Does the thought of planning a photo session and everything that goes with it drive you into panic? Relax, I’ve got you! Last month, I was chatting with a fellow mom at a social event. I told her what I did and she responded by telling me that she’s never had a professional photo shoot with her family, that everyone online just looks so perfect, and the process seemed too overwhelming. Let me be the first (of I’m sure many) to tell you, what appears online is not real life. Instagram is a highlight reel; even when I share a tough parenting moment in my captions, it’s always paired with a beautiful photo.
Below, are some tips that I give my clients to help alleviate some stress when it comes to planning their photo sessions. Leave your thoughts in the comments and let me know if you’ve done anything that’s not on the list!
When you book a signature session with The Framed Narrative, all clients receive a full guide on what to expect and how to prepare for their session.
A smash cake session is a milestone photo opportunity celebrating a baby’s one year birthday. Typically, your little one eats/smashes/gets messy with cake! It’s a fun and simple way for your child to experiment with something new. Turning one is a big deal, so this photoshoot is a great way to capture this season of life. Scroll down to see what the session all entails at our Milwaukee studio!
Smash cake sessions will take place at our Milwaukee studio. After you book a session with us, you will receive an email on what to expect and how to plan. A few weeks before the session, you and I will work together to come up with a theme, decorations, and an overall look for your photoshoot. On the day you come into the studio, we will take a few photos of just your child, give them the cake and let them have fun and enjoy all its deliciousness! Because I love to photograph parents with their children, I stronglyencourage the parents to get in on the fun as well, so plan accordingly. Want one less thing to carry with you? Order from our exclusive cake partner and get the smash cake delivered right to the studio!
Interested in a photoshoot or want to know more? Click the button below to get more details on booking a session!
2022 was a big year. I finally had the opportunity to travel for fun again and started the year off with a trip to St. Martin with my mom. I wanted to take her somewhere nice and relaxing as a thank you for everything she’s done to support me and St. Martin exceeded all expectations. As I write this out now and it’s a crisp 30 degrees outside, I can’t help but want to be back there. Our time mostly consisted of laying on the beach, reading books and enjoying the local food and drinks! We did manage to fit in a hike and island tour.
I opened a studio. In late February, I was casually browsing the internet one afternoon and came across a listing that would become my Milwaukee Eastside studio space. I called a friend of mine who deals with commercial real estate and he and I toured it, I told him the vision I had in mind and he said that he thought it could work. A few weeks later, I was signing a lease and receiving the keys to my first studio space.
Over the next few months, I worked with a contractor to demo the space and turn it into the vision I had in my head. After many lessons learned, some tears, and lots of deep breathing, I hosted an open house for all my family and friends in September and it was so comforting to have so much love and support from those around me.
I got more time back with my girls. In the middle of July, their dad left for a 6 month deployment, leaving me to be a full-time single parent. It was definitely an adjustment for everyone, but just as it was challenging to balance it all, it was equally, if not more, joyful to have this time with them. Having been deployed myself over the span of 10 years, I’ve missed a lot of time with them so I looked at this time as a way to kind of make up for that.
I met so many new babies. I photographed so many new babies this year. I LOVE lifestyle newborn photography. I love capturing those precious memories of the first few months at home snuggled up with a new baby, where there is no concept of time.
I photographed my last wedding. In the middle of this year, Maria Campbell Photography became The Framed Narrative, which means “a story within a story”. I had a few reasons behind the name change, but ultimately I wanted to rebrand and letting go of weddings was part of that. 2020 was a pivotal year for me personally. I was learning how to navigate life as a newly single mom, leaving one identity behind while embracing another, and realizing what really mattered to me. For the past 6 years, I’ve been so blessed and honored to be part of a couple’s most important day, but capturing motherhood, newborn babies and family sessions are what truly lit me up. I went from being with my girls every weekend to now only having them two weekends a month and I found myself saying no to a lot of weddings because the inquiries were falling on my time with them.
So there it is, 2022 in a nutshell and to say it flew by would be an understatement. I’m very much looking forward to all the big changes that are coming in 2023. Thanks for reading, being part of it all and stay tuned!
A newborn lifestyle session is completely different than at the studio. First of all, it is done in the comfort of your own home. Secondly, there is very little posing or props involved. Moments happen organically, as they do in real life, and I’m there to document them so that you can look back 6 months, 12 months, 10 years from now and remember those early days of when your baby fit into the nook of your arm or slept for hours on end on your chest.
I’ve heard some hesitation with lifestyle shoots like, “The lighting isn’t good enough” or “Our home isn’t decorated” but all of that is workable and sometimes even welcome. I’m there to document your life in real time. Below, I’ve included some tips on how to help you prepare for your lifestyle newborn shoot. I also send out a questionnaire and correspond with all of my clients so that we both know what to expect come session day. That also gives us another opportunity to address any concerns that you might have.
Find the light. Watch the light in your home, specifically in areas where we plan to shoot the most (typically this includes the living room/family room, nursery, and master bedroom). Shut the lights off in your home and see when you have the most natural light in each of these rooms. That will help us determine what time of day will be best to photograph in.
Let go of imperfect. Let go of the idea of having a “picture perfect” house (you just had a baby or you’re about to) and picture perfect siblings. I’m there to capture your life in real time. I don’t want your child looking at the camera. Babies cry and kids run around. That is life and that is your life right now. Embrace the chaos and don’t stress out about it. There’s beauty in every moment.
Pick your outfits carefully. There are some instances where wording on a t-shirt works. But trying to get a toddler to sit still so that we can see his “big brother” t-shirt may be an impossible feat. Neutrals tend to photograph best in home. Pair simple basics with texture and overlays. I typically tell moms to plan their outfits first and then coordinate the family’s outfit around that. If you want to infuse bold colors into your session, kids and accessories are where it’s done best. Another thing to think about is nail polish. While I love a fun and bold manicure, it can be distracting when it comes to newborn photographs, so try to keep the nails as natural as possible.
Relax and have fun! This is your family so relax! The camera knows when you’re tense, so just relax and pretend like there’s no one else there. I will let you know if I need you to look at the camera.
Want some tips on how to take your own newborn photos at the hospital? Click HERE to download my free guide!
Back in September, I hosted an open house and officially opened up my studio for business! Thank you so much to all of those who came out to support me. I had so much fun going through the cards and little messages you all wrote.
A special thank you goes out to my mom and my sister for helping me (but actually doing it!) with the charcuterie cups and the photo stand. And a big thanks goes out to my significant other for helping me hang all the shelves and photos. You guys are truly amazing and I most definitely couldn’t have done it without you.
Now let’s chat about the studio! The build out was a whole process and I learned so much along the way. Pulling permits, scheduling city inspections and finding contractors were all things that were new to me. The space had been vacant for 3 years before I came along and it was a massage area off of a spa which used to be next door. Carpet was replaced with LVP flooring, walls were torn down and painted and drop ceiling tiles were brought down to really open the space up. Although there were some tears to be had, I couldn’t be more happy with how it turned out!
A lot of people have asked me, “What will you be using the studio for?” I will be using the studio for maternity, family and newborn sessions, senior portraits, and branding and headshot sessions. It will also be nice to have an alternate indoor spot just in case weather is inclement. For the past 5 years I’ve gotten by with renting space from other photographers as needed, but a few times space has been double booked, therefore causing me to have to reschedule with clients. Because of how my business is transitioning out of weddings and leaning into motherhood and family portraits, I felt it was time to have a studio to call my own.
Last month my oldest daughter turned TEN! 10 years of parenting fails and parenting wins. 10 years of feeling like my heart is going to explode with so much love and hope for this girl. 10 years of wondering if I’m doing this right. Through the years I’ve learned parenting is not for the faint of heart. From the time you see the first positive pregnancy test until eternity, you will worry about your children. Each stage of life has brought both its own set of joys as well as fears and has taught me so much about life and myself. Here are the top 5 things I’ve learned in my last 10 ten years of parenting.
1. Unconditional love. The love you have for your significant other is completely different than the love you have for your child; there is nothing I wouldn’t do for my children. There is simply nothing like the bond between a mother and a child.
2. Finding joy in every day. Sometimes my oldest gets caught up in a cycle of negativity (like the time I asked her how gym class was and she listed all the sports she didn’t like) so to start our day off, I’ve created a positive songs playlist we listen to on the way to school. It’s taught me to be more optimistic and teach her to find the good in situations.
3. Making memories > things. Every year we go through the toys and throw away/donate so much STUFF. I’ve learned that making memories, like our yearly Nutcracker outing, vacations and taking her to Chicago for her first Broadway musical, has more staying power than buying them all the things.
4. Be silly. Dance parties in the kitchen, car karaoke and dancing at local live bands are all part of our routine. I love that these kids fully embrace the saying of “dance like nobody’s watching.” They are truly themselves in every way possible and have taught me to be more of the same way.
5. No two children are alike. If you decide to have more than one child, you will quickly find that each one is unique. How I parent my first child is completely different from how I parent my second.
Life these these two is anything but dull. They test my patience, challenge me to think in new ways, and make me want to be a better version of myself. The title ‘Mom’ was something I never knew I wanted untilI I became one and it truly is the best.
This past week, I sat down with my sister to talk to her about all things babies. She’s a first time mom and I wanted to talk to her about how life has changed since bringing little Stella into the world. Scroll down for the interview-it’s a good one!
Q. What’s one thing you’ve learned about babies since having Stella that you never knew before?
A.Babies let you know what they need. Even though they can’t talk, you really learn their cries and the difference between a hungry cry or a dirty diaper cry or I just want to be held cry.
Q. What’s the best part about becoming a mom?
A. Everything she does amazes me, I still think, I’m a mom? And what I really mean by that is when I see her developing into her own personality, and discovering the world around her I’m just amazed by everything she does because I created her.
Q. And on the flip side, what has been the most challenging part?
A. The sleepless nights. Thankfully those are fewer these days, but she’s getting teeth and when she’s in pain, it’s no fun for anyone.
Q. Tell me one thing that you miss about your pre-baby days.
A. Honestly it’s hard to remember life before Stella, but sometimes I miss being able to come and go as I wish. Now I plan my outings based on her napping and eating schedule.
Q. What was mom right about?
A. To trust your mommy instincts. She told me kids come with the answers. I wasn’t sure what she meant by that until Stella was here and I learned to trust my gut when dealing with decisions regarding my daughter.
Q. What advice would you give expecting, first-time moms right now?
A.Enjoy and cherish every moment, the beginning is a learning curve for everyone but it gets easier, don’t let mom guilt get the best of you… know the most important thing you can give your child is love and as long as you’re doing that, you’re doing a pretty good job!
Sam and Ian welcomed baby Jax toward the end of December! By far, the best Christmas gift anyone could ever receive. He was absolutely perfect during the session and barely made a sound. Sam and Ian, you two have this parenting thing down! Congrats again on your baby boy, he’s absolutely precious!
To the many, many families I was able to serve over the course of the year. THANK YOU! Thank you for trusting me with your families’ most cherished memories and for giving me the opportunity to laugh, play and run around with your little ones.
To all of the lovely married couples and engaged couples…THANK YOU!!! Taylor and Kyle, you will forever hold a special place in my heart as being my first ever wedding. Thank you to all of this year’s couples who trusted me with documenting their most important day. For booking me and putting your faith in me when I had yet to shoot a single wedding.
If I had to choose one word to describe 2017, it would be incredible. Never did I think a long time hobby could turn into something like this. I’m so excited for 2018 and can’t wait to work with more wonderful families and couples. Thank you to all of my clients, my family and other seasoned photographers for all of your love, support and advice! 2017 wouldn’t have been this amazing without all of you!