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We are blessed to photograph beautiful newborn babies on a daily basis. But the road to creating and delivering a healthy baby is not an easy one, and for many, it is beyond challenging. We are so proud to share the story below, written by a brave mom whose baby girl we had the honor to photograph. We hope it brings hope to many.

Sigmund Freud said it best, “one day in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”

I’ve been a Mom for the past 9 years to 9 children. You only see my one child (which is my tenth), as the rest of my children are deceased. Yes, I have had 9 miscarriages. For the last 9 years, my husband, Sammy and I have spent mourning our 9 children. Every day was spent in agonizing pain. There are days I wished I hadn’t woken up. Until one day, I realized I couldn’t live secretly miserable anymore. We all have setbacks but it doesn’t mean those setbacks are permanent fixtures in our lives. I woke up one day and told myself, “If I am unable to have children, then that’s okay. I am going to be at peace with myself no matter what.” Sammy and my mother had been telling me this same message for years, but I finally bought into this notion that, I really could be happy without children. Despite what society says, having children does not define who you are. Realizing words have profound power, I began praying and speaking hope into my life, and that is what came. Sammy and I were on a path to peace with our existence and surprisingly, our world started opening up. We starting meeting couples who were going through the same situations. By sharing our story, we began to create a web of hope, affirming that life was not all about just having kids but about being content with who are, with what you already have and mostly importantly, helping others. Our family was our strongest support system and through our struggle, we deepened familial relationships. We unfortunately lost many children, but our profits were more than our losses. What we gained was creating bonds across this world that assert that we are all human. As long as we are living, we are going to experience heartaches, and we can grow from them by helping each other. That’s what makes our story beautiful.

To all the women and couples out there wanting children….if IVF fails, try again. And if you don’t have the strength or the money to go on, it’s okay. If you are unable to afford the adoption, it’s okay. If you have had the miscarriages, it’s okay. You are still a whole person, who is a success story because you tried. Tell yourself everyday that you are a strong woman. Every setback is a set-up for something greater in your life, and know that you are not alone.

Sincerely,

Sharon

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With Mother’s Day just right around the corner, some of you are getting to celebrate for the first time…..some of you are preparing to become a mother….others have been blessed as a mother for many years now. Wherever you are in your stage of motherhood, being a mother is such a true blessing.

Motherhood is: sleepless nights, toothless grins, thousands of questions, complete and total uncertainty about…everything, hot mess hair and no make-up days, hugs that would melt anyone’s heart, sticky fingers and BIG messes, dirty diapers, little puppy dog eyes that you’re powerless against, piles of laundry, first words, last minute Halloween costume sewing, time-outs, BIG glasses of wine, the love of nap times, play dates in the sun, unconditional love, a car with so many snacks crusted under the seats that you’re embarrassed to let anyone but your kids ride in it, late night fevers, hearing the word “why” a MILLION times, being a teacher, scraped knees and bandaids, getting sick of the word “MOM!”, growth spurts,  homework, wondering if you even got the time to brush your teeth today, tiny toddler giggles, realizing that your 5th cup of coffee is what kept you vertical for the day, really appreciating your own mother, realizing that your own mother was right—about almost everything, letting your kids wear glitter shoes with a superman cape to school just because it got you through the morning alive, picking your battles, and hearing the words “I love you, Mom.”

It’s all these things and so much more!  Most of all, its moments that you would never give up for the world. Our hats off to each and every one of you that gets to be called “Mom”. Happy Mother’s Day from Sweet Me Photography!!!

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One of the most exciting things in prepping for parenthood is getting to register for all the things you’ll need for baby. As your baby shower approaches you’ll probably have friends and family asking you what is most important on your list. Of course, there are the major essentials like a crib and stroller but perhaps the most important thing on your list should be photography. Your little one will only stay little for a small window of time. We recommend being prepared for your newborn baby photography session between the first 5 and 14 days of life. Capturing those fleeting moments is something that you can cherish forever.

Did you know that you can register with Sweet Me Photography? Just fill our an inquiry form here on our website with all of your contact info and we’ll get the ball rolling. We’ll provide you with a downloadable flyer that can be included in your shower invitations. Friends and family can chip in to pre-purchase one of our packages for you. When it gets closer to baby arrival time, all you have to do is schedule your session!

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A few days before your session, your photographer will call you to introduce themselves and iron out the details of your session. We know– everything in the first few days with a new baby is information overload so here are a few tips to remember when preparing for your in-home newborn session.

  1. SCHEDULING. Newborn baby photo sessions are best done within the first 5 to 14 days. During this time your little one is still very sleepy and completely comfortable with curling up in tight positions. If you missed your window– give us a call! We still have very successful sessions until the baby is up to 28 days old.
  2. BABY FEEDING SCHEDULE. Do your best to schedule your baby’s feeding right before the photographer arrives OR as soon as they arrive and are setting up. Feeding a newborn baby is the perfect way to fill their little tummy and help them fall fast asleep. Trust us– you want the best chance for your baby to nap right through their session so that your photographer can capture all those adorable sleepy poses.
  3. BABY FORMULA. Don’t try a new formula the day before or the day of your session. Babies have sensitive digestive systems and changes can cause irritability.
  4. DIAPER. Take a moment to loosen up your baby’s diaper about 30 minutes prior to the photographer’s arrival. This will help all those little diaper lines fade away.
  5. FAMILY IMAGES. Our focus at Sweet Me Photography is capturing once in a lifetime artistic poses of your baby. However, we are happy to capture a couple of sibling and/or parent and family photos at no additional cost. If you intend to include your family in a few photos with the baby, pick out clothing that matches and flows together. Avoid crazy patterns and stick to solid colors so that the photos focus on your family and not your clothing. Consider selecting colors that will coordinate with the overall color scheme of your home so the images will make beautiful displays for your walls. Have all of your clothing ironed and ready for your photo shoot. Also… it never hurts to have a backup shirt or two just in case the baby spits up on it.
  6. SIBLING PHOTOS. If you would like to include an older sibling in photos with your new baby, come up with a great reward for a job well done! Small children have a very short attention span for photos. However, sometimes offering a reward will help convince them to give you their best behavior.
  7. PROPS. Our Sweet Me Photographers show up to your home with all the props needed for a beautiful photo session. If there are special things you might like to include, have those ready to go when your photographer arrives so they can look them over and make a plan for how to incorporate them during the natural flow of your session.
  8. WALL DISPLAYS. Look around your home and think about where you might like to hang the portraits of your little one. On the day of your photo session, your photographer discuss with you and help you decide what might be  some good sizes and configurations for wall displays. After your final, retouched baby images are ready… Sweet Me Photography offers an easy way for you to order prints and canvases straight from your gallery!
  9. SNACKS. Your baby session will take 2-4 hours. Have some easy snacks ready to go for you and your family during the session so you can be comfortable.
  10. RELAX AND ENJOY! Our photographers are very comfortable holding and posing newborn babies. Feel free to curl up on the couch and take a much needed cat nap during your session or enjoy just sitting back and watching the photos unfold as your photographer handles all the details. either way, we want you to enjoy the day!
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It means so much to us to get rave reviews from our clients! It’s not just about photography. It’s about being able to provide the best experience we can to our families.

“We are beyond happy with our newborn and family photos. The whole experience was wonderful. I contacted them last minute the night before getting induced and they got back to me immediately and were able to fit my family in within the first week home from the hospital. In addition to being an awesome photographer, she was very personable and is a baby whisperer! She kept our son so happy and calm for the vast majority of the shoot and was so easy to work with. I cannot recommend Sweet Me Photography enough. Zero complaints, only great things to say.”

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How sweet are these photos of the baby with her big sister?! Swoon!! A rare and precious capture by our Sweet Me Photographer!

At Sweet Me Photography, the focus during our session is primarily on your new baby. However, we’re happy to add in a few photos of your children together or family images. If you’ve got a toddler, you know how difficult itis to get them to cooperate for photos. Or…well…anything for that matter. Actually, photos probably go into the category of “impossible.” At some age (usually around 4), something magical happens. Your child can now take instruction and pose. They also have a slightly longer attention span and tolerance level for activities they don’t particularly want to engage in… like a photo shoot. Until the magic age happens, here’s a few great tips on how to prepare your older child for a successful photoshoot.

  1. Schedule your baby session at a time that works well for your baby AND your toddler. If your toddler is AMAZING just after a nap, then let your photographer know this so they can try to work around it.
  2. Tell your photographer what photos are on the top of your list with your toddler so they can make sure to capture this first. For example, if individual photos of your older child with the baby are more important than family photos…then do those first! Communication with photographer is the key.
  3. Talk to your toddler about photos before the session happens. Tell them how fun it will be and what to expect. Talk about it OFTEN and get them familiar with the idea.
  4. Have a reward for a job well done! This could be a treat, favorite activity or perhaps a trip to the store to select a new toy. Whatever works for your kiddo– DO IT!
  5. Your little one will probably act poorly during all or part of the photo session. Try your best to reason with them. Do not get upset, raise your voice or do anything that might make things worse. This usually leads to tears and game over.
  6. And lastly… have realistic expectations. You may only get one really great photo with your wiggly 2 year old before a massive meltdown occurs.
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Before your baby arrives and life gets hectic, take a moment to plan out some decorating ideas. Grab a tape measure and take a tour of your home. Take a good look at your space and focus on the walls where you might have room to display some of your beautiful baby photos. Some great places can be found above beds, cribs and couches.

WHAT SIZE IS RIGHT?
There area couple of things to consider here. First, how far away will the photo be viewed from? Will you see it from across the room as you enter it or will it be in a closer space like a hallway where it will always be viewed fairly close up? If you’ll see the photo from across the room on a large wall, then you need to plan on a large photo or cluster of photos to fill the space.  A small photo on a large wall will appear to look even smaller! Always go big! If one large photo isn;t your style, there are some great guides out there to help you visualize a cluster of photos. Check out our Pinterest board for some excellent resources!

If the photos will always be seen from fairly close up in a tighter space, then you can get away with a much smaller photos. 16×20, 11×14 or 8×10 would be good sizes to consider because they will look great when you are viewing them from 3-6 feet away.

WALL COLLAGES
This is always a seemingly overwhelming task. Don’t worry! Figuring out how to hang several photos on a wall in a cluster is not nearly as complex as it sounds. Of course, there are always tricks!

Here’s what you’ll need:
Wrapping paper or brown mailing paper
Sewing pins or ticky tack or blue painters tape (peels off easliy)
A yard stick or ruler
Scissors

Decide what size you’d like your images to be. Cut out squares of that size using the wrapping paper/ brown mailing paper. Gently tack or pin the templates on the wall in different configurations until you see one you love. There’s a great blog on Momtastic that shows step by step instuctions!

Common photo sizes: 8×10, 10×10, 12×12, 11×14, 12×16, 10×20, 12×18, 16×16, 16×20, 16×24, 20×20, 12×36, 24×24, 20×30, 24×30, 24×36, 30×30, 30×40

FRAME OR NO FRAME
That’s a tough one to answer! This is really a personal style preference. Framing adds extra size to the overall look of your image. If you add a frame and a matt, then it increases the size even more! Framing allows you to choose something that compliments and enhances the photo as well at the decor or your home. Canvas wraps are more modern and clean looking. They also allow you to order a canvas and have them ready to hang on your wall as soon as they arrive to your home.  If you’re doing a cluster of photos on a wall… sometimes it’s great to mix it up! Do some frames and some wraps. As long as they all lock together in the cluster properly, they’ll look great!!

CAN WE HELP?!
Absolutely! Baby photos are an important moment in your family’s life. Sweet Me Photography is here to help however we can. On the day of your session, show your photographer where you are thinking of hanging photos in your home. They can help suggest what would be great while they are there. After you get your final photo order and you are ready to order prints, we can help then too! We can suggest proper cropping of your images as well as offer other advice.

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A couple of weekends ago, some of our Sweet Me photographers headed out to the Des Moines Big Baby Shower! They had a blast talking to new moms. Follow the Des Moines Big Baby Shower on Facebook to find out when their next event will be!

Some info on the baby shower event:

“If you are a new or expecting parent, this is the event for you! Not only can you shop some of the best local retailers to find things you didn’t even realize you needed, but you can learn from top experts on a variety of topics to help make this new parenting thing a bit easier! Come immerse yourself in a world full of everything baby at the Des Moines’ Big Baby Shower and walk away with peace of mind (and bags of goodies!). Great prizes are awarded throughout the day, it is free to attend & we offer free parking.”

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If you’re expecting a baby you’ve probably spent hours and hours online researching, well… everything. What’s the best crib? How do I make my own baby food? The list goes on and on. Most likely, the search for a newborn photographer was at the top of your list. It’s a wonderful idea to plan ahead and we highly recommend checking out your options for photographers.

What sets us apart from the other baby photographers out there?

  1. We bring the studio to you! Our absolute number one reason that we are different is that we bring the entire newborn studio to you. Most studios have you come to their location for your photo session. This means accomplishing the most monumental task yet of your new life… leaving the house with your new baby and all their gear. We know that you’re exhausted. We understand that just getting through the day is more important at this stage. We also know that the ideal time to photograph your newborn baby is between 5 and 14 days old, when you are healing and not even able to drive in the case of a c-section. That’s why our newborn photographers come to you! They bring all of the newborn props, lighting and expertise right into your home so you don’t have to do anything but sit back and enjoy watching your little one have their first photo shoot!
  2. Affordability. Most boutique style photographers charge between $1500- $2000 for a newborn photography session. Sweet Me offers you the same boutique style portraiture at a fraction of the cost. With your purchase, you get the luxury of an in-home newborn session, and either 8 (Package One) or 20-25 (Package Two) hi-res digital downloadable photos of your choice. 
  3. Fast turnaround.  5-7 Days after your session, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to access your private photo viewing gallery. From there you can make your image selections with ease. Once your order is submitted, we quickly turn around your final images to be beautifully retouched and ready for download so you can get your baby announcements out sooner! 
  4. Simplicity. Most photography studios have complicated packages and pricing structures that really makes it difficult to budget around.  We don’t want an expectant mom to have to worry about calculating the true costs of what they will spend on their newborn photos. Sweet Me specializes in newborn photography and keeps it simple by making your newborn photo process as easy as possible. This is why we only offer two newborn baby photo packages. Simple. Easy. Understandable. We can pre-book your portrait session out as far in advance as you’d like and then adjust the date as your due date gets closer. Submit an inquiry form to get more info and get the process started on booking your session! We also offer twin newborn photography sessions and triplet newborn photography sessions! 

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