The Tocco Family

I was so excited to meet Kali & Anthony’s daughter, Vera when they brought her to the studio for some photos. At three months, she was such an alert and happy little babe! She kept smiling and cooing, while looking up at me with those big beautiful eyes of hers. She is the sweetest thing and I was instantly smitten with this little one, let me tell ya! It is really cool to be able to connect with old friends and watch as their families grow through out the years and watch them become parents. I always have some good laughs with these two, from their engagement and wedding photos to family photos of their babies!!

Life is SWEET and I love being able to do what I do!

If you scroll down to the very last image, you will see a black and white tino-type, old school looking photo of this serious family (fighting back the smiles)…Anthony requested that they take an old-fashioned family portrait that looked like it was from the early 1900’s with no smiles. I love how Kali was down with it and went right into character! What a fun family….these are my people!

Adoption is Love

Here is a little story about Maggie & Jerry.

Rewind about 2.5 years ago, while I was planning my wedding shower. I was checking into venues to have my bridal shower and I stumbled upon Greystone golf course. A beautiful little venue on golf course grounds, but that wasn't what made me book my shower there. It was Maggie, their adorable, bubbly, petite event planner. I knew I just had to work with her! Do you ever just meet a stranger and instantly click with them? That's what it was like when I met Maggie...she was SO nice, so upbeat, extremely helpful and went the extra mile to help me with my bridal shower. A total breath of fresh air during that nerve racking wedding planning of mine. From then on, I kept in touch with Maggie via social media. She went on to do great things and now has a wedding planning business of her very own, called The Wedding Inside Her. Please check her out if you need assistance on planning a wedding! You won't be disappointed!

Fast forward to this past December, Maggie contacted me about doing some lifestyle photos in her home of her and her husband, Jerry, their love, and a special announcement they wanted to make to family and friends around the holidays! Of course, the day of the session just happened to be one of the biggest snowstorms of the year...we were almost about to cancel but I knew in my heart I had to take these photos for this girl. Someone I felt truly went out of her way and gave 100% to me, at a time when I needed it. I wanted to give back the same service to her! So, with that said, I laced up my snow boots and headed north to their adorable home. When I arrived, I was greeted by their peppy little white pup, Oia! Maggie and her husband, Jerry were so inviting and I was smitten with every little antique detail in their home!

Once we caught up and I stopped asking the story behind every unique piece of furniture or decoration in their home, we got started on the photo session. Maggie pulled out a tiny little rocking chair, old blankets and vintage toys...all which were, of course, either hers or Jerry's favorite childhood things. And some blocks that spelled out adoption. I was so thrilled to photograph a session with such meaning behind it. For one, I have two amazing cousins that I have watched grow from babies to teenagers now, who were adopted. The second reason is I am always taking maternity photos for couples who biologically have children,  and this time I got the chance to take photos of the same thing, two people in love who are also expecting a child, but this time from adoption! And third reason being, my husband & I have been longing to start a family of our own for awhile now, so anything having to do with a baby coming into this world, melts me. I have learned that for every couple, its not that easy to get pregnant or stay pregnant for that matter. Bringing a child into this world, whether it happens naturally, with a little assistance, or by adoption is truly life's greatest miracle.

The thought of adoption has always been in Maggie's heart. When she was told at the age of 20 that she may have long term issues with conceiving, Maggie felt as if she understood her maternal purpose. She was not one of those girls who obsessed about being pregnant with the big belly and all. Of course, she would absolutely love it, if that happened...but it was more than that for her. Then, Maggie met Jerry, the love of her life, best friend and over all soulmate. Most men don't think about the alternatives of having a child. Just as Maggie struggled with the thought of not being able to ever get pregnant, her incredible husband, was now struggling with the same thoughts. Adoption for Jerry was a new topic of conversation that did not come naturally. It was hard, scary and completely overwhelming! For a while the thought of adoption stayed on the back burner, never turned off, just waiting to simmer. The desire to be a mother and a father was real and a child was something they truly wanted in life. They decided to take a leap of faith. Maggie said it best, " When you choose to push thru fear and the unknown, it is incredible what you will find on the other side. You will find trust, truth and absolute perfect sense. You find that it doesn’t matter how you THINK your life is going to go. What matters is how your life is GOING and who’s going with you!"  They are now just waiting for one of the most exciting phone calls of life, that their baby is on the way or has been born! Anyone who has met this couple can clearly see the love between them, how much love they will give to a child and just how lucky this child will be to receive such amazing parents. 

The day of their session we did what Maggie & Jerry do best on a snowy Sunday afternoon. We hung out in their charming home and played with their little dog. They cooked one of their favorite dishes together, shrimp tacos and drank some vino! They went out to adventure in the snow and warmed up with some coffee & snuggles.


This session was shot hybrid. Half of the images were shot with my digitalcanon mk 3 & the other half were shot with my canon 1v on fuji400h film. 

If you can't stop thinking about it, don't stop working for it.

Thoughts and musings...I made this section of the website to be able to share bits of my mind, personal moments in my life and things that inspire me.
Speaking of things that are on my mind and inspire me...

WHAT HAPPENED ALONG THE WAY.

Several people have asked me why I did a name change to my photo business. I have been working as a photographer for the past eight years or so. I started off taking photos of whatever I wanted, whatever I felt like. I started gaining experience and getting better and shortly I was wanted by others to take photos for them and became a business. I was "Maria Lisa Photo" I took portraits of babies, children, seniors and small events. When your passion becomes your business.. that is great! It really is. I graduated college with a bachelor's in Communication (big mistake, should have went for the business degree)...I didn't go get that corporate job like I was "supposed" to after college. I had been building my business all while in college, (not truly caring about my degree at the time)...and just wanted to be done with school, so I could concentrate 100% on my business. Once I became an LLC, I was a business. It became a job, I had to make money. I invested in top of the line camera equipment, I had bills that needed to be paid. When you have to make money, you can not just take pictures of whatever you want. You have to take pictures that people want..and that people will pay to have. Over the years, taking photos that people wanted over and over again began to grow stale, unappealing to me and I grew a love/hate relationship with my work. I would accept jobs that weren't me. I could execute the jobs well, but they didn't inspire me. I grew up in a household of entrepreneurs and felt it was wrong to turn down work when someone offered it to you. I would do this over and over again because I was "wanted." And it felt good to do work for everyone. Good for that day, but not when I was in over my head in editing, phone calls and emails. Every other month or so, I would contemplate shutting down shop, going to get a 9 to 5 job and just be able to photograph what INSPIRED me! I got lost along the way.

CHANGE.

But why? Why give up on something I have worked SO long and SO hard for? Why would I quit my passion? my love? That is when I decided I needed CHANGE. There is a quote out there that says "In life you are either a pilot, or a passenger, it is your own choice." --Unknown I liked this because, I could either let my business control me, or I could control my business. I have to take back the handlebars and go in the direction that I WANT!

WHY DO I DO IT?
Why did I decide to be an entrepreneur anyway? Creating and running your own business should give you the power to shape and design a job specifically for you...right? I thought hard about why I do what I do. What I truly enjoy photographing the most out of anything in the world. What am I drawn to the most? When I thought about it...I came up with LIFE and PEOPLE. I see so many beautiful babies come into this world and I unfortunately have been witnessing some very amazing people leave this world. I have had people ask me for photos I have taken of their deceased loved one for funerals and for remembrance. Everytime this happens my heart gets heavy, but it also makes me feel like I can actually give them a tiny something to help mend their hurting heart. I helped preserve a person's legacy. That photograph is something to help the people who are still here always remember their lost loved one. Because when it is all over, all we have left are memories and photographs.

WHAT INSPIRES ME.

In life and with people, you grow relationships and CONNECTIONS. You feel love and you experience laughter. You live everyday life and some of your very best moments happen on just a regular day. When I photograph people, I want to photograph expressions on people's faces that you see everyday. Laughs, smiles, content faces, and tears.. Kids being kids. A couple so in love with each other, they don't see anyone else in the world. The feeling of wholeness in your heart when your first born child is snuggled on your chest. That tight squeeze you give your grandma, because you never know when the last hug will be. LIFE. PEOPLE. CONNECTIONS. That is what I enjoy most and I like to photograph these things in the most natural way. Unposed, in YOUR home, outside, in your HAPPY place.

WHAT I WILL DO.

Changing my name and rebranding my business, will help redirect the way I go about running my business. I will only take on photography jobs that I feel inspired to do. I will work to connect with people who see and want the kind of photography that I like to capture. I will photograph the true "soul" of my clients, all while making my "soul" happy! I will do what I can to the very best of my abilities. I will create balance in my work and personal life. I will eventually inspire other photographers and creatives who want to work together, become a team and capture beautiful photographs of life with me. Until then, I will keep climbing my mountain of dreams!

If you actually read all of this I am impressed and I appreciate it,

Maria Lisa