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.

Love and Thanks for Sharing a Beautiful Year with Us

Dear Friends,

2016 has been such a wonderful year for us. We were thrilled to release new kinds of videos from Portraits that Move including our Generations Video, the Portraits that Move Baby Video and our brand new gift card (perfect for your last minute holiday gifts!).

We worked with several families for the third year in a row and wrote many blog posts - including some for A Child Grows in Brooklyn.

We were also lucky enough to be featured in Forbes, Working Mother Magazine, the Women Killing It podcast, and NPR's Only Human.

last minute holiday gifts for families

Most of all, though, we were so blessed to have spent time with you and your families. We love all of our time with you and can’t believe our good fortune of getting to do this work. It is deeply fulfilling to share a moment in time with you, to get to know your children and to share in their brilliance. Thank you so much for trusting us, for believing in what we do and for sharing our work with your friends and family.

I want to wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season. May it be one that is filled with magic, joy, shimmer and hope.

We look forward to sharing some new things with you in 2017.

Until then, thank you, thank you!

With deep love and gratitude,

Susannah and the Portraits That Move Team

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

My Challenge to You: Connect with Someone You Have Been Missing

Here on the blog, we have written about tips for staying connected and keeping in touch with your children while away on business travel.  As working parents, we understand how important it is to feel connected to our kids when we are away from home, and how much we treasure any and every moment of connection that we can carve out of hectic schedules.

connect with family work life balance portraits that move

What we have not discussed quite as often, are the challenges of connecting with extended family - from parents and siblings to grandparents, cousins, and treasured friends.  Our busy schedules at work and at home, along with the distance that often separates extended family, make connecting in a real way difficult.  At the same time, these difficulties reinforce for us just how important these people are in our lives and how much we want, and need, to commit to them.

Whether it's taking a vacation together, scheduling time for a phone call, or sharing photos and videos of our children - and our lives - on social media, we are committing to staying connected to our families in all forms, across generations, in spite of (and because of!) busy schedules, demands of work and children, and the distance that separates but does not break our bonds.   We are committed to helping you do the same. We want to make it easier for you to feel closeness and to be enveloped in the joy that our relationships with our loved ones provide. 

portraits that move challenge connect with family

Take a moment today to reach out to a family member or a close friend that you haven't connected with in awhile.  Share a story about your children, or better yet, let them share their own stories.  The pace of our lives will not slow down but our ability to connect is here and it's real.  Do it today- it will make your day, your week and your life better, I promise. 

 

What Family Videos Do You Wish You Had?

When I talk to people about Portraits The Move, they get excited and interested about what we do. They often will say “What a great idea!” or “How did you come up with that?” I always laugh and feel grateful about the sleepless nights that led me to the brainstorm that is now our company. 

When I explain the thoughts, values and intentions behind what we do, people always begin to tell me what type of work they think we should create.  I love hearing about this. My mind is open, I love brainstorming and even more love learning about what is most meaningful to you. 

grandparent video family legacy videos portraits that move

Very often, people express a desire to document their parents or grandparents with their children. At this age, the sense that time is rushing by is powerful. There is a need to slow it down and to savor. We completely understand this desire. And we have listened in creating our first grandparent video.

We want to make more of these. We want to be present for the wisdom of grandparents and the sheer delight of seeing them interact with our children. We love the celebration of it and the legacy we get the privilege of preserving. Like all of our work, we feel like it is a gift to witness and we feel grateful to have this company and to do this work.

custom family video portraits that move legacy video

We want to know what else YOU would like us to create? What would be meaningful to you? What videos of your family do you wish you had? Let us know and we’ll come up with a plan together.  It would be our joy to do so. 

xo,

Susannah

Love and Legacy

We often talk about the fleeting nature of time and the power of memory here at Portraits that Move.  It is part of what drives our work with Portraits that Heal, and it is a key element of our mission at Portraits that Move to capture the fleeting moments of life so that we can look back in years to come and remember and enjoy our children as they are at this particular moment, in this particular time.

grandparent videos legacy video for family documentary quality portraits that move

 

Recently, we have been approached by friends and fans of our film work with children asking if we can look at their family through a slightly different lens.  More and more families have asked us to help document the unique and special bond between grandparents and children.  They are realizing, as we do, that time changes more than our children and our children's perspectives on the world around them.  

They want us to document their own parents and grandparents and the moments they share with their children.  These moments are invaluable.  They create and celebrate legacy and they are brimming with love.  

Our founder and executive producer, filmmaker Susannah Ludwig with her mom and her son.

Our founder and executive producer, filmmaker Susannah Ludwig with her mom and her son.

We have been privileged to film grandparents and great grandparents with their grandchildren and we have been inspired and motivated by the reactions from our clients when they watch the final products.  Parents view these videos with the same pride and wonder that they feel when they watch our Signature Portrait videos of their kids.  But there is something more that happens when they see their family coming together across generations.  There is a wave of nostalgia, there is a bittersweet realization that this now will not be forever.  There is an awareness of the history, wisdom and love shared from generation to generation.  And there is a deep gratitude, a certain kind of relief, that they have been able to mark this moment in time and they will be able to hold it, to return to it, and to treasure it forever.

We thank the families who have come to us to create legacy videos for them. We are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the grandparents and great grandparents and to share in how they  enrich the lives of their children.  They have enriched our lives as well.  Videos like these reinforce our mission and energize our work with children and families in ways we had not envisioned when we launched Portraits that Move two years ago.

Thank you for inviting us into your lives and allowing us to be part of your family history.

To learn more about grandparent videos or to schedule a consultation, please contact us.

"I Wish I Had a Library of Videos Like These" - A Portraits that Move Mom on Her Video Celebrating 4 Generations

We sat down with mom of two Michelle Roos to talk about the portrait video we made in honor of her grandfather's 100th birthday, celebrated this year on Passover.  Since we delivered her family video just two days ago, Michelle and her mom have already watched it twenty times, and have eagerly shared it with their loved ones and friends.

Michelle talks about joy, love, loss, legacy and pride as she describes why this video, and the Portraits that Move filming process, was such a moving experience for her.  Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your family and your story with us. 

What struck you most when you first watched the video? 

The video captured my grandfather's personality perfectly.  He's just the happiest guy in the world - and that comes across beautifully in the video.

portraits that move grandparent video

How did the Portraits that Move filming experience compare to your expectations?

We all had so much fun during the filming.  It brought out the best in the kids and our whole family.  We felt very special and cared for and so grateful. 

How important to you was it that the video documented the family celebrating not only your grandfather's 100th birthday, but also celebrating Passover together?

I wanted to capture thus magical moment where my Grandpa's 100th birthday, Passover, and my kids' full blown love of Judaism and family, were all colliding - and you got all of those elements in the video. 

family legacy video 100th birthday

What about the experience (from filming to watching the final portrait video) stands out to you the most?

My mom and I have watched the film 20 times each at this point.  We laugh and cry and feel proud of my kids and so, so grateful for my grandpa and his love of life.  We've had a bittersweet 10 years as a family.  My grandparents aged a lot, my dad was diagnosed with early on-set dementia and after 9 years, died.  I met my husband and had two beautiful boys, my mom got and recovered from cancer... and we're just all getting back on our feet. 

video gifts grandparent gift ideas portraits that move review

I wish I had a library of videos like these - of my dad when he was well, of my grandma when she was well, of the boys in all of their precious and fleeting stages of development.. it's so special to have this moment captured - thank you!

Take a Break - Enjoying and Planning Vacation Time with Kids

It's vacation week for many families here in New York City.  Some of us are staying local and the kids are heading to playdates and activities, others are visiting family and flying to warmer climates.  Any time we escape our typical routines the days can have a special magic. Especially, when we take a little extra time to listen, to share our stories and to enjoy what makes each one of our children - and our families - so unique.

restful vacation staycation memories

At Portraits that Move, we encourage families to take vacations together, with grandparents and siblings, and to remember, whether traveling or trying out a staycation, to disconnect from stress and to connect with our kids.  Any time away from the daily grind, whether a week or a day, is time to create memories large and small, and to give our kids the space they need to talk, to listen, to share, and to love.

vacation package custom family vacation films

This is also the time of year for summer vacation planning.  At Portraits that Move we are thrilled to offer our Vacation Video Package again this year.  This is perfect for families who want to document the beauty of their vacations. From the destination itself to the experiences they inspire, we are able to come along and document it all for you to come back to and enjoy for years to come, during the busy times when we need to remember the joy we find together.

My Portraits that Move Experience By Elena Berger

I didn’t know what to expect when Susannah approached me about shooting a video of Charlie with Portraits That Move.  She had just launched and explained that she wanted to capture kids in their own environment, comfortable and being themselves. I knew Susannah’s extraordinary film work and knew that it would be special, but I didn’t expect it to have this level of kvell

It’s shot so beautifully and edited so well.  It brings so much joy every time we watch it.  The grandmothers?  Forget about it.  My mom calls it an “absolute treasure”.  My mother-in-law called it “spectacular” and that the added shot of outrageous little brother Hank was “brilliant."

I had Charlie and Hank re-watch it now that some time has passed.  Both would have been happy if I put it on a loop for the rest of the day.  Charlie couldn’t remember the things he had originally said and giggled the whole way through. Hank just shouted “I LOVE that video!”.  My husband considers it one of the most beautifully crafted memories of our children. 

Photos are great and videos are fabulous, but having a Portraits that Move film is a gift that brings smiles to everyone in the family over and over again.  It means so much to have this moment of my boys to cherish.  Everyone says that this time goes so quickly, appreciate it while it’s here.  Having our Charlie video truly makes that statement real. The boys have matured a bit since the video was shot but I’ll have their deliciousness in a beautifully crafted little film forever. 

 

What a Multigenerational Vacation Taught Me about the Past and the Future

We recently returned from a lovely two week vacation with my parents. It was incredible. We had amazing weather, the idyllic setting of Cape Cod, delicious food and many of the summer adventures and activities that one thinks of when they imagine a summer vacation filled our weeks.

cape cod multigen vacation

The best part of all, though, was spending that time with my parents. My family lives in Philadelphia and we see them frequently. Typically, though, it is just for a day here or a couple days there. This summer, we had the gift of more than two weeks.

My son and my parents have always been close, and I am so deeply grateful that we had this extended time together. It is in the small moments of this type of time and space that the most important memories are made. My son did enjoy the miniature golf games, ice cream and sailing adventures, but if you asked him about the highlights of his vacation, he would cite reading next to my father, making ice cream with my mom and playing catch in the pond with me.

multigenerational vacation grandfather grandson boat

And with these actions comes a deeper knowing, a relaxation, an ease and a closeness. It is also with this time and its ordinary conversations that the deeper reveals happen.

My parents spoke to my son about their childhoods and mine. They imparted quiet lessons to him and most of all they just enjoyed each other and loved each other.

Frank Bruni wrote an op-ed piece about this in the New York Times and he took the words out of my mouth.

multigenerational vacation grandmother mother son

While on this multigenerational vacation, I realized again how grateful I am for the technology we have and for our ability to document moments like these.

When my son grows up and thinks about this summer, we will have photos and videos to share, along with our memories. They are gifts that will keep on giving, they give my son and I the ability to return to the wisdom, the closeness and the love of his grandparents.  

Vacation Tips: Vacation is an Opportunity for Connection

When summer vacation time comes around there can be a sense of pressure to create an idyllic experience. When we think of summer getaways, we think of dining alfresco, swimming, long evenings, tons of play time, summer reading and many opportunities to soak up the delicious summer sun.

vacation tips

For many parents, this can feel a bit intense and it can be difficult to disconnect and relax. I find that once I have arrive at my vacation destination, it takes me several days to feel relaxed. My body organically has two modes, off and on and the in-between, is hard to come by, even when I am on vacation.

This year, I decided to push myself to disconnect. While admittedly, I had trouble refraining from social media, I did ignore my email (for the most part) and chose to focus on only things that brought me pleasure and joy.

cape cod family vacation

The result was incredible - my vacation has been filled with fun, laughs and closeness. Here are some tips for creating a vacation that is worth remembering:

  • Abandon the schedule:  I usually make a plan for myself everyday and this year, I had no plan, choosing to take each day as it came - it was fun and exciting
  • Listen to your body: I slept more on this vacation and ate only when I felt hungry. Maybe the slowing down allowed me to be more in tune with what my body needed, but the result was wonderful
  • Do things that make you uncomfortable, especially if your kids want you to: I spent a great deal of time swimming on this trip - something I don’t love doing - but my son asked me to and we had a lot of laughs
  • Allow for pure downtime: Although we did have adventures every day, we also spent some time, reading, resting, drawing and just chilling out. There are so many fun things to do in the summer, but vacation is about rest, not the pressure to experience.
waves cape cod vacation family

 

  • Unplug: This is the hardest and the most rewarding. I limited my son’s screen time (and my own) even more on this trip and although he protested, we found things to do and things that we both enjoyed and that brought us closer together.
  • Make it multi-generational: Having down time that includes grandparents can bring a richness to the trip. I have been lucky enough to share this trip with my parents and my son and I have treasured the time we have had together.

Vacations are about time. Time to just be together, to enjoy, to make memories and to be present. Savor the time and celebrate the memories you make.

Celebrating Father’s Day - and My Dad

I love any excuse to celebrate, especially one that honors our family. As far as fathers go, I hit the jackpot. And, to be honest I have struggled to write this because it is difficult to express how much my father means to me (and my son) within the limitations of a single blog post.

One of my favorite pictures ever - my father with his mother, Rose and my son

One of my favorite pictures ever - my father with his mother, Rose and my son

My father, Steve, is the perfect combination of attributes that make any parent an ideal one. He is quiet and strong, yet filled with enthusiasm. He is a hard worker and an excellent provider, yet is always present at every important event. He is an incredible listener, amazing husband, brother, teacher, colleague, friend and grandfather. His joie di vivre is infectious - he is always up for a new adventure or experience, yet loves his home and creating a home. My father is highly creative, generous and loving. Being in his presence is a gift.

My father has always made me feel like he had full confidence in me, and in my dreams. It has felt as if, in his mind, there is nothing that was impossible for me to do or be.

Watching him with my son has been nothing short of blissful. They both treasure their time together and my son often asks about my father… what he would think of something, what he is doing, where he is at any given moment. 

 

So today, in honor of my dad, I celebrate all the fathers we love. The ones who work hard and play hard. The ones who bring joy to their children and to their families. Those who we are close to, and those who we have recently had the privilege of getting to know.  Here’s to you! 

I hope you feel as loved and as celebrated as you make us feel every day.

 

Honor the fathers in your life in a special way with a Father’s Day Portrait from Portraits that Move.