two year old girl in blue overalls at rustic log cabin

Cora, Almost 2 – Beaver Train Station

Every 3 months, I get to see this amazing family because since they were pregnant with their first, they made the decision to capture the growth of their girls every 3 months of their life for the first 2 years. I so look forward to seeing how the girls change…and you’d think there wouldn’t be that much change in 3 months…but, oh, there is! It happens so fast! Their collection of albums from each session will be a cherished keepsake for the girls as they grow.

We started planning our January session a few weeks prior and to our surprise, the weather turned and we got to do the session outside! 65 degrees in western PA in January – amazing! We chose the Beaver train station as our location. A rustic cabin sits right across the parking lot and the sun seems to be perfect no matter what time of day you shoot.

Part way through our session, we changed shoes (although the weather was beautiful, the ground was still soggy) and it threw Cora for a moment, but mom saved the day with “squirrel lollipops” and we got right back on track. I love letting little ones explore during our sessions – it gives me the opportunity to capture their big personalities. Those are the moments you want to remember forever!

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Kinley – Newborn Portraits

Sweet little Kinley was 9 days old at our session and so stinkin’ adorable, making me want another baby. The struggle is real! We started the session with a set-up inspired by a post I saw on Instagram – a baby in a wreath of beautiful fall flowers. Since Kinley is a winter baby, I went with a more neutral pale pink flower in my wreath. Kinley wasn’t too sure about this set-up, but we got the shot and made sure to move on to lots of snuggles for the lifestyle portraits part of the session. Katelyn had her nursery decked out in lavender with so many personal decor touches. I especially loved the white mirror above her dresser. After a feeding, more cuddling, and a good burp, Kinley was ready for her close-up! She peacefully napped as we worked our way through the different outfits and accessories…and some of my favorite newborn portraits were made! Congratulations, Dave and Katelyn! Kinley is perfect!

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Carmine is 1

Little Carmine has such a big personality — and he hammed up it for me during his 1st birthday portrait session!
Carmine is the nephew of a soon-to-be Elders Ridge Photography bride, Bethany. I was flattered when a friend of her family loved Bethany and Nate’s engagement pictures so much that they hired me to take Carmine’s portraits, too. Yay!!:)

Carmine’s parents, Tom and Andreana, live out of state, but they were all in town for his 1st birthday celebration at his grandparent’s house in Indiana, PA, so we decided to do the portrait session there. The house is beautifully landscaped, making it easy to find backdrops for the pictures. And with a little help from Uncle Anthony holding the reflector, the scrim, and handling giggle patrol with funny sounds and faces, we had all the ingredients for a successful session!

Looking forward to catching up with everyone in this family in October at the wedding!

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Hannah is 5

Hannah’s mom, Amanda, always does her homework before our sessions. She sends me inspiration pictures and we go back and forth with ideas and locations, working together to have an amazing session. And when you see the images below, I think you’ll agree it was time well spent!

Hannah is growing up so fast – I swear she has grown 6 inches taller since last year! For the session, Amanda shared a lot of rustic, down-on-the-farm type images, so it made sense to have the session at her sister’s fiance’s farm in New Brighton, PA — my hometown. And I can’t be sure, but I feel like I was out near this farm before…like at a senior party or something… memory’s a little fuzzy.:)

The farm had so many spots for pictures that went along with the ideas Amanda had. Tall golden grass, a big red barn, a wooden swing tied up to a tree… farm girl central up in here!:) The weather was insanely hot that day, so maybe we spent some extra time under the shade of the barn, but again, time well spent – my favorite images were made inside the barn!

Can’t wait to see what we come up with for next year, Amanda! This year was a home run! No pressure!!:)

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Brady’s Run Park and Beaver River Sunset Family Portrait Session

It’s been over 3 years that I’ve been photographing this family and you’d think after awhile all our sessions would start to feel the same. Not true at all! Sure, we return to some of the same locations so we can see how the girls grow (this session was just for Cordelia’s 15 months – Rita got to spend the evening with Mamu and PopPop), but we always come away with something different. And I love it! The plan is always loose and we see what the 2 hour session will bring.

On this particularly humid June evening, we started at the creek (pronounced “crick”) at Brady’s Run. For one, it’s much cooler in the shaded creek, but how about that light? So magical! After the creek, we returned to a playground that we captured Cordelia’s big sister playing at around the same age. I love the different colors and shapes and Cordelia’s interactions with them.

And finally — I must say first that I am in love with rivers — we went down to the Beaver River in Bridgewater to catch a beautiful pale pink and orange sunset. When we arrived, the sun was working its way down, but was still a little too bright, so we passed the time by waving to boaters docking up for the night. Finally, the sun began to set and we headed down to the dock to capture the last few shots. Even the geese wanted in on it!

Looking forward to our session this fall!

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Smeltz Family Portraits, IUP Co-op Recreational Park

It has been a pleasure working with this family! Back when I was first starting out, Emily asked me to take Ian’s 2 year portraits and they became one of the first real portrait sessions I ever did. And since then, I’ve been able to capture this family’s growth each year! This year, Ian is 7 and Ellie is 2. We went out to the IUP Co-op Park for the session to make use of its beautiful surroundings.
2 year olds always like to make me work for the perfect shot and I’m always ready for the challenge — as was Emily (if you haven’t figured it out by now, the client and I have the same first name. I’m not just going in and out of first and third person tense!). She brought the 3 B’s: bubbles, balloons, and balls. Keep those 3 in mind the next time you’re trying to make a 2 year old smile – they work wonders! Also, Ian has been playing baseball in the Indiana YMCA Miracle League, so we took advantage of the old ball fields at the park and got a few shots of Ian and Dad throwing the ball. The best sessions always happen when they are about personal interests and the interactions between the family. The posed shots are definitely nice, but my favorites from this session were all the smiles and giggles caught in the real life interactions. Enjoy!

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Whimsical Woods Family Portraits, White’s Woods Nature Center

How about this gorgeous weather? The light at the end of the day has been just amazing and when Amanda asked to me take her family’s portraits, I immediately knew we’d be hiking through the woods to capture this beautiful family in some dreamy sweet light streaming through the tall trees.
White’s Woods Nature Center is a hilly, wooded area just on the edge of town and has great mountain bike trails and many people even jog and walk their dogs through the trails, too. There isn’t an easy way to get up into the flat area we used for the session without hiking a little, but it was totally worth it. In my opinion at least! I wasn’t the one with the broken toe!;) Sorry G! I love this collection of images so much – the light is just amazing and working with this family is always so much fun!
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Owen is 1 — First Birthday Portraits — Indiana County Photographer

Everyone wish this sweet little peanut a happy first year of life! Just look at those big baby blues – what a handsome guy! We took Own’s 1st year portraits at his great-aunt’s house in Avonmore, PA.
The gazebo was the perfect cover for the light rain showers that were lingering. Owen was such a little trooper considering a few days before it was nearly 80 degrees and today it was chilly in the 50’s! Owen is all boy – I loved how he threw his letters each time we set them up. They’re just toys, right?:) Happy birthday, sweet boy!

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Rita is 3 and Cora is 1 — Children and Family Portraits — Bridgewater Crossing

I just love growing with this family! I have had the pleasure and honor of photographing them since Min’s maternity session when it was just the two of them. And now they are a family of 4!

While we make each session unique, we like to incorporate a few portraits in the same location and with similar props/outfits for comparison. We’ve gone back to Bridgewater Crossing in front of the big train bridge on the girls 1st birthdays each year:

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We have many examples of this — I could make an entire blog about it! But for now, let’s take a look at Rita and Cora celebrating their 3rd and 1st years of life!

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