It was a quiet morning, rosy streaks of pink and orange sunrise giving way to a golden morning glow. The waters of Lake Murray lapped quietly at the shore, and it was just us and the early morning fishermen — although it very well could have been just the two of them, the sweetest, most radiant parents-to-be savoring every moment of the final weeks before meeting their long-awaited little one. The calm, joyful anticipation was impossible to miss, and the love that these two have for one another shone through in every smile, every glance, every gaze.
I will never forget the way that she held him. Sitting in the rocking chair in the corner of the nursery, golden sunlight streaming in through the windows, she cradled her baby boy close to her chest and hummed softly, lulling him to sleep. I could feel the love bursting forth from her as she watched her sweet boy’s eyelids grow heavier, and it seemed as though to her, they were the only two people in the room. As I watched the two of them together in that chair — mother and son — and snapped photos of the details around the woodland-themed nursery: a beautiful woodland quilt handmade by some women from mama’s work, bookshelves made by daddy mounted on the wall and filled with books, an ultrasound photo surrounded by a mat signed with well wishes, the warmth and love surrounding this precious new life was abundantly apparent.
Peter Rabbit Themed Baby Shower at The Lula Drake Pastor's Study | Columbia, SC Baby Shower Photographer
It was a warm Sunday afternoon, a perfect bright and sunny beacon of the coming spring. In an upstairs room overlooking Columbia’s Main Street, preparations were underway in Lula Drake’s upper room, called the Pastor’s Study, for the most beautiful baby shower. As the midday sun beamed through the windows, fresh greenery and flowers were draped elegantly across each table, but the true focal point of the room was the wooden wheelbarrow filled with vegetables and adorned with a stuffed Peter Rabbit, a nod to the theme of the shower. Shortly after noon, family and friends from near and far began to arrive, and the room buzzed with the excited thrum of conversation as they awaited the arrival of the guest of honor. Suddenly, the two grandmothers-to-be whisked away to the stairwell to meet Caitlin—the glowing mama-to-be. As she entered the room, her eyes shining with joy and excitement, she began to exclaim over all the dear ones who had come from great distances to be there to celebrate her and the sweet baby on the way. It was impossible not to feel the love in the room, and I could only begin to imagine how it will surround this sweet family as they bring this new life into the world!
Each time I enter a home for a newborn session, I can always feel a sense of the change that has happened, the shift from the new little life that has been welcomed. In every home I visit, the feeling is different; for this newborn session, there was an overwhelming sense of calm and peace. As I watched the new parents interact with their long-anticipated rainbow baby, I couldn’t help but notice how natural they both were in their new role. The overwhelming love they felt for their precious baby girl was palpable, the joy of their answered prayer visible in every interaction: the way they held her so gently, spoke to her so soothingly, calmly reassured her when she cried — it was impossible not to feel their amazement over finally being able to hold their little girl in their arms!
I still remember the day this sweet baby boy was born. I was sitting on the hospital bed, bleary-eyed in the darkness of the early morning, my sweet baby girl snuggled up on my chest as I patted her back after a nursing session. I opened up Instagram to check in with the outside world, and the first image to greet me in my feed was a beaming mama and daddy with their brand new baby snuggled up on mom’s chest — Ryan, Tuan, and their son! It took me a few moments to realize that it had been posted the previous evening, and then it hit me. My eyes widened, I laughed to myself, and I quickly dashed off a message to her: “Our babies have the same birthday!!!” What in incredible, wonderful coincidence to be able to share such an intimate, life-changing experience with a client!
Oh, what a perfect November afternoon it was to capture this joyful maternity session at the Peak Trestle on the Palmetto Trail! The weather was absolutely perfect, with the golden leaves showing off their gorgeous hues and perfect blue skies shining over the Broad River. The sweetest little family — a glowing mama-to be, proud daddy, and a sweet little girl over-the-moon excited about her baby brother on the way — was overflowing with joy as we made our way down the Peak Trestle bridge in the golden afternoon sunlight. I cannot think of a more perfect ending for my 2019 photography season than this!
As I approach this new season of motherhood, of becoming a mom of two, I have found myself looking toward other families who are in the same season of life right now for a preview of what’s to come. How does adding a second baby change the family dynamic? What does it look like when an only child is now an older sibling? What are the day to day realities of parenting an active toddler or preschooler along with a newborn? What things are easier the second time around, and what are the new challenges? Not only was it a joy to capture this new stage of life for these friends who feel more like family, but it was also a privilege to experience the dynamic — and the reality — of those first weeks as a family of four. What I witnessed during our time together was that for every challenge, there is joy in equal measure… and that is the part of the season that is meant to be savored!
There aren’t too many things that brighten up a rainy Saturday morning as much as a cozy in-home newborn session does! From the moment I walked through the front door of Pilar and Mark’s beautiful home, I could feel the warmth — every single detail exuded the coziest ambiance, from the Christmas music playing to the flickering glow of candles to the holiday decorations adding a festive vibe in every corner! More than anything, though, there was such an overwhelming sense of calm. Their sweet baby girl made their family a party of five, and I could not help but notice the feeling of peace and routine — an overwhelming sense of confidence in their new normal. As an expectant mom myself preparing to bring our second child into the family, it gave me great hope that our transition from a family of three to a family of four will be more manageable than I expect!
Oh, what an adventurous afternoon this was! The sweetest family, perfectly coordinated in their blue and green ensembles. Games of chase, peek-a-boo and pretending to launch rockets! Endless enchantment with the simplest parts of nature — rocks, leaves, Spanish moss, blades of grass — and enjoying the beauty of nature along the river. Even though we had to make a last minute change to our original session location because of the Columbia Veteran’s Day parade, I think that this dear family was just destined for another family session on the river — and the Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park never disappoints!
When I think back on this fall family session on the Columbia Riverwalk, what comes to mind isn’t that it was literally freezing when we started our session, or even the gorgeous sunrise glow illuminating the Gervais Street Bridge. What I remember when I look back on these photos is family. Togetherness. Delight in each other’s company. Inside jokes. More than anything, I recall the joy and laughter that filled every moment of this session — the true mark of a family who can find joy in anything, as long as they are together!
Hi! I'm nicole!
I love photographing families in every stage of life, creating warm, bright, and natural images that you will treasure for a lifetime. What I love most about being behind the camera is telling the story in front of me, highlighting the joy and relationships between loved ones and capturing each personality!