New eGift Cards | Nikki Gardner Photography

Although my studio is temporarily closed for portrait sessions, you can still purchase gift cards online (no expiration date), delivered safely to your inbox.  An eGift card makes a perfect all occasion gift—we will all need portraits (family, business, artists and makers, children) whenever life returns back to normal. The gift cards can be purchased in a little shop I set up here. Thanks for your support and I’m happy to help (virtually) with your photography needs. Be well!



Parenting in the Age of COVID-19

Okay, it’s time. I didn’t want to talk about the Coronavirus (now nicknamed COVID-19) because frankly, I need a break from the incessant stream of news, emails, and social media posts lighting up my phone. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an information junkie. I read all the latest articles I find on the web from epidemiologists and virologists because I find information, no matter how bleak it is at times, comforting. I also know too much information results in extreme overwhelm (hello every book that I’ve ever wanted to read piled up around me). We’re living in a new reality depending on where we happen to be in the world. Some of us have it easier than others. 

Schools in Massachusetts closed last Friday. I’ve had a number of sleepless nights worrying about how to be a working mom, artist, and homeschooler. We’re looking at least a three week shut down (although it could be longer). Aside from grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants offering take-out, most businesses in our area, at least, are closed. This includes my photography studio. No one knows with certainty how long schools and businesses will be closed, but we will do what we can to help “flatten the curve”. What we’re all learning is how to cope with this new normal. 

As parents, not only do we have the task of working at home (or alternatively searching for work) but we also have the job of homeschooling our children. So how do we deal with the changes to our daily lives?

First and foremost, we must be patient with ourselves. We couldn’t do it all before and we certainly can’t do it all now. I posted a daily schedule for the kids school work that includes spending time outdoors in nature (playing the yard or going for hikes), academic (homework assigned from teachers as well as other online sources) and creative (artists posting live drawing classes for kids!) time, as well as chore (sweep the floor, tidy up bedrooms, organize shoes in the mud room) and quiet (reading or puzzle books) time. I keep it simple, flexible, and fun. I fit my work into their schedule during their quiet time or choice time. A daily schedule keeps us all accountable and provides a welcome routine.

Tips on Parenting in the age of COVID-19

1. Be patient with yourself (and your kiddos).

2. Create a daily schedule.

3. Keep everyone hydrated with plenty of water.

4. Exercise for everyone (family walks/hikes, yoga, run, calisthenics).

5. Nourishing family meals.

6. Find calm (yoga—Sunflower Yoga & Mindfulness led by my friend Stacey Mackowiak for kids and adults and Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, meditate, daydream—whatever reduces stress).

7. Read or listen to music (currently reading Crime and Punishment as a community #TolstoyTogether).



What To Wear To Your Family Photo Session

My mother is an artist and is the reason I became one as well. She invested in my extracurricular education at a young age by signing me up for acting, drawing, and writing classes. I knew then I would eventually end up in the arts. 

She brought me along to the art classes she was enrolled in. I remember drawing so many apples in one of her classes. I wish I still had those drawings to show my boys who both enjoy drawing.

The other thing my mom did is take me on commercial jobs with her. She used to window dress a local department store with the latest fashion. This, for me, was so much fun. I loved watching her put together seasonal outfits effortlessly. She favored classic tailored clothing in neutrals with a splash of color, depending on the season.

Whenever a client asks me what to wear to a session, I think of my mom’s advice—wear simple classic designs that fit well. Neutral colors look great in photos. So do clean lines and tailored pieces. I think you should wear clothes that fit well, feel good, and make you feel confident. Your outfit should fit your body and flatter your complexion. If you typically wear jeans, then feel free to wear jeans with perhaps a white button down and pop of red lipstick. You can dress your kiddos and partner in the same white and denim combination. 

Ultimately when you book a photo session, your time in the studio is about you and your loved ones. I think classic clothing choices help create timeless images. That said, be yourself. Wear clothes that fit, flatter, and make you feel confident. Add a splash of complimentary color and let’s make photos that you’ll all love and cherish for generations.

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