After a loooooong hiatus on the blog, we’re finally back! We’ve been SOOO busy creating beautiful portraiture for families since our last post in July, we got too busy to blog! So we’re hiring additional help so that we can manage it all. 🙂 The next few posts are going to let you in on all the new things going on at Olivia Grey Pritchard Photography! First off, you’ll see a new look to our site, blog, and marketing materials. We hired the amazing Katie Loerts of Katie Loerts Design to create a new interpretation of our brand. The most important thing I wanted the new design to convey were our standards of simple and timeless beauty and our commitment to excellence. I think Katie’s design beautifully illustrates these principles!
The new logo was just one part of the many new things we are doing at the studio to refine both our craft and the way we do business. We are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality images, experience and products, and we will continue to invest in every area to provide that. This year, we have invested in enlarging our studio space, a new continuous lighting system for the studio that newborns and babies prefer to strobe (flash) lighting, our new brand look, remodeling our studio viewing space, and an amazing private mentoring class with the world-renowned Julia Kelleher of Jewel Images. I traveled to Oregon to spend several inspiring days with Julia and some model newborns in Julia’s lovely studio so that I could bring back such timeless, beautiful studio newborn portraiture to the heart of New Orleans. More on that later! For now, please enjoy our new look and new logo!
Would you like to chat about a session for your family? Call 504.421.4130 or visit our contact page at www.oliviagreypritchard.com!
It took me a few days to write this post. Last week, during the beginning of Mardi Gras parades and festivities, I went to Ocshner Hospital to photograph a birth for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Normally NILMDTS doesn’t photograph births, but since I photograph one birth per month professionally already, I knew I could handle both the technical and emotional challenges that photographing a birth presents. The reason it was so crucial to photograph this birth is that Mom and Dad were having triplets, and Triplet A wasn’t expected to live long after birth. We wanted to photograph her with her sisters, and all three triplets with their parents, and since Babies B and C were being whisked away to the NICU right after birth and wouldn’t be allowed to come into the recovery room, that needed to happen in the delivery room. We weren’t even sure we were going to get that shot, but we were hoping for it. Mom delivered via C-section, and we did get the pictures we wanted, of all three girls, then all three girls with Mom and Dad. Then we got to spend some more time with Baby A, and Dad baptized her with Mom watching from the operating table.
Several things made this session so special to me: one, hospitals are dealing much more with palliative care and doing what is best for the family who is losing a child. NILMDTS is a huge part of that, but we can’t be present unless someone calls to inform us of a family that needs our services. Usually, it’s a nurse at the hospital who calls. This time, a social worker dedicated especially to these situations called me and asked me specifically to photograph the birth. I feel like it’s a huge step in the right direction towards easing the emotional burdens for families suffering a loss. The second aspect of this session that really impacted me was the fact that it was a birth of multiples. I felt it was so important to photograph all three babies together, so they would have at least a few pictures of themselves when they were three. The third thing that stood out to me was that I got to photograph a father baptizing his daughter. It was a special, special moment.
But the most important thing, that didn’t strike me until I had left, was that I got to witness a person’s entire life. I was there when she was pulled from her mother’s womb and I was there as she drifted back out of our world. What an amazing privilege. How many people can say that they were present for another person’s entire life? Given what that means, I would say, too many. But NILMDTS was created for this purpose. To document a life that was far too brief. To give parents, and grandparents, and brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends, a tangible reminder that a little spirit was here, was loved, did love, and blessed those that knew her. I watched this sweet baby make eye contact with each of her parents when she came out — she acknowledged them and blessed them with her recognition. They felt that connection, and because of NILMDTS, they don’t have to rely on memory alone to recall that moment in the years to come. They don’t have to experience the panic that must come on the inevitable day when they wake up and can’t picture their daughter’s face exactly in their minds, and don’t have any photographs to remind them of its details.
If you are a professional portrait photographer in the New Orleans area (or anywhere!), please consider volunteering with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. You can read up on the technical skill requirements and application process here. And if you’re not sure and would like to talk about it first, I’m happy to have you come by the studio for some tea and a chat. These sessions are, by definition, sad. I usually go home and take a nap for a couple of hours to process what I just photographed. I know it sounds weird, but that’s how I process it in a way that it doesn’t affect me for days. And the joy that I get from knowing I’ve provided something absolutely irreplaceable for a grieving family far outweighs the grief I feel at and after each session. Some people ask me, “How can you do that?!!” I, along with probably every other NILMDTS volunteer who takes sessions for these families, respond: “How can I not?”
Hug the babies in your life tight the next time you see them. Say an extra prayer of thanksgiving that you have them here with you, and healthy. They are a gift!
Who’s coming to my studio to adopt a Salvation Army Christmas Tree Angel (and get your $50 print credit!)? Marina, my new office manager, or I will be there Fridays during regular pick-up hours from 3-6 pm, and I’ll be there on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 4th and 5th, from 10-5 both days. If you’d like to come any other time, just give us a call at 601-297-1793 and we’ll make sure someone can be there! Here’s how it works:
1) You come to the studio (Uptown on Baronne between General Taylor and Constantinople, at 3915 Baronne) and select a child, or “Angel”, on my tree. Each child’s card includes info like gender, age, clothing sizes, and something they would like from Santa this year.
2) You purchase gifts for your Angel. It’s totally up to you what to purchase. So for example, I chose an 11-year-old boy (since it seems to me the older kiddos are picked last), and I got him a tent, a junior-sized football with pump and tee, a Spiderman comic book, and a warm down parka in his size — along with a few other not-fun-but-necessary items, like underwear, undershirts and socks. I also got him some packaged candy. I bought everything on Amazon since I’m WAY too busy to go shopping nowadays, so I probably spent about $125 on all of that… but you can spend a LOT less (or a lot more!). The little babies and toddlers are, of course, much less expensive to buy a full Christmas for! 🙂
3) Bring the unwrapped gifts and your Angel’s card back to the studio on or before DECEMBER 6TH. I have to deliver them all to the Salvation Army Headquarters by December 7th. Make sure each gift has your child’s name and ID code written on it where it’s EASY TO SEE and can’t fall off!
4) Get your $50 print credit to use on your next order when you drop off your gifts! And even better, get a warm fuzzy feeling from knowing you provided a beautiful Christmas to a child who otherwise wouldn’t have one this year.
I’m looking forward to seeing you!!! And FYI, I got my beautiful trees (one for the studio and one for home) from the First Universalist Unitarian Church on the corner of Claiborne and Jefferson. They’re open as of Saturday, so go by and get your tree! They are BEAUTIFUL, they smell SOOOOOO good, and they’re in such good shape, fresh with no holes once they’re unwrapped. They make a fresh cut at the base for you right before you haul it off, and they’ll tie it to your car for you as well. There’s even a Santa look-a-like manning the cashier’s table! 🙂
Want to earn a $50 print credit while teaching your kids a valuable lesson about helping others? This year I’m working with the Salvation Army to adopt out their Christmas Angels! Starting November 19th, I’ll have a tree in the studio decorated with Angel tags giving information on children who need your generosity this holiday season. If you’ve got older kiddos, come by and let them pick out their own angel to select gifts for; if you’ve got a baby, you’re welcome to call and I can “assign” you an angel over the phone. Bring the gifts to the studio the first week of December and you’ll receive a $50 print credit on your next order. Got three kids? Let them each pick an Angel and get $150 in print credit! I chose this for my non-profit donations this holiday season because it’s one of my best memories from childhood: picking out my Angel at a tree in the mall and getting to choose what she’d get for Christmas! (I always chose a girl!) It’s fun and it’s a lesson in kindness and generosity. Call and set up a time to stop by the studio (or just call and ask for an Angel if you don’t have time to come by) beginning Monday, November 19th. I can’t wait to see you! 🙂