• Courtney Jensen

Portland Home Maternity Session

While living in Los Angeles for three years, I never managed to travel anywhere else up or down the Pacific Coast Highway. I still hold on to a lot of regret never once visiting the Red Woods, or taking the train north to Washington. When I found out a photographer friend of mine was planning a trip out to Portland and the Cannon Beach area, I found the perfect excuse to finally make a visit out there.

Unfortunately, that photographer friend ended up canceling their trip due to an already packed photography schedule, so I reached out to awesome Portland photographer, Mattie Krall, to see if she had anything on the books that I could shoot with her. Turns out, they discovered they were pregnant in January and hadn't planned any kind of baby announcement, so cue my internal screaming with excitement when she suggested a video for them.

I flew out of Minneapolis around 9:15 AM that morning, had a two hour layover in Denver, then finally landed at PDX at 2:45 PM. I hustled to grab my Dollar Rental Car then headed to my Airbnb in the Hawthorne neighborhood of Portland, about a 25 minute drive from the airport. The first song to come on the radio in the rental car was Give It Away by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which might mean nothing to you, but it was everything I needed in that moment. I finally made it the Airbnb around 4:00 PM and was greeted by my disheveled neighbor Sam who later admitted that he accidentally tried breaking into my room thinking it was his earlier that day. (He and I spent many hours of my Portland trip in the backyard patio drinking wine, NA beer and talking about all our life experiences.) I quickly showered, voice memo'd my mother telling here that "Yes, I'm meeting up with friends, yes I'm staying alone, and yes, Matt (my husband) knows my location," then headed off to Mattie and Pete's home (another 25 minute drive from my Airbnb).

I was instantly greeted by their sweet little dog Pig whose personality reminded me a lot of our Reggie. I set my camera bag down on the grass in their front yard and he immediately plopped his booty right on top of the bag and covered my face in aggressive kisses. Our dog Reggie tends to literally bathe us if we let him, so Pig's aggressive yet delicate smooches were a welcome reprieve.

They offered me a beer and gave me a tour of their "double-wide." She and Pete are from the Minneapolis area, so hanging with them felt a bit like home in a place completely unfamiliar to me.

I'm so grateful to them for being incredibly laidback and welcoming. My anxiety tends to get the best of me when I'm traveling in a new city, especially if it's primarily for work purposes, but they felt like old friends and I was very happy that they were so down to shoot some video with me, a stranger, in their home.

I had another shoot scheduled in downtown Portland that night at 7:00 PM, so although our time was short, it was very well spent. I loved being able to hear Pete guess what the sex of the baby was that day, how long he's wanted to have babies, how Mattie's first clue to her being pregnant was her aversion to whiskey, and that they have some names they already like for the baby.

Pregnancy sessions can be really over-the-top these days, so I really appreciate couples who like the cozy, messy and real parts of their journey.

Basically, give me all the home sessions ever, please.

*Video Description*

Mattie and Pete's baby announcement video edited to the song All In by Bronze Radio Return at their home in Portland, Oregon.

Mattie is in her bedroom in her now too-small, unbuttoned jeans and white sports bra holding a book titled "First Time Mom's Pregnancy Journal." She is sitting on her bed, but stands to quickly pull her jeans up. She looks into the camera then down to her doing her best to button her jeans with her little bump already showing. Mattie and Pete are in their bed, Mattie on her back while Pete rests his hand on her bare belly. Mattie rests her hand on top of Pete's. Mattie and Pete hold hands as Mattie asks him what he thinks they're having. He responds, "Today? A girl." They smile and laugh with each other on the bed. Cut to them near their kitchen. Mattie sits on Pete's lap. She's changed into a blue, flowing dress with longer sleeves. They look into each other's eyes and smile. Mattie gives Pete a big hug. They stand up and look into a full-length mirror not too far from them. Pete wraps his arms around the front of Mattie and they smile at each other in the mirror. Mattie quickly kisses Pete's hand, looks up at him and smiles. Pete and Mattie hold her belly together. Pete moves his hands up and jokingly acts like he's going to grab Mattie's boobs. He kisses her on the cheek. Mattie and Pete are in the living room on their couch with their dog Pig who holds a stuffed cookie in his mouth. Pig looks directly into the camera with his cookie toy as Mattie and Pete look at each other and laugh in the background. Cut to Mattie twirling in the front yard holding a can of sparkling water. Pete takes her hand and gives her a spin. Pete wraps his arms around the front of Mattie and they both hold a photo of their ultrasound together while Pete looks lovingly at Mattie and Mattie beams into the camera. Pete looks into the camera and smiles. They share an enthusiastic high-five. Pete is sitting in one of their patio chairs while Mattie stands and throws Pig his cookie toy. Mattie sits on Pete's lap with Pig in the foreground on a picnic blanket with his toy. Pig runs to the sitting Mattie and Pete. Mattie and Pete sit on a colorful picnic blanket and cheers with her sparkling water and his beer, they are laughing. From a wider angle, Mattie and Pete cheers again with Pete sitting with them on the picnic blanket with the sun peeking just over the fence behind them. Mattie leans back into Pete on the blanket. Quick cuts of Mattie back in her room in her sports bra about to change, Mattie and Pete leaning back into their bed, they share a kiss, Pete touches her belly. Mattie shows the camera a photo of her COVID vaccine card, she flips through her pregnancy book, shows the camera a photo of the ultrasound set on blue paper, then points to a note in her journal that reads "Giant sore titties." She holds blue and white baby socks in front of a blue and white onesie her mother gave her. Mattie and Pete dance outside in their matching crocs (Mattie is wearing white and Pete is wearing black). Pete puts his arm around Mattie as she grabs his hand, they look down at their crocs smiling. They both look into the camera, smile, and hold out their ultrasound. Pete smiles as Mattie makes a funny face with her tongue out.

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