highland park

Engagement Portraits

Still Himself, Only Better | Rochester NY Engagement Photographer

Going to school together in a small rural town, it seemed that mine and Cam's paths were always crossing. Our lockers were near each other; our little brothers were in the same grade and were friends; we only lived a block apart (of course when you live in the country, that block spans about 2 miles, but still...). While we were friendly, I certainly never would have predicted we'd stay in touch after high school. It wasn't really until we had graduated that got to know each other; we figured out that his birthday was the day after mine in late June, and since we had all the same friends we decided to have one giant birthday party at my house to celebrate. The party was, for lack of a better term, epic, and culminated with a massive bonfire that got a teensy bit out of control and nearly burned down my parents' barn. I guess near-arson can bring people together, because after that we were friends for life.

Cam is one-of-a-kind... he's the kind of person who can tell the filthiest of filthy jokes and yet still somehow completely endear himself to your mom. He grew up in the hospitality business, and it shows- he's the organizer, the one who always has something fun for the group to do, the one whose place everyone is always gathering at. In the few summers after high school graduation and during my college breaks, the phrase "everyone's going to Cam's house tonight," was repeated daily. He was the glue that held together a lot of friendships during those years, and over time became one of my few remaining connections to the small town where I had attended high school.

A few years ago, we began to hear rumblings that he was dating someone. The old high school rumor mill began churning: "Cam's dating someone." "Cam's got a girlfriend!" "She seems cool." "She calls him Derek." (Yes, Cam is not his real name, but to us it might as well be). I'll admit, I was nervous to meet her. We've all had those friends who start dating someone kind of terrible, and then they become kind of terrible themselves, right? Cam is such a unique person, and I feared that a girlfriend would try to reign him in too much, to temper his outgoing personality.

Meeting Megan put all my fears to rest right away. If you ever start to question the idea of a soul mate, you only need to spend a few hours with these two to believe again. Megan is just as friendly and welcoming as Cam, but she's got some sass too. For every crass joke or sarcastic comment Cam has, Megan can dish it right back out to him two-fold. She shares Cam's love of football, beer, and Game of Thrones... but has her own strong interests too (like running marathons!). When she moved in with Cam a couple of years ago, she somehow managed to strike a balance between Cam's man cave and a warm and cozy home with a woman's touch.  Above all, she does what any great partner should do- she allows Cam to be himself, only better.

I was so honored to do their engagement photos back in October, which I'm sharing today, and am incredibly excited to be attending their wedding this weekend (as a guest!!! I'm extra excited not to be working at a wedding!). Cam... ahem... Derek and Megan: I'm so very happy for you both, and am so lucky to call you both my dear friends. I know you're going to keep making each other happy for many years to come.

Let's just try not to let the bonfire at your wedding get too out of control, eh?

We were all cracking up over this image...

We were all cracking up over this image...

Family Portraits

Four For Four | Rochester NY Family Portrait Photographer

At one point in my high school career, while trying to figure out what the heck to do with my life,  I spent some time volunteering at a local Head Start program. Elementary education was a pretty popular career choice in my circle of friends, and I figured I should probably check it out for myself. After a few months of pondering I decided against it, and didn’t think much of it until I happened to mention it offhand to my husband a couple of years ago- “Did you know I thought about becoming a kindergarten teacher once?” Ohhhhhh, if you could have heard him laugh at me.

When Brooke contacted me in August, asking what I would think about doing some photos of her and her sister’s children together, I flashed back to my high school experience. Why did I go there? Well, it turned out that there would be four children… all under the age of 4! I was excited, but would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a twinge of panic. Getting four young children to like me and smile for me and SIT STILL? This would be interesting.

We met at Highland Park on just about the most perfect early September evening you can imagine. Thinking about it now as I write this in February is practically making me sigh out loud. I spent a few minutes getting to know Brooke’s boys before their cousins arrived. Soon the other children joined us, and it was go time.

What followed would become one of my favorite sessions of the year. Golden sunlight, gorgeous greenery and flowers, laughing children. The children ranged in age from 10 months old to 3 ½ years, and each had their own very distinct personalities. My head spun a bit as I alternated between a serious discussion about whether Anna or Elsa was the best princess, to blowing raspberries at the babies, to chasing the big kids.

There is always a moment on every shoot where I check the back of the camera and feel butterflies in my stomach. If you’re a photographer reading this, you’ll know what I mean- that moment where you realize that you nailed it- that one photo that really captures the personality of your subject. Well during this shoot I was lucky enough to feel those butterflies over and over and over. Looking at the photos from this day, I can see all the children so clearly: the intelligent boy with the old soul and a bit of a wild streak; the sweet and nurturing little girl who is such a little mother herself; the shy toddler just beginning to explore the world on his own; and the cautious but friendly baby whose toothy smile will melt you (if you can pull it from him!). I even managed to get them all together! These cousins clearly adore each other.

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I’m going to have to remember more of my training from my high school volunteering days. About a month after this shoot, Brooke’s sister gave birth to a little boy… and about a month after that, Brooke let me know that she was expecting another boy as well! If you’re keeping track, that means that the next time I photograph this bunch , there will be SIX children! Am I panicking? Well, maybe a little. But the truth is, if the two new little boys are anything like their siblings… it’s going to be a pretty fantastic time.