Do you love fall as much as I do? The smell of pumpkin and cinnamon in the air. The colors of the season. Cooler temperatures. Halloween! I could go on and on. And there are so many fun family activities to do in the fall. S’mores. Hay rides. Haunted houses. Corn mazes. Apple picking and pumpkin picking are two of my favorites! It’s a tradition for my family. And I bet it is for yours too. Both of them present some amazing photo opps.

Today I want to share with you 3 simple tips to help you photograph your fall in a fun, creative way. Then, I’d love to invite you to download my newest guide. You’ll find even more tips for those weekends when you’re out checking items off your fall bucket list.

1. Try an Interesting Perspective

One of the easiest ways to make your photos more creative is to experiment with different angles and perspectives. Try shooting from above your subject or underneath. Shoot from behind or look for something to shoot through like tree branches or a doorway. Get down low to include more of the foreground. Shoot over the shoulder of your subject to get a peak at what they’re doing. Simple changes can make a big impact!

2. Take a Fun Portrait

To me, fall means fun. Yes, I want you to capture photos of who you’re with and the memories you’re creating, but I also want you to have fun with it. I’ve got two ideas for you. Most of the time portraits are photos of people smiling. Let’s mix it up. Try a faceless portrait. See what you can come up with. Ask the kids for ideas, I think this is an activity that they’d have fun with. You can also bring a prop with you the next time you’re out apple or pumpkin picking. It can be something as simple as a sun hat or bag. In the first photo, I brought along a colorful blanket and a small basket. The apples and pumpkins themselves can make for fun props!

3. Take an Action Shot

I think our first thought is always to get the posed, smiling-at-the-camera shot from any event we go to. And while I love that and always go for that too, I also try and capture the fun of the day as well. Keep snapping as the kids are exploring the pumpkin patch, running through the corn maze or reaching up to pick an apple. Maybe they’re laughing on a bumpy hay ride or trying to lift a heavy pumpkin. Anytime they are in motion or lost in the moment, take the shot.

Want to know more easy tips for photographing your fall? Grab my newest guide with bonus tips on details, leading lines, and finding good light. Just click on the image below!

simple photo tips for more creative fall photos
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Ever since we decided to add on to our home and I knew that Olivia would finally have her own room, I’ve been dreaming of creating a cozy spot where she could sit and read and enjoy some quiet time. Reading is so so important to develop literacy skills and it’s also a great way to bond with your little one. It’s one of my favorite things to do at night before bed and throughout the day. I even have a bunch of books stashed in my car!

I wasn’t quite sure where to start with creating a book nook, so I hopped on Instagram for some inspiration. I LOVE the idea of displaying books for every holiday/season so I started shopping for books that I knew Olivia would be interested in. She loves lift-the-flap books and anything that has a textural element to it. Here’s what I chose.

Top ShelfSesame Street Happy Halloween, Little Blue Truck’s Halloween, Nibbles the Book Monster, and Babies Love Halloween.

Middle ShelfWhere is Baby’s Pumpkin, Brave Little Camper Saves Halloween, Peek-a-Flap Boo, and Spooky House.

Bottom Shelf Peek-a-Boooo!, You’re My Little Pumpkin Pie, Where’s the Witch, and That’s Not My Monster.

Tips for Creating a Cozy Book Nook

-Pick a spot. The corner of a bedroom, playroom, or even the living room is a great place to start. I wanted Olivia’s book nook to be in her bedroom so all I had to do was pick the perfect corner. You don’t need a wall of shelves to create a book nook either. Fill a basket with books and stick it next to a rocking chair. Put a basket on your coffee table or your TV stand. Add some special throw pillows that are only for curling up with a book.

Make it comfy. Include soft things like blankets and pillows so that they’ll feel more inclined to snuggle up and read. Right now we have a Pottery Barn Anywhere Chair, but I’m on the hunt for some fun floor pillows to put in the corner too.

Choose a way to display your books. This little corner in Olivia’s room was the perfect spot for these shelves from Target. They are great for photos or books because they won’t fall and you can clearly see each book. If you’ve got a little one like I do, make the shelves high enough so that they can’t pull down the books. As she grows, she’ll be tall enough to pull them down herself. You can also use baskets, bookcases, a wagon, wooden crates, etc. Get creative!

Decorate your book nook! This is the fun part! I can’t wait to do this for every holiday. For Halloween, I simply added some bats and a garland from Pearl and Jane. If you don’t have a whole lot of books to fill out your shelves, add some fun, framed artwork. I love these prints from Declaration & Co. or these from Sprinkle of Whimsy.

I hope this helps when it comes time to create a space for your little (or big) ones to kick back and read. I’d love to see what you come up with!

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Olivia is still in that phase where she puts everything in her mouth so it’s hard to do fun crafts and activities with her, BUT that doesn’t stop me from trying. I just make sure my expectations are low!

I saw this idea on the blog Better As Us and loved the idea to cover the high chair in foil. Genius! This controls the mess and you can fit it to any high chair tray.

When I sat her down the first thing she tried to do was pull it up, but I quickly discouraged her and redirected her attention to the paint brushes. I squirted a few dollops of paint on a paper plate and showed her how to dip the brush in. Then, I held her hand and helped her put the paint on the pumpkin. Her favorite part was dipping the brush in the paint. I had to keep reminding her to put it on the pumpkin.

Overall, the activity lasted less than 10 minutes before she started painting her hands, face, and body. Still, we ended up with an adorable pumpkin to decorate the house.

Tips for Painting Pumpkins with your toddler

-Make sure everything is ready before you begin. Get out your paint, brushes, and some wipes for clean up.

-Make sure your little one is wearing a bib or onesie that you don’t care about getting dirty.

-Rotate the pumpkin for them so they are not paiting the same spot over and over.

Photo Tips for capturing fun activities with your kids

-Set your activity up in an area with lots of natural light.

-Make sure your little one is facing the light, especially if you’re using a smartphone to take pictures.

-Move around and capture a few different angles. Take a wide angle view and then get in close. Move in even closer for details of the brush, the pumpkin and their little hands.

-Don’t forget a photo of the finished product (like I did!)

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Fall is quickly becoming my favorite season. And Halloween is right up there with Christmas for my family. Since having Olivia, I’ve rediscovered my love of celebrating holidays and creating magical moments with my girls.

One thing that’s different this time around though is how I use social media to inspire me when it comes to decorating and gift giving. I’ve come across so many amazing shops on Instagram and I’d love to share them with you.

Here are 10 small shops to help get you ready for Halloween!

Ellie and Piper – If you’re having a Halloween party, Ellie and Piper is the place to go. How cute are those skull plates?

Hooray Everyday – Adorable banners, garlands and festive holiday goods.

Occasions by Shakira – I am so excited that I stumbed on this shop. Shakira creates these amazing holiday kits that she calls, ‘a playdate in a box.’ Each kit includes seasonal items from other small shops as well as activities you can do with your kids. I ordered this Spooky Occasion Kit and can’t wait for it to get here. The kit includes a Halloween Tradition Guide with spooky recipes, a Halloween bucket list, and more, a small Bag of Monster Popcorn, movie might mini popcorn box, a reusable “Boo” Silly Straw, custom halloween matching card game, and more!

Against the Grain – these hand-cut wood signs are so much fun! There’s going to be a re-stock on 9/19 so set an alarm!

Pearl and Jane – So many fun garlands for the holidays. I’ve got a few already and just ordered one more! These garlands are a simple way to decorate for the holidays. String them up in the kitchen, on shelving, or windows. The perfect holiday accent!

Frost Your Cookie – Another fun find! This ‘Boo Your Neighbor Box’ is adorable. Scroll through the rest of her site if you dare. There are just too many yummy treats to choose from. And I think decorating cookies a great activity to do with kids of any age.

Chalk Designs By Me – Just snagged one of these beautiful hand painted signs.

Sprinkle of Whimsy – these are digital downloads that are fun to use for decorating. Print them out, stick them in a frame and add them on a bookshelf, in a gallery wall, or in the kids rooms.

OMG and More – I ordered 3 of these for the girls to wear! I was so excited they have a range of sizes which is always the hardest part if I want the girls to wear matching shirts.

Olive and Eve – Another set of printables. These are so sweet and I love the softer colors.

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One of the most common questions I get as a family photographer is how to photograph a child that won’t sit still. I feel your pain mamas. And I’m in a unique position now to offer some advice. As a fellow mom to a can’t-sit-still-kid, I have a lot of pictures of the back of Olivia’s head. She’ll be 18 months old in a few short weeks and she’s a busy child. She loves to walk and explore. When we go to the park, she may sit in the swing or go down the slide, but those moments are short lived. She’d much rather wander off and do her own thing.

But, I still manage to capture her smile and personality in photos. So, my answer to how you photograph a child that won’t sit still is simple. You don’t. At least not in the way that you’re used to.

Follw Them

The best advice I can give you is to change your approach. Follow them instead of asking them to stand sit and smile at the camera. Eventually something magical will happen. You just have to have the patience to let it.

As they explore, be ready with your camera. Anticipate what they’ll do next.

For these pictures, we were playing in the backyard and I wanted to bring my camera out to take a few photos of Olivia’s cute ponytail. I knew that part would be easy (remember – I’m a pro at taking pictures of the back of her head!). I figured that anything else I was able to capture would be a bonus. She saw these little white flowers (weeds) in the grass and bent down to scoop one up. I knew what she was going to do next so I got my camera ready. Sure enough, she put the flower up to her nose and made the sweetest little face.

Introduce a prop

Sometimes a distraction from whatever activity they’re engaged in will give you enough time to snap a few pictures. Right after I took the photo above, I remembered that we had some sunflowers in the kitchen so I ran in and grabbed one. I didn’t make a big deal of it. I didn’t show her. I just stuck it in the grass and waited for her to see it. When she noticed it, she did exactly what I thought she was going to do. She put it up to her nose to smell. If she hadn’t, I would have asked her just to see if she was willing, but most of the time I try to let things happen organically. I ask once and then move on.

Put the camera down

This is so important if you want your kids to enjoy having their picture taken. That’s why I only ask once (maybe twice!) when I want Olivia to do something. If she’s not into it, I’m not going to force it for a photo. It can be disappointing when you have a vision in your head, but I’d much rather keep things light and playful than end up with her in tears and me upset about not getting the photo I wanted.

One other trick you can try, but only after you’ve exhausted all other efforts, is to play a game of back and forth. You take a picture, I take a picture. Include them in the picture taking process and they might hang around long anough to get a few good shots. This won’t work with Olivia right now because she’s too little to handle my big camera, but I would definitely try something similar with my smartphone. Show her how I’m taking a picture of something – a toy or a doll of hers – and then turn the camera toward her and see what she does. It might hold her interest, it might not, but remember not to force it.

Ok mamas, now tell me. Was any of this helpful? Do you have a busy toddler that won’t stop for a photo? Are there any tricks you use that I can add to this list? I’d love to hear from you! And if you’re interested, I’ve got a free guide to help you while you’re out on your next fall adventure.

Grab your Fall Photo Guide here!

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