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Does shooting a video make you a better photographer?

amsterdam photographer portrait photogrpaher filmmaker lensbaby seeinanewway velvet

I have just finalized another film of mine for my little girls. If you follow me you know how much I love filming and there are lots of reasons for that. Let's say, to me the most important one is that my kids are growing extremely fast, and every day is the day when they are this little, or do things this way and by capturing this I make sure I have it all recorded and available to look back at these special moments years and years later, when it will be forgotten as you know memories fade. But, the other important reason is that filming makes me a better photographer. Yes, that is absolutely true! And here is why:

  • It helps me to nail my focusing issues and find that sweet spot. You remember practicing and lots of practicing, that is all that matters. Especially with Lensbaby lenses!
  • It shows me if my footage is properly exposed or my white balance is set according to lighting situation during the editing process. You may say, yeah, I can do that also just shooting images. But the difference is that you don't have much that wiggling room with videos in post as with images, thus if the footage is overexposed far too much, there is not much you can do to fix it (only if replace the overexposed area with some stock footage or any other footage you shot earlier), it WILL be visible (for a photographer) as I'll have less detail to work with. No post process is going to be a magic bullet to make my footage look perfect unless I shot it well. And this helps me to slow down and think about my camera settings.

  • And one other thing worth mentioning! Nowadays, our digital cameras allows us take as many pictures as our memory card allows while shooting for the scene. Then we look at the camera LCD screen and decide if we like it or not, if our composition is good enough or not, or if the emotion we captured is what we want. This is right, BUT with video, before setting for the scene, I first think about the compositional flow. Is it really leading viewer’s eyes around the frame in the direction I want them to move? Did I place my subject where I want it to be? Does the frame feel balanced? Not talking about the camera movements ;) Yeah, lots to think about and lots of planning beforehand.

This is a video I shot a couple days ago of my little one. I just wanted to record her voice and faces she makes, she goes through the stage of pretending being a baby, clearly she does not want to become an adult (and I love it!). I also played with editing techniques in Premiere Pro and I am enjoying it a lot! Shot with the Lensbaby Velvet 56 on Nikon D750.


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5 Processing Techniques that Defined My Style in Photography

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If you ask me, I love the editing part of photography process as much as the shooting part, if not more. Sometimes I find during the image processing if I shot something special, and then I enhance and manipulate my images to achieve my vision. Of course it is very important to do our best to get our images right in camera, but to me my images are just a starting point before I transform them into something personal, experiment with different techniques and explore my own style. I love to be in total control of my images from start to finish, crafting my images exactly in line with my own vision. And the key to it is to know exactly what I want to do with my images.

I hear a lot that manipulating a photo after it’s being taken is seen as changing reality, creating something fake and even cheating. Well, once I asked myself how much I depend on preserving the idea of “reality”, and this helped me to open my mind to the world of creative possibilities of editing. I realized I am the one in control of how real my images look, or how unreal. I consider this as an extra opportunity to learn more, make better photos and become a better photographer.

I have to say that every image requires its own editing process to create the look I envision. What I’ve learned the images can be taken in so many directions depending on what is going on within the frame, our mood and even the time of day and season of year.

1. HSL/Color/B&W
Click on Targeted Adjustment Tool to activate and move your cursor to the area of the photo you want to enhance (in our case, the three on the image).  On the Saturation tab, if I click and drag up on part of the tree, the saturation will increase for the color Lightroom reads under the cursor. If you click and drag down, the Saturation for the corresponding areas will decrease. The Hue and Luminance panels work the same way.

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2. Flat edit
Before I send my images in Photoshop I perform flat edit right after I adjust my exposure and do color correction. This helps to prepare a solid foundation for my edit in Photoshop and evaluate the potential of the image. I set the highlights slider between -30 to -80, the shadows slider between + 25 to +80. I do this because I know that after applying all of the techniques I use in PS it will give me the right amount of contrast I need.

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3. Frequency separation.
As you might know this is a great technique that is used for smoothing out skin. Buuuuut I have to say that this technique works perfectly for anything that has texture. In this image I polished the sidewalk on the bottom camera left. It helped me to blend the surface nicely and smoothly without loosing the natural texture of the sidewalk.

4. Dodging and burning.
There are many ways to dodge and burn. It really helps to add a sense of depth to an image and makes subject pop. Sometimes I use the actual dodge and burn tool in Photoshop, but most of the times I use curves adjustments layers (one is set to a brighter exposure (DODGE) and the second one - to a darker exposure (BURN)).

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5. Blend If Option with Curves Adjustment layer
This is my favorite post processing technique as of today. Practically, it helps highlights to stand out a little bit more. I add a curves adjustment layer, then I double click on the layer, the layer style window will pop up. I drag the slider across to about 85, then hit Alt and click again to separate the flag to give a transition, and bring it right down to 255, then hit OK. I change the blending mode to Screen, which is the lightening mode in Photoshop. Then I bring opacity down (if needed). Isn’t it amazing?

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And once again, my SOOC and final image.

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Any questions? I love to chat about photography! 


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Don't Let Your Memories Fade

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Experiences we most often label as “just another day” are actually the defining moments in our life. The once sharp details in our memory will drift away over the years. The most profound moments are so often left to slip away from our thoughts.

This is my family video, a few little snippets I took during the last year. I put them together to highlight our special memories and make them alive forever. I know this film will evoke deep feelings once we re-watch it years down the road. And I feel happy and at the same time confident that my children will have their story to share when they are way older.

Let’s create yours! Book your session here.

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My Winter Memories video is on Lensbaby's blog!

anita perminova portraits and films amsterdam photogrpaher filmmaker lensbaby see in a new way

Hey friends, I am feeling so happy, one of my very first films I shot with Lensbaby lenses is featured. Thank you so very much! On top of this it is such a pleasure to watch this film again and re-live those moments, isn’t it? This is what our life looked like a year ago. Now it doesn’t seem too far, but I know my kids will treasure this when they are older.

To read more about Lensbaby lenses https://lensbaby.com/anita-perminova-holiday/

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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.


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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!

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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.

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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.
 

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.


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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. 

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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.


WE ARE ALSO ON INSTAGRAM 24 FRAMES. A FILMING PROJECT.

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?

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