Newborn Half Day in the Life {Washington DC Storytelling Photographer}

Here is the truth about newborns: they cry constantly, they eat constantly, and they poop constantly. They sleep for 10 minutes at a time (and look really cute while they do it). Then they wake up and cry, eat, poop some more. They are tiny and needy and snuggly, and they rob you of your sleep and sanity. You might fall head over heels in love with them right away, or it might take time. You might cry more than they do (I did). You will think about them every single moment of the day. You will ache for them when someone else holds them, and then you won’t know what to do with yourself the second you are left alone with them.  

A year or two later, the memories of those first few weeks fog over and you start forgetting what it was like. Time helps our brains gloss over the sleep deprivation and feelings of insecurity, but in the process, we also start to forget those early morning snuggles and the sweet smell of baby head.

The newborn period is one of my favorite times to photograph, especially for new parents. It’s also a big motivator for me to move from a stylized lifestyle approach to a truly documentary approach. I want my photos to freeze time and help parents remember the ups and downs of the first few weeks. I also want to show all new parent that they aren’t alone. They may feel isolated, but they are going through a universal human experience. They may feel inadequate, but they are doing an amazing job.

Tanya and Tushar are a perfect example. You can feel the love they have for Kavi within minutes of meeting them and it came through loud and clear in their photos. Tanya’s model call submission form stood out to me because she so clearly captured the importance of documenting these early days:

“We have a newborn and so it's an exciting (and trying) time full of changes. Everything feels so hazy due to the sleep deprivation that it's hard to remember yesterday let alone 2 weeks ago. And yet I know that this is such a special time that we will very much want to look back on, so I love the idea of being able to capture the chaos, intensity, love, and tenderness of this moment. Especially this particular moment where I know my memory is not functioning to be able to retain any of it for me :-).”

I hope these photos will help Tanya and Tushar remember chaos, intensity, and love of the first few weeks with a newborn.

Sunday Funday {Washington DC Half Day in the Life Family Photography}

I had a blast at my half-day-in-the-life session with the Zimbabwe family. I loved getting to know Celia and Martha and the different quirks in their personalities. I also made a new bestie with Bizzy the pit mix!

When asked about what she wanted to document about her family right now, Jess wrote, “I feel like we are honestly trying to assess how to raise kids in this complicated world, and weekends at home are like a retreat to refresh and dissect our weeks. We make waffles usually, and read the newspaper on the couch and play board games.” It was inspiring to get to know Jess and Sam and see how they are raising healthy and happy kids.

Saturday Morning {Half Day in the Life Documentary Session}

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending a morning with Liana, Jonathan, and Rami. I couldn’t have asked for a better family for my first half-day documentary session! Liana is a journalist and a fan of the documentary approach to photography. In her model call application, she explained, “I am most interested in capturing what our lives are truly like in the moment--not a posed representation of what we think our lives could or should look like. We used this style for our wedding photos and I feel transported to that day when I look at them.”

I arrived right before breakfast and hung out for a trip to the park, a morning snack, and a train track building session. The day was perfect in it’s simplicity, and I hope with Liana and family view these photos years from now, they’ll be brought right back to this phase in their lives.

Model Call: Half-Day-in-the-Life Sessions

In 2019, I will be beginning to offer Day in the Life and Half Day in the Life sessions shot in an entirely documentary approach. To kick things off, I am looking for families to help build my portfolio with a free session!

day in the life photography session

These sessions will be entirely unscripted, unposed, undirected. I will simply shadow your family on a normal day and document the story of the day. This style is sometimes known as family photojournalism.

I am offering two free half-day-in-the-life family sessions and two half-day-in-the-life newborn sessions that will last about 4 hours each. These sessions can start in the morning when you are just waking up, or in the evening before bedtime. You do not need to plan any special activities or coordinating outfits for these sessions--in fact, please don't! My goal is to capture your regular life, whatever that entails.

family documentary photography

For these free sessions I’m looking for families within 5 miles of me (zip code 20018). You will need to sign a model release for all family members, so that I may use the images on my website and social media. As a thank-you for helping me, you will receive 10 high-resolution images of your choice from your session. You can also choose to purchase additional images or prints if you would like, but it is not required!

If you are interested in applying for a free session, please fill out the this form. Note: there will be a $75 deposit required to hold your session appointment. I will refund your deposit on the day of your session.

I will be accepting applications for the next few weeks and will make my decisions based on my portfolio needs. Thank you for your interest and I look forward to learning more about you and your family!

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Sneak Peak: Christmas Cookies Mini Session

Cookies are such a perfect activity for a storytelling mini session. I love how they keep everyone occupied and both parents and kids have a role to play. Of course, I always feel bad for the sugar crash I know is waiting once I leave!

Enjoy these beautiful photos from a Christmas Cookie decorating session last weekend with the Martin family!

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mini session cookie decorating
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Sneak Peak: Baking Cookies Candid Mini Session

The Lartey family decided to bake and decorate Christmas cookies for their storytelling mini-session. It made for some great photos though I’m sure Grace ended up having a sugar crash later that afternoon!

candid family holiday photography session
family in home storytelling photography
in home holiday photo session
baking cookies documentary mini session

Location Scouting: Anacostia River Trail and Kingman Island

Summer is for location scouting! Over the past month, I've found two great locations for outdoor sunset shots. 

The Anacostia River Trail at the Melrose Skate Park

This spot has beautiful light at sunset and several awesome spots for photos. Bonus is that it's super accessible from the Brookland neighborhood! 

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Kingman and Heritage Islands

Another awesome spot with river and sunset views--just make sure you wear bug spray! Parking is also easy since the entrance is at one of the RFK stadium lots. 

June Favorites

June marked the second month of my 365 project to take and post one personal photo per day. I haven't missed a day yet! This month, I experimented with freelensing (shooting with the lens removed from the camera to create a tilt shift effect), still life, and documentary techniques. Here are some of my favorite shots!

 

365 photography project photo a day washington dc
still life children's toys photograph from district of columbia
girl playing on playground light and shadows dc photography
children playing at splash park washington dc turkey thicket
toddler playing with water table storytelling photograph washington dc
girl stomping on lobster granby massachusetts
documentary photography child toy store shopping dc
father daughter bathroom scene on phone documentary image
child playing with water toys in bathing suit washington dc
union market hula hoops street art in washington dc
freelensed macro flower with water droplet photograph
street photo lincoln memorial janitor cleaning
little kid with protest sign at rally to end family separation in washington dc
freelensing bicycle photograph street photography union market dc
father daughter silhoutte national aquarium jelly fish exhibit
dc street photography union station in black and white

Jill's Maternity Photos

One of my best friends is due in a couple weeks and we had so much fun shooting this amazing maternity session. We wanted sunset maternity photos outdoors as well as some indoor nursery and bump shots, so I slept over and we had a multi-day photoshoot party. I had so much trouble picking favorites so I put together a grid so I could share as many as possible. 

sunset maternity photography outdoors with trees washington dc
black and white silhouette maternity photo in front of window washington dc photographer
maternity photography at home nursery lifestyle photo district of columbia
pregnancy photo baby bump photographer brookland dc

May Favorites from My Personal Collection (Washington DC Family Photographer)

I started a 365 project in May, aiming to take, edit, and post one personal photo per day. You can follow along and see all of my daily images on instagram (www.instagram.com/kellybellphoto) and I'll be sharing the highlights each month on my blog. These images weren't all selected as my photo of the day for instagram, but they are the ones that stood out to me as I scrolled through all my photos for May. 

family photography in washington dc photo grid of favorites
natural family photography washington dc baby yawning in crib
dc photographer photograph of baby eating a pear
toddler at union market in washington dc photograph 
hungry baby candid photograph district of columbia
kids jumping on bounce house in south hadley massachusetts photography
environmental portrait of a toddler with toys in washington dc
sunset portrait of child blowing dandelion in granby ma
child playing with shadow photography in massachusetts
child in hammock summer day in granby massachusetts photography
baby in shower district of columbia family candid photography
bicycle shadows urban street photography district of columbia
storm through window dc photographer

Sneak Peak: The Sutton Family (Washington DC Outdoor Family Photography Session)

These guys braved some serious heat last weekend for a fun photography session at the Franciscan Monastery in Brookland. I'm loving the color images from this session because you can really feel summer in them. Check out the sneak peak video, and a couple of my favorite shots from below!

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Sneak Peak: Tommy (District of Columbia In-Home Newborn Photography)

I love repeat clients because it's so much fun to watch a family grow. Last week I got to photograph new baby Tommy and his big sister Grace. I'd previously photographed this family when they were just three--Grace and her parents. It was a lot of fun to reconnect and meet the adorable Tommy! The slideshow and a couple of my favorite images are below. 

 

district of columbia new baby photography
newborn photography at home family washington dc
dc baby and sibling lifestyle photograph