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Top 5 tips on taking better photos of your kids... and organizing and sharing your photos too!

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I am currently on a scaled back part working part maternity leave schedule... blogging will continue, but may be erratic!

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Wednesday
Feb152012

Valentine's Day - my first mommy homework assignment!


I survived my first mom craft project!

This was Liam's first Valentine's Day in preschool and his class did a Valentine's Day card exchange. When I received the email letting us know that we were each to send in cards for all the other kids along with a tissue box for turning into a Valentine's mailbox, it felt like my first mommy homework assignment. Eek!

The key - how to do something cool and creative without going overboard and making it MY craft project. It had to be something that Liam could plausibly execute. What to do?!


When I came up with the idea of a custom stamp, I was pretty excited. Cool, custom, designed yet easy to do. I remembered that my friend Katie had been raving about a custom stamp she had made of her logo, so I contacted her and she directed me to Etsy store Cupcake Tree. Olga, the store owner, was very responsive and shipped me my order pretty much at the speed of light.

Liam doesn't usually talk much about what they get up to at preschool, but he was really excited about his Valentine's mailbox that they worked on all last week, and mentioned it several times. I have to admit that I wasn't sure how he was going to respond to our craft project (he can, after all, be a contrary toddler) but he jumped right into it and made about 10 cards pretty much by himself with only a little direction before he lost interest and I had to make the rest.


And I have to say it was pretty cool when he came home yesterday with his homemade (or schoolmade) mailbox brimming full of cards and excitedly opened and examined all of them.

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day everyone - I hope you had a good one!

nyc baby, child and family photographer & architect alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. she specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. view her portfolio of babies, children or families or send her an e-mail here!

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Sunday
Feb122012

Happy Birthday Liam!


Today was Liam’s third birthday. Three years ago today, Liam was born in the late afternoon via c-section and so began this amazing journey into parenthood and, as it turned out, into becoming a family photographer and teacher with my own business.

My in-laws hosted a small family get together yesterday to celebrate. My husband dressed Liam in a button down shirt, something he practically never wears, and the whole afternoon and evening I marveled at how big and grown-up and, let’s face it, adorable he looked in it. My big boy, my first baby, three years old. This past year he has become so much more confident, independent and verbal. He tells jokes, talks about what he dreamt about the previous night, bosses people around, negotiates with the best of them and has just the most hilarious take on things. Everyone kept calling him the birthday boy yesterday and he kept correcting them – “I’m Liam!”

Happy Birthday Liam!

nyc baby, child and family photographer & architect alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. she specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. view her portfolio of babies, children or families or send her an e-mail here!

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Tuesday
Jan242012

Interview with photosanity mentor Sarah Severson

Today's photosanity workshop interview is with Sarah Severson of Sarah Severson Photography. She will be mentoring the Chicago, IL group.

Sarah Severson (Chicago, IL)
Sarah Severson Photography
(also on facebook)
Based in Evanston, IL - just north of Chicago, Sarah has two rambunctious but sweet little boys, ages 4 1/2 and 3. She's been in business for three years and loves to photograph births, newborns, toddlers, older kids and families, and of course her own children as they grow. Sarah also offers one-on-one tutoring to help parents better use their DSLR and photo editing software.

1) How and why did you decide to become a professional photographer?

I'd always had an interest in photography and was the person at family events walking around, taking pictures of everyone. I really love capturing moments in time with still images. I majored in journalism in college and took a few classes related to photojournalism, and this further fueled my passion for photography. It wasn't until my husband finished graduate school though that I could afford to buy a DSLR and really dive in to learning the camera and the craft. I took classes, mentored with photographers that I admired, read a whole slew of books, studied and practiced like crazy. I have been in business for three years now.

2) How would you describe your style?

My style is clean, simple, and sweet. I lean toward being just a touch overexposed with a light, airy feel. I like taking a combination of posed as well as candid lifestyle shots.

3) What do you most enjoy photographing?

I have a special love for photographing newborns, but also enjoy the big milestone ages - toddlers are hilarious and a great challenge, families are a lot of fun. And photographing my own family of course ranks right up there!

4) Which is your favorite lens?

Hmmm it's hard to say just one! The lenses I use the most are Nikon's 50 f/1.4 and 24-70 f/2.8 lenses. But before I had those professional level lenses, I loved shooting with Nikon's 35 f/1.8 lens because it's a light prime that worked well indoors. Chicago winters can feel really long and it was nice to have a prime that I could use often in my house with my kids.

5) What have you most enjoyed about being a photosanity mentor so far?

It's so rewarding to see photosanity participants learn the material and run with it! I also love seeing the positive interactions between members of the group as they give great suggestions and positive feedback. It's a great community. I'm excited to work with this next session of workshop participants!

6) What is your favorite photography tip for parents?

Have your camera charged and ready! Upload and backup your pictures OFTEN and in multiple places (online and external hard drives)! Try to anticipate emotions or picture-worthy moments so you are ready with your camera when they happen. If you have a DSLR, invest in a camera bag that you enjoy carrying around with you so you'll bring your camera along when you go out.

7) Share three of your recent favorite photos (personal and/or professional) - why are they favorites?

The first is a beautiful newborn named Cate. She slept through the entire session and I love that she is so peaceful and sweet in this shot. The second was taken on a day in October the day before a big storm came through Chicago and blew off all of the gorgeous fall leaves, so I was really excited to do this session before it looked like winter. The family lives on this wonderful street with large old trees, so it was a great place for our photo session - they have their oldest child and then two sets of twins! The third is one of my absolute favorite pictures that I took of my boys at home - my 4-year-old son snuck my iPhone into the bathroom and the 2-year-old followed him in to watch him play (I think it was Angry Birds). I walked past the bathroom, saw what was happening and grabbed my camera really fast to capture this shot. Such a funny moment and sweet time of life!

8) Choose one photo from a fall 2011 participant that you particularly like and explain why.

I love this photo by Jessie Wixon because it so sweetly captures these little girls in their matching outfits and how they are so focused on making the right steps. Such a great photo.

Check out the photosanity website for more information on cities and mentors (and of course to sign up for the workshop if you are interested).

nyc baby, child and family photographer & architect alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. she specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. view her portfolio of babies, children or families or send her an e-mail here!

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Wednesday
Jan182012

Interview with photosanity mentor Truc Nguyen

Today's photosanity workshop interview is with Truc Nguyen of Bamboo Shoots Photography. She will be mentoring the Los Angeles, CA group.

Truc Nguyen (Los Angeles, CA)
Bamboo Shoots Photography
http://www.bambooshootsphoto.com
http://www.facebook.com/bambooshootsphotography
Based in Los Angeles, Truc’s background was originally in corporate finance, but she discovered it wasn’t for her. She feels so lucky to be able to do what she loves now, photographing families, kids, and babies, and also weddings and seniors.

1) How and why did you decide to become a professional photographer?

I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life when I was 18. I studied hard in college, graduated and got some corporate experience, went to business school, and then got an incredible job opportunity in corporate finance. But before I took that job, I got married, and in planning for our wedding and looking for a photographer, I fell in love with portrait and wedding photography. And I realized that was what I wanted to do with my life. To capture the wonder and love of a set of new parents, the mischief of a three-year-old, and the tenderness of a pair of newlyweds.

2) How would you describe your style?

Colorful and spontaneous. My photos are full of bright, vivid colors, and when photographing kids and families, I just let moments happen and rarely direct. The best moments are the unguarded, candid ones when they've forgotten that I'm even there.

3) What do you most enjoy photographing?

I love photographing families. I love capturing how they interact with one another, the love they feel for each other, the goofy moments, and the intimate ones.

4) Which is your favorite lens?

Without question, my favorite lens is the Canon 50mm f/1.2. This lens stays on my camera 95% of the time during portrait sessions. I love that it allows me to be close enough to my subjects to interact with them easily, but isn’t so wide that it causes distortion. I love that it’s light in weight and very manageable. And I love shooting wide open at f/1.2. I just love the quality of the light that it gets and the smoothness of the background blur.

5) What have you most enjoyed about being a photosanity mentor so far?

My favorite part of being a mentor is watching participants discover how to look for and use the best light. I especially love looking at participants' photos at the start of the class and comparing them to the photos at the end. Their improvement and progress is always astounding!

6) What is your favorite photography tip for parents?

Be aware of the background in your photos. Most often, the simpler the background, the better! You don't want things distracting from the focus of your photos, so change your angle until you see less clutter in the background.

7) Share three of your recent favorite photos (personal and/or professional) - why are they favorites?

The first two photos are from my favorite family session ever. Who can resist an adorable two-and-a-half-year-old boy and his two-month-old yellow Lab puppy? I love the light and the joy in these photos. The third photo is a recent favorite because I love the sunset providing pretty backlight and a bit of flare, and I love knowing that the boy's having fun with his mom, with his dad and brother following in the background.

8) Choose one photo from a fall 2011 participant that you particularly like and explain why.

I adore this photo by Devi Herold Knapp. I love the composition and the warmth of the photo. The colors just pop, especially that beautiful blue of her eyes and how it looks with her dress. And the leaves give the photo such a great sense of time and place.

Check out the photosanity website for more information on cities and mentors (and of course to sign up for the workshop if you are interested).

nyc baby, child and family photographer & architect alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. she specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. view her portfolio of babies, children or families or send her an e-mail here!

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Monday
Jan162012

Interview with photosanity mentor Lauren Nygard

Today's photosanity workshop interview is with Lauren Nygard of Lauren Nygard Photography. She will be mentoring the San Diego, CA group.

Lauren Nygard (San Diego, CA)
Lauren Nygard Photography
(also on facebook)
Based in Oceanside, CA, which is a little north of San Diego proper, Lauren has officially been in business for almost three years and primarily shoots weddings and portraits. She also runs a small photography group out in San Diego and loves helping people improve their photo skills.

1) How and why did you decide to become a professional photographer?

Like most photographers, photography was always a hobby of mine - my mom let me borrow her Nikon when I was in high school and I was hooked! A camera was my high school graduation gift from my parents, so I continued to dabble in photography through college and grad school. When my husband and I got married, I made a (really!) bad decision and hired a photographer off of Craigslist. The day after our wedding, I got a horrible email from him: he had lost all of the images from our ceremony! I was devastated. After several weeks passed, we received the images he did have, and I was even more upset because I didn't love them, as I thought I would. A few months later, my husband was sent to Oklahoma for 5 months for work, and I found myself with a lot of free time on my hands. I started taking more photography classes to fill my evenings, and asked friends if I could photograph them. Before I knew it, I was applying for my business license and having the time of my life! I knew I didn't want other couples to have the same experience with their wedding photographer as we did, which has really influenced my wedding photography.

2) How would you describe your style?

Natural and fresh.

3) What do you most enjoy photographing?

I love photographing love! I love when you can see how much a groom loves his bride, or a mom loves her son, or a wife loves her husband, through just one image. Capturing those precious moments are so important and I love being able to do that!

4) Which is your favorite lens?

I purchased a 50mm f/1.8 a few years ago and it's hardly ever left my camera body since then!

5) What have you most enjoyed about being a photosanity mentor so far?

I love seeing the growth in the participants' photos, and feeling the excitement when they've mastered new techniques.

6) What is your favorite photography tip for parents?

Have patience!

7) Share three of your recent favorite photos (personal and/or professional) - why are they favorites?

I love the first photo which is from a recent family session I did. Little Sophie was taking a while to get warmed up to me, so I asked her to help me get her mommy and daddy to smile at the camera. She was a fantastic assistant! When I showed her the image I captured of her parents, she had a huge smile on her face! I told her it was her turn, and I was able to catch this precious shot.

The second photo is one of my favorite wedding images from 2011. This was taken immediately after the ceremony, and the bride and groom had naturally slipped into a short dance while I was capturing a few portraits. I love the tenderness in the image--the way he's gently kissing the top of her head as she looks down and smiles.

The third photo is of my husband! I turn our living room into a studio if my clients want a studio set up, and usually use a teddy bear to test the lighting before the clients arrive. This time, my clients were coming over on a Monday evening and I set up on Sunday afternoon. I asked my husband to sit in for a few tests shots, and was being goofy as he sat there, looking down at his iPad. I told him he needed a new Facebook photo and demanded that he look up at me. This is the image I got. I don't know why I decided to shoot so tightly, so we now joke that it'll be the perfect headshot for him to be the next soap opera star. I just think it's fun, and looking at it reminds me of how helpful he is, especially when it comes to my business!

8) Choose one photo from a fall 2011 participant that you particularly like and explain why.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the expression captured here in this photo by Shayna Gehl! Everything about this photo is right: the colors, the background, the light, the expression. It's an amazing portrait!

Check out the photosanity website for more information on cities and mentors (and of course to sign up for the workshop if you are interested).

nyc baby, child and family photographer & architect alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. she specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. view her portfolio of babies, children or families or send her an e-mail here!

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