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As a parent, you want your child to have the best possible upbringing. This means protecting your son or daughter from hazards that your son or daughter might encounter both at home and in the outside world. Let's take a look at a few of these potential hazards and the steps that you can take to mitigate them.
Peanuts and Seafood
Many children develop allergies at a young age, and you don’t find out until they are exposed to the allergens and they get sick. In some cases, your child could suffer negative health consequences from merely touching a surface that is contaminated by peanuts. The same could be true if your child eats, smells or touches fish or other seafood. If your child shows any signs of an allergy, take your son or daughter to the doctor immediately. It can also be a good idea to have medication handy in case of an emergency.
According to Behind the Scenes Home Inspections, mold most often affects children, pregnant women, and people with breathing problems. The most common kinds of mold form in damp conditions usually present in a basement, attic or bathroom. If you see black mold, be sure to call a professional right away. It can have an adverse impact on your child's life, and it can also put your own life in danger.
A blow to the head can cause significant injury to a small child because its skull and brain are not fully developed. This can be true even if the object falls from a relatively low height. To prevent your child from being hit by a falling object at home, keep items on shelves secured with zip ties or similar objects. You can also keep potentially dangerous objects in a shed or other space the child won't occupy.
The Family Pet
You should never leave your child unsupervised when feeding, playing with or otherwise interacting with a cat or dog. This is because even a friendly animal can get scared or angry in an instant, and it could lead to your child being bitten or experiencing other injuries in an attack. According to American Family Physician, dog bites account for 1% of all injury-related emergency department visits in the United States and more than $50 million in inpatient costs per year. Immediate treatment will be necessary to stop the spread of bacteria throughout the child's body.
Children are often curious about the world around them and can be oblivious to the potential consequences of their actions. Therefore, it is important that they are properly supervised to ensure that they don't get hurt. Taking proactive steps to mitigate hazards can also make it easier to keep your kids safe when you can't watch them.
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I am one of the few women in Los Angeles who chose not to have kids. I am now 50-ish. For me, it was an easy choice; at the time anyway. I had a career as a special education teacher and I saw first hand how hard it is to have kids; how hard it is to be a parent. It scared me. And I honestly did not think I could do a good job teaching a child all those things you have to. Since I have a unique life, in many ways, I thought I would share with you what it’s like. I think you will see that as parents, you actually got the better end of the stick. In my view anyway.
D.I.N.K. (Double Income No Kids)
Yep. I am part one of a Dink lifestyle. I own a maternity, newborn and child photography business that is successful. All that money I earn is mine. All of it. There is no tuition, no kids’ clothes, no summer camp fees, no club sports, no candy sales, no Scouts, none of it. Of course, the business has expenses, (you would be stunned at how expensive it is to run a small solopreneur business), and then basic living expenses. But after that, I am able to be as irresponsible as I want to be. There is no one depending on me to save money for college, or for a rainy day. Spontaneous trips to Vegas, weekends at Santa Anita, a quick flight to Chicago to see the Cubs, it’s all there.
So far this all sounds spectacular right? It’s like being a college student with a never ending expense account from your parents. I will admit, that at first, in my 20s and even into my 30s, it was great. In fact, it was amazing. Especially when a large portion of your peers are not married yet with kids. But it gets tiresome. And after a while sporting events are not that amazing anymore, and quick weekend jaunts take their toll. They also lose their sense of taboo. You start to realize that every thing you do is all about, well, you. It’s a bit selfish. How many images can you post on social media of you gallivanting hither and yon while everyone else you knew in college became adults and has responsibilities? Whether that is good or bad, I’m not sure. But there it is.
Tenured College Dorm Life
While I did grow up enough to have a career and do all those responsible things, I never did grow up in other ways. Take domestic stuff, for example. I think most people, when they have kids, they try to keep a relatively organized house. They cook balanced meals. They clean, do laundry, take care of the yard. They do all these things with some kind of order and regularity. For me, that never happened. Now it could be, that even if I had had kids, I would still be a terrible homemaker. But I think that not being a parent allows you to live in utter disorganization. I think this promotes bad habits and fosters selfishness.
They only thing that has changed for me since college, is that I can’t take my laundry to mom’s house anymore. So what happens is, I pay to have other people do the things I probably should be doing….cleaning, cooking, yard work, basic upkeep on the property etc. I can’t be sure, but I do not think I would have developed such laziness with kids. Having kids keeps you sharper, more alert and self-sufficient; as I see things, anyway.
There is an urban myth that says most people have kids so they will have someone to care for them as they age. As a newborn photographer, I see new moms all the time. I don’t see aging by themselves as their motivation for having kids. But still, it is a question most of us have to face. And since I am farther along the path than most of you reading this, I can tell you: Don’t worry about it. If your kids care for you when you are old, great. But if they can’t or won’t, it’s OK. There are competent professionals all over the place who will step in when the time comes. So the fact that I did not have kids does not make aging or getting older any harder. So I would say that on the aging issue, it’s a draw. Kids or not, getting old is tough.
The Mother-Child Relationship
Here is where not having kids loses big-time. There is one relationship that is so critical, so meaningful, so profound, and so important. It is the subject of countless paintings, books and photographs; and that is the mother-child connection. It is so raw and inspiring that my studio offers an entire portrait package just for Mother-Child. Not having kids means you miss this. It means you miss the single most awe inspiring interaction on earth. You miss the basic “why” of the human condition. You miss all those times your child calls for you, and not dad. You miss the way your child holds your hand, or sits in your lap. You miss how they look at you when they see you are proud of them. You miss how safe they feel with you after a bad day. You miss the most basic life event. You could say, you miss Life altogether. (That may be too dramatic, but you get the idea). Of course, there are lots of elements to Life, but having kids is a big one. Not having kids takes you out of a major experience.
I don’t think there are too many moms out there who regret having kids. I really don’t. But you may wonder what it may have been like if you did not have them. And I can tell you, it has some advantages. It does. But at the end of the day, the most fundamental thing is not on your Life’s resume. To my mind, you are definitely at an advantage as a parent.
Katie is a maternity, newborn and child photographer in Los Angeles, 91042
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Composition and the skills related to creating compelling composition in photographs are something photographers spend a lifetime honing and improving. It is composition that plays a large part in setting one’s own style or signature ‘look’ in photographs and makes an image go from a snapshot to a thought provoking experience. You can spend years journaling, reading and studying composition. But, overall, a photograph with good composition has four basic elements all working together:
· A clearly defined subject and background
· A point of view
To begin, let’s look an amateur photo I took some years ago in Paris. At the time, I thought I was taking a great image. But when we evaluate it according to the standards of composition, it turns out to be nothing more than a mediocre snapshot. Why is this? First, there is no clear subject and background. One could argue that the trees are the subject, or that the building is the subject. Is it the red or green parts of the building? For the viewer, the question arises, “What am I supposed to be looking at?” And if this happens, your image has failed. Second, the image is not balanced. It is just one big blob of “stuff” going on. There is virtually no negative space, and no breathing room for the eyes. It’s busy and unfocused. Third, while this image has a point of view (that if a tourist looking upward from the street), it is not an unusual or compelling point of view. It is that which any of us see most of the time on any given day. Had I climbed to the rooftop across the street, or climbed one of the trees and taken a photograph, the point of view would at least be different. Finally, as we have said, this image is not simple. It’s crazy busy.
With a poorly composed photograph as a backdrop, let’s look at a much better one. And as we go through it, I will bring in a couple of other elements that you can be thinking about as you start to intentionally compose your own images. Looking at this image there is no question that the crow is the subject. So, immediate, this second image is a million times better than the first. Just this simple “detail” is powerful.
An additional element that adds interest to the subject is that the crow is at one side of the image. In this image, the eye travels from the crow, over to the tree and back again. the eye travels around the image in a natural way. In the Paris image, the eye does not “travel” at all. Instead it rests in one spot, unsure what to do or what to look at.
The crow mage is balanced in at least 2 ways (1) by the use of lines and (2) by another object the tree, to the left. And of you look carefully, you will notice that some vignetting has either been applied around the edges in post-production, or as a result of the lens (some lenses have a bit of a fall off that can be a good thing).
The point of view of this image is subtlety different. It is not from the bird’s perspective. But it is not from your average adult’s perspective either. It looks like the photographer either knelt down or placed the camera on a tripod about 3-4 feet high. The result is a point of view that is one not commonly seen. This makes the viewer spend more ‘time’ on the image and make the photograph more interesting. The other strong element in this image is that it has a clear foreground, middle ground (the tree trunk) and background (the other trees and buildings).
The simplicity of this image is obvious. A bird on a fence. With not much else going on, it allows the mind of the view to begin to create a story for the image. Why is the crow there? What is it doing? And so on. The gap between the bird and the tree trunk is essentially good use of negative space. Negative space is one of those “issues” in photography. Some say to not have too much, others have mostly negative space in their images. But an image, like the Paris one above, with no negative space is unlikely to work.
Making images that contain strong compositional elements is mostly a matter of awareness. Take your time and try to address these 4 basics, and you will see a major improvement in your images.
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