Lucky Summer

I wonder if it’s because the moments in summer tend to be a bit longer, that we want to hold onto them even more. The rush to get out the door slows down. If we’re lucky enough to get some time off with our families, the destination becomes the beach, the pool, or a treasured family home, rather than work and school.

Photo E Eames

Photo E Eames

The days are longer and brighter this time of year. And it seems as if our eyes bend a bit to that lens. We look for the brighter, longer moments. We feel the need to hold onto this time of year because it feels at once apart from our daily lives and essential to the lives we are working so hard every day to build for ourselves and our children.

Summer is the time, too, when (again, if we are lucky) we get to reconnect with extended family and not-often-seen friends. We share meals, and drinks, and adventures with the people who make us who we are, make us glad to have this life to celebrate. Even though, often, these are not the people with whom we share the bulk of our lives. We share the bright days with them. The memory making days.

Photo by E Eames

Photo by E Eames

All of this makes summer a unique time for us at Portraits that Move. So much of our mission is to celebrate the every day. The moments between these milestone days. All the days and days worth of moments that got your son or daughter to this summer day when their great aunt marvels, as if on cue, at how much they have grown.

For us, as we continue our mission of celebrating our shared moments and documenting our mundane and marvelous lives, we look at this season of milestone moments - the family trips, the camp letters home, the plans for the coming school year and Mitzvah season - and we recognize that nature is helping us do our work in a pointed and beautiful way. It is brightening the light. It is setting the stage. It is giving us all a little extra time to recognize and celebrate the moments that we create and the moments that find us, if we are lucky enough.

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.





Celebrating 5 Moments that Changed Us

Today, we’re recapping our 5 Moments in 5 Days anniversary celebration. It was hard for us to pick only five moments, because all of the moments we have created, documented and celebrated over the last five years have filled us with joy.

Each of the examples that we chose focuses on our mission of documenting the every day moments that matter to families. They demonstrate how we make and honor history, milestones, legacy and new beginnings every day,. This is exactly what families do, no matter their shape, size, or circumstances. We hope that you enjoy reliving these moments as much as we do, and we are grateful that you continue to share and celebrate your moments with us.

When the Little Moments Add up to the Story of Childhood for Two Siblings

We love working with families like this one year after year. This family hired us to create their first video the year Portraits that Move launched, and we have been documenting their lives ever since. What a wonderful way to preserve the moments that make up a family’s history, as those moments unfold.

Here's a look at the first film we created for them

And here is the most recent film..


Much gratitude to this family who keeps us smiling year after year!

Bringing Together Years of Small Moments for one Big Mitzvah Montage

All of these moments make up the stories of our lives. Mitzvahs provide the perfect opportunity to celebrate that life as it is growing and changing.

In this Mitzvah Montage, we take time to look back on these moments, to celebrate them, and to share them with friends and family who come together to support and honor a child during a milestone moment.

Capturing 3 Generations in One Film

What an amazing opportunity it was to create a film that brought the lives of three generations of one family together in celebration and joy.


As filmmakers, when you work with multiple generations of the same family, you are able to see the large and small ways that each individual’s experiences, observations, and personalities come together to create a complete, rich story of a family.

From the great grandparent down to the newest family member, we are able to see how history, tradition and love come together to create a story that is entirely unique to them, and that, at the same time, resonates with us all.

Meeting Baby, Meeting the World

From the eldest generations to the newest, we delight in bringing moments to life on film. Our Baby Videos are precious, especially when we are able to captured firsts - like baby’s first time touching snow - on video. So much more than a set of infant or baby photos, these moving portraits give us the sights and sounds of a baby. And they allow parents to talk about what it is like in those first few months in an honest, open, and joyful way.


It is often said because it is so true, time moves more quickly than we can imagine. And as much as we are convinced we will remember every detail of our baby’s first months and years, we don’t. They are gone in a flash, and it is so gratifying to have something to look back on to remember exactly how it looked, how it felt, what it sounded like when there was a new baby in your home.

Celebrating Healing

One of the most profoundly gratifying and joyful experiences we have is creating videos for our Portraits that Heal project. In these videos, we honor and celebrate the lives of children who live with chronic, life threatening illnesses.


In addition to demonstrating the resiliency, tenacity, and hope that these children and their families embody every day, our Portraits that Heal videos also remind us, and those who watch them, about the beauty, simplicity and joy of living every day. We are inspired and amazed by these children and we are deeply honored to be able to preserve their lives and their words on film..

Share Your Joy with Us

Contact Portraits that Move to book a video celebrating your family’s daily life, and the history you are making.

5 Things We Love about Portraits that Move

It’s our 5th Anniversary and we’re celebrating all week. Follow along and share your memories on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter this week as we celebrate 5 Small Moments that Mean the World to us. We’ll be highlighting one moment every day, from Tuesday through Saturday. We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane as much as we do.

Today, we kick off our week of celebration with 5 Things we love about Portraits that Move!

1. Celebrating Your Everyday Moments

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For these past five years, we have lived by the mantra "every moment matters" and we are so happy to reflect that back to families through our Portrait Videos, Mitzvah Videos and annual holiday cards.

2. Listening to Kids’ Stories

What a thrill it is for us to work with families year after year and document families as they grow, and giving children a place to share their observations as their perspectives and interests change.

3. Being Part of Your Milestone Moments

It means so much to us when you include us in your milestone family moments like Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Creating our Mitzvah Movies and Mitzvah Montages gives us the opportunity to allow young people to share their stories and talk about what matters to them at a beautiful moment of growth and transformation.

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The fact that we are able to be such an important part of your celebrations means the world to us, and we celebrate right along with every Mitzvah family that chooses Portraits that Move.

4. Creating Something that Stands the Test of Time

The days are short but the years are long, and we all need something to hold onto that reflects the character - the beauty, the joy, and the simplicity - of life's moments.

This is what we get to do, what we get to create for you, every day, year after year. No wonder we feel like celebrating!

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5. Using Our Talents and Passion to Spread Healing and Happiness

First and foremost, we are storytellers, and we are so pleased to tell your stories on film. All of the awards do not compare to the notes we receive from parents, and the smiles we capture on film.

Thank you for five wonderful years. We are so very excited for many, many more!

Our Anniversary Gift to You

Join in on the anniversary fun with a special 15% off a Signature Portrait, Mitzvah Montage, or Mitzvah Movie when you contact us and book by Saturday, 3/2, at 10:00 p.m. EST.

Looking Back - Favorite Moments of 2017

2017 was filled with some wonderful moments for us at Portraits that Move, both on camera and off.  

Watching our Portraits that Move videos and seeing the work we do and the smiles and stories we capture for families inspires us to do even more. In a special #MondayMotivation edition of our blog, we are looking back today at some of the moments we brought to life on film that bring us the most joy.

When Zach kisses mom.

The day Charlotte explained why "Rose" is her favorite word.

Violet, wise beyond her years, teaching us what it means to be in love.

Siblings Eli and Lilah sharing what they love about each other.

Hearing Ethan explain in his own words what his Bar Mitzvah really means to him.

Spreading holiday love with Mama and Tata.

Seeing how proud Alex and Noah are when they talk about their mom running the New York City  Marathon.

Listening to Amelia and Seamus' stories about their 2017 travels.

Witt and Lou Lou talking about the joy of living with their grandma.

Joy is our guiding word at Portraits that Move and it truly is our pleasure to help document and share it with you.

Here's to a new year filled with joyful memories and moments with all of you!

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!

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.

working with kids on camera tips

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.

tips to overcome shyness on camera filmmaking tips from kids director

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. 

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.

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. 

A Surprise Party

This past Sunday my sister visited us for brunch.  I cooked and then we went for a walk to the local playground. We hung out there for a while and then went home.  That was when an incredible thing happened: I was given a surprise birthday party. 

lessons learned surprise party portraits that move

If you know me, you know that I LOVE my birthday. I love everything about it, the gathering of friends, the well wishes and of course the cake. I feel deeply grateful to be alive every year and I love celebrating that. But a surprise party - wow!!! That takes the feeling to a whole other level. It was incredible. 

And that got me thinking about surprises - how they feel and what they bring up for us. After feeling the adrenal rush from the surprise, I was, of course, happy and filled with gratitude. A surprise party forces presence. You are with your feelings in that moment. And everyone attending is with you in that moment, those feelings, as well. It is a pretty miraculous thing.

presence and surprise parenting tips managing emotions

A couple of the kids there had never been to a surprise party.  They were riveted and excited. Even my son, who is pretty cool most of the time, said, "Mind Blown, Mom." 

I wondered how could we prepare our kids for such quick gear shifts, when surprises come in the form of parties, or other unexpected events. Is there some way to teach our children ease and peace in these kinds of situations? And at the same time how do we encourage the fun and exuberance that they feel naturally? 

Most of all, and my surprise party was still another way to reinforce this lesson, we need to teach our children that the passage of time is important and meaningful, as is the ability to be present to experience the moments that mark, and make our time together. 

It is truly incredible that we get to be here every new year, celebrating, and it is my birthday wish that we continue to do so, by sharing our stories and documenting our lives, together. 

What's in a Name: Why We Are Portraits that MOVE

We took care in coming up with the name for our documentary style family film business, and Portraits that Move is just right.  

Of course, there is the obvious - our portraits of your babies and your children reveal who they are in ways that photography, baby books and memory journals can't.  Because we are filmmakers, we are able to give you the gift of your children dancing, singing, telling their favorite stories, and moving through their space as it is, and as they are right now.

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But there is something more about this idea of moving.  As parents, as families, we are always moving.  Even when we stop to savor the moment, we are aware that these moments are as fleeting as they are wonderful.

As we enjoy the last days of summer, the family time, the adventures, and the discoveries they bring, we understand that we can't stop.  We can't stop our children from growing and changing.  We can't stop the summer from turning into fall and the learning and growth it will bring.  And we would never want to.

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But we can be present in these moments.  We can help you gather them, preserve them, and celebrate them, season after season, change after change.

"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!

What the Huffington Post #TalkToMe Series Teaches about the Power of Conversation on Film

We have been closely following the Huffington Post #TalkToMe Series in which luminaries and entrepreneurs are interviewed by their grown children.

Interviewees include Melinda Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Laura Bush and many more.  For us at Portraits that Move, we are captivated by the ways in which these individuals, all of whom have been interviewed countless times before by the best in the business, open up when they are speaking with their children.

Image via Huffington Post

Image via Huffington Post

With this seies, we are witnessing, again, the beauty of conversation between parents and children and the power of film to bring those conversations to life.  The children in these cases are adults who are accomplished in their own right.  As part of the Portraits that Move filmmaking process, we interview children when they are young and just beginning to discover their dreams - and their voices.  But we see, and we know that you all do, too, that the same bond we develop with our children when they are babies grows and develops just as they do.

The bonds we create with our children through the conversations we have with them - time spent listening as much as speaking - help to empower them to be leaders, just like the subjects of these wonderful interviews. 

What conversations are you having with your kids?  Try some of our conversation starter ideas today.

See Portraits that Move in the Huffington Post.

The Small Moments are Powerful - Get to Know the Portraits that Move Baby Video

A few weeks ago when we announced that the Portraits that Move team added documentary style baby videos to our family video products, we were thrilled to see the excitement from families and were energized by your enthusiasm for our work.

Since launching our baby video product we have met wonderful families and been able to experience the beauty and the joy that come with adding a new person to the world.  And that was certainly the case in the baby video we created for Ramona and her family. 

 

We loved watching the pure joy of Ramona exploring her world around her.  It is incredible to capture her parents talking about Baby Ramona and discussing their hopes and dreams for her.  When we create baby videos, we are so aware of how much babies change and how much it means to document this moment, the core vision of our company in action.

With infants, the small moments are powerful - watching them walk, eat, smile, explore.  As filmmakers, creating baby videos brings us back to our basic gratitude for what we can do and also how amazing life is.

We invite you to take in this moment with us.  Enjoy the video of Ramona as she explores her world.  For me, nothing compares to the moment she is exploring the snow.  What a gift to be reminded of this simple pleasure, of its newness and of the hopeful anticipation that surrounds it - and her.

A Baby Announcement!

Things are going well here at Portraits that Move and so much of that is because of all of you who have shared your joy and family moments with us.  Every day, we get to experience the beauty of families growing, celebrating, changing and connecting with each other.

In these two years of speaking with parents and children as they grow and change, what has become clear to me is how fast time goes. I feel it intensely and with urgency.  In creating films of older children I became aware that the phase of life in which the passing of time feels most rapid - the most difficult to pause and to cherish - is babyhood. 

 

With this in mind, we are thrilled to announce that we are now creating videos of babies!  Check out our first video of the sweet baby Luca above. 

We are excited by the challenge of creating mini documentary style videos of infants, babies and toddlers. We want to give parents a time capsule experience that complements the still photographs they are already getting in order to capture all of the special moments of having an infant. 

Documenting baby's sounds and sights, parents' first impressions and stories of the early days of parenthood with your baby on video allows you to follow the advice that seems all too hard to apply when you're in the trenches - stop and enjoy the moments, the days are long but the years are short, you'll be amazed by how much you forget when it all feels like it's going so fast.

Learn more about creating a baby video with Portraits that Move.

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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.    

custom video portraits that move review

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

Dreaming of Growing Up

One of the things that I most love to ask kids is what they want to be when they grow up. I find the answers they provide exciting, compelling and quite astute.  Kids are able to dream, they do not let limitations inhibit them. They are tapped into their strengths, their interests and what brings them joy. The world is open to them and it is incredible.

I get really excited about the idea of following our kids, as they get older to see if they hold onto the same dreams or if they change them in the some way.  I want to reflect their beauty, power and greatness to them. I want them to know that I believe in their biggest dreams.

As I child I dreamed of being an actress, a gymnast or a teacher. Although I started making video at fourteen years old, I never imagined my work would bring me to this path, this place, this moment. It is more fun, and more fulfilling that I ever thought it could be.  I wish the same for all of our kids.

Here’s to them and to the dreams ahead.

Take a Break - Enjoying and Planning Vacation Time with Kids

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

restful vacation staycation memories

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

vacation package custom family vacation films

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

Telling My Story

In 1971 I was born prematurely with an extremely rare esophageal birth defect. I had several surgeries as a baby and spent much of my early life in and out of the hospital. It was touch-and-go for a very long time. Most of my childhood after about age 3 was healthy and my health stabilized until I was about 21.

Since age 21, I have had 3 major surgeries to repair my esophagus, hundreds of tests and several long hospitalizations. My digestion will never be “normal,” and the struggle I deal with is constant and consistent. It is at times harrowing, often uncomfortable, and extremely confusing.

I have alluded to my health struggle before without ever telling my full story. I have always known that my experience is what allows me to tap into the richness of life and that I bring that to all of the conversations we have with kids, most especially to those with illness. I am deeply aware of how short life is, how fleeting and how meaningful.

So, why now? An opportunity came into my life to tell my story as part of a show ONLY HUMAN on NPR's WNYC.  I meditated on it and decided that sharing my experience could be helpful to others. When I looked deep down, I recognized that it was unfair to ask others to share their experiences if I was not willing to share my own. 

Listen to me tell my story:

http://www.wnyc.org/story/life-medical-experiment/

I hope it makes you laugh, brings you some insight into who I am and why documentation is so important to me. I hope it moves you, makes you think, and encourages you to share.

Thank you for listening, for reading this blog, for sharing your own stories and most of all for supporting me and our work. All stories are worth telling and I appreciate your support in our mission to do so.  

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.