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Tips for Photographing Kids

When it comes to taking beautiful photographs, we like to leave it to the pros, or, even better, pick their brains for tips and tricks. Today that pro is our girl Ruth Eileen. She is not only a crazy talented wedding and lifestyle photographer but she knows how to capture the littles like nobody’s business. Dive into her 5 easy tips that will up your mini human photographing game starring SMP’s littlest mascot, Thea.

Use natural light!! This is huge!

Head for the Windows

When inside shooting I usually suggest turning off all lights and bringing your kids into a room that has plenty of window light. The reason for turning off the lights in the room that your shooting is because you’ll get a weird yellow color when you shoot. Instead, we want just the natural light lighting our subjects.

Open Doors and Get Creative

If you don’t have a room in your house where there is good natural light bring your kids near the window and maybe recreate the scene that you were wanting to capture in their toy room but it didn’t have the best light. You can also open a door that will allow for more natural light coming through.

Head Outside!

And always, if you aren’t getting enough natural light in your house, head outside! Find open shade where there isn’t a lot of dappled light. That will give you the best results. Obviously there are sometimes you can’t always find shade but that is key when taking good pictures. Always look for shade when shooting outside.

The Golden Hours for Shooting

The best hours to shoot outside are in the morning from sunrise to about 1-2 hours after the sun has risen. In the evening starting about 2 hours before the sun sets.

Don’t forget to capture the little details and moments

Kids in their Element

Sometimes the best photos are capturing your kids in their element. Playing with their toys or coloring. Maybe it’s grabbing your camera right after they wake up from a nap and their hair is a mess or it’s capturing the little face they make while concentrating on a task.

Don’t get caught up on always needing to capture the perfect photograph. Some of my favorite images have been the ones that I have capture of the children just doing what they do.

Focusing on the Little Details

Another way to focus on the details is also how you are cropping the photograph. Focus your lens on their tiny toes or hands. Maybe it’s focusing on their hand turning the pages of their favorite book. Those details will be precious memories you’ll want to remember.

Good, bad and everyday.

Don’t just focus on the time when your child is happy. Snap shots of them crying or pouting. Capture them taking a nap or snuggling with the family dog.

Get down to their level

Getting down to their level helps to see the world from their view and is really important when you’re wanting to photograph your kids. As a photographer, I can always count on getting is some really weird position when shooting a children or family session. Laying down in the sand to capture them building sand castles.

Don’t be super concerned about posing them

Looking At the Camera Shots

I usually try to get all the “look at the camera here” shots out of the way right away. Children don’t last long on photo shoots so it’s super important to get those shots out of the way first. It’s usually in the first 15-20 min that I’ll get the best “looking at the camera shots” from children. Then after that it’s no posing. It’s just capturing them doing when they do. Playing on the play ground, blowing bubbles.

Bring Props!

Bring Some props along. I usually suggest to the parents to bring some things that their kids enjoying playing with.

Step out from behind the camera

It’s so important to hand the camera over to your spouse or friend to make sure that you aren’t always stuck behind the camera. Of course, we all have days that we feel frumpy or not great about ourselves but you know what? Your kids don’t care. They love you and they (and you) deserve to have pictures of your lives together.

Photography: Ruth Eileen

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Fancy Neapolitan Popsicles

Oh, the beauty of Neapolitan ice cream! If you’re an indecisive person, then you can appreciate how Neapolitan gives you the three best flavors so you don’t have to pick. We didn’t think there was a way to improve on something so perfect until we stumbled upon this popsicle version from Fix Feast Flair. Neapolitan on a stick?! Even better.

“These [fancy] Neapolitan pops… are awesome because they seem kinda fancy but really are a breeze to whip up cause you make the same base for all three layers, divide it into three bowls, add a couple extras, and boom: layered goodness,” writes Alana of Fix Feast Flair.

For the full post and more delicious inspiration, check out Fix Feast Flair!

Fancy Neapolitan Popsicles
prep time
25 Minute/s
cook time
6 Hour/s 30 Minute/s
total time
6 Hour/s 55 Minute/s
Serves 10Ingredients
  • 8 oz. fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup (I used Grade A)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 c. + 3 Tbsp. whole milk, divided
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate (I used Guittard Semisweet Wafers)
  • Seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean
  • TOOLS:
  • Food processor or blender
  • Popsicle mold and popsicle sticks
  • Measuring spoons
  • Glass measuring cups
  • Mixing bowls
  • Sheet pan
  • Medium saucepan
  • Ziploc bags
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Evenly arrange strawberries on a sheet pan and drizzle lightly with the coconut oil and balsamic vinegar. Roast until the strawberries are soft and fragrant, around 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Let cool for 10 minutes on the pan, then transfer to the bowl of your food processor or the container of your blender (including juices) and let cool to room-temperature.
  3. Once cooled, add maple syrup and pulse or blend on low a few times to combine. The mixture should retain small chunks of strawberry. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of milk to make a slurry. Set aside.
  5. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the remaining milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract, and heat over medium heat, whisking often. When it begins to steam (it should steam after a few minutes), whisk in the cornstarch slurry and continue whisking for a few minutes more until the mixture thickens slightly. (Don't walk away here or your mixture may boil over.)
  6. Remove saucepan from heat and divide the mixture, evenly, into three bowls.
  7. Stir in half of the strawberry mixture into the first bowl and reserve the remaining strawberry mixture on the side. Whisk in the vanilla bean seeds into the second mixture. Whisk in cocoa powder and chocolate chips into the third bowl. Let all three bowls cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes then transfer each mixture (including the reserved strawberry mixture) into their own ziploc bags.
  8. Snip off a corner of the strawberry-milk mixture and fill each mold a little less than a third way full. Snip off a corner of the strawberry mixture bag and top each mold with strawberry. Let set in freezer for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove mold from freezer and place popsicle sticks into the center of each mold. Snip off a corner of the vanilla mixture and fill each mold till it's two-thirds full. Let set in freezer for another 30 minutes.
  10. Remove mold from freezer and snip off a corner of the chocolate mixture and fill each mold till it's nearly full. Let set in freezer for at least 4-5 hours (but ideally 24 hours).
  11. Quickly run molds under warm water to release popsicles.
  12. Serve and enjoy!

Why not treat yourself?

Chocolate-Dipped Iced Coffee Popsicles | 20 Finger-Licking Summer Desserts | 29 Best Popsicle Recipes

Photography: Fix Feast Flair | Recipe: Fix Feast Flair

5 Reasons the Tray is the Ultimate Home Accessory

Trays, although seemingly simple, are not to be overlooked in a well-appointed home. They are equal parts function and style and cover storage as well as serving needs. I’ve styled up a few fabulous spaces to show you why the tray is the ultimate home accessory! xoxo Roxy of Society Social

Word-Numbers_02Who doesn’t love an indulgent breakfast in bed? Dinner al fresco with friends and family? An impromptu picnic in the living room with the kiddos? Transport your meals beyond the kitchen with ease and eliminate the need to go back and forth.

Word-Numbers_04 Serving up cocktails in bulk? Load up a tray and make one quick swoop. Your guests won’t have to wait for their beverage, and you won’t either!

Word-Numbers_06 Transform a piece of furniture like an ottoman or a stool into a functional tabletop.

Word-Numbers_18Protect a surface that that may be delicate or hard to clean.

Word-Numbers_12 Organize random objects whether it’s booze, books, remote controls, or decorative accessories. Instead of a clutter, your design efforts will look intentional and chic.

For more tray chic inspiration and to shop all the trays featured above, head to Society Social!

Photography: Society Social | Design And Styling: Society Social

Roxy Te

Decorating and Entertaining
A Dining Room Makeover

A few simple changes can completely transform a space. Things like fresh paint and moulding plus the addition of a few wow moments can make all the difference. See how Diane + Emily of Rehabitat started with this dining room and made it into a space that truly shines. And one that boasts a mighty fine chandelier might we add. See even more here plus where it all started right here.

Leah’s dining room was a totally fun project and she’s been a dream client. The biggest hurdle in her dining room was turning the existing usual corner cabinets into something more unique to her style as well as blend them into the room. What started as a least favorite aspect of the space became a favorite. A little wall paneling created a more dramatic feel and painting everything the same shade of mint to clean up the lines totally transformed the room. We switched the existing chandelier to a modern brass one for an edgier vibe and installed a ceiling medallion for a strong focal point.  The combo of classic background and modern appointments makes this room a stunner.

Click here to see the before pictures

Design: Diane + Emily | Rehabitat | Custom Dining Table: Vermont Farm Table | Larisa Bar Cart : One Kings Lane | Wishbone Chair: Rove Concepts | Ziyi Large Chandelier : Circa Lighting

Vanilla Bean Cake with Blackberry Buttercream Frosting

Psst… want to know the secret for the most mouthwatering cake? Double up the vanilla flavor in the cake with both pure vanilla extract and vanilla beans, and then slather on layers of creamy frosting made with fresh blackberries. Thanks to A Happy Food Dance, your summer just got made.

“Three layers of vanilla bean white cake with homemade blackberry buttercream frosting slathered in between and then topped with fresh blackberries – well, now this is how you do cake!” says Jessica of A Happy Food Dance.

For the full post and more delicious recipes, check out A Happy Food Dance!

Vanilla Bean Cake with Blackberry Buttercream Frosting
prep time
30 Minute/s
cook time
30 Minute/s
total time
1 Hour/s
Serves 6Ingredients
  • For vanilla bean white cake:
  • 2¼ cup cake flour
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half and seeds scraped out
  • 1¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • For the blackberry buttercream frosting:
  • ½ cup fresh blackberries
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2-4 teaspoons milk
Instructions
  1. To make the vanilla bean white cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 5-inch pans or two 8-inch pans by spraying with cooking spray, coating with flour and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine milk, egg whites, almond and vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds and mix until blended.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and start mixing on slow. Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, and beat on low for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add all but ½ cup of the milk mixture to the stand mixer bowl and continue to beat for another 90 seconds. Add the remaining milk mixture and beat for an additional minute.
  5. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans.
  6. Bake until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean, between 27-35 minutes depending on the cake pan you used.
  7. Allow cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. To make the blackberry buttercream frosting: In a small bowl combine blackberries, sugar and lemon juice. Mash with the back of a fork or a muddler until the blackberries are all broken down.
  9. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Slowly add the vanilla and beat to combine.
  10. Add half of the confectioner's sugar and continue beating until combine.
  11. Slowly add the blackberry mixture and then add the additional confectioner's sugar.
  12. If the consistency is too thick, add a few teaspoons of milk to smooth out.
  13. To assemble: To frost cake, place a dab of frosting on your desired surface. Level the cakes if they are uneven.
  14. Stack one layer of cake and add a good amount of frosting to the top. Smooth across the top and then add the next layer. Continue for each layer.
  15. For the top of the cake, add a good amount frosting and frosting the top. Slowly bring the frosting down around the edges and slightly frosting the sides. You're going for a naked cake look, or just a crumb coating.
  16. Smooth out the top and refrigerate for 30 minutes (cake is easier to cut when chilled).

Satisfy your sweet tooth with these recipes:

Blueberry Meringue Cookies | Individual Strawberry Crumbles |Chocolate-Dipped Iced Coffee Pops

Photography: A Happy Food Dance | Recipe: A Happy Food Dance