Kids grow so fast. With kids now age 10 and 7, I look back and can see now how those baby and toddler years really do go by in the blink of an eye! Though time has gone fast, I’m thankful that our family has done a few photo sessions over the years, though I wish I had done more. That’s why I’m so glad I found Giliane from Giliane E. Mansfeldt Photography in St. Paul this year, as we were definitely overdue for another photo shoot!
Giliane E. Mansfeldt Photography does newborn, maternity, and family photography both in her studio and at outdoor locations. Giliane has over 15 years of experience in photography, and is absolutely passionate about it, with newborns, moms-to-be, children and families as being her favorites to photograph. But she not only does professional work, but she is patient and kind, as she showed us during our recent session with her.
Our family had an appointment for a family photo shoot with Giliane on a cool spring Saturday afternoon. We got dressed and ready, I brushed the kids’ hair, I grabbed some extra outfits to wear, and we headed to Giliane’s studio, located at 2395 University Ave W., Suite #206 in St. Paul. After we parked in the Wells Fargo lot across the street (which her customers can use), Giliane greeted us at the door to let us into the building and we took the elevator with her to the 2nd floor where her suite was.
Her studio is over 1000 square feet with 3 different areas for photo shoots: one for newborns and babies, one for newborns and little children, and a third, larger one for families. There is also a large collection of props including hats, headbands, tutus, benches, toys, birthday props and more. She has a variety of pictures on her website of these props and backdrops, though you are welcome to bring your own props for the shoot.
The large bay especially features the building’s original brick wall background from the early 20th century. I love the character that you can see in it and how it gives the photos a classic, timeless look. This is where we did our photos. There is also good natural lighting but Giliane uses special lighting as well.
Our session was for 90 minutes, which went faster than I expected. The whole experience was casual and relaxed, as we first got familiar with our surroundings and got a feel for what photos the kids would like to do first, since I wanted the photo shoot to focus on them.
My 10-year-old daughter was pretty flexible, but my 7-year-old son wanted to run around – pretty much the entire time. We sort of went back and forth between individual shots and group shots, which worked out well.
My daughter did a great job with her pictures. Giliane guided her through various poses, experimenting with angles and lighting.
Of course I had to get some pics of the kids together. My kids are the best of friends (at least on most days!), so it was easy for them to pose together.
The kids and I did quite a few pictures together – sitting together, standing together, and just plain hanging out together. We had fun and laughed, and Giliane took pictures of it all.
I loved this shot of my son and me. It sums it all up!
And even after all that, Giliane offered to take individual pictures of me if I wanted. This is a huge perk for parents wanting a professional individual headshot or even just a fun, romantic or casual picture, which can cost a lot more to do separately! I got some professional and some fun, casual pictures of myself done, using the bathroom down the hall to change, though she does also offer a private changing room. I was very happy to be able to get these extra photos done for myself!
Photo packages start at $300, and every session includes digital files. This is a big PLUS to me as a budget-minded mom, because I’ve done sessions before where we may have gotten a great deal for the sitting fee, but then buying even a single photo was enough to break the bank. (I once got a great Groupon deal for a really cheap sitting fee at a Minneapolis studio, but the cost of one photo was about $100!) With Giliane’s pricing, you get everything you need for one price.
My session included 50 professionally edited digital photos and print release, so I can pick 50 that I like and do whatever I want with them. Many sessions include prints and print credits as well. Learn more about packages on her website, but she is offering some discounts too!
Giliane is offering a great discount for me to share! Save 10% when you mention Twin Cities Frugal Mom at the time of booking.
OR, book any full newborn session, the receive a free maternity session! Mention you heard about the deal from Twin Cities Frugal Mom.
Location and Contact Info
2395 University Ave W Ste 206
Saint Paul, MN 55114
Interview with Giliane
In addition to sharing our experience, I interviewed Giliane to share more about her background in photography and tips and tricks she had to share!
Giliane, you have over 15 years of experience in photography. Can you tell me about your background and how you got started?
I first started my photography career when I was in middle school, sounds weird I know, but it was truly that early in my life that I knew photography was my life’s work. I took a photography film class at my school just as a way to fill an elective course, thinking hey it seems cool and at least its not more homework. It was the second week or so when our teacher taught us how to develop film in the darkroom. Ok, I thought, this is pretty cool. Then, when we made prints, and I got to actually see my work that I created through my camera, oh boy, I was hooked. I’ve been working with photography ever since.
What do you recommend parents bring for their newborn’s photo session at your studio?
I recommend parents come in comfortable clothes to begin the session. When we get to family photos, I have them change into the outfits they brought with. Since the studio is kept pretty warm for baby, its better to come in comfy clothes first.
If you are incorporating sibling photos, its good to bring something to entertain big brother or sister.
Bring any snacks and something to drink for family as we could be there for a while. My studio is located by keys cafe as well as a coffee shop in case you run out a snacks.
I do offer a guide to my clients to help you plan for a newborn session and what to bring.
Do you have a technique for getting newborns to settle and sleep?
I do! I have lots of tips and tricks to help settle a newborn. One that I can share is newborns like it warm. For newborns, I keep my studio between 75-80 degrees. If I’m not sweating, then it is not warm enough for the baby. If you think about it, the newborn just came from a warm cozy environment. Since newborn cannot regulate their own body temperature, it is important that the environment around them provide enough warmth.
The other trick I use, is to swaddle baby to prep them for the wrapped looks at the studio. I always start with wraps first. This helps baby feel safe and keeps the hands and feet tight to help them fall asleep.
How long does each session last?
I get this question a lot especially for newborn sessions. Newborns I like to say to plan between 2 and 4 hours. The baby is the star of the show and baby will let me know if the are starting the hate the photographer – haha! But seriously, the baby will be the one to tell me when we are done. Usually, it is around the 3 hour mark.
Most of my other sessions, I say plan on being with me for around 2 hours. I like to take my time to get to know the children before jumping in their faces with a camera. I’m already a stranger, nothing is scarier than a stranger with a large camera 5 feet from your face. I know, I was a very shy child during photo sessions, so I like to let the kids warm up to me.
Do you do outdoor sessions?
I do photograph outdoor sessions and love doing them. I travel to parks and locations throughout the twin cities and meet clients there. Some of my favorites spots to go are Minneahaha Falls, Mears Park in Saint Paul for a more urban feel, and there is a cute farm in Eagan MN that provides awesome shots for fall photos.
Do you photograph births?
Not at this time, but we are looking to expand into providing birth photography very soon.
What’s your favorite thing about photography?
My favorite thing about photography is being able to capture a moment in time and freezing it forever.
Are there any memorable images or shoots you could share? What made these special for you?
I can’t really single out just one session or image. Each session is unique and special in its own way. That’s what I love about working with my clients. No one has the same story so each session is completely special in of itself.
I see your packages start at $300. What should families know about pricing?
The most important thing, is the price is all inclusive. Meaning, you do not pay any more to receive digitals and if you select a package that has prints, you do not pay more for prints either. I offer a digital package and a several other packages that include digitals, prints and product. I strive to keep pricing easy and it is important to me that clients understand exactly what they are getting for the price they are paying. I do not have print minimums and do not expect clients to be more than they are comfortable purchasing.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do? Hobbies, family, other interests?
I love to garden and anything DIY! My husband is a professional chef so in the summer we grow a hobby farm of sorts for our meals. I love to sew and knit. We also have 2 rescue dogs. We all love to go hiking when it’s nice and explore. My husband is from New York so we love to travel back there any chance we get to visit our home away from home.
(Disclosure: I received a complimentary photo session in exchange for sharing this review. All opinions are 100% mine.)