Spring Mini Sessions are Blooming!

We absolutely love supporting our Swissvale community here at Porter Loves Photography. We live, work, play, eat, support other businesses, and everything in between in Swissvale. Really, it’s no secret. We’ve written extensively about how important it is to us to keep the community first and foremost.

A way that we enjoy giving back to the community is by using our photography skills to help new families who come into our neighborhood make memories. Every family should have memories of their partner, kids, cousins, pets, and other family members interacting together.

We were happy to create inspiring images that families will always love during our Fall Mini Sessions, so we decided to offer Spring Mini Sessions! Join us on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at Westinghouse Park for a quick and fun photo session with your family.

Mini photo sessions are a great chance to treat mom to photos of the entire family, herself included. Many times in DIY photography, someone is left holding the camera and, sadly, is missing from the photos. And because this is happening in the springtime, you get to be outside and enjoy the Pittsburgh weather before the humidity and crummy parts of summer kick in.

Westinghouse is a beautiful urban park in North Point Breeze. The park has playground equipment, lots of trees, and expansive green space. Whether your family loves to run around and be active or you prefer to relax and hang out, this spot is a great backdrop for you and your family. And since it’s a park, fur family is welcome!

We should also mention there is ample street parking on all sides of the park. (Trust us, we know that parking can make or break your decision to come to an event, so we thought long and hard about where would be the easiest spot for you!)

Porter Loves is committed to being inclusive and welcoming to all clients. We believe everyone should have the chance to enjoy family photos regardless of your background. If an accommodation can help you fully participate in our offerings, please contact us and let us know.

Sessions are available for a sliding scale of $50-80 and will include five digital files with a print release. You will also have the option to purchase prints, albums, and other items featuring your family’s photos through us if you desire. Stay up to date and invite your friends by following the event on Facebook.

To snag your spot, click here to reserve a time. If you have questions, please email sam@porterloves.com!




Remove the Stress of Family Photography when We Come to You

Something we like to do a lot here at Porter Loves Photography is personalize your Our Everyday photoshoot experience to your family. While we have given you some suggestions of where to hold your shoot, we also love when you share your unique perspective and individualize your session to your tastes. One of our favorite things to do is in-home photoshoots. They’re the most memorable for a lot of our families because we’re able to come to you and give you special photos that reflect your space.

Our Everyday sessions in your home are comfortable for families because, again, you’re in your home. We’ve shared before how important it is for Nathan to take a little time to get kiddos familiar with the camera so the photos he takes are natural. It’s even easier when children don’t have too many unknown factors. It can be a lot for them to be in an unfamiliar place with an unfamiliar person doing an unfamiliar thing with an unfamiliar object. When we come to your home, one of those X factors is removed and children usually warm up very quickly. That was definitely evident with the Alexander family!

One of the biggest benefits aside from comfort that we love about coming to your home to photograph your family is the personality that we’re able to capture. You decorate your home in a particular way with certain objects on display. These are often items of great significance. Having them in the photos creates a great environment for meaningful, authentic family photos.

Another benefit to in-home photos is the inherent ease they give to the session. Did you realize you have a stain on your shirt or there’s a tear in someone’s pants? You can easily change! We also like to tell families to wear things that are comfortable and representative of who you are, but sometimes, you start out wearing an outfit that you think is right and turns out to be the opposite. Again, you can just pop into the other room to update what you’re wearing.

Further, we always caution families to be fed before the photo session starts and ensure snacks are on hand for the grumpies. When you take photos in your home, your kitchen is right there! Snacks all around, whenever you need and want them! Hell, your session could focus on making something together in the kitchen if that is what your family enjoys doing together.

When you do a “staycation” photoshoot and opt to have us come into your home for an Our Everyday session, you’ll gain ease and flow in your day with natural photos that remove any stress and unfamiliarity associated with going to an external location. You’ll also have one-of-a-kind photos that are completely representative of who you are as a family.

Take a Peek at Nathan’s Process

When the photoshoot ends, the work doesn’t end for the photographer. Oh, no. Like The Carpenters, we’ve only just begun. Actually, that isn’t true. We’ve done a lot of prep work before the photoshoot even started. Not everyone is a photographer, though, and we wanted to share our process with you. When you see all the work that goes into making your family photos memorable, you definitely have a new appreciation for the finished product that’s delivered to you.

Before the Photoshoot 

Like we said above, only part of what goes into making a photo visually beautiful is what you actually see during the photoshoot. With Our Everyday photo sessions, many of our shoots happen outside where conditions are much harder to predict than inside.

Naturally, we have to get to know weather patterns. Photographers are mini-meteorologists! In the days leading up to a shoot, Nathan is checking his phone’s (many) weather apps to ensure favorable conditions that lend themselves to having electronics (and small children!) outside for long periods of time.

Because of the unpredictable nature of, well, nature, we also have to scout a few locations in case we get rained or snowed out of our main location. If you’re wondering how we handle weather conditions on your big day, we wrote an entire post dedicated to it right here!

When shooting outside, we also have to learn about the path of the sun to ensure you’re in the right place for the best shot and that our cameras are picking up the right light. There are many phone apps to aid in shooting in the best light possible and Nathan has tried just about all of them. He takes lighting very seriously.

Perhaps the biggest thing photographers do before a shoot is learn their equipment. It’s imperative to taking good photos. Think about it: you wouldn’t go into an exam unprepared yet still expect a perfect score. Nathan studies every camera he gets his hands on to understand exactly what he has to do to produce the best possible results. Every good photographer knows his tools inside and out and how they react to light, movement, and other elements in order to get the best results in-camera and minimize the need for editing later on.

During the Photoshoot

Once we know the weather will behave and everything is in the proper light, it’s time to get the perfect shot. While it looks like we’re just running around with your family and a camera, there’s a little more to it than that.

We keep an eye on the scene to make sure the shot is clean. There’s nothing worse than finally getting a smile out of a timid toddler only to realize the picture was sullied by trash on the ground or the appearance of a tree growing out of your head. Sure, we can edit some of this, but it isn’t always possible and we’d really prefer to get a good shot in the moment than trying to airbrush a chip bag out of the frame later.

We’re also adjusting on the fly based on the mood of everyone in the shot. We’d rather naturally let a vignette happen, so we don’t tell you how to pose or where to stand. That said, we will suggest situational activities or guide you into a zone where the light and backdrop makes for a better photo.

After the Photoshoot

Once the camera is cleaned off and the lights are packed away, it’s time to process your photos. The biggest part of post-processing we do is to pick the best photos. You know, the ones where no one’s eyes are closed, no one is mid-sneeze, and so on.

Porter Loves Photography does minimal editing. Real life kids and families interacting together is our jam and as we’ve said many times over, we don’t want perfect photos.

Wait, let me rephrase. You don’t have to be perfect to make memories with your family and we aren’t going to edit you to look like you are! Our typical editing is mainly light color correction, no teeth whitening or waistline reducing happening here. More extensive editing does happen on occasion when kids are sick and we need to break out the Snot-Be-Gone tool in Photoshop. Other than that, we prefer to let you look like you.

Hopefully this has shed some light on the work photographers do when they aren’t actively photographing you. There is a lot that goes into getting a great shot and we wouldn’t trade that work for the world because we know we’re helping you preserve great memories with every click of the camera.

Capture Precious Family Moments when you Hire a Photographer

Event photography is more than just shooting weddings, though we love off-beat celebrations of love. Not many people think of the importance of event photography for your family gatherings until it’s too late. Hiring a photographer ensures that it’s one less thing you have to worry about when you’re putting together an event, whether it’s a milestone birthday or a family celebration. It also ensures you have incredible shots to remember for years to come.

At family events, you’re too busy running around and making a great party happen while keeping Aunt Shirley away from the Schnapps and trying to have meaningful conversations with everyone. There’s little time for taking photos, especially ones that capture the spirit of the event and everyone having fun, you included!

Many times, you don’t think to hire a professional photographer for family gatherings, especially if it’s just a casual backyard party. But with everything else you’re trying to do, it would be a shame to let all that planning slip by without so much as a cell-phone-shot of candles being blown out.

Think about it: you carefully selected the theme, picked out a menu, and worried about the weather all week. For all your effort, there should be beautiful photos of the festivities to remember it by. And you should be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor in the moment!

We especially enjoy being a part of kids’ birthday parties. Goofing around and acting silly is our favorite thing to do (especially smiling. Smiling’s our favorite) and kids seem to dig it as well. Nathan is really engaging and after kids warm up to him, he’s able to see and shoot some very special moments.

We’ve also had a lot of fun at older kids’ birthday parties. Uncle Joe turned 80 and, while it wasn’t as acceptable for him to play with his cake, the pictures still turned out just as memorable as they did 79 years ago.

A family event many people don’t think about hiring a photographer for is a rehearsal dinner. Sure, the wedding is the big event and everyone includes a photographer in the wedding day itself. The dinner is an important part of the wedding weekend and tradition of marriage. The wedding party is gathered and enjoying themselves. The bride and groom can spend more time with the people closest to them. And everyone is looking forward to the next day. Having someone photograph that excitement and anticipation of the day before is just as important.

When we photographed Beth and James’s rehearsal dinner, we could feel the anticipation in the air. Maybe it was the humidity… No, it was definitely excitement.

Another family milestone that many are a part of but that doesn’t get the attention it deserves is a family reunion. Like a rehearsal dinner, family is gathered and enjoying themselves. And, not to be dark here, there’s always a matriarch or patriarch approaching their golden days. Having photographs of this time with all the generations together is an important part of your family legacy. Personally, there are times like this that I would love to have on film.

These kind words prove how important it is for someone else to be a fly on the wall and capture these fleeting moments:

Wanted to take a quick minute to thank you again for coming and photographing at our party. Everyone said that it was a good idea to have a photographer there because we were all so caught up in talking and such that we never snapped a single picture ourselves. Thanks again!

Inviting someone in to take photographs of your family is an investment in your time and your family history. As the host or hostess of an event, it’s one less thing you have to worry about so you can enjoy yourself with the people you love the most.