In a year as hard as 2020 has been, it can be kind of hard to feel thankful. The year started off very rough for my family when my grandmother entered hospice care in January and we lost her in early February. Shortly after, the quarantine started and it seems like it's been a real downhill slope since then. But there have been bright spots this year, and there is still a lot to be thankful for.
Even though I haven't seen much of my family this year, we're all still relatively healthy and most have managed to stay virus-free. My friends and I have managed to stay connected digitally instead of in person, and I'm happy that they're only a text or a FaceTime away. Although this year will be so different than others when it comes to meeting for a Thanksgiving celebration, I look forward to next year when we can hopefully get together without any fear.
Since March I've been staying with my sister Lisa and her family to watch my nephew Seth during the week so my mother who usually watches him won't be exposed to any germs. Even though it means we have to stay six feet from my mom, I'm grateful I get to be with Seth every day and that I'm quarantining with my sister who's my best friend, even if we've been driving each other a little crazy. I'm so thankful I have my girl Gracey here with me. She's the most affectionate and silly little dog and I love her so much.
I'm thankful my business has survived a year that has been the death of many small businesses. I had so many inquiries and reschedules from the lockdown, that I booked up really quickly for the year once I was able to work again. I've worked with so many wonderful clients this year and I also created so much personal work with the downtime I had, which was so invigorating creatively.
We didn't go out much at all this year, even after the final phases of reopening happened. We've been very cautious. But we did go out one day after taking Seth's Christmas and some family photos at Prosser Pines to visit Fink's Country Farm. We thought he'd be overjoyed to see all the animals, but his favorite part was actually the pumpkins. He has a real affinity for them like his Aunt Laura and it was so adorable to see how happy he was running around and patting all the pumpkins in sight. That's a memory I'm thankful for. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday!
Halloween is absolutely my favorite holiday. Even though I couldn't have my annual spooky party this year and the holiday looked a lot different than usual, it was still fun to dress up Seth and Gracey and take some photos. We didn't have even one trick or treater this year, so I'm going to be suffering from a sugar high for the next few weeks while I eat through all the candy!
I bought Gracey's costume waaaay back in May when I saw it on clearance at Target. I loved dinosaurs when I was a kid, so I was excited to dress her up as a little Triceratops. She actually cooperated very well for her photos. There were a good few treats involved! My favorite one is a shot I caught just as she was licking her lips. She looks like a fearsome little beast (which she is sometimes) haha!
Here's my little Gracey girl!
Seth's costume was thrown together a little quicker! My sister Lisa didn't want to spend a bunch of money on a costume he was going to wear once, since we weren't going to bring him trick or treating this year. So she decided to dress him as cousin Eddie from the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, one of her and my brother in law Will's favorite movies. She bought him a robe and a hat, figuring that he could wear both of those again after Halloween! We put him in a pair of rainboots and went up to my studio for a few photos! If you've ever tried to take photos of a toddler in a hat, you know that the first thing they usually want to do is rip it right off their head. But I've found through much trial and error that if you slip that hat on just as you give them something else to hold and take their mind off of it, you'll be able to keep it on a lot longer. We gave him a little cup to hold and it completely distracted him from the hat!
Happy Halloween everyone!
I've had so many memorable shoots with this family since I first met them at one of my pet portrait library programs! I always have so much fun with them! Last year's newborn session for Evelyn was a Fall lover's dream. We used pumpkins and hay bales and sunflowers, so this time we kept the theme going by visiting the sunflower field and pumpkin patch at one of my favorite Long Island spots, Waterdrinker Family Farm in Manorville.
We started out doing some family photos in the sunflower field. Then the rest of the family took a break to enjoy some of the fun stuff the farm has to offer, while mom Nina and Evelyn and I stayed in the field to take some individual first birthday shots of Evelyn. She's such a smiley baby! Sometimes it's a struggle getting kids to smile when I have my mask on to shoot sessions, but with Evelyn it was a breeze. She's just a naturally happy baby, so there was no problem getting her to have fun for our photos. Nina brought lots of stuff we had used at her newborn session to the first birthday session. I love when clients do that, it's always so sweet and sentimental.
After we were done with Evelyn's close up, we met back up with her dad and brother Owen and sister Juliette and we took a few more family photos in the pumpkin patch. Evelyn was very happy to stand up holding onto the big pumpkins and to spend some time sitting in the pumpkin carts! After we finished up, Owen and Jules were rewarded for their good job modeling by going back to play more on the farm!
Here are some of my favorite photos from this very fun session!
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Dominic turns 2 this month! This little cutie is the son of one of my best friends Dina and her husband Mike, and he has always rocked his photo sessions with me, from newborn to 1 year to Christmas photos to now! He's such a happy little guy and he's got a great smile.
For this year's photos, we decided to visit the duck pond in Stony Brook for some socially distanced photos. Dominic loves to visit the geese by the water near his house, so I had a feeling he would enjoy the pond, with its large population of ducks, geese, pigeons and swans. I've shot a lot of sessions at the duck pond and I'm always cautious when I go there because of an incident I had there once, involving a close encounter with a swan. Thankfully the swans kept their distance that day, but the ducks, geese and pigeons practically swarmed us at one point because a passerby had the unfortunate idea to bring out some food! Dominic loved it though and he had a fun time following around the birds, climbing onto stumps and throwing things in the water. Ah, throwing. A two year old boy's favorite past time.
Here are some of my favorite photos from Dominic's 2nd birthday session!
Want your own fun visit to the duck pond? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (631)256-7476.
One of my favorite things about photographing babies is seeing them come back every year and watching them grow like weeds. I photographed Nathaniel and Caroline for the first time when they were teeny tiny week old newborns, then again for their 1st birthdays! Now they're 2 years old, running around with their big brother Benjamin Franklin the Airedale Terrier, who has been there every step of the way!
This time their parents joined in on the fun too and we got some super adorable family shots. Even though this year was a little different because we had to keep our distance, it was still so much fun for me to hang out with this awesome family! We decided to do the session in their backyard this year so we could all spread out and the twins and Benjamin could run around to their hearts' content! We started out doing some family photos, then the twins posed on their very cute little lounge set and in front of their playhouse. They also enjoyed some time on their tire swing pushing each other and giggling.
Near the end of the session, mom Sarah asked each of the twins to give Benjamin Franklin a kiss and of course they obliged. It reminded me of the sweet moment when they were tiny newborns and we were contemplating putting peanut butter on Nathaniel's head to get Benjamin to kiss him, but then he went ahead and did it all on his own. He has been the best dog brother right from the beginning!
Here are some more of my favorite photos from Caroline & Nathaniel's 2nd birthday session!
Want to book a socially distanced session with me? Email me at email@example.com or call (631)256-7476.
Christmas is so much more fun now that I can spoil my nephew Seth. Last year on Christmas he was only 5 months old, so he kind of just sat there while we opened his hefty present pile for him. This year, after practicing at his first birthday in July, he’s going to be an old pro at opening presents! I’m excited to see him enjoy Christmas a little bit more now that he’s a little bigger. He’s still not old enough to quite understand what’s going on so I’m looking forward to next year when he learns about Santa and reindeers and stockings and everything else and can really get excited himself for Christmas.
Much like his newborn photos and his first birthday photos, Seth’s Christmas photos this year were roughly a 3 day affair. We not only had a lot of outfits and backdrops to get through, but it’s also a much different kind of session taking newborn photos as opposed to 17 month old photos. Seth is almost constantly on the move and climbing and running and screaming and laughing and just generally being a crazy person :D It seemed like the only way to get him to smile and look at the camera was for my mother and me to sing the Winnie the Pooh theme song for him. Thankfully I remembered the words!
It was amazing to see the difference from last year’s Christmas photos. He couldn’t sit up by himself then so my brother in law had to hold him up on my vintage sled and then I had to edit him out of the photo later. This year Seth was literally dancing on the same sled, just holding his Gigi’s hand for safety. It was a much quicker Photoshop job this year!
Here they are!
When we were done in the studio, we went downstairs to take a very special photo with Seth’s great grandma. She’s our Mema so we call her Seth’s Great Mema. My mother realized that the two of them, the youngest and oldest in our family, were going to be 1 and 92 this year just like in the Christmas Song. I knew we had to take a nice photo of them together to commemorate it.
And so I’m offering this simple phrase to kids from 1 to 92. Although it’s been said, many times, many ways, Merry Christmas to you!
The last time Lily was in the studio, it was a very different looking scene in there. It was fully decked out in fall decor to celebrate her first birthday in October (hay, hay everywhere, as far as the eye could see!) This time the studio was 100% Christmas. This day was my last in-studio Christmas session of the year, so I was determined to use all the props in there one more time before I had to pack them all away!
First we started with her adorable red flower pattern dress and little red cardigan. Lily was so happy and clapping the whole time, and she really loved to look at the Christmas books I had put out in the studio. I loved how she looked against the sequin backdrop I put up. I feel like it makes her beautiful blue eyes stand out perfectly. We switched to the brown burlap backdrop when she changed into her cute little Santa suit. This girl was the only toddler this whole season who was ok with wearing a Santa hat! Every other kid ripped it off crying, but Lily was happy to wear it as she played with the props and books. She did such a great job!
Here are some of my favorite photos from our session!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (631)256-7476 to book a session!
Dominic came into the studio with his big smiles and stylin’ outfits earlier this month and he absolutely rocked his Christmas photo session! You might remember Dominic’s awesome first birthday shoot at Fink’s Farm back in September, (where I think I had as much fun as he did hanging out at the petting zoo), but this was his first time back in the studio since his newborn photos last year! Dominic was teeny tiny for his first Christmas, so this year he’s big enough to really enjoy himself, especially now that he’s walking!
We started with his fancy red sweater, then his cozy blue sweater, then we ended the session with some comfy Rudolph pajamas. We even tried to get a Santa hat on him, but if you scroll through the slideshow below, I think you'll see how well that turned out :D Of all the toddlers I had in the studio this Christmas season, only one tolerated the Santa hat, the rest were outrageously offended by it! Oh well, a cranky crying face is always just a *teensy* bit funny to me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Here are some of my favorite photos of Dominic's Christmas session!
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Fall is my favorite season and Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I pretty much smile the entire month of October. Seeing the leaves change, going to fall festivals, decorating the porch with a ton of autumn decor, and planning out costumes is just so much fun for me. My fall porch is something I take a lot of pride in, so last year I took photos of Seth, Gracey and Ash out there.
This year, I had a fall set up in the studio for a few sessions, and if you follow my Instagram, you’ll probably have seen my stories about how incredibly messy the bales of hay were! I took some photos of Seth up there, and then we moved out to the porch, taking those messy hay bales with us! Gracey joined us at the end too!
Here are my favorites from that day!
Then a few days later, I took Gracey up in the studio for her close up in her Halloween costume! Again, if you follow my Instagram (or if you know just how crazy I am), it won’t be a surprise to you that I bought a little something to match her while we go trick or treating with Seth and for handing out Halloween candy!
Here is Seth in his actual Halloween costume as an Ewok from Star Wars. It was so hilarious watching him walk around with the oversized belly, he looked like a big teddy bear. It was so sweet. I love this little boy so much.
Follow along with me on Instagram for more Seth and Gracey :) and Happy Halloween!
Dominic is the son of one of my best friends, Dina and her husband Mike. Dom gave everyone a big scare when he was born and his parents couldn’t bring him home until he was 6 weeks old. That meant his newborn photos were really special for me, because I was so happy we could finally see him out of the NICU.
Now, he’s happy and healthy and today he turned 1. To see the long way he’s come is amazing! To celebrate his October birthday, his parents planned him a fall themed bash at Fink’s Country Farm in Wading River. We met there a few weeks before the party to take some fun first birthday photos!
Dominic is so fun to photograph because he’s got so many amazing facial expressions. He does this hilarious surprised face when something really strikes him and it’s the funniest thing! I loved celebrating him at his first birthday party this weekend. Happy First Birthday, Big Dom!
Here are some of my favorite photos from his session!
One more thing, just so you know, in all the photos where Dominic is sitting up high on top of things, I edited out his parents holding onto him. I'd never put a 1 year old 4 feet off the ground on top of a metal cow. I say this because I never want an amateur or beginning photographer to see something here and attempt it, not knowing the image was edited. Always put your subject's safety first, no matter what! This has been a public service announcement by Laura Pea Photography : )
Book a session with me! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (631)256-7476.