This is my first post of the year and also my twentieth one…woo hoo! When I started writing on this forum about 8 months ago, I wasn’t too sure what exactly was going to come out of it, and I’m still not. But, I am a firm believer that you need to take risks to grow and that means doing things outside of your comfort zone occasionally. So, a pleasant surprise this last year was the compliments and positive feedback I received regarding my photographs of my girls and as a result I was asked by friends and strangers to take pictures of their babies and families. Let me tell you, it’s just as rewarding as shooting your own.Last year I asked some friends if I could take pictures of their kids as a means to practice and to test my own techniques. So, this is Cole from New York. He came to visit his girlfriends a few days before his first birthday and he was perhaps the happiest baby I had ever met (good job Momma Marjan). I wanted to shoot Cole since I wanted to take on the challenge of shooting a baby who I was a stranger to, and also I wanted to shoot a boy. Cole and his baby blues stole my heart. I only took about 40 shots, here are some of my favourites.Besides my own daughters, my most favourite little person in the world is Milana, who I have affectionately nicknamed Cheeks (you’ll see why) and she in return calls me mommy…yes, mommy, and I don’t correct her. Hey, if that’s what her besties call me, why shouldn’t she call me the same thing? Milana is by far my favourite subject to shoot, she is simply the cutest and she’s just a little unpredictable, so you never know what you’re going to get with her. Since Milana knows me quite well I am able to shoot her without her actual mom around and as a result I am able to capture her full attention. Here are some shots of Milana I took last summer:Here are a some I took a few months later for the holidays:This new year, I wanted to take on the challenge of shooting families as well. When I am asked to take photos of adults, a little panic grows inside, since there is definitely a different level of pressure when shooting adults compared to their kiddie counterparts. But this fear was quickly alleviated when I got to shoot my beautiful friend Ama, and her two equally gorgeous daughters, Athina and Dimtra. I definitely hit the lottery with these three when it comes to beauty and personality. Here are a few shots from our hour long shoot at their home. And finally, back to my girl Milana. Long story short, Milana’s mom, Andria and I were old friends who in our past lives spent endless hours working rather unique jobs, all over the city, doing things we can finally laugh about now to make a little bit of spending money. So after our separate dives into adulthood, we reconnected when our daughters were one and a half and we haven’t been apart since. In this short year we have gone on vacation together, visited every attraction the city has to offer and spent many holidays and birthdays celebrating as a family. Good thing our husbands like each other (mine likes to cook, hers likes to eat). So, when I found out that Andria was expecting her second child I was very excited to be able to be part of the baby’s life from day one. To add to the excitement factor, she is introducing a baby boy to our little crew of girls (who together kick butt at their family run karate studio by the way!). I spent lots of time convincing Andria to let me take some maternity pictures of her and Milana together. I wanted to capture that special mother-daughter bound that they share before Milana loses her title as only child. After I promised Andria that I too was allergic to the cheesy-ness that is associated with maternity shots, she gave me the go-ahead. Here are the results: The shoot was over an hour long in their family home and even though Milana is a fantastic model, like any toddler, when she’s done, she’s done. I am so happy with the results of these photos and am very excited to be the official photographer of Milana’s baby brother (coming soon!). Looking back at the pictures of Ama and Andria, alongside their daughters, who are remarkable little versions of their beautiful mothers, makes me want to commit to being more present in the photos of my own mini-me’s. I am undoubtably more comfortable behind the lens than in front of it, but I think it’s important as mothers that we too are present in our children’s memories. So being on the other side of the lens a little more often, will be one more thing I promise to do outside my comfort zone this year.