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!
Little Stella made her way into this world and our hearts on July 8th. She couldn’t be any more perfect and is such a wonderful addition to our little girl clan. My two girls absolutely love their new baby cousin and I can tell they’re going to be best buddies. My sister and her fiancé didn’t skip a beat when it came to their new roles as parents. They are both naturals and Stella hit the parent jackpot with these two. Congratulations Melissa and Victor, your baby girl is absolutely perfect.