24 August 2010

"Going Home" -An Essex Photographer's Blog

I'm thinking of a title for this post and this one seemed the most logical. I recently had the pleasure of doing my niece's senior pics in St. Joseph, Michigan. I lived in St. Joseph for 9 years, the rather informative ones. My dad was transfered there from a little town in Ohio called Chesterland. From living memory until the end of 4th grade, Brooklane Road was my childhood. I mostly rode things in that phase of my life. My mom set me in front of her in the saddle of our mare, Chica, before I could even walk. The next thing you know, I have a Big Wheel (oh geez, some of you are guessing my age, aren't you? Do they still make those things?) After that it was a banana bike, then a 10 speed bike. And yes, I had my own pony. But after 4th grade, we packed up the inside of our world and moved to St. Joseph, Michigan. Snowball the pony and Chica did not go. Luckily, my dog, Spanky was invited!!!

But we couldn't take Brooklane Road with us. We couldn't take the expansive woods, the creek I used to play in, the vines I used to swing on or the tree houses we used to tell secrets in. We couldn't take my best friend, Renee and we couldn't take the long driveway where we used to play Mother-May-I and Red Light, Green Light. We couldn't take the acres of neighbors yards where we played Hide and Seek. We couldn't pack my childhood....

It was a hard move for me, but eventually I settled in to St. Joseph. I made some excellent friends, one of whom I still keep in touch with. She's still my best friend. Her name is Jennifer, but please don't call her Jenny! From 8th grade on, we shared our secrets, our fears, and of course, our boyfriends (although I'm not sure "share" is really the word!) And even though I went o a different High School 3 out of 4 years, she was always there to hang out with during school breaks. She's the only one who never dropped a beat. So naturally, when I got to Michigan earlier this month, I gave Jenn a call. She doesn't live in St. Joe anymore, but I was able to hook up with her around Grand Rapids when I was on my way to Cadillac. (Probably gotta know a little about Michigan to figure this map out...) As always, she didn't drop a beat.

Before I met up with Jenn, as you can see, I spent some quality time in St. Joe at, of course, the beach! When I was a teenager, Silver Beach was THE place to hang in the summer. I am happy to report that it still is! But WOW, it's changed a bit. The older houses look more posh now and the newer houses are practically ostentatious.  I used to park my little '74 VW Super Beetle right on the beach. Those days are gone and they now charge $6.00 to park for the day! The pier to the lighthouse looks much longer, (although I'm sure it's NOT!) they've built an indoor carousal and a fountain to play in. But despite all the changes, I still felt the familiarity of the sand, the gentle lapping of the lake, the cool, fresh water and the warm Summer-In-Michigan sun.

Megan, my niece, picked some fabulous locations to do her senior pics. The first place we went to flooded me with long filed memories of Jenn and I just hanging out. In those days the little stretch of beach at the south end was like a secret, quiet paradise. In many ways, it still is. The huge boulders, rusted metal and water logged pylons made for a simple and textured background.

Later, Megan and I went down to the pier, with the muchly photographed lighthouse at it's end. Megan is a great dancer and we had done some shots at the dance studio, but I really wasn't feeling the love there. I wasn't too sure if a teenager would feel comfortable in a tutu on the pier, but Megan didn't blink an eye when I suggested it! She even put on her point shoes and gave me some seriously elegant ballet poses. As I do, I wanted to make the most of her shoot and ended 3 times with, "Just one more location, just one more." It was a day well spent, and I'm still editing the images over a week later!

So why am I settling on "Going Home" as the title of this post? I haven't called St. Joseph home in a very long time. I've lived in over a dozen places since then and if you ask me where I'm from, I'll tell you Colorado- a long way from Michigan! In the end, I decided that "home" IS really where your heart is. And your heart lies in your memories. I have some awesome memories in the cobwebs of my brain- about St. Joe, Silver Beach and Jennifer to name a few. And Megan may not live in St. Joe all her life, but I hope that her Senior Pictures will keep some of the cobwebs in her memories away in her later years. Although it's hard to imagine young, vibrant, fun Megan as she'll be at 30 or 40 years old, I'm glad I got to play a part in her future's past.

I'd love to record special memories for you too. Contact Faith Stone Photography if you'd like more information on our Senior Packages, Portrait Packages, Wedding Packages or any other project. And if you live in St. Joseph, Michigan, I can be there next summer to do some pics for you too! (I gotta free place to stay:)

Now Live, Love, Laugh. I'll take care of the memories.

20 August 2010

Essex Wedding and Portrait Photographer offers new Album Line, Hurray!

I just got my new sample albums that will make their debut, well, right here on the bloggity blog! But the real debut will come 19 September at the Rivenhall Hotel Wedding Fair in Witham, Essex. You'll want to drop by and see these wonderful new albums in person, 'cuz they are LOVELY! One of them will stay with me to show clients and one will live at Newland Hall, Roxwell, where this particular wedding took place. It's the wedding I blogged about earlier for Rachel and Neil. I don't even have a price sheet going on these puppies, but I'm working on that next. These are stand out albums from the others I offer, but of the same caliber quality and WOW factor. ASA Books are only available for production by professional photographers, as are all my albums. I know of no other photographers in the area offering these, so you know yours will be unique! They are made in Washington state, USA by a company that was founded by photographers, for photographers.

I got loads of pictures here and here's a little info. on them:
First album- Covered in a Pearly Weave fabric with a vertical, centered, light wood cameo inset. It is 12" x 12" size with matted prints.

Second album- Covered in Brushed Metallic fabric with a horizontal, centered, metal cameo inset. It is also 12" x 12" size with metallic prints.

Want to know more about ASA book? Visit their website at http://asabooks.com/Catalog/view_7

Essex Photographer in North Carolina, Senior Portrait

Jaseanda is my neice. She's the daughter of my half sister, Jackie, but lives with her grandmother in Florida.  Does it all sound complicated yet? Well, I won't make it too Jerry Springer, but she and her grandmother were visiting North Carolina, as were my husband and I. We went to N.C. after having visited my husband's family in Michigan. While I was Michigan, I photographed my niece, Megan. I mentioned this to Jaseanda and was happy to offer to do her Senior Portraits too.

Jazzy, her nickname, copes with a birth defect that causes her to have a slight limp and her right hand has limited use. She's a perky teenage girl though, full of chatter and silly things to say. Although she is a slow learner, she is about to get her Graduation Certificate next year and everyone is pleased as punch! Jazzy may not be awarded all the opportunities in life that many of us take for granted, but I think she will do the best she can. I feel honored to be able to help her grandmother out with the financial stress that often comes with being a Senior. In America, photographers often charge top dollar for this most popular coming of age photographic opportunity. Rightfully so, and I imagine I will charge much the same when I get back to the States some day and start doing more Senior Pictures. But right now, I'm building my portfolio for that time and getting to know how different it is to work with teenagers than it is to work with adults and babies. I also seem to have a knack, says my husband, with kids with learning difficulties. I foresee myself offering discounted rates to families with disadvantaged children who don't necessarily have the big bucks some have when it comes to hiring a professional to document their teen's most memorable years of their lives.

If you would like a wonderful compilation of your teenagers precious youthful days, give me a call for a quote. At the moment, I am using my regular Portrait Photography price list, which is very reasonable. I am located in Essex where I have both a small indoor and a huge outdoor playground to do pictures! I remember those days of my life, do you remember yours? Make sure your teen has some great photographic memories of the best years of their lives!! I offer framed pieces, acrylics and lovely albums of all sizes. Book soon and we can even put together Christmas cards and 2011 calendars in time!

Here's a few of my favorite of Jazzy, a serious, shy and VERY easy to work with model:

More Senior Portraits coming showcasing my niece, Megan!! In the meantime, Live, Love, Laugh. I'll take care of the memories....