Free Gift: Summertime Download

Whether your summer adventures take you to faraway places with miles of travel, or instead it's just a few steps to the backyard for BBQ's, swimming or pretend camping, let the journey be part of the fun. Enjoy, print, and share this complimentary download. Decorate both your real walls and your social media walls with this simple reminder to always enjoy the journey as much as the arrival. 

To download, click here. 

image_free gift_lori fuller photography

The Brown Paper Bag

Every year around this time, my kids bring home a brown paper bag overflowing with all kinds of treasures from school – writing journals, projects, half-used workbooks, photos, class work, random drawings, dioramas, art portfolios, and so on. And every year, that brown bag sits in our dining room for a week (or longer) as I ponder what to do with it all. The easiest solution, of course, is to not give it one ounce of thought and toss the whole thing in the recycle bin. But, I just can’t. Perhaps it’s the former teacher in me or just the sentimental mom, but there is so much hard work showcased in that bag. It is an entire years worth of growth and accomplishment – how can I just toss it? So, I dump everything on the table and I begin sorting through it all, one piece at a time. The kids help make decisions about what to keep and what to toss. We work until we’ve narrowed the pile down.

But, then what?

A few years ago, I would’ve gone through this process and narrowed down the keepers, and then guess what I would do with those pieces? Toss them right back into the brown paper bag and hide the bag in a closet! The problem was I didn’t have a system in place for storing the papers and projects that we all wanted to keep. That is, until I finally decided on a way to store, highlight and archive all of the amazing work and special projects done throughout the year.

A School Days Portfolio Keepsake was my solution. The binder porfolio is a system I have fully embraced because it is smart, easy to keep organized, and will be just the right size keepsake for my children to hold on to and enjoy flipping through over the years. Here’s how I do it:

create a school days portfolio keepsake_lori fuller photography

1. Gather your supplies. 

one large three-ring binder (the largest you can find) for each child
page protectors
tabbed page protectors
archival album pages (sizes 4×6 and 8×10)
tape, scissors, post-it notes, pen
pages labeled with each grade

school days portfolio_Lori Fuller Photography

2. Label the tabs.

I have one tab for each grade from preschool-8th grade. You can break this down however you would like (ie. make a K-5 binder and then a separate one for 6-8). I know that the earlier years have more paperwork than the older years, so I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to fit all the items we want to keep through 8th grade in this one binder.

school days portfolio keepsake_Lori Fuller Photography

3. What to keep

I have a few hard and fast rules in terms of what to keep. Some of the must-include items are:

-report cards

-school photos

-class photos

-special certificates

-sports/extracurricular awards/pictures

-misc. photos from the year

-writing samples (creative writing and poems are my favorite)

-art projects

-self-portraits

school days portfolio keepsake_Lori Fuller Photography
image_school days portfolio keepsake_Lori Fuller Photography
image_school days portfolio keepsake_Lori Fuller Photography

4. Photograph oversized art work or projects.

One of my favorite projects in the early grades is when the teachers ask the class at the beginning of the year what they hope to learn, and then ask what they learned at the end of the year. These projects don’t fit well in a three-ring binder so I just take photos of fun projects like this so we can print them and include in an album or the binder.

image_school days portfolio keepsake_Lori Fuller Photography
image_school days portfolio keepsake_Lori Fuller Photography

5. Let the kids take ownership of their portfolios

In addition to helping decide what to keep or toss, enlist your child’s help in decorating the cover, as well as the tabbed divider pages for each grade. What I love about this is not only seeing how much more sophisticated their art becomes, but since they usually draw pictures of things they are most interested in at that time (ie. Minecraft), it becomes a time capsule of sorts and lets me see how their hobbies/interests have changed (or stayed the same) year to year.

image_school days portfolio keepsake_Lori Fuller Photography
image_school days portfolio keepsake_Lori Fuller Photography

6. Include photographs from the year

I will incorporate images from the year that really tell a story about my child’s interests or favorite things. Here you see my daughter dressed as a baseball player (GO YANKS!), playing school, and holding her most precious toy, Baby Lily. I use archival-quality photo pages from Print File to safely hold and protect images. I absolutely L O V E mixing images into the binder because 1) it shows how much my kids have grown, 2) it adds great visuals, and 3) printed photos rock! #printyourphotos

Below is a sweet little note my son wrote to my daughter on her first day of Kindergarten. sniff sniff

image_school days portfolio keepsake_Lori Fuller Photography
image_school days portfolio keepsake_Lori Fuller Photography

7. Be selective in what you choose to keep. 

Set guidelines with your kids on how to decide if something is portfolio-worthy or not. A general rule of thumb is if it takes us longer than a few seconds to decide, then it probably isn’t worth keeping.

image_school days portfolio keepsake_Lori Fuller Photography

If you have a system in place and all the supplies on hand, creating a School Days Portfolio Keepsake is really a quick – and fun – project that you can do together with the whole family. It is my hope that someday my kids will appreciate my sentimental side as they browse through this book of memories and hard work.

Do you have a way of organizing all of your kid’s school work? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

xo

 

Get Moms in Photos

One of the reasons I am passionate about family photography is I believe parents need to exist in photos with their children. Moms, in particular, tend to shy away from the camera, and I want to change that. 

This Mother's Day, give the mom in your life the gift of pampering and a custom photo session with her family! 

Mothers-Day-Image-Lori-Fuller-Photography

Schedule a special Mother's Day Package during the month of May or June and Mom will receive complimentary hair and makeup services on the day of the session!

Mother's Day Package Includes:

•a relaxed family photo session focusing on real moments and authentic connections that help tell the story of your family life as it is right now
•in-home or outdoor session lasting up to two hours
•a custom-designed, heirloom album showcasing up to 30 images from your session
•five high-resolution digital files of your choice
•special treats just for Mom on the day of session
Special Price: $795

Mother's Day Package is available for booking between now and June 30, 2017.

You must book Mother's Day Package to receive complimentary hair and makeup services.

We will help you book your hair/makeup appointment and photo session on the same day.

Be sure to line up a babysitter for the evening...you are going to look fabulous and will want to enjoy a night out on the town!

Very limited spots available, so don't delay in booking. Session must take place by June 30. The collection of sales tax is required. May not be combined with other offers.

A note for my awesome families with two mamas: You can both take advantage of the hair and makeup services for an additional fee of $75.

Lessons from the Softball Field

During my freshman year in high school, I tried out for the girls softball team. I had no experience playing softball, but I had recently experienced a pretty traumatic loss (my father died of a heart attack), so my friends encouraged me to try something new and fun to keep my mind off the obvious. 

A majority of the girls on the team had been playing for at least a few years, probably more. 

I remember watching them pitch. And catch. And hit.

They pitched fast. They caught every ball. They hit solidly. 

When I went up to bat, I missed every ball. When I played in the field, I missed every ball. When I pitched...ha, yeah right...I didn't even attempt to pitch!

The tryouts I went to were some kind of preliminary tryouts - they were the tryouts before the actual tryouts!

At the end of the session, the coaches sat us down and began by expressing gratitude to everyone for coming out, but then announcing that three of us wouldn't be moving on to the regular tryouts. 

In case you were wondering, I was one of the three that wouldn't be moving on to the regular tryouts. 

I was cut from the tryouts before the actual tryouts!

As humiliating as it was, it was a good lesson in resilience and being open to new experiences. Shortly after, I tried out for soccer and made it on the team! While I was no star player or anything, I really liked the action involved in this sport and felt like I had found something to keep me moving forward...in more ways than one. 

I think of this story every time I watch my daughter from the sidelines. Whether she is pitching, catching, hitting, or playing in the field, I love her focus and "head in the game" demeanor. She shows resilience when things aren't going her way in the game, and is out there doing her best every step of the way. Clearly she didn't earn her softball skills from me, but I like to think the other positive qualities she brings out onto the field with her have my name all over them! xo

image_girl playing softball_lori fuller photography

Summer Photo Fun for Kids with Cameras

Are you looking for an enriching summer experience for your child?

Does your child want to learn how to take awesome photos? 

I am offering two week-long photography experiences for kids entering grades 3-8. Summer Photo Fun for Kids with Cameras is designed to get kids excited about the art of photography and teach them the basics of using their cameras and how to be creative.

I'm most excited about this program because I am passionate about helping children find ways to express themselves artistically.

Topics include: basic camera functions, rules of photography, light, composition, and more! We will spend lots of time "in the field" discussing concepts and practicing skills. 

Students should bring a fully charged camera with them each day.  DSLR, point and shoot, or camera phones are ok. 

Students will create a Photography Field Guide that he/she will take home at the end of the week. 

Spots are limited and the Alameda week is almost full! 

Click here to register. 

 

Summer Photography Class for Kids_Lori Fuller Photography

12 Ways to Create a Memorable Trip to Disneyland

image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography

I was around 12 or 13 years old the first time I visited Disneyland. Two weeks ago, I went back with my husband and kids, and it ended up being a fantastic trip. Everyone who visits has their own tricks and tips on how to enjoy and make the most out of the trip. Here is what worked best for our family. 

Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography
Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography
Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography

1. Embrace the FASTPASS System

The long lines at the popular rides can be a real drag, but the FASTPASS system allows you to get tickets for a designated time later in the day and enjoy a fairly short, separate line. It's a great system and once you reap the benefits of it a couple of times, you will be hooked on watching the time to see when you are eligible for the next FASTPASSES. You can find all of the details about it on the Disney site. 

A mixture of anxiety and excitement as we waited in line for HyperSpace Mountain! 

A mixture of anxiety and excitement as we waited in line for HyperSpace Mountain! 

2. Put Your Phone to Good Use

The Disney App helped keep us updated on what the wait times were for rides, as well as which rides were down for maintenance. I also used my alarm to keep track of rides and showtimes. I can't bring myself to delete these yet. 

3. Run, Don't Walk, to Get the Cars Ride FASTPASS at Disney's CA Adventure Park

This was a much-appreciated tip from my friend, Susan, who has made numerous trips to the Disney parks. We followed her advice and scored late morning passes. This was a highlight of CA Adventure Park. It's definitely a popular one; they stopped distributing FASTPASSES shortly after we got ours, and after a brief shutdown of the ride while we were in line, they announced that anyone that didn't have FASTPASSES would have to wait up to 3 hours! Yikes...glad we got in when we did! 

My daughter insisted on taking a photo of us just as the race passed behind us. Evidence shot! 

My daughter insisted on taking a photo of us just as the race passed behind us. Evidence shot! 

4. Create your Own Autograph Book

I didn't know if my kids would be interested in collecting autographs from the characters, so I didn't want to buy autograph books and have them go to waste. I also didn't want to carry bulky books around, so we used printer paper cut into small square booklets, the kids searched Google images for a cover, and bam, crafty (ahem, cheap) autograph books were made. These were easy to slip into a thin storage pocket in my travel camera bag which I carried around with me every day.

Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography
Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography
Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography
Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography
Goofy kisses the autograph books after he signs them. He's a classy one, that Goofy. 

Goofy kisses the autograph books after he signs them. He's a classy one, that Goofy. 

5. Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy the Ride

When they make an announcement that there is NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY, learn how to adjust your camera settings to take photos in low light situations. If you can't, then sit back and enjoy the ride! You don't really want to be THAT person who annoys and disrupts the ride for everyone else, causing someone's husband to yell at you from the back of the Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride, do you? Seriously, while I was tempted to photograph every single thing, I made sure to put the camera down at times and take in the experience through my eyes and not a lens. 

Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography

6. Rent a Locker

This was a smart investment each day at both parks. Each morning, we stored a small soft-sided lunchbox and backpack filled with extra clothes, sunblock, band-aids, and medication, and just made trips back to the locker when it was lunch time or if we needed to grab something. Carrying a backpack around can be a real drag, not to mention tiring for your back. The locker was a small detail that made a huge difference. The medium-sized lockers worked perfectly for us. 

Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography

7. Penny Souvenirs

This has been a souvenir tradition in our family for years. All over Disneyland, you'll find penny souvenir machines where you can have a character imprinted on the side of a penny. I don't know where we started this tradition, but if you are looking for small/easy to carry and inexpensive souvenirs to help remember your time at Disneyland, this is the way to go. 

8. Book a Hotel Within Walking Distance

As much as we would've loved to stay at one of the Disney Resorts, we also wanted to be able to pay our mortgage this month. ;) A friend who recently visited Disneyland stayed at Residence Inn, which was only a short walk to the park entrances. We went with this recommendation (thanks, Christine!) and were happy with this choice. Our one-bedroom suite had a kitchenette, which was perfect for making sandwiches to take with us to the parks. With a pool, hot tub, and complimentary breakfast each morning, this hotel and location had everything we needed for the brief time we actually spent there. 

9. Build in Rest Time

We knew that the days were going to be long, so we made sure to build in breaks throughout the day. Waiting in long lines, crowds, and hot weather can make both parents and kids a tad irritable. I kept an eye on the show schedules so it would give us something to do while getting a little rest time in. Mid-day ice cream floats also made for a nice pick-me-up!

Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography

10. Wait Until the Kids are Older

This was probably the best decision ever. For years, we talked about taking the kids to Disneyland, but wanted to wait until they 1) weren't in strollers, 2) weren't throwing epic tantrums, 3) were tall enough to go on all of the rides, and 4) would remember - and appreciate - the experience. Some of my favorite memories from this trip will forever be when my kids spontaneously said, "Thank you for taking us to Disneyland!" It was worth the wait just for those words.

Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography

11. One Camera, One Lens

For the photographers out there: I knew I would be bummed if I didn't carry my camera with me, so I brought along my 5DMarkIII and 50mm lens. It was limiting at times, but not enough to make me want to carry around more than that.

Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography
Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography

12. Enjoy the Magic

As we sat watching the fireworks show on the first night, I found myself swallowing back tears. It was a huge commitment to make this trip happen. The stress and anxiety of several different things actually made me cancel the trip a few days before. Knowing the disappointment that would follow (for all of us) made me feel worse about canceling, so the decision to go was made. It turns out that the trip was actually what we needed more than anything. Despite our limited view of the fireworks that night, I looked up to the night sky from the cafe we were sitting at on Main Street and quietly thanked Disneyland for creating a much-needed magical experience for us. 

What are your favorite Disneyland tips and tricks? Share in the comments below! 

Image_Disneyland_Lori Fuller Photography

Cut • Connect • Create: A Vision Book Workshop for Parents + Kids

Sometimes you come up with an idea, share it on social media, brainstorm with some of your tribe, pour lots of love and energy into it, and make it happen ...all within a few weeks!

Last weekend, I hosted Cut • Connect • Create: A Vision Book Workshop for Parents and Kids. This was the first workshop of its kind (from what I can tell) where parents and kids were both invited to spend the morning together dreaming big and creating vision books that highlight who they are and what they hope to accomplish.

We met in a beautiful light-filled space with big windows for daydreaming and inspiration. The morning began with music, mingling, and munching on breakfast snacks as guests arrived.

During my presentation, I talked about my WHY for hosting this workshop. I shared the story of how my daughter and I spent one day in January working on our vision books, at her request. We spent H O U R S cutting, chatting, laughing, listening to music, sharing cut out images and words that we found for each other, and most importantly, connecting. It was such a special day for us and I wanted to create the same experience for other parents and kids.

 

A quick iPhone shot captured by my husband.

A quick iPhone shot captured by my husband.

The idea of a vision book stems from the belief that when you surround yourself with images and words of who you want to be, what you want to do or have, or how you want to feel, you help manifest these ideas and allow the opportunity for them to come true! I've been creating vision books for years and believe they are powerful tools for making things happen in your life. I also believe they help teach children important life skills of planning and setting goals.

It was amazing to witness how everyone approached the creative process in their own unique way and with such intention and focus. The morning was full of great conversations, thoughtful right-brain engagement, and connection between parents and kids.

I love being a hostess and making space for people to connect. Combining these with my two other passions of teaching and being a creative artist made this experience truly rewarding for me, and I can't wait to host another one! ;)

If you are interested in finding out when and where the next workshop will take place (HINT: I'm hoping to take this show on the road and may end up in your city!), click here to join my newsletter . In the meantime, here are highlights from the workshop.

 

Delicious (and adorable) cupcakes were from James and the Giant Cupcake. 

Delicious (and adorable) cupcakes were from James and the Giant Cupcake. 

Cut • Connect • Create: A Vision Book Workshop for Parents and Kids | San Francisco Bay Area

Sometimes you come up with an idea, share it on social media, brainstorm with some of your tribe, pour lots of love and energy into it, and make it happen ...all within a few weeks! Last weekend, I hosted Cut • Connect • Create: A Vision Book Workshop for Parents and Kids. This was the first workshop of its kind (from what I can tell) where parents and kids were both invited to spend the morning together dreaming big and creating vision books that highlight who they are and what they hope to accomplish.

We met in a beautiful light-filled space with big windows for daydreaming and inspiration. The morning began with music, mingling, and munching on breakfast snacks as guests arrived.

During my presentation, I talked about my WHY for hosting this workshop. I shared the story of how my daughter and I spent one day in January working on our vision books, at her request. We spent H O U R S cutting, chatting, laughing, listening to music, sharing cut out images and words that we found for each other, and most importantly, connecting. It was such a special day for us and I wanted to create the same experience for other parents and kids.

Female teacher presenting at vision book workshop she is hosting for parents and kids

The idea of a vision book stems from the belief that when you surround yourself with images and words of who you want to be, what you want to do or have, or how you want to feel, you help manifest these ideas and allow the opportunity for them to come true! I've been creating vision books for years and believe they are powerful tools for making things happen in your life. I also believe they help teach children important life skills of planning and setting goals.

It was amazing to witness how everyone approached the creative process in their own unique way and with such intention and focus. The morning was full of great conversations, thoughtful right-brain engagement, and connection between parents and kids.

I love being a hostess and making space for people to connect. Combining these with my two other passions of teaching and being a creative artist made this experience truly rewarding for me, and I can't wait to host another one! ;)

If you are interested in finding out when and where the next workshop will take place (HINT: I'm hoping to take this show on the road and may end up in your city!), click here to join my newsletter . In the meantime, here are highlights from the workshop. Table set with vision book workshop suppliesJames and the Giant Cupcake_Oakland

Delicious (and adorable) cupcakes were from James and the Giant Cupcake. Food set at the vision book workshopParents and kids work on vision books at workshop hosted by Lori Fuller Photography A young teen works on vision book at workshop Parents and kids work on vision books at workshop Parents and kids work on vision books at workshop Parents and kids work on vision books at workshop Parents and kids work on vision books at workshop. Parents and kids work on vision books at workshop.Two young girls show off their vision books at the workshop hosted by Lori Fuller Photography Parents and kids show off their vision booksSpecial thanks to all of the creative, enthusiastic parents and kids that joined the workshop! A mom and her children pose for a photo at the vision book workshop hosted by Lori Fuller Photography

And, of course, thanks to my family (husband not shown) for all of their assistance in helping carry all of the materials to the workspace, setting up, cleaning up, participating in, and their overall supportive awesomeness.