!
- Baby carrier. I have the Baby Bjorn and Ergo. The Baby Bjorn was great when is was tiny BUT the baby’s weight does not sit on your hips as the Ergo does. I also have the Ergo and I would hands down spend the money and get that over the Baby Bijorn. Why? Because baby’s weight sits on your hip as opposed to resting on your back. You can also use this carrier as your baby gets older. Worth the money.
- Clothing: It deserves a sub-category. This will depend greatly on where you live and the time of year your baby is born. Let’s just focus on the first few weeks.
- Kimono tops with the wrap around gloves. Great for many reasons: shirts with wrap around mittens are great because baby nails are razor sharp and they cut themselves all the time. The wrap around is great because babies have no neck control and mine hated having things over his head. The tops were great while the unbilical cord was healing.
- Jammies. All in one zip or button up onesies. It’s so hard coordinating anything in the beginning why add an outfit to the mix? Honestly my baby was in diapers and a swaddle for the first 2 weeks. Then we graduated to jammies… then to shirts and pants then finally came a coordinated outfit.
- Baby mittens. These were given to me and being winter and razor baby nails they came in super handy.
- Hats. Get ‘em and get a lot (I love this one!) Babies can’t regulate their own body temp until around 6 months so if you are out and about then they’ll need a hat.
- Shoes. Robeez are a must. They are adorable and they actually stay on. I mean, seriously!
- Don’t buy anything else until after your baby showers. People LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to buy clothes as gifts.
- Nursing. Nipple Cream, soothies, nursing pads and a nursing tank. I’d recommend nursing tank because you don’t know how big your girls will be when your milk comes in. Also a tip: Cabbage. It’s awesome and you smell like salad but you can’t buy that relief anywhere! After a few weeks when your milk is in head over to Nordstrom and get fitted. They have the best selection of comfortable nursing bras online. They encourage you to order a few different ones online to find out what you like and return the rest to the store nearest you.
- Bottles. Look for glass and BPA free. We have the Evenflo 4 oz and 8oz, Lifefactory makes cool ones too. Don’t let the confusing number of bottle nipples scare you. Cross that bridge if your baby doesn’t take the bottle. FYI babies drink about 3-4 oz per feeding. Every baby is different so in the beginning you’ll need the 4 oz bottles and as they get older the 8oz ones. I have 3-4 of each.
- Brest pump and storage bags. Man are these things expensive. I have a manual and the Medela Swing, it’s easy to use, compact and gets the job done. My mama friends who go back to work full time away from baby tell me the double pump is key. For me the single pump is working great. I was recommend Medela and I love it, read the reviews and I am happy. I didn’t try other pumps so no comparison here. Also, check with your insurance company, some cover the cost of the pump.
- Bottle brush. I need color in my life so I went with the Munchkin Delux Bottle Brush.
- Nursing pillow. My Brest Friend and the Boppy. I have both and like both for different reasons. I liked the Brest Friend because you can strap it to you and it works like a baby shelf. This is great when you and baby are first learning to nurse and one less element (trying to hold baby) is SUPER helpful. I like the Boppie when Mister got older and could comfortable fit to the pillow and breast. At 9 weeks my little one is so big I rarely use the Brest Friend and just reach for the Boppie, if that.
- Nursing cover. Obviously. I would recommend going with a dark solid cover because babes become increasingly aware and get very distracted.
- Infant tub. I love my Puj tub and my Prince Lionheart Flexibath. Both tubs are light and fold flat to fit under my bathroom sink. The Puj has slits in the design so that the water will spill out when it reaches a certain level. I really like this part of the design because we’ve I never worry about the correct water level. Did I mention it’s flat? Now that my baby is sitting I found a bigger better bath, the Prince Lionheart Flexibath. I would recommend getting the Prince Lionheart tub with the infant insert so that it will grow with your baby.
- Hooded towel. Cause they are cute and adorable. I love the ones that Dwell studio makes. Adorable. I sorta want all these.
- Video Monitor. We went with the Motorola MBP 33 2.8. We wanted a small video monitor that we could potentially add cameras to and that came with good signals. I’ve read many other cameras that pick up other signals (ie the neighbors monitor) and are just all around crappy. This one got good reviews and I trust the brand. It has night vision (use all the time!) and a feature where you can speak to your child through the monitor (I’m told it will come in handy later). Great product.
- Crib mattress. Firm and Organtic is the way to go and we found it in the Sealy Soybean Crib Mattress. I did a ton of research here and at this point can’t quite remember the key points of mattress purchasing, but this one had it.
- Crib sheets. I actually made my own sheets but I think these and these are darling.
- Play Gym. I really resisted this. So much loud plastic in my calm nicely decorated house. Truth is babies love them! I think I found the most acceptable ones from Skip Hop.
Is there anything you would add?
Ahhhh. This adorable family. It’s always a treat to photograph friends and their growing little ones!
When planning for this session we really considered what a “family” portrait meant. We decided it would be great to look back and really capture the C family NOW in this phase of life, treating the everyday as the moment worth remembering. We ditched the timeless family portrait idea (i.e. focusing on everyone looking at the camera at the same time with full faces and perfect smiles) and went for the fun, unique, very Portland family. Success!
This upcoming weekend I’m headed down to SoCal to visit my family and introduce me little 20lb 5mo old peanut (!) to his Great Grandmas and Uncle whom he has yet to meet. I’m so excited to have my family see him again and how much he’s grown since most of them were here for Christmas. It’s incredible! He feels like a different baby then he was over the holidays.
I photographed this family at Mount Tabor in Portland, Oregon last… gosh, was it summer? Well, they are darling and it was so fun to photograph the two brothers! They are 4 years apart and very much “boys.” I loved what mom said to me about being the only girl in the house. She said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “You always get to be the princess.” Can you get any better then that? plus a well behaved charming family? I think not. If you have a family boys OR girls don’t forget to be a part of our Mother’s Day portrait event on May 4th!
Oh, and you’ll notice the last grid image– it’s how they ordered their 20×20 standout. Perfection.
It’s Spring Break! Yipee for all those in school. I’m not, but I’ll be breaking away from home here for a few days. My family and I are meeting some friends for a little get-a-way in Sisters, Oregon at The Lodge at Suttle Lake for a few days of (hopefully) relaxation. It will be our longest car ride with our 4mo old and the longest time away from home. I hope the friends we’re meeting there still wish to be friends after the trip is over! Hopefully they still want to have kids after the trip too!
Deyla Huss and family have been enjoying these portraits for time time now. In fact, some of these portraits are already on canvas occupying wall space! We had such a great time down on the south marina in downtown Portland. What a fabulous place to have your portraits taken especially at dusk. What are your favorites? I love the one of the parents and kids. They are just so dear to my heart. Enjoy!