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End of year photo gifts for teachers and sitters

End of year photo gifts for teachers and sitters

I can't believe some kids have finished the school year already! Here in NYC we have another month to go... time to start thinking about gifts for teachers, or, if your child is not yet in school, other childcare provider and caregiver gifts.

The trick is to remember that your child is just one of hundreds of children a teacher will teach over the course of their career, and they can't possibly hold onto every personalized mug or framed photo they might receive.

So here are three easy ways to thank your teacher for an awesome year through photos without giving them something that could ultimately be burdensome to keep:

1) Photo thank you card

You can't go wrong with a heartfelt letter of appreciation written by you or your child. Of course, a photo isn't required, but for an extra special touch, create a custom card.

Read more on Mom365

Photo valentine gifts for classmates and grandparents

Classroom Valentines

Every year at the preschool my older son used to attend and my younger son now attends, they do a Valentine’s Day card swap. The kids make their own Valentine’s Day mailbox out of a Kleenex box and they love it!

The Valentine’s Day cards don’t have to be handmade, but they usually are. And they don’t have to be photo cards, but we enjoy creating them together.

Photo cards are a great way to get kids involved in Valentine’s Day, to give them a project they can be proud of, and to create something special that their friends will treasure.

I try to come up with a simple concept that the kids can easily help with and the making of the cards is a great photo op!

Jump over to

Mom365

to read my three simple ways to make DIY Valentine's Day photo cards.

Valentine's Day Gifts for Grandparents

Didn't quite get it together to make photo holiday gifts for grandparents?

Don't worry, you have a second chance. How about Valentine's Day photo gifts?

On Mom365 I am sharing 5 simple ideas for Valentine's Day gifts for grandparents.

1) A framed photo

It is simple and easy to send grandparents a framed photo for Valentine's Day, especially if you order through Mpix.

With Mpix, you can upload your photo and order it to come framed. If grandma and grandpa do not live near you, you can even have your framed photo shipped directly to them, for a Valentine that will arrive at their door.

Get my complete list of photo gift ideas for grandparents, perfect for Valentine's Day or any holiday, on Mom365.

How to choose a photo for your favorite device

Over on Mom365 I'm sharing tips for choosing a photo for your iPhone photo case.

My phone is not only the device I use most often but the object I use the most — I carry it with me everywhere so it makes sense to make a photo display out of it, both for myself and as a way of expressing a little bit about myself to others.

This will most likely become the photo that you and others see the most so make sure it is a photo you LOVE and a photo that makes you smile and feel good every time you see it.

Read more on Mom365.

Get photos off your hard drive - my photo advice on Mom365

Now that your photos are beautifully organized and backed up, what are you going to do with them?

Digital photography makes it easier than ever to take tons of photos without having to deal with thousands of prints and negatives.

We are all taking a lot more photos as a result, which I can only see as a good thing... but it does have its downsides, one of which is that most parents now have thousands of photos collecting dust on their hard drives instead of in boxes under the bed or in the attic.

I still believe in the power of physical prints, albums, books and artwork.

Read my advice on Mom365 and learn how to use one of my favorite services to create your own albums using your Facebook posts!

Holiday card workbook, gift guides and more to make this holiday season special

Best wishes to you all as we begin the holiday season! As we prepare for Thanksgiving, I took a moment to talk about how to find a special moment with your loved ones daily. This week also marked the official launch of the Photosanity Holiday Card Workbook, already a favorite resource for holiday card planning and recommended some great photography gifts - this time, for you!


Parent Photography Q&A - You ask, I'll answer

This week I have also had the pleasure of participating in the Mom365 Forum Expert Q&A, where I have been answering all kinds of questions about photography, cameras and strategies for capturing and sharing the moments with your family.

I'm on the Forum until the end of the day so jump on over and ask your questions about photography, holiday cards and photo gifts.

Join me!

10 steps to easy holiday photo cards


Since designing and sending your annual photo card can be stressful and time consuming, I've put together a free holiday card workbook that makes creating and mailing your holiday card easier, more enjoyable and most of all, manageable for you and your family.

The Photosanity holiday card workbook breaks down the process into 10 easy-to-follow steps and includes a timeline that suits long range planners and procrastinators alike!

I promise, these steps really are easy - and enjoyable!

Get your Holiday Card Workbook!

The Photography Gift Guide


Gift ideas for you!

What about gifts for yourself? Or for a photography obsessed spouse?

Where to even start... don't worry, as always, we've got you covered.

My photography gift guide includes gear, photo support and accessories that you'll love to give and to receive.

My Photography Gift Guide on Mom365

Find a special moment every day

A blog post went viral a couple of years ago called “Don’t Carpe Diem” by Glennon Melton of Momastery. In it, Glennon talks about how we’re under so much pressure as parents to seize the day and enjoy every moment because it passes so fast, but how parenting is hard and it’s not all fun. Not every moment IS enjoyable.


Instead of trying to enjoy every moment, Glennon talks about “Chronos time” as regular, everyday time, and “Kairos time,” which she describes as “those magical moments in which time stands still.”

For me it was the moment when Liam and Jack were playing ball in the living room. Or yesterday morning when Jack stuffed one side of his mouth full of crackers and walked around like that for five minutes. Or when Liam says something really funny to explain to me that Superheroes are not actually real, duh. Or really every moment that causes me to want to pull out my camera to record it forever.

Continue reading.

Holiday card stress got you down?


Let's face it, sending a holiday photo card each year sounds great in theory but it can be stressful and time consuming in practice.

Do you have a good photo to use?

What about a concept?

Which vendor and design should you pick?

What about the message inside?

And how are you going to collect together everyone's mailing address?




Join me tonight at 9pm EST for a live Twitter chat hosted by Mom365 where I will listen to your woes, answer all your questions about stress free holiday photo cards, and get you motivated and inspired to do this!

Follow @aletheafitz and #mom365chat and get a special discount good for all Photosanity workshops for 24 hours after the chat.

Come see me in NYC and let's start the holidays off right

More good news to report this week, from gearing up for tomorrow's family iPhone workshop at the Apple Store to sharing holiday photo tips that make the next few months from Halloween through New Year easy, fun and photo ready!


Come see me tomorrow!

You all know how much I love iPhone photos. Learn to love taking, editing and sharing yours live and in person tomorrow at the Apple Store, Upper West Side. Can't wait to see some of the NYC Photosanity community - and meet new friends - tomorrow morning.

Join me to learn techniques for capturing those fleeting family moments with your iPhone.

Bring the kids along so you can try some of her tips and get instant feedback.

Saturday, October 26, 11:00 a.m.
Apple Store, Upper West Side
1981 Broadway at 67th St.
Register now!


Halloween is coming!

Learn how to take great Halloween photos by keeping kids involved and engaged for maximum fun and treasured memories.

My number one tip - give yourself (and your kids) plenty of time!

Read this and more...



Small Kid Big City - The High Line

The High Line is a favorite photo taking spot for me, both for capturing the moments with my clients and with my kids.

Here is the story of my Small Kid Big City adventures at the High Line on A Child Grows in Brooklyn

Read more.



My favorite holiday photo card ideas

See the three stylish holiday photo card ideas that you can't go wrong with over on Mom365.

Get the tips!.

iPhone photo event, sharing love and loss, museum fun and holiday prep

It was a special week, pausing to honor pregnancy and infant loss day, spending time capturing precious moments and preparing for exciting events to come. Have a great weekend, Photosanity family!


Taking Amazing Photos of Your Kids with iPhone

Join me to learn techniques for capturing those fleeting family moments with your iPhone.

Bring the kids along so you can try some of her tips and get instant feedback.

Saturday, October 26, 11:00 a.m.
Apple Store, Upper West Side
1981 Broadway at 67th St.
Register now!



A mother's story of loss and transformation

It was my honor to speak with mom and grief educator Alana Sheeran about infant and pregnancy loss and to share her advice for fellow mothers.

Read more on Mom365.

Building brainstorm at the Brooklyn Children's Museum


In my latest Small Kid Big City post on A Child Grows in Brooklyn I share photo tips for capturing the moment at museums.

If you're in Brooklyn and looking for creative indoor fun, check out the Children's Museum!

Read more.



Top 3 holiday photo tips on Mom365


It's not too early to be thinking about photos for holiday cards

I've spoken to so many parents who have told me they didn't end up doing a card because they left it too late and couldn't find a good photo.

Don't let this happen to you...

Capture 365 days on one canvas

As you know, my photo-a-day project has been one of the most rewarding projects I have done as a parent AND a photographer. Photosanity parents love this project too and ever since I shared my one year canvas that I made with all the photos from Liam's first year, I've had a lot of interest in making this available to others.


So I am very pleased to announce that the 365 canvas is now available from ShutterCal as a result of our ongoing collaboration.

I designed the canvas and ShutterCal figured out a way to make it really easy for you to order. Once you have a year's worth of photos, all you need to do is select the first date you'd like your canvas to start with (it doesn't have to be Jan 1 or even your child's birthday - pick any date that makes sense for you).


Several Photosanity parents have already ordered their canvas and we'll be featuring some of them on the blog in the future. I know others are using the canvas as an incentive to keep up with the project.

If you have a year of photos already, you can order your canvas here (make sure you are logged into your ShutterCal account).

If this is just the motivation you need to start a photo-a-day project, check out the Photosanity + ShutterCal bundles designed to set you up for success.

And join us in the Photosanity Peer-to-Peer Facebook group for added support.


Back to school photo projects


I know some kids around the country have been back to school for weeks now, but here in NYC yesterday was the first day of school for many, and my facebook feed has been hot and heavy with first day of school photos.

Jack's first day of preschool was on Friday, and Liam's first day at his new school for pre-K was yesterday. Both my kids were utterly uninterested in carrying their backpacks and they are so completely unused to posed photos that I satisfied myself with more informal portraits on the front steps before setting off for school.


Jack is doing well settling into preschool (he is only going twice a week) and will have his first full day at the end of the week.


Liam, by the sounds of it, had a great first day. At his old preschool, he was used to getting dropped off at the classroom door so when he saw that I was hanging around in the classroom today, he politely asked "are you going to leave the classroom?" in a tone that meant "uh, you can leave now, thanks!"

And I actually managed to get quite a bit of detail from him about his day yesterday evening!

As I suggest in my Mom355 blog post on back-to-school photos, I've been taking a lot of photos over the past week and will continue to do so over the next few days.

I'm also starting to plan for next year's school photo book!

What new photo projects do you have planned for the school year?

Make Mother's Day special for the whole family


Liam is a February baby, and so he started preschool mid-year just after he turned two and, as it turned out, a few weeks before Mother's Day.

I still remember the moment when he emerged shyly from his new classroom, clutching the beautiful vase he had painted (I'm assuming with some help) and that contained a beautiful fresh flower.

My first Mother's Day gift from my son... an emotional moment for sure in those intense first few months of out-of-the-home separation that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Mother's Day is right around the corner again. In fact, earlier this week, Liam sang me the "I love mommy" song he learned in school and whispered to me confidentially about another special art project he is working on. I can see that Mother's Day is as much for our children to celebrate as it is for us.

So here are some suggestions for capturing the moment this Mother's Day and beyond:

Photograph your emotions

Look for the moments that are special to you and photograph them. Your photos contain you - your perspective and your feelings - even if you aren't literally in the photo.

Create memories

What will make this day special for you and your family? Don't be shy or humble about being celebrated - it's important to your whole family that they get to do so!

Celebrate mothers everywhere

Yes, it's about you, but it's also about mothers everywhere, past, present and future. Be sensitive to those who've had a loss, or who desperately want to but are not yet mothers. Small gestures of thought and appreciation will go a long way.

Make it a family affair


Mother's Day is the perfect opportunity for group photos. If you are visiting grandma or spending time with cousins, take the time to gather everyone together to commemorate the occasion.

Even if it's just your own family, or you're spending the day with friends, gather together for a group photo that you can share with far away grandmothers, aunts, godmothers and any other special women in your children's lives.


Photosanity parent Shayna Gehl shared her experience with group photos in her guest blog post in November. For those of us on the East Coast, Mother's Day usually brings some great weather for outdoor photos (forecast in NYC is looking good so far!).

Get in the picture

Yes, that's right, you behind the camera there - get in the photo! I know it's hard, I know you may not feel like it, there's probably a reason you're the one who likes to be BEHIND the camera after all... but it's important not just for you but for your children that they have a visual record of you WITH them in at least a few of your photos.


This question came up from an expectant mother at my workshop earlier this week in fact, and as always, my advice is to a) use the forward facing camera on your phone if it has one to take self-portraits of you with your kids and b) make a point of handing your camera to others and asking them to take photos for you.


I have more tips on this in my workshop, but check out this blog post from last year that shows Photosanity parents in their photos with their kids.

You can do it!

Catch the moments


On holidays like Mother's Day it can be tempting to take out the camera only for the group photos or formal pictures (especially if all the kids are neat and dressed up!) but remember to capture the real moments too, and encourage your family members to help you do so.

Remember to photograph details as well as people!

  • Morning snuggles
  • Whatever beautiful creations your children make for you
  • Breakfast in bed
  • The usual mess your one-year-old makes
  • The excitement on your child's face when you open the card they made you
  • Getting dressed for the day
  • The favorite toys they bring with them to grandma's
  • The flowers at the side of the playground
  • The line at brunch
  • An afternoon walk in the neighborhood
  • Everyone asleep in the car on the way home

Gift ideas

One thing I love to do is order prints and then mount them onto blank cards for one-of-a-kind specials. 4x6 prints mount perfectly onto 5x7 cards.

Looking for a gift for yourself or a pregnant friend?

We have just launched the Photosanity + ShutterCal bundle that includes a full year of ShutterCal membership with prints plus the Photosanity photo-a-day project guide and a 30 minute mini-coaching session with me. Usually $299, it's just $249 until Mother's Day!