Kafka's Country Field Family Session

6 years ago on October 2nd, my Aunt asked me to do portraits of her 4 children, Jasmine, Arianna, Isabella and Christopher. I agreed without hesitation. I had just graduated from college and was beginning grad school and photography was still just my hobby. Using my cousins as my subjects just for fun was a pretty frequent occurrence. We met at the beach and I captured some great shots of the kids playing, laughing and a few more formal poses. After they were posted on facebook, I had a handful of people reach out asking if I could do portraits for them.

I made a facebook page, added my signature in a watermark to put on my photos and grew really excited at the possibility of having a photography business. And then I deleted the page.

And then, I came up with every single reason why I couldn’t or shouldn’t. Some of them below:

I’m really not THAT good.

These were just for fun.

I would be too nervous.

These excuses kill me to admit. 6 years later, I did portraits for my Aunt once again and have to try not to dwell on the fact that I could have easily begun building my business a long time ago. But with time comes age, and with age comes wisdom. I have to admit, I like getting older. No, I actually love it. I’m a few days away from being 30 and 30 year old Katie is way more confident. 30 year old Katie has learned to say yes to things that make her happy and no to the things that don’t. 30 year old Katie has nurtured important relationships, resulting in deep friendships and a new marriage filled with so much love that I’m incredibly proud of and grateful for. 30 year old Katie has learned to let things go a lot easier than she used to and focus on the things that are within her control.

So let’s not dwell in the past by recounting the insecurities that accompanied my early 20’s or by referring to myself in the 3rd person (sorry, that was kinda weird). Let’s look at my cousins, because they’re pretty damn cute and I love them so much.


Batista Family Session

These days, I’m finding myself surrounded by pregnancy. It just seems to be that stage of my life that my friends are growing their families and I’m absolutely fascinated by it all. So I was delighted to hear from Ali who wanted to document her sweet growing family and growing bump. I met with Ali, her husband Nando and their daughter, Everly at my favorite spot in Loantaka. At 18 months, Everly was ready to run through high grass, stop to admire the wildflowers and follow whoever was holding the tin of Altoid mints. Some of my favorite shots of her were captured with mints shaking in my hand - whatever works! She was an absolute doll and total daddy’s girl. That combination made for photos that melt my heart into a puddle.

When I picked up my camera again with the intention of pursuing photography professionally, I always imagined weddings. Tulle, lace and all the beautiful things I fell in love with while planning my own wedding. But the finished product of these photos and the process of achieving them in the soft glow of an overgrown field took me by total surprise. Yes, weddings are absolutely beautiful and I will continue to squeal over a gorgeous florals and full tulle ball gowns but there is something quietly beautiful about photographing families.

When I look at these photos, I imagine Ali years from now with her two daughters, telling the youngest that she was in her belly and these photos were their first official family portrait. I imagine Nando looking back at them and trying to remember an exact time when Everly grew too big to fit on his shoulders or be tossed up in the air. I see a family with so much love and life stopped in a moment that they’ll look back on and smile when they say “Remember when…”

Those quiet moments of beauty...that’s what I’m after.





Peyton's West Creek Portrait Session

With only a few days left of summer, I am trying to squeeze in as much photo practice as I possibly can. After gaining a little bit of skill and confidence, I decided to post in the Beach Haven West community forum in search of a young family or couple that felt comfortable getting in front of the camera for a mini photo session. I had so many inquiries that I felt slightly overwhelmed and decided to connect with a young family who wanted portraits of their soon to be 3 year old, Peyton. We had a time and date set, all I had to do was come up with the right location. Leading up to the day of the session, I did that thing where I try to psych myself out. That downward spiral of negative thoughts and totally irrational emotions such as I can’t do this because:

I’ve never done this before.

I’m not familiar with my new camera yet.

What if I can’t change the settings fast enough? Maybe I should just shoot in auto.

I don’t have a website.

I don’t really know how to edit yet.

How will I deliver the gallery?

What if they hate the finished product?

What if they hate me?!


So instead I put that counseling degree to good use and challenged those thoughts and came up with some damn good reasons why I should do this:

I’ve always loved photography.

I want to capture moments that make the people looking at the images feel something, so…

My heart is in the right place.

I have the summers off which gives me a perfect opportunity to create a personal business.

I am building a portfolio.

I am learning.

I am trying something new.

I have so many people that are cheering me on.

Speaking of those people cheering me on, let’s talk about my Dad for a second. He went with me to scope out locations and even found a pretty little spot that we ended up using for our photo session. In the car, we bounced ideas off of each other for what a summer photography business down the shore might look like. He always says he’s my biggest fan and he means it. My dad = the best.

That evening, I met sweet little Peyton and her family. She was an absolute beauty and so much fun to work with. I have to admit, I was nervous at first. But after a few minutes, Peyton and I both loosened up. The backdrop was the back creek of Beach Haven full of high grass and wildflowers. Peyton’s TWO outfit choices went perfectly with the setting - girlfriend even had a flower crown. I learned that bubbles are always a good idea and when it doubt, put on some tunes that everyone likes to jam out to. In Peyton’s case, it was Inner Circle’s Bad Boys - totally get it. She was the absolute perfect first “client” and the finished product is something that I’m really proud of and will most likely use for my portfolio.

So that downward spiral of irrational thoughts can step off.

Meet, Peyton.