maternity photography

Waiting For Eleanor | Maryland Maternity Session

"I'm confronted by the irrationality of love by my children.
They are these stealth Love Torpedos.
They are powered by an inexhaustible id,
powering through whatever defenses I thought I had
with absolutely no respect for my rational, adult concerns.

That's what love is.
It's irrationality taking the place of logic.
It's emotion taking the reigns where intellect fears to drive.
How would we live without that?"

(Meghna Chakrabarti)

The power of a pregnant woman captures me. I might be wrong, but I think there is an admiration alongside whatever other feelings or opinions may exist when it comes to a woman with child. We know it is hard. We have that sense of bow-and-honor. "Good for her." "Man, I don't know if I could do that." "Go supermom." Of course observation is the front porch to the home of personal experience. Now that I have been pregnant, I'm as intrigued as ever by the miracle it is to carry a baby.

Not to mention that watching a family's story unfold behind my camera is "why I do what I do." I photographed Eric and Erica while they were still dating, then for their wedding, then with their first newborn, and most recently as they waited for Miss Eleanor to arrive. The love they share with each other, and now growing bigger with their children, is a sweet joy. I loved watching Eric and Emmett's connection. I loved catching Erica rubbing and looking at her belly. I loved the laughter and eye-contact mom and dad found in the little guy. I loved their chill, relaxed happiness.

"My love for my son makes my fundamentally irrational too. I give up sleep, food, money, energy, time, and all sorts of other things for this child... and I do so willingly! It goes against all we need to survive, and yet... we give into it all the time. Why do we do this?  'Forgive me, my logic is uncertain where my son is concerned.'" (Meghna Chakrabarti)

This session had such a Christopher Robin/Calvin & Hobbes/Tom Sawyer feel to it and is one of my favorites ever! Everything nostalgic that childhood should be - barefoot, anticipating, throwing rocks, "present," outdoors, and silly with the whole family.

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I love you guys! And am so happy dear Eleanor is safely into your arms, hearts, and home!

Mommy + Buddy Portraits | Maternity + Family

"She sings the tune without the words 
And never stops - at all."
Emily Dickinson
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Four Septembers ago I was figuring out airplane tickets to visit Oklahoma for the first time and Becca was pregnant.  I didn't know it.  I hadn't met Caleb yet.  I had some from friends in the middle of the country I wanted to visit.  Right before my trip I got an e-mail from Becca.  She and her husband were my small-group leaders at church and all of us young'ins' loved to inquire and tease about their someday-baby.  This potential child was affectionately named "Bacon" by us.  After four or five years of marriage, there was a Bacon.  And after all this time!  She was in Oklahoma!  And we weren't altogether to celebrate!  It had been a long haul, but a soul was made and lived inside the caves of my good friend.  But I didn't know any of this...  

...Until I got Becca's e-mail, right before my trip, after Bacon had already gone to heaven.  We hadn't really considered a miscarriage.  Somehow when it takes a "little longer" to get pregnant it doesn't seem fair that those mama's should miscarry.   (Of course it never seems "fair."  Souls and human life don't come and go like making a football team.)  She was sad, but gracious and full of Becca-kindness.  She said she was grateful a friend was coming to town so she and Dre wouldn't feel quite so alone.  He was their Apple Seed Baby, small and good.  He was and is missed.  

For Christmas that year I bought Becca a silver apple-necklace (the size of the fruit's seed).  The month that Caleb asked me to be his girlfriend was the month we found out about a Baby Bear, Apple Seed's little brother.  Caleb moved to Maryland and we helped assemble IKEA furniture and fold clothes for Baby Behr's nursery.  The night he was born Caleb and I slept on the hospital floor.  I was the second friend to meet and hold him.  On our wedding day Behr was a chubby, sweet ring-bearer.  10 months later Behr slept on the same hospital floor while Becca helped us through my labor with Rowdy.

By that Christmas there was a Tiny Baby, little brother to Apple Seed and Big Boy Behr.   Becca and Dre were back to Oklahoma for work.  Meanwhile my mom was closing her chapter in this world, and when she died a sick, pregnant Becca flew back to Maryland with Behr (who wore a dragon costume to my mom's funeral) to be there for me.  A few weeks later, in Oklahoma, Caleb and I found out there was a Baby Ryan.  I was so excited to be pregnant with my best friends (Janet was pregnant, too, with Bobby.)  We all three talked about being huge and bloated at the county fair, newborn Halloween costumes and "three little turkey's" at Thanksgiving.  But before our dreams had a chance to match reality, both Bobby Boy and Ryan Day went to heaven with their buddy, Apple Seed (all being dotingly cared for by Mama Bear, I'm sure).  We weren't pregnant together anymore.  There would be no "triplet" pictures during the holidays.  Now all three of us had babies in heaven.  

Caleb and I buried our baby in Oklahoma, a few nights ago we sent up balloons on Bobby's due date, and now we all wait.  We all wait to meet Tiny Baby.  He's shows us the stubbornness of hope, the gift of anticipation.  But any story points to the story behind it.  And the story behind Tiny Baby is a  big one.   Today I want to make a big deal about his mother.  

She's the Friend of Friends, Giver of Givers.  She has been juggling fire-pins and keeping more than one family going.  She works part-time on top of being a full-time supporter, break-giver, human-grower, wife, listening-ear, and mourner.  Her little Behr Boy loves her, and is an intelligent, creative, weird, chatty lovebug.   They have such a playful, strong relationship.  They really are friends.  In the middle of all the chaos this year has been, she methodically saved pennies and dreamed ideas to make her son a special new room before the baby comes.  There isn't a single item in his space that doesn't have meaning and heart behind it.  "I go to prepare a place for you."  (Oh.  And when I lived with Dre and Becca while Caleb and I were dating, this was my bedroom.  See?  Stories intersect everywhere.)

It was only right to do something a little different than formal maternity pictures.  Instead Dre wanted pictures of the special relationship and big love Becca and Behr share.  Here's to new stories, the thing with feathers, heritage, heaven, tear soup, outie-belly-buttons, hazelnut eyes, hazelnut coffee, bacon, washi tape and mama's with their little boys.

β€œSometimes it doesn't occur to boys that their mother was ever young and pretty.  I couldn't stand it if you boys were inconsiderate, or thought of her as if she were just somebody who looked after you.  You see I was very much in love with your mother, and I know there's nobody like her...”
(Willa Cather, My Ántonia)
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"And sore must be the storm 
That could abash the little Bird 
That kept so many warm."


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to book your own i'm kristen family session, 
especially in the maryland/virginia/dc, or oklahoma to dallas areas
E-MAIL ME HERE


Jessica Shae | Maternity Portraits

the next time we meet,
a new kind of "hello!"
both our hearts have a secret,
only both of us know.
josh ritter - kathleen
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She was born in 1989.  So was I.  She was the firstborn daughter.  So was I.  She became the oldest of seven children.  So did I.  She was homeschooled.  So was I.  After graduating highschool, she went to Chicago for an internship.  So did I.  She was interested in starting a photography business.  So was I.  She liked to travel.  So did I.  She likes Chipotle, tanning in sunshine, getting nails done, wearing maxi dresses (or dresses, period) and the colors coral and Tiffany Blue.  So do I.  I started dating a guy, and three months later she started dating a guy.  I got engaged to a guy, and three months later she got engaged to a guy.  I married my guy, and three months later, she married her guy.  My guy and I became a family of three, and a few months after her guy and she, also, became a family of three.
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For better or for worse, Jessica and I have managed to connect over, well, pretty much everything.  She's far neater, and I'm a bit messier and wilder.   She is a bit more thought-through and I'm a bit more impulsive.  She rarely (until) finishes her Chipotle, and I always do.
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And she's a friend who understands, feels and knows things about me that very, very few do.  Some things you can never explain or describe.  You just know.  Our life pace-car has been step-by-step for nearly our entire lives.  When we met, we were little blonde whirlwinds, just dreaming about eerily similar things. And four years and a whole lot of story later, we are a little and bigger blonde, living out those eerily similar things.  We had no idea how sweet they'd be.  Or how much fun they would be to enjoy together.
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Little Ras has an extraordinary mommy.  Full of insight, thoughtful consideration, life lessons, fight, quirky charm, happy grace, and love.  She loves your daddy, Ras.  And they have quite a story.  She loves you, Ras.  And has for a very, very long time.  In so many ways (which sounds so vague.  Sorry. It's going to have to), Tiny Jessica Shae is a very different person than I met years ago.  But, truly more than that, she is one of the most consistent, sure and stable people I've ever known.  Her course has been tried and proven true, so she's stayed the way.  Her heart has wanted and hunted down good, real desires.  She's been like that for as long as I've been her friend.  You're going to have a life-of-lives being raised by this woman.
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Thank you for, well, you know.  Thank you :)  Yesterday was wonderful, and your burrito bump is even better and I can't wait to see you again - hopefully with a little munch in your arms.

Brian + Shelby Leigh | Maternity Shoot | Baltimore MD Photography

sing a song for the ocean, 
a song for the sky
a song for tomorrow, 

love sweet by and by.
john denver - stonehaven sunset
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The houses in Baltimore are certainly not as expensive as the ones in and around Washington DC.  But practically speaking, the commute just wouldn't be worth it.  They thought about it though.  Because, I mean, have you seen some of those new, modern, eco homes built near the park?  They're rad.  And would be fun family homes.  Jessica Simpson as a pregnant woman? Jessica Simpson as a woman.  How did she become famous again?  And cheap jeans always stretch out over 7 times faster than expensive jeans - especially cheap maternity jeans.  And, come to find out, I don't really have any questions to ask or jokes to make when talking to an engineer.  Except to tell them about all my highschool friends who went to school for engineering.  But it was alright - Brian is quick and casual and funny.  And seems for more "graphic-designer"-ish than engineer-ish.  And I like that.  He and Shelby seem like they've been together longer than they've been alive.  Shelby roars with abandon (especially when asked to "fake laugh"), doesn't like double-chins as much as I do, and is smart-beautiful (not dumb-beautiful.  Is it bad to call Jessica Simpson dumb-beautiful on my blog?)  She created an impressive photography business.  They're an everyday, tough, committed, witty couple.  And in February, they and Big Sisters One and Two get to meet Little Sister.  They're a family.  And they're just great.

I'm delighted for their Baby Girl.  She is just weeks away from meeting her creative, vibrant, loud, good family.  I'm happy for her - thrilled for her.  It's going to be a beautiful life.  So, Sister Three, here is a little visual story about your mama and dad while they waited for you.
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(... is there a special trick to making pregnancy look so... spectacular?  Dang, Shelby!)
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Thank you for letting me watch and work with and enjoy you - you're lovely and hilarious.  And I am just longing to meet your new person.  I have a feeling she is going to have a personality like her dad and eyes like her mom.  But maybe that's me being an overly-emotional pregnant lady myself ;)
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Oh, and congratulations ;)
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With love,
Kristen Leigh

Dre + Becca {Maryland Maternity Photography}

sail away with me honey
i put my heart in your hands
sail away with me
what will be will be
i wanna hold you now
david gray | sail away

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My housemates, landlords, best friends, and just all-around wonderful Kless' wanted to get some pictures taken of these last few weeks (or days?) before we meet Little Man.  Though Dre made quite a mockery of my profession, we managed to have a great time ;)  I love every single member of this little family!  I just can't wait to meet all of them ;)
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 Dre's mocking laughter.  Followed by Becca's loving correction.  Good job Becs.
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Up next in the Baby Kless saga is his nursery reveal ;)  And then hopefully pictures of the day he is born!