shanghai style | shanghai kids photographer

qipaos

So what does one do when the kids have the day off of school? …Plan a photoshoot. I realized I don’t have many images of all my kids together, and wanted to make the time to photograph them together. With four kids, there is a lot of daily life to juggle and it’s rare to get a good chunk of time where I find us all at home and free. So I grabbed the opportunity last week to use the extra space in our schedule to do a mini stylized shoot of all my kids together.

Having talked it up ahead of time, the girls were pretty enthusiastic getting dressed up and venturing out. It did take us most of the morning to get out the door – but we made it and had an overall fun time despite some protests of being cold or hungry. (An after-trip to Starbucks appeased those complaints.) Getting four little ones to cooperate at the same time is no small task!  But I have to admit that I love spending time with my kids in this way – photographing them is part of how we do family bonding, I guess. What quirky ways do you enjoy spending time together as a family?

Details for this stylized shoot:
I had spotted these darling qipaos a few months ago at a nondescript store in Tianzifang 田子坊off Taikang Lu 泰康路. At the time, I mentally noted that I wanted to do a minishoot with my kids in these. It took several months before it actually happened – and timing may have been more ideal if I had done it before the temperature decided to suddenly drop 5 degrees Celsius. But life doesn’t always roll out so perfectly, and that’s OK. The lanterns were ordered on Taobao over a year ago for such a time as this. And the location is a nicely renovated plaza with restaurants and galleries on Hengshan 衡山and Tianping lu 天平路.

favorite season | shanghai kids photographer

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I think autumn is probably my favorite season, both in the US and in Shanghai.  While not as cool and less foliage than the autumns that I grew up with in the midwest, the weather in Shanghai feels nicest in the fall (as opposed to hot humid summers and damp cold winters).

With the comfortable weather comes lots of school field trips.  Today, we explored the Shanghai Zoo with my oldest daughter’s class. (Sadly, I left my camera in the car, and so I am posting these other autumnesque images instead)  I had visited a few years ago, and don’t remember much.  To be honest, I am not a huge zoo person.  But I was pleasantly surprised today with the unique variety of animal exhibits we saw – huge tortoises, white bengal tigers, a cassowary, baby giraffes, Chinese giant salamandars, and of course pandas.

And at the very end, we found a perfect picnic area under some trees.  There were fallen leaves covering the ground – the kind perfect for leaf piles, and crunching and kicking around.  And it truly felt like fall – the kind I grew up with.

trick-or-treat | shanghai halloween

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The weather is cooling down and finally starting to feel like fall.  Something about fall makes me a bit homesick – missing the changing seasons, chilly air, leaf-crunching, cider-sipping, cozying-up-in-vests-and-scarves-feeling of autumn in the Midwest and East Coast of the US.   And of course, along with the apple-picking and pumpkin patches comes Halloween.

While Halloween is not widely celebrated in China, there are various restaurants, malls, and kid activity centers sponsoring kid-friendly Halloween events throughout Shanghai.  We had the chance to celebrate Halloween early last Saturday when friends invited us to their own Halloween party.  The food was creatively catered by Bene Bene Italian restaurant, who did a fabulous job creating spooky, delicious entrees.  And the favorite part for the kids? Trick-or-treating afterwards around the neighborhood, of course.  Houses adorned with pumpkins, cobwebs, and all things Halloween – with neighbors ready to hand out treats to eager youngsters. Being their first time going door-to-door asking for candy, my girls were a bit timid at first — but by the end they were racing from one house to the next.  It felt just like my childhood experiences of trick-or-treating in the US, and I was thankful my kids got to experience “real” house-to-house trick-or-treating while still living in China – perhaps getting the best of both worlds.

family bonds | shanghai family photographer

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I had the privilege of photographing these beautiful sisters and their lovely extended family.  Being in China, where grandparents are more commonly a part of everyday family life, it has been a pleasant dimension added to some of my family sessions – to be able to photograph a few generations together, rather than just the immediate family.  While I was requested by this family not to post images of their family as a whole, I was touched by the affection among them and know that these images will be treasured for years to come.

sunny days | shanghai botanical garden

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We have been enjoying the consecutive days of blue skies in Shanghai.  Staying in the city for the October holiday ended up being a special treat, as the city felt overall quieter and more relaxed.  We took the chance to explore a couple local attractions.  One of them was the Shanghai Botanical Gardens, located near Shanghai South Station.  At 240 acres in size, we only hit a small fraction of it.  Plenty of space for the kids to run around (we spent most of the time just picnicking and playing tag/frisbee/soccer on a grassy lawn area) and an abundance of greenery to take (and breath) in.  While weekends and holidays may be crowded, this can make for a relaxing weekday outing with little ones.  And definitely an enchanting setting for a photo shoot for those wanting to get away from the cityscape!

a couple info links in English here and here