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Babies… So sweet and beautiful whether they are sleeping soundly or if their mouth is all a quiver. Every expression is rooted in their efforts to communicate. For now it’s a language we as parents spend the rest of our lives trying to decipher! All I know is that aside from a nice day at the beach, nothing makes me smile more than seeing little newborn faces and feeling the adoration from a new parent. To check out more images visit Valentines Blog at the Be{loved} site.


So many emotions have already made their way to the surface throughout the morning yet these last few seconds prior to the guests rising from their seats always holds some of the most compounded feelings that I witness on a wedding day.  I frequently pop in to see the groom before I choose my spot as I wait for those doors to open.  To think, only a few short minutes prior to this we were saying to Candice that we would see her soon but the next time we chat she would officially be a Mrs :)

I read an article recently about smiles and kindness that really made me think about human behavior.  I often wonder as I encounter at times rude, angry or miserable people in my travels, when were these people reprogrammed to be this way.  How and when did they develop these negative behavioral traits?  Do they know how they are coming across to others?  Do they know how detrimental their behavior is to not just their mental, emotional and physical well-being?  

I haven’t found those answers yet and quite frankly, every time my path crosses someone overtly negative in spirit I feel compelled to find out why.  After all, according to the article on smiles and happiness, we are each born into this world already possessing the capacity to feel happiness and to love and to smile.  No one had to teach a blind person to smile as they related it to happiness and amazingly enough,  a newborn without being educated on the subject of smiles will execute this basic yet powerful act without prompting and in doing so elicit such vast amounts of joy from everyone in their presence.

Babies, born knowing only love, joy, how to smile and the like… It is not until they become older that rudeness, misery, hate and negativity become learned traits.  Here is a little sneak of baby V.  Cuddled by her momma, feeling loved and showing us that yes, she was born knowing how to smile and her smile makes me smile!

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To view more images from this Be{loved} US session come on over to my page =) Click here

I shot this {us} session with Aleah and Steve in Ocean City New Jersey. We also filmed their Be{loved} Us Story that day and you can view their highlight film by visiting my cinema site Be{loved} Cinema.

When I photograph a session I can’t help but become keenly aware of my surroundings in anticipation for or inspired by what is going on in and around me. Sometimes things are so obvious for good and or bad reasons while other times I search for where I want to go and what I want to shoot. It felt like the odds were stacked against us on the day of our shoot. Have you ever had hundreds of gnats flying, landing and biting you? If you have then you know that feeling of tickling that spreads to itching that becomes real plus imagined feelings and sounds permeating your mind. Swat, swat, swat. Buzz, buzz, buzz. They were everywhere. I think I swallowed a dozen of them! These were not the best of conditions to do a shoot. These were however the best two people to have done this shoot with on that day!

I imagine that if Aleah and Steve can stave off thousands of biting gnats and crazy flying birds for several hours so that we could get through filming then they have the type of beautiful attitudes that will in turn take them very far in life and love =) I imagine that there is that kind of fortitude within each and every one of us that when needed to, allows us to push a little harder for the things that are most meaningful to us. Aleah and Steve reminded me of something very important on the day of their shoot. They reminded me to seize the moment, to go with my gut and to always pursue the things that are most important within that moment.

Sadly a few short weeks after this session was filmed much of this location was irreparably damaged due to Hurricane Sandy. Maybe the crazy birds and those pesky gnats knew something that we didn’t. The space where we filmed their interview is completely destroyed, leveled as if it never existed. The Dunes where the sunset and sky time lapses were filmed are no longer there… just a distant memory of a place that once was. Things, places & moments with the people we love can be so fragile in this world we live in and sometimes I feel that mother nature has a way of warning us and of reminding us to cherish and never take for granted what is right in front of our eyes. That day in front of my eyes were two people who have known each other since high school, two people who clearly know how to get through the good and bad that may come their way and most importantly two people who I would gladly spend an afternoon eating gnats!

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Frank Surprise proposal

With the addition of our Cinema line and my Be {Loved} US sessions and stories, we get to hear in detail so many proposal stories.  Some go perfectly to plan, while others, well…  Let’s just say that even with perfect planning and the best of intentions things can go awry.  The key message no matter what is that regardless of the perfection of execution, every moment of your proposal will be memorable.  I’ve put together a few do’s and do not’s based on the many, many interviews of our clients.  So if you are thinking of proposing or think you may be getting proposed to then read on and share =)  If you like, watch the Surprise proposal we filmed below for Frank & Athena.


Discussing the proposal?

  • sometimes you just know, you have that feeling that the topic of marriage doesn’t have to be discussed – you just know that if a proposal happened – he/she would say yes.  If that’s you, then go for it!
  • most of our clients say they have either casually or in depth talked about marriage.  Use these chats as clue gatherers so that when the time is right you have enough info to use to make it special.

Should it be a Surprise?

  • for realz???  Hell Yeah it should be a surprise!
  • keep in mind that not everyone likes to have a public surprise so use your best judgement based on each others personalities so that you know whether to do it in front of a million viewers, just family or in private.
  • FYI – if you know people will be around or photo/video will be taken then make sure to plan the surprise (without giving it away of course) to occur when he/she are dressed, not schweaty from exercising  etc…  Unless you are at the mud run or color me rad etc where everyone is a hot mess ;-)

What about the ring?

  • sometimes the hat you have to wear is that of a detective! Do some sleuthing, is there a style of ring that they are drawn to? Are there magazines or little hints thrown out while at jewelry stores? Pay attention.
  • many of our couples ring shop together.  The surprise becomes when it will happen.
  • it is forever right?  So, make it unique – many jewelers will help you design or custom make the perfect piece.

Stay in Character! Good Secrets vs. Bad Secrets

  • sometimes it is the behavior that spoils the surprise.  Try to stay in character.  Don’t deviate too much from things that will be out of the norm otherwise you risk the other feeling the opposite of happy about your weird behavior.
  • guy/girls…  If your guy or girl seems to be acting nervous or weird or out of character while you are on vacation, family function, special date night, planned event etc… Cut them some slack.  Be nice – don’t criticize their behavior.  You gotta trust me on this one!  Number one response from people with less than perfect proposal stories are that their partner was being a %$#@& and they had to rally in their heads to propose as planned.
  • most of us don’t like secrets kept from us.  But… there is usually only one circumstance that I am all for secrets and that is when it is for the greater good.  In this case – it’s great and good!

What you say IS important!!!

  • have a plan – you don’t have to script everything but have a plan – you both may not even remember what was said afterwards But… You will remember how you felt.
  • if you are nervous or think you won’t remember exactly then write it down, write it on your hand, up your arm, on cue cards, on your phone, ipad etc… Use a cake, a cupcake, smoke signals, hand gestures.  Be creative, be fun or be spontaneous but have a plan…  See above.

Talk to Parents or Key family members

  • I don’t really think this one needs to center on tradition or permission.  It’s more about respect and being a part of building and layering a great foundation for the relationship with your future family
  • they may even help you with your surprise

Should you propose on a major holiday or special date?

  • if the holiday or date is special to you then by all means do it but if you really want to make your proposal unique then don’t tag the proposal to a major holiday.
  • it can be easier to have all your family and friends around if you are planning to include them and sometimes holidays, birthdays etc make it convenient to make that happen so logistically these dates are popular
  • NEVER ever ever propose while you are a guest at someone else s’ special party or event and absolutely no proposals while attending someone’s wedding.  You never want to steal the shine or thunder from others,  That will indeed cost you many karma coins.

Make it Personal

  • some of the best stories that I have heard from my clients are the ones when there were uber personal touches. Whether these touches are creative, fun, romantic etc..  it’s so important to make it unique and true to who you are as a couple and what the other will love.
  • Pinterest and other sites are not necessarily your friend.  For sure, get some inspiration but replicating someone else’s idea or work will in time show that it wasn’t really special at all

Should you capture the proposal?

  • Yes, yes and yes!  You will most likely not remember the specifics of what was done or said because you are in the moment and that moment happens to be one that is super charged with emotion so you should totally plan to have the proposal documented.
  • whether you hire a professional or throw a camera at a stranger before you drop down on one knee, have someone document it!
  • keep in mind that this is the beginning of a new chapter in your storybook.  These are the stories you will share with your friends, family, children, grandchildren.  Our memories can only illustrate so much.  Imagine being able to whip out those photos or press play on that film decades later.  You become immortalized and you as well as your story will live on long after our time here is done.

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