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.



At the end of this series, you may be tired of seeing these boys over and over.  I can’t help it.  One visit, one session, has provided me with several topics that I want to share.

In my last post, I talked about our special visitors from Canada.  I wanted to share about how special that friendship is to me because it’s not only between the grownups but also it’s a special friendship between all of the kids.  It continues to be a valued friendship despite distance and time between visits.  The older I get, the more I see the immense value of those relationships.

Now, while she was out here, my friend mentioned that it had been a while since she had portraits done of her boys and was hoping we might have time to make some happen.  So of course we did!

Session Details-  Sibling Session

  • Session Type: Short Session
  • Subjects:  toddler boy, tween boys
  • Location: North Hills, Pittsburgh

It was spur of the moment but it worked out amazingly well!

tween boy in woods with blue shirt and blue framed glassestween boy with blue shirt in the woods outside of Pittsburgh


portrait of a little boy in blue 3 button shirt

tween boy portrait in woods with blue shirt and blue framed glasses

portrait session with tween boy with blue shirt in the woods outside of Pittsburgh

little boy in blue 3 button shirt

Once we had plenty of solo shots, it was time to get the 3 boys together.  Sometimes that can be the most challenging part of a session but these boys not only love each other but they like each other and can quickly turn anything into a game.

family portrait with older brothers holding up little brother by the hands

portrait session with brothers in silly poses

First we have the tough look!  Always a favorite of mine.  Then they decided to piggy back but not just the little guy on his big brother, two brothers on the third.  I think they might be ready to join the circus.  Finally, we needed to dab.

three brothers portrait session sitting in Pittsburgh park

I love this shot!  This is the shot that melts mom’s heart and that grandma wants in the frame.  I love when I get these shots without the aide of face-swapping in photoshop.  Yep, no faces were fixed in this image.

Do you have a shot like this of your monkeys?  Let’s make it happen together!  Now is the perfect time to book your late summer or fall portrait session!  Book Now!



Time really does pass by so fast.  I find myself saying that more and more at the start of each school year.  I don’t mean to be sappy and cliché but this is where I am these days.  My oldest is about to turn 12.


One of my friends pointed out that we’re almost done with them, meaning our kids.  They’re closer to being out on their own now.  Closer to being adults.  Yeah, that was not a very helpful thing to say to me.  As much as I look forward to having competent adult kids, when you have a kid with special needs, there are some bigger fears that go along with the usual things that we fear for our kids.  But that’s for another time and place…

Time truly seems to speed up and my theory is because there are no more naps.  Yep, once those kids stop napping, your day becomes filled with all kinds of activities and the next thing you know, it’s another year that’s gone.  So I’m thinking of reinstating nap-times in this house.  Anyone with me?!

Why all this talk about time?  Because I believe strongly that my camera freezes time.  With my camera, I can stop time for the briefest second.  I can capture a moment to keep and remember.  That’s my super power. 🙂

The fab 4 – no, not The Beatles

Back in July, we had some special visitors to our house.  Our kids have been friends since they were 4 years old.  But this isn’t an easy friendship to maintain.  You see, they live in Canada.  The far-away almost western part of Canada (meaning not just up above Lake Erie) and so we only get to see them every few years.  As the kids grow older, I keep thinking that they won’t want to make the time to get together.  They’ll grow apart because often, that’s what happens with friendships.  And yet, every visit the friendship continues right where they left off.  It’s so bittersweet but I wouldn’t trade our friendship for the world.  With friendships being a challenge for my son, I just love that the stress and awkwardness isn’t there with these boys.  He jumps in and plays and the four of them have so much fun.

And because we only connect every so often, we’ve established some of our own traditions.  One big tradition we have is a group photo with the kids.

If you happen to be a friend of mine on Facebook, you may have seen this series.


The top image was from 2009.  That was basically the year that they met and spent several months developing this connection.  The middle was from 2011.  The bottom was from 2016.  My two kids (the girl and boy on the far right).  My friend’s two boys between mine.

And of course, with this recent visit, we had to repeat the photo.

four friends, 11 and 12 years old, sitting together

I love these photos!  I love seeing them transforming from rough and tumble monkeys into these bigger kids, almost teenagers.  But most of all, I love that it shows their friendship.  Surprisingly, they don’t fight us to take this picture.  They know this is what we do together and I’m hoping that someday, they’ll treasure these images just as much as their friendship.

And we do include the littlest brother who joined the crew back in 2013.  He’s 4 years old and just as much a part of the group as the older ones.

So my advice, make traditions like this part of your get-togethers.  Don’t be afraid to pull out a camera and have the kids pose.  Capture your friendships and capture their friendships because you’re also recording history.


  • Shayna Bowling - Jodi,
    I love these pictures so much and the tradition they’ve started. I love how much our kids enjoy being together. They are begging me to bring them back next summer!!!ReplyCancel

    • Jodi Walsh - S is already asking (and planning) for a return visit to finish the movie. And I love how A and B keep switching places in the picsReplyCancel

Back to The Jersey Shore and Long Beach Island!

Growing up, my family traveled almost every year to Ocean City, Md.  This was a special place for my stepdad.  His father had a permanent trailer parked at Fort Wilderness Resort and a boat too (complete with a story about my stepdad sinking it).  We called the trailer the “Orange Pumpkin” because it was painted bright orange.  I don’t remember much about the trailer but I do have lots of memories of the park- learning to swim underwater in the pool that was added one summer, crabbing off the docks up behind the little general store, and (the best part) learning to eat those crabs.  A trip to Ocean City was almost like coming home because it was so familiar.  So full of memories.

It looks like the Jersey Shore might be that home away from home for my kids.

This was our second year visiting Long Beach Island and I continue to love it.  First off, it’s only 6 and a half hours away.  For someone who hates driving, I’ll take that.  Second, it’s quiet. No big highway.  No big condos.  Lots of little small towns with houses for the most part.  There isn’t a huge boardwalk but there is shopping and amusement area that is perfect my kids.  It might not be how others like to do the beach but it’s pretty good for our family.

Our beach schedule is pretty lax.

Get up.

Eat Breakfast.

Walk to the beach.

Walk home. Eat lunch.

Head back to the beach.

Walk home. Eat dinner.

Play games- mostly board games and doubles (or triples solitaire)

Once a visit, we’ll do an evening with boardwalk food and rides.  We also have to play a round of mini golf.  But mostly it’s a lot of talking.  A lot of walks on the beach.  For me, a lot of documenting my family.

It truly is a vacation.

The images I chose for this first post were from one of the many walks on my beach.  This time I brought Sadie with me and we searched for treasures.  Low tide was very good to us during this visit and she brought home dozens of large and small shells.

boats with cloudy skies on Barnegat Bay, New Jersey

seashells and searching for shells at Long Beach Island, New Jersey

crab walking on the beach

girl bent over, looking for seashells in the surf on Long Beach Island

seashells on the beach

hand holding a sand dollar with a heart shaped hole in the middlegirl with seashells in front of the ocean at Long Beach Island

girl looking for seashells at the shore, Long Beach Island


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