Category Archives: Personal Projects

Live the Fourth – Nyack Photographer

When I was in high school, we were able to participate in a senior class retreat called Kairos. It was a four-day retreat that culminated in the students’ return to their families amidst applause and newfound self-awareness. And, within the bucolic and idyllic confines of that four-day retreat, kids (hopefully) came to know what it is to “Live the Fourth”

We have all endured the small hurts of everyday life…the avoidance, the exclusion, the forget. But the point to living the fourth is not to ignore them but to instead acknowledge them and try to do better…if not for ourselves, then for our kids.

As I sit here, on July 3rd, the irony is not lost on me that the most important 4th day of any month of the year will occur tomorrow. And, I’m harkened back to what it means to “Live the Fourth.

In essence, we be our best selves…we remember the lessons we’ve been taught. We take them to heart. We do our best to appreciate the small moments of the normal everyday…and we say “thank you.” That thank you feels so enormously big on a day like July 4th. It is, unarguably, my favorite holiday of the year. It always has been. I love the pomp and circumstance…the small town parades…the family togetherness…the remembrance…the tradition…I. Love. It. All.

But, what I don’t love, is the divisiveness that pervades our current social climate. The emotional rigor of my Kairos retreat, albeit so many years ago, taught me to value differences and differing opinions. It taught me to appreciate the unimaginable ways we can each positively impact each other’s lives. It taught me to slow down and think before I speak (or type)…It taught me to live the fourth. To try to think about each day as if it were my last. To ensure that each of my friends and family knows how important he or she is to me.  To be truthful, there are days that I am far more successful with this than others.

But, when a friend from elementary school takes time out of her busy travel schedule to visit me and my family, from 2,000 miles away? It’s a reminder to live the fourth. When my sister calls me to say “Hey, pal” after not having talked for a week, it’s a reminder to live the fourth. When a friend from high school, calls to say she was thinking about me and had a few minutes to talk on her long LA commute home, it’s a reminder to live the fourth.

It’s a reminder to be a better version of myself. To uphold the ideals I espouse to my kids…to be honest, to be kind, to be persistent, to be available.

So, America, let’s live this Fourth…let’s make this next year of our country’s birth a better one than it saw before. Let’s find a way to listen…to understand…to be tolerant and accepting…to be strong and steadfast. Because, we can. If there ever was a country on a continent, on a planet, in a galaxy, in a universe that could do it; it is us. Let’s use our voices to champion our strengths…use our voices to uplift our weaknesses. We are certainly not without our faults, but we are nothing if not dogged in our persistence.

Happy birthday, America! Live this fourth!

 

Honest & Natural Nyack Photographer

Gina specializes in natural & emotive storytelling images. Emphasizing play and togetherness to help tell each family’s story, she is able to create an energetic and fun-filled session atmosphere. Visit the Session Info Page for more details.

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8 Will Be Great – Candid New York Family Photographer

It’s been a year – 365 wakeups since I last sat to write this letter. 365 goodnight hugs and kisses and wishes for dreams. 365 days to watch the two of you form a partnership marked by mischief, laughter, loyalty, and fun.

When you have a sibling, they say you have a built-in friend. What they don’t say is that you have someone who will forever challenge and champion you simultaneously. This past year, you two have learned the power of compromise and the importance of compassion. 7 challenged each of you in unexpected ways, and brought you together in a (mostly) united front. You have learned to lean on each other when things seemed hard. And, you have learned to share your ideas and appreciate creativity even when it is not your own. 

While you are still very much your own independent little people, the two of you have become…well..You. You have fostered a resiliency and perseverance and confidence in your relationship with each other that has made your dad and I so proud.

Wyatt, think about how much you have learned. You have always been outgoing and strong, the one who keeps us laughing at even the most inappropriate times. But, to watch you become more confident in your own abilities…to sluff off the not so nice things that kids sometimes say a bit more easily. To really know that you are capable. That has been the most wonderful thing to witness this year. There is just so much happiness and joy that spills out of you. There hasn’t been a day when you’ve failed to make us smile.  

This year, you have helped your sister to laugh a little more freely. 

You have realized the power of your words.

And, you have let your adventurous spirit take root.

Molly, while this past year presented some hurdles, you haven’t given up. “Can’t” just isn’t a part of your vocabulary. You have braved some tough social stuff, sometimes alone, but always with honesty. Your willingness to listen and your openness to new ideas is something us grownups could learn from. To watch you become more confident in your strength and to realize your value as a friend were the best parts of seven. You have a tenacity for life that is limitless. 

This year, you have helped your brother to feel more confident in what he knows. 

You have found comfort and joy in the power of music. 

You have braved the world, my girl. 

So, this marks the beginning of your eighth year, my Twinkles. 8 sounds so big, but you’re still so small. Watching you both grow into your own has been the absolute privilege of my life. My wish for you during this next dance around the sun is that you never lose your sense of wonder….that you find comfort in your creativity, inspiration in your adventures, and the freedom to be yourselves. 

You are more loved than you will ever know. Happy birthday to my big kids. Mama & Daddy love you so. 

 

 

Joyful & Candid New York Family Photographer

Gina specializes in modern & emotive family imagery. By focusing on the relationships of parents and their children, she is able to go beyond the standard pose and capture the true emotion of her clients’ relationships. Visit the Session Info Page for more details

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The 7th Year – Candid New York Family Photographer

You are 7. The time has passed so quickly and slowly all at once. You have tumbled and twirled your ways thru life with an enthusiasm that is at turns hilarious and exhausting. You have shown more kindness in your brief years of awareness than most adults I know. I am proud to have shared even a small part in your worlds.

Molly, my independent thinker. You are curious and kind. You are fiercely loyal and bold in your attempts at living. You are a watcher. Nothing gets past you. Dad and I have even resorted to speaking Spanish to try and keep a few things secret 😉

You have a stubborn streak a mile wide, but it will serve you well in life. You know when it’s important to stick to your guns and I’m so proud of that. But, you have also learned when to bend. That has been a hard, and sometimes frustrating, lesson for you this year. But, you know the importance of understanding others and valuing their opinions as you do your own.

You are a shrewd judge of character and can spot a disingenuous person a mile away…and you promptly steer clear. Your love of dirt and gardening and all things bug-related has had me both wildly excited (I really love our afternoons gardening together) and secretly grossed out. If you bring one more nightcrawler into this house, my little buttercup, this mommy just might have a heart attack 😉 I’m glad you’ve found a way to rehome your slimy not-so-little friends…Outside buckets are perfect for dirt and worms.

This year, you have lived your life in song. You sing any where, any time, any day. Your voice is beautiful. I hope you never stop singing or using that wonderful voice of yours to help people. You are a wonder, my Molly Joy. I am in awe of your steadfast spirit. I hope #7 brings an abundance of Joy to you, because you have brought an ocean full of it to your dad and me.

Wyatt, my soft-hearted wild man. You are a firecracker, with your dad’s sense of humor. You really do have the very best giggle. I love the amount of happiness you find every day. Sometimes, it can be hard to focus on the good moments when so much else in the world seems gray. But, your world is yellow.

You are a rainbow of colors and emotions, with all of the energy to match. There’s not much about you that is secret. You wear your heart on your sleeve and your thoughts in your mouth. That honesty is one of the most wonderful parts of you. You are not afraid to share your love with your friends and family – you bring happiness wherever you run.

You are a whirling dervish of activity, but give the best cuddles. Your morning hugs are the thing I look forward to most at the start of each day. And, while you always promise to help me with building projects, you somehow manage to go missing just at the start. 😉 You are a brave boy, Wyatt. You don’t let fear hold you back and confront those scary things head on. I am amazed by you.

The past year has been one of ups and downs for you, and your dad and I have watched a chink in your confidence appear. Wyatt, you are capable. You are every bit as good as your sister and your friends. So, when things seem hard and frustration feels too big. Take a step back and breathe. Go run outside, listen to some music, build a robot. Then try again. You haven’t given up yet…Mom and Dad will always be here rooting you on. Your persistence and drive to learn more is so inspiring. It reminds me to keep going even when I feel like I can’t.

My Twinkles. You are 7. The past several months, I’ve caught myself worrying that I only have 11 more years left with you. While I am nervous and sad that one day you will leave to start lives of your own, I’m also so excited to see what those lives hold for you! You have so much goodness and kindness and energy and passion to share with the world. We’ve weathered a lot together…Dad and I will always be here. For a hug. To cheer you on. To listen. To talk. To play. To help. No matter where you go, there I will be. Always.

Happiest of birthdays to the most amazing humans I’ve ever known. I’m so proud of who you are and who you are becoming. The world is a better place with you two in it.

Love you so much,
Mommy

Joyful & Candid New York Family Photographer

Gina specializes in modern & emotive family imagery. By focusing on the relationships of parents and their children, she is able to go beyond the standard pose and capture the true emotion of her clients’ relationships. Visit the Session Info Page for more details.

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The Haunted Mansion – Rockland County Photographer

Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a haunted mansion, but I did take some of my favorite young photographers to an abandoned asylum about a year ago. It was spooky and creepy and FABULOUS! And, totally perfect for Halloween. (This is where I’m duty-bound to advise you to speak to the proper authorities and get the proper permits before adventuring).

asylum, haunted mansion

I’m one of those embarrassing people at movies who jumps and startles super easily. Yep, I’ve left nail marks in my husband’s arm before (poor guy). Scaredy cat. That’s me. So, this was a huge departure from my normal day to day.

asylum, haunted mansion

I drew the line at finding the morgue though. That’s just too much. They’re way more brave than me. But, we made a morning of it. Exploring a long forgotten, but beautiful, old place. New York is rife with old and abandoned buildings. Sadly, many of them ultimately meet their ends with a bulldozer. But, I suppose that’s what time and absence do to our history…

asylum, haunted mansion

So, in honor of the spookiest day of the year…I give you the spookiest place I’ve certainly ever been to. Enjoy the day. I hope it’s positively terrifying!

And, just in case you’re looking for some tips to photograph your kids this evening, check out THIS BLOG POST to make the most of your time together!

Happy Halloween

Joyful & Honest Rockland County Family Photographer

Gina specializes in modern & emotive family imagery. By focusing on the relationships of parents and their children, she is able to go beyond the standard pose and capture the true emotion of her clients’ relationships. Visit the Session Info Page for more details.

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Summer Vacation is over…What to Do with All Those Photos – Candid New York Family Photographer

Last year (or maybe the year before), around this time, I believe I posted about ways in which we can actually display our summer or vacation photos. Oh wait, that post is HERE! I maintain for forever and ever that we should always be printing our photos or making them visible in some fashion. Otherwise, what on earth is the point of making photos if we’re not going to make the time to enjoy them. Photos are memories…and memories are meant to be relived and loved. So, get them off your hard drives and USBs and CDs…and put them somewhere that you can see them in your daily life.

Before I get to the big stuff, if printing isn’t really on your scope right this moment, consider making a slideshow that you can use as your screensaver on your computer. That way, even if you’re not printing them out, you still get to enjoy them!

I was tired of looking at the same old fake galaxy pictures on my Mac and followed my own advice. Being able to walk by and see my favorite images of my family running across the otherwise sleepy screen? It makes me smile every. single. time.

How to Create a Screensaver Slideshow from Gina Cooperman on Vimeo.

It’s really not hard…
On a Mac:
Create a new folder on your desktop and label it whatever you choose (ex. screensaver).
Place the images that you’d like to use in the folder.
Open the “System Preferences” menu.
Select “Desktop & Screensaver”.
Select the “Screensaver” option.
Select the + button found toward the bottom of the list (or the “Source” for more recent OS X versions).
Choose “Add Folder of Pictures”.
Locate the image folder you created earlier and that’s it!

On a PC:
All Programs–>Control Panel–>Display–>Personalization–>Screen Saver–>Photos

Then locate your image folder and select them.
Select “Shuffle”

You’re done. Easy, right???

Now. If you’re like me, and enjoy seeing memories from specific time periods or vacations or family events, then listen up. I know wall space is limited in our homes. And, we don’t always want to remove those older photos because, hey, those are important memories too. So, how do we incorporate all these new moments? It’s the obvious choice: a photo book.
But, if we’re going to record these pictures as true memories, then our thoughts must go right along with them. So, take a gander at the video below for a brief introduction to my creative why’s and how’s for making photo books for my own family.

If you want to learn how to create truly compelling image stories in your own photo books, and want something more in depth than what I’ve shown here…you might be interested in Stacey Wiseman’s Intro Photo Book Design class. Stacey is a photo book guru and hand holds her students thru the design process, with information on specific and helpful software to make the design more enjoyable and more beautiful.

Happy memory making!

Honest & Candid New York Family Photographer

Gina specializes in natural & emotive storytelling images. By focusing on the relationships of parents and their children, she is able to go beyond the standard pose and capture the true emotion of her clients’ relationships in a fun-filled session atmosphere. Visit the Details Page for more session info.

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