10 Valentine Gift Ideas

Valentine’s Day has been around for a long time (some say it has origins in Ancient Rome circa 270 a.d.). While I’m not an expert on the history of the day, I do know a thing or two on what people, in particular, women would like. From traditional to unique, here are some ideas that we at Claudine Williams Photography recommend:

 

1. A card with a heart felt note on why you love us (not just the card designer’s message).

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2. Chocolate. Good chocolate, not drugstore chocolate but the good stuff! Some of our favorites are Mast, Nunu, and Jacques Torres

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3. Flowers. It doesn’t always have to be roses. Think anemones, or ranunculus. We love Joe over at Langdon Flowers. He’s been around for a long time and is an all-around great guy. 

 

4. A night out to their favorite restaurant. It doesn’t have to be fancy but we especially like Locanda Verde and Del Posto

 

5. A styling session to edit their closet. We particularly like Nicola of Harrison Style. She works with both women and men. She’ll come into the home, edit your closet and suggest things to pair with existing pieces.

6. Unique jewelry. We love Studio MMCCC for their bespoke designs, and Mynlyn for their funky, ready to wear pieces. Both of which are made in New York City.

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7. A family film made with photos and videos compiled from your own library.  We can’t get enough of the work Lisa Ridd is doing at Smitten Films!

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8. A membership to a museum, such as the Whitney. It’s the gift that keeps giving. We love that the Whitney has Member nights on Thursdays. It’s a fun, art filled date night all in one!

9. A massage, facial or scrub session. Try Tribeca Beauty Spa for a traditional massage or Massage Warrior for those who’d like a deep tissue sports massage.

 

10. Last but not least, a portrait session with Claudine Williams where it's all about them for a few hours. We start with hair and make-up and then have fun with a photo session. The result will be beautiful legacy portraits that they’ll love for decades and that can be passed down to your children. 

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Personal Project - Throwback to the 70's

My friend Nicole is gorgeous, has long dark hair and is a free spirit. I approached her recently after seeing some amazing images from photographers that I admire. They recreated the look of various icons in the movie industry and I was inspired to try to do the same with Nicole as Cher. Here are the results. 

Two Days with Sue Bryce!

I recently was lucky enough to be selected to spend two days in Los Angeles with Sue Bryce and approximately 180 other photographers. The two-day event was the culmination of a 12 week series of online courses through Sue Bryce Education. During the 12 weeks we focused on everything from posing according to body type, to marketing and sales. This woman never ceases to amaze me. 

Personal Branding for Two

Ashley and Vicki are two local moms who are also estate planning attorneys. They recently contacted me because they needed some updated personal branding photos for their new website. We began the shoot with hair and make-up for both, and a wardrobe consultation. We took shots indoors with a few different backdrops and then went outside for some shots in the neighborhood. 

A Combination of Business Casual and Suited Up

A recent client who sold his company and was in the middle of marketing himself to both "buttoned up" firms and more laid back firms needed new photos. He was in need of images that would appeal to both kinds of companies. After a location scouting trip we determined a location that would work for environmental portraits and had space for a small backdrop. 

The client looks confident, trustworthy and approachable. A smile and his body language speak volumes. 

The client looks confident, trustworthy and approachable. A smile and his body language speak volumes. 

We found a window-lit nook at the end of a hallway. No lights needed for this one, just a reflector. 

We found a window-lit nook at the end of a hallway. No lights needed for this one, just a reflector. 

Well-fitting clothes make a big difference. Interesting texture and bokeh help create an interesting setting. Window lit.

Well-fitting clothes make a big difference. Interesting texture and bokeh help create an interesting setting. Window lit.

Obligatory suit shot. The client's smile and impeccable fit of the suit help to create an image that is very marketable to potential employers. Shot in a small conference room. One light set-up with reflector. 

Obligatory suit shot. The client's smile and impeccable fit of the suit help to create an image that is very marketable to potential employers. Shot in a small conference room. One light set-up with reflector. 

Overall, this photography session took approximately 2 hours from set-up to break-down. Shooting at his work space made it more convenient for him, and allowed him to get back to work quicker. Professional portraits are important now more than ever in our digital age. Don't be left behind. 

Magazine Style Family Session

I've always loved looking through magazines, especially Vanity Fair and Harper's Bazaar. I recently completed a session with a local family where we were inspired by editorial magazine spreads. We chose to model the mom after Sophia Loren, and juxtaposed her and her husband's clothing with play clothes for the kids. . 

Group Family Photo on-location

The session was completed at the family's apartment in lower Manhattan. We thoroughly thought out all props, wardrobe, and lighting. Overall the session took 3 hours, which included hair and make-up for mom. 

Just another morning in a ballgown....

Making cookies with the kids.

Mother son love.

Mom as muse.

Family group shot.

After the kids have gone to bed (it was actually 10 am - lol).

Behind the scenes.

Hanging out on the floor, doesn't everyone? 

Exist in Photos

A couple years after my son was born I became very interested in my family history. I had always been interested in my family's story but I think the birth of my son made me realize how important it is to know where you come from. I turned into a genealogy geek overnight with the catalyst being Ancestry's television series, "Who Do You Think You Are", where celebrity family history journeys are documented. I poured over census documents, ordered birth and death certificates, visited libraries in New York City and Bucks County, PA and found out some really cool stuff. I was able to document my family tree, which included a  one branch with a Civil War and a Revolutionary War veteran! I have to say though, that one of my most favorite things discovered were photographs of relatives from generations ago. My first cousin 1x removed who is two generations older than me, surprised me with portraits of both my great and 2x's great grandmothers. These photographs are treasures to me, and I'm so glad to have them. What are your photographic treasures? How are you going to exist in photos long after iPhones become obsolete? 

 

 My 2 times great grandmother Annetta and her daughter, Ida, my great grandmother.