Denise: Maternity Session

Virginia Portrait Photographer

This was a very special session for me. Denise and Stuart are first and foremost BC friends. We hung out during our college years and I’ve been blessed to hang out with them throughout the seven years since BC. But they’re also my first wedding. The first wedding I ever shot on my own as Jessica Fike Photography. They believed in me, were excited for me and still tell me to this day how much they love their wedding pictures (even though I feel badly that my style has changed SO MUCH since then!). I also photographed them a few years ago after they added their fur babies to the family. They have two dogs and love them like kids…and NOW they have a kid! A baby named Max Kingston! He was born in January and I was lucky enough to photograph him before he even came during Denise’s maternity session in November. I had been wanting to practice or “experiment” with different shooting techniques when I received the invitation for Denise’s baby shower. I immediately thought of her wearing a beautiful dress, outside on a sunny day with lots of light pouring in, looking radiant and holding her baby bump. She would be the perfect subject! Shoot with lots of light, at a very wide aperture and attempting to get softer, more film-like images was the goal and I think towards the end of her session, I was getting it. 🙂

I met Denise and Stuart at one of their favorite wineries, Barboursville Vineyard in Charlottesville, VA. It was a quiet, beautiful morning and we seemed to have the place to ourselves…



I knew Denise would look beautiful! Don’t you just love her hair and those red lips!? 🙂








Aren’t they so cute!? You should see their Instagram feeds. Even cuter. 🙂



This vine-covered wall made a lovely backdrop…and allowed us to escape the bright sun for a little…








Then we stepped back into the bright sun and I used my 70-200 2.8 L lens. I found out that this lens does really well in bright sun! The shadows and highlights seem to be a bit softer than they would be with my 35 1.4…and those shadows and highlights can be HARSH in bright sun!



And of course Denise had a cute accessory to add! She totally pulls off this hat!



A session favorite for me!





I spotted this location on my way to the winery. Not sure what it is or who owns it, but I knew we had to give it a try! And I’m so glad we did. 🙂



I would normally avoid this open space of bright sun, but I was challenging myself and trying new things during this session, so I didn’t let the situation scare me…I let it inspire me! And I love the results! The blue color in the sky, the color in the leaves, the variations of light, and the creaminess in the image details. I think the final round of portraits were my most favorite of the session!



Doesn’t Denise look so beautiful!?! I especially love the lines that the the disappearing trees make…




The sun was so bright, but I love how much light it poured into these portraits!





A big-time favorite! Looks good in black and white and color. 🙂


And this is the picture I quickly edited, had printed and bought a frame for so I could share it with Denise during her shower just a few hours later. I loved surprising her with that. 🙂 And I really think I met my goal of shooting with lots of light and a wide aperture to get softer, more film-like images with this portrait.




Such a refreshing session for JFP! I’m so thankful Denise and Stuart were willing to be my subjects and allowed me to capture such another important time in their lives. CONGRATS on the arrival of little Max and thanks for your constant support of JFP! I hope there’s many more sessions together in our future! 🙂 And for fun, check out this blog post! My blogging efforts were much different when I photographed Denise and Stuart years ago, so I don’t have any full posts of their wedding or family portrait session. But, I do have a blog post that includes a little of both! Denise and Stuart are awesome cooks and I’m a lover of new recipes, so Denise has been a guest blogger twice in the past few years. She’s shared some favorite recipes and I’ve shared some favorites from their wedding and family session to accompany those recipes. So if you want a look back at my “early style” (from 2009 and 2011! AH!) and a couple of recipes from Denise and Stuart, click here.

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We love you & your photography, Jessica! 🙂 Thank you again for the most memorable baby shower gift, ever and for letting us be your test subjects. We need to book you for a family shoot sometime in the Fall when Max has a few more months on him. HUGS!

Beautiful Jess! I think it’s wonderful that your photography style is evolving!

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