Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back to School with Art and Soul by Bercot

A few months ago I graciously accepted the opportunity to shoot for Art and Soul Boutique Childrenswear by Bercot, a very unique and beautifully designed boutique store.  Of course I was amping up the kids for their official roles as real models and how they had to really pose for "Mommy" (or else no snacks) eeks, did I say that!  

If you click on the above link and use the code "ForYou" there will be free shipping in the US and Canada for a limited time during the next few days!  So go have some fun.

Anyway the clothes are darling, beautifully detailed with ornate ribbon and rouching, and perfect for school, holidays or shopping. 
I only had one weekend and of course it was in the middle of a sweltering heat wave out here, but it was all so worth it.  The theme was sort of back to school with the name of the new line "Falling for You" and of course I was all excited since Kira will be starting Kindergarten this year.  We brought out the pencils, typewriter and some vintage books for play, but of course the girls had to have Princess crowns to coordinate, so I made them! 

Thank you Kristine and Elizabeth for this very exciting new venture in my business career.  I hope everyone gets to stop by during the next three days to get their pick of all the goodies.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Darling Duo

I find it so sweet to watch these two together now.  Only a few short months ago, Shelby was a shy, skeptic little tot, who only spoke Mandarin and loved to dance.  Now she mimics everything her big sister does and is grasping the english language quickly.   Shelby continues to look up to Kira and follow her around (which so far isn't a big deal to Kira now).  Kira seems to adore her to no end.  She dresses Shelby up and introduces her "little sister" to everyone!  It really is endearing to listen or watch them engaging in conversation and play; it just confirms that we made the best decision to adopt again.

Peek a boo!

Hey sis, we gotta run for cover! The mosquitos seem to like us.  And so we headed to the car and home for calomine and benadryl.  Gonna have to add bug spray to my camera bag from now on. 

The faces that melt my heart!  Yes my girl "inked" herself with tattoos, but at least it's a Princess!

Thanks for stopping by.  I will be launching a new blog and website within the next few weeks as I want to focus my work on children and high school Seniors!  I've always enjoyed working with children, tweens and teens when I worked as a nurse, and now even more so that I have found my passion in photography.  

First order of business will be recruiting Senior Representatives from the local NJ High Schools. And if there are any seniors out there who want to participate just email me for information at The perks are amazing, the photos even better!  Stay tuned for updates.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Hazy Lazy Days...that make for fab photos!

Okay, I admit it, I am now officially addicted to the hazy late day summer light.  I think it's because it challenges me to capture great images quickly while the sun is setting.  I figure I get about 30 minutes of yummy warm light between 7 and 8pm.  There are so many open fields here in NJ, I find that big doesn't always mean better.  As one photographer put it, "think small",  so when scouting for cool locations, large football sized areas are ridiculous if you're only shooting a toddler.  In these photos, you'd never know that I took them on a neighbors hill facing the sunset.  Behind the first portrait there is a perfect view of the pristine golf course but I didn't want the bright green grass and golfers as my backdrop, which is the problem when we run out the door for last minute shoots (when I get a crazy urge or idea) and there are golfers on the green.  

Depending on the heat and bug index, I have captured some splendid photos of my big girl (who by the way has been a very willing model these days providing I include her unique facial expressions).  

In the second photo I changed the position of her stool, which provided ample light without use of a reflector.  

In both my images I did very little processing.  I sharpened, lightened (where needed), then added two of my favorite tonal actions from Florabella's Classic Workflow, soft warmth and rosy cream (set at very low opacities).  Then pulled the midtones down with the curve adjustment tool, blended on soft light and sharpened again!  

Now off to plan a rather interesting themed shoot with a group of teen girls (who happen to be BFF's).  

Thanks for peeking in.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

An amazing Teen, one amazing town!

This weekend was so inspiring for me as I spent most of it with this young lady 

and her family. I had the the distinct pleasure of photographing Miss M. almost 2 years ago for her pageant portfolio and found out that during that year of her pageant entries she won several titles in the photogenic category.  Well, needless to say I felt like her proud "Aunt" and when you look at this face, how could she not win for the most photogenic!  She's simply gorgeous, and only dons a bit of eyeliner and lip gloss. Yep she makes my job very easy indeed! 

As anyone can see Miss M. is definitely a beauty and a natural behind the camera, but what you don't see is her silly side, her love for family and a maturity that is beyond her 19 years of age. 

I first want to thank this unique and special young lady, her Mom, Dad and Grandmom for keeping me smiling and hydrated during this heat wave out east and for welcoming me into their beautiful historic home and community.  

These photos were just a few of my favorites from our session.

More photos to come!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Welcome Summer!


The heat is on!  Summer started off here on the east with an incredibly oppressive heat wave.  However, that also means hours in a plastic child pool,running under the sprinkler, making water filled balloons to throw at anyone who passes by your "fort" and drinking cold iced tea.  That's what I think of when I recall my childhood. 

Although I have been trying to gather my props and ideas for a "themed photo session", I couldn't resist the warm setting sun this week as it cascading perfectly over my daughter's wide brim hat.  Seems to me these may be my most favorite photos ever as the last photo required no editing except a little de-fogging and the first two I added a bit of contrast to capture the shadows on her pretty dimples.

I am so excited for this evening shoot with another favorite model.  Last night I met with her parents and we walked miles scouting out beautiful locations right near their house.  I love finding unexpected new locations!  Now all I have to do is narrow them all down to 1-2 hours (should be fun considering all the outfit changes).  

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the warm, lazy summer days!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Everything I learned about posing...I learned from my Pre-Schooler" by Kira's Mommy

Yes, it's so true, most of what I learned from posing children I actually learned from my daughter!  She is very determined and stubborn and so I thought, why not take advantage of doing things her way? Actually knowing the developmental behaviors of kids is really the key.  Although, Kira has always been set in her ways, most 5 yr olds love to run, dance, explore and of course dress up and use their imaginations.  So ya just got to work with it.

I used to believe that in order to capture those "perfect" shots I had to continuously keep my finger on the shutter button or by the end of a shoot walk away exhausted from trying to entertain a child who had their individual ideas of what "play" was (and sitting through an hour or two family session just wasn't one of them.)  

So my sweet, creative and feisty little girl helped me to realize that pre-schoolers are quite capable of knowing the true definition of candid photography.  

These images were taken with my D700 and 50/1.8mm lens.  I changed the ISO depending on the light since I love to shoot nearly wide open (f/2.2 or lower) and adjusted the shutter speed as needed.  Also I like to set my EV at 0.3; a nice combination that works for me when trying to obtain optimal exposure.

Yesterday I bought some flowers and as we walked around the house we found some bright pink azaleas that caught Kira's eye and so as you can see this is what she did and how she wanted to use her "props".  Notice she wanted a "pony tail that was off to the side" so I had no control over this spontaneous shoot, which made it even more fun!

Here is the typical, "okay Mom, you can take just one picture," with hands placed strategically on the hips and a face that says "you've got one shot"!

Oh how this child makes me laugh and if I can say one thing, her attitude is adorably displayed in the image above.  She wanted to blow bubbles and I wanted just one more photo and again, her face says it all.  I love her laughter, pouting and most of all her sensitive personality.  But this image I'm saving for her future husband:)) and in gallery of favorite images.


Where are those bugs?

Capturing the "Butterfly" in motion.

The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.
Albert Einstein

Tired out after a day of "working the camera"!

Thank you sweet Kira, for these very important child posing tips.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Flora

Let us be grateful
to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.
-Marcel Proust

Monday, April 9, 2012

Berry Good Smoothie

A few months ago my husband bought a Vitamix mostly so that I could figure out how to get my picky kids to eat veggies and fruit instead of mac and cheese 24/7.
Okay I was a skeptic at first and thought whats the big deal over this blender? And, what does it do that other very less expensive blenders can't do??? How about that you can make hot all natural low calorie soup or your own almond soy milk? I am really like this and yes we use it almost everyday, but the most fun is creating tasty, healthy smoothies for my girls and they drink them all up! A win win situation and might I add a machine well worth the money.
After some trial and error for consistency and taste I came up with the following ingredients that you most certainly can edit by adding a 1/4 to 1/2 cup more of any of the following ingredients. Many smoothie recipes also call for a cup of ice but since this is using sugar free frozen berries, there's no need for ice and it's jam packed with vitamins

Berry Good Smoothie


1/2 cup of red or green grapes
2 cups baby carrots
1 apple (skinned and quartered)
1 small ripe banana
1 1/2 cups unsweetened frozen strawberries
1/2 cup unsweetened frozen peaches and or mangoes

Certainly I love using fresh fruit, but depending on the season, the markets may not have them readily available.

Mix all ingredients in blender on high till well blended.  The mixture will be thick so you can add 1/4 cup of water and blend again for a minute or so.  The other option is to add 1/2 - 1 cup of low fat vanilla yogurt and this adds a creamy texture making it all that more delicious and a bit sweeter since the berries can be tart and I don't add any sugar. 


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Raspberry Cheese Pancakes

These pancakes are so delicious they inspired me to even take some photos!

I mean who can't resist a good carb load now and then, especially on a weekend morning.  When I saw the cottage cheese ingredient I thought "no way are my picky kids going to eat this." However to my delight they ate them all up.  Either they are tired of scrambled eggs everyday or really loved the flavor and I think it's the later.

Okay so they look just like ordinary pancakes right???

Well they are far from ordinary and so easy to make.  Instead of taking photos of mixing dough and adding ingredients I thought I would cut to the chase and post the ingredients and results.


1 cup cottage cheese and feel free to use low fat
4 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
6 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sugar


1. Whip cottage cheese, sugar and vanilla with hand mixer on low to medium speed.  Add the flour and eggs and start the mixer again. With mixer on, add melted butter. This should be a thick batter.

2. Test a small amount of batter on grill. Add a small amount of flour if it needs thickening.

3. Cook pancakes until golden, then flip and cook for an additional minute. Do not overcook. These pancakes are moist and should spring back to the touch.

4. The batter yields about 10-12 three inch pancakes and they should look like the photo.  Usually I add a 1/4 tsp of extra vanilla but in this case you don't need to because of the most delicious topping using raspberries and maple syrup.

Now onto the raspberry syrup!

Raspberry Maple Syrup:

1 cup Vermont Maple Syrup (again you can try low sugar syrup)
2/3 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (fresh are best)
2 Tbsp raspberry jam

Combine ingredients in a non-stick saucepan. Hear on low until raspberries defrost- stirring occasionally. Stir in the jam which helps the syrup mixture thicken. Heat until the syrup boils, then turn off the heat and let sit. Syrup is ready to spoon over pancakes after the mixture has set for a few minutes allowing it to thicken.

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Year of Beautiful Places and Faces

After almost 7 months with our Gansu Girl, I felt a bit nostalgic for China and wanted to post a few of my favorite images of my precious daughters and their birth country, amazing China. 

Seriously, I try so hard not to pose Kira, in fact I have no idea where she learned how to "work the camera" like this, but I enjoy capturing her new interest in being photographed.

Beautiful Leah in Bejing, China

Very cute school children of Guandong Province

This has to be one of my all time favorite images from our journey to Shelby. Though our trip was rushed and there was barely enough time to eat, let alone take photographs, I took several of this Mother and her children.  This is a typical Hutong (small neighborhood) where the locals reside in the bigger cities.  I adored the history and antiquity of this country.