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Meet Amber Castro of Naturally Newborn in Santa Ana

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amber Castro.

Amber, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I fell in love with photography when I was in high school. Back then we still worked with film and developed film and prints in the darkroom. I loved everything about it and knew that it’s what I wanted to do when I grew up. What I didn’t know was that about a decade later, film would be obsolete and everything would go digital. I kinda panicked when that happened and hung up my dreams for a while. Computers still intimidated me and learning how to digitally develop photos sounded scary.

When I turned 30 years old, I realized that I really needed to at least try to pursue photography so I didn’t have that regret weighing on me as an old lady one day. So I got a digital camera and a computer (with the help of family and friends), learned how to use them both and opened up my business “Sugar Free Photography” shortly after. Fast forward to this year, 2017, and I have re-branded as “Naturally Newborn” and am celebrating 6.5 years in business with a gorgeous 1900 sqft studio in Orange County.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Haha, not at all. It’s been extremely difficult. I knew nothing about business when I started and admittedly made tons of mistakes. I am an artist, not a business woman. So I’ve had to learn A LOT.

3.5 years ago I opened up my commercial studio space not knowing at all what I was doing. I just knew that I had outgrown my tiny apartment “studio” and needed to separate my work from home. It was the best decision I’ve made but also the most stressful. Having a large overhead means you have to be booking sessions all the time to cover the extra expenses. And did I mention I am a horrible marketer? Lol. I’m telling you…business. Business is the hardest part about this.

Naturally Newborn – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My business is Naturally Newborn and we are a full service boutique studio located on the border of Irvine and Santa Ana. We are about 5 minutes from South Coast Plaza. I specialize in photographing pregnancy, newborn and babies. I also have a doula at the studio that provides birth and postpartum services.

I am most known for my signature soft, romantic images. I hear repeatedly from clients that my work stands out with an almost dreamlike quality. I am also known for my full service approach to maternity photography. For the last couple of years, I have provided hair, make-up and wardrobe to every maternity client. I want my moms to not worry about a thing. They can come in, get pampered for a few hours and then have gorgeous images at the end of the day. It’s one of my favorite parts about what I do.

I am also known for my large studio. I’ve styled it to feel like a home. When clients walk in, I want them to feel comfortable and relaxed. My space has a rustic, natural vibe with lots of organic elements. I have a large playroom devoted to little kids and a parent lounge with snacks, coffee and TV. Every room is designed to be cozy and welcoming.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success to me is being able to do what I love. I mean, sure, I’d love to own a large home and fancy cars and all that jazz. But at the end of the day, I had a dream as a child and I’m actually doing it. That, to me, is success.


  • Maternity sessions start at just $750 and include hair, make-up and wardrobe. Includes digital images as well.
  • Newborn sessions start at $1100 and includes professional styling, props and digital images.
  • Maternity + Newborn packages start at just $1500 and includes hair, make-up, wardrobe and digital images.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Naturally Newborn

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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