It is easy for me to understand the desire to purchase your maternity gown because you want to keep it, but in the end, the way your images turn out is FAR more important than a gown that will gather dust in your closet. Just ask yourself these three important questions....
1. Will I ever wear my maternity gown again?
2. Even if you wanted to wear it, would you fit into it?
3. Wouldn't you like to look like a million bucks and have a beautiful keepsake images of your beautiful self instead?
Let me see if I can guess your answers...
1. Probably Not.
3. Looking and feeling beautiful for my maternity portraits is a must!!!
If those, or anything similar to that, were your answers than you have to read this blog post. It is VITAL that you read this. After you hear this story, you will know the ugly truth behind knock-off maternity gowns. My story will make you want to be SURE that you get the very best gown so you will feel like a million bucks while we capture some kick-butt, super-duper amazing maternity portraits.
In all my years as a photographer, I have had one momma order herself a gown on amazon. She sent me the photos and we both looked at the reviews. The reviews looked good, but I just could not shake that feeling that images they were using for advertising looked familiar. The gown arrives at noon on session day and needless to say, we were both very unhappy with it. At that point though, we had no choice. Mom was scheduled for a C-Section in just 2 days and I had no other gown to offer her. Sadly, we had to make it work.
This gown was suppose to be a form fitting bold purple lace covered gown. What she received was a lilac lace over a bluish color satin, which was far more flowing at the bottom than form fitting. The chest area was much larger than it should have been, too. The gown was suppose to have a train that circled the circumference of the gown, but there was barely a train to be seen. To be honest, it wasn't remotely the same gown. It was almost see through!
Thankfully, mom was on the shorter side and we made the train work by spreading it out between each pose. The dress at least grazed the ground and I knew how to make mom happy with that. I am so thankful that mom headed my advice and bought some nude maternity spanx, too! If not, she may have had a boudoir session instead. Yikes!!!
The reviews were so far off- in all honesty, I just couldn't believe people were giving 5-star ratings and raving about this gown. It looked so cheaply made that I was shocked it cost $25. it almost ruined her session! I had to do extra editing, color changing and work some of my magic to make it look amazing.
In the end, mom was happy and loved her images, but it could have went totally different. She was amazed "at the work I put in to cover her mistake" (her words, not mine).
After some research, I realized why I had that nagging feeling. The Amazon seller was using Mii Estello images in the amazon ad. They were advertising images of a real deal Mii Estello gown and shipping knock-off versions instead. What the seller was showing was the Mii Estello "Spirea" gown, which is a $210 work if art. They were actually selling a knock-off gown for $25. On just price alone, it is clear to see that there will be a vast quality difference. Unfortunately, I am sure if you searched hard enough, you would find this same gown on Wish, as well- maybe even cheaper than $25, too.
I finally figured out why I had that nagging familiar feeling when she sent me the image of this gown. I had that feeling because I knew that image. I offer rental of that gown to my client. I offer my clients the real deal Mii Estello "Spirea" gown, not an imitator, among many other gorgeous designer gowns from designers like Mama Bump, JL Designs, Sew Trendy & Silk Fairies. Rental of the "Spirea" gown is just $55. but that is included in any Maternity Portrait Session, except the "Itty Bitty" Mom Only Session.
Why not do it?! Why not be sure you are getting beauty and quality?! You have invested a lot of money into your maternity portrait session & you should have a gown that makes you look like the top-notch beauty of a momma that you are!
Just to show you the example of the trickery used, here is the Amazon ad. Please note that both images below are the copyrighted property of Stephanie Lemmons Photography of www.stepanielemmons.com, used on MamaBump.com. Even though they have removed her watermark in the Amazon image, you can clearly see it is the same exact image. I am merely using her image as an example so that you can see the ugly truth behind knock-off maternity gowns. These ads use stolen images of a real and really beautiful product to entice you to buy a sub-par, cheaply made gown over the real work of art. In this case, what you see is most certainly not what this poor momma got. Please don't fall for this ugly trick.
Above is the real Mii Estello gown with an image by Stephanie Lemmons Photography. As you can see, this is a beautiful fit-&-flare gown that is form fiitng, in a bold purple hue. This image was provided to MamaBump to advertise for the real product.
This is the image used on the Amazon ad. The photographers watermark has been removed from the image, but it is clearly the same image taken by Stephanie Lemmons, used by MamaBump to advertise for rental of the real Mii Estello gown.
The Standard & Deluxe Sessions & The Motherhood Experience include a gown rental from JL Deigns, Sew Trendy, Mii Estello, Silk Fairies or The MamaBump Closet up to $55. You can check out the awesome selection of designer maternity gowns I offer my clients for their maternity portrait session by going to:
Be sure to search by designer & choose one of the stellar choices listed above. You can also search by color and price, too. If you find a gown you adore over $55, you can still rent it. You will just be charged the difference over $55.
The moral of my story is, we all see our self through dirt covered glasses. We are & will remain our own worst critics. I will always scrutinize my work and my company. In many ways, it is a good thing because it means you will always get the best. My practices and skills will continue to grow and improve because I am always striving to be better for you.
However, on the other hand, sometimes it is nice to see yourself through someone elses eyes & know that you are right where you are meant to be. This award is a sort of a seal of approval for me. It let me know not to give up to my dream. It tells me that I am doing what I am meant to do, capturing beautiful memories of family & motherhood for the amazing people of Baltimore City, Baltimore County & surrounding areas.
1. Photography protects your family's legacy by freezing time.
I do more than take your picture. I preserve your familyâs legacy. Thirty years from now, a picture will take you back to a different time. Donât think of me as your photographer, think of me as a âpreserver of memoriesâ. Itâs hard to justify any price when you have the mentality that I just âtake photosâ. Friends, I do so much more. I sort through endless amounts of photos, hand selecting only the best for you, I edit those to perfection and make your family into the piece of artwork they deserve to be. Scratch that, the artwork they ARE- It just needs to be brought out and beautified to perfection.
2. I love photographing your uniqueness as a family.
Your family is imperfect and that is totally fine. Please donât ever be embarrassed of your children. They are children, not adults, and I understand that. A few months back, I had a mom to a gorgeous autistic child ask me if it was ok to book because of her sonâs condition. What?! Are you crazy woman?! Of course it is!!! Go ahead and bring him to me. Iâll give him all the time to open up that he needs. We will take it slow. We can even shoot two days if we need to do so. I can assure you that time is the last thing I am worried about while Iâm photographing your family. I truly care about the genuine connections, the beautiful memories and capturing your true selves.
Here is the reality, we ALL have an imperfect family. My family is, dare I say, absolute insanity. I have every shade of the gamut in my family, from the loud uncle who literally can not be serious to the dotting mom who treats her 18 year old like he is 2 still. Between my mom and dad, I have 26 aunts and uncles and a whole slew of cousins. Ohh yes... you read it right...I did say 26!!! I also grew up as part of a foster family. I was my parents only ârealâ child, but they took in any child they could, always knowing the child would eventually be taken away from them and their heart would be broken yet again. My parents werenât those horror story type of foster parent you sometimes hear about either. They were the dotting parent who gave a child a real home and love, which was sometimes a first for them. These children would leave our home with bags upon bags full of things my parents had bought them from new clothes & shoes to tons of toys. You see, my mom struggled with infertility due to ovarian cancer and as a result, suffered from depression. Foster care was the solution to her depression. It made her feel needed and fulfilled. She wanted to be a mom to multiple children so badly, but after me, there was no chance. I was her miracle and it would be only me. She had a hysterectomy when I was small as a life saving measure. She was at an all time low, but then they were approved for foster care. Life changed for all of us, but we made it work. It was difficult, it was fun, there were a lot tears, there was a great deal of laughter and always, we were loved. This was my family; I was an only child, raised with foster siblings and my âTiffyâ (baby cousin) who came to live with us when I was around 8 years old. You see, my family consists of an eclectic mix of races, genders and ages. These are the beautiful beings that my parent choose to create a family with. Family doesnât always mean blood relation. Sometimes family are those that we choose or that choose us.
Every family is differently beautiful. At the end of the day, nothing matters, except your love for one another. Love is the tie that binds .
Those differences, those quirks and all the tiny imperfections are what makes the âinsert your late nameâ special. Never shy away from tour families uniqueness l, Embrace it!!!
3. Step out from behind the camera mom, that's my job.
Your need to be in photos with your children. It is a must. As a mom, it is easy to be caught up being behind the camera. At least once a year, dress up your family then make yourself feel beautiful and step into the frame together. Your children will want to see memories that include you when theyâre older. They donât want yo have to say âohh she was taking the photoâ each and every time your future grandchild asks âwhere is nana?â. Please, donât ever be happy being an idle participant in your childâs memories. You should jump in there and be a part of the legacy of memories left behind for your family to enjoy years down the road. The harsh reality is, we never know how many tomorrows we may have. It is so important to make memories for those we love to reminisce on when we are no longer here to make memories.
This is one of the reason why I created my business. I want each family I work with to be able to focus on having fun and making memories versus taking photographs. I want you, mom, to step our from behind the camera and be active in the experience I provide. This method, referred to as âpromptingâ versus âposingâ is what separates me from so many others. You will be asked silly questions. You will be asked to play silly games like âsushi rollâ, but most importantly you will laugh and have the time of your life. While I will give you the usual posed images, my main goal isnât having a perfectly posed group of people, it is to portray a family having the time of their life, laughing & interacting with one another.
Here is what a recent client had to say about my method...
âwe had so much fun we forgot the camera was even there. She was fun, responsive and made the experience everything we had hoped for and more. I canât recommend her highly enough.â
Isn't that the kind of family photography experience you want to have?
4. Printing your photographs is the only sure way to preserve them.
While this is a point I have already made in a previous blog post (click here to check it out), I will say it again... printed images are a must. Technology changes every single day. Your phone may be totally obsolete technology one day, then what happens to all of your beautiful photographs? I am not saying you need to print every single image, because that would be insane. However, if you are paying for professional images, print one or two of them. Why make an investment in beautiful memories only to be unable to see them 25 years down the road? The ability to share our memories years down the toad is the whole reason why we have our portraits done in the first place. I highly suggest that you make it a priority to have a minimum of 2 images printed from our session. Better yet, print the whole session and tuck them away in one of my beautiful âmemory boxesâ, complete with a monogram of your families initials in copper, gold or silver. â
I want to sneak in a 5th thing here... When it comes to photographing your life from maternity to birth, from newborn to toddler and even capturing your whole family-I promise you an experience you'll love.
Ready to make the investment in your family's legacy now? Click here.
Ohh pregnancy!!! It is a beautiful time, but it can certainly make you feel awful, too. The first trimester is filled with morning sickness and the last trimester is filled with swollen ankles & the inability to move freely. They are also filled with excitement at feeling baby kick for the first time, excitement for the announcement of your baby's sex and extreme anticipation for baby's arrival. Since the first and final trimesters are both a sensitive time, I recommend we meet somewhere in the middle during the second trimester or start of the third trimester. I highly recommend your schedule your maternity session between 28 weeks (7 months) and 32 weeks (8 months) of gestation. I choose this time because your belly becomes the most round and prominent after 28 weeks, but at 33-35 weeks your belly starts to feel very heavy leading to back pain and fatigue. In my experience, I have found this is when mom feels her best. The morning sickness is over, or hopefully is at least. Your belly doesn't feel like you are carrying a ten pound watermelon under your clothes AND this is the time where you are positively glowing. Your hair looks great and your skin is bright and beautiful, too. I should note, if you are pregnant with multiples, the time frame will become 22 weeks (5 1/2 months) to 26 weeks (6 1/2 months) as most multiples are delivered early. At 22-24 weeks, a mom of multiple will much more comfortable and able to move. For more information, book a free consultation to speak with me now!!!
While I usually post photography related contest, I thought it would be nice to start sharing some more personal content. I think it will be a great way to show you who I am. Today, I want to share my favorite things for the summer of 2019. I think you can learn a lot about someone by their style and the products they use. Think about it... people who are conscious about our Earth are going to shop at more Earth Friendly companies, right? And, how many introverts do you know dressing in bright colors and patterns? It is my hope this gives you some insight into who I am & maybe even introduces you to some awesome new things you may not have tried before. This is an experiment in getting to know me, but I'd love to know more about you. Feel free to me in the comments what products you just can't live without this summer. I may love them, too!!!
Here are the 6 things I'm loving this summer...
Ok, so I am going to be a bit cliché here and say my Yeti is #2 on my list. It is HOT outside yall. I took this to the pool the other day with some sweet tea inside and 4 hours later (in the 100F sun) and it still had ice in it. A friend let me borrow her's for a long day of shooting in the sun & I was hooked. I went out and bought the exact same one, down to the color. This is a Yeti Rambler in Reef Blue. I found it on Amazon for $29.99. They also had a Coral color and a Seaform color which may be next on my list.
I am a busy girl, so finding time to pamper myself at a nail salon is hard to do. I have grown to love LA Girl's Gel Polish. This color is called "Impulse" and I paid less than $3 for my #3 at Walgreens. I love this polish because it dries quickly, last a long time for a cheaper nail polish and does not need multiple coats to cover well.
I usually add a glitter coat and a top coat over my color to add a little sparkle & secure the polish. I have found that the glitter & top coat helps the polish to last longer without chips. The longer I can stretch out my mani or pedi, the happier this busy girl is.
My #4 is my Ipsy Bag. I pay $10 a month for it all year long, but in the summer it is a Godsend. First, how cute are the bags they send? I will actually even use them as a clutch from time to time. Second, the products they send are perfect. I have thick curly hair and during the summer they always send my a great hair product like this Coconut Oil Leave In Conditioner. I save so much money on makeup by being an Ipsy subscriber. The Smashbox Mini Lipstain they sent me this month costs $12 alone. I get 5 products for only $10. As far as makeup goes, there is no better deal than Ipsy.
The 5th thing I can't go without this summer is this amazing Lemon Blueberry Tart Scrub by Tree Hut. I have horribly dry skin and I am prone to eczema. This is a double whammy because I need to to exofoliate my dry skin, but I can't use any prodcut that is too drying. This stuff hits the nail on the head. It is a great exfoliator, but is also loaded up with moisturizing shea butter & avacodo oil to keep my skin from drying out. I should also mentions it smells delicious, like a blueberry muffin topped with lemon zest.
Last, but certainly not least, is #6- summer hats. Let me just say, I LOVE hats. All year long I will wear a hat, but summer hats are probably my favorite. This summer I have two hats I am alternating. One is a black floppy hat (not pictured) and the second is this one, a cute little straw hat with a ribbon. The best part is, I actually bought this hat at the dollar tree. Then, I made a number of ribbons to switch on and off of it based on my outfit. Yes, you read that right, I bought my fav. hat for a $.
There you have it... the 6 things I can't live without this summer.
What about you? What are you totally loving this summer? Tell me in the comments.
PS- I make no monetary gain from links. They are not affiliate links. I just want to share these product with you. = )
Sunflower Fest 2019| A Community Event to Benefit The White Marsh Volunteer Fire Company| Hosted by Richardson Farms of White Marsh, MD
A Special Thank You To Richardson Farms For This Yearly Festival to Benefit The White Marsh Volunteer Fire Crew. Also, A HUGE THANK YOU To The Brave Men & Women At The White Marsh Firehouse For All You Do. You Put Your Life On The Line For Little More Than Our Appreciation. I Want You To Know, You Are Extremely Appreciated By Baltimore Girl Photography & The Entire Community Of Citizens You Serve.
As I was browsing through the local events in our area, I stumbled across the Sunflower Fest benefit for the Firehouse of White Marsh, MD. Due to my family's history of loss due to fire, I knew that I had to help out. You see, when I was about 13 years old, my aunt lost her home to a fire. Even worse, her five year old son (my baby cousin), LC, did not make it out. The brave men of the local volunteer fire department tried to no avail to save his life, but were unable to. If will alone could have saved him, he would be here today. They were courageous and had such a deep sadness at the inability to save him that I was forever touched by their caring souls. When I saw this event, I knew it was a small opportunity to repay a debt. After all, a volunteer fire crew did save my aunt and her other 3 small children.
I reached out to the fine folks at Richardson Farms and they were happy to have me. I offered each couple, family or person who donated some money (into the fire boot pictured below) a totally free, fully edited image. I ended up taking about 25 individual or group portraits. This means a minimum of 25 people donated which is amazing!!!
I saw people adding in $5's and $10's to help the fire crew & I was so proud to be a part of this small community in Baltimore County. We see bad in our Baltimore streets each day, so it made me happy to see so many gathering to help a great cause.
The Generous Donations at This Event Raised Nearly $2,500!!!
Without any further delay I present to you "Sunflower Fest" of 2019...
Every photographer has their own method of packaging or presenting services for clients. The three most popular methods are the all inclusive, a la carte & IPS (in-person sales) methods.
The "all inclusive" packaging couples a session fee with prints or digital images. You pay one flat fee and get whatever the photographer has designated for the package you have booked For example, you may pay $475 for a one hour session and 20 digital images.
The "a la carte" presentation is the method I use. It is sometimes referred to as "partial IPS", although, most of my clients do not meet me in person for an image reveal. You see, in person meetings are the standing for "IPS", which is why it is known as "In Person Sales".
I like the idea of the IPS model, as it allows YOU to choose what you want to purchase & only that. In other words, you are not stuck with 20-5x7's you will never use OR 15-images you don't really want to display. The "a la carte" model allows me to extend the option of creating you own package to my clients without the need to schedule an in person image reveal.
In the "IPS" model, after editing the image the client & photographer will meet up & discuss the images & possible prints for that session. For my clients, your image reveal happens via a online gallery. You then select the images from that gallery you would like to purchase or have printed by using convenient labels right in the gallery. I have created some conveniently grouped image and print packages that you add to your session after you view your images. Theses grouping were created based on the most popular orders I recieve, but you are welcome to create you own. Tell me what you would like & I will provide you with a price for your custom package.
This method is a perfect fit for my clients. I know you are a busy mom & finding time for a photography session is hard enough, why make it more difficult by having to schedule a second appointment to see your images?
If you need help selecting images for printing, I am more than happy to meet up with you for that in person sales meeting. I am also happy to email you a print mock-up of your favorite image/s so you can see exactly what they may look like on your wall.
One great thing about my "a la carte" method is that is allows you to split the cost of the session, as your first pay a session fee and then pay for the images/prints you would like after seeing your gallery.
The best part about my "a la carte" method of presentation is that YOU create your own package, YOU purchase only what you want & YOU decide what should be printed. All of this is done in a streamlined process that saves YOU time.
See a trend there? It is all about YOU!!!
For more information on session fees &/OR image & print groupings, head to the INVESTMENT page (or click here).
Smash Cake Sessions are a personal favorite of mine. I mean, what could be more fun than a baby smashing cake everywhere? Absolutely nothing!!!
Here is a quick list of my 10 favorite smash cake themes.
1. The Rainbow Theme- perfect for your rainbow girl; features a rainbow of balloons and a rainbow tutu.
2. Baby Fox Theme- complete with a unisex baby fox romper and woodsy accents, including a wooden slice cake stand.
3. Baby Shark/Ocean Theme- your boy will be handsome in a baby shark romper surrounded by ocean creature accents.
4. Geometric There w/ Llamas- an adorable llama outfit with southwest flair & a geometric cake stand for a trendy girl.
5. Lil' Cactus Theme- teal and gold with tiny cactus accents, featuring a geometric cake stand; perfect for any sex.
6. The Bohemian Flair- floral hoops &/or eucalyptus abound in the theme with a wooden cake stand & a tan or lace romper.
7. Watermelon Summer- perfect for a summer girl; shades of lime and pink with a watermelon romper & pink cake stand
8. The Aviator- vintage planes, clouds & a perfect aviator hat make for an adorable theme for an adventurous boy or girl.
9. Magical Unicorn- shades of gold, pink, purple & teal accented with a tutu & unicorn horn, set on a magical backdrop.
10. The Lumberjack- buffalo plaid & woodsy accents with a wooden slice cake stand is adorable with a stack of pancakes.
There you have it- my favorite themes, but I can customize any smash cake session. During your free consultation, we will discuss your theme. You tell me what ideas you have & I will put together a custom idea board for you to approve.
Let's talk themes together today!!! Send me a quick email to book your free consultation now.
When you purchase a high resolution image from Baltimore Girl Photograpy the image is delivered to you at a minimum of 300 PPI (pixels per inch). I won't get too technical, just know that this means it will print at a large size extremely well. The question you need to ask yourself is how large would you like the image to be? In order to arrive at that answer ask yourself these four questions:
1. What wall will I be hanging this portrait on?
2. Would I like a single image or a whole collage of images?
3. Would I like a framed image or a canvas?
4. Would I prefer a matted print of a plainly framed print?
The image to the left is a 20x24 frame with a 16x20 matted print. Matting a print makes the image look more professionally framed. It also protects the image from potential damage by sticking to the glass. I HIGHLY recommend matting your prints.
Below, is an amazing chart that shows you what each size image may look like. These images are meant to represent canvas prints, but a framed print would, of course, be the same size. For pricing or questions, please contact me for help.
Both images featured here are of the adorable Layton. Her mother booked a session with me in June 2019. We were worried about her ability to fit in my tub, but she wanted to do the "coolest bath ever" so badly. We obliged and I am so glad we did. She enjoyed "playing in the milk" so much. Would you just look at that smile?
How adorable is this little one?! I photographed Everleigh when she was a newborn, too. She is her momma's rainbow baby and her perfect little smile could certainly light up a dark day. I was happy to see her smiling face again. She is a bit bigger now of course, but still such a tiny little girl.
Everleigh's mom, Kayleigh, was the winner of the 2019 Easter Giveaway. She won a FREE session with use of my wardrobe and a large matted print in a beautiful gold frame. This outfit is from The Modern Tot Comapny, who I just adore. They have the most awesome outfits that range from newborn to toddle sizes.
Ohh! Did I mention I do these giveaways often, so be sure to follow me on Instagram for your change to win friends =)
The Baltimore Girl Blog is written and published by photographer and owner Ashley. On occasion, the blog may feature guest authors and interviews with other kindred vendors.