Introducing First Hours Sessions | Buffalo and WNY Birth Photography | Evelyn's First Hours at Mercy Hospital

Aubertin Birth Story

I often receive inquiries from parents-to-be if I will come to their birthing facility for photos following their birth. While my passion is to tell the entire story – the strength of mom during labor and the support of those around her while she's in it – I also understand not everyone may feel comfortable having someone else in the room with them during the actual birth, since it is such an intimate experience. So the answer is, yes, of course I would come to document you and your newborn at your birth location, post-birth! With that, I'm excited to announce I will be offering First Hours Sessions (essentially Fresh 48 Sessions but I've given it a fresh name) for August and beyond. And if you should still be interested in the full birth story coverage, I'm currently keeping my calendar open throughout October and beyond to take on more births and Real Life family sessions! Either way, I WOULD love to hear from you and would be thrilled to document your growing family.

On a related note, I'm excited to also share Evelyn's First Hour Session from last May! I had originally been booked to document the full birth story, however sweet little Evelyn arrived fast and furious into the world, and I ended up just missing her birth. Even so, it was so exciting to document her first hours in this world, snuggled in mom and dad's arms and welcomed with love by grandparents and big brother! A year sure does go by fast, and I'm so glad they have these images to look back on from the day she excitedly entered into this world!

Tyler + Kate | Buffalo Engagement Session with Colorful Murals and Beautiful Cherry Blossoms

Tyler and Kate moved to Buffalo from Manhattan almost a year ago, settling in as first-time residents here shortly after an epic proposal in Hawaii. Tyler is witty, full of energy, and is one of the hardest working people you'd ever meet. Kate is compassionate, full of joy and laughter, and has a genuine heart filled with love and optimism no matter the situation. Together they are absolutely perfect for one another, and I could not have more love and appreciation for them both (and not just because they're family!). I can't wait for the day they'll be exchanging vows and committing their love to one another in what I just know will be an epic ceremony and celebration. But in the meantime, I'm absolutely loving watching them grow and make big plans for their future, together. And am ever so thankful they gave me the opportunity to photograph them together. First, in front of a few murals in North Buffalo that totally fit their personalities. And then on the lawn of the Buffalo Historical Society in the midst of the Cherry Blossom blooms. It was the perfect mixture of playful and romantic, just like them, and I just love how these photos turned out!

European Adventure Part 1 of 3: Exploring Amsterdam

Last July, I ended up having a several week break in my calendar between weddings, so my husband and I decided it would be the perfect time to go on a European trip we had been dreaming of forever: a visit to the country his family is from, Portugal, with some of his family! After we booked our round trip tickets to Lisbon, we decided to tack on a few additional stops to our 10-day vacation, eventually adding Amsterdam and Barcelona to the front end of our trip. Today, I'm going to share Part 1 of our trip: our 2.5 day stay in Amsterdam!

We (and by we, I mean my husband who is amazing at travel planning!) ended up finding us first class red eye tickets through TAP out of Toronto for an incredible price (which was even cheaper than any regular seat ticket flying out of Buffalo), so we decided to make the trip overseas in comfort. Having a great night's rest laying down instead of stuffed upright in an airplane seat allowed us to be refreshed and ready to go for our adventures when we landed. Since we decided to add additional stops to our trip after our initial airline tickets were purchased, my hubs looked into options and found that there was a flight to Amsterdam that departed not too long after our arrival in Lisbon, so we ended up booking that and made Amsterdam our first official stop on our 2017 European adventure!

Day 1

Since we had taken the red eye flight, part of our first day in Amsterdam did include some travel. But we still had most of the day to explore which was great!

We stayed at the Park Hotel, which was very modern and clean (despite the smokey-smelling elevator) and had great views from our room of nearby rooftops. My favorite part of our room: the super cozy bed! It was like a huge, fluffy cloud and was a great treat to sink into at the end of a long day of exploring! (Unfortunately, the bed situations progressively worsened as the trip went on haha)

Cozy bed aside, the biggest perk of staying at the Park Hotel was it's location. We ended up taking a bus from the airport to our hotel, and one of the bus stops was just a few minute walk from the Hotel. When we wanted to venture out, the area we were in was filled with restaurants and things to do/see and was also right across from one of the canals. Overall, it suited our needs perfectly!

After checking in and dropping our bags, we headed out on foot for a full day of exploring! However, we quickly learned that in the food chain of transportation, pedestrian travel is at the bottom. Bicycling is HUGE in Amsterdam, and what most of us would consider to just be the sidewalk (you know, the space between the road and the buildings), was actually mostly a bike path. So if you weren't paying attention to where you were walking and were oh, I don't know... looking up at the buildings or taking photos, you'd get beeped at to move out of the way for an oncoming bicyclist. Talk about a startling welcome to Amsterdam.

We also really wanted to see the city from different perspectives. After some quick research, we decided to get a 48-hour pass for a Hop On Hop Off tours. This ended up being the perfect solution for us transportation wise. We were able to ride up high above the streets as well as down in the canals. AND we could get from one area to another quickly, so we could spend more time exploring streets of other areas than taking so much time just to walk there. Our Hotel also happened to be super close to a few of the Hop On Hop Off lines, which was a great extra bonus!

I can't recall where we had lunch that day, but I do remember for dinner this first night, we decided to try a place called the Pantry. It was a super tiny, quaint restaurant that served delicious traditional Dutch food. Highly recommend!

Day 2

We started off our second day on foot heading towards a tasty breakfast spot we found on Yelp: Baker's & Roasters – which is a New Zealand style café with healthy and delicious meal options (sooooo good and so worth the wait!). Since we hadn't done so yet, we decided to take the Hop On Hop Off bus tour for a bit and listen to the audio that was provided, so we could learn a bit more about the places we were seeing and see things from the higher up view.

Around lunchtime, we made our way to the Anne Frank House to get a spot in line to purchase day of tickets – which are available for purchase only during a specific window of time. We arrived maybe an hour and half before the window officially opened, and thank goodness we did! There was still quite a bit of a line ahead of us, but it wasn't as terrible as it could have been. If you're in Amsterdam or planning to go to Amsterdam, definitely make sure you make time in your visit to go to to the Anne Frank House. Thinking about what she and her family endured during that time in history, by physically standing in that space, still gives me chills even just thinking about it.

When we got out of the Anne Frank House, it was beautiful outside! So we decided to take the canal tour for a bit before stopping by the hotel to drop off my camera and rest a bit. Later that night we explored on foot and headed over to the Red Light District (RLD), which apparently is a must when visiting Amsterdam. Though I will admit, I had no idea it was going to be anything like it was, and I would never visit that district again. Seeing women essentially on display half naked in storefront windows is something I cannot even believe is still happening. Personally, I just don't understand why women would objectify themselves in that way. But.... to each their own I suppose. And on that note... onward with beautiful photos from the first half of the day!

Last half day!

Our last morning in Amsterdam started out as a rainy one. We borrowed umbrellas from the hotel and ventured out on foot to grab breakfast at a place not too far from our Hotel that had excellent reviews – Greenwoods Keizersgracht. It was a cozy, English breakfast and tea place and was just what we needed to fuel ourselves for the day. I ordered my favorite English breakfast combo – scrambled eggs with beans. YUM! After breakfast, we visited the Bloemenmarkt – which is the world's only floating tulip market. So cool to see, even in the rain!

After breakfast we needed to return to our hotel for check out, but we still had a few hours to kill before getting to the airport for our flight. Luckily, we both packed super light for this trip – all of our clothes needed for 10 days fit into two backpack style bags, plus of course I had my camera bag. Because we packed so light, we never needed to check our bags on our flights, and we were also able to carry all of our items with us while exploring when needed, without any excessive luggage holding us back.

Since the airport is located a ways out of the city center, we decided to take a train ride back to the airport. But the train station was quite a ways from where our hotel was. Luckily, we still had the Hop On Hop Off tickets for about another 30 minutes, so we ended up taking one of the canal boats (which was also covered) to get to the area near the train station. Once we were near the train station, we ducked into a little Italian place for some hot cocoa and when the rain started to let up, we went out to wander a bit more!

When we made it to the train station, we discovered we were standing on the wrong side of the platform for the train we needed just as it was arriving. So we made a mad dash and caught the train JUST in time. Unfortunately, after all that rushing we ended up having a 5 hour delay at the airport, which really set us back in our plans. BUT the silver lining: apparently in Europe if your flight is delayed for more than 4 hours (for non-weather related reasons, which ours was), you get reimbursed plus get a meal voucher. Whhhhaaaat? Sure it was a bit of a pain, but getting our money back definitely made up for it.... plus we got to see a beautiful sunset!

Amsterdam, you are filled with breathtaking architecture, history, and charming canals and streets. You are such a different place from anywhere I have ever been, and I loved every minute of our visit! And I hope you enjoyed reliving our adventure through this post!

Stay tuned for Part 2: Barcelona and an epic closing in Part 3: Portugal!

Ashleigh + Nolan's Classic and Elegant Buffalo Wedding | Buffalo and WNY Wedding Photographer

Photos by Dawn M Gibson Photography

There is something about a classic, black tie wedding during the month of October that will forever make me swoon, and Ashleigh and Nolan's late October 2017 wedding at Hotel @ the Lafayette was everything I could have ever dreamed of photographing and so much more. The entire day from start to finish was laid back yet perfectly polished, their ceremony was incredibly touching and the dance floor was PACKED with family and friends having the time of their lives all night long. I'm so excited to share a small glimpse into their wedding day with you today, along with a few words from the bride and groom on their experience as well!

How would you describe your wedding vision/theme?

The vision we had for our wedding was to keep it classic and timeless. We decided on ivory and black with silver and gold touches for our color theme. I would chose to live in the past if I could, so there was no better place than the Lafayette to offer that classic feel. The marble hallways, original detailed tile flooring, hard wood floor ballroom, beautiful chandeliers with 20+ foot ceilings and the ornate details really just speak for themselves. The venue leaves you speechless without any wedding decor. Add in the candles, lighting and formal seating - and there's nothing more I could even ask for. I had a vision of the whole bridal party in black with just the white dress, and I think that this theme came out flawless. The girls all chose their own dress and designer, the boys wore black tuxedos with the bow tie, suspenders and ivory pocket square. Everything came together perfectly for our theme!

Favorite moments/memories from the wedding?

Walking down the aisle is every little girl's dream I think. Dad on the arm, family and friends filling the church, and the most perfect groom standing at the end of the aisle smiling. That moment I will not forget, ever.

Seeing the room for the first time before the guests entered was amazing. After all the time and effort put in to planning and organizing, I almost cried when I saw it. It was just beautiful and everything I wanted it to be. I also really enjoyed Nolan's reaction because I don't think he knew my vision of the reception until he saw it in person and he was blown away!

Also - the dance floor!!! I don't think I left the dance floor for more than a minute or two at a time, and it was always packed. This was one of my big concerns about the wedding - I needed a fun dance floor! And a fun dance floor is exactly what we got :) Great music and always a ton of people dancing all night long!

Do you have any recommendations for future couples planning a wedding?

It will be stressful, but it will also be worth it. Take on tasks one at a time to avoid being overwhelmed, plus checking things off your list will make you feel better than having a bunch of things half complete. Enjoy every minute of engaged life while you are planning! Its a journey that you only get to do once :)

Special shout-out to all the vendors:

Ceremony Venue: St. Thomas Aquinas Church
Reception Venue: Lafayette Hotel - Marquis Ballroom
Officiant: Fr. Gallagher
Photographer: Dawn M Gibson Photography (with second photographer Liz)
Videographer: Filmwell Studios
Florist: Flourish
Caterer: Acqua
Cake/Bakery: Blessings Bakery
DJ/Band/Entertainment: CJ Sound
Transportation: Status Limo
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Hair: Claire Sumbrum
Makeup: Mallory Finnegan (MakeUpByMal)
Bride's Dress: Calle Blanche "Paulette" Ballgown (Satin, V-neck, empire waist, chapel length train, with jeweled belt and back)
Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka "Gorgeous" Ivory satin and and jewel embellished heel
Groom's Attire: Black tuxedo, black bow tie and suspenders, ivory pocket square (Tuxedo Junction)
Additional Accessories: Bride - Tennis bracelet from parents, Elizabeth Cole Crystal Ring, Ben-Amun Silver Cluster Studs, simple gold and jewel hair pin on side of bun. Groom - Monogram cuff links to match groomsmen and fathers (Etsy)
Wedding Party Attire: Black Tie - Bridesmaids in all black formal gowns, each individually picked / Groomsmen in black tuxedos with black bow tie and suspenders with ivory pocket squares
Decorations/Decor Design or Rentals: Decorated ballroom with gold mercury glass candle holders, and different height pillar candles; candelabras on head table. Ivory centerpieces mixed with baby's breath tall centerpieces. Room had gold uplighting throughout. Ivory table clothes and ivory napkins with gold back chiavari paneled chairs
Favors: Our favor was a large donation of food, toys, and care supplies to the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter on behalf of our family and friends, and also on behalf of the two little hound-mix sisters we adopted from there that make our little family complete (for now!)
Late night food/snacks: LaNova pizza and wings


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