House Mix

Category Archives: Photos

Wrapping up summer


I was looking forward to this summer so we could be free of obligation and flow with the wind. Then I realized you can’t flow with anything when you’ve got three kids five and under. In fact, there’s not a whole lot you can do by yourself with all of them. So we spent a lot of time at home and the boys picked up bickering as their summer hobby.

We were so relieved for a change of pace when we went to visit my family in Indiana. It was just what we needed to get out of our rut and wrap up the summer to get ready for school.

indiana trip - woods

This is the lane to my parent’s house. The boys and I kept saying “A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood ..” You know, from the Gruffalo. It’s Adri’s favorite book.

indiana trip - digging for dinosaurs in the driveway

This is the day the boys thought they discovered dinosaur bones beneath an inch of gravel.

indiana trip - stories with grandpa

Stories with Papa are best.

indiana trip - doggie

Luke, my brother and sister-in-love’s giant dog who thinks he’s a chihuahua.

indiana trip - exploring

Clara was quite the explorer (read: cute pain in the neck) with all the rooms, stairs and pretties.

indiana trip - sleepy

Running around all day is hard work.

lake rats

My brother is the worst uncle ever. Not sure why the kids are so crazy about him. Just kidding, he and Wendy are the absolute BEST with kids. They should give classes.

indiana trip - chuck e cheese

We celebrated Adriano’s fourth birthday at Chuck E Cheese. As you can see, the grown ups had fun too. Adri was quite pleased with his venue selection. (And that’s Clara’s new smile. I know. Hopefully she’s just experimenting.)

indiana trip - four generations

There are four generations here. I harassed and pestered them until it happened! But I know I will always cherish this photo.

I didn’t get all my favorite people from this trip in the photos, which I hate, but I made myself limit the pictures to 10 here so you don’t feel like I’m sitting you down with a half hour slide show.

You might see some duplicates if we’re friends on Instagram. If we aren’t, we should be! Come find me, I want to see your summer family pics too! Did you travel anywhere?

Go here to see more of my parents’ country house.

Baby photo tips and newborn pic list

Clara is already two months old, and I’ve been catching up on some photo taking and editing. It’s fun to compare her photos to her brothers’ and see how the they look similar in some ways. And it’s reminded me that, holy smokes, I’ve taken a bazillion photos of these kids!

Here are some tips I use for newborns and young babies to get the most out of staged and everyday photos:

Baby photo tip - Angle down on newborn's face

Is it just me or do newborns have the ability to look different in every photo (and sometimes quite awkward)? One trick I’ve discovered is taking photos looking downward on their face. It’s a good angle on everyone, in fact. In the photo above, the baby didn’t move, but I changed my perspective for a more flattering angle.


Baby photo tip - Cover the bouncer

I’m as guilty as the next guy, taking a million pictures in the bouncer before baby can sit up. We have this frog bouncer with wild bold colors, and every picture starts to look the same. So sometimes I cover the bouncer!

For this picture, I put a plain white towel over it to take her picture in this little gnome bathing suit. It was mine when I was a newborn!


Baby photo tip - Crop in on the bouncer shot

The trick to making it not look like a bouncer that you covered up is to crop in on baby. Get close, crop out the sides, and the only thing you’ll be able to focus on are those cheeks!

My husband calls Clara his Fragolina — little strawberry in Italian — so how could I resist taking this cheesy strawberry pic?


Baby photo tip - Use natural light. Before is taken with lights on and after is taken with the blinds open

Angles and staging don’t mean much if the lighting is bad. Turn lamps off to get rid of that yellowy effect, and put baby in natural daylight. A few feet away from a window or sliding glass door work best, preferably with baby facing the light.

Putting the baby in direct sunlight or using a flash will wash her out and create harsh shadows. It’s better for a soft light to shine downward on baby if possible.

The after photo, above, was taken after I turned off the lamps and opened up the blinds in our bedroom.


Baby Photo Editing Tip - No filter necessary, just lighten midtones and slightly saturate

Editing photos

If I’ve paid attention to lighting, I only do minimal photo editing. I like filters occasionally, but usually I prefer natural looking photos. What I end up doing to almost every photo is simple and can be done in nearly every editing program, though I’m showing Photoshop menus here.

I lighten the midtones to brighten the photo and then only slightly increase the saturation. That’s all there is to it and it makes a big difference.


Baby photo tips and shots not to miss - list of newborn photos to take

List of newborn photos to take

  • with each family member (siblings, grandparents)
  • with mom and dad (together and separate)
  • swaddled in the crib
  • in the buff with no props
  • a profile from the side
  • holding your finger
  • in a bath towel
  • feet
  • hands
  • lips and cheeks
  • fuzzy back and shoulders
  • funny newborn expressions: grinning, yawning, grimacing, eyebrows up …
  • with something from the past: Mommy or Daddy’s baby blanket or outfit
  • in a cute hat

To get my favorite shots, I usually take five or more photos of the same thing with slight variations. The more pictures you take, the better your chance of getting great shot.

Lastly, I adore taking pictures of my little people, but I’ve learned it’s more important to be in the moment sometimes than trying to capture it. You can only cram so many pictures in the baby album of that precious little nugget, so don’t get so consumed with pictures that you forget to take it all in too!

Here are some baby and toddler background ideas. And you might also like my monthly baby photo project or my baby book ideas.

Life at home according to our 4 year old

Luca, 4,  got a kid camera for Christmas this year and he loves it. This weekend I plugged it in my computer and uploaded his images from the past six months. It didn’t really occur to me that looking at them would be a glimpse into our world according to him. I love how the view is either low to the ground or angled up, how he sees things.

Here is a peek inside Luca’s life:

Luca's pics

His best friend, Trooper

Luca's pics

His favorite owl. Apparently we like to sit very close while we watch TV.

Luca's pics

Mom with a giant belly

Luca's pics

My best friend, Ashby (Trooper’s mom)

Luca's pics

His brother as Mr. Party Potato Head

Luca's pics

Streamers from his birthday

Luca's pics

Charlotte the cat who is often annoyed, but still insists on being in the center of things at all times

Luca's pics

Portrait of Dad

Luca's pics

Skyping with Nonno and Nonna in Italy

Luca's pics

Favorite knick knacks of the moment

Luca's pics

His favorite character Kwazii from Octonauts

Luca's pics

Mom and baby sister who never wants to be put down

Luca's pics

A frog he found outside — vital stats unconfirmed

Luca's pics

Nonno and Nonna’s visit from Italy

Luca's pics

Nonna at the dining room table, probably wishing the noise level would taper off a bit

Luca's pics

The day Adriano woke up from a nap with rock star hair

Luca's pics

Baby Clara

Luca's pics

Dad making an awesome lunch

Luca's pics

Chasing his brother because he doesn’t want his picture taken

Luca's pics

Family dinner with Nonno, Nonna and grandma, who he calls Apple

Luca's pics

The photographer himself, shot by his brother

P.S. This is the camera we got him in case you’re interested (affiliate link).