5 ways to make your holidays memorable

It is now the month of all the special holidays that allow family and friends to come together and celebrate. I for one want to make the most of it. Last year, my family and I went through a pretty tough time and it really made me want to cherish the memories every chance I could. I wanted to share some ways for you to as well instead of being caught up on what everyone else is doing (aka being on social media).

1. Only Take photos at events that are posed (i.e. everyone gets together and smile for the camera) and then keep your phone/camera away

I am really big on keeping your phone away during family events. I don’t even like to bring them out on dates. However, these are good times you want to keep. I get that. However, I have recently came to discover that the more you have your camera up, the more you miss what is actually happening. Have you ever noticed that? You are so concentrated on keeping the subject in the frame and in focus that you aren’t actually watching what is going on. You miss those moments in real time. This is why I say you can take photos, but leave it for the posed ones. Then, PUT IT AWAY!

2. Journal after the events

So how will you remember everything if your not taking pictures that aren’t posed or “in the moment?” By keeping a journal. It’s honestly the best way to do that. You will then be able to reflect on your memories. It is also a good way to caption your album or photos later on.

3. Do an activity at events

It may sound crazy, but I honestly thinks this helps a lot when it comes to remembering things. At one of my families gatherings, we get Christmas Crackers (Find out what they are here). Each year we open them after dinner around the table and it comes with some sort of toy/gadget/trinket, two jokes and two riddles and a paper crown. We go around the table and tell the jokes and riddles one by one (some repeat so it doesn’t go on forever). Last year we even got wind up penguins and had penguin races. This is something I look forward to every year and it is so much fun. My family may get a little out of hand with it because by then we have had some beverages and we all love to voice our opinion in everything. (You can even take a look at buying some here!)

4. Stay off your phone

In today’s world it’s something I really want to stress. I can’t tell you how disheartening it is to go to an event and see everyone just scrolling on their phones. It makes me want to scream “go talk to someone", or “how about you help grandma/little child out with something.” I am totally guilty of this in the past and it makes me ill thinking that I missed out on catching up with my family and making new memories. If you don’t know something about someone, ask them. I know it makes my grandparents world when I talk to them and just listen to what they have to say. So put them away for the events. Nothing life altering is going to happen during them. If you MUST have your phone on you, put it on airplane mode or do not disturb mode.

5. With the pictures you do get, add them to an online album (i.e. Facebook, Google Photos, Amazon Prime Photos, etc.)

AFTER you have left the event, add them to an online album. I have my phone set to automatic backup with Google Photos when I get to an area with Wi-Fi. From those photos, I can select the ones from an event and make an album. I can share these with anyone I send the link to and they can download it as well. This way, my photos are always backed up and if I ever want to see them again, they are organized and on a platform I can get to from anywhere with internet.

I hope these ways can help you enjoy your holiday more and have more memories with your friends and family. Trust me when I say it is worth it to be present instead of preoccupied with your technology. Now go make some memories.

Why it's important to book your holiday card mini session NOW

The holidays are quickly approaching us and before you know it, they will be here. It’s hard to believe this year has gone so fast. That’s why it’s so important to book your holiday card mini session NOW before it’s too late. There are many reasons to back that up.

1. To make sure your photographer’s available

I can’t stress enough how important this is. As a photographer, I can tell you that we book up fast. Plus, we need time to plan your session and get all contracts/payments squared away. This takes time. It’s a very busy time for photographers and making sure your session is on the calendar is important.

2. To make sure everyone involved in these photos are available

Anyone you need in these photos also needs to be available. With my family, this is the absolute hardest part. We all have very busy lives and trying to find a time when all of us can get together for anything is near impossible. Unless it’s months in advance. I always have more than one date prepared to give to my photographer just in case they are not available, so make a few with your family.

3. To have time to design/pick out your cards

The photos may take a minute coming back from the photographer, so be prepared for that. But once they do, you will want to design or pick out a card. I use three different services: Basic Invite, Minted, and Nations Photo. All three I like and they have different varieties.

4. Shipping from card company

Once you have designed and ordered your cards, the card company will need to make them and send them to you. They will do all the work and send you all the envelopes, so it will take time. Expect anywhere from 3-4 weeks.

5. Time to get all mailing addresses

While you wait for your cards to arrive, you can collect all the mailing addresses you need. There are some card company’s that may address them for you and if so you’ll want to do this way ahead of time. I keep mine every year and just update them if need be. I always check to see if I know anyone who may have moved or changed addresses in case I need to update them.

6. Time to get them to the post office and mail them out

If you decide to do the mailing labels yourself, this can take a minute to add them to all of your cards. I also stuff some and some have stickers on the envelopes. I also have to add all the stamps. This is all the prep work I need to do before I even get to the post office. But, once they are there, it’s now all out of your hands.

7. Mail carrier time

It does take a little bit for the mail carrier to actually deliver the cards. Also, things can get lost in the mail, cards can get returned. There was one time I had a card returned to me 3 weeks after the new year and I sent them two months before. Things happen. So plan for mishaps.

This seems like so much happening when it comes to just some simple card that someone gets in the mail during the holidays. Even though it may seem that way, just know you are telling someone that you love them or that you enjoy them when you send them a card. I even do it. I send them out to all my clients and to my family and friends. I know I feel special when I receive one every holiday season.

So, make sure you plan accordingly and get that session booked now! Especially since you are thinking about it now.

Your checklist for the holiday season!

Talking about the holidays seems a little crazy to be doing already, right? Not if you are a planner like me. Honestly, I have to have a checklist to make sure I am not forgetting anything. Things can get hectic and I don’t want to have to worry anything last minute when it “suddenly comes up.” I have created a little list for you to help you out this season.

1. Holiday Cards

I recommend doing this as the first thing to check off. You have to make sure your photographer can do it, wait for them to get you the photos, design your card, wait for that company to ship it to you and then you can send them out. See? Lots of work and it takes a lot of time.

So you need to get these photos taken, order them and send them out. I recommend making a list of everyone first and then adding at least 10-20 more cards. This ensures that you won’t fret when you “forget someone” or need to add someone last minute.

2. Gift Planning

This can take some time, but I recommend doing the work up front then worrying about it during. Plus it can save you some headache in the long run.

Make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for. It doesn’t matter if you know what you are buying them or not, just who are you buying gifts for. Ask these people for any wish list’s they have made or things they could use. If they don’t have any, ask them what their favorites are (scents, thing to do, what they enjoy, etc.).

Then, make a budget. You are able to adjust this later, but at least you have a baseline. This way you can come up with things that fit in your budget, but still get gifts that everyone wants.

3. Events

It’s that time of year for traveling and getting together with family/friends. It can get a little crazy and possibly even with miscommunication, cause unnecessary drama. That is why it’s important to plan ahead.

Write down any holiday get togethers/parties/events you need to attend and then let all the party goers that will be coming with you know what is going on as well. I even use a Google Calendar that I can share with everyone so no one is lost or confused and everything is in one place.

Next, figure out any food you need to make/bring to these events. There is nothing like a pitch-in without any food that has been pitched-in. It happens. I add these even to the calendar so I know when to plan to make them and to know what to get at the store.

If you are hosting event, go ahead and book a cleaning service ahead of time. This ensures that you will not have to search around for one that has availability that day.

4. Traveling accommodations

Like I have been saying, plan, plan, plan. It’s so important to get all of these things figured out before it’s too late. Make sure any planes/trains/cars/boat rides are booked in advance. Get any hotel rooms/Airbnb’s etc. booked. Also, plan for your pets to have everything planned out. Is someone sitting or do they need boarded? These little details booked ahead of time will save you a lot of stress when you can’t find anything closer to the day.

I hope these tips will help elevate any stress or help you remember anything about the holiday planning. I even have made a little card for you to print out and keep. All you need to do is click the picture above and it will let you download it.

6 Ways to Gift your Session Photos

The holidays are right around the corner and I cannot believe it! Have you got all of your gifts ready? If you haven't there is no fear. I can help you come up with great ideas to turn your session photos into gifts with these six items!

1. Print Wraps & Canvases - Take your session photos and create some large photo for your families walls. Nothing is better than receiving a wonderful wall art from your family members to help bring the home together. 

2. Cards - Holiday cards are some of the easiest ways to share your session photos. You can easily send them out and they don't cost very much. 

3. Framed Photos - These are just a little smaller than the print wraps or canvases, but still as creative and effective. 

4. Photo Album - This is always nice to send your family members because they get more than one photograph to send your loved ones. 

5. Personalized Apps - This one is super easy to share with family members because all it is is a link to add to their smart phone or tablet. 

6. Gifts (See Gift Collection Guide) - Check out my gift guide here to check out all what I have to offer. These gifts include: charm bracelets with the charms being the photographs, 12 month calendars, wooden magnets, photo blankets, & photo pillows. 

New Holiday Ideas - Guides to Gifts

I am so excited to announce a brand new guide to all of you! A holiday guide that also introduces some new products I am offering. These product items are perfect for gift giving! Just use your session photos from your sessions and I can compile them together for these wonderful gifts. Check out the guide out below and see what products I am now offering.