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Community COVID-19 Featured Shine On

Photographer makes snap decision to revamp business

A local photographer’s heart broke when she thought about all of the new moms who would not be able to get professional photos of their newborns due to restrictions in place with the COVID-19 pandemic.

A mother of two herself, Jennifer Smees decided to change her business model and put a smile on the faces of those moms.

Smees operates Jennifer Smees Photography studio in her home in Hopewell. This is her sixth year operating the business and she concentrates on photographing newborns.

“I had so many new moms on the books to have photos done,” before COVID-19 hit, “and my heart just crushed for these moms,” she said.

So Smees provided the next best thing: she sent videos to the new moms explaining natural lighting and how to safely pose their babies at home and take their own photos. The moms then sent their digital files to Smees who used her magic to put those baby photos into the props she uses in her studio and create the adorable baby photos for which Jennifer Smees Photography is known. If you are wondering what that is, think about Anne Geddes’ work.

One of her clients had Smees take photos when her first baby was born and had booked Smees to take photos of her second child, prior to the state of emergency being declared from the coronavirus.

“It really crushed her not having those pictures.”

Problem solved by Smees.

“It’s been really interesting — and fun. And the beauty of them being able to do it at home is they can do it whenever their baby is the sleepiest.”

You can’t press the pause button on a growing baby, but Smees has found a way to work around it and provide professional portraits of newborns without having to physically touch the baby.

“I just want to help them,” Smees said.

“This pandemic crept up on us very fast. One day I was open and the next closed. As a small business during this time, it is very difficult most days to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I hope and pray that I will be able to make it through to the other side.”

Smees is hoping that the social distancing restrictions will be lifted by the summer and she’ll be back to doing what she does best. Putting smiles on the faces of parents.

Going the extra distance and doing whatever she could to help parents get adorable portraits of their newborn has earned Jennifer Smees Photography a nomination in Advocate Media’s Shine On campaign which is aimed shining a light on outstanding businesses in Pictou County that are making a difference in their communities during these trying times. The businesses have a chance at being highlighted in the company’s newspapers, as well as winning $3,000 worth of free advertising for when the economy picks up.

Anyone wanting to nominate a business in the Shine On campaign can do so by connecting with the Shine On link on our website,, or dropping a handwritten nomination with the business’s name, as well as your name, email address, phone number and reason for the nomination into our office at 21 George St., Pictou. You can also nominate your own business.

All in all, Smees is delighted. “The response has been amazing,” she said. “It’s bringing a little bit of joy to their days.”