Category Archives: Press

NJ Monthly | Unique Photo 2023 Cover Photo Search

NJ Monthly Photo Contest

NJ Monthly | Award of Excellence

In 2021 my Dad sent me a link to a call for entries to the NJ Monthly and Unique Photo cover contest. He encouraged me to enter. The prizes were substantial and I love both the magazine and the camera store so if nothing else, my submission would be supporting both. So I did it. I entered one of my favorite drone shots. And low and behold I placed first in the aerial category! I won a DRONE! It was awesome and exciting and scary and all the things, but I did it. I put myself out there. I think that when you put yourself out there, you open up the Universe to new opportunities for growth and connection. And you may even give someone else the courage to do the same.

I also think it sends a really imortant message to my sons. It shows them bravery and courage and that their mom is a badass photographer who is making things happen not only for herself, but for them! It gives them a sense of pride and admiration. So do it, put your work out there! Here is the post from that awesome and exciting win for me.

Feelin’ the funk

I didn’t submit anything for 2022. Not sure why exactly, I guess I just didn’t feel compelled to. Maybe it’s because I have felt like I’ve been in a funk for like a year straight. Thinking back, 2022 was a REALLY difficult year for me and my family. My son was having a really hard time in the public school system which translates to me, his momma, ALSO having a very difficult time. It’s been heavy on our shoulders and in our hearts for YEARS. But this year we finally received an out of district placement and it has legitimately been life saving, life giving, for all of us. A completely different experience. He is seen and even APPRECIATED for the wonderful person that he is. Intelligent, kind, compassionate, full of RANDOM FACTS, artistic and not stigmatized, shamed and punished for the areas he lacks.

Getting our lives back…

I feel like I am getting my life back. And so I submitted one of my favorite images from November of last year to NJ Monthly Cover Photo Contest. Baby Ari being held up by her dad. This session was so special for Ari’s family but also for me. Because it showed me COMMUNITY. Something I have been missing. And that actually is very much in part to my son’s challenges. Am I being too vague? My son has ADHD, Anxiety and something called DMDD (Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder). I, myself, have Anxiety. Quite honestly I do believe I have been living with undiagnosed ADHD my entire life.

We have been ostrasized by our community because he is different. Imagine that? Labeling a child at the age of 6 as “bad” and making life even more challenging and lonely for us. Having that label follow him around all through elementary school. A child who has a hard enough time regulating his emotions. In school he was seen as the “bully” and yet children would purposely antagonize him and try to get him to a state of dysregualtion. Even the adults didn’t understand him or give him grace or compassion.

I’m clearly getting off topic, but it’s been a struggle. If someone you know has a child with these disorders, please reach out to them. Ask them if they are okay. See if you can be their community <3

So back to this session 😂

Raise them UP

Crystal and Lamar (Ari’s Parents) wanted to include their COMMUNITY in their photoshoot. Check out their shoot here. My heart exploded into a million pieces during their session. It was incredible how their community SHOWED UP last minute to be a part of this.

But this picture…Lamar wanted to do something like the Statue of Liberty and the Lion King (Ari means Lion). And as soon as he said it I was all in and it was this. It’s amazing. I love it. And I love it for all the reasons.

A man holding up his baby girl – this means so much to me. My dad was a huge supporter of me. He gave me the confidence to follow my dreams. He encouraged me to follow my heart and always believed in me. He was the first man in my life and was an amazing example of how I deserved to be loved and treated. The composition of this image I feel is extremely powerful as is the symbolism. You don’t need to see Lamar’s face in this. We know it is him. But we also know that it could be MANY men who are there, supporting their babies, raising them UP!

And my son(s) thankfully have men like this in their lives. Men who raise them up, lifting them high overhead, giving them the praise and confidence and SUPPORT that they need and that they deserve.

NJ Monthly Cover Search winners

Anyway, I know that this post kind of went off topic (thanks ADHD). But it’s my heart. And I am thankful, grateful and honored to have this image that we made TOGETHER be recognized by the judges, NJ Monthly and Unique Photo. I may not have received the placement on the Cover of this month’s magazine, but what I did receive is priceless. To see the winners and read more about it, hop on over to the NJ Monthly article here.

Scotch Plains | Portrait Studio | My Journey

I was contacted by Evelyn Wiseman with Subkit at the end of June asking if she could interview me about my Go Solo Story. I was recommended by another photographer that I had begun a friendship with via Facebook, Kristen Matta with Blush Baby Photography. What a complete honor!

Photography is one of those industries where you can either choose to be a competitor or a colleague/collaborator. I’ve learned this over the years. There is so much you can gain by forging friendships with others in your industry. So much more than choosing to see everyone as your competitor <3

Thank you Kristen for recommending me, for our virtual brainstorming sessions, for your help and most of all for treating me as a friend and colleague <3. It means so much! And thank you, Evelyn, for sharing our Go Solo Stories with others who are business men and women or thinking about embarking on this journey <3!

You can read my interview here. If you are local to Boston, I highly recommend reaching out to Blush Baby Photography for your photography needs. You can read Kristen’s article here.

Are you someone who has a go solo story to tell? Do you know someone who is killing it and you admire for going solo? You can fill out your own interview story here or send the link to someone who has a story to share with others.

Cover Search Contest Winner | NJ Monthly and Unique Photo

Cover Search Contest

I’ve been so busy that I just haven’t made the time to update my blog posts! So here I go again LOL. I do this every few months. I put it off and then I put out a flurry of activity. Oh well, I will blame it on my ADHD.

Last year, one of my BIGGEST fans and supporters sent me a link to an article by NJ Monthly Magazine with a call for entries for their 2021 Cover Search. He encouraged me to submit one of my photos to the contest because he was sure I would win. 🙂 Dads, am I right? But he believes in me. He knows I’m passionate about what I do. And he knows that I am good at what I do. The best? Well, I mean there are TONS of amazing photographers in our Garden State. But I’ve been putting myself out there more and more. Because I believe in myself and I also believe in the power of vulnerability.

In 2020 I got a drone and my remote pilot license and found a whole new love for a new photography medium. Aerial Photography! I love it! And one day I took my boys to the beach right before a storm was coming. I put my drone up in the air and I captured some AMAZING shots of the ocean and the waves and the white caps breaking on the beach. It was awesome! And I thought that one of them was good enough to submit to the contest.

I didn’t expect to win. But one day I got a call from someone at NJ Monthly about my entry. And he told me that I was a finalist in the Drone category. I was stoked! He said there were thousands of entries and they had narrowed it down to the final few. And one of them was me! DANNGGGG!!! I was thrilled. They invited the finalists to Unique Photo for a reception where the winner(s) would be announced. CRAZY! I was invited!

So on a November evening, my sons and I drove up to Unique. My friend Jody, another huge supporter of mine and one of my best friends, met us there. So excited for me <3. And there it was. My photo displayed on the wall with a bunch of other amazing finalists. Next to it? 1st place in the Drone Category! OMG! Shocked and excited and nervous and surprised and PROUD!

Interesting fact…this is not the EXACT photo that was submitted to the contest. What’s the difference? If you look REALLY closely…you can see my 2 sons swimming in the surf. Yes, if you take 2 boys to the beach and expect them to just sit and watch you fly your drone and NOT go full out swimming in their clothes, they you’re crazy. LOL! Can you see them?

If you want to grow, put yourself out there. Believe in yourself. Just KEEP GOING! You might just win first place in a contest and get a 2nd Drone 😉 Oh, and they have started their call for submissions for NJ Monthly Cover Search 2022! Take a leap and submit something!

NJ | NYC | Food Photographer | Top 7 | Newark, NJ | Joan Marie Photography

Well, you might just call me a witch because I think I just manifested myself a rating of Top 7 Food Photographers in the Newark, NJ area!  And actually, I might be more excited and thrilled and happy and all the feelings about the actual write up and the description of my work than the actual accolade!

You see, I have said it before and I will say it again.  I am PASSIONATE about all photography genres.  I can’t fit into a little box of “specializing in”.  Maybe that’s a problem for some people, but I just can’t help it.  And that being said, what stood out most to me is how that came through to the writers at Peerspace.  My heart is bursting with joy and gratitude.  If you are interested in reading more, and see the other talented food photographers’ work, head on over to the article!  This completely caught me surprise (not sure why since I wished it into existence just last week) and made my day.  Thank you Peerspace for the recognition!

And thank you Universe for always providing <3


joan marie

Scotch Plains, NJ 07076

908.312.1788 |