dc metro area

firecracker ford + bump

I am sooo excited to do this post. I was lucky enough to get out of town a couple weeks ago to attend my dear friend, Keri's baby shower in Atlanta. She is pregnant with her first baby (a boy!), and I couldn't be more excited! t hadn't seen her since MY baby shower nearly two years prior! She helped my sister and Mom do an AMAZING job decorating my shower. It seriously was out of a magazine. And these were the days before Pinterest! Anyways, it was my turn to help her Mom and sister with the shower. It was such a blast, and turned out as perfectly as we hoped. Keri's family took me in as one of their own that weekend, never making me feel out of place. I couldn't stop laughing all weekend with this high-energy New Jersey, super-Italian family. 

Keri is one of those people that lights up a room as soon as she walks in. I love that she was born with these amazingly bright, blue eyes.. but her parents both have brown eyes. Apparently they came from her Great Grandfather (I think?). It's as if her spirit was so bright– that when she was born, her eyes had no choice but to be sparkling blue. She came into my life like a beam of light, when I was surrounded by darkness. Isn't it funny how some people walk into your life when you need them most? We are two crazy wackadoos when we get together, talking a mile a minute and making the most ridiculous expressions to support our dramatic stories (usually about our husbands). We always felt like we knew each other from another lifetime. Kindred spirits you could say. 

Mrs. Keri Lynn Ford inspires me in so many ways, aside from her infectious energy. She has MADE things happen in her life through her determination, passion and hard work. She started her very own company, IgniteGirls® Fitness, which is a fitness program that offers KICKass workouts, nutrition plans and guided support towards your goals (and the support of a community of women in the same boat). Go see for yourself. She is SO INCREDIBLY photogenic. Did I tell you she also does fitness modeling? So getting in front of the camera was like 10 cups of coffee for her. And how ADORABLE is she?? She was doing planks and push-ups in no time– showing off her crazy-pregnant-strength. Keri is a prime example of a doer, a go-getter, a make-it-happen-because-there-is-no-plan b. She has always been one of my biggest supporters, and for that and a million other things, I am forever grateful. She is SO thoughtful, caring and hilarious. She is extremely nurturing to everyone. She is the Momma dukes of her company! She takes all of these women under her wing and guides them to a better lifestyle. But she also doesn't. take. shit. So, dear sweet little Peyton Michael Ford, look out. You have one tough Momma that won't let you get away with sh&t. She will however, make you giggle your socks off. 

She is going to be one. amazing. Momma. 

Keri's husband, Dave is the perfect man behind this incredible woman's story. He is her rock. A total goofball without trying. A true gentleman with a huge heart. And he is pretty obsessed with Jeeps. Peyton is going to have such a blast with these two!!! 

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Sweet baby Nolan

There was another very special baby that was born right before Christmas. Finn's younger cousin, Nolan. We were so glad that our rotation of holiday visits landed on this side of the family for this past Christmas, which fell two weeks after Nolan was born. The timing couldn't have been more perfect! He came into this world calmly and is just about one of the most laid back babies that I have ever met. He is also incredibly sweet and snuggly. Finn is always SO excited to follow his big cousin Trevor around, trying desperately to keep up. One day Finn, one day. It will be fun to see the three of them following each other around next year!

Here are some tips for any Mommy photographers or Moms that are just trying to take photographs of their newborn: Stay calm, patient, turn up the heat, have a blow-dryer handy, burp the baby, rock the baby and photograph near a window. See more below...

We had the heat set to 80 degrees, went through 5 diaper changes2 feedings and ran the hair-dryer before little Nolan happily fell asleep on his parent's bed. Also, his Mommy's relaxed and soothing attitude (see her hand on him below) helped him fall asleep with not a care in the world. Having the Mom stay close usually helps keep the little one relaxed. If they are hungry though, they will smell her and wail. So keep them well fed! Some babies do get distracted by Mommy's sent regardless, so if they don't calm down, send her away to get some R&R. Using the parents bed is a great way to have a lot of space around the baby to work with. Just make sure you shoot in the room of choice when the lighting is best. Don't get frustrated if the baby is awake, those can be beautiful photographs as well. When they sleep though, they tend to have a more relaxed face, with no "Benjamin Button" wrinkles, haha. A hair-dryer, white noise machine (a ton of apps for your smart phone) or a vacuum cleaner also tend to stop the crying if it gets really bad. Remember to burp the baby after the feedings as well, and don't rush! A last ditch method is to either you or the Mommy hold the baby on their back with the head in your hands and feet pressed into your belly and sway him/her left to right (back and forth), keeping their feet in the same place. This motion creates some kind of effect that is similar to being in the womb. Remember to be patient, and give yourself 2-4 hours if needed. Babies are like sharks and pick up on fear, hahaha! G'luck!

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a brand new baby for christmas

I had the pleasure of photographing the sweetest little family, just before Christmas. The Momma had her third, beautiful baby (a boy) on December 6th, which is RIGHT in the middle of the holiday craziness. I can relate 100% (Finn was born on 12.10.12). SO, I re-assured dear Momma that people would understand if she didn't have holiday cards AND announcements sent before Christmas, in addition to taking care of all of the other typical holiday needs AND a new baby. She sounded just like me last year, trying to do it all. Such an angel! I told her, "I think people would be impressed and surprised if you got all of that done"! Last year I had to be easy on myself and settle on sending a combination birth announcement/new years card (skipping a Christmas card). It can be really difficult trying to get everything done, the way we are used to. But as a Mom you also have to force yourself to let that pile of laundry pile up sometimes (a few days too). It actually is liberating. Meanwhile... flash forward three days and you find me on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floors and cabinets like Cinderella. 

Sorry, tangent! The photoshoot was AMAZING! Not only did I photograph the oh-so-beautiful new baby boy, but I spent the morning photographing his older sister and brother, who built a gingerbread house in the process. It was so much fun! I will be sure to try to plan activities for kids next time I have an indoor shoot. It kept them focused and creative. They did a seriously good job on that house too! These kids were so sweet, silly and adorable. What more can a photographer ask for?

I was thrilled with the light that poured in through their windows... enjoy, enjoy.

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A shoot on Lake Erie- behind the scenes

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! It snuck up on me fast, and flew right on by.

I was lucky enough to see all of my immediate family, near and afar. Over Thanksgiving we all headed to the Midwest to see my sister and her clan of boys. She has an awesome little family; three boys and a Rottie named Petunia. My sister is my other half. I would be lost without her. I wish we lived closer, but I'll take what I can get.

Here are some behind the scene photos, in addition to the actual photos of me shooting my sister's family photos on Lake Erie, (my husband took iPhone pics of me shooting them). You'll also see a photo of my hubby photographing my sister, brother and I in one. My Dad is the one that took the holiday photo of my little fam (see previous post). Any photo of me in it was taken by either my hubby or Dad. So yea, I ask the family to step up if I need to be in the photo. I just adjust the settings and hand the camera over... and pray they get me in focus!

I have some more awesome shots from the visit, which I'll post soon. Here is the bunch from the Lake. And to any of you who think you can't have a photoshoot in the winter, you are wrong (have you seen my shoot of Finn in the highchair while it is snowing- which the Grandparents thought was cruel, but he loved it, I swear). My sister's boys LOVED being outside, regardless of the chill in the air. Natural light is best, and my absolute standard for shooting. 

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