Home – Blog

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row]
[vc_column width=”1/1″]

Getting Ready for Portrait Day Fun

By | Daycare and Preschool Photography | No Comments

Parents can really help their children shine on Picture Day. It’s important to pick out an outfit that is cute with solid colors that your child likes. Avoid t-shirts with slogans, brand names and large designs. Make sure the color complements your child’s skin tone, too. Keep hair simple and pulled away from their face to let the face show through. It’s a good idea to avoid getting a hair cut the day before pictures. Aim for haircuts a week before if possible.

Remember to get your children to bed early the night before pictures so they will be fresh. Try to avoid stress and don’t coach them on how to smile. The Teddy Bear Portraits photographer will be able to get a better portrait if parents aren’t around at the time of pictures. If you have any special instructions for the photographer the day of pictures, include a note that you give to the photographer on clothing accessories, a hat or any suggestions on something you want the child to wear.

The best portraits are the ones where your child’s natural smile shines through. At Teddy Bear Portraits, our photographers are experts at capturing each child’s unique personality. They connect with each kid in a special way using toys and making it a fun. That’s why they are known as smile masters.

Family Activities for Winter Break

By | Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers | No Comments

december-19-family-activities-for-winter-break

If you’re looking for fun things for your children to do over winter break, we’ve got you covered! Try these fun ideas to keep you and your children entertained when it’s cold outside.

Do-It-Yourself Snow Slime

It’s time to bring the snow indoors! This is super quick to make and is sure to keep your child occupied for hours – without the frozen hands! They can even include their favorite animal figurines for added fun.

Winter Scavenger Hunt

If you’re feeling adventurous, get your kids outside for a fun – and cold – learning experience! Give them a scavenger hunt list of things they may find outside during the winter time. This will give them a sense of adventure as well as teach them new things about nature.

Learn how Arctic Animals Stay Warm

It’s time to get scientific! With this simple experiment, you can show your child how arctic animals stay warm in temperatures that are well below freezing. You and your child will find this fascinating!

Frozen Bubbles

Sticking with the scientific theme, we found a great blog post to show you how to create frozen bubbles! This is something that will keep the whole family entertained.

Puffy Snow Paint

Painting is always fun for kids, because it allows them to be creative, while getting a little messy! This Do-it-Yourself puffy snow paint is perfect for those wintertime art projects.

Be sure to share your winter activities with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Cooking with Preschoolers

By | Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers | No Comments

cooking-with-preschoolers2

Ready, set, cook! We’ve got you covered when it comes to cooking with the help of your preschooler.

Young kids learn with their senses and the kitchen is a fantastic place to do that – from listening to the mixer, to smelling the ingredients, and eventually tasting the final product.

They will build basic skills with something as simple as counting eggs or measuring ingredients. Read the recipe aloud to help expand their vocabulary and improve their listening skills.

Encourage an adventurous palate with sensational recipes. If you have a picky eater on your hands, this will inspire them to sample dishes they might normally not try.

What can children do to help in the kitchen?

  • Measure ingredients
  • Stir batter
  • Add Ingredients
  • Tear apart lettuce
  • Set the timer
  • Set the table
  • Wipe down your workspace
  • Help with the dishes
  • Put away ingredients

Cooking with your preschooler provides a great opportunity to spend time together as a family, so go ahead and invite them to help you next time you’re in the kitchen.

 

Portrait Day Tips for Back to School Portraits

By | Daycare and Preschool Photography, Photography Tips, Portrait Photography | No Comments

portrait-day-tips

 

With Labor Day behind us, it’s safe to say the Fall season has officially started. Now that you’ve settled into your back to school routine. It’s time to start thinking about Fall portraits! We’ve enlisted the help of our expert professional photographers to give you the best tips for a successful portrait day.

What should my child wear?

  • Solid colors work best, patterns and clothing with large logos can clash with the background
  • Choose colors that compliment your child’s features
  • When siblings are being photographed, dress them in complimentary colors, they don’t have to match, but simply complement each other. Complementary colors are any two colors which are directly opposite each other, such as red and green and red-purple and yellow-green on a color wheel.
  • You can dress your child fancy or casual, it just depends on the type of portrait you are wanting
  • If their portrait attire is dressier than their normal attire, you may want to pack an extra set of clothing to change into after portraits have been taken.
  • Small jewelry and accessories are great, but avoid anything distracting

How should I style my child’s hair?

  • Keep it neat and simple. Don’t try to change your child’s natural hair
  • You can use product to keep styles intact, but don’t overdo it

Important Tip: Get haircuts at least 10 days in advance to look natural and just-in-case there is a mishap!

Should I encourage my child to smile?

  • Teddy Bear Portraits photographers are trained to get a natural smile from your child
  • Telling children to “Smile!” or “Say Cheese!” can result in a forced, un-natural smile

Should my child wear his/her glasses?

  • Absolutely! Glasses are a part of your child’s personality
  • Our photographers know how to avoid glass reflection

The best tip we can give is to keep it simple, your child is naturally beautiful and that will show in their portraits.

 

Tips for a Healthy School Year

By | Daycare and Preschool Photography | No Comments

tips-for-a-healthy-school-yearKeeping your children healthy when they’re constantly surrounded by germs is difficult. Especially when children want to touch everything! These healthy tips will guarantee your child has an incredible school year.

Healthy Lunches

A diet that is high in fruits and vegetables as well as iron rich foods will help to strengthen your child’s immune system.

Check out some great healthy lunch ideas here.

Healthy Habits

Teaching your child healthy daily habits will assist them in preventing the spread of germs.

Get your children used to clean hands by washing their hands often or using hand sanitizer when necessary. Do they know the proper way to wash their hands? Washing with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds does the trick. Have them sing row, row, row your boat while washing their hands.

We know kids naturally love to share things, however, it’s not a good idea to share eating utensils or cups due to viruses and bacteria being transmitted easily.

Play! Children need to get plenty of exercise to help their mind and bodies remain healthy.

Ensure your children are getting enough sleep. Try to stick to a bedtime routine, whatever works for your family is great, keeping a routine will allow your child to know what to expect each night. Limit nighttime use of electronics, not only will your child rather stay up playing, but the lights from the screen can interfere with falling asleep and staying asleep.

Habits to Prevent Cold & Flu

Teach your children the proper way to cough and sneeze, cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inside of their elbow – never with their hands! The goal is for them to avoid touching their eyes or mouth during the school day. These are the easiest points for the cold virus to enter your child’s body.
Choosing the right backpack for your child can make a world of difference for comfort and functionality. Carrying a heavy backpack can take a toll on your child’s back. If the school allows it, rolling backpacks are a great option. If not, try to find a backpack with padded shoulder straps to add extra comfort.

Make certain it’s the correct size for your child – you don’t want it too large or too small. Always make sure they are using both straps and they are tightened properly.

Children should only carry necessary items – your child’s backpack should not weigh more that 10% of their body weight.

Organizing and distributing items properly within your child’s backpack will help to lessen the strain on their backs. You want heavier items placed closest to the back, whereas lighter items such as pens, pencils, etc., you want them placed towards the outside of the bag. A healthy child is a happy child!

Back to School Tips for Preschoolers to have an Excellent School Year

By | Daycare and Preschool Photography | No Comments

back-to-school-tips-for-preschoolers

Set your alarm clock, it’s back to school time! Whether this is your child’s very first year attending school or returning for another, we want it to be fun and safe. These back to school tips will ensure a hassle-free school year for both parents and kids.

Night Before

We as parents, no matter how prepared we think we are, can struggle in the morning with getting our children out the door. The key to peaceful mornings begins with the previous night’s bedtime routine. Getting a solid night’s rest will lead to a pleasant morning. It is important to get your child accustomed to going to bed at a decent time again after late-night bug catching, fire work watching, and sleeping in!

It makes sense to start maybe a week prior to actual “go” time. While your children are picking out their bedtime stories, utilize this time to pick out the clothes they will be wearing in the morning. Setting the whole outfit out in a reachable place allows your child the opportunity to dress themselves in the morning. It also creates much needed independence and pride.

First Day

As the morning comes, one SECRET to success is to get ready before you even attempt to wake up your children. We’re talking walk-out-the door with your travel mug of coffee ready. This allows you to focus on your children in the morning and not feel rushed.

A few quick helpful hints to happy mornings:

  • Preparing backpacks, the night before
  • Always check your child’s backpack for project assignments and or show and tell dates
  • Do homework right after school
  • Set up a calendar that is strictly focused with school events and hang it in a place you will always remember to look
  • Create a pencil box that is specific for homework, fill it with supplies: glue sticks, sharpened pencils, erasers, coloring crayons, color pencils, safety scissors and markers. Keep it in one location so it is always easily accessible.
  • Find library books that are due the night before
  • If rain is in the forecast set out an umbrella with the backpack
  • If colder weather is in the air set out gloves and hats along with coats by the backpack
  • Move car seats around the evening before if needed
  • Teach your child to put shoes in the same spot each afternoon

Summer Activities for Kids of All Ages

By | Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers | No Comments

july-25-summer-activities-for-kids-of-all-ages
Summertime is here- which means it’s time to fill the freezer with Popsicle and the backyard pool with water! Looking for ways to keep your children entertained and cooled off both inside and out? Check out these fun indoor and outdoor activities guaranteed to be a hit.

Way too hot outside? Try these activities to ensure your kids remain cool while enjoying their summer.

Make your Own Marshmallow Shooters

This DIY marshmallow shooter is fun for kids of all ages. It’s super easy to make and will keep your kids entertained for hours.

Pipe Cleaner Animals

This is a simple and affordable craft for you and your children to do together. Follow the only instructions to learn how to make 10 different animals, or let your child be creative and come up with their own imaginary animals.

Mason Jar Aquariums

It’s time to bring the ocean indoors with these adorable mini aquariums. You can make these look realistic by adding plants, rocks, and of course, your child’s favorite sea creatures. Just top it off with some blue water and voilà!

Time for some fun in the sun? Try these outdoor activities to keep your kids cooled off and entertained.

Painting with Ice

This activity is perfect for kids to show their artistic side. All you need is food coloring, Popsicle sticks, and some paper.

DIY Sponge Balls

There are a ton of water activities for the summertime, but this one is perfect if you don’t have water toys on hand. Your children will love throwing these around at each other. Try getting a poster board and adding some washable paint to the sponge – they will be able to create a fun splatter design!

DIY Kid Car Wash

Are your child’s outdoor toys a little dirty? We have the perfect solution – a DIY car wash! This is very simple to make and offers another use for the sponge balls from the previous activity.

How to Protect your Children’s Pictures Online

By | Family Portraits, Photography Tips | No Comments

how-to-protect-your-childrens-pictures-onlineHaving small children means having a world full of firsts– everything from the first day of school to losing their first tooth, sharing your child’s experiences online has become the norm. Because social media is such a huge part of today’s culture, it is hard to imagine not sharing all of your adorable photography memories with friends and family. But it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest technology updates to ensure that your child’s memories stay safe.

Check Your Privacy Settings

Start by examining the privacy settings on your social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Each platform offers their own customizable privacy settings, so get to know your account and understand what your current settings mean. For instance, make sure that your privacy settings on Facebook are set to only share with your friends. This means that only those you request or accept, can see your child’s smiling face. You can even create customizable lists for your albums on Facebook so that you can pick among your “friends” who can view your album.

Oversharing

Too much of a good thing, can be a bad thing. This is true with uploading pictures to social media as well. Constantly uploading pictures, can accidentally reveal a little too much information about your children’s lives. As tempting as it may be now, avoid posting embarrassing pictures of your children on the internet because those images could hang around online for the next 20 years.

Turn Off Your Location Services

When posting your child’s portraits to social media from your phone, make sure that you disable your devices’ location services. When your location services are turned on, your device shares your location along with your photos, making your location public.

If publicizing your location is a concern for you, make sure that you also avoid uploading images of your child with a geo-tag or landmark. This will help you avoid sharing your child’s whereabouts.

Keep Others in Mind

Be conscious of others in your photos. Online privacy is important and keeping children’s images safe is a concern for most parents. So, before posting images of your child and their friends, make sure that you have consent from other parents.

As a parent, it can be easy to fall victim to oversharing. So keep these tips in mind when posting pictures of children online and stay in control of the images and information that you disclose on the internet.

How to Start Preschoolers with Photography

By | Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers, Photography Tips | No Comments

image of little girl with camera

Does your phone camera gallery include 99 million selfies of your little one? Chances are the answer is yes, especially since there are many children advanced with basic technology. If you haven’t thought about introducing your preschoolers to photography yet, you may be missing out on lots of fun — it’s a portable activity that goes anywhere.

Photography builds motor, visual, and creative skills — all as it opens small eyes to the wonders of the world. Digital cameras also give kids just the instant feedback they love, for a quick boost in confidence as they learn and improve.

Get Started

Start by teaching kids how to hold the camera. Kneel to their level to look at the view screen with them. Show them how to click the shutter. If they have problems holding the camera still, rest it against a doorway, windowsill, or chair.

If kids need more help understanding the idea of framing a picture, use an empty picture frame, holding it up so they can see how to fit objects and views inside. For first shots, keep it simple. Flowers or favorite toys are good subjects. Review the shots with the child until they get the hang of it.

Photo Adventures

After they master the basics, young photographers are ready to go on assignment. Take them on photo hunts for favorite colors, clouds, birds, people wearing baseball caps — you name it — or they do! Take cameras on outings like a visit to the zoo or to a grandparent’s house. Older kids might ask grandparents about objects that are special to them, such as something given to them by their own grandparents that they’d like to have photographed. The act of photography itself can open a door to family stories, all while making new memories with the youngest generation.

Be sure to find ways to use children’s photos in crafts, framed and hung, as gifts, as cards, screen savers or in scrapbooks. Kids can use their photos to write stories, whether on paper or digital devices. Encourage them to create a memory book that journals the world through their eyes at various ages, which they can share with their own children in years to come.

Photography is a rewarding way for children to explore their world and share their vision with others.

Photo Gifts for Father’s Day

By | Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers, Portrait Photography | No Comments

june-6-fathers-day

Father’s Day is just around the corner and that means it’s time to hit the craft table! This holiday is the perfect opportunity to let your child be artistic while creating a meaningful gift that’s sure to be cherished for years to come.

We’ve found some great DIY Father’s Day gifts for you and your child to work on together. Use your favorite portraits of your child or your Teddy Bear Portraits school pictures for the perfect personalized gift. Be sure to allow your child to help choose the pictures used. Letting them assist with the creative details will add that personal touch.

  1. Photo Key Chains

    These key chains are a perfect gift for any Dad out there. The ideas are endless! Your children can be super creative with it, starting with choosing the picture, to decorating the backside with fun scrapbook paper, stickers, or sayings.

  2. Photo Messages to Dad

    This blog shows great examples of various ways for you to photograph your children holding up messages to their father. This is great for siblings, but will also work perfectly for an only child. If you can, have your child help write the message you choose, this will help include them in the process. After your photo shoot, just create a collage, and pick out a nice frame.

  3. Customized Picture Frame

    Creating a customized picture frame allows you to display your favorite picture of your child in a personal way. You and your child can work together to decorate the frame with something they think their Father will enjoy. Have fun with it, don’t be afraid to be creative.

These ideas are guaranteed to make any Father or Grandfather smile this Father’s Day! Don’t be afraid to let your child participate, their personal touches are what makes these gifts so wonderful.

 

 

Teddy Bear Portraits Sales Profile: Michelle Garrison

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

sales-profile-michelle-garrison

When it comes to embodying the spirit of Teddy Bear Portraits, Michelle Garrison has led the way. She has invaluable insight into how Teddy Bear Portraits became the industry leader in preschool and daycare photography. Michelle happens to be named among the many that have been with Teddy Bear Portraits for over 30 years! Let’s tap into her expertise when it comes to being the epitome of our core values: enthusiasm, effectiveness, trailblazer, loyalty and competitiveness.

When asked about her experience, Michelle exclaims “I enjoy working for a company that cares about their customers and strives every day to give great customer service, produce quality portraits and stands behind their word given to each and every account.”

Michelle started in October of 1987 and navigated her way through various production positions. From there, she moved into receptionist and office manager positions, made her way to the operation team and then landed in the fast-paced, forward thinking sales department.

For over 17 years, along with her colleagues, Michelle has been instrumental in hiring, training and growing the sales team into the prosperous group it is today. Before moving into an executive sales role, Michelle spent time as a field sales trainer. “When selling our program, I enjoy the relationship building and being able to promote an innovative program that stands out from all others,” she explained.

We asked Michelle “What’s a great example of a really hard objection you had to overcome in the field or over the phone to win business?” She replied with valuable insight, “The hardest I feel is loyalty. While we definitely respect someone for their loyalty to another photography company, we do want them to use us.  We ask that they try us at a different time of year to experience firsthand our technologically advanced one-of-a-kind Same Day Program.”

She continues, “This allows the center directors and parents to experience Teddy Bear Portraits and everything we have to offer. Once they use us and realize they cannot receive the care, benefits and amazing service we offer anywhere else, they will continue to use us and be a lifelong customer.”

When asked what she thinks sets Teddy Bear Portraits apart the most from other school photography companies she states, “Staying innovative and our passion and commitment to servicing our accounts with the utmost care and quality and staying true to what we stand for.”

We’re always on the lookout for great talent to join our growing team. If so, then we’d love to hear from you. View our job openings.

Photo Gifts for Mother’s Day

By | Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers | No Comments

photo-gifts-for-mothers-dayClear off the tables, set out the glue, roll out the ribbons—Mother’s Day is arriving soon! It’s time to make gifts for mom. One way to make this year’s Mother’s Day DIY project a hit with kids and mothers is to make a photo gift featuring your child’s image.

We found a couple craft projects that do just that. Gather up your favorite photos and start planning the perfect personalized gift for mom this Mother’s Day. This is a great way to use wallet size Teddy Bear portraits from us. Be sure to have at least 5-10 images to ensure a variety to choose from.

  1. Photo Accordion Card

    These cards are darling and the variations are endless. Here’s a sweet example we found for Mother’s Day that can be used for Father’s Day or Grandparent’s Day. Kids learn to fold, glue, and decorate.

  2. Photo Bookmark

    Mom will love the surprise on the back of this bookmark! It involves photographing kids full-body front and back, so your center staff will need to be handy with a camera and desktop printer. Kids have fun posing for the photos and then glue together the project. Why not add ribbons or yarn and laminate?

  3. Popsicle Stick Frames

    Turn those Instagram photos and candid images into a gift that mom is sure to cherish. For this project, you’ll need regular or jumbo popsicle sticks, washi tape, glue, and magnets. Kids can embellish the frames with stickers, wood chips or ribbons.

These photo gifts are all keepers, sure to bring a smile to any mom regardless of errant glue, snafus, bent corners, or other endearing signs of tiny hands at work.

Teddy Bear Portraits Sales Team Profile: Don & Donna Austin

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

sales-profile-don-donna-austinDon and Donna Austin have mastered quality school pictures for Teddy Bear Portraits for the past two decades. Don joined Teddy Bear Portraits back in 1997. He has worked most facets of the field, from scheduling Portrait Days as an account representative, capturing memories as a photographer, helping parents select portraits as a portrait consultant to managing them all as a territory sales manager. In December 2014, his wife Donna was recruited as an account representative for the Knoxville, Chattanooga, and surrounding areas in Tennessee. Since then, they have teamed up to create a very successful business.

Donna worked as a bookkeeper for most her career and was desiring something a little different. It just so happened the local rep retired after 15 years so she jumped on the opportunity. Donna shares, “We’ve been so blessed to work side-by-side for the past couple years.” Don adds “What a wonderful, thoughtful and ambitious professional she is, and I’m truly grateful to call her my wife and partner.”

Don and Donna love their roles with Teddy Bear Portraits. They enjoy traveling through the Tennessee Valley, visiting with their directors and servicing their centers. Don mentions “One thing that has been key for us, is the company’s commitment to long term customer satisfaction.”

He continues, “After hearing the negative comments aimed at our competitors for years, it has been refreshing to know that our customers are taken care of. Taking advantage of technology is one thing, for sure, that sets us apart, whether in the photography and editing department or in marketing.”

Donna continues, “But most gratifying is the thrill of contributing to creating memories that last for a lifetime for families. Witnessing the joy of countless parents is priceless.”

Both mentioned their goal, since the very beginning, was to give their best each and every day.

Don continues, “It’s amazing how going the extra mile has paid back in so many ways, and we’re not talking about just monetarily. Being invited back to each center time and time again, at a high percentage rate has been our greatest reward.” Here’s to Don and Donna Austin and another twenty years!

Earth Day Inspired Recycling Center to Educate Preschoolers

By | Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers, Community | No Comments

earth-day-inspired-recycling-centerTeaching kids to reuse, recycle, and conserve resources is as straightforward as turning it into a fun activity. Begin by explaining what Earth Day is and why it’s important. Teaching preschoolers about Earth Day can be as simple as setting up a recycling bin, planting a garden, making crafts from recycled materials or showing the movie, The Lorax.

What is Earth Day?

While it might be difficult to explain to preschoolers this year’s Earth Day theme is Environmental and Climate Literacy, it is possible to explain the different aspects of the earth. Start by talking about the land, water, animals, stars and people that make-up the earth.

How can we Contribute?

Develop a recycling center for your school. Start by creating a list of all the items that can and can’t be recycled. Start with the basics:

  • Paper
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Aluminum

Then set-up with two bins, one labeled “trash” and the other “recycle”. Bring the activity to life by decorating the signs with crayons and stickers. Next, include a variety of items that can be recycled, and a few that cannot. Mix them all into the trash bin for the children to sort. Ask them to move the recyclable items into the recycling bin. Keep the children engaged and create a goal chart above each bin to keep track of how much is being recycled each week!

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.

Teddy Bear Portraits Composite Profile: Ashley George

By | Daycare and Preschool Photography, Photography and Portrait Sales | No Comments

teddy bear portraits composite manager ashley george
In 2009 Ashley George began her career at Teddy Bear Portraits as a Logistics Coordinator. Eight years and multiple departments later, Ashley is working with Teddy Bear Portraits as the Product Service Manager and overseeing composites, print production, shipping/receiving, and inventory regulation. From logistics to customer service- from training to marketing, Ashley has worked in nearly every department and left each one a little brighter.

Ashley is an employee who truly embodies our company’s core values. She has demonstrated her enthusiasm, effectiveness, forward thinking, loyalty and drive to grow in each department that she has worked in.

“My favorite part about working with Teddy Bear Portraits is they value someone who is not afraid to start working with a new department or any of the challenges that come along with it. I like working for a company that fosters career growth-whether it be position or knowledge based.” Ashley continues, “This is the longest tenure I have had with a company and this is one of the main reasons.”

Ashley is currently the Product Service Manager, managing printing, shipping and the composite department. Teddy Bear Portraits offers a complimentary framed composite to every center that photographs. This sets us apart from our competitors with regular group photography because this compilation portrait features 1 pose from everyone photographed on Portrait Day! Each school has the ability to offer individual class composites as a fundraiser if they wish. We produce an 8 x 10 composite print that can be sold for students and staff. Each center sets the price based on their needs. Our complimentary composite keepsakes can easily be turned into a fundraising event!

We are working very closely with the Marketing Department to not only give our composite design a fresh new look, but also our promotional materials that go along with it. We want the schools to be able to maximize on their fundraising profits from this wonderful opportunity. We are diligently striving to continue to improve our department’s communication with the schools, thus providing composite changes quickly for the approval to print process. Want to learn more about our composites and fundraising opportunities? Contact us directly at composites@teddybearportraits.com.

Valentine’s Day Card Crafts Made With Love

By | Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers | No Comments

valentines-day-card-crafts-made-with-love

Now that the holiday decorations have finally made their way up to the attic or down to the basement, it’s time to think about those special Valentine’s Day gifts. No one’s going to argue that chocolates are nice, diamonds last forever, and flowers are absolutely lovely. Here’s the sad truth, though: chocolates are caloric, diamonds pricey, and flowers, well, let’s just say they don’t last forever.

Hand-crafted Valentine’s Day cards with your child’s school portrait sent with love from your little loved one to their loved ones? Priceless.

One of the many, many lovely things about parenting is crafting, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to break out the glue sticks, glitter and sequins. DIY cards are a quick, fun and satisfying way to spend an afternoon with your child. Taking it a step further, making Valentine’s Day cards with your child’s portrait is a great way to show close friends and family just how much you love them and how incredibly proud of your little one you are.

As with any good kid-centered craft, the materials for your card are easy to source and the project’s complexity and scope can be scaled to match your child’s unique attention span.

Materials

  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Heart-meltingly adorable school portrait of your child
  • Fun paper for the frame (Tip: put a green spin on your card and show your love for Mother Earth by digging through your recycle bin for brightly colored boxes to use as the foundation for your frame.)
  • Simple, unadorned paper for the card and backing
  • Glitter, sequins, stray buttons, stickers, and other assorted bling
  • Glue stick

How to Make a Valentine’s Day Card with Your Little One

  1. We recommend selecting a standard-sized envelope and using your envelope to determine the size and shape of your frame.
  2. Once you’ve decided on the overall dimensions of your frame, sketch the outer outline of your frame on your “fun” paper. To keep it simple, your outer edges should be straight lines.
  3. Next, carefully cut the internal opening that will frame and reveal your child’s portrait. A rectangular frame opening mirroring your outer edge is the most common configuration, but feel free to play around with ovals, wavy edges, circles, and jagged edges. Let your child’s personality shine through at every step of the process.  Important: Make sure that your portrait opening is slightly smaller than your actual portrait.
  4. Using your glue stick, affix your child’s school portrait to the back of your frame opening.
  5. Cut a sheet of your “simple” paper to match the outer dimensions of your frame.
  6. Glue the “simple” paper to the back of your frame, this will serve as reinforcement.
  7. After you’ve allowed your masterpiece to dry, write love letters to your loves.
  8. Decorate the frame with doodled hearts, glitter, sequins, stray buttons, stickers, and other assorted bling.

Show friends and family just how much they mean to you by sending them something made from the heart. Personalized photo frame cards with your child’s school portrait are sure to generate smiles and become much-loved keepsakes. Be sure to share your child’s Valentine’s Day card with their portrait with us on Facebook!

Dust Off your Camera and Capture Memories on Snow Day

By | Daycare and Preschool Photography, Family Portraits, Photography Tips, Portrait Photography | No Comments

capture-memories-on-snow-day

Although the temptation to crank up the heat, light the fire, mix up a nice warm mug of hot cocoa and hide under a quilt may be overwhelming, snow days provide a wonderful opportunity to bond with your child and experiment with your camera.

The odds are you have dozens of snaps of your little one swimming around in the water or playing in the sand, but very few pictures of a snow angels or snowman. Winter presents some magical moments for both amateur and professional photographers.

Capture Memories with Tips for Winter Photography

Here are a few tips for helping you climb snow mountains and capture adorable moments.

Comfort is King

Be careful out there when photographing in cold temperatures. Wear warm coats, silly hats, wool socks, and easy-on, easy-off gloves or mittens are a must.

Bright White, Bright Light

Snow can be a tricky subject, fooling your camera into thinking that it’s brighter out there in the world than it really is. For most hobbyist photographers, a modern digital SLR camera probably understands the scene better than you do; however, if your images read as gray rather than brilliant white, it’s time to tell your SLR a thing or two.

It’s totally counter intuitive and confusing to most photographers, amateur and professional alike, but your camera thinks that great white world is super bright. Too bright, if fact, so it’s trying to tone things down a bit by kicking down the aperture, letting in less light. That’s not good for taking the best photographs in the snow. So adjust your f-stop one- to two-stops to let in more light. Boom! Bright white!

Think Fast

To catch those gorgeous flakes as they’re falling, use a fast shutter speed. Again, you may be smarter than your SLR on a snowy day. Your camera will automatically capture motion, if it’s fast enough; however gently falling snow may pull the wool over your camera’s eye. If your flakes are blurs, increase your shutter speed to 250th or 500th of a second, depending on the size and speed of your snowfall.

It’s All About Contrast

While a white winter wonderland is a gorgeous place, rarely is the world entirely enshrouded. Look for contrast and capitalize on juxtapositions for the best pictures. Keep your eyes peeled for trees standing strong into the sun. Once you’ve found your strong shadow or your surprising splash of contrast, focus on that image and play around with your exposure. The contrast is striking in these photographs.

Black and White and Bright

Winter is full of color; you just have to look for it.  Or generate it! Get those brightly clad kids of yours outside. Start romping in the drifts, making tracks in the snow, building snowmen with bright orange carrot noses and rocketing down hills on neon-colored sleds. Keep your finger on the shutter while you play.

The Early Bird Gets the Photo

Keep in mind, the best winter light is morning light. If your kids are lucky enough to be enjoying a snow day, then they’re up with the dawn and you may as well take advantage of it. Get out there and chase those rays! Experiment with angles and figure out where the sun works best on your subjects. Traditionally, shooting with the sun to your back is best, but in the winter months, give sidelight a chance. You may find taking photographs of the sunrise or even a sunset become more stunning when the air is cold and clear.

Believe it or not, cold is good. When it’s below freezing teeny tiny ice crystals fill the air, causing light to diffract and generate brilliantly hued pictures. You can capture some remarkable images during this special season. Get started early in the day and enjoy every moment with your children. Your child’s portraits will be well worth the extra preparation and sticking to these simple cold weather photography tips.

[/vc_column]
[vc_row type=”full_width_content” bg_position=”left top” bg_repeat=”no-repeat” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” top_padding=”0″ bottom_padding=”0″][vc_column width=”1/1″]
[/vc_column][/vc_row]
65
Awards Won
268
Completed Designs
37
GitHub Repo's
439
Cups of Coffee