Goodbye 2019, my 11th wedding season! The 2020 season will be here before we know it, but first here’s a look behind the scenes from 2019 weddings.

Thanks so much to this year’s second photographers: Erica, Pamela, Jorge, Nicki, Christina and Brandon. (Yes, sometimes I work with Christina. And we show up and say, Hi, I’m Christina! Hi, I’m also Christina! That’s right, we’re both Christina, ha ha ha!)

Why not start with some mirror self-portraits? It seems like when there’s a mirror, we photographers can’t help but capture ourselves. Erica is especially susceptible to the call of the mirror.

If I asked you to pick a favorite part of your wedding day, I’d be pretty surprised if you said, “oh, definitely the family photos on the altar after the ceremony! I got so emotional standing there and smiling with all the various family members!” No, it’s not a ton of fun, but those photos are important! (Here are some tips for family photos.) A big part of getting great family photos is having great lighting. And so, my second photographers get the job of standing on the altar while I adjust my lights and settings. Here’s Erica, Pamela, Jorge and Nicki hard at work, standing still.

Checking settings and testing lights happens out in the wild, too. Nicki has mastered the art of dancing with her camera and monopod so I can get ready for the first dance.

Christina is very skilled at simulated cake cutting.

I love night/evening portraits – taking a few minutes to get some nighttime photos is well worth it. (In fact, Burgh Brides says it’s the one must-do thing at your reception!) We know time is tight, and want to maximize your time with guests. So we make sure we’re set up and ready to go before we bring the couple out. Thanks to Pamela for being my silhouette model!

One of the trickiest setups for photography is when couples stand directly in front of a window, because it’s so much darker inside than outside. Since we can’t make it darker outside, we have to try to get the luminosity between the subject and background to be closer by lighting the foreground. For this tiny wedding at Vue 412, I set up an off camera flash to light the couple so we could still get a glimpse of Pittsburgh outside. I had no second shooter (only 8 people in attendance), so I set my camera on the bar to test this setup while I waited for the couple to arrive.

Another tricky lighting setup – the staircase at the Renaissance Hotel. I had two remote strobes placed up on the second floor, pointing down.  Knowing there could be issues with shadows, I needed two people to fill in for the bride and groom. Thanks, Erica and Fallon!

This was just a test shot, but I really love this portrait of contemplative Erica at the Renaissance Hotel. I’ve placed a flash on the seat behind her. This allows me to underexpose the image overall (it wasn’t that dark in the lobby) and create that pocket of light right behind her.

A lot of Pittsburgh churches aren’t air conditioned. Lucky for us, this was April, and we didn’t need all those fans.

I had to back up alllllll the way to the evergreens to fit everyone in this family photo. This explains why I later found pine needles in my bag.

Do you think an eye patch would complement my look?

Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain!!!

It was breezy and this ceremony program was in danger of blowing away, so I used my phone to weigh it down. Don’t miss that custom pop socket with a photo of my dog frolicking in the snow :)

“I throw my hands up in the air sometimes, saying ay-oh, gotta let go…”

I’ve no doubt Christina remembered to do a tick check after slinking into the brush for Katie & Zach’s first look. We always try to give the couple as much space as possible so they can enjoy the moment without feeling like we’re right on top of them.

Who says family photos aren’t fun? I did? Forget it. We all look pretty happy here.

Ahhhh, November weddings, when you can wear long sleeves!

Maybe not everyone likes November weddings as much as I do. Here I’m giving a very quick rundown on what’s about to happen and how long it will take so everyone can mentally prepare to be outside for 10-15 minutes on a cold day. A few of my Pittsburgh wedding vendor friends…

The fabulous Sara of Caviar & Curls. She does hair AND makeup!


Jaison, a live painter. DJ Jeremy Ganss, who packs the dance floor at every single wedding. Tamie of Pittsburgh Stylist, who like me, has a son named Leo! Never a dull moment with Alisa!

Staying dry under the umbrella with Aaron Varga.

Right behind me is James of Light Motion Studio. Nicki and me. Pamela, putting herself in a corner. Always ready to lend a helping hand.

Photographer… or conductor?

I’m not one to complain about vendor meals… I really don’t care what we eat. But when there’s bread, I’m so, so, happy. And if we vendors have our own bread basket, I’m over the moon. Like, so excited I’ll take a selfie with the bread basket. See?

When I’m part of a team doing photography and video, I am truly part of a team! At this wedding, my primary responsibility was video, but I stepped in occasionally as second photographer. Here, I was lighting assistant… and naturally, creepy photo bomber for Pamela’s light test. The song I still can’t resist… “Low.”

Nicki and I semi-patiently waiting for the action to start.  

My favorite venue! The Heinz History Center.

Photographer, videographer, bartender? Sure.

I got another frame right after this without Jorge’s arm in it… but I really love this one too!

Erica caught me walking through this patch of sunlight. What can I say? It was a very long day, with a ceremony in Somerset and reception in Downtown Pittsburgh, so I had to catch some ZZZZs when I could, especially since… … Nicki and I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon the next day.

And a couple glimpses outside the wedding world. I had a blast helping out with photography at Over the Edge in September, a fundraiser where people rappel off the side of the Koppers Building. Yes, I’m pointing at  PERSON up there! I was grateful to be assigned ground level duty – thank you Dena!

I went to Morgantown, West Virginia to photograph a construction site. “It’s pretty muddy there, you should wear boots.” You think?

Oops, also, we walked up a big hill only to find the gate was locked. Once in a while it’s an advantage to be petite.

This is only some of the gear necessary to make a wedding day happen! I need to stay fit to lug all this stuff around.

Wedding crashers at St. Paul’s!

What’s the best way to celebrate another wonderful year? With a party, of course! Thanks so much to Burgh Brides for not only being a terrific resource for Pittsburgh brides and grooms, but throwing an amazing party, too. Here’s me with Burgh Brides Queen Victoria, and then me with Christina and Brandon. Photos by the superb Kathryn Hyslop Photography.

2020, here I come!