Blog Category: Mother’s Day

Oh baby! An infant’s first year in photos

If you’re expecting a child, or if you’re the parent of a newborn, you’ve likely been taking a lot of photos. Your camera roll is probably full of shots of your growing baby in utero, or photos of your beloved new infant at every hour, doing their latest, most adorable thing yet. As a photographer I‘ve had the great privilege of documenting many family’s over the years, beginning with the first pregnancy or the first child.

One of my most favorite things to offer expecting parents, or those who have just delivered, is to provide a full year of photography services, from pregnancy or newborn, to the child’s first birthday. ‘Baby’s First Year’ as I call it, is a photographic diary that documents your child’s first year of life. From belly to birth, to your child’s first birthday, the changes during this first full year of life are both dramatic and fleeting. There are so many moments that come and go in a flash, and professional photographs are a great way to showcase your child’s milestones, not to mention they make fantastic gifts for family and friends.

My ‘Baby’s First Year’ package consists of up to six sessions which captures an infant’s progress throughout their first year, including: maternity shoot taken at home or on location on Martha’s Vineyard; newborn at one to three weeks, taken at home, with a focus on the baby’s hands, feet and face; three month photos taken at home, capturing the baby’s first smile, or warm intimate moments including cuddling with mom or nursing; six month photos taken at home or on location, with the baby sitting up, showing off its first tooth or hanging out with dad; nine month photos taken in and outside the home, in a stroller, crawling, grabbing and rolling around; first birthday taken at home with mom, dad and siblings, with cake and a candle.

I recently completed a ‘Baby’s First Year’ shoot with Hazel Lyla, an adorable young girl who lives on Martha’s Vineyard and is beloved by her parents Tara and Domingo.  I was first introduced to the family through Hazel’s grandparents Carrie and Eric, who wanted to gift newborn photos to Hazel’s overjoyed parents. When I suggested the option of ‘Baby’s First Year’ they jumped at the opportunity, deciding to opt for a five session package that would showcase the first year of Hazel’s many early achievements.

I began by capturing Hazel at two weeks old in her home. Tara proved to be a creative and diligent assistant, providing some amazing textures, outfits and props for each of Hazel’s shoots. During the first shoot Hazel’s grandparents were on location as well as her uncle, which allowed me to capture both solo shots of Hazel as well as some gorgeous family photos.

For Hazel’s three month session we selected Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury, which offered an idyllic summer setting to capture Hazel and Tara interacting amidst the natural colors and textures.

Her six month session took place at Morning Glory Farm during the fall, which provided many seasonal, harvest-inspired props including a plethora of pumpkins and gourds that Hazel could grab and interact with.

 

For her nine month session we selected Donaroma’s nursery, a winter wonderland that made for captivating photos of Hazel playing in the snow and enjoying their decorative displays of plants, ornaments and lights.

Finally, Hazel’s one year shoot took place in my photography studio, playing with her parents and grandparents. Grinning from cheek to cheek, I was able to capture Hazel in her most comfortable environment, among her closest family, surrounded by generations of love and adoration.

As I look back on the photographs of Hazel’s first year I am in awe of the young girl she is becoming and the many milestones she’s already surpassed. I am grateful to her parents and grandparents for allowing me into their lives and giving me the chance to get up close and comfortable with Hazel. An album is in the works and I’m thrilled that her family will have Hazel’s first year collection to look back on, to bring years of joy and happiness and a reminder of the incredible journey from her earliest days.

Get in touch if your having a baby or interested in gifting a ‘Baby’s First Year’ package to a friend or family member. Three, four, five and six session packages available as well as a la carte sessions.

Family portraits on Martha’s Vineyard: Locations, locations, locations

As a resident of Martha’s Vineyard for over twenty years, I have had the pleasure of exploring this beautiful, diverse island, and I love sharing this place with my clients. I’ve discovered so many picturesque locations for family portraits and am constantly amazed with the variety of unique settings our Island home offers. 

When a family portrait client first reaches out about their session, I do my best to get to know them in order to determine the most appropriate place to capture their family. Depending on the time of year, the age of their family members, and thetype of background that appeals to them, I can help a family determine the ideal location that best fits their needs.

Martha’s Vineyard is only twenty two by nine miles wide, not to mention it’s surrounded by water on all sides, meaning you don’t have to go very far to find the picture-perfect spot. “Down-Island” is what the locals refer to as the towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, and these are generally the most accessible family portrait locations, depending on where the family is staying. 

“Up-Island” or the west side of the Island, is usually a longer drive, but is home to some of the most scenic locations on-Island. Sometimes no traveling is required and a family determines that their home away from home is the ideal setting for their Martha’s Vineyard family portraits, offering an even more personal and nostalgic setting.

For those looking to get out of the house take a trip to the south-east tip of the island, In Edgartown’s Katama area, to South Beach, a three mile stretch of pristine beach, and one of my favorite family portrait locations. Separated from the parallel road by a vast swath of dunes, this location is convenient, requires minimal walking, and showcases the natural, raw beauty of Martha’s Vineyard–with expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean and Nantucket Sound. I recommend this location for its sunsets and secluded, yet accessible location.




Nearby in historic downtown Edgartown is Lighthouse Beach, an iconic Island location with boats, beaches, docks, dunes and pathways, making it one of my favorite locations for its diversity of portrait backdrops–not to mention its stunning views of the Edgartown lighthouse, Vineyard Sound and Chappaquiddick Island. For those that don’t know, Chappaquiddick Island or “Chappy” as it’s called locally, is a small peninsula and occasional island (depending on breaches due to storms) located on the eastern end of Edgartown. The Chappy Ferry runs across Edgartown harbor, transporting cars and passengers across the short 527 foot stretch to Chappaquiddick, a rural island with only one main road.



Another “down-island” treasure is the town of Oak Bluffs, which offers a vast array of family portrait locations all within easy walking distance. From the East Chop marina to the Oak Bluffs Harbor, the Flying Horses Carousel, expansive State Beach, scenic Ocean Park, the charming gingerbread cottages and the beloved Jaws Bridge, Oak Bluffs offers a little bit of everything. The Steamship Authority operates seasonally out of Oak Bluffs as well as the Island Queen, Hy-line, Seastreek and Rhode Island Fast Ferry, making it an extremely accessible location for day trippers too.

The next town over, due west, is Vineyard Haven or Tisbury. Historically the area was called “Nobnocket” by the Island’s original settlers, the Wampanoags, and was first referred to by the colonial settlers as “Homes Hole,” and eventually Vineyard Haven. The storied town is home to one of my other favorite locations, Owen Park, a little-known spot with a casual intimate beach and boat dock. An ideal family portrait location, as it allows clients to relax in the sand, play on the grassy hill or pose along the harbor, offering a wide range of backdrops in very close proximity.



For those families who prefer to head “up-Island” and are looking for an authentically Vineyard experience, I recommend a family portrait session in Menemsha, the quintessential fishing village within the town of Chilmark. Classic and charming, Menemsha boasts a wide variety of nautical backdrops for photos: stacks of lobster traps, long-line fishing boats, colorful shacks along the docks, and beautiful Menemsha Beach.




Visitors flock to the beach in the summer for their breathtaking sunsets, where they get a front-row seat at these daily phenomenons, while enjoying the freshest seafood from the village’s local fish markets. A portrait session in Menemsha allows families to connect with each other while appreciating the timelessness and beauty of one of the Vineyard’s most historic harbors.





Even further “up-Island,” is the town of Aquinnah which lines the southwest point of Martha’s Vineyard and offers some of the best landscapes on the entire Island. The town was known as Gay Head until 1997 when it was formerly renamed to Aquinnah, which is Wampanoag for “land under the hill.” Aquinnah has become celebrated as a center of Wampanoag culture, and is known as one of the earliest sites of whaling, where the Wampanoag first harvested whales by harpoons, long before the 19th-century whaling boom on Martha’s Vineyard. Today, Aquinnah is most known for its colorful clay cliffs, perhaps the most striking and well-known natural feature of the Vineyard, and stunning views of Vineyard Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. For families that are up for a little hiking during their visit, Moshup Beach is a must-visit and results in a majestic backdrop that really captures the scenic beauty of Martha’s Vineyard.


Sometimes it’s hard to believe that so many unique settings exist on our small Island–it really is a photographer’s dream. I’m so fortunate to have access to such amazing locations, and nothing makes me happier than sharing them with my clients. Over the years I have collected dozens of other secret spots to keep in my arsenal, and along with the more popular locations, those hidden gems really show off the diversity of the Vineyard, while complementing a family’s dynamic.

Visiting the Island this summer? Get in touch and we’ll work together to discover the most picture-perfect spot for your family’s portraits.