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Seniors

Arielle A: Barberry Horse Farm Senior Photos

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Arielle A: Barberry Horse Farm Senior Photos

My goal during every session: get at least a few photos of some genuine, natural smiles. Arielle made it sooooo easy to hit my goal with her naturally bubbly and bright personality! This sweet senior is in the midst of her senior year at Eden Christian Academy, and one of her favorite hobbies is horseback riding! So, of course, it was only natural that we would utilize the beautiful location where she rides (Barberry Horse Farm in Sewickley) for her senior session!

Arielle - you are beautiful inside and out, and it was such a pleasure to get to know you (and Ferrari! ;) ) Congratulations on your senior year!!

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Maddy L: Hartwood Acres Senior Photos

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Maddy L: Hartwood Acres Senior Photos

Maddy was an absolute JOY to photograph from start to finish! We had a beautiful day for her senior session, which took place at one of my favorite places - Hartwood Acres! For all of the times I’ve had sessions at Hartwood, I still never seem to get sick of it - there’s always a new angle to find and use. But what really makes a photo session amazing isn’t the location - it’s the person in the photo! And let me tell you - Maddy is such an incredibly kind human with so many awesome aspirations!

Maddy, you are lovely inside and out and it was so fun getting to know you! ☺️

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Allison B: Hartwood Acres Senior Photos

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Allison B: Hartwood Acres Senior Photos

What an amazing honor it has been to photograph not just one, but three awesome siblings from this beautiful family for their senior photos! (Click here and here to see!). Allison is the youngest of five siblings and has one of the sweetest souls! Our families grew up literally across the street from each other, so I've known Allison basically since she was born, which is why it's so unbelievable that she's finally a senior!

Allison, you are beautiful inside and out and I hope you never EVER forget that!

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Sam M: Historic Harmony Senior Photos

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Sam M: Historic Harmony Senior Photos

Sam is a surfer, guitar player, music writer, book reader, and Boston Market mac'n cheese lover! We had the pleasure to taking Sam's senior photos not too long ago in one of my favorite places (especially for guys!) - Historic Harmony! Throughout the session, we had so much fun getting to know Sam (and of course, his mom, Jennifer!), hearing about their adventures to the beach, and Sam's impressive recovery from not just one, but TWO knee surgeries (yes, he still runs!). Thanks so much for a great session, Sam! Have an amazing senior year!!

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Taylor D: Hartwood Acres Senior Photos

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Taylor D: Hartwood Acres Senior Photos

We had the most BEAUTIFUL evening for Taylor's senior portraits at Hartwood Acres Mansion! The sun was in hiding for most of the time, but it came out RIGHT at the end and brought the most beautiful, golden light!

Taylor is heading into her senior year at Seneca Valley. She loves Disney (we got along just fine! ;) ), homemade ranch dressing (none of that from the bottle stuff!), and has aspirations of becoming a lawyer! Congratulations on your senior year, Taylor! 

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Rachel C: Historic Harmony Senior Photos

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Rachel C: Historic Harmony Senior Photos

Rachel is a soon-to-be Seneca Valley senior who plays the saxophone and absolutely loves ice cream (especially birthday cake from Brusters)!! Her senior session took place in Historic Harmony, which was actually the perfect location, considering she's been taking music lessons right in town for years! We also found out during her session that she works at the same pool that I worked at as a lifeguard when I was her age - which was so fun to learn, and brought back so many good summer job memories for me!

Rachel, you were a joy to photograph and I wish you nothing but the best heading into your senior year! 💛

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Jacob C: Hartwood Acres Senior Photos

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Jacob C: Hartwood Acres Senior Photos

Jacob is a senior at Laurel Highlands High School and is probably one of the nicest senior guys you'll ever meet! I have absolutely loved working with this awesome family throughout the last few years (see Jacob's brother's senior photos from 2014 here!) and was SO excited when they contacted me again, this time for Jacob's senior photos!

Since Jacob's friends call him "soup," (quite fitting since his last name is "Campbell"), Jacob incorporated some Campbells-themed attire into his session, including a bow tie and some Converse shoes! And, since Jacob plays soccer, we incorporated some of those items, too!

Wendy, Jacob, and Brielle (his soon-to-be sister-in-law!): we absolutely LOVED hanging out with all of you. It was such an honor to take these photos for you! Jacob, you're going to do amazing things!

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Kylee A: McConnell's Mill Senior Photos

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Kylee A: McConnell's Mill Senior Photos

Kylee is an incredibly ambitious soon-to-be senior who is actually right in the middle of getting her cosmetology license! This down to earth senior has a love for Chick-fil-A (same, girl) and Gray's Anatomy, and is truly just one of the sweetest people. I'm so excited for you, Kylee! You are going to do AMAZING things!

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When to Have Your Senior Photos Taken

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When to Have Your Senior Photos Taken

Believe it or not, the summer after you finish your junior year of high school is the best time to start thinking about senior photos! It might seem a little early in the game, but trust me – the earlier you start planning, the better!

Start off by weighing your options. I’ve had many a senior find me through Instagram, Facebook, Google, and even Pinterest! When looking for a senior photographer, make sure you find a style you like – for example, do you prefer a bright and airy style, or more of a dark and moody one? Are you more into posed photos, more natural photos, or a mix? Your answers to these questions will drive the direction of your search! And don’t forget to look at reviews – you’ll be able to really find out what other people think by taking your time to search through reviews.

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Once you find a senior photographer that you love, make sure you contact them right away to reserve your spot! Senior photographers can be booked up to a few weeks to a few months in advance, depending on the time of year you’re looking to have your photos taken. For example – in Western Pennsylvania, fall tends to book up to a few months out, so the earlier you contact your senior photographer, the better!

After booking your photographer, it’s time to start looking for a location and choosing your outfits! More than likely, your photographer will be able to guide you to a location based on your preferences and style. Some might even help you out with choosing outfits! Personally for me, I love to give my seniors suggestions without controlling what they wear. To me, it’s always important a senior’s personal style shines through their photos!

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In addition, you’ll want to start considering appointments for professional hair and makeup, if it’s something you’re interested in. It can be nice to not have the added stress of making sure you look photo-ready on the day of your session.

I love to suggest having photos done mid to late summer (post junior year) or sometime after the school year starts, but before the holiday season begins for senior photos. This way, you’ll have more than enough time to meet yearbook deadlines and use your senior photos for graduation announcements in the spring!

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Planning a senior photo session can be a bit overwhelming, but if you have a game plan from the beginning, you’ll have nothing to worry about! And even if you are on a bit of a tight deadline, it’s never too late to have senior photos taken!

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What's More Important Than Choosing the Right College

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What's More Important Than Choosing the Right College

I had a plan for my life, and photography and working for myself wasn't a part of it for a LONG time. When I graduated high school, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to go to school for graphic design and web design. I had this grand plan that I had made for myself: I'd graduate, get a job at a magazine or marketing agency and work in the corporate world. Nothing sounded better to me - getting to use my degree and my chosen career path to help businesses build better ways of connecting with their target customer?! Totally right up my alley!

Right after I started college, I began photographing people - portraits, weddings, families - and fell in love. I found myself answering business emails during class, editing during lectures, and putting literally ALL of my free time into hustling hard towards something I wasn't even going to college for.

By the time I graduated college, my business had gone from a side hobby to an (almost) full-time time commitment that was bringing in a decent chunk of change. Even after I graduated college, I still couldn't believe people were actually paying me to take their photo. It felt too surreal to actually get paid to do something I loved so much! But to be honest - I had never thought that photography was something I could actually do full time. I kind of thought that photography would remain a side hobby, or a way to make a little extra money alongside my "career" as a graphic & web designer. But goodness... was I wrong!!

After graduating college, I landed a part time job as a graphic, web, & digital designer for a small start up company right outside of Pittsburgh. Why part time, you might be wondering? Because I was literally putting SO many hours into my business that, at this point, it was basically like having a full time job. In some ways, I felt caught between two passions. On one hand, I LOVED graphic and web design. I had fallen in love with it during my college years and could fully see myself working as a graphic artist. But on the other hand - I loved photography so stinking much, and I finally recognized that this business had grown to a place where it could potentially turn into a way to support my husband and I.

I worked at the start up company for almost two years before I realized that there was no way in heck I could manage both anymore. I was working SO MANY hours every single week with barely any time for friends, family, or even my husband. Sad to move on, but excited to see what photography could turn into, I put in my two weeks at the agency and started making the transition to working for myself full time. And you know what's amazing? That's not something that I would've ever been able to do in my own strength, and it wasn't even something I had envisioned for myself. God's hand was all over those decisions, leading and guiding every single step of the way. And if I hadn't been following his leading, I probably would've missed out on all of the gifts and benefits that have come with working for myself. Sure, like anything, being self employed has its challenges, but when God is at the forefront driving the ship, I am free to live in the knowledge and peace that it's HIM who is leading me every step of the way.

Your career might change, but a kind, generous, loving heart will stick with you wherever you go

So now, to the high school senior, trying to decide what to do: make the best choice you can when you're trying to figure out what to do with your life. Be responsible. Find where your passion intersects with where you can make money, and go there. But know that that decision can change - anything can change! I thought I had a good plan, but God had a better one, and I'm sure He will keep leading me in different directions that I never ever could have planned for myself.

As a friend once said, "choosing which college you'll attend is not the most important decision you'll ever make in your life." And, really, you know what's way MORE important? Choosing to love people. Being kind. Serving others. Making the conscious decision to do THOSE things every single day are some of the MOST important decisions you will ever make. Your career might change, but a kind, generous, loving heart will stick with you wherever you go. People matter so much more than work. They matter more than any career or job you might pursue. And as you start pursuing those things - remember to make time for people.

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