Central Park, NYC | Family Photography | Chan Family

I love photographing families! I also love going to my parents house, or even my Grandparents house, and looking at old family photos. Whether it’s the candids or the professional images, there’s something magical about freezing time and reminiscing about those experiences and moments. That is what’s priceless when it comes to photography.

This family reached out to me all the way from California, and upon our first telephone conversation, I knew they were the sweetest people. I couldn’t wait to meet them! While they were here in NYC for an awesome family getaway, they wanted to have a family photo session in iconic Central Park! We had so much fun talking and laughing, and I know that we created some great memories for their son. And they now have this experience captured in visuals to better remember it!

Thank you Chan family for giving me the honor of photographing your family!


Interested in photographing your family?

Farmhouse Garden Outdoor Wedding | Kelsey & Bill

It was a beautiful and warm afternoon for Kelsey & Bill's wedding day in the backyard gardens of The Sage Farmhouse. The soon-to-be-newlyweds were very relaxed, but at the same time, so excited to get married!

Kelsey had her bridesmaids on hand to help her get ready, and her Mom to help specifically with her wedding dress. I loved that Kelsey decided to wear Tieks for her wedding day shoes. She preferred their comfort and knew that donning a pair of golden flats was the right choice for her.

When I took Bill outside to get him ready to see his bride, he was so happy and couldn't stop smiling and laughing. When Bill finally got to see Kelsey for the first time that day, he managed a little twirl so that she could check him out, too – it was really cute!

They had an intimate ceremony and were excited to spend the rest of the night hanging out with their friends and dancing. Kelsey was super excited to do a bubble exit, and I have to admit, I also love bubbles! Of course, it was awesome to photograph them under a cloud of bubbles. All the kids loved it too! We had so many people there to help create the magical world of bubbles that surrounded the bride and groom.

Their wedding cake was also really important, because not only was it fabulously delicious, but it was a wedding cake in the shape of a lighthouse! Bill had proposed to Kelsey at the Barnegat Lighthouse in New Jersey, so they thought it would be really fun to incorporate that into their wedding.

Kelsey and Bill were just the sweetest people and were so laid back the entire day. Nothing would stand in their way of having a great time! I'm so happy I was able to get to know these two and to help them document their wedding day with their closest friends and incredibly sweet families.

Congratulations Kelsey & Bill!


Interested in my wedding photography services?

 

Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Sage Farmhouse
Florist: Kenny's Flower Shoppe
Cake Artist: Creative Confections
DJ/MC: Chris Marx Events
Bride’s Dress: Modcloth
Bride’s Shoes: Tieks
Hair and Makeup: Chrome Salon
Second Photographer: Jes Terkowski

Sandy Hook, NJ | Engagement Session | Ashley & Thomas

Right after the Labor Day holiday weekend, I met with Ashley and Thomas at Sandy Hook, NJ to photograph their engagement session. It was a beautiful sunny day, and very, very hot! These two will be getting married in June of 2019 and I’m so excited to have the privilege of photographing their big day. Ashley and Thomas were a little nervous at first, but I told them by the end of our session, they'd be pro models and ready for more!

We started off simple, first by the beach entrance, then walking out to a patch of wild shrubs where the light was pouring in beautifully. Next, we got sandy by some small sand dunes, then cooled down a bit by walking at the water’s edge, and of course got wet from the waves. The water felt SO good. After being at the beach, we all ventured out to a little walkway that led out to the bay. The light was gorgeous at this point and Ashely and Thomas were plenty warmed up in front of the camera.

We ended our session as the sun set over the bay and we took advantage of every last bit of light. Ashley and Thomas were amazing – they braved the heat, the waves, the sand and all those buzzing bugs. But, it was all worth it in the end for the amazing memories they made and the moments captured between them.

After their engagement session, we stopped at the little bungalow on the mainland overlooking the bay. We had some amazing thirst-quenching sangrias, shared stories, and had lots of laughs. It felt so good to connect with them!

Ashley even showed me the video of when Thomas proposed. It was brilliant! They went on a hike and when they got to the top of the mountain to take a break, Thomas suggested they take a picture. So he set up the phone to snap a few photos. Little did Ashley know, he actually had it recording them! After a moment of “cheesing” for the camera, Thomas turned to Ashley said a few words to her, and got down on one knee. Ashley was surprised but was quick to take off her glove and give him her hand. It was the cutest thing! When they got home, it was also a surprise to Ashley to have their families waiting in their apartment ready to congratulate them both!

Reviewing their engagement session photos brought a smile to my face. Thomas always knew how to make her laugh, and I loved seeing the smile on his face as he looked at his fiancé. I’m so excited to document their wedding! They are going to be such an awesome bride and groom. I know that they are going to have a blast and will party hard with their friends and family. Thank you Ashley and Thomas for a great evening at the beach, I can’t wait to see you again soon! :)


Interested in photographing you & your love?

Secret Proposal, Ocean City NJ

When Brendan first reached out to me about wanting to propose to Megan and have it photographed, I was super excited! Proposals can happen really fast, so I think it is really cool to be able to document the moments.

He had his approach all planned out and was preparing for this special day for a while. Megan, of course, had no idea. So, on to the sneaky planning of how to capture Brendan proposing.

The secret proposal was going to take place in Ocean City, NJ. This is where Megan had been going every Labor Day weekend with her family since she was a little girl. Brendan started accompanying the family almost every year while they were dating, so this place held a very special meaning for the two of them.

The couple first met in college and they were good friends for a while, got to know one another over time, and began forming a special bond that would lead them down this beautiful road.

Brendan told me where he would like to propose, and because there was rain in the forecast, we waited until the day of to pick the right spot. As I waited on the boardwalk, as a normal pedestrian enjoying the day, the Sun came out ten minutes before Brendan and Megan arrived. The light literally came out just for them!

As soon as they arrived and turned the corner to walk to the designated area, I went into photographer stealth mode, making sure I stayed down and out of sight and started shooting. The two talked for a moment, and before I knew it, I could hear an exclamation of joy from Megan, right before Brendan got down on one knee. Whatever he must’ve said, definitely gave away what was about to happen! Brendan kneeled and Megan’s reactions were just the best! She was so happy and surprised! Once I finally revealed and introduced myself, even I was giddy and high off of their amazing energy!

As we went on to take photos of the now newly engaged couple, it was only natural we discussed all that went into the planning. The little details that were revealed all made sense to Megan at that point; trying on a family ring that her Mom was curious about, her Dad suggesting to wear something nice to dinner that night, the fact that Brendan and Megan were staying a whole extra week for a little vacation. There were other little clues along the way that Brendan was good about keeping under wraps.

We walked down to the beach, played in the water, nestled in some sand dunes and grass, then ended up back near where the proposal took place, by the boardwalk. These two were so adorable in front of the camera! I loved every moment with them. We made some wonderful memories and captured amazing moments together. I am SO happy and excited for them as they start this journey. And, I am extremely thrilled and honored to have been there to witness and photograph their love. Congratulations you two!!


Interested in documenting a proposal?

Booth Park, Nutley NJ | Simple Summer Wedding Inspiration

This past Summer, my Photographer friend Olivia, wanted to put together an inspirational shoot and collaborate with other local vendors.  I was honored when she asked me to join the team!  Olivia wanted a wedding style that was simple and could be put together easily, even in one’s own backyard. We went to Booth Park, in Nutley NJ, and everyone joined in to set it all up. It was a perfect Summer evening (besides the loads of bug bites i got, haha) and we started about two hours before the sunset so we could take advantage of that beautiful, evening glow.  Our model, Marie, looked like she stepped out of a fairytale in her Vesa Brides dress.  We even got a surprise visit from Olivia's cute pooch!  Every vendor that came together for this was awesome and I am a fan of them all. Below are the photos that I had taken, but please visit Olivia’s page and Instagram for more of her images. I hope you find some inspiration!

Be sure to also visit Red Oak Weddings to see the featured blog post there!

 
 

Creator:  Olivia Christina Photography
Photographers:  Rachel Watkinson Photography & Olivia Christina Photography
Florals/Wardrobe & Prop Stylist:  Ronya And Co.
Bridal Gown:  Vesa Brides
Model:  Marie Hickey
Makeup:  Makeup By Samantha Linn
Hair:  Styles On Location
Rentals:  Party Rental Ltd
Hand Lettering:  Lace And Belle
Chalk Drawing:  Chalk + Co.
Cake:  Flour Bomb Cake Co.
Cake Pops:  Jou Jou Pops

NYC | Lifestyle Session | Baby Zooey

James and Joy welcomed little Zooey into the world in early October. I photographed their newly expanded family a little over a month later, so Zooey had a little time to relax and acclimate to her new surroundings before being captured on film :). 

James and Joy’s cozy home was the perfect spot for our session because we wanted to make sure everyone was warm and relaxed, and we also wanted the family pets to get in on the action! I love photographing in-home, lifestyle sessions because of these reasons. It gives the family an opportunity to just – be.  

We started in the living room area by one of the windows, moved into Zooey’s room, and then ended our photography session in the master bedroom where there was ample, beautiful light.  We shared lots of laughs and made some great memories.  

I hope both parents and Zooey will look back at these images and feel the love that was palpable in the air.  There were so many sweet and precious moments during our time together, and I am proud to share some of those here.


Interested in having a family photography session?

Liberty State Park, New Jersey | Maternity Session

I was so thrilled to hear from Kayla about photographing her maternity session! 

Steve and Kayla were quickly approaching their due date and wanted to capture their first pregnancy photos outside and in a natural setting. I was excited to be able to show them all the possibilities within the expansive Liberty State Park, in Jersey City, NJ.  Kayla and Steve were real troopers, braving the chilly air, and the crazy-strong winds.  But, I interpreted the winds as a beautiful, natural gift of movement and interest.  

We took a stroll through the paths and trees, eventually ending up near the water as the sun set.  As this was their first time at the park, I wanted to grab a few shots overlooking the Statue Of Liberty, but had to do so before we lost all daylight.  Kayla, a gorgeous mom-to-be, looked flawless while rocking high-heels during the entire shoot!  

They had so many sweet moments between them, and I now know that this is a couple that loves to laugh. I am honored to have been a part of this incredibly important time in their lives, and I can't wait to hear all about the arrival of their sweet baby!

 

Interested in maternity photography sessions?

New Haven, CT | Wedding | Ruby & Hassan

Ruby and Hassan’s love story started across the Atlantic Ocean in Hassan’s home country of Morocco.  Ruby, a school teacher from Connecticut in the US, went abroad with a group of fellow educators.  Hassan happened to be one of the lucky ambassadors that showed the group around.  And, as we now know, Hassan and Ruby soon sparked their connection over dinner and mint tea!  

Even after Ruby came back to America, they stayed in touch and maintained a long distance relationship.  After a year of dating long distance, Ruby ventured back to Morocco to teach with Hassan.  Their great life adventure has continued ever since.  With both sets of parents present, Hassan proposed with a beautiful ring of tanzanite and diamonds set in white gold, from Ruby’s Jewelers of course.  They returned to America and had their official marriage ceremony in the backyard of Ruby’s parents home.

On the day of their “other” wedding celebration, I knew it was important to take lots of photos outside of Ruby’s parents house because it’s the setting of so many joyous moments in Ruby’s life.  Plus, I must say, that Ruby’s parents have a gorgeous garden and I couldn’t resist photographing amidst all of the beautiful colors!  

Hassan’s family traveled all the way from Morocco and France, while Ruby’s extended family traveled all the way from Taiwan! We took family photos right outside and I just loved the moment when Ruby’s Mom leaned over to give her a kiss.  She was so proud and filled with love for her daughter.

The wedding was filled with friends and family from all over the world!  It was amazing to see the love that brought everyone together to celebrate these wonderful souls.  Ruby started the day in a traditional white wedding dress and then changed into a traditional Kaftan dress that was handmade and hand-embroidered by expert Moroccan seamstresses.  It’s a traditional dress worn at Moroccan weddings. Ruby chose the colors and design together with Hassan’s parents.

Traditionally, at Taiwanese and Moroccan weddings, the bride can have several dress changes.  Ruby also contemplated donning her traditional red Taiwanese wedding dress, called Qipao, for photos. But, luckily, we already captured her beauty in that dress during their engagement session – found HERE

One of the memorable moments for me was when Ruby’s brother, David, made his speech. He cracked a lot of jokes, but one of the things he said that stuck with me, was about how Ruby took a risk.  She took a risk on her heart, to open it for Hassan, to go back to Morocco and live with him and his family for a year. They both took a risk to get married, move to America and start a life together. If they never took those risks, they would not be where they are today, together, in love, going on adventures and soon experiencing one of the biggest adventures by welcoming a baby into the world and into their hearts.

I can’t wait to see them again and meet their little peanut! It was my privilege to capture the memories of Ruby and Hassan’s wedding day, but an even greater privilege to be their friend :).

 

Princeton University, New Jersey | Wedding | Alyson & Jordan

Princeton University was the perfect spot for Alyson and Jordan to have their wedding.  They met back in 2006 when they were both at Princeton acting as resident advisors for a Summer school program.  Since they were both attending different colleges, Georgetown and University of Wisconsin, they kept their long distance connection alive by staying in touch, occasionally meeting up, and even studying together abroad in London.  Over the next few years, their relationship grew and they were finally able to move in together in New York City! (You can see their NYC Fall engagement session here)  It was back at Princeton where Jordan proposed to Alyson, the same place where they had met.  So sweet!

It was a perfect summertime wedding, and the two chose to do their reveal where Joran proposed.  The expression on his face when he turned around was so cute, he could not stop smiling, and why would he?  Alyson looked stunning, a picture perfect bride in her two-piece dress.  Alyson kept the florals fresh and natural with a variety of greens and pops of white.  The bridesmaids wore a neutral, elegant palette of creams and beiges, while the groomsmen looked very handsome in their navy blue suits.  During the ceremony, Alyson and Jordan read their vows to each other which were touching and also brought out the laughs.  When Jordan got a little emotional, Alyson reached over and touched his arm so sweetly which calmed him down and centered him as he went on to speak his words.  There were small emotional tears, including the bridesmaids, as the two exchanged their stories and love for each other.  The ceremony and reception took place at The Nassau Inn.  During the cocktail hour, the bride and groom joined their alumni friends for photos while singing their school songs, and laughing and cheering each other on. 

It was my sincere pleasure to get to know this lovely couple.  I’m grateful they chose me to be apart of their day as they start another chapter in their journey together.  I can’t wait to see them again and hear about their awesome Grecian honeymoon!

 
 

Ceremony and Reception Venue:  Nassau Inn
Florist:  Kristin Rockhill Design
Cake Artist:  The Caketeria
Band/DJ:  Ambient DJ Service
Makeup Artist:  Make Me Up Eva
Hair Artist:  Kimberley Maugeri
Bridal Gown:  BHLDN
Bridesmaid Dresses:  Show Me Your Mumu
Officiant: Lauren M. Seber
Stationary:  Alaina Ching -alainaching@gmail.com
Ceremony and Cocktail Music:  Sweet Harmony Music

Central Park | Engagement | Ruby & Hassan

Ruby and Hassan first met in the Summer of 2014 while Ruby traveled to Morocco with a group of educators.   Hassan was one of the greeters that showed the group around and really provided the group with a first hand experience of Morocco.  It was over dinner and mint tea where a connection really began.  Once Ruby left and came back to America, the two stayed in touch and continued their relationship long distance.  One year later, Ruby went back to Morocco to teach at the Ifrane school with Hassan and to experience life with him.  In May of 2016, with their parents present, they got engaged.  They both moved back to America where they got married in a small backyard ceremony.  But, this August is when they will have both sides of the family, and friends, come from different places of the world to meet for a celebration of their marriage! I can’t wait to be a part of the big day, experience all the festivities, and watch Ruby and Hassan feel all the love from their family and friends.

 

Ninety Acres | Wedding | Jamie & Mark

It was a cloudy day on April 1st, 2017.  It poured the day before, but the skies were holding back the rain and created the perfect light for Jamie and Mark’s wedding.

Jamie was getting ready at her parents home, the same house that she grew up in. It was very special to her to be able to be in an environment that was relaxing, comforting and felt exactly like, well... home.  

I thought it was super-sweet that one of the more important moments to her was getting a picture with Roxy (Jamie and Mark’s cutie-pie Boston Terrier) and her parents on the front steps. This was a place where so many pictures had been taken of her over the years of while growing up. School dances, holidays, prom and now, her wedding day.  All of the details that were part of the day and around the house were so adorable!  The front door had it’s own wedding day decorations, there was an amazing smelling candle (properly called ‘Wedding Day’), white M&M’s, little black confetti cut-outs of a bride and groom and her grandmother’s paper doll with a cool pop-out skirt that she had on at her wedding. Roxy had her own special collar and pearl leash, and the list goes on!  It was so much fun to see all these little special touches all over.  I knew that her family had put a lot of time and effort into making it special for their daughter.  I also have to gush about how adorable Jamie’s parents' home is and how absolutely sweet and welcoming they are!  Every room was so cute and clean and the powder-room…glorious! I’m pretty jealous:).  

I spent most of my time photographing the details in Jamie’s old room.  I get a bit emotional when I think about it – here I am in the room that this sweet and fun girl grew up in, with soooo many memories; and now here I am, photographing her, along with all the special things and people in her life on her wedding day. It was such an honor to have been a part of this experience.

Jamie and Mark had their intimate wedding at the beautiful, expansive and historic Ninety Acres property in Peapack, New Jersey.  They had their own private room for dinner which was decorated beautifully including flowers from Jardiniere Fine Flowers and place cards by Dove House Handmade.  Jamie and Mark wanted to keep their wedding private and special with just their immediate families to celebrate the ceremony and dinner.  And later that night went to go party with their friends on a rooftop bar in Morristown! It was a really sweet way to enjoy the day and evening.  Mark’s brother officiated the wedding and brought a bunch of laughs.  It was funny and sentimental, there were laughs and happy tears. Mark also brought out the inner comedienne of Jamie, cracking jokes and having fun with the cake ;)  

It was such a pleasure to be able to spend that time with both families and share those moments with all of them. And by the end, I was giving hugs to everyone because I felt so warm towards and excited for them.  By now, the bride and groom are off in New Zealand and Australia, or another amazing island on an adventure or just relaxing.  I know they are having an amazing time because this honeymoon has been a special part of their plan for a long time.

Jamie and Mark, thank you so much for having me be a part of your wedding day. You and your families are incredible, funny and kind. I’m honored to have been the one to capture the moments and details of what is now a whole new, awesome chapter in your lives! :)

Venue, Food & Cake:  Ninety Acres, Peapack, NJ
Bride’s Dress & Veil:  BHLDN
Bride’s Shoes:  Frances Valentine
Hair:  Samantha Cruise, Vanity Salon
Make Up:  Bethany Moffa
Flowers:  Jardiniere Fine Flowers
Invitations & Place cards:  Katy, Dove House Handmade

Morristown, Speedwell Park | Engagement Session | Jamie & Mark

When Jamie told me she would like to take her engagement photos in the Winter, I thought, “How cool and different!” I know that I was really hoping to get some amazing snowy shots and I had visions of fresh powder and being lost in an enchanted forest! I’m not sure if Jamie was thinking about getting lost in a forest, but I was pretty sure she was thinking the same as me…fresh, white snow!  Well, the season changed to Winter, and we only had one snow storm, and the rest of the Winter season was quickly going by with no snow in sight and unseasonably warm.  I thought, well, we can still go on a great nature walk and capture some beautiful moments!  We set our date to get together for the engagement photos, February 9th.  And, wouldn’t you know it…a big snow storm was coming our way! I made sure to get my snow tires on so that I can be prepared.  Unfortunately, the blizzard raged on throughout the day and Jamie was smart enough to tell me to not go driving, thank you Jamie! ;) So, we decided to wait for the morning after.  Jamie and Mark looked amazing for their engagement session with pops of red and classic jackets.  And, Jamie's hair was ridiculously gorgeous!  I'm very jealous :) After a quick run-around with cute, little Roxy, their Boston Terrier, in the front yard of their house,  we all made our way down to the park that Mark and Jamie walk Roxy often.  The fresh snow and the brisk, cold air was exhilarating!  Mark had Jamie cracking up so much, which in turn had me laughing too.  Watching their love and connection was so sweet and I am so happy for them.  We went back to their house to capture some fun, warmer moments inside their first home together.  Once again, this fun couple had me cracking up!  They are so funny and sweet with each other.  And, their home is so cute!  I loved hearing about what they did to fix it up and renovate their kitchen to make it truly theirs.  I can’t wait for their beautiful, intimate wedding in April, the countdown is on! 

Newly Born Baby

When my friend, Sarah, found out that she was pregnant, all of her friends, including myself, knew it was going to be a girl.  Then we all found out, she was indeed going to have a little girl :).  Sarah and her husband, Mark, had some names in mind, but had not come to a final decision until she was born. And, because of very special moments in their lives, named her Rayla.  But, before baby Rayla was even born, her Dad created a beautiful little room as her nursery. He painted the walls, put in a new fan and light, and constructed many other projects to bring a light and airy feel to the room. This room was originally Sarah’s art studio, so seeing the transformation was so exciting. Sarah made sure that it was decorated perfectly and in her style that makes one feel warm and taken care of. The hanging mobile was a handmade gift, as Sarah loves using more natural and hand made toys and even put up some of her own art work around the room to help bring in fun pops of color.  She even made the artwork on the alphabet blocks which are so cute!  It was pretty amazing having a close, dear and wonderful friend of mine go through a pregnancy and bring a little, tiny human into the world.  She’s such an amazing person and friend, and I know is going to be an amazing and inspirational mother too.

Chicken print: Miroosa - 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/miroosa#

Mobile & crocheted animals: Sheep Garden - 

ac.sheepgarden@gmail.com

Paintings: Sarah B. Pohlman - 

http://sbpohlman.com/

Phillips Farm, New Jersey | Anniversary Session, Christina & Erik

After just over a year of marriage, these two kids could not be anymore in love than the day they started dating. They strongly believe that dating your spouse is key to a successful marriage and they strive to live each day with that in mind. They love going on these special dates and adventures together so being able to watch their love during this awesome experience at the apple orchard was so much fun.  Plus, we walked away with some delicious apples of all types! Even a couple of pumpkins :)  It was such a quiet, beautiful, late afternoon at the farm and we were all alone and free to explore. I asked Christina about their story… of how they met, became best friends, fell for each other and got married.  She put such great detail into it, that I thought I would share it just how it was expressed to me. This is their story:

Erik and Christina met in college during their freshman year. They were introduced over dinner in the dining hall by a mutual friend. They very quickly became friends and soon enough became inseparable. During their years in college Erik formed a little puppy crush on Christina and everyone knew it. Except Christina. Only seeing more like a brother she friend zoned him. Hardcore. 

Most of their time was spent together in the school library, on adventures in Lancaster City, or during campus activities. As the years passed the reality of them graduating began to sank in. Erik graduated in 2012 and he felt that with his moving back to NJ there was no point in pursuing Christina anymore, they're paths were going in different places. After Erik graduated the two still remained in touch and Erik would even come out to visit. Finally, during Christina's senior year in college she made the plan to visit him in NJ. It was during that trip Christina began to feel differently about Erik. After she returned back to PA she consulted her other very good friend, Dan, who was also Erik's college roommate and the third member of their little musketeer group. Dan, worried for Erik's feelings because he knew how much Erik pined over Christina told her to take some time and think about it. Well, Christina, taking his advice seriously, hung up with Dan and immediately called Erik and asked him out! So much for taking time to think about it. 

Not on purpose, but of course the day all of this transpired was April Fool's Day so when Erik and Christina's relationship status changed on Facebook it certainly sent a frenzy amongst their friends. Once people realized it was not a joke their friends and family could not be happier. FINALLY!

Erik and Christina's new relationship was separated by a state line and four to five hours of driving. About two weekends a month they would share driving out and seeing one another. By the point of their dating status they had known each other for five and a half years so they both knew the direction that they were headed, marriage. After eight a half months of dating Erik proposed to Christina with a beautiful custom made ring. Erik planned it while they were visiting the National Christmas Center in Paradise, PA and even got Santa in on the surprise!

Nine months later they were married and started their life together in NJ. 

NYC Highline Engagement Session

It was a chilly October morning when Alyson and Jordan arrived for their engagement session.  They were real troopers for getting up so early to beat the crowds on the Highline and catch those morning rays of sunshine.  The Highline is a special place where they both love to come and spend time together.  I was fortunate enough to share this experience with them while there were so few people.  Alyson was a brave soul, walking around effortlessly in her heels and taking off her cute sweater when the sun was just warm enough as it hit her shoulders.  Jordan was such a gentleman and made sure that Alyson was comfortable, kept her warm and of course, kept her smiling.  They have a deep love and respect for each other.  Alyson and Jordan are such a sweet couple, they even looked out for me!  Afterwards, I loved sitting with them over hot chocolates and tea and hearing all about their wedding planning and the little details that are going into their big day!  I’m very happy for them as they continue to check things off the list ;)  And, I’m excited to share a few images from their sweet session and can’t wait for Alyson and Jordan’s Princeton wedding next year!

Pirate Wedding

If anyone knows Kym and Peter, (a.k.a Pirate and Mermaid!), they know that this couple is always up for fun and adventure!  Kym and Peter met back in 2007-2008 at a local beachfront hub, Oceans 234, in Deerfield Beach, FL.  The two different circles of friends that they knew and hung out with ended up crossing over after some time and these free spirits connected over fun, friends, drinks, adventures and dolphins.  Well, a lot of their connection began with the sea, as Peter was the captain of a yacht and Kym doing studies on oceanic cone snails.  If fact, an impressive first date was in the early Florida Summer days of 2008.  Peter used his captain appeal to “reel” Kym into a Bahamian rendezvous.  They cruised the beautiful blue waters, diving amongst the corals and wrecks, spontaneously kayaking and snorkeling with tiger sharks, and nighttime fires lined with conch shells on a far out, private sandy key.  These two knew they found magic in each other and continued their relationship over the years.  Their love brought a new magical blessing in 2011 when their daughter was born and lit up the lives of everyone who met her.  She made such a sweet flower girl at her Mommy and Daddy’s wedding.  With Peter’s family originally from South Africa, now living in Australia, and Kym’s family from the east coast of America, having the wedding in Hawaii made perfect sense as an excellent halfway point for both families and friends from all over.  I’m so happy that I could be included on this absolutely special day for Kym and Peter, and to be able to partake in the celebrations and festivities that took place over this Pirate Wedding weekend!

Central Park New York City - Engagement Photos - Kristin & Tom

One night, Kristin and Tom met each other in New York City around Union Square at one of the lounges around the park.  On one of the coldest days in Winter, Tom proposed to her in Union Square and surprised her with a photo session as he got down on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage.  It didn’t matter how cold it was because the look on both of their faces was pure joy and happiness!  Now, living up near Central Park, it was the perfect location to photograph them where they love to spend most of their time, walking, running or just strolling along enjoying time with each other.  On this particular evening, the weather was perfect and that golden light of the setting sun illuminated their constantly smiling faces.  Kristin and Tom are such a sweet couple and stylish couple, and looking back at their photos brings a smile to my face.  I love how Tom was such a gentleman as we walked through the park.  He was always attentive to Kristin, making sure he laid down his handkerchief for her to sit on and always knew how to make her giggle.  We all had such a great time walking and exploring new areas of the park and enjoying the beauty all around us.  There were turtles in the pond, a rat and a raccoon nibbling on some cat food together, and we even saw someone catching a fish on one of the bridges.  I’m honored to be their photographer and getting to know them more during their engagement session allowed me to truly see their amazing love. 

Lionhearted

My friend Val has been going through a lot lately.  For the past few years, she has been dealing with seizures that started affecting her day to day life.  The original injury happened many years ago when she was young, but over the last few years they have become more frequent and intense.  She can sometimes have more than one seizure a day, has had to take multiple pills everyday to try and control them, and has unfortunately had her driver’s license taken away because of her condition.  This has taken a huge toll on her, mentally, physically and emotionally.  After a lot of pain, time, money and tears, this past winter, Val was finally able to try and get help with the Doctors she wanted to work with.  Without going into too much detail, it has been a long, hard road with the testing and surgeries.  Now, after her second major brain surgery, she is recovering, hoping for and looking forward to not being affected by her seizures.  It will still take some time, but she is a strong person and all of her friends can’t wait to be with her and start going on hikes, tubing down the river, campfires and everything the Summer has to offer.  I’m so glad that Val was happy to pose for me for these photos.  She understands my artistic perspective in wanting to capture these :)  She is definitely a "lionhearted" warrior!

Charleston

In early October, I went down to Charleston, SC with my boyfriend.  It’s our third time going down there together, but I have been going down there for years.  This particular time was the first time my Mom had visited Charleston and the first time on a LONG time my Dad had been there.  I first went down to Charleston based on a friend’s recommendation, telling me it’s one of the most beautiful places and I will fall in love.  I was slightly skeptical, but they were right.  The first afternoon and evening I was there, I fell in love.  The smell of jasmine was everywhere, the houses, the gardens, the old glorious trees and the sound of fountains and frogs.  BAM, it was magical and I was under it’s spell.

After that first trip, I realized that my Granddad had been going down to Charleston for decades!  I always knew that he had been going down south to go to the Yorktown reunions, but I had no idea that the

USS Yorktown

had made it’s final resting place in the Cooper River.  So, once I knew that, I used that as a good excuse to go back down to Charleston at least once a year to go to the reunions with my Granddad.  The USS Yorktown is the ship that he was on in WWII, so it has a very special, deep meaning for him.  Today, my Granddad is 93 years old and lives in Charleston the majority of the year and volunteers on the Yorktown almost everyday.  People LOVE him!  They love his knowledge of the ship, his tours, his stories, his jokes (he’s full of jokes!) and the fact that he’s 93 and can get around that ship better than most people.  He is AWESOME!

The reunion weekend this year was a little different.  I was really looking forward to taking a lot of beautiful  pictures with my film camera and showing my parents the beautiful town.  Unfortunately, good old Hurricane Joaquin  decided to come through and really made a mess.  The reunion was cancelled along with pretty much everything that was planned for that weekend.  Museums were closed, stores were closed, tours were not running and restaurants….sooo many restaurants were not open.  It was kind of a struggle for all of us to find someplace to eat.  Luckily, the restaurant at the Renaissance Hotel was serving a limited menu of their bar food, which was very yummy.  They were so understaffed that people working in the hotel tried to help out the restaurant staff.  

Anyhoo, it was an adventure.  It was also an adventure trying to get back to our place.  We were staying downtown and there were so many streets that were flooded and roads that we dare not go down because our car was so low to the ground.  I basically said, “Screw it!”, and we put on our hazards and carefully drove down one-way streets.  Not many cars were out driving at that point anyways.  It was a little nerve-racking for a while there.  But, our car didn’t stall and get stranded and we made it back.  Charleston got hit, but other places in South Carolina got hit even harder.  Hurricanes and forces of nature are no joke and can be a scary and devastating event. :(

I felt really bad for my parents.  They really missed out on a lot of beauty and to top it off, they both got sick right at the end of the trip:(  I’m hoping my Mom will at least go back down soon to go to all the places she missed.

Putting the negative to the side, one place that was open was the

Firefly distillery

.  That was a good place to go sample some flavored spirits!  Too strong for me though.  I had more interest in the goat that was on the top of a spiral staircase outside.  And, although

Angel Oak

was closed, we were able to stop there and take some photos in the rain and through the fence.  I’ve had a magnet of a photo of Angel Oak on my fridge for years, so it was really cool to see it in person.

Also, I was able to meet a girl that I follow on Instagram,

Catherine Ann Photography

.  Catherine is a wedding photographer in Charleston and I’m not sure how I found her on social media, but I loved her work.  So, it was awesome to meet in person!  She’s talented, adorable, intelligent and was so helpful when discussing photography.  I look forward to spending more time with her and going around to photograph in nicer weather!  And, it’s always a pleasure seeing my friend

Rebecca

.  Also, another talented artist that specializes in painting and I’m a big fan of her work!

Well, I think that’s enough out of me.  I could go on forever, but I won’t and will post some of the pictures I was able to take while down there.  Until next time Charleston! 

Holiday Mini-Sessions

Holiday Mini-Sessions Are Here!

I'm excited to announce that I will be offering a limited number of mini portrait sessions before the season really kicks in! These are perfect for:

-Families looking for a few amazing photos for their holiday cards
-Moms-to-be who want maternity photos
-Engaged couples needing a few photos for their save-the-date cards
-Anyone who has been wanting to get some professional photos taken, but who doesn't want to spend a ton
-Anyone who has been putting off getting updated professional photos

I know it's hard to start thinking about the holidays, but now is the time to check this off your list! November is upon us and once the busyness of December hits, you're going to be SO GLAD you did! 


If you book by December 6th, you will get the session, an online viewing gallery of 15-25 images, 25 custom fine art holiday cards, and web-ready digital files for $250!

I have some really cute card options! These are all lay-flat front/back 5x7 cards printed on high quality paper:

In addition to the basic package, extra add-ons are available and include:

- Additional cards in sets of 25
- High quality individual digital images or all of the digital images from the session
- Custom canvases or prints for your walls

Sessions are limited, and they will fill up fast! If you are interested in securing yours, contact me at rachel@rachelwatkinson.com