Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Look Back in Time: Hartwick, NY

A few weeks ago, you'll remember I posted images of post cards I had restored, and today, I have a few more to share with you.

I'm excited that these old 4x6 post cards have gotten a face-lift and will now be displayed in 11x14 frames, honoring those pictured, and a time long gone.


Wedding Wonderland 2102: Bridal Expo

This past Sunday I was excited to be a part of the Wedding Wonderland Bridal Show @ the Northeast Classic Car Museum in Norwich, NY.

I always enjoy attending Bridal Shows and being able to meet so many people, and so I want to thank everyone who stopped by my booth! My amazing cousin, Amber, also came along to help that day & so I want to thank her too!

I am continuously overwhelmed by everyone's support & encouragement as I work to get my business known in the Upstate area, I have so much to be thankful for! It's hard work building a business, but I know it's all in the baby steps, and one day I'll look back on these early years and be proud of the work I did & all those who stood by my side.

(Amber & I in front of one of the classic cars!) (Too bad they wouldn't let us take it for a test drive!! hahaha!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Q & A: Segment 1

1. Do you prefer using a camera's abilities for different functions or do you like to edit them mostly digitally? 

Honestly, It depends on what I'm shooting. When I have extra time to play around, I definitely love full manual mode, where I'm able to make any changes I want. In college, I learned black & white film photography first, and everything we shot was manual & processed by hand in the darkroom. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and probably when I really got hooked on photography. But when I'm shooting my nephews who never want to sit still, or snapping something quick, I take full advantage of digital editing & processing. For something different, I sometimes enjoy playing around w/ photoshop actions as well. I don't use them much, but it's fun to experiment.

2. What is your favorite food? 

Oh, goodness! This simple question is so hard! It's sort of a joke in my family that I have so many favorite foods. I find comfort in the familiar, and I don't like experimenting. If it's Friday night, my favorite food is my Dad's homemade Pizza...thick crust, savory sweet sauce, hmm. If it's Sunday, Dad's Spaghetti Sauce, which is Grandma's recipe handed down. If it's a cold winter night, my Mom's Chicken & Dumpling Soup (minus the dumplings, extra on the carrots). If it's my birthday, vanilla cake w/ vanilla frosting. If the family is having a party, my Aunt's Taco dip, and if we're going out, chicken fingers w/ketchup. I'm really quite easy to please! haha!

3. What are your other hobbies besides photography? 

I've kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Writing is very therapeutic for me & I really can't process anything without writing it out first. I write about my struggles, faith, questions, joys, fears, I lay it all out on the page, and something about that is comforting to me. 

I don't have a lot of time for it now, but I used to love to draw & paint. In high school, I was really into pastels, and in college I did a lot of oil painting. I love painting flowers & landscapes, mostly, there's something about the textures and colors that I really love. 

I really love to sing. Actually, my first major in college was voice performance. I took lessons, tried to learn Italian, echoed: "How Are You TodAAAAAaaaaaay?!" vocal exercises through the practice rooms & eventually decided I didn't like standing in front of crowds in order to sing. That's when I went to art, where I could safely hide behind some easel or camera lens. :)

Thanks for posting these questions, Rena! I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a bit more & for everyone else, don't hesitate to join the conversation! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Q & A: Where your questions get answered!

Hi guys! I'd like to try something new w/ my blog & get you all more involved!

Here's what I'm hoping to do: Start a Q & A segment on my blog, where you all ask questions, or relay topics you'd like me to blog about, & then I respond!

I love getting conversations going, so the topics can be anything from getting to know me, my opinions, favorites/dislikes, photography, art, music, faith, culture,food...anything at all your little heart desires! :)

I'll respond in the most honest way that I can, while keeping a humble outlook & open mind.

So get ready, get set, ASK AWAY!

Monday, February 20, 2012

You Were Meant to Be

After today's self-portrait post, I had a few more thoughts I wanted to share.

A lot of times, when I'm meeting a client for the first time, or sitting down to look through their proofs for the first time, I often see a fleeting look of fear in their eyes, this momentary hesitation, leery of what's to come. People also tell me that they're not "photogenic" or the "pretty one" in the family & often, people are hesitant to even get their portrait taken, because in the back of their mind, they're worried of how it will come out, how they'll appear to the world.

I think we all have insecurities over something. I know I do. So I understand how hard it is for you to trust me. I understand there are things about yourself you'd like to hide, parts of yourself you'd like to change, and it's a vulnerable experience sitting down in front of the camera, especially with someone new.

But it's in knowing those insecurities, that I work so hard to show you your beauty in a way that maybe you've never been able to see before. It's possible that you focus so much on one thing, that you miss the most beautiful parts, the parts that really make you, you.

So many of us let fear or insecurities rob us of a greater joy, but my job is to stop that. So much of why I started this business is because I love people, I value people, and I see photography as a way of allowing others to see that beauty as well.

God has given us such unique beauty, and I so badly want to reflect that. Even just bits and pieces of His beauty & glory will take your breath away, and each one of you are walking around with HIS image in you. How amazing is that?

So it doesn't matter what size you wear, what color hair you have, or how long your legs are. God made you beautiful , just the way you are & I  love being able to show that to the world.

I love this song from Steven Curtis Chapman "Meant to Be", he talks about how God had a plan for our lives, uniquely ours, even before time began. I think if we start to see ourselves through God's eyes, we'll not only understand His love in a deeper way, but also appreciate our lives in a newer way, and perhaps, view ourselves in a purer light. 

Meant to Be: Steven Curtis Chapman

 "Long Before You Drew Your First Breath
A Dream Was Coming True
God Wanted to Give A Gift To The World
So He Wrapped It Up In You
Every Step That You’ve Taken
Every Move That You Make
Is Part Of His Plan

You Were Meant To Be Touching
The Lives That You Touch
And Meant To Be Here
Making This World So Much More
Than It Would Be Without You In It

You Were Meant To Be Bringing
The Gifts That You Bring
And Singing The Songs
You’ve Been Given To Sing
You Are Perfectly, Wonderfully,
Beautifully, Meant To Be
You Were Meant To Be

Long Before You Took Your First Fall
You stumbled to the ground
God started telling the story of you to the angles around
Every failure and victory
Everything inbetween
Its all in His hand

You Were Meant To Be Touching
The Lives That You Touch
And Meant To Be Here
Making This World So Much More
Than It Would Be Without You In It

You Were Meant To Be Bringing
The Gifts That You Bring
And Singing The Songs
You’ve Been Given To Sing
You Are Perfectly, Wonderfully,
Beautifully, Meant To Be
You Were Meant To Be

For every breath that your taking
And every move that you make
It’s a meaningful life you’ve been given
Live it well

You Were Meant To Be Touching
The Lives That You Touch
And Meant To Be Here
Making This World So Much More
Than It Would Be Without You In It

You Were Meant To Be Bringing
The Gifts That You Bring
And Singing The Songs
You’ve Been Given To Sing
You Are Perfectly, Wonderfully,
Beautifully Meant To Be
You Were Meant To Be."


Love to all!

Self-Portrait Project

I don't do this portrait thing very often, standing on the other side of the camera, I mean.

Unless I'm snuggled up with one of my nephews or in a group family photo, it's rare that a camera is pointed my way. But even though I'm usually the one taking the photos, I think it's still important for me to document my own life & treat myself to a new head-shot every now & then. That last statement may seem odd, but it is a empowering to see yourself in a new way & embrace whatever stage in life you're in.

Since it feels like Antarctica outside today, I decided to stay indoors & take advantage of the beautiful sunshine pouring through a window.

Happy Monday, to all of you, enjoy the sunshine!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Photobooks & Albums!

For those of you who may not know what a Photobook is, I'll explain: Photobooks are digitally designed, hard cover books which house your images much like a coffee table book you'd find at Barnes & Noble. 

You have total control what goes on the cover of your book – edge to edge, front, back or spine. In many ways, Photobooks are replacing the heavy, brass hinged albums of yesteryear.

 The pages are personally designed for you, with multiple layout, color & theme options. The binding allows for lay-flat pages, so there's no gutter to break up your favorite images.

Images are printed on Fuji Crystal Archive photo paper for vivid fade-resistant colors and brilliant whites. Covers are printed on Fuji Crystal Archive album paper coated to create a durable, scuff-resistant pearl-gloss finish.   

 I also offer Superior Albums for those of you who prefer an update to the traditional album, featuring a bonded leather cover and bound construction with lay-flat page spreads. Albums are individually boxed for safe keeping and are 15 pages with a 30 print capacity.

Both Photobooks & Albums make beautiful keepsakes & are available in 5x5, 8x8 or 10x10 print format.

So fun! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Joyful Friday!

"Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders You have done! The things You planned for us no one can recount to You; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare!" -Psalm 40:5

I adopted this verse when I first started this business...knowing that all things are from my Father in Heaven & that He has marvelous plans for us far beyond anything we could ever see. I praise Him for His faithfulness & for blessing this journey. To God be the glory, great things He has done!
I am so excited about this upcoming year & for all the joy that lies ahead!
Happy Weekend, everyone! :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wedding Photography: Top 5 Tips!

Now that we're fully into Bridal Show Season, I thought I might share a few of my tips to all of you newly engaged couples!

So often at Bridal Shows I meet Brides, Moms & Bridal Party Attendees who are frantic, stressed, and generally overwhelmed with the idea and process of planning a wedding. But it doesn't have to be that way!

Here are a few tips to consider:

Seriously, we are here to help, and we do this all the time, and have a lot of tricks up our sleeve just from being involved in weddings year after year! So even though I'm a photographer,  I still can help you plan your itinerary, choose venues & create an overall theme for your wedding. I also have vendor friends such as DJ's, Limo services, Flower & Cake Designers who I've worked with that I'd be more than happy to connect you to. Never be afraid to ask for help!

So you're choosing between 2, 3, 4 vendors...they all have good work, they're all within budget, they're all available...how then do you choose? When you're choosing your photographer, keep in mind how important it is to connect with that person & form a relationship with them. Do you feel safe & comfortable with them? Can you laugh with them & feel like yourself? This may seem like an odd thing to consider, but think about how many hours you'll be spending with this person on your wedding day & how important your bond with them will be in order to make your day as stress-free as possible. In many cases, I spend 8-12+ hrs with my brides on their wedding day. I help them put on their make-up, dress, shoes, I dry their tears & make sure they're fed & give them a pep talk...I see it all! I want my Brides to feel comfortable with me so that their photographs come out looking natural and easy. So choose someone whose personality meshes well with yours, you'll have more fun, I promise!

This may be the organizer in me coming out, but I think it is so important to have a game plan drawn out for your wedding day, and make sure everyone has that plan in hand ahead of time. Wedding day can be very stressful, often times the hours you thought you'd have turn into seconds, and it's rush rush rush to the alter! But it doesn't have to be that way! I always help my Brides create an itinerary. From the moment they wake up...to breakfast, hair/make-up, getting dressed, travel time, ceremony, portrait session, travel to reception...it's all timed and choreographed. I keep the itinerary with me in order to keep my bride & groom on time, and it helps the whole day flow better. Some may argue that they just want to float through the day without a watch, and that's fine for the Bride & Groom, but the professionals leading the arrangement need a plan to follow. So make an itinerary, and I'll keep you on track so you'll never have to stress at all!

This tip is for your Bridal Party Portrait Session mainly, but could be for ceremony as well; and that is, plan for weather changes! If you are planning on doing your Bridal Portraits outside, also choose a close-by indoor location in case it rains. Some people think that outside is the only way to go, but think outside of the box for indoor locations such as: a library, museum, church, hotel, movie theater, barn, sports stadium, or even your favorite diner. Rain does not have to ruin your day, but you must plan ahead!

Say Wedding Day comes, I photograph everyone I see at your party, but you get back your proofs and realize there's no picture of you and Aunt Betty! We can't go back and relive the day, so you are left sad and disappointed...which is what I do not want to happen. So my way of making sure that doesn't happen? Create a Portrait Check-list! There is no way for me to know you have a special Aunt Betty & Cousin Joe unless you tell me. And in the whirlwind of your wedding day, it may escape your mind that you had wanted to get a special picture, but if I have that special request on a check-list, I can make sure it happens! It's another way for me to make your wedding day easier & assure that you get everything you want! So take a few minutes, write down your family, special friends, groups of people or certain poses that you must have & I'll do the rest.

So there you have it, my top 5 tips on making your wedding day stress-free! Let me know your thoughts & how I can help!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

From My Heart To Yours

This is going to be one of those post where I struggle with what to say, and what not. How much to reveal, and how much to keep hidden.

I've always been an honest person, and I think being able to live in community with others requires vulnerability, even when it hurts. Even when it's raw and emotional.

So here goes.

For those of you who may have missed it, today is Valentine's Day. (surprise!)

For many this day is filled with loving gestures, chocolate hearts and romantic dinners. For some of you this may even be the night you receive a diamond ring, and promise your undying love forever. It can be a very lovely day indeed.

But for others, this day may be hard.  For some, this day serves as a reminder that their love has not yet come. And for others this day may serve as a reminder of the love that was lost, or taken, or destroyed. In this case, a day completely dedicated to love, may seem crushing.

Whatever side you're coming from, it can't be denied that this day holds a lot of emotion for people, and tugs at the heart in both good & difficult ways.

And where do I fit in, you ask?
I'm somewhere in the middle, I suppose.

I'm surrounded by loving family & friends. There has never been a day in my 26 years when I wondered if I was loved, that was never a question for me. I was taught young that the love of my parents was unconditional, and that I will always belong.

I was also taught about God's love as a little girl, about His ultimate gift of love for me, and His sacrifice. I know the love of my Heavenly Father, and that's a relationship that will never be broken.

No, my life has never lacked love.

But if I'm honest, there is also part of me that longs for more. There is a part of my heart that's a little on the broken side, wondering, like some of you, if my love ever really will come along.

There's a song out on the radio by Mikeschair called, "Someone Worth Dying For", and I heard it the other day & really identified with one of the lyrics:  "...Maybe you're the girl thinking you'll end up alone. Praying: 'God can you hear me? Oh, God are you listening?'..."

I identified with this so much, because, deep down, that is my fear. No one wants to be alone. For those of you who know me well, you know I'm a people person, and the thought of being alone is scary for me. I've given this fear to God in the past, and it's something that I have to choose to do on a daily basis.

Especially working in the Wedding Field (which I adore, by the way), surrounding myself with Brides, Engagement sessions, Bridal shows & couples in love. I'm constantly emerged in relationships, and so I must take care of my heart.

To do that, I pray a lot. I read God's promises to me, and I remember His faithfulness to me in the past. I call my girlfriends and cry with them, and ask them to pray for me as well. Because, like I said earlier, I was taught about God's love a long time ago, and even when my heart is broken, I still trust that He has a plan for me, and has a purpose for this stage in my life, for this time of singleness. I never give up hope in His plan, even on the hardest days. I may not have chosen this path, but I know He is still leading me, and will one day, bring me my hearts desire. 

I also choose to rejoice and celebrate the love around me. There are fewer things I enjoy more than helping others and seeing them happy. And right now, that is what I focus on doing. Through my work & photography & just the way I live my life, I try to rejoice with others and build them up. Perhaps for now, this is my purpose.

You may be wondering why I chose to post this, why I'd want to air all my dirt online...and here's why: I'm convinced that I'm here for a reason, and that reason may be to help just one person, and if someone else can identify with my story, than I'm going to tell it, because no one wants to feel alone.

So if you're someone tonight who's heart is on the lonely side, chin up. I am convinced that now is not forever, and there is still much to rejoice about! And if you're someone who is head-over-heels in love, rejoice in that, and be thankful! I wish you well!

And to all of my family, friends, and clients, thank you for the love you fill my life with every day, I am blessed to have you! I pray that all of you, whatever path you may be on, feel love tonight.

Happy Valentine's Day, from my heart, to yours.

 (thanks for the note, Kelly <3)

Monday, February 13, 2012

"A Bride to Remember 2012" Bridal Show!

I'm happy to announce that I'll be taking part in this years  "A Bride to Remember 2012"! Bridal Show, hosted by: CNY Party Planner & Daniele's Banquet Specialists on SUNDAY, MARCH 11th, 12-3pm!

Come visit my booth along with 30+ other local vendors! There will be door prizes, package discounts, food samples, a Bridal fashion show! 
Visit my Facebook page, or CNY Party Planner for more details!

Historic Post Cards

Some people think that I only do photography, and while photography is a large part of my job, I'm also trained in other forms of fine art, such as: graphic design, print making, painting, sketching & typography.

I received my bachelors degree in Fine Art, which means for 4 years, I lived in the studio, soaking up as much information as I could, and basically living & breathing art. From Art History to textiles, I loved everything about fine art. I remember my adviser laughing with me, when it was finally time to graduate, and we were counting up all my art credits, that I had taken enough courses to get my masters not just my undergrad degree. It's true, I took as many courses as they let me.

Some days I really miss the creative process, and being in an art studio with the freedoms to make a mess, re-visit ideas, and have every tool imaginable at my finger tips. It's not that I don't love what I'm doing now, but some days it's nice to go back to your roots & try something new.

Today I've been working on photo-restoration, and while it isn't that far of a stretch from my norm, it was nice to work on something different.  A friend of mine had these old post cards from her home town and asked if I could restore them. It's a fun project because I love the old style photography, and the history behind these post cards; they bring you back to a simpler time, and a genre of art that seems to be long forgotten.

Happy Monday, everyone, and I hope you enjoy a historic look at Hartwick, NY.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

*A (GIANTS) Victory!*

I know I'm a bit behind, but the Giants Superbowl Victory last week could not go un-blogged!

I grew up in a family of NY Giants lovers. It's generational, my Grandpa, Dad, Uncles, and even now us kids, and our kids, are Giants lovers. Dad likes to joke that some of my first words were: "Go Simms, Go!" yelling at the TV while watching a game. For those of you who don't know, Phil Simms was the Giants QB 1979-1993, and I've heard, one of the best QB of all times. It's in our blood.

So of course we were all revved up for the game last week! The Superbowl Party was at our house, the family was all invited over, and my brother & sister in law were even able to come from Rochester with their own 3 little G-men. It was great having everyone together, and even more fantastic when we won!

Here are some fun images from the day:

 Pre-Game: Confident we were going to win!

Our cake! Mom baked, I decorated! 

 Helmet Detail

 Yardline Detail

 Gareth showing his game face!

 Devin looking quite menacing!

 Post-Game Celebration!