On an early May morning last spring, I met up with Chelsea and James at Lake Murray for their maternity session. The morning glow was perfect, and their joyful anticipation for their new season of life could not have been more evident! As we parted ways at the end of our session, I remember wishing them well in the final weeks of their pregnancy and saying, “See you in June once that sweet baby is here!” Imagine my surprise when, a few days later, I saw a post from Chelsea on Instagram announcing that their daughter had made an emergency early arrival! In the weeks that followed, both mama and baby recovered, and once their sweet girl graduated from the NICU, they were finally able to head home and begin life as a family of three!
Home. A place of family and memories, comfort and safety, warmth and love. In the last year, home has taken on an entirely new meaning as we have grappled with the realities of life in a pandemic. Last spring, just as the world was retreating into quarantine for an unforeseen length of time, this family was welcoming their second daughter. Over the weeks and months that followed, they adjusted to life as a family of four, finding the rhythm of life with two littles with the added challenge of missing much of the planned support from friends and family. In spite of all the challenges, they leaned on each other and savored the extra time together that they might not have had otherwise, watching their daughters grow and change each day. Even though their two girls will not remember their year at home, they will hear the stories of this time, and I know that the common thread that will run through all of them will be togetherness.
Heirloom Beatrix Potter-Inspired Garden Nursery Lifestyle Session at Home | Columbia, SC Newborn Photographer
They sat snuggled together on the floor of the nursery, washed in the glow of the soft light that came through the window. The new mama gazed lovingly into her precious baby’s face and called her name in the sweetest sing-song voice as the sweet baby girl, dressed in a soft pink gown that was her mama’s, slept soundly in her daddy’s arms. You could see all the love and thought that went into every detail of this cozy space, and the looks in their eyes told that nothing could compare to the joy of having their precious little one — the one they had dreamed of and prayed for — finally in their arms.
Welcoming Baby Brother Home | Fresh 48 Lifestyle Session at Home | Columbia, SC Newborn Photographer
The sound of eager, excited whispers drifted up the stairs as the two big brothers entered the front door of their home. This was the place of years of family memories, but today was different: it was the first time that they would all be together as a family of five. The boys ascended the stairs, hand in hand with mom, and walked toward the room where their baby brother waited to meet them. Standing next to his bassinet, they peeked at this new little person who they had only known through kicks in their mama’s belly and ultrasound photos. The sweet, perfect baby boy delighted his big brothers with his stretches and yawns, and the room filled with giggles as they marveled over his tiny fingers and toes. I watched as they jumped around with glee, darting back and forth between the bassinet and their parents as they excitedly shared all their observations. The joy and excitement in the room was unmistakable, and even though this joyful first meeting was not what their parents had envisioned, I knew in that moment that these memories of their family of five’s first moments together were absolutely perfect!
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.
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!
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!
There is always a certain type of magic that I feel when I walk into the home of a family who has just welcomed a new baby. The air holds a sense of the great shift that has taken place — the newness of life, a feeling of how the months and months of preparation and anticipation have finally yielded the greatest joy imaginable. As I stepped through Paige and Brian’s front door on a bright September morning, I immediately felt captivated by the warmth within their home. This was my first newborn session since finding out that we had our own sweet baby on the way, as I watched these proud new parents interacting with their baby girl — tending to her needs, holding her, talking to her sweetly — I felt my heart swell with emotion, imagining how those first weeks with our new baby will look for us in just a few short months!
Happy Father's Day to all the incredible dads out there! While I know this day can be a hard one for both dads and those who would be celebrating them, I love that there's a special day dedicated to honoring the special men in our lives and all that they do for us and our children!
Happy Mother's Day to all you beautiful mamas out there! I have been so honored to be able to capture all the different stages of motherhood for so many incredible women — from welcoming first babies to celebrating their first year of life, from toddlerhood to teenage years, every stage is so beautiful and worth celebrating.
I absolutely love being a family photographer, but I have to admit that there is just something so special and magical about being able to photograph my newborn clients at home! The environment is always so relaxed and calm, and I love being able to meet a new little one in their own space — their first home, the place where they will spend their first months of life and experience all of those big first year milestones! During our newborn session, I always think about how I'm walking through the same front door where baby's parents first brought them home. I see the table where they will eat their first foods and think about all the meals the family will share together there over the years. I walk across the same floors where they will start to crawl and take their first steps, imagining all the memories that will happen inside these walls as they grow up. It’s a humbling experience, and it always fills me with so much warmth and gratitude for the privilege to be a part of capturing such a special time for a family!
A sweet, spunky toddler walks hand-in-hand with her daddy, her snazzy new sneakers tap-tap-tapping as she makes her way down the brightly lit hospital corridor, her ponytail bobbing with each step. Her eyes shine with excitement, and she captures the attention of everyone she passes as she flashes her adorable grin at each one. As they turn the corner at the end of the hallway, her daddy points at the door ahead. “Are you ready to go see mommy?” Slowly, slowly, he pushes open the door and guides her through. She peeks around the curtain, and her gaze lands on the person she has been most eager to see. In a single moment, a dozen emotions flash across her face, all of them spilling out as she bursts into tears. “Oh, sweet girl, come here!” says her mommy in a soothing voice, and her daddy lifts her up to join her on the bed. The two sit cuddled together, her mommy snuggling her and showering her with reassuring kisses. After a few minutes, her mommy points to the bassinet at her bedside and says, “Are you ready to meet baby brother?” Her daddy lifts her up once again, and from her perch, she stares at the tiny bundle sleeping soundly below her. Her eyes shift back and forth as she sizes up this tiny person, wondering what to make of him. As I watch her take in all the details of this new baby, the magnitude of the moment hits me — after all the months of waiting, they are finally all together as a family of four: Mom. Dad. Daughter. Son.
There are just certain things for me that never fail to bring to mind a cozy autumn Saturday morning: crisp temperatures outside, bright, golden sunshine streaming in through the windows, being snuggled up with the ones you love as you ease into the weekend, music from the likes of Jack Johnson and Adele playing softly in the background. When I stepped through Amanda and Simms’ front door for a newborn session with their sweet baby boy, their warm, inviting home felt just like that kind of perfect Saturday morning! I knew immediately it was going to make the perfect setting for some sweet and snuggly first family photos!
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!