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.

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.

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.

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!




Thanksgiving Conversation Starters

We are big fans of Thanksgiving at Portraits that Move because it brings together our favorite things - family and gratitude (and food!).

There is nothing like gathering together around a table to share stories and relish in the small moments that make our lives, especially our family lives, rich and memorable. But, as natural as it is to have conversations with our loved ones, the conversation doesn’t always flow naturally.

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Don’t worry. We’re here to help you get the conversation started and keep it going this year at your Thanksgiving table. Try these tips for a fun, stress-free Thanksgiving for families of all ages and sizes. Our conversation starters and Thanksgiving table games are guaranteed to bring joy to your table, and to teach you things about your family that you never knew.

Make the Alphabet Game the Gratitude Game

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 Thanksgiving 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.

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.

Popsicle Stick Conversation Starters

Craft stick conversation starters are one of our favorites! We have a complete DIY guide to creating these fun, reusable conversation starters that are perfect for Thanksgiving table games and throughout the year.

DIY Popsicle Stick Conversation Starters for Kids and Tweens
What you need:
2 mason jars
1 pack of large craft sticks
markers (we chose brightly colored and metallic Sharpies to make it extra fun)
a list of creative questions for kids

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See more suggestions and tips for creating your own craft stick conversation starters. For Thanksgiving, you can customize the colors, add festive stickers and coordinate your sticks to go with your table and decor themes. It’s a great way to get the kids involved in holiday prep and to keep their hands busy while you are finishing up your last minute cooking and decorating!

Favorite Things and Follow-Ups

After everyone is seated at the table, instruct them to put their place cards in a hat (or a pumpkin, cornucopia or Thanksgiving themed cup!). The person at the head of the table pulls out one name at a time and asks that person to name one of their favorite things.

After that person shares a favorite thing, encourage everyone else around the table to ask questions about it so they can learn more. Questions can include “has that always been one of your favorites?” “What makes you like that so much…”

Other favorite things follow-ups should include things like “That’s a great book! When I was your age, my favorite book was…”

This is an easy way to learn more about each other. Favorites and follow-ups is a particularly good game if you have tweens and teens at your table who want to share but don’t always know how, and who sometimes feel too on the spot when they are barraged with questions. The key to getting kids to talk honestly and openly is to create space in which they feel comfortable, rather than exposed.

Cheers to comfortable spaces, laughter around tables, and conversations that create memories well beyond the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

3 Ways to Create Memorable Moments that Build Confidence and Communication Skills

Every moment matters, and during the summer, we (ideally) have a little more time to share moments and make memories together.  To celebrate the official start of summer in New York City, we are sharing three ways to create moments that foster conversation, engage creativity and create space for your children to connect with you and with others, and to share their stories and ideas with confidence.

Write to a Summer Pen Pal

Sit down with your child to choose a pen pal to write to throughout the summer.  Your child might opt to write to a friend from school who is away at camp or on vacation, a grandparent, a cousin, or someone special in their lives.

Writing to a pen pal, whether it is through snail mail or email, gives your children the opportunity to express themselves, to share their stories and relay their observations.  Receiving mail (especially traditional mail) is exciting for kids.  It gives them something to look forward to, teaches them about delayed gratification, and shows that someone took time to listen to, care about, engage with and respond to their words.  This is a powerful gift that builds confidence and helps your children develop their voices.

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Make sure that you know and trust the person with whom your child is communicating before embarking on a pen pal project.  If your child is corresponding by email, review cyber safety rules before logging on, and confirm that your child has the correct address for his/her pen pal.

Start a Family Book Club

A family book club is an ideal way for kids to connect with parents and siblings.  It gives you a shared activity to do together that revolves around observation and communication – key elements of meaningful moments shared through stories (both those you read and those you tell).

Take turns selecting a book for the family to read and discuss.  Let your kids pick the books first so that they can share something they love with you, and can lead the initial book club discussions.  A family book club helps with skill building during the summer (we see you, Summer Slide) but even more, it creates a pathway to conversation.  Book clubs are safe spaces to connect over ideas and events that you read about.  Inevitably, this gives your children the comfort and the confidence to talk about issues or concerns they face in their own lives in a way that feels more natural, and more open, than direct questioning about how they are doing or what they are feeling on a given school day afternoon.

Consider holding each of your book club meetings in a different location – the living room, in the backyard or out in a park, in one of your children’s bedroom to allow them to play host.  Changing your environment helps to set different tones for conversations and can make those conversations flow more energetically.

Put a New Spin on Old Games

Reinvent Game Night in your home by kicking up the creativity and re-imaging favorite games based on your child’s or your family’s favorite hobbies, characters or teams.  Our list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a great place to start!

Minecraft Charades

Played like traditional charades, but with categories unique to Minecraft, this serves as the perfect way to bring your kid’s screen life into real life.  Your kids will be happy to take the lead on this one, sharing their insight on their favorite game.  You will learn more about something they love and why they love it.

Giving children the opportunity to be experts on something creates memorable, enjoyable moments for your family.  It also gives them the chance to flex their leadership skills, to build confidence, and to realize that they have things to teach you and that you are willing and open to learn from them.  That is the hallmark of open dialogue and good conversation in families.

Character Tic-Tac-Toe

Create a tic-tac-toe game that replaces the Xs and Os with your child’s favorite storybook characters.  To make the pieces, your kids can draw or print out images.

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During the making and playing process, you will be amazed to see how your child begins to talk about the characters and the stories, why they like them, what happens in the stories, and how they connect to their own lives.  Children are natural sharers and they love to welcome us parents into their world.  The busy pace of life often makes that difficult, but slowing down even for a moment to share a simple project and play a simple game like this can be the missing piece of meaningful, simple connection that we often struggle to find.

Build Your Own Chess Set

Ideal for older children or larger families, building and playing with a customized chess set can be a fun, creative summer long activity full of moments for the whole family to enjoy.  Using items found around the house, from the recycling bin to the craft closet, build a chess set around a theme your family enjoys.

You might make a set based on rival baseball teams, characters from favorite TV shows or movies, or places that are special in your family history.  Once again, the act of making the pieces and the game board is full of opportunities for communication and connection.  Working on a creative project together forges your bond as a family and builds your child’s leadership, listening and teamwork skills.

This summer, take as many moments as you can to try activities like these to give your children the space they need to connect and share with you, and to give yourself the gift of time well spent.

- Elizabeth Eames, June 2018

Brooklyn Family Photographer Raquel Frechette Features Susannah Ludwig in Mornings with Series

I met Raquel Frechette a few years ago and have been inspired by her and her work ever since. When she mentioned her new photo project to me and we discussed our participating, it was an easy yes. 

Image by Raquel Frechette,   Mornings with Series  , 2018 

Image by Raquel Frechette, Mornings with Series, 2018 

I think Raquel has an exquisite, intuitive eye and working with her was easy and filled with fun. It was moving and interesting to experience being on the opposite side of the camera, but she made it comfortable and fun for me and for my son. I didn't feel self conscious - and as you can see in the images, neither did Jack.

I had the feeling that my son and I were given the opportunity to learn from a master. And I feel grateful to have had that. Raquel and I share the same professional/life philosophy, namely that these small, everyday moments of our lives are the ones to cherish.  I am so thankful that Raquel took the time to cherish our moments. These photos are a gift - one that I will hang onto always and that I feel privileged to share with you. 

My Portraits that Move Moment: Confessions of a Mom with too Much

No more stuff!  I must not be alone in this mantra, as we emerge from the holiday madness and our mailboxes, physical and digital, start filling up with Valentine's Day announcements: Sales!  Gift ideas!  Don't forget gifts for your pets!  Buy one, get one!  More, more, more.  

It has never been so clear to me that my family is at odds with our lifestyle.  We truly do have an abundance, but we are not living abundantly, not even close.  And it feels like we are moving farther and farther away from gratitude.  We are well past taking the advice to do more with less.  Now, it is time to have less - and to do less - in order to appreciate more.

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Looking around at all of this stuff, I realize that what I really want is three minutes.  I want three minutes of peace and calm.  Three minutes to give myself permission to do nothing but enjoy my daughter, to awaken gratitude, to replace the stress of excess with an awareness of abundance and a real appreciation for it.

I don't want tokens scattered across every empty surface to gather dust.  I don't want more photo albums I have to file.  I want three minutes that I can call up whenever I need to remind myself that underneath all of this mess, there is a beautiful, vibrant life and that there is a way to slow it down, to steady it, to bask in it. 

This is why I love working with Portraits that Move, because the filmmakers on this team use their professional experience and their artistry to hand deliver much needed moments to parents like me.

Elizabeth Eames, February 2018

What Telling My Own Story Taught Me about Portraits that Move

Recently I shared special memory of mine on the Portraits that Move Facebook page, my interview on NPR's Only Human by host Mary Harris.  Reading the reactions of friends and clients prompted me to dig a little deeper into what the experience of being interviewed was like for me, a person who has spent her career on the other side, asking the questions that help others tell their stories.

What I discovered in my own experience confirmed the importance of telling and sharing our stories, and the very real ways in which that act can be healing for ourselves and for our relationships.

Parents and children

My father joined me for the interview to discuss his role both as a doctor and a father of a child with health challenges. Having my father in the room while I was being interviewed was very moving. On one hand, I felt protective of him and was aware of a desire not to say anything that would hurt him or my mother in any way. At the same time, it was an incredibly healing experience. We had the opportunity to talk about how my health affected both of us, which was something we had rarely done before.

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It gave me an important window into how both parents and kids must feel during
the interview process when I create our Portraits that Heal films in particular. Parents feel a need to be involved, to listen, and to be part of the experience. For the children we work with, both for Portraits that Move films and Portraits that Heal films, sometimes having a parent present for the interview process may be comforting, but often they may feel more free without a parent in the room listening to them answer our questions.

I often wonder what I would have said if the interview was with just me. I would
have likely felt more vulnerable and would not have had the opportunity for
connection and healing that occurred. When I interview kids now with their
parents in the room, I look at it as an opportunity for connection, for what we are
doing to be a conversation starter. I hope that after I leave the shoot they keep
talking and never stop.

Switching roles

Having been through the experience of being interviewed about personal aspects of my own story, I think I am a more gentle interviewer now. I go into each shoot with fewer specific expectations. In the case of the Only Human interview, I think both the host and I had a specific plan for how the interview would go and the final story is different than what we both imagined. This was only possible because of the openness on her part and the level of honesty on mine. We were both willing to go where the morning took us. I think the best experiences and stories happen this way. Ultimately, it is important to me that our families enjoy the experience of creating a Portraits that Move film. When they do, that joy is apparent in their video.

Talking about health and healing

Since the Only Human interview two years ago, I am even more sensitive to creating space for children who are living with health challenges to tell me their stories in exactly the ways they want to. Every illness is different and every experience is different. Kids deal with their
health in all kinds of ways and however they want to talk about that is up to them.

I feel grateful - even more grateful now - to share in their stories. Telling mine was an incredible exercise in vulnerability, but it was something I felt called to do. The way in which I told my story was specific to me and to where I was at at that particular moment in time. I believe our Portraits that Move videos and Portraits that Heal videos reflect a similar intention to capture the present moment in the way feels right for the people we are documenting.

What Do Our Children Really Think about the Holiday Season?

Busy parents are a whole new kind of busy when the holiday season kicks into gear.  We have all seen that mom - or been that mom - who is running around to holiday shows, parties, picking out gifts for teachers, wrapping late into the night, and baking... and baking... and baking.

By the time we get the chance to sit down and enjoy a meal or a party with our family, those of us moms who have been running around since the week before Thanksgiving making lists and checking them more than twice, are ready to drop.  In our quest to create seasonal magic for everyone around us, we have exhausted ourselves.  And we have to wonder, have we exhausted our kids, too? 

Is there any joy left to the season, or did we schedule and plan our way out of it?

It's time to rewind and slow down before our kids become as overwhelmed as we are and the first step to doing that is by asking our children.

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Asking the right questions and creating space to really listen to our children helps us to determine what traditions matter to them, and what we should skip this year.

Their answers might surprise you.  Maybe they enjoy doing a holiday craft or taking out ornaments with their baby pictures on them.  Maybe they look forward to watching a favorite movie because they like how you sing the words to all the songs and, more than anything, our children want to see us happy.  They want to know that they can bring us joy and we can share joy with them.

The gifts, the parties, the Instagram-ready decorations and desserts can be wonderful, but ask your children what moments really matter to them, what moments they think of when they consider what the holidays mean to them.  The moments might be smaller than you think, and far more special.

From all of us at Portraits that Move, we wish you a season filled with the small moments that matter, with the people that truly bring you joy.

A Gift for You

Purchase a Signature Portrait by December 31, 2017, and receive a 20% discount with code HOLIDAY2017.

Road Trip Tips for Great Conversations with Kids

Now that we have kicked off the unofficial start of summer, we are planning ahead for road trips, vacations, and summer travel with kids.  Travel with kids can be the perfect time to reconnect with them and to start meaningful, fun, creative conversations.

Our Portraits that Move Team put together three easy and fun road trip games that get the kids - and you - talking, sharing, and laughing.  We know that every moment matters, and we are here to help you enjoy and document yours.  Here's to good times, good talks, and a great summer!

I Spy a Story

Try this new take on a familiar game.  Have each person in your car take a turn describing something they see.  

The next step is where it gets really fun.  In addition to describing it, have your child invent a story about it.  When it is the next person's turn, have that person do the same, using the thing they spy as a new character in the story that you are creating together.

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If I were...

This is another game that involves taking turns, using imagination and telling stories.  Go around the car, to the right, starting with the driver.  

Have the first person say to the second, "If you were a..." and pick a person, place or thing.  The person whose turn it is then has to answer a series of questions from that point of view.  Ask three or four questions to each player.

Example:
Mom: "If you were a monkey, what would your favorite food be."
Sam: "Banana ice cream!"
Mom: "If you were a monkey, what would your favorite color be, and why?"
Sam: "Brown, because it matches everything and it makes it hard to play hide and seek."
Mom: "If you were a monkey, what would your favorite song be?"
Sam: "Hmmm...."

Twenty Questions

This old favorite is a good way to build communication skills and to learn how your child understands the world around her.

Each person takes a turn thinking of something.  The other players ask questions (up to twenty) to determine what that person is thinking of.

All of these activities do more than pass the time while you are traveling with kids.  They help to connect you to each other by strengthening the bonds of communication.  You are sure to laugh, to go on some wacky tangents, and to discover new things about each other.  And isn't that what time away with family should be all about?

Let Kids Take the Lead: New Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day with Family and Friends

Make this Mother’s Day special by brainstorming with your kids about how to celebrate the day in new and more inclusive ways.  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.

5 Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day through Storytelling and Sharing

Schedule Facetime or Skype calls with special women in your child's life

Seeing and hearing each other is a wonderful way for your children – and for you – to connect with the important people in your lives.  We are fortunate to have technology at our fingertips that allows us to do that.

 

Ask your children who they would like to connect with and schedule a time for a call the same way you would schedule an in-person meeting.  Make it an event, make it special, and most of all, let your children take the lead.  Far away friends and family will be delighted to connect one-on-one with your kids.  Your kids will feel proud to share and to celebrate these special women on Mother’s Day.

Share their Artwork

For younger children, look through art work and classroom projects and select some favorites to send to the family members on your list.  Encourage your children to share the story of why they love this piece of art, what inspired them to create it, and why they chose it for the recipient.

Sharing artwork and allowing children to talk about it helps to build their confidence, and reminds them that they have the power to bring happiness to the people they love on holidays like Mother’s Day and throughout the year.

Create Unique, Special Messages

For older children, ask them to create a unique, special message for each person on the list.  This could include writing, drawing, making jewelry or other small gifts.  This encourages your children to share their stories and their observations to help connect them with their loved one.  It gives them the chance to use their creativity and talents to let someone know that they care about them, and why.

Share a Mother's Day Video Message

Our clients love sharing Portrait Videos and Video Cards with their loved ones for Mother’s Day and other holidays.  Especially for families that do not get to see each other as much as they would like (which is all of us, really!) our videos help to give the gift of more time with the ones you love.

Plan a New Kind of Mother's Day Get Together

This year, let your children take the lead in planning a Mother’s Day get together for your whole tribe.  Include all the women your child loves.  For us moms, this new approach does mean sharing our day, but what a gift it is to know that we are able to also share the joy and love of our children – and the joy and love we have for those who care about our children and contribute to their happiness.

Mother's Day Special 

Book a Portrait between now and the end of May 2017 and save 20% when you mention the code MOM2017

How Seeing and Hearing Our Children Helps Energize Us

The busy-ness of professional life can leave us feeling low on energy and in need of inspiration to help us get the most out of our time in the office and at home.  Sometimes, taking a few moments to center ourselves and celebrate our family can revive, encourage, and remind us of all that we are helping to create every day.

What we notice, through this practice, is how we can create small moments throughout our days that are restorative and filled with gratitude.  At Portraits that Move, we are driven by the idea that every moment matters. It is in that spirit that we create all of our custom videos. 

tools to help work life balance

Sometimes, You Need a Moment

Parents are watching Portrait Videos while they are on business travel and even in stolen moments in the middle of hectic work days.  

Being able to listen to and see our children when we are away from them reminds us that we are doing so much right, even though the stress of managing work life and home life all too often tries to convince us otherwise.

Yes, parents love to receive Portrait Videos as holiday gifts, especially around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but the real gift is having something that to turn to every day - any day - that lets you savor a moment with your children, wherever you are.

The Power of Seeing and Hearing Your Children on Film 

Portraits that Move client Sabrina talks about the true gift of Portraits that Move, explaining that for her busy family, their Portrait Video “gave them the gift they always wanted – more time with the children.”

Other clients have shared with us that they are surprised by the final video product, and its ability to allow kids to “[share] things about themselves that we rarely, if ever, get to see.” 

As parents, we are always looking for tools to help maintain work-life balance. Our videos have become a surprisingly joyful way to do that.

parenting working parents videos

Embrace Your Moments

We salute you on getting through another busy day. And we are here for you to help document the moments that you can savor now, while things are frantic, and later, when you are looking back at this time wondering how it all went by so quickly.

How Our Passover Celebration Reminded Me about Documentation and Moments that Matter

Passover in my family is quite the celebration. My father writes an original Haggaddah (prayer book) every year. My mother is an extraordinary cook and her food is delicious on every holiday, but it is important to note, this is even true on Passover, which can be challenging for even the best cooks.

Most of all, though, the fun, these days is about the kids. At our table, we had 5 boys under the age of 10. It was energetic and loud and silly. The prayers this year were kid- friendly. My son read the four questions and my sweet nephew dressed up as Moses. It was an evening filled with laughter, fun, and closeness. Exactly the way holidays should be.

I always struggle with the pull of staying in the moment and enjoying vs. documenting the events of the day. I think most parents in this digital age feel the same. I am grateful for these few photos that my partner shot. I am grateful for the joy, my family, the freedom and this beautiful time of year.

What traditions are important to you and how do you celebrate them?

Portraits that Move client Michelle Roos shared her story about why documenting holidays, particularly Passover and her grandfather's birthday has meant so much to her.  Read her story on Kveller and share with us here and on Facebook how you are treasuring your family traditions now and throughout the year. 

All photos in post courtesy of David Marcus.

Resolution vs. Intention: Choosing Joy and Gratitude

There is an energy to this time of year, when we sit down and list what we want to do and how we want to be. We welcome the changes that a new year brings.  We write down our goals, we make plans to achieve them, we may even resolve to be more present, to savor the moment.

This year, at Portraits that Move, we are taking a slightly different approach to the coming year.  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.  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.

filmmaking family

We are lucky because doing so is exactly how we live out the Portraits that Move mission through the work we do as filmmakers every day.  We get to find and celebrate joy and gratitude every time we document the lives of families, and we have the unique privilege of being able to reflect that joy and gratitude back to them when we deliver their Portrait Films. 

This year, our team will work with all kinds of families.  For each of them, the coming days and months will take twists and turns.  In what seems like a moment, their children will grow, change, discover and surprise them.  In those moments - the unexpected, the everyday and the in between - they will discover joy and gratitude, and we will help them to witness it, and to preserve it. 

new years resolution vs intention

To you, the families we have grown with, and the new families we will meet this year, as you set your goals and state your resolutions, try to remember the peace and togetherness you found in the holiday season, or the peace and togetherness that you may have found at more unexpected, unplanned moments throughout the last year.  Like all of us, you are busy, every day, building your lives and your memories.

Our wish for you, our intention for, and our promise to you in the new year, is that you choose joy and that you choose gratitude through all of the beautiful, messy, ordinary and chaotic days this new year has in store.

What Do You Really Need this Holiday Season?

The lists are long.  A list for entertaining, a list for baking, a list for gift giving, our children's wishlists that seem to get added to every day....

In this crush of planning and shopping and rushing towards the moments we want to remember, we know that at some point we will end up feeling lost and overwhelmed, as if all that we are supposed to be enjoying is passing us by. 

So how do we slow it down?  How do we find a way to give what really matters, what our loved ones really want?

We focus on the moment.

Think about why we are rushing and planning and making lists for the perfect gift, the perfect meal, the perfect celebration.  It is because we want to treasure our families.  We know this time is fleeting and we want to embrace it, celebrate it and slow it down enough to enjoy it, to look back on it with a warm heart, and with a calm heart.

custom family video gifts holiday gift ideas

This is what we do at Portraits that Move, we help you to slow down and savor the moment.  We help you to give the gift of more time with your family, the gift of celebrating who you are and who you are becoming together, every day.  

For the ones you love on your list, for your own family, choose the gift that we all want, the gift we all need, a moment in time that celebrates your children, your family, your life, right now, before this moment, before this holiday season, slips away.

Portraits that Move Gift Card

Our new Portraits that Move Gift Card is the perfect way for those of you who love what we do to give the gift of Portraits that Move in an affordable way, helping to make it easier for all the people on your gift giving list to own a Portrait Video or any of our other offerings by offsetting the cost, or by gifting the full price of the product.

Portraits that Move Signature Portrait

Give the gift of our Signature Portrait, what one mom calls "the perfect holiday gift."

Portraits that Move Holiday Video Card

Perfect for sending New Year greetings and holiday messages and guaranteed to be enjoyed by all the family and friends you want to share your love with, near and far.

My Best Gift Ever: Time Capsule for a Grandmother

Recently, we received a note from Bonnie Fagan, a grandmother who received a Signature Portrait from Portraits that Move as a gift from her daughter and grandchildren.

Bonnie has been kind enough to allow us to share her words with you, words that speak to the power of Portraits that Move and our mission of sharing joy and celebrating family.

Months ago my daughter gave me a Portraits that Move video of my two grandsons living in Brooklyn, New York.  We are many miles away from one another, but this video keeps me smiling and happy.  I look at it weekly it seems.  Just want to feel the love even though I can’t just reach out and touch them.

The spirit of each child was captured in just minutes... their image and personality captured in a short time capsule.  I feel so grateful that I have this to switch on when I miss the boys the most.

Thank  you for thinking of this great idea... my best gift ever!  To me this has been truly priceless. 

- Bonnie Fagan, from Washington DC and Badger’s Island Maine

What a Difference a Year Makes

Now that holiday card season is upon us and we are shooting and scheduling holiday video cards and beginning to book Signature Portrait videos for holiday gifts, we at Portraits that Move are enjoying one of our favorite annual traditions.  We are spending quality time with our clients, the members of our growing Portraits that Move family.

custom family film professional documentary quality

What joy it is to make documenting your families an annual tradition.  And what amazing and beautiful changes we witness from behind the camera.  Whether it is bringing a new baby into the family, starting a new school, or sharing the observations, emotions, dreams and ideas that your children have this year, at this moment, documenting your family as you travel through life is one of the truest blessings we know.

Thank you to all of you who come to us and come back to us to document this time in your children's lives and your own.  We want you to know that, above all, we understand the trust that you put in us to reflect back to you the magic and beauty of your family as it is in this moment.  And we treasure this gift you give to us as we know you treasure the gift of your Portraits that Move family films.

We have some Holiday Video Shoot slots remaining.  Book yours now, or contact us to schedule a Signature Portrait shoot.