Month: September 2016

Indiana County PA Wedding Photographer | Jimi & Leeona

Today I’m sharing an anniversary post for some dear friends who were married in one of my favorite small towns in Indiana County, my home town of Saltsburg!  Jimi and Leeona are two people with some of the biggest hearts you’ll ever meet.  Whether it’s taking in fur babies off the street, or volunteering for the YMCA, they bring smiles wherever they are.  Here’s a look back at their sunny September wedding.


We started the morning off with the girls getting ready at Jimi’s grandma’s house.  I loooved her cast iron collection and her kitchen had beautiful light flooding in!  Leeona had a photo of Jimi’s proposal on the beach out on the counter.  The light was perfect the day he asked her to marry him too.



Alexis, Leeona’s maid of honor, embroidered a handkerchief for her to carry down the aisle.  I can’t wait till next year when Alexis gets married and I get to see everyone again!


Leeona also had gifts for the girls, monogrammed burlap purses.


Before she put her wedding dress on, she took a moment to sit down and read a letter from Jimi.





The ceremony was at Saltsburg Presbyterian church just over the river in Indiana County.  I met the guys there for a few photos before the guests arrived.




Jimi’s face watching his bride come down the aisle was priceless.




Their guests filled the street and greeted the new Mr. & Mrs. Smail as light flooded in through the double doors.  Afterwards, we took some photos around the outside of the church and walked through town.  Saltsburg has tons of historic buildings along canal street, an herb garden, and a view of the river.






These are some of my favorite photos from the whole day.  A reminder not to take things too seriously at a wedding.  Leeona’s little brother and sister were a part of the wedding party!








Happy anniversary you two!  Here’s to many many more!

What to wear for family photos

Fall is coming.  The end of the year is coming.  The pressure to make your Christmas cards is coming!  This means that time is running out to schedule your annual family photos.  One of the biggest reasons I hear from people for why they don’t have their family photographed is that it’s too hard to get everyone together and dressed.  Here’s some tips for what to wear for family photos that will help everyone look and feel their best and have you loving your images for years to come.

Remember department store portraits in the 90s?  Everyone wearing the the same color and matching outfits?

A lot of times people worry that if they don’t match their outfits that they won’t look like they “go together”.  That’s not true.  Great family photos are when the relationship shows through the posing which is MY job 😀 😀 After all, baseball teams wear matching outfits and they don’t look like a family.

These days, color themes have totally evolved and aren’t really themes at all anymore.  **Real talk: this is what I used to see all the time: everyone in jeans and white shirts, everyone in jeans and black shirts, everyone in khaki pants and matching shirts.  I have to say my personal pet peeve for photos is when men show up in khaki shorts and a polo shirt of any color.  Because getting men to dress up is hard.  I know!  I married that guy that goes to work every day on a construction crew and wears dirty jeans and neon yellow t-shirt with tar stains on it.  And he USED to think that khaki shorts and any shirt with a collar (polos mostly) was “dressing up”.  And he HATED to dress up because he never liked how he looked and was afraid of looking silly.  That’s because khaki shorts and a polo shirt is pretty much the mom-jeans-and-a-cat-sweatshirt of menswear.  (I warned you there was gonna be Real Talk.) But men don’t usually spend time in the day thinking about these things so they don’t know this is WHY they hate “dressing up”.  The struggle is real for us women who have to dress ourselves, find outfits for the kids, and then get our husbands to wear something nice as well.  Polo shirts are great for a day at kennywood or a trip around the golf course, but not great for family photos.  Rather than trying to get everyone to match, I really think photos with just a little coordination are great.  If everyone kind of wears just whatever they want without communicating, things can get a little out of hand with one branch of the family dressing everyone like it’s summer, and another branch of the family dressing everyone like it’s cold out OR there’s that one person that shows up in a bright loud color or big striped pattern and sticks out like a sore thumb cause they’re the only one.

Here’s some good tips for what to wear to get your group together outfit-wise:

1. Neutrals are always safe.  Grays, browns, charcoal colors, black if you accent with some jewelry or a different colored shirt underneath. Not only do neutrals blend nicely with most scenes, they also blend nicely into the decor of your house so that you can frame and display your photos in any room all year long!

2. Layers are everyone’s friend. Accessorize. Layers and things with collars, buttons, pockets, different colored cuffs, a scarf, a hat, jewelry etc break up the center mass of any human and keep the viewer’s eye moving. (If your man is fighting you on this, explain to them that it’s like camouflage.)  This means when we look at the photos later, we spend more time focusing on our expressions and less time focusing on what we feel our flaws are.  (We’re all human, we all do it.)

3. Dress for the weather of the season and the location.  There’s no point putting kids in tights and patent leather shoes and then standing them in a field.  It would be like showing up at a formal wedding in a tank top and swim trunks – if it looks out of place people will seem uncomfortable.

For September in Pennsylvania, the landscape has a lot of yellow in it as we begin the transition to fall.  Some great colors to work with are Navy Blue, Browns, Greys, Dark Purples, Medium to Dark Greens, etc.  When we get a little later into fall, neutrals and darker jewel tones like burgundy are beautiful.


Here are some photos from one of my favorite fall family sessions.  They nailed it with their outfits, felt comfortable, and had a great time!


Joy did an amazing job dressing her family for their photo session!  She went with jeans, different shades of burgundy, and added a little pattern with Steve’s shirt and G’s boots!




For another look she went with navy, grey, and a nice fall plaid with navy in it.  Even their dogs coordinated!




Don’t be intimidated by dressing your family for photos!  Start with one piece you really love – whether it’s your favorite dress or a shirt that looks great on someone and then build on that.  Don’t let worrying about what to wear stop you from being photographed, it’s worth it!

Summer Schenley Park Engagement | Leah & Glenn

Leah and Glenn are getting married this weekend and it’s time to look back and celebrate their engagement one last time before they tie the knot!  One of their favorite activities is going for a run together or taking a long walk with their dog, Kaia.  Last summer they were living in Pittsburgh and Schenley Park was one of their frequent evening hang outs.  We met up and walked the trail near Panther Hollow at sunset and caught the last vibrant colors of the evening on top of the overlook.  They even used the first photo below as their save the date they sent out to their wedding guests!



Kaia frequently stole the show till their friends came by to pick her up so they could continue with photos dog-free.  Kaia happily trotted off to their car leaving us to feel like the parents whose kindergartner runs off with a smile and zero separation anxiety.



That moment when you’re trying to smile and look casual and take some photos and your dog suddenly starts digging a giant hole to China in the middle of a public park!  I love outtakes!



This might be my favorite photo of the three of them as a family.  No faces, but a great moment celebrating how they love to spend their time together.






The best view of the city from Schenley Park is on the hill dubbed the overlook.  We made it there just as the last rays of sunlight were fading and the sunset colors lit up the clouds.  The city skyline in the distance begged for a silhouette shot.  I love how it turned out and will always be symbolic of the time they spent living together in Pittsburgh.  Since last year, Glenn has taken a position at Penn State and the three of them moved across PA and are now exploring trails and park together near State College!



They’ll be back this week though for their wedding ceremony and reception at the Pittsburgh Aviary!  I can’t wait to hang out again 🙂