Monday, December 21, 2015

Seems crazy to put it into 3 minutes...

It's a recap of so much time, labor, love, adoration and new friendships.  It seems crazy to look back on this year and see it all come together in a short video clip.  Thank you. Thank you for trusting me with your moments, your memories, your loves. 
Amber J super couples!

Thank you!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It Finally Happened, the ONE thing I always dreaded....

Disclaimer: No files were forever lost or damaged in this post.

It happened. Ok, two things happened and I'll rewind for a second.  We have a cat.  Why?  Because someone dumped a starving two month old kitten somewhere and he was destined to find my son Austin.  Once in his arms, there was no turning it away...even with a rescue pit bull in the house (who supposedly hates cats.)

That's the backstory.

The nightmare begins with my external hard drive getting knocked off my the ever growing kitten who thought it would be fun to play with the cords.

The drive survived.

Until I went to move something and in the middle of transferring a wedding, I knocked it again.

The drive did not survive.

So there  it was.  My back up of all files (weddings, seniors, family stuff EVERYTHING) laying there with the very piece needed to connect it to my computer, missing.  MISSING!

I felt the vomit rise in my mouth.  The shakes of fear left me trembling.   I finally lost files forever.  My only hope was given to me by a local computer gal who suggested to send it away to a place that recovered files...if they are recoverable.

Cue the background scary music of hopeless despair.

I always back up files twice.  However after this particular wedding I was exhausted when I got home and I don't remember backing up my files.

Panic stricken, I went to my other external hard drive.   The sweet smell of relief washed over me.  There  was everything I had ever shot, backed up, twice.  I almost started crying and hugging myself.   I must have been so tired that I didn't remember actually backing things up.

I share this story with you, not to put fear into any of my brides, but to encourage anyone who is looking for a wedding photographer to go with a professional.

It costs more, yes.   However, I now have THREE systems for backing things up out of sheer determination that I will never make that phone call to someone.

Your awesome uncle or good friend with a camera is just that.  Your local or not so local photographers have a back up and a back up for their back up. They have file recovery systems in place and god forbid something happen to their equipment, they have insurance and help in all those areas so that your precious memories don't get destroyed by a feline chasing cords.

Monday, September 21, 2015

I, Because.

I realized sometimes I'm quite the complainer, then a dose or perspective hits me and I'm like....ok, I have so much to be thankful for and acknowledge.  We complain about having to work out or about our job or about our family...but those are things we might just have to be the most thankful for...

I work with passion, 
because there are women that live in a place where that opportunity will never be presented.
I choose to be fit, eat well and take care of this body
because there are those who would jump from their wheelchair to run with me.  
I mother with all of my heart, 
because there are those who are childless.
I eat well, because tonight there are those who can only dream of fresh vegetables.
I create art because some never lived long enough to do so.
I give, because I can (and should)
I love Jesus, because there are who who will never know Him and that's what inspires me.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

I was a little bummed this week about it...

Every professional photographer faces it.  Every one trying to earn a living through photographic art nods their head when they hear about it. It's a small part of the industry that is kind of a bummer.

I love wedding and teen/senior portraits.  I seriously get excited with every new inquiry because it's another person to meet with and create with and oh the possibilities!!!

So you can imagine when I get the inquiry, set the date and get ready to roll and then receive the email:
"So sorry, my sister got a nice camera so...."
"My Uncle Bobs takes great pics and he's free so..." (Does everyone have an Uncle Bob??)

Out of the 10 inquiries this week, 3 backed out because they knew someone who "took good pictures." I was bummed.
But I wasn't bummed for the reason you would think.  I was bummed for them. Not myself (ok maybe a little for myself but I get so excited).

Why? Because "taking good pictures" isn't what I am here to do.  I better take amazing images if I'm going to charge money, but I love the experience with working along side people to create images I know can't be done as a hobby.

I don't want a hobby.

I am bummed for them because they are missing out.  Yes, of course they are saving some money, but we spend money on what is valued... (Starbucks vs. Green Mountain anyone?).  I am bummed because they will miss out on the awesome hair and make up crew we have.  They will miss out on the TONS of laughter and the behind the scenes bloopers.  They will miss out on creating a memory and enhancing these images to go above and beyond a "good picture".  They will miss out on art and wall portraits and amazing albums.

I know beautiful portraiture isn't for everyone, that's why we have created a business that caters to those who truly define art and photography as one and KNOW they are investing in a memory whether it's weddings or seniors or whatever!

So, bummer.  But alas, I have an exciting fall to produce all sorts of amazing images for these clients that have taken the plunge and have trusted me with this moment.  I am not bummed for them, heck no.  I am way too excited!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tips on How To Make Your Flower Girl Experience Effortless and Fun!

That moment when the flower girl does her thing! It really can be one of the highlights of the wedding ceremony! Although, let’s face it, if that little cutie isn’t prepared for her debut, it can turn on you!  Let’s start with the selection process in this very important role.  Cuteness factor is where we all like to go of course! However it is not the only thing to consider. 

 The best success comes with children four years of age and over (usually, it falls within a 4-8 year range).  Your two year old niece might be the next Mary- Kate Olsen circa “Full House”, but might not be able to handle or like being the center of attention, even if for a moment.  Or being dressed up in frills through the entire event!  When you do make your choice, consider the following:

·       Make it a special day for her too! Most every little lady wants to be a bride, so a little”mini-bride” treatment can work wonders! Leading up to the big day, make her a part of her dress selection process.

 ·       Find a way to figure out what accessories she likes-maybe a tiara or a children’s bracelet that she gravitated towards while shopping for the dress.  Give it to her as a gift the day of the wedding!

·       If you are getting hair/make up done on the premises, have her parent(s) drop in with her when everyone is almost done (usually when everyone is getting final touches), and get one of the artists to put a wee bit of glitter or blush on her face.  Maybe a curl or two in her hair.  Make sure you clear it with the parents, and the artists – they are on a timeline! She’ll get comfortable with the wedding party, and feel pretty to boot!

·       Sometimes, it is not a bad idea to pair your flower girl with one of your bridesmaids, a Junior Bridesmaid, to alleviate nervousness for her.  It’s also a nice touch, if she is walking alone, to give her something to carry with a little activity associated with it (i.e. basket with rose petals).  It ironically is a “nervousness alleviator” due to the fact that the concentration is not on all the people in the room gazing at her!
      Last but not least, have a familiar adult there when she starts her walk down the aisle, and another waiting for her when she completes it. Somewhat obvious, but often overlooked!

We would love to see YOUR flower girl:  tag us on Instagram @amberjphoto. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Favorite Accessory for Senior Portraits and Weddings. Thanks to The Floral Garden!!

We are honored to feature Tom Hofmeister, owner of The Floral Garden in Delmar, N.Y. this week.  Tom graced us with his gorgeous and ethereal floral crowns for our senior portraits featured in this blog! A beautiful and unique touch for your senior portrait, in addition to any special event, where you want to shine!
We really don't have to write much more just look at these images with our Amber J Senior Model Rep, Abby. 
 One of my all time fave shots (Shelly Wood grabbed this moment and I'm in love)
 When you get the flower crown to match her eyes !

The Floral Garden opened originally in 1993.  After a career in the corporate arena, Tom purchased the business in 2013.  Tom is self described as being an individual who has had a lifetime passion for flowers, whether it be growing them, arranging them, or always having an arrangement in his office during the corporate days of his career. Having grown tired of the “corporate world”, the opportunity to buy The Floral Garden presented itself, and he made the leap!

Tom employs seven talented staff members  (including the original owner).  They pride themselves with “high end results to fit any budget”, and a knack for tailoring their work to the client’s unique and special vision.  Their services range from Teleflora or wire service products, to in home decorating, private parties, weddings, funerals, and proms. They will also travel within a 100 mile radius to serve you from their Delmar, N.Y. location.
Can you see why I am in love with them?
Some behind the scenes for your view pleasure :) haha

I will be posting more about this shoot on my senior portrait( site soon.  We had a LOT of fun. Thanks to Jessica Wynia for this stellar make up job!

“A creative design with a personal touch”
Please visit:
The Floral Garden
340 Delaware Avenue
Delamar, NY 12054

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Elite 8 Child Model Reps Wanted :)

As we grow and expand we listen to what people would like to do and see and we aim to make it happen.
As our Epic Teens and Styled Senior Portrait Business Grows we KNOW there are some amazing children out there with rockin' families!

So, we will be launching our Elite 8 program.

Who: For kids ages 6-11.

What: A model rep program that allows kids to delve into the world of photography, fashion and new experiences.

When: Our first meeting will be held at our Studio on #341 Main Street, Tues Aug 25 at 7 pm.  Our second meeting will take place Tuesday Sept 1 at Prof. Javas in Albany at 7 pm.

These meeting we will explain how the program works, what is involved and how we can design some awesome sessions with your child!

This program also lends the opportunity for unique family photos before the Christmas season.  The Elite 8 will be given  various opportunities to work in front of the camera as well as earn family sessions and did I mention have TONS OF FUN!!?

So, if you are interested please click HERE!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why Make Up For Your Portraits?

It can be a little daunting! However, capturing that look for your portrait can be a little less intimidating with a few simple steps. If you are not a makeup wearing, couture donning individual, then don’t try to be the day of your shoot. Alternatively, if you are a fashionista, be your authentic self. The first step in all of this is to embrace your own individuality, and capture it.

Here are a few simple beauty tips to capture the best YOU possible! -
While it sounds obvious, take care of your skin! Wash your face, once in the morning, and then before bed.
 A solid option for all skin types (and organic to boot) is Coconut Oil! Coconut oil acts as a “smart bomb” for your skin – if you tend to have dry skin, it moisturizes, if you run oily, it regulates the skin by keeping oil glands and sebum production in check! It also acts as a sunscreen, and is an antibacterial agent! -

Three words. BROWS, LIPS, LASHES.
In that order of importance! If you do nothing else, a little makeup application in these zones will make your features POP!

In makeup application, there are no rules! 
Many will tell you there are. Yes, standard rules work
( i.e. bold eye and downplayed lip vs. bold lip and downplayed eye). If it is your own personal style, downplay or “bold-up” whatever your see fit.

If you choose to go with a professional stylist or makeup artist for your shoot, these are helpful tips:
  * If you choose to wax your eyebrows, or any facial hair, make sure you do so more than 72 hours before your makeup application.  Waxing removes the outer layer of skin, leaving it “slick” and difficult to retain makeup.
 * If you decide to get a facial, or give yourself a facial, do it at least a week earlier than your shoot.  It is very typical to have an initial breakout after your facial, which means its working!  However, it’s nice to avoid having blemishes on your special day! 

Don’t wash your hair the day of styling!

That’s it for this week!  Enjoy your shoot, relax, be yourself!  Your photographer has it all handled!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Welcome to the #341! (Oh and check out our feature with Flower Ally!)

Welcome to #341. Thank you everyone who stopped by #341 Saturday and said hello to our new home and studio.  It meant a lot to see those who took their time to wish us luck and just show us support. #smalltownawesome.

We did it! Knotsvilla Weddings chose to feature us in their Top 10 Wedding Bouquet highlights!  I would love to take credit for this master piece, but I cannot, I merely snapped the pic.   Allison Sanganetti (Flower Ally) was the artist that brought to life the featured creation!

Check out our feature here: Knotsvilla  (the pic below is a hint!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Joining Main Street!

I have spent SO much time debating about opening a studio or staying "remote".   I have prayed about, turmoiled over it and have traveled all over looking for the right spot. I would sit in random parking lots staring at vacant spaces staring back at me.  Could I bring it to life? Would it be worth it?  What if I fail at this? Then I realized I was that weird girl sitting in a deserted parking lot staring at blank spaces.

There it was. The last question. What if I fail?
I was driving through our little town of Middleburgh and always admiring the Main Street.  It's recovery from the angry flood of Irene is impressive. It's not just the recovery, Main Street is quaint.  Perhaps for those who have grown up here they are used to it, but for me it has a Normal Rockwell touch to it, especially at Christmas time.

I saw the space and I knew that this is where I wanted to call home, because it is home.  I know almost every owner on Main Street and it's where my children attend school and the vast majority of people know what I do and are supportive.

So, today we walk into the vacant space and see what becomes of it. It may last a short while, it may last a lifetime, but it's home.  I am thankful for a satellite studio in Delmar where we have been generously offered a space to work out of for our clients in the Albany and Bethlehem area, but here is where we get to put our feet down and join our Main Street family as we service areas from Oneonta to Albany!

We will have our doors open for the fourth friday and graduation activities.  So, if you are dodging rain drops, stop by and say hi! We will be located just down from the barber shop :)

So come say hi - if you dare ! We don't actually photograph in superman capes.... well...
But we do try on hats and take selfies.
 And we would love to see you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Photographer Confessions: I have a small obsession with chairs.

 I can’t tell you when it started or even why.  I am just ready to admit that I have a small and ever growing obsession with chairs.  I love them, I get sidetracked by them, I want to own them all except that my rather large living room is growing smaller. 

I am doing what any sane person would do.  I decided to rent out additional space on the main street of my adorable little town to fit more chairs.  Now mind you, I am going to call it a photography studio, BUT my confession being, it’s really about the chairs…and the couches. 

I love them all! 

Ever since I worked at Maple Shade Farms, the owners Abby and Jay are FAR out doing me in this category.  I want large vintage, high back, ornate couches.  Abby finds this:
I find this:

Not the actual couch, but close.

It’s not fair. However, I am a competitor and I WILL win a couch. 
If there is a couch or chair to be used. I WILL use it :)
The girls are pretty too :)

That’s all, I just need you to know. #thestruggleisreal. I want more. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Pity Party That Didn't Go So Well...and Then My Crock Pot Died

I would like you all to know I held myself a pity party last week and NONE of you came! Not one.
I'm a fairly positive person (though I have discovered my inner cynic, more on that in a second), so when I have a couple of days where I just feel "off" I don't know what to do.  
The pity party was a nice display of selfish feelings, sadness and good old fashion grumpiness. I still can't believe you didn't want to come?

Beautiful Things In Ugly Place
That is the theme this year with my senior clients and models.  It began with our fashion show and in the past two weeks we have photographed beautiful young women in some not so beautiful or at least dark places.  Everything will be released in the coming weeks and I hope you will soak them up for whatever reason hits you.  The theme took on huge meaning this week. 

In the midst of my pity party my roommate and life long college friend Lacey posted an article that left me unable to sleep. Ironically a good friend from my church sent me the link within minutes of the original post. It was ugly friends. It left me sad and my pity party went into uglier places.  I'll post the link below but I do warn you, you will feel burned and if you are having a pity party it will make you feel stupid for feeling sorry for yourself.  9, that is the number.

What Does This Have To Do With Photography?
This will sound all artsy, but photography is emotive for me.  I can't create if I can't feel or if my feelings are low and I'm frustrated or super upset.  Those who earnestly creative beings will understand the stretching and angst and amazing highs and lows we go through. So, these past few sessions I had I allowed to be dark, I allowed to let my introverted, non-transparent self to stay for awhile and create and learn.  I learned so much, that I am a better photographer in this moment than I was last week.   I am better person. 

God's Gift Is You
The number 9 .  That is the age of young girls being bought and sold in the Middle East.  So, I read through some threads and everyone wants the answer to "what can you do?"  There's so much hurt and darkness in our world, what can you do? It's overwhelming.
I don't have the answer, but unless you have the resources to put together a sting operation of rescue we are left here to do one thing. Pray. 
After we learn what happens on our knees then we CAN do a few things:
In our dark world we can create beauty.  We can teach our children gratefulness instead of entitlement. We can smile at someone.  We can encourage someone. We can be thankful for this very moment. (yes even if it's a baby crying or a loved one dying). We can let our hearts ache for those babies in the Middle East and still laugh with our children before bedtime.  We Can.

My Crockpot Died
Yep, it's a good thing I stole my moms so I had an extra one.  Sometimes being a thief pays off. However, this week a girl from the capital region died from a fall while hiking with her friends and then someone I have known almost my whole life lost her battle with cancer and left her children and husband behind. I sunk a little deeper. Dark.  As I looked at her Facebook page there was nothing but smiles and posts stating over and over how gracious God is and how good. There was the beauty.  Her faith, her smile in the middle of the the battle of ugly.  She created beautiful and was bold of her relationship with God. Beautiful.   The sad part of all this and I was bummed this week, because I hit a big milestone in my work and honestly - it wasn't a big deal to anyone. Well, except to a few close people haha. Seriously, how lame am I? (I might erase that confession).  

All that to say:
My pity party is closed for visitation, even to myself as it didn't really pay off too well. I didn't get off Facebook entirely, I need it for work and my occasional scroll through. However I took it off my phone and I check it twice a day. My inner cynic was starting to become an ugly beast.  People and their postings, dear heavens,  insert eye rolls to the point of causing permanent damage.  So, I relinquish my scrolling and leave everyone to post without my "le sigh".  Because, today I will create beautiful in my words, in my children, in my world.  There is so much darkness, but we can all create beauty. We can.  We don't have to be photographers to create or be running underground sting operations, we can just be human beings who are fearfully and wonderfully made. Ps. 139:14. We Can.

For the article please click here:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wedding Photographer Confessions : What I really want to do with your dress

 I always find the first five minutes after arriving at the bridal suite on the day of the wedding is imperative.  I tend to leave camera's behind when I arrive and just take a few moments to acknowledge that I have walked into the inner sanctuary of a bride's friends and family.

The day has officially started: the photographer has arrived.

After the initial hellos I always ask permission to take the dress to have it photographed before the bride wears it.

Here's my confession:
I ALWAYS want to try it on. It's a fleeting thought, but oh just to see what it would like it.  I have joked with a few brides that that is what I am actually doing when I take the dress, but to this day I haven't. But oh the twirling!

I want to.

I do laugh. In reality could you imagine if the bride were to step out for a moment to see her photographer running around in her dress? me.  Once again, a funny thought only in my head.

But just one time...?

Well, I'm glad I got that off my heart. (Secretly all 2015 brides are staring wide-eyed at this blog) I assure you, I won't try your dress on.
just one time?