Want to capture a magical time in your family's life? Asha Pradeep Photography draws people from all over the Netherlands with their unique maternity and newborn photo shoots. Lori Evans paid a visit to Utrecht and discovered the passion behind the professionalism.
After an easy train/bus ride from Amsterdam, I found myself in a quiet Utrecht neighborhood of standard row houses. The deceptively simple door I knocked upon hid the professional home studio of Asha Pradeep Photography and lots of pleasant surprises.
Asha welcomed me the way she welcomes all her customers–with tea, snacks and conversation. She wants everyone to feel relaxed and welcomed in her home studio. Most of her clients drive and there’s always plenty of free parking nearby. Then we went up to check out her full-service photography studio, full of shaded skylights as well as the necessary props and equipment.
A Little Background
Asha and her husband Pradeep (get it? Asha Pradeep) moved from India to Utrecht 11 years ago. Asha has always been interested in photography, taking pictures at family events for years. She began serious photography training 15 years ago and six years ago began focusing on newborn photography. Pradeep, the expert photo shoot assistant, gifted Asha her first professional camera. He says, “I know what magic Asha can do, and I want her to pursue it.”
Asha likes photographing everything, but feels an extra happiness when her subjects are babies and small children. She trained with Ana Brandt, Julia Kelleher, Sue Bruce and Brenda Olie to focus her expertise on mothers-to-be, newborns and young children. She has taken workshops on Making Babies Feel Relaxed/Sleepy as well as Infant Anatomy, and is close to certification with the Accredited Professional Newborn Photographers International.
What’s So Special about Newborn Photography?
It doesn’t seem like techniques would be that much different when photographing newborns, but they are. For one thing, it’s very important to use non-UV light and never use direct lighting of any kind; this keeps everything gentler and safer for babies. On top of that, you can’t ask a newborn baby to lift its chin or turn its head! With their special training, Asha and Pradeep both know how to gently position your baby to get the best angles without disturbing your baby’s peace.
Your baby is placed on a big soft pillow with your choice of blanket color and texture over the top. An assortment of hand-dyed sheepskins, and natural and non-allergenic fiber choices are available. The prop case overflows with cuteness; from Harry Potter ties to dainty angel wings, crocheted animal hats to tutus, a frequently rotating and updated supply is available. Of course, if grandma made a blanket or sent a toy, you can bring your own special pieces to personalize your photos.
With newborn photo shoots, you get not only your digital photos but also a video birth announcement with your photo selections and text set to music. You also get a behind-the-scenes video to remember the day of your shoot.
Maternity and Bump-to-Baby Photos
Soon-to-be mothers can feel glamorous and pampered when getting a maternity photo shoot. Bring your own favorite outfit or select from several gorgeous designer maternity dresses provided. Asha can also do your hair and make-up and even make nail color recommendations to match dresses.
You get deep discounts if you sign on for a Bump-to-Baby package. This way you can get both your glamorous pregnancy shots and your newborn photos for an even better price. Payment plans are always available, and if you recommend new clients you get discounts on prints.
“ ...for a good photo, the most important thing to bring is your good mood and your love.”
Every detail is thought of ahead of time. Asha keeps a fully-supplied changing table including diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, and a supply of fresh towels. Recommendations for what to prepare and bring are emailed before the shoot. They even include tips on what not to eat if you are breastfeeding that might cause baby to be fussy. However, Asha points out, “for a good photo, the most important thing to bring is your good mood and your love.”
It’s Smashingly Good Fun!
I’d never heard of a Toddler Cake Smash photo shoot. It’s just what it sounds like. A giant cupcake is provided for a birthday and your little one goes to town. You get three different kinds of photos: charming clean child, messy child smashing the giant cupcake, and adorable baby in a decorative bathtub getting clean again.
Parents can sit back in comfy chairs and relax. All they have to do is provide choose props and backgrounds while Asha and Pradeep take care of everything else, including entertaining your toddler to get happy smiles for your photos.
Photo Shoot in Your Home
Asha stresses that coming to her studio gives you the most flexibility in the choice of backgrounds and props, more time for explanations, and extra personal treatment. However, recognizing that making the trip to Utrecht can be difficult for newborns and their parents, Asha can bring her services to your home as well. She can discuss your prop and color choices ahead of time using video to display her selection.
If you’re in the studio you get the fun of viewing and selecting your photos on a big screen TV. It’s great to see what the photos will look like blown up in size. If you bring a picture of where you want the photo to go in your house, they can even show you what your selection would look like in the space you have allotted for it. If you do a home shoot, this part of the process will be done online.
Celebrating Love: Not Just a Catchphrase
Asha and Pradeep run a photography studio filled with a passion for excellence and a love for, well, love. This shows not only in the care they take with every step of each photo shoot and in the beautiful resulting pictures, but also in their supportive partnership. The proof is in the happy and repeat customers.
Lori Evans is a writer and musician/piano teacher from the USA, now in the Netherlands for over three years. She recently moved to Haarlem with her techie husband, her delightfully grumpy 16-year-old son, and two easy-going cats.
Photo Credits: Asha Pradeep Photography