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Pausing Life's Little Moments

From smiling to swaddling to teething to crawling to walking; there are seemingly millions of little moments in a child’s life that go by in a flash.

Parents try to capture each significant second either with the semi-permanence of a cell phone camera or the fleeting nature of a mere glimpse — but some moments call for a professional’s touch, an inviting setting and an expert’s eye.

With her comfortable studio and lens talent to spare, Plainview resident and photographer Mindy Useloff-Milano captures the ephemeral flashes of a child’s life through I Hope You Dance Photography; her own business venture that started with the inspiring smiles of her own young children.

“I had been a photographer my whole life and at some point I decided to make a career change,” said Useloff-Milano, whose previous career was in hairdressing and who has two young children of her own. “There are so many perfect moments that fly by, that parents sometimes gloss over, I think that it is important to capture these moments because once the moment passes, it’s not coming back.”

Useloff-Milano offers the opportunity to hit the pause button on life; capturing the look on a child’s face upon seeing their first birthday cake or experiencing their first holiday. She creates fantastic, unforgettable memories frozen in time with artistic detail and noteworthy nuances.

And when taking newborn pictures, Useloff-Milano takes special care of her youngest subjects.

“Some parents are scared to take their newborn baby outside, but later they regret not having lasting memories of those first few weeks,” she said. “Newborns need a very clean environment and I provide that. My studio is very comfortable and warm for the baby, most of them fall asleep. I also have a changing table in there and also snacks and toys for the older children. And coffee for the adults.”

Some of Useloff-Milano’s most dynamic photographs come from the cake smash, where cakes are placed in front of 1-year-olds and they tear into it as one might expect. The result is often messy, but the photographer believes that not all of a child’s documented moments should be clean-cut and perfectly manicured.

“Those shoots are some of the most fun,” she said. “Watching them just totally make a mess of the cake is so much fun.”

Besides photographing newborns and cake smashes, Useloff-Milano also takes on maternity pictures and family photos. She will also happily shoot theme projects, perfect for children of firefighters, sports fans or just about anything else. Aside from children, Useloff-Milano also works on engagement photos and even “trash the dress” photography, which contrasts elegant wedding dresses with an environment in which it is out of place, like city streets, garbage dumps or abandoned buildings.

But a there is another photography project very near and dear to Useloff-Milano’s heart, The Tiny Footprints Project. The project matches parents of premature babies living in the NICU with professional photographers willing to capture newborn photos free of charge.

“I got involved because my son was in the NICU for a long time, and I know how hard it can be on the parents,” she said. “It is a fairly new organization so a lot of moms don’t really know about it yet.”

Inspiration comes from many sources for Useloff-Milano, A Plainview resident for life, she attended Parkway Elementary School and Mattlin Middle School before attending Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School where she took her first photography class.

Inspiration stemmed from there but also from her mother, who inspired the name of her photography studio. And whose passing continues to motivate her to capture every second of a life that moves much too fast.

“A milestone is there for a second and just like that, it is gone,” she said. “Be sure to capture every moment because life happens quickly.”

For more information, check out www.ihopeyoudancephotography.com and to set up a shoot at her Plainview studio, email Useloff-Milano at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call her at 516-351-1674. Be sure to ask about her upcoming Spring Mini Sessions, a spring-themed photography session April 5 and 6 complete with baby ducks. Also, check out Useloff-Milano’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ihopeyoudancephotography.