Photographic Memories: Best of 2019


Below, I'm sharing my top 20 images, my personal favorites, from 2019. These were my favorites because for nearly all of them, I tried something new and learned something in the process.  I revel in the fact that they share something in common like that. They were all moments that I was relaxed enough to be able to play and get those creative juices flowing. All art making is like that-play helps us to be curious and sort of see what we're made of. But we can really only get to that playful state if we're also in a curious and comfortable state first. I've discovered that my best images can be made when my clients and I are connected and when we have mutual trust for each other. I'm thankful for those lessons this year! 

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This was from when we did a Butterfly Release in honor of the life of Madison Shura. Our boys released their butterflies before school one day and they just didn't want to leave! The middle one on my son's hand here has eggs that its ready to release! We didn't notice that until I was home editing these images.  

Post for Butterfly Release


This was from an impromptu wedding that I did this past spring. It was a private event, but part of a life-changing few days for this little girl. I love this image because as she looks outside and at her reflection, I can't help but wonder what she is thinking. 

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I took this during a personal walk at the Penn State Arboretum.  It was a lovely day with someone playing a guitar nearby. As I photographed and listened, I recognized that the young guitarist played mostly Bob Dylan and Jack Johnson, which happens to be the primary listening content for our family. While I walked and listened, I was able to experiment with camera features that I don't usually need to use. Relaxing & fun!

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This session was interesting because we needed something neutral and light to go with the kids' bright clothing. It was also a late November session and they had a baby so long drives weren't a great option. We settled on this spot, all a little unsure of how it would turn out, but we all left so happy with the results! I love seeing this family every year and coming up with new ideas. Merry and Bright is the theme here! :)

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After my niece's birthday party in early October, our family drove to Dormont Park near Pittsburgh to take photos for the family of this sweet little girl. We had the most amazing sunlight. Sometimes one-year-old photos can be stressful for parents. One-year-olds often don't smile because they are so busy checking everything out and taking in SO much information. They do so many cute things at this stage too though, like "So big!" which she was doing here in this magical light. 

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Once on a super cold day, a brave family came out for photos. Their little boys were so cold that they couldn't stop shivering! So I brought out my trusty handmade blanket and everyone wrapped up in it. It was fun and created lots of fun interactions between each family member as well as kept everyone a bit cozier. I love the results. They're sort of made of the stuff of life!

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This session was so enjoyable because it was a Graduation Portrait session and I had previously photographed this young man's older brother. He also chose the same location and it was lots of fun to re-discover the same location and also give him and his family images that related to his brother's. It was a good opportunity to do a creative stretch. This is one of my favorites from his session. 

Blog Session Story

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Last winter, I had the joy of taking freezer-cold fabrics and scarves outside to quickly catch snowflakes. I was pretty happy with the results and learned some things that I'm anxious to try out this year!

Snowflake Blog Story

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I love to get to photograph this little girl each year and document how much she has grown! This year, as we warmed up, she had a nervous giggle directed at her mom, who was trying so hard to make her laugh and get that real, true smile. We caught lots of emotion and beautiful smiles that day, but this is my favorite!

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I took this image just before the end of 2019 as this couple celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary by having an anniversary Mass and a reception with their family and friends.  

In a time when most marriages fail, their story makes my heart happy! Here, they are pictured in 2019 holding their original framed wedding portrait from 1969. They're standing next to their cake that was a replica of their original cake. They even had all of the same figurines preserved to put on the cake!

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This is the dreamiest photo of the year, for sure! This amazing field of ferns isn't edited at all. It just exists like that! I brought this upholstered chair and when I paired it with her white dress and the sunlight streaming in through the trees, it was pure magic!

Check out Amelia's Blog Story here!

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She was playing Peekaboo and when she pulled down the lacy white blanket, she smiled so big at her parents who were right next to me. It was a moment full of  love and comfort and confidence and all of the things we want our children to be. Love it!

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This 2020 Graduate was so simple. He had one outfit and an extra shirt and the baseball bat in his car.  Anytime an artist's parameters are limited, we must use our creativity to stretch out of that space. So with fewer clothes changes and lots of time, we were able to really play with light. The sun set behind Joe and I set up my light precariously on the edge of an old stone porch. After a few calibrations, it was perfect! What fun!

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I haven't even gotten a chance to share these gorgeous portraits yet, but they are definitely some of my favorites of the year! This lovely girl goes to school with my youngest son. I know how personable she is and see how she gets along so well with others. She always has a smile and makes me smile when I see her! It was such a privilege to get to take her annual portraits! (And she is a dancer - full of grace and fun to photograph!)

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This was one of my first sessions of the year. This little guy is photographed here with his dad's flag from serving abroad in the background and he is laying in an Altoona Pepsi bottling crate from years ago. Inside that crate is a blanket that was made for his great grandfather, though he never got to meet him. Both of these people, kept warm by the same  hand-sewn threads, separated by a generation, but sharing all of these people who love them both.

Here's the blog story!

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This was from our favorite family vacation ever- to Niagara Falls. I like this new color edit on it. It seems to have new life with it. 

Here's the blog story.

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That face! How could it not make a top 10 favorites! :) I think it will be a forever favorite of mine and her family! Love!

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This session was a joy! We've known this lovely lady for years - since she was probably five years old! Now she'll be a 2020 Graduate! She is also a dancer and in this image, she is perfectly kicking the water that streams around her up into the air. There are so many favorites from this session, but the motion here and the color palette is my favorite (for today)!

Check out Jillian's blog story here!

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We went to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood for this engagement session.  Not the Pittsburgh one, but one of the original ones. We went to the land once owned by Fred Rogers' grandfather, Mr. McFeely.  The Groom-To-Be is from not too far away from here. The Bride-To-Be loves Mr. Rogers so much. Both of these lovely people also pass this waterfall road each time she drives from Altoona to Pittsburgh, which has been a big part of their relationship. It was a perfect place. We also had fun playing with ways to photograph them under the waterfall, which was at a low flow because of the season. 

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This session deserves a blog story. I'm hoping Bailey and I can co-write one. This image was assembled with suggestions from all three of us and made without my planned lighting set-up because it was a bit too far off of the walking path to hand-drag everything for just a few shots. It all worked. Beautifully. I love this image and her expression and the scarf we added for just a few shots. I love how it pairs with the few yellow fall leaves in the background. 

I've never done this before, but I like it! It's good to see, not just the good resultant images, but walk through the processes that made them all possible. I see growth and joy in these images and I'm so thankful for 2019. I look forward to 2020 with even more radiance now! 

Grace and Peace to you in 2020, friends!

What am I about?

My business is about providing art opportunities in the Altoona community as well as portraiture photography work. As a creative person, I like to dabble in other areas that allow me to bear witness to others' lives and explore what brings us all together. Though If you would like to follow along, you can check out my last blog article or join my newsletter! 


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