Rochester NY Child Photographer Rochester NY Child Photographer

Sweet little Norah is turning 1! Mama decided to celebrate by booking a session with a Rochester NY child photographer named Dani O’Neal! That’s right me. 🙂 Not surprising since it’s my page right?! Anyway little miss was super adorable during her session. She might have actually been the most relaxed 1 year old I have ever met. Rochester NY Child PhotographerMama requested simple and sweet so that is just what we did. Now that I am in my studio space I am able to create adorable scenes like this at the drop of a hat.
Rochester NY Child PhotographerMy family and I were checking out Fairport, NY the day before the session and I came across this perfect washbasin at The Cozy Cottage. It is seriously the most adorable antique store I have ever step foot into. I’m sure I will be picking up more props up from there in the future. Rochester NY Child PhotographerRochester NY Child PhotographerIf you want to book a milestone session with my hop on over here for all the info!

Today was a cool day! Today I got an email from Expertise saying that I have been selected as one of the Best Family Photographers in Chicago for 2017! How cool is that?! Anyway, thought I should share over here how incredibly lucky I feel to have served the Chicagoland area. I miss all my clients and hope to return for a visit (and maybe some sessions) soon. Moving forward, I’m so excited to be able to share my talent with the Rochester area now.


Best Family Photographers in Chicago


If you are interested in booking a session with me, be sure to hop on over here to learn more about Dani Braden Photography!

It’s been busy over here in the O’Neal home. Still getting settled, finding dentists, and making friends. There are about a million things to do when you move and purchase a home. Once you have kids there are about a million more things on top of that. Own a business, add one million more things just for fun. Overall, since moving, I’ve had to juggle about three million things all at once to try and get into a groove in our new home. In our spare time, we have been exploring as much as possible in our new community. One of our favorite places we have found so far is Letchworth State Park. It is known as the Grand Canyon of the East and it truly is incredible to see. As my birthday approached we found out about Red, White, & Blue Balloon Festival at the park. So I was super excited to capture some Letchworth State Park photographs.Letchworth State Park Photographs

We woke up at 4:30am. Quietly as possible, got dressed and packed our things. We were attempting to be completely ready to drive away before waking the kids up to go. Letchworth is about a hour from our house. We were hoping that the kids might just fall back asleep on our drive out there, but of course since they are toddlers they did what we didn’t expect at all and woke up in great moods. Ready for adventure! Fred and I joke often, and lovingly, about how we torture our toddlers through way to many road trips. Apparently, it all had paid off this morning when the kids were thrilled to be dragged out of bed to sit in the car.

The entire ride there we were nervous about what was going to happen. The night before they decided not to launch the balloons due to poor weather conditions. As we were driving down the highway with very little visibility and a lot of fog we seriously were wondering if this trip would be worth it.

Lucky for us, we arrived at precisely the right time. They were just starting to unload the balloons from the trailers and we were able to watch the entire process from start to takeoff. Jack and Tommy were seriously amazed by the process the entire time. It is definitely a different kind of special to be able to experience something completely new and amazing with your children. We were all equally in awe of how magnificent and huge these things were. While watching with excitement as 30 hot air balloons were inflated before our eyes, I snapped a few photographs of the kids. Then as if my birthday couldn’t get any better, Fred did an amazing job of capturing a few of me with the boys. In the words of Jack, “Today is a very nice day!”

Letchworth State Park PhotographsLetchworth State Park Photographs

Letchworth State Park Photographs
Letchworth State Park PhotographsLetchworth State Park PhotographsLetchworth State Park PhotographsLetchworth State Park PhotographsLetchworth State Park PhotographsLetchworth State Park PhotographsLetchworth State Park PhotographsLetchworth State Park PhotographsLetchworth State Park Photographs

This is just a glimpse into our life. Trust me, most days are not this epic. However, this day was special and I’m so happy that I get to remember this day forever with photos. Have a special day coming up you want to remember with your family? Click here to learn how to book a session with me! 🙂

Maple Tapping!

We arrived to our new home in Western New York near the end of January. The first weekend we were here a few neighbors came over to welcome us to the neighborhood. It was incredibly kind and definitely gave Fred and I an overwhelming sense of welcoming into our new neighborhood and new home. Once again reaffirming our decision to move. During many of these initial greetings a couple of neighbors mentioned that they loved the maple tree on our property. The obvious conclusion was to tap the maple tree.

I decided to google how to make syrup from a maple tree. My only prior experience of maple sugaring is that episode of Curious George where George learns how to make syrup. I assumed Curious George probably left out some details. Surprisingly, it was actually really easy, fun, and a great activity to keep myself and the boys active during the late winter.

There is a ton of information online about maple sugaring at home, but the greatest resource I found I got over at Tap My Trees. All the info you need is on their website, but I prefer to have something on hand so I was super excited that they included this short book with their kit.
Tap Your Maple Tree

This is the kit I got!! It had everything I needed, buckets, lids, spiles, hooks, cheesecloth, and the correct size drill bit. I went with this kit, but there are a lot of other options online. Tap my trees also have kits with plastic buckets, if you want to save a few bucks. Also, an alternative is to just buy their spiles, because they are awesome, and just hang anything you have laying around to it, like cleaned out milk jugs or any other food safe plastic container. Tap Your Maple TreeTap Your Maple Tree

Fred did the drilling, because frankly he is much more confident drilling and I didn’t want to mess it up. The tap holes, if doing more than one, should be spaced around the circumference of the tree. The height should just be a height that is convenient for you. Ideally, the tap hole should be on the south side of the tree or above a large root. You need to drill at a slight upward angle to help facilitate the downward flow of the sap from the hole. You only want to drill in about 2 inches, so put a piece of tape around your drill bit, so you don’t hurt your tree. Tap Your Maple Tree

Before we even hung the spiles, sap was flowing! This is a shot I got shortly after we got everything hung. Sap flows in early-February and March. Basically whenever the daytime temperatures get above freezing and the nighttime temperatures fall below. That pressure is what causes the sap to be pushed down into the trees root system. The weekend we tapped was in the 50’s so this basically was a crazy time to decide to tap our tree. We have a large mature maple tree so we hung three buckets. By the next morning they were all full!
Tap Your Maple TreeTap Your Maple TreeTap Your Maple Tree


We had no idea how much sap we would get, but total during the whole season we ended up with about 40 gallons of sap. To put this in perspective for you, it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. So basically, we boiled sap for about two weeks this winter. I learned a lot about this process while doing it. Boiling takes a long time and it is very steamy, so unless you have a strong exhaust fan be prepared for either a lot of steam inside the house or just doing this outside. We boiled small batches inside, with a window open and our exhaust fan on high and it was fine.
Tap Your Maple Tree
Tap Your Maple Tree

And finally the finished product!!! This was from the very first boil. Two tiny jars from an entire day of boiling. Pretty amazing. As the season went on the sap produced darker and richer syrup, which is my favorite. So if you are wondering what we are doing right now, we are probably eating french toast!

Spring Session Ad1

Hey there,

I’m sure you jumped over here to hear all about my spring limited edition sessions, so here is the deal. A limited edition session, is just that limited. I only offer these one or two times a year, basically whenever the mood strikes and I’m only booking 6! These are also the only sessions I offer that only include digital images! So for those of you who aren’t interested in prints or just don’t have the time to commit to a full session this is for you.

So I just moved to Pittsford from Chicago and ever since I’ve arrived I have been itching to do a session over at Powder Mills Park. It’s so lush a green right now, it’s just the perfect backdrop for families, toddlers, or older kiddos too! Perfect for a last minute Mother’s Day gift (Dads hint, hint!!)  or just because. Here are the details:

Spring session blog1


If this looks like something you are interested in or you have any questions shoot me a message now! I can’t wait to hear from you!