I met Debbie & Chris Monday evening at their home in the South Side. Their relationship has a lot of history in that area. They live a block from Carson Street. Their first date was at a coffee shop… and a restaurant… and a bar… all in the South Side area. And they were engaged in a coffee shop on Carson Street.

So the South Side seemed just the right place for their engagement session. Half a block from their house, I pointed excitedly to an empty lot. It was a sunny day, but the lot was enclosed and had lots of reflective light. Yes, photographers get excited about things that others say, “huh?”

Another find… a nice slender alley. Good place for a stolen kiss.

Then an iron gate! We had to get a little creative with positioning here because the alley was actually full of random things like an old mattress, oscillating fan and garden hose. Not really what any of us had in mind to include. And I don’t know about you, but those rather decrepit items don’t say romance to me.

After exploring the streets and alleys from 11th-13th Street and Carson, we drove over to the South Side Works.

I’ll admit it: I try to avoid having to Photoshop my images. I do basic adjustments using Adobe Lightroom, but I very carefully compose my images so that I won’t have to do any editing later on. Very, very rarely, do I shoot something that I know I will want to Photoshop later. But this time… I had an idea. I knew it would involve a bit of Photoshop work, but I felt it was worth it.

What did I do? The starburst light shape is coming from a flash sitting on top of a light stand. So I had to remove the light stand from the photo. As I just recently bought the latest and greatest version of Photoshop (CS5) I was able to use the new content aware fill. It’s not perfect, but it speeds up the job significantly.

It’s always tough to pick a favorite. I think I have to go with this next one.

The Hot Metal Street Bridge may just be my favorite spot in Pittsburgh to watch the sun go down. I love watching it disappear behind the Pittsburgh skyline. But I guess Debbie & Chris only have eyes for each other.

Chris didn’t want me to have all the picture-taking fun!

I want to extend a special thank you to Alyssa, who is just out of the frame on the left above. Alyssa helped make the off camera lighting possible – it was windy on the bridge, and without her help, I’m certain my light stand would have blown right over, and either sailed out into the river and headed for Ohio (or Maryland? I’m drawing a blank on which way the Monongahela River flows) or smashed to smithereens on the bridge.

Debbie & Chris: thanks for a fun evening! I’m very much looking forward to your wedding at the Mansion at Maple Heights in July.

Parting shot: ready for their first dance!


Christina Montemurro Photography is a top-rated photography studio specializing in special events, including weddings and bar mitzvahs, serving the greater Pittsburgh area. Christina’s focus is on creating genuine, heartfelt, relaxed images, with extraordinary attention to detail and customer service. Contact Christina now to check availability for your engagement session, wedding, bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. Christina has been rated among top Pittsburgh photographers. You can read reviews by Christina’s past brides and grooms here and here.