This past Spring, I got the chance to photograph a birth. Among family photographers like myself, this is THE holy grail of photography sessions. It comes with all kinds of scary challenges, as you can imagine, the least of which is "missing the shot." Heck, I was afraid I would miss the actual birth!
Kaleen and I met through Instagram - she's also a photographer in Atlanta, and as I became familiar with her work, I realized how amazingly talented she is. She is a master at a style called Family Photojournalism, a genre pioneered by Kirsten Lewis and features elements like layering, mirroring, interesting compositions and light, and most of all - true, authentic moments, connections and expressions. Honestly...I've never seen anyone do it better than Kaleen.
When I found out she was expecting, I think I may have joked about shooting her birth. But...she took it seriously. A few emails later and this thing started becoming a reality. We met up over Spring Break and let the kids run around Ponce City Market and the Beltline. The kids (and mamas) enjoyed some King of Pops afterward. She's immediately likable (lovable) and so easy to be around. She's a wonderful mama to her (then) two spunky little girls. We had a ball.
As her due date approached, I was just crossing my fingers that I wouldn't miss the call (or that she'd decide not to call at all.) One night as I was finishing up some work, she texted. I just happened to have my phone on me around 9:30pm, which isn't exactly normal for me. She thought that tonight would be the night. I got ready for bed, put my ringer on high, and got a little nap in before she texted and said it was time to come over.
I arrived close to midnight to a house buzzing with family and midwives. So much excitement, you could feel it. (Or maybe it was just me. Coulda been!)
What transpired over the next few hours could only be described as, you guessed it... a miracle. It was extraordinary. It was amazing. Truly one of the coolest things I've ever experienced in my life. Kaleen was beyond the words Strong and Grace. (I would have been screaming and cussing, no doubt.) Her family, including her husband and her mother-in-law were so strong and supportive too. The midwives were incredible. My favorite part: Daddy woke up the girls around 2am to come upstairs to witness the birth of the baby. The girls being present was the cherry on top - their reactions made for the most wonderful experience for everyone.
Only Kaleen's mother-in-law knew the gender of the baby. As soon the birthing was finished and the baby was scooped up out of the water, the first thing Kaleen did was see if this new addition was a girl or a boy. A boy! Like me, their family is now Girl, Girl, Boy. I can tell you from experience that it's a fun dynamic!
As I culled through my pictures, it became obvious that the story was Kaleen's strength, her husband's love, and her daughters' pride in their mama.
I'm nowhere near the photographer that Kaleen is, but I hope I captured this evening as she might have. She was definitely my inspiration for how I shot this unforgettable night.
I arrived home close to 6am, as my husband prepared to leave for a meeting. My kids woke up shortly after. I drank copious amounts of coffee. It was a busy day at school and at home. I cleaned all afternoon, as I normally do on Wednesdays, as we host Small Group at our home. We wrapped up our gathering around 9:30. I had been awake close to 40 hours. But I was not grumpy in the least. My eyelids were heavy, I couldn't stop yawning, but I had an intense feeling of gratitude. For what I had experienced the night before was such a great gift. As I look through the pictures and remember that night, I still feel so grateful to Kaleen and her family for welcoming me into their home, into one of the most important moments in their family's history.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from that night. Below them, I've also posted the slideshow, which includes all of the images from Roland's birth. (It's about 6 minutes long and set to music that Kaleen selected.) I just felt that I had to include many more pictures than I typically would, in order to tell the whole story of that night. I hope you enjoy them!
To see more of Kaleen's work, please visit her website: Atlanta Family Documentary Photography
You can see how she captured Roland's first days at home with their family in this blog post: Newborn Photography in Atlanta
Amanda Myers of Crane Creek Photography is a published, featured, and award-winning photographer based in NE Atlanta. She's one of the few photographers in Gwinnett County, Georgia that blends her love of documentary-style family photography with beautiful lifestyle portraits. Her very favorite thing to shoot in the world is Fresh 48 Newborn Sessions in the hospital, but she also loves everything family - from capturing the expectant joy of maternity photography, the first days of a baby's life in Newborn Homecoming Sessions, the beauty of everyday chaos in Family Day-in-the-Life Sessions, on-location child and teen portrait sessions, all the way up to Senior Life sessions, which document the fleeting days that your high school senior will spend with your family, their friends, in their own space. Amanda is an on-location photographer, serving areas of NE Atlanta, including Suwanee, Duluth, Johns Creek, Sugar Hill, Buford, Lawrenceville, and Norcross. Fresh 48 Newborn Sessions are available at most metro-Atlanta hospitals. For more information about Amanda, click here. For pricing information, visit our pricing page. Click here to contact Amanda directly. Thank you for stopping by!