Puddle jumping and rock skipping is a part of what childhood is all about. And when I can incorporate that in to a family or children’s session, well that just makes my day! These three kiddos are my niece and nephews, and look how darn cute they are!! Every year my niece has a big dance recital, and every year her grandpa comes all the way up from Texas to see her in the show. How amazing and dedicated is that?! That is love! This year, their mommy thought it would be so sweet to have their photos taken with grandpa, and I have to agree that it was such a great idea. My youngest nephew does not have the same biological father as his siblings, but that doesn’t matter in our family nor to grandpa Jerry. Family is not always who you share blood with. My niece and nephews are not my biological family either, but they ARE my family. The oldest two were the ring bearer and flower girl in my wedding even. I love all three!!
So, off we went to Arcola Creek Estuary in North Madison, Ohio. We are so lucky in Northeast Ohio to have Lake Erie! The youngest found all the good puddles to jump in, and the other two had a blast skipping rocks with grandpa Jerry. You see all of the in between moments, the unposed ones? Those are the moments that I long for with family sessions! The laughs and the high fives, those are the real moments that I love. Those are what family is all about.
About a week ago, I traveled to Chesterland, Ohio, for a session of brothers and cousins. This session was planned by their mother’s, as a surprise for the boys’ grandparents. You see, their grandparent’s house is just around the corner from this beautiful lake, and this beach is a place the whole family has loved spending time at over the years. The perfect spot for a photo session in Northeast Ohio! I love when families have sentimental locations for their sessions!
We did the traditional poses, the candids, and even the ones the kids will be embarrassed by when they are older. But, what fun we had!! Don’t worry, no child was harmed during the pool noodle fight! Boys will be boys, right?
If you are interested in a family or mini session with me, contact me by filling out a booking form on my website Lindsay Dawn Photography. I would love to work with you and your family! I am not just a Northeast Ohio wedding photographer, I also love working with local families.
This past Saturday, this Northeast Ohio wedding photographer took on four roles in one day. You see, not only was it my mom’s wedding day, but also my son’s prom night. So, in one day, I was the:
Daughter of the bride
And I killed it, walked in to the day with my Lady Boss face on, and I crushed it! I even managed to get in some of the wedding and prom photos, thanks to my husband who is also my wedding assistant. Was it difficult at times? Yes. But, I am a mom, and we know how to lady up. I cried during the ceremony, but through those tears I nailed the photos. My dinner got cold as I took prom photos, but it was re-heated and still tasted amazing. Thanks to my cousin’s boyfriend, and a quick tutorial from myself, I was even in my family’s big group shot. Some days are crazy and chaotic, but I think that is why I love what I do. I can think quickly on my feet, and make it all happen.
The wedding day was perfect, from the gorgeous flowers to the beautiful cake, and of course the wonderful couple. I have never seen my mom so happy, she was glowing all day!
Yes, my poor son had to wear a suit ALL day LOL. He was an usher in his grandma’s wedding, and then it was his prom night. Look at how handsome he is!! And his date, so gorgeous and sweet! I was honored to take photos of them, and of my son’s best friend and his date. I even got myself in some of the photos, and my husband. Proud parent moments for us for sure!
It was a long day. But a beautiful one!! I feel so blessed to have such amazing people in my life, and that I get to capture it all. Take the photos, all of the photos! Look at the one below, myself with my daughter, mother, and grandmother. Four generations. Not a lot of people get to have this kind of photo, and relationships with such amazing women, but if you do, take the photos!
Now, look at the happy couple! So in love, and so blessed to have found each other! How did they meet? You will have to wait for their official wedding blog in a few weeks!
The above photo is from my own wedding day, taken by The Dusty Lens Cap. The photo in the frame is my Dad, James Wirtanen. My Dad passed away on October 5, 2007 at about 9:30 a.m. He was just 59 years old. My son, who is a spitting image of my Dad, walked me down the aisle on my wedding day in honor of my Dad. I added the photo of him to my bouquet, so in a way, he was walking me down as well. For any of you in Northeast Ohio wanting to honor a loved one, this is a great way to do it.
Now, let me get a little personal. I do not cry every day about missing my Dad, sometimes I go weeks or months without crying about him, but some days I do. Today is one of those days. Yes, it has been over ten years since I lost him. Does time ease the pain? Yes, sometimes it does. But, some days, it feels like it just happened yesterday. No one has the right to tell me to get over it, or to say that they expected me to be over it already. Some pain you never get over, nor should you. You work through it, you grow from it, you learn from it, you let it give you clarity and strength.
Sometimes, I will be just be going about my day, and I will see an older gentleman that for a split second will look like my Dad. My heart sinks, just for a second. I know it is not him, but for a split second I see him. When this happens, sometimes I get so angry that he is not here. I yell at God for taking him from me, from my kids. He loved my kids so much. They were only 3 and 7 years old when he passed away, but for those brief years they were his world. I get angry that he doesn’t get to see how amazing they are as teenagers, I know he would be so proud of them. I get angry that he never got to meet my husband, John. Those two would have had a blast together, I can picture them having a beer around the fire pit in my backyard. I can’t go to a flea market or antique store without missing him, and getting angry that he isn’t around to find me the stuff that I want at a great deal. I get angry that he never got to see me start my own photography business. He never got to know that his little girl would become a wedding photographer, and that sucks. But, I know he would be so very proud of me. He never got to see my work published, that would have made him the most proud. Yes, I get angry…And that is OK! I do not carry it like a boulder on my shoulder, I carry it within me, within my soul. It is ok to grieve, even ten years later.
Grief sucks. Grief can be overwhelming. But, it is a part of life, and do not allow anyone to tell you it is ever time to get over it. How do I deal with it? It is different for everyone, but I have found ways to deal with it on my own. I remember him, and all of his adventures, all of the memories we shared. I look through old photos, I watch old videos to hear his voice, and I smile looking at my children knowing that he is watching over them and a part of him is inside of both of them. I listen to music that I know he loved. I smile on my travels, knowing that he is with me and that he is so proud that I want to see the world. I work my butt of, and smile knowing that he is beside me cheering me along.
Today, I am grieving my Daddy. And that is OK. I want you to know that grieving is OK. Life can suck. But, life can also be beautiful. Tomorrow is a new day, and I will make the most of, in honor of him. If you cannot handle your grief, seek help, seek friends. I am blessed to have some amazing friends and an amazing husband by my side to help me during my bad days. I thank God for them! Do not be afraid to reach out. I promise, you will get through this. Now, check out some old snapshots of my sunshine, my mountain man, my Daddy.
It is April 17, 2018. It is a Tuesday. It is tax day. It is someone’s birthday, heck it is someone’s wedding day somewhere! It is also snowing…again!! OVER IT!!! OK, I know that this is Northeast Ohio, and it can snow at any time. BUT, it has been snowing since October, and we are SO OVER IT!! I mean seriously, it has been six whole months of this stuff. The daffodils are coming up, and they want to bloom damn it! We want sunshine, vitamin D! But instead, I am watching this snow accumulate on my Kia. Freaking winter wonderland outside my kitchen window! OK, end rant. Enjoy some of my most favorite Northeast Ohio photo sessions in the snow. Yup, we embraced it at the time. But come on people, it is mid-April, it is time for SPRING! Well, let’s make the best of it, enjoy the portraits in the snow!
We had some weddings…..
And some engagements….
This engagement was from the first snowfall in Northeast Ohio!
We even had some maternity sessions in the snow!
And last, but not least, even a senior session!
Here in Northeast Ohio, we have no choice but to embrace the snow. Do we hate it, especially by mid-April? Absolutely! Do we have every right to complain about it? YES!! But, let’s choose to see the silver lining…We can and do make beautiful portraits in it!! So, in conclusion, let us all agree that snow accumulating in April does suck. But, think of it this way…It can’t last through June right? Come on Mother Nature, it is almost wedding season! Get it together!!
Meet Sunjeet and Benny, a gorgeous couple from Northeast Ohio. I had a blast taking their maternity photos around Squire’s Castle. I mean, who doesn’t love a gorgeous castle?! It was cold, and there was even snow still left from the last storm, but we made the best of it!
I love working with couples like these two, so in love and they work so well together. Maternity sessions are a favorite of mine, and although Sunjeet came in a gorgeous gown of her own, I do have a collection of maternity gowns for my clients to use. Did I mention that I have been named twice, by Expertise, as a top maternity photographer in Cleveland? Such an honor for me, and my Northeast Ohio clients!
Squire’s Castle is not only beautiful, but also has a unique story behind it. You can read all about it while you visit, there are plaques on the walls of the castle explaining its history. It is also a part of the Cleveland Metroparks, located in the North Chagrin Reservation in Willoughby Hills, Ohio.
In case you are wondering what Sunjeet and Benny are expecting soon, it’s a boy!! I know they will have the most beautiful baby, and he will be so loved. Looking to book your own maternity session soon? I would love to plan your session! I know so many amazing locations in Northeast Ohio, including this awesome bridge over the river!
I am a member of a pretty amazing group on Facebook, it’s called Northeast Ohio Wedding Resale. The group was formed by some pretty awesome photographers from Brass Key Photography, based right out of Northeast Ohio. Thanks to this group, a local “photographer” was caught using stolen images on his website, used to attract clients. This “company,” called Bou-Jai Studios, stole images from local photographers, online stock images, wedding catalogs, and even from a National Geographic photographer, and passed them off on their website as their own. Disgusting, I know. Sadly, this happens all the time. Since being exposed, they have taken all of their images down. You can view more about this subject on a website called Stop Stealing Photos, and can view the post here Bou-Jai Studios in Cuyahoga Falls.
Why am I telling you all about this? There are many reasons. First off, I want to expose this company so no one else is scammed by them. We all know how much of your hard earned money goes in to real professional portraits and wedding photos. No one deserves to be scammed by false hope, misrepresentation, or thieves in general. Secondly, to expose this so called company for what they are. They stole other artists work. Work that they put their heart and soul in to, their own sweat and tears, and their own hard earned money. Lastly, I want you all to do your research when looking for your photographer. What kind of research? I will get in to that in my next paragraph.
I know that a budget is a huge deciding factor when looking for a photographer, especially for a wedding. For me, being a wedding photographer, that was the largest part of our budget. I knew that these images were so important, ones that I want my grandchildren to look at one day. I knew I had to hire a true, honest, and talented photographer. The saying holds true, you do get what you pay for. So please, do not diminish your big day, by hiring just anybody because they will do it cheap. Either you are going to get scammed, or your photos will not be what they could be. Maybe they will, but it is a huge risk for such an important event.
Always meet your potential wedding photographer! If they decline a meeting, run! Meet up with them, ask to see prints of their work, and always ask to see a few wedding galleries. WHOLE wedding day galleries! Do not just trust the pretty photos that they have on their website, or social media. As in the case I talked about earlier, had couples met with that company and asked to see the whole gallery from any of their images, they would have known they were scammers. Also, by viewing an entire gallery, you are seeing how capable the photographer is in all conditions. Not all locations have the best light, sometimes the bride is getting ready in a dark basement and the photographer needs to know how to handle the light situation, just as in an up-lit reception.
Another great idea is to look at their reviews. Yes, there are not so nice people in the world that leave horrible reviews that have not even worked with the photographer(sadly it happens), but there are a lot of amazing and real clients that leave amazing reviews. You can view my Facebook reviews here, Lindsay Dawn Photography. And look at the photographers responses to those reviews as well.
My final thought on this is to ask your potential photographer about styled photos. There is nothing wrong with being a part of a styled shoot, but there is a huge difference between those and a real wedding day, where you cannot control the elements. Below is from an amazing styled shoot I was a part of while in Baltimore. Is it gorgeous? Yes!Is it a real couple? Yes! But, all elements could be controlled and were planned by professionals in the industry. I have blogged about styled shoots before, you can find it here: Styled Shoot.
I hope you found this helpful while searching for your Northeast Ohio Wedding & Portrait Photographer. Happy planning!!!