180 SF I call my own in Hampton Roads Virginia


2018 welcomed me with the unfortunate news that my landlord needed my studio space back , but you know what they say,  When life hands you lemons…  So I spent the month of January searching for a new home for my business and I settled on a sweet little spot in the local business center. It was a bit dark for my taste so I got right to work remodeling it… After 3 + weeks of work I am pleased to be able to show it to you all. Welcome to the new studio of Amanda Rachael Photography, I can’t wait to start making memories with you all here…  As always, we offer all of the props, supplies, and everything  new parents could need for maternity, newborn, milestone, and cakesmash birthday portrait sessions. As well as snacks and drinks, and a comfy area to rest and relax during our session.

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Newborn Safety First

Today I want to discuss the “making of” a newborn hanging image. I say the “making of” instead of the “taking of” because I strongly believe that any hanging baby image should be a composite image that is “made” not “taken”. I was once approached by an acquaintance who said they were trying to get a particular hanging baby image and the baby was just very wiggly and uncomfortable while being hung and dad’s arms were getting tired and they were discouraged because they were not getting the images they were trying for that they had seen so many times online.  I asked how they were going about the set up and they said that basically they were wrapping the baby and dad was lifting baby up in the air while mom tried to take a picture. I was a bit shocked by the idea of a  baby hanging freely above the ground, and she seemed a bit confused when I told her this was not how I approach baby sessions. Safety Always comes first. AT the time I thought this was just an obvious fact, I didn’t realize that many people see  final images like these and think they are straight out of the camera.

After that point I started making *how to* posts and they were shared by many blogs and Pinners over the years. This style has been becoming a frequently request again at my studio.  I love to share images on social media, but with that sharing I often am concerned that someone new to baby photography might see those images and attempt them as they appear without researching how they are made. For this reason I  put a disclosure on my hanging baby images when I share them,  and I recommend other professionals do so as well , something like this * All images of babies that appear to be hanging are composite images made through the magic of careful photo editing, babies are secure at all times during their session*

Because this style  seems so popular once again, I thought it was time for a new behind the scenes  baby safety study…

In the following images we use a Bella Bun Bloq poser, a strong thick piece of white cloth found at a local material store, and a Savage backdrop size 53″x 36′ in the color Bone.

Here is a baby hanging  style has been requested a few times over the last couple of months.

First we get baby very comfortably posed , wrapped in the material we will be using, while laying in a parent’s arms or on a poser, we wait for baby to be super comfortable and fast asleep before we ever start posing.


When I do this image I have parents or another adult stand and offer support on Each side of baby.  Then we lift baby above the newborn poser a few inches with dad’s hand securely under baby bracing baby’s weight and head, the parent or adult on the other side has one hand free and floating, ready to instantly support baby if we see any movement at all.  We talk over every aspect of this before we set it up, the adult on the right of the image knew that if baby moved that perfect little foot  At All then they should reach out and support baby’s legs while I came over to repose.


After I get an image with the good material lines on the sides and around baby’s lower body, and a clear shot of the hanging leg in front of the backdrop, I move on to this set up…


In This image we have baby only a couple inches above the poser with his foot Almost touching, I don’t care that the poser in showing with the foot, because I don’t need that foot in my final shot, I’ll composite using the leg and foot from the first shot. The point of This shot is to get the clean material lines under the baby’s upper body. The set up for this shot goes something like this, first baby is fully supported with dad’s hand,  like in the first photo, then we lower baby to Almost touching the poser, then I say 1. 2. 3. and dad drops his hand a few inches while I snap 1 or 2 Very quick shots, and then his hand goes RIGHT back onto the baby.  If baby were to move he would instantly have mom and dad’s spare hand, and they would lower him onto the poser that he is Almost touching. I always tell the parents that even though the baby is completely safe with the combinations of both parents and that poser right there, ultimately the Shot Does Not Matter, if the baby starts to move or shift you don’t wait to see if all is well, you instantly lower and support.

With a bit of photoshopping we get our final image exactly what the parents requested, but made safely…


In the following hanging baby images I use a homemade branch swing prop, a thunder grey seamless drop from Savage, a forest backdrop from Adorama and a Contoured Bella Bun portable poser, which is my go to poser for most hanging baby images, belly poses, and arms under chin poses…

We start with baby secure on the prop, which is securely placed in the contours of my Bella Bun with a parent or another adult within arms reach at all times…


Next we have mom hold baby while we get a shot of the branch swing hanging freely in front of the backdrop , we do this in order to use the bottom of the image and the ropes to composite an images to appear as though the baby is hanging when in reality baby never left the poser.


The results after careful editing are final images that were made very safely and are sure to please a parent


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My small (under 120 sf ) but beautiful new studio space in Hampton Roads Virginia

I’m writing today to inspire other artists and photographers who might be searching for their perfect studio space in a world of retail storefront madness! Every space I could find was HUGE , I’m talking 3000 + SF, it was out of my budget and way too large to be practical as a toasty warm space for my newborn clients.

My year long search for a space ended when I found this tiny perfect office complex. It is in a great location, has a nice parking area with plenty of room, and it is super easy to find. When I say tiny I mean it 🙂 My room is just under 10′ * 12′ and it takes a bit of creativity to make it all work. I’m toying with the idea of a 200SF office down the hall a couple of doors to better accommodate my prop obsession. But for now its working out just fine.


Like I said, I had to get creative. The first step in this process was to move my settee out of the studio and into the hall by the door. I keep the studio really warm for my tiny clients, so this isn’t a bad thing really, now my clients have a comfy spot to rest for a few min if they want to cool off a bit, or make a phone call, or fill out paperwork. 12970432_10154041332573418_1192572482_oc

I set up the window wall as my main shooting space. This area receives beautiful natural light on a sunny day giving me more options so I don’t need to use my strobes on every session.

I love this area, the  beautiful window light, my Bella Bun® Bloq  poser, and a fur throw makes this the perfect natural baby portrait set up. The backdrop here is Savage seamless in Boned


The side wall has become my storage area for some of my backdrops, accessories, blankets and throws.e

Anything that doesn’t fit in that area gets tucked away in my changing table storage unit. I’m able to fit my upholstered chair near the backdrop area, which doubles as client seating and as a prop.  12970630_10154041332518418_708372336_o

My blanket ladder took me about 30 min to make, it really is a very simple concept, but WOW it can hold a LOT, and it makes finding the right throw much easier then when they are all folded and tucked away. I can definitely see another blanket ladder in the future.12970669_10154041332623418_1529328439_o

I use These Wood brackets to hold my backdrop pole with Savage seamless paper rolls



If you are curious about how the portraits are turning out with such a small working space here are a few samples from sessions I’ve had so far this month, a few of them even have behind the scenes images for you…

This first set up includes my Bella Bun® Contoured Poser with a faux fur drape in front of my Sherry Blossom Backdrop from Intuition backdrops… This exact fur I have not been able to find online, but backdrop outlet sells a very similar faux product called grizzly fur here and Intuition backdrops sells beautiful flokati  options…  I love every part of this set!



The next set is that same Backdrop and fur with baby sitting up


This is my favorite printed backdrop that I own, and these lace tutus were handmade for me by All Dressed Up


My next set has the same gorgeous baby girl on a PepperLu backdrop with a wood laminate floor from Lowes and the sweetest little romper from Backdrop Outlet


This set up was fun for me because I had my own little guy as a model holding his Papa’s Guitar with a backdrop from Lemondrop stop


Most of the backdrops below are seamless paper rolls from Savage, The grey I prefer is Thunder Grey

If you dream of having your own studio space but just can’t find the right location I encourage you to start looking into office buildings. You wont have the foot traffic that comes with a storefront commercial space, but if your business is anything like mine then 80% + of your sessions come from referrals, your webpage, or social media, not from walk ins anyway.

At 120 SF this new space is 1/5 the size of my Maine studio, but after my first month in business I can say its working like a charm.


I would love to have you like my page and share this blog to inspire other photographers who are considering their own small studio space.


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Another Year, Another City

2014 found us saying Goodbye to San Antonio, Texas and Hello again to the beautiful East Coast. We are now thrilled to be living in Virginia. Mild winters, warm summers, and ocean breezes leave a year round Cheshire cat-like grin on my face. I am currently without a studio location, but not rushing into anything until the timing is perfect. In the mean time my days are full with raising and homeschooling this crew. With the youngest just learning to read and the oldest getting ready to start high school; I have my hands full.



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2 years where Have you gone???

I just logged in here to see when my last post was and realized it was feb 2012!!! Holy Wow! Its nearly 2015! What happened to the last 2 + years?

Answer… What Hasn’t happened?? Its been crazy busy in Logio Land. Definitely Time to do some hyper drive catch up blogging!

In October 2012 Jed ( thats my hubby)  got a job that we just couldn’t refuse in San Antonio TX.       T E X A S !!!     The Last place I ever thought I would live. Holy cow talk about a tiny fish in a big pond! Going from a  town of 4000+/- population to a City of 1.4 + Million!


SO we packed up our earthly possessions …

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We said goodbye to the home we had designed with our own hands, the home we had raised our babies in for the last 7 years…




And I said goodbye to my perfect little studio space that had taken my business from a part time position to a full time job that I loved…




and we Loaded into the camper which would be our home for the next 3 months….


We stopped in to see family in CT and spent some time with the kids Great Grandparents.

When this photo was taken we had no idea this would be our last photo with Jed’s grandfather.


I think this is why I have such a bond with photography, you never know when a photo with a

loved one might turn into your last photo with your loved one, photography has the ability to freeze

time and save memories.

We also stopped in my favorite place- Tybee Island, and then surprised the kids with a trip to Disney…




From florida we made a mad dash to Texas hoping to arrive in time to have a few days to get used to the city before Jed’s start date….

And so began our lives as Texans…

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Baby whispering tools

Its no secret that I am crazy, upside down, mad, super , nuts in love with photographing Babies!

When I fall in love with a product, I must share!

I recently had the opportunity to photograph 3 new products for baby photography that are the Bee’s Knees!!

I know we have all seen the latest trend of photographing newborns on textured fancy or flowered style cloth drops.

I have found a series of these *baby Drops* called Posh Cloth that are being sold through the well known photography supply company Backdrop outlet. While similar to many other styles available these ones seem to have a few additional things going for them.

1 – Most of the textured flowered baby drops available are from private crafters and sellers.. And while most of us Love a good craft site, when placing a larger order sometimes there is a sense of security ordering through a well known company rather than a private individual. (im not knocking private sellers, I really do Love them, but my studio budget is limited and to keep it sucessful I need to make sure I know where my money is going)

2 – Most of the above mentioned drops being sold are being sold as 2 yard pieces of cloth. Thats Not always big enough for what I want.  Backdrop outlet is selling these in 5′ * 9′ sizes which make them so much more useful in my studio. Now I can lay a baby on a drop, do the session, and turn around and hang the same drop and have it be Plenty large enough for Full lenth senior standing portraits.

3- Besides just being larger, these come finished off with a rod pocket on the top for hanging on a backdrop stand/ cross bar. I Love this feature! What a simple but great addition. To me this feels more like a finished professional drop than just using a cut of fabric.

* I also need to mention that while these cloths appeared stiff to me looking at online images, they are not stiff At All.. They are super soft and flexable. They Drape Perfectly around my Bella Bun baby poser! http://shop.bellabun.com Because of the beautiful texture wrinkles or draping oopsies dont stand out as an eye sore in the final images. I would Love to have these in multiple colors and styles in the near future!

Now that I’ve shared my thoughts, let me share some images!

Here you see the Blue Large Rose cloth, the Peach Flat Rose cloth and the Gold Crinkle cloth…. All can be found at this link.. P.S. did I mention they are On Sale right now! http://www.backdropoutlet.com/departments.asp?dept=1516

AND You can enter to win one of these beautiful Cloths Or a Bella Bun, or other great products at this link


And for more Fun Baby shots visit me on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/amandarachaelphotographymaine

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Web site frustration

I currently have entirely too many locations on the web.
I can be found as myself on Facebook, and an adoption blog, and a new year resolution blog. I can be found as Amanda Rachael photography here, on facebook, and on a blog hosted by my husband, also on my Amanda Rachael domain, and on my Amanda Rachael smugmug site. But that’s not all ! I’m also online with my prop page The Bella Bun which has a main page, a shopping page, and a Facebook page.

So basically I have a dream of a unified web presence for 2012!

This will be the year I accomplish the perfect site and learn the code (at least enough to make it look like I know what I’m doing )

Wish me luck

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Welcome 2012

So the Christmas photo rush is over and now I get to focus on all of the wonderful things I want to do this year!

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