A Mother’s Day photo lasts longer than flowers

by Leila S Posted on May 04, 2011

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My memory isn’t perfect but some images have enough staying power in my mind to last a lifetime. I love the childhood photo my mom captured of me at age three catching light. I like to imagine it was an early predictor of my future path as a photographer!

(photo by my mom, Germaine Sutton)

I’m sure you have photos in your mental database that stand out for you too. Images, after all, have the power to evoke and create lasting memories. So, I can think of no better gift on Mother’s Day than a portrait of you, your kids or the whole gang. Depending on who is reading, this may even be a gift for yourself (mom) or your wife (dad)!

What can you do to make your Mother’s Day gift one of these ‘stand out’ shots?

1. Get in close for a stronger emotional connection. Eyes and hands are incredibly expressive and when you’re up close they come alive. You can do this with your zoom lens, but when you move in physically you will be engaging with your subject (even if that just means that they are noticing you!). With kids, it’s their unpredictable interactions with me that lead to my favorite shots.

2. Accessorize and use color! Follow these styling tips from Jo-Ann: Bows on headbands, shoes and belts will quickly add interest to an otherwise plain shot. A flash of color is another way to wake up an outfit. A bright scarf around the neck, a bold colored watch or socks will always fit the bill.

(styling by Jo-Ann, photo by Cosmic Blob Studio)

3. For a real frame-worthy shot, accessorize AND get in close. You’ll have your friends & family asking: “Wow, who did you get to shoot that?” and have no other choice than to brag that it was you. You’re sure to come up with some memorable results along the way to last through many a future Mother’s Day. Mom will be so happy!

Leila and Jo-Ann are a photographer and make-up/stylist team who write a monthly blog called Foto Shui – make your photos flow. leilasutton.com and jo-anndilorenzo.com.

By the way, what are your most memorable images? Post a link if you have one!


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  1. Joey Says:

    I love this article and these photos are beyond pricelss. I like how you added quick accessories to change up a picture, make it fun. I’m always at a loss as to what to get my mom – so i asked what she’d like; if she’d like a photo of a flower i had enlarged – she liked it but wanted one of her 4 grandkids. I had to be quick as they were leaving for a movie. i snapped and snapped. I ordered one, its not ‘perfect’, but I’m sure she’ll enjoy it. I framed it and wrapped it up. Happy Mother’s Day to all you mom’s, aunts, grandma’s!

  2. BarbaraJ Says:

    Awesome photography! I love the eyes and hands great color.

  3. BarbaraJ Says:

    Oops I was still typing….. I love this article and you have added so much color and beautiful children. Thank you for sharing.

  4. AnnAbbott Says:

    The eyes have it. I can help myself but to zoom in the my kids eyes. The eyes can say everything without a sound.

  5. Leila Sutton Says:

    Thanks for the great feedback. We’re so excited for our next article to come out – all about shooting in the rain! Have a bright & sunny Memorial Day weekend though!


more about Leila S

My name is Leila (l-eye-la) and I'm a NYC kids lifestyle photographer. I shoot kids and families for advertising and editorial clients, and everyday moms & dads from all over the world. I'm always aiming for that perfect balance of expression, action and environment to come together and tell a story. In my case, that story is most often honest and joyful. When I'm not out shooting with clients, you'll find me toting around my gear whenever I have the opportunity to travel or in my own neck of the woods at family parties. I just can't get enough. Parents, friends and family (even my own mom!) often ask me how I get them and their kids to look so amazing. Some of it is technical and some of it is just learning to notice the right details. I'm thrilled to be able share with my fellow Shutterfly enthusiasts my professional advice on how to "make your photos flow". And yes, I use Shutterfly too for my personal snapshots! I've made beautiful photo greeting cards and love their share sites for giving my friends & family insider access to the gazillion shots they're always seeing me take. Visit my website at leilasutton.com, follow me on facebook.com/leilasuttonphotography, or peruse my blog fotoshui.com - make your photos flow.

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