5 things that I do to recharge!

I think it’s safe to say (at least in my part of the world) that we are getting a bit tired of winter. We are above average for snow for this season. I read that the ‘average’ snowfall for March was something like 5 inches, and by March 3rd, we had 4.3 inches already. The temperatures have been colder for longer periods of time. While this is a normal winter as remembered by some older friends, it’s been a while since we’ve had a real winter and it is really wearing on me and those I know.

Staying inside until May isn’t possible, no matter how great it sounds. I’m keeping sane and taking comfort in a few of my favorite things and routines. I can’t list all of them, of course, but here are my top 5 favorites.

1. Fuzzy socks!

I love my fuzzy sock collection. When my feet are chilly, my entire body gets chilly and I’m a miserable woman. My sock collection has definitely increased this winter – and I have no complains about that! 

2. Tea.

Watching the snow fall from my favorite chair, while wearing my fuzzy socks and drinking a cup of tea is a great thing. We treated ourselves to a Keurig for Christmas 2013. It makes tea creation easy as pie and is getting a lot of use.

3. Special projects with a personal meaning. 

It’s not realistic to hibernate from December until May, unfortunately. I have work to accomplish, friends and family to visit with and places to go. Photography is a love of mine, and why I started my photography business. As you may guess, I take a lot of pictures for my business. Being busy is great and I have no complaints, but I make time to pursue ‘fun’ photography, for myself, like my skeleton series. You can check out the pictures I’ve taken so far here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/photography_by_natalie/sets/72157640066090954/ . To keep it fun and spontaneous, I am only using my cell phone for pictures.

4. Naps. 

Isn’t it funny, while we are young, we fight taking naps, we argue to stay up later, we don’t take opportunities to rest and recharge even if they are abundant. We go go go. And the years pass, and we grow up. Then, oftentimes, we want nothing more than to take a nap, go to bed early and truly see the benefit of a full nights sleep. I don’t always have time for a nap but when the opportunity to take one presents itself, I am not as likely to turn it down as I was in my 20s.

5. Laugh.

Laughter truly energizes us. It lowers our blood pressure and gives us a workout for various parts of our body and muscles in addition to a bunch of other benefits. Take time each day to find something laugh worthy. It improves my outlook, energizes me and keeps me motivated. Even better is laughing with friends and family. 


Is the winter dragging for you? What do you do to recharge?


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my child hates photographers

Over the years of taking pictures, I’ve encountered many many questions about what I do, how I do it and why. I will try to do a few blog posts answering a few of the questions.

Our children will not smile for photographers, and in fact, they are either hiding between our legs or crying and wanting to leave. We’ve tried several different photographers, men and women. We’ve almost given up on getting ‘good’ family pictures because they are just antisocial. Is this normal!? What should we do?

This question made me smile, because I have been there myself, with my children – and I dare say that more parents than not have been there also. It’s not antisocial behavior at this point. Sometimes, kids just do not like people they do not know or environments they do not know.

How do you make a nervous child comfortable?

There is no blanket answer to this question, because every situation is different. That being said, Nygren-Kearns Photography is kid friendly overall.

  • We prefer to do sessions in client’s homes, especially when the kids are younger. Why? Kids naturally feel safe in their home. It’s what they know and they expect that they will be safe there, even if ‘safe’ isn’t a concept they grasp yet. Home feels good to us, and it’s the same with children.
  • We encourage families to incorporate their child’s favorite things in their sitting. Favorite blanket, favorite book, favorite toys. No matter the shoot location, for younger kids, your child’s familiar items bring more comfort than one of our studio toys they’ve never seen before. Of course, at a certain age, a new unfamiliar toy is great at keeping a child’s attention and holding their interest.
  • We do not keep strict time frames on our shoots. We do not rush. If your child is upset or needs a break, we can take one and wait. The clock is not running down; there is no pressure to perform. Kids and animals work on their own schedules, and there is no point in trying to rush them. We understand sometimes that “magic” shot just isn’t going to happen — and that’s okay. Even if we want big huge grins, it may not happen.They will not always do what you want. Heck, sometimes they never do what you want.
  • We will schedule your session at a time that makes sense to your baby. Some babies are happiest when they first wake up in the morning. Some are happiest after they’ve been up for a while. Some kids, after snack time. Some, after dad comes home from work. Every child is different. We’ve set up for shoots at 6:30a so that we could be ready when the munchkin woke up. We’ve set up at 9:30p to get sleeping shots of the baby who absolutely refused to nap any other time we were around.
  • We are relaxed and calm. It’s been my experience that young children, babies and animals all pick up on emotions and tension. We make an effort to remain on an even keel, even if things aren’t going the way Mom or we wanted.
  • We are hands off. If a child is uncertain of a stranger, they are not going to be happy at all if the stranger pats them on the head or tries to make them pose a certain way. Mom and dad are our natural helpers when it comes to this.
  • The more you use the same photographer, the more a child can feel comfortable with that photographer. If you find a professional that you click with, you like their style and the way the portraits turn out, then frequent that photographer. The ‘stranger’ will become a familiar face as your child grows.


Keep in mind, sometimes the first session can be painful. Not all photography shoots produce magazine worthy images. There are plenty of pouty lips and teary eyes at times. We just don’t see those because nobody displays those. Your child is not abnormal just because he or she is cautious and needs time to warm up to new faces. A good photographer will work with you and your child, making you both feel comfortable in the long term.

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VIP Senior – Wendy


Last summer, when it was warm (remember that? Warmth? Sunshine? Summer?) we met members of the Tyler family at Sinnissippi Gardens in Rockford, Illinois (now known as Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens) for Wendy’s senior portrait session. The gardens are always beautiful in the summer, with lots of architectural features and plenty of beautiful flowers and foliage. This was a -fun- shoot. Shari and I went to high school together, so to be able to take senior portraits of her step daughter was pretty incredible.

N1010651c_ppvWATWendy handled the fact that I was following her around with a camera pretty well, considering. During the session, I learned more about her, her family and her future plans. Spending time with her family and her boyfriend, Keegan, rank tops on her list of things to do. She has plenty of siblings to argue with!

Kerstein, Trisha, Ravenn, Samantha, Richie, David and Christian are her siblings. Wendy is graduating in May of 2014  from Harlem High School. She wants to go to college, followed by med school and plans to be pursuing a job somewhere  warm as a pediatrician.

Warmer does sound good. Good call, Wendy!

Nervous at the start of the shoot, Wendy quickly got over the jitters and is a natural in front of the camera. She’s easy to talk to, smiles a lot, and has an infectious laugh.

I had a great time getting to know Wendy and spending time with the family. They are a great group of people are fun and laugh a lot. Enjoy the peeks, and stay warm for the rest of the winter. Spring will be here soon!

We are looking forward to our next senior portrait session.
Have you booked your session yet?

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3 Quotes to Inspire you!

Mid way through February! Where does the time go? In my part of the world, we are dealing with colder than average temperatures and higher than average accumulations of snow. Moods and motivation are also dropping for many that I know. The kids are enjoying snow days, but what they don’t see is that for each snow day, they add a day onto the end of their school year. That will be an eye opener, when the end of May arrives and the year has stretched out longer.

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes, especially with the way this winter season seems to be dragging, it’s hard to find the motivation to get up and get going. The to-do list is impervious to the temperature or the snowbanks, I’ve found. What I’d really like to do is go somewhere warm; unfortunately, my life and work have other plans for me.

“If you can dream it, you can do it.”

~ Walt Disney

Over the years, I’ve collected inspirational and motivational quotes from websites, books, cards and elsewhere. Sometimes, a favorite quote can provide the pick me up needed to keep plugging away.

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

At Nygren-Kearns Photography, we are keeping busy with shoots and edits and having a good time networking and meeting people. Getting out and about keeps the blahs away for us. Do you have any tried and true methods of keeping your spirits up and motivation strong? What is your favorite inspirational or motivational quote? Do you have a saying that sticks in your head and keeps you on track, or something that you return to when you feel yourself dragging?



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Happy New Year!

a section of the Rock River in Rockton, Illinois, covered in fog in January, 2014.

a section of the Rock River in Rockton, Illinois, covered in fog in January, 2014.

Today, we broke a record in the area, by hitting a low of -18. We are colder here than they are in Anchorage, Alaska. Yikes!

Did you make any resolutions for 2014? Personally, we tend not to make resolutions so much as ‘goals’.  Professionally, the same.


Filed under 2014, locations, Rockton, water, winter

Miss E and Family



Last year at this time, we spent time with this gorgeous young lady and her family. I was a bit worried that Miss E would be nervous by our presence but she handled it smashingly, and we had SO many huge toothy grins it was impossible to choose a favorite.



Friday, we are heading back to visit with our cameras in tow. I cannot wait to see her and her older sister again, and see what magic we capture on camera this year.


Time flies past – and I say that both as a mother and a photographer. 

Have you had your family portraits taken this year? It’s always a great time to update. 


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what a great weekend!


What did you do this weekend?

Bike? Fish? Swim? Garden? Read books and nap?



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