3 Outfit Ideas For Your Holiday Photos {Advice from a Photographer}


Hey everyone! Jen here of Jen CYK Photography! Growing up, holiday cards would come in the mail for my parents with hand written notes. A few of the over ambitious folks would include their yearly newsletter, but most kept it pretty simple. Then one year the trend shifted, and pictures began to come with the cards! Nowadays, it’s not just a snapshot from your point and shoot camera — professional pictures are actually the go-to for most families! (You might be able to guess that I like this trend.)

One of the most common questions I get is “What should we wear?!” So today, I’m here to share Three Outfit Options for Your Holiday Photos that photograph well and make you & your family look and feel your best!




Share it:

Top 5 Reasons to Make THIS Your Year for Family Pictures

family photos

Well hello lovely Hostess With The Mostess friends! It’s Jen, your favorite Orange County photographer.

Today, it’s going to get REAL serious! As you may know, family pictures are one of my specialties (if you’d like to get some ideas and inspiration, check out my Facebook page, right here). I adore family sessions and the stunning images they create. I do my best to curate a touching family story told through pictures, that my familes can hang on their walls, and smile at forever.

However, there are some of you that haven’t taken the time to round up the troops, and smile together! So here we go, the top five reasons why this is the year for family pictures! 

family photos

kid photography

family photos


Share it:

Photography Tips for a Fun First Birthday Photo Shoot!

first birthday photo shoot tips

YOU GUYS!!! I can’t hold back any longer, I’m so excited to share these ideas with you!

Hello lovely ladies! It’s Jen, your Orange County photographer here at Hostess With The Mostess. I adore working with you and your families. You always trust me to come up with creative ideas, and execute the most stunning photo shoots (if you’re looking for inspiration, head on over to my Facebook page, right here).

So today, I wanted to share with you a few simple ideas to help you create an amazingly awesome first year photo shoot of your own. Your little one only turns one year old once. So go big! Now I know it’s likely you have an extravagant party planned already, but I encourage you to set some time aside a week or two before your party, and do a first birthday photo shoot of your own! Added bonus: you can display some of the photos at the birthday party! Scroll down to check out some sample shots, followed by tips for making the most of your own first year photo shoot.

first birthday photo ideas - bunting and tutu

first birthday sprinkles smash cake


Share it:

A Fabulous Fiesta First Birthday!

fiesta first birthday cake in yellow and sprinkles

Hello, Hostess with the Mostess fans. It’s Jen, of Jen CYK Photography. As always, I’m super happy to share some incredible creativity with you. Your skills, ladies (and gentlemen), are amazing and super inspiring! This first birthday fiesta is no exception! I absolutely adore this Fiesta First Birthday Party that I recently captured. Because you know what, we all need to stop, and have a little fiesta today!

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

  • Bright & colorful photo booth, bean guessing game & real live donkey riding!
  • Handmade stuffed donkey favors for the kids & mini maracas for the adults
  • An absolutely adorable traditional outfit for the birthday boy + handpainted ‘Ethan’ letters
  • Rainbow streamers backdrop + mini piñata garland & table decor

mini piñata garland entrance

mexican first birthday baby costume

mini maraca party favor tree

fiesta party lounge hammock


Share it:

An Adorable Little Sailor Girl Party {Nautical First Birthday}

girly sailor

Hey all you amazing party planners, it’s Jen, your favorite Orange County family photographer. On this cool fall morning, I’m dreaming of summer (I’m a California native, and you know how we’re spoiled and all, hehe). So I thought why not take it back to this past summer, with an adorable Little Sailor Girl First Birthday Party at a beach house? …Enjoy ;)

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

  • Carboard “Ship” Photo Booth Set (on the beach!)
  • Sailboat Cake Pops + Crafted Paper Sailboat Dessert Table Backdrop
  • Nautical High Chair Silhouette Banner, Chalkboard Signs & Wooden Sailboat Decorating

sailor outfit

sail away (more…)

Share it:

Flower Inspired Shoot + Creative Family Photos


Hey fall lovers! It’s almost time to take a new annual family photo to send with your holiday card isn’t it? Well, I’ve got an idea for you this season. It’s Jen, of Jen CYK Photography and creating stunning pictures of families, like yours, is my speciality. But this time, I was stumped. How was I going to top the Anthropologie Inspired Family Photo Session from last year? Simple, with FLOWERS!

What I love about this Flower Inspired Family Session, is it’s completely representative of Deanna and her family. The colors, the creativity, the fun. I challenge you to think about what things describe YOU and your family. Incorporate them into your pictures! Have fun, be creative. You’re reading this blog, so I know you’re up for it.

family pictures with flowers (more…)

Share it:

An Incredible Mickey Mouse First Birthday Party

mickey cake

Alright friends, this party is a MUST SEE. I wanted to share an Incredible Mickey Mouse First Birthday Party that my fellow photographer friend, Kristen, of Kristen Carter Photography, had the honor of capturing. It’s always fun to see parents go all out for their little ones. This party was no exception! Kristen did a fantastic job of documenting every perfect detail.

micky mouse first birthday party

pluto (more…)

Share it:

Keep It Local: Beer & Pretzel Party {Joint Birthday}

pretzel party

Hey party planners! It’s Jen, your favorite Orange County, California photographer. I wanted to share a party idea that’s completely outside the box, stress free & casual by a talented friend of mine, Deanna of Deanna Moore Design. (If you didn’t see her Sweet Ice Cream Party,  you MUST check that out.)

For her Beer & Pretzel Party, she found a local beer brewery, and decided to host a joint celebration for her daughter’s 5th birthday and her husband’s 35th birthday, at this very eclectic and unique location. Brewbakers in Huntington Beach, CA, proved to be an entertaining and perfect location to host a party for two of her favorites. And as a photographer, I love how she incorporated so many personalized pictures into the design elements!

Read on for some details about pulling together a party using a local venue, but still keeping it personalized and creative (Deanna’s speciality). (P.S. You can download a few of the printables she made for this event right here!)

root beer

brew (more…)

Share it:

Sweet & Simple Baby Shower, Inspired By Flowers

bow tie garland

Hi Everyone! It’s Jen, your photographer that brings lots of smiles (feel free to see a few of them right here). So when I’m not taking pictures of you lovely people, I can often be caught planning events.

But here’s the thing. I see these amazing events that you all submit here for the world to see, and I can’t help but think to myself, “how do they do it?” I mean you nail every. single. detail! Where do you find the time? So kudos to all of you talented people, a lot of work goes in to your gorgeous events.

I’m a busy gal. And I know I can’t be the only one. So it’s important for my events to be beautiful, but a little more simple.  I wanted to share this lovely baby shower for a dear friend of mine. When planning events, I always start with the centerpieces, and work from there. For this event, my centerpieces and starting point, was flowers.

Flowers make everything prettier. And they can make a simple shower, jaw dropping. So please enjoy this Simple Baby Shower, Inspired by Flowers. I hope these pictures inspire you to make things beautiful, while keeping it simple, and happy, with hopes of not adding too much additional stress to your plate. :)

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

  • Centerpieces with mason jars and various yellow & white blooms
  • Succulent favors for each guest and lots of happy ladies
  • Yellow chevron gift bag with Birthday Cake Rice Krispy Treats inside

succulent stroller

yellow chevron favor bags (more…)

Share it:

3 Tips For Choosing A Professional Photographer

photographer tips

Hello my fellow hostesses! I hope you are enjoying your summer and creating lots of great DIY projects with your kids! I’m Jen, your favorite photographer, and you can see some of my DIY projects, along with many of my beautiful pictures over at my website, www.jencyk.com.

Today I wanted to give you some simple, but important tips when it comes to choosing a photographer for your family & event photos! I recently gave some tips on taking gorgeous event pictures, which you can check out right here. Now, I know not everyone has a “good camera,” or is remotely interested in taking their own pictures.

So, how do you choose a professional photographer for your family pictures and events? That’s a great question! So let’s talk about it. Here are some easy steps to follow, to ensure you find the right photographer for your images that will literally last a lifetime!

baby shower (more…)

Share it:

Photography Tips: Taking Pictures WITH Your Little Ones

mother's day photos with your kids

I have a question for all you lovely Mamas. When was the last time you were in a picture WITH your children? I know you, and I know the icky reality is that you can show me hundreds of awesome iPhone pictures of your children, but I won’t be able to find any WITH you in them.

Hi everyone! It’s Jen, your favorite photographer and owner of Jen CYK Photography. There’s a terrible epidemic floating around, and I’m on a mission to put an end to it! It’s called failure to take pictures with your children! The symptoms include a whole lot of pictures of your adorable kids, and not a single one with you in them! It’s okay though, you’re not alone!! And together, we can put an end to it right now so you will have plenty of pictures with your little ones!

mom and kids photos (more…)

Share it:

Free Mother’s Day Printables! (Mom Card & Treat Tags)

mother's day printables

Behind every smiling child, is a hard working mama. So on this upcoming Mothers Day, we celebrate YOU! Hello everyone! Jen here, your resident Photographer over at Jen CYK Photography.

Obviously, I love taking pictures of you and your beautiful children (some of you are probably even featured in my Kids & Family gallery, right here)! I also love finding little things that I can do to make you smile! So this Mothers Day, I teamed up with the talented mama behind Deanna Moore Designs, to create some beautiful printable tags and cards for you!

free mother's day printables (more…)

Share it:

Photography Tips: Taking Gorgeous Event Pictures

beautiful photography tips
So who here likes to party? I already know its you, because here at Hostess With The Mostess, we’re all about amazingly beautiful parties! Hi, it’s me, Jen Hrycyk, your resident photographer. Today I want to give you a few tips for Taking GORGEOUS Photos at your GORGEOUS events!

nature party (more…)

Share it:

DIY Tutorial: Valentine Cupcake Toppers

valentine cupcake toppers for a crafty diy tutorial

Hello again! If we haven’t met before, I’m Jen! I spend my days taking pictures of the most adorable kids and families (you can see them right here). But in my spare time, I enjoy crafts and cupcakes… so today I want to share 2 simple DIY ideas to dress up your cupcakes!

Cupcakes are one of the greatest goodies to give. With Valentines Day popping up soon, I thought I’d give you two simple ways to make cupcakes even cuter! But not only that, I want to share the most brilliant way EVER, to give them away!


Share it:

The Perfect Purse {+ We’re Giving One Away!}

the perfect purse

Winner update: 12/12/12: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much to everyone that entered! And the lucky random winner is… Commenter #334 NICOLE J! Congrats!


Every so often, I find things that I love love love, and have to share. It’s Jen, your favorite photographer here at Hostess With The Mostess, and I’m excited to tell you about this awesome Kelly Moore Bag that I’m obsessed with. But even more exciting, we’re giving one lucky winner a bag of their choice! Read on for details!


Share it:

DIY Tutorial: Creative Wine Packaging for Hostess Gifts

homemade hostess gift idea: wine gift wrap

Jen here from Jen CYK Photography, and I’m back today to help you make things look extra pretty, with a super simple way to dress up a wine bottle! You may have noticed, I really like wine (see “Exhibit A,” my DIY wine cork succulent magnets). And you’ve probably noticed I like to make everyday gifts fun & pretty (see “Exhibit B,” my DIY paper flowers). Well today, we’re going to combine an awesome hostess gift, with great packaging, and get you lots of “oooohhs” and “ahhhhhhhs!”


Over the next two months, you’ll probably be attending A LOT of get togethers. Tis the season! If you’re like me, you like to bring a little contribution to each event. My go-to gift is always wine. So why not make it special, put a little extra effort, and package it pretty! I’ve got a great alternative to buying those wine gift bags, that’s cute and cheaper! (more…)

Share it:

Photography Tips: Capturing Kids’ Milestone Moments

diy photo tips for kids milestone moments

Fall is here! Can you believe it? With all of the holidays that are guaranteed to keep all you crafters & hostesses going for months on end, I’m here to remind you not to forget about your own holidays!

Hello, it’s me, Jen Hrycyk, your resident photographer. Today I want to give you a few tips for creating some simple (but fun) pictures on your own, when it comes to Capturing Your Kid’s Milestone Moments!

Birthday Photography Tips from Jen CYK - Kids Milestone Moments

Birthday Photography Tips from Jen CYK - Kids Milestone Moments


Share it:

DIY Tutorial: Wine Cork Succulent Magnets {Gift Idea}

homemade hostess gift idea: wine cork succulents

Hello my fellow hostesses! Jen here from Jen CYK Photography, and I’m back with an awesome little DIY gift that you will want to give to everyone you know! Trust me, I know this from personal experience!


I love giving small but thoughtful gifts to people. So I figured out how to make these lovely little wine cork succulent magnets.  I’ve given them as part of birthday gifts, I’ve given them to people for no reason at all, and I’ve given them to the lovely hostesses around me. And every single person loves, loves, loves them!


Share it:

DIY Tutorial: Paper Flowers {Gift Wrap Idea}

diy paper flower gift wrap tutorial

As a photographer, I love all things visually beautiful. This translates not only through my pictures over at Jen CYK Photography, but through many aspects of life. This happens to include one of my favorite things to make pretty…. packaging!


Now days, it seems like I give a lot of gift cards to the lovely people in my life. I love doing this, but I don’t love that it leaves me without something to wrap up and make glamorous. So I decided to come up with a simple way to dress up gift cards, make them look fancy, and most importantly make the person receiving the gift, feel just a little more special!


Share it:

Photography Tips: Capturing “Golden Hour Moments”

Outdoor Photography Tips from Jen CYK - Golden Hour Moments

Happy summer everyone! I hope you have enjoyed these days to their fullest! This is Jen from Jen CYK Photographyand I’m back {as a new contributor, check out my about me page!} to inspire you to take some beautiful pictures as this season winds down.

Who doesn’t love glorious summer evenings? It stays light out super late. It stays warm out all night. And there’s a sweet glow in the sky that cannot be duplicated. With all of these elements, let me inspire you to get outside, and take some pictures, during the Beautiful Moments At Golden Hour!

Pictures At Golden Hour


Share it: