Baby and Family Photography – Brisbane
One of the aspects I love most of my job as a photographer is meeting people! Anyone who knows me knows I love to chat and hear peoples’ stories. It’s one of the reasons I studied journalism. Why not put good use to my curious nature and love of chatting? So, when Nikita called me to book baby and family photography for her gorgeous family of four, I couldn’t wait to meet them.
The day of the session arrived, and I must admit, I was surprised! Baby Elena was just a few weeks old and their son Leo was just 14 months! But this gorgeous family had it all under control. Leo was super cooperative for photos and little Elena, once I used my magical wrapping skills, just went straight to sleep for the entire baby and family photography session!
While we chatted I discovered the couple have family scattered throughout Australia but due to Covid, are yet to meet baby Elena. So, I asked Nikita to share their story so we could blog their gorgeous photos from their baby and family photography session.
Tell me about yourselves!
Our little family story started in September 2015 on a bus in London at 6am. Luke and I were both travelling through Europe on Contiki, and we sat opposite each other on the tour bus. He asked me a question about a musical artist and that was it, we were completely inseparable for the entire 20-day tour! We were from opposite sides of Australia so our only option after the tour ended was to do long-distance but the reality of that working out is slim to none, right?
It took about another 7 months, but we finally decided to try long distance, which lasted about 6 months before we decided something had to change and Luke moved to Brisbane to start our lives together properly. He always says it was the best decision ever! 2021 sees us being together for 5 years and married for 3 with two beautiful babies and a crazy cat.
Falling pregnant and your pregnancies
Luke and I got married in August 2018 and decided the very next month that we wanted to start on our dream of a family, it took about three months before we found out we were expecting our little Leonardo. My pregnancy with Elena went a lot quicker, we had a conversation about having a second baby and boom! We learned we were expecting within the next month.
If my two pregnancies have taught me anything, it’s that I am no good at being pregnant! My morning sickness for both lasted from about 5 weeks until delivery, it was brutal but so very worth it when I got to hold my babies for the first time. Pregnant Nikita was an experience as Luke always says… I think he has a list somewhere of everything that would make me cry. Hot tip: don’t watch animal documentaries when hormones are not your best friend. Sloths are cute and you WILL cry.
Did you plan to have babies close together? And what’s it like having two babies under 18 months?
We planned on having our children close together in age – we both grew up with siblings and bigger families and couldn’t wait to have our own. There’s only 14 months between our babies which is absolute insanity but so exciting at the same time, it’s going to be amazing to watch them play and discover things around the same time. We think they’ll be the best of friends! Having two under two is an adventure, one that absolutely tests our limits as parents and our patience as human beings, but I don’t think we’ve ever laughed (or cried!) as much as we have since Elena was born- I mean, when both need super smelly diaper changes at the same time, what else can you do but laugh? They really are our dream come true.
Can you share any words of wisdom on parenting babies close in age?
Taking a step back is essential! When they’re both having meltdowns, it’s totally okay to just go and take a breather for 5 minutes while they chill out in their beds. Ask for help when you need it. Whether that’s just letting your partner know you need a 5 minute timeout for yourself or if you need help with housework. Although I am of the belief that the laundry can wait one day if you’re having a rough one, it’s not the end of the world if the house isn’t vacuumed daily. I also try and incorporate our oldest kid into the routines for our littlest baby. He’s a part of bath time, feedings, tummy time, everything. I think it helps him deal with his feelings when he’s a part of everything and not feeling excluded.
Can you tell us about the kids’ names? Baby and Family Photography
Our kids’ names are Leonardo Vincenzo and Elena Maria. I actually don’t know if Luke knows this but… Our son’s name Leonardo actually came from Charmed! I was completely obsessed as a young girl and decided then and there (at the age of 10 or something) that if I had a boy his name would be Leo.
*disclaimer. I too was a huge Charmed fan, although I was in my twenties! Actually, if I’m honest, it was closer to my early thirties. And for those reading at home, Leo was an awesome Whitelighter, the magical equivalent to a ‘knight in shining armour’. Anyway, back to Nikita…
Luke comes from an Italian family, so it just happened to work out with the name Leonardo. Lucky me!
Leonardo’s middle name Vincenzo is a family name from Luke’s father, also Vincenzo, and Luke has the same middle name.
Similarly with Elena Maria – Maria is the name of my great grandmother, my grandmother and my mother – they’re all strong women and I wanted to honour them in my daughter’s name. Her first name was a name I’ve been in love with for a very long time, we pronounce it Eh-lay-nah like the Spanish version. I just thought it was beautiful!
Do the kids have any crazy aunts or doting grandparents?
These kids have no shortage of love at all – both sets of grandparents are so in love. Their Nonna and Nonno in WA get all of the updates and photos. Aand we try to video call them as often as we can. Nonna is pretty famous around her office at work for her super cute grandbabies! My parents (Oma and Opa) live two streets away from us. And Opa is Leo’s best friend in all the world. I can’t even remember how many presents these two kids received for Christmas from both sides of the family. There’s just so much love! Their Uncle Mel dotes upon them endlessly as well. He calls Elena his “little light”. She’s the first girl born to the family in over 27 years! So, she’s pretty special – The Bella Principessa!
How many cousins do they have?
They’re actually the first grandbabies for both sides. The pioneers of the next generation if you will! We do have lots of extended family. Everyone is technically a cousin but we’re spread out around the globe so it’s a bit different.
Did you have any weird cravings during pregnancy? Baby and Family Photography Brisbane
I 100% believe in the old wives’ tales about different cravings for different genders. When I was pregnant with Leo, all I wanted was salty chips and pickles and mustard. And sometimes all at the same time. My cravings with Elena were all about bakery treats: cakes, cupcakes, danishes – it was insane!
Were your pregnancies easy or difficult?
With the morning sickness 24/7 from 5 weeks until I gave birth, it was pretty rough. Add in the lovely lack of sleep in the third trimester and it’s a recipe for a cranky mama to be! They were both very different pregnancies but again, so worth it.
So tell us, how was your labour?
My labour with Leo lasted 13 hours. I did it drug-free and it was an incredibly empowering and beautiful experience. Definitely scary as a first-time mum. But I look back at it as being at my strongest. I remember thinking that no matter how much pain I was feeling, it was all for my baby. Elena was a scheduled c-section due to complications and was a vastly different experience, but she arrived safe and healthy and that was all that mattered.
Do you have any useful tips for other mums and dads?
Ask for help. I think a lot of times as women, as mothers, we feel like we need to just be able to say “I got this” but being a mum is a scary experience, even the second time around. Things will and do get easier but when the going is tough, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I also advise anybody who asks to NOT Google. It’s so easy to punch in some symptoms into Google and then proceed to freak out until you see your GP but there is a thing as too much information and it’s not helpful. Also, try not to compare yourself or your baby to somebody else – every kid is different and will hit milestones at different times.
How was your experience with me for your baby and family photography?
Alison, you are absolutely brilliant. We had an amazing time at your beautiful studio with you. You helped us be at ease about toddlers and their unpredictable behaviour, you wrapped Elena so beautifully that she slept for the entire session and everything was so relaxed. Honestly, just a fantastic experience.
*aw shucks! I’m actually blushing!
Do you recommend baby and family photography and if so, why?
Absolutely! Having professional baby and family photography of the new baby is so incredibly special – yes, we all take photos on our fancy phones but having an actual session with a professional gives you gorgeous photos and a family experience. The canvas prints or albums that come from the session are the memories you can show your children and grandchildren. In this day and age where everything is digital, having something like this is a stand-out experience.
About Alison – Baby and Family Photography– Brisbane
Alison is a Brisbane based who specialises in weddings and baby and family photography. With over 22 years’ experience in the photography industry Alison Cooke Photography was recently voted one of the top 10 wedding photographers in Brisbane by the Courier Mail and one of the top 30 wedding photographers by The Wedding Diaries. . You can check out more of Alison’s work here and if you’d like to book a session, get in touch here.