Friday, 29 May 2015

How To: DIY Newborn Photo Shoot!


Ever since I got my first DSLR at Christmas I've been having so much fun getting to grips with it and playing around with different techniques - and, of course, since Noah was born I have had endless fun taking all sorts of cute snaps that my little muse will no doubt hate me for when he's older but which i absolutely adore!

I have always loved the idea of having a newborn photo shoot, and it was something I really wanted to do when Tyne was a baby but they can cost so much money and it just wasn't something I ever had the spare cash for - unfortunately I wasn't very interested in photography myself at the time and so I only had the camera on my phone which means that all of our photos of Tyne as a baby are pretty rubbish quality.

Thank goodness for the Bounty ones we bought from the hospital or we'd really have nothing decent to remember his baby days by!

As I've been enjoying creating my own photo-shoot style pics of Noah I thought I'd share some of my tips and tricks for photographing your newborn - I'm by no means an expert and these photos are far from perfect but they are certainly an enormous improvement from our photos of Tyne's early days!

1. Good lighting is key

I always make sure I shoot in daylight, preferably around 4pm as I find that this is when the lighting is best in my home - my bedroom is by far the best room in the house for light so this is where I always shoot.

It's worth keeping an eye on the lighting in various rooms in your home and figure out which room is brightest and when the light best hits it, then you can plan when and where you will shoot accordingly.


2. Prep The Area

Make sure that you have whatever you might need for the shoot to hand to save any stress and hassle when you're in photographer mode - think about what kind of shots you want to get and get everything ready to achieve them.

During this session I knew I wanted to do some shots of Noah in this dinosaur outfit, and some nude ones with a more natural background - so I got a large white blanket ready as backdrop for some of the shots, and ensured the background was clean and ready for my natural shots - I had Jon standing by to help position the baby, and his dummy ready incase he started to get unsettled.

I made sure the room was heated to a comfortable level for Noah as I knew he'd be undressed for most of the shoot, so it was important that the room was nice and warm.


3. Prep The Subject!

You don't want to photograph a baby when they're about 20 minutes away from feeding time - you'll end up with hurried shots and a grizzy baby!

I find the best time to shoot with Noah is straight after a feed during the day - he's well fed, burped and content, and usually at his most alert too. 

I always spend a few minutes talking to and playing with him before we start shooting, as I find that this gets him more animated and in a good mood!

I always change his nappy right before shooting too, and have clean nappies and wipes on stand by just incase - as well as his dummy.



4. Use Props

Of course babies are the most adorable photo subject in the world without any props so this isn't entirely necessary if you want to create some natural looking shots, but I like to create more staged images too so I use a variety of props in my photos.

Some things I've recently used have been a miniature wicker pram, lots of different styles of blankets (My favourite one to use is one that has his name stitched into it), a knitted crown and this super cute crocheted dinosaur costume which I bought on eBay for less than £4!

You can get all kinds of great baby photoshoot accessories on ebay for next to nothing price wise, it's well worth a look and can really make your photos something special!







 5. Try different backgrounds

Sometimes I like to use blankets to create an all-white background (this is easily done by just draping a blanket over something behind the baby, or by having someone hold one up for you as Jon did for the photos above) and sometimes I like to use a natural background with a blur which can be achieved by adjusting the aperture settings.


6. Capture the small details

It's easy to focus on getting cute images of your baby in all of their cute outfits, but it's the small details you'll want to remember as they get older - things like what their tiny little ears looked like, how small their feet were, how their little hands looked when they grasped your finger - these are all things that are lovely to capture to look back on in years to come.





7. Edit, edit, edit!
Taking the photo is only 40% of the job - the majority of the work and effort goes into the editing stage and thats where your photos can go from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

It goes without saying that cropping and brightening photos enhances them, but there is so much more you can do to really bring them to life and make them into something special.

I love to play around with different filters, add bursts of colour, remove any items from the background that I feel detract from the photo and so on...in many of my shots my hands will actually be supporting Noah or holding him in place and it's during the editing stage that these details are removed to make the photos look as though they were never there.

You can do so much more with your photos if you just spend a little time editing them - there are so many editing programmes out there to use, personally I use picmonkey - I do pay for the royale membership but I think it's so worth the small amount that it costs. 



 I hope these tips have been helpful to any other photography novices like myself!

Do you have any tips to share? I'd love to hear them!


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Sponsored Video: I'm a McMummy...& other Confessions!



1. I'm a Mc-Mummy

Yep....My son eats happy meals sometimes.

 I don't remember when he had his first one (because I didn't see it as some kind of major life event that needed to be recorded...I have since seen the error of my ways and now realise that the moment ought to have been instagrammed along with his age to show that while I'm totally cool for allowing a treat...I'm also a Perfect Parent coz he's 7 and only just having his first one!).... but I know he's had a fair few of them over the past 2 years and 2 months.

I'm not going to commit myself to saying how many....let's just say more than 1, less than 100 (probably...hopefully...)

I realise that many mummies like to act as though this is the cardinal sin of parenting, but I'm sorry - I'm not buying it.

McDonalds drive thru's never have less than 5 cars waiting whenever I'm near one and the restaurants are always full of families with kids - so if all these perfect mums are so against it, where did all the customers come from?!

My personal approach to treats is exactly that - they are treats. They're not everyday meal options, they are occasional bits of fun - a trip out as a family to have dinner out of a cartoon-adorned cardboard box with a plastic toy inside is a toddlers idea of bliss, and it means that the big people don't have to wash the dishes that evening whilst also getting to cram burgers into our faces...what's the problem?!

Are a few McDonalds every so often going to seriously damage his health? No, of course they're not. 

I recently saw the new ad campaign and thought it did a pretty good job of putting to rest some of the ridiculous rumours you hear flying around about what's in the food!

2. And that's not all....

While we're discussing the food my child eats that other parents seem to recoil at - he also has chocolate. *cue shocked faces*

He LOVES chocolate, actually - we all do in this house.  He asks for some most days.

He brushes his teeth twice a day, he enjoys a well balanced diet, and he also asks for fruit and veg every day too - bananas and broccoli are his current favourites.

So it's not like allowing him to eat chocolate has negatively impacted on his food choices.

I believe that making things off limits to children is only going to make them want it more - and why would I want to deprive my child of something enjoyable like a bit of chocolate every now and then?!

I never understand the approach of "They won't miss what they don't know about"...life is to be enjoyed, especially during your childhood, so why not?! 

Nobodys suggesting that you allow your child to gorge themselves on bucketloads of the stuff, but would a little sweetie every now and then not be a nice treat?!

3. I don't care if he can spell/read/recite the Greek alphabet yet....

So far, I have made no effort whatsoever to teach my child his numbers, colours or shapes.

He doesn't go to nursery yet, as he only turned two a couple of months ago - in my mind he's still very young for formal learning and so I had never even thought about sitting down with him and trying to teach him to do anything like that.

It's only when I've seen other mums with similar aged children talking about what their child can and can't do that I realised that trying to encourage 2 year olds to spell words like Encyclopedia was a thing. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for learning...but I choose not to partake in the Mummy Olympics so as long as he can spell those words by the time he's 7 or so, I'll be happy enough.

And do you know something? He actually HAS learnt most of his colours, shapes and can count to ten anyway - he picked it up of his own accord. Just goes to show I was right not to stress about it! #Smugface

4. I hate playing.

I know I should enjoy it because time spent with your kids is the best thing ever...blah blah blah. But I'm sorry to admit that I don't...I hate it. 

I love reading with my son, I love going on days out, I love watching him at the park or the beach etc, I love chatting with him, I love having tickle fights and I can even manage a bit of hide & seek (I do mean a bit...by the 17th go of pretending I can't see him standing in front of me with a towel over his head shouting "Where's Tyne gone Mummy?!" I'm well & truly over it...)... but playing? Actually sitting down and playing trains or cars or farm with him? I hate it.

I'm bored within about 45 seconds, and it's not like he even plays fair..I never get to be the train that I want to be, and he usually just crashes all of his trains into mine anyway...what's the point?! I'm a bit of a Monica when it comes to fun...I like to have some rules....and he's a total Phoebe. It just doesn't work.

5. Liar, Liar....

Sometimes, in an effort to avoid doing a child-related chore that I really don't want to do, I tell fibs.

I pretend it's that time of the month and that I'm in agony when I don't feel like going swimming....

I feign a terrible headache when I want a lie-in so that my other half will get up with kids and get them dressed...

I pretend I'm desperate for the loo and chirp out a casual "Be back in a minute, could you just check the baby?" when I know he's pooed and I don't feel like changing him.

So there you have it...my confessions...I can feel that Mummy Of The Year award slipping further and further out of reach!

If you have any Mummy confessions, please do share them with me and let me know I'm not the only one!

*This post has been sponsored by McDonalds

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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Getting To Know Me...Via YOUTUBE!


Lately I've been trying to update my YouTube Channel more frequently & so I thought I'd share this little 10 minute video I've just put up - it's basically an introduction to me, why I like vlogging and so on!

This week I've been filming bits & pieces every day religiously so there'll be a new family vlog at the end of the week - Tyne is so sweet at the moment, two is such an adorable age and of course Noah being just 8 weeks old is starting to interact more and more every day so this seems a perfect time to start regular family weekly vlogs.

So if you're interested please do check out our YouTube channel and take a look at the above Getting To Know Me video! :)





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What Noah Wore: Cashmere Cutie


As you may have noticed if you follow me on Instagram, I love nothing more than dressing my baby boy up in adorable knitwear!

I think there are few things cuter than a teeny weeny baby in teeny weeny knitted clothes and booties - they're not babies for long after all and so I enjoy taking full advantage of dressing them in this adorable style while I can - there is plenty of time for bright prints and grown-up looking clothes when they are a bit bigger in my opinion, babyhood is all about the knitwear!

I wish I had a grandma around who could knit handmade treasures for my boys, but sadly my own Nan passed on just after Tyne was born - I'm sure if she had been around she would most certainly have been delighted to knit for them as she was the lady who taught me how to knit when I was a little girl, though sadly I am somewhat useless and have forgotten pretty much all that she taught me!

So, as I don't have a relative who can knit, I have to buy the knitwear instead - I do buy a lot of it in boutiques which I love but it can get quite pricey and you don't get that same satisfaction from knowing it was handmade lovingly.

So imagine my delight when I discovered Incy Wincy Cashmere!



Providing customers with the most beautiful creations from over 200 vintage patterns from the 1930s onward, lovingly handknitted from Scotland - Incy Wincy Cashmere is your one stop shop for all of your knitwear needs.

And if the vintage patterns aren't your cup of tea (though I can't see why they wouldn't be, they are truly adorable!) then don't fret as they are more than happy to knit custom orders with your choice of yarn and colour and orders take an average of 3 weeks to complete.

You could even have matching items for siblings, as Incy Wincy Cashmere can knit creations to suit children up to 5 years old.

There is a beautiful selection of knitwear available on the website HERE but do remember that any items listed as sold out can be reknitted especially for you - all you need to do is ask!

All items are sent boxed and wrapped in acid-free tissue, and UK postage & packaging is free.



This particular cardigan was knitted for Noah out of Alpaca and pure wool mix and I think you'll agree it really shows a wonderful skill and attention to detail.


The pattern for the cardigan was from the 1970s - as a lover of all things vintage I think this is just darling and I will be so sad when Noah outgrows it, although I do think it's a beautiful item to pass down to future children and certainly one for a baby keepsake box too!

This particular cardigan would cost £29.00 if knitted in standard yarn, £38.00 in angora (all angora is responsibly sourced and no bunnies are harmed!), £34.00 in merino and £80.00 in Italian cashmere.

The cardigan is so very soft and feels so luxurious to the touch, Noah looks and seems to be so comfortable wearing it and it suits him beautifully - I love that this would be suitable for either boy or girl so would make an ideal gift for any baby regardless of gender.


If you're looking for something truly special for your own child or as a truly unforgettable baby gift, look no further than Incy Wincy Cashmere - and if you like what you see, why not follow them on Facebook for updates!


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From The Mouth Of A 2 Year Old...



Since Tyne started talking properly, I regularly find myself in stitches at some of the things he comes out with.

I thought I'd start sharing some of my favourites as I always find these posts funny when other people share them!

***

Me: It's time for bed now Tyne

Tyne: No! I don't like go to bed!

Me: You have to go to bed

Tyne: I don't like have to!

Me: It's half past 7 Tyne...

Tyne: I don't like half past 7!

***
Me: What do you want for dinner Tyne?

Tyne: Fishin Nuggets

Me: Chicken nuggets?

Tyne: No

Me: Fish fingers?

Tyne: No

Me: What then?

Tyne: Fishin nuggets!

***

A Jehovah's Witness has knocked at the door, Tyne has answered it with Jon...Jon is in mid-conversation with the man who has introduced himself as Kevin...

Tyne: (Points at Jehovah's Witness) Who's that?!

Jon: That's Kevin...

Tyne: I wanna cuddle Kevin!

***

Changing Noah's nappy, Tyne is watching...

Tyne - pointing to Noah's "Bits": Whats that?

Me - caught off guard: Erm...that's Noah's widgy

Tyne: Noah got a widgy

Me: Yep!

Tyne: I got a widgy too

Me: Yep...

Tyne: I got a biiiiig widgy!

***

In the car, about to drive away, Tyne's Grandad standing by car waving us off...

Tyne: Bye Gagand!

Gagand: Bye bye Tyne!

Tyne: Gagand?

Gagand: What?

Tyne: I got a big widgy!!

***

Me: Where shall we go to today Tyne?

Tyne: Go shop!

Me: What shop shall we go to?

Tyne: erm...Mothercurtains!

***

Tyne comes into the computer room and sits on my lap

Tyne: I wanna be like Mummy...

Starts "typing" on keyboard...

Tyne (while typing): Blah blah blah blah blah!

***

What are some of your favourite things your children have said?! As always, I'd love to hear from you!

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