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Charlotte Newborn Photographer—In-home newborn photo session Charlotte, NC

Happy newborn? Check. Well-trained dogs? Check. South-facing windows? Check. Laid-back parents? Check. Shoot made in heaven? Check!!

As a lifestyle newborn photographer I cannot tell you how important it is for me to work with families who desire to capture authentic moments and are willing to be themselves in front of a camera. From our very first conversation, I became excited about working Darcy and Catherine because they wanted to tell their story in a natural and modern way. I love capturing families in the simplest way possible, so I immediately knew we were a good fit.

Ellyana was born on February 28, 2015 to two of the most fun, loving, and joyful parents I have met. During our session they laughed, snuggled, and mostly just stared at their sweet newborn baby girl. They were calm and comfortable even when Ellyana got a little fussy, which can be hard—especially for first-time parents who are sleep deprived. The biggest surprise for me during this newborn portrait session was their pups. I have photographed a lot of dogs, but none have ever been as obedient and well trained as Mia and Cali. They came when called, sat when asked, and stared straight into the camera when I made a high pitch squeal—all WITHOUT any treats. It was amazing! They were also very protective of the baby and made sure to keep their eyes on me at all times.

My approach to photographing families, particularly those with newborns, is to help them forget I am even there. I do this by having the primary focus be on the baby. Lets face it: newborns are adorable. Most of us could spend an entire day gazing into the eyes of the tiny new being that just entered our lives. We do silly things to try to make them smile, we can’t stop sniffing their heads, or we don’t want to put them down. People do this naturally and this is what I LOVE to photograph. For the most part, I give minimal direction and ask parents to just go about their business and forget about my camera and me. These seemingly mundane moments make the most extraordinary images—they capture the very first bonding experiences you ever share as a family. They illustrate the love you feel in a still frame. My goal as a lifestyle newborn photographer is to make sure that families can revisit these moments and always remember how incredible their journey has been.


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Top 5 Charlotte Actor Headshots of 2014

Happy 2015! Now that we’ve started a new year, I wanted to take a moment and share my favorite 5 (ok…6) headshots of 2014 with all you lovely people and tell you a bit about my process.

Creating a headshot for an actor is an incredibly rewarding task for me. As a portrait photographer, I am fixated on telling an entire story in one lone image. I believe an actor’s headshot must do exactly this. I aim to tell your personal story—to set you apart from the other actors that look very similar to you. During a headshot consultation, I ask questions to learn more about your specific castability, the types of roles you enjoy playing most, how you want to be viewed by a casting director or potential new agent, the features you love most about yourself and what you like to do for fun. Questions like these allow me to get to the essence of who you are not only as an actor, but also as an individual. I use my camera to capture glimpses of your authentic personality and in turn create a headshot that is going to demand attention from a casting director, producer, or agent. Your headshot is your calling card—what do you want it to say?

Actors should have at least two headshots—a theatrical headshot and a commercial headshot. In this way you can say more than one thing and specifically meet the casting needs of a project.  The beauty of a headshot session is having the time to create several different looks—even my basic package offers enough time for two different styles.

I’ll say one last thing before I share my favorite actor’s headshots of 2014…your headshot needs to look like you. The last thing you want is to walk into an audition room where a casting director is unable to easily recognize you from your headshot. For this reason, I highly recommend updating your headshot regularly. I also suggest keeping your makeup simple, wearing what you would normally wear for an audition to your headshot session, and not over accessorizing. On my end, I use a soft hand when photoshopping images—basically I just edit blemishes, even out skin tones and barely minimize lines, because the purpose of an actor’s headshot is to be seen as you are.

#5. Creating a headshot for a teen can be a bit tricky sometimes. Some teens are uncomfortable with their image and almost want to keep others from seeing who they truly are. This was not the case here. This teen’s headshot exudes confidence, joy, and organic inquisitiveness. It reflects who she is. During our session we discussed her love of theatre, her family, and her goals for the future.

Natural Actor Headshots Charlotte NC Copyright © Elizabeth Ortiz Photography

Natural Teen Actor Headshot Charlotte, NC

#4. I love this commercial headshot. Every time I look at it I feel good. That is my #1 prerequisite for creating a commercial headshot. It must be infused with joy! The smile is natural, the background is inviting but not overwhelming, and my thought is, “I want to buy what she is selling!”

Actor Headshots Photographer Charlotte, NC Copyright © Elizabeth Ortiz Photography

Charlotte Commercial Actor Headshot

#3.  I want to know what this person is thinking. There is a gentle mischievousness in her expression, her eyes are inviting, and the light calming tones nicely contrast her dark, rich hair.

Professional Headshot Photographer Charlotte, NC

Professional Headshot Photographer Charlotte

#2. Hello happiness! All I can say is, this is what authentic joy looks like. Can you look at this child actor’s headshot without smiling? I can’t.

Child Actor Headshots Photographer Charlotte, NC Copyright © Elizabeth Ortiz Photography

Charlotte Child Actor Headshot

#1. I took this actor’s headshot at the very start of 2014! I’m still drawn to it whenever it comes up in my file catalogue. It is stunningly simple. The light was just right and her eyes pull me in every time. What I love most about this headshot is that we get a real sense of her natural beauty. This is a wonderful example of an actor’s headshot accurately reflecting who she truly is.

Headshots for Actors Photographer Charlotte NC Copyright © Elizabeth Ortiz Photography

Simple Actor’s Headshot Charlotte, NC


Okay…I had to sneak this one in. Technically this isn’t a headshot you would hand-in at a callback, but I just love it—so I’m throwing it in!  This actor’s headshot says it all without saying a word. I know the costume adds a level of intrigue, but I want to know this guy’s story.

Charlotte Character Headshot photographerCopyright © Elizabeth Ortiz Photography

Character Actor Headshot Charlotte, NC

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Artistic Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC | Meet the Taefi Family

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What is the best way to get a toddler to stay still for a portrait? That is actually a trick question. Unless they are napping, it is unlikely that a young child will be willing to stay put for long. Luckily, I like movement, I like messy composition, and I like to photograph families just the way they are. I love to create images that are like slices of daily life—something a family can look at years later and say, “Yep, that was definitely us.” I know going into a photo shoot that photographing young children requires physical agility and as well as mental flexibility. My technique is to move quickly and play along or to sit back and let the action unfold—either way my camera and I are ready.

I love this gallery because I’m always in search of clients who appreciate this technique. The Taefi’s definitely fit the bill! They were so comfortable and laid back and allowed me to play creatively while they interacted with the camera and with each other. Their trust in my vision enabled me to artistically tell their family’s story—a story full of love, laughter, and of course a rambunctious toddler,  an incredibly awesome big sister, and adorable little doggies. Thank you Taefi Family for a wonderful afternoon. I hope to capture your family’s beautiful essence again soon.


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Charlotte, NC – Newborn Lifestyle Portrait Session – Welcome Talia


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Talia Ann was born just a few weeks ago to her sweet parents Melissa and Stefan.  She was sleeping when I arrived. Melissa greeted me at the door and their gorgeous labradoodle, Sam, sniffed my gear and checked me out before showing me to the baby’s room. I LOVE photographing newborns, and I LOVE photographing dogs.  When a family calls me and asks, “We’d like to have our dog in some of the pictures, would that be ok?” I am pretty sure they can hear me squeal with delight on the other side. I didn’t know Melissa and Stefan had a dog, so when I rang the door bell and heard the barking I became even more excited than I already was. There is something so special about babies and dogs and having them BOTH in a session is my FAVORITE!!!  I can usually ask adult humans to “relax” or “turn a bit to their left,” but photographing dogs and children is a whole other story.  I have to adjust to them, and I am OK with that.  Sam is still very much a puppy: curious, playful, and always ready to play.  Despite his boisterousness he was incredibly gentle with Talia and highly protective of her as well.  I enjoyed photographing this family because everyone was so relaxed and their love for one another is so genuine.  I felt privileged to capture the tender moments they shared, especially during such a special time in their lives.

Melissa and Stefan, thank you for inviting me into your home.  May the love and joy you share continue to grow.  Welcome to the World, Talia!


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Ballantyne Family Portrait Photographer – The Jenkins

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Jumping into a pile of leaves. Vibrant yellows, oranges and reds.  Pumpkin pie.  Perfect crisp weather. Busting out the scarves.  Those are just a few reasons I LOVE fall. It is also my favorite time to photograph families.  There is so much to capture … so much fun to be had, and nature lends a big hand in creating a beautiful backdrop.

On Sunday, I got to spend part of the afternoon photographing the absolutely gorgeous Madison and her awesome parents, Nicole and Jimmy.  If I could only use one word to describe Madison I’d say:  Joy.  From her contagious giggle to her playful nature, she was a true joy to work with.  Jimmy and Nicole’s love for each other and their little girl was easy to capture because it was so natural.  I felt lucky to be around so much love and authentic kindness.  It was a perfect afternoon.  Slightly overcast, but dry … with tons and tons of leaves.

My mission as a family photographer is to make photographs my clients will not only love, but also to make the process of creating those photographs fun, engaging and a memorable experience on its own.  I hope I accomplished my mission on Sunday.

Happy Thanksgiving Jenkins gang.  And thank you so much for the opportunity to spend time with such an incredible family.


Modern Newborn Portrait Session by Elizabeth A. Ortiz, Charlotte Photographer

Meet Sloane Valdes Weiner.  She is beautiful, cool and loves to snuggle and smile.  Sloane is one lucky little girl.  She has two moms and a big sister with a great imagination.  I love photographing a family that forgets I am even there and enjoys the process.  The Valdes-Weiner family did exactly that.  Sure, they obliged as I asked them to move Sloane’s head up or down, but mostly they were relaxed and totally into expressing their family love.  I think Mica (Sloane’s big sister) was my absolute favorite part of the shoot.  Not only was she a wonderful assistant, she did it dressed up like a cowgirl.  Kudos to moms for letting Mica be exactly who she is, and creating an awesome memory.  Congratulations Sandy and Michelle! I hope to photograph you all again soon.


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Actor’s Headshot Session- Jackie Carrion

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Can you say beautiful?  It was nearly impossible to take an unflattering headshot of the gorgeous woman.  Jackie is a portrait photographer’s dream come true.  The camera just loves her intense brown eyes and her natural flawlessness.  She is an incredibly talented actor whom I met through The Actor’s Lab.  I like to photograph actors because they are so expressive and usually unafraid of the camera.  I loved photographing Jackie because she was so willing to be herself and allowed me to capture her without any veils.  She also takes a great silly shot, which always makes me laugh.


I also LOVE that midway through our session it started torain.  Luckily I was photographing her in NoDa, so we went into Growlers for a delicious beer while we waited for the sprinkling to stop.

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Newborn Baby Photographer Charlotte, Bodhi’s First Family Portrait Session

I’ve photographed a fair amount of babies but I have never met a newborn that was as alert, active and curious as Bodhi. This little baby was a joy to photograph because he had so many expressions.  I was also impressed by his older sister, Lucy, the Weimaraner/Chocolate Lab mix.  She was incredibly gentle with the family’s new addition and was always ready to stand in whenever I needed a model.

Christy and Napoleon, I loved capturing your beautiful family with my lens.  Congratulations and I hope you get a nap in soon …


Children’s Author S.L. Lurz and Her Pups

Ok, so Sully and Maggie Lee aren’t puppies anymore, but they still play like puppies.  Photographing dogs always keeps me on my toes because they’ll go from sitting perfectly still to sprinting in an instant.  Sully and Maggie Lee were no exception. They loved to run around, snuggle up and at some point, they were even willing to “sit” for the camera.  That Sully is especially rambunctious. I love the series of photographs toward the end where he is running at Susan, but then comes back just long enough for me to snap a shot. There is a story in those 4 or five images.  Meanwhile all sweet Maggie Lee wanted to do was “dance” or snuggle.   Thank you Susan for a wonderfully fun afternoon. Give those pooches a hug from me.




CML’s Teen Tech Week

Who knew Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries have awesome teen programs?  I definitely didn’t, but I was fortunate to learn about some of their programs after photographing Teen Tech Week.

Here’s a snippet from CML’s website: “Teen Tech Week (TTW) is a national initiative to get the word out about libraries’ great nonprint resources for teens.  The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library offers DVDs, music, gaming, video production, online homework help, social networking, tech workshops, audiobooks and more.”

From launching rockets to working with a 3-D printer and even competing in an Xbox Kinect Gaming Tournament, the kids were engaged, learning and having a ton of fun.  If you’d like to learn even more, visit CMLTeens.