You guys have asked some questions about taking our own newborn photos, making Teddy’s birth announcement, taking Clara’s four year photo & making her annual video, and what I got for Mother’s Day (spoiler alert: it’s a super sentimental photo book of kid quotes from Clara), so this post is a smorgasbord of all that documentation. As I wrote this I thought “maybe John and I are more ‘document-happy’ than most people” – you know, to take so many photos and make a yearly video, etc. But then I realized that most people with a blog probably lean towards a love of capturing things, and a ton of our non-blogging friends and relatives have phones and computers full of videos and photos of their kids. So I think it’s just easier than ever thanks to cell phones, and maybe we’re not that unusual after all.
We did stash our phones and break out the good camera to snap some casual newborn photos when Teddy was just a week old though, so here’s our favorite one on the cover of his birth announcement. We just used a template from TinyPrints, added the picture, and bought a few dozen.
As is the case with most photoshoots, it gets a lot less glamorous when you zoom out. Yup, we snapped the photo above while John stood between a giant box and a plant in the office.
Teddy was just seven days old when we did this, because we wanted to capture his sweet squishy newborn stage. Our amazing brother-in-law Todd (who’s a professional photographer) also offered to take some family & baby photos for us, so it was nice to know that the pictures we took wouldn’t be the only ones. It took the pressure way down, and made it nice and fun. John and I both got in on the shooting action, and we even got some sweet pictures of Clara and Teddy together.
As for the tools we used for our casual little shoot (professionals we’re not, so these really came in handy), we used the diffuser I got John for Christmas, a soft surface that we created with a pile of blankets and a Boppy on our office desk, and a step stool to help us take some shots from above.
The difference of the diffuser was pretty dramatic. The shot on the left is one we took without it – and then we held up the diffuser to even out the light and took another picture. These baby-in-a-basket shots make us laugh because he straight-up looks like he’s in the womb. I think good pro photographers can pull off setups like these, but after snapping a few we moved on to simpler shots of him sleeping, John holding him, Clara looking at him, etc.
We took these photos with our Nikon D3200 and our nifty fifty lens (it’s an AF-S Nikkor 50mm lens that we’ve had for a few years now). It’s great for shooting detail shots and creating that blurred background, but we never use it for full room shots (we use the stock lens that came with our camera for those).
We also tried to include things with meaning to us in the photos…
… like this sweet blanket that my brother’s wife Ali knitted for us (it was the first one she ever made – and it came out awesome!).
Baby foot intermission. I still contend there is nothing cuter.
I love this photo that captures Teddy’s cute hair and John’s wedding ring with a simple light background. I still can’t believe how much hair he had at birth since Clara had hardly any for a while.
Here’s one with eyes, was a total coup for us since he was still pretty sleepy and squinty at seven days old.
We also wanted to get some shots of Clara with him, so we used our bed as a casual background.
This one melts my heart. This girl LOVES her brother.
We liked these shots so much that we used a series of them on the back of Teddy’s announcement.
These photos were taken the next day, just randomly when they were laying in our bed.
They’re a pretty hilarious pair, these two.
Which leads us to Clara’s latest photo project picture. A bunch of you started asking where her four year shot was after we shared her birthday party (thanks for the reminders! It had completely slipped our mind between party stuff and general newborn happenings).
It’s pretty crazy to see how much she has grown since we started the project. One of our favorite things to do now is to take Teddy’s weekly photo and then look back at Clara’s photo from that same week. She loves studying his photos next to hers, and it’s fun for us to pick out a few similarities and differences.
We also got some pretty great outtakes from Clara’s four year photo. The one on the right kills me. She saw it and said “I look like a flamingo!”
And here’s her annual video (you can see the other three here, here, and here). Makes me all mushy and weepy. Sometimes I just want to freeze time.
And now for my mother’s day gift. It made me full on ugly-cry. John secretly put together a little photobook full of Clara Conversations for me.
Every page had me doing that smiling-with-tears-running-down-my-face thing. It’s one of my favorite things ever. And such a huge surprise. I have no idea when he snuck the time in to make it.
John even thought to leave the last page blank so Clara could draw our family. Look at us, all holding hands. I also like how Daddy is smaller than Teddy. And the Easter stickers are a nice touch too.
Update: John made/bought the book through MyPublisher, which is also where we order our family yearbooks (although this book is smaller and thinner than those).
How are you guys documenting things these days? Is your phone full of photos? Have you make any videos with clips and pictures set to music (here’s a post about how we make ours). Is anyone else sending out birth announcements? Is it weird that I keep them? I have dozens of them, from every friend and relative who has ever sent them to us, and I keep them in a big stack next to the cookbooks in a kitchen cabinet.
Your newborn pics are beautiful!!! John should start a new blog and write about cars and man stuff…except right before Christmas, mothers day, valentines day….and my birthday ;) cause someone needs to help out those of us with cavemen for husbands!!!
Leslie C says
I think ya’ll should seriously consider publishing Clara Conversations for the world. I know it perks up my day whenever I read them.
And I almost cried at work watching that video. I can only imagine the emotions you must be feeling right now!
And Teddy is precious. He looks like a little man rather than a newborn with all that hair!
And you guys are awesome. :)
The crazier part is that Teddy has pretty much doubled in size (and weight!) since that one week photoshoot, so I can’t believe how little he looks there! I need to find a pause button for these two!
Lindsey d. says
Does making two 100-page photo albums of our wedding and reception photos count as documenting? ;)
Serious points for Shutterfly for the quality of these books. And frequent sales made the super fancy, huge, lay-flat pages and dust jacketed books only $1 per page. We’ll see how they last long-term (I’d love to see our one-day kids “read” them tons).
I totally keep birth announcements too! I keep them in a drawer until Christmas is over, then I put them with all the Christmas cards we receive in a freezer Ziplock with the year on it, then store it with the Christmas decor. Start a new one each year! Fun to look back on them every time I get the decor out again. Someday I will do something with them, but this way they don’t drive my husband crazy or get messed up floating around the junk drawer. Adorable kids, congrats again!!!
aaahhh….love the pictures of your little ones. My phone has pictures of my youngest(ACK!)graduating from high school this past Sunday. I tell ya, the proud-ness and misty eyes just don’t quit with when you see your children growing up. Enjoy this time!
Teddy’s newborn pics are adorable. The video had me all watery-eyed. I wish I documented my kids life that much. The book is amazing. Great job John!!!
I love the conversation book! I will start that right now!
Can I ask where you got the diffuser from? I definitely need to invest before this babe comes!
It’s from amazon. Was really affordable too! I think there’s a link to the one we got in this post for ya: https://www.younghouselove.com/2014/01/christmas-gifts-and-other-good-stuff/
I adore this family.
Thank you so much for sharing the video! I was happily sobbing.. at work… not a good look :) You guys are such an inspiration! I have a one year old and would love to do a 1 year video for him. What program do you use to make videos, they always look amazing?!
Thanks Heather! Here’s a post about how we make them for ya: https://www.younghouselove.com/2012/09/video-replay/
That video is fantastic! Great idea for my little 4 month old! How do you find time to put these together?
We usually carve out an hour or two at night (sometimes for two nights in a row) just to get them done. Sometimes we dread the photo/song/video choosing, and then when we sit down and do it we have fun.
Liz || Shopping My Closet says
Love this update on your family! The pictures are great and I can’t believe how fast Clara is growing up!
Liz @ http://www.shoppingmycloset.com
What a thoughtful gift. John is pretty great!
Ohmygoodness! The yawn and nose picking! I need to capture my son yawning. My son (first born!) is a couple of weeks older than Teddy and as I see your son growing, it jolts me back into realizing my little one is growing too. I keep seeing my baby tiny as he was when he was born. And I’m with you on baby feet! I play with them far too much.
That is just too much cuteness for one post! And you’ve reminded me that I need to figure out how to use my 50mm lens. I’m on bed rest now with baby #2 likely coming any day instead of at month end, so I have a little time. Well if you don’t count the almost 3 year old who is asking me my I am in bed!
Oh man, Leigh! Hope you’re feeling great and that you get some quality time in with your 3-year old and your camera lens :)
I am so ugly-crying here at work…what an awesome mother’s day gift and the pictures of Teddy and Clara are adorable!!! I love all his little facial expressions too! Thank you for sharing! May I ask what camera setting you used in manual for the images of both of them…They really came out beautiful and sharp focus!
Thanks so much Cappy! Those were shot in A (aperture) mode, with the exposure compensation up a little. The photos of Clara sitting on the bed above Teddy were shot with our 50mm lens, ISO 800, F/4, SS 1/25.
Love the video!! What a happy sunshine- she is clearly loved and adored (and rightfully so!!)
Kristin F says
Today is my little girl’s 16th birthday. I was already nostalgic and weepy, and your post and video have put me completely over the edge! I wish we’d had as much access to video and media as we do now when she was little, I would have recorded as many moments as I could. You’ll never regret having all these “documents”!
That was the cutest thing I have ever seen.
Okay, I’m nearly crying at Clara’s video and I’ve never even met her. Crazy!
Since you guys made her first video, I’ve started making videos at home for my munchkins too. I was thinking about Max’s 4 year old video and then I realized, “No, wait. I just made his 5 FIVE! year old video. (Of course, to one of the songs off the Frozen soundtrack, since we sang those songs every day for at least six months.) Can’t share online or on facebook since it has some really cute nude bathtub shots. Cute for family and to embarrass them when they’re teens, but not for the whole world. Love your song choices. Where do you find them?
I can see Clara’s “big girl” face coming out more and more. Enjoy the ride. And you are so lucky getting to start all over again with Teddy! (Can you tell I miss the baby days?)
Aw, thanks Kim! So crazy to do a 5 year video! And I love the Frozen picks. Perfect encapsulation of the year that was 2013. The first song was something we found on a site called Jamendo (they share creative commons music there) and the second one is a song that’s on the radio (Clara likes it a lot) so we bought it on iTunes. YouTube now lets you use more music than they used to, as long as you “acknowledge third party content” so they get a credit.
Ah, the Clara Conversations book is so sweet!
My 2.5 year old daughter pointed to Clara’s pink birthday dress and said, “I want a dress like that.” Where is it from?
Loving the photos!!
Old Navy! She loves it so much. Picked it out herself of course…
Awe that video made me tear up guys! You have such a beautiful family :) We are crazy photo people too, and do a photo book each year. I usually use Mixbook, but I think that I need to switch to My Publisher because it looks awesome!
Awwwww! So. Many. Tears! Thanks so much for sharing your family with us! I myself and probably most of your fans feel like you guys are our blog “friends” so I couldn’t help but smile, tear up and laugh out loud watching that video of Clara! Thanks again and know so many of us truly care about your lovely family!
P.S. Could you give me some room?
Aw thanks Nollee! That line makes me laugh every time!
Thanks for the tips. I would love to see more of Clara’s conversation book, if you guys wouldn’t mind sharing….love the layout of text/pictures. What a wonderfully thoughtful gift!
That would be fun!
Lisa T says
I love this post!!! Thanks for sharing. It is true, documenting everything is so much easier with smart phones that take amazing pictures and videos.
Another quick “how do you do that?” question? What is your process for documenting Clara’s one-liners so you get them the way she said them? I do try putting notes in my phone but I’m not great at it and I always forget what my little guy says! Any tips?
John got me a little journal from Urban Outfitters years ago for Mother’s Day called The Word A Day Journal and I just write a quote every time Clara says something funny (not everyday, but usually 2 times a week or so) and I now have around two years of them to look back on. So glad I started doing it. It’s one of my most treasured little notebooks!
Totally NOT the only one to take that many pics! I got a new phone a month ago and already have nearly 700 pics. probably 90% are of my 6 month old. I have to sometimes make it a point to get out my dslr, & get high quality pics. And every once in awhile I hear a song, & mentally book mark it for a comp of his pics for his first birthday. “Talking” about this has reminded me I need to do a backup though!
SERIOUSLY?!?!? Why haven’t I learned that I can’t watch your videos at work?!? I love them so much — they always make me get teary and nostalgic! Never good at work! But I just can’t help myself — I love your little family, like you are my own!!
AAANNDD!! John — really great job on the covert, Secret Squirrel momma’s day gift!! You did GOOD!! I got teary looking at that too — would love to see more of the pages!!!
That book looks professional! And the quotes are so funny! Maybe you want to publish it and call it “Young House Love: Quoteable quotes.” I would buy it.
You’re so sweet Sara!
Apologies if you have already addressed this but who knew Teddy’s name before he was born? And most important: did Clara know? How did she react when you told her? Any resentment when she figured out Captain Barnacle wouldn’t make it to the birth certificate?
We actually weren’t 100% sure on Teddy’s name until we met the little guy and said “Yup, he’s a Teddy!” – so Clara didn’t know it beforehand but loved calling him Baby Barnacle when he was baking. Thankfully she loves the name and immediately started calling him “my baby” or Baby Teddy” so it’s almost like she called my belly Captain Barnacle, but once he came out into the world he was Teddy!
Way to go, John! Getting the ugly cry is such a win. Also, Clara is SO CUTE with Teddy. I die
We are pretty much the worst at taking photos. i don’t know what’s wrong with us. I manage to take photos of food, but not my husband who I love even more than food (which is really saying something). We’ve almost been married 3 years and haven’t printed a single wedding photo… I need to make one of these books for our wedding/honeymoon, frame one pic, and call it a day.
SERIOUSLY?!?!? Why haven’t I learned that I can’t watch your videos at work?!?! I love them so much tho — but I get all teary and nostalgic! Not really good at work! I really just can’t help myself — I love your little family, like you are my own!!!
AANNDD — John — You did such a good job on the covert, Secret Squirrel momma’s day gift!!! You done GOOD!! I don’t know how you found the time to sneak that in – but so thoughtful and sweet!!
Alexandria Parsons says
I love that you have been able to capture every little moment with Clara. I just got a nice camera so I have taken thousands of pics of my 12 year old daughter. I wish I had it a long time ago. We have a lot of Polaroids of her when she was little. Got to love technology!
love the earwax quote! made me chuckle. :-) and obviously the new babe on the blog is pretty cute too!
Kristen @ LoveK Blog says
What a sweet post! I love Clara’s video and the book John made you for Mother’s Day is the best!
Pat S says
Oh, my! This post made me teary and I am NOT the teary type. What beautiful photos of your children. I love these so much better than those weird photos that try to look like a painting done in the English hillside in 1742 (or thereabouts). These are just heart stopping.
As far as your Mother’s Day gift. .. that husband of yours is a definite keeper!!
Annie Dee says
These are beautiful photos – thank you. I busted out laughing when I scrolled down to the “less glamorous zoom out shot.” I’m not even hormonal and I’m teary eyed!!
Absolutely adorable. I love how you have all of these special keepsakes.
Goodness, this post made my heart smile and my eyeswater (psssh, I’m not crying….)
I know you’re aware, but Clara really is such a special little girl. I spend so much time around kids (student teacher holla) that sometimes I get immune to the cuteness, but your little lady’s just magic!
Aw thanks Sophie! She’s my best girl ;)
I seriously love you guys!! Such a beautiful family!!! I loved Clara’s fourth year video, it’s awesome!!! I loved that first song in her video can you tell me who sings that song? ???????????? I will continue to come back I love your guys blog!!
Thanks Rebecca! At the very end of the video John put in little music credits for the first and second song :)
Hi guys! These photos are so adorable! I have the same camera and was wondering what is the specific 50mm lens that you have? I’m in the market for one!
Here’s a post with a link to that for ya: https://www.younghouselove.com/2010/04/stop-or-ill-point-and-shoot/
Anele @ Success Along the Weigh says
Dangit, I ugly cried too and I seriously bit my lip so the Mr wouldn’t make fun of me. Didn’t work.
Great pics. Great family.
That video of Clara is the sweetest! And those photos of Teddy? Gorgeous! We don’t have kids yet, but seeing all this makes me want one …like tomorrow!
I am also cracking up too at the video when Clara asks you to move over to make room for her in the hospital bed. She is so precious!
Isn’t that funny?! Like “let me into that bed!!”
Wow! You have an amazing family. The kids are beautiful. I got teary looking at the book:) Nice John. Happy for you.
Joanna @ TheNestbook says
Oh! This is all just very precious. That is all. :)
Emily Fridenmaker says
I know you guys are DIYers, but THIS is the stuff that I love. Such a sweet family! Also, I’m nuts about documenting things. My husband and I don’t have any kids, but I take snapshots of every day things like it’s my job. And what a perfect Mother’s day gift!
The video is so precious. You would think I was watching my own little girl the way I was tearing up! So special!
Sara P says
What program do you use to make the videos? Thanks!
Here’s a post with that info for ya: https://www.younghouselove.com/2012/09/video-replay/
Karen J says
Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork says
Thanks for showing us the difference with and without the diffuser! I always wondered what they did! I love the pictures you took, especially the ones with Clara. Those are so precious. Congratulations again on your beautiful family!