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As I pack the car today for what’s going to be any number of descriptive words that could be used to describe the next few days as we attend New Kensington Volunteer Fire Department’s Community Days festival….I’m feeling kinda reflective.

Perhaps it’s the lack of sleep from stress and late nights trying to get everything done for today.
Or maybe it’s just the overwhelming amount of love and support from my family and friends.
But either way I’m there.

As I tried to fall asleep last night while making my last mental check list of things to accomplish today, I kept thinking of this old photo of myself.

This is me in 2008 shortly after being hired at my first professional photography job literally days after graduating college.
I had no idea what I was doing. I had taken a few photography classes. I knew I had  gift for for taking great photos. I knew I was good at “finding the beauty” in things. But I had NO idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to pose. I didn’t have any confidence in my photography. I barely could talk to customers about my photography without my face turning 9 shades of red. (I have a feeling it still does but at least now it’s with confidence)

But boy did I learn and quickly too!

And here I am. After a lot of hard work, late nights, long hours of  being bitten and pooped on by animals and children alike. I’m here.
And I’m about to let a small portion of the population that I’m here as well.

But before I do so I feel like I need to say a few thank yous…

Thank you to my Mom & Dad for giving me my first pink Mickey Mouse 35mm camera with the disposable flash on the top. Thank you for constantly buying film and flashes and always encouraging me that the 98,000 pictures of our cat Tigger and the other random stuff that I photographed was all part of me being creative and not just a phase.

Thank you to my teachers, co-workers, employees for teaching and having patience with me while I got my sea legs. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use a pose that one of you taught me or sneeze a duck off my head to encourage children and adults to smile without thinking of all of you.

Thank you to my clients, future past and present for sharing your special moments with me. It’s an honor and a pleasure getting to work with and alongside of you. Without you I wouldn’t have the beautiful ever evolving portfolio that I cherish containing the kaleidoscope of life’s greatest moments that I hope you treasure as much as I do.

Thank you to my friends & family who pose, ‘like’ every photo I post, promote and enthusiastically encourage me through all the ups and downs. I love you all and I don’t know what I would do without you.

Thank you to my Father-in- law Kevin for “not breaking a sweat” while working super hard on the peep through board for our booth.

Thank you to my Sister Wife Rachel for keeping me company over the next few days and being willing to tackle a few of your students to show them how cool I am. Also thank you to my brother in-law Ben for giving me the idea and courage  to take this crazy chance, along with loaning me his and Rachel’s  beautiful children (who’s portraits are featured in my booth) whenever I need them.

Last but not least thank you to my husband who as always puts up with my crazy and sometimes unorganized dreams. You are always there for me and help make my “what ifs” and “how abouts” become realities because you love me and believe in me and that is the best feeling in the world. I know going to craft stores and being asked a million and one times ‘how does this look’ are two of your favorite activities in the entire world to do but I wouldn’t want to do them with anyone else. Your my best friend and I love you.

Alright enough sappiness! Let’s go have some fun!
See you at Community Days New Kensington!

The Wedding Season

I feel like that scene from that Disney movie you know the one. It has the two princesses who are sisters and there’s the talking snowman. You know that one.

Anyhow, there’s a scene where the one princess is awakened by a knock on her door causing her to stir. She sits up in her bed, still half asleep, hair disheveled, and just not in any hurry to leave her bed when the person who has awoken her from her slumber reminds her it’s coronation day sending the half-awakened princess into song
This is EXACTLY how I feel about the first day of wedding season. From about December through April I feel like I’m half awake. My creative neurons slightly go into auto pilot awaiting the quite knocking on the door from May that revitalizes me.

Hello Wedding Season 2014!

Crytzer Maternity Portraits – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA

I love being an Aunt.
I’ll brag about my nephew to anyone who will listen because well I might be biased but he’s the cutest kid …like ever.


So when I found out that my two favorite people in the entire world, (whom I also brag about as well) we’re going to make me an Aunt to another adorable little boy well – imagine how thrilled I was!

And while baby Neil’s arrival is still a few months away (and I cannot wait to meet him) we took some time to go (dodge hundreds if little kids jogging in the park) play in the woods and capture this very special moment in The Crytzer’s lives at Frick Park.

Below are some of my favorite shots from the day along with some tree climbing fun.



Coming up next: Sarah and Paul MacDonald’s Wedding

Also posted in Frick Park, Kensington Photography, Maternity Photography, Pittsburgh Maternity, Pittsburgh Photography

Jared’s Senior Pictures – Take One!

See that kid there on the left?
That ‘s my “baby” cousin Jared circa 2007.  Granted he’s not a baby in that picture nor is he a baby any longer but he was my first baby cousin. I remember playing ball with him on the floor with him at our grandparent’s house (when all he could say was ball) and now he’s the Captain of the soccer team and trying out for college teams. Where did all that time go?


Either way, I’ll stop my embarrassing musing. (It’s what us older cousins do best after all.)

I’m so excited to see ‘the places you’ll go‘ as you start this exciting new chapter in your life. Here’s a few shots from the other night before we had to call the session due to rain.


That’s all for now! I’ll post another preview after our rain date.

If you know a member of the class of 2014 who needs their senior portraits taken, perhaps they would be interested in our Senior Rep program.
Senior Reps are students who represent Kensington Photography in exchange for credits toward the cost of their own senior portraits. It is possible for a rep to save hundreds of dollars on the cost of their own senior portraits by referring their friends and classmates to our studio for senior portraits. As a REP you receive a FREE photo session in August or September, from which we will print photo cards of you to give out to your friends and classmates. We will also provide brochures from the studio to help you show your friends the quality of our work. When your friends or classmates have their senior portraits done and place their print orders at Kensington Photography, we ask them who referred them. When they give your name, a $20 credit is applied to your account for each referral to the studio. This referral credit applies directly toward the cost of your own senior portraits. For example, suppose you refer five friends to Kensington…you will receive a $20 credit for each friend, for a total of $100 credit toward your own pictures! So, the more people you refer the more credits you get for your own pictures. As a REP, your regular senior portrait photo session will be FREE if completed before October 1, 2013.
Obviously, this is an exceptional opportunity to have your portraits taken by Kensington Photography AND save a TON of money on your senior portraits. All we ask of you is that you help promote our work to your friends and classmates by handing out your cards and fliers to everyone that needs their picture taken. Our REP program is limited based on the number of students per school.This offer is available for a limited time. If you wish to become a rep for Kensington Photography we recommend that you contact the studio immediately to determine if openings are still available.
Please contact me

Also posted in Pittsburgh Senior Photography, Portraits, Senior Pictures

From the cliffs of Maryland to the riverside banks of the ‘Kiski River’

 Every senior session is as unique and wonderful as the senior as I am capturing. This week I had the pleasure of working with Jon who was up for anything and wanted to climb up and on everything in sight! Including a very high rail road bridge very early Saturday morning!

On a rail road bridge by a camp site that I’ve been dreaming of using for a shoot for a long time.

But despite all those dreams I seemed to forget somewhere along the line that the bridge, was rather high off the ground. While I am not afraid of heights…I am afraid of falling…from a very high bridge. Did I happen to mention that we were on a very high bridge? I had to keep reminding myself that if this bridge can hold a train surely it can hold two people, even if one of them is a klutz. That is afraid of falling… off a really high bridge.

But enough about me.

Jon was very fun to work with. He went along with any and all of my suggestions and even made some suggestions of his own, which always makes a session fun. He had a great smile and a great sense of humor. When capturing seniors I often try to capture several different emotions (serious, happy, softer smiles etc) but no matter my suggestions the best look for Jon was by far his smile. Which speaks volumes about a person. Thanks for allowing me to capture your senior pictures Jon.
Here’s a few shots from the day.

(This is one of my favorites)

Coming up next Sam’s two little cuties!

Also posted in Pittsburgh Photography, Pittsburgh Senior Photography, Portraits, Senior Pictures

Groups: Large and Small

How to pose a group:
Recently I have been told I have a unique way of posing groups. I like putting people on the floor when posing groups. I’m not sure why this is. Regardless of the size or age range your going on the ground.

I don’t know where this comes from. Perhaps it’s from my working in small studio rooms (with the exception of my State College days) or from working in church directories and trying to fit LARGE Catholic families (Think the Dugger family) onto a 4ft. wide background. 🙂  I LOVE putting families on the floor because it feels like a big old snuggle. By placing everyone on the floor not only physically brings your group together but it gives this feeling of love and connection because everyone is touching one way or the other. (sometime whether they want to or not)

Here are the basic photographic rules when posing a group.
Rule # 1: Whomever the group centers around goes in the middle.(IE:Dad,Mom,Grandma, etc.)
For example here is a portrait I did recently of a rather large group. There are six women here. Mom is placed in the middle with her oldest and youngest daughters on either shoulder. 

Here is another example..

It’s a bit off center but you will have this when posing larger groups but Mom/Grandma is placed in the center of the group.

Rule #2: The Rule of the Triangle.
When posing a group always pose in either a triangle or an inverted triangle. The reason we do this is because angles are appealing to the eye. While this is not a rule that is carved in stone it is something that we strive for when formally posing a group in a formal setting (ie: portrait studio).
Using our same portrait of Mom and her daughters I have drawn our 2 angles that we have going on in our portrait. Notice at the apex of both of the angles how Mom is the center. This gives the portrait a nice balance and is appeasing to the viewer. Also by adding levels to our angles is a great way to add depth and layers to our portrait without breaking a sweat. 
Here is an example of how we can break both of the rules we just spoke about and still follow at the same time.
In this portrait of this group notice how we still have our important people featured. They may not be in the center, but everyone is placed around them. Notice how we are now in a circle rather than a triangle, even so we still have a lot of angles. One of the biggest angles being created is by being WAY above our subjects. This is always something that allows us to create a great dynamic to portraits. Also there are settle angles being created by the subjects arms that drive your eye to the center where the bottles meet. So there’s lots of great things to look at this in this portrait but at the same time we have broken all the classic posing rules (sort of)! 
Rule #3:Take your time and start with your LARGEST group first.
When shooting large groups you may find yourself being tossed about like a beach ball. Families and groups come in all shapes and sizes and with many people trying to play Chief it’s easy to become over whelmed and find yourself wanting to rush through everything. If and when this happens don’t be afraid to stop and take a quick breath. Remember this is your creation the guest is always important and right – but at the end of the day these are your images.    
Here’s how I approach groups. 
Start with your largest group. Nine times out of ten you will have children in a group. Kids have the attention span of a goldfish and somehow no matter how large the group is some how a portrait is defined by how they smile. So in order to achieve this we must have their utmost attention. This is why we do the largest group first because we are guaranteed to get a smile from every kid.
Usually the night before I’ll sketch out what my group is going to look out and then I’ll carry this with my list of shots I’ve gotten from my guest prior to the shoot. (We will discuss this in another blog post) Here’s an example of one of my sketches:
I know it’s not the most elegant thing but it gives me my general shape of where I’m going with the portraits. It’s important that amid the chaos I know this is the plan. Granted things can change once I get to the shoot but at least I have a pretty good base idea that I can look back and say “Ok! Let’s adapt”.
Once I have everyone placed with in the pose I now get to finally take a photo. So it’s important to that we as photographers to keep everyone’s attention. I do this usually by bringing my squeaky duck or just by acting silly meanwhile making sure that I have everyone’s eyes. A mentor of mine used to tell me that between taking shots with a group take a long drawn in breath. This will keep your focus and also keep you from passing out. 🙂
Don’t be afraid to say “OK everyone stay there and relax just a second” and look to make sure that you have 2 -3 great shots before moving on. I usually will take 5 shots of this main group and I find that’s usually all I will need.
Small Groups:
From there I usually will then photograph my small “break downs” of the group. Individual families, kids, perhaps the Grandma with her grand-kids. Maybe individual kids. And here’s how you pose smaller groups.  
I still follow posing rules, when I can, sometimes when there’s only two people there’s really no center to that. So everyone’s equal but a hand placement or the way you pose a couple can place importance or send a message.
   Also angle play with couples can be ALOT of fun.
Sometimes when posing odd numbered groups you can find yourself going “Where in the world do I put you?!”  Just take your time, be creative, remember your rules(look at your sketch sheet!) and you’ll find yourself taking to posing groups like a fish to water.  

Goodbye 2011 and Hello 2012 with Shelby!

I spent the last hours of 2011 with one of my favorite models – my sister-in law Shelby! 

I wanted this session to feel like Country Girl meets Big City which has been the part of the journey that Kensington has been on for the last year. This last year has been an amazing year of learning experiences and growth for myself as a photographer. Here’s to 2012 being just as amazing!    
Thanks to Shelby for going along with my crazy ideas (at the crack of dawn) and making the creative process so much fun! I look forward to our next shoot together! 
Remember keep a look out for the relaunch of coming soon!