Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-6That’s a quote by Neale Donald Walsch and boy is it a good one. I can’t think of a better quote to give to each and every one of my clients….it’s just so true. On this day, my challenge was to make this girl next door look like the woman that’s about to rock your world.

As you can see, she just looks so young.  She also had a vision in mind for her session and it did not include this look. She was a bit skeptical but I just knew it would come together perfectly and I hope you think it did as much as I do. I wanted to push her outside her comfort zone. Here is where I would say her comfort zone sits very….comfortably.

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-7-2And this is one beautiful photo of one beautiful woman. This is the photo that will get printed and looked at fondly by mom, dad, friends. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having just this photo.

But I knew she had it in her. I knew she would let me push her and not surprisingly, she felt very comfortable pushing herself. Maybe these photos won’t get hung on the living room wall…but she will be able to pull them out anytime she wants when she needs to remind herself what a badass she really is. I’d say that’s priceless.

Lesson of the day: your comfort zone is boring. What would happen if you took just one little step outside of its boundaries? Hmmmm…..Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-4Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-1Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-5Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-3Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-2Makeover by At Home Beauty.

Fabulous at Any Age

Fabulous 40's and 50's-1Our 20’s are for total selfishness and complete independence. Working hard, building friendships, plowing along to build that resume and experience what it’s like to only have to worry about ourselves.

Our 30’s are for realizing there are other people in this world other than ourselves. We fall in love. We split ourselves in two (or 3 or 4…depending on how many babies you bring into this world) and we drastically go from only caring about ourselves, to putting ourselves way beyond last to make sure everyone else around is doing ok.

Our 40’s are for reestablishing and remembering who we were before we gave up our bodies, minds and souls to the life-sucking beings that are our babies and our husbands (and I mean that with love). We venture out into the world again, see our old friends, begin to reemerge stronger, wiser and more relaxed. Work is good, life is getting easier to navigate and you’re starting to really let it sink in that taking care of yourself is a necessity and the value of celebrating yourself is pretty high on the list.

Our 50’s we really get our steam going again. We realize the older we get, the less we care about what people think about us and it’s just so damn….freeing. Our kids have just left the nest and are on their way to soar in this world and we’re making big plans that include husbands, gal pals, traveling and continuing to kick ass at our careers.

Our 60’s are for true living again. Kids are established in their own lives, retirement has either begun or is shortly on its way. We’re traveling, seeing things with wiser, more relaxed eyes and it now becomes all about you again. Your confident, you’ve socked your money away and are living well. You do things now simply because you want to, allowing the things your supposed to do just fade into the background.

I can’t name one of those decades that doesn’t deserve to be celebrated. In fact, if I had to do it all over again I think I would’ve had a photo session at least every 3 years to capture who I was then and how far I’d come. Each decade above describes a woman that took, gave, lived, loved, laughed and every single one of you that fits into one of the paragraphs above definitely deserves a day for yourself. It might not be with me, but I can’t think of a better way to celebrate YOU than a session with me.

This gal in these photos decided it was time to have that very experience with me. If you’re wondering which decade she was celebrating, it was her 30’s. As you can see….what a day we had.

And when her 2 daughters go looking for photos of her someday, guess what they will find. Can you say the same thing about your kids? It’s a Legacy thing.Fabulous 40's and 50's-2Fabulous 40's and 50's-20Fabulous 40's and 50's-21Fabulous 40's and 50's-8Fabulous 40's and 50's-3Fabulous 40's and 50's-7Fabulous 40's and 50's-4Fabulous 40's and 50's-6Fabulous 40's and 50's-5Fabulous 40's and 50's-9Fabulous 40's and 50's-12Fabulous 40's and 50's-10Fabulous 40's and 50's-13Fabulous 40's and 50's-11Fabulous 40's and 50's-14Fabulous 40's and 50's-15Fabulous 40's and 50's-16Makeover by At Home Beauty.

Celebrate Mother’s Day with the Gift of Forever

Mother's Day Gifts 2017-2Yes, forever. That’s what happens when you take a photograph. That moment, that place, that time…it’s forever imprinted and can be revisited, passed down, shared and enjoyed over and over and over again. It’s limitless.

To this day I look back on photos of my mother and could stare at them for hours. I cherish those photos because they tell a story to me of who my mother was before me, who she was during the years I couldn’t possibly remember and what she was like, and then onto the the fun times and the memories we made together.

I would say that most mothers and their kids don’t have photos like the ones you see in this post, and I can tell you every mother/daughter/generation session I have done will never cause regrets. I keep saying this but it’s so true: I don’t know any mother that can say that they simply have too many photos of their children and certainly too many professional photos of them with their children. The women that have come into my studio to celebrate their relationships with their children understand the value of a photograph. It’s simply timeless.

Unfortunately most women have to have a reason that benefits someone else to pamper themselves. Well, here is your chance: you know you want updated photos of your children. You know how important it is for your children to have photos of you. There you go.

I just gave you the best excuse ever to come in, have an experience of a lifetime for you and your kids. Still not sure? Watch the film below and tell me you’re not the least bit interested. Dare ya.

Mother's Day Gifts 2017-5Mother's Day Gifts 2017-10Mother's Day Gifts 2017-4Mother's Day Gifts 2017-3Mother's Day Gifts 2017-11Mother's Day Gifts 2017-1Remember when you thought your mother was the most beautiful woman in the world? Might be time to remind her…

She Said Yes

Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-20He asked. She said yes. The end beginning.

I LOVE when we get phone calls to photograph surprise proposals. EEEEE!!!! No joke, I can barely sleep the night before. She doesn’t have a clue! He’s probably sweating through his sheets thinking about what’s going down the next day. Will everything go as planned…..will she say….YES??

I like it. I like that more and more guys are understanding the value of photographing such incredible memories like asking the girl you love more than anything else in this world to spend the rest of your life with you. Can you imagine being able to show those photos to your kids? Your grandkids, for goodness sakes??? Talk about valuable. Talk about legacy.

It’s only a moment, really. You ask, she says yes. The moment is over. Or is it? What if you could relive it anytime you wanted to? Hire a photographer and you can. BAM.Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-2Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-3Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-4Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-6Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-7Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-8Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-9Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-10Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-11Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-12Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-13Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-15Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-16Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-17Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-18Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-21Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-19Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-22Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-23Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-24Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-25Pittsburgh Proposal Photography-26

Wood + Soul | Personal Branding Session | Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Personal Branding Sessions | Head Shots | Elizabeth Craig Photography-1Does wood have a soul? That was a question that John asked our subject on this day: John Malecki, owner of JM Custom Builds. I think you’re really going to like his answer, which you can listen to in the film below. Just in case you didn’t know, John used to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but now spends his time designing, creating and building custom furniture….you have to see his work; it’s truly phenomenal.

Our day with John was pretty cool. We started at his shop getting some action in both still photography and film, then headed over to our studio to capture a few more. All in all it was a fantastic way to spend a day!

If you’re looking to update your branding, we do that. Contact us for more information on our Personal Branding packages. elizabethcraig@me.com

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Mother. Daughter. Legacy.

Mother's Day 2017If I should have a daughter…

“Instead of “Mom”, she’s going to call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.”

And she’s going to learn that this life will hit you hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up, just so it can kick you in the stomach, but getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.

There is hurt here that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry. So the first time she realizes that Wonder Woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal.

Believe me, I’ve tried.

And “Baby,” I’ll tell her, “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick; I’ve done it a million times. You’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him.

Or else–find the boy who lit the fire in the first place, to see if you can change him.”

But I know that she will anyway. So instead, I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boots nearby, because there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for.

Because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

I want her to look at the world through the underside of a glass-bottom boat, to look through a microscope at the galaxies that exist on the pinpoint of a human mind, because that’s the way my mom taught me.

That there’ll be days like this. “There’ll be days like this my mama said”.

When you open your hands to catch, and wind up with only blisters and bruises; When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly, and the very people you want to save are the very ones standing on your cape; when your boots will fill with rain, and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment. 

And those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you”. Because there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.

You will put the “wind” in win(d)some, lose some. You will put the “star” in starting over and over. And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute, be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting, I am pretty damn naive. But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar: it can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

“Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier, and your papa is a warrior, and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.”

Remember that good things come in threes. And so do bad things. And always apologize when you’ve done something wrong. But don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining; your voice is small, but don’t ever stop singing.

And when they finally hand you heartache, when they slip war and hatred under your door, and offer you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they

really ought to meet your mother.

–Sarah Kay

Now offering Mother’s Day makeovers and photo sessions. Contact me at elizabethcraig@me.com for more information.

What will your Legacy be?

Is This Real?

Pittsburgh Contemporary Portrait Photographer-1-3Could this really be my daughter?? I look at these photos and it simply amazes me how much she has grown. I remember the shoot we did with her just 2 years ago on Take Your Child to Work Day and the difference in just 2 years….my goodness.

We kept it simple this year. Just classic photos of Ella but I wanted them to be timeless with a vintage edge. That dress she’s wearing was a gift for my 40th birthday. It was in the attic of a friend’s home and I believe it’s from the late 1800’s. It fit Ella like a glove and she just looked so beautiful in it.

This reminds me how quickly time escapes from us, how quickly a child changes right before your eyes, and most importantly, how important it is to capture every single moment you can. I just re-watched the film John made of Ella’s shoot from 2 years ago and it simply melted my heart. God she’s such an incredible kid. How did I get so lucky?

People often ask me if I photograph children. If they’re alone, I like to photograph from the age of 10 up. However, I love photographing mamas with their daughters of any age. I simply cannot stress enough how important Generation sessions such as those are. Think of it this way: have you ever, in your life, met a mother that has either regretted having photos of their children or wished they had less of them?? How about gorgeous, creative and modern portraiture of herself with her daughters? “I have too many beautiful photos of myself with my girls”…..said no mother ever.

So, this Mother’s Day, how about choosing a new way to celebrate all that you have done as a mother? How about a makeover, photo shoot and a legacy of gorgeous photographs that will last way after you do?

Someday your daughters will search for photos of you…what will they find?Pittsburgh Contemporary Portrait Photographer-3Pittsburgh Contemporary Portrait Photographer-7Pittsburgh Contemporary Portrait Photographer-6Pittsburgh Contemporary Portrait Photographer-5Pittsburgh Contemporary Portrait Photographer-2Very special Thank You to Lee Ann of At Home Beauty for the gorgeous makeover of my lovely daughter.