Props!

Props! I never thought I would be that photographer who brought props to her sessions…but time changes things sometimes! I do love the natural component of the type of photography I do. I only use natural light (from the sun), it’s very rare that I whip out my external flash! And I usually do my sessions outdoors in a natural setting, so props have never really come into play! I have used a wooden box on several occasions for my little ones, but that was it!

As of late, I have fallen in love with the idea of using props with my littles! That is babies-toddlers! They can sometimes get distracted during a session (Imagine that!!! 😉 ) and using props helps them focus their attention on something and stay “still” long enough to capture just how stinking cute they are!! So I’ve been on the hunt for some new props and I’ve got a sweet little collection now that I am offering to all my clients who have little ones!

I am thrilled to start using them!

I’ve also put them on their own page on my website for reference when you guys want to book with me and decide on your prop of choice!

As always, please let me know if you have any questions! You guys are the best!

http://www.brandyaustinphotography.com | brandyaustinphotography@gmail.com | 618-978-9733

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Baby Ben’s Birth Story

As most of you know, our son, Benjamin Alan Austin entered the world on May 15th, 2018 at 4:04 p.m.

Here is his story.

About 6 weeks into my pregnancy I developed what my midwife called “Hyperemesis gravidarum” or in basic terms, severe “morning” sickness that lasted all day, every day. I was severely dehydrated and depressed. I even sent my daughter (who was about 20 months old at the time) to stay with my mom for a week because I couldn’t bring myself to get out of the bed. I didn’t want to exist. I had never had this severe of depression in my life and I didn’t know what to do. Zach stepped down from many of his extra curricular obligations to simply help take over on everything I used to do and just couldn’t anymore. I went back on diclegis, but insurance wouldn’t cover it so we paid around $100 a bottle… but nothing else even touched what I was experiencing. I still felt the nausea, but the vomiting mostly stopped and it wasn’t nearly as debilitating as it had been before I was on the medication.

•5 weeks along•

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Fast forward to about 14 weeks gestation. I finally was coming out of the morning sickness & the depression had mostly subsided. I had pleaded with God in those previous weeks to take my pain and suffering away, but I didn’t actually believe He would. He didn’t. I had nausea longer in this pregnancy than I did with my little girl- and I had thought THAT was bad.

So, I was feeling somewhat normal again and I realized that I had spent too much time feeling sorry for myself. I knew that God had more for me and more for my pregnancy and I was going to do whatever it took to find out how to get there. My doula told me about hypno-birthing, and even lent me a book on it to read. One night I posted a silly photo of my daughter reading the book. It was around this time that a friend of mine from High school messaged me and told me about her pregnancy and delivery. She told me about a tape she listened to and it changed everything for her. She told me I didn’t need birth classes, hypno-birthing books, or breathing techniques, all I needed was my faith and I could have everything I wanted in this experience. I thought that sounded amazing, but also fictional considering what I had just gone through and what I had experienced in my first delivery.

I was amazed by her story so I decided to download the audio book {Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize} and listened to it all the way through. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Real stories of real women who had beautiful and joyful pregnancies without complications. Stories of women who weren’t supposed to be able to EVER conceive, who did, and had 4 healthy babies. Stories of women who experienced short labors without pain. Unbelievable stories. But that only strengthened my faith. I knew that I was going to be one of these women, because I knew God had spoken to me through my friend and through this tape. My whole life, everyone had always told me how horrible pregnancy could be and how childbirth was awful, painful and the hardest and scariest thing I’d ever do. You’ve all heard the horror stories, the media, television, movies, tv. shows…they all depict this experience in this way. But now, this woman was telling me that it didn’t have to be like that, and I believed her.

I was scared to death to tell my husband about this. Would he think I was crazy? Would he write me off? He didn’t. He trusted me, and listened to the tape as well. His faith was strengthened and we were both on board to do this God’s way. No classes, no special breathing techniques, nothing. We would have a quick, completely natural birth, without any intervention and we would do it without pain and without complications. All we needed to do was believe God for these things and our faith would be enough. We also were in agreement to not share what we were planning and believing for with anyone else. We already were battling doubt and fear without others telling us we were crazy and that wasn’t possible etc. So we kept it to ourselves, until the last few weeks when I shared it with our doula. She was very supportive! We were ready.

The rest of my pregnancy was an actual dream. I only gained about 25lbs compared to the 40 I gained with Aurie. I had no swelling whatsoever until the last week, and I only had it when I had eaten too much salt. I had very little back pain, and I felt pretty much normal until the last week, and then I felt very ready. My body was expanding like it’s supposed to. My hips were widening, I could feel them. And my Braxton hicks contractions were getting stronger. I felt zero pain from them. I also had several bouts of prodromal labor, but none of it was painful.

The last piece of the puzzle was to pray for a sign that I needed to go to the hospital because I knew and believed God that I wouldn’t have pain with my contractions, and we live 1 hour from the hospital (Vanderbilt, downtown Nashville) with the potential for crazy traffic. My first pregnancy told us that my body labored quickly, because I dilated to 8.5cm, only 1.5 hours after my water broke spontaneously at home. I knew I wouldn’t have time to get to the hospital to deliver unless my labor stalled after my water broke. So I asked God to break my water during a low traffic time as our sign and then stall my contractions until we got to the hospital. I prayed for this specifically for several weeks leading up to the big day.

Delivery Day
38 weeks 6 days

It started out as a normal Tuesday. I woke up early and felt like I needed to listen to the tape again, so I did for about an hour before Aurie got up. When she woke, I put her in the car to run some errands and get her a little kiddie pool to escape from the heat. I brought it home after walking around Walmart for a half hour or so. When we got home I filled it up and let her play while I sat and watched. We were both in our bathing suits, lathered up with sunscreen, and snapping our friends to share what we were doing that day.

 

That’s when I felt it; it felt like I peed myself a little bit. {1:15 p.m.} I immediately thought, I’m gonna go check this out just to see because it barely felt like anything at all. And when I got in the bathroom I saw nothing odd on my pad, so I went back outside for a little while. We both got hot so we came in the house and I fixed us lunch. I was almost done eating when I felt it, a gush this time and I knew it then: that was my water breaking. It felt exactly the same with Aurie. I went to the bathroom and sure enough, I had clear fluid on my underpants and my pad. But was this it? I wasn’t even having contractions at all and there was no “bloody show” this time. Was I just imagining this, or was this my sign? And I could hear God’s voice telling me to get Aurie and get in the van and drive downtown. So I did. I changed clothes, changed her clothes and we got in the car. I called my midwife on the way and told them what was going on in a voicemail because they didn’t answer. When she called me back, she asked me if I was having contractions or pain… I wasn’t so I told her I wasn’t. She told me not to come yet, and to wait to leave until I started having close contractions…I couldn’t tell her that I prayed for my labor to stall and I was living in an answered prayer, so I ignored her advice and kept driving.

I called Zach and told him what was going on and he encouraged me that this was what we prayed for and to come on and meet him, so I did. I did stop first to get gas, because I felt no need to rush at that point. He was a bit frazzled when he got to me lol but I was in zero pain and having no contractions so I tried to calm him with that. He drove us the rest of the way downtown and I started having what felt like Braxton hicks while we turned onto Broadway {2:45 p.m.} God was right on time, exactly what we prayed for. I started timing them because I assumed this was what my real contractions would feel like, and I was right. We were told that I should go be checked by my midwife If I wasn’t sure, so they could verify that my waters were broken, but I still wasn’t having strong contractions, so we headed to McDonalds first so that I could pee and Aurie could get some chocolate milk {2:56 p.m.}

A photo I snapped in the Micky dees bathroom during “active labor”.

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So after we got Aurie’s milk, we headed across the street to see my midwife in her office. We parked, Zach got Aurie out and when I stepped of the van, I felt my first strong contraction. I didn’t need to be checked, this was it, he was coming and quickly. We got back in the car, went straight to the hospital E.R. and they put me in a wheelchair to be taken inside. My contractions were about 2 minutes apart at this time, but no pain, just pressure in my lower back (normal for my laboring). We had to put all our bags through security before we went in, which took a little bit and Zach was getting frustrated because Aurie would not stop asking about her chocolate milk she hadn’t gotten to drink yet lol. When I got to the check in desk they asked me a bunch of questions and finally the nurse looked at me and asked “what was that”…I must have looked like I was concentrating because I was in the middle of contraction and focusing on that. I told her so and she asked how far apart. I told her about 2 minutes and she started to panic lol, I told her my water had broken at home.

They wheeled me over to the waiting area, and Zach finished checking me in. The contractions were strong now and no time in between. I knew he would be here soon, and I knew I needed to get to a room asap. They finally got me and wheeled me up to L&D, but I already felt like I needed to push while we were in the elevator. I was stern with the woman, I told her “you need to get me to a room now or this baby is gonna be born in this wheelchair and I still need to take off my pants!!!! (I was so concerned with my pants still being on lol) We get to triage and she wheels me into the tiny check in room{3:37 p.m.} . I told her I felt like I needed to poop (I knew this meant I needed to push) and she told me to get on the tiny cot/bed, so I did after ripping off my clothes. I pushed for the first time and then the midwife that was in triage checked me. Sure enough I was 10 cm & at a +1 position, ready to rock and roll. They called for my midwife and thank goodness she was already in the building!

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I told Zach to take photos of me NOW because my photographer wouldn’t have time to get there and this was happening now! So he did 🙂

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Poor Aurie was still with us because my sister didn’t have time to get there yet. Luckily she arrived about 10 minutes before he was born! So for the time being we gave her Zach’s phone and sat her in the chair in the corner! She did great!

My doula arrived about 10 minutes into pushing and I was so glad! I had never done this part before on my own (I had an epidural the first time), so her help and guidance was amazing! She came in, dimmed the lights and starting rubbing this amazing oil on my back. She also used a cloth of some sort to wrap around my hips and pull them together sort of to relieve pressure and help me hold my pushes better, and it worked! My midwife suggested I turn over and get on my knees and hold the back of the bed, which was inclined. It helped tremendously! My body pushed automatically at each contraction and my support team talked me through how to push and when to hold and when to stop etc. etc. Zach was there the entire time telling me how well I was doing, and I’m so thankful for him! I remember being SO HOT, I kept telling Zach to blow on me and he and the nurse did lol, it felt amazing!! I was sweating so much that I told the nurse to take the baby heart rate monitor off of me and I told them to take my gown off too. So there I was, literally just me, no cords, no IVs, no monitors, nothing. God was giving me exactly what we asked for. The pushing just felt like pressure, it wasn’t bad at all! Then, I started crowning and that was the most intense part for me. I gave a big push and my midwife told me to SLOW DOWN, and to give short little pushes, so I did! And his head was OUT!!! The next contraction I did the same thing and his shoulders were out, he was here!!! {4:04 p.m.}

He was absolutely perfect |7lbs 12oz| 20 inches long | completely healthy

I had a mild first degree tear from pushing too hard when he was initially crowning, but I only needed 2 stitches and it has already healed! My midwife told me she’s never seen someone with such control, but it wasn’t me. It was God. He was in control the entire time. He made my body work perfectly to achieve a healthy baby and a healthy mama. My entire labor was about an hour long, and it was only intense for about 30 minutes, and I could talk and smile between pushes. God is good, and anything is possible if you have faith.

“…Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

-Matthew 17:20

Not only was my L&D incredibly fast and with very little pain, but Ben is also nursing like a champ and I’m producing an insane amount of milk! God’s blessings are overflowing in this house and I am going to tell the world about it! We aren’t perfect, Godly people with enormous faith, but we clung to the faith we did have and God honored that!

 

 

•Weekly Belly Photos•

5 weeks | 13-38 weeks

 

This book is what changed my entire experience, and id recommend it over and over again to any women who are wanting to conceive, or who are already pregnant!

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New Special Services

My friends and followers!

I am excited to formally announce that I am now available to you for special photo projects! I have a heart for creating images that will resonate with you and your loved ones, and that you will have to cherish forever and always!

At first, my pricing will be very affordable as a practice and hone in on my skills, so be sure to contact me asap to get a great deal!

I love photoshop. However, I also RESPECT photoshop as the beast it truly is and knowingly admit that I still have SO much to learn!

Right now I am offering three different types of projects:

  1. Memory Composites of your family and loved ones who are no longer with us.

    I can do this two different ways:
    a. I can take your family photo
    b. I can use a family photo you already have
    c. I will combine one of those with a photo you deliver to me of your passed       loved one, to give you a precious heirloom you will cherish for life.

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2. Special Occasion invitations or graphics

These can be printed or used as digital media. Ex. I used the Frozen photo as a cover picture for my daughter’s upcoming Facebook birthday invitation.

Again, I can take the photos or you may choose to provide them to me with the release to alter them. After we discuss your wishes, I will create a very unique and special announcement for you!

announcements

3. Photo Retouching

These photos will need to be sent to me via email. Depending on the resolution, I can usually give you a beautifully retouched image that your family will be able to display and cherish.

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***Prices vary for each type of project and will depend on your particular project**

Please contact me with any inquiries or questions!

I look forward to broadening the scope of my business and creating beautiful heirlooms for you and your loved ones to enjoy!

Brandy

brandyaustinphotography@gmail.com

brandyaustinphotography.com

Pevahouse Family

About 4 or 5 months ago I had the privilege of bumping into this crew on the playground in our neighborhood! I am an introvert by nature, so it was a total fluke that I decided to start up a conversation with this mama. She had two beautiful children and she seemed to be my kind of person, so we exchanged numbers and said we would hang out since we lived so close!

Well, a month or so later I texted her (time gets away from us mamas) and it turned out that she had gotten a different photo or something and didn’t have my number anymore! I’m so glad I texted her because Kristen has become a good friend of mine! She’s also a photographer, and isn’t afraid to strike a pose!

She even took some headshots of me for my website!

And in exchange, I did a little family shoot for her (minus her hubby).

So sweet!!

Kristen is definitely a natural model as well, look how beautiful!

 

Thanks again for letting me capture your little family! We need to get your hubby out there with us next time! ❤

Have a great weekend,

Brandy

Taylor + Morgan

One month ago today, I was given the privilege of documenting the wedding of a couple very dear to me! The setting was a rustic barn venue, nestled deep in the hills of Kentucky!

The Barn at Cedar grove had everything a bride could dream up and more! With it’s gorgeous old renovated tobacco barn and it’s open lawn surrounded by a tree line and creek, it couldn’t get much more romantic! The careful details of this day did not go unnoticed!

 

Morgan, the bride, paid tribute to her late grandfather by setting his old Harley Davidson jacket out on a table in the barn with his photo sitting right above. She even put his jacket on over her reception attire to snap a quick photo!

 

The Barn at Cedar Grove built both a Bride’s Quarters, as well as a Groom’s Cabin to add to the charm of this gorgeous place! These areas were reserved for the bridal party to prepare for the ceremony!  I had to look no further for the PERFECT place to take Morgan’s “dress photo”! Isn’t it just breathtaking!?

 

I wanted to capture the entirety of this perfect place, so I took the special details of the day and photographed them around the venue!

 

Once the bridal party arrived, it was time to get ready!

 

And the final touches…

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The Bride & Groom Portraits

 

 

 

The Bridal Party

 

 

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The ceremony was held on the lawn, beside a winding creek. The trees that lined the creek gave ample amounts of shade to the guests as they awaited the bride’s entrance. The wooden archway stood up against the tree line and was dressed in fresh flower bouquets to match the wedding colors of mint, blush and ivory. Friends and family were seated in rustic wooden benches adorned with one ivory ribbon each. So simple. So beautiful.

 

You may now kiss the bride ❤

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I now present to you for the first time, Mr. & Mrs. Taylor Austin!

 

Their sweet dog Pebbles even joined in for a few family photographs!

 

After pictures were finished, they cut the cake and danced the night away!

 

It was one of the most beautiful weddings i’ve ever been to, and it was more than perfect for this sweet couple! I just want to thank you, Morgan & Taylor for choosing me as your photographer! I hope you enjoyed reliving your big day through these images and wish you all the love and happiness in the world!

If you are interested in more information on my wedding packages & pricing, please visit my website http://www.brandyaustinphotography.com! Or email me at brandyaustinphotography@gmail.com

Brandy

Where It All Began

When you first realize your passion in life, you get so excited, right? You want to spend every waking second doing what you love, and naturally you love what you do!

I love photography, and capturing life through a lens. But sometimes, the logistics of my business wear me down and snuff out the passion for a little while. It’s at times like those, that I need to reach back for the memory of where it all started. I bought my first digital SLR camera as a newlywed because I wanted to photograph my growing family, and have nice quality pictures that I would treasure, forever. Since my love grew into a career/business, I forget at times why I even wanted a camera in the first place.

Today, I rested in that original dream, and allowed myself to remember where it all began.

This is what I live for. I love to capture your family, your kids and your love stories. But, I love to capture mine even more.

Life is beautiful, the small moments are everything, and they only last a little while. I’m thankful to have these moments preserved for me because they are what makes my life worth living.

Love you all, & goodnight.

Brandy

 

 

 

 

A “Snapshot”: May

Hey friends!

Today, I wanted to share with you a little bit of what my life is like right now. This post has less to do with photography, and more to do with me as a person, I hope you don’t mind!

Life has been so full lately. Full of commitments, and obligations. But also full of love and fun and constant entertainment (life with a 15 month old).

My daughter has started to “test” us, and it’s not as fun as it sounds (shocking I know!). She will do something like, “bang a toy against the wall”, and then look at us, just waiting for a reaction. When we give her “the look”, she laughs. I suppose this is what we get for sneaking out of the house as teenagers, or “staying the night with a friend”…(Sorry Mom & Dad!!!!!!!) Not that Zach or I ever did any of that… 😉

Definitely not. We were “golden” children… BUT jokes on us now I suppose, because we are raising a tiny version of ourselves. God, please help us!!

I digress.

It turns out that my perfect, sweet, angelic little baby has somehow morphed into a little rotten, sneaky, turd of a toddler. But the thing is she is still wonderfully sweet one moment and the next she is pulling the dog’s eyelids and hitting my husband with a plastic spoon. I guess shes a a real-life sour patch kid!

She’s also become quite clever! When we take her to bed at night, we always read her a bedtime story first. So now when we are putting her in her crib, she will say “book, book”. And how can we not read her a book when she’s asking for us to?!!?? Although, I do believe she is only saying it to escape the inevitable bedtime situation. Well played, Aurie.

But at the end of the day, no matter what she has done I feel so blessed. I feel blessed that God chose me to be her mother, and hand picked me to raise her up to know Him. I feel the weight of that responsibility and do not take it lightly. It’s so hard some days to not scream or yell or get mad or frustrated with her (& sometimes I do), but it’s easier when I think about how lucky I am to get the opportunity to be a mom, and to be a mom to this amazing, smart, creative, funny, beautiful and perfect little girl. She’s everything I could ever want, and that gets me through even the hardest days.

My advice to anyone in my boat right now is to GIVE YOURSELF GRACE!!! And margin!

I need to take that advice as well because I tend to bite off a little bit more than I can chew. I enjoy helping people and making their lives easier, so I rarely ever say “no”. My goal for the month of June is to learn to say “no” a little more often in order to give myself room to breathe and you should too!!

So there you have it, a little “snapshot” into my life situation right now! Hope you enjoyed the read, and thank you again for following my blog and supporting my business! Love you guys!

Xoxo

Brandy

Find me on facebook: facebook.com/brandyaustinphotography

Join my inner group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/531508903639893/

Check out my website: http://www.brandyaustinphotography.com

The Scoop

Hello friends!

It’s been a busy couple weeks in our neck of the woods! From the everyday grind, to photo shoots; from big job changes to best friend’s weddings and party planning, we have barely gotten a chance to binge watch Grey’s Anatomy!! (You KNOW we’ve been busy if we are 6 episodes behind!)

Nonetheless, our days are filled with the people we love and that’s worth the crazy hectic schedule.

So, to give you all an update on my biz, I’ve had 8 photo shoots since the beginning of April. I know that may not sound like a lot to you all, but before I really started getting serious, I would maybe have one shoot every 2 months. And I was lucky if that shoot was paid!! Out of the 8 shoots I had, 5 were paid! You guys, this is a huge step for me and YOU are the reason I am able to keep pursuing my dream!!

I wanted to give you a little snapshot (pun intended; ha!) of my most recent work.

Fresh 48

Baby Eli
Baby Finley

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Mommy & Me

Jennifer & Family
Brandy & Aurie
Johns Family
Stewart Family
Kim & Cooper//Jamie & Finley

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Engagement

Taylor + Morgan

I’m so thankful for each and every one of these clients! You guys have been amazing so I want to thank you again for helping me practice my skill and build my portfolio!

And I have my very first Wedding coming up in June! I am so thankful that I get to have this experience, despite the nerves that come with the first time shooting a wedding! I will keep you guys posted!

If you are interested in booking a shoot with me, please contact me via phone or email!

brandyaustinphotography@gmail.com

618.978.9733

Want to see more of my work? Visit http://www.brandyaustinphotography.com

“Yes, I am a Photographer”

Hey guys!

I’m just your typical 26-year-old American stay-at-home mommy…with a camera permanently attached to my hand! 😉

It all started when I got married. I am the type of person who is constantly thinking about the future and what I will need to do in order to prepare for what is to come. This is good, and bad…trust me. My point is that I wanted a nice, [expensive] camera so that I could take top notch photos of my family, fur-baby and my {future} children someday!

Long story short, we had NO money when we first got married, so it took about a year but my husband finally bought me my very first DSLR camera and the rest is history…or at least that’s what i’ll tell everyone when I finally make it in this crazy exciting world of photography!! 😉

My love for photography could probably be traced back to grade school. I remember when we had the little disposable cameras with film that had to be dropped off at [walmart] at the time, and in a few days, your photos would be ready for you view, and you even got your negative strips–to boot! I used to gather up all our photos and put them into albums and flip through them for hours.

I have always just thought about it as an interest, or a hobby at most, until now. Now, I realize that it’s my true passion in life and I am pursuing it like never before.

When I look through the camera, I see a different world. A beautiful, perfect and peaceful world that I can capture; a moment in time I can actually freeze with a click of a button. That is incredible.

So come with me on this journey, I’d love to have you in the seat next to me, watching and cheering me on.

I have God to thank for this opportunity, because He continues to bless our family financially and continues to sustain us in every season. I also have my husband to thank for working his day job and allowing me to stay at home with our little girl, and to pursue my dream.

So like, share, comment, and encourage me because we all have great days, but we also have hard days too.

Visit my website if you’d like {brandyaustinphotography.com}

Like and follow me on facebook: facebook.com/brandyaustinphotography

Hope to hear from you all soon!

Brandy

My beautiful family ©2017

Knowing When to Throw in the Towel

Life is terribly difficult at times. Those moments seem to occur more often since ive become a mother. 

All I wanted to do was breastfeed my baby until she turned one. I wasn’t able to do that, and sometimes I beat myself up over it. But I shouldn’t. 

You see, my little one wouldn’t latch naturally until she was two months old. Nursing was a struggle for me since day one, but now it’s over. What I would give to still be struggling…but I must learn to let go. God had a plan for my baby and nursing simply was only part of it for a little over 8 months. I should be so proud of myself for making it as long as I did.

That’s the trouble though, I am way too hard on myself. 

Sometimes all us mamas need is someone on the outside to simply say, “you are doing a great job”, or “you are an amazing mom”. 

These aren’t “nice” things to say as much as they are needed for us to really learn how important our role is. We need the kind words, we yearn to know we are doing the job well. 

It makes it difficult when your daily audience can’t talk and you get caught up in striving for perfection. 

I hope you mommy’s know how important and precious you all are. I appreciate all that you do on an hourly basis. You are strong, you are amazing and you are doing a wonderful job.