Mansion at Maple Heights Wedding|Cara & Scott

You may remember Cara and Scott from their engagement session a while ago; and now, I present to you Cara & Scott: The Wedding!  This sweet couple held their ceremony and reception at the Mansion at Maple Heights, a lovely venue for an intimate wedding amongst your closest friends and family.

Giving away your daughter has to be one of the hardest things for a dad to do.

father giving bride away

I got a big smile on my face when I saw how they used one of their engagement photos!  Image by second shooter and good friend Jenny.

Cara and Scott are animal lovers, and they shared that love with their guests by naming each table after one of their current pets or a pet that they grew up with.  Image by Jenny.

The food by La Creme was seriously good.

La Creme catering for Mansion at Maple Heights


First dance.  Image by Jenny.


Cara and Scott, thank you for letting me be a part of your special day!  (((Hugs))) Sandy


If you enjoyed Cara and Scott’s wedding photos, please take a moment to like me on Facebook!


Venue:  The Mansion at Maple Heights

Officiant: Larry Goyda, Meaningful Marriages

Entertainment: Faure String Trio (Ceremony); Brian Bauer, Eventures Weddings

Bakery: Oakmont Bakery

Caterer: La Creme

Makeup: Jennifer Palermo

Hair: Brooke Rockwell Hair Design

Florist: Bill Chisnell Productions

Linens: Mosaic Linens

Rentals: All Occasions


Amanda - oooo Maple Heights looking great this day! LOVE the lace on the wood floor, the ring shot, the engagement photo of the dogs – so cool as the seating chart! – and the backlit shots on the porch!

Aaron - Ahhh, sooo great! Every single photo has that magical “something” that I love! My favorites are the detail shots, the photo of the flower girl in the mirror, and especially those backlit porch photos. Awesome :)

Sandy - Thanks, Aaron! :)

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Childrens Photography Butler PA | The House at Pooh Corner

With a few good friends
And a stick or two
A house is built at a corner called Pooh…

I’ve had this idea for a photo shoot in my mind for a while, and I finally had a chance to bring it to life this week at my parents’ property in Butler.  My daughter and her two cousins are the best of friends, like three peas in a pod.  I really wanted to capture the sweetness and whimsy of their childhood in these images.  My Dad helped me put together the little tent, and my Mom lent me a couple of her amazing handmade quilts to complete the set.  The clothing I chose for the kids  had a slight vintage look to them, which I just l-o-v-e.  Fyi, when planning a photo session for your children, clothing can really make or break a session, so I am always happy to help clients choose clothes for the shoot.

I am just over the moon about these images!

After story time at Pooh Corner, we picked some apples from the trees my Dad planted when I was a kid.

So cute how you can see the tops of the little ones’ heads as they watch their cousin bring the branches down for them.

I just love this little girl to pieces.





Jenny - This is amazing Sandy. So many absolutely stunning photos! Wow.

Sharon Haas - Loved these pictures Sandy. You copied the true childs spirit in these. May they always be best of buddies. So very special.

Katia - Sandy…this is one of the MOST beautiful things I’ve ever seen..OMG I cannot wait for my daughter to stay still for more than a split second so I can do this with her…she LOVES Winnie Poo Poo (how she calls it)…such a touching, personal and beautiful work!Thank you for sharing with us.

Aaron - I thought I had commented on this post already, but alas it doesn’t look like I did. Anywho…what a beautiful post!! Such a great idea, cool location, wonderful styling, beautiful light, and adorable kids. You’re right, clothing has such a big impact on the overall feel of a session and you chose well. Awesome!

Katrina - Your work is absolutely beautiful! How I wish you were in my area but sadly I’m in Georgia. Still absolutely fantastic photos!

Sandy - Katrina, thanks so much–I wish you were in my area, too! Well, if you’re ever in Pittsburgh, give me a ring! :)

Linda - I just came across this photo session and LOVE the cute props that you used for the tent photos. Love it.

Sandy - Thanks, Linda! :)

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The Knot Magazine: Venues With A View


  This month one of my images from Jenny and Bradley’s wedding at Phipps Conservatory was featured in The Knot magazine!  The article is entitled “Venues With A View” – and Jenny and Bradley’s guests certainly had a beautiful setting to look at during the  ceremony held in the Broderie Room at Phipps.  Congratulations, you two!  xoxo Sandy

Jenny - So happy that you documented our wedding day. Congratulations! Sandy, you rock!

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TLC Tuesdays – #1

So, I was thinking to myself about how I need to blog more often, and I thought it would be fun to show you some before and after pictures to demonstrate the difference between SOOC (Straight out of camera) and retouched images.  Who doesn’t love before and afters???  All of my images get some kind of retouching; usually it’s white balance/color correction, adjustments to contrast and such.  But some images benefit from a little more TLC.  So here we go with the first issue of TLC Tuesdays.  As always, thoughtful comments are welcome!

This first image is from Eva and Sam’s engagement session, which I just posted yesterday.  It’s pretty good straight out of camera.  But I wanted to add a few special touches to make it even better.

First, I added a little more contrast, bumped up the color saturation up a bit, and brightened things up a tad with curves.  I removed a few blemishes and lightened up the circles under their eyes.  (Even children have dark circles under their eyes, believe it or not!)

I enhanced the catchlights in their eyes and brightened up their irises a little, then added a touch of skin softening to Eva’s face with Totally Rad Pro Retouch.  Finally I burned the edges of the photo a bit.  And voila!  The enhancements I did were relatively subtle, but that’s what you want.  The goal is to add that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ without smacking you in the face.  Or as Austin Powers would say, it adds what the French call a certain ‘I don’t know what’. :)

This next photo was taken during my first year as a wedding photographer.  Such a sweet moment between this newly married couple.


First, I tweaked the white balance to add some warmth and get rid of the slightly green cast.  I dodged (lightened) up their faces, then used the patch tool to remove blemishes and even out the skin on her forehead.  Finally, a little Pro Retouch to soften her skin.

And one more.

First, I darkened the spots that were blown out by the bright sunlight.  The bottom part of the groom’s jacket could not be recovered, so I used the clone tool to fill in the blown out area by sampling from another part of his jacket.  I brightened up their faces, and removed their undereye circles.  Finally I brightened and sharpened their eyes, and softened the bride’s skin.  I am always careful not to over-soften skin – we want glamorous, not plastic!

So, was this post remotely interesting?  Should I include more or less details?  I was thinking of making this a regular thing, maybe twice a month.  Yay or nay?  Comments welcome!



Tiffany Bender - I love it…give us a great peak in to what it means to be a custom photographer…I will be looking forward to the next post like this!!! I say do it regularly!

Alaina - I love seeing the befores and afters! Please keep it up. Maybe you can show what happens when you go overboard with certain techniques??

Katia - Sandy…thank you for sharing these with us…the images are beautiful and a good photographer always have great composition in order to add “Je ne sais quoi” in post-processing…you are great at this! beautiful work.

Eric - I have been thinking of the same idea recently to come up with a weekly blog idea. I was thinking Fun Foto Fridays or something cheesy like that lol. Nice work!

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Engagement Photos Downtown Pittsburgh | Eva & Sam

I had an amazing engagement session downtown with Eva and Sam, who very well may win the award for Cutest Couple Ever.  They are so sweet together!  Eva and Sam wanted an engagement session that was very Pittsburgh, because after the wedding, their jobs will be taking them all the way to San Diego.   And, true to Pittsburgh, the sun was not to be found that day; in fact, it even started to rain during the session.  But no worries!  They brought their umbrellas, and I brought my camera rain sleeve.  To be honest, I am actually glad it rained!  There are some shots that I’ve had on my wish list for a while, and I finally got them, thanks to Eva and Sam being open for anything!

engagement photos david lawrence convention center
engagement photos rainy day city
Engagement photos on a rainy day in the city

We finished up the session on Mt. Washington, where Sam proposed to Eva.

Eva and Sam, I had a blast with you–can’t wait for the wedding!!



Katia - Sandy, what a beautiful work…OMG you made that rain work to your advantage…I always get freaked out when it rains but I will remember this post next time. You are amazing. My favorite is second to last!GORGEOUS!

Sandy - Thanks, Katia! :)

Amanda - Ooo I like them all but that last shot is like BAM! all Emeril style.

Sandy - Lol!

Aaron - Wow, these are seriously incredible; somehow you always raise the bar, and nail it rain or shine! I can’t even pick my favs, but I love the umbrella shots on the bridge, that one in front of the Benedum is just awesome, and you know how much I love backlighting at night. Great post!

Jenny - I love them all. You Rock Sandy!!

Tiffany Bender - You are simply amazing!!! I adore each and everyone. SO creative with you lighting and comp!!!! Lovely

Eric - Where is the shot with the water falling on the walls taken at?

Sandy - Hi Eric! That shot was taken at the David Lawrence Convention Center. Such a cool spot!

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Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

And now it’s time to announce the winner of the $100 Anthropologie gift card…Rosalie Boyle, come on down!!!  I’ll be in contact with you shortly to discuss the delivery of your prize.  And to everyone who participated in my Fan-a-thon week giveaway – thank you so much!  Anyone who participated can book a session now until the end of 2011 and receive 10% off their entire session!  If you are expecting, now is the time to contact me about booking your session so we can plan ahead.  If you’ve been meaning to have portraits taken of your children, don’t wait–they change so fast.  For more information, click here.

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Engagement Photos Pittsburgh | Vicki & Tom

A few images from an amazing engagement photo session with Vicki and Tom, a super sweet couple who are so meant for each other.  You know how I can tell?  It’s the way they look at each other.  The way he kisses her on the forehead.  The way she touches his face.  The way they can’t help gravitating toward each other every time after I start them with a pose.  Sigh…c’est l’amour.


Grassy field with flowers at sunset?  Squee!

I absolutely cannot wait for the wedding!

Contact me about your wedding or engagement session | Like me on Facebook!

Aaron - What a gorgeous set of photos; the light is just fantastic! I just love the rim light on them and how it’s hitting the trees in the first one. And a grassy field with flowers at sunset? So awesome!

Sandy M - Sandy, the photos you took of my daughter and her fiance, Tom, are just breathtaking -it’s too bad you can’t post all of them! The close up with the weeds and the backlighting – wow! I love the ones on the bridge and the shots of them sitting on the rocks in the creek. So beautiful with the late afternoon lighting in the grassy field, too. Love the close up of them on the blanket and Vicki’s green eyes! They wanted photos in an outdoor setting and they got them. Can’t wait for the wedding – get ready!

Sandy - Thanks, Sandy!! I can’t wait for the wedding, either! :)

ashley - gorgeous!!! i stumbled across your site while searching this afternoon. is the top shot taken in the pittsburgh? where is that location? i love the way that little bridge lays across the water! you have a beautiful eye!

Sandy - Thanks, Ashley! That was taken at Mingo Creek Park. Thanks for looking!

Anna Bellew - You are a talented lady. Beautiful work.

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Newborn Photography Pittsburgh | Baby Lyla

I love this family, and adore their newest member, little Miss Lyla Grae.  She is simply beautiful.

For more information about scheduling a newborn session with Red Lotus Photography click here.

If you like what you see here, please take a moment and like my Facebook page to stay up to date on the latest news and recent work.

Taryn Boyd - THESE ARE PERFECT SANDY!!!! wow! I’m not sure which one I like more!!! AWESOME job!

Sandy - Thanks, Taryn!! :o)

Aaron - So adorable! I absolutely love the first two — the flowers and lighting are perfect, and the baby-in-a-basket on the doorstep is such a cute idea. Awesome!

Sue - Beautiful! I love baby on dad’s back! Perfect!

Amanda Keeys - Those are just gorgeous! Can’t believe you got the toddler to sleep as well, so cute.

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Family Photographer Pittsburgh | Sweet Summer

Being a photographer is truly a dream job for me.  I love being able to preserve memories for people, and I have the privilege of getting to know my clients on a personal level over time as I watch their family grow.  I met Rosalie and Chris for a lovely summer photo session at Highland Park to mark their youngest daughter’s 6-month milestone.  I can’t imagine a more perfect evening; the weather was warm (but not too warm), the lighting was golden and hazy, and there were flowers in bloom everywhere.

Rosalie and Chris, it was so great seeing you and the girls again!!


Suzanne - Beautiful work! LOVE the B&W of mom with baby :-)

Sandy - Thanks, Suzanne!

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It’s an Anthropologie Giveaway!

EDIT: Contest is now over.

It’s Fan-a-thon week at Red Lotus Photography!  The prize: A $100 gift card to Anthropologie!  Who doesn’t love Anthropologie?  I seriously swoon over every item in that store.  I have a set of fire-glazed coasters and a sugar bowl in my studio from there, and I get compliments on them all the time.  So, would you like a shot at winning a hundred clams to spend on your heart’s desire?  Then read on, and pass it on!!



Please note: The contest winner is the person who likes me and refers the most people to like my Facebook page.  Those people must post on my wall and say that they were referred by you in order for it to count towards your tally!  You are in charge of counting up your referrals at the end of the contest; I think the easiest way would be for them to tag you when they post.  If there is a better way, please let me know!

The Fine Print: **This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook as read in the updated guideline rules. By entering you are providing information to Red Lotus Photography and not to Facebook.** Discount Code ‘FANATHON2011’ is only good for 2011, so book your session before the year is up!


Ready to get started?  Go to my Fan Page!  Like Me!  Share with all your friends!

Amanda - Curse you facebook…. curse you.

Sandy - You know you want to try Facebook again…come to the dark side, Amanda. :)

Tiffany Bender - Ohhhh- I want this!

Sandy - I want this, too! Love that store!

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B E   I N   T H E   K N O W !