Best of 2016

Here it is, folks, my favorite images of 2016 all in one post!

It was so incredibly difficult to narrow it down, and I still have way too many. 2016 was an incredible, transformative year for me. It was the worst of life and the best, all rolled into one. It’s actually hard to believe that everything that happened took place in the space of one year. In terms of photography, I continue to be amazed and grateful that I get to do what I love every day. I regularly think about sitting at my desk in a law office, knowing I wasn’t where I was supposed to be and dreaming of the day I could pursue my dream. I was kicked out of the nest before I thought I was ready, but I set my eyes forward and didn’t look back. On days when I feel overwhelmed or like quitting (yes, that does happen sometimes, let’s be real!), I think about how 2009 me would be in awe of 2016 me, and I feel better. Perspective is what keeps us grounded! I have had the honor of photographing the most incredible people this year. Some of my families have returned several times¬†in one year, and some come back every year on vacation and I get to see their families and babies grow. If you think you feel old watching your own kids get big, imagine that multiplied many times over! I’ve seen newborns turn into big kids and become big brothers and sisters. I’ve seen babies enter this world that are now such grown up little people! My heart is full.

2016 was also filled with loss and transformative changes – some of which did not come easily. In March, my mom’s fiance passed away suddenly, and less that 48 hours later I lost my dad to cancer at only 58 years old. He never stopped fighting to live – his zest for life and rugged determination never wavered. The last vivid memory I have of him was sitting with him at golden hour (my favorite time of day) in my aunt’s front garden. He looked around with a mixture of deep appreciation and sadness in his eyes. He had his leg propped up, but it was swelling and he knew he would have to say goodnight to the sun, to the breeze, to the flowers and birds and people with their dogs walking by. And he wanted to keep taking it all in. The perfect mirror of the bigger picture. He knew his time was short. But he didn’t want to leave. In April, my sister came in from CA for his service and we went to Myakka State Park and spread his ashes in the place he loved so much, where we fished and canoed with the gators and where he pushed us on swings. In that moment, I felt him all around me and knew he would always be with me because I am made of him, made from him – my memories, my personality, my way of seeing the world…is because of him. I’ve included some images of the last time we were together as a family, the last time he looked like himself. Losing my dad made me realize that our time is too short to live a life that is not authentically ours. That biding time in hopeless hope that things would get better was a terrible, wasteful tragedy. Within months I had made a life changing decision and ended a 7 year relationship. It was hands down, the hardest thing I have ever done. I learned that just because something hurts doesn’t mean it is bad or wrong. That the old cliche is true – “the only way around it is through it”. And when you are on the other side, it can be pretty beautiful.

Now to the happy part! One of my biggest dreams and desires is to travel, and travel I did this year! I spent some much needed time with my teenage daughters, as we became pseudo-groupies of our favorite band, The 1975. We saw them in St. Augustine, Charleston, Tampa and Orlando. After having the last 4 years of my life dictated by a nursing baby and then toddler, this was seriously what the doctor ordered for all three of us. And here I learned that taking time with your family and yourself is just as vital as working like a maniac. ūüėČ We also got to spend 10 days in Joshua Tree, CA with my sister’s family. That place is pure magic, and so are the photos I took there! I worked in NYC more than once – a place I had not been since 2002 (and then only for a day, with a double stroller!), and I took the kids there the week before Christmas – that was amazing. I love NYC and I would spend as much time there as I can manage! In October I went to Moab, Utah for continuing education with The Photo Rehab. There, I met a dozen or so friends I had only known online and recharged before season hit. The end of 2016 through the New Year was spent in Tromso, Norway. My first time in Europe! Seriously, a dream come true. With the guidance of some very special people, I stood underneath the Northern Lights, overcome with wonder, and photographed them. And something sweet and magical happened on New Year’s Day (check back in next month to find out what.) You know you’re crazy lucky to talk astronomy with someone when you ask a question and they say “well, once I was talking to Carl Sagan and…)! Traveling so much in the fall and winter was very challenging work-wise. I cannot thank my sweet clients enough for being so awesome during this time. It was a fitting way to end the year….learning about the universe from an expert, staring up at the multitude of stars, and contemplating our oneness with nature and with each other – for we are all made from stardust, after all.

We’ll see creation come undone
These bones that bound us will be gone
We’ll stir our spirits ’til we’re one
Then soft as shadows we’ll become
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Catherine & Adam’s Classic Longboat Key Wedding

Catherine and Adam are a quiet couple who’s unique brand of fun personality sneaks up on you. The same was true for their elegantly understated wedding with a touch of classic Old Florida glamour. The day began at the Longboat Key club, where the Sarasota sunshine fills every room, and the balconies have beautiful views of the gulf’s white sand and blue waters. The traditional ceremony took place at St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church, and a ride on the trolley took guests to the Longboat Key Resort for the reception. The resort boasts the best of both worlds, with a large expanse of trees dripping with Spanish moss, backing up to a small sandy beach with palm trees and a gorgeous view. ¬†The best part of the day was watching the bride and groom, who up until that point had been rather reserved, let loose and dance their hearts out with their friends and family. A horse head even made¬†an appearance. Apparently this is an inside joke among friends that we were not in on, but it was fun to watch. It was such an honor to be part of this amazing day.

Second Photographer: Michael Zawadzki / Planner: Swanky Soiree / Reception Venue: Harbourside Ballroom & Terrace at Longboat Key Club / Florals: Beneva Flowers / Cake: Cakes by Ron / Hair & Makeup: Eri Vincent / Transportation: SRQ Trolley /& Primetime Limousines

 

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HOLIDAY SESSIONS – NOW BOOKING

BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY SESSION!

To see dates, times, and what’s included, click on Book Now, above.

Holiday portraits already? Yup! It’s that time of year, friends! Everyone knows how crazy busy everything gets as soon as Thanksgiving arrives, and no one likes the stress of wondering if their Holiday Cards will get out on time. Let’s be honest, if you are sending out cards at all you are totally WINNING AT LIFE. So grab one of the five sessions I have opened up for booking and cross one thing off your list early! There will be several locations available: Palma Sola Botanical Park, The Celery Fields, Coquina Beach, and more to be added later. Let’s talk a little bit about these sessions.

I have chosen to offer what amounts to an abbreviated version of my regular sessions (rather than mini sessions) for a few reasons:

  1. TIME & CONNECTION: In my experience, it takes about ten minutes for my clients to really warm up to the camera. It can take a few minutes to calm a nervous child, or convince a strong willed toddler to have fun and smile. It takes a little time to connect with clients, and that is what makes photos really shine. I’d rather not rush.
  2. VALUE: Rather than a themed set-up that may be super fun for the holidays but would not get a prime spot on your wall year round, your family portraits will be timeless and can be displayed in your home in every season. You can still have a festive holiday card by selecting a design with lots of holiday color and artwork.
  3. LIGHTING: Mini Sessions are usually full days of back to back short sessions. What this means is that only a handful of families will be photographed during the best light of the day. I have eliminated that problem by only shooting two sessions at a time, both during golden hour.

To¬†add even more value to your holiday photos, the first five families to book their session will receive $200 off an additional session later in the year (this will cover the whole session fee). Want photos for Mother’s or Father’s Day? Baby turning One? Pregnant? Here you go! You can also gift this $200 value to a friend or loved one.

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Surprise Proposal – The Oxford Exchange

A few months ago, I had the honor of photographing the wedding of a lovely couple who had equally lovely wedding attendants. One day, following the wedding, I received an email inquiry from John. He was planning a surprise proposal for his girlfriend, Rachel (who was in the wedding), and wanted me to stealthily photograph it. I was sad I couldn’t be there myself because I was already booked for a wedding that day, but that’s when having a wonderful team comes in. I knew Mike would do a wonderful job, and that he loves the fun of hiding like the paparazzi.¬†¬†When I found out what John had planned, I was so excited. John had a custom book made, which Mike planted on a table at The Oxford Exchange in Tampa. He brought Rachel there under false pretenses and then they “found” the book together, which led into John dropping to his knee and asking Rachel to be his wife. The expression on her face was absolutely priceless, and the love and laughter that fills their relationship truly shines through in these images. Congratulations, John and Rachel! Well done!

proposal oxford exchange

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Naomi – Venice Modeling Session

Fourteen year old Naomi (yes, she is really 14!) and her mom recently relocated from Pennsylvania to Venice, Florida. They have been enjoying warm walks to the beach and Naomi has joined the cheerleading team¬†at her new school. The house Naomi’s mom purchased is a very retro 70’s style Florida home which is about to be remodeled, and we decided to take advantage of that and shoot a little before we left for downtown Venice and the beach. The results were really fun. It was hard to believe that this was Naomi’s first time modeling for a professional. She did an amazing job, and soon she will be modeling for Kapri Couture’s fall line. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for her.

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