North Hills Sisters Session around Pittsburgh’s Cultural District

I’ve mentioned how fun these tween/teen sessions are to do.  Well, I now have evidence!

Last year, this tween’s mom contacted me because she new her daughter would love an experience like this.  She was right.  Her Boho session in a local park was so much fun and she loved her images.  Big sister wanted to participate too but in true teenage fashion, she couldn’t quite make the early morning session time that we set.

As you can imagine, I was excited and surprised to hear from mom last month.  She contacted me saying that both girls wanted to have a teen session this year!

And It was such a great session and so different from last year!  This year the girls decided that they wanted to plan a urban teen shoot.  They wanted a city location and they decided to have one of their outfits be their volleyball uniforms!  With such different images, I decided to break up their blog posts into 2 parts- the city session and then their volleyball session.

Session Details-Teen/Tween Session

  • Session Type: Teen/Tween Sisters
  • Subject: Tween girl, Teenage Sister
  • Location: Downtown Pittsburgh, Cultural District

What I love about these sessions is seeing the confidence just come through as my clients get more comfortable with the camera!  Just a few glimpses at what I’m capturing on the back of my camera can give a huge boost to confidence and transform the session.

Pittsburgh tween urban portrait sessionPittsburgh teen urban portrait session

Pittsburgh teen urban portrait sessionPittsburgh urban teen sister portrait session

Pittsburgh teen urban portrait sessionPittsburgh tween urban portrait session

Pittsburgh tween urban portrait session

Pittsburgh teen urban portrait sessionPittsburgh teen urban portrait sessionPittsburgh tween urban portrait sessionAs you can see, downtown Pittsburgh can provide a wide variety of backdrops for portraits.  In just this session, I found sculptural elements, bright airy spots, industrial and the natural ivy wall!  And all of it was available within a 5 minute walk!  It’s one of the things that I love about shooting downtown.

Is it time to update your portraits?  Contact me!  There are still appointments available for families and tweens!


Long Beach Island Vacation

Our visits to the beach each summer are full of relaxing, reading, soaking up the sun and just enjoying family time without the world’s intrusion.  We don’t watch TV or listen to the radio (aside from occasional classical music).  We still check our phones but that is minimal too.  Our vacations are for the most part, unplugged and I love it.

So what do we do with all of that time?  Lots of talking and connecting.  Lots of games of doubles solitaire.  And I always have my camera out.

Last year, I was determined to do some photos of my daughter, my beach girl.  I picked up a long and flow-y white dress and we walked over to the beach around sunset. It was magical!  I loved the images of my girl and she loved getting her dress wet in the waves!

We were both excited to do this again.

Same dress, Same beach.

My girl insisted on wearing the same dress.  It still fit but a little tighter and a little shorter.  Yep, she’s growing.  Still there is something classic, almost timeless about a girl in a white dress on the beach.  Still beautiful.

girl in white dress walking on the beach, Long Beach Island New Jerseytween girl in a white dress on Long Beach Island, NJtween girl in a white dress on Long Beach Island, NJtween girl in a white dress on Long Beach Island, NJtween girl in a white dress on Long Beach Island, NJgirl in white dress walking on the beach, Long Beach Island New Jersey

What do I love the images of my beach girl?

Well, of course I think my daughter is beautiful and I’m almost desperate to stop time and soak all of the moments in because they’re passing by so fast.  I can’t even fully express all that I think as I watch her transform from my goofy little peanut into this poised young lady.

And yet there is something more of value to these images.

My daughter isn’t camera-shy.  She isn’t afraid to make a silly face or strike a goofy pose.  Her favorite images are the ones where she’s wearing her glasses because they’re more “her.”  She’s fearless.  She’s confident.  confident

That has been what I wanted for her.  From the moment I looked at her sweet face, I wanted her to not question her value or worth but to be confident in who she is as well as how she looks.

Yes, it’s not perfect. She has her moments of doubt as most of them do, especially at this age but they are brief and quickly forgotten.

And that’s why I do this.


Summer Session with My Beach Girl

The beach is my happy place!  The breezes, the salty air, the sound of waves crashing… all of those little details combine to bring me just enough joy that I can overlook my annoyance with sandy feet.

The Jersey Shore has been our beach destination for the past several years and I’ve always wanted to do beach pictures.  Unfortunately, I never seem to have the time or a cooperative subject.  The days pass so quickly on vacation.  And my little beach girl is more interested in playing than posing!

This year, I made a point of doing some planning and making it happen.  It helped that it became more important to my girl when she saw the pretty dress that I picked up for the session.

It worked out perfectly!  My girl in her dress with sun-kissed cheeks and salty hair on the beach with the setting sun.

  • Subject – tween girl
  • Location- Long Beach Island, New Jersey


girl in white dress walking on the beach, Long Beach Island New Jersey

girl in white dress sitting on the beach, Long Beach Island New Jersey

beach girl in white dress, Long Beach Island New Jerseygirl in white dress on the beach, Long Beach Island New Jersey

girl in white dress on the beach, Long Beach Island New Jerseygirl in white dress dancing on the beach, Long Beach Island New Jersey

Take the Time

I look back at these images and I’m so happy that I took them.  That I made the time to take them.  My girl is growing.  I’m seeing her transform from a little girl into a young lady.  Images like this freeze those moments.  I can look back at how carefree she danced in the waves in the dress that was a little too big.  I can remember her chasing seagulls, running and laughing with her crazy hair blowing in the wind.

My advice to you and to all the parents out there- take the pictures!  Don’t direct.  Don’t force looks and smiles.  Sit back and observe and take the pictures.  Be the document-er of your child’s history.  Not just when they’re little but also as they grow.

And take the time to have someone capture you with them.


Let’s pretend to be Mermaids…

Mermaids have been filling up my facebook and instagram feeds for the past few weeks.  I love seeing new trends and while I don’t jump on board with all of them, this particular one seemed to fit well with what I do.  My storybook sessions are all about pretending, imagining and playing dress-up.  They let your child become a character- a fairy, a princess, a superhero or  even a Jedi warrior.  They’re about capturing those moments when possibilities are endless.

And I happen to know a little girl who has wanted to become a mermaid for as long as she can remember.  We finally made it happen.

Session Details: Mermaids

  • Session Type: Storybook Session
  • Subjects: toddler girl and older sister
  • Location: Lake Erie

This session started out with some challenges.  It was very windy and only in the mid 70s which made the breeze blowing in off the water a little chilly.  The waves were rough, so rough that swimming was not allowed at this particular beach.  That didn’t stop a few visitors from enjoying the beach and walking in the surf.

All of that made my little subject come down with a bit of stage fright.  Yes, sometimes, when you’re in the moment, you end up nervous and hesitant to just jump in.  It took a little patience and some encouraging but she put the costume on.

Then there was the challenge of getting a mermaid into position.  Never once did I ever think part of my job would be carrying mermaids.  But it was what I needed to do so I picked her up and plopped her down.  Still nervous but enjoying her fins, I started to snap some images.  I showed my shy mermaid the back of the camera and everything changed.  She really was a mermaid!!  She was so excited!  Suddenly the people and the cool breeze didn’t matter.

girl in blue mermaid costume on the shore of Lake Eriegirl in blue mermaid costume on the shore of Lake Erieclose up of girl with seashell crown at Lake Eriegirl in blue mermaid costume on the shore of Lake Erie

 “Not yet.”

I thought we were just photographing one little girl, maybe 2 because my daughter was interested in trying this out.  I didn’t expect to photograph 3 mermaids! But right after big sister got out of the mermaid costume, a little voice insisted that it was her turn.  This was a size 10 costume.  The voice was from a 3 year old little girl.  I wasn’t sure how this was going to happen but the little one was determined.

So we decided to try.

Surprisingly, it fit or came close enough that you couldn’t really tell.

Once again, I carried the little mermaid over to the shore and she sat and played.

toddler girl in blue mermaid costume on the shore of Lake Erietoddler girl in blue mermaid costume on the shore of Lake Erietoddler girl in blue mermaid costume on the shore of Lake ErieAfter about 15 minutes, I asked her if she was ready to be done being a mermaid.  “Not yet.”

I snapped a few more images and asked her again.  She was no longer looking at me but just digging in the sand.  “Not yet.”

This went on for quite a bit longer.  It ended up taking a little persuasion to coax the littlest mermaid out of her tail but we did.  I love that it worked out and I learned that this costume will work on a variety of sizes.

Being able to dress-up and pretend is such a special part of childhood that passes by so quickly.  Storybook sessions capture those moments for you and your child to look back on and remember.  Contact me for more information about planning a storybook session with your child.


Making Time

If you’ve been following me for a while, you are probably aware of my latest fixation with time and how it seems to be passing by so fast.  I can’t help but wonder if this is my version of a mid-life crisis since I’ll be turning 40 soon!  Yeah, not sure how I feel about that one but ready or not, it’s coming.

With this fixation, I find myself focusing on preserving time and I do that through images.

When you make time to have portraits taken (and then printed) you can see the changes that you might miss going about daily life.

A few weeks ago, good friends of mine were visiting for a few days.  Actually, some of you might be sick of seeing them but I’m okay with that.  They been the subject of a few recent blog posts.  If these images do anything, I want them to stand as reminders to my audience to have your kids photographed because I believe in the importance of documenting lives, especially the lives of our family.

This post is called Then and Now because I wanted to share the comparison of the older boys and how much they’ve grown since their previous portrait session with me.

Then was Christmas 2014, and my, how the boys have changed…


boy with glasses in gray sweater vest and red plaid shirt


boy in blue framed glasses and light blue t-shirt


boy in blue sweater vest and red plaid shirt


boy in blue t-shirt


They were little boys and their baby brother.

boys with toddler brother


They are young men and their kid brother.

young brothers wearing blue shirts

I know it’s hard.  I know families are busy and getting pictures can be a chore but it’s worthwhile.  Make time for it.  Find a photographer who can make it fun (maybe me?) and #documentyourfamily.

Now is the best time to start scheduling.  Fall dates are still open for scheduling sessions for just the kids or have the whole family join in.

Contact me to learn about options, locations and pricing.


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