2015 Owego Free Academy Senior – Jenn

We’ve wrapped up our senior season at The Camera’s Eye, but there are STILL a few seniors to blog about! Meet Jenn, who is nothing short of busy – she’s a student at Owego Free Academy, but ALSO an early college program student at SUNY Broome. This also means that her schedule is less-than-traditional, so I asked if she would be able to come to Watkins Glen with me for her senior session, and she jumped on it!
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Watkins Glen is a huge attraction because of its beauty, and an all time fave of mine from shooting weddings there at the start of my career with The Camera’s Eye.  I’ve always wanted to try out the scenery there in ANYTHING but a white dress!
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It was also perfect for Jenn’s senior photos for a couple of reasons. #1  She LOVES ivy. Whether it’s climbing, crawling, or hanging, she’s all about it, so we made sure to get plenty of senior pictures with ivy in them.
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#2  Her grandpa used to love sailing, so the shots with the boats in the background are sure to be a huge hit!
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As with a lot of my senior sessions at The Camera’s Eye, we spent most of the time laughing…a LOT. One of the funniest moments: My mom came along for the shoot and Jenn and I were waiting for her while she was in the bathroom. A man walked by the two of us and said, “It’s such a wonderful thing seeing a mother and daughter out bonding together!” We thanked him and then both cracked up laughing :)… a. because that was a hoot but b. MY MOM is NEVER on a shoot with me and was ACTUALLY there – just in the restroom!
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Best wishes to Jenn in her work at OFA and SUNY Broome!

What’s a Selection Session Like at The Camera’s Eye?

Contrary to popular myth, only a small part of a professional photographer’s time is spent shooting. Another crucial part of my work at The Camera’s Eye is the selection session, where I sit down with you to figure out what you need and want with your finished photos.

This is the point where you’ve looked through your online gallery about, oh, 100 times. You have some definite faves and some maybes. You’ve flipped through our brochure but you want to touch on some actual products, and you’re not sure about sizes for your wall. So: book a selection session! Just share a list of your faves and maybes in advance and when you arrive, we’ll run through a new slideshow of just those images and help you narrow down the LOVES.

In a selection session at The Camera’s Eye, you can see your images in a much clearer format than if you were hunched over and scrolling through them on a computer screen.  Anya’s session provides a GREAT example. Photo 1 and Photo 2 are roughly the same, with different body language.

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But what you can’t necessarily see at your computer, unless I point it out to you right now, are the droplets of water on her face, which are CRUCIAL for a swimming photo! (See ’em below?)

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In addition to getting this new level of detail, you can pick the brain of a professional photographer 🙂 It’s like having your own personal secretary walk you through your retouched images! I can – if you want – help you build your package of images and gifts for your family.  I take notes on everything, down to “Grandma Jean wants an 11×14.” Or if you have it under control, just share with me what you’d like to order and I’ll take your direction.

The original sunflower shot. We found a small patch that had the right idea...

What’s retouching? Well, here’s the original sunflower shot. We found a small patch that had the right idea…

Keep in mind, if you’re not sure what you want, I’m here to guide you! Show me your wall space through images on your phone, or just give me the dimensions of the area that you’re trying to fill. Pictures are especially helpful, since I can see how to match your existing style when it comes to frames, canvases, and even which photos to display. To be honest, I’m so close to some of my clients that I can ask, “Are you referring to that area just past the entryway, on your left by the turn in the stairs?”

...but we needed a few more flowers in there, to kick it up a notch...

…but I needed to add a few more flowers in there, to kick it up a notch…

Notice that this is a “selection” session, NOT a “sales” session. Many people think that sitting down with the photographer means being directed to buy more. Trust me, my only goal in the selection session at The Camera’s Eye is to get you the photos you want and need printed and ready for display!

...and finally, the completely retouched and finished product!

…and finally, the completely retouched and finished product!

Juggling “Kates” at The Camera’s Eye!

Senior season is always pretty dizzying at The Camera’s Eye! What makes it even more of a whirlwind is having four clients at the same time with the same name! I do a LOT of texting and emailing back and forth with my seniors, which made it crazy – and yet somehow I managed to get everyone’s senior photos finished, with social media images out the door, and even some yearbook photos to boot 🙂

Meet Kate from Union-Endicott, a natural in front of the camera:

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Kaitlyn from Owego Free Academy, who brought a range of fun outfits:

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Kate, also from Owego Free Academy, who is totally at home in the outdoors:

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And finally Catherine from Notre Dame in Elmira, who I know from an earlier session with her sister:

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Hard to believe I’m already taking her senior photos! A shot from our earlier outdoorsy session a few years back:

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Lovely ladies all! A big thanks to them for booking their senior photos with The Camera’s Eye, and best of luck to them in their final year of high school! For next year, if you have a popular first name, come ready with an alternate name for me to use – just in case 🙂

2015 Owego Free Academy Senior – Madison

At The Camera’s Eye, we get that occasional photo session where, even with the odds against us, everything comes together like magic! If we’re lucky, it’s even a load of fun and I find that intangible photography buzz 🙂 Even though my senior session with Madison was super short, this post is one of the longer ones – because there are SO many good stories to tell!

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We had originally planned for an urban senior session, but when Madison asked about some of the chicken images I shot last year, and I asked her WHY she was interested in those…the answer made me realize that we were going to scratch that urban session plan and shoot at her house!

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Madison refers to her ducks, including the one named “Ducky,” as “the light to my world.” How could we not include them?

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Of course, as well planned as anything can be, life gets in the way! We get rained out for our first shoot, and I end up running late for our rescheduled, shorter slot due a previous shoot. By the time I get to Madison’s house, there is  – I kid you not – one sliver of light in the entire barnyard, cutting through the Queen Anne’s lace. So I say, “Let’s get to work!” And that’s when the magic starts…

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This duck seriously FOLLOWS Madison over to our small spot of sunlight. And then so does the dog.  I hear is silence – because THAT’S what I hear when I’m in the zone and loving what I see and knowing exactly what I have to do!

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I get so caught up in it that Madison has to remind me – what about the canoe? “Go!” I shout, and we both take off in a sprint to get some pictures in the boat. We’re both cracking up at this point!

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Then I suggest shooting with a couple of old cars I saw down the road. This is a total gamble, since I don’t even know whose cars they are, but Madison is game! So off we go, running to stay ahead of the setting sun. The owners of the cars are outside eating dinner and couldn’t care less what we do, and we get these shots in just under 10 minutes.

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We had only 45 minutes to shoot…I found the zone…and quiet Madison turned into a super model! The moral of the story? Listen to what YOU love when you’re planning your senior photo session. Throw your ideas at me! Take me to your world and invite me in! I will totally forget who I am and what I do… I just want to make you the happiest client possible!

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Senior style alert – Madison’s favorite outfit? “The shirt with the flowers and the white pants.” Favorite moment? “When the canoe started to float away!” I was running down the bank trying to take pictures of her, and she was laughing, laughing, laughing!

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Keep that same sense of humor into your senior year at Owego Free Academy, Madison! Thank you from The Camera’s Eye!

Wedding Floral Arrangements with Tioga Gardens

Anyone who has spent even a little bit of time on Pinterest knows that it is full of eager wedding planners! I think that second in popularity to photos of “The Dress” are photos of “The Bouquet” and “The Flowers.” These photos, however, wouldn’t be possible without a great florist like Tioga Gardens behind the scenes!

In the past, Tioga Gardens has created stunning arrangements for me to display at vendor shows. Check out these delicate and detailed finished products:

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In addition to their own grounds, they’ve also put their talents to good use at weddings at local venues, like Terra Cotta

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…and Traditions at the Glen:

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What a way to make that special day even more memborable! For more info about their floral offerings, call Tioga Gardens at 607-687-2940.

“Every Now & Then…”

Every now and then, you are granted a gift.  Sometimes, when the stars align, the wind blows from the West or the cat didn’t wake you by licking your ear, you are granted several gifts all in the same day. Yesterday was one of those days in my business and I’ve decided to share it as a 3-part blog!

Gift #1… Lil’ Miss Harper

I met Harper when she was affectionately referred to as H3 by her parents, Heather and Duane.

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Still in the womb at the time, H3 was nicknamed after a chemical compound, as her father works in Bio-chemistry at Cornell and her initials break down to 3 H’s:  Harper Helen Hoch. At the very end of our portrait session at the Cornell Plantations, Duane scribbled H3 on Heather’s belly with a marker I had in my bag.

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Very sweet moment between the parents for me to capture and I drove away with warmth all around me.

The next time I truly met Harper, she was a few days old and I had experienced a crazy morning with my GPS trying to find Harper’s home. Without missing a beat, Heather invited me in and I quickly tried to make up for lost time. If you’re a baby photographer, you have to be very conscious of your energy and this day I was wound up… Guess, who didn’t sleep? Miss Harper!

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While Momma worked her magic, I had the most interesting conversation with Cindy, Harper’s grandmom, who happened to be more than a seasoned veteran in the field of mammography. Fascinating. Who knew that only a month later, I would call Cindy in New Jersey on my own behalf for valuable information concerning an alarming mammogram.

At 6 months, Harper visited me in my studio for a Crawling Like Crazy session. At this point, I had gotten close enough to the family that they brought their dogs to visit in the car and we spent a good amount of time visiting amidst catching Miss Busy Body on film.  It was now the “norm” to hug upon parting ways.The Cameras Eye007

Harper turns 1 this week and agreed to humor me with a Birthday Bash Session (thanks Heather & Duane!) including balloons, a boa, and the infamous extra icing Birthday Cake.

Happy Birthday Harper!

Happy Birthday Harper!

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So far, I was gifted a warm fuzzy, the wisdom of an experienced Grandmom, and friendship. NOT too shabby for simply showing up to work! But it’s the smile that I can’t wipe off my face, even as I work into the wee hours of the night with tiny slits for eyes, that I consider the gift that fills me for days. It’s the gift you’re granted when a family gives you the chance to document their lives over the course of time, as things change and as they grow. Come good times or bad, crazy sessions, balloons popping – whatever it might be – it’s the emotions they share with me as they interact amongst themselves that keep me shooting year after year!

Happy birthday Miss Harper, and congrats Heather and Duane!

Locals We Love – Florist and Stylist Ridge Prince

Weddings and other events are nothing short of a team effort. At The Camera’s Eye, we love getting to know other vendors and service providers in the area. One of my fave guys, whom I know from Tioga Gardens, is Ridge Prince!

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Ridge started working at Tioga Gardens during his senior year of high school, doing “odds and ends” work. In his own words, when he started he “didn’t know a thing about flowers or the business.” That’s certainly no longer the case: After three years, he has worked his way up to become the lead designer, under master designer and owner Chris Kuhlman. Even though he now specializes in designing floral arrangements, he can do pretty much anything asked of him at Tioga Gardens. As he puts it, “I love my job because everyday I get the chance to design and create something new and in the process I get to bring some happiness and cheer to another.”

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As if that’s not enough, he also has a cosmetology license. At first, he only had time for working out of his home, but he has just started a new job in Wilkes Barre at Lonn Dean Salon. He has everything down when it comes to hair – bridal hair, intricate modern styles, and anything else you might need! “I love working there. Clients know we love what we do and will do our best to create the hairstyle you are looking for and love.”

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And, artist that he is, he also draws:

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Ridge and I have known each other for the past three years – even if I’m not working an event, I like stopping in to Tioga Gardens to say hi! You can contact him at 607-372-6626 or on Facebook.

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Jumping Into the 2015 Senior Photo Season

The 2014 graduation parties are just barely wrapping up, and The Camera’s Eye is already working on 2015 senior photo sessions!

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Meet Parrish Bridges, a 2015 senior from Owego Free Academy! I often say I spend a lot of my time running around, but this guy actually spends his time running. He LOVES to run, and I’d go as far to say as he LIVES to run.  He’s dedicated, and definitely going places!

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At The Camera’s Eye, it’s always a bittersweet to say goodbye to a class of seniors after we’ve gotten to know them and worked so closely on their photos and graduation announcements.

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The up side is that now we have so much to look forward to with our 2015 senior photos!

Flowers and Photos at Tioga Gardens

While it’s true that photography is, in its simplest form, one person taking photos, The Camera’s Eye wouldn’t be much without other collaborators! One of my favorite Owego businesses to collaborate with is Tioga Gardens. They change things up at their site every year, which I love – trellises, water fountains, you name it!

Tioga Gardens in Owego, NY

Tioga Gardens in Owego, NY

There’s a lot to love about Tioga Gardens, including the fact that they’ve been in business for over 50 years. Currently, Chris and his brother Ed run the operation, along with their brother Steve. However, it was Chris’s dad who came home one day in 1966 and told his wife: “Guess what! You own a floral shop now!” She learned the floral business, and his dad ran the greenhouses across the street. Chris even grew up selling produce at the business. Today, they create incredible floral arrangements, and their grounds are ideal for weddings, like the one that I shot just last weekend!

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The whole team – Chris, Scott, Halga, and others – is incredibly friendly and hard-working. Following a different wedding I photographed at Tioga Gardens a while back, I realized that I lost a very small and crucial piece of equipment somewhere on the grounds. Who comes to the rescue but Scott, who drives up in a 4-wheeler and says “Hop on, kid! We’re doing this the right way!” After an escorted trip around the premises, we found my equipment and I could breathe a huge sigh of relief. Looking at these photos, I’d like to imagine that the beautiful grounds were part of what helped me keep my cool 🙂

 

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The Camera’s Eye and Binghamton Yoga

Work at The Camera’s Eye keeps me more than a little busy – but I try to find time to relax and take care of myself by going to my Friday morning class at Binghamton Yoga.

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I’ve been going to Binghamton Yoga since 2012. At first, I did a little exploring with different classes. Eventually I fell in love with Flow yoga – a 1-hour class that combines movement with static stretching or poses.  It loosens my overworked muscles and strengthens my weak areas. It lets me relax – shavasana, anyone?  – and at the same time gears me up for the weekend, when I’m usually working!

As studio co-owner Jason Shaw puts it, “We help people find physical ease so that the mental and emotional stuff is easier to handle. Once someone feels themselves, then they’re better able to hear themselves and deal with the other things in their life.” Put another way, Binghamton Yoga is perfect for adults who are very settled in their bodies and want to strive for improved alignment, graceful movement, and the many other benefits of consistent yoga practice.

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Binghamton Yoga has nine teachers, each of whom brings a unique style to the yoga mat. The teachers come from a range of schools, and there isn’t any single way of thinking or teaching that defines what goes on at the studio – variety of instruction is key! What’s most important to them, above all, is “do no harm.” Something I think we can all get behind!

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The teachers at Binghamton Yoga know that when it comes to trying out yoga for the first time, or even just in a new place, the simple act of stepping through the door can be huge. Their mission – and I can tell you they’re successful at it! – is to make you feel safe and accepted once you’re there. And if I didn’t feel safe and accepted, would you catch me doing things like this?

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