I feel so blessed every time a family chooses me to be their newborn photographer. This time, I got to travel to a home in the Huntsville area to meet 11 day old Baby Seraphina. She really is as sweet as her name, and so are her three older siblings. Four children four and under, and precious as can be!
In August of 2013, their mama took a leap of faith and went shopping with a friend. Each bought a pair of maternity pants and a onesie. Each of them had been struggling to conceive. They told each other, “We will need these things in the next few months in Jesus’s name.” The next month, they both found out that they were expecting, and their first girls were born just 3 days apart! As she puts it, “That little seed of faith grew, and we believed for more.” And now, here is her fourth child, Seraphina Esmè. “God has gifted me the most beautiful family, and I love every single one of my children. It’s a testimony.”
I loved getting to see the older girls fawn over their little baby sister. All dads are heroes, and their dad has the super power to make his kids laugh. I am finding more and more often that it dads bring out the best giggles in their children! It was such a memorable morning. I am so glad I got to help this family preserve their legacy, all while staying in the comfort of their home.
Their portrait of all four children is only going to grow in sentimental value over time, and I am glad they are planning to hang it in their main family room where everyone will see it every day. Children get a self-esteem boost when they see themselves in a portrait in their home, and as a mama myself, I can tell you it’s helpful to have a visual reminder of the beauty of motherhood for those moments when parenting gets difficult. Thankfully for this mama, her life truly is blessed and she has her faith to give her strength.
Months before Baby Seraphina arrived, her mama scheduled her newborn session with me and told me that her nursery has a mermaid theme. One of her dear friends made a mermaid outfit for Seraphina, and this is the special portrait that I created especially for her mermaid nursery:
As a Huntsville Newborn Photographer, I love getting to serve new moms with newborn photography in their home, but I also love serving new moms with a complimentary design consultation, as a part of their ordering appointment. It can be so hard to visualize what your portraits will look like on your wall, and that’s why I use software to let you see what the final product will look like on your very own walls. To finish it off, I am partnered with a Huntsville family-owned framing business to offer quality and custom frames for your portraits.
Here’s why I won’t sell you a print anymore without one of their frames around it:
When I was a newlywed I went to Yosemite, and at the end of my trip I bought some of my favorite Ansel Adams prints from the gift shop. I made sure they were safe on the plane ride home, so they wouldn’t get any dents or scratches. Then, I framed them; I framed by beautiful, classic prints in cheap frames.
Five years after my trip we had our first son. One day, when our bouncing baby boy was old enough to crawl around, the frame broke. It fell off of the wall and the glass shattered all over the floor right where my baby played. I was horrified! I didn’t want my baby to crawl through broken glass, and babies are so curious- I knew I needed to act quickly. I successfully cleaned it up, and my baby was safe. However, I knew this could have been prevented, and I wasn’t about to let this happen again. I had my Ansel Adams prints reframed by a local frame company who specializes in high quality, custom frames.
Not long after that, I was home alone with my baby when a rather strong looking man tried to break into my home. Thankfully, we had a security system, and when he realized he was on camera, he ran away. He never got inside my home. The security system did its job; my family was safe. That picture frame had not done its job. My baby was put at risk. Perhaps oddly enough, years after the fact, the broken glass incident haunts me more than the attempted break-in.
I realized that I am not the only person to use cheap frames. Also, after sitting in several generations of my family’s homes, and seeing portraits of my baby propped up on their bookcase shelves unframed, I knew I needed to stop selling unframed prints.
It is one less thing for you to do in your busy life, and it keeps you from the temptation of buying cheap frames. I work with the best labs in the country to give you archival-quality prints that your grandchildren will fight over someday, and I now partner with a local framing business to give you high-end frames that are both beautiful and functional, with archival glass to protect your prints. In fact, it’s the same company that local interior designers use to frame artwork for their clients’ homes.
I can’t imagine it any other way. You hire me to create coveted artwork for your family, I print using the best labs in the country, and then a local framing specialist frames your fine art with the best frames possible. So in the end, you get the best possible fine art for your home, and it is of your family!
This post is for my current and future mamas. Here are some tips and tricks to prepare you for your maternity picture photoshoot!
(I have pages of more style tips that I give every mama who books a session with me, but this should get you started.)
1. For a romantic look, wear a long flowy dress that will move with the wind. Floor-length gowns create the best silhouette to flatter your figure and really highlight your bump. Also, light and neutral colors will add to the light and airy effect.
2. Plan for 1-2 outfits. You may have as many as you would like, but experience has shown me that 2 is about all that the setting sun gives us time for. If you choose to have more than one outfit, I recommend one dress that is long and flowy to be romantic, and one dress that is more fitted.
3. Coordinating does not mean matching. Wearing the same color in a different shade is more flattering than having two pinks that are Slightly different.
4. Heels elongate a woman’s legs, but while pregnant, and especially while pregnant and outside, please choose your footwear so that you will be safe! If you want, you can bring comfy shoes to walk in, and then put your heels on for the pictures.
5. Guys look most masculine in well-fitted long pants and closed toe shoes. Also, wearing a suit jacket accentuates the shoulders and slims the waist.
6. Make sure you are equal when it comes to how formal your attire is. A beautiful lady in a formal dress looks best next to a man who is equally dressed to impress.
7. Solid dress shirts photograph better than dress shirts with tiny checkered patterns or thin stripes.
8. Accessorize with necklaces, bracelets, or floral crowns. If you want it to show in your pictures, make sure your accessories aren’t too delicate. Fresh florals in a floral crown can be a really romantic touch. Call your favorite local florist to order one for you, and one for each of your daughters. Matching floral crowns for mamas and their little girls are adorable!
9. If there is something you are self-conscious about, go ahead and cover it up. I am okay wearing a leotard to ballet class, but if I’m being honest with you, I don’t like the way my arms look. Needless to say, I don’t tend to like pictures of myself where I am wearing a sleeveless top. It may look great on someone else, it may even look great on me, but if I don’t realize that I look great in it, I’m not going to like the picture.
10. Make sure you wear something that makes you feel confident. There are some colors that will make your skin tone pop. Usually, your favorite color is one that looks great with your eye color. Stick to colors that tend to fill your closet. Lighter shades of those colors, and neutral colors, will help bring all the attention to your face. Also, softer color palettes fit beautifully into almost all natural outdoor environments.
If you have booked your maternity photoshoot with me, I have maternity dresses designed specifically for portrait sessions you may borrow. Also, I can share with you one of my favorite sites to rent maternity photoshoot dresses from, or you can send me pictures of the outfits you are considering, so that I can give you advice. I want you to feel amazing in whatever you decide to wear!
Is your newborn no longer a one-week-old? Do you still need newborn pictures? No problem! I can still give you gorgeous newborn portraits, and you can still have a variety of poses: including pictures with mom, dad, and the whole family.
Sometimes life happens. It certainly happens a lot with a newborn in the house.
Sometimes babies come early, and they can’t come home until they graduate from the NICU. That was the case with one of these lovely twins.
Sometimes the photographer you booked up and leaves town. (Okay, that doesn’t normally happen. But it did happen to this family.)
This family had everything planned out, but then they were left hanging, and it can be pretty hard to make plans amidst the newborn-haze. So, after the baby arrived, they weren’t able to arrange for another newborn photography session until their newborn was almost two months old.
There are definitely some poses I can’t do with an awake baby, and older newborns tend to sleep less. However, I give older newborns the same amount of photography time as one-week-olds, so there’s a chance we might catch some sleepy pictures to go with the sweet pictures of your baby interacting with you. In fact, one of my absolute favorite newborn portraits came from this session:
Also, I must confess, although newborns are best photographed around 10 days old, one plus to having an older newborn photography session is that if you want to be in the pictures, it gives you a little bit more time to recover. I always offer retouching (including shaving off a few pounds to make you look more like your normal-self instead of your pregnant-self) to my new mamas, but having recovered some may help you feel better about being in front of a camera.
It doesn’t hurt, too, that older newborns might, no promises, just might, smile and look at the camera. What a cutie!
And don’t forget, after you complete a newborn session (up to 3 months will work for me), it’s time for a Baby Plan!
Baby Plans include two sessions during the first year at approximately 6 months (sitting up) and at 1 year (standing up). We mark the first birthday with a celebration! In addition to portraits of your little one standing and displaying their infectious energy, the one year session is the cake smash session! Baby Plans also include a complimentary family session during your child’s second year. Plus, there are products available exclusively to baby plan members.
So, as time rapidly rushes by, do you need to make it stop, for just a moment, and create coveted artwork your kids and grandkids will fight over someday? Are you ready to book your newborn photography session? It’s worth it. Go for it!
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful”.
So, I want to share the moving story behind the twins holding hands picture, and the twins wrapped in the heart picture in my galleries. Here is the story as told by their mom:
“God answers prayers. In September 2017, I found out that I was pregnant with baby #3. Six weeks into the pregnancy, I started experiencing some symptoms that I never had while pregnant with C and M. I prayed that whatever was different this time around was that I was having twins. For some reason, I felt like I needed to pray. Symptoms stopped but returned at eight weeks. This time it was worse. I continued to pray that all was ok and that we were having twins.
However, I was having a miscarriage. Deep down, I knew something was wrong, but I knew God was and is always in control. It was very rough going through that at home and taking care of the kids at the same time. My emotions were all over the place; extreme sadness, guilt, wanting to be strong and happy for my kids. But having friends talk me through it and pray for me, and God telling me that Baby #3 is in Heaven, and that He has a plan and purpose for me and my kids was a huge comfort.
A few weeks later, we were changing the kids’ beds so they could share a room and my husband mentioned selling C’s baby bed. Jokingly, I said, “no we should keep it, we might have twins”. A month later in December, the week of our 10th anniversary, I found out I was pregnant again! In January, I found out we were having twins. God answers prayers, in His timing. He gave us healthy twins. We prayed throughout the pregnancy that they would be healthy and come close to their 38 week due date.
Also, when I was pregnant with M, she had a cyst on her brain, and questionable dark spots on her stomach and right kidney during an ultrasound. He made her healthy when we thought she wasn’t. He has answered countless prayers. I hope I never forget that.
I don’t know why I went through a miscarriage, but I know that God has an amazing plan for these sweet girls. I also know that I can help a friend who goes through one. L’s middle name Mae is in honor of Baby #3 who was due in May. We’ll see Baby #3 one day! In the meantime, I’ll try to be the best mom I can be to the four kids God has given me.
This picture is one of my favorites of my rainbow babies. I wasn’t able to get pictures of them together in the hospital, because one twin was in the NICU for eight days. I am incredibly grateful that Ellen was able to capture these beautiful, sleepy newborn moments for me. I will treasure them forever.”
5 Take-Out Places in Huntsville- That are Good for Preventing Colic
If you are breastfeeding your newborn, certain foods you eat can make your baby gassy, spit up more, or just not feel their best. Colic can keep both your baby and you up all night. So, to help prevent colic and general newborn tummy problems, I tell all my newborn photography clients to talk to their child’s doctor about foods that may minimize colic. However, that can leave you wondering, “What is there left to eat?”
Just a day or two before I had my first baby my childrens’ pediatrician told me that I better hurry up and enjoy some Halloween candy before the baby came. (My first was born in early October.) I felt very taken aback. I had never heard of foods to avoid while breastfeeding, only foods to avoid while pregnant.
Since I wanted my baby to be as happy and comfortable as he could be, I did my best to follow the guidelines.
When I was pregnant with my second baby, I knew what was coming, so I started making a list of all of the things I would need to avoid (and miss) during those newborn days. Each week I would have my hubby get 1-2 things off of my list for me, until I had eaten almost everything on my list by the time number two arrived.
There is some information out there about foods to avoid, but very little about what you can eat. I told myself it was obvious- everything else that’s not on the list. However, I had a hard time finding any recipes without onion, garlic, or tomatoes (some of the big no-nos for baby). I knew most restaurants heavily season their foods in ways that mess with newborn’s tummies, but I wasn’t sure if there were any out there that could accommodate my needs.
So, I thought I would share with you some things that my family enjoyed (including my toddler) that didn’t upset my newborn’s tummy.
I Love it when people bring me dinner when I’ve had a baby, but it doesn’t happen every night, and there will be nights you just need to send your hubby to go fetch something fast.
Their burgers, cheeseburgers, and bacon cheeseburgers seemed to work out great for my baby- provided I kept my toppings simple. I would go with grilled mushrooms, sometimes with bacon. It helped to avoid ketchup, mustard, pickles, onions, tomatoes, sweet or spicy peppers, and sauces. If you need some more calories, Five Guys does make milkshakes now! Again, keep it simple and go vanilla. These add-ins should be safe: bananas, peanut butter, and salted caramel. You can still have fun; you just have to be picky.
They deliver! Now, if you get your hubby to pick it up, you can get free drinks, but delivery can be a very big blessing with a newborn. Remember with your drink to go caffeine-free. The caffeine gets passed along to your baby through your milk. The best time to quit the caffeine for your newborn’s sake (and yours so that your newborn will sleep better) is in the hospital. Do it while you have amazing nurses helping to take care of you and your baby. With all that’s going on, you need to be drinking lot of water anyway, so I can’t think of a better time to go cold-turkey if you’re a caffeine drinker (like me- except for while I’m breastfeeding my babies.)
Anywho, back to food. If you’ve never had Steak-out, I am assuming you are new to town. While I lived in Atlanta, it was one of the local places I missed dearly. Regular chips, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, and grilled mushrooms make for some gentle on the tummy side choices. Also, I am a huge fan of their steak tips (no cutting required- perfect for holding baby in one arm and eating with your other hand)! And again, be careful about sauces, tomatoes in the side salad, and salad dressings. If you’re in need of a dessert, their cheesecake and Bluebell vanilla ice cream are good bets.
After I picked my brother up from the airport last time, we drove through Little Rosie’s before we went anywhere else. I don’t know how I survived living elsewhere; no other Tex-Mex compares.
I found that the kid’s grilled cheese tortilla at Little Rosie’s worked for me. Mmmm, handmade tortillas. Also, I paired it with cinnamon nachos. That let me have some Rosie’s, while still keeping my newborn happy.
It’s not what you traditionally think of as take-out, but if you need your hubby to pick something up, or a sweet friend, it works quite well, and it gives you a few nice meals all from one quick stop. A friend from my Sunday school class did this for me, and it made my week! (And it had been quite a rough week- dealing with the learning curve of a baby plus a toddler, and my husband had recently gone back to work.)
Their ham and turkey can be purchased in smaller than Thanksgiving quantities- who knew? And according to the ingredient list they’re clear of the ingredients to avoid. Hallelujah! The rolls are just fine, and delicious! Oh, and they have pecan pie. Personally, I’m down for pie all year long.
Gibson’s is a Huntsville staple, and it even makes Food Network’s list of top bar-b-ques in the country. It is an after-church tradition in my family. And… they have take-out! You might have to change what you would normally order to be kind to your newborn’s tummy, but you can still find smoky morsels that fit the guidelines. Pork topped potatoes, pork sandwiches (if you can forgo any sauce and slaw), and bar-b-q chicken are a few things that work. Grits, biscuits, toast, eggs, and bacon work if you need some brunch. And their pies, oh their pies….. You’ve got to get a slice of pie! The chess, coconut, and peanut butter pies really hit the spot for me and my baby.
I love the people who work at Gibson’s, and I hope you get a chance to go there if you haven’t been yet. It also holds lots of special memories for me, including when I told my parents I was pregnant with their first grandchild.
I hope this gives you some ideas of things that you can eat while breastfeeding your newborn that may minimize colic. I am more than happy to email newborn photography clients some recipe ideas that have worked well in my household for making before baby comes to freeze, or to hand off to the sweet people who want to cook dinner for you but have no idea how to cook without their usual ingredients.