Pologruto Family Holiday Minis

Hey guys! A few weeks ago, I headed back to Pennsylvania to do a plethora of holiday mini sessions. It was a whirlwind of spending time with family, eating everything my Mom put in front of me and photographing the most adorable families for their Christmas Cards! This trio reached out shortly after I announced my travel dates and I was pumped that they had thought of me to capture their photos. In the last year, Sara and Anthony welcomed the most adorable little lady, Maggie, and they wanted to capture their little girl just playing in her own backyard. I loved Sara’s vision and couldn’t wait to see the place that they are lucky enough to call home.

With my photography assistants, aka my little sisters, in tow, we made our way into the mountains. Before the shoot, Sara filled me in on the location. Anthony and Sara purchased a home in Rector, PA. Just to give you an idea, these guys live in the woods. Like, really, in the woods. So far in the woods that my GPS literally failed me. Thankfully, Anthony stood by the side of the road waiting for us to arrive to help with the directions. Once we made our way across a wooden bridge, we traveled down a dirt road into a small community of homes spread out though out the expansive acreage of Powder Mill Nature Reserve. These guys really do live in a magical corner of the world. Both Mom and Dad agreed that their backyard was the perfect place to capture these photos because this is where Maggie lives and breathes her playtime!

From her little old lady coat to her pigtails, this angel could not have been dressed more perfect! It was a cold and wet day but you couldn’t tell looking at her. She was playing in the leaves and taking off the minute that they set her down. She is an explorer for sure. I have a feeling Mom and Dad are gonna be chasing this girl down for years to come. We strolled around their neighborhood and looked for spots with good light. As we quickly approached the sun setting, Anthony and Sara led me back down to the wooden bridge and we set up shop.

After snagging a few photos of Maggie with Mom and Maggie with Dad, we focused on letting them play with their little girl. In the end, I’d have to say we did just that. I love that these photos are so bold and wintery. I love that Maggie has the prettiest blue eyes, especially when she is carrying around her favorite little toy, a stuffed piggy. And, I especially love the way that Sarah and Anthony look at their baby girl. You can see how smitten they are with her every move. From their gorgeous backyard in the forests of the Laurel Highlands to the rich red gingham blanket Sara brought along for the shoot, these guys have gotten a hang of how to put a smile on their baby’s face. I am so thankful for this opportunity and look forward to spending more time with this sweet family and their wild child of a baby girl! Merry Christmas Pologrutos!!

For Information on how to book your unique Portrait Session, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. Throughout the month of December 2016, I am offering $150 Mini Sessions in the Dallas Fort Worth area. These sessions include a 45 minute session within DFW, 15-20 Digital Images delivered in an Online Downloadable Gallery and Print Release. Perfect for Christmas Card Photos, Surprise Holiday Proposals and even Gifts. You can buy this deal for a limited time as a Gift Certificate in 2017!

Kaison’s First Christmas

Hey guys, Happy Friday! I hope you all are getting into the holiday spirit as we approach the celebration season. Yes, I am that crazy person who has already watched Home Alone (1 &2), Christmas Vacation and my lights have been up outside since the middle of November. Christmas is such a magical and joyful time in the Norris household. To get into the holiday spirit this year, I started off my Mini Sessions in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. My first session didn’t disappoint either, this shoot was full of love, laughter and a happily ever after.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting my new favorite little dude, Kaison. His momma and daddy just so happen to be some of my very best friends in the whole wide world and I have been impatiently waiting to meet their handsome baby boy for months now. You may remember this guy’s parents from their last photo shoot. Kelly and Kendrick’s Maternity Shoot was featured on the Blog days before this guy made his debut! At eight months preggo, Kelly was a trooper and Kendrick proved to be quite the cheerleader as we made our way through the fields of Kelly’s grandfather’s farm.  Their beautiful baby boy finally made his way into the world not even a month later and these two have been wrapped around his finger ever since.

And as for me? Auntie Ang? She has been down in Texas just dying for the chance to come and snuggle this chubby cheeked butterball!! Finally, the time had come for me to kidnap their bundle of joy for a few hours and I was literally jumping for joy. Kelly’s Family joined us at the very location of our first shoot, their Grandfather’s farm. We headed out into the field to get the family shots first of everyone. As I split them up into smaller groups, they all took turns passing the baby around like a hot potato! And, I will never forget the look on Kelly’s Dads face when I asked him to take a photo with his wife “prom style”. And Kelly’s face when her Dad planted one on her Mama. These guys had me in stitches.

After the family photos were finished, we headed to the front of Kelly’s parents house. There, we set down a blanket and just let Kelly & Kendrick love on their baby boy. The leaves could not have been a better color and Kel’s scarf matching Kaison, so much awesome coordination. Long before he made his arrival, Kelly and I would sit around and talk about what his name would be and how we thought he might look. Every little detail that we dreamt up doesn’t even come close to how perfect this baby is. It’s so weird too! I’ve known Kendrick since we were 5 so looking at this kid and that butt chin, he is unmistakenly my buddy’s baby. But, he’s got Kelly’s big beautiful eyes and her smile. What a perfect combination of these two incredible people. It has been such a joy seeing your love story blossom. Good for you guys. You love each other, you are so smitten with your son and you continue to grow with one another. That’s so important. Crucial, really. So, cheers! Ya’ll are killing it! Now, come to Texas and be my friend and bring Kaison because I wanna eat him!! 🙂

For Information on how to book your unique Portrait Session, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. Throughout the month of December 2016, I am offering $150 Mini Sessions in the Dallas Fort Worth area. These sessions include a 45 minute session within DFW, 15-20 Digital Images delivered in an Online Downloadable Gallery and Print Release. Perfect for Christmas Card Photos, Surprise Holiday Proposals and even Gifts. You can buy this deal for a limited time as a Gift Certificate in 2017!

Gender Reveal: It’s a…

During my last visit back to Pennsylvania, I managed to sneak in a little time with a few of my favorite people, the Robb family. This fun trio has been featured on our Blog before. Last fall, I had the pleasure of snapping a few pictures of their little guy, Ben. Check out his session here. This go around was a little different. I found out a few weeks before my arrival that this wild and crazy bunch would be growing by two feet. Yep, they would be adding another Robb to the brood. I was jumping for joy at the idea of them bringing another little guy or girl into the picture and even more thrilled when they asked me to take their family portraits. I was under the impression that we were going to be taking Maternity photos. Little did know, they had a surprise for me. This portrait session would double as a gender reveal! I was so touched and beyond excited when I found out I’d be among the first to know what they were expecting.

After a few snafus with the location choice and timing, we managed to meet at Legion Keener Park in Latrobe, PA. I’ve known Derek and Lizzy since we were kids and I wanted to keep our roots intact to the locale of the shoot. With that in mind, I began to dream up some ideas of how to announce their bundle of joy in a fun way. When Derek and I were kids, we spent many a summer night hanging out by those tracks above the Loyalhanna and I knew it’d be the perfect location for their shoot. The graffiti below the bridge and the train tracks following alongside the lush fields of green created the clean backdrop for these photos. We started about an hour before sunset, making our way from the tracks to the bridge that towers over this creek.

This was a totally different shoot than their first for many reasons. Since the last I saw him, Ben has a grown a foot and gained an adult vocabulary. It freaked me out at first. How could he have grown up so much in the short 4 months since I last saw him? He is so smart and kind. Loaded with his mother’s sweet demeanor and his daddy’s gangsta sense of style, this kid is bound to be a lady killer. Honestly, who doesn’t wanna love on him when he is rocking those sweet glasses? He is going to make for a very cool older brother.

Speaking of his soon-to-be younger sibling…these guys are happy to announce, in the most adorable way, that they are expecting…a baby boy! Due a few days after his big brother’s birthday, we are impatiently awaiting the arrival of the newest Baby Robb!

Thank you guys so much for letting me play a small part in your announcement and I look forward to meeting the newest munchkin! See you guys soon!

If you are looking for a photographer to help you document your next big announcement, shoot Angelina an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. Whether you are expecting your first or third baby or just recently got engaged, Angelina is sure to make your Session a personalized and unique experience! For inquiries about pricing and packaging for Portrait Sessions, send your questions our way! 🙂

Winters Family Portraits

This family has a lot going on this year. Their firstborn just graduated high school, their middle child is starting her modeling career and the baby, well she isn’t a baby anymore. This may be one of my favorite sessions to date because I can literally remember when each of these kids were born. All their lives, their mom made sure to include a family portrait in every Christmas card. I literally have all their newborn pictures in a box somewhere in my office. It has been a whole other kind of joy watching these 3 grow up. The last time I took their portraits, only Keon and Kiara were involved so you can imagine how happy I was to hear that the whole gang would be joining us for this go-around.

We all met around sunset at Twin Lakes State Park. I was a little nervous at first because when I arrived it was pouring down rain. Luckily, these fashionista sisters took a little longer than anticipated fixing their hair. By the time they arrived, the sun came out and washed up all that rain! Having spent a lot of time playing here as a kid, I had a gameplan in mind. We would start at the boathouse. If we rallied the whole gang in the beginning, we would have more time for individuals as we hiked throughout the park.  We managed to find some towering rhodedendron bushes for the ladies to pose nearby and I love that those portraits turned out so fierce. As for the boys, we’ll share a little more of them in the next Blog; keep an eye out for Keon’s Graduation Portraits.

My favorite part about this shoot was that I got to take a few pictures of my cousin and his wife together, alone. For as long as I can remember, Lori has been sending me pictures of the kids but Mom and Dad are never in the photos. It’s become much too common of a thing. When this family of five first started, Nat and Lori were just a few kids. It’s crazy to think that now their kids are almost grown up. It just goes to show how fast time really does fly by.  I love that this family set up this shoot right before their firstborn heads off to college. It’s such a great way to capture their bond and the direction this family is moving. I can’t wait to photograph these guys again and look forward to seeing what’s next for this wild and crazy bunch!

To schedule your Family Portrait Session or to inquire about a personalized session, shoot us an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. And don’t forget to Follow us on Instagram (@therustienail) to stay up to date with our events going on and special deals!

Top 5 Parks in the Laurel Highlands for Photography

My last Top 5 was based on the Top 5 Parks in the DFW Metroplex for Photographers to set up a photo shoot. This week, I thought I would tackle my hometown and the surrounding area! After all, the Laurel Highlands is where my love for photography began. Even as a tyke, I always had a great appreciation for the area that I grew up in. I spent my childhood playing on farm land in good ole Crabtree, Pennsylvania. I learned to appreciate the natural beauty of a season’s harvest and the picturesque 100 year old farmhouses that grace the countryside of southwestern Pennsylvania. The best of all are the leaves in the fall. Something about all the color that comes to life before that first blanket of snow is just idyllic. I know, I seem a bit melancholy but I really do miss it most days, the changing of the seasons. The air is just different and that’s why I crave the opportunity to set up shoots when I am home. It’s my way of exploring my old stomping grounds.

Lucky for you, I’ve scoped out my favorite places to set up shop and am including a few of the tricks I’ve been stashing up my sleeve. To provide even more inspiration for exploration, a local photographer out of New Alexandria, Carolyn Anderson, has provided some pretty amazing shots of these places for you to really get the feel of how these spaces change annually! Carolyn is a southwestern Pennsylvania native with an active and ongoing love affair with landscape photography. She shares my passion for capturing the people and places that make this particular corner of the world extra special and we’ll definitely be sharing more on how to view her work here on the Blog in the future. Keep an eye out!

5. Keystone State Park (1150 Keystone Park Rd, Derry Township, PA 15627)

Located in Westmoreland County, this little slice of heaven can be found in the midst of the family-owned farms that make up the community of New Alexandria. With a swim beach and concession stand, this park makes for the perfect family day trip. If you want to make it a whole weekend, they offer campsites and RV hookups too! The boys can fish Keystone Lake while the ladies pick flowers from the adjacent fields. Lastly, photographers be on the lookout for a pretty awesome sunset. This place has been known to provide some really great backdrops! For more information on hours and camping availability, head here.

Photos courtesy of Carolyn Anderson, a photographer based out of New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.
|Keystone State Park| Photo: Carolyn Anderson
Photos courtesy of Carolyn Anderson, a photographer based out of New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.
|Keystone State Park| Photo: Carolyn Anderson
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|Keystone State Park| Photo: Carolyn Anderson

 

4. Twin Lakes (216 Twin Lakes Road Greensburg, PA 15601)

Also located in Westmoreland County, this park just continues to grow. After deciding that an expansion would boost more community involvement, the park added the Franklin Dog Park, David R. Peach Dek Hockey Rink and the Peach Plaza Skate and Action Park. There is even a new Winter Sports Area for the kiddos to sled during those Snow Days! Use the park for fitness on it’s many trails or take the kids fishing on one of the paddleboats! The Boathouse is loaded with lots of goodies for the whole family. And don’t miss out on all the fun of the Arts and Heritage Festival that usually takes place the first weekend of July. The booths boost loads of artitistic crafts, winery tastings, the world’s best Fried Veggies. The Kids Corner is a must for those who wish to have their face painted as a butterfly or a fireman for the day! This place makes for a great day out of the house in any capacity. Let those munchkins run wild and then have a picnic. This place is sure to please. For more information, head to their website.

Photos courtesy of Carolyn Anderson, a photographer based out of New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.
|Twin Lakes Boathouse| Photo: Carolyn Anderson
Photos courtesy of Carolyn Anderson, a photographer based out of New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.
|Twin Lakes State Park| Photo: Carolyn Anderson

 

3. Mammoth Park  (Blacksmith Rd, Mt Pleasant, PA 15666)

This gorgeous park is located in Mount Pleasant. Within this massive piece of property lies a 24 acre fresh water lake that can be seen from the Observatory Deck. This park is ideal for family picnics in the summer and sled riding in the winter. A skate park, tennis courts, bocci and shuffleboard courts can all be found on this 408 acre piece of property. But my favorite part about this place is the insane 90 foot slide! As a kid, we brought our wax paper and shot our way to the bottom. For more information on how to find this hidden gem, head here.

 

Photos courtesy of Carolyn Anderson, a photographer based out of New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.
|Mammoth Park| Photo: Carolyn Anderson
|Mammoth Park| Photo: Carolyn Anderson

 

2. Linn Run State Park (Laughlintown, PA)

Linn Run State Park is hands down my favorite place to hang out in the Laurel Highlands. Bordering Forbes State Forest enables this park to boast 50,000 acres of land for outdoor recreation. As a kid, my family and I would hike our way to Adam’s Falls and Slippery Rock, an area of the park that hosts a natural water slide. Bring your inner tubes! I even had my Senior Portraits taken here way back when and I even spent most of my Senior Skip Days hiking the trails back to Beams Rock with a few of my favorite miscreants. This dog-friendly slice of heaven sits on the outskirts of a hippie town and  the best drive to see the colors change in the fall. Check it out. Don’t forget to stop by the Natural Spring and fill up on that fresh mountain spring water!

Photos courtesy of Carolyn Anderson, a photographer based out of New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.
|Linn Run State Park| Photo: Carolyn Anderson
Photos courtesy of Carolyn Anderson, a photographer based out of New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.
|Linn Run State Park| Photo: Carolyn Anderson
Photos courtesy of Carolyn Anderson, a photographer based out of New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.
|Linn Run State Park| Photo: Carolyn Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Ohiopyle (Fayette County, Pennsylvania)

This massive outdoor wonderland covers the expanse of 20,500 acres. There is literally an endless amount of things to see and do in this area. You can hike the various trails, take the kids fishing, head out on a whitewater adventure down the Youghiogheny River Gorge, backpack the 135 mile long Great  Allegheny Passage, brave the biking trails, try your hand at rock climbing or just have a picnic and camp out with the family. Make sure to check out Cucumber Run and bring your inner tubes for the natural water slides in Meadow Run. Whether you are in need of a location for your next Portrait Session or just want to take a few pictures of the kids in their element, this is the place to head to. For more information on how to get the most out of your stay in Ohiopyle, check out the state’s website!

Ohiopyle

 

Photos courtesy of Carolyn Anderson, a photographer based out of New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.
|Ohiopyle| Photo: Carolyn Anderson
Photos courtesy of Carolyn Anderson, a photographer based out of New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.
|Ohiopyle| Photo: Carolyn Anderson

 

Maternity Shoot: Baby Bolish

Meet Kelly and Kendrick! Days away from the arrival of their first born baby, these two lovebirds asked me take a few photos of them before their baby boy, Kaison makes his debut. This shoot, in particular, will always have a special place in my heart. See, Kendrick and I had the privilege to grow up together. We were bus buddies in elementary school, neighbors almost all our lives and somehow managed to get ourselves into trouble more times than I can count over these last 20 years. It’s been a wild ride to say the least. About a year ago, Kendrick met Kelly. I literally could not imagine a better ride-or-die chick for my childhood friend. From the minute I met her, I knew Kenny’s hunt was over. He had found this beautiful soul who could put up with his crap, someone that he would happily share his life with. To boot, Kelly and I are pretty much soulmates. So you can imagine how much I love that Kendrick choose to spend his life with someone that I instantly had a connection with. They recently tied the knot and I could not happier for them.

On top of celebrating their nuptials, Daddy’s new hunting buddy should be making his appearance any day now. About a month ago, I flew home over Memorial Day weekend to attend Kelly’s baby shower and snap a few maternity pictures before they officially become a family of 3. Her shower theme matched Kaison’s nursery; all things wildlife, from bears to foxes to deer so we had to incorporate a little bit of that into the shoot, hence the cute little fox. We waited until after the shower before Kelly and I set out into the fields near St Vincent Grove. This sweet mama graciously trekked her way through the tall grass, in the pouring rain, to snag the most adorable pictures.  Dressed in a coral and white floral dress, this mama bear rocked her bump through the mud looking as relaxed and beautiful as ever.

After taking a few shots of Kelly, we headed to her grandfather’s house. His backyard was the perfect spot to watch the sun go down and capture this sweet family in all their glory. Her grandfather’s backyard had sweeping views of the Laurel Highlands and the most perfect lighting. What I love most about this shoot is that one day Kaison will be able to look back and see how stupid in love his parents were. They were loving on each other and kissing and laughing. I gave no direction. Their natural poses were much better than any advice I could have given them. These guys reek of affection, their love is the infectious kind, the kind you can’t help but see and smile at. Seriously, it was an honor and a privilege to photograph this time in their lives and I can’t wait to get that sweet baby on the other side of my lens. Keep snappchatting me all the baby goodness guys! 1800 miles stands between me and snuggling your sweet boy but I cannot wait to meet him. Congratulations to the Newlyweds and Best Wishes as you bring your son into the world.

Are you expecting? For information on pricing, packages and how to book your Maternity Session or Family Portrait Session, shoot us an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. All inquiries welcome! Follow our work on Instagram @therustienail for everyday updates and sneak peeks for Special Portrait Session dates!