• Cathy Murai Photography specializes in maternity, newborn, and baby photography in Orange County areas including but not limited to Irvine, Tustin, Lake Forest, Foothill Ranch, Laguna Hills, Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach... The studio is located in Irvine, CA.

  • If you would like to book your custom photography session or have any questions, please contact me. I would love to hear from you!

Why Hiring a Professional Newborn Photographer is Important

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was super excited to photograph my own baby while I was pregnant. It was my dream and I had endless ideas of the images that I wanted to capture. However, since it was my first time becoming a mommy, I was clueless about how I would feel physically after delivering a baby. But luckily, I knew where to go… Anamaria Brandt Photography, a professional photographer who specializes in maternity and newborn portraits! Ana has played a very important role in my journey to become a newborn photographer. When I wanted to become a newborn photographer, I knew that I would have to prove my imagery and handling of the baby to my clients and show them that I knew what I was doing, especially since I didn’t have any kids.  In order to do that, I took Ana’s workshops and learned as much as possible, including how to handle and pose babies with care and safety. The most important thing that I walked away with from her workshops was confidence, and for that, I will never be able to thank her enough.  Since then, I’ve been keeping in touch with her.  She’s an incredibly sweet, talented, creative, and giving person who I enjoy hanging out with …. so our newborn portrait session became sessions – I went to her studio three times within one week!  Yes, I could never have too many pictures of Amelia, my newborn baby!  

When my friends found out that I had another photographer capturing my baby, they wondered why I couldn’t just do it myself.  Here are the reasons why I believe people should hire a professional newborn photographer (even if you’re a photographer yourself):

1) So that YOU and the father can be in some of the pictures too!   Even though you’re not feeling 100%, I truly believe that this is important so that your child can see one day how excited you both were to have her/him.  Plus, you will probably have many pictures of your husband and the baby, but not enough of yourself in them!  When Ana took our family portraits, we had fun kissing our baby’s face, which I wouldn’t have experienced if I was the one photographing.

2) They are only this little once!  We all know that babies grow tremendously fast.  The newborn portraits that you see on my website are usually taken within the first 6-14 days after birth while they sleep deeply and are flexible to get into those curled up poses. The “fresh newborn” look of a baby does not last very long and babies grow and change every day. When my baby turned 2 weeks old, she began losing the “newborn” look and it will be gone forever. Many times baby acne appears after that 2 week mark. Having a baby is a HUGE thing and deserves to be captured in quality photography. You have a limited time frame to get these photos done, so hire a professional to document/record one of the most precious times in your child’s life.

3) You won’t have the time or the energy.  The first two weeks after  birth is such a difficult adjustment time for the parents.  In-between late night feedings, caring for the new baby and recovering from delivery….  I didn’t have any energy to grab my camera and photograph my baby until she was already 2 weeks old.

Lastly, you won’t want to hand your sweet new baby over to just any photographer.  You want someone who is trained to safely handle newborns.  Posing a newborn baby is a great responsibility – their little bodies are still adjusting to life outside the womb.  You must be able to trust the photographer to hold your precious little one.  After being on the “other side” and in front of the camera, I learned more about the importance of my career – I am capturing a moment in time that can never be replicated.  Also,  I am so thankful to my past clients who had spent time with me while they were still recovering from delivery and more importantly, putting their trust in me and my photography!

A very special thank you to my friend, Ana Brandt, for capturing these precious moments of our life!  We are so glad to have these timeless images that will remind us of Amelia’s early days.   I look forward to seeing her again in her upcoming Maternity and Newborn course at creativeLIVE on Nov. 14th~16th, 2013!  

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beforeandafter

Ana Brandt - November 12, 2013 - 10:01 am

I will love YOU forever!

Thank you for your trust.

Congratulations on being a Mama. You are amazing and your daughter is so lucky to have photos from you as well.

Thank you for the privilege.

Forever grateful

Ana

Deb Moran - November 12, 2013 - 11:29 am

What a wonderful post. I do believe I’ll link to this from my own blog. Especially since I agree 100% with the importance of hiring a professional. I, too, have learned about newborn photography from Ana (online), and other professionals, and am very much looking forward to next week’s Creative Live Workshop. “See” you there!

Jennifer Beitchman - November 12, 2013 - 1:03 pm

Excellent advice, gorgeous pictures, beautiful mom and baby! Congrats!

cathy - November 12, 2013 - 8:49 pm

Many thanks Ana for inspiring me. Good luck at creativeLIVE!! I can’t wait to see you!
Deb Moran, glad that you can relate to this blog post!
Thanks Jennifer for your kind words!

Eden - November 13, 2013 - 9:02 am

She’s beautiful! Congratulations, Cathy and good job, Ana! Wonderful article to help moms-to-be make their decision about hiring a photographer instead of doing it themselves. I did my own newborn session and I’m not in any of them. :-(

Jennifer Wilcox - November 13, 2013 - 4:31 pm

Ana did a fabulous job! You and your princess look gorgeous:-)

Angela Ramsey - November 14, 2013 - 4:47 am

What a wonderful and informant post. I completely agree. Thank you!

    

Introducing Our New Baby Girl! | San Gabriel Valley Newborn Photographer

I am happy to announce the arrival of our new baby girl, Amelia!   We’ve been home from the hospital for a little more than 2 weeks now and she has brought so much joy into our lives. She’s getting along with our furbaby, Charlie (our 3 year old Labrador Retriever), very well and we are all adjusting to being a family of four now.

Needless to say, I’ll be continuing taking some time off to take care of this new little one.  Sessions will be resuming on January 15th, 2014 and I will be taking a limited number of sessions per month.  If you’re interested in booking a session after this time, please email me at info@cathymurai.com or fill out the contact form under ‘Contact Us’ at the top of this page.  Thank you for your patience while I am recovering from my delivery and enjoying being a new mom for the first time.

Before I went to the hospital, I set up my photography equipment as I could hardly wait to photograph my own newborn baby!  I had endless ideas of how to photograph Amelia, including specific props, poses and background, however, what I didn’t consider was that I would still be recovering after we got home from the hospital and extremely tired since I was getting no more than four hours of sleep each day.  I wasn’t ready to grab my camera and bend down to get all of the usual newborn shots until she was 12 days old.  Here’s one of the few photos I took of Amelia with the crown that I made just for her! (I’ll be adding more images as they are ready!)

Asian 2 weeks newborn baby girl wearing a handmade gold lace crown and white diaper cover, posing and sleeping on white blanket.  Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles, CA Studio Newborn Photographer, Cathy Murai Photography

————————————————————–   UPDATE   ————————————————————–

Instead of doing one long session within a day, I spent a short period of time each day photographing Amelia during her first six weeks.  Here are some of my favorites!

Asian 2 weeks newborn baby girl posing and sleeping on brown furry prop / blanket inside the wooden puzzled bowl on float rug in front of tan, ivory, cream background. Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles, CA  Studio Newborn Photographer, Cathy Murai Photography
The hardest thing about photographing her was to keep my dog, Charlie, away! LOL! Ever since he was a puppy, I photographed him a lot and he was always my model whenever I needed to test my studio lightings. So, to him, photo shoot = lots of treats = happy!!   So he often wanted to be a part of the pictures too :)

Asian 2 weeks newborn baby girl posing and sleeping on brown furry prop / blanket inside the wooden puzzled bowl on flokati rug, in front of tan, ivory background with a family dog. Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles, CA  Studio Newborn Photographer, Cathy Murai Photography
Asian 2 weeks newborn baby girl posing and sleeping on brown furry prop / blanket inside the wooden puzzled bowl on flokati rug, tan in front of ivory background with a family dog. Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles, CA  tudio Newborn Photographer, Cathy Murai Photography
Asian 2 weeks newborn baby girl wearing a lace headband, posing and sleeping on tan blanket Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angles, CA  Studio Newborn Photographer, Cathy Murai Photography
Asian 2 weeks newborn baby girl wrapped by grey wrap posing and sleeping on grey float rug. Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles, CA  Studio Newborn Photographer, Cathy Murai Photography
Asian 2 weeks newborn baby girl wearing a DIY /  handmade birthday calendar white onesie, posing and sleeping on pink float rug. Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley,  Los Angeles, CA Studio Newborn Photographer, Cathy Murai Photography
Asian newborn baby girl wearing a red flowers halo, posing and sleeping on brown furry prop inside of the brown bassinet on the wooden floor. Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles, CA Studio Newborn Photographer, Cathy Murai Photography
Asian newborn baby girl wearing a red Santa hat and stocking posing and sleeping on ivory cream float rug during Christmas session for Christmas cards,. Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles, CA Studio Newborn Photographer, Cathy Murai Photography
Asian newborn baby girl wearing a white wings and snowflake headband / prop, posing and sleeping on wooden bed next to Christmas tree and reindeers during Christmas session for Christmas cards. ivory float rug, cream, tan background. Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles, CA Studio Newborn Photographer, Cathy Murai Photography

 

melissa - November 3, 2013 - 2:50 pm

congratulations and oh my goodness she is adorable!!

Jennifer Wilcox - November 4, 2013 - 9:07 am

Congrats! She is a definitely a princess!

Angela - November 4, 2013 - 3:22 pm

Congrats! Just beautiful!

natalie - November 4, 2013 - 3:51 pm

Congrats! She’s a doll!

lorena - November 5, 2013 - 8:10 pm

So adorable!!

Michael and Carina - November 6, 2013 - 5:11 am

Great work! Congratulations and thanks for sharing!

Jackie T - November 6, 2013 - 5:44 am

That crown rests so comfortably upaon her beautiful little head–indeed you have yourself a little princess. Such a pretty photograph.

Starla Wise - November 6, 2013 - 6:59 am

That is a beautiful shot. Perfect crown for a perfect princess. Congratulations.

Jennifer Beitchman - November 6, 2013 - 10:11 am

Congratulations. She is beautiful. Enjoy every moment.

Eden - November 6, 2013 - 11:09 am

Congrats, Cathy! Welcome to motherhood! She’s is ADORABLE!

    

Maternity Portrait Session at Manhattan Beach, CA – Expecting Twin Baby Girls | Los Angeles Pregnancy Photographer

This post is way overdue… but I still wanted to share it cuz it’s one of my favorite sessions that I have done.  I was thrilled when this beautiful mama M contacted me and asked me to document this special time, waiting for the arrival of twin baby girls.  Yes, TWINS!!   The mom really wanted to have a girl and it turns out that she’s having two!  =)  For our session, we met at Manhattan Beach (where they both love to surf) a couple months before the big arrival, while mama M was still comfortable enough to move around.

I loved the colors that mama M chose to wear.  They really pop-up in the images with the beach in the background! With the combination of a beautiful beach setting and an absolutely adorable and incredibly sweet couple, I had a wonderful time capturing the glow, the joy, and the excitement of the parents-to-be!  Here are a few of my favorite shots from our maternity session…  Stay tuned for their newborn session!

Adorable and sweet couple looking at each other and smiling at Manhattan Beach during maternity portrait session, mama-to-be, parents-to-be, blue maternity dress, Los Angeles Maternity photographer, Beach Session, Beach  Maternity Portrait Session, Maternity Session at Beach, Cathy Murai Photography
Daddy-to-be is holding a gorgeous mommy-to-be
Daddy-to-be is holding a gorgeous mommy-to-be
Daddy-to-be is kissing a gorgeous mommy-to-be in front of the beach at Manhattan Beach during maternity portrait session, mama-to-be, parents-to-be, burgundy maternity skirt, Los Angeles Maternity photographer, Beach Session, Beach  Maternity Portrait Session, Maternity Session at Beach, Cathy Murai Photography
Daddy-to-be is hugging and holding a gorgeous mommy-to-be in front of the beach at Manhattan Beach during maternity portrait session, mama-to-be, parents-to-be, burgundy maternity skirt, Los Angeles Maternity photographer, Manhattan Beach Session, Beach  Maternity Portrait Session, Maternity Session at Beach, Cathy Murai Photography
Daddy-to-be (expecting dad) is holding and kissing a gorgeous mommy-to-be

Lori - September 23, 2013 - 5:57 pm

Beautiful! Love them! Congrats to the parents to be!

Michelle - September 23, 2013 - 7:30 pm

Amazing work! Mom is beautiful too!

Eden - September 23, 2013 - 10:36 pm

Gorgeous, Cathy!

Maggie - September 23, 2013 - 10:53 pm

Beautiful couple, locations and portraits! How fun to be expecting twins. Congrats to them!

Audrey - September 24, 2013 - 5:59 am

Beautiful lighting! Congrats to the mom and dad to be! :)

Lai - September 24, 2013 - 6:25 am

Beautiful maternity session! I love beach sessions too! The last image of him kissing her belly at sunset is just gorgeous!

Carol - September 24, 2013 - 6:43 am

Wow! These are fantastic!

Maxine Evans - September 24, 2013 - 6:58 am

So beautiful Cathy!

Keely Julson - September 24, 2013 - 6:59 am

Beautiful!

Donna Beck - September 24, 2013 - 9:07 am

Gorgeous pictures!

Jennifer Wilcox - September 24, 2013 - 10:38 am

She looks fabulous. Great work!

Angela - September 24, 2013 - 1:07 pm

Beautiful…both the day you caught and the couple!

Jason - September 24, 2013 - 5:32 pm

Great looking couple..and beautiful mom to be, nice job capturing these images!

Tomo - September 24, 2013 - 9:27 pm

As always, great work!!! The photos are beautiful!!!

Adriana - September 26, 2013 - 6:33 pm

So beautiful , love that location

Jackie T - October 1, 2013 - 5:03 am

This couple looks fantastic–they are so well-styled. The colors are gorgeous, the people are gorgeous and the photographs are gorgeous. Gorgeous!

    

Meet Isabel at 6 Day New! | Alhambra Newborn Studio Photographer

There is no greater joy than having a new life coming into a family.  Isabel’s mom contacted me  when she was only 5 months pregnant, which was perfect!  The best time to book a newborn session is during second trimester –  the sooner the better because I only book a limited number of newborn sessions per month due to the unpredictability of due dates and actual birth.   I still remember how excited Isabel’s mom was about her baby and the process of choosing her name.  After 4 months passed by, I finally got to meet this adorable sweet little girl at 6 days new, and I absolutely loved working with her.  Her chubby cheeks melted me completely during the session and I couldn’t stop touching them while I was posing her.  Isabel’s parents brought an adorable headband that was handmade by one of their close friends and a cute turtle outfit that was crocheted by Isabel’s mom, while she was still pregnant waiting to meet her!!  (see the last two images)  I love to incorporate any special items that are meaningful to the family!

Isabel’s parents, thank you so much for bringing Isabel in!  I am sure she will fill your house with love and change your lives forever.

A cute newborn baby girl with chubby cheeks is  wearing a cream diaper cover and headband. She is posing and sleeping on the pink peach backdrop on the beanbag, Cathy Murai Photography, Newborn and Baby Photographer in Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, and Los angeles Area
A cute newborn baby girl with chubby cheeks is  wearing a cream diaper cover and headband. She is posing and sleeping on the pink peach backdrop on the beanbag, Cathy Murai Photography, Newborn and Baby Photographer in Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, and Los angeles Area
A cute newborn baby girl with chubby cheeks is wrapped with a pink wrap and wearing a pink flower headband is posing and sleeping on the white blanket backdrop on the beanbag, Cathy Murai Photography, Newborn and Baby Photographer in Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, and Los angeles Area
A cute newborn baby girl with chubby cheeks is wearing a brown diaper cover and cream headband.  She is posing and sleeping on the white blanket in the brown basket on the wooden floor.  Cathy Murai Photography, Newborn and Baby Photographer in Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, and Los angeles Area
A cute newborn baby girl with chubby cheeks is wearing a pink diaper cover and a pink handmade headband.  She is posing and sleeping on the white blanket on the beach bag.  Cathy Murai Photography, Newborn and Baby Photographer in Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, and Los angeles Area
A cute newborn baby girl with chubby cheeks is wearing a handmade turtle outfit knit by her mom.  She is posing and sleeping on the white blanket on the beach bag.  Cathy Murai Photography, Newborn and Baby Photographer in Alhambra, San Gabriel Valley, and Los angeles Area

Angela - September 12, 2013 - 5:46 pm

What a sweet baby! So cute :)

patty - September 12, 2013 - 8:13 pm

Oh these are lovely! I love the turtle!

Jennifer Batz - September 12, 2013 - 9:14 pm

so sweet! love the little smirk!

Eden - September 14, 2013 - 1:05 am

Beautiful capture! Love your processing!

elly - September 14, 2013 - 6:41 am

awww, she’s adorable!

Sarah - September 14, 2013 - 7:31 am

What a precious little girl.

Christine - September 14, 2013 - 11:33 pm

These are beyond stunning – so soft and perfect!

    

Baby Batman with Wild Hair – 100 Day Celebration | Los Angeles Baby and Family Photographer

To celebrate Ryan’s 100 day milestone, he came to visit me as Baby Batman with his family for his first portrait session.   A few weeks prior to the session, Ryan’s mom contacted me and told me that Ryan’s hair was way out of control and she was debating whether to give him a haircut or not.  I was curious to see how a 3 month old baby can have so much hair, and I told her that I would love to capture him as he is now!  And I am glad that she agreed with me. OMG… Look at him!!   As soon as I met Ryan, I thought he was Wolverine, not Batman!   =)  Don’t you love his stylish hair and those chubby cheeks?  I couldn’t stop smiling at him throughout the session!   I made Ryan a Batman mask, and I am glad that it turned out great on him!  Ryan’s dad is a big fan of Batman, which also was their baby shower theme, so I am happy that I was able to capture these images of Ryan for them!

Baby Batman flying in front of the building at night to save the world, Superhero baby photography, 100 days old celebration, Asian Baby with a Batman costume, 3 months old baby portraits,  3 months old baby picture, 100 day old,  baby boy,  3 months old baby image, Cathy Murai Photography, Alhambra, Baby, Photographer, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles, Batman costume
Baby Batman flying in front of the building at night to save the world, Superhero baby photography, 100 days old celebration, Asian Baby with a Batman costume, 3 months old baby portraits,  3 months old baby picture, 100 day old,  baby boy,  3 months old baby image, Cathy Murai Photography, Alhambra, Baby, Photographer, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles, Batman costume

And of course we must photograph this little man’s handsome face as well for some family portraits.   Ryan’s parents were well prepared and brought some of his favorite stuffed animals for him.   We moved from one pose/setting to another very quickly and Ryan seemed to be happy throughout the session, except when he rolled over and cried.  (Ooops, I was still photographing him rather than helping him!! LOL)   My favorite image is the very last one, which I photographed right after I took off his hat at the end of the session.   It looks like he’s saying “Oh, my hair!! It’s out of control but I am glad you love it cuz it’s giving my mom a headache!”

Thank you Ryan’s family for allowing me to capture this moment of his life.

100 days old celebration, Asian Baby, 3 months old baby portraits,  3 months old baby picture, 100 day old,  baby boy,  3 months old baby image, Cathy Murai Photography, Alhambra, Baby, Photographer, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles,  baby wearing a blue and grey knit hat  looking at the camera
100 days old celebration, Asian Baby, 3 months old baby portraits,  3 months old baby picture, 100 day old,  baby boy,  3 months old baby image, Cathy Murai Photography, Alhambra, Baby, Photographer, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles,  a baby wearing a blue and grey knit hat and grey diaper cover is holding his stuffed animal (monkey)  and  looking at the camera, Baby Photography Session
100 days old celebration, Asian Baby, 3 months old baby portraits,  3 months old baby picture, 100 day old,  baby boy,  3 months old baby image, Cathy Murai Photography, Alhambra, Baby, Photographer, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles,  a baby wearing a blue and grey knit hat and grey diaper cover during a  Baby Photography Session
100 days old celebration, Asian Baby, 3 months old baby portraits,  3 months old baby picture, 100 day old,  baby boy,  3 months old baby image, Cathy Murai Photography, Alhambra, Baby, Photographer, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles,  a baby wearing a blue and grey knit hat and grey diaper cover during a  Baby Photography Session
100 days old celebration, Asian Baby, 3 months old baby portraits,  3 months old baby picture, 100 day old,  baby boy,  3 months old baby image, crying, Cathy Murai Photography, Alhambra, Baby, Photographer, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles,  a baby wearing a blue and grey knit hat and grey diaper cover during a  Baby Photography Session
100 days old celebration, Asian Baby, 3 months old baby portraits,  3 months old baby picture, 100 day old,  baby boy,  3 months old baby image, Cathy Murai Photography, Alhambra, Baby, Photographer, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles,  a baby wearing a blue knit hat and grey diaper cover smiling during a  Baby Portrait Session
family portraits, family picture, 100 days old,  baby boy, family image, Cathy Murai Photography, Alhambra, Baby, Photographer, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles
A mom kissing baby
100 days old celebration, Asian Baby smiling next to his favorite Mickey mouse stuffed animal, 3 months old baby portraits,  3 months old baby picture, 100 day old,  baby boy,  3 months old baby image, Cathy Murai Photography, Alhambra, Baby, Photographer, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles,  a baby smiling during a  Baby Portrait Session
A cute Asian baby boy  smiling and laughing during his 100 days old portrait session, 100 days celebration, 3 months old baby portraits,  3 months old baby picture, 100 day old,  baby boy,  3 months old baby image, Cathy Murai Photography, Alhambra, Baby, Photographer, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles,  a baby smiling during a  Baby Portrait Session

 

Eden Bao - September 11, 2013 - 12:31 am

OMG, his hair is to DIE for! I love it!

Jackie T - September 11, 2013 - 5:37 am

The series of photographs that capture this little man rolling over into hysterics had me laughing out loud. What a fantastic triptych. (BTW, love the hair!)

Angela - September 11, 2013 - 6:46 am

Oh. My. Goodness. Cutest thing ever! What a great smile!

Jennifer Wilcox - September 11, 2013 - 8:24 am

What a smile!

Cari H - September 11, 2013 - 10:11 am

absolutely adorable! what a fun idea!

Tia Goodnight - September 11, 2013 - 11:49 am

Such a cutie! Your images are gorgeous, lighting and composition and everything is perfect!

Maxine Evans - September 11, 2013 - 3:00 pm

Dying over these images, beautiful shot, beautiful family… stunning child!
Love them all!

Carol - September 11, 2013 - 3:05 pm

Too much . . . TOO MUCH!! These are crazy adorable! I’m still smiling . . .

Christine - September 12, 2013 - 1:50 am

OHMYGOSH! I cannot even tell you how much I love these! They are incredible, and what a cutie!!

Tia Goodnight - September 16, 2013 - 10:38 am

Oh MY GOSH BABY BATMAN?!?!?! Love Love Love

cathy - September 16, 2013 - 11:51 am

Thanks for your nice comments =) I really enjoyed capturing this little man!

Winni Choi - March 25, 2014 - 1:27 pm

I am looking for a studio photo shooting session for my 9 months old baby. can you send me the details