Category Archives: Family Fun in the Hudson Valley

Trick or Treat Photo Tips – Rockland County Photographer

Each year I have these grand ideas of capturing something totally spooky or fantasy-filled on Halloween Night. In our village, Halloween is a big deal. Read: A very BIG deal.

But, unfailingly each year, my grandiose plans fail. Here’s why. Just as with all things kid-related, the kids are the ones running the show. And, on a day that is built for imagination and a little bit of mischief, fun is what’s in order…not mommy demanding the kids stand here or look there. Though, let’s be honest, I almost never dictate my kids’ movements. But, that’s just because my style is more go with the flow.

That being said, I want to have a few captures that not only speak to me as a mom, but also as an artist. It’s not as hard as it might seem.

1. Details!
Halloween is filled with so many small moving parts. The face paint, the hands held out for candy, the candle in the pumpkin, the hand holding as it gets dark, the little princess shoes, the superhero cape fluttering in the wind (or if you’re my daughter, the sparkles from her blue fish costume). The details are the answer to why we celebrate each year. Because of sweets. Because we get to stay up a little past our bedtimes. Because we get to play dress-up. Because it’s fun.

Rockland County Photographer

2. Capture the In-Between Moments.
Trick or Treating isn’t just about knocking on a neighbor’s door. It’s about those little steps we take as we try something new, and go somewhere different. One of my favorite photographs of my two crazies (ever!) was taken two years ago on Halloween. It was their first time Trick or Treating (at 3.5!) – the first year they were too tiny, the second year we had a freak snow storm, the third year, there was a hurricane. Let’s just say they were overdue.
At any rate, they were unsure and a tiny bit nervous. This was their adventure that night in one adorable nutshell. Clinging to each other, looking back to make sure we were still accounted for, but still moving forward. Candy! Make sure you shoot more than just that knock on the door. Photograph those in-between moments that show more honest &emotive expressions.

Rockland County Photographer

You can also play with intentionally making your image out of focus (OOF). Especially for a day like Halloween, OOF images have such a sense of magic and mystery about them. It’s beautiful! But, make sure you have some light to bounce around inside your frame, if you do this.

Candid NY Family Photographer

3. Change Your Perspective!
It’s so incredibly easy to park ourselves either in front of or behind our kids on Halloween. But, frankly, it’s boring. Mix it up. Try shooting from above. Move to the side of them. Shoot from below. Experiment with how you view them. Changing up our perspectives also helps to emphasize the difference of that one night. It’s quirky, and fun, and a little bit weird. Sometimes, it’s okay to get weird 😉 Here, I was laying on the ground, to get a sense of the space and also catch the movement of his octopus tentacles that were bouncing around his feet. And, don’t think that my laying on the ground is limited to our yard. I’ve been known to be found laying down in the street to catch the same shot. Luckily, I haven’t been run over yet 😉

Nyack Family Photographer

4. Embrace the Shadows!
This last might seem obvious. I mean, it’s dark. Duh. But, I think our natural tendencies are to expose our subjects so that they are more brightly illuminated. (Usually, not always). But, if there was ever a day/night of the year that called for truly embracing the shadows, Halloween is it! If you’re shooting in manual, try exposing for the highlights of your image, rather than your midtones. If you’re not shooting in manual, don’t avoid those areas of your walk that seem too dark. Experiment! Part of the fun, is the mystery of something unexpected (though hopefully not too scary) peaking out from the dark. In this case, it was a mischievous tree frog in the park, and a sparkly blue fish 🙂

Rockland County Photographer

Above all, though, have fun! Enjoy these moments with your children and their little friends. It’s adorable and funny and exciting all rolled into one. But, God help us all when they find where we’ve hidden the candy stash!

Joyful & Honest Rockland County Photographer

Gina specializes in modern & emotive family imagery. By focusing on the relationships of parents and their children, she is able to go beyond the standard pose and capture the true emotion of her clients’ relationships. Visit the Session Info page for more details.

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February Family Fun – New York family photographer

How in the heck is it already February 12th? I’m woefully behind in posting the fun things happening in the lower HV this month. Between the snow and sick kids (to which I’m sure you can all relate), the past couple weeks have just flown by!

But, it’s February…the coldest month of the year. The month dedicated to love, snow, fashion and black history. It’s quite a mix. So grab your cameras, get out there and enjoy all the festivities with your little people. I might be a New York family photographer, but I’m a mom first…so those memories with my family are ones I want to make!

ALL SEASON – Campgaw in Mahwah, NJ is open for the season. If you haven’t already been, bundle up those kiddos and head on out. Gentle ski hills are perfect for little guys just learning their way. But, the racing slopes offer fun for more advanced skiers. If you’re not a skiier, you don’t have to be left out. Their snow tubing hill is great fun for everyone, no matter what age. Lift tickets and reservation times must be purchased in advance. It’s an affordable way to get out and spend time with the family, enjoying the snow!

February 14 – The Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem is hosting a Winter Wolves on Valentines Day event. It’s breeding season for the wolves, so love is in the air. Guests get the chance to visit with the Center’s four ambassador wolves, as well as members of their endangered red wolf and Mexican gray wolf packs. Two different session times will be offered, 11:00 and 2:00pm, and each program lasts approximately 1.5 hours. Bundle up, bring the kids, and enjoy a day spent learning about some of the most fascinating (and social) predators in the wilderness. Reservations are required.

February 15 – February is the start of maple sugaring season at Muscoot Farm. On Sunday, February 15, bundle up and head on out to the farm in Katonah to help identify the sugar maples and tap the maple trees. Such a great New England experience, and free for everyone!

February 22 – The Jacob Burns Center in Pleasantville is hosting a “Best of Looney Toons” marathon. Nine classic Looney Toons films will be featured between 12:00 and 3:00, so bring the kids. Grab some popcorn and settle in for an afternoon of movies and fun, they way we remember them as kids.

February 28 – The Wolf Conservation Center is hosting another event this month geared toward amateur and professional photographers alike. While, this isn’t a kid-friendly event, it speaks to my photographer heart. Their Winter Wonderland Sunset Photo Session allows you extended access to the center’s ambassador wolves, as well as access to areas of the center not open to the public during regular visits. At this time of day, it’s sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are a limited number of spots available, so early reservations are recommended.

While you get out and enjoy what’s left of Winter, don’t forget that we are now booking our Spring photo sessions. There is limited availability, so email us today for availability. We’d love to see you.

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December Family Fun – Westchester Family Photographer


The holidays are upon us. Family and work events seem to pull us in a million different directions. But, if there’s one thing being a Westchester family photographer has taught me, it’s that we need to take the time…slow down…and just be with our families. Now, that doesn’t mean we have to be bumps on a log and veg. in front of the TV. It just means that we can choose what we do and who we do it with.

In the Hudson Valley, there’s never a shortage of things to do. Below are some of the upcoming activities to get your family out of the house and enjoying the season together…

  • ALL Season: The Bear Mountain State Park Ice Rink is open for the season! Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the state park while skating. The rink is outdoors and uncovered, so warm clothes are definitely a must. Skate rentals are available, and the rink is open 7 days a week. While you’re there, don’t forget the carousel!
  • Now thru January 19th: The New York Botanical Garden’s annual Holiday Train Show is happening right now. If you’ve never been, the recreations of well-known city landmarks throughout the conservatory truly are amazing. Trains are at eye-level for young children as well, so that they aren’t constantly stretching to see. And, when you’re done viewing the train show, head on over to the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden for their annual holiday scavenger hunt and hands-on activity stations.
  • December 5-7 & 12-21: Turtleback Zoo in Essex County, NJ is now running their Holiday Lights at the Zoo event through the 21st of the month. Every night the zoo is lit up by their holiday lights displays and, on weekends, holiday-themed films are shown outdoors by the sea lion exhibit. Holiday music, ice carving demonstrations, and seasonal crafts make the experience an exciting and hands-on one for everyone.
  • December 18: Max & Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite at the Tarrytown Music Hall. While my daughter begs (read: BEGS) me to take her to The Nutcracker every year, neither she or her brother are able to sit thru the entire thing. Max & Ruby to the rescue! It’s kid-friendly, entertaining for my son, and just enough of the original to appease my dance-loving daughter.
  • December 21: Family Winter Hike at the New Jersey Botanical Gardens in Ringwood, NJ. A gentle hike through the Garden’s woods that is kid-friendly and educational. Put on your hats and mittens, and some comfy walking shoes/boots, and enjoy the winter season!

Enjoy the holidays, everyone! And, whatever you do, don’t forget to take your cameras with you. Family time is precious and something to be remembered!

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