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!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Morgan and Gavin {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 I met Morgan and Gavin just in time for their holiday portraits. Their mom Sherry booked my holiday special in November after a series of disappointing sessions at a chain studio (that, I'm told, always ended in unhappy tears for all) and I'm so glad she did! We took the time we needed to get the shots of stubborn Gavin that would make his mama happy and Morgan just loved showing off her mood jewelry and posing for the camera. These are some of my favorite shots.

 Thank you Sherry for trying something outside of the box! I had such a nice time getting to meet your wonderful family.

Evee and Amelia {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 I absolutely adore these two girls! I've known sisters Evee and Amelia for the last year and a half and was so glad to finally have an opportunity to photograph them for mom Kristen, who makes the cases for my new CD packaging. I've enjoyed watching them grow and play and think this session shows their beautiful, fun personalities perfectly. These are some of my favorite shots from our afternoon at the park.

Thank you Kristen for asking me to capture your two wonderful girls! I can't wait to see you 3 again!

The C Family {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 Everytime I photograph this family I have to laugh at how ridiculously good looking they are. Not only are parents Jim and Cami just gorgeous, they have three of the most beautiful little boys I have ever met. 

 Toddlers, as many know, don't have the best tolerance needed for portrait sessions but we managed to get through them quickly and cheerfully, as I reminded myself of the cake smash mayhem built. This time there were no melt downs from 2 yr. olds or 4 yr. olds eating poisonous berries behind bushes (oh yeah, it's happened). Just three happy, handsome little boys. 

 Cami wanted to book a holiday session that wasn't really holiday themed. So we started with updated shots of each of her little boys and moved on to the group shot. These are some of my favorite shots. 
 As always, thanks Cami and Jim! I look forward to seeing you and baby Micah in 2 weeks for his next session!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Caitlin and Jeff Tie the Knot {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 11/11/11 was a great day to get married! I was very excited for this particular wedding after shooting Caitlin and Jeff's engagement session two weeks earlier in industrial Buffalo. The couple had a 32 person wedding party when all was said and done, so I knew I would have my work cut out for me. 

 As is true of almost all weddings, things ran a bit late but I had a great time chatting it up with Caitlin and getting to know her MOHs while at the salon as she had hair and makeup done. I finally got to see some of the cool details she'd been telling me about for two weeks- including a slave Leia lego in the bouquet and all of her great jewelry. 

 The dress. The dress was a million times cooler than I expected, and I had pretty high expectations after she told me about the design she put together. The four piece dress included a corset, skirt, enormous petite skirt and tuxedo jacket- and lets not forget the shoes! 

 I had one of the MOHs high jack the groom and follow us to the art museum for their first look while Caitlin boarded the party bus and rode with her (enormous) wedding party. While we waited for the bus to arrive, we got to catch up with Jeff and he was the most relaxed groom I think I've ever met. 

 At last, Caitlin arrived and I was able to get some shots of her preening at the top of the stairs leading to the waterfront before Jeff turned around to see her. They were all grins as they walked hand in hand down the stairs and embraced for a long time as we stood back watching the moment with our cameras. 

 After we had a whirlwind of portraits to do, visiting almost all of the sites we had shot their engagement session at before heading to the Flying Bison Brewery for a beer tasting and more portraits. 

 With an hour before guests arrived for the ceremony the group hit the bar and celebrated, toasting the couple. The ceremony and reception was held upstairs and Jeff's father married them. There was a lot of hugging and kissing between vows as they held hands and shared sentiments of love. It was a great evening.

 Caitlin came to the studio a few days later for her wedding gift boudoir session and for bridal portraits and we also took the time to get the family portraits of the newlyweds with their beautiful daughters since it had been so late the evening of the wedding. 

 Caitlin and Jeff, thank you so much for inviting me to be your photographer. I loved being a part of your special day and photographing your beautiful family. I can't wait to photograph many happy anniversary portraits for you!

The B Family {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 I first met Beverly almost 2 yrs ago at a mom's group and was so happy to hear from her in November. She explained to me that she needed a family portrait update since her last one had been at least 5 years earlier. Her family met a near-tragedy this Spring when one of her sons fell 40 feet and almost lost him, so it was a very important photograph to her. She now stays home with him and we decided it would be best to shoot the portrait at her home so they wouldn't have to put too much stress on the family with the almost 40 minute round trip. 

 I packed up my studio lighting and equipment for the session and we spent about two hours photographing the family of seven. These are some of my favorite shots.

 Beverly, thank you so much for asking me to photograph your beautiful family for the holiday! I hope your family continues to mend and stay in good health.

Cadence {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 It's been a couple of months, but Cadence and I had a blast shooting her 4th birthday portraits! After talking to her mom, Amie, I was inspired by this tutorial and we put together the perfect outfit for an outdoors Fall session. She got to run, jump, roll and lay in the leaves she was throwing in the air, as she looked like an explorer with her walking stick. She was just as lovely when she looked shy, bored and happy. These are some of my favorite shots!

 Thank you for bringing Cadence out to play, Amie! I can't wait to photograph the little Miss again sometime!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Samantha Portfolio Day 1 {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 Samantha K. is my Hair Stylist and MUA for Bella Donna Boudoir sessions. We organized two days for portfolio building, twelve mini shoots and one rocking portfolio. Each woman came with an outfit fit for a Bella Donna session and shot for about a half hour, after getting their hair and makeup done, to get the perfect image for a special portrait or album to give for the holidays. These are some of my favorite shots from day 1.

 Thanks to the beautiful ladies who came out to support Samantha and enjoyed a session! Samantha, you're the best!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Team Luna Chix {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 Team Luna Chix Buffalo  invited me to their post-season party and fundraiser to document the fun and good work these fabulous women do at the end of October. The team met up at Dandelions for cocktail hour and dinner, and while there had a silent auction, a jeweler and I set up a photo booth for the ladies post-dinner. That night they raised over $400 for breast cancer research!

 I met the Chix through Mary Lou, that beautiful woman in the center through her kind acts to others. She spent all of 2010 baking cookies for Ronald McDonald House residents and Gilda's Club. I emailed her (far later than I ever meant) to tell her thank you for making my month at RMH a little more comforting and we struck up a friendship. She is an inspiring woman and the whole reason for Team Luna Chix being in Buffalo. I hope to someday get to photograph her baking cookies and hear more about her good deeds. 

 The whole team was an inspiration! Members ages, sizes and backgrounds are all over the map, but running and fundraising brings them all together. If you're looking for a way to make some new, wonderful friends or keep your New Year's Resolution contact them! These are a few of my favorite shots.

 Thank you Mary Lou, and the rest of the Chix, for letting me join you!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

MUAH Port Day {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 On occasion, I like to set up portfolio days for makeup artists and hair stylists I know. This one was set up back in October with Sarah B. Each girl had her makeup done and all but 1 had their styled as well. The girls each had a 5 minute shoot in the outfit of their choice wearing Stella and Dot jewelry. 

 Thanks for coming out ladies!

Vendor Spotlight: Bella and the Fellas {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 I wanted to share with everyone where I get my cute bow ties, some of my wonderful headbands and other fun and functional items! If you haven't already seen me linking to them, please check out Bella N the Fellas! I've been buying the ties, headbands, newborn crowns and their newly released top hats for about 3 months now. For the photographer, not only do they have the accessories but also camera strap covers, full and travel sized posing bean bags, bed posers and soon newborn sized beds. These are just some of the many items I regularly use from Bella and the Fellas. 

 Thanks Amber at BNF for such great products and many thanks to all my little models!

Jaxson's 4/5 Month Session {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 Last June, sweet little Jaxson joined the world and I photographed his newborn session. He came back in, in October, for his 4 month session as part of his Watch Me Grow package. As he is wont to do, he told us when the session was over, so after getting a few outfits in his Superman shirt and more formal outfit we decided it would be best to try to get the rest of the shots a few weeks later. 

 We decided to finish up his session closer to Christmas and the changes in him were astounding! He filled out a little, was sitting all on his own and was enjoying the discovery of mobility. He was so good during his Christmas portrait we decided to snag a handful of portraits with his beautiful mama, Kristin. 

 These are a few of my favorite shots. 

 Kristin, thanks as always for letting me photograph your handsome boy's first year!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Caitlin and Jeff's Engagement Session {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 I received an email from Cait two weeks before her wedding thanks to a referral from a portrait client (thanks B Family!). We got together to discuss her wedding plans and immediately I knew I'd love working with this creative and beautiful bride. 

 We planned the engagement session for the next night to allow plenty of time for their event cards and print order to arrive for the big day. Since we'd be shooting at night there were some different places I wanted to shoot so I could play with lighting and exposure, so we did a tour of Buffalo. 

 Things were running late so we didn't get quite the shot I envisioned for the two of them at the Botanical Gardens, but when they arrived we had about 5 minutes of light left and got a beautiful portrait with the building backlit and the clouds rolling in behind them. It took about 4 takes before we could get the 3 second exposure without poor Cait and Jeff shivering (it was very cold).

 We moved onto industrial Buffalo, where I lit one of my favorite images using headlights with the car facing away about 60 degrees. The two of them looked gorgeous together, him in his brown suit and her in her pinup clothes and victory rolls. 

 From there we headed to the General Mills plant to get some shots on their bridge. I loved it! I shot with available lighting for longer exposure times and would be happy to shoot there once every couple weeks. The gorgeous couple seemed to enjoy the location, perhaps because of how many times we did the dip kiss shot in the middle, and the center image below was the centerpiece of their sign in table as an 11x14. 

 Our last location was a lot less urban but still moody due to the lack of light. We shot directly behind the art museum and captured some more romantic images of the two. I love watching people in love just be together.

 I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed shooting them, these are some of my favorite shots.

 Cait and Jeff, huge thank you's to the both of you for being such a great couple to work with! I'll be posting the wedding within a couple of days!

Erin and Tim Tie the Knot {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 I photographed Erin and Tim's newborn last June and you could tell just how in love this little family is. When I heard they were getting married in October I couldn't wait for the big day! We did a quick, 15 minute session in studio for their engagement portrait and 2 weeks later they were getting hitched!

 They chose a sweet little gazebo to exchange their vows in, just across the street from the Niagara Falls. The ceremony was performed by her mother as they were surrounded by their large family. Their baby boy was the perfect ringbearer and looked mighty cute in his infant sized tuxedo. 

 After all of they're congratulations and family portraits were finished we crossed the street to do their newlywed portraits in front of the gorgeous Falls. I had some newlywed signs made up with their wedding date and a thank you on the backs and the fun message "I'm his Mrs." and "I'm her Mr." on the front for their announcements and thank you cards. It was cold out but Erin was a beautiful bride to work, even in a strapless gown!

 I covered the first couple of hours of their reception for them, making sure to capture as many details as I could with my second shooter and as many kisses as I could catch (there were more than a handful!). One of my favorite images from the night was of the newlyweds dancing with their beautiful baby boy. The cutting of the cake was a lot of fun and the cake was provided by my good friend at Cake and Dazzle. 

 It was a wonderful wedding and I couldn't be happier for the couple, who is now expecting another baby! These are some of my favorite shots.

 Erin and Tim, thank you so much for having me as part of your wedding day! I can't wait for you to visit home again and do some maternity shots of your beautiful bump!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Open House {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 Monday night I decided to host a New Year, New You open house in the studio with my friends Samantha (MUAH for my Bella Donna sessions) and Kristin (a rep. for Stella & Dot). A handful of wonderful women came and enjoyed trying on jewelry, snacking on goodies having their portraits taken and even some had their hair and makeup done. While these aren't finished images, they are some of my favorites from the night.

 Thanks to all the ladies who came out, and extra thanks to Kristin for snapping some quick portraits of me!

The S Sisters {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 These other beautiful S girls, Crystal and Jocelyn, and their parents met with me for a session in October while it was still unseasonably warm and nice lookin' out. They were sweet as can be and really easy to work with. Both girls have quick smiles but distinct personalities. You can tell that Crystal is a tween, heading into the boys and makeup age and that Jocelyn is a little shyer and in no hurry to grow up. Together, they're just the perfect pair and these are a few of my favorite shots.

 Thanks Michelle and Tim for having me capture your wonderful family- you two have been blessed with a couple of great kids!

Mr. T, Mr. T and Mr. T Birthday sessions! {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 The T boys came by again for their birthday and Christmas portraits in late October. There were a TON of shots, three smashed cakes and one nose picker. 

 I got the idea for the Loves portraits from a shot I found on Pinterest. Are you on Pinterest? If so, you know how soul-sucking and addictive it is. If not, welcome to the party and make sure you kiss your husband and kids goodbye. It is a photographer's dream! 

 Mom, Amanda, has a great sense of humor. Take a look at that last image because that ended up being their holiday card's main image! Hilarious, right?

 Anyways, these are a few of my favorite shots and something just a little different for you all to enjoy.

 As always, thank you Super Mom Amanda for choosing me!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Giving is Awesome Session~ Myndi {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 I rang in 2012 with a session right away. I had a fun little family session with Giving is Awesome recipient, Myndi, and family. There was lots of kissing, silly faces and tickling to be had and these are a few of my favorite shots.

 I see Myndi pretty regularly, both as a client and (I'm lucky enough to say) as a friend. She's recently been faced with tough times and  Myndi handles them with grace and dignity. She doesn't ask for anything or feel entitled to anything but what she's earned. As her partner, Will, put it "she's keeping her beliefs and keeps fighting for what she believes in" and "she's always worries about others before herself." I'm all too happy to gift Myndi with a session for family, self and her son Riley. 

 Will, thank you for the nomination and for being such an Awesome rock for Myndi.

Giving Is Awesome Recipients

 I received so many wonderful noinations for my Giving is Awesome campaign this holiday season that I was overwhelmed and overjoyed at the emails that poured in. Just like last June, I couldn't stick to my guns and just pick two recipients, so instead there are 5 (again!). I really wish I could afford to donate to all 43 nominated inidviduals and families. Thank you to everyone who sent in nominations.

 First I'll start with the nomination received from Emily. Emily nominated her friend Jeanette. Jeanette, who I've briefly met, is a mother of a 2 yr. old. She has endless love and compassion from others, often leaving little consideration for herself. She has been dreaming of having portraits of Eason done for 3 yrs. but hasn't been able to. I know she just recently became a home owner so I will be thrilled to help her decorate it by gifting her a mini session of Eason with his loving parents and a $200 print credit.

 Also, Emily (the Magnificent) wishes to donate her thank you session to another deserving family or individual of my choosing. Emily, thanks for being so Awesome!

 Next, I received an email from Kristen about a tireless mom who has adopted five children over the last 7 years. Not only has Brenda and her family adopted the 5 blessed children, but they have also been blessed with two biological children! Kristen shares that Brenda never complains or asks for anything and that her open heart and giving nature makes her the perfect candidate for family portraits. I completely agree! Brenda will be gifted a 2 hour session and $200 print credit.

 Kristen, thanks to your Awesome nomination, and Emily's donation of her's, you'll be receiving a mini session to be used for you and your husband and a $50 print credit!

 The last entry in missed the deadline by a couple of days, but was a very touching nomination from a daughter to her mother. Kimberly wanted to illustrate to me the ways her mother, Carol, perseveres, cares for others and remains strong when faced with personal hardships and loss. I cried as I read her nomination (as I often do) and was all too happy to print out a gift certificate for Carol to open on Christmas morning for the gift of a family session.

 Thank you for the Awesome email Kim, I can understand why you and your friends speak so wonderfully of Carol!

  The fourth recipient of Giving Is Awesome is Myndi. I see Myndi pretty regularly, both as a client and (I'm lucky enough to say) as a friend. She's recently been faced with tough times and  Myndi handles them with grace and dignity. She doesn't ask for anything or feel entitled to anything but what she's earned. As her partner, Will, put it "she's keeping her beliefs and keeps fighting for what she believes in" and "she's always worries about others before herself." I'm all too happy to gift Myndi with a session for family, self and her son Riley.

 Will, thank you for the nomination and for being such an Awesome rock for Myndi.

 My final recipient, and this is the big one, knocked me for a loop. This nomination made me want to stop entrants and just announce a winner. It has been very tough sitting on this nominating individual for a month and not call, email or send them smoke signals to thank them for being Awesome, selfless and compassionate. Read on.

"Hi Melissa,
I found your FB page from a post by Julie Ann D. I would like to nominate the children in foster care awaiting adoptive families. My wife and I were fortunate enough to adopt five beautiful siblings this year through the non-profit foster/adoption agency Gateway-Longview.
Sadly, there are many children who wait years in foster care to be matched with their forever families. For some it never comes and they "age out" of foster care before being adopted.
A photograph is often the first impression a potential family gets of these kids, and more often than not they are snapped by a case worker and do not adequately reflect the beauty and truth that each of these kids possess. Just
think what your capabilities and quality photography could mean for some kids who don't yet have parents and families to pose with. It could be the difference of a lifetime for them.
 If you consider this nomination, I would specify Kara M-H as the key person as she is in charge of finding families for kids. Kara is on FB, as is the agency. Thanks for your consideration.
Scott R"

 So, needless to say, I'm all too happy to gift the children awaiting forever families in Gateway-Longview's adoption program. I will be coordinating portrait dates to meet with all of the children currently in the program to provide Gateway Longview with professional portraits to include in each child's introductory packet for prospective families. Whenever a new child becomes a part of Gateway- Longview's program I will make myself and my studio available to provide them with the same.

 Additionally, as each child is adopted I will be gifting their new families with a first family portrait session to help them introduce their new family member to the world.

 As my thank you to Scott and his wife Patty for the nomination and being so Awesome they're getting a pretty rocking thank you gift. I spoke with them both on the phone this morning and the package I've designed for them includes a 3 hr. portrait and candids session, a storyboard of each child and a family album. Also, Patty will be receiving a Bella Donna session as my mom-to-mom gift- I cannot imagine what a super woman you must be Patty but I can't wait to find out!

 Again, thank you to everyone who emailed nominations!

Layla {WNY Portrait Photographer}

 Layla came in for a short and sweet session back in November to help get ready for the holidays. This cutie is a bit tricky though and requires a little extra TLB (candy bribery) to really bring her out of her shell. I know a big camera covering someone's face can be a little daunting but in the end she did terrific with the help of her pony, a lollipop and some fresh air. These are a few of my favorite shots.

 Thanks to mom Charlotte for bringing her back in!