I love albums! They bring back so many memories of when I was a little kid. I remember going to my Grandmas house, digging through her closet, and sitting on the bed looking at all the family albums! I remember reading the names of the people written on the back side of the pictures and trying to imagine what they were doing and saying just before the picture was taken.
Albums are truly something we pass down from generation to generation. My kids love looking at the albums I've created for them. Each year we make a new one, sharing memories of the things we did throughout the year. The zoo, Easter, jumping through the sprinkler in the backyard. We also look through my albums when I was a kid. Those funny pictures our moms always took of us sitting in the tub, shampoo on our heads and goofy grins!
I absolutely love the albums my clients go home with. It's a great way for them to look back on their session and really gather family around for some great bonding time!
If you're wondering "do I really need an album?" The answer is simple - YES!
She's here! Little Vanessa has made her debut and she's just perfect. This momma may see familiar to you - we photographed her maternity session last month and it was hard finding the perfect location in the middle of winter - and everything being brown and dead still. But we managed and it was amazing.
Anyways - little Vanessa decided to come a week or so early and I don't blame her. She was running out of room in her Mommy's tummy! She entered this world weighing a little over 8lbs and she was alllll squishiness and I loved being able to hold her and snuggle in between set ups. Here are a few of my favorites!
When I first got the inquiry for twins I was super excited - I love photographing Twins! Then when I found out they were twin girls, I was even more excited! I can't help but love little girl sessions, but when you get to double all the pinks and purples? Bring it on!
Isla + Jade came into this world a month early. They were eager little girls who couldn't wait to meet their Mom and Dad! When they came into the studio they were still itty bitty at about 5lbs each and a month old. And they were perfect!
I wish I had sound vision (is that a thing)? These girls talked to each other, the whole 4 hours! I'm not exaggerating. They loved being next to each other and they would make the cutest noises!
Do you print your pictures?
No - really - did you print the pictures from your first kiddo's newborn session? Where are they? Are they stuck on a disk "somewhere" in the house?
I'll be honest with you here. Real honest. I don't have any of my kiddos newborn pictures printed. Yes - I'm a photographer and even I don't have those pictures printed. There's no pretty album sitting on my coffee table of that one time in their lives where I thought I was losing my mind but now I wish I could look back and really take in just how small and tiny they were.
I wish I had chosen a photographer who offered prints and albums.
I wish I had these beautiful portraits hanging on my walls.
I wish I had those pictures of their tiny little feet reminding me, every time I walk by, just how little they were.
Think about when you were growing up. Did your parents have albums for you to look through? Were there pictures on the walls? Granted, if you answered yes to either of those questions, I'm willing to bet they were from a corny department store setup. But what matters is that there were pictures - on the walls. When you look through an album, do you remember the moment those pictures were taken? How do they make you feel?
Portraits are more than "just pictures". They're memories. They bring us back in time. They make us smile. They make us happy. They remind us how little our babies were.
I want to offer you prints. I want to offer you memories. I want to bring you back in time and I want you to smile.
I'm not here to just push a button on my camera. I'm here to create memories for your family and to have some proof that those memories happened. That's why I think it's so important for my clients to have actual products with their sessions. I want you to have a beautiful album sitting on your coffee table that you can pick up at random and relive those moments. I want your little kids to point at a canvas on your wall and ask if that's them and for you to smile as you tell them the story of their newborn session! Remember how they slept the entire 4 hours? Or maybe they were wide-eyed the whole time.
You're not choosing me just to take pictures, you're choosing me to create those memories for you. You're choosing me to help you pick which pictures you want to display in your home or how many albums you need for your family.
And I can't wait to capture those memories.
I recently upgraded my newborn posing bean bag to a bigger, more "stand" like poser. It's by Paloma Schell and is supposed to be the best stand in the industry. Because safety is my number one concern when posing newborns I was looking for something that I was able to see exactly how much surface area I had to work with and this stand looked perfect! It's also a lot taller than my old stand which is easier on my back - added bonus!
I had heard there was a learning curve with the new stand so I sent out a model call on my Facebook page to find a wee little newborn to come into the studio for an hour or so while I got used to the new stand.
Here are some of the pictures I was able to take during the model call and I have to say I'm loving the new stand! I was able to sit up straight while shooting and found it easier to get some of the angles I needed. Editing was also a breeze with the new stand and the way it clamps to the background. I'm really looking forward to using this new stand for my newborn sessions.
This first one is a quick before and after so you can see how little editing I have to do on the background which will save me a ton of time and I'll be able to get pictures to clients a lot faster!
Recently I was contacted to do an interview with Voyage Magazine in Dallas! You can read my entire interview here: Dana Awkwardly Talks About Herself but if you don't have time, to skip around on the internet, here's what I had to say:
Today we’d like to introduce you to Dana Menendez.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Dana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Originally from Alberta, Canada, I came to Texas when I was 18. I always had a passion for photography, but it wasn’t until I had my first child that I decided to pursue it as a career. I took newborn photos of my first child and they were quite an amateur effort! It was then that I realized how much goes into newborn photography: the training, the safety measures, and the never-ending search for props and backdrops.
I started slowly, learning as much as I could and shooting free sessions for some very patient and understanding parents as I learned the craft. Once I was confident in my work, I began charging for my sessions several years ago. The work of a photographer like me is to never be satisfied with where I’m at but to continue learning different techniques and adapting to trends and customer desires.
Has it been a smooth road?
The most important decision I made for both myself and my clients was not offering paid sessions until I felt like my work was of a professional level that I myself would pay someone else to do. This was a difficult choice since the tendency of new photographers is to buy your first professional camera and start charging fees right away — after all, you have equipment you have to pay for now. But you’re not going to keep clients if you charge money for sessions well before you have established your style and workflow.
The biggest challenge for professional photographers is that now everyone is walking around with a camera in their pocket, so the natural, unstated feeling from people is “why would I pay someone to take my pictures? My smartphone does a pretty good job.” I take snapshots of my life with my smartphone, too! But clients aren’t paying me for snapshots; they are paying for lighting, setups, safety, experience, editing, and so much more that goes into creating unique art to capture important moments in their lives. Communicating this to potential clients is an ongoing challenge.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Dana Menendez Photography story. Tell us more about the business.
I am a photographer, specializing in maternity and newborn photography. To be honest, what sets me apart from many photographers out there is that I have paid attention to all the details of running a business: I have trained extensively in newborn photography and the only attempt poses that I know to be safe for the baby. I pay taxes, my business is insured, and my equipment is properly maintained. The software I use for editing is properly licensed. To me, these are the differences between the serious hobbyist and the professional who intends to be around for years to come.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I see the challenge for photographers justifying why they charge for their art continuing with technological advancements that fit in your pocket. There will always be a difference between the images you can capture with a tiny image sensor and simulated digital effects versus lenses that need their own backpack and studio lighting that takes up half a room. Photographers are going to continue to be challenged to educate clients and potential clients that professional photography is relevant and results in the creation of unique, beautiful art.
Sometimes it's hard finding locations here in Texas when it's the end of winter because everything is just dry and brown and dead! It really is my least favorite time of year, but when someone contacts me for a maternity session it's not like I can say "Hey - can you hold off on being pregnant so we can take pretty pictures in the summer?". When Lily contacted me for a Maternity session I will admit I was a bit nervous that we would find a location that had something other than dead trees. I decided to check out one of my favorite spots in Plano - Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. I have some favorite spots that I know are always green, even in the middle of winter, but I wanted something different for her session. After walking around for a bit I finally found "the spot" and it was like a shining beacon in the middle of a dark and brown land. A beautiful tree had just bloomed! Ok, I'll be honest with you, I have no idea what kind of tree this was, but I knew with the maternity gown Lily had chosen, that this tree was going to be the perfect backdrop. Because this tree was a bit of hike, I told Lily to wear comfortable shoes - I think the bit of hiking we did was totally worth it though, don't you think?
Yep - I just love her! She came into the studio for a modeling session so I could test out my new lighting and I'm in love with the pictures I took! This session turned out some of my favorite pictures. I'm thinking about changing up some of my studio samples and having these pictures be a feature! I think they would look amazing as a large canvas grouping or on a wood heirloom cluster. Stay tuned - I will post pictures when they arrive!
How amazing is this little guys name? Knox! I love it. It might be one of my top 5 favorite names for a baby boy. Well, Knox came in for a wrapped up mini session - and he rocked it. This isn't the first time I've photographed this family. His older brother also came in to see me for newborn pictures!
This past week I got to photograph Baby Nate! I took his sisters newborn pictures almost 3 years ago and I was so excited when his family asked me to be his newborn photographer! I absolutely love his session and it was hard to narrow down my favorites! We did a mini newborn session so it lasted about 60 minutes.
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