Five Simple Steps to Have a Great Family Photo Shoot

The big day is finally here – you’re taking family photos with us! (May we say, congrats for crossing that off your to-do list!) You’ve been looking forward to this moment since you booked it. Except it just hit you: how do I prepare for our session?

Since a lot of families ask us what they should do to ensure they have the best experience during picture day, we came up with a list of our top five suggestions to make your photo session a success.

You know how the box of cereal has “Serving Suggestion” printed on it? Think of this as our serving suggestion. You’re welcome to pour the cereal in the bowl or add your own flair with some berries and juice. What we mean to say is: think of this as a jumping off point.

First and foremost: do what makes you and your family comfortable. That’s what Our Everyday photo sessions are all about. We want to capture your family in their truest, most authentic light.

Think about favorite things to do as a family. Is your family very active and love to play outside? Or do you prefer to cook up pizza every Saturday and allow the person with the best week to pick the toppings? Whatever your family is into, that’s what we want to be sure we document. Even though these are slightly more cold-weather centric, many of the places on this list are great for year round family fun.

Wear something comfortable. This is especially important if you’ll be running around at the park or exploring the Water Steps on the North Shore. Make sure that your clothes are easy for you to move in and make you feel relaxed, confident, and comfortable. Be sure your kids are also wearing an outfit they feel good in. If they’re wearing something scratchy and not enjoying it, you will be able to see it in their faces.

Keep your clothes and makeup simple. Nix anything with a small pattern. Tiny and/or very busy prints won’t show up on camera well. The same goes for super sparkly makeup. It will catch the light (and the camera) in a distracting way.

Don’t feel like you have to match. We’re all for coordinating what you’ll be wearing, but you don’t have to match perfectly. (Looking at you, 90s-era super-posed family photos with everyone in a blue polo shirt and khaki pants.) In fact, we don’t aim for perfection during these shoots. We would rather your family express who they are and make memories as a family instead of trying to negotiate the perfect outfit and perfect staged pose.

Be well-fed and well-rested. While this suggestion is mostly for smaller children, Mom and Dad should also heed this advice. Remember those candy bar commercials that use the slogan, “You’re not you when you’re hungry?” We want to capture your family, not a pack of bears! If possible, schedule your session after naptime or in the morning after a good night of sleep so everyone is in a good mood. It may be helpful to pack some granola bars, just in case.

No matter what your style is or how you like to interact as a family, remembering these suggestions as you prepare for your family photo shoot will ensure that you have a great experience and that we capture a fun memory for you and your family.

Have fun, not perfect, family photos

Family photos from Pittsburgh photographers

When it comes time to take family photos, do you get stuck in an analysis paralysis loop? Do questions like, “Will the kids be in a good mood,” “Will the weather behave,” “Is there time to coordinate outfits,” “Should I bring backup outfits,” and so on consume you to the extent that you stop yourself from even scheduling a photo shoot because aiming for perfection becomes too overwhelming? If this is you, that’s okay. We see so many families stress out unnecessarily and worry about getting everything perfect when it comes time to take family photos.

And we are here to tell you that we don’t want your pictures to be perfect. Yep, that’s right: we do not want you to be perfect in your family photos. Because, and correct us if we’re wrong, families aren’t perfect, so why do you feel like your photos have to be?

Instead, we want you to have fun and capture the reality of your family. Everyone doesn’t have to be smiling in every single photo you take. We can’t tell you how many times someone has said, “He looks like his dad when he’s upset, but me when he’s happy.” If you just have stiff, posed shots, you don’t get to explore the full expression of your children.

Don’t get us wrong, you’ll still get amazing shots from us. I mean, just look at this Our Everyday shoot we did at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Even the silly photos are adorable and highlight everyone’s personality. And that’s exactly what the family wanted; happy memories to reflect on and cherish for years to come. That’s exactly what we want you to have for your family, too.

It’s one of our core beliefs that stem from personal experience. Sam, one of the human halves of Porter Loves Photography, says, “The pictures I love from my childhood are the ones where someone caught me laughing with my sister, not where I’m sitting stiffly smiling directly to camera. Moreover, I’m wearing whatever 7 year old me felt like wearing and not something my mom forced on me.

“This is also true of the photos of my parents from their childhoods that I value most. The standard grip and grin or otherwise ‘perfect’ photo doesn’t carry a story with it.”

Who doesn’t want to leave a legacy that speaks to generations of your family to come?

We also believe it’s so important to take photos together that include the whole family. Even families with good cameras and talented photographers miss out on those memories because someone has to work the camera. Making it fun and easy for you and giving you photos that you couldn’t take yourself is what we’re all about. While an Our Everyday shoot with us may include a few posed family photos, for the most part, we explore the world with your family.

Bottom line: stop worrying about getting the perfect shot and instead focus on making memories that will be passed along and cherished by everyone.

JFilm Festival – Event Photographer Recap

Event Photographer for JFilm Festival in Pittsburgh

There are some events that are Pittsburgh staples: pierogi races, RADical Days, Three Rivers Artsfest, anything with Rick Sebak in attendance. JFilm Festival is one such event.

This is an 11-day festival that presents international Jewish-themed films. These films aim to deepen audiences’ understanding of Jewish culture, tolerance, and our common humanity. While this is a film festival, there are many other events that occur and supplement the films during the length of the festival. Visiting filmmakers, guest speakers and collaborative events are part of the elements that make this a must-attend top festival in the country.

In fact, JFilm Festival is in its 24th year and it’s what you might say “on the map” as one of the top Jewish Film Festivals in the country. Gaining that recognition doesn’t happen overnight. It’s especially inspiring to look back at past events and see their progression.

Naturally, capturing these moments on film is important to the JFilm Festival organizers.

“As a presenter of film, I think it’s essential to capture what we do visually. There’s nothing better than a great photograph to bring back great memories of a successful event,” says Kathryn Spitz Cohan, Executive Director, Film Pittsburgh.

“We also use our event photographs to publicize everything we do. It is an integral part of our marketing strategy.”

We’re in our 8th year of shooting this event. Obviously, we came in when they already had steam, but they’ve only ever increased the amount of events and educational programming they provide to the community.

The creators of JFilm Festival do a fantastic job of selecting films that engage audiences and spark conversation. This year’s movies spanned many genres, from documentaries to comedies, to poignant tales. During our time shooting, we get to watch the films we cover and all of them this year were particularly thought-provoking.

Event Photographer Recap of JFilm Festival in Pittsburgh

Events for kids of all ages this month

May is in full swing and the weather in Pittsburgh is, too. One day, it’s warm, the next could hold a snowstorm. There are lots of events both inside and outside that will help you make family memories this May.




The Neighborhood Flea: Mother’s Day Edition is right around the corner. Shop from a wide selection of handmade and vintage items, try a new food truck, and enjoy workshops where the whole family can create something cool together. This is an event that’s held outside rain or shine, so be sure to dress appropriately!

Sunday, May 14, 2017 — 10 am – 3 pm — 2300 Penn Ave, in the Strip — This is a free event, but workshops require a ticket


Remake Learning Days is the largest open house of hands-on learning of its kind. This event is made up of a network of more than 250 organizations and thousands of individuals who are shaping the future of teaching and learning in southwest Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and beyond. Events are held at schools, museums, libraries, after school centers, universities, media centers, tech startups, and more, so check their schedule for what’s happening around you.

Monday, May 16 – Friday, May 26, 2017 — Times and locations vary


Hands-on Harley Davidson allows kids to feel the freedom of the open road, even without a licensed driver in the front seat. The Children’s Museum set up a kid-sized Harley dealership and engineering lab that’s designed to bring you STEM learning in a fun, interactive exhibit. Kids can design their own ride, take it for a virtual spin on a track they can build themselves, and explore some of the world’s most beautiful motorcycle tours.

Opens Saturday, May 20, 2017 and runs through September — The Children’s Museum — Included with admission

Explore Sewickley is hosting their 8th Annual Sewickley Unleashed. It’s fun for two-or four-legged kids and the event raises funds for Western Pennsylvania pups (and other animals)! There’s a 5K, pet parade, and vendor booths set up along Broad Street in Sewickley. Parking is free, so stay and explore the village and grab a bite to eat. PS: there’s a farmer’s market set up on Saturdays as well. All activities will be held rain or shine.

Saturday, May 20, 2017 — 8:30 am – 1 pm — Sewickley Village — 5K and Pet Parade require registration

The inaugural Wilkinsburg Two-Way Street Fest will celebrate Wilkinsburg’s strongest assets including community, small business, and excellent access to transit. The event also marks the borough’s project to change Wood Street from one way to two, improving traffic flow through the business district and access to businesses. There will be tons of free activities as well as food and drinks for purchase.

Saturday, May 20, 2017 — 12 – 4 pm — Wood Street between Penn Avenue and Franklin Avenue in Wilkinsburg’s central business district

Pizza and crafts unite at the Bakery Square PizzaFest & I Made It! Market. It will be a day filled with pizza, live music, tons of craft vendors, food trucks, a pizza eating contest, and the crowning of Best Pizza in the ‘Burgh. We highly suggest you schedule a play date in the park to work off all those carbs!

Saturday, June 3, 2017 — 12 – 6 pm — Bakery Square