Category Archives: Baby

London Family Lifestyle Portrait Session

I still do family lifestyle photography from time to time. My sessions are super relaxed and my main goal is to capture connection and the children’s personalities.

These are some of my favourites from this session. On this day it was zero degrees outside! I love winter light.

If you want to give a family 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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How to Organize Your Photos in Three Simple Steps

Are you constantly getting a “memory full” message on your phone because of the hundreds, if not thousands of photos stored? Or are you randomly seeing printed photos on bins and drawers around your house that are starting to deteriorate?

The worst possible thing you can do is panic at the end of December and try and sort the year’s worth of pictures in one evening. So here is a quick guide to start tackling that job right now.

Whether print or digital, organizing photos can be a daunting task! Most people don’t bother sorting their photos. They take pictures, share them on their social media and that’s about it! Because of this, many pictures, along with their memories, get lost forever. With the right approach, however, organizing photos can seem less a chore.

While organising and working on images for my clients is a well-established process for me, keeping on top on my personal digital archive is a whole different beast, and is often an afterthought and there’s never enough time for it.

Well, it was an afterthought but not anymore, because I’ve decided to finally take control of my digital images and apply the well-established systems and practices I know and use in my work, so you too can take control of your photographs, organize them and preserve them for your children.

 

Holiday Family Photography - London Documentary Photographer

 

Organizing Digital Photos

 

Step One: Get Photos Off Your Devices

Transfer your photos from your mobile or camera to your computer. You can put them directly to a photo management program or load them to a trusted online storage site. Do this at least once a month so that you have one less thing to worry about when your device gets stolen or malfunctions.


Step Two: Review Your Photos

Clean up the duplicates, correct the dates, and fix other issues. To save up space, you should also delete the repetitive shots where your poses or backgrounds don’t change. Trust me, you wouldn’t need every single shot.

One thing that worked for me is to start as I mean to go on, and then allocate certain times to sort through the older images.

So what I’d suggest you do is schedule an hour or so every month (or once every couple of weeks, depending on how prolific a photo-taker you are), and do a small chunk of organizing the newly taken pictures. Once you get better at it, you’ll be doing it a lot quicker and it will free up the time to go through your archives as well. In short,  little and often is the key here.

 

Step Three: Strategize

Decide on a system on how you’ll organize your photos. You can do this chronologically, by theme, or whatever makes sense to you. Make folders based on that structure and move your photos accordingly. This could be overwhelming so make sure to take breaks in between!

Organise your photographs by year and/or specific event. Decide on a folder and file naming convention and stick with it, so it’s easier for you to find images in the future. A good folder structure to use is to have a folder for each year, and subfolders for each event. Start each folder name with a year, followed by a month in numerical form, and then a date, then a description of what’s inside. It will allow your computer to automatically order the folders chronologically. Consider also creating a “Favourites” folder for each year, and copy your best photos there for easy access.

Then, once you have all your photos in their relevant folders, don’t forget to back them up.

You should also consider printing your favorite photos. Printing gives life to your pictures. Having printed albums from digital copies is a lovely way to take a look back at your photos over and over again.

 

BONUS Back. It. Up.

I can’t stress this enough – you have to back up your photos. The first rule of storing your digital photographs is to assume that it’s never safe in one place and it’s not the question of ifa hard drive fails, but whenit will.

In order to keep your precious photographs safe, you need to have copies of them in at least two places – three is even better. One on your actual computer, another on an external hard drive that’s kept in a safe at home, or another location altogether (in the case of fire), and yet another – in the cloud.

For physical, hard drive backup I recommend an external drive like Seagate (it’s actually really small, and you can even buy travel/storage pouches for them as well) or a large capacity USB stick like  SanDisk.

For cloud backup, I use and recommend CrashPlan but unfortunately now it’s only available for businesses. You simply install the app on your computer, tell it which folders you want backing up and when (a good idea is to leave the backup running overnight), and that’s it, the rest is done auto-magically for you. An initial backup might take a while, depending on how many photos you have (mine took several months because I have so many RAW files that are huge, but with JPEGs, you shouldn’t have this problem).

I do not recommend Backblaze – it’s a mirrored backup which means if you delete it (even accidentally, without realising it) from your computer, it will also be deleted in your backup online – not great!

Other cloud backup options include Dropbox or Google Drive, but once you fill up their initial storage allowance things can get pricey. Plus, you have to remember to actually put stuff in there, which is where CrashPlan comes out on top, as it’s one less thing to remember to do.

You also can use Amazon Photos (free photo and video storage for Prime members) and Flickrwhich offers 1TB of free storage for everyone (but make sure you mark your photos as private if you don’t want the whole world to see them).

If you have iCloud to back up your iPhone or iPad, you have to make sure you have it set up correctly, otherwise, it might not be backing up as you think it is.

Now – and that’s the final step on our initial download, organise and backup journey – that your photographs are safely backed up, you’re going to delete all the photos you’ve just imported off your smartphone and SD cards.

Deleting the already imported photos is an important step, as you honestly don’t want to be importing duplicates and sorting through them again in the future.

Phew! That was quite a bit of work, wasn’t it?! It’ll get easier once you have a regular system going, and do it regularly, I promise.

 

Organizing Printed Photos

 

Step One: Collect your prints

Gather all your photos together. You need to know exactly what you’re working with. Look for your prints in drawers, closets, safety deposit boxes, on the fridge, and even inside your old wallets! Go over them one by one and throw away the blurry shots, with bad exposure, or those that you never want to look at again. Meanwhile, you can pick your favorites to be placed in frames or given out to friends and relatives.

 

Step Two: Invest

Prepare yourself with the proper tools and get yourself a large photo album or storage box. Make sure they are photo-safe which means they are acid-free and can protect your pics from damage caused by light or chemicals. You can also buy a photo-safe pen or pencil to write on the back of your prints.

 

Step Three: Strategize

Just like with the digital copies, you need to plan how you want to organize your photos. Chronological might be a little harder to do since not all prints have their dates on them. But don’t fret! It doesn’t have to be perfect since you can always tweak them later on. Also, don’t forget to toss in the negatives with the photographs. These may come handy later on.

 

BONUS: Scan

Create backup copies of your precious old photos by scanning or digitizing them! You can then easily share them on your social media or other platforms for everyone to see.

Organizing photos may seem like a time-consuming and towering assignment. But once you start, you’ll automatically find yourself smiling while going down the memory lane.

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Top Advice for Choosing Your Newborn Photographer

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

You just found out you’re welcoming the newest addition to your family! Whether this baby is your first, last, or somewhere in between, I’m sure that a big and amazing change is about to happen in your life. New life is always a wonderful thing to witness. And to capture it through professional photography is a must! Here are pieces of advice that I think you should consider before hiring your newborn photographer:

Pick a style that resonates with you.

There are different styles to consider for newborn photography. Think of what kind of photos you are drawn to and imagine what you want to see hanging up on your walls. Check the portfolio of the photographers and evaluate if you feel a connection to the style of images produced.

If your Pinterest feed is filled with portraits of babies sleeping on baskets or snuggly wrapped around cute blankets, then the posed style may be for you! These are the photos of babies resting in a curled position with a solid background and surrounded by colorful props.

Lifestyle photography is more relaxed and can be done in the studio or at your home. A lifestyle session includes a lot of cuddling and smiling. It is guided by the photographer and will make the subjects look at their best and their most happy.

While I don’t have anything against the first two, I prefer the documentary style of newborn photography. For me, this approach best brings out the interaction and connections within the home. It does not only show contentment from the family members but also highlights new routines, personal struggles, and unconditional love.


Know your photographer.

I can’t stress this enough, but you need to know your photographer. You might not be spending as much time together as you did with your wedding photographer, but it is important to have someone you are comfortable with. Hire someone you feel safe interacting with your precious one.

Choosing the right photographer is not a decision that can be made by simply looking at their portfolio. If you like what you see on their page, then go and send an introductory e-mail about your family and your baby. You should also set-up an interview or send in some questions for you to learn their abilities and personality.

I love it when clients try to get to know me – not just my work but also my story and my inspirations. I’ve built a connection with most of my clients based on shared experiences. This allows me to tell a better story through their photos.

Trust.

Trust is an important ingredient in any relationship and this is also true for your newborn photographer. If you love their style and have vetted them properly, then the only thing left for you to do is to trust them. Don’t stress out on every little detail and learn to be comfortable with your photographer’s approach.

I’ve seen that clients who trust their photographers are more relaxed and happy. Their emotions reflect on the photos taken and they tend to take better pictures than those who are stressed and worried.

I hope you find these tips helpful in hiring your newborn photographer!

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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    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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    First Birthday Party for Baby R.

    Your child is celebrating one more year! How exciting! Long are the days of pictures with stiff children at parties, group pictures with everyone smiling, a huge fake smile embracing auntie’s gift or posing next to the cake without touching it. This is not what childrens’ parties are all about although we all have those kind of pictures in our childhood photography albums.

    We all know how special the first birthday party can be and baby R had it in the most gorgeous way at Bluebird Café with all the love of his family.

    Birthday parties is still something I love to capture. There are so many great moments to remember!

    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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      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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            London Maternity Documentary Photoshoot – what it’s all about

            Nine months are flying by at an incredible rate.
            Even though you can only sleep with a minimum of 5 pillows and bread is your main food group, something about the work inside your body right now makes you feel like a rockstar. And you want to remember it.
            Maternity photos used to be so unusual, now they are trendy, and because of that, there’s this huge misconception surrounding maternity sessions – what they’re supposed to look like, how you’re supposed to dress, blah blah.

            We’ve been conditioned, slowly but surely, to believe that a maternity session is a right of passage when you get pregnant. We follow this cookie cutter model and curl our hair and buy a new dress and imagine the romantic, backlit glow.
            These photos are lovely, and yes, it feels darn good to get dressed up and honour the beauty in pregnancy. You and your baby will never be one like this again, and it’s honestly an awesome thing to celebrate that by getting in front of the camera in general, no matter how you choose.

            But I want to challenge you to take it a step further and think about what is it you truly want to “capture?”

            London-Maternity-Photoshoot-AnaRuivoPhotography

             

            If you think about, I mean what’s unique and why you want to do a maternity session, I think you’ll realise that –
            This photo session is not about the baby growing inside your belly…

            …It’s about capturing the world and the people he or she is about to meet on the outside.

            It’s not about staring at your belly button.
            It’s not about a perfect flowing gown.
            It’s not about the stunning, scenic location.
            It’s not about the wooden blocks spelling his name.

            BECAUSE YOU, BEAUTIFUL MUM, ARE MORE THAN HOW YOU LOOK.

            Those things are beautiful, they’re fun, but they don’t capture anything you can’t flip through Pinterest and see a million other examples. And isn’t capturing truth and memories kind of the point?

            If you want to “capture this season,” we’ll need more than cheeky props and perfect light.
            You need the patience, the preparation, the hugs, the simplicity, the habits. Your STORY is what will make your maternity session special.

            Take a look at this one. There are no words to describe the connection between this family has already forged, and I know for sure that it will grow so beautifully.

             

             

            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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              Pink Dream 1st Birthday Party

              It’s fascinating and an honour to see so many beautiful parties put together with so much care and love from talented people.

              Notorious Kids beautifully prepared this party; a fantastic team specialised in bespoke luxury events. The party was set in the fabulous The Lanesborough perfect for a princess! See for yourself!

               

               

               

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

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