MOM & MINIS FAMILY - Lifestyle & Documentary Family Photographer, South Bend, IN

Beginning this photography journey has brought me many blessings; some expected and some not so expected. Two of those blessings are the opportunity to volunteer for House of Hopes which is an AMAZING philanthropic photography group and the other is meeting new friends. One of those friends I happened to meet through my work with HoH. While it was a sad situation that brought us to the same spot, I am so grateful that after 12+ hours in a L&D lobby together resulted in a great friendship with another amazing photographer.

When T reached out during one of our many photography and parenting centered conversations and asked if I would be interested in doing a documentary lifestyle session for her and her girls, I was beyond excited for so many reasons. First, her girls are awesome. Like they are legitimately cool kids! Second, I love having the opportunity to document families of all ages. Sessions tend to revolve around little kids and then taper off as they grow up and that’s so unfortunate. So to have the chance to capture some memories of school age kids was awesome! Third, I could totally relate to her reasoning.

She expressed how she was suddenly seeing all of these leaps and bound in growth and maturity in her girls and she recognized that they would soon be entering new phases and she wanted to commemorate the everyday innocence and routine that has been theres for a while now. Watching my own daughter grow at light speed makes me completely sympathetic to this situation and I was more than happy to capture their “normal.”

And so, with all of that being said, I just want to thank T for letting me into her home and her life and capture these moments of homeschool and girl bonding for her! I hope they bring a smile to all of your faces for years to come.

TIMMONS WEDDING - Valporaiso Indiana Wedding Photographer

This beautiful Valparaiso, Indiana wedding was one I had been looking forward to since doing this sweet couple’s engagement session. After what turned out to be a VERY long 48 hours (think 11 hours at an overnight birth followed immediately by leaving for a 10 hour wedding and hour away), I was so happy that these two got the most amazing weather and had an otherwise smooth sailing day, even if their photographer was running on caffeine and fumes!

To say that this bride and groom were surrounded by love would be an understatement. From the minute they arrived at the church, which was large, grande and gorgeous, there was no shortage of laughter. The girls spent the afternoon getting ready and swooning over Sharon’s amazing dress (definitely one of my favorites of the season) followed by the exchanging of gifts and letters which didn’t leave a dry eye. Sharon walked away with an amazingly beautiful diamond necklace and right hand ring that completed her bridal look for the day in a totally dazzling way.

Nate and his friends were relaxed and full of jokes, too. They all stayed cool, calm and collected all the way through the entire experience. The ceremony was sweet and sentimental with an abundance of beauty and the reception was also on parr. From the elegant decor to the gorgeous fall colors and gazebo, the property was perfect for photos and a party! The night was filled with dancing and celebration and I feel so lucky to have been included in this fun packed wedding! Thanks Sharon and Nate for trusting me with the memories of your wedding day.

Vendor list found at the bottom of this post.

VENDOR LIST

M & B ENGAGEMENT - Indiana Wedding and Engagement Photographer

This super sweet couple will be my first wedding after maternity leave and I couldn’t have chosen a better fit to dive back into 2019! Getting to know them at their engagement session was a total blast and between having totally epic light, a gorgeous dress on the bride-to-be and a fiance who was clearly crazy about his future wife, it was a perfect equation for some gorgeous photos.

As we talked about how they met and what their wedding would be like, we took full advantage of the changing leaves, golden fields and amazing sunset. I wasn’t especially fond of the snake that crossed our path when we headed to a different location and I may have shouted a few choice words and hoped it wouldn’t send me into early labor (can you tell I love snakes?) but they took it in stride and laughed at my panic. But it was totally worth it because just look at these gorgeous engagement photos they were able to get!

M & B, I genuinely can’t wait for your March wedding at Bread and Chocolate and I hope you love these e-session photos as much as I do!

E & J ENGAGEMENT SESSION - Chicagoland + Michigan Wedding Photographer

J&E Engagement Photography

E-sessions are always a fun way to get to know my future wedding couples and this was no exception. These two were so comfortable with each other that even the “dreaded” engagement session couldn’t stop their affection for each other and it was so fun getting to know them and all about their mutual love of science and sports. Oh, and we also came to the realization that J and I share a love for classic Disney movies, so obviously this is a photography match made in heaven.

Between walking around the beautiful scenery which included forest trails, prairie roads, a bid red barn and a gorgeous dock on the lake, it was the perfect setting for some amazing engagement photos. However, we didn’t get the “golden hour” sunsets we had planned on but what we did get was steely gray clouds that were nothing short of stunning, especially against the water. Sometimes, I go into a session with a certain vision but the weather can change that in an instant and usually, mother nature knows best and I end up loving the end result way more than what was in my head!

I hope that these two had as much fun exploring and talking about their 2019 wedding as I did, because it sure got me excited to document their big day.

WHICH TO CHOOSE: FRESH 48 OR NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY? - South Bend, Indiana Newborn Baby Photographer

Ah, the tricky question: do you choose a Fresh 48 or Newborn session? Which one is right for you? It's a great question and I hope that this post might lend some thought points that may help you make the best decision for your baby! Here are some questions to ponder:

1. DO PHOTOS OF YOUR NEW FAMILY DYNAMIC MATTER MORE THAN PHOTOS IN YOUR OWN ENVIRONMENT?

When you think about what you want documented, one of the main things to consider is whether you want to remember those very first moments with your baby and as a parent to this tiny human or if you want to remember those first days in your home with the newest addition. It's a tough choice but one that is usually pretty clear in our minds when we stop to think about it.

2. WILL FRESH 48 "IMPERFECTIONS" BOTHER YOU?

As much as it pains me to put this one out here, it is worth considering. Some people prefer to give baby a few days to move beyond the brand-new-baby blemishes, head molding and their own appearance after having just brought a new life into the world. At the same time, many people love these factors and find them honest and endearing (this is me, just FYI). So stop and consider whether you find all of the tiny "imperfections," a beautiful and priceless thing to be remembered or something you'd prefer to skip and have the time to refresh and recover. 

3. DOES YOUR HOME AND BABY'S NURSERY HOLD SPECIAL MEANING TO YOU?

If you are one of those people who painstakingly choose every detail of their child's nursery (cough cough, me again) and strive to make it a place that they will immediately feel loved, cherished and calm, then a newborn session may be the best option for you. Hospitals and birth centers offer little to no control over your environment so you may end up with a bright orange wall in the background of your photos whether you like it or not. If this is something that gives you the shudders just thinking about that lack of control, a newborn session may be more fitting since you can document your own home and preferences that more accurately reflect you.

4. ARE THERE FIRST MEETINGS YOU WANT DOCUMENTED?

Often, there are specific family members or siblings who you can't wait to introduce to your new baby. If this is the case, a Fresh 48 session is the way to go. These are moments that you cannot recreate and are often so beautiful and priceless. Not to mention, documenting your own reactions as a parent seeing your other babies meeting their new sibling or to your parents holding their newest grandchild is a truly momentous moment that make a wonderful keepsake.

5. OR...JUST DO BOTH!

This is obviously my suggestion since I'm a crazy picture lady! It may not seem logical to have both Fresh 48 AND newborn photos taken because they usually take place within 10-14 days of each other. But hear me out first! If you have already had a baby, you know what I'm about to say is true and if you're a first time parent, take my word that this statement is accurate: your baby changes DAILY. In those first few months, you will wake up and smile down at your new baby and be amazed because somehow, they truly changed overnight. You blinked and they're a little bit bigger, a little bit more mature. It's uncanny (and slightly heartbreaking) but its true. Having both Fresh 48 and newborn photos allows you to see those changes and also lets you document those first sweet moments and also gives you the control of photographing your child in their own environment. It's a win win and totally worth it. 

 

BABY L'S NEWBORN SESSION - South Bend, Indiana Family and Newborn Photographer

Newborns are always born perfect. But holy cow, this little dude might just take the cake for most awake and absolutely adorable newborn ever! I was really excited when Mom contacted me about an in-home newborn session (and not just because I love shooting them). This family had only been in their new home for about two months and were still getting completely settled; we even had to reschedule the session once because their couch hadn’t arrived yet! I love getting to document families in the throws of a new chapter in their lives and two of the biggest changes you can go through as an adult is adding a new baby to the mix and moving.

As soon as I walked in the door, I knew this was a perfect fit. First, I was greeted by their sweet and adorable three-year-old daughter who immediately asked, “Do you want to see my baby brother?” Um, girl, try and stop me! So she lead me through their perfectly decorated home (seriously, I left this session wanting to go home and totally re-do my own decor) to her sweet, sleeping brother. He was the cutest little guy and she couldn’t cover him with enough kisses. Throughout the entire session, all she wanted to do was kiss and love on him!

Mom and Dad were equally as smitten with their new little guy. They took turns tending to him and snuggling him and it was pretty obvious he had been born into a family that had an abundance of love to give. I am so grateful to the O family for inviting me into their amazing home and family to document their newest arrival!

(Sorry, not sorry, for the overshare of this session but its a favorite!)

BABY Z'S FRESH 48 - South Bend, Indiana Newborn Photographer

If you missed Baby Z's birth post, be sure to check it out!

I love offering Fresh 48's to all of my birth clients. While birth photos are truly one-of-a-kind, they're also chaotic and intense. Giving everyone a day or so to gather themselves, get refreshed and hopefully a little sleep and then coming back to document all the beauty of the newborn baby and now bigger family is always so beautiful. 

Coming back to document Baby Z didn't disappoint. He was such a handsome little guy and mom and dad had the cutest (and most meaningful) outfits all picked out for him. From his little brother onesie which he posed in next to his sister's memorial stuffed elephant to his "moo outfit," he rocked the entire session with just a little help from his paci. We even took a little stroll down the hall to the big window for some extra pretty lighting. 

Seeing these parents getting to bond with their son was so sweet, especially when dad rocked his hunting vs dadding shirt. There was no shortage of love and emotion in this room and I truly hope that this family has nothing but joy and smiles for the years to come! Thanks for including me in your story, C family. 

BABY M'S FRESH 48 - Indiana and Michigan Newborn Photographer

Did you check out Baby M's birth story? Don't miss it!

Every Fresh 48 newborn session is special, but I have a soft spot when they include sibling meetings. I absolutely love seeing how older siblings react to the newest family member! And this case did not disappoint.

After spending the morning with these wonderful parents and standing alongside them as they welcomed their son into the world, we all took a few hours to freshen up and breathe after the chaos of birth. When I returned that evening, we took Mr. M's newborn photos (and boy was he cooperative AND handsome), while we waited for Grandma and Grandpa to arrive with big sis. 

To say that this trio was excited to be reunited would be an understatement. You could see mom and dad's heart just bursting when they had both their kiddos in the room together. And the grandparents were absolutely in love with this little boy already. There will be NO shortage of love in this guy's life. Big sis was so gentle and interested; although the big sister gift of a cupcake set was a little distracting for a while (haha). 

I'm so grateful to have gotten to tell this boy's story from the very beginning!

TELBY + TOM'S WEDDING - South Bend and Plymouth Indiana Wedding Photographer

indiana wedding photographer

I adore how every love story is so different. You can shoot 20 weddings in a year, and none of them are like the other. This sweet couple stood out from the very beginning and it was so fun hearing their modern day love story. 

When I first arrived at Swan Lake on the wedding day, everyone was calm, cool and collected. The girls were having a blast getting their makeup done and prepping the little details (like my favorite "Don't Ugly Cry" hankies). Each bridesmaid seemed to take on a different role that helped support the bride in exactly the way she needed. The bride also got a few minutes to herself while she transferred her vows onto paper and then started her own personal prep. The guys were all a riot and everyone was set on having a great time!

At the non-first-look, the groom was so sweet and emotional and it was clear that this quick moment together was just what both of them needed before they said, "I do." Not to mention the adorable reaction of Dad to seeing his daughter in her dress for the first time. All the feels, people! And even with a non-first-look, the groom still got a little choked up when his bride was walking towards him. After a beautiful ceremony and some fun, traditional portraits, we moved into a truly wonderful celebration at the reception. SO much smiling and dancing! To say that these two have the love and support of an abundance of people would be an understatement. 

Telby and Tom, thanks for including me in your day!

Vendor information found at the bottom of this post. 

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Swan Lake Resort

Hair & Makeup Artist: MadeYaBlush - Jessica Trost

Groom/Groomsmen attire is from: Men’s Warehouse

Nail Salon/Specialist: New Nails, South Bend

Videographer: Green Line Media, Carter Surach

DJ/Band: Bov Knows Music, Scott Bovenkirk

Jeweler:  Mark Fischer Jewelry Designs

Cake: Martin’s Bakery

BELLY BIRTH OF BABY M - Michiana / Indiana / Michigan Birth Photographer

When you have five babies due within a ten week span, and they all decide to come in ten DAYS, its always an exciting time! Baby M was originally due in mid-August, but after his pregnancy caused some complications (and scares), for mom, it was time to schedule a c-section. While this didn't fit into the parents' original natural birth plan, it was what everyone involved felt was necessary and best all around and it was just as beautiful if things had gone as planned (but lets be real here, do babies EVER follow the plan?!). 

Meeting these two sweet parents was such a joy. At their consult, it was clear that they were prepared and thrilled to be welcoming another baby to their family of three and from what they said, big sister was more than ready to take on the new role, too. 

After it was decided that a belly birth was best, we changed up our plans and I experienced the most laid back, on-schedule delivery of my photography career. We met at the hospital bright (well actually dark) and early at 5am for check-in and surgery prep. After hanging out with their amazing and hilarious nurses for a couple of hours, mom was wheeled off to surgery right on time at 7am and baby was born at 7:33am happy and healthy despite being nearly 3.5 weeks early. Everyone was nestled in the recovery room and I'm not sure I've ever seen two parents more in love with their new baby. Mom just kept repeating, "I can't believe how cute he is! I can't believe how much I love him already!" and Dad's teary eyes in the delivery room and inability to look away from baby's face made it pretty clear how he felt about his new son. 

Thank you, V family, for including me in this amazing birth story!

KATIE AND BRET'S WEDDING DAY - Indiana and Michigan Wedding Photographer

Ahh, another rainy day wedding! Thankfully, we got the best of both worlds and the rain held off long enough for us to squeeze out some bridal portraits before the torrential downpour started during the ceremony!

When I first met with Katie and Bret, I was excited to be working with two teachers (because I'm a former and hopefully future teacher down the road). They were so down-to-earth and easy-going, I knew that this would be a great couple to work alongside and document their love story. We were able to chat and plan like we'd known each other for years. 

From the time I arrived on the wedding day, the bridal suite was filled with laughter from everyone there. With beautiful bridesmaids and adorable flower girls running around, there was no shortage of fun and chaos in the prep time. The guys were not to be outdone of course, and they offered their own smiles and jokes during the prep.

When I stepped away to do the detail shots, I also go to photograph some very meaningful cufflinks dedicated to the groom's late brother. I love when people incorporate such special and sentimental details into their wedding days. Even when people can't be there, its so beautiful when they're still included and honored. 

The reception that followed the beautiful, traditional church ceremony was packed with a wide variety of classic rock and modern hits which packed the dance floor (especially with kids)! No one was left without some fun memories on this beautiful June 21st wedding and I am so grateful that Katie and Bret chose me to capture their day for them. 

Vendor list can be found at the bottom of this post.

Ceremony: Pine Creek Church of the Brethren

Reception Venue: Holy Family Parish Hall

Hair Artist: Ashley Ditmer, Salon Rouge

Dress: Brides by Young

Groom/Groomsmen: Louie's Tux Shop

Florist: The Speckled Fox Flowers and Gifts

Photobooth: All About the Selfie

DJ/Band: Scott Bovenkerk, "Bov Knows Music"

Cake: Over the Top Bakery Cafe

Popcorn bar: The Savory Kernal

BELLY BIRTH OF BABY Z - South Bend, Indiana Birth Photographer

I first met this sweet set of parents shortly (and I mean VERY shortly) after they found out they were pregnant. They were clearly very excited and wanted to make sure they documented every moment they could of their newest addition. As we talked, they revealed that about a year prior, they had lost a full term baby girl shortly after birth. After going through this tragedy as well as a c-section, they had high hopes for this birth to be both healing and wonderful. I was so humbled to be chosen to be a part of this amazing story.

Fast forward eight months and I got the text: "I'm 90% sure my water broke!" Game time! She was one of the statistically few mommas whose water breaks before contractions even started. After I met them at the hospital, these two did all the right things and worked hard alongside their doula to get baby to drop down and get labor to progress, but baby and mother nature had other plans and after nearly 24 hours of labor, the decision for a c-section was made. While it wasn't what they had hoped for, they handled everything with positivity and a smile. 

After what was probably the fastest c-section I've experienced, a healthy 9lb1oz baby boy arrived safely into the world! Seeing these two parents welcome their new son and compare him to pictures of their daughter was absolutely beautiful. I am always so excited and humbled to be included in this intimate and private time as families grow, but this story was especially beautiful and I am so beyond honored to have been there to capture it!

Doula services provided by Doulas of Michiana.