Gardens and Children

I am so excited about this challenge! Through my partnership with Charlotte sy Dimby, I have been introduced to so many lovely families all over the world. In our new challenge, we are asking for photographs of your child in a Charlotte sy Dimby dress taken with the soft light of a window or door. The winner will receive an impressionist painting made from your entry.


As cooler days arrive, days tend to grow shorter and sunlight becomes rarer. In a world challenged by much turmoil, our inner lights may be tempted to waver. Yet “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” - John 1:5

Together, through the celebration of childhood beauty and innocence, may we glow bright all season and spread the light! Let your joy shine!


The winner will receive an impressionistic painting with the submitted photo as a reference from Shari Ford. The painting will be 11” x 14” or a comparable size, depending on the composition of the picture.

The portrait will be similar style to those of the previous contests : see here.


The contest runs until the 1st of January 2023.


  • Dress your child in her favorite Charlotte sy Dimby dress. It can be a dress from this winter collection or a former one. See here

  • Capture your child against a door or window. The door/window can also be in the background. Please picture your child indoors.

  • Take many photos to capture just the right pose! Don’t hesitate to contact Shari and Charlotte sy Dimby for advice on Instagram or by email at or

  • Submit your photos (one or several) by posting it on Instagram and sending the high quality photos by emails to

  • Tag and follow @sharifordportraits and @charlotte_sy_dimby

  • Add the hastag #windowstotheworld

  • If you do not have an Instagram account, you can join by email.

  • Along with your submission, share in a sentence or two how you add light and joy to the season.



Photos should be taken with a camera if possible, preferably with a telephoto or portrait lens to reduce distortion and improve image quality.


Stand as far away as possible, zooming in to get the shot.

Turn your subject sideways so they are not turning their back to the window/door. Their bodies can even be facing it. You just have to go to the side, and not directly face the window. That will make sure some light is falling on their face, and that your camera isn’t getting too much of the outside light in the frame.

Getting your subject from the side and not including the whole window in your frame is often easier.

A three-quarters pose can be very pretty too.


Indirect light, as opposed to the sun shining through the windows, is usually best.

Side lighting is often the best. Choose a day and time that is sunny, between 10 and 2pm is usually best. You’re not actually going to have the light directly on your subjects, so the stronger the light, the better the indirect light. It’s the indirect light which you need to look for : a soft one without hard shadows.

Pay attention to how the shadow falls on faces. A north facing window should always work, but just use one without light streaming in when you’re photographing. The face is an essential aspect and plays an important role in the jury’s decision.

Turn off your lights. Your indoor lights, though they may claim to be “natural”, will not be the same temperature as the natural light from outside. Mixed lighting rarely makes for good images. Also, your lights may be at unflattering angles such as straight down from above.

For more tips on how to best photography your child watch our videos.


Professional photos are accepted with the permission of the photographer, who will receive recognition for their work. You can also ask a friend with a good eye for photos.

Please feel free to share about the challenge with all your friends and family.

Degas had his ballerinas, I have found my Charlotte sy Dimby princesses! For many years I have loved painting classical portraits, but I am excited to announce that I will now paint by inspiration rather than commissions.

My aim is to render a fleeting moment, to eternalize a darling movement, a precious twirl or pose from the joyful and carefree days of childhood in beautiful gardens and natural settings. Less detailed than official portraits, these small sized paintings will focus on emotions, capturing the true essence and ‘impressions’ of these early years of life. Innocence, tenderness and delicacy will be my guidelines. Introduced by the famous pastel artist Sally Gates to the beautiful smocked dresses from the Parisian designer Charlotte sy Dimby, gave me a new vision. The classic designs, the attention given to each detail, the beautiful fabric hues, the way they twirl but most of all the joy of the little girls wearing them, convinced me to take the big leap. Nourishing a deep interest for French impressionism, it all fitted in marvelously and thus began a lovely relationship.

From our lovely collaborations : Tea Parties, Princess and Posies and Twirling Into Spring, I have gathered wonderful references photos from all over the world: pictures of children from America, France, Japan, Australia and as far as Cambodia which will inspire my next portraits.

To spread the joy, I will be holding new photo sessions. The small impressionist portraits will be available for purchase, the families of my subjects will have the opportunity of acquiring them and if not they will be on sale on my online gallery. So far, they have been very well received and are all now in the families’ private collections! I am truly loving this new adventure!

Capture the magic of childhood through an impressionist style portrait by Shari Ford in a Charlotte sy Dimby dress

Exclusive offer

What better than a smocked dress to illustrate the magic of childhood? To celebrate youth in all its beauty, I am offering to create portraits straight from your girl’s sweetest photos in a Charlotte sy Dimby dress. Imagine your favorite moments turned into a painting to treasure forever….

Inspired by Impressionism, my aim is to paint a fleeting moment, to eternalize a darling movement, a precious twirl or pose from these joyful and carefree days. Less detailed than official portraits, these small sized paintings focus on emotions, capturing the true essence and ‘impressions’ of childhood: its innocence, tenderness and delicacy.

A new concept

The idea is to ignite a new way of painting: I will be following my inspiration more than working on a commissioned system. You are invited to submit your photos. If they speak to both my eyes and heart, I will create a portrait out of it. If you wish, you will then be able to purchase it. If not, it will be featured on my online gallery and offered for sale to all.

Enjoy this freedom and express your creativity! Enjoy a fun photoshoot and create timeless memories with your daughter. Then take the chance to have the moment captured on canvas by sending me the prettiest photos of your princess!

This new concept is also an opportunity to foster a special bond between artists and models. Sharing a passion for traditional clothing and being a mother myself, love and care will be put into each portrait.

Price and size :

The small impressionist style portraits will be between 16” x 20” and 18”x 24”

Prices will be between $2200 and $6000 depending on the composition.

For those wishing a more standard portrait, visit my website A $1000 discount off a portrait $8500. or more will be offered if the child is wearing a Charlotte sy Dimby dress.

Shipping fees will vary on the location knowing portraits will be sent from Tennessee.

Several children can be painted in the same portrait for an extra 50% per child.

Process :

1. Acquire a Charlotte sy Dimby dress. The dresses are available online at

The brand makes one dress per size and releases new collections every month.

They ship internationally.

Please feel free to contact the team at and mention “Inspire the Artist” to receive advice and more details on the dresses.

2. Photograph your child. For photography tips and inspiration, we recommend watching our Youtube videos or contacting us directly at . Photos can be your own or taken by a professional photographer. It is not necessary to see the child's full face- profile or back work too. Send as many pictures as you like by email to

3. Fill in the form. Please note that those who took part in the past contests will be given priority.

4. If and when Shari decides to paint your child’s portrait, you will be notified by email.

5. Once the portrait is ready you will be sent a high quality photo version by email and will have two weeks to decide if you wish to purchase it. If the decision to purchase the portrait is made, a small deposit will hold it until payment is complete. If not the portrait will be published on Shari’s online gallery available for all to buy.


Sending a photo or allowing Shari to use your photos grants Shari & Charlotte sy Dimby the right to publish your photo & portrait on all their social media and website. It gives permission to Shari to paint a portrait from your photo and sell it. If the pictures are made by a professional photographer, please make sure you have her/his approval to share before sending.

It does not mean you necessarily need to buy the portrait if Shari paints one of your child. You are not committed to purchasing the portrait.

View all the Charlotte sy Dimby "Inspire the Artist" photos made so far