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Baton Rouge Birth Photographer | Baby Blair at Woman's Hospital

August 08, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

I got to photograph one of my favorites for this beautiful birth session at Woman's Hospital. Kayla is a labor and delivery nurse with whom I've worked before, and she is legitimately one of the sweetest people I know - I was so glad to be there with her and her gorgeous little family for this new story in their lives. 

 

And what a story it was, man - the Bueche family got thrown a surprise curveball when they discovered that sometime in between mom's last appointment just a few days before, and the day Kayla was admitted, her baby had flipped and turned breech on her! The news made for some really emotional moments when they all learned they were bound for a surprise c-section.

 

Luckily, all of Kayla's work family was more than happy to be there for her every second of the way, and they all took great care of her and the newest Bueche. And did I mention that mom and dad didn't find out what they were having beforehand? I think the entire hospital was Team Girl, since the family already had two little princelings in the family. Dad Kyle's face when Kayla's OB called him over to check out the *ahem* "gender evidence" was priceless, and I have never in my life heard yelling like I heard out of those nurses and hospital staff! The whole room seemed to explode with excitement - and it was like a scene from Mission Impossible, as the nurses wheeled Kayla back to her room, giving it all they had to keep their faces neutral and the surprise intact for the (many) visitors who were coming to crash the Bueche recovery room. 

 

I'm so happy for this wonderful, sweet family, and I could barely wait to show off these emotional images!

 

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Even though these moments were hard ones, seeing all of Kayla's family and friends circle around her to shower her with love and support was an amazing thing to witness! And she had such a sweet spirit about it all.

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Praying together before heading off to the OR!

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I loved how supportive of mom AND dad everyone was!

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LOOK. AT. THAT. FACE!

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I'm pretty sure these nurses caught actual air upon learning the gender!

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"Are you sure? It's really a girl?!" 

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That stubborn little butt! Good thing it's cute!

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This is what a team looks like. <3

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This moment, right here... #favorite

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Dad was definitely still in shock at this point!

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The best of friends!

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That lip, though!

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Okayyyyy, so I'm a little obsessed with inky baby feet. There are worse hangups to have, right?

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Mommy snuggles. <3

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This is the moment that Daddy fell head over heels for you, kid. 

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All. Of. That. Hair!

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Not gonna lie - these images got me. I can't not tear up to look at them!

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This is what Team Nurse Game Face looks like!

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If this isn't "I told you so" face... ;)

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Every princess needs a bow as big as her head!

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Comparing brother and sister newborn photos - it was legit almost the same kid!

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Baton Rouge Wedding Photographer | The Boykins at The Gatehouse

August 06, 2018  •  1 Comment

I knew when Monique first contacted me about photographing their wedding at The Gatehouse that these two and this day were going to be magic. During our consult, Monique stressed that they were all about capturing the emotion of the day - they were looking for images that would be meaningful and all about family and friends, immortalizing the overall joy of their wedding day. 

No words could have made me happier to hear! And then when Monique told me that her brother, who had been away serving in the Navy for a long time, would be coming in for the big event, I knew emotions would be extra high. This is what I thrive on! I made it my mission to get the best, most emotional and meaningful images possible for this crew - and they made my job such a cake walk. Every single family member and friend present to witness these two getting married just radiated joy and happiness, all day long.

The Gatehouse was decorated just gorgeously, the weather was perfect, and everything went just flawlessly. From the unique wine-mixing ritual, to their minister singing the Lord's prayer, to the looks on the bride and groom's faces when they saw each other making me tear up every time I see their images...picking photographs to blog was one of the hardest things to do, ever!

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The boys take a moment for a quick prayer before the ceremony starts.

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Toenail polish as her something blue, and check out that awesome headband!

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Monique was so emotional, and I loved how wonderful her girls were in supporting her and drying her (happy) tears!

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It is, indeed, a great day.

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The connection between these two...! <3

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Monique's brother shows up and the waterworks start all over again!

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The moment when you see the woman of your dreams coming your way - and she's only got eyes for you.

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No one else existed in the world for these two, in these moments. It was the best kind of magic to witness!

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I love that Chris dried Monique's tears for her!

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Chris BIT HIS LIP, looking at Monique! 

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Monique and Chris mixed wine to symbolize the unification of their two lives.

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Speeches - always a riot. 

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THESE TEARS. They slayed me. Seriously.

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This image gives me chills, and always will. This level of emotion - this is what weddings are really about. Dancing like no one's watching, all wrapped up in emotion and each other. It doesn't get better than this.

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He sang to her! <3

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When that song comes on that makes you move!

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The kids at this wedding, y'all...I could not get enough of them!

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I laughed so hard I snorted at this one. This girl has that boy handled.

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This garter toss was everything.

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When the first round of garter tossing falls flat, and the single guys all scatter when it hits the ground...! 
The best. (For the record, the second attempt when smoothly).

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Baton Rouge Birth Phographer The Montets at Womans Hospital C Section

August 01, 2018  •  1 Comment

YOU GUYS. I've got a story to tell you about this little bit named Nora Rose, right here.

 

This kid has got the strongest mama imaginable, I'm not even kidding. Ashley went through a long and painful labor labor with little Nora turned sideways and digging in her heels a bit, and she gave it all that she had. Mama left nothing on the floor that day, and she rocked it all throughout her laboring stage and right into the OR for her c-section when their awesome team at Woman's Hospital decided that a ceasarian was what was best for everyone.

 

I loved so much about this birth story - as much as I hate seeing my clients in pain, it also makes for some wonderful opportunities to show the quiet grace displayed during such a bumpy ride. All of the sweet moments when Ashley's mom and husband were just holding onto her through the waves of contractions were so emotional, and beautiful to capture. I loved documenting the worry on Ashley's mom's face before heading into the OR - what parent doesn't agonize over their baby about to undergo a procedure? Worry is tough to document sometimes, but emotions like that are the ones that show us how much we are loved, looking back on those images. 

 

One of the things I'm always thinking about at births is what the baby I'm watching being born will see in the images I'm taking, one day. I always try to stress to clients that birth sessions are not all about the birth, really - the images that will be most important to you later are the ones which tell the story of your family's relationships, and all the love in between. I want Nora to see, one day, how stoic and brave her mom was through a really hard labor, and how much her daddy loved her and wished he could take away her pain. I want her to see how much her grandma believed that her mom could rock childbirth - even though she was battling her own fear for her baby the whole day. I want her to see the very first time her grandparents gave her that, "Whatever you want, it's yours" look for the first time.

 

And, let's not forget my very favorite reaction of all time - Ashley's brother's look of, "What the &%#!? is this?!" at Nora being placed into his arms for the first time. It was priceless, and it is absolutely going to become a featured image in my portfolio - it was really that funny!


Anyway, enough jabbering - check out this perfect little chunk and her lucky little family! <3

 

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I'm a teeny bit obsessed with this image - I love how many loving hands mom had covering her. That's love, right there!

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That one lone tear, rolling down mom's cheek!

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I think this was right about the time that Mitch told me that they were going to adopt any future kids rather than go through this again! Ha!

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I love the connection between grandma and dad, here. 

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Nora looked, for all the world, like a posing model, here!

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Mom gets her first glimpse of her baby girl

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"COULD SOMEONE WARM THE STETHOSCOPE, PLEASE AND THANK YOU!?"

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Connection - it's my drug.

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THIS RIGHT HERE. The funniest.

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What Is Birth Photography, And Why Is It So Expensive?

July 16, 2018  •  1 Comment

Okay, friends - gather 'round. You've got questions about birth photography, I know, so let's talk about them. 

 

If you're here, odds are that sometime in the not-so-recent past, you decided to look into birth photography. Maybe a friend of yours had a session done, and you fell in love with the images. Maybe you saw something on social media about it, or learned about it on a tour of your local hospital. However you found out about it, odds are that your initial reaction fell into one of two categories:

 

1) Oh, wow! That's such a great idea!

2) WAIT - THEY TAKE PICTURES OF WHAT, NOW?

 

I get these reactions all the time when I tell people what I do, and both are totally normal. If you knew immediately that birth photography is something you would love, you probably still have a few questions about how it all works. If you were a little confused--maybe even put off--at the concept, you definitely have lots of questions that need answering.

And I bet that chief among the questions that both groups have is, "Why, for the love of all that's holy, is birth photography so expensive?!"

No worries, though - we're going to talk all about the Hows and Whys of birth photography, here, including the numbers aspect - so that you can make the most informed decision possible as you decide whether or not it's right for you and your family. Oftentimes, a person's hesitation is a result of not understanding how birth photography really works, and why it's a great thing to have.

So, let's chat about things, shall we?

 

Why Birth Photography?

 

Copyright Bayou Rose Photography 2017

 

You think you're going to remember everything - but trust me, you won't. 

Birth is a wild ride, filled with adrenaline, and hormones, and all kinds of (mostly) wonderful chaos. When you're preparing for a baby--whether it's your first or your 10th--you do everything possible to get ready. When the time comes, though, your body and your baby are the ones in charge, despite all of your planning. Exhaustion, overwhelm, and all of the hormones you're only about 60% sure you can pronounce correctly swamp you, and your focus narrows to one thing: getting that baby out

This is totally natural--it's what your body is supposed to do--but as a result, you're going to miss the little things. You won't see how tightly your partner holds your hand; the wince on their face at every painful contraction. You won't see the look on your mom's face--the one she always makes when she's worried but trying to not look worried. You won't see the look on both of their faces as they wish they could take on the pain for you.

You'll miss the look at the moment of birth that can only be described as dumbstruck as your partner realizes that yes, it's really real--you're parents, now. 

And although when you're in labor, the discomfort and exhaustion and is-this-over-yet feelings are front and center; after that baby is in your arms, all of that fades away. That's natural, too--otherwise, why would any mother go through childbirth more than once?

The consequence of that, though, is that you miss out on seeing yourself at your absolute most fierce. You're going to feel overwhelmed, and exhausted, and there's going to be a moment when you think, "Maybe I can't do this," and then you're going to do it anyway, because you know that your baby is waiting to meet you. So you're going to gather every last bit of strength that you've got, and you're going to get it done, because that's what mothers do.

That's a powerful thing, that moment - and it's worth documenting.

After your baby is born, there's a lot happening simultaneously. Suddenly, you are two separate beings, instead of one nested inside the other. As a result, you're going to miss a few things as your birth team is caring for you, while baby's team is caring for them. As your birth photographer, though, I capture every moment for you--even the ones you can't see.

 

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It's not just about the baby

As much as I love photographing the moment of birth, many times my favorite images from a birth story are the ones that come before and after the big event--and those are the ones most difficult for a non-professional to photograph. I don't want to just photograph the birth, because that's not your entire story--I want you to see how much your partner loves you while you're laboring, and how instantaneously you both fall in love with your baby as you count all of their fingers and toes during that precious post-birth bonding hour. I want you to see how overwhelmed with joy and excitement your parents are at meeting their grandchild--and the look on their faces as they begin plotting all of the spoiling they'll do. I want you to have beautiful images of your grandparents holding that tiny little piece of their legacy--because they won't be around forever, and your baby will one day treasure that image of their great-grandparent snuggling them close.

 

Baton-Rouge-Birth-Photographer-Millie-Womans-Hospital-13Baton-Rouge-Birth-Photographer-Millie-Womans-Hospital-13© Bayou Rose Photography 2017

 

You're an expert at your job - just like I'm an expert at mine

My job as a birth photographer is not just to photograph the birth itself--anyone with a decent camera can do that. More importantly, my job is to photograph what your birth means to your family--it's important to realize that photographing the event, and photographing your story are two very different things. As an objective and experienced observer, I will notice and capture moments that a friend or relative with a camera--or even Dad--will not. Hiring a professional there to capture everything also allows you all to be fully present in the moment, rather than worrying about taking photos yourselves.

I've invested in some of the best photographic equipment appropriate for the job of documenting births, which is just going to do a better job than a smartphone. There, I said it. Don't crucify me, but it's true. Birth often takes place in low-light environments, with lots of clutter all around you, and a million different things going on in every frame. The newest iPhone or point and shoot is just never going to replace professional equipment, a trained eye, and a whole lot of experience.

 

Experience matters

Okay, let me be clear about this one. Your medical professionals are always going to be smarter than me--by all means, you need to listen to Team White Coats and Team Scrubs. When it comes to all things medical, they are most definitely the ones in charge. 

However, I've been told many times that my presence as a birth photographer is a comforting one. I've been on both sides of the birth process myself, so I know what it feels like to be a laboring mom, overwhelmed and exhausted, with a million questions fighting for attention in my head. There's something to be said for having someone there with you whom you've built a personal relationship with over the months of your pregnancy, able to chat with and bounce questions off of. Fathers in particular often have questions that they are hesitant to interrupt the busy medical staff to ask - and I can often relate my own personal experience as well as things I've learned from working with clients.

 

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Birth photography isn't for everyone

Look, here's the thing. I can list every reason in the world for Team Pro Birth Photography, and some people are just never going to be on board. Maybe they don't really "get" why they would need professional photographs of their birth, maybe they can't get past the hangups they have about it--maybe there is just absolutely no convincing their partner that it's a good idea, no matter how hard they try. Maybe they just can't afford it, much like I will probably always lust after the $44,000 Hasselblad H5D-50c medium format camera, while I will likely never come closer to it than (carefully) pressing my nose against the glass of an extremely upscale camera store display window. If it's not for you, that's totally fine--but if it is, I want you to be able to make an informed decision.

 

So, on the subject of affordability...

Here's where we get to the "For the love of all that's holy, it costs how much?!" part. I didn't forget about it, I promise.

If you've decided that maybe this birth photography thing is worth looking into, you've likely put some feelers out there and experienced a bit of sticker shock at the prices you've been quoted. My birth stories start at $750--although the market fluctuates somewhat, most seasoned professionals will not charge less than that. And you know what? I totally feel you if that number is shocking. It seems simple on the surface, right? It's just taking pictures, man - how hard is that, really? Why would it cost more than your family portraits, or newborn photos - probably more than both combined - just because it's a birth session? 

I've heard every shocked exclamation and seen every taken-aback look imaginable, folks. But the thing is, most people have that reaction because they have no clue how the whole shebang works. Once they do, most of the time they "get" it. They don't always turn around and book a package, but they get it

Once a birth photographer accepts a session, we reserve what's known as an "on call" period. During this period of time, we are absolutely committed to you and being there for your family. We don't schedule any other clients during that time period who cannot be rescheduled easily and at the last minute, we prepare to walk out of our kids' school functions should they conflict with your baby's arrival timeline, and we leave family dinners with our food cooling on the table so that we can race to the hospital to be there with you. We have to be as ready as you are to race to the hospital at any given moment, whether it be at 2am or 10pm--and we are your ride-or-die partners until the end. I've attended labors which have progressed so fast that I have skidded into the delivery room with only minutes to spare, and I've photographed moms who have stayed on the cusp of "could deliver at any moment" for hours and hours. As professionals, we have to be prepared for anything, and we work closely to build trust with your birth team so that they will allow us the access that we need to photograph your story even when things get hectic.

 

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I don't say any of this to portray we birth professionals as martyrs, but to communicate just how much we believe in the power of birth photography. We do it because we love it, and we love being there to support you and capture you at your fiercest. The power of birth and the miracle of witnessing new life never ceases to give me chills, and I feel privileged to live in a time where I have the tools to document it in all of its uniqueness for each of my clients.

To do this job reliably, and to do it well, necessitates a lot of work and dedication. The actual process of photographing is often the easiest part of our jobs--but before that part comes the client meetings, getting to know you and your needs; the checking-in texts and emails for moms who are often in full-blown pregnancy brain mode. We answer emails thoughtfully, and always have our phone on full volume so that we can be ready for every call or text about contractions--even if it does turn out to be just a false alarm. We charge batteries--many, many batteries--and have our bags packed and with us wherever we go. All of this work occurs before photographing your birth--before we get back to our desks to safely store your images and begin the process of editing them and creating a beautiful final product for you.

So, what you're paying for is not just pictures--you're paying for passion, talent, and commitment. You're paying for trustworthiness, and experience, and finely honed instincts. Cadets in the armed forces probably take more time to wake and dress to be out the door than I do at this point.

Sure, you can find someone to do it for peanuts - but is that person really who you want with you throughout this process? 

If birth photography is something that you feel is right for your family, I'm more than happy to offer payment plans--and you can even add me to your baby shower registry information! Like with anything else, investing in quality work is not cheap, but the remorse experienced after going with a less satisfactory option is often too little, too late.

 

FAQs

Q - Okay, so I know why an on-call birth is expensive, but I have a scheduled induction/c-section planned. Would a birth session be cheaper then?

A - Great question - but nope. Let me tell you why: Do you know who doesn't care about the fact that you and your birth team planned an induction or section one little bit? Your own precious bundle of joy, that's who. The most important thing I've learned about birth over the years is that there is absolutely no predicting it. So, even if you do have a time scheduled on your hospital's board, your baby could very well decide to come before that date. If you're having a surprise section, things will be extra rushed, because your medical team is not going to put everything on pause until I can pack my bags and get there for you--their first priority is the health and safety of mom and baby, so if I'm not already at the hospital, I will likely not be able to make it in time if I am not already prepared. Additionally, I believe that all birth is equal and worthy of the same level of commitment from me - so I don't feel it would be fair to charge one mother less because she delivers via c-section or induction, than I would another mother who goes into labor on her own and has a vaginal birth. 

 

Baton Rouge Birth Photographer Aubrey Womans HospitalBaton Rouge Birth Photographer Aubrey Womans HospitalThere's nothing quite as magical as that first breath taken earthside. <3

 

Q - What if I want to book a session, but my partner isn't exactly on board?

A - This is probably my most frequently asked question. I think it's probably some ingrained protective instinct, but it's natural for partners to be hesitant about a stranger in their space during such a sensitive time. Many times, having a meet-up helps a lot - we can go over the hang-ups that partners have, and they get a chance to meet met and realize that I'm a professional with a job to do, just like everyone else in the room with you that day will be. And also, I like to consider myself a pretty cool person. ;) I've never had a partner regret having me in the room to photograph - not once. Again, most of the time, hesitations just come from lack of understanding! Maybe they'll change their mind, and maybe they won't - but it can't hurt to get to know one another and talk things over.

 

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Q - Isn't having a stranger in the room during birth a little invasive?

A - Okay, do me a favor. I want you to take a sec and really think about all of the things your birth team will be assisting you with while you give birth - you've read the books, right? It's a lot. It takes a village, for real - there will be multiple people involved with the process of helping you bring your baby into the world, and--spoiler alert, here--many of the processes involved are less than gloriously dignified. It's just how it works, really. All that to say that I am often the least invasive person in the room--and I often am told that I was so low-key, my clients forgot I was even there. Plus, if I do my job right, we won't be strangers by the time you deliver! Many of my clients have become good friends, and I regularly scroll their social media pages to go all googly-eyed over baby pictures (yes, I'm "that" person).

 

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Q: What exactly gets photographed? Is my business going to be all over the internets?

A: Okay, I lied when I said the whole what-if-my-partner-isn't-on-board question was my most frequent--this one's it, for sure. What woman isn't put off by the possibility of one of the most vulnerable times in her life being on public display? But I've been in that same vulnerable position, so I know how it feels. Rest assured that I am very discrete regarding what I post publicly--and what I photograph depends on your comfort level, as well as what your birth team allows. Digital images included in your package are protected with a secure password that only you receive--and I will always check with you before posting anything online that may be considered sensitive.

Getting to know one another during the booking process, as well as throughout your pregnancy, means that we go over all of these little things so that we're all on the same page when it's go-time. I know the term "birth photography" probably conjures all kinds of extreme-possibility images in your head at first, but trust me - it's not about the crotch shot! 

 

Q: When should I book?

A: The earlier, the better. Most clients book me shortly after their first trimester--I only take a limited number of birth sessions per month in order to fully commit to my clients, so once my calendar is full, that's it! That said, if you're a bit of a procrastinator (and if there's ever a time in your life when that's completely understandable, it's when you're pregnant) know that I have booked births as close as two weeks before a mom's due date! So, drop me a line and we'll chat. 

To find out more about booking, email me at BayouRosePhoto@Gmail.com or  {Click Here To Find Out More}

 

 

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Baton Rouge Fresh 48 and Birth Photographer KaiBaton Rouge Fresh 48 and Birth Photographer Kai© Bayou Rose Photography 2018

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Bayou Rose Photography specializes in wedding, birth, and documentary style family photography in Southern Louisiana, and surrounding areas including but not limited to Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Prairieville, Gonzales and Lafayette.


What Is a Fresh 48 Session | Baton Rouge Birth Photography

July 14, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

So you've heard the term "Fresh 48" - but what is it?

 

Baby Kai, here, is going to help me with a little show and tell session, today. 

(Everybody say hi, Kai!)

 

A Fresh 48 session is a session I perform at the hospital, within the first 48 hours of your baby's birth. We document every little moment from skin-to-skin time with mom and baby, to meeting dad, all the way through siblings and family meeting the new little price or princess for the first time. I love photographing this time, because there are so many wonderful, meaningful moments packed into these first few days. These sessions are for couples who want beautiful images of the first few hours of their baby's life, but may not opt for a full birth session.

 

Check out a few of my favorite images from Kai's Fresh 48!

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Sharing nursing images online is completely at the family's discretion -  but I'm so glad that mom Leigha wanted these beautiful images shown! Mom and baby do some magical bonding during this time.

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It's okay, Dad. No one really knows how to swaddle at first. ;)

Baton Rouge Fresh 48 and Birth Photographer KaiBaton Rouge Fresh 48 and Birth Photographer KaiCopyright Bayou Rose Photography 2018

I live for this look on new dads' faces when they *finally* get to hold their baby for the first time!

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Moments like this get me every time. I love dad being so gentle in touching Kai's soft little nose. <3

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The moments in which babies look for their mom when hearing their voice are among the most magical of those first 48 hours!

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Checking out the hair sitch!

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The first of many pacifier applications, I'm sure!

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Documenting the little things that make your baby unique is so important - they're going to do such funny little things, and you won't really remember so many of them!

 

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Those moments of connection are always there - if you know how to look for them!

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I just love this image!

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Meeting the Nana that's going to spoil him rotten - they'll always have these photos of their first opportunity to plot together!

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