One of my favorites ways to reflect on 2019 in review is to select favorites from each session, bringing them all together in a collection at the end of the year. It is such a beautiful way to wrap up, and a reminder of just how blessed each year has been.
This year… I am still just sitting back in awe of it all, and feeling especially blessed and grateful as I look back on all that has unfolded. It has been an incredible year! I am usually much more on it and have this post up by New Year’s Day, but honestly am just now catching my breath having gone non-stop since March. It is an amazing problem to have, and as I look back and reflect am honestly overwhelmed with emotion at times.
Since fall of 2018 I had been carefully planning a big switch in Little Loo Photography, rebranding from posed newborn and families, to birth. I had invested time and finances in hiring an experienced and talented birth mentor Angie Klaus Photography. Angie was so helpful in looking at my brand in general, and in preparing me for the work that it would take to branch into this genre. Birth really is unlike anything else. I knew it would be a risk, as I had worked so hard in my first 7 years in business building a brand I was known for (posed newborn), and to change that was a bit scary. I had hoped and prayed that it would unfold just as I envisioned, and that the clients would come. I worked hard on learning and fine tuning my filmmaking skills, and invested in workshops and online communities, to soak up as much information and resources as I could.
My life plan included me retiring as a labor and delivery nurse here in Las Vegas in January 2020, at my 20 year anniversary. It was a career that held my identity, and so much of my heart and soul. Patient care and caring for families during life’s most intimate and life changing moment was never lost on me. Even up until the end I was in awe of the fact that this was my career, that I got to do this as a living. I had the perfect plan of how the two would unfold; me retiring from L&D as I launched my brand in birth stories. I mean how perfect that I still get to be a part of the incredible miracle of birth, but in a new role?
I am a very goal oriented person, and I have plans to follow for just about everything I do from running marathons, to traveling, you name it. But, God always has a better plan, and I am always amazed at how much richer and deeper His always is. By March of 2019, it was becoming clear that trying to grow my birth business was going to be difficult while working at the hospital and as changes occurred on the unit, I just felt the whisper that it was time (kinda hard for this OCD person who likes to stick to the plan), but it just kept nudging and pulling at my heart, and after some deep conversations with my husband and reviewing finances, I made the leap and went out early. Walking off the unit I had walked onto for 19 years after resigning, was incredibly emotional. I worked alongside the best of the best, and was blessed enough to work with incredible nurses, doctors, and staff. I met and cared for so many families over the years.
I spent time hoping and praying that the birth clients would come, and I would be able to grow it. And, boy oh boy, grow it did! I honestly struggled to keep up. I got inquiry after inquiry, and had the most incredible clients find me, clients willing to open and share their birth spaces with me, trusting me to tell such an intimate and personal part of their lives, their birth story. Trusting me in capturing moments that can’t be relived or redone, and it has been the most incredible year in Little Loo’s history. Mind blowing really!
But, let’s get to the favorites part of it- my yearly favorites! I pick an image from each session that speaks the most to my heart. I usually put them together in a slideshow, but am changing it up this year! (I do have clients that request that I not post their images on my blog or social media sites, and I always honor that, so they are not included in the numbers or favorites). Enjoy!
I had made a goal for 2019 to shoot 10 births (double the births I documented in 2018), and I ended up documenting
Each birth was so different, and so full of emotion and love!
Documenting a surrogate birth story has long been a dream of mine, so I was over the moon when this story found me. It was incredibly touching and even more beautiful than I could have imagined.
What I have learned in being a birth photographer is that it really is unlike any other genre. Being on call for births for an average of 3 weeks at a time means that other type of work can’t really be scheduled around it for risk of having to reschedule clients, which isn’t ideal.
In no other genre do you have no idea when it will happen, it could be 2am, it could be two weeks from today, it could be tomorrow, and having everything ready to go in an instant is crucial. So, as hard as it was that meant less of the work I had done in the past, less family, newborn, and maternity sessions. It was so hard to say ‘no’ to so many families.
To end 2019, I was given the opportunity to be among the incredibly talented and diverse group of Birthbound Photographer instructors. I will be presenting a portion of their birth photographer certification course, bringing my experience as an L&D nurse in hopes of forging stronger relationships in the hospital setting, and elevating the genre of birth photography as a whole. It has been an incredible opportunity, and one I am so grateful for!
I documented 5 maternity sessions. Three of my maternity clients were also birth story clients.
I do offer an incentive of discounted maternity, Fresh 48, and newborn sessions for all of my birth clients, as I am so passionate about the story behind each birth, and adding maternity, Fresh 48, or newborn sessions really does bring those stories full circle.
In the year ahead, my birth clients will have first priority in scheduling these sessions, another decision that has been hard to make, but I want to be sure that I am fully present for each session that I book, and available for when births do happen.
I documented 14 newborns in 2019!
Moving away from posed studio into clients homes I knew would not be for everyone. I am so grateful for my past clients that stuck with me during this transition, and for clients that booked me as lifestyle in-home newborn!
Five of my newborns were also birth story clients. It was such a beautiful way to truly tell their story, having followed them through the birth of their baby to home where so many beautiful memories will be made. Moving forward for newborn sessions, my birth clients will have first priority in filling my newborn spaces on the calendar, once again to ensure that I have availability for them, and provide my clients the best experience possible!
On the blessings side of this year- I had worked hard to keep my nursing and photography careers quite separate over the years, and never talked about my business with patients. I never wanted there to be a conflict of interest, or make my patients or staff I worked alongside uncomfortable. Most of the OB/GYNs that I worked with had no idea I was a photographer. Right before I retired from the hospital, I was offered the opportunity to bid alongside other talented photographers in hanging my art on the halls that lined the remodel of the new Birth Place hallways. I won the bid and was able to hang 70 pieces of large prints of my work along the hallways that I worked on for 19 years. It truly was a dream come true.
The most incredible part of this story is that the very last patient I delivered, found me this way. Not knowing she was finding me, when we put it together, we were both blown away! I went on to document a part of their NICU journey and them brining her home! I told you this year was incredible!
I documented 11 Fresh 48 sessions! As a new offering for Little Loo Photography, I am pretty excited about that and hope to add more of these in 2020. They really have my heart, everything is still so fresh and new and it is a wonderful option for families who aren’t really able to invest in a birth story.
I was blessed enough to document 19 families this year!
As I said, it was harder to schedule these alongside my birth clients, and as much as I love them, will have to continue to limit these in 2020, as there just is not enough space on the calendar. Be sure to book yours well in advance for this year!
I launched my first ‘The Story ‘ giveaway in 2018 and had the opportunity to document the story of Dan Brite and his road to recovery in 2019. It is a beautiful story of family strength and determination. My life will be forever changed by having the opportunity to tell this story. Be sure to check it out here, if you haven’t already seen it.
To continue on sharing my year of incredible blessings, I was offered the opportunity by Focus on the Family to document a beautiful family sharing their story on the redemption and restoration of their marriage in the upcoming Spring issue of their magazine. This ministry is one that has deeply impacted my life, and the opportunity to work on a project with them that is so impactful and intimate was a dream come true!
And lastly, I had a few sessions out of my usual work, but for friends and family that had booked me in advance!
If you made it all the way through, thank you so much! Thank you for following me, for trusting me with your stories, and for believing in me! I told you it was an incredibly blessed year, it will certainly be a hard one to follow!
In 2020 I will be focused even more on birth and growing in this genre, and in giving back to my community, one that has given me so much. I am excited for what lies ahead!
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