These two right here...!
Bailey and Justin are two of the sweetest people ever, and I had so much fun just hanging out with them on this early Fall morning. They're getting married here soon, and I can't wait to show off their engagements ahead of the big day! Windrush Gardens and the Rural Life Museum were gorgeous the day that we photographed our session - a perfect backdrop for these two lovebirds!
Check out a few of my favs!
Maternity sessions are a great way to get to know your birth photographer before the big day - I so enjoyed getting to meet Holly and Josh, as well as their fur baby on this gorgeous sun-drenched afternoon in Audubon Park. We had some fun with the puppy, then got some gorgeous shots of the two of them and the bump! Holly's dress was just stunning, and Audubon Park made for an amazing backdrop to really showcase that lovely pregnancy glow.
Check out a few of my favs from our session!
April is National C-Section Month, in the event that you've missed the memo. Posts seem to be everywhere about it right now, and I absolutely adore all of the positive chatter surrounding it. I just couldn't resist putting together a blog post of my own on the subject - in large part because I've been lucky enough to be along for the journey of c-sections with my clients quite a few times now, and they have created some serious magic with me. I'm really, really proud of all of my birth moms (and dads!), and I feel so lucky to be trusted with the bad-ass moments in which parents are born - however their babies come into the world.
As a family photojournalist, my job is often not about the physical act of taking photographs - it's more about observation, and instinct. It's vital to read the scene, be observant of the emotion present, and remain respectful of the sacredness of the moments in which lifetime memories are made. It's really important to me to not be intrusive to the story which I'm photographing, and allow things to unfold as they will. I am a trusted, silent observer wielding a memory-capturing machine in those precious moments.
C-sections are fascinating experiences, in that some things are very predictable - the orderly professionalism of the medical staff, the rigorous attention to detail that ensures a successful medical procedure and healthy mom and baby. Lists are checked, sponges are counted, sutures are placed in a pattern that happens the same way, day in and day out for countless surgeries. Warm, and kind, and reassuring; medical staff nonetheless rely on predictability to ensure a happy outcome.
And yet, in the midst of the routine, there are always unexpected moments which make each experience unique - the pages of each family's story unfurl just a little differently. These small bits of chaos in the midst of a calm storm keep me on my toes, and make my photographer heart happy.
Will parents cry? If they do, will they be happy tears, or overwhelmed tears? Will Mom wave jauntily as she is wheeled into a procedure which to her is a complete unknown? Will Dad pace anxiously as he awaits entrance into the operating room, or will he remain stoic until the moment his child is placed in his arms (at which point he will crumble)? I never know, really - all I know is that there is magic building in the moments between donning my ever-attractive scrubs, mask and hat and when the first outraged infant cry fills the air.
Every once in a while--usually in some ridiculous "Mom Group"--I stumble upon someone's snide opinion that c-sections are not "real" childbirth.
"That baby wasn't delivered," they exclaim, self-righteous fists shaking in the air, "it was surgically extracted!" As if it doesn't count, somehow - as if their own experience of pushing out their offspring the good old fashioned way of the pioneer woman is in some way worth more.
And at first the words make me angry, then they make me roll my eyes, and then they just make me sad. Because Pioneer Woman doesn't understand what motherhood truly is, really. Motherhood is realizing that having a baby the way that you thought you would isn't more important than your child's health. She hasn't put her life and her child's life in the hands of a room full of mostly-strangers because she knows that they're going to help her have a healthy baby that a woman in her position maybe wouldn't have been able to have just a few short decades ago.
Women like that have never lain prone and full of emotion, waiting with bated breath to lay eyes on their child, all the while knowing that control is mostly out of their hands. There's a different kind of bravery in that.
A baby is born when a child leaves its mother's body, but a mother is born between one anxious breath and the next one filled with relief at seeing her child. That moment when the whole world--including the operating room and the medical staff and the bright shiny lights--all disappears and her heart doubles in size - that moment of motherhood-birth is universal, whether it happens in a birthing room or operating room.
All birth is magical - every frazzled, exhausted, worried, elated second of it, regardless of what path it takes.
But damn, if c-section moms aren't all things brave and bad-ass.
This wedding just couldn't come fast enough for me - I was *so* excited to photograph Erin and Christopher's wedding at The Folmar, in Tyler Texas. I love destination weddings - and they're extra wonderful when I get to combine spending time with wonderful clients-turned-friends with spending time with my homie Marissa, who lives in Texas and was second photographer for me on this one!
The day was an emotional one, and I couldn't get enough of it. The weather was perfect, the sunset was amazing, and every little detail was just perfect. The sunset ceremony was followed by an awesome party during which I was witness to a couple of grandmas getting down like no grandma has gotten down before! ;)
Check out a few of my favorite images, and the stories behind them!
Wedding planning: La Peony Events
Venue: The Folmar
Hair and makeup: The Fairest Salon + Alex McGowan
Catering: Adalanté Catering
DJ: CMB Productions
A little dancing, a little getting ready. Sometimes more the former than the latter. ;)
Mimosas on the porch!
"It Doesn't Get Better Than This"
Erin and Christopher and I first bonded over our love of dogs. They lost their sweet Dixie just before our engagement session, and as sad as their loss made me, it made me smile to see how they'd incorporated her memory into their wedding day. How cool is this custom etching that they had done?!
The Man Cave was all kinds of epic, y'all. Lots of shenanigans went down there. ;)
Erin's mom helping her with her dress. <3
I loved seeing all of the bridesmaids' reactions to Erin's dress!
A little chug before the first look. It bolsters confidence. ;)
Holy cow, how cute are they!?
Erin gave Christopher THE coolest pocket watch.
A sweet moment between Erin and her dad after he sees her in her dress for the first time. It may have been the first time he choked up that day, but it wasn't the last!
Last minute tears and a tiny bit of nerves.
All the nerves went poof when Erin saw Christopher at the end of the aisle!
"I'm a Mura!" Girl worked hard for that title. ;)
Beanbag tossing = the coolest of wedding reception games.
Erin's dad leads the crowd in a prayer before the meal.
I love father/daughter dances so much - especially when they involve so much emotion!
Even the onlookers couldn't hold back tears!
So much love.
Let the party begin!
The start of the grandma shenanigans! <3
Grandmas who move like Bernie are my very favoritest.
One of the (many) reasons that I love photographing births is that each one is so unique. Each one has its own little magical love story, all its own - and no two are ever the same. I love getting to know my clients and their stories - watching them become parents, either for the first time or while adding another little one to the mix. I also adore seeing the love between mom and dad grow, too - many times people assume that birth photography is all about the baby, and that's kinda true...except that the baby is only one layer to the overall story, for me.
Case in point - John and Jadah. They love each other hard, and it was evident while Jadah was laboring. Little Miss Aubrey was turned in a less than ideal way during labor, which was causing poor Mom a lot of pain. John was right there with her the whole time, along with Jadah's awesome mom - so she had the greatest of support systems when the call was made to bring mom and baby into a c-section. I absolutely adored the moments between them all in the operating room. The emotion was overwhelming, and the images created during this birth are some of my absolute favorites as a result!
Audrey came into the world as a very healthy little girl, and she was just perfect - surrounded by an absolute mob of loving family members, and a mom and dad who fell in love with her instantly. What a sweet, beautiful, lucky little girl you are, Aubrey Claire!
Happy birthday. <3
Updating the (many) family members in the waiting room!
Jadah gave it ALL she had, and then some - but Motherhood Lesson #1: Sometimes you just have to do what's best for your kid and roll with it!
The hard moments are worth documenting just as much as the happy ones. I love the strength in this image, as Jadah is holding on for all she's worth while in a lot of pain. Motherhood makes the tears all worthwhile!
Jadah's mom had a pretty traumatic birth with Jadah herself - it was so hard for her to see her daughter in pain, but she was a rock!
The grand entrance! <3
One of my favorite moments, of mom comforting Jadah and crying tears of joy with her.
Big Daddy John, drying Jadah's tears. <3
Probably my favorite image of the whole day - it moved me to no end to see how in love with and focused on her baby Jadah was. This is the miracle of motherhood, folks - even in the midst of surgery, a mom has eyes for nothing and no one but her new family.
That smirk will never NOT be adorable! Pretty sure she's gonna use that "look" again. ;)
I love how John took such good care of Jadah. <3
This one gave me chills. So much love in this picture!
I really, really hope this one shows up in the wedding slideshow one day! It'll never not be funny.
Daddy getting swaddling lessons. Just think burrito, John!
Safe in Daddy's arms.
That look when you see just HOW much hair she has!
Yep. That's the look that'll get you a pony, kid. That one, right there.