Johnson String Instruments

I've been working with Johnson String Instrument for many years now. The maker, seller and repair shop for high end string instruments hire me to do many different types of shoots for them. Be it product shots, details of beautiful instruments, shots of the luthiers and staff working, portraits and headshots, images for their annual catalog, coverage of their special events, concerts or master classes, I am always pleased to hear they need me.

Here's a sampling of images taken for them over the past year.

The W Family {Boston Family Photographer}

Lizzi told me she found me on a random web search, and I feel lucky for that! When I met her and her family at Menatomy Rocks Park, there was something very familiar about them. Maybe it was that their eldest daughter brought Harry Potter to the photo shoot (the book, not the actual wizard), or that when Lizzi contacted me for a session there was a slight sense of urgency because the aforementioned Harry Potter-loving eldest child's front teeth were growing in!  I felt this was the kind of urgency I could get behind. These are my kind of people. 

They had an easiness about them that was a joy to be around. Photo sessions can be stressful, but you wouldn't know it if you were watching them!

• Fall Session Round-Up {boston portrait photographer} •

OK, I'll admit it; I'm putting on my lazy hat right now. Well, no, not really, but I am putting a collection of my favorite shots together from my sessions this season and sharing them with you all together, rather than doing multiple blog entries.

I attempted my annual fall session day before I left on vacation in October, but both the actually event day and it's rain date got cancelled due to stormy skies (shakes fifts at the heavens!). When I returned, I managed to schedule a second attempt, and my clients were excited to try again. Until it began to rain after I got only one session out of the way.

So, off to the second rain date we went (or does that make it the third? I don't know, I've lost track at this point). Some got their shots done on that sunday rain date, others went out of their way to meet me in the middle to get their sessions completed. I hope everyone loved their results!

Thanksgiving is coming, and I'm feeling thankful indeed.  

European Adventure

I feel really fortunate to have super friends and to be able to travel. Annually, I join two of my friends, Nirvi and Libby, on a girls trip somewhere. In the past we have visited Leesburg, VA (lovely shops and great wineries!), New Orleans, Puerto Rico, and Quebec.

This past year (because she's wicked smaht), Nirvi was promoted from her role at Politico in DC to Politico in Brussles, Belgium (Oh no! We'll just have to have the girls trip in Europe this year!). 

Nirvi, Libby and I spent a few days in Paris (though Libby, who hails from FL, was delayed a day by Hurricane Matthew). Then Libby and I continued on to Nice, France where we were joined by her friend Samantha for a few days. After that, Libby went back to the States and I visited Nirvi in Brussels.  And then, since I was over there anyway so why not, I traveled to Barcelona for a few days alone, because I've always wanted to go there.

Click to enlarge (and click-through), roll your cursor over the open photos to see a caption.

Please remember that while I am happy to share these with you, all of the images on this site are copyrighted, so don't let me catch you selling t-shirts with a my photo of a crepe-maker on them!

• Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins Catalog {Boston business photographer} *

 

I love working with Johnson. It's a nice change of pace and being around such craftsmanship is always so interesting and inspiring to me! Click on the shot of Amelia below to see the recent work I did (with the help of creative directors Maureen Wall,  Heather Shaw and  Silvija Kristapsons) for their catalog.  It's designed by Pat Nieshoff

 

 

 

Advice for Your Family Photo Session

Hiring a professional photographer can be a bit daunting. You've committed to a date and time, find yourself at the mercy of New England weather, and crossing your fingers the kids won't get sick, and the grown-ups will feel camera-ready. Nor'easters and stomach bug outbreaks aside, here are some tips for looking your best and rocking your session. Keep in mind that these are suggestions, not hard and fast rules. 

 If you go with the same color, mix it up by choosing varying styles.

If you go with the same color, mix it up by choosing varying styles.

WHAT TO WEAR
For reasons no one understands, white seems to add ten pounds to everyone. Pastels and other muted toned like pale grays and beige makes most of us look pasty. Stick with colors you know you look good in. Don't be afraid of bold, unless it's really not your style. It will contribute to the personality and pop! of your photos. That said, 'got a new white dress you feel fabulous in? Then go for it!

If you're in a group, wear colors form the same end of the color spectrum, without being matchy-matchy. Everyone in identical chinos and white polos will leave you looking like you belong on a real estate billboard in Florida. WE DON'T WANT THAT! Select colors that compliment each other, but aren't identical. If you go with the same color, mix it up by choosing varying clothing styles to show each person's individuality.

Choose accessories which will show off your personality but not detract by being too wild or flashy (unless that's what you want!).

IF KIDS WILL BE IN YOUR SESSION
When dressing little ones, including babies, avoid shirts with charming phrases on them as they will be hard to read in your shots. Avoid fussy (think sailor suit). If they're not used to hats and headbands, skip them. You won't get natural shots of your child if they are uncomfortable with what they are wearing. Dressing your child (or letting them dress themselves!) to show their personality will only add to your photos.

 Some of the best shots are when you're just enjoying each other!

Some of the best shots are when you're just enjoying each other!

Props. If your shoot is taking place in your home I will often use what I find there. Does you're little one have a ragged bunny she can't part with? Let Bunny join the session! It will add some sweet nostalgia to your collection. Bubbles are fun to have on hand too.

Don't forget to schedule around nap time and meals, and whatever you do, don't let your little one get hangry. Make sure they are fed and have had a potty-break beforehand.

BREATHE! If you are relaxed, your child will be relaxed.  How would you feel if you had multiple people barking at you to "smile!". Not so great, right?  Come to your session with an open mind and breathe deep. Not all wonderful photos are of subjects smiling right into the camera. If you're doing group shots, bring along a toy that I  can hold to keep their attention during group shots. Don't be shy about singing a song or telling a knock knock joke. Make silly faces. Or, simply take a walk and leave it to me! I'll make fart noises until we get the shot!

HOW I WORK. Your session might include lots of moving around. I might plop your kids in the middle of your bed (provided you don't mind) and let them jump around for some fun action shots, or maybe on my way to your home I notice an interesting stone wall in your neighborhood. We may end up takin' a walk to hang out on that wall.  If you have a place that's special to you, don't be shy about letting me know. This helps you get a variety of shots, and it keeps things fresh and helps prevent boredom for kids and grown-ups too. Alternatively, I may come into your home and find everything we need for the perfect session is right there in front of me. You just never know. Just remember to go with the flow and enjoy the experience!

I look forward to working with you!

My Ann Arbor; A Recent Visit to My Parents' Alma Mater, U of M

This entry is a bit of a personal one mashed up with professional. I spent all of last week at a symposium for the University Photographers Association of America (UPAA) of which I am a member as a staff photographer for Boston University. Every year the symposium is hosted by a different university, and this year was a special one for me because it was at the University of Michigan, which is where my parents went.

The conference was great. I relearned a lot of things I forgot about, made some new friends, had some interesting conversations about our field and the challenges within it.

Simultaneously, I got to know the place where my parents met. During the spare time we had between lectures and clinics and shooting competitions (photography, not skeet) I wandered the campus and found the places my parents lived when they were here in the early sixties. I experienced something I have never experienced before; sentimentality on someone else's behalf. I felt an emotional pull to Ann Arbor somehow. The campus was beautiful and it's downtown alive and peaceful at the same time (of course it is summer time and the student population is down, so there's that!).  I visited the sorority house my mom lived in and could see her in my mind, walking out the door with her books in her arms, heading up the walkway to class, many years younger than I am now. 

One of may favorite pictures of my parents is from their time together at UofM. It's black and white and dreamy and they lounge on a lawn together, my mom in her sixties bob hair style and my dad laying in the grass looking cool holding a cigarette. It was taken by my uncle Billy when he was visiting them from Switzerland as a teenager. 

I told anyone at the conference who would listen about the picture and how I wanted to try and have my photo taken in the same spot. Anyone Who Would Listen was very nice about me going on and on about Mom and Dad, and one shooter even joined me wandering the main campus trying to find where, exactly, photo was taken (thanks again, Peter!). We even tried asking at the grad student library but no one was sure where it was taken. So, no reinactment took place (being a photographer and not a model, I was OK with that).

Before I left for this trip, I also asked my dad where he lived, and so I headed to Mary Court where I introduced myself and told the young woman sitting on the porch "My dad lived here in the sixties!"  She thought this was very cool. Since spring semester was done, I asked her if she was in a summer session. No, she told me, and continued on about how she was soon leaving to teach english in South America, and her roommate, who was just inside, would be leaving that afternoon herself. "It's sort of a sad day for us" she shared "we've lived together since freshman year."  I told her that if she'd like I would take their portrait. She beamed and went inside to collect her roommate and I photographed them together on this porch where I could see my dad sitting playing his guitar.

The other thing I did was visit my mom's childhood home in Detroit. I was relieved to find her neighborhood in good shape, and sad to see so many other surrounding neighborhoods not doing too well. I approached the house, nervous, thinking about all the stories Mom's told me about growing up on this street so long ago; the field at one end where the kids played all sorts of games, and about the one mean kid who taped his guinea pig to his train set, how many great memories she had of her dad who died too young and so on. It was a modest home, and when I approached, the owner was very skeptical. I had a photo of mom in my hand which I'd brought along, and I explained what I was doing there and asked if I could take a few photos. She smiled at my story and my picture of my mom with her birthday cake and two dolls, one in each hand, and said of course I could. 

So, below is a collection of my favorites from my trip. To learn about what's going on in the photo, just scroll your cursor over the picture and a cutline will come up. 


Holidays! {Boston Portrait Photographer}

I've been a bit neglectful of this here blog, so here is a little slideshow of some photos I shot for clients seeking holiday pics. Not wanting to share photos which clients might want to share themselves on their holiday cards, I decided to keep them to myself til after the new year. I think it's safe now. Also for your viewing pleasure is my own silly holiday card featuring my pup Harlow!

Robin Williams

While I prefer to think of all the great things a person did with their life and not their actual death, recording events is part of what I do. It's also part of how I deal with emotions, sad and happy. So, today I took an early lunch break and went down to the Boston Common to photograph the outpouring of Boston love and appreciation for the brilliant Robin Williams.  

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