Monthly Archives: January 2016

10 Ways to Take Better Photos of Your Kids

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

I am a total momarrazi (see definition below). I am obsessed with taking photos of Gracie. I cannot get enough! I want to capture every moment and every memory so I never forget these times + when she is this little. I’m a total amateur photographer, but I have learned a lot since Gracie was born. Since starting my blog, I have been asked tons of times what camera I use + what I use to edit my photos. So I thought I’d answer a few questions + give my tips! Well- here ya go!

momarrazi1-Good lighting

Lighting can truly make or break your photo. My favorite spots to take pics of Gracie are either outside, or right in front of a window. The light coming in from the window catches her eyes and it just looks so pretty! The picture also turns out more sharp + less grainy- which always looks better.
10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com 10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

2-Look for small moments

We do photo shoots with Gracie constantly. I dress her up in adorable clothes, set up a photo area filled with props and accessories. This is so fun. However- to be a great momarrazi, you need to search for those small moments. Whenever I think to myself “oh my gosh, I hope I never forget this”- that’s when I take a photo. It’s little things like how Gracie sleeps with her mouth open. Or how Gracie giggles when I kiss her neck area by her ear. Or when Daddy, Gracie, and Chika were all hanging on the bed relaxing. Those sweet, small moments turn out to be my favorite photos.

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

(This is not the best quality picture, but it is by far one of my favorites. Sometimes, the lighting sucks and you have to use your selfie camera… oh well! I will cherish this moment with Gracie forever.)

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

3-Invest in a camera

This is not totally a MUST. But it truly will improve your photos. As soon as Gracie was born, I knew I needed a real deal camera. Sure, I have no idea how to operate the thing (I am learning, though!!), but these precious moments are worth every cent of that camera! The iPhone can take some remarkable pictures, but there are still things that a professional camera can do better. My new Sony A6000 (and other professional cameras) allows me to adjust the aperture (to get blurry backgrounds), shutter speed, and the ISO (to get better lighting). This is key for catching Gracie during those oh-so-important milestones without getting a blurry baby because she moves so much!

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

4-Pay attention to the background

The background of an image can really change it! Usually before I snap a photo of Gracie, I quickly pick up all of the clutter and toys so the background looks more simple. Before you take a shot, just notice what is in the background. Make sure that whatever is there does not take away from the subject of the photo! Sometimes, if I don’t like the background, I’ll put something up instead. For Gracie’s 1/2 birthday photos, we put a sign in the background that really makes the photo special!

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

5-Focus on the eyes

Gracie’s eyes are so beautiful! My favorite photos of her are when her eyes are in perfect focus. To get an even better photo, make sure your camera is focused on the eye closest to you. Sometimes this is a real challenge because of how much Gracie moves around, but I try. Also, eyes always look best when there is natural light! So get in front of a window and start snapping! Watch your baby’s eyes light up :).

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

6-New perspectives

This one is probably the hardest for me. I love just taking the normal front facing photos. But those can get a little boring after a while! It’s hard to remember to take pictures from different perspectives, but it really makes a photo better! I try to get some of Gracie from up above, down below, and of her feet. It just makes the photo more interesting to look at, and helps me remember the little parts of Gracie that I love.

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

7-Learn how to edit photos

Sometimes when I’m taking a photo, I am in horrible lighting. Or maybe I have a setting on my camera all wrong. I usually never get my photo perfect right from the camera. So, I have a few things that I do to tweak them. I don’t like to change a whole lot but I usually always do these things to my photos:

Brighten//This one is simple. It just adds light to the photo.

Desaturate// I love my photos to be a little undersaturated. I’m not sure why, I just think it looks better and makes the colors more even.

Dreamy effect// My favorite app to edit in is Rhonna Designs Magic. It’s amazing! I always put the dreamy filter on my photos because it adds a hazy, glowy feeling to the shot. I never put the filter at 100%, but more like 25%.

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

8-Take TONS of photos

I never want to say to myself “man, I wish I took more pictures of Gracie when she was little”. Ugh. That would be the worst! So, seriously, take tons of photos. I have at least one photo every day of Gracie’s life, but usually its more like 239,304,324. Just kidding (sort of). In my opinion, there is no such thing as TOO many photos. Okay, you may run out of space, but see below for a trick!

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

9-Do not run out of storage!

I feel like this is a common problem with everyone. Is it? Or is it just me and my extreme photo taking problems. I don’t know. But I ALWAYS used to get that annoying pop up on my phone that says “CANNOT TAKE PHOTO: There is not enough available space.. blah blah blah blah”. It
always comes at the ONE time that I need my camera the most. Like when Gracie first rolls over or sits up. It’s the worst. BUT- I have found a solution. Download the Flickr app. Sign up for free. And set it to automatically download your photos. Every time you take a photo, it will automatically upload to Flickr. Then, every so often you can delete all your photos on your iPhone because they will be backed up on Flickr. This has saved my life! I love it because I still have all of Gracie’s photos on my phone- they are just on the Flickr app and not my phone storage. Also, I can access these wherever and on any computer or phone.

You can thank me later.

10-Do something with your photos

While it’s super fun to make Gracie my iPhone background and to upload pics of her on instagram… it’s so important to print some photos out too. Hang them on the wall. Get some picture frames and rotate your favorite photos frequently. Make a baby book. Make photo coasters. Mail random pictures to grandparents + friends. Put an old school wallet photo in your wallet (seriously makes me smile every time I buy something). Make a calendar. Hang photos on the fridge. Scrapbook. It’s awesome having a camera and an iPhone to take pictures of Gracie, but it’s so much more fun to get them printed and flip through the hard copies of all of her sweet moments.

10 Ways to take better photos of your kids! And how to not run out of storage on your phone! Gracefulmommy.com

I hope these tips help! What would you add to the list?

Month Five Favorites

Favorite baby products for month 5! Great list + ideas | gracefulmommy.com

Gracie is officially 6 months old! We have used a lot of baby products and played with a lot of baby toys. Here’s what we used in month five!

Favorite baby products for month 5! Great list + ideas | gracefulmommy.com

1-Bumbo Seat// We love this seat! Gracie wasn’t really ready for it until she turned 5 months old. It’s the perfect chair for feeding Gracie her new solid foods! It’s also perfect for helping her sit up. I have been using this chair almost every day during month 5, and now Gracie can sit up on her own. I don’t know for sure if it was due to the Bumbo seat, but I’m sure it helped her a little!

2-Honest Diaper Rash Cream// Ah, this stuff totally beats Desitin (in my opinion!). It is made with safe, organic ingredients like sunflower and jojoba oil. I like it because it doesn’t smell horrendous like Desitin does. It also works great! Since starting solids, Gracie gets a diaper rash more frequently. This stuff helps a ton though + clears it right up!

3-Nuby Teether Ring// Gracie loves this teether! It has different beads and bugs all around to chew on. Gracie looks at it for a while, then chooses the bug to chew on. It’s so cute! She can play with this thing for so long without getting bored. It’s easy for her to hold and she can chew on it without getting frustrated. It has been a lifesaver during this teething period.

4-Aden + Anais Security Blanket// In month 5, we changed a lot of Gracie’s sleeping habits. The main thing is that we stopped swaddling her. She loved to be swaddled and it helped her fall asleep super fast. But, she stated rolling over and wanting her arms free, so we stopped using them. It seems like Gracie likes to hold on to things to fall asleep, so we started using this lovey. She loves it! She rubs it and holds it while she sleeps (it’s adorable). I read somewhere that if I sleep with it for a few nights my smell will get on it and it may help Gracie fall asleep even better. I want to try this, but it’s going to be weird sleeping with a stuffed animal (LOL!). Whatever works, right???

5-Jumparoo// This has been one of our favorites this month (obviously, because it’s on the list). But seriously, we love it! We first tried this when Gracie was 4 months, but she was not ready for it yet. During the 5th month though, she got the hang of it. She bounces so much with a huge smile on her face. It has the option to play music, too (which Gracie loves). I also think this is helping her legs get stronger!

6-Mermaid Towel// I love hooded towels. I think Gracie looks so cute wrapped up with a little hood on! I got so many hooded towels from my baby shower, but they are all TINY. I didn’t really realize that she would grow out of her baby towels so fast. That’s why I love this mermaid towel! It’s huge! It’s also the cutest thing ever! Can they make this in mommy size?

Favorite baby products for month 5! Great list + ideas | gracefulmommy.com

Best Planners for Moms

Best planners to help you stay organized!

Best planners to help you stay organized!

I love planners. I don’t know why- but there is something about writing stuff down that really motivates me. Planners help me stay organized because I can never remember something unless it’s on paper. I’ve tried to stay organized using iCal, but it doesn’t really work for me. I need something handwritten.

These are my 6 favorite planners! The one I have used for a year is the bullet journal (#4). It’s amazing. But all of these are great planners that are perfect for staying organized.

1-Big Monthly Planner// I love this planner because it is big enough to write plenty of things on one day. It also looks great hung on the wall or above the desk.

2-Desk Calendar// I love how simply this planner is. Each day has 5-6 bullet points to write your to-dos in. It makes things way simpler.

3-Erin Condren Life Planner// This is an expensive planner ($50) but it has everything you need. You can even change out the cover anytime. There are so many pages including full calendar and weekly pages. You can’t go wrong with this one.

4-Bullet Journal// The bullet journal is the planner I use. All you need is a blank notebook. The website teaches you how to set it up. It is so customizable and you can tailor it to your needs. I’ve used this system for a year- and I love it! It has made my life SO much simpler and I get way more done during the day. I swear.

5-Printable Planner Pages// This is a great planner because you can print it at home. It has sections for your daily schedule, top 5 to do list, notes, meal and exercise plan. It even has an area to write down your favorite quote of the day! I love that.

6-Giant Monthly Planner// This planner is awesome because it is so big. It’s perfect for moms of a lot of kids. You can start it at any month. And the spaces are big enough to write your to-do list or different kids events. It has enough space in each box to even put stickers or post-its. This just looks cool hanging on the side of the fridge or even by the desk.

How do you plan on staying organized this year?