Always Keep Learning

When I began focusing in newborn and maternity photography, it was very hard not to spend all my earnings in the perfect vintage bucket, the cutest mohair bonnet or the most gorgeous maternity dress. Ask any photographer: prop shopping is a serious addiction we live with! But when you take your business seriously, you can't just go and buy every cute little thing you find online or at trunk shows. You have to make budgets and stick to them. I tried to cheat and set aside a big chunk for prop shopping, but then I had to cut back on very important things like Marketing and Education.

At the Paloma Schell workshop. Hands-on learning newborn posing and safety. Photo Credit: Nane Newton

At the Paloma Schell workshop. Hands-on learning newborn posing and safety. Photo Credit: Nane Newton

Did I spend all my money on props?

Luckily I was taking a Business 101 class that made me think about it twice. At that time, I heard one established photographer say something that stuck in my mind and has never left me. She said: "If I could start all over again, I would spend less in props and invest more in education". She was so right. No matter how big your prop collection is and how awesome that backdrop is, if you don't know the proper techniques to pose a baby, the photos won't be good enough. Needless to say I went back to my budgets and fixed them accordingly. And I'm so happy I did! Since that day I always think twice when buying props, but I'm more determinant when it comes to courses and workshops. 

Last year I was lucky enough to learn from two of the best photographers in the industry (Ana Brandt and Paloma Schell) at their in-person workshops, with very small groups of students. This was awesome, because it was like having the photographer all to yourself; an open book of knowledge and experience. These two workshops changed my techniques for the best. They have been the best investment from 2016. I want 2017 to be no different. It began with the right foot. Last week I attended Ana Brandt's workshop in San Francisco. This time not as a student, but as an assistant. Even though the info refresher was a good thing, I learnt most from optimizing and streamlining a session, how to have everything planned and ready for when you need it. I consider myself a very organized person, but there's also room for improvement! Also, working alongside Ana was a very unique experience.

Assisting Ana Brandt during her workshop in San Francisco. Photo Credit: Mishelle Villegas

Assisting Ana Brandt during her workshop in San Francisco. Photo Credit: Mishelle Villegas

Making sure baby was safe and adorable for the student photographers. Photo Credit: Ana Brandt

Making sure baby was safe and adorable for the student photographers. Photo Credit: Ana Brandt

What's next

To continue with my learning path, I'll be attending a Baby and Maternity Conference next May in Newport Beach. I'm so excited to learn from all the talented speakers that will be there! Some of them I've been following since my early days as a photographer. Some other names are new to me but their classes look so interesting! I'm also on the watch for a newborn safety workshop coming in the Fall.

I love taking photos of newborn babies and pregnant women. In order to continue doing so, I'll always keep learning and improving, making sure you find in me the best photography services for you and your loved ones.

"The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The willingness to learn is a choice." — Brian Herbert

Is My Baby Too Old for Newborn Pictures?

First things first! 

We photographers always tell our clients that newborn sessions must take place between day 5 and day 14 after birth. But why do we do that? There's a reason for it. When babies are that young, they are still very familiar with the womb environment. This means they are very flexible, which leads to easier to pose babies. Their sleep cycles are also more predictable, thus allowing for better manipulation of the baby during the NREM phase (deep sleep). This all starts to change around the second week of age making having a sleepy baby (and keeping him that way) more of a challenge. If baby is awake, some cute poses you might want are not possible due to safety reasons, and that's why we always suggest that you book for the earlier days of life.

That said, every baby is different and every situation is different. Sometimes older babies have better sessions than younger babies. Sometimes they don't, but you never know for sure how a session will be, really. 

A mom with an older baby

I was on a two week long trip during the holidays when I got an email from Kalpita, telling me that she had delivered her firstborn two weeks prior and that she wanted to book a session. Oh my, I would have loved to, but I was several thousand miles away! By the time I would have returned, he would already be five weeks old. I haven't had a session with a five week old baby before, but even though I encourage to book for the first 14 days, I also believe that older newborns sessions are completely doable, and that every mother should have the opportunity to have pictures of their newborn babies. I felt honored when Kalpita and her husband Nimish said they would wait for me to come back, so we scheduled the session for as soon as I returned to the Bay Area.

Tiny sleepy Kiaan

Baby Kiaan was a small little fellow. At five weeks, he looked like a ten day old newborn. He was such a good baby! At first he was awake for a bit, giving us analytical glances. He eventually got tired and fell asleep. He was such a sweetheart to pose! He was still very flexible and was comfortable in most poses and he didn't wake up from them while posing him.

After a feeding break, he decided he no longer wanted to sleep. We had to skip the props and go straight to family pictures. By the end he was getting a bit fussy, but the pictures came out great and both parents loved them!

So, it is possible!

Now that you know the whys, you know that yes, of course it is! Some poses may change if baby is awake, and other might be skipped altogether, but you can still have a newborn session. At five weeks old, baby Kiaan was a sweetheart to work with. So if for some reason you couldn't book your session right away after birth, if you have an older newborn and are on the edge thinking that you just lost the time window or if you have been told by other photographers that it's too late, don't despair! As an emotion photographer, a moment freezer, I will capture your baby's smallness and delicacy, no matter if he's ten days old or six weeks old. The session might flow a little different. We might encounter more challenges, yes, but aren't challenges what makes us grow?

 

Time for a Change

Happy New Year! ... is it still ok to say?

Hi everyone! The holiday season is gone and 2017 has kicked in at full speed. I hope you had a chance to relax and enjoy time with family. I went back to Mexico for a few weeks and enjoyed every second of it. Nonetheless, I was eager to come back to the Bay Area and meet the beautiful babies that were ready to have their photos taken. I think you can be sure that you really love what you do when you're looking forward to coming back to it! ;)

Ok, let's try again...

In other matters, exactly a year ago I wrote my first blogpost. I would have loved to say that since that day I made it a habit and that you could find tons of baby related content in here, but... well, let's just say that my time has been consumed in sessions rather than in blogposts... (and that's not a complaint, I'm so thankful!). But this year I want to change that. This year I want to share with you my sessions and my experiences with clients. Last year I learnt so much from all my clients. Without knowing, they are constantly helping me to become a better photographer, offer better products and services and understand what's going on on the other side of our business. And I feel some of these experiences can help you too. I'll try to blog at least one of my sessions per month, so you can see how a session flows and what to expect for yours.

Some of my clients from 2016

Some of my clients from 2016

What's New!

At some point last year I told you that there were exciting changes coming to Lemonshoots. I've been working in these changes for months, and it is finally time to share with you a couple of news that make me very happy. First, you might have noticed my most recent website redesign along with the new color palette for my brand. This better reflects Lemonshoots' approach to maternity and newborn photography. Sweeter, more delicate. I also added new packages to choose from and thanks to the new design, they are better organized and easier to compare and decide. I really hope you enjoy all these new things! =)

Lastly, last year I purchased a SIB (Stand In Baby) and I named her Jessie. This is a big deal, since this doll was designed by newborn photographers with the purpose of helping other photographers practice poses in a safe way. I've only played with her a couple of times and I can already see the impact she will have on all my sessions! She will help me plan and practice my newborn sessions before they take place, so I make sure everything looks perfect. It is also a commitment to safety, since it imitates the newborn physiology and movement like no other doll does.

This is Jessie, helping me plan one of my latest newborn sessions.

This is Jessie, helping me plan one of my latest newborn sessions.

And talking about safety... last year I was certified as a Safe Posing Photographer! What does this means? It means I won't risk your baby just to get a cool shot. It means I know your baby's body limitations and how to handle him so he doesn't get hurt. It also means I know how to mix photos in post production so it might look like baby was posing alone, but in reality there was always a hand holding him.

So here's to 2017, 🍾 a year of change and growth, good things and love! I look forward to many round bellies and cute sleepy babies!

 

 

All About Bellies and Babies

This weekend I'm heading to Orange County, California to improve my technique on how to pose newborns and pregnant women from one of the best photographers in the country, Ana Brandt. I've been photographing bellies and babies for some time now and I want to perfect my style. This workshop will make me a better photographer to capture your emotions.

In the past weeks I've also increased my prop collection and I'm really excited to start using all the new items! Once I return from the workshop, I'll make some newborn model calls to put everything I'll learn to practice. If you are in your last stage of pregnancy or know someone who is, stay tuned!

 

2016 - A Year to Reinvent Myself

One of my 2016 resolutions was to reinvent myself as a photographer. This past month I've been working on the core of my business. Basically, I'm tearing it down and building it up again. This year will be filled with new and exciting things for you, and tons of workshops and practices for me. I've spent the whole month of January learning, thinking and planning for a successful 2016. I hope you become part of it.

I heard your feedback and I'll be making a lot of changes in Lemonshoots. I'll be offering lots of new and exciting products. My packages and prices will be modified too. I'm still working on them but I can assure you, you'll have more options to choose from and you'll be getting what you want. I'll be doing some model calls in the coming weeks to add more content to my portfolio, so stay tuned.

And let me tell you, I'm not stopping here. I'm taking more courses and workshops during February so you can rest assured you are working with the best photographer to capture your precious moments. I guarantee you'll love your images, your products and overall the complete experience of immortalizing your emotions.

Join me for a successful 2016!

Marcela