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Why I Make it Personal | Dayton, OH | Lifestyle Photographer

A few months ago a new client asked that I photograph her family, as they had just learned that the patriarch of their family had given a medical diagnosis that was less than desirable. It was her father, and the session was her parents as well as her siblings and their spouses and children. In the traditional sense, their FAMILY. Their people. Let's go back in time a few years to when I felt 'called' by the art of photography. My calling was not only to have the ability to create art through a lens, but also the personal connection that I literally must try to capture in order to photograph these people who have paid me to do so. Here's the thing. I love doing that. I am an extroverted introvert. I love to meet people. I love to listen to someone's dreams, goals. I love to hear about their kids, whether they love or hate their careers and really anything else they want to tell me. I just like. people. (if they are nice and definitely if they are grumpy). Fast forward to this session. I tried to capture what she wanted. I tried to put myself in her shoes so I could understand how it might feel and get some images that she, her mom and their entire family could cherish for a lifetime or more. 

Which brings me to the present. I am in the shoes. I am here, performing with heartbreak. Here is my family. This is a very quick session that I put together to capture my amazing, loving and truly remarkable family about three weeks ago. I, too, learned of a grim prognosis that my beloved Dad received shortly before these pictures. I set up a tripod at the end of my parents street in someone's front yard. It was my Dad's 69th birthday. Please excuse my swollen, red eyes. I was crying for three straight days. Please forgive my wrinkles. They show the fear and anguish that I am feeling. Please forgive my hair. It's been breaking and falling out for months now and I don't know why. But please do notice my family. Please notice how much we love each other. Notice our smiles just happy to be with each other (for a family picture, no less!). My beautiful children who will not know their grandfather as they grow older. You see, my Dad has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. It has metastasized to his liver and lungs. We are trying. Some days we feel strong. Some days we do not. I use the word 'we' because that is what we are. A unit. A group. A FAMILY. Fighting this fight along with my Dad. We will be there with him through this terrifying journey. I am sad for myself and my mom. I am sad for my boys. My brother and his family. But mostly, I am so sad for my Dad. He doesn't deserve this. Life should get easier as you get older. This is hard. 

The doctors say that if he does chemo, he might last one year. That sounds pretty dreamy to us considering the doctor at MVH said 4-6 months. So this past Thursday, he started. Mom and I sat with him for 3.5 hours while they pumped poison into his already frail body. It just about put me over the edge. He never wears jeans. He wore jeans. He looked wonderful. Good color. Decent weight. Hair. Twinkle in his eye. I had much difficulty with the fact that it was the best he would ever look. That moment. Those 3 hours. That was the best he would ever look again. It was heartbreaking. I can't even think about it without crying (hello tears). 

I am hopeful and will remain hopeful. My parents are strong and they raised strong children. I keep telling Dad that everything will be okay. No matter what. Because truly, it will. 

Sarah & Chris | Simply Sweet

One amazing thing about working and living in Dayton is getting to meet interesting, passionate and smart people every day. One of these people happens to be Miss (now Mrs.) Sarah Sullivan. Sarah asked me to capture her upcoming wedding to Chris in the Oregon District and I knew it was a good fit. What an opportunity! It has been a good while since photographing this kind of special day, and I was greatly excited to be the chosen one. It was an absolutely perfect fall day for Sarah, Chris and their families. The sun was shining through the trees and there was a light breeze. The warm sky kept everyone in a great mood and there was lots of love to be seen and felt. Sarah was BREATHTAKING in her dress and she was glowing with excitement. She and Chris were a teensy bit nervous, but after that shot of bourbon (yes, bourbon) during the ceremony, they were nice and relaxed for the rest! My kind of people. 

Maternity Mini Sessions | Farmersville, OH

One of the many reasons that I do what I do, is that I get to capture moments of excitement. A grateful heart. Times of joy that someone wants to freeze in time so they can go back and remember. I try to create a setting that when they show up {to their session} with their cute little ones or amazing partner or fur baby - or whomever or whatever, all of the stresses of the day are gone. Any outside 'noise' is silenced by the click of my camera and the act of being present. I SO enjoyed spending some time photographing my maternity mini clients. The setting was beautiful and we had fun. Growing a baby inside of your body is a magical thing. It's a lot of things....a true blessing. Oh, I snuck in a couple of my boys since they were there to enjoy the fun. I hope you all enjoy these. 

Davis Family | Dayton, O | Lifestyle Photography

After living and seeing life through my camera lens in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, shooting in Dayton is a little different. I absolutely love it! There are so many amazing spots nestled in our city and beyond. I photographed the Davis Family in a sweet spot that I like to take my kids to play. We had a great time and got some amazing photographs! Mama Erica and  Daddy Casey are amazing people (I can just tell) and their kiddos are happy and oh, so sweet. I could just melt taking their pictures. We had lots of fun discussing golf carts, toy airplanes and fruit snacks. It was so much fun spending time with them and capturing some sweet moments. Scroll right to view photographs from their session.  

Baby Makes 3 | Dayton, Ohio Newborn & Maternity Photography

Laura and Pat. And Charlie. It has been so fun seeing them go from dating to marriage to pregnancy and now, the creme de la creme, parenthood. There is nothing that is more magical to see than the love that exists for new baby. New baby is little girl, Charlie. And how adorable is that name? Charlie has a beautiful little head of dark hair and is nothing short of the sweetest little thing. She is already holding her mama's necklace as security. She looks at her daddy when he coos into her ear. I still get astonished when I see such love and beauty. These are the moments that you will never forget. When your family expands by one and the love expands 100 fold. Enjoy these pictures of Laura, Pat and Charlie's journey from pregnancy to joining us in this big crazy world. 

Green of Spring

I had so much fun on our impromptu session with my boys and their cousins, Romy and Jonathan. My niece and nephew stayed with us for a week and it was so much fun! Mostly for my boys, as they rarely have a little girl around to spice things up. My nephew, Jonathan, comes in at a whopping 6 years old. He is smart as a whip, and taught me a few things. Romy's eyes sparkle anytime she speaks of something fondly (which is often). They are both amazing children. I love these kids, can you tell?! They are some of my most favorite subjects to photograph, too. Ohio in the Spring and Summer is truly amazingly rich to photograph. The foliage colors are so many shades of green with browns and move ever-so-softly in the warm breeze. It is truly magical.

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Back in Business

Hello There! Let me introduce myself. I'm Mommy, Wifey, Sister, Auntie, Daughter, Friend, Photographer and a few others. I love to capture special moments with my camera. Ever since I was a kid, I have been enamored with pictures. The real kind; film. My first camera was a pink Le Clic. Then there was that time I purchased a Sun 600 Polaroid camera for $1 at a stoop sale in Brooklyn, NY. I still have that Sun 600, but shoot mostly digital now. Basically, it has been an ongoing obsession for like, oh, 38 years. 

So, I like to capture real life pictures. The kind that you could stare at for days. I like organic smiles, sometimes even tears, love, pain and raw emotion. That is what I do for work. Although for the past 2 years, my work has unapologetically consisted of carrying a baby (and eventually delivering him), moving my family across the country (back to our hometown of Dayton), unpacking my house, establishing our new normal, then (baby part again) caring for a newborn, then infant....now one year old. I also have the sweetest, most amazing four year-old and husband. And dog. And fish. 

Which leads me to now. 

I am now streamlining my services and providing the wonderful people of Dayton and surrounding areas with photographs for a lifetime. I will come to your home or other outdoor location and have you do your thing while I do my thing. 

I charge one price of $350 for about an hour (or so) of shooting. Or, until I feel that I have captured this special time for you. You will get a private online gallery where you are able to download the high resolution images for your unlimited personal use. You will also receive a wooden keepsake box with a copy of each image from your session. I guarantee that you will get your gallery within 7 days of your session. Unless there is a catastrophe. Which I try to avoid. I also provide full-service album design, ordering assistance, gift packaging and more. 

That's it. My big announcement. If you made it this far...thank you! 

I hope to talk to you soon! 

Lena xo