Couples photography session with Katie and Sean around Hertel Avenue and their North Buffalo neighborhood.
This past weekend, my pals Katie and Sean were on the hunt for some fresh photos to gift for the holidays and I was ready to deliver. It’s always fun when friends call for photos, and I’m so glad these two did. We had such a great time wandering around their North Buffalo neighborhood during their couples photography session. Hertel Avenue is where they spend most their time, where they had their first date, etc. so it was only fitting that we had the session right in their neighborhood. We grabbed their pup Jameson and just started walking. I love when couples pick locations that are personal to them. From what I’ve experienced, people tend to photograph their best in locations that make them happy, and this was no exception.
Jameson was a very, very good boy indeed!
Hertel Avenue and the North Park Theater truly make such charming backdrops for photography.
There’s no shortage of fantastic murals around North Buffalo, but this one by Chuck Tingley is really… out of this world…
Jae Youn and Darren’s wedding engagement and surprise(!) proposal photography at Bidwell Parkway and Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, NY
Until couple weeks ago, Jae Youn and Darren were one of the many couples I’ve booked in 2020 who I had only been able to get to know through email. In an effort to limit my exposure to people and stay as healthy as possible for the actual photo shoots that are happening this year, I haven’t been meeting clients for consultations in person. As we all know, Zoom calls and emails are just no match for a real live hangout though. SO, I was very excited to learn that Darren was going to be able to come visit WNY (he lives in San Francisco) to see Jae Youn and have their engagement photography session at Bidwell Parkway and Tifft Nature Preserve here in Buffalo!
What I didn’t realize, was that this couple hadn’t OFFICIALLY got engaged yet! They were deep in planning their wedding, but with COVID-19 and living on opposite coasts, they hadn’t technically sealed the deal!
The session started as any ordinary engagement session would. We began at Bidwell Parkway where the rows of trees were just starting reach their colorful fall prime.
From Bidwell Parkway we made our way to Tifft Nature Preserve for the next round of photos.
As we walked to the next photography spot at Tifft, Darren flashed a ring box at me when Jae wasn’t looking. It was a really nice warm day (by Buffalo standards) and I had wondered why Darren was carrying around a down coat. Turns out he was carrying the coat so he could hide the ring box inside! I was extremely confused though. We were taking their engagement photos and the wedding was already booked, why would he have a ring now?! I rolled with it thinking maybe they just didn’t have the ring yet when they decided to get married. Perhaps the ring itself was the surprise. Turns out, nope, this was the real proposal!
How sweet was that proposal?! They were so excited and relieved to finally be officially engaged! Jae had been worried she wouldn’t have a ring for their engagement photography, but for some reason she was just rolling with it too. The rest of their pictures look much more complete with that little extra sparkle, if I do say so.
That’s all for this one! I can’t wait until next year when these two tie the knot and we can celebrate at The Foundry!
If you or someone you know is looking for proposal or engagement photography in Buffalo, have them contact mehere!
Supporting photography from a Reuters investigation in to the policing of the Rochester, NY police in the wake of the 2016 shooting of Silvon Simmons and the recent killing of Daniel Prude.
I’ve made the drive back and forth between Buffalo and Rochester, NY quite a few times this year to cover an array of stories for Reuters, all revolving around the black community. From grassroots COVID-19 education to Black Lives Matter protests, I’ve got to know Rochester on a new level through these assignments.
Yesterday, Reuters released one of these stories. It’s an exhaustive investigation by writers, Lisa Girion and Reade Levinson, in to the very complicated topic of policing police. This is a very good, important and tough read (and not just because of its length and depth.) Without sensationalism, it breathes life in to the issues through the story of Silvon Simmons, the innocent victim of a 2016 Rochester police shooting. I highly recommend setting aside some time to read the article. It can be found here.
As part of this complex story, I had the opportunity to photograph and even interview some of the folks involved. This allowed me to experience the humanity behind the tragic events that have transpired between members of the black community and the Rochester Police.
Pictured above and below is Silvon Simmons. Silvon was shot three times in the back by a Rochester police officer in his driveway (pictured behind him) upon returning home from the store with his neighbor. The officer claimed he thought Silvon was someone else. Without checking his license plate, calling for back up, turning on sirens, etc. he pursued Silvon who ran for cover in his driveway upon seeing a backlit figure running at him with a gun.
Silvon survived the shooting, but suffered a collapsed lung among other injuries. He still has bullets lodged in his body and feels pain every day. To add insult to injury, Silvon was arrested for trying to shoot the police officer, despite there being no evidence. Silvon spent years in jail before he received a not guilty verdict at trial.
This was Silvon’s first time back at the scene. He lived in the gray house seen in the background with his partner and their three children. That snack run changed his life forever.
More recently, a video surfaced of a man, Daniel Prude. Prude was being restrained by the Rochester Police while suffering a mental health episode. Prude later died of complications due to asphyxia. These events caused an uprising of rallies and protests in the city of Rochester and an amplified outcry for the policing of police. Seen below are the early makings of a memorial for Daniel Prude on Jefferson Ave., where the fatal restraint went down.
Community leaders like Mayor Lovely Warren and Rev. Lewis Stewart (pictured below) among others spoke out against the events in an attempt to unite the community.
They were met with frustrated, fed up community members for whom comforting words were no longer enough. Below, as a vigil for Daniel Prude was about to begin at First Church of God, Jordyn Smith (pictured) and dozens of other protestors stormed the scene, demanding the people there join them in marching for real change.
Protestors eventually gathered by the hundreds on Jefferson Ave. and demonstrations lasted for over a week.
The incidents surrounding Daniel Prude’s death felt all too familiar for other victims of police violence. I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with Silvon Simmon’s parents, Frank and Sharlene. They were living in Memphis at the time Silvon was shot, but immediately packed their bags for Rochester and have been there to support Silvon ever since. Frank and Sharlene were incredibly hospitable and welcomed me and all my big questions with open hearts. We poured through family photos together as they recalled all kinds of great stories about their family history.
As the afternoon rolled on, we laughed, we cried… It was really touching to better understand what their experience has been through all this, and to hear their hopes for progress.
I also met with Rochester City Counsel President, Loretta Scott, pictured below. The city counsel is currently fighting to create a police accountability board. This volunteer board would help investigate complaints against police and review policing practices.
Inspiration and highlights from weddings photographed in the Admiral Room
I had the opportunity to tour the Admiral Room at the Marin several years ago when it was up for sale. This Renaissance Revival style high-rise built in 1913 was formerly a bank and had been sitting empty for many years. Sad remnants of the building’s past remained in the form of abandoned cubicles and office carpeting. At the time, a friend of mine had visions of turning it in to a wedding venue and wanted some feedback from a few of us in the industry. I took one step inside the building and it was an instant, big time YES from me. My friend inevitably passed on the opportunity, but I’m SO glad someone else went through with this project and converted the space in to a wedding venue. The Admiral Room is a truly special place and an important part of the history of Buffalo, NY. It deserved all the amazing renovations it has received and all the smiling faces that now celebrate within its walls.
It has been so exciting to experience the rebirth of the Admiral Room at the Marin as a wedding venue. From a vacant building to a stunning space filled with joy and celebration, it’s been a transition for the ages. I’ve had the opportunity to photograph a few events in this space so far. I’ll be adding more pictures to this feature over time, but please enjoy these highlights to date!
Julie stopped in to the Admiral Room before heading to her wedding ceremony to check out her decorations and get a few portraits with her bridesmaids and sweet flower girls.
Kelly and Sean had their wedding ceremony in the Admiral Room
The Admiral Room doesn’t need much dressing up, but a little decor never hurts! Here’s some inspiration!
Guests typically gather in the front of the Admiral Room for cocktail hour, right after they pick their jaws up off the floor upon seeing this beautiful space.
Cocktail hour can also be a great time to gather extended family for a portrait!
Couples are often introduced in to their wedding reception from this amazing little balcony high above the ballroom floor.
Dinner is a great time for couples to sneak away for a few portraits outside the Admiral Room. Buffalo’s Main St. provides a most charming urban backdrop.
Back inside, it’s time to dance (and eat cake)!
To be continued! Here’s looking forward to documenting many more happy memories in the Admiral Room in Buffalo, NY!
To see some of these weddings in their entirety and peep the vendors involved, check out these links:
When I first met Courtney and John for their engagement photography session, the typical small talk began. “Soooooo, how did you two meet?” I asked.
“Do you want the real story or the story we tell people?” Courtney asked in return.
Of course I wanted to hear BOTH stories, and then ask many follow up questions about why they have TWO!
“We met in a bar through mutual friends,” John told me.
But the real story, as Courtney told, was that she saw John on American Idol back in 2004 when he was just 16 years old (!) and took an interest in him. Some seven years later, as a newly single Courtney sat around her college dorm room, she wondered, “hmmm wonder what John from Idol is up to” and decided to look him up on social media! She found him on Facebook and they connected! WAY better story than, “we met in a bar!”
As it turns out, Courtney is a jazz singer as well and these two share a deep, common love for music. Ah music, the great uniter. They also have Buffalo in common! John is originally from the Buffalo, NY area and Courtney went to college here. Buffalo holds a special spot in both their histories and was a meaningful place to have their engagement photos taken. And this is of course how we end up here on this blog!
We began Courtney and John’s engagement photography session in the Lafayette Square area of Buffalo. This square is a great spot to get many different urban backdrops between the glorious Hotel Lafayette, the “Wildflowers for Buffalo” mural, the iconic views of City Hall and more.
Buffalo City Hall would have been a perfectly wonderful pinnacle for this engagement session, but we wanted to mix it up with some more natural settings and Tifft Nature Preserve was calling our names. Tifft is one of my favorite locations for photography. This preserve suits my style very well and offers a ton of variety between the woods, fields, pond, etc.
As we walked from the forested area of Tifft Nature Preserve to the open fields, the sky started to do some crazy magical things. I knew we were in store for some special light for the main event of this photo shoot. Late summer in Buffalo always tends to produce the most magical cloud formations and sunsets. Lucky for us, this night featured one of the best shows of the season!
That’s all from this one! Many thanks for Courtney and John for hiring me to be their wedding engagement photographer! It was so fun getting to know these two and sharing such a beautiful night with them at City Hall and Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo.
If you or someone you know is looking for an engagement or wedding photographer, please have them contact me here!