Category Archives: Children Photography

It seems that everyone is going to Iceland these days and I don’t blame them – it is a beautiful country!  Victor and I went there in 2013 (you can see pictures here) and loved it so much that this July we planned a trip there with the girls!  A lot of my friends have been asking me details of our trip so here is a post about it.  Make sure to scroll all the way to the end of the post for detailed logistical info – tours, restaurants, etc.

First time we were in Iceland we spent close to 2 weeks there – there is definitely is enough to see there.  This time around it was a shorter trip – we took advantage of IcelandAir free stopover in Reykjavik and spent three nights in Iceland before heading to Paris for the second part of the trip.  We absolutely love this free stop-over deal – you get two vacations in one – what’s not to love about it?!  So if you have not yet, I highly recommend you join their mailing list because they have some pretty amazing deals there from time to time.

We rarely travel to Europe in the summer (last time we did that was for our honeymoon back in 2003) and I forgot how crowded and busy everything is.  So if you are traveling during high season I definitely recommend booking everything in advance.  One of Iceland’s most famous tourist sites is Blue Lagoon – yes it is very touristy and can get crowded but I highly recommend going there – it is pretty amazing being in a hot thermal lagoon with a silica mask on your face surrounded by beautiful scenery.  You can buy tickets to the lagoon in advance and I am glad we did – by the time I thought about buying tickets there was only one time slot left!

We took a red eye and got to Reykjavik nice and early – at 7 AM!  At the airpot we took a cab and headed straight to Blue Lagoon:

We were a bit jet-lagged and it felt wonderful relaxing in hot water.. I almost fell asleep there (I was THAT relaxed) – good thing that my family loves me because they did not leave me behind:)  When I booked our tickets I also made a reservation at Lava Restaurant – their a la carte restaurant with a new lagoon view.  The food was really good there so if you are looking for a nice way to start (or end) your Icelandic vacation I definitely recommend checking it out.

After lunch, all relaxed and refreshed and a bit groggy we took a cab and headed to Reyjavik to our first ever AirBnB.  We’ve never stayed at an AirBnB before – I am always caucoius about staying event at B&Bs in the US) but a friend of a friend recommended it, it had great reviews so we decided to give the world of AirBnBs a try.  It worked out well – the place was in the center, was really charming (and I don’t use the word ‘charming’ as a code name for ‘tiny’ or ‘old’) and came with a really chatty owner who lived upstairs.

 

we checked out Hallgrimskirkja, had dinner, were amazed by how light it was at 11 PM at night (we’ve never experienced white nights before) and called it a day!

Next day we were up bright and early and ready for a Puffing Watching/Sea Angling Tour that I booked back in the US with Happy Tours company.  I just had to book this tour because this company had amazing reviews on tripadvisor and after taking the tour I can definitely see why – it was AWESOME!  A traditional small fishing boat with a captain and his first mate – his daughter – and there was only one more family besides us!  I was not that impressed with the puffin watching portion (not in any way fault of the tour company) – who knew that puffins were so tiny? – not me!  But fishing was amazing and definitely one of the highlights of the trip.  We don’t fish and don’t know much about the fish and I was worried that we would not be able to contribute our fishing share to the communal lunch that we were to have at the end of the tour. But boy was I wrong!  Mia caught the biggest fish of the day – a 13 lbs cod and Alexa followed a close second.  Victor caught fish and even I caught a few.  The girls had a blast touching fish, learning about fish, touching fish guts and eyes – as Alexa said to me – they are not ‘girly girls’.  And after all the fish was caught and filleted (right on the boat) the girls threw fish remainders to the sea gulls who followed our boat – it was pretty awesome.  And then we all enjoyed super yummy lunch of grilled freshly caught (by us!) fish eaten in the harbor right on our boat!

After fishing me made our way ‘uptown’ – a nice 30 min walk.  I’ve never see as much street art as I have in Reyjkavik – it is absolutely stunning and it is EVERYWHERE!  It really is a very colorful city and we loved meandering there.

Next day was the Golden Circle day.   I think everybody who comes to Iceland visits the Golden Circle and there is a reason for that – it is very close to Reykjavik – I think the whole loop takes only a few hours – and there are pretty awesome sights on the way.  If you are not a fan of driving yourself then you can definitely take a tour – there are lots of tour companies that offer them.  But we, not being bus tour people, opted out and instead rented a car for a day at the Golden Circle.

We drove through Þingvellir national park and stood on North American and Euroasian continental tectonic plates (all at the same time!)

we saw Geyser erupt at irregular intervals:

we stood by Gullfoss waterfall and watched it in awe:

we walked all over Kerið crater (those three dots on the right of the image are Victor, Mia and Alexa)

and we drove through amazing scenery full of sheep and horses:

and in the evening we had another amazing meal and decided that we should come back to Iceland again!

Logistics

If you are planning a trip to Iceland here is some practical info that I hope you will find useful:

Car Rental

we got our car from SixT – they were nice and professional with

Restaurants

  • Grillmarkaðurinn -we loved it so much in 2013 that we decided to go back to it this summer.  You definitely need a reservation and I would recommend making it in advance.  I booked it a week in advance and the only time they had available was at 9 PM!
  • Sjávargrillið – another place we loved from out last trip – and this time around it did not dispapoint – despite a pretty slow service.    I would recommend making a reservation there as well.
  • Braud & Co – a great bakery – it was so good that we went there twice in just three short days we spent in Reykjavik!
  • Lava Restaurant – a fun place for lunch at the Blue Lagoon

 

What To Bring

From what I know it never gets really hot in Iceland – even in the middle of the summer.  When we were here in September it was around 50 degrees and when we were here in July it was around 55 degrees.  So pack accordingly!

Tour Company

We’ve only got one tour – Sea Angling and booked it through Happy Tours – they were wonderful!

Where to Stay

Last time we stayed at a hotel (don’t remember the name of it ) and this time we stayed at an AirBnB.  T

Transportation

The most economical way to get to/from Reykavik and Blue Lagoon is by bus – they run every 30 min or so.  We were running late this time around and took a taxi but took a bus back to the airport last time. dr A word of warning – depending on the exchange rate Iceland can be expensive – more expensive than New York.   When we were there in 2013 dollar was pretty strong against Icelandic krona so things were cheaper than in New York.  But this time around the $/krona exchange rate was not favorable and as result everything was more expensive than in New York – for example – a 20 min taxi ride from the airport to Blue Lagoon was around $80.  If you end up renting a car there to drive yourself around you can arrange to return it at the airport, which is what we did.  It does cost more returning it at the airport but it is convenient and you save $ on a taxi going back to the airport.

Blue Lagoon

I highly recommend visiting it.  Blue Lagoon is located outside of Reykjavik close (ish)to the airport so most everybody goes there either on the way from the airport or on the way to the airport.  We’ve done both (first time on the way out and last time on the way in) and both were fine.  They are set up for tourists – you can check in your luggage, lock your valuables, rent robes and towels, etc.  Between getting ready to go in, relaxing in the lagoon, showering (getting silica out of your hair takes a looong time!) and having lunch we ended up spending about 5 hours there so plan accordingly.

And that’s all!  If you are planning to go to Iceland I hope you find this guide useful.  Enjoy this beautiful country!

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When you have clients with young kids who drive two hours (EACH WAY!) for a photo session with you, you know that you must be doing something right:)  I first photographed this family when big brother D. was two years old; now his younger brother is older than that!  I love seeing them every year and always have such a blast with them.  And the fact that they are some of the best dressed kids I’ve seen (their Mom should be my stylist because she does an amazing job picking out the cutest and most styling outfits for them) does not hurt either:)

This family is so sweet and lovely and I honestly cannot say how much I love and appreciate them coming to me (and driving for hours) for their annual photo session with me!

In business since 2008 Live Love Laugh Photos is a Bergen County family photographer with a photo studio located in Ridgewood New Jersey.  Available for baby, children and family photos – on location and at the studio – Live Love Laugh Photos is known for creating fun and natural family images.  You will not only love pictures that we capture during your session but you will also have fun having these pictures taken!

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Eight months is such a great age for sitting up photos and I really enjoy photographing squishy adorable babies  at my Bergen County photo studio!  I loved loved loved meeting this sweet little guy – who shared a birthday with my niece (you can see her sitting up pictures here).  Being a Ridgewood family photographer I’ve photographed a lot of babies and kids over the years but I have to say that I’ve never met a guy who went from sleeping to happy in no time at all!  He was sleeping when his Mom brought him to my studio and I was worried that he might be a bit cranky when we woke him up (I am not the happiest camper when people wake me up from a nap).  But my worries were completely unfounded – he opened his eyes and did not stop smiling till the end of the session!

Little G. ‘read’ his books, played with his toys and trucks and chewed on everything in sight – and judging from how happy he looks I think he had a pretty great time at his Ridgewood photo shoot:)

Lena Antaramian of Live Love Laugh Photos is a Bergen County family and children photographer with a beautiful natural light photography studio located in Ridgewood.  Lena is available for children and family session in Ridgewood, Allendale, Wyckoff, Old Tappan, Cloister, Saddle River and other towns in Bergen county.  Lena also offers children and family sessions at her Ridgewood photography studio so if you are looking to capture your little ones reach out to us.

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Last time I photograph this Ridgewood family was a few years ago – it was so great seeing them again.  I was completely amazed at how much older the girls got (from adorable little girls they are way on her way to turning into beautiful young ladies) – yet the parents somehow managed to look younger than ever!:)

You may know this about me – I absolutely LOVE color – all my personal photo shoots are full of colorful outfits.  And when my clients share my love of color it makes me super happy. So you can imagine how THRILLED I was when this Mom showed me her awesome colorful jacket and said that she wanted to use it for the pictures.  We picked out amazing mustard pants for her husband from his closet – and he totally ROCKED them!  Add cool outfits for the girls with cute accessories and we were set for the session.

As I do for a lot of my Signature Photo session clients, we split up the session between their beautiful Ridgewood home (their backyard is absolutely stunning!) and downtown Ridgewood.  I love having family sessions at peoples homes – I think that capturing the place you live in images is really priceless and years down the road you will love having these images.  Besides, where else would you feel more ‘at home’ then … at your home?:)

And downtown Ridgewood is one of my favorite places in Bergen County for family photo sessions .  It is such a quaint little town (I had clients from the city come here for sessions!) and if you live here it makes it even more special having a photo shoot done there – I did it for my own family session a few years ago.    I did not realize this about Ridgewood till I went location scouting but it is full of really cool urban spots that photograph really well and it makes a perfect backdrop for family photos.And after you are done with your photoshoot you have plenty of wonderful restaurants to go to to celebrate an end of a great family photo session, which is what these guys did:)

 

Live Love Laugh Photos is an award-winning Bergen County family photographer with a photography studio located in Ridgewood New Jersey.   If you are interested in family photos this fall look no further and reach out to us to schedule your family or children photo session.

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Summer is here and that means that a lot of families are taking their annual vacations.  We go onfamily vacations in the spring and every summer we go to Ocean City, NJ but this year was an exception and we took the girls to Iceland and Paris in July instead. It was very crowded (think 1+ hour wait even with ‘fast track’ tickets) and made me remember the reason why we don’t travel in July (all those people!) but we did have a lovely time:)

I wanted to do something a bit different on this trip in terms of photos – I wanted to create images that captured stories, images that felt natural and fresh – even more so than images I usually create; I wanted to produce pictures that were attention grabbing and different.

I decided not to use my old trusted Canon (I LOVE that camera but it is so heavy to be lugging around all over the place) and instead brought my new favorite – Fujifilm Xt-20.  I brought 3 lenses with me but ended up using the kit lens (18-55) most of the time.  This in itself made me think a bit more creatively because usually I travel with at least two lenses and I was limited by what this lens allowed me to do.

So how do you stay ‘fresh’ on vacation and make images that are still ‘you’ and capture your family, but that are different and creative?  I looked through the images I took and put together a list – my Top Ten Tips on how to produce creative images on vacation.  And I illustrated it with pictures from our trip – because who would not want to see pictures of my adorable kids, right? 🙂   By the way – check back in a few weeks for more pictures and details about what we did while in Iceland and France.

And now without further ado I present to you (in no particular order) my Top Ten Tops for Staying Creative While on Vacation!

Tip 1: Do a Shutter Drag

Shutter drag is always fun to do!  It might be a bit challenging doing it on vacation without a tripod but can definitely be managed – you either need to find a surface to hold your camera or take a deep break and hold very very still.  You also need to instruct your subjects to hold as still as they can.  We were at The Musée d’Orsay in Paris (it is one of my top 3 favorite museums in the world – that’s why you will see a few more images from this museum here) and I wanted to capture the chaos and craziness of what it felt like being there at the height of tourist season in July.  I asked my girls to ‘freeze’, closed down my aperture, set shutter speed to 1/2 of a second, steadied myself, took a deep breath (I’ve read that it taking a deep breath before pressing your shutter helps to hold the camera steady) and took this image.

Tip 2: Shoot from Unusual Angles

Instead of taking pictures straight on or from above try shooting from below.  Here I got down on the ground (white pants I was wearing that day were not happy about that!) and took a picture of my girls being ‘a bit’ excited about going to Eiffel Tower – with the tower in the background.

Tip 3: Shoot Through Stuff

I’ve always loved photographing through things – it is super easy to do, frames your subject nicely (and I LOVE framing my subjects) and makes your images more interesting.  Try it!

 

Tip 4: Use Reflections

Can I just say how much I love reflections?  I think they always make images just a tiny bit more interesting.  So look for reflections wherever you are – be in a reflection in a mirror, window or a puddle!   We were waiting in a cafe for the rain to pass and the girls standing by a glass door.  I asked Alexa to stick her head out .. she did and I captured this image.  I love her expression, being able to see both of them in a reflection and at the same time seeing busy waiters inside – I think it captures Paris cafe culture pretty well.

Tip 5: Use Leading Lines

Using leading lines is not terribly creative or inventive but you should try to look for leading lines in a new way. Here we were going up a spiral staircase to the top of Arch de Triumph; I waited till the staircase was relatively empty and asked Mia to peek at me from the top.

 

Tip 6: Look for Light

Always always always be on a lookout for beautiful light.  We were heading out of Sacré-Cœur, after a long long day of sightseeing and I put my camera down.. Just then Victor turned around and pointed out to this amazing stream of light coming through the window.. No matter how tired I was I could not go past it without taking a picture so I asked Alexa to try to ‘catch’ that beam of light light.

Tip 7: Shoot Through Glass

Shooting through class can provide very interesting images.  We were looking at the statue of ‘Small Dancer Aged 14‘ at The Musée d’Orsay; this statue is enclosed in a glass case and I asked my girls to go on the side of the case opposite of me.  I thought that seeing them through the glass with the statue in the foreground would create an interesting image.

Tip 8: Play around with Framing

I love to frame my subjects in unusual ways.  In this image one of my girls was reading to my husband a few interesting facts about Paris and my other girl (a.k.a little monkey) was running around.  I thought it would be fun to have her ‘frame’ them and the result of that is this image:

But then again – I like any types of ‘frames’ and doorways always work very well!

Tip 9: Create Silhouettes

Do you know that you can create beautiful silhouette any time of the day – not just at sunrise and sunset?  We were inside The Musée d’Orsay (in case you are wondering – we did other stuff than just spent all other time at this museum) looking at Paris through this giant clock and I asked my girls to standing by the clock.  I thought it would be interesting to ‘frame’ the city by the clock and create silhouette of my girls against the background of the city.

Tip 10: Let Go of Perfection

And sometimes you need to let go of perfection to be able to capture a perfect moment.  This image is not technically perfect – the top of the horse is cut off and the other one is peaking through behind my daughter’s head.  But for me it is imperfectly perfect because it captures this amazing moment of Alexa interacting with an Icelandic horse – messy hair and all!

Hope you found this article useful and are ready now to go out and photograph your kids in creative ways!  And if you are a photographer reading this and want to check out other business tutorials I wrote you can see them all here.

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