angela callisto photography | williamsville | clarence | buffalo | wny buffalo newborn, baby and family photographer » angela callisto photography is a wny buffalo based newborn, baby and family photographer, specializing in custom newborn and baby photography in the wny and surrounding areas of; williamsville, clarence, lancaster, and buffalo. Angela offers custom newborn, baby, first birthday, maternity and family photography.

Ah – so many people have messaged and asked me…..  are you still going to be doing newborn sessions?

In one answer – YES, I am still doing newborn sessions.  I am just changing them…..

In every aspect of your life – especially in your art – change and challenges are necessary.  Struggles and triumphs – failures – and then PASSION!

There was once a time I was absolutely passionate about nailing every single pose.  Perfectly placing newborns in buckets and resting their tiny chins on their hands.  Posed without a single finger out of place.  The light – the contrast – the tireless and sweaty days in the studio trying to get everything… just…. right….

I was PASSIONATE about it.

Throughout the past 6 + years – I, have changed.  I, have grown.  And something from my work was missing. ME. Ok, ok, not “me” in the photos.  But – the new me.  I feel photographers hearts speak through their work.  And my new heart – was missing.

Maybe its all the selfie taking of moments with my own family.  Moments of my own children.  Seeing them doing something and realizing I want to remember that MOMENT forever.  Being present in their lives and thinking – if only, someone was here to take a photo of this exact moment.

Maybe it’s all of the loss I have experienced.  Realizing that – nothing in life is perfect.  And seeing everything posed as – well – beautiful and artistic.  Just not exactly what I want to capture anymore.

Over the years – and I have always said this – the images that last the test of time in my home – are not the perfectly posed ones.  They are not where everyone is smiling. They are the real – the raw – the emotional moments of who we are and what we mean to each other.  The images that last the test of time in my home are the ones where I feel my children souls are shining through their eyes.

Snapshots and family selfies are every where in my home.  And the few professional photos I have – only one that is up is where we are all looking (cause she absolutely nailed it)  – the rest – are us, being, us. Not looking at the camera – but looking at each other.  Some are grainy and a touch OOF.  Some could only be printed in black and white.  But it’s not what the image shows as “an image”. Its the story it tells about that moment.

When I began to struggle with how I was feeling – I took on family sessions.  A lot of them. I ran around in fields chasing the kids – snapping and snapping while they tickled and played with each other.  Making them fake laugh until they real laughed.  Photos of the kids looking away – the mamas looking at them NOT ME.  Sure – its guided.  But many times, and if you have ever had a session with me you know, it’s also – not guided.

And I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.  It made me remember WHY I picked up a camera in the first place.

And then I went back to the studio and put babies in buckets again.  Won’t lie and say I don’t or didn’t love some of them.  It kinda all depended on the baby – the day.  And I began to work without anyone assisting me.  The sessions took a bit longer but I found myself feeling FREE.  No format to follow of how I ran a session. Truly baby led.  I took more time.  I started to see everything I was missing.  And the UN – posing in my work began. Where I would lay a sweet babe back after one set up to prep for another and I was able to stop – no one there to pick up the baby for me while I changed things – so I had the time – I was able to see – the sweet perfection that was a brand new baby – just as they were – un-posed – with the light coming so gently across their face – and as a mama I thought – THAT – I would want to remember THAT! And I started shooting the transitions from set up to set up.  Those quickly became my most favorites in their galleries.

I received many messages about how my work was “changing”.  And I replied with – thank you.

I started to incorporate laid back set ups and my infamous couch and chair – breastfeeding – snuggles – less perfect – more real – more moments over poses.  The cries – the newborn wondrous eyes wide open stares.  (lemme tell you – those are not easy to get….. but to me – they are new goals)

And after a few sessions filled with requests and expectations for previous work – which was not where I was headed.  I didn’t want to go backwards.  I had already “achieved” those shots.  Challenge accepted and conquered.  I wanted to move forwards.  I realized – as long as my packages states x amount of set ups and x amount of images.  I was always going to be caged to that. My slow way of transitioning to the new me….. wasn’t working.

Does is mean you will NEVER see a baby in a bucket or bowl again from me?  No.  It just means that I want you to come into my studio without any expectation besides knowing I am going to capture images of your brand new baby and you exactly as they are that day.  It means I don’t want to make a baby who’s belly is upset lay on their belly to fulfill the expectations of my galleries.  It means if the baby wants to be awake – I am going to let them. It means I won’t be doing crazy poses.  It means your baby and I will work together to create images that are simple and timeless and capture exactly who your babe is at that moment in time.

I want to capture your snuggles – I want to capture you literally breathing them in.  Smelling their heads.  Looking at them with the overwhelming love you have for them, with your heart literally beating outside of your body and  thinking “I made that”. I want to capture THAT!

I want to capture the siblings together with their new little brother or sister – not forced – not uncomfortable – with them showing me the new baby – with them talking to the new baby – with them being whatever kind of sibling they are at that moment. It doesn’t mean I won’t lay them together anymore. It doesn’t mean you won’t still get the family posing I have always done – family – is my favorite part of newborn sessions. You’re actually – going to see MORE of it.  It doesn’t mean I am throwing out all my props and accessories – just a lot of them……  The ones that no longer speak to me.

You’re going to see a lot of new things – and still a lot of the same. The same will be the parts I have always loved.  The simple. The timeless.  And I will let your baby talk me through it. There won’t be hours upon hours in the studio.  There won’t be stress for any of you – or me – and especially not your brand new babe.  There will be amazing moments captured.

I felt I needed to make *the announcement* so that I could finally fully step into this chapter of my work.

My goal? My goal is to create galleries that you will want to print EVERY SINGLE IMAGE OF. Galleries that you will make coffee table books out of and they will stay a staple in your home and heart forever. And, when you look at them you will be pulled right back to that moment for each image.  The sounds.  The smells.  The emotions.

I will be offering many different types of sessions coming soon.  And pretty much all of them – will be unposed.

And without further delay – my new newborn packages can be found <here>.

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So why, angela callisto photography?  Gotcha.  You thought this was going to talk about why you should choose us right?  Nope. I am going to go through a series of “why” questions we have been asked.

Why do you select the aperture you do? Do you change it for parent shots?

Primarily I shoot at a 2.0 – and yup for everything!  Nope – we don’t change it for parent/family shots.  Understanding your aperture and limitations with it – means you can then understand all you CAN do with it – and what you need to do when shooting at a 2.0 to get the desired look you want.

For example – this image.  Still 2.0 – even with 5 people. Although I won’t give away tricks of the trade.  You can see – 2.0 does just fine 😉

wny newborn photographer | shooting at a 2.0PINIMAGE

 

Why did you get rid of your black and white floor? Lol – yes people were quite upset about this.  If it was YOUR floor – you would understand why we ditched it 😉 DO I really need to go into more? The painting of the walls was enough for a while.  But that floor.  Well – it eventually was going to go.  Don’t worry – we saved a square.

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Why do you only shoot newborn sessions in your studio?

Well – the answer to this question goes back over three years ago….  When we first started we agreed to go to people’s homes.  They were home with a brand new baby.  Surely they didn’t want to leave.  Easier for them if we go there.  We did this exactly three times.  And all three times posed the same but different complications.  Dogs barking, kids running and banging, visitors showing up, heat not adequate, light an issue, moving their furniture.  But mostly.  Stress for the new moms. We have a dedicated studio where we can prep and get the heat right and we know our light and have all of our items there, props and posers and wood floors, all the elements we put together for each newborn there at our disposal.  No wishing we had brought this or that. No worrying about blankets being soiled and not having enough.  Those are things WE worry about.

But you know what I love hearing from our clients the most?  “It was such an amazing, enjoyable, relaxing experience.” New moms and dads come to our dedicated studio, complete with a family room set up, a cozy couch, pillows and blankets.  Chairs to comfortably breast feed in.  No signage on our space for privacy.  A changing table for baby.  A Keurig to brew fresh coffee and plenty of bottled water for them.  All supplied by us.  Come in.  Kick back.  Relax. We’ve got this.  No worrying about straightening their home or making us coffee.  We make it for them.  We have had many a parent curl up and nap while we take the time to pose and photograph their baby.  In our warm, dedicated, smoke free, pet free space.  For you and your baby to come and relax and enjoy this experience.

We understand – you are coming in (most of the time) to strangers and handing over your most prized possession – your new baby – for us to mold and pose.  We take the stresses of having a new baby away for just a few hours.  Your baby is in safe hands.  And we want you to have a relaxing, enjoyable experience.

wny newborn photographer | dna photographyPINIMAGE

Why do you primarily use neutral tones?  Why not HOT PINK or YELLOW?

This answer is simple and long term for us.  One.  It’s what we like. We have tried a few brighter tones and well, they just don’t suit “dna”. And two – we feel neutral is more timeless.  If you are anything like us you want to repaint the rooms in your homes every year or so.  Change up your style.  Use different accents.  You move and the home is now completely different.  The one thing we want to ALWAYS go – are the images of your baby.  Or if your kids are like ours – and you have their images hanging in their rooms.  Well – when my almost 6 year old suddenly decided she no longer likes mauve and cream and wants a blue room.  I know the images I have of her will go.  White.  Earth tones.  Pops of neutral matte tones.

These don’t just reflect angela’s style ~ we want them to reflect your style – forever. We do “use” color.  Just in angela’s way…..

wny newborn photographer | dna photographyPINIMAGE

Why do you love your 35 so much? 

Oh let me count the ways.

#1. 50’s and Nikon’s do not seem to play nice in the sandbox.  We both started out using our crop sensor Nikon cameras and sprung the $180 on the 50 mm 1.8 plastic Nikon lens.  Once we had upgraded our cameras to the Nikon d700’s I thought,  I’m going to spring for the good glass.  Go for the 50mm 1.4.  Honestly – I think the 1.8 was better.  Even after calibrating over and over the 50 just didn’t always hit the mark. It is now a paperweight on my desk.

#2. I’m short – I have short arms as well.  So being able to just stand on my 5’2″ frame and take an above shot of a sweet babe in a basket and NOT have to do some sort of magical stretch on a stool leaned over the baby – well, that’s just self-explanatory.

behind the scenes with dnaPINIMAGE  behind the scenes with dnaPINIMAGE  behind the scenes with dnaPINIMAGE

See the difference?

And #3 – NO MISSING FOCUS!  Well – every lens and camera (and dare I say operator of them) misses focus from time to time.  But the clarity with the Sigma 35 1.4 is hands down – AH-MAZING! I mean – look at that flakey skin!  35 – not a macro!

dna photographyPINIMAGE

Why do you only book newborn to one and only families for mini sessions?  Why not offer your photography for kids and families of all ages all year?

Well – this is a two part answer.  We love photographing.  Everyone.  Families.  Kids.  But – we specialize.  It’s no secret that when we began our dna journey we started it because we loved taking photos of our own kiddos and craved to learn more and to be better at it. Plain and simple.  We loved being able to capture a time in images.  To freeze it for families to be able to have and hold forever.  But once we really got going, we realized we didn’t just love newborn photography, we had a passion for it.  We didn’t want to be a jack of all trades.  We wanted to focus and specialize.  So we put our heart and souls and literal sweat and tears into newborns (baby through first year).

This meant cutting back our schedules to only allow for those sessions to be booked for our regular sessions throughout the year.  And offering families and kids over one for our mini sessions. We hoped to be able to offer these mini sessions for spring, summer and fall.  But our wish had come true and we truly were (and are) specializing in newborn to one year with the emphasis on newborn.  (Now – anyone who has ever come to our studio with a squishy 6 month old knows that they need to be physically taken from me for the session to even begin – it’s my favorite baby stage and I would gladly spend all day playing and snuggling them instead of doing the job at hand….  and Danielle would sit and stare at a newborn making scrunchy faces forever as well)

Anyways – getting back on track.  Last year we were only able to offer the family minis in the fall as our dream suddenly had become a reality.  We photographed 116 newborns in 2014.  116!  That number still blows me away! So you see, if we opened our schedule to photograph all ages all year, there would be no way for us to truly specialize.  And for me – if I want a wedding photographer – I am going to call a wedding photographer.  If I want a newborn photographer – I am going to call dna.  😉 Now that is not saying we DON’T love or offer other sessions.  Senior sessions here and there (this year should be interesting as my son will be in need along with alllllll his friends)….

We love our family and Big Kid minis.  But – that is all why we don’t offer them all year.  We are hoping to be able to do both spring and fall this year – and at sunset! (which also means stretching them out – but it’s worth it……  cause, well, nothing beats a gorgeous late spring or fall sunset!

 

wny photographer | dna photographyPINIMAGE

How did you find your style?

Oh man.  Well – we worked.  And worked.  And worked.  If you ask any photographer what the biggest challenge is – it’s finding their style.  And it changes.  Always growing.  Always changing. In the beginning we needed to figure it all out.  Posing.  How to use the light.  So many variables.  So much growing to do.  Then, once we started to figure that out.  We had to figure out what we wanted our images to look like.  Not just the pose.  Not just the light.  Not just getting all of that “right” (and that is difficult enough) but we wanted our images to be recognizable as US!  But who was dna?  Ok.  So we were wanting to specialize in newborn to one.  CHECK.  We shoot only natural light and were learning how our light changed in our space and how to work with it properly and embrace the dark days (hello ISO and SS controls).  But what did we truly want dna to look like? This is something that was agonized over.  And over.  And over.

And I will tell you something that we tell the photographers who come to learn from us.  We TURNED OFF ALL OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS!  Yup – Unfollowed them.  I couldn’t look at them.  Cause – I am human – and I compared.  Once I turned them off – I could focus.  WHO WAS DNA?  And it began.  A series of changes to how I edited the images.  How we needed to tweak our posing and use of light to be able to process them the way we saw our work in our minds.  And all the work we had already put in – changed again.  And it continues to change.  Always growing.

The greatest compliment we have ever been paid is when we are told “I know its a dna image before I see the watermark”.  That!  That!  Is the goal!  And when I change something – or our light changes – like clockwork every January – we get the messages…..  What are you doing different?   I am loving the light…..  Yup – every January – like clockwork.

I posted this at the beginning of the year this year on our Facebook page.

The only photographer you should ever compare yourself to…. is the one you used to be…. When I get down – or am struggling – wondering – where are we going? All I have to do is look back to see where we have been. And know…. we are going….. Don’t compare to anyone but yourself! Ever! And when you do – just look back…. and smile…. left side is from early 2012 – right side from late 2014….

dna photography | our two year growthPINIMAGEWords to live by in my book…..  That time of shutting it all off – that time of focus.  Allowed us to grow.  And when I struggle – I look back.  And then move forward again…… always growing…..

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Wow – it’s been a bit since we blogged.  So I figured – seeing I took this week to wait on babies to be born and work on taxes – eeeeew – I would put something up……

I recently started a personal blog – something I have wanted to do for some time – and I highlighted some of my favorite photography related things here .  From my new Kelly Moore bag to My camera straps from Camera Straps Made with Love – to my lenses.  (for links to their shops click to be taken to the blog post).

But – my most favorite “photography related” things….  are our subjects.  How could someone who does this for a living ever call it “work”.  I mean – it IS work.  But after you have sweat it out in the studio and fought with a 7 pound tiny human (who I clearly know I am stronger than but somehow my shoulder ache every day after a newborn session….  those strong little tiny fingers….  its a workout and every newborn photographer will tell you the same 😉 ) – Sorry, I got off track…  anyways – the first thing I do when I come home is upload the images cause we are JUST as excited to see and tweak what we have captured as the parents are.

If you are a new or newer photographer.  And you ever are feeling defeated.  I can tell you – from failure comes victory.  You MUST fail to learn.  You can watch people – all the youtube videos and training videos in the world.  But then you must put what you have absorbed to work on your own.  And you must fail – to succeed.  Or else how will you ever know what to do?  Every baby is different.  Every baby is unique.  Every session will reflect that baby.  Some babies will easily go into poses and others will wake with the slightest touch of the finger.  Failure is a part of this.  Don’t let it consume you.  Learn from it.  Then go be greater!!!!

Here is something I shared on our facebook page and IG to show…..  It takes time.  It takes failure.  You succedd even within your failures.  Every step of your journey results in growth.

dna photography | our two year growthPINIMAGE

And now a few of our favorites from recent sessions….

wny newborn photographer | dna photographyPINIMAGEwny newborn photographer | dna photographyPINIMAGE

wny newborn photographer | dna photography PINIMAGE

wny newborn photographer | dna photography PINIMAGE

wny newborn photographer | dna photography PINIMAGE

wny newborn photographer | dna photography PINIMAGE

wny newborn photographer | dna photography PINIMAGEwny newborn photographer | dna photography PINIMAGE

wny newborn photographer | dna photography PINIMAGEwny newborn photographer | dna photography PINIMAGE

 

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