Day at the Zoo!

Ok, ok so I just posted a couple of these on my personal FB page, but here’s the rest of my favorites from today’s adventuring.

Family time is the best time ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m spending the week down in FL to escape the NYC early winter blues and to squeeze in a much-needed visit with my sister and her sweet family. My nephew Tucker, is turning 4 in March (seriously, where does the time go?!) and I couldn’t resist bringing the good glass out for our trip to the Lion Country Safari today.

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There were macaw’s…

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And zebras…

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Lions too!

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Merry-Go-Rounds with Giraffe’s…

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And giraffe’s in real life ๐Ÿ™‚ They are my absolute favorite!

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Being an aunt is pretty awesome/cool/sweet ๐Ÿ™‚

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This is Cupid. Totally handsome and charming.

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Tucker loves time with Grandma Louise! And Camel Rides!

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Total cuties!

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My favorite of these two… looking out for the flamingos.

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Group shot (plus an excellent photo-bomber). Love you guys so much!

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Family Portraits in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

The best clients are sometimes your first clients. Julie and James responded to an online posting for my photography back in the summer of 2012 for their small intimate wedding in Bay Ridge. They were my very first wedding, and I think I was more excited than nervous to shoot their intimate gathering. You can see their photos in the Wedding portion of my portfolio.

Flashback! Julie + James circa 2012 :)

Flashback! Julie + James circa 2012 ๐Ÿ™‚

Fast-forward two years, and I receive a lovely little “hello” from them in my inbox one November morning… No longer just Julie and James, but Julie, James, Ryan, and Luke!! The boys, ages 2 and 1, with those bright blue eyes that melt the hearts of any human being, were totally rambunctious and so much fun to photograph.

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A helpful tip for anyone photographing toddlers – keep that shutter going constantly and get on the floor to be eye-level with them (still working on my technique as always!). Below, Luke on the left, Ryan playing with dad on the right. It’s hard not to fall in love with these two hunks!

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And of course, I had to sneak a few shots of the two love birds, now mum and dad. Still as much in love with each other as on that summer day in 2012 when they saidย ย  “I Do”…

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With two wiggly toddlers, snapping the perfectly composed shot is not always easy, so that’s why we improvise as photographers. Their beautiful home in Bay Ridge boasted a chandelier from the early 1900s, which doubled as an excellent setting for my favorite candid close-ups of the family.

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This last one has everybody’s face in it! Christmas card, anyone? Next, we took advantage of the warm-ish weather and strapped on everyone’s shoes for some outdoor shots. I absolutely love shooting outside (especially under the lovely overcast skies we had that day) and kids do the cutest things when they play! Like gazing at me for a split second with bright googly eyes while piled in a heap of leaves…

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Or looking off into the distance while planning their next mischievous scheme…

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Or taking an impromptu geology lesson from Dad.

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Having had enough of the leaves and rocks, we headed down the street (literally 4 houses down) to grandmas! I can only imagine how awesome it is to have grandma, aka drop-of-the-hat babysitter steps from home with two little ones. Less of the “Over the river and through the woods,” and more like, “Down the five doorsteps and ten steps away, to Grandmother’s house we go!”

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Luke and Ryan clearly led the way, too. I can’t get enough of the look on their little faces when mum and dad called for them…

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By this time, the little ones were quite over-energized by being at grandma’s that our attempts to take some additional group shots were more candid than expected. I still think it totally captures the family dynamic of giggles and laughter ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh well, we tried!

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Although grandma’s was fun, it was time to head home for a late morning snack. But before we said our good-byes, I captured a few more shots in their sweet little cul-de-sac (I had no idea these little oases existed in Brooklyn!).

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And as the holiday season comes and goes, and despite the cold days that lie ahead, remember the warmth of family in your heart. I am so honored to have been the Lanigan’s photographer for the second time, and look forward to many more family shoots with this gang!

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Rough Seas, Final Days on Cayman Brac

Before I dabble too deeply into my 3-month hiatus from society in the Cayman Islands, (it included a bit of construction oversight, management of a farm, little sleep, constant movement, alarms 6-days a week at 4:55am, and epic sunrises) I’ll share a few photos captured from my last day on the island.

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It’s been a week since I’ve returned home to Brooklyn and I am still processing the entirety of the experience.

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Inner-growth, isolation, meditation, endless work, introspection, and endless papaya.

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More stories to come, the most exciting of which is happening in the present moment. Home.

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Danielle & Tony – A Late Summer Wedding

This post will hopefully pull you all from the pre-winter gloom especially on the freezing, wet, day it is today in Brooklyn. Wrapped up in a knit blanket, sipping ginger tea and gazing out the windows as the rain pelts the glass, I remember how much I’ve missed writing and sharing my photographic stories.

As you can see from the absence of posts since mid-August, I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from the blogging world. Alas, on this frigid day in New York, I am finally catching up. More on that hiatus later.

My first order of business: the lovely Danielle and Tony. You were first introduced to them in their engagement shoot this past spring, and on a beautiful late summer day in August, they finally tied the knot! DSC03612 - Version 2

Danielle and her wedding party, consisting of mum, sister and future sis-in-law all got ready at her parent’s colonial home in Plymouth, MA. The atmosphere while getting ready was serene: no stress, no sense of urgency, but relaxed and totally blissed-out.

DSC07845Almost every aspect of the wedding had some form of hand-made love incorporated into it. Mum and Danielle had picked the bright hydrangea flowers that morning for the wedding bouquets, and hand-assembled them minutes before heading off to the venue.

DSC08021Boutonnieres, handmade by Danielle’s co-worker, smelled of lavender and matched the groom’s swag quite perfectly.

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And now for the dress reveal. Classic, timeless, and uniquely hers, Danielle was stunning in her champagne lace ballgown. The lace train extended beyond the satin skirt of the dress and created quite a dramatic illusion at the venue (see below!!)

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I just love Danielle’s reaction when she finally put her dress on! This is the real deal!

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This regal bride-to-be is ready to go! Mixing the soft and subtle make-up with blusher and simple updo make Danielle one heck of a classic beauty. Would you agree?

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The Venue: Southers Marsh Golf Club (http://weddings.southersmarsh.com/) in Plymouth, MA. Panoramic views of open green fields, hills, and tall pines created quite the dramatic backdrop for the wedding.

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Need I say more? The venue also came complete with a gorgeous tent for the reception.

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Back to the nuptials. Close friends and family gathered under the bright sun and big blue sky in the late afternoon on August 31st, 2014. The beautiful Bridesmaids prepare to make their way down the aisle…

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Both mum and dad walked Danielle down the aisle, arm-in-arm. She’s the first of the brood to tie the knot! Can you tell they’re all just a little excited?

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And finally, everyone’s here! Danielle and Tony exchanged their vows in a touching, short and sweet ceremony.

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And they sealed their love with a kiss… (it’s so so cute I can barely take it!)

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Following the ceremony, the bridal party was whisked away in individual golf carts (I recklessly drove mine ahead of the group to get a head start on portraits) up to the 10th hole. Let the stunning group photos commence!

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Just Married!!

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Now for some one-on-one shots of our bride and groom.

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And my favorite…. what I call the “Victory Kiss”

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The night was followed with delicious food, first dances, hilarious toasts, unforgettably romantic moments, crazy line dancing, and cake.

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Danielle, Tony, and their friends & family danced and partied into the early hours of the morning. I am so grateful to have witnessed the love in the room – it buzzed and buzzed away all night long, and from what I can tell, will continue to buzz for the entirety of their lives together. Danielle, Tony, congratulations on finding each other and opening your hearts to a life full of love and happiness. Happy life to you two!

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Mary-Reid & Mike – Wedded Bliss

This may very well be the longest and most heart-felt post in the history of this blog, even though its history is fairly brief.

Let’s go back to the year 1998 – I am 9 years old and our family of 6 had just moved to Framingham mid-way through September from the tiny woodsy town of Madison, NH. I was that fourth grade new-girl-on-the-block, essentially. The awkward shy one, no less.

My clearest memory of that first September day at school was entering Mrs. Carbeau’s classroom: everyone was seated in a small circle in the center of the room, hushed with all bright eyes on me. I quietly took my seat in a perfect little open spot within the circle and I was slowly introduced to each student. I looked around and saw Mary-Reid, Joanne, and Hannah for the first time and said to myself, “these are going to be my best friends”.

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That’s us! From left, Joanne, Myself, Hannah, and Mary-Reid

Fast-forward to 2004: We’re still together and yup, the very best of friends.ย  However, at some point amongst our teenage wanderings, Mary-Reid meets Mike. Their love was both effortlessly poetic and passionate and one couldn’t help but smile when you saw the two of these love birds together. They were the epitome of true classic high-school sweethearts. I mean look at the photo from prom!

Mary-Reid and Mike: Senior Prom 2007. For real people!

Mary-Reid and Mike: Senior Prom 2007. For real people!

And then in early March of 2013, I receive a phone call at 1:00pm from Mary-Reid… there’s a certain distinguishable tremor of excitement in her voice, and then the famous words I’ll never forget: “Mike Proposed!!!!!”. I can’t say I was terribly surprised – it was really just a matter of time before Mike made the best decision of his life ๐Ÿ™‚

Fast forward once more my dears to August 16th, 2014. The most absolutely crisp-yet-perfectly-balmy August morning. The wedding day. Location: Mary-Reid’s family home on Prospect Street. We spent years and years running around the big historic colonial and jumping into the pool on summer days, and now it was time for it to be the perfect setting for Mike & Mary-Reid’s wedding!

The setting: Family Home on Prospect Street

The setting: Family Home on Prospect Street

This wedding was truly like no other in that so many family and friends poured their hearts in to making this day perfect for the bride and groom. From catering all of the food themselves in the barn, to placing perfectly crafted fondant flowers on the 3-tiered cake, to hand-altering her daughter’s wedding gown, to growing wildflowers all summer long for the bouquets, to setting tables and pressing linens, and everything in between that you could possibly imagine. They got it done!

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Just shy of 4:00pm, every little detail finally falls in to place…

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After spending hours running around lighting hundreds of tea lights, hanging dozens of lanterns, setting each plate just-so, and tying together the bouquets, we ladies finally enjoyed some well-deserved pampering!

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And now for a bit about the gown. Mary-Reid’s wedding vision stemmed mainly from Anthropologie’s wedding off-shoot, BHLDN. Short for “Beholden”, they offer ethereal and whimsical wedding inspirations from cake toppers to stunning hand-beaded gowns. In the winter this of this past year, Mary-Reid and I essentially camped out in a nicely heated car (beginning at 4:00am no less) at their first-ever trunk show in Philly. We had no idea what to expect, but we were determined to find the one. Long story short, we did! And oh my goodness, is she a thing of beauty!

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Bridesmaid dresses were key additions to Mary-Reid’s inspiration for a romantic garden wedding, and fortunately for us ladies, we too got to don some gorgeous BHLDN gowns!

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Again, thank you Mary-Reid for selecting these gorgeous gowns for us to wear! I think you can see that we loved wearing them…

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From the left: Joanne, Xenia, Mary-Reid, Hannah, and Myself. Note the drawn curtains to keep sneaky peekers from peeking!

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For having pulled off planning an entire wedding, Mary-Reid looks absolutely serene and peaceful just moments before walking down the aisle. We had a few moments to glance through this window to see the groomsmen make their way down first…

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And before you know it, I had to drop my camera (couldn’t possibly have hid it behind my bouquet now!), and walked down the aisle of my dearest friend’s wedding. The ceremony was nothing short of incredibly intimate and exceptionally beautiful – there truly wasn’t a dry eye in the garden!

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That’s right ladies, He put a ring on it! Below are some of my favorite shots of my favorite two love birds…

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If this isn’t true electric love then I don’t know what is ๐Ÿ™‚

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And of course some group photos of the ladies and gents up by the barn…

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And the obligatory bling ring shot with Hannah…

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And more importantly, the cake! Crafted by the exceptionally talented hands of Mary-Reid’s aunt, maid of honor Hannah, and the bride herself. See the connection between the design on the wedding gown? Thought so!

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Sometimes I have a difficult time expressing my love in words, and I often find that actions speak volumes when it comes to doing so. Not only was this wedding a pure manifestation of love between two souls, but a perfect example of how far humans will go for the ones they love. Each and every person in attendance found a way to lend a hand (or two!) to the bride and groom to ensure their day was overflowing with joy, bliss, and love.

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To my dearest friends Mary-Reid and Mike: you have already built a wonderful life together these past 9 or so years, but this is just the beginning of a most beautiful thing. I admire your strength, unconditional love and support for each other, and am certain your marriage will light the whole earth. Through thick and thin the two of you have grown into an unbreakable pair of lovers, friends, and true partners. I know you will have nothing but a lifetime rich with love and happiness. Thank you for having me be a part of this unforgettable moment in your lives!

The Love of a (Growing!) Family

This post has so much more meaning to me than the typicalย  “oh-look-at-my-latest-client-shoot” post. The one year anniversary of my dad’s passing was approaching last week, and I was mentally preparing myself to accept whatever waves of grief and emotion were about to hit. This past year has taught me to deal with sadness head-on and immediately experience the pain without bottling it up, which only creates a volatile mental state. Losing a parent is a horrible feeling, and the grief that results is one that I would never wish on anyone. But that’s not what this blog post is about.

This post is about the pure beauty of family. So, I completed my usual online ad for head shots a few days prior to the anniversary, and I received a request from Marisa to do a maternity shoot. Initially I was hoping to distract myself with a nice dinner out or a movie on the 9th, but Marisa was one week away from her due date, and the only time we could meet was that very Wednesday night. Something told me this is what I needed to do.

That something was undoubtedly true. I met Marisa, her husband and three-year-old daughter down at the Dumbo Pier and experienced the profound, unconditional love this family expresses. DSC05042

8 Days away from her due date (which is today!!), Marisa is the most beautifully glowing mommy-to-be. I especially LOVED her hand-made sash to show off that gorgeous baby bump!

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Skyler, the spunky and excitable 3-year-old daughter was so well behaved, and became my official photographers’ assistant by the end of our session.

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She’s kind of the cutest little girl I’ve ever met!

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Mom and Dad can’t wait for the next addition to their family to arrive. Fun fact, baby is due the day after Skyler’s birthday!

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Even though the carousel horses were sleeping for the night in their glass barn (ah the stories you have to tell to children so they don’t despair!), using them as a backdrop was a great setting for us! Miss Skyler even photo-directed this next shot:

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We all love our mommas, but I think she’s a bit of a daddy’s girl, like me ๐Ÿ™‚

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We also couldn’t have a complete shoot without a few one-on-one’s with the beautiful mom-to-be. Seriously, if being 9 months pregnant looked this good on everyone, there would be so many more babies in NYC!

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And as the sun began to set to the west, beyond the towering buildings of lower Manhattan, I was able to sneak this shot of the two love birds before the security guards told us to get off the grass (they fortunately let us take our time – who rushes/ yells at a pregnant lady?!).

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And one of Skyler, of course. I have a feeling that this little girl is going to do big things!

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Oh, and if you haven’t already guessed, it’s a girl.

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All in all, this was the best way to spend my evening last Wednesday. I was so completely wrapped up in the love and happiness of this family that I forgot it was the one year anniversary of my dad’s passing. This photo session reminded me of why I love what I do – Photography not only captures fleeting moments of time, but allows us to reveal the true essence of a person’s soul. If anything, it gives us a beautiful memory to hold close in our hearts that will literally live on for generations to come.

I continue to cherish each memory of my loved ones – whether they have passed or simply left my path of life for the time being. I don’t wallow in misery when I look back on photos with my dad; instead I am able to travel back in time to those exact moments and remember the sound of his voice, his tenderness, his love. And as my wonderful step-mom says, “Love is in front of you, behind you, beside you, and within you always”.

I like to think you can alternate Love with Family.

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To all the families out there, you are all pillars in each others’ lives. Hold each other close, forget your conflicts and resentments – family is forever my dears.

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A Good $100 Spent…

I am currently running a new client head shot session special for one-hundred buck-a-roos in NYC/ Brooklyn. Today, Matt braved the sweltering heat and met in Williamsburg to take some outdoor head shots to take advantage of my deal. Photos taken use 100% natural light, no flash, lighting, or reflectors (good God, really?!) – all you need is that perfect 7-8pm July sunshine!

Included are some of my favorites from today. Live in NYC? Use ANY kind of social media, or have your beautiful face out in the cyber universe? You might want to consider getting some updated head shots… you know where to find me ๐Ÿ™‚

-emily

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