Hello world: A birth announcement and giveaway!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Today we celebrate the first month of having our son, Sebastian Dean Vergis, on this Earth!  We waited for him for over forty weeks and thought it might be fun to share a few photographs from his newborn photography session to announce his arrival and welcome him into the world.

I knew that I wanted to select a photographer who was creative and experienced.  My list initially consisted of ten different newborn specialists, and after careful consideration, I contacted Janine Daponte Photography.  Ideally, I was searching for a photographer who could bring to life my vision of our baby as a dreamer floating upon clouds.  When I saw Janine's website, instagram account, Pinterest pins, and Facebook page I was instantly drawn to her enchanting photography style.  Every image was more magical than the next!  It was obvious even before I met her and visited her studio, that she appreciated detail and had an artistic flair.    

Collaborating with Janine Daponte and her partner Lee Lidbury was a wonderful opportunity for my new family and I.  As I walked into their whimsical world of photography, I couldn't help but smile at how beautiful all of the vintage furniture and props were that surrounded me.  From the fresh flowers to the nature sounds, I knew that I had come to the right place!  It felt like home, and a peaceful treat from the stresses that came with labour and delivery.       

When Janine began to work with our baby boy she was so gentle and caring.  It was easy to trust her and very evident that she had a great deal of experience with newborns and children.  I loved how she pre-planned that he might feel cold and had a small heater plugged in near her photo shoot to warm him up.  We stayed in her well-lit fairytale-like studio for almost four hours... Throughout this time, both Janine and Lee remained focused on delivering their high quality, as well as extremely patient with our feeding breaks or washroom accidents!

I wish to thank them both for being such an important part of our first memories with our tiny prince. We will always remember this special family photo session and cannot wait to return!

Here are a few photos that she captured of our little angel:

Are you curious about the vintage fairytale studio?

Here are some behind the scenes shots that I captured from our newborn photography experience within the stunning studio space:

Photography really interests me, and I was very inspired by Janine's talent and company.  I decided to interview her, as part of this blog post to introduce her to my blog family and potentially to future clients.

My interview with Janine:

1. Can you tell my followers a little about yourself and how you got into photography?

Photography has been a part of my life since I was very young. When I was 12 years old, my mother bought me my first SLR camera and from that moment on, I never put that camera down! I remember being particularly interested in photographing people. Capturing very close up portraits and marveling at the unique beauty of the faces staring back at me. I still have all the photos from my little makeshift studio sessions with my friends, haha. In my early 20’s I made the decision to pursue my passion professionally and attended the Sheridan College photography program. It was so wonderful to finally have a space, with like-minded individuals, where I was free to create and develop my skills as a photographer.  After graduation, I gravitated toward photo editing and worked for a few years as a retoucher. That experience taught me an incredible sense of discipline and attention detail that would later form the foundation of my business. Although I enjoyed that work, It wasn't long before I wanted to get back behind the camera and really capture my vision.  That's when Lee, my long time friend and creative partner decided to take a risk and start up our own studio. We officially opened the doors to Janine Daponte Photography in 2013 and really haven’t looked back since! It felt like such a natural progression and now I couldn't be happier with what I do. I live for that moment when parents see the first photos of their child and I know we have created something beautiful and timeless for them.

2. Please tell us why you decided to specialize in newborns and young children.

I think my transition into newborn photography is a little different from most photographers in the field. I don’t have children of my own, which tends to be the reason a lot of people become interested in this type of photography. In my case, I truly loved photographing babies and children because of their curious and free nature. Children have a natural beauty and ease of just being who they are which fascinates me. It’s almost as though I’m getting a little glimpse into the human spirit in its purest form. This time of life is so fleeting and it's important to be present and capture these moments before they're gone.

3. If you could describe your photography style, what would it be? 

The style of my photography developed and unfolded over time. I didn’t have an exact vision in mind when I began, as I find the exploration into something new to be a fluid experience and important part of the process. I’ve always loved very soft colour pallets, vintage garments, organic style and spaces illuminated by the beauty of natural light. These elements eventually became essential to incorporate into my photos as I find they compliment and accentuate the natural beauty of children. I also enjoy coming up with new concepts for sessions, so a lot of my work has a little touch of whimsy to it as well :) 

4. Could you highlight a few photographs that exemplify your quality?

Here are a few photos that I feel really encompass my style and approach to photography, as well as what we try to achieve in each session:

5. What kind of experience do you hope your clients walk away with?

We want clients to enter our studio and feel at home - that is so important. We recognize the challenges of bringing a baby into the world and we want each family to have a warm environment that they feel comfortable and at ease in. Even more importantly, we want them to walk away feeling like they had a truly unique and custom session. We are very dedicated to the creative process and strive to highlight the subtle details that make each child and family we photograph special. 

Special giveaway ! ! !

To help us celebrate Baby S' one month, I have partnered with Janine Daponte Photography for this special #TransformEdFreeGiveaway!

What is included?
  • Pantone Colours Board Book
  • Pantone Box of Colour Books (6 mini board books)
  • Mini photography session with Janine - Gift certificate is a $250 value which includes thirty minutes in the studio, 5 professional digital images, and a print release.

How to enter?
  • Visit my Instagram giveaway post and like the picture from above
  • Follow my Instagram @joannebabalis
  • Follow Janine's Instagram @janinedapontephotography
  • Tag your friends who might be interested in this giveaway in the comment section and answer the following question: What is your favourite baby/picture book and why is it a "must have" for any child's collection?
If you do not have Instagram you can also leave a comment in the section below this blog post for your chance to enter!

The winner will be announced next Sunday, February 28th, 2016 at 9:00 p.m. on Instagram !

Stay tuned for an upcoming post on the Baby Nursery that I designed! 

Special thank you to the Janine Daponte Photography team for this incredible collaboration!  Words cannot begin to express how much we will treasure these images for the rest of our lives...

If you are expecting a new baby, have young children, or know anyone else who does, I highly recommend this studio experience!  You will not be disappointed, and I guarantee that you will be craving more opportunities to return the way that we do!  

To contact Janine Daponte Photography please click here.

P.S. They also photograph maternity shoots!  It's too bad that I hadn't discovered her until the end of my ninth month pregnant...  Maybe next time around!

Before you were born…

we dreamed of you, we imagined you,

we prayed for you.

Now that you are here, we hope for you,

we love you, and we thank God for you.

                                                                                   -Unknown author


  1. Beautiful photos of your new little man (and behind the scenes too!) leaving my book recommendation here as well, it is an absolute must have for it's soothing rhyme and gentle words it is a perfect bedtime story-Mem Fox's Time for Bed. I think I read this every night for two years, I knew it off by heart and never grew tired of it!

  2. I couldn't do without goodnight moon in our library :) it was part of our nightly routine and has stuck as a family favourite

  3. What a beautiful way to capture your son's first days on earth! You all look so happy together :) My book recommendation would be Sam McBratney's Guess How Much I Love You. It's one that I always like to have on hand for baby showers!

  4. Congratulations Joanne. The pictures are phenomenal. My book must-have is called On the Day you were born by Debra Frasier. I got this book as a gift to celebrate the birth of my daughter almost 14 years ago. It goes through how earth celebrates the birth of a newborn baby. The book is soothing yet so powerful, when I read it to my daughter as she got a bit older her eyes lit up as she heard how every part of earth prepared and was excited for her arrival.