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FP2019 (9 of 548)

National Lupus day!

May 10th 2022

       Something you might not know about me is that I was diagnosed with Lupus over 9 years ago. This makes being a photographer interesting to say the lease. Some might not know what Lupus is... you can't catch it from me.

       Lupus is an inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues.

*Lupus (SLE) can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs.

*Symptoms vary but can include fatigue, joint pain, rash, and fever. These can periodically get worse (flare-up) and then improve. While there's no cure for lupus, current treatments focus on improving quality of life through controlling symptoms and minimizing flare-ups.

*This begins with lifestyle modifications, including sun protection and diet. Further disease management includes medications, such as anti-inflammatories and steroids. of environmental trigger to set off the illness or to bring on a flare. The following are common environmental triggers:

* Ultraviolet rays from the sun or from fluorescent light bulbs

*Sulfa drugs, which make a person more sensitive to the sun, such as: Bactrim® and Septra® (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole); sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin®); tolbutamide (Orinase®); sulfasalazine (Azulfidine®); diuretics *Sun-sensitizing tetracycline drugs such as minocycline (Minocin®)

*Penicillin or other antibiotic drugs such as: amoxicillin (Amoxil®); ampicillin (Ampicillin Sodium ADD-Vantage®); cloxacillin (Cloxapen®)

*An infection, a cold or a viral illness *An injury, particularly traumatic injury

* Emotional stress, such as a divorce, illness, death in the family, or other life complications

*Anything that causes stress to the body, such as surgery, physical harm, pregnancy, or giving birth


         Because of my Lupus I choose to plan my sessions around the best lighting times of the day. Planning ahead is always best. It is nice that the best time of day for me also matched the best photography lighting time thank God!

       Before covid happen I was already trying to live like that. I didn't wash my groceries, but I did keep my distance from people when I could. Working at a school at the time did not make this easy at all. I would wash my hands constantly and I tried to avoid large gatherings from November until March because of cold & flu season. Even in the cold months I have to avoid the sun, eat right, & exercise daily. My health and your health are the most important to me. I know to most people having a cold may not be that deadly, but for me or a newborn that comes into my studio might have a bigger problem later from it. Please if you are sick or have been around anyone sick. I would be happy to reschedule your appointment for the next week to make sure that everyone stays healthy all year long.

Locations I love To Use

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Locations that I love to use!

April 20th, 2022   

  Having a great location is the key to a great photography session. You can be the best at what you do and buy the best equipment, but if you take a picture with garbage all around you the effect will be a lot different than what you wanted. Yes you can photoshop it but why would you want to.  Just pick a new location!    

I like to choose a location that is local to the client and I. There are many locations around Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. I am located in Greensburg, PA and have found some hidden gems that I like to use.     Some of the local parks that I like to use are Twin lakes Park & Peach Park located near Westmoreland Mall. I have found that the upper lake has the best lighting in the evening for Summer and Fall sessions. For senior Portrait and Family Fall portraits. I love to use Mammoth Park located near the Westmoreland Fair Grounds in Mt. Pleasant. For summer the metal bridge will make your portraits look amazing at Duff Park, Murrysville. This is a great location when the water is not too high to get in. I suggest not after a heavy rain for swimming portraits. Spring time can bring many beautiful flowers. I like to use Hempfield Park to capture all the newly budded white flowering trees. This park has many great spots for large groups they offer cute bridges with access to the creek for great splash portraits or for a newborn session.


           I have also used private land locations. Thanks to the permission of the land owners. I have a local barn that is beautiful for a more rustic look. I like to use this for maternity sessions. I have a hidden gem across the street from the studio that I love to use. There is 3 miles of walking trails that are so beautiful in the Spring, Summer or Fall. The land use to be a landing strip for planes and hot air balloons in the 1950's. Hard to believe Greensburg, PA had a airport. I got to see the land mature over the last 40 years. I use to play baseball there when I was a kids. The land has ball fields and mature trees for a family friendly atmosphere.

      One great location that I love to use is Mount Odin Golf Course. There is beautiful trees that line the road and the view from the golf course is amazing you would never know it is in the middle of downtown Greensburg.

     Late Summer early Fall is a beautiful time to go to a sunflower field or a pumpkin patch. Finding the best locations for that happen to be a gift of mine. I love to find new a exciting locations that are only up to 30 miles from the studio.

         Historical sites are a wonderful way to give back to your community. The cost is typically is low. They ask you to fill out a permission slip because they want to know who is on the property. I'm sure it is for insurance and safety reasons. The less people on the property at the time is always best. That is one good reason to check with them before booking a mini session there. How much fun do you think it would be to have a second grade class having a field trip during your session time. I love the hour or two before the sun sets to do most of my sessions the glow through the trees can not be photo shopped the way the sun can shine naturally.

        For a more urban look I like to go to downtown Greensburg, PA. It is amazing how many looks and backdrops you can pull off around town. They have an art alley that many senior love to take portraits at. The colors seam to just pop off the all from the spray paint art murals . The Old buildings around town can tell a story form your family history or how the city is changing for the future. The huge porch pillras can make for a grand setting. I love to find a hidden spot and make it a session worthy gem location. Some of the best places I have found are the parking garages the can give aerial view of the city.

       Knowing your location is key. You should always scout out the location if it is new to you. Knowing what time your lighting is going to be at its best is the key to a great shot. I hope I was able to help with making your location choice.


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March 9, 2022

I was thinking of teaching a class/ Event.

      How to learn basic Digital Photography for children with a parent. I feel like it would be a good way to bond with your child. Try to teach parents how to see the world through their child's eyes and help the child see what the parent sees through the lens. Let me know if this is something you would be interested in. I want it to be a one day event and more of a bonding time between family members than a class that you sit down and listen to me talk. We would meet at a park. We would have a goal to capture and get to compare the image that you captured. You would have a locked online gallery to access your digital images, download them, print from my online store or share online. The day of class you can share your images with peers in the class or showcase them online when they are ready to be downloaded. This would be a great way to build a portfolio or try out a Canon camera before you buy one. I have 2 levels to choose from. Ages 12+ It would be a small class of 4 to 8 people. What would you pay to experience this?

Daylight Savings

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March 1, 2022

Daylight savings is so important to a photographer.

How and why you might ask?

    When it is getting cold out you need every second of daylight to get the perfect sunset shots. Daylight savings will rob you of that time once a year. When it is getting warm out you are just so happy to gain every hour you can. My favorite time to have a outdoor location shoot is one hour before the sun sets. This way you get the beautiful side light, light reflections off of water if you are lake side and the beautiful colors of the setting sun. The setting sun can give that golden glow you want in your images. sure you can edit it but the real thing is always better.

     At noon you will have a bright over head light. That makes for dark circles under your eyes and harsh shadows. I try to avoid Shooting from 11 am to 2 pm if I can make it work for the clients schedule. If you are a morning person you might want to consider a sunrise shoot you get all the beauty of the side light and so much more. Water droplets on plants and possible fog in the distance.

Each hour of the day has its own magic, you just have to look through the lens to see its beauty.

What to Wear to a Portrait Session

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February 2, 2022

      Trying to decide what to wear to a a portrait session can be difficult for some people. One of the main reasons that most people do not get professional portraits done is because they have no clue want to wear or how to pose. I hear this all the time. I can help with both! Here are a few matching and styling tips you can use to help with each kind of session that you should need. Time passes so fast capturing this moment in time is hard enough, why make clothes the reason for holding you back.

Newborn Session

      Keep it simple you can coordinate the color but don't be too matching. I like cool colors and comfortable fabrics. Comfortable clothing can make all the difference in how your images turn out. Confidence comes from inside and at this time of transiting can be hard on new moms.

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Family Portraits

          Choose a color palette. Pick one pattern or 3 colors. Do not over match your outfits all in the same shirt or color. It is ok to mix solids and a pattern as long as the colors match. Try to match the backdrop or location. Color is ok if you want to stand out.

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Engagement Session

       I strongly suggest wearing solid colors. One pattern is ok if they match and is a subtle pattern or muted colors. Incorporating a clothing with a texture instead of a  pattern can give a look of sophistication and romance to your portraits. I suggest men to wear khaki pants.  Shorts are good at the beach. Trying to match or fit in with your location.  Wearing a long dress or flowing sleeves can give movement to your portraits. I like to ask a couples to dance or to spin to capture fun and genuine smiles in your images.

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Head shots

      Dress like the boss. Depending on the job you want you need to look the part. Choose multple outfits for that day having a backup for that day is always helpful for the photographer to choose and give styling tips.Avoid wearing too much jewelry or clothes that are too warn out. Choosing the right color can say different things about you. Dark muted colors are more formal, domiating and conservative. Bright colors can say fun, full of creativity and adventurous.

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Fall & Holiday Portraits

     For fall family portraits i suggest wearing colors that will match the fall changing leaves. Yellow &  navy work great together be cause of the contrast and pop of color.  Maroon, red, black and gray work well together for both settings. One great color combo for holiday mini sessions are dark green, red, blue with a touch of cream. The trend to wear your PJ's will never go away. It is ok to be over matching with this. It actually make the pictures better. Having different colors of red is sometimes a problem. I recommend buying them all at the same time together to make sure they all match.

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    I hope that this blog was helpful for you to plan outfits to capture the images that you want for your next portrait session. Each session is unique in the story that you want your images to tell. Every clients and family is different.H ow can I make it fun and memorable for you?

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How to prepare for your newborn session.

January, 25 2022

   I am asked questions all the time on "How can I be better prepared for my newborn session?" This is a fast moving time in your life. I would like to help in any way that I can. Over the years this is the advice I have given to new parents. Trust me you are not alone in your thoughts worries or concerns. Here are a few ways that you can be better prepared for your newborn session. Making your session as safe and flawless as I can is my main focus.

Always remember that you, oops! I mean the BABY is the BOSS!

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The Baby Is The BOSS!

I say this all the time!!! "The baby is the boss," and it is true. They will tell you everything that they need you just have to pay close attention to them. All babies are unique but they all have some simple cues that they use to communicate with the world. For example....

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Cues to help Communicate

Baby cues that say "I'm tired"

Tired signs in babies include:

* staring into the distance

* jerky movements

* yawning

* fussing

* sucking fingers

* losing interest in people or toys.

* Rubbing eyes

Baby cues that say  "I'm hungry"

Newborns need to feed every 2-3 hours. When your baby is hungry, they may:

* make sucking noises

* turn towards the breast.

* You can start to look for these cues every 1-2 hours in newborns or every 3-4  hours for an older baby.

Baby cues that say  "I want to play"

Older babies usually follow a ‘feed-play-sleep’ routine. Cues that your baby is ready to play with you include:

* eyes wide and bright

* eye contact with you

* smiles

* smooth movements hands

* reaching out to you.

Baby cues that say "I need a diaper Change"

Would you want to sit in that? I know I wouldn't want to. Here are a few cues to help you know when to change them:

* You hear the rumble lol!

* They are crying

* They gained weight

* The smell will let you know everytime.

Baby cues that say "I need a break"

Babies who are four months and older might not always be ready for a nap after their play time. Sometimes they might want a change of pace or activity instead. So what do these baby cues look like? If your baby wants a break from what she’s doing right now, she might:

* turn her head away from you

* squirm or kick

* Cry

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Do you plan to be in the portraits?

To some this is a very easy question. To others this might not be so easy. Every woman wants to look their best and capture their happy growing family. Unfortunately all labor is different. Your story is unique and should be respected. If you had a hard labor and do not feel your best you might want to take some extra time to heal and schedule your family portraits at a later time. If that is the case when you do have your newborn session you can focus on enjoying your precious newborn while I capture all their adorable moments. Baby Steps!

Newborn Baby Skin is Delicate.

I have new moms say all the time. "Sorry her skin is so dry." You do not need to apologize! Imagine being submerged in liquid for months,t hen taken out into the dry air. Your skin would look dry and peel too.. One great trick I use is Aquaphor for newborns. It is mostly made up of water. It is safe for their delicate skin and is not Sticky or greasy. Newborn nails are very sharp. They have a tendency to scratch their face or hands. Pro tip: keep them cut short. If you are not comfortable with that yet you can cover them up with mittens. They have some that come on sleepers that you can fold over or you can buy the newborn mittens.

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What to wear

This is a 2 part question. First: What will the family wear? & How do you want to dress my newborn?

First if you do not plan to get portraits with you in them, you can wear comfy clothes. There is no dress code in my book when you are a new mom.  If there is, I would think sweats and a T-shirt would be it, if not pjs lol! That is what I lived in after both of my deliveries.

If you do plan to have you and the family together in a portrait here are some styling tips.

* Think simple

* If you must have a pattern pick one person and everyone match the color pattern. Example Green with white pattern, Plan green top, white top and blue to match everyone.

For your newborn  you have to ask yourself "What story do I want my portraits to tell?"

* No Clothes can symbolize minimalist lifestyle

* Print could match your nursery theme

* Will you be outside for your session? Is it hot or cold out?

* Make sure that you pick fabrics that are soft to the skin. You want them to be happy and comfortable.

Transition glasses are great for going in and out of buildings and not having to change them. However did you ever get your picture taken with them on? When you are indoors it is fine.  When you are outside you have one of two choices. One, take them off. Easy right?  Well not for some people. Some people do not feel as confident with out them on or they may not be able to see at all with out them. Making it difficult for them to look at the camera. Second option the person could choose to being a pair of glasses that do not change. Sometimes the client doesn't realize the glare that can happen when a light hits it just right. Thankfully I have learned that if you drop your chin slightly it will most of the time eliminate the glare. I have had clients choose to wear the pair of glasses. If you ask me they just look way cooler than the rest of the family. Just Kidding!

What time should I have my Session?

This will all depend on your family. What time is the newborn a sleep the most? They are on a schedule of eating every 2-3 hours,  but if you are like my daughter, she would eat every hour. Still does to this day, lol! I try to plan what time is best for your families schedule. Sometimes the siblings are at school or the spouse has to work late. Life is busy. Take a step back look at your daily routine and I will help schedule the most convenient time for your session. If you want the sleeping portraits you want them happy at that time. So scheduling a time before they are going to eat is a perfect time. I always recommend feeding them when you arrive at the studio or when I arrive at your chosen location.

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Most Important:

Have fun! Make memories that will last a lifetime. Portraits that you want to hang up in your house or share with your friends and family. I do not rush your session. Each session is 1 to 3 hours. You can take your time, you are my main focus. The safety of the newborn and family are what is most important at any session. We strive to protect everyone by wearing masks, sanitizing daily or after every session and getting vaccinated.  I have all child care, criminal record and FBI clearances. I have been working with children for so long and I understand what is truly important to myself as a parent and to my customer as a parent.

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Thank you for reading and have a great day!

Posing Children

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Tips on how to pose children during a session.

January 3, 2022

           Depending on the child's age posing can be very tricky. Here are a few of my favorite tricks I use to get great shots every time by age. I break the age groups into groups to make it easier to explain. I have been caring for children since I was a child myself. Thankfully I have learned a few things over the last 30 years to make photography easier. Little did I know, I was just in training for my future dream job of portrait photographer.

Age groups

Newborn-  up to 3 months

Infant - up to 12 months

Toddler - up to 4 years old

School age - up to 5th grade

Teen - up to graduation

1. Having a relaxed fun atmosphere is the most important for all sessions.

       Using  props in my photography is very helpful, but if you just bought it, it is breakable or very important to you? If so, then it is probably not the best prop choice for a toddler.  I like to choose plastic or cloth props to use for infants or toddlers. Having something for them to pick up and play with is what makes the magic of childhood happen. Instantly you see their face light up because you let them touch it!  Children hear no all day long. Imagine going somewhere fun that you get to play with cool new toys that tell a story. Enter photography magic, BAM!  Little minds are curious. They want to help. They want to see what is going on and they have to touch everything.  What you can expect more than anything is they will throw it! Instant toddler internal question..... will it bounce? I do have studio rules and I tell them about them but they are the boss at the session. When they are done we are done. I never force any child to take a picture. I ask them politely if they would like to sit in my chair? Sit with Mommy? Hold my prop?  Play with my new toy? That way they hold the power in the situation and we both feel respected. Sometimes it is a no! I say OK! Ultimately it is their choice. If you force them to sit they will cry or not smile. When they see how much fun it is they normally choose to join in with their own idea on how to have fun. To me that is a win, win situation!


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2. Props that tell a story       

  This is going to sound like a given, but it can be harder than it looks when it come to children. First you have to ask yourself. How do I plan to use the Images? Do I need them to look posed? Do I want to catch them in play? I personally love catching children in the act! You never know what they will do next. But if you want to tell a story than you have to choose the props wisely that you have available during your session. For example....when you have a Spring mini session you can choose a watering can as a prop. I love to ask questions  to the child like. Do you see any water in the can? How do you pour it on flowers? To get the child to look at the camera ask...Who has a watering can that you know? If they say no one. Then you can ask if they have ever seen one on a favorite show? Click, Click perfect moments captured!

3. Teens are way too cool for pictures     

          Teens are more responsive if you ask them questions. I know that sounds crazy! Trust me it works. Where did you get that shirt? They smile because they love it and picked it out. Click goes the shutter. Or they hate the clothes look at mom and then they start talking. If they are very stiff I will look at them with a funny face for a few second and finally they crack a smile. If that is a fail I have told them to blow raspberries with their lips just because it will make anyone laugh. I know you just tried it. If you want to see them glow. Tell them that they are beautiful or handsome. It works every time. Remember their time is important to them too! They want a good experience to tell their friends. Comfortable poses, using language they understand and don't talk down to them. They get enough of that possibly at school.

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4. Infants need protection

        The proper posing of infant and newborns is so important. The neck must always be supported for newborns. If you let their neck slump over too much it actually cuts off their air supply. That is why it is so important to have your car seat properly installed at each stage of their age as they grow up. Having a cute bucket and putting them in is not correct you need to use weighted bean bags so your bucket will not fall over. Safety first! Next I use newborn positioning pillows that are safe to position them in the bucket. I then use a blanket or fur to cover the pillows. The props and pillows can be found online.  I made my bean bags, but you can also order them or find them at your local store. Always use soft material if it is going to touch their skin. How would you like to have your legs or arms touching a scratchy plastic? They have very sensitive skin. Personally I only wash my infant fabrics with newborn hypoallergenic sent free laundry detergent as added protection after every session.

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5. School age knows everything

       There is a reason they have a show that asks parents very easy questions for a fifth grader. They think they know everything, yet they will ask "what is this used for?", "How long is this going to take?" and "Can we leave yet?". I just ask them questions too! What school do you go to? Who is your best friend? What would be the best gift that you could get for your birthday? What did you ask for? How do you think that prop works? They always say, "I know!" or "What is it?". What story do you want your session to tell? I will find a question to ask. If you want them to be posed, name the body part or prop and tell them what direction to move it. Example... move your foot to the right more. Can you smell the flower? Can you read page 45 for me in the book? Always thank them for what they do and you will get a better smile.

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