Rebecca Clair Photography
 intimate winter lifestyle engagement photos at Burr Oak woods in Blue Springs, MO near Kansas City

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Posts in Newborn
Blossoms and Mud; Celebrating the Beauty of Spring with the Alderson Family {Kansas City Family Photographer}
 Family portrait in a grove of trees at Loose Park, golden hour family session, Kansas City creative  family photographer, Rebecca Clair Photography

Spring holds so much beauty, like a gift the earth unwraps after the cold gray of winter. There are the crocuses that push through the snows of early spring. The soft warmth of the sun coaxing us out of our houses. Trees laden with fragrant blossoms. And tiny leaves unfurling from every branch and thawing patch of ground.

But there is also rain. And mud. There is wind and cold drizzle and sometimes unexpected frost or snows that wipe out the flowers and seem to push us back into winter.

The beauty of spring is mixed with messiness and mud.

Yet somehow the mud and rain highlight those spring blossoms and make them feel that much more lovely and welcome.

Sometimes I think new seasons of our lives are like that, with mud and mess framing the beauty unfolding. It takes a conscious effort to lift our eyes from the mud and fix our gaze on the beauty and new life.

It was such a privilege to watch the Alderson family do just that, to fix their eyes on the sweetness of their new baby, on the wonder of their older son’s curiosity and energy, on the goodness of their love for one another through the ups and downs of these seasons, and on the abundant beauty of this season of their family.

Practically Perfect In Every Way; Welcoming Baby Marin {Kansas City Newborn Photographer}
 newborn baby in crib, looking down from above, Kansas City lifestyle newborn photographer, in-home newborn session
“Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.” — Peter Adams

When I chatted with Kirsten before her session, she admitted that she cried a little when she came across my portfolio of newborn photos on my website. It was part of what convinced her to hire me to photograph her own little family as baby Marin joined their world. And it was possibly one of the sweetest compliments she could give me.

Because that is always one of my goals in a portrait session. Not necessarily to make people cry (though I feel like I’ve done something right when they do!), but to make them feel something when they look at the images I create.

Each season of our lives are full of so many feelings (“all the feels” as they say), but in the swirl of life, in the exhausted haze of the newborn stage, then the constant motion of the toddler years, and later in the rush of soccer practices and dance recitals and science club, we barely have a moment to take in those feelings and we struggle to live present in the moment (or at least I struggle to). But when I create images that evoke those feelings, they offer a second chance to savor those feelings and moments all over again (and again and again as you look at them on your walls or flip through them in an album).

What feelings do you want to savor in this season of life? Let’s chat about how a photo session could help you do that (message me to start the conversation!)

Welcomed Home; Luke's Light-Filled Newborn Session {Kansas City Newborn Photographer}
 Kansas City lifestyle newborn photographer, Kansas City newborn photographer, Kansas City newborn photos, Kansas City in-hom newborn session, parents cuddling baby on bed

Welcome to 2018! Do you have big hopes and dreams for this year?

I thought it would be appropriate to start the New Year with a new blog featuring a brand new little baby!

The Robinsons first invited me into their home this fall for a relaxed in-home maternity session. During their session, they shared that they had designed their house themselves and I loved seeing all the little details they had added to make it home, including artwork and several wall hangings that they had made themselves. And all the light filling each room was a photographer’s dream!

Then in December I returned to photograph them again as they welcomed baby Luke into their home. They had added more sweet details to Luke’s nursery but I couldn’t help thinking that the thing that made it feel most like home was the way that Luke nestled right into their home and their life. It was such a privilege to capture them in this sweet new season as a family of three!

What makes your house feel like home for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

He Makes All Things Beautiful; a Glimpse of the Precious Life of Benjamin Levi {Kansas City Newborn Photographer}
 Rebecca Clair Photography lifestyle NICU newborn photography Children's Mercy Hospital mother and father holding baby through the curtains

I have this phrase I sometimes repeat to myself during sessions: “find the light”.

That little phrase reminds me of the basic principles of photography, but more than that, it’s an invitation (perhaps even a challenge) to find the light and beauty in every season, every person, every story. 

There are days when that feels like an easy task. When a perfectly dressed family cuddles together in a field at sunset or when a young couple laughs in each other’s arms as they look towards a sweet future together or when a family finally brings their newborn home to the nursery they’ve lovingly prepared for her, it feels easy to see and celebrate the light and beauty in those moments.

But what about in the hospital room where a couple holds their newborn son, born alive but unresponsive? What about those hours when they hold him close, knowing it could be their last day with him? What about the day when they have to choose to let him go? Can we – can I – find beauty in that place, too?

At the end of June, I had the profound privilege of spending a couple hours in the NICU with my friends and their newborn son Benjamin. Benjamin was born alive but unresponsive after suffering a severe brain injury in utero. He held on to life for eight miraculous days, amazing us all by the ways he defied the odds and by the ways that his little life stirred and united so many people in prayer. The day that they planned to remove Benjamin’s breathing tube, my friends asked me to come and take some photos of them as they snuggled him skin to skin (their skin to skin times with Benjamin are some of the precious memories they hold onto from his time in the NICU). I was a little nervous to enter this space with them, because I had never photographed anything like this before and it would be an understatement to say that the moment felt weighty, but at the same time, I had never felt the value of photography as deeply as I did in that room. 

Near the end of my time with them, they played a song that a friend had written and dedicated to Benjamin. I couldn’t hear most of the lyrics, but the one phrase that resounded in my ears as I snapped those last photos was, “You make all things beautiful.” Later, when I re-listened to the song, I found out that the lyrics actually said, “You make all things new,” but I think perhaps the word “beautiful” was what I needed to hear in that moment. That phrase, “You make all things beautiful,” defined those hours (and all of Benjamin’s life) for me. 

Because even in the midst of the heartbreak, those two hours in that NICU room were full of more beauty and peace than I could have ever imagined. And I saw so much beauty in Benjamin’s short life:

Beauty in his mother’s greeting as she gently touched his head. 
Beauty in his tiny, perfect fingers and toes.
Beauty in the way his arms snuggled around his mother’s chest.
Beauty in the way she tenderly cupped his feet in her hands.
Beauty in the sound of her laughter billowing into that hospital room. 
Beauty in the gaze his parents shared as they held him close and the way they closed their eyes as they touched their foreheads together.  
Beauty in the way he nestled under his father’s chin.
Beauty in his father’s soft kiss on his forehead.
Beauty in the way his fingers (so tiny, so strong) curled around his father’s finger.  
Beauty in the light on his mother’s face as she closed her eyes and entered into the prayer of the music. 
Beauty in each rhythmic breath he drew, skin to skin on their chests. 
Beauty in the warmth of his body alive in their arms for those eight days.

And even after those moments of beauty were gone and Benjamin was “swallowed up by life”, held only in memory and photographs, still I saw beauty in Benjamin’s story.

Beauty in the rawness and vulnerability with which his parents have shared this story.
Beauty in their posture of humility and faith each step of the way.  
Beauty in the words that flowed in from all over the world in response to his life.
Beauty in the voices lifted in prayer and worship, day and night. 
Beauty in the hearts that rallied in hope.
Beauty in the hearts that broke in grief.
Beauty in the emotions of wonder and grief, celebration and sadness, that unite us all.

There is grief here, to be sure, and a depth of pain that can’t be put into words. But through it all, so much beauty. And finding the beauty here, even in these hard spaces of Benjamin’s story, renews my hope that He can make all things and all stories (including my own) beautiful.

And so each click of the shutter as I witnessed these moments of beauty became a thank you. A thank you for the preciousness and purpose of Benjamin’s little life, even in such a short amount of time. And a thank you for the privilege of witnessing this little bit of his story.  

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

(If you'd like to hear more of Benjamin's story firsthand from his parents, I encourage you to listen to the message, "Swallowed Up By Life", that they shared recently at our church)

The Long-Awaited Ezra {Kansas City Newborn Photographer)

On New Year’s Day, when the year was as fresh and new as it will ever be, I had the privilege of photographing a newly-born baby. Little Ezra was not quite two weeks old, his life as fresh and new as the year.

Ezra was born just as the world prepared to celebrate the birth of another long-awaited child, Jesus, born over two thousand years ago now. This timing of his birth felt appropriate because Ezra himself was long-awaited, a precious gift that his parents waited several long years to finally hold in their arms. But their long wait and the difficult circumstances of this past year (including a house fire that displaced them from their house part-way through their pregnancy) seemed to only increase their joy and wonder over him now that he is finally here. As we prepared for their session, Margriet shared that the difficult waiting process convinced them more than ever of what a miracle his birth (and the birth of a child in general) is and how every step of the process is so wonderfully, uniquely, and intricately designed. Her words brought tears to my eyes as I read them, especially as I remembered the painful wait for my own son.

Now as they finally hold Ezra, still so tiny and fragile in their arms, they wonder who he will be and what kind of calling rests on his life after such a process of waiting. Who knows? For now, though, he is still just their precious baby, content to rest in their arms, cradled by their love.

So Loved: Hadley Jane {Lees Summit Newborn Photography}

When I first met Hadley Jane, she was nestled asleep in her mother’s arms, just barely a week old and so tiny. I was immediately struck by her head full of vibrant red hair.

We – her mother, father, grandmother, and I – all gathered together in the nursery that Hadley’s parents had carefully prepared for her coming. Her mother had laid out a variety of lacey headbands for the session on the dresser that had been passed down in her family, now refinished and filled with Hadley’s tiny clothes. In the afternoon sun, I spent some time capturing this new little family’s love for each other, apparent in the way they naturally snuggled together in a peaceful quiet of the room.