December Photography Contest

We love to show off the work of our amazingly talented photographers. Take a minute to enjoy the slideshow below. Check back each month to see more unique and beautiful photos. Congratulations to all winners and honorable mentions!

To get your own Bella Life or Bella Baby photos, contact us to see if we are in your area!

What to Expect During a Newborn Photoshoot

What to Expect During a Newborn Photoshoot: Advice from our Super Moms

It’s time for your baby’s first photoshoot! While your professional photographer will do most of the heavy lifting, it’s still a good idea to do a little preparation beforehand. Whether your newborn photos will be taken at the hospital or at home, these are all relevant considerations. Our Bella Baby Super Moms offer some advice based on their newborn photo experiences.

Here’s what to consider:

1. Discuss strategy with your spouse

You might think preparing for photos is no big deal, but not including your spouse in the conversation can leave them feeling left out. They may not want to be involved at all, but it’s better to ask than assume. If your spouse seems uninterested in the direction of photos, then do some planning on your own and check in with them again when it comes time to make final decisions.

“My husband loves to wear t-shirts, but I made him pack one nicer shirt so that he was prepared for the photo shoot.”

2. Decide on a budget

All of your decisions will be based, in part, on your budget, so figure this out early on. You’ll likely want to include your spouse in this decision, even if he or she doesn’t want to be involved in other decisions. Reading through the rest of this list will help you decide on your budget.

3. Include siblings or other family members in the shoot

What to Expect During a Newborn Photoshoot

You’ll want to decide beforehand who exactly will be in the photos. Including older siblings will not only make for sweet moments but is also a great way to make sure they feel included in their newly expanding family.  

“If you want to include your other children in the session, try to pick a time of day that will work for them (keeping nap schedules in mind) as you don’t want a cranky toddler in your photos.”

4. Consider holidays

Are there any upcoming holidays? If Christmas is around the corner, you might want to dress your family in festive attire so that you can use your photos again on holiday cards. Or, maybe just bring a few props – Santa hat, candy canes – that you can add in for just a few photos. It’s a great way to get more for your budget.

5. Think ahead to gifts

What kind of a photo does grandma want on her mantle? It’s helpful to think about who you’ll be gifting the photos to in the future. That could provide some additional direction in terms of types of photos to take and formats to order. This could affect your budget as well.

6. Choose everyone’s outfits

Of course, you need to choose what your baby will wear, but you should also think about outfits for siblings and for YOU! Consider the previous two question, then pick something out for your baby and put it in your hospital bag. It’s best to choose solid colors and avoid busy patterns that will be distracting and take the focus away from your newborn. Coordinate your own outfit and other family members so there are no clashing colors.

“We weren’t sure if we were having a boy or girl, so we brought a neutral blanket and then a couple of headbands and a little bow tie so that we were prepared either way.”

7. Bring some props

In addition to clothing, you’ll want to have some additional items for the photographer to utilize during the photoshoot. Think blankets, hats, stuffed animals, or other toys. Again, choose solid colors.

What to Expect During a Newborn Photoshoot

8. “Don’t forget to pack your makeup or at least a little concealer.”

If your photos are at the hospital, you’ll want to pack a few cosmetics and maybe a hairbrush to touch up a little. You will have just given birth, after all. A dark pink or red lipstick will instantly make you look and feel more put together. Oil blotting sheets and pressed powder will keep shine away. A bit of under-eye concealer and mascara will make your eyes pop on camera.  

9. “Try to feed your newborn right before the session so that they are calm and asleep for the photographer.”

10. Treasure the moment.

“With my first daughter, I didn’t want to be in any of the pictures (as I just had a baby), but the photographer talked me into being in one and I am really glad that she did. Your baby grows up so fast, be a part of every moment, you’ll be glad you have the pictures.”

11. Smile and leave the rest to your photographer!

Your photographer is experienced and knows what types of angles and shots look best. You can give them some initial thoughts, then leave the work to them and don’t intervene too much. Most importantly, enjoy the experience.

Are you expecting? We would love to capture those first precious moments with your newborn. Find a photographer near you and feel free to reach out to us with any additional questions.

 

November Photography Contest

We love to show off the work of our amazingly talented photographers. Take a minute to enjoy the slideshow below. Check back each month to see more unique and beautiful photos. Congratulations to all winners and honorable mentions!

To get your own Bella Life or Bella Baby photos, contact us to see if we are in your area!

 

Take the Best Holiday Photos: 7 Success Stories From Bella Photographers

Take the Best Holiday Photos: 7 Success Stories From Bella Photographers

The holidays are right around the corner which means it’s time to think about photos for your holiday cards and gifts. Avoid the stress of waiting until the last minute to take photos. The results will be far better with a little planning. We’ve sourced some top tips from Bella Baby Photographers on how to take the best holiday photos, whether you hire a professional or use your iPhone.

How to Take the Best Holiday Photos: 

1. Do not wear matching clothes – wear color-coordinated clothes. Don’t be afraid of color! Stay away from the all white or black shirts and jeans look. – Christina Kennedy

2. Solids in coordinated colors are awesome! 1-2 clothing items in a pattern is fine, but everyone wearing different stripes and plaid is less great. – Susan Howard

3. Have fun. Parents tend to stress to get the “perfect” pose and get kids smiling a certain way. Trust your photographer and let them work their magic. Kids don’t relax and enjoy pictures when mom and dad keep telling them to smile. – Carrie Ostreko

Take the Best Holiday Photos: 7 Success Stories From Bella Photographers

4. If you’re doing outdoor photos, don’t over layer. I’ve heard people complain later that they looked too puffy or heavy in photos but it’s often just the clothes they picked. Well fitting clothes are always better than bigger and too many layers. Instead… bring a blanket for in between shots if you’re cold and then snap some cute cuddle pics wrapped up in that too. – Carrie Ostreko

5. Maybe bring a little gift (depending on the kids’ ages) and let them hold them and take photos with those and then maybe getting some opening them. It’s a surprise for a great shoot and makes for fun images! – Carrie Ostreko

6. Warm up first! Don’t go for “the shot” right away when everyone may still be stiff. Get everyone relaxed, laugh, and to let their guards down… then their true joy will come through! – Beth Malonoski

Take the Best Holiday Photos: 7 Success Stories From Bella Photographers

7. Instead of looking at the camera, look at each other, interact with each other, make each other smile and laugh, hug each other and get in tight! This will result in a more relaxed, real, and natural photograph of your family. – Kim Hoessler Price

We recommend hiring one of our baby photographers as there truly is no replacement for a professional. Our photographers capture the beauty of your family with a natural, artistic style. Your photos will create memories and gifts that last a lifetime.

Have any additional tips to add? Leave us a comment below.

Chores to do With Toddlers and How to Keep Your Sanity

Chores to do With Toddlers and How to Keep Your Sanity

Your toddler is growing up, so now is the perfect time to introduce him or her to a few chores around the house. Here are some ideas for letting them help you, plus tips to keep your sanity.

Chores to do With Toddlers and How to Keep Your Sanity

Useful Tips for Letting Little Ones Help Around the House:

At this age, little ones want to do whatever you are doing. The goal is to let your little one help without losing your sanity and at the same time, actually get something done. It gets a little easier as they get older, but for an 18-month-old, keep it simple. It’s more about distraction than efficiency.

Learning tower is really useful step stool when your toddler wants to help around the kitchen. You can also DIY one with this Ana White tutorial. This makes it so much easier to get chores done without the safety concern of your child falling from a chair or stool.

Grocery store helper:

Inevitably, children end up running errands with you. Besides your goal of actually getting groceries, the second is keeping your child in the cart so you’re not chasing him or her around. A couple of quick tricks to keep them in the cart… give them “the list” and a highlighter and have them mark everything off as you put it in the cart. Stop in the produce aisle first and pick up some grapes or another favorite snack. Eating a couple as you move along can be a distraction to keep them busy. You can also use the “I’ll let you pick something out at the end if you stay in the cart” as a last resort.

Duster:

Buy your child his own little duster so he can dust at the same time you do and feel like he’s being helpful. While he’s “dusting”, you can actually get the dusting done! Another tip: you’ll find lots of kid-sized cleaning items at the dollar store.

Folding laundry:

Anyone who has folded laundry with an 18-month-old knows you end up folding the laundry multiple times. As they get a little bit older, let them help match socks or sort clothes (all of the shirts together, undies, etc), which is also a learning activity!

Vacuuming/mopping:

Most little ones love to help with vacuuming and mopping the floors. Try taking turns. You vacuum the room first and then tell your child it’s their turn. That way it actually gets done and they still feel like they’re helping. Same for mopping. Mops that have sprayers are huge hits with toddlers.

What great ideas have you found work for keeping your little one occupied around the house? Share your tips with other parents!  

….and is your toddler coming up on two? Here are some fun ways to celebrate a second birthday party for your active little person!