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Newborn Sebastien

May 12th, 2015

Sweet Sebastien surprised his parents by arriving four weeks early!  This little nugget is just as sweet as can be and everyone in the family is so excited to have him in their lives.  Though he normally is either eating or sleeping, today he kept his eyes wide open for quite a bit of the session, I think he was enjoying all the snuggles and kisses!

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Sebastien has the most precious nursery, so we spent most of our time there for portraits.

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Zoe joined us for a few images and loved having the freedom to cover Sebastien with kisses…he wasn’t too sure about what to do with that experience but she seems pretty pleased with herself.

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After the puppy excitement, Sebastien conked out for the rest of the session.  What a cutie pie!!!!

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There is nothing like those first weeks of newborn snuggles.  Heal up, stay warm, and enjoy your new bundle!

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Enticing Entertainment’s Open House

April 24th, 2015

It is no surprise whatsoever that Enticing Entertainment was inspired after a trip to Burning Man.  This troupe of performers are eclectic, full of personality, and extremely talented in so many different niches.  From steampunk circus acts to acrobatics, they own the word entertainment.  Tonight, they had an open house at Aria and the entire night was a feast for the eyes!

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Tonight’s entertainment included aerialists, lyra and trapeze artists, stilt walkers, dancers of every sort, circus performances, character performers, fire dancers, acrobats, a light show, and even champagne poured by a woman hanging from the ceiling!  Dramatic light and music added to the atmosphere as well as gold painted servers passing around Crave Catering‘s unique and amazing food.

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I really love this shot, incorporating the company’s logo in with the artist.

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The first large scale performance was called circus, and it was my favorite.  Keep scrolling to see the rest of the night!

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I had such a blast at this event!  I always love working with the Aria crew, and loved all of the amazing talent that Enticing Entertainment showed off tonight!

Posted in: Events
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Hannemann Renovations

April 12th, 2015

We tend to not include too many personal stories on our blog…but I feel like our kitchen remodel has been a supporting cast member in not only our lives but the lives of any client who saw the construction, along with friends, family and peers who heard us talking about it and helped us work on it.

As a quick recap, we live in a home that had an addition put onto the back of the house in the 80s…they literally just slapped it onto the back of the house, we found siding and shingles in the walls during demo.  When they busted through the back wall to create a doorway from the kitchen to the back room, they neglected to properly reinforce a load bearing wall.  When we bought the home, the ceiling was newly painted in the kitchen and we soon realized why when the first heavy rains came and large water stains appeared.  Over the years we tried to find the leaks which continued even after new tyvek and siding was installed, our new upstairs drywall kept cracking and we couldn’t figure out why, and the house was starting to become depressing, especially since we had a 2, 3, and 4 year old to raise.  In comes our hero, Andy, of Worth Design Build who walked us through the scary moments that part of the upper floor of our home was being held up only by 2 2x4s and (I kid you not) SIX NAILS, but who also talked us through how to fix it well, fix it right, and fix it without costing us thousands.  We also loved working with Iron River Construction who replaced part of our roof to make sure everything was sealed up tight.

And us being us thought, “hey, since we have to tear up the entire kitchen ceiling and the back room is all patched and ugly anyway, lets remodel, we hate our kitchen!” and then, us being further us thought, “hey, this back room is awkward and the kitchen is, too, it would be better if we switched them!”  So the journey started.

We had Andy’s expertise and also utilized a great program that St Louis Park residents have at their disposal…an architect comes to your home for two hours to help give ideas for only $25!  We couldn’t pass that up!  For us, we needed a mediator to take my super simple aesthetic and John’s “lets build as big and fit as much in here as we can!” energy and find a healthy middle.  Through this program we met Jeremiah Battles of Acacia Architects and working with him was such a joy!  He helped us see that a functional kitchen footprint is about the same size no matter how large the room is, and gave us the great idea to line up the back door with the island and light fixtures…to see the space in functional areas and gave us ideas that inspired us even further.

This is our original kitchen.  NO counter space, not much room to walk around in…cramped and not functional…

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As with any remodel, the moment you open a wall, you discover 45 new things that weren’t done correctly.  John found exposed live wires buried in the walls, duct work improperly routed, and numerous plumbing and electrical DIY projects that were done so incorrectly it started to feel like it was on purpose.  Slowly the two room project leaked to various other rooms in the house as John fixed all the old mistakes just to get to doing the original job.  We always tried to see the silver lining in everything, like the fact that Cooper loved the hole in his bedroom floor that opened to the kitchen below it!  And the kids helped us work and demo!  Below, you can see the family’s game faces.

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The kitchen had a totally unnecessary soffit that made the ceiling feel low and dark, we think it was there to keep smoke over the oven since the oven’s exhaust fan was just an opening to the outside!  We quickly got rid of that fan (and the breeze that blew through our house consistently) and the soffit, reinforced the opening from the old kitchen to the new, and got to work.  It was two and a half years of work since we only built when we had money and John was doing almost everything himself.

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A small cramped kitchen, was the perfect size for a family dining room.  The birch bark wallpaper and schoolhouse industrial chandelier were the splurges for this room (want to ever have a marriage building activity?  hang wallpaper together) and I wanted to keep it simple and clean.  The grey in this room is slightly darker than in the kitchen so everything ties in together, but the room feels more intimate.  We also love that the room gave us a clean large wall to feature our custom Josey Lewis art piece, I just adore this room.  A huge shout out to Sarah of Lifestyle Interiors for the color choices and helping me tie all our ideas together!

And THIS is the back room.  The room we initially saw as a studio, that quickly became a well used family room, that turned out to be a drafty cold back room we never used.  We blocked it off completely, and fully demoed it.  The decision to switch the kitchen to this room came easily to us as we could sacrifice this space without too much inconvenience and John could work at his own pace without having to clean up each night.  It was basically a workshop he slowly turned into the kitchen.  Oh, and drywalling that angled ceiling?  The dude deserves an award for that work!

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I went to school for interior design, and architecture is a passion of mine (though it is very hard for me to design my own spaces!).  John and I love all things old, unique and antique, but we didn’t want a kitchy country kitchen or something that was shabby chic.  I like clean lines and a fairly monochromatic color scheme with punches of texture and color.  Industrial modern is one of my favorite design aesthetics, along with primitive antiques.  Primitive design has always resonated with me because it is so practical, yet with solid hand crafted quality and just a touch of decorative embellishments.

The kitchen is a balance of modern and old, cool and warm.  Textured concrete countertops are sleek yet have a worn texture, the mahogany cabinets have a shaker design and add that touch of luxe and have pulls that have the same texture as the concrete, the backsplash tiles are the same color as our front room studio and are modern and fashion forward, the barn wood again gives texture and echos the concrete color while beautifully contrasting the warm wood of the floor and cabinets, modern appliances and industrial stools also balance the design.  Cook books, trivets, pots, and bowls we regularly use are display pieces along with an awesome piece of a farmhouse hung up high as decor.  The industrial pendant lights have my favorite Edison bulbs in them and give off a warm light at night.

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When I found this 1800’s Norwegian hutch at Carver’s The Nature of It, I initially walked away…it would have been the largest antique purchase we had ever made.  However, I kept having dreams (yes, I dream about furniture) about it, and two months later it was still there, and we had the anchor point of the kitchen.

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Ryan Noble’s craftsmanship is simply impeccable.  We are over the moon with how this 100 year old salvaged barn wood looks in our kitchen!

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Speaking of workmanship, John’s talent really shines when he is doing the little details.  He added these little cubby holes because he can’t help himself, he has to give purpose to every surface…and they look so fabulous.  And the way he meticulously married the concrete, barnwood siding, and his handmade cabinetry was truly impressive.  Yes, I know how lucky I am to be married to this man…for so many reasons!

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John and I talked about how we wanted our house to flow and worked the design around that.  We like open breezy spaces, but I’m not a fan of open concept homes.  I like separate rooms for separate things.  This design allows us to see from one end of the house to the other, but still feels cozy and gives each room its own identity.  The angled archways were already a part of the home design, so John made sure to keep that look for the arch from the dining room to the kitchen.  And when we designed the front room and dining room, we purposefully kept an open hallway from the front of the house to the back for good hyper kid traffic flow and to make the space feel large and clean.

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This is the view from our front room to the kitchen area.  This room is the first we really remodeled when we moved in and it set the tone for the rest of the house.  I can’t tell you how much we love the first floor of our home now!  The years of hard work and scrimping and finding creative solutions were worth it!

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Day on the Farm

April 7th, 2015

I’ve been photographing Finn since before he was born.  And for his two year old portrait session, it was only fitting to come back to the farm where his mom and dad were married, and where we photographed his mama while pregnant.  We started off in the storage barn that Finn’s dad worked so hard on cleaning and basically turning into a photographer’s dream studio.  Gorgeous light with details everywhere!

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Hey Finn, remember when you gave your mom a heart attack climbing the stairs of the barn?!?!?!

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I just love hanging out with this family, their love for their baby boy is so evident.

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After smiles in the barn, it was time to get some energy out.  The brisk spring day was perfect for running around and picking up sticks and climbing on rocks and all the things a toddler loves to do on a farm.

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Back in the barn, Finn explored upstairs, which gave me the opportunity to get some really great natural light shots.

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Enjoy your sneak peek!  Thank you for such a beautiful afternoon!

 

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Baby Eleanor

April 1st, 2015

Baby Eleanor arrived in the world about two weeks ago!  She is such a doll, and gives this sly one eyed cautious glance, always keeping tabs on the world.  Today was such a beautiful spring day and Eleanor was snug and happy in her little home.

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With two puppy big brothers, Eleanor is in a home full of action, and it was adorable watching the pups try to get close to her and figure her out.

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Then, out came the pink tutu.  Eleanor wasn’t super excited about all this photo nonsense, until we snuggled her up in a warm corner…she conked right out…

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…and just as quickly was alert again, checking out the weird lady laying on her livingroom floor taking her picture.

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Matt and Allison, thank you so much for welcoming me into your home today and sharing your precious new family member!!!

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Marin’s Liquid Intelligence

March 1st, 2015

If you haven’t been to Marin yet, you absolutely should go, it is a fantastic restaurant and bar with great atmosphere!  For those of you foodies that enjoy a little extra, the restaurant has started a series called Liquid Intelligence, which highlights a couple favorite drinks and is a step by step how to.  It really is a fun class for all levels of expertise.  I personally enjoyed the vintage bar utensils that were on display, most were part of the bartender’s personal collection.

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The class had a very easy going atmosphere, and you could ask questions along the way.  We learned why certain drinks are shaken and certain ones are stirred, all about flavor profile, the importance of ice, qualities of a good vermouth, and how to properly stir a drink.  We made the best sidecar I’ve ever tasted and were given a great simple syrup recipe.

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Delicious snacks were served alongside the drinks, and we were all joking and hanging out by the end.  This event would be a fantastic date night, or friends night out.  I can’t wait to go again!

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Posted in: Events
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Jason and Craig

February 7th, 2015

Jason and Craig celebrated their marriage today!  One year ago today, the couple tied the knot in Hawaii, and chose their anniversary to celebrate with friends and family in Minnesota.  Since these men have such a stylish eye it wasn’t surprising that they chose Calhoun Beach Club as their venue.  Our super mild winter didn’t disappoint and the day was warm and sunny (which the guests from Arizona greatly appreciated)!  We started the day with portraits of the grooms around the venue.

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Julie from Fabulous Functions along with Event Lab created a sophisticated lounge space for the reception using a palette of gray and blue, full of textures and a hint of sparkle.  We had to have the guys pose Mad Men style in the space!  We were soon joined by family ready for pictures and excited to celebrate alongside the grooms.

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Big lovers of theater and performance arts, Jason and Craig chose to turn their ceremony into a three act concert.  They treated their loved ones to performances from some of their favorite local talent, and Jason himself sang!  Julie has plenty of experience stage managing musical acts, so she was in her element.  Sarah Elizabeth Artistry kept the men looking dapper and concert ready.  Paper Thick Ink designed all of the printed pieces as playbills and posters, AV for You made sure the concert had professional grade sound, and Reverend Susan acted as the MC as well as led an exchange of vows at the end of the ceremony.

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The talent in this room was very humbling, there was much wiping of tears along with huge smiles as these musicians and singers performed music from a large swath of musicals, all which focused on the theme of the stages of love.

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You may kiss the groom!

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The ceremony ended as the sun started to set, and guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres and gushed about what they had just experienced.  We snuck Jason and Craig out for a few more portraits and then it was time for dinner and dancing!

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The reception looked like it was set up for a photoshoot!  Alice-Lynne Olson tied in the blue accent with her lovely blooms, and there was a nod to Hawaii with her use of orchids.

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The cake topper to this lovely (and delicious!) cake was created in Hawaii.  D’Amico didn’t just wow with their cake, they pulled out all the stops for the food, from darling walleye BLTs for appetizers all the way to a decadent mashed potato bar and a spread of comfort foods that had guests coming back for seconds and thirds.

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And just when we were all about to slip into a food coma, Erin Schwab took the stage and cranked it up!  She is such a fantastic performer and the live band had people up and dancing in no time.  We had the pleasure of working with Blizzard Video Productions, I bet they captured all kinds of great footage of the dancing going on tonight!

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Jason and Craig, it was such a joy capturing your day!  We are so happy for you!  Enjoy your sneak peek!

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Posted in: Weddings
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Wedding Photography Time Management

February 2nd, 2015

Wedding photography is just one cog in the machine that is the wedding day.  At its very base, wedding photography is recording who was there and how everyone looked.  At its best, wedding photography tells a story, captures emotion and ambiance, and preserves the day so generations later can still relive it.  Good photography takes time, it is an investment, it holds purpose, and some couples struggle to balance everything they want from their photography within the constraints of a typical wedding day.

There are many ways to approach the timeline of a wedding.  Having trusted reputable vendors is a great start (check out the talent at www.independentwedding.com).  An experienced planner and photographer will be able to help you set realistic goals and expectations as well as work out the best timeline options.  Below is a list of some of the basic ways to maximize your photography investment on your wedding day.

First Look

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I love first looks, as do most photographers.  It gives couples that moment of anticipation before they see each other, but it is done much earlier in the day than the tradition of seeing each other at the ceremony.  Believe me, the butterflies are still there at the ceremony, and a first look gives couples the opportunity to spend more of the day together, have a more relaxed timeline for pictures, and in general lets you have more breathing room to your timeline.

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Focus on the Moment

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Some couples choose mostly photojournalistic coverage of their wedding day.  This is usually the best option if the couple isn’t seeing each other before the ceremony, have a less extensive budget but still want good quality images, have some family drama they want to minimize, or have a smaller wedding.  Photojournalistic coverage does not mean the images are less artistic or less beautiful.  On the contrary, images where people are in their natural state are the most emotionally impactful and also harder to get since most people are very camera aware.  Photographers that know what they are doing are paying attention to light, angle, background, moment and exposure no matter if the image is a posed portrait or split second moment.  Though we still think a few family portraits are necessary and carving out ten minutes or so for couple portraits are important, the majority of the time is spent capturing the day as it happens, in all its fantastic glory.

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Just the Two of Us

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More and more of our couples are choosing this option and I love it!  Basically, the couple goes location hopping with their photographers alone.  No wedding party.  This benefits everyone involved.  The wedding party gets more time to get ready (which really helps if little kids are involved) without as much stress, and it can eliminate the frustration of chronically late (or anti camera) friends or family.  Since there are less people, transportation becomes a less expensive issue and time management is much easier.  Couples also tend to be a bit more adventurous with their location choices since they don’t have to ask their wedding party to also hang out in an alley or climb around in a park…or walk on the roofline of a two hundred year old Cathedral…

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Wedding Party Adventure Time

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This is the exact opposite of the couple taking pictures alone.  Wedding party adventure time usually involves a couple hours of pictures in multiple locations.  Renting a trolley or limo is the easiest option, and the most fun since you can pump your favorite tunes and drink (even stop at a drive thru) with your pals.  This option is usually more high intensity and fun, and can be a really great way to show your out-of-town friends the local sites.  It is a great bonding experience though also a bit more unpredictable.

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Day After

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Mostly, this is an option for destination weddings, but is also an interesting way to look at any wedding photography.  Instead of filling your day with picture time running around and getting every image you’ve ever dreamed of, think about doing your portraits another day.  If you are someone that is easily overwhelmed with stress, or who has a specific location in mind that might not be feasible that day, think about how amazing it would be to have your wedding with only minimal posed family and wedding party pictures.  Think of how relaxed that wedding timeline would be, how leisurely you could get ready and how you could enjoy your friends and family at your cocktail hour!  And then a couple days later you have hours dedicated for nothing but pictures.  Your photographer will have more time to work, you won’t have the stress of the wedding day, you have dedicated makeout time…bonus, you get to wear that amazing dress again and do more adventurous things!

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Get Creative

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Creativity in how you plan your day can affect both your bottom line and your images.  Being creative with your wedding day timeline could mean having your first dance before dinner is served (right after the grand march) and then have your photographer’s hours end there, doing minimal posed pictures the day of the wedding and having a styled shoot later in your wedding finery, having a brunch wedding with a more condensed timeline, or choosing a Thursday or Sunday to get married.  All of these creative options can shave a couple hours off a timeline which will help you save money on your photography without compromising on quality.

In no way do wedding pictures have to follow a check list of must haves you found on the internet or look a specific way.  This is YOUR day, you are investing in a quality photographer, make the most of it.  Work with your fiance and photographer to whittle down what it is you want for the day.  Give them words like “quirky” “dramatic” “emotional” “sexy” “hilarious” to describe your style and let your photographer get creative.  Whether it is designing a little photoshoot set to work with or simply giving your photographer permission and time to experiment and have fun, you will naturally end up with images unique to you as a couple.

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Weddings are expensive.  That is the cold hard truth.  It also isn’t an investment worth making if the entire time you are stressed, frustrated, and hiring vendors based on price over quality.  Think about your day, what you want to get out of your day, and how to plan your wedding timeline to get the most bang for your buck.  Proper time management not only affects your stress levels and the quality of images you will get, but also directly affects your bottom line.  Taking the time with your photographer or planner (or both!) to figure out the best timeline for your wedding day will keep everything running smoothly!

 

Posted in: User Manual
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Cozy Winter Family Session

January 26th, 2015

Today was a gorgeous winter day in Minnesota terms…45 degrees?  Unheard of!  So naturally, for today’s family session we had to head outside and take advantage of the lovely light and downright balmy weather.  Extra bonus?  An impromptu snowball fight and the family all got to see me run up a snow covered hill barefoot (my shoes were too slippery!).

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I just adore these sisters and their relationship with their mama!

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Lots of love in this family!

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Back inside we warmed up and I asked the family to do their favorite quiet activity, and yes, that is a vintage gameboy.

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Enjoy your sneak peek!  Thank you so much for spending the afternoon with me!

Posted in: Family Sessions
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Author Headshots

January 18th, 2015

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Today I photographed Meg, an author from Rochester.  She has a new book coming out and needed images for her marketing materials and her book jacket.  We met at Rudy’s Event Rentals space so we could use her lovely furniture and the pretty natural light in her space.  Brett Dorrian got Meg all dolled up, and feeling like a million bucks.

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We went for a variety of images, from sweet to sultry to smiley so Meg will have plenty of looks to choose from as she markets her new book.  Meg, it was a pleasure working with you today!  Good luck on everything!!!

Posted in: Commercial