molly | philadelphia newborn photographer

I recently decided to go back on the road again! When I first started out I was only on location working in clients homes. Then I  decided I was only going to do newborn sessions in my home studio. I started to realize that although that is easier for me it is not exactly easy for Mom and Dad. So now I am letting parents choose what works best for them.

Molly was my first little one since I decided to make this change. It was nice having the ability to do my traditional shots and then get a few shots with Molly and her parents in the nursery. Molly was such a little sweetheart. I even got a smile! It was a pleasure working with these first time parents and their adorable daughter Molly.

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mary elizabeth | philadelphia newborn photographer

I was so excited to hear when Mary Elizabeth arrived. I love posing newborns and embrace ever chance I get to work with them. Posing them into cute squishy poses is so fullfilling. Waiting until they fall into a deep sleep and then working to perfect the pose and fix each finger, makes me feel like a sculptor, I am immediately transported to my happy place.

Some newborns fall asleep right away and others take awhile. Some will let you do poses other newborns will not do. Each newborn is always so different. Mary Elizabeth had quite the strong left kick. It took awhile for her to relax her leg and Mom let us know that Mary Elizabeth had been using that leg to kick her all through pregnancy. Taking advantage of these precious moments is so important as they are fleeting. In fact the best time to photography newborns is before they are 10 days old. They are only this little for a little while.

 

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Over the Bridge | Philadelphia Maternity Photographer

I’ve never been really great with directions before the GPS. I can’t count the number of hours I have driven around endlessly in search of my destination. Now even with the GPS I still manage to lose my way! On my 1st trip over the bridge for the pre-consultation to meet with Krissy and Blair I did make an unplanned trip to love park in Philly… not sure how I managed that? When I first entered their home I was so excited to see the beautiful wall displays. I learned that Krissy is really into wall art and finding unique and creative ways throughout her home to showcase their precious memories. Her aesthetic is so close to mine, I loved seeing the importance placed on capturing life! I discovered Krissy is the writer of the blog Dainty Chef. If you haven’t checked it out you need to. Not much of a chef myself I was drawn to the beautiful photography. The colors and attention to detail makes me want to cook… and those of you who know me understand that takes a lot! I will not lie I was flattered to be chosen to capture this new chapter of Krissy and Blair’s life and of course a little anxious as Krissy is a very talented photographer herself. I am looking forward to meeting their little cupcake soon!

 

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feeling beautiful during pregnancy with rebecca | Philadelphia Maternity Photographer

When I first started my project to photography and interview women in their third trimester I had a distinct goal in mind. I wanted to help women see the beauty in themselves during a time when they are not feeling so beautiful. When I met Rebecca I would have never known the feelings she was having and the struggle she was fighting within. I loved working with her so much I found it hard to stop shooting, she was glowing and the lighting was perfect! After reading her answers to the interview questions I felt empowered that I was able to help her see what was so easy for me to. Her answers actually made me fill up with tears.

What were your first thoughts when you saw the images?

 I thought, Wow, how did she get rid of my tired eyes?? I couldn’t believe how genuinely happy and beautiful I looked. I was glowing. I looked at these pictures when I received them in November and thought they were stunning. I’ve since looked at them again, after giving birth, and believe them to be on a whole new level of amazing. I love how light-hearted and full of joy I look. I cannot wait to show these to my son to give him a glimpse into the world just four short weeks before he was born.

 What has been your biggest struggle with how you feel during your pregnancy?

Throughout my life, exercise has been one of the main ways for me to release stress. Running was high on my list of hobbies and it was typically how I began each day. Staying healthy in this way was a huge part of how I defined myself.

Once I became pregnant, however, I had complications that led doctors to recommend I avoid running. This was devastating to me.  This hit me hardest during the second trimester when my body changed significantly from the athletic build I was used to. I wasn’t able to move in the same way and while I felt blessed to be carrying my son, giving up this significant part of my life was really difficult.  This frustration peaked once I couldn’t see my feet. Physically, I was tired from the pregnancy but emotionally, I was missing the connection with my body that I made through running, and the stress relief it once provided.

Did you struggle to feel confident with your new body?

As my stomach expanded and my body swelled, I absolutely struggled with confidence. In my mind, I didn’t look or feel like myself. I was unable to engage in many of the activities that made me feel good. Instead, I slept and ate A LOT.  It took awhile before I felt good in my own skin.  Having these pictures taken helped my spirit. It was one of the few times during my pregnancy that I put on a dress and make-up and strutted my stuff, and boy it felt good! Since then, I’ve learned a lot about (and have been much more appreciative of) the wonderful changes that our bodies undergo to create life.

What have you enjoyed most with the changes of your body?

At 30 weeks, I had grown to love my new shape. I especially loved how lopsided my belly had become because of the way the baby liked to lay. I had become more confident in my body knowing how well it was serving him. I didn’t realize it then, but looking back, I was looking forward to another 8 weeks of my developing shape.

When I realized it was likely that I would deliver early, I desperately wanted more time with him. I couldn’t bear the thought of him leaving me so soon. After all, he had been with me always, more often than my husband. I knew as soon as he was born he’d be whisked away from me and taken to the NICU. I would’ve given anything to feel him playfully kick my stomach for a few more weeks. Looking back, knowing and seeing all of his movements were the most enjoyable and amazing changes during pregnancy. I’ll never forget the feeling of his movement, gentle reminders of my tiny miracle.

Is capturing your pregnant self-important to you?

I had debated for awhile whether or not I needed to capture this moment in my life, especially because my body looked much different than what I was used to. For the first seven months, I avoided being the center of photographs. Any pictures that I have of myself during this time were completely accidental. At the last minute, I decided to have maternity photos taken and was photographed at 30 weeks pregnant.  Something inside of me urged me to do it.

I loved dressing up and feeling beautiful during the photo shoot. It was early November and the weather was turning a bit chilly, but it was still temperate enough to have the photos taken outside. Everything was perfect. Upon receiving the photos, I was completely impressed, and so glad that I had them done. I was surprised at how I looked; my images were soft and feminine, not bulky and bloated like I imagined myself to be. Two days after I received my proofs, my water broke. I was 32 weeks pregnant.

I was kept in the hospital for two weeks before I was induced. During the time, one of my recurring thoughts was how glad I was to have captured these moments before my baby entered the world. I knew in less than 2 weeks, I would deliver my son and my body would change once again. I wasn’t emotionally ready for the change yet which made these photos extra special to me. I never wanted to forget this important moment in what turned out to be a surprisingly shortened pregnancy.

I love being able to capture this special time from pregnancy to birth. Life is so beautiful! And baby Austin and his Mom are proof.

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in bloom | Philadelphia newborn and children photographer

As I watch my tulips start to bloom I am reminded of where I am in my business. As a stay at home mom the time I have to devote to my business right now is limited especially since the only one taking a nap anymore is the dog! I do continue to work nights, which is when I finally can get the time that is so hard to find during the day. I am focused on the dream of becoming a newborn and child photographer with a successful business when the kids are in school full time, until then I offer limited sessions each month. If you are interested in booking a session, book early!

Right now I am working on catching up on blog posts as well as a few other projects that are in the works. Keep a look out for my daily facebook posts to start up again next week! I am going to switch it up a bit. Stay tuned for Motivation Monday, Take a Look Tuesday, What to Wear or Wall Art Wednesday, This and That Thursday and Forever Inspired Friday.

Remember, every flower that ever bloomed had to go through a whole lot of dirt to get there.

- Mariela Delgado

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My first twins!!! | Philadelphia Newborn Photographer

I have been looking to photograph newborn twins for awhile now. I was so excited that my friend Amy put me in touch with Jeanne, mom to these adorable boys. I knew posing twins would be a new challenge, so I was happy to learn that Jeanne would be up for it and graciously let me practice with her boys. Let me tell you, Jeanne is a breath of fresh air, filled with happiness and positivity. It was such a pleasure to work with her, her mother-in-law, Maribeth, and the boys of course! When she arrived, she introduced the boys as Baby Buddha and Street Fighter. At the time, I though how cute and didn’t think much of it. As the session progressed, I noticed Jake aka Street Fighter was pretty awake. I was a little surprised to see him so alert. Even when I did finally have him settled, every time I tried to move his hands he was startled and would wake. I can be a little stubborn while posing as time is not an issue for me. I will wait as long as it takes for the babies to get into that deep sleep. I have had sessions last five hours, but something tells me Jake would have fought me the whole way. I was so happy to have Maribeth working with us, as she works with newborns all the time. Keegan aka Baby Buddha of course was knocked out and slept through most of the session, except when I tried to position his brother on his back. He always had the top bunk in the belly so there was no way he was trading spots now! I love how we were able to capture the personalities of these two adorable little boys. Even in the picture of the two boys, you can see Jake has his little fist out! He refused to let me straighten his fingers. Overall, this was the best “first” experience I could have asked for!

I was so happy to receive an announcement from Jeanne welcoming the boys into the world. I love seeing how my clients use their images. This announcement is so sweet! The design for the announcement was done by Jeanne’s friend Barbara Chotiner from bz design stuff. I just love it and plan on shopping at bz design stuff in the future!

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feeling beautiful during pregnancy with Jaclyn | Philadelphia Maternity Photographer

When I first met Jaclyn my first words to her may have been “you need to be in pictures” or maybe it was something along the lines of “I would love to photograph you!” Whatever it was I am sure it sounded a little creepy. Who goes up to people they don’t know and says that! I loved the vintage inspired shirt she was wearing and her style. When I heard from her to schedule a session for her kids and a maternity session for her I was excited. Photographing her children this past fall was so much fun! I couldn’t wait to photograph Jaclyn’s maternity session. We had talked a few times before the session about what she wanted. When she told me she wanted to wear a glamourous dress I was intrigued. She had great ideas for the shoot… I only hoped I could deliver. She had told me she is most comfortable when she is dressed up. I love that her personality is reflected in these photos. When I arrived at her home and saw her beautifully designed room and the dress it was perfection. I was even more impressed when she told me her and her husband made the headboard for these photos. This is one of my last sessions in the feeling beautiful during pregnancy series. I am really happy with how these turned out and what really matters is that I made Jaclyn happy!!! She had sent me a few texts after she had seen the images for the first time expressing her initial reaction. My favorite: “AHHHH They LOOK GREAT!!!!!! really love the profile in the chair and the one of me and Fiona is to DIE FOR. OMG, you are amazing. I’m so happy.” She thought she was bothering me with all of the texts but it was the best thing for me to hear since I am always so critical of my work. She had made me so happy knowing I made her happy. It means everything to me making my clients happy and what I do totally worth it!! I loved everything about this session and have equally enjoyed getting to know Jaclyn and her family!

I absolutely LOVE what she had to say about the experience and her thoughts on pregnancy. I laughed and cried!!

What were your first thoughts when you saw the images?

“I don’t look terrible.” And “All my dreams came true.” I generally hate pictures of myself.  I hate getting pictures taken; it makes me so uncomfortable.  Perhaps if I practiced in a mirror and really got down my Zoolander face, I wouldn’t mind so much, but that just seems so vain and I don’t really have time for that.  So I was pleasantly surprised with the pictures of me.

The picture of my daughter and me kissing made my life.  I never thought I’d have a daughter, and having had a bald head as a baby, I never thought I’d have a daughter with her long hair.  And one of my favorite things about my kids is their little baby fat rolls… so to have this image of myself in a place I never thought I’d be with a little girl I never thought I’d be with that captures all the things I love so much about her while I’m loving her and her sister in my belly…. I just can’t say enough about it. People ask what you’d take on an island or if your house was burning down, I’d take this picture. If I never get another picture of myself, I’d just be happy I have this one.

What has been your biggest struggle with how you feel during your pregnancy?

This has by far been my busiest pregnancy; besides the fact that I have two small children who have busy schedules and yet cannot pour their own juice, prepare their own meals, bathe, wipe, or dress themselves, we also moved in my fourth month.

Naturally, there have been the physical difficulties of pregnancy: exhaustion, nausea every night well into my third trimester, urinating in far-too-frequent intervals  and now constant discomfort as her body is taking over mine.  But “busy” has overwhelmed the focus on tired, sick and uncomfortable.

It’s been disappointing not having time or feeling up to wearing anything other than my “mom suit” (black stretchies, tank top, and whatever comfortable shirt will still cover my stomach)… Not wearing makeup or drying my hair 98% of the time can be frustrating and takes its toll on a girl who loves “all that glitters”… Fortunately, there aren’t many mirrors hanging in my house yet and I don’t normally have the time to notice.  —  One time I thought this kid working at produce junction was checking me out, (which I thought was especially strange because I was noticeably pregnant).  When I went to pick my daughter up I happened to see my reflection and realized that my tank top was practically invisible…. It left no room for imagination…. Not that anyone would care to imagine a pregnant belly button and grandma bra, but that kid will probably be very cautious about getting anyone pregnant.

So other than that which is to be expected, I don’t have any genuine complaints about this pregnancy.  At about 7 weeks pregnant I had a lot of bleeding and thought I had miscarried.  So the combination of knowing what to expect and knowing how blessed I am that she’s still here is good enough for me.

Do you struggle to feel confident with your new body?

The only real “new” body is the one in my womb.  I have experienced this feeling of enormity before and in hindsight, I’m now able to acknowledge that it’s not as serious as it appears.  Although, I was very fortunate in that I lost my weight fairly quickly after each of my previous pregnancies.  When my husband and I decided to try for another baby, I actually (for the first time ever) stuck a pillow under my shirt and looked at my profile in the mirror; I was so excited about the idea of harboring a child inside a big belly.  It is an amazing experiencing. Although, I am hesitant to say “I love being pregnant” because it certainly is not easy and not always enjoyable, but always worth it.

The hardest part for me is dealing with my body in between pregnant and 5’4″ and 125ish.

What have you enjoyed most with the changes of your body?

Knowing what to expect this go-round has really given me the opportunity to enjoy each stage of this pregnancy.  Knowing that each stage is temporary helps to keep things in perspective.  I had a dark linea negra with my first daughter which went away after she was born and I’ve started to notice it faintly forming over the past month or so with this baby.  With my son I got a birthmark-looking patch on my lower back and that’s still there, but I’ve started to notice other pigment changes  within the past couple weeks.  It amazes me really and I don’t mind the changes because I figure either they’ll go away, they’re just meant to be, or there will one day be a non-invasive cosmetic procedure to fix that.  Until then, my husband is stuck with me, my children will love me no matter what, and there will always be at least three people on any beach who look worse than I do in a bathing suit.

Oh!  I also really like my boobs.  This pregnancy has really brought me much closer to considering implants if they melt away again after delivery.  They make me feel like a woman. Maybe having boobs would help me feel more confident without the makeup and dry hair…. And maybe the kid will actually be checking me out at produce junction and not just wondering why I’m wearing a see-thru shirt so unscrupulously.

Is capturing your pregnant self-important to you?

This time it was.  My first pregnancy I refused any pictures because I felt horrible about my weight, but I ended up having a premature baby via emergency c-section, so I didn’t even get a picture before the delivery.

Right before my son was born, I was told his lungs were not fully developed and that if he was born he would have trouble.  It dawned on me that the safest place for my child was inside me.  Up to that point I had never felt that kind of love, the kind that you would literally lay your life on the line for.

Being that I hadn’t gotten any pictures, I made sure to get my hair and makeup done to get a picture before i delivered my daughter.  But it wasn’t a picture anyone would want to hang on their wall or even look at frequently.

After my daughter was born I had seen the movie “The Family Stone”. There was a scene when the whole family was looking at this beautiful picture of their mother- young and pregnant- and the mother looked at one of her daughters and said “that’s you and me, kid”.  The picture was such a beautifully captured moment in time.

Pregnancy for me is not a lonely journey, there’s someone along for the ride.  Knowing how it feels to love someone before even seeing their face and just hoping that they’ll breathe if nothing else.  Knowing how it feels to love someone else so much that protecting them with the walls of your own body feels worth it for as long as possible.  I wanted to capture that.  I didn’t want these pictures to capture me pregnant,  I wanted them to capture my children in the place where I loved them first.

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Leading with my heart

I am feeling really ready for 2014 and all of the exciting new things happening. Can you believe I have been building this business since 2008 and just now completing my business plan! Not your traditional business plan by any means as you can see from these pictures. I created this box to keep my business plan ideas sorted in a way that makes sense to me. I love it and it really helps keep me focused on what’s important and the direction I’m moving! I have heard many people say you do not need a business plan, and also know many people who do not have one, but for me having a plan seems like an obvious step toward success. I was so happy to learn of the book The Right-Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee. This book has given me direction on how to tackle writing a business plan. The best part is that it can be whatever you want it to be, which is my kind of plan! I choose to use the analogy of a flower as the main symbol. The roots of my flower hold all of the details. My journey has been similar to that of a flower but not just any flower… a perineal which comes back year after year. Each year I come back my roots and my desire are stronger.

It’s crazy when I think back to where I have been and how far I have come. Many days it is overwhelming to think where I am headed and how I will get there. Luckily my passion pushes me to fight for my dreams. It is a hard battle finding the time to make my dream of owning a successful photography business a reality while being a “stay at home mom” to two little ones. I am still in the building stages trying to use my time wisely and stay focused. Owning a business requires a lot of determination and detication. Looking back on the past year brings me joy thinking about all of the amazing people I was able to work with and tell their story. Everytime I picked up my camera to capture life I felt it. I can’t really explain the feeling but it is a joy that comes from inside. It is a true love for what I am doing. I once heard the phrase “Do what you love and the rest will follow.” These are the words I live by now. I know if I lead with my heart that good things will come.

My major goal this year is to keep working toward the dream of becoming a successful newborn, child and family photographer.  My plan for this is to learn from those who are successful doing it. I will be heading to a workshop in NYC where I will learn from two amazing photographers. One who specializes in newborns, the other in child photography. I seriously am so excited for this opportunity I could burst. I actually might burst waiting for it!!! Thanks to my family and friends for your support and believing in me and a special thank you to my Aunt Anna for making it possible!

This year I will be continuing my focus to specialize in wall art for your home. I want to decorate your home with beautiful images for you to enjoy everyday. Let me help you get those images off of your computer and onto your walls! My sessions include a pre home consultation and during your in person ordering session I will be able to show you what canvases, standouts and framed prints will look like exactly on your wall. I am working with an exciting new program and I can’t wait to use it! Because I am so excited to start decorating your walls the first three people to purchase a session for the new year will receive a 16×20 canvas!!

Everything I do is unique to your needs. When you decide to work with me as your photographer you are purchasing an experience. One that I know will result in capturing life’s precious moments that you can look at everyday as they decorate your home! My dream is for all families to cherish their time together and be photographed doing it. I then want you to look at those moments everyday to be reminded that life is the most precious thing we have and the love that evolves from that is one of the greatest gifts!

As you may know with growth comes changes, lots of new changes that I am very excited about. I am looking forward to letting my heart lead me as I continue on this journey!!

“There is no elevator to success you have to take the stairs.” I have been climbing them for a while and I will continue to climb this year!

 

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feeling beautiful during pregnancy with Nicole | Philadelphia Maternity Photographer

While working on my feeling beautiful during pregnancy series I always had my eye out looking for someone to participate in my project. When I approached Nicole she was a little reluctant at first. I was happy when she later agreed! I love capturing this exciting time right before a family grows.

What were your first thoughts when you saw the images?

I look nice.

What has been your biggest struggle with how you feel during your pregnancy?

All of the changes you go through, and your emotions going wild can’t help.

Do you struggle to feel confident with your new body?

Yes very much, it is hard to feel confident when you just keep getting larger.

What have you enjoyed most with the changes of your body?

Knowing that this all happens in perpetration of such a perfect little baby.

Is capturing your pregnant self-important to you?

Yes it is important to me, I think it’s nice for your child to see what you looked like while pregnant with them.

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David and Fiona | Philadelphia Children’s Photographer

David and Fiona were so fun! I was seriously out of breath and working up a sweat after our session. Running around, acting silly, trying to bring out their “real” smiles. As you may know I love photographing newborns but I really love photographing children too. I have to exercise different photography muscles to photograph children but after the work out the reward is so great!! Could these two be any cuter:)

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feeling beautiful during pregnancy with Leslie | Philadelphia Maternity Photographer

It was totally by chance that I came across the blog And Her Little Dog Too and of course I needed to see what it was about. Leslie writes about healthy living, eating and running in Philadelphia with her dog Jackson. While reading a few posts I noticed that she was pregnant. I was just beginning my maternity project at that time and I was searching for models so I reached out to her. I was so happy she agreed to be a part of my project. I started this maternity project to not only help pregnant women feel good about themselves during what can be a difficult time accepting all of the changes going on with your body but to also continue on my journey and explore the world of maternity photography. Before this project I only had done a few maternity sessions. If you have been following this series the women I have photographed so far are already mommies. Leslie was my first mama to be so we tried a little something different. This was a two part session. Our first session included her husband and Jackson. And the second session we focused only on Leslie complete with a few perks! A special thanks to Charisse owner of Salon Charisse for the gorgeous hair and makeup and for use of the jewlery compliments of Lady Glam. Mary Sawyer for the maternity gown. And to Jim Bevlock owner of Herban Design for the flowers that were the perfect touch! Check out my adventures of Leslie, her husband Charles and of course her little dog too!

The following Sunday a week later I met Leslie over at Salon Charisse where she got her hair and makeup done. This was my first time meeting Charisse. She was so great! Not only is she super talented but so sweet too! I was so grateful to my friend Stephanie Seal for the referral!

This is the necklace Leslie wore for the photo session. Thanks Lady Glam!

I was so pleased when Jim Bevlock owner of Herban Design brought me this arrangement for the session! It was exactly what I had in mind! This is nothing! You need to go check out his beautifully designed artistic arrangements!

It was a very windy day. When I first saw they were calling for wind I was very excited. That meant I might get some movement in the dress which we did! But that same wind was a little of a challenge to work with. Leslie was such an amazing model! She was so easy going. I had the best time working with Leslie it was such a fun experience. I learned so much in these two weeks and I am so thankful Leslie allowed me to share this special time with her and capture life!

I interviewed Leslie to find out if she had any struggles on feeling beautiful during pregnancy and her thoughts on the experience she had this to say:

What were your first thoughts when you saw the images?

I was immediately in love. Tina did such an amazing job capturing our growing little family – it was amazing to be able to take these pictures and capture these moments, of our last few weeks as a family of 3 {including our dog, Jackson} before our little guy arrives in a few short weeks!

What has been your biggest struggle with how you feel during your pregnancy?

Thankfully, I have had a really great pregnancy so far. I didn’t struggle with much morning sickness in the beginning {other than some nausea for a few weeks}, and I think I have been slowly growing my baby bump so it hasn’t been an overwhelming change or too much too soon physically. My biggest struggle has been emotionally preparing for this big change in our lives and feeling really ready for the whole labor & delivery process.

Do you struggle to feel confident with your new body?

I have been focusing on really embracing each and every change with my new body – I think pregnancy is so different for each and every woman and it’s such a beautiful thing. I have been really proud to show off my baby bump and find myself reaching towards items in my closet that highlight my growing belly. I am proud of the fact that I live a healthy lifestyle and have continued to keep that a priority throughout this pregnancy.

What have you enjoyed most with the changes of your body?

I have loved being pregnant – it’s been so amazing to watch my body grow and change bit by bit. I have been taking weekly photos, in the same outfit – and it’s been so incredible to look back and see how my baby bump has grown. It’s crazy to look back at the first few photos and see how much my body has changed.

Is capturing your pregnant self-important to you?

So important! This is such a special time of my life, and our life as husband and wife {and parents-to-be!} I know that it will never be just us, like this again. When/if we have more children, there will already be another baby in the mix so I am treasuring these last few weeks, enjoying each kick and focusing on providing a comfortable home for our growing boy until he is ready to make his appearance into the world.

 

Interested in following the rest of Leslie’s pregnancy be sure to check out her blog And Her Little Dog Too for updates on everything from how she is feeling to her weekly food cravings!

 

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feeling beautiful during pregnancy with Amy | Philadelphia Maternity Photographer

It isn’t always easy to see yourself as others see you. Being a photographer gives me the special priveledge to help people see that the beauty on the outside is just as beautiful as the beauty within. When I first asked Amy to participate in my maternity project she was a little reluctant. I assured her if she did not like any of the images after the session that I wouldn’t post them. I am so glad I was able to help Amy see how beautiful she is! Luckily she liked them as much as I did!

It was a pleasure spending the morning photographing Amy. She is so sweet! It was really nice getting to know her. Amy is a wife, mother of two boys and a puppy, owner of the Creative Clubhouse ”a cozy spot in the heart of Havertown where children are encouraged to explore, create and learn” and soon to be blessed with a little girl! Here is what she had to say about feeling beautiful during pregnancy.

What were your first thoughts when you saw the images?

I was overwhelmed to see how I really “look” being pregnant. We always think that we have a pretty good idea depending on the mirror, the scale and how we are feeling. You made me look much better than I thought that I looked!

What has been your biggest struggle with how you feel during your pregnancy?

I have had three fabulous pregnancies. I love being pregnant and usually embrace every little twinge of pain with each baby kick.:-) Having had my first child almost eight years ago, I feel the my biggest struggle has been feeling older, less energetic, and definitely less athletic.

Do you struggle to feel confident with your new body?

Not at first. I feel like I do handle pregnancy quite well, and embrace the whole “glow”. I have never had to struggle with typical pregnancy symptoms, which makes it quite easy to enjoy and feel good. However, as I become much bigger and my clothes do not fit, there definitely becomes a feeling of frustration. The weather also begins to change, making me feel frumpy in big clothing. This obviously makes confidence quite challenging. A few great scarves and a nice haircut works though!

What have you enjoyed most with the changes of your body?

I love the idea that I am carrying a life. That at this point in my body there are two hearts beating, and blood traveling between us. Her little kicks and hiccups remind me even in the busiest moments how special it is to be a female and how fabulous our bodies really are.

Having two older children, I appreciate even more how being pregnant is the start to a lifelong and very special bond.

Is capturing your pregnant self-important to you?

In the moment, I often have thought that I did not need a picture of myself being pregnant. Like any mother would know, it seems that although people see us through the process, no one person can understand how it actually feels to be pregnant with your own child. I have regretted not getting pictures during my past two pregnancies and am happy that I was able participate in this photo shoot with Tina. I also think that it is special that I have these photos to commemorate not only my last pregnancy but also my only daughter.

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feeling beautiful during pregnancy with Allison | Philadelphia Maternity Photographer

Meet my friend Allison… I have know Allison for a few years now. I am happy I got the chance to know her. She tells things like they are and let’s you know it is okay for you to as well. I was glad Allison agreed to participate in this project. She actually let me take pictures of her more than once. Our first attempt I had her lying in water and rocks draped in fabric. Unfortunately my vision for the shoot didn’t go as planned. That’s the thing about photography… it’s okay to take risks. Everything is a learning experience! I take lots of risks some work others not so much… but it never stops me from trying. Alison was a trooper! I am so thankful she let me experiment. After her bump was a little larger we went back out and tried again. I can’t decide which belly picture I like better but I love that moment I caught between her and her girls. Those are the kinds of images I strive to deliver!

This is what she had to say:

What were your first thoughts when you saw the images?

I was kind of nervous to see them since I am not a fan of pictures of myself with a normal body, let alone a huge belly.  But really liked them and thought Tina did a great job! I was happy to get one of me and the girls before their sister arrives… I can’t even get a halfway decent picture with both girls let alone all three of us and Tina gets these amazing shots! Teresa just being silly and Grace looking like she is looking to get into trouble- this is so my life and I don’t know how Tina captures these things!!

What has been your biggest struggle with how you feel during your pregnancy?

My biggest struggle has been the fluctuations in how I feel physically. I would have periods where I felt great and could work out in the morning and then be out with both kids all day long completely fine. Then I would have periods where I would feel like I barely had the energy to do normal everyday things, and by the end of the day my body was in so much pain.

Do you struggle to feel confident with your new body?

At times yes. Many people who knew I was pregnant would say I looked too small, my due date must be wrong.  Then I would think how I must just look fat and not pregnant.

What have you enjoyed most with the changes of your body?

This time around my body didn’t really change at all except for my belly and boobs so I’d have to say those. I enjoy my belly because my younger daughter will kiss my belly and say “I gave your baby a kiss”.  So on the days I feel like I am in pain and have no energy, when she does that it reminds me that I am growing a person in me and how strong women are to do that and it’s ok to.

Is capturing your pregnant self-important to you?

With this pregnancy I think I am glad I got a chance to capture it so I can look back later.  With my previous two pregnancies I appreciated being pregnant more, this time I found myself focusing on the things I couldn’t do since I was pregnant and didn’t have as much of a positive attitude.  Also I was focused on taking care of my two kids since I was home full time with them, along with doing the paperwork for my husband’s company during his busy season.  So I felt like I had no time to actually focus on being pregnant. Participating in this project let me focus on myself for a moment.

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Who inspires you? | Newborn Daydreams Photography – Denise O’Donnell

Be inspired… who inspires you? I am inspired daily by many things. Outside of being inspired by my husband and children who let me follow my passion and agree to come along for the ride. Newborn photographers inspire me. My goal is to ultimately specialize in newborn photography, there is something about capturing that special time that gives my existence as a photographer meaning. I know such a deep thought but so true. Something really comes alive in me when I am trying to mold these precious little beings into cute sleepy poses. I am still learning my flow and working hard to teach myself. I dream of attending a newborn workshop and hopefully I can make it happen soon!  My dream is kept alive by seeing that it can be done. While on my photography journey I met Denise O’Donnell. I had the privilege of watching her grow into a successful newborn photographer. She has a passion and determination to work hard at achieving success. A true story of how to really get something when you want it. I watched her in her early stages and to see her now I am continually blown away! Her images are stunning and her ability to balance her business and family is admired. Please check out her beautiful work http://newborndaydreams.com. She is truly an artist. I am in love with her clean polished style and timeless images. When I asked Denise if I could interview her and she agreed I was so happy! I think it is important for my clients to see the photographers who inspire me and my photography friends might also be inspired by her words. I know I was! After reading her interview I was given that strength again to believe what seems unattainable is possible. As I continue on my journey I find hope in photographers like Denise who are making a career doing what they love. I know I can do it and you can do what ever inspires you too!

Please tell us about yourself as a person and as a photographer. I’m a full time mom of 8 (7 boys and 1 girl) and married to my very best friend, who without his constant support, I never would have followed my dreams to become a newborn photographer. I absolutely LOVE newborns…everything about them.  Nothing gives me more pleasure, as a photographer, than capturing memories of precious new lives for their families to treasure for generations to come. Everything that is new about them will forever be remembered and enjoyed for years.

What sparked your desire to photograph? Like many photographers, my passion for photography grew with the birth of each one of my children. By the time I had my 8th baby, who was a preemie, I had a strong compassion for wanting to capture his fragile newborn days. I would come home from my visits at the NICU only to be really disappointed in how my images were turning out. I vowed to learn how to use my point and shoot camera and take better pictures of my children. I never would of imagined where this decision would take me. It was the beginning of my photography journey.

What is the hardest part of the job when shooting for a client? For me, the hardest part of the job when shooting for the client is when their vision of the photo session varies greatly from my visions. Of course we want our clients to be very happy, but it’s hard to compromise when their visions include large headbands, strong vivid colors and unusual poses. I want my clients to hire me for my work and style which is why I always encourage future clients to view my work before hiring me if their visions are very different than mine.

What is the hardest part of the job when shooting for yourself? I am such a perfectionist (I drive myself nuts, lol). I always view each image I take as one I’ve captured of own baby. I want everything to be perfect… down to the smallest details. I spend a great amount of time on each newborn session to ensure the images I’m capturing of their baby’s will be ones that not only they will love, but that I will love just as much. I always prepare my clients ahead of time that their sessions may last upwards of 5 hours, even with a nice and sleepy baby. I never rush through the sessions, rather I take my time and ensure everything looks perfect. I want the images I give to my clients to bring tears to their eyes. I push myself hard and try to learn something new with each newborn session I shoot. If I didn’t learn something new, I didn’t try hard enough.

Do you try to help others learn about photography? If so, please explain how. I know personally what it’s like to be freshly starting out and knowing absolutely nothing about photography. It’s a very hard business to be in, so much to know and learn. I remember asking questions and being ignored. Never a fun feeling. It however did inspire me to want to help others any way that I can. If I get questions that I can answer, I’m always more than happy to help and if I can’t, I will at least refer that person to someone who can.

What and/or who inspires you in life and photography and why? My husband definitely inspires me in life. He’s one of the hardest working people I know and never once does he ever complain about it. He gets up every day well before the sun rises and works well past when it sets. I couldn’t imagine working as much as he does. He does it because he loves his family and he never gives up.. even when the going gets very tough. He reminds me every day to never give up even when everything is stacked up against me. Many of times I’ve wanted to give up but he’s never allowed me to fall. He’s been there for me always… a true hero in my eyes! In photography my biggest inspiration is Kristen from Son Kissed Photography. She has such an amazing heart. Her passion for her photography shows in her work and in her teachings. I have learned so much from her. She has inspired me to not only be a wonderful newborn photographer, but one day a great mentor as well. Although mentoring is further down the road for me, she has given me such great morals on what it means to be a true mentor and friend to someone just starting out.

The key to creativity is… trying something new and not being afraid to be yourself. Don’t recreate something you’ve seen some else do just because that person did it. Try something new, something different – maybe start a new trend. Whatever it is…. let it come from YOU!

What is the best advice you would give a photographer just starting out? Don’t ever give up and don’t ever compare yourself to anyone. Just be you and you will shine!

What is your favorite photograph you’ve ever taken? I just shot my favorite all time image a couple of days ago. I had a baby girl in the studio who was sleeping so well for me, it was actually one of my most smoothest newborn sessions. We were almost completely done with her session when she decided it was time to wake up. Sleep was no longer a part of her game plan. She was happy being wide awake and checking things out. I am really loving awake wrapped newborn images lately. Parents love them just as much. So, I grabbed a wrap and did what I love to do. I laid this little sweetie on my beanbag and she looked at me with the most sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen! Luckily for me, I had my camera ready to go and captured this rare emotion. She looks like a doll – perfect in every way…. just like every single newborn is. Each and every one of them are miracles and fortunately for me, I am able to capture, through my lens, these wonderful moments for parents to forever treasure!

What photographer/s inspire you? Again, Kristen from Son Kissed Photography. She’s just amazing all around. I have several other photographers whose work I like to see every day. I still feel like I’m trying to find my true style. Sometime I love color and other times, I find myself only wanting to shoot neutral colors so I tend to be drawn to photographers that use a lot of neutral tones in their work.

What do you do to challenge yourself? Perfect a pose I’m having difficulties with. If I can’t get it right, I go back and “study” this pose.. then try it again until I’ve got it nailed. I also like to try variations of poses to get something new and different instead of the same pose every time.

What tips do you have for balancing work and family? Umm, this is something I personally struggle with. My business takes up a lot of my time. It’s hard being a mom of 8 kids and running my own business. Now that my two youngest are entering the pre-school years, I will be homeschooling them at home. I will need to find a good equal balance of my business and my family that I will be happy with. I will be setting up hours that I will only allow myself to work. After those hours are up, I will be concentrating on teaching my kids and being a mom/wife to my family. I think being very firm to my hours will make the biggest difference on a finding a good equal balance and having a happy family/career.

Anything you would like to add for our readers? I can’t say it enough… don’t compare yourself to others. It’s so easy to get discouraged when you do. Be true to your own style and passion. If you only love newborns, then only shoot newborns. If you have a style you love, let it shine in your work. Allow yourself to shoot what you love the most!

 

Thanks again to Denise O’Donnell owner of Newborn Daydreams Photography for the interview. You inspire me with your work daily. “Like” Newborn Daydreams Photography on facebook and let her inspire you too!

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Sisters | Havertown Family Photographer

I never will know what it is like to have a sister. But it sure looks like fun! I am sure like any relationship there are ups and downs but it looks like these girls will be friends for life. I had so much fun with these girls. Everyone was so cooperative and went along with all of my crazy ideas. I like to take risks during my photo shoots. Trying something new that may or may not work. I brought so much stuff with things to try but I ended up really just liking the traditional shots. We got really silly with glitter, chewing gum and blowing bubbles. I wish some of those shots would have turned out like the vision I saw in my mind:)

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