Blog: Photo Sessions

Life is Beautiful. I love serving the world by capturing beautiful family memories, encouraging others to believe in life’s greatest possibilities, and inspiring others to realize their full potential. Everyone has a story... make it a beautiful one.  

Ways to Embrace Motherhood With Multiple Kids

I think we can agree as mothers especially when you have more than one child, it is easy to let ourselves down and allow ourselves to get overwhelmed and anxious.  I knew I wanted to have more than one child because it made sense that they have a sibling to hang out with, but I never imagined how challenging it could be.  You just learn to put your mama pants on and just do it.

I invited one of my good mama friends, Amanda, on the blog today to share her journey in motherhood.  She recently had twins and has Addy her sweet little toddler and boy she inspires me with how she handles three under three with grace.  I took these photos with them and she admired me so much with her grace and love with her children during the session.  I am so excited to share her thoughts and tips with you today!

Hi loves! I’m Amanda, mama to a sweet two year old toddler and nine month old boy/girl twins! You can find me on Instagram over on my motherhood page, @three.darling.littles. I couldn’t be more honored to be a guest on Ambers blog today and it means even more to me that she asked me to share tips on motherhood/being a mama of multiples for such a special holiday, Mother’s Day! This day means so much to me for so many reasons and I see it as a chance to celebrate and praise all of you incredible mamas out there, you’re not celebrated enough!

First off… Guys… motherhood is HARD! I have learned and continue to learn so much about myself through this journey and there has been a lot of growth in all aspects of my life since becoming a mama. By no means am I an expert on motherhood but through my journey I have learned, grown, loved, cried (like a lot), triumphed, prevailed, failed and trusted. Trusted this journey, trusted myself, trusted my partner, trusted my children, trusted the unknown… being a parent truly is the hardest and most rewarding job there is out there. Long days, tired nights, kissing boo boos, feeding babies, being teachers, friends, wives, running a household, being the glue that holds it all together and safe place to land for these sweet little babies. It’s a job that never ends but a job that comes with so much reward and LOVE!

Being a mom in this day in age can be so intimidating and scary! Not only do we have the pressure of society, but we also live in the age of social media where the perfect super mom image is blasted everywhere! Suddenly becoming a new mom has so much added pressure! Research, books, classes, blogs there is information literally everywhere! So much so that it can be overwhelming at times! I know it certainly was for me!

I wish I could write you a perfectly scripted manual with tips on the perfect way to Mom… the truth is, I don’t believe there is one! There are so many different and right ways to Mom and through each of our individual journeys, we find what works for us. Some of the things that I have learned that have helped me overcome and that I hope can help someone else do the same are these…

Comparison! The icky C word. As much as we try not to, we all do it. Comparison truly is the thief of joy! Our journeys, our children, us as moms, our homes, our marriage… they are all different! If you’re constantly comparing your journey to that of someone else you will never find joy through your own! This has been my biggest area of growth throughout these last few years. Trust me it has taken work! Just remember mamas that you are exactly the person these children need you to be and there is no one better for them then you! trust your journey because it is yours and yours alone!

Celebrate your wins! As little as they are, celebrating your wins can make a world of difference! It’s important to recognize that everything you’re doing is all for a purpose and if you’re constantly focusing on everything you haven’t done as opposed to all the things you’ve already done and accomplished, there will always be that feeling of not doing/being enough. You are keeping humans alive! You are doing THE most important job there is, that in itself is the biggest win! On the days you only get a few things done, still see those things as a win! On the days you do surprise yourself and get your entire to do list done, PRAISE yourself even louder, you deserve it mama!

Me time! Me time is one of the most important ways to reset for me. Us mamas wear so many hats and we’re constantly pouring from our own cups to fill the cups of others. If we don’t stop to refill our own cup, our cups run dry and there’s nothing left to give! Focusing even just fifteen minutes a day for yourself is so important. Drink your coffee hot, have a shower, workout, read a book eat your lunch in peace! Do something for you that will help you reset and recharge! I promise a reset makes the world of difference!

Find your tribe! There is so much community in motherhood mamas, I promise, you are not alone! Reach out to someone going through something similar even if it’s on social media! You would be surprised by the outcome of reaching out to someone with a similar journey! Find a tribe that loves you, supports you, lifts you up when you rise, catches you when you fall, encourages you and motivates you to be the best version of yourself. My tribe keeps me level and recharged on my hardest days and our mission together is to always make each other and other mamas know that YOU are not alone!

To all of you beautiful mamas don’t ever forget that you are STRONG, you are CAPABLE, you are a WARRIOR, you are RESILIENT, you are AMAZING and you are EXACTLY the mama you need to be for these babies! Trust your journey, give yourself SO much grace and remember that you are not alone! Let’s celebrate ourselves and each other and create a unite in motherhood so strong that it will start to move mountains!

By sharing motivating, empowering motherhood, I know we can all change how the world sees motherhood and I hope the expectations for perfection start to subside because there is so much beauty in imperfection… there is so much beauty in motherhood! I’m always here if you ever want to reach out or be heard mamas, and I would love to hear your stories! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you amazing mamas out there! I see you and am rooting for you all!!

Xoxo, Amanda

@three.darling.littles

 

Thank you Amanda for these tips and sharing your motherhood heart and journey today!

Be Awesome,

Amber

PS Mother’s Day is fast approaching! Give the gift of memories to that special mama in your life.  Gift Certificates are available for any photo session.  Contact me to order  a gift for the special mama in your life!

 

How a Breast Feeding Journey Can Inspire

As I look back 6 years ago, when I had Ethan to today, life is so much different.  How we have been blessed with social media as a platform to help each other out with our day to day struggles.  Moms today have resources and other moms supporting them every step of the way, something that I wish I had after Ethan was born.

I haven’t really talked much about my breastfeeding story before but I thought today I would share it with you and introduce you to a good friend I met through social media as she also shares her recent story with you today.

The first few days for Ethan and I were not easy.  After an emergency c-section I was taken to post op were they monitored me for hours.  I didn’t know quite was happening, but something wasn’t right.  I had lost a lot of blood after surgery, and I had very low blood counts.  Meanwhile, Ethan was taken to the nursery until he started turning blue and they rushed him to the NICU to get him on oxygen.  Both our circumstances led us to be apart for the first 48 hours of birth.  I was so weak in the bones, even breast pumping was a chore.  My body because of all the trauma just wouldn’t produce the amount of breast milk needed to get to Ethan in the NICU.  They took whatever I was able to pump to give him something, but it was hard.  Hard because I was so weak I couldn’t hold him, and how we were separated within those first hours that are so important for a mom and baby to connect.

I was angry that doctors where ignoring my current state.  I was angry that I couldn’t see my baby in NICU because I couldn’t walk… All I needed was a blood transfusion.  After receiving a transfusion 3 days later, I was strong enough, to get on my two feet and walk to see Ethan in the NICU and hold him.

As I tried to breastfeed the guilt started coming in when I realized he wanted nothing to do with me.  He wanted the bottle.  I tried so hard to get him to latch, but he just wouldn’t budge.  Even then, my body still wasn’t producing the amount I needed even with pumping and knew I was going to have to supplement, but still I was determined.  We were recommended to a lactation consultant, she even told me there was nothing she could do to help.  I felt my $200 I gave to her was waste.  After a month, he finally latched.  Even then it was short lived for about 3 months. I know that I did my best and Ethan is a healthy boy.  In the moment as a mom, its overwhelming.

My hope from sharing this post with you today is to know that if you are a struggling mom with mom guilt or breast feeding you are not alone. There are so many incredible resources now that help moms going through journeys that they never expected.

Today I had asked a good friend of mine to share her most recent breastfeeding journey with her twins.  We were chatting about our stories with each other and thought it be great to bring awareness to the struggle it really is.  Thank you Britt for sharing this story with us!

Hi there! I’m Brittany and I run the motherhood account over on Instagram @britt.maloney and I’m so honored to be sharing a glimpse of my breastfeeding story with my twin boys today on Beimomenti blog!

Until now I’ve kept my breastfeeding journeys pretty much to myself. I’ve always been very open about that fact that I breastfeed but not a lot on any of my social platforms. I’m a huge believer in fed is best and I would NEVER want to make a mama feel less than for choices in feeding, or open a wound of a mama who struggled/struggles to breastfeed exclusively. But when Amber reached out and asked if I would like to share my journey with my twin boys I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to be more open.

When I found out I was having twins I was completely overwhelmed thinking about how to exclusively breastfeed two babies and I put it in my head from the beginning that formula and bottle feeding would be the journey we walked with these boys. I didn’t want to have high expectations for a successful BF journey like I had with my first, because I wanted to avoid any feelings of failure if it didn’t work out, for whatever reason. But with all that in mind I knew I wanted to try!

Fast forward to my labor and delivery, everything was different than I ever imagined it being, and honestly I felt like the odds were against me. My baby A was born a whole pound smaller than expected and because his weight was of great concern, along with working to get him to latch, it was required that he take donor milk from a bottle at every feeding during our hospital stay. That sparked a lot of fear within me that he would end up only wanting the bottle. On top of that my baby B was immediately rushed to the NICU in respiratory distress and wasn’t even able to receive milk for days and then it was only through a feeding tube.

His feeding journey was long and very difficult. 18 days of his life went by before I could even try to breastfeed him so I continued to feel those odds stacked against me. During his time in the NICU my life was a blur of getting to know my baby at home and feeding him on demand while also pumping round the clock to be able to provide my NICU baby with exclusively my milk. It was one of the most exhausting periods of my entire life but I felt so proud of my body for doing what I never thought it could do. Everyday was practice, learning, and getting to know each other. All three of us. Holden and I had to learn how to reconnect. Everyday as he felt a little more familiar and safe I could feel our journey becoming a little more successful. One day at a time. One feeding at a time.

What you need to know though is our journey up to now has not been void of tears, exhaustion, frustration, feelings of failure and inadequacy, and wanting to quit. Breastfeeding is HARD. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am proud of where we are in our journey but not because of any length of time, but because of the fight. If I had breastfed for one month, one week, one day, I would still feel proud because I fought against every odd looking me dead in the eyes and overcame.

So that’s my message to any mom or soon to be mom reading this. You are not defined by societies definition of successful breastfeeding. You are not defined by the any length of time you chose, or you were able to breastfeed. And you are NOT defined by how you feed your baby. Period.

You are defined by your love, and that love makes you resilient. That resilience makes you a fighter. So if breastfeeding is a journey your heart wants to take, fight. Fight the odds. Fight what anyone tells you you can’t do. Fight the exhaustion. Fight the pain. Fight. But also fight that urge to feel trapped by it. Fight that urge to feel defined by what society and social media says about success in breastfeeding. Your success is your fight. Your success is your love.

There is so much power in united motherhood, and I want each of you know I am your safe space for encouragement and support in whatever your feeding journey may look like. My inbox is always open to you so don’t ever hesitate to reach out.

Xo, Britt

@britt.maloney

Thank you so much again Britt!  You are an inspiration to the modern day mama!

 

Be Awesome,

Amber

PS I am so excited that I was able to take these beautiful photos of Britt and her baby for Mothers Day! Mothers Day is just around the corner and I have partnered with some incredible moms to bring you a beautiful mothers day mini session experience with a 25 min session, 8 edited photos, florals for mom and little me, mini make up session before your session, and custom cookie box May 8th and 10th! to schedule your mini session contact me here.

 

 

10 Tips To Plan A One Year Birthday Party

I am so excited this week to to have my awesome friend Amanda owner of Sugar Pine Paper Company in Reno, Nevada, as a guest contributor on the blog!  Amanda and I met about a year ago through social media.  She has helped contribute to several parties I have had through out the last year with cake toppers and super cute garland banners!

She asked me about doing one year photos with her little Coen and asked her if she would contribute some tips about how she planned Coen’s first birthday party! Today we are celebrating this little dudes birthday with making pancakes and eating cake too!!  These are some of the tips and tricks from Amanda:

 • Pick your theme a few months in advance. The earlier you pick a theme, the more time you will have to figure out exactly what look you’re going for. I chose Coen’s Party Animal theme about 3 months before his first birthday. I then spent about two weeks browsing Pinterest, Instagram (searching various hashtags), and party blogs for inspiration.

Hashtags searched:

#partyanimalbirthday

#partyanimalparty

#firstbirthday    

#wildonebirthday

#wildoneparty

I originally thought I wanted Coen’s party to be monochrome with pops of color only on his party favors and balloons, but after browsing through various inspiration photos, I decided to go with loud, bright colors everywhere!

  • Create an inspiration board. This will help keep track of all your ideas. Pinterest is great for this, but I also really like creating a shared photo album on my iPhone. This way I can easily add photos of things as I buy them, or things that I see in stores and may not buy right away, but want to remember.
  • Ask for help. Once you have picked your theme and created an inspiration board, I suggest asking a few friends / family members to keep an eye out for deals on cute decorations. For example, as soon as had some inspiration photos put together, I invited my mom and best friend to my private Pinterest board (I set this board to private because I like to keep some element of surprise with parties I’m hosting), as well as the shared iPhone album I created. My best friend lives on the opposite side of town as me, and my mom lives 30 minutes away, so even though we all shop at the same stores, we often shop at different locations. Target, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, Michaels, Hobby Lobby – all of these stores often have awesome clearance items, but each store tends to have a different selection. Having eyes in all of our local store locations helped me find deals that I wouldn’t have seen on my own.
  • Keep your receipts! Most stores will take back items for 90 days after purchase with tags and a receipt, even clearance items. I always buy things as I find them, and as the party gets closer I weed through everything and decide what I am going to keep and what I am going to return. For Coen’s ‘Party Animal’ party, I knew that I wanted a couple of plush animal heads to hang with a Happy Birthday banner or letterboard in between them. I originally bought two on Targets website for $19.99 each because that was the best deal I could find; however, I ended up returning them when I found similar items at Hobby Lobby on clearance for only $4.99 each!! I also found plates I liked at Target, but ended up finding ones I LOVED at Walmart.

  • DIY – DIY – DIY !! This will save you so much money! Have you looked at how much it costs to have someone make you a balloon garland?? I have… and it is not cheap! But you can order everything you need on Amazon for less than $15. All you need is balloon tape, balloons and a hand pump! It is a bit time consuming, but worth the nearly $100 saved (if you’re reaction to that number was WHAT!?, you are not alone). I also knew that I wanted to have my décor second as party favors, so I bought cute jungle animal figurines at Target and added my own DIY party hats to them. I bought scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby that matched the colors of the party (less than $1) and found a party hat template on Pinterest. It took me about 30 minutes to cut all the hats out, add mini pom-poms and hot glue the hats to the animals. Easy-peasy, incredibly cheap, and super cute décor / favors.
  • Keep the food simple. Trust me, the last thing you want to be stressing out the day of a party is the food. We chose to order pizza, make a salad, have fresh fruit cups, and have a variety of prepackaged snacks for the kids (applesauce pouches, string cheese, etc.). One, this saved us a ton of money. Two, we had barely any dishes to do after the party. Three, everyone LOVED the pizza!
  • Gift registry. Hear me out on this one… I know creating a registry can often make guests feel required to bring a gift, but to help avoid this, I left the registry off of the invites. However, when someone would RSVP and ask what he wanted/needed, it was nice to be able to send them the registry link. Thinking of items off the top of your head, or keeping track of what you have told who, can be tricky. Creating a registry allows your guests a simple and easy way to get something they know your child will like.
  • Saying thanks. I’ll admit it, I am the WORST about sending out thank you cards. I always buy the cards and two months later realize I never wrote them. I have found that if I buy the cards AND address them ahead of time, I’m more likely to get the card sent out within a few days of the event!

  • Set up. If possible, don’t wait until the day of the party to set up. I always like to set up the night before. This takes the day of stress of hosting a party from a 10 to a 2, and gives you a little bit of time to grab any last minute things you need (serving spoons, ice, a rectangular tablecloth because you accidentally grabbed an oval one…).
  • HAVE FUN!! Make sure to enjoy the day, and spend time with the person you are celebrating!

 

Be Awesome,

Amber and Amanda

How I edit for clients and social media

I receive inquiries all the time asking about how I edit my images for both my client galleries and my social media.  I use the same tools for  both since I am a creature of habit and just keep it all streamlined to keep it easy on myself.  I do use phone Apps and filters on some social media but mostly in my instagram stories since those are real time moments or to do some minor tweaks to an image I edited on my desk top that I putting on my IG grid.  My IG feed is the same editing process I do on client photos.

Over the years I have found ways to simplify my editing so I am getting photos done in less time.  When I first started photography, it was taking me hours upon hours to edit one session because I would go through each photo and hand edit it in photoshop.

Today, I will guide you through my editing process that I do on all my photos. It might sound a little complicated to some who don’t use a camera BUT  I will also give you some tips on phone photography too since we have our camera phones readily available anytime we need them.

Client and Social Media Feed Editing:

1. I take all my photos with my Nikon 750 DSLR camera. My Fstop is always at a 2.8 outside and a Fstop 1.4 or 1.8 inside.  I adjust my ISO as needed depending on the lighting situation.  Most the time it is at an ISO 200-400 but again it depends on your lighting situation.

2. I bring all my photos into lightroom where I collate through them and pick the best ones out of the session or the ones I want to showcase on my social media feed.

3. After I go through and pick the ones to fully edit, I then put a preset on them. Right now I am loving the Angie Manson Collection from Simplicity Photography.  You can check them out here. I make adjustments to the image after the preset has been placed using the adjustment menu on the right hand side under the Develop tab.  The adjustments I mostly use are: Temp, tint, Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, and clarity.  Sometimes I will adjust the vignetting depending on the photo.

4. After I adjust the first photo, I can usually go to each photo and click on the previous button at the bottom of the menu bar and the same formula from the previous photo will be added to the next photo.  A few tweaks here and there may be needed, but it makes the process go a a lot smoother.

5 After I go through my editing process in light room, I will then export it into photoshop to do final touches on each image such as cleaning up acne, taking out objects that were unavoidable in the background that might have been distracting to the image, tweaking the color a little more, cropping the image if needed and adding a little more contrast and then save the image.

This process may sound extensive, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier to do.

Now we will dive into phone photography.  I use my phone camera mostly for my IG stories, but I know that most people will use their phone camera more for their social media.  These are some tools that I have found to help me or have seen others use to help enhance their phone photography:

1.  Lighting: again, I am a creature of habit so I play around with light like I would do with my DSLR.  If I’m outside, I’ll play with backlight or if I’m indoors I find the best natural light just like I would my real camera.  A lot of influencers/bloggers are using light ring kits to enhance their lighting too.  You can get them from amazon for fairly inexpensive.  I haven’t personally used one as of yet, but a lot of people swear by them.

2. Apps: There are so many apps out there for photo editing.  My favorites are VSCO and lightroom. I mainly use VSCO because its so much easier than lightroom on the phone.  Research the apps that best suit your style and wether your looking to spend a a lot of time editing or using it as a quick edit.

3. Presets: VSCO has their own presets that I usually use for the simplicity of it but there are presets you can purchase through etsy, the malibu app or you can research mobile presets to find the perfect one that goes with your stye and color preference.

This is my cliffnotes version of my editing process. I invite you to contact me here if you would like to know more on how I edit.  I’d be happy to answer questions or give you a more in depth session!

Heres to a happy photo Friday!

Be Awesome,

Amber

How I’ve Been Inspired by Food Photography

As a family photographer, not in a million years would I have seen myself playing around with the idea of food photography.  With today’s social media world, we are about finding ways to curate our squares on instagram and decided to give my squares a facelift with playing around with food photography.  Healthy eating is a part of my life that I have been passionate about sharing lately and I have been playing around with new healthy recipes and to be honest,  dressing them up and making them look pretty for a photo op has really been a fun way for me to discover a new side of photography that I may not have done before… ever.

I have been to numerous top restaurants in the US,  I may not be top chef like that, but it certainly has added a little curiosity into the world of food photography.  It’s has been a fun new way to use my creative side and figure out how to play around with color, light and placement in a whole new light while adding a new square into my instagram feed.

Here are some of the things I have been doing to create my food photos:

Color: depending on the recipe, I been playing around with color through gathering colorful pieces of dinnerware, kitchenware and/or using color by using ingredients around the dish that I used in the recipe for example a tomato and kale.  Using different items like ingredients, kitchenware, and dinnerware adds texture into the photo as well.  If its more of a monochrome color recipe, you can use whites, grays, or blacks for the monochrome look.

Presentation: You can create  fun presentation of the dish by putting the ingredients together in a creative way. For instance like a smoothie bowl, placing some of the ingredients on top like seeds, nuts, fruit, ect.  can create a pleasing presentation and even add texture.

Light:  I have been using my kitchen counter because I feel that is the space that gives me the light I like and has also let me play a little with light and shadow with the dish I am photographing.  It’s about playing with the area in which you feel gives you the best light for the look you are going for.

These are just some ideas I have been playing around with while experimenting with my food photography.  I am far from a professional at food photography, but been having fun doing it and sharing another side of life I love through my lens while trying some new, healthy things in the meantime.  I will call it a win!

Be Awesome,

Amber