• Welcome to my blog!

    Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog! I'm a mom of three and a portrait photographer in Fairfield County, CT specializing in families and head shots.

    I use my blog to share posts about my sessions, announce specials and to share a piece of myself!

    I love to help women feel beautiful from the inside out and to help families take a moment to be fully present and connect with each! I do that through my photography and also through sharing my own struggles here on my blog!

4th Annual Halloween Portrait Fundraiser 2015- Wilton Community Assistance Fund, Wilton, CT

Thank you for helping us raise $2582 plus a $150 employee matching donation. This money will  help Wilton families struggling to pay their bills this year!! 

RAFFLE winners: See the list of winners below and contact andrea@momentsbyandrea.com to arrange to pick up your prize.

Halloween Portraits:

There is a link below to a Shutterfly Share Site where you can download your digital images or order products.I also have a 40% off code if you want any Shutterfly products from this event or any other images you own!

Instructions to get your FREE PICTURES:

Each family has a different number of images depending on poses, # of people in the group, etc.

* Click the Shutterfly link below and use PASSWORD: Wilton2015

You might have to create a Shutterfly account to view the images.

* Click on one of the 5 albums to locate your photo. (They are in time order from 11:30-2:30.)
* Scroll through to the album to locate your series of photos.
* Once you click on a photo, you can download it, print it, or share it.
* Downloaded images are sized for 5 x 7 and smaller prints and internet use but you can order larger prints from Shutterfly directly no problem. See below for a SPECIAL LINK and CODE for 40% OFF Shutterfly that is good til December 31, 2015! No waiting for specials or worried you won’t order before it expires!
* If you have any questions, contact Amanda at amandanmitchell@gmail.com

LINK to Shutterfly Share Site:



Click here first to be able to get a 40% discount on any Shutterfly til the end of 2015 on ALL YOUR ORDERS!

Discount code: 9S8W-9KGA-CXXS-14PY6K AND free shipping when available.

WINNERS: Please contact andrea@momentsbyandrea.com to claim your prize if you have not done so already!


Donating Companies and their winners:

Moments by Andrea Photography (Richelle Kaye)
Let’s Make Up by Janet Montalbano (Andrea Lanaro)
Southern Yankee, LLC (Alison Kline Smith)
Hello Yoga (Debbie O’Malley)
Comprehensive Nutrition (Michelle Tarantino)
Canine Company (Janell Stimac Buerge Federico)
Wilton Family YMCA (Brent Shaffer)
River Road Gallery (Kristen Stieber Schestag)
Steve DeMasco’s Shaolin Studios of Wilton
SS-1 -Birthday Party (Robin Law)
SS-2 – Summer Camp 1 week (Megan McWeeney Morris)
SS-3 – Two Weeks Martial Arts Lessons-New Client (Nicole Northway)
Signature Style (5 prizes)- Kristen Stieber Schestag, Carolyn Orbacz Baker, Sabeth Ryan Albert, Alison Kline Smith, Michelle Tarantino- Pick one of 5 bags. Free Personalization.
Happy Hands Art & Pottery – Nicole Northway
The Painted Cookie CT-Kristen Stieber Schestag (Avery)
Dermage Aesthetic Center & Spa- Jennie Wong
create learning center- Alison Smith
Four Seasons Racquet Club- Brent Shaffer

Here are a few sample images!

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Family Photo Day Mini Sessions

My 10th annual Fall Family Photo Day “mini sessions” in Wilton and New Canaan are well under way! I think mine are one of the longest running “mini session” events in Fairfield County ! Can’t believe it’s my 10th year!

It may only just new be turning into Fall officially this week but I’ve already got a few of my dates under my belt. The early September portraits might look a little more like Summer than Fall but the natural light in the park is beautiful and the warm weather is a bonus! I love the green background. It goes so nicely with so many colors!

I know some people sign up just to have a nice holiday card photo and I provide that for sure but my sessions really are about celebrating family! My sessions aren’t really “mini” because we got so much done! The variety and quantity of images I provide is much more in line with a typical full portrait session for many photographer than it is with what most would consider a “mini session”. I love that my new pricing allows my clients to keep all the digital images at a lower price than before and to have a quicker turn around than ever!

Here are a few images from my first few mini session dates.

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Tips on photographing your kids like a pro!

FALL is HERE and that means it’s HOLIDAY CARD TIME! I’m not sure about the rest of America or what happens in other countries but in Fairfield County Connecticut that means it’s time to get the BEST PICTURES OF OUR KIDS possible!

This was my first attempt at photographing more than one of my own kids for the holiday card. That as 2005. Let’s just say I have learned a lot since then!shutterfly christmas pic gallery




Many of you will invest in a professional photographer and I’m thankful when it is me as I know how many photographers there are now. It wasn’t like that when I started in 2006 but now there are a ton of options. There really is a photographer out there for every budget and style!

With that said, not not everyone can afford professional photography or wants it. Some prefer to take their own pictures and I’m happy to share some tips that I have learned in my 9+ years photographing about 1700 families!

TIPS on photographing your kids like a pro!

  • Use a good camera (NOT your iphone) if you have one! The camera and lens are the first step in having images that look professional. If you have an SLR, the first thing you should buy to go with it is a portrait lens. That is a 50mm or 85mm lens with a wide maximum aperture (1.8 or lower). This allows you to shoot in lower light without flash and also helps get you that soft focus background called  “bokeh“!


  • STEP AWAY! One more think about that pretty soft focus background that makes images look more professional! Find a background that is far away and it will be more soft focus. Don’t sit your kids up against a stone wall or it will be just as in focus as they are!
  • Plan your wardrobe well! Photography is art. You are painting with light and with the colors you select for your canvas. That includes the setting you choose and your wardrobe. Keep in mind the background colors (either the green of September or the yellows, golds and browns of October/November). Select simple clothing that coordinates with those colors. Muted colors work best so that the attention in the image goes to the faces! For more tips on wardrobe AND other tips on preparing for your portraits visit my blog www.blog.momentsbyandrea.com.
  • Find a fun location like a park with plenty of trees or a beach at sunset. Keep in mind the light has to be right if you don’t have any trees for shade. Home can be one of the best places if your child is shy. If you have more adventurous kids take your camera to the apple orchard or a new park and make it an adventure!
  • If you have small children work around their NAP TIME! I would not bring a baby to a 6pm session as we all know that would not go well. Think about what time of day they tend to be the happiest and plan for then!
  • Oct242015_1003Get the kids involved in wardrobe and location selection! Make it a fun family project so they are excited to participate instead of doing it because mommy said it’s time for pictures.
  • Look for the LIGHT! Ideal times of day are early morning or late afternoon before the sun goes down but if you have to shoot mid day then look for shade and position your children on the edge where it is still bright but there is no light overhead causing harsh shadows on their face. Try under a tree, on a covered porch or sitting in an open doorway.
  • If shooting INSIDE then position your kids in a chair or couch at a 45 degree toward a big window (that is not in direct sun). That will be the prettiest light. Do not put the window behind your subjects (such as sitting them with a picture window behind them) as they will be too dark and a flash will just reflect off the window. Try to use natural light and position them in a way that the light falls on them best. Use the angle I mentioned above or put them next to the window and then walk around them and watch how the light falls on them. This is a great way to find the magic light!Ettl Dec1 2014 collage fb
  • You can also shoot with the sun behind your subjects for a bright and airy look with a halo of light around them. If you know how to use your camera manually then expose for the skin which will be darker than the background. It will make the background overexposed but beautiful! If not, just put your flash on and it will fill in the light on their face. Whatever you do, avoid direct light on their face (causes squinting and is unpleasant) or directly overhead!
  • Get them CLOSE and CONNECTED! Get them to play games with each other, like “ring around the rosie” or pile up. We play games for most of my sessions and the kids love it.
  • Get DOWN on their level. Enter their world. We are always looking down at our children and while that can be good for close up shots of those big eyes looking up at you, the rest of the time images taken at their level will be more emotional and natural looking. For a more unique perspective, you could also try shooting up at them by placing them on a higher level or getting down below them. Try all different angles, it’s fun to see what you get!
  • May242014_1323If you want to get creative you can shoot through something like a tree, branches, doorway etc to create a natural frame for the image!
  • Get in CLOSE! Zoom in and capture the details of their expression and those cute little faces! This way you don’t have to worry about clutter in the background taking away from that face you adore!
  • If your children are very little find something for them to GET IN that is fun like a big basket, wagon or cozy arm chair. Just remember safety fist! Also consider giving them something to hold that you don’t mind having in the photo! A vintage toy or adorable stuffed animal or doll can be nice. Keep them distracted so they will sit still long enough to get a photo!
  • HAVE FUN! Be SILLY with your kid and go for those NATURAL smiles! Gone are the days of saying “cheese” and getting those overdone fake smiles! Tell them a joke or say something that you know will make them laugh.  For little ones, tell them something they know is wrong! Ex. “Tommy, want to hear me bark like a dog? OK! Here it goes… “meeoow!”  Have fun and you will get those natural smiles you adore so much!
  • Oct182014_1068Be PATIENT! Photographing your own children can be a challenge but we are blessed to be in the digital world! We aren’t limited to a roll of 24 or 36 images so just keep shooting until you get those expressions that make you say “that’s so him/her”. I love it!
  • And I personally think there is nothing wrong with a bribe! Ideally though it is more of a reward as if you make it fun  you won’t have to bribe them. They will want to do it again next year too!
  • Get a great shot but one kid looks better in another image? If you shoot a series of the same image you can do a head swap! Try the website www.retouchup.com for an inexpensive head swap!
  • Read up or take a lesson! Have you read your camera’s manual? You would be surprised at what your camera can do! Take an afternoon to read the manual and play around with the settings! Really love photography? Take a lesson online! There are countless resources for online photography classes. You can even get them for free on YouTube!
  • And don’t forget to keep the images safe! We don’t print as many pictures as we used to! Some of my clients admit to never printing any of their pics! Be sure to back them up on DVD and upload them to a lab that lets you store unlimited images!  I have been uploading my images to Shutterfly monthly since I was pregnant with my first born in 2003. At the end of each month I go and pick my favorites to print! At the end of the year I pick a handful from each month to create an annual calendar! The family looks forward to the calendar every year!
  • Whether our take the images yourself or hire a professional remember to BACK UP YOUR IMAGES and PRINT THEM at a reliable lab! Print quality varies greatly from lab to lab! I recommend www.mpix.com!

Here are some samples of sibling images from my Fall Family Photo Days last year! Maybe they will give you some ideas of what you can do with your kids! www.momentsbyandrea.com/mini-sessions







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Newborn Portraits- Wilton Natural Light stdio- Fairfield County Newborn Photographer

How cute is this little guy that came to Wilton portrait studio for his newborn pictures! The parents came to me looking for simple and clean newborn portraits without a lot of props and natural poses. I think they got it.:-)We had a wonderful session in my all white natural light shooting room. It’s so warm and cozy in there for the baby and the parents. I love the simplicity of white bathed in natural light. It’s almost ethereal.

I provided a gallery of over 60 beautiful images and they got to keep all the digital files. I wonder what they made with the pictures.



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Platinum Photographer of the Year Award! Thank you PPA!

For many years I thought about entering Professional Photographers of America’s annual print competitions. I was too intimidated to even dip my toe into these waters until March of 2014 when I finally took the leap and entered at the state level.

My maternity portrait “Eve” won First Place for Portraits and I was hooked! I worked hard to add three more images to my portfolio and went to NorthEast District competition and then to International. At that 2014 International Photographic Competition three of my four images were accepted into the General Collection and I was thrilled! The most you can submit is four images and the highest you can get is all four in the Loan Collection. I was now in it to win it!

My goal this year was have all 4 of my images accepted and get at least one image in the prestigious Loan Collection. Guess what? I did it and then some! I got THREE of my images in the Loan Collection and one in the General Collection. This earns me a “Platinum Photographer of the Year Award”.  That is a HUGE accomplishment and sets me up for a real challenge in 2016! How do I beat it?

Over 5,000 images are entered into the International Photographic Competition and just a little over 20% were accepted into the Loan Collection so I’m honored to have my images among them and to earn the award!

I can’t wait to walk the stage at awards ceremony at Professional Photographers of America’s “Imaging USA” in January! Also excited to work on four images for next year and to earn my Master Photographer Degree from PPA. These images got me so much closer!"Evening Rehearsal for Summer Theater"

“Evening Rehearsal for Summer Theater” was created when a local non-profit dance studio had the idea to invite local photographers to photograph the students for display at the studio. When Encore Performing Arts Center contacted me to ask me to volunteer my talent to their display I immediately thought of creating a silhouette! I brought the girls to my spot and with the help of their director Michelle Sperry we choreographed this scene. I knew the second I saw the clothing rack that it had to be in the picture so up it went and I’m so glad! I think it is the finishing touch to make this image special!


Here are the standards by which the jurors score the images. You can see why entering this competition can sharpen your creative and technical skills!

The Twelve elements listed below are in accordance to their importance.

1.) Impact is the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion. There can be impact in any of these twelve elements.

2.) Technical excellence is the print quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing. Retouching, manipulation, sharpness, exposure, printing, mounting, and correct color are some items that speak to the qualities of the physical print.

3.) Creativity is the original, fresh, and external expression of the imagination of the maker by using the medium to convey an idea, message or thought.

4.) Style is defined in a number of ways as it applies to a creative image. It might be defined by a specific genre or simply be recognizable as the characteristics of how a specific artist applies light to a subject. It can impact an image in a positive manner when the subject matter and the style are appropriate for each other, or it can have a negative effect when they are at odds.

5.) Composition is important to the design of an image, bringing all of the visual elements together in concert to express the purpose of the image. Proper composition holds the viewer in the image and prompts the viewer to look where the creator intends. Effective composition can be pleasing or disturbing, depending on the intent of the image maker.

6.) Presentation affects an image by giving it a finished look. The mats and borders used, either physical or digital, should support and enhance the image, not distract from it.

7.) Color Balance supplies harmony to an image. An image in which the tones work together, effectively supporting the image, can enhance its emotional appeal. Color balance is not always harmonious and can be used to evoke diverse feelings for effect.

8.) Center of Interest is the point or points on the image where the maker wants the viewer to stop as they view the image. There can be primary and secondary centers of interest. Occasionally there will be no specific center of interest, when the entire scene collectively serves as the center of interest.

9.) Lighting —the use and control of light—refers to how dimension, shape and roundness are defined in an image. Whether the light applied to an image is manmade or natural, proper use of it should enhance an image.

10.) Subject Matter should always be appropriate to the story being told in an image.

11.) Technique is the approach used to create the image. Printing, lighting, posing, capture, presentation media, and more are part of the technique applied to an image.

12.) Story Telling refers to the image’s ability to evoke imagination. One beautiful thing about art is that each viewer might collect his own message or read her own story in an image.


Thank you Good Morning Wilton for sharing my press release on your website and to Wilton Magazine for posting it on Facebook. I really appreciate your support!

"Middle Child Syndrome

“Middle Child Syndrome” was created when I was fostering these six adorable kittens. I walked by my old CD rack and thought SIX spots and I have SIX kittens! I must make a portrait of them! My daughter Kylie helped me safely handle one at at a time in the studio and I then pieced them together in Photoshop.


“PIcasso’s Protege” was created in my studio with my handsome and very expressive son and youngest child. You should have seen his excitement when I told him that he could paint an entire backdrop and himself with his favorite colors. Mommy joined in the fun getting it into his hair and adding finishing touches to his body paint. Add in some instruction to bring out my favorite expression of his and “Picasso’s Protege” was born. I had a lot of work to do to perfect it in Photoshop but it was so worth it! I love this image! They say never to enter images of your own kids in competition because judges sometimes are harsh with their criticisms but this one was a favorite of the judges and no harsh words were spoken about him. The only thing that almost kept it from going Loan was the fact that the yellow brush draws your attention away from the main subject and there is no other yellow in the image. They discussed it and managed to understand why it is like that and unanimously voted to accept it into the Loan Collection. Yeah!!

"Summer Dreams"

“Summer Dreams” is a client image of a beautiful little girl I have had the privilege to photograph a few times. She is a natural with the camera. I just love this image. The reason it did not go “Loan” is mostly because the face is a little too bright. It was something I noticed when I sent it to District but it was too late. I wanted to fix it before going to the International competition BUT once your image scores above an 80 it is guaranteed to get into the General Collection and it is considered a big no no to make changes before Internationals. I’m still so proud of it and at least now I still have room for improvement next year to try to go 4/4 loan. :-)


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