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An online diary of my everyday life featuring tips and tricks I've learned along the way.

TIPS FOR PAINLESS FAMILY PHOTOS

“The best things in life are the people you love and the memories you make.”

Let’s be honest. Not many family members actually look forward to family photos. Dread and torture are even words I’ve heard used when describing family photos. But it’s important to remind all involved how much the photos will mean over the years to come. Time passes, things change, memories fade but photos never let us forget the way we once were. Preserve the story of your family through professional photos!

Moms, I’m talking to you here. Most all of us want to be at least 10 pounds lighter. The honest truth is if it hasn’t happened in the last 5 years, it’s probably not going to happen any time soon in the future. JUST MAKE THE PHOTO APPOINTMENT, ALREADY! You NEED to be IN photos with your family; if not for yourself, then for your kids and future grandkids.

Dads, dressing nicely & smiling nonstop for 30 minutes for a stranger taking your photos is not necessarily the most fun you can have on a given evening. I get it. But having a happy wife when she displays the photos of her loving family after the photo shoot is worth it, right? Let me help you here…-RIGHT!

As for the kids, no child or teenager is an angel 100% of the time. It’s okay! Kids will be kids. The most important part is that you are capturing their genuine personalities as they are while they grow up.

JUST MAKE THE APPOINTMENT! You won’t regret it. Okay, no more yelling, I promise.

As a professional photographer for the last 11 years, I’ve seen it all. Temper tantrums, bugger pickers, runaway toddlers, frowning teens, grumpy dads, and exasperated moms. Through it all I’ve learned quite a few tips to help make your family photos a painless experience.


DON’T SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS TOO HIGH

Parents have a tendency to want the perfect portrait (which it totally fine) but don’t let the dream of perfection ruin your family photo experience. Not everyone has to be looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. You see genuine love in the interaction with each other, not in the posed, forced-smile photos. Allow yourself to find perfection in the imperfection. The perfectly posed, everyone smiling photos are just a bonus.

BOOK YOU PHOTO SESSION ON A LIGHTLY SCHEDULED DAY

Asking little ones to sit still, smile and behave perfectly after a long, busy day doesn’t usually turn out well. Schedule your photo session on a day when your family can be well rested and prepared. Allow time prior to the session for naps. This applies to anyone in the family, not just the kids.  🙂

MOM, PICK YOUR OUTFIT FIRST

You should feel comfortable and confident in what you wear. The rest of the family’s clothes can be coordinated around your outfit. If you have picky kids or teens, get them involved in choosing their outfits. The will be more willing to cooperate if they are happy with what they are wearing. Dress for the weather. Layers allow for different looks and comfortability.  See more tips on coordinating family photo outfits HERE.

PREPARE TO HAVE FUN

If you or your spouse dreads family photos, your kids will pick up on the vibe. Talk to your kids in advance of the session. Tell them it’s going to be fun. Your photographer should also help make it a fun experience. Kids don’t sit still for long in real life. So we can’t expect them to for family photos. Instead of “sit still and smile” continuously for an hour, have fun. Tell jokes. Laugh. Hug. Play. Tickle. Chase. This is your family. Embrace it. Look at your kids. Enjoy them as they are and they will enjoy the process more. True memories are capturing your family having fun. Remember, attitude is contagious.

SPEND TIME BEFORE YOUR SESSION THINKING ABOUT WHAT MAKES YOUR FAMILY SMILE & LAUGH

Incorporate that into your photo session. If your kids respond to music, have songs ready in a playlist on your phone. It’s a proven fact that music improves your mood. Feel free to dance it out, if that’s your thing. Allow yourself to be silly. It will help your kids relax. Ask who has stinky feet. Tell corny jokes. If there is a time to actually WANT dad to fart, this is it. Farts always bring out the genuine smiles.

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL

Allow plenty of time to get ready before your photos. It’s hard for everyone to be patient and positive when rushed. Plan out and try on all outfits ahead of time. Make sure everything is clean, ironed and in one place the day before the session.

BRIBES WORK

There is no shame in the photo shoot bribe game. Promise kids, even teens, something special after the session if all goes well. Bribes work on husbands, too. Suggest dad loosen up and have a beer or two before the session. With a little bribery, even dad can make it through in a good mood. Mom, feel free to enjoy a glass of wine, as well.

MAKE SURE NO ONE IS HANGRY

Everyone should come to the photo session with a full stomach. There is nothing worse than a hangry family during a photo shoot. Heck, make it an extra fun evening and go out for pizza before the session and ice cream after. Be prepared and bring non-messy snacks and water for the little ones since their bellies never stay full for long. You can even incorporate snacks into the session. Bring cupcakes, popcorn or lollipops, get ice cream cones and enjoy them while being photographed.

LET YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER TAKE CONTROL

A seasoned photographer will be able to roll with the flow, take what’s thrown at them and still create magical photos. Consider the advice above and then let the photographer take control. Embrace the short attention spans and grass stains that might happen. Life isn’t perfect and every photo doesn’t need to be, either. Let everyone be themselves and the personalities will shine through in your portraits.


FOR MOMS:  Now I have a few tips for mom to feel her best during family photos. My goal is to get mom out from behind the camera to in front of it with her family.

TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

They should be skilled in how to position you in the most flattering ways.

OTHER TIPS TO CONSIDER

*Generally you would angle yourself toward the camera instead of straight on.

*Put your weight on your back leg. This shifts your weight away from the camera.

*Leaving space between your arms and body creates a thinner figure.

*Push your shoulders back and sit up straight but not so much that you look uncomfortable.

*Try not to look down at the camera to avoid a double chin. Think chin out and down toward the camera. Your photographer should shoot straight on or from above, preferably not from an angle below.

*When you apply your make-up for your photos, apply it just a little heavier than usual so it shows up on camera. Don’t skip the lipstick. To avoid shine, use plenty of translucent powder on your face.

*Drink lots of water prior to your session date. Good hydration makes the skin glow.

*If you want to whiten your smile, start treatments about two weeks before your session. Get trays from your dentist or try Crest Whitestrips.

*You’re paying good money for professional photos. Take the time to make yourself feel awesome. Spoil yourself and get your hair blown-out before the session. Treat yourself to a mani/pedi. Even dad could use a good manicure to clean up those hands. Make it a fun date night together the evening before the session.


 I hope these tips encourage you to schedule those family photos sooner rather than later. I don’t think anyone ever regretted capturing their family and having those memories to look back on in the years to come.

I have one final thing to help you prepare for your family session. I’ve created a Photo Session Prep Timeline/Checklist.  CLICK HERE for a printable checklist.

Ready to schedule your family session? I would love to create those memories for you!

CONTACT CHRISTY B PHOTOGRAPHY

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INTRODUCING EMMIE LOU {& DAISY MAE, TOO}

If you follow @christyBphotography on Instagram InstaStories, you saw the new addition to our family this past weekend.  Meet Miss Emmie Lou.

Yes, she is a brown (AKA liver) dalmatian.  There are now two Christy B Photography studio dogs.  She joins the family as Daisy Mae’s little sister and play buddy.

They hit it off and love each other.  They chase each other around the yard, wear each other out and curl up together in the same dog bed under my desk for naps.  Thank goodness because that’s the only time I get any work done.  It really is like having a newborn but they don’t stay little for long.  In a few weeks she won’t fit in my lap anymore.  Just like a newborn, they also grow up too fast.

If you drive by the studio, you may see us out for a quick walk around downtown.  I’m already planning their Halloween costumes for our “Not-So-Haunted” Studio + Halloween Minis and the safe Trick-or-Treat on Halloween.  Be sure to stop by and see us!

We just love her!

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COLLEGE TAILGATING TIPS {IT’S FOOTBALL SEASON}

Every year in the fall we attend family weekend at each of our kids’ colleges.   It’s a fun time to see them in their element at school, tailgate like a college kid again and catch a football game. I’ve learned over the years, if you come with plenty of food, the college kids are all about tailgating with the old folks. With several years of college tailgating under my belt, I’ve learned some tips and tricks for set up, entertaining and quick and easy cleanup. As your families grow older and your seniors head off to college, I thought I would share some tailgating ideas you might want to try when you’re the old folks at the college tailgates.

I start my tailgate planning by searching Pinterest for decorating and food ideas. WARNING: I do tend to get a bit carried away with a theme. It’s fun for me but totally not necessary. I start with school colors and a football theme, find a few tailgate friendly recipes and go from there. See my tailgating Pinterest board HERE.

I’m so mad at myself.  In creating this post I realized that I hardly got any photos of our tailgates; absolutely zero photos of any of our K-State tailgates.  🙁  It was always so crazy getting every out and ready as people started to arrive that apparently I never took photos.  Here is a look at the few memories I could find.

Now on to a few of my favorite tips I’ve learned over the years.

  1. I ask my college student to determine the location we will be tailgating and to invite friends & their families. We bring two 6’ folding tables and two 8’x8’ pop-up tents. There could always be a chance of rain and plenty of room for everyone to huddle under tents is a lifesaver in wet conditions. Don’t forget something to stake/weigh the pop-up tents down in the event of wind. I plan plenty of food options and sometimes other family members attending bring dishes, as well.
  1. For easy cleanup, tossable tablecloths are a must. I purchased a roll of plastic table covering in school colors (SHOP HERE). That way I have plenty to use year after year. You just roll it over the tables, cut with scissors and tape underneath the table to prevent blowing in the wind.
  1. I like to plan/host parties (birthdays, graduation, tailgates) so over the years, I’ve collected cheap clear plastic serving trays in various sizes (SHOP HERE). Bonus, having all the same color/type of trays makes the overall look of the table cohesive. The same goes for serving utensils.  Foil pans (SHOP HERE) are also a good option for tailgates as you can simply toss them during cleanup and not have to worry about transporting them back home.
  1. Flies inevitably gather on tailgate food. Bring a roll of plastic wrap to cover foods and detour flies. The stickier the better so it stays put in the wind.
  1. If you are the crafty type, you can help decorate the table by making football themed containers to hold utensils, condiments, etc. Again, I keep these and use them year after year. If they are football themed, as opposed to school colors, I can use them for both of my kids at different schools.

  1. Now comes the food. I’ve learned that depending on the school, sometimes you don’t know the start time of the football game until a week or two before the actual game. That could mean an early morning tailgate (breakfast foods) or an afternoon tailgate (lunch foods).   Since there are rarely electricity options, planning simple cold food is best. We have a portable grill (SHOP HERE) to warm breakfast sandwiches or hot dogs & hamburgers. Everything else is cold. If you really want to get fancy, you can add a portable battery pack that will run one to two crockpots, as well. This is what we use HERE.

  1. Typically, college kids come prepared with their own drinks. I do like to bring a cooler full of ice and water bottles to offer to everyone to keep them hydrated (if you know what I mean). For fun for the over 21 crowd, I make fall themed Jell-O shots or spiked gummy bears in plastic shot containers (SHOP CONTAINERS HERE) that are always a hit.

  1. Add rock salt in with ice in a cooler.  The salt lowers the temperature of the water and keeps food/beverages colder longer.
  1. We have experienced our share of rainy day tailgates. I’ve learned to keep cheap plastic disposable rain ponchos on hand (SHOP HERE). Bring them for your family or offer extras to those that don’t come prepared. Simple tricks like these make the kids remember your tailgate and look forward to when you come again the next year.

  1. Tailgating spots fill up quickly so it’s not always possible to claim the exact spot you had planned. Make it easy for your crowd to find you by flying a large school flag or helium balloons attached to long strings from your tent.
  1. Add to the fun by supplying entertainment, too. Tailgate games can be purchased or made from scratch and are always a hit. You can even go as simple as providing a Bluetooth speaker and a football. (INSERT GAME IDEAS COLLAGE)
  1. The least fun part of tailgating is the clean up. I like to make it as simple as possible. Bring a large plastic tub to put dirty serving dishes in to transport home. A plastic grocery sack can also be used to wrap up dirty serving utensils. Leftover food items go back into the cooler, or better yet, are left with your college student to eat later. Then just roll up the plastic tablecloths and throw them away. Lysol wipes can be used to wipe down tables before loading back up, if desired.

With the tips above and a simple checklist, you can wow the college kids with a fun tailgate experience and plenty of good food that they have missed since being home.


Here is a comprehensive checklist I’ve created that I use each time I prep and pack for a tailgate.

Click here to print a checklist for future use: Printable Tailgate Checklist

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HOW TO BUILD A SHIPLAP ACCENT WALL {DIY}

My advice:  When you are starting a remodel on an entire home while living in it, begin with one of the easiest rooms first.  A spot where you can quickly put your stamp on it and make it start to feel like home.  For us, that was our son’s bedroom.  A little paint, a fun accent wall build and done.  One room down, a lot more to go.

This is a look at the room before the makeover.  (We started the remodel before I remembered to take photos.) The walls were a tan/mustard/gold color.  With only one window in the room, the darker walls soaked up the little natural light available.

Our son chose the paint colors.  We went with three walls of a lighter blue color and the main wall a shade darker – all still light enough to allow as much light in as possible.

Next we added warm wood tones with a shiplap accent wall.  We used 1″x6″x8′ tongue and groove whitewood boards.

We wanted the wood wall feature to be just wider than the bed and run floor to ceiling.  With our 8′ ceilings we needed (19) 8′ whitewood boards.  To add a little interest to the wall, we opted to go with three different cuts to vary the lengths of the strips.  This diagram will help explain what we did.

The next step was to stain the boards.  We wanted some variation in the colors of the boards.  These are the stains we used.

We laid the cut boards out as we wanted them on the wall.  Then we used a clean cloth to rub on the stain and another dry cloth to wipe off the excess.  We didn’t sand anything and or use anything other than stain to seal the boards.

To install, we noted the wall dimensions in pencil on the wall where we wanted it and found the studs and marked them by drawing straight lines floor to ceiling.  We chose to begin at the top of the wall.  Note: when you finish at the bottom, you might need to strip down the final board to fit properly.  Doing this hides the smaller stripped board behind the bed.

The first board was a solid 7′ piece against the ceiling.  Using a brad nailer and the lines drawn on the wall as a guide, we nailed the first board into the studs.  Then we (as in my son and husband) just continued down the wall picking up the boards as they were laid out on the floor when we stained them.  Not shown is an electrical outlet that we (they) had to cut around, as well.

We opted for a rough, natural look so we didn’t caulk or fill the nail holes.

On a scale of 1 to 10 for difficulty, I would say this project is about a 4 or 5.  The hardest part is trying to keep the boards looking level if the walls and ceiling aren’t square.  We were able to stay fairly level to the naked eye on the way to the bottom and stripped the last piece as needed to meet up with the existing trim.

ROOM SOURCES:

click image to shop

        

         

 

NOTE:  This posts contains affiliate links.

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2019 Senior Girls Football Shirts

Christy B Photography is once again offering custom football jerseys and t-shirts just for this year’s senior girls (being a senior has it’s perks!). We offered these jerseys and shirts a couple of years ago and they were a hit.  So we’re bringing them back this year with a brand new design for 2019 seniors.  New this year, we are offering our custom shirts to all surrounding schools, as well.  These shirts are great to wear to school on game day and are perfectly sparkly under the lights at the game.  Best of all, the only ones lucky enough to have them are 2019 senior girls!

The quicker you order, the earlier you will have your shirt for this year’s football games. Deadlines to receive your senior shirt prior to the first home game this year is  August 22nd for Pleasant Hill Roosters and August 27th for Holden Eagles.  If you are interested in our senior shirts but are in a school other than PHHS or HHS, simply contact ChristyB with your school info. and we will hook you up, too.

EMAIL CHRISTY B:  christyBphotography@comcast.net       CALL/TEXT CHRISTY B:  816-935-4961


HOW TO ORDER:

 1. Print out an order form and mail/drop-off to Christy B Photography, 125 Veterans Pkwy., Pleasant Hill, MO 64080

PRINT PHHS SHIRT ORDER FORM                 PRINT HHS SHIRT ORDER FORM

2. Order online securely with PayPal – http://www.christyBphotography.com/senior-football-shirts


HOW TO RECEIVE YOUR ORDER:

    1.  You may pick-up your completed order at Christy B’s studio at 125 Veterans Pkwy., Pleasant Hill.  You will be notified when your order is ready for pick-up.
    2.   You may add a $6 mailing fee to your order to have your item(s) shipped directly to you.
    3.   Those located outside of Pleasant Hill can contact ChristyB to schedule delivery (one delivery date will be scheduled per school).


 

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CHEERS TO FAIR FISHY

Two years ago during our senior county fair photo shoot the girls won, of all things, a living being. Fair Fishy, as he’s come to be known, came home with me because 1. I couldn’t pawn him off on any of the girls and 2. I couldn’t bear to let a living being meet his fate in the toilet bowl just because I didn’t want to take care of him. I pulled out an old fish bowl from a past beta fish, God rest her soul, and Fair Fishy made it his new home. He seems to be happy in his simple little fish bowl because he’s still going strong two years later.

This past year has been an eventful one for him. Two moves to different homes, somehow flipping out of his bowl for me to find him on the floor for who knows how long (I thought he was dead, went to pick him up and he moved so I put him back in his bowl and he swam on like nothing had happened), and a cat that insists on drinking the water from his bowl instead of her own water bowl. The little guy just rolls with the flow and swims on.

Here’s to you, Fair Fishy. Wishing you a happy belated birthday and another (hopefully less eventful) year happily living in our animal zoo of a home.

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2018 HOMECOMING DRESS RE-SALE

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED

I am sorry to announce the Homecoming Dress ReSale scheduled for August 24-26, 2018 has been cancelled.  We just didn’t have enough dresses turned in for to make it a good sale for shoppers.

For those that did turn in dresses, they are pictured HERE.  If anyone is interested in any of the dresses shown, message ChristyB and I will put you in touch with the sellers.

Thank you for your understanding.

Christy B Photography will be hosting a homecoming dress sale on August 24-26, 2018 featuring gently worn, like new homecoming dresses, shoes and accessories.  Buyers from all surrounding schools are welcome to browse and try-on sale items.  Cash, debit or credit accepted.  No checks, please.  No holds, refunds or exchanges.

Sale will be held at Christy B Photography’s studio at 125 Veterans Parkway, Pleasant Hill.


SELLERS:

Sellers are invited to bring in their very gently worn prom dresses, shoes or accessories to be included for sale in the event.

*Contact ChristyB at christyBphotography@comcast.net or 816.935.4961 to schedule a drop off time now through Thursday, August 23rd by 6:00pm at the studio at 125 Veterans Parkway, Pleasant Hill, MO 64080.  The earlier you drop off your items, the more time we have to promote items for sale on social media, the better chance you have of selling your items.  The studio is open “by appointment only”.  You must make an appointment to drop off items.

*There is a $5 fee per dress due at the time of drop off.  If your dress sells, $5 will be deducted from the profit.  There is no fee deducted from the sale of shoes or accessories.  These charges cover the cost of advertising the event and debit/credit processing fees.  *You name the price of your item(s).  If your items sells, you keep the profits (minus the $5 selling fee).  Price tags will be provided.

NOTE:  For those that brought in short dresses for our Prom Dress Re-Sale last February & they did not sell, you can bring them back in to be included in this sale and your initial $5 drop-off fee will be waived.  Those that left dresses for donation will have their dresses included in this sale as the organization that was going to take the dresses after our last sale opted to cease taking donations.

*All items should be clean and in good condition.


For more detailed information on this event and a look at the dresses as they arrive for sale, visit our webpage at

http://christybphotography.com/dress-sale

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BACK TO SCHOOL MINIS

Let the madness begin; the dreaded shopping for new school clothes, fighting your way down the school supply aisle hoping you can find everything in one stop, writing your kiddo’s name on each and every item, prepping for the new early morning wake-up call. It’s back to school time already!

This year Christy B Photography is offering the chance to capture your babies as they prepare to start a brand new school year. These aren’t the stiff, posed school photos with fake cheesy grin and misplaced hair on the old school fake backdrop. Our mini school themed shoots are 15-minutes packed full of fun to capture your child’s personality as they enter a new year of school. From pre-school to high school and every age in between, we promise it will be a blast and you’ll have one-of-a-kind portraits to remember this new stage of their lives. Make it even more fun and bring a friend to join in the pics. Bonus, the photos will be perfect to display at their senior graduation party when the time comes.

 


BACK TO SCHOOL MINIS

August 3rd – 12th

15-minute mini session

Individual, siblings or friends

$25 session fee

Reduced priced prints, products and digital files

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CONTACT CHRISTY B TO SCHEDULE YOUR BACK TO SCHOOL MINI SESSION

christyBphotography@comcast.net

816.935.4961

 

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Everyday life, behind the scenes, tips & tricks, a little bit of everything.

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