Newborns’ Perfect Imperfections

Close up of a scratch on newborn baby's foot

As a professional newborn photographer, I have had the pleasure of capturing the beauty of countless infants. Usually, I am photographing these beautiful babies only days after they’ve made the hard trek into this world; and that journey can be tough. Bumps and bruises are par for the course, and these “imperfections” are not actually imperfect at all. I love to highlight the small blemishes that come with the transition into life on the outside. These tiny details of your baby are what make them unique, and are part of the beauty of the experience of entering into the world. Read on to see some close-up and personal shots highlighting newborns’ perfect imperfections.

Newborn Perfect Skin

Peeling skin on the feet of a new baby
Peeling skin on the hands of a newborn baby during newborn photography session

One of the most common newborn features is peeling skin. Rest assured that this is a completely normal occurrence that happens to almost all newborns. Peeling skin is simply a result of the baby’s skin adjusting to the outside world. It’s nothing to worry about, and actually makes for some really sweet and intimate close-up shots. So, embrace those little flakes of skin and let them be a part of your baby’s story. They are merely a part of the transition out of the safety of mom’s tummy, and into the big wide world.

A Kiss from Mother Nature

Baby birth mark and umbilical cord
A birthmark on the back of a baby's leg

Birthmarks are also quite common and personally, I find them so endearing.  I like to think of birthmarks on newborns as a kiss from Mother Nature on their way into the world. They are a sweet surprise that oftentimes are just for Mom and Dad to see and love. These unique features are what make your baby special. I like to be sure to capture birthmarks during newborn sessions, as sometimes they will disappear over time. 

Baby Bumps

A close up of a baby's mouth with baby acne
A close up photo showcasing a newborn baby's skin

Nearly every newborn at some point or another experiences baby acne. These harmless little white or red bumps on the face are short lived, and so sweet. I never miss a chance to capture them, because they usually only appear in the first few days and weeks of a newborn’s life on the outside. They are part of what makes a fresh baby look so brand new.

Unique Newborn Surprises

A baby's hand with an extra digit on his thumb

Sometimes babies are born with even more unique surprises. Like a tiny additional digit, for example. In the photo above, this newborn was born with an additional thumb. While it did get removed soon after our session, I wanted to be sure to document how sweet and small and absolutely adorable it was. If nothing else, these parents will be able to look back on that extraordinary little hand fondly for years to come.

At the end of the day, every baby is different and unique in their own way. Embrace your newborn’s perfect “imperfections” – which aren’t imperfect at all – and celebrate them as a part of your baby’s story. As a photographer, I am here to help capture those precious moments and help you see the beauty in every feature of your newborn. 

So, if you’re expecting a new addition, contact me or book now and let’s create some stunning photos that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Spring Cleaning: 4 Creative DIY Projects to Try with Extra Prints

Family in spring flowery garden

Good news, spring has officially sprung! But now it’s time for the annual spring cleaning festivities to commence. I know what you’re thinking. Cleaning in any way, shape, or form is never fun, nor should it be considered a festivity. But, that’s where you’re wrong. There are plenty of ways to make spring cleaning enjoyable for the whole family. Naturally, my favorite way is scouring old bins for printed photos that are just lying around and not in use. Instead of simply storing stacks of photos, why not turn them into beautiful DIY keepsakes?

DIY projects are a ton of fun, especially when you involve the whole family. Check out these fun projects to try with your extra prints!

Scrap-booking Projects

Scrapbooking for extra prints
photo sourced from abbymurphyphoto.com

Scrap-booking is a great way to keep family memories on beautiful hand-crafted pages! If you haven’t created a scrapbook in the past, now is a great time to start. If your kids are still young, this is especially true. They will be more than excited to get involved in the process. Scrap-booking is a ton of fun and all you really need to get started is a large book with a ton of blank pages! You can even get books that you can refill or remove pages that you don’t like. From there, just have fun with it! You can find plenty of fun and colorful paper and accessories at your local hobby store to decorate the pages. I find Michael’s has the best selection of scrap booking materials. I could spend a whole day in that store!

In the end, you’ll have a stunning work of art full of beautiful memories with the whole family. Use this as a conversational piece in your living room or collect more over the years and add them to your bookshelf. See? Spring cleaning can be fun!

Transfer your Prints onto Wood

Wood transfer DIY project
photo sourced from ssww.com

Yes, you heard right! You can totally do this in the comfort of your own home and it’s actually pretty simple. Not to mention, you will amaze the kids with your crafting skills with this project! You just need a few materials to get started on your wood masterpiece! You’ll want to have an unfinished piece of wood with a flat surface, a photocopy of your desired image, Mod Podge, water, and a hair dryer. You can find step-by-step instructions here.

Create a DIY Monogram Collage

This DIY project is a personal favorite and it’s perfect to test out this spring. If you’re looking to create a decorative keepsake, this is the project for you. Not to mention, it’s a ton of fun and yet another great way to involve the kids. All you need is a solid base. This should be a wooden letter initial representing either your first or last name. I’ve seen them at Target, Michael’s and even JoAnn Fabrics. Once you have that, it’s pretty simple. Take all of your collected prints and glue them down in a way that matches your creative vision. If you’re looking for a nice neutral piece, try using only black and white images instead of lots of color!

Creative DIY Photo Hanger

DIY photo hanger to display family photos
photo sourced from simplelifeoflady.com

This trendy DIY photo hanger is the perfect way to display multiple photos at once, with minimal skills required. The main elements are a neutral-colored cord or string, and clothespins from your local craft store. The design options are endless: hang photos horizontally in a frame, or – my personal favorite – dangle them from any good old piece of wood. Let your kids help you pick out the perfect stick, and watch it turn into a beautiful and trendy photo display. Spring cleaning for the house and the yard, wrapped into one.

Spring is the perfect time for photos! If you’re interested in having me document beautiful memories for you, contact me or book now!

4 Reasons to Display Family Photos

Family smiling during portrait session with parents and children

We are all guilty of letting family photos sit in our camera roll or online galleries. “I will get these printed, someday,” we tend to think to ourselves. But, did you know there are major pros to hanging those memories up? Here are 4 reasons to display family photos in your home.

Family Photos Increase Self-Esteem

Mom, dad, and baby at one-year family photography session

Many studies have shown significant impacts on children regarding the presence of family photos displayed in the home. Children experience an increase of self-esteem when they are able to see themselves as part of the family unit through displayed photos. These photos provide a sense of belonging and value. In fact, experts say that if you display photos early, children hold a more solid sense of self by age five. Geoff Beattie, Head of School and Dean of Psychology Sciences at the University of Manchester says “By displaying photographs of our children at different stages of their lives, we are making a very public statement that we are proud of them.” This simple act of printing and displaying family portraits around the home has profound effects on the confidence of children.

Digital Doesn’t Do Them Justice

Parents and children smiling sitting on couch

Many of us store years worth of memories on our devices. While these photos are handy, they do not give the same impact as a framed photo in a living space. It is proven that portraits displayed in living rooms and bedrooms provide a greater sense of belonging and security in children and family members. With no scrolling or clicking necessary, these images provide a constant comfort.

Decreases Loneliness

Parents and kids sitting on dock smiling during photo session

Often a loved one travels, or a family member works out of the home. Therefore, it is easy to see why presenting family photos decreases loneliness. Photos hung around the home serve as a reminder to your brain that you are loved and cherished. Especially when your loved ones can’t be in the home psychically, displayed photos provide a sense of closeness to the people you love the most. 

Family Photos Reduce Stress

In-home family photo session with parents and two children

It’s often not the house itself that feels like home, but the people who fill the walls with joy. Recent studies have shown that looking at photos of loved ones decreases stress levels. It is as if they were in the same room. Coming home from a long day to see walls filled with the smiling faces of they people you cherish most is priceless. 

We are all guilty of sitting on a treasure trove of memories in our camera roll. I hope that these 4 reasons to display family photos have inspired you to take them from your device to your walls. If you are in need of some updated family portraits, contact me or book now! I would love to help you decorate your home with the smiling faces of the ones you love the most.

7 Christmas-Themed Photoshoot Ideas to Try with Your Kids

Kids in Christmas pajamas sitting in chair

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is only a handful of days away. But, it means now is the time to start celebrating all of the colors, festivities, and – above all else – the photo opportunities! If you love taking photos of your children, you’ve probably already dreamt up a few photo ideas for the holidays. But, if you’re in need of some inspiration, try a few of these 7 Christmas-themed photoshoot ideas:

Kids with milk and cookies from Santa during photoshoot

1. What’s Christmas without cookies?

If you have a little one who loves cookies, dress them up in a cute outfit (maybe an elf!) and capture them stealing a few of the cookies you’ve left out for Santa.

2. All that glitters

If your children are slightly older, you can capture some beautiful shots by simply adding a little glitter to the mix. To catch this unique shot, zoom in. Then ask your child to blow beautiful glitter out of their hand.

3. Create your own Christmas trees

Do you have a lovely tree outside or live near a park? Dress your kids up and decorate a portion of the tree with brightly-colored baubles. Then, you can pose them underneath it for some adorable shots.

4. Elves love pillow fights

For something more playful, dress your kids up in striped pajamas to fit in with the Christmas theme. Then, add some bunting to the room and treat them to a playful pillow fight while you capture the action.

5. Santa’s sleepy helper

If your child is still little, you can capture so many cute shots of them while they sleep. From placing them on top of a red Santa sack stuffed with pillows, to capturing them fast asleep on a children’s Christmas book, there are lots of ways to get some sweet, sleepy shots.

6. The Christmas baker

Of the many things that are great about Christmas, food is at the top! Try out taking your camera into the kitchen. Then you can capture your children baking in their Christmas hats or favorite jammies.

7. The reindeer and his friend

If your pets are a big part of your life, fit your children and your pets with a pair of reindeer antlers, then capture a few fun, giggly shots.

Kids reading book in jammies

Christmas is such a fun, colorful time of the year that it’s almost impossible to run out of themes for your photos.  Try a few of these 7 Christmas-themed photoshoot ideas to get the inspiration flowing. Once you get going, you’ll soon think of many more ideas that you and your children will love.

If do-it-yourself isn’t quite your thing, get with me for a fun family photo session! Contact me or book now to make sure you’re never missing out on savoring memories. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

What Actually Happens During a Newborn Session?

Mom smiling at new baby

Whether you’re thinking about booking a newborn session or already have a date on the books, I’m sure you’re a bit curious about what, exactly, goes on during a newborn session. How do you get those peaceful looking images? How involved are the parents for the shoot itself? Is it actually possible to “pose” an infant? Below I’m pulling back the curtain about what actually happens during a newborn photography session.

The Heat is Turned Up

Baby loosely wrapped during newborn session

It sounds bizarre, but I prefer to set the temperature much higher during a newborn session than what you’d normally have. This helps baby feel warm, comfortable, and– most importantly — sleepy.

I’ll Take Care of All the Newborn Poses

Baby smiling

You don’t have to come up with poses or image ideas. I’ve got all that covered and know exactly how to set up an image to get great shots. I’ll also take care of all the prop setup and wrapping.

Mom & Dad Help Spot Baby

Mom and dad with new daughter

Though I do most of the work, I definitely need parents’ help during our shoots to help position the baby and work with me to help create images.

Baby’s Safety is Always My First Priority

Dad holding newborn baby

No matter what, I place your child’s safety above all else. If we need to take a break, we will. If a pose isn’t working, there’s always another one to try.

I Have Tricks for Helping Baby Calm Down

I’ve done quite a few newborn photography sessions in my day, and I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help calm fussy babies. However, in the case of a baby who is very upset, I am more than happy to reschedule.

Sibling Photos Are Done First or Last

Big sister kissing newborn baby on the cheek

I know that having your kids at the shoot for the entire session may be a bit much for them. For that reason, I suggest having sibling poses done either at the beginning or the end of the newborn session, that way they don’t have to stay throughout.

Composite Images Are Key

Baby sleeping on soft white blanket

I’ll sometimes melt a couple different images into one in order to create the perfect shot. Used by experienced photographers, this technique ensures beautiful newborn images.

No Need to Stress

Hopefully I have shed some light on what actually happens during a newborn session. It may seem daunting, but I can assure you, it will be as sweet and gentle as that new baby of yours. My top priority is making sure you and your little love can relax and have a good time.

If you’re expecting a new arrival, don’t forget to schedule a newborn session! Those first few weeks will fly by in a blurry haze, and it’ll happen faster than you can imagine. Contact me or  book now to make sure you can savor those sweet days, forever.

I'm Erika and I am a maternity, newborn, and family photographer based near Wilmington, NC. I'm also a mom to two cutie boys, lover of backyard gardening, candles, chocolate and Amazon Prime.

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“Erika was great with our kids and overall it was a laidback experience. Although both the weather and our small kids were somewhat uncooperative, Erika took some beautiful pictures which made a great use of the beach landscape and light. Highly recommended.” - Emily R.⁠
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I’m blushing! It’s comments like this one that keep me going, and few things make me happier or motivate me more than happy clients. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t read them on my more challenging days. And, Emily, the feeling is mutual—you were a dream to work with!⁠
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Thinking about booking a family photography session? You can find out more on my website! All the info you need is in the link in bio!⁠
Oh, how I'd love to go back to those first weeks and months. I was ever-present, yet never really there at all.⁠
My head was elsewhere, caught up in all the shoulds, in the baby books, the apps, the impossible schedules; all the perceived perfections of motherhood that felt so at odds with what you were telling me you needed.⁠
I followed my heart every single time. But never with conviction. Always apologetically as though I were somehow giving in. Not doing it right.⁠
I fought it. Like a quiet war. It was exhausting.⁠
I'd love to go back and mother that version of you, but as this version of me; the mum I am today. ⁠
More relaxed, more rested, more sure, no longer seeking approval, embracing the fact that I will be happily rocking my boy to sleep until he doesn't need it anymore.⁠
It's not just our babies that grow.⁠
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Words by: Mother Truths ( @mymothertruths)
I'm enjoying getting personal with y'all. Hope you don't mind!⁠
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Five years ago, I would not be able to imagine that I would be living the life I am now. There have been twists and turns for sure, and some of the challenges have been grueling to say the least, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I'm talking illness, surgery, major lifestyle changes, major personal life changes. The kind of stuff that makes you look back and not even recognize who you were. ⁠
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I have come so far and now have the clarity of mind to see how everything that has happened in my life has made me the person I am today. And I truly love who I have become through it all. What’s something positive or seemingly negative that happened in your personal life in the past five years that you didn’t see coming and that has built you up to be the badass you are today?⁠
Whenever I’m feeling stuck, I write in a journal—just a stream of consciousness, whatever crosses my mind goes on the page. Almost every time, I notice the same pattern: fear of judgment. My inner critic is telling me that no one will like what I do.⁠
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When that happens, I try to remind myself to play my own greatest hits. I make a list of the times when I did work I was proud of, made a client happy, or got positive feedback—anything that contradicts the judgmental  voice in my head. It helps me to move forward without fear. We all have that voice in our heads. The trick is to recognize it, not believe it, and put that imposter syndrome back in its place.
I am so grateful that I can do what I love as my job. Thank you to all of my clients for the ongoing love and support. I am lucky to have each and every one of you! 🥰
Something I'm continuously working on both in my personal and professional life is this: It's easy to get wrapped up in the future or the past, but living in the moment is a key to happiness. And not just living through the moment, but appreciating it.⁠
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When you're appreciating the moment, you're fully engaged in what's happening around you, and you're not letting your thoughts about the past or future distract you from the present.⁠
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One of the reasons I absolutely LOVE my work is that when I'm focused on capturing THE MOMENT, I have no choice but to be observing it, appreciating it, and noticing all the details of it. It's meditative. ⁠
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On a daily basis, living in and appreciating the moment can be a difficult thing to do, but it's definitely worth it. There are a few things you can do to help you live in the moment.⁠
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One is to practice mindfulness. This means being aware of your thoughts and feelings and accepting them without judgment. When you're mindful, you're more likely to be in the present. You can also practice gratitude, which is being thankful for the things you have in the present moment. Like, everything can seem like it's working against you. But stop. Look around. What do you have right now that is working for you? It can be as simple as being grateful that you have two arms and two legs that allow you to get things done. Or that you have a delicious cup of coffee to sip on. Or that you can easily go outside and fill your lungs with air. ⁠
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When you focus on the good things in your life, you're less likely to worry about the future or dwell on the past. That's what I've been working on. How about you? How do you stay present?

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