our story

Plymouth + South Bend Family and Newborn Photographer - A Glance at 2017

2017 was a great year. I mean really, truly great on both a professional and personal level and I think it can be summed up in one word: growth.

 I absolutely loved seeing my business grow, documenting my first births and meeting so many new amazing clients. I think that's my favorite part about photographing families and births: for some reason, documentary photography just seems to attract the most fantastic humans! Being invited into people's intimate, personal moments and asked to capture them in a beautiful way is nothing short of humbling. And that fact that it allows me to set my own schedule and also be the one there to raise my daughter...well that's just like the cherry on top. 

Not only have I gotten to watch my business grow, but I've also gotten to see my work grow. The wonderful thing about photography is it's not a "master-able" art form. It's something you continue to evolve and learn and expand upon forever. I love the challenge that this presents! Looking back at my photos from early 2017 and comparing them to my more recent work is so exciting because I see that I have found my editing style (something that, trust me, is not easy) and that I have grown in my confidence and started taking deliberate photos instead of safe photos. I can't wait to see how my work continues to change and evolve in 2018!

Finally, I've also had the opportunity to watch my daughter grow through my photos. When you're with a tiny human (or multiple tiny humans) every single day, it's easy to overlook all of the changes that happen in one short year. But by completing my second 365 project, I get an exclusive look at the huge changes that has happened and how much she has grown in her skills, personality and physical appearance. I absolutely love doing these 365 projects and plan to do another one in 2018. (Note: I don't do a calendar year 365 project but rather one by my Miss F's age...so I won't be sharing that project until it is completed in February!)

So in celebration of this amazing year, I wanted to take some time to share some of my very favorite client photos from this year. Some are favorites for obvious reasons (like they're just completely stunning and epic moments) and some are favorites for more personal or sentimental moments but no matter the reason, I hope that all of my clients love these shots as much as I do and that maybe in 2018, I can document some of your family's growth again! Happy end of 2017, everyone!

Photography Isn't All Smiles - Getting Personal

Recently, I have had a lot of heart wrenching sessions. When you think of photography, you generally think of smiles and hugs and warm memories. And normally, you're right in thinking that. But its not always like that, not always. 

I generally don't like to get deep on the web, or even all that personal. I like to share pictures but I rarely step outside of my comfort zone and talk about how these pictures make me feel. But I feel like I need to right now.

First, I had a session for a sweet and beautiful family who would be going through something truly tragic. Something no parent should ever, ever have to go through. They would lose a child. Seeing a baby born so perfect and amazing and knowing that their journey earthside would be short lived was absolutely soul shattering. It's a reality that no one should have to face, but unfortunately, many do. I am so, so blessed to have been a part of this baby's first moments (which came in the form of a fast and furious birth, I might add). When I left, the family was not sure if they would get to take baby home.

They did.

I  even had the opportunity to visit this family again in their home to capture some of their love in the comfort of their own house. Editing these pictures was the biggest emotional rollercoaster I've been on, filled with my own tears and smiles. I truly hope that these images bring some comfort in difficult times and feel so honored that anyone would put their trust in me to tell this story.

AliceRose047.jpg

Then, less than 24 hours later, I saw a message on House of Hope's board asking urgently for a photographer to capture a birth and possibly memorial photos of a baby who would be born at 22 weeks old. Viability at that point is not statistically high. The post was over three hours old when I saw it at 7pm and I looked at my husband, cuddling our own two year old and said, "I have to go." At first, he didn't really understand why I felt like I had to go...we don't get a lot of family time in the summer as it is. And to be honest, I wasn't sure why I felt I had to go either. But then, as I sat there for 16 hours, waiting for the most painful moment of these parents' lives to happen, I knew that God had guided me to that waiting room. And He also showed his amazing grace with this family. Mom had come into labor and delivery at 22 weeks, 8cm dilated and bulging waters...

Baby didn't come for another five days. 

Even the nurses said they had never seen anything like it. This mom's will and determination to keep her baby safe offered her baby the best chance at survival possible. God gave both of these families some extra time with their babes and for that, there are no words. Just praise.

IMG_4981-2.jpg

Finally, I spent the weekend serving on our church's photography team. I love that our church is built on so much community and values the beauty of capturing honest moments. The newest chapter that is being covered is, ironically, all about relationships and the church asked for photos that reflected that. Seeing strangers interact joyously, family sharing their faith lovingly all in the name of the lord was humbling, as always. Ending this hard week of capturing truly beautiful relationships for the two families mentioned above by documenting a shared love of God was absolutely perfect and humbling. 

IMG_4995.jpg

I didn't make a lot of money this week. I didn't get to rock my own babe to bed each night. I probably spent less time with my husband than I have since we've been married. But I can honestly say it was worth it because there is always a bigger picture. I am forever changed by photography in this moment because I, who can be rather self-centered and harsh at times (if I'm being entirely brutally honest), have an entirely new value for the greater good and a renewed sympathy for the situations of those around me. That is something priceless, and I am better for it. As the preacher said in this weekend's message, "God loves it when we sacrifice our time and resources for other people." How true this is.

South Bend Family Photographer / South Bend Family Photography - A Personal Project: My Tiny Equestrian

In case you missed it on my Facebook page, we have added a new member to our family: Knox. Knox is a 24 year old Quarter Horse. 

Some back story: I grew up riding horses from around 8 years old into adulthood. It was one of those things where the first time I rode, it just clicked. It was natural, it was fun and I was really, really good at it. What started off as a hobby turned quickly into an obsession and I pretty much lived at the barn. Throughout junior high and high school, I owned three horses, trained others, showed all over the country at a National level and found peace and love at the barn.

Flash forward: My daughter is two. I haven't owned a horse in several years (sniff). For about six months, Miss F is just drawn to horses; she plays pretend horses, we have plastic horses everywhere, she begs to see her friend's pony. My husband says I'm nuts, she's just two, she loves everything. I reach out to an old horse show friend who is now a trainer and she mentions she has a client with a perfect old gelding who would love some extra affection and treats. Despite some dragging of the feet from my hubs, Knox was suddenly a part of our crazy family! 

I wasn't totally convinced myself, that I wasn't wishful thinking Miss F's love for horses. That is, until we started going to the barn and riding. Then it all became abundantly clear (even to my skeptical hubby). I will just let the pictures speak for themselves...

Clearly, this love is not imagined. The bond between these two is undeniable. This docile old giant perks right up when he sees her (and no, not just because she frequently comes baring treats). He snuffles her hair and teases her; he's infinitely patient and calm. She is enthusiastic and eager to learn and she adores her big gelding. I can't wait to continue the "My Tiny Equestrian" project and document the journey of Miss F and Knox!

Michiana Family Film and Photography - Personal Fusion Film

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE fusion films? Maybe once or twice? Fusion films are this completely amazing compilation of stunning images and fun video and it takes documenting your family to an entirely new level. While nothing can ever replace wall art and albums, this is the digital age and I have zero doubt that these types of fusion films are the next big thing in family photography. So obviously, I have to make them for my own family all of the time! Here is a fusion film of our amazing family trip to PCB. Enjoy :)

South Bend Family Photography - PCB Personal Project

Last week, we packed up our SUV and drove 900 miles to Panama City Beach, Florida. This trip was fairly last minute but so, so important: Miss F needed some extra time with her Gigi (Great Grandma Mary). Miss F is Gigi's only great grandchild and the two of them are cut from the same cloth. Seeing them together definitely made my heart happy. 

Panama City Beach is not only ridiculously family friendly and absolutely beautiful, but it also holds further meaning to my husband and I because about four years ago, we got married there! I love that we are able to go back to the exact spot we said "I do" with out daughter. If you're ever looking for a great place to get away with your kids, consider PCB. Between the white sand beaches, Gulf World and amazing seafood restaurants, you won't be disappointed. 

Anyway, I always struggle when it comes to vacations because I am torn between being present in the moment and capturing the moment. This time around, I decided to allow myself "the first ten minutes," meaning that whenever we went somewhere or did something, I took pictures for the first ten minutes we were there...and then I put my camera away. Let me tell you, this was no easy feat for me! I'm chronically concerned with "missing the moment" and I constantly found my mind noticing times that would have made for a great photo opp. But I fought the urge and left the camera in the bag. And you know what? I'm glad I did. I still got beautiful images that told our story, but I also got to just enjoy the moment. And let me assure you, this trip was packed with beautiful moments.

South Bend Family Photography - It's a Special Day

I wrote this last night, right after putting my not-so-baby baby to bed:

"Tonight I went to bed with stickers on my hands. She carefully placed them there and counted them happily only to announce I needed more and scampered off to retreive them. I could have taken them off. I could have put her straight to bed without rocking her. I could have. But the thing is, tomorrow she may not decorate me with stickers or even fit in my arms comfortably enough to fall asleep. So tonight, I sleep with stickers and tomorrow my baby turns two."

Granger Newborn Baby and Family Photographer - A Look at BBP's 2016

When I first decided to take this leap into documentary photography in 2016, it was one of the most terrifying and exciting things I have done (besides getting married and becoming a mom). I am not one to make myself feel vulnerable and this jump was the epitome of becoming vulnerable. But looking back, I am SO glad that I did it! This week, I have been cleaning up my hard drive (partially for sentimental reasons and to see growth but also because I managed to max out my Macbook's hard drive space) and I have come across so many amazing images. Not just of my own family, but the families of my clients!

It is so humbling to look back at this year's families and babies and know that these awesome people invited me into their lives and with a new type of photography to boot. To be a part of the stories of others is a really awesome experience; to see how they love each other and work together and spend their days. I genuinely enjoy looking back at these images and remembering each session and each family member. Knowing that these families will have images they can look back on together and remember all of the real, honest moments that they represent makes my heart happy, both as a photographer and a momma. I am so so excited to see what 2017 brings for BBP! 

Here's a look back at my favorite images of 2016. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do...

 

 

South Bend Documentary Family Photographer - Our Holidays!

A belated Merry Christmas everyone! I hope that you all had a fantastic holiday with family and friends and that you made memories that you will cherish forever. 

This year, my daughter is just shy of two and I knew it was going to a pretty epic Christmas for her. She was able to grasp a basic understanding of Santa and many of the other magical elements of the holiday which had her all kinds of excited for the big day. She loved opening her gifts and getting to play with her family all weekend! Sadly though, we realized something: we are going to need a bigger house for all of her new stuff. Holy cow. It looks like someone ransacked Toys R' Us around her - and for a somewhat montessori inspired home, this was complicated to figure out what she got first. But what a blessed problem to have, right?

It was so fun seeing the kids' different personalities showing through in their favorite gifts. One tried out just about everything, one went straight to the cars and mine wandered around singing "Let it Go" with her new Elsa doll. She pretty much hit the jackpot of princesses and baby doll accessories and she was more than ok with that. Getting to document these moment in photo form was so much fun and I am also proud to say that I DID set aside the camera and just enjoyed the moments, too. Here's a sample of some of our fun family memories...

Michiana Documentary Photographer - Personal Project: The Windy City

I like to concentrate my website and blog on client photos and let me tell you...that can be hard. You see, photography isn't just a "job" for me. It is a passion. I have firmly been converted into a believer in the priceless value of documenting both major and minor moments of my family's life. I know that in the years to come, I am going to love sitting down with Baby F and sharing these adventures with her that she's too young to remember. I will get all of the feels from these days and she will see how loved she was by so many people in her life!

This project is especially special to me because it includes the one, the only, grandma. None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow and being able to build memories with those around us is so, so invaluable. As a young girl, my mom and I would go to Chicago to look at the Christmas lights every year but as I got older and life happened, we stopped going. This year, I wanted to revive the tradition and throw in a third generation! And so, without further ado...I give you the first annual girl's only Chicago lights adventure:

Granger Indiana Family Documentary Storytelling Photography - Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been a fun event but now that I have a toddler, it brings a whole new level of excitement to the table. Dressing her up and watching her face literally light up when she realized that people were putting CANDY in her bucket was such a great experience. In fact, it made me think that this would make for an awesome family photography session next year! What a fun story to capture: all of the costume prep and dress up, bustling out the door, kids hardly able to contain their excitement, the after trick-or-treating candy slam, sugar rushes followed by the sugar crashes...yup, sounds like a must do next year! 

Keeping the post short and sweet today. Everyone have a safe and fun Halloween! 

Love this little sequence! The candy hand-off, the investigation of the bucket, the "AHA!" moment. 

Like what you see? CONTACT ME.

Check BBP out at:
www.facebook.com/borneback

IG: bornebackphotography

South Bend Indiana Documentary Lifestyle Photographer - Cherished Moments

Going in a slightly different direction today and discussing my personal projects...

I think it's safe to say that nearly all photographers, especially documentary photographers, challenge themselves with personal photography projects. This year, I decided to take on a modified 365 project (modified in that rather than starting on January 1st, I started my year at my daughter's first birthday). So that means, Baby F's entire second year has one photo per day. At first, I took this on because I wanted to improve my photography skills but then, it turned into something entirely different - and so much more. 

I'm about to hit my 200 day mark and I took a minute (or hour) to go back through her daily photos. It was like reading your favorite, best written novel where you cry, laugh, smile, cringe. You get the full array of feels. Seeing how much she has changed in just 200 days and seeing all that she has experienced is humbling. Having made the transition to a stay-at-home-mom less than a year ago, I was fearful that our days would be mundane and repetitive but after looking through those images, it was stunningly clear how amazing her little life is and how blessed I am to be experiencing it alongside her. 

How does this apply to BBP? Well, it just emphasizes the importance of capturing your children while they are little and making sure that their little milestones don't go unnoticed. It reiterates how quickly our babies change and how valuable it is having images that show them as they are, in unique, beautiful, fun ways. 

So, in conclusion, here's a little taste of the our daily lives behind the lens (please forgive the inconsistent watermarks as I upgraded a couple of weeks ago):

Why don't I post my daily images publicly? While I don't mind sharing my daughter's images with the world, I also try and consider her future feelings as an adolescent and adult. Occasional image shares I think are fair game from ANY momma, but some of her life deserves to stay private. 

 

Like what you see? CONTACT ME.

Check BBP out at:
www.facebook.com/borneback

IG: bornebackphotography