I met Janet and Jimmy several years ago when I had a studio with another photographer, Autumn Nowey. We shot their engagement photos at Upper Onondaga Park in Syracuse. Jimmy seemed a little nervous at first, but we encouraged the couple to interact with each other and kinda forget we were there, and he loosened right up. We were happy with the final images we gave them, and it turns out, they were happy with them as well. When I opened HeartStrings, Janet contacted me about a maternity session. She said that Autumn and I captured the true personalities of her and Jimmy in a way that their wedding photographer had failed to do. What an awesome compliment! I was so excited to hear from her. Autumn and I remembered them fondly. One of the reasons I started HeartStrings was so that I could photograph children and families as they grow and change. Janet gave me my first opportunity to do just that.
Janet and I met for a consultation at their home. She had mentioned over the phone that she wanted to include their puppy, Emma, in some of the shots. When she opened the front door, I was expecting a tiny little fluffball...then Emma came bounding over to meet me. I was almost floored, literally! She is one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met. Pets always make a session more interesting, sometimes more stressful, too, but Emma was a blast. Even when she wasn't listening, we all had smiles on our faces.
Thanks to Pinterest, Janet and I had an overabundance of pose ideas, and we wanted to do them all. I had done maternity shots in the past, but they were always part of a session, not the entire session. Not only did I want to get a good variety for my own purposes, but I wanted to give Janet and Jimmy everything I could. Janet inspired me and believed in me as a photographer, and that made me want to give her my very best.
Janet wasn't sure about bare belly shots. She wasn't entirely comfortable with the idea. We discussed it during her consultation and decided to try a few. I think all pregnant bellies are beautiful, but when I was 7 months pregnant, I sure didn't want anyone looking at my bare belly either. We kept it simple, and in the end, Janet was pleased with them. I call that a win.
We used a variety of settings around their home, including the dining room, back deck, back yard, front stoop, bedroom and nursery. The image below of them on their bed is one of my favorites. It was Janet's idea and I love the intimacy of it, like the viewer is peeking in on a private moment. It makes me wonder what they're talking about. Actually, I think it was something to do with plans for later in the day, but you get the idea.
Of course, at the end, we had to capture some silliness! Janet and Jimmy root for opposing football teams so they had a little onsie rivalry going on. Again, I have to give credit to Janet for the idea. It got a little physical for a second, but the smiles in the last image say it all.
Janet and Jimmy's maternity session was an amazing experience for me. Since then I have shot their beautiful little girl's newborn and three month portraits. Soon, I will get to see Julia again for her six month session. This is where my heart is, this is what pulls my heartstrings...photographing this family, watching them grow and change, giving them images to cherish, to share with family and friends and future generations. Clients like Janet and Jimmy and Julia (and Emma) are why I love being a photographer.
Cassandra Zingaro - photographer, mom, wife, owner of HeartStrings Photography and first time blogger