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.
Daddy got sweet kisses and mommy got a head butt. I saved that photo for their private collection… (:
Grace is potty training and was ready to roll if the opportunity struck!
Another tradition for this family, Justin picked Mindy a flower during their engagement session as well <3
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. (:
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!
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!
We chose the shorter, steeper way up and the longer, less steep route down, if anyone was curious. (:
After signing in at the trailhead, off we went, scrambling up some classic Adirondack rocky terrain.
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.
Time for the wedding vow renewal exchange with the beautiful Adirondack Mountains standing tall in the background!
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 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.
I got pretty soaked in the making of this photograph and it was 100% worth it. This is why photographers wear black!
After our first group of photos at D’Youville, we headed to Buffalo’s nearby Theater District to wrap up our shoot.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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! (:
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!
And finally what we came for – our last stop at Akron Falls!
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!
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.
After the wedding ceremony, Dan and Lou picked up the laptop for a quick hello to their virtual Zoom guests.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Time to make it official! Signing the marriage certificate!
Before everyone sat down for dinner, guests gathered around for a couple toasts to the bride and groom.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!)
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.
Wedding guests gathered outside the pavilion for cocktail hour complete with more live music from String Brothers.
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.
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!
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.
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 were seated again for the best man and maid of honor speeches followed by the main course.
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!
One last surprise awaited the wedding guests outside the Spring Lake Winery pavilion – a gorgeous fireworks display over top a beautiful full moon!
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!