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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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: Sydney + Claire // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

I knew long before meeting 10-year old Sydney and 3-year old Claire that we were in for a lot of fun together. These girls exude so much life and joy from every image taken of them, and I couldn't WAIT to get them in front of my own camera.

With a seven-year age gap between the sisters, I wanted to ensure that their Editorial session was not only enjoyable for all involved, but also that the concept suited both of them equally. After learning that the girls bond over their love of pretending to be kitty-cats together and that it's a favorite game in their household, I knew that would be a purrrrfect motif!

Shortly before the girls' session, I received a call from a reporter, Anya Sostek, with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She was interested in the unique way in which I photograph children and celebrate what makes them special, and she wanted to come observe a session at the studio. I said "yes," of course, and I chose this session because I just knew that she would have a good time with these two effervescent littles.

The article was featured in print in yesterday's Sunday Magazine.
You can read it online HERE.

Here's a sneak peek of Sydney + Claire's kitty-themed ambassador session!

Three words to describe the session: Fun, Innovative, Sophisticated

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

I finally had the opportunity to meet and photograph the first of my 2017 POSE PGH Ambassadors, 3-year old Kassidy, last week. I had such a wonderful time with this tiny, adorable bundle of energy! I am SO EXCITED for all the rest to come, especially after how much fun we had playing with and photographing Kassidy!

Kassidy loves the color red and taking photos with her mama's camera.
(That's how I first started to fall in love with photography. Who knows - maybe she'll grow up to be a photographer herself, someday?)

Here's a sneak peek of Kassidy's seventies-themed ambassador session!

Three words to describe the session: Vintage, Pretty, Unconventional


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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


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
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Light It Up Blue Christmas (Kristina + Carly) // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

While I'm incredibly grateful for every client, sometimes an inquiry comes in that just makes me feel especially honored that THIS family wants ME to be the photographer to capture their special memories for them. This was most definitely the case with Kristina and Carly's family. 

Carly is an uncommonly independent 9-year old girl. While she may be shy at first, once you get to know her, you see her fun, bubbly side (she has some excellent dance moves), and conversing with this girl is like talking with an old soul. Carly is patient, nurturing, and an amazing sister. Kristina, at 12-years old, is the big sister. A lover of music, she is gentle, warm, and full of life - enviable qualities for anyone. Kristina also has severe autism. While this, of course, changes the dynamic of the sisterly bond and family, this absolutely does not define them. In this family, I see such an abundance of love and positivity in the face of adversity. These girls both inspire me in their own way, and I feel truly blessed to have met them.
(Light It Up Blue is the annual campaign by Autism Speaks for autism awareness.)

Based on the three words that Mom selected and the color scheme/decor of their home, I wanted the images to have an almost Calvin Klein, classic feel to them. But, I also wanted to inject some fun, and I won't lie - I was a little nervous about this session. I hold myself to such a high standard, and I wanted to ensure that these girls, this family, received the same experience that everyone does, that everyone enjoyed themselves, and that they left with an abundance of beautiful images to cherish. In hindsight, my concerns were obviously for nothing. We had a wonderful time together, playing with snow for our wintery theme, singing songs, and making memories. (I may or may not still be finding pieces of snow around my studio.) We even managed to grab a quick image in front of my record wall backdrop for them to use for their annual charity walk to raise money for autism. I'm so glad that Kristi's Rockers will have this image for their event this year. Rock on, guys.

The icing on the cake of this experience for me was coming home one day to find this email:
 

Lexi,
I just want to thank you for an amazing experience for my girls! You were so kind and patient working with Kristi and I'm so happy I didn't let my fears stop me from booking the session. I know Kristi isn't the easiest client, but you made it so relaxed and comfortable for all of us.

And for Carly...she often takes the back seat to Kristi's special needs, but you managed to give her the day she needed.  She had a fabulous time and loved every minute of bringing out her inner super model! The details from the snacks, music, and the relaxed studio were perfect.

We will cherish the day and the photos forever!

Michele, Kristi and Carly
 


Before I start to tear up again, I'll get to the images...

Three words to describe the session: Simple, Pretty, Classic


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Landri Has a Heart of Gold // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

There is so much that I could say about Landri. This adorable 4-year old is one of the sweetest kiddos that I've had the pleasure of working with. She is friendly, yet feisty. Spirited, yet dear. Affectionate, yet independent. I see such a strength of character in this little, little girl, and I can't wait to see her grow up into a strong, beautiful woman.

Landri was this year's winner of the annual #POSE4PICKET contest that I run in conjunction with The Picket Fence. She won a complimentary Editorial Session, three 8x10 prints, and a gorgeous Tea Collection outfit to wear during her session. (If you missed this year's contest - be sure to enter next year! It's SO MUCH fun!) I am so grateful that this contest enabled me to meet both her and her mother, as it was such a joy getting to know the both of them.

When planning Landri's session, I knew that I wanted to photograph it on black to emphasize her gorgeous blonde hair and porcelain skin. When I inquired as to Landri's favorite colors, I was told that they were "pink, purple, and golden." What a perfect color palette! I decided to select primarily pink and purple wardrobe and utilize different golden accents during the session (including a crown for the images in her Tea Collection outfit - she needed to be "crowned" the winner, after all!) There were also two other very important objects in Landri's world that I knew we could incorporate perfectly: her lovey/BFF "Baby" the elephant, and her preferred method of getting around on such tiny legs: her hot pink scooter.

Honestly, I could have photographed this little girl all day...

Three words to describe the session: Editorial, Fun, Stylized


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FriYAY! : Tori is Published // Pittsburgh Children's Photographer

From the moment that I met Tori, I knew that she was a very special little girl. Not only was she a beautiful child, but she had the brains and vivacious personality to match. We made the most of our session together, using it as an opportunity to both capture Tori's unique spirit in the images for her and her family to cherish for years to come and to enhance her blossoming modeling portfolio by adding some fun, editorial imagery to it.

I was SO excited to hear that within a few months of our session, Tori's mama had submitted some of the images to Fashion Kids Magazine and Tori had been selected for their September 50 Most Beautiful Kids Issue! Now, Tori can add to her mini-resume that she's been published in an international magazine, and I am one incredibly proud photographer and fan.

** SNAPS FOR TORI! **

I am looking so forward to watching this kiddo continue to grow and shine, and to helping your kiddos do the same!
(Your littles don't have to be models by any means to come have a session with me, but they will certainly leave feeling like one!)

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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