Three Reasons To Love In-Home Lifestyle Newborn Sessions | Twin Cities Newborn Photographer Amy Berge

I feel the need to preface this entry by saying this:  we all have different tastes and styles and that’s a good thing.  Just because I connect with a style doesn’t mean you will or should.  The purpose of this post is to share my own experience as a photographer and to connect with others who feel this style fits their own needs.  

 It’s no secret that I love in-home lifestyle sessions.  “In-home” being just that, photographing in a client’s house.  “Lifestyle” meaning photographing the story of your family through purposeful posing to elicit emotions and capture connections.   But what you may not know is that in-home lifestyle is the only way I currently capture newborns and it’s my very favorite way!

If you’re considering what style is best for your newborn session read below to find out why I absolutely love in-home lifestyle newborn sessions.  

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1.  You don’t have to go anywhere because I come to you.  Who’s kidding who, when you have a newborn leaving the house is a chore and you run the risk of forgetting to pack something. Being in your house means you never forget anything.  

When we were taking family photos with our eldest for Christmas cards, we got to the site and he immediately had a blowout.  We hadn’t thought to bring extra clothes because in his five months of life he had never had a single blowout.  We immediately had to turn around and head home to change.   So believe me, I understand the importance of being near anything you need during a photo session with a baby.

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2.  Doing lifestyle, baby-led posing means everything just feels more relaxed.  We don’t have to stress over how long it will take for your baby to fall asleep so we can pose her in just the certain position we have in mind.  Some babies like to sleep during the entire session and some like to stay awake and party; either way is great because we’re more concerned with capturing your baby’s personality and not contorting your baby into the pose du jour. It also means there’s no strict ideal timeframe to have your baby photographed.  (Highly posed newborn shoots are ideal during your baby’s first 10 days of life.)  With lifestyle shoots anytime is ideal; if you realize you want “newborn” photos after your baby is two weeks, one month, three months old, etc. that’s okay! 

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3.  You don’t need to have a meticulously clean house or a house whose style is straight from a magazine.  Sometimes clients get nervous about their house not being large enough or “pretty” enough, which I understand, but let me assure you none of that matters.  Can you make your bed and tidy up nightstands?  Then that’s all you need!  We spend most of our time on the master bed with some in Baby’s crib (if you want), and maybe on the couch for some variation.  My concern with photographs is capturing the love and emotion, not the scenery.  There’s something so real and so intimate about capturing the story of your family in your own home.  So trust me and my vision when I say that photos in your home will be beautiful. 

 If this sort of relaxed and emotion-filled style of newborn sessions appeals to you then we would make a great match.  

Why I Still Shoot Film | Twin Cities Family and Senior Photographer

When people find out I shoot film, I often hear a response of shock and wonder (and sometimes confusion). Sometimes clients don’t even realize I shoot film until I’m reloading during a session. The people who think it’s cool love that it’s just so retro…so analog. (It’s maybe no surprise that in my house we also have a collection of records.) And to the people who are confused, I get it. Why, in a world of digital and all of its conveniences, would I CHOOSE (on purpose) to shoot film?

And you’d be right, digital is easier than film in so many ways, two of the biggies being that it’s more convenient and cheaper. Film shooters can’t chimp during a session and they have to buy film and pay costs associated with developing it and scanning it; why would anyone do this? It’s a totally fair question and I’d love to tell you why I still shoot film.

A film image taken of a film camera….very meta.

A film image taken of a film camera….very meta.

Dear film, you are amazing.

1. Let me clear the air of this right away: for me not being able to chimp is a feature, not a bug of film photography. When I shot digital I would leave sessions with hundreds (and I mean huuuun-dreds….sometimes over 1,000) shots taken in 1-2 hours. And it’s not because I was seeing 1,000 awesome moments to capture, it’s because I wasn’t taking the time to set up the shots I wanted to capture and then waiting for the magic to happen. This is not to say that I don’t have magical shots from my digital days, I do; I just know that if my face is behind the camera for 1,000 shots during a session, that means I’m less able to connect with my clients and that’s the opposite of my goal during sessions. Shooting film has just meant I’ve learned to become an artist with intention and that’s a win for everyone.

2. I think the real confusion sets in when I tell people that I scan my negatives so I can have digital files to edit and send to clients. Huh? Why in the world would you shoot film just to end up with a digital file? To the people who say this: you have good logic. To answer this (really good) question, let me first be briefly techie. When digital photographers shoot, most often they shoot in RAW and then take that RAW file into some sort of editing program to work with it. These RAW files are exactly how they sound; they’re like uncooked meat, they are meant to be edited before sending them to clients. This is when photographers spend money buying or time creating presets to get the look they want. I spent a lot of money on presets trying to get just the right look out of my digital files, and I was ultimately never satisfied with them; I still had to make plenty of edits after applying these presets and that meant a LOT of time in front of my computer.

With film, I scan the negatives to get a jpg file but the film emulsion does the work of a preset. I get a fully-cooked file when I digitize them. And when I edit, I’m often only tweaking the brightness, white balance, and maybe contrast. My husband loves that I barely spend any time editing and I’m HAPPIER with my final result.

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3. Speaking of negatives, in this age of illusive files and things living on ephemeral technology, it is incredibly important to have something tangible. Obviously I encourage my clients to print their photos but unlike immaterial files living in a cloud, negatives are tangible and last a very, very long time. In 2011 my eldest son had his first Christmas and the digital images from that time are gone. I even had my computer backing up to an external drive, but due to the unpredictability of technology even those disappeared. If I had taken those photos on film, the images wouldn’t be lost forever because I could re-scan the negatives.

4. Film is nostalgic and imperfect and beautiful. It’s what the photos of our youth were taken on; having that connection to the past excites me. Taking photos of my children that they will cherish forever on a camera that was built before I was born and using a film that I used to buy at the local drug store when I was a teen links the past to the present to the future, and how beautiful is that? I also love that it isn’t as crisp and sharp as digital; the grain adds texture and dimension to images and makes them feel more like stolen moments and ultimately speaks to me as an artist.

5. Experimentation. Oh my word, I LOVE that film lends itself to so much experimentation. Light leaks! Fogging! Film Soup! I love it allllll! One of the signatures of my work has become light leaks (these are achieved by slightly opening up the back of the camera to get sweeps of color over an image). I love light leaks because they’re unpredictable and ramp up the emotion of any image they touch; they also add even more dimension to images (and clearly adding dimension is a fave of mine ;)

6. Ultimately it’s the medium with which I best connect. Some artists connect with watercolor, some with sculpture, some with words, some with digital cameras, and I with film. No artist should apologize for the medium they love!

This was about as concise as I could make my love of film. If you still have questions please drop them below! ,

I. Love. Light. Leaks.

I. Love. Light. Leaks.

Photographing Seniors Has Never Been More Fun | Minneapolis Senior Photographer

If you saw my last post you read my confession about family photography; I didn’t always love it and it took a very special community to open my eyes to the possibilities. Photographing seniors, on the other hand, I have always loved.

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This may be a little “chicken and egg”…but do I love photographing seniors because I have worked with teens for many years or do I just love working with teens which is why I like photographing seniors?

Either way, senior photography will always be near and dear to my heart.

It remains my one outlet for working with teens. After 5 years of teaching high school math and 6+ years volunteering in youth ministry, I am extremely grateful to still have this contact with high schoolers.

So why I do I love photographing seniors so much? Part of it has to do with the fact that for 1.5-2 hours I get to focus on a single person. I get to learn about the senior’s classes, friends, passions, and potential future. It’s truly an intimate experience and by the end I am genuinely sad it’s over.

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The teen years are ones when they’re just trying to figure out who they are and their place in the world. Some days it can feel like a minor miracle to just feel comfortable in their own skin. I LOVE that it gets to be my job to empower teenagers and get them to not only feel comfortable in front of the camera but love the images they see in their galleries. My favorite compliment is hearing that extremely tentative seniors had lots of fun and enjoyed their sessions <3

I know finding that one photographer in a sea of photographers can be stressful and I hope this eases your mind. I truly love senior photography and I can’t wait to photograph you.




I Used To Be Scared Of Photographing Families...Now I Love It | Minneapolis Family Photographer

Let’s address the elephant in the room: this is my first blog post in about 5 years. I’m not even sure what happened to my old blog; I’m probably still paying for it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. It took about five years for me to be in a place where I could dedicate more time to my photography business. Two of my three kids are in school, my littlest is three, and already I can foresee a day soon enough in which I will be home alone all day. (And by “all day”, I mean until 2pm when they get home.)

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Photography has remained my outlet and I hope to never stop doing it; it allows me to connect with others yet retreat to my computer (the perfect combo for my part-extroverted/part-introverted self) and it forces me to be creative, which it turns out excites and energizes me.

The biggest thing that has changed in the last five years is my love of family photography. I have always loved senior photography, and I will touch on that in a later post, but my love of family photography is kind of recent. Truth be told, I used to like it okay, but only for people I already knew. In my mind family photography entailed people looking at the camera and smiling and if you’re lucky, maybe a few shots of them playing.

But one day I joined a Facebook group and it so happened that quite a few of the members were family photographers. And what they posted blew my mind. They weren’t showing photos of families stiffly smiling at the camera, they were showing photos of families as families.

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That’s when I saw family photography can be emotional, powerful, beautiful, art.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still out to capture the ever-so-important photo of the entire family smiling at the camera, but now I know that I can capture ALL the feels. The love, the energy, the chaos, the excitement of being a family will show up in your gallery. Something that felt scary is now one of my very favorite things to do. And that feels freeing.

Amy Berge Family Photographer Twin Cities Fun