Birth, Is Birth, Is Birth | Richmond, Va Birth Photography

love becomes family

Living in a new city, Richmond Va, I'm constantly meeting new people who invariably ask what I do. Because I love my job, I'm always eager to chat, and i'm curious about people's responses. I say, "I'm a photographer; I photograph births." From this I get one of two reactions, "you do WHAT?! That is cool, I can't even imagine! So you are in the room the entire time? Even when baby comes out?! Wow!" or I get a blank stare. This blank stare typically mean they aren't 100% sure what I just said, so I elaborate further by adding, "labor and delivery." After all what you say, "I photograph births" out loud, it sounds like, "I photograph birds." While interesting, that is not what I do!

From that initial interaction the conversation can go many ways based on who I'm speaking with, but there is typically one question that is pretty constant. "What kind of births? Do you prefer the hospital, or home birth?" I used to not like this question, but now I love it!

I have photographed hospital births, both medicated and natural, with an OB, midwife, and doula's present and not present. I have also photographed Birth Center births at free standing clinics as well as attached to a hospital. I have photographed a home birth and been present for a family before and after a cesarean birth (photographers are not always allowed in the operating room). Within these various scenarios I have documented land births as well as water births, with first time parents, 4th time parents, and even a surrogacy! I love each and every birth I have documented for so many different reasons. I have also learned more about birth and about myself as a woman, wife, mother, and artist with each family expansion.

Birth is a process of transformation no matter where or how you choose to bring your child into the world. No matter who assists you in delivery, or the outcomes after birth. It is a moment in time filled with strength, love, anxiety, pain, and joy. 

I write all of this to share that I am a true believer that birth, is birth, is birth. Just as love is love. Love becomes family in the beginning and in the end! 

Home Birth with Daughter Assisting - Richmond Home Birth Photography
Surrogate Birth Story - Richmond Birth Photographer
Family together after a c-section delivery - Richmond Hospital Birth Photographer
Birth Becomes Family - Richmond Birth Photographer

With grit and grace,

How I Share My Everyday Images | Privacy and Connection - Life Cake | Richmond, Va Photographer

today everything exists

to end in a photograph

- susan sontag -

Your privacy and the privacy of your children come first, and in this day of instant gratification and digital technology what we share online is seen by quite a lot of people. Yes, you can block people or change your settings, but in reality everything on Facebook is public! I was guilty of this my daughter's first year of life. I wanted to connect with family! Keep them updated with the milestones and to share her seriously cute face. 

I started scaling back after she turned one. I wasn't sure how public I wanted to make my daughter's life. You have to think children born within the past few years don't know a world without the internet or smart phones! That is crazy to think about!!! I see parents posting all sorts of things that involve their children. Some of this is great. I love being updated about everyone's family, show my support of their updates and story. Acquaintances, colleagues, clients even! Do not get me wrong! I am a selfish individual like the rest of you! I want likes and comments. I want to see other peoples pictures to compare and contrast where we are at as a family. Is Nora on par with other kids her age? Grateful that we are passed some seasons in life and a bit terrified of others. (Yes, I said that, I am human and I over think everything, I can't be the only one!!) With that said, Facebook, or even Instagram, isn't the only way to archive and share those precious moments.

Images in the end are meant to be shared, I am not telling you to stop documenting your story as a family! I am asking you to consider the privacy of your family and the privacy of your child. 

Preface: I am in no way linked via payroll or in contact with the following company. I am however an avid fan!!

Enter: 

This company's product is the bee's knees! The simple "mission is to help parents be storytellers - recording and sharing beautiful life stories." Want to know more?

This is an online and smartphone compatible app (yes, apple and android). A few things that I LOVE about it:

  1. You have a profile for each child, but can tag one image for multiple children
  2. You enter in their birthday, so when you upload images it will tell you exactly how old they were when the image was taken.
  3. You can caption the images, and others can comment.
  4. You can invite people to watching your child(ren) grow. (Family, Friends, Care Providers, etc.)
  5. Even better, if you have invited someone, say Grandma, and she watches your tiny human and takes some images; she can also upload and caption them. So you have the full story of their life happenings! EEK!!
  6. At the end of the year, or on birthdays, you can have a book printed through Lifecake. So seamless.

I feel like I can continue to list things but I'll stop! Here are a couple of short videos for more information:

Last but not least, I'm sure you are wondering about cost. The good news, it is free for the first 10GB of information. 10GB worth of images and videos!! Whether you take professional images or snap pictures with your phone, you can upload content to Lifecake. Check it out! Let me know what you think!!

With grit and grace,

My Vibe is Monochromatic | Richmond Birth Photographer

The most colorful thing in the world is black and white, it contains all the colors
and at the same time excludes all.

Vikrmn

I get asked a lot if I only give, show, provide, and offer black and white photography. The answer:

yes

As an artist, I made this executive decision to better showcase how I capture life. I love how a black and white image can cut to the chase in telling you all about a scene. It strips distractions and lets you focus on the light, the subject, the mood, and emotion of a millisecond of time. Monochromatic images for me speak a truth and raw-ness that color can often hide. There is a nuance and a lasting forever element that I adore. 

Even more than the semantics above, black and white imagery is timeless!

As a follow up to this question, I get asked if I photograph my daughter and family in the same way. Again, my answer:

yes

Don't get me wrong. I really do like color. I often don't have a favorite, and I love seeing it everywhere. It is something I am growing to really enjoy here in Richmond, Va. There is street art all over the place which means there is color everywhere! Pictures, for me, are the capturing of emotion, touch, light, and memories which are best shown in black and white.

Richmond, Va Hospital Birth Photographer
Richmond, Va Hospital Birth Photographer

Above you see a screen shot from a recent birth followed my another screen shot of images of my daughter. Notice how you are drawn to the subject and emotion of the image rather than trying to focus on colors? 

Deep thought for this post: Life is nothing but black and white with ALL of the shades of grey in between. The grey is hard to live in, but also the most fun! Similarly, Ralph Emerson said, "life is a journey, not a destination!"

With grit and grace,

Thomas's US Gothcha Day | Dulles International Airport | Richmond Parenthood Photographer

This adoption story and gotcha day for Thomas was full of so many emotions. Mama contacted me a few weeks prior to Thomas' arrival to see if I was available to capture Thomas' arrival to the US to meet his new family. With further conversation, I found out Thomas is their second adoption within a year and mom was pregnant with her fourth biological child.

Mom and dad have such huge hearts and absolutely love the adventure of parenthood! Adoption is something that has interested me for quite a while and comes up every time my husband and I talk about children.  Giving back and taking in children that are already here, in this world and searching for a family to call home, makes me want to take in all of the children and call them my own with love. Right now, with the help of Red Thread, this is how I give back to these children and families. To be able to give this family images to remember the start of their new parenthood journey is a true honor. I loved being present and watching how their introductions unfolded.

Meet the Murphy family! Dad and the oldest brother went to pick up Thomas from his home country, as mom was pregnant and still adjusting their younger children at home. It was hard for the family to be apart for so long, dealing with all the paperwork, but through Skype they were able to stay in touch throughout the entire adoption process. So much love for technology!!!

Here is Thomas' US Gotcha Day:

Richmond Virginia Birth and Adoption Photographer

With grit and grace,

Happy Birthday Miss Bits

I'm sure every parent feels this way, but seriously - WHERE HAS MY BABY GONE? As I write this, three years ago at this same time I was having contractions in my home wondering what sex our baby was going to be and if we should just go ahead and go to the hospital. I was an anxious mess!

Now that we are into this parenthood thing, for just a hair shy of three years, we live in a constant state of sass in our house. This girl is fiercely independent, crazy empathetic, and seriously in love with all things rocks, sticks, and pink. Oh and ice cream! I have only cut my foot on legos once so far, and REALLY hope that doesn't happen again! Enough about me!

August 20th is all about this crazy smart ball of sunshine that demands her boo-boos to be kissed (and will kiss yours if she knows your hurt), refuses to brush her hair, and insists on sleeping with the light on. She thoroughly enjoys dancing, mac and cheese, and ALL of the popsicles!

This year was another major year for growing and learning. From her colors and numbers to potty training and sleeping in a twin size bed! She rode her first roller coaster last month and is hooked! Today she told us her favorite candy is Swedish Fish and asked for her toe nails to be painted pink. A silly girl to fit in with the rest of the goofballs in our house for sure!

I can't get over how much this little human has changed my life and rocked my world for the better! Scroll down and look how much she has grown this year!! I'm equal parts excited for new adventures and sad because she has grown so much!!

Be sure to scroll all the way down to she a video of our adventures this past month!

With grit and grace,

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