Jessalyn Prins Photography

Capturing Lifestyle Images with Kids - 5 Tips for Better Images

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I sometimes get asked what ‘lifestyle’ photography really is. To me, lifestyle photography is a perfect blend of documentary photography - or capturing life as it really is - and loose posing.

For example: the image above is 100% documentary. Pantless, winter hat in the scorching heat, and a lollipop. That’s exactly how I found him and happened to grab my camera fast enough to capture this phase of toddler hood.

jessalyn prins photography family and lifestyle photographer

However this image is more lifestyle: this is an everyday childhood moment that I wanted to portray. I found a perfect patch of light, set out an egg carton and some markers and invited him to come color. I stood out of the way and captured what I saw.

I love capturing and documenting their childhood both ways! But honestly, I don’t always have my camera in arms reach so I like to recreate parts of their childhood.

Here are my 5 tips to capturing lifestyle images:

  1. The vision: simply decide what you want to capture. Does it make you crack up every time your baby dumps oatmeal on his head? Or maybe it is the little lullabies your daughter sings to her dolls. Or the way they sit and race their dinky cars over the hardwood floors. Take a few minutes to think through what piece of their childhood you want to capture.
     

  2. Set the stage: find a nice spot in your home with even lighting. Pick up and move anything that might distract from what you are wanting to capture. Set up the props.
    Have your camera ready! Make sure there is room to take photos, adjust any settings, and have it ready to go.
     

  3. Invite your subject: invite your child into the little set up you have made. Don’t bribe them, or try and convince them they need to go over there, just nonchalantly invite them as if it isn’t a big deal, and it might just be a grand old time.
     

  4. Sit back, don’t say anything and capture what you see. This is where you really get those sweet emotions, the realness of the moment, and what I believe is the magic. Just let them be and when they are done, thank them for coming over and playing in that space.
    Remember to move around (as subtley as possible) and get several different angles - on their level, above them, off to the side. It makes a wonderful series of images.

Exploring Nature with Kids

jessalyn prins photography family and lifestyle photographer

Staring out through the window at a colorless sky, dirty snow covering our fields, and no hope of sunshine to be seen I made myself a promise.

This summer. This summer I would not complain it was too hot. This summer I would forget the annoyance of bug bites. This summer I would fully embrace outdoor adventure.

I created a list of local conservation areas and firmly decided that I would visit them all.

It’s late August and I feel like I have kept my promise. We haven’t quite explored them all, but that’s okay. It’s mostly because we have fallen in love with three or four of them and can’t keep away!

Let me tell you the first time I took my boys on an adventure hike I wasn’t so sure. They weren’t either. I wore Conlin on my back and held Caden’s hand encouraging him forward. He was interested, but not overly. He wasn’t quite sure what to do and really just wanted me to pick him up and carry him the almost 2k hike.

Pretty sure that first hike ended in tears.

But now - he now races ahead, bucket for his treasures banging the side of his legs as he runs. He stops and digs in the dirt, he clambers onto fallen logs, he yanks off his clothes and splashes into shallow creeks. He loves being in the wild.

And I do to!

I have learned to embrace the weather, embrace the bugs, embrace and rediscover the childlike joy of every new and almost familiar discoveries around each corner.

Get outside! Grab a map and explore the many trails, little bridges, and wildlife of our Ontario conservation areas.

Let the little ones lead; take it at their pace. Bring snacks, a bucket for treasures, and a willingness to let go and just be. Don’t worry about muddy clothes, dirty hands, or bulging pockets (because the bucket is never enough). Embrace your surroundings.

And keep going back!

The more we go, the more we discover; and really, the more fun we have! Last time we went we were four hours before we emerged again, and they still weren’t ready to leave. (But mommy was. She ate all the snacks).


There is so much magic to be had outside on an adventure hike. When my kids started to get more comfortable with the Quinte area wild I started to bring my camera and document their adventures. I love being able to bring my passion for lifestyle and family photography into the outdoors and capture the kids exploring their earth. 

10 Things Family and Lifestyle Photographer Jessalyn Prins Loves

jessalyn prins lifestyle and family photographer

Here are ten things I really love! It was actually a little hard to make this list; there are so many things in life that bring me joy. I kept adding things to my list, taking them off, re adding trying to discover my 'favorite' things in life. Finally I just changed the title from 'my favorite things' to 'things I love!'. That was much easier! 

1. books!

Books - I love reading. When I was pregnant with my first (and actually had time!) I would go to a local bookstore curl up and read for hours or, if time was more limited, I would just walk along, scanning book titles, reading paragraphs here and there, and always always sticking my nose in and enjoying the  new book smell .

Books - I love reading. When I was pregnant with my first (and actually had time!) I would go to a local bookstore curl up and read for hours or, if time was more limited, I would just walk along, scanning book titles, reading paragraphs here and there, and always always sticking my nose in and enjoying the new book smell.

3. conservation areas

Conservation Areas - I am so thankful to live in Ontario and be surrounded by such  natural beauty.  I love our conservation areas (we have so many near where I live) and each one has something unique to offer. We have had so many adventures exploring, sneaking peeks of wildlife, splashing in creeks, and coming out  covered in dirt with gleeful smiles on everyone’s faces.

Conservation Areas - I am so thankful to live in Ontario and be surrounded by such natural beauty. I love our conservation areas (we have so many near where I live) and each one has something unique to offer. We have had so many adventures exploring, sneaking peeks of wildlife, splashing in creeks, and coming out covered in dirt with gleeful smiles on everyone’s faces.

5. my rocking chairs

My Rocking Chairs - I found this pair on the  side of the road  with a free sign attached -  score for me!  They are actually super comfy and I have enjoyed many afternoons curled up watching the rain, watching the boys play, and reading some of my favorite authors.

My Rocking Chairs - I found this pair on the side of the road with a free sign attached - score for me! They are actually super comfy and I have enjoyed many afternoons curled up watching the rain, watching the boys play, and reading some of my favorite authors.

7. mounted prints

Mounted Prints - I adore printing my work. Seeing what I have been able to capture printed and in my hands -  a tangible memory  - is such an incredible experience; so meaningful compared to just seeing it on a digital device. I love printing my work on styrene - it makes a thick print, extremely durable, and  doesn’t need a frame!  I have picture shelves that I love and have my images sitting on those, and I can swap them out without any hassle.

Mounted Prints - I adore printing my work. Seeing what I have been able to capture printed and in my hands - a tangible memory - is such an incredible experience; so meaningful compared to just seeing it on a digital device. I love printing my work on styrene - it makes a thick print, extremely durable, and doesn’t need a frame! I have picture shelves that I love and have my images sitting on those, and I can swap them out without any hassle.

9. the sound of the dishwasher

The Sound of the Dishwasher - this might be a little weird but I always look forward to turning on the dishwasher in the evening and listening to the  swish swash as I work.  Maybe because it signifies a (finally) quiet, clean house and a chance for some me time before bed. Or maybe it’s just because I know something is working hard and  doing a job for me!

The Sound of the Dishwasher - this might be a little weird but I always look forward to turning on the dishwasher in the evening and listening to the swish swash as I work. Maybe because it signifies a (finally) quiet, clean house and a chance for some me time before bed. Or maybe it’s just because I know something is working hard and doing a job for me!

2. rain

Rain - I have my Dad to thank for my love of rain. Whenever the clouds would open and rain would  drench the earth  he would gather us together on the porch to watch the rain come pounding down, breathe in the freshness of a newly watered world, and just  sit, all cozy together.  I carry that tradition on with my boys - though it usually involves them with  buckets  to hold over the edge of the porch and then  dumping them over top of each other’s heads.

Rain - I have my Dad to thank for my love of rain. Whenever the clouds would open and rain would drench the earth he would gather us together on the porch to watch the rain come pounding down, breathe in the freshness of a newly watered world, and just sit, all cozy together. I carry that tradition on with my boys - though it usually involves them with buckets to hold over the edge of the porch and then dumping them over top of each other’s heads.

4. 135 mm lens

My 135 mm Lens - I love this lens so much; it allows me to be a good distance from my subject but still capturing up close images. I have captured so many of my favorite images this way;  just sitting waiting for magic to happen , out of their space, and capturing their little expressions without having to move!

My 135 mm Lens - I love this lens so much; it allows me to be a good distance from my subject but still capturing up close images. I have captured so many of my favorite images this way; just sitting waiting for magic to happen, out of their space, and capturing their little expressions without having to move!

6. babywearing

Babywearing - We wouldn’t be able to go on half the adventures we do if it wasn’t for my Ergo baby carrier. It makes life so much easier to just settle my 1.5 year old on my back and set off. He doesn’t get exhausted and my hands are free (this isn’t true - my older son just gives me rocks, sticks and dirt to haul instead).  Plus.... baby snuggles!!

Babywearing - We wouldn’t be able to go on half the adventures we do if it wasn’t for my Ergo baby carrier. It makes life so much easier to just settle my 1.5 year old on my back and set off. He doesn’t get exhausted and my hands are free (this isn’t true - my older son just gives me rocks, sticks and dirt to haul instead).

Plus....baby snuggles!!

8. my littles

My Littles - these little people have  captured my heart  in a way I never thought possible. They keep me on my toes, always push me towards our next adventure, and bring out the kid in me. They have taught me so much about life and so much about myself. If you want to grow and stretch as a person - have kids! They have a knack for pushing you to your limits,  filling you with crazy joy , and their little snuggles - I would hold on to those forever if I could.

My Littles - these little people have captured my heart in a way I never thought possible. They keep me on my toes, always push me towards our next adventure, and bring out the kid in me. They have taught me so much about life and so much about myself. If you want to grow and stretch as a person - have kids! They have a knack for pushing you to your limits, filling you with crazy joy, and their little snuggles - I would hold on to those forever if I could.

10. cathy marie hake

Cathy Marie Hake - My bookcase is  crammed with books  I have read several time - but there is a special shelf reserved for this author! I have read her books dozens of times (not exaggerating) and am nowhere near tiring of her works. She makes me laugh, cry, and  her work is like a magnet  - I just can’t get away. Writing this...I think I may just go read one of her novels again right now.

Cathy Marie Hake - My bookcase is crammed with books I have read several time - but there is a special shelf reserved for this author! I have read her books dozens of times (not exaggerating) and am nowhere near tiring of her works. She makes me laugh, cry, and her work is like a magnet - I just can’t get away. Writing this...I think I may just go read one of her novels again right now.

Creating with Light

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I love to create. It’s something born in me; something I can’t escape. I love trying out new things, new textures, new ideas.

If I couldn’t create a part of me would just shrivel up.

I love creating with photography.

There is just so much to it. Mastering photography (a dream of mine) is mastering light.

I love playing with the light, seeing how it interacts with its environment; seeing how it reflects and bounces; seeing how different light can tell a story.

You can do so much with light; you evoke emotion with light - bright and airy creates a feel of summer and laughter and joy; dark and moody can make for tender images, cozy stories. Little patches of light can highlight the pieces of the image that you want to draw the viewer's attention to, where you want them to linger.

My littles are growing so fast; I love that through photography I can capture the authentic stories of their childhood. I can create images to hang on our walls, albums they can flip through and remember - and when they are too little to remember, I can tell them the stories that go with the images. Already, with my eldest being two we cuddle on the couch and look through images and talk about four-wheeler rides, swimming in the pond, and kicking a soccer ball (rather haphazardly) around with daddy.

I can’t wait to share even more of the adventure with them; capturing it through the play of light, allowing my creativity to be a part of their story.

North Beach Family Photography Session

It's summer! and I don't know about you but I have one thing on my mind - the beach! Sunshine, sand, and waves. That'd make me a happy girl - and an even happier photographer! Add to the mix a crazy beautiful family with just about the cutest toddler. Okay, did you see his perfect little hair do? This family photography session doubled as a maternity session; pretty sure the new little one is going to enjoy being soaked in sunshine. 

Let me tell you a little secret - beaches are amazing (you already knew that!) but finding a location that has heart and meaning for you makes an incredible difference in your photography session. It is like sweet memories is incorporated into all your images. For this family it brought back memories of childhood adventures on the beach, seashell collections, and jumping waves; it also brought back memories of falling in love and dreaming of a family together. 

Alright, alright, I will stop talking about meaningful places for your photography session and let you enjoy this beautiful gallery!