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.

Celebrate the Season with Portraits that Move

We’re celebrating YOU and making it easier than ever to share the Portraits that Move experience with your friends and family.

Special Offer Black Friday through Cyber Monday

Celebrate the season with savings from Portraits that Move. Purchase a $500 gift card for $200 starting Black Friday, through Small Business Saturday, all the way to Cyber Monday!

Purchase a gift card for yourself or as a gift for others now through Monday, 11/26, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Use promo code CELEBRATE at checkout or call directly: 917-750-0031.

Happy gifting!


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.

Thanksgiving Conversation Starters.png

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

diy conversation starters for kids mason jar craft stick.JPG

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!

How to Prepare for Holiday Card Shoots

You want your holiday card to be perfect. You want it to celebrate and document your year together as a family, and to share your excitement about each other, and the coming year, with the ones you love.

These are great things to want. But they can put some pressure on you when it comes time to rally the family for your holiday card shoot. We suggest you make things as simple as possible. This keeps the holiday card experience stress free for you, and it helps to create an authentic, beautiful portrait of your family as it is right now.

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With that in mind, here are our three basic tips to prepare for your holiday card shoot this year.

1. Pick Colors that Look Good on You and in the Card

Certain colors work better on film and video than others, not because they are on trend, but because they work best with light to bring out your natural beauty.

When it comes to colors, choose colors that you like, that you are comfortable in, and that are bold enough to appear on camera the way they appear to the eye in natural light.

2. Get Everything Ready the Night Before the Shoot

Just like one of our favorite Back to School tips, make sure that everything you need for your holiday card is laid out the night before the shoot. Once you have agreed on what to wear, make sure that you have it ready to go.

Not only does this save time, it frees up your energy on the day of your holiday card video shoot. What is most important for us - and for you - is that we create a holiday card that is as authentically you as it is aesthetically pleasing. Anything and everything you can do to limit stress and keep from feeling rushed heading into the shoot, helps to create the holiday card you want.

3. Go Easy on the Staging

Clearing out space for your thoughts and your feelings to come through is more important than clearing every surface in your house. Some of our clients ask about how they should stage their home for holiday card shoots and other Portraits that Move video shoots. Our recommendation is always the same. We want to document you and your family in your space in a natural way. There is no need to transform your space to look like the cover photo of Architectural Digest if that is not your family’s aesthetic, or your home's natural state.

holiday card tips.jpg

Use the time that you would have spent meticulously staging your space to have a brief conversation with your family about high points of the year, what you are grateful for, and how you feel about your friends and family. This opens up the channels of gratitude and puts you in the mindset you need to create a heart warming, honest holiday card.

Special School Day Offer!

For all of our New York City friends who are off from school on Monday, 11/12, we are offering $50 off the price of a holiday card video if you schedule your shoot for that day. We have limited spaces available. Please contact us right away to schedule your shoot: suzlud@gmail.com or (917) 750-0031

Holiday Card Video: November and December Bookings

We do have a few shoot dates still available for your holiday card video shoots. Please contact us to schedule.

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Halloween Treat

Happy Halloween!

Enjoy all the moments today with your children. Listen to their stories. Revel in their imaginations. And share their joy.

This Halloween we have a special treat for you. Book a holiday card video shoot in NYC for 11/12 (a perfect thing to do with kids on the day off from school!) and save $50.

No trick. All treat!

With delight,

Susannah and the Portraits that Move Team

How Can I Make Holiday Cards Easy this Year?

Is is just us or is 2018 flying by on the wings of To Do Lists?!?

If it’s not one thing, it’s the next, with careers, kids, families, projects, obligations, challenges (we see you, parental burnout). The holiday season is coming up fast, and, if you feel like that brings with it another competing To Do List, you are not alone.

easy holiday cards

Now is the time of year when you start looking at every photo from summer vacation, fall break, back to school, and last Tuesday, with that critical eye, thinking…

“We should do a holiday card collage!”

“Let’s combine our own photos with professional holiday card photos!!”

“Look, we can add a photo ornament to our holiday card!!!”

“How much are stamps?”

After days of planning, you realize you spent all your energy trying to imprint something and all your time packaging it. You have no time to enjoy the cards or the moments they’re supposed to capture. The holiday card that you painstakingly designed, packaged and sent is another item checked off your list. And there are so many more items stacking up.

You gave yourself more work and less joy. Your holiday card didn’t preserve a moment from this busy year. It didn’t give you a real sense of who your kids are right now - who they became over the past year.

Try Something New this Holiday Card Season

Carve out a few hours, invite us to your home or a favorite neighborhood spot. We’ll talk with you and your kids. We’ll slow down time for a little while, and in the end, you will have the perfect, moving holiday card video.

holiday card video

No stress, no stamps. Ready to share with friends and family, and with each other, when you just need a minute to count your blessings and see how great your life really is (buys-ness and all).

Schedule your holiday card video shoot or contact us with questions: 917-750-0031.

Extra Time for Dad

No matter the season, no matter how hard we try, what we all want, more than anything else, is more time.  When it comes to gift giving that can be as difficult a wish to fulfill as it is in daily life.  Add to that the fact that most of the dads in our lives are notoriously difficult to shop for, and Father's Day gift giving can be a challenge.  It's no wonder the ubiquitous tie retains its popularity.

Our Portraits that Move team has another idea up our sleeves.  Let's give dad a little more time with his family.  Let's give him moments that can travel with him on business trips, or that he can take a quick break to enjoy during a busy day.

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Children change so quickly and we - moms and dads - feel that, if only we could bottle up these small moments, we wouldn't feel like they are being lost to the speed of life.  With our Portrait videos, you can do just that.  You can grab a moment in time - your kids as they are now, with a loose tooth, in the throes of their Harry Potter obsession, whatever it is, whoever they are, at this moment.  All the things you want to remember but fear you can't slow down enough to commit to memory and to enjoy are in our videos..

Give the dads in your life that gift this year. 

20% off for Father's Day

Use code FATHERSDAY to save 20% off a Portraits that Move Signature Portrait Video you put a deposit on by Monday, June 18th, and we will send you a custom digital Father's Day Card for your big gift reveal! 

Questions about booking your Portrait or planning your shoot?  Contact us and we will walk you through the process!

When Mother's Day is Hard

If you know one thing about Portraits that Move, it is that we love to celebrate life's moments of all sizes.  Our love of celebration most most certainly includes holidays, and Mother's Day holds a special place in our hearts.

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.

Our message to you this week is simple.  As you prepare for Mother's Day weekend, we invite you to look to your children for lessons and to let them take the lead in celebrating the holiday.  It is inspiring – and so impressive – to see what children are able to do when we create space for them to be heard, to share their emotions, their enthusiasm, and their ideas.

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This weekend, remember to flex those muscles that motherhood hones so well: patience, gratitude, openness.  Acknowledge and honor your losses privately and with those you love.  Release your expectations for the perfect day (it doesn’t exist!).  Resist the temptation to compare your day, and the feelings you have about Mother’s Day, to your Instagram feed.  Remember to celebrate your family, your motherhood journey, and your experiences, however imperfect you may think they are.

Happy Mother's Day,

The Portraits that Move Team

Our Mother's Day Gift to You

Schedule a Portraits that Move Signature Portrait consultation by the end of the month (May 31, 2018) and get 25% off, with code #HAPPYMOMDAY

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.

Gratitude and Transitions

This time of year is always an emotional one for me. This week, my son, will have his 10th birthday. A whole decade - wow - the time has flown.

His birthday this year is on Thanksgiving. What an incredible gift to have a day meant for gratitude, family time and closeness also be the day we get to celebrate the joy of having him in our lives.

The age of ten for a New York City kid is an intense one. They are still kids, playful and curious, but in this urban world, they are just on the edge of being teenagers. They are pushing for independence and yet asking for closeness. It is a time that is overwhelming for him and for me. I wonder how do we shift into this next decade together. What will it look like?

tweens nyc

I find grounding in gratitude. If I stay in touch with all the reasons I am grateful for him - the way he winks at me, the joy in his belly laugh, his power of observation, the kindness he shows with younger kids, his comedic impersonations - the gratitude keeps me present and enjoying today. And then, once I am there, I have ease in knowing the rest will come as it may, in its own time.

I think this is what we are offering to parents with our work. A time for them to be present and then to look back and enjoy that presence fully. Our videos capture these moments for them so they have them to keep and to hold close.

It’s a beautiful time of year to create a Portraits That Move video, a holiday card, an annual portrait or even if you are celebrating a special occasion.

I am grateful to be able to do the the work we do, for this holiday season and for the gift of getting to be mother to my son. Here’s to the next year and next decade!

Happy Thanksgiving!

xo,

Susannah

Where should I schedule my holiday video card shoot?

We've been asked by some of our clients about the best places to shoot a holiday card video.  Over the years, we have found that the most important thing is for your kids to be comfortable.  After all, our holiday video cards are as much about celebrating the season and the milestones of the year in your family's life as they are about giving your children the opportunity to speak freely and comfortably about how they are feeling and what they are experiencing at this exciting, sometimes frantic, hopefully magical time of year.

holiday card video

Sometimes that means scheduling our holiday video card shoot outdoors at your favorite park, where we can get the full beauty of the autumn leaves and catch your kids in action running, feeling free, and enjoying a place that is special to them.

Other times, it means scheduling a family video shoot at home, where your kids can show off some of their favorite toys, tell us the stories behind their favorite holiday decorations, and feel totally comfortable in the space you have made for them.

video cards custom holiday cards portraits that move

Wherever you choose to schedule your holiday video card shoot, we will be there to help you celebrate your family, your year, and the unique and beautiful voices of your children.  

That's our kind of holiday magic.

We are all booked up for this weekend, 11/4.  Reserve your spot for Sunday, 11/19 by filling out our registration form or calling us directly: 917-750-0031

Modern Answer to the Snailmail Family Newsletter

Do you remember your mom writing holiday newsletters every year?  Do you remember reading the letters from her college roommates, following the lives of families you may never have met but felt you knew?

Fewer and fewer of those beloved newsletters arrive in the mail, thanks to social media, our busy lives, and the picture-perfect cards that so many of our friends and family seem to favor.

With that, some of the magic has been lost.  We've lost the chance to make a special connection around the holidays, to celebrate along with family and friends, and to share the accomplishments, changes and milestones that make up a year in the life of every family.

Our Portraits that Move team has come up with the answer.  Our Holiday Video Card lets you and your children talk about what happened over the whole year in your own words.

We're using modern ways to recapture traditional experiences of family, love, celebration and connection.  And our clients and their friends and families are loving it.

At the end of the day, the beauty of new technologies are that they offer us new ways to tell our stories.  The Portraits that Move Video Holiday Card is our cool, modern answer to snailmail family newsletter.  It is also a beautiful way to celebrate and remember a year in the life of your family.

Create your Portraits that Move Video Holiday Card

There is no better time to create your family's video holiday card.  The fall weather is gorgeous, and we are sure you have much news to share!  

Schedule your 90 minute holiday video film shoot on one of our two remaining days: Saturday, November 4, or Sunday, November 19.
 

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.

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

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.

Parent Challenge: Reactivate and Celebrate Imagination

I have been lucky to have had Elizabeth Eames as part of the Portraits that Move family for the last couple years. Liz has helped me to clarify and  communicate my vision for the company with leadership and with love and I am so happy when she shares some of her thoughts on parenting, life and joy with us on the blog, as she did here, and as she does today.

This piece is a reminder to our children, and to ourselves, that we can dream and we can achieve, whether we aim to be the first female president, to make art that moves people's hearts, or to do things, big and small, that make this world a better place.

Do you ever have one of those moments when you think that kids have it all figured out?  A moment you are sure that, even though we are the ones making the lunches and the appointments, registering for all the classes, finding the best this and researching the right that, that it’s our kids who possess a certain kind of wisdom that we lack?  A wisdom that we may have had, once, but can’t seem to access or to activate?

I had one of those moments this Halloween, walking through my neighborhood that had been transformed into a series of haunted houses and pumpkin patches, a place that seemed to have been taken over by the power of imagination and a collective desire to tell stories, and to play.

And our children led this transformation.  On Halloween, we give our kids license to let their imaginations run away with them, more so than we seem willing, or able, to do on the average Monday afternoon.  And they embrace it, they take to it like it is their natural state.  Because, perhaps, it is.

They pull on their costumes and it is less about knocking on doors and asking for candy and more about embodying the stuff of their imagination, becoming the wolf, or the tiger, or the superhero of their dreams.

Halloween tips parenting imagination creativity portraits that move elizabeth eames

As I watch my friends who have children older than mine, for whom fall has come to mean middle school and high school open houses, test preparation, and weighty decision after weighty decision, I am all the more aware of what a special day Halloween has become, of what a treat it is to allow our children to imagine, and to play. All too quickly, the time of vivid imagination and abandon fades as our kids move from one stage to the next. As adults, we end up having to relearn how to connect with imagination and how to let go if we want rich, creative lives.  If we want the kind of lives we are working so hard to build for our children.

This week, as you are cleaning up candy wrappers and marking down all of the November events on your master calendar, take this challenge with me. Try to contain your anxiety about your children’s future, about what they will do, about who they will be, and revel in what they are doing now, truly look at who they are right now, in all their messy, wonder-filled glory.  Put the brakes on competition among our children and among ourselves.  Use the moment that they are running down the street a little farther from you than they could have last year, skipping and singing, roaring and clanging their imaginary swords, to realize that they are exactly what they should be.  They are children, finding perfect joy in a perfect moment.  And we should, too. 

- Elizabeth Eames, November 2016

The Joy of Watching Our Children Grow

This year we have had the great blessing of working with some of our Portraits that Move families for the third year in a row. It is an incredible experience and all that I hoped it would be when I started Portraits That Move.

It is fantastic to talk to our children about what moves them, inspires them and motivates them. I love hearing about all of their feelings and observing how their interests and passions change from year to year. I am able to see the incremental change in a way that you as their parent may not always recognize. I think it is also fun for the kids. They are excited to tell me things - to show me how they have grown.

I am a person that has a heightened sense of the passage of time. As a result of the health challenges that I have had, I have always had an intense awareness of the fragility of life and the quick passage of time.  I want to preserve moments in time for you, for your family and for your children’s children.

The families that work with us year after year love having a personal catalog of our work. They enjoy both the process and the final family videos. I feel grateful for the trust they extend to me to listen to and connect with their children. I am grateful to parents for inviting me to capture the passage of time, to give the gift of time back to them, and to their children.  

The work we do, creating custom documentary quality videos of families, is a gift to each of us as Portraits that Move filmmakers. As we enter into the holiday season, I look forward to giving that gift to all of you.