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Litchfield County, Connecticut Photographer

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Connecticut Fashion Photographer | Blog | Meg Raiano

The blog for Litchfield county, Connecticut Photographer Meg Raiano. See her tips and tricks to posing, getting the perfect image, and editing.

Date Night in Becket

Meg Raiano

Last Friday I made the short drive up to Becket, MA for a date night with myself. It was a beautiful day, if not a little hot. Halfway there, the sky opened up and started pouring. The thunder and lightning was almost unreal. The first portion of my date night was a Pillow Talk with one of my inspirations, Lois Greenfield. She is one of the foremost dance photographers, creating images that are almost surreal. Lois has been an inspiration of mine for years. From the first time I picked up her book, Airborne, to my most recent visit to the Pillow's gallery showing of her newest work - she has inspired me from the very beginning. After her Pillow Talk, I rushed out to try and get a seat to the normally outside Inside/Out performance by FJK Dance. Since it was pouring, the show was moved indoors and I got a seat to the simulcast in another building. I'm not afraid of a little rain so I watched a portion of the show in the simulcast and then walked over to the building where they were actually performing. Although they were filled to max occupancy, I found a nearby window and took some very interesting shots of the dance. 

FJK Dance_Meg Raiano Photographer

The performance itself was a little familiar, seemed less like an original piece and more like pieces were taken from famous dance films and other main stream media outlets. The dancers performed beautifully and had such grace and talent, the thing I could have done without were the costumes.

After the FJK performance, I headed over to the Doris Duke Theater for a pre-show talk about Adam H. Weinert's MONUMENT. After the pre-show talk was the performance itself. Although we were not allowed to photograph during the performance, while everyone was taking their seats, the dancers were walking throuhg movements on stage. I got a few really beautiful images of the relationships they had and then settled in for the show itself. 

MONUMENT was one of the best performances I have seen in the past few years. From the solos of the past (Doris Humphrey, Ted Shawn, Jose Limon) to the original works by Adam H. Weinert, the performance was magical. The amazing lighting design and in-house musician were beautiful additions to an already beautiful piece. All seven of the dancers amazed me constantly from start to finish. 

It was truly a magical show. I highly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity. 

Torrington Professional Portraits

Meg Raiano

I met this beautiful woman last week, my most recent client, Erin. She recently started on a new career path and wanted to get some professional portraits to enhance her online presence. It was a wonderful shoot with a wonderful client and I thought I'd share some of the images with you all. What's the most important thing to you about your professional presence?

What is Dance?

Meg Raiano

dance photographer torrington ct

I'd like to preface this article by saying that this is something I wrote in college when I was studying to become a professional dancer. This was the first class I took my freshman year, Intro to Dance. Dance was, is, and will forever be my main passion and I thought it would be great to be able to show you exactly where I came from. Enjoy.


Dance, according to Dictionary.com, is to move one's feet or body, or both, rhythmically in a pattern of steps, especially to the accompaniment of music. To me, dance is many things, this, of course, being one of them. Dance is also so much more - it's freedom, movement, a conversation between bodies, and among other things, a language. 

Dance is a freedom. It's a freedom because you can take it in any direction that you please. There are so many different types of dancing and each day, new ones are being created or discovered. You can take any one dance move and transfer it around to make it anything you want. I've also found that dance is a relaxant, not necessarily for your muscles or your body in general, but for your mind. If I ever have an awful day, the first thing I'll do is dance. It removes tension and helps me to calm down and really feel the movement. 

Dance is movement. In every style of dancing, there is a specific way to move. Your body has to be in some certain position and it has to move in different ways, in jerk motions, fluidly, erotically, robotically, or a plethora of other types of movement. Without movement, there is no dance. 

Dance is language. People communicate stories and emotions through their dance. Each dance is personal to its creator. Each choreographer has some sort of story or feeling in mind when creating his/her dance. That story or feeling is then conveyed through a sort of [body] language to the audience.

Dance is an expression of the artist creating and executing the movement. It is a beautiful art form that everyone can create to be their own. 


Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival - Becket, MA

Meg Raiano

Dark Circles Contemporary Dance

I've been a dancer my whole life. I can remember hearing about the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival all the way back to my early teens. Every summer I would wait patiently for my Dance Magazine with the Jacob's Pillow insert in it. It would arrive sometime in the late spring/early summer and it always had a list of everything going on at the festival that year. I had never been before even though it was less than two hours away from my home.

So this week, I decided I would make the trek up to Becket, MA to see a performance and to visit the gallery showing of one of my all time inspirations - Lois Greenfield. Lois is one of the best dance photographers out there, her work inspires me to try new and exciting things with my photography. 

I arrived at the festival around 6:30, just in time for the second half of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance's performance. The performance was an interesting piece with the dancers clad in circus attire. The soundtrack fit the costumes perfectly. Being able to dance on that stage must have been magical - through the dancers you could see everything around - it was gorgeous.

The campus was truly the epitome of rustic and beautiful. Everything about it was a photo out of dwell magazine. I am so privileged to have been able to photograph any performance at Jacob's Pillow and truly thank the people that make such a thing possible. 

Dark Circles Contemporary Dance

WeHa Professional Portraits

Meg Raiano

West Hartford CT Professional Portrait
WeHa CT Portraits

If you take a look through your LinkedIn connections - how many of them have photos that they took in their car? How many have photos that they have conveniently cropped someone else's head out of? How many of those photos do not represent the professional nature that they're trying to get across?

My guess would be the vast majority of them. 

Every now and again I photograph a professional that is looking for a way to make themselves stand out. I get to take photos of these people that will represent their professional experience and attitude. By far, these photographs are my most diverse in terms of age. I've done professional portraits for people at the beginning of their careers all the way to people who have their own businesses and are on top of their game. 

A good professional portrait could be the key to landing that job you've been eyeing - Enhance your professional presence online and off.


Color Filled Weekend in CT

Meg Raiano

This weekend was one of the most colorful in a long time - Saturday, I attended the Bubble Run and on Sunday a few of my close friends and I threw paint on a client in Torrington, CT to create some of the coolest images I have ever made in my entire life. 

If you've been following my blog [or any of my social media, really] you'd know that my sisters and I have been running [they've been running, I've been breathing heavy and trying not to fall over] in 5k races to help benefit Parkinson's research. 

We still have one more race this summer and have raised just under $3,000 - If you are feeling so inclined, you can donate to my individual page here:
http://www2.michaeljfox.org/site/TR/TeamFox/TeamFox?px=1973107&pg=personal&fr_id=1890

Or our team page [Team 3 Sisters] here: http://www2.michaeljfox.org/site/TR/TeamFox/TeamFox?pg=team&fr_id=1890&team_id=19421

This weekend was our third run [run, slow down, run, slow down, walk, sprint through the finish line, collapse], the Bubble Run in East Hartford, CT. Other than the severe heat (97 degrees) and overall lack of water stands, it was pretty surreal to be enveloped into mounds of bubbles that are taller than you are. 

Each bubble station was a different color - Pink, blue, green, and yellow. The overall idea was to get as much color on us as possible, and we sure tried our hardest. I came away from the run pretty evenly covered with pink and blue, where the green and yellow didn't stand out as much. 

Sunday was one of the most fun photo shoots I've ever had. My idea was simply to throw paint on a dancer while they were dancing around. It turned out to really be one of the best sets of photographs I have ever taken. 

I knew exactly the color scheme I wanted, and exactly the vision I had in my mind for the photos. It could have not gone more perfectly from the first throw of paint to the final pour over Jess' feet. 

My two good friends, Katelyn & Danielle, came along to help me with the paint portion, and even got a few shots of Kate with paint covering her upper body. Jess was the perfect model for this particular shoot - she was really great about everything [especially letting virtual strangers throw paint on her]. 

This was an absolutely amazing weekend - over the next few weeks there will be quite a few more photo shoots so keep an eye out for more dancers, portraits, and photoshoots overall!

Night Owl/Early Riser

Meg Raiano

I used to be a night owl - I'd stay up until 2-4 o'clock in the morning just doing whatever I could - I was never tired, always wired, and ready to burn the midnight oil. I'm not sure that that was ever healthy for me - but truthfully, I had a lot of energy because I burned a lot of energy. 

All throughout college, I was a dance major, so I spent 11-13 hours a day dancing, working out, and running from class to class. I hated waking up earlier than 9 and got nothing accomplished in the first few hours of the day.

Now that I'm not as active as I once was, I find that I wake up at 6:15 every morning [including weekends] and get more accomplished in the first three hours of my day than most people accomplish all day long. This got me to thinking - How can I be just as productive later in the day with my photography work as I am when I wake up? How can I be just as inspired or just as focused on edits as I am at 7am? The truth is - I can't. But what I can do is make myself the perfect working environment for myself, where I can close the door, light a candle, and clear my head enough to conquer my world. 

I typically start my day with a walk around my Torrington, CT neighborhood - Willomena at my side and a cup of coffee in my hand. As soon as I return from the walk, I'll stretch a little, get my blood flow going, and sit down to type, draw, edit, or photograph. 

I work consistently during those wee hours in the morning - scheduling calls and consultations, sending out emails, ordering prints. I take a break midday and then usually come back to it a little later. In the past, I have severely struggled to get my mind back on track but since I created my brand new, calming, serene office space - I have been able to create a work environment for myself that really enhances work in the afternoon. 

There's nothing like sipping a great glass of wine in a stemless, [Beauty and the Beast themed] wine glass, with the faint aromas of my new candles, while culling the photos I took that day.

It's [Not] All About the Camera

Meg Raiano

Litchfield CT Photographer

Many people think that its all about the camera you have, and not about the photographer. During a recent photoshoot, the Makeup Artist I was using said "Your camera takes great photos." Yes, to a point, it does. It has great image quality, and can do amazing things. The amount of moving parts within a camera itself is absolutely insane, and the progression from the camera obscura, to daguerrotypes, polaroids, 35mm, and now the DSLR. It has been a magical experience for sure. The one thing I struggle to convey here is that it's NOT all about the camera. It's about the camera & the person behind it. 

Each person who picks up a camera, whether it be a professional photographer, a student, or just someone taking photos over the weekend, has their own style, their own eye and regardless of the camera, the images all come out differently. Six people could take the exact same shot on the exact same camera, and they would be different. The amount of technical information that a photographer learns over the years, from F stops to ISO, from medium format to full frame, as well as knowing your own style. 

For instance, a photo that I took would not look anything like something that Annie Liebovitz would create. Her style is much darker, more ethereal, whereas mine has its own unique look to it as well.

Photographers perfect their knowledge, their style, and their presentation. It's not all about the camera. It's about how you use it.

Through the Years - Portraits in Litchfield, CT

Meg Raiano

Recently, I've been getting a lot of inquiries for portraits over in my neck of the woods (which is great for me) but an increasing amount of inquiries are from women who are 45+ wondering if I've had experience photographing women older than my own age. 

The answer is yes.

I have photographed women in almost every generation, from Millenials, Gen X, Gen Y, Boomers, and everywhere in between. I am almost more confident photographing women who are a little bit older because they, in general, are more secure in who they are, and what they look like. I genuinely love making a woman look and feel her absolute best and wowing her with the final products. 

I recently had the privilege of photographing one of the fiercest women I have ever met. She is a construction lawyer in Manhattan who has crushed every goal that has been set before her. Photographing such a strong, confident woman was such a phenomenal experience and being able to share that will you all makes it all the more relevant. 

Please feel free to ask questions about any of the photographs I've taken - and enjoy!

You Need Hands...

Meg Raiano

to hold someone you care for. You need hands to show them you're sincere. When you feel nobody wants to know you, you need hands to brush away each tear. When you hold a brand new baby, you need tender love to guide them on their way. You need hands to thank the lord for living and for giving us this day.

dance hands

Every single year at my dance recital, at the end of the show every class would dance together to Eydie Gorme's 'Hands'. It was a time honored tradition, every single class would walk out on stage holding hands with their tap shoes laced up and their favorite costume of the night on. Once everyone filed out onto the stage, we'd all dance the same dance, just as we had done for years before. I don't think we ever actually learned the dance, every one of us just picked it up from seeing it year after year. When you're a young kid you don't actually do the dance, you mostly just twirl around and look at all the beautiful ladies dancing on stage - That moment is the moment where little girls decide they want to be ballerinas when they grow up. The moment they see all the beautiful dancers holding hands and doing this dance that they all know by heart. 

dance hands 4
dance hands 2

I recently had the privilege of photographing a beautifully talented dancer, Aisha. I wanted our shoot to be different than any other I had done, and what I mean by that is I wanted to focus not on the girl, but on the little things that make the movement.

 

hand dance 3

These photos are really a tribute to my childhood dance classes. An ode to the reason I became who I am today. 

If you've never heard the song - I suggest you check it out, it's a classic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkEhPOuOSl4

Vacation - All I Ever Wanted

Meg Raiano

Every one needs a vacation. It's so easy to get burnt out on work nowadays, vacation is almost a necessity to be able to comprehend and be inspired by your workflow. 

I hadn't gone on vacation in more than two years and it was about time. I was burnt out, uninspired, and all around grumpy. Time to take to the skies and check out a place that has some of the most beautiful I will ever see.

I typically only take photos of people because I find them fascinating. The thing about Colorado is that it is equally as fascinating as humans. We wanted adventure and found it, for sure, on our trip from Denver to Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Breckenridge. We went to visit Pike's Peak on our third day and at the bottom of the mountain it was almost 80 degrees, once we got up to 12,000 feet, it was 30 degrees, snowing and hailing, and we were wearing shorts. 

This was by far the best vacation I've ever been on. There's nothing like nature to put your life into perspective - gigantic rock formations created thousands of years ago that are the most beautiful things you've ever seen, landscapes that will literally take your breath away, and weather that will literally seem like its out to get you one minute and be absolutely angelic the next.

If you ever need to get away and have the option of seeing Colorado, I would highly recommend it.

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month

Meg Raiano

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month. In honor of our mom, my sisters and I will be running in not one but TWO races this year to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. 

Please take a minute to read the article written by my sister Kelly and click the link below to donate to an amazing cause!

http://www2.michaeljfox.org/site/TR/TeamFox/TeamFox?px=1973107&pg=personal&fr_id=1890

We are a team of 3 sisters, Kelly, Bridget, and Megan Raiano. 5 years ago we had all just gotten back from a whirlwind family trip to Italy, we had the time of our lives, but our mother, Carol, was starting to notice that she couldn't quite keep up with the rest of us. The trip took a physical toll on her that it had not on the remaining 4 of us. A few months later she was diagnosed with Parkinson's Diease.

We have spent the last 5 years learning not only about the disease, but what we can do to help and now we're taking a step up! This year we're running at least twice - maybe more! All 3 of us, plus Dad, will be running the York Hospital 5k Road Race in our vacation town of York Beach, ME in June. And we're going to be BOUNCING back to the Inflatible 5k, this year in Salem, NH in September as Team Fox members. We're running in support of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, and in honor of our mother. Why shouldn't fundraising be fun, right?!

Last year, our mother's Parkinson's Specialist gave our mother some good news - she most likely has 10 more years of good function to look forward too! Good news like this would not be possible without the research funded and pushed for by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. 5 years ago we were unsure of the path we were all about to go down and now we have not only a much better picture but hope for more years to come! Please help us reach our fundraising goal to support this wonderful foundation and bring awareness to this disease.

http://www2.michaeljfox.org/site/TR/TeamFox/TeamFox?px=1973107&pg=personal&fr_id=1890

Boudoir - Then & Now

Meg Raiano

Yesterday, my #Timehop told me that I took a photo of my friend laura five years ago today. It was my first boudoir photoshoot ever. I decided that I wanted to be like Russell James and photograph gorgeous ladies in their sexiest outfits.

I worked at Victoria's Secret for four years and loved every second of it. The opportunity to make people feel sexy underneath their clothes was my favorite thing to do. This gave me the opportunity to make them feel sexy all the time. So I called Laura up and decided we'd try it out. 

After the shoot, I popped my SD card into the computer, pulled up the images, and was THRILLED with the result. I loved everything about the photos. The coloring, the outfits, the model. It felt awesome to be able to apply what I already knew about photography to this new genre.

When this photo came up in my #Timehop I really wanted to see how far I've come from that first shoot until now. The difference (to me at least) is amazing. What do you think of my boudoir transformation over the last five years?

Clarity

Meg Raiano

This past September, my parents purchased a home in our favorite vacation spot. We've been going there every year since before I was born during the same week in the same rental house. We'd spend every year during the last week in July/first week in August in York Beach, ME soaking in the sun and enjoying the ocean water (even though you have to get almost numb before you go swimming). 

Since they purchased the house, my parents have been going there every weekend, working on the house and just enjoying the scenery. I hadn't really had the chance to spend a lot of time up there. I had gone the week after they closed on the house, and then again for New Years. 

This past weekend, I went up with one of my best friends, Aesha. It is amazing how different York is in the winter than the summer. In the summer, it is this bustling place with tons of people from all over New England vacationing in the area. During the winter it is desolate. You will very rarely bump into another person. I can't tell you how refreshing it was to be able to really experience this beautiful place like no one else was. 

Visiting the beach was the perfect reset for my body and mind. I am now rejuvenated and ready to take on the world.

West Hartford Portraits with Danielle

Meg Raiano

west-hartford-ct-portrait-with-danielle

I moved to Connecticut almost a year ago. Actually - a year ago in two weeks. When I first moved here, I didn't know anyone, I wasn't familiar with the area or anything really. My first day in CT, I met my coworkers and instantly became friends with Danielle. 

She took me under her wing and quickly became my go-to friend for everything - from work to life in general. She helped me through one of the toughest times in my life and I couldn't thank her any more for that (and she continues to help me through my daily struggles). 

Last weekend I had the privilege of photographing this lady in West Hartford and these were the awesome results.

2015

Meg Raiano

2015 was a hard year for me. I began the year looking for a house and a job in a new state with my boyfriend, my pup, and my kitty. I found a great little house and a pretty awesome job in marketing (where I even got to flex my photography muscles from time to time) but I was having a hard time getting my photography footing in Connecticut. I shot a few people here or there, and then did a large job for my company, but my clients were few and far between. In addition to that, the relationship I had been in for almost five years ended. I lost my boyfriend and my puppy and had to figure out everything on my own (with help from my family and best friends, of course). A few months after that happened, my Grandmother, Theresa Raiano, died. She was such a huge part of my life growing up, and even in adulthood. She and my grandfather held family dinners every Sunday night, where she would cook the best Italian meals you'll ever have in your life. Gramma is one of the biggest reasons that I am the person I've become. It was the hardest loss I've ever gone through and I'm honestly not sure I'll ever be comfortable with it. She died the night before Thanksgiving and it still feels just like it was yesterday that she was teaching me french at her dining room table. From coping with my Grandmother's death, paying for my home, and being comfortable alone all the time in a place where the only friends I had were people I had met through my new job. Those are the people that I owe my sanity to - Thanks to a great group of people at my job and some love from friends from MA, I have become a whole new lady.

It was a hard transition for me but it helped me to set higher goals and expectations for my business in 2016. Not only will I be pursuing this - hard core - this year, but I will be doing a lot more photographic soul searching. Expect to see a whole new meg raiano | photographer in 2016. 

A big thank you to everyone who was a part of my life in 2015. 

Behind the Scenes

Meg Raiano

Every time I shoot, I try my hardest to get a few good behind the scenes images. Even though I'm a photographer and I love the final outcome - getting to show what is actually going on during a shoot is one of my favorite things. 

Being photographed can be extremely intimidating. The other day I had sort of a similar experience. I was at a conference in Boston where there were tables full of people trying to sell you things. My colleagues and I walked up and down the rows until one gentleman approached us and asked if we'd like a charicature drawn of us. It seemed like a good idea so we all took a seat and he began drawing. I can't tell you how strange it felt to sit perfectly still and to try and not make direct eye contact with this man drawing me as a cartoon. But in the end, he was seeing me in a different way than anyone had before and the result was pretty awesome. (I'm on the bottom right)

My goal is for everyone to be comfortable, feel beautiful, and have a great time. Sally and I have shot together a few times now and she was just the best, we always have a phenomenal time and create some pretty awesome images.

Studio Photos

Meg Raiano

As you well know, I'm a dance photographer. Most dance studios use the same kind of images, that same bright blue background with students posed in various groups while wearing their (or their mom's) favorite costume of the year. I know this because I have tons of those images. During my twenty-two years of dancing, I have stood in front of that very same blue wall more times than I can count.

I missed out on images of actual movement and head shots to make way for basic dance shots on a boring, solid backdrop. 

My best dancing days were categorized with the images you see to the right. Those are just two examples of the photos I have from every year of my dance career. Until the day I decided to start photographing dancers myself.

Don't you want your students to have photos that they can be proud of? What I offer is a series of images that will make your studio stand out from the rest - Rehearsal photos that capture the essence of your studio life, to performance images that you and your students can be proud of. Every dancer deserves gorgeous images of their accomplishments in dance. 

See my dance transformations here.

Running, running, as fast as we can.

Meg Raiano

I took this photo ten years ago, almost to the day. It was taken at my sister's wedding in Boston during September 2005. My parents were dressed to the nines, celebrating their first daughters marriage. I took this photo with my Nikon FM-10 film camera and got to develop it in the darkroom at my high school, something that most high schoolers probably don't get to experience anymore.

So - as you may have previously read, this October, my sisters and I are running the Inflatable 5k at UMass Dartmouth as members of Team Fox. We're raising money for the cause and trying to raise awareness.

I haven't gone on a real run in years. The impending three mile run in public should have given me all the motivation I needed but I hadn't quite felt that push to do it just yet. I just kept putting it off and putting it off and then finally, this evening I found my inspiration. I'm not sure what it was, I got home from work, changed into some yoga pants and a tee, strapped up my laces, and set out on the open road. I made it two whole miles before I felt like I might keel over. 

So in order to keep myself motivated I'm posting this to the general public. I solemnly swear to go running at least four times a week. Feel free to ask me anytime - my answer should be yes, last week I ran four times, this week I am on track. If it's not, I will give away one free photoshoot to the person who kept me honest.

To donate to our team for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research click here.