Haddie | South Dakota Child Photographer

Dear Haddie,

You are not even 3 yet and already seem like a 13 year old to me. You are all the things and have all the emotions, at 100% all the time. You have the most tender, empathetic, loving heart…but yet just the right amount of sass (that I have to admit, worries me a bit ;) You love hard and play hard. You keep up with your brothers like it’s your job and you don’t like to be left out - of anything. You don’t like to be told you’re too little or too small. You continually prove us wrong - because yes, yes you can do it too. ;)

You talk non-stop. You tell amazing stories and sing songs all day. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a two year old vocabulary quite like yours. You tell me stories of things that happened yesterday or last week, in full detail. You use words like “fantastic, disgusting, and amazing” appropriately.

And I have to admit, I use to think nurture had more to do with girls being girly-girls or tomboys, than nature. But I will be the first to admit I was so wrong. Although your mama loves all things girly, too, it’s all you baby girl. The dresses, the makeup, the baby dolls… You want to “do makeups” every morning. You take care of your baby dolls and mommy them better than I could mommy any of you. You call them sweetheart and beautiful and tenderly pat their back. And although you may love your jammies the most, pretty twirly dresses come in a close second. You glowingly look at yourself in the mirror and yell “mama, can I spin”?

Keep spinning baby girl. Dance and sing like no one is watching, ‘til your heart is content. And keep putting your whole heart into everything you do.

Love you, sweet girl.

xo,

Mom

The Wight Family | South Dakota Family Photographer

The Wight Family | Watertown, SD Family Session

With 2019 less than a week away, I’ve been doing a bit of reflecting on the last year… gah what a beautiful year it was! I am looking forward to sharing a year in review

post later this week, but tonight I wanted to share this gorg late-fall session from a month or so ago.

When beautiful people + tones + light collide… <3 …makes my heart happy!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and loved ones!

xo,

Amber

Maverick {A Birth Story} | Watertown + Sioux Falls, SD Photographer + Filmmaker

The Birth of Maverick | Birth Film + Photo Session

Gosh, where do I even begin…

“I’m sorry, I do not offer birth photography at this time”… is along the lines of what my response has been for many years to each birth inquiry I get. While I have always wanted to capture a birth from a photographer perspective (vs. a nurse perspective) for as long as I’ve been holding a camera, with having young children, a nursing job, and birth being unpredictable… it’s just never been in the cards.

Then Dena contacted me about doing a birth film. And I could tell immediately how much this meant to her. I knew I had to say yes. With this being her 4th baby, me living two hours away, and two vacations planned weeks before her due date, I knew the probability of actually being able to make it was slim… but it was worth a shot… The day came, the stars aligned, and I made it for the whole thing.

And holy s**t this was one tough mama… I don’t care how many thousands of births I’ve seen - I am completely amazed every single time. The power of a women is absolutely incredible.

This baby proved to be completely unlike her other three. It was a long intense labor, but she was completely calm and relaxed through the whole thing. One thing I did not get to experience as a L&D nurse is hypno-birthing. This was truly beautiful to see… <3

The entire labor - Calm. Relaxed. Quiet. Peaceful.

Then, baby decided to throw everyone for a loop when he was found to be breech at delivery. The room got crowded fast, and it was a bit intense, but the staff reacted so quickly and the doctor helped mama get baby out calmly & safely.

Perfect. Healthy. Happy.

I was a little nervous to show mama the film for the first time afterward - I didn’t know if it’d be too soon to relive. Sometimes when births don’t go as expected, it can be emotional to relive. But I’ve found through the years it’s usually therapeutic for moms as well - to be able to talk through and share the experience is so important.

This video has been really healing! I was so focused on everything that went wrong that I blocked out all the beautiful moments.

The main priority was video, but I was still able to capture a lot of the labor and just after birth in still images as well.

It was such an honor to be there for this family to document one of the most beautiful, important and vulnerable times in their life.

The Birth of Maverick

The Burns Family | Seattle, WA Family Photographer

The Burns Family

Mama and I go way back… as in way I mean fresh new-grad nurses at our first job. Night shift L&D on a crazy busy unit just north of Seattle. I’m not sure how long we worked together before we became friends…but dang it she’s one of the best. I DO remember house hunting at the same time - turns out we end up buying houses two doors from each other :)

She became a best… the one I called when my water broke with my first baby at midnight… the one I called at 2am to come over and make sure I was “actually” in labor before I went to deliver my second baby… because oh my gosh how embarrassing would that be - a labor nurse that doesn’t know if she’s in labor :p And the one who came in with me and clocked in at 3am to be my nurse until I delivered (because we were short staffed once again). The one who listened to all my babbling when I was concerned my son had austim at only 4-6 months old (he did)… From that, to standing by her side in her wedding, to crying with me my last night there before moving back to South Dakota.

Now she’s a mama herself… and even though I make it back every year or so to visit. I have missed so much. It was so fun to connect again annnnnnnd have the honor of capturing her with her beautiful babies!!! <3 I’m also not sure we could have possibly asked for a more perfect night!

I should also mention… I was terrified to photograph them… like so much pressure, right? Maybe even more so than photographing other photographers. I hate to let people down, ya know? But I had never photographed at this location, didn’t know what to expect for light, had no lens hood (who am I kidding, I never have a lens hood), and no stool… so filtering the strong light & focusing was tough. But regardless, I’m pretty damn excited about this session.

Love you to the moon, Burns family.

xo,

Amber

Megan {Motherhood Session} | Watertown, SD Family Photographer

Megan + Sawyer | Motherhood Session

 
Motherhood is messy.
And challenging.
And crazy
And sleepless
And giving.
And still…

Unbelievably beautiful.
— Rachel Martin