From Olivia Sweeney:
When it comes to newborns and toddlers, everything can be perfect all at once and within two seconds, a giant mess. There is no “right” way to photograph kids and get genuine real moments. I have found that setting up the stage (family on bed or mom and baby over by this wall) with gentle prompting and direction work well. I have a vision but also let the family do their thing. If the toddler doesn’t want to sit then get that shot of those cute little buns jumping in the bed because that is what’s real for a family with a toddler, especially when a new baby has arrived. A few other things I like to do is take natural mini breaks for everyone to relax, work as quickly as possible with little ones or just plan on camping out and capture some great shots at the end. The photographer sets the tone for a shoot so make sure you are calm and relaxed but also be able to play and sit with kids at their level. Help mom to get those sweet shots all of us mothers want with our babies and hubbies and those fun shots of dad with the kids.
This session is my favorite style of shooting families. Although we weren’t at their home since they lived out of town, being in that setting allowed Margaux, the toddler, to be relaxed, mom could nurse, they could cuddle and play. This setting really tells the story of life with a newborn and little ones. I also was careful to put my film camera down when I knew it needed to get a quick candid moment, which for me can be difficult with my medium format camera because it isn’t as fast as my digital. I feel so honored anytime I have the privilege of documenting families, especially during the transitions of adding new members and I want to make sure I get all of the sort of shots I would want as a mom myself.
So much happened in the nine months that I carried Theo, I felt I wasn’t able to truly process the pregnancy like I did with my daughter Margaux. Taking care of a toddler, the stress of my husband applying for medical school and then eventually moving to another state kept me preoccupied. Even though we were excited and happily anticipating the arrival of our baby, I often wondered how I would be able to love this boy that was growing inside me like I love my Margaux. Do I have enough love for the both of them? Will we miss out on the precious alone time to bond like I had with my daughter? Will Margaux be able to handle not having her mama all to herself? Will I even be a good mama for him. He’s a boy. I don’t know boys. I know my daughter.
All of these thoughts seemed so silly once I held Theo in my arms. I was shocked at the intense connection I felt immediately with my boy. It seemed as if he had always been with us and always a part of me. I loved him immensely and couldn’t believe he was our baby.
Watching him grow these last few weeks has brought such joy to our family. I look forward to all of the memories we will create but as for right now, I’m soaking up every late night feed and every early morning cuddle session because I know how fast this time goes by. I am so grateful for the images that Olivia captured, documenting this sweet time in our lives. These beautiful images will be cherished forever.
Film photos developed at The Find Lab.