Get To Know Jeff
Jeff is a lifestyle photographer and content creator based in Los Angeles.
He moved with his now wife Kelly and their chihuahua Bella to LA from New Jersey back in 2011, and their life has completely changed since. Kelly created Studio DIY, a lifestyle blog and brand that now includes products with fans around the world. In addition to shooting for clients like American Express, West Elm and Dunkin Donuts, Jeff shoots all of her content as well, allowing them to work together and partner with big brands and companies to create work that at the end of the day, makes people smile.
They also share a whole lot of their personal lives with their audience, documenting everything from their wedding to their most recent struggles with infertility, which ultimately led them down the path of adoption. In March of this year, they brough home their son, Arlo Mitchell, who has quickly become the brightest joy in both of their lives.
Read our interview with Jeff below.
What Does Fatherhood Mean To You?
It is the greatest accomplishment of my life thus far. Getting granted a blessing like a child to raise and mold and teach your core values is the coolest thing in the whole entire world. It’s a huge responsibility, but my son is surrounded by so many people that love him, it’s seriously overwhelming. I look forward to every single day as a new dad.
How Did You Feel The First Time You Found Out You Were Going To Be A Father?
I didn’t believe it. Well, I should say I didn’t want to believe it. When we got presented with Arlo’s birth mother by our lawyer, we had already talked to numerous other women at that point who ended up not following through on correspondences and ultimately lost touch. So I was definitely guarded when we heard about this young woman who was 8 months pregnant with a boy and really loved what she saw in my wife and I as a potential family. The true moment that it all became real was honestly when the nurse handed me my son in the hospital. It was just Kelly, myself, and Arlo’s birth mom in the room – an experience I will never, ever forget and am so thankful for.
How Has Fatherhood Changed You?
What’s weird is that not much is different. I mean, yes there is now a small human around at all times now, but we made a conscious effort to not gear shift too much when Arlo came home. There is this incredible responsibly now to make sure he is safe and happy and learning at all times, but at the end of the day, I’m seriously just a big kid and life is a playground as far as I’m concerned. I can’t get over the fact that he gets to experience all the adventures right along with us! We still keep up with our work schedules, travel commitments, events, parties, everything and he is right there the whole time. I love it.
The other thing is that you VERY quickly realize what’s important in life. On the days that I am on a long shoot and don’t get to see him for example, there is a very real ache that you feel as a parent. You start to realize everything your own parents went through and all of the “You’ll understand once you have kids” comments growing up suddenly all make sense.
Getting granted a blessing like a child to raise, mold and teach your core values is the coolest thing in the whole entire world.
My kid does. not. know. how to sit still. He is the most active baby I’ve met and every person who meets him says the same thing. We recently had to travel with him and took him on his first plane ride, something that is not the easiest for a kid who is unhappy if he’s not being danced with at all times. I totally blame myself and my wife for that to be honest. We dance around the house with him everyday and have probably ruined him. So that was a real treat.
Is There Anything About Fatherhood That Has Surprised You?
It was a much easier transition than I think I anticipated going from no baby to baby. I probably felt that way because I’ve wanted to be a dad ever since I can remember. It’s been my number one goal in life. So to say that I was prepared would be an understatement. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into so the actual responsibility of it all didn’t slap me across the face when we finally brought him home from the hospital.
How Do You Juggle Everything & Make Time For Your Self?
It’s definitely a challenge and anyone who tells you differently is either lying or a magician. We essentially just wake up every day and hustle and juggle and make it work. As Arlo gets older, we will be bringing on some help, but for now, I really love getting to watch him grow up and explore every day so we are being super flexible with our schedules, something we are so lucky to be able to do.
What Has Been The Most Memorable Moment You’ve Had So Far?
In terms of most memorable so far, this is a toss up between the first time he laughed in my face (due to me dancing like a fool across the living room) and when we first took him swimming. In both instances, his face just radiated sheer joy and my heart broke into a thousand pieces. There is something about Arlo’s smile that just hits me hard (also his mouth is huge, allowing him to smile quite literally ear to ear. It kills me.)
What Is The One Thing You Want To Teach Your Children?
Kindness and celebration of differences. Also, sarcasm.
And Finally, What Advice Would You Give To New Fathers?
Be flexible. Support your wife or partner. Expect the unexpected and always have more diapers than you think you will need before leaving the house.
With thanks to Jeff Mindell X