Michelle Class of 2014 Sneak Peek

Michelle is so incredibly gorgeous and amazing that I couldn’t help but share a sneak peek right away! I have known her since she was just 4 years old and it was such an awesome honor to be able to do her senior photos. More of this beautiful girl to come soon!

Michelle Senior 2013 Sneak Peek-2

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Kelly Moore Chapel Convertible Backpack Review

The other day I told you about my Epiphanie camera bag, and so today I want to tell you about the bag I actually use on a daily basis, the Kelly Moore Chapel Convertible Backpack (my little brother took these photos again).

Camera Bag Epiphanie and Kelly Moore-8

I bought this bag for a several big reasons:

1) I wanted a bag that I could wear on my back if I wanted to. Let’s face it, camera bags get heavy when you load them with gear and I knew the option of a backpack would help. I didn’t want a camera bag looking one though, so when Kelly Moore released this one, I couldn’t pass it up.

2) I also needed the bag to carry the basics I would need on a normal shoot; something like a family portrait session, engagement pictures, or a small/medium event. This bag carries my camera with 50mm 1.4 lens attached, plus one other lens, my flash, and all of my accessories. I love the organization offered by all of the different pockets (I’ll talk about that more in a minute) and it is truly a functional bag.

3) Lastly, I wanted a bag that didn’t look like a camera bag, but that I could wear while shooting. This fit the bill perfectly because of all the ways you can wear the bag. In the shot above, I am wearing it as a backpack, but it can also be worn messenger style or on your shoulder (I would normally take the straps I wasn’t using off, but I didn’t want to mess with them for these quick pics. That being said, the straps are super easy to take on and off, which is nice if you are the type of person to want to change them all the time).

Camera Bag Epiphanie and Kelly Moore-9

Camera Bag Epiphanie and Kelly Moore-10

Camera Bag Epiphanie and Kelly Moore-11

Where this bag really shines, however, is in the inside.

The back of the bag has the “Posey Pocket,” an invention by Kelly Moore to allow her bags to carry SD/CF cards, credit cards, and more, all in an organized manner.

Camera Bag Epiphanie and Kelly Moore-14

Camera Bag Epiphanie and Kelly Moore-15

What I love most about this section of the bag are all the pockets within pockets. Seriously, it never ends!

Camera Bag Epiphanie and Kelly Moore-12

Camera Bag Epiphanie and Kelly Moore-13

The other amazing thing about this bag is that whole inside section that holds your gear comes out! Yes, the whole thing is one self contained unit, which means you can also use this bag as just a regular backpack if you want to. The light purple color inside makes it easy to find your gear, and the moveable padded dividers make the bag completely customizable.

I am seriously in love with my Chapel Backpack and I use it all the time. I keep most of my gear in it because I know it will be safe and ready to go. I would highly recommend Kelly Moore Bags to anyone looking for a quality, functional, stylish camera bag. They even make them for men now!

Make no mistake, I am not being compensated for this review and I paid for my Kelly Moore bag, I just love it so much that I want to share this with others who may be looking for a great camera bag.

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National Dance Day: Boynton Beach Inlet

Saturday, July 27th was National Dance Day, and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate then to go and take some test pictures with my gorgeous sister.

We headed to the Boynton Beach Inlet Saturday evening, even though it had been raining all day and the weather didn’t look good. Luckily, the weather actually held up and the light was incredible!

First, we spent some time on the “land” side, experimenting with all the great trees that can be found in the park.

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Next we headed to the beach side to take a few more shots with the ocean for our backdrop.
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The inlet is a gorgeous location and I can’t wait to shoot there for in August for my End of Summer Mini Sessions!
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{Sneak Peek} Melissa + Jon Married: Sunrise, FL

Yesterday I shot the wedding of Melissa + Jon, one of the nicest and most loving couples I have ever seen. I knew from their engagement session just how perfect Melissa + Jon are together, but nothing could have prepared me for the love that was flowing from everyone at yesterday’s festivities. Not only are Melissa + Jon an amazing couple, but their family and friends were also an incredibly loving and spirited group of people.

The weather yesterday was awful– it was rain, thunder, and lightning from the time the bride walked down the aisle until well after the wedding was over– but you wouldn’t have known it from the spirits of everyone in attendance. Melissa, Jon, and I snuck away for a few intimate bride/groom shots and we found a spot out of the rain with great light. I love how these two images capture just how happy and in love these two are!

Jon and Melissa Sunrise, Florida Wedding Photo Collage 1

I can’t wait to share more of this amazing couple’s special day!

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Carla: Bethesda by the Sea Ballet Session

When I was 2 and a 1/2 years old, my mother put me in my first ballet/tap combo class in New York and I was hooked. Since then, dance has always been a passion of mine, so whenever I get a chance to photograph a dancer, I consider it a joy.

Carla is a dancer at Boca Ballet Studio and one of the most gorgeous dancers I have ever known. Okay, I will admit my bias: she is my little sister, but that doesn’t change the fact that she is so extremely talented and beautiful.

For her 16th birthday, we headed to Bethesda by the Sea, an Episcopal Church located on Palm Beach, for a ballet shoot in one of the prettiest locations I know.

Ballerine, Bethesda by the Sea, Palm Beach, Florida, Portrait, Lifestyle

See? I told you, gorgeous.

Ballerine, Bethesda by the Sea, Palm Beach, Florida, Portrait, Lifestyle

I am ridiculously proud of the dancer and person that she is becoming.

Ballerine, Bethesda by the Sea, Palm Beach, Florida, Portrait, Lifestyle

Thank you, Carla, for being the best little sister and model a photographer could ever ask for!

Carla 16-1

What camera do you use?

“Your pictures are great!  What camera do you use?”

I think every photographer (probably in the history of ever) has had some variation of this said to them at some time. The people who say this mean well, I know, but in all honesty, the question drives most photographers crazy. Why? Because the photographer takes the photo, not the camera. I’ll give you an example.

I am always the family photographer and so I am consequently very rarely in any photographs at family events (a role I am happy to take on). Sometimes I will want a photo of myself and another family member and give my camera to someone else to take a picture. Nearly every single time I do this, the photo doesn’t turn out. It is blurry, unfocused, or the composition is completely off. Now, I’ve taught my immediate family the basics of taking a photo with my camera (my 12 year old brother and 16 year old sister are the best at it) and so I can trust them to take a decent photo, but that’s about it.

Here is the thing about photography: the camera is only as good as the photographer who wields it. Give someone who has no idea what they’re doing a $6K Nikon D4, and I guarantee you they will not be able to take a decent photo with it, yet someone who does know what they are doing can take amazing pictures with an iPhone.

One of the very first questions I received after starting this site and accompanying social media (follow me on facebook and instagram!) was the following: “What kind of camera and lens do you shoot with?”

Here is what I think everyone should know about cameras and lenses:

  1. Buy the best camera you can afford, but remember that the lens is way more important that the camera, so if the choice is between a cheaper camera & better lens vs. better camera & cheap lens, pick the first option.
  2. Don’t buy the kit. Most entry level and consumer DSLR cameras come with an 18-55mm “kit lens” but you don’t have to buy it. Buy the camera body only from Amazon, BHPhoto, or Adorama.
  3. Once you have your camera, I think there are two lenses that are crucial to starting out. A “walk around” everything lens like an 18-250mm and a 50mm (get the 1.4 if you can afford it, if not the 1.8 is great too).  Although the big names like Nikon and Canon make these lenses, 3rd parties like Sigma and Tamron make great options for Nikon and Canon cameras too. Read the reviews out there. Ken Rockwell does great/ honest reviews, but there are others out there.
  4. Nikon vs. Canon, it really doesn’t matter. Get the camera YOU feel comfortable with. Before you order your camera, go to one of those camera stores and play with the cameras. Hold them, take pictures with them, ask questions, and see your options. Sure, I’m biased. I am a Nikon girl who thinks the shutter on Canon cameras sounds like a toy, but don’t let my opinion sway you. Get what you want.
  5. Once you have your camera, learn it! There are manuals you can buy, classes you can take, and online tutorials you can watch that will help you learn everything you need to know about your camera.

The most important thing is that you get out there and take pictures if that is what you want to do. If all you have is your iPhone and you can’t afford anything else, so what?! Go and take amazing pictures with you iPhone. Study the elements of photography. Learn the basics about composition, lighting, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. There is so much published online that can help you teach yourself the basics. From there, practice! Follow the blogs of photographers you love, join online photography forums (like this one), and never stop learning.

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Melissa + Jon Engaged: Coconut Grove

Melissa & Jon are the kind of couple every photographer dreams of photographing: fun & vibrant, with a love story as sweet as their personalities.

Melissa & Jon met when they were both out for a night of enjoyment in Coconut Grove (a small neighborhood in Miami known for its unique restaurants, bars, and culture) at one of the most famous local bars, Sandbar. For their engagement shoot, we thought it would be fun to spend the afternoon revisiting the places where they first met as a celebration of their love.

We started the session at Sandbar, whose owners and patrons were more than happy to humor us by letting Melissa & Jon take some photos in the exact location where they met: at the bar.

Sandbar, Coconut Grove, FL, Engagement, Photography

Sandbar, Coconut Grove, FL, Engagement, Photography

Melissa & Jon’s personality really showed as we continued to another local bar, Moe’s, which is known for its “hunting lodge” decor. This couple couldn’t help but take a photo with the famous bear!

Sandbar, Coconut Grove, FL, Engagement, Photography

The Grove is also known for its lush greens and eclectic culture and this served as the perfect backdrop for more romantic photos that gave Melissa + Jon the chance to express just how much they love each other.

Sandbar, Coconut Grove, FL, Engagement, Photography

This is by far my favorite series of the day. This exact spot is where Jon kissed Melissa for the first time! It was touching to allow them to relive that moment together in front of the iconic center of the Grove, CocoWalk.

Sandbar, Coconut Grove, FL, Engagement, Photography

Lastly, we spent some time in CocoWalk capturing the vibrancy of their love and the atmosphere.

Sandbar, Coconut Grove, FL, Engagement, Photography

Sandbar, Coconut Grove, FL, Engagement, Photography

Sandbar, Coconut Grove, FL, Engagement, Photography

Of course we had to get a shot of that ring!

Sandbar, Coconut Grove, FL, Engagement, Photography

Melissa & Jon were such a joy to work with and I can’t wait to shoot their wedding in July. I know that it will be filled with fun and love, just the way they are.

Sandbar, Coconut Grove, FL, Engagement, Photography

Thank you Melissa & Jon for allowing us to capture your love!
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