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Winning Smiles

Susquehanna Style’s first-ever kids photo contest

Top-Notch Toddler

Winner: Jamie Schoenberger
Epic Photography, Elizabethtown

Not only did the photographs taken of Sophie Grace Klauer, 1, last August capture the attention of the judges at Susquehanna Style, but they’ve caused quite the stir in the fashion world, as well.

Sophie’s grandmother, Kia Hostetler, says the little girl was wearing a dress from Janie & Jack for the shoot, and afterward, Hostetler took the images, taken by Jamie Schoenberger of Epic Photography at Elizabethtown’s Masonic Village, to the store to show them to the employees. In no time, Sophie was asked to be a model for the store, and more modeling jobs appear to be coming her way.

She’s adorable, and she’s got the winning personality to go along with it, says Hostetler. The tyke says “hi” to almost everyone she encounters, and she’s got an adventurous spirit. “She’s happy all the time,” Hostetler says. “She never cries.”

Still, Sophie was a bit timid with the cake—but not for long. “She wasn’t sure what to do with it at first; then when we gave the nod to dig in, it was on!” Schoenberger says. “She loved it and didn’t mind being messy one bit.”



Winner: Danielle Capato, Hellam

Photography is all about capturing moments and preserving memories, but you don’t have to be a professional photographer to do that. Just ask Danielle Capato, a stay-at-home mom, who snapped this shot of her daughter, Khloe, with her iPhone on the baby’s six-month “birthday” in the family’s Hellam home.

Every month since Khloe’s birth on January 13, 2012—Capato calls Khloe her “Friday the 13th baby”— Capato and her husband take a picture to see how she’s grown and changed from month to month.

“She just started to be able to sit up by herself,” Capato says, “so this was the first ‘monthly’ picture of her doing so. She’s always such a happy baby, so it doesn’t take much for her to get that big smile on her face. We weren’t doing anything special that day—just Mommy and Khloe time, which is the very best time, in my book.”

At press time, Khloe was doing much more than just sitting up. Capato calls her a “crawling/climbing machine” who loves Elmo, her dog Bella the beagle, and her “blanky.”

“It goes everywhere with us and is a must-have for her to go to sleep,” Capato says, “just like her momma was when I was a baby.”


Noteworthy Newborn

Winner: Becca J. Fulmer Lapp
BJF Photography, Lancaster

Although she photographs people in all stages of their lives, Becca Fulmer Lapp specializes in the earliest stages—“belly shots” of expecting moms and newborn portraits, which she captures in her downtown Lancaster studio.

“I love when we reach a point in the session when the baby has fallen into that warm, deep sleep and I can let my imagination and creativity flow, pulling together different props, materials, hats or headbands to capture and create a unique piece of art,” she says.

Lapp photographed little Maxwell Otto when he was just seven days old, but that “deep sleep” didn’t come so easily, says Max’s mom, Chloe Otto.

“He’s a very alert baby,” she says. “We were lucky to get so many of him sleeping. We’d have to rock him or feed him to get him to fall back asleep. He’s not a baby who sleeps all day.”

Otto adds with a laugh, “He likes to know everything. He’s a busybody. I already think he’s going to be a social butterfly.”

For Otto, the session was totally worth it to capture a fleeting period of Max’s life, who’s doubled in size since the shoot. “He’s grown so much and looks so different,” she says. “He’s only 3 months old and it’s a memory. I’m already looking back.”


Comical Child

Winner: Carisa Kozicki
CarisaK Photography, Camp Hill

Although Carisa Kozicki photographs all sorts of people and events, she mainly focuses on families and dogs—in particular, families with their dogs.

Her own family is no exception. Kozicki took this photograph of her daughter Sullyvan, who was seven and a half months old at the time, in June 2012 at their home. Little, wide-eyed Sullyvan is being kissed by the family’s dog Basil, a hound mix. And smooshed in between them is the Kozickis’ other dog, Olive, a chocolate Lab.

Kozicki says the dogs are quite smitten with the family’s newest addition. “Basil is obsessed with kissing Sullyvan, and she now encourages it,” she says. “Basil suffers from OCD regarding the kisses. Sullyvan has now become his enabler.”

The fun and sweetness of this image is a good representation of Kozicki’s photography style, in general. “I really strive to capture images of my clients and their loved ones that evoke smiles and laughter, even in times of sadness, and positive reflections of themselves. I simply try to capture my clients the way they see themselves and their loved ones, in their best light. I love when a mom says, ‘Oh, that’s exactly how I see my daughter,’ or when a client e-mails me [and writes], ‘I don’t usually like photographs of myself, but I love these.’”


Too Cute Twins

Winner: Becca J. Fulmer Lapp
BJF Photography, Lancaster

Although they are twins, Jemma and James Mathers have two very distinct personalities, says their mother, Julie Mathers.

“Jemma is a diva,” Mathers says. “We call her ‘Princess.’ She doesn’t like to get dirty. James will do anything. He goes with the flow and is really chill. Jemma definitely displays the characteristics of being the only girl and the youngest.”

Those personalities shone through at the twins’ session with Becca Fulmer Lapp to commemorate their first birthday.

“James was all smiles the whole session, hamming it up for the camera, while Jemma was more reserved and not loving the idea of Mommy putting her down,” Lapp says. “But we kept working with her, and [the winning photograph] was my favorite shot of the two of them from the session.”

The twins do share some loves, however: food (“anything and everything,” Mathers says), swimming in the pool, traveling, and, most of all, their big brother, Jackson who is three.

The shoot, which took place in the backyard of the Mathers’ Millersville home, was like a homecoming for Lapp. “I photographed the twins when they were just 13 days old, and was thrilled to capture them again on camera exactly one year later.”


Best Big Kid

Winner: Beth Cardwell
Beth Cardwell Photography, Lancaster

Lancaster photographer Beth Cardwell describes her photography style as “fun,” “sunshiney” and “modern.” The retired probation officer turned photographer doesn’t always adhere to the rules of posing her subjects, for example, and there’s another convention you won’t find at her shoots: “I will not have ‘Cheese!’ said at any of my photo sessions,” she says.

During the session with Brya Onufer, 4, and her three siblings last fall at Lancaster’s Rockford Plantation, the little girl’s expression was mostly serious, but the facade broke just a bit when Cardwell told her, “Brya is on fiya!”

Brya’s mother, Erica Onufer of Middletown, says, “Brya is very mischievous by nature but also very serious. The photo captured that. That’s her, through and through. She’s my little troublemaker.”

In addition to the usual childhood likes—playing princess, riding her bike—Brya has some more grown-up favorites, including going to church and fresh fruit and vegetables when she’s hungry for a snack, her mom says.

Cardwell describes the session as being “very emotional,” as Brya and her siblings were in the final stages of being legally adopted by the Onufers.  “It was a really big deal,” Cardwell says. “One month later, they officially became a family.”

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