I am a baby lady. From the time I was a teenager, I was a baby girl. You can tell from this blog and from my Facebook page - the thing I love to photograph most is new, sweet, fresh babies. But, what you may not know about me is that before I was a baby lady, I was a dog girl. It is my goal to be the #1 Philadelphia newborn photographer, but every now and then I take a detour into Philadelphia pet photographer territory. Here is why: I love dogs.
I have loved dogs from as far back as I could remember. So, it only makes sense by the cruel laws of the universe, or Murphy's law, or whatever other cynical thing us cynics say, that I was born to an animal hater. Ask her, she just doesn't have the gene that makes people love animals. (Now, before you get all hatey on my mama, she was bitten by a dog as a girl.) Anyway, I would beg for a dog. All I wanted was a dog. And you know what my mom gave me instead? Dog books. Dog stickers. More dog books. I think I read every dog book there was, and I had dog stickers all over my desk; I remember that Saint Bernard sticker like it was yesterday. She used to tell me, "When you're a big lady and have your own house, you'll get a dog for yourself. And then I will never visit you." When I graduated college, I went right to the SPCA and got my boy. My first dog. A shepherd chow mix, the best dog to ever live. And I've not been without at least one dog, usually two, my husband vetoed three this fall though.
Living in Delaware County, we have what I think of as the best shelter around, the Delaware County SPCA. I have wanted to volunteer there for a long time but as a mother of a small child, free time is limited. I finally took the courses and was on my way. I had read that pets with professional photographs get adopted more quickly. I really wanted to help out! Then, Carolyn, one of the most amazing people who works at the SPCA emailed me with a proposition: would I be interested in photographing the longtimer dogs? YES. Yes, I would. So, that's how I've been spending Fridays for the last month.
Also - because these photos are so much fun to take and because everyone deserves a fantastic photo of their dog, I'm doing a very low cost day of mini sessions on Sunday, April 26, 2015, at my studio in Media, PA. The minis are $45 + PA sales tax plus an item for donation from the Delaware County SPCA wish list.
Please click here to contact me to set your dog's session up!
Ever since I started my photography journey of taking on clients, I have offered mini sessions twice a year: Mother's Day and fall. The fall minis are often a Red Couch Theme, because everyone loves a red couch. And because a lot of us need to hire a family photographer in the fall for the holiday cards and the giving of photographic gifts to our parents and/or in-laws. And to ourselves, if you are anything like me. :)
I offer these minis by email to anyone who has inquired or hired me before, as these tend to sell out really fast, and I like to see my people again! Some of the people you'll see featured in these minis are people who hire me once or twice a year, every year. It's so much fun to catch up with "my" families, to see how big their kids are getting, to give them another piece of art for their walls.
Plus, who wouldn't love the gorgeous colors of the fall? Something about a red velvet Victorian couch and some beautiful, smiling families is about as pretty to me as can be.
I'll be announcing my Mother's Day minis in April! If you'd like to sign up for my mailing list, click here.
Ages and ages ago, the mama in this family emailed me to ask if I did birth photography. I mean, she wasn't pregnant, she was just asking. I love when that happens. I had been thinking that I would love to try my hand as a Philadelphia birth photographer for ages. Philly is such a great town for all things birth: we have great midwives, great birth educators, great lactation consultants, many of whom I know or maybe even used myself. Also, I love photographing itty bitty babies, and birth is the most amazing thing ever, so how would that not be fantastic?
As luck would have it, this mama DID eventually get pregnant. And, when I spied her announcement on Facebook, I sent her a message, we met (with her husband too) and decided YES!
Christy Santoro of Motherland Midwifery and her assistant Janean Sexton arrived as I did. Birth doula Valerie Monroe was there to support Mr. About-To-Become-A-Big-Brother, who offered me soup when I got there. He did. Best kid ever.
Mama was upstairs, laboring on a birthing ball while knitting and playing with her dogs
Yes, you read that right. She was just workin' on a hat, y'all. I labored by laying on my couch crying. Not this mama! I was awed by her in every way. And her husband, oh lawdy. He was the most intuitive, supportive, loving birth partner around. What a zen, centered event that this birth was.
It was a pretty fast labor, I think I was there for a total of five hours from walking in the door to going home. This was pretty much the most amazing thing I've ever witnessed. I didn't see my own son being born, obviously. Mama and Papa welcomed this wee one, Baby Carrot as his older brother called him in the womb, into a space with so much love, with so much respect, gentleness and support.
There were some quiet moments, when there was a little break in the contracting and business of being born. The photos that follow here were shot at 8pm in October in a room lit only by the midwives' headlamps. If you notice some grain, they were shot at ISO 25, 600. Yes, that is a thing.
I love this one. I love this face. I love what this feeling feels like - the joy of becoming a mother. Love it, this one is for all the marbles, I think.
And then it was quiet. For the drinking in, for the realizing, for the comprehending.
I felt like the luckiest person in the world. I photographed two of the most amazing, brilliant, calm and knowledgable midwives do their thing. I photographed a loved and much-wanted baby come into this world. I photographed a boy transformed into a brother, and I photographed two people become parents again, and create a new circle in their family.
Here is Baby Carrot being weighed.
Making things official.
Welcome to the world, Baby Carrot. I am so glad that I was able to document your journey earthside.
Many moons ago, I worked at an alternative school. It was formative, fun, challenging and I met my husband there. I also met some of the most amazing people ever there. Kindhearted, sweet and funny souls. Tracy was one of them. She has always had a giant, sparkly smile and is quick with a laugh, a real laugh, the kind where the person throws back their head and makes you join in with them. I've always been crazy about Tracy, as has my husband. A genuinely good person. I feel lucky that we reconnected on Facebook a few years later, because she's not the kind of person you want to lose. We chat sometimes and I always feel happy when we do.
In the fall, I was leaving a freelance photo job and got an email from her. I got into my car and started reading. She's given me her permission to share it with you here.
I miss your face, but LOVE seeing your brain via your FB posts
Here’s the story – My husband John was diagnosed last November with an Acoustic Neuroma. For your inquiring mind:
“An acoustic neuroma is a slow-growing tumor of the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. This nerve is called the vestibular cochlear nerve. It is behind the ear right under the brain. An acoustic neuroma is not cancerous (benign), which means it does not spread to other parts of the body.” As that handy little description stated, it is benign and slow growing, but a MRI from last week revealed that it is in fact growing. This can cause a bunch of issues – hearing loss, metal taste in mouth, a constant buzzing in the ear, and if left untreated, partial facial paralysis. There are a few options to treat it which include surgery or radiation. The surgery carries the risk of cutting the facial nerve, causing partial facial paralysis, almost always includes losing hearing in that ear, and it can take a year to regain full balance. The radiation is much less invasive, but has not been around long enough to determine what the long term effects are, and it is possible that the tumor will only re-grow, making the surgery then more difficult b.c of the scar tissue."
So…we are in a bit of a pickle. Being the active, handy, and hard-worker that John is, all of the side effects are scary, but the one that he is most scared of is the facial paralysis. I overheard him telling his brother that it scares him that I might have to look at him half-paralyzed for the rest of my life. That hurt my heart b/c I understand how he feels, as I would feel the same way if the roles were reversed. And of course, with all of this happening to him, he is thinking of how it will affect me. It’s just who he is and why I love him so much. So, all of this lead me to think that we should get some amazing photos done now that highlight his contagious laughter and incredible smile (I just started crying) before he has to make a decision that may potentially take them away from him. When I think of “amazing photos”, I think of you. I just love your work, and I love what you bring out in all of those beautiful people that you shoot.
We have a ton of great photogs up here, but I want you.
Well, I cried. I cried the kind of sobs that sort of take over your whole body because Tracy is made of pure gold. And then I emailed her and said call me and we did this. Wanna see the pics?
This family is just as pure gold as Tracy herself. John is amazingly sweet, crazy about Tracy and crazy about his boys. Gavin is so darling and so sweet and Baby Grant is precious. There were tons of smiles and laughs - this family is great at laughing. I should have known. Look at their mama. <3 I believe John has had treatment and is a complete champion.
I found this quote and I think it feels really fitting. "Family is a haven in a heartless world" - Christopher Leach
I am lucky and honored to be the family photographer you wanted.
Are you looking to have your family professionally photographed? I am a Family Photographer serving Philadelphia and the Main Line! Click here to schedule your own session or call 484-354-1785.
Sometimes, when I start a blog post, and the blinky cursor is there with the blank page, I feel such anxiety. Because, as a newborn photographer and a parent, I see it. I know how loved this little person is. I know how it feels to finally bring your little person earthside and then you just stare at them in disbelief that they are yours and the people wherever you birthed them are going to just leave this baby with you and trust you with them. And the pure, pure joy - joy over every little thing about them, joy that they are yours. It's beyond joy to like, a light year beyond elated. And, I want to do that justice.
When I look at these photos of this perfect baby boy, this hoped-for child, I can only think of this song, that always makes a sob catch in my throat, by John Lennon, written for his own son:
Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to come of age,
But I guess we'll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it's a long way to go,
But in the meantime,
Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans,
I had to add something funny to this sentimental and sweet post. This baby did NOT want to be my spokesmodel.
Watch this video to see more photos from this session. To schedule your own session, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here!