Tag Archives: Portraits by Lisa blog

This is my fifth year photographing these beautiful ladies–and their handsome dad/husband. Jealous yet? You should be…

I honestly don’t have favorite clients, but I do love the people who I am privileged to watch grow over the years. The sessions that end with kids running over to give me a hug. Where they jump for joy when I drive up and want to show me all that they’ve learned since we last saw one another.

This family has been with me from the start… And this year when the email exchange started I learned some super exciting news–in addition to the first two little girls who are inscribed in my heart–there is a new baby, another girl. And I had this surge of excitement and joy like my good friend had told me that they had a baby. The baby I knew she had really wanted and who I’d (hopefully) get to watch grow up, just like her sisters!

We played together in the backyard–family photos of their new group of 5, of the bigger sisters fascinated by and loving on their new baby, the always increasing bigness of the bigger girls, and their loving (and gorgeous!) parents who are so much fun to see.

Tell me that you wouldn’t look forward to this play date all year long…

Here’s what I strive for, all the time, every shoot: photos that you love and that decades from now your children will treasure. It’s what I tell parents all the time–these pictures are only for you in the short run.

And when the subject is the evocative, featured-everywhere photographer Katie Slater and her family, the pressure is on…

But these boys, they are the perfect age, they love their mom and dad, and they aren’t quite too old to show it with abandon…  Not to mention they are just the most patient subjects (perhaps well-trained?).

We had a wonderful day together–but the portraits are treasures, today and years from now.



Do you remember where you worked in high school or college? Did you ever dream of owning that business? Was it just a job?

For Heather Hilton, owner of Scribble-it in newton, the job she had in art school became the business she was destined to own. She worked in the store for several years, starting in 2001, until she moved to California. From across the country she kept in touch with the owners. In 2010 they called to let her know that they were closing the shop, a beloved boutique in Newton Highlands. She told them, “Hold up! Give me a month–I’ll be there!” She packed up, moved back to MA, bought the business, gave it a little face lift and re-opened the doors September 2010. I have several friends, Scribble-it aficionados, who breathed a huge sigh of relief thanks to Heather! The boutique has been a go-to for suburban parents since 1993.

Since taking over the business, Heather has made several changes to the store–she added a full-service online shopping site, embroidery services (expanding the range of items that can be monogrammed), and has expanded personalization services to items clients buy from somewhere else and bring to the store.

Looking around the store, there is something for every occasion and price point!  Obviously there are plenty of baby gifts–personalized stools, bibs, blankets, hooks for coats and hats, toy bins, frames (for your Portraits by Lisa photos!), personalized birthday art, and memory boxes.  Nursery coordination is easy, since you can choose the colors Heather and her staff will used to personalize your purchase.  Imagine the wall letters people love to use to speel out their baby’s name painted to coordinate with the lines in the crib. There are toddler birthday presents too, such as puzzles, toy boxes, buckets, bookends, rocking horses, and wagons.  And a few things for the toddler who has everything, such as a beautiful, but slightly over-the-top sets of mini-pool and patio furniture, complete with chaise lounge and umbrellas.  

Teens, and kids off to summer camp are covered too–forget about name tags, just personalize their gear.  Heather stocks laundry bins, pillow cases, backpacks for all ages, sleep over bags, and umbrellas.  There are also party favors ideas for birthdays celebrating ages 3 to 83.  And don’t forget– you can purchase your favors somewhere else and bring them to Scribble-it for a major personal touch!

Scribble-it has cool stuff for grown ups too. Lots of great teacher gifts, wedding presents, and homegoods such as plates, bulletin boards, frames, and menu boxes.  Since there is embroidery in the store, so if you are visiting someone’s summer house, boat, or new home you can get some fun towels or beach blankets as a hostess gift. There are even personalized items for furry friends.

Heather is a grad of MassArt, so she takes pride in creating unique designs and pushing things creatively.  Although the store has some often-used motifs to suggest, you can choose your own color palette, opt for a custom illustration, or request designs that incorporate your children’s favorite things.

A trip to Scribble-it makes your head swirl with all the possibilities.  The store is nicely organized in sections that let you look at the merchandise with plenty of personalized samples. And by the register you can check out all of the beautifully wrapped finished products. When you order something from Scribble-it–in Newton or online–you pick it up (or have it shipped) wrapped beautifully, highlighting your impressive gift.  And you can be sure that it’s going to look great!

Scribble-it is at 50 Winchester Street, Newton Highlands, MA, 617-964-9897 or online here.  As always, I encourage you to buy locally and support independent businesses.  If you know of a local, independent resource that you think we should profile, please feel free drop me a line!

Instagram is a free app for all smartphones. You may have heard of it (a while ago Facebook bought it for a billion dollars, that makes the news), but you probably aren’t using it. And you should! Here’s why:

Most people have a lot of photos on your phone. Maybe most of your child’s major life events even ( in which case PLEASE call me for a series of proper photographs). But also undoubtedly, cute every day moments that make up the majority of life. Is your phone backed up? Do you ever plug it into your computer? Download the images? Or (gasp) print any of the photos? Most of you are hiding your head in shame right now–keep reading. Instagram can solve your problems (and you don’t have to belong to Facebook to use it).

First step is downloading Instagram and picking a user name. Easy-peasy. Mine is @portraitsbylisa if you want to check out my feed. Then you can choose if you want your pictures to be public or private. You can change your mind later too. Share your handle with friends, your mom, whomever, or don’t. You can follow others, which is super fun. I personally follow tons of photographers, friends, florists, over-the-top event planners, and chefs (my other passion).

The first thing that you need to know is that Instagram’s default picture shape is square. I’ll teach you a work around for this, but if you take photos using Instagram’s built in camera, thepictures will be square. But, I highly recommend NEVER taking photos in Instagram, just use your regular camera app. You can easily import things from your camera roll into Instagram.

But, here’s the absolute beauty in using Instagram: you can post and share photos without texting your entire clan, you can back up without trying (Instagram saves your pictures), you can build galleries that combine your photos through time or from a variety of users, and, if you want to, you can easily share with Facebook. And here’s the very best part–you can print the photos! Books of pictures for your kids, just like you used to have, with almost no effort. Imagine other people album building for you. All you need is a tiny bit of forethought and organization.

How you ask? It’s pretty easy, let me give you an example:

Last year my sister had a baby. First grandchild. Long anticipated (read: begged for). She had about 9,743 photos of her taken in the first year of life. I wish I was exaggerating. Anyway, these photos were spread across many phones and folks. BUT early on we chose a hashtag for her photos. This means that anytime we put a photo on Instagram we wrote in the comments #sweetsylvieg. If you search Instagram for that tag, photos from many sources (but all of Sylvie) appear. But you don’t just have to do this for a person–you can uniquely hashtag an event (#jayneandjongethitchedMA–wedding hashtags are super common now) or a vacation (#theseidelstakemanhattan) and easily see them all together. And, when you uses hashtag enough, Instagram just lists it for you to insert.  What could be easier? Pro tip: choose a unique, not super obvious hashtag and search it first to make sure it’s not in use. Our first hashtag for Sylvie was #sweetsylvie and someone stole it (started using it too) when she was a few months old. Re-hashtagging to keep your photos separate is not fun. 

When you post a photo to Instagram, the app asks you if you want to share on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. If you have a flickr account (or want to open one), and always choose to export to flickr in addition to Instagram, then your photos will automatically be double backed up. Instagram will have a copy and so will Flickr. Then if your phone ends up in the toilet, you’ll still have access to the photos you shared on Instagram. Hooray!

And now that work around for the square crop in Instagram–the easiest thing to do, in my opinion is buy the app Pic-Tap-Go. It’s not expensive. It’s an easy editing app that accesses your photo roll and allows you to export to Instagram. One of the options for upload is full crop,showing the entire rectangle. At this time there is no way to avoid using a third party app for full frame photos in Instagram, but this might change in the future. (If you want to be really slick, you can take your photos with the regular camera on the square setting.  Viola, no cropping in Instagram.

And now for my absolute favorite part, printing. I firmly believe that a photo doesn’t really exist until it’s printed! As much as your kids love scrolling through your phone to look at photos, it won’t compare to curling up and thumbing through a book. There are several different options. The easiest one is Booksto.me, another one that’s very pretty is Artifact Uprising, but even Snapfish, etc have square options now for just this reason. You can ask them to send you a your entire feed–and you can subscribe and get a new book every month or quarter. Imagine this: you go on vacation, take lots of photos on your phone (as does your spouse and mother in law–although I concede that teaching them to use Instagram might be a time consuming process, but grandchildren’s photos are great motivators!).  Lots of photo takers, but the photos all have the same hashtag. Send that tag to Past Book and BOOM–instant vacation album! How’s that for technology workin’ for you?

Here are a few of my favorite Instagram photos from my own feed.



This family wanted to take photos at the spot where they had wedding pictures done.  I can imagine that these two beautiful boys were only a wish, a hope, a dream at the time those photos were taken.  These two were all boy, egging eachother on and running every which way.  It was awesome.  I love kids with some spirit!  They did a great job of smiling, because they were so joyful.  You can see that they love to be near one another and their parents.

Sometimes it feels to parents like children are not cooperating during a shoot, but I always tell them not to worry, it’s totally normal for a young child to act like a young child–and I expect that!  In fact, it’s what I really long to capture–that and the absolute devotion that the parents have for the children.  Take a look below, you can just feel the love in these guys have for one another in the photos.  For me, honestly, when I can see that, I call it all a success!

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