Monday, December 31, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: Wrappin it up!

At the end of every year I think you look back and think..."wow! an entire year has gone by!"  Time flies and stands still all in the same moments sometimes.  There is a lot to look back on and reflect when you have come to the end of something.

Professionally:  I have been blessed.  I look back over the past 12 months and I don't look at what I have done, but rather WHO is in my life.  I have met some amazing photographers, clients and vendors all of whom I now consider friends.  It's rare a business can offer such extravagance in which as you build your business you enrich your life.  I love the brides I have worked with and still keep in touch with, I have enjoyed meeting people on the same path as myself and I am always touched by the friends and family who have encouraged me along the way. Yes, 2012 has been amazing.

Personally: This year I strive for a few things. I don't make resolutions, but that's a whole new post saved for my personal blog. I do look to change a few things.  This has nothing to do with photography as it does with life. Forgiveness and kindness. Two words that sound beautiful, but are difficult to adhere too.  People come in and out of life for reason. Even today, I can sit here and admit hurt feelings by someone and eternal gratitude towards others.  But it's time to let things go.  The beauty of art is self expression. Sometimes its obvious to others, sometimes only the artists knows.  Despite all that has gone in 2012, good and bad, those two words will compliment the journey that is 2013.  My work and my life will hopefully express my heart and all of it's good intentions in creating something magical :)
Inspiration point: 

Inspiration point 2 :  To be content with what I have been blessed with and to wisely seek after my goals and desires for 2013.

God bless you in the New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer - What Is A Day After Shoot?

The day after shoot. I have had the pleasure of shooting a few of these this past summer and all I can say is wow! It was a total pleasure, it was creatively inspiring and the couples found images that fully represented what they were looking for in their wedding photography.

Professionally: The day after shoot takes place a day or several days after the wedding depending on the couple's schedule and preference.  Many times a couple does not leave immediately for their honeymoon.  The day following the wedding is a day of relaxation and decompression and can allow for a more informal time to capture wedding images. It can be a more intimate and stress free option.

Personally: I have fallen in love with this aspect of wedding photography.  It is not for everyone and it won't fit every couples ideals and scheduling.  However, it is a fantastic time to shoot in a more relaxed environment, one where no guests are waiting for you to arrive, your emotions have settled down and you get to enjoy the moment for what it really is, a celebration of two people in love. After all, that is what photographing is all about, capturing a love story.

I will let the images speak for themselves.

Check out Alyssa's day after shoot here:

We were able to travel about +Bear Mountain Inn's beautiful mountain to shoot the day after a beautiful wedding at +West Point - The U.S. Military Academy Thayer's Resort and Hotel. 

Also, please enjoy Heather and Eric's day after shoot following their wedding at the Inn at West Settlement in Roxbury, NY. 
Check out the full post here

 For Heather and Eric we traveled back to Margaretville, NY where Heather grew up.  We went to her parent's house and wandered all over their back property where she played as a child. It was the perfect setting for a little girl all grown up with her prince. :)

Enjoy! Any questions? You can always shoot me an email at

Friday, December 14, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: Life and Photography And Mercer Mayer

Small little fact. I love Mercer Mayer's books. I have a stack of them in my studio and find that those little critters can teach a lot of lessons.  So I decided to adapt them a little bit to what is going on behind the scenes as wedding season has wound down a little and I am preparing for 2013.

"Sometimes things just aren't fair..."
It's the first line of the book. Do I even need to go further?

Professionally:  Sometimes things aren't fair.  In a profession like photography I work with all sorts of people. Sometimes people get jobs that I really wanted to take on. Sometimes I work really, really hard at something and no one seems to really appreciate it. Sometimes, it just so doesn't go my way. Go figure. It happens to all of us. It happens to everyone.  The reaction to the problem is what will make me better at what I do. I'm ok with that. Are you?

Personally: "That's not fair!" Sometimes I go kicking and screaming into something I don't want to do. I had a good friend tell me to write a mission statement about the kind of photography I wanted to take on and why.  Why? because I was taking on jobs I knew I didn't really want to do because I felt I could do it all. I can't. (gasp!)  Sometimes, I can look at things with a "not fair" attitude and realize it's so self defeating! Not fair SHE has the kind of camera, Not fair HE gets that wedding..on it can go.  Missions statement is in the works.  I'm glad sometimes life isn't fair. It forces us in a direction we, perhaps would not have chosen otherwise :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: I Might Want A Little Snow...

I haven't done any family shoots or senior shoots in the snow.  There has been several requests recently, so this NY chica might actually be hoping for a quiet, gentle snow.  No blustery cold stuff. I want the romantic, light and fluffy kind which quiets the world and leaves your thoughts as the loudest entity to be heard. I can fall in love with that kind of snow.

Professionally: I am hoping it snows! I would like to get a few of these shots done because it certainly dances with my creativity and gives me something new to focus on through the winter.   I wanted to conjure up some ideas for families and anyone else toying with the idea of doing a family shoot in the snow.  I researched some inspiration points and I hope you will take the time to look at them and perhaps be as excited as I am. Just think -cute hats and scarves, mittens and boots and snowmen!

I think this one could actually be done in Middleburgh, on Main Street. The lights and streets are similar. Image

I thought the easiest way to share some ideas was on Pinterest: so here is the link onto the board.

This ended up being our Christmas card a few years ago. Just playing outside and of course, I turned it into a photo session. Poor kiddos. 

Personally:  The main reason I am attracted to this idea is because it's different. Most people don't have their family photographs done in the snow. I like different. I like challenging and I like it when I get to embrace all those things. Winter seems to be a quiet, retrospective time. I know it's busy, life is always busy. But somehow the early darkness, the wintery nights almost force me to settle in and focus. I had told a friend in conversation. " I want time to be bored."  I like that idea. Nothing better to do than wish for something to do.  I actually think those are healthy words.  Perhaps, a little time to be bored is coming my way...I keep waiting for the weatherman to tell me when :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: Shen and Shaker Students On My Heart

This post is probably more personal than professional, but as a photographer, I think it's seriously difficult to separate the two.  One makes the other.  A few days ago, students from two nearby high schools were killed in an auto accident, two others severely injured. 

Personally: Today is my son's 10th birthday. Ironic as I watch the news this morning and wonder "what did their children look like at 10?" They would have never guessed they had less than 7 more years together with them.  So, today I will be taking things more slowly, embracing the messy toys, the toothpaste all over the sink, the half eaten breakfast and yes, even the angry birds that were placed on top of my Christmas Village scene.  I will love those aspects of today with gratitude and thank God for my children.

Professionally: With the invention of the iphone and all things instagram, you hardly have to encourage parents to take photos of their children. Today, my challenge to you, is to photograph your child..if you can or perhaps just anyone in your life.  Photograph them today in a moment of nothing. What does that mean? Just find them in their very own time and place, something they do on any ordinary day.  These kind if photographs are the ones I cherish most.  You never know when those moments, will be gone. Here are a few...caught in the moments :) Next challenge...actually print it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: Glassblower Makes My Day

Once upon a time, I worked for a newspaper. That job allowed me access to tell the stories of so many amazing people. One of my last assignments before I left was following a very talented glassblower, Teddy Halstead.   I met Teddy at his shop and was visually blown away from the moment I walked in the door.

The brilliance of glassblowing is too complicated and in depth for me to actually write out. However, the end product is fabulous

A year later, a surprise showed up at my door step.

This glass-blown wine glass was created by Teddy and his brilliance.  Thank you Teddy for sharing a little bit of yourself with me. This is a treasure forever! I highly suggest, if you are looking for a gift that will literally leave someone speechless. Contact Teddy, wine glasses are just the beginning of what he has to offer.... Jedi Glassworks.

Professionally: You just never know who you are going to come across.  I'm surrounded by a world a talent and I only hope I can add to that pool of sheer amazing and never insult it.

Personally: Sometimes, just thinking of how things have taking a complete 180 in work and life. I believe that every one I have met along the way has played a role in creating my work. This might sound cliche, but that's ok.  My family has supported me, my children inspire me, God created me, people have helped me, criticized me and loved me.  Love is the strongest of all these, love is the reason art even exists.

Inspiration point:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: It Only Takes One

I offered this advice to a friend just last week. "Not everyone will like what you do, you have to choose what best reflects you and go with it and not keep adjusting to everyone's likes and dislikes."
That's great advice for an artist right??

Professionally: The separation of emotion and business. Perhaps that can be done if you are, I don't know, an accountant.   But for anyone who has made a professional choice based on an art form or something they truly enjoy doing, that separation is an ironic notion at best.   On the professional side, keeping a level head to do business is half the battle. People will compliment and criticize; complain and sing your praise; tip you and question your pricing...and that's one morning. However, it's all part of this thing we call business interwoven with this other thing we called art. You just have to do it!

Personally: Great advice for a friend, but when I had to heed my own advice, I didn't like it.  It took one person to say something critical and I will admit, it ruined my day.  Not to mention when I went back and looked, over 35 people had written something sweet to me that day. 35!!!  35 wonderful things to 1 not so great one and that one drove me crazy.   I am still on that learning curve of dealing with the fact not EVERYONE will like what I do. (I can hear my own gasp on that one).  What? Yea, not everyone. Now, hopefully the majority will!  My style has come along, it's different, perhaps more on the whimsical side than the hard core magazine style. Neither is better than the other, just different.  I like different, but along with different will come some questions, perhaps even some dislike.  I'll deal with that.  Why? Because I just had a bride call and say she wanted me to do her wedding, because I was ....different.  :)

Inspiration point: Girl on Fire : Alecia Keys and Nicki Minaj

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: Why A Radio Reminds Me To Be Thankful

This little old transportable radio with the slightly broken antenna has been in my possession since the first grade. (Yup, that's kind of a long time.) However it's existence is my reminder to be thankful. It sits on my desk in my studio, ironically right above the stationary and pens I use to write thank you notes. Here's why its reminder is important.

Thank You.

Professionally: It's easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed with a busy business that you own. BUT! How great is that? It means I'm busy! A year ago, I had no idea what was to come of letting go of a full time job. Who knows what comes next, but it's always good to remain thankful. Thankful to my first clients who trusted me and who have returned. Thank you to those who have entrusted their wedding day to me and other major life events. Simple handwritten thank you notes and messages to anyone and everyone makes a world of difference.

Personally: The radio. It's a result of a Christmas wrapping fundraiser my school held when I was in first grade. The competition was to sell wrapping paper.  I don't even remember understanding what it was all about. My dad did all the work. He sold wrapping paper and earned me some major points at school.  Little did I know, I sold the MOST in the entire school. I earned the credit, walked up in front of the entire school and received the top prize. This brand new, portable radio...(so dating myself huh?)
I was excited. I told all of my friends. I carried that thing around like it was gold. A day passed and my mom pulled me aside and told me she was taking the radio away for a couple of days. Oh the tears. Why ever would she do that??  Because, she had told me, "never once did you thank your father for what he did for you". 
She was right.  I never said thank you. The memory is super clear. The radio survived middle school, high school, college, life. It sits here. I'm not sure it works anymore, but the function it serves supersedes the radio waves.  It reminds me to say thank you.

Inspiration point:
1 Thessalonians 5:18 - In every thing give thanks

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: Workin' On It

This week has been a whirlwind. I spent more time in New York City and New Jersey than home and it was an interesting inversion of events.  I admit, I'm a homebody. I am much more comfortable to curl up on my couch with friends and family than take a night out on the town. So, to break loose of the structured and planned definitely catered to a slightly more spontaneous "me."

Professionally: This week I have been stretched and pulled in every facet of professionalism.  Downstate photography demands were an extension of my photojournalism background, while editing my last wedding of the year during my downtime. Throw in a few family shoots with small children and I have run the gamut.   It has also challenged time management skills (still working on that one), organization and the temptation to eat more nachos than normal to comfort my small stress levels.
Sandy...the aftermath.

this pic of me makes me looks like my feet are on backwards!
Personally: How to balance it all? I am still not sure. A lot goes on in this head and heart of mine. Sometimes it's easily communicated, sometimes it's not. However, the love of what I do is multiplied when the images come to life and a story has been told. I like stories. If I had nothing better to do, but write stories, I would invest endless amounts of time weaving words together in happy endings.  However, I enjoy the challenge of making images tell a story without using words.  That's why darn twitter is so impossible.. 140 characters or less? please!! Can't a girl get a paragraph or something??
Challenges make us stronger, belief makes us fly and love makes us crazy.
I admit, I can get overwhelmed, emotionally and professionally, but most of the time it's an overwhelming of all good things.  How can I not love that? It's like falling in love with crazy.

Inspiration point? Christina Perri (love this video) and every person who made me laugh this week- you know how you are.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Upstate NY photographer: Downstate after Sandy

The one amazing thing about this job is that you NEVER know what is going to come up next.  The scariest about this job is that you never know what is going to come up next.
You never know if/when you will book a wedding or a shoot, you also just never know when a phone call from Virginia will come through asking you to tag along with their company to photograph relief efforts after Sandy.

Professionally: This was something I knew how to do. 10 years of photojournalism and a lot of habits kick back into gear. There was a lot to take in and see! Wednesday night we shot in a near blizzard conditions near Fort Dix NJ. I drove south and hit the first storm of the year. Go figure. It was freezing and I was literally shooting out from underneath an umbrella and towels to try and keep stuff dry.  It was nothing compared to the people providing the relief efforts that had been outside for approximately 10 hours.  The next day we shot in bright sun and the pitch darkness in northern New Jersey. So, if ever there were three extremes in two day, we found them.
Thanks Shelly Wood for the photo!

Personally: Irene, Sandy, Katrina..are all infamous names now.  It's heartbreaking to walk through wreckage, to lose loved ones, to lose  a sense of safety. I get it. Irene was my home town's devastation. There is an underlying resentment of who didn't help who during which storm. I get it.  In a way, many cities and states didn't get what was going on here after Irene. However, now that Sandy did her damage, it's almost as if some people are resentful of the help they need.  I didn't lose my home or any family, but I walked through the mud, cleaned out homes, cried with my friends and spent days of exhausting efforts trying to find our town I feel I have a little justification in this.   If/when tragedy strikes, you have choices.  You can choose to ignore it, you can choose to be resentful or you can be the one who "gets it" and come along side the next victims and help.
I don't say this lightly (and forgive the long winded answer) After my brother's traumatic brain injury - there were many people who didn't "get it". Many people did. Some people chose to not really get involved, some people did.  I could choose to resent all those who didn't let it affect them and refuse to help those in future need..or come along side the next family suffering the event of a brain injury. Why? Because I know the hurt, I know the sad, I know the anger and fear. I can empathize.  I chose the latter. I love the people I have come to know because of such a tragedy. The same thing happens in a situation such as this. Resent the help we maybe didn't receive  when we wanted it or offer it with open arms now because...we get it.
bringing fuel to hospital personnel.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: One Year Ago....

November 1, 2012 - marked the "one year ago" date.  The day I actually walked out the door of my full time job as a writer and photojournalist for a weekly paper in Stamford.  So many maybe's ahead of me it was mind numbing.

Personally: Irene had just devastated so much of what I knew to be home, my slight quandary seemed a little less dramatic.  My maybe's turned into knowing. I KNEW photography was what I wanted to do. There have been some ups and downs along the way, if I told you any different ..that would be a lie.  My confidence ebbs and flows with the tide of my personality. Just like you, sometimes I feel like I've nailed it, sometimes I scratch my head wondering what I did wrong.  It's what make me.. me.

Professionally: I am learning to love light. Sound weird?  It's a love/hate relationship.  As a photographer you have to learn light. Sounds professionally anemic to say that, but I know many people who shy away from truly learning what light is about. I have A LOT still to learn, but the very concepts that used to make me queasy, I find more thrilling.  Speedlights, off camera lights, sunlight, soft box, low's all starting to pull together as I find my niche.
Someone asked me what I would like to specialize in...and I had to think.  Honestly, it came down to one word. Emotion.  Trust me with your emotions and everything else falls into place.

 Inspiration point: Jasmine Star, Irene hits home,

It's not about the ending, it's about the story.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What's Up Next?

I admit. I have been horrible at blogging lately. It's time for consistency.  I aim to blog every other week, unless I find an abyss of endless energy to do it more frequently.

The Purpose:
 I want YOU to know ME. When it comes down to photographing, it's more than business.  It's about relationships. If we know, understand and appreciate each other, it all translate into beautiful art through photographs.

A few topics I am aiming to cover are the ideas of The First Look, The Day After Sessions, Album Purchases, prints vs. CD, photography investments, why I won't do bridal shows...etc.

Personally, I would like to include more about what goes on behind the scenes in my home life as well as professionally. Both sides make me complete and knowing them allows you to get to know me.

I am working on two wonderful projects. After meeting Masha, I have decided to meet and photograph families who have children with special needs. This is nothing more than to celebrate the child and the family that loves them unconditionally. I will be introducing two more families in the coming months.
Military - I love photographing military families. I cry at the sight of a uniform, I pray for our men and women as well as their families that serve our country, I can barely get through any war movie or newspaper story regarding what is happening.  I am not serving in a uniform, but if I can serve with a camera. I will. I have offered to photograph homecomings and goings of soldiers and their families. I am a story teller and these are the stories that speak to me.
So, onward we go. If you choose to follow me in this journey. I would love it :)

Here's to a God blessed journey so far..

my men :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Communicate Your Wedding Photography Timeline

 Wedding season is in full swing and I'm loving every minute.  It has been very busy resulting in some anemic blogging!However, I will try to keep pace with the blog world with posting ideas and concepts as we roll along through this hot and humid NY summer.

Photography by Amber J Photography
THE TIMELINE:  The timeline of your wedding is a plan you set in motion for certain events to happen at a certain time. 
You must communicate well with family and friends about your photography desires. It is never fun for us as photographers to try and track people down or to have guests impatiently waiting in the reception hall as we try to finish the task of photographing important images the bride and groom would like to capture following the ceremony. It is even worse when you don't get the photographs you desire because family and friends didn't know.
Just a few tips to keep things rolling...

A timeline is a great idea, but real time sometimes happens differently. Consider that sometimes a  groomsman goes missing, someone inevitably has to use the bathroom,  travel time from the ceremony to where pictures are going to be taken takes longer than expected.   This all eats time and the minutes tick away rather quickly. Allow an extra half hour to what you feel is necessary.  I have yet to have too much time to photograph :)

If you want to have every cousin, aunt and uncle together in a photo because it's the first time in 10 years you have all seen each other - GREAT! Let's do it. However, make sure every cousin, aunt and uncle KNOW they are going to be asked to do this photo.  Send out a blast email, make a few phone calls, somehow let everyone in on the idea.  It takes forever to try and rally up large groups if they do not know what is expected of them.  If they know prior to the wedding they will be photographed around 4p.m. - then we save time and frustration gathering the troops.

It's always great to have a list of photography ideas. This should be talked through with your photographer WELL before the wedding.  Many times a bride has fantastic ideas on that list, but fails to communicate them to her bridal party and family.  Communicating a list of ideas and effective times for your family and bridal to be available for photographs eliminates a ton of frustration and allows for even better photographs. The bride who clearly communicates her desires gets exactly what she wants.

As you plan your day, talk with your photographer. Ask questions.  An experienced photographer has worked many weddings and will have a solid idea of where you need to allow time and what you need to do.

Happy planning!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Your Bridal Make Up Questions Answered! - Thanks Jo Boring!

Make up artists and fabulous person Jo Boring recently helped me answer some questions I had received from a bride in regard to her wedding day make up.  I loved her response and used it to fill the post to the brim with awesome!
If you have any other questions feel free to post them and I will make sure we find those answers!!

Should wedding makeup be thicker and darker than everyday?

This is a fine line. You want to feel like yourself but it is true that wearing a bit more in the right places helps give you the coveted "flawless" look and helps define your features in pictures. Most people use a full-coverage foundation on their wedding day and a setting powder. That might be a lot more than you are used to but applied the right way it does not have to feel cakey or heavy....but it is heavy duty coverage that will help eliminate redness, blemishes etc. and make your skin look perfect:) In terms of darker, this doesn't mean wear darker colors. It means use makeup to help define features you want to pop in pictures and in person. Eyeliner, mascara (even fake lashes) can help define your eyes. You can use eye shadow to contour and shadow strategically to make your eyes look big. Lipliner can help give  lipstick or lipgloss a defined look and a base to stick to. These are just a few examples of things that every woman might not wear every day - but are often used in bridal makeup even to achieve a "natural" look. It's good to amp it up a bit as long as you still feel like you:)

Can a bride wear foundation with SPF:

In general I am careful about using SPF foundations for special events with photography because of the whitening effect they can have. However I have found exceptions to the rule as well. Try out your foundation beforehand and take some pics. A drugstore brand that is full coverage and fine in photos in my opinion is Revlon Colorstay. Of course, there are a million foundations ranging in price - you have to find one you like.

What if I sweat?

Be sure to use a powder to set your foundation. After you are all done you can also use a setting spray such as "Model in a Bottle" to lock it all in place. I use this setting spray on ALL my brides not to mention at dance makeup never moves!

Anyone can feel free to contact me via my facebook page "Saving Face" with any makeup questions! Happy wedding!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Beware... Photographer Friends :)

God has blessed. It was a big jump to decide to go into this whole photography thing and give up what was safe and known. Let's face it, change can be so hard especially for the creature of comfort and security :)

A couple of things: I know photography is super popular right now.  I see and will continue to see "businesses" pop up all over on Facebook.
If you really want the business...Beware:
1. You will spend more time marketing, preparing, contracting, buying, promoting and selling than photographing. Love photographing? You better. It's a small piece of the pie.
2. Self regulating. Balancing your own business, family, friends and other obligation= mind blowing organization. (I'm still working on this). Make sure your family truly understands - in the throws of the peak photography season- your weekends are obsolete.
3. Learning to say No. Good luck. I haven't mastered this yet, but I am getting better. Saying no to jobs, saying yes to others. It's a tricky balance.
4. Support other photographers. The pie is big. Don't under cut, don't be too cheap, don't criticize. Every photographer is an artist. Embrace them..they will make you better at what you do.
5. Can you handle demanding clients?  :) They are out there. We might not want them, but honestly they hone your business savvy.
6. Make it legit. If you are selling your expertise...make sure you have DBA's, contracts, insurance and you are claiming your taxes. It will take one client to question you or demand to see your "paperwork"...if you don't have it, it will be damage control on your end.

I could go on, but I just thought I would answer some of the questions I have gotten lately. I have actually suggested..IF you just want to wield a mean camera...great second shooters are hard to come by, offer to second shoot.  

This year, God has blessed OR at least given me what I asked for (haha)..I might change my mind after this summer! Just kidding. It's been a challenge, at times frustrating, at times amazing and brilliant. I'll take the ups and the downs and thankfully my husband has supported me the entire way. Without him, none of this would happen. So, that would be my 7th suggestion..make sure your spouse ( if you have one) and children clearly understand. It takes a lot, they have to give you up sometimes.  My husband knows nothing about photography, but he is my biggest fan :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Beautiful Us Campaign... Congrats Jody and Vanessa!

Even photographers need a little inspiration sometimes, and let me tell you, the Beautiful Us Campaign was amazing. I was so excited every time a new gallery came through! There were so many facets to this idea. Raising awareness and some money (almost $300) for Love146 was the heart and soul of this idea.  Please take some time to visit and read the stories of children rescued and needing to be rescued from child sex slavery.
Additionally, we had students, teachers, business people, moms, dads and college students submit to this campaign and it was amazing!
The judges consisted of 4 out of state professional photographers, 2 art teachers, 2 designers, 1 up and coming photographer, 2 people not in a professional...BUT with a great creative eye! So we had a lot of different eyes looking at this gallery that has been viewed by 5,000 people according to facebook business stats!!!!! WHOO HOO!
I am including the first and second place winners as well as honorable mention submissions that our judges really liked!

First Place: Jody ( Kindle Fire Coming your way!!!)

Judges comments: "I liked the composition, it was just enough to see where she was at, which tells you and I think goes hand in hand with the joy in her face. I like how the pews slowly go out of focus too. Great use of light and color. A face and eyes definitely tell a story. For instance, she obviously still has her real teeth! She grew up in a time when fixing the gap either wasn't important, or she never had the money to do so. Very different thinking by today's standards, being that we're such a cosmetic society. It helps show that true beauty isn't always just cosmetic. It's the joy in your soul, which will shine through your face and eyes."

"Composition is strong in all of the pictures. The subject is not in the center of the frame in any of the pictures,using the rule of 3rds. In one all you see is her hand. But in the shot of her hand you still understand who this lady is. The work is well composed, but simple, portraiture. It tells the story of Helen well. The subject was well lit in all pictures. Well done."

Second Place: Vanessa! ( $75 gift card coming your way!)

Judges Comments: "A story well told with creative lighting using the sun as back lighting. I especially liked the one of her just standing, almost moving, further into the frame. I thought it conveyed emotion and thoughtfulness well. the composition was fairly good in all three photos."

"These images tell a story. They invite you in and your realize you are just kind of wondering and thinking. The girl's face isn't clear, so there is some mystery, the use of sun gives it a fairytale like feeling, and the dream that this young woman wants to convey something beautiful in her dance. loved it."

Honorable Mentions: Luz

Judges comments: "It was a very creative concept. I liked the use of b&W and color in the first photograph. I got the point they were trying to convey. It needed a little polish, but overall thinking outside the box to tell a story with visuals"


"This gallery is refreshing. I love it's simplicity and the earthy feel I get. I wonder what she is looking at? It's eye catching and has that free feeling, almost whimsical.  If you can invoke that in a person, than you have done a great job."

Judges comments:  "I spent about an hour going through these, and slowly narrowed it down to this one. I liked her story, and taking that into consideration, I think this photo shows her natural beauty- natural feminine curves, beautiful red hair, and her curves flow along with her legs. Excellent use of light and composition, and I like how you can clearly see her face and eyes. Even how she's looking out a window toward the light, as if to say despite the challenges so far in life, she's overcome them and she's looking ahead."

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rainy Day Originals Creates Something Just For Me!

SO. The dilemma? I couldn't find a laptop bag I liked. My Mac Book has a 17 inch screen and very few laptop bags fit that size screen. I also wanted one that kinda went with my colors (baby blue and chocolate brown) can we say I had no luck?
I asked the lovely ladies at Rainy Day Originals if they could design a bag just for me. Could they??? Of course they could!! They ALSO designed a sleeve for one of my long lenses so while I am shooting I have it right there on my hip and can change lenses quickly if I need to - without carrying an entire bag around....and of course...everything matches. Needless to say - it didn't break the bank either.
Check it out :)

laptop  messenger bag!!
lens style bag! love it!
check out Rainy Day On facebook!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Time To Choose, Specializing In Wedding/Child Photography

Here it goes. It was a hard decision to make, but I had a wonderful, fantastic, super fabulous photographer friend...(I won't mention any names Crystal George). Who has talked me through a few business lumps and bumps. However, she did stress one thing to me...and that was to specialize.
At first, I had no idea how to do that or what it truly meant.  Now that I have been on my own for nearly a year, I get it.
No photographer can do it all. A photographer can be good in a lot of avenues such as newborn work, seniors, children, brides, pets, sports, name it, there is a genre for it. However, I don't believe a photographer can be  THE BEST at all of these things. So, in the past few months as I have looked through the year I asked what work to I absolutely LOVE the most.

I categorized by:
Do I feel passionately about it?
Where do I enjoy investing most of my energy?
During a session..which one do I feel most alive in?
What's working?
What is the most fulfilling?
Where and I am working really hard to be better?

It came down to two areas: children and everything to do with weddings :)

I was surprised by this actually. Choosing children over some other categories, but I can see why now.  After a year of shooting various events and sessions, photographing children has brought me a sense of accomplishment.  My style and my personality definitely cater to making a professional child shoot work. I know what parents are looking for and I know what a child will love and hate. All this to say..having two children of my own to practice..never hurts! This also includes families. I feel they go hand in hand. While some people love to have their children photographed exclusively, some may also want to figure in a total family shoot. Of course!

From engagement shoots, client meetings to the big day..I truly love every aspect of it.  There is a challenge to produce high quality work in a fast paced environment and I truly enjoy it!
Furthermore, I adore the relationships it fosters. The brides are friends,  the families become a part of me and I don't say that because it sounds nice,  I say it because it's absolutely true.

Relationships are a lot about who I am and I find relating to children is very easy and fostering solid friendships with my brides and their families is making my life richer.

It's not to say that I don't enjoy other aspects of photography, but at this stage of my career, it's full throttle with children and "I do"...and it will be my passion to be great at both of these :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cobleskill Best Western -It's Home For Your Next Event

Finding a venue for your next event or wedding reception just got easier.   Jessie Griffin and Nancy Spenello of the Best Western In Cobleskill- treated this photographer to a breakfast complete with corn fritters. That's right...corn fritters.  I was in love with the tasty food, I almost forgot why I was there!
In my pursuit to find local businesses that can help my clients achieve their desires, I found the Best Western in Cobleskill to be AMAZING (and not just because of the corn fritters).
First of all, despite it's national chain affiliation, the BW is all about local people, local business and local investments.  Jessie and Nancy both live and work in Schoharie and Warnerville respectively where together, they have dedicated over 30 years of service to the business that is their second home.  They are actively involved in the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce and work hard to invest in the communities they live in.  Check out their Facebook Page to follow along!
The Best Western enhances your entire experience for just about any event.  They love weddings, but they shine in events such as birthday parties, retirement parties, anniversary parties, bridal shower and baby showers.  They also host conferences, retreats, scrap bookers and quilter weekends.  They don't stop there. This crew also hosts kids pool and bowling birthday parties.  Hold on,  It gets better. There is no extra charge for set up or clean up, table linens, center pieces, cake cutting, champagne pouring...and so much more.  No matter what the event there is a variety of decor options to choose from. Call today!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Professional Make Up? It's Time To Pamper Yourself...

Whether it be senior portraits, a boudoir session or your wedding day, it is serious time to consider a professional make up artist.
It's one of the few times in life where you can glam it up and take that extra step into amazing!!!
Jo Boring is especially talented in the art of make up.  She sees the natural beauty every face has to offer and knows just how to enhance it.  I mean, check out that picture! Need I say more?
She can be contacted at and you can be on the look out for her facebook page soon.
 Jo's talent is a gift you can give yourself or splurge for your friend/sister/daughter/wife..whomever!   Contact her for pricing, I think you will find she is one of the diamonds in the rough in this amazing business!!! By the way, if you do meet up with her, you must ask her  to show you a picture of her son, because he seriously has one of the most adorable faces you will ever lay eyes on. :)
Be Inspired!!!
Photograph Credit: Destiny Rogowski of Sweetheart Pinup studio in Buffalo.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Photography, An Investment.

Everyone is picking up a camera these days, and why not? It's a beautiful thing!!! I can't even tell you how many articles I have read on the pricing, anchoring and questions about photography and the business it entails. With everyone wanting to be a photographer- it's awfully hard to stay focused and stick to what you love to do.
I have simply come to realize one thing. I want my clients to hire me as an investment into their lives and memories.  I don't want them to compare me to prints at Wal-Mart or the inexpensive photographer down the street with new DSLR who prices well below everyone else in town.
I want the people who come to me to believe that I cherish their time, their visions and that photography is a work of art and a reflection of WHO they are, not just what they are wearing.
How do I do that? That's an evolving journey.  However, I want each person that hires me to feel that they are my ONLY client.  I promptly answer emails, texts and go on location when and where I can.  I eagerly share my ideas and wait to hear about yours.  It's not just a scheduled appointment to get your pictures taken, it's moment set apart to create something amazing.  It's not just another a wedding to get through, it's your wedding and it's an immense responsibility to me to make sure it's all you ever dreamed it would be.
I say all that because I have heard more than once about pricing (not just my own, but others as well).." I just don't get it, it's just a picture".  That's ok though, those aren't my clients :)
When my clients DO ask about pricing, I gladly explain what is entailed and how I run my business.  The shoot may last only an hour, the wedding just a day or two....but the behind the scenes is what hopefully will separate me from the others...including the grocery store prints.
I am so excited for this spring and summer. I plan on spoiling my brides (and grooms) like crazy and indulging in some ideas and photo shoots like never before.  I have so many ideas in my head, I can't wait to unleash get ready folks.... It's gonna be a crazy, fun and creative ride in 2012!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Caring Caterers!

I am only going by personal experience on this one, so if you know or recommend another caterer in your area feel free to contact me and let me know at

Catering is a crazy business especially in the wedding industry where good food is demanded and delivery is expected to be right on time.  Not an easy to feat to conquer, but those who do it earn my absolute respect!

Heather Clark owns T.P's cafe in Stamford, NY. I have attended several events in which she has catered. I can say no one has left hungry or disappointed.  She delivers promptly and her food is absolutely delicious.  She has experience in catering large and small venues and her staff is always courteous, kind and helpful. 
I might be a little excited when I arrive on the premise and I know it's her food that coming on in!

Vern's Restaurant In Davenport
My first introduction to Vern's was last year at a wedding reception.  I can't even remember how many different choice there were, but I will admit...I went back for seconds.  Their menu is versatile and their staff was prompt in delivering the food on time.  They are capable of hosting on site parties as well using their own venue for receptions and gathering.
I do remember they had this shrimp salad I fell in love with and the meat they prepared was done just right.

Brooks BBQ
The name speaks for itself. However, no one can go wrong when Brook's comes.  Their family owned operation is phenomenal in it's service and passes any taste test.  The owners are kind and willing to do whatever they can to make sure your event is catered with top notch diligence.
I have never had a piece of chicken or potato salad I didn't enjoy. Best of all, it's service with a smile.

Best Western In Cobleskill

Service here is a must.  The wait staff is efficient and attentive, but they don't monopolize the event. They are always available and I never lacked for food on my plate.  I entertained a chicken parm here and finished every last bite.  The food was fantastic, but even better I watched them accommodate a wedding party that arrived a little later than they were supposed too. Despite the delay, this staff was ready to go, the food was served up with a little extra deliciousness and the evening went beautifully.

Some other places I have enjoyed amazing food and catering services:
Grapevine Farms in Cobleskill
Mallozis Ballroom and Catering in  Schenectady

Monday, January 30, 2012

Thinking of Child/Family Portraits? It Doesn't Have To Be Stressful

Many times parents put off getting family portraits done or even having their children photographed because they feel their children won't behave or are too shy. They also have a hard time FINDING time...I hear ya on that one.

I have a few varying opinions on this.  First of all, I know heading into a family setting with young children, that their attention span is limited and posing is NOT fun.

Family and children photography sessions don't have to be stressful. Think of it more like inviting a photographer along for a family outing.  Have a family day scheduled, invite a photographer along for part of it.  I actually have never really posed a child, they pose themselves and I love shooting on location.
So if you are thinking of family photos or child portraits these are a few ideas :
1. Let's go where they can play. Play with your children, you find the most beautiful moments aren't planned.
2. Dress them comfortably. They can be cute and comfy at the same time!!
3. Allow for time. I take the time to talk and play with the child before the camera comes out. Once they are comfortable, the smiles will come
4. Laugh with your children.
5. Patience. After having two boys of my own, I know children work on their own time schedule and any good photographer will have the patience and kindness to garner amazing shots of your child.
6. Don't stress. Photographers know what they are getting into photographing children, haha and we love it :)
7. Plan the day around it. Go on a family picnic, go fishing, go for a hike, play at the park...there will be a million moments to photograph just by simply being a family,.
8. All in all, photo session in the morning or after a good nap are always great. Well fed and well rested kiddos are happy ones!!! ( I mean, aren't we all that way!?!)


 I picked out the outfits, I told them to go play...and then I asked them to quickly look at me...and hello cutie pies!!
 I let this handsome guy pick up apples off the ground. This series was to die for! Just followed him around!!
I loved this shot. We were actually almost done with the shoot and she went and stood by the door. She wanted to go in and get her little bike, but she paused for a moment by the door...and something about this shot is very nostalgic to me!
If you are thinking of scheduling a shoot...go for it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Finding A Good DJ Just Got Easier

Please check out these DJs for your next event!!

Picking a Disc Jockey is like inviting one the most important guests to your wedding or other event. It shouldn't be taken lightly.

The partnership between a DJ and a photographer at a wedding or any event, is crucial.  After photographing numerous events and working with several professionals, it became clear that a DJ can pull everything together or they can leave people cringing!
The DJ and photographer should be able to  choreograph your event with a seamless effort so you can enjoy your day without a worry.
I highly recommend the following :)

Pat del Rosario -

Jameson Duncan -  607-222-7447

Jennifer Insetta - 45 East St, Oneonta, NY 13820 - Phone: 607-349-0494

These DJs can pull together an event with charisma and a fluidity that puts everyone at ease  and at the same time can get everyone on the dance floor.

If you are on the fence about having a DJ at all, I would suggest contacting one of them and talking to them about your concerns or needs.  They can be the thread that ties the entire day leaving you well- pleased with your investment. 

Good luck in you endeavors!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Jewelry By Hope! Just look and see!

Hope Knapp and her jewelry design will blow you away...better yet, her prices will keep you coming back for more.
Hope owns her own jewelry business E.Claire Jewelry which can be found on Facebook as E.Claire Designs.  The entrepreneur commenced her journey in jewelry making in 2008 being inspired by the beautiful items in the back of her "mom" magazines.  However, the prices attached to the hand crafted items suffocated any desire to purchase!  She began to research supplies and ideas as well as tutorials and jumped in with the idea to design custom jewelry which was affordable.
Hope's line is unique and refreshing. No two pieces are the same, so when a piece is designed for YOU, there is none other like it.
"My jewelry is created by me through you with your children’s names, birth crystals or even sayings that inspire you. Each piece is hand stamped by me so no two are ever the same," said Hope.
Here are some ideas to utilize Hope's incredible talents!
 - Brides desire these for their save the date necklace, bridesmaid gifts and bridal jewelry..
- Moms of all types! Grand, Great etc..these pieces are made for you to wear your most precious possessions in the world, your children
- Kids love to have their name on display especially those are hard to find names with unique spellings
One of a kind sterling silver pieces with copper, aluminum, and Swarovski crystal embellishments. Each piece is uniquely yours with your personalized information.
Hope is from DeLancey NY and she can be contacted a number of ways!
o My Etsy store is
o My website which is under construction is
o Email is