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We take out our camera, and the little  ones  run the other way.  Mom stares at you, and you start to sweat. Here is what I do when I get a toddler in the studio that wants nothing to do with me.  These simple and quick tips can apply to all kids, but are especially helpful during toddler sessions.

1. Warm up and don’t worry about your first few images.

It takes us all  a while to warm up, and it’s completely normal to be nervous when photographing a little person who can sit still for about mmmm never.  Allow yourself some time to get settled and get comfortable with your settings. Breathe, breathe, breathe.  Shut out all the noise and be present.

2. Pick your settings and know around where you want to be with ISO, F-fstop, and shutterspeed. For my style of shooting, my F-stop will always be around 2.8, but 3.5 if it is close up or with more than one child in the image.

I usually start by picking my f-stop. Next, I set my ISO which I try to keep as low as possible.  Last, I  keep my shutterspeed above 200 ( always above 200 when working with kids). I usually choose to adjust my shutter speed based on whether I need more or less light.

3.  Reassure Mom it’s ok if their little on is not feeling up to it.

This is a big one. If someone took me to a new and unfamiliar place, placed me in front of a camera and said “Ok now look like you are having the time of your life!” Huh?  Reassure Mom that it’s ok. She may be afraid of judgment (Can you believe this kid?) or she may be worried you are not “getting anything.” You are the professional. Reassure her it’s ok. Even if you haven’t gotten any good ones (yet),  tell her you have (because your will). She will relax and the little will feed off relaxed energy.

4. Trust yourself.

I used to get super freaked out when a little one wanted nothing to do with me. All I could think about was wanting to stop the session and how disappointed my client would be when getting their images.  When you see that they are just not up for it, back off. Put your camera down for a second and give them some space. After a minute or two, keep shooting and put on your big girl panties. The number one obstacle as a photographer (for me) is not trusting your talent. Because my style of photography is not about the cheesy smiles, or making sure the little ones look at me camera for that whole shoot, I know my clients will love the art I create and the connections I capture. Believing that will in turn allow me to relax and trust that there is something good there.

5. Dig deep and photograph what you would want to remember. Include mom in the images, and make the child feel safe.

The cuddles, the tiny details, all the wonder that is there during this precious time. The curls that will soon be gone after a haircut, the chubby wrists holding that special toy. Soon these littles will not be so little anymore, and these tiny pieces of mom’s heart will be etched in those photographs.

I hope these simple tips were helpful and I hope to share more tips for beginning photographers, or if you are a mom just wanting to learn more about photography!

 

 

 

 

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A flow of love

A peace that was filled with faith..

As I listened to the wise words of these new and not so new mothers

I took it all in.

Exhaling behing my camera, I visually breathed in the calmness

that was gently being passed on.

Each click, a validation, a security, a promise that this baby will come exactly as it should

and at just the right time.

As we light our candles when Baby Mason begins to stretch and peek out into this new world,

I will again breathe in this moment

that speaks of a woman’s magnificent power.

Magnificently magical.

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It was the warm homemade donuts on an overcast beginning,

the I never get to have this much sugar kind of morning

the simple home

yet heart bursting family love

It was the sweet words…

“You know what’s funny? Your shoes are backwards!”

It was the wind in the hair, taking my dolly with me, and my fancy shoes

kind of bike ride…

“Where are we going, Blue Windows?” (my kind of girl)

The I want to do everything my sister does kind of life,

the please slow down…

you’re growing too fast,

stay with me and be kind of day.

It was all that, and so much more, that made this morning so perfect.

Thank you Jelinowicz Family

Enjoy the Jelinowicz Family Film!

Here are some of my favorite images from their session. For full family sessions, I take my favorites and give them an artistic black and white edit.

Black and white really speaks to me, and I feel it adds so much to the story that is being told.

Here are my choices for their session.

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Macy is not only an amazing mother, but she is also a Childbirth Educator who teaches the Bradley Method to expecting couples in Long Beach.

We had so much to talk about! Having used this method with our own homebirth, I can’t recommend it enough.

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Carne asada Sundays… sweet smells of homemade salsa, coziness of warm tortillas, and cool barefoot feet.

The summer days that seem they will never end, the memories that you hold on to on dark winter days.

This is where their love lives, and it’s such a sweet place to tuck away in your heart.

No fancy dishes, no extravagant meals. Mama’s cooking and Papi’s grilling needs no further side dishes.

Thank you Mejia family for such a delicious evening!

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Connection. It’s what keeps our families together, it’s what allows our kids to stay grounded no matter how far they walk off the path. Whether it’s having a special dance, or playing their favorite video game (while knowing all the characters), making their favorite dinner, or a welcome home hug. It’s the simple gestures that allow our little ones to feel home time and time again. This precious session included wild curls, coloring, tickles, twirls,  and soothing cuddles. Yesenia and Pablo  fill their home with warmth, they are constant rock that strives to keep their family connected. As we all know, parenting is a  job that can test every inch of you. Yet in the end, it is sweet joy and lots of handmade kid’s cards that make it all worthwhile.

On a side note, I have to say that being at this home truly moved me. At one point, I was so full of emotion, I cried (and I wasn’t even pregnant yet!) There was a moment when Yesenia’s daughter was watching her mom dance one of her favorite songs. I will never forget the look that she gave her as she watched Yesenia flow her skirt, twirl around and sing sweet notes. Her eyes wide and smile beaming, she was watching a true princess. And that pretty much sums up why I do what I do. Being able to be part of these precious moments, and capturing true love in it’s deepest form, well it just doesn’t get any sweeter.

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