Best Heirloom Gifts for your Newborn Baby | Newborn Photography Los Angeles | Baby-Girl Vivienne

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Newborn photography became very popular in the past ten years. Photographs of adorable sleeping babies in the first few days of their lives are so precious that expecting parents sometimes start to inquire and book a photographer in their first trimester. Having a custom artwork that features your perfect little baby is an amazing family heirloom, specially considering how quickly newborns change. But there are a few ways to make it even more special.

If you are having a newborn session, have a family portrait captured! As gorgeous as the individual newborn portraits are, you can only really tell how tiny the baby is, when parents are holding him or her. And, as much as you love your brand new little baby, the family portrait will probably be the one your child will truly cherish when he or she grows older. Imagine yourself having a photograph with your own parents when you were only a few days old. Wouldn’t that be magical? I think you would have that photograph proudly displayed somewhere in your home. And I know that most brand new mamas don’t really feel like being photographed only a few days after giving birth and caring for a newborn baby day and night, but do it for your little one and a professional photographer will know how to capture you in the most beautiful way.

Another way you can create an heirloom for your baby, is by writing a message, note, or a letter. How would you feel as an adult if you had a note or a letter that your parents wrote to you when you were a newborn? I always think it would be incredible to know what they felt like back then, what emotions they were going through, what their favorite thing was about me, what their hopes and dreams were at that time. Reading something that was written for you in the past feels truly extraordinary.

Couple of years ago I started suggesting the new parents who’s newborns I photographed to do this for their baby’s album, to write a note. They handwrite a note, and then I scan it into their baby’s photo album, and I usually place it right next to their very first family portrait where mom and dad are holding their tiny little newborn. Since then the fine art albums became the most requested product for my newborn sessions. Parents still get beautiful wall portrait collections to display in their home and enjoy it, but they get the album for their baby. Some keep it as an 18th birthday present, others order an extra parent’s copy that they can enjoy now, and I have some parents ordering an album for every milestone they have a portrait session for, and write a note for each book.

Newborn family portrait

“You were created with so much love my little Vivi. Mommy loves you.”

I think these are one of the sweetest memories you can create for your child. When he or she is 40, 50, 60 years old, these will probably be some of the favorite things he or she would have as a memory of you. Don’t put off your plans to get a family portrait. Sometimes years pass by and things are still not ideal. We all have an extra pound we wont to lose, there is always so much going on in our busy lives, but now is the perfect time! We have no idea what tomorrow is going to bring.

And write letters to your children. Write them before they are born, after they are born, when they say their first word, after you drop them off at school for the first time, or just when you feel proud of them. Let this be an insight to your love for them. Make these a family tradition.

The photos in this post are of beautiful baby-girl Vivienne. I chose to feature her session as a part of this post because she has a photograph with her mommy and daddy, and above is a page from her photo album with the notes they wrote for her. You can find few fragments of their beautiful words in the video below. Vivienne’s mama also wrote a review about their photography experience with me. If you would like to read it, it’s on the testimonials page on my website.

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Yelp review from Vivienne’s mommy. Sadly Yelp put it in the filtered section, but you can still see it there. And, you can find more newborn photography reviews on my website.

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Newborn Photographer Los Angeles | Baby-Boy BRANDON

Newborn photographer Los Angeles

This adorable little guy is Brandon. One of the reasons why his newborn photography session stood out to me, was that he came with his daddy. His mommy stayed home honoring their cultural postpartum traditions. Usually the baby is accompanied by his/her mommy. It was wonderful to see a brand new daddy at the studio with his 10-day-old newborn baby, and he was so excited about the portrait session. He had lot’s of ideas and requests, and was volunteering to help out and participate in the shoot. And of course, since the mommy wasn’t here for the session, for me to witness her emotions when she saw her baby’s portraits for the fist time at their ordering appointment, was quite priceless.

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Newborn Photography Los Angeles | Award Winning Newborn Photographer

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Every year for the past six years I go to the WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) convention, which is one of the biggest portrait photography associations and conventions in the world. I spend the first day or two of the week-long convention watching the international portrait competition judging. Some of the best photographers in the field form a panel of six judges and critique thousands of the most beautiful photographs submitted from around the world. The critique that takes place in those rooms is quite brutal and I always found it to be one of the best educational resources. Every year I would sit there and take notes on what to do and what not to do, while judges would take apart someones beautiful photograph and critique on things that weren’t even visible to my eye at the time. Then I would review those notes while looking through my portfolio and I would critique my own work. This helped me recognize the things I needed to work on in order to improve my craft.

Even though I love watching the judging, I never had a real urge to submit my work. That is until this year, when I made new friends at the convention who enter almost every prestigious competition to collect awards. And, of course, they talked me into submitting.

I am very excited to announce, that I am now an international award winning portrait photographer. It is very gratifying to be able to say that. All four of my photographs got awarded. Three of those are newborn portraits and the forth one is a maternity photograph. It is very satisfying to know that my artwork meets the highest standards of international professional portrait photography.

I have to say, however, that at the end of the day, what matters most, is that mom and dad really love the photos I capture of their little one. That’s where I get the biggest joy for what I do. I feel so proud when parents get emotional seeing their baby’s photographs for the first time, when I see their excitement and how in love they are with the results. That’s what gives me the biggest validation for my work!

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Newborn Photographer Los Angeles | Baby-boy OBI

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I love each and every one of my portrait sessions, but every now and then, there is a session that truly inspires me, wether because of the family’s story, their request, or something new that I discover or capture during the session. This was one of those portrait sessions.

When Salma (Obi’s mama) called me, she told me a little about their family. She said that they are from Africa, they are an older couple and are very excited about having Obi in their lives because their older children are now 21 and 23, and they would like to have a newborn portrait session to capture this special milestone. During our phone consultation (before the shoot) we were talking about the colors for the session, and I asked about baby’s skin tone to prepare the color pallet, and Salma said with her beautiful African accent: “He’s skin is dark, he is very dark.” I loved haring that! I have photographed babies of many different ethnicities, but hadn’t had a chance to work with a family from Africa, and photograph a baby with truly dark skin tone. This was such an inspiration. It immediately got my mind rolling with different ideas for the portrait session.

It turned out beautifully and I am very proud of the results. Some of these images are my new favorites and one is now a centerpiece at the studio. But more importantly, I am happy to have met this beautiful family. Their kindness and gracefulness were a very big part of the inspiration.

They are writing notes for me to include in Obi’s photo album. When I read what Salma wrote for her baby, I got a little emotional. With her permission I want to share the beautiful notes she wrote for her son. There is so much love in these words, I think every parent could relate to it no matter what religion they are.

“My beloved son Obianefo,

Words cannot express the joy and love I feel as I look at you. I was overjoyed and so thankful to Yahweh our God, when the doctor’s office told me I was carrying you. You are a gift from God almighty our God Jehovah Jireh to me. Since you have been here, I sing to you every morning filled with joy and gratefulness to God our maker.

Praying over you a few times is a daily ritual. O my love only if words could express the love I feel.  Oh the love in my eyes, the feeling of warmth in my heart when I look at you. No surprise, I wake up in the middle of the night to listen to your heartbeat and kiss you. O how I love you.

As our faithful God gave Samuel to Sarah so did He give you to me. Do not ever go against our maker our Lord and master. I ask that you seek, worship and serve Him diligently with all your heart, mind, being and soul.

My love for you can’t be quantified. I didn’t remember I could love so much.

May God almighty grant you peace, joy, love, wisdom, all the days of your life; as goodness, mercy and favor also pursue you all the days of your life, and you shall dwell in the presence of God forever and ever. Amen.

Nyame Nhyira wo!!

I love you, Medofo Obianefo Adnan Okonkwo.”

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Salma, her husband and little OBI came to the grand opening of the new studio. My friend Jodie Myers filmed the event and did little interviews. To see the video and what Salma said about their newborn portrait experience, CLICK HERE.

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Fine Art Portrait Photographer Los Angeles | Ani Portraits New Studio

Lounge and sales room.

Lounge and sales room.

Every photographer’s dream is to have their own portrait studio, and of course it had been one of mine since I started this journey six years ago. And when I dream, I like to dream big. I believe that it’s important to be ambitious, to thrive for the best, and work hard towards our dreams; and that only by dreaming big and believing in ourselves, we can get where we want to be. So I didn’t just want a studio, I wanted the one that I’ve been envisioning. And finally, last month, I found the perfect space for my beautiful new portrait studio, and the home for my dream.

The very fist time I walked into the location, I know that was it. high ceiling, large windows, wood accent walls, and lost of space to create a comfortable environment for my wonderful clients. In only two weeks, with the help of my family, I remodeled it, bought all the furniture and necessities, organized and decorated it to be ready for the grand opening, which was on May 22nd.

[ Thank you Jodie Myers – www.mybirthmovie.com – for this beautiful video! ]

Thank you to everyone who came to support me and celebrate with me this big achievement, and the new chapter of my professional life. And thank you to my amazing family for all their help and support, and for always believing in me. When the time came to cut the ribbon, I couldn’t think of anyone more honorable and deserving then my mom. She never doubted me, she was always there for me, and she is the one who taught me that I can do whatever I put my mind to, and that I can be whoever I want to be. I wouldn’t have been here today without her and my family. I surprised her by asking her to cut the ribbon for me, and she got very emotional. One of the things she said before putting scissors to the ribbon, was wishing everyone achieve their dreams and goals no matter how hard it may seem at times.

The studio

The studio

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One of my favorite corners of the studio.

One of my favorite corners of the studio.

The studio is now open, and I’m very excited. I tried to make it as cosy as possible for all the visitors, especially very new parents with newborns and expecting mommies. It’s important to me that everyone feels comfortable and at home. I have a privet guest room/client room which has a make-up area, changing table, kids play table, a TV, and a nice big couch. If mommy or daddy wants to take a much needed nap while I’m photographing their newborn or kiddo, they are welcome to.

Client room.

Client room.

Of course there is a room where all my photography props are nicely organized and ready to go for a session. Part of that room is also dedicated to quality control and packaging for when the orders come in. I like to beautifully wrap all the prints, portraits, and albums before sending them to their permanent home.

Props, props, and more props. This is where the design magic happens.

Props, props, and more props.

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Quality control and packaging area. Portraits and albums waiting to go to their new homes.

Quality control and packaging area. Portraits and albums waiting to go to their new homes.

My new packaging with the pretty new logo.

My new packaging with the pretty new logo.

And finally, the lounge and design consultation room. This is were I meet with clients when their images are ready, to find the best way to print their portraits and decorate their home with their new artwork. Portraits are not meant to be on a CD.

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Display with some of the products and albums, and books from my favorite artist whom I can always turn to for inspiration.

Display with some of the products and albums, and books from my favorite artist whom I can always turn to for inspiration.

Besides that there is of course an office, where I spend most of my time, and a kitchenette with coffee, drinks and snacks.

I can’t wait to see you here, and create some heirloom fine art for your family at my new studio. For inquiries and booking please call 818-590-8325 or fill out the contact form on our website.

Me the day of the Grand Opening.

Me the day of the Grand Opening.

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Newborn Photographer Los Angeles | Baby-Girl CASSIDY

Cassidy’s newborn photography session was such a special moment of celebration for her parents. They had very hard time conceiving, and it took many years before the amazing news, so she is her mommy’s very big “dream come true.”

“My dearest Cassidy,

Mommy prayed and wished for you for many years, so when you were born and I heard you cry for the first time, I cried too. Seeing your first smile melted my heart. And every time your little hands held on to me, I wanted to hold you forever. I promiss to always be there for you, teach you lessons, and give you tough love when needed. You are my dream come true, and I will love you forever and always.

Love, Mommy “

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Newborn Photographer Los Angeles | Little Sisters – photographing a newborn with a toddler

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Photographing newborns with their older siblings who are only couple of years old themselves, can sometimes be a challenge. We all know how active toddlers are and how gentle we need to be with an infant. When I go to a newborn session and they have an older sibling I am very curios to see how the older child is around the new baby. It is such a big change for a little toddler, the first baby, who is used to being in the center of attention. Sometimes I see a lot of love and affection, and I feel more comfortable moving on with photographing the little ones together. And, of course, sometimes there is a little jealousy and resentment; it’s not easy to share mommy and daddy with this tiny stranger who takes up a lot of their time and attention…

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Two sisters, a bond that will last a lifetime. Newborn and a toddler 🙂

Usually it is very important for the parents to try and have a portrait of their children together, and I work with them to find the best and safest way to do that. One of the safest poses to photograph a toddler with the new baby is by having them lay next to each other on the propped-up and cushioned floor. To make the toddler even more comfortable, often I have one of the parents right next to them.

That’s what we did here with Zea and Zoe. Zoe is only 2-years-old, and it took a few attempts to convince her lye down on the floor, but she did a great job staying there for a few minutes, even though she didn’t really want to put her arms around the baby LOL. What makes this image really work for me, is that you can see Zoe’s personality in it. Her playing with the rug, the silly smirk while biting her lip, the little fire in her eyes, it’s adorable! I can’t expect a two-year-old to pose for me with a newborn baby in her arm, I can only expect her to be who she is, a little toddler, and capture exactly that, as beautifully and safely as possible. Mission accomplished!

I got some more images of them together that you can see below. Those are also very safe for this age. I love the one of Zoe kissing the baby, I think it’s such a sweet little moment to remember.

This session went very well, but of course there have been cases, when it didn’t work out. Some toddlers are more active then others, and if they are between one and two years old, they don’t understand a lot of things yet, and we can’t expect them to be careful around the baby. I have had a few sessions when the parents and I decided that it’s best to just photograph the infant alone. If this happened to you, please don’t be sad! You will have more chances to have a portrait of them together, when it would be safer and won’t make your heart stop for a moment 🙂

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Little Baby Zea getting a kiss from her big sister.

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Being a big sister and guarding the baby 🙂

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Shusssssh… The baby is sleeping.

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I may be a little girl, but I am now a big sister.

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Newborn Photographer Los Angeles | Baby-boy LUCA

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Luca’s newborn photography session was done much later then usual. He was 6 weeks old at the time I photographed him, but he was born ten weeks early and was still four weeks away from his original due date. Even then he was very tiny and weighed 7 pounds. He gave his parents quite a scare by arriving so early and had to stay at the NICU for a while. As soon as he was home, it was time to schedule his newborn session.

Photographing premature newborns is a little different from a regular newborn session. Regular newborn sessions are usually done within the first 10 days after the baby is born. Babies are very sleepy at this time, they are not yet used to our environment so they aren’t as sensitive to touch and sound, and sessions go much more easier for them. Another reason why it’s done so early, is because they are very flexible and feel very comfortable in those adorable curled up newborn poses you often see in newborn photographs. As the time passes, babies start to get more and more sensitive and lighter sleepers, so doing a newborn session after two weeks is usually much more challenging.

When little premies are allowed to go home, they are usually still very tiny, like little Luca was (only 7 pounds), and are still developing. That’s why a session was still possible at 6 weeks. It was a little challenging, but very much worth it.

It can be very difficult on new parents, when a baby is born early and kept at the hospital. When the little one is finally home, being able to do something normal like a portrait session, to capture the little one and celebrate having him by their side, is very special and exciting. Just look at this adorable face! I so glad I was the one to capture it 🙂

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Newborn baby photography Los Angeles

The background for this photograph was actually an artwork from their home. Luca’s parents and I collaborated and came up with this idea.

Yelp review from Luca’s parents. You can find more reviews on my website or by visiting Yelp.

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Newborn Photographer Los Angeles | Baby-boy TRAVIS

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This little baby just loved to model for me during his newborn photography session. Whatever position I would put him in, he would move his little body around, adjust his arms and legs, until he would find a cute curled up pose he liked, and would stay there for a while. I mean, how cute is this photo on top…? This is a new newborn pose and it’s going into my book LOL

It’s amazing how much personality newborn babies have. Travis was only a few days old when I photographed him and he just kept doing what he wanted to do. Every little newborn I photograph is different. With every newborn session I notice how the baby already has distinctive habits. It’s incredible to think that even before we start to live and let life shape us in different directions, we are already set in our own ways.
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Newborn Photography Los Angeles | Baby-Boy Nahshon

Newborn photographer Los Angeles

This was a very interesting newborn photography session for me, because baby Nahshon is the tiniest little newborn I have ever photographed. He was born full term and very healthy at 4 pounds and 15 ounces, and at 7 days old he was giving me the most adorable smiles. I was amazed how he would almost fit in my hands when I would position him in some of these poses. It was quite fascinating.

I’ve been photographing newborns for almost six years now. They keep surprising me and always bring joy into my life. It’s such an honor to be entrusted with such fragile precious little humans, and creating artwork by capturing the beauty of them being so tiny. I don’t think I could ever get enough of it 🙂

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Newborn Photographer Los Angeles | YASH’s Newborn Family Session

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Newborn photography sessions are usually just about the baby, but I really love it when the parents get involved. It’s so beautiful to see their love and excitement and to capture it on camera. There used to be just the two of them, and now there are three of them – the incredible miracle of life!

Usually when I’m photographing parents with their newborn, I find that the mom has this beautiful soft loving smile on her face, and the dad has this spark in his eyes and a special proud smile. And, no matter how tired they are, after all the sleepless nights, when they are embraced for the family shot with their little one in the middle, they start smiling and giggling and joking… It is so much fun to watch and such a privilege to photograph. Often it’s their very first event as a family, which makes it even more special.

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Newborn Photography Los Angeles | Baby-Boy Mikey

Newborn photographer Los Angeles

When I find a unique prop for my newborn photography sessions I get excited like a little kid in a candy store. I’m sure many people who have a passion can relate to this. I hadn’t felt like that in a while, until recently I found this gorgeous vintage crib. It’s about 90 years old, it’s worn, it has little chips on one side I think from rocking it, and it has this beautiful heart-shaped cutout on the head-side panel. All these little details make it so special to me. I see so much history when I look at it. And of course the moment I got this baby crib I started planing the perfect portrait in my head for when I get a chance to use it.

Shortly after I had little Mikey’s newborn photography session. His wonderful parents liked the idea I had and I captured this image of their baby-boy peacefully sleeping in my adorable vintage crib. I think I’m in love!

Baby Mikey was such a perfect little model. He posed like a pro for me in all the other images too. Thank you little man for helping me capture my vision.

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Los Angeles Baby Photography | Baby-Girl Layla

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This adorable little lady is Miss. Layla. She is a 20-month-old very active toddler. I think you might know what that means LOL – lots of running around in a garden with a camera in my hands. The weeks when I have a baby photography session with little ones this age, I can afford to skip a workout 🙂

The funny thing is, that the session with toddlers can be so hectic sometimes, that at the end of it parents are a little disappointed, thinking that their kiddo didn’t sit still for a second for me to capture a good portrait. And I love how surprised they are when they see the images. The thing is, the best images aren’t usually captured when they are sitting still, but when they are doing what they are always doing, running around, being curious, and making funny faces. And it might take a little time with all the running around and trying to figure out their personality, but then it only takes a fraction of a second to capture the portrait that I’m looking for.

Check out what Layla’s parent’s thought about her session: photography review for this baby session.

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Los Angeles Newborn Photography | Baby-Girl Jasmine

Newborn photographer Los Angeles

It’s been a busy summer, but I finally got a little time to do a blog post. As much as I enjoyed all the shoots I recently had, I wanted to share a newborn photography session with you. These little ones are just too adorable!

This newborn baby-girl is miss Jasmine. She was only 8 days old when I photographed her, and even at this tiny age she looked so much like her dad, he could claim her without a birth certificate 🙂 And she is already daddy’s little princess, he even got her a tiara to prove it 🙂 I just love that image of her yawning with a tiara on her head!

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Los Angeles Baby Photography | Jackson’s Cake Smash and Portrait Session

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Photographing babies that are around one year old can be both fun and crazy at the same time. They just recently started walking, and they have this new found freedom to explore the world on their own two feet, so they want to be everywhere and touch everything LOL. Baby Jackson had just turned one when we had his session. Of course, I had to chase him around a little, but he was such a trooper for the entire session, always happy with an adorable smile on his face. And, of course, he just loved getting messy with his birthday cake for the cake smash portraits 🙂

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Los Angeles Newborn Photography | Baby-Boy Lucas

Newborn photography Los Angeles

When I photographed this beautiful family for the fist time a few months ago, baby Lucas wasn’t here yet, but he was very well on his way. I captured some fun family portraits for them then, and we did a cake smash session for Lucas’s now big sister Giana. At that time we scheduled a newborn photography session for baby Lucas, and I recently had a chance to finally meet him and capture his first portraits in these adorable curled up infant poses. And of course we did a new family portrait to include the handsome new family member.

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Los Angeles Newborn Photography | Newborn Twins – Presley and Jagger

Newborn Photography Los Angeles

I get so excited when I get a chance to photograph newborn twins. It’s double the joy and fun! And something interesting happened during this session that I want to share with you.

Take a look at the first image below. They are both SMILING!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this image, so I have to tell you the story behind it. When I planned out this shot in my head, I thought it would be adorable to have the baby girl sleeping in her brothers arms, best friends forever right?! So I did the set up, tucked the babies under the blanket, took a few test shots, and then did a few adjustments and took the shot that I wonted. But when I got home, and looked at the images on my computer, this was the very first test shot from that set! It was the first few moments after I put them together, when they smiled! I guess they do know each other very well and were very happy to be so close together again. I think it’s fascinating, and I still can’t believe I got it on camera! Of course being the first test shot it was very far from being perfect, but I knew I had to do everything to save it. This may not be the most creative portrait from their session, but it sure is the most special one!

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( Baby and Newborn Photography Los Angeles)
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Los Angeles Newborn Photography | Baby – LIV

Newborn Photography Los Angeles

It’s amazing how even a newborn baby has a very distinct personality, and you can notice how there are certain things  that he or she likes or dislikes. During every portrait session I learn something new, especially when I’m photographing a newborn baby. And when I was photographing little Liv I realized that she likes to be very warm, she doesn’t like to be naked, and her mommy told me that she feels very comfortable in her little polar bear outfit. So, of course, her portrait session was a little more challenging then usual, and when the time came for the family portraits and she started being uncomfortable we brought in her cute little polar bare onesie. I have a little obsession with teddy bears, so I think it turned out quite adorable 🙂

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( Baby and Newborn Photography Los Angeles)
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Ana’s Family Portrait Session | Los Angeles Family Photography

Family Photographer Los Angeles

I was looking back at some of the family photography sessions I had in the past couple of months. It’s been so hectic, especially during the holidays, that I didn’t get a chance to post and share a lot of them with you. This is one of those sessions.

This wonderful couple had to go trough a lot of challenges to have little Jacob, and this was their first official family portrait session. I hope you enjoy their beautiful slideshow and images.

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( Baby and Family Photography Los Angeles)
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Los Angeles Newborn Photography | Baby – ETHAN

Newborn Photographer Los Angeles

This is baby Ethan. His mommy actually won his newborn photography session at the Los Angeles Mom Expo event and exhibit back in November. She was one of over 300 mommies who entered to win. She was very excited and told me that she never won anything before. I guess this little bundle of joy is her lucky charm 🙂

This baby boy has a few pilots in his family. His own daddy used to be a pilot. So an aviation set up was highly requested by his parents, and the little pin that he is wearing on his hat was his great grand-fothers. It’s so much fun adding personal items to the set up, especially when they have this much history.

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( Baby and Newborn Photography Los Angeles)
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