Dec

Family Traditions

It's no secret that no bake cookies are my jam. Pretty much for the sole reason that there is no way for me to burn them and make sure the smoke detectors are working in our house. :) Don't worry, I found out while making chicken francese the other night that they are all fully operating correctly! This year I decided to make my family's peanut butter ball cookies for holiday gifts for our family. It's one of my all time favorites and the recipe is super easy! 
 
Chris and I love starting new family traditions each year, but also love preserving the traditions that have been in our families for decades. Rolling the peanut butter dough and dipping it in chocolate brought me back to when I was a little girl and would "help" make these very cookies with my mom and Nana each Christmas. I was the official taste tester and loved every second of that job! As the smells of chocolate and peanut butter swirled and filled our kitchen, my reminiscing of my childhood was interrupted by Greyson giggling. He takes his role as entertainment for Remington very seriously. Right then and there my heart swelled with a thankfulness and gratitude for the moment. For this time in my life. For the memory making. For the adventure I am on. And I couldn't help but smile knowing that this time next year, I will have my own taste tester standing on a stool next to me as this family tradition is carried on to a new generation.

Last year for Christmas my sweet Pop gave me a gift that I will always treasure. Even though his mind isn't fully present anymore, the joy and happiness in giving me this gift was. He had taken a fork and bent it for me. Because after all, that is the trick for perfectly covered chocolate balls. It may not look like much, but to me it meant the world. Whenever I see a bent fork like this, I always think about this family tradition, my sweet Pop and the love of my family.


In case you were wondering, yes, time does indeed fly. And I have proof! :) Greyson is crawling EVERYWHERE and pulling himself up on EVERYTHING. He has the sweetest little personality and his laugh just melts my heart. Oh how I love this boy!



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Dec

Whats Coming in 2015

We have so many big and exciting things in the works for 2015 and I can't wait to spill the beans on all of it! We have been busy bees over here working on some exciting projects that have had me waking up way before my alarm each morning because I am THAT excited. I am such a total lame-o sometimes! :) Some of it will be kept under wraps until next year however I wanted to share some of what's coming! 
 
Chris and I are passionate about helping photographers strengthen and grow their business and pursue their dream. Chris and I mentored some truly incredible and determined photographers this past year. Seeing how they used the tools and insight to change and grow their businesses was so inspiring. We are BEYOND excited for our 2015 Mentoring Program to launch in January. We will only be offering mentoring to only a limited number of photographers so if you are interested, contact us to be sent the details when it launches!

For the past few years, Chris and I have hosted our annual Beginnings Workshop with the focus on creating strong business foundations. It is so important to have a strong business foundation whether you have been in business for 10 years or if you are just starting out. The workshop intensive includes discussions around developing an actionable business plan, creating powerful client relationships, strong branding, posing, shooting tips and trick, workflow and many other important aspects of a strong business. We are so pumped to be hosting a new workshop later this spring, which will be different then ones we have offered previously. Details will be shared next month here on the blog and seats will be limited so keep an eye out for when registration opens!




Our blogsite is getting a major facelift! We have been working with some incredible folks over the past few months to make some awesome changes and create new content for our site! I am so excited for this and can't wait for the relaunch! More to come soon!

And last but certainly not least... This year was one of the best ones yet and we were blessed with one of the most amazing gifts - our son Greyson. Now that we have wrapped up this year's wedding season and things are slowing down a bit, I will be taking the next 6 weeks to recharge, relax, and spend more time with our little guy. Not much will change other then I will be blogging a little less during this time through January. I am hoping to post to the blog every Tuesday and Thursday! :)

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Dec

Featured: Westchester Wedding Planner

So excited!! What an honor it is to have Liz and Carlos' gorgeous Crabtree's Kittle House wedding featured on The Westchester Wedding Planner! With gold sequined linens, designer cupcakes, hundreds of candles, and amazing details around every corner this wedding designed and coordinated by one of my favorites, Amy Champagne Events, still has me swooning!! Not to mention the beautiful moments with one of the sweetest and kindest couples you will ever meet! What an honor it was for Chris and I to be a part of their wedding celebration!  
 
To see the full feature and all the swoon worthy details, feel free to click here.

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Dec

Identifying And Using The Best Natural Light

It's no secret that I just love shooting in that even, golden, soft (dare I even say buttery?!) sunset light. It's just pretty darn gorgeously ah-mazing. I make sure to discuss with our couples the benefits of shooting in this light as they plan their wedding day timeline and shoot their engagement sessions during this golden hour. However, many times especially on wedding days we don't always have the luxury of shooting in this perfect light... Sometimes it's in the middle of the afternoon when the sun is harsh and bright, there are hot spots and spotchy patches of shade everywhere or there is direct sunlight with no shade, and so on. This kind of light can be challenging but it's not impossible to achieve gorgeous images using the light to your advantage!  
 
As a primarily natural light photographers (we leverage existing natural light and use flash when necessary, like indoors if need be) we look for the best light and direction to shoot in at the location we are at. This is typically the FIRST thing I look for before setting up the photo and giving direction to the subjects being photographed. Yes, before backgrounds, surroundings, or anything else. Usually I can just see where the light is that I want to shoot in, but sometimes I will hold up my hand in front of myself to see how the light is falling or other times I will use Chris as a stand in to see how the light is looking. Clearly it's definitely not a super complicated or fancy process, but a super important one. Once I identify the light I want to shoot in, then I will look at the background, surroundings, colors, etc and go from there. This is because for me, the lighting is one of, if not the most important elements to me technically. 
 
Many folks have asked how I know how to identify great light to shoot in. Okay, ready for the boring but totally true answer? Practice. And then more practice. Along with some practice, practice, practice. Practicing and training myself to see how light falls on subjects, how light reflects, and how it changes through out the day were things I did from the very beginning and I still constantly do. When we were living in NYC, on my walk to work I would see how the light would reflect off buildings and where I would position a couple to photograph them in that light. When running errands, I would point out spots that had awesome light falling on it. When riding with Chris in the car I would look out the window while we were stopped at a red light and think where would the best light be and direction to pose a bridal party in that spot. I would then think about what the background would be, what my settings would probably be, etc. It was this constant training while not shooting along with lots of hands on practicing that has strengthened this tool and confidence to shoot gorgeous images in any light.  
 
Sometimes finding the best light isn't that obvious, like when shooting in open shade. It can be hard to know which location and direction to shoot in is the best. Below is a perfect example... We were setting up for family portraits at a wedding and I was testing the light using Chris as a stand in. There was a ton of open shade so I had Chris stand where I thought I wanted the family to stand. I wanted him to stand facing the clouds illuminated by the sun. The clouds were acting like a huge diffuser, casting down a soft beautiful light. However after taking a test photo I realized that the sun was more to my right then I thought (not in back of me) and the sunlight was falling across Chris's face from his left to right side. There were dark shadows around his eyes and there was no fill light on his face. This wasn't the look I wanted to achieve. I didn't want to use the light in a super artistic way for these photos, but really wanted the families faces to be clearly seen. For me, it's important for everyone's face to be well lit and clearly visible especially in these more traditional family portraits. So I had Chris turn 90 degrees, facing more towards the illuminated clouds. The light softly filled his face eliminating the dark shadows. I then looked to make sure the background was what I wanted and set up the family for the photos in that spot. All of this took less then 30 seconds, so by the time the family walked from the limo to where we were standing we were ready to go and went right into setting them up and shooting. 
 
I encourage you to practice identifying great natural light even when you don't have a camera in your hand! Train your eye to see how light falls on a subject and how changing your viewpoint changes the direction of the light and overall look. Then do some hands on practicing again and again. And again. Practice seeing how different light photographs. And know that sometimes it's just a matter of adjusting your subjects or your position slightly in order to use light in a dramatically different way! 
 
And because who doesn't love a good 'ol horribly drawn stick figure diagram.... ;)

Position A. The light fell across Chris' face from the right to the left from my viewpoint. He was standing in open shade, so its more subtle then it if was bright sunlight, but you can see the one side of his face was brighter then the other and he had dark shadows on his face.

Position B. Chris was facing the illuminated cloud (behind me) which created soft fill light on this face. What may seem like a small difference in direction created a HUGE difference with the lighting and overall look of the photo!

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Dec

A Family Tradition

One of the traditions I most clearly remember from my childhood was cutting down our own Christmas tree with my family. We would get up early in the morning and tailgate at the tree farm with family friends, eating powdered and chocolate donut holes and drinking cups and cups of hot apple cider and coco. The smell of the burning fire wood in the outdoor fire pits along with the scent of fresh cut evergreen was a welcome and familiar smell year after year. We would take the hayride up the hill and walk the rows of trees looking for "the ONE." Every year my sister and I wanted to be the one to find the perfect tree for our family, but I'm pretty sure we didn't have the best view point as the trees towered over both of us as kids. And with all the trees it was easy to forget which one were our favorites, so we would strategically leave articles of clothing throughout the rows... a glove on this one and a scarf on another tree's branch. A hat on this one tree and a mitten on another tree branch a few rows over. I looked forward to cutting our tree down just as much as my birthday and Christmas. Safe to say that not much has changed! :) 
 
Somehow I convinced Chris to go cut down our Christmas tree even earlier this year because, well, I just couldn't wait! This childhood tradition is now a tradition Chris and I have made our own over the years, but this year was extra special.... This year we had Greyson with us. All bundled up looked in awe at pretty much everything with absolute wonder. The oxen, the dogs, the fire pits, the hayride, the rows of trees, the other kids and probably above all else... the snow. Getting our tree each year was so much fun and such an amazing memory, but this year it was the best ones yet. We are making our own family traditions and I am once again seeing things all over again through the eyes of my son. And everything truly is a little more beautiful.

Obviously we still keep the whole eating donuts and hot apple cider part of the family tradition! Obviously. :)

I'm pretty convinced Greyson thought the oxen were just HUGE dogs...



MY BOYS and the loves of my life!


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