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.

Mitzvah Montage Review from NY Mom

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

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

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

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

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

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

After watching the montage, what struck you the most? 

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

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

What was the reaction at the Mitzvah celebration?

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

Have people shared the montage since the event?

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

To plan your Mitzvah Montage, contact us.

Portraits that Move: A Review from a Philadelphia Mom

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

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

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

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

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

After watching the video, what struck you the most?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of it!

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.

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.

Portraits that Move Review: Dad Calls Video "One Of the Most Valuable Things I Own"

My son Finn was one of the first Portraits that Move videos.  I was a little nervous about it at first.  

He can be shy and reserved with people, especially if he’s the center of attention, but Susannah has a natural kinship with children.

Finn opened up right away, taking the crew on a little tour of his life. He talked about his parents, his room, how much he loves books, then we went to the park to show off his bike.

He felt like a star.

The whole process was so simple, really just the afternoon, and within moments of Susannah’s arrival I knew she could get something special from the day. The results still choke me up, mainly because children change and evolve, sometimes it seems, overnight, but my family now has a moving snapshot of the little person he was at that age.

I really can’t recommend Portraits that Move more to people, and I’m always happy when I see Susannah and her crew in the neighborhood capturing the life of another child. The video is truly one of the most valuable things I own. 

- Michael Buckley, Portraits that Move Dad

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

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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"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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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!

Like Most Parents, I Want to Bottle Up My Kids' Youth and Vitality: Notes from Mom, Kim Goldin

Before I say anything else, I first want to disclose that Susannah Ludwig, owner and creator of Portraits That Move, is one of my closest and longest-standing friends in the world.  You may think this provides me an organic bias, which perhaps it does, but on the flip-side it has allowed me access to the initial concept and works to date from the start; I have had more time to invest than most in falling in love with the service, dreaming about what a video of my children might look like.

Like most parents, I want to capture my kids' youth and vitality, and put it in a bottle for me to access at any given point in time.  They are growing far too fast, and with always being behind the camera, I often lose out on many moments as a result of trying to capture their spontaneous antics.  The irony of course, is that you cannot both adequately document and experience a moment at the same time.  Enter Portraits That Move.

Also like most parents, we don’t have unlimited funds to spend on anything deemed “extra” but had seen enough of these videos to know that the joy one would provide our family would be long-term.  We saw it as an investment we would cherish, like a piece of fine art.  Having decided to move our family to the UK for a three-year adventure this past summer, we felt that capturing our daughters’ thoughts and fears and excitement about this move would be an excellent platform for a Part I of II video, highlighting who they were before we went, with the plan for the second video to document how they have changed while abroad when we return.    

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I cannot stress enough how pleased we were with the end product of our first video!!  Between the amazing interview questions and tactics to put our girls at ease, the outstanding videography that captured the intimate side of our children when they didn’t know anyone was watching, and the brilliant story they painted via expert editing, we have a masterpiece like no other, that brings us joy each time we watch it—which we continue to do many months later.  

I cannot recommend Portraits That Move enough—a video of your children is a gift-to-self like no other.

Kim Goldin

Happy and satisfied cheerleader for Portraits That Move

3 New Year Goals for a Joy Filled 2016

The last few weeks have been busy filming, editing and delivering holiday video gifts to families.  Parent reviews and holiday wishes are rolling in, and we are booking portrait shoots for next year.

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In the midst of all the busy-ness of work and celebration and family time, it is important to enter the new year with a clear mind and a clear heart, ready to take on new challenges and to grow professionally and personally, all without losing sight of what matters most.  So often, parents share with us that they feel like time is passing them by.  They look at videos we created for them last year and compare them to the films we made this year and realize how, in what feels like an instant, their children have grown - and changed - so much. 

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It is in this spirit that I am outlining my 3 goals for 2016, and I encourage all of you to do the same.

3 New Year Goals for a Joy Filled 2016

1. Celebrate and document everyday moments

Want to remember how your kids are right now?  Take a moment to snap a photo.  Write down a funny anecdote or one of their favorite phrases.  Capture moving images with us and on your own.  Next year at this time, and years from now, you will be so glad that you did.

2. Prioritize family care AND self care

The adage is true, and the advice is worth taking: care for yourself so that you can care for others.  Allow yourself to take the time you need to care for, spend time with, and support your family.  This will bring you joy, confidence and comfort, and it will do the same for your kids.

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3. Stop to acknowledge how your family is growing, communicating and connecting with each other

Instead of hurrying from task to task and moment to moment without reflection or appreciation, in the new year, commit yourself to taking time to look at, appreciate and connect with your family.  You will be amazed to see the daily changes in your children, and inspired by how they experience the world - their ideas, the stories they tell, the ways in which they open our eyes to the world around us.

What are your New Year's resolutions?  Share with us and let's be accountable - and joyful -  together in 2016.

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. 

 

The Perfect Holiday Gift - A Parent's Story

My husband travels all the time for work. And my parents and in-laws live far away.  Portraits That Move allowed me to finally get all of them what they really wanted for Christmas:  more time with my children.

We shot the first video a few weeks before Christmas last year.  I didn’t let anyone in the family see one of the website’s sample finished products so no one was really sure what they were doing.  Nevertheless the kids had a great time with Susannah and Rafe, who both made them feel special and managed to capture them perfectly.   They were in our house for just a couple of hours, chatting with the children and watching them go about their day. We also spent time outdoors at a nearby soccer field.  I’m sure the neighbors were surprised to see a small video crew following us to the park!

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The finished product arrived just before St. Nick, on Christmas Eve before everyone went to bed.  All the stars aligned and I was able to get the Apple TV to work so that the whole family could watch their Christmas present. And it was beautiful. The video was amazing and everyone sniffled with joy.

But the joy didn’t end there.  Everyone has continued to watch the video throughout the year.  My parents admit to firing it up when they feel far away in Florida. And my husband keeps it at the bottom of his email. At night in his hotel rooms, when he’s working though the last emails of the day, he rewards himself with a view of the video. He watches it almost every night when he’s on the road.

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With such success, there could be no question that we had to do another video this year.  Susannah and Rafe came back to our house, having prepped by re-watching last year’s video.  They came with new questions and new ideas about how to best reflect our household. And again they were fun and warm and the kids had a great time.  I’m certain that this year’s video will also be a delight.  And I can’t wait for Christmas eve.