Pittsburgh Portrait photographer- Pelee Island Portrait
I’ve been going to Pelee Island since before I was born. Litterally. I was carried there while mom was pregnant. I grew up there, was married there, and minus two summers in my early 20’s I have spent at least a week there every summer of my life.
Its my place for relaxation. Its a place with nearly no cell coverage, little entertainment, aside from what you can come up with on your own, and for me, paradise.
This year, because of our trip to India back in January, Kelly only could take two days off work, so we headed up for a long weekend of reading, sunrises, and cigars.
One morning I thought it would be good to rouse everyone for an early morning portrait session. Lets just say I was wrong. Light was changing fast, wind was picking up, and no one had had a full cup of coffee yet. I am certainly happier being a portrait photographer behind the camera, than trying to be in the photos, and adjust lights at the same time.
Along the way I played with my ND filters and long exposures. Landscapes are something I have never focused on, but i love the way the light, sky, and water changes during long exposures.
A family fishes off the North Dock on Pelee Island.
Roused the family far to early for a portrait, you can see how happy we are
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Wedding photography in Pittsburgh, is always a little bit risky. Especially in March and April. One day you can have rain, the next day sun. The following day snow. Its a beautiful time of year for weddings, but it does carry a bit of risk.
I was sitting at home editing. I was pushing hard because I had to meet up with David Burke to drop off a light stand that I had borrowed. Right as I was preparing to leave, the phone rings and he asks if I want to shoot with him. It just so happens that we had just been talking about shooting as much as possible, while staying focused on a story. This is harder than it sounds. Your wedding day is a fantastic story. Its about families coming together, often meeting for the first time, its about friends becoming husband and wife, dancing, and commitment. With that in mind, how could I say no?
Often times, wedding photography is lots of beautiful portraits, photos of details, and a few moments filled in with snapshots. When you focus on telling a story, you have to find ways of showing the moments, capturing the laughter and tears, while still including the guests. Its harder than it sounds. As a storyteller, I have to be better than snap shots. At the end of the day, a wedding should be able to be told through 50-100 images, and nothing should be left out.
Each day I shoot, its pushing closer to that. Editing becomes harder, as I hold myself to higher standards, and as a documentary wedding photographer, I have to work as hard as possible, because at the end of the day, the portraits are nice, but the story is your true legacy.
Congratulations David and Stacey.
David, thanks for having me along brother.
Ceremony at St Patricks Church in Cannonsburg
Reception: Bella Sera
Video: Keith Parish: Diamond Weddings
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I love my weekends. Whether I am shooting a wedding, portraits, or like this weekend- a bat mitzvah, I love weekends. As a photographer, they are usually my busiest time. Every once in a while though, they start in the evening, and that gives room for time with my family during the day. Saturday started with helping my father in law plant potatoes in his garden, and ended relaxing with a beer and a cigar. In between those two events, I spent time with Kelly and Ava, and photographed my first bat mitzvah with my friend and fellow photographer Dmitriy. As soon as those photos are edited, I will be sure to post some. Needless to say, I had a great time. Sunday was race day in Pittsburgh. Kelly had to be up very early to work at the Pittsburgh Marathon, and by the time she got back, she was in need of a relaxing afternoon. How perfect, that we just happened to have a standing invite from my parents to join them and my sisters for a low key cookout. After Kelly relaxed a little, we loaded up the car, and Ava (our black lab) and hit the road. An hour and 15 minutes later we were relaxing on the farm, with a cold drink, family, and dogs.
Being that it was Derby weekend and all, mint juleps were ordered up, and to mix things up a bit, my mom, the chef that she is, made violette infused simple syrup for the juleps. Nothing says spring like mint and violettes.
If you make your way to Seven Springs, and havent tried the Pie Shop, it is a must stop. Its not that the baked goods are incredible. Most are not. But they have these great creations called snails and they are one of Kelly’s favorites. So Monday morning, while she was still asleep, I ran out and brought her a few back.
Here is my weekend in photos rather than words.
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After a long day of wedding photography, or any day for that matter, I love relaxing with a good cigar, and a drink. It usually ends up being a craft beer, but every once in a while a good spirit is just what the doctor ordered.
For the past year or so, my dad Ray, and sister Elle over at Smart Site Strategies have been working with DiSalvo’s Station restaurant in Latrobe. From time to time they bring me in to shoot photos, create a short video, and help create newsletter content that is needed.
A little while back after a Sunday brunch, we were down stairs smoking a cigar, when Joey asked if I could grab a few photographs for him. All I had on me was a camera, a 50mm lens, and a small video light, so we made do with what we had, and shot a few quick photos for their news letter.
I really enjoyed shooting these, but I wish that I had brought some lights with me.
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In photography, lighting is the most important aspect of your work. As a Pittsburgh wedding photographer you have to be able to work with lights because the weather here isnt always cooperative. Some days you wake up, the sky is blue, and it looks like its going to be an amazing day. But by the time the reception rolls around, the light is gone, clouds moved in, the wind is blowing, and rain is pouring down. In those situations we still have a duty to our clients to create beautiful work. So we always bring a supply of portable lights and modifiers with us, and they live in our car. If a flash breaks, no problem got a back up. Pocket wizard wont fire, pull out the chord. Both flashes die, or get stolen, we have some work lights that create beautiful light when pushed through an umbrella. While the situation may not be ideal, it is our job to give our clients our best work. I heard recently that we dont get an A for showing up and being friendly. Clients expect us to be professional, polite, and make great memorable images of their day.
As a story centered wedding photographer, that makes the need for lights a little bit less, but during portrait time, and during the reception, we have to make the venue, the people, and the couple look incredible. The images have to be able to bring back memories years down the road. More importantly, they need to tell the story of the day, after everyone that attended has passed away. Wedding photography is about a legacy. It is about documenting a story for the future. Its about Grandma and Grandpa being able to look fondly back on the photos and tell the grand kids about the life they lived together.
Today I shot a few portraits of my wife, just to brush up on my lighting skill. I dont use lights often, I prefer nice beautiful natural light. But sometimes a flash is the only available light that we have.
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