From their wedding to maternity to the baby being here, I love watching their family expand. I don't normally photograph newborns, but when Brittany e-mailed me and told me Bodie had arrived, I was there the next day. Check out some of the photos from beginning to end :)
I met Michael and Alyssa a little over a year ago in Sucre. They met on Tulane’s Campus and are graduates at the prestigious institution. As we got to know each other, I noticed how poised and almost shy Alyssa was, and Michael just as reserved but with a sense of humor - not only were they a good match, but we were a good match for each other.
They were wed on April 15, 2017 at the Botanical Gardens in City Park. Their ceremony was intimate and the atmosphere matched it to boot - light spring weather, flowers blossoming surrounded by their closed family and friends. They exchanged vows in front of their family and friends, signed a Ketubah, and in their Jewish tradition - broke glass. Michael & Alyssa partied the night away, and even though it rained through part of their reception, they didn't let a little water spoil the celebration.
As always, I am honored they hired me to photograph this beautiful occasion, and I am even more grateful that a dear friend, Devonte Williford with Rare Sighting Photography, agreed to be my second shooter. Check out some of the photos below.
I've known Shari since we were teenagers. We used to work at a movie theatre ( we have some movie theatre concession confessions lol), but in 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated our home. We lost touch after awhile, but saw each other for the first time in years in January. She'd started her own mental health care practice, and when she asked me to photograph her, I was elated. I love photographing my family and friends. We joked and laughed at talked about the days when things were simpler, but also confided in how much we'd grown over the years into the women we are today. I'm so proud of her and all that she's accomplished, and I'm happy that she chose me to capture her essence in photographs!
We don't get traditional September weather in NOLA. We won't even have boot appropriate weather until mid-October. Fall is my favorite time of the year though, and I can't wait to break out the fall attire. The summer to fall transition is therapeutic for me because the planet isn't the only thing that goes through changes. The falling leaves off the trees always reminds me to let dead things go: stagnant relationships, anger and resentment, weight and even bad habits. As we get older, I believe we should constantly develop our mental palettes, make it an effort to constantly learn new things and reinforce our values with action. August was a great month, but I'm going to make this a September to remember.
As an ode to my Babes & Beignets Portrait Special, I thought it was would be cool to look up a unique homemade beignet recipe!
INGREDIENTS (yields up to 4 dozen beignets)
3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour plus extra for flouring work surface
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Peanut oil for frying
Confectioners' sugar for serving, as much as you think you'll need—then double that!
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until small bubbles form at the surface. Remove from the heat, add the buttermilk, and then pour into a stand mixer bowl. Whisk in the yeast and the sugar and set aside for 5 minutes. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed, using a dough hook, until the dry ingredients are moistened, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough forms a loose ball and is still quite wet and tacky, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set the dough aside in a draft-free spot for 1 hour.
Pour enough peanut oil into a large pot to fill it to a depth of 3 inches and bring to a temperature of 375°F over medium heat (this will take about 20 minutes). Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.
Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out on it. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour, gently press to flatten, fold it in half, and gently tuck the ends under to create a rough-shaped round. Dust again and roll the dough out into a ½-inch- to ¹/³ -inch-thick circle. Let the dough rest for 1 minute before using a chef's knife, a bench knife, or a pizza wheel to cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares (you should get about 48).
Gently stretch a beignet lengthwise and carefully drop it into the oil. Add a few beignets (don't overcrowd them, otherwise the oil will cool down and the beignets will soak up oil and be greasy) and fry until puffed and golden brown, turning them often with a slotted spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the prepared plate to drain while you cook the rest. Serve while still warm, buried under a mound of confectioners' sugar, with hot coffee on the side.
The beignet dough can be made up to 8 hours in advance of frying. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. After cutting the dough, place the beignets on the paper and place another greased sheet of parchment paper, sprayed-side down, on top. Wrap the entire baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The beignets can be fried straight from the refrigerator.
A couple of weeks ago, I photographed Conroy Blake and a few dishes from his restaurant, 14 Parishes, for a BMWB Beard Spotlight. I got to know the owner and the many projects he was into, and even did a little day drinking and had some jerk chicken and fried plantains - super delish btw! Check out some of the images from the shoot below!
Ann Marie, surrounded by family and friends, celebrated her Bridal Tea Party in downtown New Orleans at the Windsor Court Hotel. This was such a fun event to photograph, everyone was dressed in their best with hats to match!
Amelia reached out to me earlier this month to photograph her engagement session. After we went over the details, we decided to go to City Park, one of our favorite places in the city.
The day we shot was beautiful with a slight overcast with a soft breeze. We instantly connected as we had a lot in common, and over the course of an hour, we got to know each other and even learned we knew some of the same people (y'all know NOLA is super small).
Amelia, a Retention Specialist, and Jason, an Account for the City of New Orleans, met on Plenty of Fish about 4 years ago. They took their time to get to know one another as people and friends, and according to Amelia, took courting to a new level by dating for 8 months before they became a couple. Jason decided to surprise Amelia by proposing using black stickers are her front door. As she was leaving, she initially missed the message, so Jason had her go back inside to make sure they didn't leave anything. When she came back out, she realized what was on her door, and the rest is history! They're set to marry in May, and I wish them nothing but love and happiness!
The purpose of me starting this blog was to share more of my portfolio and to let my readers in my personal space. As an introvert, this can be exceedingly difficult in both aspects. For one, I literally hate to sit down at my computer, especially when I have to go through thousands of images and try and select my favorites when I love almost all of them equally. The second reason is well...introvert lol. How much do I share? How much do I open up? What do I share? Is it too much information? Is it too little?
...and then I over analyze, and overwhelm myself and end up sharing nothing. ::SIGH::
So needless to say, trying to find the words and supporting images can be a bit much for me. All I really want to do is take amazing photos and give my clients the best part of my talent and capture their essence in photographs. That's it. Literally. But! and there is always a but - running a business comes with all kinds of bells and whistles and blogging is one of them. So, I am going to make my best effort this year to do just that.
I can start by saying that these past few months I've taken a break. I was burnt out, and nothing kills an artist more than being ovehelmed to the point of being blocked creatively. I didn't want my work to suffer so I took a step back, and took a breather.
Sometimes when I am overwhelmed with life, my batteries run on empty. It's important to make time for myself, so I recharge and rested. I started to work out, writing again, go to the coffee shop to read, spent more time with my family and friends, and I found down time to just exist in the moment. I'm happy to say I'm getting back to the old me. I recently got back behind the camera for an engagement shoot and I. HAD. A. BLAST! Stay tuned for my next blog, until then...
- xoxo, Q
I shot their engagement, their wedding, their birth announcement, and now their maternity session! I swear, these two are some of my favorite people. Kind, compassionate, fun and so so in love. I am so happy for Carie and Jonell, and I can't wait to meet baby Addison this summer!
My God sister Amiere, someone I've known since birth, is graduating next month. I've seen her grow from a kid into this smart, compassionate and beautiful woman over the years, and I couldn't be more proud of her. Nothing but amazing things for you Mimi! xoxo
Dara contacted me about a month ago to capture her engagement session during her student's dance competition. Immediately during our phone consultation, we hit it off like we'd known each other all our lives. I'm not sure what it is about my work that attracts my clients, but we always seem to click! My close friend and favorite Make-Up Artist, Tamara, assisted me during the session in the quarter, and we had a blast! New Orleans has some of the most beautiful architecture I've ever seen, and it complimented Dara and Victor so well. You can view their engagement images below!
I am very fortunate to have some very awesome clients. I meet so many people in my line of work and hear so many beautiful love stories. Sometimes these people become life long friends, after all, photographing your wedding is very intimate. So when I met Alaina and Bernard, even though we'd only corresponded through e-mails, during their engagement session, it felt more like I'd known them for years. Alaina, quirky and fun and beautiful has such a positive aura about her, and Bernard, or Bee as she calls him, ridiculously brilliant as he is comical, kept us laughing with his silliness. There's something so authentic about their love that just radiates from both of them. I am so looking forward to their wedding in September. In the meantime, check out the images from their session!
The holidays are kind of chaotic, with last minute shoots, Holiday festivities, business venture number 2 taking off in a big way, family, traffic, and then the normal life stuff on top of that. As chaotic as it was, I still enjoyed every bit of it. There’s something about the ending of the year that brings that feeling of community and change. It could be the energy in the air, people collectively moving to make changes (for some it’ll stick, for others, not so much), but I love the way my friends and I can motivate each other to keep going, to keep thinking ideas into existence and pursuing our dreams, together.
Seriously y’all, if you see my vision board and my goals, you would probably think I was crazy - but I know in my heart that the kind of things I’m pursuing in my life are fulfilling and worth every sacrifice, things that matter to me and things that I’m participating in to make the necessary changes personally that I’d like to see reflected back in the world. My biggest goal is to build and network with like minded individuals, people who selflessly uplift and support one another so that we can all be empowered. I am surrounded daily by talented, creative and business professionals, and we inspire each other and get things done! I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to do what I do. I told myself that this was my year of giving back, of teaching and helping others grow and spread their businesses.
With that said, I’m happy to announce that I’ll be teaching photography classes starting in February. If you want to learn more about photography, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for the Class List.
I will be offering small businesses personalized branding, stock photography and consulting services. This service is completely customized toward you and your personality. Stay tuned for more details!
...and finally, Painting Life With Light is finally going to launch this year! I am super excited about this, as this was what got me into photography in the first place. If you know me, you know this is my end all be all of what I truly want to do with my life.
In the meantime, here are some pictures from my holidays! Enjoy :)
Megan went all out for her 30th Birthday Party! She had a disco light installed, Coffy playing on a wall projector, and good old fashion tunes from the 1970s! Her guests were decked out in some of the retro trends, everything from bell bottoms to picked out afros dancing in the soul train line. Check out the good times below!
The big 3-0 is something worth celebrating; having made it through our awkward teens, our self discovery 20s, and our 30th, the entry into enlightenment. So when Megan asked me to document her for her 30th birthday, I was beyond honored.
Megan had the concept to go retro - we’re talking about 1970’s Diana Ross. Together, we came up with a sexy look, big hair, vintage furniture and a natural feel for the shoot. Please enjoy the final product.
I love art. Art has a way of telling stories, whether through lyrics, paintings, dance or photographs. Art is born out of an idea, created by humble minds and beautiful souls. Art can also be an expression to bring awareness to injustices. When I received the email to RSVP to the Arts 4 Rights, I knew it was something I had to witness. #Art4Rights is an exhibit in the Bywater area of New Orleans that sheds light on the people around the world who face inprisonment for fighting for equal rights, self expression, and speaking out against injustice.
"Through the Write for Rights campaign, organized every year in acknowledgement of Human Rights Day on December 10, hundreds of thousands of people around the world send a message to someone they've never met. Letter writing has always been at the heart of Amnesty International's human rights campaigning. With 54 years of human rights activism on our side, we see that the collective actions of our members really have the power to change lives.
SPECIAL GUEST: Usher Raymond IV, in partnership with Sankofa.org, will join Amnesty International USA’s Art for Amnesty for Art for Rights.
This year, Art For Amnesty is doing something different. We are amplifying Write for Rights with art. On December 12, a historic event will take place: ART FOR RIGHTS. Through a partnership with New Orleans artist, Brandan “BMike” Odums, we are collaborating with 12 artists to highlight the stories of 12 international cases through art and creative installations. The murals created by these 12 artists will call attention to cases of solitary confinement, torture, forced marriage, forced eviction, imprisonment for a miscarriage, LGBTI rights, death penalty, enforced disappearance and prisoners of conscience. The goals remain the same: to inspire participants to write letters and to take action.
Art can be a cultural tool during times of unrest to expose truths, helping to humanize social struggle and actualize grievances and fears. Often, art inspires us to take action. We've chosen to hold the inaugural event in New Orleans, the prison capital of the world. In New Orleans, Albert Woodfox, one of the 12 cases, has been held in solitary confinement for over 40 years. Art for Rights will be located in StudioBe, 30,000 square foot art studio, where we hope over 5,000 people will join Art For Amnesty for a one-day, free, pop-up art event, with the unveiling of the work by these amazing artists. Art for Rights will also feature local Cajun food and big brass band music for that New Orleans flair."
Impromptu photographer meet ups are always fun. Met some cool peeps and took the afternoon to just shoot for fun. We met in this dope coffee shop (Revelator Coffee on Tchoupitoulas) and ended up on the top of some random parking garage watching the sunset go down. All in all, it was a great ending to a beautiful day.