DREAM: Pamela Salai Captured

If you’re a Pittsburgh mom or mom-to-be, chances are, you know who Pamela Salai is. If not, allow us to introduce you to your new favorite photographer. Enchanting and ethereal, Pamela’s work captures all the fairytale and magic that maternity and childhood brings. Raising your children is a magical time, after all. These magical moments should be cherished, captured and remembered for years to come. This is what Pamela Salai shares with her work: perfectly enchanting moments. Her photography seems effortless; like it’s just a casual family day at the park and she’s just capturing the natural joy. We think that’s what family photos should be. Not forced, but natural. To really capture a moment is a gift that not all artists can do. This week, we are thrilled to share an exclusive interview with the local photographer that all moms need to meet. Salai is a mother of three herself and talks to us about the successes and struggles of starting her own business on top of raising her children. We’re all about #girlpower here at Pretty Living and love to honor working women and moms.

Q: When did you begin your photography business? 
A: Officially in 2012
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your work? 
A: Everywhere really. I feel like I probably look at things differently than most. I am always day dreaming. I will pass a tree & than all the sudden my head is in the clouds. I do refer to Children’s books, magazines and even quotes.
Q: Do you have any advice for women just starting their first business? 
A: Yes, slow and steady. Makes sure you have all your ducks in a row before just jumping in.
Q: Why photography? And why families? What sparked your passion? 
A: Photography seemed to have found me. I was always creative. I would make jewelry, paint and draw. I dabbled in film in high school. However, I was actually modeled for most of my high school years. I found myself always tearing out pages of magazines because of the poses, make up, clothes or even just because I thought “I like this”. I look back today and realize that I believe my passion was always there I just needed to figure out what it was.

When I had my son in 2011 my friend bought a Canon Rebel and she took me out as her muse. She handed me her camera and said, “here you play.” I fell in love. It was that moment that I knew – this was it.

I chose to photograph maternity, families and children because that is where my heart is. I tried other things such as weddings, engagements, newborns, etc. I just never was as happy as I am when I shoot maternity, families and children. I have to be honest. Children are my favorite. I love getting super creative. I think maybe I might be a kid at heart too – which is probably the reason.
Q: What have been some of your successes and failures in starting a business? 
A: My successes would be 1. finding my shooting style 2. Shooting for a children’s clothing line. 3. Making the front and back cover with a full spread of nationally published magazine.

When I have failures I kinda dissolve them by turning them into something else. I don’t like the feeling of failure. I like staying positive and thinking – well that just happened for a reason is all.

Q: Who are your muses? 
A: My three Children.
Q: Do you think Pittsburgh has a good market for photography? 
A: Yes, there is so much here with everything in-between. We have 4 seasons, We have areas that mimic a beach look, industrial, rural, urban areas.
Q: What makes your work different from other photographers? 
A: I think that I am a bit more whimsical than others. Every session has a concept or theme. My whole session has “a reason” whether that be why they are wearing those colors, why they have those props or sometimes why I chose the location I did.
Q: How do you balance business and motherhood? Any tips? Any personal struggles? 
A: This actually was VERY hard for me. I am finally just getting the hang of it. I have a 6-year-boy who is just in first grade full time this year. I have 4-year-old twin girls that just started preschool three times a week. However, for the first time ever I opted for morning childcare on those three mornings. It was really tough decision at first for me because I thought I wasn’t doing my job as a mother – the first job I have. I actually opted not to do it last year because of that reason. Then, I found myself really stressed out this year. I wasn’t getting my work done because I was constantly shooting ( which is great) and spending time with the kids and by nightfall I was so exhausted I didn’t want to work my photography job. Now, I am starting to feel the balance. I learned that it’s OK to put your children in childcare. I have time to work out to stay healthy for myself and my family, I have time to get my housework done and work on my photography. It feels really good.

Fun Facts:
Q: How would you describe your personality? 
A: Quirky hahaha.
Q: Any hobbies or outside interests? 
A: I love to SUP ( stand up paddle board), I love shelling ( when at the beach)
Q: What are you currently listening to? 
A: I have ” The miracle morning” by Hal Elrod on my Audible.  When it’s not a book I am listening to Reggae
Q: What are you currently reading? 
A: A mix of magazines
Q: Favorite place you’ve traveled to? 
A: St. Thomas
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
A: Boho chic
Q: How would you describe your home style? 
A: Modern Farmhouse
Q: Where are your favorite places to shop?
A: Clothing : Free people and for everything else you will find me between Target and the craft stores- haha

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