I travel back to the cutest little house in Hampton, Virginia, to photograph a sweet family that I met several years ago photographing their first little baby. I've had the honor and the pleasure of photographing this family several times now, from the time their daughter was just a newborn with the most gorgeous dark hair I had ever seen.
They booked my Belly + Baby Collection and I was so excited after their session to meet these sweet babies, yes, BABIES. Twins. How perfectly lovely!
I got a text a few days later saying that the boys had made their way earthside, but that they were going to be in NICU for a while.
NICU mamas, I have to tell you. Ya'll are absolutely angels on Earth.
While inutero, the twins developed something called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, or TTTS. Baby N came home after 89 long days in the NICU and sweet little Baby J came home after 152 days. I'm sure the days seemed absolutely endless- always having to leave half of your heart behind each night to go home to your other babies that needed you.
It's been such a long road, but now, finally all under one roof, the real fun can begin! I can't wait to see what trouble these brothers get into as they get older! What a blessing and what a wild ride it will be!
"No language can express the power and beauty and heroism of a mother’s love." ~Edwin H. Chapin
To schedule your newborn Storytelling Session or to learn more about the Belly + Baby Collection, please reach out to me! I'd love to hear from you. You can use the Contact tab above or just click here.
If you would like more information or support for TTTS (or if you'd like to make a donation), please visit this website! It's an amazing network of information, support, and resources.
This is a common question that I get.
"What if my kids go crazy during our session?!"
"No, really, they are wild. You don't understand..."
Mama, I understand. I get it. And trust me when I say these few things- I'm not scared, I embrace a little chaos, I think I've just about seen it all, you're in good hands, and that's what you hired me for.
I LOVE when kids act like kids!!!
I'm not scared of a little chaos.
I've got 3 kids of my own, I don't think there's much I haven't seen or heard. Not only have I got 3 of my own, but I've photographed hundreds. I'm not worried about them being crazy, it's really fun to photograph. Plus, if that's just who they are, then that's just who they are! I embrace the wild, messy, weird, barefoot kids.
As my own son would say, " A little chaos is good for the soul!"
This is what you hired me for.
I mean, you hired me to come to take pictures of your daily life and make an honest photograph of it, right? Well, that's what I am doing. I' going to do it to the absolute best of my ability. My personal philosophy is that these are the moments that I am going to want to remember when I'm an empty nester. I'm going to want to remember that spunk and that fire- and you know what else I'm learning? That maybe they will need that reminder one day too.
Tiny humans have the amazing superpower to show you all of the emotions in the span of 10 minutes.
These little, tiny humans are the best at showing the world how they are feeling and what's going through their mind. And it's the most beautiful thing to photograph. I am here for it. All emotions are valid ones and I will honor that.
You're in good hands.
You're in good hands mama, I am a safe space of zero judgement. If you go into this with me, with an open mind, together we will make some photographic magic. My advice to you is if things go sideways and stuff is hitting the fan, just go with it. Don't stress out. Just do what you would normally do. Do they need a cuddle? A snack? (let's be honest, there's not a whole lot that a snack can't fix...) Do they need a bit of quiet? (by the way, if this is the case, I will stop talking and interacting and take a fly on the wall approach- no big deal and no it won't hurt my feelings)
Whatever the case may be, I'm here for it, I'm not offended by it, and I won't judge. Heck, I'll probably enjoy it! It's a season in life and let's just ride it out mama.
One more thing to consider...this really is important...
One thing I really want you to keep in mind and consider is that unlike other photo sessions you may have had before... I'm not asking your kids to actually do anything. I'm not asking them to sit still and smile at the camera. I'm not asking them to pose and be stiff. I'm just photographing them as they are- playing and being themselves. And a 99% of the time, I get a really, really nice portrait of them because they trust me to do that.
Ready to book your session?
Are you ready to make a photographic and visual narrative of your family's life? Well, so am I! Let's connect. Let's talk about how I can get you in the frame with your loved ones and how I can help you have photographs that you will love. Click here to send me a message or click the Contact tab above.
Hampton Roads has so much to offer, there's never really any shortage of things to do here if you have children. As a family, we aim to spend 1000 Hours Outside each year, so we've become pretty acquainted with fun, outdoor, and free things to do around here. (If you're interested in our 1000 Hour Outside Challenge and adventures, you can read more about them here!) This list is a little different than other lists floating around because this was made from kids I have surveyed myself and then I'll put my 2 cents in at the end.
Kids Choice for Fun, Free Things to do in Hampton Roads
One of my personal favorite places to visit, although not free (but very affordable!), so I'm not including it in the list, is First Landing State Park. The beach access side is wonderful and super easy to navigate. There's a little shop, restrooms, showers, and a snack bar there too. They have a little hands-on discovery area for kids too that has crabs and fish and lots of education exhibits. It's on the bay, so the waves are minimal. The trail side across the street is breathtaking. They have a marsh with bald cypress trees and Spanish moss with lots of well maintained trails for you to use. The Visitor's Center has a few exhibits as well (with little critter encounters too!), restrooms, and picnic tables. It's an amazing way to spend the day. Hike in the morning, eat lunch, swim and lounge around the beach in the afternoon!
What are some of your favorite free things to do in Hampton Roads? I want to hear about it! Maybe you've been somewhere I haven't and I need to check it out!
Let me know in the comments below.
Also, if you've got a session on the books with me, be inspired! Let's visit some of the places and explore together! I'm always up for an adventure.
If you love content like this, consider subscribing to my monthly newsletter. Every month, I find local events/festivals and compile a few of them into a section of my newsletter called "Happenings in Hampton Roads". You can subscribe here!
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.