Ohio photographer captures unique maternity shoot with beekeeper

Photographer Kendrah Damis maternity shoot with friend, Emily Mueller,  a beekeeper and owner of Mueller Honey Bee Company near Akron. (Kendrah Damis Photography)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - When Kendrah Damis recently started her photography business, it's unlikely she imagined she would have a photo shoot like the one with her longtime friend, Emily Mueller.

Mueller, a beekeeper and owner of Mueller Honey Bee Company near Akron, came up with the idea to incorporate her love for bees into her maternity shoot.

"She initially hired me for her maternity photos before even bringing the idea up," Damis said. "Then one day she said, 'I have a great idea!' She told me the idea. I was like, 'ok.'

In the photos, a pregnant Mueller is covered with about 20,000 bees.

"To make the bees swarm her, she held the queen bee in a container in her hand on her tummy. I wasn't scared, just a little uneasy having them buzzing around me and landing on me," Damis recalled.

The photos are creating quite a buzz on social media, garnering attention from People Magazine, comedian Tosh.0, Kidspot and local news outlets.

Damis says Mueller hopes the photos will help alleviate the misconception about bees and bring more awareness to their importance.

"Emily is over the moon about the photos and the exposure that will hopefully help people understand more about honey bees and their importance to our environment."

Mueller told

People think I’m putting my baby at harm, but bees are gentle and I hope my bee belly helps people see that they aren’t as scary as you might think.
Bees represent the beginning of new life and after my second miscarriage, I needed a new release. I connected with the bees and it helped take my mind off of other hardships that were surrounding me at the time, some people do yoga… I do bees.

A YouTube video posted by Damis shows Emily's husband, Ryan, getting the bees to swarm her stomach.

In case you were wondering, Damis says plans are already in the works for her next session with Mueller, but that one will not include bees.

"I don't currently have more sessions of this type schedule, however, not with live bees, but Emily and I are working on something super awesome for the newborn session."

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