Who in the heck is Donna Marie?

Hey there, friend!

If you’re here that means you’re interested in learning a little bit more about yours truly! Which is great! More than anything, I want to make sure that we vibe because life’s too short to be around people where you feel like you can’t be yourself. I’m not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s perfectly okay. So here are a few random facts about me! Maybe we will have something in common and can geek out over it!

Donna Marie Photo Co New York Photographer

  1. I have lived in Northern New York for the last 23 years. While I’m not originally from the area (I was born in Charleston, SC), this place has definitely become home. I prefer the longer winters, cooler temps, and the ability to drive to the ADK in the matter of a couple hours. The pace of life here is slower, quieter and it’s something that I have come to love, especially after living in larger cities such as Virginia Beach, or Dallas for a period of time.

  2. I’ve always loved photography, but didn’t become seriously interested in it until the birth of my son in 2008. Even then, I didn’t officially start my photography business until 2018ish. I dipped a couple toes into the business side of photography in 2016 where I would second shoot solely for other photographers (part time, as I worked as a bartender AND a full time ABA therapist at the time), learning all that I could – developing my own style, workflow, and understanding of the craft. Like many other photographers, in the beginning I shot anything and everything. These days, I’m all about love stories. Couples, weddings, elopements, and engagements are my favorite sessions to shoot because there’s nothing like the way a good love story hits. It’s the dopamine, friend. I’m addicted to the dopamine.

  3. Ya girl is educated in understanding the behavior of people. I have a Bachelor’s in Applied Behavioral Analysis (2016), a Master’s in Clinical Psychology (2018), and I’m currently working on my PhD in General Psychology (with a specialization in Psychological Research). I finished my doctoral program in the spring of 2021 summa cum laude (4.0 GPA). My education has definitely empowered me in my photography business in that I am able to understand, and empathize with all the nuances of your relationship with your partner. I’m bound to get all up in my feels during your celebration, or when you tell me all about how you met, or how the proposal went down…point is, it doesn’t matter how obscure, strange, or unconventional your love story is. I want your day to reflect you and everything about your relationship.

  4. My favorite band is the Deftones. There’s just something about the timbre of Chino Moreno’s voice that I can’t get enough of, the powerful lyricism, and the overall composition of their work. Also, there’s something to be said for a band that formed in 1988 and is still going strong to this day. Entombed is one of my absolute favorites. But my music tastes are wide and varied. You can find me listening to artists like Little Nas X, to Fleetwood Mac, to Empire of the Sun, to Maurice Ravel, to Dwight Yoakam, to French Horn Rebellion, to AFI. (Yes, ya girl did have her very own emo stage and I embrace it!)

  5. I’m married to my best friend, partner in crime, and love of my life, Kendell. We met in the Spring of 2016 , but didn’t start talking until fall 2017. We started officially dating on January 1st, 2018. He proposed on April 2nd (he didn’t want me to think it was a joke by proposing on the first), and we married on December 1st, 2018. I couldn’t imagine life without him. He is truly my biggest supporter in all that I do. He also is the best bonus Dad I could have asked for. He and my son get on amazingly and that is so important to me.

  6. While I love all creatures big and small, I have a particular soft spot for birds. You have your cat people, your dog people, and even your lizard people. But this gal is definitely a bird person. Mr. Darcy is my serama rooster companion and I love him like he were my own child (which I’m pretty sure any pet parent can relate to this). You can find the story of how Mr. Darcy came into my life in this blog post. Bird watching while out on an adventure is one of my favorite things to do. I’m also quick to spot any birds in the area and will usually take a moment to observe in awe. Maybe one day, in my golden years, I will be able to open a bird sanctuary where I can provide care and love to rescued birds.

  7. I am probably one of the biggest geeks you will ever meet. I’m definitely quirky, and hands down nerdy. I’m a gamer and I definitely enjoy video games with well written storylines. Some of my favorite games include: Parasite Eve II, the Mass Effect trilogy, the Bioshock series, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Fallout: New Vegas. While I haven’t been able to keep up on any recent anime, Sailor Moon will always be my favorite anime series. (Psst, Sailor Mars and Sailor Neptune are where it’s at.) I’m also an avid fan of Dungeons & Dragons! I’m not able to join any campaigns currently due to my educational workload sadly. But, I developed and implemented a course for Cornell’s after-school programs across New York State for youth (middle and high school aged students) to play D&D while teaching fundamental skills such as social literacy, problem solving, and critical thinking in 2017 that is still being used today.

  8. I have a particularly large collection of Kirby figurines and plushies. There’s just something about the round, pink video game character that I have loved since childhood and now that I’m an adult, and I have adult money, I’ve established a collection. If you’ve seen some of the reels I’ve shared on Instagram, you’ll know. Judge me all you want, I’m all about doing what makes you happy. Kirby makes me happy.

  9. I am a huge proponent for equal rights, asexual advocacy (as well as all sexual orientation minorities), and hold pretty progressive political views. It’s almost like the older I get, the more progressive I become with my political alignment. I have a zero tolerance policy regarding racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, or any other “phobia” based on someone’s sexual orientation or religion. It is the paradox of tolerance: to maintain a tolerant society, society must be intolerant of the intolerant. Does this mean that I won’t document your wedding if we hold differing views? Not necessarily. But the chance of this happening is never zero.

  10. I am not a licensed psychologist! Yes, I have a PhD in psychology. No, I do not practice psychology in a clinical setting. I used to practice as an ABA therapist years ago, providing clinical support to school aged children with ASD. But I found that I have a very difficult time separating work from home with regard to the stories, experiences, and things I would witness. I would essentially bring heartbreak home with me from my clients and it began to negatively affect my own mental health. Instead, I have discovered that psychology education and psychological research are strong interests that allow me to assist others without damaging myself at the same time.4O5A1696.jpgDSC_0060-3.jpgDSC_2730.jpgSarah_Heppell_Photography_039_KS_SHP_1198.jpgIMG_4235.jpgIMG_1350.jpg4I9A0287.jpgIMG_0812-2.jpgIMG_8272.jpg

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About me

Donna Marie

Your elopement + wedding photographer and planning assistant. I'm your body positive bestie, dream vendor locator, facilitator of 10 second dance parties, and your unobtrusive personal paparazzi for when you say your vows. 

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