Welcome Ivy – Diablo documentary newborn photography

You may remember the Keane family from my day in the life session with them back in 2014. Well, since then they have grown by one and just welcomed baby Ivy to their family. So I was lucky enough to be invited down by Leslie and Justin to catch-up the family album with some shots of them hanging out around their beautiful home in Diablo.

One of the wonderful things that Leslie told me when she got back in touch was how much the value of the photos I took for her a few years ago have grown over time. How the little things that her kids did, expressions, games, toys they played with, have changed so much in that time and that those photos we captured, take her back to those little details that might otherwise be lost in time.

Love this family, their laid-back vibe, kids full of personality, and now their love for their beautiful Ivy.

Memories by Michelle Diablo Documentary Newborn Photography

Memories by Michelle Diablo Documentary Newborn Photography

Memories by Michelle Diablo Documentary Newborn Photography

Memories by Michelle Diablo Documentary Newborn Photography

Expecting a baby in 2018?

I’m booking welcome home baby sessions for 2018 now. These sessions are a different take on your typical newborn session, focusing not just on the cute chubby cheeks of baby but also their new place in the family, the love that is showered on them, and how your family dynamic changes. Sessions are held at home, are relaxed, natural, fun, and – as Leslie said – something that will grow in value over time.

2018 Newborn Session Inquiry

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Welcome Max – El Dorado Hills Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

Max is here and he’s out of this world! Excuse the corny pun but it fits so well with his parents who are Star Wars mad and who themed his room around Star Wars characters, TIE and X-wing starfighters (yes, I had to Google to get the right names), and the iconic Death Star (I knew that! Extra points me!) In fact, Star Wars is everywhere in Rachel and Joe’s home, not just in Max’s nursery.

The force is definitely with this little family, however. (Sorry… I couldn’t resist. Ok, yes, I’ll try.) Joe and Rachel are really enjoying snuggles with Max and sharing him with his older sister.

Me? I couldn’t resist tiny fingers and toes with lots of wrinkles and some of that fuzzy-peach skin. I heart newborn sessions and I can’t wait for my next one later this month down in Diablo. If you know of someone expecting in the New Year, I’m already booking January and February newborn sessions. Because they take a little longer, I can only do a couple a month, so if you want to get on the schedule, call me soon.

In the meantime, ooooh and ahhhh over Max…


El Dorado Hills Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

El Dorado Hills Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

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6 reasons to have your newborn photo session at home

One of my favorite sessions to shoot is a newborn session at home. Or, what I call a “Welcome Home Baby Session”.  There’s something magical about those first few weeks at home. Your love and wonder for this new member of your family is so on the surface, exploring their temperament, discovering their likes and dislikes, tweaking your life and your routines to fit them inside of your family cocoon. I remember my daughter’s first weeks at home in a way that is almost physical; warmth, soft light, happy tears, cuddles, bleary eyes. And yes, so, so many diapers and baby wipes and bottles.

Shooting at your home gives you so much space and flexibility. We schedule plenty of time. You can break to breastfeed, or we can photograph that wonderful connection between you and your child while you do. You don’t have to shush your child to sleep to get a shot. It’s all part of the shoot, the crying and the shushing and the feeding and the stuff you’re already doing. No need to put on a show. No need to worry about nap times or misbehaving siblings. It’s all perfect. Even the discarded burp cloth. It’s all part of your story.

Here’s just 6 of the reasons why I think you should schedule an at home “Welcome Home Baby Session”

1. You don’t have to physically get yourself, your baby, your husband, and any other kids, up and out the door.

If you’re new to this parenting thing, the time it takes to achieve this previously-simple feat cannot be overestimated. If you’re a pro, you know this: it doesn’t matter what time you get up or start the process, you will be rushing around at the last minute to get out the door, you’ll be stressed, you’ll probably forget something (likely brushing your hair), and everyone will be grumpy and resentful as a result. But oh… here’s a camera… SMIIIIIILE! Nope. Not happenin’ So, stay home and wait for me there. If you’re running a few minutes behind, I photograph and watch the baby and other kids while you run a brush through your damp hair – and allow dad to gulp down that last, sweet, sip of coffee. We can just ease ourselves into this. Ahhhhhh.

2. You have everything you need, right there.

Newborn sessions at home Memories by Michelle Photography

Diapers, changing table, change of clothes, favorite blankets, bottles, formula, binkies, rocking chair, a quiet place to breastfeed, a bathroom, toys for the other kids to stay occupied with… need I go on? Don’t stuff the diaper bag with everything but the kitchen sink and bribe your other kids with promises of candy or ice-cream. Home has everything you need in the eventuality of almost anything that might happen. Taking the stress out of this photo session is good for everyone. Babies and kids feed off our moods. When we’re comfortable, so are they – and that comes through in your photos. If you have other children, they can go off and play without you worrying a bout having to entertain them the whole time.

3. This is your baby’s home.

It may not be something from the cover of Better Homes & Gardens but it’s the place where he or she will grow up, the place that will hold all the sweet memories. Memories of midnight feedings and sticky-finger crawls, dribbling first solids and wobbly-legged first steps. Don’t you want to capture that? Wouldn’t it be great to accompany that “remember when…?” with a picture of that exact spot in the house, that exact mural on the wall, the exact pattern of the crib bumper? I can photograph the little details of your life that knit you all together as a family, as well as your loving and smiling faces.

4. Baby is cute but he/she didn’t get here alone. 

Your baby is part of a family, no matter how big or small. Photos of them wrapped up in a beautiful muslin shawl are gorgeous and precious but they don’t need to be the only photos you have taken of your newborn. The interactions, love, attachment, and rituals of everyone at this special time in your family’s life, are just as important. Big sister carefully holding baby with love is important. Daddy’s shushing and hugs are important.

5. These little things you do, you’ll only do for such a short time

You will be a parent for 40, 50, or possibly more years of your life. Only 10% of those years are spent parenting a child. An infintisimal percentage of that time will be spent as the mom or dad of a newborn or baby. Less than one year out of 4 or 5 decades. Although those days of sleepless nights may feel long now, in the grand scheme of things they are but a blip on the radar of life with this little human you’ve made. The morning snuggles, the nightly rituals, the reading, the juggling, the crying, and yes even breastfeeding one baby while potty training their older sibling… those memories gain value over time, as they become blurrier and blurrier and you’re struggling to remember how they smelled, the names of the books you read, the sound of your partner’s voice through the bedroom door as he sang a lullabye. Capturing a slice of that, in the place where it all happens – home – can take you right back there, with a single image.

6. There is no perfect time to schedule your session.

There’s no right age or timeline for your session as there can be for those curly-q newborn portraits. The day after you get home is fine. Three weeks after you get home is fine. Three months works ok too. Of course, baby is growing every day and what we capture and how we capture it will change, along with your routines, depending on when you schedule your session. But, with this style of session, there is no “perfect” time. Just the perfect time for you. Just because I call it a “Welcome Home Baby Session” it doesn’t mean I have to be standing on your front porch when you pull up to the curb, freshly home from the hospital (although that sounds pretty awesome… I’d love to do that!)

 Welcome Home Baby sessions can be booked as a stand alone session or as part of a First Moments package

First Moments packages include 3 sessions of your choice scheduled anytime from maternity to baby’s first birthday, plus other goodies like a custom-designed Baby’s First Year keepsake book with your favorite images. All sessions and packages include all the digital you never have to bite your names

All sessions and packages include all the digital images. You never have to bite your nails to the quick while breastfeeding and trying to star your favorites at midnight from your online gallery.  Sweet!



Let’s chat about scheduling your newborn photo session at home

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A Day In The Life of the Pattersons

If you’re a parent, you know one totally cliche thing without question: that kids grow up way too fast. You know that phases are fleeting and that yesterday’s cute Fireman outfit is tomorrow’s slam dunk in the front yard. You know that coloring around the kitchen table is all-too-soon met with a turned-up nose and a closed bedroom door, and that little hands and feet, so soft to the touch, eventually become big and dirty and not-so-nice smelling. If you’ve spoken to anyone whose kids have grown, you’ll also know that almost all of the things that we complain about when our kids are little, are problems and moments we yearn for when they walk out the door to college, leaving us in our tidy homes with all the free time we ever wanted to go workout and look cute in jeans and watch our favorite tv show undisturbed.

My daughter is only eight and I remember holding her hand on the way to the first day of kindergarten, purposefully memorizing the way her sweaty little palm felt against mine, small and soft and holding on tight. Now she’ll hold my hand to cross the street only if I ask but will quickly whip it away once we reach the other side. It’s little moments like that and so many more where we feel the pull-and-tug of past and future working through us.

And so a Day In The Life session is a way to freeze all those little tiny things of ordinary today, that seem insignificant or annoying or imperfect right now, to preserve them for those moments when we’re sitting on the couch in a quiet house wishing we could hear tiny feet running down the hallway.

This is a Day In The Life of The Patterson Family. Four children, two busy and tired parents, cats, dogs, and chickens. Sleepy, dark mornings, dance parties on mom and dad’s bed, a park date so mom can take a shower, and a kitchen table that doubles as an art space and a kid sofa. God, I wish I had photos like this of my own childhood.

Sacramento day in the life session

Sacramento day in the life session

Day In Your Life sessions are my favorite sessions to shoot. Everyone has time to relax and forget about the camera. Beautiful, real life doesn’t need fancy outfits or planned activities; it just happens.  Get in touch if you want to learn more.

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Waiting for baby Reid – a lifestyle maternity Session

Almost three years ago, I photographed Alicia and Josh’s foothills wedding. Late last year, Alicia emailed me to let me know that she was pregnant and expecting a son in April. And not just on any day in April but on the same day that my own daughter had been due on: April 10th! I was so excited to see them again to celebrate this next chapter in their lives and am so looking forward to photographing their son, Reid, after he is born and again as he grows, since Alicia purchased my First Moment’s Package. {pause for Michelle to do little happy dance}

Our session took place at Alicia and Josh’s newly-redecorated Rancho Cordova home – which is gorrrrgeous – and in the fields nearby. They both wrote a letter to their new son, Reid, sharing their hopes and dreams for him once he arrives. They kept their words secret from one another until the day of our session and then read their letters out loud for the first time, sitting on their bed. The cutest thing about each of the letters was that they were so similar, talking about how excited and thankful they were that the other person was going to be baby’s mom or dad. The only ones thoroughly unimpressed were their dogs, who I suspect already feel the winds of change coming.

T-2 months and counting…

lifestyle maternity session sacramento

lifestyle maternity session sacramento

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Christmas with the Carpenters

The final session of the year! And what a beautiful one it was with three generations of the Carpenter family here in Sacramento.

This family has German roots (the family still speaks both languages at home) and traditions strongly rooted in this time of year, so the weekend after St. Nikolaus Day and shortly before der Weihnachtsmann arrives on his sleigh, was the perfect time for everyone to assemble at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

This was the same house that Ingeborg and Tom brought their daughters up in, and now those same little girls are bringing their own children to play in the little courtyard in front of the house. With 3 young grandchildren and one more on the way in January, it wasn’t hard to find something to keep everyone occupied.

A session complete with lederhosen, mud soup, soccer, biking, and leaf-throwing in the front yard… what could be better?

I loved this family’s closeness, their willingness to embrace a more documentary approach to an extended-family session (which are usually a parade of painful poses) and most of all I loved Ingeborg whose effusive love for her family, and childlike joy, reminded me of my own mum.

Frohe Weihnachten, Carpenter family!

(Hopefully, I didn’t botch that.)

Christmas with the Carpenters


Christmas with the Carpenters
























































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