Capturing the Essence of Rome with Lifestyle Photography

Enjoying the View of St. Peter's Basillica

Enjoying the View of St. Peter’s Basilica

For The Love of Rome

Almost a year ago now, (yes, I’ve been VERY remiss in my job as a ‘blogger’) we took a family side trip to Rome on the way to my husband’s home country of Norway.  One thing that I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I LOVE to travel.  Ok, I don’t love all the details involved in getting ready for a big trip, but I really enjoy seeing different parts of this world and exploring new places, eating local foods, learning local history, and -this is where the photographer in me comes out- walking down EVERY nook and cranny to find awesome photo opportunities.  Exploring our country and world is one of the goals that my husband and I have made for our family, and I’m so thankful that we’ve had the opportunity to travel to some nifty places over the years.

Traveling with a Kid

I was a little skeptical about taking our then almost 6 year old on a 5 day tour of Rome.  Although she’s a good traveler and focuses well – she’s 5 – unpredictably comes with the territory and I didn’t want to take this once in a lifetime opportunity and then it become a disaster!  Thankfully, she LOVED it.  Before we left, I downloaded some Rick Steves mp3s on some of the sights we were going to see  while there, and she DRANK THAT UP!  I think she knew more about the Colosseum than we did after that trip!  Thank you Rick Steves!

Rome was great to get around if you didn’t mind walking or taking public transit, which we didn’t.  We were literally able to either walk or take public transportation around the entire city, and we could get to almost all of the major attractions on foot.  Although our daughter was almost 6, we took a stroller along, which was a LIFESAVER!  My mom had one that wasn’t as bulky as a jogging stroller, but its wheels were better than your average umbrella stroller.  It literally saved us and made our vacation a breeze!  No “I can’t walk anymore…I’m TOOOOoooooo tired.”  Nope.  We just strolled along on our merry way into ruins that were thousands of years old.  This is MY kind of vacation!

Photographing Rome

A cafe that has fans that spray cool mist during a hot Roman day - I'm IN!

A cafe that has fans that spray cool mist during a hot Roman day – I’m IN!

If anyone out there wants to do a photo shoot in Rome and take me with, I’LL SHOOT FOR FREE!  TAKE ME WITH YOU! LOL!  Seriously, though, Rome was FABULOUS to photograph.  I’d go back there in a heartbeat!  I love cobblestones, little cafes and bakeries, and architecture that hasn’t been built in the last 600 years.  I loved photographing my family in Rome.  There were so many fun places for my daughter to explore, and sweet, natural moments that I wanted to capture forever were abundant.  I also enjoyed the opportunities Rome afforded my Fine Art Photography.  I enjoy urban photography, and this was city life at a slower pace with a romantic backdrop. Fabulous.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the trip.  Many of my Fine Art photos can be purchased in my Etsy store:

Thanks for reading!


Getting Children to Smile For Photos: Tips and Tricks

untitled-5466I had the privilege of having an awesome photo shoot with two sweet little boys ages 6 months and 3 years a couple of weeks ago.  I LOVE taking photos of babies around 4-7 months!!  They still have their baby fat and look adorable, aren’t too mobile yet, and they give you some AMAZING smiles…ones that come from the gut!

That got me thinking about writing a post with some tips for parents or beginning photographers who take photos of children.  Sometimes for children in that preschool stage, it can be like pulling teeth to get a real smile with emotions.

You can find more photos from my photo shoot with these two cuties at the bottom of this post, but first…

Getting those REAL Smiles:  Tricks and Tips 

1.  PLEASE don’t make them say CHEESE 

It’s almost as ingrained in the American consciousness as apple pie.  We get in a pinch, want our kids to smile, and we automatically say: “SAY CHEESE”.  Although it may make the corners of their mouth turn up in what looks like some resemblance of a smile, it is not the kind of smile you’re going for.  Saying “cheese” can easily lead to a squinty eyed, all teeth barred smile that looks fake.  For some reason, I’ve also noticed that children tilt their heads and stick out their chins when they say “cheese”.  Bottom line:  Just don’t say it!

2.  The child needs to feel relaxed.

Especially during photo shoots, it pays off in smiles later to help the child feel comfortable around you first. In my photo shoots, I try to talk a little with the child before we start shooting. I ask them questions about themselves and tell them a little about me.  I let them pet my pet bunny Dini if they want.  It helps to make them more comfortable and cooperative.

This goes the same for parents trying to take photos of their children.  If you are super stressed out about getting that perfect photo – the stress is probably rubbing off on your child too.  Parents can get a little intense sometimes -especially when it’s a photo of a special Christmas outfit or birthday.  We want the photos to be beautiful, but the process needs to be as relaxed as possible.

3.  Make sure the child isn’t cold, hungry or TIRED.

Let’s face it -NONE of us feels very cooperative if we’re starving, cold, or tired.  This should be pretty self evident, but sometimes we just forget – or we don’t want that perfect outfit ruined by a big blotch goo on the shirt before the photo shoot.   Try giving them a string cheese, fruit snack, or other non-sticky-gooey-crummy snack to fill those little tummies.  Oh, and don’t plan a photo shoot during your child’s nap time.  Help your child have a successful photo shoot by planning according to your child’s needs.


With many kids, asking them silly questions really gets them smiling.

  • “So, I hear your 25 years old!  WHAT, you’re NOT?!  Are you sure?….”

  • “You’re name is Tinkerbell, right?  What, it’s Luke?!  I don’t know… I thought your mom said Tinkerbell!

and so on…   This may sound a little silly, but it often works for me and kids think it’s hilarious.

5.  Use a little reverse psychology

I often use a little reverse psychology trick in my photo shoots, and it seems to work well especially for kids around 4 and 5 years old. I tell the child (in a kind tone of voice):  “Do not smile. Under NO circumstances should you smile.  Don’t smile. Hey, you’re smiling.  No, you can’t!!”  Sounds crazy, but somehow it works!

6.  Let them be goofy!

Let’s face it.  Goofiness comes with the territory of toddlers and preschoolers.  Nobody can sit and smile for 30 minutes to an hour and not go a little nutty!  I still remember how my face hurt after my wedding photos.  I thought my face would forever be stuck in the “SMILE” position.

I often ask a child to show me different emotions during a photo shoot.

For example:  Can you show me a MAD face?…what about a SERIOUS face?

Fun Family and Photo Shoot 3Can you show me a SILLY face?…what about a SCARED face?

This goes on until I get to a HAPPY face.   I often find that this works, and sometimes I get some awesome results that aren’t from the “happy face”!

Well, I hope that these little tricks will help you the next time you are trying to get an awesome pic of your child or client! Please feel free to like, comment, and share this post!  Thanks!  Oh, and don’t forget to check out my last photo shoot with these two super cuties below!


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