It’s always a joy to capture those first few magical days with a newborn. A documentary family photographer has the privilege of preserving real memories of a home as new parents settle into life with baby. But this newborn session in Philadelphia had a unique twist- this lovely couple brought their baby home to the apartment that Mom actually grew up in. I loved hearing about how mama’s old bedroom had been turned into baby’s sweet nursery!
So rain was in the forecast (and indeed, the evening would bring about the Middle of the Night Tornado warning of 2019), but after just a few minutes of umbrellas, the rain decided to pause a little and this family got to enjoy a stroll in the Philadelphia Museum of Art sculpture garden. Cherry blossoms, of course, are a highlight of spring – and 3-year-old Miss N loved giving showers of blossoms to her mama, followed by brushing her mama’s hair with a improvised Stick Brush.
I always love moments like standing under an umbrella, hand holding, smelling flowers, and family hug sessions under cherry blossom trees!
The end of the session was totally a classic. We had promised ice cream, and Miss N was super focused on a strawberry cone. When an accidental trip over her own dog’s leash resulted in tears and a scraped elbow, Mama’s hug followed by Dad’s purchase of an ice cream cone brought a giant smile. . . only to become a curious question as she tipped her cone sideways, ice cream falling, dog licking, and Miss N dissolving into a second face of tragedy, as little brother looked on. More ice cream was shared though – and a second bout of sweet happiness.
I know some families look at photos of their toddlers screaming mad and think they will never miss those moments. But as a mom of older kids, I can promise you that you’ll want to remember these times, too!
Let’s talk about the camera roll on your phone. Is it filled with pictures of your kiddos on their amazing day-to-day adventures? (Okay, and a few funny memes.) But where’s Mom in all those photos? If you’re like most families, the odds are that the images of her are few and far between.
Maybe she’s the unofficial family photographer, always behind the lens. Or she puts it off until her hair is styled and her outfit is something other than sweatpants. But whatever the reason, let’s face it- the occasional selfie just doesn’t capture the special bond between a mama and her babies.
Michelle and Joe are a super loving couple, and that tenderness shines through in the images from their session with lovely baby Eden. They’ve transformed their 2-bedroom apartment in South Jersey into a peaceful space filled with music, books, and personal touches- especially in Eden’s sweetly decorated nursery. (Even Kitty loves hanging out in there!)
Those daily rituals of life with a newborn are such meaningful moments to capture. After all, the calm moments of bathing in the kitchen sink will soon give way to splashing in a tub full of bubbles! Michelle and Joe love seeing Eden’s quiet expressions while washing up. And who can resist that post-bath soft, fuzzy baby hair?
Over the summer, we followed this family of five as they spent a day at the shore. While we managed to squeeze in a lot of fun during the first hour of their session, windy and rainy weather forced us to cut things short. So we asked them, “What is another place that is special to your family?” and settled on documenting one of their fave Saturday activities: an afternoon spent exploring in the forest.
Sometimes we only think of capturing those early days with a precious newborn baby, or an adorable chubby-fingered toddler, but there is something oh-so-beautiful about those sweet moments spent with your tweens and teens, too. In real everyday life, you may be distracted by devices or forever on-the-go, but those times when you all come together for a beach day or a hike in the woods? Those are times that you’ll want to remember.
Baby doll time!! Okay – big brother and sister here were just too stinking fabulous in this Old City Philadelphia family session. I can’t get over the image of baby sister looking up at her big sister, of Mr. Middle counting baby toes. This family wanted to make sure we were telling the whole story of their family, not just baby – and my answer was, OF COURSE! A newborn photography session when there are siblings is not just about the latest squishy-newborn-amazing-I-can’t-believe-we-did-it-again. It’s a story of a whole family– that has now grown and expanded and how somehow love overflows. It is about how Mr. Middle still needs some extra attention from mom, and how big older sister is a pro at both holding baby on her own, as well as exploring her block on her bike. It’s about the quiet space of mom nursing while dad runs interference with the older kids.
Okay, people- this is one of those out of the box newborn sessions that I hope will inspire you to think about your own family and what kind of images could reflect you and your family’s personality. A photography session with me is not just a plug-and-play routine; I really love to brainstorm how I can customize to make sure your images reflect a real picture of your unique family.
It’s about to hit – the season of flowers and chocolates and super gushy sweet love notes.
There’s part of me that still loves that. . . . but when I stop to reflect, love has become something much more.
When you share a life with someone, life is a little messy. But it’s still beautiful.
I’m about to launch into telling you about my thoughts of Halloween, but first, to those of you who have just stumbled in and know little about me, and why I write – I’m hoping this blog, these images, help you to think about what you love about your neighborhood. What memories do you want to collect? Can I help you collect them?
So, a mom-confessional time.
I have a love-hate relationship with Halloween. But my neighborhood is conspiring to pull me more towards the love side. Can I talk about what I hate first? Basically I’m a grumpy grinch who doesn’t feel like shelling out cash for my kids to have sparkly new Halloween outfits every year (in fact, I usually hit Target two days after Halloween, load up on 70% off Halloween clearance to give to the kids for their November birthdays and Christmas). I hate the mounds of candy and how it makes me anxious about obesity and wastefulness and what cavities. I hate having to basically designate an entire day to dealing with costume angst, begging, schlepping through a neighborhood, and sugar crashes.
But what is pulling me into the love side? When I step behind the lens and start looking and seeing the magic that we are creating. The memories. The year my 2nd kid made a Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy, people!) costume out of Amazon brown paper packaging. The year my oldest, in new teendom, won a costume contest by tying keys to his shoes and going as “low key.” The piling of candy into categories and massive candy swaps (with any trade having to be authorized and approved by an adult to keep the olders from scamming their younger sisters). The inventiveness, the cackling, the pride and sheer joy. Even the crashes seem so perfectly part of childhood when I stoop down to see things from their eyes.
Are you interested in a family documentary session but just not sure about when or what you could really capture that would tell the whole story? Your life is so full of different types of fun moments, and you’d love to capture more than just one day?
This lovely, South Jersey family has booked a family yearbook series with me – they get a handful of 30 minute mini-sessions with me through the year, to tell the story of their lives. Yearbook sessions started to take place in my mind after seeing families of newborns love the Watch Me Grow package concept (three sessions during baby’s first year!), and realizing that I wanted to offer this same concept not just to my family with babies. Don’t you love the idea of getting small slivers of your family life through the year?
Now if I were in your shoes, I would be kind of wondering – how much of a family can she really capture in just 30 minutes? Well, if you trust me – if you let go of the idea of “picture perfect smile and say cheese. . . ” If you embrace the idea that the most beautiful moments to capture are real and not posed? See for yourself!