Posts in kids
Russ Adoption with Hope and Kyle: Introducing Josiah Russ!

Born back in November, Kyle and Hope Russ are celebrating the official adoption of Josiah Russ today!

For about six months Hope and Kyle haven’t been able to share any photos of this cute little guy…until now! I really love the symbolism of these photos that I got in the courthouse, you can’t see Josiah’s face. It’s like waiting in ANTICIPATION…what does his face look like?!! It was my first courthouse adoption - so cool! The judge asked the family members several questions like “are you going to love this son like your own?” To the grandparents, “Are you going to spoil this child like you do your other grandkids?” It was very cute, fun, and lighthearted. The Russ’ were SO happy - it was definitely a celebration! The courthouse even has a GIGANTIC trunk filled with stuffed animals for kids to take one home!

court house adoption ft worth texas

Here is what you’ve been waiting for! This little guy! Introducing Josiah Russ!

Josiah Russ

It poured rain on the way to Ft. Worth and we were really excited when the rain stopped for us to take a few family photos right across the street from the courthouse. It was very sweet to see the Russ’ other two boys interact with baby Josiah. During the courthouse hearing the judge also asked their oldest son (5) if he was going to be a good big brother and share his toys. We all know the right answer and he pulled through saying YES! You never know what kids are going to say!

new brothers adoption in ft worth

Hope is going to be so embarrassed for me to tell you all the reasons why she’s the BEST MOM! I’ll just tell one thing. At preschool this year she had her two boys go on opposite days so that she could have one on one time with the other. That in my book is the definition of great mom. How many of us have ever even thought of that? ha!

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Celebrating with Kyle and Hope were Kyle’s parents who live in Carrollton, Texas. It was so great to see everyone so happy! This is one of my most favorite parts about being a photographer. I get to share these REALLY special moments with people! You can also tell how amazing they are because they said it was so nice to share the time with me! No one has ever said that to me photographing their special event, thank you so very much!

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I’m really digging posting outtakes from me session - that are reasonable - no one wants to see your evil eyes. But these ones are too funny. I love Josiah’s face in this one. It’s borderline grumpy man but also starring in wonder at his oldest brother.

family photo outtakes

And we can’t have family photos with toddlers without one of them putting their hands down their pants. I think I have the exact same photo of my son at this age. I think the only thing that wouldn’t made this outtake even better would’ve been Josiah dribbling spit up in Kyle’s face - probably should be grateful that didn’t happen!

So happy for your family of FIVE!!!

Welcome to the Russ family, Josiah!

family photo album mock up

So what do you do with photos from special events like this? I think the best thing that would make sense would be a photo album. My photo albums used pearl heavy paper and the cover is a vegan leather.

The paper is so sturdy that it can be thumbed through by kids for years to come and withstand that beating. Albums are a great way for little kids to see how important they are in your family! I have a lot of memories of my son going through a family album and learning all of our family member’s names. My daughter loves how she can relive memories, she swears she remembers when she was four months old…the magic of photos, ha!

Here’s to many years to come

reliving this very special celebration!

A Cheat Sheet for Acrylic Frames

The professional framing community is mostly using acrylic instead of glass these days.

Why you ask?

It’s cheaper to ship, shatterproof, and is not as heavy to bend and bow your frame or photos; to name just a few reasons. My families and school families are curious the best way to care for acrylic because this might be their first acrylic frame purchase. Here is a cheat sheet so you can reference the best ways to care for your frames.

acrylic frames cheat sheet kaitlin roten photography dallas family photographer

It seems like I spend at least ten minutes a frame wiping down so that all the dust goes away before it reaches your eyes. So I have a ton of experience getting those frames just perfect for you. If you ever want to update your frames clean the area that you will work on the frame first. The best space in my house is my oversized ottoman. I always vacuum the ottoman before I open any frame boxes! I also lay down a sheet of packaging material as an extra layer of protection from dust.

Once I helped a family update a frame and they laid the acrylic on the floor. The acrylic was crawling with SO MUCH DUST that the only option was to take it to the sink and give it a good water bath. I then wiped it down with a lint free cloth.

You might be interested in reading more about the 411 on acrylic frames and comparing it to glass! Head over here to read about that…

Maternity Session (Family rep!)

Introducing one of my family reps for 2019! Now technically you have to be a family of three to be a member of the family rep, but that’s only a “rule” so that I can really focus on families with kids and not just couples BUT this is almost a family of three!

Doesn’t it seem like everyone’s pregnancy and labor goes by way faster than your own? It really does feel like yesterday Rebecca told me she was pregnant and that I needed to clear my calendar for December!

A while ago I wrote a post about the unspoken rules of where to hang different types of portraits. Like, is it appropriate to hang family photos in your bathroom? It got me thinking after we painted our bedroom and I (finally!) could hang something on the wall.

So what about maternity photos? The post addresses maternity photos so you should read about it here

Is there a spot in your home that maternity photos shouldn’t go?

For instance, this huge print of Rebecca (she looks GORGEOUS!) over the couch contrasted with an album….

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Large maternity print contrasted with large album

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To me, and this is totally my design opinion, but the album feels more natural for a maternity session. Once the baby comes, the baby will be the center of your walls. You could totally design a wall gallery with baby and maternity photos, I just would advise a smaller version of your maternity photos - and using an image of you and your partner would also be nice!

What do you think? Have you ever gotten wall art that you thought after the fact wasn’t fitting for the specific room? I’d love to hear about it!

Welcome to the World Sadie!

The best practices for just enjoying your family

Often times when holiday’s (or birthday’s) come about as a mom you’re the designated photographer.

Do you struggle with just wanting to enjoy the moment but wanting photos for memories?

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For a while I would bring my camera everywhere. I would find myself looking through life through my camera lens instead of using my OWN eyes to enjoy the moments.

So how do we enjoy the moment AND get special photos?

Think about what photos you want before hand. If it’s a birthday party, you probably want photos of your kid blowing out their birthday cake. Do you want a group shot? Narrowing it down to what you want will give you the freedom to put your camera down and LIVE in the moment. Do you want your kid to remember you at their birthday with your phone/camera in your face?

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If it’s Christmas then also make a photo plan. What photos are you going to want? Maybe you will organize a group shot before Christmas breakfast. Maybe there is a special gift and you’ll want to announce you want a photo of the person opening the gift right before they start to open it.

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All of these events will likely occur someone where you can also set up your camera settings. This even applied if you’re planning on using your phone camera. There are certain spots where you’ll need to stand to get the better spot. Don’t be afraid to ask to stand there if someone is in your spot. If it’s your kid’s birthday party, then you got this. Don’t be afraid to ask to stand somewhere.

I think with these tips you can have successful photos AND enjoy your family!

Like I always say photos help you love and appreciate your family better. So actually love and appreciate them more by taking less photos and being off your phone more :)

Jay's Senior Photos in Las Colinas Canals

I photograph quite a few older guys and it’s about the same, they’re really not into their photos and they just want to get it done. Pretty typical. It’s really hard for them to warm up to the idea of professional portraits.

But Jay was totally willing to do anything his mom asked him. After our planning meeting I’m let his mom know that he is really sweet and she did such a great job raising him - major mom points.

Jay was such a sport for his photos. He’s not the type of guy who wants a large canvas of himself on the wall but he did like THE BEST job in front of the camera to make his mom (and grandma, and all of the girls at his school) swoon over his senior year photos!

And really his smile is THE BEST! I’ve already said THE BEST but just to emphasis JAY is REALLY THE BEST!!! I told him (and I’m totally going to do it!) I’m going to coin his awesome laughing smile to be “The Jay smile/laugh”. His smile/laugh was so infectious.

One thing that’s really tough about being a photographer is capturing photos that resemble the personality of someone you kinda just met. Before the shoot, I spent maybe an hour with him and his mom at their home planning for this shoot. There isn’t much time to get to know ya, but I feel like Jay’s personality came through here! Yah!

I also really appreciate him playing my games and just pretending I was funny, because I’m really not funny. That’s my secret. I’m really not funny. It’s out! I just so appreciate him and this is totally going in the books as a favorite session of mine! THANK YOU!!!!

I think I’m getting into posting

outtakes too, they’re just so funny…..

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And who doesn’t want a photo with their mom? This is so precious!

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Let’s be real honest…

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As much as I LOVE LOVE L-O-V-E gallery walls, they’re just not that popular for senior photo shoots. It might have to do with something that makes it kind of like a shrine of having a wall fully devoted to one person in your family. It might also look like you favor *just a bit one child over the other…and let’s be honest, that changes on a daily (maybe hourly) basis.

So what is popular with seniors for photographic products?

  • Albums

  • Prints

  • Small frames (16x20 all the way down to 5x7)

  • Acrylic Blocks

  • Mini Accordion Albums

  • Collage Frames (10x20 with three 5x7 photos)

Location: Las Colinas Canals in Irving Texas

Preschool Photos

This was by far one of my most favorite schools to photograph!

Can I have favorites?

Three things I do to make myself different than the regular school photo company…

  1. Learn and USE each kid’s name

  2. Work with each kid for 1-2 minutes to try to get a genuine smile

  3. Photograph outdoors to make kids look and feel more natural

Location: Carrollton, Texas

What is a styled session?

Have you heard of styled sessions? I provide styled sessions for all of my families in my family rep programs and the question often comes up..

What is a styled session?

I always say that most of the wedding photos you see on pinterest are actually styled sessions, I’m not sure that’s actually true but I feel like it gives you a good idea of what I mean. A styled session is a session where they help select a portion or all of the different aspects of styling that goes into a session. This could be, har and make-up, clothing, location, or props. The photographer often works with different vendors in a collaboration effort to make the styled session happen.

Here is an example:

I worked with Keight and Ashley from Lonestar Lettering to create a style session for a one year old in my family rep program. They created the hand painted sign to be photographed in the session. Keight and Ashley were told the colors and details of the sign but then they were left up to their own creative juices to come up with the sign. Styled sessions are a great way for creatives to style something they’ve always wanted to create.

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Keight and Ashley (owners of Lonestar lettering) are based out of Wylie Texas. They provide hand painted signs, calligraphy, and watercolors for weddings and birthdays. Keight and I talked about how the also have done busy books for babies and want to do more of those. They sounded really fun and enjoyable for babies! They also do memory books of baby first year with painted pages and a customizable cover.

For the styled session I also worked with Julie’s Sweets Bakery in The Colony. They made the smash cake for the session. I liked knowing that they cake would be made with no preservatives, fresh ingredients, and from scratch.

You can also see a wedding styled shoot of mine here

How your kids will act during a photo session

How you want your kids to act during a photo session and how they will act are two very different things…

as is life, right?

But I’m a firm believer that if you know they won’t act the way you want them, and let me take charge of them, it’ll set you up for those photos you’ve always dreamed for your wall.

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Every parent wants their kids to sit when they’re told, smile GENUINELY when they’re asked, and make the most precious reactions to my prompts for candid photos.

Guess what???

That almost never happens.

Here’s all the things that could totally go against your perfect session plan:
(And these have ALL happened to people I’ve photographed in the last 10 years…)

  • Your kids won’t nap the day of

  • They’ll get up early that morning

  • You’ll find you have your security tag still attached to your dress, so you’ll have to run by the store before the session and then your kids will either be screaming for food or fall asleep.

  • They’ll get a black eye the day before and be super grumpy

  • They’ll throw up in the car on the way to the session

  • They’ll be showing signs of getting a cold

The list of possibilities is endless…

I feel like that commercial for the insurance company “mayhem is striking at your door” muawhahaha!

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I want to let you know that SOMETHING with your kids is going to be off the day of your photo shoot.

But wait!

So how do I get those great candid and smiling photos of your kids if it seems like there is no hope???

If you’re a new parent you might not know this but…in general

Your kids act better for other people

true story.

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I have a ton of tricks up my sleeve to get your kids to forget whatever their problems are and to be happy, for a bit. Now, this being said, you totally know your kids better than I do. If you think they’re being pushed a little too far and everything is about to hit the fan, do speak up.

Just ask politely for a break for them!

Breaks are definitely allowed.

I don’t expect to photograph your kids for an hour straight. That’d be bonkers.

Something that definitely works to my advantage (besides my training as a photographer for 10 years) is my camera! My camera is really fast!

It can capture nearly 23 photos in 1 second!

I can guarantee that your kids will probably not cooperate in some fashion - especially if they’re between the ages of 18months and 3 1/2.

Here’s what you can do…

I can definitely tell when kids are done with photos. Let me do some of my tricks to get them back on track and interested in taking the photos.

Something you should probably not do…stand next to me to try over and over and over again to say cheese. It’s really confusing when there is more than one person talking to them at the same time. If I need your help, and I’m sure at several points I will, I will totally ask you to do a specific thing to help. One more thing about saying “cheese”, they always look like they’re pooping when they do this - so let me do some of my other tricks.

Your help is so graciously needed at these times.

I think if you stick with those understandings then you’ll be surprised at the genuine photos I get of your kids.

Location: Lumen Room (Red), Dallas Texas