Shots by Shana Photography: Blog en-us (C) Shots by Shana Photography [email protected] (Shots by Shana Photography) Tue, 23 Jan 2024 15:39:00 GMT Tue, 23 Jan 2024 15:39:00 GMT Shots by Shana Photography: Blog 120 80 Baked Goods Fresh From...the Farm! **WARNING** This post is likely to cause cravings that can only be satisfied with a trip to Trinity Valley!

Carrot Cake Bar Last year, my friend Christa shared the facebook page for Trinity Valley, a [relatively] new farm stand which happens to be just a few miles down the road from my house. Being  a small business owner, I immediately liked their page and had the best intentions of shopping there. By liking their page, I was subjected to posts about which fresh baked goods were coming out of the oven and, even worse, mouthwatering pictures. Almost every morning, I envisioned working a visit into my day. Unfortunately, as a photographer and the co-owner of The Second Knob Gifts & Antiques, my schedule is full from September through December 27th and this year was no different. However, just before Christmas, I had the pleasure of meeting the owners of Trinity Valley and photographing their two young children  (thank you, Christa!). Again, I made a mental note to go check out Trinity Valley the minute I got through the holiday season.

Yesterday, I finally made the easy, quick trip over to Trinity Valley. 

My first mistake was going there when I'd skipped lunch.    

My second mistake was going with the intention of picking up some cheese---nothing more.

My third and biggest mistake was not visiting Trinity Valley months ago.

The friendly young woman behind the counter didn't blink as I grabbed the last two plates of cinnamon rolls and placed them on the counter. She wasn't phased when I asked for half moon cookies, inquired about and then asked for the raspberry oatmeal bars. She simply nodded in polite agreement when I said that I couldn't not get my husband the carrot cake bar.  Something told me that she has witnessed this type of baked-goods-mania before.

When I mistook beef suet for beef bones (hey, they were together in the freezer), she didn't break out in hysterical laughter but simply said, "Let me get you bones, this isn't what you want for your dogs." 

So, armed with bags of baked goods, plates of cinnamon rolls, chocolate milk and gigantic beef bones, I headed home.

Now, this is where I impress you with my self control.

Raspberry Oatmeal BarRaspberry Oatmeal Bar

When I unpacked my bags, I cut a cinnamon roll and placed it on a plate. I slid it across the counter, inspecting it carefully. I lifted the plate, smelled the cinnamon roll and then set it down. Don't try this at home. Next, I cut a corner off of the carrot cake bar and slid it onto the plate. Ditto on the raspberry oatmeal bar.

So, there in front of me was a plate of sweets. I added a half moon cookie. 

I made a cup of coffee.

I placed the sweets on my dining table and stared at them. Any normal person would dive in, nibble or at least lick the cinnamon bun icing from their fingers. Any normal person. But not a photographer. I grabbed my camera.

I think I was meant to be a food photographer. There is something completely calming about photographing food; perhaps, it is because I don't need to do back flips to coerce a smile or simply because I don't need to talk at all while I work?? I adjusted the lights above my dining table, turned on some music and sipped my coffee. I set my camera and snapped.

Carrot Cake BarWhy is carrot cake not healthy?

Carrot Cake Bars...

When I cut the carrot cake bar, I noted that it was moist but not mushy, which is perfect.

I love the way well made cakes photograph. 

You can see the moist (not mushy), fluffy texture but when you pick it up, you know that the carrot cake is more dense than fluff.

Carrot cake is a warm, light spice color with bits of orange (no surprise) carrots.

The icing, though I am still not 100% certain, I suspect is a cream cheese icing.

Unfortunately, the healthiest thing about carrot cake is the name, but this isn't a health and fitness blog, so let's move on.

Raspberry Oatmeal BarsRaspberry Oatmeal Bars


The Raspberry Oatmeal Bar was definitely difficult to resist.

I love oatmeal and I love raspberries!

Like any good oatmeal bar, this one wasn't hard or crispy-- but chewy.

It was the most challenging to resist and to photograph.

I love the contrast between the neutral brown sugar, baked oats and the deep red of the raspberries but the oats make clean cuts impossible and the bar looks a little "rough around the edges." 

Thankfully, the appearance doesn't change the taste....right?

I was wrong. The cinnamon rolls were the hardest to resist.

When I first walked into Trinity Valley and picked up the cinnamon rolls, I knew they were the made-from-scratch-dense-and-rich rolls that only grandmothers and aunts can truly make well.

I'm not usually a fan of iced cinnamon rolls but this icing was more like a thick glazing than an icing. No, I didn't lick my fingers. But, just cutting through (and tearing off) an iced cinnamon roll tells you a lot about the roll and the icing. Unfortunately, in the first picture, you don't see the "chalky" texture of the icing, so it looks a little more like icing versus glaze. 

The cinnamon rolls, aside from their perfect weight, smelled absolutely heavenly. Cinnamon is one of those baking smells that seeps into your nostrils and warms you from the inside out. 

I continued to sip my coffee as I considered swapping plate (props) for the cinnamon roll. 

Glass? The cinnamon roll is too big for the small base of the wine glass (which I'm using for this shoot). I do love that you can see the cinnamon swirled into the roll in this shot!

Cinnamon RollsCinnamon Rolls


Wood?  I think I prefer the wood prop used in the pic below; I placed the cinnamon roll atop an upside down antique wooden bowl.

In the picture below, you can see the chalky texture of the icing, which is what lead me to believe it was more like a thick glaze than a creamy icing. IMG_8654IMG_8654


Sorry. The half moon didn't make it into this shoot... 

It isn't that I wasn't able to resist eating it...

As I was contemplating how to set up the half moon cookie, my Dad came over. And, what do you say to someone who walks into a table graced with elegant and inviting baked goods?             

                   "Sorry, these are only subjects for my pictures. There are pistachios in the cupboard-help yourself."

So I put down my camera and warmed the cinnamon roll (pictured above)-- thirty seconds in the microwave and the glaze-icing melted, dripped down the sides of the roll and left little dipping puddles at the bottom. 

Armed with two forks, we dug into one of the most heavenly cinnamon rolls I've ever tasted. It was out of this world! 

Late last night, I did sample the "subjects" and a half moon cookie.  

Hands down, the cinnamon roll won my vote, followed closely by the incredible half moon cookie (anyone remember the popular Home Dairy Half Moons?? Yep, just as good!).

My dad liked the half moon cookie best, followed by the cinnamon roll and the two bars (which all took a close second).

My husband chose the carrot cake bar as his number one.

And, the puppies? Well, the puppies voted the beef bones number one!!

So, whether you are just looking to satisfy a sweet tooth or picking up sweets for your sweetie (keep in mind Valentine's Day is coming and baked goods beat chocolates!) or if you are having company and want to impress them with homemade desserts-- head over to Trinity Valley!












[email protected] (Shots by Shana Photography) Sun, 11 Jan 2015 00:46:44 GMT
Mikaela ~ Class of 2014 ~ Senior Session Last fall, Mikaela submitted her application to be a [Shots by Shana] Senior Rep. 

It's interesting to read about someone before really getting to know them. You form a picture in your mind of the person you are reading about and then you meet them and spend some time with them and suddenly that picture in your mind is nothing more than your imagination.

As you get older and head into the working world, you will be asked this question over and over again, "How would you describe yourself?" Typically, we think of the obvious based on our personality type (introvert versus extrovert). The extrovert may call herself "personable" or "fun" while the introvert may use an adjective like "thoughtful" or "quiet."

So, when Mikaela described herself as "outgoing" and "free-spirited"  I kind of figured she may be an extrovert. I was wrong. At least I think I was wrong. More reserved than expected, Mikaela is petite with soft brown hair and big brown eyes.  She isn't shy but she is quiet. She is thoughtful in articulating her responses to questions and doesn't seem to struggle with her answers.  Regardless of whether she is extroverted or introverted, I knew very quickly that I would like her and enjoy doing her Senior Session!

At our first shoot, which happened to be outside (coincidentally, when asked where her ideal photo session would take place, she replied, "My ideal session would be outdoors. I love the outdoors and it makes for a great picture") I was first struck by the fact that Mikaela is really "easy going." She was comfortable in her own skin and appeared relaxed as we photographed her in what is her own environment--- on the softball field at the high school.


When shooting on location, there can be some obstacles-- a blocked roadway to the softball field, strategically placing (or using) props, an unexpected gust of wind and a setting sun. The key is not to let the little things throw you off of your game...and Mikaela didn't.


Most of my seniors (male and female) like studio sessions the least. I don't blame them. The studio lights are bright and it can easily be too warm posing under them for too long. Therefore, my studio sessions are often much shorter than any of the outdoor sessions.  For Mikaela's studio session, we stuck with a solid white back drop and switched to gray only for her formal drape and pearls picture.  

Mikaela opted for  two outdoor sessions, so our final session took place late in the fall, outside... with horses!

Mikaela works as a Veterinary Assistant (and as a cashier at Clark's). Her love of animals would've been evident even if she hadn't mentioned it on her application.

Again, it isn't unusual to encounter a few glitches during location shoots. Throw animals into the mix and glitches are almost guaranteed. 

This doesn't mean you shouldn't be photographed with a pet (whether the pet is a dog, cat, or a horse!). It means that you have to be prepared for the session to run a little longer and armed with alternative shot ideas (or sugar cubes!?).

What does it mean to be a Senior Rep? Senior reps are chosen in the fall (typically) and receive special discounts on their shoot in exchange for consent to use their information and photos in blog posts (like this one). Senior Reps earn money or print credit for referrals. I provide Senior Reps with business cards and additional "perks" like facebook covers, videos, etc. My reps hand-out their cards to friends (fellow students) and share information about their own Senior Session when asked.

This year, Senior Rep cards offer the recipient $50 print credit with a paid Senior Session. So, if you are getting ready to schedule your Senior Session, find Mikaela and grab a card!

Interested in becoming a 2015 Senior Rep?? Send me a friend request on Facebook (Shots By-Shana)  and watch for posts later this month!!



[email protected] (Shots by Shana Photography) Thu, 03 Apr 2014 20:35:16 GMT
Natalia's Boutique

Natalie Sweeney is one of those women you like the moment you meet her. Her petite frame is no match for her giant personality, which is evident the moment she greets you with her warm dimpley smile and big brown eyes. This afternoon, I met Natalie for the first time when I went to her new boutique- a splash of style and color nestled between two other storefronts in the 200 block of Dryden Rd. in Collegetown. Her upscale city-style boutique is much like Natalie herself--- small, engaging, cheerful and chic. 

As I snap pictures of sequined dresses, colorful scarves, leggings, hats and shoes, Natalie chats. I don't mind her chatting; in fact, I like it. What I like most is that, mid-sentence, she pauses to half-apologize for talking while I am working and then proceeds to tell me that she doesn't care and is going to keep talking anyway. This makes me laugh and reinforces my first impression of her--- I like her; she is the kind of person I would like as a friend.

The clothing at Natalia's is a mix of bohemian and city chic. Does this make sense? While I am there, Natalie welcomes a small group of twenty-somethings

who are on a break from work, a couple of college students. I can see my own college-age daughters shopping here. In fact, as I type this, my daughter Melanie is asking me about the shoes she sees in one of the pictures.... I like that Natalie has chosen a selection of clothing that ranges from sophisticated casual to simple glam and I love that her prices are reasonable.

There are short pauses in her chatting as she turns all of her attention to customers;  she is natural, friendly and not pushy which only reinforces my first impression of her. When I photograph Natalie, she is as vibrant as the clothing surrounding her. Yep, big surprise, the camera loves her. She is fun in front of the camera and tells me twice that she is super-excited to have me here. 

As we finish, I've enjoyed my time with her so much that I tell her I will be back with my daughters (and I mean it). As we say goodbye, she spreads out her arms and tells me to give her a hug and, by this time, I would've expected nothing less from her.




[email protected] (Shots by Shana Photography) Sat, 12 Oct 2013 01:25:13 GMT
A Sunday Wedding Yesterday was the perfect day for a wedding! The temperature hovered in the low to mid 60's and the sun was shining brightly all day.  The bride and groom wore traditional wedding colors and the groom's black tux was offset by a crisp white vest and tie and a red rose boutonniere while the bride accessorized a full length, partially beaded gown with a vintage style bead and rhinestone headpiece. The bride carried a beautiful fresh red rose bouquet and her bridesmaids and flower girls carried white rose bouquets, from Arnold's Florist.

The simple and elegant bouquets added a touch of color to the 1890 House ceremony venue. Jodi Peck officiated the ceremony, which took place on the landing of the stairs in the historical home. The receiving line was out front and wedding party pictures followed both on the porch and inside.

Prior to the reception, the bride and groom (and groom's family members) visited the Gibson Chapel at the Cortland Rural Cemetery, where the groom's mother's ashes are held; this is where the couple and their children blended their unity sand.

Immediately following, the bride and groom joined the rest of the wedding party at the Elk's Club and were announced by DJ, Phil Connery.

Guests at the reception enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres including shrimp cocktail and stuffed mushrooms. Both adults and children enjoyed the red, black and white themed candy station! The bride's brother catered an elegant buffet prefaced with fresh greens, green peppers and grape tomatoes and followed by roasted asparagus and red peppers accompanying a baked [white] fish, multi-colored tortellini in an alfredo sauce, roasted potatoes, and chicken cordon bleu. Her brother also manned a carving table-- for perfectly prepared prime rib.

Both the best man and the bride's niece offered short and sweet toasts with bubbling pink moscato by Barefoot.

A two-tiered bride and groom cake, prepared by Frosted, was cut and in place of sliced cake, cake pops were shared with guests.

The wedding party and all guests enjoyed music and dancing throughout the reception...

The day was a blessing; the wedding party and guests beautiful, fun and charming!



[email protected] (Shots by Shana Photography) Mon, 27 May 2013 19:54:17 GMT
Photographing Babies...Even Those with Fur IMG_0156LR

I have a tough time telling people what I most enjoy photographing. I love taking pictures, so I enjoy photographing anything. However, there is a special place in my heart for babies...Even those with fur. There is nothing more precious than a newborn baby but cuddly new puppies (who haven't yet reached the "I wanna bite you and jump on you" phase) are a close second.  I photographed Remi and Dakota on Christmas eve, when they were both at my house. Both of these furry babies were experiencing their first days/nights away from their mamas and they were in that quiet, sleepy-baby-like stage, which is reflected in Dakota's yawn.  

For this photo, Remi and Dakota had been allowed to introduce themselves to each other and spend some time sniffing and chewing on each other before I placed them atop a large foot stool in hopes that they would offer me at least one cute shot. 
I should clarify that this was a personal photo-- not a job, which is why you see some informal background objects. The black puppy (a husky, shepherd, lab mix) is Remi and she belongs to my daughters. The golden puppy, Dakota (a golden-doodle) was a gift for my nieces and nephew. I loved the contrast between these two puppies-- in color, size, shape and personality. At this time, Dakota was very laid back-- almost to the point of being shy and Remi was just entering that frisky-stage; she was curious about her new surroundings (and about Dakota). Dakota was interested only in snuggling and being held...Remi was interested in bugging Dakota.
Whether I am photographing one or two (or more) puppies,  or a newborn's tiny fingers and toes,  a wedding or other occasion, I am enjoying myself but, hands down, the puppies and the babies are my cutest subjects.
[email protected] (Shots by Shana Photography) Sat, 16 Mar 2013 18:31:00 GMT