Pamela Salai is known for putting others front and center as one of Pittsburgh’s premiere family photographers. Rarely is she put in the spotlight! Having the opportunity to work with Pam for my own maternity shoot, I wanted to chat about what goes on “behind-the-lens.” Her work is definitely captured in a unique light and setting. With Pam, anything goes.

From real live unicorns to whimsical, casual merry-go-rounds in the park, photography is made magical. What I love most about her work is that she captures the fairytale that every child sees. She really sees the world from the eyes of a child – a wild, magical and wondrous place.

Known for her imagination and keen eye for detail, Pam recently released a Magazine on how she built her name in photography, Mastering Minis. Taking her teachings to the next level, she is launching a LIVE Mentor Class from June 24-30.

Doing what I do best, shedding light on awesome girl bosses, I wanted to spotlight Pam and her effort to mentor and guide fellow photographers! Read my “Behind the Lens with Pamela Salai” interview to really get to know all of the effort that goes behind these phenomenal shoots.

Can you walk me through your design process for your sets? What is typically involved in building a set?

I would love too! Let’s reference one of my most sought after mini sessions sets “Daydream Minis.”

For my daydream mini session I knew I wanted it to be super whimsical and look like a dream, during the day – lol. When I created my first idea for this 2014, I did it outside. I had a tent, some fluff for clouds, a huge moon that my husband cut out of wood from a drawing, I threw in some pillows and hung stars from a tree. It was super cute…but I was still learning my style with editing and shooting.

I continued to work on the idea every year moving it indoors. I rented a studio and eliminated the tent and rented a couch…It wasn’t until like 2016 that I nailed the look for these mini’s. Now, I couldn’t even imagine them any other way.

All of my sets start with a dream or a vision. 

Once I have this idea floating around in my head I start to draw it out on paper. This way I can add/tweak things as I go along. *not every vision gets implemented as I visioned – sometimes they actually turn out better than I thought. 

After getting it down on paper and clipping out of magazines or drawing in props that I want I start searching or “making” those props needed. 

My garage or basement ends up becoming my “staging” area (even though I have a studio – I rent it out so I can’t just run down there and set things up as easily as your think with one that has a studio )

Where do you find inspiration for your set designs?

All over. Mostly in my head. I have honestly always been a creator and my imagination runs on full octane. However, sometimes these inspirations can be sparked from something I see. A book. A postcard ( mostly the vintage ones get my wheels turning). A magazine ad. a commercial or even sometimes just something that I had drawn in my notebook years ago and bring it to life.

Your work is definitely different than most photographers and I think a lot of that is owed to vision. How would you describe your style?

Aw, well thank you. I think the best way to describe it – is what I have been told. Light and airy, whimsical, magical. I am a story teller and I love to tell stories with imagination being the key behind it all. So my visions are fueled by my clients wants and needs. If it’s one of my exclusive mini sessions, such as “daydream minis” – those come straight from me. If it’s a full session I do a Q & A with my client this helps me create a vision that is meaningful to them. So when they look through their album it sparks a memory, a time in their life where I captured it & saved it on the pages for them to flip through for years.

Let’s talk costumes! Do you offer all clients dresses? Where do you shop?

Ekkk one of my favorite parts. I am such a girly girl and I really truly believe that the clients outfits makes a statement so it has to be perfect and “fitting ” for the set. I do not have a specific place I shop because I have so many places that I love and each ones serves a different purpose. However, I do have a curated client closet that I have had for 5 years and have been building on each year. So if we do not find the perfect thing in my closet then I help them find it whether that means renting, buying or sometimes even having it custom-made. For my daydream mini sessions, I bring a huge rack of clothing for the girls and boys to pick from. It’s really fun for them because they feel like they are playing dress up.

What about props – how do you pick out props?

I don’t always find what I want so I will make it or refurbish something that I have. I am all about re-purposing ( props can get expensive). Having 2 girls & a boy, I do sometimes “borrow” things from their room. However, I do love vintage shopping so I am always on the look out for cool unique items where-=ever I am. I book out 3-4 months in advance so I have a good idea on 1/2 of my year anytime I am out so I know in my head what to look for.

Want to know more about the details and how to make a shoot set work? Pam is spilling her secrets!

Pamela Salai | Pamela Salai Photograghy is releasing :
ⓜⓐⓢⓣⓔⓡⓘⓝⓖ ⓜⓘⓝⓘⓢ мenтor lιve claѕѕ jυne 24-30!!!

can be found below and also on the Hello Storyteller platform

Featured inside the magazine : mini sessions from start to finish , a peek inside one of my magical mini sessions, Tips, How to find inspiration, How to make profit and more…

What is included in this Mentor Live ???


Exclusive E-book


Exclusive Audio


BTS tutorials


Student Assignments


In my bag


Q & A


B̤̈Ö̤N̤̈Ṳ̈S̤̈ G̤̈Ï̤V̤̈Ë̤Ä̤Ẅ̤Ä̤Ÿ̤

Pam will pull ⓞⓝⓔ lucky name on the 30th from everyone who is in her class to win a swag bag including :


a free annual membership from @ summerana actions ( I will link FB for FB & IG for IG )


printed version of the magazine


along with a fun magical swag bag filled with magical goodies

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Why I’m Speaking at the Reset Conference

The Reset Conference combines both educational workshops, inspirational keynote speakers, and pre-conference shootouts for an impactful weekend getaway. In a sentence, Reset gives you the education your business needs and the community you crave all in one conference! Attendees customize their education experience through choosing workshops and add-on shootouts that best fit their needs. For their 7th year, Reset will be hosting over 55 presenters in the charming hills of Lexington, Kentucky. Read to learn more about why I chose to apply to speak at this conference and how I chose my topic!

Your background in education and speaking : This is my first time speaking at a conference. However, I have hosted many workshops and shootouts local in my community. I also have photographers tips & tools that I have created to help educate photographers all over the world.

What you love the most about education / speaking: I love seeing the aha moment. That twinkle in the eye really begins to sparkle, the passion begins to sink in ( I remember these moments myself & I love that now I get to be that person to throw the pixie dust on the audience )

Why you wanted to present at Reset: I have heard so many amazing things about the reset conference. I love the name itself “The reset”! Being in this business since … 2011-2012 . There were SO many times I wish there was a “reset” button . I felt very drawn to want to speak and be a part of this conference. It was something in the Universe that just told me that i either needed to speak or be there and I am ver blessed to be able to speak and teach in 2020

Why did you choose your topic: My topic {Children: The Magic Factory} is ME and who my brand is. I started this business because of my children ( like so many) however, I have ALWAYS been drawn to the magic of childhood.I believed in fairies and held on to my childhood until the day I realzied that everyone else I was around was growing up and I had to too. One of my favorite(silly) childhood memories… I can remember standing in my front yard on a windy day jumping from a step stool hoping the wind would catch the umbrella just enough that I would feel that lift. I tried for hours until I realized that I needed a stronger umbrella 😉 . These are the moments I cherish and I want to capture for parents. What I wouldnt do just to have a photo of those moments for myself.

I will also be hosting a styled session so I can show you how I capture these moments in real time.

What you want your audience to get out of your presentation: I want my audience to walk away with a new take on childhood imagination. How to really capture who they are, what they love in a whimsical way. I will talk about how to capture childhood in a magical way while stepping into their (the child’s) world and bringing it to life.

What you’re looking forward to the most at Reset: Being a part of the magic. Making new friends and learning – I love to learn !

I hope you’ll join me on March 28-29th — Tickets are on sale NOW! 

CLICK HERE to secure your ticket *Please use my name in the referral

Pamela Salai Photography is a Pittsburgh Child Photographer also specializing in maternity, family in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas including but not limited to McCandles Township, Wexford, Franklin Township, Sewickley Township, Butler County, Cranberry Township, and Washington County.

 If you would like more information regarding booking a custom session with Pamela Salai Photography, please click here or contact me directly by clicking on the contact button at the top of my website or email me at : .

Often I am asked about client wardrobe. I  provide a curated wardrobe for my child clients and maternity sessions. Often these outfits can be seen through out my photos. When you book your session I will further discuss this options with you along with the stylist options I provide.

I use natural light and organic settings to create custom magic for each session.

Let’s Connect !

1. Sign up for my emails : CLICK HERE on the right hand side you will see a “sign up ” where you can enter in your emails there.
2. Join my private group :
3. FACEBOOK  you can choose to “see first” or even set the notifications on

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I am so excited to share with y’all my NEWEST version of Mastering Minis by Pamela Salai photography – remastered. I am on the Hello Storyteller platform and will have a Mentor Live class June 24-30th where I will be with you for 1 week in a private group. You can ask my anything about the magazine or mini sessions and PLUS there will be LOTS of extra goodies that will go along with the class ! I hope to see you there !!!

Mastering Mini’s (remastered) Magazine by Pamela Salai photography Featured inside : mini sessions from start to finish , a peek inside one of my magical mini sessions, Tips, How to find inspiration, How to make profit and more…

What is included in this Mentor Live ???

  • Exclusive E-book
  • Exclusive Audio
  • Editing & BTS tutorials
  • Student Assignments
  • In my bag
  • Studio Q & A
  • *Print options available

A special Thank you to my copy write editor for helping me ! Love you !!!

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