RORY | 1st Birthday Cake Smash Photography

RORY | 1st Birthday Cake Smash Photography

A first birthday is a big milestone. Your little person has grown from a tiny dependent baby into a toddler with very definite opinions and interests, bursting with personality and fun.

Just as importantly, YOU have survived a full year of parenting. You've got through sleepless zombie land (or if you're like me, you're still struggling in the grips of that one!); you've managed feeding and nappy changes and several new sizes of clothes; you've nurtured your little one through rolling and crawling and bumped heads and jammed fingers, all the way to this day. There were times when you wondered how you could possibly get through the day; times you sat down beside them and sobbed along with their tears; times when you reminisced about how simple and easy life used to be. 

Zachary | Te Awamutu Photographer

 Zachary | Te Awamutu Photographer

Sometimes children show you that what you thought you wanted wasn't really what you wanted at all.

I had this shoot with my 22-month-old son all planned out. The timing was perfect, since my Te Awamutu photography studio would already be set up with a crisp white backdrop from a session the day before, and we had a full day at home with no other pressing commitments. I pictured lots of energy and cheeky grins, chasing after bubbles, bouncing, dancing and having fun.

Then the day rocked around. We just weren't feeling it.

Zachary | Sticks, Mud and Forts | Waikato Photography Play Session

Zachary | Sticks, Mud and Forts | Waikato Photography Play Session

Sometimes parenting is like that. Brief moments of laughter, fun and complete happiness in between the chaos and craziness. People who tell you to “enjoy every moment” because it will be over so quickly clearly have forgotten the reality of parenting! But the good moments, the ones filled with unrestrained giggles or sleepy cuddles or first smiles, those really are priceless. I love that photographs help you to focus on the happy times and to freeze those memories forever.

Rory | It's worth it

Rory | It's worth it

Your first trip out of the house with a new baby is pretty daunting. Getting this tiny bundle strapped safely into a car seat; rounding up nappies and wipes and bottles and dummies and an insanely large assortment of other necessities for such a tiny little person; trying to juggle nappy changes and feeds so that you all have a comfortable car trip but still arrive on time; and leaving the comfort of your own home when all you really want to do is sleep. Combine all this with a fog of tiredness like you’ve never even imagined could exist, and this whole new world of responsibility and care seems pretty overwhelming.

Madison | Otorohanga newborn photography

Madison | Otorohanga newborn photography

“What if my baby won’t sleep?!”

Parents often ask me what will happen if their baby won’t sleep during their photography session. Some babies fall asleep so easily and others fight sleep with their whole being, even during their first few days. (My son was one of those – I can relate very well!!)

This blog post is dedicated to those parents!

Isabella | Pirongia newborn photography

Isabella | Pirongia newborn photography

I wanted to donate a newborn photography session to someone who was deserving of it – someone who had been through struggles or hardships or someone who was always thinking about others and deserved something in return. There were so many nominations that it made me want to give away more than one session, but the beautiful tribute written by Isabella’s grandma was the deciding factor.

Levi | Te Awamutu newborn studio photography

Levi  |  Te Awamutu newborn studio photography

We clamber over boxes and bags and squeeze our way through to the surfboard racks on my garage wall. Levi’s dad is far taller than me, so he gets the job of grappling the surfboard down. Back inside again, we discover that the board was last used on a baking hot day – its cover has completely melted onto the wax and we can’t get the board out! Finally, with the help of some crafty broomstick wielding, we manage to free the board ready for our studio photo shoot with little baby Levi.

Hamilton family photography | Hamilton Inline Hockey Rink

Hamilton family photography  |  Hamilton Inline Hockey Rink

I already knew I liked this family before I even met them. In their pre-session questionnaire, their mum wrote that she wanted to have something that shows the love between them and how special her boys are. Her words were so filled with love for her sons and I could tell straight away how much they adored each other.

Connection and belonging are my favourite things to capture in a family photo shoot, and I could tell this shoot was going to be oozing with them!

Quinn | Tamahere newborn photographer

Quinn  |  Tamahere newborn photographer

The wallpaper backdrop was hanging perfectly; the wooden floor drop smoothed out; fluffy white towels folded neatly and stacked in a soft pile; and baby Quinn was tucked up on his tummy, dummy in his mouth and his blankie wrapped around him, drifting off to sleep. We had been working towards this for about 15 minutes, Quinn’s mum helping to settle him while I got his tiny bottom and toes and fingers placed exactly how I wanted. A sneak peek under his blanket showed that he had finally settled into the perfect pose. We removed his blanket. I stepped back with my camera, and his mum sat just off to the side, ready to remove his dummy at the right moment and to spot him if he moved.

And then…. Quinn startled, as tiny babies do. His legs shot out behind him, his arms flailed, and he jerked to wide awake. We were right back to square one, and Quinn decided that it was time to snuggle in with mum for a feed instead of getting this shot.

Bonnie | Te Awamutu baby photographer

Bonnie  |  Te Awamutu baby photographer

After a huge string of baby boys, I was so excited to be able to photograph sweet little baby Bonnie in her newborn lifestyle and mini studio photography session. I had some new headbands and wraps that I was dying to be able to use, and I was excited about featuring a bit of pink!

Bonnie was just the most perfect little model I could have hoped for. For nearly our whole session, she was quiet, content and sleepy. Whether wrapped up snugly on a sheepskin, curled up on my beanbag, or sprawled out and unposed, she was just the sweetest little girl you could imagine!

Lincoln | Hamilton newborn photographer

Lincoln  |  Hamilton newborn photographer

I just love doing newborn photography, and this newborn photo shoot with baby Lincoln in my Te Awamutu studio was one of my all time favourites. He was just the sweetest, most perfect little boy you could imagine! Throw in a stunning mummy and a handsome big brother, and this session was every photographer's dream!

Caleb | Te Awamutu newborn photography

Caleb  |  Te Awamutu newborn photography

Some babies just love to tuck up with their legs underneath them as if they were still in the womb. Others love to curl sideways. And some just like to stretch out as far as they can.

During this newborn photography session at my studio in Te Awamutu, sweet little Caleb left us in no doubt of his preference. He didn’t have the longest legs around, but he was very clear that he wanted them stretched out as much as possible! According to his mum, he did a lot of this in her tummy too – ouch!

Hamilton Gardens family photography session

Hamilton Gardens family photography session

Hamilton Gardens is one of my favourite places in the Waikato for family photography sessions. There are so many different settings that are perfect for family portraits and such a variety of options, all in one location. Big, wide expanses of lawn, beautiful big trees (particularly gorgeous in autumn!), heaps of ponds and bridges and railings tucked all over the place, and the beautiful themed Paradise Gardens which feel like you have stepped into a different country.

Benjamin | Taupiri newborn photography session

Benjamin   |   Taupiri newborn photography session

It was an honour to be able to welcome my friend’s little boy into their family with this combo lifestyle and mini studio session in their Taupiri home. At just a week old, little Benjamin was a total star. He was so sleepy and content, and just loved to be cuddled up with his mummy. He wasn’t always quite so happy being tucked up on my beanbag, but the mummy and baby photos we got are some of my favourites from this session.