Category Archives: Tips

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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    5 Reasons You Must Include Your Pet In Your Family Photo Session

    Professional family portraits are so important to capture. The photos can document growth, relive memories or milestones, and serve as a beautiful wall display on your family home. For most of us, the family unit includes more than just the grandparents, parents and children. It also includes our furry and feathery (or sometimes scaly) friends!

    For those of you who have grown up with pets in their house, you know how special these companions are. Pets are part of the owner’s family and should be cherished as much as possible. They may have been around before your kids and they will be a huge part of your children’s childhood memories.  And for that understanding, I have listed five reasons why you must include your pet in your next family photo session.

    They are extremely amusing.

    Don’t you love looking at photos or videos of animals on the internet? I most certainly do! They instantly put a smile on my face and gives me good energy. Imagine having those vibes on your family portrait. Plus, pets and kids create the most comic photos!

    Notting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

    You’ll have more fun!

    It is certainly more fun having your pets in a documentary session. The kids can play with them and bring more life to your photos. The family dynamic may also change and create increased interaction among the family members.

    Notting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

    You’ll get new types of pictures.

    Unless your pet is a turtle, most pets like dogs and cats don’t stay in a particular setting. They’ll run and play around. For documentary photo sessions, you wouldn’t need to manage their behavior. In fact, it’ll be interesting to capture the expressive side of your pets! On the other hand, you can also show off the commands and tricks that you’ve been patiently teaching them. This will allow you to get different and more creative types of photos.

    It’s something to remember them by.

    It’s hard to admit this, but your pet won’t be around forever. We’re all hoping that our pets will be around for many years to come. But when they pass, you’ll get to enjoy looking back at images of them with your family. It’s great to get those photo opportunities before it’s too late. Photos will immortalize our time with our pawesome babies and will help with the healing process after we lose them.

    London-Maternity-Photoshoot-AnaRuivoPhotography

    Because they are cute!

    Enough said.

    Notting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

    Check out these sweet family documentary family sessions that include their cute furry friends, here and here or 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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      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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        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 PhotographyDay in the life-London Family Documentary Photography-Ana Ruivo PhotographyDay 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 PhotographyNotting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo PhotographyNotting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo PhotographyNotting 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 PhotographyDay in the life-newborn London Family Photography-Ana Ruivo PhotographyDay in the life-newborn London Family Photography-Ana Ruivo PhotographyDay 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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          7 tips for taking pictures at the fun fair

          Deep-fried anything, scream-inducing rides, cotton candy and prizes larger than your head… the fun fair is here!

          London has multiple beautiful Christmas markets and fairs that you can choose for your children’s delight.

          I thought it would be fun to give some tips for those of you who will be braving the trip with your camera or even your mobile.

          1. Capture the anticipation.

          Funfairs may be a drain on most parents’ wallets, but it’s sure a lot of fun for kids! They are all very excited but when it comes the time sometimes they are doubtful… Make sure to capture that.

           

           

          2. Shoot in the daytime and at night, embrace all kind of light.

          Whenever I plan a trip to the fair, I get giddy for those nighttime shots with the Ferris wheel glowing and the dark sky contrasting against it. But don’t forget to bring your camera out during the day, too! The fun combination of the funky ride colours will look awesome next to the bright, blue sky.

           

          3. Play with your settings.

          Get brave and slow down your shutter speed for a fun effect with the fast-moving rides. Capturing movement at the fun fair, with rides moving in a number of different directions at the same time isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Use slow shutter speed and move your camera alongside with the movement to focus on one element in the frame but blur the rest out. It will most likely take you several attempts to get it right, so don’t despair!

           

          Fun-fair-winter-wonderland-London-family-photographyFun-fair-winter-wonderland-London-family-photography

          4. Show the setting and shoot wide.

          It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of wide angle lenses (35 mm and less), and I adore getting the entire scene in the frame. Get a shot of your kids up high on a ride. The wide angle perspective will enhance how small your kids are next to the big, open sky.

           

          5. Capture the details.

          This is my norm with any session and any subject. But the fair has such a good story to tell, and not including the details is like leaving out half the book. Use the features to enhance your portraits. Get a shot of the sign with a picture of cotton candy, and then a frame with your kids stuffing this faces with pink fluff. It is so fun to see these shots side by side.

           

           

          6. Using interesting angles and perspectives.

          When I first got the fair this year, I became nervous because the rides were packed into such a small space, and I knew I wouldn’t be getting the shot of just the Ferris wheel on its own. I got creative, and wound up with shots that I love!

           

          7. Capture the emotions.

          Skip the posed “cheesy” shot and instead capture real emotions – and be sure to include the quieter moments too!

          Don’t forget to have fun!

          Fun-fair-winter-wonderland-London-family-photography

           

          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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            Eco-friendly gifts for this Christmas in London

            Let’s face it: your wife or husband doesn’t want another pair of socks or a bottle of perfume, or a new pair of slippers.
            What you really want is a “magical way to chill out and appreciate the little things” gift certificate. Maybe a “get out of a stressful situation for free” gift certificate. Or perhaps a “slow down and savour your children better” gift card.
            But last I saw, these were not available at the checkout of Waitrose (or anywhere else).

            No problem!

            London Christmas Family Photoshoot Ana Ruivo Photography

            In this day of ultra-consumerism and pressure to buy something – anything for the special people in our lives, the holidays leave us all daunted and exhausted by the expectations.
            And if you’re anything like me, you’re also feeling guilty about buying new stuff that your loved ones may not want, and may end up in the local charity shop by January.
            So while I can’t grant wishes, I can offer this gentle nudge to think beyond physical goods mass-produced in China and buy your loved one an experience that she/he likely wouldn’t make time for it. In the high-pressure world of parenting+work, it’s hard to give ourselves permission to take an afternoon off to do something whimsical, decadent, or just plain fun. Unless that priceless gift is bestowed upon us.

            Many of us chose to #optoutside on Black Friday, acknowledging that there are more important things in life than getting the best deal on a new iphone or Barbie dreamhouse. Why not keep riding that wave, ditch some of the Amazon-driven pressures this holiday season, and seize the opportunity to gift a memory instead?

            Here are some ideas to get you started:

            A MEMBERSHIP TO ANY OF THE AMAZING LONDON MUSEUMS.

            BECOME A FRIEND OF KEW GARDENS.

            as a family or gift to someone who loves nature.

            Holland-Park-London Family Photographer-anaruivophotography

            A FUN, ONE-ON-ONE DATE WITH THAT TODDLER who’s a dream when not competing with older siblings.

            Let’s say Legoland or Natural History Museum, yes all those dinosaurs…

            LEARN A NEW CRAFT.

            Research shows that people who work creatively with their hands are happier and healthily endure stress than people who don’t. London has an immense and impressive artist community, with all manner of classes open to the public, from pottery to painting, ironwork to woodwork. You can give an art workshop for your loved one and for both of you to do together. Next year I am going to find a pottery class near me, and I am going back to my love for painting.

            SAVOUR YOUR CHILDREN.

            The kids are amazing, delightful, adorable, and changing so quickly. But 90% of the day is spent trying to get them to go play somewhere else; rushing them out the door, or explaining to them why drumming on the antique table with hammers is not acceptable.
            But on those rare occasions that you’re able to detach from the daily slog and really be with them, the balance shifts to that other 10% – when they’re sweet, connected, curious, and a joy.

            Granted I’m biased, but personally, I can’t think of a better way to show a mother or father that they are appreciated than through a gorgeous photo – or better yet a photo session – depicting their special, intimate relationship with the children.

            A day in the life - London Documentary Family - Ana Ruivo Photography

            A GORGEOUS FINE-ART PHOTO PRINT FOR THE WALL.

            It’s been my 2018 mission to replace the non-sentimental art pieces in our home with photographs of real scenes from our life. And you know what? Every time I walk by the photo of my daughters running and jumping through the waves in our favourite beach holiday I’m flooded with warmth and nostalgia. They say life is art, and who’s to say that shouldn’t include our personal, everyday stories? Every third website these days seems to be devoted to making wall art from photos, but beware: not all are created equal. Contact me for info on my own favourite masterful fine art prints.

            Our life Summer 2018-London Family Photographer-anaruivophotography

            A SHORT PHOTO SESSION.

            Capturing how beautifully you love your children and keep the family together. One of my favourite session types to photograph is a three-hour storytelling session, which captures the connection between parents and their little one(s). These sessions commonly span two hours, spent on daily tasks at home – laundry, homework, cooking, art, reading books – and are a beautiful way to bottle up the feeling and intensity of parenting through this specific chapter of childhood – whichever one you’re at.

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

            A DAY IN THE LIFE PHOTO SESSION – I only do 12 days in the life sessions in 2019, and until the end of the year, I am offering 50% off on these sessions if you book by the end of the year. Slots limited to this offer. Contact me for details.

             

            London Family Photographer -Ana Ruivo -offer

             

             

            In the case, you really need to buy something physical take a look at these colourful and eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes from My Green Vibes. A fantastic project that I photographed this year. Laeticia, a mum and entrepreneur is set on the purpose to live with less plastic and she taught me that every little helps to reduce our plastic consumption and save our planet!

            Top of mind, this is my list. What would you add to yours?

             

             

             

             

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              7 family photo shoot ideas for rainy days

              While I love being outside and capturing the family fun in the great outdoors, what I don’t like is waiting until later to capture precious memories of your children growing up. We all know sometimes you expect to do something until a better time, and then we realise the time is just gone!
              There are no excuses.
              Here is a list of my favourite ideas to do on a rainy day indoors. The time is now!

              1. Visit a Museum

               

               

              If you are one of those families that can’t stay still at home, yes, a Museum it’s a perfect example of a day out but indoors. London is impressive because it has an array of fantastic museums, fun for the kids too. We love the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum and The British Museum. These museums have beautiful architecture and lots of fascinating objects that will create great pictures.

              2. Bake together

               

               

              Baking is another excellent family activity that many parents and children enjoy doing together. All families have their favourite baking recipes. From chocolate chip cookies, lovely madeleines, gingerbread cookies to banana bread, everything is good!
              Children will be children and yes just let them me. There will be flour on the floor, bowl and spoon licking, it’s all fine! These moments make beautiful and memorable photographs that I can promise you, you will cherish for years and years to come.

              3. Play games

               

              Family games are great to involve everyone, whether it’s a round of Pictionary or Monopoly, dress up or make-believe, just-dance in your living room, it’s all good.

              4. Read

               

               

               

              I love the connection I have with my daughters when we read together.
              For many is a bed-time routine but it’s also an excellent activity for quieter moments during the day, reading is the one thing that pretty much everyone does at one point or another, whether it’s a short photo shoot or a day in the life session.
              It’s also a way to get the whole family to slow down and in one place for longer than one minute so I can capture a picture of all of you.

              5. Get Crafty

               

               

               

              If you enjoy making things, please do! Crafts is a great way to involve everyone and the messier, the better! Glue, knit, build, draw, paint, it’s delightful to see the joy on your children’s faces and look of pride with their newest creations. It’s so worth it!

              6. Bath time!

              Bath time is an always an excellent way to finish a day in the life photo shoot. Especially for babies as they feel a little sleepy afterwards. It’s still such a particular time for any family and perfect for when you have a baby or a toddler. Bubbles, soap and water are good ingredients for great pictures.

              7. Don’t Do Anything Special

              There’s no need to do any activity just for our session. Just get on with your day, and I’ll be able to see and capture the beauty of the everyday for you.
              During my short 2-3 hour sessions I ask the parents to put away their devices and really concentrate on this precious family time together. Of course, during the Day in the Life experience, there’s no such expectation. No one can be 100% engaged and switched on all day long. And you don’t need to; we are documenting your typical day to drop all pretences and the ideas of what at “perfect” day should look like, and just be.

              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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                Capturing moments in motherhood – why authentic is so important

                Notting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

                Taking pictures is today an everyday gesture.

                We all capture our daily lives with great facility and in so many different ways.
                The average person will have around 500 -1000 photos on their phone,
                but if that person is a mum, double or triple that. { In case you are wondering, I have 10 000 …}
                Mums will capture every little moment of their children’s lives, first steps, words, smiles, drawings, outings and continue capturing all the followings, having right there in the tip of their fingers a real narrative of childhood.
                A documentary of the real childhood, because who can resist a  face covered with chocolate ice cream, or a crying sibling while the other has a cheeky smile. Who has not snapped a picture of a fall into a muddy puddle while attempting to do pirouette (and felt terrible about it right afterwards)?  Snap, snap, snap!
                It’s all in the box.  We have it all, the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY.
                Day in the life-newborn London Family Photography-Ana Ruivo Photography
                But who captures mums? Who captures you? Who captures Motherhood?
                And most importantly, how do you this wonderfully abstract almost ethereal state that is your Motherhood to be captured?
                You do this and that, pick them up when they get hurt, kiss them on the knee, dry the tears, hold their hands, and then suddenly you see a camera! You stop, you fix your hair, theirs too, and smile all while telling them to do the same through a half-smiling mouth.
                As a result, we have got a picture of a mum semi-smiling and if we are lucky, one kid is smiling too while the other one tries to pull away (this is just an example to serve a purpose of course because sometimes you do get three “smiles” :-).
                Holland Park London Baby Spring Family Documentary Photography

                 

                Where did that moment go?

                The one where you put your lips on that knee to make it better, the one when the tears transformed into a smile because those lips magically healed a wounded knee?

                It passed. Just like that. And not to be too dramatic, it is gone forever.
                Luckily many more will come, because we all know childhood brings way more than a single scraped knee. or a flooded bathroom floor with soap bearded pirates admiring proudly their work.
                Many more failed attempts to bake a cake while they lick chocolate spoons, strangling hugs, and bedtime arms tightly wrapped around your neck are coming your way.
                So, why not shift from the stiffness of only posing while we can!
                It is still time to make a change, to change those poses we are so used to for the reality of this wonderful emotional roller coaster that is motherhood. Or at least add some!

                Memory is a wonderful but sometimes tricky thing.

                As adults, we only remember as far back into our childhood as our conscient brain allows us to. With luck, we have memories of our early years, photographic/precise moments in our mind, but as we grow up we forget, more and more…
                I always wonder:  wouldn’t we be happier if we remembered more of those childhood moments? Being put to bed, the kisses on the head, all that daily care?

                This is why I love documentary photography.

                This is why I created “A day in the life”, to help you capture those fleeting moments, that daily roller coaster a mother rides every day holding on tight to her little (or less little) ones.

                For me, for you,  but also and especially for them. Because no mum ever forgets having changed an uncountable number of nappies, stayed awake hundreds of nights, played hours on the floor until she no longer feels her legs, or that look on her child’s face when he runs open-armed towards her, but we, the child in us does.
                The truth in words is vital, that is a given, but the truth through an image is just as much. This is why I choose to make unposed and undirected family images.

                You will love taking this leap!

                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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                  How to decorate your home with family pictures – London Family Photographer

                  Family pictures

                  As a documentary photographer in love with shooting real, un-posed moments, I hear these laments from clients often: “Oh, how I love this photo, but I just don’t know how I would display it!” or “I love candid photos, but I need a posed family portrait for the wall.”

                  While every mom (including myself!) loves a good posed family portrait and certainly should have one or more on their wall, you can also have beautiful, moment-filled walls in your home.

                  Imagine being surrounded daily with your all-time favorite memories: summer sprinkler runs, autumn leaf fights, winter home baking joy, and spring puddling jumping, right where you can see them every day. I’ve welcomed these memories into my home, and you can too. Here’s some of my favourite ways how to fill your home with photographed memories.

                  The Framed Gallery Wall

                  Gallery Walls Framed pictures London Family Photography

                   

                  Photo Ledges

                  Gallery Walls Framed pictures London Family Photography

                   

                  A Photo Wall 

                  Gallery Walls Framed pictures London Family Photography

                  Canvas

                  Gallery Walls Framed pictures London Family Photography

                   

                  At our home above the sofa in our main living room, I have some of my favourite images from the past year framed and matted in conjunction with some art and things and places we love I switch them out only once per year, so it’s really hard to choose!

                   

                  You can find more ideas on my Pinterest Board dedicated to gallery walls.

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