Hello! It’s so nice to introduce myself to you so you can get to know me a little better. I’m Daniela, the lead photographer at Sacred Harbor Photography. I’ve been doing photography professionally since 2016. I started Sacred Harbor Photography in late 2017, and have been photographing weddings, events, and portraits since.
Q: Why did you name your business Sacred Harbor Photography?
A: It’s a weirdly funny story. Most photographers use their names as their business and brand, but I actually don’t like my name very much because it’s confusing to lot of the people I interact with virtually. Most people think I’ve misspelled my own name (“Daniela A. instead of “Daniela”), and will actually respond with “Thanks for responding, Daniel” in their emails. They are SHOCKED when we get on the phone and they realize I’m not a male Daniel (which is why I have photos of myself on the home page, but somehow this happens at least once a month). I thought about using someone else’s name, or my cats names (Misha & Oreo Photography), but decided on wanting something that not only resonated in my personal life, but was also special to Boston, MA, and New England. The other reasons I chose to go with Sacred Harbor are because my life is linked to the water, I currently reside in Boston, and consider myself a Bostonian. I grew up swimming competitively on swim teams, and after I moved to Boston, started training in open water. Most of that training took place in either Walden Pond or the Boston Harbor. Once of the events I participated in raised funds to clean up the beaches and bays around Boston and really struck a chord within me: water is so meaningful in my life, and is integral (shall I say sacred?) to our country, economy, and well-being. I still swim in open water, and have been venturing into cold water swimming over the winter, often at Pleasure Bay, Carson Beach, or M Street Beach. In the summer, I love going to the National Seashore and Hull, among many other special places on the coast.
Q: What camera(s) do you use?
A: I’m a Nikon user, but Canon lover. My professional equipment is all Nikon (D700s and D800s), but I originally started out on Canon, and take my canon cameras with me on my personal trips. My favorite camera is still the Canon Rebel XTi.
Q: Why do you do portrait photography specifically?
A: I love capturing personalities and emotions, and evoking emotions with the photos I take. I also love weddings because of the amount of planning and details they require. I love family sessions because I get to show the love each family member has for the others, regardless of the location or weather. Pet photography kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it? What’s better than taking photos of puppies playing or cats attempting to claw their way out of the photo?
Q: What do you aspire to add to your portfolio over the next 2-3 years?
A: I’d like to capture more adventure celebrations (hiking elopements, mountain top weddings, destination weddings). I’d also like to give back to the community and offer high-end wedding packages at reduced costs to deserving members of the community by partnering with venues and other vendors. You know those episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress,” where Randy pulls everything together for a perfect wedding day for a special couple? #dreams I’d also love to get into photojournalistic event coverage, covering protests and high energy events, like endurance races.
Q: What’s your favorite part of a wedding?
A: Getting really funny dancing photos of all the guests getting down and showing off their dance moves! I also love first dances, and the vows (especially if I can get the couple making eyes at one another, or cracking up).
Q: What’s the most embarrassing thing that happened to you at a wedding as a photographer?
A: I definitely tripped on a wine glass, spilling and shattering it before I even know what I kicked at a group of people. Thankfully, no one was hit by the wine or glass shards, but it was a close call. I also may have joked about not falling into a shallow pond while I took photos of a bride and groom walking by the water’s edge, and not even a minute after saying that, I stepped backwards too far and slide right into the pond up to my knees. The bottom of my dress got wet, my shoes were caked in pond mud, and I went right on taking photos. I provided some entertainment that got the bride and groom doubled over in laughter while I tried to squelch myself out of the muck.
Q: What’s your favorite song to awkwardly dance to while taking photos?
A: Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
Q: What’s one of the most important things you’ve learned since starting your own business?
A: Don’t let the cat out of the carrier without a harness. One year, I offered holiday pet mini sessions, and all of the clients who booked brought dogs… except one. The couple brought their orange tabby cat. I heard the frantic feline from the other side of the building when they came in, and it was during the JP Holiday Flea market, so the fact that I managed to hear this furball OVER all the hustle, bustle, and holiday music was already a warning sign. They look a little worried as they come to the photo area, and I’m doing my best to hold it together and not laugh at the poor cat in distress. I figured, “They got him in that carrier and got him all the way here for a photo, we might as well try to get a good one.” Mistake: I assumed the cat would already have a leash or harness, since the area was pretty large (as previously stated, it was a holiday market, now with onlookers monitoring the loud cat drama). Nope. No harness, no leash – the plan is just to grab the cat out of the carrier and sit on the backdrop as quickly as possible, hoping for the best. I’m pretty good at hoping for the best, so I go along with the plan, asking my assistant to be ready to be a cat-catcher. The couple opens the carrier, gets the cat out (with many angry exclamations from all parties), and they both get into position in front of the camera (glad we talked through the logistics before the beast came out of its den). The cat is not having it – the couple has now shoved a santa hat on him, and he’s livid. I manage to get a handful of photos of the action, and as the couple attempts to take one last photo holding him, the cat ninjas it’s paw at the husband’s face, catching him in his eye, and tears out of there. The feline is freaky fast, heading for the crowd (at this point, after all the drama and the eye clawing, I’d be scared if I were in that crowd). Between the 4 of us, we managed to tackle him mid jump, and corralled him in the carrier (I think there might have been applause). But since then, for any cat (and some dog) portraits, we keep the leash or harness on until the pet has proven itself well-behaved.