Samantha & Jay Married | Pavilion at Crystal Lake | Heidi Hanson Photography

Samantha and Jay’s wedding was a blast!  I know I say that a lot, but for real, they were the funnest couple by far this year!  The raw emotion when he saw her for the first time, got to all of us.  Well I should back up, the two of them had a discussion about a first look and Jay was adamant about not wanting one, but he caved when Samantha said that was what she wanted.  So what he didn’t know was that one of his groomsmen would be wearing a dress for the first look.  Needless to say she got him good!

We wish these two a lifetime of happiness!


Hair/Makeup: Salon by Naomi

Venue: Pavilion at Crystal Lake/CT Wedding Group

Flowers: Flower by Danielle

Here’s a few of my faves!


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Dimi and Nick a Seaside Affair by Heidi Hanson Photography

In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours.
In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.”
Maya Angelou

To say that Dimi and Nick were one of my favorite couples is an understatement!  They are fun, funny and perfect for each other.  The way they look at each other, you just can instantly feel the love between them, it gives me goosebumps!   Plus they are so easy to photograph.

Their wedding was so pretty and a ton of fun – here are a few of my favorite images from their big day:

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OMG it’s October | Connecticut Wedding Photographer |Heidi Hanson Photography |

October it one of my favorite month’s of the year, if not my FAVE.  I mean who doesn’t love layers of clothes, sweatshirts, pumpkins, changing leaves, hot cocoa, soccer games, jumping in leaves (okay maybe not the raking to get the leaf pike) but you get my drift.  Just something about the crisp air that makes everything awesome – oh and I was married in October so that’s pretty cool right??  This year we’ll be celebrating 11 years – WTF??  That went fast!!

So it also happens to be one of the busiest months – ALWAYS  not just this year – but ALWYAS.  So I took a quick glimpse of my calendar and kind of laughed and quickly closed it.  But then I opened it again and took a deep breath, paused and smiled.  It’s a good busy, it’s a happy busy!


So here’s a little peek into my October:


8 soccer practices

4 baseball practices

8 soccer games

8 baseball games

one Halloween Party

Two days of no-school

2 costume parades at school

2 parties at school

Lunch date with my old co-workers (which had to be scheduled months in advance)

Room Parent for both my kids – so may have impromptu meetings/party planning


Two family photo sessions

Two engagement sessions

Two Weddings to photograph

Four Wedding Consults for 2015

Oh and Trick or Treating!! Stryder is undecided so far – he wants to be something scary but not too scary….Berkeley is going to be Frankie Stein – a girl from Monster High.

Warrior | Heidi Hanson Photography | Connecticut Wedding Photographer

For nine days I took a journey to the Napo Region of Ecuador as part of a team put together by an amazing photographer Alicia Daw. Simply Love 2014, was a group of individuals from all over the country who volunteered to work at Casa Feliz an orphanage run by an organization called Bless an Orphan.

It is really hard to put into words all the things that I encountered in the nine days I was gone, the ups, the downs, the highs and lows, the emotional moments (yes there were many), self realizations and just pure fun. The stories of the 17 children that live at Casa Feliz are so heart-wrenching, it is purely gruesome to hear how awful these children have been treated by their family members lives, but so beautiful to see their smiles and how happy they are now because of the love they have from the generous souls who help make Casa Feliz such a loving environment.

I have wanted to do a mission trip for a while, but as many things go, life kind of gets in the way of things like that.  But coming off the heels of 2013, one of the worst years for me ever, the stars aligned and everything seemed to fall into place.  I needed to know that there was some good in this world and that I could experience it first hand.

I don’t want to say that it was a soul searching mission for me, but I definitely learned a lot about myself during this trip. Living with 13 complete strangers will definitely help you figure out a lot about yourself rather quickly – LOL.

I feel like I’ve come back with a newer, fresher perspective on life and can really focus better on what is important in life:

  • I’m not going to beat myself up so much.  When I’m presented with a challenge I will take a step back and figure out how to handle it, we’re talking baby steps people; not blowing everything out of proportion…just simply looking at new ways to handle things rather than getting down on myself;
  • Being more truthful with myself and others.  I’m not going to filter so much more of my thoughts, so look out, I’m going to be more honest, it may backfire, but I’m tired of hiding my feelings inside ( “You hear my voice, you hear that sound Like thunder gonna shake the ground.”- Katy Perry Roar – yes I love this song 🙂
  • I know I can’t change the world, and a lot of circumstances are way beyond my control, I can’t change the past. I realize that. I have to let fate or ‘whatever’ let things be.  What I can change is myself and focus on the way I project my own thoughts and feelings onto people and events.  I am going to try really hard to let that happen this year.
  • This year I will learn to accept what I cannot change – whew this is a BIG one for me. And by big I mean hard!  I am going to have to remind myself of this everyday and take big deep breaths and really, really, REALLY try hard to do this.
  • Life is too short – I want to live it to the fullest with my family and enjoy all the moments we can together.

While I was only there for a short period of time I think that I was able to make a little bit of a difference.  I participated in projects at the orphanage including organizing all the donations we brought down there (thank you to all those that donated); organized the storage room; helped paint an outdoor chalkboard wall for the children; made corn hole and beanbag toss games; assembled a checkerboard tile area outside for the children; and put on a carnival in a jungle village (pie in the face – that was my station)! I also hope that I helped bring a few smiles to some of the children while I was there, because they certainly brought some smiles to my face.

I cannot say enough about the staff and volunteers of Casa Feliz and Bless an Orphan; they are amazing people who give up their entire lives and move thousands of miles away from their friends and families to help put smiles on these children faces everyday they truly are warriors. And the kids….they are the true warriors after having been through abuse, delinquency, corruption, neglect and worse, they are still smiling and happy to be alive and in a loving environment.  This was my first time doing something like this and it certainly won’t be my last.

Now I’m a warrior, I’ve got thicker skin, I’m a warrior I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, – Demi Lovato


9 Days, Worm Guts, A Yak Encounter | Heidi Hanson Photography

This may have been the best weekend of the summer, which is kind of sad considering summer is almost over, well it isn’t officially over until September, but kids are going back to school in 9 days (who’s counting) although I have noticed some leaves are starting to change color and actually fall off.

This weekend was Stryder’s official weekend, as we had promised him he would get an entire weekend this summer because his sister at Pageant weekend.  I had made a decision to not blog about pageant weekend due to personal reasons, however I will give you one quick photo.

Berkeley in her pageant production outfit

So needless to say Stryder carefully thought out his entire weekend, wrote out everything on a piece of paper, mind you he had enough activities on this list for 12 days, not two!  So it started out with camping! We camped out in the official Hanson campground (our backyard).  Right before that we had s’mores (also on the list). Which is always a fun filled evening.  If you follow my blog you will notice that I don’t sleep, ironically, that was the only night I slept and Justin was up all night!  Perhaps I should officially move to the Hanson campground.  Although my husband wouldn’t like it because we would have a permanent brown spot on the grass, oye. I was hesitant to do it, and the kids almost didn’t want me to sleep out, they know I have back issues, and I think they genuinely didn’t want me to hurt my back, either that or they thought I was going to yell at them for staying up all night.  All I know is last year when I slept in the tent, I woke up with Berkeley on my face, it was not a pleasant experience.

Next on the list was fishing, so out to the back yard to dig for worms.  Luckily Berkeley is an expert worm catcher. That girl can find worms in seconds, and not small little puny worms, I’m talking night-crawlers.  We went to our usually spot in Fairfield, unsure if the fish would be biting this late in the season, but hoping they would be for each kid to catch a fish, as any parent would be, because it has to be even!  First cast out to the running water and boom a hit, Berkeley helped me reel it in and it was nice little brook trout, yeah she was done!  Literally, she lost interest and began digging for more worms, again this girl was destined to this this, amazing how she just finds them!   Stryder kept feeding the fish with his worms!  Luckily we had plenty due to our little worm finder.  We actually had to break them in half they were too big for the hook.  No worry says Berkeley, as she literally rips the worm in half!  After baiting his hook a few more times, luckily he caught one, it had to be the smaller trout ever, but it still counts! Cross fishing off the list!

Then it was off to lunch and ice cream!  (We washed our hands at lunch, promise)! After that we set up his arts and crafts table!  Where we made necklaces, keychains and bracelets from his rock tumbler which was utilized earlier in the week.  Glitter, glue, scissors, construction paper, beads, etc.  everywhere, luckily we did it outside so the mess was easily contained.

Once that was cleaned up it was inside for some technology time, while I got ready for my fun shoot at Silver Hill Hospital, which the family joined me at.  This was an amazing experience where 7 Monks from the Tashi Kyil Monastery in Tibet were creating a Sand Mandala.  Before laying down the sand, the monks drew the design and then applied the sand granules using small tubes, funnels, and scrapers, until the pattern over-top is achieved. Sand mandalas traditionally take several weeks to build, due to the large amount of work involved in laying down the sand in such intricate detail. However, these seven Monks were only here for a few short days and were to finish the design on Tuesday.  It is common that a team of monks will work together on the project, creating one section of the diagram at a time, working from the center outwards.  A sand mandala is ritualistically destroyed once it has been completed and its accompanying ceremonies and viewing are finished to symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life.  This specific mandala will be placed in the Silvermine River with a special ceremony this week.




Along with viewing of the monks making the mandala, the community was able to “Travel to Tibet” to learn about the culture and religion of Tibet through chanting, song and dance.  The show was amazing, even my kids loved it!  However the show was a little hazardous for me to photograph.  I made the mistake (not once, but twice) kneeling (in a skirt, reason #1,000 why I never shoot in a skirt) of being up front in the aisle to try and get some great action shots of the Snow Lion and the Yak…and um yeah I got ran over by a Yak….bet you can’t say that has ever happened before?  Luckily there was a nice older man next to me that I literally jumped on didn’t mind!  Here are some photos from last night’s performance.  For more information about how to support the monks of Tashi Kyil Monastery please visit

Tashi Shoelpa Dance – Village Dance of Tibetans. White Beard mask symbolizes long life and good health.
Giant Panda – special animal of Tibet
Snow Lion Dance – Celestial animal of Tibet is symbolizes fearlessness, unconditional cheerfulness, the East and the Earth element.
The Yak Dance – Unique animal is symbolic of the Tibetan spirit of rugged strength and playfulness. And yes it ran me over!