toddler photography

Happy Birthday Miss Bits

I'm sure every parent feels this way, but seriously - WHERE HAS MY BABY GONE? As I write this, three years ago at this same time I was having contractions in my home wondering what sex our baby was going to be and if we should just go ahead and go to the hospital. I was an anxious mess!

Now that we are into this parenthood thing, for just a hair shy of three years, we live in a constant state of sass in our house. This girl is fiercely independent, crazy empathetic, and seriously in love with all things rocks, sticks, and pink. Oh and ice cream! I have only cut my foot on legos once so far, and REALLY hope that doesn't happen again! Enough about me!

August 20th is all about this crazy smart ball of sunshine that demands her boo-boos to be kissed (and will kiss yours if she knows your hurt), refuses to brush her hair, and insists on sleeping with the light on. She thoroughly enjoys dancing, mac and cheese, and ALL of the popsicles!

This year was another major year for growing and learning. From her colors and numbers to potty training and sleeping in a twin size bed! She rode her first roller coaster last month and is hooked! Today she told us her favorite candy is Swedish Fish and asked for her toe nails to be painted pink. A silly girl to fit in with the rest of the goofballs in our house for sure!

I can't get over how much this little human has changed my life and rocked my world for the better! Scroll down and look how much she has grown this year!! I'm equal parts excited for new adventures and sad because she has grown so much!!

Be sure to scroll all the way down to she a video of our adventures this past month!

With grit and grace,

Family and Business Busy Season

Observations of Parenthood

It is the season of giving, thankfulness, and love. However, when you're in the thick of business and family busy season it can feel like the opposite. I noticed myself getting cranky with my husband and Miss Bit last week. Then I got upset with myself. My bank of patience was depleted, and I was just not myself. Why was I being so cranky? I started make excuses and had to stop myself. The day job is stressful during the holidays; with last minute proposals and the creative job was bleeding into family time. In short, Long days are long, yet still feel not long enough. This was my fault. Have you ever heard someone say "you have time for what you make for." This was finally sinking in. I love my creative job, but at times I get ahead of myself. However, left unchecked, laundry was undone and sleep was pushed aside, eventually turning me into one hot curmudgeon.

This past Friday, after taking part in a wonderful online summit (thank you Rising Tide Society), I decided to set things down and focus on my family. I have a couple of sessions to edit and deliver, and I still pushed the laundry aside, I can't lie, but it will be there. My daughter on the other hand, is growing like a weed and my husband was starting to feel disconnected. This is not what I want. It is not why I was working so hard. So, we went park hopping, saw the local holiday parade, and watched movies (even if it was the same one over and over again. Anyone else have a toddler like this?). Family cuddle sessions are the best!! I struggled a bit, just being honest, but worked hard at not getting on my phone or social media in anyway.

By Sunday, I realized I needed to live the life I talk about with my clients. A huge part of my mission is to capture you where you are at now. Not in a few months, after you lose 5 pounds, or when your child grows their teeth back in. The everyday life, the seemingly mundane elements, is what I want to slow down. That is when we are real and authentic.

Getting vulnerable: I’m the heaviest I have ever been right now, I’m slower and don't have the best wardrobe right now. With that said, I have grown so much in the past year as a wife, mother, and business owner. Priorities are different for each person and each family. However perception is our only reality. If it won't matter when you retire, is not part of the 1000 piece puzzle we call the big picture, do a 180. Every day is a new day. I lost sight of this and am working on some changes I hope to share soon.

Yes, I would like to focus a bit more on me within this balancing act. I will get there. Moms, dads, you reading this,  prioritize progress over perfection!

Now for some images of Miss Bit from our park hopping adventures in the 70 degree December weather. #takeachillpilldecember

be inspired. live authentically.

Nicole

Wilhelm Family Maternity | Parenthood | Nicoleinbold

This family was so incredibly sweet!

if we wait until we are ready, we will be waiting our entire lives

This family has transplanted from Connecticut, but they fit right into Virginia life. Jeans, t-shirts, and cowboy boots makes this growing family tick. I had the please of capturing their personalities right before school started. With a nervous but excited mom and confident dad these littles are ready to take on this new year of learning and growing.

I feel like growing up you kind of assume people in one family are the same. They look similar right? As I grow up, and slow down I have started really noticing the differences in people, the beautiful, subtle differences.

While everyone in the family was generally on the quiet side, they all had varying levels of curiosity that amazed me. Mom was very open throughout the entire process, dad was quite lovingly along for the ride and these three kiddos, asked more questions than i thought possible, but I probably asked just as many of them. From talking about school starting to welcoming a new baby into the family, we had plenty to chat about! Art class, math class, and hoping to read "big daddy books." I was so happy to see all of their love for life and their willingness to gracefully move towards some big changes this year.

Cheers to a healthy and happy labor and birth blessings for this family!

be inspired. love authentically. live boldly.

Nicole

How To Take A Family Self Portrait | 6 Steps | Nicoleinbold

Lets face it parents, we can't always hire a professional photographer to capture our family's beauty. I’m in the same boat, trust me. Whether it is timing, funds, fear of picking the right outfit, or just being out on an adventure away from home, or, let's face it, all of the above. We as parents still want to capture the elusive #familyselfie or #usie every now and again. If you find these statements to be true or you just want the in between photo session portrait of your wild and crazy family, this post is for you!

A couple of notes:

I use a camera that supports a wireless remote. I have found that setting a timer and running to get into place disrupts the authentic emotion and connection in images. It is critical to pre-plan, have patience, and be quick. Kids don't typically sit for long, so the pre-planning is key!

Equipment:

  • Camera (with fully charged battery and empty memory card)
  • Tripod (Nothing fancy, keep it simple)
  • Wireless Remote
  • A stand-in (Stuffed animal or possibly your partner)

Steps:

  1. Scope out locations you think would be best. Keep in mind light is necessary and the more light you have available, the quicker you can have your shutter speed, for those goofy, fast moving littles.
  2. Set up your tripod, attach the camera and test your remote.
  3. Adjust any or all of your settings. This will work in any mode you choose to shoot, from auto to full manual. I like to start with my aperture, choosing a comfortable aperture (typical group images I like to set my aperture just above the number of people I have in my image. For example, I have a family of 3 so I’m going to set it at F3.2 or larger). Then adjusting ISO and exposure for the look and feel I want.
  4. Focus. I place my stand-in where I want my subject or family to be sitting.
    • There are 3 options here. 1) If you are a novice photographer, possibly in auto, no problem. With each click of your wireless remote, the camera will choose the best focus point for you and take the picture. 2) If you are a bit more advanced possibly shooting on a DSLR in aperture or shutter priority mode or even full manual (go you!), you can choose to set your focus point. For this set up, each time you hit your shutter on the wireless remote the camera will refocus on your given point. For this reason, I tend to put the focus point around my shoulder line as our heads will be moving around. 3) The last option for you super advanced go-getter parents, you can utilize back button focusing (BBF). (Please read your manual or search the interwebs to learn how to set this up on your particular model) I have found this to be the most accurate for our family. This option is very similar to the last, you choose your focus point to take the image. However, with BBF you set the focus on the back of your camera, utilizing your stand in, and are good to go. So when you hit the shutter release on the wireless remote, it simply releases the shutter and takes the image. It will not refocus until you reset the focus on the back of your camera. It's pretty spiffy!!
  5. Let's take pictures. Okay, you have everything set up, you have chosen the best focus option for your situation, now it is time to grab your family for an image (or 100). I don't always tell my child what I'm doing because I want candid emotions and moments with her. Sometimes, if I’m capturing all three of us I have my husband sit in for a few frames (making sure my settings are spot on) then I will sit/stand with him for a couple and by that time, my daughter is curious and wants to take part, no arguments. We interact, I snap away or have my husband snap away and we finish as easy as it started. She gets bored and leaves. We take some of the two of us, my husband leaves and I get a few of just me. Keep in mind I am not taking pictures for more than 15 minutes (tops), with the average "session" being 5 minutes.
  6. Check out your handy work. Feel free to leave the camera in place, if it is well stabilized, that way you can document interaction more than once with minimal set up.

This may take a few times to get used to. You may take 100 frames and only have one great image to show for it. That is okay! Great even; you accomplished your goal. Proving you exist with your children and with your spouse more than once or twice a year! Now print that awesome shot and keep it in view for the rainy days or a simple reminder to do it all again.

This version of taking a #familyselfie works great in your home, on vacation, or mini adventures. Especially if you want more than just your heads in images, want to avoid mirrors, or plain don't want to ask a stranger while out and about.  Here are a few shot and a favorite final image from a short  trip into DC a couple of weekends ago. I set everything up while my husband was changing our daughter's diaper (tripod, camera, aperture, ISO, and exposure). Then had my husband sit in place, while my daughter fetched her binkie from our stroller, to set my focus. Then I stepped into the frame and our daughter joined us.

My Family Selfie Loudoun Birth Photographer
My Family Selfie Loudoun Birth Photographer

I hope you found this helpful! If you set up an #usie or #familie please share and tag me #boldusie. I'm excited to receive feedback.

be inspired. live boldly.

Nicole

Aggarwal Party of 4 | Leesburg, Va | Lifestyle Newborn

Sometimes you make the best connections when you put yourself out into the world. This family seriously rocks. The amount of love, patience and grace each member has is inspiring. I love how sweet both mom and dad are with their children. From their language to how they use there voices to the calm way they move about their house. It makes my heart so happy to see this in real life. They are a wonderful example of how I want to be with my daughter and husband.

I'm the type of person that thoroughly likes to continue learning and changing with each season of life. What make this journey even better, is meeting people who make me think about how I can be better for myself, my family, and the world. The A family gives as much as they take from the world! Dad is an amazing gardener who has even built a pond in their back yard, seriously beautiful. Their home is as open and warm as their hearts, which is filled with so much light.

Mom, I'm not sure I have adequate words for everything I have learned from talking to and observing her, that sounds creepy, but I've been behind the lens a lot with her over the past couple of months. We met while advocating for our rights to nurse our children when and where ever we want. We are both strong advocates of normalizing breastfeeding and she has such a loving husband by her side for support as well. Not only did she nurse her first throughout her pregnancy, but she was so excited to share the experience with both of her daughters. And let me tell you, little L was ready with pointers and guidance on how best to latch and get comfortable.

It was a true joy to watch a mom, and dad, settle into bringing a new life into their home.

love authentically. be inspired.

Nicole