Archive for 'Watch Me Grow'

This awesome couple is expecting their first baby and contacted me about doing maternity  & newborn photos. When we sat down at our pre-session consult, mom asked if I had a plan to cover monthly photos of her pregnancy. Of course we do! We made a custom plan for them that will include a beautiful 8×8 book. For the next few months, we will be getting together and creating photos that tell the story of baby’s development and mama’s changes, and also photographing baby once she arrives! This first session was held in Gilbert and focused on the news that baby is a girl! Pink props from her baby shower were a perfect touch. When researching just how big a baby is at 25 weeks, I learned that they are approximately the size of a rutabaga (or 1.5 lbs.). Rutabagas are kinda funky looking, so luckily, my grocery had a personal watermelon that was just the right size! Here are a few images from their session and I’m really looking forward to the next one!

First birthday photos celebrate a big milestone for a child (and his family)! It means the tiny baby stage has passed and the toddler stage is fast approaching. Mr K has been part of the “Watch Me Grow” plan, and I’ve been lucky enough to create his newborn photos3 month photos, and family photos at 9 months. Now, he’s a year old and taking on the world! He not only walks, but runs everywhere, has absolutely no fear of anything and has THE loudest belly laugh I’ve ever heard come out such a little body. We opted out of a typical cake smash session and decided instead to meet at Power Ranch’s Clubhouse area for some playtime in the grass and on the playground. The best part of these sessions is getting the natural smiles and laughter out of the kids because they are just having so much fun. We run, chase, play, tickle and chase some more. I swear that sometimes toddler sessions are better than going to the gym with a trainer! Throw in a big sister who’s less than 2 years older and we’ve got an awesome morning of photos. The funniest part of the session was when Mr K was determined to climb up the caterpillar ladder. (My kids call it that, its the curved climbing ladder.) He didn’t want anyone to help him, just to do it himself. He managed to get up on the first rung and then got stuck on his knees, hands on the 2nd rung. He still refused any and all help, Mr Independent. After a few seconds of struggling with leg positions, and a little boost from mama, he got free, and ran off as happy as could be! And, as a bonus for being extra good, little man got his usual snack and big sister got a super good pink donut! She was in heaven!

9 months old already! As part of my “Watch Me Grow” plan, I get to play with this family every few months and photograph Mr C as he grows and reaches new milestones. We went to downtown Gilbert for a casual feel and captured some pretty darn cute photos of Mr C and his mom & dad. He’s kind of a serious little dude, always looking around to see whats going on, filing all the details away and then when he feels like you’ve earned it, he turns on the charm with an adorable smile. And seriously, that outfit!! Ack! So stinkin’ cute, dressed up like a little model. He tried to throw the hat to the ground when mom first put it on him, but then he left it alone for most of our time together. It was also his first time wearing shoes and he got a kick out of rubbing them together and listening to the noise that it made. The funniest moment (for us as spectators at least) came when mom set him down on the grass. Arizona babies have no clue what that green stuff is, or why it is touching them! His first reaction was to lift his hands, but since they were supporting him, he could only lift one at a time, while glaring at us for torturing him like that. I can’t wait for his first birthday, its just around the corner!!


Check out 2 of his other sessions here & here….

When a current client calls me to let me know that a new baby will be joining the family, I get as excited as I do when a close friend or family member tells me they’re expecting! I’ve had the fortune of photographing big brother D at 6 months and one year, so to get to watch little sister grow in front of my lens is a ton of fun! We planned her session to be fairly laid back since we weren’t sure how big brother was going to adjust to his new role in life. Simple backdrops, a few small props with sentimental value, and hopefully, we could encourage Mr D to hang around and get some sweet photos. What we weren’t anticipating was that he would jump feet first into his role as big brother, and LOVE the new baby. It was fairly easy to get him to take photos (well, as easy as anything is with a toddler), and helped that he already knew me from our previous sessions. We started with family photos outside, and then moved inside for the blanket setups. Miss E is a curious little one and was reluctant to sleep for photos; she preferred to get to know me and check out the action. Since she was awake, we captured less posed photos, and moved to a lifestyle approach with snuggles, books and nursery photos. Flexibility is always key when babies and toddlers are involved.

While baby was on a snack break, I chased Mr D around the upstairs, and have fallen in love with the black & white photos of his sweet & sneaky face. By far, though, the best shot of the day came after he and I played a game of Simon Says with his teddy bear. Since we were already in the silly mode, I laid baby on the furry rug, and we continued our game so that I could snap a photo of the two of them. The resulting image is priceless. Mr D & Miss E’s parents selected it as a canvas to add to their growing gallery wall of photos! I can’t wait to see how that wall develops over the coming years. (And of course, when I delivered the canvas, I had to take a quick iPhone photo because Miss E is life-size on it!) We also created some beautiful storyboards to add to the nursery decor!

<3 KC

“Fresh 48” Newborn Photo Sessions are done in the hospital room, when baby is less than 48 hours old and is often the first or second meeting of baby by older siblings or relatives. I went to Mercy Gilbert hospital this week to meet my newest client and congratulate her family!

After chatting with mom & dad, and snapping a few photos of their new addition, we heard a knock at the door. “Prunes please!” the little voice asked as he came bouncing into the hospital room. He didn’t ask for mommy, or daddy, or even baby sister, but for prunes! Dylan really wanted some of the ones that he knew mommy had on the nightstand. Grabbing the entire tub, he ran over and proudly showed them off to his new baby sister, asking if she could share with him. After learning that Evelyn was too little to eat a snack with him, he happily ate a few sticky treasures, and then held his hands out to hold the baby. Ever so gently (and with some help from his parents), big brother cuddled the new baby girl on his lap, telling her stories, and naming off her perfect little body parts. “Eyes, ears, hair, mouth, fingers…” Then, in typical 2 year old fashion, he’d get distracted by the TV or a plane outside. “What’s that?” Satisfied with an answer, he’d go back to naming parts of his sister, “Ears, nose, tummy…” This family of 3 had grown to a family of 4 and seemed to be settling in just fine!

The Pfeifer family grew by one beautiful family member this week, and I was lucky enough to capture some special memories for them while still at the hospital. Gramma, Dylan, Mom & Dad all took turns holding and snuggling the sweet newborn girl, a little over 24 hours old. Here’s her digital “announcement” to tell her story, and some favorite images shared under the video. Congratulations Pfeifer family! Looking forward to her newborn session this week!


Contact me today for more information regarding scheduling your own “Fresh 48” or newborn photo session! I can be reached using the “Contact” tab above, or by calling (209) 303-5318. <3 Kristen

Baby girl is a sweet new addition to this family and her big brother couldn’t be happier. Less than 2 years apart is often a difficult age gap because the older sibling doesn’t quite understand why they aren’t the center of attention anymore, but Mr N adjusted quickly and has become his sissy’s big helper and best friend. He clumsily gives her toys, tries to snuggle her and is happy to just sit quietly next to her while mommy or daddy hold little miss. Photo sessions with toddlers and newborns are often unpredictable, this one went smoothly. We used cereal puffs as bribery and big brother was super cooperative to get the photos that mom requested! His part only took a few minutes and then he was happy to run off and play while we photographed baby alone and with her parents. The best part of in-home photo sessions is letting the older siblings remain in their space while we work, and being able to incorporate the family home into photos. The piano belongs to mom and I loved the idea of baby laying on the bench to show just how little she is right now. (All safety precautions were taken, and baby was never left alone on the bench. It is a composite photograph.) Once the family viewed their photos, they decided on an 8×8 Storybook, a large wall print of their family & the sweet “Family” collage print for their family room, plus a set of beautifully printed announcements.

Springtime in Mesa evokes images of green grass, breezy trees, cloudy blue skies and photo sessions with babies in milk-crates…. Wait? What? You don’t picture babies in milk-crates when you think of Spring? Well, we did! Mr K is enrolled in the “Watch Me Grow” plan and every few months over his first year, we will create portraits that capture his current age/stage. You can see his fun lifestyle newborn session here. This 3 month session meant smiles/giggles when prompted,  eye contact and lots of personality. It also meant that he wasn’t big enough to sit, roll or crawl, so we plopped him in the milk-crate and on the fuzzy rug by the pond at Freestone Park for his photos. We heard and saw the ducks with their little ducklings in tow, watched the clouds pass by and snuggled with this adorable baby, making some cute photos for his family.

During their pre-session consultation, mama also mentioned that she really wanted a sibling shot of Big Sister and baby. The first few weeks after baby was born were rough on Miss E, and we didn’t get “the” shot at his newborn session; 3 months has passed, and she’s warmed up to him, decided she’ll keep him around, and even helps to comfort him when he cries at home. There were lots of  kisses during our time together, some hugs and a few hilarious moments when she was asked to “hold” him. (Mom actually had a hand on him the whole time, since 1 year olds aren’t the easiest with babies). But we definitely got a few great ones! Photos to treasure as they get older, especially the one of her crying with him in her lap. As a reward, I gave sister a marshmallow flower (bribery always works on toddlers), asked her run to the top of the hill and chased her with my camera, capturing some cute ones of her alone. Looking forward to photographing him again at his next milestone: sitting up! 🙂

When Jennifer & Jared first contacted me, they wanted the fun, casual look of an outdoor maternity session as well as the intimate artsy photos that come from an in-home maternity session. I loved their ideas, so I offered them both! We collaborated to discover their style, their personalities and learn more about who they are as a couple and decided that the Scottsdale Civic Center, near the Library & famous LOVE statue would make for a fun and beautiful location for their belly photos. Since this was January in Arizona, the leaves had started to turn and drop, creating a wonderful “fall” feeling to their images. We took advantage of all the textures, paths & beautiful landscaping to craft photos that show off their changing relationship and family size! Then, the following day, I came to their home and we spent time in their naturally lit bedroom, den and hallways knowing that we would also be photographing their newborn in the same space. Much of my inspiration came from the idea of “before & after”. Photos of her beautiful belly, their connection and comfort in their home; while also thinking ahead to the little Peanut that would be in their arms just a few short weeks later. I love that the photo of them laying across the bed, also has the teddy bear in the background. (He used the bear in his proposal and it also became a prop in their newborn session after)… This was definitely a beautiful session and a great couple to get to know. I always love it when clients become friends!

Mr C made his debut a couple weeks earlier than expected, deciding that he didn’t want to share his birthday with Valentine’s day or the week before or after! His mom, Jennifer, and I were actually having coffee talking about his newborn photos when she told me that she’d been having contractions for a few days, but figured they weren’t the real thing. Ha! He was born less than 12 hours after our coffee date! The family lives in Gilbert AZ also, so it was just a hop, skip and a jump for me to pack up my gear and head to their house when Mr C was just 7 days new. I love setting up newborn sessions in clients’ homes; they don’t have to worry about packing half the house to come to me and they can enjoy  their own space. It just makes sessions so much more relaxing & stress-free. We had done their maternity photos in their home as well, so I knew that the upstairs had beautiful light, big windows and would be warm enough that I wouldn’t even need my space heater. Plus, we could do “before” & “after” photos posed similarly to the belly session.

Mr C wasn’t exactly thrilled with our session at first, and was even a little ticked off to begin with! So we swaddled him tightly, and he zonked right out for the rest of the photos. We even got big “sister” Anya, a Great Dane, to jump in for a couple of shots. One of the coolest things about doing both a maternity & newborn session with a family is being able to create artwork from both! The nursery will have these 2 prints hanging side by side over Mr C’s changing table, showcasing both belly & baby in a custom design that matches his nursery.

*Edited to add: Maternity session is posted! Click here to view.

As always, feel free to “pin” photos to Pinterest, share to Facebook, or leave a comment here on the blog! And to book your own session, email me at or visit the homepage:

<3 Kristen


A new baby brings so much joy & love, and with a toddler in the house, more chaos! The Finn family of Mesa, AZ welcomed the addition of their son, making a family of 4! Big Sister is just a little over  a year older than baby and her world flipped upside down when he came home. I always tell parents that toddlers need time to adjust and with newborn sessions usually happening within the first 2 weeks of life, they aren’t always going to cooperate with us for the perfect family photos. Miss E was no different. She was used to being the center of attention, and now, she had baby brother taking some of that. When I arrive to a newborn photo session in my clients’ home, I always make sure to greet the older child or children, involving them in the process, and making sure that they are comfortable with me. This usually makes things so much easier later on in the session. We also go with the flow for posing; if big sister or brother won’t participate right away, I’ll take photos of baby alone, or baby with mom & dad individually. On the other hand, if the sibling(s) are ready to go and want to love on baby, then we jump right into family photos and sibling shots.
During our pre-session consultation, the family and I discussed the possibility of lifestyle photos for these instead of using the studio setup. It gives the toddler a little more freedom, plus tends to be more realistic in your memories of those first few precious days with a newborn. So, when Miss E really didn’t want to take pictures with baby brother (or even sit near him), we went with plan B and I’m so glad that we did! Family photos on the couch, where they hang out regularly, playing, laughing, jumping, and loving each other! A real lifestyle look into their family and this particular moment in time. Then, once little Miss was done with her photos, she got to have lunch and go down for a nap while I snuggled and wrapped her new baby brother. He was so smile-y!! (Whoever says that new babies only smile from gas is full of hot air themselves! I <3 big huge baby smiles!) Plus, I kinda have an obsession with baby toes, so you know, there are some photos of them as well.
The funniest moment though was when I felt something or someone bump up against my leg; I looked over expecting to see big sister hanging out (which happens), but no. It was the family dog. He loved how warm our space was, so he plopped himself on the edge of the blanket and watched as I took photos of the new baby! Looking forward to watching this little one grow over the next year, as he’s enrolled in my “Watch Me Grow” plan! Can’t wait!

<3 KC

Nadine & Ryan contacted me while pregnant with Miss E asking about a full year’s program of photo sessions. We decided that a 5 session “Watch Me Grow” Plan was perfect for them. Every baby is different, so is every “Watch Me Grow” plan. We usually plan for maternity, newborn (first 2 weeks), lifting head and smiling (3 months), sitting and laughing (6-7 months), crawling or standing (9-10 months) and then first birthday (with cake smash)… Or any combination of these milestones, depending on how many sessions a family wants. I wasn’t blogging over the course of their year of photos, so I’ve decided to make one awesome GIANT post of our sessions together. Follow along as I recap Baby E’s first year!

When we first started talking about the style and location of their belly session, Nadine & Ryan wanted something with desert. Since most of their family lives out of state, they really wanted to show off the scenery that Arizona has to offer. We decided on the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert, especially after seeing that the desert wildflowers were in bloom! She had a tiny bump of a belly, even at 34 weeks, so we kept laughing that her maternity session was the only time anyone would tell her to stick out her belly more!

Kristen Carter Photography  Watch Me Grow Blog Belly

Little Miss E made her debut in the summertime, which made for fun outdoor newborn photos as well as sunny indoor shots. Big brother is a furry lovable guy who wanted to be in some of the photos too. Safety of the little one is always priority #1, so the image is a composite with dad holding the leash and mom sitting down right next to baby off-camera. Thanks to the warmth of the day, and her full tummy, she slept great while we posed her, and their family photos are some of my favorites to this day!

Kristen Carter Photography Watch Me Grow Blog Newborn

Our next session together was timed perfectly for holiday cards and gifts, with us meeting up in October. The weather was brisk, but beautiful and their choice of outfits fit perfectly with the landscaped area that we selected as a setting. I love the 3-5 month age, as they are starting to develop a real personality! Even at this age, Miss E’s spunk and spirit was showing!

Kristen Carter Photography Watch Me Grow Blog 3 Months


We kept in touch over the spring and decided to hold her 9 month session at the Mesa Arts Center for its bright colors and fun areas that kept a VERY active little one contained and entertained. We wandered all over the grassy areas & Miss E showed off her quick crawling ability and her fearlessness! This girl gave me the best smiles when she knew she was doing something she wasn’t supposed to be, such as crawling off the steps! She wasn’t walking quite yet, but it was very soon after our session that first steps turned to running!!  Kristen Carter Photography Watch Me Grow Blog 9months


Our last session of Miss E’s “Watch Me Grow” Series took place just a couple weeks ago. Although her birthday had passed already, we decided to present her with a pink cake (baked by the very talented Brandi of Custom Created Cakes by Brandi). Some babies are a little wary of cake and don’t really get into it. Not this little one!! After the first taste, she dug in! Both hands (and face) covered in pink glittery frosting. She even decided to “paint” the rocking chair!! So much fun and giggling, mostly by mom & I. Plus, Nadine & Ryan wanted a way to announce to their friends & family whether big sister E would have a brother or sister! Of course, I obliged the request and cannot wait to photograph another member of this beautiful family in 2014!!

Kristen Carter Photography Square Cake Smash Pink TutuKristen Carter Photography Watch Me Grow Blog First Year

<3 Kristen