Wendy Ringel Photography: Blog https://www.wendyringel.com/blog en-us (C) Wendy Ringel Photography wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Mon, 15 Feb 2021 14:45:00 GMT Mon, 15 Feb 2021 14:45:00 GMT https://www.wendyringel.com/img/s/v-12/u694261580-o775179682-50.jpg Wendy Ringel Photography: Blog https://www.wendyringel.com/blog 120 80 Happy Anniversary To Me! https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2021/2/happy-anniversary-to-me

I'm going to try to make this quick.  I say that a lot, usually when I am heading out the door or saying goodbye at a party and if you know me, you know it doesn't usually happen.  Let me say it again, I'm going to TRY to make this quick.  Doesn't mean it will be but I'm giving myself points for trying!

Today would have been my 29th wedding anniversary.  Five years ago we celebrated our last anniversary at home while my husband was very ill, but before that last anniversary, we always had a great time and gave gifts not just to each other but to our children and even the pets.  It's a day with special significance and always will be, despite the loss of my husband in 2016.  I'm sharing a photo from our 21st anniversary when we were just being weird and holding up fingers to make 21, that was just us. Goobers.

If you've been around for a while, you know that I have offered a giveaway on this day in the past - if you are new, get ready!  

One of the reasons I value photography so much is that it gives us a way to remember our loved ones long after they are gone.  Or just a way to remember how we used to be, how we have changed, and sometimes a way to celebrate growth within ourselves.  New baby's first steps, that graduation day, wedding day, a weight loss goal - we all have our reasons and they are all GOOD reasons.  

On days that are hard, I find giving to be the best medicine.  Giving something significant is even better medicine.  So I'm doing it again, this is the THIRD annual Scott Ringel Anniversary Remembrance Giveaway.  (My hubby would have been tickled to have his name on this, I'm sure.)  Here's how it will work this year:

I will give away THREE sessions that include a one hour session, an 11x14 print from the session and the option to buy the full gallery for $99 (regular price $1200).  There is no obligation to buy the gallery, winners can choose their favorite photo with no pressure at all.  Here's what you need to know to nominate someone for the contest:

  • I'm looking for ONE family who has a loved one fighting cancer and needs an updated family photo

 

  • I'm looking for ONE family with children on the autism spectrum who needs an updated family photo

 

  • I'm looking for ONE woman of any age who is a hero for any reason at all.  They are out there!

 

A few rules: Families MUST know you entered them and be on board.  In the past I spent a little time chasing down people who just weren't up to having photos, and that is OK, but for my sanity, please make sure they know! They need to be available to come to the Burlington area. The contest ends in ONE week, February 22, 2021.  So get your entries in!  And sessions MUST be held by June 30th. PLEASE do not nominate someone who is already working with a photographer, it is not my intention to steal a client from another professional.  

As a BONUS, any entries you send will receive a $200 voucher toward their next family session, so even if they aren't picked, they can still come in for a discounted session.  How to enter?  Send me an email using this contact form:   CLICK HERE

Here are some photos from our past giveaway sessions.  These were all so meaningful and warmed my heart. There are many more I could share and probably will over on my VIP group - join us there if you want to keep up with contest updates.  Click here to join:  WRP VIP 

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2021/2/happy-anniversary-to-me Mon, 15 Feb 2021 14:44:44 GMT
What Is Fine Art Portrait Photography? https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2021/2/what-is-fine-art-portrait-photography Teen girl in tulle dress on a gold chair, staring into the camera with attitudeTeenager on gold chairTeen girl in tulle

You have probably had portraits at some time or another, whether they were family portraits, baby pictures or those bridal portraits taken on your wedding day. But have you ever experienced fine art portrait photography?

 

This type of portrait photography is often taken in a studio, where more artistically stylized images are created to make stunning wall art. These images are created not just with wardrobe, makeup and hair styling, but with careful editing and color adjustments in post-production.  Fine art photos can also be taken outside, with much thought given to the background and lighting conditions.

 

How is fine art portrait photography different from regular photography?

Most professional photographers specialize in capturing a specific moment or milestone in a person’s life, such as a wedding, the birth of a new child or a high school senior’s graduation. Those types of photos are not always documentary-style; they might be posed or un-posed, but they generally are not stylized, instead focusing on the genuine expressions and feelings of the subjects.

 

Fine art portrait photography, on the other hand, is designed to be a piece of art. From the clothing chosen for the subject, to the background, to the way everything is staged, these images are carefully created by the photographer as works of art, designed to be displayed.  These photographers also make use of backdrops, props, accessories and other objects and techniques to create fine art from their images.

Woman on a couch, wearing tulle dress, red lipstick, staring straight into the camera.Fine Art Portrait of a LadyFine Art portrait featuring tulle gown from our client closet, beautiful backdrop and extensive editing for a flawless finish.
 

Where photojournalistic photographers work to capture a moment or a subject as naturally as possible, fine art photographers strive to capture a  vision. That’s why staging and posing are so important in this type of photography, as they give the photographer more control over their images.  Many fine art photographers focus on their personal vision for the final product, but our studio always works with the client to bring their vision into the picture as well.  And for small children, we all know there isn't always a lot of posing!  For children's fine art, we focus on activity that will engage the child so that they find it easier to "pose" for their portrait.

fine art boy on a tractorwinter portrait of a toddler

Is fine art portrait photography always in black and white?

Absolutely not! While many portraits may be in black and white, fine art portrait photographers work in color as well, often to great effect. Like most photographers, they capture images with a variety of colors, as well as black and white images.  Our studio especially likes working with bold color choices for fine art photography.  And sometimes we provide both options!

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Why should I consider fine art portraits?

Fine art portrait photography offers something unique—art featuring you or your family members. Instead of normal family photos that you may share on social media or put in an album, these images look stunning on large canvases or as framed prints and can even be conversation pieces in your home.  Think of those framed portraits on the "ancestor wall" in castles and estates - wouldn't you love to start that tradition for your family? 

 

Long ago, people used to have their portraits painted. Fine art portraits are similar in style without the long hours of sitting and holding a pose. These are images you are and your family will cherish for years to come—a moment captured in time as a work of art.

Our studio offers fine art portraits for families and individuals, with styling assistance, multiple backdrops and the use of our client closet to help you round out your wardrobe choice for your session.  If you are ready for your next portrait to be extraordinary, click HERE to get in touch.  We can start the ball rolling with a no pressure conversation about how to bring your vision to life.  

Girl in a gown and flower crown reading a vintage book in the woodsFine Art Outdoor PortraitGirl reading a vintage book in the woods Wearing a flower crown and a pink gown

Our studio is located in Burlington, NJ with easy access from the NJ Turnpike or Route 295.  We are within driving distance of Philadelphia, New York City and Baltimore.  We offer portraits for families, children and pets and yes, we offer fine art sessions in addition to the more typical family photos.  

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Bucks County Portrait Photographer Burlington County Portrait Photographer fine art portrait photographer fine art portraits NJ Fine Art Photographer NJ portrait photographer Philadelphia Portrait Photographer portrait photography https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2021/2/what-is-fine-art-portrait-photography Tue, 02 Feb 2021 19:48:00 GMT
The WRP 2020 Bees Knees Contest!! https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/12/the-wrp-2020-bees-knees-contest Photographer wiping the hair out of her eyes during a photo shoot2020 Has Been Quite a Year So 2020 has been quite a year, am I right??  Masks and shut downs and home schooling and wedding postponements.  I know we have all grown and learned a lot this year, to put it mildly.

Despite the challenges, I was so happy to be able to see so many of my past clients AND to meet some new friends.  We managed to pull off Cupcakes and Cuties (in the forest!) and switched from the tree farm to Winter in the City, there were beautiful elopement weddings and full outdoor family sessions, all managed with safety in mind.  I'm so proud of YOU all and proud of our little team.

So now it is time for me to give back to all of you with a really fun contest. This is kind of similar to what we did in 2015 with my Top 15 of 2015, but I think it's even more fun and there are over 100 entries this year!  Everyone who had a paid session in 2020 wins bragging rights but ONE person will also win a free 11x14 canvas from their 2020 session!  Here's how it will work:

I will share my favorite photo from your 2020 session. These are the BEES KNEES photos! Every single one of you who had a session this year (not including model calls and gifted sessions) will see one of your photos from your session posted on Facebook and Instagram.  Then the fun begins!  The person with the most points at midnight on Wednesday December 16th will win the canvas.  How do the points work?

You will vote for your favorites.  On Facebook, thumbs up (like) counts as one point.  The heart (love) counts as 2 points.  The surprise face (wow) counts as three points.  On instagram there will be voting as well, simply commenting on the photo you chose.  Families who had more than one session get more than one photo included.  You can vote for as many or as few as you would like.  After you vote, be sure to invite your friends and family to vote too!  The photo with the most points will win the canvas!!  You can see all my favorite photos below, but to vote you have to follow the contest on social media.

Check out my account on Instagram:  Wendy Ringel Photography - Or my page on Facebook: Wendy Ringel Photography

Without further ado, here are YOUR 2020 Bees Knees Photos, you are all SO gorgeous!!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2020 Bees Knees Contest Bees Knees Contest Burlington County Burlington County Photographer Burlington NJ contest countdown End of Year Contest family photos Favorite Photos Favorite Things NJ NJ Photographer South Jersey Photographer special needs special needs photographer wedding photographer Wendy Ringel Photography https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/12/the-wrp-2020-bees-knees-contest Wed, 09 Dec 2020 16:43:23 GMT
Winter in the City Mini Sessions Coming Soon! https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/10/winter-in-the-city-mini-sessions-coming-soon Winter in the City! 

November 7th & 8th 2020 ~ Burlington, New Jersey

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This year I'm offering a truly unique mini session experience!  You'll love our charming historic downtown district and the kids will love our vintage toy props!  Your session lasts up to 20 minutes as we search for the light amidst the brick sidewalks and colonial homes of Burlington, NJ.  Bundle up in colorful sweaters and coats or wear your fanciest finery, either way will be amazing! 

Want that real winter feel?  Finish your photo off with our optional photoshop "snowstorm"
 

What's included?  Your price of admission includes one fine art digital print of your immediate family, just the thing for framing and hanging over the mantle, or for printing those cards. 

  

Want more than that one perfect photo?  You'll have the option to upgrade after your session, with photo packages available to add 3, 10 or 20 more photos.  

 

These sessions are going fast so grab your spot today!  Click HERE to book your time slot.  To view our upgrade options, click HERE.  This is our ONLY mini session event this year, so don't miss out!

See you soon!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) best Burlington photographer Bucks County burlington county photographer burlington mini sessions burlington nj photographer cherry hill mini sessions cherry hill photographer holiday mini sessions nj family photographer NJ holiday photos philadelphia area mini sessions philadelphia area photographer south jersey photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/10/winter-in-the-city-mini-sessions-coming-soon Sat, 31 Oct 2020 12:30:00 GMT
Cupcakes & Cuties in the Forest Was AMAZING! https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/10/cupcakes-cuties-in-the-forest-was-amazing

It is busy season for photographers right now and I am inundated with sessions and editing but I had to take a minute to reflect on Cupcakes & Cuties in the Forest, our gorgeous event that we hold every year.  Because guys, I am just feeling SO proud of myself and my little team.  We pulled off such an amazing event during a PANDEMIC and we did it safely. Go Team WRP!

We had kids of all ages, sizes and abilities plus one or two adults (aka kids at heart) and one big fluffy puppy - we fought the sun and heat one weekend and then the chill in the air the following weekend.  We set up home base in a parking lot and turned a baseball field and walking trail into an enchanted forest. Gowns, crowns, bowties and bowler hats - brothers, sisters, cousins and friends - toddlers, teens and every age in between - we had a wonderful time and captured some amazing fine art portraits showcasing everyone's real personality.  We operated with a skeleton crew to keep contacts down and made sure our cupcakes were individually packaged (Thanks N'TheOven Bakery!)  We had a table of wipes and hand sanitizer, wore our masks, did online ordering, kept up the social distancing and somehow it all worked.

This year's event was located in a secret little spot in Burlington, NJ and featured princess dresses and dressy boys clothes from Dollcake Vintage, Tutu Du Monde, Trish Scully and Little Dreamers.  Please enjoy a few of my favorite photos from this event and if you're so inclined, scroll down to the end to check out the fun slide show and see all 50+ (!!!!) beautiful faces that came to see us.  

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Want to see more?  Click on that slideshow, I promise it will make you smile!

To join us for our next event, or schedule your own family session, please click HERE to get in touch.  Our studio is located in historic Burlington, NJ, close to Bucks County, Philadelphia and Cherry Hill NJ and a little over an hour from the Jersey Shore, New York City and Delaware.  We are right off the NJ Turnpike with easy access to Route 130 and 295.  We'd love to see you!

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Best Photographer in Burlington NJ Bordentown Photographer Bucks County Photographer Burlington baby photographer burlington county photographer burlington nj photographer Burlington toddler photographer Cherry Hill Photographer Cupcakes and Cuties Dollcake Vintage photographer fine art photographer Medford photographer Mount Holly Photographer NJ baby photographer NJ fine art photographer NJ princess photos Philadelphia area photographer south jersey photographer Special Needs Photographer Tween Photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/10/cupcakes-cuties-in-the-forest-was-amazing Fri, 30 Oct 2020 20:42:23 GMT
Cupcakes and Cuties in the Forest https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/9/cupcakes-and-cuties-in-the-forest  

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Well friends, it has been a long wait for this announcement.  Our Cupcakes & Cuties event at the studio has been such a big hit in the past and it has been so hard waiting to launch our summer sessions!  I spent the last few months trying to think of ways to work within state guidelines and still have a fun event, and I am finally ready to announce our upcoming SAFE event for September! 

 

Your spot can be reserved through our online ordering page if you CLICK HERE.
 

As you know, in the past we have held the event in the studio, but due to COVID-19, I am opting to have the sessions outside this time.  We'll be taking precautions for your safety that I will detail below.  I've also gone over a few questions that I thought might come up, such as "what if it rains" and "what about hair and makeup?" plus a few more.  Keep reading, you'll get lots of answers!

What will be the same?  We will still have styling options including fun dresses, crowns, bow ties and some more casual looks for boys. And I'm so excited to have a lot of new dresses and wardrobe options to share!  You will still get your first image included with your session fee and yes there will still be a cupcake! 

What will be different?  Well, it will be outside for one thing.  Dress options will be kind of set in stone so we can be sure that no one shares any dresses (and germs) without cleaning in between.  Props are going to be wipeable, so no blue couch (but we have some good props, don't worry!) - sessions will be spaced further apart so families won't be mingling and I'll be using my long lens so I won't be able to be hands on with little ones.  Contracts and order forms will all be online. And sadly, no hair and makeup this year, due to COVID-19 concerns.  On the bright side, I am including some new print options with every digital gallery upgrade and I am really excited to be offering a cute photo book and specialized prints, because you know how I feel about printing your photos!  Here's the cute mini photo book that comes with the 20 image gallery, I love it! D1

I am happy to announce our Cupcakes and Cuties event for September 2020 - Your spot can be reserved through our online ordering page if you CLICK HERE.


The details - Please join us on September 13th, 16th, 19th & 20th for a day of fun and photos at a special location - each child will be styled (prince & princess style) and have their own 15 minute model experience, followed with a cupcake to take home.  

Each child receives one 4x6 specialty print (mailed to you within 3 weeks).  Want more photos from the session?  Opt for a session upgrade at a special price.   If the event sells out, everyone receives one extra photo as a bonus!

Want to give this as a gift??  What a great idea!   Give the gift of an event this year!

Price is per child.  Have more than one child?  You need to purchase a spot for each child but obviously there is no need to wait 15 minutes and clean between sessions for children in the same family.  If you have two children,  please purchase the time slot for the first child and message me to add the invoice for the second child. For more than three children purchase the two time slots and message me to add the third and/or fourth child.  

Photos chosen at discretion of photographer, unless online zoom consultation is requested.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Q:  How do we choose our wardrobe?

A:  After you purchase your time slot,  I'll send a questionnaire so I can match your child to the perfect wardrobe.  I have dresses and crowns for girls and a few different options for boys, depending on their age.  You are also welcome to have them wear their own clothing to the session if you prefer.  Boys especially sometimes want to wear their own clothing and that is ok.

Q:  Can we get family sessions done at this time?

A:  No, these sessions are for single children only.  If you book siblings back to back, they can have photos together.  Mom, if you book a spot for yourself and your children, we can include mommy and me photos during your session.  However we do not offer full family photos during Cupcakes and Cuties.  Feel free to schedule your full service family session through my contact page.


Q:  What if it rains?

A:  I'll be watching the weather closely and offering makeup days in case of rain.  Every effort will be made to find a date that works for you.   We may even have a few openings for in studio if you can't make it to one of our makeup days.  You know us, we will make things work.

Q:  What precautions are you taking due to COVID-19

A:   The biggest step we are taking is hosting this event outside.  We are also forgoing all of our plush couches and chairs and opting for harder surfaced props that can be wiped down between cuties.  We are also limiting dress usage, so that no one will share a dress during the event.  We have enough dresses to make this possible, but each child will have to take the dress they are assigned.  In the past we allowed them to choose at the studio but this is just not possible this year.  We will be wearing masks when in close range and using long lenses to take the photos from a distance.  We are also spacing out our sessions to every half hour so that we won't have multiple families getting too close to each other.  Cupcakes will be individually wrapped.

Q:  What about hair and makeup?  

A:  Sadly, we have to skip doing hair and makeup for now,  but these little cuties are perfect without it.  Feel free to add a little lip gloss or mascara if you'd like, and style their hair as you wish.  I've made up for this loss by adding special products to the digital gallery upgrades, which are the same price as last year but now include actual products and not just digitals.

Q:  Where will the kids get changed?

A:   I have a pop up changing tent that we will be using, and spraying with lysol between cuties.  Alternately, if your children would prefer to change in your car, that is ok too.  And as already mentioned, if this doesn't work for you, you are welcome to come in your own clothing for the photos.

Thank you all for continuing to support my business and allow me to bring this fun event to your families.  I know this year has been challenging to all of us so I hope I can safely bring some joy to your children and make them feel special at our event this year!

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Best Burlington County Family Photographer Best NJ Kids Photographer Bucks County Photographer Burlington County Family Photographer Burlington County photographer Burlington NJ photographer Cherry Hill photographer couture kids session cupcakes cupcakes and cuties cuties Medford Photographer mini session Mount Holly Photographer NJ princess session photographer Philadelphia photographer Philadelphia princess sessions princess session south jersey south jersey mini session south jersey princess photo session Special Needs Photographer styled shoot https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/9/cupcakes-and-cuties-in-the-forest Thu, 03 Sep 2020 23:31:48 GMT
Dancing in the Rain - A Mount Holly Family Photo Session at Smithville Park https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/8/dancing-in-the-rain---a-mount-holly-family-photo-session-at-smithville-park This time last year, when things were very different in the world, I had a call from a lovely lady who wanted some family photos in a garden setting.  We made our plans for Historic Smithville Mansion in Mount Holly, New Jersey.  Not only was the location convenient for all of us, but their gardens are hard to beat.  The day of the session was cloudy with mixed reviews from all the weather apps about the possibility of rain, but every app said the rain would be starting later, so we decided to go ahead.

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Things started out so well, we got some family poses done at our first location and started into some shots of these cuties.

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And then .... 

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Yes, the rain started to fall!  We were on a covered porch so we thought it would be best to wait it out, and of course we still took some photos while we waited.  And the kids had a fine time playing with bubbles.  I don't think they minded the rain one bit.

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Eventually we realized we were going to be there a while.  Our apps were all wrong.  We were on that porch for almost an hour and it rained like crazy.  We all debated whether to make a run for it, but none of us wanted to get quite that wet.  

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Except maybe this guy.  Arthur had no qualms about getting that wet, can't you tell?

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We finally got off the porch when the rain slowed to a drizzle, and said we'd reschedule the second half of the session another time.  It took almost a year, but we finally managed to find a day to try again.  This time, due to COVID19 issues, we opted to skip the park and take the photos at the family home, also right in Mount Holly.  Their beautiful flower gardens and historic home made a perfect backdrop, and guess what?  No rain!!

I really enjoyed seeing how the kids had grown over the last year and as much as I loved the rainy day photos, I definitely am glad we were able to come back and enjoy a drier photo experience the second time around.  

 

 

We ended the session with some ukuleles - I can't think of a better way to end a session, can you?

 

 

I'm so thankful to have clients like these, who are good sports under pressure and so much fun.  They're super cute too, but you can see that for yourself, right?  If you'd like a photographer who will entertain you while you wait out a rain storm on a porch, drop me a line!  I'll bring the bubbles and some corny jokes, you just bring yourself and your best smiles.  I look forward to dancing in the rain with you.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Bucks County Photographer Burlington County Photographer Burlington Family Photographer Cherry Hill Photographer Family photography New Jersey family photos family photoshoot Family Portraits in the Rain it rained for our photos Mount Holly family photographer Mount Holly NJ NJ Family Photographer Rainy Day Photo Session Smithville Mansion Photographer Smithville Mount Holly Photo Session Smithville Park Photo Session South Jersey Family Photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/8/dancing-in-the-rain---a-mount-holly-family-photo-session-at-smithville-park Wed, 12 Aug 2020 11:30:00 GMT
Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy Session https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/7/bernese-mountain-dog-puppy-session No matter how stressful things are out there, puppies always make me feel better.  So for your viewing pleasure today, how about some puppy pictures?  

Mr. Caius Jameson has been in for portraits in the past.  He's a very cool therapy dog with a very devoted dog mom.  He even has his own Instagram that you can check out here.  When she called me to say she had a new puppy and wanted photos, I couldn't say yes fast enough.  Meet Caius and his new baby brother Patrone.

 

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The massiveness of Caius next to the wiggly smallness of Patrone was just so much fun to see.  Getting them to sit still and be in the same spot was not as easy as it sounds, but with lots of treats and funny noises we got it done.  I don't think I need to say much more about this session.  I'm just going to share the photos so you can feel all the warm fuzzies.  And let you know that if you want a pet session, I'm your girl.  Or if you just want to include your pet in family photos, yes please, just say the word!  You can contact me HERE to chat about what I offer for pet sessions.  

And now, without further ado, here they are.  The cutest puppy pictures ever.  Happy Friday!

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) bernese mountain dog big dogs dog portraits fluffy dogs NJ pet portraits nj photographer pet portraits south jersey pet photographer" "south jersey photographer" "burlington NJ photographer" "burlington pet photographer" puppies "bernese mountain dog puppy" "dog mom" https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/7/bernese-mountain-dog-puppy-session Fri, 10 Jul 2020 15:17:52 GMT
Aaron's Wild One Milestone Session and Cake Smash https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/7/aarons-wild-one-milestone-session-and-cake-smash  

 

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Baby Aaron turned one and his parents wanted to be sure to capture his incredible cuteness before he got any bigger.  Those baby cheeks, tiny toes, those swaying first steps and oh my goodness, his curls!  Toddlers are just perfect, aren't they?

Due to the current pandemic, mom and I had our consultation on the phone and planned out the session details.  We used one of my exclusive "semi-secret" locations so we could avoid crowds and mom brought along the tent and the cake.  I supplied some small props (all sanitized before and after use) and we had one of the cutest socially distanced sessions ever.  It was no problem at all getting gorgeous shots of baby Aaron from a distance.  The hardest part was for me to back away fast enough when he gave up walking and started crawling through the grass.  Little man can MOVE when he crawls!!  How do babies do that?

 

With a little help from mom, dad, grandma and two amazing big sisters, we got some gorgeous shots of baby Aaron enjoying his time in the clover field, trying out his cake and then taking a little dip in the tub.  He had a wonderful time exploring nature while I just documented the beautiful moments.  His parents will have these memories to treasure forever.  

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Look at those toes.  

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Bringing older siblings (or other helpful family members) along during social distance sessions is a great idea! I normally have hands on assistants when working with toddlers but right now that is not the safest option. These girls were such great helpers, they deserved their own model moment when we were all done.  Check out our behind the scenes look at baby Aaron staying safe in the tub with his sisters, and then their gorgeous portraits.

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If you're in need of a milestone session and you are feeling nervous about the current situation in the world, I understand.  If you are ready for some photos, please consider one of our outdoor sessions.  We will do everything you need to feel safe and yes, we will get amazing photos for you to remember those first steps, first curls, tiny toes and of course that sparkling toddler curiosity.  

To plan a session or even just to ask questions, you can click HERE to drop me a line.  Hope to see you soon!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) baby photos cake smash covid19 safety fine art photographer NJ NJ fine art photographer NJ outdoor cake smash Outdoor cake smash philly baby photographer philly cake smash photographer safe photo sessions in Burlington NJ safe photo sessions in NJ south jersey baby photographer south jersey cake smash session south jersey milestone session south jersey outdoor cake smash south jersey portrait photographer wild one photo session https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/7/aarons-wild-one-milestone-session-and-cake-smash Thu, 09 Jul 2020 15:13:05 GMT
Covid 19 Update - How We're Handling Your Sessions https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/7/covid-19-update---how-were-handling-your-sessions

It's been a crazy few months, hasn't it?  

I know so many of us are dealing with a LOT.  A lot of stress, a lot of fear, a lot of hurt, a lot of uncertainty.  To all of my friends and clients who are feeling all of these things and more, please know that I am here feeling it all with you and will be here as things unfold.  I understand all of the emotions and I'm riding this roller coaster with you.  And I'm here.  In case you were wondering - I am open and I'm ready for you.  I realize that could change again at any time but for now, I'm here.

  

That being said, we've had to implement some changes and I wanted to clearly put it all out there so you know what to expect when you schedule your photos.  Because hey, the world might be going insane in so many ways but there are still beautiful babies being born, milestones being celebrated and families who want to remember this moment before it passes by.  Teens are graduating, people are having those backyard weddings, you don't want to miss out on the pictures.  And that's ok.  Actually it's awesome.  Taking beautiful portraits that celebrate the GOOD parts of life brings me so much joy and that is something we all need right now. 

 

So how are we handling your photos in the midst of this pandemic?  You absolutely will still get the personal service we pride ourselves on.  With a few tweaks to keep everyone extra safe.  Here are some changes we have made:

 

1.  Consultations & Reveal Appointments.  Instead of an in person consultation, we are now doing Zoom consultations or phone calls.  We can talk about all the same things without the physical contact.  The Reveal Party/Ordering Appointment will also be on Zoom.  I will miss seeing you in the studio and having coffee (or wine!) together,  but for now, this is a great way to plan your session and then view your photos afterward.  I'm also offering some discounts on certain packages that work well with this type of appointment.  Be sure to ask about that when you schedule your session.

2.  Contracts and invoices are now being sent online.  This is something I've been meaning to set up for the longest time and now it's done and it is OH so easy!  No more paper contracts, no more checks, it all comes to your email address.  You still have the option to send in a check if you prefer but the online payment portal is super easy to use.

3.  Locations.  Your sessions will take place outside.  I have been putting my quarantine time to good use and found a few local spots that are very quiet and mostly empty.  Of course, I can meet you at a local park of your choice or even at your home, but the goal is to keep a distance from non family members so busy parks are not my first choice.  I use a lens that allows me to photograph your family from at least 6 feet away and I wear my mask for most of the session (except when I am far enough away).  A quiet location means less exposure for you and also a more relaxed atmosphere, and my scouted, exclusive locations are working out so well. 

4.  The studio.  Right now we are legally allowed to use the studio while following social distancing guidelines but I have found that children really don't know how to stay 6 feet away (bless them!) and it is even harder when we're inside.  We keep the studio clean but with the constant changes in the state guidelines, I have chosen to opt out of using the studio for now.  There are just too many unknown factors.  Plus, we have so many beautiful outdoor locations we can use and the weather is mostly agreeable this time of year, so it shouldn't be a problem.

5.  Distance.  As mentioned above, children are not so great at keeping their distance and really I love that about them.  For this reason, I'll have my mask on when I'm close to your family.  I will do my utmost to keep keep 6 feet between us but it's easier said than done with little ones involved.  I will NOT tell children to stay away from me and don't ask you to do that either (no one wants sad faces in their photos), but I will keep my mask on and use my hand sanitizer and do my best.  This is for the protection of your family and ALL of the families I work with.  I've run several model calls to test run these "distanced" sessions and they work well.  

6.  Session volume.  I have drastically reduced the volume of sessions I am doing.  This reduces the volume of people you are exposed to as well.  In my personal life I am also making every effort to practice social distancing and limiting my time "out and about' - it is hard to stay home but this is also for your protection.  Generally I'm seeing 1-2 families a week at most (and these are distanced sessions).  I've always been more boutique and less "high volume" as a rule and this will not change.

7.  Health.  As always, we ask that if you are not feeling well, please let us know and we can reschedule your appointment.  I will afford you the same courtesy.  This has always been our policy and it is even more important now.  Especially if anyone in your family has a fever or known exposure to Covid-19, please stay home.  I take my temperature regularly (as needed due to my son's school program) so i will be monitoring my own health to make sure I am in tip top shape for your session.  

8.  Cupcakes and Cuties & Mini Sessions.  This is a tough one.  The very premise of Cupcakes & Cuties is that it is "kind of like a party, kind of like a photo shoot."  Obviously, the in studio party session can't happen right now.  HOWEVER.  I'm looking into some options for outdoor princess sessions and a few other themed sessions that will be similar.  We'll have to limit the number of kids per day and spread things out over a few weeks but I think we can come up with some semblance of a session that will be fun, include a cupcake and get some amazing photos.  Stay tuned for that.

Like every parent, I am so concerned about the health and safety of my children and I know you are too.  I'm also concerned about all the grandparents and family members with compromised immune systems or other issues.  My clients and friends, I am also ALWAYS going to be concerned about your safety.  I legally have to follow state guidelines, it's true.  But my number one reason for all of these new practices is to keep you SAFE and allow you to feel comfortable when you come to me for photos.  I know you need to document these moments but I also know you want to feel relaxed when we're together and I hope that these new guidelines will help.

If you've read through all of this and you are comfortable and ready for a session - OR if you have a question about anything,  please click HERE to drop me a line.  I hope one day all of this will be in our rear view mirror and we'll be back to normal.  Until then, let's all keep doing our best.  

Here are some behind the scenes photos from recent sessions, along with the resulting photos.  I'm keeping my distance, and still getting the shots.  We can do it!  Hope to see you soon!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Burlington County Photographer Burlington NJ Photographer covid Covid19 update NJ family Photographer NJ photographer Special Needs photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/7/covid-19-update---how-were-handling-your-sessions Thu, 09 Jul 2020 04:15:24 GMT
Alison https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/6/alison  

Our last recipient of the Scott Ringel Anniversary Remembrance Giveaway was Alison.  I've held back from blogging all of these sessions because I knew I'd have to come to Alison's story, which needs to be told.  I want to tell it, but some stories are harder than others. 

 

Alison was nominated by her friend Sue.  Sue's letter is as follows:

"Hello Wendy.
I would like to nominate my friend Alison B* to win your photo session with her family. 
She is the single mother of 3 beautiful children.  June 16, Eric 14 and Izzy 11.
She also has breast cancer.  Again.  
My first memory of Alison was at her 5th birthday party.  Maybe it's the pictures from then.  Maybe it's because my father was friend's with her father.  Doesn't really matter.  We went through elementary, middle and high school together.  We were friends. High school came and went. We went our separate ways.  I sent her a note when her Dad passed away.  Then Facebook happened.  We reconnected as adults. With the same upbringing of our parents, of our town, of similar friends, we became close again.  Then cancer struck.
After a year of chemotherapy and radiation, which was completed in December, she was given a no "evidence of disease".  Today is February 15th, and this week she was diagnosed with metastatic inflammatory breast cancer.

Please read about her here.  I don't think I can add more to this email than for you to read about her.  She is absolutely amazing.

Thank you, Sue"

 

I immediately reached out to Alison to get her session planned.  Waiting for the right day, making sure she was healthy enough to drive down for photos, planning the wardrobe, it all took a little while but on a beautiful day in May we met at Sayen Gardens in Hamilton, NJ for a family session. Alison was feeling good, and the children were happy to be out with their mom for the day.  I had been keeping up with Alison's page and I knew exactly how important these photos were going to be and I think the kids did too, because there was none of the usual teen annoyance about coming out for portraits.

The family walked together and smiled at me and at each other.  Alison and I talked briefly in hushed tones about her health but most of our time was focused on taking portraits to show the beautiful connection between this loving mom and her amazing children.  Group portraits, candid photos, photos of all of them together and photos of each child alone with mom.  I'm loading up a lot of photos for this one because it was just such an important, fleeting, special time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the session, I cried in my car.  

I delivered the session as fast as I could and also mailed out some photos to Alison in early June.  

Less than five months later I heard from Sue that Alison passed away on October 1, 2019.  As Sue said, "She fought long and she fought hard. But she was tired and ready to go home.I want to thank you for allowing her the day with her children and the photo shoot.  She raves about what a great day it was and how special she felt.  Thank you again for giving her and her children beautiful memories."

I cried again.  And went back and read Alison's Meal Train blog to see what she was thinking and feeling during her last months.  Having lost my own husband to cancer, I often wonder about his feelings at the end.  He wasn't one to write about things or even talk about it.  So I have to thank Alison for giving helping me to turn the pages of my own story and give me some closure with her words.  I'll let her speak for herself, taken from her Meal Train blog:
 

"I am not alone and tasks that seem daunting are doable, If I can’t do something- someone else can. I’m so grateful. I am so blessed. It is a blessing to have people want to be by your side when you are down and out. If you are lucky enough to have people see you to the very end- what could be more beautiful?"


"Even though I keep speaking of dying, I’m going to do my best to live the best I can each day. Appreciate my health where it is now at this moment and hope that I can get healthier. Enjoy my kids and all the people in my life and create wonderful memories because there are more to be made!"
 

"Which ever way the wind blows, I will always marvel and be humbled by all the love and support you have given me. Some joke that I just have a black cloud permanently above my head but it’s not true. I am surrounded by love every day."  

Thank you Alison, for teaching me about hope and helping me to move forward.  
 

 

If anyone would like to read about ways to support Alison's children, check out the Meal train Blog where there is a continuing group effort to do good things for June, Eric and Izzy.

And that wraps up our special Scott Ringel Anniversary Remembrance Giveaway, the first edition.  Maybe if this pandemic eases up, we can do it again in February.  I'll end this series with a quote, from one of my favorite shows, "Call the Midwife."  The show deals with a lot of life and death and moving forward and has some of the best quotes.  When I heard this one, I knew I would use it one day and today is the day.

"Some pages take longer to turn than others.  It doesn't matter if the spotless sheet follows a blotted one or if the preceding lines are blurred with tears,  What went before is erased or embraced, as we begin another chapter."  

Here's to new chapters after pages blurred with tears.  Thank you to all of my Anniversary winners for sharing your stories and especially to Alison and family for the incredible inspiration and closure you have given me.  All my love.  Onward.

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) family family photos' family portraits hamilton jersey new nj portrait photographer photographer" portraits" sayen gardens' sayen gardens family photo session sayen gardens photo session sayen gardens photographer south jersey photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/6/alison Tue, 23 Jun 2020 11:45:00 GMT
A Special Visit from NYC https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/6/a-special-visit-from-nyc  

 

Continuing our updates from our "First Annual Scott Ringel Anniversary Remembrance & Giveaway" we have a very special family who came all the way from NYC to visit the studio.  Their daughter Adrianna had come to model for me in the past and I didn't know much about her family but when we announced our contest, her mom got in touch with me.  Here's the email she sent me:
 

"My name is Cindy - I saw your post on facebook.  My daughter Adrianna did a photoshoot with you,  but in this case I will tell you that I would like to get a opportunity to win the giveaway for 2 of my kids. One has autism and other with learning disabilities and speech delay.  I hope you can read this,  I also want to say you doing such a good job also you are amazing photographer."  I'd like to also add that mom is legally blind and dad speaks only Spanish - I find them to be so inspiring because they keep putting their children first despite their own challenges.  I had to bring them in for a session.

 

Photographing their family was such a treat.  The children are all beautiful super models and I know they have a bright future ahead.  Be sure to follow their accounts on Instagram if you'd like to keep up with them.  ( adriannachantel_04chris_world09 - and nicholas_andres_ ) After a few group photos we did some individual shots and of course Adrianna loved getting dressed up in one of our Anna Triant Couture dresses because she's fancy like that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up on the blog, our final installment from the Scott Ringel Anniversary Giveaway project.  You'll need tissues, just a warning.

 

 

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) autism mom autism photographer Bucks County Burlington County Family Photographer burlington NJ burlington NJ photographer Burlington Township Photographer cherry hill photographer family photos Model kid NJ NYC Kid Model south jersey photographer special needs special needs photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/6/a-special-visit-from-nyc Mon, 22 Jun 2020 12:00:00 GMT
Gina & Chris Get Married | A Corona Wedding https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/6/gina-chris-get-married-my-first-corona-wedding

When Gina & Chris planned their wedding, a small ceremony with 10 guests was not what they had in mind.  Like so many couples who are still dealing with the wrench Corona threw into all of our plans, they knew they would have to make some changes.  In order to follow the guidelines in place, they whittled down the guest list to only a few, found a new venue for the ceremony, set up the back yard for the reception and had the most amazing, heartfelt, joyous wedding day you can imagine.  Of course there were masks and yes, there was hand sanitizer.  But there was also a shark!  Bubbles!  Hoagies! A bouncy house!  A beautiful ceremony and before that, not one but TWO "first looks." And at the end, the bride decorated the cake and they shared it in their own kitchen. 

It was hard to choose photos for this slideshow - there were so many incredible moments during this day!  But I manned up and did the work, and now I present to you the best of the best from Chris & Gina's shark infested, bouncy house, Primo's hoagie, bubble blowing, masked Corona wedding.  I recommend watching on the computer for sound, and be sure to make the slideshow full-screen.  Enjoy! 

 

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) backyard wedding bounce house bride burlington county wedding camden county wedding corona wedding covid 19 wedding elopement wedding first look shark suit shark suit first look small wedding south jersey bride south jersey wedding https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/6/gina-chris-get-married-my-first-corona-wedding Sat, 20 Jun 2020 10:00:00 GMT
A Mother's Legacy: Proud as a Peacock https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/6/a-mothers-legacy-proud-as-a-peacock  

 

Next up from our "First Annual Scott Ringel Anniversary Remembrance & Giveaway" updates, this lovely extended family session, honoring their mom and channeling their inner peacocks.  You see, mom loved peacocks, so they chose to honor her by dressing in jewel tones.  Here's their nomination, from their friend Sharon:
 

"After reading your post, I wanted to nominate two of my coworkers who are sisters, along with their other sister and brother.  They just lost their mom to lung cancer on January 29th. It was a very sudden diagnosis, as she went to the hospital in the Fall (I believe) with breathing problems and after a few days of testing was told she had lung cancer. These two women dropped everything to care for their mother in her time of need, all the while still working. In the morning I would hear about sleepless nights or see them holding back tears and just trying to make it through the day. With her recent passing, it’s been even harder on them as their mom was the glue that held their family together.  I think something as beautiful as a photo to represent the bond the siblings still have and to remember their mother would be amazing!"

 

When we were planning this session, one sister Tracy told me how much her mom loved family photos and how much it would mean to her to have the whole family together for a group portrait.  I made sure to bring a few little stools to help with posing and we met at Smithville Park for the session. We got shots of the whole group, then shots of just the grandkids and finally portraits of each individual family.  One hour and lots of laughs and so many memories captured. Their jewel toned outfits complimented each other so well and everyone looked amazing.  I think mom would have been Proud as a Peacock, don't you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up on the blog, all the way from NYC, a model family!  

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Bucks County burlington county photographer extended family photo session family photographer family photos NJ nj family photographer peacock smithville park" "burlington photographer" "wendy ringel photography" south jersey family photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/6/a-mothers-legacy-proud-as-a-peacock Fri, 19 Jun 2020 13:00:00 GMT
Forever Triplets https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/6/forever-triplets  

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Continuing our updates from our "First Annual Scott Ringel Anniversary Remembrance & Giveaway" is the story of beautiful J and her forever triplets. J's nomination came in from one of our lovely spectrum super model families.  This is what K* had to say about them when she wrote in:  
 

"Good morning Auntie Wendy,

We have a special family we would like to nominate for your giveaway - the V****s. Mom, J, is in the United States Air Force stationed at ****. Her  triplet sons - A**, A** and A** - were born prematurely and A** was too precious for earth. J has never let anyone forget A** or that her two living sons are triplets forever. "The boys" (as we like to call them) attend Peak Center for Autism with our girl, K, and both are on the spectrum. They are the sweetest (and most fashionable) little boys you could ever meet. Although they are men of few words (for now!), they radiate love and kindness. Their mom, J, is also a gem. She goes above and beyond for her boys and anyone else who may need it. They are truly deserving of a photo shoot and I know you an find the perfect way to incorporate brother A**, as well."

 

This family was obviously a perfect fit for my vision.  We started planning right away.  It was very important to mom to include a photo of A**, her forever triplet, and we made sure to incorporate that into our plan.  As a single mom with children on the spectrum, it admittedly took a little while to find a day that worked but when we finally got together, the results were magical.  The love these boys have for their mom, the love mom has for all THREE of her boys, and the beauty that just radiated from their faces - it all knocked me out.   Their eyes, those curls, those big smiles when mom grabbed them up and spun them around.  And can I mention that wardrobe was perfectly on point?  Our session took place at Smithville Park in Mount Holly and it was just the right place for the boys to have some room to run and play.  I loved meeting this family and look forward to watching these boys grow and learn for many years to come.  J - thank you for coming to me for these special memories.  Keep on being the amazing advocate for your boys that you are.

 

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Next up on the blog, a Mother's Legacy, continuing our posts from our Scott Ringel Anniversary Giveaway.   Stay tuned!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) autism autism awareness Bucks County Burlington County Burlington County Photographer Burlington NJ contest Family Portrait legacy photos Mount Holly Mount Holly Photo Session Mt Holly NJ NJ NJ Photographer single mom photo session Smithville Park South Jersey Photographer special needs special needs photographer triplets https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/6/forever-triplets Thu, 18 Jun 2020 15:39:16 GMT
An Anniversary Celebration in the Midst of Quarantine https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/6/an-anniversary-celebration-in-the-midst-of-quarantine When John Peggy started planning their 35th Wedding Anniversary party, they had no idea that Covid-19 would creep in and cancel so many social events and parties.  Their plan for a big party with fancy clothes, a sit down dinner and a night of dancing had to be sidelined, but as it turned out, the love and happiness of the occasion still came through.  

The state guidelines opened up just enough to allow a family party outside on the deck (with precautions in place, of course.)  I was able to attend and shoot from a distance with my long range 200 mm lens, and I'm so glad!!

The day started with a surprise parade.  Peggy and John were expecting me a little later in the day so they were extra surprised to see that I caught the whole scene from the street (due to a heads up from their daughter). Surprises are fun, right?

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After the big surprise, their children and grandchildren brought in food and gifts.  And BALLOONS!

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The big party got cancelled but DJ Seth Andrews from PhamousDJ brought the big party feeling to the back yard by spinning tunes remotely.  Family and friends tied in online as well.
 

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After some dancing, of course it was time for portraits.  How cute are these two, after thirty five years of marriage?

 

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Taking precautions, but those eyes are still smiling.

 

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This princess was fierce.  i always love the tough ones.

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Princess Paris was in full model mode.

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Peggy and her mom, two lovely ladies.

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Then it was time for dessert, including ice cream cake and strawberry treats from Kristin's Cupcakes.  Yum.   And presents!!  Including an amazing frame with an original photo from John & Peggy's wedding. 

 

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So their day was not the way they planned but it was full of love, laughter, dancing and cake. Grandkids, the dog, homemade signs and delicious food.  Not so bad in the end.  I know the dog was glad it turned out this way.

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Happy anniversary John & Peggy!  I hope you get your big party soon.  Thank you for having me there to photograph this amazing memory.  You are too cute.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) anniversary party photographer Anniversary Photographer happy anniversary NJ nj family photographer quarantine party south jersey event photographer south jersey family photographer south Jersey photographer wedding photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/6/an-anniversary-celebration-in-the-midst-of-quarantine Sat, 06 Jun 2020 19:54:10 GMT
A Happy Adoption Story https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/5/a-happy-adoption-story Continuing our updates from our "First Annual Scott Ringel Anniversary Remembrance & Giveaway" we now come to this AMAZING family who came in for our third session.  Look at how cute they are!!  I'm so excited to be able to share their photos finally because when we originally met, I couldn't post these.  Keep reading to learn why.

 

Mom emailed me about the giveaway and this is what she said, "I love your idea!! It’s funny because I was gonna reach out to you about doing pictures for my family I don’t know anyone who would be patient with my little guy and I always think of you! It’s been since 2009 that we had family pictures.  This is the only one I have of us all together. N*** is my little guy in the bottom picture. Our family is multicultural we have biological and adoptive children from foster care. S*** 19(not pictured) D*** 16, J**** 13, M**** 7, Na**** 4, M**** 1. Thank you!"

Of course I had to do a session!  Special needs foster adoption??  That is one of the things that makes my heart so happy.  And when this family came to the studio, they sure did make my heart sing.  Not only are were they gorgeous, they were lots of fun too.  When it was time for funny faces, the big kids really came through.  With so many people, we kept the background simple and used our vintage white couch, which barely fit them all!

 

Their littlest princess was on the move but she slowed down for photos when she got to ride in our pink car! (Ride on toys are my secret weapon for those fast moving toddlers!)

 

The three older kids were ready to model

 

And then a little "Hop on Pop" but it was more like "Hop on your siblings" lol.  

Little middle sis is a born superstar.  She knew she wanted to sit in the flower ring, so we made that happen.

And then this special guy was ready for his closeup.  Look at those eyes!

One more formal family shot and then a shot of mom and dad. 

 

 

And finally my favorite, a mommy and me shot with the whole crew!

Of course we couldn't post these photos at the time because they were waiting on adoptions, but - HAPPY NEWS - the adoptions have since gone through and these little ones now have this big forever family to love them.   Isn't that the happiest story??  They came back a few months later with the girls to do princess sessions at Cupcakes and Cuties.  Look at how these girls grew over a few months!  And that's how we'll end this edition of the blog, with some happy princess photos.  Stay tuned for the rest of our Happy Anniversary Sessions, they will be coming up on the blog all month!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) adoption story autism family Bucks County Burlington County Burlington County Photographer Burlington NJ family memories Family Portrait fine art foster adoption foster family photos framed canvas framed photos High Street Burlington large family photo session legacy photo sesson NJ NJ Childrens Photographer NJ Photographer photo session photo session giveaway photographer specializing in autism photographer specializing in special needs kids precious memories Print Photographer scott ringel anniversary giveaway South Jersey Photographer special needs photographer vintage couch https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/5/a-happy-adoption-story Wed, 20 May 2020 14:29:33 GMT
A Special Extended Family Session https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/5/a-special-extended-family-session  

Today's blog is about the Paganelli Family.  They were the second family to come in for one of our Scott Ringel Anniversary Remembrance and Giveaways.

Here's their story, as told by Lisa.

"I almost cried when I read your post. I would like to nominate my parents for the giveaway. Christmas Day my dad ended up in the hospital, just a week or so later we learned he had stage 4 inoperable pancreatic cancer, and it is a rare kind, less than 1% of pancreatic cancers are this type. That makes it hard to find treatments and trials and physicians. My parents just celebrated their 41st anniversary. They are the pillar of our family and we are devastated. I would love for them to have a nice picture before my dad starts treatment. Okay, now I am crying! Thank you for considering them for your giveaway, and I’m so sorry about the loss of your husband. Cancer is terrible, and it is so amazing and selfless that you are turning it into something good. Best wishes no matter what."

Here's the adorable wedding photo she sent me:

 

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How adorable is that photo?  Of course I had to pick them for a free session.  The whole family came in to the studio last March to get the photos done.  We had the best time, there was so much laughter!  Especially between these two!  They may have gotten older but those smiles are still the same.

 

 

After the photos were delivered, Lisa told me it had been quite a while since their last session.  She gave me permission to share their "most recent" last family photo, which you can see below, along with the photo we took in March 2019.  Aren't family photos just the best??  I'm so happy that I could get them some updated photos.  I know they will cherish them forever.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Burlington NJ Photographer Extended Family Session NJ family photographer NJ photographer scott ringel anniversary remembrance giveaway https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/5/a-special-extended-family-session Tue, 12 May 2020 18:49:21 GMT
New Joy After Loss https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/5/new-joy-after-loss

In February 2019 I started a project that I titled "The Scott Ringel Anniversary Remembrance and Giveaway."  I had many reasons for starting this project, including the admittedly self serving reason of needing to be busy during a difficult time.  The more altruistic reasons were spelled out in my blog.  To sum up,  this is what I wrote:

"In honor of my husband and our anniversary and the fact that I feel that everyone NEEDS to have family photos, I will be giving away THREE sessions that will include an hour long session and one 16x20 portrait.

I want to give one session to a person or family with a member who is fighting cancer.

I want to give one session to a family who has lost a loved one and hasn't had the heart to get a new family photo but they know they need one. (I'm right there with you on that one)

And finally I want to give one session to a family with a child on the autism spectrum."

 

The nominations came in and of course I couldn't stick to just three families.  There were more.  There were so many more amazing families with beautiful, heartbreaking, loving stories that had to be shared.  I haven't really known where to start with sharing these sessions, so I'm just going to start at the beginning with the first family to come in. 

Here's Kristie's story in her own words:

 

"I too lost a loved one to cancer. My 5 year old son Colin . He battled with AML and sadly lost his battle a year later. He was my only son at the time and the love of my life. It has been almost 6 years now since he has passed and It took me a long time to find any kind of joy in life.  

I now have 2 more kids. A 15 month boy and a new born girl . For the first time since I lost my angel I feel joy again. I know all too well as I know you do too how important pictures are because sometime they are all you have left. I would absolutely love to capture this beautiful time in my life. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my email."

 

Kristie came to the studio looking gorgeous, with her beautiful baby girl and precious son, as well as her step son. We did a lovely lifestyle newborn session as well as some toddler photos and mommy and me poses.  The thing I noticed most about Kristie was her smile.  She's rebuilding her life after a terrible loss and that amazing smile shows that she is finding the joy every day with her beautiful babies.  Here are some of her photos.

 

 

I'll be sharing the rest of these sessions in the coming week.  You are going to love them.  You might cry.  You'll definitely smile.  I can't wait.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) big brother brothers Burlington baby photographer Burlington County Photographer Burlington NJ photographer cancer finding joy finding joy after loss giveaway mommy and me newborn NJ family photographer rainbow baby south jersey photographer toddler photography toddlers https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/5/new-joy-after-loss Fri, 08 May 2020 15:35:52 GMT
Grief Makes You Brave https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/5/grief-makes-you-brave  

I've been trying to blog lately, there are so many sessions that I want to share.  Like many of you, I have time at home, so I should be able to do this.  The photos, the beautiful people behind the photos, their stories.  But I've been blocked.  There are some blog posts that are harder than others, some stories that hurt to share and those of course are the most important ones.  And yet here I sit, frozen; blocked.  Why?  I've been trying every day for the last two weeks to start these blog posts and today it finally came to me.  I need to start with my own story if I want to be able to share for my clients.  And I HAVE to be able to share for my clients.  I need to tell my own story of the last four years, for ME, about ME.  Not about how things worked out for my kids or my clients or anyone else - but what happened to ME over the last four years.  Because that is how I got here today and that is the only way forward. 

 

And yes, I've shared my story before.  Some of it.  Last February I told you about my husband and how he died from cancer in 2016.  We had a contest in his honor and it was amazing.  Those are the stories I need to share, once I get past my own story.  Recently I watched some educational content from Sue Bryce and there was a lot about grief that I wrote down, underlined and circled because it really fits.  And right now, the world is grieving.  What better time to talk about this word, this condition, this reaction to change that we all eventually have to handle, than now?

 

So my story.  My grief.  My life that I used to have.  It included my four kids, my husband, a dog, a cat and a turtle.  It wasn't a perfect life.  We had a child with autism.  Not the Sheldon Cooper variety, but the "never going to have a real job or live on his own" variety.  Bills were high, we both worked a lot and didn't have as much freedom as we'd have liked.  We spent too much on takeout food, ran ourselves ragged for our kids, argued about the laundry and then reconnected on vacation whenever we could afford to get away.  It was our life. It felt comfortable and regular and good. 

 

I can only tell this story from my own viewpoint so I have to say that the last four years have brought so many changes, each change bringing a little pocket full of grief like a coin purse full of nickels.  And a few big things as heavy as a sack of gold bars.  In 2016 my husband Scott was diagnosed with colon cancer and given two to 10 months to live.  He lasted three months.  These were horrific months full of surgeries, chemo, emergency hospitalizations, juggling childcare, emotions and money.  I learned all the passwords, the account numbers, learned what I could about the things he normally handled, while pretending that I didn't really need to know because he was going to be fine. I learned how to plan a funeral, how to file a will with the state, how to switch over bank accounts and filed away a big pile of death certificates for all the accounts that would need them down the road.  I got a bad case of PTSD.  And then I got a new title:  WIDOW.

 

 

I learned how to be a single mom.  Not just a single mom, but a single mom with grieving kids.  A single mom to a child with significant needs.  A single mom to children navigating the college experience.  A single mom to a tween girl, growing up without a father figure.  A single mom with a house, an old car, a lawn, bills.  I learned how to create a special needs trust, how to file my own will, get my own life insurance, figure out social security.  I took my kids on a cross country trip for a month.  I replaced my roof, my heating and air, the old cars.  I got trees trimmed after they started falling on my house.  Absurd as it sounds, our house got hit by lightning and I managed to handle all the homeowners insurance and get everything fixed.   I had to learn to navigate the world of developmental disabilities as my son ended up in the hospital due to his behaviors, grief and a complicated diagnosis.  That is a whole other story and involves another full layer of grief as my son (who I expected to live with me his whole life) had to be moved into a group home setting in order to be safe.  That process was harder than you can imagine - paperwork, evaluations, hospitalizations, and huge bills from my attorney just to get my kid what he needed to be safe.  I'm still fighting for him and always will.

 

In the midst of all this I re-started my business. I joined two other photographers to start a studio, I learned to lay floors, cleaned, spackled and decorated, negotiated with our landlord, fought for our certificate of occupancy and planned an amazing grand opening.  I took workshops and learned more about using flash, finding locations, editing - I bought dresses and backdrops and crowns.  So many crowns!  I worked with AMAZING artists in the photography industry and learned so much. Every single step was scary.  I was afraid every time I went to a workshop, met other artists, ordered equipment, signed paperwork.   Grief and fear go hand in hand.   

 

My kids kept going.  I did what I could to be there for them but they deserve so much credit themselves.  My two older boys made it through college.  They are amazing.  They graduated with honors and no debt.  To say I'm proud is an understatement.  They moved out.  They got great jobs.  I'm proud.  And sad.  And proud.  Good changes can make you grieve too.  My daughter is growing into a woman and my big teen with autism is getting more and more independent with the help he gets in his group home and at school.  There were weddings and family vacations and celebrations, a new baby in the family - and they all have been amazing. And tinged with grief.  But let me tell you a secret.  You can choose to grow through pain.  And I'm proud of my kids and I'm proud of myself because that's what we've done.

 

And here we are, it's four years later.  Four years ago today my husband died.  May 7th 2016.  I still miss him. The kids still miss him.  His friends & family still miss him.  I don't feel so alone in my grief though, since here in 2020 I'm surrounded by so many people grieving due to our current situation.  COVID19 is changing life.  Changes we didn't sign up for.  Oddly, I have been less phased than I expected, for the most part, maybe because I'm so used to living on a crazy roller coaster.  Yeah, I know this has been all about me, and that isn't how I usually blog - but as I said, keeping it in is holding me back on other things.  The time has come for this to come out, because there are undoubtedly more changes ahead. Good changes that I want to be excited about, hard changes that I want to learn to handle and changes for all of you that I want to be able to assist with.  Telling the story means it becomes the past.  The time has come.

 

I heard a quote that says "You can spend your whole life in a story or you can change, and heal and grow and live."  I'm choosing to move forward with my grief and I am here to tell you it can be done.  It doesn't mean it goes away, but it doesn't have to define you.  This story of mine is true, but it is time for it to become a part of my past.  If I can share it, maybe it can help someone else to move forward even if they're scared, grieving or just plain "stuck."  Maybe seeing it all typed out will help me to recognize my own strength.  Don't we all need to do a little more of that?

 

I did ALL of those things while grieving.  I'm proud of myself.  There, I said it. I'm proud of all the scary things I've accomplished.  I'm always going to have grief, and some fear, but here's another secret: there's a sort of super power that comes with that.  

 

The title of this blog is "Grief Makes You Brave."  The quote from a class I watched last week with Sue Bryce.  The full quote is, "Grief makes you brave because you realize, no amount of pain will feel worse than this.  USE THAT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE."  As we are collectively grieving, I'm sharing my story to tell you - use this grief to your advantage.  I can tell you, it is true.  Those things up there, all that stuff I did over the last four years?  Grief made me brave.  You might not be ready yet.  It took me a few years.  But one day, you'll be thinking about jumping in and trying something scary and new.  Allow yourself to lean into it and be brave.  I'm going to try to keep doing the same.  We are all waiting for the next steps, and I promise I'll be back to take your photos as soon as we are safe to do so.  And when things get back to a new normal and we all move forward with grief for the things that we missed, things that changed, things that didn't turn out the way we wanted, we can all be brave.  We can support each other, we can learn to navigate our new lives and we can rebuild together.  I have a lot of plans for the studio and yes, some of them scare me.  I need to update my own family photos, which for some reason feels really hard.  But I'm ready to be brave.  For today, I'm going to be brave and share this.  And then hopefully I'll unblock my brain and be able to share the other stories that need to be shared.  The story of the mom who came for photos with her kids after being put on hospice.  The story of the mom who lost one triplet and is raising the other two who have autism.  The story of the family who lost their mom and got together for a portrait in her honor. And all the other stories, the babies, the weddings, the engagements, the families.  They are waiting for me to share them and I'm ready to be brave and get going on that.  

I'll end this with one more quote.  I'm just full of quotes today.  This one from Robert Frost sums it up perfectly and is as applicable today as it was then, maybe even moreso.
 

“In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on. In all the confusions of today, with all our troubles . . . with politicians and people slinging the word fear around, all of us become discouraged . . . tempted to say this is the end, the finish. But life — it goes on. It always has. It always will. Don’t forget that."

 


 

 

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) autism brave bravery Bucks County cancer grief grief makes you brave NJ NJ Photographer special needs special needs photographer widow https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/5/grief-makes-you-brave Thu, 07 May 2020 23:12:45 GMT
CoronaVirus Lockdown Photo Challenge for Kids! https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/3/coronavirus-lockdown-photo-challenge-for-kids  

Hello friends!  There is a lot going on in the world right now, am I right?  Everyone is anxious about the CoronaVirus, people are hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer, we're worrying about our friends, family and ourselves while we strive to stay free from germs and keep ourselves in social isolation.  And yes, the KIDS are home from school.  

Our studio is taking a break from in person sessions for a little while as we try to contain this virus, but I still felt drawn to do something for the kids in our circle.  All my models, clients, friends - I can't do very much but I thought of something fun that I CAN do to help.  While we are staying apart, how about a photo challenge / class for the kids? With a prize at the end for everyone who participates?  Would you like to join us??

 

 

Here are the details!  We'll start our group on Facebook - I will post simple photo tips and daily challenges - I'm hoping for each day but it may be a few times a week.  I'll post my own photos in the group and will share some of your entries on my main Photography page.  Kids can use a phone or simple digital camera.  Everyone who participates in at least 80% of the challenges will be invited to a special photo challenge "graduation" party when the CoronaVirus drama is over.  Graduates will receive a 10 minute session and one FREE 5x7 from the Graduation party.  I was hoping to keep this a free program, but in order to keep track of everyone, I needed to use our online shopping cart, so there is a minimal $1 fee for each participant.  Here's the link to join:

https://wendyringelphotography.bigcartel.com/product/kid-s-online-photo-challenge


Once you pay for you spot, I will add you to the private Facebook group for challenge members.  I can't wait to see what we create together!  Please invite your friends & family.  If you have friends from out of state, they can also take part - it will be fun even for those who can't attend the "graduation."  The goal is for us to have something to at home right now, and something to look forward to when the CoronaVirus lockdown is over.  I hope to see you all in our group!!  

Stay safe, wash your hands, and I'll see you online!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) burlington kids activities burlington nj corona virus coronavirus free stuff for kids homeschool kids kids photo challenge new jersey corona online activities for kids online photography challenge online photography class photo challenge photography class for kids south jersey things to do with kids at home https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/3/coronavirus-lockdown-photo-challenge-for-kids Mon, 16 Mar 2020 19:23:42 GMT
Mikayla & Daniel's Burlington City Engagement Session https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/3/mikayla-daniels-burlington-city-engagement-session Daniel and Mikayla came to Burlington for their engagement session and despite the chilly temperatures, we managed to get that warm and fuzzy feeling while we strolled through town and enjoyed the historic buildings and brick walkways.  If you know me, you know how much I love the history of our little town.  Poor Daniel and Mikayla had to listen to a history lesson during their photo shoot, haha. 

The conversation wasn't just about history (thank goodness for them!)  I loved hearing  about  how they met and their early dates at the roller rink.  Despite my requests, neither of them would show me their skate dance moves, but we definitely had some laughs about it.  

 

 

I love finding cute doorways in town.   Thank you to the neighbor with the nice red door!

 

After a bit we headed to my favorite coffee shop, Evermore Coffee Roasters, right on Union Street in Burlington City.  We all warmed up with some coffee and these two got a bit of snuggling in between sips.  If you get a chance to visit Evermore, I highly recommend the oat milk latte.  Unless they happen to have Fire and Rice on the menu, in that case, definitely try that one! I don't know exactly what Daniel & Mikayla had in their cups, but whatever it was led to some serious canoodling. 

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Aren't they the cutest?

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I have to mention the one big bonus for coming to Burlington for their engagement session!  We were also able to sneak in a few shots in the studio.  On a cold day, this was a very welcome opportunity.  These guys were troopers but sometimes you just want to stay inside, so  starting or ending your session at the studio is never a bad idea.

 

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I know these two are going to have a beautiful wedding.  I also know they can't wait, and neither can I!  Congratulations Mikayla & Daniel, I'll see you really soon!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Burlington Burlington City NJ Burlington Engagement Session Downtown Engagement Session Engagement Session Evermore Coffee Historic Burlington Historic town engagement nj wedding wedding photographer Winter Engagement Session https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/3/mikayla-daniels-burlington-city-engagement-session Thu, 05 Mar 2020 22:41:08 GMT
Samantha & Eric's Rainy Day Elopement at Smithville Mansion https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/1/samantha-erics-rainy-day-elopement-at-smithville-mansion When Eric and Samantha contacted me about being their wedding photographer, they were in a bit of a time crunch.  You see, Eric had just proposed and they wanted to have a true elopement wedding - they were planning to get married in just a little over a week!  They knew that even though their wedding was not going to be a large event, photos were still an important part of the day.  I was beyond thrilled that I was available because they are just the sweetest couple in the world and their story was perfect.  And they pulled off a beautiful, romantic and emotional wedding that was lovely to behold.  Have I mentioned before that elopements are my favorite??

The wedding location was the Smithville Mansion at Historic Smithville Park, Mount Holly, New Jersey.  Their wedding date?  Friday the 13th!  Little known fact, but Smithville Park hosts weddings for FREE on certain days of the year and this was one of those dates.  We were dreaming of some lovely sunset photos before the wedding, but weather had other plans.  As the weather often does in December!  With a rainy forecast, we made sure to have pretty umbrellas and a good backup plan - and yet again, Eric and Samantha pulled off the impossible and got some gorgeous photos on the Smithville grounds before their ceremony.  The many porches, overhangs, and beautiful twinkling lights turned out to be a perfect backdrop, rain or no rain.  There was even room on the mansion porch for the whole family.  Even when the camera occasionally fogged up from the rain (yes, it sure did, lol) it only added to the vintage, retro feeling this wedding gave me.   Aren't they gorgeous?

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After portraits it was time for the ceremony, which was short, sweet and amazing.  Smithville Mansion was decorated for the holidays so they chose a hallway full of trees and said their vows with just their immediate family there to witness the moment.  The night ended with hugs from their moms, fist bumps from dad, some candy canes and photos under the Chinese lanterns.  It was magical. 

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CONGRATULATIONS Samantha & Eric!  I loved being a part of your wedding day!

If you're planning an elopement wedding, courthouse wedding or small intimate wedding and need a photographer, please drop me a line!  Just because your wedding is small, it doesn't mean you should pass on the photos!  Documenting your perfect day is always a great idea.  I'm located in Southern New Jersey, close to Philadelphia and Bucks County, PA.  I love elopements!  

Click HERE to contact me about your wedding day!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) December Wedding Free wedding Smithville Free wedding venue Friday the 13h Wedding Mount Holly Elopement Mount Holly Wedding NJ Elopement Rain Rainy Wedding Photos Rainy Wedding Portraits Smithville Elopement Smithville Mansion Holiday Smithville Mansion Wedding Smithville wedding South jersey bride https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/1/samantha-erics-rainy-day-elopement-at-smithville-mansion Thu, 23 Jan 2020 23:56:27 GMT
Zach & Jenny's Marian House Wedding in Cherry Hill, NJ https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/1/zach-jennys-marian-house-wedding-in-cherry-hill-nj Zach and Jenny's wedding day was the most beautiful blend of simplicity and glamour, with a hefty sprinkling of love to top off the event.  After they prepped at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, we met for some formal photos right down the road at Cooper River Park.  The November weather was a little brisk but the fall leaves were a beautiful backdrop as Zach & Jenny had an emotional first look, cheered on by close friends and family.  

 

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Jenny's beautiful red flowers from Leigh Florist really popped and accentuated her hair and makeup perfectly.  (Hair by Katherine Klint Hair | Makeup by Allison Martz).  What a gorgeous bride!  

 

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Family photos & bridal party portraits were taken care of quickly, and everyone got cuddly to keep warm.  This crew was so much fun!  You can't even tell they were cold, can you?  

 

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I cannot tell a lie.  The sky was something of a solid whitish gray during our portraits, so I did work a little photoshop magic to add a sky in this photo.  
 

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After the portraits, it was time to head over to The Marian House in Cherry Hill.  A touching ceremony was followed closely by dinner, dancing, emotional toasts, loving family moments and shenanigans.  Lots of shenanigans.  DJ Steve from Center Stage Events kept the party going right to the end - the only time anyone stopped dancing was for cake & donuts. The gorgeous cake was from Sweet T's Bakery in Haddonfield, NJ.   Did I mention there were donuts?  On fire??  Donuts.  How perfect can you get?

 

Zach and Jenny are one of the most loving couples I have ever met, and their wedding  was exactly as perfect as they imagined.  Their families & friends brought the tears, laughter, support and fun.  Enjoy the photos from the day, and feel free to comment below and wish them all the best for the future.  

 

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It was a privilege to be a part of your special day.  Thank you Zach and Jenny, I know you have a beautiful life ahead.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Artistic Wedding Autumn Wedding Cherry Hill Wedding Cooper River Park Wedding Elopement Elopement Photographer Fall Wedding hipster wedding Marian House Wedding NJ wedding November Wedding South Jersey Wedding Sweet T's Bake Shop Tattooed bride wedding https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2020/1/zach-jennys-marian-house-wedding-in-cherry-hill-nj Fri, 10 Jan 2020 22:44:43 GMT
Carrie & Jeremy's Ramblewood Country Club Wedding | Mt. Laurel, New Jersey https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/7/carrie-jeremys-ramblewood-country-club-wedding-mt-laurel-new-jersey When Carrie and Jeremy contacted me about being their wedding photographer, I was so excited.  You see, I had the privilege of working with Carrie's family a few years back when her brother got married.  Their family is so much fun so I knew we'd have a great day together.  

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After a beautiful ceremony at the Kingdom Hall in Moorestown, the bride and groom spent a little time taking family photos that really reflected so much love and all of their fun personalities.  

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Then Carrie and Jeremey joined their family & friends for a celebration at the beautiful Ramblewood Country Club in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.

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First up on the schedule?  Riding through the property in golf carts so we could take some portraits.  I'm not gonna lie, I love a good golf cart.  We had so much fun and the grounds of the country club were perfect.

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I especially loved the funky little tunnel that serves as an underpass for the golfers.  It made for some creative photo opportunities with the bridal party - even if we did have to apologize to all the golfers who had to wait until we were done.  Sorry guys!  (Not sorry)

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After the bridal party finished with portraits, it was time to head back to the country club for dinner and dancing.  

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I don't think anyone dances quite like this crew.

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And I don't think anyone takes family photos quite like them either.  Their sibling shots are legendary.

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Thank you Carrie and Jeremy for having me as your photographer.  I know you are going to have the best time together as a married couple.  I can't wait to see what comes next for you and all of your family and I hope I'm invited to every family wedding because you are all so much fun!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) bridal portraits golf cart wedding golf carts JW wedding JW wedding photographer Moorestown NJ Moorestown wedding Mount Laurel wedding reception Mt Laurel NJ Mt Laurel wedding new jersey new jersey wedding NJ Wedding Philadelphia area wedding Ramblewood Country Club Ramblewood Country Club bridal portraits Ramblewood Country Club wedding South Jersey bridal portraits South Jersey bride South Jersey Wedding South Jersey wedding photographer wedding https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/7/carrie-jeremys-ramblewood-country-club-wedding-mt-laurel-new-jersey Tue, 09 Jul 2019 15:31:27 GMT
Melissa & Andy's Historic Mount Holly Courthouse Wedding https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/3/melissa-andys-historic-mount-holly-courthouse-wedding When Melissa contacted me about covering her wedding at the Historic Mount Holly Courthouse, I was thrilled.  I love small, family oriented weddings and the historic courthouse is an amazing place to start a new chapter of life together, so cozy and intimate .

As the family arrived, I could tell this was going to be a fun group.  From the youngest to the oldest, everyone was smiling and excited to be there.  

Melissa arrived with her makeup perfectly done by Christine Swope Makeup.  A few finishing touches, a little clowning around and it was time for the wedding to begin.

While the guys waited with their guests in the courthouse, Melissa made some time for kisses with the cutest flower girl ever.

Here comes the bride, escorted by dad

The ceremony was informal but emotional, with smiles, tears and laughter.  The whole family stood together as the judge pronounced them husband and wife.

After the wedding we had a little bit of time for portraits on the courthouse steps.  

One thing I love about a small wedding - you can get a shot with every single wedding guest!  

And they're usually ready to give a good cheer!  How about Pop Pop with that wave?  Isn't he the cutest?

Historic Mount Holly provides such a perfect backdrop for photos.  

And even though there was snow on the ground, Melissa's radiant smile lit up the day and made everything look like springtime.

How happy do they look?  Those smiles say it all.

And then off to the Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar in Moorestown, where we snuck in a few more pictures and ate some delicious food. 

The night ended with some delicious desserts and a rousing game of "spin the baby toy"

Congratulations Melissa and Andy - your day was beautiful and perfect and I loved being there with you.  We wish you so much joy in your new life together!

 

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) burlington county wedding photographer courthouse wedding elope elopement harvest grill harvest seasonal grill March wedding moorestown Mount Holly mount holly courthouse wedding Mount Holly historic courthouse mount holly wedding Mt Holly NJ wedding photographer small wedding wedding wedding photographer winter wedding https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/3/melissa-andys-historic-mount-holly-courthouse-wedding Mon, 11 Mar 2019 12:00:00 GMT
How Can I Help You? https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/2/how-can-i-help-you Yesterday on the blog we talked a little bit about the importance of choosing only the photos that bring you true joy, and then making sure to get those favorites off of your digital drives and into your hands so they can be enjoyed for generations.  If you missed it, you can find that post here.  

I wanted to talk a little bit about quality but I ran out of room, so guess what?  I'm going to talk about it just for a hot second before I move on to show you all the ways we can help you with your memories.

These photos are from my wedding day.  They were taken on the same day, printed at roughly the same time and displayed in the same frame for about 20 years.  The photo on the left is the one I received from my professional photographer.  He undoubtedly printed my photos through a pro lab and he delivered this high quality photo to us after our wedding.  The photo on the right was taken by a friend with a good camera.  We developed the film, probably through a consumer lab and it looked pretty good when it came in.  But look closely.  After 20 years of display, how did they hold up?  Remember, these were in the SAME frame for all those years, displayed side by side.

Here's a quick closeup of the pro photo.  You can see all the details, colors and even my freckles are clearly visible in the actual photo.  I don't know if you can see them in this photo of a photo, but take my word for it.

How about the print from the consumer lab?  Wow.  Our faces are faded out, you'd never know I have freckles, and actually, my nose is almost entirely gone.  It's kind of funny ... since we do have a pro print to remember our day.  But if this was our only photo, how sad would we be?  

Especially now that my husband is no longer with us - how important is it to my children to have that professional photo to remember their dad?  Because this one is just not enough.

Because of this, I always encourage my clients to print at least a few of their family photos through a professional lab.  There's a time and place for those 10 cent print sales at Walgreens, but those should never be the only photos you print.  True pro prints not only look better from the start, but they stand the test of time.  I've been collecting photos from the 1800's and really love seeing how these photos have held up over the decades and centuries.  My dream for my clients is to have photos like these that will outlive them and be a legacy to their grandchildren and great grandchildren.  I mean, how cool would it be to have a photo like one of these from your grandparents?

 

So how can I  help you?  How can we work together to make sure that your photos reflect your family style, will fit into your home and will stand the test of time?  I have  ideas!!!!

I have found that most of my beautiful clients are becoming far too busy to deal with all the hoops involved in getting their photos ordered and up on the wall.  Downloading the digitals, ordering the prints, picking out a frame or going to the framer.  Or what about a canvas?  Can those be framed?  Maybe an album would be better?  So many decisions and so little time. 

The first thing I'll tell you is that we will always start your experience with a consultation.  We'll talk about what you want to do with your photos.  Do you need wall art?  What do you like?  Framed and matted prints?  A gorgeous canvas for over the couch?  Maybe you want that canvas framed?  Or maybe you don't want anything for the wall but you just want some prints for Grandma and an album to display on the coffee table.  Knowing what the photos will be used for ahead of time will help me to take the photos that work best for your needs.

After your photo session, we'll take some time to look at your photos together and choose the ones you want to print, the ones you want in an album, and the ones you want to print out for your cousin Beatrice in Idaho.  If you have digital files from a previous session, we can even incorporate those into a collage wall or frame, as long as you have a print release from your photographer.  If you have a photo of your living space, we can help with design as well.  The goal is to get your items ordered and ready for use, not just waiting for you on a hard drive or USB.  This can usually be done in about an hour, but if you need more time, that's fine too, because once it's done, it's done!  Once your products come in, you can choose to come in to pick them up, we can deliver them or we can mail them directly to you.  Easy Peasy.

We've spent a lot of time researching the quality and beauty of each product, and we have samples for you to look at and touch.  I love every single item we offer. Here's a quick look at some of the options we have available.  


How about a fine art print on wood?  Do you want the wood grain to show through?  Or no?  Round or oval?  How big?  Something small for a cute little nook, or a big one for the living room?

Maybe a framed canvas?  Did you know you can order a canvas unstretched and then we can send it in to our framer to put on the frame of your choice?  These are amazing and so light and easy to hang on the wall!

How about a traditional framed print?  Before you decide on your frame, our framer can mock up your photo with several different frames so you can see how it looks before you make your final choice.  He has a huge variety of styles and colors that will match any decor.  Here are some of the mockups he has done for us in the past:

 

Maybe you want to incorporate two or three photos into one display.  Our framer can do that too!
 

What about a professional quality photo album?  Did you know that our albums feature sturdy pages as thick as a dime?  And if that's not thick enough, we can also get the ones that are as thick as a nickel!  These are perfect for young families, so little ones can actually see their photos without the panic that comes with ripping pages out of a cheaper quality photo book. 

Maybe you want another kind of canvas?  How about an unstretched canvas on a magnetic frame?  These can be traded out when you are ready to change the photo - just pull open the magnetic frame and insert the new canvas when the time comes.  I'm kind of obsessed with canvas options!

There's always the good old gallery wrapped canvas.  These are the ones that kind of look like a box - I like these to be big, or in groupings, but they come in all sizes.

These are just some of the products we offer.  Believe it or not there are more, mostly specific to the type of session you are coming for.  But whatever you are looking for, we are here to help!  

If you have questions about our products, services or you're just curious and want to come in and look at some of these items, drop me a line!  There's always time for a quick cup of tea and a studio tour.  I love showing off all of our amazing samples and you will love seeing them, I'm sure of it!

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Bucks County Burlington County Burlington County Photographer Burlington NJ Can I help you Family Portrait fine art framed canvas framed photos High Street Burlington NJ NJ Childrens Photographer NJ Photographer Print Photographer South Jersey Photographer wood prints https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/2/how-can-i-help-you Wed, 27 Feb 2019 13:15:00 GMT
The Life Changing Magic of Ordering Appointments https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/2/the-life-changing-magic-of-ordering-appointments

Like most of the human population, I have been following the organizational inspiration Marie Kondo, reading her book and watching her show that debuted recently on Netflix.  While my own personal "tidying event" seems to be a continual work in progress (the struggle is real friends), I have to admit that it's helping me to get some parts of my life in order.

But what does this have to do with your photos?  More importantly, what does this have to do with me helping you to tidy up and spark joy with your family memories?  What have I learned that can help YOU to find joy in all of those digital images that you have buried on your hard drive?

For a while now I have been learning the hard way about the photography clutter in my own life.  I will be the first to admit that when digital photography came along, I jumped right on that bandwagon and followed the trend of "I want ALL the digitals!!"  We went for family photos, and I wanted the digitals!  Many of the studios we used when my children were small only sold digitals if you bought prints first.  I was so annoyed but I bought those prints and proudly brought home my CD with all the digitals from our session.  Then I moved on to being my own photographer for my family, at a time when digitals were THE BOMB.  I took the photos, shared them on social media, carefully backed them up to multiple CD's (don't ask how much time I spent on all that) and I even printed a few.  I gave myself a pat on the back for having ALL the photos, ALL of them I tell ya!!  

Look at those disks.  So organized.  Aren't they beautiful?  Don't you want to just get out an old computer with a disk drive and put them in there one at a time and look at those photos from 2007?   Whaaaat?  No?  Not appealing??  

I realized recently that this beautiful, organized pile of all the work I had done for a decade now looks like something else to me.  It looks like MORE WORK.  It looks like a JOB.  I have to take all of those photos off those CD's and somehow back them up to some other system (that may be obsolete too in a few years).  I'm a little mad at myself.  I mean, seriously, look at all of those disks.  Do you have something like this lurking in the back of your mind?  Like me, is there a little voice reminding you that you have to take care of this before you lose those memories to technology changes?

Let me throw in another little painful piece of information about these CD's.  When my husband died, I made seven huge photo boards filled with photos from our life together.  I did not print one photo from those CD's.  There may be some really great shots on those disks.  But I did not have the time or the inclination to pull them out and look through them.  Even though they were organized, even though they were labeled and accessible on my living room shelf.  I pulled snapshots out of Rubbermaid bins, cleared out old photo albums and scrounged through whatever I had on my current computer hard drive.  (Photo credit to Lauren Allmond Photography)  Yes, I wanted the pictures, but I wanted them to be accessible, not buried on some old hard drive or disk.  I was thankful for all of those printed out photos.

 


But wait!  How about some good news?  Remember all those photo studios that "forced" me to buy the prints before they would give me digitals?  Guess what I still have?  Those prints that I was so annoyed about "having" to buy - they are right here for my viewing pleasure, any time I want to pick them up and take a look.  My children can look back at these when they are old and grey and remember how they looked  when they were little, they can show these to their children and grandchildren, no outdated technology involved:

Some of these were displayed for a little while, some of them weren't but when I want to look at them, all I have to do is take them out of the envelope.  There they are.  In my hands and not on an old computer.  I only picked my absolute favorites so I don't need to throw any away.  I am so thankful that I did all of that work when I ordered the photos all those years ago.  In retrospect, it didn't take that long and it saved me from a lot of aggravation and clutter.

I've been really thinking about this for a while, wondering how to simplify things for my clients and make sure they have what they need to pass down to their families.  I realized that it is a true disservice to my customers to just send them a download link and expect them to know how to turn these digital files into priceless family memories.  While digital files may not take up physical space in your home, they create mental clutter and don't leave you with lasting memories.  What could I do to remedy this?   I started focusing more on my clients' needs and how to guarantee high quality photos they would love rather than just giving them another job disguised as a digital download.  Guess what? They loved it.  And they weren't the only ones interested in this new process.

I started showing the products that my new clients were choosing, and to my surprise, my prior clients were coming back and telling me they never printed their digital files.  They needed help.  They didn't have time to figure out the lab, figure out the sizing, go to the framer, or find the best place to buy a canvas or album.  They WANTED the new products I was offering but had no idea how to make it happen.  I can attest to the fact that it does take time to find the best products, try them out, weed through the cheap stuff and pick out the best way to display these memories.  But I love doing it.  I've put in the time to find amazing products and I love helping my clients weed through all those digitals and pick out the best ones.  And even if they only pick out two or three favorites, I love knowing that their photos will last, maybe for generations.  Kind of like this beauty right here that has stood the test of time:

 

 

Going forward,  I'm happy to announce that rather than just leaving you in the lurch with a hard drive full of digital files that don't spark joy, files that will just be more work for you down the line, I will be encouraging all of my clients to come in and pick out the photos they love at a personalized ordering appointment.  We can relax over some tea, look over your photos, talk about what you want to do with them and come up with a plan to order whatever you need.  And yes, I'll still be providing digital copies, but only if that is truly the best option for you.

If you are sitting on a pile of digital images from a previous session and you are tired of waiting for that magical moment when you'll actually have time to get everything printed, I am ready to help with that as well!  For all of my past clients, I'll be happy to meet with you to talk about wholesale pricing for any digital files that are languishing on your computer hard drive.  Let me help you look over your space, pick out your products and get your items ordered, all in one quick visit.  You already own the images, now let's print them!

If this is something you'd like to try, get in touch!  Schedule your consultation or ordering appointment for March and mention this blog post to get an extra 20% off my already low wholesale prices*.  Let's work together to Konmari your photography experience and simplify your life.

I'm going to come back tomorrow to talk about why ordering from a professional lab makes a difference and show you some of the amazing products and services that we offer. Here's a hint about that - look at the photo above - it was taken at the Tichenor Studio in Burlington, that closed in 1885.  Do the math - that means that photo is over 130 years old.  How does it look to you?  I have a little compare and contrast to share with you that I know you'll want to see and I'm a history geek so I can't wait.   Stay tuned!!

 

 

*20% off applies to previously purchased digital file wholesale print orders only
 

 

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Bucks County Burlington County Burlington County Photographer Burlington NJ Can I help you Family Portrait fine art framed canvas framed photos High Street Burlington IPS konmari Lifechanging Magic Marie Kondo NJ NJ Childrens Photographer NJ Photographer ordering appointment photo session Print Photographer quality over quantity simplify simplify your life simplify your photo session South Jersey Photographer spark joy the lifechanging magic of tidying up tidying up why print photos wood prints https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/2/the-life-changing-magic-of-ordering-appointments Tue, 26 Feb 2019 13:45:00 GMT
Jenny & Zach's Historic Mount Holly Engagement Session https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/2/jenny-zachs-historic-mount-holly-engagement-session  

 

 

When Jenny and Zach got engaged, I think everyone who knows them let out a collective sigh of happiness.  Yes, they are THAT cute together.  Not only are they THAT cute, they are also wonderful human beings, both of them choosing careers that impact special needs children.  In my book, it doesn't get any better than that.

We'd been trying to fit in an engagement session for a while but life kept getting in the way.  So when the snow started to fall on the day of our most recent appointment, I couldn't help but groan a little.  But at the same time I was excited because I knew if the roads were clear enough to drive, we'd have an amazing session in the snow.  Good news - especially for ME - the roads were clear so we were able to make it happen.  All three of us were thrilled with the prospect of a snowy photo session - with me admittedly being the most excited of all!

We chose a location with special meaning to the couple - historic downtown Mount Holly is full of charm and a perfect backdrop for photos.  I am always a big fan of historic towns, and Mount Holly is becoming a favorite of mine.  We started off in the quaint Mill Race Village area and then headed a few streets over to take advantage of one of the many murals the town has to offer.

 

After the murals, we found a little more snow.  Our intrepid couple engaged in a few more PDA's for my benefit, aren't they so kind?

There was some gazing at the Rancocas Creek - and at each other

 


And a little bit of silliness on the bridge

And even a few moments on their own porch

 

And then we ended our session back where we began, at Breaking Grounds Coffee & Cafe.  If you haven't been there, you need to! They not only serve fabulous coffee and sandwiches, they also provide an inclusive work environment for special individuals.  And yes, Jenny and Zach help out with that too.  I told you they were awesome, didn't I?  

 Congratulations Jenny and Zach!  We wish you so much happiness for the future!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) autism autism awareness Breaking Grounds Coffee coffee shop engagement coffee shop photos downtown engagement photos engaged engagement photos engagement session hipster hipster engagement historic Mount Holly historic NJ historic town Mount Holly Mount Holly engagement session mural quaint snow day snow engagement snowy engagement photos snowy engagement session special needs wedding wedding photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/2/jenny-zachs-historic-mount-holly-engagement-session Mon, 25 Feb 2019 16:32:38 GMT
First Annual Scott Ringel Anniversary Remembrance & Giveaway https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/2/first-annual-scott-ringel-anniversary-remembrance-giveaway  

 

Good morning friends!  Do you know a family that has had a loss, is fighting a cancer diagnosis or maybe has a child on the autism spectrum and would like to get family photos done?  This post will be long and is going to be about something a little sad, but I promise to end with something good that you will want to know about, so please read to the end!

(Hint, there's a giveaway involved!)

Today is my anniversary. Well, it would have been my 27th wedding anniversary. However, as some of you may know, my husband died in 2016 after a quick and ugly battle with cancer. We had always made a big deal out of our anniversary and even when he was sick, we celebrated our 24th, so this date always puts me in a bit of a sad place. I generally try to find ways to cheer myself and my kids up around this time of year - as much as I am tempted to sit on the struggle bus and watch Netflix, I know I need to do better.  Scott was a fun guy and I know he'd want us to have some fun.  So we have some fun things planned but this year I just have been feeling the need to do more.

I know I am not the only one facing this struggle.  Other families are fighting cancer.  Other families have lost a loved one.  Other families have children on the spectrum and have a hard time getting photos done.  I want to help.  Nothing makes me happier than doing something good for someone else and I have been having ideas swirling in my mind this whole week. I think I have finally figured out a way to give back and feel good on my anniversary, and I am hoping that this can be a yearly tradition. So here are the details!!

In honor of my husband and our anniversary and the fact that I feel that everyone NEEDS to have family photos, I will be giving away THREE sessions that will include an hour long session and one 16x20 portrait.

I want to give one session to a person or family with a member who is fighting cancer.

I want to give one session to a family who has lost a loved one and hasn't had the heart to get a new family photo but they know they need one. (I'm right there with you on that one)

And finally I want to give one session to a family with a child on the autism spectrum.

These sessions will take place in March.

Here's what you can do - share this post with anyone you think might qualify. Nominate friends & family (or yourself) by sending me an email with the title HAPPY ANNIVERSARY - just tell me about the family you are nominating, send a phone picture if you can - my email is wendy@wendyringel.com - I need these to come through my email to stay organized. I will pick a winner in ONE week - entrance will be closed at 3 pm on February 22nd. Happy Anniversary to me!!

Here's a photo from right around our last anniversary together, celebrating 24 years.  Happy anniversary Scottie, we miss you.

 

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) anniversary autism friendly photographer Bucks County Burlington NJ Burlington NJ Photographer cancer cancer survivor cherry hill photographer family photos free session giveaway grief Philadelphia Scott Ringel Scott Ringel Anniversary Remembrance South Jersey South Jersey Photographer special needs special needs photographer widow widower https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/2/first-annual-scott-ringel-anniversary-remembrance-giveaway Fri, 15 Feb 2019 14:26:55 GMT
Baby Aubrey's One Year Milestone Session https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/2/baby-aubreys-one-year-milestone-session
I was so excited when Michelle messaged me about coming in for Baby Aubrey's first year photos.  You see, I knew Michelle when she was little, so it was an extra special treat to see her with her own baby girl.  Michelle & Chad were looking for some bright and clean photos, which worked out perfectly since our Burlington studio is white and as fresh as can be! 

Despite travelling all the way from Virginia, little miss Aubrey was perfectly cheerful and adorable!  Like most one year olds, she was on the move, busy with her toys and so in love with mom and dad.  As always, we made sure to incorporate some photos of the whole family.   Here are some favorites from Aubrey's special one year old milestone session.

Look at those little teeth!

 

She loved her blocks

 

 

Sniffing baby toes - there's a milestone you want to remember!

 

 

I don't think they make them any cuter than this, what a perfect little family!

 

 

You can tell that this special little lady is so loved by her mom and dad, and now they have a portrait to remember it forever.

 

 

Milestone sessions are so important!  When your children get older, sometimes you can't even believe how little they once were.  (Trust me, with a tween, teen and two adult children, I know!)   Babies change so quickly so we suggest getting in to the studio at least every six months, and maybe more during the first year.  Document those new teeth, first steps, block building skills and all the other special moments with a fun and stress free baby session in our bright studio located in historic Burlington, NJ.  We'd love to see you there!!

Click here to message us about our family, baby and toddler sessions in studio!

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) baby photos Bucks County Burlington County Burlington NJ Cherry Hill family photographer family photos first birthday First photos first year Hamilton Historic Burlington milestone milestone photos NJ NJ Photographer one year old one year photos south jersey South Jersey Photographer Special Needs Photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2019/2/baby-aubreys-one-year-milestone-session Mon, 11 Feb 2019 23:36:10 GMT
Olivia & Neil's Mount Holly Courthouse Wedding https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2018/12/olivia-neils-mount-holly-courthouse-wedding     

Olivia and Neil chose a beautiful fall day to say their vows in the historic Mount Holly courthouse.  Since many family members have worked in and around the court system, this building held special meaning to everyone in attendance.  

 

Their wedding was intimate and emotional, with special family members and close friends there to lend support.  While the colors of the day were amazing, something about the black and white conversions really spoke to me, so for the first time ever, I am doing the entire slide show in black and white.  Never fear, that stunning blush pink gown and the gorgeous greenery can be seen in the full gallery but because of the emotions of the day, I wanted to focus attention on the beautiful facial expressions.  The way Neil looked at Olivia - the way Olivia looked back.  The proud smiles from both moms, both dads and both grandmas - and Tori's fun shenanigans - it's all there.  Here are some of my favorite shots from the day and if you scroll to the bottom, you can see the slideshow with even more photos.  Enjoy!



Congratulations Neil & Oilvia!  Enjoy this slideshow with highlights from your ceremony!

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Courthouse day Historic Holly Jersey Mount NJ South Wedding https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2018/12/olivia-neils-mount-holly-courthouse-wedding Fri, 07 Dec 2018 22:45:41 GMT
Spring Wedding in Maple Shade New Jersey - Brandon & Yahnna https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2018/4/spring-wedding-in-maple-shade---brandon-yahnna  

Brandon and Yahnna picked a bright and sunny spring day for their wedding.  The temperatures were a little on the frosty side, but the warmth of this couple made up for that!  Their event was full of smiles, laughter and overflowing joy from everyone in attendance.   

After a morning of preparation and a moving, spiritual ceremony, the couple celebrated with family and friends at Cafe Fontana in Maple Shade, NJ.  The party was chock full of food, dancing and of course there was cake!  These are just a few of my favorite photos from the day - if you'd like to see over 100 more of my favorites, there is a slideshow at the bottom of the page with a beautiful recap of the wedding.  Just scroll on down and hit the play button to see them all (and if you're on a PC you can even hear some music along with it.) 

I have never seen a couple smile so much ~ Congratulations Brandon and Yahnna!!  Your wedding day was beautiful and your happiness was contagious!

 

 

                  

 

Here's the slide show!  Click the gray play button on the bottom right to start!

 

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) burlington burlington county cafe fontana cherry hill maple shade new jersey nj south jersey south jersey photographer wedding wedding photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2018/4/spring-wedding-in-maple-shade---brandon-yahnna Mon, 23 Apr 2018 22:49:13 GMT
Lauren & Otto's North Captiva Island Wedding https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2017/7/lauren-ottos-north-captiva-island-wedding First things first, right now you are probably hearing some music if you are reading this on a computer - don't worry, you aren't hallucinating - that music is from the slideshow down at the bottom of the page.  You can go ahead and  scroll down to pause it now so you can read the rest of this story first - or if you are that type of person who needs to know how the story ends before you start the book, then feel free to watch the slideshow first and come back to read and fill in the blanks. No one will judge.   We've all done it.  :)

Now let's talk about Eight Logical Roosters and the island of North Captiva!  My baby sister got married last week and guys, it was so much fun!  When she told me she might be having her wedding on North Captiva Island in Florida, I was super excited - I have wanted to go there for years.  This is an island that is only accessible by ferry and there are no cars, only golf carts and bikes, beaches, turtles and an amazing pool bar at the clubhouse.  Yes, I know, I'm a little crazy, but that's pretty much all I need to be happy.  Our entire immediate family and a large portion of our extended family made the effort to get there, with many renting houses for part of the week - it was just an amazing family reunion and wedding all rolled into one.  Friends also came to support the bride and groom, and it was wonderful to get to know everyone on such an intimate basis.  And Eight Logical Roosters - I know you are wondering what that means.  The short story is that it was a hashtag based on the last names of the bride & groom - the longer story is way too long, so we'll just leave it there.  It was a good hashtag tho, right?

The wedding itself was perfect - even the threat of the regular evening thunderstorm held off that night!  After vows on the beach, we all danced the night away at the North Captiva Island Club.  Plus ... cake!  There was definitely cake.  And it was soooo good!  I wasn't the wedding photographer so I took about 10% of the photos I would normally take at a wedding, and really did my best to stay out of the way, but I had to bring my camera, right?  And now I am experiencing all the feelings of impatience that my clients usually feel when they are waiting to see wedding pictures, lol.  I can't wait to see what the resort photographers have to share, I am sure they got some magical shots!

Here are a few photos from our time on the island, ending with a slideshow that includes my "highlight reel" from the beautiful ceremony and crazy fun reception.  For photos from the entire week, be sure to check my Facebook page - I'll be sharing bits and pieces as I edit them.  

Congratulations one more time to Lauren and Otto and thank you for making your wedding such an amazing event!  We had so much fun! 

 

 

 

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Gulf Coast Florida wedding North Captiva Island North Captiva Island Wedding destination wedding wedding wedding photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2017/7/lauren-ottos-north-captiva-island-wedding Sat, 08 Jul 2017 03:56:50 GMT
Philadelphia Wedding on The Moshulu ~ Denise & Zach https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/10/philadelphia-wedding-on-the-moshulu-denise-zach  

On a beautiful spring day, Denise and Zach invited friends from near and far to join them on the legendary Moshulu in Philadelphia.  Excitement spilled over as they got ready for the festivities, each one on a different side of the ship.  With help from her mom, maid of honor and their three beautiful daughters, Denise got into her confection of a dress.  When every detail was perfect, she emerged on the deck where Zach was waiting.  

After a touching ceremony, the party continued into the night as guests enjoyed the amazing food and danced on the deck of the ship.  As the sun went down, the ship was framed with the bright lights of the city on one side and the twinkling lights of Ben Franklin Bridge on the other.  

For a taste of the magical evening, please enjoy the slideshow below.  Just a hint, if you want to make the slideshow full screen, just hover over the bottom right and you'll see a little box you can click to do just that.  Enjoy!

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Moshulu Moshulu Wedding Philadelphia Philadelphia wedding wedding https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/10/philadelphia-wedding-on-the-moshulu-denise-zach Mon, 31 Oct 2016 17:43:31 GMT
Alstede Farms & Hacklebarney State Park ~ Emily & Justin's Wedding Slideshow https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/10/alstede-farms-hacklebarney-state-park-emily-justins-wedding-slideshow

What is there really to say about a wedding that includes my favorite state park, a bride and groom willing to pretty much hike through the woods for photos and then a reception at a beautiful farm?  Actually, quite a lot!  

Working with Justin and Emily on their wedding day was so much fun.  Our day started with Emily's family as she prepared herself for the fun ahead.  After a lovely ceremony, the bridal party left for photos at Hacklebarney State Park in Long Valley, NJ.  In a park full of families and hikers, our group definitely stood out!  This bridal party was ready for the challenge tho, and I had to chuckle thinking of how many hikers would be going home and saying, "You'll never guess what we saw at the park today!"  Up stairs and hills and down winding mountain paths ... they did it all, some of them in VERY high heels!  

Then the three magic words every hungry photographer loves to hear from the bride .... "Let's get fries."  A quick stop at Wendy's for some burgers and fries made everyone happy, and then it was time for the reception at Alstede Farms in Chester.  The corn, the horses, the sunset and all the special details were made even better by the music of DJ David Perez, who kept the party going into the night.  And did I mention the bonfire with the s'mores?  Because yeah, they had that.

An amazing day and night full of fun and laughter, food and friendship, and so much love.  Thank you for including me in the festivities!  For a peek into the adventure, enjoy the slideshow below.  Just a hint, if you want to make the slideshow full screen, just hover over the bottom right and you'll see a little box you can click to do just that.  To see the slideshow with music, you need to be on a computer, for some reason my web host doesn't play the music when viewing on tablets and phones - you can see the pictures that way, but it's more fun with the music.  Enjoy!

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) NJ alstede farms chester farm wedding hacklebarney state park hacklebarney wedding wedding https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/10/alstede-farms-hacklebarney-state-park-emily-justins-wedding-slideshow Fri, 14 Oct 2016 16:06:19 GMT
Spring Lake Manor Wedding in Spring Lake, NJ - Nicole & Brian's Slideshow https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/9/nicole-brians-spring-lake-wedding

Nicole and Brian have a love story that goes all the way back to high school.  With so much history together, it was no surprise to see the joy it brought to their family and friends when they celebrated their wedding.  Their day felt like a joyous reunion, with smiles, hugs and so much happiness.  While the rain poured down and thunder rumbled outside, the inside of St. Ambrose church was full of sunshine and laughter as Nicole and Brian pledged their love to each other.  

With a short break in the storm, we were able to take a quick break for photos at the beautiful Divine Park in Spring Lake, NJ.  And then off to the Spring Lake Manor for an amazing reception.  SCE Event Group provided the fun with music that got everyone dancing.  Congratulations to Brian and Nicole, your day was perfect in every way.   For a glimpse into the festivities, enjoy the slideshow below, full of favorite moments from their day.  

P.S. Just a hint, if you want to make the slideshow full screen, just hover over the bottom right and you'll see a little box you can click to do just that.  Enjoy!

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) NJ NJ Shore Spring Lake Spring Lake Manor Wedding wedding photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/9/nicole-brians-spring-lake-wedding Mon, 19 Sep 2016 17:13:41 GMT
Stories of Autism - Part 3 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/4/stories-of-autism---part-3  

The Stories of Autism project is a network of professional photographers creating fine art portraits.  Their mission is to increase awareness, acceptance and inclusion of people with autism spectrum disorders through fine art portraits and stories.  

I was very happy to participate in this project this year.  You can read about my first two autism superheroes here and here.  Today is all about my third and final submission, Oliver the Zebra.  Oliver is special to me because he happens to be my son.  He is also an amazing and interesting person to know.

Here's what I wrote about Oliver for the project:


Oliver is 14 years old and loves to laugh. He started out life pretty normally, but around age two stopped using the words he used to know. Since he was very social with friends, we were a little surprised to learn he had autism, but his diagnosis opened the door for some great teachers and therapists, and with their help he was able to start talking again by age four. The addition of the gluten/dairy/soy free diet at age 8 helped him to make even more progress. He continues to have a hilarious sense of humor and a very active social life.  At school, his teachers say that he knows everyone in the building and never misses an opportunity to say hello to a staff member.

Oliver loves calendars and maps, and has some savant skills in those categories. If you ask him what day of the week falls on January 3, 2018, he can tell you right away, and if he drives with you somewhere, he can tell you every turn the next time you go. He also loves to give nicknames to his friends, family and even himself. He calls his brothers Whale and Bear, and he says his sister is a monkey. Lots of people he knows are categorized as giraffes, but if he really likes you, he will call you a zebra. He calls himself Oliver the Zebra and calls his dad Zebra Jr. Lots of his friends try to get moved into the zebra category but Oliver won’t be swayed!

Being a teenager has not been all that easy. Now that he is adult sized and has all those pesky hormones floating around, behaviors that were just bothersome have become dangerous. Like many kids with autism, Oliver sometimes “elopes” or runs away, which means everyone has to be extra vigilant to keep him safe.  On the other hand, Oliver enjoys many “typical” teenaged activities like dancing, listening to music and talking to friends on the phone.  Sometimes he even likes getting his photo taken! We aren’t sure what the future holds, but we know that whatever life brings, Oliver will get through it with a big smile.

Oliver's "Stories of Autism" blurb was only part of his story.  Because I believe autism awareness should include ALL the parts of autism, here on my blog I have to add that Oliver is struggling quite a lot.  Puberty is really hard for many kids on the spectrum.  You might see behaviors like self injury, meltdowns and even hurting others.  Anxiety, frustration, limited verbal skills - these all play a part.  Sometimes I think there's also some jealousy as he sees his older brothers doing things that he can't do.  He wants friends, but doesn't know how to keep friends.  He wants freedom but doesn't know how to be safe when on his own.  Friends, teachers, doctors and we, his family, all work really hard to help him communicate his needs, but it is still really hard for him.

 And he is not alone.  There are so many kids like him - smart, funny, gorgeous kids - who have the type of autism that comes with health issues, communication problems, and behaviors that make life unsafe.  Families who live with holes in the walls, locks on the windows, fear of going out in public - families who lose friends, who have neighbors who sue them about their kids, who don't know what the future holds.  Autism awareness needs to include these families too, and wouldn't it be nice to also include real ways to help?

My favorite resource for REAL help is the TACA website.  They have information about special diets, what to do when first diagnosed, and so much family support.  They even offer Mentors.  Check them out at Tacanow.org - tell them Oliver the Zebra sent you!   We also get quite a lot of help from the teachers and staff at Oliver's school and from friends and family members.  In that way we are very blessed.

And now, here are a few more shots of Oliver that I considered for the project.  The first one showcases his, "I'm about to get into some trouble" face.  And the second one is all GQ.  This boy can go from naughty to model in five seconds flat.

April is Autism Awareness month.  If you know an autism superhero that might like to be featured in next year's project, please drop me a line.  I love working with special kids and their special families.   Thank you for joining me for this year's Stories of Autism project.  These kids were all superheroes!

 
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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) April Bucks County NJ South Jersey autism autism awareness special needs special needs photographer stories of autism https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/4/stories-of-autism---part-3 Wed, 20 Apr 2016 12:30:00 GMT
Stories of Autism - Part 2 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/4/stories-of-autism---part-2 The Stories of Autism project is a network of professional photographers creating fine art portraits.  Their mission is to increase awareness, acceptance and inclusion of people with autism spectrum disorders through fine art portraits and stories.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was honored to be chosen as one of their photographers this year, and loved meeting some special autism super heroes.  Today I am sharing the story of my second subject, the amazing Jeremy.

This handsome teenager was very busy during our session - he shared all of his treasured lego creations with me (that he built himself!) and sang me a few songs as well.  Here's his story, as written by his mom:

My name is Jeremy I am a 15-year-old boy with Autism. I have a loving family that consists of my mom, dad, brother and sister. When I was little I didn't speak or make eye contact. This was a challenge for me, because it was hard for people to know what I needed. 

My parents and grandparents are my biggest supporters. I have learned to overcome my challenges by trying hard and doing things out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it gives me anxiety when I go to new surroundings. This is my first year of high school, I attend Mercer Special Services High School. I enjoy music, building Legos, and art. When I get older I want to get a job in the community.

Check out some of Jeremy's masterpieces:

  

I'm pretty sure it would take me days to build some of these complicated vehicles.

Here's a smile that could launch a thousand ships:

I loved meeting Jeremy and his family.  I was charmed from start to finish.  This is the photo I chose to submit for the project - I love the look of pride on Jeremy's face as he displays his perfectly built lego helicopter.

April is Autism Awareness month.  If you know an autism superhero that might like to be featured in next year's project, please drop me a line.  I love working with special kids and their special families.   Stay tuned for more from this year's Stories of Autism project.  One more amazing autism super hero coming up!

 

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) autism autism awareness special needs photographer stories of autism https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/4/stories-of-autism---part-2 Mon, 18 Apr 2016 11:49:11 GMT
Stories of Autism - Part 1 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/4/stories-of-autism---part-1 The Stories of Autism project is a network of professional photographers creating fine art portraits.  The mission is to increase awareness, acceptance and inclusion of people with autism spectrum disorders through fine art portraits and stories.

I was honored to be included among the photographers this year and would like to share the photos and stories of three local autism superheroes that I met through the project.   Please check out the Stories of Autism website to learn more.

My first subject was this handsome fella. 

This cutie was full of energy, loved cars and was super excited about the new game he was planning to play later that night.  Here's his story, as written by his mom:

Ciaran, first born and the tiniest of our triplets, came into the world 2 months early and has been keeping us on our toes every since. Diagnosed with autism, hypotonia and failure to thrive at 18 months he has struggled with walking, talking, eating and most daily tasks others take for granted. 

Now at age 7 he has succeeded with dance classes, ice hockey and soccer. He lost his non-verbal status years ago and loves to greet everyone he sees. They even call him "the little mayor" at his school. Ciaran still faces daily struggles but he is the happiest boy you could ever meet and every day is a new miracle for him and us!

 

I loved spending time with this inspiring family and these adorable faces.  It was really tough choosing a favorite photo to include in the Stories of Autism Gallery.   This boy loves his sisters.

He also loves his cars, can you tell?

And was looking forward to playing a little Pie Face with the family!

In the end, I chose this photo for the gallery.  His eyes are so full of  happiness and hope -  that is exactly how I feel about this "little mayor".   Happy that he has a wonderful family to support him and hopeful that he will have an amazing future.  

April is Autism Awareness month.  If you know an autism superhero that might like to be featured in next year's project, please drop me a line.  I love working with special kids and their special families.   Stay tuned for more from this year's Stories of Autism project.  Two more amazing autism super heroes coming up!

 

(P.S. Yes, I know I left the blog hanging - more about that later - I have a story to tell and it is a long one!  I also promise to come back and tell you all about the Mayan ruins just like I said I would.  Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind a little side trip to Mexico about now .... fresh guac, drinks on the beach .... who's with me? )

 

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) April NJ Stories of Autism autism awareness special needs https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/4/stories-of-autism---part-1 Thu, 14 Apr 2016 13:51:36 GMT
Belize City and Darknight Cave Tubing - Un-Belize-able! https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/1/belize-city-and-darknight-cave-tubing---un-belize-able I'm blogging about our vacation on Vision of the Seas last month, and today will be all about our second port stop, Belize!  I had never been to Belize before so this one took some research.  Everything I read on the Cruise Critic Forums  pointed to Cave Tubing as the best choice for this day.  After checking prices with local tour operators, I decided to go with the Darknight Cave Tubing tour offered by Royal Caribbean through the ship.  The beauty of taking a cruise sponsored tour is that if you are late getting back (for any reason - traffic, car trouble, slow moving tour guide) the ship will WAIT for you.  If you are taking a tour with a local tour guide and you are late for the ship .... well, they will leave without you.  The cave tubing tour included a LONG ride to reach the tubing area, another shorter ride to get to the departure point and then a hike through the forest.  Too much room for error for this crew, so we went with the safest option.

It was another beautiful and warm day when we arrived in Belize City.  Because the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is so close to Belize City, this port required tendering.  Which basically means that the huge cruise ships can't just park at a dock without ruining the reef, so passengers take a smaller boat back and forth from the port.  Some people dislike tendering, but our family mostly views it as an extra boat ride, so we like it.  Here's a view from our tender, as we watched another tender arrive for the next group.  And hey, bonus, I can see our "windows" !

My daughter and I wore our Keens for this trip.  Can't say enough about how much I love Keens - they are the best water shoes because they have all the support of sneakers.  They were perfect for our excursion.  

And here's our view of the Belize City Port as we arrived on our tender.

Since we were on a cruise tour, we had been assigned numbers on the ship, so we just needed to find our tour operator and go.  Easy Peasy.  Our bus ride started with a ride through Belize City and then we passed through Yarborough Cemetery.  Our guide told us that this cemetery is the only one in the world with a major highway passing through the middle. 

Lots of other interesting sights, and lots of good information from our tour guide Javi.  

After a long ride (over an hour) we started to see signs of the mountains where we were headed.  Javi pointed out this mountain range that looks like a sleeping man - can you see it?

And then, because we were running a little late - instead of going to the tubing first we flip flopped plans and had lunch before the tubing.  Which would have made me nervous if we weren't on a cruise sponsored tour, but since we were, the word late didn't phase me at all.  Lunch was really good.  chicken and some rice and some kind of cole slaw, plus a drink.  Shopping available so of course we browsed a little.  They had bug spray available here - we didn't need it but some had to buy it since we were going to be hiking through the rain forest.  This is the bus we rode in.

Here's our lunch that was included:

Everyone enjoyed it.  It looked to be safe for Oliver to eat, and he chowed down, and drank his favorite Izze soda that we had brought from home.   

Bought a few coconuts from the shops.  

Our lunch time view

After our stop, we drove a little longer to the place where we got outfitted for tubing.  At this point there were lockers available to drop off anything valuable that you didn't want getting wet.  We knew this was coming so we didn't bring anything except what would fit into our waterproof bags, and we just left our bag of towels and my super old camera on the bus.  From here on, all photos are either phone pictures or taken with my waterproof Nikon Coolpix.  (AKA - not the best quality).  But again, the best camera is the one you have with you!

Here we are with our spelunking helmets and life jackets, ready to go!  And you can see the waterproof case hubby has around his neck - big enough for our phones and credit cards and they kept everything dry.

At this point we got on smaller buses (you can see them in the background of the above photos)  and headed into the jungle!  Short ride and then we were ready to hike!  The hike was pretty long and the beginning of it was pretty steep, but we are fairly fit and were able to handle it.  Our guide stopped every few minutes to tell us about the plants in the jungle.  My favorite was when he showed us a "tourist tree" - they call it that because the bark turns red and peels off.  :)

They also offered a zipline - we were not quite that adventurous.

We walked through several large caves on our way.

Cool face in a cliff

Nice path through the jungle

I forget what this was called, but it was edible, kind of tasted like coconut.  Palm kernel maybe?

Jaguar tracks - our guide acted like it was fresh to give us a scare, but since they are nocturnal animals, I was pretty sure we weren't in any danger.

Group shot!  I really appreciated that our guide asked us a few times if we wanted a photo.  Since I'm a photographer, my kids get sick of pictures but when someone else suggests it, they are always willing.  And hey, I got to be in the photo for a change.  (In my swimsuit.  Wearing a spelunking helmet.  Nothing says "sexy beast" like a spelunking helmet.  Maybe I don't appreciate this as much as I thought?)

More walking ....

This cave was VERY big.  When we got to the middle we turned off our lights and were in pitch darkness.  No photos of that.  

After our jungle trek, we reached the river and the tubes!

With a little effort, we got ourselves in and headed down the river.  

The jungle canopy kept us comfortably shaded:

We tubed through the caves 

Once again, in the middle of the cave it was super dark.  We turned off our lights for a bit to take it in.   The Mayans who lived in this area used these caves for ceremonies - they believed that they were in the underworld when they were underground - Xibalba.   Not hard to imagine why they felt that way as we sat in the dark water.  

And then we were back out in the sunlight and the tubing was finished.  We made it out of Xibalba!  At this point my kids and I remembered that they used that term in one of our favorite movies,  "The Road to El Dorado" - and we got a little silly saying "To Xibalba!" a few times.   Back at the buses, Oliver wanted a photo with our guide, Javi.  You can thank Javi for the title of today's blog - he is the one who told us that the proper response when asked how we liked Belize was to say - "It was Un-Belize-able!"  So Thanks again Javi for that little bit of corn.

We also got to try some of the food and natural medicines that are taken from the rain forest.

Then we changed into dry clothes and headed to the buses for our LONG trip back to our ship.  We passed a lot of local homes that reminded us that life in the USA is not so bad.

And then it was time for our home away from home - beautiful view of the ships in port - we saw Norwegian and Carnival, plus two Royal Caribbean ships out at sea.

And here's where we talk about how great it was to take a ship's tour.  We were on the absolute LAST tender of the day.  In the photo below you can see the Crew Port Guides (pink shirts), who always come back to the ship LAST.  I know if we weren't with the cruise tour, I would have been sweating bullets on the ride back to the port!  And as it turns out, we heard that two people actually didn't make it - they had to find a way to get to Costa Maya, Mexico the next day and rejoin the cruise then.  Can you imagine??

I enjoyed some great views of the ships as we tendered in.  

And once again, we were back on-board and getting read for dinner!  Our next port was Costa Maya, Mexico!  If you want to learn about the Mayan Ruins, tune in next week.  I learned a few new things that I can't wait to share.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/1/belize-city-and-darknight-cave-tubing---un-belize-able Fri, 29 Jan 2016 18:17:33 GMT
Roatan Honduras - A Day in Paradise https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/1/roatan-honduras---a-day-in-paradise I promised some posts about our port days and here they come!  We had a few days off because of Winter Storm Jonas, but that just made me more anxious to review these photos and do a little bit of warm weather dreaming!  Disclaimer - on port days I did not generally take my pro camera gear, so these photos are all taken with an older camera, or with my waterproof Nikon Coolpix, which is great for underwater shots but not so great for clear shots above water.  So if something is grainy, blurry or just a little off, that is why.  But you know what they say, "the best camera is the one you have with you!"

When we scheduled our cruise on Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas, we noticed that we'd be visiting some places that were new to us.  Roatan was one of these new places and I have to admit that after reading some news reports out of Honduras, I was a little worried about how safe this port would be.  I did a lot of research on the Cruise Critic website, and also Trip Advisor, to make sure that our day was going to be safe and fun for all of us.  Traveling with a teenager who has autism means that everything has to be planned, with no surprises.  Having said that, I have to commend Rony's Tours of Roatan for taking excellent care of us during our visit.  If you ever visit Roatan, look them up!  We took advantage of their "Freestyle Tour" which meant that we could pick and choose what we wanted to do, with a driver at our beck and call.  I loved this option because it left us open to just leave and go back to the ship if we had any kind of issue.  Rony gave us very detailed instructions so we could find our driver when we got off the ship, and we found him with no problem.  Here's our new friend Arnold, who took awesome care of us all day:

I had heard that Roatan was great for snorkeling and also there was some kind of monkey experience, so we told Arnold that we wanted to see the monkeys, maybe some nice views and then spend the rest of the day on the beach.  He did not disappoint!  Our first stop was at Mayan Eden Eco-Park which was an amazing animal sanctuary with birds, monkeys and butterflies.  They also have zip-lining available, which we did not try.  To get into the park was only $10 each, and that included a private tour guide, a walk through their butterfly house (amazing) and time with the monkeys and parrots.  Really a bargain and so much fun.  We all loved feeding the monkeys sunflower seeds and having them jump around on us.  This young monkey liked taking selfies.  

I think I want to hire this guy to do my taxes.  :)

The parrots were cool too.  

My son with autism did not want to see the monkeys, so he started out just staying in the car and then migrated down to the hammocks they had available.  This was a great part of doing a Freestyle Tour.  We didn't have to pay for him to do something and then find out later that it was too hard for him.  (I don't even want to tell you how much we once paid for a Disney character breakfast that was a disaster!)  

After our visit with the monkeys, we were off to the beach, with a beautiful stop on the way to take some photos of the ship.  Arnold took us to a mountain top area with several shops.  All the vendors were very nice and had reasonable prices for everything.  And what was really cute - because it was the week after Christmas, lots of local kids were off from school and helping their parents or just hanging out trying to earn a little cash.  Since I have working kids myself, I admired their gumption and we made sure to tip as much as we could.  We loaded up on water, tried some fresh coconut and even met a young lady with a rat (named Blanca)  on her head!

And then we were off to the beach!  We headed to West Bay Beach for some sun, sand, lunch and snorkeling!!  As we drove, Arnold told us about the island of Roatan and before we knew it, we were there.  We entered the beach near Bananarama Dive Resort, and Arnold got us a table at the beachside restaurant so we could start with lunch.   We were happy that we could order a lunch for Oliver that was plain rice and grilled chicken.  I'm not sure if it was 100% gluten free, but they cooked it without any gluten or dairy ingredients and he loved it.  For more serious allergies, you'd probably need to ask more questions, but for our needs, it was perfect.  Hubby opted to be a little more adventurous and get grilled fish.  They said they would bring him a BIG one, and boy they sure did!!  I'm pretty sure his meal was gluten free too.

I was a little less adventurous and I think I just got nachos, but I tried some local beer too.

And then it was time for the beach!  I loved that there were occasionally dogs running through.   The beach was not very wide, as you can see, but there was enough room for us.  I was glad that we were the only ship in port that day - I think on a busier port day it would really be a crunch.  The chairs were available for a $10 rental, but we didn't end up using one since we were in the water or at our table for lunch most of the time.  There were also boats coming and going if  you wanted to go out to deeper water for snorkeling or diving.

While the older boys used our snorkel gear, me & the girl rented a paddle board (only $10) and tried it out.  She tossed me pretty nicely at least once (and somewhere on the bottom of the ocean, a fish is now enjoying the sunglasses I bought for this trip.)  But by the end, she had perfected her balance.

And then Oliver wanted to try it too - he was happy to stay seated:

After the boys finally came back with the snorkel gear, us girls got to give it a try.  Roatan is located near the MesoAmerica Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world, so I was excited to see what was under the crystal clear water!  We unfortunately did not have a lot of time, so we had to make it quick (the ship waits for no one!) but we still managed to see quite a lot.  Just a short walk and then a short swim to a bottle (of all things) that was tethered to the ocean floor, and we found tons of coral and so many beautiful fish.   Plus this little mermaid:

Look closely at this next photo  - can you see what my daughter left behind?  :)

Here's a short video so you can see how friendly the fish were.

And then the day was over.  We wished we could stay longer but it was time for our ride back to the port.  Arnold got us back in plenty of time and we were back on board getting ready for dinner before we knew it.  Here's a nice view from the ride home, and a quick shot of the ship in port.

Stay tuned for our next port - Belize City, Belize!  Another new place for us - how was it?  You'll have to check in tomorrow!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Cruise GFCF Honduras Roatan Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas autism bananarama gluten free paddleboard snorkeling https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/1/roatan-honduras---a-day-in-paradise Thu, 28 Jan 2016 18:40:55 GMT
Somewhere ... Beyond the Sea ... Vision of the Seas New Years Cruise with Royal Caribbean https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/1/21 Sometimes it feels to me like my family is always in 100 different places, working, at school, participating in sports, after school activities .... I am sure any mother of teens can understand what I'm talking about.  I see my older kids in the morning for a minute, then sometimes at dinner time - or later at bedtime.  Everyone has somewhere to go, someone to see, something to do!  Not ideal, but life is just busy.

I'm happy that our family has been able to take a vacation together each year.  A week away from the hustle and bustle while we reconnect and try to remember the important things.  This year, we took a cruise.  Officially it was designated as a New Year's Cruise, but it happened to be a time when we were all available and really READY for a trip, so off we went!  Now that we're back and the laundry has been done, the suitcases have been relegated to the attic until next time and YES, the photos have all been edited - NOW I can share a little bit about our vacation!

Our cruise left from Tampa, Florida.  Which means that we had to GET to Tampa, Florida, from New Jersey.  For various reasons, we chose to drive down in our van.   A little bit of extra family togetherness.  Yep, it was just as good as you are imagining.  Since I am one of the smallest in the family, I got to sit all the way in back for most of the ride.  Don't be jealous of my view.  Good times.  Yes, that is rain, which is what we drove through for most of the trip.

All was forgotten when we arrived - the weather was beautiful and HOT!  We didn't have a lot of time but we did get to visit Clearwater Beach briefly before our cruise and it was beautiful.

Departure went without a hitch and we loved the views from the Tampa port.  Can you believe those blue skies and white fluffy clouds?

Our ship was The Vision of the Seas from Royal Caribbean.  Did you know that Royal Caribbean is autism certified?  They know just what to do when it comes to guests with autism and they are really great about dietary restrictions too.  Here's my son Oliver, chatting with the head waiter Anca about what he plans to eat for the week.  They brought him everything he asked for.  They gave us a quiet place to wait during the muster drill and when it was time to depart.  We just had to say the word "autism" and people would come out of nowhere to help us.  Gotta love it.

I'm going to save the port days for later, because otherwise this will get long.   Today is just all about the ship.  We were on an older ship, smaller and less fancy than some of the newer mega-ships.  But we like this type of cruise better.  By the end of the week, we felt we knew a lot of the crew members and many of the guests.  I enjoyed having someone else do the cooking and cleaning - and the whole family enjoyed the food, entertainment, pools, hot tubs and the beautiful warm weather of the Caribbean.  

The Captain, Marek Slaby from Poland, was one of the most engaged captains I have ever met.  He played volleyball with the guests in the pool, sang Bon Jovi in the Centrum and then there was the night they had a "Dancing with the Stripes" event.  Kind of like Dancing with the Stars, but the stars were officers and the dancers came from the entertainment crew.  Wow, look at Captain Marek in action.  He didn't win, but we were all still impressed.

Another amazing night - 70's night - and once again, the amazing crew members kept us entertained.  Activities Director Elvis Pinto (in the sailor suit) got everyone moving.  He actually had everyone moving every day - ok maybe not me - I admittedly just watched with a frosty drink in my hand when he did zumba classes by the pool.  C'mon, it was vacation!  I did dance during 70's night.  I can't resist a good ABBA song. 

My daughter enjoyed the rock climbing wall.  She almost made it to the first bell.  

One of the last nights was the Parade of Flags when we learned about the crew and where they were from.  This is the head housekeeper who was from Germany (in case you couldn't tell).   It was amazing to see all the nationalities represented.

It's not a vacation unless you get a good profile picture for your social media accounts, right?  Me and my girl on the last formal night - she's the one in the crown, I'm the one dressed like a zebra.  All the other pictures of me involve water shoes,  a baseball cap and a swimsuit - and no one is seeing those!

We tried some group photos.  Every night the ship's photographer would take our picture,  but we got a lot of this:

Our ports included Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel.  I'll post about them later.  Because I have a lot to say about everything!   It was a wonderful trip for all of us - we came home feeling refreshed and ready for the new year!  My mind is still filled with thoughts of ocean breezes and beautiful sunsets at sea.  Just what the doctor ordered.  "Somewhere ... beyond the sea ... somewhere, waiting for me .... " (Yes, I know that song will be stuck in your head now, and yes, you are welcome.)   Check back in a few days to hear more about our port days - monkeys, Mayan ruins, giant trampolines and girl with a rat on her head.  Yep.  You're gonna want to see those photos!  For now, I'll leave you with that song in your head and my favorite sunset photo, taken somewhere between Cozumel, Mexico and Tampa.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Belize Cozumel Roatan Royal Caribbean Tampa Vision of the Seas cruise vacation https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/1/21 Fri, 22 Jan 2016 12:45:00 GMT
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!! https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/1/winner-winner-chicken-dinner Welcome back, I hope everyone had a wonderful winter break!  We had some exciting travels that I can't wait to share!  But first .... we have a winner for the "Top 15 of 2015" Contest!!  

We had a whopping 95 comments when I counted all the blog and Facebook comments - not counting the ones from my mom - thanks mom, lol.   I was super scientific and hand wrote a list of numbers - starting with day 15 of the blog, I wrote the names of each person who commented in the order they commented.  Then I did the same thing for the Facebook posts on my page.  Then to be fair, I plugged the numbers in at Random.org to come up with a random number for our winner.  And the winner is ..... number 87!!

Comment number 87 was this gem, posted on Facebook under day nine in the countdown:  "Love the gown color."  And the winner??  Drumroll please.....

 

Lisa Pagano!!

 

Congratulations Lisa, you have won a free mini session as specified in the contest rules that were posted each day.  I will be contacting you to set up a date and make some plans!  I can't wait!

Thank you to everyone who commented!  So many of you shared your thoughts and encouragement and I truly appreciate each and every one of you.  I hope you will continue to comment here on the blog or on Facebook, because I love to hear what you all think, and I really hope to work with you in the coming year.  

Tune in for some travel photos over the next week or two - nothing better to warm up a cold winter than looking at some tropical vacation photos, right?  OK, maybe some soup with that?  I can arrange that too. Or maybe some coffee?  Sounds good to me!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Contest countdown winner https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2016/1/winner-winner-chicken-dinner Wed, 06 Jan 2016 19:12:37 GMT
Countdown Runners Up! https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/countdown-runners-up-top-15-of-2015---day-16 Thank you to all of my readers who participated in the Top 15 of 2015 Contest!  I'll be picking a winner in a few days, so look for an announcement on or after January 6th.  

There were so many great photos that I wanted to use in my countdown but just didn't have enough room.  So without any commentary, here are some of my other favorite photos that didn't quite make it to the countdown.  We'll call this Day Zero.  I hope that all of you enjoyed the countdown and I look forward to taking many more "favorite" photos in the coming year.  If you'd like to book a session, drop me a line!  And as usual, if you have a favorite shot or just have a thought about the photos, feel free to comment below!  I love hearing from you all!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/countdown-runners-up-top-15-of-2015---day-16 Fri, 01 Jan 2016 15:15:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 1 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-1 We are finally at the end of our countdown - the last day of 2015 (really?) and my last "favorite" for this year.  I have really enjoyed counting down my favorite 15 (100?) photos over the last 15 days and loved all of your comments.  Today I can't pick a single photo, I have to pick a few (again).  The photos are beautiful, but the story behind the session is really what makes these photos special to me. 

These photos are full of freedom, play and beautiful family interactions - the light was amazing, the wardrobe choices were perfect and the family was incredibly gorgeous.  But the thing about this session that makes me happiest of all is how it came about.  

I have been dreaming of specializing in kids with special needs.  My own experience as an autism mom has made me realize how important it is to have a photographer that gets it.  Someone that will be patient, relaxed, able to let kids be kids while they are captured in photos.  No, I can't always get perfectly posed studio style photos - but as a special mom, I don't even care about that.  I just want pictures of my kids that show them as they are.  Happy, playing, having fun.  My dream has been to help other families who have maybe struggled in the past with family photos.  Word has been slowly spreading, but its been spreading too slowly for me.  I have had several wonderful clients who had "special" kids.  But I know there are more out there.  And then ... one day in the summer I got this phone call.  "Hi, I am looking for a photographer who works with kids who have special needs.  I googled that and your name came up."  I could not believe it!!   MY NAME CAME UP.  MY NAME CAME UP!  

Guys, this makes me so happy.  The thought that someone might google "special needs photographer" and then call ME.  Really, I am just so happy about it. (Did I mention that I am happy about this? LOL)  I love all of my photography clients - every family, every couple, every dancing grandma at every wedding - LOVE them.  But when I capture an image for a family that didn't think they could get a decent photo, who struggled in the past, who start out the session stressed and then say to me at the end, "that was not bad at all."  Well, that just makes me feel a special sort of way.  This is why I do what I do. That's why I picked this session, these photos - because this is the family that googled and found me.  They have three amazing children that are so incredibly gorgeous and sweet - and we got some amazing photos for them.  I'm not saying which child has special needs, I'm not saying what those special needs are - I'm just sharing my favorite photos from the session.  Because whenever I look at their photos, I am reminded of that phone call and how it made me feel.  

So, let me know what you think - Which of my "Top 15" photos was your favorite?  Leave a comment below!  Comments on the blog post enter you to win a free winter mini session!  And stay tuned tomorrow for my FIRST post of the new year, featuring all of the "honorable mention" photos that were really great but didn't make it to the countdown.

Contest details:  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 Bucks County PA NJ contest countdown family photography special needs https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-1 Thu, 31 Dec 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 2 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-2 I can't believe there are only two more days left in the year!  Today's choice for my "Top 15 of 2015" Countdown comes from another wedding.  If you read my first post in this series, you will remember that my first paying job was a wedding.  Most people start out second shooting weddings,  but I dove right in and shot weddings on my own this year because that was just the way things worked out for me.  For quite some time, I was hoping for an opportunity to be a second shooter with a more seasoned wedding photographer, and that finally happened for me in October of this year.  My friend Drew at Meadow Lane Photography invited me to be his second shooter for an amazing wedding out in central Pennsylvania.  I really can't pick one favorite shot from this day, but here are a few that I loved.   A big thank you and major props to Drew for letting me tag along and learn some of his tricks.  And to Monica and Jason and all of their friends for being gorgeous and making me laugh all night at the reception.  

And no trip to Central Pennsylvania is complete without a farm shot.  Here's the Neff Round Barn in Potter County.   I passed by this barn all the time when I lived in PA, but never appreciated it until I moved away.  I figured it was time to snap a photo.

So, let me know what you think - or just answer this question - have you ever been to a wedding where the bride's mother arranges a dance off between the ladies over 50 and the ladies under 30?  Leave a comment below! (Here's a secret - I have, and it was awesome!)  Comments on the blog post enter you to win a free winter mini session!

Contest details:  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 Bucks County Contest Happy Valley NJ Penn State Wedding Photographer countdown https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-2 Wed, 30 Dec 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 3 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-3 We are counting down my favorite photos of 2015 and we are on day THREE!  Three more days this year, so three more favorites to share!  Today's choice is from an extended family session that I thought was the sweetest idea.  Mom and dad were celebrating a big anniversary and their kids chipped in together to get photos of the whole family together.  As a mom, I can't think of anything I would love more.  (*Cough cough, hint hint kids...)  I love this shot of the whole family together.

And this lovely shot of their daughter's family

And by now you all know that I liked it BEST of all when things started to go just a little crazy ... 

Ok, ok, we do have a few more serious shots.  I love this one with dad's arms opened up as if to say, "look at all of this that we did!"  

So, let me know what you think - would your parents like a photo shoot as an anniversary gift?  Leave a comment below!  Comments on the blog post enter you to win a free winter mini session!

Contest details:  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 Anniversary NJ contest family photo shoot https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-3 Tue, 29 Dec 2015 13:45:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 4 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-4 Happy Monday and welcome to my Top 15 of 2015 Countdown.  Wow, I can't believe we are down to the final FOUR photos of 2015!  Today's favorite is really going to be a lot of different photos because I am calling today's favorite .... "BABIES!"  I had so many beautiful babies to photograph this year!  Instead of sharing just one baby photo, I am going to share a few.  What better than a page full of babies to pick up the mood on a Monday?

I don't really have much to add, because what can I say?  The cheeks!  The little fingers!  Those eyes!  Happy Monday everyone!

So, how's your Monday going?  Any better now?  Leave a comment and let me know!  Comments on the blog post enter you to win a free winter mini session!

And now for the contest details!  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 NJ baby pictures contest countdown https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-4 Mon, 28 Dec 2015 13:30:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 5 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-5 I am counting down my 15 favorite photos of 2015 and today is day 5 of the countdown.  It was a beautiful fall day, but it felt more like summer.  This lovely family met me at a beautiful park along the Rancocas Creek, and we captured so many beautiful moments.  This is not one of them.  Kidding!  Kidding!  Actually to me, this is the most beautiful shot because I love the funny ones.   And how gorgeous are they?  And they were just on point with the funny faces, right?

A few more favorites from the day - to prove that these guys also look great when they aren't making silly faces.

So, what do you think?  Do you like taking silly photos during your family sessions?  Leave a comment and let me know!  Comments on the blog post enter you to win a free winter mini session!

And now for the contest details!  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 NJ Rancocas Creek contest countdown family photos silly faces https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-5 Sun, 27 Dec 2015 14:15:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 6 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-6 Less than a week to go and today's favorite is one that pulls my heartstrings a little.  As you all may know, I have a son with some special challenges, and because of that, I kind of love working with kids who (for whatever reason) might not enjoy having their photos taken.  When Gina called me to say she wanted some family photos, she indicated that one of her boys might be a challenge.   I was ready for a tough time - but to my surprise, we had a dream session.  Both boys (and mom and dad) were awesome to work with and we captured some amazing moments.  But I still get a little flutter inside when I think that this family called me because they heard that their photos wouldn't be stressful.  I'm so thankful that I can be there for families that are struggling a little, because I have been there myself.  Every family deserves to have portraits and shouldn't have to be stressed over it.

But enough about me and my feelings.  LOL.  Here's my favorite from that session:

One more favorite from the day.  Love these brothers.

So, what do you think?  Have you ever been stressed over photos because of a child with special needs?  Leave a comment and let me know!  Comments on the blog post enter you to win a free winter mini session!

And now for the contest details!  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 NJ contest countdown special kids special needs special needs photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-6 Sat, 26 Dec 2015 13:45:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 7 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-7 Today is day seven in our countdown, which means there is only a WEEK left of 2015!  Where did this year go?  Am I the only one who feels like it went by a little too fast?

Today's pick is a shot from one of my favorite engagement sessions.  I knew this couple was going to be sharp.  I have known the bride to be for quite some time and she is always put together from head to toe.  Her fiance matched her style - sharp dressed man right?  We had so many great shots from their session but the one I picked for my favorite is something that wasn't planned, posed or styled, it just happened and it was adorable.   A little gravel, some really cute shoes that couldn't be ruined, a willing groom-to-be and BOOM - this is what happened.

We did have some planned and posed shots and they were gorgeous too.

And then we topped off the night with a perfect sunset.  Doesn't get any better than that.   

So, what do you think?  Is their wedding going to be amazing or what?  Leave a comment and let me know!  Comments on the blog post enter you to win a free winter mini session!

And now for the contest details!  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 Engagement NJ contest countdown wedding photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-7 Fri, 25 Dec 2015 13:30:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 8 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-8 Eight more days left this year!  Just a little over a week to go in our countdown and for today's favorite,  I am going to call it a tie between these two.  This little lady was just fierce, but her twin brother was just so sweet!  How can I pick just one?

And here's a little secret about these two.... when one of them gets upset, the other one starts to cry too.  It is just the cutest thing.  I know their mom doesn't think it is quite as cute, but every time it happens, I let loose with a big "awwwwwwww."   Thankfully we had no tears during this session, as you can see from some of my other favorites from the day.

  

So, what do you think of these cute twins?  Do you have a cute twin story to tell?  Leave a comment and let me know!  Comments on the blog post enter you to win a free winter mini session!

And now for the contest details!  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 NJ NJ child photographer contest countdown twins https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-8 Thu, 24 Dec 2015 13:30:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 9 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-9 Wow, we are in the single digits of our countdown!  For today's favorite photo, I am going back to another wedding.  I got a text late one night from the mother of the bride and it simply said, "She said yes!"  I was so excited to learn that this family friend had gotten engaged and then even more excited to know that they wanted me to be their photographer.  There were so many gorgeous moments during their day, but again I am going for the emotion and picking this one - look at how she is looking at him!  I just love their happy faces and the bright sunshine peeking through the trees behind them.

The whole day was a dream come true for a photographer - beautiful light, acres full of gardens at our disposal, and the most gorgeous bride and groom.  Here are some other favorites from the day.  Which one would you have picked?

The bridal party was gorgeous too, right?  

And how about these guys?  They had me laughing all day long.

So many big smiles - what a happy couple.  I loved capturing their special day.

So, what do you think?  Leave a comment and let me know!  Comments on the blog post enter you to win a free winter mini session!

And now for the contest details!  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 Sayen Gardens Hamilton NJ contest countdown wedding photographer https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-9 Wed, 23 Dec 2015 13:30:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 10 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-10 Ten more days left in the year and that means ten more photos for me to share!  I am counting down my 15 favorite photos of 2015 and this shot from last May definitely had to be featured.  When I went to meet Robin's girls to take some recital photos, I don't really know what I was expecting - but what I got was amazing poise and grace, gorgeous costumes and two beautiful young ladies.  

And yes, said TWO beautiful girls so I can't leave out little sister - she was amazing too.  So maybe this is my favorite for today....

Or wait ... maybe this one .... 

As you can see, these young ladies rocked their photo session and made it pretty impossible to pick a favorite.  All I know is that I can't wait to work with them again. 

So, what do you think - which one of these three would  you pick for your favorite?  Leave a comment and let me know!  Comments on the blog post enter you to win a free winter mini session!

Contest details:  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 NJ NJ child photographer contest countdown dance photos recital photos https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-10 Tue, 22 Dec 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 11 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-11 Happy Monday everyone!  Today's favorite in my "Top 15 of 2015" countdown comes from this past April.  A friend of mine was coming to visit from out of town and we made plans to meet together for some tours in Jersey City and Brooklyn.  Not only did we have an amazing time, but I got to take a few photos of her gorgeous kiddos.  This shot just reminds me of something out of Humans of New York and since I am an enormous fan of Brandon and the work he does, this makes my favorites list.  I just wish I had thought to interview Miss Molly when I took the photo!  Since I didn't, I'll just use this one as a "Today in microfashion" post.  How about that sticker on her forehead?  I think that is my favorite part!

And since I am a chronic over sharer, here's a cute shot of little brother.

Bridge shots never get old to me.  Brooklyn Bridge from the Brooklyn side.  

So, what do you think of my Humans of NY knockoff?  Leave a comment and let me know!  Comments on the blog post enter you to win a free winter mini session!

And now for the contest details!  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 Bridge Brooklyn Humans of New York NYC New York City contest https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-11 Mon, 21 Dec 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 12 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-12 Just twelve days left this year and that brings us to this emotional photo, my favorite of the day.  I love shooting weddings more than I ever imagined that I would, and emotional moments like this are the reason why.  As the groom danced with his sister and chatted ... one minute they were laughing and the next minute she was crying ... and the next minute they were laughing again.   And isn't that how it is at weddings?

See, I told you they were laughing a minute later!

And as usual, I have more than one favorite from the day.  I think this was the first wedding where I stood on a chair to take photos - I have since perfected that move and you will usually see me dancing on a chair somewhere while the wedding guests get down.  

And one more from the night - we almost didn't get this shot because it was late and the party was pretty much over - but I am so glad we did.   Those shoes!  The cutest couple in the world had the cutest touches on everything - I loved working with them.

So, what do you think of today's picks?  Leave a comment and let me know!  Comments on the blog post enter you to win a free winter mini session!

And now for the contest details!  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-12 Sun, 20 Dec 2015 13:30:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 -Countdown - Day 13 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---day-13 I am continuing to count down my 15 favorite photos of 2015 and here we are at Day 13.  Man oh man, you guys don't realize how hard it is to pick favorites!   So how have I been picking these?

Of course I am always looking at the technical aspects of each photo to be sure it is clear and the composition is good - but what makes the photo a winner to me  every time is the emotional aspect.  A connection, a smile, a funny moment that brings back the session every time I look at it - those are the ones I like best.  

This photo fits the bill for me, so ... here you have it, today's favorite in my top 15 countdown.  Every time I look at this one, I laugh.  This little guy was just so full of fun!  In the midst of family photos, he started doing some poses of his own, and oh my goodness!  This one never gets old.

Of course, the rest of the family photos came out great - this gorgeous family was amazing to work with.  

 

And now for the contest!  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

Let me know how you like today's pick!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 contest https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---day-13 Sat, 19 Dec 2015 16:27:48 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 14 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-14 Welcome to the countdown!  I am counting down to the end of 2015 and sharing my 15 favorite photos from my first 15 months of business.  Keep reading to the end of the blog to learn how you can win a free winter mini session just by commenting and telling me how you like my choices!  

Today is day fourteen and I am going to go back to last fall and these cute boys.  Their mom is a good friend of mine and one of my first customers for a family session.  She was worried about how they would behave for pictures, but this time I was NOT nervous.  Having three boys of my own, I knew we'd have fun.  And when they showed up in these cute plaid shirts, I knew their photos would be amazing.  How cute is this brotherly love?

And for good measure, I have to add my other favorite shot from this session.  Because I like the photos that are genuine, natural and a little bit quirky.  Check, check and check plus!  Look at that smile!  I just love this kid!

And now for the contest!  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

Can't wait to hear from all of you!  

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 contest countdown https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-14 Fri, 18 Dec 2015 13:30:00 GMT
Top 15 of 2015 - Countdown - Day 15 https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-15 I am so excited to start this countdown!  In case you missed it yesterday, I am counting down my favorite 15 photos from the last 15 months to celebrate my first full year in business.  And there's a contest to make it more fun, so check the details on that at the end of the post.  

I thought about how to do it - my least favorite to most favorite?  Beginning of the year to the end of the year?  Great ideas, I guess, but I am really more of a "throw it all against the wall and see what sticks" kind of girl (does that even make sense in this context?  I don't know).  So - I am just going to pick out my favorites as I go, with no real rhyme or reason.  'Cause I am quirky like that.  And let's be real here - I'm also not organized enough to go in any kind of order and honestly don't think I can pick ONE photo over another in a countdown to the best.  So I'm just going to pick my favorites and share one (or a few) each day.  No particular order.  And away we go!!

I knew this had to be my first "favorite."  This beautiful bride was my first paying client.  Yes, my very first paying job was a WEDDING.  I can't even believe it myself.  More on that in a minute - just look at this gorgeous photo first.

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So now, I know you are thinking to yourself, "Who in their right mind takes a WEDDING for their first paying job?"  Looking back, I am a little bit stunned myself.  And I will admit right here, I was as nervous as a cat in the weeks leading up to this wedding.  But how did it happen that my FIRST job was a wedding?  Well, let me tell ya.

I had been saying I was going to open my business for about a year.  I had set up my website, started a Facebook page and did two tons of research that resulted in a monstrous list of all the things I knew I would need to start a legitimate business.  And then I stalled.  I kept taking photos, building up my portfolio doing free shoots for friends, but I was just not taking the final steps.  And then along came my dear friend Kirsy with this friend who needed a wedding photographer.  I hemmed.  And I hawed.  And she pushed me.  And I hemmed and hawed some more.  And she pushed again.  And I finally got my rear in gear and filed all my business paperwork, got a tax i.d., purchased insurance and did all of that crazy (important) stuff I had been putting off.  And boom, I was officially in business, with a first paying job ... gulp ... a wedding.

Most people start out in wedding photography by second shooting.  That means they work with a more seasoned wedding photographer as the helper.  Something I would have loved to do but just never had the opportunity at that point.  I had done a wedding for my cousin, as a gift to her.  And I had a few seasoned wedding photographer friends to pepper with questions before the big day. I had been taking photos for years, so I had some technical skills.  But posing, timelines, wrangling family members, and all of that ... with just one (unpaid) wedding under my belt, I was NERVOUS.  

Thankfully, all the advice helped me through it.  The bride was amazing to work with, super sweet and gorgeous to boot.  I rented the gear I needed, printed out my shot lists and posing ideas and brought along my favorite assistant (my smarty pants son).  At the end of the night, I was tired, happy, nervous (did I get all the shots?) and so anxious to see my images.  When I got home and started looking through the photos, I saw this one and immediately knew that I had done it.  My first paying job, and I knew I had gotten what the bride and groom deserved.  Which is why, when I think of my favorite photos from my first year, this is the FIRST one that comes to mind.  She's gorgeous, right? 

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Here are a few of my other favorite images from the day.  Some of them are not technically perfect but these are the ones I love. Copyright_Wendy_Ringel

Photo credit to Sam Ringel (my trusty assistant)  for this one.  That's me with the bride.

And how about these crazy kids?   Copyright_Wendy_Ringel

My assistant in action.  Isn't he cute? Copyright_Wendy_Ringel

And finally - my friend and cheerleader who pushed me just as hard as I needed to be pushed, with her beautiful family.  Thank you Kirsy for all of your support this year and especially for the kick in the pants that I needed!  

Copyright_Wendy_Ringel

And now for the contest!  Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think.  You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown.  For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry).  And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends.  So THREE possible entries per day.  I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.  

Fine Print:  Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release.  No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st.  Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.

Can't wait to hear from all of you!  

 

 

 

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) 2015 Countdown contest https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/top-15-of-2015---countdown---day-15 Thu, 17 Dec 2015 15:59:12 GMT
Today I am Thankful https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/today-i-am-thankful As this year comes to an end, I am reflecting on my first full year of being in business and feeling so thankful.  Thankful for my family and all of their support, thankful to my friends - one in particular - who gave me the push I needed to get things started - and thankful to all of my clients for trusting me with their most precious moments.  

I've been thinking about how to end the year and I finally came up with an idea - I thought it would be nice to share my top 15 favorite moments and images from the year as we count down the last 15 days of 2015.  Knowing me, there will be more than 15 images, but that's ok, right?  

So stay tuned - over the next 15 days, each day I will be sharing one (or two?  or three?) of my favorite images from my first full year of business.  I'm starting my year with September of last year, so technically I'll be choosing from my first fifteen months.  But why quibble about little things?  Plus I kinda like the whole "15" theme that is going on here.   I'm a giant geek, huh?

To make it more fun - at the end of the year, I will take all the comments from the "15 days" blog posts, and all the comments that you leave on Facebook (on the blog post link) and pick one name for a FREE winter mini session.  I'll choose a winner after the holidays, I'm thinking Wednesday, January 6th will be a good day to pick a name.  So get your comments ready and you might be the winner!

*Fine print - Mini session includes half an hour session at a location of your choice, and 5 digital images with print release.  No cash value.  Date must be booked before March 1st.

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Thankful contest https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/12/today-i-am-thankful Wed, 16 Dec 2015 14:46:47 GMT
Long Bridge Park ~ Finding My Chair https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/10/long-bridge-park-fall-family-session This sweet family met me for a brisk session at Long Bridge Park in Hainesport, N.J.  Mom told me her boys were full of energy so I planned ahead, with a rousing game of "someone stole my chair" to get them engaged.  Yes, I did hide my chair along the trail before they got there, and they "helped" me find it!   

We paused for a few pictures before we started - can you tell that big brother is ready to look for that chair?  And check out mom - expecting a new baby (a girl!) very soon and she still had no problem getting down on the ground for a few shots.  Impressive!

We had a little fun with leaves ....

And big brother brought his very special bear to help us with our plans.

These guys were pretty excited when we found the chair!

 

That chair is not so big, but it fit both of them, at least for a minute!

And then it was time to do a little more exploring.  

They treated me to big, beautiful smiles with mom and dad!

And then we had a little more fun with the autumn leaves.

These guys did such a great job helping my find my chair - at the end we were all ready to jump for joy!  I can't wait to work with them again, maybe after their new little sister arrives!  Thank you to the gorgeous "H" family for spending some time with me and lending me your adorable little detectives to help me "find my chair."  

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/10/long-bridge-park-fall-family-session Tue, 27 Oct 2015 12:15:00 GMT
Boundary Creek Park Family Session, Moorestown, NJ https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/10/boundary-creek-park-family-session-moorestown-nj This adorable family needed some photos, and chose Boundary Creek Park in Moorestown, NJ for the setting.  We had an amazingly warm day, which was great because mom had chosen perfectly coordinating outfits that were a little more summery.  Looking back at these photos today, as the temperature hovers in the mid 40's (brrrr) I kind of wish I could go back in time and soak up a little more of that beautiful sunshine.  Good thing for photos to remind us that summer will be back again some day, right?

Despite the warm weather, we were treated to some early autumn colors down by the Rancocas Creek.  Three cheers to dad for suggesting the walk down to the water! Totally worth it!

For me, no family session is complete without the silly face shots.  These guys knew what to do.  Excellent work!

And of course, a few individual shots of the kids because they change so fast! 

A few more family shots to round out our session.  

Then a final brother-sister shot before we finished up.  All smiles, and how gorgeous are they?

Big thanks to the "O" family for coming out and bringing your best smiles!  I can't wait to see what you do with your images.  Picturing a nice big canvas of those gorgeous kids! I know I will be looking back at this session whenever I need a reminder that warm days are coming back in the spring!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Boundary Creek Park Family photos Moorestown NJ https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/10/boundary-creek-park-family-session-moorestown-nj Mon, 19 Oct 2015 15:53:33 GMT
Historic Smithville Park ~ Iyesis & Jeff's Engagement Session https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/10/historic-smithville-park-iyesis-jeffs-engagement-session When Iyesis contacted me about engagement and wedding photos, I was so excited.  She is one of those young ladies who knows how to make a statement - makeup, hair and shoes - she puts it all together with flair.  As her mom told me, she is an artist, and you can tell from the way she pays attention to every detail.  I mean, c'mon, did you look at her shoes?  And Jeff is right there with her - on point with the shoes, the tie and even his wrist watch.  

We had an amazing session at Historic Smithville Park in Eastampton, New Jersey.  We looked into the gardens, the mansion and even the adjacent field.  It was a beautiful night and these two were even more beautiful to photograph.

 

And this just happened - possibly my favorite moment from the night and totally spontaneous - Iyesis didn't want to ruin her shoes in the gravel and Jeff gave her a lift.  Oh yeah, I think he's a keeper!

It takes a special couple to trek through the fields in their dress clothes - but I think these shots were worth it, don't you?  And the balloons?  All their idea.  

As the session ended, we were treated to a beautiful sunset.

Congratulations to Iyesis and Jeff!  I can't wait to see how amazing your wedding will be.  I'll be counting down the days!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Engagement Historic Smithville Park NJ https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/10/historic-smithville-park-iyesis-jeffs-engagement-session Fri, 16 Oct 2015 12:15:00 GMT
Burlington Township High School - a Jazzy Senior Session https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/10/burlington-township-high-school---a-jazzy-senior-session When some friends referred Dan's family to me for senior photos, I had no idea that I would be meeting such an interesting young man.  When we met at the park and I saw his bowtie and purple jacket, I knew we were going to hit it off!  Dan was talented, well dressed and polite, and not only that, he was willing to trek through the field to get my favorite shot from our session. 

 

You can probably guess from looking at him that Dan is really into the arts.  Jazz to be specific.  His face lit up as he talked about the jazz group he performs with, and how they had a second place finish at Nationals last year.  Why this hasn't been shouted from the rooftops in our town is beyond me, but I am here to do my part and let you know that Burlington Township has some talented young people!  I know I will be making an effort to see the Burlington Township Jazz Singers perform this year.

 

Thanks to Dan and family for a great session!  I am sure we will be hearing more from this amazing young man.  Maybe one day you'll see a shot like this one on the cover of his jazz album.  Have a wonderful senior year!

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wendy@wendyringel.com (Wendy Ringel Photography) Burlington Township Burlington Township Jazz Singers Senior Photo jazz https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/10/burlington-township-high-school---a-jazzy-senior-session Wed, 14 Oct 2015 13:38:45 GMT
Sayen Gardens Wedding in Hamilton NJ ~ The Non Slide Show Edition https://www.wendyringel.com/blog/2015/10/sayen-gardens-wedding-the-non-slide-show-edition Ivy and Misa's late summer wedding day was perfect in every way.  The sun was shining, the skies were blue and family and friends came from far and wide to help them celebrate their day.  At beautiful Sayen Gardens in Hamilton, New Jersey, the bride and groom had a family brunch and then got ready in separate sections of the historic Sayen House.  

 

The bride was surrounded by her sisters, helping her with every last detail.

How cute were these flower girls?

The groom had some help with ties and cuff links from his groomsmen, including his uncle and brother.

Mom & dad came in for the finishing touches.

After an emotional first look between the bride and her father, it was time for the wedding to start!

The ceremony took place in the beautiful Temple Gardens, under a lovely gazebo.  The sun peeked through the trees as the guests waited for the bride.

The bride made her way down the aisle...

to her waiting groom 

Pride showed in his eyes as the father of the bride handed his girl over to the groom.  Pride and maybe a few tears.

A beautiful ceremony commenced, filled with laughter, tears, advice and kind words.  

Just like every other aspect of the day, the receiving line was filled with emotion.  Hugging, laughing, crying and more hugging.

We made good use of the many scenic areas of the park for formal portraits.  This shot of the family doesn't even include everyone - thankfully Sayen Gardens is a park full of open spaces!  Family members, some from as far away as Germany, cheered on the bride and groom as they celebrated the fact that they were officially husband and wife.

While the guests headed to the reception, the bride and groom explored the grounds with their bridal party and we captured some spectacular moments.  The walking paths and fountains were the perfect backdrop to accentuate the Victorian theme of the wedding.

Before heading to the reception, we took a few minutes for some fun.  The bridesmaids all had a surprise under their beautiful aqua dresses - bright red heels!

And as the groomsmen often do, these guys started out smooth and then went a little crazy.

They still managed to pull themselves together for a few more formal shots

And then the girls started to twirl and we knew it was time to wrap things up and head to the reception.

As the sun was setting, we headed across the street to the party awaiting us at the Nottingham Ballroom.

The bridal party started things off with an elaborate Victorian group dance.  

Followed by the bride & groom's special dance together.

The bride had an emotional dance with dad.

And the groom with his mom 

And then it was time to party!!  After a delicious dinner catered by Mafaldas of Hamilton, the night was filled with every type of music, in honor of the different cultures represented in both families. 

The wedding cake was lovingly made by the bride's sister, and so beautiful!