Take better photos with Your Cell phone

Capturing great photos of your own children can be such a challenge, amirite!? They’re so quick and and often equipped with the attention span of a gnat. By the time you get that camera app to open they have moved on to the next thing. I know not everyone has the ability to get professional photos of their families. I want to give you guys some of my tips for setting yourself up to get great photos of your kids with the camera you most likely ALWAYS have on you; your phone.

Be patient

To get the one amazing shot you are going to have to be patient and ready. Since your children have no patience to sit still for your dream photo, you have to have patience to wait for them to give it to you. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s true. Wait for that organic moment and that genuine smile rather than forcing them to participate. I love to put down my camera and talk to kiddos about things they love. Dinosaurs are usually a good way to get Ethan smiling, I hold one up and call it the wrong thing and it typically gets a chuckle.

Find the right light

Many people become worried when they’re going to have professional photos done and the forecast says cloudy. Photographers LOVE cloudy days when shooting outside. The sun will cast harsh, strong light and create really dark shadows. Clouds act as a diffuser and help to soften the light and allow for nice soft shadows. If it’s not cloudy, find some open shade and look for even lighting across the skin.
Photographers have 2 small time frames during the day that we prefer to shoot, its called Golden Hour. Golden hour is within an hour of sunrise and sunset, when the suns rays have more atmosphere to travel through and produce longer, softer shadows. So if you want amazing light (and you’re brave lol) take your kiddos out to play just before sunset.

Get down on their level

I love to add interest to a photo by getting down to the kids eye level and seeing the world as they see it. I love sitting my kids in front of a pretty bush to fill the background, eliminate distractions and make sure the focus is on the child.

Emphasize their smallness

I also love to get up above them and shoot down. This perspective shows the viewer how little the child is compared to their world. You can see in the photo below that I’m actually standing on a chair to get above her as she climbs the slide.

Remember the details

Their toes aren’t always going to be this tiny. They won’t always go down the slide on their bellies. Don’t pass up these sweet moments when your child isn’t into looking at the camera or doesn’t want to smile for you.
The small details are going to be the things you miss most when they grow up. Someday I’m going to see a small child go down the slide on their belly and tell Ev about how she used to ride that way.

Frame them, draw the viewers eye in

Find a way to frame them them in the photo, I love using this circle in the kids play place! This is an easy way to play peek a boo and get them to look at you and smile naturally! Find interesting archways in a hall and put them in it!

Don’t shoot up the nose!

This angle is super unflattering just about any way you do it. No one wants to search for boogies in a photo. Try to aim down the nose if you can 🙂


There you have it, some tips to help you take better photos of your kiddos with your cell phone. Get out there and practice! I’ll admit I could use some more practice with my cell phone. I love the control I have with my good camera, my cell phone isn’t as fast so it takes me some time to get that shot I’m looking for. The camera on my phone is what I have available 95% of the time though so it’s what I use and I love it for it’s easy access.


Five Tips for Transitioning From One Child to Two

Being a parent in and of itself is a tough gig, and transitioning to two kids takes a lot of work. SO often with my son I thought to myself “man this is hard! How do people do this with multiple kids?” My grandmother had ten kids… TEN! Sure, after a while you’ll have older kids that can help out with the younger kids but those first few years can be rough with little ones when you’re a new mom. Depending on how close your children are in age it can get really rough dealing with different stages.
I am by no means an expert, but I have learned a few things in my experience having two children 22 months apart. I’d like to share them with you!

1. Routine, Routine, Routine

I know, everyone says this. This is probably the HARDEST thing to accomplish when switching to more than one child but it’d the best way to keep your sanity those first few months. Unfortunately, newborns have their own schedules, but they’re also easy to move around or strap to you if you need to get things done. The schedule is really going to benefit your older child, kids LOVE structure and they love KNOWING. Even if you think they have no idea what you are saying tell them “okay buddy, we are going to get dressed, we’re going to eat some toast, and then you’re going to color while mommy feeds baby.” Eventually this routine will stick and your older child will thrive with it.

2. Choose Super Easy Meals

I don’t know anyone that wants to cook dinner after spending their whole day trying to entertain a toddler and be at a newborns beck and call. If you’re ambitious, before baby comes prep freezer meals that you can throw in a crock-pot. Otherwise stick to meals that you can whip together in 20 minutes and throw in the crock-pot to cook all day. Chicken fajitas are super easy to just throw some chicken, seasoning, peppers and onions in the pot while the baby naps and just let cook for 5 hours on low. My all-time favorite new thing are crock-pot liners. These babies are seriously heaven sent for busy moms because you don’t have to clean afterwards. Just pull the liner out and throw it away. The environmentalist in me feels sad over it but I needed efficiency when I was navigating this new stage.

3. Take Some Time for You at Least Once a Day

I found it was so easy to become burnt out from being with two babies all day, especially because I was nursing. At the end of the day I would just want to be not touched by anyone or anything and I just wanted to be somewhere quiet where I could recollect myself. Breastfeeding took A LOT out of me mentally and physically. My space was always being invaded and I needed some time to myself to unwind. My shower time was usually that time. I shut the door, take my time in there and just breathe and relax. Find a space that you can go for even just 30 minutes a day where you can hear the noise of the kids and refocus.

4. Embrace the Chaos

Your house will get super cluttered and messy. Your toddler will probably eat nothing but junk for a while. You will have heaps and heaps of laundry. It is okay to let things slide while you are adjusting to this new normal. Don’t think that you have to have a perfect house and 3 course meals, and folded laundry. Focus on your babies, and focus on you. When you get a moment throw some clothes in fast or run a load of dishes. If you have a crazy, if the baby is being clingy and cluster feeding and you haven’t made it off the couch, DON’T WORRY. It is so okay if you just spent you day trying to survive and keep you kids happy.

5. Utilize Screen Time

I am definitely a mom who likes to get my kids outside playing and using their imaginations. I was raised that if it was nice out kids were to be outside, and those memories are some of my favorites. I am also a mom who views TV time and tablet time an a necessary resource to save my sanity when I need to get things done. In those first newborn months, my toddler was allowed a lot of time on his tablet in the morning because that was the time I struggled the most with the baby. I knew that he would sit quietly on his tablet for at least two hours and that would allow my time to get the baby and myself fed and dressed. I will never feel guilty about that because it helped me, he loved it, he learned a TON, and the baby’s needs were met. Ethan knows his letters, numbers, animals, shapes, and even dinosaurs because of his tablet (mostly.) Plus, we still spend plenty of time playing on the floor together and outside when it’s nice out!


There we have it! Just a couple simple things that I learned after having my second baby. It was definitely a hard adjustment, my daughter was a totally different baby than my son so I had to learn how to do everything all over again with her. She ate differently, slept differently, and was comforted differently. The most important thing to note is that no one knows your children better than you. Trust your gut and go with the flow. You do not have to be perfect, your babies will never remember that you didn’t wash their clothes and their wearing the same shirt three days in a row lol. They will remember the time you build the best blanket fort under the kitchen table though.

CNY Newborn Photographer – Reygan

Baby Girl Reygan,
What a sweet, sweet girl you are. I could have stared at your cute little chin and lips all day long. You are such a lucky, loved little girl. It was so clear that your Momma, Grandma, and Great-Grandma were just infatuated with you. We had such a lovely time bonding over how cute you looked and how ready you were to take photos, you kept looking right in my camera,. You knew what was going on! I hope you continue to grow into a strong, amazing woman like your Momma, and that your life continues to be so fun of love.


Your oh so patient photographer, Crystal

About this Central New York Studio Newborn Session

Reygan’s Momma contacted me after seeing my newborn photo with the gorgeous flower wreath around it. I absolutely love creating those images and putting the thought into my favorite flower colors and placement. They add just the perfect amount of pop and flair to my favorite neutrals and soft colors without taking away from the beauty of the baby. I did this session with studio lighting so that her Momma could schedule a later time session and bring in family members to be a part of it too. The family portraits from this session may be some of my all time favorite images I’ve taken. In a decade those images are going to mean so much to Reygan and her Momma and I am certain they are going to love looking at them on their walls every day.

To see more of my newborn art go here

If you are ready to book your own newborn session please contact me here. I would LOVE to help you plan your dream session!

Richards Newborn Session

Newborn session in Hammondsport, New York

Sweet baby Richard,

I could have just held you forever. Your momma and daddy are the most incredible people and I love them dearly, and they certainly love you so, so much. You came into this world a bit ahead of schedule and surprised everyone. After you spent some time packing on the pounds and growing that little body of yours I was finally able to get my hands on you for your newborn session. I think you are definitely the funniest baby I have ever photographed, you had us all laughing! I hope that you continue to grow and maintain that feisty little attitude of yours!
Love forever and always,

Aunt Crystal<3

About this Session

For this session I actually traveled to the family to their camp on beautiful Keuka Lake. Their home there was absolutely gorgeous and I loved being able to use the natural light that spilled in those windows for some of the images. I kept the color palette neutral and simple in order to ensure these images will remain timeless and can be display in their homes for many years to come. We had such an amazing time and it was wonderful catching up with my friends from college again

To book your newborn session click here

Dress For Success

clothing colors

Just about every photo session I have had my clients have all asked me one question… “WHAT do we wear!?” Don’t worry, I thought the same thing when I had to dress my family for our session in November. There are a few things to consider when choosing clothing for photos.


The main thing is you want to be comfortable! You want to make sure that you like what you are wearing and you’re happy in it. Be sure it matches your typical style; if you don’t usually wear heels in your everyday life, don’t wear heels. You don’t want to look back at your photos and think about how much you disliked your outfit or felt like it didn’t represent you.


The second thing is to think about the style of your home. How do you normally decorate? Is your home full of bright colors and patterns? Maybe you decorate with muted neutrals and natural wood. Think about how your clothes can match your walls, you want your photos to look like they belong in your house.


Last, think about looking back at these photos in 30 years. How many people do you know look at a photo of themselves from the 80’s and say “oh man why did I wear my hair that big!?” You want your photos to be timeless. In 200 years that photo should still be able to be placed on the walls of a home and still match wonderfully.

So, how do we do this? Well my suggestion is start with a neutral tone or two; grey, beige, eggshell etc. Then, choose at least two “pops” of color in each outfit; pink & teal, burgundy, and navy, peach and mint etc. You don’t have to put every color on every person, and you don’t want to dress “matchy,” you want to coordinate. Add color in necklaces, scarves, & shoes, it doesn’t have to be just on clothes. Also, don’t be afraid of mixing textures. Fun texture can add a lot of interest to a photo; lace, linen, and knit are all textures you can mix and match in layers of clothes.

My final suggestion is to start with mom’s outfit first and build other outfits from there one at a time. Check out Pinterest for color palette ideas, they have some seriously awesome ones there, it’s a great point of inspiration. There you have it, some easy things to think about when you’re trying to dress your family for photos.

My family photo is included above courtesy of Kayla McDonough Photography <3

Love Yo’Self!

Love, baby girl, happy, smile

We could all use some more self-love, amiright? I find it really easy to show others how much I love them and help them feel good about themselves. It’s important to me to make sure others know how I feel about them, I think having cancer was a huge factor in that. When it comes to myself though, it is way easier to say “My thigh’s are so jiggly” than to say “I have a warm, giving heart.”

My tips for you

1. Look at yourself in the mirror every morning and give yourself at least one compliment. I know this is a tough one for people, it feels strange to talk to your reflection. Give it a try, look in the mirror and tell yourself something positive… the more often you do it the less strange it will seem. Eventually, you’ll look forward to your quiet moment each morning.

2. Move your body! It is proven that exercise increases the hormones in your body that make you happy! Do anything; walk, run, play kickball with your kiddos, ride your bike around the block, DANCE. I challenge you to not feel better about yourself afterwards. You’ll feel way better about yourself after a walk around town than if you spent that time on facebook or washing dishes.

3. Don’t give in to the negativity. There is a reason I don’t watch the news, its 80% negative information… It makes me sad, scared, angry… etc.  Sure, it’s important to keep up on current events but it’s tough for me when the current events focus so much on the negative. Same thing with magazines, social media, friends, family. I don’t buy magazines anymore because they have a nasty way of telling people they’re not good enough. Social media can be a breeding ground for negativity and hostility if you’re not careful. Make sure you’re aware of these happy sucking places and do your best to avoid them. Follow pages on facebook that post positive content. Surround yourself with people who always seem to be genuinely happy, it’ll rub off I swear!

When I’m talking to people, usually moms, about having photos done they almost always comment that they hate having their photos taken because they think they are not photogenic. Other people will say they’ll do it when they’ve lost weight. I am not kidding when I tell you that nearly every single person I have talked to about having photos done has said this, or something similar. We are all so conditioned to put ourselves down, to feel bad about ourselves. It is incredibly difficult to get people to think positively about themselves.

I am not exempt from this, I totally do it too! But, I try to make a real effort to be positive about myself and love myself, especially in front of my children. I want to make sure I am always modeling positive self-talk in front of them so maybe they won’t learn to do otherwise. So take some time and try to love yourself better today too! You never know who’s watching.

When you’re ready to find a new photographer, there are a few things that you should take into consideration before hiring one and making the investment to ensure a great fit.

Have you seen their work?
This one is super important. When you are interested in a photographer take a moment to browse through their portfolio. Hopefully they will have an easy to find section on their website that displays their latest work. If you’re interested in a family session browse through those photos and try to envision your family there.
Do you love them? Are you envious? Is that something you’d LOVE to have on your walls? Get to know your photographers style and decide if you love it.

What about their work attracts you?
If I brought you 50 different photographers and had you take a look at all of their portfolios, chances are you are going to find 50 different styles of photography. Just like any other art form, photographers all have their own, unique style.
Do you love the photos where every one is posed perfectly and smiling? How about the tender, quiet moments between a momma and her child where no one is looking? Are you wanting the crazy moments of dad playing tickle monster? Do you prefer warmer, soft images? Do you like crisp, bright images? These are all important things to think about when finding your favorite photographer.

What kind of session am I looking for?
I have noticed that a lot of people like to say “I’m not really sure what I’m looking for, I trust you, you’re the photographer…” While this is really flattering to hear and I love that people trust my ability, I always tell them these are your photos not mine, I need to know your vision.
Do you prefer indoor sessions with simple backgrounds? Do you have a special location you like to visit or something meaningful to your family? Are you looking for that perfect smiling photo to give to grandma? Do you want to capture exactly who your family is in the moment, imperfections and all?

The photographers job is to help you through all of these questions to provide you with exactly what you are looking for. Sometimes we don’t know what we are wanting until we hear it or see it and that is ok too.

Next time you’re hiring a photographer take some time to really think about what you want. This will help you really love your images in the end!

Baby Girl Noelle – CNY Newborn Photography


Not only did you surprise us all by being nearly 3 weeks early, but you wrapped us around your cute, tiny finger with your wispy blonde hair! You are going to be one tough cookie with two big brothers to fight with while you grow up. I’m sure it will take you no time at all to learn to hold your own. I hope you get your daddy’s height and your momma’s determination. Most of all though,  I hope you are always filled with happiness!

About this session

My very best friend welcomed a new baby girl into the world last week. Not only was I there to watch her be born, but I was able to get my hands on her yesterday for some newborn photos. It is safe to say we were all a little surprised to see she had the cutest little strawberry blonde hair! This session was done in my in home studio using natural light from my BIG dining room window and natural posing methods. Somehow I managed to keep her mostly asleep even with two toddlers and an infant running and crawling around like a bunch of monkeys!
Plus, I am so excited for my best friend for getting her girl after having two boys. I can still remember what it felt like when I welcomed my own baby girl in the world almost 8 months ago.


Model Call: Couple

model call couples

Currently Seeking a Couple to Model

I need a real, in love couple to come model in a session for me! No you don’t need to have any real experience modeling, I will guide you through all the posing.
Mostly, I need a couple that can have fun and be spontaneous and isn’t afraid to kiss on command!
You can be dating, engaged, or married!

Must be near or willing to travel to the Oneida, NY area
Also, you must be willing to sign a Model Release for me to use your images in marketing and advertising

The chosen couple will receive this session free of charge as well as one 8×10 matted print.
To enter please submit a photo of yourselves as well as a story about your first date, along with your names and the best email to get ahold of you.
You can submit it as a comment or message on my Facebook page
On this post!

Or email me Crystal@sugarandsnipsphotography.com


Finally, the couple will be chosen by me and featured on my blog and social media platforms!

Baby Girl Emily

Welcome to the mom of two club, Emily is as sweet as can be! Those first few weeks can be such an adjustment period as I’m sure you are still learning. I am so thrilled to see that big sister is already enjoying her new role. I loved spending the early afternoon with your family and snuggling that sweet baby of yours. Cailin was such a riot during the whole session, bringing me cars and toys to play with while I was working with Emily. Thank you for allowing me to document your babies!


About this session

Mom and Dad came over to my little studio area in my home on a beautiful day in November. Their 2 year old daughter was with them and didn’t take long to warm up to the new environment. The girls wore adorable matching gold and pink dresses for their family photos and Cailin’s cheeks were pretty irresistible for me not to squeeze! For the newborn photos I stuck with my new favorite style; white backdrops with some delicate white and ivory wraps. I got to play with a couple of my new custom headbands that I made. Emily was a pretty good sleeper for me and the photos came out natural and timeless! I enjoyed this session so much and if you love it too show it a little love! If your interested in learning more about newborn sessions please contact me today!