Good Grace

Elizabeth Maternity Portraits by Vania

There are clients who come into your life like a whirlwind. It’s as if they came only to transit into your life but in that short period of time, they were able to touch your heart for a long time. Elizabeth is one of those clients to me. On the day of her maternity shoot, I wasn’t feeling too good. A few days before, I was in bed with a severe cold - high fever, runny nose, cough, you name it. I was grateful that I could already stand up long enough to do the shoot. Throughout the session, Elizabeth was an angel. She’s a friendly and cheerful lady. We talked a lot through it and I got to know who Elizabeth was: a doctor who is kind and humble and who cared a lot about other people. The session turned out to be a delightful one, but what touched my heart was at the end of it, she texted me to say, “Thank you for making my maternity shoot happen. You were sick but you still gave your best. I’m so thankful. Please take a deep and long rest!” It’s a simple thing, but that little gesture made me feel like a million dollars. I felt appreciated, and that is the best kind of feeling in the world. 


I also loved that I got to follow her pregnancy journey, all the way to her birth. She used her Instagram account as her online visual diary, making me feel like I was with her all the way - through the ups and downs with her baby until she finally held him in her arms. 


I read how she waited patiently for her son to arrive, as she was striving for a natural birth, she had to wait for God’s best timing. I read that even though she was in pain, she endured as she kept praying for the safe delivery of her son. She said that although it felt like a near death experience, she found the strength and the ability to go through it, and that everything was worth it after seeing her baby. 


From Elizabeth’s journey I learned to rely on God through every single step in my life. I believe that while we have our own wants, God knows what we need and that he will give it to us in His time. His timing is always perfect and His grace for us is always enough. 


Congratulations on motherhood, Elizabeth. Thank you for sharing your journey with us… with me especially. It’s giving me a glimpse of what my come for me later in marriage and in motherhood, and I am liking what I am seeing.



Love,

Vania



avatar
30 Apr 2016

Double Delight

Greyton & Gerrard Newborn Portraits by Vania

It was two in the morning. My phone rang. It was Jesslyn, the client services person at BabyAXIOO. She told me to get ready because due to something unexpected, I had to shoot the birth of Greg and Jeane’s twins at dawn. A million questions rushed through my mind but I could only manage to say, “I thought someone else was going to shoot the birth?”

“He can’t make it,” Jesslyn replied. “Something came up.” I put the phone down and set my alarm clock for two hours later. 

Half awake, I arrived at the hospital. But I didn’t need coffee. My heart was beating so fast. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I’d do something like this. It felt so unreal. Yet, it happened. And it become on of the most memorable experience I’ve ever had thus far. 

I stood in the observation room with Greg, Jeane and their family. I prayed with them for the safe delivery of their babies. I saw just how much Greg loved his wife… As I watched him hold her hands through her contractions, it just warmed my heart so much. And then, I walked with Jeane as they rolled her into the operating room. My heart was beating so fast, I could actually hear it. I reminded myself to be professional and left my fears at the door when the surgery began. Then the babies were delivered. I heard them cry for the very first time. I couldn’t stop the tears from falling down. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen! Our God is a truly great God. There’s nothing that can make you see the greatness of our God than to witness such a small being come into the world. I felt my fears turn into joy, in an instant. 

A month later, I shot their baby portraits again. This time with a theme - guitars and football. These were definitely Greg’s personal preferences, since both are his hobbies. But somehow, I caught a deeper meaning behind it. Greg’s team is Liverpool whose tagline is “you’ll never walk alone.” I believe that Greg and Jeane will never let the twins walk alone. 

I saw just how big they’ve gotten, as if time really passed us by. The sweet little babes I saw in that operating room were gone, and in their place were two handsome little gentlemen. Their grandparents were there during the session and I can see just how much joy they brought to the family with their presence. 

This experience was a particularly memorable one for me and I am blessed to have been a part of it. Sending this wonderful little family all my love. 


xoxo,

 

Vania

avatar
30 Apr 2016

Colorful for Comfort

Kairi by Ave

The ingredients to a cute, heartwarming baby portraits session (read: successful) according to Ave: a cute baby or toddler with blushing chubby cheeks, two hours of play time, a comfortable set, and a mom who knows her well. 

I know that some people think that a children photo shoot has everything to do with the photographer dressing up like a clown. I know I’ve had my share of experience of dressing up as Ronald McDonald with a red nose just to make the children on my set laugh out loud and that’s why I can say, without a doubt, that while the red nose might work, there’s nothing more helpful than a mother who knows her child well. 

Ah, yes. The most important and integral ingredient to a successful children portraits session is the mother of the child. She would know the best time to schedule the shoot, the best way to make her laugh, the best way to comfort her, and the best time to call it quits. A mom would know all this information that would help a photographer arrange the best shoot for her child. 

When I had Kairi on my set, I was already captivated by her blushing cheeks. (Who wouldn’t be? Would you please look at how sweet and adorable it is?) But being captivated and emotionally driven to be creative alone wasn’t enough to keep her comfortable. Her mom did all that for me. She picked the perfect time for Kairi’s photo shoot, after she’s had her nap and her lunch, and she knew how to play with her so that she felt comfortable enough to put on a happy face. Truth be told, I loved having Kairi in my studio, but what I loved even more was that her mom, who knew her inside and out, was right there with me all the way. 

Here’s Kairi’s colorful album to brighten up your Saturday. I hope you have a colorful one!


Love,

 

Ave

avatar
23 Apr 2016

Dear Son

Karsten’s 1st Birthday by Herna

You rattled my world the second you arrived. No, wait. You rattled my world already ever since that second stripe appeared on my pregnancy test. When I held you in my arms, I knew my life would never be the same again. I once questioned how God could love me despite the things that I do, and then you came along, and I understand. You made me fell in love with you just by existing. Even before I had a chance to see your sweet face or smell your new baby scent, I already loved you. 

It’s scary to know how much impact I will have on your life. I worry about how a girl like me could teach you to be a macho man, or how I could ever live with myself if one day you grow up and discover that you are unhappy. The thought scares me. But I believe that I have been chosen to be your mother for a reason, as you have been chosen to be my son.

I promise you that I will be mindful of what I say and what I do, because I know everything you hear and see will shape you into the man you are going to be. I will teach you to be and grow into that man. Strong, fair, caring, and worthy of everyone’s respect. I will encourage you, support you, and make sure that you will grow on top of my praises to you. I will tell you everyday how much I love you and let you see my heart so that you will never ever have to gain my approval on anything - not at school, not at home, not even in love. And in the process, I can only hope that you can find it in your heart, not only to love me back, but to really like me. 

Baby, as you grow up, you will see that there are things not quite right with this world and I am sorry for that. I want you to know that I am doing my part to change it and that by raising you right, I am doing this world a huge favor. I pray that you will grow into a man who will always seek mercy and love justice and see God’s face in the people you meet. I pray that you will always use your voice for good and to stand up for the people who cannot stand up for themselves. But don’t do all this so that I think well of you, because I already do think well of you and nothing you can ever do could ever make me think of any less. Do it so that people who see you will think well of our God. 

My son, whoever you will become, please know that you are an integral part of this family and we cannot function well without you. Your father and I will spend every day adding your name to our prayers because we truly are the two luckiest people who gets to spend our lives with you in it. 

Happy first birthday, baby boy. May grace and mercy chase you for the rest of your days.


With all the love my heart can contain,

Your mother

 

 

avatar
17 Apr 2016

I love you

Natasha’s Maternity Portraits by Herna

"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep."

 

Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

avatar
17 Apr 2016

Love the best

Baby Sophie by Vania

 

“Our baby gives herself to me completely. There is no hesitation, no reservation, no holding back, no coldness, no craft, no tremor or fear in her love. Although our relationship may encompass tears, frustration, even fury, it is an utterly reliable bond. As it grows, her love is literally unadulterated. Her love is wholly of the child, pure in its essence as children are in their direct passions. Children do not love wisely, but perhaps they love the best of all.” ―Louise Erdrich, The Blue Jay’s Dance: A Birth Year

avatar
10 Apr 2016

Her name is mom

Angela's maternity portraits by Vania

 

“The greatest heroes in life are those that never give up on someone. They stick it out and make it work. They sacrifice things in their life, in order to help others grow. They give up what they want because someone needs it more. They work hard and overcome adversity. They fail for a moment, but get back up on their feet to show others they don’t have to stay down. They show their loved ones that love is not “proved” by conformity. They teach others that having a voice is a sign of courage, and they will not stay silent to make people feel comfortable. They are fearless and will do whatever it takes to bring about the greatness in the ones they love because doing so brings them peace. Their name is---MOM.”  

―Shannon L. Alder

avatar
10 Apr 2016

Soul-lifting Monkeys

Nathan’s Portraits by Ave

Before writing this blog, I found myself really looking into other adjectives to describe the impression I had of Nathan other than “cute” because I realized that I do say this about many of the children I have the privilege of shooting for. However, I drew up a blank. 

 

Nope. I couldn’t find it. There wasn’t another word to perfectly describe Nathan other than “cute”, because that he really is. 

 

This boy. He stole my heart with his cheeky grins as early as three months old, when I had him on the set. Back then, we went with the bears theme. His cuddly face in the midst of the bears? I thought there couldn’t be anything cuter. But I was wrong, because recently, we had his portraits done in the midst of a bunch of lazy monkeys, and it was just as cute (possibly even more!) Please, would you look at that? Ah, I can’t even… How adorable is this boy? 

 

To be around children is naturally soul-lifting for me. I love them. And I find myself being encouraged by their smiles and adorable faces to create beautiful keepsakes for them and their families. The key to making that, in my personal opinion, is comfort. I need to make everyone of these children on my set feel comfortable enough so I can make their portraits on my camera. That’s why I have a very flexible work hour - I basically let them choose the perfect time for them according to their schedules / routines and I train myself to be okay with the long waits - and I use props to promote comfort to them. Favorite characters, adorable stuff toys, you name it… I try to make them feel like they’re in their natural habitat, and I adjust to them. 

 

Being around his cuteness was particularly soul-lifting for me. I just hope that one day, when he’s all grown up, he can look back on these series of portraits and feel his soul lifted too. 

 

Love,

 

Ave

avatar
03 Apr 2016

Parenting Corner: Communicating from The Heart

Baby Mikayla Portraits by Herna

Communications is vital in a family. It’s the key to a strong marriage and to raising healthy children. According to a few authors on communications, family communication refers to the way verbal and non-verbal information is exchanged between family members. Communication involves the ability to pay attention to what others are thinking and feeling. In other words, an important part of communication is not just talking, but LISTENING to what others have to say.

 

Here are just a few points about communicating in family, in no particular order:

 

1. Know how to communicate CLEARLY & DIRECTLY. Clear and direct communication is the best kind of communication. State the message clearly and directly to the appropriate person. Don’t sugarcoat bad news and don’t dampen good news. Stay focussed on the message. And direct your communication to the person the message is intended for. 

2. Know the right time to talk / start a conversation. If you’re not sure whether it’s the right time, ask.

3. Know how to respond respond, not react. Problems occur when we react poorly. 

4. Know that anger has to always be left out of any conversation. Sometimes when you’re feeling yucky, or when he’s being a complete jerk face, when all you want to do is just crawl into a hole and tell the world to just shut it, know that it’s still important to keep on talking. But, it’s okay to hold off talking for a moment to catch a breather, cool off, and let anger leave you. Talking with a cool head diminishes all senseless conversations. 

5. Know the difference between family business meetings and date night. As a couple, it’s easy to be trapped in between talking about kids and their never ending schedule. Or work (if you work together). That’s for family business meetings. Don’t confuse that with Date Night. Date night is for wooing each other and making each other fall in love again, just like you used to. 

6. Communicate frequently. In this busy world, it can be a challenge to find time to actually talk to each other. Talk in the car instead of playing with your phone, talk at the dinner table, talk before bedtime instead of falling asleep watching TV because intimacy is built on pillow talk. 

7. Be aware of non-verbal messages. Pay attention to the facial expressions and body language. It speaks volumes. 

8. Be an active listener. Don’t just hum and nod along. Being an active listener involves trying your best to understand the point of view of the other person. Whether you are listening to a spouse or a child, it is important to pay close attention to their verbal and non-verbal message.

9. Be positive. Don’t assume. Assume = ass + u + me = making an ass of you and me. 

10. The best kind of communication is the one that comes from the heart. So, always remember to guard your heart. Keeping it real and clean is a challenge for everyone, so know that you’re not alone. And of course the most important part of family communication, is communication with God. A family that prays together, stays together. Because when your heart is turned to God, it will be open to each other.

avatar
26 Mar 2016

Finally We'll Meet

Novilia Maternity Portraits by Vania

"I love you, little baby. You’re such a part of me.
Can’t wait to hold you in my arms, and hug you tenderly.
No matter what you look like, you’re beautiful, my love,
A precious gift bequeathed to me from heaven far above.
Each time I feel you moving, my heart is filled with joy,
To think that very soon I’ll hold my little girl or boy,
I’m counting every moment until you’re mine at last, my sweet
It won’t be long until your birth, then finally we’ll meet." - Anon

avatar
19 Mar 2016
All the way to the bottom already?