Established in 2011, Portraits by S&S is a mother/daughter team of photographers located in Henryville, PA. Known for its ability to make even a stubborn, crabby, nap-deprived two-year-old smile, S&S has built a reputation on creativity and affordability. This dynamic duo specializes in newborn and children’s portraits and is fully equipped to give you the most frame-worthy photos of your kids, family, mommy-to-be or high school senior. If the ability to tame even the wildest of subjects isn’t enough, the unique backdrops and cool concepts are irresistible. Who doesn’t want to see their fat little meatball sitting in the most adorable bowl of spaghetti?
We had the pleasure of talking with Shannon, co-owner and mother of five – that’s right, FIVE – about what makes S&S so spectacular.
Q: As a mother/daughter team, family is clearly at the heart of everything you do – would you agree?
A: Family is everything to us. My mother and I have worked together since I turned 16 and got my first job. We then ran a scrapbook store that we owned together. When our store closed and I wanted to be home with my children we decided to teach ourselves everything we needed to know to become children photographers. My five children inspire everything we do.
Q: As a mother of five little ones, how do you manage running a business and being a parent?
A: As the saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child.” Well it’s very true for us. First, my husband is extremely supportive of our business and is a great dad who helps whenever he can. Getting through baseball season with three sons on three different leagues was crazy but thank goodness for my stepfather who took them to practices and games when we couldn’t. Also, my 17-year-old niece helps out with her cousins whenever she can. After noticing my middle son’s behavior changing for the worse we scaled back our business so I could spend more quality time with the kids. It made a major difference in his attitude and I would do it again for any of them. They are my inspiration and I would never want them to feel like my business came before them.
Q: What tips would you give parents preparing their kids for a photo shoot?
A: First, I would tell them to stay calm. If you are nervous or tense about the session going perfectly the children will pick up on that. Practical rewards are always welcome, like telling them if they listen and smile nice you will take them to the park or for ice cream, etc. The fewer adults attending the session, the more cooperative the child will be. And remember, don’t ask your child if they’d like their picture taken – tell them they are going to get their picture taken now. We have learned that if you ask a toddler if they want to do something they most likely will say “no.”
Q: What can someone expect when bringing his or her child in for the first time?
A: They can expect to meet Sandy and I in a private, relaxed, friendly atmosphere. After arriving we will discuss what set ups we will be using, which are usually 3-4 different set ups/backgrounds.
Q: What would you say is your specialty?
A: Newborns and 1st birthdays are our most popular sessions, so I would say we specialize in those.