20 Best Gifts For a Baby’s 1st Birthday

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The first birthday holds a special place in a child’s life and the hearts of parents. It signifies the incredible growth and progress the baby has made during their first year of life, from a tiny bundle of joy into a curious and spirited toddler.

From those initial wobbly steps to the first babbled words, every small achievement is a reason to celebrate. This is why the first birthday is often marked by a grand celebration, surrounded by loved ones. Their presence is a reminder that this journey is shared, and the memories we create together become woven into the fabric of our child’s story.

Choosing a gift for a 1-year-old is a delicate art, a chance to give a piece of our heart in a tangible form. It’s about more than just the object; it’s about the possibilities it holds. A set of building blocks becomes a tower of dreams, a picture book unfolds into a world of imagination, and a soft plush toy becomes a steadfast friend on this exciting journey.

As you choose presents that align with safety, developmental needs, and the creation of lasting memories, you contribute to the child’s growth and happiness. By considering the transition from baby to toddler and the joy of family gatherings, you can select gifts that are both engaging for the child and pleasing for the parents.

Things to Consider When Choosing Gifts:

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Child Safety: When selecting a gift for a 1-year-old, safety is paramount. Opt for toys made from non-toxic materials, without small parts that could be a choking hazard. Look for products with rounded edges and secure attachments to ensure a worry-free playtime experience.

  1. Soft Stacking Blocks: Crafted from plush, non-toxic materials, soft stacking blocks provide tactile stimulation, encourage sensory exploration, and allow for safe play even during those curious chewing stages.
  2. Nesting Cups: These stackable cups are free from small parts, making them an excellent choice for safety-conscious parents. They promote hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and a sense of spatial relationships.

Developmental Milestones: Select toys that stimulate the child’s senses, motor skills, and cognitive development.

  • Activity Centers offer a range of interactive activities that encourage fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and cognitive development.
  • Stacking Toys help improve hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills while offering endless entertainment.
  • Shape Sorters introduce shapes, colors, and spatial awareness while enhancing problem-solving abilities.
  • Sturdy push-and-pull toys support gross motor skills, balance, and coordination while fostering a sense of independence and exploration.

Multifunctional: Look for toys that offer various activities and engage the child’s imagination.

  • Convertible Play Furniture: Consider a play table with storage or a toy chest that doubles as seating. These items provide a space-saving solution while fostering creativity and organization.
  • Soft Play Mats with interactive elements provide a safe and comfortable play area while stimulating sensory exploration.
  • Ride-On Toys that also have storage compartments or interactive features, combine playtime with practicality.
  • Activity tables combine various activities, such as bead mazes, shape sorters, and spinning gears, ensuring hours of engaging entertainment and skill development

Long-Lasting Toys: Choose items that will remain enjoyable as the child grows and develops.

  • Wooden Building Blocks never go out of style and can be enjoyed for years, promoting creativity, motor skills, and imaginative play.
  • High-quality, durable musical toys allow for self-expression and sensory development fostering a lifelong love for music.

Pleasing for Parents: Consider gifts that are not excessively noisy, too large, or overwhelming in terms of colors or design.

  • Quiet Books– containing various activities (crinkly textures, peek-a-boo flaps, and vibrant illustrations) that engage little ones without creating excessive noise.
  • Foldable Play Tents provide a cozy, imaginative space for play and can be easily stored when not in use.
  • Non-toxic, washable crayons and markers, along with coloring books, keep kids entertained and allow parents to cherish their child’s artistic endeavors.
  • Compact and portable busy boards offer a variety of sensory activities making them ideal for on-the-go entertainment

Functional and Engaging: Seek toys that provide both entertainment and education, fostering the child’s curiosity and creativity.

  • Bathtime can be fun and educational with interactive water toys that enhance sensory experiences.
  • Sensory Balls engage multiple senses and encourage tactile exploration.
  • Chunky, easy-to-grasp puzzles introduce problem-solving skills and spatial awareness.
  • Shape and Color Recognition Toys challenge cognitive skills and fine motor abilities, laying the foundation for logical thinking.

The first birthday gifts are an acknowledgment of the extraordinary potential that lies within that tiny frame.

They’re a nudge toward growth, a gentle encouragement to explore, create, and dream without limits.


5 Great Locations for Personal Branding Photography


Selecting the right location for your Personal Branding Photography demonstrates creativity, attention to detail and a commitment to delivering a distinct brand experience.

Unveiling the essence of your personal brand through photography requires more than just a camera and a subject. The location you choose can be the catalyst that ignites the fire of inspiration, amplifies your message, and leaves an unforgettable mark on your audience. 

After talking with several of my clients I acknowledged that finding the right location can be difficult. That is why based on their needs, I always make some recommendations.

From the familiar comforts of your home or office to the lively ambiance of cafes, the modernity of co-working spaces, the sophistication of hotels or different areas in the city, the choice of location sets the tone, enhances your story and reflects your personality.

What are the things you should take into consideration when deciding on a location?

You need to consider different factors like:

  • What kind of vibe do you want to portray in your images? Is it going to be flashy and fun or professional and straightforward?
  • What kind of message do you want to send? Do you want people to see how hard you work or your fun side?
  • How do you want people to feel when they look at your photos? Are you looking for an intimate experience or something visual that will really catch their eye in an instant?

Here are some examples of shooting locations and some tips on why you should choose them:

1.        Your Home or Office: : 


Imagine capturing the essence of your personal brand in the space that resonates with you the most. You will be able to showcase your work environment, convey professionalism and add a personal touch. A stylishly designed home office or a well-curated corner of your living space can create a unique visual narrative that reflects authenticity and establishes a strong bond with your audience.

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2.       Cafe/Restaurants: 

The cafes and restaurants offer a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere for personal branding photography. They can evoke a sense of creativity, leisure, or social engagement, depending on the ambiance you’re looking to transmit. 

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3.        Co-Working Spaces: 

Step away from the static studio setups and embrace the dynamic environment of Co-working spaces.

These collaborative working spaces have gained popularity in recent years, providing stylish and contemporary settings that are well-suited for personal branding photography. I often use them because these spaces exude a sense of modernity and innovation, enabling my clients to position themselves as forward-thinking industry leaders.

Beyond providing a stunning backdrop, coworking spaces offer valuable networking opportunities. During our photography session you may cross paths with like-minded professionals, fostering meaningful connections that could lead to exciting collaborations and potential business growth.


4.        Hotels/Rented Apartments: 

Hotels or rented apartments can offer a versatile backdrop for personal branding photography, allowing me to experiment with various themes and moods. The elegant and well-designed interiors of hotels can convey a sense of luxury and sophistication, while rented apartments can provide a cozy and intimate atmosphere. 

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5.        Outdoor Settings: 


Many of my photo sessions take place in the city because it offers a vast range of possibilities for personal branding photography. The parks, streets or architectural landmarks add visual interest and context to your brand visuals and infuse your images with a sense of energy, freedom, and exploration.


The right location can make all the difference in how people react when they see your photos, so don’t just choose any old place!
Choose somewhere that reflects who YOU are and what YOU stand for as a person and business owner.

Ready to enhance your personal brand?

Contact me at info@carmen.photo and we’ll work together to create photos that showcase your brand and attract your ideal clients.

5 questions to ask when choosing a photographer for your Baby´s First Birthday

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When it comes to choosing a professional photographer to capture your little one’s special moments, there are a few key questions you should ask. Here are five tips to help you find the perfect photographer for your needs:

1. Does the photographer have experience working with children? Capturing the perfect shot of a child can be a challenge, and a photographer with experience in this area will know how to read the signs and keep your child calm, safe, and happy.

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2. Does the photographer understand baby behavior? Not only can photography sessions be stressful for kids, but also for their parents. A photographer who understands the signs of stress or tiredness will know when to take a break, how to soothe the baby, or simply end the session.

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3. Does the photographer have any “tricks” to get the baby’s attention during the photo session? Experienced photographers understand that babies don’t naturally look at the camera and “smile”. They may use sounds, treats, and motion to get that perfect smile or expression that you can’t help but adore.

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4. Does the photographer ask questions about your baby’s behavior and likes/dislikes? Photographing babies is much more involved than just setting up a scene and capturing photos. Does your baby have any fears (balloons)? Your photographer should be asking questions to help determine the best decorations and time for your photo session.

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5. Does the photographer genuinely enjoy working with babies? This may seem like an obvious question, but not all photographers are meant to work with kids. A photographer who loves working with babies will be able to capture the perfect shots that will make your heart melt.

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Dress code for Women Leaders

“Dressing well is a form of good manners.”
  Tom Ford

I am often asked to offer advice regarding what to wear for a photo session.
More and more women in their 40s and 50s have the opportunity to advance in their career and they recognize the importance of wearing clothes that cast an image that is charismatic and confident while still remaining feminine.

I have talked with Elena Beyens – a highly experienced Style and Image consultant from Zurich and here is a summary of Elena´s recommendations:

Dress according to your body type

Look for clothes that suit your body shape and emphasize all the right features. When you are comfortable in your clothes you convey a powerful and efficient image. Clothes that fit you perfectly make you look powerful and stylish.

Dress according to your age

Create a classic wardrobe but be original – your office wardrobe should reflect your personality. Choose high quality fabrics, in simple colors (red, navy blue, emerald green or black and white) and mix and match your pieces in order to create multiple outfits. A simple midi dress with either a turtle or a boat neckline can be the perfect choice. Add an elegant blazer and some statement jewelry to create a very sophisticated look.

Elena recommends shoes you can stand in all day. The shoes should complete your look.

For a casual look you can instead select a pair of classic jeans with an elegant blazer.


First Birthday Session Guide


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First Birthday photography can be incredibly challenging, but I work with other small business owners in order to offer my clients unique First Birthday sessions.
There’s some prep and planning involved to make the shoot more successful so I have compiled a list to help us get the most out of your Baby First Birthday session.

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I recommend to have the First Birthday sessions when the child is between 11- 14 months old. Also, based on my experience of working with hundreds of children and from my own experience as a mother, the best time to do the photoshoot is after the baby had the morning nap – she / he will then be relaxed and more willing to cooperate for the photo session.

I love to get parents involved in the process so, if you have any décor/special items you would like to incorporate in to session, please let me know. I have many backgrounds, props and outfits available at the studio and I am always adding more.

A well fed baby is a happy baby. My advice is to feed the baby right before our session but don´t forget to bring a bottle water/milk and have baby’s favourite snacks on hand.
I am also happy to take as many breaks as baby needs if he or she gets hungry during our shoot. The goal is to keep the baby in good mood and to capture great memories.

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About 30 minutes before your session, please loosen baby’s diaper and any clothing with waist bands that could leave those little imprint marks. Loosening them before gives them time to disappear.

Poop happens! Please don’t be upset or feel bad if baby decides it’s time to go potty when he/she is being photographed! This is totally natural and it’s just part of the job.
It would definitely be helpful if you had a stack of extra wipes available for when things get messy though.


You will be involved in the photo session and it can get messy! It is always a good idea to bring spare clothes 🙂

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If you’d like to see if I’m the right photographer for you, send me an email at info@carmen.photo to book a free consultation.

I am looking forward to meeting you and your baby at my studio in Zürich.

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Christmas Photo Sessions

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The bookings for 2021 Christmas themed photo sessions are OPEN!

What is included:

  • 1h photo session
  • Decorations, accessories, studio outfits
  • 10 digital images delivered via digital download with copyright release
  • Password-protected on line Gallery to choose your favorite images
  • A gift from Santa for each child
  • Personalized digital Christmas card to share with your friends and family

15% discount for any additional digital images or printed products. The discount can be also used unlimited times by anyone you share it, for 1 month after the photo session.

Images will be delivered via online gallery within 7 business days.

Price: 250 CHF

23rd / 24th October
30th October
6th / 7th November
13th /14th November
20th /21st November
27th /28th November
My studio is located in Zürich, Streitholzstr.7, 8057

Early Bird bookings – 10% from the regular price.

More details at info@carmen.photo.

I am so looking forward to creating amazing photos together!! We are going to have so much fun!

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50 Amazing Swiss Women – Why you should know their stories?

One thing that prevents women from achieving their full potential is the lack of confidence. What can we do to avoid this?
We can start by learning how other women succeed, despite the numerous obstacles they encountered. I strongly believe that our daughters can learn so much from the stories of women role models. Equality should start with Education.

Some days ago I had the chance to meet two remarkable ladies: Laurie Theurer and Barbara Nigg , authors of „50 Amazing Swiss Women”. It was fascinating to learn how this book was written and hear about the challenges they faced, especially during the pandemic.
The book contains extraordinary stories of incredible women. I am sure my daughter will love it.
Bonus points – the illustrations are fantastic!

As the authors said:
„Read their stories. Get inspired. Be amazing, too.”

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„If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.
” Plato

„50 Amazing Swiss Women”

By Laurie Theurer, Katie Hayoz, Anita Lehmann, Alnaaze Nathoo and Barbara Nigg. 

Illustrated by Mireille Lachausse.


Photo workshop Carnival in Venice 2020

Details: This is a two-day workshop designed for a small group (6 people).

You will photograph not only the colorful carnival costumes, but also the best known attractions such St. Marco’s Square, Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of Sights, St. George Island, and the Grand Canale. If the weather is nice, we can also take a boat trip to the colorful island of Burano, known for its brightly colored fishermen’s houses.

I will make sure that we will be out early (before the huge crowds), so we’ll capture the beautiful sunrise light which will increase our chances to take impressive shots. My aim is to help you not only to go back home with some great photos, but also stimulate your creativity and to improve your photography technique in general.

We will have individual and group discussions where I will guide you, we will generate ideas, and most importantly, we will have fun! 


Friday 21st February
After check in at our hotels we can either walk around Venice ( I know a location where the masks meet) or take the water bus to Burano – depending on the weather.
It’s best to visit Burano on a sunny day.
In the afternoon we will return to Piazza San Marco and can take a short trip to San Giorgio Island to photograph the masks. These is a place were the masks are gathering and only few people know about it. 
We can stay near San Marco square at Blue hour to take some photos of the lagoon or go to Ponte Dell’Academia to take some iconic photos of Santa Maria della Salute.
Free time after 7.30 pm.
Every night during the Carnival there will be live music and dancing in Piazza San Marco.
Saturday 22nd February
We will start the day at sunrise at (6.30am) in Piazza San Marco. This is the main opportunity to photograph the costumed people – before the huge crowds arrive in the square.
Also, at around 7.00 am, the square is usually closed by Police for around 30min for check ups – they want to make sure everyone is safe. If we are in the square, near Doge’s Palace there is no problem to take photos. Otherwise we will have to wait outside and miss the best time with the masks.
If we are lucky, the sunrise will help us create beautiful pictures with the masks and the Venetian lagoon. Foggy mornings also offer great opportunities for photos.
We will stay in Piazza San Marco until 8.30-9.00. After that we will go to the hotel to have breakfast and leave the tripods and other equipment that we don’t need during the day We will meet again at 10.00 for a walking trip around Venice or we can go to Burano ( if we haven’t been there the previous day, on Friday).
In Venice we can go up to the Campanilla to have a nice view of Venice lagoon, walk to Rialto Bridge, Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Ponte dell’Accademia, Arsenale, Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, Punta de la Dogana ( Dorsoduro area), Old Jewish quarter, Teatro La Fenice etc.
There are a lot of lesser known areas of Venice where I can take you. We would want to avoid San Marco square at noon because it will be packed with tourists.
Saturday afternoon (4.30 pm) will be again in San Marco Square/ San Giorgio island to photograph the costumes. These two locations provide us the best opportunities to take good photos of the masks.
We can have dinner together at 7.30 and discuss our photos.
Sunday 23rd February
Same program as Saturday in the morning – we will start the day at sunrise at (6.30am) in Piazza San Marco.
At 10.00, again a walk around Venice to photograh the architecture, the people, the gondolas etc
The workshop will finish around 4.00pm.

Equipment: I recommend a dSLR type camera with lenses which allow you to shoot subjects near and far (for example a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm), a tripod, spare batteries and spare storage cards.

This course is designed for Beginner and Intermediate levels.

Price: 590 CHF per person includes learning about your camera settings and capabilities (ISO, exposure, focusing), advise on how to get the best images (locations, composition, technique), and how to establish a rapport with the ‘models’ in carnival costumes, while at the same time dealing with other photographers present. 

You will learn also some post processing techniques for Lightroom and Photoshop.

A non-refundable deposit of 250 CHF is due by 5th February 2020 in order to secure your place. If you bring a friend, you both get a discount of 50 CHF off the price of the workshop. 

The price doesn’t include international travel, meals, drinks, insurance, accommodation, or airport transfers. However, I can give you some recommendations for accommodation and means of transportation.

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Hello Autumn!

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Autumn is my favourite season and I want to give you the opportunity to create some great memories.
The Autumn photo sessions are great for families, couples, engagements, seniors or pets.
Book your session now!

You are amazing.
Your photos should be too!