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CBM Photo | Carmen Michael bio picture
  • That's me on the left, I'm Carmen! I live in Birmingham, Alabama with my amazing husband, our two children Walt & Frances, along with our Jack Russell Terrier, Heidi. I have a B.A. in Studio Art/Photography from the University of Alabama, and I founded CBM PHOTO in 2008.

    My love affair with photography began with a hot pink 3x5 camera. As a little girl, I would pose my friends, toys, and dogs with the goal of getting the perfect shot. Twenty years later I'm still shooting away, always on the quest for the next ideal shot. What else am I (almost always) on the lookout for? Taco Casa, golden hour lighting, newborn props, sweet tea, Walt's lovey, Heidi's collar, Ikea, a parking spot, inspiration, The Office episodes, and John Mayer.

Esther at home | Birmingham, Alabama Newborn Baby Photography

Esther’s portraits were 2 days ago, and I couldn’t wait to share some special details from this week’s newborn. At 7 days old, she was one of the calmest baby’s I’ve ever photographed. I wanted to share my favorite black and white details from her nursery. Those first few days of swaddles, shushing, sweet newborn skin, and those slow blinks and yawns are so fleeting they can be easy to forget. Blame it on the sleep deprivation (and all the exciting milestones that come along in the first year).

Welcome to the world, little Esther. You are the loveliest baby!
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Kelton at home | Clanton, Alabama Children’s Photography

Earlier this summer, I had the privilege of meeting and photographing Kelton. He was about 6 months old at the time and was taking his afternoon nap when I arrived. I needed a sneak peek of his nap, but he quickly popped his little head up to check out what was going on. SO CUTE!

Kelton’s mom and dad have been waiting a long time to announce their little boy’s finalized adoption, and I’m thrilled to finally show these sweet portraits. Congratulations to Kristin and Kyle! They are amazing parents to Kelton and I’m happy to have captured some of their sweet moments on camera.


November 6, 2015 - 1:36 am

Julie Ingram - Beautiful photos & a beautiful family!!!! Congratulations!

November 6, 2015 - 2:33 am

Jnon Griffin - So awesome!!! So excited for the family

November 6, 2015 - 2:48 am

Amanda Aldridge Moore - He’s beautiful!! Congratulations Kristin & Kyle!!

November 6, 2015 - 4:11 pm

Gwen Price - I must say that Carmen had beautiful subjects for these photos! Congratulations. It is truly amazing the way in which God works. This little fellow looks like he could be their birth child!! :o)

Welcome, Bella | Birmingham, Alabama Birth Story Photography

Bella was born on a Sunday morning. Here’s that story.

When I met Bella’s mom Prissy, we talked about her wanting to labor and deliver her baby naturally. No epidurals, no inductions. Of course, this excited me to be able to witness and would be my first unmedicated delivery to photograph. As her due date grew closer, Prissy got a little anxious because of the lack of progress in dilation. Of course, those things can and do change in a matter of minutes, so I knew she just wasn’t “there” yet.

Early Sunday morning, I got the text. She’d been in labor during the night and was headed to the hospital. I cheered her on and instructed her friend to keep me posted on the progress. At about 7-8cm dilated, Prissy’s friend called to give me an update. I could hear it over the phone; Prissy was in transition. Those sounds are unmistakable. Loud, rough, guttural…transition is arguably the biggest hurdle to leap over while laboring. “She’s pushing” was the next text I received, a mere 10 minutes later. AH!

Speed limits were violated, I threw my car into the parking deck, raced to that all familiar water labor room at Brookwood Women’s Center, and entered the room. There she was holding her newborn baby girl. No one was prepared for how quickly this first born child came. Of course, I would’ve preferred to have gotten there before Bella was born, BUT I’ve never met a woman who wouldn’t want a fast and uncomplicated delivery!

While Bella nursed for the first time in her mama’s arms, Prissy began to cry. And with those tears she said, “I am truly blessed”. Prissy is an incredibly strong woman and this was a blessing to my heart to witness. It’s an honor to photograph these first moments of life and I’m thankful for each family that puts their trust in me. Bella’s family heirloom is starting strong.
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Playing Catch Up

Last weekend I asked Kent to take a few photographs of me. We were actually out to take some portraits of the kids. I’ve been wanting some large canvases of Walt and Frances for awhile, but we’ve been waiting for Walt’s hair to grow out a bit and for Frances to learn how to sit up. So why not tackle an updated head shot for the blog/Facebook/Instagram while we’re at it?




I’ve been thinking about implementing more personal posts on the blog. As a reader of a number of different blogs, I’m continually attracted to the ones that have a mixture of personal and professional posts. What’s going on around here besides shooting adorable babies and children? What have my own children been up to? What piece(s) of equipment can I not work without? Who’s the woman behind the camera and blog?




So, here’s what’s I’ve been up to all summer and what I have planned for the fall.


I STARTED RUNNING: In May, I started the Couch to 5k program. After giving birth to Frances in March, I was ready to get my butt in gear. A couple of years ago I halfheartedly tried to lose weight, but my plans fell by the wayside the minute we decided to have a second baby. After I downloaded the C25K app, I scrolled through the 9 weeks of workouts and was sweating bullets. How could I possibly run for 8, 15, 20, 30 minutes at a time without stopping? Well, after working out the kinks (what to eat, where to run, what to listen to, when to run), I found my groove. I wrapped the program in July, am still running 3 days a week, and am down 25 pounds (4 of which were baby pounds)! WHAT?! I’ve not signed up for a 5k yet because I’m pickier than I realized. My first 5k has to be a good one! The 10k training app has been downloaded, but the amount of time away from the baby has kept me from starting.


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BREASTFEEDING MARATHON: All. The. Time. It’s wonderful, time consuming, convenient, the best bonding time, tiring, and a dream. Frances turns 6 months this weekend and that blows my mind! Those first months have flown by. Wasn’t I just pregnant yesterday? Most of my days and nights are arranged around breastfeeding Frances. I love it and plan to keep her going (like I did with Walt) for a little over a year.

SHOOTING FILM: While I was studying photography at UA, I strictly shot, processed, and developed black and white film. It was amazing and taught me the ins and outs of how to take a photograph and use a camera. This past mother’s day, Kent gifted me a lovely 35mm camera so that I could experiment with our family photographs. I’m still very much in the “figuring out” stages. It’s thrilling and frightening all at once.  Did I get the exposure right? Was it in focus? When will the processed images be delivered? It is like riding a bike, I just need to keep my training wheels on for a little while longer. My confidence continues to grow, I’ve found a specific roll of film I prefer, and Kent’s gotten in on the action a little too. We’ve just added the unbelievable Fuji X100T to the roster and it’s blowing our minds. Obviously, the x100T isn’t film, but it sure is dreamy!



And here’s what I see for this fall:

I’M READING: Make it Happen. I picked up this book on a whim last week and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in awhile. Last summer, I happened to meet the author, Lara Casey, while in Rosemary Beach. This was shortly after suffering a miscarriage, so things were pretty dark for me. She was so kind to me and listened as I gushed about reading her blog. I’m about 3/4ths of the way through the book and I’m in major planning mode. Business wise, personally, spiritually. Lara’s book is speaking some serious life into me. Living and working intentionally is the name of the game this fall (and beyond). The book isn’t necessarily a devotional, but God’s teachings are woven throughout the book and through Lara’s words. It’s exactly what my heart’s been searching for.

WHAT I WANT TO SHOOT: After shooting some nursery and newborn portraits of Frances this spring, I came to a creative conclusion. My intentions with my photographs is to tell a story. Your story. I want something different for my family heirlooms and I want my photographs to reflect what life really looks like for us (and my clients). What the sights, sounds, emotions, and where we are in this season of our lives. I’m moving in a different direction creatively and plan to show you guys more of that soon. I want to document life with babies and children in a real, honest way.





WALT’S 3RD BIRTHDAY: Walt turns 3 in October and I’ve got some fun ideas for this year! His birthday falls on a Saturday this year, so Halloween will be a jam packed day of fun and lots of sugar. I’m also brain storming what he and Frances will dress up as for Halloween. I’m sure these little sibling costumes can only last another year or two before strong opinions dictate, so I’m shamelessly doing it while I can! There’s a classic Disney movie practically on repeat around here, so we might be heading in that directions for my two little buddies.



Bella, Day 12 | Birmingham, Alabama Baby & Newborn Photography

100! Miss Bella was my 100th newborn to photograph! That is so hard to believe, as it seems I was just planning my very first shoot. That first newborn is now in kindergarten. I guess that’s what happens; newborns grow, babies become kids, I document it all along the way.

Apparently Bella got the memo that this was a special shoot. She was a rock star! Anything we dreamed up to shoot, she made it happen. At 12 days old, she nursed between shots like a pro, cuddled with her mama sweetly, and won me over immediately. I’ll be documenting Bella’s first year and can’t wait to show you how she grows throughout this next year. Until then, let’s all enjoy newborn baby goodness.
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