Introducing Little Miss A

Oh, how I love newborns in all their tiny, sweet-smelling, fuzzy-haired glory!  Little Miss A’s parents came to the studio recently for their maternity session, and it was a good thing that they came when they did; this little sweet pea arrived 5 weeks early.

yawning baby

I love this one; the flowers were planted by Miss A’s grandmother, and the bench was actually a piece passed down from her great-grandmother.  I really like being able to incorporate elements into the photo that are meaningful to my clients.

Welcome to the world, Little Miss A!

Jenny - Beautiful work as always. So cute!!! Love the expressions in the 3-panel.

Amanda - The hair! I love the bench with the pink flowers in the background :-)

ginny - Sandy, Your work is simply beautiful. That you care so much about the people you photograph is what makes each and every photo so extraordinary!

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Little Man K | Adventures in Child Photography

A few weeks ago my sister asked me to photograph her son for his first birthday/Easter portrait.  It’s hard to believe he is already a year old!  I had great fun chasing after her two children and my daughter that evening as they got their sugar buzz from all the chocolate, lol.  Here Little Man is expressing his displeasure at being forced to sit momentarily with his sister, by “hulking” furiously.  If you’ve never seen a baby hulk before, you are in for a real treat.  It is hilarious!

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You know all those really cute pictures of babies and toddlers where they are sitting ever so sweetly together and looking right into the camera?  Yeah, that’s about 1 out of every 50 pictures.  The rest of them usually look like this:

We child photographers really work hard to get those perfect shots!  It’s a ton of fun, though–totally worth the sweat and hard work to get that shot, and always an adventure.  I absolutely adore photographing babies and children!   Here is Little Man looking all dapper in his cute little outfit:

Happy Birthday, nephew!

anna - Ohh my these are so sweet!! his little teeth are so adorable :P
That first shot had me cracking up. I love the expression.

Sandy - Omg, I almost couldn’t take the shot because I was laughing so hard!

Natalie - they are too cute! It looks like Danica is trying to tackle him!

Sandy - It does look like that–she is actually trying to keep him in place and he is resisting with all his might!

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J & R | Expecting

Do you know what I love about doing maternity photos?  It’s the wonderful feeling of anticipation.  All of your hopes and dreams for this child, the wonderful future you imagine for her…the world of possibilities waiting for her…the infinite potential packaged in this tiny person, cradled in her mother’s womb…knowing that life is about to change very soon…  These aren’t just belly pictures; they are portraits of love and hope.

What a privilege it is for me to be given a glimpse into a couple’s private world for a moment, to witness the love they have for each other and for their child. “J” and “R” allowed me to be a part of their world for a moment, and together we created some beautiful images.

They even brought their first two “children”–their furry children, that is. :)

J & R, thanks so much for letting me share in your anticipation for a little while.  I’m so excited to meet your little girl for the newborn session!

Amanda - I’m loving 3 and 5. In 3 it’s such a great moment in their own little world. In 5 I love the man’s arm muscle right there around the belly – very protective. Great expressive photo :-)

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Nicole & Johnny|Engaged

How the time flies, gentle reader!  I’ve known Johnny for ages; he started out as my cousin, and now he is actually one of my clients.  In fact, I used to be babysitter to him and his three sisters!  Who would have thought that all these years later, I would be his wedding photographer?  In the blink of an eye, this sweet young boy transformed into a fine young man with an excellent career, a wonderful fiance, and an amazing future ahead of them both.

Nicole, Johnny and I spent a lovely evening exploring downtown Pittsburgh together for their engagement session.  Though there was a lot of construction going on, there were plenty of great spots for photos.  Pittsburgh has so many cool spots to photograph, from grand to grungy.

Love this purple little corner of the burgh.

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I think this one is really cute.

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I processed this one to give it a slightly aged, washed-out look.

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We may have broken some rules for this one…sshhhh!

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Love PPG Place.

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Wow, what a perspective!

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Love it when couples get a little spontaneous and do something fun!

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Love the look she is giving me here.

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We hoofed it all over downtown until dark, finishing with one last kiss under the theater lights.  What a great way to end the session!

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Johnny and Nicole, thank you for a fabulous time–cant wait for the wedding in September!

Amanda - AH! The purple wall returns! The bridge ones are my favorites :-)

Marcia - Sandy! How special is that? Awww! I remember when he was born! *snif* Absolutely beautiful photos!

Sandy - Yes, it’s hard to believe that we are all grown up now and there is a new generation of kids to take our place at Grandma’s house. *sigh*

Sandy - Yes, it is the return of the purple wall! I love finding spots of color in the city like that. Top it off with peeling paint and I am in heaven!

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And the Winner is…

In the style of The Price Is Right, Shannon Baranauskas, come on down!!! (Cue roar of applause from screaming audience…)  Shannon and her fiance Ted are the winners of a shiny new Engagement Session, courtesy of yours truly!  Shannon had the most entries in the contest, so it was no surprise that her name came up first in the drawing.  Not only did she become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and all that other jazz to earn points, what was most impressive was her commitment to donate to not one, but two charities.  Her first donation is to the American Cancer Society in lieu of traditional wedding favors.  The second is a donation of her time and energy as she trains to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon for a charitable cause; so far she has raised more than $500 for Girls on the Run.  Taken from her fund-raising page:

“SoleMates is the charity running program for Girls on the Run. Girls on the Run is a life-changing, experiential learning program for girls age eight to thirteen years old. The programs combine training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The goals of the programs are to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, and physical development. Our mission is to educate and prepare girls for a life time of self-respect and healthy living.”  Check their website by clicking here.

Awesome, Shannon!  I am so excited to do an engagement session with you and Ted, and I’m really looking forward to the wedding!

And because posts are always better with pictures, please enjoy these wonderful signs of spring that I photographed in my back yard this evening…

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Amanda - #2 all the way – I love the “helicopters”. #3 is pretty too.

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Becky & John | Engaged

Let me just tell you how much I enjoyed working with this couple.  So fun and relaxed to be around, Becky and John made the 2 hour Couple Session fly by like minutes.  They were so good together, so loving towards each other–they made my job easy!  After getting to know a little more about Becky and John during the photo shoot, I discovered that they actually met through Match(dot)com!  They are not the first of my couples to meet that way; remember Monica and John?  The people at Match(dot)com must really know their stuff, because these two are absolutely perfect for each other.

The sunlight was just fantastic that day.

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Everything just came so naturally for these two.  Having that real connection with each other and the ability to express it freely makes all the difference in the world when it comes to your photos.  It’s not something I can create as a photographer–I can only capture the connection that’s already there, and make you look fabulous while you’re showing it!

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Becky and I had a discussion about how we really liked blue eyes; she felt that blue eyes are prettier than brown eyes, and I agreed with her.  (Of course, John has blue eyes, so she may have been partial…)  But, now that I see her beautiful chocolate brown eyes here, I’m not so sure about that any more.

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This is what I like to call my signature “Almost Kiss”.  I don’t tell couples exactly how to pose, but sometimes I do offer a few suggestions if I think something will look good.  In this case, I asked them to interact as they normally would when they are about to kiss, but to pause for a minute just before making lip contact, a mere inch between them.  What this does is add a sense of anticipation to the image, and in my opinion, looks even more romantic and sexy than the actual kiss itself.  Love it!

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We could not have asked for a better day.  Thanks, Becky and John–I had an absolute blast with you two!!

Amanda - #12 is totally my fav! Love that yummy golden light. Is there anyone that hasn’t been at Phipps lately??

Jenny - Love, love love these pictures. The light is fantastic and of course the location is awesome ;)

Paige - Such pretty, soft light in these

Sandy - I agree, Jenny–the location is awesome! ;)

Randi Voss - I really love your lighting and expression in photo #7. I don’t know this couple, but I think that photo #7 is true happiness for them. Great job!

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Succop Conservancy Bridal Show, E-Session Winner, and a Contest–Oh my!

Last week I had the pleasure of experiencing my first bridal show, which took place at the Succop Conservancy in Butler, PA.  For those of you not familiar, I did a blog post about a wedding that I photographed there last year; you can view it by clicking here.  The Succop conservancy is a lovely venue with a charming mansion and acres of natural beauty, including two ponds, an herb garden, huge trees, and fields of tall grasses with paths mown through.  There are so many little nooks for taking unique photographs, and the staff there are very friendly and helpful.

The vendors who attended the show were by invitation only, and it was so nice of Nancy Lawry, the coordinator, to invite me to be one of them.  I didn’t know what to expect, but it actually was a terrific experience!  I met so many nice people, both vendors and attendees, and the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.

Here’s a picture of my setup, taken with my handy little Canon Powershot:

Couples signed up to be entered in my drawing for a free engagement session as well.  So, without further ado, I will now announce the winner:  And the Engagement Session goes to…MARIA KLUTINOTY!!  Congratulations Maria!

Now, for the exciting part–there’s still a chance to win a free engagement session–and the drawing is open to everyone!

HOW TO ENTER:

Your name will be entered based on the number of points you collect. Each point is worth one entry. You can collect points by doing any of the following things:

Worth 1 Point each:

– Tweet about this contest or about Red Lotus Photography in your Twitter status.

– Post about this contest or about Red Lotus Photography in your Facebook status.

Become a fan of Red Lotus Photography on Facebook.

Follow Red Lotus Photography on Twitter.

– Comment on this blog post.

Worth 3 Points each:

– Blog about this contest and/or about Red Lotus Photography.

– Make a donation to the charity of your choice. If you don’t have one, consider the National Kidney Foundation; they actually have a method of donating called mobile giving, which is as easy as sending a text message.  This is on the honor system.  But remember what you do comes back to you, so be honest! :)

Worth 10 Points each:

-Make a creative video or take a funny photograph of you and your fiancé and email it to Sandy(at)redlotusphotography(dot)com, along with a message giving permission to post it on my blog and/or Facebook fan page if I choose.

NOTE: You may repeat the same task, but it will not increase the number of points earned. In other words, you can tweet ten times about this, but it will still only be worth one point.  Afterwards, email me with your name and your total number of points in the subject heading. In the body of your email, type a list of everything you completed including the links needed to verify the completed tasks.

Deadline for entries is April 15, 2010 at midnight. The winner will be selected using an online random number generator and then announced on the Red Lotus Photography blog by April 18, 2010.

THE FINE PRINT:

The session must take place in the Pittsburgh area, otherwise a travel fee may apply.  By participating, you agree that Red Lotus Photography will have no liability for any injury, loss, or damages of any kind to persons and property, due in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from participation in this contest. By entering, you agree that Red Lotus Photography, and those acting under its authority, may use your name, likeness and/or voice, and the videos or pictures you submit as an entry for advertising and promotional purposes in any media without limitation and without further consideration, unless prohibited by law.  By entering, you agree that Red Lotus Photography shall have all rights to copy, edit, broadcast, publish, and use your photos/videos, in whole or in part without further compensation, both during and after the contest, unless prohibited by law.

Unclaimed prize (after seven days) will be forfeited and awarded to an alternate winner. Prize is not transferable or redeemable for cash.

Have fun and good luck!!

Shannon - Oh yea! Totally in for this! Cute idea for the contest too!

Suzanne - Display looks Great Sandy. Your work ROCKS! Congrats to the lucky winner!

Amanda - HOT! I love that set up! Did you haul that book case in yourself?? Poor Eric! ;-) It’s like an episode of Romper Room – “I see jenny & bradley and judy and josiah and bridget & depak !”

Cool contest – I wish I had facebook and twitter so I could enter to win!

anna - ahh! had I known about this I totally would have entered! congrats to the winner :)

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Lauren & Thomas

I have a lot of blogging to catch up on, dear reader.  Weddings, engagement sessions, babies…there’s much more to share with you in the coming weeks.  But I hope you don’t mind, I’ll be blogging out of order for now.  I’ve always wanted my work flow to include giving clients a preview of their images before their proofing gallery goes online, so that’s what I’ve begun to do recently.  As my good friend Amanda says, in order to do this I need to get over my OCBD, or Obsessive Compulsive Chronological Blogging Disorder.  OCBD is the overwhelming need to blog events only in the exact chronological order in which they occurred.  Today’s post and the one prior to it are proof that I can indeed overcome this disorder.  And so, I give you Lauren and Tom…

Lauren and Tom held their wedding a little over a week ago on the nicest day we’ve had this year so far.  It was so beautiful that day!  I had met Lauren at the church just a few short weeks before that, and there was still snow on the ground.  We began the day in the bridal suite of the First Presbyterian Church of Beaver, PA.  My photog friend Paige Butcher was second shooting with me that day.  I’ll post a few of her pictures here later on.  Thanks, Paige!

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I love the smile on Lauren’s face here, and the way the girls are holding each other’s dresses in a line.

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The way the church was set up like a curved amphitheater was really neat.

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Lauren’s friend and coordinator had an amazing voice.

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I love how excited and happy couples look just after they are married.

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Lauren had some serious bling going on there.

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Cutest wedding dessert item ever.

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Nothing says spring like daffodils!  Lauren and Tom purchased them from the American Cancer Society rather than doing traditional wedding favors.  What a great idea!

Lauren and Tom, it was an absolute pleasure and an honor to be a part of your big day.  Congratulations and best wishes to you both!

Shannon - Oh how cool! We are doing a donation to ACS for our wedding favors as well!!

Paige Butcher - Ah, so cool to see the end product! These are great :)

Jill Dubbs - Your Photographer was fantastic! What a beautiful church setting! Your cake was breath-taking. What a beautiful opportunity you took in getting the “cancer” daffodils as favors. I have looked at your pictures twice!

Mrs. Dubbs

Amanda - Favorites favorites – the girls going up the steps and the half sillhouette in the doorway of the church! FYI I am viewing on a PC today and you look MARVELOUS. The colors and contrast are totally different than on my Mac.

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Bridget & Deepak | Pittsburgh Hindu Wedding

Bridget and Deepak’s ceremony took place on a beautiful Sunday evening at the Hindu Jain Temple in Monroeville.  With the clear blue sky and sun shining brighter than it has for months, they could not have picked a better day to pledge their love to one another before a group of their closest family and friends.

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Favorite from the day.

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I love me some sun flare.

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My good friend Amanda Wilson was with me that day; I asked her to hold one of my cameras, and she took this one while I  was shooting from another angle.  Nice!

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Bridget and Deepak held their reception dinner at the Zaiaka Indian Restaurant in Monroeville.  Somehow, I had never tried Indian food before until then.  It was delicious!  I love trying new foods, so this was a real treat.  The long table of family and friends had such a lovely, intimate atmosphere with all the candle light glowing.

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Bridget and Deepak were greeted with a shower of rose petals as they entered.

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I love how they had their invitation framed so beautifully.

Bridget and Deepak, it was an absolute pleasure capturing your wedding!  I wish you all the best!

kelly - gorgeous as always!

Amanda - That night shot in front of the temple with the off camera flash came out great! I can see now what I was doing ;-) The disks are in the mail!

ivan - congrates n wish u a very happy married life

Wanda - Fantastic pictures. Bridget – you were absolutely gorgeous and Deepak very handsome. Love the henna, jewelry and dress. Congratulations to you and Deepak. Thanks for giving me a glimpse into another culture. Many years of happiness to you.

Mimi Weaver Haba - Bridget – Best wishes to you and Deepak. You were a beautiful bride!. Mimi (Your mother’s friend)

Harsh - Wonderful pics…stunning bride ! Very nice Bridget…many congratulations…wishing both of you happiness for ever.

By the way, who is the photographer ? Great job…

suma shenoy - the photographs are excellent!!! all the very best for a happy married life :-)

virginia - Bridget and Deepak.
I wish for you all the happiness and love for the rest of your lives.
What a beautiful wedding—Bridget, you looked beautiful, and Deepak, very handsome.
Good luck and God Bless–

Virginia

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Jenny & Bradley | Phipps Conservatory Wedding

Jenny and Bradley celebrated their love for each other in a beautiful, intimate ceremony in the Broderie Room at Phipps Conservatory, surrounded by a small group of their closest friends and family members.  The day began with a First Look, which gave them the wonderful opportunity to savor a perfect, private moment, shared between just the two of them.  I can’t say enough good things about choosing to have a First Look on your wedding day.

You know, sometimes we don’t always get what we want.  As a photographer, naturally I always hope for sunny weather on my wedding days.  Who wouldn’t rather have a beautiful, sunshiney, perfect temperature day for their wedding?  But sometimes, God has a different plan for us.  We may not always get what we want, but sometimes it’s exactly what we need!  Jenny and Bradley’s wedding day was a wet and rainy one.  And you know what?  It was perfect.  The overcast sky gave us even, diffused lighting everywhere we went, and wow did all the colors just pop!  If we had to do it all over again, I would be glad to keep things exactly as they were.

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Fun fact: Bradley’s cuff links were made from real Legos.

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I had my good friend Amanda Wilson with me that day, which was the icing on the cake!  These next three images were taken by Amanda.

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Beautiful feather fascinator.

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Love this portrait of Jenny.

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This is the view that Jenny had waiting for her when she arrived at the top of the steps.  The man you love, waiting for you with a bouquet of flowers…life is good.

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Image by Amanda.

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You may have noticed that sometimes I like to add a vintage look to my images.  I love it, but I know that as with all trends, who knows if it will look dated 10 years from now?  That is why I usually provide the original photo alongside the stylized one on the client’s final disc.  I posted both versions of two photos below.  Which versions do you like better, and why?

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I have so many favorites from the day, but I think this one is at the top.

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Love this shot!  I just wish I had been the one who took it.  I was SO jealous when I saw this one taken by Amanda.

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Image by Amanda.

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I have this one hanging in my studio as a 24×36 print; I get more compliments on it than any other photo on the wall!

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Jenny and Bradley held their reception at Legume Bistro in Regent Square, a family owned and operated restaurant that actually changes its menu daily.  They post their menu by 5 p.m. every day, which can be viewed by checking their website or Facebook page.  I’m just going to say it–it was The Best. Vendor Meal. Ever.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I could go ahead and say it was the best restaurant meal I have ever had.  That’s how good it was.  If you are looking for a fantastic dining experience, you must try Legume Bistro.  Amanda I appreciated so much how Jenny and Bradley treated us to a wonderful meal as one of their guests, rather than leaving us to fend for ourselves in another room with a cold sandwich and a pickle.  You’d be surprised how often that happens!

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Such cute details–especially the tree with leaves that guests could write messages on.

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Jenny and Bradley, thank you so much for entrusting your wedding memories to me.  Thank you for treating Amanda and I as if we were family–your hospitality and kindness was much appreciated!  I wish you a wonderful, happy marriage, and all the best that life has to offer!

To see more pictures of Jenny and Bradley’s wedding from Amanda’s perspective, visit her blog.

Paige - This is beautiful! What a great place to get married :)

Jenny & Bradley - Sandy, we are so happy that you and Amanda shared in our special day and captured moments that we’ll cherish always. The pictures are simply phenomenal!

Mic - What a GORGEOUS wedding!!!

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B E   I N   T H E   K N O W !