Getting Lucky with Lucky 17 Photography

Chatting it up with incredible photographer Michelle Lawlor, owner of Lucky 17 Photography

How long have you been interested in photography and taking photos? What made you get into it? Just for fun?

I’ve been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. I have my grandparents to thank for that. I spent a lot of my formative early years with my grandparents, and would often fall asleep looking at the old-time portraits of them hanging on their wall. My grandparents were also very big into swap meets and yard sales, and I started to collect antique and often non-working cameras thanks to my travels with them. I loved (and still love) the way old cameras looked and felt. When I could actually put film in them and make pictures, it was like no other joy I’d ever known. Going on into high school and college I was constantly taking photos everywhere I went and filled my room with photos of friends and family. My first long-term job was at a busy portrait studio in the mall, and I put myself through college working full-time making pictures there. At times it was incredibly stressful, but I look back at that time in my life as a valuable learning experience, because I learned to think on my feet and adapt quickly to get the shots I was after. You have to move fast with little kids – their attention span is very short so every second counts. J So while my “career” did start just for fun, it still continues to be a huge source of joy in my life today.

When did you start your company Lucky 17 photography? What has been your proudest moment since its inception?

I started Lucky 17 Photography initially as Lucky 17 Consulting about 6 years ago. At the time, I couldn’t decide which profession I loved more: Graphic Design or Photography. Back then, I was doing more graphic design work than photography (logos, business cards, flyers, etc), and that was what I focused on initially. However as time passed I started to do more photo work and used my design skills to help me design complimentary products using my photography. Finally, it felt like I’d found my calling and things really started to click. I still maintain both halves of my business today, but a larger portion of my business comes from photography. I design all of my clients’ greeting cards, books, and albums, and so the graphic design skill set constantly comes in handy. I can give my clients unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, and that means a lot to them.

My proudest moment? Wow. That’s a tough one. There have been a lot of milestones along the way. I think I would have to say that my proudest moment was delivering my first wedding album to my very first bride. She was so thrilled with her album she literally carried around everywhere she went for a whole week. And that was no small feat because the book was 11”x14” and weighed about 12 pounds. That meant a lot.

Tell me about the type of photography you do.

Without trying to sound cliché, my photography blends a photojournalistic approach with traditional portraiture to get a complete observatory perspective on my clients’ events. Let’s be honest, many of us have a particular vision in mind when we say we want photos of something. I know that with a formal event like a wedding, for example, 99.9% of brides I encounter envision the pictures they’ve seen in bridal magazines. They see celebrity weddings and say “OH, that’s what I want!” They want to be the gorgeous, laughing bride with the debonair, handsome groom, and they want the romantic candid shots. And I LOVE that. I find that when you ignore the camera and truly just live in the moment – that’s when the real “you” comes out, and that’s what I love to capture. However, that’s only one half of the event. In my humble opinion, there is still a need for formal photos, like the ones taken of your parents and grandparents. There is something to be said about tradition. You still want the grand portrait from your wedding that you can hang proudly on your wall. I can keep them ultra-traditional, or we can mix it up a bit and give your portraits a modern edge. I strive to give my clients both styles of photography with my event coverage.

 
 
 

Katie & Nick DeVito Wedding

When I saw some of the wedding photos you took for various couples, I knew you had to be our wedding photographer. Besides weddings, what other types of people/things do you shoot? Tell me about some of the bands you’ve shot and celebrities.

Katie! That’s so sweet. Thanks so much. Your wedding was a blast to shoot and I’m so glad to have been a part of that amazing day. Aside from weddings, I also do general portraiture, which includes families, teens, seniors, children, maternity, pets, and live music and promotional shoots. I also do some music journalism, freelancing for various publications, and that’s really a lot of fun. Music’s a huge part of my life and I get a real kick out of shooting bands.

I work with a lot of great local bands but also occasionally get to shoot major acts too. I’ve had the great pleasure of covering performances from bands like the Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Phantom Planet, OK Go, Van Halen… the list goes on and on. My boyfriend is currently in the band Honah Lee, and I do a lot of their publicity and live coverage, as well as when they go on tour. It’s a whole lot of fun!

Green Day

What services do you offer? What do you think separates you from the rest of the photographers out there? Everyone thinks they’re a photographer nowadays with the easy access of special cameras and PhotoShop.

Aside from photography and graphic design, I can also do photo restoration, scanning, archiving, and some light retouching. If you have some old family photos you’d like digitized to either enlarge or share on Facebook/Myspace and don’t have a clue where to start, get in touch. I adore old photos and just love breathing new life into faded, cracked, ripped and stained old prints.

The age of digital photography has brought a lot of new photographers to the field. Modern cameras make it easier and easier to take a good picture. It’s incredible what you can do now even with your small pocket camera. My pocket camera is pretty souped-up and any advanced amateur can make great images with it with only minimal practice.

However I believe what sets me apart from the pack is my training, my knowledge of the history of photography, my ability to pose and address difficult lighting situations quickly and effectively, my experience with digital processing, archiving, and color correction, and most importantly, my passion for each event or assignment I undertake. Photography is my art, my outlet for my creative energy. I pour a little bit of my soul into each and every shoot, and I strive to make it fun for everyone involved. Believe it or not, I hate being in front of a lens as a subject. I 100% know how it feels to dislike being photographed, and keep my shoots lighthearted and fun. It’s a very personal experience to be photographed by someone you don’t know, and so I immediately work on establishing trust between my clients and I. I’m not going to take unflattering photos of you and then smatter them all over the internet. I want you to look your best and I’ll do whatever it takes to get the best pictures I can create.

I really, truly care about each of my clients and take my work very, very seriously. I’m not one of those photographers that will spend half of your wedding reception outside smoking cigarettes, missing the little moments that make a wedding day so special. I work very hard for each of my clients and treat each special event as if it were my own. I throw my heart into it. My ideal clients are those that value photography as much as I do. When I connect with those people, the possibilities are endless.

If you could shoot one celebrity who would it be and why? Place you would most like to visit to shoot?

One celebrity? Hmm. That’s a tough one. I think it’d have to be Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. I’ve taken pictures of him playing live but I’d really like to take a crack at doing a portrait session with him while his band is on the road, sort of a tour documentary style thing. He’s been called “the nicest guy in rock and roll,” and though he seems to be a private individual, I’d love to get behind the scenes and really try to capture his personality through photography. So Dave if you’re out there, give me a call. LOL.

As far as a place to visit and shoot, I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland. My ancestors were from there and someday I hope to travel to the town that my family’s from and document the rolling countryside and my family’s history. Oh, and I’d love to stop off at the Guinness factory for a pint as well. People tell me there’s nothing like a Guinness poured in Ireland. I’d like to find out for myself.

I love to travel as well, and am available for travel around the world. Have camera, will travel.

What is your favorite photo someone has taken of you? Why?

This one’s easy. Last June I was hired to photograph the wedding of two of my very close friends. I brought my lovely and talented second shooter Heather with me to cover the reception because the bride and groom wanted me to be a guest when it came to be party time. We split the day in half and I shot all of the early day’s events and then handed the reigns over to Heather when we hit the reception. My boyfriend was also a guest at this wedding and so he and I had the rare opportunity to dance together. Of course Heather was on her game and snapped some photos of him and me laughing and dancing. It was really “us” – having a great time and enjoying the night. There’s one in particular where I’m in a mid-laugh in his arms and I just love it. We’re not “cheezing it” for the camera, just enjoying the moment.

 

How can people contact you? Why should someone hire you?

Contacting me is a piece of cake. You can visit my website at http://www.Lucky17Photography.com, email me at Michelle@Lucky17Photography.com or call me at 609-610-2953. I’d love to hear from you!

Choosing a photographer for a special event or portrait session is an important decision. A client should take into consideration a few things when deciding on hiring a photographer:

  1. Does his or her style fit what I’m looking for? Am I looking more for a candid approach or formal portraiture or both?
  2. What’s my budget? Does this photographer fit into my price range?
  3. After our initial consult/email/phone call or meeting, do you feel that we get along on a personal level? Do you feel comfortable around him or her?

I pour my heart into each session, shoot, event and assignment. A potential client should hire me because I truly care about the art of photography and the customer experience. I’m not a photo factory and I only take on a limited amount of assignments per year, in order to ensure a level of customer service and personal availability that you won’t get with a larger studio. When you meet with me regarding booking an event, you’ll be seeing my smiling face behind the camera at the event, not some stranger you’ve never met. When you have questions or need help, I’m the one there to assist. In an era of automated everything, I find that a personal touch makes all the difference.

Advertisements

Trattoria Dopo Teatro

Recently the hubs and I were visiting the city (New York City that is) and planned to have lunch at Trattoria Dopo Teatro. We did a little research online and this spot was near where we were going to be, the menu looked scrumptious and priced just right.

For an appetizer we ordered the Eggplant Campanada which consisted of eggplant, olives, capers, pine nuts. It was a great mix of sweet and tangy.

For our main course, we shared the Dopo Teatro pizza which is mozzarella, arugula, prosciutto and truffle oil. It was out of this world! My husband and I debated as to whether it was the best pizza we ever had or not. I’ve realized recently that I’m a huge fan of truffle oil.

For dessert we shared the profiteroles, which are similar to a cream puff but instead of cream inside it’s vanilla ice cream with tons of chocolate sauce. They came as a pair, so it was perfect for sharing.

We will definitely go back there again if we are in the area.  I’m dying to go back to try their Gorgonzola e Pere pizza. The ambiance was super cute and you felt like you were in a quaint Italian restaurant in Italy. The servers, the owner and even some customers spoke Italian. It wasn’t over priced and the food was truly spectacular. It’s always fun when you find a hidden gem.

Super Sample Sale

Today I attended my first ever sample sale. Who you ask? Only the super trendy Linea Pelle known for their plush, malleable leather bags, belts & bracelets.

I had never been to a sample sale. I had no idea what to expect. Would women be pushing and shoving to land their fave LP bag or would it be totally organized and like shopping in a store?

The hubs and I arrived at the building, went to the 9th floor and walked right into the Linea Pelle NY office. Tables were set up and bags and belts were hanging off walls and laid out on tables. Sales people were ready to help any way they could. It was a bit crowded, but there was no pushing and everyone was in good spirits and very polite.

A few years ago I was drooling over a super cute Dylan bag in black, but never purchased it.  I was so excited to hear about this sample sale, because it would be my opportunity to finally buy a cute LP bag. I was crossing my fingers that I would score that black Dylan bag. No such luck! No black Dylan’s to be found. But they did have a wide variety of other colors in the Dylan to choose from.

I opted for a super cute and comfy orange Joey bag and grabbed two leather bangles with embellishments.  I was thrilled! I can’t wait to start sporting them.

Linea Pelle - Joey

Linea Pelle - Bracelets

We waited in line and my husband and I helped a woman choose between a few different bracelets. I even helped put it on her. We walked up to pay and the two girls ringing people up were great. They were having a great time at the sale, chatting with all the customers and making it personal. My husband whipped out the credit card and they were impressed and wondered where they could get such a great guy like mine. He’s a one of a kind I told them. I chatted it up a bit with Morgan and we exchanged Twitter names and she promised to keep me posted on future events and sales. Whoo Hoo!

Maybe I’ll score that black Dylan after all.

Follow Linea Pelle on Twitter!
Become a Friend or a Fan Facebook!

NJ Unemployed Officially Launched

As you know from my previous posts, I have been forming an NJ Unemployed group. Well it’s official! My NJ Unemployed website has officially launched. Please take a moment and check it out. Additionally, there is also a NJ Unemployed LinkedIn group, Facebook Fanpage and Twitter page.

My mission is to bring the NJ Unemployed community together. We are all in this together. If you have any ideas for the site, please feel free to contact me.

Mrs. G’s & Trenton Thunder Team Up

I’m in a box, outside but inside. I can smell popcorn and hotdogs. Anticipating seeing golden retrievers. Where am I? If you guessed the press box of the Trenton Thunder, you guessed right.

Recently the hubs and I were invited to sit in the press box at a Trenton Thunder game as part of the Mrs. G’s VIB blogger series. Debbie Schaeffer of Mrs. G’s has teamed up with the Trenton Thunder to provide various giveaways throughout the season. Tonight they were giving away a brand new Weber grill.

Nick and I were positioned in the front row of the press box. Before the game got started, the staff at Trenton Thunder put out an amazing spread of food. I must say their BBQ ribs were incredible! If you haven’t already heard, Trenton Thunder has a brand new menu, check it out here.

All the Mrs. G’s VIB bloggers were very excited to be a part of the event. It’s not every day you are invited to sit in a press box. While the men were going to concentrate on the actual game, I was going to focus my attention on other aspects of Waterfront Park. As I already mentioned the food was superb.

Besides the players, Derby and Chase are the other stars at Trenton Thunder. They are 2 golden retrievers who, if you have been to a Trenton Thunder game, would know exactly who they are. They are the “bat boys” or “bat dogs” in this case. They run onto the field and retrieve the bats that the players throw. They are super cute and who doesn’t love a golden retriever. One of the dogs came up to the press box and I was thrilled to be able to see him and pet him. I guess all the fame has gone to his head, or it could have been the heat, because he was less then friendly. As I said in my live-tweeting that night, he was a bit of a primadonna.

I checked out the Trenton Thunder store, as I was hoping to score a nice comfy Yankee’s sweatshirt, as they typically carry a lot of Yankee paraphernalia. No such luck. Not one Yankee sweatshirt to be found. Oh well.

During the 5th inning there were the 5th inning fist pumps. Only in Jersey! The field sign flashed G-T-L and the crowd went wild. Fists were pumping all over the stadium. Even in the press box.

Mick Foley the famed wrestler was there to throw out the first ball and to sign autographs afterwards. When we arrived I was asked if I was interested in interviewing him. I had to Google him real quick, because quite frankly I had no idea who he was. Not a wrestling fan. But there was a huge line of people waiting to get his autograph. My girls from “Jerseylicious” would have been proud to see him sporting his leopard shirt. Between the leopard shirt and the 5th inning fist pump Trenton Thunder was Jerseylicious for sure.

Did you know Trenton Thunder does birthday parties? How cool is that? What a great way to celebrate your child’s birthday than at a game.

At the front gate there was a huge blow up slide, which I was tempted to try out, but being that I was wearing a skirt, didn’t think it would have been the best idea.

#9 cutie Austin Krum (Photo courtsey of @ShutterBugGeek)

#9 (Austin Krum)

is super cute, the food is great, the crowd had fun and I was so happy to be a part of the day. In the end, the Thunder and Sea Wolves were tied. Our blogger friends had left, but ya never know what can happen, so we needed to wait it out. Sure enough, Brandon Laird scored a walk off home run to win the game. He also hit for the cycle last night (the hubs said, not sure what that means).

Thank you to Trenton Thunder and Mrs. G’s for inviting us to participate. I had a blast. Now, if you are looking for a more detailed article on the actual game, you’ll need to check out my hubs report. He’s the sports enthusiast.

Electrolux is the proud sponsor of the Mrs. G’s VIB series.

See Shells in the Sea Food at Legal Sea Foods

The hubs and I decided to try out Legal Sea Foods in the Short Hills Mall for a quick bite.

We were greeted by about 8 employees who were all gathered at the front desk. We were ushered all the way to the back room, where no one else was, far away from anyone.

The food was nothing to write about, but I will.

I ordered the Lobster Bisque soup and Nick got the Clam Chowder. We both found shells in our soups and spit them out. Mine was pretty bland, I was a bit surprised. Nick also ordered the crab cake appetizer which he enjoyed. It was fairly good. I ordered half a Caesar salad, and it was bland. I was definitely not impressed at this joint. I hate feeling like I threw $50 out the window. But we did that night. The service was also very poor. Our server never came to check on us and ask how everything was. Nick had to get up and literally flag someone down with his napkin to get someone’s attention to ask for more Caesar dressing. My salad was very dry, only a drop of dressing.

Nick’s Guinness and my peach bellini were both good though. I guess the more you drink the better the food gets there.

Fried Pickles in LBI

Recently the hubs and I headed over to Daddy O, a restaurant in Long Beach Island. I heard they had fried pickles and needed to test them out.  My husband ordered a beer and I ordered the “O” Cocktail, which tasted more like “Oh bad decision”. It tasted like cough syrup. I sent it back and asked for a Pinot Grigio. We then ordered their beef sliders, truffle French fries and of course the fried pickles which I came for. The sliders were nothing special and they were way too large. Not bite size at all. The truffle fries were out of this world and the fried pickles were a little disappointing. They basically cut a whole pickle in half, and fried it. The pickle was too big and the breading came right off. I would have preferred them to use sliced pickles (like for a sandwich) and then fry them. They would have been bite size and similar to the delicious ones I once had in Florida. We received the bill and I was a little shocked that we were charged for the first drink I ordered but had sent back, but not the glass of wine (which was cheaper). Not that we’re cheap, but the server did take it back no problem but charged us for the more expensive of the two. It’s not a place we need to visit again, but at least I won’t go without saying I should have tried those fried pickles.