Archive for the ‘Donovan’ Category

Photo Books – Great and Small

February 20th, 2012

As someone who has used her own child for photo sessions, to test out new gear & for learning activities…I have tons of photos of my son.  Lucky for me, he is still at the age where he’s very entertained by photos of himself.  Our home decor more than satisfies his need to laugh & […]


Posted in: Donovan, Projects
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As someone who has used her own child for photo sessions, to test out new gear & for learning activities…I have tons of photos of my son.  Lucky for me, he is still at the age where he’s very entertained by photos of himself.  Our home decor more than satisfies his need to laugh & giggle at himself in various stages of life.

This year as Valentine’s Day approached, I received an email from Shutterfly.  In the early days, I uploaded absolutely everything to Shutterfly as a way to share photos of the little newbie with friend & family.  My mom loved it because it allowed her to print & frame probably more photos of him than I have! As years went on, I eventually found myself using other services, but always kept my account active.  My friend Shirley from Wild Blueberry Ink has a shelf full of enviable Shutterfly book creations. Every time I visit I say “one day…I’ll finally put together Donovan’s album for his Xth year” (whatever age he happens to be on). But at this point, I need an encyclopedia sized volume!

About a week before Valentine’s Day, I opened the email to see a cute Valentine’s book.  Simple enough, just upload your photos, design a page using template elements & print.  Besides that, there was a 40% off coupon.  I thought it would be a great gift for Donovan, since he loves albums & I haven’t done nearly enough to keep updated with album prints around here.  I quickly put together a collection of my favorite photos from 2011 of him, and made a book.  Though I chose the regular shipping option (and estimated delivery was between February 13th and 17th) I kept my fingers crossed because Shirley said she always gets hers early.

I received mine DAYS early! It came out absolutely perfect. I picked the 8×8 size, because it’s great for kids.  Donovan approved, and has taken his book to sit & reminisce with on a daily basis since last week. If you need a great album & don’t have the time to design it all yourself, do yourself a favor & hop over to Shutterfly & pick one of their premade templates.  Many are designed by some of the top digital scrapbook artists & they make it so you really can design a book in 30 minutes or less.




Completing an album felt good, and now I need to tackle my “Years 0-6” book, which I’ll be collecting for up until his 7th birthday in September.  I’m thinking of using Blurb for this album, because I have so many photos to add.  My plan is about 100 of my top favorite pictures of him as full page images, and then another 100 or so compilation image pages.  Where I’ll ever find time for this I don’t know, but doing a section per week sounds doable.

 

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Very Pinteresting

February 14th, 2012

It’s no shock to those that know me that I’m pretty crafty. To those who know me very well, it’s also no shock that I’ll start a project and get tired of it FAST if it takes too much time. Just take a peek into my knitting basket of unfinished great projects. A month ago, […]

 

It’s no shock to those that know me that I’m pretty crafty. To those who know me very well, it’s also no shock that I’ll start a project and get tired of it FAST if it takes too much time. Just take a peek into my knitting basket of unfinished great projects.

A month ago, I pinned a very cute Valentine’s idea. I pinned a LOT of Valentine’s ideas because I’m more of a “collector” than a “do-er” in Pinterest when it comes to some projects. This one, I was pretty sure I could do and had most of the materials.

Even better, I took photos of the process…which means blog post!

The project was chalkboard Valentine’s cards. Basic idea was stand a kid beside a chalkboard message, make sure their hand is formed for ‘holding’ a lollipop, and take photos. Print out 4×6, cut slits and be done. Simple, huh? And right up my alley!

First I had to locate a large enough chalkboard, because our Ikea easel wasn’t going to do the trick. I spent $5 at Office Max and bought a black science project board. Like most well-intended ‘pinners’, I found spare chalkboard spray paint around the house from my last great idea. ($8 saved!) I sprayed two light and non-precise layers over my black project board (after I duct taped the creases on the back so they wouldn’t bend).

Sorry, there are no photos from this portion of the show, as I quickly jumped in after only 5 minutes of prep (get board from the car, tape it, find paint!). I let the board dry overnight, because it got dark outside. Otherwise it would have been chalk-ready in about an hour. It dries super fast.

Next, I had to convince the highly skeptical boy that this was indeed a very rockin’ Valentine’s card idea…no Transformers, or Lightening McQueen…but he wouldn’t have to sign his name (and his friends’ names) twenty times. He was quickly on board. I set my board in the dining room near the wall of windows, wrote a quick message with sidewalk chalk & moved Donovan into place. From there it was simply snap, adjust the boy, coax him to hold his fist the right way, and coach him into not giving “that bored smile”.

After a quick edit, the photos were off to Target via their online printing service. I usually hate store prints because they’re glossy…but these were cheap so I couldn’t complain. In addition, I got a coupon for $1 off of ten prints. My total was $3.90! I picked three different looks (because I’m indecisive like that!).



As for tools needed, I have a cutting mat and an Xacto knife. You could also use a metal ruler, if you’re not so confident about your freestyle cutting abilities. I’m a pretty good cutter, so I freestyled it. From there it was about cutting the right angle to slip in the best tasting lollipop on Earth. A slit at the top of his fit and a slit at the bottom. After carefully placing them, we were finished! Overall the actual ‘work’ for this project on my end probably amounted to 45 minutes!

Making the slit not large enough results in forcing in the stick, which doesn’t work so well with photo paper! I only ripped one.  Because of the sharp object, and careful placing of the lollipop, I wouldn’t say this is one you can really get too much help from little ones.  Donovan did pass me the lollipops though :). All in all – I spent $12 for 24 custom Valentines.  Not bad!


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Photos with a six year old who freely complains

November 27th, 2011

I often hear from clients & friend, “I don’t know HOW you are going to get them to cooperate for their photos”  – well, let me tell you, my experience is home grown & practiced extensively with my own son.  He’s six, and I started photography when he was very young, so I’ve essentially worked […]


Posted in: Donovan, Hmmm
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I often hear from clients & friend, “I don’t know HOW you are going to get them to cooperate for their photos”  – well, let me tell you, my experience is home grown & practiced extensively with my own son.  He’s six, and I started photography when he was very young, so I’ve essentially worked with a longstanding client since age 6 months or so. Because he knows me, he feels quite comfortable complaining & voicing his opinion about every aspect of the session.  This is never so evident as with our yearly birthday photos. Every year for his birthday, I plan a big photo shoot. It’s pretty much a guarantee that he’s not going to want to do it, and there will be bribes made, and ice cream to be had afterwards, and probably a toy purchase.

For his photos this year, I had the grand idea that I would do photos on our summer vacation again (as I do every year) in Kitty Hawk, NC, which is just beautiful.  Every year though, I try to come up with a new idea for photos either at the beach, near the beach, or around the beach.  The beach birthday photos started when he was 3, and I absolutely look forward to them every year. This year’s plan was at Jockey’s Ridge, (oooh, sand dune shots!!) and photos at the Wright Brothers Memorial.  I figured I might could get him excited about planes or something (in addition to taking my photos!).  So, along with my husband kiddie-wrangler we headed out to the WBM, and then had to hike him up to the top.

Now anyone with a young child knows how that goes.  My son is no different with the complaining, except there is always an element of “I’m hot” stuck in there somewhere – he’s always hot, and I’m sure if he could have made the trek without a shirt or his jeans, he would have been pleased.  Anyway, by the time the three of us get to the top, he’s hot, his legs hurt, his feet feel funny he would like a snack…oh, and he’s thirsty.  In my head I have just nixed the Jockey’s Ridge portion of the show. No way, no how am I taking him up there for photos after the drama of walking up a hill with a sidewalk. Jockey’s Ridge is all sand, which means more complaints, more whining, more hotness – with sand – and he can’t NOT touch sand.

As we reach the top, I let him explore a bit with Danya – he’s quite excited about how high up we are, and how much he can see from the top. Great! I’m happy that he’s happy.  Out comes the camera, because he’s happy, it’s time to get the party going.

Unfortunately, he’s not so excited about this part – as you can see in my terribly overly bright first shots.

Deal #1 is thrown out…”Hey – do you want ice cream? We can do that…if you want to when we leave….IF you cooperate with me, that is.” Ahh…things begin to pick up quite nicely after we come to an agreement that’s pleasing to his stomach. I get a few more shots in, but I have a mental list already of shots I need up here, since I’m not going over to Jockey’s Ridge.

That proposal gets a better response, and with the watchful help of Daddy, we get this session rolling. (Danya wasn’t actually posing for the photo above…he just happened to be standing there like Donovan – too cute!).

Not saying we don’t still have some attitude adjusting to do…but he knows by now that short of tears and a mental breakdown, the show rolls on!

My little guy, he turns from warm & friendly to cold in a few seconds!

Generally, the method is “just keep shooting” and eventually, I’ll have a set that I’m happy with.  Luckily, Donovan responds very well to jokes!

And he’s always quick to suggest “if you let me do what I want to do, I’ll be so much better”. So usually there are a few shots that are of “what he wants to do” which includes crawling and climbing on statues & exhibits, playing in the dirt & collecting rocks & sticks.  Oh, and letting him pose the way HE wants to pose. Did I want photos with Orville (or is that Wilbur?) in them? No…but I let him have it his way.

So, after being majorly frustrated with this whole experience, he wanted NOTHING to do with going to see the exhibits of the planes. We left right away. In the end, we ended up going to Jockey’s Ridge later on in the evening to watch the sunset & play with the kite he got in exchange for squeezing out ten more minutes of photos earlier.  I took the camera, but it was all for fun.

Yes, there were major complaints about walking way too far…but a funny thing happened.  For the past few months, every time I ask Donovan which (LOCAL) park he’d like to go ride his bike, or go play…he says “Jockey’s Ridge”! The next day, we went back to the Wright Brothers Memorial to see the exhibit of the plane (the ticket is a 2 day ticket).  He was totally wrapped up in the story of the first flight. Evidently he even went back to school talking non-stop about the Wright Brothers & their early aviation experiments.  He still brings it up, months later – as well as how much FUN it was being at the top of the memorial & being able to see “everything”. All of the drama has been forgotten, and although I can’t say I want to drag him back up to the top next year for photos, we probably will go to check out the sights.

 

 

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It’s Friday – Anything Goes!

August 26th, 2011

And today, the topic is growing up :(.  It is my son’s first day of kindergarten, and as you might know, he’s the only one around these days.  I’m not sad, or weepy or anything like that, I’m excited, and happy & so many other things besides sad.  This week, we spent a lot of […]


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And today, the topic is growing up :(.  It is my son’s first day of kindergarten, and as you might know, he’s the only one around these days.  I’m not sad, or weepy or anything like that, I’m excited, and happy & so many other things besides sad.  This week, we spent a lot of time together. He’s been in camp all summer long, so during the day he’s been pretty active.  This week we went to the museum, we worked a lot on his reading (he’s doing awesome!), and we worked on his computer skills. I realized how independent & grown up he is. His major excitement was going to the museum to dig for dinosaur fossils (From what I can tell, it looks like he found some fossilized baby rodent teeth…certainly NOT dinosaur teeth!!) – but he enjoyed himself.

His 6th birthday is still a few weeks away, so I’m going to spare you the photo retrospective (ooooh, but there WILL be a photo retrospective!), so today, it’s just First day of School photos.  I like his school because they do stagger the entry for younger students.  There is a class size of 6 or 7 students only, and they’ll go for half a day (I’ll get him in about an hour, actually!).

We’ve already had a parent’s meeting with his teacher, and a meet the teacher day at school, so by now, he’s pretty NOT excited about the whole thing.  I think he’s more excited about his new shoes that he thinks makes him jump really far.  This morning, we gathered up all of his supplies, the two class plants that I pulled off the bulletin board at school, and of course the camera & headed outside for “First Day of School” photos. We made it to school & I was able to take some great classroom photos of him. I can’t wait to hear how his day was, and on Monday, when all of his classmates are there. I want him to love learning, which I think he does. I want him to assert himself & figure out how to balance the social game that is school. Right now, it’s all smiles & he loves everyone, I hope it stays that way for a long time. I never want him to turn into someone who hangs with the mean kids, who excludes others, or who makes fun of people who are different. I hope he doesn’t drag into class, I want him excited, and hopeful about all of the things he is going to learn.

I can’t wait to go & get him even though I’m pretty sure when I ask him how it went, his only answer will be “fine”. It’s ok, I’m going to draw out every bit of information from him that I can!