Monday, January 12, 2015

Capture That: Siblings! {Photography Workshops For Beginners | Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC}

It's been quite some time, but in the last post we covered how to convince your younger "big brother or sister" to cooperate in a photo with a new baby...but what about those sibling pairs that are a little older, love to push each others buttons (and know exactly how to of course), and don't want anything to do with sitting with their brother or sister for a picture?  This can be an extra challenge especially if these siblings are YOUR children, but tough either way!

Here are some tried and true tricks for keeping the pressure off, because ultimately with kids of any age... keeping it fun is going to give you the best results.

LAUGH! This may sound silly, but sometimes when I am getting the fakest of grins from my two, who are pretty much experts at all of my tricks, I just tell them to look at each other and laugh. This often causes real giggles even if I just tell them to look at each other and if they are totally just faking it for my benefit, still looks better than "CHEESE!" ;) 

Games! For the energy filled ages of pretty much 2 and up, Red Light Green Light or just racing, rarely fails! Simon Says often takes their mind off of the camera and their sibling being closer than they wanted to allow, and although the pictures of them touching their toes or their noses may not be the framers, the smiles in between will be! You may be able to pull off a "Simon Say Hug Your Sister" even.   Other "games" to try: Patty Cake, whisper something to each other and I have to guess what they said, tell them to imagine they are a super hero or an animal, I Spy (to keep them sitting in one place for a few seconds at least), Ring Around the Rosie, and make faces at each other are just a few. Remember the key here is the in between moments. The games are fun, but it's the connection they create that you want to capture most. They usually will glance up for big smiles at the camera without you even asking for them too!


Ask questions  This is advice I often give for one child, but works with two or more as well. Ask them about each other. "What is your sister's favorite color?" and topics like that which will get them communicating too! 

Let the oldest be the special helper or let the little one come to them. This really depends on how independent the youngest sibling is. Sometimes they want the assistance and sometimes they want to be set free and  show they can do things too. Depending on the dynamic, you decide, but if the oldest helping is causing more angst, then just give the older child something to do or a toy to play with that might make the little one curious and want to approach on their own. 
Hide the parents. This is necessary sometimes, especially if they are battling for attention, sometimes I have to ask parents to step away for a few minutes. If I AM the parent though, obviously this won't work, BUT handing mine a remote or letting them push the timer button often does, so at least they are in charge!  
Reverse Psychology.."Whatever you do don't hug your sister!"
Creating fun activities:  People often comment that they love how I capture my own children. 9 times out of 10 this is because they are having fun already and I just happen to pull out my camera. So, to accomplish this at a time I feel like taking pictures, I just have to give them something fun to do...dress up, paint, bake something together, game playing, bubbles, kites, balls, you name it. All of a sudden being a photographer's kid isn't so bad and these are all things you can do at a session too if the parents are up for some fun in between the posed pictures. They tend to be the favorites as well!  

      There are endless strategies for working with siblings, and hopefully these listed will help you a bit. With my own, I tend to wait for moments that are authentic and capture those when I can, or when they are being sweet with each other, I take a few minutes to get the camera out and test how willing they are to "pose" for me. But of course when you are trying to capture joyful moments in a certain time period for a client, you do have to be prepared to help create those moments too. You may be surprised by how many siblings actually do prefer to share the spotlight though, so as mentioned, keep it pressure-free. Don't start bribing and acting crazy unless totally necessary (and yes, sometimes this may be necessary). But if you are ready to have fun, they usually will be too and will quickly turn from rivalry to "partners in crime!"

We would love to see photos of siblings that you were able to capture too! Please post them on our Facebook page HERE

Are you a photographer with tips to share? BE FEATURED on our blog by emailing 

Lisa Rappa Photography


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Capture That: New Sibling! {Tips for photographing newborns with their big brothers or sisters}

    I often get requests for sibling pictures at newborn sessions and I LOVE the opportunity to get to capture such a special new bond, but when the older siblings are under age 3 I typically tell parents that I will "do my best."  I don't ever guarantee these because I personally don't like pressuring kids into pictures they may not be ready for.  Many times they are excited and happy to love on the new babies right from the start, but when there is just one older child they have not experienced sharing the parents' attention just yet and it may take them a little more time to come around.

      My newborn sessions can sometimes be as early as day 4 or 5 of the new baby's life and those previously only children are still wrapping their little minds around this new member of the family.  Sometimes they adjust right away and are happy to have a baby to play with from the moment that baby gets home, but this is not always the case. I often show up and have parents telling me "She won't look at the baby and is throwing more temper tantrums than usual."

  My best advice for this is to try, do what you can to help them see the baby is not a threat, but if it is causing more turmoil for the first child, don't will have plenty of opportunities to capture them snuggling once they have adjusted.

However, there are still ways to get them in the same frame even if they are not being lovey dovey.

What are some ways you can get toddler siblings to participate for a photo with a newborn baby?

- Let them be just like the baby! My two are 13 months apart and my then 1 year old wanted NOTHING to do with posing with my baby girl when she first arrived, but when we let him lay down in her pack n play and act like her he was all about it!

- Have mom or dad hold the baby and invite the older sibling over just to look. They often are truly excited about the new baby, but are not used to being around one and can be afraid that they may hurt the baby, so asking them to hold the baby if they are not ready can overwhelm them.
OR have mom or dad sit with the toddler first and then have another family member that is not a parent bring the baby over (if someone else is there, otherwise try having the other parent do this). We even did this the day we came home from the hospital with my 2nd. We went inside without baby and snuggled with our toddler. Then we had Grandma bring in the new baby so that he saw she was for all of us and he was still there first.

- Allow them to be helpers! Let them help feed the baby, give baby a paci, or cover the baby's toes with a gives them a sense of importance.

-If they are not ready to even look at the baby, just have them come over and hug mom or dad, talk to them, or play peek a boo while baby is in your arms.

-If you think your child IS ok to hold the baby (with a spotter nearby and in a safe position, padded area, etc), but still seems uncertain, distract them while they are doing so...sing songs, play games, talk about their favorite movie...make it about them, not so much the baby. (Check out Daisy Grip for a great tool for keeping those toddler eyes looking your way)

- Let them sit in one of their favorite chairs or let THEM choose where to set up for the picture. This helps them to feel like they have more control and you often have to let go of how you wanted the picture to be posed or to look like if the moment of getting them together is more important. You may not always love the background that works best for getting these two together.

-To get them looking at a baby they otherwise don't want to acknowledge (b/c in their minds if they do, that may mean mom and dad will see her too ;)) or they are just too busy to pay attention, make it more of a game...where is baby's nose? feet? careful when asking where baby's eyes are though b/c they will poke their fingers right at those new eyes!  And remember it's about them being together...not just about getting the big smiles at the camera, but if you get those too that's great as well!

- Yes, bribery sometimes does work with the 2-3 year olds. It's never my recommendation, but sometimes a reward doesn't hurt during this transitional phase and they see holding and playing with baby as a good thing.

-Reverse psychology...this works in a lot of situations with toddlers, even if not just about pictures with a new baby. If you tell them they can't be in the picture or that you are just going to take pictures of the baby or parents, they often will then insist on being part of the photo.
And be sure to take some photos without the baby too so they don't feel that is the only goal.

-To get that family photo, don't even tell them that's what you are going to do. Sneak them into the picture by playing a game and letting them sneak up and tickle daddy or jump up from behind.

-For older siblings (3 and up)- in my experience, these children are eager to see, hold, and welcome the new baby (most of the time), but even more so if they get to be helpers and the girls especially act like little mommas, so embrace that and let them!

Again, do not force this. If you feel you have tried a lot and it is just causing more anxiety, you could be making the adjustment take a little longer and causing more angst. This new baby means lots of changes for the older sibling and they just need time to get used to those, but before long will be begging to help, play with, or snuggle with the new little one and they will have a lifetime together and many chances to get these sweet moments on camera!

Here are some links to a few great articles for helping children adjust to life as a sibling:

Ask The Parent Coach: 7 Ways To Help Your Child Adjust To A New Baby

Helping your preschooler adjust to a new sibling

Preparing Your Older Child for a New Sibling

We would love to see photos of your siblings that you were able to capture too! Please post them on our Facebook page HERE

Lisa Rappa Photography

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Capture That... Mess! Kids Will Be Kids {Capture That Kid! Inspiration and Photography Workshops Woodstock, Ga}

      I'm willing to bet that I am not alone in the fact that the pictures I cherish most of my kiddos are often (not always) the ones that are not posed and fake smiling at the camera. Yes, I will always cherish certain shots where they are adorably dressed, hair is nice and neat, and they have genuine smiles looking right at the camera, BUT my personal favorites are when my kids are being...KIDS. 

   So how do you capture that? Well, first of all, you let them be kids of course. You give them something to do that any kid would like to do. The trick to really keeping them focused on that task is to even break your own "house rules" for a little while and let them do things you may often say no to. 

   It's the whole cake smash mentality really. We do that for one year olds. We set them in front of something messy and let them go nuts right? Those sessions have often been some of my most enjoyable sessions to shoot because they are entertaining for ALL involved.

 So when our kids get a little older why do we stop letting them get messy for photos and worry so much about them looking "perfect?"

   I've been thinking about bringing this theory into more sessions coming up and also wanted to use "Capture that... Mess" as this week's theme (participate in our weekly themes on Facebook HERE) So, when my friend arrived from out of town with her two little ones for a spontaneously planned play date I thought it would be even more fun to include her kids too. It was freezing outside so my original ideas  were out of the question, but with a little bit of paint and some backdrop paper, we managed to allow our four little loves to make a great mess and capture some super cute memories that are definitely some of my favorite personal shots already. 

     Taking pictures like these of my kids is always more entertaining (for them and me) if I just let them get a little crazy because they are relaxed and happy and I am not trying desperately to get them to look at me or stand in a certain spot. Of course I always try to get a few "look at me" moments, but if they don't it isn't the end of the world b/c they are being themselves and that's what I want to remember most.  I think parents often get frustrated because their kids won't smile for the camera, but try to relax and just be happy to see them the camera or not. :)

Parents-I hope you will participate in this week's Capture That....Mess! theme on our Facebook Page and that it inspires you to allow your loves to let loose a little! You do NOT have to be a professional photographer to share your fun times. 

 If you ARE a professional photographer and would like to submit a "Messy" session for consideration to be shared on our blog, please email with 5-10 web-sized images, a blurb about the session or tips and tricks you used, and your website. 

For more info. on our workshops go HERE


 Maybe we should have left out the red paint ;)

Lisa Rappa Photography

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

First Official Capture That Kid! Woodstock, Ga Workshop

     On February 24th, I hosted the first Capture That Kid! Workshop in Woodstock, Ga for parents who want to learn some photography basics and how to shoot in manual mode. I had seen Alissa's pictures and updates from her workshop in NC the night before and was so excited to see how much fun they had and how well theirs went. Alissa Bray  and I (Lisa Rappa) worked hard for a few months deciding what we wanted to include in our presentations, how we wanted to teach things, and how to keep it fun while making sense at the same time. Hopefully we did that and we were so thrilled by the feedback we both have gotten as well as the participation we have seen in our private facebook group just for workshop attendees. Several have been sharing pictures, helping each other figure out common mistakes, and just showing each other support. It's so neat to be part of all of this! 

  How'd this idea start? And what is the connection between Alissa and I is something I have been asked a lot. In all honesty- I just met her in person this January, but have technically "known" her for about 2 years. We "met" on an online photography 365 project site where we also connected with many others looking to pursue photography as a business or just for fun. We both launched our photography businesses around the same time and have bounced ideas, questions, etc off each other as we've grown. We realized one day that we were both planning workshops for parents and decided two minds work better than one, so we should team up. I'm SO glad we did and hopefully we'll even get to do some teaching together in person one day, but in the meantime we plan these workshops and run the Capture That Kid! FB page together. The support we have both been shown is AMAZING and we can't thank our fans, attendees, and sponsors enough! We may be small and just getting started- but we got some love from some HUGE companies in the photography world :)

    Our first workshop supporters included some truly awesome vendors: 
Lara's Homemade Goods


I was only able to snap a few pictures, but here's a little peek at the first Woodstock workshop. Location may vary for future workshops, but we kept it cozy at my home for this first one! Thanks again to the fabulous group of people that I had the pleasure of working with!

We stepped outside for some practice time. Special thanks to our sweet practice model who was so very patient with the cold and having lots of cameras pointed at her at the same time!


Congrats to the winner of the Willow Pond Studios  frame, Colleen! And special thanks to Willow Pond Studios for donating a frame to both the NC and Ga workshops as well as a special discount certificate for each attendees of the February workshop! 

To sign up for future workshops contact us here: WORKSHOPS