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Giveaway: Bug and Bean Photography

Do you remember those family photo sessions where you placed your hand on mom’s shoulder while standing next to her? Or what about those studio photos as a kid where your profile magically appears like a ghost floating next to your head! Like a bad 80’s hair-do, it was a sign of the times. Thankfully, children’s photography has come a long way since our own childhood memories in front of the camera. It’s professional photographers like San Francisco based Nancy Nguyen-Wong of Bug and Bean Photography that blend modern artistry, a family dynamic, natural light and comfortable surroundings to create stunning photographs and cherished memories to last a lifetime.

Project Nursery had the opportunity to get to know Nancy and we jumped at the chance to ask her for tips on how to get the most out of a photography session whether professional or in my case – completely amateur. Nancy is a mom of four busy kiddos all under the age of 9 (check out her darling blog post here as proof!). Inspired by her love of children and armed with a gorgeous portfolio of family, baby and maternity photos, Nancy certainly knows all about capturing that perfect moment on film!

Children can be unpredictable so it is important to be flexible, patient and reasonable. Successful photo sessions happen when opportunity meets preparedness. Here are some helpful tips for preparing for a professional photo session:


  • Have an idea of where you would like the session to take place. If it is in your home, clear any unnecessary clutter from the area you will be shooting.
  • Plan your session time when your child is generally in the happiest mood. This tends to be in the morning after a nice breakfast. Avoid scheduling your session close to your child’s nap or eating time.
  • Communicate with your photographer about style preference or important images you would like to have captured. Photo sessions should be a collaboration between the client and photographer, trusting the photographers experience and creative eye.
  • Clean faces, noses and nails are always appreciated. Avoid fussing with the baby during the session.
  • Clothing selection can play an important role in the overall look of your final portraits. Clothing selection should reflect your families personal style and should be cohesive and flattering to your features. Kid’s clothing should be comfortable and fit properly. Color selection can set the mood for an image. Something to consider is where you will be shooting and whether it is seasonally appropriate. I love bold colors, patterns, textures and dressing in children in layers. When in doubt, have a few outfits prepared prior to the photo session and consult with your photographer!
  • Make sure you have eaten a proper meal before the session, both baby and parents!

Session Day:

  • Relax! Have fun and be prepared to play it by ear! The best photos are often the ones caught in between shots when you are least aware of the camera.
  • Go into the session with a positive attitude and open mind.
  • Give your child some time to warm up. Do not force your child to pose or smile. Instead, try to make it fun by playing a little game, singing a song or giving a little snuggle or tickle.
  • Pack snacks and take a break if necessary.
  • Patience is a virtue!

Tips for photographing your own children:

  • Turn off your flash and take advantage of the beautiful tones and contrast natural light photography can yield.
  • Be mindful when shooting. In this digital age, its easy to just click away. Slow down and take a moment to frame your image. Pay attention to your surroundings and the composition of the image.
  • Experiment with different angles and perspectives.
  • Keep your camera handy and shoot often! Document your child’s many moods and developmental stages.

WIN IT! Calling ALL San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and NYC parents! (Sorry this contest is limited to these three cities, Nancy wishes she could be everywhere!) Win a 45 minute photography session with Nancy of Bug and Bean Photography and a 10 page 5×5 album (A $500 value!). Enter by visiting Bug and Bean Photography’s new site and letting us know who you would like photographed and how you envision your professional photography session. Contest ends Friday, March 12th, 2010 at 11:59pm PST.

1. Become a fan of Project Nursery on Facebook  and comment.
2. Follow Project Nursery on Twitter,  tweet about it and comment.
3. Subscribe or let us know you are a subscriber with a comment.
4. Post on our Forum and comment.
5. Blog it and comment.

*Please comment separately for each on this post.

CONTEST CLOSED – Congrats Sara Olsher!


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  1. avatar Allison Mosz says:

    Damn, cool website. I actually came across this on Yahoo, and I am really happy I did. I will definately be returning here more often. Wish I could add to the post and bring a bit more to the table, but am just absorbing as much info as I can at the moment.

    Thank You

    Dog Toys and Clothes

  2. avatar Adria says:

    Hi, lovely photos! My husband and I live in San Francisco and are expecting a bouncing baby boy on March 24th. We would cherish a professional photo session with our baby, this is the first child for both of us. We both love Golden Gate park and spend a lot of time there, so we would love to get photos with our baby in the park at some of our favorite spots. Also, if you are up for a challenge, I am generally unphotogenic and would love just a few good shots to remember this special time in our lives.

  3. avatar kimchi says:

    Hmmm, how come i don’t see my comments, that’s weird. i would love for you to photograph ty at two, if you can get him to stand still! this is a fun contest.


  4. avatar Berna says:

    Yay, I’m a fan on Facebook! :)

  5. avatar Berna says:

    I just became a subscriber. :)

  6. avatar Berna says:

    I’d like my son to be photographed with my husband and father-in-law. My husband is the only child, and it would be great to see three generations captured on film. I can imagine it being silly, serious, traditional and modern all at the same time. Thanks for the chance to win. :)

  7. avatar joel3882 says:

    Just posted on the forum…..we would love for you to take pictures of our baby girl as she listens to Lady Gaga….not only do her songs make her smile, they also make us do crazy little dance moves :-) Anything to get our baby girl to smile…even if it causes embarrassment LOL!

  8. avatar Joel says:

    Oh and I am a subscriber too!

  9. avatar Joel says:

    Tweet tweet Tweet…another entry for me….i would love for you to take pictures of my daughter =)

  10. avatar Joel says:

    Add another to the Facebook fan club! =)

  11. avatar jennifer says:

    I am a FB fan and just subscribed. I would love to win a photo session for my 2 daughters. I envision it to be as wonderful as your work has been for us in the past. Thank you!!

  12. avatar Jessie Roberts says:

    I Subscribed, twitted and commented! hope i covered all the basis :)

  13. avatar Jessie Roberts says:

    Hi There! Facebook fan (of both you and the photographer) and would love the chance to have our newborn Logan photographed with his big broth, our puggle dog Monty. With a little sprinkling of mom and dad thrown in there. I envision, light hearted, fun and modern. Not the typical “Sears” baby session…outdoors, indoors what ever!

  14. avatar Stephanie says:

    By the way, it might have helped to say that I’d love a family photo of my wife, baby girl and I and maybe a few shots of our daughter by herself.

  15. avatar Stephanie says:

    I also subscribed– (fingers crossed)… :)

  16. avatar Stephanie says:

    I just became a fan on Facebook. I am SO jonesing for this prize… I love Bug and Bean’s work!

  17. avatar holly alesi says:

    i’m also a subscriber

  18. avatar holly alesi says:

    i’m a facebook fan

  19. If there’s one thing I can say about your post, it’s superb! Keep it up.

  20. avatar effiek says:

    What beautiful images!
    would love to have a family portrait done with our newborn…

  21. avatar Christine says:

    I have a son who just turned 1 and a daughter who is 2 years old.
    I would love to win this so I can get some nice photo’s of them playing at the beach or even at the park.
    I follow Project Nursery on Twitter :)

  22. avatar Shimona says:

    We live near a beautiful public garden called Wave Hill (in the Bronx), and I’d love to get my 3-year-old and 6-year-old there to put some lovely spring blooms in the shot with my own blooming girls. Maybe a family portrait, too, since we so rarely are all in a shot together.

  23. avatar stella urban says:

    just became a fan on facebook and really love to win this.

  24. avatar stella urban says:

    Our baby girl is now 3 weeks old and mom and dad would love to do a photo shoot in Central Park were we took our wedding pictures 2 years ago.

  25. avatar Betty says:


  26. avatar Betty says:

    Our baby girl is 4months old and we would love to have a family photo session outside, central park, or brooklyn botanical gardens during the spring.

  27. avatar teranelson says:

    AND I just posted on the forum~ more information about me! Did I mention that I really want to win this? :D

  28. avatar Tera Nelson says:

    And I forgot to mention that I am a subscriber too!

  29. avatar Tera Nelson says:

    Opps! I forgot to mention that I am a fan on facebook!

  30. avatar Tera Nelson says:

    I would definitely love to win this!! I have a family of 7 and have been dying to get our family photographed!! We have 5 little kids ~ 4 girls and a boy. Please, Please, Please!! I hope I win!! :)Tera

  31. avatar Loann says:

    I’m a subscriber! Really hope I win. I twitted too :) Thank you.

  32. avatar Bibzees says:

    I would have loved to win this, but am in FL. I will pass along the contest info to my Los Angeles friends!

  33. avatar Nanette says:

    I’m a subscriber, too.

  34. avatar Nanette says:

    I’m a Facebook fan!

  35. avatar Nanette says:

    I live in LA and would love a fun family session with my husband and our sweet 17-month-old at the Santa Monica Pier. We have quite a few photos of her, but as I’m often behind the camera, I’m hardly in any of them, sadly.

  36. avatar Cassey says:

    I’m expecting my third boy any day now. I’d love to get pictures of him and his brothers.

  37. avatar Becca says:

    I am a subscriber and frequent visitor. Love your website and now love the Bug and Bean website and photos. Perused the entire Bug and Bean site and blog. I was mistaken on how to enter the giveaway and sent an e-mail to Bug and Bean. Photographer extraordinaire Nancy, sent the kindest reply. Here is the body of my e-mail: Saw your giveaway on Project Nursery website. Had gone to the site to look for ideas for DIY birth announcements. Have now looked at your portfolio and LOVE your work! I’m a single mom so finding it difficult to document my little one in these early stages. Would love to capture some beautiful black and white images or closeups and/or interesting angles of this most cherished time. Many thanks.

    As a single mom and schoolteacher, I cannot afford a session; winning one would be brilliant.

  38. avatar Jasmin says:

    Officially subscribed to project nursery!

  39. avatar Jasmin says:

    Twitter follower: javacan

  40. avatar Jasmin says:

    I just became a facebook fan =)

  41. avatar Jasmin says:

    My husband and I just bought a camera and have been good about taking ton of pictures of our 4 month daughter Sophia. The problem is we haven’t had the chance to take any family pictures with her. It makes me sad because she seems to be growing so fast, and it would be great to have some family portraits with her while she’s still small. I would love to do a session at home with the three of us hanging out on the living room couch and in her nursery.

  42. avatar KimChi says:

    What a great website….let’s see, how would I want Ty’s photo session? I envision it to be in our new backyard where he can play in the grass, touch various blooming flowers and blow on a dandelion because that’s what he likes to do now. Oh he likes to tell me to pick a lemon for him too. He’s all nature right now.

  43. avatar Sara says:

    And I’m a subscriber!

  44. avatar Sara says:

    I’m a facebook fan!

  45. avatar Sara says:

    I would *love* to win a photography session for my newborn–we’re expecting our first baby in August!

  46. avatar Lyla says:

    And I subscribe to the RSS feed.

  47. avatar Lyla says:

    I’m a facebook fan too.

  48. avatar Lyla says:

    I would love to win this! I’d really like to get some great shots of my daughter (4 months) with me and my mother.

  49. avatar Jenny R says:

    I tweeted! I’m @jroneck

  50. avatar Jenny R says:

    I’m a subscriber.

  51. avatar Jenny R says:

    I would loooooove to have a session when I’m at like 35 weeks pregnant. I want to remember my belly! I love the black and white artsy maternity photos where the woman is naked but not exposed. Please pick me!!

  52. avatar Soni says:

    I follow on Facebook!

  53. avatar Soni says:

    I tweeted about the giveaway!

  54. avatar Soni says:

    Her photos are to die for! What a great giveaway that I would be thrilled to win!

  55. And I subscribe, via Bloglines.

  56. Lovely photos on their site! Definitely worth driving to NYC for…. My now-husband and I had our engagement photos done in a playground in Brooklyn, so I would use the session to photograph our 1-year-old daughter in the same playground.

  57. avatar Sherylle says:

    I subscribe. I would love to get 1 year pictures of my daughter and a good family picture.

  58. avatar JBS says:

    our daughter just turned 1 … she is named after both grandmothers (they have the same name. an easy decision!). she lights up when she is with either one and I’d love to capture these happiest moments. i only have one picture of myself with both of my grandmothers … my mom’s mom died when i was very young. it would mean so much to document generations of beautiful, loving, inspiring women! (We live in NYC!)

  59. […] Also please check out our feature on Project Nursery where I was asked to share tips on preparing for a professional photo session as well as how to improve your own photography skills. We are doing a photography session giveaway, so please enter by 03/12 and spread the word! Project Nursery GIVEAWAY! […]

  60. avatar Lonnie says:

    I’d love to get my first baby photographed !
    She’s already photogenic too , hehe

  61. avatar Michelle says:

    LOVE your new website Nancy!! you are amazing!!

    we live in SF and our family is in hawaii. would love to fly my grandma, mom and sister to take family photos. the last picture i have with all of us in one photo was more than 10 years ago! anywhere in sf would be great, just having 4 generations of us in one photo would be priceless!

  62. avatar Betty says:

    tweeted @butter913

  63. avatar Amanda says:

    Love these photos and love the advice about how to be prepared. Beautiful work!

    I would love to win a session for my family.

  64. avatar Amanda says:

    fan on Facebook

  65. avatar Amanda says:

    email subscriber

  66. avatar eRin says:

    Nancy’s website & portfolio are fantastic! I grew up in the Bay Area, wish my baby could as well. We’re in LA, and I’d love to win an opportunity for Nancy to capture all the sweet details of our first baby, a daughter due 5/9. I’d love a session in our home, when she’s just 2-4 weeks old so we can freeze those moments forever. I’d love photos of my husband & I with our newborn baby, and with our kitties (our other babies!) in both “gallery” style and more relaxed, informal fashion. Crossing my fingers for this fabulous giveaway!!

  67. avatar Jo says:

    Just subscribed to your mailing list!

  68. avatar Jo says:

    I’m now following you on twitter. I’m @waitingforpoppy

  69. avatar Jo says:

    Became a fan on Facebook!

  70. avatar Jo says:

    [I forgot to say how we’d like our session to go, but don’t see a way to edit/delete my first comment.]

    I’d love to do it outside when Spring rolls around. We’re within walking distance of Prospect Park in Brooklyn and I’d love to plunk her in the grass in a little sundress and let her have some fun :)

  71. avatar Jo says:

    I would love to get professional portraits of my daughter, Penny. She was born in October. We’re in NYC.

  72. avatar Missy says:

    Would love a newborn session with our baby boy due in July- somewhere in San Francisco on a warm sunny day would be great!

  73. avatar Tara says:

    Email subscriber.

  74. avatar Tara says:

    Project nursery fan on FB.

  75. avatar Tara says:

    We live in NJ, but not far from NYC and could easily go in to the city for a session. I’d love a session of myself, my husband, and our 6 month old. I’d love shots of the 3 of us, just the baby, myself with the baby, my husband with the baby, just myself and my husband. This would be so amazing and this is such a great giveaway.

  76. i just love bug & bean! i’m a photographer myself, so there are very few pictures of me *with* my family. i’d love to have some springtime garden blossomy shots with my husband and daughter….if NYC is an option, i envision the cherry blossoms at the brooklyn botanic garden and my little fairy wearing some wings…

  77. avatar Stacey says:

    I am a subscriber & yay! I am in the SF Bay Area! Would love to have this special gift for my baby arriving in June :) Thank you!

  78. avatar Sarah Schnack says:

    I LOVE the photo gallery- and the pictures of the kids in the grass are beautiful. I envision a photo shoot in the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park with my husband and I and our three little tykes.

  79. avatar mirabelle says:

    I follow Project Nursery and I tweeted.

  80. avatar tami says:

    so, we live in nj, but close to ny – so if we win we could either to into the city or she might be able to come to us. anyway… i would love to get photos of me, my hubby and our little girl (4 mos. now). i definitely envision the photo shoot taking place outside, lots of smiles and sunshine!

  81. avatar mirabelle says:

    I am a subscriber.

  82. avatar mirabelle says:

    I would love to get my new baby photographed sometime after he/she arrives in the fall. A laid back session in GG Park on one of our beautiful Indian summer days would be a dream!