5 Things To Prepare For Family Portraits

5 Things To Prepare For Family Portraits

Fall tends to be a busy season for photographers. It’s no wonder why. The weather is great and the changing leaves usually lead to gorgeous backdrops for family portraits. I recently took my family to a local park to update our family portraits.

Whether you are like me and taking the family portraits yourself, or hiring a photographer, I have a few things you should do to prepare for family portraits:

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Back

Outfits

Prepare everything right down to the shoes. Don’t wait until last minute. Start thinking about your outfit choices days in advance. You don’t want to be running around at the last minute looking for a t-shirt or scarf to match the family.

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist

Stick with 2 colors and one neutral to get the best look possible. Be mindful of patterns. Mix and match these colors between members of your family for a cohesive look that isn’t too cookie cutter.

Attitudes

I’m not sure about your kids, but mine suddenly become fuddy duddies when I whip the camera out and tell them to smile. They moan and groan and complain about how long it’s taking. Get them ready ahead of time and bribe them (I do!) with a nice treat if they cooperate.

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Abby Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist - Kaia Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Losh

Or threatening always works too. – I’m only slightly kidding – I told my kids they BETTER cooperate and the quicker they do, they sooner we could be done. Worked like a charm.

Expectations

It helps going into a photo shoot to know what you are wanting. Be prepared with a list of poses and ideas. Also, be prepared for the photographer to suggest other ideas that may be more flattering, or better suited for the location/lighting available.

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Group Shot

Know that not every image snapped will be one worth sharing. Eye may be closed, or the focus may be slightly off. Before moving on from a much desired pose, take a peek at the image to make sure it’s suitable.

Location

Do a little research beforehand to know if any permits are required or if the location you are using has already been reserved. Keep in mind that it is illegal and considered trespassing to shoot where you do not have permission.

This job is usually left up to the photographer, but I have increasingly seen photographers shooting at illegal locations, or not receiving permission or permits prior to the shoot.

Equipment

Finally, and especially important if you are taking the portraits yourself, prepare your equipment. Charge those batteries, clear those cards, and make sure you have every thing you need to complete the shoot, including those pesky tripod clips that always seem to walk off.

Before you walk out the door, take inventory to make sure it’s all there.

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Back copy

That’s it! Follow these 5 steps and you will be prepared for your family portraits.

If you are in Central Arkansas and need your family portraits updated, let’s talk! You can find my photography page on Facebook here.

Have you had family portraits done recently?
I took my family and got all the images you see in this post this past week. Prior to that, 2013 was the last time we had portraits done! Yikes!!

First Impressions of the KonMari Method

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First Impressions of the KonMari Method

From a young age I was interested in organizing things and I liked my space to be tidy. I grew up with 3 sisters and my room was always the tidiest.

While I didn’t have a hoarder’s amount of belongings, I did have organized clutter. As I got older and collected more and more stuff, it felt like a never ending cycle of decluttering. I would go room by room and get everything neatly organized and within a few weeks or months it was back to disarray.

First Impression of the KonMari method and a BEFORE of my house

Making My House A Home

Currently, I live in an older style rental house with terrible floors and wood paneled walls. Everything is outdated, from the floor to the ceiling. I like the layout and the space the house gives my family, but cosmetically, it is lacking. This year I am really working on making my house a home and updating it as much as I can as a renter. I previously blogged about how I re-did my laundry room and bathroom, but now it’s time for the rest of the house.

As I get to the bigger rooms I notice they need a lot more than just a fresh coat of paint. They need the KonMari method. This is a peek into my older son’s bedroom. As you can see, it has turned into a storage room of sorts since he hasn’t been sleeping in there.

Cluttered bedroom before decluttering and organizing using the KonMari method

The #1 Recommended Method

I noticed a trend on Facebook of people asking for advice on how to declutter and one common answer was among all threads. The book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up  by Marie Kondo, AKA the KonMari method.

I got my hands on a copy of it within a few days, read it quickly, and couldn’t wait to get started. Her method of decluttering and tidying up takes you category by category instead of room by room.

The KonMari method takes somewhat of a minimalist approach where you keep only things that bring you joy. Even though I had just made over my laundry room and gotten rid of a lot of things, I realized I held onto items that could have gone. As I was reading, I was thinking of all the things that were stored in there that I didn’t actually need or want.

Putting The Method Into Action

While I am following her advice and using a majority of the KonMari method rules, I am not going category by category for everything. I have started in my living/dining room and oldest son’s bedroom with the items that I KNEW I could get rid of with no problems. So far this is working. I am even making some money off of selling all the items that are no longer taking up space in my house.

Okay, technically they are still taking up space, but only temporarily. I have the middle of my living room designated as the place to put all items that will be finding a new home.

Decluttering using KonMari method - Things to get rid of

As a busy single mom – that just started a new year of homeschool – I don’t have a lot of time to do the entire house at once, but I am slowly getting there. I can’t wait until my house is in order and actually tidy! I already notice a change just from the things I’ve already done – Hello, less dusting!

I’m excited to finish so I can show you guys some before/afters.

What are your tips for decluttering and tidying-up a house?

Treat Your Good Boy To Homemade Dog Treats

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Homemade Dog Treats

When your good boy is a great boy and needs a special treat, regular store bought treats just won’t work. So, gather these ingredients and make your favorite pup some delicious homemade dog treats.

Homemade Dog Treats - 5 Simple Ingredients - by Aduke Schulist

These treats contain only 5 ingredients and come together within minutes.

Homemade Dog Treats Ingredients

Ingredients:
 1 cup whole wheat flour
 1 cup oats
 1/2 cup flax seed
 2/3 cup broth
 1/4 cup peanut butter

Directions:
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together. Add the broth and peanut butter, stirring until the mixture forms a ball of dough. If mixture is too dry, add more broth. Roll out the dough on a slightly floured surface, cut into desired shapes. Bake for 10 minutes, turn treats over, and bake an additional 10 minutes.

The best part about these treats is I always have the ingredients on hand. So grab a mixing bowl and your favorite dog shaped cookie cutters and treat your good boy – or girl – to these homemade dog treats.

Homemade Dog Treats - Peanut Butter and Beef Flavored
Homemade Dog Treats - Peanut Butter and Beef Flavored
Homemade Dog Treats - Peanut Butter and Beef Flavored
Homemade Dog Treats Yum

Homemade Dog Treats - Peanut Butter and Beef Flavored

What I lack in decorating skills, these treats made up for in taste. Rok (our husky) LOVES them.

Homemade Dog Treats - Peanut Butter and Beef Flavored

 

Have you ever made homemade dog treats? 

Laundry Room Reveal – DIY Makeover

Laundry Room Reveal

Has it really been four months since I started my laundry room makeover? Yikes! I had intended on having it done a long time ago, but I guess life happened.

The good news is I have been working my booty off these last couple weeks and finished not only the laundry room, but I re-did my bathroom as well.

Today, I’m sharing the laundry room reveal. The bathroom reveal will come later, so keep an eye out for that.

If you remember, my plan was to get some baskets, paint the wall, get some art work, add a mirror and hooks and figure out a new shoe storage system. While I’m not 100% finished, I am done enough to call it for now.

DIY Laundry Room Makeover

I still need to figure out a new shoe cubby system and paint the trim, but otherwise it’s finished!

The Before

Here’s a reminder of what it looked like before:

Laundry Room Before Makeover - Clutter

My laundry room just so happens to be the entry way to my house (or at least the one that EVERYBODY uses), so company seeing this when they first walked in was embarrassing. That is also the reason I wanted to do this room first.

Laundry Room Makeover - Before

It was a cluttered mess. There was no organization and a lot of things that just didn’t belong in there. The first step was to get rid of all the clutter and items that didn’t belong.

Messy Laundry Room - Before Makeover

I debated what color I wanted to paint it. I got the baskets first, so the color had to match the baskets. When I found the art work and hooks at Big Lots, the choice was made easier. I found the paint pre-tinted at Wal-mart.

The Cost

My budget was between $50-$75. The majority was to go towards obtaining baskets. I found those as Dollar Tree and purchased around 20.

Dollar Tree Baskets for Laundry Room

I found the hooks at Big Lots. They were $8 for a package of 3. I purchased two packages.

Anchor Hooks from Big Lots - Mud Room Entryway

The “Joy is Always Possible” sign also came from Big Lots and was around $10.

Joy is Always Possible - Laundry Room Artwork

The full budget breaks down as follows:

Baskets $20
Mirrors $10 ($5 each at Wal-Mart)
Hooks $16
Paint $20
Artwork $10

Total $76

I was slightly over budget, but that is okay because I used the extra paint to do the bathroom. I suppose you could technically take off half the cost of paint making me under budget.

The Laundry Room Reveal

I’m super pleased with how well it turned out. Remember, I still have to finish the trim, so imagine that done in white. I also want to find or build a new shoe cubby that is shorter than the current one. It will sit right under the mirrors and probably be painted white as well.

Laundry Room and Mud Room Combo DIY Makeover

The shelves are now organized and contain the essentials, as well as a few “extras”. My clutter is neatly contained and not falling out of every nook and cranny.

Laundry Room Reveal - DIY Makeover

I am ready for guests to arrive now and be greeted with this sight instead of the horror that was the before.

Organized and Decluttered Laundry Room Makeover

Does your laundry room look like my before or after? 

DIY Laundry Room Makeover (In Progress)

DIY LAUNDRY ROOM MAKEOVER (IN PROGRESS)

Disclaimer: This is not a DIY blog, but I am a DIY kinda gal.

One of my biggest complaints about my house is the lack of organization. When I moved in (almost three years ago!), things happened to find a resting place and stay there, whether it was meant to be that item’s home or not. Since I didn’t really have a clear plan of what I wanted, I just let it go, but as time goes on, I am realizing this is “Home” and I want to get it looking more like a home. A big part of my 2017 goal is to get my house in shape!

DIY Laundry Room Makeover

I still don’t have a clear plan of what I want to accomplish, but I have been browsing pinterest for some inspiration and wanted to start with my laundry room/mud room. This room just so happens to be the entryway to my house. As you can see, it is very cluttered. 

Laundry Room Mud Room Before Decluttering

The Clutter

I hated that the first thing people saw upon entering my home was a big cluttered mess.

With pinterest’s help I knew that I wanted to implement a basket system. I have yet to decide on the color, and because I rent, I will not be repainting the room. Instead, I will make do with something that matches the current paint color.

To get rid of the clutter, I took every single thing out of the laundry room and put only the items that belonged there back. I threw away a bag full of unused/unneeded items and found homes for the rest of the items in a more fitting location.

The Plan

Until I decide which color and kind of basket to use, I am utilizing milk crates and small plastic totes. While this isn’t totally bad, I would like something a little more uniform that hides the clutter. I picture in my mind some larger baskets (approximately 5-6) for the top shelf and smaller ones (4-5) for the lower shelf. Depending on the type of baskets I use, I may put my detergents into glass dispensers/containers instead of stored in a basket or on the shelf as is.

Additionally, I need to figure out a better way to store our coats and shoes. I feel like this is almost a project in itself. I did tidy up the area some, but it still lacks cohesiveness with the rest of the room. I am currently debating some sort of shelving system, but I have to be mindful of the water heater’s location. I am thinking I want a decent sized mirror with 3-4 coat hooks directly under it (or attacked to it) – or a mirror with a small shelf with hooks attached to the shelf directly under it. In the meantime, I have straightened it up and decluttered a little. 

The dog food (grey tote) is now being stored in another container and out of the way. The wood table that the shoe rack is on will be out of there soon. I want to replace that whole bit with a shoe cubby of some sorts and then the mirror and hooks above it.

Laundry Room Mud Room After Decluttering

The Budget

My budget is somewhere between $50 and $75. The bulk of that is going towards the baskets. The coat rack will probably be DIY. I haven’t really factored in something for the shoe storage (shelves or whatever) so my budget may change. I wanted to browse pinterest some more for ideas that would work in the small space I have before nailing down an idea or budget. So far, I have spent nothing and just used what I had around the house.