Family Photos at the New House

My cousin Amanda and I were both born in Chicago. She stayed there and my family ended up moving to New York. Some of my best memories are from our road trips to Chicago to see my grandparents, aunts, uncles and many cousins.

I was delighted when I heard from Amanda, wanting to hire me to photograph her family. They recently moved into a beautiful new home that they built themselves and wanted to get some shots around the house. Yay!

I was so grateful to have this extra time to spend with my cousin and her family, we just don’t get to see them as much now that our grandparents have passed away. My grandma would have loved seeing us together, her great grandkids running wild throughout the house. I spent the night which meant that I was able to get some of those early morning, messy hair, breakfast on paper plates type of shots..which are always my favorite.

Can I come spend the night at your house? Seriously, can I?

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Baby Ben's Arrival

This was my first time shooting birth photography. I was in touch with the family pretty early on in the pregnancy. This was mom's 4th time giving birth, she had tried to book a photographer for one of her earlier deliveries but it all happened so fast the photographer wasn't able to get there in time. I was determined to be there to capture this for them, eventually being available on-call as the due date approached. I was at my parent's house helping them with a garage sale when I got the text from the family saying that contractions were progressing, I met them at the hospital soon after.

The contractions started to come on strong and fast. This mom of 3 knew just what she needed to do from moment to moment. Her husband remained calm and supportive throughout. 


A healthy and happy baby Ben had arrived!


A picnic in the park photo session

I've gotten to know this family well over the last few years. They were one of my first clients when starting my business and I've worked with them several times since. This mom wants to have documentation of her kids at every stage and I can dig it! We've done traditional portrait sessions, a making pancakes/breakfast session and going to Grandma's and playing outside. This time around they invited me to join them for a picnic. This is a spot the family often likes to go, where the kids can roll down the hill, toss the ball around and explore the trails. I was thrilled to photograph this summer tradition of theirs. 


Photography Composition: Adjusting your Perspective | Viewpoint.

One of my favorite photographers, William Eggleston, recently had an exhibit at the MET in New York City.  Scattered throughout the photos they had quotes from Eggleston posted on the walls. I especially liked this one in regards to changing the way you see things from behind the lens. 


I think it's easy to get stuck in a rut of just shooting from one perspective. When I'm photographing a moment I try to keep moving, shooting and moving. More often than not when I'm in a client's home, I'll be climbing on top of furniture, stuffing myself in a closet or laying on the ground. Squatting, bending, twisting and balancing in an attempt to get a different view of things. 

This month our focus will be on PERSPECTIVE and VIEWPOINT

These terms have very similar meanings when it comes to photography.

Perspective is representing the spatial relationship between objects in a photograph, as they might appear to the eye. 

Viewpoint is a way at looking at or thinking about something in a photograph. 

Recently my daughter pulled out my old school phone and started carrying on a conversation with an imaginary person. I was able to take a million photos from different viewpoints and ended up getting some fun shots.

Rolling down a hill from two different perspectives. I thought the second one worked a lot better.

Below are a few examples of different perspectives and viewpoints

Don't let yourself get rooted in one spot while shooting! For this challenge let's focus on moving around; getting high, getting low, child's eye view, bird's eye view. Maybe take a picture of the same object, 5-10 different ways. Experiment with changing your viewpoint to see how that effects the overall composition of the photo. Also continue to incorporate the other tools that have been discussed in regards to lighting, rule of thirds, minimalism and framing. Let us know if you have any questions throughout the challenge, can't wait to see what you create!

A Valentine's Day Wedding

I was honored to photograph this intimate wedding last month. The bride and groom were surrounded by close family and friends who were there to share in the joy of their commitment. I thought it was extra sweet that they chose to do it on a day dedicated to love and affection. Congratulations to these two newlyweds. 



Breakfast, Bikes and Basketballs

"Can we set up a time when you can come over and take pictures of the kids making breakfast and playing outside?"


This was part 1 of a 2 part Storytelling session. Mom wasn't sure if she wanted all documentary style or a mix of candid with some of the more traditional portraits mixed in. So we met one morning and shot at the house and then followed it up with a walk through the park (those pictures still to come.)

I love the results we get when families open their doors and invite me in to their little slice of life.

Family Gathering in Dansville

These are a few of my favorites from a recent Storytelling session that took place in scenic Dansville, NY. The owners built this beautiful log cabin decades ago and it's been the hot spot for parties and gatherings since. There were over 20 people at this shoot and they requested a mix of traditional portraits as well as candid photography. I could have spent all day here! Not only was it a gorgeous location, but the family was so gracious and accommodating that by the end of the day I felt like part of their crew.

A Babe in her Nest.

I photographed this little baby in her home when she was just weeks old, now several months later the family is getting ready for a move. They thought, and I agreed, that it would be special to have some photos taken at this first home of theirs. As parents, I don't think we'll ever forget those four walls that surrounded us while creating and nurturing a budding family. The way the floors creaked, or the view of the backyard from the nursery during those first nights, weeks and months with a new baby. What a fleeting, magical time it is.

Storytelling Session with the AZJ Crew

I was thrilled to get the chance to document this family's story early one morning, last fall. Upon my arrival I found the kids to be enthusiastic; especially about showing me their rooms. W, the wise and older sister, had so much to show me and made sure not to miss a thing. At one point she took a few quiet moments to hang out in a cardboard box.

Little brother, E, then brought me into his room to play a little tune and show me his stuffed animals.

I followed the kids downstairs and to their surprise, Grandma had arrived! We hung out in the music room while their dad finished cooking the eggs.


Breakfast is ready!


After a hearty helping of bacon and eggs, mom helped with getting the kids dressed so that we could go outside and explore the backyard. This backyard just happened to have chickens, a pond and a garden, oh my!

The series of photos below really cracks me up. He wanted so badly to push his sister in the swing but she was not having any of it. She told him several times that she wanted to do it herself, but he kept trying. Eventually he worked up the strength to give her that one big push but she dug her boots in deep out of defiance. Don't mess with this little lady.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a big open field with beautiful atmosphere!

Included in this session was the option to shoot at a second location. The family had a spot in mind so I followed them there, to a big barn with a bright red autumn vine growing on the side of it. This made for some interesting textures and pops of color. The kids had fun exploring the place and eating some ginger chews. It was here where we concluded this family's Sunday morning story and wrapped it with a neat little bow.

Saturday Morning with Jen and Family

These are a few of my favorites from a Little and Fierce session that I shot this past fall. Jen is a friend of mine and I've photographed her family a handful of times over the last few years. This time the location was at her place, on a typical Saturday morning.

When a client asks me where we should shoot, my first and favorite suggestion will always be at their home. I feel so inspired during these in-home sessions. Inspired by the daily snippets that seem so ordinary and often overlooked, that's the good stuff right there. However I can't blame clients when they're hesitant about letting me into their home, it might be a first for a lot of people. Don't be nervous about a messy house or unruly kids, I can work with that it's my job. This is your day in the life, your story, let me help you preserve some of it.


Ethan and W.

Ethan and I were friends many years ago and then sadly we lost touch. I had heard through the grapevine that he was living in NYC doing cool stuff like owning a restaurant/wine bar. I was so happy to hear that he's moved back into town and was thrilled when he contacted me about setting up a shoot. I spent some time at his house and got to meet his son. They showed me the back patio, the garden and the swing; and then the little guy climbed some trees. I think we were able to capture the feeling of what that late summer afternoon felt like, hanging out with old and new friends barefoot in the backyard.

Caroline and Gracie

This was my first time at an Equestrian center, Caroline just referred to it as the barn.  She spends most of her free time here, caring for her horse, Gracie. I thought I would be intimidated by Gracie, being such a big majestic animal, but I could tell right away that she was a gentle girl. She showed so much personality right away, constantly cranking her big, broad neck over towards me to see who the heck I was and what the story was with my camera.

I followed Caroline and Gracie to a beautiful open field where the sun was getting ready to set, a photographer's dream come true! You can tell there's a really special bond between these two and I'm glad I was able to capture some of that connection.

Caroline got a chance to ride for a bit before it got dark. It was so neat seeing them in action, working as a team. It was here in the ring that these two were in their element.

Details and Inspiration

I'm inspired by the everyday moments. My eye is drawn to those descriptive, yet often overlooked, mundane details. One photographer that I've always been drawn to is William Eggleston. He was one of the early pioneers of color photography in the 60s and 70s and his work stood for a lot, without saying much at all. His images were visually pleasing, raw and relatable.

Check out some of Eggleston's work below, and here.

I often try to incorporate these types of shots into my sessions with clients. I tend to focus more on these fine details in the Storytelling/documentary sessions because they add context to an album and effectively set the scene. If your kids are working on a puzzle i might zoom in on their hands manipulating the pieces.. I want to photograph their artwork on the fridge and the books in the bookcase. I look back at pictures of myself as a kid and I love seeing what was happening around me at the time. I'll notice my Cabbage Patch Kid on the bed, jelly shoes in the corner and our family's favorite afghan draped over the couch. The focus of these images is not on the people and their smiling faces, but rather the environment that surrounds them and the way they choose to interact with it. Below are a few favorites of my own.