Friday Randoms, Vol. 71

Hey guys! Checking in before I attempt a run in this cold ass weather! I’m stalling big time (as I do every day with running, so situation = normal). I keep coming up with things I “have to do now” so I can get out of going outside.

I run in on the backroads of Clinton these days, the sunset over the local farms is just breathtaking. This will be my first time running with the fallen snow. I’ve been avoiding for far too long.

I don’t know how anyone gets anything done around here with all of this napping at work! On the desk too, what flagrant disregard!

I’m tickled to report that we have a new and amazing coffee shop in town! If you haven’t tried Character Coffee yet, I’ll wait while you get in your car RIGHT NOW and drive there. Best latte I’ve had in years!

As long as we’re talking food: Best soup in town? Bite Bakery.

About as much decorating as we’ll do this holiday.

I’m no sushi chef, but I pretend to be one every now and then. Have also been doing my own version of shrimp lo mein, in an effort to make it 1 percent healthier than the delicious chemical feast that is local Chinese restaurants.

I would never spend money on this kind of thing but how cool are these shoes? I love the look of women in refined menswear and these kicks are the stuff of magic! Someone buy them so I can borrow.

Serious question. Has anyone been following the Dear David thread? I was totally obsessed with it until the latest posts, now I’m thinking hoax. Either way, dude is a good storyteller!

Song of the week.

Wishing you a safe, happy, relaxed holiday season!

 

 

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Just Because: Winter Session

I have never been afraid to fall in love with my couples. To be open to learning from their love, grace, kindness, hope and faith. Ari & Alex are much younger than me, and, much wiser. I could say so much, but it all comes down to this:

I am inspired by their goodness in this world.

Why a photo session? Well, just because. Life is too short to need reasons to photograph best friends. I love their stunning connection, their enthusiasm for life, their emotional intelligence and every fiber of their being.

A few favorites from our winter session…

Ari & Alex, you are one in a million.

xo

Also, I must give heartfelt thank you to the ladies over at The Posie Peddler who always make the most gorgeous flower crowns!

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Why Documentary?

It was almost ten years ago. I had just moved back from the west coast. I was doing lots of lifestyle photography on the side of my news and reporting career and decided it needed to be full time. I first aimed my lens exclusively on children because 1.) I love kids and 2.) It seemed like a fun way to explore creativity and hang out with awesome families. I did a lot of child photography in those days.

To be totally honest, it wasn’t what I thought it would be.

I couldn’t seem to steer parents away from the, “Let’s get dressed up, go to a park, pose and smile at the camera,” sessions. I pushed for straight-up documentary photos inside the home. At that time, about a decade ago, no one could be convinced. Seriously, NO ONE. I carried my portable photo studio to every single shoot. One morning (mini studio set up in family’s living room), the parents told me they wanted their kids in five different outfits. I think we were on outfit three when we reached a Code Red situation…three screaming children, two screaming adults and over a dozen outfits strewn around. I picked up my camera to document the crying and hilarity of it all and there was some drama about mom not wanting her child to be photographed with a pacifier (and wanted me to Photoshop it out). They were very specific about only wanting photos where the children were smiling and looking at the camera. Between bribes, screams, tears, all-out red-faced tantrums…I put my camera down, dropped my head and told myself, “I am never doing this again.”

And, I never did.

I despised that kids were being pushed so hard to pose and smile. Forced into so many outfit changes and given props that made no sense. Toys were being taken away because they “weren’t supposed to be in the picture.” How did something that was supposed to be fun turn into something so stressful? I wondered why it kept happening over and over again. Why no one could break this vision of, “Freeze, smile, look at the camera, keep smiling, look at the camera…”

The reality was, I thought the kids would all be happy if we just let them be and I could follow them around like a friend or playmate…sort of an embedded reporter, something I had lots of experience doing!

These day-in-the-life shots speak to my soul. My favorite childhood pictures of myself (and my family) are straight-up documentary (see below)…

Looking back, I love seeing what the house looked like and noticing cool stuff in the background. The two photos above perfectly summarize my childhood. Our mutt Scotty (and how cool is it that our family car is in the pic?!) and me at my grandmother’s house with cats everywhere. Caught in the middle of honest moments.

These pictures transport me.

Authenticity quickly became the bedrock of my business.

So, that’s where I’m at now. For those who love perfectly posed pictures? Go for it, there are so many pros who do it so well!

For the people who cherish tantrums as well as smiles and want to be transported back into a moment? You’ve found your photographer.

It took me awhile to find my way here, but I’m not going back.

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toni - I have family pictures of us, posed and looking at the camera with smiles. They look like a “Family Feud” audition. lol

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Love Story: Mary & Gary

During one of my final autumn sessions, I met Mary and Gary. Fun and warm, plus also a little shy, they’re my kind of people. They love readily and are the kind of couple you feel like you’ve known forever. We wandered around Clinton for some relaxed photos and coffee. I can only hope we have this much awesome foliage for their fall wedding! Congratulations, guys!

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Tiffany & Kyle: Wolf Oak Acres Wedding

I have been dying to share this wedding! First off, Tiffany and Kyle’s day had three of my favorite things: amazing couple, barn wedding and fall colors! Boom! Intimate weddings are always fun because nearly everyone knows each other, so there are special connections we immediately pick up on.

This couple actually handmade almost ALL of the little personalized details you see here, I was pretty blown away! A few favorite photos from these two sweet and beautiful souls…

Over at the guys’ room, they were cleaning up nice!

Meantime, Tiffany looked angelic during her bridal portraits…

The great thing about Wolf Oak Acres is that there are so many different spots to get married, inside and out!

A bagpiper got the ceremony rolling…

How cute is this little vow book?

Relaxed and casual portraits around the beautiful property is how they roll…

DJ Gary Johnson did a phenomenal job with the couple’s uplighting and colors to give the space some mood…

I approach important moments of a wedding with two goals. First, I try to always get a classic shot of what’s happening (here is the first dance)…

Then I try to do one of my signature creative shots once I have the safe shot (this was taken about twenty seconds after, just changed my lighting!)

Emotional parent dances…

Tiffany and Kyle, your enthusiasm and easy going nature made the day phenomenal, we are so lucky to know you! THANK YOU for allowing me the honor!

xo

Thank you to these fine people whose talents didn’t go unnoticed!

Beauty: Stephanie with Tease and Makeup

Dress: NY Bride

Ceremony & Reception: Wolf Oak Acres

Florals: DeWitt Wegmans

Cake: Cakes By Michelle

Caterer: Dean’s Concessions

DJ: Gary Johnson, Elevated Events

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