May: One Roll, One Kid | Minneapolis Family and Newborn Photographer

For May’s submission to the One Roll, One Kid Project I convinced my eldest (my most camera-adverse) to step into my “studio” (read: basement with a backdrop and strobe light) and I was in shock when he actually cooperated. I think all it took was bribing him with a granola bar so I can tell he’s maturing.

Lately he’s been into all the dance moves and if you have an elementary schooler, you’ll know all current dance moves come from Fortnite whether or not your child is allowed to play the game. I found out my eldest told his friends he plays it because they all said they play it; his teacher confirmed she hears him and his friends chatting about Fortnite and it’s clear none of them actually know what they’re talking about 😂

I was convinced this month’s submission would primarily be shot outdoors because May is typically a glorious month in Minnesota but it’s been cold and rainy. One of the coldest Mays on record, so we’re all just trying to survive. I shot this roll on HP5+ on my Nikon F100, rated it at 400 and pushed a stop. I definitely overexposed, so you can see it’s relatively flat and has increased grain. You win some, you lose some.

Here’s hoping for a nicer June and some outside photos!



March: One Roll, One Kid | Minneapolis Family, Senior, and Newborn Photographer

It’s the end of March and finally the sun is giving off its warm, spring light and copious amounts of snow are in the process of melting. After a pretty brutal winter, 45 degrees is feeling more like 70 and the children of Minneapolis are hopping on their bikes for the first time in months in spite of the lingering remnants of winter.

Fingers crossed April’s project will be shot more outside (not because I don’t love my studio set up but because my kids - and possibly you - are getting sick of it.). But for now, enjoy a BRAND NEW BACKDROP that actually has color!

Once again I totally “cheated” on the One Roll, One Kid parameters of the project. This time I photographed all three of my children on 1.5 rolls of film. AND when I was photographing my eldest, the littlest walked into the frame and they had some moments together. I included those because they’re too cute.

I also know when to pick my battles and with how reluctant my kiddos were, I allowed them to wear their pajamas for the shots. This means there’s ALL THE COLORS in these shots, which is a little shocking to the eyes, so beware.

The films I used were Kodak ColorPlus 200 (rated at 200) and Portra 160 (rated at 160). The ColorPlus turned out way more saturated than I expected and I’m not in love with it, while the Portra 160 is just exactly as I hoped it would be. Portra 160 is one of my FAVES and I’m loving experimenting with it outdoors, with strobes, and pushing it. It’s versatile and skin tones always turn out sooo pretty!

I also self-developed these in extremely old chemicals and the Portra 160 handled it beautifully while the ColorPlus seemed to have issues, so if you see some weird coloring and water spots, I apologize but also ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’ve had some people ask about my studio set up lately so I am including a link to everything I used:

+ Savage Seamless Paper in Turquoise

+ Backdrop Stand

+ AlienBee 800 Strobe Light (I found mine used on Facebook but you can find them here too.)

+ Diffuser Umbrella

+ Yongnuo Triggers

There’s a whole, amazing crew participating in this challenge in 2019, so be sure to check out Charlene Hardy‘s March contribution!






















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.