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Photo Book by Pinhole Press

I am so terrible at printing photos. I take a million photos a day (only a slight exaggeration) and yet, our walls are bare and I have no tangible evidence of those photos. Just digital files buried on external hard drives. When www.pinholepress.com* contacted me about trying their petite flay lay book, I was so excited! You guys, it was so easy! I just made a file of some of my favorite photos from this fall, imported them onto the site, and then dragged them all to the pages and done! The whole thing took less than 10 mins! And the girls LOVE seeing all the fun memories from this year. Total win! Especially for only $9.99!

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*The book was provided by pinhole press, but all thoughts and opinions are mine. I really do love it!

Tips for Better Photography & a Cohesive Instagram Feed.

I am so excited to be a guest blogger in the Mom Blog Collective! To be honest, I feel like quite the small fry in the company of some fantastic women that I have looked up to and secretly admired for a LONG time. To call them peers and to partner together this week is such a fun dream come true! And if you are wondering what the Mom Blog Collective is, I’ve got your back. It’s a group of amazing and inspiring Mamas who will all answer the same set of questions regarding blogging, Instagram, photography, sponsored posts, and balancing it all with motherhood and more. You can also search the #themomblogcollective on Instagram to see more posts from these talented ladies.

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Now, I mentioned the small fry thing. I LOVE Instagram. It’s a small micro blog that holds all my memories beautifully in chronological order. But I wouldn’t call myself a “blogger”. I started a blog the day I found out I was pregnant with my oldest daughter Vivienne. That was over 6 years ago! I began my blog as a way to connect with family that lived a bit too far away and as a place to document memories. Fast forward six years and three daughters, and my blog is still that. I am not the most faithful blogger (um hello! My last blog post was in 2016!). I certainly don’t have all the answers. And most of the time I am winging it with a latte in hand and a toddler or two on my lap. So with that disclaimer… here is my Hopefeathers Wisdom:

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What do you use to take your photos? iPhone? DSLR? Any fave photo equipment or cameras?
I have been a wedding and portrait photographer for almost 8 years. So naturally I have a camera bag (or three) filled with lenses and camera bodies and other photography must have gadgets. And yet, even with all that stash, I always go back to my favorites: Canon 5d Mark ii usually paired with my Canon 50mm f1.2 or my Canon 24-70mm f2.8 lenses. I also recently got a GoPro and had some fun this summer dabbling in underwater photography. When I first started Instagram, I used 100% iPhone photos and 100% crazy vintage filters with frames. Now the pendulum has swung, and I currently post about 85% photos from my “big camera”. My editing process has changed a bit from those heavily filtered days.

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What apps do you use and your editing process?
I spend most evenings after the girls are in bed editing photos for my wedding and portrait clients. So it’s not hard to upload a CF card each night of photos from the girls as well. I upload straight to Lightroom and I do minor adjustments like white balance and exposure. Occasionally, I will use my VSCO presents to add that special something. Mostly, I prefer my photos to be colorful, bright, and clear and try to shoot that way SOOC (straight out of camera). Then, I add the photos to the cloud which connects to my phone so I have them on retainer to post when I am ready. I try to keep everything organized, so each mini session I do of the girls goes into it’s own specific album titled by the special event or collaboration. It makes it easier to find later.

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What photos of yours tend to do well? What do your followers really respond to?
This is a tough one because to be honest most days I feel like I have no idea what will be a successful Instagram post. It’s kinda a shot in the dark. I will say, however, that a triple sister shot or a photo with our puppy tends to do well. Maybe it’s the fact that all moms agree that the more kids you have, the harder it is to “nail the shot” of them all. That being said, I have a couple tips for accomplishing this feat:

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1) Don’t worry about smiles. If you line them all up and expect gorgeous smiles from them all, you will quickly turn into a fire breathing dragon mama whispering empty threats to force compliance. Trust me. So instead, let them be candid! If that means shooting a photo from behind so you don’t see their cranky faces, SO BE IT!

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2) Give them a prop or activity. My girls will gladly let me take photos of them when they are crafting, playing, and creating chaos. And some props just make the photo even cuter! Like playing at a playground, coloring, or enjoying an ice cream cone or lollipop. Which, of course leads me to my next tip:

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3) I am all about bribes. We have a jar of chocolate chips in our kitchen specifically used for photoshoots. And for Mommy. Enough said.

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4) Prepare to be a dork. Like for real. The bigger a dork I become, the bigger the smiles the girls give. I tell a TON of potty jokes, make strange noises and chase them for tickle fights. And it works! For now. I’m sure this strategy may need to be altered as the girls become Tweens! Yikes!

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5) My last tip is to stay calm. Kiddos can smell stress. I swear the girls can tell when I have a “high pressure” photo shoot required for a collaboration or whatever because they loose their minds and I do to. We all just need to calm down! Worst case scenario, it’s not perfect. And is that really all that bad? None of us are perfect… so our Instagram feeds shouldn’t be either!

Be true to who you are. Don’t copy others photos, but feel free to be inspired by the amazing community on the fun little app. And most of all, HAVE FUN! That's why we all joined Instagram in the first place, right?

Speaking of fun, I totally suggest that you check out the other Mamas in #themomblogcollective linked bellow.

@helloerinv - http://helloerin.com/

@mrsseacannon - http://mrsseacannon.com/

@steph__pollock - http://www.koleimpressions.com/blog/

@cultivatemotherhood - http://cultivatemotherhood.com/

@blessednestblog - http://www.a-blessed-nest.com/

@darlingnightingale - http://darlingnightingale.com/

@_ashley_noel_ - http://www.ashleynoel.life/

@britthavens - http://britthavens.com/

@thelovedesignedlife - https://thelovedesignedlife.com/

@hollynbaron - http://psimfromthemidwest.com/

@hellobabybrown - http://www.hellobabybrown.com/

@occasionally_perfect - http://www.occasionallyperfectstyle.com/

 

 

Holiday Traditions with Hanna Andersson

It's no secret that we love LOVE the holidays. To us, the holiday season begins the first of October. When there is a nip in the air and the leaves begin to turn to rust, mustard and maroon. When we begin to snuggle under blankets with hot beverages. When everything is covered in plaid. When we pull out our scarves and boots and sweaters. And the holiday season lasts straight through Fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! Basically, we are in the best three months of the year! Hooray!

I love the holidays because I get to decorate my house, my children, and do all things festive! Every fall we start our holiday bucket list. And this year, we wore our Hanna Andersson Bear Hugs sweater collection for our family traditions! First and foremost each year is a family leaf fight! This is Edith's first fall and she wasn't too sure about all the crunchy leaves. She did enjoy shoving fist fulls of them in her mouth but thought her big sisters were crazy for throwing them. Vivienne and Lucielle couldn't have loved it more! Whether they were simply tossing them up or trying to get Papa, they were delighted! I mean seriously! How cute is Edith in this Sweater Jumper?! I die!

Even though the sweaters are made of unbelievably soft cotton and warm Merino wool yarns, we went home to make S'mores and warm up by the bonfire. The smell of burning leaves and roasting marshmallows will always trigger happy autumn memories!

How cute is the back of this bear sweater! It cracks me up and the girls like to poke the bears butt when being silly, which of course causes a giggle-fest!

And of course we can't forget all the holiday baking! I have always pictured my little girls patiently waiting at the table sweetly ready to mix, pour, and spread whatever delicious treat we were baking. In reality, baking with kids is a whole lot messier that I anticipated. We made some Cranberry White Chocolate scones because it's my favorite kid friendly (aka, they can't mess it up with less than accurate measurement haha) recipe. Plus, a warm scone and hot tea just screams the holidays to me!

An obvious fall Family Tradition for so many is Pumpkin Carving! The girls loved watching Papa carve and help plan what they wanted our girl pumpkin, named Jill, to look like! They were NOT a fan of trying to get the seeds and "slime" out from the inside haha. They would erupt in giggles every time they touched it.

Plaid is always a staple for the Holidays. I love it. Like LOVE it!!!! So Vivi's Buffalo Check Flannel dress will be on repeat all season!

It's no surprise that I get the most excited about Christmas. While I have been trying to curb my unbridled enthusiasm until after Thanksgiving, there are some things I sneak in. Our first Christmas cocoa is a big deal! The second it's cool enough, I pull out our special Christmas mugs, some peppermint sticks and marshmallows to make the best cocoa ever! Every once in a while, when it's really cold out, we also listen to Christmas music. Shhhh don't tell! And of course it never hurts to pull out a strand of twinkle lights.  Since it gets dark so early now, they make our home so cozy and festive!

'Tis the season for family traditions! What is on your family bucket list this season? 

 

*This post is sponsored by Hanna Andersson, but good gracious we love the Bear Hug Sweater collection so all thoughts and opinions are our own*