Tag Archives: children

Pick a Pic! Flashlights and Fireflies Giveaway — Picture Frame Home Décor

Contest question: Which one of the photos on today’s post is your favorite?

Photo courtesy of Flashlights and Fireflies Photography by Cristen Smith unless indicated.

Cristen Smith is the professional photographer and owner of Flashlights and Fireflies. She is also a good friend of mine and my DSLR mentor.

Cristen is giving away this lovely picture frame with a Bible verse and floral print inside. Just tell us which photo is your favorite, and comment below. See the bottom of the post for official rules.

Photo of Cristen Smith courtesy of Pitter Patter Photography.

About Flashlights and Fireflies.
“Our purpose is to capture a moment in time that you may or may not remember 20 years down the road,” says Cristen, who left a full-time job to become a stay-at-home mom. Using her Nikon DSLR, Cristen photographs expectant moms, babies, high school seniors, families, and so much more.


Cristen says, “Those days go by so fast and you don’t realize it until you look back at pictures. They change so much, and I see that in my own child’s life, so you really want to be able to look back at those days.”

High School Seniors.

“That stage in life is also very fleeting. It’s a very exciting time, it’s their last year at high school, and they’re at a pivotal time in their life…We really want to capture their personality at that time.” For example: What are they most excited about looking towards their future?

Cristen’s Tips to Photograph your Family:

  • Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s that moment in time that you’re wanting to capture.
  • If you’re trying a bit harder, be sure to have natural light…Window light is really good. Let’s say your child is playing with their blocks, and you really want to remember it forever. If they’re sitting there, and the window light is coming in, shoot into their face where the light is coming in from the side. That way, they’re lit on one side and it’s more of a dramatic look because you have the soft light coming in on the side.
  • Be creative! Maybe you can focus in on taking a picture of their little hands on the blocks.
  • Cell phones do a good job these days. iPhones work great.
  • But be realistic. You’re not going to have the flexibility to change settings or get a quality picture like you would with a DSLR camera.
  • A shorter lens such as a 50 mm works great if you are using a DSLR.
  • If you are trying to photograph your child on the sly so they’ll keep doing what they’re doing in their own environment, use a longer lens.
Photo courtesy of Burt Rich of TN Photo Man.


Cristen’s Tips for a Professional Portrait Shoot:
Dress comfortably.

• Don’t go overboard trying to match everyone. You can coordinate colors but not everyone has to wear the same khaki pants and white shirt that you often see in beach photos.

• Wear clothing that represents who you are.

• Chillax. Cristen says, “I always try to tell parents who have younger children who aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing to not fuss at them at the photo shoot. Everyone gets riled up and uneasy, which makes the photographer uneasy.” In other words, step back, Mom and Dad, and let your kids be kids. Cristen adds, “Because that’s who they are, naturally. Those fun, candid shots are usually the best shots.”

• Have fun! Unlike the photoshoots of old, Cristen isn’t going to pose you for every shot. Often people are a little nervous at first, but Cristen’s personality sets them at ease. “I’ll ask seniors after the shoot if they had fun, and they all pretty much say ‘Yes!’ I just have to kind of break the ice a little bit. And I’m usually pretty goofy on the photo shoot.”

• Try it. Cristen says that she is willing to try something at the model’s request. If it doesn’t work, they’ll move on to something else.

Cristen assures parents, “I try to have fun with everyone. If we get a little dirty, that’s okay. I let parents know that they’ll wash!”


“They’ll wash!”



Question: Which one of the photos on today’s post is your favorite?

Official Rules:
1.You must be 18 years or older and live in the US or Canada (excluding Quebec)
2.No purchase necessary.
3.My immediate family members may not participate. Sorry!
4.Contest ends by at 10 CST on Wednesday morning.
5.Void in states or countries where prohibited.
6.Winner of the décor will be selected by random drawing from participants in Comments section of blog. Participants must answer the question: Which one of the photos on today’s post is your favorite?
   7.Note: Flashlights and Fireflies Photography by Cristen Smith donated the picture frame in return for a blog post on www.sweetgumlife.com.
8.Please give Cristen a big “hello” for me when you go to visit her site. I’ve known Cristen for quite some time and can vouch for her amazing work!

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