4am Musings by a Photographer – A Personal Blog Post

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35 weeks as of yesterday. Shwoo this pregnancy has gone by fast. 

It’s early early early(way earlier than I would like) because pregnancy insomnia is a thing apparently. This isn’t anything new, so once again I accepted that I wasn’t going back to sleep at 3:30am this morning and decide to start today. We have a busy day ahead, with family in from out of town, and my son’s 6th birthday party tomorrow. Lots of party planning, cooking, and cleaning all lay ahead for the weekend. My mind couldn’t shut off, checking each little thing on my to-do list over and over again. So I resigned myself to the fact that I might as well get used to it(because life with a newborn won’t be any different). 

At first I thought I’d go to the grocery store, because there won’t be any crowds this early. I can get in and out in a matter of minutes, have breakfast cooked for our guests, and get a huge leap on the day. But then I decided to muse over my coffee by taking a peek at a recent session before heading out.

I open up my editing program(Lightroom for you photographers out there), and I came across the above photo. It’s not my usual style, but something about it stopped me. The memory attached to this photo left me smiling, then giggling, as I recalled what the memory was from. Maybe I’m just giggling because of sleep deprivation, but the hilarity in what I realized at the moment truly had me stuck. 

Simply put, this darling little girl wanted to pick some flowers for her portraits that day. She found this little bundle of white dainty lovelies, and slowly, delicately started to pick off each and every one, and admiring it. And in my minds eye, I remember thinking about how long it was taking her to pick the flowers. I remember thinking that we needed to move on to a new location, the sun was getting higher and brighter, and we had things to do! Didn’t she know that we had things to do? So many things to do. So many places to go. All the things. All the places. All the photos.

If this little girl were me, right now, I would have snapped off that entire strand of flowers at the base. 

I laughed because you see…lately, things have been all kinds of crazy around here. Jonathan(my husband) just started his new position as the head pastor for First Friends Meeting here in Kokomo. I’m in the throws of editing several weddings and sessions simultaneously that I’ve had this month, with still several more on the schedule for July. I’m officially a work from home, stay at home mom, since Jon now works from an office. And I’m SUPER pregnant, with an endless list of nesting to-dos on my plate before Baby arrives. 

And so I couldn’t help but laugh at this picture, and the memory that goes with it, because of how absurd and ridiculous it made me feel.

What am I doing? I have absolutely NOT been delicately picking my flowers. This season has been hectic, crazy, and absolutely overwhelming. And right now, all of the flowers that I’ve been picking have been labeled as tasks, and buddy, I’m snapping the whole twig. Heck I might even pull it up by it’s roots like any two year old would. Because I’ve been in the mind set that I don’t have time for this. In my haste of preparing for a Baby, and guests, and work, and family, and chores, and the creative mundane that is life, I’ve completely lost the joy in all the details.

And the details are my favorite. 

Details that I need to promise myself that I’ll remember. I promise to take a breath and smile at the mountain of dirty dishes on my counter, because it means there are hungry little people in our home. I promise to rest and be present in conversation with my family, instead of running through my mental check list. I promise to give in to my children as they beg me to play, instead of hurriedly pleasing them so I can move on to my next household chore. I promise to be intentional with my work, because I’m fortunate that I have work to do. And I promise to notice the little kicks and nudges present from the tiny human in my ribs, because I’m going to want to remember this. 

So forgive me for my haste friends. Every day is a gift, and it’s a gift that we are only given once. Pick flowers intentionally, and enjoy all the colors and floral goodness that come with them.

Now please excuse me, because I’m headed to the grocery store 😉

Watermelon Mini Photography Sessions – Kokomo, Indiana

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This is my favorite mini session setup yet! Typically I only open up mini sessions in the Fall, but once I thought of this, I knew I had to do it. Come on out and enjoy some watermelon with your family! These short sessions are the perfect size for little ones, and are a great way to represent your summer memories.

There are both morning and evening slots available for July 1st and 2nd. You can contact me at jessicabnewton@gmail.com to reserve your mini session slot. A signed contract and session fee is due in order to reserve your date. If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask 🙂

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Mischief managed. Hope to see you there!

Erin & Steve ~ Lafayette Engagement Photography

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This is a session for the history books, for sure. Erin and Steve contacted me waaaaay back at the end of February to schedule their session together. They had recently gotten engaged and knew they wanted to celebrate Spring with their engagement.

Well, Mother Nature just. wasn’t. having it. It was not only 18 degrees outside on the date of their session(in Spring!), but it was sleeting rain and absolutely miserable. So we opted to reschedule their date. However, this wouldn’t be the first of our reschedules together. Later we rescheduled their session again due to a misunderstanding about the original reschedule. Then we had to reschedule AGAIN because of a scheduling error that I had made!

However, we were all committed to making this happen, and the big date finally arrived. The weather was perfect! We were all on the same page as to the date and weather and I knew it was going to be fabulous. As soon as I drove in to the park, I noticed this gorgeous empty creek bed with blue and gray stones, over shadowed by pink flowering trees. A spot I knew immediately that we would use. 

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There were also some gorgeous(and amazing smelling) lilac bushes in the park we decided to use, so we headed on over to them first. I started getting Erin and Steve lined up for a specific pose, reached in to my bag, grabbed my camera, and then realized the worst. My memory cards weren’t in my bag. OH. MY. GOSH.

In a panic, I thought that they must have fallen out of my bag in the car ride to Lafayette. I’m from Kokomo so I figured on the hour long drive, that MUST have been what happened.

Nope. 

Not in the car. Not in the car, not in the bag, not in my pocket, not on the ground, nowhere. I called my husband in a panic and asked him if he saw them anywhere. And sure enough, my little book of memory cards were at home in our living room, approximately an hour away. I was absolutely mortified. How on earth did this happen?!?! I check my bag sooooooooo many times before I leave for a shoot, especially shoots that are out of town. I check them again when I get in the car, just in case. I check them prior to the session, load my camera, and have everything ready to go for the moment we start. But some how, my brain skipped the memory cards. 

I’m not going to say it’s pregnancy brain but…I think I’m going to pull the card for the cards and call it this time. Never in my 6 years of shooting have I done this and it had finally happened. I made a mistake. And a big one at that.

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I went back over to Erin and Steve and explained the situation. I told them that I would *run* to the nearest store, and buy the first appropriate memory card that I saw, and hurry back so that we could finish their session. Luckily there was a Walgreens just down the road. So if you were on Lafayette and saw a mad pregnant woman running through the aisles, it was probably me 😉 

Steve and Erin both gracefully accepted the situation. Neither of them were upset and they both immediately laughed it off, accepting my frantic apologies. 

Needless to say, I did find a replacement card for their session, and the evening was just as wonderful as we had anticipated. With just a few bumps at the beginning of the road. We spent some time at Happy Hollow Park and then headed on to Downtown Lafayette where we were able to use the Lafayette Theater and some other fun locations.

Thank you soooooooo much Erin and Steve for accepting the unusual amount of craziness. Here are some of my favorites from their session.

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Central Indiana – Newborn Photography Workshop

This month I’ll be holding another newborn mentoring session to go over the basics of newborn photography with aspiring photographers. We will be covering everything! From basic posing and wrapping techniques, to placing the finishing touches on a session. 

Because of the upcoming workshop, I wanted to share a little before and after of what we will be covering. The mentoring workshop will include a newborn session from start to finish, where we will be posing a newborn in various positions, depending on what each workshop participant is interested in learning. But one of my favorite parts of the workshop is the before and after! What do we actually do with the images, once the session is over? How do I process them? How do I make them look their best? What presets should I use? 

Here’s a little before and after of what you can expect. This is a straight out of camera image, vs. the final delivered image. I’ll be covering importing and backup, my favorite newborn presets, skin blemish editing techniques, tone adjustments and discoloration, blanket smoothing brushes, and final processing. 

I can. not. wait. The last mentoring session was so much fun, and if you’re thinking that newborn photography might be one of your interests, I hope to see you there!

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Indianapolis & Kokomo Indiana Newborn Photographer — Miss Serena

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This past Christmas we were visiting our family in Louisville, and I had a conversation with my sister in law about newborn photography. She asked me if I had ever turned down a session before due to it being “outside of your style”. And I said most definitely.

Sometimes I receive Client requests that are far outside of what I typically do during a session. So much so that I have to push myself a little bit in my thinking and style, just to point where I’m a tad uncomfortable. And sometimes even to the point that I have to refer a prospective client to another photographer that can better meet their needs. 

But I love a good challenge 😉 And it isn’t very often that I feel the need to refer clients out. I love trying to mix my Client’s styles and needs with that of my own style, and with a recent session, that’s exactly what we did. A sweet expectant mama had shown me some pictures of their littles one’s nursery. It was focused around a mermaid theme with some teals, cremes, pinks, and purples. This was also outside of my style but I felt it could be made into my style and her style easily with a little bit of TLC. I ended up making some headbands especially for the session and they turned out just how I wanted. 

In the end, it turned out just how we had pictured. Little miss mermaid was born and she was the sleepiest scrunchiest babe. Purple was her color and cremes were her friend. She looked gorgeous in no matter what setup we placed her in. Thanks for working with me on her session sweet mama! It was so much fun!

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Laura & Robert — Kokomo Indiana Engagement Session

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Originally I supposed to meet with these two in Downtown Indianapolis for their photography session. Well as the weather would have it, we needed to make some minor adjustments to the plan. Not only was it going to be cold cold cold but it was going to be wet and icy as well. Hanging out on the streets of Downtown would have been lovely, but since the weather would have limited our options, we decided to stick close to home and work with the indoors. 

Big Ben’s Coffee in Kokomo is one of my favorites. They have a variety of couches and corners that you can hide in and study or you can choose a comfy window seat to enjoy your coffee and some people watching. It was where I had first met Laura and it seemed like the perfect place for their engagement session.

After some time at Big Ben’s, we eventually ventured outdoors to see if we could withstand the weather from some pictures in Downtown Kokomo. Overall, I love the variety in the session and I enjoy it so much when couples aren’t just posing for pictures, but are enjoying doing something fun and unique together. Thanks for braving the cold with me R & L and I can’t wait to watch you guys walk down the aisle in May! See more of their session below: 

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Then & Now — A Personal Reflection

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Self doubt is a constant struggle of mine. It’s an illness of sorts, that we let creep in on our accomplishments. And instead of celebrating in our achievements, we often hesitate in giving ourselves proper credit. Why? Well because it’s rude to “Toot one’s own horn” right? So instead of “tooting” we replace it with our own fabulous little questions.

“What if I’m not really that good at ____________?” 

“Are my family/friends giving me false encouragement?”

“What will happen if I fail?”

“Can I do this all on my own?” 

6 years ago, I became a new mom to an itty bitty baby. And that itty bitty baby, is in the picture above. My husband and myself lived in a teeny tiny apartment, surviving on mostly sandwiches and love. And as much as I longed to have newborn pictures taken of our little one, it was a world outside of what we could afford.

So I thought to myself, how hard could it be? My dad has a nice DSLR. I can just borrow the camera, find a cute outfit, and take the pictures myself. I’d save $300 in the process and I’d get to do something creative and fun. What could go wrong?

The images. Oh my, the images. were. awful. So awful. I giggle about it now, but at the time, I didn’t understand it. Of course I loved them anyway, because they were pictures of our baby, but it wasn’t what I expected. The pictures on Pinterest looked so… different in comparison to mine. Why? I had a nice camera, check. I had a cute baby, check. I had a cute outfit, check. So why didn’t it work out in the way that I had expected?

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The day that I spent looking over those images, was the day that my interest in photography was born. I rummaged through anything and everything I could find on the subject for months. I learned how to manually operate a camera. I learned the importance of lighting and how it can be manipulated. I learned to be patient with myself. I learned my style and preference for photography. I discovered that I love to document life more than posing portraits. I learned the power of preserving moments. I learned how to make time stand still.

I look back on where I started, and it makes me sad that I’ve forgotten how far I’ve come. That I would even question it. Because I’ve come SO FAR. I am standing where I am today because of my own hard work. Because of the immeasurable support of my family. 

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Remember those little questions of self doubt? Well let me tell you, they only have meaning if you let them. Being an entrepreneur is hard. Being a college student is hard. Being an adult is hard. Being a parent is hard. Being a human being IS HARD. And because it is hard, it makes it that much sweeter. We can meet our goals. We can achieve great things. We can grow, and learn, and love, and we can support others who are doing the same. 
At the time, I felt like those first photos were awful. But they aren’t. Not really. They preserved his squishiness. His inquisitiveness. His round little belly and his teeny tiny toes. But most of all, they preserved memories that are not even reflected in the photo. They preserved my memories of holding that tiny baby in my arms. Of all of the emotions contained in that little apartment. Of the first DSLR that I ever held, of the first photo that I ever took with the goal of being a portrait, of the first time I ever dove in to the world of photography.

Celebrate in your achievements and give yourself some credit. Because that credit may be far overdue. 

Baby Harrison ~ Kokomo & Indianapolis Newborn Photographer

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Did you know that newborn sessions are tailored to your own style? They can take a natural or posed approach depending on your personal preferences. We can do a bunch of squishy poses together, with Baby in a variety of wraps, headbands, rompers, baskets, etc. We can do a lifestyle approach with Baby in their crib or snuggled up with Mom and Dad on the couch. But my favorite way to approach newborn sessions is to do a little bit of both. 

I was able to meet sweet Harrison and his parents this past December and we spent our time doing a mix of both posed and unposed newborn portraiture. They lived in one of the major areas affected by the tornado that came through Kokomo this last year and had just finished up the last of the repairs before Baby H arrived. By the looks of their nautical nursery, you’d never know that there had been a struggle with bad weather. Each item was perfectly in place and Harrison fit right in. 

Brooke & Nick were obviously smitten with their little boy and their session was easy as pie. See more of their lovely nursery and handsome little man below. Thanks for inviting me in to your home to preserve these memories B & N! 

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Kristin & Aric ~ Indianapolis and Kokomo Wedding Photographer

I had the joy of first meeting Kristin and Aric back in 2015. They were both in the wedding party for Cassie and Scott’s big day spent at the Marrott.

2016 slowly ticked by until K&A’s wedding day finally arrived. Sunny sunny skies and beautiful fluffy clouds overlooked St. Malachy’s cathedral in Brownsburg, making it obvious that it was going to be a fantastic day. It was my first full mass catholic ceremony that I had ever attended, and to be honest, I was a nervous wreck. I must have reviewed the program and rules with the wedding coordinator a dozen times to make sure that I got everything right. But nerves tend to fuel rather than hinder at weddings, and I’m so in love with the results. 

Their day was FILLED with sweet family and friends. From the ceremony, to the bubble exit, to the ending dances, there were many smiles shared throughout the evening. I’m so blessed to have been a part of this day and I’m so happy to see the sunshine and smiles in these photographs. Thanks for letting me be there Kristen and Aric!

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Baby A.J. ~ Indianapolis & Kokomo Newborn Photographer

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Cutie pie here arrived just before Christmas. Best Christmas gift ever right? I was soooooo glad we were able to squeeze his session in before we left to go out of town. He had the prettiest skin and his mama and daddy are both such lovely people. We did a little bit of a lifestyle session in their apartment together and also some of the more posed portraits of just A.J. by himself. See more of this session below.

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