Bellini Portraits…Stephanie Piscitelli, MA Portrait Photographer
Her creative eye for photographing babies and children just brings out the innocence of newborns and memories of childhood. To top it off, her post-processing is superb and it just makes her images just really pop out to where you can picture yourself being young again, with the sky being the limits for your adventures!
Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing your thoughts, experience and gorgeous portraits with us! I’m so glad that I came across your work and starting to get to know you. 🙂 You are an inspiration to many photographers and one amazing mom! 🙂
Everyone, I hope you enjoy getting to know Stephanie and of course, feel free to follow her on her blog and Facebook. Networking is one of the best things that we can do today and we all love a little inspiration from each other! Enjoy!
Let’s start with a bio. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a natural light portrait photographer based south of Boston. I am married to an incredible man; intelligent, handsome and super supportive of my business and me! I am also the mother to two beautiful boys; Grayson Reece 3 ½ and Madden James 4 ½ months.
I was born in New York. Year? You’ll just have to guess (wink, wink). I am 1 of 5 children—two sisters and two brothers. I’m in the middle and often used that to my advantage once I became privy to the validity of the “middle child syndrome”. We moved to Vermont when I was 10. Being 10 years old and very naive, I was deathly afraid of moving there because I thought it meant I would have to wear overalls. LOL. I remember the first day of school—the kids thought my accent was pretty funny so the first part of class was spent asking me to say certain words; coffee, car, New York…
I attended University of Vermont and then moved to Boston after a quick stint in NY. I’ve been here ever since! I love Boston and New England—I just don’t care for the winters. If you could transplant Boston to a warmer weather State, I would then consider Beantown the ideal city!
What is your background in photography? I’ve had a love of photography since I was a young girl. I used my mother’s Pentax Asahi K-1000 from the age of 10 snapping portraits of the neighborhood kids. On my 15th birthday I got my very own Pentax, which followed me to college and after. In fact, it was my only camera until I went digital in 2007. I thought I’d never depart from film but it was the right move at the right time. I never attended school for photography–it was completely a self-learning process until after college when I worked for a photographer in New York who taught me to develop film and prints. I can still remember the moment vividly when, literally, I felt my heart leap the first time I developed a print of an image I shot on film that I developed myself in the dark room and knew from that point on that photography would be a big part of my life going forward.
What do you specialize in? What made you choose that as your specialty? My specialty definitely lies with children and babies. As of last year, I can confidently say that I specialize in newborns as well. I never made the choice that children would be my main focus; it sort of chose me. I am so comfortable with kids of any age and what I find is that, almost always, I have a very quick and easy rapport with the children I meet at my sessions. They just take to me. I’ve also been called the baby whisperer on numerous occasions! Newborns become putty in my hands 😉
Besides your specialty, what is your favorite thing to photograph & why? During my maternity leave in January through March, I used my 100mm macro shooting flowers and still life. I was looking to maintain a creative flow during the time that I was not booking clients and that really kept the juices flowin’.
Name at least one thing that most would be surprised to know about you. Hmmmmm, that I’ve played piano since I was six years old? Finally, after practically an entire lifetime of pining for one, we got a Kawai grand piano in October. All 6 feet 1 inch of sheer beauty!
Is there a place you’ve been wanting to go to photograph just for fun? Where would it be? How about your favorite place that you’ve already been to? I’m always driving around keeping my eye out for beautiful shooting locations. There’s not one place in particular that I have in mind but I tend to gravitate towards rural locations.
In your opinion, what makes you stand out from the rest of the photographers in your area? Having worked in the advertising industry in my “previous life”, I think my work can have a commercial/editorial feel to it. I hear from my peers that my processing has a very light and airy feel and I think that has really stood out as my signature look.
If we could peek inside your camera bag, what would we see? Canon 5D, 50mm 1.2 L, 24-70 2.8 L, 100mm macro, lens cleaner, funny little things I put around my lens to get the attention of little kids and babies…I have other lenses (85 1.8, 50 1.4, 75-300…) but the 50 1.2 and 24-70 2.8 are my favs!
Is there some type of photography that you haven’t done that you would LOVE to try or gain more experience in? Travel photography! Put me on a plane anywhere and I’d be ecstatic. I’ve always loved the photographic stories you see in Conde Naste Traveler, Travel & Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, etc. Ya know, the ones that make you just want to be there in that very moment?? The images of the food, the people, the landscape….yeah, I wouldn’t hate it if I could do that too 😉
What is some of the best advice that someone has given you (either pertaining to life itself or photography)? “Know your worth.” My mother always said that to me. I tend to self-doubt and sometimes you just need to believe in yourself, know that you are indeed “worthy” of whatever good and fortunate things that come your way. Because you deserve it, because you ARE worthy!
What is the best advice you would give someone starting or thinking about getting into the photography business? Get educated. Be it from classes, forums, workshops, meet-ups, what have you–just try to suck up as much information as you can. You hear more and more people say they want to start a business just because they got a new digital camera. It takes more than that—a whole lot more. Though I wasn’t educated formally for photography, my life long passion for photography got me to where I am today. You have to REALLY love what you do if you want to turn it into a thriving business. Also, I’ve learned an incredible amount of information over the past 3 years and I owe a lot of it to photography forums.
If you could photograph ANY one person, who would it be? There are so many people I would love the chance to photograph, however there are two people that come to mind that I MUST photograph! Last summer I met two incredibly beautiful young boys at a coffee shop down in the town where we have a beach house (same coffee shop where I got engaged!!). They were visiting their grandpa from Germany. I was in awe of how totally gorgeous they were and knew I had to ask Gramps permission to have a session with them. Between my busy schedule and the very short amount of time left they had here in the states, it never panned out but I will make every effort to get those boys in front of my camera this summer. If Ralph Lauren, Crew Cuts or the like doesn’t discover them before I get to ‘em, I’d be surprised!
I choose photographers for these interviews because their work inspires me. What inspires you as an artist to create such amazing imagery? The need to create is in my blood. I get excited every time I have a shoot. I thrive on getting those jaw-dropping-heart-stopping shots. I have no problem expressing my thrill in front of my clients when the shots are. just. working!! Love, love, love it!
What has been your most memorable assignment and why? I can’t really pinpoint just one—they have all been special in some way or another.
Have you ever had anything go wrong at a wedding or portrait session and if so, how did you handle it? Thankfully I’ve never had any mishaps (knock on wood!).
What is your best kept business secret that you’re willing to share? Get really good at Photoshop! Cuz if you don’t know how to properly edit your images properly that can really hurt you.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing children? Temperaments. Children can be unpredictable. They can be shy or too self-aware and that can make it hard for you to really connect and get those truly amazing shots.
If you didn’t become a photographer, what do you think you would be doing for a living? I loved working as an art buyer producing photo shoots for advertising. It was bitter sweet to leave my job to start my business full time but because I enjoyed it so much I might still be doing that.
Most photographers network with other photographers, well-known or friends with other photography businesses. Who do you consider great inspirations to you? Through forums I’ve become “cyber” friends with many amazing, talented photographers. Skye Hardwick was probably one of the first photographers whose work took my breath away. Michelle Huesgen is also so incredibly talented. As of late, I’m just lovin’ Becky Earl (hi becky!). I forget how I came across her work but I’ve been hooked to her blog ever since! For newborns, the very talented Brittany & Carrie, of course. Commercial photogs? Dani Brubaker comes to mind first but there are really too many to list. Amy Neunsinger, Kate Powers, Stephanie Rausser—it’s a loooong list! I was lucky to have worked with some of the most amazing photographers out there when I was an art buyer so I was exposed to tons of incredible talent.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? What: my craft. Photography feeds my soul. Who: my boys; husband and sons.
What is your greatest fear(s)? That something would take me away from this, my job, that I love so much.
Do you have a guilty pleasure? Pasta. I could eat it everyday and never tire of it 😉 Oh, and reality tv.
Name 5 words that your friends & family would use to describe you. Funny, creative, talented, loyal and kind.
What goals have you not yet achieved but hope to in the future? There is always something that I’d like to do or learn, just depends on the day!
Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot! It’s always a treat to photograph twins but at one twins shoot in particular I positioned the girls belly to back and their hands to join together. Within seconds, one smiled and then the other. It was soooo touching!! (insert heart melt here!!)
Is there anything you would have done differently in your photography career so far?
No, I think I’ve been taking things at the right speed and have made some quality business decisions. Having a smart husband to bounce ideas off of has helped keep me on track as well.
Do you have any website(s) you would like me to link to from this interview?
Main website: http://www.bellinipics.com
Twitter: haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet.