Favorite Wedding Photos! Backyard New Hampshire summer wedding

Everyone sees something different when they look at a photo. So while I always enjoy the work I create for others, I want to know which photos they love. Often, my favorites and the couple’s favorites are not the same.

Weddings are team efforts and I can’t resist sharing this prep moment that occurred before this portrait I love.

Sarah and Aaron got married in Sarah’s parents backyard. The beauty and intimacy of the location set the tone for two people who are authentic, and in love with their families as much as each other.

That’s why I love this photo of Sarah before the ceremony. It’s not just a portrait of Sarah, but a portrait of the place. It’s a moment between getting ready and seeing her groom, and she’s between the house and the ceremony site itself. The lighting is a little dramatic (which I always like) and genuine; her natural smile and the home make it her—Sarah!—not just “a bride.”

This is my other favorite! Their tender connection is the main event of this photo, even though you can see so much else is happening around them…

It was Sarah’s favorite too! Here’s why:

“I feel like it perfectly captured our essence on our wedding day!  Aaron’s vest is undone in the back because his nephew had been playing with it, I have a loose piece of hair, everything feels natural.  We aren’t people who were striving to be a perfected image of a bride and groom on our wedding day, we wanted something real and personal.  This moment is us candidly reaching out for one another, creating an intimate space in front of a crowd, connecting with each other in the midst of everything that was happening around us.  To me, these gestures, especially in context,  are what marriage is all about: subtle but significant reminders that our partner is by our side.”

This one is Aaron’s favorite: “It captured such a beautiful moment. The two of us, happy & calm before the storm in a beautiful setting. It is also a type of moment that I love and appreciate that Sarah & I can have here or there. I’m also a sucker for a good looking black & white photo! – Makes it seem historic in some ways (especially on a historic day). The best part, you captured my wife’s beautiful smile! We were (are) truly happy!”

Sarah couldn’t resist mentioning another photo, “Without even looking through the images, I can say that one of my favorite not entirely wedding-related moments that you captured was our friend’s son balancing on the tent spike.  It perfectly captures that moment between childhood curiosity and complete boredom in the company of so many adults.  The composition of it was truly artful!”

Check out more authentic & intimate wedding photography by Maureen Cotton.

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Favorite Wedding Photos! Manchester Country Club Connecticut summer wedding

When I asked Alicia & Rich to each pick a favorite image from their wedding day, Alicia responded with  “There’s no way we can choose just one… your photos were all just too incredible!” :)

For the first time a bride and I have the same favorite photo!

To be honest when Alicia said she wanted a photo by a Peter Pan statue I was not feeling inspired; generally statues can be hard to incorporate naturally. When I arrived at the scene I realized Peter was in the middle of a hedge maze! When the time came for photos I gave them some space went into photo ninja mode to get the perfect shot.

Alicia said, “My personal favorite is the peeping-from-the-bushes shot of Rich and me kissing under the Peter Pan statue. I love the way we look in this photo, I love the way Peter Pan is captured in it, and I love the secretive, private-moment feel of the shot!”

Rich’s favorite is this funky sweaty letting-loose dance floor moment. “I love it because it captures so many people enjoying themselves, at the peak of exuberance. It makes me remember the absolute joy I felt that day!”

Lastly, the couple both agreed on this image being one of her favorites! They loved it so much, they already ordered a huge canvas print for their home! “I remember when were taking the photo you directed us to a very particular place and I didn’t understand why. After seeing how perfectly you lined us up underneath the arch of the reflection of the trees in the water, we were so impressed. The photo is gorgeous work of art. It has such a magical, fairy-tale feel to it—we adore it!!”

The sunset reflecting in the pond at the Manchester Country Club was the perfect way to start the dance party!

Check out more authentic & intimate wedding photography by Maureen Cotton.

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Favorite Wedding Photos! Willowdale Estate summer New England wedding

When I asked Courtney & Brennan to choose their favorite photo from their beautiful August wedding they picked the same one, which is not that common! These two are so in sync and were grinning ear-to-ear every moment of the day!

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They surprised everyone with a cute choreographed first dance. Their expressions, and the surprised and delighted expressions of each person made this such an awesome moment!

BostonWeddingPhotographer02“Our favorite was when we are walking down the hill to the boardwalk.  I like it so much because it is one of those where we aren’t paying attention to what is going on around us and shows how happy we are to be together. Also, it has the estate as a nice backdrop and I think Courtney looks beautiful in the picture! :D  It sums up how I think we both felt with the day.”

Thank you to Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA for not only being gorgeous but for a job well done with every aspect of the wedding!

See more of their day in their Facebook gallery. >>

Check out more authentic & intimate wedding photography by Maureen Cotton.

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*Real* family photography, and why it matters

Presenting… my new *real* family photography website!

natural documentary black and white family photo, father and son, writer father

 

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The inspiration behind *real* family photography

A year ago I on was on a plane returning home after one of the best weekends of my life. My sister and brother and I met up in  Savannah just to play and be together. It was an agenda-less type trip us adults don’t often do…

We laughed until our tummies hurts, we wandered through old streets and drank too many fancy coffees. We played monkey in the middle on the beach. We allowed ourselves to get spooked on a Savannah Ghost tour (it’s the most haunted city in America they say). We were as carefree as kids, but as adults we could indulge in as many midnight snacks as we wanted. In fact we refer to that weekend as YOLO! (I must admit I didn’t even know what they meant before the trip!)

One late night we were leaning over the wall at a rooftop bar overlooking the river. Each of us gazed at the water but we were talking to each other. We talked about who could remember what about childhood and we ended up comparing our earliest memories. You know, those ones you have to reach for, in which the slight slant in the driveway is a massive hill. Being staggered in age it was interesting to compare.

My brother told me that his very first memory was me being born. My breath stopped for a moment.

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I was so touched. But it was hard to say why exactly. Is that sweet? Is that natural considering it probably disturbed his world a bit?

It also made me wish I could remember what my family was like when I was born. Was that when my dad had the early 80’s mustache? And my mom’s hair permed? My mom said she was excited to have a little girl but I wish I could remember, like my brother did, what it was like and how the family changed. There are some photos of course, and I’m glad to have them. But they are line ups on the couch, or if they are in action they might be dark, distant or blurry. I treasure them, but doing what I do today I know what is possible.

 

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A couple of my favorite couch line ups from when I was little.

 

I am one of 5 kids and as you can imagine there was an ever-changing network of dynamics between us; I love photos of us looking at each other. In my shoots I get one photo of everyone together with no one even aware of the camera. I’d give anything to have something like this from my childhood.

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I create for others what I wish I had: real family photography. Photos of the ever changing dynamics between each person of the family. Photos of us in our home, surrounded by the toys, the furniture and the affection that was commonplace to us then. I want to feel what my parents felt when they held me as an infant. I want to feel the wonder, the gratitude and even the exhaustion of their state of parenthood. I want to be in awe of how young, how beautiful, and maybe even how overwhelmed they were.

As a person running a business I always ensure my parents are over the moon about their photos, but I don’t only have them in mind. I’m thinking about what the kids will want once they are grown. What will they cherish? What images will act as a time machine taking them back to their childhood? What images will show them a time they can’t remember at all?

All this was on my heart on that flight home from my family visit. And that was the moment I decided I needed to make these videos.

Because I just don’t know how else to tell you:
An album of real family photos will become your most cherished possession.
And it will mean *even more* to you a decade from now.
And it will mean *even more* to your kids when they are grown.
And it will mean *even more* to their kids when you are gone.

Do you believe me when I tell you that together, we can create art with infinite meaning? “Priceless” doesn’t even begin to describe it…

 

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Baby’s First Year by Maureen Cotton from Maureen Cotton Photography on Vimeo.

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Field Trip Family Photo Shoot by Maureen Cotton from Maureen Cotton Photography on Vimeo.

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And then there were 5… Perhaps the only time all of us were in one frame and in focus.

 

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The Herb Lyceum: Rustic New England Farm Wedding

Liz Quill, wedding planner behind Elegant Aura had a vision to move beyond the mason jars that have filled Pinterest for the last couple years. She took her love for historic buildings and rustic charm and spiced it up with modern chic decor. To be honest I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but Liz made her vision come true, and I got to capture it all!

Feast your eyes on the most precious New England Mom n’ Pop herb farm, the Herb Lyceum, done over with the help of some truly talented vendors.

My favorite images from the shoot:

herb_lyceum01Here are some images from the awesome vendors that participated!

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Liz writes about her vision and shares more photos on Elegant Aura’s blog.

Thank you to Bliss Bakery & Flourish Flower Design for creations that perfectly matched the vision.

Thank you Peterson Party Center for the unique linens, chairs & tableware.

Congrats to the Herb Lyceum who were recently featured on an episode of Top Chef!

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Presenting… The Field Trip — *Real* Family Photography

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Ask my wife, my roommates of old, my siblings or my mom—I’m too eager for surprises. As soon as I get a gift for someone I want them to have it (Christmas in October anyone?), and when my wife hints she has a surprise for me the time is now! This is one of her favorite ways to torture me in fact.

You may have heard I’ll be revealing my new family photography website on March 1 but I’m just not able to save aaaaalllll the goodness until then!

So here it is: one of *two* new videos. This is my new vision for how I want to interact with families, and the everlasting gift I want to give them—a photo shoot that feels nothing like a photo shoot and a new family heirloom (aka gorgeous custom-designed exquisitely-made album).

Can you spare 2.5 minutes to play in the leaves and ride the carousel? How about for those small precious moments of affection in between?

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The second weekend of every October this family goes to the spot in the Boston Common where Dad proposed to Mom. It’s an annual ritual, and this year I tagged along…

 

Field Trip Family Photo Shoot by Maureen Cotton from Maureen Cotton Photography on Vimeo.

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Favorite Photos, and a glimpse over 3 years! {Boston family candid creative photography}

I recently asked Bridget and Phil about their favorite photos from our summer session. Their answer also made me realize that I’ve capture Anna in a tree every year of her life so far!

I’ve been photographing the family since I met Bridget at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum a few years back! She worked there, I volunteered, and we hit it off right away!

Bridget & Phil’s favorite photo is of the two girls together on the bed, “It’s just the sweetest ‘sister’ picture ever. We have it framed!” said Bridget, and look at those smiles—you can almost hear the giggles!

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Here is the intrepid 1 year old Anna! And again at 3, hear her roar!

Bridget mentioned, “We love the one of Anna in the tree! Mostly because we’ve done similar ones over the years and it’s awesome to see her grow and change, and see her personality shine through!”

And here she was 2 years old, and getting ready to be a big sister!

candid family photography bostonAs for my favorite I simply could not decide between these two special photos of Phil and little Anna—a portrait when they are making surprisingly similar expressions, and tickly kisses!

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Favorite Wedding Photos! Winter wedding at Colonial Hall at Rockafellas, Salem, MA

Nora & Ryan’s wedding was my first during Christmas time. Even with cold weather and snow on the ground, I remember this day as fun and warm! They picked their favorites, and here is mine!

This moment stands out to me because at the beginning of the day Nora said the only thing she was nervous about was all the attention. It was awesome to see that she not only got comfortable with all the affection and admiration, but reveled in it when the dancing began!

Nora said, “Some of my favorite photos are the ones in which I can see the excitement that I know we were feeling in the moment. One is Ryan and I sitting in the limo after we just got married! We both look as excited as we felt!”

“Similarly, I love the one of my best friends looking into the limo after the ceremony. The looks on their faces are so them!”

noraryan_338I’m just tossing this photo in because I love Christmas trees!

Thanks to Colonial Hall at Rockafellas for hosting an amazing space for a fabulous Christmas wedding!

Check out more authentic & intimate wedding photography by Maureen Cotton.

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Seeing old friends again! Caitlin & Greg {Vermont candid & creative wedding photographer}

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One of my favorite things is seeing couples from previous years on the dance floor at a wedding. It’s always fun to see them again and enjoying each other with all the bustle of their own wedding behind them.

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That joy was multiplied by 1,000 when I saw Caitlin & Greg (who had the sweetest most heartfelt Vermont wedding last summer) dancing with their new daughter! Congrats to them and their growing family!

Check out more authentic & intimate wedding photography by Maureen Cotton.

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Favorite Newborn Photos! {Real Family Photography}

When I asked Emily & Mike to pick their favorite photograph of their newborn baby boy, Emily replied “It is really hard to pick just one!” They looked closely and narrowed it down to two.

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This one is my favorite from their shoot. One of the most powerful things about photographing newborns is capturing those first gazes of bonding. It’s an honor to be part of something so fleeting and precious!

BostonNewbornPhotographer-3Emily writes, “I really like the way that Mike is beaming at the baby in this one, and how the baby is staring back. We were totally exhausted from learning how to care for the baby all day and night, but when you had us sit together like this, it was cozy and relaxing, and we felt like a family.”

BostonNewbornPhotographer-2“The baby only looked like this for a short time, and we’re really glad to have this and other photos from the session that show him in this wide-eyed, brand-new stage of life. I also like the gentle curve of Mike’s hand around his head; a reminder that he was once small enough to have his head cradled like this!”

See the completed First Year Album!
Check out more Real Family Photography by Maureen Cotton!

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