Enchanted Forest- Lehigh Valley Child Photographer

I had a vision.   In my mind’s eye, I saw a beautiful woodland princess…wandering in an enchanted forest.   I saw warm light falling through bare branches and illuminating this princess in a golden aura of wonderment.

Then, it snowed.

And a new vision was born and it was even more enchanting.

This isn’t the first time the snow has thwarted a magical and mystical scene I had imagined.   It seems as though winter, as much as I try to escape it, is always trying to woo me.  Like a persistent would be suitor.   Charming, unexpected, and a little dangerous.

My princess arrived full of excitement and wonder.  Just as I had pictured.  She was absolutely amazing. It was so incredibly cold to me, but aside from the flush of her rosy cheeks, she didn’t seem to be phased at all by the brisk air.   She frolicked and twirled and tossed snow in the air as though it was fine glitter raining back down on her.   And that’s when the true story came alive.   A sweet child discovering the magic in the woods around her.

Astin-Benedetto-Photograph-Lehigh-Valley-Child-Photographer-Enchanted-Forest-Girl-Blue-dress-Full-lengthAstin-Benedetto-Photograph-Lehigh-Valley-Child-Photographer-Enchanted-Forest-Girl-Blue-dress-hands-under-chinAstin-Benedetto-Photograph-Lehigh-Valley-Child-Photographer-Enchanted-Forest-Girl-Blue-dress-snow-looking-at-cameraAstin-Benedetto-Photograph-Lehigh-Valley-Child-Photographer-Enchanted-Forest-Girl-Blue-dress-snowAstin-Benedetto-Photograph-Lehigh-Valley-Child-Photographer-Enchanted-Forest-Girl-Blue-dress-snow-holding-red-cardinalAstin-Benedetto-Photograph-Lehigh-Valley-Child-Photographer-Enchanted-Forest-Girl-Blue-dress-holding-lightAstin-Benedetto-Photograph-Lehigh-Valley-Child-Photographer-Enchanted-Forest-Girl-Blue-dress-snow-fallingAstin-Benedetto-Photograph-Lehigh-Valley-Child-Photographer-Enchanted-Forest-Girl-Blue-dress-wings-magic

Advertisements

A Family Begins- Morris County, NJ Newborn Photographer

My former co-worker welcomed their beautiful baby girl into the world in December just before Christmas.   I was SO excited to get the message that Baby C was finally here and we could officially get the newborn session on the books.

I had spent months carefully designing this session.  I knew mom loved soft textures and very feminine color palettes, so I set out to make the most luxurious sets that I could think of.  Lots of soft stretchy wraps, soft unspun wool blankets, and cloud soft backdrop fabrics married with soft pinks and creams.   But, she also loved that rustic organic style too, so I made sure to incorporate lots of wood and earth tones to compliment her skin tones and her thick dark hair.

She was such a cutie but at 2 weeks old for her session, she made me work!   But, if anything is worth breaking a sweat for, it’s those amazing baby yawns and big yummy grins.  She was such an expressive baby and so cuddly and squishy, I could just nom her cheeks right off her face.   However, after practicing great self restraint, I managed to leave those sweet cheeks right where they belong and capture her rare moments of sleep.

As I mentioned in the post about their maternity session, I love LOVE when dads get involved with the maternity photos.  I love it even more when the parents (either or both!) get in on the newborn photos.  There is something so amazing about capturing their first official portraits as a new family.   That raw and awe inspiring love they have for their new baby and for each other is such a reminder that it’s not just babies being born, families are being born.  Entire new identities and values are being born.  And that is such an honor to bear witness to and to immortalize in print.

Astin-Benedetto-Photography-Morris-County-NJ-Newborn-Photographer-Baby-girl-pink-wrap-awakeAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Morris-County-NJ-Newborn-Photographer-Baby-girl-pink-wrap-yawningAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Morris-County-NJ-Newborn-Photographer-Baby-girl-purple-wrap-potato-sack-smilingAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Morris-County-NJ-Newborn-Photographer-Baby-girl-rustic-bonnetAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Morris-County-NJ-Newborn-Photographer-Baby-girl-rustic-burgundy-wrap-wood-crateAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Morris-County-NJ-Newborn-Photographer-Baby-girl-rustic-cream-wrapAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Morris-County-NJ-Newborn-Photographer-Baby-girl-rustic-lace-knit-blanket-sleepingAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Morris-County-NJ-Newborn-Photographer-dad-holding-babyAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Morris-County-NJ-Newborn-Photographer-parents-holding-baby-looking-at-cameraAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Morris-County-NJ-Newborn-Photographer-Parents-kissing-babyAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Morris-County-NJ-Newborn-Photographer-parents-looking-at-baby

Somewhere Over the Rainbow- Warren County, NJ Newborn Photographer

*Trigger Warning- Infant Loss*

I’m not sure that I’ve ever been more honored to do a newborn session, than I was for this one.   4 years ago, this family was one of my very first sessions.  The braved the ice and snow to come into my home studio and let this little green photographer take their photos.   Little did I know that not only would those photos be so tender and important, but that day also started a dear friendship that I’m grateful to have.

It was during the scheduling of that session that I learned they had experienced infant loss when one of their twins was born sleeping.   As a mother, that was the most awful thing I could imagine.   I read the story of their heartbreak, their grief over losing their daughter while experiencing the joy of the birth of their son.   I read about the sweet boy who joined the family just a little over a year later.  I read about the few precious momentos they had to keep their sweet baby girl close to them.

One of those items was their Molly Bear.  Molly Bears are special weighted bears meant for bereaved families who have lost a child.    During that first session, we got many photos with their bear.  She represents their daughter as a tangible reminder that she existed and she is loved and missed SO much.

I was thrilled to learn she was expecting and experiencing a healthy pregnancy this past year.  She was also expecting a baby girl.  My sweet friend was very unsure if she wanted to have newborn photos done.   Most moms would feel guilt over having something special done for one child that they did not do for others.  And she was no different.    I always feel that you’re far more likely to regret NOT doing them than you would regret doing them.   However, it was her choice and after much deliberation, she let me know she wanted to move forward.   For this, I am so incredibly humbled that she trusted me to honor, not only her newest and longed for baby, but all of her babies.   And we both knew that we would incorporate her sweet Karina with her Molly Bear.

The big brothers were SO incredibly excited about their new baby sister that they could hardly sit still.   Yet, they held her and comforted her with the gentlest of hands and the softest of voices.   They had an instinctual desire to protect her and with every tiny newborn wail, one of them would appear at my side to check in and make sure she was ok.    She was such a great sleeper.  She loved being wrapped up snug and would occasionally let out the tiniest of baby smiles.

I feel I could write ten novels about this family and these sweet babies, but I will just let the photos do the talking.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Astin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-Newborn-Photographer-newborn-baby-girl-rainbow-wrap-on-backAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-Newborn-Photographer-newborn-baby-girl-purple-wrap-sidelyingAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-Newborn-Photographer-newborn-baby-girl-purple-wrapAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-Newborn-Photographer-newborn-baby-girl-pink-wrap-potato-sack-furAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-Newborn-Photographer-newborn-baby-girlAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-Newborn-Photographer-brothers-rainbow-bowtiesAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-Newborn-Photographer-brothers-kissing-baby-sisterAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-Newborn-Photographer-brothers-holding-sister-molly-bear-rainbowAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-Newborn-Photographer-brother-holding-sister-molly-bearAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-Newborn-Photographer-baby-girl-neutral-wrap-molly-bear

 

In the trees- Warren County, NJ Family Photographer

Back before Thanksgiving, I made a trip back home to Arkansas.  While I was there, I took the opportunity to photograph some of my friends.  This family is the sister, et al, of one of my dearest friends.   She also had her third baby recently and was so excited to have photos done of their new family of five.

Due to scheduling conflicts, weather, and illnesses, we didn’t get together until right before I was leaving to return to New Jersey.    Unfortunately, this meant…weeknight.  The dad didn’t get off work until 4:30 and it’s about a half hour to the tree farm from his house, so we were pretty much looking at shooting in the dark.   But, not to fear, we forged ahead armed with a speedlight and high ISO settings and made beautiful memories for this beautiful family.

I absolutely love the amazing color and texture that the christmas trees add to these images.  Late fall/early winter can feel so drab and lifeless, but this was really a magical spot.   We can’t thank Motley’s Tree Farm enough for allowing us to do this quick dusk session as not only were they not even open for the season, but they were getting ready to head home!  So, special shout out and thanks to them.  If you live in the Central Arkansas area, be sure to check them out for their Christmas trees this year, and check out their pumpkin patch!    We used to get our trees and pumpkins from them when we lived in Arkansas and they have an amazing selection!

Astin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-NJ-Family-Photographer-family-of-five-christmas-tree-farmAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-NJ-Family-Photographer-family-of-five-christmas-tree-farm-sittingAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-NJ-Family-Photographer-brother-sister-sitting-christmas-tree-farmAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-NJ-Family-Photographer-brother-sister-hugging-christmas-tree-farmAstin-Benedett-Photography- Warren-County-NJ-Family-Photographer-siblings-sitting-row-of-trees-christmas-tree-farmAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-NJ-Family-Photographer-siblings-christmas-tree-farmAstin-Benedetto-Photography- Warren-County-NJ-Family-Photographer-couple-hugging-christmas-tree-farm

Roses love Sunshine, Violets Love Dew- Hunterdon County, NJ Maternity Photographer

Gosh, Where do I even begin with this one?  This abundantly beautiful mother to be was a co-worker of mine in my 9-5 life.   For several years, we anxiously awaited her announcement that she was expecting.  She was but a newlywed when she came to us, so our “gentle nudging” was all in jest but we were certainly looking forward to it.   She’s such a stunning beauty to begin with, I just knew that radiant glow of pregnancy would set her off like none other.

When the day finally came, we were all elated.  And, of course, I couldn’t resist demanding  requesting to do her maternity and newborn photos.   I went on maternity leave before her belly really showed up, so I missed all the fun times in the office watching her grow into this new phase of life.   But, when she arrived for her maternity session, she took my breath away.   She was every bit as lovely as I had imagined she would be.

She chose a purple off the shoulder ruffle gown from my client wardrobe, and also brought along a ruby red stunner as well.   Of course, we could expect this saucy Peruvian goddess to bring her own spicy flair!    We had so much fun with her session and I was thrilled that her husband came along for the ride and got in on some photos too!  I love when the dad’s to be join in.  This is a time to celebrate both of them as they prepare for their new roles as “Mom and Dad”.

Astin-Benedetto-Photography-Hunterdon-County-NJ-Maternity-Photographer-man-kissing-bellyAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Hunterdon-County-NJ-Maternity-Photographer-Pregnant-woman-purple-dressAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Hunterdon-County-NJ-Maternity-Photographer-Pregnant-woman-purple-dress-coupleAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Hunterdon-County-NJ-Maternity-Photographer-Pregnant-woman-purple-dress-grove-treesAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Hunterdon-County-NJ-Maternity-Photographer-Pregnant-woman-purple-dress-holding-bellyAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Hunterdon-County-NJ-Maternity-Photographer-Pregnant-woman-red-dressAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Hunterdon-County-NJ-Maternity-Photographer-Pregnant-woman-red-dress-looking-at-bellyAstin-Benedetto-Photography-Hunterdon-County-NJ-Maternity-Photographer-Pregnant-woman-red-dress-through-leaves

A Day in Our Life- Warren County, NJ Child Photographer

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to take the time to capture my own family more frequently.  With my real camera. Not my phone.  All too often, it is so easy to just lift that palm sized camera while scrolling Facebook and grabbing a quick snap.  But, sadly, those photos don’t print all that well and with my sweet littles always on the move, I don’t always catch the moment before it’s gone.   I’m hoping to stay on track with printing these and putting them in an actual photo album for them to look back on over the years.   My last trip home, I brought back a photo album and a box of photos from my childhood.  It was amazing to look back on those memories and to see so much of my children’s faces in my own and in the faces of my loved ones.

This was a random Thursday morning.  My middle child is currently obsessed with her Elsa PJs.  My oldest child couldn’t be less interested in clothes.  And my youngest is still in that “lump on a log” stage.  (but not for long…she’s 6 months old as of the day these were taken! )   The kids were playing in the dining room when I started skulking around the house with my camera.   My son was crushing kinetic rocks, while sitting on top of the dining table, naturally.   My daughter disappeared into her room, where I found her making me all sorts of delicious food in her kitchen.   The next thing I know, we were having a full on photo shoot day!  Both of the older kids got their cameras out.   My son focused his attention on capturing me or the dog…whomever was the most amicable subject at the time.  My daughter, clearly on her way to being a newborn photographer, started snapping photos of her doll in the stroller.    Meanwhile, the baby kicked and babbled in the crib watching us with wide eyes.   I can already see the love of this art forming for her as well.

As you can tell…this was all so spontaneous that my daughter’s room is a mess.  And that’s ok.  That’s real life.   One day, I’ll miss the toys and the footie PJs strewn across the floor.   And lucky for me… I’ll have this day to return to again…when my babies were content to take photos, crush rocks, and make their mama yummy plastic snacks.

Field of Love- Phillipsburg, NJ Family Photographer

This mama is a dear friend of mine.  She was one of the first women to reach out to me when we moved to Phillipsburg a couple of years ago and has been a saving grace for me too many times to count.  Whether it’s watching my kids so I can shoot a session, or coming over to have coffee and make sure I’m not losing my sanity, or accompanying me on photo shoots as my assistant…she’s definitely building up some good karma points.

We did her 4th and last baby’s newborn session a couple of years ago and decided it was time to update the family album and get the whole crew in front of my lens.   This was a gorgeous day… late October, warm afternoon, cool breeze.  And they all showed up looking like they belong on the cover of a magazine.

Her girls are not only beautiful, but such sweet helpers to each other, their mother, and others.  I had to tote along my little lady (she was about 2 months old at the time) and the big girls did such a wonderful job of entertaining her while I got all the individual shots.

Astin-Benedetto- Photography-Philliipsburg-NJ- Family- Photographer- 2-Girls-in-fieldAstin-Benedetto- Photography-Philliipsburg-NJ- Family- Photographer- Family-close-upAstin-Benedetto- Photography-Philliipsburg-NJ- Family- Photographer- family-standing-in-fieldAstin-Benedetto- Photography-Philliipsburg-NJ- Family- Photographer- Girl-in-fieldAstin-Benedetto- Photography-Philliipsburg-NJ- Family- Photographer- Girl-in-field-curly-hairAstin-Benedetto- Photography-Philliipsburg-NJ- Family- Photographer- Girl-in-field-redheadAstin-Benedetto- Photography-Philliipsburg-NJ- Family- Photographer- sisters-sittingAstin-Benedetto- Photography-Philliipsburg-NJ- Family- Photographer-4-sisters-in-fieldAstin-Benedetto- Photography-Philliipsburg-NJ- Family- Photographer-man-kissing-womanAstin-Benedetto- Photography-Philliipsburg-NJ- Family- Photographer-toddler- Girl-in-fieldAstin-Benedetto- Photography-Philliipsburg-NJ- Family- Photographer-woman-in-yellow-dress

A Walk in the Woods- Lehigh Valley Family Photographer

I met this sweet mama through one of my mom groups about a year ago.  She was selling my unicorn Tula and I was bound and determined to make it mine.   We met up in the Target parking lot and immediately hit it off.  She was so sweet and funny!   Fast forward to the fall, we finally got her amazing family in front of the camera!

She chose Jacobsburg Park in Easton as the backdrop for her fall family photos and I fell IN LOVE.   This is an amazing location!  There are pathways, creeks, old historical structures.  A photographer’s paradise, for sure.   We crossed over the bridge and in an instant, we were transported from a parking lot into a colorful forest.

We strolled along the path admiring the scenery and chit chatting until we came upon the best little wading hole.  I can’t wait to come back here in the summer when the weather is warmer.

As much as I loved this place, it is pretty special to them too.  They were so excited to show me the way to the water and that’s obviously their favorite spot.   They were being so cautious not to get their adorable outfits wet and muddy, but I could tell they wanted nothing more than to splash around and have a ball.

 

A Walk in the Woods- Lehigh Valley Family Photographer

A Walk in the Woods- Lehigh Valley Family Photographer

A Walk in the Woods- Lehigh Valley Family Photographer A Walk in the Woods- Lehigh Valley Family Photographer A Walk in the Woods- Lehigh Valley Family Photographer DSC_2356wmA Walk in the Woods- Lehigh Valley Family Photographer A Walk in the Woods- Lehigh Valley Family Photographer DSC_2392wm

Complete- Phillipsburg, NJ Newborn Photographer

We’ve come to the last newborn session from this sweet family.  I have documented so many of their special moments over the last few years.   I am very much looking forward to sharing these babies with you as they grow but right now, I am so excited to share this little tiny thing.

This sweet boy decided to break ALL the rules and came late.  After 2 previous “right on time” births,  baby #3 had plans of his own.   His mama had made such a cozy and perfect home for him in her belly and he was all too content to stick around and take advantage of the free wifi and continental breakfast.

After 6 exhausting days post date (in JULY!) his willpower finally caved and he decided to make his grand entrance and in only a few hours, he was earthside and ready to join his two big brothers.

Here he is at a whopping 16 days old!  Isn’t he the sweetest?!?

Complete~ NJ Newborn Photographer baby laying with hand on faceComplete~ NJ Newborn Photographer baby in super hero outfitComplete~ NJ Newborn Photographer baby asleep with crocheted mouseComplete~ NJ Newborn Photographer baby awake in green wrapComplete~ NJ Newborn Photographer baby feetComplete~ NJ Newborn Photographer baby swaddled with felted bearComplete~ NJ Newborn Photographer  baby in potato sack poseComplete~ NJ Newborn Photographer baby in basket blue swaddleComplete~ NJ Newborn Photographer baby in bucket

Holiday Mini Sessions *closed* NJ Portrait Photographer

I’m excited to announce that I have opened up booking for Holiday Minis! This year, I ‘m even more pleased to announce that 10% of each session will be donated to NJ Farmers Against Hunger. This is an amazing organization that allows farms to donate their extra produce to those in need. Please contact me ASAP to book your date as slots will go quickly!

October 28th and 29th
Rain Date: November 4th and 5th

 

 

Holiday  Mini Sessions NJ Photographer Family sitting in tree farm