as a photographer, I get swept up in technicalities.
is my iso too grainy, is the light soft enough, is my shutter speed too slow, is this shot creative enough?
I far too easily forget the why and focus on the how.
I think about myself as an artist, about money, about business, about the number of likes, about algorithm.
which, has its place.
I forget about the people, the families, the importance.
but then I’m hugging a weeping mama, her bones too weak to pick herself up again. two babies on her chest, one heartbeat.
I’m gripping my camera in the palm of my hand and mama bear looks up to me and says, “capture everything. your pictures today will be all we will ever have of our baby girl.”
and with those words, I remembered the why.
I could feel the gravity of just how important this is, just how incredible this is.
the weight of the moments and the stolen time and the grief and the joy all sunk in and I poured every single drop of myself out into those photographs for them.
because today when they are feeling the phantom limb pain of empty arms, when they are devastated and heartbroken beyond what anyone will understand, they will have only their memories and these photographs.
and memories fade. you think they won’t, but they do.
when I photograph life in its brand newest form or death and its bitter sorrow, I remember the why. I remember the importance.
and in those moments …
there is no room for perfection or cleanliness or forced expressions.
it is not technical, it is emotional.
there is only truth. there is only love.
honesty can be raw. it is raw.
it is gritty. it is gory. it is painful.
but at the end, it’s all we have left.
so when it’s the middle of October and I’m photographing thirty families every weekend and I’m up to my eyeballs in comparison and emails, stress and technicalities … here is what I will remind myself.
this is not about someone else’s idea of perfection or beauty.
this is not about following trends or the perfect blend and shades of burgundy in your outfit choice.
this is about creating permanence and capturing legacy.
this is about the memories that you will tuck away and pull out in fifty years to show your grandbabies.
this is about your photographs holding authenticity and truthful representations of what your heart looks like.
this is not about me.
this is about you.
and I promise to never take the responsibility of being trusted with your memories lightly.
babies are really cute but with a little bit of patience and precision, you can make them look their CUTEST.
it took me years and hundreds of newborn so learn this, but now it’s basically second nature.
so I figured i’d share a few little tips on how to get every ounce of cute out of your already super cute baby when you’re taking their photograph.
Nora is adorable, obviously, but as soon as I plopped her down into this pose, I knew a lot of things needed to be adjusted. But I needed to start somewhere.
In this picture, she’s too squished down and I can’t see enough of her face.
So I moved her hands + her head a little bit so that you could see her little features more clearly. But there was still something about her facial expression + position that didn’t look quite as comfortable and cozy as I was hoping for.
The shot still needed “something” … an added headband and adjustment so I could see her other hand helped, but still, I knew it could be better.
I was missing her squishiness which is a favorite newborn feature for sure, so I scooted her forward a bit more so her cheeks were as kissable as possible.
While I’m not a perfectionist in real life, when it comes to newborn posing, I totally am. I need every finger + wrist + blanket wrinkle to be just perfect. Her hands didn’t look quite comfortable here, so I adjusted that.
sweet Sophia girl, you are with Jesus now and I am so happy that your eyes are completely and perfectly fixed on Him. there is no one better for you to be with. your parents love you so much and experiencing their joy for you was such an honor. what an incredible gift it was that I had the opportunity to hold you and meet you. meeting you has truly left a mark on my heart that will forever be there. thank you for your sweet presence in our lives and I can’t wait to really meet you one day.
Andrew, you are hope. you are joy. I adore all eight precious pounds of you. you have the most loving parents in the whole world and a big sister who will mother you and protect you with a ferocious love, I just know it. thankful beyond thankful for you, baby boy.