maternity 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!

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!

2018 Shoot & Share Contest | Charlotte Family Photographer

For the past two years, I've entered a photo contest hosted by Shoot & Share. The Shoot & Share Photo Contest markets itself as the world’s only free and fair photo contest. Anyone can enter their photos into the contest (even you!), and anyone can vote on them (even you)! Each person can enter up to 50 photos, in 25 different categories. What I love about this competition is that it's completely anonymous, so you're voting solely on the merit of the photo itself and not who took it. No popularity contest here! When you go to vote, you are shown four random pictures, and you pick your favorite of the four. You can do this over and over again (and with 412,379 submissions this year, there was no shortage of photos to vote on). All in all, over 75 million votes were placed!

For me, the fun part was comparing my progress year over year: 

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Not bad, right!? And I was a finalist this year too! So let me show you some of my photos that placed this year in the top 20% or above: 

I love this mother/son moment between baby Magnus and his mama, Lisa

Same ridiculously attractive family, just pre-Magnus! This was an outdoor winter cake smash that was made all the more special because daddy had finally returned from Afghanistan after several months away. 

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This is my sweet niece, Avery. I was babysitting her one weekend so her mommies could have a date night, and I squeezed in a photoshoot...because what else would we do!?

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This one holds a special place in my heart because it's my daughter and my best friend's daughter. We've been besties for 25 years, and in this photo I see the start of the next generation of BFFs.

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I'll be honest-- I love me a good sunset shoot. But in New England, in the winter, the sun sets ridiculously early and things can get DREARY. So you have to get creative. So on one particularly dreary day, I did a cereal milk bath shoot with my girls. So fun!

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And as luck would have it, her sister was a finalist!!  Love my girls. 

Thank you to all my clients who allowed me to capture such beautiful moments. I can't wait to see what the rest of this year holds! Here's a video if you want to see all the photos I submitted: