Tips For Stress-Free Family Photos with Young Children

Tips for Stress-FreeFamily Photos withYoung ChildrenA few months ago I wrote a heartfelt Instagram post all about why I prioritize getting professional family photos at least once a year. Especially at these ages they are truly growing so fast and they are such different little people each six months. The thing about family photos is we do them for the end result, but it is certainly a big financial investment, and aside from that, we know that it can be a somewhat stressful experience. From trying to find the perfect outfits for the whole family, to worrying how the kids will behave for the session, it’s not exactly anyone’s preferred way to spend an afternoon. BUT, it’s ALWAYS WORTH IT.

Since we’ve done this a time or seven and I take family photos myself, I thought I’d give you my expert opinion on how you can temper the sting of family photos and give you my best tips for stress-free family photos with young children.

Let go of the “perfect” smiling photo: If you have ever tried taking photos with young kids you know it’s nearly impossible to get a photo of everyone looking in the same direction at the same time, let alone have everyone giving their best/cute smiles all at the same time. A photographer can work some magic, but they can’t turn young kids into obedient robots, so don’t go into the shoot thinking about just getting that ONE GOOD smiling shot. Not only is it far fetched, but to be honest, those photos are boring. Who wants everyone smiling perfectly at the camera when you can have this: 9982

Let them be little: The best photos are the ones that capture the spirit of your family. The only way you are going to get these shots is by letting your kids run wild and free, be themselves, play, giggle and smile. The less direction you give them the better, because the more direction you give them the more they really don’t want to follow those directions anyways 😉

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Don’t be above bribery: There will be times where you need your kids to cooperate to a certain extent (come sit on mommy’s lap, give your brother a big hug, etc), for those times, don’t be above a mess-free bribe like a jelly bean or a smarty (don’t use chocolate or anything else that has the potential to get their clothes and hands super messy). You can also plan to go do something fun after, like get ice cream, as a reminder to be on their best behavior during the photo session. Bribery is not my typical go-to parenting strategy, but I have no problem using it in desperate times!

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Stress less: Kids can FEEL your energy. If you are stressed and frazzled and clearly not enjoying yourself because all you’re worrying about is your kids listening or looking a certain way or doing a certain thing, they will pick up on that and all of a sudden taking family photos is going to turn into a really NOT FUN experience. Seriously, just take a deep breath and trust your photographer to capture your family in all their crazy glory. You don’t need to worry about your kids being super well-behaved or perfect listeners, they’re kids, they’re not going to be perfect sweet angels! Your photographer doesn’t expect that and neither should you. Just go with the flow!

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HAVE FUN! Truly, genuinely have fun! Go into it telling your kids they just get to play and have fun, and then follow suit yourself. Family photos don’t need to be stressful. Find a photographer who is good with kids and families, who will set the vibe for a fun session and bring out the best in your kiddos 🙂

{All photos by Fiona Margo Photography, who is based out of Bainbridge/Seattle and truly could not recommend enough. She blew us away with the photos she got, the process was painless and fun and our kids — and us parents! — had a blast with her!}

 

2017 Photography Highlights

Since I haven’t had the time to set up a dedicated site for Liz Denfeld Photography, I thought I’d put some of the 2017 highlights into a blog post so at least I have a roundup of some of my favorite photos from the year all in one place!

If you’re wondering what my style or philosophy is, I’d sum it up in one sentence: Capture the crazy. That’s what I want to do. If you want perfectly posed, everyone smiling family photos then I’m probably not your gal. Yes, I’d love to get one of those photos, but my absolute favorite moments to capture are those real, in-between moments of laughter, love, crazy, fun! I don’t want you to stress about your kids being well-behaved or doing exactly this-or-that. I just want them to be them and I want to capture your family interacting and having a great time. Having your photo taken can feel awkward enough, no need to have the pressure of getting the most perfectly posted picture on top of it!

I hope you enjoy this highlights of my year. I am still not sure what exactly I’m doing with my photography, but I do know that I find so much joy in capturing special moments between loved ones <3

BowmanFamilyFall17-6BowmanFamilyFall17-10BowmanFamilyFall17-11BowmanFamilyFall2017-32ElliottNewborn-3_FAVElliottNewborn-4_FAVElliottNewborn-5_FAVElliottNewborn-7_FAVElliottNewborn-8_FAVElliottNewborn-11_FAVLongmateFamily-1_FAVLongmateFamily-2_FAVLongmateFamily-10_FAVFAV_OlsonFamilyFall17-8FAV_OlsonFamilyFall17-14FAV_OlsonFamilyFall17-17OlsonFamilyFall17-22OlsonFamilyFall17-50StellaNewborn-17StellaNewborn-28StellaNewborn-46StellaNewborn-59Rangeley-7WoodFamilyFall17-6WoodFamilyFall17-21WoodFamilyFall17-26WoodFamilyFall17-36Truman1stBirthday-88Truman1stBirthday-68Truman1stBirthday-79AnnaMaternity-55AnnaMaternity-58AnnaMaternity-63

All-Time Favorite Travel Photos

A month from today I’ll be on my way to Amsterdam for a week of fun with two girlfriends who live in the Netherlands. Thinking about being back in Europe literally makes my stomach do back flips — it’s a mix of nostalgia, excitement, fear and longing. I am so glad I mostly kept up with blogging while we lived in Amsterdam because going down memory lane and reading old posts and seeing all the photos I took is so fun. I mostly can’t believe we ever lived abroad and got to jet off to Spain and Italy whenever we felt like it! I totally got carried away the other night going through old travel posts and I couldn’t help but round up my absolute favorite photos from our travels over the years. Can’t wait to keep adding to this collection in the years to come — even better to have the kids by our sides 🙂

FLORENCE, ITALY

italyitaly2

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICAcapetown2capetown3capetown4

south africa 4south africa 5

KAUAI, HAWAIIhawaiihawaii1hawaii3

PARIS, FRANCE

paris4parisparis2paris3paris9paris10paris8parislockbridge

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

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BRUGGE, BELGIUMbrugesbruges2

EDINBURGH, SCOTLANDediburgh

LONDON, ENGLANDlondonlondon2

NICE, FRANCEnicenicefrance

POSITANO, ITALYpositano

SANTORINI, GREECEoiagreece2santorinisantorini6santorinisunsetsantorinisunset2

SEVILLE, SPAINseville

SWISS ALPSswissswitzerland

{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

{Our Babymoon}

I know not everyone is into the whole “babymoon” idea, but let’s be honest, Corey and I will take any excuse to go on a vacation! I, being the obsessive travel planner that I am, thought long and hard about what kind of babymoon I wanted to go on….

Due to work obligations, other travels we had planned, and the fact that I was getting more pregnant by the week, we only had a tiny five day window in December for our trip. I knew right away I didn’t want to go somewhere cold and adventurous (read: ski trip or anything like it). I knew I wanted sun, mostly because by that point in Portland you are really ready to escape the dreary rain and cold. I also wanted the vacation to be no-fuss, easy to get to (direct flight), and incredibly relaxing. 

Usually when we go on vacation we are planning out every day, choosing restaurants, hikes, attractions, etc etc. We wanted the opposite for our babymoon. Pure relaxation. No agenda. Just the huz and me and me and the huz. We knew we wouldn’t be taking a vacation like that as often once Elodie arrived, so that was our plan.

We ended up going back to our honeymoon destination because we knew how great the Hyatt was and were dying to stay there. We loved the food on the hotel grounds (which was great since we didn’t plan to leave). It was in hawaii – so hello, sun! And there are direct flights from Portland to Kauai, so boom – Kauai it was!

Minus one day of torrential thunderstorms and lightning, the trip was a dream. It was exactly what we had envisioned – pure relaxation and good quality one on one time. I couldn’t recommend the Hyatt in Poipu enough for any vacation – but especially a babymoon or honeymoon! A few photos from our trip below!
{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

{We’re Having a Baby!!!}

So….
{It says “We’re Pregnant!!! – Too bad the flash blew out the handwriting!}

Yippee!!!! Oh my goodness, I can’t even tell you how happy and excited I am that I finally get to shout our news from the rooftops! We’ve known for over two months now that little baby Denfeld is on the way, so it is such a relief to finally get to share the news with the world 🙂

I’m 14 weeks along and am just now finally starting to feel better. The first trimester was pretty miserable (aside from the first two weeks where I felt nothing and was convinced I couldn’t actually be pregnant!). But all-in-all, I know it could’ve been much worse, so even though I was nauseous 24/7 for 6 weeks straight, I wasn’t in the hospital and I only threw up, like, 10 times or something. So I’ll consider that a win!

So that should cover the “How are you feeling?” question, and as far as the second question we always get – will we find out the gender. The answer is h-e-l-l yes! We can’t find out soon enough! We should know by the end of this month, so stay tuned. And no, I have no “mothers intuition” of whether it’s a boy or girl… I seriously have NO idea! I wish I did! So we’ll all just have to wait and see 🙂

More to come… For now I’ll leave you with my sorry excuse for a bump photo. I vividly remember when Ashlee was pregnant she would say how her baby bump would be so much bigger after eating a burrito, and I couldn’t believe that could be true. Could food really make the baby belly come out? And now I can tell you with great confidence.. YES it does. This was the day after I enjoyed a huge Italian dinner, hence my more curvy state. When I woke up the next morning it was almost like it never happened. Boo! I’m excited for this little one to make more of an appearance in the next few weeks!
{First photo by Laura Nelson Photography – can’t wait to share more of our shoot with her! She is ah-may-zing!}

{Paul + Rachel // Married}

There are few things I love more than attending a wedding. I am just such a hopeless romantic and I will never get tired of watching two madly-in-love people committing their lives to each other. Corey and I were lucky enough to attend Paul and Rachel’s wedding when we were home in August. They had their ceremony in the Versailles Gardens, with the Fremont bridge perched perfectly behind them and had the reception right next door at The Castaway. What an incredibly beautiful night! Rachel and Paul are the sweetest couple and their love for one another was just radiating off of them the entire day and night. Congrats again, you two! We love you!

P.S. I’ve already gotten a few questions on my dress (you guys are clearly dress people like me!) It’s 2+ years old, I got it for my bachelorette party. It’s the BCBG Heart Applique dress if any of you want to look for it on ebay 🙂 )

{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Cooper Mountain Nature Park}

I’m a walker. My mom loves to walk. Corey loves to walk. My in-laws love to walk. We’re just a walkin’ family. So, needless to say, there was a lot of walking done while I was home for a month. One of my favorite places to go for a stroll was through Cooper Mountain Nature Park. It’s this gorgeous nature park 1 mile from my in-laws and 3 miles from my Mom (they live 2 miles apart – how awesome is that?!). It’s a peaceful place with gorgeous views and a few great trails. If you happen to live in the area and haven’t checked it out – you must go! 
P.S. Wouldn’t it be a gorgeous location for a photography session?!
P.P.S. I’m guest posting over on Betsy Transatlantically today – check it out!
And one from Instagram 🙂
 {Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Wine Tasting + Picnic at David Hill}

Things got so busy right before our trip to Portland I didn’t even get to blog about our two-year wedding anniversary. It fell on a work night, the day before I was leaving for home, so to be honest it wasn’t the most incredible anniversary ever. But we did make time to go out for an amazing meal (in a greenhouse!) and for some quality time together before I left Corey for two weeks (torture!).

When we were home, partly as a little celebration and partly just because we hadn’t been back since our wedding day, we went out to the winery where we tied the knot. Corey’s parents and my mom joined as we did a little wine tasting, then enjoyed a picnic among the vines enjoying a fantastic pinot noir. Being back was so special – the place hadn’t changed a bit.  

**Update! Apparently you guys like my dress 😉 Thanks! It’s from Zara. Unfortunately I got it on super sale while I was in Bruges with my sis, and I don’t see it online.

  {Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Libby + Scott 8.25.2012}

Wow. Before I get into today’s post I just want to say a huge thank you for all of your incredibly kind and encouraging words yesterday. I was this close to not publishing that post because it was so personal and made me feel very vulnerable. It made me realize (yet again) what an incredible community of friends I have made through this blog. I truly can’t thank you enough for taking the time to read my rambling and respond back such thoughtful remarks. It means the world.
Although I’m still not 100% out of my funk I am already starting to feel a lot better today (thanks in large part to your wonderful comments & emails and also to a good nights rest). I’d love to share with you some photos I took at my good friend Libby’s wedding. It’s the main reason I was home (I was a bridesmaid and wouldn’t miss it for the world!) and it was such a ridiculously beautiful, genuine and special day. Since I was in the wedding I didn’t get the chance to take as many photos as I would’ve liked, but of course I snapped a few! Hope you enjoy them.
  {Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}