I want to talk about family newborn portraits a bit more this year, because when it comes right down to it, many of my favorite newborn images are of family. And there is a very important reason for that, really. One of the best things about photographing newborns is photographing the emotional connection between new parents and their babies. It’s pretty amazing, this thing we humans can do. And the more you think about it, the more amazing it becomes. For instance, I remember staring at my own little ones, just totally overwhelmed by the idea that these perfect little people existed somehow. Tiny packages that contained their whole entire selves. I mean, how cool is that? It’s just so unbelievably awe-inspiring!
When I photograph babies and their families, my goal is to capture a sense of that feeling of awe. That unexplainable sense that you get as you hold your newborns in your arms and just can’t quite believe that they’ve arrived and that they’re yours. To capture the joyful realization that your family has grown by one (or sometimes two or three or more!).
When this family came into my studio for their maternity and newborn sessions, I was just thrilled. Not only are they a gorgeous family, both inside and out, but they are so excited to have this new baby in their arms. And I can just see that sense of amazement and joy and love in these first family portraits. I can't wait to capture these amazing new moments for more families in 2018, it really is such an honor and absolute joy to create these photographs for my families.
This week was a big week. Every January, the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) hold their big conference, Imaging USA. Imaging is an incredible conference bringing in around 10,000 photographers, among which are some of the best photographers in the world. During the conference, PPA honors their award winners for the year and presents the Grand Imaging Awards (GIAs) to the top photographers in each category of competition photography. This year, not only was I a silver medalist in print competition, but also a GIA finalist in the animal category for my piece titled 'Midday in the Garden'
I was walking amongst giants. The photographers picked as the finalists are of a level that I dream of reaching. I struggle a bit with imposter syndrome and, if I'm honest, I was sure they must have made a mistake in their announcement. I mean, the rest of the category were amazing pet portraits, and I had entered a big green spider! I might have managed to convince myself that people were secretly laughing at me. When instead, I received general excitement over the fact that a macro image had been included as one of the final images, I was thrilled!
In the end, it was so inspiring to be up with the top 100 images of the year. I loved every minute of it and was more than a little giddy to be up there with some of the biggest names in my business. I may not have been one of the GIA winners, but the men and women who won deserved every bit of it. A particular congratulations to Michelle Garcia for her first place in the animal category and to Ben Shirk for his amazing win. And if you, like me, enjoy peering at other people’s websites, I highly recommend heading over to their websites and checking them out.
I think it’s safe to say that I love newborns, and I can’t wait to meet my 2018 babies soon. It really is an honor to be chosen among the many talented Raleigh area photographers to capture these first moments for each sweet baby (and their family) that comes through my studio. So, in honor of my newest clients and clients-to-be, in January, I offer the following newborn special.
Because Aurora D Photography is a small boutique studio, I offer relatively few openings and often have clients booked well in advance (although I'm working on expanding my session availability this year. Take advantage of this offer now, before it's gone!
Like pretty much every other business on the planet, I want to take a few minutes to look back over the past year and see what I’ve accomplished. This helps me to define my goals and dreams for the next year. Looking back over the course of the past twelve months, I just can’t quite get over the whirlwind year that was 2017.
In January, I received my Master of Photography with the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). I had been working towards the Master degree for four years, and knew the year would start with a bang. Little did I know, that there was a whole lot more to come! As many of my readers know, I am heavily involved in print competition, and this year, I set my sights pretty high. And not only did I reach my goal, earning a silver medal in print competition, but, to my surprise, I also was named one of the Grand Imaging Award finalists in the animal category –one of only 100 final images chosen from thousands of entered submissions over the course of the year (and one of ten top images in the animal category).
But that’s just in one competition. In the Professional Photographers of North Carolina (PPNC)’s print competition, I nearly swept the children’s category, with both a first and second place in children’s portraits. Given the amazing photographic talent in North Carolina, I can’t begin to tell you what an honor it was to be recognized in this way!
This year I pushed myself to learn and hone my craft, jumping into digital painting (and I’m really excited to be taking Michelle’s wonderful workshop in 2018!). Additionally, I was able to attend the PPA’s incredible Judge’s Workshop, which not only gave the foundations for judging print competition, but also made me really look at my work and push toward perfection (even if perfection is an impossible goal). And along the way, I have met many amazing photographers and artists, many of whom have become friends and advisors.
In 2017, I photographed more babies and children than ever before. I gave many people beautiful prints to hang on their walls. I cuddled with newborns, giggled with children, and even photographed my first ever dance studio. Perhaps most importantly, I have enjoyed every moment of working with each and every one of my amazing clients. I don’t know what I did to deserve you all, but I’m so glad that you trusted me with your family and your photographs.
So what’s to come in 2018? So many things! I look forward to a wonderful, happy, year of creating amazing things with you.
Happy New Year!
At the beginning of the summer, after much searching, we got a dog. He was a gorgeous, sweet basenji boy named Wyatt. My kids adored him. He kept them company while they did their school work, and then he would jump up and be ready to play when they were done. He adored learning new tricks and performing for an audience.
I kept telling myself that I needed to get him into the studio and take his photo. Before I could ‘find the time,’ I headed out of town to a class. Unfortunately, while I was away, Wyatt managed to escape the house and was hit by a car. Needless to say, we were devastated. After a lot of tears, sadness, anger and discussion, we decided to pause a bit and revisit getting a dog a bit later. We wanted to give us time to pull ourselves back together and to be sad for the loss of a lovely companion who fit our family seamlessly.
Fast forward to about six weeks ago, when I got a call from one of the fabulous ladies who had bred and shown Wyatt. Now, I can’t say enough about these women. They have been so kind to us and were really amazing all around. They breed beautiful dogs, raise them well, and work hard to place the perfect dog in the perfect home. They are the paradigm of responsible breeders.
When I got this phone call, she told me that they had a dog who needed a home, and we could have him so long as we could pick him up. We figured it out in the end and brought Willie home. The coolest thing about it all is that Willie is Wyatt’s littermate! Willie has been incredibly wonderful in a very different way. He’s cuddly, sweet, and playful.
So, besides a gorgeous picture, what’s my point here? Well, I have a lot of snapshots and videos of Wyatt for which I’m grateful. My kids, who have struggled with this loss, have asked several times to see photos of Wyatt. I am so glad that we have them so that we can remember that short but sweet time in our lives. However, I regretted not getting him into the studio for a formal portrait. For me, a formal portrait is a bit different than phone snapshots. A formal portrait shows a kind of beauty in detail and a reflection of the subject’s personality in a very subtle way. It is both art and memory, wrapped together and framed on your wall.
This Thanksgiving weekend, as we celebrated being thankful for all we have and have had, I decided to bring Willie into the studio for a quick portrait. Because I didn’t want to not have one later. So, perhaps this is a long-winded reason to reiterate that if you have been considering formal portraits of your children, pets, or family, don’t wait. Do it now, because you never know what will happen.
Aurora D Photography is a boutique newborn, child and family photographer. Aurora will be offering a pet portrait line very soon. Contact Aurora to book your session today.