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Behind-the-Scenes of Merry & Kelly's Engagement Shoot by Amanda Liew

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  When my roommate's boyfriend, Kelly, told me he was going to propose, I died trying to keep it a secret. When Merry & Kelly did get engaged, I celebrated and told the world. When Merry hilariously asked me to take her engagement photos, I panicked and laughed...and then pointed them in the direction of someone with more experience: my good friend Rob Cleary. Nevertheless, the four of us went together to the Central Park Conservatory Garden on a beautiful Saturday evening when the weather was the perfect mix between spring and summer. As Rob dutifully snapped away, I took on the role of hair-fixer, bag-holder, sign-maker as well as behind-the-scenes-capturer. I love these candids because of how they capture Merry & Kelly's relationship - from the ridiculous sarcastic jokes constantly bouncing back and forth to the secret glances and smiles that they don't think I see. It brings me so much joy to see Merry & Kelly build their life together, and I can't be happier to be a part of their journey! To see Rob's engagement session photos click here.

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Meet Me at the Flower District by Amanda Liew

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Last Saturday, I traveled with my dear friend Victoria to the flower district. Between 6th & 7th Ave along 28th Street, there are scattered flower stores throughout. It was one of the first true days of Spring, and I was in awe at the colors, the vibrancy, and the freshness of the flowers. Even though they weren't quite sprouting from the ground, something about it felt so fitting for how this city does spring. I was fortunate enough to have my camera on-hand from a photoshoot earlier that morning, and couldn't resist getting some tight shots of nature at its finest. Can you tell tulips are my favorite? From a photography standpoint, I was actually quite amazed at how little I had to edit these photographs with Camera Raw. I've recently been shooting both in Manual mode and with Manual Focus as a means of solving the focus issues I've been having with my 50mm prime lens. I've found that I'm much happier with my photos afterward - probably because I'm putting more thought and precision into my settings and how I'm framing the shot. I've included the settings along with each photo below: _DSC0378_Chelsea F/2.0 | 1/250 | ISO 100_DSC0394_Chelsea F/4.0 | 1/60 | ISO 1600 (this was shot indoors)_DSC0405_Chelsea

F3.5 | 1/60 | ISO 200_DSC0427_Chelsea

F2.8 | 1/125 | ISO200_DSC0454_ChelseaF3.5 | 1/1000 | ISO1600 (Clearly the ISO was a leftover setting and for some reason I decided to compensate with the shutterspeed..the reverse would probably have made more sense)

[Stop #11 - 16]: The Caribbean by Amanda Liew

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Not to be outdone by my post-graduation trip, my family insisted on taking a Caribbean cruise before I moved to New York. This trip was actually the last time our entire family would be able to do a vacation together since I was starting work and my brother was going to law school. So with only 5 days in San Diego after getting back from Malaysia, we were jetting off to a Carnival cruise boat in the Caribbean to start our adventures! Stop 11: St. Thomas Magen's Bay - frequently voted as one of the Top 10 Beaches in the World! Still not sure it was as good as Sihanoukville, Cambodia though!

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Stop 12: Barbados - Had a chance to do a trip throughout the island to see all the various farms and plantations! The island was lush beyond belief and green for miles

_DSC0070 Is it just me or are there monkeys in every country but America? Not fair...

_DSC0073_CbnStop 13: St. Lucia - Probably my favorite port of call on the cruise. We hopped off our boat onto another to do a catamaran ride around the island. I fell in love with the cities hidden in the hills - the colors of the houses popped brightly against the foliage

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Stop 14: St. Kitts - We had the opportunity to ride on an old sugar train where we ate sugar cake as we took in the island

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Stop 15: St. Maarten - I had the chance to bust out my waterproof camera yet again and couldn't believe what a clear aqua-like color the water was! Even though both my dad and I look hilarious in the picture below, I love how happy we look

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Stop 16: San Juan, Puerto Rico - Our final stop on the cruise where we stayed an extra day to explore the city. Partially because of the extra time and partially because of the city itself, this was my favorite part of the entire trip. I loved how there was a historical aspect embedded in the entire city - every street carried such a story with it!

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It was also a great opportunity to try some delicious food at local restaurants. The cruise provided 5 meals a day of ridiculously decadent food, but it was nice to break away and try something authentic! We went to La Boveda de Triana and had an amazing seafood paella during our dinner along with other dishes of charizo, squid, eggplant and manchengo cheese, and more! The next morning we went to Cafeteria & Rest. Mallorca to get pastries - some filled with raspberry and some filled with cheese. Nomz all around!_DSC0252

With all of that, I bid my family goodbye and flew directly from Puerto Rico to JFK airport to move into my new home! What a trip. What an adventure.