If you're parent, I know you've felt it — the feeling that your child is speed-growing before your eyes and you haven't properly documented the beauty of the stage they're in.
When I first talked with mom Blanca about a session with her new daughter, she was hearing the clock ticking. Her newborn daughter was almost 2 months old, and she was experiencing a hard tug to have beautiful, professional images preserving this early stage of life.
I was so excited to be able to help her out, but she wanted me to know — her apartment was a temporary space, without a lot of furniture or a nursery, and her husband would be unable to take time off work for a session. I told her not to worry about any of that!
When I walked into her apartment, she led me to her bedroom, which had two big windows and a white bedspread. That's truly all I needed to create gorgeous images for her! Our session felt so intimate and slowed-down. I was able to get creative, using both my digital and film cameras (the film scans are Portra 800 and are the first 11 images below). We were also able to create some breastfeeding images, but those are just for mom!
I've been dreaming of doing an at-home maternity session for YEARS, and it finally happened this weekend — thanks to a sweet Charlottesville family waiting for baby number two.
I love that we were able to create beautiful, intimate images in the comfort of their home (especially because it was freezing outside!). They were barefoot, relaxed, and up for all of my creative ideas — which I appreciate so very much!
Our session felt especially meaningful, because their daughter arrived in the throes of the pandemic, and they weren't able to capture any professional maternity or newborn photos. To document the look and feel of this second pregnancy was really important to me, particularly the bond between mom and daughter.
I would love to see this year bring more at-home maternity sessions. They're wonderful for families with young children, because they can play, snack, or run around when they aren't being photographed (and, they simply feel more comfortable at home!).
They're also a great option if you have a fall or spring due date and would be taking your maternity photos in the hottest part of the summer or coldest part of the winter (hello, AC and heat!)
Please reach out if an at-home maternity session sounds like a good fit for you!
I couldn't have dreamed up a better way to kick off my 2023 session schedule.
Baby Sam's January newborn session was relaxed, intimate, and full of love and laughter. I've known his beautiful mom since college, and it was such an honor to help her capture the look and feel of this new chapter.
Mom was also up for documenting a feeding, which I'd love to do more of this year! Breastfeeding can be such a physical and emotional rollercoaster, and the truth is, you never really know how long your journey with it will last. To preserve it with raw, honest photos is a special thing indeed.
Thank you, Sarah and Joel — I hope your photos bring you joy for many years to come!
Jayme is one of the clients I have the honor of working with multiple times a year.
When she first reached out to me, she knew she wanted to document her kids during each season and preserve all her favorites from each session in a yearly album. I can't begin to tell you how much I love this idea! There is no wrong time to start a project like this — your children can be any age!
Even in just two sessions, I've gotten to know these kids, what they're into, and what makes them smile. For L, it's her friends and the fun things they do at sleepovers (like starting a homemade slime business at 4 a.m.!). For E, it's jokes about guts and farts (which make me laugh, too).
Big sister loves her turn front of the camera, while little brother isn't always enthusiastic about it (which is perfectly fine and normal). And yes, they do taunt each other and fight like siblings do.
We embrace all this, go with the flow, and find all the little moments of love along the way.
I can't wait to see these guys again — we're keeping our fingers crossed for a snow session soon!
I don't consider myself a morning person, but I will happily wake up early for sunrise sessions.
Sunrise sessions are so magical and dreamy — I'd consider it one of the best ways to start your day! Seriously. Dedicating one of the first hours of your morning to loving on your family in a stunning, inspiring setting sets the tone for the entire day.
I am so thankful to this sweet little family for not only waking up early, but for traveling to Charlottesville from Richmond! Their dedication paid off ten-fold. Just look at the glow in their images — both from the rising sun and their love for each other.
All the benefits of a sunrise session:
This beautiful Motherhood Session marked my third session with Jenna and her kids. The first time we met was in 2020, before her daughter was even a thought! Fast-forward two years, and her little boy is a big kid and little Anne Paige is a walking adventurer!
We lucked out on a not-too-cold winter evening with a sunset that turned from partly cloudy to completely glowing. I chose this location in north Charlottesville for its long, golden grass, which I knew would add warmth to an otherwise bare backdrop — something that's so important for outdoor winter family sessions!
We spent our hour together jumping, spinning, snuggling, hugging, and giving mom LOTS of love — which is pretty much how every session should go!
My last session of 2022 turned out to be my first Fresh 48 in about four years (except for doing my own son's hospital photos in February 2021).
Sweet little Lea was just over 36 hours old when our session took place. She was awake and bright-eyed almost the entire time! Her parents helped her celebrate her very first Hanukkah with some special outfits and her first dreidel.
Originally, they only wanted photos of Lea (which is completely fine, if you're reading this and considering a Fresh 48), but they made it into the frame toward the end, which I was so happy about. I know Lea will absolutely treasure those photos one day.
Amy and Jonathan, thank you so much for inviting and trusting me to document the start of the best, most beautiful chapter of your lives. Lea is so lucky to have you as her parents!
Fall is a beautiful time of year to schedule your family's annual photos, especially here in Charlottesville, but it can also mean photographing during a really chilly morning or evening. Don't let that deter you from the magic these sessions offer! Here are my top 5 ways to keep warm during our (golden) hour together:
The summer I experimented with magic: An intentional journey with 35mm film | Charlottesville Family Photographer
I experimented with magic this summer — or rather, finding it.
Now that the season is unofficially over, I'll admit it: I was dreading summer. But eventually, I realized that instead of focusing on the heat and how I would occupy two little boys all day, I wanted to find every moment of pure summer, simplicity, and nostalgia.
I wanted to make this experiment tangible, of course. So I kept a notebook handy, and jotted down each moment when I recognized it. A few of my favorites are:
June 4: Watching Oliver eat a giant marshmallow by the campfire — dancing, smiling, biting into like an apple
June 12: Dancing with Tyler in the kitchen to "40 Day Dream" while Oliver danced next to us
June 13: Watching Tucker jump rope for the very first time
The notes end by July, though, when I started picking up my dad's old 35mm film camera again. With this, I realized could savor summer in a whole new, magical way.
I don't know when the last time you used a film camera was, so I'll remind you: It makes you slow way down. To think, to frame, to feel a moment before you capture it. Not to mention, it's oozing with nostalgia. It was just the right tool for an experiment like this.
I shot six rolls of film throughout July and August, each one feeling like Christmas morning when the scans came in. All but one roll was Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400; the last roll (my favorite) was shot using the soft and wonderful Kodak Portra 400.
Not every image was a winner — there were lots of disappointments and frustrations (using expired film didn't help, either). But as with most things, the beauty outweighed the failures.
And along the way, I learned that the magic of summer is really just everyday magic — I was simply choosing to see it.
The good thing about sharing a session that took place almost four months ago is that I get to fall in love with it all over again.
There is so much to adore about the Cox Family's gorgeous November session — the late-autumn foliage, mom's pretty floral dress, and the soft, wispy clouds. But the thing that stands out most to me is how much joy we bottled up. From the first shot to the last, Mom, Dad, and their sweet boy glowed!
Although my family and I moved to Charlottesville in 2019, 2021 felt like my first real year in business here (for obvious, 2020-related reasons), and I'm so thankful to families like the Coxes for making it worth the wait.
The Cox family chose to preserve their session in a my new fabric-covered album. The first page includes the lyrics, "In every life we have some trouble, but when you worry, you make it double.
Don't worry, be happy" — their son's favorite song. The cover is foil-debossed with "Our Family / November 2021."
Welcome to the blog! I'm Laura, a Charlottesville-area photographer specializing in authentic, natural-light photography and heirloom print art. Hope you'll explore my little online home and reach out if you have any questions!