celebrating mom with a photo session to last a lifetime - northern virginia photographer

I can't believe it's already the end of April and we're less than two weeks from Mother's Day! Mother's day is such an important holiday for so many of us. It's a special time of year to celebrate and give thanks to the Mom in our lives. Now that I'm a mother of two little girls, the understanding and appreciation is much deeper than before kids.

If you're still wondering what to do for the Mom in your life or maybe you're a mom looking for what you'd like to recieve, you should consider the gift of a photo session and here's why:

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As a mom and photographer, I am ALWAYS taking photos of my kids, husband, and others. (Have you seen my IG feed @eunicekimphotography with my kids all over it?! ) I love it and enjoy capturing our life but no matter who's the 'photographer' in the family, someone is always missing. It's rare to have images of the entire family or of mom. I'm not even talking about those perfect family photos that has everyone looking at the camera and smiling. No. I'm talking about the real moments of you connecting with each other and authentic emotions!

My family has hired a photographer every year since my soon-to-be 4 year old was born for that exact reason. To show that I was present too to play, cuddle, and be a part of the fun. Not just to observe and record. Also, my husband always complained he never had any photos of me with the kids or just the both of us - his photography skills are a work in progress. ;)

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Okay, so this all sounds great and you get it. Now the "BUT'S"...

- "Mom doesn't feel confident in-front of the camera right now": Mommas if you're reading this, I will be honest with you and tell you that not once did I feel like I was camera ready. I had either just given birth or I was in a crazy, exhausting phase of parenthood. But I knew how important these sessions were so I always push to have these done. I have yet to regret a single one. Do not let a little insecurity stop you from getting into the frame with your family because I know we all have a little bit of it. I totally feel you!

"It's just too stressful to get the whole family onboard and happy for photos": I totally get it. I have two toddlers and the idea is a little stressful. But like I said, it has always been worth it and if you take the time to plan ahead and prepare, it shouldn't be as stressful as you imagine. As a photographer, I love to get involved and help with every step. From planning outfits, finding the perfect location, to covering all of your concerns. I'm here to make this a fun experience for the whole family!

"My spouse or kids hate smiling and hate having their photos taken": I hear this so often but I've also never had someone not enjoy being inside the frame. Before the session starts, I usually tell parents to tell their kids that they're having a play date with me. We'll create games, maybe sing and dance to help loosen up everyone's nerves. From there it's all about connections and emotions. Not about the perfect smile or looking at the camera. The focus will be on having fun and using our senses to stay connected with each other.

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"We've never had our photos taken since our wedding": This is another common thing I hear from couples. How awkward they feel and unsure of what to do. Again, I'm here throughout every step and during the session I'll coach and direct to help with positioning. From there it's a breeze. Don't worry, there will be WAY less posing than your wedding! :)

*Tip:
- If you like the idea of having your everyday moments captured, inquire about an in-home lifestyle session. In-home sessions work great for those who are shy or uncomfortable in-front of the camera because it's in a place of familiarity. Little ones usually warm up quicker to the idea of having their photos taken at home as well.

So whether you're the type to do a yearly family session or just one every few years, I highly encourage you to look into hiring a professional photographer. If not for yourself, do it for your loved ones. Your kids may remember Mom or Dad being present but they may not remember how you held them, how you looked at them, or how young and beautiful you were. 

Shoot me an email on my CONTACT page if you have any questions or want to move forward with a gift!

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a family of boys - northern virginia family photographer

It's always fun for me to observe families with all boys. The interactions are a little different from what I experience day to day with my two girls, but like most kids, the level of playfulness and love they provide is the same!

I enjoyed playing in the fields with the Hein family as the sun set from afar. Here's a little view into my time with them. 

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top 10 must-have items to survive the first several years of parenthood - northern virginia mom

Recently, I had a conversation with my husband about the top items we were grateful for that has helped us survive parenthood. Our girls are currently ages 1.5 and 3.5 years old and we've tested so many 'recommended' baby and toddler items between the both of them. We aren't experts and I know every child and family needs differ but I thought these were worth sharing with you. My husband and I believe these are the top ten MUST-HAVES for parents with littles!

#1 White noise machine

A MUST for every parent! Yes, I mean for babies, children, and adults. Both of my girls have slept with white noise since birth and they sleep so peacefully with it. It drowns out noise very well - great for ones with siblings or house with thin walls. 

Recommend : Big Red Rooster 
We've tried a few machines and apps but this one is our favorite. Looks clean, loud volume, great white noise option, stays on all night without any problems, and compact for travel. 

 

#2 a 360 breastfeeding cover

I have gone through several breastfeeding covers and a 360 stretchy cover is hands down the best thing ever. For me, having full coverage meant that I could wear almost any top I wanted and didn't have to stick to breast-feeding friendly clothes! Woohoo! You get full coverage around your upper body and grows with your active child. You won't flash anyone in public with this thing! As a bonus, it can be used as a canopy carseat cover, shopping cart seat, and high chair cover. 

Recommend: Multi-use 5-in-one breastfeeding cover by Copper Pearl
There are similar products out there but I think this one provides the most coverage and best price.

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#3 Soft carrier with travel cover

I don't know how moms got anything done before soft carriers! I have cleaned the house, cooked, ran errands, traveled, and attended social events with my daughters in a soft carrier and it was a life saver. There are SO many kinds out there so you'll have to decide for yourself what fits your body type best. I have used the Beco Gemini carrier for both of my babies and we loved it.
In addition... if you have a soft carrier, I recommend buying a travel cover for it if you're anything like me and HATE when all those belts and clips are hanging loose all over the place. The travel cover is easy to use and keeps your carrier clean, protected, and compact when not in use. 

Recommend:
Carrier: Becco Gemini  
I'm a 5'3 small framed woman and my husband is a 6 foot slim man - this carrier fit us both well!
Travel cover: Dahlia G Designs on Etsy

 

 
#4 Freida nose sucker

This one is more common to see on registries lately but I still have to recommend it. No other apparatus out there can get out those deep, wet boogies out of tiny noses! When your child has a snotty nose and can't breathe, both of you will be grateful for this little thing. Use with nasal saline for even better results. Ahh, breathe!

Amazon link : Freida Nose Sucker

 
#5 A travel potty

Having a toddler who's potty trained is pretty awesome. The timing of when they have to use the potty is not! We've been in so many situations where my daughter had to use the potty on a road trip, at the beach, or park without a restroom nearby. Thank goodness we had a travel potty always sitting in our trunk or stroller. They come with disposable bags with an absorbant pad inside that is easily thrown onto the potty and removed when finished. It's an easy, clean job. Our SUV is large enough that I just let my daughter go in our trunk OR hide behind a door of our car.
Tip: Keep some wipes and hand sanitizer in the car too!

Recommend : OXO Tot 2-in-1 Go Potty
Very easy to use and comes with a nice little bag for storage.

#6 Blanket or small stuffed animal for comfort (12 months & older for safety)

My husband and I were both against having our children attached to a blanket or stuffed animal. Today, both of our girls are attached to a baby blanket and have one favorite stuffed animal. We are travelers and a military family that moves often. Looking back, we do not think it would have been possible to travel and move from home to home without these security items. Having these allowed our girls to feel comfort in any bed we put them in.
We do NOT let our girls bring them out of their rooms. This helps them from getting dirty, lost, and attached during the daytime. Only exception is during travel but even then, once we reach our destination, they remain in the bed.

Recommend : Baby Blanket by S.L. Home Fashions
My girls have been attached to these (just different patterns) but I'm sure any soft blankie will do.
 


#7 A diaper changing pouch

This one sounds pretty simple but this thing is also a small one that many overlook when becoming parents. Having a simple diaper pouch that stores wipes, diapers, a pad, and diaper cream kept my diaper bag organized and quick to access when needed. My husband was most thankful for it because he hated searching through the diaper bag for stuff and half the time he would forget to grab one of the items. Easy grab and go! 

Recommend: Diaper Clutch on Etsy
Highly recommend searching around on Etsy for a simple bag with velcro or zipper that can hold everything you need in one or two compartments. It's just easy and quick if you have less to deal with while in a dirty diaper situation.
 

#8 Sleep training night light

Our oldest never had any issues with bed time or leaving her bed before we got her. Until, one day, she did. We would find her downstairs early in the morning alone, waiting for us. Not cool! So we invested in a fancy sleep training night light that would tell her it was time for bed (turns into a moon) and when it was okay to come out of bed (turns into a sun). Within a few days, she had it down and our problem was solved! 

Recommend: The Good Nite Lite
It's pricey but worth every dollar if you have a toddler who loves to come out of their room before it's time! Comes with tips/advice how to successfully use the nite lite. Parents set the time for the sun and moon. 

#9 Shade sox

We have gone through several different types of devices to provide shade in the car. We ran into so many issues with ones that would cling, pull down, or had suction cups. They were horrible and would not last very long. Finally, we discovered the SHADE SOX! It's an amazing invention that can be easily thrown on and off car doors and provide complete shade. You can even roll down your windows! Mine lasted about a year before having to replace it from natural wear and tear.

Recommend: Shade Sox

 

#10 Toddler Backpack

The soft carrier is great for day-to-day use but when you're traveling, in the city, hiking, or at an outdoor event having a backpack carrier is the best thing EVER. Especially if you have a man to wear it! ;) Once your little one has good head control it's an excellent alternative to the soft carrier. I think littles enjoy being at the eye level (or higher) of adults so they can see what we see. It also has great compartments for taking your diaper bag contents with you and more.

Recommend: Deuter Kid Comfort
I also recommend purchasing the sunshade and rain cover. 

 

 

So that's it. The 10 things we are most grateful for at this point in our children's lives! Yes, you can totally survive without these items BUT I say try it out if it's something that might fit your needs. It may make your life just a little easier.

Tell me what you think of this little list!!
What has helped you and your little one make it through the day? 

 

Northern Virginia Family and Child Photographer

 

 

what to wear to a family photo session - northern va family photographer

Once you've booked a session, decided on a location, the next thing that families usually think about is what to wear. Clothes have the power to make us feel good and look good. They can also brighten and create depth. Picking out clothes for the family can feel overwhelming so I'm here to provide some guidance!

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TIP #1
COORDINATE
While it would be easier if we all wore white shirts and blue jeans, it would also create somewhat of a boring, flat photo. You want to compliment each other without matching and blending into another. Pick 2-3 colors that would be flattering for your family and incorporate them into the outfits - whether they're part of an accessory or clothing piece. Here are a few color schemes that go well together to get you started: 
- Denim, tan, red, brown
- Purple, white, beige, blue
- Blue, khaki, white, yellow, brown

TIP #2
FIND MOM'S OUTFIT FIRST
Once you've figured out the colors, find mom's outfit first. Almost always, mom is the the hardest to figure out. Start with what's in your closet. Maybe your favorite bottom or top that makes you feel really good. Then build from there. Ask yourself these questions, " Are you comfortable? Do you feel good? Is it you?". 

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TIP #3
LAYER UP AND ADD PERSONALITY
Think about what you could add to your outfits to help bring out your personality. It could be a favorite scarf, child's glittery boots, ruffles, a cable knit sweater, or a jean jacket. Layering up with clothing pieces or accessories with texture helps bring out depth in images. Patterns are OK too but try to limit patterns to one piece on one person. Too many patterns can be distracting.

TIP #4
DO NOT NEGLET THE SHOES!
Unless you're having a beach or in-home session which will require no shoes, don't forget about the shoes! It sounds silly but shoes stand out. Wear shoes that go with the outfit, are comfortable, and are clean. 

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TIP #5
KEEP HAIR NATURAL
You want everyone to look nice but when you slick back hair with gel or create tight curls, it can create unnatural images of your family. Stick to simple, but groomed. For girls and moms, if you'd like to do something a little more than a simple ponytail, try braided hairstyles. 

TIP #6
AVOID
Avoid brand logos, your best Sunday church outfit (unless it's for a special occasion), and anything that isn't YOU. DO stick to your family's style. It's easy to get distracted by fashion magazines and what you see online, but you want to be able to recognize your family.

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TIP #7
TAKE THE STRESS OFF AND HIRE SOMEONE
Not great at make up or want to pamper yourself a bit for the occasion? Hire a make up artist and/or hair stylist! 
Don't want to deal with or know where to start when it comes to finding outfits? Hire a personal stylist!
I have some recommendations in Northern VA and D.C. so please let me know if you're interested.

 

WHERE TO SHOP

H&M
ZARA
TARGET
NORDSTROM (RACK)
ANTHROPOLOGIE
BLOOMINGDALES OUTLET
J.CREW
BANANA REPUBLIC
KID & KIND
WYLOANDCO
CHILDHOODS CLOTHING


Lastly, try not to overwhelm yourself with what to wear. While clothing can make us FEEL good, it's the connections and emotions that you bring with you to your session that will be in focus. 

waiting for his arrival - northern va maternity photographer

Several months ago Janis contacted me about having a maternity session and of course, I was honored to. She told me how important it was for her to remember this time, not just for her but for her husband too. These two were so gentle and connected with each other it made my heart just melt. They're going to be such a great team for their little boy. I cannot wait to meet him in a couple more months! Here are the highlights from our session at Burke.
 

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