I thought that it was fitting that my first blog post should be about my first newborn session! I have photographed young babies in the past, but, at only nine days old, beautiful Julia was my first true newborn. Her session changed my life. I was terrified leading up to the day of the shoot. I watched webinars and workshops, researched posing, and bought every posing tool and prop I thought I would need. By the end of the (long) session, I was hooked. I knew that newborn photography was for me. And I was hopelessly in love with this perfect little girl!
I met Julia's parents several years ago when I photographed their engagement session. At the time, I was partnered with a friend of mine and shooting under the name Autumn Nowey Photography. Janet and Jimmy were one of our favorite couples. We had a lot of fun with their session and felt pretty good about the finished product. When I opened HeartStrings Photography last year, I reached out to many of the clients Autumn and I had worked with, and Janet responded, asking about maternity portraits. I was so thrilled to hear from her and really excited for the opportunity to photograph her and Jimmy again. She told me that they loved the engagement photos and felt that Autumn and I captured their true personalities in a way that their wedding photographer had not done. She could not have given me a better compliment on my work than that.
When I started HeartStrings, my number one goal was (and still is) to create relationships with my clients that last. I want to be a part of their lives, to give them happy memories and beautiful portraits to help them remember those happy times. I want to watch their kids grow and change and document that for the next generation. Janet and Jimmy were giving me a chance to do all those things. The maternity session was amazing. I learned a lot about them as a couple as well as my own photography skills. We ended up with a ridiculous number of images and I went straight home and raised my prices for maternity sessions! The portraits from that shoot deserve their own blog post, so I will share only two of them here.
I received a text while visiting family out of town that Julia had "made her grand entrance" and I was immediately excited to meet her. We picked a day (February 28th, 2016...just a day after my own birthday) and time for the session and I spent the next few days cramming my brain with as much knowledge about newborn photography as I could. There was nothing I wanted more than to give this family all that I had in me. All the skill and ability, all the knowledge...and most important, all of my passion for photography and for family.
I don't think I've ever worked so hard to create images in my life! Even spending hours in a darkroom does not compare. Julia was amazing and I'm so glad she was my first newborn, or I may not have decided to keep doing it!
I never understood why moms that I had worked with in the past had such a thing for photos of their baby's hands and feet and little features. I mean, it was cute, but really? Then I became a mom and realized that your child changes so fast and you want to remember what all those little details were when they first came in to the world. Without a photo of my newborn son's wrinkled feet, I couldn't envision them two years later. I have an appreciation and understanding for things that I didn't have when I worked as a photographer before being a mother. I saw the tiny details in Julia's face, her little hands and feet, and I knew I had to capture all of that for her parents.
I loved seeing Janet and Jimmy as parents. Being a new mom and dad is the most incredibly frightening and wonderful feeling, especially after only nine days. These two seemed to have it all figured out. I'm sure there are times, just like with all of us, that they wonder what the heck they're doing, but their love for each other and for Julia is strong. I felt it during their session and I know in my heart they are going to be great parents.
Of course, I can't forget to mention their other "baby", Emma. When Janet told me she wanted to include their puppy in the maternity session, I pictured a little fur ball. And then Emma came to the door and just about knocked me down! She is the sweetest dog and she makes sessions with the family even more unpredictable and fun. She adores her "little sister" and brings a whole other level of humor to the portraits.
Even though I have photographed newborns since Julia's session (and fallen in love with each one), Julia will always be special to me. She taught me so much and opened my heart to a part of myself and my business that I could not have imagined would be so integral. I'm so glad that Janet and Jimmy decided to do a Baby's 1st Year package. I have already photographed Julia's 3 month portrait and have a whole list of shots planned for her 6 month session. She is an inspiration and I can't express how much it means to me that I am able to watch her grow!
Cassandra Zingaro - photographer, mom, wife, owner of HeartStrings Photography and first time blogger