25 pictures to take this holiday season

Anita Perminova Portraits and Films-december daily 2016-christmas-amsterdam photographer-Day 2.jpg

Hey, is it the 1st of December already? We love December, this is a month of family traditions and holiday magic. A lot is going on in our house during the month of December. Also, this is a holiday which is about spending time with your family. It's about enjoying favorite traditions and activities that make lasting memories.

I have started with this tradition since my first child was born and since then when I ask my children what they remember about past holidays, they never mention the presents they've received, but things like picking up a tree, setting up our Nativity set, making Christmas cards for family and teachers, or going ice-skating and having hot chocolate. This is the experience that come to their mind, those are the moments during the holiday season that stick with them and that's the reason why I love celebrating Christmas countdowns.

Anita Perminova Portraits and Films-december daily 2016-christmas-amsterdam photographer-day 10.jpg

We are always having so many things to do during the holidays, having a set of advent ideas and activities helps my family to be intentional during the holidays and do something TOGETHER, spend time with each other.

Some of the activities are pre-planned, like decorating the house and getting the tree or making Christmas cards. Others are surprise activities for my kids. I mostly keep our activities the same, but as the kids are growing I modify them just a bit appropriate to their age and add something new (also depends on the location of your residence, - for a couple of years I was looking for any Santa around the city, but they just simply do not have any here, as locally the traditions are a bit different here).

Anita Perminova Portraits and Films-december daily 2016-christmas-amsterdam photographer-day 5.jpg

All of our activities are family-focused because life goes by so quickly and these activities keep us grounded and makes us to connect to each other every single day. These activities may go well as a photo prompt list, just snap a couple of pictures daily and you will have a wonderful variety of pictures documenting your December.

25 photos to take this holiday season christmas photo prompt list

If you follow me, you know that I love to capture life on video. Lat December was the time when I started practicing video techniques, here is one of my very first videos.

I still have a pile of video clips I took daily, I must find time to compile a short video, because these are too precious memories.

If you'd like to get more inspiration, follow this link.




Because a printed photograph is really FOREVER

In a year or two you, you will sit on the sofa and go through your album together...

In 15 years, she'll look at this on her own, and you will too, recalling all the stories and moments you created together...

In 25 years, she will flipping through with her husband as they are preparing for their own little one's arrival...

In 50 years, she will be showing her album to her grandchild...

In 90 years, that grandchild will hold on dearly to her album and will be passing it down to the next generation...

Because a PRINTED photograph is really FOREVER!

Our biggest holiday sale is launched. Sign up here to be notified for huge savings in my store. You won't WANT miss this one!



Minnecré Family - Amsterdam Portrait Photographer and FIlmmaker

We had a fantastic time with Marianne, Piet Hein and their lovely children Linde and Lieven this September for their family film and portrait session. Prepared for the shoot with a positive attitude and some fun activities for kids, we shot at their home and in a special location locally adjacent the beach where the four often play during lazy summer days. Charming and sweet, we enjoyed our session having fun and playing, snuggling and cuddling and this is what we made.

I've got a few film sessions still available between now and December if you'd like to update your family photos before Christmas. If you'd like one of these for your family, grab a spot on my calendar here.



What makes a photograph timeless?

I was about to share with our summer holiday pictures I took last summer, but then when I looked at them I thought I could write a little article about my my photography approach and discuss together with you what makes photography or a work of art timeless?

As time goes by, what makes a photograph timeless to you? I think images can evoke a wide range of emotions depending on our viewpoint of the scene and our connection to that point in history. It definitely has to be something that everyone can relate to, something "universal", no matter the span of time between when the photograph was captured and the time when it is viewed.

Would you say that a timeless portrait is a "simple" portrait? I tend to believe so, there are just a few elements required for a timeless portrait, and the rule of "less is more" works the best for me. When creating a timeless image I consider the following:

1. Clothing selection.

Clothing choice should be consistent with the story you want to create and convey. Small patterns, stripes, graphic tees, logos and any clothing with writing on it are the items I try to avoid for the shooting. The reason is as they draw the viewer's attention away from my subject's face. As an example, do you see a couple of logos on the second and third images, ideally i should clone them out for a timeless portrait. I intentionally left as is so you can see and "feel" the difference.

2. Lighting.

You're likely to encounter that light is one of the major determining factors for conveying a specific mood and story in an image. It can turn an everyday moment into a work of art. Seeing the light is the first step in being able to use it in an interesting way. The more you practice seeing and shooting in it the more it will become part of how you view the whole world around you.

3. Facial expression.

The timeless soulful look is about the eyes, the facial muscles and the mouth. Expression in a portrait can convey many human emotions, it is the visual communication between my subject, camera and the viewer.

4. Composition and background selection.

I don't want timeless portraits to be dated by fashion and location, thus keeping the clothing and the background simple is something I always consider. Cluttered backgrounds of reflections and bright objects are the same distractions from my subject. I try to change camera angles, perspective, avoid broken light coming through trees or any light/bright objects in the background.

And these few are just for fun becuase I would like to share with you with our summer adventures, the clothes and location tell us about the approximate date of when these images were taken.



Studio Look Book - Amsterdam Portrait Photographer and Filmmaker

Hey lovely friends,

I am so happy to announce to you that our studio is proud to offer a collection of the most unique and highest quality products in the industry, from albums of all sizes to display options which complement any home decor, smaller framed prints which are perfect for family and friends, cards for any occasion, other specialty products. We are also happy to gift wrap and send your photo gifts to lucky recipients for you.

Get in touch with us today to book your session and create a personal custom experience in order to surpass your portrait photography and film expectations. After your session I will introduce you to our Studio Look Book, which will explain all your product options in depth, with stunning imagery.



24 Frames. A Filming Project: September - Exploring Van Gogh's Paintings with children in a treasure hunt.

anita perminova amsterdam portraits and films van gogh explore paintings in a treasure hunt with children

As the Fall season is approaching we tend to do more indoor activities rather than going outside. What I love the best about the museums here in Amsterdam, you can never get bored exploring around. There are so many various activities offered for your little ones, I love they can start communicating with art from their very early years, drawing and painting workshops, treasure hunt games, family tours, this is just to mention a few. 

Last week-end I took my kids to Van Gogh Museum, I have to be honest it wasn't our first time. This time we went for a treasure hunt exploring Van Gogh's paintings. That was fun to browse around finding fragments of paintings or answering various questions about the same paintings. Of course at the end of every trip kids receive a little gift and this makes the whole adventure so exciting to them!

I wish I could include more of the environment inside the museum, however it is not allowed to shoot the paintings, thus you will see more of my girls and what they were up to.

This film I created within our 24 Frames. A Filming Project. This film was shot with Nikon D750 and Sigma 35mm Art. We are also on Instagram.




Creating music experience with Lucky Beat

Last week-end I was invited to document a special event for a new music project in Amsterdam. The children of all ages were invited to try singing and play guitar, bass, keyboard and drums as a part of a rock band. I have to say it's a project created with lots of love and passion.

Let me tell you a little bit about the founder, Maria. She is an amazing mom of four beautiful children. The bond between Maria and her children is simply a feeling that cannot be confined by words. She is one of those women who is passionate about what she does filling our hearts with love and support. The first time I met Maria, I instantly connected with her. She is one of those people who makes you feel comfortable straight away.

amsterdam photographer anita perminova portraits and films with lucky beat at open day in toomler

Music was always an important part in Maria's life. Her children showed their interest in music from the earliest stages of their childhood. Together they do musical exercises, learn musical instruments, and sing songs in different languages. Maria is a song and music writer herself.  At the moment she is busy with a script writing for an animated video for a song performed by her oldest daughter Daria "Dance with an Alien".

The idea of the music project was born a couple years ago and for the last three months Maria is actively working on starting up this project.

"I gathered a team of incredibly talented musicians from different countries who know how and love to work with children on a professional level. We are not just launching a new music project - we input lots of love and passion into it. This project is really special to us, this is our life!"

I was truly honored to be apart of this amazing project and we had such a fabulous time last Saturday on the very first Open Day at Lucky Beat. That was an amazing experience to witness so many talented children expressing their love and passion to music. Especially to me, as a photographer, I had so much joy to see the happiness on their little faces, I feel like I am charged with so much positive energy for the rest of this month.

Please click here to see the full gallery.





24 Frames. A Filming Project: July - Lensbaby Twist 60 | Amsterdam Portrait Photographer and Filmmaker

anita perminova amsterdam portrait photogrpaher and filmmaker lensbaby twist 60

July "24 Frames. A Filming Project" post is live. For filming this video I chose Lensbaby Twist 60 lens. It has a twisty swirly blur with a large central focus and I just love what a striking separation it creates between my subjects and their backgrounds. it's a beautiful lens which creates beautiful effects.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my July blog post. Stop back on August 3 for the next installment. In the meantime, please follow the blog circle to see how my amazing friend Erica Kuehlem Everhart interpreted this month's theme!

Shot with Nikon D750 and Lensbaby Twist 60 lens.



8 personalized photo gift ideas to show your family you love them - Amsterdam Family Photographer

If you want to give your loved ones something truly personal for a holiday then this article is for you.

As a photographer, I try to turn our precious memories into unique and one-of-a-kind keepsakes that I know will be treasured forever by our grandparents, parents, and children.

It’s hard to find a perfect present that would be cherished by your loved ones; it seems we are always searching for something that would mean a lot but won’t cost a fortune. These photo gift ideas are perfect for Christmas gifts, Mother’s and Father’s Day surprises, and even birthday presents.

1. 12-month planner

A monthly planner makes a wonderful gift for those who enjoy keeping paper notes. I’ve been doing this for the last two years and everyone I give them to loves them a lot!

I create a Moleskine planner which turns out to be more than just a notebook and the photos help add a little personal touch. My husband loves making his to-do lists, thus he is always super excited to receive a new notebook that fits his needs perfectly.

2. Photo cards

This is my children’s favourite gift to help create. Photo cards are often made with photographs but I let the kids paint or draw the “photo” that will grace the cover of the card, like making snowmen out of their fingers and white paint. These cards are true keepsakes for your loved ones and wonderful adornments for any present.

anita perminova portraits and films amsterdam family photographer photo gifts for family father's day mother's day christmas birthday

3. Desk calendar

This one was a hit at our last Christmas. I chose 12 images matching the season and mood of each month and printed them out as a desk calendar with a brass easel which looks really beautiful on a desk.

4. Digital frame

A digital frame is a wonderful gift to share your photos directly to your loved ones’ frames, even if they are halfway across the world. I find it to be a wonderful gift solution for our grandparents and those relatives residing far away from us.

With built-in Wi-Fi, this frame lets you import photos from your social media. I created a folder on Flickr and connected it to the company’s server. Every time I upload new images they are automatically updated in the frame. How easy is that?!

anita perminova portraits and films amsterdam family photographer photo gifts for family father's day mother's day christmas birthday nixplay seed digital frame

5. Fine art prints

My older daughter wanted to give a gift for her grandparents. She chose her best six portraits and printed them on a fine art mounted cotton paper which came with a handmade prints box and a wooden display. This turned out to be a great keepsake for them!

The prints can be swapped out throughout the year which they love. Because of this, my daughter is planning to update their collection on the next holiday.

6. Framed prints

Framed prints are a wonderful way to turn your photographs into something very special that your grandparents will cherish every time they look at it. This framed print was a Christmas present for our grandfather. He was super happy to receive it as his holiday gift and now he’s very proud to have it on his desk.

7. Wall canvas

Wall canvases turn a special image into a simple piece of art. I’ve printed a few framed prints and canvases for my clients in the past and since my packages arrive at my home studio, my husband is able to see all those beautiful client products. Once he asked me if he could have one or two portraits of our children printed big. I guess now I know what his next present is going to be!

8. Photo book

I stumbled across the idea of a photo design project on the Design Aglow blog when searching for another unique birthday gift idea for my husband. Basically, it’s a book created by you and your kids and is a great reflection of how your children view their daddy at this stage in life.

All you need to create a book is a handful of your favorite photos and a list of questions you would like to include. Once it is printed, ask your children to create some drawings and answer the questions by writing their answers down in the book. We did this for my husband but you could do this for anyone.

I print my books through online printing companies such as BlurbMilkbooks, and Artifact Uprising.

Print your photos and share them with your loved ones! Creative photo gifts make the most memorable and personal presents for loved ones.

How you store your digital media may go out-of-date (who remembers floppy disks?) and the files that you have stored in these digital formats become inaccessible. Instead, a print will always be there.

A framed photo hanging proudly on your wall is there for everyone to see. There is something nostalgic and romantic about being able to curl up on the couch with your children and look back at your old family photos.




Booking Summer Holiday Sessions on Lanzarote, Spain | Family Portrait Photographer and Filmmaker

I always looked forward to summer as a child to frolic and play with my friends in my grandmother's country house or spending a wonderful summer vacation by the beach with my parents. Summer is a reminder of childhood and the spirit of living in the moment. Summer is a time to let loose and feel the warmth in the air.

We are so excited for the wonderful weather here in Amsterdam, it really feels like summer and we are having such a wonderful time and create amazing memories with my kiddos playing on the beach or in the nearby park with their friends.

I have a wonderful announcement for you lovely beautiful people vacationing or residing on Lanzarote. I am going to travel this summer and I am planning out my summer beach sessions on Lanzarote, Spain this August!

I'd like to document your holiday story and capture beautiful you. We will pick a beautiful spot on the beach to create your portraits. Let's capture those amazing moments with this beach photo session. I would like to hear from you! Fine art portrait sessions and your stories in film are also available. 



24 Frames. A Filming Project: May - Shooting with Lensbaby | Amsterdam Portrait Photographer and Filmmaker

May "24 Frames. A Filming Project" post is live and I almost thought I was not going to find the time to make it happen. I am so grateful to this project, as I am pretty sure I would have never made the time to filming anything like this. Learning skills and nailing shooting techniques is already quite a challenging task, but adding some creative touch on top of it is something that we were trying to achieve this month.

If you've never shot with this lenses, you may feel a little bit overwhelmed at first, as they seem like to be something totally different, unique and mysterious. However, if you follow my work, you might noticed that I am in love with these lenses and I just adore to experiment with them. They bring something new, add some artistic touch and when planned and prepared for shooting give some timeless feeling to the images.

There is definitely a learning curve when it comes shooting with Lensbaby lenses and it can take awhile to become comfortable and familiar with them. To my personal experience, I had to take a lot of extra frames to get used to how lens behaves and what effect it produces when I started practicing with these lenses. Once you gain some experience, you will find yourself achieving exactly what you envision taking much less extra frames.

For filming this video I chose Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Sweet 50 optic lens. I believe it added some softness and ethereal mood to the film and at some point complemented the timeless feeling.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my May blog post. Stop back on July 3 for the next installment. In the meantime, please follow the blog circle to see how my amazing friend Erica Montgomery interpreted this month's theme!

Shot with Nikon D750 and Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Sweet 50 optic lens.


anita perminova amsterdam portrait photographer and filmmaker 24 frames filming project

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Why photography matters to me?

Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.
— Aaron Siskind

Memories are an important part of my life - old letters, photographs, diaries, or newspaper clippings of important family events, such as the announcements of births, marriages, and many other things help me to recall my past and the history of my family. Do you see that little chubby baby on the pictures? This is me with my mom and dad and I am grateful to them for having these memories of me as a child, because I want to remember those moments with them and I want to tell my stories from my childhood that can be handed down to my own children and their children's children.

Memory is complicated, delicate, and for many parents, it fades way too fast the older we get. A single image can tell an entire story and bring me right back to that moment in time and remember what I felt and experienced.

When they placed my sweet little girl in my arms for the first time, she was calm and curious, indeed she was turning her head in the direction of my voice kind of trying to wrap her mind about what was happening and what was it all about, and I said to her "Hey, sweetie, this is me, your mommy!". That moment, I felt like everything flew into perspective.

Two years later I "retired" from the corporate world, because my family, the 3 of us, then the 4 of us, were the most important thing in my life. This is when my photography journey started. I invested in my first DSLR camera and I was really in urge to create beautiful pictures that would speak for themselves. I knew I should be taking photos daily to make myself a better photographer. I’ve connected with other photographers so we could support, encourage and inspire each other to make daily shooting possible. I got involved in several personal and group projects. Some projects have challenged me to find new and interesting ways to create images.

Over time and thousands of photos of my children, I was able to understand that I am drawn to low light and fine art child portraiture. I found that I am inspired by childhood memories and their stories. I started seeing beauty in my every day by observing my children and staying connected with them.

The truth is when I am in the moment I tell to myself that I am not going to forget something special as that, or as funny as what my children do or say, but the reality is I almost always forget within some time. Relying on my memory alone simply would not be enough for me. My children do so much, create so much and grow so much in one day, that I believe by documenting their lives I get to preserve our memories.

Sometimes I feel like the entire lifetime is lived in the span of a second. Photography enables me to slow down, notice the beauty around me and truly live in the present enjoying my time with children capturing those moments I don't want to forget and creating something solid for my children to look back on when they are older and wanting to recollect memories from their childhood.

And let’s be honest, there is something nostalgic being able to curl up on a couch with children and look back at a photo album and retell the stories of their firsts and lasts and everything in between.

Photography does really matter to me.

How do you preserve your memories? Do you love to document your family's life and create portraits that can be handed down to your next generation to tell a story of your family?



24 Frames. A Filming Project: April - A Day In The Life | Amsterdam Portrait Photographer and Filmmaker

day in the life amsterdam family photographer and filmmaker anita perminova chimpie champ

I am photographing and documenting my children mostly daily, trying to get in the frame myself to document our relationship and the things we love and do together, because I want to remember all those things and capture the growth of our family. And our family changes from year to year - that's a given. I like to go beyond my usual portraits in an attempt to weave little stories here and there of our life and our everyday rituals. It feels so dear to my heart to be able to record our ordinary day as where we are at right now.

Did you think about how many things we do during the day that go undocumented. For example, I rarely take photos earlier in the morning because there are always too many things to do in those first couple of hours of the day, - waking up, getting ready for the day, make sure my kids brushed their teeth, washed their faces, brushed their hair and dressed up, the list of things is long. Yet, our morning routine is such a big part of our story, though our daily rituals may not be exciting as such but they form such a big part of our story.

This month at "24 Frames. A Filming Project" we embrace the challenge of documenting our day in the life. We document our story and by all means we create something more significant than a family portrait, we document all of the goings-on in our house on a regular day showing our real selves.

It was a hard challenge for me, it's a lot of work also I would say! But you know what, even though the final result is not perfect technically, I missed a lot of moments in between and not all the special and dear moments were captured, I am so happy with the result as I know I will treasure this forever! Because those our everyday things that happen in life that make our day special, - all the chaos of getting out the door, setting the table and making family dinner, sleepy and sometimes, or most of the times, grumpy morning faces, learning something new, and so many more.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my March blog post. Stop back on June 3 for the next installment. In the meantime, please follow the blog circle to see how talented Lisa Atherley Weingardt interpreted this month's theme!

Shot with Shot with Nikon D750 and the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | A.


WE ARE ALSO ON INSTAGRAM 24 Frames. A Filming Project.



How to Start with Your New DSLR in 5 Easy Steps

Congratulations, you have bought a new DSLR camera! This is an exciting news for the whole family. Finally, you will take some amazing images of your family and share those on social media. You will print a dozen of beautiful coffee table books to show off to your friends. And then you've looked at the LCD of your expensive new camera you thought “I wish I knew how to use this thing better”. Sounds familiar?

I've been there and needed all of that. I was feeling overwhelmed by all of those features on my camera. I wished I could truly “own” my camera, so that I could capture all those precious fleeting moments.

If you are anything like me, you just wanted to take lovely pictures of your kiddos and share them with your family and friends. Well, I'd like to tell you that it's definitely possible and if you practice the techniques continually you will start seeing your images in a different way.

In this blog post I am providing you with a few tips on how to get started with your new camera.

1. Let's talk about gear.

If you haven't purchased a DSLR yet I highly recommend to buy the DSLR body and a separate prime lens. Here is why, just a few reasons to name:

  • Prime lenses perform better in dim conditions. They can get gorgeous pictures in low light without having to lower the shutter speed and risk motion blur or camera shake.
  • Prime lenses are smaller and lighter.
  • Prime lenses give sharper images.

I invested in my first DSRL camera Nikon D60 when my husband and I were about to get married, it was the perfect time to get one! But it took me a long time though before I opened a user manual and really knew how to use it properly. Once I decided to learn photography and build strong relationship with my camera my go-to lens was the 35mm f/1.8. Always remember that your camera is just a tool, the same as a pen or a brush. Exploring its possibilities and experimenting is a natural part of the creation process. Making first steps and learning the basics is tough, but you don't have to try everything. My greatest advise to you is to get to know your camera to be able to take control of it.

This is what I mean, the first image I took before I was shooting in manual and the second image is when I started to learn shooting in manual mode:

You don't need a very expensive camera to take beautiful image but you should cover enough of the basics to get you in control of your camera.

2. Understand the exposure triangle

Understanding the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO is crucial to being able to shoot in manual mode. A change in one of the settings will impact the other two. Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are all part of the ‘exposure triangle’.

Aperture allows you to have those blurry backgrounds. The lower the number, the blurrier the photo gets. The higher the number, the more of your frame is in focus.

Shutter speed will determine the amount of motion that you allow into the frame. The lower the bottom number the more light reaches the camera sensor, but if your shutter speed is too low, such as 1/40, then camera shake may affect the sharpness of your photograph.

ISO refers to the sensitivity of the sensor to the light.

They all control either the amount of light entering the camera (aperture, shutter speed) or the amount of light required by the camera (ISO) for a given exposure.

3. Using your camera's meter.

Once you've got a decent understanding of the exposure triangle it's time to do some real practice. Set your camera to manual mode,  look through your view finder and you should see a line graph with some hashmarks through it at the bottom. This is your camera's meter. By adjusting your aperture, shutter speed and ISO you're moving the ticker back and forth in your light meter. Play around with your light meter.It is important to understand how YOUR camera meters, because the specifics will differ from brand to brand.

4. Learn about white balance

The white balance can significantly impact color tone of your photographs. Be aware that the quality and color of the light will change according to the time of day, season and weather. That means that different kinds of natural light will make the same scene look different.

  • At high noon on a sunny day the light is the most neutral.
  • The color temperature of light in the shade is always blue because the light source is the blue sky.
  • The light can appear white or grey on an overcast day if the cloud cover is thick and the sun is higher in the sky.
  • When the sun is lower in the sky at sunrise or sunset the light passes through a thicker layer of atmosphere which filters the blue light leaving the red color.

Digital cameras need help to compensate for different types of lighting and render a white object white. The white balance setting helps to get the colors on your images as accurate as possible. While many cameras have an easy to access button to adjust white balance, I recommend reading your camera manual to clarify.

5. Keep learning and practice a lot.

If you ask any photographer how she learned to take great photos, you are going to hear the same phrase over and over again "Switch your camera to manual mode and practice, practice, practice!" Have your camera in you bag wherever you go, connect with other photographers so you could support, encourage and inspire each other to make daily shooting possible. Get involved in photography projects, such as a photo a day, or 365 project, or the 52 project, or any other project that will keep you busy and shooting.

You can create an Instagram account and follow photography accounts to stay motivated and inspired, here is just a few educational IG accounts that I really love to follow: Clickin Moms, CreativeLive, Camera Mama, The Candid Class.

To really take your photography to the next level I highly recommend that you invest in a in-person photography workshop or an online class.

I am happy to announce that from now on I offer one-on-one mentoring sessions, an online photography workshop "E-Course: A Complete Guide To Mastering Digital Photography",  and In-Person Photography Workshops For Moms residing in Amsterdam or surrounding area.

My newest workshops are now open for registration!

Regardless of what your level of experience is or what type of DSLR camera you use, these courses are designed to provide you with everything you need to take your photography skills to the next level. I have poured my heart and soul into preparing those and I want to teach you how to create beautiful photos that you'll be proud to share with your family and friends. 

I want to teach you how to create photos that you’re proud to share with your family and friends!




Spring time - Tulips time!

Zomerbloemen Pluktuin is one of our favorite spots in Amsterdam. There are lots of activities for kids, mainly we go there to pick flowers, paint vases or harvest our own pumpkins for Halloween. Kids do really enjoy it and always have lots of fun there. This time we went together with Gaia to collect some nice flowers for Sofia and daddy while they were in Rome.




5 simple tips on how to preserve your child’s school memories

school year timeline you child's school memories documented anita perminova amsterdam family photographer

Since my first child started attending the school I began documenting their school memories throughout the years.

When I look back at their school pictures I realize how much my children have grown. I have created a "system" that helps me to preserve their special school moments and make it easier for them to reminisce on these times.

What I’m sharing in this blog post comes from my own experience of figuring out what works best in my own family. This project documents each of my child's school year in a personal yearbook which is filled with monthly pages capturing their handwriting, thoughts about school and the world they live in, photos of them highlighting field trips, sport activities and other school events, and artwork collected throughout the school year.

Photo Tips

Make sure you take a picture of the first and last day of school, it is just amazing to compare the first day of school photo to the last!

first day vs. last day of school amsterdam portrait photographer and filmmaker

There is something just so exciting to get to document the fun children had and the friends they made during the year. Of course you could take these anytime in the last month of school, but the last day of school photos are where you actually get to capture all those authentic moments and happy emotions you can see on the faces of your children, their friends and teachers.

photo tips school year documented anita perminova amsterdam child photographer

Because the first and the last days of school tend to be so busy I make sure in advance that my camera equipment charged and my memory cards are empty. When shooting on these days I have a list of must have photos in my mind, which is as follows:

  • Head shot - I try to get to school a little bit earlier so I have enough time to take a quick headshot of each of my children. When shooting those I make sure I choose a neutral background (bushes, school wall, etc.) and I make my child stand a little bit in front in order to create some depth and background blur.
  • Teacher shot - this is the most important memory to photograph, as they will never be in that grade with that teacher again. Some of the sweetest moments come when your child is interacting with the teacher, not just smiling at the camera. And don't be upset if you don't manage to take the picture in the classroom, you can take it wherever you get a chance - on the playground, outside the school, or waiting in a line. Make sure you get a good portrait of the two of them together!

  • Friends shot - try to document the friendships that your child created during the school year. Who are the kids that you hear about all the time? Those are their memories and who knows what will be different next year. I try to get at least a couple of images, the first one is a portrait of the two or three of them together, and the second one is a details shot of the activity they like to do together. If they are reading bodies, I take a picture of them in their reading spot.

  • Classroom shot - I like to take photos of the classroom by taking a few steps back from the action. I love the look and feel of these shots, they give a sense like you're sneaking a little peek into their day. But don't forget to snap a few photos of the little details, such as a closeup of child's backpack, or a name tag on their desk, etc. These little things really help to tell the whole story of your child's school experience and very precious to look back on!
photo tips your child's school year documented by anita perminova amsterdam child photographer

However it is easy to remember to take photos of the first day of school or the big projects or the big events like school field trips and sport days, you would be interested to capture other little things that really tell more of the story of your child's school year, such as working on their homework, shopping for school supplies, playing at the school playground after school, your child's friends and teachers, etc. I regularly share their images hashtagged #theirschooldaysdocumented on Instagram, to inspire you with what kind of pictures can help tell their story.

photo tips your child's school year documented by anita perminova amsterdam child photographer

Interview time capsule

The beginning of the school year and the end of school are the perfect times to interview your kids! Yearly school interviews can be a marvelous tradition. If you ask the same questions each time, you can look back and watch them change and grow throughout the years, and you can also see how their handwriting and spelling has improved. I am trying to follow the same list of questions I worked out the very first time, but I am pretty flexible in case I need to change them at some point or add something new.

back to school interview time capsule by anita perminova amsterdam child photographer

I am using this free downloadable questionnaire for my children to fill out. If they’re too young to write, ask them the questions and write down their responses … as word-for-word as possible.

We love making interview films in our house. I am recording the answers on video to make this an extra special keepsake! It’s a great way to record how children sound and communicate. When shooting try to use a natural source of light and place your kids next to a window. You may consider using a tripod for steadiness. Make sure you check your sound is picking up their voice clearly and try to eliminate all the background noises.

A few years ago I discovered a phone app OneDay that helps me to record mini videos and document memories on my phone in a few simple steps when I don't have my DSLR camera with me (which happens very rarely but it happens also to me). This is not just an app that helps you to record the video but it is a theme related questionnaire. The movie is accompanied with a theme music. I find it really perfect for sharing with my family and friends. Very easy and no extra applications or programs are involved.

Weekly or Monthly journal

When your child comes home on the first few days of school or throughout the school year you may have lots of questions for him/her. What about if you start keeping a weekly journal of questions you may want to ask your child during the school year? Or, you can help your child to write a short journal entry about what they did at school. Don't forget to take a photo each week/month to accompany their journal entries.

monthly school journal ask you kids about school by anita perminova amsterdam child photographer

To help you started, I have got 15 sample questions you would be interested to use as conversation starters with your children.

back to school and end of school questions to ask your child to document their school memories by anita perminova amsterdam child photographer

You can expand your list of questions depending on a number of school weeks per year. Please, keep in mind that:

  • asking open-ended questions will keep a conversation going;
  • often kids are not specific, so you have to ask for specific information when you want it;
  • try not to help them out with their answers, as sometimes they can follow your direction and you won't be able to receive their true, honest and one-of-a-kind answers;
  • positive questions, such as "describe your perfect school day?", help encourage more conversation.

Enjoy your conversations and trust me, your children will thank you for this in the feature!

school years in pictures by anita perminova amsterdam family photographer

Paper organization

We all have limited storage space at our home, as well I have to admit that we can not keep every single masterpiece they produce or every single paper they bring home from school (at least I was thinking so before finding this solution). Let's face it, managing all of the school papers and work can be an overwhelming task. Here are some thoughts on how I am keeping it all organized:

  • because so much is digital our days, create a folder in your email inbox for each child's class and file newsletters and important rosters in that folder.
  • get everything in one place, have a drawer/box for each child in the family office labeled with their name and pull the papers, projects, art masterpieces, awards labeled with dates, etc into one place. I bought these storage boxes from Ikea.
  • by the end of the school year go through all the stuff together and keep just a handful and the most memorable/precious things, such as best art pieces, a few handwriting samples, their awards, and some other memorable stuff that helps tell their story.
  • those items that you and your kids find so special but you don't necessarily need them to be stored in their own, scanning/taking a picture of those items and including in a child's personal yearbook would be a great solution.

Put it all together and make a book

school memories in a book document your child's school year by anita perminova amsterdam family photographer

Creating a photo book is your next and a final step. This is my favorite part! I can totally relate that this is the most scary part for so many people because the idea of “compiling a book” is just overwhelming. Check out this article where I take you through my workflow, from how I take the images of all the artwork to sending a book for print.

your child's school memories in a book by anita perminova amsterdam family photographer

Keep it simple and enjoy the fun while trying to document it!

This article was published on Clickin Moms. Head over to get more inspiring tips and make sure you subscribe to their newsletters.

If you liked this post, be sure to check out these 3 easy ways to document your child's end-of-school memories




24 Frames. A Filming Project: March - A Video Portrait | Amsterdam Family Photographer and Filmmaker

anita perminova amsterdam portrait photographer and filmmaker videographer

This month at "24 Frames. A Filming Project" we embrace the challenge of creating a video portrait. It's so tempting and hard not to experiment with video when it's a function of my camera. Also sometimes a single image isn't enough to capture all of my subject, all those little details that is not possible to express through a still photograph.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my March blog post. Stop back on May 3 for the next installment. In the meantime, please follow the blog circle to see how Casey McCauley interpreted this month’s theme, she's got an adorable film. Shot with Nikon D750 and the Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Sweet 35 Optic.

We are also on Instagram 24 Frames. A Filming Project.

24 frames. a filming project anita perminova amsterdam family portrait photographer and filmmaker