Design Aglow's Baby Week 2016: Chrystal Cienfuegos

Design Aglow's Baby Week 2016: Chrystal Cienfuegos

We are so excited to continue Design Aglow’s Baby Week 2016 with a fantastic feature from newborn photographer, Chrystal Cienfuegos. Enjoy!

When I began my my photography career, I was photographing all sorts of things and didn't have much direction. When I became a mother, I found myself completely obsessed with bottling up that emotion and preserving it for my clients. I knew from then on, that this was my path. Once my business started to grow, I was able to slowly start saying no to the things that I didn't love and now most of my work is exclusively built around babies and family.

In motherhood, I sometimes find myself closing my eyes and wishing I can live in moments forever. My favorite part of photographing newborns is knowing that I am giving that to my clients...the ability to remember what it feels like. Not to mention those early days are so foggy for us mothers! Newborn portraits are an heirloom for so most families. The mom gets to remember, the baby gets to grow up and look back on them, the grand babies will one day appreciate them. I love doing something important.

CHRYSTAL-CIENFUEGOS-PHOTOGRAPHY

CHRYSTAL-CIENFUEGOS-PROFESSIONAL-PHOTOGRAPHER

As a newborn photographer, I find myself getting sick and tired of the go-to newborn poses. (Not to mention they really stress me out). When I started taking a more relaxed approach to posing, I felt a lot more confident in my work. There are so many great all-posed newborn photographers, but that has never really been my strength, so I started doing 1-2 more natural poses and left the rest up to normally occurring moments.

To mix it up and keep things fresh, I try to take inspiration from the baby & the family. Instead of going in with poses/images planned in my mind, I look at the baby, the style of the home, the dynamic of the family and take it from there. It's important to me that the images reflect the family and their unique personality. That's actually why I stopped photographing newborns in studio. It feels more authentic to me shooting in their space. In order for them to have the right expectations, I made sure to keep my website portfolio up to date. I still remember the day I went in and deleted all the images and styles I didn't want to do anymore.

One example of my style is that I only use natural light. I love shooting into the shadows and always expose for the highlights when doing lifestyle work. For the poses/portraits, I set up next to the window and always shoot in RAW. I prefer rooms with only one window. 

CHRYSTAL-CIENFUEGOS-NEWBORN-PHOTOGRAPHER

PROFESSIONAL-NEWBORN-PHOTOGRAPHY-CHRYSTAL-CIENFUEGOS

As we all know, newborns can be fussy. If that’s the case, being close to mommy fixes everything. I usually have her give the baby more milk and then place the baby on her chest until they fall asleep; then transfer to a tummy pose on a warm blanket. And if the baby isn't having it, I don't force it. I'd rather get 15 images of the baby relaxing in someone’s arms or on their chest, drifting off into sleepy smiles, then spending an hour trying to get only 1-2 of a certain pose.

My advice for new newborn photographers:

  • Find a mentor and learn what you need to know, don't spend years making mistakes like I did.
  • Be true to yourself and your style. If you love a certain style, do that and do it well. People are all so different, you don't have to appeal to the masses to be successful.
  • Don't underestimate the importance of business acumen. There's a big difference between being a skilled photographer and having a successful photography business.


And in the end, never get discouraged! Being a creative is full of ups and downs and they never stop. Keep your head up, keep learning, and follow your heart.


Wow! Thank-you so much, Chrystal.

Stop by the Design Aglow blog every day this week as feature more of our favorite baby photographers!

CHRYSTAL-CIENFUEGOS-BIOChrystal Cienfuegos is a San Diego documentary, lifestyle, & commercial photographer and mentor specializing in birth, newborn, & families. She's driven to create emotive & timeless images for families to cherish for generations. Aside from photo sessions and parenting her three children, she loves teaching photography, working on their fixer, watching movies, and hitting the beach.

To view more of Chrystal's work, visit her here.

 




Also in Design Aglow Blog

Travel With Photographers: Maz Pedersen
Travel With Photographers: Maz Pedersen

0 Comments

Isle of Skye, Scotland has always been on my bucket list so I was pretty excited when I booked a beautiful elopement there. I headed north from Glasgow to visit a few places on my way to Isle of Skye. It amazes me how much the landscape changes as soon as you head out of the cities of Scotland. It doesn’t take long before you find yourself driving through mythical forests, highland, mountains, valley and the beautiful lochs. Within a few hours I felt that I was in the scene of Outlander!

Read More

Design Aglow Summit 2017: Julie Paisley
Design Aglow Summit 2017: Julie Paisley

0 Comments

It’s a well known fact in this industry that social media like Instagram and Facebook have great potential for growing your business and your reach. This course will show you exactly how to use your social accounts to gain positive public perception, launch networking efforts, create lasting relationships and convert your community into a huge source of business referrals.

Read More

Listening To Your Photography Market with Both Ears
Listening To Your Photography Market with Both Ears

0 Comments

Are you consumer-oriented enough? We’re sure you know what the “rock-star” photographers think you should be charging for your work, and how you should be running your business. And we’re pretty certain that you think you know what your customers should be purchasing. But what about your clients? You know, those people who actually pay your bills.

Read More