2022 has been a wonderful year for me personally and as a business! After two years of the pandemic, my heart and soul needed it. For me, 2021 was just about as disappointing and confusing as 2020.
After deciding to rebrand and specialize in births in 2018, I had just gotten my groove going and hit my happy place before the pandemic hit. I was blessed to have plenty of work throughout the pandemic, but I often took on more than I should have and ended 2021 completely exhausted.
After being unable to attend so many births for two years, I had come to question my future path. The frustration of not being allowed into hospital birth spaces and the often unwelcoming atmosphere when I was added stress for myself and my clients.
I’m still not back to the number of births I was booking pre-pandemic, but I have hope. Believing wholeheartedly in this work and its importance for families has kept me focused. Birth is the most life-changing moment we experience. Whether it is a joyous birth (which I hope and wish for all families) or a traumatic one documenting your birth is important. Documenting your birth can be incredibly healing for past and current traumas. In fact, studies show that families who document their births report better birth experiences.
Showing you how beautiful and strong you are, and how many beautiful layers there are to your birth story is what drives me. Many clients have shared how their images and films have helped them through postpartum depression and anxiety. They’ve shared how valuable their images and film footage are to them in being able to look back on those powerful moments.
I believe I have been called to birth work and have immensely enjoyed this new phase of that work; the role of documenting birth stories for families. I’ve been in it for 22 years (19 as a L&D nurse, and 5 of my 11 years in business as a birth photographer), and can’t imagine ever growing weary of it!
Being allowed into these sacred spaces and being trusted in them means so much to me. It is a responsibility I don’t take lightly!
Without further ado, on to my favorites!
I pick a session favorite from each session I document each year. It is fun to look back on the year by picking an image from each session that has inspired or impacted me. My favorites even change throughout the year, and often choose one that reminds me of how that session and time felt. (Clients who have requested their images remain private are not included in this post).
5 hospital births, 6 home births, and 1 birth center birth.
I donated two birth stories for families experiencing a loss.
This special time in the lives of my clients is one of my favorites. It is such a special phase of life, and the anticipation always feels palpable to me. I love showing mamas how beautiful they are carrying their babies. They will have these images to share with their children as they grow. I’ve also added to my client closet for maternity sessions.
Fresh 48 sessions were often the next best option for clients who could not have me attend their hospital births. I love these early days of the newborn period and all the special little details it holds. It is such a fleeting stage of life, and for that reason, I believe it is so important!
This number of family clients worked well this year. It is much less than I normally take on, but one of the areas of my business I’ve had to restrict because of the call time for birth clients. Thank you so much to all the families that have continued to trust me with their families and this time in your lives. I am so grateful to you!
For 2023, I have again limited the number of family sessions in my schedule.
I have transitioned into more lifestyle-type work when photographing families over the years. My goal is always to capture how this time in your life feels. I want to capture those silly little laughs and personalities and your loving on each other! My clients showed up this year ready to play and be fully present in their sessions and images; it was so wonderful! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Yes, that’s my beautiful daughter and her sweet and handsome boyfriend. I don’t photograph couples anymore, but it’s a special occasion when she asks!
For the last four years, I have done a giveaway telling the story of one individual, organization, or cause. I have loved offering this and have been able to tell the most amazing stories! This is an area I also had to pull in 2023 to allow the space to manage my schedule best for myself and my clients. Amazing stories seem to find me, so I will continue to tell them on a case-by-case basis. So, if you feel inspired to tell yours, please reach out! If my schedule allows, I would love to share it.
Ashley is an amazing and beautiful human being. I have known her for many years as we worked together in labor and delivery. Her transformation story is inspiring on so many levels, and she inspires me daily. Ashely’s story is important, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
This is another type of session I’ve pulled from my offerings. This beautiful client is my sister, so special circumstances as well!
I adore this type of session but have had to pull from my offerings. With such limited time and space between births, I have felt referring them out has been best for both myself and my clients. I mean, look at this guy. He was a 2020 birth I could not attend because of hospital restrictions.
I’ve also created a year-in-review birth film reel, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Thank you so much for trusting me with life’s most important moments and your most valuable and important people-your families! I am grateful for every one of you, and so grateful for this life and career. Thank you for believing in me and supporting my small business; there aren’t enough words!
Sunday, January 1st, 2023
I’m so excited to announce my 2019 favorites as well as a brief recap review of the year.
One of my favorite 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 a beautiful way to wrap up and a reminder of how blessed each year has been.
By reviewing the year and looking at each session with fresh eyes, always leaves me in a place of gratitude. This year… I am still sitting back in awe and feeling incredibly blessed and grateful as I reflect 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 a fantastic problem, and as I reflect, I am overwhelmed with emotion at times.
Since the fall of 2018, I have carefully planned a big switch in Little Loo Photography, rebranding from posed newborns 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 preparing me for the work it would take to branch into this genre. Birth is unlike anything else. I knew it would be a risk, as I had worked so hard in my first seven 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 possible.
My life plan included me retiring as a labor and delivery nurse here in Las Vegas in January 2020, at my 20th anniversary. It was a career that held my identity and much of my heart and soul. Patient care and caring for families during life’s most intimate and life-changing moments were never lost on me. Even up until the end, I was in awe 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. How perfect that I still get to be a part of the incredible miracle of birth, but in a new role?
I am very goal-oriented, and I have plans to follow for almost 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 2019, it was becoming clear that trying to grow my birth business would be difficult while working at the hospital. As changes occurred in the unit, I felt the whisper that it was a time (quite hard for this OCD person who likes to stick to the plan). Still, 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 into 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, 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 I 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 ten 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.
I have learned in being a birth photographer that it is unlike any other genre. Being on call for births for an average of 3 weeks at a time means that other types of work can’t be scheduled around it for the risk of rescheduling clients, which isn’t ideal.
In no other genre do you have no idea when it will happen; it could be 2 am, two weeks from today, or tomorrow, and having everything ready to go instantly is crucial. So, as hard as it was, that meant less work I had done in the past and fewer family, newborn, and maternity sessions. It was so hard to say ‘no’ to so many families.
To end 2019, I was allowed to be among the incredibly talented and diverse Birthbound Photographer instructors. I will be presenting a portion of their birth photographer certification course, bringing my experience as an L&D nurse to forge stronger relationships in the hospital setting and elevate 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 does bring those full stories circle.
In the year ahead, my birth clients will have 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 the posed studio into clients’ homes, I knew I would not be for everyone. I am so grateful for the past clients that stuck with me during this transition and for clients that booked me as a lifestyle in-home newborn!
Five of my newborns were also birth story clients. It was such a beautiful way to honestly tell their story, having followed them through the birth of their baby to a home where so many beautiful memories will be made. Moving forward for newborn sessions, my birth clients will have priority in filling my newborn spaces on the calendar, once again, to ensure that I have availability for them and provide my clients with the best experience possible!
On this year’s blessings side of this year- I had worked hard to keep my nursing and photography careers 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 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 could hang 70 pieces of large prints of my work along the hallways I had worked on for 19 years. It indeed was a dream come true.
The most incredible part of this story is that the last patient I delivered found me this way. Not knowing she was finding me, we were both blown away when we put it together! I documented a part of their NICU journey, and they’re bringing 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 have my heart, everything is still so fresh and new, and it is a beautiful option for families who aren’t 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, I will have to continue to limit these in 2020, as there 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.
To continue 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 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, trusting me with your stories, and believing in me! I told you it was an incredibly blessed year; it will certainly be hard to follow!
In 2020 I will focus even more on birth and growing in this genre and on giving back to my community, which has given me so much. I am excited about what lies ahead!
Monday, January 20th, 2020
It’s an honor that you let me capture yours.