Your house. Four walls wherein your life is lived. Where you moved maybe with a spouse, maybe by yourself. If you are like us, you tore down everything you didn't like with your bare hands and then painstakingly, in between screaming and making decisions, put it all back together. Maybe you got pregnant there. Or got the news that your birth mother's water had broken. You painted your nursery and brought your baby home there, where she took her first steps, or said his first words. Maybe he made friends in the neighborhood. Maybe you had a favorite snack spot that you walked to everyday, or a walk route. You and your child made friends or friendly faces in the area, the guy in the coffee shop, the lady at Trader Joes who buys your kid a book every Christmas. Home. You've laid down your roots and made a life with your little family and it feels amazing to be a part of a community.
But. You don't have a yard for your kids, and you don't love the schools or whatever the reason is, maybe you or your spouse got a new job. And, you picked a house in a new spot that you LOVE and you can't wait to inhabit and make new memories in and learn the shopping spots and the bus stop for your kid's new school, but you can't help but feel a little remorseful about leaving that first house, your kid's first friends, the place where they know how your kid likes her sandwiches and they write her name on the plate.
That's just how I envisioned it when the mama of this family contacted me, saying she wanted to do a family session and explaining that they were moving. My mental wheels started going. I asked her to come up with some things they love to do in the neighborhood, and she gave me a great set of ideas. What we came up with was a lifestyle, natural session for them to bid adieu and record some of the memories of that time. And, because I'm me, I sort of felt sentimental and weepy about their stuff when we did the session, too. I loved thinking about it from their perspective and tried to put myself into their mindset to get the images that would mean something to them, both today and later on down the road.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And, a little Abbey Road thrown in for good measure?
Metaphorically, jumping into the new with both feet.
Love is all you need.
Everyone's got a silly side!
Like these? Do not miss this video! It's got a lot more photos.
PS - I call this kind of photography "lifestyle" photography. I guess it could also be called "documentary" photography too. But I love to do it. I love to show a piece of a family's life, to document it, because these are the things that matter. I also love showing Philadelphia as a lifestyle family photographer. Because is there a prettier city? I think not.
Such a darling, sweet little girl. What a little love.
It is in moments like this when I realize just how lucky I am - when I see the darling, sleeping babies whose parents have entrusted me to capture these moments, in this first photo shoot. Because if you have had a baby, then you know all too well, but these first moments are a blur. Whether your baby is ten or two, if you try to look back and remember the first three months, to remember what you did, to remember how your baby looked in the moments of precious repose, to remember how you survived and figured everything out, the fact is, you can't. It's crazy. Especially if it's your first baby and you and your spouse have just left the hospital, or looked at each other at home, or watched the social workers walk out the door, and said to each other, "Who said we could have this baby? Who said we were the right people to trust with a baby? How can we do this?" But then you do. You figure it out. You ask your mom, your friends, the Googler. And then a few days turn into a week and a month and three months and you are doing it and you're an old pro and you know what your baby crying means, sometimes.
And you get a shower, or some sleep, and then you have a cooing, giggling six month old. And it's hard to remember what you did that first week.
But. You let me photograph your baby. And, while you might not be able to remember her smell, you've got photographic proof that she was tiny. You've got something to jog your memory about how she cried but it sounded like a mewing kitten. You've got the photos of how big his cheeks were and you know that you spent at least three months kissing them.
And you remember that there was magic.
You are the closest I will ever come to magic. ― Suzanne Finnamore
Are you in the Philadelphia or Main Line area and wish to schedule your own baby photography session? Click here.
The beautiful thing about photography is the ability to tell a story with pictures. Well, that and the ability to freeze time. When you can go back and look at your younger self, your big boy as a toddler, your dog as a puppy - the visual representation can really stop you in your tracks. It's hard to remember that person, without being shown the proof. I love being hired to get the proof. :)
So it was with this session. Such a lovely, simple thing: a mom, a dad, two little girls, a house, a Sunday afternoon. A beautiful family life being lived. I love capturing this for people: the now, the them as they are on any given day, the interactions that are one's normal routine: peeling and cutting up fruit for a child's snack, tying a shoe, sitting on the landing and reading a book. These things will change over time, and the bittersweet heartbreak of life is that children grow up. The saying "Slow go the days but fast go the years" is one that makes my eyes water every time I even think it (like now, as I'm typing it out). So, we photographers call this a lifestyle session, but it's really more than that. It's a "remember how his pudgy little feet looked" session or "remember how her curls were" session, to show us where we've been and help us mark time.
Also, there's this little video of a bunch of my favorite photos from this session. Enjoy!
For your own Philadelphia area lifestyle photography session - click here!
When Velvet initially contacted me to schedule a maternity session, we discussed doing an edgy, urban maternity session. I had grand ideas for shots in front of a graffiti wall in Philadelphia. (Anyone want to do this? I'm full of ideas!) A few weeks later, she wrote me back with a new idea - a horse farm. Initially, I worried that I might not be able to produce a horse farm for us to use. Then I got resourceful, when I remembered that the greatest little horse lady in Pennsylvania has been a friend of mine since I was babysitting her oldest child when I was eleven years old. She had an orange Camaro, let me listen to Michael Jackson's brand new album, Thriller, and I watched little baby Shash while she rode horses. When I contacted her, she was a GO! So, we headed up to Chunk O' Heaven Horse Farm in Newtown Square, where Mindy Chernoff is not only a skilled horseman but a spiritual advisor as well.
We looked over all of the horses, and selected one to use for the shoot. Only problem was, this one chose my client. The horse seriously came out to her after we'd chosen another horse that we were going to use. The other horse really didn't even look over at us, but Vitonne was smitten.
I have to stop this little love fest to mention one thing: I'm scared of horses. Like, terrified. I don't want to get stepped on, bitten, or, well, breathed near. These things are DANG BIG and could put a hurtin' on little old me with a quickness. That created quite a few laughs when I was trying to back away from the horses (uh, note to self: electrified fence). Mindy tried to tell me to be calm and breathe. Not really my thing. But, man. Velvet sure does know how to be around a horse. She was so gentle and still, and the horse was looking at her with love in his eyes. So was her husband, actually. She's pretty engaging - beautiful, quiet, sweet, quick with a laugh. Watching how enamored of her the horse was was a pretty incredible thing to do. He kept pointing his head toward her belly with such tenderness.
I feel really honored that I got to help create these photos - it truly was a group effort with Mindy's amazing coaching, Velvet and Page's incredible calm, and me documenting it all. These are some of my favorite maternity photos to date - these clients were the best! I have to say, even the horse part was kinda fun. To schedule your own maternity session, even with horses, click here.
There's also a lovely little video you can watch here.
I was watching The Lion King this morning, and this scene, when Rafiki takes the baby and the beams of light are shining down on him, I was like, "OMG! I know that feeling! It's totally how I feel when the parents hand their baby over to me."
Then I went and made this. :)
Want to see what those new babies' photos look like? Click here to see adorable babies!