The Blog

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Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared. — Buddha

I came away from this shoot with a smile that beamed to the moon. The weather was perfect, the sky was blue, the water at Sandy Cove was inviting, and this family was just wonderful. I hadn’t met them prior to this shoot, but I had seen the boys around town and had heard how fun they all are, so when Diana contacted me to take their family photos, I was really excited. Diana is GORGEOUS and is such a strong, loving, and fun mom to her three boys. She has the sweetest Australian accent and I could listen to her all day. Her boys all have distinct personalities, but the one thing they share is such great love for their mom; and I feel so honored to have been able to capture that on this amazing night. Christian, Ollie, Alex — take good care of your beautiful mama and always be willing to get a little wet 😉 Thank you for sharing your evening, and your happiness, with me.

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WorldsEndFamilyPortraits_0046

There are a great number of wonderful things I could say about this family: How funny Jen is, how cute Emma’s freckles are, how I remember laughing and chatting at the bus stop with Taylor and Bryan when the kids were little, and how one year at their Cinco de Mayo party I stepped backwards off of their patio and fell into a bush. All true. Lately, however, the Thomas family has been known for their incredible resilience in the face of a very difficult year. Last summer, Bryan Thomas suffered a near-fatal aneurysm that left him unable to speak or walk for over a month. I remember seeing how the town rallied around the family, offering support however they could, and when Bryan returned home in early September, it was as if there was this collective sigh of relief; he was alive, he was back in the fold. So much of life has us clinging to the thinnest and frailest of filaments just to get by; this family hangs on to each other and hope and love with sturdy guide ropes and just being around them is a treat. I was so honored when Jen called me and asked me to photograph them all one fall afternoon. I had concerns about Bryan’s mobility, but she assured me that it wasn’t going to be an issue, and boy was she right.

We headed out to World’s End in Hingham with the family dogs and within minutes I let go of any anxiety I had about capturing the connection this family has — they just ooze love and laughter and fun. Emma is such a sweet girl with these GORGEOUS green eyes, and Bryan, despite a slight weakness on one side of his body, was able to keep up with everyone, climbing the hill and walking the trails and just generally being a normal happy kid. Taylor and Jen are so awesome together and I can see why, despite the hit they all took, they are still standing tall. The shoot was wonderful, and I hope the photos below convey how much fun we had, and how awesome this gang is. And it just keeps getting better! (photo below by Kimberly Albanese)

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Recently, Bryan has made incredible efforts to give back to the doctors and nurses at Boston Children’s Hospital” He raised almost $30,000 and walked with family and friends from town. I see him out running all the time. I feel lucky to know him. And lucky to know all of them — this fun, strong, resilient, brave, and magnificent family.

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I am sitting here in my office today — the 15th of December — looking out the window at my rosebushes which are BLOOMING. Currently the thermometer says 67 degrees in Cohasset; I’ve spent 39 of the last 48 years as a resident of the Northeast, and this is bonkers warm. And sunny. And AWESOME.

What better weather to write this, my favorite blog post of the year? At the end of each of the past five years (see 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010) I’ve grasped for the words to use to express my gratitude to the people in these photographs. To explain how your support of my business not only feeds my family, but feeds my soul as well. I love going back through my files to choose the images for this annual slideshow; more often than not I get teary and overwhelmed with joy at knowing that I’ve been able to bring these wedding memories and these toddler smiles into your homes. These photos are extraordinary because the people in them are extraordinary — how could something so magical collect the dust of ordinary existence? — and I am truly the happiest photographer in the world today.

If you or someone in your family is a part of this year’s memories, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you’d like to be a part of next year’s, I would be honored to have you! Thank you to my seniors for trusting me with this important milestone, to my couples for allowing me to be a part of your big day, to my fellow photographers who allowed me to share their clients as a second shooter, and to all of the families who allowed me to glimpse the wonders of their world. My very best wishes to all of you for a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season, and may you all feel the warmth of this meteorological gift of sunshine.

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2015-10-20_0001

Meet the gorgeous Karly. We had a relaxing and sunlit shoot at Sandy Cove last week, and Karly was a pro in front of the camera. Can you even deal with that hair? One of the many beauty misfortunes of growing up in the 80s was the poodle perm; I had one every six months or so because I was SO miserable with my straight hair. Why I thought a frizzy smelly mess on top of my head was any better, I’ll never know, but the vision I had in my imagination was exactly what Karly was blessed with naturally. Beautiful hair, beautiful eyes, wonderful girl. Karly, I wish you all the best!

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2015-10-16_0001

I had such a nice afternoon on the beach with Sarah recently — even though debris from the recent storms kept us from getting down near the waterline, we found some great places in the grass to take Sarah’s senior photos. Sarah is sweet and has a quick smile and I think these photos really show how she shines! I’m also so glad I convinced her mom Sally to jump in at the end 😉 All the best Sarah!!

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2015-10-06_0001

Oh Katie and Jay. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

• I love that we watched football during our first meeting
• I love that you met me in three feet of snow for our first engagement shoot
• I love that you adore your rescue dog more than life
• I love that you post a photo of the sunrise view from your house every day
• I love that you had a parade party for St. Patricks Day and welcomed me and my gang
• I love that we got kicked out of the Scituate yacht club together during our summer engagement shoot and you didn’t even bat an eye
• I love that you wore Sperrys to your First Look
• I love that your fancy wedding shoes were SO BLINGED OUT
• I love that your families are so important to you and that they were such a big part of your day
• I love that Jay’s parents have a shady back yard!
• I love that you had a bishop marry you and that you got a papal blessing
• I love that the bishop forgot to have you exchange rings, so you got to do your first kiss twice 😉
• I love that you didn’t stress when your bus never showed up
• I love that you made it a point to feed your friends well and hang out with them so much during the middle of your wedding day
• I love that you bought Max a tie and made sure that we did photographs with him
• I love that you are always so generous in expressing your happiness and gratitude
• I love that you love each other so much that photographing you is easy

And finally…

• I love that you chose me to be your wedding photographer so that I could share this amazing day with you. What a huge blessing. I am so happy to call you friends!

Venue // Barker Tavern
Hair // KA Ricco
Makeup // Danielle Keefe
Flowers // Sue Chessia Floral Design
Cake // Montilio’s
DJ // DJ Mike Janedy

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Seriously? I am gaga over these shoes. And the flowers were GORGEOUS.

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How fun it is that Ann Hathaway photobombed this?

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Max. Max and His Tie. Katie and Max and His Tie.

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I thought it was so great how all of the bridesmaids just fell into this sassy position while they were watching the formals.

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Um…hello beautiful.

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One of the most important photos of the day.

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Michaela and Sean

Happy Fall! Even though it’s supposed to get up into the 70s today, I really feel like we’ve turned the corner into the cooler part of the season. I was out on Block Island this past weekend and it was CHILLY under that big ol’ moon. No complaints, but I’m glad I got to go through these gorgeous, summery photos this morning.

I met Michaela and Sean at a coffee shop last fall and I knew immediately that I wanted to photograph their wedding. In addition to their easy and happy personalities, they each have the kind of eyes that photographers dream about. Michaela’s are deep and sparkly, and Sean’s are the kind of blue that you only see on the most perfect days. I’m glad I got the job because I’m sure I was staring at them both, imagining how awesome their eyes would be in photos. And I was right!

These two met at Providence College, and according to the stories told during the reception toasts, they were meant for each other right away. I didn’t get to have an engagement shoot with them, but we went out for dinner and drinks a few weeks before the wedding and they had me laughing with stories of their family and friends, and it was absolutely reciprocated in the love and friendship that I saw in their guests. The wedding was held in Michaela’s parent’s back yard in Dartmouth, where a gorgeous tent was set up amid the late-summer flowers. When I first arrived, I was totally blown away by how beautiful everything looked, and the details, particularly those by caterer Lisa Matiello of Pranzi Catering and florist Yvette Frazier of Yvette Frazier Floral Design were GORG. Seriously, I swooned over the flowers for a good chunk of time before I remembered what I was there for. I love me some Dusty Miller in bridal bouquets. I also tried to abscond with Michaela’s Jimmy Choos but as I can’t shoot in heels, I reluctantly let the bride wear them ;). From the beautiful bridesmaids dresses to the emotional first look between Michaela and her dad to Sean, his brother, and their parents taking the stage halfway through the reception, it was a perfect day in every way. We hit downtown New Bedford for some photos and then the bride and groom got to spend most of their cocktail hour out on the lawn with their guests (including the cutest ring bearer I have ever met. Seriously, check out the suspenders. He took his job so earnestly that when he got to the altar at the church, he stopped and stood before the priest, waiting for instructions. And then later he asked me to dance and THANKED ME when we were done. Crush.). The reception was high energy with a packed dance floor, and all around the yard were twinkling lights and candles and joyful people celebrating this magical night.

Michaela and Sean, I am SO honored to have been a part of your day and I thank your families for showing me such hospitality. I wish you many many years of love and laughter, and I expect to still see Sean out on the dance floor when he’s an old man. xoxoxo

Wedding Planner // Lisa Matiello of Pranzi Catering
Makeup Artist // Alicia for Lindsay Simon
Hair Artist // Emily Reale
Florist // Yvette Frazier Floral Design
Transportation // A Formal Affair Limousine
Caterer and Cake // Pranzi Catering
Band // The Hub
Bridesmaids Dresses // Adrianna Papell

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2015-09-09_0002

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know that I am always looking forward to my annual shoot with this family. Sarah and Matt and their stupendously awesome boys David, Jack, Kyle, and Christopher have been in front of my camera countless times and each shoot is better than the last. For the past few years, we’ve been shooting with a theme (see basketball, baseball, and farming to name a few), and this year it was Jack’s idea that we take the family’s boat to the sandbar just outside of the harbor for an afternoon of swimming, digging, crab-catching, kayaking, and general tomfoolery, and I think it might have been not only my favorite shoot of the year, but possibly one of the best nights of my summer. A cocktail, a full moon, and some good friends — what more could I ask for?

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2015-08-04_0001

I am sitting in my office looking out at a very angry sky and wondering whether or not I should cancel my high school senior shoot tonight. That storm we had this morning was HUGE, and I do not want to be caught out on the beach when lightning strikes! It seems appropriate, however, to be blogging Tiffany and Lael today, as the morning of their wedding started off rainy and gray; since they had planned to have their ceremony on the beach in front of the house in Hull that Lael grew up in, there was a bit of a scramble to come up with a Plan B in the event that we weren’t able to pull off the ceremony on the beach. When I arrived at the house where Tiffany was getting ready, she was as relaxed a bride as I have ever seen, and she didn’t care one bit about the weather. She was going to marry Lael no matter where it happened. Her bridesmaids were all in wonderful spirits as well, and just like that, the skies cleared and the sun came out, and Plan B wasn’t needed.

I want to back up a little, though, so that I can tell you how extraordinary these two people are. I first met them last year when they drove up from their home in Pennsylvania to meet with me. Tiffany brought her son Eathan, as as I asked questions about their wedding plans, she and Lael consulted Eathan almost as much as they consulted each other. Eathan is just about Calder’s age, and he is sweet and caring and funny and it was so nice to see him share in the delight of his mom’s engagement. When the three of them came up in February for their engagement shoot, it was a family affair as well. I had been looking forward to this day for such a long time, and I just knew it was going to be spectacular. What I didn’t know was how many times I was going to cry.

The room that Tiffany and her girls got ready in looked directly out at the beach (huge shout-out to Tiffany’s friend Kat who not only did hair and makeup for almost everyone in the wedding party, she was also a bridesmaid! She pretty much kicked butt all day long). I had been milling around with them, getting my gear ready to start shooting when I noticed that the guy out on the beach arranging the chairs and constructing the chuppah was actually Lael. Just two hours before his wedding and he was helping out, making things easier for his family. Tears for Lisa. Then, right after Tiffany put on her dress, she had a mini First Look with Eathan, whose eyes almost popped out of his head when he saw his mom in a wedding dress. Tears for Lisa. Tiffany and Lael elected not to see each other before the ceremony, but they did spend a few moments in each other’s company, quietly talking and holding hands without looking at each other. More tears. When Tiffany came across the sand with her dad and Eathan escorting her, the whole crew was sniffling. The couple wrote their own vows; after Tiffany had said hers to Lael, and Lael had said his to Tiffany, Lael called Eathan up from the front row and recited vows to HIM, about being a good father and devoting himself to Eathan and his mom. At this point I had to put the camera down and wipe my eyes with the hem of my dress, because OH MY GOD IT WAS SO AMAZING. Eathan just looked up at his parents and BEAMED.

Once the ceremony was over we took some shots at the Paragon Carousel and out on the beach. During the trip to and from, Eathan sat at the front of the party bus and pointed out the important sights along the way: World’s End, the surfers at Nantucket Beach, the liquor store where he thought a lot of the beer had come from…that got a big cheer. Tears of laughter this time. We finally ended up at the Sea Dog Brew Pub down at the docks at the end of A street where the reception was held in the Bay View Room, which pretty much gave us a front row seat to the sun setting over Boston. More tears from this sad sack when Tiffany danced with her mom. I finally got myself together when the awesome DJs (yay Charlie!) turned up the party vibe and the dance floor stayed packed all night.

Tiffany and Lael, I can not thank you and your families enough for including me in your incredibly beautiful day. I am so blessed too know you, and even though I’m a little disappointed that you chose not to take me to Greece with you, I still hope you find as much happiness in viewing these photos as I had making them for you. I wish you a long, happy, and healthy life full of laughter and love. oxoxoxoxox.

Hair and Makeup // Kat O’Mara
Seashell Bouquet // Seashells in Bloom!
Wedding Dress // Taylored for You Bridal Boutique
Groom and Groomsmen Attire // Joseph A. Bank
DJ // The DJ Experience
Cake // Konditor Meister
Venue // Sea Dog Brew Pub

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A bouquet made out of shells!
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A little pre-wedding love from the family dog…

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Tiffany is simply stunning, all the time.

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Gorgeous makeup by Kat.

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The bride’s two sisters, Stephanie and Lauren, were so wonderful…

2015-08-04_00242015-08-04_00252015-08-04_0026I love this moment.
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Right here. This is when I had to put my camera down and wipe away the blubbering tears.

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Lael’s brothers looking on…

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chathamfamilyphotography0006

When I showed up at Harding’s Beach in Chatham last week for this shoot, the fog was so thick that I couldn’t actually see the ocean from the parking lot. It was windy, and the temperature had dropped 10 degrees since I’d gone over the bridge. Not the most ideal setting for a family photo shoot, particularly one that was in celebration of an 80th birthday and had been scheduled months in advance to take advantage of a family vacation on the Cape. There was another photographer in the lot as well, with another family, and I could see that look of dismay on all of their faces — where had the beautiful sunshine gone?

It was with these guys. Truth. They showed up 10 minutes later and the sun peeked through the fog and the skies brightened and You’re Welcome, Other Family!

Beth is a distant cousin of Calder’s dad. Her mom Joan (and Joan’s late husband Tom) were the very first people to give me and Matt an engagement gift all those many years ago (it was a beautiful holiday plate, and I still have it!). I hadn’t seen Beth, Joan, or anyone else in the family in years, but I had kept track of their comings and goings through FaceBook and news from my mother-in-law, and when Beth contacted me to photograph the family in celebration of her mom’s 80th birthday, I could not have felt more honored. It was so wonderful to see them again, and Aunt Joan looks absolutely amazing! Beth brought her husband Mark and her two awesome kids Julia and William, as well as her sister Susan. And a couple bottles of wine, which: YAY! We ducked into the gorgeous dunes that ring the beach and shot a whole lot of iterations of family groupings. The best part, however, was when the kids decided that they wanted to show off the things that they did best, which for Julia was dancing and for Will was soccer. We let the remainder of the fog wash over us and had a really remarkable time. I’m so grateful that I had the chance to work with this wonderful gang!

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