Melissa Barling and her three kids

After seven years abroad, my sister is home! This is cause for celebration on SOOO many levels (hello real life visits and wine chats on the couch!), and I am very very lucky to have her back here to beautifully photograph my growing family! She mainly photographs newborns over at Amanda Haddow Photography in Victoria but on this occasion she agreed that I needed some mama and babe shots, so we headed to the park with the kids, took a picnic and the kids ran around, picked flowers, made daisy chains and played. 

Melissa kissing Xavier's tummy
Melissa holding Noelle
Melissa with kids
Kaia holding flowers

It is unbelievable how few photos moms take WITH their children and our family is really just the same. I would love to change this but since I am typically the one behind the lens, it may take some time to get used to being in the frame with the kiddies. I had the cutest shirt picked out for Xavier but he absolutely refused to wear it (or any shirt for that matter!) so we just went with it and thankfully that bare belly turned out to be the most adorable thing. Capturing his personality at this stage is really so much more important anyway, right?! Although we rarely get a 'perfect' picture, I look back at all of our photos together with so much love. Seeing how little the kids look in past photos is the best incentive to get out there and take more!

Melissa and Xavier
Melissa kissing Noelle

Just look at my gorgeous little ones! Nothing makes me happier than seeing their beautiful faces and delicious giggles captured to keep for years to come. 

bouquet of small white flowers
Kaia picking flowers
Family photo outdoors

We haven't been particularly great at taking photos all together (even these ones are missing my number one sidekick, my husband) but I have taken lots and lots of the kids over the years and have learned a few tips along the way. Here are my top tips for getting the best success when shooting with kids.

top tips for taking photos with kids
hand on xavier's head
daisy chain headband

At the end of the day, it's the unexpected moments of pure joy or love or surprise that shine. Or in this case, pure goofiness. The outtakes are always so funny. C'est la vie when you have a three year old along for the ride!

family photo out-take

All photos taken by my uber-talented sister Amanda (thank you! thank you! thank you!) from Amanda Haddow Photography. Visit her in Victoria for newborn photography or to book a mama and me session of your own!

Kaia's dress: Zara kids
Noelle's dress: vintage fabric, made by Nana
My dress: Lucky Brand
Blanket: Amazing find from Salvation Army
Basket: Majorel Design
Girls' shoes: Saltwater Sandals
Hat: Hat Attack, similar