Baptism Photography: Diana

Watching families grow has to be one of my favorite things. The Burgos are my VIP clients, as they’ve allowed me the honor to document their engagement session, their wedding, their maternity, and their newborn memories. Naturally, I was excited to see them once again, to document their beautiful daughter Diana, being baptized.

The location was the infamous Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. I mean, absolutely gorgeous… inside and out. I had no idea that inside the church, there were smaller chapels at the back. Giving you the opportunity for a more private mass. It ended up working in my favor as well, as I roamed around the pews so I wouldn’t miss any key moments.

I decided to stay longer and honor The Burgos while they celebrated their Princess Diana at Duomo 51, a fine Italian restaurant with a rooftop view overlooking the Cathedral.
The Cake was nothing short of brilliant, with a flowery theme, which matched the centerpieces of the table. The food was delicious, and everyone is always so welcoming when they see me again. I absolutely adore this family, and I cannot wait to continue on building with them. Seeing their family grow and flourish. I wish them all the blessings.

spring baptism cake
saint patricks cathedral

How She Became A Mom

It’s 2:30 in the morning. I’m visiting my parents in the Bronx. I’m currently 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant, laying down next to my youngest brother after stuffing our faces with Chinese food, and watching silly movies all night. I’m starting to get uncomfortable, and I figured the food is rubbing me the wrong way. I’m giving it time to get better… but at 3:20am, I decided it was time to go home. I ordered an Uber and I snuck out of the house. I most definitely did not think I was in labor, but every part of me just wanted to be next to my partner, Steve.

I arrive in Harlem at 4am, still feeling weird. It wasn’t a sharp pain or anything, but it didn’t feel normal. I shake Steve a bit to let him know I’m home because I know the last thing he’s done is check his text messages, especially since I heard a little snore while I tippy-toed in the house.

He’s been in pain lately, mostly in his back, since he sits so much at work, and he has a shift in a few hours. The last thing I want to do is wake him up for no reason. I laid down for about an hour, tossing and turning. It wasn’t working. I decide to take a warm bath so I can relax, it was now 6am, and the water covering my body felt so nice. I kept rotating in the tub. I felt like a rotisserie chicken.

Once it was 7am, I figured I held on long enough. Maybe I should head to the hospital, “just in case”. Every part of me did not think I was in labor. This isn’t how it looks in the movies. My water definitely didn’t break, at least I think it didn’t— since I was submerged in water.
Nonetheless, it was time to wake up Steve, and as I walked to the bed, dripping water all over the hardwood floors, I still felt guilty for waking him up.

Steve wakes up, in complete confusion. These past few weeks he’s been on high alert, just in case I tell him it was time to go. Naturally, his first response is “Is it time?” Except I don’t have an answer. I’ve never done this before!
“Umm, I don’t know… but maybe we should go? I don’t want you to call out of work if you don’t have to”
“Ok, but what if it is?”
As I struggle to throw on the first pair of sweats I see, I overhear him on the phone ” I think the baby is coming.”
My heart smiles, and then I’m brought back to reality to the pain that kept getting closer.
The cab ride, luckily was quick, except for every single bump on the road, I felt. Which did not help. When we arrived at 7:30am, I start to begin the process of checking myself in. Due to Covid protocols, temperatures need to be taken before entering almost anywhere, it’s this whole ordeal. The security guy screams across the hall that visiting hours are still not available.
I mentioned to him how I think I’m in labor, and he quickly changes his mindset–“Oh, go upstairs! You don’t need to do this, go!”
I waddle myself to the elevators.
Steve checks me into Labor + Delivery… turns out, I’m already 4cm dilated. I’m told to stay, and I was reassured this baby was coming today.
For the past month, I’ve been wondering when you would arrive, turns out you wanted to make a grand entrance on Easter… the day of resurrection. Wow, girl.

Everything after this felt like it happened so fast. I, who rather have more information than less in every aspect of my life, ask in what time frame you normally start to dilate. I was told about a centimeter and a half per hour, at the rate I was going. So according to my calculations, I needed 6 more cm’s before it was time, which means by 2pm, I would be holding her in my arms.

Now that I know indeed that these are contractions, they seem to hurt way more now, and they’re coming closer and closer together. I’m sent to a room, where I’m being monitored. I had every intention of everything being natural. `Yeah, that wasn’t happening. I opted for the epidural, and thank goodness I did.
Her blood pressure was dropping. She was fighting the contractions. She wanted to get out of there so badly, I even had to get my water broken by one of the doctors. The more contractions I had, the more her blood pressure dropped. I was being rotated at every angle to see if it helped. It didn’t.

I was told I needed a C-section, and I did not want that at all. I kept denying it, and Steve, as amazing as he was, knew that I didn’t want that either. He kept advocating for me, holding my hand, and kept telling me that it was all going to be okay. God is with us.
I teared as I was rushed to an emergency C-section.
I was scared, and the tears kept forming. Everything happened so fast. Next thing I knew I was in a bright white room full of doctors. Not like I could barely see anyway, I had blue tissue paper blocking my view from my neck down. I felt the pressure on my abdomen, Steve walks in in full hazmat gear, tells me they’re cutting, and then I hear that loud cry… that’s my baby’s cry. It slowly started to fade, since she was being walked to the other side of the room, while I’m yelling, “Is she okay?” I feel another doctor shove their whole hand inside of me, it felt like what dough would feel like if it was being kneaded.
Steve rushes to her and yells “She’s healthy!” Her little cry is everything— the doctor brings her around, Steve over my head now holds her, and this time the tears of being scared turned into happy ones.
This is my daughter. I have a daughter.

Never Letting Go

Title: Never Letting Go
Photographed by: Milli Stephania

Newlyweds, The Burgos, sneak off to soak in all their joy during their wedding reception

Youre invited: A Few Blocks Away Photo Installation

“A Few Blocks Away”

I’m thrilled to present “A Few Blocks Away”, a group exhibition showcasing photography from three New York City-based photographers, opening on January 20, 2023, from 6 pm-10 pm.

“A Few Blocks Away” follows The Great Resignation, also known as the Big Quit, an ongoing economic trend in which employees have voluntarily resigned from their jobs en masse, beginning in early 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The artists featured in this exhibit capture images inspired by the spirit of perseverance, following your passion, and trusting the journey to success through portraiture, investigation of space, and personal storytelling through photojournalism and fashion.

“A Few Blocks Away”
January 20-22 2023 at gallery.
“A Few Blocks Away” features work by 3 artists, Tanya Lavache, Alex Roze and Milli Stephania, with performances by Mia Jae, Davishmar and DJ Mastermind718

Join us on our opening reception, January 20th at 209 East 3rd Street, New York, NY from 6pm-10pm
RSVP below.

Sometimes you don’t need a reason

I honestly meet the best people. Working as a family photographer has given me the opportunity to meet people who value family and ever-lasting memories. Without a doubt, Yvonne definitely falls into that category.
I was recommended to Yvonne about 4 years ago, and every time we meet, it feels like I’ve met up with a tia that has raised me, whom I haven’t seen in forever, Squeals and hugs!

This year, she has thrown a get-together for her family. When I asked what was the occasion, there was none. In her words, the family should always be celebrated— and she’s not wrong about that.
And on that note, turn up the music, because it’s time to dance!

If you or a loved one are looking to document an event coming up, I would love to be the one to help you tell that story.

Studio Portrait Session: Kimberly

There’s nothing more beautiful than feeling your most confident self. Meeting Kimberly was an absolute pleasure. At our first meeting, she was so inviting and gave off this energy as if we’d been friends for years. I’m glad it wasn’t one-sided and she feel equally as comfortable, especially because for this photo session, she would be wearing nothing but some silky fabric to adorn her.

Kim reached out to me in hoping to capture her essence for her birthday— I mean, what a great way to capture your youth. Today is the youngest you’ll ever be, why not remember that feeling?
When I say Kim came to slay… she slayed! Look how stunning and gorgeous she is. I am so honored in being the one that was able to capture such confidence, beauty, and grace all wrapped into one.
Thank you for having me Kim!

Having a boudoir photography session of your own doesn’t mean we have to expose all skin. Your comfort is held to the highest standard, and you’re the boss when it comes to how much you’d like to show. I’m here to be your hype woman.
If you’d like a boudoir session of your own, I’d love to hear from you!

Sweeter than a strawberry

Nothing is sweeter than strawberry milk, except maybe a breastfeeding momma in strawberry milk. Talk about magical!

This session has also solidified something I kind of already knew deep in my heart, I just love documenting Motherhood!
Motherhood should be cherished, documented, and celebrated. I always feel so honored when I get to be the one to capture the moments that pass by so quickly.
The memories you’ll be cherished forever.

So if you just gave birth or have some tiny humans, I’m ready for you!

Kim + Carlos Say I DO

Sometimes you meet a couple that makes your heart melt– tears included, and this couple was one of those times. Upon first speaking to Kimberly for the first time, her radiance was just a breath of fresh air. She was such a grateful person, and I could tell how someone so beautiful, deserved a blessing such as this.

Our bride wanted her formal images to be taken before the ceremony at the infamous Central Park’s Conservatory Garden. The bridal party looked stunning, with ladies sporting their lavender gowns and the men in the dark navy suits.
The groomsmen patiently waited for the bride to arrive at the fountain, with their superman pose. Our groom, Carlos was prepped on where and how to walk over to Kimberly, so they could have their private moment, the first look.

Carlos’ reaction was absolutely everything! I love it when a man isn’t afraid to show his emotions, and Carlos’s happy tears were ones I can only hope my future husband will replicate. He reached for Kimberly and gave her the tightest hug… this is going to be a perfect wedding day!

If you’re interested in having your big day documented, please feel free to reach out!
I’m truly honored to be part of your special memories.