Backyard Wedding in Rhode Island

Backyard Wedding in Rhode Island

Earlier this month, I was down in Rhode Island photographing this lovely backyard wedding. As they have a child of their own, it was important to the bride and groom that their son, and the other children in attendance, felt comfortable and had a setting in which to have fun.

As he was recessing down the aisle, their son looked at me and yelled as he passed by “ No more walking. It’s time to run!”  It was a sentiment that he meant quite literally, but it works on another level as well.  This milestone and public commitment is not ambling, it’s not longer sitting still.

Over the years, I've seen many great ideas for keeping kids happy at weddings, and this party had the best ones.  It was in the daytime - so everyone was awake and lively.  They had activity stations complete with coloring books, pipe cleaners, disposable cameras, bubbles, and games. 

Making a dance set  that is family friendly - a time for music that kids want to dance to, which usually means a lot of Happy,  Trolls soundtrack too and in this case their son's favorite Big Band.  Music that makes everyone get up on the dance floor and is a crowd pleaser creates a special time and place in the wedding for all generations to participate and enjoy themselves.  

When they decided to get married, and have a low key back yard affair, the bride's sister stepped in to organize an elegant gathering.  The ceremony was held out on the lawn, the cocktail hour organically sprawled out in the garden and the clam bake and dancing was in the tent. 

Engagement Portraits at Settler's Crossing

Engagement Portraits at Settler's Crossing

As they currently live in California, we met for the first time to do an mini engagement shoot and a venue walk through.  They had mentioned how much they loved physical activity (biking, hiking, camping and exploring new places) so finding spots in the golf course setting seemed appropriate for these adventurers.  We were handed a gorgeous day and while he were a bit early for magic hour, the light was lovely and the grounds were ideal. 

Prints Are Forever

Prints Are Forever

Why You Should Print Your Photos

Recently catching up on Amazon’s Catastrophe a small and brilliant scene in the penultimate episode where sibling rivalry comes to an ugly head.  Sharon looks around her parents house and only sees framed images of her brother and his children - none of her family and her children.  She sees this a favoritism.  In face, as her brother points out, he sends the grandparents framed prints.  They don’t know what to do with jpeg attachments.  This is pretty accurate.  If you send someone a framed print, chances are they will put it somewhere they can enjoy it - and think of you.  If you send them a digital file - they may pull it up to show a friend over coffee but they are unlikely to print and frame it.

My heart breaks when I hear that people want “just” the digitals. It’s the images that have value.  And they are worth printing.

Objects Have Aura

Our home has it’s own stashes of historic objects - historic to our lives. I am sure that your belongings include objects that speak to your life and hold memories for you.  

As a photographer I create visual histories.  As objects, photographs help you understand and know who you are and where you came from. Prints are a way to talk about family, relationships and memories that is away from screen time.  

They inherently hold a personal understanding and connect you to your place in history.  Physical objects are full of aura.  Holding them in your hands has emotional impact.  Printed photographs impart a connection to your history. An important and tangible connection.  We use our family photographs to reflect on and to understand ourselves.

Digital Obsolescence

Tech is rapidly created and just as rapidly cast aside as the newer, better and faster option comes along.  Sure, your images might be in an instagram feed or buried in a facebook album - but in all the noise that we create and share daily - the best images and the ones that you want to continue to interact with, can easily get lost.  

nursery wall portrait over crib boston family photographer allana taranto

Don’t Print Everything  

You’ll be too overwhelmed. Curate the best.  Part of the editing process in our work as professional photographers iis culling the best from all the images we capture.  This process is worthwhile, and I recommend you do it with your family photographs - even if they are taken with your camera phone.  Choose the images you love the best, the ones that make you smile or cry or your heart swell.  Those are the ones to hold on to and to treasure Those are the ones you should print.

One of my new favorite midnight blogs to read is Chris Loves Julia.  They shared an elegant solution for creating a gallery of family photos that is kid friendly (safe and fingerprint resistant) and easily changed out as your family grows and changes.

You can DIY a wall like this up yourself - There’s a Home Depot post about it here

Both mention etsy shop Highland Hardware.  I’m tempted to add this project to the ever expanding list of things for which I will likely never have time.  But I do have the prints!  

How many pictures of your life and your family do you have?  How many are on a wall or on a shelf that you can interact with daily?  How does that help you connect to them? 

Family Maternity Portraits at Castle Island in South Boston

Family Maternity Portraits at Castle Island in South Boston

Boston is a city with so many wonderful locations to explore and use as a backdrop for a fun family adventure portrait session.  This family suggested we meet at Castle Island in South Boston.  It was the first time their son has been there - and he was so excited to explore.  For children who love trains, planes and boats - it’s a dream come true.  

Adventure (outdoor) family portrait sessions are a beautiful way to capture family living in the city.  Kids have a chance to run around and explore. Your portraits have a sense of place of our historic city.  We also do playdate (indoor) family portrait sessions.  These are a good option for unpleasant weather, children who can’t yet walk or homebodies.  

Let me tell your family’s story.  Ars Magna means Great Art - and your stories, big and small, are indeed great.  Now is the time to get a family session scheduled for late summer or early fall. To learn more about adventure and playdate session options and to book a session, contact me here or by calling 617-942-1449!

Eloping at Boston City Hall

Eloping at Boston City Hall

Boston City Hall is a building about which people have strong opinions.  This couple was into the concrete.  And into the geometric interiors.  So we spend a few minutes shooting inside City Hall before heading up to the City Clerk's office. 

Parenthood: 90 Days

boston family portrait photographer

90 Days of Parenthood

play group new moms north end

Nardito and I have just returned from a few days traveling solo, without the engineer. Wow.  What a difference it makes to have a second parent around! We were staying with friends, none of whom have children.  I realized how different my life rhythms are 90 days later.  We survived our 48 hours away and happily cozied up at home together as a family again.


In a section in the end of happiest baby on the block, the author notes that we live in a time people are raising children in nuclear families.  And I am so grateful that James and I are not in fact doing this. We have a several spheres of loving support. 

three month old pajamas bed

 Our families have been tremendously helpful. Our neighbors at Midway (including the other new parents) have been amazing. And the moms group that I've joined have also been wonderful. (I'm the kind of person that's reluctant to do something like join a new mothers group. But I'm so glad that I did.)

Special shout out to one of my best friends since high school, Margot, who forged this Motherhood and business woman path ahead of me. She has been not only giving us material items, but also sharing wisdom and making sure that we take the time to reflect on and enjoy parenting.  


documentary family photography newborns in car

Our baby book has lots of blank space for writing.  I haven’t filled out much of it yet.  I would have excessed that chore, though the legacy of both my and the engineer’s lengthy baby books keeps the guilt on that front going.  But I have been taking an absurd amount of pictures.  An astute reader will have noticed the distinct shift in my instagram feed.  So far he’s been to Maine and Rhode Island and the Berkshires.  He’s taken adventures into the North End and Brookline.  He’s been to Chinatown.  Erupted in his first fit of giggles. Endured bath time without tears.  And received a blessing from the priest at the new Shrine of Our Lady of Good Voyage.

Challenges & Solutions

changing table family photojournalism

Balance has not been attained, but the idea of it seems like less than a mirage week by week.

These things are what we have worked on together: 

Learning to nurse in bed and Nardito’s growing head control were game changers for me.  Learning his cues, particularly for sleep, was key.  

Figuring out what to wear for easy breastfeeding access that wasn’t looking like pajamas. After spending much of the winter in layers of leggings and dark colors I was ready to slip back into my spring clothes.  They fit, mostly.  Though many of them weren’t quite suitable to feeding the baby and absorbing spit up.   

Finding time to exercise.  Once my baseline strength came back, I wanted to be moving and getting back to the yoga studio.  Having trouble finding the time.  The downtime I get is filled up with my own basic needs (shower anyone?) and my work.  I’ve been fitting little bits in here and there.  And when I can find an uninterrupted stretch of time I pull out the yoga mat and put on Yoga with Adriene.

More in Love Every Day

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This selfie pretty much sums it up! 



Wedding planning guides, and wedding planning websites, suggest some standard questions.  They usually come up naturally in conversation and they do get asked during initial meetings.  

Comparing Wedding Photographers

The primary three things when you are looking for a wedding photographer:

Portfolio (Do you love the way this photographer sees?)

Price (Is the price point something you are comfortable with?)

Personality (Will you and do you get along with this person?)

Every has their own way to doing business that is right for them. Hourly coverage, packages or collections, unlimited hours. Our pricing is based on what works for our individual businesses.  So it can make it a challenge to compare.

The Big Questions

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faneuil hall wedding photos boston

What follows are a list of the big questions that we, as wedding photographers, regularly get.  You may desperately want to know there answers. You may not have thought about some of them at all.  When you talk with wedding photographers their answers to these questions should help you feel like you are working with a professional wedding photographer.  

Do you have backup wedding photographers who will shoot the wedding if you're sick?

Will there be a second shooter or any assistants? Is there an additional fee for these?

Have you ever shot at my wedding venue(s) before? I understand it’s comforting to have a photographer know your venue and it’s quirks and magical spots.  Even if it’s the same physical location every wedding is different, and the days unfold in their own ways.

Will the wedding photos be exposure corrected and color balanced?

What gets retouched?

What is the deposit and total fee if we want to book you as our wedding photographer?

When do we get to see the wedding pictures?! 

How many weddings have you photographed, and how many do you do in a year?

Is wedding photography your main business? What percentage of your work is composed of weddings?

How many images do we get of our wedding?

When do we get to see the wedding pictures?! 

Do you shoot both digital and film?

How do you process the images?

What are the restrictions for sharing photos online or for publication?

Do you own the copyright to the wedding photos?

When do we get to see the wedding pictures?!

And The Big (usually unasked) Question

Why is it so expensive? 

wedding photographer danvers glen magna

Cameras, lenses, lighting, back up gear, insurance (business and health), studio rent, self employment tax, software licensing, advertising, equipment repair - it all adds up to a lot for a full time photographer.  

Photography is a luxury.  You don't need a wedding photographer any more than you need a wedding dress or a bouquet or a diamond to get married. 

Questions Your Wedding Photographer Wants To Ask You

Are you already thinking wedding day logistics and lighting? Might you be planning the wedding ceremony for sunset?  

Will you want family portraits done before or after the wedding ceremony? Inside or outside?

Are you open to talking through the timeline of the wedding day so your photographer can capture what you want?

How will you and your partner be if your wedding doesn’t unfold exactly the way you imagine it should? Spoiler: it likely won’t.

Will you trust us to capture the magic and moments are we see them? 

If you send us a wedding photography pinterest board, will you want us to replicate other people’s images or are you using pinterest as a tool for research and learn what style of photography you like? 

How do you want to display your wedding pictures?  Will they languish forever on a USB drive or in a facebook album?  Will you post some to Instagram?  Will you want to share prints with your family for the holidays?  Are you interested in getting an album?

What are you most excited about on the wedding day? The dance party? The ceremony? Seeing family? Eating? Pictures? What are the most important parts for you?  

I’m Boston wedding photographer Allana Taranto of Ars Magna Studio. I love photographing wedding in downtown Boston, and throughout New England. My wedding photography is beautiful and honest that celebrates your love story. 

Great Lives deserve Great Art. 

boston wedding photographer allana

Planning a wedding in downtown Boston?

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