Kim: Personal Brand Photography in Rochester NY

We’ve been photographing Kim’s high school seniors since 2014. After three of her high school seniors, I was excited when she told me she was in need of some new headshots for herself.

In talking with her I learned that her new website design included a sunflower element. So we wanted her new brand to feel natural. This took us to Cobbs Hill, where the green trees and architecture, and even a yellow bench helped us tie everything together.

If you’re in the market for hypnotherapy or to learn more about it - take a glance at Kim’s website at Entrancing Inspirations!

~ Erin

Maggie: Headshot Portraits with a Librarian

Our business is heavily relationship based. You can see that in the images we create. Working with Maggie to update her headshots was unique to her personality, but just what I always strive for in a session. Fun, outdoors, good lighting, natural expressions. 

She choose one of my favorite locations in the city to shoot: the University of Rochester campus. We met at the library, and planned to shoot near the quad. We quickly discovered much of it to be under construction, but not to worry, we altered the game plan slightly and still found lots of unique locations with great lighting to use.

Maggie, thank you for bringing your beautiful smile and helping me learn a little more about you and your journey to this moment. It's been a pleasure getting to know you, and laughing with you when we got photo bombed by the balloons. :) 

Until next time,

Canal Days Event Photography: Fairport NY Photographer

We're part of a pretty fantastic community. Fairport looks and feels like the small town that it is, but it throws some pretty famous events. Fairport Canal Days is top on that list.

Have you ever gone to a festival and wondered what the "behind the scenes" looks like? No? Well, Neither have I. But now I know that it literally takes a village... ba dum dum.

But seriously, did you know that there's a group of VOLUNTEERS that runs the whole festival?

For the past few years, we've been the Official Photographers of Fairport Canal Days. It's a joy to get to know not only the community better, but also the people who give weeks of their lives to this event every year.

From food, to music, and down to the toilets - the whole festival is created by a group of giving team members and leaders, who play their part in creating a better community.

It is an honor to create the photographs that tell the story of an entire community.

See you next year Canal Days!

~ Erin

Maurini : Fellowship Head Shot Session

One of the things I look for in a head shot is life in the eyes. Nowadays, anyone can take a photo and edit it quite quickly. So what set's a professional portrait apart? The eyes.

Maurini was so easy to talk to, this session was a blast. We took advantage of an overcast day in Fairport to walk along the canal and make some portraits. Maurini recently received a fellowship in library sciences, which is what the photos were originally for. 

So, how do you get life in the eyes? In this case, all I had to do was ask her about her husband, and she instantly smiled, a real smile. Which made me smile. If your husband can still do that after 20 years, you know you found the right one. That is all I know about him, and I can't wait to meet him!

For now, meet Maurini, and how about those eyes?

Documenting a Campaign: Rochester NY Photography

Most of the time, when we pick up our camera to shoot, it's to capture relationships, whether at a family session or wedding (which is how we first met the Wilt Family). We don't often dabble in current events and politics.

However, we were recently retained to provide headshots and some documentary style photography for Robin Wilt. She is one of the recently announced candidates running for New York's 25th Congressional District, which was formerly Louise Slaughter's position.

Robin Wilt goes from Brighton Town Council to Congress hopeful

Robin Wilt goes from Brighton Town Council to Congress hopeful

Documentary photography is fast moving - you have to get the shot quickly. Often with this type of work, the client is really only in need of that ONE photo that shows the necessary story.

This is different from a family portrait session, where the whole set of images tells a family's story.

Documentary work keeps us on our toes, and actually helps us react faster to catch the perfect moment at our weddings and portrait sessions. So while these events were not the norm for us, it was interesting to do something different.

~ Erin

Community Spotlight: Next Level Strength & Conditioning

Like us, Next Level Strength and Conditioning is celebrating their fifth anniversary this year. Located on Lyndon Road and very active in the Fairport Community, we have enjoyed getting to know them over the last few years.

We're also super excited to be partnering with them for an upcoming member event in June! 

So since we're doing that, we thought it'd be fun to ask 5 questions to help them celebrate this business milestone.

Without further ado, meet Coach Nate, the Founder and Owner of Next Level Strength & Conditioning!

Nate VanKouwenberg, Owner of Next Level Strength and Conditioning in Fairport

Nate VanKouwenberg, Owner of Next Level Strength and Conditioning in Fairport

What makes Next Level a unique place to train?
There are several unique qualities that make NL (Next Level) a special place to train, from offering the latest in scientifically proven training methods, our state of the art 5,000 square foot facility and a wide range of comprehensive services, including Physical Therapy and Sports Massage. Despite all of these factors that make us very proud, Next Level would be nothing without the people. We have the most amazing staff, athletes and general fitness members! Our team of Strength Coaches have a wide range of certifications and degrees, but most importantly they are amazing people. They truly care about the well being of our members both inside and outside of the gym. We take pride in the family like culture we've developed here.

The team at Next Level Strength and Conditioning

The team at Next Level Strength and Conditioning

Who are your main clients?
We work with a wide range of athletes and general fitness members, including youth athletes (athletic development FUNdamentals), Middle School athletes (introduction to sports performance) and High School, College and Pro athletes (advanced sports performance). Our adult general fitness members range from recent college graduates to people that are enjoying retirement. The benefits from quality functional strength training reach all ages and skill levels!

What about non-athletes, do they need a fitness program too?
Absolutely, everyone deserves a quality program that holds them accountable and gets them feeling and moving better. We have many HS students who are in our sport performance groups despite not playing a sport! These students absolutely crush it!

We also offer an Adult Functional Fitness group program called Roots (getting back to the Roots of functional fitness without the BS). Our Roots members are a tight knit family that creates a supportive environment, regardless of skill level. Each workout consists of mobility, functional strength training and metabolic conditioning. "Everything you need, nothing you don't." Our team of qualified coaches can modify workouts to meet the specific needs and goals of each individual. We offer a free roots session to anyone that wants to give it a shot!

What fitness goal are you most proud of accomplishing?
We take pride in helping our athletes and general fitness members achieve their goals, regardless of how big or small they are. Whether it's helping an athlete improve their performance, or someone reach an ideal weight, this is why we do what we do and love every minute!

Tell us a little about your path, Nate:
I grew up playing hockey and loving sports! After my Freshman year playing hockey at SUNY Brockport, I realized that everything I was doing to prepare off the ice was wrong. I decided to major in Physical Education with a concentration in Exercise Science. It was mind blowing to me what a huge difference quality training could make in my on ice performance. This is where I fell in love with what I do today.

After Brockport I started teaching PE in Victor and training HS athletes on the side at local gyms. Each year my following grew and I realized what a huge impact I could have on people if I focused on Strength & Conditioning more than school breaks. In March of 2013, we opened our current facility connected to the Rochester Ice Center in Fairport. I could not be more proud of the culture we've built at Next Level and how many people we've helped achieve their goals! I am also the Strength Coach for the RIT Men's hockey team, so I've been able to stay in the game and get the best of both worlds! I could not be living out my dream without the support of my wife, kids and amazing team of coaches and managers!

Want to learn more? Go visit, or find them here:

Website  / Facebook  / Instagram  / Twitter  

Exterior of Next Level Strength and Conditioning, next to the Rochester Ice Center on Lyndon Road

Exterior of Next Level Strength and Conditioning, next to the Rochester Ice Center on Lyndon Road

6 Healthy Habits for Feeling Great on Your Wedding Day

Today we have a special guest post for you, coming from local strength coach Kurtis Bednarcyk, CFSC of Next Level Strength & Conditioning in Fairport, NY.

We believe that no matter what you look like, you deserve to be photographed beautifully. But we know that we all have our insecurities as well, especially if your wedding day is right around the corner. So Kurtis wrote some tips for us, on how to look and feel your best on your wedding day.

And there is a special offer for our blog readers at the bottom, so be sure to scroll down! Take it away Kurtis!

Kurtis Bednarcyk, Certified Functional Strength Coach of  Next Level Strength & Conditioning

Kurtis Bednarcyk, Certified Functional Strength Coach of Next Level Strength & Conditioning

The Next Level Bride Guide: 6 Healthy Habits for Wedding Day “WOW!”s

Congratulations, you’re planning a wedding! Nobody told you there’d be so much to think about: guest lists, table settings, music and reading goes on and on. And of course, you want to look your best on the big day; there will be SO. MANY. PHOTOS.  - p.s. if you haven’t chosen a photographer yet, we happen to know someone. :)

We’ve all witnessed plenty of radical approaches for the wedding “transformation,” but unfortunately most are either unsuccessful or unsustainable. Good news is, we’re here to help! This isn’t your typical “10-Day Detox Plan,” which will only serve to add to your stress as the big day nears; instead we’re offering 6 simple practices you can pick up today, so you can bring your best self to the altar, the honeymoon, and every day after that. Let’s do this!
1) Prioritize protein and healthy fats
All too commonly in our daily lives, a meal or snack is dominated by carbohydrates – think bagels, bread, chips, pasta, etc. A diet too high in carbs can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and hormones, and is a common driver of excess body fat as well as the emotion appropriately termed “hangry.” If you’re looking to lean out a bit, each of your 3-5 meals should contain at least a palm sized portion of protein - fish, poultry, lean meats, eggs, or legumes; and a thumb sized portion of healthy fats – avocado, olive oil, coconut, or grass-fed butter. A small handful of nuts can work here, too.

2) Taste the rainbow
Time to make your plate look pretty! Supplement your protein and healthy fats with as many vegetables and fruits as you can handle, and set a goal to eat at least 5-6 different colors each day. Don’t stress over these calories; produce is full of vitamins and minerals and is next to impossible to overeat! The fiber will assist in satiety andt you’ll likely see an improvement in mood and productivity as well. 

3) Plan and prepare your meals
To borrow a quote from Josh Hillis, “fat loss happens on Monday.” That means preparation is key; don’t purchase all this healthy food only to have it spoil in the refrigerator because you had a few long days at work. We recommend putting aside an hour or two at the beginning of the week to chop your veggies and cook your proteins. Also, invest in some convenient containers to pack each serving so it’s as simple as grab and go.

4) Strip down your coffee
What if  we told you your daily morning treat may contain up to 7 or 8 HUNDRED calories?! Whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle don’t belong in your coffee cup, ladies – that’s a milkshake! If the thought of a cup of black joe makes your hair stand on end, try adding 1-2 creams/sugars to start and titrate down over time.


5) Hit the weights
While most changes in body composition will hinge upon improving your dietary routine, a proper strength training program will enhance them by exciting your muscles and kicking your metabolism into high gear. You may have heard that aerobic-based exercise – or “cardio” – is the most efficient option for fat loss and that heavy weights add unwanted “bulk,” but to be frank, those reports are flat out wrong; a functional body looks the part. An added benefit: the empowerment factor - strong is the new sexy!

6) The 6-minute morning hack
Rather than hitting the snooze button (3 or 4 times for some), instantly charge your morning with 5 minutes of light stretching or meditation followed by a big glass of water. For best results, do this right on your bedroom floor before checking your phone or even turning on the lights. This sets the tone for the entire day, and puts you on track to maintain the rest of these habits.

Pretty simple stuff, right?! Now the challenge is putting this into action TODAY! We’ve called this the “Bride Guide,” but your partner – and everyone else, really - would benefit from adopting these habits too.

The take-away is this: don’t chase the “quick fix,” but rather, develop a lifestyle that will continually add value to your life…until death do you part!

Cheers to forever!

You can find more from me on Facebook @ Kurtis Bednarcyk, CFSC or on Twitter @KBinatree

Next Level Strength & Conditioning is also very active on instagram and facebook. Check them out for all your fitness needs!

Next Level Strength & Conditioning, Fairport, NY

Free Fitness Training!

Try Roots (adult group classes) for Free for a week! Just mention you were referred by Lori & Erin! Email us at or visit us at to learn more.

Giving Back : 1% for the Planet

earth from above

Imagine living in a world where you have to wear a mask before going outside, or you wake up not knowing if you will have access to clean water that day. It's not just foreign countries being impacted by climate change. Everyone, everywhere, is affected whether we realize it or not.

Now imagine that your actions can make a difference. That you could help reverse the damage done by pollution and wastefulness. After reading Drawdown by Paul Hawken, I felt hope. It is possible to reverse the damage from carbon emissions and you and I can do it.

When I came across 1% for the Planet, it seemed like a great way to use our business to make a difference. 

1% for the Planet is a global movement inspiring businesses and individuals to support environmental solutions through annual membership and everyday actions. We advise on giving strategies, we certify donations, and we amplify the impact of our network.

Every year, 1% of our gross proceeds will go to charities dedicated to protecting the earth.

“1% for the Planet certifies giving on an annual basis by reviewing each business's sales documentation as well as reviewing donation receipts made to approved nonprofit partners.”

Part of it is the donation itself, yes. But it's also the awareness of the campaign and knowing that people vote with their dollars. If supporting an environmentally friendly business is important to you, you're in the right place.

We feel you!

I love how Rick Crawford put it: "...consumers hold the power to demand a future that is actually sustainable. By demanding products and services from businesses that are solving social and environmental problems, consumers set trends that can't be ignored."

Thank you for your support and if this cause is important to you, now you know that every time you shop with us 1% is going back to the planet. 


PS: Leave a comment, we'd love to know your thoughts on this initiative!


Vendor Spotlight: Shell's Sweets

Over the years we've met some pretty incredible people. Today we're here to share a little about a creative mind we've had the pleasure of getting to know - Michelle Crawford. She's a business owner, cake artist and fantastic lady!

Michelle in her Kitchen

Michelle in her Kitchen

We met up with her at her kitchen for a chat and some pictures, and here's what we found out!

Quick Bio About Me: Many people ask me how I got started in cakes. It definitely wasn't something I saw myself doing as a full time business but it seemed to unfold that way. As a kid I always loved to bake and create things. I learned the basics from a family friend and began making cakes for family and friends. There was a time where I was unable to create much due to school and work. However, once my nieces and nephews were born I started back up. This is what really fueled my love for cake and now my cake business.

What does it mean to be a cake artist?
A cake artist is someone who takes the unexpected (flour, butter, sugar, eggs, etc) and with a vision creates a work of edible art. 

Where does your inspiration come from?
Haha - it might be easier if you asked where didn't my inspiration come from. I am constantly seeing things and thinking "That would look great on a cake!" My biggest areas of inspiration are fashion, interior design. color and nature. 

What's your favorite flavor?
Ooh that's a tough one! I would have to say it's a toss up between my Dark Chocolate cake and Peanut Butter Buttercream and something I call Snickerdoodle, Cinnamon cake, White Chocolate Ganache and Cinnamon Buttercream. Mmmmmmm....

What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job is the creating. I love seeing either what I have in mind or what my customer has in mind come to life. There's nothing like it! One of my favorite things make are sugar flowers, lace or anything cute! 

Any hobbies outside the kitchen?
If I'm not in the kitchen you will probably find me crafting something, taking pictures (You have nothing to be concerned about haha), and spending time with friends and family.

How do people find you? (web, social media, etc)
You can find me at these locations:
Website  / Facebook  / Instagram  / Twitter  

Thanks Michelle! We can't wait to work with you again soon!

Michelle's mom, pictured above, is often around to help, but doesn't do any of the baking. She helps wash dishes, fetches things and generally just enjoys watching Michelle work. It was a pleasure getting to know both women! And who doesn't need another photo with their mom? Such a pleasure!

Spotlight on Local Artisans: Firehouse Wood Works, Fairport NY

I never knew the building on Main Street as a firehouse. It was a food pantry when I moved to Fairport. But when Paul and Carolyn moved into it, they converted the space to house their woodworking business. What started as a hobby, became a passion that they now happily share with others.

Paul works with reclaimed wood, scraps and random pieces given to them. Carolyn takes extra tiles leftover from job sites, and other found materials to create her art. Together, they have created tables, decor and so much more. She can create something by request, working with your choice of colors, materials or theme. 

I have loved getting to know this wonderful, easy going couple through the course of creating some images to launch their website. The store has been open since June, and the website should be launching very soon.

Especially as Small Business Saturday approaches, we're grateful to work with local artists like these two. We hope you'll think about stopping by a local merchant as you carefully select your holiday gifts. In doing so, you know that each gift you give was thoughtfully and lovingly made - versus a quick trip to your local big box store.

If you like quality, handmade pieces of art, stop down and get to know these artisans! Their work is sure to impress you, and if nothing else you can enjoy all of the firehouse relics they have accumulated to decorate the space!

Enjoy this sneak peek into the shop, and feel free to say hello and welcome, either in the comments, or in person at 113 N Main St, Fairport!


Internship Available: Fall & Winter 2017

Our business is always growing, and we want to share some of our experience with the next generation of photographers!

We are looking for a motivated individual aiming to gain experience in the business of portrait and wedding photography. You’ll learn tips and tricks while working with real customers, as well as many of the back end tasks business that most people don’t think about. The position will begin sometime in late September and run through November, with an option to extend through the end of December. We expect a weekly commitment of 5-10 hours.

You’ll get a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to run a photography business. We’ll review your portfolio (if you have one) and address any specific areas you may want help with. You can pick our brains about what we have learned in our 5+ years of running a full time business!

Tasks Could Include: Assisting on Portrait Sessions/Weddings • Packaging Print Orders • Social Media updates • Compiling Blog posts + other odds and ends as they come up

To Apply: Send an email to with the subject line: Intern Application. In the Body, please include all of your contact information and answer the following questions:

Tell us about yourself - what are your passions? (Other than photography) • Will you get school credit for this internship? • Are there any requirements to receive this credit? • What is your availability? Days/Times • What is the number one takeaway you would like to get from this position? • What is your favorite photo or blog post on our website? Why? • How familiar are you with Lightroom and Photoshop? • Do you have your own laptop?

Deadline to Apply is midnight on September 30th. Thank you for your interest!


Night out at Casa Larga: Fairport NY Photographers

Earlier this month, we invited our bridal parties to take a night off and join us at Casa Larga for one of their first Patio Parties of the 2017 season.

We wanted our brides to have a break from the hectic planning and just spend time with their people. Good food, wine, beer, music and friends - that's what this night was all about. Lori and I really enjoyed getting to spend time with a few of our couples apart from the wedding scene, in a relaxed atmosphere.

Red, Hot and Blue was the band on stage while the Effortlessly Healthy and Chef's Food Truck kept the crowd fed and obviously Casa Larga provided their menu of wines to the Happy Hour crowd.

Big "thank yous" go out to the couples who joined us for the evening, and to Casa Larga for hosting us - we hope to do it again sometime soon!

~ Erin