natural family photography in pittsburgh


What’s it called when you (both children and parents) actually enjoy the session itself? How the heck do you describe family photography that makes you feel, laugh, or maybe even cry? How about the approach that leads to a gallery overflowing with moments you didn’t even know you needed? What is that?!

Most call it lifestyle photography. Others call it documentary. I’ve even heard it described as family journalism. They all explain a style that is NOT FORCED OR OVERLY POSED!

Call my style what you’d like. I care so much more about my approach, because that’s what makes a session enjoyable for YOU.


The way I go about photographing Pittsburgh families was born, not from years of study or any one specific mentor, but from my own two kids and the crazy, chaotic, wonderful life that we live. Traditional portraits can be so beautiful and there are so many talented photographers in our area that specialize in that genre. But me? My girls taught me to love letting go. They show me what is worthy of documenting, with very little direction. They changed the way I approach my work as a family photographer.

No two families are the same, but I do have a handful of ‘go-to’ ways to lightly pose a family at the start of a session. I always like to get that formal photograph out of the way at the beginning, as long as the little one(s) are into it. From there, I love to let the family (specifically the kids) take the wheel. That might sound scary to parents or someone who doesn’t love to be photographed, but extend a little trust my way and I promise the result will be SO YOU. And that is where magic happens.

CONNECTION > PERFECTION (I’m going to trademark that, I think…)

Ask me what my business stands for and believes in. What is my approach when photographing families in and around Pittsburgh? That’s it. Connection over perfection. The way we naturally interact with the people we love, with our ‘babies’, now that is beautiful. That matters to me and if we are going to work together, it should matter to you as well.


The family in this specific post is one that I’ve had the absolute pleasure of working with multiple times now! (Cannot get enough of the J family!) They are warm and cozy and I’ve loved every sun soaked minute I’ve spent getting to know them. I’ve watched the little ones grow and it’s been a huge honor to help them remember all of those stages: newborn, first, second, and now this family session.

Locations, expertly coordinated wardrobes (go Mama J), and personalities have changed or grown, but the constant in each of their sessions was that the kids told me what was going to happen. And their parents always let me make them feel in control. I believe it’s the only way to let them (and that family connection) shine though in a final gallery, which has always happened with them.

Stunning J Family. I love ya! Thank you for the trust and fun over the years.

relaxed and fun golden hour family photography

SESSION LOCATION: Outside Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

parents photo at family session
classic family photo
funny boy hiding from camera in a photo with sisters
photos of father and children
loving photo of mother and daughters
natural sister portrait
photos of mother and children
adorable mamas boy images
family walking hand in hand
natural childhood portraits
sweet sister images hugging and twirling in the sunset
relaxed and fun golden hour family photography
relaxed and fun golden hour family photography
a portrait the kids directed
childhood closeups and a runaway boy
fun family photo starring the youngest child at golden hour
snuggled up family photos
kids running at golden hour outside Phipps
family photo outside Phipps conservatory and Botanical Gardens
funny and cozy family photo
sweet mama holding her darling daughters
three siblings laying snuggled in the leaves
family walking in a crosswalk in pittsburghs oakland neighborhoos

No added to-dos, just added memories to your life.

You’re busier than you ever thought you’d be. Between chasing toddlers around, work commitments, mastering the art of diaper changes, herding kids to practice, and trying to get some me time, it’s hard to imagine adding anything to your plate.

As a mama of two, I get it!

I'm here to simplify the photography process for you so you can keep focusing on what you need to.

If you want no-stress & natural maternity, newborn, and family photography — I'm your girl.

family photographer in pittsburgh, pa  who gets it

Hi, I'm Melissa!

Say goodbye to unnatural and inauthentic photoshoots. I use a child-led approach to guarantee a fun, stress-free family photography session!

Maternity sessions, for me, are a celebration of your incredible journey, and the overflowing love you already feel for the little human you're about to meet.

The early days with your newborn are like nothing else. We’ll capture all the precious moments that make the sleepless nights and diaper changes all worth it.


For the whole timeline of life, I got your back.

What I can capture for you.

I'm a mama!

The journey of motherhood is filled with fleeting moments waiting to be treasured. From tips on capturing your little ones' everyday joy to thoughtfully designed presets, my resources are crafted with love for every mama. 

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