The Cooper Family | Lifestyle Family Session | New Jersey Family Photographer

The Coopers might be new to Jersey, having recently moved here from Oklahoma, but they’re very familiar with family sessions. I don’t think I’ve ever had children so eager & excited to be photographed before! They all truly love lifestyle sessions & all of the playing & cuddling that comes along with them. And I know photographers can sometimes have trouble getting Dads to play along. Thankfully, I’ve always had really good luck & this Dad was no exception. He seriously adores loving on his kiddos, it was absolutely heart warming. He also has always wanted a session with fall foliage & thankfully this spot delivered!

Picking clothes for this weather was a bit different than Mom was used to. But her session included personalized styling so after we had our initial chat on the phone, I put together a style board with 2 outfit options for each family member. She was a dream with shopping & prepping each outfit, but the weather was not so cooperative. This fall was a nightmare from a photographer’s standpoint. It would be hot one day, then freezing, then pouring rain, then sunny. Needless to say, Mom & I went back & forth a lot with different ideas. The trick to tackling confused weather is lots of layers. So everybody had 2 or 3 additions ready for their outfits so we could decide on the day of. Thank goodness we got a beautiful day & it was even dry enough for them to cuddle up together on the blanket (which totally wound up being some of my favorite family photos ever)! xo

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The Springsteadah Family Session | Magic Hour Foundation | New Jersey Lifestyle Family Photographer

So clearly I’m behind on blogging, because it’s 32° outside & these photos are from a warm day spent frolicking around a wildflower preserve back in September. Here’s the deal though… September through November is insanely busy for photographers. All of our time is spent scheduling, planning, shooting & then editing our sessions. This week I’m catching up on all my archiving, updating & sharing. Of course I absolutely have to blog this session because the story behind this family’s images is incredible & the Mom is just a warrior.

Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer back in May, after she found a lump amidst breastfeeding her one-year-old son. She went back & forth with multiple doctors who kept telling her that the lump was “nothing”. But following her intuition, she kept pushing & eventually had a biopsy. The day that the doctor told her it was breast cancer, the immediate course of action was a double mastectomy. Her & her fiancé jumped in whole-heartedly, doing whatever it took to get her better. Concurrently with the surgery, she got tested to find the source of her cancer. That was when Michelle found out that she has a rare gene disorder called Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS), which causes multiple cancers in the body. So after her surgeries & treatment have concluded, she will still have to get full body scans for the rest of her life to see if the cancer returns elsewhere.

As if that wasn’t a heavy enough burden to bare, Michelle then found out that her 7-year-old son has LFS too. Like her, he will also have to get tests every year, for the rest of his life, to make sure he doesn’t develop cancer. Thank God his first round was clean & he’s doing great. By great I mean he’s one of the sweetest, cutest little boys I’ve ever met. Michelle is also doing well, having finished chemo & her second reconstruction surgery recently. She continues to raise awareness about cancer, sharing her story & radiating light wherever she goes. Her unwavering faith & light-hearted spirit were not even touched by her tragedy. Michelle- you are truly a beacon of hope & strength. xo

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Live Couples Shoot | Brooklyn Workshop with Twyla Jones

I’ve been wanting to capture more couples for a long time now, so I jumped at the chance to attend a local workshop where Twyla Jones would host a live, shoot along session. I made my way into the city with my buddy Allie & we spent the afternoon in Brooklyn learning from Twyla’s genius & photographing the loveliest couple. Now I’m obsessed!

When I do family sessions, I always make sure to get a set of Mom & Dad alone, sans kiddos. But I think because my husband & I are a family of two, solely capturing a couple in love hits me in all the feels. In between taking these shots, I reminisced about how we found our home in each others arms so many years ago. Once you spend enough time cuddling with your person, your bodies effortlessly find their way together, as if they were made to be intertwined. Getting the chance to capture that of another husband & wife family made my heart so ridiculously happy. I am excited to work with more couples this winter & highlight their sweet love (hint hint it is hands down the perfect time of year to book your cozy, at-home session together!) xo

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Bridget Laudien NJ Couples Photographer
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Bridget Laudien NJ Couples Photographer
Bridget Laudien NJ Couples Photographer
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Bridget Laudien NJ Couples Photographer
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Bridget Laudien NJ Couples Photographer
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Bridget Laudien NJ Couples Photographer
Bridget Laudien NJ Couples Photographer

The Corbett Family | Lifestyle Family Session | New Jersey Family Photographer

It’s always a blast capturing families at places they go to frequently. And the Corbett Family spends A LOT of time at the Watchung Reservation. These two little boys, Oliver and Fletcher (I know- cutest names ever, right?) are obsessed with being outside and finding sticks, rocks, and interesting plants. So Mom, Dad and I took them for a hike on this overcast Saturday. This year has been one of the rainiest yet in New Jersey so gloomy is a-ok with me, so long as it’s not pouring. In general, I really try to stress with my clients that our sessions are not about perfection. Older kids will get muddy. Younger kids usually cry at least once. Wardrobe malfunctions are an inevitability when you’re traipsing through the woods. The sun isn’t destined to shine gloriously every day. This is not SoCal, folks. This is New Jersey, where we’re more about what’s real than what’s perfect. Our weather is moody, and let’s be honest, so are most of us. But dammit, we enjoy our 4 seasons, as crazy as they/we may be. Seriously though, could these fall colors be any more perfect? The Corbett’s absolutely rocked this whole session. They embraced the mud stains, kept each other laughing the whole time, and found some really funky blueberries… I had such a blast with you guys xo

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At Home Lifestyle Newborn Session | New Jersey Newborn Photographer

I first photographed Marta and Dave for their adorable maternity session last fall and again this year for Marta's beautiful in-home maternity session. Truth be told I absolutely love my repeat families. Yes it's flattering when people think I'm worth rehiring, but really I love it because the more time we all spend together, the more comfortable we are. So I was super excited when Marta and Dave reached out to me after their baby girl arrived back in April. Photographing any family in their home is always special, but being there for the beginning of this little family of 3 was particularly delightful. I spent a couple hours simply capturing their normal morning routine with Emi- cuddles, diaper changes, feedings, cries, pacifiers, smiles. Welcoming your first born is such a life changing experience that you can never do over or get back. Those first months hold so many precious moments, but the time passes by quickly. Capturing those memories is the only way to cherish them forever, which makes it so ridiculously worth it...

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Lifestyle Motherhood Session | New Jersey Family Photographer

Back in March, the Magic Hour Foundation sent me an e-mail saying they had found a cancer patient in my area who wanted to do a photo session with her daughter. After a terribly rough pregnancy, Kim had been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in April 2015, just 7 weeks after her daughter was born, at only 29 years old. She had no family history, no genetic markers; she was a perfectly healthy and fit young woman. What followed her diagnosis was grueling: an immediate colon resection and 12 rounds of chemotherapy. One week after Ellie's first birthday, she had her port removed as her latest scans had shown no more evidence of disease. But three months later, the scans then showed that the cancer had metastasized to her liver and lung which caused her to have to undergo a lung procedure and liver surgery. Earlier this year, she underwent another surgery to resection portions of her liver and diaphragm. Every 3 months Kim gets scans to see if and how the disease is progressing and to determine the best course of treatment. Naturally, this is an incredibly anxiety producing and painful process. In Kim's words, "My little one has given me more strength than I knew possible to continue to fight this beast." 

Kim has now been living with stage 4 colon cancer for over 3 years, which left me in complete awe. What an impossibly difficult hand to be dealt, but what strength! Immediately, I responded yes to volunteering for her session. Once we spoke I realized that not only was she incredibly brave, but so joyous and kind as well. Her candor was that of a person who treats time and life with the reverence it deserves. Indeed, her session was one of the most magical I've ever had. Little Ellie's favorite color was pink so we hunted down every shade of pink flower that we saw, touching and smelling each one along the way. Their love was so touching. The best part was photographing Kim showing her daughter how to blow on dandelion flowers for the very first time. When you blow on each flower, you're supposed to make a wish and I'm sure countless wishes were being made as Ellie pulled up every dandelion she could find. Behind my camera I was secretly wishing too, that Kim gets to have many more years on this Earth, so that she may continue to grace us with her strength and light and continue to shower her daughter with love. Kim, you have the warm, delicate love of a mother and the determination of a fierce warrior wrapped up into the beautiful, courageous, lovely woman that is yourself. You are an inspiration to all.

A special thanks to Rutger's Gardens for letting us having our session here. Thanks to your generosity, we had so many private, beautiful spots where we were able to make magical memories that will last forever.

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The Wilson Family | Lifestyle Family Session | New Jersey Family Photographer

It can be super nerve wracking photographing a fellow photographer, but this session was just way too much fun for that. Allie (of the awesome Allie Wilson Photography) and her lovely family met me at Corson's Inlet around sunset on what was supposed to be a pretty warm & mild April night...except it wasn't. It wound up being a bit windy & super chilly. But their love & laughter were seriously all they needed to stay warm. When families are this sweet together, it totally recharges my heart. Love you guys xo

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Kimberlee | Female Embodiment Session | New Jersey Portrait Photographer

Meet Kimberlee. She's a total badass in the most beautiful, classiest way possible. Three years ago she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, but her induction into motherhood wasn't quite the journey she'd expected. She suffered immensely from postpartum depression for quite a long time. When she approached me this winter about doing an embodiment session together, she said she wanted it to capture this "warrior woman" she's found within herself. She knows that while she may never fully shake the depression, she has tapped into this well of immeasurable strength that has gotten her through it all. These days she's able to navigate raising her daughter much easier & more enjoyably. What's most amazing is that she's now taken her own strength & is using it to inspire & support other woman who struggle with PPD. Through her lifestyle blog & work as a mental health advocate, she's creating awareness about & de-stigmatizing PPD. I am so ridiculously proud of her & the magic we created together.

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Croft Farms Lifestyle Family Session | New Jersey Family Photographer

As often happens with end of Winter shoots, this session had to be rescheduled because of snow. Luckily the Mom, Kathleen, is another local photographer so she was super understanding. But the second time around I was determined not to reschedule, despite the grey skies. Once we got to Croft Farms we spent some time walking around together, stopping at a few different locations along the way for photos. The more we walked & played, the more comfortable the children got & the more I got to see their wonderful personalities come out. They all kept talking about what they were going to eat for the special dinner they had planned for after the session. The littlest girl even showed me a photo of the lil' bunny they got last Fall. I was honestly in awe of the love, respect & kindness between everybody in this family; it was simply heartwarming. Towards the end of the shoot I took everybody out to a big open field with my fingers crossed that we'd get at least a little sun out there. I had them lay down a blanket together & right as they were all cuddling up, the clouds parted & the sunset shined through. As if the moment wasn't magical enough already, Dad then quietly said to everybody, "When's the last time we all cuddled like this? It feels so good". Nobody needed to say anything, they just all squeezed each other a little tighter. My eyes welled up with the happiest of tears & I then took what is now my favorite family portrait to date (the last image of this post). I was so honored to have spent this time with the Roseboro family & to have captured all their love... you guys are simply wonderful! ox

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Danielle | Female Embodiment Session | New Jersey Portrait Photographer

I first met Danielle in 2011 when I photographed her for a feature in Yoga International magazine. She was working as a teacher in Newark at the time & was being acknowledged for including yoga & meditation in her curriculum. Last year when we reconnected I learned that she had suffered immense loss since we last spoke. Her brother, a nurse, veteran & one of her closest friends, had died of a heroin overdose. Not long after that she had to undergo a hysterectomy. This was all while she was raising her 3 sons & also in school for her doctorate. It had been one of the roughest times of her life, but by the time we spoke she felt strong, like she had finally regained her stability. The beach is where she feels most healed, so we ventured out into the chilly winter winds to embody that magnificent intersection in her life of loss, strength, peace & beauty. In Danielle's own words... "We can easily lose ourselves in our lives, good or bad. And when we finally come out of the tailspin and find our footing despite it all and are ok... that’s what we need to celebrate."

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Zachary | New Jersey Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

A lot of new Moms ask me how late is "too late" to do a newborn session with their baby. Of course my answer is always, "never!". That's the beautiful thing about doing lifestyle sessions, I get to capture whatever stage your family is at. Whether your baby just got home from the hospital or is almost 2 months old, like baby Zachary here, there are so many special moments to cherish.

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In-home Boudoir Maternity Session | New Jersey Maternity Photographer

Last November I photographed this momma-to-be and her husband for their holiday cards (Christmas cards that double as a pregnancy announcement? Genius!). Except she was only 15 weeks along so she hadn't quite popped out her cute little belly yet. So this spring, when she approached me again about wanting to do solo maternity photos, I immediately suggested we do them at her home. What better place to document her patient waiting and beautiful curves?

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The Beginning of My Unraveling

In February I finished an incredibly transformative online workshop, appropriately called Becoming Unraveled. It was seriously one of the best things I've ever done for my photography. For one of my assignments I went back to my roots of self-portraiture and I'm so honored that the lovely ladies over at the Unraveled Academy featured it on their blog. You can find the whole project here

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