Engagement Portraits

A Christmas Barn Proposal | Niagara County Engagement Photographer

Winter is here! I have a crazy- I mean, crazy- running list of sessions and blog post topics that I’m dying to share with you. And now that slow season is here and I can breath a little, I’m really looking forward to digging into that list and introducing you to the incredible people I’ve gotten to know through my business this year. Before we get too far past the Christmas season, I wanted to kick off my re-entry into blogging today by sharing with you a really cool, out-of-the-ordinary event I was able to photograph over Christmas - a proposal!

The circumstances that led to me photographing a surprise proposal in my parents’ barn in Niagara County, NY were a little wild, and the result of a whole lot of stars aligning. I’ll go into a little more detail about the planning of the proposal in another post, but for now let’s focus on the happy couple: Tyler (my brother’s best friend) and his girlfriend Ashleigh. Tyler and Ashleigh spent Christmas day with his family in Pennsylvania, and the next day woke up and drove several hours to get to my parents’ house in Newfane, NY. They were there to join us for the weekend for a visit and some tailgating at the Bills vs. Cowboys game the next day… or so Ashleigh thought.

Upon their arrival, my parents greeted Ashleigh and Tyler, and let them know that my brother was in our barn. My sister-in-law Jess suggested that Tyler go say hi to my brother while Ashleigh got settled inside. Tyler agreed and ran to the barn. Little did Ashleigh know that Tyler was really going there to check out how we’d transformed the barn into a romantic Christmas hideaway- and also to get his instructions from me on where to stand while proposing. After a quick look around, some shouted instructions and a few deep breaths, we all took our places - Tyler and my brother Eddie near the side barn door, and myself, my husband and our friend Cam (that’s another story) stowed away inside the barn with cameras in hand, ready to discreetly record the big moment.

Eddie gave the signal- a quick phone call to the house- and soon Jess was leading Ashleigh back to the barn, under the pretense of delivering a tool to Eddie.

Ashleigh must have realized something was up when she got to the door and Jess and Eddie suddenly disappeared. Tyler met her at the door and before she could question him too much, he began leading her through the barn, past the old cow’s feeding troughs, through the hall and out into the center room which was lined with Christmas trees, pine boughs and twinkling lights. And hanging right in front of the lit Christmas tree? Mistletoe, of course.

It all happened so fast- Tyler was suddenly down on one knee under the mistletoe and Ashleigh was squealing an excited “ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?” followed by the ring, hugs and tears. We tried to give them a moment to let it sink in, but their excitement was contagious- pretty soon Eddie and Jess were running over to hug their friends, and my husband, Cam and I popped out of our hiding places to wave and offer congratulations. Luckily someone had thought to tuck a bottle of champagne behind a hay bale, and soon we were having a proper celebration- but not before I convinced Tyler and Ashleigh to mark the occasion with a (very) mini engagement session in and around the barn.

The best part was how surprised Ashleigh was- she had sort of expected a proposal on Christmas Day, but certainly not the day after. And DEFINITELY not in a random barn in Western New York! Luckily, as I think you can tell from these photos, it was an incredibly special, surprising, and meaningful afternoon, not only for the happy couple, but for the rest of us too. Congratulations, Tyler and Ashleigh!

She said yes!

She said yes!

Maternity Portraits

Country Maternity Session | Niagara County Maternity Photographer

A very wise person once said "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got til it's gone?" I'm finding lately that this sentiment applies perfectly to the small country town in Niagara County where I spent a good portion of my childhood. It's one of those places where the cows outnumber people, where the town literally has one traffic light. We moved there when I was ten, and having come from a relatively suburban town, it was quite a culture shock. I never quite got my bearings, and couldn't WAIT to get out of dodge, to move to a place with sidewalks and traffic lights!  But the funny thing is, the longer I'm away the more I miss some of the little things about living in the country: rolling fields, huge expanses of sky, old country houses and the fact that owning a barn or tractor isn't out of the ordinary. As a now-suburbanite, I still haven't figured out what I'm supposed to do with tree trimmings and brush (no burn piles allowed in the 'burbs!). And as a photographer, I find lately that I'm looking at the beauty of the area with a whole new appreciation.

When I had the chance to work with a former classmate who still lives in the area on her maternity session, I jumped at the opportunity. I was happy to come to her home in Niagara County, and as she described her property - a barn, fields, chickens- my excitement grew. We don't see chickens that often in the 'burbs!

Well the chickens weren't very cooperative that day, but everything else about this session was wonderful. Sara, her husband Steve and four year old Hunter were so laid back, patient and fun, and I loved photographing them all around their beautiful property. Hunter has an amazing knowledge of all things Star Wars - and since I'm a big fan too, we definitely had a lot to talk about. He introduced me to his chickens (who all have names - Stormtrooper, Darth Vadar...), insisted on posing like Han Solo with his blaster, and showed off his amazing tractor-driving skills. This country boy is going to be one amazing big brother.

They say you can't go home again, but I sure love to visit. For someone who couldn't wait to leave, it's funny that I'm finding inspiration once again in the area. Niagara County, I hope I get to come back often and photograph your beautiful surroundings and even lovelier families!

Hunter, I mean Han Solo!

Hunter, I mean Han Solo!

"What's the point in having chickens if you can't take cute photos with them???"

"What's the point in having chickens if you can't take cute photos with them???"