Milestones

Fall Mini Sessions ! | Northmoreland Park

It’s been six years, but this October I’m happy to announce fall mini sessions!

 

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So what’s the difference between mini sessions and a regular session?

  • Regular sessions are booked on the date and time and at the location of your choice, while mini sessions are at a single location and you choose from available time slots.
  • Regular sessions are one to two hours in length, mini sessions are just 30 mins!  This means there will be just enough time to get some great shots, but no extra time for things like changing outfits, etc.

Contact us to book your spot today!  If you’re already worried about how you’ll dress your family, check out this post on what to wear for family photos!

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What to wear for family photos

Fall is coming.  The end of the year is coming.  The pressure to make your Christmas cards is coming!  This means that time is running out to schedule your annual family photos.  One of the biggest reasons I hear from people for why they don’t have their family photographed is that it’s too hard to get everyone together and dressed.  Here’s some tips for what to wear for family photos that will help everyone look and feel their best and have you loving your images for years to come.

Remember department store portraits in the 90s?  Everyone wearing the the same color and matching outfits?

A lot of times people worry that if they don’t match their outfits that they won’t look like they “go together”.  That’s not true.  Great family photos are when the relationship shows through the posing which is MY job 😀 😀 After all, baseball teams wear matching outfits and they don’t look like a family.

These days, color themes have totally evolved and aren’t really themes at all anymore.  **Real talk: this is what I used to see all the time: everyone in jeans and white shirts, everyone in jeans and black shirts, everyone in khaki pants and matching shirts.  I have to say my personal pet peeve for photos is when men show up in khaki shorts and a polo shirt of any color.  Because getting men to dress up is hard.  I know!  I married that guy that goes to work every day on a construction crew and wears dirty jeans and neon yellow t-shirt with tar stains on it.  And he USED to think that khaki shorts and any shirt with a collar (polos mostly) was “dressing up”.  And he HATED to dress up because he never liked how he looked and was afraid of looking silly.  That’s because khaki shorts and a polo shirt is pretty much the mom-jeans-and-a-cat-sweatshirt of menswear.  (I warned you there was gonna be Real Talk.) But men don’t usually spend time in the day thinking about these things so they don’t know this is WHY they hate “dressing up”.  The struggle is real for us women who have to dress ourselves, find outfits for the kids, and then get our husbands to wear something nice as well.  Polo shirts are great for a day at kennywood or a trip around the golf course, but not great for family photos.  Rather than trying to get everyone to match, I really think photos with just a little coordination are great.  If everyone kind of wears just whatever they want without communicating, things can get a little out of hand with one branch of the family dressing everyone like it’s summer, and another branch of the family dressing everyone like it’s cold out OR there’s that one person that shows up in a bright loud color or big striped pattern and sticks out like a sore thumb cause they’re the only one.

Here’s some good tips for what to wear to get your group together outfit-wise:

1. Neutrals are always safe.  Grays, browns, charcoal colors, black if you accent with some jewelry or a different colored shirt underneath. Not only do neutrals blend nicely with most scenes, they also blend nicely into the decor of your house so that you can frame and display your photos in any room all year long!

2. Layers are everyone’s friend. Accessorize. Layers and things with collars, buttons, pockets, different colored cuffs, a scarf, a hat, jewelry etc break up the center mass of any human and keep the viewer’s eye moving. (If your man is fighting you on this, explain to them that it’s like camouflage.)  This means when we look at the photos later, we spend more time focusing on our expressions and less time focusing on what we feel our flaws are.  (We’re all human, we all do it.)

3. Dress for the weather of the season and the location.  There’s no point putting kids in tights and patent leather shoes and then standing them in a field.  It would be like showing up at a formal wedding in a tank top and swim trunks – if it looks out of place people will seem uncomfortable.

For September in Pennsylvania, the landscape has a lot of yellow in it as we begin the transition to fall.  Some great colors to work with are Navy Blue, Browns, Greys, Dark Purples, Medium to Dark Greens, etc.  When we get a little later into fall, neutrals and darker jewel tones like burgundy are beautiful.

 

Here are some photos from one of my favorite fall family sessions.  They nailed it with their outfits, felt comfortable, and had a great time!

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Joy did an amazing job dressing her family for their photo session!  She went with jeans, different shades of burgundy, and added a little pattern with Steve’s shirt and G’s boots!

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For another look she went with navy, grey, and a nice fall plaid with navy in it.  Even their dogs coordinated!

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Don’t be intimidated by dressing your family for photos!  Start with one piece you really love – whether it’s your favorite dress or a shirt that looks great on someone and then build on that.  Don’t let worrying about what to wear stop you from being photographed, it’s worth it!

Family photo session | the Ward family

Family stories are my favorite.  I first met Donna and Mike in 2008 and it has been an honor and a privilege to witness their story unfolding as they built a life together and started a family.  Now, eight years and two kids later we met up in May for a family photo session at Northmoreland Park to celebrate Cole and Cora’s birthdays!  The weather was perfect and we had fun playing outside till sunset!

I love this photo of all of them together, technically it’s a one-off (which are always my favorite) from the perfect shot where everyone is looking at the camera smiling.  Cole can’t contain his laughter, Suki the dog is distracted by a duck in the distance, and everyone is happy.  This is real life, skinned knees and all, and it’s perfect.

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Cole and his Daddy practicing their fighting moves.

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It took a while since Cora is Miss Independent but eventually she decided it was ok if her brother sat next to her, LOL!

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One of my favorite things about the Ward family is that they are willing to roll with it – which is good because the outtakes are awesome!

*dinosaur roars*!

Apologies to everyone fishing at the park that night that thought we were filming a scene from Jurassic Park.

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Check out these awesome dinosaur socks Donna made for the kids!

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Seeing Cole’s personality develop over the years is so cool.  I said “Cole, show me your silly face!  Now your MAD face!  Now show me you’re happy face!”

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When Cole was feeling a little shy, Donna didn’t mind being a little silly.  Eventually he couldn’t keep himself from smiling cause he knows his Momma is hilarious.

A good mom doesn’t mind when her kids are silly, a GREAT mom is silly right along with them.

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Cora kissing Daddy on the nose.

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The best part of any family photo session are the shots that catch the unscripted moments where you can feel the love and hear the giggles.  These are the moments I want to freeze in time.

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Here’s a little look back over the years that have led us here.  It’s fun to look back at the posts on my old blog and see photos from their wedding.

Then fast forward to their first maternity session in 2011 with Suki dog along for the ride before there was any grey in her muzzle.  Flash forward through time again and see Cole excitedly awaiting the arrival of his little sister, and again to last year when Cora celebrated her first birthday and we got photos of their family of four under the dogwood blossoms.  Even Suki was smiling that day!

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All because these two people fell in love.

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I can’t wait to see what next year brings.  Love you guys <3

 

Graduation announcements |Class of 2016

May is just around the corner which means that the class of 2016 is about to say goodbye to their past twelve years of high school and hello to their futures!  This year in addition to senior portraits, we are pleased to offer Graduation announcements and invitations. We have a range of styles available – click to browse My Product Catalog.  Colors and text can all be customized to coordinate with your school!  Here are a few examples I’ve pulled together with photos from Carolyn, Dana, and Dillon’s photos from this year!

Graduation announcements can be customized with photos on the front and the back blank or text only, as well as multiple photo options on the front and back.  On the right, this is an announcement that doubles as a graduation party invitation on the back.

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If you’re looking for a unique way to display many photos from your session, I love this graduation cap collage.  For Dillon’s senior photo session, we visited the Apollo Ridge football field, the high school track, and the roaring run trail.  With a huge variety of photos to choose from this is a great way to show them off either as a design element for Graduation announcements or framed as a wall art piece.  (Moms – this is especially great if you have multiple kids or not a lot of wall space!)  Another great option is to make an accordion book!  Check out some examples from my blog series “What to do with your images”.

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If you’ve been putting off getting your senior photos done, it’s not too late!  The weather has finally broken and the leaves are greening up nicely.  There’s still plenty of time to have your senior pictures done and ready for graduation!  We are currently booking for May as well as summer sessions for the class of 2017.  Contact us today for information on senior portrait sessions!

Lifestyle maternity session | Megan & Jeff

This week I got the chance to meet up with one of my favorite past wedding couples for a lifestyle maternity session in their home.  Megan and Jeff were married in 2013 and now three years later, I got to spend a wonderful afternoon with them capturing some memories as they await the arrival of their first baby girl.

Here are a few highlights!

 

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I remember Shiloh and Sheldon from their engagement session in 2012, and now these two fur brothers can’t wait to meet their new human sister!

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We even made it outside for a few photos at sunset since it was such a nice day 🙂

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Happy Shower Weekend Megan!

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for your family 🙂

Bruckner Family | winter family photos

I first met Amy and Ryan three years ago.  They were newly engaged and planning their wedding for early spring 2013.  Ryan had just pulled off an amazing proposal by carving out “Will you marry me?” onto a rock on the banks of the Youghiogheny River, and then taking Amy on a fall hike to the rock and surprising her by dropping to one knee with a diamond ring.  She said yes and a few months later Ashley hung on to the back of my pants as I dangled out over the frozen river shooting their engagement photos at Ohiopyle.  We all nearly got hypothermia but it was worth it!  They were married that April before the leaves popped and now three years later I had the privilege to meet up with them again just in time for their first baby’s first birthday.  Since December was so mild this year, we enjoyed some outdoor winter family photos at their new house.

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Lola having fun in the backyard with her Mom and Dad 🙂

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Even her cousins stopped by for a quick group photo for Grandma!  I remember these boys from Ryan and Amy’s wedding.  (The best brother team of ringbearers I’ve ever met!)  They are definitely going to look out for her as she grows up.

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No props needed.  I know there’s a trend these days to have themed photos, especially of kids, with elaborate sets and digital backgrounds.  Trust me when I say that just being together and being yourself is enough for wonderful photos.

Thirty years from now when today’s kids are all grown up, they’ll care more about photos with their family than pictures with Santa.

This beautiful little girl will be able to see how much her mom and daddy loved her already.  Maybe they will even still live in the same house and she’ll be able to take photos of her kids on the same front steps and measure their height against how tall the pine trees are in her childhood back yard.  Photos that show the love between people and give them a sense of place connecting the future to the past are the most precious gifts we can give both to ourselves and our loved ones.

I’m grateful to have met you guys!  I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of your story will hold 🙂

What to do with your images: Accordion Mini Books

I got a great reader question in my email today!  Someone asked how to go about ordering one of our accordion books – and I thought what a great opportunity to share some info on what they are and how to order!  Accordion books are a GREAT way to display and share your photos!  They hold 8 photos each and come with a plain or photo cover.  There are four photos on each side and it folds up like a book with a hard cover and magnet closure.  You can also display it open on a shelf or table top by standing it up.  We have two sizes – the regular accordion size which is 5×7 inches and these smaller mini books which are pictured below.  (I like to say that the regular sized accordions are “purse-sized” and the mini ones are “pocket-sized”.

Accordion mini books are great for seniors, families, and other milestones!  They also make fantastic gifts!

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Here’s how to order an accordion book through your online gallery:

1.  Sign into your photo gallery and locate the photos you want to include in your accordion book.

2.  On each photo you want to include, click the Favorite icon (shown below)

3.  Once you’ve selected a photo as a Favorite, a small star icon will appear in the top right of the photo to show that it’s on the list!

 

 

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You can view your favorites list anytime, just by clicking the Favorites icon in the top center of your gallery. Use the Favorites panel to see all of your choices at once and narrow them down!  Once you have your 8 photos on your favorites list, go ahead and add the Accordion book size of your choice to your online cart and check out.  When we receive the order, we’ll access your favorites list and design your book from there!

 

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Printing digital photos is HUGELY important!  What if there’s a black out, what if DVDs and USBs go the way of cassette tapes and records, what if hard drives fail, what if there’s a zombie apocalypse???  You should not need electricity or an internet connection to see the faces of the ones you love when they are far away.  #printyourphotos !  We want to help you – watch for more posts titled: what to do with your images !

If you have any questions about accordion books, albums, or what to do with your photos past, present or future – email us anytime!

 

 

 

 

Kayla & Adam | spring maternity session

Probably my favorite thing about my job is when I get the chance to stay with clients who become friends through many years and important milestones in their lives.  Telling their story is what drives me, both a responsibility and an honor to getting it right and not missing a moment.  I first met Kayla and Adam in 2011.  They were newly engaged, and planning their wedding.  We talked about the future across the table at panera.  Now here we are four years later and I’ve had the privilege to know them and call them friends through their engagement photos, documenting their wedding day, lots of excited talks as they built and launched their own photography business, and this spring they are starting the next big chapter in their lives.  In just a few weeks, they will be welcoming their first baby.  We went back to where it all began, the beautiful grounds of Succop Conservancy where they held their wedding, to capture some photos of these last quiet moments before the BIG moment.  After all, life is about memories old and new  – and what are memories but moments in time that we want to hold on to forever.

 

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For just a hint of vintage flair, Kayla wore a soft pale pink dress with pearls that went perfectly with the spring colors in the landscape.

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For their engagement photos, we froze our butts off in Point State Park in the middle of winter and got thrown out of the downtown courtyard by security (i call these bonding experiences).  Some of my favorite photos from their wedding were underneath the big willow tree by the pond at Succop Conservancy – when we went back this spring, we made sure to visit the same tree.

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This is what happens when you ask a husband to whisper something nice in his wife’s ear.

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When we planned this session, we hoped for a golden sunny spring evening with lots of light coming through the trees.  It started out that way for the first twenty minutes and then storm clouds rolled in bringing dark blue grey skies and heavy clouds.  It wasn’t the weather we wanted, but it turned out to be something special instead.  We were able to get lots of reflections of the blue clouds and the new leaves on the trees in the still water before the storm.  I say this all the time – BAD weather makes for GOOD photos.

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Only a few more weeks now and that beautiful baby will be here 😀   I can’t wait to see what happens next for this little family.  It’s going to be an adventure!