Friday Photo Adventures | Pensacola Photographer

I am constantly trying to be more intentional about taking photos of my own kids. You know, with the fancy camera I use to take everyone else's pictures as opposed to just my iPhone. It's a struggle. I'd love to take it everywhere, but it's heavy and expensive. When there are other goals for the day, like having fun or making sure kids don't get lost/hurt (I'm a total helicopter mom), the last thing I want to do is lug around a piece of equipment and worry about it getting lost, stolen or damaged. 

pensacola-photographer

I had this idea to start taking them on mini local adventures, with the singular goal of capturing them exploring and having fun. And keeping it short so I'm not committed to lugging a camera around for an extended period of time. 

pensacola-photographer

For this first one, we stuck close to home. Our neighborhood is a new development and there are large pieces of land on either side also awaiting development. Every time I drive by, the glorious afternoon light catches my eye. Checking out my sun positioning app, I noticed that one of these properties had what must have been a driveway that extended much farther than it seemed from the road. So I grabbed the kids one beautiful Friday and dragged them out for a little hike. 

pensacola-photographer
pensacola-photographer

Isla was actually pretty dang unhappy about the whole thing. She hates having her picture taken and is at that age where there is just attitude about everything. This day was no different and there was a lot of sulking (and me telling her to suck it up and act happy for 10 minutes). But once I got her running and twirling the blanket all around, she started to have a little bit of fun and give me the carefree expressions I was hoping for. Whew!

pensacola-photographer
pensacola-photographer

Jack-Jack is always happy to ham it up for me though. He takes direction well and is never stingy with his smiles. He had such a great time chasing his sister around.

pensacola-photographer
pensacola-photographer
Pensacola-photographer

We only spent about 20 minutes walking around and exploring this great little spot. The light and texture of the underbrush yielded some pretty awesome images. I'm already looking forward to our next photo adventure. 


 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Sweet Caroline | Milton Newborn Photographer

When a family books me for a newborn session, or any in home session, I always ask about their style and decor. It helps me to begin to visualize the session in advance and coordinate any wraps or blankets I might want to bring, just in case the family doesn't have something they want to use. 

When I received April's questionnaire back, she told me that they don't really have a style. They just decorate to their tastes and interests. She also told me about her cat Tugg, who is a treasured family member. April was excited to be having a girl and decorating the nursery with a cat theme. HOWEVER, some of the decor was being hand made by a grandmother and April hadn't seen it, wasn't even sure if it would be done before the newborn session. 

I'm sure you're probably thinking the same thing I was...a handmade-by-grandma cat themed nursery has the potential to veer into the realm of 'yikes'. 

Well hop on over here and have a slice of humble pie with me, because it was the most wonderfully fun and adorable nursery, with such a genuine feeling of warmth and sentimentality. Like an heirloom quilt that you just want to wrap yourself up in on a cold day. The custom felted wool cat mobile was my absolute favorite. 

milton-newborn-photographer

April and Ray were just as genuine and warm as the nursery. April claimed they would probably be awkward in front of the camera, but NO. Everyone was perfectly natural and ultra snuggly, which is always the best. They were a complete joy to hang out with and photograph for the morning. 

milton-newborn-photographer
milton-family-photogrpaher

Big brother Charlie was a ridiculous ham. We bonded over our shared love of avocado toast. And naturally, baby Caroline was perfectly sweet in her ruffle butt bloomers. Check them all out and, if you would, take a moment to leave a quick comment at the end. You will help April & Ray earn a free mounted 8x10 print from Caroline's newborn session. Fifty commenters are needed.

milton-family-photographer
milton-family-photographer

 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Aislinn's Hypnobabies Birth | Baptist Hospital Pensacola

After all of these births, telling all of these beautiful stories, it finally hit me that I shouldn't be telling these stories at all. I should be collecting birth stories from my mamas. You, the reader, should be hearing it all from the mother's perspective before you see it from mine. I so often say that the mother experiences birth so differently from everyone else in the room, and I am kind of obsessed with hearing how women experienced their own birth. Now I am excited to be able to celebrate and share some of those stories with you here. I hope they will become a source of inspiration, reference, and direction for my expecting readers.

Kathryn has been kind enough to share, in her own words, her experience bringing baby Aislinn into the world at Baptist Hospital Pensacola, using Hypnobabies and with the support of Pensacola doula Amber Roman of Belly to Cradle. I have seen a lot of labors, and this one struck me as particularly long and difficult. The energy in the room was very subdued, and even after delivery things were very quiet and calm. It was eye-opening to hear Kathryn's side of the story...

Baptist-Hospital-Pensacola

Forty weeks and three days. That’s how long I had grown my baby, how long I had carried my miracle, when I was awoken at 1:30am. I thought I just had to go to the bathroom for the 100th time that night, like every other night in my third trimester, but this time was a little different. I felt like I wasn’t quite going to make it and when I sat down…gush! Water poured. Half asleep, and half in shock, I sat there talking to myself like any normal person- “Is this my water breaking? No, that doesn’t happen. I think this is my waters. My water broke. No, no it didn’t. It’s still going. This is it.” They say to remember that birth is nothing like what you see in the movies. The whole water breaking out of nowhere, then contractions starting, and rushing to the hospital isn’t a common reality. They say only 10% of women have their water break before labor begins. I guess I made the 10%. I climbed back into bed, woke my husband Luke, and then texted my doula. She called me and talked through what was going on with me, how the coming hours may play out and when we will need to head to the hospital. All things we had talked through in our meetings, but just a little different since my water broke first. I sent my husband to the guest room to get some sleep while I laid down to try and get any rest I could between contractions.

baptist-hospital-pensacola

Let me pause to say, having a doula is the single best decision you can make for labor. Natural or medicated, vaginal or c-section, well trained doulas are life giving. My doula, Amber Roman of Belly to Cradle, is phenomenal. From birth education, to delivery, to postpartum, she was a rock for us and we are so grateful to her for her friendship and services. We decided that utilizing hypnobabies would be the best option for me and my personality when it came to labor techniques for birthing, especially considering my goal was to do this all natural. Hypnobabies trains the mind and body to remain extremely relaxed, yet allow the mind to also be highly aware and focused. The concept of self-hypnosis may sound super weird to you, but it was the best when it came to birth for me. I can’t talk about it highly enough.

Sometime mid morning, between 9 and 10 I think, Amber came over to help us get everything together and as always, present our options. Based on my contractions and the fact that my water broke, we went on to the hospital. This was it. We were going to meet our baby girl! From the second my water broke until the end of the transition phase, I was in my Hypnobabies zone. I was calm, using my breathing and mindset techniques during each contraction (or “birthing wave” if we use the lingo). I’m pretty sure my eyes were closed the entire birth and the concept of time was out the window. I labored in bed for while, with my husband and mom nearby providing great support. Amber helped me walk halls, massaged and applied counter pressure, cooled me with wet rags, let me smell peppermint oil for nausea, told me when I needed to change positions, reminded me of my options, made sure I was drinking water, let me know when I could get into the tub for pain relief, and prayed over me when it was the end and I was starting to lose my focus. I felt safe and secure. I was free to labor without worrying about anything else because I had my people.

pensacola-birth-photographer

I labored for 19 hours. It didn’t seem anywhere near that long to me. I listened to my Hypnobabies tracks and stayed in my own world it seemed. Towards the end things were getting intense and my body started to push by itself so they asked me if I was ready to push her out. I pushed for an hour and a half. It was the toughest part for me, not because of pain but because of the effort pushing took. I’d say it was because of her position. Even though it was the hardest part to me it still only felt more like 30 minutes. With my eyes still closed, I remember feeling my husband lift my head up for each push, giving me a sip of water and then holding the oxygen mask over my face until it was time to do it all again. He was amazing. I remember my mother’s sweet and soft voice telling me she could see her head and that I was doing so good. I can still feel her calming touch. Amber held my leg and encouraged me all the way.

Born with arms crossed, hands on either side of her face, announcing to the world she had arrived, our sassy and beautiful baby girl arrived on January 8, 2018, at 8:25pm. Aislinn Rhys was placed on my chest and I was in love.

180108-Infinger Birth-552.jpg

I know that my birth team and place of birth makes all the difference. I called them the dream team and that they certainly were. Doula: Amber Roman. Photographer: Natalie Zepp Weber. Midwife: Jenny Allen. OB: Dr. Allison. Birth: at Baptist Hospital. Basically, I tell everyone they need these incredible women for their birth, without question.

A final note, I’m so thankful we decided to spring for a birth photographer. Natalie was incredible and she captured moments I never would’ve seen or remembered. My eyes were closed, remember? Haha! These are images I will cherish for all my days. Thank you, Natalie

Are you considering Hypnobabies for your birth? Did you use it? We'd love to hear from you. Each person that comments helps Kathryn & Luke earn a free 8x10 mounted print from their birth session. They need 50 people, so leave a few words to get them there.


 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography

February Tuesdays Together | The Rising Tide Society

The Rising Tide Society is a society of creative entrepreneurs who believe in community over competition and have a desire to lead with love. We meet monthly, usually on the second Tuesday, to fellowship and discuss business topics. These Tuesdays Together meet-ups are gatherings for small business owners who have a desire to share their knowledge, learn from their peers, and grow together. The meetings, coordinated by local industry leaders, are designed to be approachable, authentic, and uplifting.

Late last year I took over leadership of this group with my friend (and kick-ass girl boss) Devan Danielle. This group has been transformative for my business. I have connected with so many wonderful local creative business owners, and learned SO MUCH about how to serve my clients and grow my own business. Not to mention, it helps get me out from behind my computer and into the real world to invest in real relationships with like-minded locals.

If you are a Creative Entrepreneur or Small Business CEOs, including: Artists, Bloggers, Boutique Owners, Calligraphers, Designers, Event Planners, Florists, Makeup Artists, Photographers, Stylists, Wedding Pros, Writers...etc...we would absolutely love for you to join us next month. You can join our Facebook group to be notified of meetings and other community events.   

Yesterday was our February meet-up, where we dove into Growth, Scaling, and Collaboration. My biggest take away was the idea to create an Operations Manual my business. A document that outlines business processes, workflows, and other important functions that would allow you to begin outsourcing tasks, or even allow someone else to take over for you if needed. Later this month Devan plans to host a coworking date and walk us all thru creating one. But the small plastic baby inside our Mardi Gras king cake was this month's sponsor. We were incredibly blessed to be hosted by the phenomenal Cowork Annex in downtown Pensacola. Incidentally, a perfect venue for this month's discussion topic. 

Pensacola-cowork-annex
Pensacola-coworking-space

The space is so modern and beautiful. I imagine it is an inspiring and energizing place to work. Everyone utilizing the space seemed to be very social and collaborative. Karen, the community director, told us that the dynamic is very much like a family...member have even taken to calling her 'Mom'.

The location on Palafox is extremely convenient to amenities like Pure Barre, coffee shops, lunch spots, bakeries, night life (for after work socializing!) the post office, parking...everything! Not that you need it, because most of those things are available right inside the annex. Rumor has it there will soon be a gym and showers on available to members as well!

pensacola-work-spaces
coworking-pensacola

There is a group kitchen space with free coffee and flavored water (flat OR SPARKLING!). Meeting rooms and a large event space are also available to members. Everything is so open and full of natural light.

pensacola-cowork-annex
pensacola-entrepreneurs
pensacola-coffee
pensacola-rising-tide-society
pensacola-Tuesdays-Together

If you are in search of a motivating and visually appealing place to work and connect with other local professionals, I highly recommend you check out Cowork Annex. Reach out to Karen to schedule a tour. I certainly look forward to the next time we are invited to use the space. 


 
Retreat-59.jpg

Natalie

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design.

Photo Credit: Natalie Franke Photography

 

Happy Birthday Isabella | Pensacola Birth Photographer

I am so excited to get to share the Isabella's birth at Pensacola's Baptist Hospital. I had 2 mamas due near the new year, and I just KNEW one of them would deliver on New Year's Day. The night before was a full moon and, as I have said many times before, full moons and bad weather always brings the babies.  

I got up early (per usual) and checked my phone...no texts. So maybe I was wrong. Normally I wouldn't be in any hurry to get out of my PJs on a school/work holiday, but something prompted me to go ahead and wash and blow dry my hair...before coffee. Well sure enough, at about 8:45 my phone dinged with a text from Alexis's sister Averee. Averee is a doula and soon-to-be certified midwife in Montana and I was thrilled when Alexis told me she would be here until the baby arrive and would provide me with progress updates during labor. Her text told me that Alexis had been in labor since about 2 am, but she thought it would be a while yet. (Side note...unless you have a trained professional with you to monitor your progress during labor, DO NOT wait 7 hours to tell me that you're in labor. Even if it's the middle of the night and you think you have a while and should give me the courtesy of a good night's rest. You shouldn't.)

pensacola-birth-photographer

I set my gear by the door and laid out my scrubs, ready to jump up and go. Well 'go time' came just a few hours later after a sudden and rapid progression and an 11:24AM text that read "We're FLYING out the door!". A mere twenty minutes later as I approached the hospital, came another text saying that Lex had made quick progress. The rest of labor was just as rapid, but I still arrived in plenty of time to capture Luis and Averee helping Alexis thru her labor. It was so sweet to watch husband and sister work together to encourage and do what they could to ease mamas pain.  

Just as the nurses were getting worried that the midwife, Jenny Allen, might not make it in time, she flew thru the door...not even having stopped to stow her sweatshirt and car keys. After a few minutes in the tub, and a few minutes pushing, baby slid right out into daddy's waiting hands. Before I could even register that the baby was out, Luis was proclaiming "It's a GIRL!". 

pensacola-birth-photography

Introducing (again)...Isabella Grace.

Click play for the full story (Fair warning, there are freshly birthed baby and breastfeeding images in this slideshow.)

As hard as it is to wait until delivery to find out your baby's gender, the excitement and expressions always make for the most wonderful photographic moments. Especially when excited grandparents pour into the room, tears brimming the rims of their eyes and hands clapping together over the the big reveal. (How about those sweet elated grandma faces and grandpas snapping pictures with their cell phones? I DIED!) Moments like that make it 100% worth the wait.

baptist-hospital-birth

Did you wait to find out your baby's gender? Do you wish you had or will you next time? Let us know in the comments. You comments also count toward the 50 needed to earn Alexis & Luis a free 8x10 mounted print from their birth session. I'm sure they will appreciate your words.


 
Retreat-59.jpg

Natalie

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design.

Photo Credit: Natalie Franke Photography

 

The Wilson Family | Maynard's Donut Company Pensacola

I've been photographing the Wilson's for longer than I can even remember...without doing some math. But who wants to do math? So let's just say a long time. Melissa is a photographer too. One of the only photographers in Pensacola who I trust with my own family photos.   

(Melissa is also one of my back up birth photographers. So to all of my expectant mamas, if I absolutely have to send someone to your birth in my place, you might just get Melissa. I assure you, you will love her as much as I do.)

What I love most about our sessions is that Melissa and Ace are always up for anything. Always willing to indulge my ideas for lifestyle sessions. I think I'm really beginning to rub off on her, because this time Melissa came to me with a kick butt idea. A donut shop family session at their favorite place, Maynard's Donut Company. Having been secretly hoping that another client would ask for me to document their Saturday morning walks to Krispy Kreme (you know who you are), I jumped on it. 

pensacola-family-photographer

Melissa and Ace were perfect as always, but Juliet was the real star of the show. She was SERIOUS about her donuts. She took absolutely every single chance she possibly could to grab and stuff more donuts into her mouth. When mom and dad finally said 'no more', oh buddy there were tears. Big,  pitiful, make you want to give her all of the donuts in the case kind of tears. Click play to see it all.   

A HUGE thanks to Danny at Maynard's for letting us invade and distracting all of your other customers with our shenanigans.


 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography

The Wheelers | Pensacola Family Photographer

The Wheelers are a fantastic crew, so full of joy and life. How could you not be with 4 amazing kids? Nate is the pastor of our church and I've gotten to know Rachel pretty well serving on the MOPS steering team and for a brief period of time, running (read: dying) together after dropping kids off at school. 

When Rachel inquired about a family lifestyle photo session, I knew immediately how I wanted to approach the session. But I kept it to myself. I wanted to hear from Rachel first and see what she thought would be important to capture. So I sent her my usual questionnaire, designed to get clients to tell me all about those things that make their family interesting and unique. 

pensacola-family-photographer

Now I can't even count how many times I have heard about the 'garage band' that the Wheeler kids have started. For a while there, Nate used the Jesus Cruisers (as the oldest boys Britain & Noah dubbed the band) to illustrate his point in every other sermon or so. He's told so many stories of their musical escapades and 'concerts', that I really couldn't believe it when I got the questionnaire back and there was no mention of the band whatsoever. There is a question that asks if you would like my help figuring out what to do for your session...that box was checked 'yes'. 

pensacola-garage-band

Are we as parents just so enmeshed in the day-to-day, that we can't recognize those magical little idiosyncrasies that make our family OUR FAMILY? Those things that our children do that we will forever recount the stories of? Those small traditions that will become defining aspects of 'childhood' for our kids? If I'm honest with myself, I think maybe we are. Or at least we have a hard time seeing any of those things as interesting enough to build a photoshoot around. 

I immediately replied to Rachel with the concept of an open air Jesus Cruisers concert with her and Nate as the audience. Sure, the kids usually do their concerts in their bedroom, likely NOT dressed in perfectly coordinating neutral toned outfits. But that isn't the point. The point is to celebrate the everyday moments in fun and beautiful ways.  

pensacola-family-band-photographer

With Rachel on board we set about planning, finding a location, and coordinating outfits. Because I am a sucker for detail shots to round out a story, I asked her to have the kids make a sign with their band name on it and tickets to the show. I couldn't be more excited about the end result. I feel like it really captures the imagination and childhood ability to dream boldly, without fear of failure. But most importantly, I know we've got a visual record to a story that these kids will certainly be telling their own children about 30 years from now. And who knows...maybe there's a future album cover shot in there somewhere. 

Click play to see the show!

If you're sitting there thinking my kids would never be so well behaved during a photoshoot, I will tell you a little secret. The actual shoot was total chaos. Naomi didn't want to be the lead singer and was prone to tears over it. Josiah was so enthusiastic about his role as keyboardist that he would periodically break from the 'stage' for a celebratory run thru the grass...usually right about the time all of the other kids were looking perfect. Noah (the drummer) and Britain (guitarist) only had about a song and a half in them before they became more interested in wrestling with each other and climbing trees. We also totally forgot about the tickets until we were packing up to leave. Once all the kids were buckled into the car, I snagged Nate and Rachel for one last detail shot. 

And you know what? That's all ok! No one is perfect and perfect is boring. I'll choose imperfections and misbehaving every single time. Because it's real (and because I love to leave a shoot tired and sweaty so I can count it as exercise). So if you're sitting there dreaming about your next family photos, but dreading the idea of trying to corral your kids into the perfect grouping and coaxing smiles out of them...just stop. Bring your bedlam to me and we'll make some magic!

Thanks so much for reading and watching! If you would be so kind as to leave a comment below, you will help to earn Nate and Rachel a FREE 8x10 mounted print from their session. They need 50 people to comment before they can claim their reward.


 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography

4 Baby Items to Splurge On

With an endless array of functional gadgets and gorgeous baby paraphenaila out there, it can be really hard to figure out what to invest in for your baby. It's so easy to end up with a ton of (EXPENSIVE) things that you didn't get enough use out of to justify the cost. Then again, there is also a lot of cheap crap out there that looks like a great deal, but really isn't...stuff that falls apart long before it should or leaves you frustrated with it's actual functionality (or lack thereof). There are also the things you will skip thinking, I don't NEED that, and end up really wishing you'd had it because it would have made life so much easier. 

Here are the top four baby items that I whole heartedly believe are worth spending your hard earned money on. 

 

1) A Co-Sleeper

With my first baby I thought all I'd need was a crib. WRONG. In those first few weeks of new motherhood, I found it really hard to get any rest myself when I had to get up every few hours to retrieve baby from the crib. The second time around I got wise. I bought a co-sleeper that attached to my bed. It was so great to have my baby right there next to me, but on his own sleeping surface. And it had wheels, so when my legs got so swollen (thanks pre-eclampsia) that I couldn't climb into the bed, I wheeled him out to the living room where I could sleep on the couch. It was worth every penny. If I had to do it again, I'd get a Dock-A-Tot

 

2) A Kick Ass Stroller

Do yourself a favor...skip the travel system. If there is one place to splurge on a baby gadget, the stroller is it. Go for the Mercedes, not the Kia. After a frustrating experience with a Chicco travel system, I went for the Baby Jogger City Versa on the second go round. The maneuverability was incredible. And when the frame started wobbling on me after 2.5 years, Baby Jogger replaced my discontinued Versa with an upgrade to the City Select. My son is 3 and a half and we still use it every day. My sister has a Thule that is pretty great too. She does a lot of hiking, and it handles off road really well. If I needed a double stroller, I'd probably go with a BOB. The are so much easier to push (and run with) when you have double the weight.

 

3) A Durable Diaper Bag

Walk thru the baby section of Target and Babies R Us and you'll be overwhelmed with options for diaper bags. As pretty and functional as they look, 9 times out of 10 they fall apart before your baby is 6 months old. They also aren't likely to clean up well or neatly hold everything you might need (especially if you're an over packer like me). I'm a HUGE fan of Ju-Ju-Be diaper bags. They are super durable, MACHINE WASHABLE, donated in an antimicrobial, and functionally well thought out. You can go read all about them here.

I loved the Be All for the first year. It held ALL my junk like a champ. (Now it's my range bag...All the old guys at the shooting range get a huge kick out of how girly I am.) After the first year I downsized to the Be Classy (shown here). It's so smart and beautiful. I'm still carrying it regularly despite no longer really needing a diaper bag. 

 

4) A Ring Sling

Baby wearing is awesome. Having your baby close, but your hands free? Invaluable. Keeping strangers from touching your baby when you're out? Totally! But I was SO disenchanted with straps, buckles, yards of fabric that took 45 minutes to wind around my body (while the ends dragged all over the ground...gross), and big bulky carriers that were too cumbersome to keep with me all the time. I initially found baby wearing to be inconvenient, time consuming, uncomfortable and HOT (Hello...Florida!). Then I discovered Sakura Bloom ring slings and my game was changed. Quick to pop on, easy to transport (aka, shove into a diaper bag), and non-claustrophobic. Not to mention, they are so beautiful and feminine. I loved it so much I bought a second one.

 

PhotoWalk-68.jpg

BONUS SPLURGE: A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER!

Come on, you know I couldn't end this post without a shameless photography plug. But in all seriousness, I really regret not hiring a birth and newborn photographer when my first baby was born. It's part of the reason I do what I do.

I didn't dare make the same mistake when my second came along. I treasure those images so much, because his birth didn't go as planned. I didn't get to hold him or even see him for more than a few seconds before he was whisked away for a stint in the NICU. I'm not sure i would remember what he looked like in those first moments if I hadn't had someone there to capture it. Sure, my husband took pictures and video on his phone, but he didn't back them up and we lost them ALL. He was a month old before I felt up to doing a newborn session, but I am so glad I didn't just skip it all together. I love having those candid pictures of my family at home and all of those little details of my son's infancy.  

Those moments pass you by so quickly, usually in a sleep deprived haze. You can never go back and capture them again, so it's WORTH the expense. Just do it.

What baby items were you glad you splurged on? Is there anything you regret NOT splurging on? Share your words wisdom in the comments.


050616_262.jpg

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Happy Birthday Corban | Pensacola Birth Photography

Rebekah is another one of those friends that I've had with me before we were even earthside. Our moms were pregnant with us together (are are still besties).

030Mckenzie Birth20171026.jpg

We've been in and out of touch over the years (mostly because she is forever picking up and moving away), but the roots run deep despite the changing of the seasons. And we've always reconnected...most frequently over babies. A whole continent apart (Florida to Alaska), we've encouraged each other thru big life choices, miscarriages, those scary early days of pregnancy after a miscarriage...

Then there was that time she sent me a message (from Hawaii) to say she was 5 weeks pregnant with her second baby, to which I replied I was also 5 weeks pregnant with my second baby. Talk about history repeating! We had our boys just a couple of weeks apart and in the same hospital, with the same doctor no less. I went first though, so obviously I wasn't able to photograph her birth then...actually no one was able to, because he was nearly born in the parking lot. 

We didn't have super high hopes that I would make it in time for #3. Nonetheless Bekah, promised to call me and I promised to try and be there. When the call came, we ended up having plenty of time. Even Corban's exit from the womb was slow...almost languid. Which made for some pretty incredible pictures that I can't ever show you. What I can show you is still pretty amazing and beautiful. Everybody, meet Corban:

Shout out to midwife Jenny Allen, doula Amber Roman (Belly to Cradle), and the wonderful nurses at Baptist Hospital for making sure I had time, space, and light to capture all of the important moments. And of course, to dad Scott, who kept us all laughing...even when I caught him crying. 

Don't forget to leave a comment below to help earn Scott & Rebekah a free 8x10 mounted print from this session. 


 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Glamping with the Carlsons | Milton Family Photographer

Jimmy and Tavia are lovers of travel, adventure, hiking, and camping. You might think having kids would change that, but expanding their family by two hasn't slowed them down one bit. They even run a blog, Big Brave Nomad, recounting their wanderings and providing tips on traveling with little ones in tow. 

When baby Latham turned one last month, Tavia asked how we might incorporate something travel related into his cake smash session. I mean, if you're going to shell out the dollars for a first birthday/family session, you might as well get something you can also use for your biz too, right? Right! 

Knowing their love of camping and exploring the outdoors, I suggested a lifestyle session built around a camping trip. Nature walks, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a blazing fire...that kind of thing. 

pensacola-camping

I won't lie and say I haven't been dreaming up a family camping lifestyle session for a while now. I'm so freaking lucky to have clients like the Carlsons, who totally trust my vision and are 100% on board when I pitch an idea like booking a glamping tent at Coldwater Gardens in Milton for their session. I also won't lie and say that I am not completely obsessed with this little oasis in the middle of nowhere. OBSESSED. 

In addition to the glamping tents, the accommodations include beach camping on the river, eco-cabins, an incredible modern tree house. Everything is so stylish and well maintained. We had such a great time glamping, hiking the nature trails, playing on the playground, and exploring the gardens and green houses. 

Click play below to check out the full story of our outdoor adventure.

The cake smash was also pretty epic. Those shots didn't exactly fit into the story for the video slideshow, so here they are on their own. The smash cake is a simple chantilly cake from Publix. As a bonus, it came free with a giant full sized cake. Which was great, because Latham crawled over, sat in, and smashed rocks into his cake. 

Pensacola-smash-cake
Pensacola-smash-cake
Pensacola-birthday-photographer
pensacola-first-birthday-photographer
120Carlson Glamping20171025.jpg
Pensacola-cake-smash-session
milton-family-photographer

Apparently, one year old boys get mad when you won't let them eat their cake covered rocks. To cheer him up, leave a comment below. Once 50 people have commented I will send the Calrsons a FREE 8X10 mounted print of one of my favorite images from their session.

If you haven't already, make sure you hop on over here to watch Latham's birth story and here for his newborn session. I can't believe it's been a whole year! Happy Birthday little man!


 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Colegrove Family Vacation | Pensacola Beach Photographer

The Colegrove crew came all the way from South Carolina this summer to spend a week on Pensacola Beach. With six kids ranging in ages from 8 to 23 years old, they have reached that point in a family's existence where it is difficult to get everyone together at the same time. 

Family-beach-vacation

Mama Tanya was smart to capitalize on a family beach vacation and snag some photos of them on the beach, having fun before they headed back to the real world.

Pensacola-beach-family-photographer

We had one of those ethereal sunsets on the cusp of a storm. Beautifully soft and glowy, with interesting clouds. 

pensacola-beach-vacation
pensacola-family-vacation
pensacola-beach-lifestyle
Pensacola-beach-photography
pensacola-family-photographer

There were seagulls EVERYWHERE, flocking in and out of all of our pictures. I love how the birds echo the movements of the family.

pensacola-beach-family-photographer
pensacola-beach

One of the middle brothers suggested we end out session with a race. The resulting images are joyous, carefree, and easily my most favorite of the entire session.

pensacola-beach-family-vacation
pensacola-family-photographer
pensacola-beach-family-photographer
pensacola-beach-family-vacation
pensacola-beach-vacation
pensacola-vacation

Leave a comment for the Colegroves. Once 50 people have commented, I will send them a FREE 8X12 print of my favorite image from their session. 


 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography

How To: Choose A DSLR Camera

Clients so often ask me for help choosing a camera. I totally get it. There are SO MANY options out there and it's really hard to know what to pick. Especially if you don't know much about cameras. So I thought I would take a minute to walk you thru choosing a camera (and lenses!) to fit your needs, and follow it up with some entry level DSLR recommendations. 

CONSIDER YOUR NEEDS
First, you have consider your needs for a camera and lens. What kind of pictures do you want to take? Of whom or what do you want to take pictures? Do you want room to grow and learn more about photography? What is your budget? 

If you just want something that fits in your back pocket for snapshots, well...to be honest, you can stop reading this article. I don't know much about point and shoot cameras. However, if you want to capture portraits of your babies with that nice blurred out background and start to have more control over the images you produce, you don't want a point and shoot camera. You want a DSLR, which stands for digital single-lens reflex camera. Simply put, a DSLR is just a camera that uses mirrors and interchangeable lenses to give the camera operator more control over the final image. They also offer a better image quality and response time.

 Photo credit: Rae Marshall Photography

Photo credit: Rae Marshall Photography

TEST DRIVE DSLRs
Now that you know you want a DSLR, the question becomes which brand to choose? Nikon and Canon are the industry leaders, and Sony is making some major waves with it's line of mirrorless DSLRs. The most important thing to note when buying your first DSLR is that you are making an initial investment into a camera system you will want to stick with for the long haul. Once you begin to add additional lenses to your kit, switching to another system becomes expensive. So I encourage you not to waste your time trying to research which brand is "better". Instead, go to a camera store, actually put your hands on the cameras you are considering, and figure out what is better for YOU by asking yourself these questions: 

PhotoWalk-68.jpg
  1. Do I like the ergonomics?
    This is the way the camera feels in your hands and at your eye, and your ability to maneuver the dials and buttons easily. Pay attention to anything that annoys you. Are the controls for changing aperture, shutter speed, and ISO intuitive for you? Maybe you don't yet know what these terms are or why you would want to be able to manipulate these variables. If that's the case, ask a staff member to show you how to make those changes and take note of any maneuvers that feel clunky or are not intuitive. Story time: When I went to buy my first DSLR, I felt pretty sure I would go with a Canon and went to Best Buy to test drive it. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to change the aperture. I picked up a Nikon D40 and was able to figure out how to change all three variables in seconds. That small matter made me a Nikon user, and I haven't looked back.
     
  2. Does it fit my lifestyle?
    This is really the decision between a traditional DSLR and a mirrorless DSLR. Mirrorless DSLRs are smaller, lighter, and easier to travel with. For me that translate to being more apt to taking the camera with me. However, some of the controls are internal (or done via the menu on the LCD screen), which often frustrates me. Traditional DSLRs are larger and heavier, but the controls are external. I find external controls easier to use, which means I am less likely to use it in auto mode when I do take it with me.

SKIP THE KIT
You'll notice when you buy a DSLR, it comes in a two piece kit: the body and a lens. The body is the part of the camera with all of the controls and the LCD screen. The lens that typically comes packaged with the body is generally referred to as the "kit lens". What you might not know is that you can (AND SHOULD!) buy camera body only. Sure getting a zoom lens with your body may sound like a great deal, but it really isn't. While the kit lens isn't total junk, it won't get you the more professional looking results you are probably looking for. Once you learn about and purchase the lenses that do you will NEVER use that kit lens again.

My suggestion would be to purchase a body only and a 50mm lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.4 or f/1.8 (this is denoted on the lens itself as 50mm1:1.4 or 50mm1:1.8). Another great option is a 35mm lens. Most photo enthusiasts start off with a 50mm, but I personally prefer the 35mm focal length for my work. Either way, a small aperture number (or f-stop) is important to achieving the depth of field you will need to separate your subject from the background (aka getting a blurred out background)

best-camera-for-beginners

CONSIDER LENSES
The first thing to consider when choosing a lens is the focal length. Think back to what you are wanting to photograph. If your primary objective is to capture some great portraits and candids of your kids and family (and I am going to assume it is), I recommend starting with a focal length of 50mm or 35mm. Personally, I am a big fan of the wider field of view that the 35mm provides. This allows me to stay closer to my kids in public spaces and be able to frame the shot I want in tighter spaces where I can't physically back up further. 

The next thing to consider is the maximum aperture of the lens. The aperture is the opening in the lens that lets light into the camera. The smaller the aperture number (also called an f-stop), the bigger the opening in that lens can be. Aperture also controls depth of field. Depth of field is how much your scene is in focus. The smaller the f-stop, the bigger the opening, the less depth of field. This means that when you shoot at an aperture with a low number (1.4, 1.8, 2...) less of your scene will be in focus. Which is how we achieve that nice blurry background (called bokeh). I know, that is a super fast overview of some really confusing technical information. But this article is long already, so I am going to stop there. 

Suffice it to say, that some zoom lenses (like the kit lenses) sport a variable maximum aperture (The aperture on kit lenses typically ranges from f/3.5-f/5.6). This means that the maximum aperture changes depending on how far in or out you zoom. These lenses make it pretty hard to get nice bokeh and, if you are shooting in manual mode, make exposing correctly super frustrating. (Hence why I advocate buying a body only over the kit.) The other options is a fixed maximum aperture. Zoom lenses with a fixed aperture tend to run over $1000, so the best option for someone just getting started is to pick up a prime lens like the 50mm or 35mm. Prime lenses have both a fixed focal length (it doesn't zoom) and a fixed aperture. 


RECOMMENDED ENTRY LEVEL CAMERAS & LENSES
Now that I've glossed over the how to's, I'll get to what you really came here for. The camera advice. I'm linking up my picks for 2017's best budget friendly cameras for Nikon, Canon, and Sony that will allow you to start getting the more professional looking results you want. I'm also providing links to the lenses I suggest starting out with over the kit lens.

1) Nikon D3400 $349

In my opinion, Nikon's ergonomics are superior to Canon's. People say that Nikon was built by photographers while Canon was built by engineers, meaning Nikons are typically more intuitive and easier for beginners to use and learn. They also tend to have an edge when it comes to the metering and auto focus systems, which impacts whether or not your photos come out properly exposed and in focus. Nikon also seems to have a better compatibility with off brand lenses. I LOVE Sigma's Art lens line for my Nikons, and I frequently hear about problems that Canon users are having relating to those lenses. Here are my recommendations for a lens to go with this (or any other) Nikon body: Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G $396.95, Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G $216.95, and Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G $166.95. One caveat on the 35mm lens listed. This lens only works on a DX body. If you are buying a full frame (or FX) camera body, make sure you only buy lenses with "FX" in the description. FX lenses work on both DX and FX bodies. If you know you will want to upgrade to a full frame camera eventually, I recommend getting the Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM lens for Nikon $899. Pricey, but well worth it!

 

2) Canon EOS Rebel T7i (aka EOS 800D) $749

Not being a Canon shooter, I really can't tell you a whole lot about the line. I'm relying on reviews I have read. I can say that Canon's entry level bodies always seems to be more expensive than Nikon's, but this one packs some nifty features like an articulating touch screen, an excellent live view auto focus system, and 4K video. One huge point for Canon is that, in general, they have a wider variety of lenses and that are usually less expensive than their Nikon counterparts. Here are my recommendations for a lens to go with this (or any other) Canon body: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM $329, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM $127.50, Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM $549. 

 

3) Sony A6000 $448.00

Sony's A6000 is a mirrorless DSLR that was first released in 2014. While there are newer iterations of this camera, my research clearly suggests that they have not been improved enough over the A6000 to justify the crazy difference in price. This thing is super light compared to traditional DSLRs and I have been seriously considering picking one up for my own personal use. Well known photographer and gear product guru, Gary Fong has a fantastic video class on this camera and all it can do. It's over an hour long, but really great insight if you are interested in buying and getting the most out of this little power house. Click play on the video below. My lens recommendations for this camera are: Sony SEL50F18 50mm f/1.8 $298, Sony SEL35F18 35mm f/1.8 $448, and Sony SEL-20F28 E-Mount 20mm F2.8 $348. 

Whew! It's hard to pack in the information I think you should know, without getting too technical for the parent that's really new to photography. I hope this was helpful without being too overwhelming. If you have any questions, please comment. 

And if you are interested in learning more about how to use that fancy new camera to get better photos of your kids, I have a Mom Workshop coming up in January. There are only 10 seats available, so click here to snag your spot!

Special thanks to Rae Marshall Photography for the picture of my and my Nikon.


4 Must Haves For New Moms

With an endless array of functional gadgets and gorgeous baby paraphenaila out there, it can be really hard to figure out what to invest in before your baby arrives, and what can wait until you have a better handle on what your needs are.

I was the first of my peers to get married and begin having babies. I always knew I would be. I've wanted a baby of my own since I was 5. The downfall of going first is that there is no one around to give you relevant advice. Sure there are women like your mom, or maybe a sister...but baby stuff evolves fast these days and advice from women that had a baby, even just a year or so ago is likely already dated. It's so easy to end up with a ton of things you never actually use and not enough of the items that you really needed.

I like to think that being a birth and newborn photographer gives me an edge on the advice front. I am constantly surrounded by brand new babies and getting to check out all of the cool new things available to moms...all the things that would have made life with my little ones easier. One thing I always say when asked for advice, is that you don't need a lot of the stuff you think you do. Start with a few essentials and wait until you are settled into a routine with baby to figure out what else you really need. Here are my top four items to have on hand to get you thru that first week or so you spend cocooned at home, resting and recovering.

 

1) A secure portable sleeping surface for baby

With my first baby I thought all I'd need was a crib. WRONG. In those first few weeks of new motherhood, I found it really hard to get any rest myself when I had to get up every few hours to retrieve baby from the crib. The second time around I got wise. I bought a co-sleeper that attached to my bed. It was so great to have my baby right there next to me, but on his own sleeping surface. And it had wheels, so when my legs got so swollen (thanks pre-eclampsia) that I couldn't climb into the bed, I wheeled him out to the living room where I could sleep on the couch. If I had to do it again, I'd get a Dock-A-Tot

 

2) Zip up sleepers

Stock up on zippered sleepers in NB and 0-3 months. If it doesn't have a zipper, SKIP IT. The last thing you want to do with a fragile, wiggly baby in your fog of sleep deprivation, is snap snaps, button buttons, and navigate a floppy head thru a neck hole. Zippered sleepers are your best friend. Save the cute stuff with snaps and buttons for when you go out...or just invest in more cute sleepers. These are pretty much the only things my son ever wore until about 3 months or so. I love how easy they make life. Also, I try really hard to keep my babies in fitted clothing without characters, graphics, and text so that they are always photo-ready. These fit the bill.

 

3) A GREAT nursing pillow

Everyone puts a Boppy on their registry these days. And they are great for nursing bigger babies, tummy time, and a place to park a your precious bundle (if you don't have a Dock-A Tot). What they aren't so great for is nursing a tiny newborn. Until baby has more mass, the Boppy just doesn't come up high enough to take any of the load off your arms. I suggest instead the My Brest Friend. Unfortunate name, amazing pillow. This thing straps around you and allows you to put the pillow ledge right where YOU need it to support baby's weight. It creates such a sturdy little ledge for baby, that you could even walk around with it while nursing. If that wasn't enough of a reason, it has a back pillow built in for mom. It's not pretty and the name is embarrassing, but it was a serious hero when it came to saving my back and arms. And for c-section mamas, it keeps all pressure off your incision site.

 

4) Bottles

Even if you're breastfeeding and don't think you'll need them. Buy a few single packs of different kinds of bottles (or better yet, ask friends if they have any they have outgrown and buy new nipples). You just never know when you might need one. Even though cleaning them is a massive pain in the butt, I'll recommend Dr. Brown's for breastfeeding moms. They are the only brand I found that makes a preemie nipple, which has a much slower flow than any other bottle you can buy. That's key for helping to keep your supply up and baby from refusing the breast. Also if your baby suffers from reflux a slower flow helps to manage the spit up. Trust me, my son made me an expert in infant reflux.

 

Obviously, there are other things you will need, but these were the four major things that made my second postpartum experience so much easier than my first. You live and learn right?

Do you have a particular item that you wouldn't have wanted to live without in those few weeks at home with a newborn? Share your wisdom in the comments.

The Roberts Family | Pensacola Beach Vacation

Have I mentioned how special it makes me feel to continue to photograph families as they grow? There is nothing better than starting in the delivery room or those first couple of weeks at home with a newborn, and being asked back again and again to continue to document the same family's story. 

Pensacola-Beach-Sunrise

The Roberts family lived here in Pensacola when baby Andres was born. I photographed him as a newborn, but shortly after they packed up and moved to Texas.

Harry is a in the reserves and when his annual training brought him back to Pensacola, Rosa decided she and Andy would tag along and spend the week at the beach. And she called me to see if we might be able to squeeze in a family photo session on Pensacola Beach while they were here. 

pensacola-beach-vacation

I was crazy booked, but Rosa was willing to muster her boys for a sunrise sesh (and y'all must know by now how much I love a sunrise session) so we set the date. 

The date came and brought stormy skies. As foreboding as that seem, I actually really LOVE storms. Storms always add so much depth and moodiness to beach photos. We arrived before first light and were graced with a beautiful show of sun breaking thru the rain darkened clouds. We got about an hour before the rain rolled in on us, soaking us all in the last few minutes. But I think the results were well worth getting a little wet before breakfast. 

beach-family-lifestyle
pensacola-beach-vacation

I can't believe Andy is 2 already!

pensacola-family-photographer
Pensacola-family-lifestyle

Okay. THIS just melts my heart. My daughter used to smoosh mine and my husband's heads together for kisses. I have a strikingly similar image from one of our own family photo sessions when she was 2.

pensacola-family-photographer
171015-Roberts Family-87.jpg
pensacola-family-photographer
pensacola-beach-photographer
pensacola-family-photographer
pensacola-beach-vacation
pensacola-beach-family-photographer
pensacola-beach-vacation
pensacola-beach-florida
beach-boho-style
pensacola-beach-vacation
boho-beach-style

Can we talk about Rosa's dress for a minute!?!?! If this was not just the most lovely and whimsical wardrobe choice...! From here on out I'll be requiring every woman or girl being photographed on the beach to wear long, lacy, gauzy dresses or skirts in neutral colors. So frickin' gorgeous!

father-son-photo
family-lifestyle-photography

Great job on the boys too. Andy in a plaid and Harry in a subtle coordinating pattern in the same color scheme. They are perfectly Pinable.

beach-family-photography
pensacola-family-photographer

Little man ALMOST got my lens with those sandy little fingers. But I'm quick.

pensacola-family-photographer
pensacola-beach-florida
bohemian-beach-family-session
boho-beach-style
pensacola-family-photographer
pensacola-beach-family-photography

So I broke from NZP tradition this time and went with  a gallery style post instead of a slideshow. Let me know how you feel about it. Do you prefer to scroll thru or watch with music? If you don't have an opinion either way, be sure to leave a comment for the Roberts fam. Once 50 people have commented, they will received a FREE 8x12 print of my favorite image from their session. 


 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Basic Invite | Product Review

Can we talk about paper goods for a bit? I love, love, LOVE the idea of sending out party invitations, birth announcements, and holiday cards by snail mail. It just feels like such a grown up thing to do. However, I am so incredibly particular about quality and deign, that always come up short trying to find a card template that fits my style and the image I want to use.

Now don't get me wrong, there are some beautifully designed templates out there. But it seems that every time I find one I love, there is something that doesn't fit. Usually it's that the colors in the template don't go with the colors in my photo, or the text is in the wrong place for my photo, or I don't love the font. The worst is when I finally find my unicorn template and place an order, only to have the cards come in and leave me disappointed by the print quality.

The lack of template customization and poor print quality is so frustrating. I've wasted days of my life scouring the internet for card template. Only to give up and design something myself to have printed by a professional lab...or planning to. Then never actually finding the time to sit down and do it. I've sent out holiday cards exactly ONCE...ever.

So when a representative from Basic Invite contacted me about reviewing their product, I was pretty skeptical. I told her that I could never recommend a product that didn't meet my (ridiculously high) standards, and that I would first need to order samples with my images on them to ensure the quality was up to snuff. 

My ordering experience was pretty smooth. The site is easy to use and there are so many options for EVERYTHING. And I am a girl that loves endless options. I got my sample order placed and waited on pins and needles hoping the print and paper quality would be all I hoped for. When my package arrived, I could hardly wait to rip it opened and see...

And the cards were BEAUTIFUL! The colors, contrast, and brightness of my images were on par with what I would expect from the pro print labs I use. The ink colors of the other design elements printed true to the color swatches on the website. The details and texture of the paper are perfect. Suffice it to say, I am in love! There is really too much to say and show, so I decided to do a video review of the products I ordered. This first video is a quick overview of the customization process for one of the birth announcements I ordered.

Next up is an in-depth review and a look at all of the different card samples I ordered. I went with two birth announcements, a first birthday invite and it's matching thank you card, and two Christmas Cards

I really hope that this review has been helpful to those of you searching endlessly for the perfect paper goods. Basic Invite really has something special and the quality to back it up. In addition to the card samples I ordered, they offer wedding invitations and save-the-dates, other birthday invitations, party invitations, stationary, and printable products. All completely customizable with gorgeous, lux paper options. I'll just leave you with a quick overview few of my favorite features. 

Almost Unlimited Colors - Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. This is what really sets Basic Invite apart from almost any other online stationery company and is for me was the biggest draw. Fonts can also be changed and text moved around to ensure perfect placement!

Custom Samples - Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order. Add on additional samples in different paper options to see what you like best.

Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes - Basic Invite is just as colorful with envelopes as they are with invitations. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. Custom envelope liners add another layer of luxury detail. All envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed. No licking!

Free Address Collection Service - Use the free address collection service to request your addresses with just three simple steps. Share a link, collect addresses, and get free envelope printing. WHAT?!??!! I don't have to hand address 100 envelopes? SIGN. ME. UP!

How do you feel about ordering announcements and invites online? Are you as picky as I am? Share your previous experiences with me and let me know if you're planning to try Basic Invite this year. I'd sure love to see what you order too! Slap a picture in the comments.


 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Cafe Beignet | New Orleans Family Photographer

In New Orleans, at least for a non-local, it just isn't possible to start the day without beignets. And as many times as I have been over the years, I've never considered going anywhere other than Cafe du Monde. But this time, after a late night at my sister's rehearsal dinner, we weren't keen on the idea of the crowds that Cafe du Monde draws. I happened to see that Cafe Beignet was just around the corner from our hotel, on Royal Street. The reviews touted it as far better than Cafe du Monde, so we decided to give it a shot. 

And I'm never going anywhere else for beignets ever again! Not only were the beignets awesome, but the real food breakfast menu (eggs, meats, fruit) was a hit with my husband. AND THEY HAVE COFFEE! Actual, strong, life giving, drip coffee. Not the watery chicory swill du Monde slings. 

But the best part was the courtyard. A sweet little Parisian bistro style courtyard, right on the street, with the most glorious morning light. I would have been happy to photograph my way thru breakfast rather than eat, but my husband gets totally embarrassed and annoyed by my obsession with photographing. He was convinced that everyone else in front of my lens was outrageously irritated by my giant camera pointed in their general direction. To which I told him (loudly, in case anyone actually was irritated) that everyone in the background is blurred out. It's called bokeh and my iPhone, while far less conspicuous, would capture innocent bystanders in FAR greater detail. 

  This race track, disguised as a semi truck, was Jack-Jack's ring bearer gift. He refused to go anywhere without it for the remainder of the weekend.

This race track, disguised as a semi truck, was Jack-Jack's ring bearer gift. He refused to go anywhere without it for the remainder of the weekend.

  Because good parents make their kids eat fruit before pastries. 

Because good parents make their kids eat fruit before pastries. 

  What do you think? Is that guy in the background looking at me incredulously for continuing to point my camera his way? Or maybe he's chatting with his breakfast companion or picking up a phone call? Do I care?    Nope.

What do you think? Is that guy in the background looking at me incredulously for continuing to point my camera his way? Or maybe he's chatting with his breakfast companion or picking up a phone call? Do I care?

Nope.

cafe-beignet-new-orleans
  This face! 

This face! 

  Isla can't eat anything without getting it ALL OVER her face. Look how far up her cheek those strawberry stains go!

Isla can't eat anything without getting it ALL OVER her face. Look how far up her cheek those strawberry stains go!

cafe-beignet-new-orleans
cafe-beignet-new-orleans
  Note to self: No more black shirts in NOLA.

Note to self: No more black shirts in NOLA.

cafe-beignet-new-orleans
cafe-beignet-new-orleans
  It took some convincing to get this one to eat his beignet.  

It took some convincing to get this one to eat his beignet. 

cafe-beignet-new-orleans

 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Schwarz Family Farewell | Pensacola Family Photographer

It feels pretty bittersweet to be blogging my last session with the Schwarz family before the Navy takes them back to San Diego.  Katie and Steven really wanted to plan a session to celebrate their time in Pensacola and capture some of the activities they enjoy here. Ultimately, we identified the Naval Aviation Museum and Fort Barrancas as favorite spots for family outings. 

071Schwarz Family20170720WEB.jpg

We knew we'd want to get to the museum as soon as they opened for the best chance of avoiding crowds. So, with Fort Barrancas not being open early enough to explore before the sun is too high and harsh, we settled on exploring the Advanced Redoubt. Katie also mentioned that Steven has started a little Saturday morning tradition of bringing home donuts for breakfast and we decided to incorporate a little breakfast picnic into our time at the Redoubt. 

pensacola-family-photographer

Seriously guys. I can't even express how much I love working with the Schwarz family. They are unfailingly relaxed and genuinely happy to be exactly who they are in front of the camera. They never look to me for directions or ask 'what should we do next'. No one worries if the Declan throws dirt or Rylee carries a stuffed puppy around for the whole session. They just set off on whatever adventure we've planned, roll with whatever happens, engage with each other, and treat our time together just like any other fun family day. 

pensacola-family-photographer

Life changes so rapidly and traditions shift and change as kids get older. Who knows how long it will be before Rylee is saying to them, "Remember how Dad used to go and get donuts for us every Saturday?" 

These little things you do together, that you can't imagine not going on forever, will eventually be phased out. Lazy Saturday breakfasts will give way to the mad rush and a pop tart in the car on the way to soccer games. Time spent playing and exploring as a family will one day be eclipsed by part-time jobs and hanging out with friends.

pensacola-family-photographer

This time that you have to capture your family really and truly enjoying everyday life together is short. One day they will be way too cool for dance parties on a museum catwalk...too cool for you parents.

Pensacola-Naval-Aviation-museum

So take a page from the Schwarz family book. Embrace the imperfection and make it a point to have your everyday moments documented. Eat donuts. Get dirty. Dance in public. Just plan to celebrate and showcase whomever your family is right in THIS moment. 

Speaking of moments, take one now to leave a comment for Katie and Steven so they can earn a print from this adorable session. Once 50 people have commented, the Schwarz family will receive a FREE mounted 8x12 print. Whoo hoo!

P.S. Katie is also the talent behind my gorgeous logo and brand visuals. She was nothing less than amazing to work with and just totally got my vision. If you need an awesome graphic designer, check her out at Katie Schwarz Design


 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Hello, Alice! | Pensacola Birth Photographer

Baby Alice's due date was a day like any other. I got up early that Sunday morning to squeeze in a little work before church. I didn't think much of it being a client's due date...because honestly, it's pretty uncommon for babies to be born on their due date. Then, a little after 5AM, I heard a crash of thunder. I checked the weather and, sure enough, thunderstorms...Not that I was surprised. My weather app hasn't seen the sun icon more than a few days all summer.

But, as anyone that spends time in Labor & Delivery can attest, thunderstorms (and full moons) bring on the babies. Maybe today would be the day after all. 

Around 8am I stopped working to start getting ready for church, when my phone went off. A text from Marin! She was in labor! Later John mentioned that her water had broken at 5:25AM...right about the time I was sitting in my office, listening to the sky rumble and betting I would be attending a birth soon.

pensacola-home-birth-photographer

Marin is also a photographer, so she's familiar with the impact that light has on an image. It's essential in any form, but the most coveted form of light for a photographer is natural light. Natural light yields the most beautiful skin tones and range of shadows, and Marin and I had been crossing our fingers for months that baby Alice would decide to come while the sun was still in the sky. Now, this doesn't tend to matter much in a hospital. Doctors like to be able see everything and light up the room like Christmas, effectively drowning out any window light that happens to be available. However, baby Alice was set to be delivered at home. In a kitchen with enormous windows. And with labor starting at 5:25AM I was pretty hopeful that she'd make it before the sun went down. 

Despite the midwives' initial estimation of a delivery after dark, Marin just powered thru labor. I arrived, as requested, a little before 3PM and Alice made her way into the still beautifully lit world a little under 2 hours later! 

pensacola-water-birth-photographer

Her timing couldn't have been more perfect. We even still had time to capture snuggles (and pizza) in the bed with the last little bit of window light for the day. And everyone made it home in time for the Game of Thrones season premier. I like to think that Alice must have know that her mommy is Sansa Stark's doppelgänger and didn't want to miss the show.

pensacola-newborn-photographer

Be sure to grab a box of tissues before you settle in to watch the story of baby Alice's home birth. Seriously, get the tissues. I guarantee you won't make it thru the next 6 minutes without needing at least one. Marin said that even John cried (more than she did) when they previewed the slideshow last night.

Incredible right? I think my favorite part was when the pizza delivery guys showed up, just as Marin was getting ready to push, with pizza boxes that said "JOIN THE FAMILY". Those perfectly unplanned (and slightly comical) moments add so much depth to a story. OH! And Marin's adorable mama, Coral. I can't even type her name without tearing up over her obvious excitement and awe over watching her daughter become a mother and meeting her first grandchild.

Now that you're all bleary eyed and sniffling, please take a minute to tell Marin & John what an amazing job they did bringing Alice into the world and how beautiful their new family is. After 50 people have commented, I will gift them with a mounted 8x12 print from their session.

Special thanks to Stand & Deliver Midwifery for their top notch work caring for this family and working with me to ensure every moment was captured. 


 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography