A few months ago I connected with a lovely woman who owns an Airbnb in Douglas, Michigan. Douglas is a quaint little town just outside Saugatuck which was voted one of the “The 25 Coolest Town in America to Visit in 2021” by Matador Network.
It always amazes me how relationships can be formed via social media! Some days I want to swear off “the social” but I’ve been able to make some really great connections especially via Instagram! The conversation started around headshots when I was talking about that on my own account and turned into a discussion about photography to capture the Airbnb she owns and available activities in the area.
My husband, Josh, and I visited Saugatuck mid-January of this year and stayed at Moonlight Villa Airbnb. I think it’s only the second time we’ve visited the little tourist town and we constantly wondered why we had never spent more time there! We both went to school in southwest Michigan but didn’t venture to Saugatuck until after we had moved away to Oklahoma post-college.
As parents of young children, we were just happy to get away for the weekend without kids! As part of my agreement with Louisiana to capture photographs of any activities we did while we were there, we had to make sure we left the house and explored the area.
When we arrived, Josh stated “Man, this makes me want to have a house like this!” I was a bit confused and maybe even a little offended! What do you mean? Tastefully decorated and free from clutter? He replied with “A vacation home that we just visit.” Nice save buddy!
The house was cozy and had plenty of space with two bedrooms upstairs and another one downstairs. The open concept living room, dining and kitchen would be great for larger groups or extended families. The two of us just enjoyed being able to sprawl out on the couch and relax!
We arrived Friday evening and picked up takeout from Everyday People Cafe in downtown Douglas. Saturday morning we headed to the Blue Star Cafe and picked up biscuits and gravy and fried eggs. This was super exciting for us, because our son has an egg allergy and we never get to eat eggs! The biscuits were great too!
After breakfast and a couple of hours photographing the interior of the house, we got ready and headed to Mount Baldhead Park to climb the famous stairway up to the top of the dune that looks over Saugatuck on one side and out to Lake Michigan on the other side.
It was surely the largest wooden staircase I have ever climbed. I was surprised at the number of people making the climb up the stairs in the middle of winter. We had to stop at each little rest bench to breathe! Being the dead of winter, I wasn’t quite in shape for that kind of climb.
We spent the late afternoon relaxing and decided to order pizza for dinner and stay in. We settled on Back Alley Pizza Joint after reading their reviews online and it did not disappoint. We ordered the Caprese Bread which was even better than the pizza - highly recommend - and the Goat Cheese and Spinach Pizza. The wait for that pizza was a little long but a testament to how good it was!
Having a baby is a monumental event in your life, one that you will never forget. There are so many emotions and new experiences that happen in those first days. Time does not exist and nothing else in the world matters. It's just you and your new love. After that, time never stops. Baby continues to grow and you continue to create new memories with them. Soon, you may not be able to remember how tiny they really were at birth. A Fresh 48 Session is a lifestyle portrait session that takes place within the first 48 hours after your baby is born. We capture the wonder and awe of those first days with your new little one.
This session is different than birth photography in that it does not capture the drama and anticipation of the birthing process, but rather the peace and love that is felt when everything is settled and you have your baby in your arms. Fresh 48 sessions are unique from other newborn sessions in that they may take place at the hospital or at your home and capture the whole family interacting with the new baby.
Baby primarily stays in your arms, but we may capture events like dad changing a diaper, breastfeeding, big sister adoring her new sibling and other firsts happening at this time. We won’t be dressing the baby up in cute outfits and posing them on bean bags! These images portray the family experience of welcoming a new life.
What to expect:
To plan for a Fresh 48 Session, we will schedule a consultation call where we discuss the details of your birth including location, due date, any specific photographs you’d like, who will be present, etc. From there we will make a plan for contact and how you will notify me of your new arrival. With effective communication, I will be able to arrange my schedule and come meet your baby! The session will be about one hour long. You just had a baby! You may be tired and overwhelmed and I am very cognizant of this. I work to be efficient in capturing the must have images of your new family while being respectful of your space and physical and mental state.
How to prepare:
I keep Fresh 48 Sessions very laid back. We capture genuine and authentic emotions and details of your new baby. You only have to get as ready as you want! If you want to stay in your robe or PJs then by all means, stay in your PJs! The whole point of this is to capture your first hours together in authenticity. No costumes or makeup needed. If you feel more comfortable putting on a nice outfit and a little foundation AND have the energy to do it, then go for it!
The last thing you need to worry about after bringing a human into the world is how tidy your hospital room or home is. All we need is one area that is decently lit and picked up - like your bed or your couch. We will discuss this in the consultation so that you do not have to stress about it after baby arrives. Baby can just be in a diaper, maybe a plain onesie and swaddled in a blanket. A solid color t-shirt and jeans is just fine for dad and any other kiddos.
I am going to ask you to handle your baby. I know what it feels like to be a new parent and I had a hard time even letting grandma hold my precious baby in those first few days. I’m also very aware of keeping any germs I might be carrying away from your little one.
We are on baby’s timeline. If we need to change a diaper, feed, snuggle, bounce, change clothing or anything else we will do it. I will try to capture little snippets of these activities in a visually pleasing way. Remember, this session is to capture those first days as they truly are.
Where do we go from here?
If having photographs to remember the first blissful days of welcoming your new baby to the world sounds like something you’re interested in, please reach out! You can email ([email protected]), message, text or call me (405-406-2734) with questions and we can set up time to chat more!
In August, my little assistant and I hosted "portrait play dates" in our home. These play dates are something I do for fun but also as a service to my clients and friends. With a backdrop and lighting set up in our living room, we invite friends with little ones over to make a few portraits with us and then play. I started this event last February after making a small setup for Valentine’s Day photos to photograph my daughter, Ellamae. When I realized how much work we had put into the setup for just a few photos, I invited friends over to make a portrait too. I offer one free digital file for them to use however they want. At that time I suggested using the image to create personalized Valentine’s Day Cards.
This August, with Ellamae home from Mother’s Day Out for the month, I struggled to balance time with her and time spent working on my photography business. To combine work and play I invited some friends with kiddos over to make photos again. We had five photo sessions/play dates and they were a blast! We captured some fun images of the kids and then spent time playing and chatting.
The first date was with Micah. He is a busy little two year old, but we managed to catch a few good smiles. He really liked our tiny rocking chair! After photographing, we went outside and chased some bubbles.
Next we had the Castillo family over. It was the day of Jacob’s 8th birthday so we got to make fun birthday themed photos with him and his sister Jonah! Their mom took my suggestion to bring fun props along for the photos and had several different options to make fun and interesting portraits! They brought playdough and Ellamae got hers out. These two are a photographer’s dream and so great at making portraits! I would love to photograph them every day.
Miles and Levi are regular photography clients and a little older than our other play date guests but we had fun with them too! They brought Ellamae a fairy garden and after our photo session we went outside and planted flowers in it. I loved the way the boys showed Ellamae each step and helped her to complete the project.
Edith brought her newborn, Julian, and seven year old, Nicole, over Thursday afternoon. Nicole immediately told me when she walked in the door that she did “not want to take pictures!” She had fallen asleep in the car on the way over and was less than happy when she arrived. However, after hanging out, chatting and seeing Ellamae for a bit she joined her mom and brother for a few sweet photos. I was honored to preserve a few precious moments during this delicate time that passes so quickly.
Last, we had Andrew come to visit. Andrew was nearing his first birthday so we tried out a few themed props that I had around the house. Then we got some shots with his favorite toys so his family could look back and remember this precious phase of his life. Always smiling, Andrew exudes joy and always keeps me grinning!
Portrait Play Dates allow me to practice my trade, see some of my adult friends, and our kiddos get to play together. I can’t think of a better way to spend a week!
If this sounds like fun to you and you might want to host portrait play dates at your house, please let me know. As a play date host, you will receive 10 digital portraits for free. This is a good excuse for your friends to get photos made of their little ones in a laid back atmosphere, play with friends and have some adult bonding time too.
Oh yeah....and a few portraits of my own kiddo....
Symantha “dated” my brother at church camp, back when dating meant calling someone your boyfriend or girlfriend and sitting next to them at the campfire. Although we lived in towns almost three hours apart, somewhere in the next few years I discovered that she was the cousin of one of my closest high school friends. It always amazes me how people weave in and out of our lives, popping in and out with serendipitous timing.
About a year ago, a Faceook message from my high school friend (and Symantha’s cousin) informed me that Symantha had moved to Edmond, OK and she suggested we meet up. We both had little girls and might be able to reconnect. Knowing the isolation I felt as a newcomer to Oklahoma City, I was eager to reach out to Symantha. I also have a great appreciation for spending time with people who relate to my roots. There is an understanding between people from “home” that you can’t find in others.
Symantha and I started meeting up for play dates and our daughters got along great. Even though Symantha’s daughter, Holly is almost two years younger than my daughter, Ellamae, they have a great time together. We hold a lot of parallel views on parenting and I wholly enjoy our time together. Chats about Michigan and things only Northern Michiganders understand help ease the pain of living so far from our families.
After Symantha asked me to capture their family portraits, we got together to discuss ideas for their session. We met at Starbucks, but only after attending a pregnancy event together, because we both happen to be pregnant right now also! I asked Symantha what she had in mind and what kinds of things Holly is into at this phase of toddlerhood. What would she like to remember about this age and phase in the years to come? Symantha mentioned baby dolls and a bubble machine! What fun! She also said that her husband Randy really likes willow trees. Pulling all of these things together, Symantha brought along the adorable tea set, blanket and bubble machine and we agreed on Kite Park in Nichols Hills. This park has a large, well kept willow tree and lush green landscaping, perfect for family portraits! AND….a wonderful playground for celebrating with family fun after the session, because FUN is always number one on my priority list for family photos!
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© Crackerjack Photography Studio
Welcome to the blog of Crackerjack Photography and photographer, Jamie Kirschner. Here I share my life travels and photographic adventures through words and pictures hoping to inspire you to make a trip or a portrait!