Welcome Lennon AND Lawson | Chattanooga Birth Photographer

There is so much about Lennon and Lawson’s birth that astounds me… I don’t really know where to begin with their story, except in the beginning – over a year ago.  Possibly two.

Meredith contacted me a long time ago to tell me she and her husband were praying for a baby and that they were trying and didn’t know when it would happen, but that when it did, they wanted me to photograph their belly, their birth and the baby.

Before there was even a baby?!?  I don’t know that I’ve ever been paid such a tremendous compliment.  So I got her signed up, promising that no matter what my schedule looked like, there would be room for her family when the time came.

And I waited.  And prayed.  And hoped…

…And then she wrote me with the news that there was a positive test!  And I was ecstatic!

…And then she told me there were two heartbeats!  I knocked over my chair with excitement when I stood up and cheered for her – I have a set of twins myself and it always thrills me when other sets of twins come into my life – because it’s an amazing, amazing journey.

Some 16 weeks later, we found out that their family would grow to include a little boy and another little girl to add to their two older daughters and we began planning our maternity session around her bed rest and intermittent preterm labor.

 

FranksBirthBlog-1

 

Very shortly after we snuck in our maternity session, Meredith called me early one morning to tell me her water had broken and shew as headed to the hospital.  I knew that she had been in and out of the hospital for early labor so I didn’t waste a second getting in the car and heading to meet her miracle babies.  Despite a giant traffic back up, I made it to the hospital just 15 minutes after her.

FranksBirthBlog-1-2

 

She was laboring hard already, clutching her sweet husband’s hand and being soothed by her amazing mother in law.  Meredith was being strong and brave and had decided she wanted her babies to come naturally and nothing was going to get in her way.

 

FranksBirthBlog-1-3

FranksBirthBlog-1-23

 

…and come naturally, they did.  A scant hour after we arrived at the hospital, Meredith delivered sweet Lennon – a perfect little image of her beautiful mother.  Six minutes later, little Lawson came into the world hollering and angry – his sister’s water had broken, but his had not.  Everyone in the OR was tickled by his fury at being taken from the womb thanks to his impatient big sister.

 

FranksBirthBlog-1-4 FranksBirthBlog-1-5

 

Meredith was so strong and calm and self-posessed she was able to cut both cords herself.  No one – not the nurses, the doctor, her family nor I – could believe how effortless and perfect the entire birth was.  If I could have scripted the birth of my own twins – or any of my babies, for that matter! – I would have written it this way.

 

FranksBirthBlog-1-6 FranksBirthBlog-1-7 FranksBirthBlog-1-8 FranksBirthBlog-1-9 FranksBirthBlog-1-10

 

Lawson, when he finally stopped yelling, proved to be as much a miniature version of his daddy as Lennon is of Meredith.  We were all absolutely delighted by the two pink, bright-eyed, amazing little people that Meredith brought into the world.  Everyone was instantly in love with them and the atmosphere was one of such joy and celebration that I can’t even find the words to describe the happiness.

FranksBirthBlog-1-11 FranksBirthBlog-1-12 FranksBirthBlog-1-13 FranksBirthBlog-1-14 FranksBirthBlog-1-15 FranksBirthBlog-1-16 FranksBirthBlog-1-17 FranksBirthBlog-1-18 FranksBirthBlog-1-19

 

After getting to snuggle with their amazing mommy and awesome daddy, big sister and little brother had to travel to the NICU, as is common with little guys who come early.  The twins thrived there – growing stronger and healthier each day and finally came home after a short stay at the hospital.  Now, the family of 6 is home together and the two newest members are getting absolutely showered with love and affection by their two big sisters and of course, their sweet parents.

 

FranksBirthBlog-1-20 FranksBirthBlog-1-21 FranksBirthBlog-1-22

 

Waiting on their newborn session was excruciating – I wanted nothing more than to snuggle those little balls of adorableness and when it was finally time for them to come to my studio, they did not disappoint – they were just perfect and I cannot wait to show you their session soon!

Even now, 4 weeks after their arrival, I can’t get over how incredible this birth story is.  I love the journey Lennon and Lawson underwent on their way home.  I love the love in this family.  I am so, so blessed to take part in such remarkable moments of people’s lives.

Welcome to the world, Lennon and Lawson!  Thank you for inspiring wonder and awe in everyone whose lives you touch!  You are truly an incredible little duo with a beautiful family and I am so excited to watch you grow!

Love,

Melissa

Your Chattanooga Birth Photographer

Chattanooga Newborn Photographer - Lennon and Lawson's Twin Newborn Session - Wedding Photography Chattanooga | Newborn Photography Chattanooga | Family Photographer - […] smile) and his 6-minute-older big sister, Lennon!  I am still prone to goosebumps when I recall their birth!  Because they were teeny and a bit early, both kiddos had to spend a little time in the NICU but […]

SHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THIS POSTPIN IMAGES TO PINTERESTBACK TO TOP

A Weekend of Saving – Our Thanks to You

LAYEREDTRIPLETS2

 THANK YOU.

This past year, we, as a studio group, have had so much to be thankful for. We’ve grown as a team and opened our beautiful, cozy studio space, and we’ve expanded our client family. We’ve seen our existing clients grow their families and enjoyed our relationships with each and every one of you.

Thank you.

Thank you.  Because… well, without you, we wouldn’t exist.

That’s a big deal, and in return, we’d like to offer you some big deals.
bigbrother

 

 Prepay for your digital files and save! 

 

If you prepay for your digital session between Friday November 29th and Monday December 2nd, your complete digital package is only$675.

Your session can take place any time in the calendar year but is subject to availabilty.

Contact info@innamorata.com to book!

 

SR0A2817

 

Take advantage of low prices this winter!

During the months of January and February, hour-long studio sessions that include 15-20 digital images are only $300!

Perfect for maternity, family sittings, children, couples, etc.

(Newborns, boudoir and seniors excluded as these sessions require more than 1 hour! )

SR0A4562

 

Baby’s First Year Plans – EXCLUSIVE!

This one is huge, so act quickly and share with your friends who may be expecting a little one this upcoming year!

We are offering FIVE Baby’s First Year plans if you book between Friday November 29th and Monday December 2nd.

For only $900, you will receive 4 sessions (commonly maternity, newborn, 4-, 6-, 8-, and 12-months or however you would like to split them up!) with online galleries, plus a book of your little one’s first year of life and 20 images from the year after your last session.

Contact info@innamorata.com to book! These plans are ONLY offered once a year!

DSC_2725-Editl

 

Wedding Albums on sale! 

Lots of our wedding clients only order digital files these days – this Black Friday Sale will allow you to purchase a DEEPLY discounted album to add on to a wedding package you’ve already booked, are about to book, or a wedding we’ve already photographed!

10×10’s
30 pages ~ $2,000 (ON SALE FOR $1000)

Ask us about pricing for the 12×12’s and other sizes!

Email info@innamorata.com for more information!

SR0A05452

 

Photographers!  Special price on mentoring!

Our normal mentoring is $1000 for a full day (6 hours) of mentoring. With our Black Friday special you may pre-pay for a mentoring session with your choice of Melody, Corey, or Melissa as your mentor for $675.

Email us at info@innamorata.com for more details and information!

DSC_6032FB
New to Photography DSLR Introduction Class!

Every year after Christmas when people have received new cameras as Christmas gifts we have people ask if we teach classes on how to use them – we do!

On a Saturday in January we will be teaching a class on how to use your new DSLR camera at our downtown studio. This is a fantastic gift for anyone who wants to better their skills as a hobbyist photographer and to learn the basics of using a DSLR camera. Did you buy your significant other a camera for Christmas? Get them a class to go with it!

The class is normally $349 – with this Black Friday Special it is only $249! Hurry, seats are very limited!

 

SR0A2928

We hope you enjoy your holidays and have much to celebrate this year!

Thank you again for making Innamorata Photography your choice for stunning images – we can’t wait to share 2014 with you!

Love and warmest wishes,
Melody, Melissa, Corey, Mike, Ashley and Jill

The Innamorata Photography Team

 

SR0A0007-Edit2-Edit

 

 

 

SR0A1457-Edit

 

 

SR0A3128-Edit

 

SR0A7086-Edit

 

SR0A8185-Edit

SR0A8253-Edit

SHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THIS POSTPIN IMAGES TO PINTERESTBACK TO TOP

Welcome Isabella | Chattanooga Birth Photographer

I capture all kinds of Birth Stories – some are routine, some are planned and go according to the plan, others don’t.  Isabella’s Birth Story is one of those that started out simply and ended up with a happy ending, but the path wasn’t what Momma thought she’d be taking when the journey began.

And that’s okay. Because Isabella Grace made her way into this world bright-eyed and ready to go.

And I was there.

 

2013-09-23_0017

The day started out as Momma expected it to.  There was much waiting, a little discomfort, not a lot of sleep.  So many birth stories start out the same way.

2013-09-23_0018

Patiently waiting and diligently laboring, Mom, Dad, the anxious grandparents and I enjoyed one another’s company, laughter, and joy over the imminent birthday we were about to witness.

2013-09-23_0019

2013-09-23_0020

But, as we all know, when babies are involved, there are no guarantees.  Momma’s body and her little one weren’t in total agreement and the plans changed to include a Cesarian delivery of little Isabella.  Exhausted and ready to meet their babe, Mom and Dad took the change in stride.

2013-09-23_0021

2013-09-23_0022

Over the course of the day, I came to know Jonathan as a strong, fiercely protective and doting husband and father – achingly in love with his girls and devoted to them beyond measure.  I watched him walk with determination down the hall with his wife, worried, but with strength and resolve to keep her safe and stay by her side.

2013-09-23_0023

2013-09-23_0024

Because Mom was so exhausted from 18 hours of labor with no sleep and her body was tired and in pain, she ended up sleeping peacefully through the procedure while her husband held her hand and watched her rest calmly.  The wonderful doctors and nurses brought a lovely, alert, strong Isabella Grace into the world without any problems and Dad was able to spend some precious time bonding with his daughter in the operating room.

2013-09-23_0025 2013-09-23_0026 2013-09-23_0027 2013-09-23_0028 2013-09-23_0029 2013-09-23_0030 2013-09-23_0031

Isabella was so bright and calm and alert in her daddy’s arms; once she got her eyes open, she spent her afternoon gazing up at him, making faces and delighting all of us.

2013-09-23_0032 2013-09-23_0033 2013-09-23_0034 2013-09-23_0035 2013-09-23_0036 2013-09-23_0037

She took her first bath and helped herself to her first meal while Mommy snoozed on, recovering from her long, long day.  I stayed and documented all of those moments so Dad could snuggle with Isabella and so Momma would be able to look back at her Birth Story and not feel like she missed anything.

2013-09-23_0038

And so, after a trying, worrysome day, Daddy was able to walk back down that hallway with his wife in one bed and his daughter in another – once again determined and proud in his solemn role as protector of two precious ladies.

2013-09-23_0039 2013-09-23_0040

 

Isabella’s Birth Story isn’t a perfect one of simplicity and ease, but it is a perfect story of love and devotion.  It is a story of a family overcoming fear and worry and pain to become 3.  It is a story with a very happy ending.

 

 

Welcome to the world, Isabella Grace!  We’re glad you made it safe and sound!

Love,
Melissa
Your Chattanooga Birth Photographer

SHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THIS POSTPIN IMAGES TO PINTERESTBACK TO TOP

Welcome Avery | Chattanooga Birth Photographer

Avery’s birth story is one of my favorites.  Avery’s momma contacted me when she was juuuuuust barely pregnant; she wanted me to work with them to do a session to announce their pregnancy and then again to announce the gender of their much-anticipated first baby.  We later did a maternity session and began talking about his birth.

Jen knew she was going to have a planned Cesarian delivery for medical reasons so we talked about how that goes.   Thankfully, I am able to document birth stories from the operating room as well.  It is a privilege I take very seriously and am VERY grateful to have.  I had her on my calendar for their son’s scheduled birthday and was looking forward to it as I do all the births I witness.

Then, one Saturday morning I got the call.  “Jen’s water broke,” my husband said with raised eyebrows, “Does that mean anything to you?”

“It means you’re taking the kids to the library; I have to go!”

I arrived at the hospital just as Jen and Brandon were as well, and so, their story began…

2013-09-24_0001

The morning was full of emotions – excitement and trepidation and nerves.  Although they had been steadily and enthusiastically working toward this day for 36 weeks of pregnancy (and for quite some time before, too!) both Momma and Dad thought they would have another few weeks to prepare themselves for the moment.  It’s remarkable to watch the realization set in for new parents that they are only hours – sometimes minutes – away from meeting their child.

2013-09-24_0002

2013-09-24_0003

Jen and Brandon were wonderful – they were so enthusiastic about meeting Avery and their natural emotions of nervousness and worry were so tempered by that excitement that everyone around them was infected by their joy.

2013-09-24_0004

2013-09-24_0005

Avery’s Birth Story takes place at Erlanger’s Baroness campus in downtown Chattanooga and throughout the whole day, I was just utterly blown away by the entire staff.  From their nurses in L&D to their CRNA and Dr. Patel in the operating room and their lactation consultant and all of their postpartum and neonatal nurses… everyone was just beyond amazing.  They were competent and confident and compassionate and concerned and every single person did absolutely everything they could to ensure Jen, Brandon and Avery were not just taken care of, but that Avery and his mommy got as much bonding time as they wanted and needed with as little interruption as was medically possible.   I’ve worked with staff that was nice and accommodating, but certainly I have never stood in awe of a group of professionals as much as I did at Avery’s birth.  (My apologies for the tangent; credit where due though!)

2013-09-24_0006

2013-09-24_0008 2013-09-24_0009 2013-09-24_0010 2013-09-24_0011

Like most mothers, Jen wept tears of joy when she heard Avery’s first cries, laughing and crying and you could see that she was instantly head-over-heels in love with her son.

2013-09-24_0012 2013-09-24_0013 2013-09-24_0014 2013-09-24_0015 2013-09-24_0016

For the few moments that Avery was with nurses getting checked out, Brandon was by his side soothing him, comforting him and taking in the beautiful sight of his child.  The nurses quickly returned Avery to Jen for kisses and snuggles and the family of three got to bond just minutes after he was born.

2013-09-24_0017 2013-09-24_0018

There was still some routine care that needed to happen and Jen’s face when the nurses came to take Avery away again speaks volumes of her profound love for her babe.  I came across this image and couldn’t hold my own tears back – if she could have gotten off the table to be with him, she would have.  This mama loves her son with a fierceness that moves me.

2013-09-24_0019 2013-09-24_0020 2013-09-24_0021 2013-09-24_0022 2013-09-24_0023 2013-09-24_0024

Reunited for the rest of the procedure, Avery and Jen settled into a peace and contentment in the midst of the sterile operating room that was just remarkable; for these three, there was nothing else but one another.

2013-09-24_0025 2013-09-24_0026 2013-09-24_0027 2013-09-24_0028 2013-09-24_0029 2013-09-24_0030 2013-09-24_0031 2013-09-24_0032 2013-09-24_0033 2013-09-24_0034 2013-09-24_0035 2013-09-24_0036 2013-09-24_0037

Brandon was able to give his sweet son a bath right in Momma’s postpartum room while she looked on and rested.

2013-09-24_0038 2013-09-24_0039 2013-09-24_0040 2013-09-24_0041 2013-09-24_0042

Though everyone was tired after a long and exciting day, everything was right in the world for Avery and his sweet parents.

2013-09-24_0043 2013-09-24_0044 2013-09-24_0045 2013-09-24_0046 2013-09-24_0047

 

Congratulations Avery! You found yourself in the arms of a very special Mommy and Daddy!  Thank you for including me in your beautiful journey!

Love,

Melissa
Your Chattanooga Birth Photographer

SHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THIS POSTPIN IMAGES TO PINTERESTBACK TO TOP

What to Expect During Your Newborn Session – Chattanooga Newborn Photography

Newborn photography is a special discipline within portraiture that not every photographer can do well – it is about so much more than a technical knowledge of photography and lighting and having the right equipment.  It requires patience and confidence.  It requires an intimate understanding of a newborn’s world – and the world they’ve spent the previous 40 weeks growing within.  It’s about a CONSTANT regard for the infant’s safety and comfort ahead of the desire for a particular shot.  And it’s about being sensitive to the uncertainty and misgivings new, proud parents have about handing their fresh-from-the-womb child to, in many cases, a complete stranger. We want your Chattanooga Newborn Photography Session to be perfect, painless, and comfortable.

My job begins long before mom ever delivers her babe; I talk on the phone at length with my mommies and dads about their session and make sure to answer all of their questions in addition to educating them about how we conduct our sessions.  I’d love to give you a little idea of what I tell my clients – and to prepare you for what you can expect from a studio newborn session with me.

 

 

I generally schedule our session for 5 days after the expected due date.  That gives us plenty of room to catch that ideal window of 5-10 days for the perfect newborn session – after the baby has gotten the hang of eating and before she hits that first growth spurt.  During that time, she’s still sleepy and happy to curl into the adorable womb-like poses that set newborn portraiture apart from other baby photographs.   However, because babies dictate everything about a newborn session, including scheduling, that date is a soft date until he arrives and we adjust accordingly if we need to.

Parents are encouraged to make sure their little peanut’s belly is nice and full and that he has been awake for a good amount of time prior to the session.  Just in case little one falls asleep in his car seat on the way to our studio, I ask momma to select a snap- or zipper-down outfit so I don’t have to pull anything over his head and risk waking him up.

 

When a family arrives in our studio, I take the baby and start working immediately if he’s asleep, and work on putting him to sleep if he isn’t.  Parents are welcome to either sit in our comfy lounge area or watch me work with baby.  Often, moms take this time to apply makeup and enjoy a cup of coffee and relax for a little while.

The studio is generally around 84 degrees during the session, with the temperature even higher thanks to space heaters in the area I use for shooting.  Because babes that new often don’t regulate their body temperatures as well as adults and because they’re naked, they are safer and more comfortable in an environment that is closer to body temperature.  Some of the items I keep within arms reach  during the course of the session include blankets for covering a baby, hand sanitizer (I use it every time I touch your baby – especially after touching my face or hair or working with the baby’s bottom!), extra wipes to clean up stray messes, space heaters, white noise machines, and all the hats and headbands I plan on using.  I keep everything close at hand because I do not leave your baby unattended – EVER.  Even a days-old infant can move more than people expect!

 

Many poses and the use of props like baskets and bowls will require extra hands for that reason.  Some poses are composites, which means I use two or more images and an extra set of hands to stabilize a baby’s head safely and comfortably and use Photoshop to compile the images into one seamless image.  When I work with the baby in a basket or other prop, I make sure that a parent or assistant can hold the prop steady so that a baby cannot tip over.  Often, these props are also weighted on the bottom, but that doesn’t replace the need for a spotter.   When I am manipulating a tiny human into a pose, he may whimper as I disturb his slumber, but if he makes a face or begins to cry, I abandon the pose and work with his cues as to what is comfortable for him.  Not all poses work for all babies, so I let them tell me what feels good to them!   Some shots require that I shoot from above your baby; every time I do, I ensure that my camera strap is securely around my neck.  The importance of safety in the studio cannot be over-emphasized or under-estimated!

 

After I work with little bit on both my beanbag and in some props, I move into family shots.  Most of these are very minimalist and I use a simple backdrop and encourage mom and dad and any siblings to wear simple clothing – white, black, cream, etc. without distracting prints.  Often a camisole for mom and a white t-shirt or bare chest for dad is perfect.  The goal of these images is to convey the love within the family – anything else distracts from that very profound connection.

At the end of our session – about 2 to 3 hours – I’ll help you get your baby dressed and give you time to feed her if you’d like and help you get her into her car seat so you can head out and look forward to seeing your beautiful images a few days later!

Many times, beside the pediatrician, I am the first visit a new baby makes; that is an enormous honor and I am humbled by the trust parents place in me.  I find deep joy in seeing these perfect little people and the overwhelming love their mommies and daddies and siblings have for them.  Each session leaves me feeling as if I have been witness to something larger than myself and I am taken aback by how much I find myself caring for these families as if they are close friends.  To say “thank you” to these parents doesn’t seem to convey enough of my gratitude for that.

Questions? I’d love to answer them!  Even more than that, I’d love to see you and your blessing in our studio!

Stephanie messaadi - Hello my name is stephanie messaadi I am 5 months pregnant I am looking to find out about some more information. About your photos if u could email me back that would be great ! Thanks so much !

Nadine Jacobsen-McLean - Interested in newborn pictures, I am due in 2 weeks. Looking forward to your response!

SHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THIS POSTPIN IMAGES TO PINTERESTBACK TO TOP

Being Present

 

This is one of my favorite wedding photos we’ve ever taken. It was taken in 2007 at the Chattanoogan Hotel.

 

 

Why is it a favorite? Because it’s real. This amazing couple just finished shoving cake and icing all over each others faces. Every one of their parents happened to be standing right there behind them. What do you see? You see real reactions, real laughter, real smiles. What do you not see? Any kind of electronic device. This couple and their parents lived that moment. I promise you they remember it, that it’s etched in their memories, and I bet it always will be. This is one of the last times I was able to capture a moment like this that was free of cameras, free of cell phones… real people enjoying a very real moment.

The original iPhone made it’s debut in 2007. Within months it was in the hands of millions. Sure, camera phones had been around and so had point and shoot cameras, but they weren’t so common. Facebook was becoming more and more popular, people sharing their lives on social media was beginning to become normal. That’s when I first started noticing that more people were coming to weddings with their cameras and camera phones in hand.

It wasn’t a big deal, really it wasn’t. One out of every 15-20 people snapped the occasional photo. Every now and then we’d have to gracefully ask someone to move a bit. No big deal.

Over the years it became more and more common to see people taking photos at weddings. While they occasionally found their way in to our images it wasn’t as if dozens of images were ruined – we were still able to capture what we needed, what we wanted, what our couples wanted, what would make our couples happy and help them remember their beautifully planned wedding day.

Fast forward to now. Now it’s more like 1 in 15-20 people who DON’T have a smart phone of some sort, a point and shoot camera, or even a DSLR taking photos nonstop at every wedding. On one hand I get it – society is so wrapped up in social networking that everybody wants a photo to post on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter or simply to have on their phone to show people later. It’s, “Hey, I was there, I’ll post it on social media so people can see it, so I can remember it, so I can look back on it later.” I get it, I do, I understand it. I feel the same way when I go somewhere amazing – I want to document it, keep it, store it away. But it’s getting out of hand. People now watch life through an LCD screen instead of living in the moment. Some people don’t think twice about getting up out of their seat during a wedding ceremony and standing in the aisle, walking up to the front, follow the bride down the aisle, even standing in their chairs to get a “good shot”.  What happens to these photos? Many of my past brides have told me that they never see them at all, any of them. Many have complained that the first photo that uninvited guests or friends and family who couldn’t make it see of them and their wedding day is a blurry cell phone image that isn’t the least bit flattering. Some are hurt, some are angry, some are upset, others don’t care – or at least haven’t mentioned it to me.

Before 2012 I had never missed a first kiss – never, ever in hundreds of weddings had I ever missed a first kiss, even the ones that happen so quickly most people don’t notice them. I can’t say that any more. I missed the first one in 2012. I missed it because a cousin’s date, whom the bride did not know and had never seen before and hasn’t seen since stepped in the aisle to take a photo – right in front of me. There was absolutely nothing I could do. By the time I raced forward to get the shot over his shoulder – the moment was gone. Thankfully I had a second photographer stationed to the side and he was able to get a photo of the first kiss from that angle – but it’s not the same. You can’t see the looks on their faces, the happiness, the joy, you can only see that it happened.

So much has changed. The endearing moments where parents were watching their child’s first dance, cake cutting, first kiss… those moments we used to capture forever have been replaced by photos of parents, family, and friends holding cell phones in front of their faces. You can no longer see what they felt, how they reacted, instead we have forever documented which cell phone cover they were using at that moment in time. The emotion is gone as people live their lives staring at LCD screens. During ceremonies I see people taking photos, uploading them to Facebook or Instagram, taking more photos, uploading those too… On the single most important day of their friend/daughter/son/niece/nephew’s life to this point – the vast majority of people aren’t living it, enjoying it, or sharing it with them – they’re watching it through an LCD. Instead of that amazing moment when a father sees his daughter in her wedding dress for the first time many fathers are walking in with smartphone in hand ready to take a photo. Instead of guests with tears in their eyes I see a sea of people looking for the right angle, raising their phones above their heads, stretching their arms in to the aisles, whatever it takes to get that shot. People are even bringing their iPads to take photos.

Just stop. Please stop. I beg you to leave the phone, the camera, the iPad at home or safely tucked away in your pocket or handbag. Snap a couple of photos for yourself of you, your family, etc… before the ceremony starts, during cocktail hour, at the reception… but for the majority of the day – and especially during the ceremony – put it away.

Don’t stop for me. At the end of the day I still get paid. I still do the very best job I can possibly do at each and every wedding. While I am sad, heartbroken in many ways, that so much of the emotion is gone, replaced by the need to document the day, at the end of the day it’s not my choice, not my day, not my wedding. Do I want it to stop? Absolutely. But not for my sake. I want you to stop for YOU and for the couple. You aren’t living. You aren’t enjoying the moment. You aren’t allowing yourself to take in the beauty and love that’s standing right there before your eyes. You’re stealing that from yourself. You’re taking away from the couple the ability to see how other people – their dearest friends, family, and loved ones – felt on their wedding day. Did you silently wipe a tear away? Did you laugh when the officiant told a story about them from childhood? Did you smile from ear to ear? They’ll never know. They’ll never know because you covered your face with a picture-taking-device and you were too focused on that to actually feel anything at all, or at the very least to show it if you did feel it.

Live, please live. Wedding days are probably the most planned day of a persons life. People spend months planning every last detail, years dreaming about exactly how it will be – how people will enjoy it, wondering if people will cry or laugh or smile… Give that to them. Give them your attention, your emotions, your presence… it’s the most wonderful gift you can give them. Toasters will break, bath towels will wear out, all of that expensive china they registered for will eventually be tucked away in a cabinet as children are born… Give them the gift of being able to look back at their wedding album and see your smiling face, see your tears, feel your love and know that you were there, really there on that wonderful occasion. Please give that to them.

Does the sea of cameras affect the professional photography they’ve paid lots of hard earned money for? Sometimes. Sometimes, yes, yes it does. Most churches have rules for photographers. Rules on where we can and cannot stand, if we are allowed to move at all, if so where we can move and where we cannot. They have rules stating that we can’t use a flash – even if we are allowed to we typically don’t as it is a sacred ceremony that we don’t want to detract from in any way and the constant flashing of our high powered speedlights would certainly be a distraction to everyone. In some cases we literally are not allowed to move to ask someone to step out of the aisle or to get a different angle if someone has stepped in our way. In every case we don’t want to have to because, again, it’s a distraction, it takes away from their ceremony. When someone uses the flash on their point and shoot camera at the exact moment we do it does overexpose our image. The red light from the red-eye reduction feature will turn them red. In years past it wasn’t that big of a deal – a flash or two here & there… now we are missing some of the best moments and instead of choosing which image has the best expression we are simply looking for one where a guests flash didn’t fire. Thankfully there’s more than one of us and, so far, we’ve never both failed to get the important images because of someone being in our way. It could happen, if things keep going at the rate they’re going then it will happen. So, does it affect us as wedding photographers? Absolutely. I don’t think there are many wedding photographers out there who don’t love what they do and love capturing those incredible moments. I love what I do, my team loves it, capturing moments that make us cry over and over and over again is the reason we love it so much. Sure, it’s a job, we get paid, but we do it because we love it and it IS heartbreaking to have to throw away an incredible moment because of dozens of flashes were firing at a time when we were not allowed to use one at all or to not get the shot at all because someone stepped in front of us. Family photos have become an enormous challenge just to get people to look at us instead of the person off to the side yelling for people to look at them. Every single one of our couples gets an online gallery that they can share with friends and with family. If they purchase the digital package we can even set it where guests can download the photos for themselves.

But, again, don’t do it for me… do it for you so that you can actually live in the moment and for the people you’re there to celebrate so that they can look back and see how you enjoyed their day. The most amazing gift you can give them – is your presence.

 

While I could post 100 images of people doing the things I listed above – I won’t. This isn’t about embarrassment or shaming anyone. It does happen at every wedding with the exception of the few who have specifically asked guests not to bring or use their cameras or cell phones (which IS becoming more common). The few images I am posting are to illustrate a point and do not show peoples faces and have further been blurred to insure that people are not identifiable. If, for any reason, you are embarrassed or negatively affected by an image I have posted please, please email me and it will be removed.

 

 

 

 

 

Shawna - Great post!

Stephanie - So well written and a very good point.

Heather Rivlin - Great post Melody and very well written. I think you make a great point and it would be wonderful if brides would consider a phone ban at their ceremony or dinner. Check in your phone like you do at coat check 🙂

It’s sad to see so many living life through the LCD. Get out there and live it and leave it to the professional to capture the images that the couple
Can then share with guests. It’s sad to see so many images ruined by people playing photographer.

Ashley - I agree with everything you said very well worded

Brittany Busk - Well put!!! Wish I could shout it from the rooftops!!!!!

Richard Annable - Two words. Awe some.

SHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THIS POSTPIN IMAGES TO PINTERESTBACK TO TOP

Fine Art Sessions – The Lost Children of Neverland – Chattanooga Family Photographer

We are now introducing the first of our Fine Art Sessions, titled “The Lost Children of Neverland”. Each month we will host one to four Fine Art session days – unlike a standard session or mini-session, these sessions provide an unforgettable experience that you and your children will absolutely love. Every month there will be one to four unique themes that are geared toward adults, babies, children, and/or families. 

You have the option of paying per session or paying for 12 all at once with a Fine Art Mini Annual Pass, which entitles you to a large discount. When purchasing our annual package, you will be able to select the 12 sessions you would like to attend with first choice of booking dates and times. This way, sessions are guaranteed not to be filled before you have a chance to book yours. We are selling a very limited number of Fine Art Session Annual Passes, so get them while you can! Our incredible themes are already planned for the upcoming year and you won’t be disappointed!

You may choose to book with one of the following options: one session at a time with prints purchased separately from an online gallery; a session with a 16×20 Fine Art or Canvas Print and essentially get your session free; the Fine Art Session Annual Pass which entitles you to 12 sessions in one year with an online gallery; or the Annual Pass with a gorgeous Fine Art album at the end of your 12 months and an online gallery from each session.

All of our Fine Art Sessions will include an intricately designed set, providing an atmosphere that encourages children to interact and have fun being photographed. Our goal is to capture the essence of who they are while letting their imaginations run wild! Sessions for adults will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, in incredible locations that are painstakingly scouted.

The location for “The Lost Children of Neverland” session is a conveniently located privately owned field in Hixson, TN.

 

To purchase simply click on the “Buy it Now” button for the option you would like to choose…

The Lost Children of Neverland Mini Session: $150

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

The Lost Children of Neverland Mini Session with 16×20 Fine Art Print or Canvas: $300 (Save $150)

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

The Fine Art Mini Session Annual Pass: $1000 (Save $800)

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

The Fine Art Mini Session Annual Pass with Fine Art Album: $1500 (Save $1500! This is Half Price!)

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

The Lost Children of Neverland

The Lost Boys of Neverland

 


SHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THIS POSTPIN IMAGES TO PINTERESTBACK TO TOP

Roman Hamilton: 8 Days New | Chattanooga Newborn Photographer

Newborns are amazing little people with incredibly distinct personalities.  Sweet little Roman is no exception; he was extremely relaxed and easy-going, content to be warm and snuggled.  I just love his hair and his long little monkey toes.  I couldn’t get enough of his precious expressions and perfectly formed features!

I was blessed to be able to document his birth 8 days earlier, so I was very much looking forward to seeing this beautiful family of 3 again and see how they were doing.  In fact, both Roman’s Momma and Dad were aglow and radiated their love for their sweet son.  Tired, of course, but happy and excited about parenthood.  Truly a remarkable young family!

SHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THIS POSTPIN IMAGES TO PINTERESTBACK TO TOP

Welcome Roman | Chattanooga Birth Photographer

Being a birth photographer is at once exhilarating and humbling.  I have the profound honor of watching families grow before my eyes… Of seeing a child take his first breath… Of watching women find strength they never thought possible and men become fathers overflowing with pride and fear and awe.

Each family that commissions me to document their story becomes a piece of my heart and I am beyond grateful for their trust in me, and for the privilege of witnessing, first hand, one of the greatest miracles on Earth.  It is a very intimate story, and I don’t always share the images from these sessions because of the deeply private nature of what I capture, but Bonnie and her husband, Adam, are excited for me to share the story of their son’s birth with you.

Bonnie’s labor was one of the most perfect, sweetest labors I’ve ever seen.  She was surrounded by so much love that it absolutely blew my mind.  I was greeted in Labor and Delivery by beautiful women who introduced themselves as her mother and sisters.  I met some of the kindest women in Chattanooga and I hadn’t even reached Bonnie’s room yet.

Throughout her labor, family filtered in and offered her their love and support, and Bonnie quickly progressed to complete under the watchful eyes of her amazing husband, her momma and her wonderful mother-in-law.

With the help of her supportive family, Bonnie’s quiet strength brought her perfect son, Roman Hamilton, into the world.  At 8 pounds and 7 ounces, he was a healthy, plump little guy – content to snuggle with his mommy and blink in wonder at the new world in which he found himself.

Welcome, little Roman.  You are loved.

 

 

Heather Puett - Absolutely gorgeous! I love birth photography, always such an emotional experience.

SHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THIS POSTPIN IMAGES TO PINTERESTBACK TO TOP

The Night Owl Workshop with Melody Hood & Meg Bitton

Join Melody Hood and Meg Bitton, a one time opportunity to work with two professionals handling light and locations with both the natural touch and with Off Camera Lighting. Join us for a bit of shooting, a bit of eating and a bit of editing. Meg will teach natural light, soulful connection, and artistic editing. Melody will teach off camera lighting, working in both full sun and in twilight hours and how she processes images in Lightroom. Includes a catered dinner at Melody’s studio in Chattanooga, TN.

Workshop begins at 6pm and lasts until midnight on August 1st.

 

$1000




Victoria Bidez - Although I’d venture to say I can’t afford it right now, that is SO close to my home and I’d LOVE to do it. But the “buy now” button isn’t working and there is no mention of pricing or any other details…

Tammy Loveless - Attempting to purchase. Purchase now does not take me anywhere.

Melody Hood - So Sorry – the code messed up when it posted, it’s fixed now!

Lisa Ewton - I am interested in your workshop. I would like more info please. Thank you for your time!

Cheryl - I don’t see a pay now button, how do i register??

Melody Hood - What information would you like?

Melody Hood - There’s a “Buy it Now” button under the photo 🙂

Carol - Do you use models in your workshops? Or it it strictly ‘classroom’?

Melody Hood - We will have many models and lots of hands on shooting. Only the editing portion will be in the classroom 🙂

Misty Kinney - I would love, love, love, to attend, but with my daughters medical bills piling up from Vanderbilt it is just not something I can afford right now. I have been waiting, watching and hoping for one by y’all because your work inspires me but I just won’t be able to handle the $1,000 right now.

Rosa - How do you teach shooting in full sun if the workshop starts at 6:00 pm? Thank you

Melody Hood - Hi Rosa – “full sun” isn’t a specific time of day so much as it is a situation, it will be the very first thing that we cover and 6pm is 3 hours before sunset here, the sun is still quite bright and harsh. I can teach shooting in full sun any time of day, thankfully, because I can’t guarantee it won’t be cloudy either 😉

Regina May - Hello Melody–

Will you be working with external flash or soft box? I shoot Canon with externals and also own a large soft box that I haven’t learned just yet. Also, how many seats are available for this workshop and will participates enjoy any ongoing mentoring post-workshop? Thanks so much.

Sarah Phillips - How many spots are available and how many are filled now? VERY interested in attending. Need to talk to hubby. Need to know if the editing portion is at midnight on Aug. 1st or the next day. I need to make child care arrangements and need to know what time I need to fly in and out.

Thanks!

Melody Hood - Hi Regina, We will be working with strobes, speedlites, and a variety of modifiers 🙂

Melody Hood - Hi Sarah,

We only have a few seats left!

Elisha Wooden - I’m so excited! I can’t wait!

Tammy - Getting very excited. Will we get an Email as to what to bring with us to workshop? This is my first!!!!!!

SHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THIS POSTPIN IMAGES TO PINTERESTBACK TO TOP