Desi & Kyle’s E-Session

We had an amazing time with Desi and Kyle this past weekend shooting their engagement session. Let me start by saying this is the first E-Session we have done this year with no snow! My Floridan blood was very excited about this! Moving on, lets talk a little about this awesome couple:

Desi isn’t just one of our gorgeous 2018 Brides, she’s also like part of the family. I have heard so many fun stories from when she was growing up with Joe’s sister, I felt like I already knew her even though this was our first time meeting. Desi & Kyle live in Boston, and are planning their May wedding in Ohio. It was so much fun to chat with them about where they live, it made me add Massachusetts to the list of places I want to visit.

The weather absolutely loved them, to our surprise the sun was shining and it was actually bearable for them to take their coats off for a few shots. We found this hidden spot in the heart of Mill Creek Park, a cozy little nature center that had old charm with a hint of Victorian touches. Other then the clear fact that winter has made its way through there in the recent months, it was the perfect spot.

Spring was poking it’s head out in a few places, and this lovely little patch of bright green moss was screaming for us to capture it with Desi’s breathtaking ring.

These two were just so much fun to work with, we could not budge the smiles off of their faces. Their mood was absolutely contagious, and their love for each other effortless.


As I was looking through their session I thought of a quote that I’ve read in the past…

“The goal of love is to laugh forever with someone you take serious.”

It’s clear to see that they will have many years of laughter in their future…

We can’t wait for Desi & Kyle to say “I do.”




2018 a year for weddings!

2018 will be the year of weddings for many reasons. Last year we rolled out a brand new senior portrait program and the reception was fantastic!

In 2018 we are making changes to weddings in a good way. Over the past 10 years, we’ve been listening to what our brides like. We want to make them happy and give them a fun and stress free experience from start to finish.

Going into 2018 we will be rolling out a new bridal program with new wedding tips, a wedding guide, local wedding vendor partner discounts, and PRINT RELEASES!

That’s right, going forward, including all of our current brides, all weddings will include a print release for images up to size 5×7. Sizes over 5×7 will still be purchased through us or have the option of a premium print release that permits you to print any size.

More details and announcements coming soon…


LiBs Market: Bringing BIG tatses to a small town!

Today’s blog post is the first in a series that will feature local businesses. This month we are lucky to have a guest blogger Caroline McDermott. She is a long time friend and among her numerous titles is the Director of Piranha Aquatics, a fantastic swim program. Thank you very much Caroline for lending us your time and talents for this Small Town Spotlight. Make sure to check back often for more articles featuring local businesses.

LiB’s Market expands growing clientele base with addition of new head chef

When Ben and Lindsay Ratner purchased Friends Roastery in Salem, Ohio they had no idea where it would take them. They knew they loved the charming atmosphere of the space and had a passion for artisanally produced goods.

LiBs, which is housed in the historical Thomas-Griener Bank (built in 1858), already had a small kitchen that was being utilized for baked goods. When the Ratner family purchased the bank-turned news agency-turned coffee shop, they continued the tradition of offering pastries made from scratch, as well as offering locally roasted specialty coffee and loose-leaf teas.  Over the past 2 years, they have worked to transform the space into much more than a coffee shop.

Ben developed his passion for the food industry throughout his young-adult life.  “When I started taking classes at Kent State in the wine program, rather than psychology, my interests in the culinary arts was vastly elevated.”  Ratner has been a manager of a winery and worked in casual American-style restaurants throughout his time in college. His work at 1810 Tavern in Bridgewater, PA worked to further those interests.

After a few vineyard and winery internships as part of the enology program at Kent State, he moved to Kansas in the summer of 2013 to pursue a cellar master position at a winery.  The move and situation in Kansas didn’t work out to be the opportunity he hoped, so he returned to the area, slightly defeated, to regroup.

Because of their past experience in the food and wine fields, Ben felt it might be the right time to set out to create a business he and Lindsay could call their own while carving out a living together. Lindsay also had worked in the casual dining industry for over a decade, as well as obtained experience and culinary certification from a program in PA in 2012.

The couple put together their own LLC in the summer of 2014 and began organizing in-home dinner parties, corporate catering jobs, and custom pastry orders. After learning of the opportunity that presented itself in Salem in the spring of 2015, the couple decided to take the leap and closed on the purchase of the shop in late July 2015. They opened in August and in just a short time, they have grown LiB’s into a place beloved by many in the Salem community and beyond. The name LiB’s is derived from an arrangement of their kid’s and their own initials.

Portrait I took of Ben one evening before I had the pleasure of hanging out with Whiskey Pilot, a great Youngstown based band that he plays bass in.

“Pastries, tea & coffee are great, but we have to pay attention to the needs of the area. We saw  the opportunity to step in and meet a need for Salem: quick, healthy food options”

In October of 2015, they first started experimenting with more options on the menu of the cafè.  They installed a “grab and go” cooler where customers can grab healthy salads, wraps, in-house brewed iced tea and local sodas when on the go or working downtown.

Then they added Sunday Brunch after a patron of a music and poetry night suggested trying brunch for Valentine’s Day. It turns out she had the culinary chops to step into a creative and service roll at LiB’s. The patron was Sara Baer. Sara lives locally and is involved with several aspects of community development, and she saw her culinary training as an asset to the shop. Ben agreed, and it was her push for brunch and later for tacos, that really got the ball rolling for food service early on. It was so successful that over a year later, LiB’s has continued it’s brunch tradition every Sunday (besides some holidays) to capacity crowds for over a year.  


In the spring of 2016, LiB’s started testing out the concept of pop-up food events.

“We have held four pop-ups here at LiB’s in the past year,” Ratner said.  Members of the community pre-register for these popular events and in exchange receive an exclusive dining experience with a specifically themed dinner.

Not only did the business continue to grow, but the family did as well.  In the summer of 2016, the Ratner family added their son Simon to the LiB’s family. This slowed some of the plans for growth for a short time, but the new addition worked to showcase the community environment in the shop. With regulars stepping in as helping hands, his kid’s growing interaction with customers and day to day activities, it’s easy to see why people that frequent LiB’s feel like extended family.

Chef Don Ritenour

And now they are growing again, as the team at LiB’s brought on Chef Don Ritenour to take a lead role in the kitchen.

“I came into LiB’s with my girlfriend for brunch one-day last fall and I could just tell something special was going on,” said Ritenour. “She introduced me to Ben and Lindsay and then the next thing I know, I’m making tacos every Tuesday.”  

Since beginning to do Taco Tuesday in January 2017, Ben and Don have grown into an in-synch duo.  Early on in that time, they had been discussing bringing Chef Don on for more than just tacos, but both felt it best to wait until the time was right.  During their time working together and through the growth of Taco Tuesday, Chef Don started helping out with private events hosted at LiB’s after-hours. It was becoming clear that there were lots of opportunities on the way should Chef Don come on board in a larger capacity.

“A few weeks ago I messaged Ben about my taco plan for the week, and it turned out he already had a menu in mind and had already gone shopping for the food,” said Ritenour.  Ratner added,”The weirdest thing was I had already purchased the exact same ingredients he was thinking.”  Chef Don decided this was a sign the time was right and took the leap.

Chef Don Ritenour, formerly of the Lake Club in Poland, Ohio joined the LiB’s family full-time in May of 2017, and has taken the helm in the kitchen.

Ritenour, an experienced-trained chef from the Boardman area, has worked his way through the Youngstown culinary world for over 20 years. He has grown his skills and honed his style as he worked his way up from small mom and pop restaurants to fine dining.   

Ritenour describes his food style as his heart and soul on a plate.  “I want to bring the Salem area a unique and exciting culinary experience in a local, friendly environment.  In the past, I have been cooking food that most of my family and friends don’t get to enjoy because of the country-club exclusivity atmosphere, and being able to appeal to the masses has always been deep-rooted in my vision.”

“Having Don at LiB’s has allowed us to expand our food services,” said Ben.  “In addition to tacos and Sunday brunch, we have launched Flatbread Fridays and are offering a daily hot breakfast menu.”  In addition to the fresh offerings available daily, LiBs has also expanded by offering gourmet lunch boxes and special event catering both on and off-site

Ritenour added “I‘m glad to finally be able to have a place to pursue my goals and dreams and bring creative food ideas to the Salem community.  Because LiB’s kitchen is small and we are always coming up with new dishes to utilize fresh and local ingredients, it is an exciting and challenging space to work in.” He went on to say, “The environment of the kitchen provides the ability for an ever-changing, innovative menu that keeps people interested in our food.”  

“We always try to provide a vegetarian option, as well as offer gluten-free and allergy-friendly options to meet the varying dietary needs of the community,” said Ben.

Chef Don debuted in his new role this past May with a fun Cinco de Mayo party.  “It’s been a productive few months of development,” said Ben, “I think Chef Don fits in great, and the table is set to grow together alongside the expanding food & entertainment culture that is on the rise in Salem.”

As for what the menu is going to be?  “We rely heavily on social media to communicate our daily menu, pop-ups, and specials,” said Ratner. To stay current on their daily menu and events, be sure to check out their social media pages. Twitter & Instagram @LiBsMarket and Facebook; facebook/LiBsMarket.

Soccer Mom in the Studio.

In case you didn’t know we are a soccer family. This year all 4 of our boys are playing, and we couldn’t be prouder!
Watching their skills grow and seeing the look on their face when they score a goal, it’s literally the best feeling.
Joe and I wanted to take some fun soccer pictures with them this year because, well… Why not!? Everyone loves the yearly team photo, but when you happen to be a photographer sometimes it’s fun to use your own kids as guinea pigs!
We happened to have the green screen already set up, everyone’s uniforms were clean and *gasp* stain free (I’m certain that won’t last for long…) So we thought no time is better then the present, let’s do this!

About 2 minutes into this whole adventure, we realized our two littles jerseys just happened to be green…
And we are shooting on the GREEN screen, ugh.
Who’s idea was this anyways??? 😑
Ethan thought it was funny…
In my defense, it just so happen to be the first day of school as well. So my brain was scrambled eggs by this point in the day.
It’s okay, we’ll deal with it later…
All in all, we got some pretty awesome soccer pictures of our handsome players.

These fun ones were all Joe’s idea, he took their goofy faces and ran with it!


I of course wanted at least one of all of them with their tough soccer faces. How adorable!

 Achieving this pose was the equivalent of feeding a grain of rice to an elephant…

I definitely felt obligated to share the behind the scenes of our pictures, simply because our kids are like everyone else’s kid’s. They. Are. Kid’s! They are excited, hyper, silly, cranky, and hard to pose!
So don’t ever feel like your alone when your child is being difficult when you take them for pictures. Even the professional’s kid’s are crazy sometimes, that’s just how it is. So try to enjoy those crazy moments and silly face pictures. One day you will cherish them.

And, yes that IS the passcode to the “He-Man Women Haters Club” that Ethan is doing… Just in case you were wondering.

To teach, is to love…

One question we get alot is “Who takes pictures of you guys??”
Well… We do.
Up untill now that is, a couple of our children have recently shown some interest in photography. This year our oldest, Angelina will be starting her freshman year *gulp*.
She is taking photography as one of her electives, and has been asking to get behind the camera. With the launch of our new website Joe and I agreed we needed some new photos of us. So we grabbed a couple cameras, an off camera flash & Angelina and headed to Gulford Lake…
-Now I might add, a couple of years ago Angel got her own professional camera as a birthday gift, so she is no stranger to creativity behind the camera.

A picture Angel took on our trip to Florida.
 Her little brothers, and our family pets are always her subjects of choice however. But for the first time she is the photographer, taking pictures of photographers, that just so happen to be her parents.
That’s no easy task.
So, back to the story…
We set up the camera settings and the flash, then pretty much told her to have fun…
After several minutes of her getting comfortable with the camera, her creativity started flowing. One of our proudest moments of that night is when she started taking pictures of us when we didn’t expect it. Those are the pictures that we might not use for the website, but ones that we will cherish forever.
If we could teach our children anything about photography, it would be to capture moments like this.
     Pure, unexpected moments that you can’t pose or plan. That is what makes a good photographer a great one.
So who knows, maybe some day one (or all) of our kids will take up the family business, and keep our legacy alive. Or, maybe they will just use it as a hobby to take photos of their own children. No matter what they do, I hope one day when they pick up a camera or even take a picture on their phone they will think of us. Or their exposure…
Either way we will be proud.


This is how we roll…

One of our favorite types of sessions are engagement sessions. First of all, they are so much fun! Secondly, it gives us a great opportunity to get to know our bride and groom. We cannot stress enough how important it is for a subject to be comfortable around their photographers. Especially a bride and groom who will spend upwards to 12 hours with us on their wedding day. We have found that engagement sessions are a great way for couples to feel comfortable around us before their big day.

So here is a little bit from our most recent engagement session Danny and Pricie…

When we met Danny and Pricie at our very first meeting we knew right off the bat that they aren’t the typical bride and groom.
They referred to themselves as “Gearheads” and explained their love of old cars. As soon as we heard that Joe and I looked at each other with light bulbs going off in our minds, we are going to have fun with this one!

Pricie & Danny decided they wanted to go for a rockabilly themed E-session, (how cool!) since their wedding is going to be based around cars it tied into their theme perfectly.
We shot at Sliver Bridge and Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, Ohio.
No detail on their part was missed, from Pricie’s perfectly matched lipstick and nail polish to Danny’s wallet chain. They looked like they came straight out of a movie, literally.
It. Was. Perfect.
Their Monte Carlo even fit on the bridge like a glove.

Not only were Pricie & Danny on point but Mother Nature was on point that night as well.
The sky was amazing.

They may look fierce, but they are such a sweet and genuine couple.
Right now their big day is just about a year away, from the attention to detail they put into their engagement session we are certain their wedding is sure to blow us away…

New studio, New website, New Joseph Lynn Photography!

We wanted to completely give our website a new fresh look, because let’s be honest a lot has changed. But trust us, change is good!
Our new studio took a lot of time, passion, & creativity, and we couldn’t be happier with it. That project inspired us to give even more of us, into our business…

We absolutely love what we do, not many people can say they get to work with their best friend everyday and also do what they love. But, we can. One thing we have learned so far is, life is crazy, fast, & beautiful. To take those beautiful moments, stop them in time, and have the ability to share them with others is a pretty awesome thing if you ask me.
One thing we absolutely take pride in is if you aren’t our friend before you become our client, you will be. We love our clients, they are literally *The Best*!
One of the features of our new website that I (Rose) am super excited about is our blog. We love learning about our clients, when we take their pictures we want to tell their story. And there’s always a fun backstory behind so many of our photos, and now with our new blog we can share those stories. Hopefully you will find them as amusing as we do! We never seem to have a dull moment around here, and we wouldn’t change that for anything. We hope that everyone will get to learn a little more about us through our blogging as well.
Between our amazing experiences, funny stories, & crazy rant’s you’ll surely be amused.

As always be sure to like and check out our Facebook Page