Too much information – Learning to be a parent

I asked my friend Michelle Smith, owner and founder of Embracing Babies, Certified Postpartum Doula, and Sleep Coach, what advice she would give first time parents. She wrote this wonderful article for me to share with you all:

     Congratulations! You are pregnant! Or, maybe you just had a baby. You have read every book with the terms baby, pregnancy and birth in the title and in some ways you feel more prepared and in other ways you actually feel more overwhelmed than before. One book tells you to co-sleep, the other tells you to keep that baby next to you in a crib, the third says put baby in the crib on the first night. One book says let your baby cry it out, the next book says never let your baby cry. The problem with all of these books is that they often times disagree with each other leaving the person reading more confused after putting the books down than when they picked them up in the first place.

Here’s the thing, too much of anything is never a good thing, information included. As a Certified Postpartum Doula, I have come across hundreds of moms who have memorized quotes from several books and come to me with more questions than the moms who sort of just “wing it” or go with the flow of things if you will.

The truth is, there is no right or wrong way to do this. Pregnancy is your journey into parenthood and while books are wonderfully packed with information, they are instantly out of date once printed, they don’t update themselves with new studies as they come out, and they have never met you or baby.

You see, one size doesn’t always fit all. Sure, there are blanket statements that can be true for many, and statistics are based on facts, but even still… You are the only you there is, ever was, and ever will be. The same goes for your baby. So, what should you do? Follow your instincts primarily, add a healthy serving of research and reading, and lastly- don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help. If you always do your best, and ask for help when it’s needed…You will not go wrong. You are going to be the exact mommy / daddy your baby needed. You will learn as you go, and your baby will love you every step of the way.

~ Michelle Smith IAT, CPD

A little more about Michelle Smith~ In addition to being the owner and founder of Embracing Babies, is a Certified Postpartum Doula, Sleep Coach and Postpartum Doula Trainer. Michelle also writes educational articles for birth and postpartum magazines. Michelle’s past experience includes being a high profile, professional nanny for over 14 years. She is a member of ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association), and INA (International Nannies Assoc). She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA but travels to clientele both in and out of the country. Michelle can be contacted by visiting her website:

5 ways to protect your Digital Images


People used to fear losing their most prized possessions including photographs to a fire or a hurricane. Nowadays you could easily lose your favorite images to a virus, phone in the sink, bad camera card, or by just forgetting where you saved them in the fist place. In the past few years digital technology has grown so much that now everyone has a camera in their pocket. And there are more images now taken in one day then there used to be in the entire year. However many of us still don’t take the time to properly save those images and protect ourselves from the pain of losing them.

I hear too many horror stories from people who lost their images because a camera card got corrupted, they dropped the camera in the water during vacation, their phone got lost/stolen/ damaged, computer caught a virus, or their child dropped it, and a recent shocking story: a family member accidentally synced another’s phone with his/her iTunes.

So, here they are, 5 ways to protect your digital images. The more of these practices you put in action on regular basis, the more protected your images will be!

1. Don’t keep your photos on your phone or camera
Please download your images off your phone and camera card as often as possible! I do it after every session. I know it’s my job, but it is also my fear. There are different ways to save your images to a computer. Most people use the softwares that support your phone or camera. You can also use a card reader for your camera card, connect it directly to your computer, and copy the images over. The last one is my favorite way of doing it. Just find a way that works for you and make it a habit.

2. Organize your images
Keep all your images in one place on your computer. Don’t make multiple folders for different sets of images on your desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders. Keep them all in one place, in one folder, and make subfolders to organize them. If you have them in different places on your computer, you will forget where they are and might leave them behind when changing the computer, or accidentally delete them.

If you use a software to download your images from your camera, like iPhoto, take a little time to watch a tutorial for it on YouTube so you know well how it works, and know exactly where that software stores your images on the computer (iPhoto, for example, stores them in the iPhoto Library in the Pictures folder.) Try not to use different methods to download your images. If you do, they will end up in different places, you might have duplicates, and might get confused and delete some images when trying to organize them. If this is where you are now, dedicate an afternoon to find all the images on your computer, put them all in one folder, organize in subfolders, and only then delete the duplicates. And don’t be shy to ask a friend if you need help figuring it out.

My-Photo-folders3. Back up, back up, and back up!
And I will say it again, BACK UP! Very few people I talk to back up their images, and some don’t know how to do it. This is very, very, very important. You can not rely on one piece of equipment, wether it’s your computer, phone, or anything else. It’s not the matter of IF it fails you, it’s the matter of WHEN. The easiest way to do this, is by using online file back up services. Just google “on-line computer backup.” You can back up your entire computer, and set it to automatically and regularly backs up your new data.

4. Lock up your images in a safe place
One of my clients told me that she keeps the CDs from our portrait sessions at her safe deposit box. I though this was a brilliant idea. Now that you have all your images in one place, you can copy them on an external hard drive, or a jump drive, and keep it somewhere safe. Just go to Office Depot, Best Buy, Fry’s, or any other electronics store and ask for an external hard drive or a jump drive with enough capacity for your data. Plug in on-to your USB drive, copy the folders you want to back up, and keep it somewhere safe. Don’t forget to add your new images to it every month or so.

5. Print your photographs
Printed portraits have been passed over for generations now. Unfortunately living in the digital age this seems to be becoming a dying art. But there is nothing more personal and homey in your place then a beautiful portrait of your children and family decorating your walls. Of course you don’t want to hang every photo you have on the wall, and this is when photo books come in. There are lot of websites that make photo books now. Some are beautiful fine art books, and others are more affordable. Imagine having a shelve in your home with a book for every calendar year. Pick a date every year to sit down, filter your images down to your favorites, and upload them to a website to order a book. To make it easier, delete the images you don’t like as soon as you take them or download them to your computer. You don’t need 10 versions of the same photo, you only need the best one.


There is nothing that helps us relieve the joy of a special moment more than a photograph or a video. I hope this helps you protect your images. By the way, these practices also apply to your family movies.

Please SHARE and PIN this page to spread awareness and save more people from the heartache of losing their images. If you have a question feel free to contact me, I’ll be happy to help. You can also leave a comment below.

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When is the best time to photograph babies?

When is the best time to Photograph Babies?

All my clients with babies ask me the same question at one point or another: When is the best time to photograph the baby? I get this question so often, that I decided to dedicate a post to it.

There are milestones that happen only once in a lifetime, and whatever you do, try not to miss capturing these milestones in your baby’s life.

1. Newborn Portraits

The first stage is of course infancy. Newborn photography is very big, yet some parents avoid having photographed their newborn babies, thinking that they are too tiny and always asleep, so there isn’t much to photograph. However, those are the things that make this milestone so special. Close up Photograp of a Newborn baby-girlThink about it, the most adorable and precious pictures you have ever seen of babies were mostly of newborns. This is the shortest stage in our life, the very first moments of existence, it only lasts a few days, how would you not want to have beautiful professional images of it? This is the time when you should have close-up detail images of their feet, hands, eyelashes… and those adorable sleeping images of them in different curled-up poses.These poses can only be done with newborn babies of up to 10 days old. Why so early? Because only at this time they feel comfortable in those poses. They are also less sensitive to touch and sound, so they stay asleep longer and the photographer can model them into those adorable poses and capture some beautiful images.Newborn Photography Los Angeles Baby Girl Ava 01 In about two weeks after birth baby’s physiology starts changing. They are not as flexible anymore and don’t feel comfortable in infant poses. They start sleeping less and become more sensitive to touch and sound. And may start getting colicky. These factors make a portrait session very challenging for both baby and photographer. Therefor, newborn photography sessions need to be done before the baby is 10 days old, or at most 2 weeks oldNewborn Photography Los Angeles AT Studios Ryder 07Some parent’s prefer to wait till the baby is three-four month old, but in my opinion, it’s not even necessary to have a professional session at that age. The babies are in transition for about six months after birth. During that time the portraits that can be captured of them are lying on their back, or on stomach pulling themselves up. It’s a good idea to have a mini session to capture them in that age, but a full session is not necessary.

2. Six Month Baby Portrait Session

Baby-girl-Isabella-1The next stage is between six to seven months old, when the baby just starts sitting. Imagine this, all they can do is sit there, smile, and make all the cute and adorable faces they make around this age, and they can’t go anywhere! How great is that!!! This is when you can have a lot of fun. Baby boy Ryan 2You can dress them up in different outfits, you can have shots indoor and outdoor, and have different fun setups. It’s also very easy to get their attention, they can’t crawl away to something that looks more interesting yet. This is the time to capture the baby giggling and clapping and doing cute and funny faces. 6-month-baby-girl-nellas-photoshoot-in-her-nursery-3This is also a great time to capture some adorable portraits of the baby in his or her beautifully decorated nursery. Sessions at this age can get very fun and creative.

3. One Year Celebration

Than you can skip a couple of months again to the one year session, when the baby is already crawling and standing, and you can have a very dynamic and fun birthday celebration session with a yummy cake. Babies are very active at this age, they want to explore, they are very fast and they are now standing! These pictures are all about catching the right moment!

You can have some creative indoor or outdoor shots and than let the baby go crazy and messy with a birthday cake. If you are having a party the same day you are doing the photoshoot, than you will probably have a nice fancy cake.

Lori's-one-year-old-photo-session-4Of course you should include it in the pictures but remember to buy a back up cake for the fun images, because you don’t want to ruin the real cake and you must have the cake-face pictures. The back up cake can be small, and because it’s just for the baby, try getting something the baby will like the taste of, you want him or her to really dig into it!

As you see all these stages are different and worth having a professional session. When you think about it, it’s only three milestones in one year, but very important ones. The problem is, that babies grow up so fast, and being a parent takes up so much time, that many parents miss these milestone when they should have a professional session done.  It makes me sad when a parents ask me “When is the best time to photograph my baby?” and they have already missed that time. Sometimes they have such a disappointed look on their face, it breaks my heart.2-year-old-baby-girl-stellas-photo-session-5

If you are working with a professional photographer, he or she must have a baby package that includes all those milestone, and you can just purchase that package and he/she should take care of everything, so you don’t miss out on documenting any important events of your babies life. Just make sure to take care of this before the baby arrives, so you don’t miss out on anything. Contact me if you are interested in my baby portrait plan and I will tell you all about it.One-and-a-half-year-old-baby-girl-Valentina's-Photography-Session-3If you have any questions, feel free to email me or post a comment. I will be happy to help you out. To see more posts and images please go to the recent posts. Explore my website to learn more about my Newborn Photography as well as Baby Child Family and Maternity photography services.

CLICK HERE to read what my clients of Newborn and Baby photography sessions in Los Angeles area have to say about their photography experience with me.


Baby and Newborn Photography Los Angeles)

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Cutest Kid Contest

My Birthday is coming up and I decided to celebrate it this year by hosting a CUTEST KID CONTEST and giving away a baby or child photo session to one cute and lucky winner. I thought It would also be a good opportunity for all mommies to brag about their kids for a few days. What can be more fun than that?! 🙂

It’s a Facebook contest, so to enter your kiddo, please go to our Facebook page ( and send us a message there. In your message tell us something cute about your kiddo and add a link to his/her photo from your Facebook album. The contest is open to all babies and children from 6 months to 12 years old. All photos will be posted up for voting on Monday.

You will have to be our Facebook fan to be able to participate, so don’t forget to click the “Like” button on our page. And feel free to email, pin, and share this post to tell your friends about the contest.

I hope to see your cutie in our contest and then in front of my camera! 😉
Good luck!!!

( Baby and Newborn Photography Los Angeles)

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Cutest-Kid-Contest-2013Explore our website to learn more about our Newborn Baby Child Maternity and Family Photography Services in Los Angeles Area.

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Deadlines for Holiday Cards and Photo Sessions

It’s the holiday season again! The family photography season, and the time to start thinking about holiday cards and gifts for your loved ones. A.T. Studios offers it all… family portrait sessions to capture memories for your family to enjoy for a lifetime, custom designed holiday cards in the most trendy sizes, shapes and finishes, and gift certificates in any amount.

The deadline for photo sessions is November 25th. You need to have your session booked by that date in order to have your portraits ready by December 15th. It is already November and the dates have been filling fast. We still have a few sessions available, so please contact us for booking. And make sure to ask as about the November Special!

If you had a session with us recently and would like to order Holiday Cards, please contact us by November 30th and your cards will be ready by December 15th.

There is of course no deadline for purchasing Gift Certificates, so feel free to contact us at anytime and we will male it out for you.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions!
We are Wishing You a Wonderful Holiday Season!!!

( Baby and Family Photography Los Angeles)

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Kids Mini Photo Sessions

A.T. Studios & Pelitos Hair Salon for Kids put together a special Halloween event with Mini Portrait Sessions for your kiddos, to celebrate the Harvest season and capture their cute smiles and adorable costumes. The event will take place on Saturday, October 27th.

Each kiddo will have a 20 minute photo session with 2 backgrounds and 2 outfit changes to capture 2 portraits: one with their cute Halloween outfit, and one dressy portrait. This way you will have a photo of their 2012 Halloween look, and a beautiful dressy portrait that you can hang on your wall and share with your family and friends. You may also book a fun makeover with professionals at the Pelitos Hair Salon for your little ones, and make this experience even more exciting for them.

We only have 16 sessions available, so call today to reserve your spot (818) 590-8325

( Baby and Children Photography Los Angeles)

Explore our website to learn more about our Newborn Baby Child Maternity and Family Photography Services in Los Angeles Area.

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Triple Gift Promotion to Benefit Operation Smile

From December 6th to 14th in the spirit of the holiday season,  A.T. Studios is running a special promotion to raise money for Operation Smile. We are calling it a Triple Gift Promotion, because you get to purchase a photo session at a holiday price for yourself or as a gift for someone, receive Beyonce’s new perfume Pulse as a gift, and we will be gifting 50% of the proceeds from your purchase to Operation Smile.

Operation Smile is a charity organization that treats children around the world who suffer with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities. It is a worldwide children’s medical charity founded in 1982, dedicated to helping children and young adults who are born with facial deformities. In as little as 45 minutes and for only $240, one cleft lip surgery can change a child’s life forever. Within Operation Smile’s 26 partnering countries, over 100,000 children are born each your with a facial deformity and tens of thousands remain untreated. With your help we want to raise money to contribute in making a difference in these children’s lives.

When we learned about Operation Smile and saw the images of these children, it was impossible for us not to get emotional. We can’t imagine the difficulties these children would be faced with if this organization did not exist. There are still tens of thousands waiting for donations that could change their lives, and we would love to hear that number go down.

Lets make a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate then us.
Make a direct donation to Operation Smile

Explore out website to learn more about our Newborn Baby Child Maternity and Family Photography Services in Los Angeles Area.


Ornament Holiday Cards and Magnets

I love all the new shapes of holiday cards that I can offer you this year! And most of them can be used as ornaments! What excites me even more is that you can give it a little twist and send it to your friends and family as a refrigerator magnet! How cool is that?!?!?!  For once you will actually get to see it decorating their home when you go visit them. Who doesn’t have room for a magnet on their fridge? or wouldn’t like an extra ornament on their tree, especially if it’s printed on a beautiful pearl-finish paper?

These are few of the shapes and designs, actually my favorite ones, but there are many more. And the designs can be fully customized.

Everyone who had a session with me this year, can order these beautiful cards to send their holiday wishes to their friends and family. But hurry up if you want to have it by Christmas, because there is a deadline!

Explore out website to learn more about our Newborn Baby Child Maternity and Family Photography Services in Los Angeles Area.

Album and Wall Portrait Options for Newborn Baby and Child Photography

Where did you get your last prints done? Did your photographer provide you with professional high quality prints and products? Are you happy with what you purchased? Did you make the right decisions?

Scheduling a photo session is one thing, having to decide what products to get with the images is another. Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions, it’s the photographers job to educate you and show you all the different options you have. Every photographer is different, and has it’s unique style, and so usually carries the products that best suit that style and the personal taste of the photographer. If you like the photographers style, you will most probably like the products he or she is offering, but if you are planning to get a specific product, make sure that photographer offers that product.

I am, for example, a big fan of ready to hang fine art wall portraits, and above is one of the few options that I love and offer to my customers. It takes a lot of time and money to find a perfect frame that will match with the image and with the decor of the room where you are planning to display it, especially if you have a custom size print, or a large print like a 20×30 or a 30×40. After a lot of effort you will finally find a perfect frame, but in a year or two if you decide to move, or redecorate, or rehang the image in a different room, the chances are that the frame will not be matching with the new decor or the new room. So you will either spend a lot of time and money again to find a new frame, or move the print to the attic or basement until you come around to finding a new frame, which in most cases turns out to be never. With ready to hang wall portraits, you don’t have to worry about any of that! You don’t have to worry about finding a perfect frame to much with the image and with your decor, you can move the portrait to different room/decor anytime, and you can easily built a collage wall. Collage walls are very popular these days, and ready to hang portraits are the perfect solution for it.

Another favorite product of mine is my digital custom-designed fine art album. When I first tell a client that they also have an option of purchase an album, they aren’t interested, they think it’s a classic book, like a scrap book, where I would assemble their printed images. when in fact it is all digitally designed from cover to cover.

Every album is unique and custom designed to best represent the character of the family or child, their lifestyle, and their images.

And my clients can customize it even more by choose from different types of fine art paper for the pages of the album. Each paper has a different texture and feel, and the paper is mounted on the thick pages of the album, from corner to corner, so there is no gap in the middle. I get to be creative and design something unique, and my clients get to have something no one else has.

When you work with a professional photographer ask about the products he or she offers, ask to see samples, try to find something unique, something that your neighbor doesn’t already have! After all you want customized products to go with your customized photo session! And remember, quality is the key! Don’t go after cheap prints, albums, frames and any other unprofessional “over the counter” photo products, spend your money wisely, better quality will last you longer and turn out cheaper, and you will save yourself a disappointment over seeing someone else with a professional product you decided not to buy.  Photographs are your memories, don’t be afraid to invest in them.

Explore our website to learn more about our Newborn Baby Child Maternity and Family Photography Services in Los Angeles Area.