Displaying Baby Photos In Your Home

posted in: Notes | 14

Sometimes figuring out how to display baby photos in your home is tougher than Capturing Baby Milestones on Camera in the first place! Actually, I’ll expand that sentiment to include all types of portraits. It’s great to have family portraits to document milestones — but, once they’re taken, the dilemma becomes what to do with them?

Depending on what my clients’ homes will accommodate, I do usually recommend some sort of wall display. I love displaying baby photos, especially in nurseries! All too soon, babies grow into kids, and those adorable little bundles of joy become little men and women. Where space is a constraint, I’ve found there are still options for displaying baby photos as part of your home decor — it just takes some imagination and creativity. A baby’s first year album can be displayed on a bookshelf, a floating wall shelf, or coffeetable; smaller framed pieces can grace the smallest of walls and still look meant to be.

Displaying Baby Photos – Our Wall Decor

Let me give you a little tour through my home so you can get some inspiration for displaying baby photos in your own home too!  When you first enter through the front door, there is a very small wall next to our coat closet.  It’s a little less than two feet wide.  A while back, I found the perfect shelf (with hooks!) for the wall, and created a little display that I enjoy very much.  My mother-in-law gave me this lovely frame; and while not usually my style, the frame is something I enjoy in this arrangement.  At the far right on the shelf, you’ll see a gorgeous glass frame that my cousins gave us for Toby’s baptism – it displays the correlating photograph of his baptism.  The two wooden sculptures are pieces I picked out while in Israel with my grandmother – I am so glad they made it home safely!

home decor entryway photo display - displaying baby photos - bphotoart.com

As you stand in the entryway and look the opposite direction, you’ll see our formal dining room.  This is actually an older photo — we’ve since moved around some furniture and are now displaying these baby photos in our bedroom hallway.  But I love the grid layout of these images!

home decor dining room - displaying baby photos - bphotoart.com

As you continue into the main area of our home, you’ll see the huge fireplace, and lots of windows.  We wanted to place a portrait that would balance out the fireplace, so large scale was a must.  The photo over the fireplace is actually before kids, from a trip to New Hampshire (taken in the southernmost part of Maine).  We have several small frames on the mantel holding snapshots of life after kids — 8x10s and smaller are great tabletop options for displaying baby photos that you want to keep updated on a regular basis.  Our furniture setup has changed a bit since this photo was taken — we added in a rug, and moved couches to create a cozier, kid friendly play are.  But the open feel remains.

family room photo decor over fireplace - bphotoart.com

Next, we’ll swing by the kitchen, where we have another tiny wall, maybe a foot and a half wide.  This one presently display’s four portraits from our son’s first year.  These framed art pieces are great because they fit pretty much anywhere — giving you lots of options for displaying baby photos wherever you want to see them in your home.

home decor photos baby's first year - bphotoart.com

Finally, we’re about to get to the best place for displaying baby photos — baby’s room!  Once again, if you were to visit our home today, this room looks slightly different… We’re preparing it for the arrival of our second son (and Toby got to move to his “big boy” room”).  Anyways, the focal point of the room, when we designed it, was the wall with the crib.  We set this up before baby arrived, and I wanted to have it be personalized from the start.  So, block letters over the crib were a great choice.

wall decor displaying baby photos in nursery - bphotoart.com

The nursery also holds a very comfortable recliner, in which I spent many hours.  I set up a side table right next to the recliner so that I could easily grab my waterbottle, reading material, knitting, or whatever snack I needed while nursing our new arrival.  On the wall, you’ll see a neat three-dimensional piece that has four of our son’s newborn features — who doesn’t love infant hands, feet, ears, and even belly buttons?  If you look in the reflection of the left window, you’ll see where we placed the dresser with changing table — along with a painting to match the theme of the room.

wall decor displaying baby photos in nursery - bphotoart.com

The final wall in our nursery had to hold books, of course!  Being a bookworm myself, I wanted to encourage a love of the written word as soon as possible.  We stashed age-inappropriate books (as in “too old for a newborn”) on the shelves from the beginning, leaving space on the bottom shelf for the cloth and board books.  This was a wonderful location for reading material — right next to the recliner, which became our reading chair later in baby’s first year.  On the wall, we decided on another three-dimensional piece — it has part of our birth announcement, plus a baby photo of our son.  The top of the bookshelf has a cute frame (matches the theme of the room!) — we updated this from time to time so that we could continue displaying baby photos that were developmentally on track.

wall decor displaying baby photos in nursery - bphotoart.com

wall decor displaying baby photos in nursery - bphotoart.com

Finally, what baby room is complete without a nightlight?  I love this custom photo nightlight that displays a newborn baby photo of me with our son.  It’s now in our upstairs hallway, but regardless of where it’s plugged in, the bas relief photo looks really neat.

home decor nightlight displaying baby photos - bphotoart.com

In the studio area, where I meet with clients, I have some more ideas for displaying baby photos to share.  I mentioned this first option earlier, for those with limited wall space.  It is easy to display baby photo books on a floating shelf — you can arrange multiple books, or pair with picture frames, for a nice, modern look.

home decor baby photo albums on shelf - bphotoart.com

And finally, another framed image series.  I really love these for displaying baby photos because it really demonstrates how much change there is over the course of a year, or even a few months’ time.  This particular series showcases images from birth through around the ninth month.

home decor baby photos - bphotoart.com

Not surprisingly, we do have more photographs on display throughout our home, including ones from our wedding, photos from trips, and of course, artwork.  But that’s for another time.  For now, let me just say, I hope this virtual tour of suggestions for displaying baby photos in your home has been inspiring and helpful.  I think it is so important to surround ourselves with images of those we love and cherish, to keep the memories we hold dear on display for all to enjoy.

What About Your Wall Decor?

What memories do you have on display in your home?  Are there photos you’ve always wanted to put up but have never found the “right” spot? 

I know sometimes it’s taken me several tries to find the perfect home for a piece of wall decor.  What is your experience with displaying baby photos and planning out your ideal wall decor?

Resources on Baby Spaces + Nurseries

Here are some of the other blog posts being featured today. Topics are cover all sorts of baby spaces, from – nursery ideas and to play spaces. You may also want to check out Pottery Barn’s How To Create A Frame Display (PDF), and my Pinterest board on Photo + Wall Decor. Links open in a new window for your convenience.

Follow Betsy @ BPhotoArt.com’s board Photo + Wall Decor on Pinterest.

The Ultimate Guide to Baby's First YearThis post is part of The Ultimate Guide to Baby’s First Year — I’m one of 30+ blogs participating. Over the course of a week’s time, there will be posts on these topics:

  • taking care of new parents
  • feeding baby
  • taking care of baby
  • baby’s milestones
  • baby play
  • baby spaces
  • celebrating baby

Check out the The Ultimate Guide to Baby’s First Year for a list of all the posts on each topic.

Capturing Baby Milestones on Camera

posted in: Parenting | 13

It is so exciting to watch your child try something new for the first time. Milestones are a big part of growing up, and babies have *a lot* of growing to do in their first year. While looking for images to share with this post, I was reminiscing over so many fond memories and milestones. It’s amazing how quickly they grow, and how quickly we forget those things which were a given at the time.

I’m going to share some tips for capturing your baby milestones on camera, how to document the moments that will matter to you down the road. And you’ll see some snapshots from our son’s first year too!

Capturing Baby Milestones on Camera - Baby First Year Milestones - BPhotoArt.com

Choose a Camera You’ll Actually Use

Have a camera at the ready — seriously. I am so thankful that we invested in a nice pocket camera, a Canon G12 Digital Camera (#afflink), before our son was born. A lot of people ask me what camera I use to take photos of everyday milestones, and it’s interesting to observe how surprised they are when I don’t reply that I carry my DSLR and lenses with me. Yes, I love photography, but no, it doesn’t dominate my life. There are more important things in life (It’s The Little Things In Life).

I knew that the best camera for documenting my son’s milestones would be the one I could carry everywhere with me, one with a good battery life and self-contained lens so I wouldn’t have to worry about sensor dust or changing out lenses. More importantly, a pocket camera can go anywhere with you. There isn’t the temptation to leave it behind because it’s too big and bulky, and you can more discretely capture moments that matter to you. The best camera is one you will actually carry with you. And, bonus for me, the one we selected also does HD videos. Perfect for capturing baby’s first steps, or those adorable giggles and murmurs infants make.

Portraits of Baby’s First Year

When it comes to capturing baby milestones, there’s nothing quite like having professional portraits of your child’s first year. As much as I might be biased 😉 — images like these speak to me in a unique way. Looking back, I’m glad we took the time to schedule in regular portrait sessions throughout our son’s first year. Click on any image below to view them as a gallery.

My Memories of Our Baby’s Milestones

So, back to my personal archives from our son’s first year. What memories stand out to me now? Frankly, most have blurred into a conglomeration of thankfulness, wonder, and parental pride. I don’t remember the specifics of each milestone, the dates new things were said or done. For that, I’d have to consult my baby’s first year calendar (#afflink), or peruse my snapshots to spur my memory.

Life is so full of new experiences, new discoveries — we have to be intentional about living in the present, and sometimes that means letting the past become faded and obscure. That’s why I’m grateful for the memories and milestones I’ve documented. The stories and snapshots I’ve saved from our son’s first year. They help us to remember those moments that were so amazing, that made us realize what a blessing it is to be parents.

What memories do I cherish? Remembering how tiny our son was, recalling those moments in the hospital when I finally got to meet the child who had been so wiggly inside the womb (may I add, nothing compared to #2 — what a wiggle worm!). As they grow, you forget how tiny newborns are, how peaceful a sleeping newborn looks, and how much you loved every stage of growth, every development and milestone.

We celebrated our son’s birth with in-hospital newborn portraits. I’d forgotten that we took him home on opening day — in a baseball onesie. Both sets of grandparents came to visit us at home, as did countless other friends and relatives. We were showered with love and food, support in the ways we needed it most.

Our son held his first toy on our living room floor. He didn’t like being on his tummy once he accidentally rolled over for the first time. He smiled so much we called him Mr. Smiles. We built our deck while our son “supervised” from his stroller (one of the few times we used it). He was a trooper for his first plane trip, when we visited friends in DC. His baptism was held on our newly built deck, with friends and family in attendance. Learning to sit, stand, first steps — we have snapshots of them all. So many memories, and so few words to describe them. That’s the reason I love photographs. They bring the emotions and memories of a moment back to the forefront of your mind, allow you to experience the joy and wonder once again.

And what’s more, kids love looking at pictures of themselves as babies. While I was gathering these images, my son was giggling in delight at the photos, telling me about what was going on in each one, and asking me questions. Click on any image below to view them as a gallery.

What Milestones Will You Document?

What baby milestones do you see as being most important to you? Are there memories you’ve documented for each of your kids that you have been intentional about recreating?

Resources On Baby’s First Keepsakes, Moments, and Milestones

Here are some resources on capturing baby milestones, moments, and how to celebrate baby’s firsts throughout the year! Links will open in a new window for your convenience.

The Ultimate Guide to Baby's First YearThis post is part of The Ultimate Guide to Baby’s First Year — I’m one of 30+ blogs participating. Over the course of a week’s time, there will be posts on these topics:

  • taking care of new parents
  • feeding baby
  • taking care of baby
  • baby’s milestones
  • baby play
  • baby spaces
  • celebrating baby

Check out the The Ultimate Guide to Baby’s First Year for a list of all the posts on each topic.

5 Things New Parents Really Need

posted in: Parenting | 14

Now that we’re getting ready to welcome kiddo #2 into the world, I thought it might be helpful to recap some of the things we really appreciated after the birth of our son.

What do new parents really need? To know you’re there for them.

It’s vital to have support as you enter parenthood. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” has historical roots. In the past, new parents had their families nearby, their neighbors, and many hands willing to help in the rearing of their child. Today, though, that sense of community isn’t a given. New parents can face raising a child completely on their own, without the support of nearby relatives or friends. It’s really important to avoid becoming isolated.

Newborn family portrait with hands - new parents - bphotoart.com

1. Fellowship/Support Groups

There are a lot of options when it comes to fellowship and support groups. You’ll find there are local groups that meet weekly or monthly — these are a great opportunity to get out of the house and feel like a person again. Not sure where to find any such groups? A number of international groups such as La Leche League, Mothers of Preschoolers, and Babywearing International have listings of local chapters near you.

Once my husband went back to work and I was at home with our infant all day long, I found these support groups invaluable. It was nice to get out of the house, to sit and talk with other moms who were going through the same things I was going through, and just to be someplace where no one cared if I was dressed in sweatpants and a t-shirt.

2. Homemade Meals

When you have a new baby, there is nothing better than having people deliver homemade meals to your front door just before dinnertime. Having a meal registry really takes the stress of “what’s for dinner” out of the picture. Plus, it’s a great way for your friends and family to have a chance to meet the new baby when they stop by. We were blessed to receive meals from a number of local moms and our relatives too. The moms typically dropped off the meal, said hi to baby, then left. Our relatives would bring over enough food to feed both us and them, so we had time to relax and let someone else hold the baby for a while (and usually take care of dishes for us afterwards too!).

If you’re thinking about delivering a meal to new parents, keep in mind — any meal is appreciated, no matter how simple. It’s never a bad idea to have leftovers either — so don’t worry about making too much… it won’t go to waste. One of our favorite meals we received was pepperoni cheese bread and salad. Simple, but good. Make sure to ask about any food intolerances or allergies — I know some nursing moms who’ve had to cut out dairy for their baby’s sake. Freezer meals may be an option to consider too.

3. Offering/Receiving Help

Some new parents are really reluctant to ask for help, but are more than willing to accept help if offered. Trust me on this one, I am stubborn and don’t like to ask for help. With my first, I had a particularly difficult recovery (cesarean *after* 24 hours of labor), and learned that I really did have to ask for (and accept) help. My mother and mother-in-law were such a blessing to my husband and me during the postpartum weeks.

After the hubbub of the first week or so, life started to settle into a routine for us, but we had some friends who would regularly touch base just to see how we were doing and to ask whether we needed anything. Remember to reach out not just immediately following the birth, but in the weeks, or even months after as well. Some couples take longer than others to adjust to the new demands of parenting, so they may be appreciative of your staying in touch.

Sometimes the best help is offering to hold the baby so that mom can get a shower or nap; other times it might be to take care of the dishes overflowing from the kitchen sink. Really, the most important thing is just letting new parents know that you’re there for them.

4. A Break (Date Night)

As the days and weeks fly by, new parents can get caught up in diapers, feeding, and all things baby — neglecting themselves and their relationship in the process. Some say “baby comes first,” but do you remember how in airplanes you’re told to put on your own oxygen mask so you can then be able assist others around you? Make sure to keep your marriage, your relationship, a priority. By nurturing yourself, you will be better energized to care for your child.

But how to do things as a couple when baby makes three? It can be tough, particularly if your infant doesn’t take to being left with others. Fortunately, in the newborn stage, babies are pretty portable. You can take them out with you for dinner at a restaurant, or go on a walk together with baby in tow. Once you have a general idea of when your baby naps and sleeps, it may be possible to plan a date night “in” at home — even if it’s just a movie.

5. Experience (It Takes Time!)

As with any new thing, adjusting to parenthood takes time. Don’t worry about parenting perfectly — there is no such thing. You’ll do the best you can with what you’ve got. And yes, you WILL make mistakes. Everyone does. But, the great thing about parenting is …it’s a learning process. We learn through experience, by listening to the experiences of others, and by remembering to be flexible. You don’t have to set your parenting rules in stone, you can change and adapt along the way. Take what works, and toss the rest.

What are some good sources of advice? Well, those who’ve been there, done that… parents and in-laws, for starters. We have a bunch of parenting books, but most of them I haven’t read, to be honest. The best sources of advice are really tidbits gleaned here and there, through conversation with other parents.

One tip we received from good friends of ours? Parenthood will only change you as much as you let it.

You don’t have to lose yourself in parenthood. You can keep your identity, expanding it to include parenthood. Being a parent is an addition to your life, a new phase of life — not separate or compartmentalized. You are still yourself, so don’t forget to keep on doing what gives you energy, what revitalizes you and makes you feel excited about life.

BONUS Item: Photos of Baby

Sometimes new parents get so caught up in “surviving” they forget to take snapshots and have professional portraits of baby taken. Despite our plethora of photos from my son’s first year, I just realized that aside from our professional newborn session, we have no photos of the three of us. There are plenty of dad with baby, mom with baby, and baby all by himself, but the three of us? Not so much. I am so glad that we have the portraits from our session (thanks Liz of Oh Baby Photography for visiting us in the hospital and creating lovely newborn memories for us). Here’s my favorite of all of us from her session:

Newborn family portrait - new parents - bphotoart.com

Resources on Taking Care of New Parents

Ultimate Guide to Taking Care of New Parents ~ Lemon Lime Adventures

Taking Time For Mom

Gift Ideas For New Parents

  • Helping Hands
  • Frugal Tips for Parents

    Tips for Parents of Multiples/Preemies

    The Ultimate Guide to Baby's First YearThis post is part of The Ultimate Guide to Baby’s First Year — I’m one of 30+ blogs participating. Over the course of a week’s time, there will be posts on these topics:

    • taking care of new parents
    • feeding baby
    • taking care of baby
    • baby’s milestones
    • baby play
    • baby spaces
    • celebrating baby

    Check out the The Ultimate Guide to Baby’s First Year for a list of all the posts on each topic.

    3 Poems Celebrating Motherhood

    posted in: Parenting | 4

    Happy Mother’s Day! I’m looking forward to a nice relaxing day with my family; I hope you have similarly enjoyable plans. In honor of all the mothers and women in my life, I wanted to share several poems I wrote this spring. There are three, actually. Additionally, you may want to read The Legacy of a Truly Excellent Woman, a tribute to my grandmother. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to share some photos of the lovely roses my mother-in-law got me for Mother’s Day either :). Enjoy!

    Celebrating Motherhood - Mother's Day Roses - bphotoart.com

    Celebrating Motherhood

    Motherhood isn’t all fun and games.
    It takes work, patience, self-control.
    Being a mom can be exhausting, true.
    But the blessings are more than worth it.

    Consider a life without motherhood,
    without bear hugs and butterfly kisses,
    no delighted giggles or mischievous grins.
    Life would be very dull indeed,
    if children were not present.

    Motherhood gives us a window back in time,
    lets us recall memories of childhood,
    reminds us to be grateful for simple pleasures.

    There’s no job harder than a mother’s job,
    but no work with greater reward.
    The world is a better place with children,
    and the mothers who dare to raise them.

    Celebrating Motherhood - Mother's Day Roses - bphotoart.com

    I also want to share a poem I wrote for my mother. Motherhood changes us, makes us realize that our mothers weren’t really all that crazy 😉 — and that we are more like our mothers than we would have cared to admit when younger. This was submitted to Positive Parenting’s Mother’s Day Contest (selected as one of ten finalists!).

    A Reflection of My Mother

    From birth, I was loved, unconditionally.
    My mother held me in her arms,
    keeping me safe from an unknown world.
    As a child, my desire for and pursuit of
    independence challenged her, but
    ultimately she learned to let go and trust.

    She prayed over me before I was born.
    While I was growing, she trusted my
    future to God – my life in his hands.
    Faithful in prayer, she never stopped
    lifting me up, whispering her hopes and dreams,
    letting them go as I pursued the path
    of my own choosing.

    Even into my own journey of motherhood,
    my mother has been there for me.
    Supporting, encouraging, inspiring,
    Continuing to plant in me a firm foundation
    for my journey through life.

    I see things differently now, through the
    lens of motherhood. My mother’s actions
    no longer seem so strange and unexplainable.
    I can appreciate her patience, her selflessness.
    Always overextending herself to make sure
    her family is taken care of, nourished, loved.

    I see in myself a reflection of her — different, but
    echoes of the same. I am my own person,
    redefined by motherhood – but defined, in part,
    by the love of the mother who raised me.
    she always gave freely…and she still does today.

    Celebrating Motherhood - Mother's Day Roses - bphotoart.com

    And last but not least, I wanted to honor those mothers who do not have their children to hug and hold. Mothering is hard, but harder still is facing the loss of a child — whether in youth or in the womb (The Miscarriage: The Secret Heartache of 1 in 4 Women). I chose to write this poem as a haiku.

    Empty arms, aching heart.
    Childless mother, angel babe,
    Apart on earth and heav’n.

    Once a mother, always a mother.

    I saw a quote floating around the internet that really summarizes up motherhood: “we are blessed to be a blessing to others.”

    What About You?

    Are there memories of motherhood that are near and dear to you?  Do you have something special planned for the women in your life who have made the transition to motherhood?

    The Ultimate Guide to Baby's First YearThis post is part of The Ultimate Guide to Baby’s First Year — I’m one of 30+ blogs participating. Over the course of a week’s time, there will be posts on these topics:

    • taking care of new parents
    • feeding baby
    • taking care of baby
    • baby’s milestones
    • baby play
    • baby spaces
    • celebrating baby

    Check out the The Ultimate Guide to Baby’s First Year for a list of all the posts on each topic. Posts on celebrating motherhood are listed below!

    Celebrating Motherhood Links

    Here are some posts by other moms about Mother’s Day and celebrating motherhood. Also check out my Motherhood + Parenting board on Pinterest. Links will open in a new window for your convenience.

    Family Finances, Kids and Money

    posted in: Parenting | 4

    I’m guest blogging over at Divas With a Purpose today… make sure to check out my post on Managing Personal Finances as a Family. You’ll learn about some essentials when it comes to managing family finances, plus get some great (easy) ideas on how to save yourself stress, time, and money.

    Family Finances + Teaching Kids About Money

    While I already shared a bunch of resources and activities for kids to learn about money over at Divas With a Purpose, here are some additional resources on family financial responsibility that I discovered in the past few days, and wanted to share with you!

    Teaching Kids about Money

    Kids learn by getting hands on. Though still a toddler, our son knows that leaving the lights on in an empty room wastes electricity (and money), and he has helped deposit his own birthday money in the bank. There was even one occasion where he had to pay for something he broke with some of his money. While not appropriate for all toddlers, this approach has certainly proved beneficial in our situation, as our son understands the value and perhaps even the concept of scarcity when it comes to money. At any rate, here are some tips from other parents on how to help toddlers through teens how to be responsible with money.

    Money and Family Finances for Parents

    Family finances don’t have to be difficult, sometimes you just have to think creatively. These resources are more parent/adult oriented, and range from how to save money at the grocery store to planning a fun (yet frugal) birthday party. There are also two savings challenges that you might check out — easy ways to put a little money away at a time, and end up with a lot at the end of the year!

    More Resources for Family Finances + Money

    You may also want to check out my Money + Financial Responsibility board on Pinterest.
    Follow Betsy @ BPhotoArt.com’s board Money + Financial Responsibility on Pinterest.

    What Are Your Ideas for Managing Family Finances?

    Well, what about you? Have you come across ideas for making your family finances easy to manage? Do you have a great way to help kids understand the value of saving for a rainy day? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment!

    And if you haven’t already, make sure to head over to my guest post: Managing Personal Finances as a Family.


    Moms Can’t Get Sick (…yeah, right)

    posted in: Parenting | 19

    Being sick stinks. And when you’re a mom and business owner, you can’t just call in sick and expect things to keep on running smoothly. On the home front, there are kids to take care of, meals needing fixing, and the minimal household chores that keep a home from falling into complete sloth. On the business front, there are meetings and appointments with clients — clients who expect to meet with you. And they don’t want your sick germs any more than your husband does.

    So, what’s a sick mom to do? Besides grit your teeth and try to do it all?

    Moms can't get sick (yeah right)

    Well, I have had the pleasure of being sick twice this winter — while pregnant. And the fun thing about being sick during pregnancy is that most “sick drugs” that help us adults plod through and carry on… those drugs are off limits. So I’ve had to resort to natural remedies, old wives’ tales, and those overrated concepts of sleep and rest.

    The first time I was sick, I felt it coming on. But the holidays were coming too — and I wanted everything to be ready, to be done right. I didn’t want to drop the ball. So I didn’t slow down, I didn’t rest, I didn’t take a break or even ask for help. I attempted “mind over matter.” But it didn’t work. All it did was help my poor immune system get more stressed out, more run down, and less able to fight off the sick bug. I was probably sick for a good month. And my immune system was so worn out that that as soon as I started to feel better, the sick bug would get another wind.

    Hint taken. Next time, slow down. Take it easy. Make sure you don’t get this sick again.

    So, when my son came down with a nasty cold this month, I did my best to stay healthy — but caught the bug anyways. I was a sick mom again. But this time, I didn’t want to a repeat. I took naps. Lots of naps. I tried to sleep in. I tried (tried!) to go to bed early. Healthy, immune boosting foods were a focus of my diet. I drank lots of liquids, plenty of a specialized herbal tea blend, and performed daily sinus rinses. I had a few terrible days. But not nearly as many as last time. I was tempted to plow through now once it felt like I was on the mend. But as I knew… as soon as I started pushing myself, I start to feel the sick bug attacking in full force.

    Lessons Learned

    This has been a lesson in asking for help, for admitting I can’t do it all, for letting others step in and take care of me. Yes, I’m a mom and a business owner. But I don’t have to be in charge all the time. Sometimes I need to be taken care of too. Sometimes, I have to tell my clients we’ll reschedule — because I don’t want anyone else getting sick. But, I still feel like I should be stronger, able to pull through and keep going. I have the utmost respect for those parents and adults who can make that happen.

    This winter, I had to be realistic about what would work best for me — instead of trying to live up to what someone else is able to do.

    It feels selfish and wishy washy to rest and “take it easy” instead of plowing through like the rest of the normal world. But with the added factor of being pregnant, you lose the option of relying on those sick drugs to help mom function normally. I have to take steps to prevent a body-wracking cough from hanging around. It’s ok to let my husband take care of me, make me meals, and ask him to come home early so I can rest. It’s ok to have my toddler entertain himself with his toys, or ask him to bring me a kleenex and refill my drink. My family is always willing to help — I only need to stop being stubborn, listen to my body saying I need help…and ask.

    And the astounding thing, to me? No one was annoyed or frustrated about having to reschedule. I love my clients and friends! They are all so sweet.

    I don’t really want to share any “sick mom” snapshots with you, so a sleeping toddler one will have to suffice. I think I napped as much as (if not more than) my son when I was sick. Go figure.

    sleeping toddler on couch

    Some Resources For Staying Healthy (Not Sick!)

    As I plodded through my sick mom experience, I pinned herbal and natural remedies to my “Health” board on Pinterest. You may find some of these pins equally useful 🙂

    Follow Betsy @ BPhotoArt.com’s board Health – Natural on Pinterest.

    What About You?

    What do you have trouble asking for help with? Are you stuck on trying to “do it all” like me? Does it drive you nuts when you can’t follow through with what you said you were going to do? Any go-to remedies you can share to cut short a cold?

    sick remedies for moms

    Portraits On Railroad Tracks? Bad Idea.

    posted in: Photography | 38

    Portraits on railroad tracks are very popular. I’ve seen many high school seniors mention this as a location of preference. And while I am always up for a creative challenge, when it comes to compromising the safety of myself or my clients, I just have to say no.

    Portraits on railroad tracks? No way! Incorporate the railroad tracks into the portrait? That’s another story.

    Why No Portraits on Railroad Tracks?

    So, there you have it. Now you know my limits. I won’t photograph portraits on railroad tracks, no matter how much a client begs. Why? Well, first of all, it is dangerous. The tracks are in use by trains, and there have been unfortunate incidents in the news of people getting stuck on the tracks when a train is coming. I don’t want to play any part in my clients getting injured, maimed, or even killed by a passing train. And, similarly, I don’t want to get hurt myself.

    Secondly, the railroad tracks are privately owned. You can get fined for being on them — something that I have seen enforced. Walking along the railroad tracks, or doing portraits on railroad tracks, it doesn’t matter. What’s more, if you do find a photographer willing to take portraits on railroad tracks, you have a permanent photo record of the fact you were trespassing on private property. So it’s not like you can claim you weren’t there…you were.

    Are Safe Portraits on Railroad Tracks Possible?

    Nope, no such thing according to the railroad officials. But, despite my policy of never doing portraits on railroad tracks, I do have my ways of including railroad tracks as an element in the portrait.

    I am willing to photograph portrait sessions near the railroad tracks, with them as a background element.

    There are parks, public land, and other areas that the tracks pass through. I’m comfortable setting up a portrait *near* the tracks, but at a safe distance so that *if* a train were to pass by, no one would be in the way. These types of portraits “on” railroad tracks work best for high school seniors, or families with older kids — old enough to know not to run out onto the tracks. Again, I don’t want to have that responsibility of knowing my clients received an avoidable injury.

    Safety is always my number one priority. Art never trumps safety. That mentality could prove deadly.

    The family portraits below were taken near the tracks, close enough that the railroad tracks are a prominent element — but far enough away that no one would be in danger were a train to come by (more on that concept of “far enough away” later).

    Family Portrait in front of railroad tracks and train station

    Family Portrait at Dexter Train Station near Train Tracks

    I don’t like to be one for pessimism, but I do want to share several news stories with you that illustrate the seriousness of not doing portraits on railroad tracks. It’s not as simple as “I’ll be able to get off the tracks in time.” There are many factors you can’t account for, variables that could prove deadly. After all, a train is much bigger than a person.

    News Reports of Railroad Track Photography Incidents

    Train Accident Kills Crew Member of Gregg Allman Biopic

    A second camera assistant was killed Thursday afternoon when a freight train struck and killed her on the set of the Gregg Allman biopic “Midnight Rider,” sources confirm to Variety. Four other people were injured in the accident, one seriously. […] the movie crew was filming a dream sequence on a railroad trestle when a train unexpectedly crossed the bridge.

    Photographer Killed While Taking Pictures of an Oncoming Train

    Tragedy struck Sacramento, California this past weekend after a photographer and high school art teacher was killed while taking pictures of trains.” [There was a second set of tracks, the photographer was hit by a second train]

    Operation Lifesaver urges […] stay safe, stay away from train tracks

    [in 2012] more than 800 people were injured or killed while trespassing on railroad property in the U.S., according to preliminary Federal Railroad Administration statistics.

    Really, that’s just a sampling of headlines. There are more news stories like this out there. But enough of that. Let’s move onto the safety aspects.

    Safety Tips You Might Not Know About Trains

    Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit seeking to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way. The organization has some safety tips about trains that you might not know:

    • Trains can’t stop quickly to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks.
    • An optical illusion makes it hard to determine a train’s distance from you – and its speed.
    • The average train overhangs the track by at least three feet.
    • Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and rights-of-way are private property.
    • No tracks should be assumed to be abandoned or inactive.

    While at a Thomas the Train event last year, we actually walked by an Operation Lifesaver booth; my son enjoyed learning a little about the trains from the volunteer, and he liked the coloring book and keychain he received. If you have little ones, make sure to check out Operation Lifesaver for Kids. There are coloring pages, activity sheets, word searches, and the like. I’m always a fan of making learning fun :).

    Portraits Near Railroad Tracks

    I have to admit that while doing my research for this blog post, I learned some things myself about the technicalities and legalities of taking portraits near railroad tracks.

    While I knew that trains overhang the tracks, I didn’t realize that the average train extends three feet or more past the rails.

    In these final examples of portraits I’ve done near railroad tracks, I did my best to accommodate my client’s desire to be photographed at a certain railroad bridge within a public park (but not on the trestle). No portraits on railroad tracks, no portraits on the trestle – but portraits with the tracks as an element of the image. That is the kind of portrait I am happy to create for clients. A creative — yet safe — portrait.

    Senior Portrait On Location - Near Train Tracks

    Senior Portrait On Location - Near Railroad Tracks

    Wrapping Up

    So there you have it. It’s not just a matter of “I’ll be able to get off the tracks in time.” Many people have gotten stuck on the tracks – able-bodied individuals who thought they could get off the tracks.

    Safety comes first, and doing portraits on railroad tracks is just plain not safe. Besides, it’s illegal… tresspassing on private property.

    If you want to learn more about Operation Lifesaver, you can visit their website: www.oli.org. You can also find them on various social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

    Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Portrait Photographer

    posted in: Photography | 0

    What to ask when hiring a portrait photographerYou may be wondering, “how do I hire a portrait photographer?” Or maybe, more specifically, “what should I look for when choosing a photographer?” While there are many different answers to these questions, the important thing is to give questions like these some thought before working with any portrait photographer. Obviously, we’d like to be the perfect fit for your portrait needs, but we recognize our style and approach is specific — photography portraits are not always one-size-fits-all. Generally, the more experienced a portrait photographer, the more flexible they will be in creating portraits that meet your needs and vision. Of course, along with that talent typically comes a correlating price.

    When it comes to quality, you get what you pay for. If you are looking for bottom dollar, then you may need to be willing to sacrifice on quality and creativity. But, if you are able to invest accordingly, it really is possible to plan ahead and have your portraits turn out as creative and as good as you expect and deserve.

    So, what are some things to consider before working with any portrait photographer? Read More

    Looking Back at 2013…

    posted in: Notes | 0

    Well, the holiday sick bug that’s been going around hit our household …and hard. Normally we’re not ones to get sick, but this time ALL THREE of us got sick to varying degrees. I guess, if there is a silver lining to be seen, it’s that the littlest one of us seems to have gotten off the lightest. Us adults, on the other hand, got the heavy-handed version of things (don’t worry, I will spare you the details). Suffice it to say, we’ve been holed up since Christmas, and I doubt we’ll be doing anything special tonight; I have no desire to pass this bug on to anyone else. So, if you have portrait orders to pick up, don’t worry, I will let you know when we have sanitized and decontaminated the place 😉 so that you can come get your lovely portraits without fear of also bringing home a bug.

    Anyways, as we were lazying around (er, resting?) this morning, I couldn’t help but see the lovely snowflakes falling and glittering in the sun’s rays. It’s no fun to be out in the cold when sick, but it certainly is still nice to look at, regardless. Here’s some of our morning view (no turkeys today, but yesterday we say 5-6 of them).

    bphotoart-IMG_4602 Read More

    Thoughts for Moms-To-Be and New Mothers

    posted in: Parenting | 0

    Congratulations! Becoming a mother marks the start of an amazing journey, one which I’ve also begun recently. While I know they grow quickly, it’s hard to believe my little baby is already zooming towards the one year mark (and beyond).

    Though I considered myself to be pretty well prepared for mothering a child, I made a point to never assume I knew everything. And, let me tell you… there is a lot I have learned already! I really could fill a book with stories and ideas, but for now, I’d like to keep it simple. And sweet!

    Learn to take advice with a grain of salt. Everyone will have suggestions for you, or anecdotes to share. And usually, these people are genuinely trying to be helpful …even though the advice they give may not always be useful to you. I’ve found the best thing to do is smile, graciously say “thank you,” and make a mental note of it if you do find something you can apply to your life. If not, don’t sweat it!

    There is a ton of baby stuff on the market. Relax, you don’t need it all. There are a few essentials, but the rest is just fluff. Some products will make your life easier, but others are just out there to profit. The trick is finding out which ones you need! I recommend asking other moms what they found useful, and what they could’ve lived without. For us, my essential baby items were as follows:

    • Baby carrier / wrap
    • Carseat
    • Swing (AC or batteries)
    • Cloth diapers, (via diaper service), diaper covers, and snappis
    • Layette (mostly onesies)
    • Cosleeper

    We have loved babywearing, it has been a lifesaver for those fussy times when your little one needs to be held close. My little boy loves napping while I work or do chores. And when looking at swings, consider if you really want to be changing batteries all the time; we love that ours simply plugs into the wall (and can swing the infant car seat too). I bet you’re curious which baby products we found to be superfluous and unneccessary, right? For example, while a wipes warmer sounds like a neat idea, consider where you would plug it in… and more importantly, why it’s needed. You can quickly warm a wipe between your palms prior to use! We also didn’t use bibs (aside from at the table for food)…they just ended up being one more item of clothing to wash, fold, and put away. Use your judgment, and ask yourself how long a product might be useful (days, weeks, months?) before investing.

    Using a cloth diaper service has been wonderful. Not only are we keeping diapers out of the landfill, but my baby doesn’t get icky chemicals against his skin for hours on end… and no diaper rash! What sold my husband on the diaper service was the ease of use. We don’t have to rinse or scrape the diapers, simply toss them in a hamper, and put the bag out once a week. Plus, it’s a fixed cost… and I never have to worry about running out of diapers.

    Some other activities/groups that I highly recommend:

    La Leche League – there are many local chapters that meet on a monthly basis, and there’s also an online forum. I have found my La Leche group to be a wonderful source of support. If you can find the time to attend while you are still pregnant… do it! You will be able to get any birth or early nursing questions answered before you are in an urgent need-to-know situation.

    Prenatal/postnatal yoga – I can’t say enough about how my yoga class helped me survive through rough times. It was a weekly escape where I could focus on restoring my inner peace and allowing my body to let go of tension. The best part about taking a class geared towards new and expecting moms is that the poses are adapted for your body’s needs and abilities. Instead of focusing on general well-being, I was able to help my body cope with the changes of pregnancy; and later, to help my body recover and heal.

    Babywearing International Groups – I discovered my local babywearing chapter by chance. It has been one of the best assets, providing me with an opportunity to get out on a weekly basis, while enabling me to keep my baby close at hand. Chapters usually have extensive libraries, and you can borrow all sorts of different baby carriers to figure out which works best for you. It’s amazing when I consider that only a year ago, I thought that my only options for wearing my baby were the Baby Bjorn carrier and the Mobywrap. Far from it. In fact, I discovered how poorly the Baby Bjorn fits both mom and baby. My favorite carrier is varies depending on the day and my mood, but I like my Boba soft structured carrier, my BabyHawk mei Tai, and my new favorite is a Didymos woven wrap. There is no comparison to the comfort and support I feel when wearing my little boy in these baby carriers!

    Baby Portraits – I am a bit biased, but as a visual person, I loved documenting my pregnancy and my child’s first moments. Let me tell you, there is no comparison between the snapshots we took and the professional portraits we had done. It is wonderful to feel pampered and to be photographed beautifully. We had newborn portraits done within the first week, and while I was physically in poor condition….none of that hits me when I look at my son’s portraits. He is beautiful; I feel beautiful and motherly in the portraits that include me. So, is it worthwhile to splurge on a newborn portrait session? I say yes!

    Well, I think that’s a good start; as I said before, I really could go on for hours about this topic. Your best resource is other moms who have been there, done that. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions, you deserve to be well informed and know all your options!

    Your birth experience will likely be different than mine, but the important thing is for you to take ownership. You can plan all you want, certainly! Take Lamaze, read books, but keep in mind that birth is a chapter in the book of motherhood. I wish I’d read fewer pregnancy books and more parenting book while pregnant, if you know what I mean. Birth is the beginning, and your journey will be what you choose to make of it.

    Here’s to motherhood! Enjoy the journey!

    10 Makeup Tips To Help You Look Your Best in Photos

    posted in: Notes | 0

    makeup tips to help you look your best - betsy's photography - http://bphotoart.comThe collection of tips below was compiled by Professional Photographer magazine for the March 2010 issue (a trade industry publication that I write for).  In the article, Steve Moore, Deanna Rene, and Holly Schumacher weighed in on makeup tips for brides as their wedding day approached — but this information is really invaluable for anyone who is planning to be photographed.

    Blend, Blend, Blend

    You can use your everyday makeup, but use more than you normally use every day. Many makeup professionals use airbrush makeup, the method of choice for high-definition TV, because it’s lightweight, waterproof and gives flawless coverage.

    Good makeup shapes and enhances the features of your face, and doesn’t really jump out at you.  If you’re not experienced with applying makeup so that it enhances your features and blends smoothly, have someone else do your makeup for you.

    You deserve to be pampered every so often, anyways,… right?

    2. Sometimes Less is More

    Use less makeup for a day wedding and more for evenings. You can get dramatic with eye makeup.

    The eyes say it all. You want to make sure to compliment your style — if your style is casual and lighthearted, then more minimal makeup will suffice.

    On the other hand, if you’re planning a something really formal and elegant, you will probably want to go heavier on your bridal makeup so it matches the mood.

    3. Don’t Skimp on Concealer

    Use a moisturized concealer on the thin, sensitive skin under the eyes. If your concealer isn’t moisturizing, blend it with a skin cream. For blemishes, first treat them with a natural or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, then cover with concealer.

    You can also prevent that “too dry” feeling by applying a moisturizing lotion to your face before beginning to apply your concealer. This will allow you to blend the area needing coverage more subtly.

    4. Do a Makeup Trial Run

    It’s the only sure-fire, stress-free way to make certain your makeup will look beautiful.

    Plus…. if you decide you don’t like the look, you’ll still have time to come up with an alternative plan of action.

    If you’re not one to normally wear a lot of makeup (or any, for that matter), then you’ll definitely want to consider a trial run so you know whether you can feel comfortable going out all made up.

    5. Not All Mineral Makeup is Created Equal

    Titanium dioxide, a chemical used as sun block, can reflect flash, giving the bride a ghostly appearance. In 2009 makeup artist Annie May launched a line of mineral makeup especially formulated for photography called Advanced Mineral Makeup. May promises it won’t white-out the bride under a flash.

    Trust me — I’ve seen this happen. It is not pretty. You will not want to share the pictures if your face looks bright white.

    Not sure if your makeup includes the “ghost factor?” Take a snapshot with flash once you’ve applied the makeup in question — it will show up on your consumer camera if it’s going to happen.

    6. Use Waterproof Makeup With Staying Power

    You don’t want to spend your reception in the bathroom reapplying your makeup. Foundation, eyeliner and mascara all should be waterproof. And in case you cry (and you probably will), have a tissue or handkerchief handy to gently blot your tears right at the eye.

    Even if you use waterproof makeup, I’d still recommend taking the “essentials” along with you to help you “freshen up” if necessary at any point.

    7. Keep Your Lips Moisturized and Colored

    Dry lips look dreadful in photos. … touch up often. Matte and gloss lipstick both photograph well, and be sure to use blended lip liner for enhanced definition.

    Applying colored lip liner before your lipstick will definitely help the color to “stay” longer.  Check the mirror whenever you visit the restroom and you’ll be able to do any touch ups then.

    8. Don’t Forget the Groom

    If the groom is red faced due to too much sun (or drinking), a little powder can help. That goes for shiny heads, too. And it’s a good idea to slip a tube of Chapstick in the groom’s pocket for his dry lips, as well as a handkerchief to dab well-wishers’ makeup smudges off his suit.

    This tip is the most blatantly wedding-related.  But the tip about too much sun goes for anyone.  Although, I’d add that most guys won’t let you put any “powder” on them, even if it will get rid of shine for any photos.  But you’re welcome to give it a shot if you truly feel the need to do so.

    9. Don’t Sprinkle on Glitter

    In photographs, it tends to look like little white spots, as if there’s something wrong with the camera.

    And…. if you put glitter in your hair, it can sometimes even resemble dandruff in the photographs. Make life easier on your photographer, and don’t glam up your hairdo with glitter!

    10. Remember to Put Foundation on More Than Your Face….

    Don’t forget to apply foundation and powder to your neck, shoulders and décolletage—you want your head to look like it belongs to your body!

    Also, unless you tan, your skin is generally lighter in the winter than in the summer — so if you’ve matched your foundation and powder to your skin months in advance… you may find your makeup looking too “obvious” if you only apply foundation and powder to your face.

    There you have it! Ten makeup tips to help you look your absolute best in photos

    Betsy Finn Featured in Dexter Leader

    posted in: News | 8

    Today we got a lovely surprise when we opened our copy of the Dexter Leader! Well, not a complete surprise, because I did talk with the fabulous people over at the Dexter Leader before the article ran, but it’s still exciting to see your face in the paper.

    This edition will be out all week, so make sure to pick up a copy of the Dexter Leader if you want to see the “real thing” — or you can read the article here: “Magnificent Seven.”

    I’ll probably be posting my some of responses on the blog somewhere also — keep your eye posted; I’ll add a few “details” that weren’t mentioned in the article!

    Betsy Finn Featured in the Dexter Leader Newspaper

    Q: Are You Able to do Portraits with Pets?

    posted in: Photography | 4

    I normally just do a Christmas card (plus picture) to friends and family, but I was thinking it might be nice to do something that included our new cat. Are you even ABLE to do portraits with pets, or does your studio focus on people only?

    — Pet Lover

    Good question! While many of my clients are human ones, I do have some animal subjects as well. As a cat owner and pet lover myself, I know where you’re coming from. In fact, our holiday portrait includes our pets whenever possible.  If you genuinely want to include your four-legged family member in the family portrait, I am more than happy to do so. Read More

    Q: How Can I Convince My Mom to Let Me Choose My Senior Portrait Photographer?

    posted in: Photography | 4

    I’m soooo excited to have my senior portraits done; all my senior friends’ pictures turned out so amazing! I need help though. I want to choose my own photographer, but my mom wants me to use the one she used ages ago… And that totally is not what I want. His style is boring and stiff… I want casual and fun. What can I do to convince my mom we should go to someone like you for my senior pictures?

    — Just a Junior

    My answer this question has several parts, so stick with me, ok? First of all, in order to convince your mom, (or even to have a chance of getting her to change her mind), you need to talk with her. And when you do, make sure you keep things cool. While this decision means a lot to you, you’ll need to be mature about the discussion to show her that you are capable of making decisions as a mature person (trust me, this is probably very important from your mom’s perspective). So, before you talk with your mom, read the rest of my response so that you can share your feelings with your mom in a way she’s more likely to understand.

    First of all, do you know if there are any specific reasons why your mom wants to use her old photographer? Knowing her concerns and reasons will help you be able to answer her questions and make her feel better about the whole situation. Without know exactly what it is, I can only provide some more general suggestions. So, make sure you find out her reasons before you start giving yours!

    Your mom probably wants that one formal senior portrait. Are you willing to make a compromise if she lets you choose your senior portrait photographer? In other words, if she really wants the formal outfit and formal pose to remember your senior year — it might go a long way to offer to do this in addition to the fun, casual senior portrait session that you’re looking forward to. Actually, a lot of my senior clients often do something similar — either before or after the “fun” part of the senior session, we take a little time to do the formal senior portrait. And, since it’s not the only thing we do, you and your mom get to enjoy a variety of styles, all of which are great portraits of you.

    Your mom may have concerns about using a different photographer for your senior portraits because she wants to make sure both of you will enjoy your senior portraits. This is a completely valid concern — and you want to make sure you have a good experience too, don’t you? So, since you mentioned that you like my style, let’s say you are telling her about Betsy’s Photography. You can mention the style of senior portraits that I create (remember, I can do those formal ones too), and you definitely want to mention some of my qualifications. Your mom will probably feel a lot better about considering another photographer if she knows the “new” one is properly qualified. In fact, send her to my website — she’ll be able to read all the details there.

    Ok, so after addressing your mom’s concerns and telling her why you want to have Betsy’s Photography create your senior portrait, what’s the next step? Well, first make sure her main objections have been answered (keeping things calm, remember?). Then, if she’s still not completely convinced, maybe you should suggest visiting my website, giving the studio a call, or even scheduling a consultation to discuss your senior portrait choices.

    It’s important that you and your mom to both be happy with the photographer you use for your senior portraits, and by finding out what the real concerns are, you have a better chance of helping your mom consider other photographer when it comes time to schedule your senior portrait session. Keep cool, discuss things calmly, and present supporting points. Don’t try tell your mom she’s wrong (she’s entitled to her own opinion!), but ask her if she’d be willing to consider hearing you out. A little information never hurt anyone, right?

    Who knows, maybe when you’ve finished discussing everything, your mom will be the first one to contact me about scheduling your senior portrait session!

    Q: Help, I Hate Getting My Picture Taken!

    posted in: Photography | 3

    I absolutely hate getting my picture taken, but I have to….soon, at least. I know your style is more relaxed and casual, so I’m hoping you can help. Do you have any suggestions for me so that I won’t freak out once I get to the studio? I’m just really intimidated by the whole atmosphere and posing process.

    — Scared to Smile

    You’re right — sometimes it can be stressful to have your picture taken; but a lot of that depends on the photographer you choose to trust. It sounds like you already know a little bit about how I work with my clients — so that’s good! I love it when my clients come out of their portrait session saying, “that was fun!” or “when are we doing that again?” I want my clients to have a great time, and just knowing that should help you start to feel a little more at ease about having your portrait created. Of course, that’s just the beginning. As we plan your session, we’ll talk and discuss your goals, what you like, and what you’re comfortable with.

    Some tips for having a stress-free session… Trust me, these are pretty simple, and hopefully, will have you feeling much better about your next portrait session.

    Think about the reasons why you feel anxious and intimidated. Is there a specific incident that triggered these feelings, or is it because you hate to be formally posed? The more specific you can be regarding your concerns, the better job I can do when I work with you. If it’s the posing process that freaks you out — we can find ways to work around that; if it’s cheesy phrases like “say cheese” that make you stressed out — well, don’t worry, we can avoid those phrases and work a little more candidly.

    So, once you’ve taken some time to think through the reasons behind your feelings, then is the time to discuss things with your photographer if you’re still concerned. As a photographer, I want each and every one of my clients to be comfortable about being photographed — and while I usually accomplish this by keeping things relaxed and developing a relationship with my clients, if you’re still worried you won’t be comfortable enough, I am always willing to chat about this matter further. Often, just talking about the process with your photographer (over the phone, or in person), as the session date draws nearer, is enough to put a nervous client at ease.

    I’m glad that you’re willing to broaden your horizons! And I will do my best to make sure that you have a great portrait experience before, during, and after your session at Betsy’s Photography Studio. So, when you’re ready, contact Betsy’s Photography and I’ll be happy to walk you through the next easy steps to having your portrait created by Betsy’s Photography. You can do it!

    Q: What if My Kids Can’t Sit Still?

    posted in: Photography | 3
    I’m thinking of scheduling a portrait session for my children but am a little concerned because of their age — I’m not sure I’ll be able to bribe them to sit still or even cooperate. Is this a problem, should I hold off on the portraits for a while until the kids can handle sitting still?

    — Mother of 3 Tots

    This is a valid concern, honestly. But, not to worry! My style of photography allows me to work with kids that don’t sit still, as well as the ones that don’t always smile when they’re supposed to. Remember, it is a little different for your kids when you bring them into the studio, so you can expect for them to be more excited/active/shy than usual. I am used to being around kids and photographing them — after all, I do have 6 nephews and a niece! So, even if your portrait session isn’t the most peaceful experience in the world, things will be fun, and we will be successful in creating great portraits of your children.

    Still not convinced? Well, let me explain a little further. Some things to keep in mind — candy etc. works well as a bribe — but save the treats for after the session. We don’t need the extra sugar when working with an already active child. Rather than trying to force your kids to sit still, which I know can be tough — I often work with them on the move. It allows them more freedom to express their personality, which usually makes for better pictures. Oh, and don’t worry about that not smiling part. I have several tricks up my sleeve that tend to work very well.

    In answer to your question, whether you should hold off on having your portrait created: I don’t think you need to deprive yourself of these memories. Kids love new experiences, and I will do my best to make their portrait session fun and stress-free. Who knows, the sooner you get them into our studio, the sooner they may want to come back!

    If you are still concerned about your children’s ability to cooperate for even one of our more relaxed portrait sessions, then by all means, please let me know. There are some choices we could make in regards to your session (e.g. choose a location they are familiar with) that may make the experience easier on your children. Above all, I want both you and your children to be looking forward to your portrait experience!

    Capturing Your Stories

    posted in: Notes | 0

    Imagine your life without pictures, or other visual imagery. What would it be like? Well, besides not being able to share photographs with distant relatives, you wouldn’t really know what a place looked like without being there. Photography has modernized the world by allowing us to document life — and more particularly, to help us document our family memories. Without images, instead of pulling out a picture of your kids or loved ones, you’d have to try to describe them. Imagine how much trickier that would be (he’s got brown hair,… blue eyes…). Thankfully, we do have visual aids and photographs to help share our world with others. Read More

    Dexter Leader Features Photographer Betsy Finn

    posted in: News | 3

    Betsy Finn of Betsy’s Photography was featured in today’s issue of the Dexter Leader! Read on below for the whole article, which features Betsy Finn, her photographs, and discusses her photographic inspiration. Special thanks goes to the Dexter Leader for allowing Betsy’s Photography to post the article on our blog.


    Dexter Village photographer’s work honored in Florida

    By Sean Dalton, staff writer, Dexter Leader

    A Dexter photographer’s work is going to Tampa, Fla. in January along with thousands of other high quality works from around the world.
    Betsy Finn’s two entries, “Fearless,” and “Uphill Battle,” were chosen by the Professional Photographers of America to be part of the display of 4,000 top photographs – the world’s largest annual exhibit of professional photography displayed under one roof.

    The 117th International Exhibition of Professional Photography’s panel of 30 well-known professionals trims the winners from over 5,000 entries.

    Finn, a wedding [&] portrait photographer for her company, Betsy’s Photography, has had photography in her life from a very early age.

    “As is normal with most photographers, I have a previous interest in photography,” Finn said. “It goes back to my father, my uncle and my grandfather.”

    To these men in Finn’s life, photography was just a hobby, but something sparked in Finn when she was given her first camera.

    Her life wasn’t quite the same after the first time the shutter opened and closed.

    Her father, Jeffrey L. Ash, gave Finn her first camera, a Nikon brand Nikkormat camera while she was in high school, during her freshman year in 1998 at Greenhills High School, in Ann Arbor. Prior to this she had toyed with cameras as a child, but her father’s gift started something, although it took some time to take hold of Finn’s life.

    “It’s the first professional camera I remember using,” she said. “I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I had my heart set on doing photography professional at that point.”

    For a third generation, photography took hold of a member of the Ash family’s heart, and for the first [time] it became a family business.
    Major McKinley Ash, Finn’s grandfather and renowned University of Michigan dentist instigated the family tradition.

    “(He was) pretty much as close to professional as an amateur photographer could be while still being able to maintain the hobby aspect of it, Finn said.

    Her grandfather started getting into photography while traveling, to preserve the sights. He passed away on March 21 at the age of 85.

    Finn’s professional journey began at Hope College, where she earned a degree in studio art with an emphasis on photography in 2005.

    The emphasis on photography came after doing some portraits for friends, some of which turned into clients.

    “I decided I enjoy doing this for my clients,” Finn said. “They enjoy my work, so it just makes sense for me to do this.”

    Up until that point she took some courses at Michigan State University in continuing education and worked professional for almost five years, before moving out to Dexter to be near her new husband’s family and several mutual friends.

    “I started my business after I got engaged, because after I changed my name I needed people to know my name and where my business is,” Finn said.

    Finn mostly does weddings and portraits, although she dabbles in other things. Her most photographed subject in the village so far has been Gordon Hall. She has taken many family and senior portraits at the historical site since coming to the area.

    A photo trip through the village is on her agenda.

    “I really like the character of the town,” she said. “It’s got a lot of variety to photograph. Hopefully sometime soon I’ll have some time to take some personal project pictures.”

    Finn was awarded the PPA Professional Photographers Certification last October, which is what let up to her submitting [4 images] for this year’s association exhibit.

    She is looking forward to getting feedback on her two selected photos, which will be her first works displayed via the PPA. It was her first year entering.

    “It’s really a big thing for photographers, I entered what I thought were my best entries,” Finn said.

    The works will be on display at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center from Jan 6 through 8.


    About the Dexter Leader:

    The Dexter Leader newspaper covers the village of Dexter, and is published on Thursdays. The Dexter Leader was established in 1869. The publication includes news about local government, the schools, high school sports and crime, as well as feature stories about local people of interest, community events, births, engagements, weddings, obituaries and commentary. The Dexter Leader was named Newspaper of the Year by the Michigan Press Association in 2005. In addition, The Dexter Leader won three national awards for reporting from the Suburban Newspapers of America in 2004 and three in 2005, including Best Sports Section. For more information about the Dexter Leader, please visit their website, www.dexterleader.com.

    About Sean Dalton:

    Staff writer Sean Dalton has been with Heritage Newspapers since March 15, 2006. His articles are featured in the Dexter Leader, and he contributes regularly to community discussion on his blog, “Dexter on a Daily Basis.”

    Article is copyrighted by the Dexter Leader, and reproduced with their permission
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