2023 Photo Contest Winners

Every month, we hold photography contests for our Bella Baby and Bella Life photographers from across the country. Each photographer may choose their favorite images to submit. These contests not only inspire and challenge our photographers to develop themselves creatively but also allow them to win prizes that enter them into the photo of the year contest! Here’s another look at the 2023 photo contest winners….and stay tuned in the coming weeks for the announcement of our 2023 Photo of the Year!

Bella Baby monthly contest winners

We asked our photographers to share about their winning images. See their thoughts below.

April 1st place winner Tonya McGue said this about her winning image:

When I walked in the room, I saw this beautiful young mom with gorgeous hair. But then she said she didn’t want to be in any photos and that her hair was messed up… At the end of the session, I decided to try again. She said okay. I asked her to sit by the window. I placed the baby next to her face and then showed her how to place her hand on the baby’s head. She tilted her head down. And snap, I felt that photographer’s high when you know you’ve captured an incredible image. She couldn’t afford to buy any photos, but I wanted her to have this photo forever so I purchased the gallery for her. I now have a friend for life.

Our November 1st place winner Toty Gutierrez shared this about her image:

Having worked with Bella Baby for several years, I often get the opportunity to see the same families return as their families grow. With this particular family, I had the privilege of photographing their firstborn, and now, he is the proud big brother of two other siblings. I wanted to capture how excited they were to see their new little brother. So, with the help of their parents, I put them all on the couch, rested their brother in their arms, and asked them, “how it felt to hold their new little brother?” Immediately, you could see the pride in the oldest’s face while holding his little brother, and the face of his other brother says it all! Capturing little moments like this makes everyday at Bella so special!

Bella Baby quarterly contest winners

Here’s what one of our quarterly contest winners shared about her adorable image.

4th Quarter winner Megan Woolbaugh shared this about her 2nd place win:

Mom had this adorable hat and matching swaddle set to use for photos in baby’s newborn hospital shoot. I was so excited to dress him up and take photos. He was perfectly content and sleepy – creating the perfect photo op! The nurses couldn’t stop gushing over him!

Bella Life winners

Here’s what some of our Bella Life photographers had to say about their winning images.

April Sweeney took home both 1st place & 2nd place for her images in our 1st quarter contest. She said this about her winning images:

Let me tell you it was such a hoot! The family was so great and the baby…oh my gosh! The family definitely set me up for success. They had the perfect little outfits and props. The cake the mom ordered was so pretty I didn’t want the munchkin to crush it, but it was sure cute when she did! The winning image for the cake smash was one of my favorites! She got right up and starting using it as a walker! The belly laughs we had were wonderful!

The image focused on the dog with the family in the background is always a favorite of mine. Before working for Bella Baby, dog photography was my specialty. Whenever I see a Life Session with a dog I jump right on that! I absolutely love Life Sessions and this has been my favorite to date!

One of our 2nd Quarter winners, Chrissy Brower, shared this:

I met Molly in the elevator of the building we both work in. She told me that she was so excited for babies and especially for Bella Baby photos. A few months later, she found me to tell me they were expecting and I could just feel the joy radiating off of her! Within a few weeks, we had her Maternity session scheduled and booked a Milestone series meaning I’d have the pleasure of capturing her family through the 1st 2 years of Baby’s life.

Now, I had seen Molly many many times leading up to her maternity shoot but let me tell you, when she showed up that Friday evening, she took my breath away. She was glowing! It was the perfect night! Great light, a beautiful breeze and a tulip filled park that only her beauty could rival. I had so much fun capturing her & Jordan. He was absolutely captivated with his wife the entire session. She seemed to float on air & just smiled the whole time. I’m not kidding when I say it was MAGICAL. Sessions like this, people like this, is why I love this job!

Beth Malonoski won an Honorable Mention in our 3rd Quarter contest. Here’s what she had to say about her image:

This image was taken at one of my favorite venues….a historical property with a vast courtyard that boasts many beautiful vignettes for portraits. This specific area is an ivy-covered wall surrounding a fairytale-like arched doorway. It is always a client favorite, especially for the littlest of subjects. They love peeking through the opening or knocking, just to see if anyone is waiting on the other side. Nestled back into the ivy, the door catches the prettiest afternoon light…perfect for grabbing candid and posed images alike. This little one was a bit shy for the start of her session but warmed up quickly as we roamed around the “fairytale” gardens.

Capturing a shot like this, I find that orienting myself off to the side rather than directly in front of the subject gives a more dramatic perspective, especially when capturing more candid moments. And the dark greenery surrounding the frame really lets the light fall on the little girl perfectly.