Pittsburgh Newborn and Family Photographer | Laura Mares Photography | Norway: The Essentials | An interview with Pia Rothmann Portrait Photographer

Norway: The Essentials | An interview with Pia Rothmann Portrait Photographer

September 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Norway: The Essentials
An interview with Pia from Pia Rothmann Portrait Photography

I'm so excited to share photos from my own family photo session in Bergen, Norway. My husband and I get along so well, but we think very differently! As soon as we decided to travel to Norway this summer, he began making all the necessary plans, he rented a car, booked an Airbnb, started researching where to go, etc. While my planning consisted of wondering if we could find discounted Dale of Norway sweaters, watching "Vikings" and booking a family photographer! I quickly found the Dale Outlet is close to Bergen. But I searched for hours on Google to find the right photographer with a similar style. I had almost given up but tried one last search "fotograf Bergen" on Facebook. That's when I found Pia Rothmann!

Please read the interview with Pia below. Find out about her life as a photographer and learn more about Norway, while seeing the beautiful photos she took of our family in Bergen, Norway.

Tell us all about you. About growing up in Norway. About what you do now.

My full name is Pia Nelly Rothmann- Christensen, but it can be a mouthful, so I usually shorten it down. I'm half Norwegian and half Danish. I was born in 1981, and I am so thankful that I grew up without cellphones, social media and all the pressure I think a lot of children and young adults grow up with today. I love animals, so I spent a lot of time on my uncles dairy and sheep farm growing up. He also had a Norwegian fjord horse, that was beautiful and stubborn. I groomed her and took care of her from when I was 9 to 15 years old. Then she got sick and we had to let her go. That was the first time my heart broke. I grew up in a very small village, about 500 inhabitants, on a good day! It's a place called Vikebygd and is a beautiful place with mountains and fjords. They say all Norwegian's are born with skis on their feet, well I can tell you that I definitely didn't!! I prefer my feet without any sort of ski on them!! At age 16, I moved out from my parents place to go to school and study art and design. I really wanted to be a photographer, but I got sick from the chemicals used to develop film. No digital photography yet!! So I studied design, art history, architecture and media design. During my last year studying, I met the love of my life. And we've been together for 17 years now! We have a adorable Golden Retriever who makes us smile everyday!

In 2009, I decided to take a chance. Photography was now digital and I still had my dream. I started an internship with a professional portrait photographer and studied on my own after work. In 2012, I moved on to a photography firm called Frost Wedding Photography. And besides weddings I did portraits, and family photography. But I specialized in Boudoir photography. I love to be creative and I love the freedom photography gives me. It's a lot of hard work, but it makes it so worth it when I see how happy my clients get!

In 2015, I felt the need to do something for myself, and I started my photography business: Pia Rothmann Portrait Photography. I photograph portraits, couples, families, newborn/children/kids, maternity, seniors, pets and  boudoir. I still freelance for Frost as a wedding photographer too. My style is creative, lively and timeless. My goal is for you to have a wonderful and stress free experience. I don't have a studio, I'm a natural light photographer and I use the outdoors: woods, mountains, sea or the city of Bergen.

Since I have a home office, my days are filled with photo shoots, editing, managing my company, house chores, meeting clients, having fun with our dog and going to the gym to lift weights. Oh and EVERY FRIDAY IS TACO FRIDAY!!!

Oh this is a difficult question. I hope I'm right by saying we are friendly, but maybe a bit cautious and quiet (although I do not put myself in the quite section...!!) We are probably a bit peculiar and I would advise you all to google "The social guidebook to Norway" and I think there are some videos on YouTube as well!! I don't think I'm a typical Norwegian, but that's probably the Danish in me speaking. We love our fresh air and being outdoorsy. Our country is long and we have different customs and ways of living from the north to the south and from the east to the west.

I think Norwegian children like the same things as American children. We have had our epidemic of Frosen and Elsa here as well;-)!! Disney is big in Norway. We do have our own kids shows and cartoons here, but since we don't have children I'm not that familiar with what's popular with kids today.

Hmm..,I like Aurora, Astrid S and Highasakite to mention some.

Hahaha...not sure that exists!!
Maybe "Bølgen"? It's based on a true scenario about a mountain slide in a narrow fjord and the tsunami that strikes the village at the end of the fjord. This mountain is under strict observation because one day this will happen.

I'm a sucker for good old farm food, so I'll list a few of them:

  • Raspeball (potato dumpling)
  • Kjøttkaker (meat cakes)
  • Fårikål (sheep and cabbage)
  • Pinnekjøtt (what we eat at Christmas) this is a custom to the west coast of Norway. (ribs of sheep, rutabaga puree with potatoes)
  • Ribbe (pork ribs)

I'm gonna cheat on this one and link to a page with the recipe to Raspeball.

Most Norwegian's live in wooden houses. But city life is like any other city in Scandinavia/ Europe. Except for old parts in some cities, like we have in Bergen. Wooden houses so tight together that you get these narrow and cozy streets(A firefighter worst nightmare). How Norwegian's decorate their homes is very different from one person to another. But I think many homes are "less is more"styled. I myself like flea market finds or old junk as my fiancé would say. A vintage country style. It is said that Norwegian's love to re-do or re-decorate their homes and spend a lot of money on it (don't quote me on this though;-)!)

We celebrate Christmas on the eve of the 24th of December. Families get together to share a traditional Christmas dinner and after way too much good food we open the presents!!! In my family we eat Pinnekjøtt, which is slow cooked lamb, served with potatoes and kohlrabi(?) mash. For dessert we have Riskrem, which is a cold ,sweet porridge served with strawberry or raspberrie sauce.

New Years's it's party time! Either with friends or family. 

Birthdays are probably not that different from America.

The 17th of May is Norway's national celebration and Independence Day. A really big day for Norway! But to understand it you'll have to google 17. Mai Norway's National day, read about it and look at all the wonderful pictures.

After some Googling I've come to the conclusion that these rock piles are a kind of human need to say "I was here," a friendlier form of graffiti. Not popular with the locals! In old times they used large versions of these rock piles to show the way over the mountain. But the ones you saw along the road is made for "fun."

Norway has much diversity, The east has warmer and more stable weather, it's "flatter" and you find the capital of Norway there, Oslo. 

The south is coastal land and you get quaint costal villages. 

The west coast has a bit unstable weather, remember to bring your raincoat!! We have mountains and fjords. 

In the north you get midnight sun(or complete darkness in the winter), fishing villages and amazing mountain views. And in the winter, the northern lights!! 

It's almost impossible for me to mention or recommend just one place in Norway, each part of our wonderful country has its own specialty and diversity. My best recommendation is to study a bit and find out what you want to see!

If you come to Bergen I would recommend:

  • Take a fjord cruise.
  • Bryggen , the old warf a world heritage site.
  • Take a trip to Mt. Fløyen and Mt. Ulriken.
  • Bergen Aquarium.
  • Try the local food.
  • Day trips to: Voss, Hardanger, Gudvangen, Flåm, Folgefonna.
  • Old town Bergen.

Norwegian's actually use that exact saying!!! If you want to visit in summer, I'd say from May till August is nice. If you want winter and skiing, December to March.

I'm not a souvenir kinda person, so my best advice is to eat your way through Norway! Taste the local foods and if you like some of it, take some with you home. But if you really want a souvenir, go for a troll or something that's local to where you are visiting.

I would love to visit the United States of America, but I wouldn't know where to start, you have such a big and beautiful country, with lots of diversity!! But I'd want to visit you guys in Pittsburgh and I also have friends in Portland and Miami.


Laura Mares is an experienced photographer specializing in capturing timeless family keepsakes. Laura works on location and in her fully equipped home studio, located in Mt. Lebanon, eight miles south of Pittsburgh, PA. Laura’s style is creative, natural, and timeless. Would you like beautiful portraits of your newborn baby, to update your child and family portraits or to document a milestone in your life such as a wedding, graduation, birthday or reunion? If you are interested in high quality, timeless photographs, book your session today, call (412) 654-3367 or email laura.mares@me.com. To view a wide range of gorgeous portraits and to get great tips, advice and beautiful inspiration follow us on Instagram and Facebook.


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