Monthly Archives

March 2017

Teddy Bear Portraits Photographer Profile: Samantha Merrill-Hicks

By | Daycare and Preschool Photography, Portrait Photography, Professional Photographers | No Comments

teddy bear portraits photographer samantha merrill-hicks
Photographer Samantha Merrill-Hicks has been entertaining kids and capturing smiles with Teddy Bear Portraits for the last three years. With a career background working with children and a passion for photography, becoming a preschool portrait photographer seemed like a natural career move for her.

Samantha’s favorite part about working as a preschool photographer is that she gets the opportunity to interact on a personal level with each child. She explains, “I really get to know them, even though they are only sitting with me for a few quick minutes, I can still make such an important connection with them.”

She continues, “It is just a great feeling when they know who I am. I love knowing that I have made their day… I laughed with them, I goofed around with them, I got to spend my day playing around with a bunch of adorable kids… you just can’t beat that.”

Another special part of her job is photographing the same centers each season and being able to watch the kids grow. As a stepmother and aunt, Samantha understands the importance of connecting with kids on their own, personal level.

“It is important to understand that each child is different, they are unique and the same thing doesn’t work for every child.” This is what Samantha feels differentiates the Teddy Bear Portraits staff from other child portrait photography companies. When she trains new photographers she stresses the importance of staying engaged with each child, at all times.

“Working with kids and getting their genuine personality to shine through in a portrait isn’t a teachable skill… it’s just who we are here at Teddy Bear Portraits and it’s just what we do.”

Samantha focus on balancing patience and high-energy when photographing at busy centers. “I am always talking to the kids. When I train our new photographers, I stress that you need to be constantly talking to them to keep their focus and to make them feel as comfortable as possible.”

At the end of the day, after all the portraits have been captured, it’s encouraging for Samantha to be able to see reactions from parents when they see their child’s school portrait. “Parents are amazed that I got their little kiddos to sit still, let alone was able to capture such a special moment in their lives that they can treasure forever.”

“I love my job, and that’s all I can ask for!”

Samantha proudly serves daycare and preschool centers in and around South Puget Sound, Washington. If you are interested in scheduling a Portrait Day with Samantha request more information at www.teddybearportraits.com.

Gardening with your Children

By | Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers | No Comments

gardening-with-your-childrenWhat better way to bond with your children then to garden with them? Gardening can be a fun, educational and sensory experience for you to spend time with your children. It affects their brain, body and soul. It’s also an opportunity to teach your children about taking responsibility, and teaching them the nutritional benefits of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Before you Get Started – Do your Homework

All plants require varying elements for survival. For example, some plants thrive in the shade while others need sunlight in order to thrive. Some plants require minimal watering while others require daily watering. It is important to do your research because it will be vital in helping you navigate through the process and make simple decisions such as the placement of the seeds and plants and creating a watering schedule.

It is time to get started on your gardening project and it should be quick and easy. Spend time as you are working to explain to your child the benefits of what he/she is doing in a way that is easy to understand.

Guidelines to Help your Children Get Involved

Engage them from the get go. Children learn better when they understand the context of their activity. They will learn that gardening can be fun, but far more than idle play; they are contributing to the family well-being. Besides planting and nurturing their garden beds, be sure they alone do the harvesting and preparation of their crop for the table, no matter how modest the offering.

Start from seeds. It’s tempting to buy a starter kit, but children will learn more by seeing the growing process by getting their hand dirty and planting seeds. Don’t forget seeds need to be started indoors in a warm room and once sprouted they can be transplanted into pots until ready to set out.

Give them serious tools. Don’t be afraid to let them use your tools. Cheap plastic child’s gardening tools are worse than no tools at all!

Cheat a little. Not every garden task is pleasant, and the child may not be ready at all times for all chores. You may need to go out in the evening to pick a few slugs off the lettuce, or be the one to run out and move the sprinkler. They don’t have to know about every little help you offer – the child’s ‘ownership’ of the plot is the main thing.

Show off their work. When talking about your garden and the fruits of your labor, be sure to point out how your children helped the garden grow. Take photos, post them online and send them to the grandparents. The more attention you give them, the more involved they will continue to be.

The hope is that you have started a new tradition that your children will share with their children and be passed on for generations! The pictures you take can be shared with family and friends. They serve as a fun memory of this special garden experience together.