I love photographing people. There is something so fulfilling about staring through a lens and peering into the eyes (and often heart & soul) of another person that makes you feel connected to the world in a way few other things can.
I think that being a photographer is as much about connecting with people as it is about being able to take a pleasing picture. And, the better the connection, the better the photos.
Nearly two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have two of my favorite people to photograph ~ Julia & John ~ back in front of my camera to get some pictures of their son, Brayden, who they welcomed into the world last month.
I drove to NYC to see them all and we got to spend some wonderful quality time together. It was relaxed, personal and, as expected, I instantly fell in love with sweet Brady.
Andy doesn’t normally join me for newborn sessions…mostly because they’re more intimate and having two of us there can be a little overwhelming for everyone involved. Plus, I’m a bit of a baby hog. Andy loves when babies grow into talking, playing, fun little people….but me, I’m ready to hold them right from Day 1, and am not shy about asking. I can’t help it….I love them and everything they represent…life, love, hope & faith!
I love the way babies smell. I love their big round, full bellies. I love just staring into their new eyes and kissing them all over (though I try to limit this when it comes to the babies of folks I don’t know super well…but, I’ll admit…it isn’t easy). I feel natural with babies and have been blessed to see two make their way into the world….a gift I will cherish forever.
But, the thing I love most about babies, is watching them with their new parents. I haven’t had any babies of my own, so I’m not speaking from personal experience, but almost everyone I love & care for has children and I’ve watched the process with curiosity, admiration and a healthy dose of awe.
I’ve watched as young lovers immediately shift their focus from one another to this precious new life they created. Sleeping habits change. Priorities change. Life changes. It’s not all flowers & fairytales. There are lots of dirty diapers, projectile vomiting and crying that can’t be soothed. There are short tempers and unmet personal needs. But, in the midst of all of that chaos is this little life and all it wants and needs is you. And, so sacrifices are made willingly.
It’s a beautiful time in a family’s life…and it’s also fleeting. Within just a few weeks, that little face you’ve been staring at will stare back at you and smile. By about five months, that tiny little bundle of love you nervously took home from the hospital will have already doubled in size. And, before you know it, your baby’s first teeth are coming in and words only they understand are flying from their sweet lips.
It’s so special to me when new parents want us to document their babies first few weeks of life, particularly when those new parents are also our wedding couples. Like weddings, babies represent new beginnings…a new and meaningful chapter in the life of a couple. It already means a lot to me & Andy when our wedding couples keep us in their lives by staying in touch. And, when our couples, turned friends, want us to keep documenting important milestones, it really is THE greatest compliment.
Julia & John have been in our lives for a few years now. We first fell in love with them when we got to photograph their love session (aka engagement session), which still remains one of my personal favorites. You can read why HERE. Our love for them only grew stronger when less than a week before their wedding, I was unexpectedly rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery to remove one of my fallopian tubes, which was rupturing due to an ectopic pregnancy.
Andy & I were devastated by our loss, but that was quickly put to the back burner because our priority was making sure I was okay to photograph Julia & John’s wedding (and another wedding the day after). We are very lucky to have some amazing photographer friends who rallied and helped us, by carrying my bags and being there to supplement when I needed to rest. I just moved more slowly than usual, but we still got some amazing moments documented in photographs.
Through it all, Julia & John never once expressed concern that we wouldn’t do everything we’d promised to do. Quite the opposite. They sent flowers and asked if there was anything they could do to help us. They were completely understanding about bringing another photographer friend to help out and seemed far more worried about me all day than they should have been. And, the support continued in the weeks that followed, when the emotional scars began to reveal themselves.
All of this was with me as I traveled to New York to photograph them and their sweet boy. I am so grateful to Julia & John for not only being the amazing, supportive, wonderful, generous, kind people that they are, but for sharing this very special time in their lives with me in such an open, real way.
I had driven up on Friday night, and stayed with them, in their apartment. I woke up early Saturday morning to the sound of Brady crying and wanted to capture that time, in the early morning hours with momma & her babe. Some of the first photos of our time together are among my favorites. It’s these unscripted life moments that really move me and make me fall further in love with what I do and the people with whom I get to share it.
An early morning feeding and a swaddled, sleeping Brady.
It wasn’t super early, just about 7AM, but it was threatening to snow, so the sky was dark and the light in the apartment was so moody and perfect for representing what every mother goes through….those early morning feedings when the rest of the world appears sleeping.
This is my favorite of Julia & Brady. I just love the moodiness of the light (with the office buildings across the street still lit inside from the night before) and how it speaks to the bond shared by mother and baby in those early days and early hours. Be still my baby-loving heart!!!
Unfortunately, snow prevented me getting to NYC sooner, so Brady was about 6 weeks old when I visited, and he was just finding his smile. Even half asleep, he had one for his beautiful momma!
Honestly…this next one is too much. Can we talk about the back chub and those lips?!! Just heavenly!!!
Momma & Baby and Daddy & Baby. Brady was finding it hard to stay awake, but that’s how it should be in the first few weeks of life.
Because when they’re sleeping, they’re not moving, and we can document all of their sweet little bits, like the inverted baby knuckles and tiny fingernails. Mmmmmm good!
Nudie petudie…baby perfection. Can we talk about those little tootsies?
Awake now, Brady & daddy share some Eskimo kisses….
Momma kisses make Brady hungry….the tongue….it’s too much!
Happy little guy….LOVE him!!!
A little chill time with Dadda…Brady was talking to John (in his own way) it was so fun to watch the exchange!
Love this next moment as Brady fuels up. We had a lot of time together, which was so nice for a bunch of reason, one big one being that it allowed us to just hang out and chat at times, and other times I’d take pictures. It never felt rushed or forced, which is how it should be with new babies. And, the in between moments like this….are the ones I love most.
Wide awake in the afternoon, Brady was totally digging playtime with his beautiful Mommy & Daddy.
Julia & John really wanted a photo of all of their hands. And, I love the way it incorporated Julia’s sweet Farsi tattoo that reads, LOVE, and John’s bracelet, which he wears in memory of his dad, who passed away a few years ago. I asked John what he was most afraid of in being a parent and his reply, “That I won’t be as good of a dad as my dad was.” NO worries there, mate!! I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing your dad, but even having that as a concern tells me you are already way ahead of the game!
Our little love nugget fell asleep again, so it gave me some time to get some portraits of John & Julia.
But first a few more bits….
Hello beautiful. I love this woman!
Snuggling in bed with your main squeeze, while your baby happily sleeps in the other room….is there anything better?
Snuggle time…it was really nice actually doing this for Julia & John. Brayden has been their focus these past few weeks, and I think it was good for them to take a moment and turn their focus toward each other again. I’m sure having me there made it kind of weird…but still.
Our super sweet NYC family….photographed NYC style. Love it! The best part of our time together was that when it was time for me to leave, John & Julia were also leaving the city to go visit John’s lovely momma, Jerri, who was celebrating her birthday. They were planning to have dinner together. So, J, J & B hitched a ride with me to CT on my way back home and I got to give Jerri a b-day hug and deliver the best present a Mom could ask for….time with her baby (& better yet…her grand baby). Happy birthday Jerri!!
Julia & John….thank you soooo much for once again sharing yourselves with me in such a love-filled way. I adore you two and am so happy to have one more of you to love! Brady is beautiful in every way and I loved my time with him and with both of you!! Looking forward to catching up again soon here on the Cape. Until then, Andy & I hope these photos serve as happy reminders of these early weeks with your sweet little boo. We love you guys! Chris & Andy xoxo