MUSINGS OF A PORTRAIT ARTIST
Monday, September 18, 2017
By Irene Abdou Photography, LLC, Professional Headshot Photographer
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I originally met Juliet Mandler of Everyday Events LLC - wedding & event planner extraordinaire - more than a year earlier when she was helping one of her engaged couples in their search for their wedding photographer. Seven months later, we were both working booths at a community vendor fair, and Juliet happened to see one of my business cards with an environmental portrait of a home remodeler on the back. "Do you do business portraits?" she asked. "I like my old headshot, but I want to replace it with something current," she explained.

 

Some months later, another e-mail from Juliet popped into my inbox:

 

"I want to have an [in-studio headshot] image where somewhere in the background (if it works out this way, on a table) is a table setting that I will create. Have you ever done this before? I would love to talk more, but am off site for a wedding today and tomorrow. I'll touch base with you next week."

 

When we did speak on the phone, she described her vision further.

 

"The logo for my event & wedding planning business is gold and teal. I want to incorporate those colors and the feel of my brand into my headshots. I will start thinking about some kind of table design to be in the background..."

In the end, we decided to set up in the dining room of our Clarksburg, Maryland photography studio, which has a photogenic wood table and buffet and green walls to match her brand colors.  Notice the gold glow in the background of her business portraits?  On the floor and hidden behind the buffet is a light with an orange gel (a sheet of orange plastic) covering it.  The light is pointed upwards along the wall to look like uplighting that you'd see at a wedding, and the orange color of the gel mixes with the green paint of the wall to make the light gold color that you see there.  I love that I was able to make the colors go perfectly with the teal and gold of her brand!

 

We began with her standing, then sitting in front of the table on a chair for a more formal business portrait.  Then... creativity unleashed!  Juliet got to work doing exactly what she does best: taking a hodge podge of table settings and accent decor items and turning them into a feast of beauty and color!

 

Everyday Events LLC makes every celebration memorable, fun, and worry-free!  Do you have something extra-special to celebrate?  Visit Every Day Events LLC online here, and take the stress out of planning!  And finally, a fun tidbit: I also learned that Juliet and her brother are former competitive ballroom dancers, and Everyday Events also offers dance lesson packages!

Are you & your business unique & creative?

If so, you need unique & creative headshots to match.

Many thanks to Juliet for writing this awesome 5-star review of our professional headshot services on Yelp!

Well what are you waiting for? There's no other headshot photographer better at understanding and meeting the unique needs of the successful professional.

 
Monday, September 11, 2017
By Irene Abdou Photography, LLC, Newborn Photographer
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1. Not doing your newborn photography session in the first 10-12 days of life

 

If you’ve never worked with a professional newborn photographer before, you likely wouldn’t know that the best time for newborn photography is in the first 10-12 days of your baby’s life, because this is when your baby will be the sleepiest. Imagine trying to create baby pictures of an awake baby, arms and legs flailing, fingers in the mouth, private baby parts immodestly displayed… At the newborn stage, it’s much, much more difficult to capture beautiful newborn photography of an awake baby than a sleeping baby. This isn’t to say that if you wait until day 20 or 30 that newborn photography is impossible. It can still be done, however, your professional newborn photography session will likely result in a smaller quantity and variety of images, the longer you wait.

 

Wait beyond 45 days, and the classic sleeping baby pictures of babies in bowls and in adorable positions with their bums in the air, etc., are most likely no longer possible. By this point, your baby is much too awake and is also no longer as “curly” and flexible as s/he was during the first 10-12 days when still used to being curled up in your womb.

 

One final caveat: doing your newborn photography session early is no guarantee that your baby will sleep. Every baby is different; the goal will be to get your baby to sleep most or at least some of the time. And the earlier your newborn photography session takes place, the easier it will be to coax your baby back to sleep after s/he wakes.

 

So need I say it? I know you’re busy, but you need to book your professional newborn photography session before your baby is born! (And I don’t mean in the weeks before your due date.) Your baby’s newborn moments are fleeting. They’re once in a lifetime and will be gone before you know it.

2. Eating the wrong foods or drinking the wrong drinks in the days leading up to your newborn photography session

 

I already explained why we’re going to want your baby to sleep through most of his/her newborn photography session.  If you’re breastfeeding, then some of the responsibility for this falls on you!  Certain foods can make babies fussy, agitated, or otherwise uncomfortable, and drinking caffeinated drinks like coffee can also keep your baby from sleeping.

 

The half-life of caffeine in newborns is up to 5 ½ days, so stop drinking coffee at least 6 days before your newborn photography session.  For foods to avoid in the 48 hours leading up to your newborn photography session, check out these two guides:

 

3. Not personalizing your newborn photography

 

You’re unique, and your baby is going to be unique and special and one of a kind. So why settle for cookie-cutter newborn photography? Instead, personalize your newborn photography session to make it truly your own and representative of your achievements, style, and values. We have a separate guide on how to personalize your newborn photography session, which you can get here.

4. Not being in some of the newborn photos yourselves

 

During a newborn photography session, we spend most of the session photographing just your baby. But we typically also create some photographs of mom & baby, dad & baby, sibling(s) & baby, and the entire family. Now, after having been pregnant for 9 months and after just giving birth to a beautiful newborn baby, I understand that you may not feel as photogenic as you’d like. It’s easy to slip into the mindset of just wanting photographs of your newborn baby, and not wanting to be in any of the photographs yourself. This would be a mistake! This newborn photography isn’t just for you. This collection of baby pictures is a legacy that you will leave behind for your future generations. When your baby grows up, s/he will treasure these baby pictures of his/her earliest moments with the two of you like nothing else, and I promise, your child will not care if you gained weight during your pregnancy or if you look a little bit tired.

 

In fact, let me tell you a true story. We once had a newborn photography client who didn’t really care to be in any photographs with her newborn son. When we spoke about it, she said, “Well, if you really want to, you can take some photos of the baby with my husband and me, but I don’t really care.” We did create family portraits of the three of them, as well as mom & baby and dad & baby portraits. And can you guess what happened at their “photo reveal,” when they saw their baby pictures? They chose a family portrait of the three of them to be the largest of a 5-piece canvas gallery wrap love grouping to hang on their living room wall!

5. Choosing the wrong newborn photographer (for you)

 

Newborn photography is a very distinct specialty that requires very different skills than other types of portrait photography. Beyond that, not every newborn photographer is created equal! Even if you follow everything else I’ve put forth in this guide, choose the wrong newborn photographer, and your baby’s newborn photography session will be a spectacular fail instead of a spectacular success. Here is a checklist of things to consider to help you determine which professional photographer is the right fit for YOU.

 

  • Does the professional photographer you’re considering have a newborn photography portfolio? (And do you like the photographer’s newborn pictures?)

 

 

  • Do you want to do your newborn photography session in your home or at the photographer’s studio? Check if the photographer will do this, since some photographers work only in-home or only in-studio.

 

  • Will the newborn photographer supply all wraps, blankets, and backdrops? What types of props will the photographer provide? (Some newborn photographers don’t provide any of this, whereas other photographers may supply these items only for in-studio sessions.)

 

  • Meeting in-person prior to your newborn photography session is very helpful for planning purposes, and also gives your photographer the opportunity to get to know you, your likes/dislikes, and your personality so s/he can create newborn photography that fits you and that you’ll love. You’ll also feel more comfortable on the day of the session if you’ve already met your newborn photographer. Not all photographers will meet you in person before the session. Will the photographer you’re considering do this?

 

  • Will the photographer cull images? There will never be a photography session (of any kind) where every single photograph created is a good one. Would you rather be handed 200 baby photos that you have to delve through to find 40 good ones? Or would you rather your newborn photographer do this work for you?

 

  • Will the photographer edit/retouch images? Let’s be honest. Newborn baby skin is not the beautiful skin of an older baby. In fact, newborn baby skin is not pretty. Ask your newborn photographer if s/he performs editing and retouching.

 

 

  • Think beyond (and before) the newborn photography session. Would you also like a maternity photography session? In that first year of your child’s life, s/he will change so fast and achieve so many “firsts.” Would you like additional baby photography sessions during that first year to document those once-in-a-lifetime moments? Ask the photographer if s/he offers baby photography plans. These are multi-session plans covering the period from pregnancy to your child’s first birthday and typically come with discounts not available when booking individual baby photography sessions.
 
Friday, September 08, 2017
By Irene Abdou Photography, LLC, Pet Photographer
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A few months ago, we featured an equine photography session from Alysoun's Rescue Ranch. So I thought today, I'd share with you the final fruits of our labor... 4 wall portrait love groupings comprised of 15 canvas gallery wraps to decorate the farmhouse, waiting to be picked up and installed! Alysoun wanted each of four rooms (three bedrooms and a living room) to feature one animal, so we created a love grouping each for the horses, Charlie, Henry, and Caroline, and a fourth for Marina, the dog!

Pets are family too. Get pet photography worth a king's ransom.

 
Friday, September 01, 2017
By Irene Abdou Photography, LLC, Family Photographer
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The T's received their family photography session with us as a gift from Dean's father.

 

"We used to do yearly family portrait sessions, then our family photographer moved," Dean said at our pre-session planning & design meeting. "It's been 3 years since our last family photography session, and we've really been wanting to do another session."

 

The T's wanted to do outdoor family portraits. We mulled over the idea of heading out to Lady Bird Johnson Park in Arlington, VA where they had gotten married, but in the end, they settled for beautiful Sugarloaf Mountain in Dickerson, Maryland.

 

On the day of the family photography session, the three kids were in extra-high spirits and our session was filled with laughter and fun! Their joie de vivre is bursting at the seams in these summer family portraits. Enjoy some of my favorite images from their outdoor family photography session below!

 
Friday, August 25, 2017
By Irene Abdou Photography, LLC, Boudoir Photography Maryland
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I'm interested in setting up a boudoir photography appointment for my wife. She's excited about the idea, but would like a female boudoir photographer if possible.

 

I was able to connect by phone with D. and his wife, H., that evening.

 

"I'm more nervous than excited," H. said. "We're hoping to start a family very soon, and I would really like to do a boudoir photography session before that. I just took a photography class at NOVA Community College. I love art, and your boudoir photography looks amazing."

 

And so we set the date for H's boudoir planning & design meeting, which she would attend without her husband to keep our vision for her classy boudoir photos a surprise. We planned for three themes/outfits/settings. Two of the outfits we selected were bodysuits that her husband had ordered from Europe because of H's background as a gymnast. Those bodysuits turned out soooo sexy and amazing! I have been a big fan of bodysuits ever since H's boudoir photography session. H. is also a painter, and so we also planned for her to bring a canvas she was working on, together with her paints and brushes and palette. Picture this... H., on a bed, painting a blue sky/ocean scene while wearing a burgundy lingerie set. How much sexier could she possibly get? In another scene, we brought in her husband's stethoscope and anatomy textbook. I heard afterwards from H. that her husband really loved those boudoir photos that incorporated his job!

 

A few weeks after H's boudoir photography session, D. and H. both came back to the boudoir studio for their "photo reveal" and ordering appointment. This boudoir photography session was for her husband, and with H's input, he chose his top 66 favorite images for a beautiful 30-page boudoir photo album, along with a 16x24 canvas gallery wrap to hang in their bedroom. They were so excited! Check back later for photos of their finished boudoir album and wall portrait, and in the meantime, enjoy some of my favorite boudoir photos from H's boudoir photography session!

 
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