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. For more information on wedding, portriat, or editorial photography in Pittsburgh visit www.danspeicher.net

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


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.

Pittsburgh wedding Photography, DiSalvo's Station Restaurant, Joey D's Cigar Bar
Pittsburgh wedding Photography, DiSalvo's Station Restaurant, Joey D's Cigar Bar
Pittsburgh wedding Photography, DiSalvo's Station Restaurant, Joey D's Cigar Bar


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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.

Off camera lighting- creating portraits as a pittsburgh wedding photographer

For more information on Pittsburgh Wedding Photography visit www.DanSpeicherPhoto.com


I’ve been a Pittsburgh based wedding photographer for nearly 7 years. I know weddings. Up until recently I didn’t know marriage.

I know that everyone says that life after marriage is a compromise. Those first months after you say I do, can be tough. But they are also some of the most exciting times in my 30 years here on earth. I married my best friend Kelly on June 21, in a small private ceremony before heading to a small beach in Canada for another intimate immediate family sunrise ceremony just a few short days later. We were married in front of our cottage, my families summer vacation home for 50 years, on the shore of Lake Erie. It was perfect.

Coming home to weddings just a few days later was an adjustment, but incredible none the less. Here we are 10 months later, and I feel like I have learned a few things already. Ive also been given some great advice by friends who have been married decades longer than us. Most of these are cliche, but here is my take on them.

Marriage is give and take. My days as a bachelor are over, and so my life should reflect that. That being said, I married someone who compliments me. But she is not me. Working from home, I like to get out of the house more. She prefers to relax at the end of the day. So we plan a schedule together. I ask her if she has the energy, and sometimes when she doesnt, but knows I need out of the house, she says yes. Some days I am ready to go socialize, but she needs me to just stay low key with her. In those moments, our health is more important than my desire to go grab a beer, or dinner with friends. At times we both compromise, but we see it more as giving what the other needs.

Fights happen. Say your sorry, tell them you love them, and forgive. Forgive means to let it go. Not just in the moment, but to really let it go. Dont throw it back at your partner later, and dont use foul language no matter how angry you are. When you let patterns of anger and language into your relationship, you are effectively saying ” I dont love you, and I dont respect you.” Never go to bed angry, and the first time you sleep on the couch after a fight, the first time you say “You arent worth the effort.”

Sharing a house is easier than you think. Just realize that you both have different ways of storing food, doing dishes, and folding laundry. As a bachelor I liked to shop a couple times a week for food. Planning a meal or two, but also deciding more last minute. My wife hates having to go back to the store, two or more times, so we make a list, plan meals, and if I want to change things up, I run out. Adding stress to your partners life, because its how you do things isnt necessary.

We all have strengths and weaknesses. My wife is super organized, good with a schedule, and always prompt or early with bills. I am none of those things. She takes care of that, I take care of the majority of cooking, and laundry. Together we tackle dishes, cleaning house, and taking care of our new Labrador Retriever Ava.
Changing your name is not as easy as it should be. Seriously, they dont make it easy.

Most important is to show your love daily. Dont just say it, do it. For us, I make Kelly coffee just about every morning. Its my way of showing her that I love her and want to serve her.

Our marriage has been incredible. We have worked on weddings together. Edited projects side by side. Traveled to India, and hosted Easter for both of our families, in our little house. We gathered around the farm tables that I built, and shared about life, love, and adventure over a pretty good meal if I do say so myself. At least pretty good for cooking for 12, even though we had enough left overs to last a family of five a week.

What did you learn in your first year of marriage?

For more information on wedding photography and portrait photography in Pittsburgh or abroad, visit http://www.danspeicherphoto.com



I love winter. I love being a photographer. This time between wedding season ending, and the next season beginning is a relaxing time for me. A time to reflect, plan, and execute the plans for the new year. While I love being based in Pittsburgh, I need time away from the city.

Growing up I spent nearly every day at 7 Springs (the local ski slopes). For a number of years I taught there. But for the years before and after, days were spent enjoying the brisk air, the board beneath my feet, and a few times per year, some fun floaty powder.

The past few years have been a bit more low key, and I am ok with that. My parents still live in the mountains, and my wife and I get a chance to go up there fairly often. This weekend was one of those chances.

We spoke to the church I grew up in, about India. Took a detour on the way back and headed up a snow covered logging road.

Relaxed and read. Played with our dog Willy, and ended with an evening out bowling.

I love these weekends.