What is Birth Photography?

November 16, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Shepler Birth-8775Shepler Birth-8775 Why Birth Photography?


Empowering and transformational...birth is a life changing event.  Shepler Birth-8464Shepler Birth-8464

Birth photography captures all the moments you might not even know happened, let alone remember when it’s all over - the way your partner held your hand and smiled in awe of you or the expression you made when you held your baby for the first time. A birth photographer will make sure that all of these moments are captured so that you don’t have to worry about it and neither do your support people. You will all be free to enjoy the moment fully.


Birth photography shows:

  • the strength and determination parents express when they bring their baby into the world.

  • the family dog never leaving your side although you may be oblivious to their presence. 

  • the dignified way your partner is able to balance supporting you and older children.

  • the look of awe in your child’s eyes as they welcome their new sibling into the family. 

  • your body performing like a trained athlete to complete the marathon of childbirth and the unimaginable expression of joy as you hold our baby in your arms for the first time. 

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What is birth photography?


Birth photography captures the event of your baby’s birth just as you likely hired a photographer to capture your wedding day. The birth of your baby is monumental and there will be so many moments, emotions, actions and breakthroughs that you may not be able to comprehend or remember because there is so much happening at once just like a wedding day... except that there will probably be less guests attending!  Shepler Birth-8922Shepler Birth-8922


The goal of birth photography is to capture the joy, determination, wonder, admiration, strength and miracle of the birth day. We will tell the story of your baby’s journey into the world in a way that words and memory alone cannot.


A typical photographic birth story starts during active labor and includes everything you want it to up until about two hours following the birth. We will photograph every moment that you are comfortable with and stay at your side after the birth to capture the first hours as a family.


What other questions do you have about birth photography? Post them in the comments or send me an email at [email protected] Shepler Birth-9114Shepler Birth-9114


A Maternity Session at Brown Bridge Quiet Area

May 26, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

2G7A2099-2 hair edit2G7A2099-2 hair edit When we were planning for this session, Tayler and I were unsure of where to go. Early spring in northern Michigan isn’t the most beautiful time of year and we were afraid of too much brown and the possibility of snow. 

I’m persistently leaning into my belief that everything always works out and this session was a great example of that. It was the
most beautiful April day we could have asked for! And it’s my job to make beautiful
photographs any time of year. 
I met Tayler and Joe in 2020 when I hosted a family portrait contest on Facebook. I shared tips for photographing your own family and then challenged my followers to post photographs of their own family. Through voting by friends and family, Tayler won the contest! We planned their family session for the fall of 2020 at the Highrollways in Buckley, Michigan. If you haven’t been there in the fall, it’s a must see!


2G7A2218-2sky2G7A2218-2sky Tayler and Joe got engaged at the rollways so the location was sentimental for them. We even captured a family photograph in the exact spot where Joe proposed. 

This spring I had the honor of capturing the Harper Family in a maternity session as they were expecting their second babe and then again couple days after their second daughter Isla June was born for a Fresh 48 session. I absolutely love building relationships with my clients and it has been so fun to watch this family grow.

Freya, Joe and Tayler’s oldest daughter, was very shy in our first session with most photographs of her being sweet, yet serious. During our second session at Brown Bridge, she was more outgoing but very focused on getting to the river! When I visited them at home for their Fresh 48 session she was a ball of energy bouncing on the bed and sprinting across the room. It is a joy to get to know each family I work with and an even greater honor to continue building relationships while capturing significant life events like this. Thank you Tayler and Joe for letting me be a part of this precious season of your lives.  2G7A1689- light2G7A1689- light

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A Visit to Saugatuck, Michigan

March 20, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Moonlight Villa January 2021-0051Moonlight Villa January 2021-0051 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. 

Moonlight Villa January 2021--3Moonlight Villa January 2021--3 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. 

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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!

Moonlight Villa January 2021-9940Moonlight Villa January 2021-9940 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!

IMG_4263IMG_4263 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. 



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Following the hike around the dunes, we headed into Saugatuck. I photographed the downtown shops as we popped in and out of a few of them. Things were quiet with it being winter and with COVID keeping people from traveling as much as usual.

After a little exploring, we started to look for a place for lunch. Most places were only doing takeout, as restaurants were not able to be open with COVID restrictions. We decided to try Wicks Park Bar and Grille because they had a patio with heaters available for seating. They even supplied blankets to keep warm! It felt so good to be dining out as we hadn’t in a very long time. We had probably only visited one or two other restaurants in the past year due to the pandemic!

After lunch we headed to Saugatuck Dunes State park on Lake Michigan for a hike through the woods that leads out to the beach. I was surprised at how many people were out hiking in January but with the pandemic it’s one of the only things you could do! Plus, seeing the water is such great therapy during the winter and the sun was out! Moonlight Villa January 2021-0035Moonlight Villa January 2021-0035

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!

In the morning we packed up to go home! We are excited for an opportunity to visit Moonlight Villa in the Spring or Summer and explore the outdoor activities more and the shops and restaurants that were closed for the off-season. To learn more about Moonlight Villa click here. You can also follow them on Instagram @moonlightvillami.

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What is a Fresh 48 Session

January 14, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

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What is a Fresh 48 Session?

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.

AmundsenFresh48-4686 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:  AmundsenFresh48-4704AmundsenFresh48-4704

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.


AmundsenFresh48-4673AmundsenFresh48-4673 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. 

Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7222Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7222 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!                                            Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7107Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7107 Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7158Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7158
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The Top 5 Most Frequently Asked Family Photography Questions

September 24, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

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  1. What should we wear?

    Building the family wardrobe for a portrait session can become stressful, especially if you are an overthinker like me. The bigger the family, the more complicated it gets. 

    Don’t worry though, this is one thing we always talk about in a consultation before the session. I make myself available via text and email to send images of your selections back and forth.  Together, we make small tweaks until we have a cohesive, yet varied set of clothing for everyone that is visually appealing. 

    The first piece of advice I give is to start with one item that you know you want someone to wear, whether it’s for yourself or someone else, then build from there. If it’s a dress with blue, yellow and green, try to find something in all of those colors for everyone else. My second piece of advice is to mix patterns and solids. Too much solid is boring, but too many different patterns can get a little crazy.

  2. How much does it cost? 

    Consider your photography an investment - an investment that brings you and your family joy for years to come. With that in mind, I will tell you it’s priceless! If you lost a family member today, how much would you pay for just one more photo of them or the two of you together? Bouwhuis2019-9709Bouwhuis2019-9709

    Now, more practically, you can find family photography for everywhere from $50 to $50,000. When you hire a family portrait photographer, you are hiring an artist to make a personalized piece of artwork of your family, just for you. You are paying for years of experience, education, equipment, time, shooting and editing skills, prints and products and the service that they provide. While my session fee is $100 to get started and you only purchase what you love, most of my clients spend $750 and up. 

  3. Where should we go?  A professional photographer can make exceptional photographs in almost any setting. However, I do have a few recommendations when choosing a location.  StephensFamily2019-1171StephensFamily2019-1171

    I love to chat with my clients about places that are meaningful to them. The photographs will tell a better story if the background is something you can recognize and tie meaning to. Oftentimes, your backyard is a wonderful place to make family photographs. A few other things to consider when choosing a location are the lighting in the location (i.e. shade vs direct sunlight), will there be other people there, are there multiple areas to serve as different backgrounds, is there water, playgrounds or other things to distract the kids? We will discuss all of this in the pre-session consultation.

  4. How long does it take? 

    My session fee covers “one hour of shooting”. However, once I get going, I get really excited and sometimes we go a little longer. If the kids get tired after 30 minutes, we might have to wrap it up at 45 minutes. 

    The most important thing to know is that it takes the first 10-15 minutes for everyone to warm up. It might feel a bit awkward at the beginning, but we will all settle in and the best shots will come in the middle of the session. Everyone will start to get tired and we might push for just a few more, but there is always a definite moment when the session feels complete. I am always sure to ask if there is anything else you would like to do before we call it quits.

  5. How do I get my images? 

    Each photographer is different in how they deliver final images. Some just send you a flash drive with all the digital files. At Crackerjack Photography Studio, we schedule an ordering session about two weeks after your shoot to r 63688675-A26C-403F-B214-6ABD28CB18FA63688675-A26C-403F-B214-6ABD28CB18FA eview all of the images and select your favorites for purchase. This is a service that I provide to my clients to see the project through to the end. Selecting your favorite images can be exhausting and overwhelming on your own, but I am here with my professional expertise to guide you through the process. Those images will not rot in digital purgatory! Prints and products will be delivered to your home and digital file products can be downloaded from my website.So tell me, what other questions do you have? I would love to hear them in the comments below or send me an email at [email protected]


Welcome to the blog of Crackerjack Photography Studio and photographer, Jamie Kirschner.  I'm a portrait photographer based in Traverse City, Michigan who loves learning and retelling the stories of others. I practice this through birth photography, family portraits, headshots and event photography.



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