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Meet Diana Hinek of ArtShaped Photography and Birth Services in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diana Hinek.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Diana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in Italy, where I spent most of my school years, until I moved to London when I was 21 and where I completed my BA/BSc in Film and my MSc in Digital Imaging and Photography. I ended up in California almost by mistake, as originally I had planned to backpack for a few weeks and head back to Europe right after then. Instead, I ended up staying and started working in the movie industry, specifically in the visual effects business, which was then booming.

During that time I also married my husband and welcomed our first baby. Becoming a mom was such a fundamental experience for me. I felt I had to learn everything about giving birth in Los Angeles and how to survive the loneliness and lack of support during the postpartum period. When my second baby came along, I decided I wanted to try having a more intimate and empowering experience, with the hope that the few weeks after the birth would also unfold more easily; so I found a group of midwives who supported me despite my previous Cesarean birth. The experience was so majestic and healing that I decided to become a Doula, and soon after to integrate my visual passion by offering photography services.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I believe that with every change comes a fair amount of struggles and success. As a family we had to adjust to the fact that being a Doula doesn’t financially provide our family as much as working for big visual effects companies such Marvel Entertainment used to.

Also, the nature of being on call is often stressful when it comes to being present for Holidays, School Events and general daily life. The impracticability of when will a birth happen, how long will it last doesn’t allow for much planning, but my family sees how much happiness it brings into my life and everyone is very supportive.

I am also constantly updating my education and learning from a community of photographers and Doulas who are very tight and sympathetic. Having said that, I also realize that part of running a business is educating your potential clients about the value that your business offers. If (birth) photography is not necessarily a need ( rather it is a want), having a Doula present to the birth of your children is essential, especially in a medical culture that constantly pushes hospital interventions before, during and after a baby is born.

Ironically, some do not see the value of a figure like a Doula to be on call 24/7 for as long as 5 weeks around the estimated due date of the birth; someone who is ready to drop her life in the blink of an eye and rush to support a mother giving birth, for as little or as long it might take her. This is the hardest part for me, having to concentrate on the business part of my services, when my first impulse would be to just love on every single mother I come across.

ArtShaped Photography and Birth Services – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
ArtShaped Photography and Birth Services specializes in capturing and enhancing the journey into parenthood.
We offer photography packages that cover maternity, birth, newborn and family sessions; we also offer Doula support services from birth to post-partum. With emphasis on breastfeeding (education and support), placenta encapsulation, nourishing meals preparation and post-partum night support.

We are proud to offer a huge network of resources and our mission is create a memorable experience during the capture of the most important moments in a family’s life; moreover we are known to draw our approach of supporting families from almost 10 years of conscious parenting that goes beyond the standard American culture.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
To me success is measured by the happiness of the families I am at service. Their victory is my success, their thriving is my joy. Although I am conscious of the fact that their journey is not about me and I am there just to hold space for them; I do share with them one of the most intimate moment in their life and I cannot avoid falling in love with them. Knowing that somehow I could contribute to a better birth outcome or decision taken during their journey, gives me the hope that I am doing something good for the world.

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