Super messy and super fun Cookie Monster Cake Smash session.
I have been having fun putting together behind-the-scenes videos of some recent sessions. Please disregard the shaky camera and bad lighting and just enjoy the fun sneak peek at me doing what I do. :D
My first video shows a beautiful baby girl in a couple of poses (in fast-forward) in my favorite bowl prop. I was so excited when Mom said she wanted to use lavender because purple is my favorite color. (1.01 minutes)
Big brother was the sweetest, most well-behaved little gentleman and he loved his little sister. Trust me, not all sibling shots go this well! LOL (58 seconds)
This last video shows how I shoot for, and edit, a composite image. I mainly use digital backgrounds from Luisa Dunn Photography Shop because they are simply stunning. Babies love to be snuggled up in the little beanbag poser. It's filled with beanbag pellets and rice and forms to the baby, making them feel super comfortable and safe. (1.33 minutes)
What do you think about these videos? Would you like to see more? I'd love to read your comments below. Let me know if there is anything in particular you would like to see. I need all the practice I can get making videos!
I wanted to show a quick overview of different print sizes and how cropping your images may effect the overall look of your portrait. As you can see in the above example, 5x7 and 8x10 prints (often referred to as 'gift prints') are best for displaying on a table or desk. They are typically considered too small for a wall print. For your wall, go big or go home! j/k :) But honestly, the bigger the better.
Your gallery from Jessica Doffing Photography contains images left at the standard 2x3 ratio, except for any special composites or collages that were designed...more about that later.
So, with a 2x3 ratio, this image will look best as a 4x6, 8x12, 16x24, etc. With these dimensions, no part of the image will need to be cropped out.
For some reason, 5x7 and 8x10 seem to be very standard size gift prints. Check out the examples below showing how much of the image needs to be cropped out in order to fit these sizes.
Because these sizes are so popular, I purposefully try to keep a nice wide range around the subject (in this case, little farmer Oliver) so that he will never need to be cropped out. However, sometimes the little details in the scene are kind of important too, and you may lose them. It also changes the aesthetic of the overall image if you want to get into all of the 'rules' of photography like rule of thirds, leading lines, etc.
Here is an example of an 8x10 crop that I feel is too tight and constrictive for the overall image. My suggestion would be to print this as an 8x12 instead.
I try to include a collage of all of the little baby parts in my newborn galleries. These are designed in a square, 2x2 ratio. These should always be printed as a square...either 8x8, 10x10, and so on. It is impossible to not cut off crucial parts of the image in any other ratio and it just looks 'off'.
10x10 original 8x10 crop 10x8 crop
I hope this has helped explain a little about cropping your photos and how to get the best results when ordering prints. I would be more than happy to come out to assist you if you would like some ideas and suggestions for printing and hanging your portraits in your home. We need to get those pictures off of your computer and on your walls!
Let me know if this has been helpful or if you have any questions. Leave your likes and comments below. Thank you!!
Austin, Texas is by far one of the coolest cities in the US. There are so many fun things to do and places to see that even if you are a local resident, you still stumble on new places all the time. As a family photographer, it is my job to find great spots for family photos, engagement sessions, senior portraits...you get the idea. I've compiled a short list of some great spots in and around Austin for families with young kiddos. You probably don't want to be hiking up to the top of Mt. Bonnell with 2 toddlers in tow (although it is a very popular location for proposals and engagement photos). But for easy parking and easy walking plus great backdrops for photos, check out my list below.
1. Butler Park - 1000 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704
My first and probably favorite location is downtown, right behind the Palmer Events Center. The only major con for this location is parking. There are a few spots available on Riverside Drive and they are usually filled (there is a pretty quick turnover though because it's limited to 2 hours). You can also park on the other side of the park, behind the Dougherty Arts Center. As long as they aren't having an event they have quite a few parking spots available to the public. It's also not always fun driving downtown when there is a big event or festival going on, so that limits the days you would want to go here. The pros usually outweigh the cons though. It's a short little paved (great for strollers) circular walk around the park with many great spots for good photos. There's a small pond, a few piers to walk out on and check out the turtles, lots of trees and open space, and my favorite part in the summer time...a kids splash park. So much fun! You can go up to the top of the hill and get a gorgeous view of the skyline, and you can even roll down the hill if you are so inclined. ;P I love this park for the wide variety of backgrounds for your family photos, any time of year.
The best part about this park is the splash pad! If you're willing to let the little ones get soaked, I promise you will get adorable photos!
2. Mayfield Park - 3505 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703
I have always been fascinated by peacocks, and when I need a little peacock-fix I head to Mayfield Park. Walking around the beautiful gardens and ponds and mingling with majestic peacocks is something most people don't get to do every day. There is a small parking lot that is never full (at least not whenever I've gone) and it is super close to the cottage and gardens. The walkways can be a little uneven and difficult for young toddlers, so if you have runners you may want to go on the hiking trail instead. There is a fee to have a professional photographer take your photos at this site, but if you are just going on a family outing and want great photos, you can't beat the beauty here. It may be hard to catch a peacock in your photo, but if you do, what a great bonus!
3. Old Settler's Park - 3300 E Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665
If you live in north Austin or Round Rock, Old Settler's Park is the place to go for photos. It is huge! There is sooooo much to do at this park, but for family photos there are several different areas that I love. The first is super close to the entrance of the park. If you turn left into the trailer park area you will see a large open field with some beautiful trees and a perfect little barn and some other cute buildings. The lighting here is always spectacular for some reason. I LOOOOOOVE it. If you want a little rustic feel to your photos, check this place out.
If you drive down about a mile you'll pass a few cool areas, but one on the right (by the sand volleyball courts) has great parking access to a gorgeous lake. There is a paved walking path and a short walk takes you to a pretty pedestrian bridge. You can bribe the kiddos with the playground afterwards if they're good for their photoshoot! :D
4. Memorial Park - 600 N Lee St, Round Rock, TX 78664
Another great option for up north is Memorial Park. There are actually 2 parts to this park that are separated by 35, so this really counts as 2 locations. If you go to the address listed you will find easy parking and a nice little park with a paved walking path. There is a small playground and picnic area and the path follows along the water of Brushy Creek. If you walk to the end of the path you will come across a pedestrian bridge, but the sweet spot for photos is behind the bridge, down the grass to the water. Again, I always get amazing light at this location. I wouldn't suggest this area for babies, but young kiddos will love it. If you are adventurous you can get great shots in the shallow water as well.
Memorial Park (part 2) - 910 Round Rock Ave, Round Rock TX 78681
If you take 620 to the other side of 35 and go to the restaurant at 910 Round Rock Ave. (it used to be the 620 Bakery & Cafe and then the 620 Hacienda Bar & Grill but now it's currently vacant) and drive down behind the restaurant and then to your right, you will come across a beautiful little waterfall. It has gained popularity in the last few years and is usually a little crowded, but if you go in the off season you have a good chance of having the place nearly to yourselves. Even if it's crowded, you can still snag a spot for a great photo. There is ample parking and the waterfall is right there by the parking lot. Walking is not easy for toddlers and you certainly would want to be very cautious letting young kids get close to the edge of the rocks. But if you want a stunning background that's easy to access, this is where it's at!
There are a bazillion other great spots for photos in and around Austin, but these are definitely my top picks for easy access and beautiful backgrounds. Comment below if you have a favorite spot.
Stay tuned for my next post with lots of tips for how to get the best photos of your kids. The very best tip would be to hire me (haha - very subtle, huh?), but I'm going to give you tips to get great shots on your own. Click below to subscribe and get it straight to your email!
WOW! I am floored by what a great year I have had. No, seriously, I am shocked. For the past 2 years I have set goals that I really thought were beyond my reach, and not only did I reach them, I surpassed them!
For those who don't know me, I started my business officially in October 2015. I have enjoyed photography as a hobby forever and had thought about starting a business for a few years but never had the guts to do it. But, once all of my kids were out of the house I found I had a lot more free time to pursue my hobby so I decided to give it a try. I was teaching middle school at the time so I could only work on weekends and some evenings. I started out shooting mostly families and a few weddings but didn't start shooting newborns until January of 2016. And immediately after that first baby I was hooked!
And when I say 'hooked' I mean HOOKED. I became obsessed with finding information online about newborn photography and rounded up 15 free portfolio-building newborn sessions. It was crazy but I loved every minute of it. I look back at some of those images and cringe, but I also have a few that are still my favorites. I learned so much in such a short period of time. Meanwhile I was still teaching and shooting families, weddings, SXSW and other events. It was crazy hectic but totally worth it. And it ended up being a little profitable too...which, considering my Etsy addiction, is kind of hard to believe. :D
My goals for 2017 were 1) Quit teaching. Check! Thank you Baby Jesus. 2) Shoot 10 weddings. Check! I shot 11. 3) Double the number of newborn sessions from 2016. Check! I shot 46 newborns in 2016 (40 sessions with some twins and triplets). In 2017 I shot 86 newborns in 80 sessions. So I exactly doubled the number of sessions, which is freaky, but AWESOME!
I know it sounds dumb, and no one really cares, but I truly am humbled and honored that every one of my clients has trusted me with their precious babies and with their wedding day memories. I love my job SO much, and it wouldn't be possible without y'all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
So for next year I'm pushing the limits of my goals again and I'm putting it down here for all to see. 1) I want to double my newborn sessions this year. Yup, that's right, I want to shoot 160 newborn sessions in 2018! That's 13.3 sessions a month or 3-4 a week. That's totally do-able. And I still want to see all of my babies coming back for milestone sessions and cake smashes. And don't forget the maternity sessions and lots of Fresh 48 sessions. So basically I am focusing on babies, babies, and more babies. I will still do a few wedding and of course the dreaded fall mini sessions, but I want more babies dammit! :D 2) I would love to get a studio. I think it may be more of a 2019 goal, but I'm just putting it out there, because if I can do it in 2018 that would be super cool. If anyone knows of a south/central location that's actually affordable (HA), let me know. Even with a studio I think I would still travel to client's homes for the newborn sessions because it is so less stressful for new parents and even more-so for families with older kiddos. But a studio outside of my home would be amazing for everything else. 3) I have a few more mini goals for organizing and streamlining business tasks, advancing my photography skills, and becoming more profitable, but I think I've babbled enough for now.
Thank you again to all of my clients, followers and friends. I obviously couldn't do this without you! Now go make some babies and help me kick ass in 2018!
A video is currently circulating Facebook showing a newborn falling out of the 'froggy' position. The photographer has the baby balanced with no assistance or spotting from a parent or assistant and the baby collapses and falls to the side. I do not believe the baby was injured, but it has motivated me to do my part as a professional newborn photographer to educate parents on the safety issues involved in a newborn portrait session. I like to periodically show behind-the-scenes photos on my Facebook page but I figured it was a good idea to gather the photos and information and put them all together is one place...right here. :)
Let me start by saying the above position is super adorable and many parents request it, but it is by far the most complex positions to achieve properly. First off, the baby has to be super asleep and relaxed. Even super sleepy and relaxed babies usually fuss a bit getting started with this position. A professional photographer will be able to tell if the baby will settle into the position or not. I will get the baby in position as I explain the procedure to a parent and direct them how to properly hold the baby, supporting their wrists and head. A baby's head is very heavy (25% of their entire body weight) and they should not be supporting that on their own! Sandra Moffatt, a professional photographer and co-founder of the StandInBaby, has made an excellent series of newborn photography safety videos along with a registered neonatal nurse. She goes into great detail to explain the importance of proper positioning. You can see the videos here - Newborn Photography Safety Series. Several shots are taken and then composited together in Photoshop. The baby is supported the entire time!
Another popular pose, sometimes referred to as the "Simba" pose, looks like mom or dad is precariously holding the baby up in the air, when if fact, the baby is lying comfortably on a cushy beanbag.
I can't count the number of times my dads have been ready to just hold the baby up over their head! Talk about scaring the crap out of me...thinking 'people probably actually do that'! Un-educated photographers see something on Pinterest and try to recreate it without doing any research and will put your baby at risk just to get the shot. PLEASE, for the love of God, hire an educated, professional photographer for your newborn session. Pay the extra money. PLEASE!
Things you don't see in these photos - weights in the bottom of the bucket to counteract the weight of the baby and lots of blankets and pillows to cushion around the baby. I had mom and dad on either side of baby and there was ALWAYS a hand on her. Then I simply take the images and photoshop them together to mask out the parents hands. And VOILA!
Which reminds me of another issue...props. I purchase my props from reputable vendors that specialize in newborn photo props. They need to be safe and sturdy with no sharp areas. They should always be counterweighted with weights or beanbags and cushioned properly to support and protect the baby. Believe it or not, I even have special made prop pillows like the E. Tole Pillow and Rainbow Posing Beans to support baby in different positions. There is so much more to an image than you would think!
In these photos, mom or dad are helping support baby's head and I just photoshop their finger out of the picture. They are also there, just inches away, in case baby startles and moves.
Speaking of Photoshop, my latest obsession is doing composites. This is an excellent way to keep baby safe but I worry about unexperienced photographers seeing the photos and thinking I really put a baby on a bench in a field unsupervised or in a bird's nest in a tree. Ok, if someone believes that than we have more serious issues to deal with...but that person is out there and possibly trying to photograph babies!
Extreme care is always taken to insure baby is safe and comfortable. It takes time and patience to get baby in the proper position, not just for the best shot but for the baby's safety. Posing is manipulated to never inhibit baby's airway or circulation. You will often see me adjusting baby's head with little pillows and stuffers under the blanket to insure this. Also, if baby's hands or feet are turning red/purple they should be moved out of that position because their circulation is being cut off, and this happens with some babies faster than others.
I believe it's also important to note that my parents are right there even with toddlers. They may look like they are sitting on that chair or stool safely, but we all know it only takes a half-second for a baby to tumble. With mom or dad right there spotting the baby, I can concentrate on getting the perfect shot.
So, I'm not one to preach but I just want to say, if you are looking for a newborn photographer, please choose someone who is experienced, educated, licensed and insured. Yes, you will have to pay more for that experience, education, licensing and insurance, but your new baby is definitely worth it. And if you do hire a less experienced photographer (we were all one at some point), PLEASE do not attempt the more complicated poses and PLEASE speak up and ask your photographer questions to make sure they have had some training and are aware of safety issues.
I take a lot of pride in my work. I have over 27 years of experience working with children as a mom, a licensed daycare provider, a certified teacher, and now a professional newborn photographer. I continue to educate myself on best practices for safe baby poses along with bettering my camera and lighting skills to give you the most precious keepsakes of your newborn baby. I would LOVE for you to hire me to take portraits of your little one, but more importantly I want to educate you on what to look for when hiring whoever you decide to hire.
Now go make a baby and call me to set up your newborn session! :D
I have been having sooooo much fun playing around with my newborn photos in photoshop. My latest obsession was sparked by the gorgeous backgrounds created by Luisa Dunn and Sasha Chomakov. These ladies create amazing digital backdrops for newborn photographers to help enhance their clients' galleries.
A lot of the backdrops I'm drawn to are designed to be used with the baby photographed on a black or brown backdrop. This makes it easy to blend the shadows into the background.
For others you need to plan ahead and photograph the baby on a similar background, like this white fluff. With a few quick and simple shots at the end of a session, I now have an endless assortment of beautiful backgrounds to play with. These two are using the same newborn image in the composite.
Some of the backgrounds are super simple and sweet, making the focus on the baby with just a little embellishment.
And then there are more elaborate backgrounds that are just beautiful works of art, but adding the baby makes it that much more special!
So if you have a newborn session coming up be prepared for a few surprises to show up in your gallery! :) And if you have any special requests, definitely let me know in your session questionnaire so I can search for the perfect backdrop for you.
Back in March I photographed a beautiful wedding in New Orleans (well actually, Napoleonville) at the Madewood Plantation Home. Being the photographer for Evelyn and Todd's wedding was even more special for me because my daughter, Aly, was the maid of honor. It was a great little get-away for everyone.
The ceremony and reception were both very elegant and sophisticated, mixed in with some Prince (I was so stoked to hear the officiant start off with "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life"), 80's music, and a cardboard cutout of the Queen.
The details and decorations were beautiful and very touching. Most epic was Evelyn's dress. "My mother wore her mother's dress, which she bought in 1960. My mom painstakingly removed the Alencon lace and beading from the original dress, which was now starting to fall apart and show it's age, and then hand tacked it to my crepe chiffon dress. My mom designed, hand beaded and sewed, and altered my dress. I always wanted to use the lace from the old dress to make something new, and she far surpassed what I had envisioned before I ever got engaged. It was also FAR better made and more affordable than pretty much everything else I was looking at. Plus it was incredibly comfortable and had pockets where I put my grandfather's handkerchief."
I could go on and on and on, raving about how beautiful and sweet and warm and happy and lovely everything was on this day, but I will stop and leave you with a few more photos instead. Congratulations Evelyn and Todd! May you live in a world of never-ending happiness. <3
It was so fun meeting this fun family and chasing big-brother-to-be, Arthur, around Butler Park in downtown Austin. Like literally chasing :D
This is my favorite spot to bring families with toddlers because there is so much space to run around, and so many interesting things...hills, turtles, big bad wolves, the moon, ants...the list goes on and on. It feels like we're just playing but I get to capture the perfect moment every once in a while.
The best part about bringing toddlers to this park is the splash pad! So. Much. Fun. Excuse me while I overshare on pics.
Abby and Matt, thank you for choosing me as your photographer. I cannot wait to see y'all again when you become a party of four!
Everyone, meet Audrey and Eddie. I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing them when they were just 7 weeks old. I was so excited when Mom told me they wanted some UT photos. I had been dying to use my little Longhorn cheerleader and football player Build-a-Bear outfits. Yup, that's right...they are from Build-a-Bear. So cute!
Getting those shots was not very easy. Aubrey kept smacking Eddie in the face and waking him up so I had to tuck their arms in between them. It's extra funny because Mom says during her monthly ultrasounds, Eddie always had a foot or his rear in Audrey's face. So she's getting him back now! :D
Below is one of my favorite shots to date. I just can't handle how precious they are.
Thank you Nicole and Edward for inviting me into your home to photograph your sweet little babies. I can't wait to see them again!
Jessica Doffing Photography specializes in studio-quality portraits from the comfort of your own home. Contact me for more information or to book a session.
A quick little post to show some more gorgeous photos from the Sweetlight Collective Workshop that I attended in Round Top, TX. It was a whirlwind two days of learning and shooting. These images are from day 2. Do you know how hard it is to cull a project like this? I'll tell you, it's damn near impossible. I even missed some of the models and still had hundreds of photos to go through. It's only been a month but I've already forgotten about the heat, and the bugs, and the exhaustion, and now all I see is the epic-ness of this fun experience. I will definitely be on the lookout for more events like this!
Where to begin!? I spent hours editing my images from the Sweetlight Collective workshop and want to share them all, right here, right now. I love so many of them I can't choose which ones should go first! So, let's go in chronological order...there...that makes my brain calm down a bit...ok...let's go...
After a few hours of learning and eating and mingling, all 20 or so of us grabbed our cameras, got into groups of 3-4 and went to our first location. I was inside a small barn with a couple of vintage chairs, a flower backdrop, and an outdoor area with a ladder. Sounds kinda meh, doesn't it? Well, add in beautiful little models in amazing gowns and headpieces, with their hair and makeup done to the hilt, and you get images like this:
Next we had a little abandoned greenhouse, another vintage chair, and a little garden. I spent most of my time with our youngest model who only wanted to search for snails in the garden :) It was fun chasing her around and catching more candid shots. I was also able to catch a few great Mommy & Me shots.
Next up we had a piano in a field. WHAT? The left side of my brain gets stuck on "why the heck is there a piano in a field?" but the right side is all "shut up, it looks cool!" The two sides argue with each other a lot.
One more group for today...a rusty old pick up truck, a giant dreamcatcher hanging from a tree, and a carriage and carousel horse setup up. The models were pretty hot and tired by this point (as were the photographers), but we sucked up. The show must go on!
My fellow photographers and I could not get over our excitement at the end of the day. We were exhausted and sweaty, but super stoked. And guess what...we were going to get to do it all over again the next day! All new sets, locations, and models. I will let you digest these images for now and post Day 2 in a few days. I'm excited to share the rest of the images with you!
As a client, is this something you would be interested in... having your child photographed in a highly stylized theme? I'm planning on doing maybe one or two a year, just for fun. I'd really like to do a session at a carnival. I think that would be adorable. I'm also considering a princess glitter session (I could rent some amazing gowns). And for the boys...maybe a mud puddle session :D Let me know in the comments if you have any fun ideas. I'd love to hear them!
Apparently keeping up with a blog is hard. It's been months since I last posted. In the next few weeks I will begin to dedicate myself completely to my photography business and I couldn't be more excited. I have so many ideas and plans and my to-do list is a mile long. Unlike other to-do lists though, I'm looking forward to every to-do on this one. One of them is to blog regularly. I want to share what I'm doing, show what I'm learning, teach my clients new things, and create world peace. Ok, maybe that's a little optimistic, but we'll see ;)
A few weeks ago I attended the Sweetlight Collective Workshop by Skye Hardwick at The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell in Round Top, TX. Skye is the queen of styled photoshoots and Rachel is the queen of shabby chic. Everything I laid eyes on was so rustic, and so shabby, and so chic. I loved it! So completely opposite of my current Austin-hippy style. We spent two days learning posing techniques, eating great food, and shooting beautiful models in the most gorgeous setting with really cool props. It was pretty magical.
I signed up for this workshop mostly as a mini-vacation/get-away but came away inspired to try new things with my photography business. I don't see myself specializing in styled shoots like these, but my goal is to offer one or two limited edition sessions a year. My creative juices are working overtime right now thinking of fun ideas.
I have to wait a few days to get the model releases before I can share my images. They are AH-mazing. Most of the credit goes to Skye's styling and props, her awesome hair and make-up team, the beautiful setting, and the adorable models, but I like to believe a bit has to do with my wicked camera skillz too. Stay tuned for Part II when I share my best shots. Until then, I will leave you with some photos from the awesome little house I stayed in, The Vintage Round Top. (Side note...who wants to go to Round Top with me in September for the epic Antique Show?)
I haven't updated my blog in quite a while. Lotta new things going on in the Doffing house. The biggest is me going back to teaching. I'm super happy at my new school but I am so busy I may just lose my mind. Getting to play with babies on the side is a great stress-reliever though. Some day (maybe in a few years) I'll be able to commit to photography full-time, with a studio and everything. But for now I'll continue to be a traveling one-woman show :D
The latest craze in the baby-photography world is a Cake Smash for the baby's 1st birthday. I really love this age. One year olds are happy babies, without the stranger-danger issue yet which makes them super easy to photograph. And every single one of them is so dang cute I can't stand it!
Decorating the background is fun and gives me an extra outlet for my crafting gene. I've stepped up my game and bought a Cricut machine so I can really customize the backgrounds now. One more toy...I mean tool...it's a tool. I need it for my business.
We can do a Cake Smash at your home, my home, or at a location of your choice. I supply the background (created with your input and ideas) and you supply the cake and the adorable baby. I recommend giving him a cupcake or at least some icing the day before so he knows how yummy it is and is more apt to dive right in. One trick I've learned for those who are more hesitant to get right in there is to stick a few cheerios in the icing... so sneaky :)
The messier we get, the better. Moms and dads are needed to keep the baby from crawling or walking away, so plan on getting a little messy yourself. I've found icing in some pretty strange places after a shoot!
Don't you wish you could have this much fun eating cake?
You have a brand new baby! You look at the little tiny fingers and toes and you're just in AWE. After a few days you probably already have a hundred cell phone pics and videos but nothing quite takes the place of professional portraits. The lighting. The composition. The posing. The editing. I take your perfect little person and create beautiful portraits that you will treasure forEVER. And we do it when she's as tiny as she'll ever be. You're going to be shocked at how quickly she grows and you'll be super happy you documented this precious time.
Newborn photo sessions are typically held within the first 2 weeks. This is when he is usually super sleepy and tolerant of being moved around and also super bendy so we can get him into those adorable little poses. New babies actually find comfort in those poses...he is used to being curled up in your comfortable, warm belly. Trust that I will treat your newborn like he was my own and will not move or pose him in any way that he finds uncomfortable.
So, you've booked your session and you're super excited for your baby's first photoshoot. Now what do you do? Well, actually, not much. I pretty much do it all. I come to your home which is priceless for new parents. Nobody wants to pack up the baby and head out to a studio in those first couple of days. You're sore, sleep-deprived, maybe a little stressed out but you get to stay in the comfort of your own home. When I'm there, feel free to continue with your normal routine...eat dinner, do some laundry, or just sit back and relax. I've even had a few moms go take a nap and leave dad or grandmom with me. I'll be there for 2 to 4 hours. I like to take my time and try to get every little detail right before I click the shutter. And we may need a feeding break or a clean up break or just a snuggle break, so definitely be prepared for it to take a few hours. And be prepared for it to look like I'm moving in with all of the equipment I bring with me. I'm trying to scale back a bit, but there's quite a bit I need to bring. A big beanbag to pose the baby on, a backdrop stand, lighting equipment, blankets, props, wraps. Oh, and my camera. Can't forget my camera! :D
There are a few things that I ask of you to help the shoot run smoothly:
- If you are breastfeeding, avoid dairy, spicy foods, and any other gassy foods for 24 hours before the shoot. The number one reason newborns are fussy is because they have upset tummies. Calm tummies = calm babies.
- Turn off the A/C (or crank up the heat in the winter). Your baby is used to being squished in a 98.6° womb. They will be happy to be warm and toasty. We may get sweaty, but it's worth it to have a sleepy baby.
- Try to wake the baby an hour or two before the shoot and interact with her to keep her awake. A bath about an hour before is a great way do this. Try to avoid feeding her until I get there, or right before. We want a warm, tired baby with a full tummy. This is the trifecta. It takes me about 15 minutes to get everything set up so it's the perfect time for feeding.
- Have the baby in just a diaper and blanket for the shoot. It's super hard to get out of a onsie and stay asleep.
- If your baby doesn't use a pacifier, consider having one available just for the shoot. Sometimes this is just the thing to help calm a fussy baby. Then you can pack it away when I leave and pretend it never happened.
- Have some towels and extra diapers near by. Chances are high that you or I will get peed or pooped on. That's what babies do. All of my wraps and blankets are washed in All Free and Clear after every shoot. I sanitize and double wash if they are soiled.
- If you plan on being in some photos or have older siblings you'd like involved, please dress in neutral colors. No stripes, busy patterns, or lettering/logos.
- If there is anything specific you would like (colors, props, poses) please let me know a few days before the shoot so I can plan appropriately and bring what's needed.
- Know that there are some poses that will require your assistance (as well as some major Photoshop hocus-pocus). My main concern is the safety of your baby and I will never put him in a dangerous situation. I may be letting out a photographer's secret here, but the babies hanging from trees, or sitting on top of a bench, or holding their head up in their hands...it's not real. Mom or Dad is right there holding the baby and lots of composites are being made in post-processing. That's what makes this more of an art and I love it when we nail it. I just want to put a "don't try this at home" disclaimer on the photos.
When we wrap it up and I go home, I immediately start the next round. I can't wait to get home and load the images on my computer. I usually get so excited I share a photo on Facebook that night or the next morning. I'll have the whole gallery ready for you to view and choose your images within a week. There is a lot of editing to be done and it's not uncommon for me to get totally obsessed and stay up 'til way too late working on the photos. But I truly enjoy that part almost as much as I enjoy the actual shoot.
I feel extremely fortunate to be invited into your home and trusted with your most precious commodity. I become emotionally attached to each baby I photograph (kind of like I did with my students when I was a teacher) and I'm grateful to have the photos to remember each and every one. You should feel confident that I will be unquestionably safe with your baby and that I will put 100% effort and creativity into creating portraits that are worthy of the tiny miracle you just created.
"I can't recommend Jessica enough! I've been lucky enough to work with her on a few different projects and they've all gone better than I could have hoped. She is patient, friendly, so talented and has a quick turnaround with so many fantastic shots to choose from. Most recently she photographed our newborn and I was blown away. I'm absolutely in love with the pictures and everyone I've showed them to has been in awe as well. The process was easy and fun and I seriously don't think anyone else could have done a better job." - K. George
"It was such a pleasure to work with Jessica! The whole photo shoot was so much fun! Jessica did our newborn photo shoot, but she also worked very hard to get a beautiful sibling photo of our newborn daughter with her toddler sister. I was very impressed with how well she worked with my toddler daughter! My toddler is usually very shy around other people taking photos, but Jessica helped her to feel included into the photo shoot right away, which allowed her to warm up to Jessica and make the whole process smooth! Jessica was so patient with my newborn daughter and took the time that she needed to get the perfect pictures. Jessica also brought the cutest little bows, wraps, etc. to fit the color scheme that I was going for. The photos that Jessica captured will be keepsakes that we treasure forever!!" - L. Evetts
"I would give her 10 Stars if I can :D Jessica Doffing is a amazing photographer! I couldn't ask more. First of all, she answers all my ridiculous questions and tries to meet all the things I asked for a session and afterwards. Her service is excellent, can't ask more! she even made a service to accommodate my special requests! My baby was 12 days old, and she was not sleeping well, the day of shooting weather was terrible thunderstorm and raining all day. - Even these circumstances, Jessica was incredibly patient with baby and handled well, got great pictures! (she prepared so well for a session as well) . Can't wait to do another session and Growing baby picture with her again. Also, my picky husband gave kudos as well! :D Also would love to do family picture later with Jessica." - J. Leffingwell
"Working with Jessica was such a pleasure! I missed the train on a newborn session for my son and knew photographing him at three months would be a bit more challenging. Jessica was so patient, and she was still able to get the perfect sleeping naked baby pose you usually see with newborns! This was also our first family shoot, and she was able to capture beautiful moments! We are so happy with all our pictures. I would definitely recommend her services. Thank you, Jessica!" - S. Barrett
"Jessica is great! She was so patient with my uncooperative two-month-old and ended up delivering really great photos! I am thankful for her kind patience, her great skill, and the memories she was able to freeze in time for my family!" - E. Mostly
"Jessica is absolutely amazing! My baby usually gets fussy when people mess with him, but he was so comfortable with Jessica! The photos turn out absolutely awesome, and hubby and I have already decided that Jessica will be my baby's exclusive photographer from now on!" - V. Lumbley
"Not only is Jessica a talented photographer, she's fun and a pleasure to work with. She arrived on time and very prepared for our newborn session. Overall her time management and turn around is excellent, she stays true to her word. Myself and family could not be any happier with the pictures that were taken, and I would highly recommend Jessica and her services. Thank you so much for capturing these memories, they're beautiful." - J. Flora
"Amazing newborn photoshoot today!! Impeccable quality, quick, and easy! Highly recommend!!" - M. Gotfredson
Someone has been busy, busy, busy lately. Working my day job, moving in to our new home, a week at Texas School for Professional Photographers, shooting lots of babies and couples and seniors (haha), editing the babies and couples and seniors... I honestly don't know what's gotten in to me. I never used to have this much energy. But I'm loving it. Tonight, I had some time to take a quick walk around the new 'hood just to shoot for fun with my little nifty 50. I haven't done that in a long time! Come...walk with me...
What a terrific, eclectic, alive neighborhood. I'm so excited to be able to call this place HOME. Now, if we can just get the kids to all move back here I'll be a real happy camper.
I am proud to say I survived my week-long SXSW Photographer assignment. I think I became nocturnal though. It's so hard to get back to normal after staying up until 3:00/4:00 in the morning every night. I am also thankful that I didn't get shot! Things got hella crazy down on 6th Street, yo. I had a blast and definitely want to do it again next year though.
I won't have the rights to my photos for 3 months so I don't get to share them just yet, but I CAN share photos I took when I wasn't on assignment. So here's just a few of my favorites for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy :)
That's it for now. Check back in 3 months for more South By Fun. Peace out.
Really. It was over night. One day I was like "no way I will shoot newborns" and the next I was like "BRING ME ALL OF THE BABIES!"
I love the lifestyle-type photos of the new baby at home with mom and dad, and those are super easy and fun.
But then they whipped out a tu-tu and I almost died. A few little adjustments and my obsession was born.
The posed shots are hard, yo. You needs tons of equipment and props and good lighting and then you need a sleepy baby. I don't know if you know this, but babies pretty much do what they want to do. So if they don't want to sleep, they won't. But I love the challenge of getting the shot. It may take a few hours, but it's soooooo worth it.
So for now, I'm a photographer who wants to specialize in weddings, babies, and concerts. Can I do that or is that just weird? I am weird, so I should just roll with it. And that's what I plan to do :)
Everyone wants their wedding day to be perfect, and these days that means 'different'. No more traditional, white, boring wedding cake. We need something fun and delicious. Plus this is AUSTIN! We need to step it up a notch in the weird department. Let's help you find the perfect, delicious dessert for your awesome Austin wedding.
I love Voodoo Doughnuts and never would have thought of them for a wedding until I talked to a bride who is having Maple Bacon Doughnuts instead of cake. Then I thought, "OMG that's sooooo cool!" Who doesn't love doughnuts? And this place is weird. They originated in Portland but I guess it wasn't weird enough there so they expanded to Austin ;) They have a link on their site dedicated to to their wedding packages so check them out!
My mouth is starting to water just thinking about them. Delicious ice cream sandwiches made with fresh, warm cookies. drool. Your wedding guests will be able to choose from a variety of cookie and ice cream flavors to create their custom moojo. My favorite is peanut butter cookies with Dutchman's chocolate ice cream. Seriously, so much yum.
Cake Balls! Saying it always makes me laugh. I guess it's from teaching 8th grade for 10 years... it's just one of the words you don't want to say in front of a bunch of 13 year old boys :D Ok, back to being a grown-up. You can give them as favors custom tailored to match your colors or have a totally unique, beautifully arranged Cake Ball Wedding Cake™. Either way, your guests are going to love it. Check out their site to see some awesome arrangements and to set up a consultation.
So, technically I shouldn't include these guys because they primarily do cake, BUT, they are decorated so cool I couldn't help it. Plus, they can do cupcakes and other desserts, so they get to stay. But I'm going to talk about their cakes. Check out the gallery on their page and you'll see what I mean. they make all of their cakes from scratch and they can be finished in either fondant or buttercream. I guess one problem may be that they look too good to eat, so make sure you get lots of pictures (by me of course, your favorite wedding photographer, right?)
5. Tiny Pies
I go nuts over miniature things...dollhouse furniture, teacup puppies, mini pigs, tiny airplane vodka bottles. So freaking cute I can't stand it. Now we have Tiny Pies! Tiny little delicious pies. But wait, there's more. You can get them in mason jars! WHAT?! Contact their event coordinator to set up a consultation and pie tasting. And don't forget to have me (haha, shameless plug #2) take pictures of the pie table after the wedding and they will send you a free Not-So-Tiny pie on your 1 year anniversary.
So you’re getting married and you don’t want to break the bank with outrageous over-the-top plans.
Maybe you’re a free spirit and traditional weddings are just so....traditional. Maybe this isn’t your first rodeo and you want to keep things simple this time. Maybe you’re a hopeless romantic and you want something personal and intimate. Regardless of your reason, you want something that stays true to the Austin way of life - beautiful, a little quirky, and uniquely Austin. Think food trucks, pedie-cabs, tattoos, bats, SUP, barbeque, craft beer...you get the idea.
I’ve gathered what I think are some of the best venues Austin has to offer for your perfect day. I based my choices on affordability, location, Austiny-ness (not a word , I know), and photographic potential. You want awesome photos, don’t you? (wink wink, contact my friend and fabulous photographer Martina Villarreal - Photos by Martina) Check out my list and let me know in the comments below if you have other great venue ideas.
Just think, your first dance can be to “I’m On a Boat”! Seriously though, how about getting married on beautiful Lake Austin and partying the night away under the gorgeous sunset? I love their saying…”when it comes to hosting parties in Austin, we’re somewhere between Willie Nelson and 6th Street”. They handle catering, bar service, linen service, and live music, and the scenery can not be beat.
This is a beautiful, elegant turn-of-the- century home that is recognized as a Texas Historic Landmark, located near the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas. Rates are reasonable, you can choose your own vendors (but they offer a discount if you choose one of their preferred caterers), and you can use the house for bridal portraits free of charge if you rent the house for your wedding.
Two of the most versatile event venues downtown. Sabine is an urban loft with an open floor plan and Sixth is a contemporary facility with indoor and outdoor space available. A little more on the traditional side but it's downtown so that makes it COOL! They can handle every aspect of your event or you can hire your own vendors and coordinate on your own.
4. The Chapel Dulcinea – THE FREE WEDDING CHAPEL
“We dedicate it to couples who want their wedding day to be an intimate celebration (not a spectacle) because weddings shouldn’t have to cost a lot of money.” The views here are spectacular! Obviously they fill up quickly, so check the website for availability. They book in 2 ½ hour increments and have listings of nearby reception venues on their site, including The Canadian Diamond Pavilion, a 2-minute walk from the Chapel, which is also available for no charge.
What could be more Austin-y? The Alamo Drafthouse is a unique venue for rehearsal dinners, receptions or the ceremony itself. From a Princess Bride feast to a zombie wedding, they've done it all. Work with their event planners to create a custom menu and ceremony or just celebrate with family and friends in a casual atmosphere.
Touted as a ‘unique and fun location’, their monthly art exhibits add a cool, artistic element to your event. They are located in Hyde Park, just minutes from downtown and have free parking. That’s a big-time plus, huh? They have tons of information about rentals on their site.
Some need permits and some don’t, and they all have different regulations, but there are some beautiful locations within our Austin parks where you can tie the knot. The Zilker Clubhouse is perfect for small events with a stunning panoramic view of downtown. Mayfield Cottage is adorable and there are PEACOCKS!. Fiesta Gardens is also excellent for small, private events. Or choose one of the 33 picnic areas in 20 different parks. Contact the Office of Special Events at 512-974-6797.
Ok, let’s get weird again. Would you rather play skeeball instead of dance? Air hockey instead of a formal, sit-down dinner? The arcade isn’t just for kid parties. Unfortunately they don’t allow outside food except for your cake, but who has time to eat when you’re about to beat the high score on Pac-Man? They can accommodate parties of 20 -500 and did I mention they have over 100 pinball machines?
This is a multi-purpose event space settled nicely along Waller Creek in Downtown Austin, um….right on 6th Street…so the party could continue hardcore into the wee hours of the night. I would suggest booking hotel rooms in walking distance if you do. They are an unlicensed venue so you can work with them on logistics for bar operations, audio/visual packages, caterers, and various other items you may need.
This place is a little more traditional, but a great place none-the-less. One of the coolest aspects IMHO is that because of their location, there is no requirement to turn music down or off early. Let the wobbling commence! You have the flexibility to set your own schedule, choose your own vendors, and stay within your budget. They can also accommodate 20 overnight guests for 2 nights. And don’t forget the waterfall and covered pavilion for those amazing portraits!
I hope this list helps you find the perfect place for your wedding, or at least gets the creative juices flowing. Add your favorite venues in the comments below and tell me about your big day plans. I want to hear all about it! :) Cheers Y'all!