Friday 21 April
By Kristin Kozelsky
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Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL


Jessica was the lucky winner of a drawing through Facebook that gifted her with a beauty day and photo shoot.  She started at Pure Aesthetics for a Cool Lifting facial treatment by Carissa Miller and then went over to Sarah's Hair Studio for hair styling by Sarah Allen and professional makeup by Kara Winslow.  All dolled up and looking gorgeous, we were ready for her shoot!


Jessica is a single working mom of two little boys who has always wanted to feel like a beautiful model, but have never taken the time to seek out a photo shoot with a professional so it was a pleasure to give her this experience!


We took some photos outside of Sarah's Hair Studio in Haile and around the village center, then moved on to Fresco Pizza & Pasta. We poked our head in to see if they'd allow us to take photos inside and they even provided us a glass of wine!  Jessica's parents are regulars and love the restaurant, so it was a perfect stop for us.


You might know Jessica from Schneider Insurance, a family owned business here in Gainesville.



Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL


Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL


Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL


Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL


Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL


Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL


Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL


Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL


Find Portraits of Moms in My Real Women Series



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Friday 31 March
By Kristin Kozelsky
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One of my favorite memories was one Thanksgiving when my mother and I sat down together to look through old family photos. We held photographs of my mother and father's grandparents and great aunts and uncles on their wedding days. We admired an old sepia portrait of my great-grandmother when she was a beautiful young woman close to the turn of the century.


When people waver between having photographs professionally printed or only having digitals, I think back to this memory and how grateful we are to have tangible photographic evidence of our beloved family members, and how special it was for me to sit with my mother and look through the photographs together. That’s what portraiture is all about - documenting a moment in time. Digitals may seem like a good idea now, but instead I encourage you to consider how you would like your photographs to be viewed 10, 20, or 50 years from now.


Imagine you’re in your 90s, readying yourself to exit a life full of fantastic memories. An elderly parent who is able to leave their loved ones with photographs of their life becomes such a powerful thing. Giving the gift of an heirloom is precious, but giving the gift of a photographic heirloom can become priceless.


I only imagine what memories are lost through a person’s lifetime. Having that evidence that yes, grandma was once a vivacious, beautiful 30-year-old, and allowing great-grandchildren to hold that evidence is undeniably tear-worthy. 


This is why beauty portraits and boudoir shoots with women are so meaningful to me. I want you to share a moment with your own children one day, to look back and say 'Wow, she was gorgeous.'

I chose to do my first boudoir shoot with a bride-to-be in 2013. She wanted to give her husband a wedding present he wouldn’t forget. We rented a room at Magnolia Plantation Bed & Breakfast in Gainesville, excited about the tasteful, yet romantic photos to come.


She had the typical nervousness of a new boudoir clients and I’ll admit that I was, too, nervous for my very first boudoir shoot. But after a few minutes, we both started to loosen up a little bit. It became really fun once we were comfortable with each other - giggling away at how silly it all felt, forgetting about the end result and just having fun.

My favorite part about beauty and boudoir photoshoots is seeing the client’s face once they’re done. When a woman’s face lights up and says Is that me?, that’s when I know I’ve done a great job. Some clients just don’t know how beautiful they are, or that they can be that “kind” of beautiful. It's also important to note that very little editing goes into the photos! I'm not sitting back, letting Photoshop do all the work. It's all about flattering poses to bring out the unique beauty every woman possesses.


There’s this photographer named Jen Rozenbaum that I really admire. She focuses solely on boudoir photography and she’s got this campaign called #ShamelesslyFeminine. Showing women that they can be feminine without necessarily being “girly” is extraordinary for women who want to feel beautiful but don’t have an affinity towards pink.

Sue Brice is the reason I got into beauty photography. An inspiring campaign she created is #ExistInPhotos. Many times women and moms are so busy taking care of others that they forget to make themselves included in photos. Sometimes women think that now isn’t the time to take boudoir photos. They’ll wait until the baby weight is gone, or until they get a facial, or whatever they think needs to be “fixed” before they go in for a shoot. What I want every woman to know is that those things are not necessary! It’s my job to make you look and feel beautiful. I’m trained in using the best possible poses to make you look fabulous, no matter what size you are.

What inspired me to do boudoir photos? Knowing that someday, even after you’re gone, your beauty will still be blowing people away.

Friday 17 June
By Kristin Kozelsky
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You've decided that you're ready to get some professional photos done so to represent yourself and your business. If you want to look your best, then it is important to prepare for your session.




Here are a few key things to keep in mind when deciding on what to wear for your session:


  • Firstly, how formally should you dress? Obviously, this varies with your profession. To start, what do you normally wear for your job on a day-to-day basis, particularly when meeting with clients? I’d start there and then maybe go a half step more formal.


  • Secondly, think about how you want your photos to feel when someone looks at them and what is best for your profession. Is it your goal to come across as trustworthy, established, and very high end? A suit might be the best option in that case. Would you like someone to see you as approachable, friendly and knowledgeable? A nice button-down shirt with rolled up sleeves for men or a pretty blouse and necklace for women might be right choice in that case.  If you are going to wear company polos or button downs for group photos, ensure that everyone on the team has a shirt in the correct size and color prior to the shoot date and specify what to wear on the bottom half as well.


  • Next, think about colors. If you know you would like to use your photographs on your website or business cards, what colors are in the branding? Be sure that the colors you choose complement the brand colors. For professional head shots, I recommend that you wear solid colors with little to no patterns. One more note about colors - bright red and bright hot pink can be difficult for digital cameras to translate in certain lighting conditions, so avoid solid pieces in those colors if possible. It is no problem if the colors are muted, textured, or a secondary color in the piece.


  • If you are thinking of changing your look during the session, I would suggest using layers and accessories to easily get that effect. It is easy to dress up or dress down an outfit with a blazer or suit jacket, a neck scarf, adding or removing a tie, jewelry changes, rolling sleeves up or down, etc.


  • Also, while loose, boxy clothing may seem like the best way to hide a waistline that you might be self-conscious about, large, boxy shirts or jackets tend to make people look bigger in photos than they really are.  For both men and women, I recommend something slightly fitted over something very loose.


  • Regarding grooming, take a quick look in the mirror and check to see whether your hair or beard (or ears or nose?) needs a trim. If you color your hair, check to see whether the roots need to be touched up. If possible, set your hair appointment for one week before the shoot.


Lastly, ladies - a few things:

  • I do recommend professional hair and makeup and can refer you to some excellent folks if you need some guidance


  • Avoid strong lip colors - while they can be a lot of fun to wear, they can be very distracting in the photo (the most important thing in the photo should be your eyes!) and is is sometimes difficult to find a strong lip color that complements your skin tone, the color of your teeth, and the color of your gums - something a bit more soft and neutral is usually a safer bet


  • If you are self-conscious about your arms, consider wearing long or three-quarter length sleeves instead of sleeveless or short-sleeved tops or dresses.


Please feel free to let me know about any of your concerns ahead of time so that I can help you look and feel your best in your photos. As always, if you have any questions, please reach out!


 Are you looking for advice on what to wear for a couple's session? Check out this post!


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Monday 01 February
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Where to even start?  I love these two.  Amanda and Dave reached out to me to help them create some photos to celebrate their anniversary.  One of the many things I love about them is that they actively choose to work on their relationship and to be better people for each other.  The thing is - they are already incredibly sweet and thoughtful!  It was an absolute honor to work with them and I can't wait to deliver their artwork this week!  I know they're going to love it. :)


Friday 24 July
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A song written by a mentor of mine for a mother who suddenly lost her young adult son.  Feel free to hit play and listen to it as you read the post.




Today Gainesville mourned the lost of one of its own.  Josh Greenberg was one of the best, one of the brightest, one of the most loving, one of the most curious, one of the great leaders, one of the great listeners, one of the legends.  A 28 year old legend.


He unexpectedly passed away last weekend.  Right now the cause of death is still unknown.  So far foul play, suicide, and drugs have all been ruled out.  It's a mystery.  He had posted a nothing inparticular post on Facebook at 8:30, and he was found at 9pm.  His girlfriend said that when she found him, he looked like he was sleeping.  How could this happen to a seemingly healthy young guy?  It's moments like this when you just throw your hands up in disbelief and say 'it's just so crazy' over and over again.  All week Gainesville has been saying 'It's just unreal... how could this happen to our Josh?'  I'd only met him in passing maybe once or twice, but I quickly understood his impact on the community as news spread on Monday morning of his passing.  People from all different areas of my life were talking about it and totally shocked.  We still are.


Hundreds came out to celebrate his life today.  People flew in from all over the country.  Seats in every row of the Phillips Center at the University of Florida were taken to honor the co-founder of Grooveshark, MaidSuite, and who knows how many other companies.  For three years in a row, he was on Forbes' "30 under 30" list for people in the music industry.  He has so many awards and recognitions that it's impossible to recall them all.  Today the Chamber, the City, and the Cade Museum all announced special memorials and dedications for Josh.  


We were reminded today that matter turns to energy and energy to matter and the ongoing cycle never ends, so instead of being gone, his energy has become part of us.  He was into science and engineering, you know, so this was perfect.  We were reminded today that few achieve in a full lifetime what he achieved in a decade.  We were reminded today of the huge impact he's had on our community.  We were reminded today that he lived in the way we all know we *should* live, but never manage to do.  He was an instant friend with a warm, genuine smile and the best listener around.  He always made time for others and always chose to be happy, whether he was at the peak of his career or in the pits of it and being sued for billions.  He meditated.  He loved openly.  He was a mentor.  He gave back to the community.  He was humble.  We were reminded today to go out and actually live like we should live, like Josh actually did.


It seems that over and over again life throws this message our way and we sieze it and promise that we'll be better about it, but we manage let that enthusiasm slip away.  

One of the first times I was truly struck by someone who actually lived in the manner that we all intend to was another celebration of life ceremony that I photographed about two years ago.  What I learned about forgiveness, loving those around you openly, and choosing happiness had such an impact on me.  I admit that I made all kinds of promises to myself and then over time they passed into memory and, again, I let them slip away.

The most recent time I was reminded of the delicate nature of life was just a few months ago.  My boyfriend at the time and I had a puppy (well, he had a puppy and shared her with me).  She was five months old and seemingly healthy.  Her siblings had gone off to organizations like the Secret Service and FBI.  She was incredibly smart and we liked to think she was one in a million.  The Wonderdog.  We each took her to work, took her to meetings all over town, walked her for miles each day, spent hours training her, and so many people met her along the way.  One afternoon shesuddenly showed signs that she wasn't feeling well. 90 minutes later we were saying goodbye.  This young dog had helped us to love and helped us work together.  She forced us to communicate better and set us to a single goal of raising her and training her into the best possible dog she could be.  We had big plans for this little girl.  Then one day in less than an hour and a half, she was gone.  Again I was reminded of the fragility of life.  And again I made all kinds of promises to myself, and again over time I have let some of them slip away.

The shock at losing this puppy was unreal for us and is the closest thing that either one of us could equate with losing a child.  That said, it's obviously a world away from having to lay your child to rest, but what we learned was that the feeling of losing someone young with so much potential is much different from losing a loved one (human or otherwise) that is elderly and has lived a full life or that has suffered from a disease for a long time and the passing is expected.  A sudden loss like that forces you to see that biology is fragile.  All the plans, hopes, goals, and dreams can be gone in an instant because of a simple mechanical mishap in the body that no one has any control over.  In a moment, what you cling to is gone and the map in front of you is dust.  You are lost.  It seems unfair.  How do you find yourself?  How do you draw a new map?  


To let go of those plans, hopes, goals, and dreams is SO hard.  I cannot begin to imagine what Josh's family, close friends, business partners and girlfriend must be feeling.  There is just no way to wrap my mind around it.  There is no way for me to understand how on earth they are getting through each day without him beside them.  His potential was so huge, he was so kind, and he was just so young.  It was such a surprise.  I simply can't imagine.  There are no words to describe what they must be experiencing right now, and will continue to experience as they go on without him.

Over and over again today, we were encouraged to be his legacy.  Continue to build the community he was on the path to building, and choose to live life knowing that it is fragile.  Opt for joy.  Live with an open heart.  Make time.  Meditate.  Pay it forward.  Be who you have the potential to be, but stay humble.

As we as a community attempt to draw a new map and find a way to continue blazing the path he started, let us not lose our enthusiasm.  How many times must we suffer a tragedy to be reminded that life is a fragile gift before we finally start LIVING it like we know we should?  Do it now.  Hold on tight and don't let go of the moment you DECIDED to really live.  Keep that close to your chest and run with it.


Sam Tarantino - Co-founder of Grooveshark with Josh



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