I love senior sessions - mostly because you're not on such a tight schedule and we can stop along the way and do all kinds of cool stuff there's never time for with a wedding. For Nolan's senior session we were all over the place! Downtown greensburg, the train station, Seton Hill. It was great! And he was such a good sport about my "Ok how about one more - like this - no like this.. ok let's try that again - two more" "Now smiling this time, ok serious, smile - ok halfway in between the two, like little smile - but ok a little happier...." He was a lot of fun :-)
I think he looks just a tiny little bit like a young sylvester stallone.
I liked this outfit too - we weren't sure about clashing the tie with the jeans but I was thinking "pro athlete at the press conference after the game". Nolan is also a serious football player for Hempfield High.
I think we walked miles for this session, but it was worth it!
Congratulations Nolan - have a great senior year!
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If you are interested in having super heroes at your wedding - read on.
Recently (ok not that recent - but recent for the blogosphere) I had the pleasure of second shooting for a friend and extremely talented colleague for a committment ceremony she had booked for a fabulous couple at Fallingwater. I met Sandy from Red Lotus Photography at a workshop we both attended in Pittsburgh last year and we hit it off right away and have been pals ever since. It's not every day that you find someone that understands your artistic OCD and really "gets it" when you're struggling to describe WHY you do things the way you do. She second shot for me for Kara & Tom's wedding last year and was a lifesaver. So when she called me for a weekend I already had two weddings booked for to see if I wanted to come hang out and lend a hand - all she had to say was "Fallingwater" and I was SO THERE.
I mean, it's not everyday you get the opportunity to shoot in a such a unique and fantastic location. Photographers are weird like that about locations and backgrounds. If you asked us if we wanted to shoot a gorgeous bride in a manicured lawn or in a swamp - we'd pick the swamp every time. It's hard to explain.
I have to tell you that I LOVE to second shoot. Why? Because it's all the fun of shooting a wedding without all the pressure of being in charge. I had a lot more time to see and do and work with different angles that I never have time for when I'm focused on getting all the formals and the family shots done right. For instance - I met up with Sandy and her lovely assistant Amy at the farmhouse next to The Barn at Fallingwater where the guys and girls were getting ready. While Sandy and Amy were concentrating on the girls - I got to spend time with the guys getting ready. Normally there's never time for all that - but with a dynamic duo you can accomplish amazing things.
J and Molly's brother got dressed in a spare room of the farmhouse with the guys.
It was screeching hot and incredibly humid that day.
Molly's brother works with his tie. Molly wore a beautiful light blue gown that swayed through the grasses as she walked, and a fresh orchid in her hair.
The couple decided to see each other before the ceremony for a few photos in front of the farmhouse and to get a jump on family portraits before it got too oppressively hot outside.
Their ceremony site was absolutely stunning located behind the barn in the woods under a cathedral trees. Guests sat on hay bales covered in rustic burlap sacks and the couple stood under an archway made of branches and adorned with more fresh orchids, lilies, and a hummingbird feeder.
Several friends and relatives gave personal testimonials about Molly and J when they were kids; their life, their love, their likes and differences, the night they met, and campfires on the beach. Together they all told the two true stories of two kids who grew up and from this day on would tell their tale on the same pages of the same chapter in the same book.
Truly everything was personal and special. Guests who arrived in dress shoes not expecting the short hike in the woods were greeted at the edge of the trees with colorful flip flops to wear to the ceremony. Molly's close friend is a composer who wrote music that was performed by an instrumental trio of more friends while they made their entrance. Molly and J laughed and cried many times, exhanged vows and rings, and walked up the center aisle towards a long and celebrated journey of their life together.
I should point out that by this time the sky had clouded a little and the wind was picking up. It started sprinkling and fearing a total wash out might be upon us we rushed over to the Frank Loyd Wright house for some photos before dinner.
Now this is the real beauty of being a second shooter. When Sandy and Amy had to get everyone organized for all the formal shots with their family members - I got to go shoot the food for cocktail hour ;-)
The Barn at Fallingwater is an extremely unique and green structure. It's rustic, but also contemporary. The perfect fit for this hip environmentally concious couple.
In case the printing on this top left photo is too small to read on your screen it says, "During the construction process (of the barn), 81% of the construction debris was recycled. The barn floor started life as a maple gymnasium floor at a convent in Pittsburgh." Fields of Heather did an outstanding job adding fresh flowers to all of the decor.
After dinner and before the party really started, Sandy stole the couple away to a field of soft waving grasses behind the farmhouse for a little romance. You can see more of her amazing drool-worthy work by clicking HERE.
When it was time to dance, Molly and J brought out their sequined hats and strutted their stuff to Billy Jean. Once all the guests got out on the dance floor the party stretched a long long time into the night.
To see more photos from both myself and the fabulous Sandy Yetter, check out her blog at Red Lotus Photography. I could seriously get into this teaming up with other professionals as a super hero team. I wish that we both had enough blog space to show you all of the photos. It's been so hard to pick what to share!
Congratulations to Molly and J - I wish you many years of sand between your toes.
Thanks for taking me along for the ride, Sandy ;-)
Ceremony & Reception Location: The Barn at Fallingwater
Fantastic Food & Drink: Bart's Catering
Bakery: Vanilla Pastry Studio
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At the end of May the Westmoreland Museum of American Art celebrated 50 years since it opened its doors to the public back in 1959. In honor of the special event, the women's committee revived an old tradition of holding a gala event to mark the occaision. The weekend was packed full of activities starting with Friday.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held open to the public and the main event was a cake by Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, MD. If you watch Food Network, are a foodie, or just love cake - you will know about the show Ace of Cakes. Geoff created this replica of the museum exterior for the event down to the last detail - even the roof! Tons of people flooded in not so much for the speeches, but just to see this awesome cake. Personally I was hoping Duff or Mary Alice or Geoff or someone else from the show would be there to meet and greet. (I was planning on going all fan-crazy - like a group of 12 year olds meeting the Jonas Brothers.) Alas - someone from the bakery arrived early that morning, dropped off the cake, and then made the return trip immediately.
I was sad :-(
Like all of their creations, every detail was perfectly formed in fondant - and it smelled delicious !
Guests of honor on Friday included these seven original members of the museum who joined on opening day in 1959. What an accomplishement to have been part of 50 years of art and life and friendship.
On Saturday evening, the Women's Committee hosted the 50th Anniversary Museum Ball that started with a cocktail party in the gallery and then moved outside into a luxurious tent erected right in the middle of the street. Champagne carpeting covered the floor and gold and champagne linens covered the tables.
Guests enjoyed their drinks, chatted with friends and then strolled through the doors down the gold carpet lined with palm trees.
The food was a work of art by Common Pleas.
P.S. BEST VENDOR MEAL EVER :-)
After a few speeches, the mic was open and guests took the opportunity to express their gratitude and thanks to the all the museum staff and contributers and their committment to making the museum a success.
After dinner and dessert, everyone moved back inside to the gallery for the after party. The lighting changed colors throughout the night from blue to pink to purple to red - painting the canvas of the blank gallery walls. A live band kept everyone on their toes and dancing till long after midnight. (I know they definitely out-lasted me ;-)
Not only was it a fantastic evening celebration, I had a great time hanging out with the girls from Fanfare Column !
If you'd like to be part of the experience, check out www.wmuseumaa.org and visit !
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This past weekend was the 4th of July - (these photos are from the Canal Days festival which was actually in June - I just didn't have any other fireworkds pictures to go with this post). July 4th marks the peak of summer and the halfway mark to the year. We spent the 4th camping out in the backyard with hamburgers and a big campfire - long live the Staycation :-)
The halfway mark of the year is a big milestone for wedding vendors especially. By July 4th you've pretty much booked all the weddings you're going to book for that year and it's tme to look ahead to next year! That means analyzing everything so far and coming up with the refined game plan to start fresh for 2010. I've really wanted to branch out into some new directions for next year and so I've cut back on products and services that nobody ordered - out with the old and in with the new! Such as - Indoor studio style senior and family sessions. The last time someone called me and said I want to take a picture of myself,my child, my senior, my family sitting up straight on the little stool in front of a washy background, looking into the camera and smiling - was 2 years ago. There's been a gradual but dramatic shift in photography and what consumers are looking for. Everyone that calls me is looking for a documentary, photojournalistic, lifestyle, relaxed, FUN session and photos that are REAL.
Praise the lord.
The more traditional roots of photography were kids in patent leather shoes sitting on the box in front of the velvet backdrop in a cramped studio room with the photographer and mom and sometimes grandma and dad too waving the stuffed bunny and begging for a smile - bribing with promses of trips to the toy store, ice cream, you name it. As a parent - you were exhausted by the end and the pictures were usually "hmm that's cute." As the hassle goes on - you start out having your kids photographed twice a year when they're babies and by the time they're in grade school it's once every few years. Everyone knows that old adage about how the oldest child has the biggest photo album, the thickest baby book, the most finished scrapbook pages - and the youngest was lucky if they got pictured with the older siblings.
Why? Are we bad parents? NO! Because the thought of dressing and pressing 3 kids and wrestling them into carseats and trying to keep them all awake and happy and not get kool aid on themselves on the way to the portrait studio - followed by trying to keep them quiet and happy in the waiting room - then working your tail off with begging and bunnies - just to get one crooked little half smile - makes your knees quiver and your brow sweat and your skin turn a little green.
I know - I've been the bunny waver.
The one thing about those portraits was that it never told a story - the best it did was say "this is what my son/daughter looked like at age 3". There's so much more a photo could tell you, why not seek photography that's more than a sit and smile portrait? Invite your photographer to a day at the park or into your home for a few hours to capture your family in REAL time. You'll have images to look back on that say "this is the shabby green tutu my daughter wore around the house for a whole year when she was three and refused to take it off" or "this is my son hysterical with joy running through the sprinkler water on the lawn" "this was the time they tried to put doll clothes on the cat" "here he is stomping around the kitchen in his dad's boots".
I realize fireworks photos don't have much to do with this post - except that its July 4th-ish.
Other than taking the indoor studio-style sessions of the pricing page, I've also increased my wedding coverage fee - but I've thrown in an incentive! (If you met with me to discuss your wedding before July 4th you are still able to receive the 2009 pricing). Everyone booking a full day of coverage for their wedding will now not only get a free engagement session, but a Rock the Dress session as well. What is that? Have you heard of a Trash the Dress session? It's like that - but with less danger to your wedding gown. I'll talk about it more in a later post.
For now - be glad that photography has moved in this direction where professionals are standing by at the ready to make REAL lasting memories of all the little moments that make up life. Call me for a summer session ! I'll bring the bubbles and the sparklers - you just bring yourselves. And maybe some giant slices of watermelon :-)
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This is Zack - about four years ago I first photographed his sister for her senior pictures and Zack tagged along and held my reflector (talking constantly!) and was a big help. Now, four years later he is no longer a little boy - but a young man.
After walking around town for an hour or so we went to the school where he practices martial arts and MauyTai - ( I may not have spelled that right - I doubt it is spelled like the drink).
Good luck with your senior year :-)
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Here it is - the official kick off to 2010 seniors. Now i have to explain something about the way computers and colors work. You may have noticed that the photos posted here look different, maybe not as bright or tinted in some way. Unlike your public service announcement, you may need to adjust your set. Why? I've switched from PC to Mac to improve my workflow and output production. And I'm loving it. The only side effect is that the two generally don't speak the same language.
Digital photos are recorded and stamped with a color profile - think of it like a dialect of a language. So that when any display or printer opens it - they read the color profile code and that tells them what colors to show in the image. Now that's all well and good if we could universally decide on what language we were going to speak, but we all know that's a big dream.
I can assure that all of images are still glowing with intensity and warm colors in reality - and every product is printed to highest quality. But things here on the blog are going to look a little different to you PC users. If you have access to one - check the same photos out on a Mac and you'll see what I mean. It's like translating a beautiful love song full of emotion and inuendo that was written in english into chinese. You still get the basic idea - but some things get lost in translation.
So without further explanation - here's Olivia :-)
I loved her sundress - American Eagle !
She was also very brave and trusting to wander out into the high grass,but I knew it would be worth it!
Livi is such a beautiful girl and a fantastic soccer player - and I think she looks like Jasmine Star for those of you who know who that is (she's a photographer). Best of luck, enjoy senior year, and I'll see you on the soccer field!
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Monroeville, PA 15146 Area Photography • Phone: 724-875-9809 • Email: PhotosbyAW@aol.com • ©2007. All rights reserved.