Lana Ortiz Photography: Blog en-us (C) Lana Ortiz Photography (Lana Ortiz Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:19:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:19:00 GMT Lana Ortiz Photography: Blog 120 80 What do portraits have to do with divorce? A while ago I was approached by the office of Colwell Law Group, LLC asking me to grant them my permission to be guest bloggers on my blog and to share their ideas of how updating your family portraits post divorce, helps in the healing process for families. At first I was reluctant, but when I read their essay, I agreed with their point of view and thought sharing it with you may do some good, especially considering that some of my clients are going through their separations and divorces. So here, without further ado, is the guest blog post of the Colwell Law Group, LLC.

"Updating Your Family Portrait to Move Forward After Divorce

After a divorce, even if it was made easier with the help of an Albany divorce lawyer, just looking at reminders of your marriage to your former spouse can be upsetting. You’ve probably already stashed your ring in a drawer, nixed any souvenirs you bought together on vacations, and taken the family portrait with him or her in it off the wall. This last move can be especially painful because it can feel like you’re discarding an image of your family – and you are, but that doesn’t mean you can’t replace it with an updated family portrait.

Help yourself and your family heal from divorce by taking a new family portrait. Get in contact with a few photographers who specialize in family portraits to find one who can create an iconic image of your family.

Empower Yourself with a New Family Portrait

Creating a new family portrait can be empowering. If there was a power imbalance in your marriage, taking the reins to create an image that showcases your family the way you want to showcase them can be liberating. It can be a breath of fresh air, a new take on your family that captures who you are in a way your old portrait couldn’t.

Remember that although your new portrait might replace the old one on the wall, it can never replace the image itself. Hold onto your old portrait because some day, your child might want it. He or she might also want to look over it periodically after the divorce, so consider keeping it in storage in a closet or basement.

Showcase your Family’s Current Lineup

A portrait of you with your children is a family portrait. So is a portrait of you, your children, and your parents or you, your children, and your pet. Create a portrait that showcases exactly who your family is currently comprised of. If you have a married child or grandchildren, you can include your son- or daughter-in-law and your grandchild, too.

For some people, taking a family portrait after remarrying or having a new baby is a way to reestablish themselves as a family. You can do that, too. Consider creative ways to work your new partner and stepchildren into your family portrait to establish yourselves as a new family.

Getting a Divorce Doesn’t Mean an End to your Family

This is the most important point to keep in mind when you make changes like updating your family portrait. You are still a parent; you are still part of a family. Taking a new family portrait is a powerful way to display your family’s strength and underscore your role at the family’s head. Other ways to help yourself move on after a divorce include redecorating your home and picking up a new hobby.

There are a lot of ways you can help yourself move forward with your divorce. Don’t feel like you’re doing it wrong or that you’ve moved on too quickly or you’re moving on too slowly. Everybody recovers from divorce at their own pace, and if you’re making progress, you’re going at the right pace for yourself.

We Are Here for You

If you want a new family portrait, contact us today at Lana Ortiz Photography. We are happy to help you take a beautiful portrait so that you can move forward with your life. "


So there you go, folks, if you are looking for a family portraits to be updated, I'll be happy to give you the best portraits you'll ever have!


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Mother's Day Gift IMG_3369My Beautiful MotherMy Mom at 35 years old, a year before she had me. Every child thinks their dad is the strongest and the smartest, and their mom is the most beautiful woman on this planet. But for me, she was also a fairy. There is nothing this woman couldn't do that didn't come out amazingly beautiful: she could knit, sew, crochet and my family depended on her skills to dress us in her creations for all weathers and occasions. She could create home decorations out of IV tubes, ornamental pieces for Christmas tree or just anything for anywhere in the house. She cooked every day, and every dish was a hit (except for this one soup, which I don't even want to discuss, and I love soups in general). She knew a billion songs in Russian and Ukrainian. She was so warm and welcoming, people couldn't help but to be drawn to her. She always wore high heels, even at home, her slippers had a 2 inch heel. And when she smiled, she had the best smile in the world, and she was so easy to joke and laugh with. I remember as a teenager happily foregoing any of my friend's parties just to hang out with her. She was beautiful.

When I moved to the United States I was 19 and fearless. She was 54 and decided to stay back in Ukraine. Next time I was able to see her I was 24 and was a young mother myself. Before I left Ukraine for the second time, her and I got into a spat and I held a grudge for a long time. March 8th, International Women's Day, which is celebrated around the world, came and went, and I didn't receive a card from her, like I usually did. I chucked it up to her forgetting, and since I still held the grudge, decided not to call. Late May I received a letter from a friend, which was 4 pages long, written in same pen. At the end, there was a paragraph, written in a different pen, offering me condolences on my mother's passing. 

Everything stopped that moment. My world came to a standstill while my head wouldn't stop spinning. I was devastated, felt guilty, ashamed and experienced such enormous loss I didn't think I would live through it. THE WOMAN who gave me life has died....Later I found out she died in March, but no one had bothered to tell me. It's been 20 years and I still can't talk about that day.

IMG_3370Mom's Portrait by LinaMy youngest daughter's portrait of her grandmother, she's never met, from one of a few portraits I had left of her. When I came to this country, I brought a duffel bag full of my family photos. A year after living here, my house burned down, and I lost them all. I lost my history, I lost myself. To my children I didn't exist before being 20 years of age (when my American friends begun taking pictures of me).

10 years after the fire, I received a phone call from a man, who said he was passing by my house while the firefighters were working on putting out the fire on my house, and throwing everything out of the house through the windows in snow. He saw my family photos laying around: some burnt up, some ok, some wet. Without hesitation he started collecting them, brought them home, and put them inside those thick phone books in his garage in an attempt to prevent them from curling while drying.... and forgot all about them for the next 10 years, until he was emptying his garage to sell the house.

He found my contact information, and returned my past to me. The joy me and my daughters had while looking through the images, and reconnecting with my past, their roots, and our family was indescribable. 

Sadly I only have a handful of images of my mom, but oh how I wished I brought more. 

This Mother's Day give your mom a gift of portrait. If you are a mom, give your children a portrait of yourself. When you are gone, what do you leave them with? Memories fade, but your portrait will bring them comfort for many years ahead. 

Till May 12, 2018 I offer a special on Mother's Day Portraits. Click HERE to take advantage of it, and to offer your mom a day of makeover, champagne and fun, while creating family heirlooms. Capture the memories for your children, next generations, and people who love you.

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Not Photogenic? Here is how to fix it! I can't tell you how many of my interactions with future clients have started by them stating: "I've gotta warn you -  I am not photogenic". My standard response to it is "No one is". Which is not true, but it is the easiest way for me to move on from this subject, and hope they will give me a chance to prove them wrong. For a while now, I pondered on why so many of us have adopted this mantra - I AM NOT PHOTOGENIC. After all, I've photographed plenty of people who said that, and then walked away with beautiful portraits, loving and sharing them with their family and friends, and I've watched these people getting love poured on them through their social media circles and them shyly but firmly accepting the compliments...They now know, that negative statement they've been repeating over and over, is built of sand.

If we can step back and look at this issue, we will find a whole lot to consider. Most of the time when our picture is taken it is a result of a snapshot.  Snapshot is something that is done in the moment, without any aesthetic or technical considerations of a trained professional. Snapshot happens simply because you are there and the person snapping has a device capable of capturing an image. Snapshots capture us having fun, they are photojournalistic in nature, sometimes taken without our knowledge and almost always result in an image you may laugh at but rarely want anyone to see it. I know that, I do it too! I don't tag snapshots of me on social media anymore because half of the time I can't recognize myself, and not in a good way. After a few dozen of these accidental captures a belief is born that it must be your fault. You are not photogenic and you have a million and one images of yourself to prove it. Snapshots capture a moment, an environment, but often do zero for self esteem or even worse, ruin it. I believe a common misconception is that anyone is a photographer as long as you can point and press a button on any image taking device, which also leads to a belief that photography is easy and should be priced at JCPenney studio prices. But that's a blog for another day.

A great photographer is an artisan, like a great painter, or a musician or a poet would be. A professional portrait is a carefully planned and skillfully executed image. It is normal to take 200 shots and only choose 10 as the best ones. So think before you tell your photographer, "it won't take long, I only need 4-5 shots" if you expect an image you will love forever. All elements have to be considered especially if you are working with a photographer who upholds her fiduciary duties as an image creator to you, a soulful and authentic person.

1. GET TO KNOW YOUR CLIENT. A professional portrait begins by getting to know a client, and their demeanor.  For that reason I love having a face to face consultation with my prospective clients. Is she or he a firecracker, life of the party, easy to give you the biggest smile, very animated in his expressions? Or is he or she a thinker, a quiet soul, a shy individual, who longs to be seen in an unassuming way? Little facial quirks become known during such interactions and allow your photographer to better plan highlighting charming elements and compensating for less favorable features: those blue do I bring them forward in my images? does he smile out of the side of his mouth? is there a visible face asymmetry? what does she think is her "better" side or feature? does she have any reservations about certain things about her and how to counter those concerns?

2. WHAT TO WEAR. In a professional portrait what you wear matters: does that color flatter you or overpowers you? is the style of wardrobe so outlandish that it dwarfs a person photographed in it? is it timeless or will it date you in a decade? I am often on a lookout for potential wardrobe for my clients in case their own didn't fit the bill and am actually thrilled to partner up with Genn Shaughnessy, the owner of Fifi's Frocks and Frills, a designer consignment store in Albany, NY, to give my clients an even wider choice for he best for their upcoming portrait session.

3. HAVE A MAKEOVER. A professional portrait should start with a professional makeover: can a different hairstyle enhance your image? will the makeup photograph well under the lights or will you look washed out?  do both, hair and makeup, match the wardrobe and freshen up the person being photographed? you don't want to give a conservative grandma a mohawk hairstyle for her 80th birthday portrait session, do you? I work with professional hair and makeup artists, who come to the studio on the day of the photoshoot, and do their magic on the spot. A client always has the last word in final look, but the adjustments could be made right away to either change the look or make corrections. 

4. HOW TO POSE. A professional portrait means you will be guided into poses. So don't worry if you don't know how to sit or stand or what to do with your hands. You also don't need to memorize the poses of supermodels in the latest Victoria's Secret promotion. Chances are none of us look like them. Only a person who is looking through a lens in front of you can see what pose is most flattering to you. Some poses can take 20-30 lbs off your frame without the need for a diet before the photoshoot. The knowledge of good posing techniques regardless of your shape and size is paramount to a portrait you'll love. Make sure your photographer is knowledgable and can also communicate the poses he or she is guiding you in.

5. IS MY FOREHEAD REALLY THAT BIG? A professional portrait will require a knowledge of lens distortions from your photographer. Have you noticed how in some of your selfies your head is as big as your whole entire body, the lollypop effect? Or your nose, or your forehead is out of proportion with the rest of the face at particular angles? Your photographer should know and use these peculiarities of his or her lenses to your advantage.

6. WELL, HELLO THERE! A great portrait has an undeniable connection with a viewer. There are some portraits we can stare at for several minutes at a time, and then come back and stare some more over and over again. Facial expressions connects a person being photographed with the viewer and your photographer should guide you through several different expressions that would enhance your image further. After all, how would you know what you look like when you are deep in your thoughts, or have a little smile on your face while daydreaming about something pleasant, or being coy and flirtatious, or simply listen attentively? You don't, but a person with a camera should be able to get these and other expressions out of you to create images that reflect your personality.

7. LET THERE BE LIGHT! OR NOT. A professional portrait requires scrutiny of the lighting used: is it a soft light that gives an angelic feel to your newborn baby? or the right light that helps hide deep wrinkles on a mature face? is it a light that allows you to showcase your chiseled physique? or is your portrait lit in such a way that softly hides the curves on your body if you wish to hide them? is it the light that gives dimension to your face? a light that puts a twinkle in your eye? is it creative enough to allow for portraits of several moods you'd love to capture?

8. LOOK BETTER! A professional portrait will go through a professional edit. Don't listen to those who say it shouldn't, it absolutely should. Why? Because I'd want you to have the best representation of yourself and if on the day of your photoshoot you happened to break out in acne, or get a chipped tooth, or had an unfortunate haircut, sunburn, frostbite, a scape, a bruise, a missed pedicure and/or brow waxing appointment, or had a sleepless night which resulted in redness in your eyes - are you that person? Is that what you should be remembered for? No! Should these nuances be left in your portrait? I say no, especially if there are tools to eliminate them! Unless you are going for something creative, to put it mildly. Those are temporary things which distract from your image, provide zero enhancement, would quickly be dismissed in real life interaction once your award winning personality takes the front stage to any of those little buggers. A photograph is an image frozen in time and what is in that image stares you in the face for the rest of your life, often passed from generation to generation. So why would you want to leave distractions like that in your forever portrait? They should and will be edited, and the edits should be done with skill, and respect to your wishes, and integrity of portrayal of things that have been rightfully earned (laughing lines, freckles, love handles, beach perfect body, etc) albeit perhaps manipulated slightly to once again not to allow to take a spotlight away from you.

Photographers who take great care in creating your images adhering to this list plus adding their own creative approach, have taken pride in ongoing education, study and practice posing, lighting, styling and guiding their clients to a better portrait. They study photography, paintings, sculpture, film and color theory to achieve a portrait that makes a client gasp in awe of how beautiful they find themselves to be in it. Because as creators, we, photographers, are suckers for watching you fall in love with our creations, especially if they go home with you.

So why do we say we are not photogenic? It is akin us buying a luxury car, and allowing people who aren't trained properly maintain and fix it when necessary. As a result the car starts to underperform and fall apart, and what do we do? We blame the car, instead of trusting a trained professional to get you the best performance out of your prized possession and to make it run smoothly for a long time.

Let's be clear - we are all photogenic. Find a photographer with a solid set of skills, whose style you admire and who you enjoy being around. Relax and trust her to show you what your best portrait looks like. After all you aren't holding a mirror to your mouth supervising the work of a dentist while he is working on you? Stop thinking you are not photogenic, or you are doomed to have ugly images of yourself. Instead research your photographer, prepare to pay for their skillful work, create beautiful portraits, for yourself, your children, people who love you. When you are gone, these portraits will give them much needed comfort and a chance to visit you again and again. At the end of the day, photographs is the only possession we'll ever have that appreciates in value with each and every year, and become priceless when we leave this world. You are worth having great images of you.

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(Lana Ortiz Photography) boudoir photographer albany ny boudoir photography albany ny boudoir studio saratoga child photorapher albany ny child portrait albany ny child portraits saratoga corporate headshots albany ny corporate headshots saratoga corporate portraits albany ny corporate portraits saratoga family portraits albany ny family portraits saratoga ny headshots albany ny headshots saratoga portrait photographer albany ny portrait photographer saratoga portrait photography albany ny portrait studio albany ny portrait studio saratoga portraiture albany ny sue bryce style portrait albany ny Mon, 05 Mar 2018 14:00:00 GMT
The Olde Tater Barn Wedding of Anthony & Rebecca The Olde Tater Barn is located in Central Bridge, NY and is one of the nicest barn venues in Upstate NY. I've shot several weddings there over the past couple of years, and not only it has always been a top notch service and food, but I appreciate how wonderfully they treated the vendors: Jay Rozell (DJ) from Upstate Sounds, Ed Rozell, who manned a fun photobooth, me as a wedding photographer and Mike Scotto from Scotto Films as a videographer. The wedding must've fallen on the hottest day of the year, and Anthony described it as "a hotter than Beyonce" day, which resulted in a temporary loss of power in Central Bridge, but the barn crew continued to set things up and assured us all everything will be perfect, AND IT WAS! No complaints of any kind here! Rebecca really wanted to do the first look at a historical covered bridge in Queensbury, and I was happy to check it out on my way to her hotel the day of the wedding, only to find out that the bridge was closed to public, since another wedding ceremony was taking place right on it! So if you are looking to do something on that bridge for your wedding, you better check it is available. I thought it was great for the couple, not so much for my bride and groom. But the property at Tater Barn is so beautiful, we had plenty of photo ops there for first look and more! All in all, hot day or not, Rebecca's and Anthony's family knew how to have fun and we all had a fantastic time.  I have nothing but most wonderful things to say about DJ, photobooth and videographer I've worked with on that wedding, and encourage you to check out their work (Rebecca & Anthony Reel by Scotto Films). Wishing this bride and groom a wonderful life together!

Auspelmyer Wedding

(Lana Ortiz Photography) barn venues upstate ny couple engagement photographer queensbury ny engagement photographer upstate ny love romance the olde tater barn wedding wedding photographer albany ny wedding photographer central bridge wedding photographer queensbury ny wedding photographer upstate ny Tue, 21 Nov 2017 15:00:00 GMT
The Barn at Lord Howe Valley in Ticonderoga Wedding of John and Claire Claire first mentioned The Barn at Lord Howe Valley as her ideal barn wedding venue during our consultation. As a wedding photographer, I've never heard of this venue, so in early 2017 summer I drove 2 hours to see this barn for myself. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised! Not only is the barn aesthetically pleasing inside and out, but is also located at the foot of one of the Ticonderoga mountains, has a separate building for a bride and a groom to get ready, where both areas are the envy of Pinterest fans for sure, has luxury portable bathrooms, and most helpful and dedicated owners who are there to help you with anything you might need even during your wedding. I happily approved Claire's choice and couldn't wait to photograph her and John in this venue!

The wedding was beautiful, with a sunset ceremony overlooking the mountains, and the dance floor didn't get a minute of being empty! Enjoy a slideshow of their wedding. Best wishes to Claire and John!

Claire John Wedding

(Lana Ortiz Photography) barn wedding lake george barn wedding ticanderoga barn wedding upstate ny couple engagement engagement photographer lake george engagement photographer ticonderoga engagement photographer upstate ny love photography romance the barn at howe valley photographer wedding wedding photographer lake george wedding photographer ticonderoga wedding photographer upstate ny Tue, 14 Nov 2017 18:54:07 GMT
Birch Hill Wedding of Rachel and Andre Birch Hill is quickly becoming one my favorite wedding venues near Albany, NY. As a wedding photographer I love working near where I live, but this venue is also a top notch: it is spacious, staffed with helpful and energetic people; offers great food and is absolutely beautiful inside and out. I've shot many events there, and have never been disappointed. To get ready for their wedding, Rachel and Andre chose Comfort Inn & Suites in Castleton-on-Hudson, which provides a beautiful backdrop in their foyer for first look images.

Andre and Rachel had a beautiful wedding ceremony by the fireplace at Birch Hill, then moved on to a Conservatory ballroom for their cocktail hour, then Columbia room was opened up to reveal a gorgeous reception hall where all the festivities took place! The whole evening was top notch and we all had a blast dancing (including me, a wedding photographer, with a bride, a video of which is floating somewhere on Facebook). 

Just wanted to wish Dre and Rachel many years of happiness together and the desire to overcome all obstacles together. Please enjoy this beautiful slideshow by Lana Ortiz Photography of Birch Hill wedding of Andre & Rachel Fulton.

(Lana Ortiz Photography) couple creative wedding photography engagement photography albany ny engagement photography east greenbush ny engagement photography saratoga ny fun wedding photography love portrait photography albany ny romance wedding wedding engagement photography wedding photographer albany ny wedding photographer birch hill ny wedding photographer saratoga ny wedding photography albany ny wedding photography birch hill wedding photography east greenbush ny wedding photography saratoga ny wedding photography upstate ny Mon, 06 Nov 2017 14:00:00 GMT
Holiday Gift Offer Portrait Photography - Amazing Holiday Gift Idea

My goal is to capture my clients in such a way that they can't help but fall in love with themselves. My desire is to make every photoshoot unique to each client, completed with a makeover and a photo session that makes them feel and look amazing.

With holidays right around the corner, consider purchasing a Gift Certificate for your friends and family members. Not only will they enjoy the experience of being pampered and feeling like a model for a day, but they will have beautiful portraits that will last them forever and appreciate in value with each passing year. And the best thing is that they will be thanking you for it!

As a holiday special, you are able to purchase a $200 Gift Certificate, which entitles the recipient to a complete makeover and photo session for 2 (two) plus a $100 print credit towards their choice of portraits! That's a $300 value! They can chose to be photographed with their family members, best friends or partners and what's even better, they can plan to go out afterwards and paint the town red since they will already look gorgeous and feel amazing!


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(Lana Ortiz Photography) albany ny capital region cards christmas couple creative decorations excitement experience family fine art funny glamour grumpy hate holidays humor husband images love makeover pampering personalized photography photoshoot pop portrait romance santa upstate ny wife Thu, 02 Nov 2017 13:00:00 GMT

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Imperfectly Perfect! I am sure a lot of you will agree that there is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best. For ages people have been using makeup, changing color/style/texture/length of their hair, shaving, waxing, painting nails, bleaching their teeth, finding cures for acne, stuffing themselves in corsets, wearing high heel shoes etc. to portrait themselves in a more flattering of ways. As a photographer, I strive to learn the best techniques to light my clients, to pose them and to retouch their images so that my clients can look their very best and feel comfortable being photographed by me in the future to create mementos of special moments in their lives. 

With a generous permission from this beautiful model, who was a part of my creative photoshoot, I show you these two images. Both of them are beautiful, but one has been elevated to an art form. The retouching of the image took close to 6 hours, but how much do you think this young woman would enjoy looking back at herself when she is in her 40s, 60s, 80s? What do you think the reaction of her children, grandchildren will be when they see her in this image? So many people avoid being photographed because of some flaws, and looking back at their lives, they turn out to be missing from all the family photos, sometimes for decades, because of blemishes, weight concerns, or simply aging...I publish this for one reason - find a photographer who you can trust to listen to your needs. If there are certain flaws that prevent you from existing in images now, let her know. A good photographer can help you choose most flattering clothes and colors/patterns for you, pose you in most flattering poses for your body type, choose lighting that showcases the positive and hides the negative, and retouch your images to bring it all together into one lovely keepsake of YOU, at this particular point in your life. Existing in images is what your friends and family would love for you to have given them for when you are not around. I often say to my clients: "You THINK you are taking this pictures just for you, but they are just as much for those who love you." Find a photographer who will listen to your concerns. Don't simply stop existing in the precious time that goes by so quickly.

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What is a Boutique Studio? When you think of a boutique, you may think of a small clothing store or a jewelry shop that offers specialty products and personalized customer service you will not get otherwise while shopping at big retail stores.  Lana Ortiz Photography offers a boutique experience: style, quality, and service.
The portrait experience, be it family portraiture, glamour, or boudoir photography, is an intimate one.  Finding a photographer who is both professional and personable, someone who you feel comfortable with, is important!
From the moment of our first consultation it is important for me to learn as much as I can about you and how you would like to be photographed, so that I can be sure the session is designed to match your unique style and taste. Before your photo session, I will pick props, build setups, and acquire wardrobe supplements that would allow me to create a unique atmosphere and look for your photoshoot. I will provide a team of talented hair and makeup artists to pamper you with a makeover to ensure you look your best on the day of your photoshoot. I will encourage you to incorporate family heirlooms, or recreate meaningful to you moments, to ensure a beautiful and professional outcome of your images. If shooting outside of my studio, I will take great care in choosing locations that best suit your style of portraiture.
Being a boutique photography studio, I maintain a limited schedule to be sure that your memories are given the personal attention they deserve. You don’t have to worry about being rushed through your session, and you can be assured I will not retouch your images hastily. By choosing to take on a limited amount of clients and/or projects, I give you the highest quality service and product, the first time!

As a boutique studio, owned and operated by a photographic artist, I seek to create art for you and your family.

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Gilbertsville Farmhouse Wedding of John & Holland Wax John & Holland WaxMarried September 19, 2015 at Gilbertsville Farmhouse upstate New York.

It was very special for me to photograph Holland and John's wedding on September 19, 2015 at a beautiful Gilbertsville Farmhouse in Upstate NY.

I've met Holland and John several years ago, and it is with Holland's gentle persuasion that I, as a starting out photographer, I agreed to shoot a wedding of John's & Holland's officiant back in 2013. 

When John & Holland described their wedding day to me, it sounded unusual, but very well planned out. The ceremony took place in the woods, on top of the hill, where all in attendance sat in a circle. John's and Holland's close friends read "The Love Story" written by John's brother Mark, who flew in from Norway. Mark narrated the story offering a unique peek of the couple's romantic beginnings captured in early e-mails to each other. Holland's mother wrote a beautiful song that she and John's mother performed together during the ceremony to honor the union of their children, and a unique ring blessing ceremony took place, where each guest held the rings for a brief moment while saying a silent prayer for the young couple. John and Holland asked everyone to put away their filming/picture taking devices and just to be present for the moment. The ceremony felt warm, and personal, and I will never forget looking around a not seeing a dry eye in the circle, including my own. That's what being present feel the feelings, and offer a piece of your soul instead of worrying about taking shots. Big thank you to all of John's and Holland's families and friends for respecting their wishes, and allowing me to capture the sharing of your souls.

The reception took place in a wonderfully decorated and very spacious barn, and was filled with toasts, cheers, dancing and merriment. Holland is an unbelievable, top notch, best of them all (and I don't give out praises easily) baker, so you can only imagine what heaven on earth her cake and dessert table turned out to be. A four tier cake which she made on her own, where each layer had it's own unique flavor, was nothing short of a marvel. Knowing my weakness for her baking, she generously sent me home with a container full of her desserts. And for that I will be her slave forever. :) At the end of the evening, John and Holland entertained their guests with a fantastic Argentine Tango, performed by them. Those who are not familiar with this couple should know, Argentine Tango is something they are absolutely fantastic at.

Even now, two weeks later, I am very much under the influence of that day and I want to thank you, John and Holland, for putting so much effort into your wedding day, weathering all the obstacles along the way, and impressing your wedding photographer with your one of a kind wedding. Stay kind, graceful, loyal and humble as I know you today, and may universe continue raining its blessings on you. :)


(Lana Ortiz Photography) couple engagement photographer upstate ny gilbertsville farmhouse love romance wedding wedding photographer albany ny wedding photographer south new berlin wedding photographer upstate ny Tue, 06 Oct 2015 14:56:11 GMT
Pastor C and Women's Ministry in Albany NY Pastor Christina StatonPastor Christina StatonPastor Christina Staton is a founder of Christina Staton Ministry, author of "Help Me I'm A Woman" book. When I first met Pastor C and one of her volunteers, Frances, the two reminded me of Batman and Robin. Different personalities, but working together to achieve same goals. Frances set up our initial meeting, where we discussed professional headshots and marketing images for Pastor C's busy  and rapidly growing ministry. After the initial discussion of their needs, I was happy when they booked me for a photoshoot, and spent the next few days learning about Pastor C and her women's ministry in Albany, NY from my other clients, who've met Pastor C and even attended her events.

I've heard so many positive things about this woman, what she represents, her ministry, and her team of volunteers, that I truly couldn't wait to get my hands on her. Soon enough that day came, and while my makeup artist, Erin Ford, and I were discussing the details of Pastor's look for this photoshoot, she walked in. 

Pastor C is Christina Staton, a beautiful woman who is loud, funny, loves to laugh, honest, compassionate and down to earth. Her presence filled my already big studio and magically the three of us immediately connected. With her came her hair dresser and Frances.. Two minutes later, her graphic designer stepped inside, followed by her assistant. I begun getting nervous thinking the whole church is coming in, and my hair or makeup were pitiful, but that's when they reassured me no one else was joining them. Just the five musketeers that were already there. Talk about performance anxiety!!! But no, that never happened.

The next 3 hours were dynamic and fun. We all felt like old girlfriends, playing dress up, taking pictures, telling stories, snacking and helping each other with suggestions on improvement. I whispered to Erin, "I want what she is having". :) Pastor C has an army of women, whose dedication to the cause, support, nurturing spirit and creative spark were matching the very vibrant personality of their pastor. 

5 hours later, the ladies chose the images they liked, paid for them and left. I couldn't help but feel very alone in that moment when the studio stopped being filled with their radiant laughter, smiles, giggles, jokes, hugs and even tears. I felt I wanted to visit the ministry to see this woman and her army in action. The rest of the day, I wore the kind and supportive nature of this group like a perfume. I could feel it, and relived a few very special moments we all shared.

If you decide to check Christina Staton Ministry visit or visit her at 215 Washington Avenue Ext, Albany, NY 12205. Christina Staton will soon release her book "Help Me I'm A Woman" which will feature some of the images we worked on during our first photoshoot. Knowing some of the background this woman has, I am positive this book will be inspirational, touching, and honest.

I am very proud to work with such dynamic women as Pastor C and her ministry. We all agreed this is a start of a beautiful professional relationships between us all and I can't wait to see them all again.

(Lana Ortiz Photography) Christina Staton Albany NY Christina Staton Ministry Corporate Headshots Albany Lana Ortiz Portraits Albany NY Professional Headshots Albany NY Women's Ministry Albany NY Thu, 12 Mar 2015 13:00:00 GMT
A Woman's Photographer Recently I had a photoshoot with a beautiful young mother, who every day prior to the photoshoot was nervous and anxious. She couldn't believe she is beautiful - I reassured her she was. She couldn't believe it'll show in the images - I reassured her it will. At the end of the day, all I could do is to prove it to her through images I create for her.

Most clients who hire me are this apprehensive and nervous to be photographed. And I completely understand why: we are not models, we are everyday women. We have curves, stretch marks, cellulite, number of pounds to lose until our ideal weight, scars, less elasticity in our skin, no time to take proper care of ourselves etc. I know that, I am you! It takes me 15 different outfits, 30 quick looks in the mirror, 5 - 360 degree looks, several reenacted soundless possible conversations I might have (done with my mirror), several laughs at the jokes my mirror makes, and several compassionate looks toward my mirror's problems. I might even splurge on a selfie or twenty-five of them, just to pick one. I accentuate everything I like about me, and deemphasize everything I don't.

I struggle as much as you do. So I feel it is my obligation, as a woman's photographer to learn all the tricks of posing any everyday woman in such a way that she looks her best, and upon seeing the image, feels her best too!

Below, with the permission of my client, are two images: in one she is posing on her own without any instructions given by me, in another I gave her specific instructions to achieve the pose I thought was more showcasing of her beauty. Both images are straight out of camera and had no editing (other then contrast and tonal adjustments) done to them. Looking through the lens and being her own advocate, directing her to achieve most flattering results is my goal.

Which one do you like better and why? Leave a message in comments! But before I sign off, let me give a little advice to all of my women looking for a photographer: research to see if he/she shoots everyday women, and knows how to pose them. That's a skill that's achieved through hours of learning, practicing, paying attention and wanting to make a client truly happy.

(Lana Ortiz Photography) Bedroom Photography in Albany NY Boudoir Photographer Upstate NY Boudoir Photographer in Albany NY Bridal Boudoir Photographer Albany NY Family Portraits in Albany Lana Ortiz Albany NY Lingerie Photography in Albany NY Portrait Studio Albany Portrait photographer Albany Portrait photographer in Albany Posing for better photos Wedding photographer Albany Wed, 25 Feb 2015 22:33:09 GMT
Happy Holidays!!! I was a late child. My mom passed away when I was 24. I've always envied my brother, who was 13 years older than me and hence got to spend more time with our mom. But then he too died when I was 34, only a couple of years after my dad's passing. All of a sudden I was left alone. That little girl inside of me was now all alone and anyone who was witness to her childhood, growing up, and maturing - the journey - was gone. It felt as if I had no past.

On this day I am a mother to 4 beautiful girls. One of them is out there in the world, making things happen for herself. She has a boyfriend who I accept as a part of our family, who loves her and with him she learns what a relationship truly is. I have a wonderful husband, the one who has the ability to make my blood boil every so often, but who also almost every day shows me his affection for me in little deeds he does. He is a fantastic father to all of our girls, and the one I'd chose over and over again if I had to do over. I have amazing friends...When I left Ukraine, I left a friend who was one in a million, I thought I can't get that lucky again, I will never have a friend like that. Well, not only did I get lucky, but I found many friends on this side of the world who represent everything most wonderful in this world:  I found amazing friends like Dana, my own life coach, confidant, little sister and evangelist for my studio;  Debbie, who I know for 22 years, and who magically appeared in my house with medication and ginger ale at midnight when I, as a single mother of 3 little ones, got a flu and was bedridden for days; John, who took me on as his apprentice, and continues to share his knowledge with me; Phil, who's always supported anything I've been a part of and did it with grace and confidence of James Bond; Bonita, who I thought would just be a client, instead she turned into a big sister I've never had; Vida, who always remembers to send me sweet messages on holidays, whose smile and life story makes you want to be her own light crew, who makes sure spotlight is on her day and night; Jenny, who is resourceful and as reliable as the fact that the sun will come up tomorrow and never lets me down; Brittney, who reaffirms to me the strength of a woman is so vast and encompassing that I want my girls to know her as a role model; Travis, who is just a big chunk of love wrapped up in skin, and who gives the best bear hugs - the ones that take your breath away....I can go on, and on...The mantle above my fireplace is filled with cards from our friends, and it makes me feel in my place even though my blood family is long gone. It makes me feel a part of a family that actually chose ME.

I am sad my mother didn't live long enough to be able to communicate with me via Skype, which I do often now with my extended family in Ukraine. But I am always thankful for anything that happens in my life. The hardships in the beginning molded me into who I am today, the future is unknown, but the prognosis looks fantastic. I am thankful for all of it. I am empowered by all of you.

With that in mind, if you are reading this blog, I am thankful for you. I am thankful for this country, the people who are close to me, the trials I had to go through, and the aging that allows me to live a richer more meaningful life. Take a moment to look over your life and pick out what matters and what doesn't, and hopefully find peace with where you are in this journey

Happy Holidays, Love you all!


(Lana Ortiz Photography) Lana Ortiz boudoir engagements family glamour headshots holidays newborns portraits reflection sensuality sexuality thankful weddings Thu, 25 Dec 2014 14:00:00 GMT
Richard & Lourdes Wedding A friend of mine referred Lourdes to me in 2013. She walked into the studio and instantly we were connected. I don't know, with some people it's just how it is. We talked in detail about the wedding, her groom, her family, and decided we were a good match. 

Before the wedding, we've met up again, to go over the details that might've changed since we spoke last. Once again the connection was undeniable.

The day of the wedding, I found myself en route to her house. Good thing I gave myself an extra hour. Come to find out, the GPS persistently sends people to the wrong TOWN, when Lourdes's mother's address is being entered. Regardless, my assistant and I found the house in time, and proceeded to capture images. To my delight, some bridesmaids in Lourdes's bridal party I knew, which made it for a fun bridal party shoot. Later in the evening, I realized I knew some guests at the party as well, so the whole affair felt like a family get together, especially since a DJ (DJ Enrique Lopez) is a good friend of mine for the past two decades. 

When I walked into the church I was a little apprehensive - I've never met the groom, how will he relate to me?  But quickly scanning a group of devilishly good looking men dressed up to a "T" at the entrance, I knew which one was the groom. He was tall, dark and handsome and had the kindest eyes I've seen on anyone in a long time. Good fella.

The night was a mess, everything went in conflict with Lourdes's original planning, including the rain (" Lana it will NOT rain on my wedding!" is what she told me 2 weeks prior). But somehow, Lourdes and Richard were the epitome of self control, patience and acceptance. They went through the evening with so much grace, fun and love for all of their guests and each other, I couldn't be more proud to be their photographer. The night turned out to be perfect!

Let's talk about Lourdes's dress for a second. The girl won the lottery in good looks, no doubt. She could've flaunted whatever she wanted, instead her hairstyle, her dress, her shoes, jewelry and demeanor were nothing short of high class, and for that I absolutely adore this woman. 

Throughout the process of choosing their images, I got to know Rich a little. These two....are so lovely together. I can't wait to photograph more of their celebrations and occasions.

Here is a little slideshow I put together for Rich and Lourdes to share with their friends and family near and far...

(Lana Ortiz Photography) Lana Ortiz Lourdes Torres Richard Thebaud couple engagement love photography romance upstate new york wedding Tue, 02 Dec 2014 04:46:32 GMT
Bald is beautiful!!! Mia has alopecia. She is 11 years old and she had no hair, and very little of eyebrows left.

I've met her and her dad 2 years ago, when one of my daughters and Mia were on the same basketball team. Before general practices took place, Mia's dad, assistant coach, took time to explain to parents what alopecia was and to ask them to prep their children to it as well. I have to admit -  although I've read the message, I didn't feel I had to prep Jules, my daughter, for this experience. Not to my surprise at all, Jules, who has the hair that inspires envy in every hair salon we go to, was very understanding, compassionate and kind toward Mia. About the same time, I did Julia's photoshoot as a fairy and a mystical creature, when Mia's dad responded with words of praise. I felt compelled to offer a similar shoot to Mia, as my gift to her. It took them 2 year to accept it and walk through my studio's doors. 

Mia came in having no hair on her head and missing her eye brows. She came in dressed in a casual attire, as I suggested, and her eyelashes, which were still present, made her look like she had a heavy eye make up on, which I knew was not the case. For the previous 2-3 days all I could think of is the images I wanted to create for her. I wanted them to be planned in such detail that the photoshoot took nearly no time. I told Mia my ideas, one of which was her being a fairy, situated in a forest. She was all for it. I explained the posing, and then I noticed - one strand of hair that meant a lot to her before and  which she proudly kept growing long, was missing. I planned on this strand to be braided and displayed throughout the shoot, but when I asked her "where is the strand?", she casually explained that she felt it stopped growing so she chose to cut it off as well. Can I explain how proud I was of this little girl who placed no self worth against the weight of her looks. She was beautiful regardless, truly beautiful. But seeing this disregard to the presence of hair, which American society is so conditioned on valuing, I was happy to see, Mia's values of herself lay in other pursuits. 

The light this girl emits from within is bright and kind. She went along with all of my instructions, and was the best model possible. Throughout the shoot all I cared for is how to make her feel beautiful, while not hiding the fact she has no hair. To my delight, this 6 grader was able to see her beauty regardless of her condition. She simply either liked the images, or said nothing (a polite "no" as I took it ).  Not for a second her condition came up as a disability, as a matter of fact it allowed for us to explore fashion in a different sense, where head wraps were a fantastic substitute for the hair.

I walked away thinking I have to write this blog, if only for one thing: teach your daughters their self worth as something beyond and well past the physical appearance. Especially if you are a father. Your influence, as little girl's first most important man in their life, is so wrapped up in what you find beautiful or not about them. Do not dismiss them because they are not as good as others at some things, do not compare them to others, do not try to restrict them to the views of our society of what is beautiful. Mia's dad ooh-ed and ahh-ed at every image of her I shared with him, and every look I've created was gushed over. Mia completely deserved it, and I think every little girls must know, even if the rest of the world doesn't agree, the people who matter the most to her, find her lovable, beautiful and full of potential. This kind of ensurance produces strong women who are the backbones of families and societies that raises our future citizens.

(Lana Ortiz Photography) Dan Farley Mia Farley alopecia bald beautiful beauty bold child girl lesson life persevirence. power strength struggle Fri, 07 Nov 2014 08:35:16 GMT
What is Boudoir? Found this great read! And another one, straight from Wikipedia: "The term "boudoir" may also be ascribed to a genre of photography. Boudoir photography is not generally a new concept and numerous examples including ones of Kathleen Meyers, Clara Bow, Mae West and Jean Harlow photographed in boudoir style.

‚ÄčTypically shot in a photographer's studio or luxury hotel suites, it has become fashionable to create a set of sensual or sexually suggestive images of women (and occasionally men and couples) in "boudoir style". The most common manifestation of contemporary boudoir photography is to take variations of candid and posed photographs of the subject partly clothes or in lingerie. Nudity is more of often implied than explicit. Commercially the genre is often (though not exclusively) derived from a market for brides to surprise their future husbands by gifting the images on or before their wedding day. Other motivations or inspiration for boudoir photography shoots include anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine's Day, weight loss regimes, other form of body change or alterations (such as breast augmentation or reduction) and for servicemen and women overseas.

Boudoir photography may, in some cases, be distinguished from other photography genres such as glamour photography, fine art nude photography and erotic photography. According to research carried out in Digital Boudoir Photography (2006), John G. Blair said that the word "Boudoir" or "Boudoir portrait", was used in 1980 by Motherlode Photography Studio in California to describe a picture more elegant than "erotic portrait" or "semi nude portrait"."

Try it yourself, schedule your photoshoot with me and you will fall in love with boudoir!

P.S. Share your thoughts in comments below. Or share a post! :)


(Lana Ortiz Photography) art bedroom boudoir celebrate experience femininity fine flirt glamour seduce sensuality sexuality womanhood women Sun, 19 Oct 2014 19:24:06 GMT
Kent & Bonita Slideshow Bonita was referred to me by a mutual friend and came looking for me to edit images and design her wedding album, shot by another photographer. Normally I would refuse editing anyone else's images but I felt bad about her not getting a wedding album, which she desperately wanted to show to her aging mother, her sister and her grown daughter. I've created a beautiful album for her and her husband and this slideshow is just a little extra I thought would be nice for them to have and share with the rest of their large family and many friends. Enjoy!


(Lana Ortiz Photography) Bonita Goldwire Kent Lana Ortiz Williams couple love photography romance wedding Tue, 13 May 2014 14:00:17 GMT
Andrew & Kiki Rose Wedding I've known Kiki from my Salsa dancing circles for a few years now. She used to come to our socials, and many guys would've loved to court her, but it was Andrew who stole her heart and she disappeared from dancing when they first met. Instead I saw pictures of mountain hiking, especially winter mountain hiking....with Drew...posted frequently on Kiki's Facebook page. Ahhh, young love!!!!

Kiki asked me to photograph her wedding, which was an absolute delight and honor for me. We've met at a local Panera, and I've got to meet Andrew for the first time. Right away I knew why she was so smitten with this guy. He is like good bread - good looking, kind, easy going, a gentleman, and clearly appreciates Kiki and her beautiful bubbly personality. 

The wedding took place on December 7, 2013 at Brant Lake, NY. Andrew and Kiki, being huge fans of winter and snow, were hoping for some snowflakes, especially after a prediction of some precipitation on a lake during 30 degrees temperature. But we weren't so lucky. We had a brilliant sunlight, a frozen lake, and were surrounded by pines. So ironically, their wedding images look like they were created in the summer. Let me assure you the day was anything but summery. It was freezing!!!! But look through the pictures - Kiki braved this cold in addition to north wind, with grace, beauty and elegance, to help me create the loveliest images of their magical day.

I adore these two, and one day hope they'll take me along on their hikes. For now, enjoy the slideshow and wish this fantastic couple many years of happiness.


(Lana Ortiz Photography) Andrew Rose Brant Lake Kiki Kelly Lana Ortiz couple engagement love photography romance wedding winter Thu, 23 Jan 2014 05:18:51 GMT
Albany Diocese Cemeteries Photo Contest 2013 - First Place Winner! I was all pumped up to create another image that would win me this contest however when I was done, I've realized that it might've been a little over the top. I've submitted my entries but did not expect to win. Let me back up.

Every year St. Agnes cemetery puts up a contest for photographers and their best images from this cemetery. Last year my image took second place and I couldn't be happier. This year, the cemetery decided to expand this contest to several other cemeteries in the area and to allow 2 submissions per photographer. On the day of the big announcement, or as I called it, a Judgement Day, all entries were displayed at concourse level of Empire State Plaza, where anyone could browse through those images and admire them. 

Last year, a day before the Judgement Day I received a phone call from the director of St. Agnes Cemeteries making sure I will be stopping by for the big announcement. To me it was a hint that my image won some prize and so it did. This year however I received none of such calls. I understood that I didn't win anything, and went on a planned tour of Martin Van Buren historical site in Kinderhook, NY with my kids and my friends. While at a dinner in a quaint Destinos, my phone rang. 

I won. First place and $500 check. What a great ending to a beautiful day it was. I've submitted two images: "The Goddess of Memory" and "The Trumpet Player". The goddess won. It is a composite of 17 different images, involved a photoshoot with a wonderful model and a talented hair and makeup artist (4 hrs), about 3 hours scouting the location for the backdrop, and 24 hours of editing the image. Thank you everyone who kept encouraging me through the years!

The Goddess of Memory - Lana OrtizThe Goddess of Memory - Lana OrtizThis image won a first prize on October 19, 2013 at a photo contest organized by Albany Diocesan Cemeteries.

(Lana Ortiz Photography) Lana Ortiz St. Agnes cemetery albany diocese cemeteries art conceptual contest entry photography winning Tue, 29 Oct 2013 12:03:41 GMT
Sean & Dana's Wedding What can I say, Dana is my girl. We've been friends for over 5 years now, and I have never met another person who is so beautiful, down to earth, helpful and compassionate as she is.

Sean is another story ... just kidding! :)

Sean is my dance buddy. We share the passion of dancing to the beat of our own drummers. I teach him moves, he put his spin on them, and we can goof off all night to the approving eye-rolling of Dana. Sean is a basketball coach to many boys and girls in the area, including two of my own kids, and a resourceful and valuable member of his community. For this duo "ain't no mountain high enough, ain't no river low enough"...they literally can move mountains together. 

The two jumped over the broom on Dana's birthday, October 13, 2013 at the beautiful Carey Conference Center in Rensselaerville, NY.

At the wedding, I had the privilege of meeting and becoming friends with many of their family members and old friends. Let me tell you something, the party was off the hook. The continuous theme was FAMILY, which includes friends of course. Two weeks later when I asked Dana about their feelings over this whole wedding business, she said that Sean wished they could do it all over again, and do it as often as he could. For those who don't know these two, this may sound odd. But for me it's just who they are - treating their family with love and respect, making their friends a part of their family, and always remembering to have fun.

Please enjoy the slideshow from Dana's and Sean's wedding, and don't forget to visit their gallery (password: brownlove) where you can purchase prints and digital downloads for online sharing. Long live the Browns!


(Lana Ortiz Photography) Carey Conference Center Dana Henson Lana Ortiz Sean Brown couple engagement love photography romance wedding Tue, 29 Oct 2013 02:16:31 GMT
Scott & Cherie's Wedding Cherie is an old friend of ours, who always wanted to get married and settle down with a family. She probably planned this day when she was 4, and kept tweaking it ever since. The only thing that was missing was the groom. Low and behold, along came Scott via We all were thrilled to learn that the two hit it off and not too long after their first date we received an envelope with "Save the Date" card from Cherie and Scott. 

Obviously, I was even more thrilled when Cherie asked me to photograph her wedding. The location was great, the bride looked amazing, and her dad surprised us all with a gem of a car for newlyweds to be photographed in and around. 

The time flew as we laughed, danced and periodically sneaked out to create various images. But don't take my word for it, check out their slideshow, visit their gallery, and purchase whatever prints your heart desires...

(Lana Ortiz Photography) Cherie Cervera Lana Ortiz Mohawk Country Club Scott Tessier couple photography romance wedding Wed, 02 Oct 2013 14:22:43 GMT
John and Audrey's Wedding John and Audrey got married at a beautiful Historic Catskill Point on September 21, 2013 after 10 years of happily being together. The joke was that most marriages nowadays don't last that long, but these two, everyone knows, will last forever... They are so perfect together...

A day before the wedding, Audrey hurt her leg while decorating the barn for reception and was wheeled around and carried by John. Decorating of the barn had to be delayed till the day of the wedding, while Audrey had to consult with health professionals about the course of actions considering impeding wedding. Something like that would bring out a bridezilla in most brides, but not Audrey. She was cool as a cucumber and did what she, and John, most well known for - making sure everyone's needs were taking care of at the wedding.

It was an honor and a blessing to be a photographer for this down to earth, incredibly kind and funny couple, whom I share the passion for dancing with and who spread joy and goodness onto everyone they meet.

Enjoy this little slideshow, relive the day all over again, and visit their gallery where you can purchase the prints of you, your friends and the happy couple. Long live the Waterfields!

(Lana Ortiz Photography) Audrey Laskoe Historic Castskill Point John Waterfield Lana Ortiz Upstate New York wedding wedding Tue, 01 Oct 2013 19:08:27 GMT
Lisa I've met Lisa a year or so ago in a local photography meet up. She was friend, smiley, beautiful and a little odd. I couldn't put my finger on why I thought she was odd, until one evening she revealed to me that she's been battling MS. She was very non-chalant about it too, like "that's what I do" kinda thing. I didn't exactly know what MS entailed at that point, but I've read up on that evening as soon as I got home.

Lisa asked me if I photograph the not so pretty side of having MS. I politely declined. I know there are photographers out there who could do that. I wanted to photograph Lisa how I saw her. Beautiful, friendly, smiley and a little odd. :)

Lisa was overweight her entire life, however that never stopped her from living her life to its fullest. She pursued education in Art and studied at NYC on full scholarship. When she was 19, she began to notice strange things, like the loss of saturated color vision. By 25 she's reached 330 lbs and experienced frequent double vision, inability to feel her feet and vertigo. At first doctors thought all these symptoms were just in her head, but then the diagnoses came in - multiple sclerosis. 

Lisa was terrified of the struggle she'd have to endure with MS, especially given her heavy weight. She was determined to lose it, and underwent bariatric surgery. Her husband, whom she've met in college and gave an exit opportunity as soon as she learned on her diagnosis, supported her through it all. Lisa successfully lost 200 lbs, and maintained this loss for 11 years. With losing this much weight, came the dilemma of dealing with loose skin, and Lisa went through a tough cosmetic surgery shortly thereafter.

MS kept progressing and as Lisa experienced more and more pain, she did less and less art. Eventually she had to give it all up to dedicated all her strength to managing her decease.

In the past couple of years, Lisa was able to find her way to photography. She started taking pictures which ignited her passion for art yet again and now in business of photography. Her business name is Pictures of Whimsy and she loves photographing children.

Today Lisa is a 40 year old woman, who is married with children, and knows too much of a daily struggle with MS. In talking to her, I keep thinking how in spite of her struggle, she remains kind, open minded, brave and full of life. Many local photographers know Lisa and her story, and adore her for her vibrant personality. My two wishes for her are that the cure for MS can be found in Lisa's life time and that Pictures of Whimsy be filled with sounds of children's laughter and shutter clicks.

Visit Lisa's gallery and keep an eye for more images to be added to it.


(Lana Ortiz Photography) lisa frazer shaw ms photography photoshoot pictures of whimsy Thu, 23 May 2013 21:04:16 GMT
"Myles of Smyles" Foundation Fundraiser I've met Myles in 2010, when he and his brother Marcel joined's Hip Hoppers Club to learn and perform "Men in Black" choreography. I had no idea that Myles had been terminally ill. To me he was just a boy, a little off beat, but very enthusiastic about learning and performing.

You can see this wonderful performance here. Marcel is on the right side, Myles is on the left. I often watch this performance admiring Myles' tenacity for life. I've learned more about this little man just before and after his passing, through pictures his mother, Laurel McAdoo, has been posting to document all the wonderful things he's got to do and see largely due to her determination and the kindness of many others who enriched  Myle's short life with amazing experiences.

I can't express how grateful and honored I felt when Laurel asked me to photograph a fundraiser for "Myles of Smyles" foundation on February 10, 2013 at Colonie Country Club in Voorheesville, NY. The plan was to invite 150 people. But no one has considered what an impact Myles has made on anyone who's met him. Close to 350 showed up, and there was shortage of tables, but no one cared. People came to celebrate Myles' life and to raise funds for other kids battling terminal illnesses, which is the purpose of this foundation.

There was another young man who is amidst such a fight. Him and his brothers, and their family, were honored there as well. Another couple was recognized for the efforts to help other children with terminal illness. Their little daughter, one of three girls they have, was diagnosed with terminal cancer on a Thursday, by Tuesday she was gone  Their story and the stories of Myles sent tears down my face, and I wondered how photojournalists cover most disturbing events? So many people donated their time, efforts, money and even furniture! A special "Myles" cupcake was created to delight everyone's taste buds as well as a "Purple Elephant" drink. On that eve, I was happy to have chosen a waterproof mascara although I had still problems focusing through the tears.

Lots of money was raised that night and an icing on a cake is that Bethlehem YMCA will build a playground in Myles' name. Please donate to "Myles of Smyles" foundation.

(Lana Ortiz Photography) children foundation laurel mcadoo myles mcadoo myles of smyles terminal illness Tue, 12 Feb 2013 19:30:59 GMT
Beautiful Little Dancers These two little beauties have been coming to our dance socials with their parents for a few years now. Adriana, their mom, told me that each and every month they are eagerly awaiting our socials. I, on the other hand, absolutely adore them because of their beauty, their great social skills and their interest in dance. In November they brought their adorable twin cousins with them, and I couldn't help myself but approach their family about a photoshoot. Here is where you can visit their gallery and enjoy their images.

The sweet story I want to share with everyone is how these two girls have completely swept me off my feet at one of our events about a year ago...

As always, the girls came in with their mom and dad to dance around 7pm. The mom in me immediately pulled the girls into the kitchen to feed them. They graciously accepted their slices of pizza from me and settled in the kitchen to eat, while I went back to the main dance floor to mingle with adults. After a few minutes I returned into the kitchen to check on the girls, but they were gone. I've noticed they didn't throw away their paper plates on which I served them their pizza. So I picked up the plates and saw that each plate had a word written on it "THANK", "YOU"... 

So, thank you, girls, for being so beautiful inside and out, and thank you, mom and dad, for raising them to be that way.

View their gallery HERE.

(Lana Ortiz Photography) boudoir femininity girls glamour intimate portraits portraiture storytelling women Thu, 29 Nov 2012 20:19:23 GMT
What Inspires You? My good friend, JoDee Kenney, was kind enough to interview me for a blog she launched recently. It was an honor to be featured on her blog and if you have free time, please read through it and follow her on Twitter (@jodeekenney).


(Lana Ortiz Photography) JoDee Kenney blog dance inspiration photography what inspires me Mon, 05 Nov 2012 20:37:22 GMT
St. Agnes Cemetery Photo Contest Winner - 2nd Place!!! I was hoping to win and I did!!! But let me go back to a year ago...

St. Agnes Angel - Lana Ortiz

In June, my husband gave me my first camera for my birthday, and I couldn't figure out how to work it for about a month. Then I needed a quiet place with enough scenery to practice my shooting. St. Agnes cemetery was nearby and off I went to practice different techniques. While there I saw a flyer advertising their photo contest and in July 2011 I've submitted my entry, eager like any beginner. The judging wasn't till October, but I just couldn't wait, because I gave them my best photo yet!

By September 2011, I cursed myself for rushing because I got better and the photo I've submitted looked like a joke to me. Needless to say, I didn't win anything. But I went to the announcement and looked at other peoples submissions - some were absolutely breathtaking.

Either way, I had another year to look forward to. And although I fell in love with the neighboring Albany Rural cemetery, I went back to St. Agnes every month to look for a potential shot. During those times I found my favorite angel statue but had very weak ideas on how to present it the best, until one day I knew exactly how I wanted that photo to look. 

I went to the cemetery, found my angel, got out of the car, took 3 shots and was done. I processed it and loved it! My good friend and mentor Paul looked it over, approved and with his blessing I've submitted my entry for St. Agnes Cemetery's 2012 Contest.  

So today, I was happy to hear my name called as the recipient of the second place and $300 prize. Did I wish I took first place? Of course, but I am happy to have improved this much. 

As I was leaving, the director of the cemetery called my name, wishing to ask me something. She told me that although the judging panel awarded first place to another person, whose picture gets to be used in publications and promotional materials for the cemetery, her favorite photo was mine. She then asked if I'd be willing to allow the cemetery to use my photo for their promotional needs regardless of my second placement which will help me promote my photography business.

Nothing but good things. Thank you to all of my supporters (my family and friends), my mentors and critics, and my former and future clients!





(Lana Ortiz Photography) Lana Ortiz albany diocese cemeteries angel contest photo st. agnes cemetery winner Wed, 17 Oct 2012 23:08:46 GMT