Heartbreaker Update

For those of you who are curious as to how the little blue-eyed heartbreaker is growing, here is an update from a recent session. I hope mom and dad are ready!

This is B. at 14 months

This is B. at 14 months

And this is him at 4 months.

And this is him at 4 months.

Fashion Model in the Making

Pretty in Pink

Having photographed Dasha since she was a newborn, I knew her one-year session would be special. At each of the previous three photo sessions, her mom came prepared with adorable outfits and accessories. So when I saw what she had planned for the one-year shoot (actually 15 months by the time we were able to actually do it) I was pretty excited. Not only were the outfits stunning, but Dasha looked great in every single one of them. Surely she will have a great fashion sense, because already this girl has one amazing closet!

 

girl in pink romper with flowers

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Here are some TIPS FOR CHOOSING CLOTHING to help you with your next photo session.

 

Cutie Patootie

 

I recently visited friends in the D.C. area to celebrate their daughter’s first birthday. I wasn’t sure if I would take any photographs, but when I saw how darn cute MaKayla was, I couldn’t resist.

For the Love of Books

 

I was very fortunate to grow up in a home filled with books. Nearly every room had bookcases overflowing with books of all kinds – encyclopedias, poetry, biographies, novels – you name the subject, there was probably a book about it somewhere in our house. My mom instilled in my sisters and me a love of reading at an early age – and it has stuck with all of us to this day.

But a lot of children grow up without books of any kind. And as hard as that is for me to imagine, even worse is it may be putting those children at a disadvantage. Research suggests that reading achievement is strongly tied to availability of books, and children in poverty are the least likely to have age-appropriate reading material in the home.

And that is the impetus behind Livi’s Library, a book project designed to share gently used books with children whose families cannot afford to buy them. The project is named for Mary Olivia Pettit, who died at age 9 from viral myocarditis. Livi was a little girl who simply loved books. She carried one with her wherever she went and would read every chance she got. Livi also had compassion for others, especially those less fortunate than her. Not surprisingly, one of her many wishes was to have a library.

So to honor her memory, Livi’s mom combined her love of reading and her compassion for others to create Livi’s Library. Volunteers gather gently used books, clean them and place Livi’s Library stickers inside the front covers. Since 2010, Livi’s Library has held book fairs at elementary schools and other locations throughout South Carolina. At the fairs, children from toddlers through fifth graders can select any two books from a wide variety spread out in front of them. For many of these children, these are the first books they can call their own.

My mom taught me that through reading you could travel the world, get inside someone else’s head or go on an adventure beyond your wildest imagination. I have no doubt that Livi’s Library will do the same for many children who will also discover the amazing world of books.

Susan DeVenny helps 3-year-old Matthew choose a dog-themed book – but not just any dog book – it had to have a WHITE dog – so Clifford was out. DeVenny, a friend of Livi’s mom, helped launch Livi’s Library in 2010 in Lancaster, SC. DeVenny’s daughter and Olivia were best friends.

 

Five-year-olds Grace and Camden listen intently as Kaitlyn White, a 6th grader, reads to them. Kaitlyn and other students from LEAD Academy in Greenville, SC spent time recently with the children at Overbrook Child Development Center.

 

 

Six-year-old Maddy gets some one on one time with Sarah Katherine DeVenny.

 

Six-year-old Zoey practically buries her head in 1,2,3 – one of the two books she picked out for her own.

Mother’s Day Musings

If you could give your children a gift that would grow even more meaningful over time, you would do it, right?

And that is my hope for you with this Mother’s Day blog. For this post, I wanted to include one or two photos of my mom and me when I was a baby or a toddler. But after flipping through my sparsely-filled baby book and two shoeboxes full of loose photos, sadly, I could not find one single photo of my mom with me as a baby or a child.

I have a few photos of her alone, or with my dad – so I know what she looked like when I was too young to really remember much. From those photos I know what her clothing style was and how she wore her hair. And while I know without a doubt that she loved me, I don’t have any photos that show that. I have vague memories of her washing my hair in the kitchen sink, or nursing my skinned knee after a skateboard incident. I even remember the excitement my sisters and I had when she took us to a nearby excavation site to hunt for fossils. But what I don’t have are any photos of those moments – or countless others that make up the everyday expressions of love and affection that parents share with their children.

I wanted to post a photo of my mom with me as a baby or a child - but sadly, I don't have any. This is one of the few photos I have of my mom as a young woman.

I wanted to post a photo of my mom with me as a baby or a child – but sadly, I don’t have any. This is one of the few photos I have of my mom as a young woman.

I guess that’s one of the drawbacks of being the fifth of six children. By the time I came along, my parents were so busy taking care of a house full of girls – all at different stages of development – that the last thing on their mind was documenting any of it.

Or maybe my mom said – like many of my clients do – that she didn’t want to be in the photos because she wasn’t dressed for it, or it was a bad hair day, or she needed to lose a few pounds. I can tell you without a doubt none of that would matter one bit. My mom is gone now and I would cherish any photos I have of her and me together. (The same goes for my dad, so remember this on Father’s Day!) It wouldn’t matter if her clothes were wrinkled, or her hair was messy or even if she was missing a tooth.

Years from now, your kids may not remember the newest high-tech gadget they got for their birthday, but they will remember the time you spent with them – reading, playing or just listening.

As we grow our memories fade, but photos help keep them alive. They can instantly bring us back to that moment in time. Looking at the photos helps us remember the setting, the smells, the sounds – but most of all the feelings.

I admit that I don’t have first-hand experience as a parent, but I have decades of experience capturing real moments that come and go in the blink of an eye. And as an aunt, a photojournalist and a human being, I have learned that what kids really want most is your time. And one of the best ways to preserve those moments and those memories is through photographs.

I’m not talking about the ubiquitous low-resolution cell phone photos that may not even be accessible when your children are grown. I’m talking about high quality prints and albums that can be passed down from generation to generation.

So for this Mother’s Day, think about the visual legacy you want to create for your children. And then do something about it before they’re all grown up and it’s too late.

Please visit www.shifrinphotography.com to learn about the different ways you can preserve your family’s legacy.

 

 

 

Featured in AJC article

There is a really nice article about me in today’s AJC, written by freelance writer Helen M. Cauley. The Kroger ad that appears next to the article keeps changing so I don’t know what you’ll see  – but when I first pulled it up, there was a photo of cheeses and the ad said  ‘Say Cheese’  – something you will NEVER hear me say to any subject I’m photographing. Love the irony!

AJC feature article

 

Cowgirl Sabina

Regular readers of my blog know how crazy I am about my niece Sabina. And while I don’t see her nearly as often as I’d like, I try to photograph her whenever I do see her. Recently we visited a real working ranch in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas  – Flying W Ranch. Despite a snowstorm that nearly derailed our trip, we arrived safely. And even though it was freezing outside, Sabina couldn’t wait to get out and see the horses.

I’m not crazy about cold weather, so I decided to photograph Sabina inside the warm and cozy lodge where we stayed. The gorgeous light and the Western decor were a perfect setting for our photo shoot. And even though Sabina can be a girly-girl sometimes, she was right at home being a cowgirl.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I Love This Girl!

Heartbreaker Update

This little guy is so cute I can hardly stand it! It’s almost certain he’ll be breaking hearts in Pre-K…

Day in the Life – A Legacy for Your Children

We all get caught up in the busyness and necessities of everyday life – but hidden within those easily forgettable routines are precious moments that define the beauty of life itself. And as parents, it’s easy to miss the little things your kids do every day that help shape and define who they are right now. The hallmarks of a toddler – freedom from self-censorship, uninhibited play and endless creativity – will soon be tamed by etiquette and the rules of society.

Don’t let this unique period of your child’s life fade away. With a Day in the Life photo session, the fleeting moments of today will become priceless memories tomorrow. Preserve your child’s innocence and personality, now and for future generations, in a custom-designed heirloom album. Ideal ages for Day in the Life sessions are between two and six years old.

I have very few photos of me as a baby or child, let alone any candid moments that capture who I was as a toddler. If I had a photo album showing me playing hopscotch with my sisters, mom washing my hair in the kitchen sink, or holding dad’s always-warm hand as we walked to the ice cream store – it would be one of my most priceless possessions. If I had such an album, it would be one of the first things I’d grab if my house were on fire.

Once the innocence is gone, you can’t get it back. Schedule yours now, before it’s too late.

See a sample Day in the Life album

Spread the Love

As a small-business owner, I rely on word-of-mouth to grow my photography business. So to show my appreciation for your loyalty and your business, I have started a client referral program called Spread the Love. This is to reward those clients who spread the love to their family and friends.

The program is very simple. Each time you refer a client that results in a paid booking, you will receive a $50 credit that can be applied to your next photo session, print or album order. The more friends you refer, the more credits you accumulate.

AND, each new client you refer will get $50 off their first print order. So start spreading the love as you build your family’s photographic legacy.

Contact Jean Shifrin Photography to get your custom referral cards.

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