queen village

the fortese family

Me: "Does she [the baby] prefer to be on her belly, or on her back?"

Dad: "I have no idea. We just got her, so we're still figuring her out."

Parents who crack jokes about their newborns right off the bat? My favorite. I have no talent for delivering jokes, but I love hearing them, even cheesy ones (for example, I laughed out loud at nearly all of these, though of course I did not LOLOLOL because, as Trevor Noah says, that is not even a thing). 

I had the advantage here of having just worked with this family a few months ago--if you thought those darling blond curls look familiar, you were right--but a new baby's arrival can sometimes shift the dynamic of a family quite drastically, so there was still an element of the unexpected as I headed into the session.  Then I walked in, and it turns out the most major thing that had changed was that Nora was now in a big girl room to let Blair have the nursery. Seriously, their smiles were as relaxed and bright as last time, and their shining faces conveyed not even a hint of stress or sleep deprivation.   And you know, the joy and beauty in these images isn't just because they are all exceptionally good looking and impeccably dressed, or that their home is so tastefully finished (though all of those things are 110% true here, and I am still trying to unearth the secret to achieving that level of visual harmony as I send my kid out the door in Superman socks and a Star Wars shirt and hair sticking out in a thousand different directions).  

No, this kind of loveliness can only come from just being you in the presence of the camera. With kids, that's easier to achieve; they're great about letting you know when they don't want to do something, and they will not hesitate to tell you what is up with zero filter. It's what I love most about working with small children. With adults, it can sometimes be trickier to persuade them into that zone; we sometimes just overthink it and fool ourselves into thinking we have more influence over our children than we actually do, or we actually just kind of forget how to be anything but our kids' keepers.  But these, two, they never missed a beat. Whatever the girls were doing/wanting/crying about in any given moment, mom & dad just rolled with it. So,if you want to know the big secret to great family photos, there it is.  Just roll with it. And cracking jokes to your photographer never hurts, either.

august + family


You know what one of my favorite parts about photographing people is? It's not only the joy of making meaningful personal images for someone else - I mean, that is of course the heart of why I shoot the way I do, but there's this other amazing aspect to it, too. The actual experience of being around & getting to know new (to me), awesome people - considering how many things have to happen for individuals to cross path in a sea of so many others, it's not lost on me that I'm fortunate to connect with people whose company I genuinely enjoy as human beings, not just clients. Happy, warm and charmingly-dimpled human beings like August and his parents.

When August's mom first contacted me about family photos, she was a bit hesitant--they hadn't yet had professional photos taken together, and she just wasn't sure what to expect. As she voiced her concerns, I actually found myself getting really excited, because I could tell we already shared a very similar vision. Genuine moments, no forced smiles, being their authentic selves and capturing a story of who they are at this stage - that's my jam. It means a lot that, despite her hesitation about being photographed in general, they still put their trust in me to put some of their personal memories into images for them.  

August, I hope you look back on these images and see just how much you are truly loved and cherished by your parents & furry brother - and I hope you never outgrow that charming belly laugh or those beautiful dimples!

nora & co


If you've been following me on Instagram, you'll know that I recently launched a mini session campaign with 100% benefit to the UN's refugee agency. This mini session was my first one, and I honestly didn't know what to expect--I'm so used to knowing I'll have a full 2 hours to really get to know families as a way of guiding the shoot, so would I really be able to do that in less than 60 minutes? My fears were completely unfounded; shooting with Nora and family was a piece of cake. Fun, happy cake, with her sweet furry brother Cooper being the icing on top. They are such warm, lovely bunch (not to mention super easy on the eyes), and the weather was perfect for exploring their Queen Village neighborhood - it really felt more like meeting new friends than actual work.

Each of these mini sessions has come together so perfectly, like puzzle pieces falling perfectly in place. I get to meet wonderful new people, create the kind of images that make my own heart sing, and together we make at least a little bit of difference in the lives of others who need it so badly, now more than ever. This is exactly the kind of work that feeds my soul.

Stay tuned to see more of these lovely minis over the coming weeks!