Darrah Parker » Slice of Life Photography

lovely melissa | seattle portrait photographer

Earlier this week, I drove to Bellingham (about an hour and a half north of Seattle) to photograph Dr. Melissa McCreery. Through her coaching practice and book, she helps successful women “add more ease, success, and joy to their health, their businesses, and their lives.” We could all use more of those things, can’t we?

Melissa wanted headshots for her new website (coming soon!) that show off her personality – warm, approachable, professional, trustworthy. I found all of these things to be true within the first five minutes of meeting her. She really is a delight.

We spent a couple of hours walking and talking and getting to know each other. At one point, Melissa told me that she didn’t know being photographed could be so fun. Music to my ears!

I hope the photos illustrate just how much fun we had and just how lovely Melissa is.

 

phases of motherhood

When Sadie was a baby, it seemed like she was constantly changing. Every few weeks (or days) she would enter a new phase. It was all we could do for my husband and I to keep up. My life was about diapers and sleep and teething and checking each milestone off the list. Somewhere along the way, I got so wrapped up in my daughter’s life that I kind of forgot about my own. The business that I had built, the photography e-courses I had taught, my clients, my creativity, all of it sort of drifted away. And I wasn’t quite sure what to do about it, nor did I have the energy to figure it out.

There were a few false starts when I thought I should do something big. I thought I was ready to dive back into work, when really I needed to sit still and take care of myself. I allowed myself to heal from a couple of hard years and appreciate the fruits of my labor (literally and figuratively.)

I’m happy to share that I am back. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but after two-and-a-half years, I am in a new phase of motherhood and with it has come renewed energy, a feeling of purpose, and a much welcomed burst of creativity. Halle-freakin-lujah!

I’m sure that yet another phase is right around the corner, but for now, I’m going to ride this wave.

Over the past few years, there has been one constant. One thing that I have done every day, even on the darkest ones. And that is take photos. My iPhone is always close at hand and taking pictures of my daily life has been my way of celebrating the small victories, honoring the everyday moments, and acknowledging how hard it is. Because seriously, this motherhood thing ain’t easy. Most importantly, photography has brought me back to myself.

And let me tell you, it’s good to be back.

Today, I’m excited to announce that I’m bringing Lens Mama back, starting July 21! Lens Mama is a photography e-course for busy moms. For ten days, you will receive love notes from me. Along with daily photography prompts and tips, you will have a community of other Lens Mamas to share your story with and who will cheer you on. You will learn to photograph your life in artful ways, find beauty in the mess, capture your children during candid moments, and improve your photography along the way. All cameras, all experience levels, all mamas welcome!

MORE INFO AND REGISTRATION HERE.

how postpartum depression gave me a purpose

A dear friend of mine asked me today, “What is exciting you these days?” This question came after I had shared with her how far I’ve come in the past two years. How the early days of motherhood and postpartum depression were no longer tapping on my shoulder on a daily basis. How the pain of that time had changed shape. It is still there, but it is not in control anymore. She told me that it seems like the pain has turned into inner wisdom. Yes. Exactly.

This brings me back to her question: “What is exciting you these days?” My answer came flying out of my mouth immediately: “Photographing newborns and their families.” My mind drifted as I pictured each new baby I’ve had the honor of photographing in their First Days. I thought of the bravery of new parents as they look into the eyes of this human being that belongs to them – and yet, doesn’t belong to them. I thought of everything I’ve been through as a new mother and how I hope I can bring that inner wisdom to my photo sessions, so that they’ll know they’re not alone. So that they know that they are safe and loved. My friend paused and looked me. “Isn’t it interesting that the thing you’ve struggled with is the thing you are focusing on in your work?” she asked. “Isn’t it crazy?” I replied with a laugh. “No,” she said, “it makes complete sense.”

It does. It makes complete sense. It’s as if I had to go through what I went through in order to know how I could serve other people. I had to go to the depths in order to be able to bring light to others when they need it most. I had to be able to look back at the early days of motherhood with gentleness in order to look at the mothers I photograph with gentleness.

It wasn’t until this conversation that I really understood why I wanted to start focusing my business on newborn photography. But I get it now. I had so much support as a new mom, but motherhood was lonely. I didn’t feel seen or understood or beautiful. And so as much as my First Days photo sessions are about the new baby, they are just as much, if not more so about the mama. I hope that in some small way my presence and my camera will help her feel seen, understood, and absolutely beautiful.

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I’m currently booking First Days sessions for the summer and fall. If you or someone you know is having a baby soon, I’d love to chat. Hop over to my Maternity + Newborn Gallery for all the details or send me a note.