SHARON + DENIS // GOLDEN HOUR MAGIC

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Making portraits in the last minutes of sunlight is one of the most beautiful things you can experience as a photographer. No matter how many sunsets or sunrises I experience with clients, I don’t think they’ll ever lose their beauty for me. Margaret Bourke-White says it best:

“…a kind of golden hour one remembers for a life time… everything was touched with magic.”

Can’t wait for Sharon and Denis’s wedding this spring–I have no doubt it will be another for the memory books!

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THE BEST OF 2015 // WEDDINGS

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2015 was a year for the memory books, and looking back it seems absolutely amazing that it all fit into just 365 days!  I’m a little behind in my blogging (seeing as how I’m getting to my New Year post in February!) but it’s simply because the old saying still holds true: time flies when you’re having fun ;)

I can hardly believe that we’re already nearing the end of winter–though the snow and cold seem bound and determined to stay–and the start of a brand new wedding season is just around the corner! There are so many things to look forward to this year, but first things first: a nod to all of the beauty that’s gone before.

2015 saw:

  • A trip to India that allowed me to work with Calcutta Rescue. The experience literally changed my life and led me to…
  • Enrolling in grad school! (I absolutely owe the web-isphere a blog post about the crazy ride that was last fall, but in short, I’m currently enrolled in the Multimedia, Photography & Design master’s program at Newhouse–my alma mater!–to expand my storytelling skill set and continue working with non profits in my free time. More to come soon ;)
  • Jesse and I got engaged (!!!!!!!) and have even started wedding planning. I have so. much. respect. for my clients past and present. These spreadsheets are no joke!!! How do you ever get anything else done when you’re planning a wedding!?
  • Road trips. Galore. Jesse and I explored the west and even made time for road trips to North Carolina and the St. Lawrence this summer. Though fall brought lots of business and crazy weekend schedules, we’re bound and determined to sneak in a little more travel time soon :)
  • On the statistical side of things, I photographed my 95th wedding this year. WOOT! 2016 will be the year of #100!

There are so many happy memories that I’ll treasure from these past twelve months, but most special to me are the moments I was able to share with the 22 gorgeous couples below. I’m so thrilled that 2015 was another year I was lucky enough to be welcomed in to new families’ lives to share their love and happiness. Whether in sun, snow or rain, the moments we were able to capture together are some of my favorites yet.

Many, many thanks to you all from the bottom of my heart. I hope each year you spend together is more beautiful than the last :) xx

001-2015-CAL-WED-6424002-2015-SWE-WED-3398003-2015-YOU-WED-9463004-2015-PET-WED-7950005-2015-HET-WED-1-7227006-2015-DSC_2390007-2015-SPE-WED-9776009-2015-PET-WED-7854010-2015-PIE-WED-0460011-2015-HUC-WED-2511Mallory + Brent // A Turning Stone Casino Wedding // All images ©Martha Swann Photography 2015 www.marthaswann.com
013-2015-YOU-WED-9690014-2015-HUC-WED-2173Martha Swann Photography // www.marthaswann.com

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022-2015-DSC_2453023-2015-SPE-WED-1264024-2015-HUC-WED-1684025-2015-CAL-WED-1316026-2015-DSC_2465Martha Swann Photography // www.marthaswann.com
028-2015-SPE-WED-0368029-2015-GRA-WED-9308Martha Swann Photography // www.marthaswann.com
031-2015-GRA-WED-2121032-2015-PET-WED-7413033-2015-HUC-WED-9758034-2015-PET-WED-7952035-2015-GRA-WED-8929036-2015-YOU-WED-9686037-2015-PAT-WED-5113038-2015-KYL-WED-3448039-2015-KYL-WED-0363040-2015-HET-WED-1-7317041-2015-KYL-WED-0652042-2015-YOU-WED-8332043-2015-HUC-WED-1337044-2015-DSC_3224Mallory + Brent // A Turning Stone Casino Wedding // All images ©Martha Swann Photography 2015 www.marthaswann.com
046-2015-KOH-WED-9277Mallory + Brent // A Turning Stone Casino Wedding // All images ©Martha Swann Photography 2015 www.marthaswann.com
048-2015-PIE-WED-1350Martha Swann Photography // www.marthaswann.com
050-2015-HUC-WED-1865051-2015-SWE-WED-4557052-2015-BAI-WED-3383053-2015-DYA-WED-2152054-2015-GRA-WED-1932055-2015-SPE-WED-1247056-2015-PIE-WED-1661057-2015-DYA-WED-2393058-2015-HAL-WED-6066059-2015-HAR-WED-8138060-2015-PAT-WED-5788061-2015-PET-WED-8142062-2015-DYA-WED-2735063-2015-HAL-WED-5800064-2015-KYL-WED-3103065-2015-HUC-WED-2787Martha Swann Photography // www.marthaswann.com
067-2015-HAL-WED-6054068-2015-KIN-WED-5500069-2015-HAL-WED-6074070-2015-HUC-WED-2759071-2015-KOH-WED-9265072-2015-KYL-WED-0754073-2015-SWE-WED-4288074-2015-KYL-WED-0832075-2015-PAT-WED-5086076-2015-PIE-WED-1000077-2015-PIE-WED-1658078-2015-GRA-WED-9263Martha Swann Photography // www.marthaswann.com
080-2015-GRA-WED-9400081-2015-DYA-WED-2442082-2015-HAR-WED-3791083-2015-GRA-WED-9438084-2015-SPE-WED-0598085-2015-HAL-WED-2-6399086-2015-PET-WED-9471087-2015-PIE-WED-1372088-2015-BAI-WED-3269089-2015-DSC_3313090-2015-KIN-WED-5185091-2015-BAI-WED-3363092-2015-KOH-WED-8925093-2015-HAL-WED-6115094-2015-SWE-WED-3685095-2015-DYA-WED-2805Mallory + Brent // A Turning Stone Casino Wedding // All images ©Martha Swann Photography 2015 www.marthaswann.com
097-2015-HAR-WED-7079098-2015-SPE-WED-0527099-2015-CAR-WED-3988100-2015-HAL-WED-2-6236101-2015-HUC-WED-2722102-2015-GRA-WED-9623
104-2015-SPE-WED-0894105-2015-GRA-WED-9317106-2015-SPE-WED-1425107-2015-CAR-WED-5405108-2015-HAR-WED-8276109-2015-HET-WED-1-7121110-2015-HET-WED-1-8358111-2015-SWE-WED-3347112-2015-SWE-WED-3524113-2015-YOU-WED-0715114-2015-HAR-WED-8628115-2015-CAL-WED-7608Mallory + Brent // A Turning Stone Casino Wedding // All images ©Martha Swann Photography 2015 www.marthaswann.com
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Mallory + Brent // A Turning Stone Casino Wedding // All images ©Martha Swann Photography 2015 www.marthaswann.com
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126-2015-HAL-WED-6344127-2015-CAR-WED-3909Martha Swann Photography // www.marthaswann.com
129-2015-CAR-WED-3579130-2015-SWE-WED-4518131-2015-CAR-WED-3578132-2015-CAR-WED-4379133-2015-HET-WED-1-8625134-2015-SWE-WED-3407135-2015-SWE-WED-4674136-2015-HET-WED-1-8468137-2015-SPE-WED-1536138-2015-MIL-WED-9274139-2015-HAR-WED-8552140-2015-MIL-WED-6803Martha Swann Photography // www.marthaswann.com

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148-2015-KYL-WED-4252149-2015-YOU-WED-1318150-2015-YOU-WED-1476Martha Swann Photography // www.marthaswann.com
152-2015-HAL-WED-7125153-2015-SPE-WED-1861154-2015-HAR-WED-3971155-2015-HUC-WED-2846156-2015-BAI-WED-4155Martha Swann Photography // www.marthaswann.com
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DANIELLE + JUAN // WINTER LOVE IN SYRACUSE

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Happy 2016 loves! It’s such a treat to have the opportunity to share this sweet snowy engagement session with you all. It’s not often that I have the opportunity to play in the snow with clients, but I feel like it’s sessions like these that prove all you need are two people in love, some fabulous outerwear and EXTRA warm boots to make a little magic in our winter wonderland :)

Here are some of my favorites from my time with Danielle and Juan–they’ll be saying their I do’s just before Jesse and I this October (yay for wedding buddies!) so I’m absolutely keeping my fingers crossed for warmer temps the next time we make pictures together ;) Just 8 more months!! xx

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Where the Heart Is

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One of my goals this past year was to photograph more of life at home. While it was hard in between assignments, weddings, traveling, writing papers and just feeling like the day to day had become busier than normal with a full fall semester, this was one of the most personally rewarding projects I’ve worked on in a while. Looking back I wish I had done this sooner with the other places I’ve lived so that in the years to come I’ll remember what it looked like when my childhood dog raced across the yard at my parents house, or how the light danced across the ceiling in my one (and only) bachelorette pad four years ago. Even my college dorm room is getting foggy while I have virtually no memory what “the white house” I lived in before kindergarten looked like at all, save from snapshots from family albums.

Moving forward my hope is that these frames will remind me to be present, enjoy the moment, and every now and then, pick up the camera so that years from now these beautiful memories can be enjoyed again.

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Foster Love: The Chapman Family

Happy Tuesday all!

With winter going strong and wedding season still five months away (!) I wanted to take some time this spring to share a new project with you that I’m working on. Family life has always been something very close to my heart and more and more lately I’ve found myself drawn to the stories and lives of families after the wedding day–they honeymoon and beyond if you will. As more and more of my couples are starting beautiful families of their very own, I’ve been drawn time and time again to what’s happening in their lives and the different successes and bumps along the road that they find themselves experiencing.

And so this spring, I wanted to spend some time photographing the different ways that families come to be, through spending time with families formed through foster care and adoption. I’m titling the project “Foster Love” both with the intention to document foster families and to encourage the destigmatization of foster care and adoption through fostering love for all families regardless of genetic ties. I put out the call on Facebook and Instagram and was quickly connected through one of my very first brides to the wonderful Chapman family who in one day adopted six beautiful children, and went from a blended family of nine to an adoptive family of fifteen.

Below are some images from our time together.

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GALINA + ANDY // A LITTLE PRAYER FOR YOU

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Seeing Andy and Galina together on their wedding day was beyond beautiful. From a gorgeous ceremony at their family’s church, to hours of singing, music and homemade Ukranian food, the cloudy November evening was perfect in every way.

Many many thanks to the new Mr. & Mrs. Dyakiv–I can’t wait to see what your new life together brings, and I wish you both so much joy and happiness on the journey  <3
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KAT + NATE // A DC ENGAGEMENT

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DC is a beautiful place to be in love–and it seems that no one would know that better than Kat and Nate :) I’m so thrilled I got to spend some time with these two sweethearts this past week and I can’t wait for their wedding this coming summer!

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LAUREN + ZACH // A SARATOGA WEDDING DAY

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So thrilled I was able to spend this Saturday in Saratoga with Lauren, Zach, and their sweet family and friends–oh and did I mention their beautiful equine escort!?

Many more lovely photos to come soon from this gorgeous day, but until then, here are a few favorites for the new Mr. & Mrs. Jandl! xx

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HANNAH + MICHAEL // MY ONE TRUE NORTH

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This weekend I was lucky enough to witness the beautiful wedding of two of my favorite people: Hannah and Michael. The newly minted Mr. & Mrs. Petrera have a very special place in my heart because Hannah is the sister of Leah King, the first gorgeous gal in white a white dress I ever photographed. While Leah and Patrick’s wedding was five years (and ninety-three weddings) ago, having the sweet Heath family (and their fantastic dance moves ;) in front of my lens once more was a true blessing. I feel so lucky that my job allows me to reconnect with such wonderful people time and time again, and having the unique opportunity to share not just one but two wedding days with the same family was a particularly special experience for me.

And so, because I couldn’t pick just one, here are a few of my absolute favorite photos from Hannah and Michael’s wedding day. Many more to come soon… xx

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Kim’s Story

It was the first week of December that I found out I was pregnant. I was really excited, but the plan was to wait until Christmas to tell our parents–I really wanted to be able to share the news with them in person… We were going to do it on Christmas eve and give them a little stocking that said “baby’s first Christmas”. We even had found a cute framed poem that said ‘the best gifts don’t come under a tree, in August we’ll welcome baby number three’. It was so perfect.

A week before Christmas we were hosting a party and I just didn’t feel good. I was exhausted and tired, and at the end of the night I went to lay down and I noticed I was bleeding. I called Jacob into the bedroom and he comforted me and told me everything would be ok.

The next morning we called the doctor, and that… was interesting. This is the practice that had delivered one of my other little boys and they’re usually awesome. But this time I called the nurses line and left a message telling them what was going on, but nobody called me back.

So a few hours later I called again. I was able to reach someone that time and I explained what was happening and that I was bleeding and they said it sounded fairly normal. The next day I was still bleeding so I called again and left another message. But no one returned that call either.

I called again the next day, and the whole time I’m trying to convince myself that everything’s ok, but in my head all I could think was something is wrong.

It just blew my mind that no one called me back. Finally a nurse answered and when I explained my symptoms her answer was ‘oh yeah, it definitely sounds like you’re having a miscarriage.’

I couldn’t believe she was telling me this over the phone.

♦♦♦

I went in for a blood test that day, and then we had to wait. We hadn’t told anyone yet so I was just home with my boys and I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I had known that miscarriages can happen, but I just never thought it would happen to me.

A few days later we received the results of the blood test that confirmed the miscarriage. It was awful, but I feel like I had been more prepared for the news than Jacob was, and after I left the doctor’s office, I went to story time with our little boys just like we do every Monday.

When I got home though, Jacob was there. He had left work early after I had let him know how the appointment had gone, and he had bought flowers and a bracelet for me. That was the moment it hit me. When he hugged me. After that, I feel like that whole day I just cried. I remember just being in the kitchen and bawling. It wasn’t fair. It sucked. That was my baby and it got taken away. It was supposed to be part of our family but it was stolen.

I still had to go in to the doctor’s office every week to make sure that my levels had gone back to normal. It was awful to have to have blood work done every week and be reminded ‘oh hey, you had a miscarriage.’

We eventually told our family what had happened, and some of our friends too. We weren’t advertising it but we weren’t hiding it either… we wanted the people we were close with to know.

♦♦♦

It was a total surprise, but a few weeks later I found out I was pregnant again.

♦♦♦

At that time, Jacob wanted to get a tattoo with roses for each of our family members and a rosebud off of my rose for the baby we had lost. He decided to get a rose for our new baby too–we had seen the heart beat and we were 8 weeks along, and we though ‘ok, everything is going to be ok.’ I knew that the tattoo would be a giveaway for the people we hadn’t told we were pregnant though, and so we decided to share the news when I was just about 9 weeks along. We had the boys hold up a sonogram picture letting everyone on social media know we were expecting again.

That was on Saturday. And Sunday I was bleeding.

My instinct was ‘oh my gosh this can’t be happening again. We just went through this’ but my instant fear was that I was having another miscarriage.

The next morning I called the doctor and they had me come in immediately for an ultrasound. It was only 8 a.m. so I had to bring my little boys with me. I didn’t have anyone to watch them.

The doctor looked at the ultrasound and told me, ‘there’s no heartbeat’.

They estimated that the baby had died the week before, and I just didn’t know. It was such a shock because all I could think was ‘this doesn’t happen. This doesn’t happen two times in a row. The odds of having another miscarriage are so low. And to go from having no miscarriages to having two in two months…’

I was able to hold myself together because I didn’t want my boys to see me burst out crying in the middle of the doctor’s office. So after we left we were supposed to stop and pick up a few groceries but as soon as I pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store I just lost it. I called Jacob to tell him… we were blindsided. I had thought we were safe… there’s no way this could happen twice in a row. We just saw this baby a week ago, it had a heartbeat, and it was ok And now it’s not.

This was a week before my 30th birthday.

♦♦♦

When I went in for my D&C, I had to do a lot of paperwork so that they could do the procedure, but they also gave me a form for the funeral director. I was so confused but they told me that they took all of the babies and bury them in the cemetery.

I had never thought past the procedure… what happened next, what do they do, where did the baby go… it made me feel so validated and so honored. That they were honoring our baby’s life and not just looking at it like a procedure.

I didn’t realize how much I needed that, but it was so healing. It really gave me closure.

God has given me such an amazing family… and those babies are a part of that family, they’re just not here. The word hope has been so important to me… it’s the one thing that comes back over and over. I really do believe that I’ll get to meet them some day and it’s given us a lot of peace and something to hold onto.

♦♦♦

This narrative has been compiled from conversational excerpts and edited for length and clarity with Kim’s permission. She and her husband Jacob welcomed baby number 3 less than a year after sharing their story. “I was completely terrified after experiences two loses only 6 months prior and my heart didn’t feel ready to go through it again. But, fast forward a year later and we have a healthy, whole, beautiful 6 month old (born on March 19th 2017) baby boy!” 

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