Milk Bath at the Preserve. The First Rule of Natural Light Photography.

My first ever milk bath shoot!

I was honored to be a part of this experience! Jasmine wanted to celebrate 6 months of breastfeeding by doing a milk bath photoshoot with her sweet baby girl.  What a cute idea and with such a strong meaning! Breastfeeding is hard! It is definitely worth the celebration making it to 6 months! Congrats to Jasmine on her beautiful baby girl and this journey they’ve taken together!

We chose the Riparian Preserve as our location, starting at sunrise so we would be able to shoot in the open grass area with the water and wildlife in the background. Well, you may notice that the milk bath photos don’t look like they’re in the location I just described.  But you would never know this spot was our Plan B if I hadn’t told you because- well just look at them!

I thought this was a great opportunity to talk about the variability of outdoor photo sessions aka The Nature of Natural Light Photography.  There are essentially three things to expect with natural light photography. I call them The Three Rules of Natural Light Photography. I will be talking about them in my next 3 posts. Today we will be covering the first rule. 

The First Rule of Natural Light Photography: Trust your photographer.

 If you’ve hired someone who knows their way around a natural light session you’ll be able to tell because they will turn down your ideas left and right. Haha…but really. 

Now, I’m definitely not saying not to give ideas or express what you want from the session or wedding day but a great Natural Light Photographer is very precise about the lighting and location that they shoot in. We spend a great deal of time honing our craft.    

As professionals we know how to stick to our style, and how to give you clean images that you will love. You’re paying us to know this stuff! In general, the more you pay the more you can trust a photographer to know what they’re doing.  

Message behind this photo: Breastfeeding is a team effort.

Shout out to Jasmine for not even batting an eye when I had to tell her the tough news that the grass just wasn’t going to be ideal.  That is what trusting your photographer looks like. 

Essentially what happened was the only spot where there was greenery near the water, and was also in the right direction to be shooting for the morning time was too bright and harsh by the time we got started! In addition to this the Preserve happen to be filling in spotty grass areas directly around the one I had scouted out (weeks ago mind you) with sod THE. VERY. SAME. MORNING! So even if we were creative with angles we would have had to deal with harsh light AND construction workers in the background! Oh boy. Anywhere else by the water would be in the mud which doesn’t make for good baby pictures since I am shooting mostly angled down. 

We did our Mommy and Me shots by the water just in time for the last of the morning glow and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. Just look at all that soft light hitting them. I LIVE for this type of light.  

Also, can I just say how nice it is to bring a nanny, friend or family member to a family or child session to help get their attention.  I suggest this in my Portrait Style Guide and I LOVE it when people take me up on this! It makes so many more images possible with little kids. 

A few more details about the session:

Jasmine’s sister, who is a florist, made the flower crown. I could NOT get over how perfect it was!

This session was at the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert, AZ.  

Milk Bath Sessions fall under Baby Sessions and they start at 325 per Session.  Inquire for more info! 

Note to my Phollowers (Photographer Followers):

  1. If you are local and wanting to shoot at sunrise in the Preserve then make sure you look out for and be respectful of the birdwatchers! It’s their park too! If you’re shooting at sunset be aware there are about 3 million other photographers there. Yikes! The Preserve is Beautiful and there is TONS of variety but it is definitely not a little known spot. I’m in a constant love/hate relationship with this place for evening shoots.
  2. If you have to make the hard decision between choosing something that the client specifically asked for and staying true to what you know will look good given the conditions that you have been given- the best thing to do is to educate. Tell them why you’re making the choices you are.  This is especially important if you discussed these things before and told them something would likely be possible and now it’s not.

If I had caved and said “Well, I promised her greenery and grass, I better give her grass”, I guarantee we would have gotten grass for sure, and also some dark shadows and harsh light on babies face because of our late start, but nothing as clean and epic as the shots that we did get. And without extra lighting complications I was able to include TONS of images in the gallery. A lot more than we would have if I had been more worried about being on the grass or having very specific greenery. 

So many photographers just give up if someone shows up late or they have any reason to blame the session not going right on the client. This is completely unacceptable in my book. When people are paying for something, they value it and aren’t going to be late on purpose! Giving up and just letting the shoot fall apart VS. taking control and making decisions that will create a new vision with the situation at hand is one of the fundamental differences between a successful photographer who is esteemed and referred to by everyone they interact with and is consequently able to charge more for their work AND is constantly booked versus a mediocre photographer who is constantly trying to look for bookings and has the lowest prices in town, who people show little respect for and don’t refer their friends to. Which one do you want to be?

In the end I think the most important thing is that I do my best to help my client achieve what they want! And sometimes that includes me weighing what is more important to them according to what they’ve told me and making some judgment calls. Am I always 100% right every time? No, but when it comes to this, I think you can look at the images and decide for yourself! 

Just look at that morning glow! <3

XO Alyssa

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