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.





Change is the Constant, and So is Gratitude

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

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

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

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

Window in Time - A Mom's Reflection

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

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

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

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

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

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

Long Island Mom Finds Beauty in the Small Moments

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

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

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

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

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

After watching the video, what struck you the most?

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

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

Did anything surprise you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about the Signature Portrait from Portraits that Move.

Portraits that Move: A Review from a Philadelphia Mom

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

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

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

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

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

After watching the video, what struck you the most?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of it!

Top Parent Questions and Answers about Family Video Making

We’ve rounded up some of the questions that parents ask about Portraits that Move film shoots, and collected them here to help give you a feel for what the filming experience is like for kids and parents.

Here, we walk you through how to prepare, what to wear, and what kinds of questions we ask to help kids share their stories. See more on how to work with Portraits that Move and explore our complete Frequently Asked Questions list from parents like you.

How to Prepare and What to Wear for a Film Shoot with Portraits that Move

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To kick off holiday card video season, we assembled this list of tips that includes colors that stand out on film, setting the stage at home, and the most important thing to remember heading in to a family film shoot.

Location, Location, Location

Parents often want to know about scouting locations for their family film shoot with Portraits that Move. From capturing the ideal location for holiday video cards to choosing the right place to document your Bar Mitzvah video or Portrait video, we offer simple guidelines for choosing and creating spaces to document your family story.

Is My Child too Shy to Appear on Camera?

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Our professional filmmakers have seen it all, and a little shyness will not prevent your family from getting the quality family video you deserve. Here, we walk through some of the steps we take to help kids feel comfortable to share their worlds with us - and with you - on film. It’s all about creating a safe, inviting, and creative space to document life. That’s what we do best!

Peek at the Process

Take a behind the scenes peek at our process as we share some of the questions we ask that get kids talking, and some of their adorable - and insightful - answers!


Music and Your Memories

Have you ever noticed that when you think back on moments of your life, there always seems to be a soundtrack? While driving in your car, a song will play and you are instantly transported to your freshman year of college, your parents' living room, or your favorite childhood vacation spot...

The connection between music and memory is powerful, both in recalling memories and in cementing them.  Music is also deeply connected to emotion.  So often there are feelings that we can't express in words, but images and music help us to capture those feelings and hold onto them.

That's why we take our time in choosing the right music for our Portraits that Move videos, the soundtracks for the moments of your lives that our films help to cement and celebrate.  When we choose your music during our production process, we do so with the images and emotions of your film shoot fresh in our minds and our hearts.  We select unique music that helps to tell your story in a way that is all your own.

Yes, it costs more to get licensing for the music we use, but we know that it is absolutely worth it, for a few reasons.  First, as artists, we support artists.  Composers truly make something out of nothing - they create songs out of silence - and they most certainly need to be compensated when their work is used.  Second, your unique films deserve their own unique scores.  This is your family, your joy, and it is our job to help bring it to the screen in all its glory, complete with the soundtrack of this moment in your life.

If you have more questions about the music in our films, or the production process, pop them into the comments below, or reach out on Facebook.  We love to talk about what we do and to share it with you!

One More Moment for Moms

One of the most common things we  hear from moms, and a feeling that is shared by the moms on the Portraits that Move team, is that we never seem to have enough time. 

Moms are so busy making moments, or trying to document them, that we lose the opportunity to enjoy them.  We lose the chance to live these moments with our children and our families.

This Mother's Day, speaking for all of us on the team, and I venture to say, for all moms, the one thing we want, is more time.  

We want five extra minutes in the morning to sit down and talk about the coming day - or even one extra minute to give our precious children a goodbye hug. 

We want more time to listen to their stories, more time to share our own, at the end of the day.

All day, every day, it seems like we are grabbing for that extra minute, one more second to breathe in the life that we are creating - to look at our children and really see them for the wonderful, unique people they are, for the gifts they are to us and to the world.

So, this Mother's Day, I invite you to take an extra moment.  Take five minutes to look and to listen to your children, to celebrate them and to celebrate you.  Put down the camera, shut off the phone, and savor five minutes of quiet observation, of reflection and stillness.  Take it all in, and allow yourself a moment to be grateful for your life, for our lives, as mothers.

Leave the Documenting to Portraits that Move

The Portraits that Move filmmakers understand that moments matter, and all of the moms who help make those moments possible matter.

In honor of Mother's Day, our gift to you is 20% off a Signature Portrait.

Book a Portrait from now until the end of May 2017 and get 20% off when you mention the code MOM2017.

It's the perfect Mother's Day gift - extra time with your children, preserved on film.

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. 

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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.

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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.

Overcoming Shyness: Tips for Working with Kids on Camera

People often ask me what happens if their child is shy or does not want to participate on the day we arrive to film their Portraits that Move video. I always respond with complete sincerity that this is not a problem at all.

Our main goal for the film shoot is to create an open, loving space for the child to be who they are. If they feel pressured, pushed or coerced in any way, it will not work.  We want your kids to know that we love them exactly as they are.

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We recently did a holiday shoot for two girls, Savannah and Derby. For the second year in a row, we documented the sisters for their family's Holiday Video Card. We had spent time with them last year, we cherished them and the entire family loved their first video.

Still, when we arrived to shoot the video the next year, one of the girls, Derby, was not into us being there. Initially, she refused to talk to me. She did not want to do anything we asked of her and, at one point, she even hid from us.

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I showed Derby love at every turn, letting her know that her feelings were normal.  I assured her and made her feel comfortable with the filming process in the following ways:

  • I let her know that she could show us and tell us what SHE wanted. All of her answers were up to her.
  • We loved her and smiled at her even through her protest. It is a weird situation to have a camera there - we acknowledged that, and we acknowledged her feelings.
  • We encouraged anything that would bring her comfort. You will see a purple stuffed snake throughout the video. She wanted it close to her, and we agreed.
  • When she said it was over for her, we wrapped it up. There is no reason to push a child beyond the point they are willing to go. Safety and comfort are most important.  Children need and deserve to feel in control of their own experience. After all, how can our kids show us their best selves if they feel uncomfortable?

Ultimately, the film captures Derby’s spirit beautifully. She is sparkly and loving and filled with fun. I loved spending the afternoon with her. I hope she felt the same. 

Portraits that Move Reviews: Parents Share Surprise and Joy

When we connect with parents for a pre-filming consultation, we talk about what to expect at a Portraits that Move film shoot.  We talk about how to prepare the children (hint: just let them know we are coming, but don't rehearse or plan for specific conversations... what naturally and organically unfolds is what is truly beautiful).  We address their questions about how long the shoot will take (about 3-4 hours for a full length signature Portrait Video) and how we help kids who are feeling a bit shy when filming day comes.

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Parents remark that they always feel well prepared for their Portraits that Move video film shoot.  What surprises them is their reaction when they see the Portrait Video for the first time.  Even though they have been part of this process, even though they have seen our other videos, read the blog, and stay in touch with us on Facebook and Instagram, there is something about that moment when parents see their children, hear their voices, experience their own Portraits that Move video.

 

We've rounded up some of the reviews from parents about the filming process and about that first moment they see their video, and what it means to them.

"We gave the video to my husband as a Valentine from the girls. He was so surprised and moved that he actually cried when he watched for the first time!" - Libby Mayward

"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." Elena Berger 

"The final product was amazing and had our kids sharing things about themselves and their inner thoughts that we rarely, if ever, hear from them." - Jason Kunreuther

"We must have watched the portrait of our boys, Nikko and Louis, a million times! Gregg was able to bring out the best in their personalities by capturing the smallest of details... A timeless memento for any parent!" - Rhodalea Le

Contact us to discuss how we can create a Portrait Video for your family.

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What the End of School Year Means for Parents

There are few moments when the passage of time is felt as acutely as it is at the end of the school year.  Surely, we are all looking at (and posting) the side-by-side First Day of School/Last Day of School photos on social media and remarking at how much our children and our friends' children have changed over the course of a school year.

Likely, we are also thinking in our more quiet, private moments, about how fast the time is going, how different our kids are from when they started the school year, and anticipating, already, how much they will have changed by the end of the summer, by the end of next year...

Celebrate these moments, mark these changes.  Listen to and look at your children as they are right now, carrying with them what they learned over these past few months, hearing their dreams for vacation adventures and all that lies ahead of them. 

Schedule a Portraits that Move portrait video session today, to honor the now, to preserve this moment, this year, this child of yours.  It doesn't need to be a holiday in the traditional sense, and it doesn't have to be a formal gift to a parent or grandparent.  Let this be your time to celebrate your children, their accomplishments, this moment, right now.