The best part of my career has by far been the opportunity to make new friends, and be just a small part of their lives. I get to know them from that first baby bump, into bringing home babies 1, 2, 3+.
I can easily say the bulk of my Facebook friends are clients, and I love that we can stay connected even if jobs or life call them to move across the United States. The only bad part about that is when those clients are sharing beautiful photos of a Hawaiin sunset, while you’re hanging out in a Maryland blizzard;)
The family I am sharing today will be very familiar if you have visited my website. My clients reference this beautiful family all the time, and rightfully so. Mama here is STUNNING. Both inside and out. And the boys, well, I will let the photos speak for themselves. Aren’t they handsome?!
I am so grateful M and J chose me to be their photographer and friend. This right here, is why I am a lucky photographer.
I have been photographing families in Maryland for 9 years now. Officially anyway. It went by fast, and I have learned a lot during this time.
Over the course of career as a newborn and child photographer, I have had 4 different studios. They were nice, and I do find there are benefits to owning a dedicated studio outside of your home. However, at this venture in my life, I have decided to go to mainly on location. And I have found even more benefits.We do still have a studio option for those who would prefer that, but to be quite frank… it’s so much easier in your home. I wanted to list just a few reasons why.
Dad and siblings can relax.
I love that when I am in your home, the dads and big sister/brother can just go about their way and hang out while I start with baby. I found that this takes the pressure off parents to keep curious toddlers out of trouble;) My studios have always been 100% toddler proof, but that didn’t stop a parents anxiety when they saw their active 3 year old pulling down a canvas display. It didn’t matter how many times I said, “no worries really…. nothing is breakable”… I could see the parents anxiety at times.
I can immediately SEE your style.
Often times, parents would come to the studio and just let me do my thing. Even if it wasn’t THEIR thing. I love that when I walk into a home, I can get a sense of their style and decor. Do you love bright and bold? A little bit of California dreamin’, or a bit more eclectic. It is fun to use pieces of YOU in a few of the images also.
We still keep consistency
One of the biggest questions I get is, “will meeting at my home impact the quality?” The easy answer to that is, a big fat no.
I bring lighting with me to use if I don’t find that magic pocket of light. I bring all the props, headbands, hats and wraps we would use at the studio. People see that large stock of props on websites, but in all honesty, most photographers have things pulled already so you aren’t overwhelmed when you would arrive. I know I did. If I would let a parent have full reign of the prop stash when they arrived, we would never finish! It’s just too many choices! Similar to when I was shooting exclusively in the studio, I ask your preferences and special requests, and I bring those items with me.
I’m going to make it a regular thing to get back to blogging here more often, so I will definitely touch on this again as more questions arise. I just wanted to hop in super fast, and ease a few minds. In the end, if on location (in your home) isn’t the best option for you, we do still have a dedicated studio for your newborn or family session.
Signing off here with a share of a recent in home session. I photographed big sister in my Elkridge studio not even two years ago. Mom was hesitant to meet at her house, but ended up feeling much more relaxed in the end.
We set up in Savannah’s nursery. One small spot was all we needed for the entire session. Minus just a few floor shots off their kitchen because I loved the wood floor!
Can you tell the difference between in studio or in home? I sure can’t.
It’s THAT time!! WOO HOO! My favorite time of year! Weekend dates are filling fast, so if you don’t already have your date on the calendar, email me now:)
If you don’t already know, I am no longer shooting out of the Elkridge studio. Honestly, I’m LOVING on-location sessions. I have been all over Maryland and it really helped to spark my creativity again. I never was much of a fan of steady routine (odd I know) and my brain thrives on change. I crave it. It helps me grow and constantly learn. Going back to on-location with a variety of settings has allowed me to tap into that, and I have never been happier in this business!
I’m pretty willing to travel all over Maryland, but I do have a few places I like to suggest for outdoor family portraits. When I know the lighting already and the perfect little secret places to photograph families, it does make it a little easier on everyone. However, when weather is iffy, the best place to meet would be either your home or our home studio. I can get the same results in your home as I can in the studio though so it really just comes down to what works best for you!
One set of images was shot in studio. The other in a client’s home. Can you tell the difference?
The most important element of creating natural family and baby portraits, is YOU being comfortable. Whether that be in our Carroll County studio, your home, or an outdoor location, that is my number 1 goal.
If you haven’t snagged your date yet, what are you waiting for?
Sweet baby Ava was the most adorable little thing ever. Wide eyes, creamy skin and so expressive.
Earlier this month, we had a solid day of back to back babies at the Carroll County studio.
And when I say babies…… I mean two sets of twins, two sisters(including a newborn) AND a set of brothers.
In one day.
Let’s just say, although I had a blast…… Calgon needed to take me away that night;)
No matter how busy it gets, no matter how sore my thighs are from the constant squats needed to get on their level, these sweet babies and kids keep me on my toes, keep me smiling, make me laugh, and warm my heart.
Each and every one.
Someone discovered her little tongue the day before our session! So cute!
I recently began working with small business owners to help create images that can showcase their products on a professional level.
Beautiful images that showcase a product is obviously imperative to any marketing plan. It’s no different than a photographer’s portfolio. You want and need to show your best representation of what you are selling;)
When I started this venture, I really didn’t think about posting here. After all, this blog was more about portrait session previews and features. However, something has been tugging at me to share these shops with my readers and clients.
Starting today, I am beginning a “Featured Friday” series to show off some of these awesome shops and small business owners.
Today’s featured business is Clover’s and Pearls. Jen has filled her shop with beautiful jewelry at great prices. An online boutique with stunning pieces to spruce up your wardrobe!
A little background from the owner…
“The idea for Clovers & Pearls started when I moved from GREAT shopping cities to a small beach town in Southern Maryland. To say choices were limited, would be an understatement.
I have always loved boutique shopping and finding things that you wouldn’t find mass produced in the stores so, I decided to take matters into my own hands.”
A new found love during this shoot… Mama Said Tee’s. These ladies had the perfect collaboration!
I loved Jen’s styling of the jewelry with a cute T-shirt. Takes the everyday casual up a notch, don’t ya think?
“Clovers & Pearls will always bring you fun, trendy, quality accessories that you wont find in the big box stores. We buy a lot from small designers and do everything we can to support other small business. “
“The name Clovers & Pearls is the result of two of the most fabulous women in the world. My Irish Grandmother, and My Southern Belle Nana. These women are the definition of class ( and a little sass ; ) and were the perfect muse for the store.”
“Our only goal at Clovers & Pearls is to have fun and make ladies smile.”
If you have made it this far, you know you need to go check out her shop now! Head on over to Facebook and Instagram and follow her too;)
Two weeks new Mason and his gorgeous parents came to see me recently in the Westminster studio. We are still getting around to taking photos of the new place but I am LOVING shooting here!
This tiny fella was absolutely perfect for his entire session. Not a single peep out of him! Slept like an angel and posed so naturally.
We went for mostly naturally organic images. Not a lot of props aside from the football hat and Superbowl ring, which was obviously very special to the family;) Neutral colors and we kept the focus on Mason.
My absolute favorite kind of newborn session.
Thank you sweet Mason for being such a doll baby!!
It’s no secret that Maryland attracts many temporary residents. I joke with my clients all the time, that the majority of them aren’t born and raised Marylanders. Instead, they are a nice combination of military and medical families.
Sadly, those families usually don’t stay in Maryland for good:( (insert crying face).
I first met this family when big sis was born. I do believe she was my first newborn in the Elkridge studio. They have since moved FAR away to Guam, but I still get to see the babies grow through Facebook!
When mom let me know they came back for a visit and wanted a family session.. I was ecstatic!! They came to visit me at the new studio and we had such a great session!
Hopefully I wore the babies out before that long flight home the next day;)
I first met Zach’s family several years ago when I photographed big brother Drew for his first birthday. I am fairly sure his adorable face still graces an image in my portfolio. You know….. that adorable smiling boy, with colorful Federal Hill displayed in the background.
I was super excited when his mama contacted to let me know they introduced a new member to their family. 10 week old Zach!!
Zach was almost 12 weeks when we met and could NOT have been a better model for me! Slept like a dream and flirted with those big beautiful eyes. I have a new love affair with photographing 10-12 week old babies. They have the most lovely creamy skin, baby pudge, and still sleep for a few poses!
Be still my heart.
Everly was absolutely amazing for her entire newborn session. session.
She gave us the complete gamut of expressions and slept like an angel at 3 weeks new.
- newborn portrait studios in Maryland and DC
For many photographers, it seems to be the trend to ignore your blog through the crazy fall months and come back with a vengeance in January. There’s just something about January 1st that gets your brain working again. Like a fresh start.
I’m no exception.
We had an insanely busy fall season, on both a business and personal level. My family went through a lot of changes, including a move and some health obstacles. Thankfully, all issues are short lived and I am feeling renewed. We are settled into our new home and love the new town.
One big change we have this year to the studio is the option to choose from either our Elkridge location, or the Taneytown location. Both studios have their own advantages and we can discuss that during your consult. I will be posting photos of the new place soon. Just one more thing on my to-do list!
I’m excited about what’s to come in 2015. I think Tobin here is too;)
HAPPY NEW YEAR friends!
Make it Convenient
1. If you’re nursing, you’re good to go as your food source is attached to you. However for those moms bottle feeding, prepare several bottles in advance and consider keeping a cooler next to your bed. A bottle warmer on your nightstand will make it even easier. I love the Boon Orb because it fits most bottle types. If you don’t have to get up and walk to the kitchen, you won’t have as much stimulation on yourself or baby so hopefully little one (and you) will drift right back to sleep after that midnight feeding.
2. Breastfeeding or bottle, try to take turns with night time care. If you’re nursing, as your partner to take care of the diaper changes every other feed so that reduces your time awake. We all want to feel like supermom and do it all ourselves, but you aren’t doing anyone any favors if you are so exhausted the next day you can’t even stand.
Use a Co Sleeper
I loved using the Arms Reach Co Sleeper for those first few weeks at home with my babies. It keeps them close enough that you can reach over and easily reach your newborn and feed her in your bed. I stored my diapers and wipes in the bottom to make diaper changing easy also. If you change diapers in the bed, don’t forget a nightlight and NEVER underestimate how far a baby can pee;) I made that mistake more times than I care to admit.
Swaddle Tight to Sleep Tight
Swaddling makes your newborn feel secure so this is a great way to sooth them to sleep at night. If you didn’t take notes at the hospital, there are plenty of tutorials on swaddling your newborn properly. Watch this video to see techniques on swaddling your baby. Oh and if you didn’t get any of these AMAZING Aden + Anais swaddling blankets at your shower.. pick them up on Amazon ASAP. Most retail baby stores carry them now. I have tried every swaddle blanket over the years and these are by far my favorite. Now that my kids are out of them, I use them at the studio.
Keep a Journal or Blog
One of the biggest regrets I have is not keeping a journal for each one of my kids. I did it with my first. I kept a journal to document how I was feeling each day. Between those long sleepless nights, the weeks felt like a blur. I love looking back on how I felt as a new mom.
This one is adorable and I love the title;) Mom’s Five Second Memory Journal
Those first few nights at home with your precious new baby are so fleeting. If you do anything, try to document them as you will cherish looking back on those blurry days. I know I miss them more than words can describe <3
This sweet little fella has the best cheeks EVER. Perfectly alert but gave us great sleepy images also.
Loved this little boy and his adorable parents.
Several months of waiting and it’s finally sinking in that we will be moving soon. 32 days till closing!
To say we are excited would be an understatement.
We went to visit our new neighbors and check out the house and it’s coming along beautifully. Better than I could have imagined. They installed the porch spindles, painted, added the white cabinets, kitchen island and stair case spindles. The cherry rails are the perfect compliment to the white spindles and it will look even more amazing when they install the cherry hardwood floors soon! We were told Designer Surfaces was there earlier in the day to template the counter area for the Livingstone counters to be installed. I just got word that the sidewalk and stairs to the porch were completed today also.
The shutters are more of a sea blue than the photo is showing and the door will be the same when it’s painted.
It’s our vision of the Classic American home.
This staircase was what sold us on this model by Bob Ward Homes. The floors will match the top rails throughout the main level. The staircase and upstairs will have a light cream carpet.
It’s my dream kitchen.
The master bath that I already know will be taken over by children. Do you know how many kids I can get into that one tub?! Multi task!
Bob Ward Homes is doing an amazing job and we couldn’t be any more excited.
These Poppy Tree Frames are by far my favorite way to display prints yet. I have a box full of the classic frames ready to hang all over our new house when we move next month. I recently fell across the Strata line and I am head over heels and will be adding these to the collection. We are using these throughout the house to add some color what will be generally neutral decor.
Whimsical yet classy.
Poppy Tree frames are incredibly easy to insert your prints and you can display them without glass which makes it easy to switch up photos when you wish. They have a huge selection of colors which makes it easy to match your style! The best part is… you don’t need to be a registered photographer to buy these! SWEETNESS!
These are just some of the beautiful styles they have at Poppy Tree frames. I have clients ask me all the time about the ornate frames we have hanging in the studio…. here you go!
I can’t believe this little guy is turning ONE!!!! If you have visited me in the past year, you have seen the cube with his adorable newborn session.
If you’re looking for a good baker in the Elkridge, Ellicott City or Columbia area (super close to the studio)… check out Delightful Indulgence! I see a lot of cakes come into the studio and this was amazing!!!
Many of you already know that we are building a new home in Taneytown Maryland. Every time I tell someone that, the first reaction I get is “Taneytown? Where is that?!”—- I think that’s why I like it;) It seems like very few people know where it is which means it’s perfect for our family. I know that sounds bad, but I have always dreamed of living either near the beach, or in the country away from the chaos of the city. Since commuting from Ocean City is a wee bit much, we decided the “country” would be a better option.
Taneytown is a quiet little historic town near the Pennsylvania/Maryland line. I know you’ve visited Gettysburg at some point in your lives (at least if you’re on the East coast). Taneytown is right by there… and just 20 minutes past Westminster. Our new neighborhood is an adorable little area surrounded by farm land and a park. The community is small enough that we already know several of the neighbors and made some amazing friends… and we aren’t even in the house yet! Bob Ward Homes is doing an AMAZING job!!!!
I’m sure you’re wondering why this matters to you. It doesn’t I suppose, but I have really felt the need to add some personality on this blog and not just post sessions. Knowing the person behind the lens is important too right? The only way it will affect you will be the studio will have set open days now, including afternoon appointments! I know many of you will appreciate that;)
A little glimpse into our home progress so far….
And there ya have it. We have officially lost our minds. Five kids 10 and under, two cats, a full time portrait studio….and a puppy? Ever heard of the saying, “If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart”— that completely sums it up. Our hearts are full seeing these kids smile with their new pup.
In case you’re wondering what breed she is….. she’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. About 2.5 lbs when we brought her home and already growing like a weed. We are officially in love with our Charlie Rose. Even the tough guy husband who fought me tooth and nail on getting a dog is madly in love with our fur baby. Pretty stingy with her cuddles actually. I have to pry him out of her hands!
I’m pretty sure if you follow me on Instagram, it’s obvious she’s spoiled already!
Today’s Featured Mama is one of my biggest inspirations. Not only does she run a highly successful business, but she manages to do it while raising FIVE kids. With a smile on her face. I have never come across someone with such a positive attitude about life and balancing it all.
If you haven’t checked out her website or magazine, you may want to go follow her on Facebook and Instagram, ASAP. She’s the brains behind some amazing Giveways and always has something incredible up her sleeve! Read all about her background HERE!
We recently caught up with Casi Densmore Koon of CupcakeMag to ask her a few questions about how she balances her life and work.
Q. How do you find balance running a demanding business and raising 5 young children?
A. Balance? What’s that? It’s a myth!
When you’re a creative with 5 kids you’re not just running a business, you’re also running a household and the plates are always spinning for sure. And here’s the thing — I don’t think you can ever create a perfect balance but if you do, please share it with me! It is really all about making it work for you and your family. Forget the parent handbooks and do what works for you. If that’s co-sleeping to get more sleep, do it. If that’s waking up at 6am to check emails, do it. You have to do what works for you in order to find the way to make things works.
Q. What is the one thing you wish you would have known when you began your journey into blogging?
A. 5 years ago I took my nickname from my Dad, added the word mag to the end of it and signed up for Blogger. With the intention of just being a fashion sweet spot on the internet it suddenly turned into a community and more then just a little blog I started it as something fun to do. I’m a mover and a shaker and wanted to get things done so I took it to the next level and made it an online magazine and a fashion-centric website for the stylish mom. I realized I had big dreams for my name after just a few months in I was scoring amazing interviews with celebs while supporting handmade business – it was the best of both worlds while staying home with my kids. I never realized blogging would turn into my dream of having a magazine and no longer a blog. It quickly turned into my dream job however it definitely is work getting there! If someone could have warned me about this crazy love of a career I choose I wish I would have known that you can just pretty much say goodbye to sleep! Invest in a back up battery for your iPhone and coffee. Loads of coffee. I also think you need to be reminded of your dream and that you can do this!
Q. If you could feature ONE person on the cover of your next magazine, who would it be?
A. If you know me, you already know this answer! Marilyn Monroe. Because she was a kick-a%# Hollywood icon.
Oh, and I named my 3rd daughter after her…miss Kennadi Audrey Monroe! Naturally, it’s a given!
Q. We all strive to find that perfectly organized handbag to take us through motherhood and a busy lifestyle and you have likely seen them all. We are dying to know, what is your go-to mom bag?
A. Lily Jade. Hands down. Best bag ever! It’s a diaper-camera-handbag-carry-all-essential bag. Everyone needs one! It’s a life-saver, literally.
How do you find inspiration at the end of a long day?
A. When I was younger my dream role in real life was either Elle Woods from Legally Blonde or Miranda from The Devil Wears Prada. I wanted to be a lawyer or be the editor of my own magazine. After 3 years in Nursing School, I knew helping people in a different way was the path I needed to take. I’ve been inspired since I was 10 years old drawing fashion illustrations after a trip to New York City or dreaming about what I would name my magazine. I was always inspired and a goal-seeker.
I find that inspiration within being inspired myself — the brands that support cupcakeMAG, our readers, fashion magazines, Pinterest — social media in general. I’ve been subscribing to magazines since I picked up Seventeen at 12 and I’m still a printed magazine junkie. I find inspiration in all of those who inspire me and my daily life around me. I find inspiration to make things happen and make sure my goals are constantly checked off my to-do list.
Casi my dear… you are an inspiration to so many mothers out there!!
Thanks for taking the time to share with our readers!
It’s been quiet here on the blog, but certainly not quiet at the studio. What a crazy fun spring and summer we have had so far! Easily the busiest in 7 years and I couldn’t be any more grateful. I have met so many new families, and had just as many come back with new babies, or to capture a baby milestone. I’m truly blessed to do what I do.
I’m learning though, that it’s time for a bit more balance with home and work life. As of this week, we began a new schedule for the studio. This should allow me set days to edit, process orders, blog, and schedule sessions. And for the first time in 7 years, I will have two full UNPLUGGED days. No Facebook? Am I crazy?! I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I feel like my life revolves around checking emails and Facebook updates some days. While I love to connect with other families and photographers, I am excited for those two days a week to remain world web free, and think it will benefit my family. My clients will also thank me when I come back refreshed;)
Also, I will be mass emailing the fall booking updates soon. Yeah, I know summer just started, but fall sessions book FAST. So if you are even thinking about a fall family or milestone session….. NOW is the time to get on the calendar.
Lastly, until I get on a more regimented schedule, the absolute BEST place to check out recent work and sessions is on the Facebook Page. Make sure to “Like” the page and add to your interests. It’s easier and faster to update than the blog, so we tend to prioritize that before blog posts. I’m hoping to change that again soon.
A few beautiful faces from this spring/early summer…… hoping to share more soon!! But for now… I have several galleries to get out today;)
I spend my days putting babies to sleep so I have learned a thing or two over the years. It dawned on me today that many new parents don’t know the power of white noise.
Sure, you can get the sound from that cute little giraffe. Your baby swing likely plays a pretty tune to get your baby to sleep. But let me ask this…. how many days have you left the house with out one of those handy devices?
Likely more times than you can count.
Enter Simply Noise. This app is FREE and available for any smart phone or tablet. Bonus points for being available on your computer too if you happen to play on your laptop in bed with your co-sleeping children. The noise drowns out my typing:)
I first met this family 3 years ago at my first studio, and have enjoyed watching them grow through Facebook:) Marina was an absolutely beautiful baby girl so I just knew her little sister would be just as stunning! She sure was.
Introducing Stella and her sweet big sister Marina….