Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Register Your Photography Package

 So many occasions call for gift-giving, but most couples and families already have the household necessities established. Increasingly, custom portraiture and wedding coverage add-ons are becoming popular requests for gifts!

 I now offer registries for couples and families who would like all of the beautiful extras, but can only start small with coverage. It's so easy to get started, too! Once you've chosen your coverage- whether for a Wedding, Birth Photography, Family session, Watch Me Grow package or Senior Session- we can add your heart's desires to your online registry. You can choose canvas prints, bridal sessions, albums and album upgrades, prints, high-resolution files, the skies the limit!

 Friends and family can choose to put $10 and up towards the item(s) of their choosing and when each item is paid for, you'll receive an email from me to let you know X item has been paid in full. Partial payments will be applied to the total cost of the item and you'll be able to pay the balance in a timely manner. Crowd-funding is a terrific way to get the images you want and love, as well as the images everyone will want you to share!

 To see a sample wedding registry, check out Brian and Tiffeny's registry!

 Also, below are some of my favorite images from Carm's Rock the Dress session, shot in November in Buffalo, NY. I hope you like it!



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's been a Crazy 10 months.

To say life has been a whirlwind in the last ten months would be a gross understatement. I've seen so many beautiful babies in their first days, snuggled up with moms and dads, couples vowing love and eternity in front of family, friends and faith, holidays have come and gone, cakes have been smashed, pinup kittens have come out to play and now... now I'm getting an opportunity to take a breath.

 I wanted to share my favorite 2012 image though, as part of the January Challenge posted by Rock the Shot ( is a great resource for the pro, semi-pro and enthusiastic hobby photographer!).

 I absolutely love this The Graduate style shot of Seth from his 50's Coca-Cola themed engagement session with his beautiful bride-to-be, Elena. This isn't the best shot and it's not the most technically accurate shot of the whole set, but it stands out among the rest for me. We were going for the cheerful nature of a vintage Coke ad throughout the shoot, but I love the sexy feel of that first glance between wholesome delivery boy and awaiting customer in scarlet (in a non brownchickenbrowncow (say it out loud) way).

 To view more of Seth and Elena's first engagement session, visit this album!

 This shot is technically my second favorite shot of 2012. It was closely followed by the breathtaking Carm in a stunning wedding dress on the industrial General Mills plant site. Eventually, I'll get around to posting it. :)

 My first is a largely private shot as it is of my little friend, 1 yr. old Maya, taken at 5:28 a.m. with her mom and dad on September 2nd in her recovery room after an invasive surgery to remove a large tumor from her abdomen. Mom was asleep, face down on some pillows on a couch beneath a window overlooking the NYC skyline and Dad was asleep in a chair, somewhere between dreaming and lucidity: I doubt he remembers my coming in to say goodbye and that I loved them at that unnatural hour as I had a train to catch back to Buffalo after shooting Maya pre- and post- operation. We said our goodbyes and his head fell back against the chair, asleep again as rounds began and I wished the nurse and doctor a good morning before heading for my train.

 Maya laid tiny, but swollen, in a large hospital bed with her large battle wound on display, under harsh lights and heavy sedation. Despite the sedation, I had seen Maya make jerky movements and the doctors remarked to Mom that she was trying to wake up the night before. She was a fighter than, and even as her family learns that their battle with neuroblastoma is far from over, she's a fighter now.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday, Babies! {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 The end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 has brought me a handful of cute birthday sweethearts! Each were in to document their first birthday and were adorable as can be. It's amazing to see the difference between babies at that age. Some are walking, some are crawling, some are shy and some are grinning ear to ear. Each was wonderful and here they are!

 Lola and Landon were my first birthday kids in over the holidays and I just love twins! Mom, Emily, forewent the Cake Smash route in favor of bright and colorful balloons, streamers and fun accessories. They were a bit shy but loved the balloons and being given ample space to roam. After some time, patience and encouraging they opened up- Lola is a total diva and Landon is a shy little peanut! 

(Don't you just love their hair? I do!) 

 Gigi came in right after Christmas with her mom, Cait, and big sister, Fiona, for her third session. This one was extra special since we were celebrating her first birthday with a big Smash! She came in and was dolled up in the poofiest dress I have ever seen, and I have to admit that I was a little jealous. We played for the first half with blocks and books and she danced to a couple of her favorite songs. After, we pulled out her birthday cake for the smash and discovered that Fifi had already helped herself to some icing!

 It was her first cake and she was going off the wall after she attacked it on her own for 10 minutes. After she started running laps (no kidding) around the studio, we let Fifi in on the fun. The sisters helped each other demolish half the cake and they left with full bellies and a messy cake tier.

Sweet Amelia had her first birthday session and Cake Smash just after the New Year and I couldn't think of a better way to start it off! We've gotten together with her mama, Jess, and family around 7 times now and she just gets cuter and cuter with each session. I just loved all her silly smiles and curiosity over her cake. I don't know many babies who don't love eating cake, but she was one of them! She did like squishing in it though, which made for some great shots. So while smashing may not have been her thing, I think anyone will agree that is one of the sweetest faces ever!

 Savannah is my latest birthday cutie, and sweet as can be. Would you just look at those big, blue eyes? You can tell she's taking in everything she's watching. She is, by far, one of the messiest Smashers I have ever seen in action. That just made it all the more fun! I'm not entirely sure how much of the cake actually ended up in her mouth, but it certainly was everywhere else! I just loved watching her explore with touch, smell and taste and hope she had just as much fun at her birthday party.

 Thanks to all the parents who brought in all of their birthday babies! I'm looking forward to many future milestone sessions.

 Cakes were provided by Cake And Dazzle
 Lace Petti Rompers can be purchased from La Mia Bella
 Bow tie and most headbands are from Bella & the Fellas.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lightning Round 2, Baby Edition! {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 I am one very lucky girl, not only am I fortunate enough to spend my work days surrounded by wonderful and unique families but I also get to meet brand new, snuggly, perfect newborns. And here's 7 of them Born between November 2nd and January 3rd. Aren't they just beautiful? (And out of order. Sorry families!)

 Adeline is one of the most alert newborns I have ever met, but oh so sweet. Her parents and big sister welcomed her into the world on Dec 2nd and couldn't have been happier to meet her. We shot in home because she was born via c-section and we got to spend a lot of time getting to know each other as I tried to talk her in to taking a nap. My favorite shot of her is of her laying on her parent's bed once she did finally drift off. It just looks ideal. Addie is one of my Watch Me Grow babies and I love getting to document them as they hit different milestones!

 Emma is one of the most cuddly babies I've ever met, and definitely the biggest! She came in to the world, quickly, weighing in at 9 lbs, 9 ozs about two weeks early. Her parents are beyond in love with her and they make a sweet little family. While I worked to photograph Emma, she gave one of the cutest smiles and was just the easiest girl to work on.

 Oh Gia! Look at all of that hair!!! Gia is actually the youngest of the bunch, born just after the new year began. She was born later than expected and the smallest of the bunch. After shooting her family's portraits last spring, and mommy's maternity session in October, I knew I was going to just fall in love with this sweet girl. Since she came in with mom and Grandma, I made sure to get a picture of the three of them. Of course, because of all the hair, I also sent them home with headbands after making sure to get a detail shot of that downy soft hair. Really hoping she doesn't lose it all before the next family portrait!

 Jaxson was hands down, the easiest newborn I have ever worked with! I don't think I've ever had such an easy time shooting as many different poses in such a short period of time. I'm pretty sure he didn't take one break, he was so cozy! Because he was comfortable, we were able to photograph him with his parents wedding rings, a gifted blanket, his hat that was made for him, some sweet booties and some fun stuff from the studio. It was a great session and I hope to see him again in the future!

 Oliver was the oldest of my newborns, making him a little more fussy. We met when he was a month old for a session at home, right after Addi's. When photographing newborns, patience is the biggest virtue a photographer can have, right there with talent and skill. It took just over an hour to get his mama's requested portrait with him, but it was soo worth it to get those beautiful, calm eyes with his mother's stunning smile.
 He was such a hungry little guy that I think we spent more downtime getting to know everyone while he nursed than shooting, so I invited him with his mom and sisters back to my studio for some more shots the following week. Again, worth it!
 Also, it's important to be able to laugh at the ridiculous during newborn sessions. Oli peed on himself while we were getting his last in home shot of him cradled in mom and dad's hands and pooped all over his poor mama while we were working on their portrait together. I know some parents have become embarrassed in studio by these things, but it's natural and can happen at times that make it almost comical. Dads get the horrified look and moms apologize, but it happens almost every single time. I just laugh it off- poop happens!

 Peyton surprised us all by arriving about 6 weeks early so we met when she was about a month old. She was another cozy baby who I couldn't get enough of. I almost didn't get that beautiful smile though as it happened just as I was turning to adjust a light. The only time she wasn't thrilled to be touched and prodded was during her portrait in the main studio room with her big sister, she was just too comfortable in her bed of blankets in the newborn room. She was back in a week later for holiday portraits and I'm excited about tomorrow since it's time for her 4 month session as part of her Watch Me Grow package!

 Would you just look at the beautiful lips on Sophia Lorianna? Her family was given a gift certificate as a birth gift by one of my regular families and I was just smitten from the moment she came in the door! Another super easy to work with baby who loved to be cuddled- I was on cloud 9. Some of my preferred vendors had recently sent me some wonderful newborn items before I met Sophia and because she was so easy to work with I was able to knock a lot of the shots out for them. She's another one of my Watch Me Grow babies and I am so excited about what the rest of her first year will bring us!

Let's Play Catch Up, the 2011 Holiday Lightning Round {WNY Portrait Photographer}

First off, all of these fabulous kids and families deserve their own special Blog post, but with my recent burst of business I fear it would be June before I caught up. Twice I had every good intention of being caught up with all night Blogathons but there are only so many hours and so very many sessions to catch up on. This is about half of my remaining 2011 sessions to post. I hope you enjoy them all just as much as I enjoyed spending time with and photographing my clients.

 This is Dylan and he is an awesome kid. He still tells his mama how beautiful she is and that he loves her, though giggling through it in front of strangers. He's a handsome dude who told me all bout his martial arts class and what he likes about it.

 These are the G kids, and each is as unique and wonderful as they appear. Mom, Jill, had a couple of shots in mind before meeting up with me for our holiday session and I think we caught exactly what she was going for. Your children are just lovely Jill!

 One of my favorite babies, Grayson, turned 6 months old just in time for the holidays. He made the perfect little Santa and has one of the greatest baby boy smiles you could ask for. It's almost time for your 9 month session, Grayson!

 I don't adore many sets of siblings the way I adore the H girls. They are, by far, some of the prettiest girls and also some of the sweetest. I've photographed them a million times already and would love to do it a million more! Their parents are pretty spectacular too. ;)

 Like Grayson, Jaxson came in for his 6 month session and holiday portraits. He played with his beautiful mama, Kristin, and sat with one of his dad's ornaments from when he was a little boy. He is an amazing baby, just an all around sweetheart.

  I've photographed Nate and Maddie on a couple of occasions, and it was so nice to get to finally meet and shoot the whole M family! They are a fun family who have a lot of fun, Maddy is the typical girly girl (she modeled a headband while visiting my studio and got to take it home with her) and Nate is your typical, mischievous boy. I'm always excited for sessions with these two.

 Oh my! The K boys are just perfect! Perfect manners, good looks and the right amount of curiosity and enthusiasm. Mom, Kara, joined in the action at the end of the session while the boys looked over their Polar Express book. Isn't she gorgeous? They also won a contest I had in December and are picking up an Organic Bloom framed 16x20 when they come in for a session Monday. I can't wait to see them in the ties we have for them!

 The other M family wanted to shoot outdoors like their 2010 holiday portraits, so we headed to Ellicott Creek Park. It was shocking to see how big their youngest has gotten and their two oldest are maturing. Always wonderful to spend time with, I had a blast chatting with them as we worked on their early day session.

 Naomi's mom brought her in for her second birthday and holiday portraits. She is a sweet, quiet little girl with the prettiest blonde ringlets. She had fun playing with the toys I keep in my studio and riding the rocking horses. Her mom's favorite picture was the last one because it looks like she's praying to her.

 Neven had his 3 month holiday portraits to look forward to and he was the cutest thing ever with his little tongue sticking out and joyful smiles for everyone. Because of a case of the cranks, we split his session in to a 2 parter so we could get everything his wonderful parents wanted. I just swoon for that sweet little face!

 Riley's mom, Myndi, first brought him in for his holiday portrait session and then she won a 3 pack of portrait sessions when she was nominated for Giving is Awesome. So, we took his second session outdoors for a wintry set and a couple of snowball fights. He is one of the coolest kids I know, and he has an absolutely infectious laugh.

 What's not to love about this beautiful family? I see the S sisters and their mama, Melissa, almost every month and finally got to meet dad, Paul, for their holiday session. I love how playful the girls were with their parents and how Olivia blossomed in front of my camers. This was a super successful session as far as smiles go! For the hundredth time, thank you to the S family for choosing me to be your photographer!

 This isn't a real family, it's a bunch of actors and models I hired. Just kidding! Holy smokes though, is this a great looking family or what?! The other S family wanted something a little more elegant for their family's holiday session so we took it to the history museum and Japanese garden. They were funny, kind, easy to work with and would you just look at them! I kind of want to hire them to be my stunt family.

 Funny thing, after their session I got stranded at the museum waiting for the fella to pick me up. Our car broke down a half hour away and after an hour I decided to call a cab. It was great to just enjoy the gardens though while I waited and I hope to do many more sessions there this year.

 The Z boys are some of the funniest kids I have ever met! That sense of humor will come in handy come April when they welcome a new sister to the family! So many kids get bored of having to smile on command, so I took a rather, um... unique approach with getting those genuine giggles and grins from them. I'm sure their parents wondered why I was telling fart jokes with them, but they were happy with the results so I was more than happy to embarrass myself. I can't wait to see everyone again in a couple of months!

 And that's it for this Lightning Round! Next will be babies, babies, babies!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

For Photographers

Dear Friends,

 This goes against my better judgment to write, half of me says "It's bad for business" and the other half has reverted to 17 yr. old, cheerleader me because I've got S-P-I-R-I-T, SPIRIT, yes I do! Here it is though...

 Stop Talking Smack About Your Clients. Stop talking it on your Business pages and don't encourage your clients and friends to gang up on someone on your business page. As a consumer, this is a major turn off. Why am I going to give someone money for services if I don't know if later they will or won't verbally attack me or one of the individuals I have paid you to photograph. Your Business's Facebook page is not the place for you to slut-shame, provoke or threaten lawsuits because someone has expressed an unflattering opinion of your work. It is the place to try and be on your best behavior, lots of people are getting their first glimpse of you, your work and attitude there.

 And on that note, sharing an unflattering opinion or making an observation is not slander so please stop telling people you will sue them because of it. It's not slander if a dry cleaner ruins my wool jacket, it's a fact I'm probably going to be mad about and will give referrals based on. It is slander if I say "They deliberately ruined my jacket because they didn't like me for xyz reason!"

 If you have a problem with a client (or your client has a problem with you), address it privately. If you have a problem with another photographer, address it privately. It is easy to let tempers, and ill-tempered words, fly in the heat of moment. You will come across as calm, cool and collected though if you pull up your big girl/boy Underoos, take a deep breath, apologize for any misunderstanding and offer to discuss differences in private to whatever audience you have at the moment. I may still want to hire you for family portraits if you have rationally (and respectfully!) addressed a problem with another client in front of me. I won't hire you if I see you go bananas on someone else, and I'll tell 5 of my friends so they can avoid the same thing.

 Stop thinking every other photographer who has admired your work is a spy, out to get you. Stop thinking every bit of advice you're given by another photographer is useless, or given to sabotage you. They are likely giving it to you to stop you from hanging yourself with your words. As someone who has made just about every mistake in a 10+ year long career, I want to see newer and younger photographers succeed without hitting all the same pot holes I did, and I'm sure a lot of us feel this way. Try your best not to repeat mistakes. I must have really liked hitting brick walls and it kills me to think how much further in my career I could be if someone had just said "Hey, Jackass, let me help you out there!"

 If your client dumps you for another studio, it is not because that other photographer is offering great incentives to do it to you. It sucks, flat out, to see any of my previous clients post pictures from another studio on their Facebook. That does not mean that I have reason to be a vengeful, hate mongering jerk to the client or the other photographer. It just means they chose another photographer. And sometimes I find inspiration in those new photographer's images!

There are as many reasons for why someone may have hired you in the first place as there are for why they go to a different studio now. Price, location, schedule, flexibility, portfolio, accessibility, easy to talk to, fun to work with and customer service. While they may hire you for one of those reasons initially, you may get dumped for that same reason because things change. Their budget changes, your prices increase. They move or you move or a photography studio opens up a block from their house and it's more convenient. They took on a new job, or you're only open Mon-Thurs. instead of Sun- Sat still. They love your work but can no longer meet you on location at your favorite park 40 mins from their home between their kids' wrestling meets, dance classes, scouts and music lessons or you can't drive 30 minutes to shoot at their favorite, nearby park.  Am I getting my point across? 

 If the reason a client has left you is because of portfolio then force yourself to shoot just for fun for a week, or a month, or a year. Go brush up on your skills. Learn Your Camera! If you feel yourself burning out from 15 sessions a week, outsource your editing or sit down and write out a personal project you want to photograph. Last summer, I did my balloon series as a way to declutter my mind of the "formula" session. I feel myself itching to start a new project once this Buffalo weather defines the season we're in. (Natives, what is this?? I'd always heard of Buffalo being buried in snow from November to April and hadn't really known different.)

 If a client leaves you because of customer service, it is time to evaluate what went wrong and what you can improve. If you are openly name calling and encouraging others to get in on your fun, I think the answer is pretty obvious. If you maybe could have done a better job on that portrait session or event and your client calls you out on it, it is time for an apology and to correct the situation to the best of your abilities. Be humble, without our clients we are people with cameras who can't pay our bills. 

  I want to backtrack for a moment. A word about slut-shaming because it makes me angry and sad to see a photographer who offers boudoir and "sexy" sessions slut-shame other women, especially as the next thing they post after advertising them. Slut-shaming encourages misogyny, low self-esteem and a negative attitude regarding sexuality. I don't care how you dress, about your sexuality and sensuality or what you do in your free time because it isn't my business. It's not my business to know how many people you have been intimate with, why your children don't look alike, why you aren't married or why you dress the way you do. It is my business to photograph you in a way that makes you feel positive about yourself. If you respect me, I respect you and that is what matters. If you don't respect me, or me you, maybe it's time we privately address our differences.

 If you have such strong feelings about women, marriage, sexuality, dress, gender, etc. then maybe it's time to re-evaulate why you offer a service that is about boosting self-confidence and sparking a romantic fire in a new or old relationship. If it's for money, get out now before you not only dig your own grave but are buried in it.

 No matter how young or old you or your business is, these things make an impact. Yes, I am writing this on the heels of watching a lot of these "bad behaviors" over the last 24 hrs. It is not to shame that person or their business, but to provide food for thought and help them, and other photographer's, do better. Realize your full potential with your equipment, show gratitude to the clients who keep a roof over your head and stay grounded. Always remember there is room for improvement.


Friday, January 20, 2012

The G Family {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 A month after their wedding, Caitlin and Jeff were in the studio for some family portraits with their beautiful girls, Fi and Gi. Since she already knew she loved the fireplace background that was what the family chose for their holiday session. Ages 1 and 2 can be tough if you want sitting still, looking at the camera shots but, after getting some energy out and having their curiosity taken care of, the girls were just wonderful to work with. (They must have known the time for go crazy shots would be our next session!) These are some of my favorite shots.

 Thanks, as always, to Cait and Jeff for choosing me to document special occasions and their fabulous family!

Amie's Bridal Portrait {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 I met Amie when I shot her daughter's 4th birthday portrait and immediately knew I'd love working with her. Just to be up front, I was not Amie's wedding photographer. She came in for a bridal portrait session, with hair and makeup by Samantha K, after we talked about her wedding and I saw the how stylish she was on her big day. I love the traditional wedding gown, whether it's lace, silk or chiffon. Nothing quite grabs me, though, like a dress that's exactly like the woman wearing it. In Amie's case, that was dramatic, a bit punk and very nontraditional. These are a few of my favorite shots.

 Thanks for coming in Amie, I hope you love these as much as I do!

Harrison's 3 Month Session {WNY Portrait Photographer}

   What's not to love about a handsome little guy like Harrison? He came in only 2 weeks ago for his 3 month session with lovely mom Seanna and we had a fine time playing and smiling. He is also a very snuggly little guy! Being so easy to work with, we had time to shoot with more drops than usual and even get in some mom and babe shots. These are some of my favorites.

 Thank you, Seanna and Harrison, for coming in! And thank you Jamie Lynn for the referral!

The D Family {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 The D family came to visit my studio over Thanksgiving since they had received a gift session from their daughter, Colleen. They wanted a Christmas session that was a bit more casual and that gave me a great excuse to use my green plaid drop! They are a fun family, with two gorgeous girls and who love to love one another. These are some of my favorite shots.

T Thank you to the D family for making my studio a stop on your jam-packed vacation!