I'm a skeptic...an admitted snob when it comes to the arts. And when it comes to photography, I mean, I think I take pretty good pics...and Sheppie isn't so bad to look at so, professional photos (in a real studio) hadn't crossed my mind. Well actually that's a lie, they had crossed my mind but I was hesitant for a few reasons... 1. Would my almost-two-year-old sit still long enough to get a shot? 2. How much better could the photos be than the ones I take daily? 3. Do I really want to spend $ on photos when he is growing so fast? 4. But wait, for real, will he sit still?
Fast forward to me meeting Brittany DeMaio, Owner of Little Nest Portraits who convinced me to come into her new studio in Montclair and throw Sheppie in front of the camera and just see what happens. O...M...G! I mean, freaking Little Nest is so freaking cute. Just what Montclair needed! We are a trendy town, we need more businesses like this. Their branding is on point, from the logo to the quirky/cute/comforting decor, to the little signature touches like cookies on the counter and vintage camera on the mantle. Franchise owner Brittany is super nice, vibrant but not overly energetic -- just chill enough to hang with grownups and kids. She's a trustworthy and talented entrepreneur boss babe!
I was definitely no longer a skeptic once we started shooting. And then there was my silly mini-man who I doubted any photographer would be able to ever get a decent shot of because he moves so fast I didn't think there was a shutter speed quick enough...
...Cynical, skeptic no more! Brittany did it...she got Shep to slow down, smile AND interact with the camera (she has various non-cheesy props and I chose a swoon-worthy shabby chic double door backdrop; one of many "scenes" she can create on the spot).
I feel like I could write an entire blog with Brittany's advice on how to dress and photograph a toddler for a photo session (and I will soon) but this blog is more about the aforementioned boss babe and the Little Nest philosophy...
"Each family has their own unique personality, connection and story to tell, The more we know about you, the better we can capture you/your family. How? Little Nest has 'Client Coordinators' and pre-session consultations where we learn about what makes your child comfortable." So that's how they get the goods! Well, that and talented photographers like Brittany. And when/if you feel like you need even more guidance on what to wear and how to pose for your photos, Little Nest's pinterest page is here to help.
A few quick notes on why I think Brittany DeMaio deserves "boss babe" / cool entrepreneur status. She has BFA in photography but before opening Little Nest, she balanced a 9-5 job in Project Management along with her budding Freelance children/family photography biz. She says she dabbled in wedding photography but always went back to photographing kids and families because "there really is nothing better than watching parents smile and (then) tear up while looking at images of their children." Awwww! So true. When I saw my little lovie's photos I started blushing, Shep pointed at the screen and kept saying "Shep, Shep, Mama, Shep" and Brittany smiled from ear to ear..
Brittany said the push and pull between her "livelihood and passion" was ongoing and then, after researching, running numbers and business planning to see if it is something she could sustain, she started building her Nest!
"Taking the leap to purchase this franchise was scary and risky. I had to step outside my comfort zone. I have had to make some pretty big decisions in the past year but I always trusted my instincts and went with my gut. I wanted to have a career that was fulfilling and ultimately made me happy. The Little Nest philosophy supports that. I'm still learning and have good and bad days but I try to remind myself that I am capturing amazing moments for people while being involved in the community."
I know this blog is longer than usual but I am in awe of this entrepreneurial story. I have worked in big companies, started my own company, worked like a dog and taken breaks. Now, I am in what you would call a transition, sort of. In the past 2 years we bought a house, moved to NJ, had a baby, I overcame postpartum depression, figured out how to actually be a mom, how to connect with other moms and make new friends all while trying to not passing out from exhaustion. And now, in this new space-of-mine, I have a new frame-of-mind and I am ready to leap into cool new things. Brittany's story isn't just encouraging, it is powerful and poignant. It makes me want to trust my instincts and JUMP HIGH!
How about those photos you ask? Oh yea, they came out well...see for yourself..
It's really hard to pick a favorite but here are a few I am drooling over.
And then to top it all off, Brittany captured this real moment between me and my boy. Another adventure in the books for both of us. Thanks Little Nest, welcome to the hood, you done good.