Focusure Studios: Blog http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Focusure Studios bookings@focusure.com (Focusure Studios) Mon, 01 Dec 2014 04:25:00 GMT Mon, 01 Dec 2014 04:25:00 GMT http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-5/u140205994-o201476226-50.jpg Focusure Studios: Blog http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog 80 120 Mr. and Mrs. Melvin http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/11/melvin blog by Leeann
 
We met Anna and Pat for the first time at a Starbucks.  Our business practice has always involved a face-to-face meeting with clients, before any contracts are signed or deposits taken.  Since Chris and I do a limited number of weddings per season, we are careful to make sure we click with our clients and that it's a good fit all around.  We have a few things we look for in a client, but mainly, we want to shoot couples who seem really in love! 
 
Anna and Pat passed our test, with flying colors.  Within just a few minutes, I found myself really hoping they hired us.  They were an adorable couple, easy to talk to, personable, laid back and organized.... the typical, run-of-the-mill, dream client.  Lucky for us, they hired us to shoot their wedding!
 
Their amazing day began with Chris dropping me at Luxebar in Peabody to meet up with the girls, and then Chris took off to Anna and Pat's house to hang with the guys, and take a few photos.  Anna and her ladies had their hair done earlier at Salon Riza, and had their makeup and manicures done at Luxebar (and they all looked fabulous, btw). We were working with a tight timeline, so I only shot for about 20 minutes.  I wanted to stay all day.  One of my favorite times of the day is the bride getting ready.  It appeals to my girl DNA!  Another added bonus?  There was so much light in the salon!  When I commented on it, the makeup artist mentioned that they made sure to match the color temperature of all artificial light across the salon.  Swoon!
Meanwhile, Chris and the guys kicked back.  They had some drinks, got dressed, and showed Chris their shiny new pocket watches.  You know, guy stuff.
Another reason Anna and Pat are amazing?  You can't make a little girl this pretty without some magic.  I had to include this photo of their beautiful daughter Alli,  threatening Chris (I assume for taking so many photos of her).  I'm sure she isn't actually threatening him, but in my head she is - and it's hilarious!  
Some kisses for Dad, and a quick group shot - and they were off to their next destination!
So, back to ze ladies!  After arriving at the Wyndham Hotel, the girls erupted into a flurry of activity.  Anna's wedding gown, as well as the bridesmaid's dresses, had laced corsets.  So pretty!  They all got right to work.
A girl after my own heart, Anna rocked some amazing, and very high, stilettos.  She got her jewelry from Rent the Runway, which is a service that provides rental jewelry from thousands of designers. It is such a smart idea - an idea I plan on stealing for my upcoming nuptials in June.  :) Her beautiful necklace:
Anna looked so beautiful and relaxed getting ready.  
I think she's ready. 
She made an absolutely radiant bride.  When we were heading out to the first look, and were running late (as is tradition for the bride on her wedding day), I couldn't resist.  While waiting for the car to come around, I moved some ropes and fluffed her dress,
Anna and Pat were doing a first look (yes! first looks for the win!) and it was going down at Smolak Farms.  I immediately saw an absolutely stunning rows of trees, glistening in the rain, and this elaborate idea of begin forming in my head of having Anna walk down a row of trees and - snap back to reality, as Anna points out mud.  Lots of mud.  It had been raining all day.  I take my head out of the clouds and marvel at Anna.  In a strapless dress, she doesn't look cold at all.  I was wearing a coat and was cold.  Adrenaline, she said.  
 
Typically, I like to do first looks with just the bride and groom. In some cases, that doesn't work out, but the moment is just as wonderful.
Since outdoor photos were not an option, we made ourselves at home in their Lucky for us, Smolak Farm told us we could have their spacious, beautiful barn (all to ourselves) for a half hour.  The barn was dark, with deep brown walls, hay bales lining the corners, and ropes of white Christmas lights wrapped around several of the beams.  We grabbed some portable power and the ring flash, and shot the formal photos in record time.  Well, record time for me, anyway!
 
My favorite part of the whole day is shooting the bride and groom alone.  As family left the barn, Chris and I did a quick survey of the area. I was grateful that the barn was so dark.  Anna and Pat were being very romantic, sitting closely together, with their .  I wanted to match their mood with our light - and it was great that we could choose where to light the frame.
This church was absolutely stunning.  The balcony was a short skip up a double set of stairs, and the view was perfect.  After the "it" moment, when Anna first walked down the aisle, I ran up check it out.  It was just such a beautiful church.
The priest was as easy going and awesome as they come, although he WAS a bit sneaky.  Instead of saying “you may now kiss the bride”, gave Pat some sort of secret handshake or bat signal.  You have to watch out for those sneaky first kisses!  
After the ceremony, I hopped on the trolley.  I had trolley written down on my timeline, but in actuality, it was a limo type party bus, which is much more comfortable.  Shooting in that kind of setting is extra fun, because you often really can’t see what you are shooting, for the most part.  You just take long exposures and find something to bounce a flash from, and keep shooting.  I am also proud to say, while working up and down the bus, I did not fall into anyone’s lap accidentally.  Score!
After arriving at  for the reception, we went into the back room for bridal party portraits.  
Guys looking polished.
Anna made these super cute and creative chalkboard signs that let me know how she had met each of her girls.  Such a pretty group!
I released the group to the venue coordinator and went "out on the floor.  How cute are these pumpkins??
Newly announced!
First Dance as husband and wife.  :)
Joined by their daughter
 
After the toasts, I grabbed the rings and snuck off to the bridal room to find some inspiration.
When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie… that’s
Cake cutting… hilarity ensues.
Every wedding Chris and I shoot, we bring a basket of props for the bride and groom to keep and party with, after we leave.  I usually make a tutu as well.  Here are some highlights. brought to you by Anna's parents, and Pat's dad!
I don’t know that I’ve ever had a couple pay so much attention to one another at the reception.  It's easy to tell that they are best friends - which is the way it should be.
I couldn’t stop following them, but I tried hard to let them have those moments to themselves.  (I just put on a longer lens, really).
On our way out, at the end of the night, I couldn’t believe how fast the night had gone.  What a great wedding!  Turning around and smiling, I snapped one final picture of their reception hall, in the beautiful mist of the rain.
Congratulation, Mr. and Mrs. Melvin!  Your wedding day was amazing, and we couldn't have been more honored to share it with you. We know there are many more years of fun and love in your future!
xoxo,
Leeann & Chris
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bookings@focusure.com (Focusure Studios) barn beautiful brookstone farms luxebar ma nh smolak wedding http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/11/melvin Sun, 30 Nov 2014 01:40:23 GMT
Sophie http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/sophie blog by Leeann

Watch out, world!  There's a new furry child in the Gudzinowicz/Pierce family tree, and I think she wants to wrestle.  Billy's parents recently took home a wrinkly little bundle of joy, and she's already breaking hearts and biting toes!  Sophie is an English Bulldog, and just about the cutest thing ever.  I wish that I had brought my camera over a little earlier - when I first met Sophie she was about the size of a loaf of bread!

Fast forward just a few short weeks, and she's weighing in at around 25 lbs!  As I got low to take her photo, Sophie looked in my direction, and CHARGED me!  I'm not sure if she wants to jump on me when I crouch down, or is attacking the camera.  Hilarious!

 

Here are my favorite naughty Sophie habits, in no particular order:

- chewing on her niece Harlee.  I don't have a photo of that, but here is a photo of her menacing bulldoggy teethies!

- chewing on my pants

- chewing on my feet (those toes are mine, Sophie!)

- getting carried around by her humans

- pouting (look at that bottom lip!)

                - looking adorable

- getting soooooo tired after running around

 

 

I promise to check back in later, and update you on her weight gain!  

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bookings@focusure.com (Focusure Studios) bulldog bulldog puppy english bulldog pets http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/sophie Tue, 26 Aug 2014 00:55:02 GMT
Rae.0 and KJax Get Hitched! http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/jacksons blog by Leeann

Rachael and Kyle might be my favorite couple.  There, I said it.  It's tough to remember a time when they weren't in love.  

I met Rachael in what feels like another lifetime:  when I used to bartend at Martha's Exchange.  I don't quite remember how we got together outside of Martha's, but through one thing or another, Rachael became one of our Monday night bowling group regulars, and hiked with me often as well.  Kyle was on the road playing baseball when we started our bowling "league" (I use that term VERY loosely), so we didn't get to meet Kyle until a few months later.  There was a running wager that the first person to break 200 would receive a bottle of liquor of their choice, and the other guys had to pay.  Kyle's first night at bowling, guess what his score was?  212.  

I soon learned that Kyle doesn't really do anything halfway, and loving Rachael was no different.  Rae and Ky have something very special.  Sometimes I think they are tuned to a different channel, and they can sort of click back and forth between what's on their channel, and what the rest of us get to watch.  I remember when they got engaged.  I was SO excited for them.  I was even more thrilled when they asked us to shoot their wedding.

About 50% of the time, Chris and I will split up and he'll head to where the guys are, and I'll go meet the ladies.  This was one of those times.  Rachael and Kyle have a huge bridal party, with 8 attendants on each side.  So I headed to the salon first, where the girls were all being dolled up.

 I got to spend a little bit of time with Rachael's dress.  It was gorgeousssssss.  Her mom MADE IT.  You read that right.  Everything was custom, and her mom had incorporated bits of her old wedding dress.  It was simply amazing.

Of course, Chris headed to see the guys about an hour later, and they were done in a flash.

They were done so early, they had plenty of time to relax.

Chris took the guys out front for some photos, knowing he was cutting it close - I told him I'd give him a head's up when the bride was heading his way.

I left the salon, and headed to the hotel.  Chris also met me there so we both get some shots of the bride's details.  (It's all about the bride, isn't it?)

Here's Rachael's mom, helping her get into her multi-layered dress.

The beautiful bridal bouquet.  

All I could think was, "Wait until Kyle sees her."

With her ladies!

Chris snuck down early and got some photos of where the Jewish ceremony was going to take place.

Rachael was walked down the aisle by her mother and stepfather, and her dad stood at the front to offer his blessing.  The ceremony had modern and Jewish elements, and was so them.

When Kyle saw the woman he is about to marry, he gave Chris this shot.  I so love these two.

Rachael's brother Josh gave them their ceremony glass when they got engaged, that specifically told them not to break it until the wedding.  It was finally time!

Getting married <3

The rings!

I have quite a few photos of the bridal party on this bridge.  This impromptu shot as I told everyone they were done, is just tons of fun!

Enjoying a moment.

Practicing their dip!

Their first dance was so perfect.  Then, before food or toasts or anything, they started off the party with all the guests heading for the dance floor.

I don't know what got into Kyle, but  I can't type anything else about the garter toss, because my fingers are blushing.

There was a bit of a lull, so I suggested we scurry off for a few more pictures, and some alone time for the couple.  Well, with me and my camera, of course!  I couldn't get the elevator door to stay open long enough for me to take a picture. They rode that elevator to the top and back twice so I could be in the right position when the doors opened!  That's dedication.

What a FUN wedding!  Rachael was on hand to teach Kyle's dad how to "wobble" (I think I have that right, I had to text Rae to ask).  And when I started to beg them to do the "chair thing", they were suddenly lifted into the air! I either had great timing, or someone heard me!

Congratulations, you two.  We love you guys, and know you are in for many wonderful years.  This is only the beginning, and thank you so much for letting us be a part of it.

 

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bookings@focusure.com (Focusure Studios) Crowne Plaza beautiful jackson morgan nashua wedding http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/jacksons Sun, 24 Aug 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Amanda Campbell and Patrick Kelly http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/KellyWedding Blog by Leeann

The funniest email I have ever received from a client, began something like this:
             "Hi Leeann.  I am not sure if I am your worst client ever, but at this point, I am sure that I am in the top 5." I had initially met Patrick Kelly, or PK, at my brother-in-law's 30th birthday party.  He had sent that email after we had exchanged emails back and forth, and he hadn't responded right away.  It made me laugh.  When I met Amanda at our consultation, one of the first things I noticed about her was her smile.  I'm sure it was one of the first things PK noticed about her, too.

Their wedding was being held on Peak's Island, which was a quick ferry ride from Portland, Maine.  I had never traveled to a wedding by ferry, driven my car onto a ferry, or had to adhere to a ferry schedule.  So, naturally, I woke up at 5:30 in the morning.  It made sense at the time!

Chris and I arrived at Wedding Island (which is what I wanted to call it), and parked on a little side street.  All of our locations, including our free parking spot, were blissfully close together.  We grabbed gear and entered the Inn, which was adorable. 

We were directed up a set of stairs to the bridal suite.  It was definitely a suite!  The space included bedrooms, one with bunk beds, a kitchen area, and a little salon!  It took up the entire floor.  Chris wasted no time - he carefully took the bride's flowers, and I gave him a cute little boat bookshelf I kidnapped out of the bathroom.  He went to shoot bouquets, and I went to find the bride.

"Hi!" Amanda said, while flashing her famous smile. She looked looked relaxed and happy. 
"Hi!" I beamed back, feeling so honored to be part of her day.  "Happy wedding day! I have been seeing the cutest Facebook updates from your soon to be husband!"  

PK had been posting status updates that were really genuine and sweet:


July 14: "11 days from now I'll have a wife. That's pretty cool if you ask me!"

July 19: "589 days ago I asked her to be my wife. One week from today that will become true. Back to where I put one knee in a puddle and proposed to the love of my life.— with Amanda Kelly at Grace."

July 24: "Tomorrow starts what will be the most important weekend of my life. Much planning has gone into it, and I've even weighed in on a few things too. I could not be more excited to see so many family and friends that are making the trek to Maine. 

Happy Wedding Weekend to my Bride to be - Amanda Campbell"

Around this time, Chris got word the guys were back - they had gone to Portland for lunch - so off he went.  It was a short trip, they were in a large room on the floor below.

I totally love photographing everyone getting ready.  The details, the excitement, watching everything fall together like a perfect puzzle.  

I loved, loved, LOVED Amanda's hair.  It was so simple, elegant, and feminine.  

Gorgeous!  

Although you can't see my face, it looked pretty similar to her maids!  Amanda looked stunning.

This.  Lots of this.

So obviously Amanda and PK are totally in love. So they made my photographer heart pitter-patter when they agreed on doing a first look.  I encourage couples to consider a first look... it can give you more time for photos, and makes sure that you are being photographed together when you are fresh!  Besides being able to make the cocktail hour, and being able to relax after the ceremony, it gives you a bit of privacy for a few moments during your wedding day.  I always get a tiny bit emotional, in a happy way, at this moment. 

After the bride and groom had a few moments to themselves, we headed downstairs to get as many "formals", or posed photographs, as we could.

The groomsmen were super fun and animated to work with - we love that!

Looking polished and radiant, ladies!  (You too, PK!)

The day was perfect.  

Amanda and PK allowed me to walk them down to the pier, as we had time before the ceremony.  Of course, just as we walked onto the deck, we were met by loud "Whooooooooo"'s, as a ferry holding mostly wedding guests pulled into port!

Before the start of the ceremony, the girls met up in the room the guys had been in.  Air conditioning was cranked, and totally refreshing!  

The ceremony site was just adjacent to where the cocktail hour and reception would be held.  I love when everything is all together in one place.  Amanda and PK had written their own vow, and they were awesome! We had beautiful weather, as well.  Everything was perfect.  :)

After the ceremony, champagne and the hugs were passed all around. 

I couldn't find you a group of family and friends more excited than the guests at Amanda and Patrick's wedding.  Really.

The first dance was full of smiles, spins, laughter, and love.

Amanda's father, her Maid of Honor, and the Best Man all gave wonderful speeches.  Especially memorable was a point in the Best Man's speech.  He read for us an email that he had saved for just this moment.  It was from the groom, to the Best Man, about the Bride!  It was totally cute!

Chris and I had such an amazing time.  A beautiful wedding for a phenomenal couple, and most definitely in our top 5 favorite clients.  :)

Taking advantage of the beautiful sunset at the end of the pier.

The Photo Booth ended the night, before we packed up and headed for the ferry.  What a fantastically fun wedding.

 

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bookings@focusure.com (Focusure Studios) beach beautiful bride ceremony summer wedding http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/KellyWedding Wed, 13 Aug 2014 04:50:16 GMT
Changing your name after you get married! http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/1/PostWeddingNameChange  

blog by Leeann

Something super different in the blog today, as it has zero to do with photography.  It does, have to do with weddings.  To keep all this text from making you cross-eyed, I included some shots from my wedding portfolio. I figured it was better than stock photos of social security cards or mailboxes!

bride showing shoes If you are newly married or engaged, and plan on taking your spouse’s last name, I hope you will find this post helpful!  This gives you an in-depth run-down of how to take your hubby’s name, legally.  I altered some documents into forms so you can type into them, granted you have Adobe reader.  If you don't, its free to download here.  The passport renewal app requires mailed applications to be written by hand or done online.  For the uber-organized, you can fill the applications out now.  Just wait until you are married to sign, seal, deliver.  (yes, I sung that in my head)

Sooooo, you got married and you wanna change your name to Mrs. Charming (or Mr. Charming!  Since 2010, I’m pleased to report.)?  It’s actually not that tough!  Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Get your documents together. 

  • Original Birth Certificate.  Proves DOB and citizenship. It doesn’t have to be the one they handed your mom after you were born, just don’t photocopy it. If you need to get a birth certificate, you'll request it from the city you were born in.  Requirements are varied by city, but in general, the fee is $10-20 and requests can always be made in person at the town clerk.  If there is an option of a long or short certificate, the short is sufficient.  It doesn't matter really, as they are the same price.  Long are needed for passports, mostly.
  • Passport (if you have one).  Your passport proves both citizenship and identification, so it can be helpful to have.
  • If you are a widower, divorcee or have had an annulment, bring any original documents that pertain to the event.  Divorce decrees, death personalized hanger certificates, etc. Not photocopies.  
  • License, NH ID card, or military ID. (be sure it is not going to expire.  You can renew your license up to 6 months early if expiration will fall around the month you get married.)
  • Marriage Certificate!  7-10 days after your officiant sends in the completed marriage license, your certificate should be available.   Fill out this Marriage Certificate Request form and mail to the town clerk that issued the license.  Include a check for $15 for the first copy and another $10 for any additional.
    • PAUSE.  You haven’t been married yet?  Wanna know how you get the license?  Okay!  Here you go…
      • Both of you have to show up (unless one of you is deployed military) with your photo IDs, birth certificates, and $45.   You'll also need to fill this worksheet out, and you can complete it and bring it with you.
      • It will take about 45 minutes, for the whole process, so don’t show up 20 minutes before close or you'll have to come back.
      • Be sure to indicate your desired post-nuptial name. The license application will generate the license that, after you are married, is a legal, binding document.  
      • The license will not be valid until 3 days after it is issued (and you should leave with it the day you apply).  It expires 90 days after issued.  Get your license one month prior to the wedding date.
      • Give it to your officiant at the rehearsal.  He will want to make sure it is valid before he marries you.  He will complete and send back to the town clerk.

beautiful bride Start with the Social Security Office first.

  • This application contains all the info you need.  There are no fees.  Your social security number will not change.  You can apply in person or by mail.  You’ll need the birth certificate and your old social security card, as well as the marriage certificate.  If you mail the application, you have to mail the original documents too.  They send them back to you and they should process your card in 10 days.

Visit the DMV next.

  • You have to do all personal information changes to photo identification in person.  Its free, just bring your marriage certificate, old driver’s license, and give them this application after you complete it.  No fee, unless your license is about to expire.  They will keep your old license, give you a paper temp valid for 60 days and mail you the hard copy.  For this reason, I recommend waiting until you return from your honeymoon to visit the DMV!  Your license number will change since your last name makes up part of the license ID.

Tell your employer.

  • Obviously you’ll have to handle this according to the rules and regulations of your employer.  Don’t forget your retirement accounts!  401Ks newlyweds with officiant through your work should change along with the original request, but separate accounts probably won’t.   Also, make sure you call your health insurance so they can issue you a new card – regardless of it being a work benefit.

Bank Accounts

  • Get new checks, debit cards, open a joint account, and all that other fun, bill-paying stuff. The easiest way, is to visit a branch.  Bring your ID,  marriage certificate and have your account numbers handy.

Post Office

  • You aren't required to let your postmaster know about your name change.  However, if you and hubby are going to be moving into a new home after the wedding, remember to update your address.  You can fill out the info online and they will charge 1.00 to verify your identity by credit card.  You can also fill out the attached form and get it to your local post office for free.  They will send a letter of verification to the old address to confirm the mail forwarding.
  • Keep in mind that the USPS will only forward your mail for 60 days – they figure this is enough time to contact everyone that needs to know you’ve moved.  Besides bills, you will also want to let catalogs and magazines know where you’re going.  Some people like to send out postcards if they buy a home, as a sort of "We've moved" announcement, as well.

Get your Passport done, AFTER you go on your honeymoon. holding hands

  • A headache you don’t need is being detained by TSA because of a name change, so wait until after. 
  • For the sake of ease, I’m going to assume this is a straight name change due to marriage; you were at least 16 when your last passport was issued and you’ve had your passport less than 15 years.  If you don’t fit in this category, check out our friend, The Google. Mail this application with your current passport, marriage certificate, a fee (for this category only)  of $110, and a passport photo.
  • Passport photo requirements can be found here.  Problems with photos is the number one problem with applications and they already take a looooong time – so I recommend getting your photo done by a business that advertises passport photos.

first dance Doctor and Specialist Offices

  • The proper order to do this is to contact your health insurance first.  On the back of your insurance card, there should be a toll-free number for member services, customer service or something similar.  You may also be able to make the request online.  It might take time to process, after which they will mail you a new card with the same number.  Do this before you change your name at your doctor.  Insurances won’t pay for anything with your new name, until they’ve processed the change. Which means, you’ll get a bill for any medications or appointments.

Other Insurances

  • Homeowner’s, Rental, Car, Boat, whatever.  You don’t want to wait until you have to file a claim to find out its being held up because love information doesn’t match their records.

 

Those are the important ones, I think!  Did I miss anything?  If you have any questions or anything to add, leave me a comment below, or email me at leeann@focusure.com.  Hopefully the blog post helped a few people, because it is way too long!

 

Xoxo

L

 

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bookings@focusure.com (Focusure Studios) forms legal resources wedding http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/1/PostWeddingNameChange Mon, 13 Jan 2014 02:34:18 GMT
Bruin the Boston Terriers first trip around our local star. http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/1/bruin-the-boston-terriers-first-trip-around-our-local-star In case it wasn't evident in the title, this is a blog dedicated to my favorite quadruped's first year on this planet, well that and I'm a huge space nerd.  What follows is a mixture of professional, camera phone pictures, and a little insight into this photogenic little pup.  

 

This is not my first brown boston terrier, a previous one had been lost in a prior relationship so I had been looking to find a suitable replacement for some time.  I had also recently started a new relationship, and she had a dog, so it seemed like the right time.  Bruin arrived in Manchester the day after valentines day (not intentional) and anyone that knows me knows I am terrible at keeping secrets, but for once in my life I managed to keep the secret, as well as buy and hide all of the puppy essentials before his arrival.

He was greeted from his crate by my lovely girlfriend Jenna and spent the ride home in a towel on her lap, and hasn't left it since.  These 2 pictures were from his first night home when he was a mere 8 pounds, and 9 weeks.  As a lifelong hockey fan, the name came to me when I was looking for the right dog and stuck instantly.

Not exactly a fan of his first exposure to cold weather.

Equally unimpressed by his first visit to the vet.

His first studio picture was taken soon after (March 2nd), and he was quite well behaved and is now fully comfortable in and around the studio.

One of my other passions/hobbies is cars and early exposure proved helpful as he is very calm and enjoys car rides almost as much as I do.

Although he doesn't always need the bed now.

I'm also lucky enough to work in a place that allows dogs, and he sometimes comes for a visit.

The neighborhood children have seen him grow up this year in front of their eyes, so it seemed only fitting that he don his new costume to join them for some Halloween activities.

He turned 1 on 12/15/13 (27lbs!) and I couldn't be happier with how he has turned out.  His personality, loyalty, and energy have all been a wonderful addition to our house, and I couldn't imagine life without him.  I would highly recommend this breed, and the breeder as they are both top notch.  This last picture is a little misleading in that the crop and zoom makes him look almost the same size, but he has about tripled in size but retained that puppy face.

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bookings@focusure.com (Focusure Studios) boston terrier bruin dog puppy studio http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/1/bruin-the-boston-terriers-first-trip-around-our-local-star Mon, 06 Jan 2014 18:09:35 GMT
Leenda Lucia http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/leenda-lucia blog by Leeann

Last Saturday, Leenda and I decided to throw together a shoot at the last minute.  She has had a crazy schedule since starting her own business, and we tried (and failed) over the summer to get together and shoot - so when the opportunity came, we jumped!  You might recognize her gorgeous face... its on the splash screen to www.focusure.com

We started out ambitious enough, throwing around ideas and adding to a pinterest board I created under Leenda's name, way back before our 2nd shoot together.  Saturday, I dragged myself out of bed to set up light stands, and switch my seamless paper.  We were supposed to start at 2pm.  When Leenda messaged me about an hour before the shoot, asking to push it forward a little... I was more than happy to oblige.  I know I live in New England, but every year, around this time.. the weather makes me lazy!

After she got to my house, and was assaulted by my dogs, we hung out and caught up on girl talk.  It was clear from the get-go that our shoot was going to be nice and casual, and a blast.  

To start off, I tossed her a sweatshirt I stole/was given.  I met Brian Doherty during a music video shoot a few years ago, and not only is he an amazing photographer, he's also an Irish dancer with Lord of the Dance.  He has been working with these two awesome irish dancers, known as Taptronic.  If you have a few minutes, check out some of their videos on youtube, they are really good!  Anyway, I tossed Leenda the sweatshirt, leg warmers, and some sparkly shoes, to warm both of us up.

Casual, I thought?  Casual, I confirmed, as I l watched Leenda dig through a rolling suitcase of colorful tops, cut-out dresses, and high-waisted pants.  Keeps the boy shorts.  Ditch the sweatshirt.  Rock a wife beater.  

The shoot felt like two friends getting ready to go out, laughing and posing in a series of outfits.  You may be thinking, "Well, except she was occasionally in her underwear, and you had a camera."  Nope, that's pretty spot on with girls getting ready to go out.

When Leenda put on my favorite jeans (of hers), I put the fan on her and changed the light a bit.  I really dug the urban feel of the outfit and her accessories (from her very own company, Lia Sophia).  It was even more awesome when I realized the fan was giving her a fan-fro.  Loooooooove.

The last setup we tried was nothing short of hilarious.  I wanted to shoot her on a bed setup, just really natural and pretty.  I was using an air mattress that belonged to Billy, and it was WAY too low to the ground.  After dragging some trunks and plastic bins with lids from the crawl space, I placed 3 of them in a diagonal line under the air mattress and threw a sheet on top.  I thought Leenda would model better if she was afraid of falling off the air mattress the whole time.  Just kidding, I didn't actually think it through at all.  She of course, took it all in stride, did a kickass job, and we had a great time.  There was a failed 'pillow fight' and 'jumping on the bed' shot, which was more fun than it should have been.  

Beautiful girl, thanks for the laughs.  <3

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bookings@focusure.com (Focusure Studios) casual gorgeous leenda model vintage http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/leenda-lucia Fri, 13 Dec 2013 22:10:44 GMT
Braylon turns one! http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/10/braylon-turns-one Blog by Leeann

Last Sunday, I finally got to meet (and photograph!), little Braylon, who was turning one in a week.  I met Mom and Dad (Stacey and Mike) in the parking lot at Twin Bridges Park, and saw that Stacey had brought balloons and a big pumpkin with a "1" painted on it.  Adorable, as was the little face looking up at me from his carseat.  Braylon has the chubbiest cheeks, and they are plain irresitable when he is laughing.

Let me take a moment here to explain some history of Focusure Studios and Stacey, Mike, and Braylon.  Awhile back (not sure of the exact timeframe, but to explain it in 'girl', it was like, a million years ago", I used to bartend at a restaurant called Martha's Exchange.  So did Stacey.  One day, while grabbing things in the cooler, I caught a peek of one of Stacey's tattoos.  What caught my eye is that I have the same one.  No, not one like it.  The same exact one.  In the same exact spot.  I happen to think this is awesome.

When Focusure used to do event photography, we would see Stacey a lot while she was bartending.  When Stacey got pregnant with Braylon, I was thrilled to learn we were going to shoot the maternity photos.  

Hi, Braylon!

 

Mike and I met more recently, but he went to high school with my boyfriend, Billy.  More than that, Billy told me they were friends.  When we were building my home studio, we couldn't put down a floor until we fixed the leaky chimney that dripped water into the studio closet.  Mike owns Veteran Chimney, and we called him to do the work.  He did an amazing job!  He even did a little roof cleanup and carried down materials (shingles maybe?) left by someone who had done work on the house previously.  If you have any... um... chimney work?  I would definitely contact him, or at least check out his website.  Here it is.

And here are some before and after photos of my chimney, that I stole from Veteran's Facebook page.  (Photo cred:  Mike and his cellphone)

Soon after, Mike contacted me to do some photos of his crew.  Sure!, I said.  Up on a roof! Uhhh......  

Chhhhrisssssssss!  There is now way I would get sharp photos on a roof.  I would probably be concentrating too hard on not falling OFF the roof, I wouldn't be useful.  So Chris did it. (sorry for the poor quality of this, I also stole this off facebook, and had to stretch it a bit to fit.  I'll replace it with a full res later!  Promise.)

Present day.  The three of us walked (Brayden was carried) into the woods towards the bridge.  I suggested we do those photos first, since lighting under tree cover in NH leaves long before it would at the playground.  We tied the balloons to one of the park's two bridges, and started with a photo of the three of them.... What a good looking trio!

Being such a big boy, Braylon stood for a picture alone.

We walked to see where the path would lead, and soon came to a dead end. There was a large rock in the middle of the path.  It had a bit of open shade, so we decided to snap a few photos before heading out of the woods.  I grabbed a mini pumpkin out of my purse and handed it to Braylon.  It was a hit!  So much, in fact, we had to distract him and hide it when he wasn't looking.

On the way out of the woods, we took a few shots of Mom and baby.... 

As we walked through the leaves towards the playground, Mike paused and tossed Braylon a little in the air -  I asked him to do it again.  Braylon didn't seem to mind.

At the playground, and Braylon is the captain of this ship!

Just hanging on the swings with his pal, Mr. Pumpkin.

Loving the hair!

Baby giggles are the best giggles.  

I had so much fun with Braylon, Stacey and Mike - and  am so excited that I finally got to meet the baby, after the bump.

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bookings@focusure.com (Focusure Studios) http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/10/braylon-turns-one Thu, 24 Oct 2013 19:00:00 GMT
Amy and Jack http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/10/amy-and-jack Blog by Leeann

 

My twin sister, Amykins (her secret birth name) had asked me if I wanted to hang out.  It was a Wednesday, or something.  I said yes, and made a mental promise not to let the day get away from me.  My sister lives a short distance south of me.  We make tentative plans pretty often, but she has her hands full with an adorable 14 month old (my nephew, Jack), and I have two jobs that sometimes have me working, in some form, 7 days a week.    So sometimes we decide to be lazy.  Okay, I decide to be lazy.  Even though I facetime with her and Jack often, I wanted to see my nephew, and hear him giggle.

I spoke to her Friday morning and suggested we take Jack for some pictures, since the foliage was so pretty.  I had photographed Jack in my studio a few months before, for his first birthday - but there is something about photographing children playing that is very special, and (brace yourself!) magical.

Amy and Jack knocked on the front door around 4pm, and while Jack said hello to my "doggies", I snapped a few test shots outside my house.  I had been noticing the super pretty trees that lined the hill, leading away from my end of the street.  'Twas a cloudy day, so I interrupted the dog-licking-giggling party, and took them outside to grab a few frames before we left.

Jack and mom walkingAmy and Jack

 

Being such a beautiful day, the park was swarming with children.  I honestly don't mind that kind of setting.  Although it can be a challenge to include only your subjects in your photo, Jack had so much to watch, he didn't get fussy for a very long time.  Additionally, the park is one place that people (read: parents) are generally pretty respectful of staying out of your picture, because they like taking pictures of their own.

Jack at the park

 

As Jack went through this tunnel, another little girl tried to go right in.  Jack waved.  The little girl yelled at him.  Jack bowed his head in defeat.  I wish I could share the photos here, because they are adorable.  However, the little girl and her mom didn't stay long enough for me to ask any kind of permission, so thats the way it goes.

 

This thing is so cool!  It reminds me of when i was first learning about the early piano!  Piano, for those who don't know, is a string instrument AND a percussion instrument.  The strings that make the noise, are hit by hammers.  I wish I could tell you Jack didn't try to put these dirty little hammers in his mouth...

 

My sister and I watched Jack take everything in, with wonder and amazement, as children often do.  How much fun they can have with leaves, or a stick, or a pinecone.

 

I mentioned to my sister that I was going to take photos of her too, so she should prepare herself.  She did.  

 

As soon as I got home from the shoot, I pulled my compact flash card from my camera and began uploading the photos.  Some of them had brightly colored bars, and blocks.  After I tried and retried to load them, put them back in my camera (they were all fine), I finally accepted defeat.  

 

Out of 300 photos, 200 were fine, 100 were corrupted.  This was the first time something like this had ever happened, and although I was a little disappointed, I was SO thankful it wasn't all of them.  It wasn't even most of them!  Also, we really had a terrific day, and no corrupt file is going to ruin that.  :)

 

 

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bookings@focusure.com (Focusure Studios) Kids children family family portraits park portrait http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/10/amy-and-jack Sun, 20 Oct 2013 02:45:22 GMT
Sakkinen Wedding! http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/10/sakkinen-wedding Blog by Chris

For someone who only does a select few weddings a year, I knew that 2 of them in 6 days was going to be a challenge, especially on a bum knee. It’s not often the word ‘heroic’ is thrown around, but when I was getting ready for the day, the Rocky theme came on my iPod, so you be the judge. Bags are packed, batteries are charged, memory cards are formatted, knee is wrapped, photographers are….caffinated? We were off to the Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley MA, but it is far from a typical restaurant. Between a covered bridge, a concert hall, multiple bars and function rooms there was no shortage of cool and interesting areas to take our photographs. We had also done an engagement shoot there some months ago on a day that felt like a scene filmed on the ice planet Hoth (first nerdy reference, more to come) so we were familiar with this unique location.

We arrived at 2pm and were greeted by the bearded faces of the groom and his groomsmen, the dogs (much more on them later) as well as a bearded Jason Kenny. The original plan was to take the getting ready pictures of the females first, and then guys after, but they were here and we had cameras and we weren’t afraid to use them. One of the advantages of a guy/girl photography partnership is one of us can relate to our subjects in just about any situation. I knew this group of groomsmen was going to be much like me from the get go through one obscure 90’s music reference. Follow along if you can. Someone brought homemade peach moonshine, and the conversation managed to go from moonshine > alcohol percentage > Everclear (190proof) > Everclear (band) > air guitar of “Santa Monica” by the groomsmen. The next 40 minutes or so are a blur of video game references, a StreetFighter (girls are shaking their heads at this point) groomsmen pose, random air guitar riffs, and beard discussions.

I was informed that the girls were on their way, and per their agreement, the bride and groom were not to see each other. I ushered them (usher, get it?) to hang out in the front of the building until the ceremony. As was mentioned earlier, one of the advantages of our partnership is especially in the getting ready phase, we blend in with the respective wedding parties and try to catch the most honest emotions that we can.

I made my way down to where the girls were getting ready, opened the door and was greeted by a familiar sight. The room was filled with empty wine bottles, shoes, bags, clothing, and stressed bridesmaids, and although familiar I was still terrified by the the sudden spike in estrogen (I forget that I write like I talk, and I talk very sarcastically, this is one of those times).

By the time I had arrived Nancy was dressed, Leeann was shooting, and there was an eerie calm before the storm vibe in the room. This is going to sound weird, but Nancy’s dress to me fit the room they were getting ready in perfectly, it felt timeless. I walked in to her leaning against the bar, with a glass of wine in her hand, next to what looked like a light fixture from the 40s it was very early Mad Men.

The overall theme had a great rustic feel, a lot of natural colors and earthy details, which created a great backdrop for the traditionally dressed bridal party with the men in grey and the women in different shades of purple.

 

Ceremony time, and the sun has just come out! Everyone is happy! Well of course, except the photographers. Long covered bridge with bright sunlight requires some quick changes and some extra light, but everything went off without a hitch, including the dogs of honor Mr Nacho Cheese, and Ms Jazzy (who really thought that bridge was tasty). 

A quick bridal party shoot on the most excellent covered bridge.

Some newly man and wife photos and we head upstairs to the reception.

Natural touches including huge sunflowers, pumpkins, wheat and hay helped complete the rustic vibe.

 

The reception included most of the standard events including toasts, family dances, a cake cutting, bouquet as well as a garter toss (which concluded in a very hesitant man finally picking it up).

The dance floor opened up, we busted out the props, and let people go to town with their silly hats and feather boas. All in all a wonderful day, and we are very pleased Nancy and Dan wanted us to capture and share it with them. Congrats Mr. and Mrs. Sakkinen!

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bookings@focusure.com (Focusure Studios) Ceremony Reception Sakkinen Wedding http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/10/sakkinen-wedding Thu, 10 Oct 2013 13:38:42 GMT
Hassler Wedding! http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/10/hassler-wedding Introducing Mr. and Mrs.  Hassler!!!

Blog by Leeann

I woke up, and it was a beautiful day.  Score!, I thought.  I love Julie and Brian, and it made me super happy they would be warm and have the sun shining down on them while they took their vows.  It had been kinda icky the beginning of September, and was supposed to be partly cloudy, the forecast said.  I packed up the majority of my gear and headed to Chris's to pick him up, and charge my batteries.  I have this really bad habit of losing, well, everything.  It annoys Chris to no end that he's constantly looking for lens caps, batteries, and strobe cords.  My current lost item was my canon battery charger for my Mark II.  After a quick inventory and double check on equipment, we got on the road.  I texted Brian to see what room the guys were getting ready in, because the guys were getting ready in a hotel not too far from the ceremony/reception venue.

I received the location back from Brian, and when we got to the room, most of the guys were somewhere in the hotel.  The guys soon filed in, and Brian announced that Julie did not have her shoes or corset.  Oh no!  But - he said, her dad was going to get it.  Whewwwwwww.  Now, let me pause here and tell you something about Julie:  This girl has it together.  I have never met someone so organized and on top of things.  I imagine her daydreaming about marrying her true love... and forgetting her shoes.  That may not be the way that it happened, but that's the way I thought it would go down.  

The wedding colors were black and white with red flowers, which is one of my favorite combinations.  Its just so classy and timeless.  The guys had shirts that did not have buttons on it, they came with it.  Hmmm.  Interesting.  And I may or may not have pinned a boutonniere on for a groomsman in such a way he would have been stabbed before the ceremony was even over.  (note to self, learn how to pin a boutonniere properly).

Hassler wedding-guy prep

Most of the time, the guys are easy to photograph.  Brian and his crew were no different, and it was easy to pick out, right from the beginning, who the "class clowns" of this group would be.  They really had us laughing the whole day.  Chris took these photos and gave them the caption of "News team assemble!"  (from Anchorman, but I have no idea the connection)

News team assemble!

All the fellas.

We finished with the guys right on time, and had to zip over to start with the girls... and I honestly have to say, the brides wedding prep is one of my favorite things to shoot.  All the little details that she has spent so much time picking out get to finally come together - and for such a wonderful reason.  

The ceremony and reception were both held at Bellevue Golf Course in Melrose, MA.  The grounds were so beautiful.  We of course, got a little lost on the way in, but one of the girls was kind enough to meet us outside and guide us to the locker room where all the girls were located.  I loved the bridesmaid dresses - especially the fishnet extension of the top!  The button detailing on the shoulders really kept with the classy theme.

bridesmaid details

I saw these hangars start popping up a year or two ago,  while I was second shooting a wedding.  I just love them.  Not only are they cute and fun, they make a beautiful photo accompaniment to a wedding dress.  Julie's dress looked like it was made for her.   

There were a few themes in the wedding, along with the black/white/red color scheme: these pale, off white flowers.  Julie carried a bouquet with a variety of white flowers (I wish I could tell you what type of flower they were, they were gorgeous. I really have to get myself a flower book, or maybe an all inclusive, "Know everything about weddings", book!).  There was a white flower in her hair, on the flower girl's dress, on her shoes, and her dress hangar.  I love how that element tied the two ladies in white together.

Her shoes were adorable and simple, and she added the flowers.  Julie and her girls got dolled up at a salon, before traveling by limo from their hotel to the Bellevue.  The challenge at hand:

Get the dress on without ruining the bride's hair.  (It was a group effort!)

Dress is on, now for shoes!

Adding the finishing touches, while Mom and (soon to be!) Mom-in-law look on....

While I wanted to take some solo portraits of my beautiful bride, the sun wanted to play peek-a-boo.  There were these big, puffy clouds, and just enough wind up there to give me a cloudy/sunny flux, ooohhhhhh about every 4 minutes.  Chris would say, hold on - the sun is going behind a cloud in 30 seconds!  By the time I had changed my camera settings and gotten Julie into position, I had approximately 2 frames before it came out again, full force.  The sun out did make for some really beautiful photos, with a starburst sun and a deep blue sky.  

I loved that Bellevue actually let us stand on the grass of the course for these.  They were incredibly hospitable, and drove us to the ceremony site in golf carts!  Julie with her bevy of brunette bridesmaids!  (Not a blondie in the bunch! Brunette power!)

I took the first few bridal party jumping photos with everyone jumping except our couple... for the last set I let them jump.  They really went for it!  (Yes, this photo did take place after the ceremony.  I put it out of sequence because I felt like it belonged here more... I hope no one minds!)  Check out the sweet cannonball on the right... they meant business!

Julie shared with me, fairly early, that she was not going to see her father before the ceremony.  He would greet her to walk her down the aisle, and that would be the first time he laid eyes on his little girl in a wedding dress.  I felt so honored to capture this special moment for the two of them, and of course, told myself not to cry.  I just love his expressions.

"According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs, and a head with two faces.  Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives searching for their other halves."    -Pluto's The Symposium.  

Thankfully, sometimes we find them.

 

 

This was taken later in the night, but sharing it here also seemed fitting.  Their rings were just stunning.  I love solitaire diamonds... 

Remember how I said that Julie was a planner?  Well I don't know if she planned her ceremony so that we would have gorgeous golden light across the golf course for her photos with Brian -  but it happened that way.

Man and wife.  :)

You know how excited I get when I ask a bride to do something that might get them dirty, and they don't refuse (in fear they'll get dirty)?  Very excited.  And to see people as wonderful as they are, be this happy and in love with each other, is an amazing thing.  I really love my job sometimes.  

I hereby declare Brian the King of Dips.  They make it look easy, don't they?  After the couple's first dance.

Cake and cupcake tower, so cute!  Although the couple didn't do an actual cake cutting, they had the bridal cake and cupcake tower set up in the cocktail area, with a candy buffet!  I would be lying if I told you I didn't eat 5 mini reese's on the way home. (Okay, it was 6.)

While the dance floor was too packed (with guests dancing... like, ALL the guests were dancing) to set up our regular photo booth, we grabbed the props from the car and just left them for people to use.  I had a hard time not laughing my shots blurry!  I even made it down there for a photo with one of the groomsman, tired as I was.  My face hurt from smiling.  :D

Hopefully this blog post doesn't crash anyone's computer!  There were so many great photos, it was so hard to choose them.  This blog post is being published the day Julie and Brian get back from their honeymoon (after spending two weeks in Aruba!), and we can't wait to hear how great of a time they had!  And show them the rest of their photos, of course.  To the happy couple, thank you both for allowing us to document and share in your special day, it was such a pleasure!

 

 

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bookings@focusure.com (Focusure Studios) Ceremony Details Hassler Reception Wedding http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/10/hassler-wedding Sun, 06 Oct 2013 13:37:08 GMT
Blog Coming Soon! (We hope) http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/8/blog-coming-soon-we-hope Hi everyone!  As Leeann and Chris start shooting more weddings, we are hoping to keep you up to date with great couples and photos!  We have two weddings coming up in September... maybe it will be then!  Stay tuned!

 

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bookings@focusure.com (Focusure Studios) beginning to blog http://focusurestudios.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/8/blog-coming-soon-we-hope Wed, 28 Aug 2013 12:11:53 GMT