I love surprises! One of the greatest gifts I have ever given myself was keeping the gender of our baby a surprise. Despite it being torture for my poor husband who would have preferred to find out the gender at 20 weeks, he humoured me and we waited. The wives tales, guessing, and anticipation was exciting and I waited anxiously for one of the greatest surprises of my life. Few things in life are surprises, but I knew this would be one worth waiting for. By not knowing the gender, I also found that preparing for the baby’s arrival (who we lovingly referred to as “baby”, “piña” – pineapple in Spanish, or “they”) was easy and enjoyable.
I loved that we could keep things basic and minimalistic by sticking to non gender-specific themes, items, and colours – I’m not a fan of gender-specific anything anyways. As a pilot wife and travel lover, we went with an aviation-inspired travel theme for the nursery. In keeping things simple for a boy or girl’s room, we went with crisp white, greys, and various shades of turquoise for room colours. We were lucky that the majority of the nursery decorations were items we already had, were gifted, upcycled, or were purchased second hand. Not only is this environmentally-conscious, it also made preparing for our little one affordable. Many of the pieces are sentimental because they were DIY labour of love projects during my pregnancy (dresser & bookshelf) or have a story behind them. As for baby clothing, we purchased a few gender-neutral pieces in shades of white/ivory, yellow, grey, mint, turquoise, and a couple bright red and orange ensembles. By not knowing the gender it made gift giving simple for family and friends (not to mention, it kept the baby stuff to a minimum). I loved all of the creative ways people celebrated the birth of our baby by not gifting traditional blue & pink items – I wouldn’t have wanted that anyways. I’m by no means a traditionalist.
Before our baby was born we fell in love with the nursery and knew the baby would too. A serene hideaway for her/him. It’s as if the room was designed perfectly for the baby we were meant to have. We became convinced throughout my pregnancy that we were having a girl, but when Corey announced “it’s a boy” as he was born, I knew instantly that it was him all along. The first thing I said after seeing him for the first time was “that’s my boy; he needs a name”. We had a girl’s name picked out and a list of boy names prior to delivery. After spending time to get to know him, 8 hours later, we decided Hudson was the perfect name for our boy. It suited him so well. We couldn’t wait to bring Hudson home to his thoughtfully designed room. Now Hudson’s favourite place to be is in his room.
There’s no better way to celebrate the arrival of our new little and their special space then by doing an in-home lifestyle newborn photography session. Everyone recommended getting newborn photos done because ‘they only stay little for so long’ and ‘they grow so fast’. I now understand those statements. As a first time mom and not knowing if we will have or be able to have a second child, I knew I wanted to document the early days with our newborn. Initially, I thought all newborn photography sessions would be staged and slightly cheesy, but after exploring local newborn photographers I knew Kaleigh Betty Photography would be perfect to showcase our baby boy and capture the raw, real, and vulnerable emotions of us becoming an instant family.
I was instantly drawn to Kaleigh’s Instagram account, not only for her bright, airy, whimsical, and emotion-evoking images, but also because I knew she would relate to our aviation-yogi lifestyle as a hippy-livin’ Navy wife. It’s not always easy moving to different provinces for your spouse’s work, but it can also be an adventure. I agree with Kaleigh when she describes it as a way of life. In communicating with Kaleigh via e-mail and Instagram messenger, I instantly connected to her casual, informative, and personalized style and our ideals line up so naturally. Kaleigh takes a light lifestyle approach with her two hour in-home newborn sessions to allow her to take her time while working with newborns and their families. The sessions are recommended to take place within the first 14 days of the baby’s life and parents are encouraged to select lighter coloured clothing and textures for a cozy look. Hudson’s photos were taken when he was 9 days old. Her goal is to create a natural everyday feel for the images by capturing parents spending time with their baby and going about their daily routine. Kaleigh took pictures of us changing Hudson, cuddling with him, and bonding as a family with our new baby. We wanted nothing more than to have pictures that were both beautiful and emotional.
When Kaleigh arrived at our home, I knew right away that we made the right decision to have her photograph Hudson. Her calming and relaxed demeanor allowed us to feel comfortable throughout the session. She started by setting up to take some newborn portraits. She brought along a rustic wooden box, a white fuzzy faux fur blanket, baby muslins, and blankets to be used in the pictures if desired, but encouraged us to select sentimental items to be incorporated into his images. We included items like Corey’s Air Canada hat, Hudson’s first baby shoes, a travel sign we purchased on our baby-moon, our wedding rings, a receiving blanket handmade by H’s Nana, and a crocheted blanket his daddy used as a baby. Kaleigh had a unique and gentle way of positioning Hudson in poses and settling him when he wasn’t a happy boy. As a mother herself, Kaleigh showed me her son’s favourite calming strategies. After Hudson’s individual pictures, she took pictures of us as a family in his Nursery and our bedroom and took dad & baby and mom & baby portraits. The experience was extremely easy and positive. The session flowed naturally and I didn’t have to worry about the pictures turning out unnatural for us.
After the session, Kaleigh was prompt in providing us a link to view and download our online watermark-free gallery. When we viewed the images for the first time, we were immediately brought to tears with emotion and joy – we were pretty much speechless. ‘That’s our baby boy’ I repeated over and over again. They’re just perfect! We love her shooting style and she did an incredible job capturing us as a family and showcasing us naturally as we are. The ability to capture a family’s essence on camera is a one-of-a-kind skill. I can’t think of a better photographer to celebrate a family’s new addition. We can’t thank Kaleigh enough for gifting us the greatest gift of all: the magic of our family & memories captured in photos to be cherished for a lifetime.
Disclaimer: This is a review for Kaleigh Betty Photography and I was gifted the service in this post, however all opinions and recommendations are my own.
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