Motherhood Portraits: Maternity, Birth, and Family
November 15, 2023
Lily Johnson says it's important to consider client experiences form start to finish -- from a customized session to selecting high-end, luxurious products that moms and dads love to get their hands on in studio. She notes that Dads tend to love metal prints while Moms tend to love canvas. Both appreciate the tactile experience of holding samples to feel how lovely it will be to own them. (Scroll through to see examples of Johnson's portraits.)
Motherhood is a tender time. From pregnancy to birth to infancy and family life, Lily Johnson of Burgh Babies creates a safe and nurturing environment for mothers to have their journey lovingly documented. She recently had a conversation with host Nikki Closser on The Portrait System Podcast about how she transitioned from a corporate job into being a birth doula and how her photography career grew from there.
Johnson gained early experience in the photography industry while still in high school with an internship as a second shooter for weddings. In college, she remained active in photography as a hobby. After college, Johnson worked many jobs before deciding to leave a corporate position to start her own business. Her next step was to be a birth doula before beginning to offer birth photography. From there, her business organically branched into serving other areas of motherhood, starting with maternity and motherhood.
As a birth doula, Johnson has to be on call and be ready when her clients are. It is an intense and emotional atmosphere, where a photographer has to be in the moment and prepared for anything – including low-light shooting and medical emergencies. Johnson’s experience in the birthing room gives her special insight into motherhood. She says that even when a client first comes to her with a newborn, and not as a doula client, she often finds herself hearing the mother’s birth stories and helping her process that intense experience often for the first time.
Johnson says, “The service experience feels like a big hug, and you leave feeling really connected to us. It ends up being a huge gift to be in vulnerable spaces with people.”
Particularly for women who are postpartum and coming in with newborns, Johnson keeps her studio stocked with everything a new mother might need, including newborn diapers and a changing table. The level of care she provides ensures that most of her clients come to her through word of mouth and referrals.
The Portrait System Podcast helps portrait photographers navigate the world of photography, business, money, and much more. Hosted by Nikki Closser, the podcast is powered by The Portrait System, a comprehensive, online educational platform that teaches all aspects of running a successful portrait photography studio. If you’d like to be a guest on The Portrait System Podcast, send them a voice message.