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The Birth Story of Helen | Birmingham, AL Birth Photography

I am so excited and honored to finally share this birth story! I’m mostly going to let the photographs tell the story, but I thought I would share a few highlights from the day. 

When Shelley went into labor, she progressed to 5cm pretty quickly. With this being her second baby, I immediately hopped out of bed and headed to St. Vincent’s Hospital. Second babies are famous for coming fast! After spending a few moments in the delivery room, I made my way to the waiting room as Shelley got her epidural. Little did any of us know that she would need 2 epidurals administered, as the first didn’t quite take. Needless to say, I was chomping at the bit to get back into the delivery room! 

After more progress was made, it was time for her to push. Pushing went lightning fast…again, the whole second baby thing. Let me pause and tell you that Shelley and Josh chose to be surprised by the baby’s gender, rather than find out via ultrasound. As their baby was born, they got the big surprise that they were parents to another GIRL! Shelley’s expression is full of overwhelming joy. It’s one of my fondest memories to have witnessed and to have captured on film. As the news sank in, it was pretty evident that Helen looked exactly like her big sister, Gracie. It was a real honor to photograph Helen’s birth and to watch this family bond as four. 

Weight, breastfeeding, meeting grandparents, swaddling…all those wonderful details are below. Grab a coffee and maybe a tissue, this one will leave you feeling all the feels! It’s birth story time! 

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Trendy vs Classic | Birmingham, AL Baby Photography

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One of my goals for 2016 is to keep my work simple and classic. I want my clients to walk away from their session with heirloom portraits that will be cherished for generations. The best way to illustrate my goal is to think about the difference between the words “trendy” and “classic”. Let’s think about some trendy/classic combos shall we:

  • Leisure Suit/Black Tux
  • Chia Pet/Tinkertoy
  • Wood Paneling/Wainscoting 
  • Space Invaders/The Empire Strikes Back
  • Doughnut Burgers/Hamburgers and Fries

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So how does this translate to baby photography? There’s been a huge upswing of popularity in baby photography, specifically newborns within the last 6-7 years. Taking a cue from Anne Geddes, the trend of placing babies in buckets, plates, baskets, boxes, etc. quickly became the industry standard. I certainly shot my fair share of babies in baskets, sleeping soundly in slightly unnatural positions. Those shots are precious; I mean it’s a sleeping baby who’s posed peacefully with a featured prop. As my business grew, so did the popularity of these types of newborn portraits. I’ve shushed, precisely posed, and sweated under a space heater just to get these shots.

In 2012, I gave birth to my first child and immediately planned to take some newborn portraits of him. 2 weeks after he was born, I spent 2 hours setting up different shots of Walt with elaborate props and hats. When I sat down to edit his images, I didn’t feel excited or satisfied. They didn’t show who this little 9 day old baby was… who we had gotten to know in that short time… there was something missing. It took some time for me to figure out, but the key for how I would like to approach baby photography is natural and simple. I was doing some reading the other day and came across this quote, “Now I’ve come to understand that when I was doing what I thought I should, I was not being my real, genuine, authentic self.” – Mae Burke

That quote perfectly describes what I had been struggling with when I felt boxed in creatively. When I started sharing more images that spoke to me and that were genuine, my confidence flourished. And I started to attract like-minded clients who desired more than what was currently trendy. So what exactly is the problem with being trendy? I believe that when we look back at family portraits from decades ago, the ones that stand the test of time are ones that focus on the subject and their story. There are quite a few photos of me and my husband as children looking VERY 80’s and holding a few unfortunate props! But, there are some treasures in our photo collection that I’ll cherish forever. Let’s have a look at 2 images from our childhood that I believe are classic storytelling photography:

 

My husband, Kent, around age 3 asleep on his mother’s lap at a football game
Kent & Mom at a Game

My dad holding me as I sleep
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Those 2 images speak volumes to me. One shows the struggle of toddler staying awake at a busy football game. Kent’s mother is perfectly contented to hold her middle child as he sleeps soundly away. The other image is very typical of those first weeks of having a newborn at home. Holding and pacifying while trying to maintain some sort of routine. Sitting on the couch watching TV while holding your newborn is one of the simplest, yet sweetest details in the 4th trimester.

And now here I am, telling the stories of the first moments of babies lives and the world around them. There’s no highly stylized version of your newborn baby, no elaborate setup. Just the story of your pregnancy, your baby’s day of birth, and their first moments home. Those moments will be the ones that catch your grandchildren’s eyes as they flip through your albums and prints, and they will no doubt want to hear the story behind those images.

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All About “Fresh 48” Sessions | Birmingham, Alabama Birth and Baby Photography

The “Fresh 48” session is a newly coined term around here, but I’m no stranger to the actual session. A Fresh 48 session is one that takes place within the first 48 hours of your baby’s birth, before you leave the hospital. This is an excellent option for parents who do not wish for their labor and delivery to be photographed, but would like the first moments together in the hospital captured.

Baby’s first moments in the hospital can be such a blur and some that you won’t want to forget. I love Fresh 48 sessions because there are so many firsts for baby that should be documented, I capture older siblings meeting their new brother/sister for the first time, and I’m there for the quiet moments in between feedings and meeting grandparents.

Get a glimpse from some past Fresh 48 sessions below. If you’d like more information about Fresh 48, go here!

 

birmingham alabama fresh 48 baby hospital photographyAfter being born via emergency c-section, baby Wyatt finally gets some quiet time with his mama.baby newborn hospital photography fresh 48 birth story Baby Hudson, one day old and very alert for some visits from family.
birth story fresh 48 photography alabama birminghamOnly an hour into being parents and they are smitten.
birmingham alabama fresh 48 birth story photographyYou can’t beat that perfect burrito swaddle! birth photography hospital fresh 48 alabamabirmingham alabama baby hospital fresh 48 birth story photographerAt 33 weeks, John David was delivered via emergency c-section. He spent a little under 3 weeks in the NICU. NICU baby photography fresh 48 birth story UAB alabama birmingham alabama photographer birth story fresh 48hospital baby birth story fresh 48 photographer birmingham alabamaBaby Madison talking with her mama.
alabama baby newborn photographer birmingham fresh 48fresh 48 and birth story photographer birmingham alabamaBaby Helen pulled in close with her daddy.fresh 48 photographer hospital baby birth story birmingham alabama photography