Family Portraits with Newborn at Winstead Hill Park

Outdoor newborn portrait with big brother

This outdoor newborn/family session was a lesson in being flexible. These are wonderful repeat family portrait clients of mine. I was looking forward to meeting the newest addition to the family, a baby sister who is one month old. Mom wanted more of an outdoor family session than a traditional at-home newborn. Her original request was to have the photos taken at the Park at Harlinsdale Farms. We had not done a session for them there yet and she liked the location.

That sounded like a great idea until I realized that the session was scheduled for the same day as the Pilgrimage Festival. So I gave them the option of moving the session to another day, or keeping the date and moving to another location far far away from Harlinsdale and the crowds.

It turns out, a weekday morning session worked just great for the new family of four. Little ones are often happier in the morning and it worked for their schedules, so we changed the date.

But then Thursday morning I showed up at Harlinsdale about an hour early (because that’s me…your Enneagram 1 photographer). They were already setting up for Pilgrimage. Oops! I guess it should have occurred to me that they would need several days to set up for such a large festival. They wouldn’t let me in, and even if they had, there were giant white tents everywhere.

This is where my being obsessively early coming in handy. I was able to call the clients before they had left home, and we adapted. I gave a few options and they chose Winstead Hill Park. That worked out nicely because Winstead has plenty of shade, which is needed for a mid-morning photo session, and was somewhere they hadn’t done pictures before.

Isn’t that sweet baby girl just perfection? Big brother had a great time exploring a new park.

Looking for a photographer in Spring Hill, Franklin, and Columbia in Middle Tennessee? I photograph families at all stages, from newborns to seniors. See my website for more information or to book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you would consider following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

McKenna’s Lifestyle Newborn Session

Nashville Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

I was so excited to meet McKenna and photograph her lifestyle newborn session. In May, I met her wonderful parents at their Maternity Portrait Session. I often get questions about my newborn portrait sessions, so I thought I would take a minute to answer some of them now.

Q: What is lifestyle newborn?

Lifestyle photography can be described as being in between documentary photography and traditional portrait photography. In documentary photography, the photographer is a fly on the wall and only captures what happens naturally. For traditional portrait photography, the photographer controls everything, right down to very specific posing (“put your chin just so”). In lifestyle photography, the photographer tries to capture scenes that would unfold naturally in real life. But unlike a documentary photographer who just waits on the action, we guide clients so that we can get a variety of real moments in an hour or two. At a lifestyle family session, I might ask you to stand in the pretty light and have a tickle fight. This is something that may happen in your real life, but I’ve helped it along by putting you in a good spot and giving you an activity to do.

At a newborn session, this means that I will capture photos of the baby in her own environment, in ways that could have happened naturally. I love photos of the baby in her nursery, and in the arms of her parents. This means that I do not have a bean bag chair like a traditional portrait newborn photographer would have. There isn’t a lot of posing baskets, fancy wraps, or babies hanging from trees Anne Geddes style. Nothing against that style, it’s just not what I do.

Q: What should we wear?

For mom & dad, I recommend something you are comfortable in, that won’t distract too much from the baby. Neutrals are a great choice, but colors can work well too. I love the purple mom is wearing in the photos below. Just keep in mind the colors that will be in the background. For example, the yellow and blue mom and dad are wearing here work great in the colorful nursery. I like to remind moms to keep in mind that they would have just had a baby, so something loose-fitting and flowing is a good choice as they recover.

For the baby, this is largely a matter of personal preference, but I think simple is best. One thing to know about newborns is that they pretty much never fill out their clothes. So while a dress might be cute, it’s probably going to look too big and floppy and swallow her up. Words are also hard to read unless the baby is lying just so. My personal favorite for a newborn is a plain short sleeve onesie, with wraps and swaddle blankets. Little baby pants are cute too and come in some fun patterns.

I bring a few plain onesies and blankets with me in case you need them, as well as a few small bows and hats. The green and orange blankets below are mine, as is the colorful quilt with the orange in it and the small bow she’s wearing in that photo.

Q: Where do you take the photos?

This can vary by house. The first thing I do when I get to a newborn session is to take a look around at the options. One thing I am especially looking for is natural light, but I also carry a flash in cases there isn’t enough window light. Some of my favorite spots to shoot are in the nursery, in mom and dad’s room, and in the living room.

I stress to clients that they should not worry about cleaning the house before I come….they just had a baby after all. But what can help is if they have a few uncluttered spots in mind before I come. For example, have the nightstand clear of distractions if you think the master bedroom might be a good spot. Also, you never know what might strike me as a good spot so don’t spend too much time on this.

For example, one of my favorite photos below is towards the end where dad is holding his baby girl on his lap and she’s holding his pinky finger. That was just in the dining room. It had lovely window light so I had dad sit in a chair there and just shot down at him so you didn’t see the kitchen behind him. I point that out because sometimes the simplest spots are the best. But also, I was in love with this colorful nursery, so that is fun too.

One thing I love is to include anything that tells the story of the family and baby. For example, the quilt towards the end of this set, with the hankie, was made by McKenna’s Great Grandmother for her Grandmother. How cool is that?


Did I miss anything? What questions do you have about newborn photography?

Looking for a photographer in Spring Hill, Franklin, and Columbia in Middle Tennessee? I photograph families at all stages, from newborns to seniors. See my website for more information or to book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you would consider following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Family of 3 Portrait Session at Sarah Benson Park

Family Portraits at Sarah Benson Park

This family portrait session at Sarah Benson Park turned out so great that it makes me want to schedule more morning sessions. I schedule most of my portrait sessions for magic hour. The hour before sunset is my favorite light for photographing portraits. But sometimes those magic hour sessions are too late for little ones, especially in the summer. While I do love evening light, the MOST important thing is that my little clients are happy.

For clients who can’t manage a magic hour photo session, I am happy to schedule a morning session. The only caveat about booking during the day is that we need a location where there is plenty of shade. Harsh sunlight is not great for photos, so location is particularly important for daytime sessions. Sarah Benson Park (formerly known as Thompson Station Park) is a great spot.

It’s kind of funny because Sarah Benson Park is not one of my favorite spots for evening sessions. There is just one reason. It’s the sunset – the sun sets right behind the recycling station. As someone who likes to shoot into the sun, the recycling station is not my idea of a great backdrop. But in the mornings, the sun is coming through the trees on the other side of the park. That’s why it’s a great spot for morning photos.

I’m so glad it worked out well. Little Easton is the absolute cutest, and it was a great day hanging with this new family of three.

Looking for a photographer in Spring Hill, Franklin, and Columbia in Middle Tennessee? I photograph families at all stages, from newborns to seniors. See my website for more information or to book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you would consider following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Family of Four Portrait Session at Harlinsdale Farms

Family Portrait Session at the Park at Harlinsdale Farms

I don’t ever remember photographing a summer family portrait session in such pleasant weather as this one. I was in shock that it wasn’t suffocatingly hot. It was especially nice because I felt like I had botched the first scheduled date for this photo session by rescheduling it prematurely. The forecast was calling for rain for most of the day on our originally scheduled date. I texted the client to decide what to do. We discussed whether we should wait and see or just go ahead and reschedule. I suggested we reschedule because every time I take the “wait and see” approach, we end up having to reschedule anyway. But of course, this time it ended up being clear and sunny that evening after we had already rescheduled. So I felt vindicated when the weather was so perfect on our make-up date.

Everyone knows that 2-3-year-olds are my favorite age of kids to photograph at family portrait sessions. One thing that makes this age group even more fun to photograph is when they are still getting to know a new brother or sister. It’s so much fun watching that new relationship and capturing the changes happening in the family.

When I am prepping for a family portrait session, I often think about my own family, and what it was like when my girls were the ages of my little clients. For this session, I thought back to how my oldest reacted when we brought home her little sister. We weren’t sure how she would react, but he was so enamored with this new human. If I put Kayla in her crib and walked to another room, Megan would say, “Mommy…you forgot your baby!” She was very protective. I remember the sweet way her little than would pat Kayla when she cried.

These were the things I was thinking about when I met this beautiful family. Hopefully, I was able to capture some of those special memories for them.

Contact me today if you’d like to book a session to capture your families precious memories.

I am a photographer serving families in Spring Hill, Franklin, and Columbia in Middle Tennessee. I photograph families at all stages, from newborns to seniors. See my website for more information or to book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you would consider following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

My Adventures in Video | Nashville Family Photographer

Nashville Family Photographer - family of four

When Ashley first contacted me about this at-home family portrait session, she said that she had found me just by googling Nashville Family Photographer, and liked the work on my website. But she wanted to know if I could shoot a session at their home. My answer was “absolutely”! I love photographing families in places that mean something to them.

Ashely wanted a daytime session that would work for baby Jack’s schedule. Her back yard was the perfect spot and offered plenty of shade for a morning session. The trees were absolutely gorgeous and I fell in love with Emilia’s tree swing. It looked like something you would find in a fairy garden.

So for a while, I’ve wanted to try adding video to my services, but I don’t have much experience in doing it. For some time, I’d wanted to try to add a few videos to a session, but needed to find the right opportunity. First, I didn’t want to feel like I was in a race with the light, and since this was a daytime session, I felt I had a little more wiggle room on the time, so I could take a little extra time at each spot to get the photos I normally would, and then take a video or two.

Second, I needed it to be a small family with young children. I have done a few bigger families and extended sessions lately and definitely didn’t feel confident adding something extra to those. But with a small family, there is usually more time during a session since there are not lots of combinations of people to include in the shots. I wanted young children because those sessions are just naturally more active and a good fit for capturing movement.

So anyway, I didn’t tell the family I was shooting video because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out or if I would even include it. But I played around with them today and think they turned out OK. I definitely want to practice more and maybe eventually add this on as an additional option for clients.

Are these not the cutest kids ever? The session was so much fun and I love reliving that fun through the videos. Emelia’s laugh is just the most beautiful music.

In case the video moved to quickly for you, here are some of the images in my usual format: