Real Life isn't Posed

Hello old friends! Once again I’m dusting off my blog and updating my website after being in hibernation since last winter. This year has been one of the busiest ever, and I’ve not had much time to focus on photography or keeping up with blogging. Last November we welcomed an 8-year-old girl into our home after we were licensed to be foster parents, and here we are almost a year later and she is still with us! It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least. Working full time and being thrown into parenting an eight year old… phew. I’ve never been so tired. But as hard as this year has been, we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I’m excited to get back at it, with fall being my busy season for family photo sessions. Last weekend I had the privilege of photographing my very dear friends in their home — the home that they brought their babies home to, and have lived in for many years with so many good memories. They recently sold the house and are moving out in a few weeks, so I wanted to take some time to document this part of their lives in this space before they move on to their next home.

My favorite favorite kinds of photos to take are less posed and more a blend of lifestyle/documentary. I love love love getting the real moments on camera. I want to show families just doing their thing. Just being themselves and having fun. This session may have felt stressful to my friends at certain points when the girls weren’t super cooperative, and really just wanted to do their own thing. I totally get it, nothing drives me crazier than when I feel like I’m talking to a wall and my kiddo isn’t listening or cooperating. Part of the stress for parents, during photo shoots in particular, is that they are nervous they won’t get any good pictures. But when kids aren’t cooperative I usually just like to follow their lead and let them play and just do their thing. So don’t stress if your kids are not doing exactly what we want them to do during your family session. I promise we’ll still get some beautiful frame-worthy photos, and some photos that are pretty hilarious, too. (Kids make the best faces sometimes).

So without further ado, here are some of my favs of my beautiful, fantastic friends and their hilarious and adorable daughters.

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Throwback to a Hot Summer Day

It's been very chilly around here, in the 20s, and surprisingly it's snowed twice which usually doesn't happen this early in the season. Anyway, I was thinking about posting some photos and I thought I'd throw it back to summer. A sweltering hot day in July, the day before my dear friends moved to Minnesota. They wanted to get some photos in our little town to remember this place, so even though this was months ago, I thought I'd share some! I miss these friends so much. 

 

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Oh, hi... 5 months later

Hiiiiiiiii. 

So, you may have noticed (or maybe you didn't), that I've sort of been on hiatus/fell off the face of the earth. Haven't updated my blog since May. Haven't updated Insta since August. Welp.

I can't believe it's almost November. The difficult thing about having a full-time job and also trying to do photography on the side, is that it gets really really hard to make space for the photography on the side sometimes. I have had a crazy summer and a crazier fall in terms of workload and stress. So my photography biz has been neglected, because as much as I love it, I haven't had the time or mental capacity to devote to it. Anyway, I've recently started up again and I'm really happy I did. I've missed this. Also, I started reading this really amazing book called the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. It's all about unblocking your creativity, and so far I love it! 

So, I've taken some photos for family and friends over the last several months, which has been great. I've gotten to visit friends in New York and family & friends in Seattle, meet new babies, and photograph fam & friends who live nearby! It was a great summer; here are some of my faves. (ok like 8 million faves). Happy fall, y'all! 

Mackenzie Grace

Back in January my family welcomed its newest addition: my perfect little smush of a niece, Mackenzie Grace, more commonly known as Macky. A few days after lil Mack was born, I took photos of the new family of three. I love newborn photos, because first of all, who doesn't love babies? They're so fresh and new and tiny and perfect and they have that new baby smell. Sigh.

But what I love, being behind the camera, is just documenting life in the first few days when everything is new to everyone, and the parents are so in love with this little miracle that is all theirs. It's so beautiful, and I'm so lucky I get to do this. I love to see the new family just be. Just be together. Just stare at their precious new baby and snuggle and love, and even though they're exhausted, it's all worth it. 

Introducing... lil Macky. 

 

Mari in Nolita

Hi friends! So, I'm super behind on my blogging. Clearly. It's March, and I did this photo shoot in the beginning of December. Whoops! 

Winter is almost behind us (please, God, please). So I figured I'd better catch up on my blogging while I'm still in the slow season. Can't wait for warmth and sunshine and long days so I can be outside behind my camera more!

OK, so back to New York in December, which feels like eons ago. I had the pleasure of spending a couple hours with the fabulous Mari Andrew, who I met in college. Mari and I met up in the cutest little NYC neighborhood, Nolita. We had a glass of wine and caught up since it had been forever since we'd seen each other last, and she shared some of her wisdom with me.

Usually when I share photos on my blog I don't write a whole lot to go along with it, but writing is something I love and something I would like to get back to. I had this idea to do a "women who inspire" series, combining photos with writing, and I thought: what better way to start than with someone who is following her dreams in a creative field and someone who truly inspires me.

If you know Mari, or even if you're an Instagram fan from afar, you know that she is a gem. You may have stumbled across Mari's endearing illustration work on Instagram (@bymariandrew) or maybe you've come across one of the many articles written about her on Buzzfeed, Bored Panda, Business Insider, Bustle, etc. etc. (Why do these all start with B?!) If not, check her out, and follow her Instagram. She's awesome. 

A couple of years ago, Mari found herself dealing with the loss of her father, a difficult breakup, and to top it off -- cancer. A writer by nature, Mari found herself needing something else to help her process her grief. Mari puts it this way, "writing can be so intense, but doodling was fun and light and silly. I decided to put that happiness on the calendar and do one doodle a day."

I've been following Mari's work from the beginning, and it's been so fun to watch her illustrations gain traction and basically go viral. I asked Mari what her "holy shit" moment was, and she said it was when she hit 5,000 followers on Instagram. Now she's got 375,000 (!) followers and, in reading some of the many comments on her posts, it's clear her fans adore her and really connect with her work. 

Mari and I talked a lot about being a woman in a creative field and what it's like to be vulnerable by sharing yourself through your work. Over our glasses of hurriedly-drunk wine (the day was late and light was fading. Photos had to get done, but first - wine. Obviously.) we talked about how frustrating it is that we could get the most lovely praise and kind affirmations from so many people, but then that one disappointed client or Instagram troll can make all of that feel so small. That one comment or email or social media interaction can tower over the good, completely overshadowing it. It can really crush you.

I know I struggle with that. I made the comment that maybe I need thicker skin. And Mari said, "no, I feel like I need my 'thin skin' in order to do what I do. I am a sensitive person." And Mari's work really does radiate that beautiful vulnerability. I think that is why so many people identify with her work. It's why I do. There is a tenderness to it, and it is vulnerable in that it reveals so much about the kind of person Mari is, and the life she leads. She speaks truth through her art. And that is refreshing. There is nothing false or forced about Mari or her work. I love that. 

When asked who inspires her, Mari says the community of illustrators on Instagram. "It's the nicest community of people, and they're so encouraging." Mari is also inspired by "anyone who works really hard. I try to find people who work really hard and I try to emulate them."

And it is hard work, what Mari does; what any creative does. The hard work has paid off for Mari, and I am so excited for her, because she's currently working on a book that combines her illustrations and her first love: writing. Mari says, "I never wanted to be famous or necessarily publish a book. I just wanted to write." 

I asked Mari to give some advice to young women starting out in writing or art, wondering where to to go, and how to get there. (And selfishly I was asking just as much for myself!)

Two things you should know:

1) There's no substitution for hard work. "I got rejected 9,000 times. It feels like 9,000 times. It was four years of rejection. Do the work."

2) "Keep writing. Keep creating. It's an act of self-care. Put the love and the passion first."

When I asked Mari what keeps her going in the face of rejection, she said, "I would rather die than not be a writer." 

I'm so grateful for Mari and others like her that share something of themselves and make this world ever so beautiful. Thank you, Mari, for sharing your story and your truth with me over a glass of wine. And for wandering around Nolita with me. Slightly tipsy, maybe... But it made for some pretty fun photos. ;)

And without further adieu, here is the beautiful Mari Andrew. 

 

Casali Family

Bringing it full-freakin'-circle (Lorelai, anyone? Gilmore Girls a Year in the Life? Sorry, just got done binge watching and it's on my mind). Anyway... my sister and her fam were the first family I ever did photos for. So it was fun to do photos again almost a year and a half later, with my beautiful grown-up nieces (and their new puppy!) OK, so they're only 5 and 3, but they're growing up too fast! 

We took photos on Thanksgiving morning at Sheep Pasture in Easton. Such a great location, with that big barn door, and lots of land to wander around on. It was perfect. 

Here are some of my favorites.

 

Albert Family

Helloooooo! I feel like I've been editing photos foreeeeeever. Now I'm finally crawling out of my photo editing cave to share some with y'all. (Can I say y'all even though I'm really a New Englander? I choose to believe yes. Yes, I can. ) Yay!

Anyway, I got to go back to Colt State Park which is so beautiful in the fall, you guys! My friends Kate and Nathan wanted me to take one-year photos of their adorable son Foster. And when I say adorable, I mean, a-freaking-dorable. You'll see. This little man is so cute, and it was so fun to capture the many faces of Foster. We spent about half the shoot focusing on Foster, and then family photos for the other half. 

I think these will make for some pretty cute Christmas cards.

Also, tangent -- Christmas!! I'm so excited. This meme is my life right now. Who's with me?

OK, back to the Alberts. Here are some of my favs.

Kefor Family

Last Sunday, it was a dreary, dark, rainy, cold day. I was a little worried because I had photos scheduled for the afternoon, and cold, dreary weather isn't exactly ideal for little ones. Also, I was going for that late afternoon dreamy lighting and I was worried that the dark clouds would take over my shoot. 

Well, sometimes the dreary days actually make for great photo shoots. The rain held off, the clouds weren't too dark, and it actually warmed up a little bit. We had a great time walking (and running) around the beautiful Queset House in Easton. This ended up being a great location which I definitely will keep in mind for future shoots. 

These little ones were so sweet and fun to photograph. Such a gorgeous family!

There's still time for holiday card photos. Contact me to set yours up soon!

 

Gardell Family

Two weekends ago I drove up to Mass and had the pleasure of photographing this beautiful family of four in their backyard. Ford is just a couple of months old, and his big brother Asher is four. They were so much fun to photograph. And so stinking cute!

I am lamenting the transition from fall into winter because the light and the colors are just so beautiful. But I was glad that I had this opportunity for another gorgeous fall shoot with this cute family. Here are a few of my favorites. 

LaPorte Family

Last weekend I photographed a very old family friend and her beautiful family. Laurie grew up on the same street, and was the same age as my oldest sister. Since both of my older sisters spent a lot of time playing at Laurie's house, I, as any good younger sister should, followed them. Probably much to their dismay. :)

I hadn't seen Laurie in years, so it was so fun to see her and meet her husband Tom, and their two little guys. I loved the energy these boys had. They had a lot of fun running all over the park, and I had fun chasing them, taking photos of the fun they had, and sweet moments like when the boys found a caterpillar, and gave it kisses! *heart melt*

We met at the Governor's Estate Park in Easton, MA (my hometown!) on a gorgeous fall day. I'm in love with these fall colors.