Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Fun: Vintage Halloween Photos

Photo via: mcmCPH

Trick or treat? How about some treats. In honor of my love of both Halloween and vintage photos, here are some of my favorites. The trick? Click on the photos and you'll get to their Flickr albums to see lots more.

First one from my generation - Star Wars! If only I could have convinced my friends to put this team together. Where's Chewy?


Love the annoyed look on this little witch's face. You know she'd have rather been a flapper that year.

Photo via: foundphotoslj

An oldie but goody from Found Magazine's feed. Minus the one mask, the rest looks scored from their parent's' closets.

Photo via: chicks57

I wish there was more info on this shot, but I think we can safely guess it predates the Hershey's Kiss. Any idea what the boy is supposed to be dressed as?

Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Holiday photo cards: take your pick

It's the most wonderful time of the year for stationary nerds like me.

After briefly considering designing my own photo card templates, I decided to outsource. Luckily my lab offers amazing designs!

If I took photos of your family this year, take a look and let me know which design you would like for your holiday cards. Then send me the name of your favorite photo (or 2!) from your session and the wording you would like printed on your cards.

Without further ado, here are the 8 suites I picked.:

This shows the 4x8" option, but be sure to come to my site to see the 5x7" versions too and learn all the pricing & ordering info.  I'm so excited to see them with your adorable babies in the "Your Photo Here" spot!

If you still need to get your family's photo taken for these cards, book with me soon so there's time for the printing. Of course if you're running on the late side you could do what my friend does and just call them New Year's cards. Let me take care of the cards this year so you can spend time with your family instead!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Inspiration Wednesdays: RealBirth

 Early on in the hospital when labor was pretty mild & I was still smiling.

No, I'm not pregnant - that shot is from last year on August 30th when my husband and I rushed to the hospital to have our baby, Juliet. We were freaking out (of course!) but felt prepared after our  childbirth classes at RealBirth.

I cannot rave about this place enough. I was semi-confident that labor & delivery would be routine and I could do it. But after the classes - in childbirth, breastfeeding and infant care - we both felt excited about our baby's birth in a new way. Without scaring us with horror stories or pressuring us to go natural at all costs, the teachers at RealBirth gave us the tools to have an educated birthing experience and first days of parenthood.

Sure, we went the traditional medical route and chose a hospital birth, but it certainly wasn't a lay-back-and-let-the-doctor-handle-it birth. In the classes, I loved their tips on prenatal massage, walking the halls as long as possible and really feeling like the driver of my delivery. But the best part was that they treated my husband as the full partner he was in the birth. We felt comfortable asking questions and loved the hands on learning. Swaddling isn't as hard is it looked!

The result - a happy healthy mom, dad & baby

After the hospital stay, when we were forced to parent Jules on our own (um, with the help of our parents & friends...), the skills we learned in the breastfeeding and infant care classes really helped. Knowing the basics, we could focus on the new parent freak-outs no one can prepare for - like the first night home - and not sweat whether our baby was eating enough or going to have that flaky skin on her hands forever. Spoiler alert: it goes away.

I tell all my local pregnant friends to check out RealBirth & recommend founder Erica Lyon's book The Big Book of Birth to anyone who lives outside New York City. After your baby is born, they have new parent classes, drop in nursing groups and more. A great resource for any new parents out there.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sneak peak - Halloween costumes from my weekend shoots

Look out! It's a scary bear!!

Phew! It's just the adorable Owen.

My fun - albeit crazy - weekend started in Boston for a baby photo shoot. Then driving through the rain Saturday night for my monthly April Glass shop day of mini-sessions on Sunday. The weather was iffy but we got outside both days. If you missed out but want to come next time, be sure to follow me on twitter and become a fan on Facebook so you get the updates. But both will recur before the holidays.

Luckily I got to fit in some time with my family and the children were uniformly wonderful. Some even wore costumes!

Before children grasp the concept of Halloween (candy, mainly) they still look terrific all dressed up. I'm partial to food or animal costumes for the first year, in a non-Geddes way. As Owen shows us (above) there's something silly about a harmless cooing baby dressed as a Grizzly bear.

Catherine rocks her Strawberry Kiss costume while swinging a bear (not Owen, fear not)

As for food, whether it's a peapod, banana or in Catherine's case strawberry, it just seems to make children even sweeter. Plus it's the closest they'll get to health food on Halloween.

And because my daughter humored me last week when her costume came in, here's a sneak peak of her all dressed up. 

She is NOT amused. But did manage to leave the hat on a good 5 minutes.

Yes, that's right, she's a garden gnome. Now the only question is what my husband and I should wear. Should we go as an over-the-top couple who may have a gnome in their garden? Or maybe fellow lawn ornaments - a pink flamingo? a Victorian gazing ball? Who cares? Everyone will be looking at the baby anyway!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday fun: Gross foods for kids

Photo: Flickr/M J M 

So I was reading the Children's Heath article on 20 worst foods for children in America and they made some great choices. But what about the grossest foods for kids. You know the stuff that you look back on and wonder how you ever put that in your mouth. But honestly, most of this crap is new and extra gross. How about my favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Sausage, wrapped in a "blueberry" pancake on a stick

Photo: Flickr/bug138

Uncrustables PB&J - I feel my juvenile diabetes acting up just looking at this.

Photo: Flickr/Silversprite

Dinosaur Chicken nuggets, just like cavemen ate.

Photo: Flickr/Dalboz17
 Any I missed?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spook-tacular event Sunday - photo sessions at April Glass

Lucy loved those mums... to death! 

I am really excited about this weekend, can you tell? Sunday I'm back in NYC for a local Sunnyside photo shoot at April Glass. We were originally scheduled for last weekend (I'm not usually crazy enough to book shoots in 2 different states for the same weekend) but the nasty weather meant rescheduling. I'm so sorry to those of you who can't make the new date, but that means there are now a few openings available. See, procrastinating paid off this time!

The shop is full of super-cute Halloween decor and baby gifts. But since the weather looks nice, I'm planning to use their gorgeous garden out back like last time. This will probably be the last time I have a day of mini-sessions there for a while, so if you are planning a photo holiday card or giving gifts of photos this year, this is the right time to come.

Here's the info again:

October 25, April Glass Photo Sessions Noon - 4PM
44-09 Queens Blvd. Sunnyside, NY 11104
Weather-permitting we will be out back in their adorable garden. Give Patrice a call at April Glass at 718-937-7578 to schedule a 30-minute mini-session with me. $50 for the session and either a cd or online album of the best photos. Call me at 718-791-0536 with any questions.

Boston-area photo shoot Saturday

Moses loves the swings - Kristin Burns

I'm very excited about coming up to my hometown of Arlington for a day of mini-sessions Saturday. I have a few time-slots open if you are interested in joining in the fun. Here's the info again:

October 24, 10-4
Stratton School park (180 Mountain Ave Arlington, MA)
Rain location Doherty residence 8 Gay St., Arlington

Come join me for a 30-minute mini-session at a local playground with a huge lawn Saturday. The sessions $50 per family (not per child, all included) and either a cd or online album of the best photos. Please bring along your baby's favorite toys, blankets, even their Halloween costume!

Email me or call 718-791-0536 to schedule a session. Can't wait to see all the kids!

5 Hints for photographing your baby at Halloween

 Juliet at 2 months, a banana - Kristin Burns

Halloween is fast approaching and I can't wait to get some photos of my daughter in her costume. You'll have to wait until 10/31 to see this year's adorable get-up, though. But on a night of chaos, excitement and sugar highs, how do you make sure you capture your child in full regalia?

A hungry monkey eyes the sleeping banana at the Halloween party

Hint 1: Don't wait until Halloween
This might be a bit of a cheat, but unless anyone is checking out your camera EXIF info, no one will mind if you get some shots of your little princess or ogre the day before. You're going to have to make sure it actually fits and try out any modifications anyway. Growing up in Boston, we usually added a turtleneck under all but the warmest costumes anyway. May as well take advantage of your child's undivided attention before the big day. Bonus points for enlisting a friend with their child in a coordinating (monkey/banana, cop/robber, Sonny/Cher) costume.

Our neighbor Owen in his handmade Noddy costume - Kristin Burns

Hint 2: Get down to their level
Pop a squat and take a few photos from your child's point of view - not only will you get some adorable portraits, you may enjoy seeing all the holiday decor from their perspective. Man, that glowing jack-o-lantern looks creepy from below!

Our daughter's favorite spot, our funky green patterned rug - Kristin Burns

Hint 3: Pick a location you can repeat next year
In my family, we used a door in the dining room as a backdrop to all our Halloween photos. Really fun to look back and see the difference a year made when the setting remained unchanged. Why not try someplace outdoors like your garden or a local park to include some fall colors?

My cabinet-crazed-burst-of-creativity cupcakes - Kristin Burns

Hint 4: Don't forget the little details
You spent hours picking out (or super-mom, sewing) the perfect costume for your child only to have them wear it once before it doesn't fit. Luckily the photos won't be so easily outgrown. Whether it's the tiny Dorothy ruby slippers or the monogrammed candy pail you had rush delivered (and will be replaced with your pillowcase next year to hold more loot), there are lots of little details from the day that will be discarded soon but not forgotten. Don't forget any holiday treats you made from scratch.

If you're counting, yes, my daughter had 3 costumes last year - Kristin Burns

Hint 5: Have fun with it
Your kids will be having a blast trick-or-treating, seeing the other children all dressed up, and amassing scary amounts of candy. So posing for a staged portrait will probably be the last thing on their mind. Instead, why not have them camp it up for the camera with their silliest (or spookiest!) face at the first house they hit and then relax. If you've followed the previous hints you've already snapped some treasures and just enjoy the moment. And gear up the biggest perk of making it through Halloween - raiding your child's candy after they go to sleep!

Still deciding on your child's costume? Check out last month's post with some of the most hilarious baby costume ideas. Want me to take some post-holiday photos, including their costume? Check out my site and shoot me an email.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Are you a Facebook fan?

I set up a fan page on Facebook and like it so far. It's a bit bizarre to have fans, especially since most of them haven't had me photograph their kids yet - heck, some don't even have kids! But I love the support and it's a great non-evite (why hello, 2001!) way to spread info about upcoming events, specials, whatever.

Facebook itself is such a strange system to me. On one hand, it has allowed me to stay in touch with way more people than this non-letter-writer, rare phone-caller could otherwise manage. Some people had been out of my life for a while and are just now getting back in, which is really wonderful. And also get closer with newer friends who I don't see as often as I would like. But it's a very shallow sort of intimacy though, when I can read what everyone had for dinner but not have that one-on-one conversation that even email gives.

When it comes to babies, the same dichotomy is there. I have seen way more of my friends' (and friends of friends) babies and love seeing how they grow into little people. But please don't quiz me on my former co-worker's daughter's name please!

Actually a fan page on Facebook is kinda perfect for baby photography though. You can get quick glimpses of adorable children while scrolling down your news feed over coffee. Stop by and become a fan if you haven't already. It's a nice way to keep up with everything Kristin Burns Baby Photo-related without much effort on your part. And isn't that what Facebook is all about?

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's a family affair!

Yes, Mikayla, we do love families!

I am off to Boston Thursday for a shoot Saturday. But just as importantly, a visit to my family. My Mom & Dad getting a couple of days of grandparents time with my daughter. I'm sure I'll snap a few (who am I kidding?) photos of them together. So I've been looking at some of my favorite family shots.

I have met some wonderful families along the way. They have run the gamut from nuclear, blended, single parent, extended. All happy; all loving; all varieties.

If you would like me to take portraits of your family, check out my portfolio of family photos then call or email me to set up a shoot. There is still time to make sure you have the perfect photo for your holiday cards or to give as gifts to the doting grandparents in your own life!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday fun - parenting advice from

All photos courtesy of 

One thing I've learned as a parent is that I have a lot to learn. Luckily there are plenty of people out there more than willing to help me. Ha!

I don't remember when I first started reading but it's now one of my favorite time-wasters. People submit notes that they've found at work, in their apartments (inter-roommate passive-aggression is frequent & hilarious), on the street. I don't know whether the notes, the captions or the comments are my favorite part but I've perked up many a slow day with a visit to their site. Who doesn't giggle when confronted with an anonymous note to a sandwich thief or toilet seat dribbler?

And like every other place on Earth, they have a treasure trove of parenting advice. Some of my favorites:

So you're saying I shouldn't buy Juliet a baby-paintballer set for Christmas? These guys even offered free parenting lessons. Not sure 10 is enough.

But what if Jules turns into a self-righteous artwork copywriter? Thank god I've already seen the tragic outcome.

Guess I'd better learn fast or she may suffer the consequences of my failure. Yikes! I guess the cranky old lady at the park who barked at me to put gloves on my daughter when it was 70 degrees out isn't looking that bad now!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rain rain go away, October still has 2 fun days

That's right, Emmet. Shout at that nasty rain!

Here is the updated list of upcoming events (excluding private photo shoots and parents group sessions) for the remainder of October. I will post a list of November events soon.

October 24, Boston-area Photo Sessions Noon - 4PM
Stratton School park, Arlington MA
Please contact me or let any Boston-area friends know I still have a few sessions open. I will book 30-minute slots for photo shoots with your baby, child or whole family. $50 for the session and either a cd or online album of the best photos. I blogged about this last month, so check it out for all the details.

October 25, April Glass Photo Sessions Noon - 4PM
44-09 Queens Blvd. Sunnyside, NY 11104
Weather-permitting we will be out back in their adorable garden. Give Patrice a call at April Glass at
(718) 937-7578 to schedule a 30-minute mini-session with me. $50 for the session and either a cd or online album of the best photos. Here's all the info from last month.

To make sure you're in the loop for any news, you can follow me on Twitter, get the RSS feed of this blog, check out my website and become a fan on Facebook. Of course going lo-fi and calling me at 718-791-0536 is good too!

New York City boys

 Emmet with mom & dad on their roof deck, Kristin Burns
Monday I had a fun photo shoot with a family in Manhattan. Trying to get cross-town during the Columbus Day Parade, I started thinking about what makes these New York City boys.

I've been lucky enough to take photos of lots of city babies and children. Sure, we may have less space than those families out in towns. But hey, when the trade-off is watching a children's string performance in a local bar, it doesn't seem too bad.

They're more likely taking the subway than the minivan to visit Grandma. They may not have a swing-set in their backyards (or frankly, a backyard) but with a park in every neighborhood, they're still swinging.

If you need inspiration, come to my website to see examples of the fun times these city babies share!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Inspiration Wednesday: Brooklyn Autism Center

Detail of Gate at the Queens Zoo, Kristin Burns

After last week's blog post on Autism Speaks, one of the families who is interested in having me take photos of their daughter recommended her school, the Brooklyn Autism Center. I'm excited to announce that I will be there for a day in November for portraits of their participating students. I would love to become a resource for parents with children who may not do so well in a studio photography setting. I'm hopeful that I can show each child's personality in their photos.

I'm still learning more and more about the school, but already love their 1 to 1 student/teacher ratio and focus on a variety of learning techniques. The director told me that the students are even horseback riding! As someone who has loved riding since childhood, I hope to participate in their therapeutic (and just plain fun!) rides in the future too. Can't wait to share with you my experience next month at the school.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oktoberfest is the best, Autumn Special Offer!

Mums and pumpkins, Kristin Burns

This weekend really felt like autumn at last. 

Friday night we went to a friend's new apartment in our neighborhood for chili, drinks and good conversation while the babies all played together. Saturday was the Sunnyside Oktoberfest. Sunday was a trip up to the Bronx for the zoo, a walk around Fordham campus & dinner on Arthur Avenue. Then yesterday (bonus!) I had a photo shoot in Manhattan

Back to that Oktoberfest. It was just so much fun. On the business side,  I sold prints of my favorite photos of Queens and met lots of potential clients with their adorable kids. But I occasionally played hooky from our booth to take our daughter around the fair. There was a pumpkin patch, brats & beer, around 30 vendors and a good community vibe.

The weather really drove home that Fall is here at last. So I've decided it's time to add my Autumn Special Offer to the website.  Hope it means I'll be meeting some new families this season. Come check it out!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Fun - early color photography of children

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii.
A Group of Children, 1909

I love these color photos by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, taken during his survey of Russia done for the Czar around 1910. Of course, I love the ones of the children the most. 

But the whole technology behind getting the color photography brings out the photo geek in me too. He made these amazing photos long before we had color film by using red, blue and green filters when snapping photos in quick succession. They explain it much better here.

Prokudin-Gorskii surveyed the entire Russian Empire and recorded its diversity - in culture, ethnicity and terrain - to bring back to the Czar. Along the way (in his custom train car photo lab, natch) he captured amazing photographs of everyday people in the far-flung regions of pre-WWI, pre-revolution Russia.


A Settler's Family, ca. 1907-1915

You could seriously spend your whole Friday going through these archives. I look at the faces of the people - especially of the children - in these photographs and see the same emotions as I see today when I look through my camera lens. It's amazing that these were taken 100 years ago.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Baby feet

I just set up a shoot for Monday where the mom asked specifically for photos of the baby's little parts - hands & feet. I have always enjoyed these details myself.  What is it about the tiny, perfectly formed but barely-used feet of newborns that is endlessly fascinating?

They are even adorable in little shoes.


And of course, babies find them fascinating too. If you would like me to take some photos of your baby's little details, check out my site for more info.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Inspiration Wednesday: Autism Speaks

photo courtesy of Michal Czerwonka for The New York Times

This week a new study came out in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics that estimates the rate of having a child on the autism spectrum to be around 1 in 100 for children under 18. There was also a hopeful article in the New York Times Monday on the positive impact pets can have on autism-spectrum children. They talked about Autism Service Dogs of America who links up service dogs with people who need them.

I have a cousin on the spectrum whose parents have done a fantastic job of raising him with education, vocational training and socialization. But the rising prevalence of autism-spectrum rates - especially among boys - is truly alarming. It is just so fast, faster than genetic or evolutionary causes, and needs so much more research funding to discover why.

I like the organization Autism Speaks. They are an advocacy group trying to help families face the unique challenges autism brings while also bringing political pressure for funding & research looking for the causes of this disorder.

As a photographer, I look for that spark that makes every child unique and reflects how they see the world. Children on the autism spectrum - including Asperger syndrome - see the world very differently. All parents want good photos of their children but those on the spectrum may not do well in a traditional portrait studio setting. I am currently working on a series of portraits of these children.  Please let me know if you know any families who may be interested in participating.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grandparents, they sure love photos of the babies

My parents with their 2 lovely grandchildren

It's so funny. Whenever I'm taking photos of children, their parents and I are gabbing away. Usually about the adorableness going on at that moment, but often meanders into the shared experiences of parenting the little ones. Sometimes the topic turns to grandparents. 

Ahh, I can't wait to be a grandparent! You get all the benefits of parenthood all over again - with kids that may even resemble your offspring - without the never-ending fear/anxiety/guilt/responsibility of parenthood. People joke about grandparents spoiling the grandkids, but I just see it as unadulterated joy of seeing these little people and being able to pass them back to their parents whenever you like. I kid though because my daughter lucked out with 4 awesome grandparents who are very involved with her. My mom even offered to change dirty diapers last weekend when the two above decided to synchonize. 

What my clients and I usually come back to is that grandparents simply can never get enough photos of their grandchildren. Often that's the reason they set up the shoot in the first place! So I try even harder to get photos of the babies and children doing their own thing. Because seeing what their little loves are really up to - at home, with their stuff, with their parents - is what grandparents really want. Why not give it to them? They gave you life, goshdarnit!

Or even better, next time they hint that they're sending you a flashing-light, siren-blaring, gigantic-eyesore toy, subtly suggest you may want a photo shoot instead. You don't really have the room for a 3rd play-kitchen anyway.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Of weekends come and gone, but coming again. With an in-store baby photo shoot.

Connor's tiny hand
Yes, sadly the weekend is over but at least the weather is nice and brisk and sunny and we can all just pretend to be OK with the weekend ending. Or not. We had a fantastic weekend and spent Sunday with the newest member of my family, my brother's son. Such a sweetheart. Sorry we had to leave him and his gorgeous soft skin in Connecticut.

But hey, speaking of weekends, I have exciting news about Sunday October 18th.

Julianne from last month's April Glass photo shoot

I'll be at April Glass all day for 30-minute photo sessions again! And even better, the shop updated their website with my info. You can sign up online now for your preferred photo shoot time. Select event "Kristin Burns photo shoot," date "October 18th photo shoot," and "time for baby photo shoot" for sessions between 12 and 5PM. If you prefer, you can call the shop at (718)937-7578. Hopefully some of you will bring in your babies in Halloween costumes too!