Posts Tagged ‘Canon’

Dec
30
2016

Christmas 2016


The night before Christmas we queued up home videos of our last few Christmases. The kids were so amused. My son, who is kind of sort of getting the concept of Santa now, especially loved watching them. And it made the next morning even more magical for the both of them.

The time from early December through New Year’s is my favorite time of year. I love taking in all of of my the twinkling lights, seeing their reactions to their new gifts, looking back at all we’ve achieved in the last year and setting goals for the new year ahead. This year, even more than just with photos I wanted to document these lasting memories in video.

Christmas Day 2016

From meeting Santa to decorating his cookies, to opening presents–this holiday was all I’d hoped it would be. I made another video for us to look back at and to cherish in years to come. This all shot on my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

I had so much fun making videos of special milestones with my kids this year and it’s something I hope to do more of next year. The kids grow so fast and this seems to be a perfect little time capsule of the here and now.

Here are a few video recording and editing tips to keep in mind if you’re looking to make some more videos in 2017:

1. Keep a camera handy: The more often you bring your camera with you, the more likely you are to get used to it and take it out to use it. If your camera does both it’s just a switch of a button to change to video mode. Between snaps take a few seconds of video so you can remember more about that special milestone.

Christmas Day 2016

2. Keep the clips short: No need to record a feature film. Ten seconds or so here and there will do the trick and actually make editing a little easier later on if you aren’t hunting through an hour of footage for the clips you want.

3. Get a variety of angles and distances: Take the video in wide angles and close ups so when you edit it together later it helps the story flow in a sequence.

4. Use a camera with autofocus: This make a huge difference. The new Canon DSLRs like the EOS Rebel T6i, the EOS 80D and EOS 5D Mark IV have video autofocus and touch screens so you can tell the camera what part of the picture you want it to focus on, and adding some nice depth and artistic focuses with just the touch of a screen.

5. Edit ASAP: From personal experience, I find the sooner I get to editing my videos the more likely they’re to get done. Otherwise I have a bunch of clips just sitting there to scroll through. That’s fun too, but it’s even better when I sit down to string a story together so I can not only free up space, but have a treasure to look back on. Each one is like a video version of a designed photo book.

Christmas Day 2016

As much of a whirlwind as it was, I’m sad to see 2016 go, but I’m glad we ended it like this. And I’m excited to ring in the new year with this crew of mine.

From birthdays to family vacations, to holidays and more, I’ve teamed up with Canon every month to share how we capture our special milestones. I’m also dishing out tips to help you better capture your special moments with your family. Shout out to my favorite camera brand for sponsoring this series.

“Learn three facts at the Utah Capitol and then you can get it.”

My daughter was asking for a stuffed blue bird toy at the visitor’s center.

We had a photo shoot planned, but in my attempt to be a good homeschooler, I wanted to try to make the experience educational too.

We’ve been on a capitol tour kick ever since our trip to Washington D.C. We visited our nation’s capitol, then our Texas state capitol. Now we were adding Utah to our list.

When we walked in we saw the place was basically deserted. There was a beautiful rotunda. My daughter admired that and then the staircase.

“What’s different about this rotunda?” I asked her.

“There’s no star.” She said.

“Anything else?”

“There’s a chandelier!”

“Right!”

We found a restroom and I helped her transform into a little princess.

I never really saw myself in Cinderella growing up. I thought she was a beautiful princess but I didn’t relate to her.–Yet my daughter manages to find the beauty and fun in each Disney princess and share it when we do these photo shoots. We started with Cinderella a couple of years ago, but when we visited Utah I knew we had to have a re-do in their beautiful capitol hall.

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

This was my first time doing a full shoot with my new EOS 5D Mark IV and it’s everything I’d hoped it would be. Full-frame, Wifi, video auto-focus with a touch screen. It’s a beauty. It has everything I love about my EOS 80D and then some in a full-frame sensor.

This was one of those shoots where I wanted to use a variety of lenses. My EF 100mm f2.8/L Macro lens for dreamy portraits and up-close macro shots of her shoes.

I loved using my EF 24-70mm f2.8/L lens for a majority of the shots. The variety of being able to go from wide to close in a second or two is why I love zoom lenses so much.

Then at the end of the shoot I had to put on my wide angle lens: EF 17-40mm f4/L lens to capture as much of the beautiful architecture as I could.

Prime EF 100mm f2.8/L Macro lens

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Zoom EF 24-70mm f2.8/L lens

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Zoom EF 17-40mm f4/L lens

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

After our photoshoot we walked around the capitol and learned a lot about it coming to be. Here are some of the things she learned to earn her blue bird:

  1. “Lots of things can be made out of Utah rocks. Some are used to help make toothpaste, or light bulbs, and even parts of cell phones.”
  2. “There’s this beehive thing and that’s in the symbol seal on their flag. Because bees are hard workers.”
  3. “The House of Representatives and the Senate helps make laws there.”

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utah-capitol-tour-4

utah-capitol-tour-1

I also loved reading how the capital came to be, the Mormon pioneers that met with the Ute tribe (among others). Another fun fact was the way the Utah capitol was built to allow for a lot of natural light and less use of electricity. It makes for a beautiful photo spot!

Utah state capitol

I tested out the video on my new EOS 5D Mark IV  and made this little “behind the scenes” video of some of what our princess shoots entail.

Her new favorite princess (and mine) is Moana. So beautiful and strong. Hopefully that’ll be our next exciting shoot if we get away someplace fun and tropical. Just when I think she may be outgrowing the princess phase she comes out of her room in another dress and I know we’re back on. A least for a little while.

Hope you enjoy these as much as we enjoyed taking them!

utah-capitol-tour-2

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

cinderella-2

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

 

cinderella-quote

I love watching my family grow through our photos and videos, which is why I partnered with Canon on this post.

DIY fairytale Cinderella photoshoot.

I don’t know why it’s been so hard for me to write about this. Self-promotion doesn’t come easy to me, but this is something I’m really excited about so here goes nothing!

I’ve slipped a mention about it here and there in a couple of blog posts and mentioned it on Facebook but it’s time I let everyone in on something I’m very proud of… My first photography course! All my tips on photographing kids and childhood memories photography in one place.

photographing children- childhood memories photography

We purchased my first DSLR camera when I was pregnant with my daughter. I had no idea how to use it but I tinkered with it a lot along the way. I learned from professionals, read and practiced A LOT. It’s crazy but some of my photographs have been featured on national TV and even on the cover of a textbook.

But I don’t love photography for that reason. What I love most is capturing the fleeting moments–(Yes, childhood is fleeting). My kids and I love looking through our photo books, and digital pictures we’ve taken together.–Photos I didn’t realize would hold as much value as they do when I re-discover them months or years later.

Biracial siblings Spring Texas Bluebonnet pictures- Childhood memories photography

I also love capturing those special moments for my friends. It’s not something I’m pursuing professionally like I once thought I would (I now call myself a professional photographer of my family) but I do share my talents from time to time with my friends who ask.

Created in partnership with Canon I share all of my tips on photographing children. From capturing the sweet tiny details of your newborn, to photographing an active toddler or a reluctant tween, I’ve compiled it all into an 11 episode video course great for beginning to intermediate photographers. Here’s a preview:

With Christmas coming up it could be a great gift for yourself or a friend you know with a new camera. On sale right now at bit.ly/MyPhotoCourse.

Though I mostly focus on DSLR cameras the tips I share could be use with any make or model. And hey, if you have any specific questions you know where to find me.

Behind the Scenes

Here are some fun facts about the making of this thing:

1. None of the models in the shoot are my actual children, but they were all fun to work with and arguably easier to photograph. Ha! But there are plenty of examples of photos I’ve taken of my own kids throughout the course.
2. I sorta got a bit of baby fever while working with the newborn. I’ve since been cured.
3. Filming this course was nothing like filming a news segment. More cameras, lights, and producers behind the scenes, but it was really fun.
4. We filmed it in Tampa, FL and I actually saw a crocodile in the pond we filmed near.
5. It took several months for this all to come together. In fact, this process began over a year ago and I’m glad I got the nerve to FINALLY officially share it with you.

babys first christmas childhood memories photography

So if you’ve been wanting to up your photography game, or have a friend who wants to, please let them know about my new course (right now it’s at a great price of $29.99)! If you buy it please please please let me know so I can send you virtual hugs and kisses.

Now please excuse me while I go and add this to my list of favorite life moments.

A beginner's online photography course: Photographing children.

Eight monuments, four Smithsonian Museums, one Capitol tour and countless subway stops in two and a half days.

I don’t even know where to begin when describing this trip to Washington D.C. with my daughter. It started out as a plan to go and see a BYU football game. Then we changed our minds and decided not to go to a game but to wait until after the new African American history museum grand opening and to just make a mother/daughter trip out of it. I’d never been. She’d never been. We were going on an adventure together.

Washington DC with kids

A huge perk of homeschooling is being able to take off in the middle of the school year and head for a vacation anywhere with fewer crowds all while making lessons out of it.

I spent the weeks before loosely planning what we’d try to see and do and walked away plotting our next trip.

If you’ve never been, you really must put D.C. on your list of places to go.

Before going on and on about how much I loved it I should disclose that we strictly enjoyed the National Mall this time around. Though we toyed with venturing out to a few other places, there was so much to see and do and since we only had a couple of days we tried to make the most out of this historical area for our first trip.

The week before our vacation I checked out some books about Washington, D.C. to read together and I bought a couple more. I think I’ll write up a separate post just outlining a Washington D.C. unit study for homeschool or people wanting to make a lesson out of it with young kids to let you know how I worked that out.

We stayed with our generous and wonderful friends who live in Fairfax, VA. So we were just a subway ride away from the National Mall. That was an adventure in and of itself and got me excited to go back with my train-loving son.

Washington DC with kids

Washington DC with kids

We got off at the Smithsonian stop and popped up around the corner from the Washington Monument. There was nothing like seeing my 6-year-old daughter jump up and down and screaming the icon by name.

We kicked things off with an ice cream bar from a stand right there, then walked over to the breathtaking 555 ft tall monument.

She wanted to touch it herself. We couldn’t go inside (closed for repairs) but she was happy to feel the outside and she took a little video on her camera.

Washington DC with kids

I should mention I used one camera and one lens for this entire trip. My Canon EOS 80D for photos and video (though I mostly focused on photos for this trip). And I rented a Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM wide angle lens that was perfect for all of the huge monuments and buildings. On a crop sensor camera this lens works wonders outdoors, and even indoors since you can stop the shutter speed down lower than usual without worrying about much blur.

From the Washington Monument we walked to the Lincoln Memorial, which was one of the two I was most looking forward to seeing. It wasn’t a quick walk with a 6-year-old who was already getting tired from a long day, but she was a trooper, and talking about the huge statue we’d seen in books that we were about to see kept her motivated to keep going.

Washington DC with kids

On the way we saw the beautiful World War II Memorial and walked along the reflecting pool. Once we reached the stairs Lil’ J said she was going to walk on the steps Martin Luther King Jr. walked on. We didn’t notice it as we walked in but on the way out we saw exactly where he stood and gave his I Have a Dream Speech.

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Inside the Lincoln Memorial we traded photos with someone next to us to get a picture together in front of Abraham Lincoln’s statue.

To the left is the Gettysburg Address in the largest font I’ve ever seen. The whole scene was truly breathtaking.

Washington DC with kids

Washington DC with kids

Next we saw the Vietnam Memorial and I had one of the most difficult discussions to date (until two days later at the African American history museum) about war. We talked to a Vietnam Veteran who volunteered there and told us more about the memorial and I helped Lil’ J read some of the names.

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We walked over to the Korean War Memorial next which was just across the way. She was really intrigued by this memorial and took some photos of her own.

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Lastly for this first afternoon we visited the Jefferson Memorial. It was really funny because other tourists were so enthusiastic about her. They were cheering for her as I took her photos and then asked to take pictures of their own with her. It was oddly amusing.

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I wasn’t prepared for all of the questions Lil’ J would have about each monument. I found myself Googling information about the presidents and dates to refresh my memory. History wasn’t even close to being my favorite subject and I don’t remember much. In many ways I feel like I was learning for the first time right along with her.

washington-dc-with-kids

We went home with our friends after this and she spent the rest of the evening playing with their kids. The next day our plan was to visit the last few memorials we missed then go to some Smithsonian Museums and take a Capitol tour. We didn’t get to visit the White House which was disappointing but I’m armed with tips to get in next time.

I’m just going to photo dump on the rest of this post and save more details about the education side of it for an upcoming more homeschooling-focused entry but I have to leave you with one important takeaway from this experience.

Washington D.C. is definitely a trip to put on the bucket list for any American. There’s so much history, entertainment and a real serene beauty surrounding many of the monuments. The best part of it all though? Coming home and hearing my daughter share her experience with her family and friends.

At a birthday party last weekend she asked to show some pictures of our trip to her friends, and I overheard her telling them about the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. She pointed out the monuments on a motorcycle video game at an arcade with her daddy, and notices things that remind her of the sights we saw and memories we made.

Most of all, I feel so lucky that I had the opportunity to enjoy this experience with my daughter. We came, we saw, we captured, we conquered. We celebrated a milestone and made memories we’ll cherish forever.

Washington DC with kids

Washington DC with kids

Washington DC with kids

Washington DC with kids

Washington DC with kids

Washington DC with kids

washington-dc_0434-copy

Washington DC with kids

For more photography tips from yours truly, check out my new photography course: Child’s Play: Simple Tips for Photographing Children.

From birthdays to family vacations, to holidays and more, I’m teaming up with Canon every month to share how we capture our special milestones. I’ll also dish out tips to help you better capture your special moments with your family. Shout out to my favorite camera brand for sponsoring this series.

What to do in Washington DC with kids. #traveling

“Sit over here!” My daughter directed me. “Now turn this way, no no, like this!”

I tried my best to do as she told me, then watched as she lifted her camera up to her eye.

It was an old film camera I bought years ago at a thrift store, either as a photo prop or a toy, I can’t remember. But it’s one of those toys that we’ve kept around through the years.

Child Photographer Child photographer

After this pretend photoshoot of hers she made a request.

“Mom, think maybe I could get a real camera? One that takes pictures I could see?”

It was hard not to consider her request.

With homeschool just starting I thought it could be a nice gift to kick off the school year and this new adventure of ours.

I asked Canon for recommendations on the best point and shoot camera for kids and narrowed it down to the Powershot ELPH 360 HS and the Powershot D30.

Best camera for kids: Teaching your child photographer.

(My photo and her photo snapped at the same time)

I love the fun colors and wifi capabilities of the other, but ultimately she and I both agreed that the waterproof and shockproof features of the PowerShot D30 outweighed the other options, and withstand any of her little mishaps. Now my little girl is the proud owner of her first very own camera.

So what happens when you give a child a camera?

Lil’ J has brought it with her on our hikes and to each our co-op meetings since then.

Nature hike with kids Austin.

Nature hike with kids Austin

“I brought my camera!” She announced at our first Wild Explorers Club meeting.

The kids were tasked to pack their own adventure packs and inside hers, Lil’ J packed her nature journal, water, a snack, a compass and her camera.

“And it’s waterproof!” she added with pride.

She’s been using it to take photos while we are on our hikes, and then uses those photos later to go by when she’s drawing in her nature journal. Her journal helps her practice handwriting and art and overall observe and pay attention to details.

Best camera for kids: Teaching your child photographer.

(Her photo)

She’s working to improve and she loves showing off her images. When you give your child a camera, you may notice a new sense of excitement and pride in her budding hobby.

Best camera for kids- Canon option

Best camera for kids: Teaching your child photographer.

Best camera for kids: Teaching your child photographer.

It’s been fun showing her how to use it—She’s already learned how to zoom, and turn the flash off and on, and review what she’s shot.

A few beginner tips I’ve given her already:

  • It’s better to zoom with your feet than your fingers to keep your picture steady and not blurry.
  • Try to keep your back to the light so that the light is falling on your subject.
  • When possible, avoid the camera flash, it makes more unnatural-looking shadows. Try to open the blinds to let in more light from the sub for prettier pictures.

Best camera for kids: Teaching your child photographer.

Best camera for kids: Teaching your child photographer.

I love watching what she does with it on her own. There have been a few times she’s come to me asking to borrow my tripod, then gone to record a video of herself and her brother playing with some toys.

My little girl has gone from always being in front of my camera, to pretending to direct her photoshoots, and now taking her own photographs for learning and fun.

When you give your child a camera, new hobbies and dreams may be born and I can’t wait to see what she dreams up next.


And for more photography tips from yours truly, check out my new course: Child’s Play: Simple Tips for Photographing Children.

From birthdays to family vacations, to holidays and more, I’m teaming up with Canon every month to share how we capture our special milestones. I’ll also dish out tips to help you better capture your special moments with your family. Shout out to my favorite camera brand for sponsoring this series.

Best cameras for kids. Canon Powershot D30 Review.

Spending quality time as a family is something I treasure, and so important to my happiness. Actually I can see how it affects my whole family’s mood when we’re giving each other our focused love and attention.

My babies are only going to be little for so long and I am obsessed with absorbing this stage. While cuddling them I’m taking more time to soak it in and be grateful. While playing, even if it’s doing something I don’t particularly like, I’m enjoying their joyful smiles. It’s also why I’m so immersed in photographing as much as I can. I love that we can flip through our family photo albums together and remember all of the fun we’ve had. I believe cherishing those moments and instilling the importance of family is invaluable.

So here’s a glimpse at some of what’s going in the photo book from our South Padre Vacation:

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

I feel like I did a pretty good job this vacation of balancing the moments I wanted to pull my camera out and capture what was going on, and the times when I’d just enjoy my company. This pretty much involved me snapping some shots when we first got somewhere, or started an activity, then putting it away for a little bit and playing with my husband and kids. I was so proud of myself for passing my camera over to my husband and making sure I got in some of the shots too.

South Padre Family vacation and fun exploring the Texas coast. List of some things to do and where to stay.

Obviously at the beach I wanted to be extra careful not to get my camera wet or get sand on it. The sand part wasn’t incredibly easy to do but I found if I kept my hands clean I could keep my camera clean. Then I only set it down when it was safely tucked away in my camera bag and underneath a blanket.

I used my EOS 80D for most of my photos on this trip. It is lighter than my EOS 5D Mark II and convenient because I was able to easily switch between taking photographs and capturing video.

For me it’s so important I do something with my photos once I’m back home. I try to print some out to hang or make a photo books when I have a lot of photos. I like to keep my photo books out and within reach because my kids love flipping through them all the time.

Same goes for my videos. I try to turn them into something we can enjoy versus just clips of video one after another to scroll through and press play on. Here’s what I made from this trip:

When it comes to capturing vacation memories I like to try to remember a few things.

1. Get a variety of shots: Some may include people, some may just be the location, and don’t forget those tiny details, like the shells my kids collected on the beach.

2. Candids are great: It can be tempting to plop your family in front of a landmark, snap a photo and call it a day, but vacations are a great time to get candid photos and capture the emotion and fun around a trip. Look at taking photos of the action as well as reactions to things going on.

3. Get in the shot: I almost forgot this this trip. It wasn’t until I was looking at some of the photos I took of my husband with the kids that I realized I hadn’t been in any yet. I passed my camera off to him (after switching the camera to AV mode so he couldn’t mess it up) and played in the sand with my kids while he did the best he could (and it wasn’t bad!)

4. Switch to video now and then: I don’t need to keep rolling on every moment of the trip, but press record for 5-10 seconds every now and then and string the pieces together later to really capture the emotion from the moment.

5. Use a zoom lens: I love my primes, don’t get me wrong, but on vacations when you’re walking around and in a variety of situations, zoom lenses are so handy. I mostly used my Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L lens to take in more of the background, but I also loved my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens when I wanted to get closer.

For more of my vacation photography tips check out my article or my photography course on the Canon Digital Learning Center.

From birthdays to family vacations, to holidays and more, I’m teaming up with Canon every month to share how we capture our special milestones. I’ll also dish out tips to help you better capture your special moments with your family. Shout out to my favorite camera brand for sponsoring this series.

“I like this one!” My 5-year-old daughter told me as we shopped for picture frames for my dad’s Father’s Day gift. She was in charge of helping choose everything this year, and assembling the presents. A big responsibility my little one was excited to tackle.

He always requests photo gifts for the holidays but I’m never on the ball when it comes to ordering them. I’m a procrastinator and I just can’t get it together.

Nothing changed this year. Here we were shopping for picture frames the day before Father’s Day, and we were planning to give him his gift in a few hours since he was coming to town. I hadn’t ordered the photos to go in it. I didn’t even know which ones I’d be choosing. But I had a secret weapon this year.

A photo printer.

As someone who’s obsessed with preserving memories through photographs and video, I’m surprised how long I went without one of these in my life.

I selected a few photos I took earlier this year of my dad and my kids together, and Lil’ J put them in the frames.

“Aww,” she sighed looking at her picture.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I don’t really like this picture,” she told me.

She looked cute to me, but I wanted her to like the picture she gave to her Grandpa Poppy.

“Well if you want I can take another when he comes over today,” I told her.

She immediately perked up and changed into a pretty dress for the occasion.

My dad visited us for a couple hours that afternoon before driving back to Dallas. Before he left Lil’ J reminded me she wanted a new picture for the frame and as promised I snapped one real quick on my DSLR.

Biracial girl and creole grandpa

Two minutes later I was handing my daughter a vibrant 4×6 photo to replace in the frame.

She loved the photo, and I loved the convenience. No more 1-hour photo lab. No more late gifts (I hope).

Lil’ J worked hard to undo the frame latches, put in the picture and replace the backing. Then she beamed with pride as she handed the newly framed image to her grandpa.

What a sweet moment across three generations, and a touching milestone for her.

I’ve gone a little crazy since then printing out my favorite photos from the last few years and putting them in my kids’ memory boxes.

How to photo coasters

Then I started making photo crafts I’ve been pinning on Pinterest for ages but never had the discipline for all of the follow-through.

I had my husband pick up some bathroom tiles from Home Depot and BOOM… Less than an hour later we made some new photo coasters with some Modge Podge, pictures and felt on the bottom.

I even went a little funky and made some photo magnets for my husband’s garage gym storage cabinet using sports drink lids. Who knows what I’ll do next!

Gatorade lid photo magnets

Seeing my dad’s and daughter’s face light up at a simple photo exchange was enough to make me realize how important it is that we don’t keep our photos hidden away on our computers, but print and cherish them in our hands as well.

I’m using the Canon PIXMA MG 7720 printer which is Wi-Fi enabled, a breeze to use and produces gorgeous photographs up to 8×10 in size.

Now please excuse me while I go fill the rest of my home with photos of my family.

Do you hang a lot of your family photos? Have any creative ideas for me?

*Making and cherishing memories and milestones with my family is so important to me, which is why I’ve partnered with Canon on this post. All opinions are my own.

Some kids like trains, some kids love trains, and then there’s my son. Absolutely enthralled by trains.

Today my train-loving little boy turned 3. 3 adorable years old, and I’m so happy to say he’s mine.

Canon EOS 80D Stop Motion Video Review

I’m always doing surprises for his big sister and I thought it was about time I started to do some special ones for him.

Several months ago there was a streak of a couple of days where I left the house and came home with plastic bags full of more train tracks. Used, and from friends. Because of this, the next few times I came home with grocery bags, he came up to me and inspected them for tracks. I guess he just assumed that’s where I went when I left him home with daddy.

Mornings before school he’s frequently asking me to help him build his wooden tracks and sometimes when I do, I really get into it.

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Other times we’re in a hurry and I’m rushing him to pack up his trains, get dressed, and get out the door.

Well this day was more like the latter. I was finishing his lunch, fighting with him to get his clothes on (as usual) and running out the door. I told him we could build trains tracks when we got home. It’s true, we were in a hurry and needed to go. But I didn’t plan to build them when we got home. No, I actually had a much better surprise in store. Watch and see…

Pretty cool right? I can’t take credit for the entire video. The wink was 100% Lil’ J’s idea who said “I thought the train was going to blink. You should make it blink!”

This little project was a two-way surprise for my son. For one, he was SO happy to come home and see the tracks he had been begging me to build all morning. And two, he LOVES watching this video of his trains coming to life. I think he may think they really are alive when we leave now. Though I have more fun surprises in store for his birthday, I think this one was a great start.

How did I do it? I think I’ve discovered the easiest way to make a stop-motion video.

I never thought I’d have the patience to make one, but I’m trying out Canon’s new EOS 80D DSLR — an upgrade from my beloved EOS 70D and it has several awesome improvements, including a time lapse setting on it so you can set your camera on a tripod, tell it how many pictures you want it to take and in what interval.

For this video I set the camera to take about 20 pictures in a row, each 7 seconds apart. Between each photo I’d move the trains and tracks a little. I got a good workout running in and out of the frame, and it sorta felt like I was running suicides, and after a while I had to up the time between photos to be around 14 seconds.

About 400 photos later, I had the story in pictures. I put each one on a movie timeline about 8 frames long and POOF! Magical trains, and a video I hope he’ll cherish forever.

train-loving-birthday-boy

I’m always using my camera to capture memories we were making together, but for this project it was fun to create something he loves, with his favorite toys.

A few other things I’m loving about this new EOS 80D camera and its new lens combo:

  • You can record video and use Wi-Fi at the same time: It may sound a little excessive but it’s been a feature I’ve been waiting for! Now I can not only take pictures with my kids on my own using my Canon Camera Connect App over Wi-Fi, but now I can get in more video shots with my kids as well. Or start and stop recordings, and adjust my manual settings without needing to get up.
  • Full HD-60p video and smooth autofocus: If you have a DSLR that does video you may have noticed how frustrating it is trying to manual focus the lens. With this camera you can touch the screen and tell it where to focus, and it’ll do the rest.
  • The new EF-S 18–135mm f/3.5–5.6 IS USM’s: Not to get too technical but this lens now has a new Nano USM Autofocus system, which is what makes the lens deliver high speed Autofocus and also allows for quiet and smooth AF transitions, perfect for movie recording. In other words, it’s fast AND quiet so I can snap photos of my kids when they’re jumping around and not miss the shot, and you don’t hear it trying to search for the focus in video mode.

All of the features came together perfectly in making this little project for my little train-obsessed birthday boy. I’m actually not sure how I’ll top it next year, but hopefully I’ll come up with something just as magical.

From birthday parties to family vacations, to holidays and more, I’m teaming up with Canon every month to share how we capture our special milestones. I’ll also dish out tips to help you better capture your special moments with your family. Shout out to my favorite camera brand for sponsoring this series.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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