Jennifer and John knew exactly what they wanted their Boston State Room wedding to feel like: quite simply, Boston.  They have both long been in love with urban architecture and design (in fact, John is a professor of architecture), so capturing the city’s unique aesthetic was a must for them.  No surprise then, that they chose the Liberty Hotel for their preparatory wedding events and Boston’s State Room for their wedding reception.  When we sat down to meet over coffee for the first time, Jenn and John told me they wanted a blend of modern, artistic imagery with a nod to tradition. At that moment, I knew we were a great fit.

Most weddings are a compromise of sorts – the bride and groom’s current style and vision, coupled with elements that represent their family values.  It’s in this compromise that we blend both the bride and groom’s family history with who they are becoming together.  Creating new traditions built on the foundation of their past is a really beautiful transition to watch as a photographer who spends years following couples from wedding, to baby, and beyond.  Understanding where my clients come from, and where their dreams lie for the future, is a story I never get tired of telling.

Though I have shot at Boston’s State Room many times, I love the fresh angles and textures we produced at Jenn and John’s wedding, making use of the reflective materials and unique textual elements of the space. Enjoy our unique take on two of Boston’s architectural standouts – 60 State Street and The Liberty Hotel.

Preparatory Location: The Liberty Hotel

Wedding Ceremony: St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church

Wedding Reception: The State Room

Flowers: Madison Floral

Cake Artist: Konditor Meister

A bride and groom practice their first dance after getting married at BostonA bride and groom dance as they listen to their wedding toasts at BostonA bride and groom dance as they listen to their wedding toasts at BostonA bride and groom dance as they listen to their wedding toasts at BostonA bride and groom laugh as they listen to their wedding toasts at BostonA bride and groom laugh as they listen to their wedding toasts at BostonA bride and groom laugh as they listen to their wedding toasts at BostonA bride and groom laugh as they listen to their wedding toasts at BostonA bride and groom laugh as they listen to their wedding toasts at BostonA bride and groom dance as they listen to their wedding toasts at BostonA bride and groom dance as they listen to their wedding toasts at BostonA bride and groom dance as they listen to their wedding toasts at BostonA bride and groom dance as they listen to their wedding toasts at Boston

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Karen is an award-winning photographer specializing in documenting and preserving family history.  You can see more of her work online at www.kkpforlife.com, on Instagram or on Facebook.  If you’d like to contact her directly, you can find her at karen@kkpforlife.com or you can send her a note below.  p.s. she’d love to hear from you 🙂

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Every year I sit down to reflect on KKP’s accomplishments and learnings, much of which could only be gained with the help of other industry professionals.  Whether it’s technical help, tough love, new opportunities, or simply inspirational behavior, there are so many industry professionals that help me to continually craft a more insightful service for my incredible KKP Lifers.  Here’s the list of the biggest thank you’s I have to give in 2017:

Lisa Segal – You are my little magician.  Thank you for always being ready, willing and able to help me with any curveball I throw your way. Your positive attitude, creativity, and general wonderfulness are essential to making KKP go round.

Paul Morse – Thank you for guiding me technically and emotionally through my documentary pursuits in Maine.  Your input is irreplaceable and your feedback spurs more growth than you know.  Thank you for supporting my efforts to be the best photojournalist I can be.

Masao Okano – For being by my side for so much of my 2017 season, and always being the ying to my yang on the photo playing field.  Your work is nothing short of inspiring, and I appreciate you helping me take a more critical look at mine.  Looking forward to the new opportunities we’re cooking up in 2018 and beyond!

Spencer Lum – You have been an educator and an inspiration in so many ways.  Your emails continue to be the only mass mailing I will open, and they never disappoint. Thank you for pushing so many in the photography industry to just BE BETTER – our clients reap the reward of your research, knowledge and good will.

Nicole Chan – I am so thankful for your friendship and your honesty.  You push me to grow in ways that are sometimes uncomfortable, and so much of this growth is going to manifest in 2018. Thank you also for the beautiful day in the life session you did for my family last spring.  We love looking at those photographs on our wall every day!

Erica Ewing –  Thank you for partnering with me to help raise the level of service in the photography industry.  Our clients deserve the best and I love that you agree with me! You are always a great voice of experience and reason, and I’m looking forward to another incredible workshop together in 2018.

Doug Levy – Thank you for being such an amazing resource to the entire community on pricing, customer service, and the technicalities of being a card carrying Nikon user.  I appreciate you pushing me to take on work that would typically have been a  “no.” I really enjoy sharing next level education with you and watching you climb the commercial ladder.  It will be good to say I knew you when.

Karen Lane and Katie Harris and Nicole Chan – Thank you for being part the Documentary Group, designed to push us all towards being better photojournalists.  It’s hard to carve out time for personal work but when I do it with a commitment to others, I’m so much more motivated.  Thank you!

Alisha Harris and Stephen Whiting – Thank you for helping me through some of the busiest months at KKP.  I would never have been able to get it all done without you in 2017.

Caroline Talbot – Thank you for creating a wonderful experience and even more incredible set of portraits of me last winter.  Those photographs capture the culmination of my commitment to bring my body back to health after recovering from injuries and childbirth, and I feel so proud when I look at them. THANK YOU.

Seshu and the CTPPA – Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help other photographers grow to their full potential.  I love giving back to the community that has helped me rise to where I am.  Looking forward to January’s workshop!

Andrew Funderburg – For making the most cutting edge, kick ass album and wall design software known to man, thank you!  You have enabled me to help countless clients bring their family history to life.  You are impacting more humans than you know.  Thank you!

Jamie Ivins – For always being positive, supportive, and generally amazing to the community at large.  I love you, man!

Leah Haydock – I am so glad we had the opportunity to become close friends this year.  You have brought fresh perspective to my life in ways you probably don’t even realize, and I am so excited for where life is taking you in the next few years.  Let’s keep supporting each other through this beautiful mess called life.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to wave goodbye to 2017, and grab 2018 by the horns 🙂  Let’s get after it, friends!

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Karen is an award-winning photographer specializing in documenting and preserving family history.  You can see more of her work online at www.kkpforlife.com, on Instagram or on Facebook.  If you’d like to contact her directly, you can find her at karen@kkpforlife.com.

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  • December 31, 2017 - 7:30 pm

    LISA SEGAL - Such a gift to work with you. Here’s to a bright 2018ReplyCancel

“Blake is completely dedicated to his family.  Even one night away is really hard for him.”  That’s what Meg, mother to Blake’s two beautiful daughters, told me during our pre-session consult at my office.  She described him as the “family lynchpin,” the steady hand that keeps the emotional balance of their foursome while quite literally, putting food on the table each night (he loves to cook).  If the name Blake sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the man who has helped turned my health around in the last 18 months.  So when he asked me to photograph their family, I couldn’t have been more excited to have a parallel impact on his life.

Two weeks before our session, I sat down with Meg and Blake separately to talk deeply about their family.  It’s commonplace to take a pretty picture these days, but to create documentation that captures the nuances of each family’s micro relationship takes genuine effort and care.  During our conversation, Blake told me how much Olivia, his youngest daughter, loves physical contact with him and Meg.  “She’s constantly nuzzling and looking for attention from us….whether she’s excited or focused, her face tells the whole story.”  Conversely, Victoria their oldest daughter, is “more reserved and less emotional in her behavior.”  She is a typical first born, happy to follow the rules and wait her turn.  She idolizes Elena of Avalor, the Disney princess who rules a kingdom as a teenager, and finds out (sometimes the hard way) in how to be a good leader. This is evident in how she takes charge of activities with her sister but still searches to find the right balance in the sibling power struggle.

Whenever I finish one of these discussions I have the same thought: when you actually sit down with parents and ask questions, there is a world of detail just below the surface, specific only to their family.  And KNOWING what these themes are, and shooting specifically to capture them, is what take images from PRETTY to POWERFUL.  This is where the real value in my services lie.

As we got deeper into the conversation, both parents told me how proud and fulfilled they are by their family.  They both make (hard) career choices that allow them to spend afternoons and evenings with the girls, cooking, playing, zip lining (dad built his own in the backyard) and reading.  Both Blake and Meg choose family over everything else, and I wanted to make sure that that was reflected in our family session at their house.

{Hang on to the end to see which images they picked for the incredible wall gallery we created for their house with these photographs}

When I arrived, their pups greeted me…

A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.

 

The Leshnicks love the outdoors, so we headed into the backyard to enjoy all they have designed for their family. A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.

When I saw this happening, I ran over and brought my camera as close as I could to really show the intimacy of the moment.  It only lasted a few seconds.

A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.

This is one of my favorite moments of the day.  Blake is over 6 feet tall so there was no way I could shoot over his shoulder and keep the camera to my eye, so when the girls snuggled into him to get warm, I quickly held the camera above my head, tilted it over his shoulder, and shot down.  The result was this photograph taken from Blake’s perspective.

A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.

How incredible is this sign?  I love that it’s the first thing you see as you enter the girl’s play area.

A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.

There was some competition for parent attention on the couch, which resulted in a brief time out for Olivia.  She went into the corner and drew this by herself.

 

And now for their stunning wall design…

Every client receives a 90 minute design consultation after their session to experience the images for the first time, and create something heirloom for their home.  This is when we get to laugh and cry about how their dynamics manifest in the images, and discuss which images most represent their family.  Whether it’s finally getting images up on the wall, or creating an archival album, it all gets done in an hour and a half.  It’s one of my favorite services as a photographer and super satisfying for busy parents!

 

 

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Karen is an award-winning, Boston-based photographer specializing in documenting and preserving family history.  You can see more of her work online at www.kkpforlife.com, on Instagram or on Facebook.  If you’d like to contact her directly, you can find her at karen@kkpforlife.com.

 

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There is no greater compliment I can imagine than to be rehired by my clients.  Christina and Garrett got engaged in 2015 and married in 2016, and when we met to finalize their wedding album they told me the big news: a baby boy was expected in the fall.  Needless to say, I was over the moon to continue telling their family story when little Liam arrived in early September.

One of the things I’ve always admired about Christina and Garrett was that they work so well as a team.  Throughout the wedding planning process and all emotional milestones along the way, they were constantly in sync. Not because of some silly soul mates notion, but because they always put the other person first.  There’s a deep, palpable respect for each other that is so evident to anyone who’s lucky enough to call them friends, and it’s a beautiful synergy to witness.

During our afternoon together, I watched them work through the kinks of parenting a newborn, and you know what?  Everything was exactly as I’d remembered: incredible teamwork, always putting each other (and now Liam!) before anything else.  Babies cry.  They do.  And I think it’s important to document the entire story, not just the pretty parts. Because mom and dads overcome A LOT the first few months of parenting, and I want them to remember that later on.

I love that Liam will have a record of all the little details of their lives when he arrived: the pillows on the bed, the flowers in the garden, the puppy that first called him brother.  Enjoy today’s sweet tale of becoming three.

Christina and Garrett have the most beautiful front porch!  I loved that it was warm enough to go outside and shoot with Liam.

Getting a few licks in from his new brother.

I mean, how beautiful is this woman and child reunion?

Favorite shot of the session?!  Maybe.  I love love love all the details in their kitchen, and how damn proud dad is of his son.

 

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Karen is an award-winning, Boston-based photographer specializing in documenting and preserving family history.  You can see more of her work online at www.kkpforlife.com, on Instagram or on Facebook.  If you’d like to contact her directly, you can find her at karen@kkpforlife.com.

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Today marks 365 days since I quit.  In September of 2016, I was sick of looking at myself in the mirror, hoping I would magically return to my pre-baby size.  Wyatt had just turned 9 months old.  No longer could I claim, I just had a baby. But my mompreneur schedule was wild – odd, unpredictable hours that usually required a few late nights a week and weekend work.  It made eating the right foods really difficult (wait, what are the right foods??) and finding time for exercise a fantasy.

Weight gain in your 30’s compounds quickly – starting at age 40, the average American woman gains a pound a year.  That means by my late 40’s I would have been about 25 lbs heavier than I was when I got pregnant, putting me at much higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. It’s a slow progression and I was so afraid I’d wake up one day and find myself unrecognizable (and terribly unhealthy). But I didn’t know what the hell to do about it.

Then one day, while staring down another cider donut, I had a conversation that changed my life. A friend told me about fitness guru (he’ll hate that title), Blake Leshnick. She described him as being truly dedicated to his clients and in love with his craft, but I think the thing that made me most excited initially was that he would come to my home for workouts. No added travel time to the gym and I could set up workouts anytime between 5AM and 8PM. I called him the next day.  I was ready to quit feeling sorry for myself.

But I didn’t just want to lose weight, I wanted to get STRONG. After a c-section in the winter of 2015-16, and a spinal fracture in the spring of 2016, my lower back was incredibly weak. I had trouble picking up my son and couldn’t carry him for more than a few minutes. Then I’d head to work and haul 10 – 15 lbs of camera gear around for hours at a time, which was both exhausting and painful. I was so incredibly frustrated and sad.

This was the first time that I was approaching weight loss with my health being the biggest the motivator – not just getting into a smaller size jeans. Working out with Blake twice a week in my home (I literally NEVER work out if he’s not here), I’ve seen my body transform in the last year – particularly in the areas we targeted (biceps, abs and glutes):

  • I’ve lost 26lbs (15% body fat)
  • Add 33% muscle mass to my biceps
  • Added 20% muscle mass to my glutes
  • Down 3 pants sizes
  • Lost 5.5 inches around my waist

The functional result? My back is pain free, my wedding day shooting stamina has exploded, and I’m a much better (and happier!) mom.   Now I can hang onto my gear for longer periods of time, and deliver better results.  I rarely have pain while shooting and I’m never sore the day after a wedding (I used to wake up stiff as a board – most photographers do). Which means I’m a better mom and wife in my non-work time. And that is HUGE.

So how exactly did this happen?

These are the key components that Blake introduced to help me stay on track with weight loss and fitness every day.  Like most new behaviors, at first they felt challenging, but now they are just habit:

  • Drink at least 60 ozs of water a day
  • Walk at least 10K steps a day (I monitor this with my apple watch – see below)
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, ideally 8
  • Monitor your calorie burn on a daily basis
  • Count calories, at least for a month or two, to ensure your output is greater than your input
  • Stick to high protein, low sugar choices for most of the day (I love Siggi’s yogurt and Think Thin Bars)
  • I did the 5-2 diet for about 8 months, and that really helped focus my weight loss
  • Focus on weight training over cardio – it will help you build muscle to burn more calories at rest and won’t leave you starving like a vigorous cardio workout.  For me, cardio workouts used to lead to a HUGE meal afterwards, negating all my hard work.
  • Hire Blake.  Just do it.

(Above: Apple watch activity tracker)

And there have been other real changes in my life as a result of this. I HAVE ENERGY. When I first started monitoring my steps I was around 4- 5000 a day. Now I hit 10K without even thinking about it. I used to scheme about the shortest route between two points.  Now I actively seek out the longest. Instead of taking an Uber, I walk. When I go to the store, I park in a spot that’s furthest away from my destination. Even on marathon days at my desk, I set reminders to get up and walk for 30 – 40 minutes at least once. These are things that I found easy to work into my life and have made a huge difference in my overall daily calorie burn.

But maybe the best part of all of this has been that I will live a longer, fuller life because I’m changing the way I eat and move now.  I want to make every moment count with my family, and I know that changing the way I live in my 30’s will have a major impact in my 60’s and 70’s.  It’s never ever too late to make healthy changes, y’all.

So if you’re considering tuning up your body and mind, start the journey today.  Just do one thing – add another bottle of water to your intake, get yourself a step counter, ask a friend to go for a walk.  Your momentum will build, and your health will build with it.

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Karen is an award-winning, Boston-based photographer specializing in documenting and preserving family history.  You can see more of her work online at www.kkpforlife.com, on Instagram or on Facebook.  If you’d like to contact her directly, you can find her at karen@kkpforlife.com.

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  • September 15, 2017 - 8:41 pm

    Lisa Reisner - On the 5:2 were the 2 days always in a row? What would you eat on those 2 days?ReplyCancel

    • September 15, 2017 - 10:37 pm

      Karen Kelly Photography - I definitely did not do two days in a row – ever! My meals would look something like an egg or a siggi’s yogurt in the morning with 20 ozs of water, then an early afternoon snack of walnuts or almonds, then a very basic dinner of a protein and a small salad. I did not stick to 500 calories a day, it was more like 700.ReplyCancel

  • September 15, 2017 - 8:43 pm

    Michele A - Super motivational, Karen! You’re winning at life!ReplyCancel

    • September 15, 2017 - 10:44 pm

      Karen Kelly Photography - You are so kind Michele! Thank you!!ReplyCancel

  • September 16, 2017 - 5:15 pm

    Kelly - This is such an inspiring post! Thanks so much and good for you! I can attest to the fact that you have tons of energy at work, and a great attitude about everything.ReplyCancel

  • September 19, 2017 - 1:09 pm

    Joy - Karen – Your example is spot on! I lost nearly 20 lbs. and gained muscle, stamina, happiness and a “new life” following a very similar regime. ( I’m only 5’1″ tall and built just like you…at 53, I feel amazing!!!) Thank you for sharing your journey❤️ReplyCancel