Halloween was a little over two weeks ago, but it’s never too late to share the amazing portraits of the kiddos who came out for our “Trick or Treat to Benefit Mobile School Pantry” event at Courtney Studios. I am overwhelmed by the participation and support of so many friends in the community. With your support, we raised enough money to provide a complete Thanksgiving dinner to 10 families in Hollywood. Together we definitely can make a difference to children in South Florida and say “NO” to hunger.
If you know me even a little bit, you know how much I love Matilda Jane Clothing for girls. If Anthro had a baby, it would be Matilda Jane. I am excited to host a trunk show here at the studio this Thursday from 11-1. The styles are adorable and timeless (and completely age appropriate if you catch my drift), perfect for back to school. We’re also collecting lunchboxes full of lunchbox snacks to benefit Mobile School Pantry. I can’t sing their praises enough. Mobile School Pantry brings food to families in need to the school for distribution rather than having families go to a food bank or soup kitchen. Take a minute and check out their website. And then stop by the studio on Thursday to drop off your lunchbox full of lunchbox snacks.
And because I can’t post without a picture…..how’s this for cuteness overload?
We are so excited to be a part of the “Complete Wedding Package” the ultimate prize up for Auction at the The Gay & Lesbian Lawyers Network’s 4th annual GALA at Ocean Manor Hotel
(4040 Galt Ocean Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308) on Sunday, April 12, 2015.
This year’s GALA features a live auction of a complete Wedding Package. Tom Dowd, from Water Mill Flowers, assembled the package with local businesses. The Riverside Hotel are providing the venue. The amazing wedding package will be auctioned and is valued at just over $21,000; it includes a venue with sit down brunch for up to 75 people (value of $110 per person), flowers, photography, videography, chocolates, spa package, invitations, complete liquor for 75 people, wedding cake, Hair and Make-up, event planning, DJ, and Lipotronic sessions. GLLN invites everyone to purchase a ticket at www.GLLN.org and help support the LGBT Youth in Broward.
“i EXTRA love you” is a photography collaboration between the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization and myself. The project evolved really organically. Daniela Roeder, a good friend and very involved in the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization because her brother, 15, has down syndrome, has been discussing this project with me for months and we finally went forward with it. On Saturday, 30 kids ages 8 mos-24 years came through the studio for a quick portrait sitting. The focus is what makes each kid so “extra”, referencing the extra chromosome associated with Down Syndrome. It was really amazing. “i EXTRA love you” premiers on World Down Syndrome Day, Saturday, March 21 at Gallery 2014 (2014 Harrison St) in downtown Hollywood.
Portraits from the shoot won’t be revealed until then, but here are some great #bts (behind the scenes) images from that day taken by Daniela with her trusty iphone.
For more information on the project please “Like” the facebook page.
This weekend marked the First Annual Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch at Peacock Park in Miami. Together with the The Salvage Snob, a fabulous design company that was “born from the idea of designing with what you have, what once belonged to someone you love, and finding new homes for previously-owned things”, I photographed 88 families in a vintage inspired vignette designed by “the snobs” all for the Children’s Home Society of Miami. We raised $1000 which the Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch matched dollar for dollar making for a total of $2,000.
Here’s the very first family that I photographed on Saturday. Gorgeous family, gorgeous setting all for an amazing cause.
I’ve been shooting for the Heart Gallery of Broward County for 5 years. During this time, I’ve had the privilege to meet amazing people and attend a number of amazing events. Although nothing has been as amazing as my last shoot for the Heart Gallery of Broward at Taylor’s Closet. Taylor’s Closet is a clothing boutique that rivals that of Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, however the beautiful clothing in this store is for young girls in need and is completely 100% free. I know that my description of Taylor’s Closet just doesn’t do it justice. Take the time and check out their website. You will be blown away by what the women over there are doing for teenage girls. In fact, Taylor’s Closet was started by Lindsey Giambattista when she was 14 years old. Now in college, Lindsey is a finalist in Seventeen Magazine’s “Pretty Amazing Contest.” The way Taylor’s Closet touches the lives of girls goes way beyond “Pretty Amazing.”
Meet Malayzia. Malayzia celebrated her sweet 16 at Taylor’s Closet with a shopping spree (at no cost) and a complete makeover. Malayzia is available for adoption. I photograph children all the time. It’s MY JOB. And let me tell you, Malayzia has “it”. She’s beautiful, sweet, kind, and fabulously photogenic. In fact, she truly could model. But what would mean more to her than a modeling contract, is a family.
Yesterday was a momentous day for the Heart Gallery of Broward. They celebrated their 100 and 101st adoptions. The Heart Gallery is photography exhibit of children that are available for adoption. All portraits are taken by volunteer professional photographers. I’ve had the honor and privilege of being a photographer for the Heart Gallery of Broward for the past 4 years, and this year I sit on the board of directors for the Florida Association of Heart Galleries. Every child that is available for adoption in the state of Florida has a picture in a database online for prospective adoptive parents. For most children, this picture is taken by a social worker with a cell phone. Children that are photographed for the Heart Gallery have their professional portrait in the database rather than a government issued cell phone picture. I don’t have to tell you the difference between the quality of an image taken by a cell phone and an image taken by a professional photographer. The difference is profound. As much as are taught not to judge a book by it’s cover, we also know that first impressions are everything. And for many prospective adoptive parents, its the initial photograph of the child that is the main attraction. The entire existence of the Heart Gallery is based on the power of photography. A picture says a thousand words, and for parents who first see their future child in the Heart Gallery I can’t even begin to imagine what that portrait says to them. There are Heart Galleries all across the United States. Each Heart Gallery is independent yet all with the same goal – To find forever families for children. Out of all the organizations and charitable groups to get involved in, what is more important that finding homes for children??!! I urge every photographer to explore their local Heart Gallery and get involved. It takes so little of your time, and yet can make such a profound difference in the life of a child. I’ve been fortunate to have four children that I’ve photographed for the Heart Gallery be adopted. One of which I attended and photographed the adoption proceedings. Besides giving birth to my own children, it was one of the most emotional and happiest days of my life. You can see images from that amazing day here.
This next family really speaks to my heart. These parents have been champions in the fight for same sex couples to have the right to adopt. Love is love, and this family is bursting with it.
I am so excited that for the second year in a row I had the opportunity to walk in the annual Buddy Walk sponsored by the National Down Syndrome Society and the Broward Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization. This year I attended as the event’s official photographer. The Buddy Walk took place at the end of October on Hollywood Beach. It’s an overwhelming experience to be surrounded by families celebrating their children and the love they have for each other.
For more information on Down Syndrome and how you can get involved in the next Buddy Walk click here!!!
“Her work is distinct and holds a special place in our home.”- Marcy Hirsch -
“Courtney's photographs had a huge impact on NCLR and helped us raise over $1 million in December 2014. Her work is beautiful and engaging and shows the central goal of the fight for marriage equality -love."”- Ace Portis, Major Gifts Officer, NCLR -
“Courtney truly captured the uniqueness of our family and created beautiful, original works of art that we will treasure always.”- Darlene Giol -