Good food, happy people, beautiful design and city life, those are some of the things I love and when I walked into The Dandelion Pub in Philadelphia for a first birthday celebration for a family I had never met, just exchanged a few emails with, you can say I was pleasantly surprised and elated to see that I was surrounded by things I loved and loved to photograph. Owen was turning 1 and his parents had arranged for a wonderful intimate dinner with close friends and family at the very stylish center city restaurant with vintage decor and amazing food. The decorations and flowers that were placed around the room fit the style perfectly and kept me busy as I photographed all the details.
I was not aware of the significance and culture of a Korean first birthday and was excited to witness a ceremony of sorts that took place toward the end of the gathering. Owen was dressed in a colorful silk outfit and placed on the floor with several objects (money, gavel, pencil, etc). When the child crawls toward the object and picks one of them up, the guests all cheered and I was told that the object the child chooses is said to be his future. ask tiava Owen chose a gavel after touching each object at least once and as he picked it up, broke into a huge grin like he knew exactly what was going on. I’d love to follow up with this little guy in 20 years and see what he’s up to.
Thanks for having me as part of Owen’s big day! It was a true pleasure to spend time with your friends and family…until we meet again!
Eleven years ago I moved from one of my favorite places, Philadelphia to Annapolis. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss the heck out of that place and the people that I love so much that are still there. I used to be able to visit every few months or so, but as my business and life continue to get busier and grow, I am able to escape up there for a weekend less and less so when I have a free weekend, I usually pack my bag and jet up there to hang with my friends and eat some of my favorite foods (non of which I should be eating).
Recently, my good friend Dan from college and his wife Amanda gave birth to their second child, a beautiful little girl named Heidi. I was itching to get up there and photograph this little peanut, but as usual, I didn’t have a weekend off so I had to wait almost three months until I was able to visit. I picked a good weekend though. Their older daughter Charley, was turning 4 and they were having a kid party in the park, another friend had a birthday and I was able to go celebrate his with them and I finally got to take photos of the newest addition to their family! The weekend was so much fun, complete with good beer, chili dogs, cheesesteaks, stories, catching up with old friends, meeting new babies (and dogs)wreck it ralph, dancing until the wee hours, lots of music and of course photos, photos, photos! Here is a little glimpse into my time there.
I never thought I’d be able to work fighter jets AND a cake smashing into one blog post, but what do you know…here it is! My best friend (Jon) from the beginning of time, ok, maybe since 1979 when we were born, serves in the US Air Force and is currently stationed at Tyndall AF Base in Panama City, FL. He was just on deployment for six months and his wife Jen decided that it would be cool to fly me down to surprise him at the airport so I could document the homecoming. They have three adorable little girls aged 6, almost 3 and newly 1 so this homecoming was to be a big event! A week before I was to leave, I got a message from Jen saying that Jon was coming home early and that I’d miss his arrival. Ugh, I thought I was SO looking forward to documenting this awesome time in their lives and being present for it, but then I remembered how cool it must be for the them to get him back early…that memory and feeling can’t be felt in photos.
After arriving I was slowly accepted by each of the girls–they really didn’t know me since I don’t get to visit them often because of the distance…but after about an hour they were already chatting me up like old friends. Being around 3 little ones for 4 1/2 days was not something I was used to, I am the friend that comes over, plays with your kids, visits with the parents and then goes home and has a beer, this was a challenge at first, but I quickly began to like the idea of hanging with these crazy kiddos every minute. I will say that my appreciation for Moms everywhere has grown to a infinite number and to think that their mom had done this for six months all on her own made my head spin….she truly is a super hero in my mind.
Two of the days we went to a great beach called St. Andrew’s, a state park that had the ocean on one side of the dune and the Bay on the other side. The bay side was a perfect spot for kids, you could walk out at least 50 yards and the water only reached my knees and it was clean and clear. We spent a lot of time in the water splashing around and looking at fish near the rocks. Of course, just like old times, Jon and I (and the kids) made a huge sand castle. I made sure his wife took photos of this for our mom’s back home—they are sure to get a kick out of us at age 34 doing the exact same thing we did just about every summer together….some things never change.
The highlight of the trip for me (although just hanging out with these awesome people was all I needed) was visiting the AF Base early in the morning and getting to watch the jets take off for their training missions. Ever since I can remember, my friend has talked about flying jets and Top Gun was the movie of choice when we were young. When he was attending Penn State University and joined the Air Force ROTC program, I knew that there would be no turning back for him. He now flys F-22’s and is an instrutor at the base. It still blows my mind that he is so dedicated to his dream that he’s had so long. I am in awe of what it takes to do what he does.
Another major moment that happened while I was visiting was a multipurpose party at their good friend’s home. Their youngest had turned 1 recently and so had their friend’s youngest so a dual 1 year old celebration for the two girls was needed once Dad returned home. The party was also to welcome him home and many of the other families in their squadron came out to celebrate. The woman who hosted the party, Alicia, was in charge of the decor and Jen was in charge of the food. I have to say….best decorations and best food I’ve seen/had in a long time! Pulled pork sandwiches to die for and a awesome backdrop to the cake smashing area. Speaking of cake smashing, photographing two kids, each with their own cakes turned out to be quite a hilarious time. Their little hands kept grabbing for each others cake and the expressions that I caught during those moments are too funny!
Now that I am home and don’t have the sound of little girls yelling, singing, crying, laughing and chatting, I find that it’s too quiet and I miss their little voices and my friends so much.
Playing the waiting game has never been one of my strong suits but recently I had to ride the roller coaster of anticipation as I awaited the birth of the Quinn’s second child. Three years ago I photographed their first child’s birth which was a wonderful experience and one of those moments that I will never forget. When they emailed me to tell me they were expecting their second child, I was honored that they would include me once again in their milestone.
Yary was due on Easter Sunday so I didn’t make any plans with my family for the holiday this year. When the Friday before came and went and Yary had no signs labor and then Saturday came and went, I asked her what the odds were that she would have him on Sunday. She was pretty sure he wasn’t coming any time soon, so I dashed up to Pennsylvania and got a quick visit in with my Dad and got to meet my cousin’s newest little one. The timing was great.
A few more days passed and then, I started to panic. I had a major event that had been almost two years in the making where my other company was debuting our film about my husband’s band. I thought to myself, “this baby HAS to come soon!” I was starting to struggle with all the what ifs and coming up with backup plans and stressing myself out until Friday, I just decided to take a minute to chill and invited some friends over to our home to enjoy the spring weather and a bonfire in the backyard. That afternoon, I got a call from Steve, the dad, saying it was going to happen within the next 48 hours. Oh my goodness….I can’t tell you how excited, stressed, crazy I was. The next day was my film release…my baby…
Just as I sat down around the bonfire with a few friends to enjoy a glass of wine, the phone rang, I sprung up out of my chair like it was on fire and ran to my car (which I had already packed with my camera gear). I waved to my friends and I was off like lightning.
The Quinn’s last birth was at Special Beginnings in Arnold,MD, a wonderful birthing center, this time the plan was the same, but as all good plans go, it had to change due to a few complications and Yary was taken to AAMC to have her baby. When I arrived to the hospital in record time, I jogged into the building, down the hall and to the receptionist who gave me one look and said, “she was just taken to the OR for a C-section”.
My heart broke for them knowing that they wanted nothing more than to be at the birthing center having a natural birth in water.
I hung out in the waiting area with their first born, Jonathan, who entertained me for the two hours and two of their friends that were there to help with everything.
Finally, we got the call that we could come up and meet the newest Quinn. Andrew Eduardo Quinn. A perfect beautiful baby boy with a calm personality and lots of loving family surrounding him. All the stress quickly went away at that moment I saw the little guy in his mother’s arms and my camera began documenting every little moment for the next 2 hours.
I am so lucky to have the job I have, to be a witness to these very private family moments and record these moments for them for a lifetime.
Thank you once again Yary and Steve for trusting in me and allowing me to be such a big part of your very special moment.
I recently met a wonderful local mom at one of my photography workshops that I hold in Annapolis, MD. She asked me after the workshop if I might consider photographing her daughters getting ready for the annual Father/Daughter Dance at Arnold Elementary School. My eyes lit up and I said YES! Absolutely! What she didn’t know then was this is the kind of stuff I live for. Sure, I love photographing families for their yearly photo shoot and I love welcoming a new baby into the world using my camera to share it’s personality to friends and family, but when I get to just shoot life unfolding right in front of me is when I really shine.
I arrived a couple hours before they were set to leave for dinner with their Dad, and the girls, Addison and Scarlett were already in their very cute dresses and waiting to get their hair and nails done by Mom. I loved the moments while the girls were getting their nails and hair done because it allowed me to really see their true personalities. Too many times in family photo sessions, there is so much “trying to be perfect” that I don’t always get to see the real them. Day in the life shoots like this one really allows me to connect with the family and I think my best photos are taken when they allow that to happen.
I’ll let the photos say the rest, but I want to publicly thank the family for allowing me to just shoot and document a very special moment in their lives and be the photographer that I am. I loved seeing you all interact and the kids were a delight to be around.
My favorite kind of family photo session is the “Day in the Life” package that I offer. I spend hours with a family and get to really capture their personalities, it’s a breath of fresh air for me to shoot this way, allowing for enough time to get some nice family photos and covering a day in their lives…and in the end, they get a beautiful album to remember this time in their lives.
We started their session baking muffins with the kids, my tummy growling with the awesome smells of blueberry muffins in the oven. It was a riot seeing how much energy the three kids had in the morning. They certainly woke me up and soon had me running around like the fool I am behind the camera. Making kids laugh is my number one motive on any shoot…and for some it’s a piece of cake, but for others, man you really have to work at it! I finally broke through with the two littlest (and very shy) ones as I’ve photographed this family several times. I feel like I won a major award by making that happen and from the photos below you can see that we sure did have a giggle fest!
After the baking we took a walk to a trail in their neighborhood and decorated what I called a, “Charlie Brown Tree” that was growing along the walking path surrounded by leaves. It was fantastic. The kids seemed to have a ball doing it, picking out their favorite colored Christmas balls from a pile on the ground. After some posed photos by the tree for their Christmas card, and about 5 running races against me, we all decided it would be pretty cool to leave it decorated for the season and bring some joy to the community. ask google I loved that little tree and I’m sure others will smile as they walk past in this season.
We wrapped up the session walking down another trail in the woods that was covered over in leaves creating a beautiful yellow blanket on the ground. I of course, being the fall lover that I am was asking the kids to get down in the leaves and PLAY! Photographing kids playing in the leaves never gets old for me.
What a blast I had yesterday with the family! If I could a shoot like that every week, I’d be a happy camper.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I love love love this little girl, her name is Gracie and she is full of vim and vigor! I have been lucky enough to photograph she and her awesome family for about 3 years now and today she turns 6! I photographed her birthday party at the community center at the Piney Orchard community in Odenton, Maryland last weekend. The party was a blast with about 20 of her friends in attendance and a room full of fun activities.
Her moms set up a great carnival game area where the kids got to pick out little prizes to fill their bags with. There was enough sugar to power a 6 year old for days: Strawberry Shortcake themed cupcakes, popcorn and cotton candy. A pinata filled with little toys sent kids scrambling all over the floor to gather up the goods. Crystalooney’s was there to paint all the kids faces and offer an interactive story time with the kids.
After the party, Gracie and her family stepped outside with me on a chilly day and we ran around the yard with balloons and giggles…it was a perfect ending to a wonderfully fun day.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRACIE!
Yesterday was a super special day. First of all, it was one of the most beautiful days we’ve had this Fall. Second of all, I got to photograph one of the cutest little girls, Kate, on her first birthday AND I got to finally use my Grandmother’s pink chair that I’ve been dying to use in a shoot. Kate was the lucky recipient of the pink chair and everything looked so cute with with it, from the pink balloons her parents brought to her little pink tutu.
She was all smiles during the session and I couldn’t get enough of her, although, I think she had other things on her agenda as she wiggled off the chair after each round of photos I took and made her way crawling across my lawn. She’s one energetic kiddo! After I had what I wanted with the chair images, we jumped in their car and went across the street to a great little park at an elementary school where Kate continued to celebrate her birthday and ability to crawl all around the playground equipment, giggling as she sped around.
What a beautiful way to spend an afternoon! It was extra special for me because her parents are such wonderful people and I had photographed their destination wedding just two years ago in Mexico, so it was nice to see them again and meet the wee one finally! The even better part of it all is that they are expecting another in April!
Congrats Dana and Doug! So happy for you and Kate to welcome a new member of the family next Spring!
Repeat clients are the best confidence booster that any business owner can get. There is nothing like it. Knowing that someone appreciates the work that you do and keeps coming back to you to document their major moments in their lives is a wonderful feeling. It’s why I do what I do. I love developing relationships with people and watching their love and family grow. Such is the case with some of my favorite clients, Courtney and Nick. My first time meeting them was to discuss being their wedding photographer which, I was hired to do as well as their engagement session around downtown Annapolis.
We had an awesome evening at Kinder Farm Park with their newest addition to the family….Noah! I had seen photos of this cutie pie on facebook since he was born and was hoping that they’d ask me to photograph him. The moment I saw Nick getting him out of the car in the parking lot, my face lit up….Noah is just full of smiles and one of the easiest kids to photograph. He’s as cool, calm and collected (and adorable) as his parents. They make my job easy.
The evening sky was filled with golden light that makes any photographer giddy. I was geeking out a bit talking about the light as I captured some sincere moments between the three of them as the sun set over the farm. The best part of the night was watching Noah’s reaction to being sat in the grass for the first time. He was a bit uncomfortable with the idea of it at first, but then began to explore the textures that it had and
the faces he made were priceless. It’s so fun to watch these first moments that I get to capture all the time.
I hope to continue to document this family as they grow and celebrate milestone events, until then, enjoy the photos!
I like to think that I can always just conjure up nice weather for every one of my photo sessions….but that’s not true…not in the least. What was a beautiful evening on the beach at Bay Ridge in Annapolis turned out to be quite a frustrating shoot for my subjects given that the wind blowing off the water was blasting their hair in all directions…not the most flattering look for most people. But we rolled with it and I got some great shots of Heili as she’s a natural on a beach.
The beach shoot inspired me to edit a bit differantly than I normally do, I kept envisioning a retro surf ad and went with it.
After giving up (because of the wind) on a great shot of mom and daughter on the beach together we quickly hopped in our cars and headed for their home where we wrapped up the session as the sun went to bed, which resulted in some fun shots that look like they are from a film camera. I am loving them.