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Becca and Ben's Pittsburgh Bridges & North Shore Engagement Session

I've photographed people on these yellow bridges so many times that I've lost count!

I can understand why--they're big and bold and yellow. They're a beautiful symbol of connection and trust that makes it a perfect metaphor for engagement photos. They're a true Pittsburgh classic. And! They're a great alternative for Mount Washington when clients want photos of the Pittsburgh skyline.

There aren't too many couples that had the type of connection that Becca and Ben have. I loved the way Ben could turn Becca's smile into the best happy expression I've ever seen. Her entire face lights up when she laughs which made it a complete dream to photograph their Pittsburgh engagement session.

Becca, you're positively gorgeous. I CANNOT wait for your wedding this weekend!

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Alicia and Matt's Backyard Leechburg Wedding

When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love


Well this wedding was certainly a surprise. When I hear the words "backyard wedding", the first word I tend to think first is never "sophisticated" but wow! The decor by All About Reclaimed, All Occasions, and Classic Tent Rental truly set a high-end ambiance while still maintaining an intimate backyard rustic atmosphere. DJ Scottro kept the guests grooving all night. The Pittsburgh Camper Booth had everyone smiling. The bbq style food by Butler Hot Dog Shoppe had me standing in line for seconds. That mac and cheese I CAN'T EVEN! The florals from Leechburg Floral had blooms that were so gorgeous. And of course there were like 20 different types of pie! My second photographer Pamela did an amazing job at being the eyes in the back of my head. It was even her suggestion to suggest to Alicia and Matt that they would have their first dance out in the open space in front of the view. And the view! Oh the view was just breathtaking. I couldn't believe such a gem was hidden in the tiny town of Leechburg. It was perfect for a wedding reception.

But you know what really brought everything together? Alicia and Matt. I loved the way they loved each other. Every couple shows affection differently, and there isn't a wrong way to do it, but Alicia and Matt were the sweetest to watch as they checked in on each other throughout the day. Whether it was Matt holding Alicia's bouquet as she held her gown, exchanging glances, or watching them hold each other up as they took a spinning twirl a bit too fast. 

Alicia, you were absolutely breathtaking. Thank you for this opportunity to document your wedding.

Vendor love:
Photographer: Erica Dietz Photography
Second Photographer: Pamela Marie Photography
Food: Butler Hot Dog Shoppe
Florist: Leechburg Floral
Tent Rental: Classic Tent Rental
Chairs and Covers: All Occasions
Decor Rental: All About Reclaimed by Jeff Double
Photo Booth: Pittsburgh Camper Booth
DJ: DJ Scottro of Modern Era Weddings

Alyssa and Eric's Field Engagement Session

"Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the fields of barley
We'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we lie in fields of gold"

Alyssa's only requirement for her engagement session was that it was at a field. As someone who grew up basically in the country, and currently living 5 minutes from a farm in any direction, and as a photographer who never stops lusting for the perfect field for photoshoots, I have pretty high standards for fields. Alyssa kept asking for an address for our location and I kept stalling because I knew that I was going to find the perfect field right in front of my face. I didn't want to pick a location too soon and then show up to a mowed field. Then one day, I was delivering photo products to a client when I saw the most perfect field across from her house. And wouldn't you know it but the land owner started mowing the field right as we walked up to it. Oh that's the worst! I asked if we could delay his task so that they could get the dreamiest location for their backdrop and he obliged.
 

The light was perfect and golden and beautiful for Alyssa and Eric's engagement session. Combine these elements with the sweetest couple and we ended up with some absolutely incredible images and had a great time.

Alyssa and Eric, I cannot wait for your wedding next month!

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Amanda and Jesse's Indiana, PA Wedding

"You know
I wish that I had Jessie's girl
I wish that I had Jessie's girl
Where can I find a woman like that"

Even as I was still photographing this wedding, I KNEW it was going to be a special one.

The details were on point--soft pink gowns, lace details, navy suits, and gold glitter--but it was the bride and groom's connection with their loved ones that brought the magic. There was so much laughter and joy throughout the day--it was impossible for me to not get caught up in it myself. I photographed Amanda and her ladies as they prepared for their day while getting glammed up by Gabbi Miller of Bella Spa and Beauty. Meanwhile, my second photographer Brian Henry of Evermark Studios did an incredible job documenting Jesse and the guys as they casually finished getting ready before heading to the ceremony. My favorite series of images from the day were taken by Brian with his entire series of photos featuring the many MANY different faces of Amanda's nephew, Mitchell. I can't even handle it. Mitchell is quite used to being photographed by his mother and my friend, Becca, who is also a photographer. 

The most touching part of the day, however, was a somber moment when Amanda wanted pay her respects at her father's gravesite with her new husband and her two sisters. That moment quickly went from a moment of silence to laughter as they discovered the red geraniums that Becca had planted the week prior had lost every single one of the petals! Make sure to look for the stems in the detail shot of Amanda's bouquet and a Coors Light resting against the headstone. After they shared a beer together, we headed to the Indiana Country Club for their kick ass reception lead by DJ Digital Dave. The best part of the reception was watching Jesse and Amanda dance to "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield!

Thank you, Amanda and Jesse, for the opportunity to document your special day. 

Vendor love:
Photographer- Erica Dietz Photography
Second Photographer- Brian Henry of Evermark Studios
Florals- Indiana Floral & Flower Boutique
DJ- DJ Digital Dave
Venue- Indiana Country Club
Wedding gown- Bridal Beginnings
Bridesmaid dresses- MB Bride
Hair- Cameron's Salon
Makeup- Bella Spa and Beauty
Accessories- White Lace Bridal

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Abbey Lynn's Horse and Field Themed Senior Portrait Session in Saxonburg, PA

"The prairie blows the grasses
And whips the horse's mane.
They travel, horse and rider,
Through the sea of amber grain.
"
--Ivy Schex

Wow, just wait until you see the beautiful light I found with Abbey Lynn and her pony Cookie during our senior portrait session in Saxonburg, PA. This whole session was incredible! But what would you expect from photographing a photographer herself? Abbey Lynn loves to photograph horses, so the pressure was on to make sure Cookie looked just as good as her owner! Make sure you check out her portfolio on Instagram--she's booking senior portrait sessions as well so hit her up!!

Abbey Lynn, you are STUNNING (and Cookie too) and I can't wait to collaborate on a shoot in the near future :)

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Mandy, Joe, and Milo's Maternity and Lifestyle Family Session in Pittsburgh, PA

Clear your schedules, folks.
This is a good one.

Lifestyle photography refers to documenting a typical "day in the life" of a family in a beautiful way. The idea is to look back on these days in 40 years and be able to remember that moment as it truly was. Whenever I look at photos of myself from when I was a child, I am immediately transported to that moment: the emotions that I felt, or remembering a popular song, or the smell of my favorite foods in the kitchen, or the way a blanket felt, whatever was happening in *that* moment.

These details are all part of the human experience.

As a photographer, I want document and share those experiences for you. As a photojournalist, I want to experience these things *WITH* you and your family. 

I worked with Mandy to create a plan for her session, and she choose a few of their favorite activities to do as a family in their Pittsburgh home: read books, bake a delicious strawberry dessert from scratch (IT WAS DELICIOUS thank you Joe), and let Milo play with the hose in the yard. Plus, whatever it was that Milo wanted to do! She also requested a relaxed portrait or two as she was pregnant at the time with the sweet Miss Cora Jane.

Hell. Yes. 

The beautiful thing about family lifestyle photography and especially photographing young children is that I cannot pose them. The only thing to do is try to stay one step ahead of them, if not then straight up chase after them. This was absolutely true for Milo, who they lovingly nicknamed "Milo Tornado". I mean, look at his expression in the first photo! I knew this would be a run-and-chase session (my favorite kind!) but after seeing this mischievous little bad ass waiting to greet me as I walked up to their home, I knew that it was gonna be game. on.

Mandy, Joe, Milo, (and you too Cora Jane!) thank you for inviting me into your home. Your family is beautiful and I can't wait to get together again.

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Jillian and Mike's Pittsburgh Duquesne Wedding

Funny story about this one...
I booked this wedding because Jillian and Mike's original photographer got pregnant and could no longer shoot it. One of my own clients who works with Mike referred my name (thank you again Alyssa and Justin!) which worked out beautifully because Jillian and Mike were looking for a documentary-style wedding photographer. I was able to capture so, so many great moments because they let me document their day in a photojournalistic way.

Jillian and Mike, I am so glad your original photographer got pregnant! Sorry (NOT SORRY) because I had an absolute blast with you both, your bridal party, and your families. Just look at all these beautiful people! Special shoutout to the talented Linnea for photographing this rainy day Duquesne wedding in Pittsburgh with me--plenty of her images are integrated below. 

Vendor love
Photographer--Erica Dietz Photography
Second Photographer--Linnea Marie Photography
Florals--Hearts and Florals
Baker--Bethel Bakery
Dress--One Enchanted Evening
DJ--Dave Kleba of DJ Moble Mix

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Haley and Frankie's Armstrong Farms Wedding

'Cause I'm what you wanted and you're what I need
So let's meet in between
We're gonna be the greatest love story this town has ever seen
We're gonna be the greatest love story this world has ever seen
So baby say yes to me


I know I say this all the time but I always try to befriend with my clients--especially my brides--so that I can gain their trust. And when the wedding day comes, I can document them in their most natural state. The friendships rarely last beyond the wedding, but my friendship with Haley is still going strong. How could it not! As soon we we met for her consultation, we became instant friends. Anyone who can quote Mean Girls is instantly my new friend, but Haley was different. We meet for dinner all the time and we text on the regular. She drove Roxie and I back and forth after Rox's surgery, and she even knows when I'm being overly sensitive to Roxie and reassures me that everything will be okay (you were right!). I am forever grateful for Haley and I loved being a part of her wedding day.

Haley, you're beautiful.

Enjoy a selection of my favorite images from your wedding. Several of the photos were taken by my second photographer Tye Cypher.

Featured vendors--
Second shooter: Tye Cypher
Venue: Armstrong Farms
DJ/Video: Pifemaster Productions
Catering: Stephen's Kitchen
Florals: BurlapAndLacePlace
Cake: Haley's aunt :)

 

Taryn and Bryan's Isle of Palms, SC Destination Wedding

If I had to describe my ideal clients, I might as well just describe Taryn, Bryan, and their families.

Oftentimes I talk about befriending my bride as a way to help let their guards down and "get in their circle" to immerse myself in their wedding day, which in turn, helps me create the best documentary-style photos possible. With Taryn, I had no choice but to become best friends with her. In fact, it was through one of my own best friends Natalie that introduced me to Taryn, and one of the first things that Taryn said was that she wanted to be best friends with me too. After flying down from Pittsburgh, PA to Isle of Palms, SC and meeting her family, it wasn't long until they adopted me too. You know you're doing something right when the moms add you on Facebook!

One of Taryn's best qualities is her ability to be unabashadly herself. You know when she's happy, you know when she's sad, and you know when she's mad (#sorrynotsorry!) and oh my goodness is she beautiful! This made it a lot of fun to photograph her. My favorite part of the whole day was the moment her sister surprised Taryn with her grandfather's bottle of cologne. She had saved it after he passed away, which made it even more special.

Taryn wanted to incorporate many Irish wedding traditions to her ceremony--which I loved! She got married on Saint Patrick's Day and used the color green for many of her details. She and Bryan did a Celtic hand-fasting ceremony in which a gold and green ribbon was tied to their hands. Another Irish tradition that Taryn used was to give each guest a stone to hold during the ceremony. In ancient Ireland, wedding guests were given small stones to cast into the water while making a wish or blessing for the couple's future. So, of course, I thought it would be a great photo if I stood in the water and had everyone throw their stones to either side of me. Not *at* me, but *beside* me. My pants were soaked but no photographers were harmed in the making of the photo. Totally worth it.

Taryn used Charleston I Do for her hair, A Jolly Occasion for her makeup, and lashes by Rheanna. Cori Carpenter did an amazing job at officiating the beach ceremony. Taryn held a gorgeous bouquet designed by Jen of Island Treaures.

Taryn and Bryan, it was such an honor to document your wedding! 

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Bre's Saxonburg, PA Senior Portrait Session

This is the quintessential down-home, small-town USA senior portrait session I've done. And it's one of my favorites to date.

Meet Bre.
She loves Converse, has the most perfect freckles, and she cannot keep a straight face. Truly. Joy simply beams out of her, and any attempt at the "serious look" resulted in a few cracks of a smile, and ultimately both of us doubled over in laughter. 

For Bre's senior portrait session, we decided to shoot the first half at my favorite location at Saxony Farm in Saxonburg, PA followed by a Saxonburg themed session which featured all of the gorgeous business facades and even showcased Main Street itself. Some of the buildings that are featured include (but not limited to) Saxonburg Memorial Church, Mainstreet Bake Shop, Saxonburg Coffee Company (oh those string lights get me every time), Mimi's On Main, and of course Batch where Bre works part-time when she's not busy with cheerleading. 

Bre, you're beautiful. And I envy your messy bun skills.

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Kendy and Joe's Mellon Park and Rooftop Pittsburgh Engagement Session

"Did we just become best friends??" "YUP!"

The fastest way to get on my good side is to quote movies and love dogs. Kendy and I bonded on both nearly instantly. I cannot wait for your wedding at the end of the month! In the meantime, enjoy a collection of my favorite images from their engagement session at Mellon Park and a parking garage rooftop in downtown Pittsburgh.

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Sarah and Justin's Armstrong Farms Wedding

We. Are. Fam-i-ly!

I love photographing weddings for my family--especially the folks who are already familiar with Steve's unapologetic "gotta get in there" approach--because they're expecting us to get in there and do anything for the shot. One of the things that stood out to me for Sarah and Justin's Armstrong Farms wedding was that I was able to casually weave in and out amongst the rows of guests during their outdoor ceremony. I love the freedom that comes from shooting an outdoor wedding (as opposed to a restricted Catholic church), and their officiant (one of my favorites!) Larry Goyda brought another endearing level of casual approachability to their ceremony. I knew that the guests would understand and appreciate our wanderings as not only professional photographers, but also as guests for our cousin Justin's marriage to sweet Sarah.

Sarah, you looked STUNNING in your blush gown!! Every time I hear a song from RENT, I smile and think of you and your bridesmaids singing at the tops of their lungs as you got your hair and makeup done. Your florals--gorgeous. Your cake--scrumptious. Knowing that you have a history of dancing, it was no surprise that you picked MobileMIX Entertainment to keep the party going!

And any wedding where the bride and groom's first dance is "Smother Me" by The Used gets a special place in my heart! Yes I loved The Used when I was in college! I've been listening to their albums nonstop for the past few days--ah memories.

Vendor love:
Photographer: Erica Dietz Photography
Catering: Dr. Sous Custom Catering (special thanks to Kari)
DJ: MobileMIX ENTERTAINMENT
Bartending: Rays Last Call
Officiant: Larry Goyda
Bakery: Lincoln Bakery
Florals: Pisarcik Greenhouse
Decor: Eventioneers

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Sofia and Brent's Colorful Industrial Chicago Wedding

Someone once asked me how I manage to come up with creative wedding images. I responded, "I look for what's different." I try to look at the details of their day, or the way a bride and groom respond to each other using their body language during their portraits. I even watch the way they react to certain images during the sample wedding that I show them during our initial consult. With Sofia and Brent's wedding, I certainly didn't have to make much effort to find what was different. It was all different! And it was all beautiful.

I have known Brent since I started high school. He was a year older than me and we were both involved in band, marching band, musicals, etc. so when he and Sofia inquired about me potentially shooting their wedding ceremony in Chicago, I was more than delighted. Brent was traveling home for the holidays so we met for coffee to discuss the details. I asked all of the typical questions: "How did you and Sofia meet? Tell me about your venue!" and I got some nontraditional answers. Hell. Yes. I love nontraditional and I love anything that isn't mainstream--especially when it comes to weddings! 

Brent also mentioned that he and Sofia identify as being polyamorous, and that their significant others would also be attending the wedding. I consider myself to be open-minded so I took this opportunity to ask questions and educate myself on what it means to be in a poly relationship. In fact, I was not alone in having questions about poly relationships. Brent and Sofia anticipated that it might instigate questions from their guests as well, so they included a brief paragraph about it in their wedding invitations:

----

"When people hear the term “marriage” or “wedding”, some very specific ideas often spring to mind. We would like to take a moment to explain what our relationship means to us, and why we chose to marry and have a ceremony, since some of our concepts may not coincide with yours.

We identify as polyamorous. It is important to us to have the choice to sustain multiple romantic relationships with full knowledge and support of all the partners involved. We fully intend to continue to engage in the relationships we are currently in, as well as remain open to new relationships in the future. The relationships we are involved in are connected and intertwined in our individual lives, and in the life we share together. Each of our relationships are foundational and influential in their own way, so while this celebration is primarily about Sofia and Brent, this constellation of connections is a deeply important part of who we are together. In sharing this with you, we seek to honor the validity and importance of all our relationships, and to avoid surprise when you see us being affectionate with other partners.

We view our marriage as a practical extension of the love and partnership in life that we already share. Our ceremony is a celebration of our shared vision of a future together, our strong emotional bond, and the joining of our families and communities. While our agreements do not include promises of monogamy, or of a lifelong commitment, they do include our intentions to support each other and share each other’s burdens and joys for the foreseeable future.

We enjoy talking about our relationship and how it works, so if you have any questions or concerns, please let us know. 

----

They describe their relationships as a "constellation of connections" and it was truly that beautiful. I watched so many displays of affection amongst them and I loved the way they overlapped. Sometimes affection was obvious as two women slow danced together, and sometimes it was low key love, like quietly holding hands or a shoulder rub. Regardless of what it looked like, it was beautiful and I could feel love in every corner of the room.

Sofia's dress and Brent's jacket and vest were custom designed by talented seamstress Angel Burns of Slainte Craoi Events. And wow! Just wait until you see those outfits! Her purple dress was so gorgeous! Their ceremony and reception would take place at the industrial Kitchen Chicago. The best part--they reserved the balcony area to be a quiet space where introverts could sit and read or play board games. As an introvert myself, I certainly appreciated this and took advantage of a few moments to "recharge". They had long tables decorated with flowers from Sofia's mother's garden, and tablecloths from her basement. The tables were set up so that guests were able to sit for the ceremony, and then remain there for dinner. Another unique detail about their day was that dinner was prepared potluck-style! In fact, my second shooter and good friend Tracy and I were there early enough to see family members dicing up vegetables and watched as guests brought in their crockpots full of homemade food. Small cards were displayed that labeled food as being nut-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, spicy, etc. I loved everything I ate. Maison Cuisine kept everyone quenched as they served beverages for everyone. 

This is easily one of my top 5 favorite weddings. I am so grateful to have been able to e a part of this wedding. Just wait until you see these photos:

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Kaylee's Lernerville Senior Portrait Session

Vroom, vroom

Here is Part 2 of Kaylee's senior portrait session (you can catch Part 1 right here). This time, we met at Lernerville Speedway, a dirt race track located in Sarver, PA. Racing season runs every Friday night from April to August, and is beloved by local amateur drivers and professionals alike. Kaylee is no exception! So I packed up my boots and cameras, Kaylee packed her heels and flannel, and we headed to Lernerville.
 

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Kaylee's Rustic Senior Portrait Session

3 words: I. Can't. Even.

Meet Kaylee! She's a good friend of mine and a crazy talented photographer herself (check out her work here!) so naturally she had so many great ideas for her senior portrait session. When someone says "I want to sit on a chair in the pond!" and "I want to climb that haybale!" Yaaas Kaylee let's goooo!

We decided to break it up into mini sessions so keep your eyes peeled for her muddy Lernerville-themed session next! But for now, check out a collection of my favorites from her rustic senior portrait session at the fabulous Saxony Farm in Saxonburg, PA. 

That hair. Those freckles. Kaylee, you are beautiful.

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Logan's Grunge Senior Portrait Session in Butler, PA

This guy. Let me tell ya.

We tried to take some serious photos, we truly did. But the laughing ones are my favorites! And this location? So fun! Several years ago, my husband showed me this spot in Butler, PA and I've been dying to take senior portraits here with someone who has just the right type of personality. Logan was able to fit right in! 

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Brenna's North Park Senior Session

If you were wondering who the heck was blasting Rihanna at North Park in the middle of the afternoon, it was me and Brenna! I had so much fun getting to know this sweet Pine Richland senior during her portrait session. 

Brenna, you're beautiful.