3 Organization Projects to Tackle While Kids are at Camp

When the kids are away at camp it’s an ideal time for you to tackle some home organization projects that help tone down the clutter and allow you a few moments to spend walking down memory lane.

We have put together three simple organization projects that, with a small amount of time and effort, can help you get more organized and create systems that make documenting your family life (and not the mess that comes with it!) easier.

Organize Old Clothes

Kids grow so quickly, and that means the piles of outgrown clothes can easily take over the space in drawers and closets. To tame the clothing clutter, we suggest sorting old or outgrown clothes into two boxes.

Fill the first box with clothes that you can donate to local organizations like Goodwill, centers for women and children in need, or non-profit groups that help refugees. When you are donating clothing, make sure that it is still wearable and comfortable. Remember, no matter a person’s level of need, they still deserve to have items that remind them that they are special and cared for. For clothing that is not wearable, along with old sheets and towels, think about donating to a local animal shelter.

Fill the second box with those pieces of clothing that mean the most to you and your family. These don’t have to be the most stylish, or best quality pieces. They can include the t-shirt your son wore when he took his first steps, or your daughter’s favorite dress that she wore every day until she grew out of it. Gather all these treasured items and send them to a company like Project Repat, and have a blanket made.

Organize Photos

If you’re anything like us, you have thousands of digital photos across multiple devices. To make sure that you don’t lose photos of the moments and memories you most want to document, create a file organization system that works for you. We suggest organizing by folders. You can sort by year, and create sub-folders based on time (monthly, quarterly, etc.) or you can organize by favorite places, milestones, or themes.

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Do you vacation at Cape Cod every summer? Consider making a Cape Folder. Within that folder, create sub-folders for each year. That way, you can see how you and your family have changed, how special places have changed, and how the most important thing have remained the same. Think of the act of organizing your photos as a way of documenting and honoring the moments those photos capture.

To organize printed photos, consider using albums or decorative boxes for the photos you haven’t framed. Keep these boxes and albums around the house in family areas so that they are always available for you and your kids to take out and look at together.

When organizing photos, keep in mind how you plan to use them in the future. Make it easy to find your favorites and the photos that best tell the stories of your kids’ lives and your family life so they are on hand when it’s time to create a Mitzvah Montage or to add to a Portrait Video.

Organize Toys

Organizing toys goes a long way to cutting down the clutter, but it can be a difficult experience for kids. Take some time while they are away at camp to sort through toys, starting with those that they haven’t played with much, or toys and games that they never even opened.

Don’t get rid of too much without their consent. It’s important to make sure that your kids feel involved in, but not overwhelmed by the process. Sort the toys as best you can without them, then look through individual boxes or bags - with no pressure - after they come home.

Come up with some strategies that make letting go of old toys easier. This can include putting together a pile of toys to pass along to younger relatives and friends. Find organizations together that your kids would like to donate their gently used toys to (check what organizations accept what kinds of toys - many will not take stuffed animals). Set aside some toys for your kids to sell to help reach their savings goals. They could join up with friends and do a group yard sale or stoop sale - the other moms will be thrilled that you are helping them clear their clutter, too!

When you are organizing, try to be intentional. Consider it part of acknowledging your family’s history and experiences. Feel confident putting things back into the world, after their time of service to you is over. But don’t feel bad about wanting to hold onto a few things, to turn them into memory pieces, or to keep them close to help you remember the moments that have meant the most to you.

Storytelling Game for Kids: Interviewer

Create memory making moments and build storytelling skills for kids this summer. Breaks from routines give us more time together, and what better way to use that time than by encouraging our kids to tell and share stories - their own, ours, and our families.

Try this games on road trips, around the campfire, back at the house after a long day at the beach, or during an afternoon at home when you start to hear the murmur of “I’m bored.”

Interviewer

Kids of all ages love to hear what the adults in their lives were like when they were their age. Gather around (or sit down with your kiddo if it’s just the two of you) and have your child ask the adults some interview questions about what life was like for them.

Questions to Ask

When you were my age, what was your favorite song?

What was your favorite thing to do when you were my age?

When you were my age, what did you do on summer vacation?

What was the hottest topic in the news the summer you were my age?

If you could choose to be a kid now or when you were growing up, what would you choose? Why?

Document Stories

Encourage your kids to record the answers. Write them down or set up the phone to record audio like a “real” interviewer.

Consider turning the interview into a project. Your kids could write up an article, prepare a presentation, or come up with other creative ways to document the stories family members share with them.

This shouldn’t feel like a have-to-do homework assignment. There are so many fun ways to get excited about documenting family history and family life. You will all be surprised to see the kind of connections, excitement and ideas a simple game like this can create.

Happy storytelling, friends. And happy story sharing, too!

Lucky Summer

I wonder if it’s because the moments in summer tend to be a bit longer, that we want to hold onto them even more. The rush to get out the door slows down. If we’re lucky enough to get some time off with our families, the destination becomes the beach, the pool, or a treasured family home, rather than work and school.

Photo E Eames

Photo E Eames

The days are longer and brighter this time of year. And it seems as if our eyes bend a bit to that lens. We look for the brighter, longer moments. We feel the need to hold onto this time of year because it feels at once apart from our daily lives and essential to the lives we are working so hard every day to build for ourselves and our children.

Summer is the time, too, when (again, if we are lucky) we get to reconnect with extended family and not-often-seen friends. We share meals, and drinks, and adventures with the people who make us who we are, make us glad to have this life to celebrate. Even though, often, these are not the people with whom we share the bulk of our lives. We share the bright days with them. The memory making days.

Photo by E Eames

Photo by E Eames

All of this makes summer a unique time for us at Portraits that Move. So much of our mission is to celebrate the every day. The moments between these milestone days. All the days and days worth of moments that got your son or daughter to this summer day when their great aunt marvels, as if on cue, at how much they have grown.

For us, as we continue our mission of celebrating our shared moments and documenting our mundane and marvelous lives, we look at this season of milestone moments - the family trips, the camp letters home, the plans for the coming school year and Mitzvah season - and we recognize that nature is helping us do our work in a pointed and beautiful way. It is brightening the light. It is setting the stage. It is giving us all a little extra time to recognize and celebrate the moments that we create and the moments that find us, if we are lucky enough.

Summer Snaps with Portraits that Move!

We’re sharing Summer Snaps throughout the season to help us remember to be mindful of all the moments the season has to offer.

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For us, this is a fun way to share our mission to celebrate every moment because every moment matters. And it’s a great way to stay in touch with each other and gather joy from our collected adventures, discoveries, and quiet moments in time during one of the most beautiful seasons of the year.

Photo by #PTMsummersnapper  @elizabeth.eames

Photo by #PTMsummersnapper @elizabeth.eames

So, take us along on your adventures! Snap a photo and share on Instagram. Tag @portraitsthatmove #ptmsummersnaps so we can all celebrate together. If we all join in, the PTM Team will launch a special contest with a super fun promotion in August… so stay tuned, and start snapping!



Celebrating a Couple's Love and a Family's Story

Recently, we made a Portrait Video to celebrate the tenth wedding anniversary of a longtime Portraits that Move family.

Creating an Anniversary Portrait video for Michelle Roos and her family was as amazing an experience for us as it was for them. It was a joy to see the love that they share and to reflect back to them the story Michelle and her husband Danny have created over the last 10 years.

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When Michelle came to us to ask us to create this anniversary film, we were thrilled to continue to celebrate the story of a family that means so much to us. The first video we created for the family was the Generations Video we made to honor the 100th birthday of Michelle’s grandfather.

It means so much to us to be able to document and honor the milestones of Michelle’s family and so many others.

And we are not the only ones who were moved by the experience of creating and watching the film. According to Michelle, Gavi, the couple’s just turned 9 year old, had “the best reaction ever.”

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Michelle tells this story about watching the film with Gavi and the rest of the family. “The whole time he was watching he kept coming over and hugging and kissing us. He just loved it and was filled with warm feelings about our family. Danny thought it was very sweet and when it was done he said, ‘I guess I have to make you a card.’”

For our part, we are so happy to have made this film for them. We wish Michelle, Danny and their family continued health and happiness. And we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for including us in the milestone moments of their lives.





Break Out of Busy

The end of the school year comes with a rush of concerts, recitals, championship games, school events and graduations. It is an exciting time to celebrate your child’s accomplishments and the friendships you have made over the course of the school year. It can also be insanely busy. Like, makes the holiday season look restful busy.

So, how do you enjoy this busy season instead of getting overwhelmed by it?

Listen to Your Child

Make time to talk with your children. Ask them questions and remember to take the time to listen to the answers they give you. Do they need a break?

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If there is a party they want to skip and they can skip it, let them. Sometimes less really is more, so let your children lead you and give them the space to rest if they feel like they need to tap out and take time to restore their energy.

Stay Present in the Moment

Put down your camera. Set aside your To Do List, and engage all of your senses in the moment that you are experiencing. If your child is performing a song she has written, listen to it, look at her. Take in the moment for what it is.

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These moments are short, even though they represent so much preparation and progress. Do everything you can to recognize and appreciate them for what they are - and to encourage your children to do the same - rather than racing from one calendar alert to the next.

Celebrate Each Other

There is a reason why celebrate is our Word of the Year. It is so important to celebrate each other and the wonderful things we do together and on our own. Your children feel proud and happy when you celebrate them and the work they have done.

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As a parent, when you take the time to celebrate, you are also taking the time to slow down and savor the moment. You are giving yourself permission to enjoy things for what they are and to enjoy each other for who you are.

You may still feel exhausted at the end of the school year, but you certainly won’t feel like it was wasted time.

Change is the Constant, and So is Gratitude

My son has decided to grow out his hair- that is after we briefly dyed it purple. He is experimenting with his appearance even while he is still losing teeth. He likes to ask questions and then make jokes about sexuality which seems so grown up but then he  still sometimes wants a favorite stuffed animal to snuggle with.

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He wants to make pillow forts with me and then wants only to talk to his friends. One minute, he is doing impressions of Donald Trump at the family dinner table and the next he is moody and wants to be left alone with the dreaded video games.

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It is a changeable time and one that is uncertain for both of us. And with each new stage of parenting, I am trying to ride the wave, to take it as it comes and to sit with the moments of joy. I am deeply aware that the time is flying, soon he will not want to be with me and that will be appropriate. Soon, he will choose friends over movie nights at home. So, I cherish it all (even the moodiness.) And, I remain grateful, to have this experience, this human, this love in my life.

 And I am grateful to have documented him when I did, because when I miss that six year old smile, I can always look back, remember and celebrate him then and now.

A Month for Moms

At Portraits that Move, we celebrate moms and the moments they make with their kids every day. So when Mother’s Day rolls around we get really excited.

In honor of the first day of May, we are kicking off our celebration of Mother’s Day today with a roundup of some of our Mother’s Day posts. Today, we’re sharing everything from creative Mother’s Day project ideas for kids (spoiler alert: they require no parental assistance!) to how to cope when Mother’s Day just feels too hard.

Let the Kids Take the Lead

Find new ways to celebrate Mother’s Day with family and friends! Talk to your kids about the women in your circle – your family, friends and neighbors, – and ask them how they want to connect with and celebrate the women who help to shape their lives.

As is so often the case when we take the extra time to have conversations like this with our children, the answers may surprise you.  The list could include grandmothers, neighbors, godparents or teachers. It is always a moment of discovery when you let your children lead conversations about what means the most to them. 

By engaging with your children in this way, you learn who is important to them and what they are observing about their family and community.  You also come to learn how your children are practicing empathy and gratitude as they grow and change.


Mother’s Day Message

We love looking back at this video of a Portraits that Move family - watch to the end to hear how “my mom is special to me.”

If you’re thinking about scheduling a video shoot or gifting a Portraits that Move film for Mother’s Day, let us know!

When Mother’s Day is Hard

As much as we love celebrating our fellow moms, we understand all too well that Mother's Day can be a painful holiday for many.  Many of us have experienced a complicated journey to motherhood, or have found that our motherhood experiences are in sharp contrast with our expectations.  We know that Mother’s Day, more often than not, can be a reminder of our losses more than a celebration of our lives.

For these reasons and so many more, as Mother’s Day approaches, we are working hard to pause, to create space for feeling, working through, and sharing all of our emotions surrounding this holiday that ends up being much more than a Hallmark moment, whether or not we had planned for that.

How Do You Celebrate?

Head over to Facebook and tell us how you are planning to celebrate Mother’s Day this year. Whether it is a quite day of reflection or a loud, messy celebration, know that we are holding space for you and for your loved ones on this day and always.

3 Questions to Ask Your Kids to Connect to Nature and Each Other

The weather is beautiful in NYC today! Take a moment when you can (or even when it’s so busy you feel like you can’t) to ask your kids these three questions. They’ll help you connect to the beauty around you, and to each other.

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So power down those screens, and encourage your kids (littles and bigs) to look up, down, and around. They’ll discover the beauty, the simplicity, and the power of the natural world around them. And you are very likely to be reminded of the beauty, simplicity, and power of the children you are raising. It’s all about those small moments that matter, friends, as we head into Earth Day, and EVERY DAY.

Look Up - What shapes do you see in the clouds?

This one never gets old, but how many times do we stop and ask it? Finding shapes in the clouds is the first step to creating and sharing stories. '

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Before you know it, your kids will be scanning the sky for characters to add to their tales. And you will be joining right along with them. Suddenly, the walk home from school, or the trip to run errands won’t have you feeling so sluggish. You, and your kids start to feel energized by the stories you are creating, the world you are discovering, and the nature all around you that provides an endless source of inspiration.

Look Down - How many sprouts do you see?

Have no fear, city moms, this question is just as much for you as it is for our friends in the suburbs and out in the country. Get your kids to look down at the base of trees as they’re walking along the sidewalk. Ask them to peek in people’s front yards (no matter how small), and even the cracks in the concrete.

How many sprouts can your kids see? Are some of them crocus plants, are others grass? Have them guess what is growing, how big it will get, what color it will be.

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Let their imaginations run wild! Is that little weed you see growing between the sidewalk cracks going to grow up to be a tree? If it did, and we climbed it, where would it go, what would we find? How many birds would call it their home?

With a mix of imagination play and nature learning, you will be amazed by how much creativity and joy you awaken - for your kids and for you!

Look Around - How does this street look different today than it did yesterday?

The world around us is always changing, especially during springtime. Try to catch as many of those moments as you can by taking stock of the space around you and recognizing all the little changes that happen in such a short time.

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This exercise is a great way to get conversations going with your kids, and to challenge them, and you, to really LOOK at everything around you. At first, you may not notice that there are more blooms on the tree, or that the petals are starting to give way to summer style leaves, or that the buds have started to turn into flowers. But when you ask about it, and start to look for changes, and talk about what you see, you and your children will realize everything that happens in a day, and just how lucky we are to be able to experience it.

And that, friends, is a moment that matters.







Why Mitzvahs, Why Now?

 I wore a white frilly dress and my grandfather’s tallit (prayer shawl.) My hair was permed and my braces had recently been taken off for the event. I felt strong and filled with pride. I was continuing my family’s tradition and it meant something to me. 

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I remember so clearly what it felt like to stand up in front of my friends and family and tell them about how I wanted to contribute to the world and about how the experience of preparing for the special day had changed my perspective. I felt it then and looking back, I still feel that now.

The decision for us to make Mitzvah Videos at Portraits That Move may seem like a bit of a left turn, since so much of what we do is about capturing the average day in the life of kids and their families. It actually isn’t and here’s why.

To me, life is all about the following truths: family, closeness, celebration, tradition, joy and gratitude. Every day that we create videos for Portraits that Move, I have these truths in mind. Making mitzvah videos allows us to create something that is about all of them at one time.

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Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are celebrations with family. They are filled with joy and tradition.  I see a wonderful opportunity to enrich the experience that a family is having by giving them the chance to document their own feelings about the process. This is super empowering for kids and for parents. The result is something that they have to share with their guests and to look at and remember forever.

The empowerment of going through a mitzvah process cannot be underestimated. It can be a defining moment for a child. We want to be part of that - to document that shift and to celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. Let’s celebrate together.

Window in Time - A Mom's Reflection

Mom Tracy Gary shares her Portraits that Move experience with us today. Thank you, Tracy, for sharing your family, and your thoughts, with us.

Watching our Portraits That Move video years later is like peeking through a window back in time. I see our children everyday and we, of course, have thousands of pictures and even videos but none so intimate, personal and animated as Susannah’s artistry.

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There are none that capture how our daughter took this shoot as serious as a job interview, her sweet, earnest little face intent on being a true professional. And how our son couldn’t be bought, bribed or swindled into giving a straight answer…a lion tamer, bwa ha ha! 

But it was also all the details Susannah captured that remind us of the home we’ve built together, liberally sprinkled with the kids’ creations, lovies and toys.

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That’s all much less now as they’ve transitioned from legos to laptops and mommy and daddy centric beings into people defining who they are outside of us. Susannah also forever captured those unbridled belly laughs and the unadulterated joy a young child gets from a parent’s undivided attention.

It’s, in truth, a little heartbreaking to watch as they’ve grown so much into all together different people. But Susannah’s portrait of our family gives life, color and sound to the tiny, sticky fingerprints those little beings left on my heart on that cold January day. 

Celebrating 5 Moments that Changed Us

Today, we’re recapping our 5 Moments in 5 Days anniversary celebration. It was hard for us to pick only five moments, because all of the moments we have created, documented and celebrated over the last five years have filled us with joy.

Each of the examples that we chose focuses on our mission of documenting the every day moments that matter to families. They demonstrate how we make and honor history, milestones, legacy and new beginnings every day,. This is exactly what families do, no matter their shape, size, or circumstances. We hope that you enjoy reliving these moments as much as we do, and we are grateful that you continue to share and celebrate your moments with us.

When the Little Moments Add up to the Story of Childhood for Two Siblings

We love working with families like this one year after year. This family hired us to create their first video the year Portraits that Move launched, and we have been documenting their lives ever since. What a wonderful way to preserve the moments that make up a family’s history, as those moments unfold.

Here's a look at the first film we created for them

And here is the most recent film..


Much gratitude to this family who keeps us smiling year after year!

Bringing Together Years of Small Moments for one Big Mitzvah Montage

All of these moments make up the stories of our lives. Mitzvahs provide the perfect opportunity to celebrate that life as it is growing and changing.

In this Mitzvah Montage, we take time to look back on these moments, to celebrate them, and to share them with friends and family who come together to support and honor a child during a milestone moment.

Capturing 3 Generations in One Film

What an amazing opportunity it was to create a film that brought the lives of three generations of one family together in celebration and joy.


As filmmakers, when you work with multiple generations of the same family, you are able to see the large and small ways that each individual’s experiences, observations, and personalities come together to create a complete, rich story of a family.

From the great grandparent down to the newest family member, we are able to see how history, tradition and love come together to create a story that is entirely unique to them, and that, at the same time, resonates with us all.

Meeting Baby, Meeting the World

From the eldest generations to the newest, we delight in bringing moments to life on film. Our Baby Videos are precious, especially when we are able to captured firsts - like baby’s first time touching snow - on video. So much more than a set of infant or baby photos, these moving portraits give us the sights and sounds of a baby. And they allow parents to talk about what it is like in those first few months in an honest, open, and joyful way.


It is often said because it is so true, time moves more quickly than we can imagine. And as much as we are convinced we will remember every detail of our baby’s first months and years, we don’t. They are gone in a flash, and it is so gratifying to have something to look back on to remember exactly how it looked, how it felt, what it sounded like when there was a new baby in your home.

Celebrating Healing

One of the most profoundly gratifying and joyful experiences we have is creating videos for our Portraits that Heal project. In these videos, we honor and celebrate the lives of children who live with chronic, life threatening illnesses.


In addition to demonstrating the resiliency, tenacity, and hope that these children and their families embody every day, our Portraits that Heal videos also remind us, and those who watch them, about the beauty, simplicity and joy of living every day. We are inspired and amazed by these children and we are deeply honored to be able to preserve their lives and their words on film..

Share Your Joy with Us

Contact Portraits that Move to book a video celebrating your family’s daily life, and the history you are making.

3 Things for Busy Moms to Do this Spring

Spring is almost here, in spite of the chill in the air here in NYC. So we’re sharing a new approach to Spring Cleaning, tailored for busy moms like us.

This spring, we’re finding ways of celebrating the every day, because “every moment matters” is more than how we describe our work, it is how we live our lives.

Stop asking "how was your day"

Avoid this question if you really want answers!

To really connect with your kids, and to get the conversation going, try some of our tips from the start of the school year.

Are these strategies working for you? What are you doing to start quality conversations with your kids? And how are you finding the time?

Choose one simple way to connect with your kids

You don’t have to be Mary Poppins to create special moments for your kids. And you don’t have to plan elaborate vacations or custom play spaces to enjoy some time together.

In fact, even small interactions like cooking a meal together, sitting around the table (it doesn’t have to be a holiday!), watching their favorite TV show with them, or listening to them describe something that they love - a hobby, sport, art project or video game) - can go a long way.

Take some time for self-care

Remember the advice they give on planes to put on your oxygen mask before assisting others when things get hectic.

Photo by  Becca Tapert  on  Unsplash

The spring season is often full of family events and major milestones (Mitzvahs, graduations, weddings). In all that excitement, and during all that preparation, the small moments that matter can get lost, especially if you’re not finding little ways to remind yourself that you matter. Practice self-care when you’re busy, not just when you feel like you have the space to carve out “me time.”

5 Things We Love about Portraits that Move

It’s our 5th Anniversary and we’re celebrating all week. Follow along and share your memories on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter this week as we celebrate 5 Small Moments that Mean the World to us. We’ll be highlighting one moment every day, from Tuesday through Saturday. We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane as much as we do.

Today, we kick off our week of celebration with 5 Things we love about Portraits that Move!

1. Celebrating Your Everyday Moments

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For these past five years, we have lived by the mantra "every moment matters" and we are so happy to reflect that back to families through our Portrait Videos, Mitzvah Videos and annual holiday cards.

2. Listening to Kids’ Stories

What a thrill it is for us to work with families year after year and document families as they grow, and giving children a place to share their observations as their perspectives and interests change.

3. Being Part of Your Milestone Moments

It means so much to us when you include us in your milestone family moments like Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Creating our Mitzvah Movies and Mitzvah Montages gives us the opportunity to allow young people to share their stories and talk about what matters to them at a beautiful moment of growth and transformation.

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The fact that we are able to be such an important part of your celebrations means the world to us, and we celebrate right along with every Mitzvah family that chooses Portraits that Move.

4. Creating Something that Stands the Test of Time

The days are short but the years are long, and we all need something to hold onto that reflects the character - the beauty, the joy, and the simplicity - of life's moments.

This is what we get to do, what we get to create for you, every day, year after year. No wonder we feel like celebrating!

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5. Using Our Talents and Passion to Spread Healing and Happiness

First and foremost, we are storytellers, and we are so pleased to tell your stories on film. All of the awards do not compare to the notes we receive from parents, and the smiles we capture on film.

Thank you for five wonderful years. We are so very excited for many, many more!

Our Anniversary Gift to You

Join in on the anniversary fun with a special 15% off a Signature Portrait, Mitzvah Montage, or Mitzvah Movie when you contact us and book by Saturday, 3/2, at 10:00 p.m. EST.

Long Island Mom Finds Beauty in the Small Moments

Long Island mom Lauren Grinman shares how her Portraits that Move experience changed the way she looks at everyday moments with her children.

We love working with Lauren’s beautiful, energetic, adorable family and are so glad she is sharing her Signature Portrait story with us today.

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What were your expectations for the Portraits that Move film shoot? How did the experience compare to your expectations?

I couldn't wait to see how this type of video would be created. In watching a few of them previous to doing ours, I was intrigued by how relaxed and natural all of the families were in their videos.

The experience of making it was just that. The way they filmed us and interviewed the kids was so comfortable. Susannah and her team also have very warm and charismatic personalities which immediately put us and our children at ease. We all truly enjoyed the process so much.

After watching the video, what struck you the most?

I was awed by how beautifully edited the video was. They had gotten a lot of footage I am sure, but they were so able to pick up the most beautiful actions and words of our children.

Like our son taking steps after he had just started walking, or his expression while spinning a helicopter… they truly captured the essence of our children at each of their special ages.

Did anything surprise you?

The way they also captured our sons playing, not just the interviews, was so beautiful to watch. Seeing the joy on their faces as they jumped on the bed together, or ran through the hallway, simple things that you don't always get to slow down and appreciate their expressions.

Has the experience of filming and watching your Portraits that Move video affected how you look at everyday moments or how you think about celebrating or honoring the passage of time?

It has affected me, a room with toys scattered on the floor, or a thousand crayons on the floor as they draw. I have tried to slow down and watch them almost imagining it was part of one of the videos.

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It has helped me appreciate the moment more, rather than thinking about cleaning up, and moving onto the next part of our day. I am enjoying each stage they are at more.

What is your favorite part of your Portraits that Move film?

How beautifully they captured the true essence of our family. Each personality of our children truly shined bright in the films we have created. These films are such gems to us now. Preserving the voices, smiles, and sweetness of each age of our children.

Learn more about the Signature Portrait from Portraits that Move.

Mitzvah Montage Review from NY Mom

New York mom Stacey Leibowitz just celebrated her daughter Charlotte’s Bat Mitzvah. The party, planned by Partow Events and held at Brooklyn’s 26Bridge, included a Mitzvah Montage from Portraits that Move.

Stacey says “I cherish the montage for a moving snapshot of our lives with our daughter to this point. It captures her with her most important relationships – friends, family, camp life, dance – all the things that matter most to her.”

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We couldn’t be happier to hear this! We chatted with Stacey about the Mitzvah Montage process, and what the experience was like for her an her family. Here’s what she had to say.

What were your expectations for the Mitzvah Montage creation process? How did the experience compare to your expectations?

I was amazed at how easy the process with Susannah was. The hardest part was culling down photos and getting my 13 year old to agree to which photos we were ‘allowed’ to use!

In one 45 minute call, Susannah engaged me and my daughter, asked her thoughtful questions and started to frame an approach to the video. We were able to complete the process after two reviews, during which Susannah was supportive and had great suggestions. The second and final version took our suggestions and made them even better. Her editor is fantastic.

After watching the montage, what struck you the most? 

In 5 minutes, Susannah encapsulated the joy that our daughter has within her and that joy that she shares with her family and friends.

She was able to take my daughter’s choice of music and made it flow and really align to the moment in the photos.

What was the reaction at the Mitzvah celebration?

The video was the perfect length. There was laughter, lots of oohs and aahs, and many tears. A perfect reaction!

Have people shared the montage since the event?

It is wonderful to have the link to share. We did not share it broadly, but sent to family after the bat mitzvah. It allowed them to savor the moments that they may have missed in a large event space and made it a more intimate experience. I’m sure the Grandmas have watched it over and over!

To plan your Mitzvah Montage, contact us.

Portraits that Move: A Review from a Philadelphia Mom

A few weeks ago we got to make a Signature Portrait Film for a Philadelphia family. After she received her video, we connected with mom Elisa to talk about what the Portraits that Move filmmaking process was like and what she thought about her video - including what surprised her most.

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What were your expectations for the Portraits that Move film shoot? How did the experience compare to your expectations?

I knew, based on the extraordinary qualifications of the filmmakers, that the shoot would be smooth and the final product beautiful. But I didn't realize how fun the process would be for our family.

My son loved answering the interview questions and we learned some things about him that we never knew. They allowed him to play and show them the activities he loves, so he got to lead the way in many respects, which was empowering for him.

The team was respectful, easy to work with and made the whole day a pleasant experience.

After watching the video, what struck you the most?

I was struck by just how, even in the few weeks since shooting, my son had grown and changed, which made it all the more valuable to have this document of him that goes much deeper than an impromptu phone movie.

Parenting is a state of constant change and you often wish you could stop time—Portraits that Move allows you to do that.

Did anything in the video/any reaction you had to watching the video surprise you?

It was like watching our home and family from our son's perspective which was very moving and sweet.

Has the experience of filming and watching your Portraits that Move video affected how you look at everyday moments?

Yes—I think most families would be thrilled to have a video like this, which captures the personality of your child and the aspects that make your family unique.

What is your favorite part of your Portraits that Move film?

All of it!

2019 Word of the Year - Celebrate!

Do you choose a word of the year every new year? We are big fans of this practice. It helps us focus on a guiding principle that leads to our goals and reminds us to stay grounded in what matters as we start the new year.

Looking at all the opportunities and adventures that lie ahead in 2019, we know that this year at Portraits that Move, what we want to do most, is celebrate!

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Celebrate Moments

Every moment matters, and every moment is worth celebrating. We don't know how many years we get in this life, or what may come our way. What we do know is that every year, and every day, is made up of moments small and large that connect us to each other, that are filled with joy, that remind us of gratitude.

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This year will be filled with moments that make us smile and moments that lead to discoveries, for our children and for ourselves. We’ll have unexpected moments with our children that we look back on and realize were some of the most treasured experiences of our lives, even if those moments are small and simple.

All of this is worth celebrating. It's why we create our films for families, so that the can see and celebrate who they are right now. And so they have something to look back on to celebrate how they became who they are.

Celebrate Milestones

There is nothing like a milestone to ignite celebration, and the joy that parents feel watching their children grow, change, and thrive in the world. That's one of the reasons we love creating Mitzvah videos for families.

Our Mitzvah videos allow families to add a truly special element to a milestone day filled with joy, enthusiasm, and not a small amount of nostalgia (how often we hear from Mitzvah moms and dads that they can't believe how fast the time goes!).

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The thing about celebrating is that it is so much more than the exuberance of a party, just like your child's Bar/Bat Mitzvah is about so much more than all of the perfect party details and exciting extras you have planned for your child and their friends. To truly celebrate our families, ourselves, our lives, is to look at life in all of its dimensions, the small moments and the milestone moments, and to realize how grateful we are for the life we have, for the joy and the challenges that fill our days.

Because time really does go too fast, and if we don't stop to celebrate who we are, where we have been, and where we are going, we will have missed out on the chance to celebrate how sweet and beautiful all of this is.

Celebrate Every Day

Clients, friends, family, that's our wish for you this new year. Find a way to celebrate each other, to celebrate with each other, every day.

We guarantee you will have better days because of it. And we can't wait to celebrate them with you!

Teach Kids Gratitude during the Holidays

Teaching kids gratitude during the holiday season can be a challenge. Sometimes it feels like we spend all of our energy on creating memorable holiday experiences, decorating things just-so, and finding the right gift (a few times over) for our favorite people. Then, as the season draws to a close, we realize that there is a lot of giving but not a lot of gratitude.

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But it’s about more than gifts. As parents, we don’t need our kids to bend over backwards telling us how grateful they are for the things we give them. What we really want - the reason we jump headlong into the holiday craziness and wait on hours-long lines - is to make memories that our children will cherish. To start and continue traditions that make them happy, that remind them, and us, of how grateful we are to have each other.

We’ve gathered a few of our favorite posts to help you teach your kids about gratitude this season, and to keep the grateful vibes well into the new year.

Start a Daily Gratitude Practice with your Kids

I try to use gratitude in my home as a regular on-going conversation with my son.  When we focus on gratitude, it can create good feeling and closeness. Sometimes I will ask my son during dinner what happened in his day that made him feel grateful.

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Other times as I am tucking him into bed, I will tell him the 5 things about my day that I am grateful for and ask him about his.

There are a lot of other ways to introduce gratitude into a conversation, to make it into a game and to keep it present.  I find that talking about what we are grateful for shifts things.  It makes the mood more positive, lighter and gentler

Introduce Gratitude Games and Table Activities

I’m thinking of something that begins with the letter…

We all know the popular road trip game, where you work your way through the alphabet, guessing something that begins with each letter of the alphabet while the person who is “it” provides clues to the guessers.

Customize this game for your table. Take turns going clockwise around the table (or starting youngest to oldest). The first person who is “it” says “I’m grateful for something that begins with the letter A.” Each person around the table guesses what that is based on hints.

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This is a fun, easy, and interactive way to share what you are thankful for. It is also a natural way to start a conversation around gratitude, and to teach you what little things matter to your loved ones.

Turn Your New Year’s Resolutions into Gratitude Intentions

Rather than list out resolutions, ways we want to be different, things we want to change about ourselves or our circumstances, we are choosing to focus on intention.  All of us at Portraits that Move are committing to living and working and observing with intention. 

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Rather than a resolution to be more, to do more, to change this or that in a quest for a goal, this year, we are listening to that voice that reminds us to stop, to look at our life, at our work and at our goals and to determine how they align with our intention to find joy and to be grateful

How are you practicing gratitude with your kids during the holiday season? Share with us on Facebook!




Holiday Gift Guide 2018

We are so excited to share our first ever Portraits that Move Holiday Gift Guide! To celebrate the season, we have put together a list of gifts that reflect the beauty and joy of documenting family life and the small moments that make it so special.

We are featuring these products because we love how they connect with what is important to us and we think that you will, too. None of these products have paid for placement on our site, and we do not receive any compensation for linking to third party products.

Grandparent and Grandchild Keepsake Letter Book Set

Image via  Uncommon Goods

Image via Uncommon Goods

Created by Knoxville, Tennessee based artist Whitney Biggs, this letter book set gives children and grandparents the chance to connect with each other through storytelling.

Using storytelling to connect across generations is something we love! It’s part of what inspired us to create our Generations Videos, and it is just the kind of thing that keeps the magic of the holidays going well beyond the end of the season.

Letters to My Future Self

Image via  Amazon

Image via Amazon

Document your own story through letter writing with the Letters to My Future Self kit. This is a wonderful gift for a friend or family member who loves to write, to document, and to build their own story.

Conversations with My Father and Mother

Image via  Uncommon Goods

Image via Uncommon Goods

These lovely books are a perfect place for your family to write down the conversations that make up the history of our lives. We are huge believers in the power of conversation, especially conversations with kids, in documenting family life and preserving our memories for ourselves and for future generations.

Comic Book Pop Art from Photos

Image via  MyDaVinci

Image via MyDaVinci

Give your loved ones a totally unique gift, in the style of Roy Lichtenstein pop art from MyDaVinci. Submit your photo and they create a pop art version of the image for display in your home. You can choose from a variety of size and framing options, and you can even add a talk bubble!

Illustory

Image via  Amazon

Image via Amazon

Give kids the chance to tell their story in their own words inside a book they design and create themselves. This is a gift many times over, from an activity to keep kids entertained over holiday break, to a keepsake that your family will enjoy for years to come.

In our experience creating videos for families, you are guaranteed for a treat when you give kids the chance - and the space - to share their stories in any form.

Custom Family Video

Give your loved ones the gift of a Portraits that Move Gift Card. Available in any denomination, up to the full price of a Signature Portrait Video, our gift card makes it easier for families to get their own custom heirloom quality video that documents the treasured moments of their lives right now.


Kid Quotes Memory Book

Image via  Uncommon Goods

Image via Uncommon Goods

Oh, the things kids say! Write down the funniest and most poignant quotes from your kids in the new year in this adorable Kid Quotes Memory Book created by Colorado-based graphic designer Amy Taylor.

We love celebrating the things kids say, and we know better than anyone that you absolutely will forget what you don’t document. This is the perfect gift for yourself or for another parent who will appreciate a place to store their kids’ comments, from the whimsical, to the witty, to the wise.

My Family Cookbook

Image via  Uncommon Goods

Image via Uncommon Goods

Preserve your family’s precious recipes - and the memories that go along with them - in My Family Cookbook. This book give you a place to gather all your favorite recipes, along with the photos and stories that go with them.

Invite family members to contribute, or use it as a chance to gather your family and work on creating the cookbook together. This is the perfect gift for new couples, or for young adults heading off to college or starting out in new cities.

Mixtiles

Image via  Mixtiles

Image via Mixtiles

We love this affordable way to turn your family photos into gallery walls! This is a great project to enjoy putting together as a family. Involve your kids in choosing the photos to print and in creating the gallery wall in your home.

Tiles can be moved around easily so it’s a fun, interactive way to tell your family’s story through photography you create.

Parenting Misadventures Journal

Image via  Uncommon Goods

Image via Uncommon Goods

Know a new mom or dad with a good sense of humor about the parenting journey? This book is for them!

Write down everything from the crazy advice you got before baby arrived to the epic tantrums in Target because, believe it or not, you don’t want to forget those moments either. It’s all part of your history, and it will make you laugh… eventually.

Rememory Game

Image via  Uncommon Goods .

Image via Uncommon Goods.

This holiday gift combines two things we love - family games and family memories. The Rememory Game is a fun way to recall family stories and memories and to introduce the next generation to your family’s treasured stories and moments.