Thursday, December 22, 2011

Baby Photography Workshop: The Blooming Baby Business!

Baby Photography Workshops - The Blooming Baby Business

Baby Photography Workshop Flyer

Small group 2-day: $1500
Spring & Summer workshop choices:
April 28 & 29
May 26 & 27

Our Blooming Baby Business Workshops are complete comprehensive workshops teaching how to start and run a Baby's First Year business; ensuring your clients return and your business is successful. In the industry today newborn photography is popular but if you only photograph newborns you are always in need of new clients. When focusing on a baby's first year of milestones there are specific details to focus on to ensure your newborn clients return again & again.

These baby photography workshops cover in depth training for:
  • business, marketing, sales
  • session prep and set-up for all baby's milestones
  • hands-on posing of all ages
  • shooting & session flow for all baby's milestones
  • post-processing in Lightroom and Photoshop

We will start with creating or improving your business model - a crucial part for a successful business. You will learn what would typically take years in this business to learn. We then learn set up and efficient session flow. We shoot and work hands-on with models covering four of the typical first year milestones (4 models minimum) to give you the full range of knowledge & experience for your Baby's First Year business. You leave with the knowledge to safely and comfortably handle and pose babies of all ages ensuring your ability to reproduce all shots for profit. We close with an in depth teaching of efficient image workflow and processing starting in Lightroom then enhancing in Photoshop. I will provide information for editing and correcting many of the issues typically encountered when working on baby photos.

*The small group experience is ideal for the photographer who already has a basic knowledge of exposure settings on their camera and is shooting in Manual Mode.
*The one-on-one workshop is best if you are needing more technical help with your camera and are not already shooting in Manual Mode.


****Workshops offered are small group experiences to ensure each photographer the hands-on experience needed. Rita has been in business since 2005 and is offering to teach you in 2 days what has taken her half a decade to learn. This workshop is packed with a wealth of information and training for a successful Baby's First Year business. The technique and topics covered will require practice and implementing.

How to Remove a Stork Bite {Newborn Photography Photoshop Tutorial}

Here is one way to correct this type of skin mark in a newborn. It will take practice =)
How to Remove a Stork Bite


Whether you include this in your typical processing for a newborn session is up to you. I generally consider this advanced retouching and there is a fee which has been disclosed in the session agreement in advance of course. There are also companies that can provide this type of editing such as RetouchUp.Com, I think their about $2.50 an image.



About the Artist:

Rita Lawrence is a professional baby photographer specializing in the season of newborn baby portraits to the one year old birthday milestone. Through her baby photography workshops she also teaches photographers how to start and run a profitable Baby's First Year business such as hers. Workshops are in a small group setting and offer a complete curriculum for business, hands-on session/model experience, and post-processing training in Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. Check out the website HERE for more information on these baby photography workshops.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Newborn Baby Photography Workshops: Baby as Art and Newborn Dreamland

Which newborn baby photography workshop should I go to or should I even go?

I had asked myself this question a dozen times over my years of working in baby photography. This year I did take the opportunity to attend two of these workshops with a couple of the most highly acclaimed newborn photography companies in the nation since Anne Geddes. Baby as Art with Carrie Sandoval and Brittany Woodall and Newborn Dreamland with Kelley Ryden and Tracy Raver.


Photography by Bitsy Baby Photography, Posing by Newborn Dreamland (below), Processing was done with the methods/actions taught at this workshop:

newborn baby photography workshop, Newborn Dreamland collage

Photography by Bitsy Baby Photography, Posing by Baby as Art (below), Processing was done with the methods/actions taught at this workshop:

baby photography workshop Baby as Art collage

First, just a little history if you do not know who I am. After having my own newborn baby over three years ago, I began to focus my photography business endeavors on photographing pregnant moms and babies. I was fascinated with the miracle of my baby's conception and birth and as time passed I was delighted by her growth. I needed to capture all her milestones to cherish forever! I have been photographing as a hobby for over 22 years and in the photography business for almost 7 years now. Until June of 2011, I was completely self taught and over the years have learned everything through reading or trial & error just stepping out there and shooting everyday. I would sit online or in the library for hours looking up information and that helped when I needed to learn specifics about my camera, business plans, Photoshop, and many details related to photography improvement. But let's face it, sometimes you do not have the time or want to take the years to read, research, and use trial & error as your learning modes. So you look for a comprehensive workshop that will provide years of knowledge and information in just a matter of a day or two!

Then you ask the question, which photography workshop do I attend?

As I began researching I found several photography companies providing the type of workshop I desired for newborn photography. I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for and I knew these newborn baby workshops would not come cheap. I wanted to learn from those that ran a successful business and whose art I admired. Now I was already set to gross over 100K this year and I already have the very best of clients my area offers. The fact is though, as a photographer there is never a ceiling or cap for improving in your art, it's a continuous cycle of learning, improving, growing, and staying creative and inspired through your years of business.

The Baby as Art and Newborn Dreamland newborn baby photography workshops could be considered costly. There are other photographers offering these types of workshops at a lower cost but I had the means and was ready. These girls have perfected their techniques and styles through years of experience and have proven they have what it takes to be successful in their art and business.

What are the differences, are there differences, which was better?
There were definitely differences, most noticeably each one has their own style and look. You can decide for yourself which draws your eye and inspires you most, it's really a matter of taste. Baby as Art has a more organic and earthy look, where the Newborn Dreamland team provides a more vibrant dreamy feel. I’ll admit I lean towards the organic earthy looks in my own work but I am very inspired by the vibrance of Raver/Ryden's art. It is hard not to enjoy looking at any quality professional newborn photos as all babies are just so sweet to see.

More differences between the Baby as Art and Newborn Dreamland workshops:
They are in different locations; Baby as Art are in San Diego, California and Newborn Dreamland is in Blair, Nebraska.
The cost is different. In 2011 for one full day in a small group setting, which I recommend, BAA was $2500 and limited to four students. Newborn Dreamland's cost was $1800 and limited to five students. Then you have the airfare, hotel, car rental, and food costs while traveling. I met up with another newborn photographer friend at Newborn Dreamland who was also attending so we shared the hotel and car expenses.

Posing and Set Up: Both workshops incorporated an awesome variety of set-ups, poses and models--see sample images below. Which types of set ups and poses you desire and use in your business is really a matter of taste but it was great to see a variety and how they come together. There are photographers recently who are posing babies in glass vases; bizarre things like this are not taught at either workshop. Safety is stressed first and foremost. You will not get hands-on posing experience at either of these group workshops, the teachers do all the posing and handling. On one side this is great, you get to achieve beautiful perfect images without all the typical work that goes into a newborn session. However, you will need to take all you see to your studio and practice, practice, practice in order to duplicate them for your clients. It always looks easy to watch an experienced established photographer do what they have been doing for years, it might seem effortless but these girls worked extremely hard to achieve the poses and set-ups they shared with us. When I returned to my studio, even with my assistant, there were poses that took us several sessions to achieve, some we are still working on, and there are some I just prefer not to adopt into my portfolio on a regular basis. Just give yourself time to grow and perfect what you learn after the workshop once you are back home. You are of course allowed to use the images in your portfolio you obtain at both workshops but if you can not duplicate the posing of the babies it would be wise to get some of the aforementioned practice before using the images to show potential clients. Your clients will expect to get what you show them on your website. One bonus for Baby as Art, we were able to photograph a set-up outside. It was awesome to see the smooth transition from an indoor set-up to an outdoor set. Another note to remember is these girls work as a team, everything you will see demonstrated at these workshops utilizes the help of at least two professional photographers. If you don't already have a session assistant you will certainly see the benefit of having one if you attend either workshop. I am thankful to have had an assistant in my studio for a year and a half now. A bonus at Newborn Dreamland was we also met Joanna with JD Vintage Props there and she had blankets and newborn baby wraps for sale; these baby wraps are AWESOME by the way once you know how to properly use them =) Attendees had the option to take home some of the same sets we photographed at the workshop.


DC baby photographers

Outdoor images taken at the Baby as Art Workshop.

baby photography workshop


Soothing: If anyone has had a newborn photography session you know soothing and calming the baby is of the utmost importance. A crying unhappy baby will not make for a successful session. Carrie and Brittany related some posing with promoting a more sleepy baby and their sessions did flow so nicely as a result. Maybe a coincidence but the babies at Baby as Art needed less troubleshooting and soothing than the babies at Newborn Dreamland. Tracy and Kelley did use quite a few soothing techniques with the babies and gave some helpful prep tips to share with the baby's parents prior to the session. The babies at the workshop with Tracy and Kelley of Newborn Dreamland were a little older than those in California as well which may contribute to not being as sleepy. We definitely witnessed a good amount of soothing and calming with the babies in Omaha. Be sure to watch closely if you need help in this area.

From experience I know there are many variables to consider when you are working toward a soothed baby at a newborn session; properly prepping the parents, temperature of studio, posing, patience and confidence of photographer and assistant, parent's mood and energy in the room, age of baby, weight of baby, baby's hunger, baby's soothing preferences - some really do prefer different soothing methods so it's best to know as many as possible in my opinion. I saw great examples of these details in action at both workshops and though it was easy to see each baby is unique with preferences and temperaments that differ, when all of the important variables are in place every baby posed perfectly.


Technical: Both workshops included information on camera technique and how to see and use natural light. Neither work with artificial or studio light at all. If you are a true beginner, still shooting in Auto you may not be ready for something like this, just my opinion. I was even told at Newborn Dreamland that, to their disbelief, some photographers leave and still display crappy photos, yikes.


Processing: At both workshops we were able to see them processing images in Photoshop and were provided the details they use when working on their photos to achieve their "look" in color and black and white. We were provided screenshots at Baby as Art of their process and they let us know what actions they like. We were emailed screenshots and Kelley Ryden's Photoshop actions used by Newborn Dreamland which she also has available for sale on her website. The important thing to remember with processing I learned many years ago is you need to have a decently good photo straight out of your camera before any processing can enhance it and this may be why most of these workshops deal with the actual posing and photography and only a small portion of the day is spent on editing. Processing style can also be a matter of taste, you likely will need to experiment around and find what you like or just go the natural route and do not use much processing.


Lunch: OK, call me pregnant but food is on my mind =) Pizza and salad was served at Baby as Art. Jason's Deli and other snacks like chips and chocolate were available at Newborn Dreamland -- both satisfying :) Lunch is a great time to get to know the other attendees.


Materials: Baby as Art provided their newborn posing trademarked NEST to each attendee. They also gave each of us a printed softcover book filled with all the details they taught as well as additional instruction and sample photos for most poses they achieve. Newborn Dreamland did not provide any material to take home but they did email us a recap and some tips and info they send to clients. Both teams provided the vendors they prefer for the blankets, wraps, hats, etc.

Business: In 2011 neither workshop had specific teaching related to the business so do not expect to learn much in this area. In my years of experience I’ve realized that knowing how to run your business is a vital aspect for success in this industry. During downtime I did take the opportunity to ask some business questions and they were open in sharing info such as how they present the images to clients and what products they offer. So I recommend to just ask questions if you have them. They both provide their preferred vendors for client products too. (Updated to add **it looks like Baby as Art now includes a portion of the 2012 workshops on business processes!**)

Attendees: Baby as Art prohibits attendees that are within their immediate area from attending their workshops. Newborn Dreamland opens their workshops to any photographer even those in the same area.


Based on my knowledge prior to both workshops, I would say I gained more insight at Baby as Art. Brittany and Carrie were patient and professional with the attendees throughout the workshop; babies can be challenging and I know teaching takes the utmost patience and energy. I attended Newborn Dreamland a few months later and I picked up some great tips and images here as well--see below. Both workshops included such a great amount of inspiration and in person demonstration, it is nearly impossible to say if one was actually better than the other. I respect both of these photography teams for their willingness to share their years of expertise to help other photographers grow in their art. So think about who inspires you and who's work captivates you, then save or put it on your credit card and go!

Education such as this is invaluable; wait on buying props, actions, and hats and invest in your art and business skills.


About the Author/Artist: Rita Lawrence owns and operates a baby photography business, Bitsy Baby Photography, LLC and has become known for her Blooming Baby Bundle, a first year package capturing babies from pregnancy to one year. Though she is skilled and knowledgeable in the newborn stage and much of her work now is with newborns her hands-on baby photography workshops focus on the entire baby’s first year to ensure a successful business with repeat clients.

Statements made in this post are an opinion and from the personal experience of Rita. Any questions regarding this post can be sent directly to Rita through her website contact form here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baby Dillon {Newborn Photographer}

Dillon's newborn photography session was so very sweet. The first baby for these beautiful parents and their hearts were overflowing with love for this little soul. It sounds cliche but it really and truly is a privilege to photograph these precious newborn babies when they are so tender and new. I take their safety and comfort seriously and handle them with the utmost patience and care at all times.
Enjoy little Dillon's newborn photographs here =)

Newborn Baby Photography Collage

About the Artist:

Rita Lawrence is a professional baby photographer specializing in the season of newborn baby portraits to the one year old birthday milestone. Through her baby photography workshops she also teaches photographers how to start and run a profitable Baby's First Year business such as hers. Workshops are in a small group setting and offer a complete curriculum for business, hands-on session/model experience, and post-processing training in Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. Check out the website HERE for more information on these baby photography workshops.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Feeling pretty thankful! {Newborn Baby Photographer}

Well I've completed all work and sessions and will be signing out for a short while to spend some time with my family. This is probably the first time in a year or two where I have not had a list of "to-do's" for Bitsy Baby Photography.....though I do adore my work it feels awesome to be obligation free for a short while and I'm so thankful to have been able to deliver all the client galleries before Thanksgiving =) =)

I'm feeling pretty thankful overall actually..... for my family and staying in touch with them over the many miles that separate us, for my wonderful friends and all their babies they have been having lately =), my awesome clients who trust me with the most precious thing to them--their children, being able to do what I absolutely looooove for my job and provide families with heirloom portraits....another beautiful baby on the way, health, contentment, and so so so much joy =) I'm so thankful!

So I leave you with a collage of little Eliza. I last worked with Eliza nearly 6 months ago at her newborn photography session! Now she is a happy sitter and still loooves the camera =) Another precious part of seeing these families several times over their baby's first year of milestones is watching them continue to fall more and more in love with their children =) LOVE this.

baby photographer 6 month old collage
Happy Happy Thanksgiving to you!!!



About the Artist:
Rita Lawrence is a professional baby photographer specializing in the season of newborn baby portraits to the one year old birthday milestone. Through her baby photography workshops she also teaches photographers how to start and run a profitable Baby's First Year business such as hers. Workshops are in a small group setting and offer a complete curriculum for business, hands-on session/model experience, and post-processing training in Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. Check out the website HERE for more information on these baby photography workshops.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baby James is growing up {Baby Photography Studio}

I have worked with this family for over a year now starting with the maternity session and moving on to the first year of milestones.....though it is a beautiful thing to see babies grow, it's always a little sentimental for me to see them grow out of their first year at the studio. We often become friends and share much more than a professional photography relationship =) I wish you guys the very best and hope to see you again!


baby photographer one year old



About the Artist:

Rita Lawrence is a professional baby photographer specializing in the season of newborn baby portraits to the one year old birthday milestone. Through her baby photography workshops she also teaches photographers how to start and run a profitable Baby's First Year business such as hers. Workshops are in a small group setting and offer a complete curriculum for business, hands-on session/model experience, and post-processing training in Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. Check out the website HERE for more information on these baby photography workshops.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Joshua Zvi {Newborn Photographer Studio)

And sometimes they surprise you! Little Joshua came in at 3 weeks here. We typically get lots of wide-eyed shots with this age of baby but not this sleepy one. He snoozed soundly for us the entire time =) Enjoy the samples from his session.

newborn photographer studio

PS: Mom, I am absolutely in love with that blanket and hoodie!!

Donovan {Newborn Baby Photographer}

As a newborn photographer sometimes I must step out of my routine. Baby Donovan came to the session with a bag of props, here you can see a couple samples using them. My mind was working for something that would be creative using the soccer ball and candle - hopefully this works for the parents =) They will make a great example of his size here as he grows that's for sure!

newborn baby photography collage

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembering {Newborn Baby Photography}

Remembering those that have fallen, that have served, & those that are still serving!

Happy Veteran's Day!

baby photography workshop
Baby Donovan saluting his Great Uncle!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

10 Great Newborn Baby Photo Ideas

10 Great Newborn Baby Photo Ideas

newborn baby photographer Collage

Capturing your newborn baby's first days through the art of photography allows you to preserve your child's earliest stages forever. Newborn photographers specialize in arranging props and settings that highlight both the beauty of your baby as well as the special feelings surrounding parenthood.

Black and White
Black and white photography creates an effect that color photography often cannot achieve. The contrast between the black, white and gray tones of your baby's picture can range from soft to sharp, depending on you and your newborn photographers' artistic vision.

Outdoor Settings
Newborn photographers can shoot outside to achieve effects that cannot be accomplished inside a studio. Soft sunlight and natural surroundings combine to create photographs with a theme of introducing your infant to nature.

Sleeping Poses
Newborn photographers can capture your child as he rests in a normal or posed sleeping position. The photographs show your baby in his most peaceful state, and may also capture a cute or funny face he makes while sleeping.

Highlighting Your Baby's Tininess
Your newborn baby's size is as small as it will ever be in her entire life. Demonstrating your baby's size can be achieved using everyday props and settings. For example, your photographer can position your baby in a serving bowl or gently lay her on a shelf to show just how small your newborn is compared to the world around her.

Fetal Positions
Posing your baby in a fetal position creates a reminder of how he was recently growing inside his mother's womb. Posing your baby in this manner can result in sentimental photographs reminding you of both your pregnancy and the joy of bringing your newborn into the world.

Costumes
Costume photography does not have to be relegated to Halloween. Choose animal, flower or other costumes specially made for babies to add a sense of fun and imagination to your baby photos.

Baskets
Positioning your baby inside or on top of a basket may seem like an unexciting photo idea. However, the basket signifies that its contents -- your newborn -- is a true bundle of joy, and your newborn photographer can artfully capture the scene to create a memorable photograph.

Cloth Wraps
Although it may seem simple cloth wrap swaddled around your baby creates a striking effect, especially when no other props are featured in the photograph. The wrap also gives a sense of timelessness, as simple fabrics have been used for covering babies for centuries.

Family Members
Involving family members in your newborn's professional photographs fills the pictures with warmth and love. One or both parents can be shown holding their baby, or older siblings can be positioned beside their family's newest addition. Another idea is to capture a closeup of your baby as it is being held in your hands.

Novel Props
Unusual props like a set of scales or a tree trunk can make your baby pictures truly unique. Novelty pictures using unexpected elements are sure to be popular among your family and friends.

Showing off Charlotte {Newborn Photographer}

Charlotte was an absolute DOLL, here's a sampling of her images. She was baby girl #2 in the studio in over a month =) Lots of the little boy session samples coming soon!!

newborn photographer collage

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Baby Siena {Baby Photographer in Maryland}

I'm sure you will enjoy these sweet shots of tiny little Siena! I'm due to have my baby girl in February 2012! Every wee little girl that comes into the studio makes me think of ideas for what I'll do for her newborn photos....I have a ton of new materials and wraps - even a dozen tiny little headbands I handmade myself =) All with such a feminine touch and can not wait to try them all out!

newborn photography

newborn photograph bw

newborn photograph girl

newborn photography

newborn photography baby smiling

newborn photography with parents

newborn photograph w mom bw

newborn photograph w dad

**edited to correct spelling of baby's name**
=)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Photography Workshop Giveaway Facebook Contest

YES, it's true another photography workshop in Maryland for 2011!!
baby photo surprisedI've opened up a couple more dates for the photography workshops! These are geared towards improving family photos at home!! AND the best part is I've decided to give a seat away for free, that's $175 you can spend on Christmas gifts instead =)

So I am really thankful for my family and November is a great time to reflect on how special my family is to me. So I am wanting to see some of your family photos that you are thankful for, the kind where you set up your tripod (or put the camera on the coffee table), click the shutter, and run really fast to be in the photo!! A previous holiday or Christmas photo you've used your DIY skills on =)

Here are the contest details:
Contest dates: Nov 3 - Nov 19

1. Find a DIY family photo of yours you are extremely thankful for (must be the whole fam, what you would do for a Christmas card etc). If you don't have one, you can go take one now!!
2. Go to the Bitsy Baby Photography Facebook Page HERE. (wait not yet, first read on)
3. "Like" the page if you don't already, then post your photo to the Bitsy Baby Facebook Wall (not on your own wall).
4. Click on "Share" beneath your photo and send your FB friends a message like this: "Yes this is a contest and yes I'm asking you to help me =) I am thankful for my family so I am entering to win a free photography workshop to learn to take better family photos. You can help me by "liking" the Bitsy Baby Photography page (http://www.facebook.com/BitsyBabyPhotography) and then also "like" my family photo. Thanks for your help!!!"
5. The family photo with the most likes will win! **each like must also be a fan of Bitsy Baby Photography on Facebook.

I will announce the winners on November 22nd, the week of Thanksgiving 2011.
The seat is for a group workshop on December 17th from noon-3pm.
If you win and would like to gift your seat to a friend or family member, a gift certificate will be provided!

****I also have a couple seats left for the Nov 5th workshop, this Saturday from 9-noon, if you are interested in coming to this one.****

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cute babies and their costumes at Bitsy Baby Photography

AND happy babies I might add!!!
Happy Halloween =)

baby photography costumes laughing3

baby photography costumes laughing2

baby photography costumes newborn2

baby photography costumes sitting2

baby photography costumes laughing4

Professional Photography: Shooting in Raw or Jpg

This is a description on the differences of these two file formats (JPG and RAW) and what I prefer to shoot in...and why. You can decide for yourself what you prefer and need. Each photographer has their own workflows and needs can vary.
Disclosure: "JPG" and "RAW" are mentioned nearly 2 dozen times in this post =)

When your camera is set to JPG shooting your images are compressed and processed in the camera, immediately after snapping your shot; this is known as JPG compression. This processing in other words sets the color, white balance, tint, and exposure of the image dependent on what your camera settings are. Now many DSLR cameras have the option to shoot in RAW mode, meaning the image is not compressed at all and all processing must be done afterwards on the computer.

A key fact to note with an uncompressed RAW image is since all the processing is done on the computer you have a large amount of control over the white-balance, tint, hue, and exposure even after your image is taken. This can be monumental if you need to correct or fine tune any of these details on your images. With a JPG compressed image this processing begins in the camera and the image is compressed before you ever touch it in your processing software.

If you are a beginner and you are just learning what you prefer for white balance and exposure or a brand newbie and have no idea what you are doing with the technical camera side, I would say it's best to shoot in RAW. This way if you must correct something you have more control and image detail to work with. With a JPG compressed image you have much less control on correcting issues you might not have noticed during your shoot.

Now if you are a seasoned pro and you are very familiar with your exposure and white-balance while shooting then it may not be such an important decision whether to shoot in JPG or RAW; you likely will not be doing a lot of correcting maybe just some fine-tuning. However, I do prefer to shoot in RAW for most of my work. One reason being a typical client prints a 20x30 canvas of their baby's photo and I want that image to have the most detail as possible. I have also noticed a great difference when tweaking my white-balance in Lightroom 3. For instance if I I decide the Kelvin I shot at wasn't what I preferred after all I can just type in the Kelvin temperature number with a RAW image whereas with a JPG image I do not have this level of control. I do edit each of my images individually and I love making each one a fine piece of art.

Also, because JPG images are compressed they are much smaller files than a RAW file. It makes sense that a RAW file contains more details then as it is 2-3 times larger in size than the JPG. You will need larger memory cards and likely more storage space on your computer when shooting in RAW. I recommend to just use an external drive and backup RAW images off your computer's hard drive to save the space. I actually just delete the RAW versions of images after I've proofed the session down to the keepers and made my own JPG compressions. I do not take hundreds of images for each session though so I don't find the size of RAW images a problem. Once I got the shot I move on to the next one.

**The details on all my informational & tip blog posts are bits and pieces of information I've learned along the way through my journey of photography either through reading books or old fashioned trial & error. I have been photographing for 25 years as a hobby with the last 7 as a professional business. I offer photography workshops for photographers wishing to build or grow their "Baby's First Year" business. Thanks for reading =)

Tips on DIY holiday photos & Photography Workshop Giveaway

So that time of year has come!! You either call around and find a professional photographer to take your family's photos or you get out your tripod and get ready for some DIY holiday family photos =)

If you are like me you are about to google family photographers in your area (and hope someone has availability) but if you are like my husband you will continue reading so you can be a little more prepared for your DIY family photo session!

Tips for family photography:
Don't try to pose everyone, create a scene instead! Maybe it's time to have a tea party or even set out the cookies for Santa, these make great activities for children to enjoy while you are photographing them. The best images are those with real expressions with families connecting and enjoying each other (just my opinion now!).

Look for great light! You certainly do not want everyone to be sitting in direct sunlight but you probably already know this. =) If you want to take your photos outdoors I recommend working in the earlier morning hours or later evening hours when the sun is not overhead and harsh. If you are indoors turn off your lights and try to find an area that gets natural ambient light from a large window or patio door. Try to place your family where the light is coming from the side or slightly in front of them but full on frontal light is not always necessary. Leaving some shadows is good and creates definition and interest.

Usa a Tripod and jump in the photos yourself! One of the biggest downfalls of DIY family photography is that someone may need to be the "photographer". I suggest to buy a tripod like this one here or a heavier duty one like this one here Then learn to use your camera's auto-timer either by googling the camera type and using the self timer (for example "use self timer on Canon Xsi" or by reading the chapter in your camera's manual (if you can find it =) that covers the self timer.

This was my DIY holiday photo from a couple years ago =)
self portrait ~ our winter pic
I'd loooove to see yours, please post it to our Bitsy Baby Photography Facebook HERE for a chance to win a seat at an upcoming photography workshop this winter!

Look to a Newborn Photographer for a Baby Shower Gift

Look To a Newborn Photographer for a Baby Shower Gift

Photography Gift Certificate Front

Everyone loves babies. What's not to love right? But they don't stay that small forever, in fact babies grow so fast it seems like it is right before your very eyes. Capturing those memories is important and most new parents do their best. But having the chance to use a newborn photographer is a priceless opportunity.

BABY SHOWER GIFT IDEAS-
When you are invited to a baby shower for a friend or family member your mind immediately begins to wonder what you will get them. You find out they are registered at several stores and that may give you some ideas. The usual choices are clothes, baby soap sets, rattles or pacifiers or other common baby shower gifts.

Baby showers are a great way for the new parents to get the things that they will need for their new baby. Most things like diapers or newborn clothes will be used up or be grown out of fairly quick. Ever wished you could think of something really unique this time? Instead of the same thing everyone else will probably bring.

Unique gifts are something that will be remembered for a long time after the baby shower. And a unique gift means so much more to the expectant parents. New parents will undoubtedly want to have many pictures of their new baby. These first memories of the babies life are both precious and priceless.

Everyone snaps pictures with their cameras but unless they are a professional, the pictures may not capture the memory quite the way they hope.

YOUR GIFT CAN BE UNIQUE-
Instead of conforming to the usual list of baby shower gifts, why not give the expectant parents a gift to remember? Giving them a gift certificate for a newborn photographer photo session will be a gift that no one will expect. It will most likely bring the new mom to tears when she realizes what she has been given.

While everyone can take pictures of their own baby, getting those special pictures by a professional will be priceless. Newborn photographers have the equipment that most people would have no reason to own. They have already put the expense into the best cameras and various props to make each photo session special and unique for the parents.

New parents will feel so pampered when they are able to be a part of a photo session by a professional newborn photographer.

A GIFT THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME-
As you consider what type of gift you will choose for the new parents, consider something that will last. Long after the clothes have been outgrown and the baby shampoo is gone you could be the one who gives the gift that will last a lifetime.

Photos are things that mean so much to parents long after the child has grown. And being able to have a professional newborn photographer to do the job is even better. Most of the props used by the photographer really highlight and enhance the special moments of baby’s first pictures.

Consider giving this gift that will be remembered forever.

Photography Gift Certificate

What I love for Pregnancy - A Maternity Photographers preferred products

As many of you know I am pregnant with my second child, another girl, we're so over the moon to be having another baby!! I'm now 22 weeks in and have found some awesome products during my pregnancy I can't live without! I thought I'd share these today =) Many of these items can also be used after baby arrives too.

Pure Essence Mother To Be Prenatal Vitamins
I used these prenatals with my first pregnancy and looooved them so I knew immediately they had to be a part of my regimen this time around too. They help keep my energy levels up while I am in a very busy work season as well as closing in on my 2nd trimester =) To Save $5 Use Code: QED286


Young Living Gentle Baby Essential Oil
I also used this with my first pregnancy as well as this current one. I am really into aromatherapy and a soothing smell can really relax me and put my mind at ease. I use this oil diluted in my Aveda lotion and rub it on my tummy after my baths before bed, mmmmm sweet sleep! This is also great to dilute and use as a massage oil for baby once he or she comes =) A bottle last a long time too!

Maternal America Skinny Jeans
I've spent twice this much on maternity jeans and these are still my favorite! The belly band is so comfortable and doesn't get stretched out after a full day of wearing. The jeans have just the right amount of stretch to stay nicely fit for a couple wears for me. Applessed Boutique is a great shop to get these and other awesome maternity clothes =)

Bra-llelujah Spanx Wireless Front Closure Bra
Another 5star find at Appleseed Boutique for me was this bra, WOW, soooooo comfortable. It's not technically a maternity or nursing bra but is so stinkin' comfy I'll have a hard time giving them up when baby comes =) And I think I can always just fold it down to nurse?!

Night Shirt, Under Shirt, Nursing Tank Top
So three years ago I found the greatest nursing tanks at Target with my first baby, they were always a little short to me though. The other day I was looking for some long undershirts to wear under sweaters and found these, they have a lace decor at the neckline too, love! I use them as under shirts and night shirts now, they do give great support at night for my expanded bust line. The best part they'll transition into nursing tops and probably the only thing I'll wear for a few months when this baby is born =)

Low Cut No Panty Line Panties

I'll be the first to admit I'm practically living in leggings and stretchy pants when I'm not in my MA Jeans. This calls for no seam panties....and I will also admit I'm not into thongs so scratch that idea; I'd rather go commando. Anyways, these panties are so comfy, they fit below my expanding belly and are almost invisible beneath my stretchy pants, score! And they actually do come in a thong if you are into that style. I'm sorry I just never got into the thong-tha-thong-thong-thong thang, lol, call me boring but hey I did manage to get pregnant ha =)

Well I'm sure I'll find more awesome products and must-haves but I'll stop here for now and share more in the next "What I love" post =) If you have a "must-have" I'd love to know about it, please drop a note on the Facebook page here =)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lukas Sits {Maryland Baby Photographers}

I had to post a couple beautiful shots of Lukas here sitting up. He is one of my Blooming Babies and I've been photographing since literally in the womb =) As babies grow over the first year of their life their images really show the change taking place especially the milestones they cover so quickly. I think those first few months go by in a blur, when babies are helpless and so dependent on parents for everything. Then comes that happy sitter where they can sit and play with toys and keep contented for a good while. Photographing babies when they are just sitting up is so fun, I haven't met a baby that was unhappy at this age =) Typically it falls somewhere between 5-7 months sometimes older depending on the baby. You know it's time to get out the camera when your baby is just sitting up; in the blink of an eye they will be crawling and it gets a little tricky to keep them in one place to take their portraits once their movin' and shakin' =)
So on to Lukas: serious & smiling and all the while sitting!

baby photography, sitting baby

baby photographer sitting baby

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ten Most Useful Props for Newborn Photography

Any proud parent would love to show off their newborn baby; display the happiness they share about their new gain with other friends and family. And the most prevalent way of doing that is through newborn photography. While candid photos can be shared through any social media, there’s a special touch when done by a professional; one that creates a product with far more value and an at times even stronger emotion.

Of course, there’s a certain standard that comes with such professional newborn photography. The price you pay includes more advanced equipment (most professional cameras start at $5K), up to date technology (processing software can be another $5K+), and importantly quality props which can run as much as $300 each for a true vintage wooden prop. In a field such as this, any photographer knows that without that certain prop for an infant, you may never get the especially unique photo that you and the parents are looking for. Most every client asks "what kind of props can we use". Props give an atmosphere to the photo and can help to convey the emotion that you as a new or upcoming mother are feeling especially when the prop is YOU.

A Prop You Can’t Buy
Though it seems uncanny, the best prop that any photographer could ever hope for in their newborn photography is the parent.
A baby feels most content when in the arms of their mother or father, so it makes sense that with a parent in the picture, the baby would display its most content and relaxed face. Say you’d rather not be included in the photo, something and simple as your hands holding the baby produces a loving and gentle atmosphere and exemplifies the affection within the relationship that you have inherently established with your child.
newborn photographers new family

Other Vitals and Essentials

The next nine props are most common in newborn photography.
• Cocoons can show either the full body or just a part of the child, but the concept of a child having on nothing but cloth really captures the idea of the child just being brought into the world.
newborn photography
• Scales of any kind put the emphasis on a baby's weight, which is always a very talked about topic for any birth in a family.
newborn scale 2010
• Hats can bring about any theme for those creative parents, from cowboy western to enchanted fairy forests.
newborn photography Maryland
• Materials and backdrops of any size, color, texture, or pattern are probably the most used within newborn photography; all one truly needs is the right background to potentially say it all.
newborn photographers_curled2
• Baskets are incredibly adorable. They refer back to the stork concept and capture the idea of a baby just arriving.
newborn photographer in DC
• Pillows are very easy to pose babies on; the look of the child being delicate and fragile is almost effortless.
• Bowls, Pots, and Trunks, are items a child can fit in to that helps put their small size into perspective.
newborn photographers awake2
As with all newborn photography, it can be the props that make the difference. Professional newborn photography has the props to truly make the experience you are having or will have with your new baby even more amazing and memorable.

Rita is a newborn photographer on the East Coast and works out of her tranquil baby studio set amidst 5 acres of woods. She offers photography workshops to parents and photographers. Visit her on her newborn photography facebook page here!

To find out about the greatest baby photography prop vendors including prop and cocoon providers or if you ARE one, join our monthly newsletter where we spotlight the best of the best! Sign up for the newsletter HERE.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Big News for Bitsy Baby {Newborn Photographers}

Well it's leaked to a few people already; how can it not with this growing belly & my excited big mouth =) but we are finally making our BIG announcement here to everyone!!

I am pregnant!!!!!
My family and I will be welcoming a brand new baby (our own) into our arms (and of course the studio) in February!!

This is a huge event for our family as we have been trying to conceive this time around for a couple years now. The beginning of the pregnancy had it's issues so we wanted to wait for the big announcement until all was well and going good. The only real concern now is pre-term birth as I went into labor with Marina, my first baby, at 32 weeks. We have decided to take the weekly progesterone shots as that should prevent this from happening again. These shots are typically taken for weeks 16-34 when the baby might have health issues if born. This does mean more Doctor visits but I just don't think I can give myself those shots and my insurance won't cover me doing it myself anyway.

So lots of questions floating around in our home:
  • Where will I give birth? Due to the early complications we are seeing Drs at Annapolis OBGYN at the moment but my Drs know I plan to transfer to Bay Area Midwifery or Special Beginnings at some point....I'm sure hubby will appreciate Bay Area being so close to the hospital, he says he isn't into the "home birth thing" though if I could I certainly would welcome this baby right into our home from the womb =) That's just me! Don't get me wrong I'm not anti-Dr or anything but a healthy routine birth in my opinion doesn't need a Dr's attendance.
  • What will we name HER?? Yes we just found out it is a GIRL at Baby To Be Images Sonogram Center in Annapolis. This was a beautiful experience and I highly recommend anyone wanting to visit their baby in the womb to go see the team at the 3d/4d elective sonogram center, very personal and non-medical =) I know many clients that wait to find out the gender until the birth, that's amazing to me but not for me!
  • Will I take time off work? How much time? I am lucky to be able to have this decision to make. Of course the time off will not be "paid maternity leave" as I am self employed but I'm sure just a short time for a baby moon will be still be in order?
  • What color will the nursery be? Heck, where will the nursery be? Our only other room upstairs is my office. Our basement is being renovated but it will not be realistic to move our 3 year old or our new baby downstairs anytime soon...so after she spends the baby moon in my bedroom I'll likely have the office re-done to be her nursery!
  • Will I cloth diaper again? For how long? Even at night? Is it cheaper?
    Sooooo much more to think about so I'll be sharing as the pregnancy goes on =)

    I hope you will celebrate this beautiful season with us! If you have any thoughts or personal experience with any of my questions and comments above please post some thoughts for me on my Bitsy Baby Photography Facebook page HERE, would loooove to hear from you!!!!!


    This is Marina and I in the NICU on her 1st day of life out of the womb. She was the tiniest little jewel at 4.5 pounds =) With most of that being her HAIR lol!
    Rita and Marina

    Toodles,
    Rita
    To read the next Bitsy Baby Photography September e-News article click here.

    Baby Austin's First Birthday {baby photographers in Maryland}

    Happy Birthday Baby Austin!!!
    I've known Austin and his parents for over a year now, seems like it has gone by in just a blink! So thankful our paths have crossed, this has been a great journey through Austin's first year =)

    baby photographer 1 year standing baby

    baby photography with parents2

    baby photographer birthday cake

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Advanced Creative Photography Tips {Controlling the Blur}

    Creative (and somewhat advanced) Photography Tips:

    Have you ever noticed that part of your image is blurry, especially when photographing children? Maybe it's their hands or their feet that are blurry because they were moving? Most babies and children, unless they are asleep, are constantly moving. As a matter of fact, we typically get the greatest portraits when we let them move, shake, and be happy don't we =)

    So another solution to this issue, versus trying to make them "hold still", is to put your camera on Shutter Priority, on a Canon it is usually the letter "T" and on a Nikon it is an "S" and now many hand-held cameras even have this option. Now move your sub-command wheel and watch the numbers changing. You are changing the shutter speed and your camera automatically changes your Aperture setting to expose the image as best the camera can.

    Now what number do you want your shutter to be at? Well if you want to freeze the motion of those moving hands and legs I would say to have the shutter on 250 or higher. If you want to show the motion, say you want to see a bit of that movement as a creative blur effect, then I'd say you want a moderate shutter speed. Start at 1/30s and change the shutter number down until you achieve the desired amount of blur you are looking for. **You may need a tripod for these longer shutter speeds. This blur effect is also how you would achieve that dreamy blur of a waterfall if you find yourself at a beautiful waterfall in Hawaii at some point =)

    So go ahead, put your camera on Shutter Priority and take control of your blur!

    East Coast baby photography


    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Baby Photography Tips {Newborn Baby Portraits}

    Babies first milestone: sleeping!

    From my experience spending so much time with many many babies over the years there are 4 major milestones I've found the best to focus your photography efforts on: sleeping, smiling, sitting, standing...oh and then 1st Birthday if that doesn't coincide with the standing phase.

    Today we will focus on the first one: sleeping and getting a great basic first portrait of your baby! So babies usually sleep a lot for their first week of life. Now this is not the time frame most parents want to get out their camera and get creative so we'll keep it basic here. If you just don't have the energy to do a thing during this first week, give me a call and I can do it for you of course =)

    • The first thing to remember when photographing your baby at home is to turn off your lamps and overhead lights in your home to eliminate unwanted color casts (yellowish or random colors you might sometimes notice in your photos). You may have heard me say this before but it's so easy to forget this important detail.
    • Then move your baby to a window so you have a good amount of natural light.
    • One great product to purchase when you have a baby if you plan to do a lot of your own photography is a bean bag! Especially for the younger ages when they can not sit up or control their body. I use www.beanbags.com and like the "puck" beanbags. **one note please don't ever leave a baby alone in or on a beanbag**
    • I personally love sleeping baby photos, their so serene and angelic. So once baby is asleep place a neutral colored blanket over your beanbag---does not have to be a baby blanket, try finding one with some texture, and place your baby on the blanket. I like neutral colors like cream, brown, white but if you like more bright or colorful looks try something a little more vibrant. I definitely recommend not to use one with a lot of prints or designs so the focus stays on your baby and all those intricate little features.
    • If your baby is not wanting to sleep or has past this stage already (they typically "wake up" after 2 weeks or so) try swaddling them up nice and snug so they are comfortable (I love swaddle blankets from Sarahs Gift Boutique on Etsy) Be assured your baby will likely fuss while you are swaddling but should calm down after their all snug as a bug! Sometimes it takes 2 people to swaddle a baby =) Then when baby is comfortable lay him on the beanbag. Maybe watch this VIDEO if you need swaddling help.
    • Put your camera on the "Portrait" mode (the picture of the face) and place the camera strap around your neck or wrist. Stand above your baby so you are photographing directly from above (might need a little stool, careful not to loose balance and fall on the baby) and snap a couple shots--look at your photos to be sure they are looking good and not blurry or too dark and then go ahead and try a few different angles.
    • Be sure your baby's head is not leaning too far back or too far sideways--you want to be able to see most of both eyes and the tip of the nose versus seeing up his nostrils.
    Here are some samples of the baby portraits I am describing taken with only natural window light: newborn_photographers_smiling
    newborn photographers faces collage

    newborn photographers knit hat2

    newborn photographers_siblings

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Fall Family Portraits {Newborn Photographer offers family sittings}

    Limited Family portrait sessions are being offered by Bitsy Baby Photography in Maryland in October 2011.

    It is always so awesome to see all the families we have welcomed into the studio over the previous years return for our fall family portrait opportunity! This is also a great opportunity to have your baby photographed for one of the first year milestones such as when they are sitting up or standing up.

    These fall photography sessions are also ideal for capturing that perfect moment for your 2011 holiday cards =)

    Details
    Date: October 22, 2011 -- rain-date is Oct 29th.
    Time: Random times--we are close to being booked so inquire asap if interested!
    Place: Bitsy Baby Photography Edgewater Studio, sessions are outdoors in beautiful fall foliage
    Package Includes:
    • 10 high resolution digital images in an online gallery to download
    • Print release to print your digital images to any size
    • Box of 25 greeting cards with your favorite image.
    Cost is $350

    Ready to schedule? Additional questions?
    Send an email to Rita@bitsybaby.com


    The fine print:
    --3 individuals are included in the cost, each additional person is $25
    --babies must be 1 month or older
    --images for the greeting card must be submitted within 1 week of receiving your online gallery for delivery of cards to be in time for December, if we do not receive your image we will choose one for the card and place the order
    --greeting card is a 5x7 card with your image covering the entire front of the card, there are no designs or colors to choose from, no cash value can be redeemed for the cards
    --sessions are petite sessions, 30 minutes in length, please arrive 5-10 minutes prior to your scheduled time
    --if you can not make it on time, your $350 will be applied towards our regular petite session of $500 and scheduled based on availability
    --you will be provided with high quality vendor information to order your prints and products as you wish


    Fun in the Fall

    Pinterest

    About This Blog

    We specialize in maternity photographs, newborn and baby photography, family photography with babies. Bitsy Baby Photography offers professional photography services in Edgewater, Annapolis, Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia and all the surrounding areas. Please browse through the Blog Archive to the right for photography tips and samples of portrait work. Please also take a look at the website portfolio here:
    www.bitsybaby.com

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