Welcome Madison Lee

My lovely friend Candice recently welcomed her first daughter ... making her sweet little family now a beautiful FIVE.  I photographed her family just five short days after Madison was born, which was perfect because all she was interested in was eating and sleeping and was phased when her adoring big brothers fussed over her. 

Candice is a warm, easy going and light hearted mama to her beautiful babies.  If she felt flustered during my visit, I couldn't tell.  She easily comforted one child while tending to the needs of another all while cradling her sweet girl in her arms.  Candice told me how Madison immediately fell into place within their family, how even after only five short days that they couldn't imagine life without her in it.  Just as it should be. 

Babies are always, always a blessing, and I think should be welcomed into a family just the way beautiful Madison has been - with open arms, hearts full of adoration and celebration at her arrival.  These four are certainly smitten with their new family member, she will never be short of a cuddle, a soothing voice or barrels of fun when she's old enough to run around with her brothers.  What a lucky little lady indeed!

When I asked Candice if I could share a few photographs from their session on my website and blog, she hesitated a moment, which sometimes happens and is always respected.  Sharing my work online is important to keep my business going, to show my work as it evolves and grows, to show off the beautiful people I am invited to photograph - and I am always grateful when clients allow me to share their memories.  But they're just that, these photographs belong to my clients more than they do me, so if a client feels strongly about keep their photographs offline, I'm happy to oblige. 

Candice did agree to allow me to share her photographs, but with the caveat that I only share a handful.  This beautiful mama bird wants to share only a glimpse at her session - and her brand new party of five - with the world, she wants to keep the rest of them to herself.  Which is absolutely perfect.  I'm grateful to have been invited into their home to document this precious season in their life.  Welcome Madixx

All photographs shot on Pentax 645n with Porta 400 (black and white have been converted after scanning the negatives).  Processed and scanned by AllChromes in Brisbane.

In home lifestyle sessions are a beautiful way to document your family.  A Full Service session is $400 (more information can be found here) and I am currently taking booking for June onwards.  Please call me on 0452 394 908 or email me at hello@reneetrubai.com.au to book your session. 

Welcome Walker

It was always the plan to make some newborn photographs of little Walker, but when Mardee suggested a few more posed option, we brought our date forward to when he was a sweet 7 days old.  By this stage, Mardee and I had been texting all week - which mostly consisted of me trying to come across as supportive and available while giving them newborn-fog space I know you need in those days ... I'm not sure I pulled it off.  Mardee had let me know that during that week, Walker had slept a solid 5 hours, through the hours that count - the midnight to five am kind.  Bravo!  What a little champ they have on their hands, he's sleeping like a super star, feeding like a super star and somehow managing to style his own gorgeous head full of hair!

There's a lot of 'in between' moments during a newborn session, time for nappy changes and milk top ups, settling and burping, rocking and sweet talking them off to sleep.  These are my favourite moments to photograph because after I pack up and head home, that is the sort of stuff that keeps on keeping on with life as a newborn. 
Once Walker was sound asleep, and I was settling his little feet into the photograph above, something happened that has never happened before during a session.  I heard a small sob behind me.  I turned around and my beautiful, strong, ballsy, no-BS, hilarious, kind, independent, go-her-own-way friend was having a quiet cry at the sight of her little boy.  I adore thinking back on that small moment, I had to sort of ignore it at the time or I would have joined in with her.  This time of life is magic. 

Daddy's are pretty great at settling their newborns off to sleep - it's generally the no milk factor - but I think it's a degree of no-fuss as well.  Pete was no exception.  He put on some tunes, rocked Walker and snuggled him with some skin to skin time, which resulted in one my favourite newborn photographs, ever. 

After you become a parent yourself, it is such a treat to watch your friends become parents right alongside you, to snuggle their babies, to change a nappy so that it means one less they'll have to do, to compare experiences, learn new things, recommend and loan great books and build on the little village you already had, only now it feels stronger and more bonded.  These guys and their little family of five, have always been an integral part of our village and I'm so pleased we're a part of theirs.  Being the person that is standing right alongside them documenting these first days, is an honour.


Welcome Oliver

Meet gorgeous, bursting with chubba baby Oliver.  I invited myself over to Peta & Dave's place to meet Oliver when he was 10 days old, have a few snuggles to stave off the cluckiness and to take a few documentary style photographs of their family while I was there. 

Peta is a photographer herself, she creates beautiful posed newborn work (scroll to the bottom for a link to her work) but as a mama of two who both times attempted to photograph her own babies, I know how difficult it can be and how quickly time flies, especially when you have a busy toddler to care for at the same time. 

We sat in the kitchen for coffee and cake (never visit the home of a newborn without food ;-) while Peta & Dave filled me in on Oliver's arrival and how life has been since then.  William remembered me from their pregnancy portraits (here) and was instant buddies with me again, getting mama's spare camera out to assist me for the morning. 

Once everyone's tummies were full, we moved into the bedroom to attempt a family portrait - right before William's nap time.  For a little guy who was tired and had had a big few days welcoming baby brother, he did pretty well.

When daddy took William out for a nap, it was the Mama and Oliver show.  Just as it should be.  A mama of a newborn can never have too many photographs of herself just being mama to her tiny babe.  Life is busy, days slip by and mama is usually the one taking snap shots.  It's so important to keep mama in the picture!  It was plain to see how Peta was still riding a glorious high from her peaceful water birth at home, with Dave and William by her side through it all. 

Documentary sessions have my heart, especially when welcoming a new baby.  These are the moments you'll look back on with so much fondness - the 'everydayness' of life with the addition of something as special and enchanting as a brand new life. 

Hanging out with these guys was a joy.  Though we've only meet twice in person, they are easy-going, easy-to-laugh and so kind.  Can't wait to get back for another natter and bubba snuggles over their kitchen table x


As I mentioned earlier, Peta is a Brisbane based photographer too, with a focus on beautiful posed newborn work (you can check out Peta's work on Facebook, here), so while I was there for a visit, I suggested I could be Pete's extra pair of hands while she photographed Oliver in her own style.  We got a couple of frames and a pose or two out of him before he protested and it was time for milk again.  I couldn't resist snapping a frame from above Peta's pose ... all that gorgeous squish and soft roundness was irresistible!

The Barton Family

This newborn session was the final session in the Pregnancy & Newborn Collection that Renee & Kaine purchased to document the arrival of their gorgeous little man, Jesse Jack. 

Jesse was fifteen days old for this session, and considering how unpredictable newborn babies can be, and my love for the real moments in life, we decided on approaching this session in a very documentary manner.  Aside from a few suggestions of where to move to (the bedroom to snuggle up together and interact with their very alert little man, or by the window for a few last family frames at the end of our session), and the small collection of more posed photographs of Jesse wrapped (which we only attempted because he slept so soundly and Renee & Kaine had requested we give it a go), we stuck true to the fly-on-the wall style of documentary photography.  I hovered around the edges of this new family figuring out a very tiny and very slippery baby at bath time, when we paused for multiple feeds throughout the morning, I snapped away, and when dad was consoling an unsettled little man curled up on his chest.  These are how our days as parents of newborns are spent - doing what needs to be done for this tiny new person, and figuring out the routine of our previous lives around that.  For me, this is very best way to photograph a newborn, because when you're in the thick of it yourself, the tasks you often look upon as just that - a chore to be completed for the day - or something seemingly mundane in it's familiarity and repetition, it's so easy to overlook the beauty in those moments.

Once your baby grows a little bigger, becomes a little more adept at holding himself up, and undressing them doesn't feel so worrying - memories of what it felt like to bathe your delicate newborn fade a just a little.  Once you've established breastfeeding and those feeds begin to spread further apart, the memory of dad topping up a breastfeed with a bottle, when before you know it you're breastfeeding him again - those days when cluster feeding and growth spurts make you feel like all you've achieved all day long is feed your baby - those days begin to fade a little too, and you wonder if your mind is playing tricks on you when you think back on how much your life revolved around milk.

When I sent these guys a couple of photographs from this session for a quick look before the whole set was complete, Renee commented that she looked so tired.  For the most part, I don't think she looks overly tired, she looks a bit smitten mostly.  Though towards the end there are one or two where Renee does look tired, which is just what life was like for them then in those newborn weeks.  Only days after an intense labour and delivery, which of course sends you immediately into an exhaustion beyond what you imagined, alongside meeting the almost unrelenting needs and demands of your baby - it's only natural.  I for one am glad that there are those few photographs amongst this set that show that very real part of new parenthood, because through all of that, she still can't wipe the grin off her face.  When Jesse is old enough to recognise his mother's exhaustion, he will also see her pride at being his mama beaming from her face.

May every woman be looked upon with such obvious adoration, pride and love, as Renee is in this photograph.

I say this for most parents I work with, because it's absolutely true, and parents are making their experience their own and everyone is doing their very best.  But, these guys are doing parenthood SO WELL.  Not only that, but they're doing marriage, so well, all at the same time.  They're laying it all out there for you too, they both blog about parenthood, and their lives in general, over at NOT SO SECRET LIFE OF US.  Go check it out, follow them on Facebook HERE for their latest updates and cheer them on!  It's an entertaining, heart-strings-tugging and very honest account of their life right now.  xx

If you've missed any of the sessions from their Pregnancy & Newborn Collection, you can find their previous blog posts below.
Pregnancy Session - 29 weeks
Pregnancy Session - 35 weeks, part I
First Days Session - 22 hours old

The Honour Family

In the last days of winter, I was invited into the Honour Family's home to meet BJ and Nikki's sweet new son Phillip, and to make some photographs of them as a brand new family.  Phillip was a delight - I'm such a sucker for a bubba with big round cheeks like his.

If you've ever wondered what a lifestyle newborn or family session looks like, as opposed to a more posed session, this session is it.  We hung out in mum and dad's bedroom for the most part, asking everyone to snuggle up closely together on their bed.  We worked to Phillip's needs, pausing for a feed, to change his nappy, to stretch his legs to help out with a tummy upset.  During this time we chat, mostly about parenthood of course, or I might snap a few frames if it won't be too disruptive, or it's a good time to reload film and replenish the stash in my pockets.  Once Phillip was feeling a little more settled after a break, we got back to work.  We work to what feels natural, so parents will usually hold their baby as they normally do, I only asking them to move a little if it will improve our lighting, or if the baby is getting lost in layers of mum and dad's clothes, or in the crook of an arm.  I may ask the other parent to join us if everyone is comfortable and settled and we can make an extra family portrait or two.  I may ask the other parent to take the baby for a while if I feel I need a few more photographs to balance out the final collection.  Usually mum and dad will suggest a location pose change, and where it suits, I absolutely accommodate it - like the beautiful family portraits under the trees in BJ and Nikki's backyard at the end of this post.
But for the most part, we just hang out together.  It's relatively pressure free really.  And no two collections of photographs will look the same.   I hope you enjoy a little glimpse into the Honour Family's lifestyle newborn session. 

Phillip was cheery, alert and so accommodating during our session, but it was the bright morning sunshine had his attention.  Or dad, dad could steal his attention for a moment to get some killer smiles from him.  Can you believe Phillip is only six weeks old? 
Some may think that six weeks is a little far along for a newborn session, and yes, your baby will have grown and changed substantially in those short weeks, but I am growing more and more fond of sessions at this age.  The babies are a little more alert and active - look at cheeky Phillip's tongue poking and gorgeous grins in the photographs below - parents usually feel a little more settled into parenthood, mum has had time to recover somewhat from birth and they're usually more relaxed about having someone come into their home to document them parenting - and if they aren't yet getting more sleep, hopefully they've figured out the best part of the day to join their bub for a nap.  You most definitely have not missed the boat when waiting a couple of weeks to book in your session. 


I'm grateful for being invited into this kind family's home to preserve this special time of their life with photography.  These guys are such natural, easy-going parents, and even as a young baby, Phillip is a great reflection of that.  I can't say that I've ever seen a mama look so gentle and blissfully happy in almost every single photograph of her with her boys, she's head over heels for her littlest man, that's for sure.  This is such a precious season of life for them all.

A note on styling your family for your session.  A lot of families do default to beautiful and delicate whites, pastels and neutral tones when preparing what they'll all wear for their session, which is always classic and lovely - but don't be afraid of bold colour, like Nikki and BJ have done for their session.  These deeps shades of blues, denims and charcoals are stunning, and have photographed so well. They will present beautifully in the navy coloured leather Nikki has chosen for their family album. 

Welcome Arleea Grace

And baby girl makes eight!
Arleea is a lucky little girl, she's been born into a family full of ready made friends, allies and her own personal cheer squad in life.  Arleeais the youngest of six, the littlest sister in a family bursting at the seams with the wonderful chaos that a bigger family brings.  Being invited into their home was a treat.  Sure it's a little noisy and busy, as you would expect, but it was brimming with life. 

Lots of laughter, chatter, playing together, managing disputes, tending to sleepy toddlers or a finger caught in the back door, a little person retreating to a quieter corner of the house when they needed their own space.  Through all of that, this little lady was peaceful and ever observant.  So peaceful when she was being snuggled by mama, and voicing her disapproval at being anywhere else. 


Mama, Arleea and I worked quietly in a corner of the house, while life in their family went on around us.  Little Braxton had just woken from his afternoon nap, and was stuck like glue to daddy.  Life's a bit rough when you're no longer the baby of the family.  The big kids were either outside on the trampoline, in their playroom or sneaking snacks.  I was lucky enough to have two gorgeous little helpers following me around, who not only let me take a snuggly photo of the two of them sitting on the window sill together, but invited me for a sleep over as I was packing to leave;-) 


When we stopped for Arleea to be fed, something really lovely happened.  (Lovely for me perhaps because I'm on the outside looking in, and I would love to add a baby or two more to our little family).  Mama sat on the couch and began feeding, and one by one the older children came quietly and gently to join her.  Seeing as almost everyone was in the same spot, I asked the others to join us.  It was quick, and just one frame, but I'm not-so-quietly high-fiving myself for this last photo of this lovely family all together.  Look at all that love squashed up on the couch together.   xx

Lovely Little Abel

Being invited into the home of a family to photograph their days old baby is such a special honour. Every time. Those days are filled with more than you could ever imagine before experiencing it first hand - there is so much to learn about your new baby, how to feed, bath, dress, wrap, rock, soothe, swaddle. Then there are things like manoeuvring them into their seemingly too-big car seat or pram, or learning to babywear. On top of physical recovery for mum, sleepless nights (and days), visitors and your usual routine. It's a lot. It's beautiful. And it can be overwhelming. Being asked to step into those days and document them is precious.

(Before you meet Abel, here is Kristie's pregnancy session if you've missed it)

Meeting sweet, ten day old Abel was, of course, no exception. We were treating his session in a very documentary style which seemed to suit him well.  His parents had sent me a few, more posed ideas they'd like to try for during our session, though Abel would have none of that.  He was most content when he was being held, fed or swaddled, just as life should be when you're not long out of the cocoon of mama's tummy.

These guys have got this parenting stuff nailed!  I can remember those early days with our two and I can only hope that we managed as well and with such obvious joy.  One thing I do remember well from our early days is how my husband did all that he could so that I only had to focus on recovery, resting and making sure both our baby and I were well fed. I saw the same in Jay as he took charge of nappy changes, dressing, swaddling and settling to allow Kristie to focus on feeding Abel, and having a snack or two. Daddies are pretty awesome. 

Dear Abel is such a lucky little boy, as are his parents - look how much their home has been filled with love. x