Challenging Myself….

I really wanted to challenge myself this time.  Sometimes I look at my Instagram feed and I am a little bit bored…I will admit.  All I see are close up head shots and a lot of laying down shots.  Don’t get me wrong, I love them but I am craving more.  I love looking at other people’s feeds on Instagram and love how a lot of the shots aren’t so much about the people in them, but the whole scene.  From the pictures hung on the wall to the toys spilled on the floor…I love the scene that is captured in these shots.  I love how the shots are about interactions and not posed (maybe there are posed, but they are fooling me at least).   Okay and I kind of like all the white mid-century modern kitchens, dark wood floors, flowers, and baskets that make each photo that more appealing.  I honestly think that is one reason I have shied away from stepping back and capturing more of the scene.  My house is nice but the finishes are dark and the lighting is horrible.  I could have floor to ceiling windows on every wall and still the light would trickle in. 
 

Well my house is going to stay the way it is…for a while anyway so I had to find another location that was full of light and full of style.  So what did I do?  I researched hotels in the area that were considered modern.  See what I was doing here?  I was getting the job done but also treating myself…I mean family to a luxurious night away from home..bahaha!  For what seemed like hours, I scoured the internet for pictures that met the look I was going for, but honestly…hotel room photos lie!!! Some were a million dollars for one night, some weren’t available, and some were definitely not kid friendly.  I finally came up with one that was moderately priced, the pictures were convincing, and was available.  So on Saturday we packed up the kids for a staycation photoshoot. 

When we arrived at the room I opened the door slowly, afraid that I was duped once again by the magic camera skills of most hotel photographers.  To my surprise however, the room was perfect.  It wasn’t white by any means but it had the coolest mid-century lounge feel.  I wished we could have stayed longer than one night.  The kids had a blast lounging and watching movies together on the couch, swimming, and ordering room service.    I knew they needed this afternoon and night time to themselves because tomorrow I was going to bombard them with picture taking galore. 

This time I let them do what they wanted instead of telling them how to sit and where to look.  I stood back to capture more of my surroundings and tried to refrain from zooming in my lens.  The hardest part was not telling them what to do.  When you pose a shot you feel like you are getting just what you want.  You see it, like it and push the button.  It was definitely different and I was really worried that I would have nothing once I downloaded them to my computer.  In the end though, once all of the photos were downloaded, I was happy with the results.  I was able to get some natural shots as well as stay true to my style, and get some posed portraits.

These photos would not have been complete without the help of Shan and Toad.  Just a bit of history about them and their brand…Shana Laub had always been passionate about fashion.  Then she had 3 little girls and shopping for children’s clothes became quite the hobby which prompted her to open a children’s boutique…Shan and Toad.

This amazing shop is definitely the go-to for the fashion forward . There is no other shop that carries such a wide range of beautiful crafted and unique pieces.  The clothes we used for this shoot were pure perfection.  Kaitlin is wearing amazing pieces from Paade.  Charles is wearing a super stylish line called Cavalier.  Finn is looking super cute in MSGM Kids.  And the twins…mainly Emma becasue Mila was a little under the weather is wearing beautiful designs by Popecha.   Head over to shop now and get 15% off your order with coupon code: overourwall15.

Location Location Location…

I thought all week about where I wanted to shoot this blog post.  I have a lot of places that I love to go, but they aren’t always exactly kid friendly….not that that has ever stopped me.  However, nowadays I have the twins and it’s just a little bit harder to pack ’em up, drive, and then frantically try to take a bunch of pictures before I am asked to leave or asked what in the world I am doing there.  That stressful situation usually just makes me scream at the kids and then they protest the entire shoot.  Thankfully on Saturday night my husband and I were forced to take a detour on the freeway.  It directed us to an area of town I had never been, yet was fairly close to our house.  I decided to go back the next day and ask if the property owner would mind if I took a few pictures in front of their house.  I have done this before and although it may seem crazy, I am always received well – if I say it’s pictures of kids!  I think most of the time they like the thought that they have a spot that is appealing to others.  When I got out of the car, where my husband and kids were patiently waiting, I was greeted by a huge pitbull.  Honestly, I was super freaked out and just stood there yelling, “hello?”  Luckily the owner heard me and came out.  He seemed confused, but after I nervously got my question out, you could tell he thought the fact that I wanted to take pictures in front of his house and chicken coupe was kind of cute.  This long explanation is to tell you not to limit yourself.  When you are driving to work, to the grocery store, keep your eyes peeled for spots that capture your attention.  You can always ask permission to take pictures pretty much anywhere.  Okay, so now that I told you all of that…we got to the location and only spent about 5 minutes there before we packed up headed to one of my “go-to” spots.  The yard was filled with crab grass, thorns, and ants.  If you haven’t noticed, I like to do shoeless laydown shots, so this wasn’t exactly the spot to take two little babies and a 6 year old.  But that’s not to say I didn’t get a few shots before Finn ever took his shoes off.

and the babies weren't out of the car before he had his first melt down and wanted to go home...I may have promised ice cream cones, packs of gum, toys, endless game downloads..okay you get the point. and the babies weren’t out of the car before he had his first melt down and wanted to go home…I may have promised ice cream cones, packs of gum, toys, endless game downloads..okay you get the point.

So we were off to a place that I knew well which was super close to home; the cool brick walls of the nearby auto repair shop.  It was Sunday, so nobody was going to ask me what I was doing right?  Nope, a lady actually pulled into the parking lot and drove around to the back where we were and asked if I need help because Mila was crying….to say I wanted to die and felt like a horrible mother is an understatement….But she left and I carried on.   I’m glad I did because in the end I got some great shots in the most amazing little outfits on earth.

This shoot was beautifully styled by Wee MondineWee Mondine brings you a lovely, international selection of cool, comfortable clothes for your kids.  Their online atelier could be a shop in New York or Paris, filled with gorgeous, fun clothes and they deliver that experience right to your door.

The owner behind this sweet shop is Elizabeth Crosby.  While expecting her first child, she began to scour West Village baby boutiques to find the best in clothes and products for her new addition.  Interested in soft, organic clothes she found that her choices were limited.  She wanted clothes that were fun, beautiful and would last through several kids could be past down to future generations.  Over time, she learned a lot and fell in love with some amazing brands.  A month before her daughter was born, her family moved from Manhattan to Connecticut.   She found herself forced to buy all of her favorite brands from on-line retailers.  She needed a website where she could find all of her favorite brands in one place…Hello Wee Mondine!!!!!

All of the clothing pieces and stuffed dolls can be found in her shop right now…so go check it out.  Finn is wearing Nico Nico and Emma and Mila are wearing Oeuf Layette.  The cute bunny is Hazel Village which can also be purchased at Wee Mondine.  She is also offering our readers 15% off their entire purchase.  Use CODE: OVERTHEWALL15 Happy Shopping!!

OUTTAKES

This weeks best dressed

The weekly best dressed is my weekly favorites and must haves…and this week…

There is nothing better than hand knit baby anything, but pair it with organic fabrics and well, I am a complete puddle of baby love mush. Kokoro Kotne is organic knit perfection. Each piece is handmade from their hands in Spain to yours wherever you call home. The knits are so soft and buttery I melted.  You can also find them on Instagram

Like I said I am completely obsessed with knits right now. These blankets from Repose-ams are a must for any baby blanket collection. The colors are so rich and on trend. But the cool thing is…they don’t have to be just for babies add them as a throw to any room in the house for a classic look.

Repose was founded in 2014 and is an Amsterdam based company.  Repose means peace, tranquillty, calm and silence and that fits their philosophy perfectly.  They design sophisticated products made out of the best qualities.

Don’t forget they make for great photo backdrops as well 😉

 

ALL FIVE!!

I’m going to start off by saying this shoot would not look half as cute as it does if it weren’t for Egg by Susan Lazar.  This line is contemporary yet classic.  And they offer clothes for the youngest to the oldest littles in your life.  The story behind beautiful company: At Egg we love-love.  All eggs look the same on the outside-its on the inside that counts-pure potential.  Egg hatched in 2003, when designer Susan Lazar decided to start a lifestyle brand with a soul, focusing on the love that exists between parents and their kids…At Egg we celebrate that bond and connection in all families…Egg is designed around the needs of stylish mothers and children with natural fabrics and clean modern designs at an affordable luxury price point.  The result is fashionable, yet timeless, baby and kids clothes of the highest quality.

 

 

Alright so I have to say…..OHMYGOSH.  This really was the first time I had photographed all the kids at one time where they all had to be dressed and ready…don’t forget that includes two teething twins.  Getting everyone ready was easy enough.  I got each kid dressed and my husband cared for the babies…the screaming babies.  The panic was starting to set in, how in the world am I ever going to get all of these kids to cooperate for oh lets say…2 hours worth of photos?  Well the key is my husband.  I shoot and he  jumps and makes crazy noises behind me for the babies and cracks funny jokes for the big kids.  Oh and the other key…a trip to Target to buy Pokémon cards and candy for Kaitlin.

For the location I chose this great farm that lets you rent it for the whole day for $50.  There are so many different backdrops and setting that it’s really was a one stop shop photo shoot.  I brought so much stuff as far as props and blankets (best and most needed prop ever), water and food,  but when we got there we couldn’t bring our car back to the main area…like we had in the past.  We had to park about a mile away from where I really wanted to shoot.  So just imagine my husband carrying two babies in car seats, me a bin of props, my camera equipment, food, drinks (baby weight) and three other little people running about, petting animals and finding little BB pellets all over the place, which Charles insisted on collecting and would spill out of his pocket during every shot.

For me  the easiest thing to do is start by taking individual shots of each child then just a few kids together and then the group shots.  Also know that I use my camera and my iPhone.  Sometimes I honestly get a better shot with that little thing than my big professional camera.  I usually start with  Finn, he is easy, you say chin down, smile, and shoot.  Finn doesn’t love having his picture taken hence the pouty look he always give (little does he know I LOVE IT) He told me that he wasn’t going to do the shoot today because he had his own money and he would just buy his Pokémon cards with that when I took the other kids to the store…haha doesn’t work that way, part of the reward is being driven there too 😉  Kaitlin is a great help and likes to plan shots out for me.  “Hey mom try this or wouldn’t this be a great shot” and they usually are.  Charles is probably the hardest to photograph but the easiest at the same time.  Charles will do whatever I say but for the life of him can’t seem to keep his eyes open because of the sun.  If you have blue eyed kids you know what I am talking about.  So I have them close their eyes, I count to three and then shoot about 20 pictures in a matter of five seconds.  Finn likes to pull the “I cant open my eyes” stuff too oven at 6:30 when there is no sun.

After all of the pictures have been taken and the kids have been told what to do for two hours…I let them do what they wanted and I snapped away.  They explored, they held chickens, they got splinters, they laid in not so clean grass, they chased ducks, and they walked away saying wow that was kind of fun.  Finn looked up at me and said, “mommy I don’t like the picture part but I like the all together part, can we do it again next week but forget to bring your camera.”

Gosh I love them…

Helpful hint:

Plan the shoot out…look on Pinterest for posing ideas and props

Have food and drinks on hand…even if you are just in your front yard

Plan out the shoot, singles first and then group shots

Always say chin down….kids faces high up in the air drive me nuts

See if the kids have an ideas for pictures…this always gets my kids.

Let them have free time to do what they want to do….but keep taking pictures

Have a helper and stay calm

just a little iPhone love…
 

The Awkward Stage

I thought I would start off with something I feel like I am really struggling with…photographing babies that can’t sit up….ahhhhh!  You can always do the typical lay down shot (which is great and has techniques in and of itself) but what about when that gets old?  You have to come up with other poses or angles.  I have double the trouble here too since I am dealing with twins.  This session was no different either.  I started shooting from above.  And after about two snaps, wiggly legs and arms, and drool I was over it.  So I took a different approach…I came down to their level…the ground.  I generally don’t do this because I don’t like a lot going on in the background…like the dust and dirt under the crib or all the boys toys spilled all over the ground.  But this was different.  I was already in the garage because of the clothing I was photographing.  I used the white wall of the garage and the great light to my advantage.  It got even better when the babies naturally turned towards me.  Ahhhh it was a different point of view and it was good!!!!!  The babies were intrigued by the camera and it made for some very dramatic and interesting faces.  Don’t get me wrong, I still got some great shots from above but this new point of view is refreshing and different.  It also showed me a different side of each of the girls.  Emma tends to look serious and Mila kind of tense.  I can work with serious but tense is harder.  Try to keep these things in mind when you are photographing each individual child.  Different angles work better different personalities.  Since Mila is so tense it is harder to shoot from above because she looks stiff and unnatural.  I actually think the lay down shot of her here kind of shows what I am talking about…lol!!  Sometimes no angle really works for this tense look so you just have to talk to the baby or child, calm them and snap like you have never snapped before.  Sometimes it takes 100 clicks to get that priceless shot.

When in doubt photograph the details.  For this shot I used a wooden wardrobe (but you could use anything) to display the clothes I was photographing.  I also shot this in the garage...yes the garage.  During the day your garage can be flooded with natural light and if you are lucky like I am the walls are white!! When in doubt photograph the details.  For this shot I used a wooden wardrobe (but you could use anything) to display the clothes I was photographing.  I also shot this in the garage…yes the garage.  During the day your garage can be flooded with natural light and if you are lucky like I am the walls are white!! This shot was simply shot from above.  I am standing more so on top of Emma, feet on each side of her. This shot was simply shot from above.  I am standing more so on top of Emma, feet on each side of her. shot from above MIla shot from above MIla Props props props...use what you have a round the house but keep it simple and clean.  They call this a flat lay...maybe not what you want for regular photos of your kids but you can do your own interpretation of the flat lay.  Also for this shot I was actually standing on a chair above Emma.  Standing on a chair above allows more of your scene to be photographed and adds more depth. Props props props…use what you have a round the house but keep it simple and clean.  They call this a flat lay…maybe not what you want for regular photos of your kids but you can do your own interpretation of the flat lay.  Also for this shot I was actually standing on a chair above Emma.  Standing on a chair above allows more of your scene to be photographed and adds more depth. This is where is gets fun...get down on the ground and photograph a different view.   Use the back ground to your advantage.  I love the mix of sweet and beautiful baby clothes, with a not so clean white urban wall. This is where is gets fun…get down on the ground and photograph a different view.   Use the back ground to your advantage.  I love the mix of sweet and beautiful baby clothes, with a not so clean white urban wall. I am literally laying on the garage floor and yelling Emma's name, oh and making really weird noises, oh and sometimes I even use a squeaky toy to get there attention.  You should see my neighbors faces as they drive by. I am literally laying on the garage floor and yelling Emma’s name, oh and making really weird noises, oh and sometimes I even use a squeaky toy to get there attention.  You should see my neighbors faces as they drive by. Shot from above.  One thing I like to do when I am photographing the twins is to NOT put them right next to each other.  I don't want them to look like they birds lined up on a fence post.  I simply placed Emma down and did the same with Mila but with a slight slant.  It adds interest. Shot from above.  One thing I like to do when I am photographing the twins is to NOT put them right next to each other.  I don’t want them to look like they birds lined up on a fence post.  I simply placed Emma down and did the same with Mila but with a slight slant.  It adds interest. Again think of different views.  Just because you are photographing people or babies, you don't have to have their beautiful faces in each shot.  Think about all the sweet little rolls and crinkles your baby has.  The fat rolls and chubby feet.  Those are just as sweet and things you don't want to forget.  Again think of different views.  Just because you are photographing people or babies, you don’t have to have their beautiful faces in each shot.  Think about all the sweet little rolls and crinkles your baby has.  The fat rolls and chubby feet.  Those are just as sweet and things you don’t want to forget. And again shot from above.  And another side not...they don't always have to be looking at you.  A snap of your baby or child looking away is a moment in time that they are discovering their world around them...its the little things but they matter. And again shot from above.  And another side not…they don’t always have to be looking at you.  A snap of your baby or child looking away is a moment in time that they are discovering their world around them…its the little things but they matter.

Clothing for this shoot was provided by Olivier Baby

Olivier Baby is run and owned by Emma Davison and her sister Alice Smith. The company was set up in November 2011 by Emma who was shortly joined by Alice. Emma is a knitter herself and as a team they design the pieces and put together the collections. Emma knits all the samples herself and they are rigorously put to the test by our five children.  The clothing has a distinct nostalgic feel, a mix of traditional and fun.  All of the wool is 100% cashmere and is made both in the U.K. and Bulgaria. The hand knitted pieces are made in Bulgaria by a small team of knitters using the traditional two needle method. Each one is individually made and as such is one to be treasured and looked after and then handed on to the next person to enjoy.