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on being a young family.. photographing young families..

photographing young families is hard. let’s face it, anything involving non-verbal and/or defiant by nature humans is difficult.

LIFE is hard when you have young kids. (I am totally in that boat as we speak.)

(did I just ruin someone’s idyllic idea of parenthood?) I hope not… but seriously, it’s hard being a parent and it’s also hard trying to get portraits taken and I FEEL YOU on both points.

My realization of the hopeful expectation of parents and the completely impossible nature of forcing young kids to POSE has lead me to my style of photography in this genre especially. It’s called, “show up, extend grace, see what happens, capture it”

Sounds haphazard, I know.. but KIDS!! They are small bipolar adults without words. They are unpredictable and they RUN THE SHOW. These little cuties have the power to make me WORK for it and they almost always do! I think every client who comes to me for baby’s first year plans should know that EVERY session is difficult in it’s own way! You are not the first client who had to completely reschedule due to a child’s general unhappy disposition that day. You are not the first mother who left the session half upset and fully drained believing that there was NO way I shot anything that resembles your family in their true state. You will not be the last. Please know that IT DOESN’T BOTHER ME! I am mother to one of the most challenging babies that has ever graced a crib and one of the most fiery four year olds you will ever meet… and we get our portraits taken.. and have to go through the SAME ordeals I see with my clients all the time.

You see, it’s very rarely a quick session with cooperation and smiles the entire time. I want to know what those clients did to deserve such fabulous karma because it is SO rare indeed. But, with a little persistence, a whole lot of grace we work through it and get something that is great.

Here are a few shots from the last few weeks to prove my point…

Literally three seconds later, we decided to take a 15 minute break to combat general verge of toddler-hood unhappiness.. I LOVE this image. It’s adorable and feels real. I love how baby girl is all “I throw my hands up in the air sometimes!” and big bro is all “over it” and there is motion and laughter in it. Love it so much.

This image is the result of a three hour in-home newborn session (yes, almost all of my newborn sessions last three hours or more) even when I go to the home! Newborns are tough bosses. Once you get them asleep, you shoot like a mad person and the results are so so beautiful, but you have to earn it! I love that this image was shot at home, and not in the studio. Lighting-wise, you can even tell.. but the experience is just way better in the comfort of home so soon after adding a member to the family!

This struck me as I was editing this week, and I had to share..

Here’s to the hard moments, the amazing moments and the moments in between. Here’s to grace and a whole lot of patience.. HERE’S TO LIFE!

Thanks for letting me be a part of yours!


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the homebirth of Charlie Rose

After showing up to Kristen’s second birth that I have attended (you can read about the crazy first one here) she asks

“is this what it’s normally like when you show up at a birth?” (because the first was was far from ordinary)

…uhmmm… no.

but that is the beauty of it.
the excitement and sweet anxiety of the unknown but inevitable.
the waiting. the anticipation. the rushes and 3 am conversations.
the telling my birth story for the eightieth time. like it is the first time.
the sisterhood of women in waiting.
the sleep deprivation. the gas station cappuchino.
the teamwork. holding the space.
being quiet and loud and laughing and holding still.
the ebb and the flow and the relinquishing of control.
the patience that gives permission to take the long way.
the unspoken understanding.
the complete disconnect from the rest of the world.
the bond. the hugs. the corporate holding of breath.
the collective and powerful elation.
the beginning. the middle. the end.
the not knowing where one leaves off and another begins.
the trusting in the process.
the groans. the struggle.
the fears coming in and the fears taking their exit.
the high. the oxytocin hurricane.
new life in the in-between space.
the breath and the cry.
then we can breathe and we can cry.

I suppose they all really are the same..


Sheppard Birth from Allie Bennett on Vimeo.


Love you guys. Thanks for always trusting me and wanting me to be part of your sacred moments. Very glad we got to actually get the video this time!





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6 month session – the Oberlin family – Parkersburg, WV

The Oberlins are no strangers to the Birthographer blog.. after photographing/videoing Jackson’s birth through one year, and then Cohen’s birth and newborn.. they have been in front of my camera plenty! I love them to pieces and for Cohen’s 6 month photos, we used my studio and then wondered around the neighborhood- mostly using my backyard for these portraits. I can’t believe how much Cohen looks like Jack but lighter hair and a bigger build.. they are way too cute!


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Three year Friend-versary!

It’s almost midnight but I couldn’t let my three year friend-versary pass with one of my best girlfriends! I was looking through old photographs today as I was helping her choose some wall art and the date came across as April 30, 2011.. Three years ago on this day I photographed B for the first time, he was one then, and now he is four and we I have photographed him officially four times (and many iphone snaps!) I can’t believe that some random lady my husband met at his job at an urgent care that he gave my card to for photographs has become someone I love so dearly.

I don’t know what I would do without your ears to listen to me when I am confused or downright upset. I don’t know if I would feel sane some days without your business mind. But most importantly I appreciate the way you love my family and support my marriage and journey as a mom. You build me up and I am grateful that God shoved you in my path.. or maybe I was shoved in yours.. either way.. I am glad to call you friend.

(first photoshoot, THREE years ago! You can tell by the edit this is old!
the day that B officially was adopted into this amazing family. I got to celebrate with them.

Holiday photo 2012


2013 Fall Family Photos


Cheers to three more years… then three more after that… and then three more.. <3!






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Zane is ONE!

I will never forget when Lindsey brought Zane to my home studio for portraits as a newborn. We connected immediately over some shared experiences we have had in our lives and we talked for a long time about motherhood and our fears and what we hoped for our lives as mothers. I love being a part of these early days as a new family, offering encouragement and love to new moms especially. It’s an added bonus to my life and my work.

Zane is one now. A WHOLE YEAR. (and Lindsey has done a most excellent job as his mother!)

My life travels at the speed of infants growing up, which is lightening fast. I blink and a year is gone. Everytime I schedule a one year session for my baby plan folks, I freak out a little about how quickly that first year went by. I think of my Analeigh and her FOUR years that have flown by and I want to be 1000% certain that I am living to the full while she is young. It is juggling act, and I am not very graceful in that department, but with the grace of God we have made it and I do feel like I will look back on these tiring but fleeting days and be proud of the choices we made to have as much time together as possible.

Zane had three photoshoots his first year and as you can see, he changed so fast! I hope these images are precious to you Lindsey and Scott! I loved being your photographer this year!!


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