Sweet on You: Baltimore, MD Photographer

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Another one of my star clients was back in the studio this morning for the 5th time this year! I met little Mitchell 1 year ago at my very first Valentine’s day mini session (see post here: https://evieclairephotography.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/dapper-little-gentlemen/)

Today after devouring a delicious chocolate donut and wowing me with his ability to sign thank you, more and I’m done, Mitchell displayed a full range of emotions in the studio. Can you tell he’s getting some new teeth??? Poor little man. At moments like this, what can you do except to capture it all? It’s honest and real and perhaps just a wee bit humorous.

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Sibling Love: Baltimore, Md Photographer

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Today was my first sibling Valentine’s day Sweet Shop Mini and Annabelle and Gavin couldn’t have been cuter. Annabelle is Evie’s best bud from school and so she warmed right up to me and the camera. She has the most beautiful dark brown eyes and so does her little brother. Boy did she dote on him, giving him kisses and gentle hugs. It was really amazing to watch their tender little interactions. Not tender enough to make me want more, but…that’s a story for another day!

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Now little Mr. Gavin is growing WAY too fast and it seems like only yesterday that he was here for a newborn session. He tried really hard to be serious but all it took was some loving from Mom to make him crack a giant smile. Sometimes our smallest Valentines are our favorites. Their love for us is so pure.

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Sweeter than Candy: Baltimore, MD Photographer

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Fiona was the first of my Valentine’s day mini sessions. Can you believe this cutie is only 6 months old and has been in front of my camera 3 times? I can’t get enough of this kid!

Perhaps the best thing about the 6 month age, other than the fact that they can’t crawl away, is when they find their voice. Fiona serened us with her “singing” and it brought me back to all the home movies I made of Evie’s first year. There’s one from her 5 month birthday where she’s just squeeling away. Such joy in these little humans.

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Awaiting Colton: Baltimore, MD Maternity Photography

Oh Colton. I love you and you aren’t even here yet!
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See Colton’s Daddy just happens to be my little brother Sam and his Momma is my dear sister-in-law Katie. This shoot was particularly special to me and I’m so glad the weather cooperated with Katie’s request for a snowy session.
Nestled back from the main road, sat this quiet little farm with one cool setting after another. A frozen pond (or lake as I kept calling it!), cool blue barns and horses that literally nuzzled my face. I haven’t done an outdoor maternity session in months and this totally inspired me to brave the cold. I even laid down in the snow for a series of shots. Leggings were a poor wardrobe choice.
Here are some sneak peeks of the session and now I get to start planning for the over-the-top newborn shoot!!!!

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How to choose a Newborn Photographer: Studio edition Baltimore, MD

In this second edition of my “How to choose a Newborn Photographer” series, I want to address the setting of your session. As soon as I knew that I wanted to start my own business, we converted our stone garage into a studio.
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For me, working from home allows me the freedom to also be a work-from-home Mom. Meaning, I am not spending a lot of time traveling to either clients homes or a rented studio space. After a session wraps, I immediately head upstairs to my office, upload the photos, edit one and post a sneak peek for parents. Talk about instant gratification!
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It also allows clients to get a sense of who I am. They can see my family photos hanging in my living room and occasionally (although never for a newborn session) Evie is there and clients can meet her as well. I am, of course, a Momma above all other things and I think my clients really appreciate the personal setting!
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Perhaps the most important reason why I prefer working out of my studio, as opposed to traveling, is the sheer amount of STUFF I have (as evidenced in these photos).

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I have samples on hand of every product I offer, from prints to accordion albums to canvases. I really think it’s beneficial to be able to show my clients the difference, for example, between a linen finish announcement and a pearl finish. I love these little details and I want every product they order to be a reflection of their style!
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See…I drive a Honda Civic with a toddler seat in the back. Which means I am extremely limited in the amount of things I can take with me to any given session. In my studio, if a baby poops on one, or two, or even five blankets (It’s happened!!!!), I have plenty of blankets on hand as back ups. But if I traveled, this might not be the case.
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In my studio, if I pick a set up and the Momma decides she hates leggings or headbands or whatever, I have so many alternate options for her to choose from. She can literally pick right from my ever growing stash.
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Working in my studio allows me more time photographing the client as well, as I’m not spending time unloading my car and setting up my lighting and backdrop stand.
My room specific heat allows me to warm my studio to a balmy 85 degrees (to keep naked baby toasty), while allowing the rest of my house to remain a comfortable temperature for parents. If I came to your house, you’d have to crank the heat! A studio session means I’m paying to heat that toasty warm space, not you!

Am I saying that working from a studio is better than traveling to a client’s home? Absolutely not. But for me, it really works better. It may not be your home, but it is a home. And I strive to have lots of luxuries to make Mom and Dad and baby comfortable. I have a glider and boppy for Momma, available wifi, and snacks. To the 37 babies and their parents who chose to make that journey to my studio space in 2013, please know that I appreciate you!
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My 5 Favorite things about the Colorvale Planner: Baltimore, MD Photographer

I may be a little type A. Well if you ask my Mother or my college roommate they’ll tell you I’m a LOT type A, but I like to think of myself as reformed! Except when it comes to planners. I may or may not currently have 3 calendars and 1 excel spreadsheet on my bulletin board right now. Ok, I admit I’m almost over-organized! Colorvale planner to the rescue!

This planner arrived last week, beautifully packaged to boot! It’s incredibly well thought out and addressed things I had honestly never even considered tracking (fav websites, forums, monthly fees, meal planning). Here are my 5 favorite things about the planner!
1. Mac Daddy Size
My first impression was how substantial it was in size and weight. It’s no pocket planner for sure. The cover and all divider pages are laminated. Honestly, carrying this makes me feel like I’m on a mission, a mission to take my business seriously and grow it beyond my wildest expectations!
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2. Workflow chart
First of all, I love that this was all left blank, allowing each user to determine what steps are crucial to their workflow process. For me, I knew I needed to track things like deposit invoices, questionnaire emails, and whether or not testimonials were left on my facebook page. There are spaces to track anniversary sessions, perfect for newborn photographers like myself who offer “Grow with me” packages. At a glance, I can ensure that nothing was forgotten and that each of my clients received consistent, attentive service.
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3. Calendar pages

This is perhaps, my most favorite part of the planner.   Big monthly spaces with inner rectangles where I write holidays or birthday information. An at a glance view of a month: what weekends are crazy, where I need to build in some precious family time, and a big note section on the side to create priorities listing.
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Then, the following 10 pages track weekly schedules with spaces for EVERYTHING (correspondence, blog posts, editing). I.so.need.this. I track my household bill due dates here, status of pending referrals and blog posts/facebook posts to keep myself accountable for having a thriving online presence.
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4. Client tracking

Hooray! I’ll no longer spend endless hours searching through files for email addresses, phone numbers and session dates.  I’m thinking ahead to December when I’ll send out holiday cards to clients. All I will have to do is look at this page and I’ll have a ready made list of every client I need to include.  I’m going to skip a line between clients so I can include address info as well.

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5. Notes

No more loose pieces of paper floating around my desk!  No more post-it notes!  No more scraps or paper, receipts, napkins, full of ideas that inevitably get tossed in the trash during a crazy cleaning session.  All my brilliant ideas bound in one place.

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Have I convinced you that you need this yet?   Shall I sweeten the pot and tell you that Stacie, the creator, even has a facebook group page where we all share tip and tricks for how to best maximize your planner.  Now…wipe up your Type A organizational drool and go get your own!

http://www.colorvaleactions.com/shop/plan-succeed-photographers-planner-bound-version/

How to choose a Newborn Photographer: Assistant Edition Baltimore, MD

Meet Laura: my friend, my former client, my right hand, my assistant. She’s a mother to three beautiful children (5,3 and 1) and the absolute perfect choice for my business!
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One thing to consider when choosing the right newborn photographer for you is if they use an assistant. Is it a necessity, perhaps not. It’s more of a luxury for me, but truthfully it’s a luxury for the client. See having Laura ensures that Mom, 5 days out from the birth of her child, isn’t crouching next to me spotting the baby. It ensures that Dad, who is probably very sleep deprived, isn’t cleaning baby poop off my blanket or grabbing me an extra headband. It allows parents to simply WATCH. Watch their beautiful baby. Watch the tender care and patience that we exhibit to get these little beings artfully posed.
Another thing to consider is safety. When you bring your baby into my studio, we are hands on. Meaning any time I walk away to grab a different lens or a sip of water, Laura’s hands are on your baby. And any time I have a prop shot where the baby is off the ground, Laura’s hands are on your baby. I joke that I remove her bright colored socks from half my shots! Sometimes this requires creative editing (see examples below) but I am simply unwilling to sacrifice the safety of your newborn for the shot.
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So think of an assistant as your morning coffee. I wouldn’t want to live without mine (coffee or Laura)!