Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Seniors 2014 - Leyla

Have I mentioned before that I love repeat clients?  They mean the world to me because obviously they liked their images!  Leyla isn't exactly a repeat client, but I took both her sister and her cousin's senior pictures, so they are a repeat family and I love them for it!

It was important to Leyla to have photos that were hers, just like her sister and cousin had photos unlike any of their classmates.  To do this, we shoot  at her place - this entire session was photographed in and around her beautiful home.  Photographing seniors (or kids or families or even pets) in a location where they are comfortable makes for some of my favorite photos.  Home sessions are awesome to me since they have so many memories and knowledge of the place.  This translates into the pictures.  As you can see, Leyla is gorgeous and happy at home!


When I saw the woodpile in their backyard, I knew we had to use it.  The shapes are so fun, and Leyla with her bohemian dress looks great in front of it!

Her mom really wanted a photo of Leyla wearing an Army shirt since that's her chosen career.  Good luck with your last year of school and, of course, training!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tips for Seniors!

Summer is starting, school is ending and congrats to all the 2013 graduates!  I'll probably be hitting at least one or two graduation parties this summer.  As for our soon-to-be seniors, summer means time to get your senior pictures done!  I have a few tips for when you're prepping for the photoshoot, so time to take some notes:

1. Look the way you look
Your look is important and we want to show that off, so make sure to bring clothes you would actually wear in real life.  However, please keep them plain or patterned.  Tshirts with funny saying or logos are distracting, so leave those at home.

Allie's shirt is nice and simple, making her awesome smile the focus

You've obviously spent awhile at your high school, so a little school pride 
is the exception to the "no words" rule

Alex and Josh earned those letterman jackets so can show them off

2. Bring something parent-approved
Yes, this is about you and I know we're contradicting point 1 here.  However, your parents are probably paying for pictures, so bring an outfit they like, even if it means looking dressier than you prefer for a few minutes.

Alex and Ryan both wore suits and ties for those formal shots their mom really wanted

3.  Get your look together ahead of time
If your hair needs dyed or your eyebrows need waxed, get all of that taken care of a day or two before your shoot.  You don't want massive roots or stray hairs.  
Ladies, do your makeup the way you normally would, or if you want a little extra that's ok too.
Guys, if you're usually clean-shaved, shave immediately prior.  I can edit out that pimple on your nose but not a 5 o'clock shadow.

Kacie always looks amazing and makes my job a breeze

4.  Bring props!
 Senior pictures are about who you are at this point in your life and that includes the things that are most important to you.  What do you like to do?  What do you want to be?  

Anna likes cameras, just like I do!

5. Bring pets!
Ask your photographer first though!  I love photographing people with their animals, but not everyone feels the same.  If you want to include your pet, it's usually best to do those pictures outside where you can play

 Emmilia included Zander in her shoot and got some fantastic photos of the two of them together

6. Pick a location!
I have a studio set-up and usually go to a nearby park for outdoor shots, but if there's somewhere you'd rather be, let me know!  I make house calls, and am more than happy to a location that means something to you.

 Zachary wanted some pictures at the family bowling alley, so we went behind the machines to get something a little different

7. If you're uncomfortable, bring a friend
Some people get nervous in front of the camera, and that's ok.  It happens.  Some people bring their moms or dads to help out, some bring a sibling or friend to make them laugh.

Bryce wasn't the most thrilled about getting pictures taken, but having his girlfriend there got a few smiles out of him

8.  Include your extra-curriculars
Are you in the band?  Play on the football or chess team?  We can go to the field or photograph you in your uniform.

Drew's played basketball since she was a little kid, had to include her favorite sport!

9. Don't worry about the weather
Ok, maybe a little.  Sometimes a torrential downpour warrants a reschedule, but just because it isn't bright and sunny out doesn't mean you won't get amazing photos (actually, overcast is better!).
Zak had his pictures done in the winter and it snowed a bit, but that didn't deter us

10. Keep calm and communicate with your photographer
I want to take pictures that you like.  Really, I do.  So trust that I'll do the best job I can, as long as you also promise to do the best job you can.  If you have an idea, let me know.  If I have an idea, I'll let you know.  If you don't come to me for your pictures, go to someone else you know will take good ones, because just like everything else in life, quality is important.  Your photoshoot should be a fun occasion, and I support some silliness.  Play dress-up.  Play catch.  Make faces at the camera if that helps you relax.  This is your last year of high school, so celebrate!

Becca showed off her tattoo for a meaningful portrait of entering adulthood

Monday, May 20, 2013

Family time with Christy and Kaitlyn

My cousin Kaitlyn really wanted to shoot with Christiana and me after seeing our Guess pictures (see previous blog post) so we scheduled a shoot for the following week and went to a park near our aunt Lynn's house.  It was fun, Kaitlyn is a dancer so she has natural ability, we just had to give her some instruction on how to use it.

This one is a dance move, modified for modeling.  Gorgeous!!

Pittsburgh pinups!

Ok, pointe is awesome.  Seriously.  I want all my models to be ballerinas and do amazing poses like this.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


So yesterday I photographed my sister and my cousin, but we're going to skip back a week to when I photographed just my sister, Christiana.  There's a Guess model search going on and she wanted to enter, but needed updated photos.  Being a good big sister, I went to North Park with her and took like a bazillion pictures.  Here are some of the best ones.  We do good work.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Self Portraiture - Twins

A few nights ago I went to a meeting with Sinister Dream Productions (just wait and see what we're gonna do!) and got all inspired to do creative stuff, which I haven't done in awhile.  It's mostly just been work, paying jobs, which is great, but I need to play sometimes.  I got home from work pretty early on Friday (and went to the flea market between work and home, yay!!) and felt like doing something interesting.  Last week I shaved my head, so I look a bit boyish, and thought it would be fun to see what I look like as twins.  So I set up a light and tripod, did a couple outfit changes, and with some PhotoShop doubled myself!

It was a pretty fun little project, and I might expand it, find some other people who want to challenge a gender norm and photograph them as both male and female.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Model Adventure with Miss Moffitt

Earlier this week, I photographed Amanda, a college friend of mine.  We saw each other at a concert/freak show a couple weeks back and she contacted me asking to do a photoshoot when she got her dreads put in.  It had been a few years since I last photographed her and it was a great time, so I was all for another shoot (especially since she always has the best outfits).  We weren't really sure where to go, but ended up at the Allegheny Cemetery, which is a gorgeous place if you've never been there.  I have a few times and had no idea there was a pond.  We saw ducks, which was.....well it was interesting to say the least.  And slightly disturbing.  But we got good pictures!

Ok, so this first one, I was trying to use my gold reflector, well, I did use my gold reflector, but because I didn't have an assistant and it was a bit windy, that didn't work for long.  So this is the one picture we got using the reflector.  Next time, I bring someone to hold it for me.  Or remember a clip to attach it to a lightstand.

This creepy one is actually shot through the gate in the previous image.  The stained glass is on the opposite side of the tomb and I had Amanda go stand there and be a creepy ghostly shadow.  I rather enjoy the result and want to do more of this sort of thing.

Love love love these closeups.

 Oh, the white!  The shapes!  Her curves in conjunction with the straight lines of the tomb make this possibly my favorite image from this shoot.

This is by the pond.  Our reflection ideas didn't work out as the pond was dirty and the water was moving, but the area around it was fantastic.

 After the cemetery, we drove around for a little bit seeing if there was anywhere else we wanted to shoot.  We came across a bright graffiti wall which contrasted awesomely with Amanda's outfit and had fun with her shaking her dreads and such.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It's been crazy lately

Well!  My life has been super hectic lately and, while I usually enjoy being busy, this has been a wonderful mix of the good and the bad.  As I mentioned briefly in my last post, I went to ImagingUSA at the end of January - my 5th year!  This was my second time as a PPA member and bringing Damien with me to go to business classes meant I could attend lighting and posing seminars (aka the fun stuff).  I didn't really like Atlanta, especially considering how great and photogenic New Orleans and San Antonio were, but it was also cold while we were there.  If I'm going south, it should be warm!  One thing Atlanta does have though is FANTASTIC barbeque.  Seriously, I ate it non-stop, and there was a really neat little hole-in-the-wall near our hotel that had some of the most delicious pulled pork I've ever eaten.  At the Expo this year, I finally bought a floor!  This way I can lay it down on top of carpets or ugly tile and have beautiful baby pictures on a gorgeous wood background!  I tested it with my camera-friendly pets when I got home.

After getting home (and figuring out our car situation because mine broke) I was able to start shooting again!  First on the list was my friends Rev and Rose, a super cute couple I know.  He's a piercer and we have a great barter system.  It's always a good time photographing them because Rev knows the shots he wants and so is the art director, and once we get those, Rose and I are like "yay, let's play!"

I also stopped by The 3rd Annual Pittsburgh Rock Music Awards - turns out Liz Berlin of Rusted Root owns Mr. Smalls (I had no idea!) so I got to take some pictures of her playing in between awards.  Craig from The Pittsburgh Scene gave out the Best Alternative Awards and my friends Children of October got Best Punk Album which was really exciting!

After that, I had a (almost) 3 month/Valentine's shoot with a beautiful baby girl named Audrey.  She is ridiculously adorable and her mom Bonnie is so sweet and excited about her daughter.  We had a slight meltdown, but it happens and you just have to know how to handle it.  This is why I always schedule in some extra time for baby shoots - the kid is totally in charge!  I had recently knitted a couple baby hats, which Audrey modeled and looked super cute in.

Right about the same time, I hit 1,000 fans on Facebook!!  Sooooo excited about this, it makes me feel really loved and hopeful for the future of my business.  I had a giveaway of a free session, which was won by a guitarist I know.  I went to his house and photographed him for his website (he's a guitar instructor - go to http://www.patrickmaloneyguitar.com) as well as took some pictures of his new daughter Cambria.  She's about 2 months old and so sweet!  It's nice seeing my friends happy and being good, loving parents.

Mid-February, my friend Sherry, who lives in New Jersey, came to visit for almost a week!  I rarely see her for more than 2 or 3 days at a time so was really excited to get to actually spend a significant amount of time with her.  Neither of us realized when she booked her train that she got here on Valentine's Day, whoops.  Oh well, our boyfriends were probably glad they didn't have to buy us dinners.  Poor Sherry had to deal with me practicing makeup skills and taking her picture while she visited, but we also did things that were fun for us both, like go to a concert and the Aviary!  I've been wanting to go since I was about 16 so it was awesome.  Also, they have a sloth.   Seemed like a weird creature to have in an aviary but it was exciting to see, even though it was rather camera-shy.  The eagle with one wing was a bit heartbreaking, but absolutely beautiful.

Last week I got unexpectedly stranded at Damien's for a few days when his car (which I've been using until mine gets its new engine) needed repairs and it ended up taking a lot longer than anyone thought it would.  I vaguely suspect our mechanic hates us....we cause so much trouble for the poor guy.  Luckily, I was able to borrow Damien's grandmother's car to get to work Friday and my shoot on Saturday.  It was a milestone shoot - Zahara just turned a year old!  Her parents, godparents and I wandered around Phipp's Conservatory with her and had a great time.  Cute baby, pretty flowers, it was a good day.