Last year, a friend introduced me to an Instagram account by the name of 1,000 Hours Outside. I lurked a bit and thought to myself, " Well, this is really nice, but we play a lot outside...and I don't need to track our hours to know that." But I lurked some more. We really do love being outside. We spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in the nice weather. The more and more her posts popped up in my feed, I found myself stopping my scroll and really listening to what she (her name is Ginny) has to say.
Sure, we spent a lot of time outside, but what was missing was the intentionality of it. We were not being intentional about our time outside. Once that realization hit me, the parts were set in motion. It became so obvious to me. We needed to prioritize this time. It was time to make a change and it was time to jump into this challenge right now. Today. Today happened to be February 19, 2020. This isn't about starting on New Years Day. This was about starting.
Now, coincidentally, look at that date that we started. 2/19/20. Less than a month later, our world would change and turn completely upside down. March 13, 2020 our state went into a lockdown and quarantine that was supposed to only be 2 weeks... and we know how that ended. Having been already in this habit of intentionally being outside everyday gave us at least a tiny sense of stability and purpose to our days. What a blessing!
So, how have we spent our time (in quarantine mind you) outside and what have we done with ourselves?
The colder months were a bit challenging for us. There's a few reasons for this- I hate cold weather. I get the winter blues. I hate cold weather. And mostly, I hate cold weather.
This challenge has helped me take control of that aspect of my life. I tend to feel "trapped" indoors in the winter. This has given me the motivation and again, the intentionality, to go outside. I addressed my problem head on and I got some base-layers and some wool socks for each of us. They aren't fancy, but they do the job and they keep us warm. Being comfortable has made the biggest difference!
Here are some things we have done in the winter months:
Honestly, it's brought us closer together as a family. We spend so much more time together in the outdoors and I don't see us ever looking back. I will begin blogging updates every season about our experiences, but I want to hear your thoughts and ideas! Leave me some of your tips and activities in the comments or hope on over to my Facebook page or Instagram to join the conversation.
Here's the links:
1000 Hours Outside
Jess Nicole Photography Facebook Page
Jess Nicole Photography Instagram
5 Photos to Take This Christmas Season + a Festive Challenge! | Hampton Roads Photographer | Jess Nicole Photography
Christmas is coming and I know that our days are going to be filled with many wonderful activities and traditions. Time spent with family and friends is time well spent and so worthy of a snap. I have come up with a few photos to take that you will surely treasure and will help tell the story of your holiday season.
Who's up for a little challenge to really elevate your photos and help you to be more intentional and aware of what photos you are making?
Well fa la la la la- let's do this!
Make a list of holiday and Christmas traditions your family has and participates in every year. Now, prioritize them in the order of upmost importance. Next, under each activity you listed- write things that you enjoy about that activity. What is it about that activity you look forward to? Is there something a certain child always does? Do you enjoy the planning? Do you dress a certain way? Think closely about this one and don't overlook the details. This is what you are going to photograph. Look beyond the generic "stand there and look at the camera and smile" photos.
Here's an example from our family:
The past few years, I haven't loved the idea of decorating. It feels like a lot of work, right? I know some people that are so into it and love Christmas so much they begin decorating as soon as Halloween is over ( we all know them, right?) But, my kids get so much joy out of decorating. It's ever so exciting to them! So, if I'm digging a little deeper and looking a little closer, what do I enjoy about it? Well, the end result for one. I like seeing everything festive, yet back the way it goes, boxes cleared away, etc. But again, digging deeper, I love to see my kids excitement. Why are they excited? Boxes everywhere (mass chaos!!!)! Dad climbing in and out of the super mysterious attic! Clumping all the ornaments in one tiny space on the tree! It's so funny to me because I feel like when we decorate, it certainly does not look like a Hallmark commercial! It's magical all right, but in our own messy, crazy way. Maybe more like National Lampoons?
Now, get out there and document your Christmas and holiday traditions! Share them with me on my Facebook page or tag me in your Instagram stories @jess.nicole.photography - I want to see what you come up with!
If you are interested in having me do this for you, I'd obviously be happy to. Let me know by using the contact tab above or message me on any of my social channels.
There's this running joke in the photography community, photographer's children hate the camera, anything to do with pictures, and will act like wild animals if they even sense the camera turning on. Back when I did portrait photography (seems like a lifetime ago), I would always chuckle and cry because I knew it to be so true.
But then, oh glorious day, I made the decision to do a 180 and follow my real passion- capturing authenticity. That's a whole other blog post I'll write one day, but for now, just know that my kids no longer have "photographer's child syndrome". Which is awesome- I feel like they feel respected and appreciated just the way they are, in their natural habitat. And I am over the moon because I get real, meaningful portraits of my kids. Portraits of them just the way they are and exactly how my heart will always remember them.
So, let's get to it. What are some ways YOU can prepare your kids for a shoot with me? Here's 5 easy ways to help them (and you) prepare for your awesome family storytelling session with me!
I hope you found this helpful and I hope it eases any worries you may have had. I'm aiming for zero stress over here.
If you'd like to chat a bit about a session with me, I'm all ears. We can do a quick video chat or simply send me a message and I'll send you a digital magazine with all of the details.
I want to preserve this time for you. The whole family deserves to be in the frame and your children will cherish this keepsake for years to come. These pictures will only get sweeter with time.
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.