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new parents

What’s helping me right now

What’s helping me right now

Being present

I’ve always been terrible at meditation. I dropped out of yoga class in college (yes, it was yoga for credit!) because I couldn’t get my mind to quiet down.

But I’ve been doing 10-minute Headspace meditations for almost a year now, not every day, but almost every day. I can’t say that I’m that much “better” at it - my mind still wanders, some days more than others.

But I’ve learned that it’s ok.

Behind the scenes at Photosanity

Behind the scenes at Photosanity

The non-stop barrage of controversy, tragedy, terrorism, hate, corruption, bigotry and oppression notwithstanding, things have been busy here at Photosanity. 

You may have seen my previous posts about the 5 myths of women’s leadership and how to bust through them. I wrote them, and they currently exist as a series of emails, but when I finished writing them, I realized that what I have is the first draft of a book. So yes - I accidentally wrote a book! 

I haven’t made any definite plans for publication yet, but for now, if you haven’t already done so, you can sign up for the series here.

5 myths of women’s leadership and how to bust through them (whether you're an established or emerging leader, or don't even think of yourself as a leader yet)

5 myths of women’s leadership and how to bust through them (whether you're an established or emerging leader, or don't even think of yourself as a leader yet)

I won’t lie, it’s been an intense few weeks for me. I’m still reeling from Charlottesville, Harvey, Irma, DACA under threat, and the 16th anniversary of 9/11.

While these events don’t necessarily have a direct and immediate impact on my day-to-day life today, nonetheless it’s brought up a lot of feelings of trauma and grief for me, especially around my own experiences with race, immigration, and personal loss.

Add to that the usual September transition back to school. What I’m realizing based on stories from other parents is that the meltdowns and exhaustion of the first couple of weeks back are common amongst kids of all ages (as well as their parents!) It has been exhausting.

I’m also feeling stronger and clearer than ever before.

Preliminary women’s leadership survey results are in - your input still needed

Preliminary women’s leadership survey results are in - your input still needed

Preliminary women’s leadership survey results are in! Although the sample size is still small right now, what I’m seeing so far is really interesting.

What I’m seeing is that there is a lot of commonality in the challenges we are all facing, but when it comes to what we need help with, the responses get more specific and varied.

The third main question we asked was: what is the biggest change you could make over the next six months that would increase your impact and/or decrease your levels of stress and overwhelm?

This question had the widest variety of answers, with no conclusive frontrunner.

5 myths of women’s leadership - your input needed

5 myths of women’s leadership - your input needed

At Photosanity, women’s leadership is NOT just about your career, job, work or professional life.  

It is a holistic approach to aligning your life with your values, and who you are with how you present to the world. In this way, you can increase your personal and professional impact without sacrificing yourself in the process. 

Fill out this quick survey by September 8th, 2017, and the following week you’ll get the survey results plus our brand new "5 myths of women’s leadership" series delivered right to your inbox. You'll also get information on how to find out more if you’re interested in women's leadership coaching.

How becoming a parent can become the perfect catalyst for a new career

How becoming a parent can become the perfect catalyst for a new career

A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Lou Blaser of the Second Breaks Podcast, a show about what it takes to make a career move in today’s economy.

In the episode, we chat about my journey from architect to photographer to business owner, and the role motherhood played in that journey. 

The Resilience Through Joy Show - Episode 003: Joy Through Passion Projects

The Resilience Through Joy Show - Episode 003: Joy Through Passion Projects

Welcome to the Resilience Through Joy Show - Episode 003: Joy Through Passion Projects, a conversation with Beryl Ayn Young, founder of Recapture Self, a community for deeply feeling, giving moms who are ready to reclaim their identity beyond story reader, snack maker and boo-boo kisser.

Motherhood is a role that we love, but the day-to-day grind of being a parent can be exhausting and all consuming. However, it’s possible to be an amazing mom (even on the hard days), fiercely devoted to our families, while also making time for ourselves too. 

Photography, parenting and women’s leadership - and what they all have in common

Photography, parenting and women’s leadership - and what they all have in common

When I started Photosanity in 2011, I was a new(ish) mom and family photographer, and it was in response to a lot of questions I was starting to get from parents about taking better photos of their own kids.

 

So I developed a workshop that would teach parents just that, but not only how to take better photos, but how to handle the organizing, editing and sharing piece as well that can be so overwhelming.

 

However, from the very start, I always taught photography from the perspective of a mom who derived a great deal of joy and satisfaction from photographing my own kids, not just because of the resulting photos, but because of how my camera helped me to process the whole experience of becoming a mom.

The best way to get support for yourself as a working mom… and as a stay-at-home mom

The best way to get support for yourself as a working mom… and as a stay-at-home mom

This will come as no surprise to anyone, but being a mom is hard. And although I know this is an exaggeration, I feel like I would never have made it as a mom, had it not been for the amazing group of moms I met when Liam was around 6 or 7 weeks old.

We were all first-time moms with babies born within weeks of each other, and we met weekly at a local cafe, huddled over our nursing or feeding or sleeping or crying babies. We exchanged stories, information and commiseration from the front lines of those early and mysterious days of trying to figure out diapers, feeding and sleep schedules, postpartum recovery, and the crazy transformation we had experienced where we were now taking care of tiny, helpless, living, breathing, human beings outside of our bodies.

Photography as a source of joy, not frustration

Photography as a source of joy, not frustration

I was recently invited by Light.co, a brand new camera technology company, to write about how my photography career has evolved, along with my style and technique, in relation to technology. I thought this was such a great topic to write about, so here is my response.

And actually, it just so happens that I was doing some decluttering the other day and came across the very first camera that I ever owned. It was a small point-and-shoot, film of course, and I was in middle school at the time.

This was way before smartphone cameras or the internet became prevalent - in fact, people were only just starting to get “personal computers” in their homes. You took 24 or 36 photos per roll of film, took it to be developed, and a few days later, picked up your prints, and then mounted your photos into albums. I’m guessing most of you reading this are familiar with what I’m talking about, but our kids would be flabbergasted!

Joy: not just a nice-to-have, but essential if you are to survive and thrive

Joy: not just a nice-to-have, but essential if you are to survive and thrive

I've been thinking a lot about joy lately.

As a former straight-A student turned type-A overachiever, and as an ambitious and serious professional, that’s hard for me to admit.

Because, at least in my mind, we have a tendency to think of joy as frivolous, and somehow uncouth or undignified… or very unicorns and flowers and rainbows type of “woo woo.”

And yet it is also very liberating for me to own it, and to realize that everything that I’ve been teaching and exploring and experiencing through Photosanity comes back to joy.

Why the Royal Baby's first photos are important for moms, never say cheese and more

Why the Royal Baby's first photos are important for moms, never say cheese and more

A photo lesson from Kate Middleton

I was so excited to find out that the first photos released of Princess Charlotte with her older brother Prince George were taken by none other than Princess Charlotte’s mother, the Duchess of Cambridge herself!

The reason Kate Middleton’s baby photos are exciting to me is because, as much as I believe in professional family photography (not to mention being a professional family photographer myself!) my first passion is encouraging and empowering parents to take their own photos of their kids.

Read more on Mom365.

 

Travel back to the moment with natural smiles and photos that show real life

While I wouldn’t say that I have a photographic memory, I have a very strong visual memory. When I look at a photo, I can usually remember the moment and the context, even if the photo itself doesn’t offer many clues. The photo brings me back to the moment, which is one of the reasons why I don’t like to ask my kids to smile for the camera. That doesn’t create a moment I want to remember; in fact, it does the opposite.

One downside to this is that my kids have absolutely no idea how to smile nicely for the camera. This is most obvious in group photos with other kids. Everyone is smiling and looking at the camera except my kid who is either grimacing or distracted and looking elsewhere!

I wouldn’t have it any other way, though. My memories are more important than a smiling photo, and the smiling photos I have are all the more treasured for being natural.

Read more on Mom365.

Why I love photographing my kids

Over the years I have seen how much joy and energy photography brings to my family and my clients’ families.

I love photography, and I love my kids. Finding a way to bring the two together has helped me to pause, celebrate and enjoy the precious fleeting moments of childhood.

And because of photography I have treasured memories of this special, and short, time in our lives.

Of all the many reasons I love photographing my two sons, these are the top ten reasons I love photographing my kids (in no particular order).

Read more on Mom365

Ideas for Photographing Your 6 to 12 Month Old on Mom365

On Mom365, I am talking about how to capture the moments of independence, interaction, and intimacy with your 6-12 month old baby.

Every age is a favorite age, but as a parent and a photographer, 6 to 12 months is where it really starts to get fun.

The requirements of day-to-day care are getting less intense as your baby starts to become more independent and interactive — they are sitting, smiling, "talking," learning to crawl and, as they approach 12 months, pulling themselves up to standing position and maybe even standing independently and taking first steps, although for many that is not the case until after they turn one.

See my 10 ideas for capturing the moment with your 6-12 month old.

Photograph your 3-6 month old baby: 10 ideas on Mom365

By around 3 months, life starts to get a little easier. You're starting to get into the swing of things, and your baby is starting to reward you with smiles and a little more interaction.

However, one frustration I hear a lot from moms of babies at this age is "I feel like I keep taking the same photo of my baby over and over again."

I know, it's hard at this age because while they're doing more, they're still not really doing a whole lot yet—pretty much all they can do is lie there, looking adorable, of course, but there aren't a whole variety of poses that they can hold.

So, what can you do?

1. The stroller...

Read more on Mom365.

My 10 Tips for Taking Better iPhone Photos of Your Baby

Over on Mom365 I am sharing my best photo tips for the first couple of years by age.

Your baby will be going through so many changes and so will the kinds of photos you take, even if the basic principles are the same.

First, I am talking about baby photo tips for your iPhone, 0-3 months.

1) Capture first photos on your iPhone

Especially if this is your first baby and you're not yet comfortable with your DSLR, it's ok if the first photos of your baby are on your iPhone. In fact I encourage you to think of your iPhone as a camera, no matter what age your kids are!

Read more on Mom365.

For Pregnant Moms: My Tips for Photographing Your Newborn Baby

Over the past few weeks on Mom365, I have talked about preparing to photograph your new baby and creating a photo friendly nursery.

This week, I am closing out my series for pregnant moms with my favorite tips for photographing your newborn baby.

1) Capture the moment.

Those first few days and weeks of motherhood are intense. You're getting to know your baby and how to take care of them, you're mastering feeding, diapering and comforting your baby, you're up around the clock and the emotions, both good and bad, are overwhelming.

Use photography to help you be in the moment as well as to capture the moment.

Read more.

Create a photo-friendly nursery - my tips on Mom365

This week on Mom365 I am sharing my tips for creating a photo-friendly nursery.

Chances are that you probably haven't thought about creating a photo-friendly nursery... but don't worry, it doesn't mean that you have to set up a photo studio in your home.

With just a few considerations, you can maximize your home for not only the best photos but the best environment for you and your baby.

1) Pick the room with the best natural light

Observe your home at different times of day and notice where the best natural light is...

Read more on Mom365