Senior Portraits - Hailey

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Senior Portraits - Hailey

Meet Hailey a fun-loving, well-adjusted, social butterfly who is wise beyond her years on this Earth.  She rides horses competitively (and is called an eventer, I've learned) and loves her horses. Oh, and she rides everyday.  In fact, I met up with her a couple of days before her shoot during her practice time to scope out the location and she was sweet enough to take me, big mama, on a four-wheeler down a dirt track to tour a trail several yards away barn.  She politely drove at a snail's pace so I wouldn't fall off and kindly allowed me to hold onto her shoulder when I asked.  Hailey, I have had a great time getting to know you and your family and hope you had a great time too!  Some of my favorites from the shoot:

Her sister came into town to visit this week so we squeezed in some #sistersister time on camera.

Best of luck in the coming months you apply for colleges!   Any college will be fortunate to have you!

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Love Session: Phil & Gina

Who says couples photography is limited to those who are engaged?  As Phil put it, "These were taken for fun.  Gina has yet to propose to me."  :P  I may be biased but I want photo session for my husband and I every year for our wedding anniversary, so why not a date-a-versary?  

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Stephen + Tulip - A UVA Engagement Session

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Stephen + Tulip - A UVA Engagement Session

The two met during college while attending the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.  Their love story began with an innocent game of frisbee and grew with each year that passed.  Now living in Tennessee, the couple flew back to place where their love began and I was fortunate enough to shoot this throwback to their good ole college days.

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Manchester Arts District Engagement Session: Erin + Aaron

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Manchester Arts District Engagement Session: Erin + Aaron

Erin and Aaron flew in from their current home in AZ for the long weekend over memorial day to celebrate their engagement with their close friends and family and for (engage in drumroll) MY FIRST ENGAGEMENT SESSION IN RVA!  The two introduced me to one of the many locations for street art in Richmond and we had a blast!  

Thank you both for being so amazingly awesome you two.  Cannot wait for your wedding day next year!

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Warwick Farms Styled Wedding Shoot

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Warwick Farms Styled Wedding Shoot

I am so excited to share with you this gorgeous stylized wedding organized by Caitlin Trainer at the Warwick Farm in Mount Vernon, Ohio.  From the charming farm venue with its barn cats, peacock, sheep and llama and  bespoke floral design and table settings by the Rural Society and Susan Renner and Pat Warthen, to the intricately designed hair by Sarah Martin and on-trend dresses from White of Dublin, this farm-wedding #decayedelegance theme came together so beautifully and I felt fortunate for the opportunity to photograph all this beauty.  All details and vendors below.  

Table seating arrangements on slate/rock tablets.  Ten Commandments style.

Copper goodness.

Not your typical foo dog.

Self-control.  Self-control.  Self-control.  This is what I had going through my mind as I shot these delectable macarons.

The most elegant farm kitty I ever did see.

The bar area, adorned with this giant floral arrangement with which I was so obssessed.

Greenhouse dinner.

Here the bride is just about ready.  The room was dark but I loved how the light fell on this dress and highlighted all that lace detail.

Love the details on this dress.

Gorgeous macrame.

Pink sunset.

Organizer
Caitlin Trainer - @caitrosephotography

Farm owner & florist
Page Price - @theruralsociety
#ruralsocietyflowers

Event designers, event sign creators, & prop rentals
Sue Renner - @riaroseevents
Pat Warthen - @patwarthendesign 

Hair stylist
Sarah Martin - @sarahatcharlespenzone

Make up artist
Jessica Dunham - @youarebeautifulartistry

Cake
Brooke Phillips - "B's Sugar Buzz"
Email: bssugarbuzz@hotmail.com

Invitations
Kate Carpenter - @kcarpcalligraphy 

Bridal gowns & jewelry
White of Dublin - @whiteofdublin 

Handmade macrame back drop
Kimberly Barnes - @kimberlywbarnes 

Photography
Photography by Donna May - @hellodonnamay
Head over to Instagram and search for #warwickweddings for photos taken by other photographers who participated in this shoot.

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Virginia is for Lovers

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Virginia is for Lovers

Hello! 

It's been quiet over here.  We had a ton of moving, then driving, then unpacking, then donating all the stuff we realize will not fit in our new home.  We still have a bit more to go to finally feel settled but I thought I should post an update and start maintaining my blog again more regularly.

I have a several engagement, wedding and lifestyle sessions to share with you from my last few weeks in Columbus, Ohio and my first few sessions in Virginia.  I am so excited to share these stories and emotions with you.

But first...an iPhone picture of our first sunset over the Atlantic Ocean when we vacationed in Virginia Beach last week as an impromptu getaway from our messy, boxes stacked-to-our-eyeballs lives:

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone for being so patient and supportive and for Virginians for being so welcoming--true Southern hospitality.  We are so fortunate to have you in our lives.

Cheers from Virginia (is for lovers! <--LOVE THIS SLOGAN)!
Donna May

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Jon and Meghan's Wedding Reception

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Jon and Meghan's Wedding Reception

It's been a crazy time over here but I wanted to give a shout out to my third to last Columbus wedding I am shooting this year. 

Last summer, after what felt like a few good scheduling mishaps (I would be busy and Meghan would be busy, then the weather would be awful, etc.), I finally got the chance to shoot Meghan and Jon's engagement session.  You can see their Creekside engagement session here.  I knew the two were planning a destination in Florida so it took me by complete surprise when Meghan asked me to document their Columbus-based wedding reception!

Their beautiful reception was held at Tall Timbers, in Etna, Ohio, where the some of the wedding party and the couple's families and friends gathered to celebrate this couple's love.   Much of the decor, cake and other sugary confections were designed/made/created with love by the couples' family.

Being a mother to a two-year-old who loves her sippy cups, I kind of swooned when I saw these place card holders for the kids at the reception.

A little remnant from their Florida wedding ceremony.

The sweetest bridesmaids gifts.

Before the reception we took advantage of the fairytale like scenery for some formal portraits.

Mr. Baltes was not as excited about their little froggy friend.

Congratulations, Jon and Meghan!  Wishing you the happiest marriage life can offer!

Venue: Tall Timbers
Dress: BHLDN
Flowers: Megabeats
DJ: Megabeats

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BUMP: A Family of Four, Almost Five

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BUMP: A Family of Four, Almost Five

I recently met this Mama by chance when a good friend of mine decided to put the two of us in contact so I could learn more about their mutual passion: Beauty Counter.  If you haven't heard of it yet, you will soon...if not from me then from magazines, J. Crew and I think they're coming out with a Target line really soon!  I've had the opportunity to try their products once and they are amazing and, best of all, SAFE for everyone from babies and mamas-to-be!  I'll save more details about this company for another blogpost.  :)

Our session took place at the Rocky Fork Metro Park in New Albany.  It was a chilly morning but this family charged on, girls bare-armed and genuine smiles on their happy little faces.

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Seriously, when you see their family pictures, don't you think--what a perfect little family!  :)

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I have a thing for sibling love...  And these two are just SO SWEET with one another.  Can't get any better!  #sisterlove

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To add to their joy, this family of four will soon be five with the addition of a baby boy this summer :).  So sweet.

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Watching their girls from afar.

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We snuck into a little patch of forest for a bit of one-on-one time with the mama and her bump.  Boy did she glow is this amazing light.

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Thank you again to Lauren and her beautiful family for helping me carry out my vision for their family portraits on this cold Spring morning.

Dress: Cameron from Sew Trendy Accessories

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Life Curated: Saturday Afternoons At Home

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Life Curated: Saturday Afternoons At Home

I spent a small portion of my Saturday afternoon last weekend to hang out with this little family, who is expecting their second baby in June.  There were many sweet gestures, including hugs, belly rubs, the occasional smooch and even an impromptu dance in the living room.  

Thank you Monica and Jason for inviting me into your home and allowing me to spend time with your sweet family.  I'm looking forward to meeting your next little babe this summer!

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Life Curated: Quiet Moments Between a Mother and Her Boy

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Life Curated: Quiet Moments Between a Mother and Her Boy

A couple of weeks ago, a good friend called one evening after work to catch up.  We had been planning to meet one another for lunch the past two consecutive weeks but failed for one reason or another.  We caught each other up on life, our moves (hers across country and ours to Richmond, VA), how we were getting ready to sell our homes, the impending birth of her second child, etc.  Towards the end of our conversation she asked me if I wanted to get together for one last lunch before baby number two arrived. A billion things on my to-do list popped up in my mind for an overwhelming two-seconds before it simply went blank.  When a good friend calls to invite you for a conversation and wants to spend time with you, how could I say anything but yes?  "I'm in!" I exclaimed and we both giggled in delight.

The next day, I went over to the first home she bought together with her husband.  She was still on her way back from her morning errands so I waited in their front yard.  I noticed their beautiful landscaping and the flowers in bloom and shuddered as I thought about the little time we had left visiting this home, living in our own home.  The bittersweetness of the near future was beginning to settle in.

After she arrived, we went into their home and I watched her make lunch for her son and hungrily gobbled down the food she had considerately bought me from Panera--she  knew I was on a time crunch and had to get back to work.  I was so grateful and happily surprised by the PICK TWO options she selected for me.  She had asked me the night before if I could briefly capture a few quiet moments of her with her son during lunch.  So  I snapped a few pictures and we talked the way mothers talked together when one of them is watching their busy toddler.  We connected on our shared journey together over the last six years here in Columbus, and dreamed continuing to nurture our friendship from opposite ends of the continent.

I am so grateful for this gift of time she gave me in her home and conversation and witnessing the beautiful life she's created with her tiny little family, which grew by two feet two days after these photos were taken.  Thank you guys for all the love and support over the years and here's to many more years of friendship wherever we are in life and geography!  

Some photographs from our brief lunch together:

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Xander ~ 18 Days New

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Xander ~ 18 Days New

I have known this couple for three years now and in that span of time I have taken their engagement photos, attended their wedding, captured their announcement photos and now I have documented their new baby love.  Meet Xander: the sweetest babe with the softest, most cuddly wrinkles for an extra soft snuggle.  I just love his blue eyes.  Some photos from our session last weekend.

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Stand-Out Wedding Weekend Dresses For a Fashion Forward Bride

I have always been fashion's back-row observer and often find myself attracted to more interesting designs.  I seek out brands that look to bridge the gap between designer/runway and street-style.  Here are three brands I'm following these days that design stand-out dresses for your wedding-related fetes.  All photos herein this post are from the designer's website.  Click on designer name or dress itself to link to source.  You may want to watch your fingers, they may start buying these dresses for you....

SELF-PORTRAIT - I love Ha Chong's beautifully detailed designs--feminine with strong lines.  From casual brunch rehearsal to a dressy dinner, Ha Chong has you covered.  Read an interview Ha Chong has done with Fashionista here.

She’s not afraid to stand out. She definitely doesn’t want to blend in. She wants to light up, she likes attention, I think, because you get noticed when you wear Self-Portrait. She’s feminine and at the same time, sometimes she’s not afraid to kind of play with gender and clothes.
— Han Chong, Self-Portrait Founder in an interview on Fashionista.com

LOVER - I had never heard of this label until a good friend of mine gushed with admiration for their dresses, so heeding her advice I looked it up and fell in love with the unexpected.  Romantic and polished with surprising details, like this open back, in this otherwise modest silhouette!  Read about the label here.  See it worn in real life by women here.

They have mixed their individual tastes, one for romantic and ethereal the other for loud and irreverant to create a label that has remained true to its signature style and ideals from day one.
— LOVER

 


SOLACE LONDON - This line looks amazing on taller women.  Dramatic silhouettes in otherwise simple and clean designs = gorgeous aesthetics.

Who are your favorite designers/what are your favorite labels for your engagement party and wedding weekend occasions?

 

 

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Camilla ~ 20 days new

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Camilla ~ 20 days new

I spent a lovely morning with the delightful Camilla and her Mama.  The two were cozying up together in the kitchen when I arrived.  Camilla rarely cried and quickly calmed when she did.  She fed often and smiled for us a bit and best of all--she fell right asleep after a short bit so that we could take some quick snaps of her here and there all wrapped up and comfy.  I wanted to capture Camilla and her Mama in the most natural possible and as I sauntered about to and fro for the best light, I would turn around and see this beautiful, peaceful vision of mother and daughter:

Here are a few more from our time together:

I love little detail shots like these:

Whales, blue and gold, alternating in carefully measured intervals and lines.  Hand-painted by Camilla's father.

Sweet Mama watching her baby stretch and stir.

Welcome to your world, Camilla, and thank you for letting me spend these precious moments with you and your Mama.

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Maxwell's Rawring First Birthday

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Maxwell's Rawring First Birthday

I had the honor of photographing the cutest little dino-themed 1st birthday brunch this Spring at the Peapod Play Cafe  on the East side of Columbus.  The Mom-Osaurus and her herd of helpers and vendors did an AMAZING job of putting together this party for this little one and his loving family and supportive friends.

There were SO many fun details at this little party, I had to make sure to try and catch them all!

The birthday boy arrived with a dino-spiked jacket, which he wore over his coordinating Stegasaurus sweater.

Brother William arrived in a slightly more mature button down dino shirt and jeans.

We took some time while family and friends caught up and mingled to take some formal-ish family portraits.  I say the "ish" now and  you'll see why later.

Things got a little wild.

And then it tamed back down.  Phew.

The kids played in the giant play area, complete with slide, train/car set, and various school-yard-like structures and even an ice cream truck!  Maxwell's great grandfather may have had some fun too....

Then of course there was a cake smash.  The guests happily sang Maxwell the traditional birthday song, after which big brother, William, came running to the front to help blow out the candle.  With the candle blown out, a hat on his head and a large crowd with lots of camera phones up pointing at him, Maxwell looked at his cake unsure of what to do.  Then, like most toddlers, he investigated the little cake with his hands and as the crowd cheered him on, his instincts kicked in like dino-mite and destroyed the cake like a Maxwell-Ssaurus is expected to do.

Happy Happy Birthday, dear Maxwell.  You are so well loved.  And thank you to Cara and Craig for having me there to photograph this special time for you and your family!

Vendors:
Venue: Peapod Play Cafe
Dino figurines: Michaels (painted and adorned with cute hand-made hats by Mom-Osaurus).
Cookies - TheFancyLadyGourmet
Cakes - Short North Piece of Cake
Invite/paper decor party suite - MayDetails 
Balloons - GenWoo 
Tassel garland - GenWoo 
Florals/ air plants / leaves - Oberer's Flowers Inc. - Easton location
Straws - Target in the dollar section
Clear Plates - Party City (Mom-Osaurus glued the Rawr paper from May DetailsStudio on the back of the plates).
Maxwell's party hat - littleblueolive

**To view the full collection for Maxwell's First Birthday Party, please ask your party hosts for access.

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Letters to My Daughter

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Letters to My Daughter

Dear Mara,

Earlier this year we visited our family in Hawaii.  It was your first visit EVER. You can see some of our days on vacation here.  

One of the topics that occasionally surfaced was my decision to pursue photography full-time.  Some people were over-the-moon excited for this new chapter in my life, while others commented (some, directly to my parents) on the years and tuition spent (implied: wasted) at a private preparatory high school and then USC, not to mention my CPA license.   You'll hear me say this time and again: Don't listen to crowd and you define you.  Three things I struggled with and realized over time:

(1) The past does not define the person you are today.  It can influence your behaviors and how you see the world but you ultimately CHOOSE how to act and how you want to view the world.  Not only that, but you can choose to change your views and behavior at anytime.  I won't say it's easy but with discipline and determination, you can do anything and be whoever you want to be.

(2) Money and Time invested in my graduate degree, in something other than the Arts, is not money or time wasted.   I sometimes wish I had found my passion sooner and gotten a BFA and I have even looked to apply to more schooling now that I am in my 30s.  But if I had not taken the path I did, I would never have met your Father, and my degrees in Accounting and Psychology has helped immensely in starting up this business!  Your degree/formal training or lack thereof does not define who you are, it just represents some of the many tools you have in your arsenal to apply when necessary!  Develop/obtain good tools and apply effectively!

(3) There is no set path in life.  Studying to go to medical school, then changing to accounting then switching to photography has been my path.  It reflects the direction of one person who is nurturing and cares for others, who wants to understand how to run an efficient and effective business and who respects and loves to document memories, honor history and contribute to the arts.  To me, these experiences allow me to provide my clients the ultimate service in the form of my brand while also giving me the satisfaction in the business I am building.

So imagine great things for yourself , cultivate your desires, believe in yourself (and when you've lost faith in yourself or anything else call upon those who do and they will help you get there) and ACT.  The first three things won't change your life unless you DO.  You'll fail, I can guarantee it, but nothing feels better than to rise from the ashes and outdo yourself.  So I'll leave you with this quote, which I saw on Sue Bryce's page some time ago:

Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon... must inevitably come to pass!  - Paul J. Meyer

Love,
Mama

 

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Sunday Morning Bump

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Sunday Morning Bump

Love on a Sunday Morning + A Baby Bump

I have known Jenn and Ben for three years now and have photographed their engagement session, baby announcement and now their maternity session.  I attended their wedding as well, as a guest, and got to see them tie the knot first hand!  It was so amazing to see them take their steps to holy matrimony and, now, get ready for the birth of their first baby.

We decided to start our session in a more intimate setting, in Ben and Jenn's home.  Jenn wore a beautiful Jonquil ivory lace robe (you can get it here), which perfectly complemented her baby bump and gave the session a more romantic feel.

I love shots that focus on the bump, but this one tells a really special story, one of Mom and Dad, hanging out and already cherishing their little babaloo (my version of bugaboo :P).

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She swapped the sensual robe for a more mama-chic blue and pink dress by A Pea in A Pod, which was planned perfectly as the couple  decided to have the sex of their baby a surprise until he or she arrived on its birthday.  We headed over the Prairie Oaks Metro Park in West Jefferson, Ohio to brave the cold winds.  Seriously, I thought Sunday was supposed to be 50 degrees?  But instead it was in the high 30s/low 40s and windy, too.

We hung out by the natural rock clusters, took in the beauty of the glassy pond and finished our morning on the bridge.  

I call this one, "A Mama and Her Boots"

To Ben and Jenn--congrats on this exciting time in your lives!  Can't wait for the baby to arrive and record her (or him, is it obvious that I'm on Team Girl?!) on my digital reel.  Xoxo!

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Letters to My Daughter

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Letters to My Daughter

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Dear Mara,

The weekends have been crazy lately (let's be honest, evenings too!) as we get ready to move.  We have no idea the exact date we are moving but it will be in July sometime.  But before that we need to pack up, get our house lookin' pretty and then sell it!  It is so surreal.  Your dad has been watching a LOT of YouTube tutorials while trying to fix up our house, and not to mention the all-day streaming of mash-ups like this one.

Meanwhile, I have been packing and found some real treasures like letters from friends, a million postcards from my BFF on her travels around the world and then a giant collection of writing utensils...more than we will need in he next few years!  Like TWO HUNDRED pens, highlighters, pencils.  

You?  Well You've been so helpful in asking me how you can help so last night I let you help me tape up a box and then let you stand it in after it was assembled.  

On a not-so-serious note, something to remember when you are older and we can hang out as adults: Chianti + Wild Boar in Italy sounds like a yummy trifecta :).  Your Mama loves a good glass of red wine and tasty pork.  But really, this is a problem that needs to be addressed or we'll have no Chianti to visit when you're older!

There may be a lot of backlash but it takes a lot of courage to admit when you've done something wrong.  Something you'll learn about when you're older, or maybe we'll figure out how to teach it to you sooner.  

FIFTEEN = The number of dresses I have saved on Rent the Runway as a favorite.  I have not decided if I will buy or rent, but I have been scouring the internet for a dress to wear to your father's graduation.  It has been TOUGH!  I feel like I need a serious series of fat-burning exercises before I can don any dress right now.  

ENDLESS = The number of quick exercises I bookmarked on the internet in hopes to squeeze one or more of those routines into my days.  Here's to feeling fit, fabulous and ferociously beautiful! And the best part?  I do my exercises in the wee hours of the morning, when you are asleep and cuddled up with your lion, while I catch up on some amazing True Blood or Downton Abbey.  

XOXO,
Mama 

 

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Bump & Babe - Poppy Lyne

I had the honor of photographing this lovely couple last fall when the weather cooled down and the condensation on our windshields turned to frost.  Jamie and Michael were real troopers stripping off their winter gear to proudly display their beautiful bump.  They brought along a pair of baby shoes with anchors and a teddy bear gifted to them by Jamie's mother.  The teddy bear was an exact replica of the bear Jamie's grandfather, whom she lovingly called "Poppy," gave her when she was a babe. 

We decided to do their newborn lifestyle session in their nursery and it was decked out in a nautical theme with a ship's wheel on one wall of the room and an anchor on the opposite side.   Jamie had spent some time in the Navy and this nautical/sea theme (which was also prevalent in her bathroom--I DIED when I saw the Octopus hooks from Anthropologie I had been coveting) has never left her.  She explained to me how the anchor is a symbol of hope for them. Jamie was never supposed to be able to have children, but as this story shows, sometimes hope can overcome the impossible.  Their dreams of a child were manifested in their daughter Poppy Lynn who I had the honor of photographing this weekend.

Here are a few photos from their session:

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If you look carefully, they had many photos from their maternity session hung through their home.

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Already Daddy's little girl.

Stretching before her close up.

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The little flutter than makes your heart {flutter}:

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Congratulations to you both, Jamie and Michael!  And to you, Poppy Lyne, congratulations on having parents who are as  devoted as they come.

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A New York Engagement

I know this gorgeous couple from Columbus, Ohio.  The two met at Ohio University and their loved blossomed under many moons.  Chris proposed to Julie in Sheeps Meadow in Central Park during one of the last weeks of the summer.  Chris even hired a photographer to capture the surprised look on Julie's face as he got down on one knee during his proposal.  It was very sweet.

The session started off a little past 10 p.m. on a Sunday night, roughly an hour after Chris' arrived by plane after a weekend in Florida.  I take a few test shots right when we met up with Chris and fell in love with their interaction and the scene they painted in the beautiful hall--the back and forth banter and catching up as  Julie held up her makeup compact like Vanna White for Chris as he knotted his tie.  

We found little hidden corners here and there and unoccupied staircases here and there, an empty corridor... 

...And oh, the chandeliers.

Nearing midnight, we walked to the Helmsley Building where we had our last look for the evening.

Thank you Julie and Chris for taking the time out of your late late Sunday night to hang out with me!

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