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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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.

TinyNAmesNecklace

$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.*

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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

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

When I was a full-time photographer, this time of year was always my busiest season. All the family “mini” and full sessions filled my nights and weekends from November through early December. Since I have the perspective of mother and photographer, sharing some of my holiday family photography wisdom with you all may enhance your experiences and encourage you to document this 2018 holiday season.

  1. Consider a full session: Mini sessions are great and affordable, BUT they are limited and sometimes can be a little too “holiday themed.”So consider spending the extra time and money for a full session. This way you can have a variety of images to choose from and end up with canvas-worthy photos to decorate your home and others to choose for a fabulous Christmas 2018 card. You will not regret the decision, I promise. The other thing to consider is mini sessions with kids are sometimes not long enough to get a photo of your family with everyone happy and looking in the direction of the camera.
  2. Take your family photos while you’re traveling: If your family plans on taking a holiday trip or visiting family in a new city or town this November or December, consider hiring a local photographer and taking your family photos during your trip. This will be different from your typical family photos and at the same time help preserve the good memories you make on the trip. Read more about taking photos when you travel here: Take Your Family Photos When You Travel
  3. Book ASAP: This is kind of a no brainer but if you want to use the photos for Christmas cards, book a sitting as soon as you can so you are not waiting on pins and needles for your photos to be edited and returned to you. Photographers are busy this time of year and while we understand you need these photos, we also have 20+ other shoots we are trying to edit and get out the door in time for Christmas cards. Also, on a side note, just asking for one is never as easy as it seems, so book in advance, and wait for your photos to be finished and delivered to you in the time frame you and your photographer decide on.
  4. Be Prepared with bribes: Before you arrive tell your children what they will get for doing a good job at the photo shoot. This can be anything you want — big, small  — but be prepared! Even if you think it will go, well plan on rewarding them for their good behavior. Photo shoots are not easy and if they know good behavior once a year gets them a new toy or a meal at their favorite restaurant, why not do it? Make sure to tell the photographer what the reward will be so the photographer can play along with the game.
  5. Try to enjoy yourself: I know this can be hard believe me, but try to have fun with the process. The best images I ever capture are the fun moments in between. Same goes for my own family photos, I always love the candid moments versus the posed images. Not many people are comfortable in front of the camera but know that if you just relax and be yourself it will show in the images.
  6. Make sure to take holiday photos every year: If you can swing a mini and full session of family members, make sure to take photos every year. You will be able to look back at how your family changes from year to year, and have those precious memories documented for a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

So get out there are schedule your 2018 sessions, and if you are in the Atlanta area consider contacting me LHM Photography via email.

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How to Survive Hosting the Holidays- Eight Tips

Hosting for any holiday can be stressful, but we all must do it every now and then, especially if you have small children. My husband and I prefer to host so we don’t have to worry about travel plans for a family of four with two under five years old. Holiday travel is hard enough and adding little ones to the mix doesn’t make it any easier! Since we have hosted our fair share of holidays at our home, I figured I would share some of my wisdom and tips for surviving as a host for the 2018 holiday season. So here we go:

Tip One: Ask someone to help document the day for you. As a photographer, this one was hard at first because I always assumed I would take pictures, but the reality of hosting always gets in the way so make sure you have one or two designated documenters to help take pictures of everyone throughout the day. Don’t forget to tell them to snap a few photos of the details and the host, too! 

Tip Two: Get disposable everything! There is nothing worse than a full house and no clean dishes. Make sure to have disposable options so there is less clean up at the end of the day. For you environmentally friendly people, there are lots of great earth-friendly disposable options.

Tip Three: Popup garbage cans are a godsend! I got one for my baby’s first birthday party and will never host a party or holiday in my home without one again. They are so easy to use and dispose of at the end of the day. We have all been there when you have 10-plus people in your home and you can’t seem to keep the garbage can empty, or you have to tell someone every five minutes where to find a garbage can. This will help with all that!

Tip Four: Take deep breaths and have lots of wine on hand! This seems like a no brainer but it is hard to breathe and relax in the moment, so take a few deep breaths throughout the holiday, and take a sip of wine or whatever type of beverage that helps put you in your happy place. Better yet get a Winc subscription! Use the promo code ihustleforher to get $22 off your first box of wine!

Tip Five: Excuse yourself for some personal space. This helps if tip four is not enough. If you need a break or are starting to feel anxious, sneak up to your room or onto the back porch for some fresh air. This will help center you and calm you back down if you are starting to feel overwhelmed with a full house.

Tip Six: Eat as you go! This one is easy, sometimes as the host there is not much time to eat so snack and test as you are putting it all out. That way you are fed and you get to try everything while it is still hot — a novelty for most mothers!

Tip Seven: When people ask if they can bring anything, be prepared with an answer. This seems kind of silly but how many times do family members ask what they can bring and you say “nothing” or “yourself”? When the reality is you are forking the bill for dinner and drinks so why not let them bring something! Make sure it is something you need and something that will save you some time and money in the end, like wine and dessert or a side dish.

Tip eight: Try to enjoy yourself. This is an obvious one but make sure to have fun and enjoy the time with your family. You don’t get to see them all together very often, so have fun and make memories with your family and help your kids make memories and start new traditions!

I hope these tips help add some sanity into your holiday hosting. Hopefully, everyone reading this has a wonderful 2018 holiday season. Happy Hosting, everyone!

13 Must Haves for Baby: 10-13 Months​

  1. Push Walker: These stand-up walkers are great for two things; one, stationary play and two, helping them learn how to walk or assisting them in walking with confidence. Fisher Price makes a good one that has activities on it set in three stages, so it grows with your toddler.
  2. Robeez (shoes): These things are awesome! They are made of leather and slide on as easy as a sock. Unlike socks, they provide more protection and traction for tiny toddler feet as they crawl and toddle around. Not only are they easy to put on and take off but they also come in all kinds of fun designs. 
  3. Convertible Car Seat: Your baby is growing now and it is less convenient to carry around the infant car seat. Time for an upgrade! Find a good convertible car seat that can grow with your baby from rear facing until booster if possible.                                                             
  4. One-Year Photo Session: Don’t skip the fun photos of your little one turning a year old! There are so many options these days: cake smash, studio, or fun candid photos. Pick what fits your family’s personality best and go with it! I did some fun themed shots and saved the cake photos for her birthday party. It was fun to compare my oldest daughter’s one-year shoot with her little sister’s.IW5A7011
  5. Nonslip Socks: My youngest has chubby feet, so I always need to have socks or shoes on her so she does not rub the tops raw when crawling around. She is learning to walk at this age so making sure her socks are nonslip is important.
  6. Umbrella Stroller: Now that you are taking baby out of the car seat more often, having a good umbrella stroller on hand is ideal. We love our Summer 3D umbrella stroller. It’s light, sturdy, folds up, and is easy to use.
  7. Ride on Vehicle: We got this as a gift for our first daughter when she was one and it is one of those toys that lasts forever! Babies love pushing it around and will eventually learn how to ride it around. My four-year-old and her friends also love playing on it still!
  8. Foam Picture Books: These are good for introducing baby to colors, shapes animals and other first words. Both my girls love these types of books and it is great for their mental and dexterity development, so it is a win-win.                                                      
  9. Sorting and Nesting Toys: Toddlers love to sort, stack, unsort, and un-stack. Sorting and nesting toys are perfect for working on their early problem-solving skills.                            
  10. Transitional Sippy Cups: The time has come to ditch the bottles and start the transition to big girl or boy cups. It is hard to recommend just one because all kids are different. I recommend just trying out a few and go with what they take to, and stick with it.                                        
  11. Wooden Puzzles: These are great for little ones learning how to use their hands. You can get them in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They love picking up the pieces and moving them around. Eventually, they will put them in their right spots and if you get animals, shapes or letters it is a good way to teach them what those are, too.            
  12. Play Kitchen: These are great for toddlers and preschoolers, male and female. They can move things around and start to learn how to play pretend, especially if they have an older sibling. Unfortunately, they take up a lot of room so make sure you have a good place for it.
  13. Little People Farm or House: These are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers; they are sturdy and will last through preschool.                                                                                       

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