Category Archives: A day in the life

A Day in the Life Holland Park London Photoshoot

It’s been a crazy year as we know so far but that doesn’t deter my clients to keep on making memories. I think especially this year we should do more pictures, more albums and more prints to decorate our walls and bookshelves. Our children need that warm comfort that family is always together no matter what.

I am very sorry I have been so busy I haven’t been able to give the proper attention to my blog and share with you the most wonderful photoshoots I have been doing since September.

I know this family for a quite some time now, and unfortunately, like many families this year, they decided to leave London. It’s not a goodbye photoshoot but it’s an important set of pictures that I hope they will cherish forever.

f you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of sessions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

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    My COVID-19 lockdown survival guide

    Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

    First I was really shocked about everything that was happening in China and then Italy…and then well you know…what the situation is…

    The ones of you who know me probably know me as a positive person, and I genuinely believe lots of good things will emerge from this crisis but right now the most important thing is for us to stay home, staying home is saving lives. We are all in this together but we are the lucky ones. Lucky because I am at home with my family, we are healthy (so far so good), we have food, we have a safe place we call home, we have books and entertainment, and we have the time. The time to be with each other, the time to learn and the time to rest.

    So in that line of thought, I would like to thank all the health workers, nurses, doctors and front line workers in the world fighting this unprecedented war. Also a big thank you to pharmacists and food supply and delivery workers, rubbish collectors and cleaners, all helping to save the world. 

    I did this little guide for those of you who are in isolation with their children. I hope it helps you with some inspiration and ideas that so far are working for me and in the end, I left an activity for your children to do during the holidays so they document your days too.

    I know it can be difficult and frustrating and you feel like you have to entertain them ALL THE TIME, while you have better things to do, especially if you’re also trying to work from home. 

    Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

    1. Manage your expectations

    We have been inundated with home learning activities and schedules and lots of lots of to-dos, but it’s quite overwhelming trying to do all those things while you work or taking caring of your family. Please lower your expectations; unfortunately, it’s impossible to have the same productivity while you take care of young children. Kids are kids, and they will act like kids, and while it’s okay for them to get bored, we should not expect them to go without interacting with us for hours on end. 

    Work in short chunks of time and forget multi-tasking – concentrating just on one thing at a time for 15-20 minutes will give you better results than trying to do it all in an hour. If you are working as part of a team, keep them updated on your availability and progress – that’s pretty much all of us can do right now.

    It won’t be forever.

    2. Online learning resources 

    At this point, you have seen tons of list with educational programs and online learning activities, so I will share the ones we like the most that are more entertaining.

    Ted-Ed – TED-Ed provides everything you need to spark and celebrate your child’s ideas.

    National Geographic Kids – Lots of resources for children from quiz, puzzles and fact packed articles.

    Audibles – Kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. 

    Elevenses with The World of David Walliams – Every day David Walliams reads a story at 11am.

    Draw with Rob – Rob Biddulph posts a draw-along video every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 am BST that parents could watch with their kids and, hopefully, make some nice pictures.

    WhiteRose Maths – For those kids who like maths this website has lots of free resources. My kids like to do the problem of the day.

    Keep Cooking and Carry On – Jamie Oliver is releasing new episodes every day of this series on Channel 4 – my kids love to watch cooking programs. Plus, his 9 year old son has an entire playlist on YouTube dedicated to kids-friendly cooking.

    PE with Joe Wicks – The Body Coach star creates a kids workout from Monday to Friday at 9 am. My daughters love it and everyone joins in!

    Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

    3. Cooking and baking

    While at home it’s been non-stop in the kitchen. I have been quite busy with the girls, and I try to teach them about food/nutrition and include them in the making of cakes and some savoury dishes. We follow a plant-based diet, so my to go books for inspiration are Bosh, Happy Pear, Delicious Ella, and the fantastic website/app BBC GoodFood where I just search for an ingredient and loads of recipes appear with reviews and tips, it’s amazing!

    Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

    4. Embrace your home. 

    You know all of those little projects you have been pushing because you didn’t have the time. Well, now it’s the time. I have been trying to organise a cupboard every day or every other day. My children’s closets, the pantry, etc. Try to include your children as much as possible; they love to help! Get some inspiration from theHomeEdit; I am sure the kids will love to organise shelves by colour. =)

    If you are lucky enough to have a garden, at this time of the year there are lots of things that need to be done, from planting, clearing and pruning. Check SarahRaven for inspiration. If you don’t, you can adventure yourself by planting some seeds or buy some indoor plants to brighten your space. Check Patch Plants for some gorgeous plants delivered to your home and Freddie’s Flower for magnificent blooms weekly deliveries.  

    Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

    5. Finish those family photo albums.

    I started last week my family photo books. It’s something I do all the time but in little chunks. Check this post for some tips on how to organise your pictures. You don’t need to send them to print right now, but at least they are ready and updated. Your children will thank you!

    Ana Ruivo usb box prints London Family Photography

    6. Read everyday 

    Not only it’s a great family activity, but it is also very educational. Read to your kids and with your kids. Read all sorts of books, any books that they love. It’s a beautiful and intimate routine that is good for your and for them.

    Our current ones are Five Children and It, The Goldfish boy, Harry Potter book series, David Walliams book series and Ronal Dahl stories. (8 and 6-year-old girls here) 

    7. Art ans Science are important too

    Learning doesn’t involve only English and Maths. Embrace your inner artist with these fantastic art boxes or cards for kids LOLA. I know they might need a bit of guidance, but these art boxes are amazingly well done and are very inspiring for children. 

    For Science because it’s Spring I would recommend starting to plant some seeds and make a diary of them growing. Study flowers and his components etc, gardening tips are important lessons too.

    Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

    8. Enjoy the slow life

    Trust me; they won’t fall behind or unlearn anything. So enjoy slower mornings and more time together. It’s so easy to get frustrated and resent this forced exclusion but try to find joy in this unhurried pace and see this an opportunity to foster a deeper connection with your kids. Lazy mornings in your PJs and cooking breakfast from scratch together, solving a puzzle or having a cuddle while watching a favourite TV show could just end up some of your favourite moments of this whole COVID-19 nightmare.

    I am getting back to meditation, something I used to do before having children and really helps me a lot. Balance app is offering one-year membership, so it’s good to incorporate this healthy habit back in our lives. I also use the app Calm for the kids and me. They love the night stories and wind down with the sound of waves. 

    Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

    And for last try my photo hunt!

    Let’s not stop making visual memories. Capture these times at home with the kids through their eyes. I hope they enjoy this activity. I would love you to share the results with me!

    Stay Home – Save Lives!

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      Sunday mornings and a farewell – London Family Photography

      Morning routines sometimes are so underrated. We just want to do everything as quickly as possible and rush out of the house. But it is the little moments that make our lives and can intrinsic memories.

      This was fun but at the same time emotional photo session. This family left London and went to NY so they wanted to remember their beloved home and also that the girls would never forget their time in London at their home where they were born and grew beautifully.

      If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of sessions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

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        Autumn in London – Hyde Park – Family Photography

        Summer may be over; the days are getting shorter, the temperatures colder and rainy days in London are setting in. Embrace that back-to-school feeling and enjoy Autumn in London where the parks are bursting with warm colours perfect for long walks.


        This family wanted to celebrate Autumn with an after school picnic in Hyde Park, and we were so fortunate with the weather. There was lots of running to get some pictures from these boys and the dog, who loves to pose, but it was completely worth it.

        Check-out an another beautiful session during Autumn in Hyde Park here for some inspiration.

        If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of sessions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

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          A Walk in Kew Gardens with Chihuly

          The world’s most celebrated contemporary glass artist is showcasing again his work against the stunning backdrop of Kew Gardens. It’s only two more weeks and I totally recommend for the kids.

          My daughters absolutely loved it and wanted to come back.

          In the most biodiverse place in the world, you will see the perfect marriage of art, science and nature as Chihuly’s dazzling sculptures transform the Gardens and glasshouses into a contemporary outdoor gallery space.

          The beautifully illustrated Chihuly Family Trail booklet will help children and their families engage with the exhibition and spark their imagination through games and fun tasks.

          Families can pick up a free trail for the duration of the exhibition from the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art. The lovely booklet also makes a nice keepsake. Read more about it here.

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            A Birthday Party in a Bus – Brigit’s Afternoon Tea

            The day we were born is always a special day for us! We often spend weeks, if not months, planning on how to spend our special day. For most of us, we celebrate our birthdays by holding a party and inviting our friends and family. For others, they prefer to travel and go on an adventure.

            Back when I was a child, I used to spend the days before my birthday dreaming of the food, games, and gifts I was going to have. I enjoyed seeing all my loved ones come together. Until now, I still get very excited about birthday celebrations. In fact, I love capturing them since there’s so much to memorialize and remember!

            Today, I am thrilled to share with you the awesome and distinctive way this 11-year-old celebrated her birthday!

            Catalina, the lovely celebrant, chose to hop on a bus with her mom and three of her friends for a fun and intimate celebration. They experienced a lovely afternoon sipping tea, eating cake, and sampling sandwiches. While doing all that, they were also taking in the best sites London has to offer!

            The unique tour is from B Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus London Tour. Their vintage double-decker bus drove around Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James’s Park, Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall, Marble Arch, Nelson’s Column, Downing Street and more.

            This celebration was undoubtedly an extraordinary event. I loved capturing every moment of it. Everyone was all smiles throughout the ride! The kids were genuine and hilarious.

            Check-out my top tips for photographing birthday parties in my blog.

            If you are celebrating a birthday soon and you want it documented, or if you have any questions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

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              Summer in London – Family Documentary

              English Summer weather is quite tricky – we can have literally 4 seasons in one day – but it’s wonderful to have warmer days and to enjoy London parks. My families have been scheduling and re-scheduling in an effort to find a beautiful sunny day but sometimes to wait it’s not possible and we work with what we have. Life goes on and life with children feels that goes even faster.

              We are so lucky with this glorious day of sun, the family enjoyed a morning in their garden. This session reminded me of my own children as they have the same age-gap and oh dear it’s not easy! So much fun running after them…

              Don’t wait to book your session!

              If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of sessions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

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              Motherhood sessions – Mother’s Day offer

              Mother’s day is arriving very soon and to celebrate this day – every single day – I am introducing a shorter photo session especially for mums in London. Being a mum is an all-consuming, unforgettable job, right? And we all have 50 iPhone photos a day of our children being amazing. But go ahead and scroll through your camera roll (I’ll wait). How many are there of you with the little ones, actually doing your superhero thing, mummy? As a mother myself, one of my fears is leaving no visual record of my time with my children. How will they know what you looked like? How you interacted? Will they even remember the way you played dress up or rubbed their backs? How you get emotional with little things they say? How you sat on the floor and read books to help them poop? Do yourself — and your children — a favour. Set aside your excuses and get in the frame with them. You will love the proof of your love and hard work, and they will thank you when they’re grown. Motherhood sessions last up to 2 hours and capture the tender, funny, personal connection between you and your children with honesty. The beauty is in reality.

              Motherhood packages start at £250 and they are offered during the week.

              I am offering a 20% discount for the first 5 bookings! So if you agree this is the perfect gift for YOU, your mum, aunt, sister or friend, get in touch ASAP!

              If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of sessions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

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                Your story in motion – the gift of family films

                Today I want to share with you why I’m so grateful and excited to be giving the gift of family films to my own family and to my clients, and why I think you’ll adore them, too.

                5 Reasons to fall in love with family films:

                1. Movement

                Notting Hill day in the life London Family Photography

                Movement makes a story come alive! The twirl of a dress, energetic bounces on the bed, a determined baby crawling across the floor…continuous motion and movement is documented in the video the way it cannot be captured in stills.
                Every family film holds surprises that play out before your eyes. In your story, you might see how you scoop up your toddler and carry him around on our hip. You might witness the smiles and maybe a glimpse of sass from your teens across the breakfast table. And because family films incorporate subtle yet meaningful details that tell our stories, you might see a breeze blowing across your yard, bending the flowers just so, as you always see them…yet didn’t even realise you’d ever wish to remember.

                2. Grace

                There is something charming and cosy about a homemade film. You know what I mean about that vintage charm if you have ever seen old movies – they take us right back to the moment with all the sights and sounds of our past. Similarly, modern family films are also authentic and original… unique to each family. They stand out from cookie-cutter types of family sessions because they are a sophisticated suite of actions, interactions, and dialogue that is a pure and accurate representation of your family, created from the perspective of an artist.

                3. Time capsule

                A family film freezes moments in time just as they are unfolding. The product is a moving page in your family’s story. Family films are the best way I’ve discovered to take a comprehensive snapshot of the ages and stages of your children. They are quite literally an investment in your memories. Parents, I know it is bittersweet watching each milestone pass and witnessing your babies grow up before your eyes. It breaks our hearts to accept that one day we will wake up to a quiet, empty house–our parenting days behind us. But let me tell you this, as a mother of three: investing in a family film documenting your ‘here and now’ makes it all sting just a bit less. And the fun will live on, increasing in value over the years, as your precious memories are passed down to loved ones who will be grateful for this beautiful page of family history.

                4. Sounds

                A day in the life-London Family Photographer-2018-AnaRuivoPhotography

                This one is huge. Just imagine being able to remember your newborn’s whimpering cry. The way your preschooler couldn’t enunciate his Rs but had so very many important things to tell you all day long, until that phase ended and you found yourself missing his accent. Having a family film that features laughter, voices, and sounds of your unique environment will always bring you right back to your days with your loves. In all honesty, you won’t know the real value of this until years from now. But by then it will be priceless if you have invested in a family film to preserve your living, breathing memories.

                5. Be in the frame.

                This last reason why I believe you will fall in love with family films is that I know how rare it is for mothers to be in the frame with their children. I see you everywhere. Taking photos and video clips on your phone so you can cling tightly to the big and small moments of your daily life. Or maybe you haul your big camera around and do your best to document your days that way. But there are two problems with this: a) You likely don’t do much with the photos and video after that, because, hello, parenting. And b) There is something incomplete about everything you’re stashing away. You are documenting a story in which a critical element is missing…you! Hiring a professional to create a family film for you ensures that you will be included in your family’s story. With no additional effort from you after booking, your natural role as a loving parent will be highlighted, directly and honestly. Your children (and their children) will have the gift of seeing with their own eyes how you hugged them, cared for them, played with them, talked to them, and loved them. A family film has the unique ability to be created unobtrusively while sweetly and intimately capturing the best in your family.

                Day in the life-London Family Documentary Photography-Ana Ruivo Photography

                So what’s next?

                Perhaps this sheds a little light on what you might be missing out on if you haven’t yet discovered the joy and excitement of the family film movement. I hope that you will consider commissioning a family film for your next session. I encourage you to do this sooner rather than later. We, as tired parents, will always have excuses that cause us to put off preserving family memories. But I can promise you that there is no time like the present to document all the beautifully imperfect, endearing aspects of your life that your heart is already working to capture. So do yourself a favour and make it happen.

                See below a little teaser I did last year for my film sessions.

                You can also follow me on Vimeo here.

                If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of sessions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

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                  The difference between lifestyle and documentary photography

                  Ever asked yourself what’s so different about these weird words – “Lifestyle photography” and “documentary photography?”

                  How do you know what you want or what to ask a photographer when you’re looking to book a session? These terms are often used reciprocally because on a surface level; both are used to describe images that look relaxed and natural. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

                  Let’s pull these terms apart and break down the difference between the two.

                  A day in the life-London Family Photographer-2018-AnaRuivoPhotography

                  LIFESTYLE IS: Lifestyle sessions produce photos through orchestrated light, location, space, wardrobe, and engagement to capture a beautiful, candid moment. They allow families to look their best and demonstrate a family dynamic when they are their most happy and their most “together.”

                  THE BIGGEST DIFFERENTIATING FACTOR TO LIFESTYLE PHOTOS IS THAT THEY DEMONSTRATE THAT THE PHOTOGRAPHER HAS GIVEN SOME DIRECTION ALONG THE WAY.

                  They are not traditionally posed or placed, as in the studio experience of “stand here, tilt your chin a bit, dip your shoulder…” but subjects are guided merely into place and given prompts/direction to facilitate movement and interaction.
                  One common misconception is that merely because a session takes place outside, it’s “lifestyle.” But it’s not a prerequisite to being outside – in fact, my newborn sessions are typically lifestyle in nature, but all take place in the home. It’s all about the casual approach and direction over posing.

                  TO BE CLEAR, IT IS NOT THAT THE MOMENTS ARE FAKE BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT- A GOOD LIFESTYLE SESSION SHOWS PERSONALITY, CONNECTION, AND GENUINE EXPRESSION.

                  Holland-Park-London Family Photographer-anaruivophotography

                  DOCUMENTARY IS: Rooted in the methods of photojournalism, documentary sessions produce photos with no photographer interference. Nothing is moved or touched in the scene, the subjects are not directed, the light not altered, and the post-production is minimal (no skin retouching, objects removed in photoshop, etc.).

                  THE PHOTOGRAPHER FOCUSES SOLELY ON THE MOMENTS UNFOLDING AND CAPTURING THEM ARTISTICALLY BY USING ANGLES, COMPOSITION, AND FOCUS TO TELL A PARTICULAR STORY WITH DETAIL AND DEPTH.

                  Day in the life-London Family Documentary Photography-Ana Ruivo Photography Day in the life-London Family Documentary Photography-Ana Ruivo Photography Day in the life-London Family Documentary Photography-Ana Ruivo Photography

                  Where objects may have been considered “clutter” and moved, or lightly considered too dark in a lifestyle session, an excellent documentary photographer includes and utilise these aspects in the frame intentionally because they add to the authentic story. These sessions focus on the emotion over appearance. They feature meaningful environments and details that often go overlooked but are iconic for documenting a time/place/or stage in life. The blankie before it is torn to shreds, the pancake recipe you used every Saturday morning, the way you made your coffee, tickled a child, the games you played and stores you visited.

                  WHILE A SERIES OF ACTIVITIES IS  PLANNED, THE SUBJECTS AREN’T BEING DIRECTED IN ANY WAY TO ACHIEVE A PARTICULAR RESULT OR EMOTION.

                  Notting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography Notting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography Notting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography Notting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo PhotographyNotting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

                  THE VERDICT: Neither type is better than the other. I shoot for both and believe there is a place for both. It all depends on your goals for the images and personal preference. Often people assume they want a lifestyle session – it’s what we see all over Pinterest and what’s most popular right now for showing joy, laughter, happiness, and overall, just your family at their best in a particular stage of life (clean, smiling, happy!) Who doesn’t love that?! But I also believe that in 30 years when our kids are graduating, getting jobs,  moving on to start families of their own – they’ll long for images that show them the intricacies of their childhood. Pictures beyond the selfie or the obligatory first day of school on the front porch photo, but the kind that acts as a reminder of the reality that shaped them.

                  Day in the life-newborn London Family Photography-Ana Ruivo Photography Day in the life-newborn London Family Photography-Ana Ruivo Photography Day in the life-newborn London Family Photography-Ana Ruivo Photography Day in the life-newborn London Family Photography-Ana Ruivo Photography

                  WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK FROM A LIFESTYLE OR DOCUMENTARY SESSION?
                  WHAT KINDS OF IMAGES DRAW YOU IN?

                  If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of photo shoots, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

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