Knox Farm Family Photography Near Buffalo, NY

Mindy Justin and (a Now Two Year Old!) Grace

Some familiar faces on this blog, Mindy, Justin and Grace, are back for more. Grace recently turned two and we commemorated the occasion with a family photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, NY, just outside Buffalo. This was actually the same location as Mindy and Justin’s engagement session many moons ago! I’ve just loved watching this family grow over the years. From a couple who were guests at a wedding and only dating at the time, to their engagement session, Mindy’s bachelorette party, the wedding, maternity photos, newborn photos and now one and two year old family photos, I’ve got to witness it all through my lens. Having these legacy clients over the years truly means so much.

We started our family portrait photography session the same way we did the engagement session – with a walk down this beautiful tree lined road in Knox Farm.

family walks on path during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo
baby smiles for photographer during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo
mom and dad swing child during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo
family smiles for photographer during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo
family snuggles during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo

Daddy got sweet kisses and mommy got a head butt. I saved that photo for their private collection… (:

baby kisses father during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo
parents and baby smile for photographer during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo
mom and baby laugh during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo
family holds hands while walking on path during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo
family holds hands while walking on path during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo
parents swing child during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo
father hugs daughter during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo

Grace is potty training and was ready to roll if the opportunity struck!

child carries poddy during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo
baby poses with stick during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo
baby stands with stick during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo

Another tradition for this family, Justin picked Mindy a flower during their engagement session as well <3

father gives daughter flower during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo

It’s always important to get a few photos as a couple too! As much as life changes and focus shifts once babies are born, capturing a couples relationship to one another is more important than ever. Grace will adore this picture of her parents some day, I’m sure. (:

mom and dad looking at each other smiling during family portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo
family laughing during portrait photography session at Knox Farm in East Aurora, a small town near Buffalo

Thanks as always to Mindy and Justin for inviting me to document their sweet little family!

If you or someone you know may be interested in a family photography portrait session at Knox Farm or elsewhere in the greater Buffalo area, please send them my way! You can find my contact info here!

Adirondack Mountains Wedding Vow Renewal

Lori, John, Wyatt & Doggos on Mount Jo

Back in 2016, I met a couple photographers from the Rochester area, Lori and her business partner Erin, at a photography conference in New England. It’s amazing to me how brief encounters such as this can magically transform in to standing on an Adirondack mountain top photographing a stunning and sweet wedding vow renewal years later. If there’s one thing I love about social media, it’s the way it keeps people connected. Facebook is still good for something these days! Lori and I could have easily crossed paths, never to hear from one another again. I’m so grateful that in this case, Lori and I linked up on social media. She saw my love of the ADK through my posts and thought I would be just the photographer for a special occasion such as this, and I’m so glad!

The original plan was to celebrate 10 years of Lori and John’s marriage back in May. They were planning small party in the Adirondack mountains that included a collection of their nearest and dearest. As you can imagine, plans changed as they do in 2020. Lori, John, their sweet 8 month old son Wyatt and two dogs decided to rent an Air BNB for a little retreat for themselves and find a quiet mountain top for their vow renewal instead. My job was simply to create a photo-journalistic collection of pictures of their family hiking together and the wedding vow exchange. Dream job!

We picked Mount Jo for our Adirondack mountain hike/wedding vow renewal primarily because the summit has gorgeous views of Heart Lake and the Adirondack High Peak Region, but doesn’t require a super strenuous or lengthy climb. Since we were traveling with a baby and two pups, this was important! Mount Jo is a great hike for climbers new to the ADK and for families as well!

Mount Jo, here we come!

trail signage on Mount Jo in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of New York

We chose the shorter, steeper way up and the longer, less steep route down, if anyone was curious. (:

family signs in at trail head for Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY

After signing in at the trailhead, off we went, scrambling up some classic Adirondack rocky terrain.

family climbs up rocks on Mount Jo trail during their photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
family hikes up Mount Jo during their photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
family hikes up Mount Jo during their photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY

Wardrobe change!

mom and dad change baby on top of Mount Jo during their photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY

These photos of Lori breast feeding Wyatt are just all time beauties. What a scene! And can we talk about the adorable hiking boots and dress combo? My kinda lady.

mom breastfeeds baby on top of Mount Jo during their photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
mom breastfeeds baby on top of Mount Jo during their photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
mom breastfeeds baby on top of Mount Jo during their photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
baby on top of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
baby on top of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY

Time for the wedding vow renewal exchange with the beautiful Adirondack Mountains standing tall in the background!

wedding vow renewal ceremony on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
wedding vow renewal on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
wedding vow renewal ceremony on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
wedding vow renewal ceremony on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
wedding vow renewal ceremony on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
wedding vow renewal ceremony on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
wedding vow renewal ceremony on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
wedding vow renewal ceremony on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
wedding vow renewal ceremony on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
wedding vow renewal ceremony on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
wedding vow renewal ceremony on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
wedding vow renewal ceremony on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
candid family portrait on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
candid family portrait on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
family portrait on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
feet during family portrait on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
dog on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
mom and baby family portrait on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY
dad and baby family portrait on summit of Mount Jo during photojournalistic family photography session in the Adirondack High Peaks Region of NY

Back down we go!

Big thanks to Lori and John for inviting me along on this special mountain climb! So glad I could be part of this Adirondack wedding vow renewal in one of my all time favorite places. What a treat!

If you or someone you know is thinking about renewing their vows, or just looking for a fun family photo shoot like this, please have them contact me!

Senior Portrait Photography in Buffalo

Senior portrait photography isn’t just for high school students. College and graduate students often celebrate graduation with a photo shoot as well! Katelyn and Laura were no exception. They decided to commemorate their graduation from D’Youville College with a senior portrait photography session here in downtown Buffalo.

These two besties are both from the west coast and met in Oregon while in undergrad. They became fast friends and decided to shuffle off to Buffalo together for nursing school after finishing in Oregon. I’m happy to say they will be staying in Buffalo and will now be two of WNY’s newest health care workers!

We started our senior portrait photography session right on the D’Yyouville campus on the west side of Buffalo. The college’s beautiful administration building made the perfect backdrop for photos and Katelyn and Laura were ready to go with all kids of fun props.

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I got pretty soaked in the making of this photograph and it was 100% worth it. This is why photographers wear black!

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After our first group of photos at D’Youville, we headed to Buffalo’s nearby Theater District to wrap up our shoot.

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Could there be a cuter friendship?! Many thanks to Katelyn and Laura for hiring me to photograph their senior portrait session here in Buffalo! Best of luck as you begin your nursing careers!

If you’re a senior or know one looking for a session, please check out more of my senior portrait sessions here!

Buffalo Maternity Photography at Chestnut Ridge

Lindsay, Andrew (and their pups Bruce and Thurman (GO BILLS!)) are just about ready to welcome a new baby. But first, we needed to get some maternity portraits taken! This family loves spending time outdoors and really makes the most of the natural scenery the Buffalo area has to offer in their daily lives. Hikes with Bruce and Thurman in the woods and creek beds of WNY are some of their favorite activities, so it only made sense that they chose Chestnut Ridge for their maternity photography session in Buffalo.

We started our maternity photography session in an area of Chestnut Ridge we thought would offer us a babbling brook. Unfortunately the dry Buffalo summer weather left us with puddles. The trees were still beautiful though and we made the most of it!

maternity portrait of pregnant woman in forest at Chestnut Ridge Park near Buffalo, NY
maternity portrait of pregnant woman smiling for photographer in forest at Chestnut Ridge Park near Buffalo, NY
maternity portrait of pregnant mother with husband smiling for photographer in forest at Chestnut Ridge Park near Buffalo, NY
maternity portrait of pregnant mother with husband holding hands and smiling for photographer in forest at Chestnut Ridge Park near Buffalo, NY
maternity portrait of expecting mother smiling for photographer in pine forest at Chestnut Ridge Park near Buffalo, NY

We moved from the woods to a grassy overlook for the rest of our maternity photography session at Chestnut Ridge. This spot offers some beautiful golden hour light for portraits and great views of the Buffalo area!

maternity portrait of expecting mother smiling for photographer in grasst field at Chestnut Ridge Park near Buffalo, NY
maternity portrait of pregnant mother  at Chestnut Ridge Park near Buffalo, NY
maternity portrait of expecting mom and dad playing with dogs in grass at Chestnut Ridge Park near Buffalo, NY

Many thanks to Lindsay, Andrew, Bruce and Thurman for being such lovely models!

If you know someone who is expecting and may like a maternity photography session at Chestnut Ridge or elsewhere in the Buffalo area, please reach out! You can find my contact information here.

Niagara Falls Wedding Engagement Photography!

Sam and Tony got themselves psyched for their 2021 Niagara Falls wedding with a trip to NY for some wedding planning and engagement photography! Sam found her dress while visiting and I found some amazing angles of these two – I say mission accomplished! We had a beautiful, hot, summer evening for wandering around Goat Island taking pictures. We started in the Three Sisters Islands area overlooking the rapids and worked our way toward the Horseshoe Falls. Niagara Falls State Park has so many different views of the rapids and the falls, I can’t wait to come back and explore other parts of the park with these two on their wedding day next year!

Photographing these shots overlooking the rapids from a nearby pedestrian bridge weren’t the easiest to pose – the rapids are LOUD and there was no way we could hear each other! We did a practice round before I went up there though and it was definitely worth the effort!

future bride and groom embrace in front of rapids on Goat Island during wedding engagement photography session in Niagara Falls State Park in NY
future bride and groom embrace and view rapids on Goat Island during wedding engagement photography session in Niagara Falls State Park in NY
future bride and groom smile at each other on Goat Island during wedding engagement photography session in Niagara Falls, NY

I just LOVE the way this area of the park photographs this time of day. Niagara Falls, ON Canada sits so beautifully in the mist with the sun setting behind it!

engaged couple holds hands and laughs with Niagara Falls mist and skyline in the background during their wedding engagement photography session
engaged couple kisses with Niagara Falls mist and skyline in the background during their wedding engagement photography session
engaged couple holds hands and laughs with Niagara Falls mist and skyline in the background during their wedding engagement photography session
engaged couple embraces with Niagara Falls in the background during wedding engagement photography session

That’s all for this one! Can’t wait to photograph these two again in 2021 at their wedding at Double Tree by Hilton in Niagara Falls, NY!

If you or someone you know is looking for engagement or wedding photography in Niagara Falls and beyond, please feel free to share this link and have them contact me here!

Engagement Photography at Akron Falls

Hannah + Mike

When Hannah and Mike first contacted me for their wedding engagement photography session at Akron Falls, we planned for an early spring session. Well… we all know what happened with that (grrrr… ‘rona!), but as soon as photographers were able to shoot again, this session was back in the books! I had worried with this session now happening in summer that Akron Falls would be dried up, but that certainly wasn’t the case this year! The falls were active and gorgeous and so were Hannah and Mike.

We began the engagement photography session at the tennis courts in Akron Falls Park – a spot the couple frequents to play! I have to admit this was the first time I had shot on a tennis court. Since the couple wasn’t planning to actually play tennis, I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with these, but I love how they came out!

engaged couple poses for photographer with foreheads touching while leaning against a tennis net at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY
engaged couple poses for photographer while leaning against a tennis net at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY
engaged couple walks together on tennis court at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY

From the tennis courts we wandered down to this idyllic little lake for some portraits in front of this bridge. You’d never know we were surrounded by 20 people fishing and blasting country music! (:

engaged couple poses for photographer in front of bridge and lake at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY
engaged couple poses for photographer in front of bridge and lake at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY
engaged couple poses for photographer in front of bridge and lake at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY

You can follow the creek that feeds the little lake all the way up to Akron Falls. But we had to stop along the way for more pictures in the creek first. Such a serene setting!

engaged couple sits on rock in creek at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY
engaged couple cuddles on rock in creek at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY
engaged couple looks at each other while sitting on rock in creek during their wedding engagement photography session at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY
engaged couple shows off engagement ring during their wedding engagement photography session at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY
groom kisses bride on cheek in front of waterfall during their wedding engagement photography session at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY

And finally what we came for – our last stop at Akron Falls!

bride and groom stand on rock in front of waterfall during their wedding engagement photography session at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom sit on rock in front of waterfall smiling for photographer during their wedding engagement photography session at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom sit on rock in front of waterfall during their wedding engagement photography session at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom sit on rock in front of waterfall during their wedding engagement photography session at Akron Falls Park near Buffalo, NY

Many thanks to Hannah and Mike for having me photograph their engagement session! Wandering Akron Falls with you both was a blast! Here’s hoping these two are able to start planning their post-rona wedding soon!

Know someone who is engaged (maybe even you?)? Please feel free to contact me here for more information about engagement photography sessions!

Small Backyard Micro Wedding in Buffalo

Lou + Dan

Lou and Dan’s small backyard “micro” wedding in Buffalo was a beautiful bright spot amid all the trouble Covid-19 has caused for so many people. Needless to say, this pandemic has been a real jerk, mainly to those who have suffered from the disease and our health care workers of course. But so many others have been effected in more subtle ways, not the least of whom are couples who were planning to get married during this time and the small businesses that rely on special events to make a living. Lou and Dan were one of those couples, and I’m one of those small businesses. Bummer-city right? But fortunately for everyone reading, this post is about some of the good to come out of it all.

Lou and Dan had planned a wedding for late March in the Washington, D.C. area where they currently live and where Lou is from. As the realities of Covid-19 set in though, they realized their wedding wasn’t going to be happening any time soon and decided to reschedule. As time went on and family circumstances shifted a bit, these two realized there’s no better time than the present. A big party can happen any time. But if there’s one thing 2020 has showed us, it’s that curve balls can come at any time. Who knows where the world will be a year from now, so Lou and Dan decided to dive in.

In a weeks time this crew managed to plan a small backyard micro wedding at Dan’s parent’s house in Orchard Park, NY a small town near Buffalo where Dan is originally from. They hired a caterer (Fat Bob’s!), a florist, me. They gathered tables, chairs, a pergola and plenty of hand sanitizer. And just like that, they were ready for a wedding.

It’s amazing to me, how much work goes in to planning weddings, some couples take YEARS to plan them. At the end of the day though, Lou and Dan prove that all you REALLY need are your tried and true family and friends, a marriage license and each other.

I began the day with Dan at the brand new Aloft hotel at 500 Pearl in Buffalo. This building was controversial when it was being built for a number of reasons I support. I’ll admit, I really didn’t want to like it. But these rooms are AWESOME. Like… really awesome. Dan’s suite had two levels, featured a handsome industrial vibe with dark wood, a metal spiral staircase and exposed duct work. It had a chandelier made out of trumpets, a pool table, and balcony views for miles. Really awesome space.

The groomsmen all signed two dollar bills and each kept one for good luck. This was the first time I had seen this tradition!

While Dan and his groomsmen headed out to Dan’s parent’s for the backyard wedding celebration, I headed up to Lou’s room, also at the Aloft in the 500 Pearl building. Lou’s room was completely different from Dan’s and every bit as awesome. It was bright and open with two full walls of floor to ceiling windows and more balcony views of downtown Buffalo. It was really a perfect spot for bridal preparations. I was so impressed! Here are a few shots of Lou with her mom and bestie/maid of honor Karina helping her with the finishing touches.

The views from Lou’s balcony stretched for miles. You could see the Niagara River, Lake Erie and virtually all of downtown Buffalo! Lou was a radiant view herself, how gorgeous does she look in these bridal portraits?!

Must have been some extra bubbles in this champagne…

Off to the Buffalo style small backyard micro wedding!

Irises and hand sanitizer greeted all the guests at the entrance to the yard. I suppose this will be a “new normal” for a while! I was very interested to see how things would be handled for small gatherings during a pandemic and was really impressed with how Lou and Dan organized everything. The tables and chairs were spread in to clusters and labeled for groups who normally live together/spend time together. We call them “germ squads” in my circle. Everyone wore their masks when they were around other people as well so it felt very sanitary and safe.

Our officiant (another Dan) and Karina worked together to create a Zoom video call so that Lou and Dan’s extended friends and family could all join and be part of the celebration. It was so nice that they were still able to witness what was to come! Karina kept a watchful eye over the angle of the laptop throughout the ceremony so no one missed a thing.

It’s time! Here comes the bride! Lou walked herself half way down the “aisle” and then joined her mom for the remainder of the processional. Let the waterworks begin. <3

How idyllic is this setting?! Lou and Dan were so fortunate that his parents have such an incredible property. The tall trees and flowers made the most beautiful backdrop. Pandemic or not, this Buffalo backyard is a perfect place for a small micro wedding.

There’s Karina with a Zoom call full of friends and family watching along!

Dan’s parent’s hands <3

When Lou and Dan originally had to postpone their wedding back in March, they realized there was only one solution to their sadness – a puppy of course! Their sweet little puppy was the perfect ring bearer. I love him!

A celebratory wave for the guests present and one for those joining virtually.

bride and groom cheer after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY
bride cries after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY

After the wedding ceremony, Dan and Lou picked up the laptop for a quick hello to their virtual Zoom guests.

bride and groom cheer for guests on zoom video call after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY
bride and groom talk to guests on zoom video call after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY

The gentleman on the far left of this portrait is Lou’s uncle (tio). He flew in from Peru for the original wedding in March and has been stuck here ever since! I’m so glad Tio actually got to see this wedding happen though! Hopefully borders will reopen soon so he can return home now that the wedding mission is complete.

family portrait after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY

For those outside the germ squad, we still took portraits without masks but spread everyone out a bit. Slightly awkward but still a lovely keepsake of the day.

family portraits with covid-19 social distance spacing after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY
wedding party smiles at photographer for portrait after small backyard micro wedding ceremony in Buffalo, NY
groomsmen smile for photographer after small backyard micro wedding ceremony in Buffalo, NY
bridesmaid portrait after small backyard micro wedding ceremony in Buffalo, NY

And sometimes you just don’t know when you’ll have the crew together again, so you get together quick and hold your breath for the photo, haha.

family smiles for photographer in portrait after small backyard micro wedding ceremony in Buffalo, NY

I can’t stress enough how beautiful this backyard in Buffalo was for holding a small micro wedding. I absolutely love these portraits of the bride and groom in the woods!

bride and groom embrace in woods after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY
bride and groom look at each other while embracing in woods after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY
bride and groom hug in woods after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY
bride and groom smile for photographer in woods after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY
bride and groom hold hands in woods after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY
bride and groom smile at each other in woods after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY
groom kisses bride
bride and groom touch noses in forest after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY
bride and groom smile at each other in forest after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY
bride grabs groom
groom smiles at bride in forest after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY

Time to make it official! Signing the marriage certificate!

witnesses sign wedding license after small backyard micro wedding ceremony in Buffalo, NY
bride and groom kiss on bench in forest after small backyard micro wedding in Buffalo, NY

Before everyone sat down for dinner, guests gathered around for a couple toasts to the bride and groom.

maid of honor delivers speech during small backyard intimate wedding reception in Buffalo, NY
bride laughs at speech during small backyard intimate wedding reception in Buffalo, NY
best man delivers speech during small backyard intimate wedding reception in Buffalo, NY
bride and groom cheers during small backyard intimate wedding reception in Buffalo, NY
best man toasts bride and groom during small backyard intimate wedding reception in Buffalo, NY

Cheers! Many thanks to Dan and Lou (and Karina for finding me on such short notice)! It was an absolute joy to be part of documenting this day for you. Little secret – this was actually my Birthday and honestly, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by finally getting back to work and photographing a couple so happily united.

bride and groom cheers while wearing covid-19 masks during small backyard intimate wedding reception in Buffalo, NY

If you or someone you know is considering a small backyard micro wedding in the Buffalo area, please share this post with them and have them contact me for more information! I would love to be part of documenting more celebrations like this!

And if you just can’t get enough of these backyard type weddings, check out this post from a tented outdoor wedding at Knox Farm!

On Being a Maternity Photographer in Buffalo, NY

Megan’s Maternity Photography Session at Tifft Nature Preserve and Buffalo Outer Harbor State Park in Buffalo, NY

When the realities of Covid-19 began to set in back in March, photographer’s cameras began collecting dust. And as Megan’s due date grew closer, so too grew my concern that this maternity photography session we had planned in Buffalo, NY wasn’t going to happen before Megan delivered her baby! Fortunately, last week the Buffalo region entered phase two of the Covid-19 reopening schedule, and this photographer was allowed to work again. Two days later, our maternity portrait session was underway at Tifft Nature Preserve and Buffalo Outer Harbor State Park.

As a photographer, I love maternity sessions for a myriad of reasons. The obvious reason of course being that a glowing pregnant woman all dressed up in an idyllic location is just inherently beautiful. But what’s more, the finished portrait is such a special keepsake for a mom. Once the baby is born, we all know everything revolves around the baby. The maternity session is a special time just for mom-to-be to spoil herself a bit, even if she’s not feeling her most gorgeous self (it’s my job to see that for her!). At the end of the day, these photos serve as a tribute to this exciting, beautiful time in a woman’s life, and a last portrait of a woman before I becomes we.

Without further ado, check out the photos from Megan’s maternity session here in Buffalo.

mom poses for photographer in  maternity portrait in field at Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, NY
mom poses for photographer in  maternity portrait in field at Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, NY
mom looks off to side while holding flowing dress during maternity portrait photography session in field at Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, NY
mom poses for photographer during  maternity portrait photography session in field at Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, NY
mom looks off to side while wearing floral flowing dress during maternity portrait photography session in field at Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, NY
mom looks down while holding pregnant stomach during maternity portrait photography session in field at Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, NY
mom looks at photographer while holding pregnant stomach during maternity portrait photography session in field at Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, NY

While Tifft Nature Preserve is a photographer’s dream and I could shoot there all day long without running out of ideas, we wanted to mix up the look of the maternity session with a fresh location and a fresh dress! We headed across the street to Buffalo Outer Harbor State Park for a few more photos. This is another location I could never get sick of. There is a such an impressive variety of backdrops here. From the beaches to the grain silos, a photographer can’t possibly get enough of this place!

Let these last two photos serve as a reminder of why you hire a professional photographer. I shot these through a patch of weeds in a parking lot. (:

If you or someone you know is looking for a maternity photographer in the Buffalo, NY area please contact me here!

And if you’d like to peek at another maternity photography session in Buffalo, NY check out this link!

Spring Lake Winery Wedding

Aly & Ross’s Wedding Photography at Spring Lake Winery by Varallo Vinyards

There are certain weddings that are so meticulously planned, there isn’t much space left to be present and let events transpire naturally. There are other weddings that are sheer chaos, but people are having an absolute blast and are completely rapt in the moment. Much to my surprise, this Spring Lake Winery wedding was both meticulously planned and enjoyed on a deep emotional level. THAT is the mark of a really great wedding for this photographer.

Wedding planner Daulton Van Kuren of The Refined Host did a truly amazing job organizing this day. When I first saw her beautiful rainbow colored timeline and all its glorious detail, I feared a bit for my creativity and the enjoyment of all involved. After reading it though, I discovered that it really disbursed events perfectly throughout the day and allowed everyone to really enjoy each and every part.

The timeline also featured a different structure than I was used to seeing at WNY weddings. The dancing, speeches, etc. were broken up and scattered throughout the celebration. It kept the energy high and guests engaged until the very last dance. This also meant the guests were all still present for a very special surprise at the end of the night that you’ll have to keep scrolling to see!

Preparation

I started this wedding day with Aly at her family home in Clarence, NY, a suburb of Buffalo. I just adore all the giggly excitement that shines through from Aly and her crew in these photos!

Aly’s dad was anxiously awaiting his daughters big reveal in the next room. When he came in to see Aly all dressed, he brought her this bouquet of roses. These two were so sweet!

I always love to see the difference between how each couple prepares for the wedding. While Aly and her bridesmaids elegantly posed for portraits, Ross and his groomsmen were posing in bathtubs, with axes, all sorts of… interesting… settings! I’m so very glad second shooter Steve was there to capture these groomsmen in all their glory. Some of these photos are just priceless!

groom poses with axe at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding

On to Spring Lake Winery for a beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony and reception! But first, the bride and grooms, “first look!”

“First looks” or “reveals” are such exciting and emotional moments in a wedding day. Couples get to have a private moment to be together and share in the excitement and anticipation of the day. First looks also tend to relieve stress and allow couples to just relax and enjoy extra time together on their wedding day.

Spring Lake Winery has many great spots for wedding photography. For mid-day photos when the sun is just blinding, I love these tall pine trees and all their glorious shade. This area photographs so beautifully and was the perfect spot for this emotional first look.

bride taps groom on shoulder during first look or "reveal" at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
groom sees bride for first time during first look or "reveal" at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride cries during first look or "reveal" at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride and groom smile for photographer at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride and groom pose for portraits at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride and groom pose for portrait at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride laughs with bridesmaids at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bouquets being held by bridesmaids at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding

Photographing Aly and Ross with these giant balloons turned out to be quite a challenge! The balloons were constantly blowing in their faces and comedy ensued. Eventually we found the right angles though.

bride and groom pose for portraits with baloons at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride and groom pose for portraits with baloons at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride and groom pose for portraits with baloons at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding

As we wrapped our portrait session, the guests began to arrive for the ceremony on Spring Lake. The flower arrangements by Flourish and gorgeous music provided by String Brothers really set the tone for a sweet and elegant ceremony.

wedding decor inspiration from Flourish florist at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
String Brothers perform at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
programs are passed out at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
Guests cry at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
father escorts bride down aisle at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY

These groomsmen were all smiles for Aly and Ross. It was so moving to glance around the area and feel all the love and support for this couple.

groomsmen smile as bride walks down aisle at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
father and bride embrace after processional at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
mother and grandfather smile at bride and father as they walk down aisle at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
father and bride embrace and laugh after processional at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
father shakes grooms hand after processional at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY

This photo below is one of my all time favorite processional photos. These three look at each other with so much love and admiration. Makes my heart swell three sizes!

father looks at bride after processional at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom laugh during wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
bride and groom recite vows during wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
bride cries while saying vows during wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
bride and groom exchange rings during wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
bride and groom smile at each other while exchanging vows during wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
bride and groom share first kiss during wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
bride and groom cheer while walking down aisle after wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY

It’s official!

After the ceremony, the couples families gathered for a few family portraits. Unfortunately, Aly’s grandma passed shortly after their wedding. I’m SO, so grateful we got this beautiful portrait of Aly with her Grandma!!! (Also, when you’re done here, check out this years Mother’s Day post for more sweet mom and grandma moments!)

family portraits after wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY

Meanwhile a gorgeous wedding reception was set for the guests in Spring Lake’s pavilion. White florals mixed with subtle blue accents, greenery and tea lights adorned every table. It was so cozy while feeling fresh and modern.

decor inspo during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
decor inspo of pavillion during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
decor inspo of centerpieces during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
decor inspo of menu cards during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
decor inspo during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
decor inspo during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY

Wedding guests gathered outside the pavilion for cocktail hour complete with more live music from String Brothers.

outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
string brothers perform during cocktail hourduring outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
bride hugs guest during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
guests pose for portraits during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
bride poses for portrait with cousins during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY

Guests were invited to gather around the dance floor for the bride and groom’s adorable first dance. This was followed by the first dancing segment of the evening.

bride and groom are introduced to outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
bride and groom dance outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests take pictures of bride and groom during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
bride and groom dance outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance as train during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

The wedding’s dancing segments were broken up with speeches and dinner courses. I had no idea dancing in short segments like this would help keep the party rolling so well!

grandfather deliver speech during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

Aly’s Grandfather made the first toast and unfortunately called Ross by the wrong name. It was pretty funny. Aly’s parents followed next and fortunately got the names correct.

parents deliver speech during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

After eating the first course, it was time for the formal parent dances with Aly’s dad and Ross’ mom and more group dancing!

guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

Guests were seated again for the best man and maid of honor speeches followed by the main course.

maid of honor and best man deliver speeches during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

The best man managed to acquire some love notes the couple had written and read them to the guests. It was hysterical!

Dessert was set outside in the cocktail area and WOW these donuts went at record speed. Paula’s Donuts are always a huge hit!

After cutting their cake the bride and groom made one last toast to their family and friends and thanked everyone for celebrating with them. With that, one last dance segment was underway!

guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests mingle during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

One last surprise awaited the wedding guests outside the Spring Lake Winery pavilion – a gorgeous fireworks display over top a beautiful full moon!

bride and groom watch fireworks in front of full moon during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

Thank you!

Many thanks to Aly and Ross for having us document your day! And thank you to all these awesome venues and vendors who helped make the day so great!

Event Planner / Stylist: The Refined Host

Bride Preparation: Private Residence

Groom Preparation: Best Western (Lockport, NY location)

Ceremony: Spring Lake Winery

Portraits: Spring Lake Winery

Reception: Spring Lake Winery

Hair + Makeup: Pecoraro’s

Florist: Flourish

Strings: The String Brothers

Catering: Zambistro’s

DJ: CJ Sound

Fireworks: Skylighters Fireworks

Second Photographer: Steve Karosik