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March 2010 Volume 1, Issue 4 In this Issue:
Birth Photography The Home Studio Maternity Preparation EQ

Ok I will admit, this month we were a tad bit behind. We were waiting on articles and information from so many people and they just never got around to it, so we have decided to just go ahead and publish without them. I am loving the images that are coming in for Image of the Day. I myself get inspired every time I post one and I really just love it. So please continue to send them to us! We want images for pregnancy-newborn-and children up to 5 years. We want to give people a quick daily dose of inspiration. Thanks to everyone for the emails about this magazine. At the moment it is still just a grassroots effort of me trying to pull people together. I have some big ideas so I really hope it grows and grows. We need your help. Send us questions, comments, articles or anything else that comes to mind! And for information on webinars, workshops and other fun stuff visit the main site… http://www.theartofpregnancyandnewborn.com Ana Brandt

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Confessions of an Expecting Mama…Delivering
by Lindsey Bridge

the first photo's

This is my second child, which means the soapy, ignorantand-blissful, bubble about pregnancy has already been popped. During my first pregnancy, every mother figure in my life saw my youthful blithe attitude as a chance to educate me about how they birthed their own children. It was like a rite of passage before a rite of passage: enduring detailed accounts—which have likely marinated in their own spicy juices for years-- before being able to experience it on my own. So many tales of labor were divulged that I find myself surprised, in retrospect, how no one pointed out to me that the rights of “bodily privacy” would be relinquished long before my water broke. It began with the “lap towel” that they handed me on my first visit. The doctor walked in as I was repositioning it for the fifth time in a useless attempt to cover everything. I shouldn't have worried because the Dr. pushed it aside and started poking, examining and smudging gel all over my belly. (It seems the lap towel was just to keep me busy while I waited). This process was just the first of many other traditions: peeing in cups, being examined places that I could no longer see due to my bulging belly button, multiple tests that all involved needles....All such cases left me with an inescapable impression that I was more of an exhibit than I had prepared myself for. Even though I knew all this attention was necessary, by the time I found myself in labor I was in no mood to be gawked and peered at by anyone exempt for the doctor, one kind nurse, and my husband. This standard included all pictures taken of me during the experience. I don't remember doing it out of vanity, but more as an act to retain some kind of ownership about my experience. My attitude for this pregnancy would have likely been the same had I not received an email from a college friend who, through a spontaneous procession of events, ended up with a professional photographer at the birth of her first child. The images Laurel sent resonated with me in a way I didn't expect. They contained action, drama, and honesty.

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I quizzed Laurel about the circumstances. The pictures were amazing, but I was a bit surprised— why had she agreed to let a stranger photograph one of the most private moments of her life? “My first thought had been a very confidant no way!” Laurel admitted. “But after I settled down I explained it to my husband Dave and we realized that we really didn't have anything to loose. This moment was a once in a life time moment for us, and we wouldn't always have the chance to have a great photographer there to document it.” It was a spontaneous choice made with faith and labor pains, but not a choice that they would regret.

{“I almost forgot that he was there,”
Laurel explained when I probed her with my own suspicions of anyone in a hospital room allowed to carry a zoom lens.“

We were so focused on delivering Lincoln. In fact, when I see the pictures now I am amazed that he got the shots he did because they are so close and so personal.”}

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I had a similar reaction when I first saw the photos. I have acclimated to seeing newborns photographed as cherubic sleeping bundles, but this was different, this was an emotional record of the event as it happened. It strung a heartstring that played a forgotten memory about the raw emotions I felt when they first handed me my daughter, wrinkled, red, and completely loveable. It reminded me how my husband's face looked when I first saw him as a father, and not just my husband. I experienced again, through these photos, the rush of adrenaline, and exhausted elation I felt when I knew that labor was over. Some of these memories are buried deep, and it is no wonder. Moments like that are ineffable, fleeting, and blurred with the recovery, sleep deprivation, and the adaptations that motherhood brings. Yet having photographs of the experience, taken by a professional, can trap them in a time capsule and record the event as it really happened. Since hearing Laurel's story I have searched out other photographers and their experiences taking live birth photography. Michele Anderson, of Pinkle Toes Photography, quickly became my favorite birth photography artist. On her website she explains her feelings of labor photography: “All I have from the births of my first two children are a few blurry snaps of my babies right after they were born. My husband was busy tending to me and my mom was overcome with emotion, and so photographs of the events simply weren’t a priority. I have nothing to document that incredible labor process…nothing that shows the connection made between my husband and I. As any woman who has given birth can tell you, nature has a way of making you forget the pain of labor, and so in the years following the births of my first two, I struggled to remember what actually happened. How big did I get? How did I look? What did I do? What did we look like as we saw our newborn for the first time? How did our babies look in the instant they were born? What did the room look like? Who was in the room? Who smiled? Who cried? When I got pregnant with my third child, there was no question that I would have a professional birth photographer there. I’m so thankful I did because I positively treasure the images from that day!” (View her website and birth photography here: http://pinkletoes.com/blog/birth-photography/) I contacted Michele and was grateful that she was able to share more of her philosophy, experience, and talent.

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What inspired you to start photographing live births and how did that evolve into your niche? Shortly after the birth of my first baby, I happened upon a slide show of still images from a home birth. I was in tears watching this beautiful documentary, moved not only by the amazing images themselves, but also by the very idea that you could give birth at home. Both birth photography and home births were a totally new concept to me and to be honest, I though they were both a little kooky at first. But of course, that was before I had experienced birth myself. After seeing that slide show, I knew that the next time I had a baby, #1--I would do it at home and #2--I would someday be able to afford to have someone photograph it. A few years later, when I started my own photography business, I knew immediately that I wanted to offer birth photography myself.

 On your website you said that birth photography is growing in popularity in Texas. I have lived a lot of places in a short amount of time and I haven't seen much of it elsewhere. Do you think this is true? Is it an area of photography that is growing? I feel like it's growing in popularity all over the country simply because birth photographers are sharing their amazing images online, and so more and more people are being exposed to the idea. Just like me those years ago, there are still many people who don't even realize it's even an option. However, while I think the desire to have one's birth experience photographed is increasing, there still aren't many photographers who can offer birth services--not everyone can be on call for 4 weeks at a time or put in the the long, crazy hours for it. It's really tough to price birth photography services to make it worth your while. You have to really, really, really love it.


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I can only imagine that photographing live births has to be an overwhelming and powerful experience. How do you prepare for the experience? How do you help your client prepare for the experience? This surprised me, but I've found that photographing the event itself isn't the overwhelming part for me...I'm there to do a job and I just sort of slip into that work mode. But, when I finally get home and start going through the images, that's when it really hits me. "Wow. I just saw someone being born today!" Such an honor. For my clients, there isn't much to prepare. My goal is to be non-existent in the room...I don't want to affect the birth experience...I'm just there to document it for the family. I do find that after sharing such an intimate experience, my birth clients and I develop a special connection. I just love getting to watch these babies grow up over the years and it's so incredible when I'm invited back to photograph them again at 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, etc. I have this silly goal to one day photograph the birth experience of a client whose own birth I photographed. Now that would be magical! Hopefully, I'll still be toting my camera around by then. I must admit that after interviewing Michele my feelings about privacy have continued to mature. I feel like I have been preparing myself for this event for....well at least nine months! This second time around I am more comfortable with myself, and I am more honest. This is a journey that I want to look back on with clarity, to see the imperfections, and the emotions. I crave for evidence of the experience to be less contrived and more detailed and expressive. I know that after giving birth no one is going to hand me a merit badge, but I think owning my own birth photography could be kept as my own hard earned, honest-and-precious, badge of honor.

Lori Nordstrom

The Home Studio

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by Shellie Secretan

Can you keep a secret? I LONG for a studio space! But don't tell my hubby- he might have a heart attack. I work from my home, and have worked from my home for 5 years. I would love to not have to clean up toys for my clients, to be able to hang my clients' work EVERYWHERE, but that is not how I run my business. When I had been in business about 1 year, I went to a V Gallery workshop- It was amazing and is still by far my favorite workshop that I have ever been to. While I was there the husband half of the husband and wife team of Vicki and Jed Tauffer asked me about my situation- at the time I had studio on my mind 24/7- I just had to get me one of those amazing status symbols- I COULD NOT be a success with out one! While I discussed studios with Jed he started asking me about my life- my family situation and what I had going on back home- then he said something that changed my life... he said to me, "If you get a studio, sure you might be successful, and have a wonderful studio, but in 5 years you will be divorced and your kids won't know who you are." I was stunned, I immediately started to cry. He thought I was crying because he had wrecked my dreams, but he couldn't have been more wrong. He told me EXACTLY what I needed to hear. As a mother of 4 small children, I could not afford the time away from home to work on my business full time. Sure, if I was the sole bread winner, or my husband and I were working on this together as a that your clients can see how it family business, things would have been different. But in my situation, as a second helps them. You can say on your income earning, full time mother of 4 small children, I didn't NEED to be away website that because you work from them all the time. He reminded me of my own personal priorities, and from your home and only accept assured me that I could be a success from my home. a certain number of clients a day≈ Because this is the path that I have chosen, I have had to make it work for me. I am not perfect at having a business from my home, I let business take over my personal life, and personal time, far too often, but I think I have learned through trial and error, a few things over the years. Here are a few things I have learned about keeping your life and your work separate, and making your home studio work for you.

Working in your home doesn't have to be a disadvantage, market it so

If you can, have your own space, a place that is dedicated to your work. It is much more convenient to be able to leave your photography stuff out- that being said, I worked in my children's play area, until this last August when we finally moved into a home large enough that I have my own dedicated studio space ( and it still has my husband's pool table in it.) I had to take my lights out, and put them away for every session- so not fun, but I made it work for 4 years. Not having a separate space can work- it will just make things easier if you have your work space separate from your family, and the easier it is- the better your chances of success. When my children were smaller I did the majority of my sessions at night when my husband was home to watch them. I could do that because I am mainly a studio light photographer, that is one of the reasons I use studio lights rather than natural lights, because I can work any time of day that is convenient for me. Now that my youngest is in kindergarten I work when he is gone. I try hard to keep all my work to that time, but I usually work doing processing about 1- 1.5 hours while he is home also. If your family resents what you are
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doing, or you feel guilty because you are spending too much time away from them, it will cause stress on your relationships and on you. Stress= no fun= no success. It is important to still appear professional for your clients. I give them quality products; beautiful marketing materials, and my house is always spotless when they come over. I didn't always have the time to clean myself, and it was becoming a big stress to have the house clean enough for my clients, so to save myself stress- I hired someone to clean for me, she cleans the day before the session, so everything is spotless when my clients come over. It is money well spent, I photoshop while she cleans- all while my son is in kindergarten! If there is anything you can hire out- do it!! I state up front on my website that I work from my home in order to spend more time with my children. My marketing material and images project a certain professional appearance- I don't want any nasty surprises when they walk into my home instead of a nice studio, so I make sure they know before hand where I work, but I don't apologize for it. I do it this way in order to spend more time with my family, and I make sure they know it. Be sure to display your best images. I know you probably have pics of little Johnny from before you learned to use that camera, that you just LOVE. Hang them up in your bedroom! You sell what you show, make the investment to make your children's images that are displayed in your home amazing. Show your clients when they walk in your house, how their homes could look if they choose to decorate with portrait art. The living area of my home is decorated with my family's images, but in my working area I display my best client images. It was hard to put up client images in my home at first, but I have gotten over it. Your clients need to see your best work, and that is not always of your own kids. Working in your home doesn't have to be a disadvantage, market it so that your clients can see how it helps them. You can say on your website that because you work from your home and only accept a certain number of clients a day, "You don't have to rush", or that it is " A warm and relaxed atmosphere" etc. Even though I still long for that beautiful, status boosting studio space, as I look at my kids- no longer so little- I am so glad I chose this path. I spend far more time working than I should, but that is a different guilt I have to live with, I still get to be home with my family, choose my own hours because I don't have studio bills to pay, and make cookies for the kiddos every once in a while. I feel like I have the best of both worlds, I get to do what I love, and spend time with the people I love too. Shellie Secretan This N That Photography www.tntphotography.ca

LORI NORDSTROM

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LORI NORDSTROM

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Preparing for the Maternity by Lori Nordstrom
Maternity sessions have grown in popularity over the years. Women used to be timid about their pregnant bodies, and now the pregnant form is celebrated! This is great for photographers, and especially for those specializing in maternity and newborns (like me!). A lot of photographers see my work and think that I must just love photographing maternity sessions. The truth is, I really really love photographing newborns! Photographing a maternity session helps me form a bond with the new mom, and assures that she'll bring the baby in. I like to photograph moms 4-5 weeks before the due date. At this time, their bellies are big and round, but they aren't bloated all over... that time does come, just before delivery, when a woman is pregnant from nose to toes! When preparing moms for the maternity session, I want to be sure to cover a few things. I do this during a phone consultation 2-3 days before the session. The first thing I want to do in the phone consult is just get to know the mom a bit. I want some things to talk about when she comes in. I'll ask how she's felt during the pregnancy, how her husband is handling things, etc. I want her to feel comfortable with me and know that I care about her. Next, I'll try and get a feel for her comfort zone. She will usually tell me right away how "brave" she is going to get! This is a good time to reassure my client that it's my job to make sure that she is beautiful in the images! I want to sell them after all... I will let her know that anything she wants retouched will be retouched. I want her to feel amazing about this very special time in her life. During this phone consultation, I want to find out if we are going to do wraps or MamaThredz clothing, or if she is going to get really brave and do some "nudes" or partial nudes. I reassure my client during the phone consult and again at the session that nothing will be shown in the images that she won't feel comfortable showing her child in 10 years - or her dad for that matter! Even the images that i take that appear to be nude, my client is 99% of the time at least wearing underwear. I will tell her to wear the skimpiest pair that she can find and that I will be retouching the sides of her undies off! This usually gets the picture across that I do want "skimpy"! I always start the session in what the client wears in. This helps them relax and get used to what's going on. We can chat during this part of the session and catch up on what's going on in her pregnancy. I ask the client to wear in a favorite outfit from pregnancy. This could be a fun dress, something her husband loved her in, even pj's work! I just want her comfortable and relaxed. I work from there and will go with outfit #2, or a fabric wrap. For wraps I use cheese cloth and other sheer fabrics. I've even used curtain sheers- taken right off of a clients windows! I don't like to use the same thing again and again, so I encourage clients to bring their own "fabrics". This might be a shawl or thin blanket, or something knitted by a friend or family member. Practice wrapping before you are with a client to make that part run more smoothly. I always ask the client to bring a strapless bra for wrapping. This helps for support and for tucking the fabric into as you are wrapping the fabric around.

The biggest key during the session is to make sure mom stays relaxed. Have water, hot tea, crackers and other snacks available.

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Ask throughout the session if she is comfortable, needs to sit or to snack. If mom is bringing her significant other or children, I want to find out about this during our phone conversation, too. In either circumstance I want to make arrangements for just the new mommy and me. It's great to include the spouse and/or other children, but be sure to get some one-on-one with the new mommy. Sometimes I will photograph the couple and then tell dad that I want to do some special things just for him and wantit all to be a surprise. This makes it easy to send him away! When you do have dad there, be sure to include him in everything. Ask him questions and get his story. Maternity sessions are a great springboard to talk about products that you offer. Let them know about birth announcements, your image boxes that make great memory boxes for all of the newborn items, and of course books. I often plant seeds for book sales during the session by asking if I can write down something they've said. I let them know that what they just said would be great to add in the baby book!

LORI NORDSTROM STUDIO www.nordstromphoto.com http://nordstromphoto.typepad.com/blog/ Photographers, join me on http://phototalkforum.com PEPPER - Camera Accessories www.spiceupyourcamera.com
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[EQ

Emotional Intelligence refers

ability to connect with others within
to your

your world]

EQ

by by Tisha McCuiston

We all know what IQ is... but have you heard about EQ? Did you know that in your business, your EQ can make or break your business? Emotional Intelligence (EQ) refers to your ability to connect with others within your world. The balance you have in your life with others. It is your ability to read body language, interact with new people, your ability to express your feelings, be independent, self reliant and emotionally resilient. It is the ability to be an optimist but not afraid of failure. While speaking with a group of photography friends last month going over my pricing and how I run my business one of my friends looked up and said "Now that I know you in person I wonder how much of your success if based upon your personality?". I had never given it much thought but she is very right. The ability to walk into a complete stranger’s home and within an hour manage to feel like I have known them for years is indeed a gift that has made my business grow. Loving what you do shows instantly and being able to set your clients at ease is so important. One of my first classes I ever attended was put on by Jerry Ghionis and Bambi Cantrell. In the class, someone asked Jerry how in the world he gets his clients to agree to the poses, moving of furniture, going to places etc... and he simply answered "I ask them. Shy photographers go hungry." So true! You have to find the strength and courage to come out of your shell. If you are uncomfortable walking into a strangers home or asking a client if you can move furniture etc... your work will show it. I often hear from other photographers that they are so nervous before each session, and that they have no idea how to get a client to connect with them. I am going to share a few of the tips and tricks that help me connect with my clients.

~Be truly interested in their life. Ask them about themselves. Simple questions like "What do you do for a 13 living?" "How did you meet your husband?" "Are you from around here?" can really open up a conversation, help you get to know your client and them to feel more at ease with you, as well. I have yet to meet a client who minded these questions and often knowing what my clients do for a living has helped me cross-network and send work their way as well (Helping build studio loyalty). I do think this only works if you are someone, like me, who thinks everyone has an interesting story to tell. Being authentic in caring is something that folks will be able to tell instantly. If you are faking it...they will also know. ~Smile. Amazing how powerful a smile is! Remember to keep one on while working. It helps everyone warm up and feel more comfortable than working with a stressed out grump. ~Get on level with children and pets. Children and pets can sniff people who do not like them. Seriously, a child can tell almost instantly when they are in contact with an adult who doesn't enjoy them. Taking the time to play with a child or throwing a ball with the dog you will be shooting will go along way towards a successful session and beautiful images. ~Let your clients into your life. Just a bit...I am not saying have them over to dinner. But adding a client to your Facebook or telling them about your life and your family helps them relax with you. Once they feel they know you a bit better they will also trust you even more with their children, locations you would like to shoot, and concept sessions you may have in mind down the road. Often you will become friends with your clients. I tend to work heavily off of referrals. The more they know about me the more they can share with potential new clients. ~Know how to mess up. This is a huge one. We all make mistakes. The lab sends you a 16x20 that was sized from a 4x6 and it looks horrible. Your exposure was set incorrectly or your flashcard became unreadable. This is life. Learn how to own your mistakes and make it up to your client. My basic rule is "what would I expect if I were the client" and I follow that. If I make a mistake, I will reprint, reshoot, rewhatever to make my client happy. 80% of my money comes from my return-client base. This means keeping everyone happy is very important to me. On another note, you do not want to become the punching bag. We have all dealt with clients who want something for nothing. Learning to stand your ground will be important with those clients just the same. ~Stay positive and focused on your own business. I am a big believer if you say you can't do something enough times you will indeed not be able to do it. Whining about your competition, your equipment, your everything will not only make you miserable to be around, it will kill your business fast. A huge rule for me is to try and never speak negatively about another photographer - especially to a client. Gossiping about your competition only makes you look bitter and jealous. This will always put you in a negative light in your client’s eyes. If they had a problem with a past photographer you simply stay out of it. Change the subject.
Spending large amounts of time focusing on another's business is much like driving down a road in a rainstorm and instead of watching the road out of your own windshield you are trying to see the road through the car driving next to you. You will crash if this is the way you drive your business. Doing everything your competition does will hurt your business. Finding your own style, locations and rhythm. This will make your business shine amongst the many photographers out there now. Most important of all though is to truly be passionate and in love with what you do. Set the simple goal of

УBe Better Today Than You Were YesterdayФ
Edward James Olmos

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Closing thoughts
STOP comparing yourself! It's late and you're still up. You find yourself browsing other photographer's blogs and websites. You stumble upon a site/blog that is STUNNING and you feel this sickening feeling in your gut like someone just punched it.
We’re on the Web! See us at:

by Kelli France

{Look inward, not outward}

doing this Look inward for inspiration. In an online interview, Neil Diamond states, "I don't listen to a lot of music when I'm writing and, unfortunately, I'm writing most of the time. I don't like to pollute my brain with other people's stuff. I miss out on a lot. As soon as I finished writing this album, I immediately wanted to hear what music was out there." Sometimes the best way to find your style and to improve is the shut out the world and look inward. Try to find everyday things that inspire you like your children, your pet, or a sunset. Do some exploring within yourself and you will blossom to be the best you! Kelli France Le site: www.francephotography.com Ooh blog la: www.francephotography.com/blog Online Mentoring & more

You start a downward spiral of mental thoughts like "I suck" or "Why can't I create images like that?" Does this do you any good? Absolutely NOT! But I'll be every single one of us has been guilty of

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TAoPaN Main Site And ONLINE WORKSHOPS http://www.b--studio.com/

Need practice? We were tickled pink in our workshop forum when one of our students posted this stunning image of a doll! Lori wanted to work on her natural light and work she did! We had to do a double take when looking at this little precious creation. Way to go Lori!! Lori Ciaccio Photography www.lilangelsphoto.com Need help? Join us in our 24/7 workshop forum. Visit www.theartofpregnancyandnewborn.com We have students from around the world…the U.S, South Africa, U.K, Australia, Canada and more! All dedicated to the Art of Pregnancy and Newborn!

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