Maelyn's Got the Look // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

Clients like 9-year old Maelyn and her mama are a reminder to me just how lucky I am. Not only have I been privileged enough to do what I love for a living, but I also get to meet so many amazing children and people that may have never come into my life otherwise. These two ladies have just been such an immense joy to work with and to get to know better.

On top of being ridiculously beautiful, Maelyn has such an incredibly pure heart, and once you get to know her a little bit and she opens up, she is such a feisty, little ball of enthusiasm, energy, and personality. When I arrived at Maelyn’s home for her in-home consultation, I was greeted by both Maelyn and her mama with warm hugs. I’m 1000% a hugger through-and-through, but those usually don’t end up happening until the session and until folks have gotten to know me a bit. But, not these ladies. I was literally welcomed into their home with open arms and it was the best. thing. ever.

I’m all about personalizing a session however I can and as much as I can. Maelyn’s mama is a super talented children’s clothing designer and runs her own online boutique, Avery With Grace. I wanted to ensure that we incorporated some of her lovely clothing into Maelyn’s wardrobe for the session, so I selected both a bright rainbow shirt and an adorable polka dot dress that she had made. Since we were photographing a Comp Card Session, I chose a variety of wardrobe: some dressier, some more casual, and some that was right in the middle. I also opted to photograph the session on a purple backdrop, as it’s Maelyn’s absolute faaaavorite color, and she was ecstatic about it.

Maelyn already has a signature look. Her family calls it “The Maelyn Look.” It’s a hauntingly gorgeous model stare that she can snap into and out of like a little professional. We chose to use an image of this look for her head shot on the front of the comp card, because it’s beyond gorgeous.

Three words to describe the session: Artistic, Innovative, Natural

(All of my portrait clients choose three words from a list of how they'd like to describe their finished images. You can click on any of the three words at the bottom of this post by the little tag icon to see past sessions that chose the same word. You can also see how different combinations of words leads to the creation of different images.)


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This is what Maelyn’s finished comp cards looked like. Sweet and vibrant, just like she is.

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Lynzee Fights Like A Girl // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

In trying to come up with a way to describe Lynzee, 6, the word "powerhouse" kept coming to mind. This pint-sized diva is the reigning USA National Miss Ohio Junior Princess, signed by multiple modeling + talent agencies, a brand rep, and an incredibly talented competitive dancer with quite the Instagram following. (Seriously, I curtsied when I met her - she IS royalty, after all!) And, as of not long ago, she can add "wonderful big sister" to her resume. I was lucky enough to meet so many members of Lynzee's family throughout our time together, and it was truly heartwarming to see a family that is so tight-knit and supportive. Congratulations to all of you on your beautiful new addition!

I knew that I wanted Lynzee's Editorial Session to be as vibrant and sassy as her personality, so I decided to make this one really colorful. I worked together with Lynzee's family to come up with a theme, and we settled on the concept of loving yourself and being enough, with a dash of "girl power." For the former, I handmade oversized conversation hearts with encouraging phrases, and totally covered my living room in tiny styrofoam bits (whoops!). For the latter, I saw this image of Lynzee in my head where she was wearing a white babydoll dress, hair in high pigtails, on a purple backdrop, wearing pink boxing gloves with her tiny arms flexed. (That's usually how my creative process works: I see flashes of finished images and work backwards to create them.) Unbeknownst to me, someone close to Lynzee had survived cancer, and several members of her family even have tattoos of pink boxing gloves, a la Fight Like A Girl. It was really serendipitous! That image is my favorite of the session, especially since it holds a deeper meaning to her family.

We also had the amazing Tori Bivins with us that day, who styled Lynzee to perfection. I loved the gorgeous volume of Lynzee's hair when it was all crimped.

I had such a wonderful time working with her and her family that I decided to ask Lynzee to be a 2018 POSE PGH Brand Ambassador, and to my delight, this multi-talented cutie is now *officially* on Team POSE! I look SO forward to working with her again later in the year! 

Three words to describe the session: Cute, Artistic, Fun

(All of my portrait clients choose three words from a list of how they'd like to describe their finished images. You can click on any of the three words at the bottom of this post by the little tag icon to see past sessions that chose the same word. You can also see how different combinations of words leads to the creation of different images.)


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Movie Night with The Weiss Family // Pittsburgh Family Photographer

While I very much enjoy meeting new families and clients, there is also a special place in my heart for getting the opportunity to photograph friends and folks that I've known for a while. I met Leigh-Anne 8 or so years ago through a networking group when I was just starting to find my feet as an artist (I was still freelancing on the fashion/commercial side of the industry at the time). She has been a ray of positivity in my life ever since. She and her husband, Dave, own Airheads Balloon Art, a company that I've had the pleasure of collaborating with on some of my most memorable and standout portrait sessions: the AMAZING balloon rainbow, the adorable, oversized balloon dogs - all the work of these folks. They really know how to make an event special and how to bring your vision to life, and I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to return the favor a bit.

Finally meeting their children and getting to photograph them, as well, was such a trip. DJ, 13 years old, enjoys sports like most tween boys, but is also the epitome of a comedian/"class clown." His personality, jokes, and the faces he'd make had us in stitches. (You can see one such example below in his "football catch" image. It's difficult to hold your camera when you have tears of laughter welling up in your eyes.) Cat, 11 years old, has this sarcastic wit to her that is equally hysterical. She's currently in the middle of a "unicorn phase," and was sure to wear her snazziest unicorn shirt and horn. We also wanted to capture some images of her vibrant, eclectic style and disposition through some shots of her jumping and shakin' it. The family recently adopted a gorgeous rescue pup they named Noodles through Steel City Greyhounds. Noodles has become such a joyful addition to the family, so I insisted that Noodles be included and come to the studio, too.

One of the activities that the family really enjoys is staying home and having movie night together. As soon as I found this out, I was super inspired and knew that we could have a lot of fun and make some great images by recreating movie night in the studio. Leigh-Anne nailed the wardrobe, getting matching pajamas for the whole family (including a bandana for Noodles!), and I set up my lighting to mimic the glow of a television set. The session culminated in a popcorn fight for the ages - we all smelled buttery and delicious for the rest of the day.

 
POSE PGH Pittsburgh Family Photographer
 

I hope you enjoy these images as much as we did creating them!

Three words to describe the session: Whimsical, Artistic, Unconventional


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La "Bella" Vita with Arabella + Kai // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

I love, love, LOVED photographing these two vivacious little ones.

Arabella (Bella, for short), 6 years old, is an amazing big sister to her baby brother, Kai, who was around 7 months old when we photographed their session. Bella enjoys participating in pageants, fashion, and all things girly. She is incredibly sweet and extremely talkative and inquisitive. I so enjoyed just chatting with her for a bit during our in-home consultation and checking out her Monster High doll collection. Kai had recently begun crawling, and there was no stopping those wheels now that they were in motion - he was a little speed racer. Kai is also quite possibly the smiliest baby that I've ever met, and there was constantly so much joyful expressiveness in that little face + sparkly eyes.

I chose to photograph the session on off-white to match the family's wall colors, while selecting wardrobe that would make the kiddos really pop in contrast. I also made sure to include a beautiful white fur coat that Mom had worn as a little girl and passed down to Bella - I adore when we can incorporate a garment with sentimental meaning in the wardrobe, and it perfectly matched the sophisticated, wintery vibe we were aiming for. That photo of Bella is probably my favorite from this session. She looks like an old Hollywood starlet, ready for her closeup.

Three words to describe the session: Modern, Artistic, Sophisticated


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Red, White , and Blue with Sam + Claudia // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

I want to start this one off by saying that I hope you all had the most wonderful holiday, whether that was Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus - whatever. I hope that it was fabulous and that you got to spend some quality time with your loved ones eating way too much food! I have unfortunately been pretty sick for the past few weeks and fell behind on a bunch, including my blogging, so I'll be playing catch-up a bit. I felt this session was the perfect one to share heading into the New Year - pretty lights, shimmery party outfits, and joyful, little giggles!


I was totally overwhelmed by just how adorable Sam, 2 1/2, and Claudia, 1, were when I first met them at their gorgeous home. Respectively post- and pre-nap, they were personable, curious, and a joy to be around. I knew that we would have a wonderful session together.

In their questionnaire, Mom told me that creativity was "welcomed and encouraged," which is totally music to a photographer's ears! I decided to take this opportunity to play around with some more creative lighting for a portion of the session, incorporating some vibrant colors (for vibrant kiddos!) and playing around with motion blur. In order to also keep the session simple + sophisticated, I photographed the kids in classic white tee/denim outfits on the black backdrop for a sleek, editorial feel. We kept blue as the thematically dominant color throughout in order to match the gray/blue color scheme of the family's home and unify the three different sets of the session. Lastly, we got to incorporate the blankets that the babes sleep with - their most cherished, fuzzy possessions! (Whenever possible, I jump at photographing little ones with their favorite stuffed animals + loveys. Those images tend to hold such sentimental value with time.) Keep your eyes peeled for the first image, where Sam is making the most hilarious "model face." It cracks me up every time that I see it.

We had the super colorful images from the first set printed on metallic photo paper as wall art for their home and HOLYYY COW, I loved them SO much! The colors absolutely jumped and danced off of the paper. I'll be sure to share a look at these on social media soon - I just had to print a few samples for myself from this session, too!

Three words to describe the session: Simple, Artistic, Sophisticated


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Little + Big Things with Meera + Arjun // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

One of my favorite parts about what I do is really getting to know the families and the kiddos that I work with. I think that it's essential in creating custom portraiture that's expressive of someone's true self (even if that someone is only two years old). Each little one's personality is so different, and when given the opportunity to shine through in their images, you can really create some magic.

This was my second time having the privilege of working with this family. The first time, we photographed a modeling Comp Card/mini-portfolio for 6-year old Arjun (more on that later in this blog!). This time, though, it was his 2-year old little sister Meera's turn. And turn, and turn, and turn she did! Meera just could not stop her tiny, happy feet during her session. You can see her adorably dizzying dance on the second slide of the Instagram post below.

For Meera's session, we decided to keep things pretty consistent with the session we had recently photographed for her brother - same background color and lighting. This gave their family the opportunity to display all of the images together in their home. We also had Arjun join near the end so that we could photograph some lovely portraits of them together. While Meera is an all-around joy of a kiddo to be around, my favorite thing about her was the mischievous, little twinkle that she got in her eye before she was ready to really ramp up the spinning and dancing, again. So happy that I managed to capture a few images with that sparkle!

Meera also just had a birthday a few days ago, and is now the big THREE.
Everyone be sure to wish her the happiest of years ahead!

Three words to describe the session: Artistic, Fun, Natural


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Now that I've talked about some adorable, little things, I'm SO excited to share the great, big things that have been happening, as well! Arjun has had some excellent opportunities since our session together and I'm super excited for this fella. In the same month, he was featured in Fashion Kids' Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful Issue AND chosen by Child Model Magazine as their FACE of the Day. Holy cow, Arjun! This merits many, many snaps.

**SNAPS FOR ARJUN!**

Over the Rainbow with Gianna + Arianna + Isabella // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

I am so incredibly fortunate that I get to work with kiddos as precious and loving as Gianna, Arianna, and Isabella. From the moment I walked into their house for their consultation, these little ones made me feel like I was their new best friend, and I couldn't get enough of their personalities or their hugs (my favorite!). Gianna, 7, was a miniature professional. She spent the whole session popping into her own poses and making us laugh hysterically. She's a spitfire and a comedian. Arianna, while on the shy side, is incredibly sweet. She is thoughtful, considerate, and, dare I say, "detail-oriented" at 6 years old? (She insisted that we be able to see her beautiful pink shoes in her images, and adjusted her dress accordingly.) Isabella, the baby of the family at 3 years old, is the most affectionate, snuggly little lady, with a twinkle in her eye and just a touch of mischievousness. 

On my "getting to know you" questionnaire, every client chooses three words that they would like to describe their finished images. After reading mom's selections of "artistic, whimsical, and colorful," and seeing the colorful decor in their home, I knew that this would be the PERFECT session to bring to life my vision of a super vibrant rain + rainbow-themed spring session. Of course, I enlisted my good friends at Airheads Balloon Art to work their magic and create this seriously awe-inspiring 7-foot balloon rainbow. It made for such a magical day for both the girls and myself!

A portrait session at POSE PGH is all about creating statement pieces and works of art for your home. Check out this gorgeous image wall that the girls' mama created with her prints! (She was kind enough to send me a snapshot.) The white frames perfectly offset the rich, luster prints and the darker brick wall. I am so pleased to see it all come together so beautifully, from a vision in my head all the way to cherished artwork.

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On to the images!...

Three words to describe the session: Artistic, Whimsical, Colorful


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Arjun on That Beat // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

I love meeting kiddos like Arjun. He's 6-years old and full of all that being six entails (abundant energy, sweetness, and innocence), yet incredibly intelligent, focused, and one of the BEST little listeners that I've had the pleasure to work with. Arjun LOVES to get his groove on, particularly playing Just Dance. All that he needs is a good beat and it's game time! ("Beat It" and "Juju on That Beat" are particular favorites.) Arjun is also learning Tae Kwon Do, so for some of our more "fun" images, he got to show off his impressive high-kicks.

In addition to generally wanting beautiful images of their little one, Arjun's family came to me to photograph a Comp Card Session to get Arjun's modeling portfolio started. He did such a spectacular job during our session together, and I know that his future is incredibly bright, whether that means modeling or med school. ;)

I definitely wanted to highlight Arjun's lovely warm skin tone and shiny black hair, and decided to photograph the session on gray to accomplish both. During our Styling and Planning Consultation, I saw this stunning white kurta and knew that it would photograph like a dream and be the perfect way to celebrate Arjun's heritage in his images. My personal favorites, though, are the images where he is dressed in his fancy-pants-iest suit and tie. He told us that he was a businessman and that he'd be going to the office. (Don't be in too much of a hurry for that, Arjun!)

Three words to describe the session: Artistic, Fun, Natural


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2017 Ambassador Preview: Lucy // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

There is a an old Latin phrase that I love: "multum in parvo," meaning, "much in little" or "much in a little space." Lucy most definitely personifies "multum in parvo." There is SO MUCH character, imagination, and intelligence stuffed into this teeny-tiny, little package. You see, Lucy isn't your average newly-3-year old. (What other 3-year old do you know that knows EVERY word to Elton John's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and makes you imaginary sushi rolls when she's playing make-believe with her kitchen set?)

Lucy has already been to 22 different countries, some many times! I knew that I wanted to give her Editorial Session a travel theme to celebrate her miniature wandering spirit. 

You can follow her adventures on Instagram.
(Her feed is seriously adorable!)
I'm so happy to have Lucy and her lovely family representing POSE PGH as 2017 Ambassadors!

Three words to describe the session: Artistic, Innovative, Natural


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2017 Ambassador Preview: Jaxen // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

I was so incredibly excited to meet 3-year old little Miss Jaxen and her mama after reading their Ambassador application and seeing photos of her adorable face.

Mom described Jaxen as a "firecracker in a tiny package," and that description could not be more accurate.  Jaxen is a born performer (if she sees a camera, she instantly starts posing), and I really wanted to capture that and all of the pint-sized sass that goes along with it in her Editorial Session. When I pitched the concept to Mom, I told her that the best way that I could describe the vibe I was going for was "late 1990s VH1 Divas Live."

So, step aside Mariah, Celine, and Whitney, and say hello to your replacement (who also only needs one name): Jaxen

Here's a sneak peek of Jaxen's diva-inspired Ambassador Session!

Three words to describe the session: Bold, Artistic, Innovative


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Paint it Blue with Rodolfo + Mariana // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

When I first met 9-year old Rodolfo and 7-year old Mariana, I was struck with just how spirited and independent they both were. Like most brothers and sisters, while they are similar in many ways, their differences abound. Rodolfo loves sports, particularly football and soccer, and has a penchant for superheroes and Star Wars. Mariana is the exact opposite: if it involves dance, American Girls, or princesses - count her in! I really wanted to ensure the Editorial session was customized to suit both of their individual personalities and was fun for everyone. I focused a great deal on posing with this session to do so: Rodolfo was my handsome Ralph Lauren model, photographed mostly from a lower angle to make him appear more elevated and dignified. Mariana was an adorable princess for the day, fan in her hair, twirling, posed to emphasize her joyful energy. I knew that going with a mostly blue color palette would be mutually pleasing and I was inspired by the fact that Dad works with paint to create a fun, Jackson Pollock-esque custom paint splatter backdrop. I had such a wonderful time working with these great kids, and I even got to brush up a bit on my (minimal) Spanish: 
Mariana es preciosa y Rodolfo es gracioso! 
Muchos gracias por venir a verme!
(How'd I do? Was that way off? Haha.)

Three words to describe the session: Modern, Artistic, Simple


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Queens for a Day with London + Noelle // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

I was so impressed upon meeting 8-year old London and 4 1/2-year old Noelle. There existed such an obvious mutual adoration and respect between these sweet, bold, sisters who are both wise beyond their years. I wanted to give them a session that highlighted both their beauty and their brains with a slight bohemian vibe to match their personal styles. We selected wardrobe together that encompassed the many facets of their personalities, including a sweet girly look, a flowy bohemian number, and a schoolgirl homage. I developed a book motif for their Editorial Session to celebrate their intelligence, and away we went!

As with all of my sessions, the day is 100% about the kiddos, even down to the music we listen to while we're photographing the session (and, let me tell you, these girls have some great taste and have introduced me to some really fabulous artists, such as George Ezra - go listen to "Budapest"). I always strive for the children I'm working with to have a memorable experience and the BEST. DAY. EVER. It's a day where they can embrace what makes them special, unique, and beautiful. 

Little Miss London loved the experience and has revealed herself to be somewhat of a natural model (please note the perfect half-smiles and eye-squinches below). And, Noelle has apparently since been practicing her "no-teeth smile" from Miss Lexi when Mom is taking snapshots of her.

I received this feedback from the girls' mother, Amanda, and my heart practically exploded:

"If you'd like your little to feel like queen for the day, Lexi is your girl.
What fun we've had!" 

To borrow a line from one of my favorites: "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
That's why I do what I do, and approach children's photography so differently from others, with such a focus on the individual child and treating them like royalty. Your kids deserve that treatment and that feeling, and I'm always so, so honored to give it to them.

Three words to describe the session: Artistic, Innovative, Stylized


Pittsburgh Children's Photographer, Pittsburgh Child Photographer, Pittsburgh Family Photographer, Pittsburgh Photographer, Pittsburgh Children's Photography, Pittsburgh Child Photography, Pittsburgh Family Photography, Pittsburgh Kids, Pittsburgh Families, Pittsburgh Children, Best Pittsburgh Photographer, POSE PGH, Pittsburgh, Lexi Shapiro
Pittsburgh Children's Photographer, Pittsburgh Child Photographer, Pittsburgh Family Photographer, Pittsburgh Photographer, Pittsburgh Children's Photography, Pittsburgh Child Photography, Pittsburgh Family Photography, Pittsburgh Kids, Pittsburgh Families, Pittsburgh Children, Best Pittsburgh Photographer, POSE PGH, Pittsburgh, Lexi Shapiro
Pittsburgh Children's Photographer, Pittsburgh Child Photographer, Pittsburgh Family Photographer, Pittsburgh Photographer, Pittsburgh Children's Photography, Pittsburgh Child Photography, Pittsburgh Family Photography, Pittsburgh Kids, Pittsburgh Families, Pittsburgh Children, Best Pittsburgh Photographer, POSE PGH, Pittsburgh, Lexi Shapiro
Pittsburgh Children's Photographer, Pittsburgh Child Photographer, Pittsburgh Family Photographer, Pittsburgh Photographer, Pittsburgh Children's Photography, Pittsburgh Child Photography, Pittsburgh Family Photography, Pittsburgh Kids, Pittsburgh Families, Pittsburgh Children, Best Pittsburgh Photographer, POSE PGH, Pittsburgh, Lexi Shapiro
Pittsburgh Children's Photographer, Pittsburgh Child Photographer, Pittsburgh Family Photographer, Pittsburgh Photographer, Pittsburgh Children's Photography, Pittsburgh Child Photography, Pittsburgh Family Photography, Pittsburgh Kids, Pittsburgh Families, Pittsburgh Children, Best Pittsburgh Photographer, POSE PGH, Pittsburgh, Lexi Shapiro
Pittsburgh Children's Photographer, Pittsburgh Child Photographer, Pittsburgh Family Photographer, Pittsburgh Photographer, Pittsburgh Children's Photography, Pittsburgh Child Photography, Pittsburgh Family Photography, Pittsburgh Kids, Pittsburgh Families, Pittsburgh Children, Best Pittsburgh Photographer, POSE PGH, Pittsburgh, Lexi Shapiro
Pittsburgh Children's Photographer, Pittsburgh Child Photographer, Pittsburgh Family Photographer, Pittsburgh Photographer, Pittsburgh Children's Photography, Pittsburgh Child Photography, Pittsburgh Family Photography, Pittsburgh Kids, Pittsburgh Families, Pittsburgh Children, Best Pittsburgh Photographer, POSE PGH, Pittsburgh, Lexi Shapiro