2015 Owego Free Academy Senior – Hailey

The summer’s halfway through, and at The Camera’s Eye we are continuing to meet and shoot our 2015 seniors! One student I’ve had the pleasure to meet is Hailey, a 2015 senior from Owego Free Academy. She plays tennis, loves to read and, like me, loves to Pinterest!

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Love her outfit choices – classic, classy, and stylish all at once. That, combined with the fact that she’s sweet and funny, made her senior session a lot of fun!

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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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Creating Your Graduation Announcements with The Camera’s Eye

It’s a crazy time of year for graduating high schoolers, which means we’re pretty busy ourselves at The Camera’s Eye!

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Graduation announcements and party invites are finding their way into everyone’s mailboxes. I love working with high school seniors and their parents to design cards and other products from our senior session photos, which are completely unique for each student.

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Would you want to show up at prom wearing the same dress as someone else? I doubt it! At The Camera’s Eye, we offer completely customizable graduation announcements, ensuring that you’re getting something that’s yours and yours alone.

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I usually touch base with the moms and dads about the nitty gritty details of the graduation or other event. But the seniors have the most important input – telling me their favorite colors and the type of style they are looking for. Flowery? Bold and outgoing? Softer and understated? Things like a printed font list can be helpful, but at this point in the process, having worked with them during their senior session, I usually have any given senior’s style down pat.

Little Bambinos: Newborn Photography at The Camera’s Eye

In most of the newborn photography you’ll see, including at The Camera’s Eye, the baby is sleeping. This makes sense, since this is the majority of what they are doing anyway. (Ok, maybe it doesn’t feel that way during the night for the parents, but that’s another story!) So it stands to reason that a sleeping newborn would be a cinch to photograph. Right?

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Not entirely. If you are a parent (and/or a professional photographer), you know that you are totally beholden to the baby’s schedule. The baby might not want to actually be asleep during the time that you scheduled the photo session. And have you ever tried to explain to a five-day-old that there’s a schedule to keep?

I’ve been photographing newborns for 13 years, starting with a set of preemies as my first clients, and I love the possibilities that a newborn photo session holds! In general, it really helps me to work with moms who aren’t afraid to have me handling their brand new little one. Of course, I am super strict about washing props and washing hands before handling anyone’s baby. And I’m always amazed when brand new parents are willing to go with it when I say things that essentially add up to, “Oh, let me fold up your bambino like a tree frog and stuff him into this bowl. Sound good?”

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I truly admire and am inspired by newborn photography that is stylized and prepped, with perfectly placed accessories like headbands and themed props. My colleague Esther Fuller has some great examples, and I use Pinterest to keep track of other creative newborn images! In my own shooting, I gravitate towards the up-close details – the little toes, the warmth, and connection between the baby and the parents.

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Still, I am always developing my artistic vision when it comes to more precise newborn and baby photographs.

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I let moms handle their babies as much as possible during the photo shoot. It can be difficult for a mom to position their baby when they’ve never done it before, or for me to position a baby when he or she isn’t familiar with me. Plus, all you want to do is let the little angel sleep, but you’re probably going to rustle him awake with the many tiny adjustments you need to make.

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Keep in mind, even when your baby does sleep, they might not be making the most comfortable, relaxed expression. There is a natural “sleeping baby eyebrow scrunch” that can lead to a lot of post-newborn session Photoshopping! 

A client recently asked me: “You do so well with these shoots, and you don’t even have kids…so how do you have the patience to get peed on?” And, I know it sounds weird, but this is probably one of the greatest compliments I’ve received in my work as a professional photographer. At the end of the day, I’m truly enjoying myself – even in the line of fire. And don’t worry – at The Camera’s Eye studio, I always schedule time afterwards to take care of all the clean up that might will need to happen. It just comes with the trade of natural lifestyle photography – and what’s more natural than that?

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Traveling for a Wedding Shoot: Or, What to Do With 28 Minutes of Sunlight

At The Camera’s Eye, we LOVE traveling to shoot weddings, something that we started doing in 2009. I guess it’s not a destination wedding for the bride and groom if they live there, but it sure feels like an exciting destination for us! We are headed near Philly this weekend to shoot another wedding at the Brandywine Manor House, which got me thinking about the past weddings we’ve traveled to. The Camera’s Eye has done two weddings in the Allentown area at Lock Ridge Park, one in Scranton, as well as a wedding that sailed away on a boat from Station Square in Pittsburgh! Of course, as far as destinations go, there’s nothing quite like the beach, wedding or not:

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The Camera’s Eye was lucky enough to shoot a wedding in Destin, Florida about two years ago. One of the guests at a previous wedding that we shot closer to home loved our work so much that she flew us down to Florida for her own nuptials.

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The ceremony took place on the beach at sunset, and the reception at a huge multi-family beach house right across the street, named “5 o’Clock Somewhere.” Can’t beat that!

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Of course, we had a wonderful time working this wedding and spending time at the beach. The bride and groom were generous enough to invite us to come to the reception, the house, and to other events throughout the weekend. We usually had to decline because, as much fun as it was, we did still have to work, even far before the day of the wedding. What’s there to work on when you’re in a place that’s so inherently beautiful? Well, when you’re dealing with a wedding at sunset – everything.

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We stayed in Florida for four days total, counting two days before the wedding. This gave us two chances to time the sun. Yes, actually time the sun. The ceremony was at sunset, giving us exactly 28 minutes of sunlight to work with. And of those 28 minutes, we planned out every. Single. Second.

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Sunset or no, this is how I roll on a wedding shoot! I need to know every step I will be taking during the day, every pose I will be asking the bridal party, the groom, the parents, etc. to make. Does it sound a bit, well, controlling? Especially for something so artistic? Sure, but you don’t get a redo when it comes to wedding photography. Taking the time, doing the research, and prepping mentally always, always, always pay off. And when you’re done? Well, just maybe you’ll get a chance to relax on a beach!

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A big thanks to all who have let me shoot their weddings. We’re looking forward to this next big weekend in Philly!

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A Knight for a Princess at The Epiphany School

A few weeks ago, The Camera’s Eye photographed an event that is near and dear to my heart. Every spring, The Epiphany School in Sayre, PA, holds an event called “A Knight for a Princess.” And no, that’s not a misspelling – it does take place at night, but it is also an event full of royal luxury! Velvet ropes, a drawbridge, food almost too pretty to eat…I’ll let the pictures tell the tale:

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Girls in grades K-8 attend the event with their fathers, their effective knights for the evening – and beyond. More than just a night out, the event is devoted to the idea that your dad is the one who shows you how men should treat you right. These lovely ladies and their dads dressed to match the part – tiaras, corsages, the whole nine yards:

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Could these guys be any prouder of their girls? I’ve been photographing this event for all eight years of its existence, back when it started with first-graders. That makes this year especially poignant, since some of the beautiful young ladies graduating from eighth grade were also in attendance eight years ago – and arrived in high style this year!

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A few of them spoke about what the event means to them, and they were NOT shy about sharing what they learned. One explained that going to this dance every year with her dad definitely raised her standards. Another added that whoever it she ends up with, he “has to be able to dance.”  Good life lesson, don’t you think?

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A big thank you to Sister Anne Quigley and the rest of the organizers and participants for letting me share in this event year after year! I can’t get over how much everyone involved loves being there.
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It’s always fun to dress up for any reason but what I love about “A Knight for a Princess” is that these girls and their dads are spending time together, and everyone truly loves it!

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Senior Photo Offer at The Camera’s Eye

It might not feel like it yet, but the end of the school year is drawing near. That’s exciting for all of the regular reasons, but it’s an especially big step for students who will be seniors next year! At The Camera’s Eye,we love doing senior photo shoots. Nothing beats getting to know these students and seeing their personalities shine through in portraits, graduation announcements, and more.

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Senior Announcement

To make these photos even easier to share with your friends and family, we have a special offer for the month of June. Students who book a senior photo session with The Camera’s Eye between June 1st and June 3oth get a free mobile album! Pull up your photos on your phone, scroll through the portfolio, and – most importantly – get your friends’ opinion on which ones they like the best.

Don’t wait until school’s out – call us at 607-426-6023 to schedule your senior photo session today!

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First Communion at The Church of the Epiphany

Springtime is here! The flowers are finally starting to bloom and we are packed with events to photograph – proms, senior sessions and, of course, The First Holy Communion at The Church of the Epiphany in Sayre, PA. On the first Saturday of each May, the children of Epiphany Parish receive the sacrament of First Communion, and I’ve had the honor of photographing candids and portraits for them for several years now.Card Front

This year, 18 children celebrated this sacrament, a mix of second graders from The Epiphany School and children from public school who are a part of the Sunday religious education program, taught by parent volunteers John and Cathy Moliski.

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Holy Communion is a huge milestone for families and kids alike. Dressed all in white, the children receive the Body of Christ for the first time, along with a special set of rosary beads, traditionally handed down from a relative.  At The Church of the Epiphany, this event is organized by Sister Anne Quigley, who has taught for over 25 years at The Epiphany School, and presided over by Reverend Andrew Hvozdovic, who celebrated his Silver Anniversary last year. Clearly, we are a set of seasoned veterans here. I still have my own set of rosary beads from my First Communion at this same church, along with a tiny crystal set given to me by my aunt!

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In addition to portraits, The Camera’s Eye offers customized necklaces and personalized thank you cards to commemorate this special day.

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For even more photos, check out the candids courtesy of Dr. Rick Rilloraza, one of the proud parents!

The Camera’s Eye is looking forward to more events celebrating growth, change, and renewal as we dive into spring and summer!

Another Word for “Handsome”: The Camera’s Eye at Sayre Prom

Last weekend was prom for Sayre High School! It’s a big weekend for the kids, who looked glamorous, and, as always, a huge, fun event for The Camera’s Eye.

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I’ve been shooting the Sayre prom for over 10 years now, and I dig working with these kids. So spontaneous and refreshing! I book directly with the class president – this year, it was Nate Williams, a standup guy. The theme was Central Park, with lots of greenery and pastels.

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So is it all work for us when we’re shooting the Sayre prom? Not hardly! Sure, we’re there to take these memorable photos, but we find ways to have fun ourselves. Trust me, we DO notice what you wear! My staff and I always run a quiet little “favorite dress” and “favorite tux” contest amongst ourselves. I LOVE seeing the new colors that girls show up in every year.

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And if you’ve been there, you know – I have an undying love of shoes, and I will definitely ask to see your shoes – guys and girls alike! Besides that, I love telling the kids how fab they look! Like telling the guys that they look dapper and hearing them go, “Uh…that’s a good thing, right?”

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And of course – what would prom be without some dancing? We always ask the kids to teach us one of the dances from the dance floor. This year it was “The Dougie,” which is NOT, as I learned, an easy dance. One kid even YouTubed it for me on the spot and, as much as I tried, I couldn’t get it! Suppose that’s why it’s best to leave the dancing up to the Sayre students and the photography up to me.

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And of course, what would Sayre prom be without my own number one date – my mom! I don’t know what I’d do without her as a core member of the team. Hopefully she can teach me how to Dougie before next year’s Sayre High School prom rolls around.

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