Fantasy Photoshoot | Haunted Overload at DeMerritt Hill Farm in Lee, NH

It’s no secret that I love to “play photography”, pushing the envelope, trying new lighting, lenses, posing, and editing techniques is just the type of good clean fun I like to have in our off-season.  What’s the saying, “Champions are made in the off-season”? ..well that’s how I feel about photography – our creative pursuits makes us better photographers in every possible way.  Even if we never ask you to flip upside-down and walk down the stairs of a creepy haunted house, we would know how to shoot it if you requested such a photo.

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I have some friends who have been trying to get me to go to Haunted Overload for years. However, there is a teeny tiny problem with their plan, 1) I’m afraid of my own shadow. I’m literally a baby when it comes to all things scary. Like I run up the stairs from the basement, not for the cardio (like I tell the kids), but because there’s an invisible zombie behind me.  2) I’m out flat all fall. There is no time in my schedule for fun and games – which is also the prime creep season.

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But my friends are clever and resourceful. This winter they wrote with “an idea” that I couldn’t resist. A photoshoot at Haunted Overload. Sure it was closed and boarded up, but they had permission for us to use the location as well as props and outfits. I was in.

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The only actual problem was that it was 2 degrees outside. I told them I was in once the weather warmed up. Then I checked the weather forecast, and miraculously I saw a 55 degree day in the extended forecast. We all circled that day on our calendars. It was ON.

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Then a thing happened. I was struck with bronchitis. I mean, it hurt to breathe. I’m not exaggerating, breathing felt like I was swallowing knives. Very sharp knives. But I knew my friends had put so much effort into the shoot, even taking the day off of work, and it’s not like 60 degree days come along often in February. So I drank some tea, warned them that I had no voice, and wrapped a scarf around my mouth and nose to buffer the cool air and somewhat contain my germs.

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What happened next was pure magic. Maybe dark magic, if I believed in such things. I got through the 2+ hour shoot without any knives in my throat. I believe the adrenaline of shooting heals all things. I felt nothing but pure bliss while we shot.

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The location was absolutely freaking amazing. I have never seen anything quite so glorious. Creepy? Yes. Even boarded up. Even without the “characters”. Even with snow on the ground. Even in broad daylight.

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But also gloriously cinematic.

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And our models were perfect. I have photographed Marina and Emalee many times before, so I knew they were going to bring the magic. Plus THEY LOVE SCARY CREEPINESS, it’s like their thing.  They didn’t need my non-existent voice telling them to do creepy poses and expressions, they just brought it.

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Then for the rest of the week while I was recovering I had these images to play with in Photoshop.

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Creating different scenes and giving each picture it’s own story and vibe was such fun.

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Thank you Obycs for such a fun day. I love you ladies.

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Erin

 

Fall Fashion Photoshoot | Portsmouth, NH

Somewhere buried under lots of fun photoshoots are pictures I took about a month ago for our fashion friends at Pretty Little Things, with hair and makeup by Redhead Studio.

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Our fashion partner, Michelle, who owns Pretty Little Things is the brain-power behind these shoots.

PLT Sept2017-11I basically just show up with my camera.

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The concept behind this particular shoot was a glamping vibe with a retro feel.

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Michelle is always pushing me to produce images that are beyond the boundaries of my normal portrait work.

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Which I love and hate.

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I love shooting differently; utilizing lenses that don’t come out of my bag much, and new lighting techniques. These shoots are an opportunity to me to grow, practice and learn. Last year I actually learned a whole new off camera flash system doing these shoots (which I now utilize with ease). Which is freaking awesome.

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Then there’s the matter of editing. I love clean edits. However, editing styles are subject to trends (thank you Instagram filters). Several years ago it was a low contrast matte look, then a pastel light & airy edit, now it’s a dark, contrasty film look – all so fun and wonderful…but I want my photography to look timeless. So this is where I bite my lip and work on edits per the shoot’s vision board.

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I take a deep breath and then use photoshop techniques to create an edit that will give the photo the desired look and feel for the shoot …which I jokingly refer to as “ruining my pictures”.

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Although I sort of fuss about it, if I’m honest, it’s a nice creative excursion for me. Creating film-like effects has forced me to use different editing tools and learn more about Photoshop.

Learning is always good and playing photography reminds me that this is more than a job, it’s also a hobby.

 

 

Morgan’s Ultimate Senior Portrait Session | ME Senior Photographer

I’m going to try very hard not to share every.single.image from Morgan’s shoot, which is going to take a great deal of restraint, because I’m in love with them all.

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I photographed Morgan when she was in 8th grade, and her sister a few years ago, and I knew from these past interactions that the fashion was going to be ON POINT.

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I also knew this shoot was going to be epic, because Morgan wanted to be photographed on a sailboat, and honestly I couldn’t think of anything greater than photographing her on one.

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Morgan’s mom is the unsung hero of this shoot because she worked behind the scenes to get the boat(s)/locations squared away.

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When I met them at The Crown I got a peek into the trunk at her outfits, accessories, and shoes. I squealed with delight (on the inside, of course) …I think…actually I may have squealed out loud. It’s all a blur now. Anyway, I LOVED Morgan’s style.

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We headed over to the yacht club and (with permission) boarded some of the boats. And then we took a short boat ride out to a catamaran for some more pictures. PaulM-22b

It was everything.

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Morgan was so fun to photograph, and honestly if the shoot had ended right there it would’ve been A-Mazing…but we had planned a 2nd destination, so we hoped in our cars and headed to Odiorne Point for some additional photos.

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I had only shot one other time at Odiorne, a few years ago, but remembered some really cool graffiti walls that I wanted to find. I thought the graffiti would pair well with Morgan’s edgy urban mini skirt and she was game for an adventure, so we set off into the woods to see if we could locate them.

PaulM-26Unfortunately the area that had the graffiti was filled in with large boulders, but we made the best of it by using what we could of the space, and the filler boulders.

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Per usual, my squirrel-like perceptions lead me to spot a bridge on the way to Odiorne Point that I felt was perfect for photos. I’m sure it wasn’t what they had in mind when they thought of that location, but they trusted, and we walked over to he bridge. Honestly the bridge shots are straight up eye candy for me. Photographers dig lines. The pants. The bridge. All the lines.

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Soon we couldn’t deny that the sun was setting and we had one shot left…a water shot. Morgan slipped into a gorgeous lace dress and we scoured the muddy shoreline for a spot for her to enter the water.

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We stole the last few minutes of daylight getting our water shots.

It was such a fun shoot, I rushed home to upload her images; opening those files was like opening a treasure chest.

Thank you Morgan and Anita for a wonderful, adventurous photoshoot.

 

 

Erin’s Ultimate Senior Portrait Session |St Thomas High School

On the way to meet Erin and her mom at The Crown for her ultimate senior portrait session I stopped by my mom’s house. I can’t remember the exact nature of my visit, but I remember lamenting to my mom about my headache and general blahness that was making me feel more like laying down then embarking on a three hour photoshoot.

I left her house with a hug and found Erin and her mom at the studio. Immediately I was healed. I’m not kidding. In fact, in all the years I’ve been photographing people no matter what has gone on before the shoot, all symptoms seem to leave me the minute the camera starts clicking. It’s a phenomenon.

Erin brought in her glorious wardrobe, including her prom dress that she pulled out from under a mattress in her basement. It was wrinkled and hadn’t been loved in a while, likely since prom night. But she put it on and brought it back to life. She was stunning.

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I’m sure you’ll agree.

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Then we stepped outside the studio for a few sidewalk pictures before heading out on our way.

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Erin’s and her mom giggled so much together, I loved being with them. They have a really sweet relationship, it’s so obvious that they truly enjoy each other’s company.

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Their laughter was infectious and I feel like the three of us spent much of her session giggling. That’s a great way to spend three hours!

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Erin is not only beautiful, but suuuuper photogenic and moves effortlessly in front of the camera. She was a dream to photograph, but also to be around. She’s sweet, funny, and adventurous.

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Sweeney5-24Erin wanted some photos under the pier at Fort Foster, but unfortunately we were there at high tide, and the bottom of the pier was underwater.

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We decided not to let a little ocean water stop us. We waded through the thigh-high water in our jeans to get our shots. Giggling all the way.  (And big props to my assistant Caleb, who rolled up his pants and waded with us.)

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Then the real water shots. Erin changed into an off shoulder black dress and we planned out our water shots. The problem was that the waves were coming in fast and furious and our first attempt was ROUGH. We decided to walk down the rocky path (shoe-less) to see if we could find some calmer water.

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And then magic happened.

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This is one of my very favorite photographs I’ve taken all year. I’m in love with it. ^^

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I left this shoot with my jeans wet up to my butt and sand caked between my toes, but totally energized and excited to rush home and upload the magic housed within my camera. It didn’t dawn on me that I had had a headache until the moment I sat in the car after the shoot.

I love that my job takes me to a place where I forget my aches and pains and completely lose track of time. I think that means I love what I do. I’m so grateful that you guys allow me to do this.

 

“These are AMAZING” – Kristen (Erin’s mom)

Tea Party Fashion Shoot

Once upon a time…

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…in a land not so far away…

PLTJulyLR-31…four pretty strangers…

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…gathered for an afternoon of tea…

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…and confections…

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…and games…

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…and dress up…

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..and maybe a few photos…

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…the end.

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Or was it just a dream.

Fashion: Pretty Little Things

Hair & Makeup: Oomph

Photography: Mercy Street Studio