Tag Archives: documentary family photography

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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      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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        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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          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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            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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              Kid’s birthday party at Hogwarts London – Harry Potter theme

               

              HarryPotter-Party-HomeHouse-London-kids-AnaRuivoPhotography

               

              We are approaching World Book Day with much enthusiasm in our house, and this Harry Potter theme party just sparkled the child in me! I remember diving into J. K. Rowling books for hours in a row until late at night when I was a teenager, and it’s a joy to see even today these storybooks are still much loved. Notorious kids did a fantastic job transforming the Home House club in the most magical place. Nothing more than Hogwarts wizard school for a 9-year-old fan of Harry Potter books. Every detail was outstanding!

               


              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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                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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                    Snapshots of our month – Winter Sun

                    Wow, I can’t believe we are almost at the end of January, and I just finished to edit my Christmas pics =) As soon as I got back, it’s been non-stop with newborn photo shoots and birthday parties.

                    We had a lovely break in Portugal to spend time with our family, a little bit of sunshine and a much-needed pause from social media.

                    These are just some snap-shots of our holiday between the crispy sunny days by the sea and lovely warm winter days in Alentejo. If you pass in Evora city in Portugal, make a visit to Convento do Espinheiro hotel, visit the beautiful University of Evora and the Herdade do Esporao wine caves.

                     


                    And if it’s not too late…Happy New Year!

                    =)

                     

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