Monthly Archives: August 2010

Sneak Peek: Jaxlen {NEWBORN}

Ok, get ready for cute over-load. This little guy has the cutest chunky cheeks and SO much personality already. I love newborns and the expressions they make. Jaxlen knew what he wanted today, and it didn’t include being nekkid or more than 5 feet from his mama and food supply. He spent his first few days in the NICU, but you’d never know it looking at him. And have I mentioned lately that I am loving all the sessions I’ve been able to do for people that I know?! Life is just so much easier when I walk into a house and the family is already comfortable with me and trusts that we are going to get awesome images.

Justin, Zene and Zylin, your new blessing is beautiful. We are so happy you are all home safe and healthy.

Be sure to leave some love for the Snider Family (add a comment below) to help them win a free 8×10!

If you are interested in booking a session with Mandi McDougall Photography, e-mail me at If you are a friend of the Snider’s and mention that when you book, you receive a $20 print credit.

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Landon {6 MONTHS OLD}

It is so hard to believe you are 6 months old. 6 months ago tomorrow we brought you home from the hospital…scared, tired, relieve to be out of that hospital after almost a week of waiting and crying and wanting to be home in our own space, getting to know you. 6 months ago you came rocketing into our world, and tipped it upside down. Someone asked me the other day if I can remember life before you…the answer is, I think so. Sleep deprivation does that to you, makes everything fuzzy and not quite real. What I remember about life before you is that it was boring and empty. There was no reason to get up and snuggle this sweet, chunky baby at 2 am. No sleepy baby smiles as you drift off to sleep in my arms, or burrow into Dad’s shoulder. Before you, Grandpa made a fool of himself for no good reason. You gave him a reason. You are the reason for his Donald Duck voices, for the silly things he does just to get a smile or laugh.

In 6 months you have changed so much. Lost most of your hair, started growing more. Gained around 10 pounds (official weight coming tomorrow) of squishy baby chunk. I adore it all. You are rolling over, almost crawling, eating food and grunting, squealing and shrieking day and night. I cannot wait to see what the future holds, but for today, I’m happy where we are. And I am happy to look back, at your little teeny, 5 pound, hairy pictures. To revel in what you were and what you are.

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Sneak Peek: Churchill Family/Spencer {FAMILY AND SENIOR}

I love sessions that mix things up, keep me on my toes, and make me work for the good shots. This was a family/senior session, featuring mom and dad, three well-mannered guys and the crazy dog, Saber. We did a few family portraits, and then focused on Spencer, the middle son. He is a senior this year, and it was fun to photograph a laid-back guy, and his awesome car!

Corinna and family, thank you so much for letting me take your pictures!

Be sure and add a comment below to help the Churchill’s win a free 8×10!

If you are interested in booking a session with Mandi McDougall Photography, e-mail me at If you are a friend of the Churchill’s and mention that when you book, you receive a $20 print credit.

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Newborn Session Tips for Parents

I’m going to keep it real: I DID NOT write these tips. I found them on the blog of the fabulous Laura Sanderson. However, they are such great tips, and apply to pretty much each and every newborn session, so I had to share.
  • Newborn portraits are unique in that they can’t be scheduled months out, but you can line up a photographer months out who will build time into their calendar around your due date for your session. If you are scheduling your birth, let your photographer know that as soon as possible.
  • Call your photographer soon after you deliver so you can arrange a time for the session. Ideally the session should take place within 5-10 days after birth, and no longer than 2 weeks after.
  • The session will take place at your home – do not worry about the state of your house. You just had a baby. I do not care if dishes are piled up the sink and clothes baskets runneth over. I have a job to do, and I’m not there to care about how clean your house is.
  • Loosen the the baby’s diaper about 30 minutes before the session. This allows time for the diaper’s imprint marks to disappear.
  • Have your house warm. Ideally, you’ll want the thermostat set around 80-85. For the adults it will be hot, but the baby will be toasty and happy.
  • Collect any items you want used in the session beforehand – family heirlooms, toys, monogrammed blankets, etc. I’ll go through these with you to determine what will look best in the pictures.
  • If you’d like pictures taken of the baby in the nursery, be sure all the curtains and shades are open to let in lots of natural light. No need to clean, but just try and make sure the clutter has found its way to a closet.
  • Decide if you’d like pictures taken with your baby, or if want pictures of only the baby.
  • Make sure the baby has a full belly before I arrive. Aren’t we all happier with a full belly?
  • After the baby is full, make sure they are burped really good. Gas can take a sleepy, happy baby to an uncomfortable and irritable one in seconds.
  • A mother’s smell is so recognizable (and sometimes distracting) to a baby, that it may be necessary for the mom to leave the room for portions of the session. This is not meant to hurt your feelings, but only to allow me to get the baby thinking sweet sleepy dreams, instead of hungry “where’s my milk?” dreams.
  • Be patient. If the baby gets fussy or alert, don’t stress out. A baby can sense your anxiety and we want to keep the environment as mellow as possible. We will try and get the baby comfortable again, but if that just doesn’t seem possible, we’ll take a break or we’ll work with what he’s giving us. Sometimes the best pictures are ones when the baby isn’t doing what we want.
  • Be assured that if there is ever a point where you’re uncomfortable with the poses, simply let me know. I only want to do poses and shots that you are comfortable with.
  • UPDATE: After one of my newborn sessions, the mother gave me these suggestions to add to the list:
    • Unless the baby sleeps very good through the nights do not schedule the shoot in the morning.
    • If you breastfeed and can, have at least one bottle pumped for feeding.
    • A majority of the pictures will work best if the baby is asleep so anything you can do in advance to encourage this is recommended. I assumed he should be awake and alert which probably made your job a lot harder.

Thanks again Laura, for sharing such great advice with new moms everywhere.

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Sneak Peek: Meghan {SENIOR}

In my world, Meghan is better known as Suplex. I met Meghan at church camp, and her camp name was Suplex…so I had to keep correcting it in my head yesterday. Meghan is one of those girls who owns exactly who she is; she doesn’t fit into anyone else’s box, and she doesn’t apologize for it. Rock on, Suplex! I love that you are strong, athletic, not-so-girly, and own every bit of that. Plus, you were up for whatever I suggested, which is every photographers dream senior!

Meghan, I can’t wait to see what your future holds!

Be sure and add a comment below to help Meghan win a free 8×10!

If you are interested in booking a session with Mandi McDougall Photography, e-mail me at If you are a friend of Meghan’s and mention that when you book, you receive a $20 print credit.

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