Joanna Niven Photography: Blog en-us (C) Joanna Niven Photography (Joanna Niven Photography) Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:28:00 GMT Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:28:00 GMT Joanna Niven Photography: Blog 80 120 Cake Smash Sessions by Joanna Niven Photography A Cake Smash Session for Lauren!

Hooray! Lauren is turning 1! With Lauren's 1st birthday quickly approaching, her parents chose to mark the very special occasion with a cake smash portrait session. Lauren wore sweet mint green dress with a baby pink cardigan that her older cousins had selected for her. Her mother wanted a very classic pink for their little girly girl's portraits. I think that Lauren looks absolutely adorable in her little outfit! 

Cake Smash Photos

With soft pink, whites and mint green as the color selections, I set up the backdrop to have a timeless feel, knowing that her parents intend to frame the portraits for Lauren's bedroom. Balloons, pom poms and a banner were put in place for Lauren. She certainly loved the balloons and liked feeling the little pom poms too! She couldn't have been a happier little girl!

Joanna Niven Photography         Cake Smash Photos

Lake Mills Photographer

Lauren enjoyed her first taste of cake! Yay! She wasn't too keen on making a big mess, but didn't mind getting her hands in the frosting, tasting it and then wiping it on her dress to clean off those hands...and dig in again! :)

Cake Smash Session

Time to take off the dress and let Lauren enjoy her cake! Then, into the bubble bath for clean up!

Cake Smash Photos

        Lake Mills Photographer

Once Lauren was fresh and clean, it was time for one final photo! Cute little "bear" bottoms!

Baby Photos in Lake Mills, WI


I loved having Lauren in the studio for her 1st birthday portrait session. Cake Smash sessions are always a blast for not only me, but hopefully for the families as well!

Book your child's 1st birthday portrait session including a cake smash today! The 1st birthday of a little one is such a happy event! Don't miss out on capturing this sweet and special time in your child's life. Contact me today to schedule your session. 


]]> (Joanna Niven Photography) Lake Mills photographer Lake Mills, WI Photographer baby photos cake smash photos Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:27:32 GMT
The Beginning of a Love with Photography Joanna Niven PhotographyClassic CanonGrandpa's Camera

Last month, a package arrived upon my doorstep that I was expecting. However, I wasn't expecting my reaction to the package. The return address on the box contained my own initials, J Niven, but traveled all the way from Washington state. I recognized my aunt's handwriting immediately and my heart quickened when I remembered what the box contained. I wasn't ready to open the package immediately as I wanted to take my time with it. The contents were special, important and not to be ripped into just yet. The package contained my grandfather's Canon SLR camera and photography equipment. As a photographer, this meant a lot more to me than I had thought.

As I unwrapped each carefully packaged lenses, manuals, a flash and camera body, I was taken aback with emotion.  The emotion didn't come from realizing that he had the same exact type of lenses that I have purchased and same flash (He loved macro too!). I don't think I even knew that my grandpa used a Canon as well. The emotion came from realizing how much he must have truly loved photography too. Of course, I remember him with a camera in hand often, but I had no idea then that I would become a photographer myself. I find it fascinating and a bit sad to realize that I could have learned so much from him. How much of his passion for photography actually inspired me without really knowing it? Holding his equipment, I realized how serious he was in his study of photography. It's all there in the equipment! It's not that I paid great attention to his camera during my childhood, but I certainly paid close attention to his photographs. My family's history, my childhood, life on the farm, travels and adventures far and near were documented and framed in my grandparents home. I LOVED those photos! 

My Grandpa and Grandma Niven lived just a short walk away from the farm where I lived as a child. A dirt path, with fields on one with and the northwoods on the other side, lead me to my grandparents house. I walked this trail barefoot countless times, rode my horse a few times and had even taken the trail with cross-country skis in the winter to visit. My grandparents were a wonderfully, loving constant in my life. To this day, my grandparents' little, white house remains one of my favorite places to visit. Sadly, the bountiful flower gardens are but a memory, along with the scent of freshly baked bread and grandma's hand lotion. The cookie tin is long empty and classical music no longer can be heard filling the kitchen, but the little white house still holds framed photographs of my childhood.

Some visits were to pick raspberries in the summer sun, soft, warm earth covering my bare feet in the garden. Other visits were to swing on the wooden swing under the apple tree overlooking the garden or to play cards with my grandma. Yet, my favorite moments of all were spent upstairs sitting in the hallway wading through all of the family photo albums. I poured over those photos! I learned how precious family photographs are while at my grandparents home and I fell in love with the art of photography. Paging through the years, seeing my father's own childhood, young adulthood, weddings, vacations, my own childhood into adulthood captured by my grandparents, is so valuable to me. I learned about my family through those photo albums.  I cannot even imagine not having so many special and ordinary moments documented. I close my eyes and can see so many of his portraits of my loved ones. Precious!

Looking back, you could definitely say that I was influenced by my grandpa to become a photographer. I loved gazing at each landscape photograph in the living room in his handmade frames. I still marvel at the beauty that he captured with his camera. My grandpa took me to places that my own eyes had not yet seen, gardens, mountains, waters, historical points through his photographs. However, what I hold dearest are the photos that document the little moments, the sweet spots as I call them, that he took. The photos of my childhood laughter and play with cousins, my 8th grade graduation photo under the weeping willow tree, my family on Easter Sunday before dinner, my horses in the pasture, my father or brothers working the fields, family reunions, the list is endless-my grandpa captured so much of it all. I learned not to wait for the perfect moment but rather recognize the beauty in the little moments, regardless of bad haircuts, horrible outfits, or awkward "years". In the end, looking back it is ALL beautiful!

Now here I am, a photographer in Lake Mills, Wisconsin with a studio focused on maternity, newborn and family portraits. I became a photographer to photograph the beauty in your life! Without a doubt, I know that your family deserves beautiful family portraits. I would love for each family to not only have portraits worthy of being displayed as artwork in their home, but also to have the sweet spots of their family moments documented. The months of pregnancy may feel long some days, but that remarkable time is so fleeting. Let me capture your maternal beauty! Those brand new babies deserve the newborn days to be captured in a beautiful way. 

I was by my grandpa Niven's beside when he took his last breath, an honor to have held his hand in those last moments. It's now a great honor to hold his camera in my hands and continue to document the beauty in this world. I hope that he would be proud and smile.

Life IS beautiful...Capture it!

]]> (Joanna Niven Photography) Lake Mills Photographer Lake Mills photography studio Lake Mills, WI baby photos family pictures family portraits newborn photography Thu, 09 Mar 2017 20:48:02 GMT
Valentines Day Mini Sessions Valentine's Day Mini Sessions


I LOVE love! Seriously, if you know me, you know that I simply adore anything love-related. Love notes, cuddling, sweet nothings in my ear, flowers, little and big gestures-I love all of it! Tell me all about how you met the love-of-your-life! Share your photos of your little love bugs with me and gush away about how special they are to you! I want to hear the details about your wedding! So, when Valentine's Day comes along, I definitely want to celebrate the day of love. 

Early January, I began to gather different props and order a Valentine's Day backdrops. Yes, I almost bought out Target's supplies. The studio is ready for your Valentine's Day mini sessions! Take a look at some of the love bugs who stopped by the studio for their mini sessions. Thanks to Harper, Declan, Riley & MK, and Lauren for your lovely modeling!

                                      Lake Mills photographyValentine's Day Mini Session by Joanna Niven Photography   Lake Mills photographyValentine's Day Mini Sessions

Joanna Niven PhotographyValentine's Day Mini Session in Lake Mills, WI

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                                    Lake Mills portrait studioJoanna Niven Photography Lake Mills Portrait StudioJoanna Niven Photography

Lake Mills portrait studioValentine's Day Mini Session in Lake Mills WI

                                      Joanna Niven PhotographyValentine's Day Mini Sessions Lake Mills, Wi photographyValentine's Day Mini Sessions

Lake Mills photographerJoanna Niven Photography

Lake Mills photographerJoanna Niven Photography

Joanna Niven, a portrait photographer in Lake Mills, is located at 102 Water Street in downtown.  Joanna Niven Photography creates natural light maternity portraits, birth photography, newborn and family portraits. Contact me today to book your photography session!




]]> (Joanna Niven Photography) Lake Mills photographer Lake Mills photography studio Lake Mills, WI photography baby photos baby pictures Mon, 30 Jan 2017 19:45:00 GMT
Tips for Family Portraits  


      Lake Mills family photography           Lake Mills photographer

The most commonly asked question that I hear as a photographer is “what should we wear?” Deciding what to wear in your family portraits can feel overwhelming and stressful, so I have a few tips to help in the decision making process!


Where do you plan to display your photos? Take into consideration the decor of your home environment and the personality of your family. Since you will be displaying your family portraits in your home, it’s best to have your photos fit your home decor. If your home is all neutral tones and you plan to wear neon orange and bold yellow, that may not work well when displaying photos. If you have bold-colored walls and are drawn to bright clothing, go with it.

The key is to coordinate your family outfits rather than be “matchy-matchy.” The days of simply wearing white shirts and jeans or khakis are past and tend to look dated. I recommend selecting three main colors. Establish a base color like navy, black, gray, or beige and then add two coordinating colors to the base color.


Once you have your color palette in mind, you could select one piece that really is a favorite and build the rest of the wardrobe around that. What is a piece of clothing that you or your spouse love to wear? It may be a skirt or dress. Maybe it’s a shirt or sweater that you just feel fantastic wearing. From this one loved piece, select other items for the rest of the family that coordinate around it.


Once you have your main clothing items in place, it’s time to add a little dimension and texture with your accessories. Accessories are an opportunity to show your personality. It may be a necklace, headband, scarf, belt, a vest or jacket that adds a bit of WOW! factor to your outfits. Textures are your friend! As long as the accessories are not overwhelming or overtly trendy, they can add to the photo.


Bold patterns on each family member is distracting. Having one family member wear a plaid shirt or a floral dress that uses all of the coordinating colors may be a nice idea. However, if each family member is wearing bold patterns or plaids, it will be overwhelming to the eye.


I want you to feel fabulous in your clothes, but it’s also important that you feel comfortable. Often you look your best when you feel your best in an outfit. So, if your feet hurt in the shoes that you selected or you are finding it challenging to move, it is best to pick another item to wear. Comfort is especially key for children! Your child may look adorable in a certain outfit, but if it is itchy, hurting them or they are freezing, it’s challenging to get an authentic smile.


The goal of your images is to not only have beautiful photos of your family at this time, but also photos that aren’t instantly dated due to a trendy style.

Your child may adore a certain Disney Princess, Minecraft or Pokemon today, but it’s best to keep those cartoon images in Lifestyle Photography sessions depicting daily life in the home rather than you family portrait session.

Lake Mills family portraitsLake Mills family portraits

Still need help? A great resource is Pinterest “What to Wear Family Portraits” if you would like additional visual assistance. There are countless “pins” of outfits for families portraits clothing options.

Joanna Niven Photography is located at 102 Water Street in downtown Lake Mills. Joanna Niven Photography creates natural light maternity portraits, birth photography, newborn and family portraits. Contact me today to book your photography session!

]]> (Joanna Niven Photography) Lake Mills photographer Lake Mills photography studio family pictures family portraits Wed, 25 Jan 2017 19:39:03 GMT
Lake Mills Photographer Inside the Studio...

A look inside Joanna Niven Photography, a studio located in beautiful downtown Lake Mills, Wisconsin. Joanna Niven Photography specializes in pregnancy portraits, newborn portraits and family portraits. 

Thanks for taking a moment to learn more about Joanna Niven Photography. I would love to see you stop by the studio! 

Joanna Niven Photography is located at 102 Water Street in downtown Lake Mills. Joanna Niven Photography creates natural light maternity portraits, birth photography, newborn and family portraits. Contact me today to book your photography session!

]]> (Joanna Niven Photography) Lake Mills photographer Lake Mills, WI Photographer baby photos birth photography family portraits newborn photography Wed, 25 Jan 2017 19:23:18 GMT
Grand Opening of Joanna Niven Photography Thankful! To sum up how I felt before, during and after the Grand Opening of Joanna Niven Photography, thankful is it! I am beyond thankful to all of my friends, family and past clients who spent time visiting the studio on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I loved seeing each person and felt so warmed by the love! I'm thankful for the community members who stopped by to help me celebrate a new business opening in our lovely town. It is wonderful to meet families that I may have the pleasure of photographing. I was thankful to watch children playing with the toys in the children's corner. I was thankful to see people relaxing on the couch while taking in the sights of photography around the room. I was thankful to be able to capture the moment by taking a few "photo booth" type images as well. Thank you all for showing up, supporting and encouraging Joanna Niven Photography! I'm thankful for all of you!

Lake Mills, WI Photography Studio





]]> (Joanna Niven Photography) Lake Mills photographer Lake Mills, WI Photographer birth photography family portraits newborn photography Fri, 14 Oct 2016 16:38:30 GMT
Joanna Niven Photography Studio Everything that you want is on the other side of fear. -Jack Canfield

Newborn Photography Studio, Lake Mills Photography StudioJoanna Niven Photography

So, here I am...opening my own photography studio. Joanna Niven Photography in Lake Mills, Wisconsin exists. I am jumping off the cliff, into the new world of embracing professional photography as my full-time job. Is it scary? You better believe it! Yet, I truly believe that life is made up of pushing outside of your comfort zone, especially if you want to reap sweet rewards. I have no interest looking back at my life when it's near the end and wondering, "what if". 

Photography is my passion, my love.  I love having my camera in hand, capturing the sweet spots in all areas of life. Birth photography and newborn portraits are my speciality. I also truly enjoy creating family portraits. I savour the moment when my clients view their photos and voice their LOVE of the photos. Better yet, when a client has tears in their eyes viewing their portraits, I know that I have given them a gift.   My personal satisfaction comes from creating timeless images that capture the beauty in life. Yes, I also enjoy the act of photographing others, but my goal is to bless my clients through my photography work. Beyond that, I want to provide my clients with heirloom quality products that showcase their photos. 

I have been a "part-time" photographer for over six years. My life has also focused on being a mother, a care provider for other little ones and then working in a graphic design studio as a photographer and project manager beyond my own photography work. My past career before motherhood was in early childhood education. All of my previous years has lead me to this path of opening my own photography studio. I learned a great deal at the graphic design studio, including the ins and outs of running a small, locally-focused business. 

Recently, life offered change and my wonderfully supportive fiancee, encouraged me to become a full-time photographer. He told me that it was time, a perfect time, to open a studio. It was time to officially focus on my business. I am so thankful for him and in all the ways he holds my hand in life. He helped to find the studio space, spent countless hours with a paintbrush in hand on a 12 ft. ladder, put up many pieces of photography artwork, all while reminding me that dreams are meant to be lived.

Now, I will admit that I typically don't embrace change unless I choose it. So, I said refused the idea of a studio for a few years. I have been asked if I had plans to open a studio. I never considered it although I did want a workable space in the winter months for those seeking indoor portraits. Yet, I questioned why would I want to have to pay for a space outside of my home? Why would I want such financial overhead that comes with commercial property? I enjoy simplifying life as much as possible. I kicked back at the idea, but a seed was planted. More often, clients shared their own dream of me having a studio space and the seed started to bloom.  Now it has quickly grown into a dream that I cannot imagine realizing.

Once I made the decision to step confidently in the direction of my dreams, I have loved every moment! The studio space was waiting for me. Vacant for some time, I spotted the For Sale sign just when I needed it. Having historic hardwood floors, natural light flooding in the windows and a location close to the main square in town, I cannot imagine another spot to start my business. Like all massive changes, it took time and effort to transform the space into a workable studio. Now that it is complete, I couldn't be happier to share this space with my clients.

My photography studio space is for my clients. From the moment that I looked at my studio space, I had my current and future clients in mind. I want my clients to feel welcomed, peaceful and cared for in my studio. From the open, light-filled space for natural portraits to the comfortable furniture, prop selection, dressing/nursing room with a changing table, children's play space, I want to provide my clients with a beautiful space for creating timeless images.

Lake Mills Photographer

Come and visit Joanna Niven Photography! I would love to see you there!

Joanna Niven Photography is located at 102 Water Street in downtown Lake Mills. Joanna Niven Photography creates natural light maternity portraits, birth photography, newborn and family portraits. Contact me today to book your photography session!


]]> (Joanna Niven Photography) Lake Mills, WI Photographer Madison Wisconsin baby photos birth photography family portraits newborn photography Thu, 25 Aug 2016 02:35:26 GMT
Welcome to Joanna Niven Photography! Welcome to Joanna Niven Photography

Birth Photography in Lake Mills, WI, Joanna Niven PhotographyBirth Photography by Joanna Niven PhotographyNewborn eyes

When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear. -Alfred Eisenstaedt

Why photography?  Why birth photography?  How did I get here? These are the questions that I am often asked and I love answering them.

 I would have never guessed that I would be a photographer at this point in my life and at the same time, it all makes sense. From as long as I can remember, I have loved looking at photographs.  From the landscapes framed on my grandparent's walls to pouring over family photo albums upstairs, I could spend hours taking in the details captured by a camera.  I wanted to look at the emotions in my parent's faces throughout my childhood and see the milestones captured. Yet, what I truly loved was the photos of the "sweet spots"!  The photo of my grandpa with my little girl face in his hands rubbing noses with me or the photos of me and my older brothers laughing with each other during our childhood on the farm-those were my "sweet spots".  

Fast forward to the day that I purchased my first digital camera as I had been longing for that event for quite awhile.  My (then) husband and I were embarking upon our honeymoon to New Zealand and Australia.  I NEEDED a digital camera.  I NEEDED to document everything that I could see that was new to my eyes and every emotion of this once-in-a-lifetime trip.  We got the camera, took the trip, dreamed of moving to New Zealand and I found my eye for photography.  I collected my first compliment of my photography skills from the photos that I had taken.  I began to dream.  I dreamed of having a professional level DSLR.  I dreamed of being able to have hours of uninterrupted photography time. I dreamed of my home filled with "artwork" quality images.

Another jump forward to a close friend asking me to photograph the birth of her second child.  What?  I had never even heard of birth photography? YES! YES! YES!  Forget that I didn't have a professional camera yet. Forget that I had never taken a photography class.  I was in, whatever birth photography was supposed to look like and whatever that experience was, I was in!  

I was a new mom that had been hosting a mom's group in my home, documenting all of the children and babies in the first year of their growth and discoveries. This was nothing new to me as I had been a teacher in a school which documented with photography the learning process of the children.  I knew how to do that.  I knew how to take endless photos of my daughter as any mother does.  Yet, I was hungry to truly learn more and become a photographer.

I saved money and bought my first Cannon DSLR.  Trip to NYC with said camera and lots of experimenting.  I started to take classes from the University and local camera store.  I discovered online photography courses at CreativeLive. Then came the birth of that first baby.  I loved being at that birth! I cannot repeat that enough  or add enough exclamation to express that. It changed my life! It was such an incredible honor. More importantly, giving the mama and papa the photos of the first day of their child's life was such an honor.  I was so grateful for that first experience as a birth photographer. I was hooked and in love with birth photography for the gift it gives! That was the start of all of this-Joanna Niven Photography.

Jump to today.  I carry a Canon 5D Mark 111 in my hand now, very happily.  A huge step up from that first Cannon. Wow, was that a sweet moment to upgrade to my dream camera and all that I can capture with that in hand! I invested in many lenses, in even more classes, and have photographed over 10 births, several weddings, many precious newborns, pregnant mamas and adorable children and families.  Here I am, a maternity, birth, newborn and family photographer!  A dream realized and I have loved every moment of it all!

Birth Photography by Joanna Niven PhotographyBirth Photography Eli's first hour

Memories of that first birth captured...

]]> (Joanna Niven Photography) Joanna Niven Photography Lake Mills photographer Madison Wisconsin birth photography family portraits newborn photography Sun, 25 Jan 2015 13:02:01 GMT