Tag Archives: nj

Dog Photography | Holiday Pet Portraits | Bloomingdale’s

dog photography

A store like no other!

Dog photography is one of my favorites to shoot! And what a fun time I had photographing Holiday Pet Portraits at Bloomingdale’s at the Willowbrook Mall for their Friends and Family event! I worked with some of their Store Managers who created this adorable Holiday set for the dog photography photo op! How cute is it??? Everyone who works there is so friendly, nice and attentive. Not only to their customers, but to me as their photographer for the day. It was really such a pleasure working with all of them. I really hope I get to do it again next year!

Who let the dogs out?

We had a great turnout for these pet portraits and all of these little fur babies were just SO CUTE! My assistant for the day, my 13 year old son, challenged me to see if I would be able to guess all of the breeds as they came up. And I don’t remember what the end tally was, but I was pretty spot on for nearly all of them! I don’t know where or how or why I learned all these different dog breeds, but you might just say I have a bit of a special talent when it comes to that. Now to figure out what this special power can do for me LOL!

I had planned on doing this solo, but I’m so happy my son came with me. I didn’t think about how much work and effort it would be to bring all of my equipment in, set it up, break it down, etc. It sure does help having a big strong teenager who suddenly towers over me there to help me with all of it. And we got to spend some nice quality time together which I have been missing. I also think it was good for him to see his mom hard at work, doing what she loves to do.

Mall rats

After the dog photography we took a stroll around the mall and I was transported through time and space to my childhood. The mall was the place to go when I was in my early teenage years! And admittedly I have not been to a mall in a long time. Quite possibly pre COVID?? Is that crazy? Is it possible? I don’t know, but it sure was nice to see the mall filled with people.

We went over to Champs, another store I haven’t been to in years to see what kind of clothes they were selling. I figured that my assistant earned some fresh new threads and we were able to get some nice deals on a couple of sweatshirts and plain solid t’s. He also found a really sweet Nike shirt that had a cool retro vibe. So I’d say all in all, it was a really great day <3

Thank you for your service <3

One of my dog models was a beautiful service do named Sage. Something about her just captivated me. I think it was those soulful eyes <3 I had to turn her image into a portrait. I do love doing these, but dog photography composites take a good deal more of time and effort to do. I thought it would be fun to show you a little before and after of that!

Now for the Holiday Photos!

To see more of my pet photogrpahy, click here!

NJ Dating Profile Photographer | Westfield, NJ

“Jersey Girl for LIFE!”

dating profile photographer nj

Time is once again getting away from me and I am realizing that I haven’t blogged about some of the best shoots I’ve had this Summer! The dating profile session I did with Ali was nothing short of AWESOME!

When Ali first reached out to me she was on the fence about doing a dating profile session. I get it. Believe me I do! Would we be able to get enough variety, could we capture her personality, could we REALLY get enough material in the one hour session to yield 5 unique images that are included in the package? My answer is always a resounding YES!


I think part of this can be credited to the questionnaire that my Clients fill out. I don’t know what it is, but I really find it helps me connect with the individual and almost know them personally before we even meet. The questions I ask aren’t only for MY benefit, but I think they help get my dating peeps in the right mindset and remembering who THEY are and not so much who they want to meet. I think that’s really important! We all have something to offer and we need to remember that. But it also helps us to come up with outfit ideas and “props” for the shoot. These are simple things that can really create a completely different look and feel!

When Ali and I first spoke she mentioned wanting to give 80’s vibes in her dating profile. I loved it and I had the best idea! Let’s turn one of the images into a polaroid with some cool prism like colors overlaid on it! I knew right away we were on the same page! And that was confirmed once again when I read her answers to the questionnaire. She is a really freakin’ cool girl!

Ali and I originally planned on meeting at Van Gogh’s Ear in Union only to find out the day of that it was CLOSED! But, we go with the flow and we pivot! PIVOT!!! (Friends reference ;)) And I really believe that these things do happen for a reason and when you go with the flow, it all works out in the end! We ended up at a cute little spot in Westfield called Reeve’s Smoothie Cafe. We got the Berry Betsy and it was delicious!!

So let’s get right into it! Here is a little bit more about Ali <3

Do you have any hobbies?

I enjoy gardening, playing chess, dancing, running, checking out new restaurants/going cruising in the car.

What are the 3 most important things you’re looking for in a partner?

(Ali listed five LOL!)

  1. Fun
  2. Kind
  3. Good conversationalist.
  4. Loves/ed his mother.
  5. Sense of Humor

Favorite book? (this was a good one…she listed some of my own personal favorites.)

I have a couple books I enjoyed reading. The Alchemist, The old man and the sea, The Four agreements.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without?

Coffee and hugs!

So yeah, now you can see why I think Ali is so cool! One of my favorite answers she gave was whether or not she has any strange or unique talents. She made me promise that I wouldn’t include her answer here…so if you want to know what it is, I guess you’ll just have to meet Alide for yourself! HAHA!

Ali – I had so much fun gettting to know you! I know that you will meet someone who is worthy of you because you are true to yourself! Best of luck!! XOXO

View More Dating Profile Sessions



Communion – the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.

This post is kinda personal. I don’t like to talk about religion. I believe everyone has a right to believe what they want. I was raised Catholic. I went to public school my whole life, but ended up at an all girls Catholic high school, The Academy of St Elizabeth, when I was 14. I went from knowing no one and having no friends, feeling lost and sad and angry, to meeting some of the most amazing girls (now women) that I will ever know. Some of my best friends to this day are girls that I met in my four years at this small and tight knit school. I am by no means a deeply “religious” person, but I am spiritual and I LOVE my St E’s girls.

One of the girls I met was Lauren. Lauren was younger than me, but we both played softball. Age didn’t really matter much once you crossed that sports line. Our teams were like family and we really genuinely cared about each other. Lauren was a hell of a pitcher too, so she had that going for her 😉

Fast forward years and years and years (not telling how many LOL) and Lauren reached out to me for family Christmas photos. When I met her 2 girls I immediately fell in love! They were little fire crackers! And seeing Lauren was like a sweet memory of being young again. Fast forward and it’s 2021 and her older daughter was making her Communion. I was lucky enough to be able to come and document the reception. Her family is pure and loving and genuine and real and sweet and I honestly feel like another one of the family when I am around them.

But one of my favorite memories of this day was Lauren’s Papa. He was the same age as my Grandma and had this twinkle in his eye. The love that poured out of him when he looked at his family was literally tangible. And I caught it that day. The way he looked at Lauren’s daughters, the way he looked at Lauren. I caught it. This is what I live for…

Lauren recently lost her Papa. I recently lost my Grandma. They were both in their late 90’s. So when I saw her share that he had passed away I immediately understood her sorrow. We were so lucky to have these strong and important people in our lives for so long. To have our kids know their Great Grandparents is such a gift. And while we understand how lucky we are, it is still such a deep loss. Maybe BECAUSE of all the time we had with them.

So when I write this and share pictures from Giuliana’s Communion, the definition of Communion holds so much more meaning. “The sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.” I’m sharing the communion of the day I captured with Lauren’s family. I am letting Lauren know that I love her and I am so grateful for her and for the honor to be able to capture these special moments in time for her and her family.

Lauren I am so sorry about your Papa. I met him ONE time that I can remember. Who knows, he may have been at some of our softball games! But he was special. I felt it. I saw it. And you were so lucky to have him in your life. XOXO

All the love to my SEAster, Lauren and her amazing family <3

Here are some photos from 2021. Next time I won’t be 2 years behind on blogging and will share pics from Olivia’s Communion soon!

NJ Dating Profile Photography | Summit, NJ | Rahul

“Another one rides the bus”

If you know where those lyrics are from, then you are probably a fan of Weird Al Yankovik. Which means you’d probably have a great time hanging out with Rahul who has seen Weird Al multiple times! I thought that was an interesting bit to find out about him.

I always ask my clients if they could live anywhere, where would it be? Rahul’s answer? Toronto! And if he could choose between the city or the country he would pick the city. While he enjoys the beauty of the country, he is really drawn to the culture you find in the city.

When I asked Rahul what it is that makes him happy, he responded as I would imagine a psychiatrist would:

I mostly find joy in helping others feel better.

Imagine that!? A man who finds joy in helping others feel better. Rahul is generous and is looking for the same in his partner(s). He is smart, interesting, skeptical, and enjoys connecting on a deeper level. He even enjoys yoga and has experience with salsa dancing!

We had a beautiful day for our dating shoot and we even got to experience the 11AM Pack Walk with Wonder Dog Studio! Imagine turning a corner to see a sea of Golden Retrievers coming towards you!? It was so awesome and impressive!

Thank you Rahul for trusting me to capture YOU last week and I can’t wait to hear how things work out for you!

Scotch Plains, NJ | Cake Smash | First Birthday

One thing I love about my job is the people I meet and the connections I make! I met Leanne last summer when she was expecting her first baby. She scheduled me to do both Maternity and Newborn shoots. She and her husband are the sweetest couple and are so adorably in love. And I feel blessed that they chose me to capture that for them!

So fast forward to a year later and little baby Violet is ONE! So of course we had to do a Cake Smash session to document this milestone! We chose hues of Purple for her special session and I love the way the setup came out!

What about the cake?

Leanne has a baker that she uses for her special events, Allie’s Kitchen, and she made this beautiful cake for Violet! Isn’t it gorgeous?!? I do prefer to have parents bring the cake because they know their child best and with allergies I just think it’s the best bet. I like to use “naked” cakes because the star of the show is your little one, not the cake!

Just like her momma!

Momma owns her own Pilates Studio locally called M pilates + Yoga. What I found to be the most adorable thing is that Violet is always pointing her toes and showing off her form! She definitely takes after her momma in that respect!

Leanne and Rich, thank you for trusting me to document your journey with Violet! I always love seeing you and making the magic happen! And I will be in touch soon because your Album and prints are IN!!! And they are GORGEOUS!!!


joan marie

Scotch Plains, NJ 07076

908.312.1788 | info@joanmariephotography.com