Meet Laura: Assisting Me to Capture YOU! Baltimore, MD Newborn Photographer

It all started with Charlotte.  Laura contracted me wanting a session for her 7 month old daughter. It’s family tradition in their family to shoot at this age and there was no way her third baby was missing out.

I laugh thinking back at how Laura asked if I could remove the catchlights (a very desired trait!) in all the photos.   Good thing I didn’t write her off!
evie claire photography_2423.jpg

Charlotte and Laura returned at a year for a cake smash, right around the time I was searching for a new assistant. My buddies Lily and Evie (who helped with so many of my newborn sessions) were in the thick of their nursing programs and unable to help my business which was busier by the month. After Charlotte’s epic one year session, Laura threw her hat in the ring. I’m so glad that she is the one I chose!
evie claire photography_2424.jpg

Here we are 6 months later and I can’t imagine my business without her. Truthfully, she is the glue that holds it all together. She is a comforter to new frazzled moms. A jokester with the Dads. And always right there with whatever I need: an extra blanket, a finger that I will eventually remove from a photo in photoshop and most importantly, an ear to just listen. Honestly, I have NO IDEA how she even has time for me. With a husband and three children under six years old, she’s a Mom on the go and she does it all. Should I mention she does it all while looking super glam, with the best hair ever, even at a newborn session. I love her even though she makes me look like a hot mess!
evie claire photography_2421.jpg
evie claire photography_2422.jpg

So here’s to the the friends who make us better and to the people who make our business successful. Laura, I do not know what I would do without you and I know our clients cherish you every bit as much as I do!
evie claire photography_2425.jpg

Making My Happy Place, YOUR Happy Place: Baltimore, MD Newborn Photographer

Can you ever be “too blessed”? As I look at my schedule for April, May and beyond, I think my answer is yes.

In December of 2012, with encouragement and unlimited support from my hubby, I launched my studio. And business has been good, GREAT even.

evie claire photography_2089

I don’t know many people who LOVE their job like I do.

It truly means everything to me especially because these families I photograph are more than just clients, they are friends.

evie-claire-photography_1927.jpg

They’ve included me in the lives to share in their joy and their everyday struggles. We have real honest conversations about kids and marriage and health. And to me, that really means something. I don’t just take pictures of your kids. I capture this time for YOU to treasure and for YOU to remember.

2013-04-26_0014.jpg

Being able to do what I love while building new friendships, is exactly why I feel so blessed day after day! Does it really get much better than that?

It’s your friendship and support that makes the following announcement easier…

Those of you who really know me know that I’ve been having an especially hard time with Evie turning 4. I think it’s the realization that I really only have one more year with her before she’s off to school. Those 365 days, I need to make them count.
evie claire photography_2309

So in an effort to take advantage of every moment Evie and I have together and to make 2014 the most memorable year ever,effective immediately,

I will no longer accept weekend bookings except for the following dates (5 spaces max each day, no newborns):

April: Booked

May: Booked

June: 1 spot on 6/7 11a.m.

July 12th

August 9th

September 27th

October 12th

November 15th

December 27th

 

As a parent yourself, I know you understand exactly where I’m coming from and I can’t thank you enough for your support! Message me if you’d love to set up a playdate or a weekday session!!  Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are my dedicated studio days and I will continue to book these dates for newborns, maternity and grow with me sessions!

In other changes, I am going to ALL DIGITAL COLLECTIONS!

Yes, prints and canvases can still be purchased in addition to digital packages, don’t worry! But you asked for it and I get it. Who doesn’t love instant gratification right? I wanna make your wishes come true too!

This only applies to new inquiries so if you have a session on the books I’m still honoring my previous collections.

 

Here’s to instant gratification, new friendships, old friendships, and a memorable year for all, including my precious girl Evie!!

2013-07-14_0012.jpg

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.
evie claire photography_2087-1
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!
evie claire photography_2094
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!
2013-04-22_0001
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).

evie claire photography_2090
evie claire photography_2093

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!
evie-claire-photography_2079.jpg

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.
evie-claire-photography_2077.jpg
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.
evie-claire-photography_2081.jpg
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!
evie claire photography_2089

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!
evie claire photography_2068.jpg
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.
evie claire photography_2070.jpg

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.
evie claire photography_2069.jpg
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.
evie claire photography_2075.jpg

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.

evie claire photography_2074.jpg

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.

evie claire photography_2073.jpg

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!
evie claire photography_2065.jpg
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.
evie claire photography_2066-1

evie claire photography_2067

So think of an assistant as your morning coffee. I wouldn’t want to live without mine (coffee or Laura)!

How to use your Hue/Saturation layer to save a bundle on props! Baltimore, MD Newborn Photographer

To those of you just starting out in your journey, prop spending can put a real hurting on your profit margin. Next time you are preparing for a newborn shoot, consider an all cream set up. The color change possibilities are endless once you learn how to use your hue/saturation layer in photoshop! To see where I learned this cool trick, check out this blog post by Billie Bush Photography:
http://www.billiebushphotography.com/blog/2013/01/12/color-tutorial-billie-bush-photography-terre-haute-in-photographer/

Now tell me….would you ever guess that these set ups weren’t originally pink, purple and green?

evie claire photography_1964.jpg
evie claire photography_1965.jpg evie claire photography_1966.jpg
evie claire photography_1967.jpg

Enough is Enough

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was a Mom with a dream of an in-home studio that would allow me to work while staying home with Evie.
And so studio construction began and our tragically ugly “Santa Fe room” was transformed into a small but functional studio.
evie claire photography_0068.jpg

evie claire photography_0069.jpg
I filled that empty closet with the very few things I owned.
evie claire photography_0070.jpg
Those props were used for my very first newborn session last December. And I know for sure that the Mother cherishes those simple images I captured.
evie claire photography_0072.jpg

Fast forward 8 months and my little studio is becoming smaller by the day. Closet is stuffed to the gills with a rainbow of blanket colors, tutus, space heaters and spare props. Walls are covered with Rendi frames, scarves/wraps(29), hats and headbands (over 100 at my last count). The backdrop holder my husband built is full to capacity, backdrops rolled 3 deep on pvc pipes. Spare buckets are filled with braided bumps, toddler hats and feather boas. Cabinets are stacked with custom blankets and layering fabrics and bump cloths. Rugs are piled up. Buckets are stacked inside of buckets. All of my samples are displayed.
I don’t even dare address the seasonal prop overflow that has taken over our shed (sleds and firetrucks and tricycles and vintage school desks).

evie claire photography_0071.jpg
evie claire photography_0075.jpg
evie claire photography_0061.jpg
evie claire photography_0062.jpg
evie claire photography_0063.jpg
evie claire photography_0064.jpg
evie claire photography_0065.jpg
evie claire photography_0066.jpg
evie claire photography_0067.jpg
evie claire photography_0073.jpg

And yet, every session I find myself wishing for more. Feeling like I didn’t have the exact shade of blanket or the right tieback.
And my prop shopping begins.
And my credit card bill gets hefty.
And another month passes where I’m in the red.
And I feel…unsatisfied.

Enough.
Enough friends.

Take a moment to look over your props and ask yourself, are they really what makes you a great photographer? Or are they just icing on the already delicious cake?
evie claire photography_0060.jpg

I sat down and looked at four of my favorite images from recent sessions and guess what? They were the least styled. A simple cream flokati, cream wrap and maybe one acccessory. What made the shot beautiful was the simplicity…and of course, the baby!
evie claire photography_0076

So here’s where I stand on all of this now. No more shopping until I turn a profit this year. No hat is going to make me feel better than being able to pay Evie’s tuition myself. No headband will mean more than being able to afford private swimming lessons for her.
I am enough. My work is enough.
I encourage you to remember that you are enough too!

Until next time,
Sarah