May 26 2017
So many moms ask me about the magic I use to get their little ones to sleep. And I get it. When I was a new mom I would have killed for some of the tips and tricks that I have learned over the years. I was definitely NOT a baby whisperer when I started out! It has taken lots of practice, and lots of tears (both babies and my own) to find a few time-tested ways to soothe, calm, and get babies to sleep.
So here’s my gift to you moms. A few of my secrets to (hopefully) help you on your journey. Every baby is different, so just remember, don’t give up! You will find the things that your babe likes the best.
- Breathe. This seems obvious – but have you ever noticed how when you are tense you hold your breath? You do. Notice it. This I’ve learned from my yoga teachings, but it’s fundamental. Your body can’t relax when you’re holding your breath – so let it out. And then let in a big gulp of fresh oxygen. Flood your blood with that and feel your whole body loosen up. Your baby knows when you’re tense – and it makes them tense. I know the crying can make you crazy – but sometimes you just need to take a big deep breath. PS – physiologically there is some crazy amazing stuff that happens to your body and your brain when you take full slow breaths. Just give it a try!
- Babies need to eat. I know nursing can be brutal. BELIEVE me, I know. I used to want to cry every time I needed to feed my first born because it was so freaking hard and painful. I promise it gets easier – but you know what – there is no shame in feeding your baby however you need to feed them. But 9 times out of 10 – when they cry, it’s because they want to eat. Or suck. Which leads us into point #3
- Paci! Babies calm themselves by sucking. Even if they’re not eating – they will use you as a human pacifier. So… if you would like to take a shower/nap/eat a sandwich without a baby attached to your boob – maybe give those little paci’s a try. I promise – they will not destroy your babies ability to eat. I PROMISE. Baby has the hiccups? Paci will help those go away too!
- Speaking of eating sandwiches… momma – you gotta eat. Your body will stop producing milk if you aren’t intaking enough calories and staying hydrated. (This is why I always have snacks for moms at the studio!!) And yes – this happened to me with my first, and again with my second during a hot summer when I wasn’t staying hydrated! Voice of experience here…
- Keep it Hot. When you walk into my studio for a newborn shoot it’s like a sauna. Crank up that heat guys! Babies wanna be warm! although do be careful that if you are cranking your heat your not bundling them too. Warm temps are great when they are just in their diaper or a onesie, but they can get overheated if you have them bundled AND your heat cranked. I always pre-heat by space with a heating pad, so that I’m not popping baby onto a cold space with bare skin! Just remember – do NOT leave them on a heating pad or touching it – as it can burn their delicate skin!
- Vibration. Moms figure out pretty quickly that babies love to be jiggled. We bounce our feet when we hold them – or we rock in a rocker. But it gets exhausting! There are some amazing products that do the jiggle for you. Be it an actual bouncy chair or swing – you can also find battery operated gadgets from Amazon (my go to shopping site as a new mom) like my lulla-vibe that can be used anywhere. They’re fantastic!
- Sound. My babes never sleep in silence. We either have a white noise app of some type or an actual fan/heater blowing for noise
- Swaddle! Whenever I have a fussy or uncomfortable baby that doesn’t want to sleep I find that a nice snug wrap tends to do the trick. The tighter the better! Remember – they were all cramped and stuffed in your uterus for 9 months. They aren’t used to having space around them!
- The limp limb test. Your baby is asleep, right? And you try to move (because your entire body has fallen asleep from holding them in some crazy awkward position) and immediately they wake. Crap! Back to square one… Use the limp limb test to see if they are truly deep enough in their sleep to move. Simply lift and arm or leg slightly and let it go. If it falls without resistance, they are ready to be moved!
And if you just need a break – bring your baby to me! Moms always get to relax while I shoot – so you can count on a few hours off, with a break here and there to feed baby, of course. I’ll even change your babies diapers. I know you need a break ladies.
And remember to schedule your newborn sessions early though, because the studio fills up! I always recommend coming in for a consult a few months before your due date – to chat about colors, props and ideas!
Apr 16 2016
If you’ve been following me on facebook or instagram, you’ve probably seen a few posts in recent weeks with the hash tag #byebyeDSY
The official go-live for Evoke Images is here!
I’m so excited to say good bye to DSY Photography (don’t get me wrong – I still love my initials – just, as my initials!) I have put so much work into this re-brand, and I’m really excited about what Evoke means and what the future holds!
My amazing friend Jess, the founder of Design Scout in Chicago gave me some fantastic pointers to get me going on this project. One of the most helpful things she asked me to do was to describe my favorite day at work. What makes me tick. What gets my creativity going, and what am I truly passionate about?
For me that came down to stories. My favorite sessions are those where we work together to create and capture moments that are real.
I just told a client today – I’m here to create opportunities for you, as a family, to have a fun and natural interaction – to do things that you love – and from there, creating images is actually the easiest part of the equation!
Part of why I am so driven to this work is from watching my littles grow, so quickly. None of us are perfect parents – we all fail, more often than we’d like to admit – but there is more than enough negativity and shaming in the world. Spending time together with NO AGENDA other than having fun together – well, to be honest, that’s kind of a gift all on it’s own.
We put away our phones and distractions and just focus on each other – for an hour or two – we laugh until we cry, there are hugs and kisses, tickles and cuddles, usually there are snacks (because, um food!?)
And at the end of all that, you have beautiful images to treasure for a lifetime. And these images will be a beautiful reminder that in spite of the days where you didn’t have it all together, there’s a lot of days where there are more kisses and laughter than tears.
That’s the best gift we can give to our families
And that is my passion.
So welcome to Evoke Images.
e·voke /əˈvōk/ To bring or recall to the conscious mind.
Evoke Images is about capturing stories. Creating images that transport you back in time. Images that allow you to to relive the moments of family, life, and love that pass so quickly.
So in the loads of spare time that I have (oh man, I can barely even write that sentence… hah!) I try and devote a bit of space to my personal creative work. Which does often involve my kids, but not always.
My background in photography actually started in Fine Art. I didn’t get into portraiture until my friends began having children and I saw the amazing connection that family has and I had to begin capturing it. But even before that – I’ve always needed a human element to my images. I’m not much of a landscape photographer – my eye just doesn’t work that way – but creative portraiture – well, that calls to me.
I was scrolling through facebook one afternoon and came upon an image by one of my favorites, Jessica Drossin. It was a gorgeous image of a lovely dark haired model in a milky pool of water. I was mesmerized.
I immediately messaged my mentor and friend, Vanessa Powell (who is an amazing creative artist and photographer) and said – I want to do this. How do I do this?
She laughed and said she would love to help me.
A couple days later, Vanessa sent me a link to Conceptual Magazine, and as it happened, they were looking for submissions for their 4th issue, and guess what the theme was? Baths of Milk. Oh yeah! So now, not only did I have a vision, I had a timeline! So we scheduled our shoot!
Vanessa’s lovely daughter Natalie agreed to be one of my models and Samantha, a model friend of hers also agreed to come over and let me dunk her in milk.
Side Note: milk baths are actually super good for your skin. So – really, it was like a spa day for them! Really!
It ended up being a super sunny day, which was totally not was I was looking for, but Vanessa has a perfect car port with lovely shade, so we setup under that and ran a hose from her utility sink to give our ladies WARM water for their bath. Because God knows I wasn’t going to ask them to lay down in a pool full of freezing water for half an hour… Actually, I totally would have – but thankfully i didn’t have to!
And I spent the next half hour perched precariously on top of a ladder, holding my camera as far away from my body as possible and praying to get these shots.
Samantha’s lovely mother came along to check out the action and took some awesome BTW images. So here you can see exactly what shenanigans we had going on:
Everyone asks – How much milk did you use?!?!
Answer: Really, not that much! 2 gallons was all – the rest was water – and that was plenty to give the water the perfect amount of cloudiness
The series is titled Amor Matris – translated to Mother’s Love
The inspiration and concept is the bond of love between mother and daughter – unbreakable and unlike any force on earth. A mother longs for her daughter, births and nurtures her. And she grows – into a child and then, a woman.
And here are my final images, that I submitted to the publication
After submission, of course, I had to wait like a month to find out if they would even make it in! When I was contacted by Rocio Mireles, the director of the magazine that I had made it in, I was so excited! Obviously. And I waited very impatiently for the release date on Nov 1.
Nov 1 was a Sunday, and a daylight saving Sunday no less, so the kids got up extra early, and I had pulled them into our bed for a movie to delay the inevitable demands for breakfast. I turned on my phone and saw the notification that the magazine was out! And then I saw the cover. My cover. My heart stopped for a hot minute. I got the cover?! I got the freaking cover!?!?! I literally hopped out of bed and started jumping around. And then promptly blew up my social media all about it.
So, check out what Conceptual Magazine is all about here and if you feel like purchasing a copy, that would be super cool too. Obviously I did!
Jul 04 2015
I have been obsessed lately with capturing simple, classic, beautiful images of children. While I love the lifestyle images with all my heart – those images tell a beautiful, and often lengthy story! And really – those images often need to be viewed together – as a story.
But what if you just want a simple milestone portrait? Ie – this is Harper at 2. This is Torah at 4. This is Paxson at 3. And this is so easily repeatable year after year.
Beautiful. Classic. Simple.
So check out my BTS at the end and you can truly see how easy this look is to achieve. All you really need is a window – with indirect sunlight. This is important. Direct sunlight will be way to harsh and create terrible shadows. Of course, if you don’t have a great window that isn’t facing the sun – just wait for a cloudy day. The clouds will diffuse the light enough for you to give the same effect as indirect light. Soft, wrapped shadows.
AND – here’s my behind the scenes pull back! this was one of the easiest things to achieve – some black muslin, a couple dining room chairs and clamps and a window. Done! Of course, having a cooperative model helps. If you find any of those around – let me know!!!