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astinbenedettophotography

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Happy Birthday! – Warren County NJ Cake Smash Photographer

It’s hard to believe that this little lady is already a year old!  One of the greatest honors as a photographer is when a client returns.   I just love watching my newborns grow and change and explore this big new world.   And what better exploration than CAKE?!

We started off this session with a few traditional one year portraits.  Then we moved right into the good stuff.   But the funny thing about babies is that they don’t know how amazing this yummy treat is, so it takes them awhile to warm up to it.   A virtue that I could stand to learn.  A full cake in front of ME?  Gone before you can say “big slice or little slice?”

After she coated herself in frosting sufficiently,  she relaxed in a nice warm bubble bath.  And then decided she was ready for some more cake.   So, we did what any normal person would do…and served her cake while she splashed.   This girl has my heart.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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