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.
*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.
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!
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.
It seems like I’ve been gone awhile since my last post, but nothing could be farther from the truth! I’m so excited to share all of the amazing babies, families, and bellies that I’ve been honored to capture over the last few months, starting with this one!!
Leslie and I have been best friends for over a decade. We have experienced each other’s highest and lowest moments and I can honestly say this…this is the happiest I have ever seen her. She and her family are absolutely incredible and I consider them my family as well. I will always be Aunt Astin to her babies. 🙂
On a recent trip back home, we got together to get some updated family photos of her, her husband, and their 2 beautiful children. You can feel the love flowing off of this screen when you see the way they look at each other.