Baby oooooooh Baby

I met this Momma two months ago when she answered a model call for my maternity portfolio. I refer to her as the Calvin Klein of maternity photos. She was stunning, all the way to the end. I delivered her maternity photos the night before her little one entered the world and she looked absolutely beautiful. Who knows where she was hiding all 9 lbs. 1 oz. of Theo!!!!

Theo was a perfectly wonderful little model. He smiled, posed beautifully and didn’t barf on me! Added bonus because any newborn photographer knows that pee, poop and barf are all part of this “glamorous” job!

For me, the best part of this job is watching the emotion in the room, really soaking it up.  The fullness of a new mother’s heart.  The gleam in her eye when she looks at the life she created.  The tender way she rocks and soothes her new one.  I’m telling you, my life as a photographer is a darn good one!
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Elizabeth Stone

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Dear to Me: Celebrating 6 Years

My husband will be the first to tell you that he’s not a hopeless romantic. He doesn’t really celebrate Valentine’s day and he’s not the kind to bring me flowers on a whim. So that makes the fact that he celebrates the night we met, 6 years ago, even more special.

Go with me back in time…

It’s 2007 and in addition to my full time job in health care, I’m working part time at the new hot restaurant, Jack’s Bistro. One of my clients asks me if I’m single and says he has an awesome friend who is looking for a girl who is, AND I QUOTE, “not a chicken head”. Well, I’m no chicken head! I’m an independent woman with a great career and my own place. Send him my way, I said.

So, Nelson arrived at Jacks on a cold night and sat at the end of the bar while I worked my shift. It took me, literally, two hours to get up the nerve to even acknowledge him. After the restaurant closed down, we sat in a booth and talked for hours. Two nights later we went on our first date and we’ve been inseparable ever since. The craziest thing was that we lived only 2 city blocks away from each other and had never met. I always joke that had we met in the summer, I probably wouldn’t have dated him (he’s covered in tattoos). Good thing it was cold when we met or I could have easily dismissed the man who came to be my soul mate!

Here’s a little bit of our journey in photographic form:

We meet. I have braces and I’m awaiting my reconstructive jaw surgery appointment. My hair is red and short and ….terrible.
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He takes me to California for his birthday and surprises me with first class seats since flying first class was on my bucket list.
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We do typical dating stuff like picnics in the park and concerts on weeknights.
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We adopt two rescue pugs, one from NC and one from TN. Our family is coming together!
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Engagement photo session with Mary Kate McKenna, of Frederick, MD in our little Mount Vernon neighborhood. I kind of think we look like rock stars. Note how well rested I look before children!!!!!
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We get married in Corolla, NC. The photographer later told us it was the best sunset ever. Seems fitting because it was the best day ever. Photo credit: Chris Bickford
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We’ve been married for 1 month. I’m pregnant, but don’t know it yet!!!!!!
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One day after moving into our new house my test comes back positive after 6 false negative tests. If I had found out one day earlier I could have avided moving any boxes. Curse you terrible timing!!!!! 🙂   Is it weird that I still have the test, tucked away in the closet?  You can still read it!
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Maternity photos with SnappShot Photography of VA. So glad we did these, especially since now we’ve decided not to expand our family.  This is where I learned that apparently my “sexy” face just looks angry!  And that my folks is why I stay behind the lens 🙂
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Evie arrives on her due date, 3/31/10. She’s perfect. I’m in love and even more in love with him when I watch him hold her.
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We leave Evie with my parents to go to dinner for our 1 year anniversary. It feels like the longest 2 hours EVER.
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1 month turns into 3 months turns into 6 months and 9 months and before we know it, our baby is a year old.
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Mother’s Day and Father’s Day become our favorite days and at Thanksgiving we celebrate how thankful we are to have a thriving marriage and a healthy child.
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I turn 30 and he outdoes himself and plans the most amazing celebration. The speech he gave about me made everyone cry, including himself! A friend has to finish reading it for him.
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5 years together, aging like a fine wine.
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So here we are at 6 years (picture credit: Julie Hipkins from Originations Photo). He’s the best and I am grateful each and every day to be his wife. Here’s to 600 more years together. As Pooh says so well, “If you live to be one hundred, I want to live to be one hundred minus one, so I never have to be without you.”
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Starstruck: Mentoring with Rachel Vanoven

2 weeks ago I got an email that made me leap out of my seat and shout for joy. I was originally supposed to attend the December workshop with newborn photog genius Rachel Vanoven, but a spot opened in March and I was bumped up. I quickly booked a flight and a hotel and luckily, my uber supportive husband was able to take off work and have unlimited tea parties and pretend play time with Evie.

So on Tuesday, I boarded a Southwest flight and headed on my merry way. On Wednesday morning I was a nervous wreck, worried that I would relive the embarrassing starstruck moment that occurred at a Celine Dion concert years before (she came out on stage and I literally burst into tears and shouted, from my nosebleed seats, I LOVE YOU CELINE like she could hear me. I’m surprised my husband married me after witnessing that!). Rachel is every bit as awesome as I thought she be. She’s gorgeous, funny and naturally at ease with clients. But, despite all her success, she’s so humble and she immediately put me at ease. I particularly loved the fact that we spent our lunch hour watching autotune videos on YouTube. Evie does indeed love the “I Love Cats” video and we’ve probably watched it 30 times already.

Over the course of the two days, we learned her process, soup to nuts. Never one to blow smoke up your a@*, Rachel insisted we get it right in camera. Why crop in photoshop when you can just take the pose right with your camera? She was all about reducing our workload while providing the client with absolute stellar work. As a Mom, I can appreciate the fact that she has really managed to balance family and home life while staying at the top of her game.
The following images were POSED & STYLED by RACHEL and SHOT & EDITED by ME.

If you’re a photographer who wants to specialize in newborn photography, make it a point to save up and attend her workshop.  It’s worth every single penny!

I’ll start you off with a behind the scenes glimpse of me working with Rachel and posing in the Mother/baby pose 🙂  Yes…I’m a geek!

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Certainly not afraid of COLOR!
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Woodland wonderment
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Who looks so good 8 days after birth??? I don’t look that good now!
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Yes another gorgeous Momma
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I posed and shot this series myself!
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This purple series reminded me of Easter. Especially the ones of the baby wrapped like an egg.
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So, I came away from the workshop with a better understanding of where I want my business to go. I’m hoping to specialize solely in maternity/newborn work by 2014. It’ll be like a permanent baby fix!

Until next time….
Sarah

Week 2: The 5 minute challenge – Nautical Enchantment

I’ve decided to continue with Stephanie Marie Photography’s 5 minute challenge and make it a weekly outlet for my creativity. It’ll provide an opportunity to scope out new locations, develop a theme and dress up my sweet girl. This week’s five minute challenge took more like 15 minutes because Evie dismantled her bun twice while playing with the tulip. I’ve never been good at doing my own hair (hence the short do) but I love playing with hers. This messy bun is so sophisticated. Just further cements my Evie hair envy.

Today we headed to the opposite side of the Baltimore harbor. I put Evie in a little sailor dress that we found at a thrift shop for $7 and picked up some beautiful tulips from the grocery store. I converted some images to black and white so I can hang them in our living room which is decorated entirely in photos of this style. But, truth be told, my favorite is the one of her looking up at me, looking very grown up with her serious face.

Happy Monday to all of you! Hope your day is beautiful.
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Baby Fever: My creative solution

So, some of you may know that we’ve decided to keep our little family little and only have one child. What’s the best way to get over any lingering feelings that I want another baby??? Photograph a newborn. I get to cuddle, snuggle, shush to my hearts delight and then send those little love bugs home with their adoring parents. It precisely what I need to get a little baby fix. And the best part is….no sleep deprivation!

Here are a few of the babies I’ve been loving on lately:

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Meet MJ:
MJ belongs to my best friend from high school. She was the very first baby I photographed and such a sweet girl. Born just before Christmas, she gave me the perfect opportunity to use some of my holiday themed props.
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Meet Stevie:
I waited and waited to meet little Stevie. His gorgeous Momma was my very first maternity client. We had been planning his piano shot for months and I loved seeing it come to fruition.
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Meet Quinn:
Quinn was referred to me by my very first official client. Her Momma loved girly accessories so the tutu was the perfect touch to this shoot.
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Meet Annabelle:
Annabelle came my way after my college roommate posted about my newborn model search. Her beautiful full head of hair and dark lashes were swoon-worthy and she made the sweetest faces while asleep!
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Meet Charlie:
Charlie was another one of my model call babies. Her proud big brother came along for a few of the shots and I loved watching him interact with her. She was the perfect model for my newborn crown from RoseMarie Photography & Props and my pant set from Happy Gnome.
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Meet Weston:
Weston’s Momma was another one of my fabulous maternity clients. I drove to the country for his session and packed my car full of goodies. He was SUCH a good sleeper and he made my job super easy!  I loved the custom fire fighter outfit he wore to honor his Daddy.  Now I just need to find something like that for when my baby brother and his wife  have a baby one day (he works with this little boy’s daddy)!
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Meet Lincoln:
Lincoln was the last of my model call babies. He was another good sleeper – I’m beginning to think the rumor about boy babies being easier is true! He had an amazing head of dark hair and lashes any girl would envy.
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So to all you new Momma’s and Daddy’s out there. Please know that I will love love love your baby while they are in the studio. But no worries, they’re totally going home with you!

Dear to me: The 5 minute challenge

Inspired by the work of Stephanie Marie Photography, I took the five minute challenge and took my little family to the Canton, MD pier for a brief photo session. In her blog, Stephanie talked about how moms need to get pictures of their own kids and what better way to do that with a three year old than to set a five minute limit.

It was a blustery day and my original idea of a sailor themed shoot was a bust due to the cold. So we picked some other clothes and just rolled with it. I knew the pier would be the perfect location because Evie is having a love affair with the Little Mermaid and I told her Scuttle the seagull would be there. All I had to do to get these great authentic smiles was to yell, at the top of my lungs “ARIEL, HOW YOU DOING KID?!!!!!”. Passerby’s probably thought I was insane but you’ve gotta do what it takes to get that shot!

So, Nelson and Evie looked at the seagulls and the ducks and cuddled close to stay warm. And I snapped away for those few short minutes.

Do you know what I ended up with? My FAVORITE image of my husband and daughter EVER. An image that invokes so much heartfelt emotion and love. I love these images so much that I’m contemplating re-painting our guest room a moody gray-blue color and ordering canvases.

In exchange for 300 seconds, I now have images that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Read more about the Stephanie’s challenge here ::: http://www.stephanie-marie-photography.com/blog/archives/550

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