Featured! | Inspire Me Baby Blog

Remember Jessy’s awesome senior session I posted last week?  I am super excited to announce that her session was featured on the Inspire Me Baby blog!  The IMB blog features images by photographers for photographers to gather inspiration for their sessions.  You can check out the post here.  Congratulations, Jessy–you rock!

portraits with gorgeous backlighting


Aaron - YAY! So exciting (and well-deserved)!

Sandy - :)

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TLC Tuesdays – #3

It’s been a while since I posted a TLC Tuesday episode, so let’s do one today.  Here we have an image from Vicki and Tom’s wedding that I posted yesterday; Vicki is standing in the doorway of St. Paul Cathedral with her father, just a moment before walking down the aisle.

Let’s start with the original image, SOOC, with the default raw settings in Lightroom.


The image is a little crooked, and seems a little too warm to me.  The first thing I did was to straighten the crop and cool down the white balance in Lightroom.  I also added a little more contrast and increased the blacks by a notch or two.  I pulled the recovery slider to 10 or so to bring down the highlights in the stained glass windows, and also used the adjustment brush to bring down the exposure in the windows.

The next step was removing the exit signs, which I felt detracted from the image.  I used the patch tool in Photoshop to do this.


And of course, I needed to clone out the church lady who was standing behind the bride.  Oh universal Church Lady, I am fond of you, but why must you linger in the doorway for every. single. wedding?

Ok, now time to remove the videographer.  For those of you familiar with the clone tool and patch tool, you already know what a difficult job this is because of where he is standing.  I need to reproduce the line of pews that he is covering, but because of perspective, I can’t just sample another area and clone it in over him.  So instead,  I used the lasso tool to select the pews on the opposite side, as well as a good portion of the area above the pews, since he is partially covering the wall as well.  I then copied the selection, pasted it back onto the image, making it a new layer.  I used the transform tool to flip it horizontally, then dragged it over the videographer and aligned everything to blend in.  I added a layer mask and brushed out any areas along the edge of the pasted selection that did not match up perfectly.


Ta da!  The final product, sans distractions.

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s episode of TLC Tuesdays!



Jenny - Thank you for posting this Sandy. The end result looks great. I definitely learned a few new tricks.

Sandy - Someday if I figure out how to do it, I’d like to do a “watch me edit” video…

Aaron - Great post! It’s cool to see the extra attention to detail you put into your photos; the finished product is much more impactful than the original.

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St. Paul Cathedral Wedding | Vicki & Tom

Remember Vicki and Tom’s engagement session this summer?  I am super excited to present to you Vicki & Tom: the Wedding!

Vicki and the girls got ready at the historic Inn on Negley in Shadyside.


St. Paul’s Cathedral is a gorgeous church.

Vicki and Tom’s bridal party was super fun!

Love Vicki’s unique bouquet–yes, those are artichokes!!

We stopped at Vicki and Tom’s alma mater, W&J, for photos.

The cake was actually made by Vicki’s mom!

Love it when they put on a slide show of old pictures.


The staff at the Hilton Garden Inn Southpointe put on an awesome live demonstration of fiery dessert making.


Vicki and Tom, thank you for letting me be a part of your journey for a little while.  You are two of the nicest people ever, and I wish you all the best in your married life together!  ((Hugs))  Sandy


Makeup/Hair: MCN Salon

Florisy: Karrie Hlista

Ceremony: St. Paul Cathedral

Reception Venue: Hilton Garden Inn Southpointe

Caterer: Hilton Garden Inn Southpointe

Entertainment: Jeremy Ganss



Jenny - Sandy, these photos are so gorgeous!

Sandy - Thanks, Jenny! :)

Leeann Marie - SO pretty, Sandy!!

Sandy - Thanks, Leeann!

Sandy M - Sandy,
Just breathtaking! Always amazed at how you manage to capture those intimate moments with such feeling and clarity. Thanks for being part of Vicki and Tom’s special day. Can’t wait to see all the shots! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Sandy - Thanks, Sandy! I did have an amazing couple to work with! :)

Katia - So gorgeous Sandy…as always!~ the last shot is BEAUTIFUL!

Melissa - The most amazing photos I have seen! Wish. Lived in America

Sandy - Thank you, Melissa!!

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Modern Senior Pictures Pittsburgh | Jessy

Can I just tell you, dear Reader, how completely over the moon I am about this senior session?  Gorgeous girl, awesome vintage style clothing, amazing light–everything about it was a dream come true.

vintage inspired senior session at an orchard

senior session at an orchard
vintage inspired senior session

vintage inspired senior session


Jessy’s lace cap was actually worn by her grandmother on her wedding day.  You are simply stunning, Jessy.

vintage inspired senior session
vintage inspired senior session
vintage inspired senior session

Thanks so much Jessy–I had an awesome time working with you!!


To schedule your senior session, please contact me for availability.

If you enjoyed these photos, please take a moment to like me on Facebook!

And to stay up to date on all the latest promotions, products, and news, subscribe to my e-newsletter!

Amanda - Beautiful light! I love anything with a tractor tire :)

Taryn Boyd - Every one is more beautiful then the next! LOVE them, so creative!!!!!!!

Jenny - WoooooW!!!! I love every single one of those photos.

Aaron - Oh my goodness…these are crazy good! That light is just incredible and I love the variety you were able to get. Awesome!

Sonia - Amazing pics! you are sooo very talented!

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Featured! | Whirl Magazine

One of my wedding couples, Heather and Brian Pellegrini, were featured in this month’s issue of Whirl Magazine!!  Along with the details of their wedding, there is a really cute story about their engagement.  To see the full article, click here.  Congratulations, Heather and Brian!  (((Hugs))) Sandy

Here are a few more favorites from their wedding:

Taryn Boyd - Sandy!!!! Congratulations! so awesome… you deserve it!

Sandy - Thanks, Taryn!! :)

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Snow Time Like the Present

Remember that crazy day when it snowed two days before Halloween?  There were autumn leaves on the trees at the same time as there was snow on the ground.  The first snowfall of the season is like magic, and at this time of year, it was a fun surprise.

Our dog, Happy, likes catching snowballs.  He looks like Jaws with his mouth wide open like that.  At age 15, he is still pretty spry for an old man!

Sometimes, you just have to drop everything and frolic in the snow. :)

Jenny - Love the action shots of Happy!

Aaron - Oh my goodness, your kids (both of them :)) are so adorable! I absolutely love the photos of Happy catching snowballs…they make me, well…happy :)

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Newborn Photography Safety | TLC Tuesdays – #2

Ok, so it’s not actually Tuesday–but this post couldn’t wait.  I received a request from a reader who just commented on one of my older posts, asking to see a before and after of my ‘baby on a Harley’ shot.  I love hearing from readers, and I am really passionate about the topic of safety when photographing newborns.  I think it’s important for photographers and parents alike to see what it really looks like behind the scenes, and to understand how important Photoshop skills are in ensuring a beautiful end product without risking the safety of the baby.

So here is the before.  You can see that grandma is behind the motorcycle, with her hand on the baby, spotting the entire time.  At no time does she take her hand from the baby.  And standing just outside the frame is the baby’s father spotting as well.  This was a while ago, but if I remember correctly, I used a composite of two images.  You see how the grandma has her hand on the lower part of the baby’s back?  For the second shot I had the father come in behind the motorcycle, but this time he positioned himself to the right and held the baby on his upper back.  The reason I did this is because I wanted a clean shot of the baby’s head and back against the gray backdrop; I then merged the two photos together to make one uninterrupted line.

newborn photography pullbacks
Baby on a Harley

I hope you found this post to be helpful.  Thoughtful comments are always welcome, so leave me some blog love if you’re so inclined.

And if you really liked this post, please take a moment to Like me on Facebook.  Thanks!  :-D  Sandy



Aaron - Great post! It’s really easy for peeps to think that babies just lay perfectly still during these types of photo sessions and won’t fall off whatever cute thing we have them lay on :) Thanks for showing the right way and that the little tike’s safety should come first, THEN followed by ridiculously adorable photos :)

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Mattress Factory Museum Wedding | Molly & Matt

I just loved everything about Molly and Matt’s wedding, which was as unique, stylish, and amazing as they are.  We started the day getting ready at the Renaissance Hotel downtown, took a ride on Molly’s Trolley , and ended with a ceremony and reception at an über-cool venue, the Mattress Factory Museum.

Makeup artist Debbie Maker
Makeup artist Pittsburgh
Molly, you are simply stunning.
I had my good friend, the talented Aaron Varga, shooting with me that day.  Love this image of the guys looking so cool hanging out on the steps.
Molly and Matt decided to do a “first look” in one of the empty galleries, and it was so intimate and perfect.  These next two images were taken by Aaron, while I captured the moment from a different angle.
As if things couldn’t be any more perfect, Molly and Matt began to rehearse their first dance…the room was quiet, the sound of their footsteps and the soft rustle of her dress sweeping across the floor as they danced…nothing to distract from the moment as their eyes locked…so sweet.

This next image by Aaron.

They had a beautiful self-unification ceremony out in the courtyard.

I loved so many images from this wedding, but I think these next two may be my favorite.

 So, I thought it would be really neat to do a sort of time-lapse photography thing so you could get a behind-the scenes look at what goes into getting ready for a wedding reception.  Through the course of the day I would stop at the same spot and take a shot of the action:

And the gorgeous fruits of everyone’s labor:

unique wedding cake toppers

Molly surprised Matt with the most fabulous groom’s cake ever.  Wow!

cake for movie buffs

Aaron and I were working very hard that night, pinky swear.

And one last kiss goodnight…

Molly and Matt, it was an honor and a pleasure to be a part of your completely awesome wedding day!  Congratulations and thank you!!  (((Hugs))) Sandy

If you enjoyed these photos from Molly and Matt’s wedding, please take a moment and Like me on Facebook!


Makeup: Debbie Maker

Hair: Sognatore Salon

Dress: Ann Gregory

Venue: The Mattress Factory Museum

Florist: George Weber, The Botanical Emporium

Bakery: Rania’s Catering

Caterer: Rania’sCatering

Entertainment: Steven Vance Strings (ceremony), Ortner Robers Jazz Trio, Andy Huttlemeyer DJ (412-427-1207)

Aaron - LOVE IT! Wow these are so great! I love the shot of her with her hands on her face from high up, the first-look dancing photos, the 2 in the weeds right after the ceremony, and that sweet reception time-lapse the best. Ha, and those photo booth pics of us are…well, awesome :) We totally rocked this wedding; thanks for letting me tag along!

Taryn Boyd - YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME????? Sandy!!!! THESE ARE RIDICULOUS!!!! You are so talented!!!
What a beautiful couple…wedding….I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS POST!!

Cool time lapsed image too!

Sandy - Thanks Aaron and Taryn! You know how to make a girl smile. :)

Amanda - Ahhh love the time lapse – so neat! Almost like a vendor reality show!

Tiffany Bender - OMG!!!! You are just ahhh- mazing!

Collages.net Blog Stalker - Wow! The photos are beautiful. I love the bridal portraits… S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G.
Gorgeous work!

Jenny - WoooooW!!! Amazing! What a cool venue! You totally rocked this wedding! Love the portrait with her hands on her face! So many gorgeous photos!

Katia - OMG Sandy!!!I am totally in LOVE with these!!!they are so beautiful!!!The dancing shots in that white empty room are beautiful, they really inspired me! Beautiful job as always!!BTW I love the booth shots of you and Aaron…you guys are too cute!

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B E   I N   T H E   K N O W !