Tag Archives: family portrait

Tips for photographing kids and for family self-portraits

Haven’t posted any tips for self-portraits during the last several weeks. 
Time to change it. 

Today I’m going to focus on the entire family: How to take pictures of yourself plus your family members. 

My last photo session with my family taught me a few lessons, and I want to share them here.  

Last week we had No.2 B-day, and I had this neat idea for some cute pictures which of course ended up not as I had planned. I mean, TOTALLY not as I had planned. Well, this should be a lesson for me and for all of you out there who plan photo sessions with kids and husbands.

Most of the ideas that you have probably won’t work out!  

Here are pictures from the session. 

Family portraits used in this post are from the same day, but about an hour earlier when everybody wasn’t hungry, tired and cold. The best thing would have been to stay at the same place and continue with my ideas, but I had different vision in my head and the only place I saw in that vision was the second location. So we had moved, and by the time we got there the weather had changed from nice to not VERY nice 🙂 – cold and windy.

Before dragging all those balloons and the basket (which is kinda heavy), I tried it at home, and No.2 was very happy to sit in it. She actually didn’t want to come out. Every time I took her out she would climb back inside.

Guess what she did during the photo session?

The very first second after I put her inside she got the hell out of there and she did not want to get inside. From there my entire vision was ruined and I was ready to go home. In addition the wind tangled all the balloons and it was a TRAGEDY. 




So, the conclusions are:

do not expect a lot while planning session with kids – at least have more than one back-up plan!!! 

do not use balloons in windy days – or at have a good plan where you’re going to place them. 

have plenty of food for the kids – and for the adults as they tend to get the same grumpy when hungry! 

have warm clothes, no matter how warm the weather is when you start the session.

one location is probably enough. 

give everybody a break from the camera.

do not panic – which is hard when you take pictures for money at the session turns into this kind of mess!

do not get angry – which is hard when you take pictures of your family (kids and husband)!

So far I’ve made all those mistakes and probably will do them again! 

As for the family self-portraits. 


First of all you must have a partner  who does not want to kill you (or you him) during the session.  


Second of all plan your session according to the endurance not only of your kids but of your partner also! I figured that for my husband one locations is already ONE TOO MANY! And a session that is 2 hour long is about 1 h 40 min too long for him.

Knowing that you are going to take some family shots WEAR SOMETHING NICE. Make it a reason to pamper yourself a little. Do not wear or let your husband to wear anything that later will be a reason to reject the pictures.

Prepare yourself to run back and forth, from the camera to the family, many, many times.
Prepare yourself that most pictures are not going to be pretty, and I am not talking about “pretty looking” but pretty as “technically correct”.

In addition, if you have a dog who acts like it has fireworks shoveled up her/his rare end… well… then it is extra hard!  Probably it’s better to leave her/him at home.

If only the light wasn’t shining on N-o.1 face I would consider this picture as the best one:

and probably this one IF (again), the dog wasn’t looking like she just saw a squirrel, and No.1 is making very silly face:


Finally we moved to a different place and this I consider a good shot, although the dog is not in it:

1/160 sec., f/2.5, ISO 320

and No.1 is a little out of focus as she started to wiggle like a worm. 

To be sure that all members are in focus even if they move a little, use smaller aperture – f/3.5 (and up), and faster shutter speed – 600 sec. for example. At this point you might have to bump up the ISO also.
In case if you have people standing in front of each other, using aperture f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2 simply won’t work. There will be always somebody out of focus.

Of course, if you have a perfect light and a great gear that allows you to bump up your ISO to 1000 and up, then you could set your shutter speed to above 2000 and that would make easier to take photos with less blurriness.

During my year of self-portraits I found out that my 18-55mm f/3.5 – 5.6 lens doesn’t produce very stunning shots, the background is not as pretty and and the depth of field isn’t blurry and shallow, BUT it is more likely to take pictures where I am in focus even if the focus was a little bit off from the start. While with 35mm f/1.8 you have to be very precise with the focus if you want to get a sharp picture. 

One rule that is very helpful in taking family portraits is to keep everybody close to each other. KEEP IT IN A TRIANGLE. Bring the family together! 


Considering that there is nobody standing behind the camera, waving, making silly faces or using his/her voice to catch the kids attention the best way would be to use something like those lens creatures for the kids to keep looking at the camera:


Simple, “Hey, Smile at Elmo” would do the trick.


Of course, I did not take it with us, what is very clear looking at all the pictures here. 

And as I always say, “do not expect perfection”, but if you still have the time and the energy, and if you haven’t killed each other already, try for better picture, again, and again, and again. It is free.

Finish the entire session with a nice dinner in your favorite restaurant 


That will calm everybody down, and the frustration will go away with the first sip of a hot coffee!

Nurture Photography Challenge - Spring 2013 Edition


365 Self-Portrait Project (week 40th)

First of all I want to share with you a great news!

This Monday my post about this project was published on Bonbon Break website. You can read it here!!!

So far it has received 203 “likes” on their fb page, and 93 “likes” on their webpage. Honestly I am so, so surprised that it drew so many readers; At the same time I am so thrilled and happy. As I wrote here, on my blog, and then I repeated it in this essay for Bonbon Break:

At some point this project took on a life of its own. It became more about US than about ME. More about motherhood than just one mother.

I am so thankful for and so inspired by all the comments I’ve gotten here, on Bonbon Break, as well as on World Moms Blog; it’s thanks to this post for WMB  Kathy from Bonbon Break has found me and asked if I would be willing to share my experience in this project with their readers!

It is a fact, the last touch to this post comes from my husband. He went through this essay, sentence by sentence, in order to find grammatical and stylistic errors in it, change them and explain why “this way not the other”.

It was, still, such an amazing thing to read one person’s words

I love this one…, the message, the writing, and the photos!

Still, how big of a smile appeared on my face when I read those words!

Somebody liked MY WRITING!!! IN ENGLISH, so to speak!

Fun Fact:

People who know me from High School and College know how much I hated English language. I was bad at it, it frustrated me, very often I was depressed because of it, especially while in college, where I had to repeat one year of English classes. Even then I almost failed, second time. Believe me! My English speaking and writing skills sucked REALLY, I mean, REALLY bad!!!

I was the last person, my teachers thought, would be out there writing blog, expressing my thoughts in full sentences in English language!

It is amazing where life takes us. Isn’t it.

Maybe in a few years I’ll be able to write an essay in Russian!


On Friday I took some silly photos for my post about coconut-coffee facial scrub.

I really like the first picture but the second one is a funny one so I’ve decided to use both…

There is nothing wrong in showing my cross-eyed face once in a while 😉



One of those picture that doesn’t have much story behind it. It took me almost an hour (while both kids were asleep – MIRACLE!!!) to finally gave up and stop taking pictures. I wasn’t happy with a single photo I had taken that day. I tried this and that. I was completely out of ideas. I mean COMPLETELY.

They were all really bad.

I looked bad, the light was bad, the idea was bad.

A lot of writing as for a picture without a story behind… huh? 😉



fun time,

play time.

Loosing more hair time.


Braids on my head is a thing I was famous for from high school. I would sit in class, making small braids in my hair. Not only in class but almost anytime I had my hands free. It has always relaxed me. Have no idea why.


Ok, I think that this is great example of a picture without a story behind it!

So I leave it like that.


“What I wore Wednesday” – it’s a name of many link-ups out there. Something like this one. Of course, I never participate in those.
It’s nice, though, to visit them and see that people out there wear nice cloths, shoes, make-up. I do look the same almost every single day. If we go somewhere I wear things that are comfortable, tops ready to be pulled up in a hurry in order to feed No.2. How nice and stylish do I look going to the park with my girls, you think?

It’s funny that these days going grocery shopping I feel like it’s my time to look nice, wear nice shoes, rings and earings.

So, yes, this it what I wore on Wednesday,

and on Tuesday:


This is for this week Bonnie’s them “Liquid”:

How do you like your tea?!

Photo Art Friday

365 Self-Portrait Project (week 19)

This week was pretty much normal. I got a few headaches and aches here and there in general. It’s because I do not sleep like I used to… (oh well). Our Sleeping Beauty is really good, though. I shouldn’t complain.


She likes to be held. A LOT. It’s pretty hard to be a walking swing chair for her with my sore back. Sometimes I feel like I just want to sit and scream it hurts so bad… .

(for those who don’t know: I had a very serious back injury several years ago)

It didn’t bother me with our No 1. She wasn’t very needy. This one is all about hugging, kissing and sleeping in our arms.


We visited a wonderful place on Mother’s Day. I couldn’t have gotten better flowers to celebrate it 🙂



On Monday we had started the day very early. Our No 2 woke up around 6am and she soon went back to sleep but not me. I stayed up just to be able to enjoy the quiet time in front of the computer and a big cup of tea before everybody gets up.

At least during those hours when I’m up with the baby I have the time to blog and play with my pictures! 


Before I even started the day, during one of the nightly feedings I created this:

This is one of the self-portraits I had posted last week so I knew I actually am not done with Tuesday’s self-portrait. I was really tired that day as we had a few wake ups that night what usually doesn’t happen.

I dragged myself to do the laundry and while doing it I had the most miserable expressions on my face, ever 😉 I was just tired. Really tired.

After I took this picture I had a different idea for it and I had decided not to post it until I create what I really had in mind but later I changed my mind and here we go. Me pretending that I’m calm and have everything under control. [totally staged photo!!!] 😉


Bath day and headache day. Lovely husband took care of the kids while I lied down for a nap. First I thought I am not going to be able to fall asleep, then I heard a terrible noise like something JUST GOT BROKEN and I knew I had to get up and see what’s going on and clean the mess…, but I couldn’t get up I was so tired. A few minutes after I was sound asleep.

When I got up there was a mess to clean up, of course. Our No 1 had gotten into a potted plant and broke the pot and there was a soil all over the kitchen floor which of course my husband tried to clean  but he is not good at that at all 😉

Photo Art Friday


“Hello World”

She is finally awake for longer periods and more often. She still sleeps a lot but when she doesn’t she smiles and follows us with her eyes and makes the funniest sounds ever. She is totally different from our No 1!

I struggled with those pictures like crazy. Most of my selfies I have taken with 35mm lens. I think I haven’t taken a single self-portrait with my wide angle/macro cap which used with 18-55mm makes the camera really heavy, at least too heavy to hold it in one hand while twisting it and trying to take a self-portrait.

That’s why I look a little troubled on those pictures below 😉

I will not post today’s photo in here as I really don’t feel like taking one right now but I want to be done with this post as soon as possible.

Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend, my friends!

Hugs from my tired corner!

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?

Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

365 Self-portrait Project (week 17)

This week was very… hm…  I would say “transitional”.

I’m getting to a point where I can fall asleep in almost any position and at any time.

In addition, our losing weight and sleeping all the time Little One transitioned into a very hungry baby who doesn’t want to sleep if we do not hold her. After my husband digged out an old swing chair that issue got a bit easier to deal with, though. 

but, enough of my ramblings. lets get to this week self-portraits


On Saturday we went to Babies”R”Us and got a mirror for the back seat. It works great for taking pictures 😉 After that we had a wonderful time at the Iris Garden I blogged about a few days ago. It was a perfect day it a perfect place!


Sunday was a lazy day for everybody. Not having the swing chair at the house yet, for almost half of the day I was working as the most comfortable pillow ever.


Monday was really crazy. Trying to have at least one thing done I looked like that:

Our place looks like a battlefield and I actually have no control over it anymore. The food I’ve cooked this past week wasnt’ really very good. I’m too tired or in a hurry while making it. In between screaming infant, begging for attention toddler and begging for food dog (or stealing it from the toddler who later gets so angry because of that) there is a little space left for my attention to be focused on cooking. 

I know I will get use to it but for now it’s crazy around here.

In addition this project takes an extra time, as well as blogging which I think I’ll have to limit at some point.

I do not want to stop this project, though, because it brings me a relief for most of the time.

While everything around me is focused on everybody else in this project I can focused on myself. Just for a few minutes per day but it’s always a few minutes more than zero.


Here I was enjoying homemade avocado-spinach-banana ice cream and a quiet “me time” in the bathroom. That quick shower I took in the middle of that day was so nice I didn’t want to go back to that craziness.


Brushing my teeth 🙂


First that day while checking my emails I saw a great news: I sold my first print EVER!!! Picture of a KETCHUP. That brought a big smile on my face and made my day

A few minutes before I took this picture I got popped on by our No 2. (that’s why I do not have any pants on). It has happened a few times this week and it feels like I will never learn 😉

Later that day I took one more picture which I think is really sweet: 

Our Little One does not appreciate kisses, yet 😉


This self-portrait was inspired by Bonnie’s theme for this week:

a piece of photo art that references, in even the most oblique way, the title of one of your favorite books“.

I do have 3 books on my shelf that are next positions on my to-read list  :

– “A World without Women” by David F. Noble,

– “Woman Hating” by Andrea Dworkin,

– “Women who hurt themselves” by Dust Miller.

Those are not my favorite books but I do love to read about women and women’s issues in general. 

No wonder one of my favorite books is “Eat, Pray, Love” BUT before it was made into a movie!!!

At the same time the second favorite book on my list is “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert M. Pirsing 🙂

In addition when it comes to today’s picture, I do feel pretty down lately wondering if it’s just because I’m tired or because my PPD is appearing again :/

We’ll see.

Have a great weekend, my friends!

Photo Art FridayChic Homeschool MamaMommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?

Simply me!

Last Saturday I’d decided to pass on Elena’s Seflie Saturday. Her topic is “Backyard” and I do not have one.

Anyway sometime between Saturday and Sunday I had changed my mind. 🙂

Non of them are backyard photos. They were taken in my kitchen and in a bathroom. Some of them are headless. Of course! I lost my patience trying to fix it. At the same time my daughter was done eating and she didn’t want to sit in her chair anymore, and I didn’t want to take those pictures without her. Had to go with what I had taken and call it good. I’m not very upset about it, though. I think they look pretty interesting.

On the other hand I focused only on my head shooting in the darkness of my bathroom. The light was only from two candles, so most of my shots were too dark to fix them… (i don’t shoot in RAW! I used to). My ISO was 800 and I didn’t want to go any higher. 800 was almost too high anyway.

Those few I’ve chosen were good enough to make something from it. I made them all black and white not because the original color was bad but because it looks much better that way.

When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes.  But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls!  ~Ted Grant

The picture below is pretty funny. I actually had no idea that my camera is so close, almost in a reaching distance, from my daughter’s sticky and dirty hands.

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?

different edition of this photo is here. It seems like I do not have that picture anywhere on my computer. Can’t find it!!!! Grrr…


I love everything in this photo. Light, lines, and the texture(s)! I know this is not technically perfect. It’s blurry and grainy, but those two things make it so interesting and attractive, I think. I even used one texture to add more grains to this photo, and one from Kim called “Aurora”.

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
Lao Tzu

Quotography at {My}Perspective<Photobucket