I grew up in South Carolina with a stay-at-home mom who was a former singer, dancer, and showgirl and an entrepreneur father who was an avid amateur photographer. I truly was never destined to have a "normal" job, but lord knows I tried. I graduated from UNC Chapel Hill School of Law and worked briefly for a small firm before hanging out my own shingle (I really never have been great at working for other people) and practicing criminal defense law for a couple of years. In 2004, I moved to NYC where the struggle to find my calling continued. Intellectually, I loved the law but, practically, it turns out that I really don't like conflict. So... not the best fit for me. I tried quite a few things, including real estate and legal recruiting, in my quest to figure out what the heck I wanted to do when I grew up.
I had always loved photography, thanks in large part to my dad's passion for it, and it finally dawned on me that I could put my interest in entrepreneurship together with my interest in photography and make a really satisfying career out of it. In 2009, I started taking courses at the International Center for Photography as well as workshops all over the country and even in Paris to hone my skills in lighting, posing, and specific types of photography. At the same time that I dove into learning, I launched my business with an ad for actor headshots. I am in NYC - what better way to start than with headshots, right?
I am so grateful that this journey has worked out for me in the beautiful way that it has! For the past ten years, I have been privileged to shoot everything from headshots to portraits, weddings, family, newborn, lifestyle, branding and boudoir.
My love for the genre of boudoir photography really awakened in me the desire to work specifically with women and the ways that I can help empower them to recognize their beauty, strength, and power. For a long time, I thought I would only shoot boudoir photography for the rest of my career (under my former brand Own Your Sexy), but I have realized that my mission to empower women is best achieved not only with boudoir photos but with ALL types of powerful portraits. Now I am proud to offer general women's portraiture as well as headshots and branding sessions for women entrepreneurs, too.
I almost became a pastry chef when I first moved to NYC. I've always loved baking and when I moved here I took a 100-hour French Pastry course and a 20-hour artisanal bread course from the French Culinary Institute. I came very close to enrolling in their professional program but decided that the chef life was a little too grueling for me. Plus, I wanted to keep baking and pastry as a fun at-home passion and not get sick of all my favorite goodies!
I am a Brandi Carlile fan girl and have seen her live in concert over a dozen times. I did NOT take this photo, but it would be a dream come true situation to be able to photograph her. If you have the connections to make that happen, I would basically give you free photo shoots for life! Just putting this out into the universe...
My dad was a dolphin trainer in Key Largo in the 60s. He met my mom in London when he escorted two dolphins to the London Dolphinarium, where my mom was working as a show girl at the time. She ran off with him to the Keys and the rest is history. The other unusual job my dad has had: pollen collector. For most of my life, he ran a business where he harvested pollen, cleaned it, and then sold it to pharmaceutical companies to use in medications. It was always so hard to explain at school!
This is my beautiful mom, Judi Johnson, on the cover of TV Times in March 1965. She was the winner of Search for a Star, the first ever viewer-voted television talent contest! She also released four songs on two 45 records. But her moment of fame was short-lived – she hated the spotlight. And that is lucky for me because I wouldn't be here if she hadn't met and run off with my dad...
I got married on May 20, 2017. This was my... uh... third marriage. I thought I would never get married again after my second, but then fate intervened and introduced me to the love of my life. If you want more details on this entire saga, several cocktails are required. ;)
My studio is my zen home-away-from home. This is a scene beside my desk full of things I love. That to do list tells you pretty much everything you need to know about me, lol.
I love drag queens! This pic is of my best friend, Nate, dressed as his drag persona, Amanda, in Paris in 2014. I am suuuuper introverted and can count on two hands the number of people I consider close friends. About half of those are drag queens. In fact, one of my drag queen friends was even the officiant at my wedding!
I am obsessed with Paris and am basically convinced that I lived there in a past life. It is a dream of mine to have a home there. This is one of my fave pics of Notre Dame that I took while on a 5-week photo project in Paris in 2010. In 2018, I launched destination boudoir and portrait sessions in Paris and plan to do that every year. Wanna come?
The sweetest kitty in the whole world, my Kiki. I am not exaggerating when I say that this cat saved my life. I used to bring her to the studio with me, and occasionally I still do. She makes a super fabulous studio supervisor and pose demonstrator. True story: she made it into several clients' albums with her adorable photo bombs.
Growing up Southern with a British mother, I somehow managed to never like tea – not iced sweet tea, not English breakfast, none of it. But a few years ago I got really into tea when I was breaking myself of a Diet Pepsi habit. I fell in love with beautiful tea ware and delicious high-quality teas. When you come to the studio, you will see my collection of beautiful little tea pots and vintage tea cups! It makes me happy and alleviates my stress to set up a lovely Chinese tea service or brew a pot of black tea and use a fancy cup while I work.
My kitten, Poppi. She is a Scottish Fold but with straight ears (only about half of each litter gets the fold), and she is the funniest cat I have ever known. Which totally makes sense, because we named her after a dear comedian friend of ours who passed away.