My Top 40 Moments of 2014

This was a tough one!  A year of so many great moments, people, memories…. I decided that since I turned 40 in 2014, I would narrow this down to 40 of my favorite moments that I photographed.  Some of the images I love because I think they’re beautiful, some are just average photos but the moment or event or the subject was significant to me. Some made me cry, some made me laugh and some touched my soul.  For whatever reason, there were the moments and images that left a lasting impression on me for one reason or another and now I get to share them with you.  Enjoy!  Can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store.  And I must note, these are in no particular order…..

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40.  It was a beautiful moment when a respected colleague asked me to photograph her daughter. Knowing she was extremely self conscious, she knew I was the perfect person to help her daughter feel comfortable in front of the camera.  She has never like a photo of herself and was so shy, covering herself during the session. Once l I showed her a few images on the back of my camera I watched her timid expression turn into a smile as she said “wow, I love them.”  Amazing feeling!


39.  I just love this family. One of my longest clients and most loyal as I have photographed them since their oldest was a newborn.  I think I have photographed every milestone moment for them and their family since!  I love when my clients become like family and I assimilate into their most important moments.



38.  This darling woman turned 90 and her family threw her a party last April.  It was wonderful to see children, grand children and great grand children all together to celebrate her milestone.


37.  This is the family of one of my high school friends. She has hired me over the years to document her children and this was a special gift for her mother for Christmas (although we photographed it in June)  My friend lost her dad just before Christmas last year and it had been a tough year for the family as you can imagine.  When in high school her parents took in some children from Ireland who for all intents and purposes became her brothers as well. This June they all got together in Asbury Park and we were able to capture some great moments that made a wonderful gift for her mom.


36.  This may seem like a ordinary moment, but at Lisa’s wedding, her husband Giuseppe grabbed the mic and sang a heart felt and beautiful version of “All of Me” that brought the room, including me, to tears. One of those moments that every woman dreams of and it came true for my friend Lisa. I was so thrilled to be there to witness such a moment.


35.  I just love this just because. Danielle and Brendan were married this past November.  What a day!  Earlier this year Brendan’s dad unexpectedly passed away and we knew this day would be bitter sweet.  This is just one of those wedding images that to me says love, forever and everything an image from a wedding should say.


34.  This was sooooo difficult to first bris.  It was such a beautiful moment for the family.  The look on the mom’s face says it all….isn’t this how we as parents feel sometimes, helpless?


33.  Bridal parties are not the easiest to photograph. We often struggle to get everyone to try something different or even pay attention because usually they are ready to just get to cocktail hour and party.  But this group was a blast and when I mentioned tossing some leaves, they were happy to oblige and had fun! That’s what makes this shot so much fun and just makes me smile.


32. One of only 2 Bar Mitzvah’s I have actually be able to photograph in my career. The ceremony is so full of beautiful tradition and being able to capture this moment was so precious. Sadly even more special because the boy’s grandmother just passed away a few weeks later unexpectedly and I know how much these photos meant to the family as it was the last time she was photographed. She was surrounded by all of her children and grand children at such a happy occasion.  It just reminds me how important my job really means to my clients and how precious those moments are.


31.  The decision to do a boudoir session is different for each woman.  This woman wanted to do it as a gift for her soon to be husband but was extremely terrified. She contacted me months prior on the fence and kept putting it off until 3 weeks before her wedding.  The morning of the shoot she called me hysterical believing she couldn’t do it. I calmed her down and assured her she would be just fine.  Then I get an image like this that is sexy, gorgeous and simply stunning.  I was there when she gave her husband his gift and his reaction was awesome to watch!  She wrote me a beautiful letter thanking me for pushing her and she had no regrets because she had so much fun.


30.  The classic Holiday Card image!  We had so much fun on this shoot.  We got to the Christmas Tree Farm only to realize they no longer had trees to cut down. What to do? We made the best by using whatever props they had and letting the kids have fun. This beautiful image was the result.  I hope it makes you smile, too.


29.  Probably my favorite sibling shot that I have ever taken.  Love that big sister is snuggling the baby.  And those eyes!!


28.Probably one of my favorite shots of just the kids taken all year.  It was a cold and windy day and was pouring rain minutes before this photo. The sun just peaked out for us while the wind was whipping and the kids sucked it up to take some amazing photos. This was one of those moments when I looked back at my camera and knew I captured the one they would use for their holiday card. And they did.


27.  OZ, such a magical place and this shoot felt like a a dream. A whirlwind tour of North Caroline with people I have never met to capture their dream engagement session at an abandoned Wizard of Oz theme park in the mountains. Freezing, exhausting, exhilarating, AMAZING.  One of my best all time career moments so far. And this photo just shows their love.


26.  Probably another career moment right here.  Speaking at my high school career day about women and confidence, this young woman asked me a question about what the most difficult part of my job is.  I told her I would show her. I walked up to her with my camera and went to take a photograph and she recoiled saying she looked horrible and I couldn’t take a good photo of her. I said to her “You don’t think I can take a photo you would love right now?”  She said “no.”  She challenged me. So I pulled her in front of the class, embarrassing her. I posed her for less than a minute and voila! This happened. She couldn’t believe that she loved the image and her classmates were going crazy over it. My alma mater posted the story to their facebook page and actually the Archdiocese of Newark also reposted it because of how poignant the message was. So amazing to see that happen right in front of my eyes; unplanned, candid, real.


25.  This was such an awesome moment for quite a few reasons. I love my my photography students call on me to document their family. It is so exciting to me and I am quite honored they enjoyed me and my class enough to trust me to document their event or family portraits.  I couldn’t have planned this moment any better if I tried. Walking down the Asbury Park boardwalk where I shoot very often and there were a few folks feeding the birds. We sat on the bench next to them and asked them to help me create a cool photo.  They threw the food in front of me so the birds would swarm and magic happened!  The kids were in awe, the adults were afraid of bird poo!  We all escaped poo free, btw. But for this special family to have this image and moment documented of their children so young and full of awe is pretty exciting to me.


24.  How can you not laugh looking at this?  I have been documenting this family for several years (since before they had 3 boys) and watching Jeff handle them like a pro is something only a 3rd time parent could or would do.  He definitely has his hands full and is kept pretty busy.  But nonetheless, they are a fun and loving family that always makes me smile knowing every session we have is going to be filled with some kind of surprise.


23.  One of my best friends and his gorgeous family. Only Damon could scout out this location and have his girls rock it!  We knew we wanted something different and off beat and wasn’t sure what that was going to be until he called me and said he found an awesome graffiti wall and we had to shoot there.  And if you saw this location and what it took to get to it, it was a miracle all kids cooperated and we survived!  So much fun with this sassy crew and I love that my friends continue to call on me year after year to create awesome memories.


22.  A shot like this with a client who became a close friend.  For that I am thankful.  This shoot probably changed my boudoir business completely. We decided in late spring that I needed a dedicated boudoir website and in that search to put that together my mission became crystal clear.  The tagline Boudoir for EVERYbody was born.  The women I photograph aren’t models, they are real women; most of whom have had children and aren’t “perfect.” My goal is to make every woman of every size and age feel gorgeous and sexy just as they are, imperfections and all.  Marni looks stunning and the session bonded us as she needed a boost of confidence and with that session and her marketing expertise, we changed my boudoir business.  I am grateful so many of my clients become treasured friends.


21.  My first same sex wedding.  It was a blast!  These two hired me 3 weeks before their wedding (can you imagine) and it was my only weekend day off all month, but I wasn’t going to let them down.  The referral came from one of my trusted colleagues who created the most amazing invitations for them and from there we created a team of amazing professionals to WOW them on their wedding, They completely trusted our referrals and we didn’t disappoint!  It was a milestone event for me, but it also proved how much a professional networking organization like ISES can work for you and work for your clients because in 3 weeks we rocked this wedding. .2014-09-16_0001

20.  For the past 3 years I have been photographing the MAC Pageant.  I have met so many amazing young women and their families through this experience.  It completely changed my view of pageantry and what I thought it was (no, it’s nothing like toddlers and tiaras fyi)  These women are intelligent, confident, beautiful and talented.  Many come from such amazing families. This is one of my favorite shots of crowning just as she realized she had won.  I always get choked up and cry because I have been watching these girls grow the past few years so I get excited along with them.


19.  What a special moment this was.  One of my girlfriends from high school wrote a children’s book about Multiple Sclerosis.  She was diagnosed several years ago and watching her cope, thrive and struggle to be a mom, friend, wife, author and general awesome human being, Jamie wowed me with her courage.  This was her book signing last spring that she hired me to document.  In this photo she is signing the book for our old teacher and now principal of Mount Saint Dominic Academy, Sr. Fran Sullivan.  Two women I adore and I got to be a part of it.  If you want to check out the book its Zoe Bowie Sings Despite All Sad Things.  My daughter loved it and it’s so inspiring, just like Jamie is.


18.  That is my engagement ring right there.  It is over 125 years old and my fiance’s family heirloom piece.  The fact they loved me enough to share it with me is truly and honor and I simply adore it.  As if being engaged isn’t exciting enough, having something special like this reminds me how blessed I am.  But the story of how that little ring got on my finger is a funnier one.  Knowing the ring was antique and there was no room for sizing, John, my fiance, was nervous that the ring might not fit me.  He stressed over that moment when he actually needed to put it on.  I knew the moment was coming and I also knew his sizing concern, so watching me at the restaurant wrapping my hand around a glass of iced water so it wouldn’t swell is quite comical.  And then came that moment.  He is down on one knee in front of me and we both held our breath simultaneously hoping and praying it would fit.  It slid on perfectly and he let out a sigh of relief and said “Wow, it’s as if that ring was custom made just for you!”  And that is my personal Cinderella story!


17.  Probably one of my favorite images of all time.  I was photographing a dance studio from West Virginia and their experience in NYC competing.  In between performances  I noticed this little patch of light on a crowded street in Times Square.  I asked one of the girls if she had a minute to help me create this shot.  No one wanted to because they weren’t dressed or made up for a formal portrait yet.  I asked this girl, who I hadn’t met prior to trust me and my vision and she did what I asked. This was the result.  When she and the other dancers saw, of course everyone wanted a similar photo but we only had 5-10 minutes before their performance so I couldn’t accommodate more than 5 girls.  But aren’t’ they lucky to have a shot like this in their portfolio?

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16.  It is such a joy working with awesome unconventional families. This family is 2 gay men and their adopted children.  They asked me to come to Philly as I hadn’t seen them in 2 years since they added their newest little one and he is a doll.  This photo just sums it all up…pure joy!  And even better, a woman was watching me photograph this family and was so enthralled she hired me to do a lifestyle portrait session for her.  You never know who is watching.


15.  This is just another one of my favorite photos of all time.  During an engagement session on the beach we were trying to do something fun and different.  The bride to be, Amanda, had her brother with us on the session and he had these awesome sunglasses. I was trying to shoot their reflection while he was wearing them but it didn’t work. He suggested he take them off. So when we placed them on the sand, it worked immediately.


14.  Remember the father holding the three boys? Well this is the birth of the littlest one a month prior.  The first actual birth that I photographed and I tell you  it was a life changing moment.  I relived my daughter’s birth that I was too drugged up to experience all over again. It was the most amazing and beautiful thing I have ever seen.  Unexpectedly the nurse actually allowed me in the delivery room for the C-section,which is almost unheard of, and let me photograph the actual moment Jaxon was born.


13.  I love Communions. What a beautiful milestone.  And to shoot for some of my oldest friends and watch their children grow is awesome.  I just love this photo and the peace I feel looking at it.


12.  What could be more romantic than a wedding in New Orleans? Not much.  I adored every single detail of this wedding.  But what makes it even more spectacular is marching through town during a Second Line. So much fun and probably one of my favorite wedding moments of my career.  Listening to the brass band, the family waving their handkerchiefs, onlookers tossing beads and cheering.  Amazing!


11.  My second same sex wedding of the year was two awesome women, Barbara and Jess.  I’ve known Barb for years and the fact she only wanted me to photograph her special day was such an honor. I just look at this image and it says it all…love, joy, and we finally did it!!!


10.  Another one of those images that I just adore.  This time I was photographing a dance company from Mexico who were coming to NYC to compete.  They saw the other photos I did of the West Virginia dance company and knew they needed me to document their student’s first trip to New York and give them unforgettable images. Obviously it was crowded and started to rain, but we were able to make this image feel like New York without the crowds.  How we did this in Herald Square I don’t know, but we made it happen and it’s definitely one of my faves and was one of my most challenging to create.


9.  I had never photographed wish lanterns before and honestly I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. I was pondering my location and that of my second shooter and I didn’t have much instruction other than just shoot.  I think I had him use strobe as I shot natural light and I just love this moment of the couple.


8. As a Sweet 16 party alternative, we did a private Glam Day just for these girls. How fun is that? She didn’t want a traditional party but a day where her and her best friends can get all glammed up for a shoot. So my team arrived to give these girls a day they would never forget.  We shot at the Hanover Marriott Hotel where I do my boudoir and head shot work and Anna my hair and makeup artist and her team transformed these girls.  We had such fun and they loved every minute of being pampered and modeling for a day.


7.  I love shooting proposals! I have to admit I get extremely nervous for the soon to be bride and it consumes me.  This was interesting because I know the entire family well and have photographed them all at some point EXCEPT the bride to be so everyone knew me except her.  I was literally sitting at the table next to them fidgeting and watching impatiently for him to pop the question.  I was in constant contact with the maitre ‘d. Of course, he waited until the end of the meal to pop the question.  We were in Atlantic City and I literally landed off the plane from my vacation several hours prior to hop in the car with my boyfriend and be there to document the moment.  Those photos mean the world to have as I can now personally relate to that!  I have a new appreciation for shooting proposals now because I still look at my photos everyday to relive that moment and I know exactly what they mean to my clients.


6.  One of my favorite maternity photos that I have ever taken.  This is just one of those images I will never tire of looking at.


5.  Any Wizard of Oz fanatic will instantly recognize the significance of this shot.  It was amazing that we had just a dusting of snow at the location and found a ton of poppies in the storage room. We knew what needed to be done. Even though it was freezing, Jane without hesitation got on the ground for this shot and allowed us to throw snow on her to recreate that famous scene to the best of our ability.


4.  A perfect father/son moment.  A real moment of them playing. As I was doing formals  they took a minute to let off steam and just be themselves.  Isn’t this better than some posed shot? I think so.


3.  A groom and his grandmother….these are the moments we treasure and the ones we simply cannot pose, they just happen.  And I need to be prepared for all of those little moments that I know will mean the world to the family. This is one of them.


2.  Just one of those images that makes me smile because it’s a real moment. Another dear friend from high school hired me to photograph her daughter’s Communion. While trying to get three kids to pose for portraits on this cool and windy day, you can imagine what it’s like when they just want no part of being photographed. And the wind kicked up at just the right time and I couldn’t help but chuckle and think to myself “Yup, this is real life!”


1..  To look at this image I don’t think you would realize that it’s raining quite a bit, it’s cold and we did this image in 6 minutes. I was hired by a dance troupe from West Virgina to document their trip to NYC. They wanted a group shot with the skyline in the background.  All of our location scouting and planning couldn’t have prepared us for what happened.  They chartered a bus to take us from Manhattan to Brooklyn for this image. It took 9almost 2 hours to get there.  As it was we now had less than 20 minutes to do a group shot because they had dinner reservations to get to and we didn’t anticipate such traffic that day.  As we pulled up, the location we wanted to shoot in was blocked off and at that moment when we were all frustrated and didn’t know what to do, it began to rain. Fantastic! My assist had left for the day so I didn’t have another set of hands or eyes and no one to hold lighting etc.  With the rain pounding and soaking the girls I told them to gather in that spot and strike different poses.  The sun just peaked out enough to make the sky interesting and you can see the skyline in the background. I only took about 10 frames of this image before all of us soak and wet got onto the warm bus and headed back to Manhattan.  This image took experience and expertise to pull off.  To think quickly under these circumstances very few could have done.  And they were so thrilled with this shot, which is all I ever want anyway.  No matter what it takes in the end I want a happy client.

4 Responses to My Top 40 Moments of 2014

  1. Your stories behind ALL you photos makes me choke up. For a photographer to be so connected to all their subjects in every way is a Gift!

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