There's something extraordinarily special about documenting a family's first journey to parenthood. This is exactly why I offer "Watch Me Grow" baby plans - to offer an affordable option for my clients to have professional portraits taken during their pregnancy, when their little one is a newborn, and on through baby's first year.
Their son, Thales, was born at 40 weeks and 1 day, and from what I hear, Ana rocked that 14 hour labor. I had the absolute pleasure of taking his newborn portraits at their home in north Pensacola when he was 6 days old.
He was, and is, an absolute doll baby and completely rocked his session!
These mamas were absolutely smitten with their new addition.
I'll leave you with what I think is the BEST thing about "Watch Me Grow" baby plans - continuity. If you look back, you'll see that the some quilt Ana is laying on in her maternity session was used as a basket stuffer for Thales' newborn session.
I was also able to take a stylized approach at duplicating Ana's favorite picture from her maternity session during their newborn session. What a difference 4 weeks makes. The picture on the right was taken exactly 28 days after the one on the left.
A new year is upon us and I am so excited about what is to come with my little photography business! Everyday I hear parents (first time parents especially) wanting to make sure they're documenting baby's first year - capturing those precious milestones. And that's exactly what my "Watch Me Grow" baby plans were created to do! In order to provide Pensacola area parents affordable options to have baby's first year professional photographed, I've created 3 separate baby plans ranging from mommy's Maternity Portrait session through baby's 1 year/ cake smash pictures.
Oh, and did I mention that these sessions take place in your home or location of your choosing? No packing up baby and gear!
I bring everything to you!
Watch Me Grow - Ultimate - Bump to Cake
Includes 6 sessions covering baby's 1st year plus $100 print credit for $1250 ($1500 value)
Watch Me Grow - Milestones - Pick 4
Includes your choice of 4 sessions during baby's 1st year plus $50 print credit for $900 ($1075 value)
Watch Me Grow - Bump to Baby
Includes the following 2 sessions plus $50 print credit for $500 ($650 value)
Pensacola area baby plans can be booked as early as you’d like. All that’s required is a signed contract and paid retainer fee (30% of the package price). Your due date goes on my calendar and that’s it! Maternity sessions are scheduled when mom is between 26 and 34 weeks (depending on how much you’re showing), and Milestone sessions (3, 6, and 9 months) are scheduled as we go along.
I also offer payment plans to help make capturing these fleeing moments of baby’s first year as do-able as possible. No one should miss out on having professional photography!
As a little added bonus, all Gulf Coast clients who book one of my "Watch Me Grow" baby plans before March 1st will receive 3 custom 3x3 mini accordion albums as a special gift!
Maybe a better title would be - "What You See vs What I See."
As a family and newborn photographer in the greater Pensacola, FL area, there's rarely a session that goes by where I don't say to my clients, "Trust me, it's going to look awesome." This is usually during a moment when I have them in what feels like an odd pose or using a prop in a way they weren't expecting. The great thing is, I have awesome clients, and they trust me. And they always love the finished product! This is never more true than during newborn portrait sessions. Often I'm set up in a corner of your home surrounded by baby accouterments, wraps, props, dust bunnies, and stressed out, exhausted parents.
So, I thought it might be kind of fun to show you some before editing, straight-out-of-camera pictures (Before) vs the final images provided to my clients (After). Enjoy!
The 2 examples above are of the same baby, taken mid afternoon in the client's living room in front of their sliding glass door. You may notice that the second picture isn't as well lit in the "Before" image as the first one. This is because some summer afternoon storms rolled in while I was working.
The next 2 pictures are also examples of being set up for natural light portraits while storms rolled in. This time I was set up in the client's daughter's play room. I had studio lights in my car that I could have used, but with the client's other children (ages 3 & 5) running around, I was hesitant to set up light stands.
As you can see from the "After" images, it all worked out fine!
Something else clients often worry about (moms especially) is their newborn's blotchy, flakey, pimply, red/yellow/purple/grey, etc skin. Any newborn photographer worth her salt can handle problem skin NO problem.
(And yes, the Before & After below are the same picture, I just performed a mirror image flip to provide my clients with more variety.)
All of the pictures I've shown so far have been taken without studio lights, using only the natural light coming into a client's home. But, some homes just get natural light, or don't have enough. This is why I always bring studio lights with me.
The image below was taken in a home with virtually NO natural light. So, i quickly set up my studio lights and we were good to go.
This picture is also a great example of when I shoot with a change to black and white photography in mind. The different textures of the fabric, the lines of the hardwood floor all immediately made me see that this picture in particular NEEDED to be in black and white!
As an on location photographer, I travel all over Escambia county and Santa Rosa county Florida as well as Baldwin county Alabama for photography sessions. this means that I need to be flexible and use what's available to me at any given shoot. The picture below is a great example of that.
I wanted a photo that highlighted this sweet, new military family in a clean, simple way, and I had to do it in such a way that their wide awake little man would remain happy and content. Mom and dad had a nice, large window in their bedroom and it made the perfect, simple background for their first professional family portrait.
These last two Before & After pictures I'm going to show are perfect examples of "What you See vs. What I See."
In the first image, we'd FINALLY gotten little man to sleep and there was no way I was going to move my entire backdrop stand for a simple background fix that I new I could take care of in 30 seconds of Photoshop. Mom trusted me, and they ended up with this beautiful image of little boy O wearing daddy's cover.
In the second image, I knew that I wanted to incorporate the neat, rosette texture of the pink blanket while still keeping baby girl all curled up and happy. Mommy was concerned that their bedroom carpet would show in the final image but trusted me when I assured her it would not.
I hope that you've enjoyed my Pensacola Newborn Portrait Session Before & After editing.
Newborn photography is pretty much my favorite thing in the world to do and I happily cover Gulf Shores, AL through Navarre, FL and north to Cantonment and Milton, FL.
I had the pleasure of photographing this little one's mommy's Maternity Portrait Session on Pensacola Beach this past November, and, on February 15th, at 11 days old, I had the pleasure of photographing baby H!
Other than receiving referrals from previous clients, there's nothing I like more than getting to follow a couple's journey from pregnancy/ maternity photographs through newborn portraits and beyond!
I started photographing newborns in mid-2014, and over that time, I've been blessed with a small handful of babies who slept through their entire session. (Knock on wood.) But never, in those 2 1/2 years have I had a baby fall asleep so easily and sleep so deeply than this little doll baby
My newborn portrait sessions include up to 3 hours of photography. And before this session, I'd never been at a client's home for under 3 hours. Between setting up and breaking down, extra feedings, set changes, and comforting babies, that's just how it goes.
But I could have wrapped up this beautiful little girl's newborn photography session in just over an hour if I'd wanted.
Within sixty minutes, I had more than enough images to fill a gallery that would make her parent's proud. I even commented to mom, who was in the room with me while I worked, that if she wanted, we could stop, but as long as she didn't' mind, I'd love to keep photographing. Of course she didn't mind! You have to realize, I'm not JUST capturing keepsake memories of a family's newest addition, I'm also providing new parents a little break while watching their baby look extra angelic.
Simple, organic poses with little added details are my most favorite, followed by super close-ups of your newborn's details - lashes, wrinkly toes and feed, pouty lips, all of it!
A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing 24 day old baby boy C. This little man refused to sleep for pretty much all of his session, but we still captured some great images for his mommy and daddy.
Black and white portraits - especially black and white newborn portraits - are one of my great loves! I ALWAYS include a few black and white pictures in each session. I shoot in color, so in order to provide my clients with a black and white image, I have to choose a picture that's lighting is right for a black and white. Usually when a client gets an image in black and white, I don't include the color file. As an artist, I feel it's my responsibility to provide each image in what I feel is it's best final form.
But, every now and then I come across a picture that I love so much that I deliver it in black and white AND in color. Like the images below. Which do you prefer?
Newborn Portrait Session Prep Guide
Family portrait sessions require a little prep work - fixing hair, putting on a tad more make-up than usual, choosing outfits. But, newborn sessions are in a whole other ballpark. You take a new baby, (often) brand new, exhausted, parents, and hormones and emotions that are usually still a bit out of control - and then you add another new person (me) who shows up with 4 bags of "stuff". It's a stressful situation. To help alleviate some of the stress, I've developed (and tweaked) my Newborn Portrait Session Prep Guide. Each Pensacola, FL area parent who books with me is sent a link to to the prep guide. Knowledge is power! And knowing what to expect from your session and what I need from you before the session will help insure that everything goes wonderfully!
First things First -
Let’s get you on the books!
Your first few days & weeks as new parents are incredible, and exhausting, and fleeting! The last thing you need on your plate is the added stress of researching and booking the perfect newborn photographer! This is one of the reasons I strongly recommend you schedule your newborn session BEFORE your baby is born. This ensures you a spot on my calendar and takes the stress of finding the right photographer off your plate as new parents.
Contact me as early as you’d like (I’ve had moms contact me as early as 10 weeks along).
As soon as your retainer is paid and contract is signed, your due date gets penciled in on my calendar. Then, once baby arrives, you can shoot me an email, text or phone call to arrange your session date and time.
So, what if you waited and baby is already here; should you still call? Will I still take your session? Of course you should still call! I will always do my best to work in last minute newborn portrait sessions in the Gulf Coast. I've photographed newborns as old as 24 days. Older newborns usually aren't able to be posed as tightly and curled as younger, but that's ok!
I am proud to provide your newborn portrait session in the comfort of your own home! I bring the entire setup to you – lighting included. You have enough going on without having to worry about getting your brand new baby out of the house! This also works well because baby remains in a familiar environment – everything smells like home because it is home. This also gives you the opportunity to comfort baby how and where you always comfort baby.
Also, if the weather permits and you’re comfortable with the idea, I LOVE to take a few newborn pictures outdoors – especially family pictures! Babies love warmth and most of the year, the Florida panhandle provides us with an abundance of that.
So, don’t worry about cleaning up because I’m coming over. I need less space than you think and I’m more than happy shifting furniture around if I need to (and I promise to move it back when I’m done).
When will I schedule baby’s session?
Traditionally, newborn sessions are done before baby reaches 2 weeks old (between 5 & 9 days old is best). Newborns grow and change FAST and we want to try to capture them during the super sleepy, curly stage. After 2 weeks, babies are more easily disturbed while sleeping as well as learning how nice it feels to stretch out.
So, yes, under 2 weeks is preferred, but this isn’t to say that newborn portraits can’t be done on slightly older newborns! I’ve photographed newborns from day 5 – day 26 and always managed to get the sleepy, curly poses the parents wanted. Just remember that older newborns require more patience and usually more preparation.
Day of preparation
Full babies are happy babies. And happy babies are sleepy babies. And sleepy babies is what we want!
So, how do you get there?
Please don’t be offended if I ask you to turn off the ceiling fan(s) in the area I’m photographing baby in. Newborns are used to being all bundled up and warm, so whatever we can do to help with that is good. I’ll also have a heating pad that I sometimes use to warm the blankets before I put baby on them.
Please do whatever you can to help keep noise to a minimum during the portrait session. I’ll have a white noise machine with me, but it can only block out so much.
*If older siblings are being photographed along with baby, I recommend we plan on taking their portraits at the beginning or end of the session so they aren’t stuck waiting around. After their part of the session is over is a great time for a family member or sitter to take them to the park.
A Little Patience & Relax
Many parents are very surprised (and a bit daunted) when they see that my newborn portrait sessions include up to 3 hours of my time. That’s a lot of time. BUT, it’s pretty much guaranteed I won’t be shooting the entire 3 hours (this isn’t a wedding, lol). I allocate 3 hours because it often takes a bit of time to get baby to sleep, plus we’ll have potty breaks (or potty clean up breaks), feeding breaks, and just snuggle breaks. So relax, put your feet up, take a shower, take a nap, update your Facebook, whatever. Many parents take turns hanging out with and spotting for me so they each get a little break.
*Oh, and a recent client suggested I make sure to mention - baby will most likely cry. He/she is perfectly ok! Think about it - you and I can discuss when things are new or different, but baby's only way to communicate is to cry. Oftentimes, I'll continue to wrap baby while they cry and you'll see that as soon as they're snug and secure, all crying will stop.*
Newsflash, babies poop. And pee. A lot! They even spit up. And baby’s going to be naked a lot. No worries; I’m prepared. It’s part of the gig! I bring extra tri-fold diapers (old-school cloth diapers) to help with clean up. This is also why I was ALL baby props and blankets between each session. If you had some rags, or paper towels, or wipes available nearby that’d be awesome too. Who knows, maybe we won’t need them.
*If you want shots with baby in his/her diaper, then I strongly suggest getting a cloth diaper or diaper cover in a solid color. Editing Elmo and Big Bird off newborn Pampers is time consuming and not always easy to do. J
Don’t worry, this is not a PSA about why you should or should not circumcise your little man. This is a plea to please let me know if you are planning to (this can be something we discuss before baby even arrives)! Circumcision often leaves the area raw and a bit painful for a few days after the procedure which can make posing and keeping baby content during their session difficult or impossible. Because of this, baby’s newborn session needs to take place BEFORE the procedure or at least 5 days after. (Before is definitely my preferred option.)
If I should arrive at your home and find baby freshly circumcised, I’ll be forced to reschedule your session. Baby’s comfort and safety is my highest priority!
Sibling & Parent Portraits
If baby has older siblings that you’d like photographed with the newborn, we’ll do these at the beginning or very end of the session (preferably first). I recommend having children in coordinating outfits with no logos. Little boys looks adorable shirtless for pictures with the new baby and little girls looks so pretty in simple cream or white (I can even use one of my newborn wraps as a simple top for big sister).
*Please make sure to let me know on your Newborn Client Questionnaire or via email, text, or phone call if you’d like siblings included in the session.
I strongly encourage parents allow me to capture their portraits with the new baby. Trust me, someday that selfie isn’t going to cut it when you’re looking for a picture of you with the baby! No need to get all dressed up: brush your hair and put on a tad of makeup and a clean top and you’ll be all set! Maybe check that your nails are clean. This is a great “excuse” for why you need some extra alone time and a long shower that morning! Feel free to blame me!
I promise you won’t regret it.
One final note…
Props & Requests
My newborn photography consists of posing on white or light colored backgrounds with very simple props – hats, wraps, or little pants – or au natural. And my posing style is simple – keeping baby in a more comfortable/organic pose. I want the main emphasis of the portrait to be baby itself. To this end, yes, I’ll definitely try to incorporate your requests into the session as long as baby’s safety is guaranteed.
If you see a specific item in my albums that you’d like me to be sure to bring, just let me know!
A new year (like a new baby) signals a new beginning – a fresh start – a dream of new things to come. And that’s appropriate for us. Because for 2017 I’m thrilled to announce our new Watch Me Grow – Baby Plans. Our Baby Plans will provide Gulf Coast and Pensacola area mothers-to-be 3 different Baby Plan options – covering mommy’s Maternity Portrait session through baby’s 12-month portraits and Cake Smash session.
Of course, I’ll still offer individual Maternity, Newborn, and Milestone portrait sessions – but by booking a Watch Me Grow – Baby Plan package, you will receive up to $450 in savings off the A La Carte session pricing!
Do I have your attention yet?
Here’s the details about the Watch Me Grow Plans for baby’s first year.
Watch Me Grow – Ultimate – From Bump to Cake
This Package includes the following 6 Sessions from pregnancy through baby’s 1st year as well as a $100 print credit for only $1150 (a value of $1600)
Maternity Portraits – 1 hour
Watch Me Grow – Select – Pick 4
This package includes your choice of 4 of the following sessions during baby’s 1st year plus a $75 print credit for only $850 (a value of $1125)
Maternity Portraits – 1 hour
Watch Me Grow – Bump to Baby
This package includes the following 2 sessions as well as a $50 print credit for only $450 (a value of $625)
Each individual session in the Watch Me Grow Baby Plan includes your choice of 10 edited, high-resolution images via digital download from that session as well as a print release and online image hosting from your first session through 60 days after the last session.
Pensacola area baby plans can be booked as early as you’d like. All that’s required is a signed contract and paid retainer fee (30% of the package price). Your due date goes on my calendar and that’s it! Maternity sessions are usually scheduled when mom is between 26 and 34 weeks (depending on how much you’re showing), and Milestone sessions (3, 6, and 9 months) are scheduled as we go along.
I even offer payment plans to help make “Capturing timeless portraits of fleeing moments” of your baby’s first year with as do-able as possible. No one should miss out on having professional photography!
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org today to book your very own Watch Me Grow Baby Plan!
It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to show off some the awesome photography products that we carry. Plus, since I’ve added a few more goodies, what better way to introduce them than to show them off!
Since it is the Christmas season, I am going to start off with these super cute, and affordable, custom Christmas ornaments. On the left is a bamboo ornament that comes in your choice of 13 sizes & shapes (the one show is 4″x2.5″). They’re ~1/4″ thick and show the beautiful, natural grain of the bamboo through the image. On the right is a sweet metal ornament that can be ordered in the design shown or a snowflake.
These ornaments not only look lovely on your own tree, they make a fantastic gift for grandparents!
Next up is an item I’ve been proudly using for 2 months now: a custom cell phone case.
What a great way to show off your babies – without having to even unlock your phone screen.
Cases are black rubber grip with interchangeable photo inserts. These aren’t sold as “protective cases” like Otterbox, Lifeproof, etc – BUT, my toddler has dropped and thrown my phone multiple times on quite a few different surfaces, and so far, no damage has occurred to my Samsung S6.
Cases are available for the Samsung Galaxy S6, iPad Mini, and iPhones 4, 5, 6, & 6 Plus.
The base order includes 1 case and 1 insert – additional inserts can be added to your order or ordered at a later date.
The gorgeous picture above is my 2nd favorite new product: the 3″x3″ accordion mini album. This beautiful, sturdy mini album comes with your choice of up to 10 customizable panels and your choice of cover: fabric, leathers, suede, or (my personal fave) custom photo. Accordion Mini albums come in sets of 3 boxed up in a little manilla colored box – PERFECT for grandparent gifts (can you not just picture grandma whipping this out of her purse to show off to everyone) or as a display in mom or dad’s office!
Next up, you can NEVER go wrong with a custom, 1 1/2″ gallery wrap canvas! It’s classic, it’s sturdy, and you don’t even need a frame.
Each gallery wrap canvas is finished with saw-tooth hangers and corner bumpers.
I’ll wrap up with something many of us are knee deep in this time of year – Christmas cards.
I am proud to offer, high quality, customized Press-Printed & Foil Pressed greeting cards in a variety of sizes.
Custom designed cards are perfect for new baby announcements, Birthday invitations, Graduation announcements, Christmas cards, etc.
So, now you’ve seen the beautiful, high quality, and affordable products we carry for our clients. But, just because you don’t see it here doesn’t mean we can’t get it. So, if there’s ever something special that you have in mind, just ask!
Something that I hear from a LOT of Pensacola area newborn clients concerning booking their newborn portrait session is that “time just got away” from them. That’s what happened with Dylan. This baby boy decided to surprise his mommy and daddy by showing up a couple weeks before his due date and then life happened. Next thing Dylan’s mommy knew, he was nearing the 1 month old mark. Luckily, she knew that newborns don’t HAVE to be photographed in the first 14 days. Yes, photographers (myself included) recommend newborns be photographed between 5 and 14 days of age – this is when babies are sleepiest and easiest to get into “newborn” poses. But that doesn’t mean a newborn session can’t happen at 15 days or 24 days, or even 1 month.
Often times it takes longer to get older infants to sleep and you may end up with more awake pictures, but that’s OK too. Dylan was no different. It did take a little longer to get him asleep, but once he was out, I was able to get all of the “usual” newborn pictures – the tiny details and different expressions babies make in their sleep.
If you don’t want to have to worry about finding a photographer and dealing with more paperwork after baby comes, then book your newborn session while you’re still pregnant! A signed contract and paid retainer is all it takes to get your due date on my calendar. I then make sure to leave a few dates available in the vicinity of your due date, you call, email, or text me when baby arrives, and then I get you scheduled! Easy Peasy!
I love maternity portrait sessions – almost as much as I love newborn portrait sessions.
But the BEST is when a client books me to photograph their Maternity Portrait and Newborn Portrait Session! I love these two sessions so much that I even made them into a package deal. The Watch me Grow - Bump to Baby Package is a perfect way for Pensacola area mommys-to-be to combine their maternity photography and newborn photography sessions and save a little money.
I especially love maternity sessions with first-time parents-to-be. It’s extra special getting to play a tiny part in their excitement and anticipation of what’s to come!
Courtney and Robert were no different. Not only were they excited about the upcoming birth of their first baby – they had made the decision to not find out the sex until birth! They seemed to do OK with not knowing, but the suspense was killing me.
Courtney first heard about Finding Beauty in the Ordinary Photography through her doula, Amber with Belly to Cradle, LLC who I’m honored to work with. And, thanks in part to Amber, we all got to spend a some extra time together when I photographed Courtney’s final Prenatal session with Belly to Cradle, LLC. So, when Amber messaged me that Courtney was in labor and they were headed to the hospital, I waited on pins and needles to hear how the labor when and whether I’d be taking newborn portraits of a baby girl or a baby boy. I’d already placed my bet that we were going to have a baby boy – and I’m proud to say that I was correct!
Much to his parent’s surprise, Owen graced the world with his presence a full week before his due date in a startlingly speedy fashion!
To say his parents are smitten would be the understatement of the year!
I always make it a point to ask the parents if there are any special items they’d like me to use during baby’s session. Living in a military town, oftentimes one of those special items is a small part of mommy or daddy’s uniform. Owen got to have pictures in daddy’s hat as well as in the colors of his parent’s Alma Mater – Texas A&M.
Since Owen decided he wanted to be awake for the first 2 hours of his session, we did a lot of lifestyle newborn posing. I loved capturing Courtney and Robert cuddling up with their new bundle of joy. And getting their pups in a shot was just icing on the cake for this animal-loving photographer!
And, after all that, little man did finally tucker out for me...
Amanda is the prop buying, location scouting, ponytail sporting, flip flop wearing, owner/ operator/ and woman behind the camera for Finding Beauty in the Ordinary Photography.
Newborn Portrait Photography
Family Portrait Photography
Maternity Portrait Photography
Senior Portrait Photography
From Gulf Shores, AL to Navarre, FL. Covering the areas of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Foley, and Elberta Alabama and Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Pensacola Beach, Pace, and Cantonment Florida.