Philadelphia photographer

The Girls

For the better part of 2017 and early 2018, my 11 year old daughter, Casey suffered from migraine headaches. They caused her to vomit profusely. Even on herself in her classroom, on one occasion. The anxiety that accompanied that incident made getting to school very difficult, for awhile. There were days when she had to physically force herself, through tears, to simply get through the door. And I know on those days, her good friend, Anna, would walk beside her silently, an arm draped around her shoulders. Ensuring Casey knew she didn’t make that walk alone. The significance of that small gesture is not lost on me. Sometimes the very best thing a friend can do is simply show up and walk beside you. No words are necessary. Their presence speaks volumes. I know this, first hand, and seeing my daughter share that bond with her friends was the motivation behind this shoot. These young women are Casey’s tribe. Her ride or die. Her core. And I love them all like my own. 

Writing about this subject and these young women has had my mind all over the place. I have so many thoughts on it because I can’t think of them without thinking of my own girlfriends. My sisters, really. I don’t have a biological sister. I’ve never felt I needed one because that role has been filled by so many wonderful women over the years.  

As I’ve grown older and been through more life experiences, both good and challenging, many things have happened in my friendships. My relationships with some have deepened, while others have run their course. And that’s ok. I’ve got cores from all aspects of my life. Sometimes it seems like a lot to keep up with. But they’re all there for a reason and I wouldn’t trade any of them. There’s grade school/high school (yep, I said grade school). There’s college and there’s my adult life. And in what I believe to be a unique situation, pretty much all of them have met one another and some have become friends, as well.

The importance of these women is coming full circle as I’ve watched Casey grow relationships with the young women in these photos. Their parents are friends of ours, so they met as infants. Went to different schools, then the same school and then different schools, again. But nothing about their bond has changed. If you follow me on social media, you may have seen my post about Casey’s birthday. Every year, she wants nothing more than these three girls. And after their time together, she wants their families to join in, as well. She’s never needed the big hoopla party. She just wants time with her girls.

This is their “mess with one of us, mess with all of us” faces.

This is their “mess with one of us, mess with all of us” faces.

It was cute when they were little and they would play dress up (they still do sometimes) and make videos (still doing that too) under the watchful eyes of us parents. We’re still paying close attention, but as they are getting older, their freedom is expanding, and I know they are enjoying that. However, what also comes with getting older is a hell of a lot of changes. Relationships get more complicated, hormones kick in and the body reacts, schoolwork gets a little harder, drama is around every corner and no longer will everyone always make the team. In seeing all of this happen, I’ve really appreciated bearing witness to the solidity of this foursome.

What became glaringly obvious to me with the migraine situation is that these young friendships aren’t just giggles and dressing up anymore. They are morphing into strength and support when Mom and Dad can’t be there to provide it. When they have to be turned loose to handle tough situations without us, these friends will have each other. For that, I am so grateful and it is such a blessing to be able to watch, even if it has to be from afar.

But it also scares the hell out of me as it’s all happening so fast. Hence wanting to capture it in time, as best I know how. They’re still silly as hell. The eye rolling is at a minimum, for now. But, it’s coming. Henny and I just discussed with one of the girls parents last night, that soon, high school will come and we won’t see them from morning until evening, when after school practices are over. Then it’ll be dinner and homework. So all of what we get to witness now, will be happening where and when we can’t always see it. It frightens me and I often wonder who I will be when “all day mothering” isn’t as necessary. But that’s a subject for a completely different post.

For now, I wanted so badly to capture what I see as the purest form of beauty in these growing female friendships. Ride or die. Casey has some solid ladies in her life and I hope she always will. Try not to smile when looking through these photos. I dare you. 

Holiday Card Crunch

Ok friends. It’s December and it’s crunch time. Yea, yea. I know you’ve got presents to buy and middle of the night elfin panic attacks to have, but I’m talking about your holiday card. It’s time. And for any number of reasons I completely understand, you did not get on the calendar of a professional photographer this year. Trip and fall, root canal, acne breakout. Or perhaps, it’s something simpler such as budget restrictions or schedules that include 17 sporting events every weekend. The struggle is real.

So now it’s on you. You, and you alone, are charged with capturing your own brood of lunatics. Or angels. I wasn’t in your house this morning, so it’s none of my business. But photography is my business. And to show you there’s no hard feelings for your obvious neglect for putting money in my pocket this holiday season, I’m going to share a few pro tips with you to ensure no one ends up with an injury. Oh, and that your hundreds of friends and family are putting your card front and center this year. 

 Disclaimer: You will not see any of my recent client work on my blog in November and December. I have an innate fear of positing their holiday card selections before they’ve been allowed to shock, awe and delight those closest to them.


Photography is all about the light. And certain times of day can usually guarantee certain types of light. The so-called Magic Hours are the hour or two after sunrise and the hour or two before sunset, most especially on a bright and sunny day. These hours are when the sun is low in the sky, providing softer, more forgiving light. When the sun is high at midday, the result can be squinty eyes and blown out highlights or very harsh, deep shadows.

Should you find yourself with no other good time to shoot than at high noon on a sunny day, find some open shade. That’s the shade right where the sun drops off. Closer to a structure or tree.

Disclaimer 2: There are certainly ways to work with this light and make it awesome. However, unless you’ve got lots of time to play, you’re best served leaving that time of day to a professional. If they’re worth their salt, they can shoot anytime. So don’t fret if you hire a good professional and they only time slot he or she has available is noon.

Another thing to keep in mind with time of day is your particular child or children’s “good times.” With babies, right after a nap is best. Or with toddlers, late in the day can be really rough as they are spent and can be very cranky.  Or so I’ve heard. My toddlers were perfect.


I always tell my clients to put their children in clothing in which they’ll be comfortable. If they are not comfortable, they will look exactly as such in the photos. Uncomfortable. And in all honesty, you’ll want to look at the photos one, five and ten years from now and be able to say “that was so them,” even if you hated the superhero shirt she insisted on wearing everyday (sorry, Mom).  My point is, if your 8 year old is in a leisure suit when he much prefers jeans and tees, he’s going to act like he’s in a leisure suit. Not good.


And I don’t mean the kids. When I am shooting families, more often than not, I will have to tell Mom or Dad to go away. In the nicest way possible, of course. If your child is acting up or not cooperating during our shoot, you, as parents, get agitated. Rightfully so. But the kids know it, and we all know what happens from there. So it's best you let me handle it. But, if you have to be the one taking their photo, be patient. Slap on a smile and bring out the playfulness, even when you’re ready to lose your marbles and start handing down beat downs.  

Finally, let them have fun, but work efficiently. Kids, especially the young ones, only have so much in the tank. Remember, you don’t need 25 perfect pictures. You really only need one or two for the card.

I hope this helps. And remember, should all else fail, you know where to find me.

Happy Holidays, friends!

Julie & Daniel

If you’ve seen it, you know it. It practically smacks you in the face and takes your breath away. And once you’ve seen it, every time thereafter that you think of it, you will smile. It’s impossible not to.

It’s real, honest to goodness, “my happiness is because of you,” Love. That kind you might think only exists in movies like The Notebook. But I guarantee you that it exists in real life. I’ve seen it a few times. I’m lucky enough to live it. Just in a different way now than on the day we wed. And that’s what I got to see and capture when Julie and Daniel said “I do” a few short weeks ago. I got to see it even before they actually said the words. But nothing brings it out like facing one another in front of your nearest and dearest to bind yourselves in marriage. It’s honestly so beautiful.

I spent most of my time with Julie that day, as you would expect. And not only was she truly glowing, she was so undeniably at ease and enjoying every moment of her day. She had nothing to worry about. Surrounded by her sisters, cousins and friends who are like family, she knew where the day was taking her.

And then I got to Daniel. Equally so at ease and enjoying his time with his buddies. You couldn’t make him stop smiling if you tried. And no one did.

They did a “first look” and that was so lovely to watch. They laughed and smiled and took each other in. But it paled in comparison to seeing them face one another to exchange vows and be pronounced husband and wife. I’m fairly decent with words but there is no way to describe what this looks like. So I’ll just share some photos instead. In the absence of being there, these are the only things that can come close.

Before I do, I have to point out that I saw so much other genuine love that day. Among proud and excited siblings and very specifically from an extremely happy, beaming father. I imagine there is nothing like giving your daughter away to her husband. However, it’s pretty safe to say that Jimmy was just fine with shaking Daniel’s hand and handing over Julie’s. He knows exactly how perfectly that hand and her heart will be cared for.

Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of this day. Not doing weddings may have to become doing them “once in awhile.” But only when there’s love like this involved. Because then, I can’t even call it work.

Congratulations, Julie and Daniel. Can’t wait to catch up on the beach this summer!




I’m not sure I know where to begin with my thoughts about yoga and its impact on my life and my career. The personal and professional are so deeply intertwined that my thoughts on the subject are vast. I didn’t set out to take it where it has gone and I most certainly didn’t see it coming. But I will never question yoga coming into my life at the time it did, which was just as I was starting this business. And I know I, and it, wouldn’t be the same without it. The business and I would still be ok. But not likely as good as we are right now. And my loved ones are happy that I’ve found something that has given me clearer vision and more inner peace. Put the yoga, the business and my support system altogether and my confidence in my abilities has begun to soar. When I started getting asked to do yoga photography, I was nervous. In the way I get nervous every time I do something for the first time. But there was zero reason to be. I know and understand yoga, its movements, beauty and strength. And most importantly, the wonderful yogis who hire me know I understand them. And they’re open to me. Vulnerable, in a way that has really taken me by surprise. But what results from vulnerability with me is truth in the photos. And truth in photos is beauty. Perfection, really. These amazing people have relied on my vision and creativity in the way I rely on their ability to execute on that vision. These shoots have been such a collaboration and I fill with pride when I look at them. And it’s even cooler to see them on websites, in brochures and teacher training books and in print.

As I told a client who sent me a beautiful email about how my work is interwoven throughout every aspect of her studio, photographing yoga, and the people who live it, has given me more joy than I thought I could have with my camera. Pinch me.

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In My Rearview

This blog is something I have been wanting to do for so many years. In fact, this post draft had an original date of June 6, 2011. That’s a long time ago. Originally, I had wanted to name this endeavor In My Rearview. My friends and brand experts at Untuck Design talked me into keeping it simple and close to my business brand. So it has a secondary name, and I’m sticking to it. Because this will be so much more than just about my business. But Kelly Hennigan Photography provided the platform and I jumped off. I’ll explain with two words. “Four eyes.” Not the reference to adolescent teasing of those who wore glasses. This four eyes explains my connection to In My Rearview and the origination of the concept in the lyrics of a Jack Johnson song.

Four eyes total. Two sets. That’s what I see In My Rearview mirror everyday. They belong to my partners in crime. My cohorts. My team. My passengers on this amazing road. More than anything, they are the reason this business exists. Not because I picked up a camera when I had these wonderful kids. Not even close. I’d picked it up long before that. But they are why I have been able to get here. Because in that mirror, I see nothing but motivation for chasing my dreams. Not only because they back me unconditionally. But more so because I catch myself almost daily wondering where their thoughts take them and what their dreams will be. Hoping they’ll have the guts to pursue them. Hoping they’ll see their Mom as another role model for doing just that. They already have one in their Dad.

In addition, In My Rearview, there are so many experiences and people that became the building blocks for this life. Each step and each stumble taught me more about how much I not only wanted to be here, but how to get here. In My Rearview, I faced the fear of failure and let it take a backseat to the fear of stagnation. To the fear of not being the best version of me. To the fear of 10 years from now, looking back and wishing I had done it. I knew the worst thing I could do for myself, my husband and those four eyes was to never do what I kept telling myself and others I “hoped” to do someday.

In My Rearview, I found that someday was now.

Now was actually five years ago and what a ride it has been. It’s gone beyond what I dreamed it could be so quickly and I cannot wait to find out what else it has in store. So I’ll keep looking In My Rearview. It has yet to steer me wrong.

“I gave you your life, but you gave me mine.” – Jack Johnson, Go On.