Andrea & Chris truly had the fairytale wedding day they have been hoping and dreaming of. Chalet of Canandaigua and Country Club of Canandaigua provided the most picturesque settings you could ever dream of on a perfect summers day. These two truly are best friends, and could not be happier to be starting their lives together as Mr. & Mrs. Brown :) Please enjoy this slideshow that we produced and displayed at their reception!
Tiffany & Andrew were surrounded by the most incredible friends and family when they tied the knot at Woodcliff Hotel & Spa. Never has a room been filled with SO much love - they even had a song written about them! We are thrilled to have been able to incorporate that song into their slideshow below, both of which were performed live at their reception. Thank you two for letting us be a part of such a memorable and love-filled day. You will certainly live Happi"Lee" ever after :)
Music by Katie Lynch, performed by Grace Weinstein & Katie Lynch
This wedding at Woodcliff Hotel & Spa simply took our breath away. If you've ever met Jared or Wendy, you would not be surprised to know that their wedding was absolutely brimming with (300!) people who love and cherish them deeply. While they never demand the limelight, everyone present could not have been happier to put them front and center to celebrate their unquestionable love. The sunny weather and beautiful background made for the perfect setting for this celebration - and the Skycoasters kept the party going all night long :) Congrats Jared & Wendy! Enjoy this slideshow we made and displayed at the reception!
It's a unique privilege to have a front-row seat to some of the most significant events in people's lives.... but to be able to witness and photograph this event with the couple and their family in nothing short of PARADISE was an opportunity I will never forget. The love and generosity Tabatha & Jared share opening and freely with their friends, family, and anyone them come in contact with is truly awe-inspiring. And I couldn't have done this one without the eye, brain and support of my best friend Ms. Whitney Warne from Ivory House Photography. Enjoy...
Hand-lettered valentines, tulle, lipstick and kisses... what's not to love?! Enjoy this bright and fun little Valentine's Day inspired styled shoot that we put together for you :)
VIDEO BY: JULIA HART PRODUCTIONS
Such an honor to photograph these two.... And especially to treat this incredible bride to the same care, love and attention she showers her own clients with on their wedding day! Shout out to Jess (the other main member of this marriage lol) - the three of you are an unstoppable team. And the biggest shout out goes to Chris for letting me and Alyssa parade him around Buffalo in 20 degree weather for these incredible photos ;) Love to you and your families - you guys are the best!!! XOXOXO -Natalie + team!
Sasha & Antoine are two of the most generous, lovely, kind-hearted and compassionate people I've ever met. The two are both in the medical field - always helping others. It was no surprise that their family and friend's rose to the occasion to help, love and celebrate these two all day! 40 of Sasha's family members came from as far as Ghana and Barbados - Antoine had family in from Texas and all over the country. The Strathallan Hotel in Rochester NY was the gathering spot for the entire world to honor this relationship -- oh -- and to have a raging party to boot ;) Enjoy this slideshow that we made and displayed at their reception :)
These two. If you've ever met them - you know how much they radiate love, joy and exuberance for each other, their families, and their friends. Their wedding was nothing short of spectacular! More to come, but please enjoy this same day slideshow that we produced and played at their reception at the Strathallan :)
What a PERFECT day these two had at Belhurst Castle in Geneva this weekend... not only did we have a beautifully warm and sunny October day- but they couldn't be found without a smile on their faces and a loving gaze between the two of them. Scott & Nancy are truly the perfect match for each other - respectful and kind, sincere and a bit reserved, but most of all - head over heels for the other!! Enjoy this slideshow of their wedding - made and display at their reception!
Erica and Steve had the wedding day people dream and plan for. Erica “the planner” had every moment calculated down to the last detail, but no one could have predictedall the perfect spontaneous moments and spectacular weather that occurred on October 15th, 2016. I’m so happy and honored that I got to be a witness to this day. I have no doubt that #sterica will only grow stronger with each passing year. I can’t wait to watch what happens next. - Whitney
If a movie were two be made about high school romance (ok, another movie!), it should star these two. Not only did these two become best friends and eventually start dating in high school [read our #mancrushmonday story about Nick for THAT story!], but their roots go back even further than that! Their dads were best friends at the same high school (Bishop Kearney) - and there are several other crazy connections I won't even begin to describe (dad's welcome toast did it best!). The love and consideration they exhibit for each other is truly remarkable - and it was evident in every moment of their wedding. Enjoy the same day slideshow below that we made and displayed at their wedding reception at Casa Larga.
In case you missed the first part of this two-part story, read our "Meet Lisa" post first, and then enjoy the grande finale of her story and finished images below! :) I've also included some great resources at the bottom - both an organization that helped Lisa and her son through their struggles with his addiction, as well as a video of Lisa presenting her story to a committee of NYS Senators in hopes to reform our government's policies that provide help for those fighting addiction.
IN HER HEAD BEFORE THE SHOOT
"While I was nervous to call originally, when I came in the studio, Natalie made me feel completely right at home. All the nerves went out the door. I was just excited.
IN HER HEAD, DURING THE BOUDOIR SHOOT
Honestly. I felt great. You feel glamorous, you feel good inside, good outside. I can’t say enough. And then when you’re showing me the pictures, I’m like ‘Wow! Let’s keep going!” I can’t explain the feeling. I felt so good. She made me feel so good! Like no one else has made me feel before, other than my husband.
HER THOUGHTS ON HER BOUDOIR PHOTOS
I love this picture. It makes me feel proud. Empowered. I can’t explain it, I don’t want to say delicate, but It’s very soft. I want to come across as soft but tough. Feminine.
I love how sexy this photo is! I wouldn’t describe myself as sexy but that’s a sexy picture!
My husband loves this photo – it's on his desk. He says I look beautiful, confident, loving, approachable. Honestly, he loves them all, and so do I. Sometimes I’ll be doing book-work at the desk and I’ll look at it and go “wow, that was so much fun! I wanna do it again!”. I love revisiting my images for a confidence boost. It was a such a great experience, honestly, it was! I tell everybody about it.
Never underestimate what you can do. Never tell yourself you can’t. Always tell yourself you can, and do it to the best of your ability. No matter if it’s a crisis, a new job, difficulties within your family, a health issue. Just never say you can’t do something - because you really can. Growing up I was always very shy and quiet, I hid behind my mother. As I got older and I started to experience difficult things, and I found the fight in me. I've put myself in uncomfortable positions to overcome my fear. Even though I was scared out of my wits sometimes, there were things I had to do. So I just told myself I could do them – and then I did. For example recently, I had to talk on a heroin and opiate forum, and I had senators in front of me who wanted me to share my story in a nutshell. I was scared but I thought, I’m doing this. I need to do this for other people. There was not enough help when we went through this, and it was an incredibly difficult time. Even now, there’s people that need help and they still can’t find it. And that needs to change.
Since I've started sharing my story, I’ve gotten messages from people I haven’t spoken to in years and they’ve told me that they are struggling. They ask for advice, and I offer my experiences. I never want to tell you what to do with your child but I want people to know what I did, and hopefully they can benefit from what I've been through.
I take every day as it comes. I can’t look at the whole picture because I get nervous, anxious. None of that is good. So, today is today, what do I have on my plate today? I’m going to deal with it, and tomorrow is another day. That’s how I look at things. It’s good to prepare for the future, but I have to look at each day is it comes. Like today, when I came here for my interview, I didn’t want to be nervous, so I just showed up and did it.
I did this boudoir shoot for my husband thinking only of him , but I realized after I did the shoot it was something I needed for myself as well. I spent so much time working to survive, raising my two sons which always came first and dealing with one that was an addict - I forgot about myself. In these images I saw something in me I never saw before, a very strong, tough woman. I’m so thankful that Natalie brought that out of me during our shoot, so glad we've become friends through this new journey, it’s been a wonderful experience I'll never forget!" - Lisa
The group that helped her son: www.teenchallengeusa.com
The video of Lisa speaking to Senators about her experience, lobbying for more resources to be allocated to addiction support: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECzhxzkL0no&feature=em-share_video_user > Lisa starts at 1:39:40
NOTE FROM NAT: The moment I met Lisa, I was thrilled she had booked a shoot with me. Not only is she a clearly well-put together and beautiful on the outside, but I immediately sensed a depth and quiet resolve about her. She opens with an incredible smile and a strong hug - and quickly warms into a great conversation. I started Real Women Of Rochester well after her shoot was completed, but as soon as I started thinking of women I'd like to feature - Lisa was on my short list. Not only was her life story compelling, but she had such an earnest desire to share it for the benefit of others. So without further ado, I'd like you to meet Lisa....
Lisa Thompson, 51, Hair Salon Owner & Stylist: Studio Valencia Hair Design
HER WHY: "I decided to make the call and do a shoot for my husband's birthday. He’s always so encouraging and inspiring to me, I decided I wanted to do something nice for him. After my shoot, Natalie asked me if I'd like to be a part of her Real Women project. I said yes, because I want to help and encourage anyone who’s going through a really tough time - for me it was my son's drug abuse. If I can help somebody stay strong to get through the storm, even if it’s just a sentence or a few words to give them hope. There are so many resources out there that can help, but back when I went through this, you just didn’t talk about it. That needs to change.
HER THOUGHTS ON BEAUTY: I think beauty comes from the heart, it radiates through. “Beautiful” has many definitions - it’s not just a physical thing. There is inner beauty in so many people. I truly think beauty is within. As a hairstylist , it makes me feel good to know that I’m there to make my clients feel good in many ways. By my conversations with them, I hope that I make them feel beautiful for who they are, not just what they look like. I like to bring out what I see in them - to encourage them to see how beautiful they really are when they’re not feeling good about themselves or going through a tough time. I have so much compassion for people, especially people who are going through hard times that they can’t control. If I can even just say two words to make them feel better, I have accomplished my mission. We’re all here for a purpose, and my purpose is to make people feel good within. That’s what I gotta do.
WHAT IS SHE NERVOUS ABOUT: I’ve never had very good self-esteem, even though people think I do. I’m very hard on myself. I try my best but deep inside I think we all have an inner critic. I searched the web, I saw Natalie’s name. I clicked on it and this great website came up with gorgeous pictures. I’m like “this is what I wanna do.” I thought about it, and thought about it - the unknown is very scary. It took me a couple weeks to call!
HER MISSION: Drug addiction is a big issue we're dealing with this in this day and age, and at the time I was going through it, very few people were talking about it. My son was a functioning addict for ten years. He had a great job and worked hard, you’d never know he was abusing drugs, but I did. It started with pain pills that I found in his room. Towards the end he was doing heroin and crack. He’d try to get clean on his own, I’d see a difference, and then I wouldn’t hear from him for days. It’s a terrible pattern. You have to remind yourself, their behaviors are not your child, that’s the drugs. I know a lot of parents feel they have to save their child by giving them money or what they need when they abuse drugs because they feel they are helping them, and just maybe they will stop. No, you must let them feel what they’ve done to themselves as hard as it is - if you don’t you’re just helping them stay on drugs. There is a fine line between enabling and supporting. As a parent we always want to support our child, take away the pain and make it all better. But if they’ve chosen this road, they need to feel the consequences with no support. It’s a gamble. It’s up to that child to say, ‘I hit rock bottom. I can’t do this, I hate my life and what I’ve done to myself, I miss my family.’
It was a difficult journey. I got divorced after 16 years of marriage, my ex became addicted to pain pills under a physician’s watch, and everything went downhill from there, I became a single mom. My son started abusing pain pills and other drugs after my divorce, it was a very emotional time for me. At one point I kicked him out of my house because of his behavior, I had my rules and he rebelled. I had to look out for his younger brother. I worked 2 jobs which I loved, and it helped me financially because I didn’t get child support due to my ex not working. I worked at United Airlines, would get up at 3 in the morning and work the morning shift. My job duties included ticket counter, gates, de-icing the airplanes and loading them with luggage and mail - whatever my job was that day. I worked till 10:30am, would eat and get changed and then go the the salon until 7pm at night. I took every day as it came.
A turning point in my life was when I reconnected with a childhood friend, who is now my husband. He became the key to rebuilding my life. He pushed me to open my business, and he was so uplifting. I was unhappy at the salon where I was, and he told me “I know you can do this” when I was doubting myself. I was 40 when I started my business, and I thought at that age that I couldn’t do it. My business has been going strong for ten years now. Me and my stylists are a family for each other, and my clients call it Cheers! We’ve all been doing hair for 30+ years.
After years of struggling, my son went to a year and a half faith-based program. Now, he has been clean for 4 years. The one month of treatment that is often offered isn’t going to solve the problem, and neither is 6 months. People don’t realize that once you get out of rehab, you’re not cured. You have to reprogram your mind and your habits. Lots of people relapse, and you have to stay strong through that. He surrounded himself with good people. He’s very driven, he’s like his mother! I’m grateful for that because I want both my sons to be independent - and they are. He says he doesn’t have any desire to do any drugs which is a miracle. He’s been on the Dean’s list three years in a row. He has formed a support group at school and revisits his rehab not to far from his college and speaks to other men going through addiction.
PARTING WORDS: There are two keys I always live by; I have very strong Christian faith, and so the first is Philippians 4:13 which says ‘I can do all things through Christ’. Also, my parents always said ‘You can do anything you put your mind to’. Those two keys really stuck with me so when I looked at something I thought I couldn’t do, I would focus on those two phrases. I did it."
Thanks Lisa for so bravely and honestly sharing your story - we can't wait to see your boudoir images next week! :) - Natalie
What a joyous occasion we were all lucky enough to witness at Irondeqouit Country Club. Anyone that has ever been in the presence of Jessica and Andrew knows they are truly best friends and the perfect match. Enjoy this slideshow we made and displayed at their wedding reception :)
Thank you to Whitney from Ivory House Photography for doing such an amazing job shooting this wedding with Natalie Sinisgalli Photography!
Now, a few words from Whitney:
The best man said is perfectly, “John and Nicole are the oldest young couple I know.” John and Nicole’s mutual respect, admiration and love for each other comes through in even the smallest of gestures. Thank you to the amazing couple and their families for hosting such a beautiful and thoughtful wedding. It was an absolutely honor to be a part of a day that I know will go down in history. Cheers to the happy couple. I can’t wait to see what adventures await you.
"Nick and I met in high school after I had transferred schools in sophomore year. We didn’t start dating right away, but there was something about him that always made me laugh and smile and occasionally wonder “what if we did start dating?” Apparently everyone else wondered the same thing, even our teachers at the time would ask us “are you two an item yet?” We truly became best friends and were inseparable. We walked to every class together, ate lunch together, and maybe even took over the school and morning announcements dressed as the “Spartan Cheerleaders” from Saturday Night Live and did surprise cheers in teacher’s doorways. We had so much fun together, we were the dynamic duo!
Finally one day toward the end of senior year, Nick happened to “miss the bus” and needed a ride home. Me having a car at school and him being my best friend, I of course offered him a ride home! We got into my car and just as we were about to leave, Nick turns to me and says “sooooo….. I got the question again…..you know, if we’re dating yet?” I kind of giggled and told him that someone had asked me the same thing. A little hesitant, he asked me if I would want to give it a try and maybe go to dinner. Well, we went to that dinner and I guess you could say the rest is history! We’ve been an “item” ever since!
That dinner was about 7 ½ years ago. I’m so unbelievably happy that I’ve gotten to share all this time and grow-up with my best friend. We graduated high school together, made it through college, got real adult jobs, did real adult things like buy a house and get a little furry family member. I can’t imagine going through all of this without you Nicholas, I would not change a single thing! Though it started 7 ½ years ago, this is just the beginning of our adventure. I can’t wait to marry you Nicholas, you are my best friend. I love you with all of my heart!" - Sam Cala
"Andrew and I met in college, the moment I met him I thought he was attractive. He was also the only chivalrous guy I had ever met. He opened doors for me, walked me to class, helped me carry heavy things and would skip nights out with his friends to stay home with me. A few months in I knew he was the only one for me.
Recently, Andrew graduated medical school and is officially a doctor. The first 2 years of medical school were tough because we were doing long distance. Many times I thought he would be too busy to do things or just wanted to focus on school. Instead, he surprised me and made time for us. I'm so proud of him for achieving his dream. Those late night study sessions, getting up those early mornings and missing fun events were so worth it. It still hasn't hit me that I am going to marry a doctor, mostly because I just see him for the person he is. This person is kind, generous, open-minded and strong.
I feel so fortunate to have found this man. It was literally luck that we found each other. He is the only one that can put up with my crap, understand me, and cuddle me just right. In reference to "Grey's Anatomy" he is my person."
Andrew, I can't wait to marry you! -- Tiffany
Hello ladies! I've complied a list of the top 10 reasons (i.e. excuses!) I hear from women about why they will not / should not / or cannot do a boudoir shoot...
1. I need to lose weight first. This is the most common excuse we hear for why someone won't book a boudoir shoot. I have an entire blog post devoted to this concern, but here's the heart of it: your shoot is about so much more than just the shape of your body. It's my job to make you comfortable so I can capture your genuine laugh, the sparkle in your eyes, and all the other quirks that make you "YOU". Besides, expert posing, lighting, lens choice, wardrobe, and image composition will having you looking slimmer than you have ever thought possible! You are not defined by your size, so don't let it keep you from feeling good about the incredible woman you are.
2. I'm not young enough for that. The more years you've lived, the more you have to celebrate! I have photographed women of all ages, and quite a few of my all-time-favorite shoots have fallen into the 50+ age bracket. There is a certain sensuality and confidence that comes only with age, and even though you may not be as toned or taut as you once were - it honestly couldn't matter less. I will guide you through wardrobe selection and posing that will highlight your best assets and capture that firey spunk that has only gotten stronger with age!
3. I shouldn't spend the money on myself. Think of it as an investment in your self-confidence. I especially hear a lot of moms feeling guilty for spending time and money on themselves instead of their kids. I'm a big believer that you can't pour from an empty cup, and that it's important for kids to have a mom that is comfortable in her own skin and loves and accepts her body. Wouldn't you want your kids to be able to love and accept their bodies without self-criticism and doubt? An investment in yourself IS an investment in your family. Not only that, but these portraits will likely be one of the only things you purchase this year that actually appreciate in value over time.
4. I don't have anything sexy to wear. Well, not wearing anything is certainly an option :) But seriously - a boudoir shoot is not about shopping or reinventing yourself into who you think you "should" be. While it can be a fun excuse to buy some new bras or panties, my favorite way to photograph a woman is in her favorite everyday outfit. Even if we deconstruct it a bit (think: your favorite leather jacket with just a bra underneath), your photos should reflect exactly who you are, and part of who you are is what you like to wear and feel comfortable in.
5. I don't do lingerie. Who said you need lingerie? As I mentioned above, the best outfits are those that are true to your identity. If lingerie isn't your thing - let's figure out what your version of "sexy" is. Maybe it's your man's oversized dress shirt and tie on your womanly figure - or maybe it's his Bills jersey. You really can't go wrong with the basics - a white cami or a black dress can be as sexy as thigh highs any day.
6. I don't want my pictures on the internet. We take your privacy very seriously, and only post images with 100% consent of our clients. We understand that doing a boudoir shoot is an incredibly personal endeavor, and you are in complete control of where your images exist after your shoot.
7. I don't have anyone to give it to / my spouse wouldn't approve. While some women do book a shoot to give as a gift to their partner, every woman agrees after doing the shoot that it was actually a gift to herself. Our studio is a safe, comfortable judgement-free zone in which you will have the opportunity to feel beautiful and valued. This shoot is really only about one person - YOU.
8. I'm just not "sexy". Not a single woman comes into my studio knowing how to "look sexy" for their boudoir shoot. This will be the most guided experience of your life. It's not your job to know how to pose; it's my job to know how to coach you. All the women you see in our gallery are regular gals, they are not models, and they are not any different than you. If you bring me your authentic self and a few of your favorite items of clothing, I will show you how sexy you already are.
9. I have NO idea how to do my own hair and makeup. We count ourselves lucky to work with Special Occasion Hair Design on every single boudoir shoot we do. We believe having professional hair and makeup is an integral component of your shoot, which is why it is included in your session fee. Chrissy comes to our studio and will spend the first hour of your shoot styling your hair and makeup to best accentuate your features and reflect your personal style.
10. [ENTER YOUR OWN PERSONAL HANG-UP HERE]. Your fear and self-doubt can come up with endless reasons for you to not do anything outside your comfort zone. It's a biological response to anything we deem "scary". It's up to you to choose if you're going to be more loyal to your fears, or to yourself. If you'd like to learn more about doing a boudoir shoot, check out our website and give us a call. We'd love to help show your inner rockstar :)
Last week Cindy shared the story of her life's journey with us, and why she wanted to be a part of the project. This week, we have her images accompanied by her thoughts during every step of the process, as well as what her images mean to her!
IN HER HEAD BEFORE THE SHOOT: I try not to have expectations so that when I go into things it’s neither good nor bad. It just is what it is. I can never know what’s going to happen, so I don’t want to have an expectation. It helps me from getting nervous or anxious, I just take it for what it is. That's been my outlook since I was 20 and went to study abroad in Scotland by myself. That prepared me for many things in life. I was completely on my own. As soon as you think things will go badly, it usually will go badly. And if you think it will go well, then you might be disappointed. Before my shoot I knew I had prepared the best I could, and therefore I felt ready for whatever it would be.
IN HER HEAD, DURING THE BOUDOIR SHOOT: How fun it was! It was exciting and freeing and I felt very comfortable during the shoot. I didn’t know what it would be like, but like I said I felt very prepared. I knew what clothing and jewelry I was going to wear, and I loved all the new things I brought - I had everything I needed. I never would’ve picked out the blue set, but the woman at Victoria's Secret (Charlie, in the Greece mall!) picked it out. And she was right. I love it! I have to write her a thank you card.
HER THOUGHTS ON HER BOUDOIR PHOTOS: It’s so hard not to compare yourself to other people, especially with bathing suit season upon us. But I look at these images and I think to myself, 'why haven’t you worn a bikini? Why haven’t you ever invested in that? You look good!' I wonder what my hesitations were – looking back now, I don’t get it. It really does make me feel very good about my body and that it’s a strong, healthy body. This body has had two kids. It makes me feel good, ya know? I’d never had my hair and makeup done so that in and of itself was great. I’ve always done spa stuff as a form of self care. I get massages every month, facials, pedicures, manicures. I consider that maintenance, and I consider that health; taking care of myself physically. This was exciting for me, because now I think maybe I will get my hair and makeup done more, and maybe I will do some more photography in the future. It opened up a whole other arena of feeling good about myself! Same with the shopping component - I had never purchased nice underwear before this. I'd always buy the exact same underwear. I thought - 'Why bother? No one sees it'. Now I see the value. Why wouldn’t you wear something pretty underneath your clothes? The whole process was so fun for me. Going into the shoot I was hoping to see myself as beautiful – and that was absolutely met. I love the proportions of my body. I love my legs, and my neck too. Sometimes I don’t realize how confident I am or how I can present myself. I forget my own strength.
PARTING THOUGHTS: I wanted to be a part of a community of women who celebrate and empower each other. It is so in line with what I do for a living as a wellness coach. I help people identify a wellness plan for their life. I love working with people in their 30s, because so many things happen in your life at that time; getting married, having kids, buying a home. We have such a healthcare issue and a savings issue in this country. If you’re not saving and you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re going to be in dire need when you’re in your 60s, and you’re not going to be able to live the lifestyle you dreamed of. If you don't have your health, all of your money will go to wellness and medical expenses. So my purpose is to educate people early enough in their life to make those changes. I help them create a plan based on their goals, and I serve as their accountability manager to help them get to where they want to be. I didn't find my purpose until later in life, but all of the information I have gathered in my twenty years of education and knowledge - including my business degree, my massage therapy degree, and me being a researcher into wellness prepared me for this- my ultimate path in life.
I would highly recommend women do this for themselves because I think stepping outside of yourself, and to be able to see yourself from another person’s perspective is a great way to change your own belief system about yourself. You rarely get to see yourself through another person’s eyes. I think this is a glimpse of that in a safe, comfortable, positive way. You get to see yourself in a different light; in a way that you never will again in your life. It’s a much more intimate experience than just having a head shot done.
And for the record, here's the head shot she originally called me for to promote her wellness business, which we did during her boudoir shoot as well ;)