ESSENZA

Morgan...Seniors 2018...we laughed :)

"be happy...

not because everything is good, 

but because your can.

see the good in everything." 

-anonymous


morgan is a TRIP.

i think i told her that about 200 times last night. 

we were wind blown, cold, happy, having a great time, and oh...had perfect hair & Make-up :)

this girl is such a perfect combination of sweetness, sassiness, and honesty.

morgan you are a special one girl!
enjoy seeing your previews :))

 

-xoxoxoxoxo

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you cannot go back...

the entire day, through the giggles and even corrections, all i could think was,

"this time is fleeting."  

all i wanted was to catch it for them.  

their beauty, relationship, laughter.

bella and sophia..

marcela and her girls...

marcela alone...

my sister shannon did hair and mu.

my precious friend rachel helped assist me the entire day.

my girls, london and jordan assisted during the shooting.  

it took a team, but we did it. 

we "got" them.

oh, we made the memories.  

the essence of these sweet girls and their momma at this time in their lives. 

you CANNOT go back.  

CHERISH these moments. 

xo

the moments...CHERISH

marcela.

she connected with me as she has for the past few years in a row...to try to get special pictures of her girls together for the christmas season.  we could never make it work before.  

the fact that she lives in williamsburg, virginia didn't matter one bit.  

neither did the fact that she wanted pictures of only her little girls, and i decided to change it up into a day long, fairytale shoot that had in her in a big red gown too.  if you know marcela, then you know she's on board for pretty much anything when she believes in what you do.  

that's just what she did. 

we sent pictures of gowns back and forth...

concepts and ideas for the shoot...

and she allowed me to scheme up to the very last detail...

it took my sister and her wonder to bring to life the vision i wanted...

and it took my sweet friend rachel, and my london and jordan holding reflectors, carrying blankets, pushing back hair...

i took nearly an entire day.  

it took moment upon moment, memory upon memory.

we were freezing, noses running, laughing, and we did it.  

we brought it all to life. 

the moments.

trying to warm up after the shoot, marcela and i got to talk a bit about our "why's."

my "why" for the shoot, because i know these "little girl" days are fleeting,

and how the next thing you know, her loose teeth turn into a mouthful of braces.  

and the little girls dresses turn into prom gowns...

and although she is not there yet, marcela trusted me.  

that was enough of a why for her. 

she believed me.

invested in me.

so i could give her this.  

:)

life and death : news flash: i'm a professional photographer

nestled around the table, in my warm and airy, peace filled studio, gripping a cup of hot tea, there have been many discussions of death, impending death, and the almost death of loved ones.  

news flash:  i'm a professional photographer.

years ago, diving into the business, i never would have thought of such a tie

- the tie of life and death - and professional photography. 

"oh, you know! photography is fun!

it's feeling and emotion and it's art!  

it's a way to express myself.  and to make extra money on the side."

these things are all true.

but if you'd like a quick , stark reality check of what portrait photography really means, then i'll let YOU be a little of a fly on the wall, inside my portrait studio:

sitting across from me is a mom - a mom who had lost a child years ago...and she understands that the moments that you think are guaranteed, really are not.  and even though parents are supposed to die before their children, that this always doesn't happen.  and she sits there, with her senior daughter and her entire family, as they cry and laugh and hold tight to these moments of seeing the stunning images of her beloved daughter, and she tells me that she has INVESTED in what i do, because she understands the value of what i do.  

i'm on the phone with a young woman.  she's carrying her first child.  and after her father made it through a terrible bout of cancer, her mom was just diagnosed with breast cancer -that had spread.  and as positive as she tries to sound, her voice cracks as she tells me that they need portraits of her mom as she is now.  before the cancer takes her hair, and her energy.  and she tells me that she needs me to do this because she can't come back to this time ever ever again. 

i'm standing in the entry of my studio again.  i have just had an open house. it's been a light and merry day welcoming friends and clients into my studio.  and a friend walks in and asks me if i am able to fit her, her daughter and aging mother in for a session.  that they need to grasp the time right now while they can.  that they need an experience of pampering and beautifying and being together, memorialized for all time, but they need it shot now.  cash in hand, we set up a day for them.

and...i'm sitting in my mom's living room.  after losing my own father 10 years ago, i'm whispering to my mom about taking pictures of her and my step-dad.  my step-dad, who has silently been fighting cancer for a few years.  and with a sense of urgency, we talk about quickly getting a casual shoot together - just to have them - and then i stop.  and i tell her that i can't do that.  that it needs to be timeless, and it has to be a portrait - a portrait that shows their soul and that they can cherish.

i can go on and on.  

and you know what?  i i'm allowed to - i can.

i lost my dad at age 56.

i lost my sister in law last year unexpectedly at the age of 30.

and i nearly lost my stepdad quite a few times this past week.  

but in all honesty, all that said, portraits are about LIFE!!! 

about stopping that moment for all of time.  stopping a moment, in an image that you can never, ever get back and that you never, ever want to forget. 

it IS the christmas season. 

it IS the season that we search for the perfect gift.

it IS the perfect time to INVEST in the the gift of a life...and a timeless memory.

leigha seniors 2017

leigha will be a senior this coming year.  

this small town girl has big, big dreams.  

it's been such a treat getting to know her, sharing laughs, and shooting in all kinds of gorgeousness. :)

best wishes sweet leigha!  i believe in you!

-xx

"you are what you think.  so just think big, believe big, act big, work big, give big, forgive big, laugh big, love big and live big."  -andrew carnegie

 

presenting one of a kind senior honey love sessions!

honey honey, here's some love!

i am so excited to share with you the brainstorm of myself, and my dear friend lindsey taylor with Honeydew Vintage Rentals.  a native of this area, lindsey and I began working together some time ago, and as so many of my creative friendships progress, we got to brainstorming!  

today, lindsey lives in the hub of the maryland, washington d.c. area, where wedding styled shoots are happening all of the time.  

if you are not familiar with even what a wedding styled shoot is, let me fill you in-

a wedding styled shoot is when wedding vendors get together and visualize a scene for photographing.  they bring their ideas to life, have them photographed, then use the images to get their names published in wedding magazines, blogs, etc.. it is a great way for a professional to show off their exemplary style and potential, as well as to show the industry the newest and biggest trends coming this way. 

SO WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH SENIORS??

again,  just as i had written about in my previous blog post regarding essenza, i'm ready to dive back into my heart mission of showing women, at the pivotal times in their life, the invaluable person that they are.  

senior photography has always been a love of mine, so it only made sense as lindsey and i started talking, to put all she knows and does in styling vignettes for publication in the wedding industry, right into the senior industry, and where else to do it but right here in dubois pennsylvania!

going forward, we contacted our florist engineer extraordinaire, jennifer jackson torrell of     Brady Street Florist in dubois.  compiling our creative ideas, knowledge of trends for the senior market, and resources, we are excited to present to you, our one of a kind "senior honeylove sessions."  

we will show off the essence of who you or your daughter is at this most fleeting time of her life, will personally style her shoot with gorgeous fresh florals, exquisite vintage furniture pieces and accessories, and will hand to both of you, portraits, and an experience that is completely one of a kind.  

please note, these honeylove portrait sessions are for seniors only at not available at any other time.

we are accepting only 6 opening for this special day

contact me today to reserve your spot!

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the problem with being good -

it was 2007, and inside, i was on fire.

i had a camera, an impulsive momentum to succeed and gorgeous models to boot.

on a whim, my sister shannon and i planned our dream shoot...

we found a gown on clearance, mapped our 3 hours of perfect early morning sun and locations, i found a babysitter, and 12 hours later, we were shooting. 

i drew from every creative inch within myself and shot away.

i didn't want to be like anyone else.

in fact at that time, i had little to go on...

new and exciting was the digital age, where creatives were just starting to spread their wings and try to find what could be brought to photography that had not been there before...

no online courses or you tube videos and very few blogs at the time. 

i had been educated through individual instruction, books, and a correspondence photography course. 

it was a time of, anything goes...

funky camera angles and if a shot was fuzzy, decrease the saturation and call it artistic.  

(see what i mean?))  

 

 

i remember coming home and going through the images...

my mom was raving that she had never seen anything like these shots, and   

that she wanted every single image...that i was certainly a full blown professional now. 

 

who could forget that feeling?

dang, i could do this!

i felt it.  i was good. 

but then, all my life, i've been good. 

a good singer

a good actress

a good softball pitcher

a good student


you wanna know the problem with being good?

it's easy so stay good, and not push to greatness. 


 

it's a forever battle within the soul of a "talent."

and a battle that i personally confront again and again.

who i am promised to be, who i am committed to be, who i long to be...and where i need to go to complete my journey...

 

i look back at the images shot that day, and i see so many things that i couldn't see then. 

a camera angle with no purpose..

a longing to find my style by breaking the rules...

a poor location choice...

(later, my brother would inform  me that i had completed the shoot in front of toxic waste trailers...)

posing that was not representative of the subject i was shooting, and although at the end, an image that i loved, an image that had no purpose.  

where would shannon or my mom for that matter hang an image of shannon with wet hair draped across her face?

what i do see, from even then, is a desire behind my camera to show people something that they can not see themselves...

and that is why i am here now. 

Ecclesiastes 3The Message (MSG)

There’s a Right Time for Everything

3 There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8 A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

 


in the past year, for me, it was a time for a break.

a time that i needed to stop planning and dreaming and collaborating.

a time that i needed to feel the reality of some hard times in my life, so truly, i could move past them...

to rest in the fact that i could let things run on their own for awhile, simply because so many parts of me needed to take a break.


but run for too long without purpose, and you're running in circles.


there is a time to put all you have learned,

all you do,

all you know how to do,

all you love to do,

and what you are called to do, 

in a package and wrap it all up.

you wrap it all up with purpose

with pride

with experience

with value

with quality

with heart

with knowledge

with direction

and with truth

 

today, i'm returning to Essenza 

to show individuals who they are at this present time.

you will never be here again.  

and you will need to remember with purpose...

 that the craziest, most exhausting, draining time of your life, was also your most beautiful...

the lightness in her step before it is replaced with the world and all of it's realities 

the way her innocence could light up a room...

the way she would look deep into your eyes with a mischievous grin..

the way her tiny fingers would get caught in your hair...

the way the wind would blow across her angelic face...

the way you could still see the world as a canvas of bright opportunity...

the way you made time to stop and got dressed up for a portrait that you and generations to come will cherish...

your beautiful swollen belly, and the pressure of her tiny kicks..

the stunning woman she was and was becoming

the way the world fit together as you held onto one another's hands

the way his hand fit on your belly and the hope you held for your unborn child

 her style that you couldn't understand at the time, but loved it still the same

the confusing, freeing and beautiful moments of your twenties...

the long limbs, long hair and free spirit she had right before she stepped out on her own...

how it was sexy to mess your hair and to be in the simplicity of the moment

her youthful beauty right on the brink of adulthood..

AND

that just as the most vibrant flowers change, as does life.  

that one must grasp the exquisite opportunity at the moment it is presented. 

one cannot go back to rectify the angle...the purpose, the mood.

your daughter

your mother

your lover

the design, the heart, the moment - yes, all the pieces put together...

invaluable.

Essenza 

 

Featuring:

Florals: Brady Street Florist

Vignette Styling: Honeydew Vintage