Jacob's Newborn Session
Back in the fall, I had a portrait session with this sweet family in downtown Charleston. At the time, this mom was just coming to the end of her first trimester and let me know they would be getting in touch with me after the holidays to schedule a newborn session.
I have been looking forward to the birth of this little guy for a couple of reasons-
First, I love fresh babies. Obviously.
But second, I was so excited to see this big sister again! She has personality for days, and she is still one of my favorite kids I have ever photographed.
One of the best parts about lifestyle newborn sessions is that the older siblings can be relaxed in their own environment. Newborn sessions take a while because we often need breaks for feedings or diaper changes. When I'm in the client's home, however, older children can take breaks whenever they need and play with their own toys in their own space. As you'll see, I even spent a little time taking some photos of just big sister while her new baby brother was being fed and changed.
Since I don't bring tons of props or big studio set-ups, it's really easy for me to travel to clients' homes for these sessions. Unfortunately, the day before was the day the Wando Bridge was shut down I-526. When I arrived at this family's home, Dad joked that this ended up being a pretty convenient time to be home with the baby. Staying home and snuggling your new baby instead of sitting in awful traffic? Definite win.
I just want to say a quick thank you to this family for trusting me, yet again, to photograph this sweet time in your family!
Now for the part you're all really here for anyway....
An adorable baby fix!
Find out more about lifestyle newborn sessions and the other services I offer here.
Charleston Sunrise Family Session
One of the things I love about being a birth photographer is seeing the babies when the families come back for other portraits as the littles grown up. I had a recent family session with a little one whose birth I photographed.
I have to be honest with you - I am NOT a morning person. I'm the type who will hit snooze as many times as humanly possible and make any excuse to avoid early morning activities. However, when it comes to sunrise sessions, I am a completely different person. I can't quite decide if it's because I just love my job that much or because nothing beats a Charleston sunrise (except maybe a Charleston sunset). Either way, I was up as soon as my alarm went off and happily headed out the door.
We were blessed with a beautiful, mild spring morning. We started with a few standard family portraits before moving to some mommy-daughter and daddy-daughter photos. We then walked to a different area of our location, and my camera was working the whole time. It's no secret that candid photos are my favorite. It's the best way to capture a little one's personality or the relationship between family members.
Once we made it to the next spot, we took a few more family portraits and some of mom and dad alone. You'd be amazed how often parents haven't had a nice photo as a couple since their wedding day, so I always try to get some photos of just mom and dad.
Enjoy this sneak peek and if you want to know more about my portrait services, click here.
Charleston Snow Day!
As an artist, I think it's important to take on personal projects. I absolutely LOVE working with my clients and photographing their families, but I sometimes get caught up in everyone else's moments that I neglect the beauty in my own everyday life.
This year I decided to participate in the Life in 52 project. One photo (or photo series) a week for a year. No themes or rules or requirements. It just has to be LIFE. This project is perfect for me because I love lifestyle photography. I've said it many times before, but while I love the most posed portraits I take for my clients, my absolute favorites always come from natural interactions and play time at the end of my sessions. Of course, it's also why birth photography is my specialty. Life doesn't get any more real than a birth story.
Now in my first week of this project, Mother Nature has given me the perfect surprise: SNOW! Here in Charleston, SC, we have snow accumulation about once every decade. The last time we had snow that actually stuck was in 2010 and it was only an inch or two. This year, on January 3rd, we got 5 inches of snow! Just to give you an idea of how rare that is around here - the last time we got that much snow was in 1989!
My daughter, Bug, has been very curious about snow recently and was so excited when I told her we might get to see it. I had to warn her not to get her hopes up because it's not uncommon for meteorologists to predict snow that never comes here. This year was the opposite. We were only predicted to get 1, possibly 2, inches. We were all stunned when the snow just kept falling well past the 2 inch mark.
When you're a photographer and you get an opportunity that only comes once every 10 years, you get out the big camera!
Without further ado, here's my official Week 1 photo for the Life in 52 project: Bug seeing snow for the first time in her life.
Of course, I can't just share one picture and be done. So enjoy a few more photos of my little family's experience with Charleston's big snow day!
2017 - In Review
A door is closing on another year. When each year begins, I always feel like I have a long stretch of time in front of me - a long chapter of my life yet to be written. Then at the end of the year, I always end up thinking to myself, What happened? Where did the year go?
This year has been busier than most for my family. I decided that I wanted to really pursue photography as a career - more specifically, birth photography. I spent this year going to school at night to complete a photography certification program, building a portfolio and website, preparing all of the legal aspects of my business, and finding new clients. If building a business weren't enough, we moved twice this year! My husband and I decided to sell our first home in the spring and build a new house. We are still living in the Charleston, SC area, but we had to move into an apartment between selling our old house and closing on the new. We've been settled in the new house since September, but I just now feel like I'm getting to sit and breathe for a minute. It's been a wild ride.
I wouldn't change it for anything though. I love this crazy life.
This year, I've spent time with several amazing families...
Some of those families were expanding.
Some had recently expanded. I photographed some of the most beautiful babies and kids!
One of the biggest highlights of my year was capturing an unforgettable birth.
Despite the chaos, 2017 has been an amazing year for my family. I hope you close this year with fond memories, but most of all I pray 2018 is full of joy and blessings for all of you... and, of course, I hope you'll consider inviting me in to capture some of those memories. Happy New Year!
Riverfront Park Family Session
The Charleston area has an abundance of beautiful locations and it can often be overwhelming to decide where to photograph a portrait session. No matter what style you are trying to achieve, Charleston has something for everyone: stunning natural scenery at parks and plantations, waterfront views, historic homes and buildings, and even some modern and industrial settings. The location for this particular family session has a little bit of all three.
Located on the former Charleston Naval Base, Riverfront Park was once a hidden gem, only known for larger events like the Annual 4th of July Festival. In recent years, however, many people in our community have discovered its charms. As a matter of fact, I saw at least 3 other photographers at the park while we were there. The great thing about Riverfront is that there is plenty of room and it never seems to feel crowded. There are historic homes that naval officers once called home. There are oak trees dripping in Spanish moss and places to sit and look out over the creek that runs past the park. You will also find a large, industrial performance pavilion and a sampling of modern art pieces throughout Riverfront Park.
The weather on this particular weekend was pretty cold and dreary for the most part, but we ended up with a beautiful, mild afternoon for this family photo session. We walked all around the park and took advantage of all it has to offer.
I must say this is an incredibly photogenic family, and those handsome boys kept me on my toes! Jackson, the older brother, was my little model. He loved to pose and would randomly tell me, "Hey! Take a picture of me like this by this tree!"
Little brother, Weston, mostly wanted to play, but he would occasionally stop to give me a big, heart-melting smile. I had to be quick with my camera though because he would only hold the smile for a few seconds before running off again.
This is just a small sample of this family's portrait session. I loved capturing their family dynamic, and I think the photos show their relationship perfectly.
Family Session on the Battery
When this family contacted me to take their annual family photos, I suggested a few beautiful locations for our session to take place. They recently moved back to the area and decided their first family photos in town should be in a quintessential Charleston location: the Battery. As their photographer, I was secretly hoping they would choose that particular spot. I've lived in Charleston my entire life, but I still love walking along the Battery and down the various side streets. It's an especially beautiful sight at sunrise. Our session was scheduled the day before Daylight Savings Time ended, so I knew it was my last opportunity to photograph in that gorgeous morning light while sunrise was still happening after 7 am.
I could not have asked for a more perfect morning. The weather was cool and mild, and this family was so much fun! I was thrilled when their adorable little girl warmed up to me almost immediately. After she asked about my dogs and I complimented her pretty red dress (my favorite color), we were ready to get started.
I really enjoyed spending time with this family. They were so relaxed and truly seemed to enjoy each other's company. I had a very hard time choosing which photos to share here in the blog. The entire gallery exuded happiness and love. Take a look and you'll see what I mean!
I've heard it said that October is to photographers as April is to accountants. It makes perfect sense. The cooler temperatures, beautiful fall colors, and stunning sunsets are a photographer's dream. Plus, it's the perfect time of year for new family portraits just in time for holiday cards to be printed!
I must say, however, that October is a little different for photographers here in Charleston, SC. The weather cools down some, but temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s are still very common. Days at the beach are a regular occurrence and the leaves usually stay green.
I still love October though. I can feel the holidays coming, and I'm still a huge kid when it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas. We also have plenty of great fall activities in Charleston, despite the fact that it still feels like summer most of the time. My family stayed busy all month, and instead of overwhelming my blog readers with tons of individual personal posts, I decided to combine them all into one highlight reel.
We started October with my little man's first haircut. Whenever I write about my children, I always refer to them by their nicknames, and my son bears the most quintessential southern boy nickname possible: Bubba. My sweet Bubba had the most beautiful blonde curls, but for some reason, everyone else seemed to think it was more mullet than precious baby curls. I finally agreed to allow my husband to take Bubba to the barber shop next time he had his own hair cut as long as he didn't complain when I showed up with camera in hand. I have absolutely no problem being that mom.
I have a love/hate relationship with this haircut. He looks like a little boy now without his little baby curls, but he's so stinking cute that it's hard not to love it.
Every October, we also make plans to visit the Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch with friends. On the weekends, the pumpkin patch has food and a petting zoo in addition to all of the other wonderful activities. However, I usually choose to go during the week. Aside from a few school field trips, the crowd is much smaller and less overwhelming for my small children. We still have a wonderful time with plenty of opportunities for play.
The biggest event for our family each October is Bug's birthday! Since she turned 5 this year, we decided to make it an extra special birthday. We had a party with friends and family at our house, but I have almost no pictures! I was in "hostess" mode the entire time. A few days after her party, I took Bug to the beach for a special birthday photo session. I always get pictures of my kids for their birthdays each year, either by hiring another professional photographer or doing them myself. This year I had something special in mind that I really wanted to photograph on my own.
I started with more traditional portraits in a white dress that were all for me, but then I switched to something all about her. Bug is obsessed with mermaids. She has a mermaid bookbag for school and requested that we make her room in our new house mermaid themed. I couldn't resist the opportunity to make her into a mermaid for her birthday. The joy in her face in these photos is so real. She giggled pretty much the entire time and asked if people walking by might think she was a real mermaid.
To top off a pretty awesome birthday week, my mom and I took Bug on a little road trip on her actual birthday. We headed to pick up my niece and then drove on to Charlotte, NC to visit the American Girl store. Again, I had planned to take pictures of the girls in the store, but I was a little overwhelmed in that place. Plus, I had to rein in the birthday girl who was making plans to buy every. single. thing. she saw.
After Bug spent every penny of her birthday money, we met up with some friends of mine who live in Charlotte for a birthday dinner at The Cheesecake Factory before heading back to our hotel. My mom found a hotel that partners with the American Girl store to provide a "pink package" to guests. All the bedding and towels had been switched to pink as well as the alarm clock and trash cans. Each of the girls also received a bag with a bed, robe, and slippers for their dolls to keep and a couple of giant chocolate chip cookies.
When we got home, it was time to get ready for Halloween. Bug decided she wanted to be Moana this year. That was easy enough because she already owns a Moana dress up costume. Since this will likely be my last year with full decision-making rights on Bubba's costume, I decided to dress him as Maui to go with his big sister. I found a cute Maui pajama set on Amazon and used my crafty skills to create a wig and fish hook. I was worried he wouldn't wear the wig, but he was perfect!
Now that October is over, I'm looking forward to the fall weather finally making its way here to Charleston. Plus, I'm allowed to talk about Christmas occasionally without constantly getting side-eye from friends and family.
What was your favorite part of October? Did you dress up for Halloween? Your kids? Tell me about it in the comments!
Baby Blake's Newborn Session
I adore this sweet family! I first met Erin when we were both teaching at the same elementary school. She was engaged to Billy at the time. It's amazing to think they are married and have TWO beautiful little girls now! I had the pleasure of photographing their second baby girl's newborn session.
When I arrived at their house, the newest addition was just settling to sleep. Big sister, Ireland, had just woken up from her nap and she very proudly introduced me to her new baby. While she got a snack and got dressed, I started setting up to photograph new baby Blake.
Side note: I make a lot of my own hats and headbands. I'm always happy to use any hats or special props a client wants to use, but I never want a client to feel like they have to purchase special items for their session. I have plenty of options, and I'm always looking for new patterns to add to my collection.
Blake slept like a champ throughout the entire first portion of the session. I changed her headpieces, her position, and her blanket multiple times and she barely stirred. She was a true sleeping beauty.
By this time, the big sister was dressed and ready to snuggle her new sister... well... almost ready.
Personally, I think her skirt looked pretty cute like that, but we straightened her outfit. Now that we could see the words on her shirt, I snuggled the sisters up on my favorite fuzzy blanket. I think it's pretty clear that Ireland is completely smitten with her new baby sister.
Toddlers always seem to be snacking and Ireland is no exception. Once she was done taking pictures, she was ready for a treat.
Next up were photos with mom and dad individually. I love all the faces newborns make, and Blake was full of them! It seems she was very interested in her daddy's story.
She saved the sweetest smile for mommy though...
I am over the moon for this family and can't wait to see these girls grow up together.
What To Expect: Portrait Sessions
The What to Expect series on my blog is an overview of the different types of sessions I offer and what you can expect from the experience. Other posts in this series include:
Fresh 48 Sessions
Although I chose to specialize in birth and fresh 48 photography, I really enjoy portrait photography as well. My favorite portraits are those that come from ongoing relationships with my clients - taking maternity portraits and then being present when the baby growing in that sweet bump is born or seeing a baby from a fresh 48 session grow throughout their first year. I love capturing families as they grow and change over the months and years.
I have two options for portrait sessions: the Mini and the Full. They are both great options for all types of portraits; the difference really boils down to the length of your session and the variety of options presented in the gallery at the end.
A mini session is 30-minutes on location. These sessions are ideal for seasonal/holiday photos, baby milestones, children's birthdays, pregnancy announcements and gender reveals. Minis are also available for family or maternity portraits, but photo options are more limited by the time available.
Full sessions are one hour on location. These sessions are perfect for any client looking for more variety from their portraits. Because we have more time, we are able to include an outfit change if desired and possibly a change in location if another option is close.
I sometimes have clients ask which type of session is best for families with young children, and my answer honestly depends on the family. Some children are excited to take photos and are very cooperative at the beginning, but by the end of the session they're tired and ready to be done. In those cases, I think a mini session would be appropriate. On the other hand, some children take time to warm up to me and a longer session gives them time to get comfortable and pose well for photos. You know your family best, and I am happy to talk it through with you to decide which option might be best.
Once a client has chosen the type of session they want and paid the retainer fee to secure their date/time, I send an email with an overview of what time to arrive and some suggestions for choosing outfit(s). Sometime in the week before the session, I will consult with clients by email, phone, or text - whichever is easiest for them - to go over any final details and answer any questions. I am also available if they need help choosing what to wear! It's not uncommon for clients to text a photo of some options and ask for my help and opinions. I want them to love their photos, so I am always willing to help choose a location and clothing that will make the portraits look their absolute best.
The day of the session has arrived. Everyone is dressed and ready. Now what?
I usually plan to arrive early to walk around, even if it's a location I have used before, just to make sure there are no surprises waiting. I also prefer to be unpacked and set up, so clients don't have to wait on me when they arrive. If children are involved in the session, I usually take a few minutes to introduce myself and talk to them to help them feel more comfortable with me.
The flow of the session depends on each client and their family dynamics and what they want from their portraits. However, I usually include the same four prompts within each session.
Posed Group Portraits
These are what most people think of when they hear the word "portraits." Everyone placed in a specific spot, looking at the camera, and smiling.
These are more active photos. I encourage clients to walk together, tickle, dance, or move in some way. These portraits usually show more geniune smiles and the relationships between family members.
These are similar to traditional posed portraits, but instead of the whole family/group being included, these are individual photos of each person or smaller combinations of family members.
No matter what form a portrait session takes, I always end my sessions the same way: PLAY!
These are often my favorite photos from a session. This is when personalities really shine. I take whatever time is left at the end of a session, and I encourage clients to just let loose! If we are at the beach, go splash in the water. At a park, clients will chase each other or pick flowers or whatever comes most naturally to them.
Once the session is over, I try to post a couple of sneak peeks on my Facebook and Instagram accounts as I edit over the next few days, and the gallery is delivered within 2 weeks.
Contact me today to plan your next portrait session. I would love to work with you!
Have you ever had a portrait session? What were your favorite photos? Posed or Playful? Leave a comment below and let me know!
I met this sweet mom, Allison, through a mutual friend about a year ago. Our daughters are close to the same age and at the time, we lived in the same neighborhood. Shortly after I met her, she found out she was pregnant with her third baby.
I was originally supposed to do a Fresh 48 session with this family and hopefully be present when the big sister and brother came to meet the new baby. However, this little guy had some breathing issues at birth and landed himself in the NICU. As someone who has experienced this same stress and chaos myself, I offered to switch to a newborn session instead once they were able to go home. Luckily, his stay was short, and they were able to get home within a few days.
Baby Brayden was only 5 days old when I came for his newborn session. Not long after I walked in, Allison asked if I wanted to hold the baby while she helped big brother into his special t-shirt. Um... OF COURSE. I am ALWAYS willing to snuggle new babies and I not-so-discreetly gave the top of his head a little sniff. I love new baby smell. It's my favorite.
Once all the kids were ready, I set up my favorite fuzzy blanket and prepared to take pictures of all 3 kids together. There was only one problem...
Baby Brayden was NOT happy. Although he had been fed recently and had a clean diaper, he still wasn't happy.
I swaddled him and that helped for a little bit. Big sister was fantastic at following my directions for pictures and very patient. This clearly wasn't her first rodeo.
The new big brother, on the other hand, required a little more coaxing (i.e. bribing). He didn't want to give the baby a kiss, but I can see these brothers certainly have their own special bond.
I thought a change of position might help, so I got all of the kids settled together on the couch. I was able to get the elusive picture of the kids smiling together (no photoshop head swapping necessary)!
After I finished up with the big kids, they got to go on a special outing with their grandmother, and little Brayden got what he really wanted: TO EAT! Even if you meticulously plan and have baby fed before your newborn session, babies often don't cooperate anyway. The issue with newborns is that they often cluster feed, and you can't always plan when that's going to happen. Cluster feeding is extremely common in the first several weeks with a newborn. It's the baby's way of signaling mom's body to make more milk for an upcoming growth spurt, and newborns grow rapidly in the beginning.
The good news is that I am a very laid back photographer. If we need to stop to settle a fussy baby, I'm totally fine with that.
Once Allison nursed Brayden, he snuggled in to sleep. I wanted to make sure he was deep asleep before moving him, so I snapped a few pictures of him with mom while we waited.
Once we were sure he was settled, we snuggled him in a blanket and we put him in an adorable crocheted set that was a gift from a friend.
Before I left, I wanted to get a picture of Brayden snuggled on his mom's chest. However, as soon as he smelled his mom, there was only one thing he wanted...
In my glimpse into this family's life with three kids, I saw a little bit of chaos, plenty of laughs, and an abundance of LOVE. I was in awe of Allison's grace and patience with all of her kids, and I can't wait to see more of this family as they grow together.