Secret Proposal, Northern New Jersey

Mark reached out to me to document his secret proposal to his girlfriend, Michele. They were flying in for a long weekend to attend their friend’s wedding. Little did Michele know, Mark and I had secretly devised a plan of how he was going to surprise her with a proposal on the dock of Lake Mohawk in Sparta, NJ.

It was a warm day, mostly cloudy, with the sun peaking in and out. There were a few people that were walking around or getting in their boats to take off onto the lake. I was ready for action as I hid behind a big rock and waited for the two of them to arrive.

Once Mark & Michele were in place and I knew that they were looking away from where I was concealed, I started to photograph. Mark said a few words to Michele, then he got down on his knee, holding the ring, and asked her to marry him.

She immediately said yes and was completely blown away with what had just happened! When Mark pointed out where I was, Michele started laughing and I ventured out to give them a big hug. Michele was still shaking! She was in complete shock and totally overjoyed! I was so happy for them I had some misty eyes as well.

After Michele was able to calm down and catch her breath, she was ecstatic that we were going to go right into a photoshoot. We stayed close to the lake, as that location is where Mark grew up and it has special meaning to both of them. Michele was even wearing a necklace with Lake Mohawk inscribed on it.

It was so much fun photographing them! They had a blast in front of the camera, and being silly with each other helped show off the chemistry and connection that these two share.

I loved my time with Mark & Michele and I could have photographed them all day! They’re just so cute. After we said our farewells, I knew that they had exciting news to share with their families at dinner. I’m sure it was an amazing night and that the rest of their weekend spreading the news was an added bonus.

I’m so happy for Mark & Michele and I’m sending them big hugs and more congratulations! Cheers you two!

 
 

Interested in documenting a proposal?

 

New York City, East Village, Engagment Session

These two love birds had an early-morning sunrise engagement session in the East Village in New York City. Dave proposed to Kelly this past December in the most romantic way, a nighttime stroll on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, with candles as a backdrop, Dave – the dashing man that he is – got down on one knee to ask for her hand in marriage. I love it!

We started by Astor Place, stopping along the way as we walked towards Stuyvesant street. Hopping in a cab, we went to another picturesque location with lots of graffiti right alongside a pathway of trees and shrubs nestled next to the bustling NYC streets. It was really beautiful there with them as my subjects. I’m so glad I got to explore this NYC neighborhood and find new places with these two!

Kelly and Dave are best friends, have so much fun together, and they love to be silly. I laughed so much with them. Besides being funny, Dave and Kelly are absolutely adorable and very romantic souls. They’re so in love and bring out the best qualities in each other.

Dave always looked out for Kelly as we walked around. It was obvious to me that he cherishes her. Kelly never wanted to let go of Dave and always smiled whenever she looked at him. They just gushed love and adoration.

I’m so thrilled for this couple! They’re going to make an amazing team and go on fun travels together, both to places near and far, and just through the journey of life. I am wishing them a fun rest of their engagement and an amazing wedding and marriage! Congratulations you two and big, big hugs!!

 
 

Want to capture sweet moments in NYC?!

New York City, The High Line, Engagement Session

I was super excited to photograph Brendan & Megan’s engagement session at New York City’s iconic High Line Park! I had the privilege of capturing their secret proposal last Labor Day weekend (which you can see HERE) and I was simply bubbling over with joy in anticipation of documenting their wedding day this August!

I highly recommend planning engagement photo sessions very early in the morning to avoid the heavy crowds. But, if you decide on an evening session, we can still use a few tricks to find good, unsaturated spots :).

In this case, Megan & Brendan chose a session near dawn, being the early birds that they are. We photographed our early morning engagement session on the High Line, starting on the cobblestone streets just below it. We loved exploring the different sections with their variety of trees and plant life, benches, and sitting areas that overlook the city streets.

We ended our session at the northern part of the High Line, at Hudson yards. It was so cool to see the new honeycomb spiral staircase landmark standing as the centerpiece of the area.

This couple is so fun to be around, always smiling and giggling, and up for anything fun and adventurous! I had so much fun laughing and joking with them. I simply adored the tender moments that they shared and allowed me to capture through my lens.

I love it when couples can just enjoy the quiet moments with each other!

 

Would you love to explore NYC with your sweetie and take some portraits?!

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?

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?

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.

 

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. 

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!