Posts in Empowerment Portraits
Maya's Old Town Alexandria, VA Portrait Session

The excellent thing about candid portraiture, particularly that which seeks to capture each subject simply as they are, is that it doesn’t require experienced models. In fact, for me, one of the greatest pleasures of running a photography business has been getting to create someone’s first ever portrait session, to give someone the gift of confidence through looking at photos of themselves that capture their essence in a beautiful way.

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Phoenix, Arizona: Friends All Around the World

I spent the majority of my second day in Arizona hanging out with amazing women. That’s really my biggest takeaway from this trip - just how many incredible women there are out there and how lucky I am to be building my own community of them all across the country. Particularly as all of these women are themselves traveling around the world, creating our own global tribe.

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2019 Goals: Dream Big

After everything I learned last year (read more here), I realized that it’s the “helping others” part that I want to focus on most in the coming year(s). This is the first year that my goals will look quite different than they did in the past; traditionally mine have read something like: “more weddings”, “more family photoshoots”, etc. Not that there was anything wrong with that approach, I did need to augment my bookings for my business to be sustainable. However, its the experiences I’m creating through those photoshoots that I want to focus on most.

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2018 Reflection: The Building Year

I like to use the changing of the calendar year as a start- and end-point to evaluate my metrics and to reevaluate my goals. This is the first time that I ended the year with a very different sense of achievement than I began: I entered hoping to bolster my bookings and set my goals accordingly. But I ended having learned the true “why” behind my drive to do each of these types of photoshoots. In essence, my work has become not just about the end product (typically a storybook photo album) but the entire experience of the session, and by extension an enjoyment of life.

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Times Square Portrait Session || Milena

Milena was immediately very bubbly - not shy in front of the camera and with no reservations of me shooting mere inches from her face. She exuded a pleasant happiness fed by our constant laughter while swapping traveling stories. Additionally, as I first saw in the in-between moments, she also had a serious side, a desire to explore the vastness of the world. And at 24, like me (at the time), she seemed to recognize the numerous possibilities open to her. Which is why I spent a good bit of time photographing with the prism (and often using it to overlay the colorful lights on her portraits) - to capture her likeness while still alluding to the stories yet untold, the path(s) not yet even visible.

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Washington DC: Finding Independence

Now, perhaps driving 7.5 hours somewhere by yourself doesn’t sound like an exciting adventure. And, truth be told, there wasn’t much exciting about that part - or any of the 20 something hours I spent driving this weekend between the road trip, the tours and the photoshoots. But that was exactly the point. To be able to get in my little car and drive off to another state where I know only a handful of people, to schedule networking meetings and photoshoots with strangers, to photograph for another business (i.e. to profit while traveling) and to do all of this on my own. This is what the new me looks like. I’ve been reaching for this person for a very long time (my social media presence often projected this “dream person”) and after enjoying every second of my solo journey this weekend, I think I’ve finally found her.

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Grand Central Station & New York Public Library Portrait Session || Denise

For these portrait sessions in the city, I wanted to focus on a few things: the vibrant colors, the historical architecture (perfect for framing our photos) and the constant sense of movement. Denise’s gorgeous blue shirt certainly brought the color, so when I saw slew of taxis in front of Grand Central waiting to pick up their passengers, I knew we had to make use of the contrasting color. For these images especially, because of the symbolism of the ever-moving cars, I wanted Denise to simply be still, to be the calm amidst the craziness. I wanted this juxtaposition to also illustrate Denise’s strength, as a traveling mother of two and as a woman in general.

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Iceland Destination Photoshoot || Erin's Travel Portrait Session

In writing these posts about Erin's portrait sessions while we were abroad earlier this month, I went a bit backwards since we actually went to Iceland first. This isn't because I enjoyed London more; on the contrary, if given the choice between photographing a classy engagement session in London and an adventure elopement in Iceland, I would undoubtedly choose the latter. And that is precisely the reason. 

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London Destination Photoshoot || Erin's Travel Portrait Session

The most challenging aspect of documenting a vacation isn't watching for the moments or framing the scene, it is (by far) working with the available light even at 2pm on a bright and sunny day. However, this is precisely why I enjoy this type of session! Working in countless less-than-ideal lighting conditions in my wedding work has instilled in me a deep appreciation for harsh lighting, particularly in making use of natural spotlights to dramatically highlight my subjects' face and little else. Although, occasionally, a bright backlight leaving the face in shadow is equally as pleasing to me, at least when my subject is running through a field of wildflowers. 

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London Day 1: Sightseeing and Sunshine

We successfully began our first morning in London by completely sleeping through it, awaking after noon. To shed our remaining layer of sleepiness, we stepped out into the warm, British sunshine, picked a direction, and set off on our first international run. Since I've only run once in the past 5 months I can't say it was terribly pleasant, but getting to finally stretch our legs while simultaneously exploring our neighborhood was enjoyable.

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Iceland: Flying by the Seat of Our Pants

I like to think that as long as things don’t go horribly wrong, mishaps can soon turn to funny stories, particularly regarding amusing travel antics. This trip is apparently trying to test that belief.

We started the whole adventure 2 days ago now, driving from Asheville to Baltimore to catch our fight (WOW Air was running a 50% off sale from this airport so we had to take advantage.) Though we left with several hours’ wiggle room, that all came to a screeching halt a few hours in when we hit construction traffic…something like 5 separate times. One hour down, we were undeterred until we hit Baltimore traffic whereupon our last bit of wiggle room quickly slipped away as we sweltered in dead-stopped traffic.

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NYC Day 2: New Friends

I'd planned to get up around sunrise to run (and then go back to sleep!) but either my alarm didn't go off or I turned it off in my sleep - neither option would surprise me - so I woke up around 11 instead and quickly got ready for my photoshoots. After I'd posted my images from yesterday's shoot with Denise in the GLT NYC group, several people messaged me interested in photos, so while my only plan for the day had been meeting with one of my college classmates for lunch, I ended up adding three shoots to the mix! 

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NYC Day 1: No Plans

As much as I have the travel bug to go anywhere and everywhere, I just can't stop coming back to NYC. This particular trip is a solo affair, focusing on honing my creative eye to further clarify my visual voice. Once I arrived in Midtown, I grabbed my Vivitar and set off in search of food and photos. While the emphasis of our February visit was to try any and all foods, this time I simply grabbed a sandwich and coffee at the Cambodian restaurant Num Pang Kitchen (talk about tasty!) and hit the streets again. This won't be a long blog post because in all honesty, I didn't really DO anything other than take photos, but I'm totally ok with that.

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