Category Archives: Families
How to be a tourist in your own city?
Every year, one of my friends goes on a staycation in Boston. They stay at a hotel and become tourists. Because I have never lived in Boston, I’ve always felt a little disconnected from and the city. I used to live in Washington, D.C. and I could tell where you to go to dinner, or a great cafe to read a book, or directions to any place in the capital. So, this item of staying in the city and spending more time exploring it was really appealing. If you follow me, you know we LOVE to travel but because we just bought a house we are sticking to some smaller trips this year.
In the thick of busy season, I blocked off Veteran’s Day Weekend for our staycation. Fall is a busy time for me and I could tell my schedule was impacting the household so I thought blocking off a weekend, despite my work might do everyone some good. Once I got around to looking at hotels they were too expensive for Friday and Saturday, so we opted for spending the day in the city on Saturday, coming home, going back in on Sunday, and spending Sunday night in the city. After the dates were secured, I bought tickets to the BYSO and then looked up which museum passes were available at the library. The plan was starting to form.
We recently moved and don’t take public transportation as often but the kids always seem to enjoy it despite their looks of despair below. We spent the morning with friends at the BYSO’s performance of Peter the Wolf. The kids had a chance to attend the instrument zoo first testing out a few string instruments. My kids are really into a podcast called Circle Round, so we thought they would enjoy this performance of storytelling accompanied by music.
After the BYSO’s performance of Peter the Wolf, we grabbed boba tea with our friends, ate lunch and set off for the main branch of the Boston Public Library. This has been on my to do list since moving to Boston but I’ve never blocked off the time to go. Does anyone else have lists like this? Places that want to see but never make the time for it to happen? In the local photography circles, there was always talk of how beautiful the building is (and also the high fees to shoot there, which I completely understand) so I wanted to check it out.
We toured the library and then camped out in the Children’s section for awhile. Ezra who loves reading was off with a book.
Before heading home on the T, we stopped at Eately for a quick snack and just to look around.
On Sunday, we packed our suitcases and started our on day two of our adventure. We took public transportation to the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum. It was another local gem that I’ve heard a lot about. The library had a museum pass so we were sold.
If you have never been, the museum Isabella Stewart Gardner built is quite stunning especially the courtyard which is very calming and peaceful. There is a live exhibit where a singer gives someone the gift of song. They select one person walking by, bring them into the courtyard and sing directly to them, one-on-one. It is quite moving and even the kids were captivated. Online I saw that on Saturdays there are activities for children which would have been a better for kids since they were not entertained by much else. Sadie did say Isabella must have been rich because this place must have cost two thousand dollars.
After the museum, we walked by to our hotel, the InterContinential Hotel for some swimming and then dinner in the North End. The pool was a requirement of the kids but they didn’t really spend much time in it. I will say, that I really loved the location of the hotel. It was convenient to the majority of our activities.
There wasn’t much to do in the hotel so first thing Monday morning we walked over to Flour Bakery in Seaport for breakfast and then spent some time at Martin’s Park next to the Children’s Museum. Ezra hadn’t been to the park yet so it was fun watching them explore a new place. We were at the Children’s Museum two weeks earlier for a Circle Round performance – an amazing podcast for kids – so we elected for the New England Aquarium (library passes, yay!) for the afternoon.
Sadie is walking through some new art outside the aquarium.
Ezra loves the aquarium so it was a great place for us to spend the afternoon. We grabbed lunch and some food trucks and then spent hours at the exhibits. It has been at least a year since we have gone and noticed a few new changes to the exhibits.
What places in Boston are on your must see list? Or, your if I had a free afternoon I’d go to this place list?
How to take your family’s holiday card photo
The holidays are around the corner and you realized that you don’t have a family photo for your holiday card, or maybe you just want to document how everyone looked. Every year I run into this problem despite being a photographer, I still had no idea what photograph we would use use for our holiday card. Sometimes I can take collage of photographs and put a card together while other times I used a photographer from a family session earlier in the year. I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful friend, who happened to be photographer, take photos of my family earlier in the year but I wanted something that more current.
At this point it was too late to hire someone….so…my idea, let’s try and take our own family photos this year. It sounds so easy but in reality it was a lot harder than I expected. If you do venture out on your own here are some tips to hopefully make it smoother.
Schedule your session
Treat like a session you would pay for. Pick a date and time. If you are going to try to take your own photos treat it like a session with a photographer and put the date and time in the calendar. My personal preference is to take photos about 60-90 minutes before sunset but you can do what works best for your family. I use the Time and Date website to determine when the sun will rise and set.
Find a location
Once you have a date – location scout. Decide if you want to take photos in a city or park and then go there a few days before with a willing participant to take a few test shots at the time you are scheduled to photograph your family. This will help you see if you need to make any adjustments. The more prepared you are the smoother it will – hopefully – go. If you want to take the photographs in your home, watch the light and see if there is a time of day that works best.
Select your outfits
Deciding what to wear can be tricky for some people. I always recommend selecting one outfit and working from there. Instead of trying to match everyone (i.e., all blue) think about adding in complimentary colors. For our photos, to get my daughter on board, I bought her a new sparkly outfit. I knew this would help her get excited about the whole thing. To compliment her, my plan was to dress everyone else in pink, blue and maroon tones. My son had different plans and wouldn’t change his clothes. Alternatively, stop stressing and just wear your everyday clothes. We put a lot of undue pressure on ourselves for the perfect photograph and that process can be torturous. People are happier when they are comfortable.
When I tried to take our family photos, everything fell apart. My son wouldn’t change his clothes and insisted on wearing his bike helmet for 20 minutes. He also wouldn’t remove his name tag from Hebrew school earlier in the day. My husband wore the wrong outfit and invited his parents at the last minute. Also, once I got my camera out my son starting screaming that he was hungry and we realized he hadn’t eaten lunch. So, if this happens what to you, here are some tips to help get through your photos.
Focus on what you can take
In order to not waste the time, I focused on my daughter and my husband. It is okay if everyone isn’t looking at the camera. You can still capture their relationship and love by having them interact.
Once my son came around to participating, I worked on a photo of my children together. My son was making awful faces so to combat this I gave the kids tasks. In the photo below, I asked my kids to jump from the rock and then run as fast as they could. The photo I wanted was one of anticipation.
Taking photos of your own family or kids in this type of setting is hard. Really. Really. Hard. It is so much easier for me to take photos of other people’s family than my own. My son insisted on roaring and acting like a dragon. That is who is was at that age. Despite this, I think we still captured something pretty cute and funny.
And, then a few moments later this happened.
Have fun and be playful
Since we were having a hard time getting Ezra to cooperate, my husband and I tried to make into a game. Below we asked the kids to tickle my husband. The kids went directly for the newly grown beard instead, which makes for a humorous photo.
Don’t forget to get in the frame
After about 40 minutes of pure chaos, I had scrapped the idea of getting a photo of us all together. I wasn’t in any photos but then remembered to hand the camera over to my husband. The settings were set and he took this lovely photo of my daughter and me.
Bribe your kids
I have mixed feelings on bribing kids. I think it is important to recognize that not everyone wants their photos taken but if you can make it fun enough it won’t seem like a burden. However, a few years ago in my career, I felt a lot of pressure to have an amazing photograph of my family, because is was an extension of I did for a living.
Even though I had given up on a photo of the four of us, I somehow managed to convince everyone to attempt one more try with a bribe of ice cream. Before taking the photo I increased my aperture to f/5.6 to make sure everyone would be in focus. There are four different ways you can take a photo of everyone.
(1) Hand the camera over to someone else
(2) Selfie stick
(3) Self timer feature
(4) Wireless remote
I opted for the wireless remote since I know that my children love to push the button. Well, we will didn’t get a fantastic photo but we are all in one photo.
Beth Ann is a lifestyle photographer based in Belmont Massachusetts just outside of Boston. She is currently booking Boston NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY, Boston FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY, Boston BABY PHOTOGRAPHY SESSIONS & SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHY SESSIONS.
Reasons why your next Boston family session should be at home
We are winding down on the busy season for photographers. In New England, fall is a popular time for family photographs. Not only are parents looking to update their family portrait but the impressive foliage creates a gorgeous backdrop.
It might seem odd that I’m writing about having an indoor family session, but here me out. I love photographing families outside in a playful manner under a gorgeous sunset; however, as I photograph more and more families in their home I see how it is such a natural fit.
So, why should you consider it, let me help explain.
Kids can be themselves.
At your home, kids are on their home turf. For the shy kid that needs time to warm up, or the child that doesn’t want their photo taken there is a comfort that might not be there when you bring them to an unfamiliar place. My son dislikes having his photos taken but when we are all engaged in an activity or he is showing the photographer his favorite toy or book all is forgotten.
We capture your family’s interests.
As kids get older, their interests change. As I look back on my own photos, not only do the kids grow and get older but it is a trip down memory lane to see how Sadie used to pretend to be a doctor, or how we used to do a lot of science experiments. Family sessions are planned around your children’s personalities. Sometimes I can come in and I can work off the children’s interests in an organic way, while other times we can pre-plan a few activities that everyone can participate in such as baking, playing a game, water balloon flight, etc.
The details aren’t lost.
How does your son hold his pen? Do your daughter’s feet touch the ground when she sits at the kitchen table? Do you remember the silly face your oldest makes to get his baby sister to laugh. These seemingly small details are so much bigger when you look back on them years later.
But what about my home?
Don’t worry about where you live. Everyone thinks their condo/apartment/house isn’t clean enough, nice enough, fill-in-the-blank enough. When I was a child we had a green shag rug in our living room and I love looking back on those photos. To me, seeing them is a glimpse into the past and those details bring back other memories. We had a session in our current house a few months after moving in. A few walls were half painted and not one room was settled. I don’t see those imperfections in the photos. What I do notice is my son’s smile, or how my husband is interacting with our daughter.
5. But, can we still take photos all together?
Yes, of course, and your kids will be more relaxed – or hyper – but definitely more cooperative.
And, if you are really lucky you’ll get a photo with Leonardo.
How to get a playful home photography session with three kids
Many of my family photography sessions take place outside but I really love a family session at home. Sessions at home are more personal and can be catered to the interest of the family. When mom and I chatted we discussed the interests of the children and any gestures of characteristics that the children have at this stage. We met in January so meeting indoors worked well for the cold day. At the end of the session we all bundled up and ran around outside kicking soccer balls, shooting basketballs and playing on the swings.
The boys are really into soccer and football and dance parties. Like any younger sister, her daughter is in to whatever her older siblings are doing. Facial expressions that range from stink eye to broad smiles and giggling fits are common with the youngest. The kids pile on each other and love snuggling and hugging. Music and dancing are a big part of life at home. With this information, we tried to capture most of what life was like at home. As an added bonus the grandparents were visiting from Europe so we were able to include them in many photographs too.
The key to this type of session is just to have fun and show off their personalities.