HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY BABY K - South Bend Indiana + Michigan Family Photographer

Whenever I get an inquiry for a family documentary session, my heart does a happy dance! This one was no exception. This sweet family of three had such a fun story of their lives and they wanted to celebrate their normal through candid family photos.

When I asked Mom to tell me about her family, she responded, “P… and I have been together for almost 8 years, married for 3, and we welcomed our beautiful last November. P… is from Ohio and I am from Ireland, where K was born. We moved to South Bend … and P works at Notre Dame. I am at home with K full-time and also do some freelance writing. We are both historians, so there are a lot of books around the house and we read with K a lot. K is a confident, energetic, happy baby. He loves chatting, crawling around, going on the swing, standing up on anything that will hold his weight, and anything that won't. He likes to potter around in the kitchen when mummy is cooking or clearing up. He has his own kitchen which his grandma bought him for his birthday and which he really likes too (although not as much as the real thing...) His latest favorite activity is climbing the stairs, especially if mummy is chasing him, and he hates being prevented from doing so by the stair gate. He loves eating, pulling out all the kitchen implements and making a lot of noise, and "reading" his many books. His favourite teddy is Lion and he is very good at giving Lion hugs. He loves horsing around with his daddy which makes him laugh a lot, and he gets very animated when we play good music and he can dance along and clap his hands. He has also always had very good fine motor skills and he loves pressing buttons, playing with his ring stacker, etc.”

What I love about documentary family sessions is that they allow all of these sweet milestones, stories and moments to be captured in a beautiful way. Nearly everything mentioned above is showcased in this fun gallery and I hope this family enjoys looking at these as much as I enjoyed taking and editing them!

DEL POZO WEDDING - Indiana Wedding Photographer

Kati & Billy’s love story was the epitome of “meant to be.” As Katie sat in the makeup chair getting ready to marry the love of her life she shared their story…

Kati had moved to Chicago, Illinoise years before and her sister (who was also her Matron of Honor), immediately told her she had the perfect guy for her: Billy. However, fate intervened and ironically, Kati ended up dating his roommate and over the course of about ten years, other relationships and life in general kept them as friends with bad timing. But then, one day, Billy called up Kati and the stars all aligned and they ended up on their first official date. And from the sounds of it, neither had any doubt that this was how things were meant to be (and her sister was even kind enough not to rub in too many “I told you so’s").

Their wedding day ended up being absolutely perfect! Being a November wedding, you never know what you might get as far as weather but their day was cool but gorgeous. The sunset was epic as was the stunning venue at Oakwood Resort in Syracuse. It’s set on such a beautiful lake and foliage was at it’s peak.

I felt so privileged to capture their day for them and I hope that the joy and laughter that filled their wedding day resonates in every single day of their marriage!

Venue list at the bottom of this post.

H & A ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS - Michiana and Indiana Wedding Photographer

Halie & Andrew Engagement

This session is special for SO many reasons!

While it just so happened to also end up falling on what was probably the prettiest “golden hour” evening of the season, this engagement session held a special spot in my heart long before it started. You see, this gorgeous bride-to-be was also my daughter’s nanny as an infant! When I was still teaching, H spent several days a week watching my baby girl and for me, that’s no small thing. For me to trust someone with my child, I’ve got to really love you haha. So when H texted me and asked if I would be up for handling their engagement pictures, I couldn’t agree fast enough.

I ended up having so much fun getting to know her hilarious fiance as we toured the beautiful property. They were full of laughs and totally up for anything. In fact, A even taught me something: use the “drunk walk” prompt immediately after the “spin her around in circles” prompt! (Haha).

I could not offer more well-wishes for this couple and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.

WELCOME BABY DAWSYN - Indiana Newborn Photographer

south bend newborn photographer

This family. Where do I even start?

They were my VERY FIRST family documentary clients! They trusted me before anyone else to capture memories of their sweet daughter in the throws of their dream-house renovation project. They quickly grew to be more than just clients but friends! Fast forward a few years and a few more sessions down the road and I had the privilege of documenting their sweet second daughter, Dawsyn.

I was so excited when I got Mom’s initial message inquiring about newborn sessions and the chance to see their oldest girl become a big sister. After Dawsyn’s arrival, I anxiously awaited the call to come and meet her! And when I did and I walked into their farmhouse, the first thing I thought: “Holy moly, they’re identical!” Dawsyn looks JUST like her big sister! My heart melted immediately. Big sister was so excited to show me her new baby and it was obvious that while she still wanted (and needed) Mom and Dad’s attention, too, she was a huge helper in the family now.

Capturing these moments for this family of four was such a joy and I truly hope I get to continue on their journey with them. Thank you, F Family, for allowing me into your lives all this time.

E & J ENGAGEMENT SESSION - Indiana Wedding and Engagement Photographer

south bend engagement photography

Joined through a mutual love of science and laughter, these two are a match made in heaven. E & J are the perfect balance for each other and there’s no shortage of excitement for their 2019 fall (almost winter) wedding. Seeing and hearing their joy as they shared the details for the big day, it was obvious that this is going to be a fun wedding to document!

And to prelude their big day, E & J opted for an engagement session to kick things off. While we wandered around a gorgeous state park, their comfort with each other was obvious. The setting was beautiful and diverse and even though the initial goal had been a golden hour session, the midwest weather decided to give us some mild temps with steal gray clouds…and it was gorgeous! Sometimes, I’m so grateful for unanswered weather prayers because they often end up in the most stunning photo opportunities.

Thank you, E & J, for spending the evening with me and letting me capture the first part of your ultimate love story.

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!

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!