The phrase "perfect timing" has never been so...perfect. I was just coming back to Charlotte, North Carolina after traveling when I received a message from Liz. You might remember her from my post about Rigdon. Rigdon is Liz and Alan's son who was born at just 24 weeks and 6 days.
Rigdon's NICU stay was a roller coaster to say the least. Liz initially reached out for me to photograph him in the neonatal intensive care when he was 12 weeks old. Due to so many complications during his stay, the session never happened. I was finally able to catch up with Liz to photograph Rigdon's discharge home from the NICU. He was able to spend a few weeks at home, but was later admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit. He remained there until he passed away in January of this year. He would have been 1 year old in February.
A few days before Rigdon passed away, his parents received the news that they were pregnant with a baby brother.
For some reason, Liz and I immediately clicked when we first met that day in the NICU for Rigdon's NICU portraits. Not only is this couple just THE sweetest, but they are so warm and grateful for everyone around them. Liz is also a medical professional, so she understood Rigdon's complications all too well. They were so prepared to love on Rigdon the rest of his life, no matter what the cost.
I think we were meant to finally connect after many months after our initial contact. So when Liz reached out and inquired about a newborn session for Bennett, of course I was so thrilled! I was excited that a past NICU family would allow me to photograph their family, but I was also so glad to continue to have Liz as a friend. (Once you're a client, you hold a special place in my heart!)
Liz invited me into her home for an in-home newborn session, and I was so thankful that she trusted me to capture these memories. Their NICU portraits were completely free, as a part of the complimentary NICU portraits I offer. The fact that they were willing to invest in my business meant so much. I felt a little tug at my heart when I heard the news of Rigdon's passing and Liz's pregnancy.
I have always been interested in birth photography. I love the idea of capturing all of those emotions and everything else leading up until that magical moment. I wanted Liz to be able to enjoy this time a little more than the last time she did it. I told her from the start that this experience would be different. It was going to be magical. I just knew it. I knew this would be a happy and healthy baby, and I wanted Liz and Alan to be able to focus on each other and be present. In the world of social media, it's hard to not pick up our phones during monumental events, because we want to remember every moment. Well I wanted to take that pressure away, and do this for them.
Working full time and working 12 hour shifts in a neonatal intensive care unit doesn't allow the flexibility I need for any kind of on-call photography. I told Liz that I couldn't make any promises that I could make it on time, but I would certainly try. I've only photographed one other birth, which resulted in a c-section that I was not able to attend. This time around was going to be different I hoped! I threw all of this at Liz and offered my services. Without any real experience (other than deliveries I'd been on as a nurse), she allowed me to be a fly on the wall in her delivery room during the birth of Bennett.
Here is where the perfect comes in! After being told that Liz wasn't likely to make it to term, Liz was admitted to deliver at 38 weeks. Liz contacted me just as I was getting back into town from a trip and just before I had to be at work again. I had literally one day available in about a 2 week period, and that was the time that Bennett decided to join us (Timing - perfect!) I arrived just before the epidural and all of the other "action" started, and was able to capture the moments leading up to the delivery. (Anticipation - perfect!) Liz was AMAZING during the actual delivery. Liz, Alan, and the labor and delivery nurse were the only ones in the room until the doctor was called. This allowed Liz to fully concentrate on pushing. I stayed quiet in amazement as she delivered a beautiful and crying baby boy, Bennett. (Baby - perfect!)
The crying brought me to tears. Not only was I seeing the magic I knew would happen in these moments, but I knew that this little cry was oh-so-important to Liz and Alan. You see, they didn't have the chance to hear Rigdon cry when he was born. At just 24 weeks, he was not able to cry. Rigdon was quickly shown to Liz and Alan and then whisked away to be intubated and stabilized. Most people take that first cry for granted. Most can't even imagine a baby coming out and NOT crying. For Liz and Alan, this was probably the moment when they knew that things were going to go very differently this time around.
These images are just a glimpse into Bennett's entrance into this world. A little sample of the emotion, a little sample of the perfect baby boy that went home safe and sound with his mom and dad just a few days later. Bennett is eating, sleeping, and growing like he should and has brought so much joy to Liz and Alan. I'm so grateful that they allowed me to photograph this experience, and I'm thrilled to share these with the world. A beautiful new chapter. Stay tuned for Bennett's newborn session images.
Be on the lookout for Bennett's newborn session, coming soon to a blog near you!
I met Charlee on a beautiful spring day. One of my favorite parts about meeting her was the drive down a long dirt road to her house. Most homes I visit in the Charlotte area are in neighborhoods with homes side by side, but Charlee's home is at the end of a gravel road without a neighbor in sight. I always grew up in a neighborhood, so being away from the city is always refreshing to me.
Charlee was born weighing a dainty 5 pounds 9 ounces. She did wonderful at her in-home newborn session and is such a sweet baby. Her big brother is still getting used to not being the star of the show, but I think he secretly loves his baby sister.
Charlee came to join her big sister Madison in February of this year. She rocked her newborn session and I couldn't be happier with the results! What do you think? She has a head full of hair and looks so much like her big sister, Madison. I just can't even handle how sweet Madison is holding her little sister.
Charlee's neutral grey nursery with pink accents was the perfect backdrop for her family photos. If you know me, you know I'm all about white, ivory, and blush, especially when it comes to newborn photography. A little grey never hurts either!
Meet Leah! She's quite adorable, and so are her sisters. This newborn session was so much fun and included a surprise visit from Leah's dad! Mom didn't know he was coming home and she was brought to tears when he walked in the door, just in time for a few photos. Newborn photos are such a special time, and I hate when Dads have to miss out and go back to work. I'm so glad he made it to this session because this family wouldn't be complete without him!
I was so delighted to meet Cara at work one day! It was way back when I was on night shift. I got pulled to work in her unit and we chatted all night long. Although it was years ago, I didn't forget her. I was so thrilled when she contacted me to photograph the newest member of her family, Eliza. Not only was I excited that she asked, but her other two children are just gorgeous! Her third baby was sure to be a beauty!
Although Eliza's story is a happy one, she came to this world after some heartache.
Sure enough, Eliza is just as beautiful as expected! Take a look at this beautiful family of five below.
Have you seen Olivia around? She's definitely making an impression on my Instagram page. The reason is because she is a beauty, just like her mom!
Calli is a friend of mine who I work with at the hospital, and I was ecstatic when she asked me to be her photographer. Not only do I absolutely love her, but I knew her baby would be precious and I just had to get in on the action.
I never assume my pregnant friends will use me as their photographer just because we're friends, and I never ask to take their photos. I always wait for them to come to me first. Choosing a photographer is a personal decision based on many different factors, and I wouldn't dare compromise friendships just to get new clients. [Plus, if you're my friend before you become a client, you get a really sweet deal. So I'm not making that much off of you anyways!]
I always encourage friends to have their photos taken, even if they don't hire me as their photographer. Families and children change, and you can never get these moments back. So of course Calli and I casually talked about photos earlier in the year when she first found out she was pregnant, but I didn't know if she was definitely going to have photos taken. You can imagine my excitement when she "officially" asked me to be her photographer!
Flash forward a few months when sweet Olivia made her appearance. She's more beautiful than I imagined she'd be, and her parents are absolutely smitten. Calli signed Olivia up for a Baby Plan membership, so you'll be seeing her in a few months for her sitter session!
This family! I cannot express how excited I am to have them as clients. I so enjoyed their newborn session for many reasons. They just recently moved here from New Jersey and had just enough time to get settled in before their second baby came along.
Speaking of their second baby... Have you SEEN her?! Let me introduce you to Peyton. She's the newest member of the Krista Gantt Photography family, and she is PRECIOUS. Her big sister, Kennedy, is equally as adorable - and so sweet with her little sister. This family is a member of my Baby Plan, so you'll be able to watch Peyton and Kennedy grow with me over the next 2 years. Read more about Baby Plan membership here.
Aiden wasn't supposed to be one of my preemies that I usually photograph in the NICU. His mom called me well in advance of her due date, but unfortunately Aiden came a little earlier than expected. He was born at 34 weeks and did spend some time in the NICU, but today is healthy and at home!
I photographed him in his home and he did so great! He slept throughout his entire session, and didn't make a peep. I loved hanging out with his mom during his session too. She's so easy going and is thankful to have her boy home with her. Enjoy Aiden's newborn images!
Jeannie is a sweet friend I met at the hospital - she works in a neighboring unit. When I met with her for her consultation, we hit it off from the start. I mentioned that l hadn't been floated to work in her unit in quite some time. In fact, we had never officially met in person until the consultation. We had never crossed paths at work. To my surprise, the very next day, I was floated to her unit! I even gave report to her that night at the end of my shift, transferring the care of my babies to her. By the end of her shift, she was into labor.
Will was a few weeks early and spent some time in the NICU for respiratory issues, but was able to make it home in time for his newborn session, which was 2 days before his due date.
Will's session went great and his parents were so warm and welcoming. They even offered me some coffee! I don't always get to drink it because I'm busy working with the babies, but I certainly appreciate the gesture! I absolutely loved working with this family and their sweet boy!
Kayla is another dear friend of mine! I grew up with Kayla, running around the streets of Wexhurst, sliding down her playroom stairs on a mattress, and bouncing for hours on end on her trampoline. We have so many memories together from childhood to rooming together at Clemson. It's amazing that we've been friends for long and it has been fun seeing where life has taken her.
Kayla's first pregnancy was exciting, to say the least! Miss Lula Kate surprised Kayla a little later in her pregnancy than most moms. Kayla was more than thrilled to find out she was pregnant, and now she's totally in love with her new little angel baby.
Speaking of angels, Lula Kate slept like one during her session! She was alert for some photos too, which I am not mad about. Alert babies can make for some really cute photos, as long as they're not crying of course. Check out the photos of Lula in the pearl necklace! I think she looks just precious, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed!
I'm excited to see Lula Kate grow into a little person and watch Kayla and Jim learn the tricks of being parents. Lula is already loved by so many!
Introducing... Quinn Berkeley! She's a sweetie and Teagan is a very proud big sister! I was so glad to have the opportunity to capture these images of my work friend's baby. Kelley is a NICU nurse and I am glad to call her a friend. She's sweet and fun, and a little silly too! We met on night shift but we're both happy to be working in the sunlight hours now. Enjoy these photos - and this pretty nursery!
I'm so excited that my friends Davis and Megan are expecting a second baby! I photographed her firstborn just a few years ago, and now she's expecting another boy! Baby #2 is sure to be just as handsome as his big brother Colton. Here are images from Colton's birth and delivery, and then some when everyone made it home with their new little bundle. Cannot wait to meet their next little guy! (Check out Callan's newborn session, here!)
His name was a mystery throughout Megan's pregnancy, so he became known as "Baby C". One cool October day, the mystery was no more. Davis rounded the corner as he made his way to the nursery with a brand new baby boy. His [very excited] family rushed down the hall to meet him. Davis had the honor of introducing them to his very first baby. He tearfully stated his name for the first time. Colton. His name is Colton. His family stood in awe of the tiny miracle, squeezed Davis, and then watched through the nursery window as he got his first shot and held his dad's hand for the first time. iPhones were out, pictures were taken, tears were falling. A healthy baby boy is here at last.
In April, I had the pleasure of meeting Evan for the first time. Jenna is a friend of mine from work, so when she asked if I could take her newborn photos, I was more than thrilled. Here are a few of my favorites from Evan’s session. Just wait until you see this beautiful little family of three!
Happy Memorial Day! Make sure to thank our military men and women for serving our country! These folks spend countless weeks and months away from their families, allowing us to experience freedom in this country. Many of them even leave behind their brand new babies. Say some prayers for those who are away right now, and also for those who are doing life without them.
So I'm very behind on blogging but... Miss Nora made her arrival in August! I couldn't have been more excited to do this session. Nora is such a sweetie and she is the daughter of my good friends Clint and Brooke. I met Brooke in college through a nursing friend of mine and we ended up living together our senior year. She is such a kind and thoughtful person, and always puts others needs before her own. She is the kind of wife and mother that I only hope to be one day! I'm so thankful for her friendship - and that she moved to Charlotte!
This was one of my very favorite sessions yet! Nora's big brother Eli is so excited to have a new sister. He didn't sit still for long, but it was enough to capture his excitement about being a big brother. Oh, make sure you check out Nora's nursery... <3
Hope you all love this session as much as I do! Nora is just beautiful and she is the perfect addition to this special family.
This sweet little gal made her entrance into the world on October 23rd, 2015. She comes from very sweet parents. I am so glad to know them! Introducing... Brooklyn!
Many people don't see the value in hiring a newborn photographer and they come up with far too many excuses not to hire one. I'm not going to try and convince you to hire a newborn photographer, but I'm just saying...you'll regret it if you don't. I can think of a thousand reasons to hire a newborn photographer, and I'm not even a mother yet.
When is your little guy ever going to be that tiny again? Not tomorrow, not the next day. Definitely not in a year. Especially with what people feed their kids these days. Oreos and milkshakes go a long way in the weight gaining arena.
How long will you experience those first few weeks of parental bliss, staring at your new little arrival for hours on end? Maybe for a few weeks, maybe a few months. What about in a year when she is screaming in the middle of Target, your hands are full, the Starbucks coffee has just been thrown at your face, and your brand new lipstick has been used as a crayon all over the floor? Yes, you'll argue that there are happy times too, but will you remember those times when you get home from Target? Not if there are no pictures of her from her first few days on this earth when she first made you a mother.
What about when you aren't around in X number of years? How will your children remember you? Will they see you on the gorgeous canvas over the fireplace, holding them in your arms, wishing they would never grow up?
What about Dad? Dad is never in any photos. Dad doesn't like to take pictures. Dad is always working so hard, and doesn't take time off work. Will Dad be in the album on the coffee table, seen snuggling your first born child, enjoying his few weeks of time away from work?
Time flies. Things change. People change. And children grow up.
So just do it. You don't even need to think about it. You have 9 months to save. Yes, high end photography is a luxury, not a necessity. It's something you want though, isn't it? Like you wanted that purse you bought yesterday. You have one of every color in your closet. It's like when you wanted that new car you bought last year. Your other one works just fine. People find a way to get the things they want. You find the money somewhere, and you make it happen. Newborn photography is something you want, so start saving now so that you're ready when your little one arrives. You'll be so glad you did.