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    Birth and Babies, Motherhood, Photography

    5 Tips to DIY Maternity Photos

    In the time of “safer at home” a lot of the “normal” parts of this pregnancy have been made impossible. We cancelled our Baby Shower, had to change our birth plan, and also had to cancel our maternity picture session. However, I knew I wanted to make sure I captured this moment because Phoenix is most likely our last baby. After finding this beautiful location for one of my clients, I decided that we would take our own maternity pictures. Though things are reopening, photography is still one of those grey areas because it’s not just you and your family. Also, with job uncertainties, their might not be money in the budget for hiring a professional photographer. Whatever your reason, here are some tips to help you DIY your own maternity pictures.

    1. Understand your lighting

    Lighting is the number one thing that can make or break a photography session. If you decide to do your pictures indoors, observe your home for a few days and make a note of which rooms are the lightest and brightest. Make sure you make note of the time that you are looking at the rooms.

    Outside is a different ball game. Most photographers schedule very early in the morning sessions, or just before sunset sessions when the light is diffused and not directly overhead. I prefer just before sunset light or “Golden Hour” light, which is typically the hour before sunset. This prevents you from squinting into the camera, or if you are under trees like we were, prevents the light from being too dappled or casting too many shadows.

    For both locations you want to make sure that you are standing in front of your light. Backlit pictures are beautiful, but can sometimes cast harsh shadows on your face.

    Here’s a website to help you predict when you can find Golden Hour at your specific location.

    2. Timing is everything

    Try and take your photos between 30 and 36 weeks. Your bump will be visible and hopefully you won’t be too uncomfortable! If you wait too much longer after 36 weeks, you might run the risk of taking newborn photos instead!

    3. Plan some poses before you shoot

    Because someone won’t be following you around with their camera catching all of those in between moments, try to have some poses planned out before you start shooting. It helped Chris and Griffin get into the “mood” if you will because I showed them some pictures from Pinterest beforehand. Griffin was in a much better mood for picture taking than usual and I think it’s because he knew what to expect.

    Make sure you get some shots of:

    1. You by yourself! (So important!)
    2. You and your partner.
    3. Your partner and your other child/children
    4. You and your older child/children
    5. Your family all together
    6. Some of your child/children by themselves

    4. Bring some equipment

    We used a camera for ours but with today’s phone cameras, you can 100% take beautiful pictures on your phone. Most iPhones have a self-timer option too, so you can set it and run into the photo (well, your partner can, you might not be able to do much running). I also suggest snagging a basic tripod that holds phones. The best thing about these tripods is that they are typically small and flexible which makes them easier to position than traditional camera tripods.

    If you are using a camera, I also suggest you snag a good remote. Even though Canon (my preferred camera choice) comes with an app that has a remote shutter, it’s hard to use and keep concealed at the same time. I snagged one that works for Canon, but if you are a Nikon or a Sony user, Amazon has some great remote shutters.

    Here’s a list of my photography faves on my Amazon Storefront.

    5. HAVE FUN!

    The thing you have to remember in these unprecedented times is the new life you are getting ready to welcome has NO IDEA what is waiting for them on the outside. Make sure that this memory that you are capturing for them ultimately shows a bit of happiness in the midst of all this craziness. We took our pictures by a creek and I originally did not want to get into the water. However, when my husband said, “When are you going to get this chance again?” I listened and jumped in. And honestly, I was glad I did.

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    Birth and Babies, Motherhood

    Birth Trauma Awareness Week – Griffin’s Arrival

    When I was “planning” (can we really ever plan for birth?) for Griffin’s arrival I made a clear list of things I did and did not want to happen. One thing I didn’t account for was my wishes being disregarded as soon as I laid down in the hospital bed. During my pregnancy with Griffin I’d read every book and taken every class.

    Going in to my birth I wanted to be unmedicated and unhindered by either an IV or an epidural. My husband and I had taken Bradley Natural Childbirth Classes . Movement and the ability to change positions are great for labor. That was what we wanted.

    I went in to labor at three in the morning on February 8th, my contractions weren’t that bad so Chris went in to work. After he left, I showered, ate, and bounced on my birthing ball. I called Chris around one in the afternoon to come home and take me to the doctor. My OB sent me to the hospital after confirming I was in active labor.

    When we arrived there were no beds available in L&D. So we waited. It took almost an hour for a room to become available. The OB saw us another hour after we were given a room.

    The largest cause of stalled labors is stress. My labor stalled after waiting two hours to be seen. The OB told me to go and walk for an hour around the hospital to see if my labor would pick back up again. Surprise, surprise, it didn’t. Most doctor’s would have probably sent me home. I was overdue, but only by two days. I had an induction scheduled for the 14th. The OB stated, “So, am I going to babysit you or are we going to start Pitocin to get this going?”

    I realized then I was not in control. Psychological birth trauma for me began with someone taking away my consent and pressuring me into things I didn’t want to do by making it seem like I had no other options. I labored with Pitocin and no epidural for 12 hours, finally “tapping out” after having a double peaking contraction for 11 consecutive minutes that never came back down to zero.

    Instance after instance my opinion was disregarded because at the end of the day I “wanted to have this baby…right?” It wasn’t until the shift changed that the new attending OB was receptive to my wants and needs, but I had to wait almost 24 hours for that to happen.

    For Birth Trauma Awareness Week I’m teaming up with three other mamas who also experienced a traumatic birth. Join us on instagram to read their stories and loop up with us!

    Find these other amazing mama’s experiences here: Click with Mrs. Quick, Raising Little Cheeks, Topknots and Touchdowns.

    Please feel free to share your own experience in the comments!

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    Water Lantern Festival 2019

    We had an amazing time this Saturday at the Baltimore Water Lantern Festival. It was awesome that this year Griffin was a little bit older so that he had the opportunity to decorate his own lantern (really Chris’ lantern). We arrived early again this year, especially since we were at a different venue which was a great choice because we got a fantastic seat not too far away from the water or the food.

    This year as invitees we even got a mandala tapestry which made the perfect blanket for G and I to sit upon. As an added upgrade this year the Water Lantern Festival offered air sofas which are just as comfortable as they sound and also will come in handy for other summer events that we have planned.

    Another awesome upgrade this year is that the Baltimore venue was much smaller which made getting down to the water for launch a much easier process! Both Griffin and I were able to get right down to the dock to launch our lanterns. They even did a staggered launch this year which allowed us to launch and scamper before we got to close to bedtime (which also can equal meltdown time).

    We definitely had the best time and hope to go back year after year!

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