NH Birth Photographer | Portsmouth Regional Hospital

Maybe it’s because I am a Mom myself. Maybe its because it’s such a emotionally charged event. Or perhaps it’s just because I am a giant softie, but photographing a birth is one of the most special things for me to be a part of.  Being asked to be present for what is very likely one of the most exciting and highly anticipated moments in a parents life means a lot to me.  I take it seriously; I cant sleep the night before; I usually cry at some point during the birth…its just how it goes for me! 🙂

The first birth I ever photographed holds an extra special place in my heart, and when I just saw his Mom post on Facebook that he turned 2, (wait, what?! where did time go?!) I knew I needed to go back through my archived photos and take a walk down memory lane.

When I arrived at the hospital at OHMYGOODNESSITSEARLY o’clock, I got to share in the excitement that was palpable in the room. I am not sure Mom loves looking back and reminiscing about having an IV placed but its part of the day! And the smiles of relief when it was finally properly placed and she got a break from being a pin cushion is a happy sight! 2019-02-28_00022019-02-28_0001

If you’ve never had a caesarean, I will tell you there is a STREAM of people that you are visited by prior to heading to the OR; 4 million nurses, the delivering Doctor(s), the anesthesiologist, a lab tech to draw blood…it feels endless. But before you know it…its just you and your support person, and its time.2019-02-28_0003

Sometimes at a birth nerves are high. Some people prefer quiet and I am happy to just fade into a wall, but sometimes people want someone to talk to, either to pass the time or release the nervous energy. After Michelle was taken into the OR for prep, Marcus and I started chatting. I was able to learn a little more about what brought Michelle to the situation of having a planned c-section, and how her first labor had progressed (or more accurately NOT progressed) during the birth of their first child. Hearing the pride in his voice when recalling how strong she was during her first delivery, and the excitement over what was about to happen, gave me a glimpse into how strong the bond in this family was.

After what felt like forever the OR nurses came out to get Marcus, and we went in to join Michelle who was fully prepped to meet their little man! Marcus sat next to Michelle and they chatted quietly. Having been in her spot 3 times myself I remember how much better it felt once I was joined by my husband; waiting for the familiar face to sit beside you can be a hard few minutes ‘alone’. 2019-02-28_00052019-02-28_0006

The hospital staff was phenomenal at keeping Michelle and Marcus up to date about what they were doing, and how much longer it would be. Even the anesthesiologist said to me ‘ok its almost time and its going to happen fast, are you ready?’.  OH I WAS READY!2019-02-28_0008I’ve given birth to three beautiful children via c-section, and so while I never really saw what was happening behind the screen, I knew that once it got a little quiet, and the Doctors started leaning in a little closer to Michelle, that baby was about to make his entrance into the world.2019-02-28_0009.jpg2019-02-28_0011And in one of the most surreal moments I’ve been blessed to witness, suddenly this new little life was here, and we heard a cry.2019-02-28_0010

The smile under Dads mask at hearing that cry went right up to his eyes…it was a moment to remember.2019-02-28_0014Again if you’ve not ever had a c-section birth, you get a quick peek of the baby, and then the baby is scooted across the room for a little cleaning, and some vital sign evaluation, footprints etc. And while Dad escorted the new baby, I was SO happy to be there to take those photos so later Michelle could see those moments she wasn’t directly involved in. 2019-02-28_00152019-02-28_0017

The baby definitely enjoyed testing out his lungs during some of these moments…until Dad held his tiny hand…and then silence. Babies know their Moms and Dads the instant they are born, I just know it.2019-02-28_00192019-02-28_0020It was finally time to make his way back to his Momma for a snuggle!2019-02-28_0021Being a spectator and not the patient was so incredibly different. Seeing how much is going on constantly while you are in there was amazing. The team working together to take care of Michelle was busy keeping her comfortable while Marcus and I were ooh-ing and ahh-ing over Baby…and it was such a beautiful moment to see Michelle have her son finally resting on her chest so she could fully take him in.2019-02-28_00242019-02-28_00222019-02-28_0023After a few moments of snuggling Marcus, and the baby (and I 🙂 went to the recovery area for the rest of the ‘baby review’. Weight, measurements, first visit from the pediatrician all happened in there, and again I was SO happy to capture these things for Michelle while she was in her final stages of being cared for in the OR. 2019-02-28_0033

The pediatrician came by for the very first Doctors ‘appointment’ 🙂 Spoiler alert: she said he was PERFECT! (and he was!)2019-02-28_0028.jpgAnd finally…some alone time with Dad. I left the room for a few moments so that these two could bond while they waited for Mom to be brought back into the recovery room with them. 2019-02-28_0031When I popped back in a few moments later, Michelle had made her way back to her room and she was already snuggled up holding her new baby. 2019-02-28_0032Being a part of this day for this family is something I will never forget.  No matter how many births I am lucky enough to photograph I will always remember this first one!

Mini Session | Maine & NH Newborn Photographer

Newborn mini-sessions are a fairly new offering here at Mercy Street Studio.  We weren’t sure that it was possible to create beautiful, quality newborn images in a shortened time frame.  But we’ve discovered that we can!  Each mini session  is just thirty minutes long and produces 6 unique digital images of your precious newborn.

We also handcraft the images into beautiful black and whites and include all the digital images in the mini-session price.

You can read more detail about the differences between full newborn photo sessions and mini newborn photo sessions in this blog.  But if you are wanting beautiful images of just your newest addition in a half hour time frame for a super value, this could be just the thing for you!

I do it for the snuggles  ~Sarah

Big Brother | Maine & NH Newborn Photography

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This little guys big brother won my heart from the minute he walked in.  From his beautiful blond curls to his sweet giggle.  He was such a good listener and such a sweet big bro.  I have no doubt these two have years of friendship ahead.Citorik-2b

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And how about his stunning mother!?Citorik-40

I do it for the snuggles  ~Sarah

Fantasy Photoshoot | Haunted Overload at DeMerritt Hill Farm in Lee, NH

It’s no secret that I love to “play photography”, pushing the envelope, trying new lighting, lenses, posing, and editing techniques is just the type of good clean fun I like to have in our off-season.  What’s the saying, “Champions are made in the off-season”? ..well that’s how I feel about photography – our creative pursuits makes us better photographers in every possible way.  Even if we never ask you to flip upside-down and walk down the stairs of a creepy haunted house, we would know how to shoot it if you requested such a photo.

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I have some friends who have been trying to get me to go to Haunted Overload for years. However, there is a teeny tiny problem with their plan, 1) I’m afraid of my own shadow. I’m literally a baby when it comes to all things scary. Like I run up the stairs from the basement, not for the cardio (like I tell the kids), but because there’s an invisible zombie behind me.  2) I’m out flat all fall. There is no time in my schedule for fun and games – which is also the prime creep season.

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But my friends are clever and resourceful. This winter they wrote with “an idea” that I couldn’t resist. A photoshoot at Haunted Overload. Sure it was closed and boarded up, but they had permission for us to use the location as well as props and outfits. I was in.

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The only actual problem was that it was 2 degrees outside. I told them I was in once the weather warmed up. Then I checked the weather forecast, and miraculously I saw a 55 degree day in the extended forecast. We all circled that day on our calendars. It was ON.

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Then a thing happened. I was struck with bronchitis. I mean, it hurt to breathe. I’m not exaggerating, breathing felt like I was swallowing knives. Very sharp knives. But I knew my friends had put so much effort into the shoot, even taking the day off of work, and it’s not like 60 degree days come along often in February. So I drank some tea, warned them that I had no voice, and wrapped a scarf around my mouth and nose to buffer the cool air and somewhat contain my germs.

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What happened next was pure magic. Maybe dark magic, if I believed in such things. I got through the 2+ hour shoot without any knives in my throat. I believe the adrenaline of shooting heals all things. I felt nothing but pure bliss while we shot.

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The location was absolutely freaking amazing. I have never seen anything quite so glorious. Creepy? Yes. Even boarded up. Even without the “characters”. Even with snow on the ground. Even in broad daylight.

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But also gloriously cinematic.

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And our models were perfect. I have photographed Marina and Emalee many times before, so I knew they were going to bring the magic. Plus THEY LOVE SCARY CREEPINESS, it’s like their thing.  They didn’t need my non-existent voice telling them to do creepy poses and expressions, they just brought it.

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Then for the rest of the week while I was recovering I had these images to play with in Photoshop.

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Creating different scenes and giving each picture it’s own story and vibe was such fun.

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Thank you Obycs for such a fun day. I love you ladies.

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Erin

 

Introducing Newborn Mini Sessions!|Maine, NH Newborn Photographer

I wasn’t sure it could be done.  A Newborn MINI-session, that is.  But I had enough experience under my belt and an idea, that if I did it the right way, it could work… and, by golly, (as my grandpa would say) I believe it does!!!  Every single image in this post is from one of my Newborn Mini-Sessions!locke-5rioux-1lapak-4I think it’s important to answer the question, “How does a newborn mini session differ from a newborn full session?”.

A Newborn Mini-Session is 30 minutes long and one set price which includes 12 digital images.  Your baby will ideally be between 5 days and 6 WEEKS old.  You will receive 6 unique color images carefully chosen by us along with their skillfully crafted black and white conversions.  The images will be of your sweet baby.  There is simply not enough time to incorporate family or siblings into this type of shoot.  Your little one will be snugly swaddled in one of our many wraps specifically designed for posed newborn photography.  This makes for a smooth session and a sleepy baby!  This also means that it’s not essential for your baby to be VERY young.  This is why Mini-Sessions can work for babies anywhere from 5 days old to around 6 weeks old.  We’ve successfully and beautifully captured a few 8 week-olds as well!!   We will artfully compose two different set ups and photograph your baby in each one.  The resulting images are simply stunning.

Some of the aspects our clients are loving about these mini-session are that the investment is very affordable.  They’re loving that it comes with 12 images, which seems more manageable for some who have a hard time deciding which ones to frame and hang!  And they are loving that they are so quick and easy.  It’s a very small time commitment in a phase of life where sleep is in short supply, and you’re adjusting to life with baby!  We remember how hard and overwhelming it can be in those first weeks after giving birth to even THINK about gathering yourself and your little one to leave the house!  It is our hope that these mini-session can make quality, posed newborn portraits a reality for anyone!

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A Full Newborn Session is 2-3 hours long.  A session fee is paid on the day of the shoot.  A gallery of at least 25 unique images is delivered for to you to choose from and images are purchased separately.  Your baby will ideally be 5-10 days old.  However, we have successfully and beautifully photographed many babies that are 2-3 weeks old as well as the anomaly of a few that were 5, 6 or even 8 weeks old! There are many more set ups and transitions in a full session and there may also be a number of breaks to nurse and soothe baby.  We all work around the newborns comfort and needs.  They determine the pace and the poses in a no pressure environment!  Siblings, fur-siblings, parents, and grandparents may all be included in the session.  Sentimental or creative items or your own (such as blankets, bonnets, jewelry, military uniforms etc) will be beautifully worked into images at your request.  We will do images on our “posing bag and fabric” where your baby is safely and gently placed in a variety of adorable poses, some unclothed with no props for pure simplicity and others with wraps or headbands and bonnets for adorable variety.  We will also then do 2-3 “prop” set ups using one of the many furs, buckets, beds, crates, baskets and/or bowls that we constantly accumulate 🙂

Some of the things our clients love about Full Newborn Photography Sessions are the variety of images, poses and angles we can capture in that time frame.  They like that there is plenty of time for feeding and soothing breaks and also plenty of time where they get to relax… yes even nap! … on our comfy couch living room area.  They like the ability to truly personalize the session by incorporating family, pets and personal items as well as having input into color schemes and accessories.  They enjoy the large amount of digital images delivered in the gallery and the ability to peruse and choose… or just have them all!

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We have prayerfully tried to create Newborn Photography Sessions that cater to a variety of personal preferences and lifestyles.  I truly consider it a privilege to be trusted to safely and expertly capture these delicate and fleeting moments in you and your baby’s lives!  I do hope to see you or someone you know in the studio very soon!

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We’ve sort of quietly kept this Mini-Session thing under wraps for a bit.  But now we’re ready to launch it and shout it from the roof tops!  Remember, your baby can be between 5 days old and 6 weeks old!

I do it for the snuggles ~Sarah