MARIKO + JONATHAN + MATTY + BELLY

Dear Mariko, Jonathan & Matty,
You guys are such a sweet and beautiful family! I loved our session so much. Mariko, you are such a stunning expecting mom! You glow from within. Thank you so much for asking me to take your portraits! Oh, Matty has grown so much! He is so big, so adorable and talking so cute. I am sure he is going to be a great big brother. So exciting! I am so curious how baby girl will look! Oh, I can't wait to hold little Princess! 
Big hugs and kisses,
Carmen

An Intimate Maternity Session with Leela & Zeljko

Dear Gorgeous Mama-to-be Leela and Papa-to-be Zeljko,

I had so much fun with you two on our time together!! You had the best look for what I was going for and I am blown away by your stunning beauty, your glorious goddess form and glow. I love your style, the sweet accessories you brought along were perfect! Also how open you were to my suggestions and to my ideas, so this session really just fit both of our style so perfectly. I hope that when your precious bundle of joy is born that you two will enjoy looking back to these memories when your little one was still in your belly. I already know your little girl is going love these images and you two will be wonderful parents.

Seeing you two lovely people so happy together and the look on both of your faces - the oh-so-tender looking-forward-to-becoming-parents-soon expression, truly brought me so much fond memories of my own pregnancy with my daughter. So excited for you two! I can't wait to meet baby girl! I wish you a brilliant rest of your pregnancy.

with love,

Carmen

 

 

Tattoo & Belly | Maternity Session in Loft

I feel always so excited when expecting moms calls me for a maternity session. One reason being that I loved my pregnancy with our daughter. It was such a beautiful and exciting time. I felt so good and happy. I remember I felt on top of the world. 

Now, I know that let alone a "good" pregnancy, but any pregnancy should not be taken for granted. I have myself experienced two miscarriages, and I heard from many couples who have experience difficulty getting pregnant. I feel for you, the frustration and disappointment. I have been there.  I truly wish that every couple who wishes to have children shall have their wish granted. So that's the reason why I am all for celebration when it comes to pregnancy. We should celebrate and cherish this very special time of our lives. Also, for our children, to show them where they came from! Our daughter loves those images of her in my belly. 

Back to this gorgeous expecting mom on this post. Viviane called me and told me that she would like to have some beautiful portraits of her and her glorious baby bump. She wants to surprise her partner with a gorgeous wall art print. Viviane looked stunning as she walked in the door, she feels fit and happy. She has this fire red hair, her back and arm are adorned with intricate poetic colorful tattoos. Such a cool looking expecting mom! I knew right away the cool images I can make with her style. Like a natural, we moved through different poses and focus. Here are the results. Thank you Viviane for your permission to share these images! You rock! 

If you are an expecting mom and is thinking about a maternity session. Here are some tips on how to prepare for your maternity session

New offers! Digital-Meets-Traditional Book & Wooden USB Box

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I am always on the look out for cool new photo products for myself and my clients. I am happy to announce that I have a brand new offering!! 

This Book & Wooden USB Box is the perfect form of digital-meets-traditional. This clever combo contains a quality, photographically printed book with 10 to 30 spreads and a personalized 8GB USB stick, beautifully presented within a wooden box.

I have a question for you, what is the one single challenge you face in regards to keeping your family photos? Please kindly leave a comment below. 

7 tips to look breathtaking on your wedding day

Basel Wedding

You're the bride - so you're going to be photographed a LOT. Here are some pointers for feeling like a pro in front of the camera all day long!

1. Find & hire a photographer who you really click like
Try to meet a few photographers to find the one who shares your vision and whom you can trust. If you don't get on well with your photographer, how can you expect to feel comfortable in front of their camera?

2. Getting your hair and makeup done professionally
But make sure it's your 'style'! You want to look the best possible version of yourself.
Trials for your hair and make-up are both essential for guaranteeing you feel comfortable on your wedding day. I recommend having your makeup test done on the day of your engagement session, talk about getting two birds with one stone. Also, make sure you have a pocket mirror available so you can check before the photographing begins that your lipstick is in place and there is no lipstick on your teeth or mascara smudges. 

3. Practice some poses you like in advance
Get some inspirations from magazines or blogs. Share these poses with your photographer. But don't over think it, practice holding a bouquet naturally. It is probably the first time you wear a big gown as well! Get your future husband to help out as well. Share these visions with him. 
That's why an engagement session is so important. I never shoot a wedding without an engagement session. 

4. Similarly, practice smiling with your eyes
No matter how happy you are on your wedding day, smiling for hours can be tricky. Smiling too much can also create crow feets around your eyes. Do practice in front of the mirror, a soft smile which comes through the eyes, and doesn't show your gum or lower teeth is much more flattering. Try 'The Squinch' (a technique coined by celebrity photog Peter Hurley).

5. Make sure you allocate enough time for your bride & groom pictures!
I know you want to enjoy your big day but please allocate at least 30 - 45 minutes quiet times for your bride & groom portraits. Trust me, you don't want to have to rush through them. It is the best perfect time for the two of you to take a breather as well. Do your research in advance: pick out gorgeous locations at your venue and share that with your photographer. Also, have plans for both indoor and outdoor images just in case of the weather.

6. Avoid drinking too much before your wedding photos
One glass of getting ready champagne is fine. Three shots of Tequila to steady your nerves, not so good. The last thing you want to do is look slightly drunk in front of the camera.

7. Consider your posture
Stand up straight, ladies! Think ballerina. Good posture is an instant way to look stunning on your wedding day - holding your shoulders back elongate your neck and can truly work wonders. Two other quick modeling tricks I learned that can subtly alter your appearance: lift your chin up a touch to make your neck look longer and eliminate double chin, also avoid holding your arms close to your body to make them look slimmer. 

I hope these tips will help you to prepare and look breathtakingly beautiful for your big day! If you have any tips or tricks that you rely on, please do share it with us in the comment below.
As always, celebrate all the little moments & accomplishments in your daily life. 

SNEAK PREVIEW TO A DREAMY WEDDING IN BASEL | EMILY & ALAIN

Love spans across oceans and countries and knows no borders. When a couple falls madly in love, they will do whatever it takes to be together. Move to another country? Learn another language? These all takes consider amount of courageous. Have you or would you move to another country for love? I am an expat myself, moved here for love and I love living here, but I do miss my home countries a lot. 

I felt a connection with Emily & Alain right away. Emily is American and Alain is Swiss. The two fell in love and Emily now lives here. I told them I have also done the same 15 years ago. Maybe it was pure luck or destiny, sometimes, we just know, that this is the person we want to spend our lives with. Have you ever experience that? I asked the sweet couple, "Did you know when you first met? Was it love at first sight?", they flashed back to the moments they first met, Emily & Alain gave me the biggest smile, giggled and looked deep into each other's eyes, embraced and kissed.

After some romantic bride and groom portraits at the historical Münster Church courtyard, a champagne color Rolls Royce - a surprise organized by the thoughtful groom, rolled up in front of us to pick the soon-to-be-wed couple to go to the reception venue, Burg Reichenstein in Arlesheim. By now, the couple had already attracted many curious bystanders and they looked on admiringly, couldn't resist to take out their iPhones, iPads to snap photos after photos of them. Emily smiled and moved elegantly into her gold carriage like a butterfly queen. I was so delighted and surprised when they invited me to share their ride to the castle! Of course, at the front seat, I am blessed with a beautiful view: two persons, deeply in love and all ready to declare their devotion to each other. Surrounded by a golden rim of lights, they are simply photo perfect. I feel so honored and privileged to share these intimate moments with my couples. And the ride is oh so sweet. Thank you! 

Fun fact: Alain told us that the name of little golden Angel's on a Rolls Royce is actually Emily!

Here is some sneak previews to the first part of their dreamy wedding day in Basel. Many congratulations to Emily & Alain. You two are a dream match, may your love for each other last forever!

Dress: Vera Wang
Hair & Makeup: Pure Aveda
Location: Münster, Basel

Exercise Challenge

Here is it, the beginning of a new month, and a perfect time to give you an exercise challenge. We all know exercise is one of the best things we can do for our bodies but we are moms, I mean who has time for exercise?! I started to exercise 5 years ago after being so frustrated with my post-birth body, (I gained 25 kg during pregnancy, the extra 15 kg I was carrying for 2 years after birth was not pretty, and yes, you hear me right, I breastfed over 1 year, the girl just wouldn't stop!) So I decided to change. First, I had to change my mindset about working out: I look at working out as a time for myself. Not for my child, not for my family but for me alone, and it changed my life. We should be a bit selfish at times! My runs keep me sane and balanced. 6:00 am I would literally run out of my house for my run every other morning. It was the precious "ME TIME" I truly needed. I lost the weight and I felt so happy. I mean, if mom is not happy, no one at home is happy. I truly believe that. So taking care of ourselves is very important.

So no matter how busy you are, adding some forms of exercise in your life will dramatically change the way you feel the whole day. If you have trouble starting your engine, start by adding just 5 - 10 minutes of some sort of movement. Then add 2-3 minutes every time. I also strongly suggest to start early in the morning, before everyone wakes up is the best. And don't beat yourself up if you miss a day or two, just get back into it like nothing has happen. The key is consistency, and take little steps. Your confidence and will to continue will grow when you achieve small goals, instead of trying to give yourself goals like "workout everyday from now on, 1 hour each time." will more likely to demotivate you, since it is much harder to achieve and you will be so sore that you don't want to do it again. Start small, start little, and I promise you, you will be much happier, fitter, sexier in no time. Your family will be inspired to be active as well.

I have been quite obsessed with Chriselle Lim, a fashion blogger who also has a baby and gives amazing tips for beauty & fashion. Below is an effective 10 minutes  workout that Cassey from Blogilates designed for her which I just started to incorporate into my daily routine. It is AWESOME! You feel the burn pretty much right away. Ladies, give it a try, and “put a little pep in your step” this week.  And don't forget to leave a comment below to share your progress with me! 

 

EMPOWERMENT BOUDOIR SESSION WITH NATALIA

Natalia is one of those women who are truly blessed, not only does she have the good looks and intelligence, but she leads such an amazing, healthy and interesting life, married with Thomas Bachtold, whom I call Indiana Jones of our time, now living a year in Europe, exploring this part of the earth with their two gorgeous girls.

We found out we have so much in common that we clicked since the first day we met. Natalia was a successful model, she had appeared on numerous magazines/catwalk, then she met her big love and moved to lived in Palau, go on to become an award-winning underwater photographer/videographer. Besides being a full time rocking mom, she is also the eyes/brain behind of LoneLily, specializes in underwater portraits. 

So when Natalia asked me to photograph her, you can imagine how excited and happy I was. Natalia wanted to feel beautiful and sexy again. She is so busy with her kids, she feels kind of she has lost it. So we decided to keep this Empowerment Session very classy, fun, carefree & sexy. We striped her down to a white button down shirt of her husband, which is just perfect to show off her never-ending legs. I messed up her hair for an effortless-just-got-out-bed look, pair with a natural flawless makeup with a touch of smoke on her eyes and color on her lips. Natalia is really a pro and gave me such a variety of poses and expressions. We had so much FUN! Here is a small selection of images that we made into an album for a surprise anniversary present for her hubby. What a lucky man! 

I think as we become a mother, something changed in us. We dedicated ourselves to our family, and very often, we forget about ourselves. We dress differently, no more heels (at least for me!) we might not even have time to take a shower, let alone makeup. I truly believe, taking care of ourselves is THE key to our family's happiness, not only our own but our family's. Mom needs to be happy to take care of her family. Have you seen this video with Jada Pinkette Smith and I love how she puts it. 

How do you feel about motherhood? What fuels you? What is your favorite way to pamper yourself? Please leave a comment below and share with us your tips and tricks to feel sexy and beautiful.