Virginia Baptist Birth Photographer
The Birth of Maxx

There are so many elements to this birth story at Virginia Baptist Hospital that have made it one of my all-time favorite birth experiences I've ever captured. I was connected to this family through another amazing photographer, Kristen. Parents, L & J, booked me literally days before labor started. Mama was admitted into the hospital just months after the painful loss of her sweet girl, Gabrielle and I arrived shortly after they had settled into triage. Arriving while they were still in triage gave us a wonderful window of time to get to know one another. We laughed, prayed, and waited patiently. After a few hours of minimal progress, they decided to go home and get some rest. Before we knew it, we were back again, and labor was in full swing! 

This was mama's first epidural-free delivery! It was also the first time, after four other healthy deliveries, that she did not know the gender of the baby making his or her arrival. This was also the longest gestational period she had experienced as well. Whew - what a wait!  

Observing this birth story unfold was both bittersweet and absolutely beautiful. I have such admiration for L and her love for her family. She was nothing but eager to hold her littlest baby, and her lack of hesitation throughout the painful process was an absolute inspiration to me. There were so many unique elements to this story and at one point, the nurse who was present during the birth of Gabrielle came in to greet this mama and hug her. Whew boy, the tears just started flowing! By the time mama delivered her baby boy, both the midwife and the nurse who were present during Gabrielle's birth were present in the room, helping her to safely deliver her beautiful rainbow baby. 

Amazing, right? See for yourself through the pictures. <3 


Are you expecting and considering hiring a birth photographer? I am currently booking births for late summer and early fall of 2017. I book a very limited number of births, so if you are considering hiring a birth photographer, please get in touch soon. If you would like to meet in person, birth consultations at the studio are free of charge and carry no obligation. I don't want anyone to miss out on the opportunity to have this short and sweet season of life documented. Contact me today to reserve your birth month.

Lynchburg Professional Photographer
Ten Years In Business

Wanna know something crazy? Ten years ago this month I photographed my first wedding.

Wow. An entire decade!

I photographed the wedding on a Canon Rebel Xt camera with one SD card. I took breaks during the day to run out to the parking lot, download the SD card to my laptop, clear the card (omg I'm hyperventilating at this thought right now!!!) and run back to take more pictures. (Are you wedding photographers having a heart attack yet??) Oh, wait! There's more!! My camera battery died and I had the guts to ask a guest if I could borrow his.

Needless to say, I've come a long way. And the ride has been wild.

I still wonder sometimes why God led me down this path. Why did he take me, someone who does not handle stress very well, and put me in one of the most intense industries? Being an entrepreneur is serious business. Committing to capturing moments that are impossible to re-create is a huge responsibility. Putting these two jobs together creates a(n at times) stressful career! Luckily, I have been blessed with remarkable clients and colleagues who have freely shared support, encouraging words, understanding and (both welcomed and un-welcomed, let's be honest) constructive criticism.

As I look back on the last ten years in business, I am overcome with gratitude for this journey. And to still be IN business, at that! I have watched a lot of colleagues close their business doors for many different reasons. And for unknown reasons to me, mine continues to grow. I give the credit to God, because heaven knows, I have failed many times over.

I thought it would be fun to share Ten Life Lessons I've Learned as an entrepreneur, a professional photographer, a wedding industry member, a birth industry member, and work-at-home-mama during the last decade.

Can you relate to any of these?

  1. There is always something to learn from a difficult experience. You can walk away bitter, angry, or sad, OR you can choose to reflect on the situation and learn from any mistakes you've made.
  2. Your calendar is the best depiction of your priorities. You can say what your priorities are all day long, but it's how you are spending your time that one can truly see where your heart lies.
  3. It is never a bad time to improve your time management skills. Like, ever. Just when you think you have this down to an art, you'll find another area where you can improve. Never give up fine tuning and perfecting time management skills! (P.S. My favorite resource for whipping myself into shape is FocusBooster!)
  4. Failing is not the end of the world. If you're like I was and you can't give yourself grace and learn to accept that you are a flawed human, then running a business will probably never be enjoyable. I had to let go of my expectations of perfection before I could simply take a deep breath and tell myself "failing is not the end of the world." I remember being pregnant with Sunday and I was currently on the road traveling from Fredericksburg to Lynchburg. I received a text message from a client who was waiting for me in Richmond. She was sitting on a park bench with her daughters and mother, thinking I was running a few minutes behind. But, in reality, I was two hours away singing at the top of my lungs to a song on the radio. Getting that phone call gutted me. A genuine mistake, a "pregnancy brain" moment. I called Tommy and said "I want to quit this work. I can't do this... I cannot handle disappointing another client like this." It felt like THE END OF THE WORLD. But, you know what? It wasn't. I am human, and I'm going to make mistakes. I just had to pick myself up, brush myself off, share my deepest apologies, and do what I could to prevent making the same mistake again. Grace, not perfection. 
  5. Proper handling of stressful situations takes practice (and a whole lot of grace). The best thing you can do is stay calm, take a deep breath, and begin to problem-solve. I know this is common sense, but learning how to put this behavior into practice is truly an art form for a personality like mine. Ha! Of course, I'm still working on this... habits are tough to break! 
  6. Accepting people just the way they are and/or letting go of unhealthy relationships is one of the best things you can do to find peace in your work and personal life. I didn't really think this one needed much explanation. 
  7. Sometimes it is better to let go of control, even when you own your own business. For example, outsourcing a handful of business tasks has been one of the best decisions I have ever made, both personally and professionally. When you are not a professional at something, hiring another professional to take care of those items not only improves your product and experience for your clients, but it also helps you get back to focusing on that which you ARE a professional in.
  8. There are seasons in life and this is more than okay, it's a beautiful part of life! Seasons come and go. I've always said I will run this business as long as life, and God, will allow me to do so. Over time, this business has seen different seasons: I have focused on wedding photography, then birth photography, and recently studio work has been the forefront of my focus. This business has changed names twice. Did you know I originally began with the name Love & Laughter Photography?! Ah, I love to look back and see that my heart is still in the same place as it was in the beginning - capturing love and celebrating life! <3 Each of the seasons I've had in my business has followed the path of my personal life and what has been best for myself and my family at that time. What an amazing journey.
  9. No communication is the worst communication. Even if you have bad news to share, sharing it honestly (and quickly) is better than not sharing it at all. This is obviously a good life skill, but a difficult one to master. As someone who hates sharing bad news, I have had to learn the hard way a few times that it is truly better to share bad news than to hide from sharing anything at all.
  10. Personable service and client relationships are a part of a high-quality experience, but not a necessary part of a successful business. Hear me out. While I have a gift of compassion and I am very personable, I have had to learn that not all of my clients want that as a part of their experience. What they want is a business transaction - good images in return for a financial investment. For a long time, I spent too much time pouring into personal emails, long client conversations, and extra special gifts. While these are good things, they were not always the best use of my time. If you are beginning a new customer service business, take it from me: keep your systems simple until you have them down to an art. Then bring in the personal touches. 

And I thought it would be fun to finish out this post with a blast from the past... a few images from my first year of business. Whew! Let me tell you, this is really not that fun for me. But, I thought it was only fair to share that, yes, we all start somewhere. I have to share my genuine gratitude to each of these clients (and friends!) for trusting me at such an early stage of my business and photography journey!

Also, I had to grab these pictures off of Facebook because they are all stored on a hard drive tucked somewhere in the depths of my files. Ha! 

Okay, I can't help it! I have to redeem those pictures with a few of my favorite weddings from 2016!! Here is a glimpse at some of my most recent work. 

Are you planning a Lynchburg, VA wedding? I have photographed over 150 weddings over the last ten years and would love to capture the story of your wedding day. I am currently booking 2017 and 2018 weddings. If you are interested in having me capture your love, I would love to sit down and chat with you! Simply send me a message and we will plan a time for you to come out to the studio to share your story.

Are you beginning a photography career and looking for business coaching? I am currently booking a very limited number of mentoring sessions in 2017 and would be happy to send you more information about my availability. Send me a message and we can start the conversation!

Lynchburg Photographer
The Tangible Experience

I love my work. Each session I shoot on is thoughtfully and intentionally designed to capture personalities and relationship dynamics. But, more than anything, I hope that the images I create for my clients capture the irreplaceable and unique moments of their lives together. Whether I am photographing a brand new baby, or a brand new marriage, I work hard to create images that will be cherished for generations. Like literal generations.

In addition to offering my clients a set of curated and hand-edited portraits, I place a lot of value on also offering high quality, tangible products. Tangible photography products are one of the rare investments we know will grow in value as time passes.

I have carefully selected a set of products for the Liz Cook Photography product catalog to compliment the high-resolution digital images which are included in every session. When purchased, these products come ready to enjoy and include delivery to your home. I will even hang any purchased canvas(es) or framed artwork on your walls! 

There are a variety of products available through the catalog and include exquisite hand crafted albums, matted prints, and framed wall art. They are instant – and constant – gratification. They are items that can be passed down to your children, and your children’s children.

If you would like to come by the studio to see and touch any of these products in person before purchasing, I would love to have you. Contact me and we can get a date on the studio calendar!

Lynchburg Newborn Photographer
What To Expect During Your Newborn Session

Opening a brick and mortar studio almost two years ago (after eight years of being in business and traveling for every single session!) has opened many doors for my business and my clients! This past fall, we moved into a larger space and it has truly been a dream come true. I love to welcome clients of all ages into my studio!

After just a few months in the new space, I have fine tuned a system and workflow for newborn sessions and I thought it would be helpful to share more details with anyone who is considering hiring a newborn photographer. 

Before any session with Liz Cook Photography, clients receive a Preparation Guide with important information to help prepare for a successful session.

We will also meet in person at the studio before your session so we can discuss your ideas and hope for your session, as well as decide on wardrobe pieces for any family members who will be in the pictures. When it comes to photographing you and your newborn, I prefer to use a very clean color palette so your final pictures draw the viewer's eyes right to your newborn and his or her unique features.

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This sweet little guy arrived to the studio awake and his mama took advantage of him being alert to give him a fresh diaper change. Then she filled his little tummy with food until he was sleepy again. Once he was ready, I laid him right on his belly. So many babies love to snuggle up on their bellies, so this is always my starting point.

I allow my littlest clients to lead the session and I aim for an organic, natural posing flow that will showcase your baby's innate positions and unique personality.

There are times when a newborn may protest being moved, but often settles within a few minutes. I do not force any baby into a position they don't want to move into, and I specifically avoid unnatural positions that require heavy manipulation or contortion. Their facial expressions and little noises are often the best indicators of whether they just need to settle or if there's something they need (more food or a diaper change :)) or something they don't want to do. 

Your baby's safety and comfort level is my top priority.

The studio is kept at a warm temperature for baby's comfort during the first part of the session while I am capturing baby by him/herself. This is because I often switch between wraps during this time and we don't want baby to get chilly while wearing only a diaper. I do not remove diapers from any of the babies I work with, instead I keep their little bottoms covered at all times to avoid any private parts showing (or any potty accidents)! This also helps your session move along more quickly. 

On-site hair and make-up services are also available for any session with an additional fee.

I always recommend hair and make-up services for my clients, but I highly recommend it for brand new mamas. Not just because it will help you feel beautiful for your session, but also because it's one less (very important) thing you have to worry about. With an unpredictable newborn, it can be stressful to try and get yourself ready without extra help. This way, you can show up in your yoga pants and comfy t-shirt with baby in tow, and within an hour you will be dressed and dolled up with zero effort whatsoever! If baby has a full belly and is sleepy when you arrive, I will begin taking pictures of baby alone while you begin the process of getting ready yourself. If baby needs to be fed, our HMUA team can work around you holding him or her while they eat!

After I have taken portraits of baby alone, we will move into family and parent portraits. This is when I work to capture the connection you have with one another; making sure to get a variety of pictures of each parent with baby, pictures of baby with siblings, and full family portraits. I typically spend an equal amount of time capturing connection portraits as I do taking pictures of baby alone. I do this because I am passionate about preserving these tiny moments during a season of life that can feel like it is sometimes only nurtured by those very memories. I believe these images are crucial to help guarantee an accurate remembrance of this time. 

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Here's a rare image of me at work with a sweet little bebe. I LOVE any opportunity to snuggle with and photograph such tiny little babies! I am genuinely honored each time someone asks me to capture such a special time in their life! I really do have the best job in the world. 

Are you expecting?

The best time to book your newborn session is as soon as you know you want to work with me. I do not book specific dates on the calendar, instead I book a limited number of babies each month. This allows me to offer flexible scheduling options after each baby makes his or her arrival into the world, since babies come in their own perfect timing. I do everything I can to help new parents stay relaxed and this is just one way I can keep the process as stress-free as possible. If you have waited until the last minute to book a newborn photographer, feel free to reach out! If I can squeeze you in, I will! I don't want anyone to miss out on having this beautiful and fleeting season captured for forever keeping. <3 

If you're pregnant and looking for a maternity and newborn photographer, I would love to work with you to create images you will cherish for a lifetime. Contact me and if you'd like, we can set up a no-obligation consultation here in the studio to answer any questions you may have.

Oh! And...

Congratulations!!! :) 

Lynchburg Baby Photographer
A Sweet New Baby Girl

This beautiful mama contacted me a few weeks after her sweet little lady made her arrival. Even though I recommend clients book their newborn sessions before their baby is born, I always do my best to squeeze last minute bookings in when I can. And I am always so grateful when I do have space on the calendar! This sweet little lady was about six weeks old when I finally met her, and what a beauty she is!! Mama opted to have her hair and make-up done by our HMUA team and was able to nurse little L at the same time. 

Aren't they a beautiful family?

Are you expecting and ready to book your newborn session? I am already reserving sessions as far out as August 2017. Newborn sessions are best scheduled between 8-21 days old during the hours of 10AM-2PM. If you have waited until the last minute, please contact me - if I am able to fit you in, I will! I don't want you to miss out on the opportunity to have this short and sweet season of life documented. Contact me today to reserve your session.