I got to photograph the Bridge family in 2014 when I was pregnant. They have a perfectly photogenic back yard and amazing landscaping so when they were ready to schedule a session for the extended family, their yard was again a perfect choice. It was lovely meeting everyone and we even did the Reveal and Order experience with Jean in person and her parents and brother via Skype. I had one device and Jean had the other and it was a little chaotic but everyone got to see and select their orders. What troopers! I just love how this grouping came together. Planning made it perfect! And this time Jackson didn't get any mustard on his mouth! (Last time while we were outside doing the session, the family dog, Jackson, helped himself to their lunch. It wasn't until the order appointment we could actually see the mustard on his face! Haha)
I adore this family. They are one of the most loving and kind families I have ever met! The kids are all so respectful and polite every time I see them. They are superparents! The even go camping with all the kids and the baby! I just love big families!!! I met them when I did my annual school portrait event because they home-school and wanted some great portraits for the wall and to give to family. Then when Mariella was born we did her newborn session. This is from her 3 month session (3 month-ish because I always recommend waiting until they can comfortably sit)
I usually only share one of my favorites but we took this goofy family one too and I giggle every time I see it. what a fun family!!!
We did the Heuermann family session before the baby was baptized. The whole group was able to get together and we got so many excellent groupings and breakdowns. What great smiles everyone had that morning! And the neighbor has a perfectly landscaped yard we used for our background.
The Bohm family is such a tight family. You don't always see families who all get along so well and have each others back in every circumstance. They all laugh together and had a very enjoyable session but I have to say, little miss Ellie stole the show. You can see everyone in the family adores her and she seems to be just the perfect mix of cute and spunk! She didn't take a bad picture the whole time!
Brentlee is one lucky kiddo. His parents adore him and each other and their session was just amazing! Halee had lots of great props and ideas and Brody was agreeable to anything. Love this family! Brentlee is so independent and sweet and he is the world to his parents. They are doing an amazing job with him! He is such a cutie and will be a major heartbreaker someday because at his young age he is full of charm and personality!
The Swansons are one of my favorite families to photograph. I met them a few years ago when we did their session near their home. It was beautiful. I wanted to share it but because they were in the process of adopting their boys, Saivion and Sy. I was over the moon when Stacy let me know they wanted me to photograph the adoption. Since the session they have also adopted Tallulah. The love and commitment Jack and Stacy have for their family makes my heart swell. What amazing people!
Kendall was a doll for her session. She is such a sweet girl and you can tell how loving she is by spending 5 minutes with her. She adores electronics and is a pro at being able to pull up and watch her favorite shows. It was sure a hot day for their session but the whole family was all smiles!
(Photo shared with permission from Lorie Kesl)
In 2006 I heard my very favorite photographer, Sandy Puc, speak at a convention. At the end she told us about a nonprofit she had formed with Cheryl Haggard called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS) They needed photographers to volunteer to take the only professional portraits of babies that never get to go home from the hospital.
I thought that sounded like such a beautiful service as the tears slid down my cheeks. Certainly not something I could ever do though. I wear my emotions on my sleeve.
The following year I heard Sandy speak again. At the end, she again talked about the need for NILMDTS photographers. I decided to sign up in my area and hoped I would never get a call. I signed up and no calls. I was relieved that that sort of thing apparently wasn't happening in Waterloo, Iowa.
At a session a few months later I was telling one of my favorite clients, Lorie Kesl about how I had signed up. We were doing Kamden's 2-year portraits. Since Lorie was pregnant we did some pregnancy photos too.
A couple months later I got a call late at night from Lorie's sister in law, Jamie. Jamie was also one of my favorite clients and I wasn't sure why she would be calling so late. She told me that Lorie had delivered Maggie and she was stillborn and Lorie wanted pictures like I had told her about.
My heart sank. We already had scheduled Maggie's newborn session and this could not be happening. Not to someone I knew! I did Lorie's session that night and meeting Maggie changed me. She was so perfect and beautiful.
After the session, I saw how the portraits I took were so important in the healing of their family. I started to visit and educate the hospitals in my area about NILMDTS. I found out that those kinds of tragedies occur and they didn't know about us. After that, I got calls on a pretty regular basis. Before I moved to Peoria in 2009 I had 3 consecutive Fridays I had a session. It was heartbreaking.
It's hard work but I know it's why I am meant to be a photographer. I can give families a priceless gift that they can never repay. But they do repay it and never know. In seeing how they heal, in their lifelong friendship and in seeing the things they do to honor their babies. I have gotten so much from my volunteer work. I feel like meeting these families and these angels has been such a gift.
Our organization has really grown. From just photographers to now having roles for non-photographers. Positions like session dispatcher to take calls and line up a photographer and assistant to positions raising community awareness so no family goes home without our gift to recruiting volunteers to help us find more photographers willing to help. We need more volunteers in the Peoria area. I bet every area feel the same so if you aren't in Peoria you can help in your area. Please feel free to check out the positions online and see if one might be a good fit for you. Contact me with any questions.
Please, share my post so we can make everyone aware of our services! I hear every day from people who have never heard of us and I wish for everyone to know we are here for families who need us.
Brenda has been Arianna's bus driver for the past 2 years and she and I have gotten to know each other so when she asked me to take these portraits I was over the moon! We did an engagement session but in their full wedding attire as they eloped soon after and were planning a reception and wanted these portraits for decorations at the party. They went to SO much work to set it all up with the Harley and the antiques and I was so happy with how they came out! Brenda didn't mention to me but she was having a lot of pain during the session (you wouldn't know by her glow and smiles!) and spent the rest of the weekend under observation at the hospital! Congratulations to the Schaefers!!!
Blissful Images is a Certified Professional Family Portrait Photographer in Peoria, Illinois specializing in preserving your family's memories in photographic prints and wall art while making your life easier by bringing the mobile photography studio to you.