Want to know more about your photographer? Read on!!

Don’t care that much and want to see pictures? Go here.

The number one thing people ask me at sessions is: did you go to school for this? The short answer is no. My college degree is in multimedia with a focus on web development. But I did and do take a LOT of non-official photography courses. I’m not getting any credits or credentials for them but I like to think they make me a better photographer.

I also did not make this website … which is the natural next question if you know I majored in web development. It’s a template. But I did do a LOT of tweaking to make it mine and there’s a small chance I couldn’t have done that otherwise.

The reason I do lifestyle photography? I just have to. It’s what I naturally do with my own kids and it makes me so happy when I look at those pictures. I’m SO glad I have these REAL pictures of my kids doing what they love. Back in January of 2013 I took a lifestyle photography course that forced me to take a TON of pictures of my kids. I mean a TON. But my album from that year is amazing. I feel like I captured SO much. It’s also over 200 pages long. So part of me is convinced that this is what everyone really wants … some people just don’t know it. Also it’s so much less stressful and MORE FUN than the standard posed session with the fake smiles.

I’m currently 36 years old and I’ve had this business for 10 years now. I started out being younger than most of my clientele and now I’m older than most of them. That’s life!! I also began before having kids of my own and now I’ve got 6 and 8 year old girls. Some of my initial customers are now TEENAGERS!

My absolute favorite thing to do in my spare time is sew. I actually have a small shop on Etsy that doesn’t get much traffic (or attention from me, at this point). I make my own clothes and a lot of my kids clothes. There’s something about sewing that makes me feel totally at peace. My husband and I are currently house hunting and having a sewing space in the new house is an absolute must.

Examples of things that I’ve made (because I can’t have a blog post with no photos):

This dress was a favorite of mine … but she accidentally ripped it on a tree branch the second time she wore it. Like RIPPED it destroyed. 🙁

Does this scream “first day of school” photo? Cause it is. It was her first day of her last year of pre-school … and I loved this dress.

Leotards and swim suits are one of my favorite things to make … so it’s a good thing I’ve got one little gymnast and one little swimmer.

These Anna and Elsa outfits. What home is complete without it?

This coat. That was a labor of love for sure. The inside is fleece with cats on it.

This whole outfit, from top to bottom including the coat (one of my favorite projects ever). The skirt band can also pull up to be a strapless dress.

At this moment, my dream is to make this business big. I mean not BIG but successful for me. I want to bring home a decent income while also not working 60 hours a week. My ideal spot would be 2 sessions per week with at least 75% of people doing sales sessions too. Unfortunately for me, business is not my natural forte so it takes me about 10 times longer than everyone else.

Got any questions for your favorite photographer? Ask me!!

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I’ve been at this photography thing for a long time now. 10 years! It’s longer than most people in the industry these days. My business has gone through MANY phases. The low end, the high end, the posed, the non-posed, the middle ground … I’ve done it all. Which is why I can say with certainty that I am now where I have always wanted to be.

But I think a lot of families just don’t quite GET lifestyle photography. So let me attempt to explain it to you.

Lifestyle photography is for more REAL. It is, truly, real life. It is the little moments. These are the little moments that make up our lives. Yes your child looks super adorable posed just this way with her little hands just that way smiling at the camera … but is that really her? Or is THIS really her?

I know you MAY not want want that on your wall (but you may … I would) … but which one will help you remember your daughter’s spunky personality 10 years from now? Which one will make you laugh and say “oh she was such a little goofball!”

My favorite way to conduct a lifestyle session is by picking an activity. Any activity is fine … preferably one that means something to you. There are SO many options:

  • Easter – egg hunts or egg dying
  • Christmas – decorating the tree and having hot chocolate
  • Winter – playing in the snow, building snowmen and sledding
  • Summer – a trip to the playground and ice cream
  • Let your kids go crazy and paint themselves
  • Bake a treat with your kids if this is something you do together often
  • Go somewhere special together – Children’s Museum? Zoo? Kennywood?
  • Capture your kids making art work or building something
  • Playing in a creek or at the pool

Literally ANYTHING that is of importance to you and your family … ANYTHING that you want to remember in the future. THIS is the kind of photography that makes memories.

Not to mention the stress reliever that is not needing to force your small child to actually sit still for more than 3 seconds.

This image is from my own family’s lifestyle session several years ago. We baked together and then I wanted to be sure I had this moment captured. My youngest daughter was phasing out of naps. But we had a routine where I would rock her and sing to her every day before she went to sleep. It was so important to me that I capture it. And I’m SO glad I did because I barely remember it now that she is 6 years old. Look how tiny and adorable she is!!

Do I look perfect in these photos? Not at all. There are several that I immediately look to my mid-section and think … that shirt is too tight. I needed to lose 10lbs. Or, what is UP with my hair? But do I regret having them taken? NOT AT ALL. They are beautiful. They are my family at that moment. They help me remember (and I need all the help I can get). That’s what makes them perfect.

Thanks to Maria Manco for these images. 🙂

I just need to make one more point … accompanied by a lot of images. I often say that my sessions are PERFECT for making albums. There are so many little moments that you want to have them all together to tell a story. But you’ll see that in the midst of all the goofy faces, and kids running amok, I also capture the normal, standard, perfect portrait that most people seem to like to hang on their walls. So it truly is the best of both worlds. Also … if it doesn’t happen naturally … I am more than happy to pose you for a handful of images.

These images are my own family at Idlewild 3 years ago. Every year I make a point of photographing my family at an amusement park. It used to be Idlewild … now it’s Kennywood as they are a bit older. These are some of my most treasured images.

family on a ride at idlewildface paint at idlewildface paint at idlewildmerry go round at idlewildkiddie rides at idlewildturnpike at idlewildbumper cars at idlewild

So in conclusion I hope you take one point from this whole blog post:

It’s not about the smiles or the clothes … it’s about the MOMENTS.

Let me capture your everyday.

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Photography! What an amazing gift!

I met this awesome family through one of the daughters. She and I are in a small business group together. And while she now lives in NY, she was born and raised here in the ‘burgh! So when she saw my photography business in our group, she instantly hired me to photograph her new niece (as a surprise for them!).

Her new niece and her parents and grandparents and aunts, that is. Extended family photography!

Since more than half of our subjects were coming from out of town for the session, we knew we had to pick an indoor location. Phipps is one of the few options we’ve got here … plus it’s super pretty so win! In the end it didn’t matter because it was a gorgeous (hot) day.

And I love this family! So friendly and fun! At one point while baby girl was being fed and changed, mom and her daughters just had a random goofy photo shoot. And despite the difficulty of trying to shoot inside Phipps on a weekend, I think the pictures came out really well. I can’t wait for our ordering session next week! Thanks Skype!

Enjoy.

baby girl with parents at phippsbaby footbaby girl with her dad at phippsbaby girl being read a tiger bookbaby girl asleep in mombaby girl with her grandparentsbaby girl with her auntmom and daughter being goofy at phippsmom and daughter being goofy at phippsmom and daughters giving kissesextended family at phippsbaby girl with family at phippssisters

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Have you been to this place? What a great playground! I can’t believe I’ve never taken my kids here. It definitely needs to be put on the to-do list.

These guys were amazing for their family photography session. They came prepared with activities for the kids and had a blast just running around and having fun! That’s what it’s all about! The kiddos were about as cute as you can get. And apparently the little girl warmed up to me so well that dad was shocked. I should get her to write a testimonial. Can 2 year olds do that?

But truly I had so much fun photographing these guys. I hope I get to do it again someday!

baby boy in the baby swinglittle girl swinging highlittle girl feet on the swingsfamily blowing bubbleslittle girl playing with bubblesbaby boy with momlittle girl running in the fieldfamily playinglittle girl playing in a fieldlittle girl playing with dadbaby boy with momfamily walking togetherdad and kid at blue slide parklittle girl at blue slide park

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This family photo session started with a bit of a surprise when I found my family. For some reason, in my mind, they had a two year old child. And yet here I was presented with a seven year old! My brain doesn’t always work properly.

But what a pleasant surprise! I don’t often get to photograph kids this age and I have to say it’s always so much fun when kids can actually hold a conversation. He told me all about his friends, his school, his sports … well he just really enjoyed talking. And I love a kid who knows how to have a good talk. When I told him to run up the hill and back, as I often do because kids are cute when they run, he BOOKED it faster than I’ve ever seen a kid run. Only one of those pictures was even in focus he was going so fast (seen below). When we got the playground we had to tell him he had to walk everywhere just so I could keep up. And he was so sweet trying to do all the letters of the sign language alphabet.

I really enjoyed this session and I can’t wait for their ordering session next week!

little boy on the slidelittle boy talkingboy smiling at the cameraboy looking over the fencepittsburgh family walking down a pathboy playing at the playgroundboy trying to do sign languagefamily sitting in the grasslittle boy runninglittle boy counting on his fingers

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