My Lucky Star!

Meet my nephew Ethan! He recently turned 2 and the two families planned a playdate at Princeton University. Ethan is one of my best friends’ son. Both me and my BFF are single child. We treat each other like siblings, and each other’s kids like nephew and nieces.

TwoYearsCollage-16x20

Ethan is the lucky star of my photography business. Till today, I am still thankful for my BFF’s trust and confidence in me. She handed her first born to me for newborn pictures. They turned out terrible, very few good ones. I felt deeply embarrassed. Ethan’s newborn session helped me realize my weaknesses as a photographer. And that became the turning point of my business. After the session I put myself in a boot camp to beef up all the necessary skills as a photographer in general and as a newborn photographer in particular. My hard work gets paid off. It is not how long you are in, but how fast you can improve. Back in June this year, I was nominated as one of the 2017 National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) Best New Emerging Child Photographer (BNECP).

6 weeks old forest theme
Ethan’s newborn picture at 6 weeks old

 

 

Ethan is one of my favorite portrait faces. I also did a lifestyle 100 Days and first birthday cake smash for him.

 

For Ethan’s 2nd birthday portrait, my BFF was looking for relaxed, outdoor, not formal but candid shots. “He likes to laugh and smile but camera shy, so works well when picture captures the moment.”

2 Yeas Old Portrait at Princeton University (11)
A quick capture of Ethan having fun walking up and down the stairs

Ethan’s outfit is from Rags to Raches.   His Daddy picked out a pair of black shoes from Jordan so the outfit matches with the shoes, “plus it looks really good on him”.

2 Yeas Old Portrait at Princeton University (5)
Ethan was a premie but his afterbirth weight has been in the 90 percentile for a long time. He learned to sing before he learned to talk. He is a split image of his dad.

2 Yeas Old Portrait at Princeton University (4)

2 Yeas Old Portrait at Princeton University (9)

My BFF was concerned about Ethan not cooperating, not meeting the agreed upon time since they couldn’t predict his nap schedule. “The session turned out great, there were other kids (MuSen: my girls) so made this more like friend and family outing rather than a formal photo shoot. The location was perfect, weather and timing were perfect too.”

“Afternoon session worked out well for us, after nap, before dinner. Bring snacks just in case. Follow his lead, plan to visit a few different spots.”, more advice from my BFF.

2 Yeas Old Portrait at Princeton University (2)
Prospect Garden, which lies behind Prospect House, was designed by Ellen Wilson, who lived there with her husband, Woodrow Wilson 1879, while he served as University president. (Source: Princeton University Campus Attractions)

2 Yeas Old Portrait at Princeton University (3)

2 Yeas Old Portrait at Princeton University (10)

2 Yeas Old Portrait at Princeton University (8)

2 Yeas Old Portrait at Princeton University (7)

2 Yeas Old Portrait at Princeton University (6)

2 Yeas Old Portrait at Princeton University (1)
Fountain of Freedom

MuSen: My BFF told me she has noticed incredible improvement in my photography skills in such a short amount of time. Ethan’s session caught lots of social media attentions. The collage I made for him stayed as top posts of many popular hashtags on Instagram for days.

 

Model Citizen Media
It also help me to get identified by Model Citizen Media and I was invited to give their interview a try. I am deeply motivated by their quote:”You can’t fall if you don’t climb. But there’s no joy in living your whole life on the ground”.
Screenshot_20170928-231731
Fun Fact: As I am drafting this blog I went check out Instagram hashtag #princetonuniversity out of curiosity and found out my random shot of my oldest that day at the arcade has become the #1 top post among 41,872 public posts. Wow!

Thank you Ethan for continuing inspiring me!! Auntie loves you very much!

To find out what my BFF thinks of me as a photographer? Click here.

To learn more about the Oak pacakge, click here.

The Family behind Crafts by Jackie

I release this blog on a Thursday because it is perfect for throwback.

My friendship with Jackie goes back to a long way. Her daughter Haylie and my daughter Sammi were at the same daycare. They were also in the same dance class. I remember those cute little bunny costumes. Years later, both families expand with more kids. I started my photography business around the same time Jackie started her crafting business, and we soon formed great collaborations. Haylie and her younger brother Charlie did a wonderful fantasy model call for me. This mermaid meets fisherman image attracted lots of new clients in the early stage of my business.

MermaidMeetsFisherman
Mermaid meets fisherman

Haylie also modeled a tutu outfit for me.

Hot Pink_Black_Light Pink Diva_1

I had the honor to be their family photographer two years in a row. The family loves outdoors. Last year’s session was at a local park and this year at the beautiful Lavallette Beach.  Wonder how much has changed in a year? Let us take a look:

Park-2
2016 at a local park
Beach-6
2017 lavallette sunset

Their favorite family activity would probably be going crabbing together. It’s something outdoors that they all love to do. Funny enough, they barely even eat seafood- it’s just a fun way to get out and do something together. “In the sun and right by the beach!!!!”

Park-14
2016
Beach-4
2017

Perhaps the biggest change I have noticed as a photographer would be how much Charlie, now 4, has grown. I remember it was quite some work trying to get his attention and stay focused during the family session last year. But this year, he poses for me, smiles for me, so great to work with!

Park-11
Charlie, 2016
Beach-3
Charlie, 2017

This handsome little fellow recently started a karate/martial arts class and it is his favorite place to be. He’s already earned his orange belt!

Park-8
Charlie and Mommy, 2016
Beach-5
Charlie and Mommy, 2017

Haylie LOVES gymnastics. The conditioning, the never ending practices, anything and everything leading up to the meets, she loves it all! Her team is more like her second family now.

Park-12
Haylie, 2016
Beach-8
Haylie, 2017
Determination
Haylie always wanted a sunset silhouette poster with her gymnastics moves and we did it!

Kaylee enjoys playing softball in the spring, and takes a gymnastics class as well.

Park-9
Kaylee, 2016
Beach-2
Kaylee, 2017

 

 

Beach-1

 

 

12x12 Film Strip

Jackie loves being a full-time mom and being able to work from home. Her craft business has come a lot further than she ever imagined! And in her spare time she enjoys couponing, and has a fabulous stockpile closet! Click here to visit Crafts by Jackie’s Facebook page.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chuck is a huge Green Bay Packers fan.. as well as a fan of his family.

Park-15
The couple, 2016
Beach-7
The couple, 2017

When preparing for their photo sessions, Jackie always try to go with a color scheme. She wants them to match, but not too “matchy”. Once they pick their location, and date – she starts the search! With the pictures usually being done in spring/summer, it works out perfect that she can find some lightweight, fun colors. This year the family did a pretty teal/aqua color with white. – For the girls, they had clothing from Abercrombie Kids, with Charlie’s clothing from Target. The year before, they chose a dark blue, and did the same thing. They found a couple cute things that matched, and it all worked out! They typically stick to colors in the blue family. It matches their décor in the family room for when they get their pictures made!

Park-7
2016, dark blue theme
Beach-11
2017, teal/aqua color with white

Here are some tips from Jackie when preparing a family session:

“Number one, with small children – ALWAYS have a back up outfit. As well as wipes, and maybe even a stain marker/ Not even having pulled out of the driveway on the way to our beach photo shoot, my son somehow ended up covered in chocolate. I still don’t even know where the chocolate came from!!! Also, bring some snacks/drinks (non messy ones) in case you have to encourage (bribe) your children to continue smiling for all the photos!!!

Also, don’t stress it. Don’t overthink it. Go into it having fun, and your photos will come out better than you would’ve thought possible!”

Park-10
2016
Beach-13
2017

“The only worry I ever had with Karen before our session, was the weather!! Last year’s photos, it was supposed to be a cloudy/miserable day and I remember worrying our photos wouldn’t come out great. After keeping in close contact with Karen monitoring the weather, we both wanted to continue with them anyway! And I am so happy we did! The photos were AMAZING. The weather wasn’t too hot and humid. It was the perfect weather for a photo shoot!!!”

Park-3
2016

“Working with Karen, doesn’t even feel like a photo session! She goes above and beyond to check out locations, that will be great shots, as well as fun for the family. It’s hard to entertain a little kid (plus the older siblings), but I love that it’s always done at a place that brings them joy. Between a park setting, as well as an outdoor beach session- she found places that had jungle gyms, and let the kids run free to take breaks! While at the same time getting photos of the kids just being themselves!”

Beach-14
2017

From MuSen: I truly enjoy photographing Jackie’s family. This year’s beach sunset session was done in a playdate format. Both families had so much fun at the beach. What a wonderful memory!

Beach All
Charlie is the lucky only boy!

MuSen’s surprise for Jackie’s family: a moving portrait!

 

To find out what Jackie thinks about MuSen? Click here.

Making Summer Family Memory

Analisa and her family had been wanting to have a family portrait done. When MuSen donated an Oak outdoor session to the Max Challenge of East Brunswick‘s 2017 Day of Giving program in support of March of Dimes, it just all made sense. Analisa put in the bid for the silent auction and won the outdoor portrait session.

Summer Family (2)
The family enjoys a variety of activities such as bowling, movies, mini-golf, etc.

To prepare for the session, Analisa looked to Pinterest to get ideas and decided she wanted the family to be in soft colors. She started with the girls outfits and found her dress in the perfect shade of pink at Macy’s. She searched for a vintage looking dress for her daughter and got hers from Amazon. Then she worked at finding complimenting outfits for the boys, which ultimately came from TjMaxx and Express.

Analisa got her and her daughter Liana’s hair done with Melissa Amorim Cancelinha. Her beautiful makeup was provided by Priscila Tuba.

Summer Family (7)

Analisa had two worries prior to the session: would they have good weather? Would the kids cooperate? Overall it went well with both. She liked that the session consisted of casually exploring the park and capturing pictures in multiple backgrounds.

Summer Family (4)
Liana loves to sing and perform.
Summer Family (5)
Mommy – Daughter floral crowns by Boho Halo Company

Summer Family (11)

Summer Family (6)
Gabriel is a ball of energy.

Summer Family (9)

Summer Family (10)

Summer Family (8)

Summer Family (3)
Analisa has an obsession with home decor and HGTV. Mark gets up early to play soccer ever Sunday morning.

Summer Family (12)

“Do your homework!”, advice from Analisa. “Look at example family pictures to get a sense of the style your want and ideas for outfits. And also communicate with your photographer because they can guide you in the right direction and even help with finalizing outfits. Karen was wonderful with suggestions.”

Summer Family (1)

Summer Family (13)
Thanks to people with like-minds, together, the EB Max team raised over $10,500 for March of Dimes this year.

(MuSen: I have been so well known for my on-location all inclusive baby and small children portrait service people sometimes forget that I capture beautiful outdoor pictures and I love working with the entire family just as much. Donating outdoor family sessions to charity not only fulfills my mission of giving back to the community by supporting a good cause, it also gives me the opportunity to continue showcase my outdoor portrait works. Many families don’t realize they are in need of a family portrait done until they see my flyer. I enjoy working with Analisa and her family very much. I love the fact that Analisa took the time to communicate with me during the pre-session consultation. They came to the session well dressed, groomed, and also prepared with bug spray, water, and snack for the kids. I am so glad we did the family breakout and captured images of individual kid, siblings together, parent with kid, and the couple only. I am sure every single picture they picked from this session will be making life-long memory for the family. Click here to find out what Analisa thinks of the experience having a family session done with MuSen.)

To learn more about the Oak package, click here.