Sometimes the stars align and you meet a wonderful, laid-back, snuggly family in a stunningly renovated historic Pittsburgh home. Combining an incredible family, a beautiful baby, modern Bohemian decor and a sweet Siberian husky would bring joy to any lifestyle photographer. This lifestyle newborn session was a dream shoot from beginning to end! Between shots we talked about everything from living in Pittsburgh, our dogs and job and her pampas grass. It was during this shoot that I realized I needed pampas grass to add to my Bohemian Studio! Although it’s not easy to find, I finally found some at Mt. Lebanon Floral.
I believe the best thing about having your newborn session in the comfort of your own home is personalization. In addition to photographing your sweet newborn, your home is featured as well! Honestly the size or decor of your home don’t matter as much as remembering where you brought your baby home. Your home is likely where your baby will smile for the first time, try solid food, learn to crawl and take his/her first steps. Why not capture the memories in the space you call home?
How did you and your spouse meet?
Zach and I met at our first job out of college, where we worked for the same parent company. We had mutual friends in common and though he caught my eye the first time I met him, it wasn’t until a couple years later where we took our relationship to the next level for a first date, after a competitive game of bowling.
Describe how your life changed once you brought home your newborn baby.
Our lives changed completely once we brought home Camilla, as there was an instant, indescribable love and she became the the center of our universe. I remember leaving for the hospital saying “this is the last time we will ever be a family of three (including our dog). Next time we walk through these doors, we will be a family of four.”
Describe your newborn baby.
Camilla (Cami) is the sweetest little squish, who is constantly changing everyday and coming more and more into her personality.
What do you enjoy about living in the Pittsburgh area?
Both Pittsburgh natives, we love living in the heart of the city where we can embrace all the city has to offer. We love the versatility of urban and suburban life—it’s the perfect balance between big city and small town. And how can you not love all the good food, shopping, sports, and scenery?!
What are your family’s favorite things to do in and around Pittsburgh?
Since COVID, our family has a new found love for hiking and all the hidden gem trails in and outside the city. We enjoy spending our afternoons with friends at outdoor restaurants (dog-friendly is always a bonus) or trying out new restaurants at night. We love to spend our Sundays in the Strip District, attending Orchard Hill Church followed by brunch and shopping.
Tell us about your home.
Over 100 years old, our home has held onto its original charm and characteristics while embracing our modern touches. We purchased the house 5 years ago right before we got married and has been the most perfect starter home to build our family.
In your opinion, what are the best shops around Pittsburgh to buy decor for your home?
Hands down—House 15143 in Sewickley and Hot Haute Hot in the Strip District. Also, I am a sucker for anything Anthropologie so the Home Outlet opening in our hometown has been deadly.
Describe a typical day in your life as a new mother with a newborn baby.
Our days start off with morning snuggles in bed, which is my favorite and most cherished part of our day. After that, Camilla is pretty alert in the late morning and early afternoon, where we spend our time eating, tummy time on our Lovevery play gym, or enjoying the company of family and friends. After her afternoon naps, we prepare dinner with Cami in her carrier and anticipate the arrival of Dad to come home. Cami absolutely loves her Dad and smiles the second he gets home!
What is your family’s favorite meal to cook at home?
Both Zach and I have always dreamed of hosting Italian Sundays for our children growing up, so we have started this tradition with the arrival of Camilla. My go to favorite dish is Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes served over pasta.
How did you prepare for your newborn lifestyle session?
We prepared for our newborn lifestyle session by spending countless hours designing and creating the nursery, gathering inspiration everywhere from Project Nursery on Instagram to Pinterest. I spent an entire Saturday evening creating 3 different “mood boards” to pitch nursery ideas to Zach—so you could say this room renovation was my baby before the baby.
How did you decide what to wear for your in home lifestyle session?
We chose outfits for the shoot with the help of Laura’s FAQ page which offered tons of styling suggestions, as well as browsing through her Portfolio for more inspiration. Both of us being in the retail world, fashion has always been a passion of ours so I put a lot of thought and effort into finding the perfect outfits for Camilla from Instagram shops, Amazon, and Etsy—but then Zach and I raided our closets morning of to throw on something that worked!
What is your favorite portrait from your lifestyle session?
It is so tough to choose our favorite photo from the session as there are so many, but my two all time favorites of Cami are the close-up shot of her laying in the crib, and the close-up of her with the fox hat on. These portraits exhibit what an angel baby she is, whether she’s dreaming away or locked into your eyes.
How did you decide to schedule a newborn lifestyle session with Laura Mares Photography?
I decided to schedule a lifestyle newborn session with Laura after much research into a newborn photographer. After googling and comparing Portfolios, then falling in love with her Instagram, I knew Laura was the perfect fit. I wanted a photographer who would capture our daily lives in our homes, highlighting our new bundle of joy, and Laura’s style did just that.
Can you share a highlight from your newborn lifestyle session?
One of our favorite memories from the shoot were photos of Matteo and Cami hanging out on the bed. Being the only “child” for 7 years, Matteo couldn’t be bothered with Cami at first but I like to think this shoot changed everything. Matteo undoubtedly stole the show and has become more and more interested in his baby sister ever since. It has marked the beginning of their bond and I’m so glad Laura was able to capture that moment.