As 2018 approached, I wanted to do a “Fifth and Chestnut Year in Review,” but I was way too busy preparing for my twin babies to arrive in January. Since I spent the majority of the year pregnant, I feel like my pregnancy journey was a huge part of my year as a photographer, too.
2017 was hugely successful for Fifth and Chestnut. In fact, it was my busiest and best year, yet. I photographed a record number of portraits, and the perfect amount of weddings. That being said, there were times in 2017 that I needed many more hours in a day to keep up! Keep reading to see how that is all going to change this year…
As some of you may know, in June, I found out I was pregnant…not just pregnant, but pregnant with TWINS. This news flipped our world upside down with equal amounts of joy and panic. It was surreal to find out that we made TWO babies at once…and to realize that I would be carrying these precious miracles around in my ONE body.
In July, three days after shooting a 12-hour wedding (not including prep and drive time to Tahoe and back), I suddenly started bleeding. We rushed to the ER as I assumed I was miscarrying my babies at 11 weeks. It was one of the scariest moments of my entire life. When we finally got an ultrasound after being in the ER for HOURS, I saw my babies moving around on the screen and found out that everything was okay. However, the doctors weren’t 100% sure what caused the bleeding and put me on complete bed rest for two weeks…which meant missing a welcome reception and wedding for one couple, and a reunion portrait for a family visiting Truckee from all over the world. It was truly heartbreaking for me to miss these events, but luckily I have plans in place for times just like that, and other trusted photographers were able to cover for me (and they did an excellent job in doing so).
One extremely unfortunate side effect of this bleeding incident was that even after being cleared from bed rest, I was paranoid through most of the pregnancy. I carried on through the many weddings and portraits (and created some of my best work, yet), but was terrified at all times that something could go wrong.
Even when we found out we were having a boy and a girl (so exciting), the happy news was muffled by the noise and anxiety inside my head.
It wasn’t until the babies reached 24 weeks in my belly (the viability milestone) that I felt more comfortable finally. As we approached my scheduled c-section date, my pregnancy anxiety started to be replaced with general anxiety about how life was going to be when the babies arrived…and the newborn phase while recovering from major abdominal surgery. Luckily the babies and I made it to 37 weeks plus 6 days…and I met them in the OR during my surgery – which went SO great due to my fantastic doctors, nurses and amazing anesthesiologist.
I could go on and on about our birth story, but I have a LOT to get to in this post…so maybe I will revisit that in a later post (if any of ya’ll are interested).
Now that the babies are here, it’s still incredibly surreal that I have TWO BABIES! Sometimes I gaze down at them while I’m nursing them both simultaneously, and I think “WOW.” Two more wonderful and amazing additions to our family.
Welcoming the twins has brought many mixed emotions. It is now May, and I’m finally getting to this “year in review” post, so I think you can guess how time consuming and exhausting it is to have two babies. But yet, I find myself feeling lucky every day to be their mommy. They have completed us and we are so grateful.
It wasn’t until after they were born that I realized just how much they would change my life in many ways. I was planning on re-signing my studio lease and having another successful year for Fifth and Chestnut. But going through the ins and outs of raising twins every day in the first few months showed me that I won’t be able to sustain the workload I took on in 2017 just yet. And because having twins + a toddler + a teen is harder than I could have ever anticipated (although in retrospect, I should have know, right!?), I have to make some serious changes to my business. Changes that hurt…but ones that will allow me to live the best version of my life that I can right now.
Two years ago, today, I got the keys to my beautiful downtown Reno studio. It was amazing for my business. Like, AMAZING. I had the BEST time working with my friends/studio mates, clients and vendors. Having my own studio space really took my business to new heights – and it’s one of the reasons my business had it’s best 2 years in a row.
I saw my studio space as a badge of honor…real evidence of my success. I placed a lot of my self worth into that place.
But today, I announce that my business has moved back to being run from my home. It’s a step I had to take because the majority of my time right now needs to be spent being a Mommy. A milk-producing, twin-baby-snuggling, toddler-teaching, teen-guiding mommy.
Before we knew we were having twins, I planned to continue conducting business out of my studio because financially, it would still make sense. After finding out we were having twins, I tricked myself into thinking I could I still move forward as planned. But I realized shortly into actually caring for them that having twins is not just twice as hard as having one baby, it’s like 40 times harder. Especially when you have a toddler and teenage son as well – damn those teenage hormones!! PS I see now why 3-year-olds are called “threenagers.”
The fact is – I simply can’t afford to put one toddler and two infants into daycare without majorly overwhelming myself and my family with an unforgiving workload (I’m talking to you, 2017) just to have a studio. I just can’t do it. I can’t work myself to exhaustion while sacrificing moments I wont get back. As much as I love the work that I do, and as much as I adored my studio space, I have to let go of my professional dreams a bit for the sanity of my whole family.
It’s a huge bummer for me, as I feel like my business is taking giant leaps backwards after taking giant leaps ahead. But I know this is what’s right for me, my babies, my older boys and my very hardworking husband who sacrificed his personal hobbies to be with the kids while I was at the studio in the evenings and on weekends.
1. I will only be taking on a LIMITED number of shoots and weddings in order to pace myself and spread out events and appointments on my calendar. This unfortunately means that I will have to turn clients away at times or ask them to choose a later time range on my calendar.
2. Until I have a studio space again, I won’t be shooting indoor boudoir, indoor “studio” newborn, indoor head shots or elaborate studio-style shoots (think cake smashes with streamers, props and painted backdrops). However, outdoor shoots are a perfect alternative for some shoots that are typically done indoors! Nothing wrong with a cake smash at the park! Or outdoor head shots!
3. I will be available for lifestyle newborn shoots – in the comfort of your own home, but without the use of backdrops and props (laid back and natural look).
4. All portrait consults (pre-shoot meetings) will be held via email and/or phone conversations.
5. All wedding consults will be held at an agreed upon quiet public meeting place, or via phone/Skype conversations.
6. Unless otherwise noted, I will continue to hold ordering appointments for portrait sessions (for local clients), but they will now be held in your home, or at an agreed upon quiet meeting place. The clients who have been with me for a while will remember that this is going back to how I did business the year before the studio! Long-distance clients will still be ordering online via email & client galleries as always.
7. I anticipate that most shoots will be scheduled for weekends, or weeknights during the summer months, but I may make changes as needed…gonna go with the flow, so I hope my clients will go with the flow with me 🙂
Luckily I have this beautiful business of mine and have the opportunity to be home with my babies as much as possible while also pursuing my professional dreams – even if I have to scale things back a lot. Things may change down the line as we adjust further to a VERY busy life with twins and two other kids, and I’m glad I have some freedom to do that!
And to my clients who have been with me from the days when we would meet at Starbucks, or from the days when we would meet in my livingroom (when my dining room only had one bookcase full of booze and that’s IT), to the two wonderful years that I had my beautiful studio space – thank you. Thanks for contributing to my family’s well-being by hiring me to produce photographs and capture memories for you.
To sum things up, 2017 was a rollercoaster ride in all aspects and although I’m taking a few steps back, I’m proud that my business flourished the way that it did. If you want me to photograph your wedding or portraits in 2018, please contact me as early as possible so I can get you on my calendar. If you have been a client of mine, anticipate a few changes, and I hope you go with the flow with me 🙂
My twins are 3 months old! I can’t believe how quickly time is flying. 3 month old babies are hard to photograph in the first place (can’t sit, arms and legs wiggle around wildly), but TWINS?! My babies actually cooperated as well as I could expect so I am happy about that 🙂
It took me essentially ALL day to take some photos of them, edit them and then post a few to instagram & my personal facebook. Life with twins is a crazy ride…but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
They even both gave me their super precious smiles…which I am SO glad that I captured at this stage.
Oliver is the smiliest baby of all time, even though we originally called him our grumpy old man (due to much scowling in the beginning). He’s extreme with his emotions. He’s often either very happy or very upset, but he’s mostly super happy and smiley. He loves the toys that hang from his rocker and play mat. Ollie smiles at them and kicks his little feet.
Oliver also loves eating. He weighs over 12.5lbs now (1.5+lbs more than his sister). He can fight out of any swaddle we’ve tried. And he has found his hands and thumbs. He also has the longest and most luscious eyelashes I’ve ever seen on a baby! He is such a sweet boy and we love him so much (obvs).
Indiana is so expressive and beautiful. She has the pout down (not pictured), but also has the most precious dainty smile. We think she’s a redhead! I love dressing her up and putting cute bows on her head. I can’t help it! She lets out super funny screeches and has a high-pitched and very sad cry.
Indie tends to go to sleep well, but doesn’t stay asleep very long. She fights out of swaddles just like her baby brother. And she has also found her hands and thumbs like he has! Sometimes when she’s supposed to be eating, she just looks at me and smiles – and melts my heart. We love her so much (again, obvs).
I’d love to introduce my beautiful and amazing twins, Indiana Mae and Oliver Harrison. Our family is now complete <3 It took about three weeks after their birth for me to feel like a human being (kind of)…at which point, I decided to try and take some 3-week twin baby portraits of my sweethearts.
It was hard.
Even AS a BABY PHOTOGRAPHER, getting two babies (who were ravenously hungry all the time) to lay down together in the same mood, was SO HARD. I was still very much recovering from my c-section. But I simply had to try.
I got some cute shots at this 3-week shoot. Although not perfect – I am happy with what I got…how could I not be? It’s impossible to dislike a photo of your own baby, isn’t it?!
Since I was asked a few times on social media, their cute onesies are from Carter’s, and their adorable teddy bears are from Cuddle & Kind. PS, what I LOVE about their bears are that each doll provided 10 meals (actually 20 because of a promotion I took advantage of) to children in need. And they are FANTASTIC top notch quality…true heirlooms for my own baby bears.
There will be many more baby photoshoots for my own sweet babies to come, so stay tuned!
Hey guys – it’s been a while since I blogged – because in January, we welcomed our twin babies into the world! They are playing on their play mat right now, so I thought I might have a few minutes to share our cute gender reveal from way back when.
In true hot-mess-mom fashion, I envisioned this quick little DIY photoshoot for several days, and then when it came time to put it together, everything went wrong. But, it worked out fine and we got the super cute little twin gender reveal photos I had been dreaming of 🙂
I had purchased the jumbo balloons at Party City and the cute little booties at Target the day after we found out we were having a boy and a girl at our Perinatologist appointment. A few days later, our regular OBGYN confirmed there is a boy and a girl up in mah belly, so that evening, we stopped at Safeway to get the balloons inflated. The Safeway employee had no idea how to inflate a jumbo balloon (after waiting 20 minutes for her to blow up some regular balloons for a customer ahead of us), so off to Smith’s we went, where it took another 15 minutes to get these dang balloons inflated….and of course they were only partially inflated…ugh! The frustrating part is that the light was fading fast because we were trying to do this little shoot after Matt got off work.
BUT – we rushed back home and caught the VERY last little bit of my favorite kind of light (about an hour before sunset), and had literally FIFTEEN minutes to do this before we had to pick up our youngest at pre-school. PHEW. Ben clicked the shutter for the photos of me and Matt together, and bam – here is our twin gender reveal!
We were absolutely thrilled to be having a boy and a girl. It’s my dream combo. It’s still very surreal to me that we even had twins – and now I get a little girl to share my Hello Kitty/My Little Pony/Sailor Moon obsessions with – YAY! I’m also extremely excited that we had another boy, because as I know from raising my step son, Ben, and my son, Cooper – boys are a ton of fun and bring an amazing sense of adventure to every day life.
I couldn’t wait to meet them and learn about their individual personalities. And now that they are here, we are having so much fun (as hard as it is). I love my sweet babies so much. Stay tuned…I’ll post pictures of them soon, too.
Allison chose the amazing gift of anniversary boudoir to give her husband for their 5-year anniversary. I was absolutely honored that she chose me to provide this incredible service!
Hair and makeup was done by artist Rose Mercedes of La Di Da Beauty. This glamorous, sultry look on Allison was so gorgeous! Rosa totally nailed the look that Allison was going for, and that lip color is to die for!!
Allison now knows first-hand why I always tell my clients that glamour boudoir sessions are not just a gift for your partner, they are a gift to yourself! After our session together, she wrote me a wonderful note that said:
“I don’t think I have ever felt better about my body and what I look like, it gave me such a great confidence boost!”
Thank you, Allison, for trusting me with such intimate and important photographs! You are so beautiful – totally inside and out, and it’s been amazing working with you!
PS – isn’t my Reno boudoir studio absolutely dreamy? I love shooting in this space!!
Fifth and Chestnut Photo Co. is the Reno Boudoir Photographer who can provide timeless, romantic and remarkable boudoir photography as a gift for a loved one or just as a gift to yourself! Contact us today to chat about booking your comfortable boudoir session with Reno Boudoir Photographer Fifth and Chestnut Photo Co.
I had the honor of creating professional Head Shots at UNR of Vic in November on a crisp, fall day. We couldn’t have asked for better weather! The sun was shining and it was a perfect day.
UNR was looking lovely as usual. Vic and I ventured around the UNR south quad and stopped in a few different locations.
This is one of my favorite parts of UNR, especially for professional head shots. The old buildings, brick and character of that part of campus is just awesome! I usually don’t feel a need to go further than the south quad for headshots, and you’ll see why below!
The Delossantos family asked me to create their adorable Reno Family Portraits at Bartley Ranch this fall. Since I’m taking early maternity leave to rest (and nest) before my twins arrive, their session was my last of 2017!
Vic and Megan’s sweet daughter, Brynn, wasn’t too sure about me at first. That’s how most of my sessions with kids begin, of course! But I am SO excited about the smiles and happy faces she gave me after I did everything imaginable to make her laugh.
At the end of our session, Brynn even gave me a hug! I LOVED ending my 2017 portrait season with this family.
It’s not often that I do indoor family portraits, but when the Pete family came to Reno for a wedding, we were able to use their beautiful hotel lobby for some warm indoor portraits on a chilly morning. And I truly love how these elegant Reno family portraits turned out!
The hotel was kind enough to turn off their fluorescent lighting in the lobby so we could use the natural light from the windows – yes! And, Jessica’s beautiful sister, Cassie, was there to help me get some epic smiles from the kids. With the help of a dinosaur puppet, too! We also included Cassie in some special portraits, which I love.
After our hotel portraits, we ventured to the Caughlin Ranch ponds for as many outdoor portraits as the kids would cooperate for. They did truly amazing the entire time…even though it was a little cold and it was close to lunch time! The ponds are one of my favorite fall portrait locations and you can see why with the lovely fall colors!
We then headed to historic Virginia City, where we created extended family portraits near Piper’s Opera House. And although the littlest Pete kid was very tired, he still pulled through as best as can be expected. And the older kids get an A+ from me on braving the cold and the MANY photos that were taken. They are seriously some troopers!
It was an honor to work with this amazing family and create memorable portraits for all of them to treasure throughout the years! Enjoy just a few of my favorites from the afternoon.
The Rau family came all the way to Reno from Hawaii and commissioned me to create vibrant fall portraits at Mayberry Park. We also included Faye’s parents and got some awesome shots of them with their grandkids. I always love when families bring grandparents and other family members into the mix. It’s not often that we get professional pictures as adults with our parents, right!? If you have the chance to include grandparents into your family photos – go for it!
We began our session at one of my favorite logs (yes, I have a favorite log) and then worked our way to the river. After that, we got some awesome portraits in a field full of grass and rabbitbrush. The golds in these areas are epic. We then made our way to the bridge at Mayberry Park and back to a pretty cool boulder. The Rau family is awesome and climbed up on a boulder together at the end of our session. It’s one of my favorite shots from the day!
Mayberry Park is one of my favorite locations in general for variety, and we had a great time exploring the park together. And to sum up the day, I just adore this whole family. I had so much fun trying to crack smiles from the brothers, Ethan and Jared. I’m excited to share my favorites from our session below!
Fifth and Chestnut Photo Co is a Lake Tahoe Wedding Photographer & Reno Wedding Photographer team providing Lake Tahoe Wedding Photography in the Northern Nevada and Northern California areas, in addition to a range of other Reno Portrait Photography services including Reno Family Photography, Reno Maternity Photography, Reno Newborn Photography, Reno Baby Photography, Reno Boudoir Photography and Reno Headshot Photography. With a combination of distinctive style, creative direction and photojournalistic methods, our mission is to purposefully and artistically document the irreplaceable memories of once-in-a-lifetime events and life’s milestones through timeless, remarkable and heartfelt portraiture by connecting with our clients in a genuine and meaningful way, while providing a unique and memorable experience and heirloom quality products to be enjoyed for generations to come.
Please contact us today if you’re looking for your Wedding Photographer in Lake Tahoe, or Wedding Photographer in Reno - especially if you're planning a sweet, joyful and intimate affair - those are our favorite!
Please also contact us if you are on the hunt for your Reno Family Photographer, Reno Maternity Photographer, Reno Newborn Photographer, Reno Boudoir Photographer or Reno Headshot Photographer so we may tailor a portrait session to your needs!
Photography is our passion. Photography is our life. Please dig into our website to learn more about us and how we can photograph you beautifully through all of life’s sweet adventures - from your engagement through your wedding, to starting a family and beyond. We would be honored to be your photographer for life.
It's always an honor to be selected as a couple's wedding photographer in Lake Tahoe, or wedding photographer in Reno, so please reach out to us and let's chat!
Fifth and Chestnut Photo Co | Heartfelt Photography for Life’s Sweet Adventures