REDEFINE| Mama + babies in honor of world breast feeding week feature by Erika Venci

 Tell us a little about yourself as an artist and your process?

Like many others, I started getting into photography after my son was born. I wanted to document everything. Once I realized how much I loved it, I was obsessed with learning and practising. A few things that inspire me are golden hour light, connections between mothers and their children, and getting real emotions in my photos. I try to capture a range of emotions in my galleries.. joyful photos and also more calm and loving photos help create diversity in my client’s galleries (and feed my soul!).

I like to help my subjects relax and open up by talking a lot to them about my process of capturing real moments. I also love hearing stories about their families and little ones while we are shooting. I also like to explain to them my ideas and how I am envisioning a certain shot to help them picture it, too. I find if they understand that I am an artist and can come up with sometimes crazy last minute ideas, it makes the photo shoot more care free and fun.

What compels you about your project? How did the project start?

This project means so much to me. As a breastfeeding momma, the moments I was able to capture for moms and their little ones made me (and them) so happy. I started this project for many reasons. I want to be a tiny part in normalizing breastfeeding. I believe that moms should not feel ashamed to nurse their babies in public and although I have never had a bad experience, I have heard of plenty of mothers who have. My heart always goes out to them.

These photos also reinforce that toddlers nurse, too! Sometimes toddlers nurse even more than newborns for comfort and it is natural and normal. There are many benefits to breastfeeding and they do not stop at 12 months of age. I also would like to start offering “milk” sessions for moms because there was a point in my breastfeeding journey where I couldn’t find a photographer in my area that openly offered these types of sessions. I want moms to see me as a “safe” place to seek out this kind of session and help them to document their precious moments with their children.

 How does it connect to your photography journey?

Completing a project around breastfeeding or postpartum is something that has been on my mind for a while. I finally felt like I was in the right place with my business and craft to do it. I felt that I had enough clients and referrals that trusted me and my vision and were willing to model for me.

Can you share your tips for photographing mamas, especially during nursing babies?

I assumed these sessions would be easy since the breast is so comforting to little ones. It was the opposite. The babies were pretty distracted by their new surroundings and really did not want to nurse but would rather look around and explore! It threw me for a loop at first but with a lot of patience and reassuring the moms that this was normal, I was still able to get the images I needed. One of the little boys (bless his heart!) was so excited to be at the park that I only had a couple of seconds to capture him nursing each time he did stop to nurse! That session was a workout for me and his mom! 🙂 So, have patience and let the little ones explore or play before actually nursing,

Gear used 

Nikon D750, SigmaArt 35, and Nikon 105 f/1.4

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ABOUT THE ARTIST: 

I am a lifestyle and portrait photographer living in the Columbus, Ohio area with my computer savvy, amazing husband and our almost two year old son. My family runs on pour-over coffee, animal crackers, giggles, and wine. I fell in love with photography after the birth of our son and feel like I have finally found my passion. I quit my corporate world job last year to become a work-from-home mom and it was the best decision I have ever made. Photography feeds my soul and I am so happy to be on this journey!

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