5 Tips for Photographing Holiday Moments

With Thanksgiving tomorrow and the winter holidays around the corner we wanted to share some tips for capturing your holiday moments in order to preserve the memories for years to come.

1. Hire a professional:

If you are lucky enough to have the entire extended family under one roof why not hire a professional photographer to come take some family photos! This can be a simple group session or give each individual family the opportunity to have the entire group and then do separate photos of their household clan. This is a great time and money saving alternative for your yearly family photos.

2. Upload to the Cloud:

Almost everyone in the family these days has an iPhone or smartphone. While you are all together AirDrop your images, or save them to a share cloud so you can all access each other’s photos. This is fun for us Mom’s and photographers because we are offer the one behind the camera but having access to everyone’s photos you might end up with some special images of yourself interacting with family.

3. Don’t forget to take a Group shot:

This one is hard because children and adults alike can be hard to wrangle, but having a group shot at the Thanksgiving Table or around the Christmas tree is something you will admire for years to come.  Weather you set a timer and all cram on a couch or use a trip pod, make it happen!

4. Document throughout the day:

Make sure you are snapping photos all day long so you can tell the story of the day with your images. Cousins embracing upon arrival, mom or dad cooking in the kitchen and the waves goodbye at the end of Grandma and Grandpa’s stay.

5. Don’t forget the details:

Make sure to grab some close ups of the turkey and pie or the gifts piled up around the tree before the kids come down stairs to ravish them! It can be fun to use these as before and after comparison as the day progresses.

Hopefully these tips will help preserve the great memories you make with your family this year! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Happy holidays in the weeks and months to come.

More Photography Related Posts:

6 Tips for Making the Most of Your Holiday Family Photos in 2018

7 Ways to Ruin Your Family Photos in 2018

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Things to Do in New York City with Toddlers

I love New York, New York! Ever since my first visit there when I was in middle school until now, NYC has been and will always be my favorite city to visit. Since Caroline was born, I have been there three times (she is now four), so about once a year since she was a baby. My favorite time to visit NYC is late fall because of the fall colors and the magic of the holiday season popping up everywhere.

Traveling to a big city with children no matter their age can be stressful, but to my surprise, New York City is very kid friendly. Read my post on tips for traveling to big cities with small children.

There is so much to do in NYC but no everything is manageable with small children. Here is a list of things I recommend doing when you visit the Big Apple with your little apple.

Central Park: This is a no-brainer. A huge park in the big city — what toddler or kid would not enjoy that. Central Park is very kid friendly. You can take a nice stroll and enjoy the city views, ride the carousel, watch people, play with remote controlled boats, or enjoy one of the many playgrounds.

Central Park Zoo: If you plan on visiting Central Park I recommend making a day of it and visiting the Zoo. It is small so you won’t need a full day there but when you finish you can explore more of Central Park. When at the Zoo, don’t forget to visit the Children’s Zoo where you can pet and feed goats.

Manhattan Children’s Museum: I was surprised at how small this museum is but thought it was very well done. They have a few stories of interactive things to do with young children. There also is a section with an indoor playground and a mock Oval Office. It’s a great spot for a photo op. The museum is set in a more residential area but has lots of places to eat and even a cute children’s shoe store around the corner worth checking out.

Bryant Park: This is a fun place to visit and have lunch, but if you are there during the holiday season they have an awesome Christmas Market with great food trucks, a candy store and of course, Christmas lights set up.

9/11 Memorial Park: I would not recommend bringing toddlers or preschoolers to the museum. It is just not the right place for rambunctious kids but the 9/11 Memorial is beautiful and the surrounding area is perfect for walking (or running) around. We visited the Memorial then walked around the financial district on the waterfront path and it was beautiful.

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Battery Park and Lady Liberty: We recommend visiting this park. It is historic but sometimes crowded and touristy. We have done it both ways: once taking Caroline to see Lady Liberty and one time just enjoying the view and waterfront park. If you do want to go to Lady Liberty arrive early to beat the crowds. There is not much to do on the boat or island other than taking pictures so keep that in mind when visiting with children.

Rockefeller Center: If you are looking for traditional NYC adventures take your kiddos to Rockefeller Center and let them peek into the windows of all the nicely decorated shops, and pop in the Lego shop for a visit. If they are old enough they can ice skate. I also love the view from the top of the Rock, but if you know your children can’t wait in line for long just skip it and come back the next time you have an adults-only getaway to the city. If you want you can walk over to Times Square but to be honest there is not much to do there for young children and the crowds are maddening, so unless you absolutely have to see it skip Times Square with toddlers.

Children’s History Museum: We had a blast here and would recommend it to anyone with kids 2.5 and up. There are lots of things to do for preschool aged kids and big kids alike. Caroline loved it but did not understand all the interactive things they had since it is for all ages. It is also located in a very pretty part of town. If you are visiting now through Jan. 27, you can see the special Harry Potter Exhibit!

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New York Transit Museum: Kids love this place! They can play in an old Subway Car and for some reason, transit-themed museums are always a hit with preschoolers.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum: If you want to experience the Brooklyn Bridge, make a day of it. Visit the Bridge, but be cautious with little ones because it is a working bridge so lots of walkers, cyclists, and runners around. Then stop off at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum for some interactive learning fun!

Coney Island: If you are visiting in the summer months enjoy a New York classic! There is so much to do and see here for all ages. It is quite the experience for adults and children alike.

High Line: If you the weather’s good and you want a place your toddler can toddle more freely, check out this beautiful urban walkway! It is a must see one-of-a-kind place and isn’t quite as busy as most outdoor spaces in NYC, so a great place to take a stroll with your kiddos.

Children’s Museum of Art: Another great interactive experience for children in NYC. This is a great spot for fun photos of your kiddos. So, if you are looking for another great indoor activity this place is worth checking out.

This list could go on and on because there is just so much to do in a big city like New York City, with lots of museums and parks, great food and entertainment. However, these are some of our favorites and are a good start, especially for your first visit to the Big Apple with your kids.

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Shopping for the Photographer in Your life

As a photographer, it is hard to go through this season without scoping out my favorite items of the trade on the market. There are so many amazing cameras and accessories out there for photographers of every skill level. If you have a photographer in your life or an aspiring one here are some great gift ideas for making their Christmas morning, feel like they are a kid again!

The On-The-Go

Even professional photographers love to have a good point-and-shoot camera on hand. If you are looking for something small that still gets the job done (better than your iPhone), consider gifting a point-and-shoot camera.

Canon PowerShot:I have been using one of these since college. It’s very reliable, takes amazing photos, and is a great alternative to a big clunky SRL camera. They work well in low light and also in sports settings, and are perfect for travel and snapping photos of your kids.

The Beginner

Canon Rebel Package Deal: If you have someone on your list looking to take photography to the next level, you can’t go wrong with Canon Rebel. I have more than one of these and still shoot with them regularly. It’s smaller than a full-format SLR, the price is great, and the technology now is so amazing it takes just as high-quality images as a 60D or any other full-format SLR on the market. You will not only get the camera but a zoom lens and SD card to get your budding photo enthusiast started on the journey to becoming a photographer.

The Sports Lover

The Canon Rebel: I can’t say enough great things about Rebels. It is the backbone to how I got my start as a photojournalist. People sometimes confuse the camera with the “quality” of images and yes that often is a factor. But you don’t need a big fancy camera to capture amazing images if you have a good eye for composition. Rebels also are VERY durable. I have tossed mine around and traveled the world with it and it still is going strong! But the lightweight body and the camera speed are what make the Rebel a good sports camera.

Battery Grip: Having a battery grip not only adds to the length of battery time you have, it also makes the camera larger and easier to switch from horizontal to vertical shots. It makes shooting on larger lenses for sports easier. Since the Rebel is a smaller SLR, having a large telephoto or zoom makes it feel off balance. So make sure to grab one of these for the aspiring sports photographer on your list.

Zoom Lenses or Prime Telephoto Lenses: If the desire is for taking amazing sports photos, will a zoom or telephoto lens is needed. Depending on your budget there are a few good options for them.

75-300mm is a good budget friendly zoom option

400 mm prime is great but not a budget friendly buy!

The Semipro

Canon EOS 6D: Having a full-format camera and the appropriate lenses are what takes photography to the next level. Making sure you stay in a budget can be hard because once you start buying full-frame the price goes up for the camera body and the lenses. There is no turning back from here in your investment but it will be well worth the bump.

I have not personally used this camera but have read great things about it. It is full frame but does not coast as much as the 5D, so I would recommend this to anyone not looking to be a professional photographer but that wants to start shopping more like a professional.

Off Camera Flash: once you get into this grade of camera there is no longer built-in flash so make sure you add an off-camera flash to your photographer’s wish list. There are a few great options based on your budget.

50 MM 1.4: This lens is a must for someone wanting to take great portraits. It is a great lifestyle every day lenses. The price is manageable and won’t break the bank.

24 MM EFS 2.8: Is a great pocket lens that won’t break the bank but will utilize the full frame and take some great wider primeshots.

The Professional

Canon Mark 5D:  Any pro would love a new camera body but once you hit this level of photography the investment in a camera is significant.  I shoot with a 5D and love it. I have had it for about five years and it is going strong. They are sturdy and take beautiful, very high-resolution images. When you have a camera like this you need to make sure to upgrade your glass to follow suit!

Canon EF 24-70: Is a go-to lens for me. I have the Samsung version because it is more cost efficient but the Canon EF series is my dream lens. This is great for everyday lifestyle shooting.

Canon EF 85 MM: This is if you are looking for a more affordable portrait lens. It takes beautiful images and is great for lifestyle portraits.

Canon EF 70-200mm: This is almost a rite-of-passage lens for professional photographers. Once you have the EF 70-200 2.8 you have reached professional level. It was something I saved up for over a year before buying and it has been used for countless wedding and events.

Canon EF 100mm 2.8: This is an epic lens for detail shots! It is not necessary but worth having in your camera bag, especially if you do lots of nature or wedding photography. I love mine and even use it for portraits sometimes when I’m looking for a change of pace.

The Traveler

Go Pro: There are lots of travel recs, but if you’re looking for the perfect gift for a traveling photographer get a Go Pro! They likely already have an SLR and lenses, so up their game with the Go Pro. 

Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II: A great gear bag is essential for traveling photographers. This backpack is a great bag for photographers on the road.

Budget-Friendly Gifts

SD Cards: San Disc Ultra Disc 32 GB or bigger. You can never have enough memory cards and after time they need to be swapped out, so you don’t lose images due to a corrupt card. These come in all sizes and price ranges but are affordable. Be sure to get one with a fast record speed.

Lowepro Passport Sling III: After years of going through bag after bag, this has always been my go to and fallback. It’s so easy to use and holds exactly what I need when shooting a wedding, traveling, or just enjoying some camera hobby time. The price point also is great for the quality!

 Small Tripod: There are lots of options for this so depending on your photographer’s needs pick one you think will be used the most. I have several and use the one I can use with MY SLR and iPhone the most.

Some but not all product links provided are Amazon Affiliate links*

Shopping for the Photographer in Your life

 

Early Black Friday 2018 – Amazon Deals

Here are some 2018 Black Friday Amazon deals you can start shopping now. First, make sure you are shopping via Ebates to save even more on this black Friday! Then start your online shopping!

This set of Adorable Girls Hair Clips (50Psc) for $7.64! What a great deal!

This Diapper Bag Back Pack for only $20.96

Ezpz Mini Mat on sale for on $15.99

Nuk Trasitional Sippy cup! These are the ones we use and they are onsale now for just $5.21

Ummm this nursing cover is only $6.39!!

This awsome trasitional High Chair is onsale for only $89.99 buy it today and it will last over the years.

Going somewhere for the holidays? Grab this check bag carseat cover for only $8.93

A set of silicone bibs $14 or less!

Make sure to check back for more Black Friday deals!

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Links provided are Amazon Affiliate links.

5 Kid Friendly Things To Do Washington DC – Fall 2018

If you’re planning a weekend getaway with kids then Washington DC should be high on your bucket list. Home to some of the best museums in the country, historical parks and monuments and of course it’s a great place to teach kids about the political past of the United States. It becomes something else in Fall, the auburn colors are breathtaking, there are plenty of indoor activities if it’s wet and there are always loads of seasonal activities like pumpkin or apple picking to take part in. Here are my five favorite things to do in Washington DC this Fall with kids.

1. See All The Smithsonian Museums

With so many to choose from, you could easily spend your whole weekend museum hopping. The good news is that most of them are within walking distance to each other and they’re all absolutely free to visit. If you only have a couple of days, I would tick of the top few.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Home to so many recognizable exhibits and characters, this is where you’ll find the Hope Diamond, an awesome dinosaur exhibit (what kids don’t like dinosaurs?!), the popular Dum Dum (an Easter Island Head made famous by the Night at the Museum movies), and of course Henry the elephant, the first thing you’ll see when you arrive. The museum has lots of hands-on and interactive exhibits and staff members are happy to answer any questions you or the kids may have.

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The Smithsonian National Museum of Air and Space.

This Museum blew me away, I didn’t expect my daughter to find it so interesting but she threw herself into the interactive science experiments and Space exhibits. You will not want to miss the 1903 Wright Flyer, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia and an actual piece of moon rock. If you can spare the time, try to attend one of the child friendly physics lectures, your kids will learn more in half an hour than a whole week of science lessons at school.

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 Hirshhorn Modern Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden

I love this gallery, whilst probably not top of your list when visiting Washington with kids, it’s a great place to tone the excitement down a little and soak in some modern culture. The exhibits are colorful enough to keep most kids engaged and the Belief and Doubt installation by Barbara Kruger is worth it for the inspirational quotes alone.

2. The Washington DC’s Monuments

The National Mall is probably one of the best places to photograph the gorgeous Autumnal Colors of the city and is also home to some of the most important monuments in the Country. At one end you’ll find the instantly recognizable Washington Monument standing majestically over the reflecting pool, at the other is the humbling Lincoln Memorial, a fantastic place to teach kids about American History but also respect and kindness in general.  It’s Americas most visited National Park for a good reason.

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3. White House

Beautiful just to see from the outdoors but if you plan ahead you can take an organized tour of the White House, home to many political scandals and successes and somewhere all kids will find fascinating.

In order to secure your slot, you’ll need to contact your Member of Congress at least 21 days before your visit. If you’re not from the US, you’ll need to contact your embassy in Washington DC.

From the end of November, you’ll also be able to visit the National Christmas tree, there’s nothing better to get you in a festive mood.

4. Take a trip to Georgetown.

My favorite family-friendly district in Washington DC is Georgetown and the Washington Harbour right on the waterfront of the Potomac River.

From mid-November the dancing fountains are transformed into the biggest ice rink in DC with twinkling snowflake lights and regular skating lessons and cartoon Sundays for kids. There are also plenty of restaurants in the area for when your energy levels take a dip.

5. National Zoo

Finally, something all kids are bound to love (and another FREE activity to keep the parents happy) is a visit to see the animals at the Smithsonian Zoo. It’s slightly out of the city center but easy to get to by train, UBER or car.

In addition to a mind-blowing array of native and foreign creatures, think pandas, elephants and big cats, the Zoo holds loads of family friendly events such as Boo at the Zoo for Halloween, Zoolights from the end of November and sleepover nights for the brave amongst you.

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Where to stay in Washington DC with kids

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, I highly recommend the Watergate Hotel, not only is it full of intrigue and gossip, something the kids will love, it manages to look stunning with a real sense of humor.

There’s a gorgeous pool, to wind down after a long day of exploring and it’s within walking distance to Foggy Bottom metro station, making it the perfect home from which to explore Washington DC with kids.

Contributing Writer: Karen Quinn

IMG_1599Karen is a family travel blogger and shares her stories over at Are We There Yet Kids
about adventuring around the world with her seven year old daughter Piper. They love finding great value activities, places to stay and family-friendly restaurants all over the world and are always happiest either on or planning their next vacation.

You can also get social with Karen:

 

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Unique Gifts for Mom That Will Put You On Her Nice List!

Every mom LOVES a heartfelt gift from her husband and children. After Instagram stalking and Internet strolling I have come up with an amazing list of gifts for mom this 2018 Holiday Season. Okay, I get it. Shopping for us moms can be difficult. Here’s hoping this list will make the mom on your list super happy this Christmas or Hanukkah (or birthday). Also, this is one big “hint, hint” for my family —ha-ha, just kidding … kind of.

This Multiple Tiny Names Necklace is literally to die for! Not only is it beautiful it is the perfect everyday piece or layering necklace. This necklace is every Mom’s dream! It comes in several finishes and unlike the typical name necklace, you can have all your children’s names on this one (up to five names). This necklace is on the top of my mommy Christmas list.

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$135

Jaysandjewels.com

Motherhood Winging It T-shirt from Mom Culture is a must have for all the mammas out there! Get the mom on your Christmas list this fun and honest T-Shirt. They also have other great motherhood inspired items for the Mom on your list.

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$28

Momculture.com

The perfect Phunny She MugsCoffee Mug to fit your mamma’s personality and sense of humor from She Mugs. Seriously, I love all these mugs, the hardest part is picking just one!

outstanding

$11.99

Shemugs.com

Chat Books make the perfect gift for preserving memories for mom this holiday season. I love ordering chat books to make sure my cellphone photos last a life time. Make Mom a special book from all your great cell phone picks and make her Christmas extra special this year.

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$10+

ChatBooks App or use this link to get $10 off your first book Chatbooks.com

Fab Fit Fun Subscription!This is for the husband or children looking to be on the nice list this year! Fab Fit Fun is a seasonal subscription box with fashion, beauty and all kinds of other seasonal trends and goodies in one box. Splurge and get her a year’s worth and she will be showered with fun gifts Summer, Fall, Spring and Winter.

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$49 quarterly use code WELCOME10 for $10 off your first box.

Fabfitfun.com

A subscription to WINC a monthly wine box subscription … enough said. Give mom the gift of relaxing with a glass of wine all year round.

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$30+ a month use the code IHUSTLEFORHER for $22 off your order.

Winc.com

UGG Slippers! These are not just any slippers. They are super comfy, fashionable and sturdy. Every Mother might not know about these, need or want these, but once she slips them on she will be so excited she has them.

$99.95

on Amazon

FOREO LUNA Play Plus: Portable Facial Cleansing Brush. I got one of these in a FabFitFun box and am in LOVE with it. Every night I use this my face feels smooth and refreshed. I never would have bought this for myself and am so glad I got one because it is now the best part of my nightly routine.

$49

on Amazon

East/West Tote Customized Bag. OH MY GOSH, these are so cool. Get your momma one that is custom to fit her style and personality. You get to pick the mini pom-pom color, trim color and the text style and color. Get creative and think of something you know she will love. For example, my bag would say #ihustleforher or Supermom or pick a phrases like “There is no life like Momlife.” They also have other smaller bag options if you don’t want to splurge for the large tote.

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$168

islandtoeastside.com

A Gift Card to her Favorite Store. Get Mom a gift card she HAS to spend on herself by making sure it is for a store she can’t end up using for the kids or someone else. Places like Sephora or Lululemon are perfect for most mammas! So if you don’t want to commit to a tangible gift, let her have some fun and pick it for herself.

Don’t forget if shopping online use EBATES! you will save money on most small and large online retailers they even have some in store saving so if you are not already an Ebates member register today!

 

Some but not all links provided are associated to affilate programs.*

GiftsForMompin

8 Tips For Traveling to a Big City with young children.

Visiting big cities can be intimidating at times but so much fun with your kiddos. Here are some tips for parents traveling to big cities with preschool aged children. Hopefully, these tips will help you enjoy the journey more and allow you to venture past your comfort zone to places like New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, London, Paris, or whatever big city you might have on your family bucket list.

  1. Bring a lightweight foldable stroller: There are lots of reasons for this but the #1 reason is public transportation. If you plan on taking the Subway (and you should) you will need a stroller you can fold up quickly, and carry while carrying small children. Some people might skip the stroller, but I would not advise that since you will be doing a lot of walking. Baby carriers are nice but keeping a baby or toddler in one all day is close to impossible from my experience.
  2. Plan ahead: Make sure you plan what sites you are seeing upon arrival. Map out the mode of transportation you’ll be taking so you don’t waste time figuring it out when you get there.
  3. Use Uber Family: If you plan on taking a taxi or other car service consider Uber Family. They come with a car seat for toddlers and are safer than no car seat. Make sure you research the car seat laws as well before you go so you are prepared.
  4. Bring a good backpack: Bringing a good backpack is better than bringing a side bag or purse. It will fit more but also will be easier when carrying children or strollers. You can fit all the necessities like, diapers wipes, snacks, your wallet and a change of clothes.
  5. Be ready to wander: When traveling in general you need to be prepared to wander and get lost. Make sure you are set for the day when you leave your hotel because who knows where the day might lead you. Relax and go with the flow. If things don’t go as planned, then be ready to figure out something else to do.
  6. Bring a soft wearable baby carrier: If you have a soft baby carrier, like a Baby K’Tan, bring it to stuff in your backpack. This is in case you need to “wear” your baby or toddler around for a bit. It’s helpful on public transportation, or if baby needs to nap and viewing the city activity from her stroller is too distracting.
  7. Bring a mobile phone charger: This is for more than one reason. One, you will be taking lots more photos on your phone so the battery will likely go down quicker. Two, you might get lost or use google more than normal and don’t want to get caught with a dead battery in the city.
  8. Get a hotel in a more residential area: If visiting a city, finding a hotel away for the hustle and bustle can be better with small children. Less noise at night and more family-friendly dining nearby. There are also normally tons of parks in the city around residential areas and it is nice to have somewhere to take the kids to play nearby.

Safe travels, and don’t forget — traveling with kids is possible and fun! Take a deep breath and enjoy the special family time. You and your children will learn so much and the memories will last a lifetime.

Tips for traveling to a big city with toddlers