Phantom-inspired portrait session {State College, PA boudoir photographer}

Thought I’d share a *very* special sneak peek from my boudoir page Black Lace Images. Nothing like the master bedroom in a mansion to inspire!
If my blog had a drumroll feature, I’d use it right … now …

Bella requested a very special boudoir session inspired by her absolute favorite musical “Phantom of the Opera.” She had a replica of Christine’s dressing gown handmade specifically for her, and I can tell you it’s absolutely stunning in person. The fabric, the details — it’s amazing.

I just knew a traditional Victorian bedroom is what we needed to really capture the essence of the look she was going for, so I arranged for a shoot at the Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Bellefonte. (A gorgeous location I’ve always wanted to check out.) And it was perfect.

So, without further ado, here is Bella’s Phantom boudoir sneak peek. Long-stemmed red rose and all.

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Private mentoring session {Rochester, N.Y. photography mentor}

Meet Neel.

He is without a doubt one of the most polite, kind-hearted and laid back people I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know. He recently stumbled upon one of my images on Facebook, looked through my work, noticed I offered mentoring and inquired about some one-on-one training.

After talking about his goals and determining what type of help would benefit him most, Neel decided to drive down for an intensive 4-hour individual editing workshop to take his images to the next level.

I taught him all of my techniques on tons of sample images, explained why I do what I do, then (after a dual ginger ale and snack break) he had the opportunity to apply what he learned to some of his own images.

After looking at his previously edited image and his new version, he literally sat back in his chair, ran his hands over his head and said, “That just blew my mind. Total game changer for me.”

Awesome way to spend the day and I can’t wait to see how he progresses!

 

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Lisa & Steve {State College, PA engagement photographer}

This weekend, during an insane wind storm and 30 mph gusts, I had a blast photographing my gorgeous sister Lisa and soon-to-be brother-in-law Steve’s engagement session!

If you’re keeping track, that’s TWO weddings in my family this year!

I’ve said it before, but it is such a blessing to be able to photograph people you love. 

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Altoona Mirror newspaper column {April}

There were a handful of stories I wrote my very first year as a journalist that really stuck with me. 

Gas hitting $2 for the first time ever.

Sept. 11.

And, surprisingly (at least to me at the time), a feature piece about the Fresh Air Fund.

I remember it was a really hot June afternoon and the summer sunshine was calling me away from my desk. But I did my homework before leaving for interviews. I found out the Fresh Air Fund is a non-profit organization that links low-income New York City youth with volunteer families in rural communities to provide them with a positive summer getaway.

A bus full of kids would be arriving in town that afternoon and I would be there to meet them.

I opted to observe from a distance at first and this amazing thing happened. Kids with seemingly no connections to waiting groups ran with open arms to be reunited with their summer hosts. Others were introduced for the first time, hugs were exchanged, plans made and there was this incredible excitement about sharing a common experience.

As arranged ahead of time, I spent the day following a teen and his Fresh Air family. I listened with genuine interest as he talked about how they had impacted his life, how much he looks forward to seeing them every year, and they reciprocated his sentiments.

He had never seen fireflies. Roasted a marshmallow. Or even walked barefoot on grass.

Seven years later, and they shared nicknames and inside jokes. Memories of summers’  past spilled out in snippets abbreviated with everyone’s laughter. I remember jotting down a note that he greeted the family dog as exuberantly as the dog greeted him.

After everyone had sufficiently caught up, I asked to borrow him a moment. Lemonades in hand, we excused ourselves to the front porch and each claimed a waiting rocking chair. Then he said something I’ll never forget.

“They’ve made me believe I have options in life.”

When I asked him to explain, he talked about how his host family annually sent him to basketball camp. And because of their encouragement, that year he tried out for and made his school’s varsity team. He started hanging out with more supportive people and said he hoped to get a scholarship and attend college — something he hadn’t ever considered a possibility before.

To a recent college graduate, it made a lasting impression.

The premise of the organization had seemed so simple in type on a website, but after experiencing it for a few hours, I realized it had incredible potential to benefit everyone involved. I left feeling humbled and appreciative of all the little things it’s easy to take for granted.

I vowed to volunteer as soon as I was able. 

Late last year, after much discussion, finally furnishing our guest room, and crossed fingers that we’d be a diaper-free household by this summer, my husband and I applied to be a host family. We were interviewed over the winter and were told we’d be given a match by spring. 

We found out a few days ago that 7-year-old Joanna will be staying with us for 10 days in July. We called to introduce ourselves and she can’t wait to collect rocks, go swimming in a pool for the first time and asked to milk a cow. 

I said we’d make it work!

I have no expectations, just excitement to finally be fulfilling a promise I made to myself over a decade ago. And what the heck. Maybe I’ll try milking a cow for the first time, too.

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My birthday boy! {State College, PA lifestyle photographer}

Today my little guy turns 3! And what mom doesn’t want photos to commemorate each milestone?

But unlike his big sister who would pose all day long, Evan is not a fan of getting his photo taken. (Trust me, the irony doesn’t escape me.) So rather than resorting to bribery, getting frustrated and likely being disappointed, I wanted Evan to do his own thing and have fun.

This morning, after opening his birthday shirt, having breakfast and waiving Allison’s bus goodbye, we came home and spent the morning doing what he does best — playing with cars, making loud noises, jumping and otherwise being crazy.

It was so much fun, and the result?

Evan. In his element.

Absolutely perfect.

 

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Anne Marie - March 7, 2014 - 5:40 PM

What a cutie! I love the pics….