New resident finds passion in newborn photography

Published 10:36 pm Thursday, March 8, 2018

Jessica Veara transitioned more than just her domicile when she and her family when they moved to Suffolk last summer — she also embarked on a new stage of her photography career.

Veara met her husband, Jason, when they were both in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where she graduated in 2008. She spent five years in the Coast Guard, the first two in California.

But then she had her first child, Daniel, now 5 years old. She left the Coast Guard to raise Daniel and later had Hunter, 4, and Nora, 2. She said it’s not always easy to balance being a mother to her family as well as to pursue a career.


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“My husband works all day during the week and on the weekends, I’m working with my kids with me,” she said.

She took a circuitous route to photography. Her work started with knitting colorful hats and clothes for her children. Photographers she knew wanted to use her knitting in their photos for infants and toddlers. She was interested in photography herself as a hobby, and she practiced by taking photos of her friends’ newborns and toddlers.

“I just love it. It’s so fulfilling, and it’s really funny,” she said.

She started Jessica Veara Photography in a studio at her home in Northern Virginia about three years ago, she said. She specializes in capturing family heirlooms of babies and also takes photographs of older children, families and maternity shoots.

Her family received orders to transfer to Hampton Roads, and she planned to fashion a new in-home studio for her business in their new Suffolk residence. But local ordinances prevent her from running her photography studio out of her home, which she learned after they bought their house, she said.

“We had bought the house with the intention of converting it into a studio, so it was a bit of a shock,” she said.

She sought out a location for her business and found one in Governors’ Pointe in North Suffolk, on the second floor above the Great Bottles store. She officially became a Hampton Roads newborn photographer when her doors opened last summer.

She transformed the 1,000-square-foot space with warm pastel colors and temperatures fit for infants to relax. She has hangers filled with costumes for infants and toddlers, including garments she knitted herself.

“I just keep it peaceful and take the stress off the mother and dad, because if they’re relaxed, then the baby is relaxed,” she said.

She meets with clients on weekends for shoots, sometimes in-studio and other times meeting them elsewhere at the client’s convenience. Her portfolio has everything from maternity photos to first-year milestones and even “cake smashes.”

“We put paper down on the floor, then a cake on top and just let them go to town,” she said. “They love it.”

Several customers spoke highly of Veara’s services, such as Yorktown-resident Loren Hargrave, who got photos of her now 7-month-old, Jace.

“She was very professional,” Hargrave said. “She’s got her own very nice and clean studio.”

Norfolk resident Jorglynne Brooks brought her daughter, Amaya, last November when she was a week and a half old. Brooks got in touch with Veara while she was still pregnant. She even had her take photos in the hospital.

“I feel like she just went out of her way to get what I wanted accomplished,” Brooks said.

That included a photo shoot of her child with a “Harry Potter”-themed backdrop.

“She even checked out ‘Harry Potter’ books from all her friends and helped me design sets that looked like them,” she said. “I was just very impressed.”

Veara said that having this business has helped give her something to work towards as a mother and Armed Forces wife.

“Doing this gave me something for myself, and it’s nice to have something for me,” she said.

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