Capturing Hope for NICU Families with Documentary Photography

They say pictures are worth a million words, right?

Well I still remember the first time I saw my son, and it was via a picture that my husband took with his iPhone. Even though there were a million words to describe this picture, I was left speechless. I recently gave birth to my son Liam over 12 weeks early and wasn’t able to see him just yet. The picture at the time was frightening to me. What were all these tubes on my baby for? Is he going to be OK? Is he in pain?

LIAM NICUAll I saw from this photo was this incredibly small baby hooked up to so many wires. I was beyond scared. I remember the first time I was able to visit the NICU. I didn’t know what to do or what I was going to see. I didn’t know the rules or even how to scrub in. The whole situation was very intimidating, and I felt like an outsider.

During times in the NICU, I felt bad even taking pictures because some days were touch and go. Would I want to have a picture of my son with an IV in his head? I would go back and forth debating if I should take a picture some days, but I always decided to go ahead and do it. I knew I would look back at these pictures and want to see how far he has come. After 101 days in the NICU, you can imagine all of the pictures we have. I took pictures of Liam daily to document his incredible journey.

While some pictures were frightening and sad, there are also pictures that documented such great moments. I have pictures of the first time he had a bottle, his first Christmas, and of course, the day we were able to take him home after what seemed like an eternity! I love to look back and show my friends and family where his story started and all that he accomplished. The ability of pictures allowed me to share our experience to those that weren’t able to physically be there as much as we were.

Capturing Hopes Photography

I was recently introduced to Stephany with Capturing Hopes Photography. Their mission is to provide documentary style photography to families with babies in the NICU. This organization is volunteer based and services are free of charge to all families. Stephany is the contact for the New Orleans and is currently photographing in the area.


Once Stephany and I started chatting, I immediately fell in love with this organization. While I took daily pictures of my son Liam in the NICU, they aren’t great quality photos and most were taken with our iPhones or a disposable camera that we left at his bedside for his nurses to snap moments while we weren’t there. I would have most definitely have taken advantage of this great organization if I would have known about it.

Liam was in the NICU for 101 days, so once I saw that Capturing Hopes has “Project: 100 Days,” I instantly watched the video. This incredible organization photographed baby Walker for 80 days while in the NICU and documented his progress. What an amazing gift to give to this family during such a hard time. It’s like watching a miracle unfold in front of your eyes, check it out!

How You Can Help

Capturing Hopes Photography has volunteer photographers. If you are interested in becoming one, you can apply here. The best way to help this organization is to spread the word in the New Orleans area! This will get the news out to those who may have a family that can benefit by this talented group of photographers.

Are you or someone you know interested in becoming a volunteer photographer for Capturing Hopes Photography?


Mary Olivio
Mary is a caffeine addicted boy mom to Noah, Liam and Luke. This “stay at home” mom can typically been found cruising in her minivan, jamming to Beyonce with a Starbucks in hand on her way to carpool or after school activities. Mary has been married to her high school sweetheart since 2007. She is a founder of Delivering Hope NOLA and the Vanessa Wolff Scholarship Fund at her Alma Mater. Mary is passionate in the local preemie community and has been heavily involved with the March of Dimes since her sons Liam and Luke were born premature.



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