The mid-summer sun began to set over downtown Annapolis as I staged a ton of dripping drinks and hot plates by a window at Level – A Small Plates Lounge overlooking West Street. Straddling tables and leaning on chairs with the owners even holding some of my lighting equipment at just the right angles (thanks again, guys), I was able to create these fun shots for the local arts magazine, Up.St.ART Annapolis.  Working with the people at Level made me want to shout it from the Annapolis rooftops for everyone I know to visit this restaurant and try out their always-changing seasonal, local menu.   From the greeters to the chefs and bartenders, the restaurant feels more like a family, and they made it look like it’s a genuine joy every day to go to work creating some pretty incredible food and drinks.   I can’t wait to go back and taste some of these for myself.  In the meantime, bon appetit!

A 1944 Mai Tai and Pan-Seared Scallops are front and center with tuna and specialty cocktail Angels & Demons in the background. The scallops are butter-basted and served with bacon hollandaise, lardons, caper berries and pea shoots.

Bartender Tomm Micciche has worked at Level for six years. He created this aromatic house cocktail, the refreshing and aptly named “Tomm-berry Smash,” which combines Cold River blueberry vodka from Maine, Veev Acai Berry Liquor and violet liqueur. It’s not on the menu, Micciche says, but he’ll gladly make it.

Pictured from left to right: Co-owner Andrew Fox, Co-Owner John Miller, and Executive Chef Josh Brown.

Shot glasses lined up at one of Level’s two full-service bars

Bartender Tomm Micciche flips a shaker while mixing a custom cocktail.

Asparagus Lyonnaise: Grilled green and white asparagus is tossed in bacon vinaigrette with bacon bits and frisee atop whole grain crème fraiche and topped with crumbled hard-boiled egg.

A staff chef tops a Roasted Mushroom Salad with diced olives and crispy quinoa.

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This session was so special to me because it was a sentimental dad requesting an extra special surprise for his wife and grown children.  This client had received a gift certificate for a family photo session with Emily Karcher Photography as an anniversary gift in late 2016.  Months later, he called to redeem his gift, but admitted the chances of each of his grown children being in the same place at the same time for a family session would be slim, so he asked if I’d indulge him in a special request.  (To be honest, my creative juices were longing for a new way to stretch my skillset, so being given an “assignment” was just what I needed).  He told me his three children each had a special stuffed animal from childhood, and (cue the Mission Impossible theme, here) he had covertly “borrowed” each one of them from his kids’ apartments in New York City and elsewhere, including Figment (from Disney World, of course!), Winnie the Pooh and Flopsy the Bunny.  “I’m going to let you surprise me,” this client told me.  And so Figment, Winnie, Flopsy and I — along with my own three young children — had quite the springtime adventure as we staged “A Day in the Life of Childhood,” for these three best friends — and these three grown children who will always keep part of home and childhood with them.  Enjoy.  

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My head shot sessions have been popular for a while now, and I have fallen in love with the notion that every time someone calls me for new head shot, it means a new beginning for them.  It’s true – whether someone is taking the next step in their career, starting a new career, or first starting out as a high school or college student,  professional head shots shout, “Take me seriously!” And by “seriously,” we mean seriously authentic.  And sometimes that means authentic laughter (which happens more often than you’d expect during our head shot sessions) or conveying that someone takes their career seriously through subtle posturing and authentic smiles.  I love learning the stories of each head shot client so that I can convey them beautifully and genuinely through pictures in the best settings for their field of work (which is why I call these sessions my “Storytelling Head Shot Sessions.”)   Nicole recently contacted me needing a new profile picture for LinkedIn, and I was excited FOR her.  Here was a fellow mom of young children, a veteran and reservist – the absolute embodiment of a strong, smart woman being meticulous about planning the next steps in her career.  She had recently finished her degree in Human Resources and wanted to show to her future employers that she is the whole package – smart, approachable and professional.  And “seriously,” isn’t she stunning as well?  Best of luck to you Nicole – your next chapter is sure to be as incredible as you are.  (Emily Karcher Photography’s Storytelling Head Shot Sessions are available weekdays and some weekends, scheduled around your busy days.  We offer a local client discount for sessions in Crofton, MD and Nags Head, NC, and we offer group rates for agencies, offices and firms when at least 5 head shot sessions are booked at once.  All head shot session fees include at least two fully-edited images sized for both print and web/social media.  We’d love to help tell your story through stunning, authentic photography.  Contact us now for a summer session!)

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This was my second session with the “A” Family, and I swear we have the best luck each time with gorgeous fall lighting, great temps and no wind.  There are so many places to photograph in and around Crofton, MD’s Swann Park and Crofton Country Club, which is (literally) in their back yard, so we took our time and while we strolled, we even saw a blue heron, which delighted the oldest daughter, in particular.  These girls are every bit sweet and silly and funny – the perfect ages to get the most out of a family portrait session.  I am so lucky I get to photograph families year after year and document how their lives and personalities evolve little by little.  It was such a joy, as always.  

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I can’t tell you how long I had been wanting to do a session at a Christmas Tree farm – probably as long as my business has been in business! Right around my birthday in early December, I got my wish. And Pine Valley Tree Farms in northeastern Maryland was perfect in both landscape and size. (Plus, my clients picked out not one — but two – Frazier Furs for their beautiful home. Bonus!) In planning our session, I loved that this mom really wanted to let her kids be their silly selves and I’m always a fan of letting kids be kids at every session or event. Everyone has more fun that way! Plus, what kid doesn’t love a gigantic lollipop at the end?…(Which we conveniently used as both a reward and a little holiday prop!). It really was such a beautiful day, with sun peeking out from behind clouds and kids peeking out from behind trees.

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