Everyone says that it's the little things that make this life so sweet. And by everyone I mean friends, books, movies, quotes..... everyone. (Okay so maybe I just mean that I hear it quite a bit) but as it stands the little things are what makes life so blindingly bright and wonderful for me. The small baby that I delivered into this life, the small crack of light that filters through our curtains leaving shadows of tree leaves on the opposite wall, the small bit of toothpaste my husband leaves ready on my toothbrush every morning, the small hands that look for mine in a crowd, the small jewels of fruits and vegetables in our yard, and the small days that are not extraordinary in any other way except for being totally mine. I know that many of us joke about wanting to see the start of a school year, to get back to a routine, but this non-routine is the plan I like best. Slow mornings, breakfast on the porch, and endless games played by two little girls so enamored with each other at times that I worry what the disconnect will feel like in the chasm between kindergarten and second grade. We are enjoying the small things and taking this last bit of a month one day at a time. I hope things are as sweet for you as well.
The "Cat Lake"
We have been blessed to have visited many amazing beaches in various locations around the globe but recently we took a short drive to our nearest great lake... the "cat lake" as the name translates from its Native American origins, Lake Erie. So this collection is from that short visit. I couldn't resist editing these Canada Geese like a painting as they glided along the water. What lakes are your favorites? Leave a comment below if you have a place I should put on my list to visit!
When you are in the presence of true love, it really moves you. These two timeless souls exemplified all that one can expect from a relationship built so firmly on love and respect. I had the honor of photographing their wedding weekend in Joplin, Missouri and will remember the day for a very long time. Their vows written and spoken to each other were filled with such honesty and had a magic to make you feel as though you were listening to the beating of their hearts. I would wish them all of the happiness in the world but I am pretty sure they will make that happen.
OHHHH and did I mention that before all of this they ran a half marathon on the day of their wedding! xo
Oh my goodness.... my last year in the thirties! We celebrated the day I was born yesterday. I ate yummy food, played Mille Bornes, found out that my husband ordered me an ethnicity DNA kit, and overall had an awesome day! Oh yes, I said DNA kit. I often pride myself on my 50/50 ethnicity. First generation American on my Dad's Italian side and Third Generation on my mom's Polish side. The perfect mix of warm and cool features I would say. I can cook a bit and bake a bit. I have my stubborn side and my side that can make any day seem like a holiday for the people I love. And overall I love tradition. (I'll let you decide which traits came in as Italian or Polish) But I have always wondered.... Maybe is't not as clear cut as I thought! So in passing I have mentioned how cool it would be to actually be tested. My kit is on it's way! dum dum dum!!!!!
I also received so much love in cards, calls, texts and messages, a serenade of "Happy Birthday" with Cha Cha Chas included., flowers, a few salted caramel Macarons from Oakmkont Bakery as well as Banana Cream Pie! YUM! So really the day doesn't get much better unless everyone who was there on the day I was born could be here still. But my heart is full and I can trace all of this love back to everyone in my life who lifts me up, shelters me, and loves me unconditionally.
So from one stuffed Mama....Many Thanks! Let's see what this next year has in store for me!!
When I first started my photography journey I used my canon slr and loaded roll after roll into the back. I shot my sister washing her car, my dad planting a tree, my brother goofing around or my mom cooking dinner. I captured images of the flowers in our yard or the garden as it grew. I wish I had taken more of my grandparents doing their thing. I hold those images close to my heart. My own personal photography is full of just the everyday beauty of dirty knees and moments that just happen to present themselves in our natural day. So getting to shoot an in home session with one of my favorite three year old was what I would consider perfect! We did what he wanted to do. That list included play with trucks, use his umbrella, swing from the garage as he loves to do in any temperature, play in his tent, and eat lunch (super hero glass included). It was a day of him at three and that's worth remembering. It's worth having a professional eye look at your everyday to turn it into a keepsake. So from their home to yours.....
Leave your baskets and props on the shelf and come with me to the best place to photograph your newborn.......
Your home of course! I know you're thinking that maybe your home is not Pinterest worthy but I bet there's a story there and more beauty than you might think.
When I first took my photography into the realm of being a business I kept away from newborn photography. Not only did I think that I lacked the skill to pose those cute little newborns on bean bags and propped up in baskets, I really lacked the desire. Now don't get me wrong, I think that some of those images are super cute and I marvel at the skill to edit out fingers and posing helpers as well as sooth a newborn into some of those super dreamy positions but I just didn't feel as though it was what I wanted to capture.
I have been lucky enough to have clients who want that sliver of life within their walls that tells a story of what it's like for them as parents to a newborn in their own home. Swaddled up sweetness, bathing beauties, tired little bundles within their own cribs and parents just completely smitten by that new little person.
So if you are expecting, maybe give your home a second glance...
The weather here in Pittsburgh has been changing from day to day. With that change in temperature comes wind. Yesterday was an exceptionally windy day and the play cape came in handy. I am lucky that she thought of it because I try really hard to capture the authentic moments rather than anything contrived.
What we ended up with was a super interesting collection of images with movement and speak again to the magic of childhood. To think that we spent only five minutes in a small space of our driveway. Further proof that you don't have to leave home or have super romantic scenes to get images that are dear to your heart.
I baked a batch of biscotti the other day. My Nonna used to make them quite often and always had a supply to bring out with her piping hot coffee on any stop we made in the evening. We would show up there most times unannounced just to have a bit of her time. I didn't want to learn many of her recipes because I had this hope that if I didn't learn that it would somehow force the world to let me keep her in my life forever. I wanted it to he her hands. But as she and I got older I spent time making certain foods with her and yet others I never saw the process. This recipe is good, but not hers and if I'm really being honest with myself I don't think that I could reproduce them even if I had all of the steps because there's more to a family recipe than what's written down. And so I this trail of thought led me to think about my images. Would you have seen all that was happening here with just this shot. The contemplation of all things here and those things gone?
So maybe that's what my collection of images is about. A story that you might only understand from my side of the lens and still I try to lay out this trail of crumbs to follow. I try to show you how this life looks to me. How this beautiful world moves me to want to capture it and save bits and pieces. I want my daughters to look through this collection and get a feel for the woman I am here and now. I want to remember who I am but showing you these images.......... I'm just telling you bits and pieces. It's not the whole recipe and I cross my fingers that I can get the story across even without you ever being with me as I cook this life into what it is and will be.
If I ask my older daughter to wear a dress, sit in a tub of water, climb a wall, dance in a puddle of mud, face the sun or shut off a light.... well she does it. She is the reason I fell back in love with photograph because she gave me time to hone my craft a bit more. My littlest..... well she is the challenge to capture but she is the reason that I've gotten better at my art. She normally sports a serious face and so many of my images are of her contemplating life. I love every bit of it. When a family apologizes for a difficult toddler it doesn't phase me in the slightest. What does tend to worry me is their expectations of the final images. Do they want what really is or do they want some version of their child that only exists in a frame? I am lucky that most if not all of my clients look for the former.
I am also lucky that I am home with this littlest one and I have had the pleasure of photographing her throughout this fall. The other day on the way home from pre-school I asked her if she would allow me to photograph her. She originally said no and then just like that, changed her mind. We stopped at this beautiful building and yard near our home to run around for a bit. Today she wanted to smile and run and skip. Today was a true picture of her just as all of the other ones where she is serious. So here we are between the age of four and five, between the seasons of sun and snow, and in a perfect time where childhood is carefree and safe and she is whomever she pleases to be in the moment.
I have been all over the place shooting gorgeous seniors, families, and school kids but I wanted to stop in to share a few more from recent sessions. Such an amazing family! If you want to feel happy go and spend an hour or two with this foursome. Elated to be part of their new city adventure. ~ Marisa
A few years ago I had the pleasure of photographing this young man's brother for his senior portraits. I took a few photos of Colin as well that day because his family had only recently found out that he had a voice that could sing Opera as though he was classically trained. Even before he began this journey in music he could pull the breath out of a crowd of listeners. I heard him sing at a concert when he was in eighth grade and I couldn't believe what we were hearing. I closed my eyes just so his young age didn't continue to throw me off balance. Now just three years later it seems that he's finally growing into that big voice. If you know him you will know him to be humble, self depreciating at times, intelligent, and kind hearted. Even if he never sings a note in your presence, I promise that you won't be left unimpressed. I could have shared the whole gallery with so many favorites but I know he'll be using these photos for his upcoming pursuits and so I won't overshare. I hope you enjoy the sneak peak of this awesome session as much as I enjoyed photographing it! ~ Marisa
From the first phone conversation with her mom, I knew that I was going to enjoy this session. They were looking for something different and after seeing images from a former client they knew that Snowflake fit the bill. This young woman has her interests blossoming in so many arenas it really made me feel like I should up my game a bit! She was so easy going and took directions with ease (I actually think she didn't even need my direction). Her smile was genuine and so it made the session fly by. We had worried about rain and yet we didn't experience a drop of it on this perfect evening. If you don't mind a play on words... It was all I could hope for. :) (I just had to ) ~ Marisa
School Portraits are quite the conundrum for some of us. Even if you have a traditional school photo session at your kids school (even though you were wishing Snowflake was giving your kids the boutique treatment) The question is still out there: what do they wear?! Against my daughter's best wishes my preference really is her school uniform. I think she looks so cute and preppy in it and it really does show her school self. So if you can get your kids on board I say go that way but this year I said that she could wear something different so I went to her closet to follow my own rules. And here it is folks, short and sweet.
Pick something simple with a little bit of texture (think lace, crochet, cable knit, a bow) or a mild pattern, or even a simple layer of shirt and sweater. I don't pick things with writing on them or obvious branding and I personally steer clear of things that are too bright so they don't cast a color shadow on her beautiful skin. Should you go with accessories keep in mind to keep it high on their torso so it's in the image.
To be honest I really love to photograph kids in simple, plain, and sometimes old fashioned clothes because their little personalities do most of the work. But after answering a few emails from upcoming clients and talking with friends, I thought I would share a recent search (seriously I scanned through in 15 minutes) of Gap, Old Navy, Target, and Janie and Jack. It's mostly girls ideas with a few boys shirts snuggled in there but I thought it might help. Now don't go straight to online shopping... head to their closets and see what you have that meets our new rules. How my mom every chose my brother's outfit circa 1990 something with the laser background I guess I'll never know but luckily he was cute enough to overcome it.
** Note, because I shoot against a dark backdrop I lean towards light colors or contrasting. I love black but It doesn't work for every situation and backdrop.
OH my goodness was the day hot! Here we are in September and my gauge in the car was reading close to Ninety degrees! Sometimes you worry that it's too hot or too cold for someone to relax but this is where working with high school seniors pays off. I mean really, they come across cool no matter what the weather. Luckily it cooled off a bit by the time we got to the shoot and as we moved from site to site it was clear that a little heat wasn't a problem. We were so happy to hang out with this charismatic young woman and even more impressed with how sweet she was, not only to us, but to her mom. She was so energetic that it was a bit contagious and we left with smiles on our faces. I'm excited to see what the future holds.