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How To Find Your Photographer Soul Mate

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Having that picture perfect portrait of your family can feel overwhelming. Just the thought of getting kids organized for a portrait is always stressful for me – never mind worrying about how my family is going to gel with a photographer. Photography is such an intimate experience so finding your ‘photographer soul mate’ is important. Follow these 5 tips and you’ll be on your way to an amazing family portrait experience.

1) Stalk them on social media. I LOVE a photographer that is always sharing their latest family photography on Instagram or Facebook. Why is this more important than an updated website?  Nobody has time to keep their website updated daily, but that’s a different story when photographers are active on Facebook.   A photographer’s portrait location, style, placement will continually be changing. I love watching the evolution of portraits through a well updated Facebook page before making a decision to book. I knew from watching the Lark Rise House House Facebook Page for over a year, that the style and editing in her photos was a great match for how I pictured my portrait.

The below picture is from my phone as I watched Raeleigh style my girls and get them totally happy to be barefoot sitting in a barn window. It was at this moment I knew I was going to get a picture of the twins I would always treasure.

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2) Location, location, location. I think back to the stress of portraits at the Mall when my children were really young. The entire experience was anything but enjoyable. Here’s a little secret about finding the right photographer. The experience shouldn’t be terrible. A little stressful with children yes, but not something that gives you nightmares. I know my clan and they need to run around a lot. We met my photographer soul mate, Lark Rise Horse House, at a 200 year old farm with multiple barns and room to run. While my daughters were styled and photographed together, my boys got to collect owl pellets in an old barn, jumping in hay. This freedom gave me time to concentrate on getting my girls organized and not worry (too much) about my boys.

2.1) Location was one of the most important requirements on my list. Most photographers have access to a general location spot for pictures. Are you an outdoorsy family?  Or does the thought of light rain make you break out in hives?  A little mist doesn’t bother me and I was determined to have pictures with lots of leaves and Fall colours popping out everywhere. If weather elements have you concerned, does your photographer have a backup, indoor solution in case of freezing weather or rain?

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3) Will you click? Feeling comfortable with a photographer is important. For my clan, I need someone who is soft spoken, funny, and relaxed. I’m high strung enough for everyone, so having someone stay calm when you are feeling anxious about getting ‘the perfect picture’ is a must for me. I also know my children and a person that can yell “stinky farts” is the perfect fit for my kids. Getting them to laugh at the right moment or look dreamy in the next is great gift in a photographer. You’ll usually get the feel for this though their Facebook page.  Personalities shine through on social media – refer back to point 1) as it’s important.  I knew I had completely ‘clicked’ with my photographer when she showed up to our photo shoot with handmade fresh flower wreaths for my daughters and me to wear. She also brought some vintage looking dresses and vest for my girls – totally styled us all. I don’t have this ability and finding it in a photographer was SUCH a bonus!

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4) How do you feel about candid pictures?  I always end up loving these the most. They are always taken when you least expect it and it takes a certain eye to capture a perfect candid. Are you looking for a photographer that can tell a story of the day? Here is my favourite candid from our Lark Rise Horse House portrait. It was taken in a moment of one child saying ‘my mommy’ and being goofy. I love the expression on her twin sister’s face…bemused. And I’m so glad I just accepted the love of her grabbing my face rather than telling her to behave for the camera. It resulted in this candid picture I’ll treasure forever!!

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5) Referral. Word of mouth is also very important. Don’t know of a photographer in your area?  Ask your friends to show you their latest pictures and explain what the experience was like. Was it structured, relaxed, how long did it take to receive pictures, was their editing included, prints? I am one of those people that can’t wait to see pictures – if it’s going to take three weeks to get edited photos, I’m probably not a good candidate. I love seeing watermarked images shared after a family’s portrait – little sneak peeks a few days after the pictures have been taken. All of these questions can be answered by friends – a referral is so important because it means the photographer has left a happy trail of clients.

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I had been four years since I last took pictures with my clan. A few of these will be blown up on canvas as a surprise to my husband for Christmas. He doesn’t know we did this portrait and I’m sure will love the updated pictures of our kids. I am so grateful to Lark Rise Horse House for these pictures – they will be treasured forever! The below picture is the winner for going up on the canvas for our entrance way.  I love black and white pictures and all my kids and their different personalities are captured perfectly in this picture.

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Want to know one last thing your photographer soul mate will have you do?  A picture that wasn’t on your list. A picture that takes you out of your comfort zone. A picture just of you. Thank you Raeleigh. xx

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Leave Nothing But Footprints Contest

Sponsored by: Leave Nothing But Footprints

Hosted by: Mommy Footprint

Leave Nothing But Footprints is a company I’ve had my eye on for years. They are a great example of a company manufacturing clothing overseas using slow fashion practices, only working with suppliers who have safe working environments, treat their workers ethically and pay them fair wages – NEVER working with sweatshops. I was curious how the fibers of the clothing would feel against my very sensitive skin (really hard for me to wear synthetic fabrics) and I have to say, the Balance Top I’m wearing in the below picture, had me at hello on the LNBF website. Any new clothing I added to my wardrobe this season has been made from bamboo; it is such a soft, cozy material.

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About Leave Nothing But Footprints

LNBF stands for Leave Nothing but Footprints – from the age-old saying…”Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories”. Our mission is to empower women to create a sustainable world for future generations – starting with the clothes we wear. We want to minimize the impact fashion has on our environment. Which is why we do what we do: design stylish pieces for women who refuse to sacrifice on comfort or quality.

We are excited to bring you this amazing Giveaway for a $150 Gift Card to spend online at LNBF. I have become a bamboo fabric consumer this year and I’m very picky of any new clothing that enters my home. I really dislike waste and I only add one or two new items per season to my wardrobe. I love the feeling of wearing out my clothes and it makes me feel good to put clothing in the compost when it can’t be worn further. Why do I like bamboo? The process of growing bamboo compared to conventional cotton is different and better for the environment; especially if regular cotton is grown from GMO seed. I know there are different methods for how bamboo is processed, but LNBF turns their bamboo into viscose through a closed loop process to prevent environmental pollution. Read more about that here.

With a new season approaching (Yay Spring!!) who wouldn’t love to pick up a few items from this Canadian company? Take a peek through their website and see how comfortable their clothing essentials look! Thank you for the generous contest prize, let’s get on to the giveaway!

One lucky winner will win this

Gift Card for LNBF ($150 value)!

Giveaway ends 03/06/15 at 11:59 pm ET! Open to US and Canadian residents 18+ and older.

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Good Luck!

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Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. We are not associated with any of the companies named above. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to US and Canada 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by Random.org) will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Blundstone Boot Review and Contest

Sponsored by: Blundstone Boots Canada

Hosted by: Mommy Footprint

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Have you heard of Blundstone Boots? They are getting really popular in Vancouver, but what nailed down my desire to own a pair was visiting a Tack shop before Christmas. The equestrian store was filled with horse back riding gear and they’ve carried these boots for years because of their functionality and long lasting design. That is what sold me on these boots. Listening to people that have loved this brand for many years, because these boots do what so few brands do these days…and that is last. Over and over the testimonials from adults include that they’ve owned these boots for 20 years and just get them resoled. You also hear about the comfort these boots provide as well.  What is not to love!?

About Blundstone Boots Canada

“Worth it.” That’s what people say. The only problem with Blundstone boots is that they never seem to wear out. Oh, people try. But after a few years of kicking the bejeez out of them, they’re more comfortable than ever and still going strong. Expensive? Nope, they get cheaper by the day. Blundstone Canada is the Canadian distributor of Blundstone boots.

 

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Mommy Footprint is so excited to give you a chance to win a pair of Blundstone Boots generously offered from Blundstone Boots Canada. You can choose from the original Blundstone design, canvas, kids Blunnies, and much, much more. Check out their website and fall in love with all the functional style for all members of your family. If this is the first time you are hearing about Blundstone Boots, ask a friend or family member. Chances are you’ll hear “I’ve had mine for years..love them for their comfort and look!” That is the feedback I get when I asked on the Mommy Footprint Facebook page and now that I own a pair, I couldn’t agree more. Let’s get on to the giveaway!

One lucky winner will win this

1 pair of Blundstone Boots (up to $200 value)!

Giveaway ends 02/01 at 11:59 pm ET! Open to US and Canadian residents 18+ and older.

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. We are not associated with any of the companies named above. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to US and Canada 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by Random.org) will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Brick & Mortar Living – Shopping For A Story

Teachers, coaches, and tutors. By December, it feels like my kids are with these people more than me. And when they are strong role models that help shape and define my kids into better humans, I want a gift that says “thank you”.

I have a trick when shopping for teachers gifts that helps keep me enthusiastic in the process; I always support local. I figure if I’m way off base and they don’t like my gift, I’ve at least helped a local store owner or talented person that makes original items. And when it comes to the suburbs in Vancouver, there is a store that never disappoints with locally stocked space called Brick and Mortar Living in New Westminster.

Here are 5 gift selections I found at Brick and Mortar Living that I thought were wonderful ideas for holiday gifts for teachers in particular. All these ideas are unique, handmade, and special because of the story behind how they are made.

If we could all get back to shopping for the best story, rather than the best price, our planet would be in such better shape.

My selections range in dollar value from 1 – 5 and could be sourced further abroad if you are not local to Vancouver.

Scrabble Tile Ornaments:

Displayed in cool vintage baking sheets, Brick and Mortar has saved you the time from buying up thrifted Scrabble boards to find your letters. There are so many great projects on Pinterest to make, but sticking with the holiday theme, why not make your teacher a scrabble tile ornament for their tree? You could include a message or name and it’s a budget friendly, fun DIY project!

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Mason Jar Cozy:

On-the-go convenience is important and when you can make it reusable with knit and glass, the effect is amazing. Brick and Mortar Living put together these great pieces to make transporting your favourite beverage easy. Included in this picture is a mason jar,  Cuppow adaptor, a reusable @onyxcontainers stainless steel straw, and  knit cozy from @onanaknits. I feel like the knit cozy makes this gift so festive.

brick4Gardener Gift:

A little corner of Brick and Mortar Living has flattened, vintage spoons made into garden markers. These are so cute for a teacher that loves to garden. If you have a group gift you’ve selected from, add a gift certificate to a local garden center and you’ve paired up practical with handmade!  The garden markers featured here are from @andthenagain.

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Living Gift:

Many teachers request gifts to beautify the classroom. By design Nature creates these living frames with plants or all sizes. The frame actually reminds you when it’s time to water. There are also smaller and budget friendly magnetic pots too. Cute to stick against a magnetic board in the classroom.

 

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Here is my showstopper. I just can’t think of a more creative gift than these crib boards made from up-cycled barrel staves. Teachers generally like board games and crib is a classic. The upcycled nature of this gift at Brick & Mortar Living are so unique and there is no better story behind a gift.

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It is really fun to get to the place in gift giving where after your friend, family member or teacher opens a gift and waits for you to tell the back-story of why and how their gift came to life.  Try to include some local love into your holiday shopping this year. It’s not only fabulous for your community’s health, but feels fantastic to give.

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Baby It’s Cold Outside Contest

We’ve welcomed back some old friends with our new ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ contest and are excited to work with Dilly Dally Kids, Pip and Pin, and Simply Merino on this amazing contest! Imagine the snow is falling outside, you’ve are snuggling your child in their chemical free wool PJs, you are wearing a beautiful hand-knit cowl, and the kids bring out some family favourite games to play. Now you’ve got the concept for ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’.

We are excited to introduce our new friend Simply Merino clothing company. If you are looking for chemical free sleep wear made without synthetic materials or flame retardants, you’ve got a friend in Simply Merino. These clothes are made in New Zealand from 100% Merino wool and are a wonderful barrier for children between their skin and athletic gear, to wear as sleep wear, or use as layering pieces. I know in our house, my sons are so limited with PJs this year because I’ve had a tough time finding sleep wear that isn’t made from polyester. The thought of them sleeping in a synthetic blend just isn’t how I want them spending 10+ hours. This holiday season, parents & family love to give the gift of cozy jammies. Let them know that Simply Merino is offering a 10% discount code to Mommy Footprint readers  – just enter  mommy10 at checkout after ordering.

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Next to join the winter party is our friends Pip and Pin. We fell in love with these talented West Coast sisters two years ago after discovering their craft for making beautiful hand knit items. They are also adorable, kind, and the type of small business owners you want to support. My favourite signature Pip and Pin design are their cowls and the lucky contest winner of this contest can select a cowl with or without buttons and work with Megan and Katie with colours. Make sure to check them out at Make It Vancouver this weekend if you’re attending.

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If you live in Greater Vancouver, chances are you’ve been to Commercial Drive and fallen in love with Dilly Dally Kids toy store that offers a wide variety of heirloom quality toys. I love the wooden selection at Dilly Dally Kids and they’ve done a great job with supporting local artists, sustainable toy options, along with classic favourites. They have generously allowed Mommy Footprint to select three fun family games to anchor our ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ contest. My family has spent hours enjoying these three games and I’m excited that another family will get to enjoy them too: Sleeping Queens Card Game, Rush Hour, and Zingo (pictured below). Visit Dilly Dally Kids in-store and enjoy the unique experience of finding holiday gifts in wide assortment and age ranges. Enter the below contest and your shopping will already be off to a great start if you win this prize basket.

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Our ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ contest will run for one week November 26th – December 3rd at midnight. This contest is open to North American residents and I’m thankful to Simply Merino, Pip and Pin, and Dilly Dally Kids for working together for this amazing contest. Now close your eyes, imagine the snow falling outside, and think of how lucky you’d be to win a wool pair of kid’s PJs, cozy cowl, and family games package.

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