Category Archives: Families

Tis’ the season for Dance Recitals!

I have loved seeing all the pictures on Facebook and Instagram these last few weeks as Dance Recitals are in full swing! There is nothing like being a parent, sitting in the audience and watching your child on stage dancing their heart out. No matter how many times I have watched my daughter dance I still get the excitement and butterflies in my stomach when she is on stage. I have a soft spot for dancers. It’s one of those activities I know can have an impact on a child’s life and how they carry themselves with confidence and poise.

On May 23, 2000 one of my favorite songs was released – “I Hope You Dance” by LeeAnn Womack. In case you can’t place it here just a few of my favorite lyrics:

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’,
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’,
Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance….I hope you dance.

Exactly one year to the day this song was released, I gave birth to my first child. It was a baby girl. I could hardly contain my excitement thinking of all the things I hoped she would do and become someday. One of those things I hoped for is that she would dance. Not that I wanted or expected her to be a great dancer but just that she would have the confidence to be on stage, and do her best with a smile on her face. Dancers don’t sit back and watch things happen – they “dance”.

I took dance classes when I was a little girl. I wasn’t a great dancer but I know that exposure at an early age gave me something that could never be replaced. It gave me the ability to stand up in front of others, to not be shy and to not be afraid to take a risk. I believe the experience of being on stage is what has allowed me to never fear speaking in public or getting up in front of a large crowd. You also won’t ever see me sitting on the sidelines at a wedding, party or anywhere there is music…you will find me on the dance floor. It may not be pretty, but I’m out there!

I have spent the last 2 years photographing the most amazing group of dancers from The Conservatory of Dance in Wilton, Connecticut. The more time I spend getting to know these girls and boys I see so much in them that I know is shaping them into fine young women and young men. Years from now, no matter which course they take in life I know the time they have spent  learning to dance, being on stage and gaining confidence in themselves will take them far in whatever they do.

I am excited to share with you some of the girls and boys I have photographed who have all chosen to “dance”. I wish them all the best and look forward to watching them dance through life!

What about you?
Do you “Dance”?

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YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE GOT TIL IT’S GONE

 Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have been 83 years old today. It has been 14 years since he passed away. One night I said goodbye to him on the phone, and the next day he was gone. Forever.

 I won’t pretend there still aren’t tough days. I miss him. With each passing day, month and year it does get better, but I still miss him. I was pregnant with my first child when my father passed away. None of my children had the chance to meet him.

 Over the years, I have come to rely more and more of the photos I have of my dad. I rely on them to tell stories to my children so they can come to know him as I did. The pictures remind me of the love he had for me and the good times we had together. I realize how lucky I am to have pictures of me with my dad because without the pictures the memories do not seem as real.

 Some of my favorite photos of my Dad and I come from my wedding day. It was one of the best days of my life and I know how happy my dad was to be a part of it.  When I was married, 17 years ago, digital cameras were virtually inexistent. I have a 4X6 proof of each photo from my wedding and the negatives. A few years ago , in an effort to protect what I knew was so precious, I had the negatives converted to digital files on a disk. I quickly made four copies of the disk – one for my us, one for my mother, one for my in-laws and one to store in a safety deposit box. I guess you could call me a little OCD but I know if anything, anything ever happened to those pictures I would be devasted.

 Things are different now, we are living in a digital age. We are watching our kids grow up on the computer, and not so much on our walls, in albums or frames on a shelf. Every day that our photos sit on our computer or our Iphone is a risk that those photos will be lost and never seen again.

My reason for writing this post is because I have found a greater and greater percentage of clients wanting only digital files and not actual prints or wall art. As a consumer of photography myself, I understand the need and want for digital files. You want to know you have the pictures at your disposal at any time.   But, do you really have the pictures? How many people actually print the digital files or do they just sit on your computer? What will you do 10 years from now when your computer will not read JPEG files?

 I cannot encourage you enough if you have digital files to please take the time to order at least one print of each file. Digital files are not permanent, they are not the same as a hard copy print. Digital files will not last forever. At some point computers will not recognize JPEG’s. Or your JPEG’s could go corrupt. Or your computer could crash. So many scenarios could happen but if you have a print you can always make a copy and/or have it converted to a digital file.

 Most people don’t realize the importance of protecting their files until they have lived through the unfortunate experience of losing them. If your computer crashes and you lose your files there is no bringing them back. You will have a faint memory of those photos but they are gone forever.

 As a service to my clients, I am here to help you. Whether you need a recommended lab to print from or if you just need some advice on protecting your files. I would happily spend the time helping you before I would ever want to see you risk losing precious photos.

 I do believe you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. Don’t find out the hard way. Protect what is precious to you. And if you don’t find your photos precious yet, I promise you someday you or someone else will when that person is no longer with us or the photos are gone.

 In celebration of my Dad today here are some of my treasured photos from my wedding day which I could not live without.

Happy Birthday Dad…

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 It’s the week of Valentine’s Day and a time to celebrate all the things we love! Of course on Valentine’s Day we celebrate our love for our friends and family. But what about those “things” we love so much…the ones we can’t live without and can’t be replaced. For many children one of those things is a special lovey.

 Last May, life changed for my five year old (and all of us for that matter!) when his “lovey”, which he called his “night night” went missing. I was certain it would show up. It was not the first time it went missing…not even close. It had been left behind so many times – at the ice cream store, gas station, grocery store, friend’s houses and school – but somehow we always got it back. It was a special gift given to him from his godmother when he was baby. Over the years he became more and more attached to it and it rarely left his side. He found comfort by cuddling his lovey and sucking on his fingers – this is also how he slept at night. I can recall school drop offs where I had to pry it out of his hands while he kicked and screamed!   It was a soft, sweet lovey, light blue with an elephant on the top and his name on it – Jake Tyler.

 There were many tears shed over the days, weeks and months to come. Multiples “replacement” loveys were purchased but were not the same. Neither of my other children had an attachment to something so special so this was new to me. I always said I would try to avoid it for fear of the day that attachment was gone.

 In an effort to find the missing lovey, I wanted to post something on our local facebook group with a picture in case anyone had found it. I went back to my thousands of pictures of my son and could not find one picture of my son with his lovey. It was the thing he loved the most for five years of his life. It went everywhere with us. How could I not have a picture of it? Well, it’s because when I was taking pictures I didn’t see the importance of having his lovey in the pictures. Quite frankly, I thought it might be distracting and take away from the picture. It was a big mistake, one in which I will regret forever.

 Over the summer, the loss of my son’s lovey weighed heavily on my mind. I decided when I did my pre-session consult with my clients I would ask if their child had a special lovey – blanket, stuffed animal, anything special to them. I mentioned to bring it along if they wanted and we would incorporate it into the session. It doesn’t mean it has to be in all the pictures, just a few. I found very quickly that just letting the children know they would get to take a picture with their special lovey instantly gained more cooperation. It also proved to get the most genuine expressions. And, at the end of the day isn’t this what we want to remember of our young children?   We want to remember them at their happiest moments with something they love and find comfort in.

 We all relive memories through pictures. I know years from now, long after the loveys have gone away – packed up in a box, given away, or simply gone missing – our children will look back on a picture and remember how happy that special lovey made them.

  In celebration of Valentine’s Day I wanted to share these pictures with you. And next time you schedule a session don’t hesitate to bring your little “loves” and their loveys with you! And, if you happen to be in Wilton and come across our missing lovey (light blue elephant with Jake Tyler on it) I will happily offer a reward of complimentary photo session!

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Today marks a day of mixed emotions.  I will say goodbye to one of my dearest friends.  I am happy for them in this new journey they are about to take but I am sad and will miss them greatly.  Our children brought us together but we made the choice to foster a deep friendship.  Over the years we have seen each others children grow from babies to teenagers.  We have celebrated holidays, birthday and vacationed together.

A few weeks ago I was grateful to spend some time with them in their home before the boxes were packed up.  This is the home where they brought two babies home from the hospital, where the babies started sleeping through the night, where their children took their first steps, a first tooth was lost in this home, all the boys learned to cradle a lacrosse stick and kick a soccer ball in this yard, where they learned to ride a bike (until I ran it over!) and of course where many trips to the emergency room initiated!!  They saw more changes in this home than they will in any other house they will live in.

I wanted to capture each of the children in their rooms so we could preserve the memory of a place they love so much.  There will be many sad goodbyes over the next few days but with true friends you never really say goodbye…just until we see you again.  Wishing my dear friends all the best…

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