SL Hunter Photography: Blog http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog en-us (C) SL Hunter Photography contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Tue, 06 Jun 2017 12:57:00 GMT Tue, 06 Jun 2017 12:57:00 GMT Guest Blog: Bringing Home Your First Baby http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2017/6/guest-blog-bringing-home-your-first-baby Bringing Home Your First Baby

 

When you imagine what your delivery will be like or what your baby will look like when they finally arrive, don’t forget to imagine what finally coming home will be like. When your baby is finally in your arms and the nurses bring you over to the Postpartum Wing of the hospital, you can finally breath. Your baby is here. If everyone is healthy, over the next few days, there will be check ins, vital monitoring, tests, and finally the go ahead to head home with your tiny new bundle. During your hospital stay, the postpartum nurses are so helpful, they check in on you and your partner, they bring you your meals, they answer your questions about breastfeeding your newborn, your recovery, holding baby, bathing baby and so on, but when you get home, who do you have?

 

Expect it to take some time

It is amazing how much extra stuff you accumulate once a baby joins your family, multiply it when you add two or three or more babies! Everyone needs fed, generally at the same time, everyone is crying usually at the same time, so what’s a new family to do? If you are not a fan of eating out, for this special time in your life, get take out for your first dinner home. This means everyone can be fed something filling and nutritious in a timely manner. Sometimes we want to get everything done that day, but as new parents, it is okay to let some things slide so you can be sure everyone is fed, warm, happy, and sleeping. Your first night home might seem kind of quiet. That is okay. Your first night home might be exhausting, that is also okay. With postpartum planning in pregnancy you can have prepared for you food, support and sleeping arrangements before your little one arrives.

 

Reach out when you need a hand

Friends and family are always asking how they can help or what you need done. Sometimes as new parents we feel guilty saying “ do you mind doing the dishes, or starting some laundry?” don’t be! What is most helpful to new parents isn’t a friend holding the baby when it is asleep, it’s picking up a chore so that you can snuggle with your squish or rest and recover. It is the little things that matter when it comes to adding a new baby to your family. If family and friends are not working out or you don’t have them around, professional help from a  Postpartum& Infant Care Doula could be just what you need.

 

About the Author:

Tiffany Shank has been a knowledgeable resource and expert in all things

pregnancy, baby and parenting for almost a decade. Her ability to connect people to

resources and information to put them at ease is seen by her work as a Labor andPostpartum Doula.

For more pregnancy and parenting tips visit her website 

 or follow us on social media outlets Facebook

 and Twitter

 

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Family Mommys Newborn Photography Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2017/6/guest-blog-bringing-home-your-first-baby Tue, 06 Jun 2017 12:43:44 GMT
Double Take | Northern VA Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2017/2/double-take-northern-va-newborn-photographer  

This mama came to me worried about her twins and hurting because her own mom was battling cancer...then came these two perfectly healthy porcelain beauties just a few months later...and oh how they came at just the right time to bring the sunshine into their family's lives! They spent no time in the NICU after being born WITHOUT a C-section (almost unheard of these days) at just over 6 lbs each. In the world of twins, THAT is a miracle.

 

 

 

 

 

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Newborn Preview Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2017/2/double-take-northern-va-newborn-photographer Wed, 22 Feb 2017 04:57:51 GMT
Zipper Strong | CHD Awareness http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2017/2/zipper-strong-chd-awareness  


I am the mommy of a child who is different.   All I ever want and need is for others to understand. To understand my family, to understand my son, to understand the hours of therapy, the meltdowns, and the uncertainty that we live with daily. To listen and not judge, not offer advice, and not extend pity, but to try understand us.


Two years ago, I had the privilege of meeting several families that have children with congenital heart defects.  Absently, I befriended them on Facebook and started to receive their updates.  That is when the raw truth of the struggles and the pain and the triumph and the heartbreak of these families was lain bare to me. Silently, I became intertwined in the lives and every update of several children born with broken hearts.  My own heart began to ache each time one of them caught a cold or had a complication, or turned blue from poor circulation. My own heart cried as I followed one family's anguish when the battle became too much for her 4 month old in the end.  Silently, I went with them to checkups, open heart surgeries, and ER visits.  I prayed through infections, replacements, strokes and codes.  But really, What can I do? what can I possibly do to make any tangible difference at all in these families' lives?  I'm sitting here on my computer with my two healthy kids with no comprehension of what it’s like to hand your child to a surgeon with nothing but percentages of success to comfort me. How could I possibly relate to a pregnant mother, with all the hopes of a new mom crashing down before her eyes, as doctors and nurses whisper in the hallway. What can I possibly do?

 

Then I realized, I can care.  Not just the pitiful kind of care where you shake your head and maybe shed a tear then move on to the next post. No, I can try to understand. I can listen. I can try to see these children how their parents see them--fragile and scarred, but brave and mighty. Broken, but perfect. I can attempt to put myself in their shoes to understand the hours in the hospital, the special directions, the last minute change of plans. I can listen and not judge, not offer advice, or extend pity, but just listen. Yes, I am an advocate and I fight for my child, but these parents are warriors that go to battle alongside their children as they wrestle monsters like fear, hopelessness, pain, and death with equal amounts of faith, hope, strength and love.They face decisions no parent should ever have to face, and they value every second of love and life because of it.  Their reality is different than ours, and this project is my humble and sincere attempt not only to understand the world of these families and children, but to give you a glimpse into their world, that you might seek to understand as well.  


This was the most difficult, but also the most rewarding project I've ever done.  Getting to know these kids and these families was absolutely priceless, and I am grateful that they allowed me into their lives so willingly. Please don't let their sacrifices of time and their brave transparency for this project go unnoticed! Please share this... share it on Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram and everywhere, and hashtag it #zipperstrong! If these stories and these images and these words resonate with you, even a little, please share this so that others can also hear and see their stories. Thank you.

SheRae Hunter

SL Hunter Photography

 

Click Here for Video Version

 


Maggie

2 Years Old

Loves animals, especially dogs

 

3 Congenital Heart Defects

 

“You can never prepare yourself… you feel so helpless  as a parent

because there is nothing you can do to change it. 

But then your child shows you how strong and brave 

they are…”

~Maggie’s Mommy

#zipperstrong 

 


 

Emilee

3 Years old

Loves cheeseburgers the best

 

Multiple Congenital Heart Defects and

9 Open Heart Surgeries

 

…After her last open heart {surgery} I looked at her big, beautiful lips and her cute toes, and I realized they were pink!  After 2 1/2 years, my daughter was finally pink! I’d never seen her with pink {skin} and at the moment I fell onto her bed crying tears of joy. I knew she was going to have a longer, happier life than the 3-5 years they gave us…”

 

~Emilee’s Mommy

​#zipperstrong  


Isaac

2 years old

Loves food. Quite a bit. 

 

 

Diagnosis: Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Feeding tube placed.

"When he cries, sometimes I smile because he was on a ventilator for so long, and he couldn't cry.  It's weird, I know, but I smile."

~Isaacs Mommy

 

 

 

 

Madeline

5 Years old

Loves to sing and loves to dance

 

3 surgical procedures, 2 of them, open heart surgeries  

“…How important God is as our foundation! And we are blessed beyond measure by having Madeline in our life”

~Madeline’s Mommy 

​#zipperstrong 


 

Colton

4 Years Old

Always smiling. Always

 

Diagnosis: Multiple Congenital Heart Defects 

 

“{we are} taking the good, no matter how

tiny, and the bad, no matter how big, as it comes. Have hope that {he} will 

overcome this…hope for a miracle”

~Colton’s Mommy (one year ago, during 

his toughest battle yet)

​#zipperstrong 


 

Caleb

6 years old

A fun-loving goofball always ready for a good adventure

 

3 Open Heart Surgeries,

countless additional procedures

 

“..our whole world changed, what we once thought of a certainty was long gone. We learned to appreciate every breath and moment..we value each other more”

 

~Caleb’s Mommy 

​#zipperstrong 

 


 

Kaylen

2 Years old

Treasures her poster signed buy the UVA football team

 

2 open heart surgeries,

the first at just 4 days old

 

“Handing our daughter off to medical staff…knowing they were

 going to stop her heart for the procedure..it’s the hardest 

thing we’ve ever had to do”

 

~Kaylen’s Mommy

​#zipperstrong 


 

Anthony

4 years old

Big fan of Micky Mouse

 

 

4 Congenital Heart Defects 

5 Open Heart Surgeries

“The best advice ever given to us? ‘You will have your own

normal, don’t worry about what other families do. You will establish your own normal…its okay to be a little different’ ’’

 

-Anthony’s Mommy

​#zipperstrong  

 


Emily

Age 7

 

Future Performer and Gymnast! 

Diagnosis: Atrioventricular Septal Defects &Hypoplastic left heart syndrome 

 

"CHD is the realization that our daughter is sick. It is the realization that we, as her parents may outlive her... [but] what makes me most proud is all the pride she has in being a heart hero"  

~Emily's Mommy (and Daddy)

​#zipperstrong  


Miguelangel 

Age 3

 

Always busy making sure EVERYONE has a smile on their face 

Diagnosis: Transposition of the Great Arteries 

"We are grateful for him, for each other, for family, and for our community. He is a reminder to be more compassionate towards everyone...we may not know what battles they may be facing"

 

~Miguelangel's Mommy and Daddy 

​#zipperstrong  


Daleigh 

Age 2

 LOVES chocolate. It's her favorite.

Diagnosis: Double Outlet Right Ventricle and VSD

 

"The hardest thing I've ever had to do was hand my 3 month old baby over for surgery." 

~Daleigh's Mommy

​#zipperstrong  


Nayleigh

6 months on Earth, forever an Angel Warrior. Her big brother and big sister pose beside her.  

 

 She was the sweetest, and could light up a room with her big beautiful eyes. She loved holding hands. She would sit there and hold your hand and as soon as you would walk away, she would start getting restless and crying for you to come back

Diagnosis: Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

“What better way to keep her memory alive, but by always saying her name and hearing others do the same. We have many precious memories of her...We miss her so much every day” 

~Nayleigh's Mommy and Daddy

​#zipperstrong  


 

Finn

2 Years Old

Ask him to name 22 species of sharks. He will!

Diagnosis: Multiple Heart Defects

"CHD is a lifelong illness with no cure, surgery only helps [my son] survive. I avoid fear of the future by remembering that worrying does not solve tomorrow’s problems, but instead strips today of it’s strength."

~Finn's Mommy

​#zipperstrong  


Charlotte

2 Years old

 

Charlotte has a BIG family with 11 aunts and uncles!

Diagnosis: Ventricular and Atrial Septal Defect  

 

"Charlotte doesn’t have a zipper, and people assume that because she hasn’t had surgery, she isn’t that sick. Surgery is not a cure, and the struggles are still there with our without the zipper scar..."

~Charlotte's Mommy

​#zipperstrong  


Ava

5 years old

 

Ava is one determined little girl. And quite the little dancer!

Diagnosis: Tetralogy of Fallot w/Pulmonary Atresia

 

"When Ava started preschool they did not have an AED [Defibrillator]. That really stressed me out and my friends wanted to help. They collected half the cost of the AED and then shared a GoFundMe to finish collecting the money needed. It still makes me cry to think of their generosity"

~Ava's Mommy

​#zipperstrong  


Makayla

6 years Old

A happy, smiling little girl—that’s Makayla

Diagnosis: Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome 

 

"I don’t let little things get to me anymore knowing we have God’s protection over our Makayla…"

~Makayla’s Daddy

​#zipperstrong  


John

2 years old

 

Due to a rare condition, his heart is on the opposite side of his body!

Diagnosis: HLHS, DORV, Heterotaxy

 

"We appreciate every moment with him.  Literally every day John wakes up I greet him with a huge hug and I think ‘Yes! I get another day with my sweet John!’ He is perfect to us in every way, even with his special heart."  

~John's Mommy

​#zipperstrong  


Gwenyth

2 months on Earth, forever an Angel Warrior. Her little brother and big sister pose beside her.  

 

"We went to the Zoo with our 2 daughters when Gwen was 3 weeks old. She didn’t see anything because she was snuggled in her baby carrier,  but I know she heard a peacock! A peacock is a symbol of eternal life in Medieval paintings, so now whenever we see a peacock, we think of our Gwenyth."

Diagnosis: Truncus Arteriosus with Neonatal Alloimmune Neutropenia

 

"To cope with the loss of Gwen, I blogged …writing helped me to vent off some of the mess inside—finding words to detail the agony helped direct it outward instead of stirring it inside. It also always helps me to remind myself that I only feel this much pain because of how much love is there—ALWAYS there."

~Gwenyth's Mommy

​#zipperstrong  


Brayden

4 years old

 

Brayden is literally one of the coolest 4 year olds I've ever met

Diagnosis: Pulmonary Atresia, Dextrocardia, L-TGA and aVSD

 

"It was so hard to hand over my perfectly healthy looking baby for a procedure that I know will save his life, but make him much worse before it made him better.  To watch the Dr’s walk away with him in their arms almost broke me as a Mom.  The fear creeps in everyday, but if we’re having a good day I tell that to myself, ‘everything is ok right now’."

~Brayden's Mommy

​#zipperstrong  


 

Silas

9 years old

 

Future soccer player? or maybe an artist...or maybe both!

Diagnosis: Single ventricle left heart, L-TGA

 

During Silas ' second surgery , staph infection with MRSA was introduced under his sternum bone .. He became very ill... even to the point of death .. I had to literally open my hands next to his bed and tell God that He gave me Silas and He has the right to have him .. and that He would need to teach me to trust Him to live life without my precious Silas if He should chose to take him to heaven .. Silas was 6 months old.

~Silas' Mommy

​#zipperstrong  


André

2 months on Earth, forever an Angel Warrior. His best buddy poses with him. 

Andre’s eyes had an incredible depth to them - even as a newborn…like an old soul

Diagnosis: Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome 

"So many people are afraid to bring up our angels.  Its as though they think it will just make it more painful, or awkward, or remind us of our loss.  But it is such a GIFT when people bring him up.  I LOVE talking about Andre.  I LOVE hearing other people say his name. He's the best thing that ever happened to me.  I need other people to know that he's a part of me."

~André's mommy

​#zipperstrong  

 

 



 

 

Very Special thanks to the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum , Little Gym of Winchester and  Mended Little Hearts of the Shenandoah Valley. Without their help, this project would have been impossible. Thank you Megan Setzer, for the insight and the encouragement for this project, as well as the ideas. And last, but certainly not least, thank you to the families who participated in the project. I know it must have been difficult to share such intimate words with a stranger, and I know your time is precious.  Thank you, because you and your children are this project.  

#zipperstrong 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2017/2/zipper-strong-chd-awareness Mon, 13 Feb 2017 15:01:20 GMT
8 days new| Martinsburg Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/9/8-days-new-martinsburg-newborn-photographer I can't stop looking at this gorgeous little girl--she is an absolutely perfect little doll! She slept like an angel, so tiny and sweet, and I enjoyed every minute with her beautiful family--I know her Mamas will treasure these moments forever <3 

 

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Newborn Preview Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/9/8-days-new-martinsburg-newborn-photographer Thu, 01 Sep 2016 04:16:55 GMT
First Year|Winchester Baby Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/8/first-year-winchester-baby-photographer Oh my my heart!! I cannot believe this little girl is almost 1 year old! She is such a tiny sweet little peanut! I had the pleasure of capturing her newborn portraits, and at just a few days old she was perfectly beautiful, with long dark locs and long eyelashes. Then I got to capture her 3 month pictures, her toes were in her mouth the entire time, and she was so very smiley! By 6 months her outgoing personality was in full swing, and with big smiles and giggles, she came to me and give me cuddles willingly, while her long dark hair started to change from deep dark locs to brunette wisps with light blond streaks. I cannot wait to see her soon for her one year cakesmash portraits!

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Newborn Preview Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/8/first-year-winchester-baby-photographer Mon, 29 Aug 2016 12:41:07 GMT
Ladder to the Stars| Winchester baby photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/8/ladder-to-the-stars-winchester-baby-photographer May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung 

-Bob Dylan 

 

I had the absolute pleasure of photographing this little baby girl for a very special occasion. You see, she was born with a broken heart, and just a few months ago, she underwent (another) open heart surgery.  This session was to celebrate her recovery, the return of her smile and spunk and sweet personality after weeks in a hospital bed.  I loved every second of getting to know this little peanut, and her brother (who you can tell is bursting with love and pride, even though he is pretty much a baby himself).  Build a latter to the stars little one...and climb on every rung <3

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Baby Photography Preview Winchester Newborn Photographer zipperstrong http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/8/ladder-to-the-stars-winchester-baby-photographer Sat, 27 Aug 2016 13:40:37 GMT
Winchester Newborn Photographer| Take Two http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/8/winchester-newborn-photographer-take-two See that little girl in the first picture? I did her Newborn pictures 18 months ago, and now she's a big sister! This little guy was nearly a month old, and he was awake nearly the entire time, so I got LOTS of expression! Enjoy all the adorableness of this little girl's brand new baby brother <3

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Newborn oldborns http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/8/winchester-newborn-photographer-take-two Thu, 25 Aug 2016 13:08:34 GMT
Fresh 48| Manassas Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/8/fresh-48-manassas-newborn-photographer This little man made a grand entrance a tad bit early--gave us all a scare, but both he and his mama are happy and healthy!  His nursery is absolutely darling, and you could just feel how much love went into making everything perfect for his arrival...​

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Newborn Preview Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/8/fresh-48-manassas-newborn-photographer Thu, 25 Aug 2016 13:08:16 GMT
9 days new | Martinsburg Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/8/9-days-new-martinsburg-newborn-photographer He wanted to be awake for her entire session, and he tried so hard, bless his little heart! Very rarely do I get an awake and happy baby, but this time we were able to capture those baby gray eyes just before he drifted to sleep. This military family session was close to my heart in more ways than one...

 
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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Newborn Preview Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/8/9-days-new-martinsburg-newborn-photographer Wed, 17 Aug 2016 22:25:38 GMT
7 days new|Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/8/7-days-new-winchester-newborn-photographer Her Grandmommy called me from the hospital right after she was born, and I was so happy that I had a space in my schedule just for this sweet little bundle. She was oh so tiny and I loved every second and every snuggle!   

 

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Newborn Preview Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/8/7-days-new-winchester-newborn-photographer Wed, 17 Aug 2016 22:21:27 GMT
Well, that was adorable| Stylized Children's Portraits http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/7/well-that-was-adorable-stylized-childrens-portraits At the last minute, a friend and I put this session together hoping people would see it in time! Having a child with ASD, I wanted to help her daughter raise money to get her autism service dog. We wanted to do a fun summer theme and the idea of a watermelon shoot came up! We had some adorable kiddos come out that evening in a beautiful location by a lake, and ended up having a TON of fun, lots of laughs, and just a good time in general. Thank you to all who participated to help Jayden--you are awesome! 

 


A

 

 

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Children's Mini Portraits Sessions Stylized http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/7/well-that-was-adorable-stylized-childrens-portraits Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:35:46 GMT
8 days new | Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/7/8-days-new-winchester-newborn-photographer This little girl was teeny tiny, and sooooo sweet <3 I totally messed up when I realized I arrived at her house (as my awesome assistant can tell you)  without half of my props *gasp* and I had to go all the way back home and get them! This princess was a trooper though, (and so was her momma) she still slept the ENTIRE session for me! #mommybrain 

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Newborn Preview Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/7/8-days-new-winchester-newborn-photographer Mon, 18 Jul 2016 12:34:07 GMT
Flipbook Albums http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/7/mini-album 5x7 Flipbook ($150)

This is one of my favorite little products! It holds 25 images and it's a true album with thick pages and a durable surface coating. As you may know, all of my pacakges come with an album, but if you wanted an extra gift album, or if you are making a la carte purchases and you wanted an album on the side, this is a great option!  

 

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Newborn Products Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/7/mini-album Mon, 18 Jul 2016 12:28:20 GMT
11 days new|Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/7/11-days-new-winchester-newborn-photographer This beautiful baby boy has one of the thickest heads of hair I have ever seen on a newborn! Working with this incredibly photogenic little family made my job easy, and loving on this little bundle made made my entire week :) 

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/7/11-days-new-winchester-newborn-photographer Mon, 18 Jul 2016 12:11:45 GMT
Winchester Newborn Photographer | 9 days new http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/7/winchester-newborn-photographer-9-days-new This little baby boy had the most cherub-like face I've ever seen. He was like a tiny porcelain doll in my arms!

I absolutely LOVE my job--every time I see an adorable baby picture, all I can think is how much I want to hold and love on that baby, but for all the pictures displayed on my page and office and website, it blows my mind that I actually got to do that with over 100 babies <3

Enjoy this handsome, thoughtful-looking little guy! looking little guy!  

 

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Newborn Photography Preview Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/7/winchester-newborn-photographer-9-days-new Thu, 07 Jul 2016 11:58:17 GMT
Leesburg Newborn Photographer| 7 Days New http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/6/leesburg-newborn-photographer-7-days-new  

This little girl brought a big blended family together like only a little sister could! All of her siblings are teens or preteens and you could just see the love in their faces as they held her close.  It was a joy to work with this big family and this beautiful baby! 

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/6/leesburg-newborn-photographer-7-days-new Sun, 12 Jun 2016 11:57:28 GMT
First Impressions 3D/4D Ultrasound: A look inside! http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/first-impressions First heartbeat, first movement, first look at a tiny profile. No one understands the joy and the impact of every first like First Impressions 3D/4D Ultrasound.  Tucked away in a little nook of Stephens City, First Impression's ultrasound establishment is spacious and comfortable, but warm and cozy at the same time. The perfect sister-sister team that owns the establishment (one a creative business professional, and the other a creative healthcare professional) makes sure that every single mama-to-be that walks through the doors feels comfortable and confident.  Many moms-to-be have already enjoyed their baby showers and gender reveals (full décor and cake provided) at First Impressions, and they even sell keepsakes like heartbeat bears, custom made frames and albums, and monogrammed products in their retail area. In addition to all of this, the location hosts a number of parental classes from breastfeeding and childbirth , to prenatle yoga and infant massage

   I was humbled that they chose SL Hunter Photography to adorn the walls of their gorgeous space, and I want to share this hidden gem with everyone! Yet another unique service that the Winchester area has to offer that everyone needs to hear about! 

Fun Fact:  First Impressions 3D/4D Ultrasound is the only place in the local area that you can get a 4D scan, and 14 week gender reveal! No more waiting for 20 weeks!

 

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/first-impressions Thu, 21 Apr 2016 18:22:35 GMT
Winchester Baby Photographer|First Birthday http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/winchester-baby-photographer-first-birthday So a mama came to me not too long ago wanting to do something special and unique for her daughter's first birthday shoot.  She was FULL of ideas and pinboards, and pictures (which is my favorite kind of client--one that's as excited as I am!) and she shared her daughter's personality and her vision with me.  Right away I knew that I had found them. The family that would absolutely love to do a first birthday paint session! I scoured the internet for an edible paint recipe (found it here) and WE HAD A BLAST. To be honest, I wasn't exactly sure how long her baby girl would be a blue smurf after the session, but mom was cool with that  because she's awesome (turns out that it washed off of her skin right away, which was an added plus of the above recipe)! I hope you enjoy this glimps of their session as much as I do!

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/winchester-baby-photographer-first-birthday Mon, 11 Apr 2016 16:48:49 GMT
Winchester Newborn Photographer| 9 days New http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/winchester-newborn-photographer-9-days-new My job is to capture memories, but I am most challenged when I am asked to preserve a memory for a parent while at the same time creating a memory for a child. When a family wants to incorporate a loved one who has passed away in their images, I always consider the request carefully. I want to convey all of the feelings of love, respect, admiration, and joy in the image itself, so that not only the older generation feels that memory surface, but so that brand new generation in the picture can look back at the picture one day and feel a connection with the person who, if they had the chance, would love them to the moon and back. The two images at the end honor this new mother's father, who was never able to meet his granddaughter.  He shared a special bond with his daughter through the unique sport of drag-racing, and she someday hopes to continue this love and legacy with her daughter (and sons), just as she knows her father would.

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/winchester-newborn-photographer-9-days-new Wed, 06 Apr 2016 21:56:18 GMT
How to Choose a Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/3/how-to-choose-a-newborn-photographer How to choose a newborn photographer

 

1) MOST IMPORTANT: Parents, NEVER, EVER attempt the poses that you see professionally. They are all very specific poses that are taught to professionals in a step by step manner. Attempting them on your own could have severe consequences.  

2) This post is NOT meant to discourage aspiring photographers, just to educate new moms! The sample images I use in this blog are some of my first sessions.  They were, however, photographed AFTER I took my first newborn safety posing course 5 years ago.

Why this is an important decision

Remember when you started the search for your wedding photographer? Think of it this way: You may be able to take a chance with your yearly family session, but like wedding photography, newborn photography is highly specialized. Like weddings, it’s a one-shot deal.  The newborn window between 5 and 14 days of life is gone forever in the blink of an eye, along with the chance for professional newborn pictures, so when you choose, you want to make sure that you choose wisely.  Newborn photography is time consuming and very expensive for a photographer to train for which should always be reflected both in the portfolio and in the investment for the experience (you simply cannot teach yourself many of the techniques safely, and the industry knows that).   The number of photographers out there, most including in their intro/bio/portfolio that they do offer newborn sessions can be absolutely overwhelming!  Above all, you want your baby to be SAFE, and you don’t want anyone who hasn’t been trained ‘practicing’ on your fragile child (practicing is different than portfolio building—all photographers do this regularly to keep their portfolios fresh, and individuals who are building portfolios presumably have already gone through the necessary workshops to achieve safe posing) In addition to the obvious (a website, reviews, general professionalism ) Individuals will have a special manner about the way they work that makes for a calm, sleepy baby, and a high level of comfort and trust in the parents, so that they feel they can relax throughout the session…Baby Whispering, some like to call it :)    

Style

Are they lifestyle (also called photo journalistic) or portrait (posed)?

 Or do they do both? Many photographers choose one or the other, but some do a hybrid of both, or offer them as a separate type of session.  Either way, this is definitely something that should be reviewed and discussed before booking a session.

 

This is a Lifestyle image

 

This is a portrait image

Does this photographer specialize?

You want to make sure that the artist specializes in newborn/baby photography. This may not be the only thing that they specialize in, but keep in mind that a photographer that claims to ‘specialize’ in Newborns, Families, Corporate, Weddings, and everything else under the sun may be a “Jack of all trades, but a master of none.” Trust me on this--been there, done that! Newborn Photography is highly a highly specialized art.

Do you like their overall style from posing and lighting to post processing?

Every photographer has a different style. As artists, it’s impossible to have the exact same style from one photographer to the next.  Tiny differences in posing, lighting, and post processing can make one photographer drastically different from the next

Do you include family and sibling shots?

This varies from photographer to photographer.  Some photographers include siblings and family, some charge extra, and some do not do them at all.  It’s purely a matter of preference, but it certainly needs to be addressed!

Ordering?

Do they do online orders or in-person orders? Ask them why they choose to do ordering the way that they do.

Digital Negatives

Are they included, available to purchase within a package, or do they not include them at all? Photographers with higher session fees typically include a few images as digital negatives with reproduction rights. Photographers with lower priced session fees typically provide negatives within a package or as a backup for prints, or sometimes not at all.  Regardless, consider what you want to do with the images after they are taken—Album? Wall Art? Lots of small prints and gifts? A good photographer will be able to talk you through all of this so that you are confident going into the session and placing your orders.

What are they charging for their session ?

If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.  This is a biggie, and I will not quote an actual session price, since your location is going to play a big role in the specifics, but generally pretty much anywhere in the US, Parents hiring high quality newborn photographers plan to spend about $500 at the very least, if they only want some items/negatives, but the majority spend between $600-$800 (this is including some products as well) and many locations even have average spending $2000-$4000 (which is still less than many would spend for a wedding photographer!). Price is highly dependent on location as well (for example, a session in Washington DC or New York is going to be on that higher end).  If you encounter a photographer who is not charging much and is including a ton of digital negatives, do some digging into their profile, full sessions, and experience, as this can be a red flag.  In order to be licensed, insured, trained, and to have all the proper equipment and props, a photographer MUST charge a certain price.     

Do they have a studio or do they come to you?

Both work great and it’s a matter of preference! Photographers that come to you like to get the family involved while photographers in a studio often use an assistant.  There is no right or wrong way and there are pros and cons to each—you just need to make sure you are comfortable!

Plans and Packages?

Ask about packages and plans—I cannot stress this enough consider what you want to get from this session and make sure that you budget accordingly. Consider not only the session an images themselves, but also what you want to do with the images--the final product of any portrait session is always prints, albums, wall art and products--not just the digital negatives, and this is true regardless of whether you are getting them printed at a consumer location, or ordering from the photographer's professional lab. Are you looking for quantity or quality in that final product?  A good photographer will help you get what you want yet stay within your budget through a selection of plans.  Another thing to consider: does your photographer only do newborn sessions or will they be able to photograph your baby at 6, 9, 12 months? Do they do Maternity sessions?

 

Experience/Safety 

When do they book sessions?

Sessions should take place in the first 2 weeks of life for the majority of the popular poses that you see.  If your child is older, your photographer should tell you explicitly that some of those poses may not be possible. Why? Attempting some of those poses on more mature ligaments can cause injury.  Don’t worry, if you missed the window, you can still get some cute awake pictures and a few of the sleepy poses still work! 

Vaccines?

It’s ok and it’s your right to ask whether your photographer has had the flu vaccine and the whooping cough vaccine.  These two disease are severe for a newborn, and these two vaccines are paramount for anyone who works with newborn babies, including healthcare, daycare, and photographers.

Are they legal

This is a no brainer, and also always your right to ask.  A true professional is both licensed as a business and insured as a business.  Posing as a photography business without a license is illegal, and working without insurance is dangerous for everyone involved.  They should have no problem producing proof of both.    

How long have they worked with newborns?

This should really be phrased ‘how many newborn sessions have you done’ A photographer may do just 5-6 over a period of 5 years, or 40-50 over the period of 2 years—it all comes down to the photographers  experience, and also how comfortable you feel with the number of times they’ve done this.

Do they meet with you beforehand?

This is a professional courtesy. You should either meet the photographer, or at least have a phone conversation with them prior to your session. Also, they should remain in contact with you up until the baby’s birth and the session. 

Are they experienced with a camera? (do they know what they are doing technically)

This is another biggie.  When a photographer shares pictures on their website within their portfolio or on their blog, or if they share picture on their Facebook page, they are sharing their very best work. If that work is blurry, badly lit (under/overexposed), framed improperly, overprocessed, ect., what does that say about the rest of their work? what you don’t see? Ask to see an entire session! A professional photographer will have NONE of these very basic errors in a final portfolio.  

Are the babies safe?

Composite shots, Counterweights, spotter, hyperextension, acrocyanosis should be words that you photographer is familiar with.  Does your photographer know how to tell if you baby is too hot or too cold, hungry, wet, tired or gassy ? Of course there will be some fussing, but your newborn session should be mostly peaceful, and your baby should not be screaming the entire time—in fact, if you are a new parent, you may pick up some soothing tricks from your newborn photographer! Don’t be afraid to ask all of these questions.  Newborn poses may be creative, but the base poses are specific and in order to avoid injury or an uncomfortable baby, they can only be taught-- not discovered, or experimented with. Note: A baby should NEVER be placed in a glass or ceramic container. Those poses are cute, but dangerous and not worth the risk of injury or death

Are the babies comfortable?

Take a look at the online portfolio and Facebook pictures.  Are the expressions soft and sleepy, or are their little faces contorted or grumpy looking? Are their arms and legs bent at awkward angles instead of natural womb-like positions? Do their hands look relaxed and open or loose, or are the hands mostly closed into tight fists underneath their heads and bodies? Are they grabbing their skin and cheeks too tightly?  Now look at their faces, can you see both cheeks in all of the pictures or are their faces just smooshed into the blanket? Last but not least, if you see any ‘bits and pieces’ of their manhood or womanhood, that is a red flag—an experienced photographer will make sure that not only every showcased picture is decent, but every picture you receive as well. Baby bottoms are ok—and super adorable, I might add!

Is the posing ‘neat’?

Do they bother with set design and color planning? Final images, especially those shared on a website or social media will look purposeful. Colors will complement one another, and the posing will be tidy. Here of some examples of what I mean by that:

Now here's an awkward pose (This was one of my very first newborn sessions--even after training. yeesh)

1) Face smooshed into blanket

2) Hand awkwardly crumpled under chin

3) blanket is lumpy and disorganized 

And here is a comfy baby:

1) Colors and textures are purposeful 

2) Hands relaxed

3) Lips and cheeks visible

 

 

Another pose that's not quite right (another early session of mine)

1) Hand blocking face

2) Face smooshed into lumpy blanket 

3) Legs and feet unposed and out of focus 

Much Better:

1)Purposeful sharpness and softness in focus

2) Hands relaxed

3) Face and limbs relaxed and visible 

 

 

To be completely honest, in the end I really hope you choose me (of course!) but if you decide to go with another photographer, of if you don't live nearby, then use these guidelines and tips to find an experienced individual to work with during this once-in-a-lifetime experience! HERE is a printable list of question to ask your potential newborn photographer!

 

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contact@slhunterphotography.com (SL Hunter Photography) Newborn Winchester Newborn Photographer http://www.slhunterphotography.com/blog/2016/3/how-to-choose-a-newborn-photographer Mon, 14 Mar 2016 00:30:58 GMT