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These tips and tricks will help you enjoy priceless newborn photos that capture the magical essence of your precious baby.Read More
Digital photos are handy, but nothing beats a real, printed copy of special moments captured on film. Start organizing those digital archives and get those memories in albums or on the wall.Read More
It’s easy to go overboard on maternity clothes - so a realistic list prevents overspending. Minimizing maternity clothes optimizes extra funds for more necessary maternity expenses – like high-quality photography.Read More
Earlier this year I decided to join PPA, Professional Photographers of America. I’m so glad I did, because last month I became a Bronze Medalist after their International Photographic Competition!
A few words about PPA
Being a PPA member has tons of perks, but the ones that mattered the most to me were the opportunity to participate in one of the most important photographic contests in the industry and to become a Master of Photography. The first one requires a lot of courage, since by submitting your images, you’re opening yourself for very detailed critique. The second one takes years of experience, dedication and proving that the quality of your images is consistent and superb.
Every year, PPA holds an International Photographic Competition (IPC). Each entrant can submit 4 images that will be evaluated by a panel of 32 judges and scored according to the 12 elements of a merit image. If the image gets a score of 80 or above, it’s considered a merit image and gets into the General Collection. This is the most prestigious competition of its kind, where images are judged based on a standard of artistic excellence, not against each other.
The International Photographic Competition
Last month, the IPC took place in Atlanta and I submitted four of my favorite images. I was a nerve wreak, since this was the first time I participated in an international competition of such importance. There were more than 5,000 entries! I’m very proud to say that all four of my images got merits! This brings me closer to my goal of becoming a Master of Photography and, since all submissions got merits, I’m now a Bronze Medalist of the IPC 2018!
The winning images will be on display at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, Jan. 20-22, 2019, during PPA’s annual Imaging USA convention and expo event. I can’t wait to be there!
Thank you to my newborn clients
I’m so thrilled to have my four images merited and accepted into the General Collection that I want to do something special for my adorable clients who made this possible. If your baby is in one of the photos, make sure to contact me, since I have a little something for you! =)
Interested in booking a session with Lemonshoots? Get in touch to start planning your fine art newborn session!
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A Year of Successes
As the year ends, we take a look back at our work and think about what we want to do for the New Year that is right around the corner. I have to say, 2017 was more than a good year for Lemonshoots. It was Outstanding! I'm blessed beyond words to have new and repeat clients who have trusted me with their memories. I've been lucky to attend conferences and workshops to learn from the best talent in the industry. I got accredited as a Newborn Photographer and I published my first book! I'm happy to say that I crossed many items off my 2017 Goals list. There is one that I just checked off my list and I would love to share it with you...
I'm proud to say that these two beautiful images won the 6th version of the Outstanding Maternity Awards!
My heart skipped a beat when I got the email saying my images had won! I feel so happy and proud, but most of all, I feel thankful to the two set of parents of these cute little angels, for letting me photograph them. I thank you for allowing me to be creative during our session and I share this huge success with you!
As I prepare to end this incredible year, I look forward to what 2018 has in store for us. I'm looking forward to working on my Goals and start checking more items off this list! Thank you to all who make Lemonshoots possible. Without hopeful bellies, cute babies and happy families, my lens wouldn't have a reason to be here. I wouldn't have any story to tell. I'm here for you. To capture your moment. To tell you story. This is what I do.
Happy Holidays to all of you, and the best for 2018!
- Marcela Limon
You have several photographers in mind. You've compared their styles and their pricing. You've asked them about what products they offer and checked their availability. But have you asked them how do they make sure your baby is safe at all times? This is your little angel you're handing to them, so you want to make sure you're choosing a safe newborn photographer. What should you ask them?
I've always said that, for me, safety is paramount while working with your little newborn baby. But unless you've been my client and seen me work, it is hard for you to know that I do what I preach. In this blogpost I'll share with you some of the measures I take to guarantee your baby's safety, along with what questions you should ask your newborn photographer.
APNPI Safety Course
Being part of APNPI is a commitment to safety. Recently, they released their Safety Course and I'm proud to say that I completed it successfully. This course trains the photographer in topics like the newborn's physiology, important environmental considerations, how to communicate with parents and some other general safety information. Babies are not only tiny humans. Their body works different from ours and we have to know and understand those differences in order to handle them in a way that won't harm them or put them at risk.
- What to ask your photographer: Ask about their training and if they're members of any association. Their answer will allow you to identify a professional from an amateur.
Newborn babies have a very fragile immune system. A cold for us could mean serious pulmonar issues for a newborn. That's why being up to date with immunizations is very important when working with babies. I'm up to date with all recommended vaccines like HEP B, MMR and Td/Tdap and I get the flu shot every season.
- What to ask your photographer: Ask for their most current immunization records. They should share them with you gladly.
Infant CPR trained
About two years ago -right before I launched Lemonshoots- I took a CPR certification with AHA. This year, I decided that I needed to specialize in infant CPR to be ready for any emergency involving my tiniest clients. I took the class last month and although I hope to never have to use the tactics provided, I'm at ease knowing that I'm aware of how to act in case of an emergency mid-session.
- What to ask your photographer: Ask how would they address any emergency situation. Knowing Infant CPR is not essential, but you want to make sure that your photographer won't panic and will know what to do in case something happens.
Many final newborn images you see online are flawless and beautiful. You might wonder, how did the photographer achieved them? Some poses might seem like babies are defying gravity or that they are balancing by themselves, when in reality these looks are obtained thanks to post-processing and compositing. There are poses that are more challenging than others. Not knowing the limits of the newborn physiology can put your baby in a dangerous situation. A professional photographer poses with this in mind. But they also have to know their software too, in order to get stunning final results.
- What to ask your photographer: If you see any picture in their portfolio that shows the baby balancing by themselves, ask them how they achieved it.
Booking your Photographer
Finding a photographer that has a style that is appealing to you and that has fees that fit your budget are important. But now you know that considering safety when booking your newborn photographer is of supreme importance too. Ask your photographer about it. Our industry will be safer with your help, when you, the parents, start demanding safety measures. Now you're informed on what you need to know, so go ahead and start searching for the perfect photographer for you!
If you want to learn more about Lemonshoots' newborn sessions, click here.
But Who Will Publish My Newborn Baby?
If you are having your baby soon, this is your lucky day! How would you like to have your little unborn treasure be part of a beautiful keepsake? Something that will stand the test of time so you can enjoy it for years to come. Something you can share with all your family, friends and loved ones. Something that will feature your baby in a classic, timeless and unique way. I'm talking about having your baby published in a limited edition, high-end coffee table book. But who is going to publish that book? I am! So, if you want to have your newborn baby published, here are the three easy steps you have to follow in order to do so!
1. Have Your Baby this Fall
In order to have your baby in this book, you have to have a due date on, or before September 30th 2017. This will allow enough time for the book publishing company to work on the details to make it look super beautiful and have it ready on time!
2. Book a Newborn Session with Me
The book will feature the cutest babies in the Bay Area, all photographed by Lemonshoots. So the second step is to book your newborn session with me. Right now, I have a limited availability digital package at a great price, that will guarantee you a copy of this beautiful book. You're also getting a great deal in your digital files, since I haven't had a digital package at this price! Ever!
3. Wait for the Best Holiday Present
After your session, sit back and relax while we do our magic. The coffee table book will hopefully be ready by the Holidays. Could there be a better gift than your sweet bundle of joy looking so adorable and elegant in this beautiful artwork? I know you will love it!
Only a Few Spots Left
There are only a few spots left in my August and September calendars. If you would like to have your baby published, contact me today to have you scheduled! Also, the special Book Package will be up not for long, so call me today!
Buy the Book during Pre-Sale (and get a $40 Gift Certificate)
Check Out Who I Am
Marcela talks about her recent APNPI Qualified Newborn Photographer Certification.Read More
Your bundle of joy is coming soon and you’ve booked a professional newborn photo session. Congratulations! You won’t regret investing in your memories. But now what? It is normal to have questions and to be unsure of what to expect. All babies are different, but being prepared can be the difference between a frustrating session and a perfect one. Here are five ways to prepare for your newborn session that will help you and your photographer get the most out of it.
Communicate with Your Photographer
I like to talk with my clients before the session to answer any questions and to hear expectations. Some parents want to be in the photos, while others do not. Perhaps they want a photobook, perhaps they have an empty wall they want to fill with beautiful imagery. All this makes a difference when planning for a session. Many details are chosen depending on what you would like. Talk to your photographer about what you expect.
If your baby was born with some complication, don’t be afraid to tell your photographer. You have to tell her. Photos can still be taken, but she needs to know so she can plan for poses that will not compromise your baby’s safety.
Watch What You Eat
If you are breastfeeding, everything you eat goes to your milk, thus to your baby. Babies’ stomachs get upset really easily, so watching your diet for a few days before your session is important. Avoid eating spicy food, along with these others:
– Vegetables and Legumes: Broccoli, garlic, tomato, artichoke, cabbage, beans.
– Dairy: Milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, any product containing casein.
– Allergens: Fish, eggs, corn, wheat, peanuts and soy.
Avoid Doctors Appointments
Try not to book a doctor’s appointment the same day as your session. It can be too much for baby and for you. It is best to have that day clear so you can relax and focus only on your session. Although it is a beautiful and fun experience, it can be tiring too for both you and your baby.
If you have a boy and plan on circumcising him, wait after the session to do so, or have the surgery planned for at least five days before the photos. Your baby will be very sensitive and the outfits and wraps can hurt him. Otherwise, talk to your photographer so she can plan for a session with diaper on the whole time.
Keep Baby Items Handy
Pacifier. If you are comfortable using a pacifier, they can help sooth a baby once they are posed. Sucking calms them. Having a pacifier handy can help your photographer put baby to sleep without moving him, thus allowing time for more pictures.
Feeding Bottle. If you are bottle-feeding with formula or breast milk, keep one handy. They are great to top off baby if he starts to wake up in the middle of a pose or set.
Burp Cloths. Spits happen, and having burp clothes nearby can be the difference between quickly cleaning and continue shooting, and having to skip the set altogether.
Relax, Be Flexible and Enjoy the Session
A photography session can be stressful. If baby is your firstborn, everything is new for you. If you have toddlers running around, you’ll be worried about them not behaving for the photos. We are newborn photographers. We know how it is. We love what we do and we deal with it all the time. Pee and poop will happen. Crying siblings and fussy babies will happen. We are prepared for that. So don’t stress over it. We have our dose of patience and some tricks under our sleeve to make everything run smoothly.
Try to be a little flexible with feeding breaks. Just as when we need more water when we exercise, baby will need more milk this particular day. Allow this day to be a little different from your regular routine.
And the most important advice of all: Enjoy the session. Your newborn images will be beautiful. They will be happy memories of this very special moment in your life. You chose your photographer for a reason, so sit back, relax, and enjoy watching her work her magic and create art for you. Art you’ll cherish for generations.
This blogpost has been featured in APNPI's website (Accredited Professional Newborn Photographers International). This site is a great resource for parents looking to hire a newborn photographer.
Fast Food vs Fine Dining
When I was starting out as a newborn and maternity photographer, my mentor Ana Brandt taught me that photography is like a dining experience. Sometimes you are in a rush and need to grab a bite quickly, so you go to a fast food restaurant. You don't expect a five star service nor outstanding quality of your meal, but you get your necessity covered, which is eating something without investing too much time on it.
Other times you are celebrating something. There's a special occasion and you plan for a nice dinner. You go to an elegant restaurant, where you'll have waiters giving you great service and a fancy menu created by a chef that studied culinary art and that is a master in his profession.
These two options don't cost the same, but you accept that because they are different. When you go to a fine restaurant, you are paying a lot more. But it is worth it, because the reason of your celebration is worth it. But doing fine dining every night would be tiring for both your palate and your wallet, that's why you save it for special occasions. There are situations where fast food is good enough and there are occasions that deserve fine dining. The same goes with your photography sessions.
Your Newborn is a Celebration
Some times you just need some pictures taken to remember your trip to Europe or your backyard dinner party. A friend with a nice camera or an iPhone and a selfie stick would do (although I'm openly not a fan of those stick things!). But on special occasions, on unrepeatable moments, you want the whole service experience, the fine dining pampering where professionals will make sure you get quality over quantity. And what is more worthy of a celebration than the arrival of your newborn baby? Documenting your pregnancy and his or her arrival will be an investment, yes, but you know it's worth it. You won't do this every day as you would going to a fast food place. This is a fine dining occasion. You are celebrating new life, your family growing, and that asks for the best of the best.
Why is Newborn Photography Expensive
Yes, I know it is expensive. It's like going to a three Michelin star restaurant. But like everything, there's a reason to it, and like everything, you get what you pay for. You don't want anyone with a camera handling your newborn baby. There's a lot to consider regarding newborn physiology and safety. We professionals take courses and invest a good amount of time learning everything we need to know to make sure your baby is safe at all times. Good education costs money.
If you are going to hang these images on your walls, you want them to look stunning. For an image to look beautiful, we need to have an extensive variety of props. These include blankets, wraps, outfits, headbands, bonnets, furs, baskets, wreaths, bowls and the list goes on and on. These props are expensive, and since everything has to be washed between sessions, they get worn down quickly, so we need to restock constantly. And quality products are pricy too. I chose my labs carefully, making sure I'm giving you prints, canvases and photo books that will last for years. There were cheaper options, but then again, this is a fine dining experience.
Your baby is the boss during the session. This means, we can't tell him or her what to do nor to fall asleep whenever I'm ready to take his or her photo. Babies sleep, eat and poop whenever they need to and want to. Newborn sessions have to last a long time to leave room for these events to happen without messing with the outcome. There's a lot of patience involved. That's why I only book one newborn per day, and by doing so, the number of sessions I can take are very limited.
Newborn babies are all beautiful, but birth is a tough process and sometimes it leaves some marks on your baby's skin. These have to be edited after the session in professional software like Lightroom or Photoshop. These programs cost a lot of money to own and to learn. It is very easy to over-edit an image. Knowing the sweet spot between smooth skin and doll-like skin takes time and practice.
Owning a business is not cheap. Being a registered business, paying taxes, having insurance and becoming a member in different photographer's associations is not cheap. There are many costs involved in operating a business and it all comes from the costs of sessions. Just as with the analogy my mentor told me, if you want cheap, you go to your hobbyist friend. If you want a good service and a good product, it will cost you more.
You won't hire a high-end photographer for an everyday occasion. But this is your baby's story. Your path to parenthood. Making sure you get the best quality images and the best experience throughout the process is worth every penny. When searching for a photographer to document this stage of your life, keep this in mind: do you want a fast food or a fine dining experience?
A few months ago, Marice contacted me to ask me if I could document her pregnancy and the arrival of her little baby boy. She wanted to make sure no memory was spared, so she and her husband, Wayne, decided to book a Bump to Baby Package. I had the pleasure and honor of capturing their path to parenthood, and here's their story.
The Maternity Session
For their maternity session, they chose Hap Magee Dog Park, a cute little park in Danville. Since they wanted to bring their dog Bella along, we needed a dog friendly park and this one was the perfect match. We had a beautiful sunny day. Marice and Wayne danced and had fun while I grabbed my camera and captured their awesome relationship and their excitement for this little boy that was about to join their family. Marice's bump looked perfect in all three gowns!
When I showed them their maternity pictures, they were very excited about them. They chose their favorites but decided to wait on ordering products until they had the newborn pictures too.
The Newborn Session
A few weeks after their maternity session, I got the call that baby Dominic had arrived! We scheduled the session and I headed to their beautiful house in Danville to photograph their handsome little boy. Dominic was so good! Although he didn't sleep much, we managed to take tons of pictures in different sets and backgrounds. I loved his session! Editing his photos was such a pleasure, it made me ask myself: "Really? Is this my job?" I'm so blessed to have the cutest clients in the world!
When Marice and Wayne saw their images, they were very excited with the results! They told me Dominic was growing so fast, he didn't even look like the baby in the pictures anymore! They loved their photos, and since the Bump to Baby packages include print credit, they were thrilled to order some products. Products are the best way to start enjoying your images right away. I can't wait to see how that canvas looks in Dominic's nursery!
The Magic of the Bump to Baby Package
If you're thinking of doing both maternity and newborn pictures, Bump to Baby packages are a great option to consider. This way you'll have a storyteller capturing every part of the story, the story of your little one. By choosing a Bump to Baby package, you'll be saving a little money and getting perks not found in any of the other of my digital packages. I can assure you'll love the experience every step of the way!
Check out my available Bump to Baby packages here!
Many of my clients have confessed that besides their wedding or engagement pictures, their maternity session is their first professional photography experience. Obviously they're nervous and feel like they don't know what to expect, how to pose and what to wear. Although feeling that way is completely normal, there's no need for it! The fear can go away by simply having a little bit of information. So without further ado, here are five things you must consider for a successful and fun maternity session!
How to prepare
No matter if this is your first pregnancy or the fifth, it is a very special time for you and your growing family. Being pregnant is a miracle that lasts for a short period of time and doing something to remember it forever is always a good idea. You've already started with the right foot by booking your session, but how to be ready for the big day?
Well, these photos will be part of your still unborn child's legacy and story. They will last for generations to come, so you might want to consider making an appointment with your hair stylist and makeup artist. It's also a good idea to consider having a manicure done, since some shoots can include closeups of your hands on your belly.
Make sure to leave that day clear and open so you're not stressed out thinking about other things you have to do. Think of it as a day for you and your significant other. I always suggest to make some dinner reservations for after the session, that way they can finish a magical day on a high note.
Choosing a location
Although the center of attention will be you and your belly, the surroundings are very important to get wonderful photos. We are very lucky that in the Bay Area, we have amazing spots that make for truly unique backgrounds for your photos. From Baker Beach and Fort Point to the Legion of Honor and the Palace of Fine Arts, each location has its magic and enchantment. Golden Gate Park offers tons of shaded green areas with flowers, trees and bodies of water. Looking for an urban look? Walking around the mission murals could be a good idea. There are many different parks in and out of San Francisco. Some of them make for very suburban looks, even though they're just minutes away from the city. If you're more into a private setting, your backyard or your own home are good options too. Keep in mind that some photographers are natural light photographers only, so if you're planning to use your own house as a location, make sure you have a room with a big window that allows for beautiful light.
What to wear
The pregnant body is beautiful. I'm aware that most women don't feel that way when they are expecting, because they only focus in the pounds they have gained, how their clothes don't fit anymore, they're conscious of their stretch marks and swollen feet and just feel overall not photographic material. But the truth is, you look stunning and you glow. We photographers are here to bring out that beauty and show you how stunning you look with your big round belly. Some clothes are more flattering than others. Wearing maternity gowns that were designed to show your curves while pregnant are the best option, since they will contour your body to show the big star of the day: your belly. I have about 17 maternity gowns (and counting) designed specially for maternity photography. They range from sheer to full coverage, from tight to loose, so you can choose one that goes with your style and personality.
If your husband or little ones are joining the session, you can tell them to wear something casual and timeless that reflects their personality. Jeans and a solid, buttoned shirt are always great options. Little boys can wear shorts and buttoned shirts or solid polo shirts, while little girls can wear light colored dresses or jeans with a cute top. Choose colors that go well with the colors of the gowns you chose. Avoid very bright colors or very heavy patterns, since they can cast weird colors on your skin and overpower the pictures.
What to bring
The session is about you and your future baby. Make it unique! You're more than welcome to bring anything that adds a personal touch to your photos. It could be as simple as your ultrasound picture. Maybe the grandparents are already busy at work knitting cute little things for their grandchild, or maybe you told your husband he was going to be a dad by buying the baby's first teddy bear! All these things are what make your session yours and I encourage you to bring them. Your pets are also welcome!
There are also fun items that can give a special something to your images, like balloons, flowers, glitter or body paint.
What to expect
Since the moment you decided you wanted maternity photos, you might have been practicing poses in front of the mirror to see what's your best angle. The thing is, you're hiring a professional photographer because we know how to get the best out of each pose. Don't think that you have to know how to stand and where to put your hands, that's why we're there! We know how to capture the best 'you'. At Lemonshoots, maternity sessions last between 90 minutes and 2 hours. You might change outfit about 3 times so you can have different looks. We will walk around during the session so we can have variety in your photos, stopping here and there for a few shots and then moving on.
This is a time to have fun and be present. Remember that pictures are little windows that allow us to revive the past, and we want those to be happy memories. This session is all about you and your family, it's a time to be together and enjoy each other's company while creating lifetime memories. Just let go of your worries that day, focus on the here and now and prepare for a fun evening while we chase the sun to the horizon and surround yourself in dreamy golden light.
Ready to book your maternity session? Contact me to schedule it! =)