"Once I got a camera in my hand, I realized I loved telling stories through the images I captured. "
I grew up in Dorchester, a neighborhood of Boston. I loved growing up in the city — I was taking public transit by myself from the time I was about 10 years old, and it was an amazing feeling to get to explore the city on my own and with friends and to have that kind of independence from a young age.
As a kid, I was very into theater, and thought I wanted to be an actor when I grew up. In college, I switched to major in history, which I also loved from a young age and what I realized after I started my portrait photography business was that there was totally a common thread — telling stories — that had been present since I was a very small child.
I got into photography when I was in middle school — one of my best friends had a cool older cousin who was really into photography, so my friend and I got on that bandwagon — not the best reason in the world to get started, but once I got a camera in my hand, I realized I loved telling stories through the images I captured, particularly images of people. I kept it up as a pretty serious hobby throughout my time in school and early adulthood, taking occasional classes or mentorships to continue learning as I went.
On motivation, and helping families preserve moments
I started my photography business shortly after my second child turned a year old — it was something I’d been thinking about for a while as more and more friends asked me to take their family photos for their holiday cards for them, and I realized this could be a way I could pursue something I cared about while also contributing to my family’s needs.
I loved photographing my friends’ families and the thrill from capturing the right moments — not necessarily the perfectly posed moments, but the moments where a parent looks at an image of a child and says “Oh my goodness, you really got HER!”
As a mom myself, though my children were still very small, I was starting to realize just how quickly children change, and how hard it can be, despite best efforts, to remember what they were really like at a given stage. I wanted to help families preserve those memories — to show their children when they’re adults, to show their grandchildren. To help build the story of who they are as a family. I now have three children (my youngest turns 4 next week, my older two are 7 and 10), and this feels more important to me than ever as my oldest embarks on his own journey of the tween and then teen years.
As I grow in my own business, I’ve also felt drawn to help other entrepreneurs grow theirs — I have recently expanded my personal branding session offerings, and I just find it so inspiring to talk to other small business owners, hear their stories, and help them showcase what inspires them.
I am a pretty small human — I’m just barely over 5′ tall in my shoes, so one of my number one pieces of equipment is actually a folding step stool that I carry with me to every single session I photograph. My hands are pretty small too, so I love the feel of my Olympus OMD-EMI ii — it’s comfortable enough to hold for a full day wedding, and I love how it performs.
For lenses, my go-to lenses are my 40-150mm (especially now with covid when we’re all trying to stay a little further apart!) and my 25mm lens — for portraits I’ll also sometimes break out my 17mm, but less so now with the social distancing (which is really a shame, because I was just starting to use it in almost all my sessions when covid hit, but I’m hopeful that some time soon it’ll be safe to bring it out again!).
I use a Peak Design hand strap (I’m a total klutz, to be honest, and a neck strap was just constantly something I was getting tangled up in), and pack everything in a Peak Design Everyday Backpack (the smaller size works really well for me because it fits everything I want and it isn’t bigger than I am 😉 ).
What’s one tool you can’t live without?
Ha, definitely my step stool! It not only gets me up to a much more reasonable height for photographing portraits, but I also use it as a humorous prop — when I’m putting the step stool on a bench in a park to get a birds-eye view, I get excellent laughs with self-deprecating jokes about how much of a klutz I am and that I’ve only fallen off once! (True story — I was photographing a wedding, and we were in an orchard and the ground was incredibly uneven — I was a bit embarrassed, but no other harm done :)).
What does your dream photo shoot look like?
My absolute favorite sessions are newborn sessions, so that would be my dream photo shoot. I love photographing newborns indoors and outdoors, and I find the newborn stage feels like the most fleeting to me, so it feels so important to capture it and capture it well.
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