Sugar Magnolia, Blossoms Blooming... A beautiful, love-filled, in-home newborn session in Maplewood, MO

“She's got everything delightful
She's got everything I need
A breeze in the pines in the summer night moonlight
Crazy in the sunlight yes indeed”

—”Sugar Magnolia” by The Grateful Dead


Nothing makes me happier than getting to do an in-home newborn session with a family who hired me for birth photography. Being witness to the birth of a baby is such an incredible experience that leaves me feeling a special bond with that tiny soul for their entire lives. So getting to see them again all settled into their home with their family in those first weeks of life is so lovely and heartwarming.

I hadn’t been to this family’s home prior to their newborn photo session, and was filled with calm as I entered their warm, bright, and inviting Maplewood, Missouri home. From the living room to the nursery, there were so many lovely details that made the whole space feel earthy and cozy and instantly gave me a sense of who they are.

We started the session in the nursery, where I found baby Magnolia dressed only in a diaper. Her mama snuggled and adored her and we got a few shots of her in her bassinet with all that beautiful newborn skin showing (because a naked baby is the best kind of baby). Then her mama ever-so-gently pulled a beautiful magnolia-covered gown over baby Magnolia’s sweet little head.

Those details of dressing and changing baby are some of my favorite to document as they really capture the feeling of that fleeting time in a parent’s life. Sometimes it can feel like a whole day was spent snapping and unsnapping onesies. In this case, she changed Magnolia one more time, into a simple, sleeveless, white onesie, and then we joined daddy in the living room.

It’s so beautiful to see how new parents simultaneously fall madly in love with their new baby and also fall even more in love with their partner than they ever imagined they could. Watching your partner fall in love with this tiny person that you created together is such a magical experience and can make you see them in a whole new way.

So photographing the mutual adoration of parent and child and partner is full of so much tenderness and I feel such a fondness for the whole family. (Dogs included — who are themselves feeling a mixture of confusion, jealousy, excitement, and protectiveness with a new addition to their family unit).

It’s always fun to head to mom and dad’s bed for some family snuggles and the dogs were invited up for some cuddles, too. Again, the warm, earthy vibe of their space made for dreamy pictures of this gorgeous little family. You can just feel the love overflowing in that room.

Magnolia’s nursery is connected to her mom and dad’s room, so we popped back over to that sweet space for a few more photos of the family together. Plus, some of each of them admiring their tiny little love, and a few of mama nursing her baby, too.

This really was one of my favorite newborn sessions to date — so full of love and warmth and playful tenderness.

If you’re expecting a little love and this looks like your idea of a way to keep those newborn memories forever, get in touch and we can set up an in-home session for you, too!

A Documentary In-home Newborn Photography Session with Sweet Lucy in Benton Park

“Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes”

—”Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by The Beatles


The first days and weeks with a newborn at home can feel like a dream. One day flows into another and hours can pass just staring at this tiny person. Her needs are few, but they are relentless, so you find yourself completely absorbed in fulfilling them. She wakes you constantly — contributing to the dream-like feeling of this phase of life — but even in your sleep-deprived state, love streams out of you in a way you’ve never experienced before. Especially when it’s your first child, there’s a sense of wonder and magic that you share with your partner… this awe and reverence for the fact that you created something so inexplicably beautiful together.

It’s why I adore in-home newborn sessions. Getting to peek into those precious moments with new parents and their tiny creation is an honor. Being tasked with documenting that ephemeral time in photographic proof is even more of a privilege.

Newborn sessions lend themselves really well to documentary work because the moments that I want to capture are happening whether I’m there or not. Diaper changes, nursing or feeding sessions, swaddles, and snuggles, are all on the agenda. Those moments might seem mundane when you’re on the 8th diaper change of the day, but I promise that you’ll want to remember them sooner than you think.

This lovely little baby is Lucy. She and her parents were a complete joy to be with and to photograph.

It’s so nice when the parents are as relaxed as Lucy’s mama and daddy were. As is typical of a newborn session with me, I gave barely any direction, and instead followed their lead to create the flow of our time together. We hung out mostly in the beautiful nursery which had gorgeous light pouring through the large windows. Lucy wanted to nurse a lot, so that’s what she did. Mom and dad worked on perfecting the swaddle and gave her some time in her crib. She needed a diaper and outfit change, so dad was up to bat. Some sweet alert time was spent in dad’s arms and I was grateful to capture them adoring each other. Then the whole family moved to mom and dad’s bed for some snuggle time together. It was all so real and so beautiful, and I hope that these photos will forever transport these parents directly back to that hazy, magical time in their lives.

If the laid-back, cozy vibe of this newborn photography sounds and looks like what you are hoping for when it’s time to document your own family growing by one, let’s chat! I serve the entire St. Louis Metro area, but I’m always happy to discuss travel, too.

Sweet and Sunny Documentary Family Maternity Session at Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis

I remember being pregnant with my second baby while parenting a two-year old. It felt impossible to imagine our little family with a whole other person in it. Our little three-some was so sweet and the parent to kid ratio was pretty great. I mean, we could devote so much of our time and attention to our girl. Even when parenting was hard, it felt manageable with one little person. I’m not going to lie; I was scared of what life would be like with two.

When I met this sweet family-of-three-with-one-on-the-way at Missouri Botanical Gardens for their maternity photos, they reminded me so much of that time in my own life. Their daughter, E, was exactly the age my older daughter was when I was pregnant with my second. They were such loving and fun parents to their girl, and really seemed to be soaking up that moment in time. It was like they knew in their bones that life was about to change in this big and irreversible way.

It’s an amazing thing to add another person to your family. To give your child a sibling. To expand the love in your heart in ways you didn’t know you could. You wouldn’t ever really want to go back to the time before those incredible changes. But it’s sure sweet to be able to look back on those moments before you really knew what life would be like as a parent of two. To see the way you were able to focus your love and attention so fully on the child that made you a mom or a dad.

I’m so happy that this family chose to document this part of their journey. Life is different for them now, with a baby brother for E. You can check out what their Fresh 48 session looked like here, and see that their love surely grew. But before you go, take a look at all the fun they had in the precious and fleeting moments they had on that summer day as a family of three with all attention on E.

Family of three sitting by the fountains at MOBOT in St. Louis.
 Fun family of three enjoys a day in St. Louis at the Missouri Botanical Garden before baby comes
 Little girl climbs on sheep sculpture at the botanical gardens in St. Louis, MO.
 Mom and daugter observing the bee boxes during a day trip to MoBot in St. Louis.
 Mom and dad swing their daughter on their walk in St. Louis, MO.
 expecting mama goes for a walk with her husband and daughter on a summer day at Missouri botanical gardens.
 family of three with a mama-to-be going for a summer walk.
 Little girl running down a path with her parents chasing after her.
 Beautiful pregnant mother profile photo
 family feeds the fish at MO Botanical Gardens on a sunny day.
 mom and dad help daughter feed the fish at Missouri Botanical Gardens.
 Pregnant mother lifts daughter over her baby bump to look at fish in the pond.
 mother and daughter look for fish during a photo session in St. Louis
 How big? This big.
 Dad carries wife's purse and giggling daughter upside down.
 Lifestyle photo of a family of three at Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, MO.
 family looks at lily pads at the gorgeous gardens of MOBOT.
 Baby bump surrounded by family and nature at MO Botanical Gardens in St Louis.
 This little girl is so cool she wears her sunglasses inside.
 Cute Little girl roars with laughter as her dad tickles her.
 dad and daughter laughing together during a photography session in St. Louis, MO.
 Mom and daughter play together during a photo shoot.
 family plays the xylophone together during a family photo shoot at MOBOT in St. Louis, MO.
 xylophone fun during a fun and casual photo session with Dana Jacobs Photography.
 blue and purple flower close up detail shot at MoBot in St. Louis, Missouri.
 yellow flower up close detail
 pink flower close up detail summer flowers at Missouri Botanical Gardens.
 pregnant mom enjoys watching daughter build with natural wooden blocks at MOBOT in St. Louis
 pregnant mom and dad enjoy watching daughter build with natural wooden blocks at MOBOT in St. Louis
 mom and daughter play in the sand together during a photo shoot.
 pregnant mom puts her feet in the sandbox while her older daughter plays nearby.
 pregnant mom puts her feet in the sandbox while her older daughter plays nearby.
 mom and daughter play in the sand together during a photo shoot.
 pregnant mom plays in the sandbox with her older daughter before baby comes
 toddler climbs and plays on wooden log during a documentary photo session at Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis.
 toddler climbs and plays on wooden log during a documentary photo session at Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis.
 This mama liked to hold her older daughter in the front resting her on her baby bump.

Interested in booking your own documentary family session? Get in touch now!

Family-centered home birth of Nova. A St. Louis birth film.


After weeks of prodromal labor, this beautiful mama wasn’t super sure if it was time to call me to come photograph her birth, but things had gotten more intense and didn’t seem to be dying down. Since home birth midwives don’t tend to rely heavily on cervical checks to monitor labor progress, I’ve learned to trust my own instincts in addition to timing of contractions, vocalizations, and the mama’s own intuition as a basis for deciding when to come. In this case, mama wasn’t sure, but she was a solid half-hour away from me and it was nearly rush hour in St. Louis, so I decided to come check in.


I arrived at a little before 5:00 pm to a full house — a mama handling labor like a champ, a dad being a source of support and strength, and three eager siblings wondering when they’d finally get to meet their baby sister, plus a midwife who had come to check on things, too. After spending a little time with mama, the midwife decided that she would stick around for about an hour, and if things didn’t change much in that time, she’d go find somewhere nearby to hang out (and invited me to do the same) so that mama wouldn’t feel “watched.” Sometimes labor can stall a bit if a laboring woman feels too much pressure for labor to progress — especially on a timeline. Stepping away to give her space to find her own rhythm can help things to move along naturally.


But in this case, before that hour was up, mama’s labor had picked up a bit more. It was so beautiful to watch her move with her body in between doing all the normal things a mom does on a summer afternoon — cutting watermelon and pineapple, snuggling with her littles, and taking care of little things around the house. As labor progressed, she began pausing as each wave washed over her to lean on the kitchen counter and sway her hips in wide circles. Each of her children and her husband found their way to her to rub her back or arms. It was so sweet to watch how supportive and loving her family was as she worked with her body and her baby.


The rushes began coming faster and faster, leaving mama with shorter and shorter breaks between. Even still, mama was remarkably quiet as she breathed through each one. So much so, that I was surprised to realize that she had made much progress in just a couple hours.


It was time to get into the birth pool and the littlest of the big kids was adamant about getting in to “swim” with his mama. His big brother wasn’t going to let him be the only one, so he got in, too. This incredible mom calmly welcomed her boys into the pool with her, as her labor became even more intense.


She began to vocalize more powerfully. Finally, the boys decided to get out of the pool, and within minutes mama was telling her midwife that she couldn’t do it anymore. The midwife assured her that what she was feeling was her baby and she was almost done.


A couple intense pushes later, as her whole family stood by in support and awe at her strength, this mama met her baby girl.


Birth is always intense and emotional, and this was no exception. The big kids were overwhelmed with emotion as they watched their mother roar out their newest sibling.


But they quickly settled into amazement and delight at the baby sister they’d been waiting for.


After settling in upstairs to watch the newborn exam from the comfort of mom and dad’s bed, the whole family began to relax into the new normal of life with a newborn.


Watch this beautiful story unfold in sound and movement in this birth film:

Welcome, Hayes! An In-home Fresh 48 after a homebirth...

After doing one of my favorite documentary maternity sessions ever at Missouri Botanical Gardens with this super fun and cute family, I was SO excited to meet their newest little guy during his Fresh 48 session. Rachel texted to let me know that labor had started, so I looked ahead at my calendar for the next couple days and started thinking about what might work best for their Fresh 48 session. They had decided to have a homebirth, so there was a little extra flexibility in terms of timing, since we didn’t have to work around when they’d be discharged from a hospital or birth center.

Once I got the text that their sweet boy had arrived, we scheduled their session. Unfortunately, the night before I was supposed to arrive, I had to let Rachel know that I was dealing with the tail-end of a little cold. I had hoped it would be completely gone by their session, but it lingered just a bit. I felt almost 100% and, for a normal, outdoor family session, I wouldn’t have hesitated one bit. But for a session with a new baby - especially in their own home - it just wasn’t worth the risk of passing any germs on. So we rescheduled for a couple days later.

By the time I rang their doorbell, I couldn’t contain my excitement about seeing this wonderful family again - this time, with the addition of a snugly new baby. This family is so joyful and there were so many super sweet moments of connection for me to document. Big sister was full of laughter and love for her mom, dad, and brand-new baby brother. And I just loved spending some time with them as they transitioned from a family of three to a family of four. Take a look!


Birth photography is not about babies.

“Childbirth is a time when a woman’s power and strength emerge full force, but it is also a vulnerable time.”
— Annemarie Van Oploo


Ask me if I love fresh, perfect, squishy, little, newborn babies. With their perfect innocence and their sparkling new eyes. With that first cry - the sweetest sound - that announces to the world their arrival. Oh, those tiny, little fingers and toes. Or even better - the littlest fingernails you'll ever see. Their warm, soft skin topped off by fuzzy hair that just makes you want to cuddle them right up against your body and hold them tight. Did I mention how sweet and squishy they are?

Oh yeah. I love brand new babies. And those first moments are just magical. They find themselves in this great big world, but they feel safe and warm in their mama's arms. They open their eyes to gaze at their family for the first time, and see mom and dad staring incredulously right back at them. They breathe in the air, and feel it on that perfect, soft skin. Seeking out comfort and nourishment, they find their way to their mother's milk. All is new. All is well. 

So, yes. Babies are precious and wonderful. And you might think that birth is all about babies. It seems to be the part that everyone puts all the emphasis on. And, obviously, the baby is pretty important. But there's so much more, too.

When I'm asked to document a birth for someone - well, first, I'm just so incredibly honored. It is truly a privilege that I will never take for granted. But, for me, as cute and cuddly as new babies are, what really lights my fire is getting to witness the raw, power and vulnerability of a laboring woman. 

Women are just so incredible, and I will never stop being in awe of how they find strength they don't yet know that they possess. Seeing that strength juxtaposed alongside their vulnerability to an unfolding journey is nothing short of magnificent. 

Watching as they find their own rhythm and rituals to accompany each new powerful surge, while simultaneously melting into the embrace of their partner or accepting the support of a caregiver - I see so much beauty.

Documenting the incredible power of women as they transform from woman to mother is my greatest privilege. But then, being able to turn around and show the images I've made to that same woman, and revealing to her just how much beauty and strength lie within her... that is my greatest joy. 

And when those women choose to share that openness, vulnerability, tenacity, and strength with the world, I'm so grateful to play a small part in normalizing birth. I know that when I was pregnant with my first baby, seeing and hearing the stories of women who've come before me gave me courage and understanding. To be able to share what birth can really look like - how much strength and vitality women possess, is exceptionally gratifying.

My hope is that all women will come to know just how powerful they really are - in labor, birth, motherhood, and life. 

Magic in the Mundane | A Family Film About a Trip to Costco in St. Louis, MO

If you ask my oldest daughter what one of her favorite things to do is, she'll unabashadly tell you, "Go to Costco!" It's mostly about the samples for her (I mean, isn't it for everyone?), but we also do the bulk of our grocery shopping there. (No pun intended.) Which means we end up at Costco almost once a week. And we usually go as a family. It's kind of a thing.

On this particular day, neither of my kids had allowed us to brush their hair (common!), and my big girl had chosen to wear pajamas all day. The only thing that was special about this day was that I chose to document it. And I'm so glad I did. This is a moment in our lives that I want to remember. It might seem mundane, but it's surprisingly special. And before too long, Amelie will just be too big to wrangle her long legs into the cart to sit next to her sister, and our life will look a little different. So I'm grateful that I didn't put it off until another day.

This isn't about perfectly matched clothes or cute little pigtails. It's about our real life. And taking the time to notice the magical moments that are hiding among the mundane.

Short films like this are really amazing for telling the story of a typical, routine part of life and making you feel just how important that ordinary stuff of life is. The squeaky little voices that fade into big kid speech, the sweet giggles and inside jokes... It all passes by so quickly. These videos are immediately fun and special - my kids want to watch them over and over again - but, oh my, as the weeks turn into months and years, how those sweet moments captured become the most precious of memories.

When you turn on that video that you haven't seen in a while and you get a glimpse into the version of your family's life from before a certain phase passed by, the intense feelings of nostalgia will remind you not only of how amazing your life was at the time the film was made, but how valuable your current simple moments are, too. Send me a message if you're interested in having me document a little slice of your real life before legs get too long or voices grow deeper. Your everyday moments are worth documenting.