charlotte motherhood photographer

I don't like the photos from my birth | Charlotte Birth Photographer

I wish…I had known about birth photography four years ago when my last child was born.

I wish…someone had warned me that between all the nerves, excitement, pain, exhaustion, and exuberant joy, that the entire experience would become a blur.

I wish…someone had told me that I probably wouldn't remember my daughter's first cry or the first time I held her.

I wish…someone had mentioned that I definitely wouldn't remember the expression on my husband's face when he saw her for the first time.


Oh my sweet hubs. He tried! But I mean, c’mon! I have one image of her while she was in that other room, and this is it.

I can kind of still remember the pain...I'm not even gonna lie! But I don't know how I looked as I powered through each contraction. I don't remember what I did to prepare myself for the next one. Was I standing or laying down? Did I grab onto something or squeeze my husband's hand? Did I internalize the pain or make that primal moan that birthing mothers sometimes make?

I don't remember any of the conversation or funny moments I had with my husband that day. I don't remember the look on his face while I was pushing or when she came out. I have NO idea what I looked like when that 9lb 6oz baby came out after 18 hours of labor (but who's counting) and an hour of pushing. Did we laugh? Did we both cry? No clue. Was I exhausted or elated? Probably both?

This is the one image my husband took of me holding my baby girl. I wish there were more. :(

I don't remember my daughter's first cry. I don't really remember the first time I held her. And afterwards, while I was getting cleaned up, my husband followed the nurses into another room where my daughter was weighed, measured, had foot prints taken, etc. I missed all of it and he wasn't thinking to take pictures.

I don't remember my midwife's name or any of the nurses...or nursing students for that matter (it was a full house in our room that day, that much I remember!).

I don't know who visited us first, what their expressions were like when they walked in and saw her or when they held her for the first time. And...I don't remember the look on my older daughter's face when she saw her baby sister for the first time. This one breaks my heart the most.

I don't have photos that captured any of those moments, and those memories aren't coming back. Every once in a while, I'll tell my daughters what I do remember of their birth stories, and doing that keeps those memories somewhat fresh. But I desperately wish I knew what a birth photographer was back then and had hired her to capture those moments. I would have wanted her there to tell the story of the day my life changed forever. The day I became a mom.

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How do you want to remember your birth story? With blurry, grainy, low resolution images that your spouse took on their phone when he remembered to amid all the chaos of the day? Or with professional, stunning, hand-edited images that you can print in album to have and hold forever? Don’t make the same mistake I did. Hire a birth photographer and invest in your family’s memories.

A few spots remain in my birth story model call. Click the button below and apply today!

My Why | Charlotte Motherhood Photographer

When I picked this topic out of my blog jar, my initial reaction was, "Oy, what a way to start off my blogging mission!" But it is also a very apropos question at this point in my career -- while I’m in the middle of rebranding my business (more on that later!) and still trying to rebuild my client base after moving to a new market.

I've always loved taking pictures, but becoming a mother gave me this profound desire to document EVERYTHING. I know, so cliché, right? But it's true!! When my first daughter came into the world, every little face she made was camera-worthy to me. (And that's still true, six years later. <3) So I got out my nice camera (usually reserved for parties and travel) and started snapping.

But having this sweet child also gave me intense anxiety thinking about a future I eventually wouldn't be in. I distinctly remember driving down the highway after she was born and all of a sudden being very aware of my own mortality. What would she do if I was no longer around? Would she remember me? How would she remember this time? So, I started snapping even MORE pics.

And then I started thinking, "How am I going to remember all of this??" My memory is crap. I mean, it's BAD. Capturing these fleeting moments -- however big or small -- ensures that I'll always remember the details. They are snapshots frozen in time that, when woven together, will tell the story of our family.

I wanted to become a professional photographer because I knew I wasn’t the only mother to have these same thoughts, and I wanted other moms to have beautiful images to remind them of this special time in their own lives. I wanted to help them tell their family’s story. Life moves fast, and it seems to move at warp speed once you have children, so it's important to capture life’s little moments (with mom in them!) as they happen. And not just on a smart phone...but on a beautiful print that you can look at each day and remember just how blessed you are.

(The gallery below is ME, practicing what I preach, and getting in the picture with my family. :) Taken by my wonderfully talented friend @CottonCopperStudio.)

My Blog Jar! | Charlotte Motherhood Photographer

I think we can all agree that I need to blog more, right? You can literally see the cobwebs growing on my website and Facebook page. And why not try to blog more? The advantages are clear for a photographer -- I can showcase your work, potential clients can get to know a bit more about me personally, and SEO loves a good blog! But it can be difficult to consistently come up with new content -- especially for a perfectionist and procrastinator like myself. So I was recently researching topic ideas to get the creative juices flowing and I came across a great recommendation -- a blog jar! All it involves is writing topic ideas on individual pieces of paper and placing them into a jar. From there, you just pull a piece of paper out and start writing! I fell in love with this idea for several reasons:

No more excuses!
The blog jar is sitting on my desk right next to my computer. So as I work, there it is...a visible reminder of a task that needs to get done!

Consistency is key
I can't really say "I don't know what to write about" when I have a jar full of ideas, right? And if I have a jar full of ideas, my writing will be more consistent. And if I'm more consistent, then the visitors to my site will be more consistent too, as they'll know when to expect new content. And lastly, Google loves consistency!

Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow
What a wonderful oxymoron that perfectly explains this blog jar idea! In order to have a more succcessful blog...I need to prepare just a little bit! I also tend to overthink my writing and abandon it (it's that perfectionism poking through again!). Picking a topic out of a jar and writing it out immediately will allow me to write more freely and keep me inspired.

I can add to it!
I have post-it notes all over the house now, so that if I have an idea for a blog post I can jot it down quickly and add it to the jar. It will be a never-ending source of creativity and inspiration!

What kind of content would you like to see on my blog?

2018 in Review | Charlotte Motherhood Photographer

In a word, 2018 was a year of change. We moved from RI, away from most of our family and friends, and put down new roots in Charlotte. I also decided that this would be the perfect time to quit my job in Corporate America and pursue my dream of becoming a full-time photographer, because, why not have all the change happen at once?? Our girls started new schools. They made new friends. I made new mom friends (who have been such a blessing in helping us get acclimated and involved in our new community). I made new photographer friends (which has been so fun and helped me grow immensely as a photographer!). And...I made new clients! It was a slow roll at first...slower than I thought it would be...but eventually they came. One by one. Trusting me with their special moments. I am so honored that they chose me and thankful that they helped make my 2018 the success that it was. To my 2018 clients, THANK YOU! I hope to see you again in 2019! (And bring your friends!)

Oktavec Maternity & Graduation Sessions | Charlotte Photographer

I met Jessica and Erica when I was 6 years old. My dad was in the Coast Guard, and we had just moved from FL to VA. We moved to a neighborhood of townhouses and they lived next to some mutual friends. Jessica and I were close in age (we share the same birthday and are exactly a year apart), and Erica was close in age to my two younger sisters. We were all close for the 3 years we were in VA, but then we had to move again (such is life for a military family!). Oddly enough, my youngest sister--who was probably 5 when we left--and Erica remained the closest over the years. And their closeness allowed the rest of us to remain close as well. What I love about our friendship is that we're all just there for each other, especially for the big life events. We can go months without talking, but when something important comes up, we're there. We're family.

I was over-the-moon excited when Jessica told me she was pregnant. There is no one more deserving and I know that she will be an amazing mother. I wanted to make sure that she had pictures to remember this special time, so I scheduled a maternity session while I was in town to attend her baby shower. We went to Mason Neck park, which is a beautiful park right along the shores of the Potomac river. It was the perfect location with beautiful sunset!

Around that same time, I learned that Erica was graduating from college -- another big life event! Her mom asked if I'd take some pictures of Erica in her cap and gown, but I wanted to do something special. Because Erica is special! And I knew that the only way to capture Erica's fun and colorful spirit was to find an equally fun and colorful backdrop. So I did some research and found these amazing wall murals in Crystal City. I knew I had made the right decision when Erica showed me the dress she had in mind. Gorgeous!