Tag Archives: newborn photographer

BLACK & WHITE FOREVER HAS MY HEART

Shhhhh….

I haven’t really made an official announcement yet, but my Studio has moved! It’s literally about 3 blocks away from my previous location, but believe me…it’s no small feat! Between going through all of my props and backdrops and equipment to still physically MOVING it to the new space, it’s been exhausting. Mentally, physically and yeah, even emotionally!

Storytime

I’m actually kind of freaked out as I am putting these words out into the ether. As most people who know me already know, I am a divorced mom to 2 amazing boys. They are magic. They are MY magic, transformed into two real life human beings. You see, they are very special. They were both born on June 29th.

And they were only 2 and 4 when I got divorced and found myself figuring out what life was going to look like for us. I knew I did not want to go back to my previous career in pharmaceutical meeting planning. I was an artist, an Art Major, who felt that her soul was dying a slow death every day that I denied it it’s true calling. But when I decided to TRUST in a kind of miraculous outcome, it happened. Thanks to one of my best friend’s, Jessica, and a NOW best friend, Jody. It all kind of unfolded into this crazy pattern of events that I will save for another time, but landed me a job in the Photo Department for Bed Bath and Beyond.

I moved to Fanwood in 2016. And everyday, after dropping my sons off at their Elementary school, I would pass a storefront that was vacant, but had something about it. Seymour’s Antiques. I would drive by and say someday that will be my photo studio. As crazy as it sounded to me, I still said it. Over and over. And one day, there was a sign up that it was available for rent. Of course I immediately called the number. I forget what they were asking, but whatever the number, it was well out of reach for me. And so I let that idea die.

DEATH OF A DREAM AND THEN A JOB

In 2019 I lost my job at Bed Bath, along with many others. I was scared and worried and didn’t know what I was going to do. I feverishly reached out to old colleagues trying to figure out where I would go now, what I would do. I had a mortgage and bills and children. Nothing…

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR…

But you see, I had been asking for something. I had been silently praying for more time with my kids, a more flexible schedule, something in the creative field that would give me financial freedom. I ASKED FOR THIS. And then I received it. And as many times I ended my prayers with “I am ready to receive”, I wasn’t quite ready to receive THIS!

And then COVID. I was unemployed and now I had a 4th grader and a 2nd grader with special needs at home with me trying to do virtual work while I was trying to find a job. I had been working for a real estate photography company for a brief stint, but that was no longer happening. Who would hire me now??

But…I was LUCKY! I was ALREADY signed up for and receiving unemployment benefits. And they kept getting extended. And while I still felt the stress of being unemployed, the unknown and now COVID, I had exactly what I had asked for. I had a VERY flexible schedule and I had more time with my kids. Not exactly how I envisioned it, but well, isn’t that how the universe works? LOL

THE SIGN, TAKE 2

And then in 2021 it happened. The “for rent” sign was up again. Right down the street from my sons’s school. A school that I found myself being called to more and more as time passed on. My son has had an IEP since first grade. He’s been on medication since Kindergarten. And he also has had a label of “bad kid” following him around since age 5. He was called a bully and investigated multiple times since then. And the kids and their parents continued that narrative. A narrative that negatively impacted a little boy and his family who were already struggling with invisible disabilities that neither the parents or the school seem to understand, nor did they want to.

A GIANT LEAP

Moving to this space would keep me close to home and to his school. And I knew it was not only my chance, but possibly the answer to many of my prayers. Including the one that I made back in 2016 when I claimed that location as my Studio even though I could in no way afford it at the time. And so I jumped. I took a leap of faith. And in May of 2021 I moved into my first commercial space.

I can’t believe that it has been 3 years. And it was not without it’s share of challenges. Friendships suffered, more school issues, financial fears and setbacks. BUT, I am still here! My son was finally granted an out of district placement. In a school where the kids AND the parents understand him. Where he is given grace and compassion. He is stable. And I finally, after 12 years, feel like I am getting my life back. And I am READY TO RECEIVE!

My new space is beautiful. It is new and not falling apart. I owe a big thank you to my friend Sammy, who, without realizing it, contacted me to see if I was interested in a new space 3 months before my lease was up. Again, I am fully supported by the Universe, God, Angels. And I am ALMOST completely moved in. THIS time I am actually going to make an effort to have a Grand Opening. I finally feel like it is my time.

And so I had my little guy, who isn’t so little, come to the new space to work on some lighting since I’m still getting used to the lower ceilings. And our doggy, Roscoe, accompanied us.

Life is weird and crazy and beautiful and unknown and mysterious and magical and hard and all of the things. And I really appreciate this journey that I am on. It is shaping the person that I am and that I am becoming every single day. And I am forever grateful.

Now I have to decide what I want to manifest next 😉

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU

Oakley | Baby Photography |Scotch Plains, NJ

“Physics elevated to an artform”

That is the slogan for the Oakley brand. Just found that out. Kind of love it! Kind of like “Baby Photography elevated to an artform”. Did I just come up with my own tagline? I think I may have!

Sweet baby Oakley came to The Studio for a baby photography model call I was doing. I wanted to work on an all wrapped flow and put a model call out so I could work on this workflow.

I think one of the reasons I love baby photography so much (and there are MANY REASONS), is that there is ALWAYS things to learn, to improve upon, and ways to grow. I’ve been taking pictures since I was a little girl. I started to shoot newborns around 2010. And I STILL find myself learning and growing! And I LOVE that!

Baby Oakley came to the Scotch Plains studio and the boy was PASSED OUT! He let me do anything I wanted and didn’t make a single peep! We captured some really great images for his mom and dad and I love how he looked on the tannish-brown fabrics I used!

Here are some of his momma’s favorites from our session <3

Baby Boy | NJ Newborn Photographer | Mountainside, NJ

baby boy

And 3rd baby makes 5

Rory’s parents were the absolute sweetest and chillest <3 with their baby boy. This is their third baby. They already had a boy and a girl and I guess you could say this baby boy was the tie breaker! And omg, you guys! Their kids are the absolute CUTEST!

Rory was a total sweetheart and just an absolutely beautiful baby boy. The cheeks, the lips, his skin. Ugh, I know I say it all the time, but I am obsessed with what I do! I LOVE IT!!!

Baby Boy in the moon

Here are some of the pics that mom picked out from our session. And I have to say I think she picked some good ones! I even got to use my new moon crate! And I couldn’t help it, I had to add some stars to the one photo. It was BEGGING for it!

Newborn Props have my HEART!

So many options!

One of my most favorite prop companies, Hello Little Props (HLP), is always coming up with amazing and unique ideas and designs to provide the Newborn Photography Community. A while back they came up with something called “bucket huggers” which are basically beautifully designed magnets with a variety of designs to put on their “everlasting bucket”. This is a game changer for us Newborn Photographers because it really is the answer to a lot of our “problems”. Especially the space saving problem.

Their newest design is an everlasting CRATE which also has this magnetic ability giving us even more variety when it comes to our prop options! Incase you don’t know, Newborn Photographers in general, are a very special breed. I keep saying that we need our own episode of “my strange addiction” 😂 . We are obsessed with fabrics, headbands, furry and textured layers, and probably the strangest thing we are obsessed with is looking at things and wondering if we can put a baby in it. LOL! I mean, if you were an outsider to this underground world of newborn photography, you would likely think we are absolutely nuts the way we carry on about these things! But, and this is a BIG BUT, our addiction is YOUR benefit! Because when you find one of us crazy prop addicted photographers, chances are we are going to go above and beyond to capture the most beautiful Newborn Photos of your little ones. Again, it’s all part of our addiction!

But what about that CRATE??

So back to the crate! I recently received mine and to say I’m obsessed is an understatement! It will take me some time to build up my collection of “huggers” for it, but it doesn’t matter. The crate itself is absolutely gorgeous and looks like an antique crate. Do I already own 2 or 3 crates? Maybe…but they aren’t magnetic and fit these freakin’ gorgeous magnet designs! So far I’ve gotten these huggers for it:

What about the BUCKET?

Well, I have A LOT of these already. But I recently got some more 😜. I’m not even sure if I have pictures of them. 2 new ones I got that I’m really excited about are a Football one and a Basketball one! OMG they are so cute. I don’t have a photo of the basketball one yet, but hopefully that will be coming soon! But here’s the football hugger:

Buckets in Use

I thought it might be cool for people to see a little bit of the huggers in use by me, so here are some samples:

baby photos
newborn props

Want to see more?

Check out my full collection of huggers here!

NJ Monthly | Unique Photo 2023 Cover Photo Search

NJ Monthly Photo Contest

NJ Monthly | Award of Excellence

In 2021 my Dad sent me a link to a call for entries to the NJ Monthly and Unique Photo cover contest. He encouraged me to enter. The prizes were substantial and I love both the magazine and the camera store so if nothing else, my submission would be supporting both. So I did it. I entered one of my favorite drone shots. And low and behold I placed first in the aerial category! I won a DRONE! It was awesome and exciting and scary and all the things, but I did it. I put myself out there. I think that when you put yourself out there, you open up the Universe to new opportunities for growth and connection. And you may even give someone else the courage to do the same.

I also think it sends a really imortant message to my sons. It shows them bravery and courage and that their mom is a badass photographer who is making things happen not only for herself, but for them! It gives them a sense of pride and admiration. So do it, put your work out there! Here is the post from that awesome and exciting win for me.

Feelin’ the funk

I didn’t submit anything for 2022. Not sure why exactly, I guess I just didn’t feel compelled to. Maybe it’s because I have felt like I’ve been in a funk for like a year straight. Thinking back, 2022 was a REALLY difficult year for me and my family. My son was having a really hard time in the public school system which translates to me, his momma, ALSO having a very difficult time. It’s been heavy on our shoulders and in our hearts for YEARS. But this year we finally received an out of district placement and it has legitimately been life saving, life giving, for all of us. A completely different experience. He is seen and even APPRECIATED for the wonderful person that he is. Intelligent, kind, compassionate, full of RANDOM FACTS, artistic and not stigmatized, shamed and punished for the areas he lacks.

Getting our lives back…

I feel like I am getting my life back. And so I submitted one of my favorite images from November of last year to NJ Monthly Cover Photo Contest. Baby Ari being held up by her dad. This session was so special for Ari’s family but also for me. Because it showed me COMMUNITY. Something I have been missing. And that actually is very much in part to my son’s challenges. Am I being too vague? My son has ADHD, Anxiety and something called DMDD (Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder). I, myself, have Anxiety. Quite honestly I do believe I have been living with undiagnosed ADHD my entire life.

We have been ostrasized by our community because he is different. Imagine that? Labeling a child at the age of 6 as “bad” and making life even more challenging and lonely for us. Having that label follow him around all through elementary school. A child who has a hard enough time regulating his emotions. In school he was seen as the “bully” and yet children would purposely antagonize him and try to get him to a state of dysregualtion. Even the adults didn’t understand him or give him grace or compassion.

I’m clearly getting off topic, but it’s been a struggle. If someone you know has a child with these disorders, please reach out to them. Ask them if they are okay. See if you can be their community <3

So back to this session 😂

Raise them UP

Crystal and Lamar (Ari’s Parents) wanted to include their COMMUNITY in their photoshoot. Check out their shoot here. My heart exploded into a million pieces during their session. It was incredible how their community SHOWED UP last minute to be a part of this.

But this picture…Lamar wanted to do something like the Statue of Liberty and the Lion King (Ari means Lion). And as soon as he said it I was all in and it was this. It’s amazing. I love it. And I love it for all the reasons.

A man holding up his baby girl – this means so much to me. My dad was a huge supporter of me. He gave me the confidence to follow my dreams. He encouraged me to follow my heart and always believed in me. He was the first man in my life and was an amazing example of how I deserved to be loved and treated. The composition of this image I feel is extremely powerful as is the symbolism. You don’t need to see Lamar’s face in this. We know it is him. But we also know that it could be MANY men who are there, supporting their babies, raising them UP!

And my son(s) thankfully have men like this in their lives. Men who raise them up, lifting them high overhead, giving them the praise and confidence and SUPPORT that they need and that they deserve.

NJ Monthly Cover Search winners

Anyway, I know that this post kind of went off topic (thanks ADHD). But it’s my heart. And I am thankful, grateful and honored to have this image that we made TOGETHER be recognized by the judges, NJ Monthly and Unique Photo. I may not have received the placement on the Cover of this month’s magazine, but what I did receive is priceless. To see the winners and read more about it, hop on over to the NJ Monthly article here.

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joan marie

Scotch Plains, NJ 07076

908.312.1788 | info@joanmariephotography.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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