Located in Goshen, Indiana US

Name: Dania Cueto

Representing: On Cue Photography

# of Years Experience: 10

These 3 brothers were adorable. Set of twins and their new brother and they were so excited! Love working with siblings and newborns.

Do not start this without safety and hands on training!
Make sure that your business is registered and a legit business, paying insurance, and taxes, and have contracts! Working with the most precious and prized belongings of another human being, that is so fragile, is not something to mess with.

Tell us about yourself. What do you love doing in your spare time? What inspired you to newborn photography and do you photograph other genre’s in your business?

I am a home schooling mama of 17 years, of 4 kids. (oldest is now in college to be a pediatric nurse, so really only 3 left)
I started my schooling out of high school to be an OB nurse because I was told I could never have children. Obviously, they were very wrong, but I figured that if I couldn’t have them, them I was going to deliver them. Babies have always been my passion, and what I always wanted. Since I was very young, I always knew I wanted 4. So, why not deliver them then? Life happened and I ended up meeting my husband and having our 4 before I ever graduated college. I never finished college and with my corneal degeneration, I knew that I would never be able to finish.

I picked up a dslr 10 years ago when our oldest was a competitive gymnast, with no intentions of making it a business, I just wanted those amazing shots of my child flipping her 5 foot 10 inch 140 pound body around the floor and those bars, holding on with nothing but the fingertips lol. We had 3 friends getting married that same year who could not afford a photographer, so they asked me to take them. I was terrified, explained I had never done this kind of thing, but would if they wanted them done so they could have something. After shooting those 3 for FREE, I realized I loved it, and went back to school for photography. I stuck with mainly weddings for 8 of my 10 years, took 2 years off, and returned in 2020 with a main focus on newborns, where I always knew I wanted to be.

I do have corneal degeneration, and due to how much and how quickly it has progressed, I do not qualify for surgery anymore. There is nothing they can do for my eye sight, and I will, quickly, be considered legally blind. I shoot in manual with everything, except my lens, it does the job for me as I can no longer see well enough to do it on my own. I cannot see some of those slight lighting obstacles like the slight uplighting, or some shadows. Because of this, getting my QNP was very difficult. I struggled, and on my 3rd attempt decided it was my last attempt. I pulled my husband in, and while he had no clue what this meant, we attempted to figure it out, and chose different images with a HOPE that it was right this time. Not sure exactly what images to replace, I left some of them and just added more than needed, hoping for a good result. I obviously ended up with my QNP on that 3rd attempt, but I owe it to my husband for sitting with me, and encouraging me, he is my biggest asset.

How would you describe your photography style? What inspires your work?

I love COLOR! I love contrast! I love elaborate sets.

Being Spanish, the more color, the more elaborate the better. Sadly, that is not something that most ask for, but it is what I love and what I will strive for in my business!

Who has inspried you and how did you first come across their work?

Tiffany Alexander Jones, Rye-Tan Photography out of VA.

She encouraged me to try to become a Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep volunteer. I never thought I would make the cut, but thanks to her encouragement, I went for it, and on the first attempt was accepted. She has the same style that I love, and she is such an encouragement to me. If I ever have an issue, she is right there to help!

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting a newborn photography business?

Do not start this without safety and hands on training!
Make sure that your business is registered and a legit business, paying insurance, and taxes, and have contracts! Working with the most precious and prized belongings of another human being, that is so fragile, is not something to mess with. As a Mom, I am always in protective mode, and I expect the mamas who see me, to be the same way. This is not something that is worth risking your livelihood over to save a few bucks! SPEND THE MONEY AND DO IT RIGHT!

What camera do you use? What are your favourite lenses and what’s typically in your camera bag?

I have 2 Nikon D810s. Again, I was a wedding photographer, and so I had a 2nd shooter and I provided the equipment (well, it is my husband, so that helped lol).
My favorite lens for those macro shots is currently my 70mm 2.8. I am currently shooting with a zoom lens for the other shots, 24-70mm. But I have rented a couple lenses, and the 35mm 1.4 is my next purchase. GORGEOUS bokeh.

What is your favorite place to hold sessions and why?Where do you photograph most of your sessions? (in studio? on location?)

I have a couple of spots. For Maternity outdoor, my favorite is a little gardens in our local area, Wellfield Gardens. Not a lot of photographers use the spot because of the fees involved with shooting there as a pro photographer, but for me, it is well worth it! My 2nd favorite is my studio. I shoot in studio for maternity during the colder months, especially if there is no snow, its just drab and not very pretty out. For my newborn, milestones, and cake smash, I prefer my studio to be honest. Having control of the environment and lighting is amazing, and guarantees results that parents love.

What (if any) photography training, mentoring or workshops have you taken?

I received my education at New York Institute of Photography, all online.
I have taken one hands on training with Bianca Hubble, and several online courses. From The Milky Way Newborn Retreat, to Kelly Brown. I have had a class scheduled with Ana Brandt in person for quite some time, however, due to a Tsunami cancelling a 2 day retreat in Hawaii, and Covid cancelling the classes, I have yet to get the training, but once it opens back up and is rescheduled, I certainly will.

Growing pains: tell us about some of your challenges you have faced in your business, and how you overcame them.

My biggest challenges are still the same, from the beginning to date. Weddings were easy to get into. Attend bridal shows/expos, and they just fall into your lap.
The newborn industry has been far harder. Between an over saturated market in a predominately Amish area, and changing my genre during the year of a pandemic, it has not been easy at all to gain clients. Most of my sessions in 2020 were not for profit. I needed to get my maternity client closet shot so that expectant mamas knew I provided the gowns and what they looked like. The manufacturers did not want anyone using the images on their website. So, I bought a pregnant belly, put my oldest daughter in it, and used cell shots for the dresses and shot them on a mannequin as well. I did model calls for all of those, and as a thank you, I gifted the newborn session to them. Not all of them took it, but I ended up with a total, between model calls and paid sessions, 22 newborns in 2020. Now, I am offering those newborns a huge discounted rate on their one year cake smash so that I can get those in my portfolio. I still haven’t quite figured out how to reach a mass clientele for this specific genre, but I have not stopped trying, and I am still reaching out.

What should clients expect when working with you?

One thing that I hear the most from my clients when they provide feedback on my facebook page is: I am very gentle, I know what I am doing, they feel like they know from the word go, and I take my time to get the right shot. I have sung to my little clients to get them to sleep if need be, and I am very patient when it comes to the little bundles. I provide everything for the shoot so that they don’t have to! From the wrap, to the outfit, to the backdrop to the props. I provide a changing table, stocked with newborn diapers and warm wipes, and a bottle warmer. I do NOT force anyone to bring or use a pacifier, although if they are willing it does help. I was once a nursing mama, so I will never force anyone to do something they are not comfortable with, just as I will never force a baby to do anything they are not comfortable with. This is my passion, I love babies, and will always treat every newborn as though it was my own! Babies are a gift from above, and every baby/child that I look into their eyes, it is like looking into the face of God. I take that very seriously and treat them like the precious gift they are.

'Little' Elijah was only 8 days old, and weighed over 8 pounds at birth. He was such a wonderful little squish!

I absolutely love working with mom's. They are the most beautiful when they are 'baking' their most favorite human in the world!

Cute little Rue. She and her daddy had such a special bond. She never woke, but fussed at every touch. All he had to do was talk to her, and off to sleep she went!

Julianna was such a doll! She was my FIRST newborn to go into the froggy on the first attempt. She had given me struggles the entire session, and then the most difficult pose, she went right into it.

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