Welcoming a new addition to this world | Nora’s newborn photos

Nora did great for her very first photo shoot. Her 4-legged sister gave us the favorite image of the day…oh that LOOK in her eyes. I love the natural newborn photography style, and I hope you enjoy these images too!

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Alycia + Chad | E-session

Always love a shoot where I walk away with sand in my toes!

retro wedding series | historic buildings and rainforest fun

May 18th, 2007

I’ve known Kathy & Lawrence for many years.  When they asked me to shoot their wedding, it was at the beginning of my wedding photographer career.  I was super excited and super nervous too!  I remember arriving at the church really early cause I wasn’t really familiar with the area.  St John AME is a century church with so much history I could just see the 1800’s come alive.

After the ceremony, we went to the Cleveland Metroparks Rainforest, then on to the Bohemian National Hall for the reception. This hall was naturally beautiful inside with hard woods every where, a balcony overlooking the dance floor and a classic theater style stage.

So….just in time for Valentine’s Day, here’s my next retro wedding feature!  Enjoy!

Grace’s high school senior shoot at Bain Park

Grace and her mom came to the studio for senior pictures and even if she doesn’t believe me when I say it, she was the perfect model! 🙂 I usually have to cut quite a few ‘blinking’ photos from a shoot (cause who wants to see themselves with their eyes shut), but not with Grace. She was a natural with her beautiful brown eyes and a fun laid back & sporty personality. We did the 2nd half of the photo session at Bain Park in Fairview Park, Ohio. This park is a well-kept secret I stumbled across a couple years back. It’s never super busy and I’ve only seen one other photographer there while I was working on a shoot. This place has a peaceful stream, winding stairs, wishing well, gazebo AND stone bridge. What more can you ask for?

Some of my favorites from Grace’s senior gallery (which will be ready this weekend!)

Creative Family Portraits

I’d like to share some of my favorite family portraits over the last few years. They stand out in my mind because they are non-traditional, full of emotion, and take place somewhere with family meaning. Turning images into a work of art involves picking the right image and enhancing it to it’s fullest potential. Since my background is fine art black & white, I’m partial to sepia tones and true black & white with plenty of contrast.

I really love this image because it’s taken at the very beginning of the ‘family of three’. We were in their home and everything was so new, barely used and waiting for Gabbie to grow into life. The only lighting was a window in the bedroom. This is a very intimate portrait, and it seemed appropriate to eliminate all distractions and transform into black & white.

At the Dunn family portraits, I couldn’t stop shooting because there were so many interesting places in their century home. This was one of my favorites because everyone had just changed into casual clothing and it shows the stages of life as their little boy was only thigh high. This images is desaturated to include only a portion of color. The blue jeans and white shirts balance out the image and really draw you into the center.

The Scaletta’s had a beautiful backyard in Grafton and the entire family was getting together including many grandkids and yes, even the dog. The fall colors were amazing, leaves were everywhere and the family was open for new ideas and a long walk through the park. The kids even got play in a pile of leaves and throw them up in the air. I love fall pictures in sepia….it looks so natural and warm. This image is sepia toned with a couple of my favorite PhotoShop actions to really make it pop.

Family portraits in the home…we found this great neutral colored wall in the dining room and everyone gathered around the first baby of the family. I really like the fact that no one is looking at the camera in this image. It shows more about the family dynamics than any traditional image ever could.

The Eberflus family met me downtown Cleveland after the Brown’s scrimage (dad is one of the coaches). Our goal here was to capture a work of art for the wall. I love booking these shoots that really let me stretch my wings and get creative! The pier is an awesome location with both a skyline and a lake backdrop. Color tinting the red elements (at 15% opacity) adds an artistic spin and focuses your attention on the family. The Cleveland skyline in black & white worked so well because the sky was dark blue with a few clouds (that doesn’t happen often in this part of the country).

I featured this image a few months ago, but I REALLY love CJ and her mom’s fun, unguarded expressions. The parasol adds a certain vintage look and there was plenty of foreground and background to bring dimension to the image. The warmness of sepia tone and a dark vignette around the edges gives the image a soft, dreamy appearance.

The true art of portraits

There are so many different styles of creating ‘portraits’, but for me….I’m an artist first. These are some of the techniques I use to create high personality portraits for high school seniors, family lifestyle sessions, child portraits and more.

1. Capitalize on your individuality! Be yourself. During my photography sessions, I try not to mold people into unnatural looking poses. I give a little guidance to get us heading in the right direction (stand/sit at an angle to the camera, chin down, serious or smiling, etc), then I work with each person’s individuality and natural stance. This way, your final portraits aren’t cookie-cutterish. I believe a “portrait” is more than a photographic likeness- it should rather capture the subject’s spirit and personality and freeze that moment in time.

be yourself

2. Relax and let your guard down. I like to get to know my clients before the camera makes an appearance. High school seniors, wedding couples, family lifestyle portraits…my goal is to make you feel comfortable in front of the camera. Young children are naturals because they haven’t built up those social barriers. Older children are sometimes ‘trained’ to stand up straight and say cheese every time they see a camera- makes me cringe, and this is the hardest habit to break! High school age and adults just need a little portrait warm up time….I almost never use the first five images we shoot in a session. As we mix conversation in between shots, the images get progressively better!

3. Mix it up. As a photographer, I make sure to use multiple backgrounds, scenery and simple props to add variety. (We use very few props for studio sessions because we would rather focus on the person.) Outdoor sessions result in the most interesting and unique images, and this is what we’re known for. We may start in the studio with a clean white backdrop, then drive down to the beach or park and really have some fun! I encourage all my clients to pick a place that has a special meaning to them. For example, when I asked Liz Haas, a photographer friend to shoot my family portraits, we went to Huntington Beach. That’s where I met my husband. The place added another dimension of meaning to our images.

Family lifestyle portraits

And a few more of my favorites….


New mommy and daddy

Three year old portraits

Family Pet Portraits

HS Senior shoot at Clague Park

A preview of today’s senior picture shoot with Brett at Clague Park!  What a beautiful day we had, although a little chilly. Poor Brett was slightly cold in short sleeves and 50 degrees.  Gotta love Ohio in May!

We also did a studio session last week, which makes a nice collection of high school senior portraits.  Dressy, casual, controlled lighting and outdoor scenery.  The outdoor shots are my favorite to shoot because there are SO MANY possibilities, and every session is guaranteed to be unique!

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