Butler Country Club Wedding | Maria & Josh

A beautiful summer day, an awesome couple, and shooting with my friend Aaron Varga – the trifecta for an amazing wedding day!  Ok, there were more factors that made the day even better, like the fun bridal party and fantastic venue, but then what would I call it? Quint-fecta?

Anywho, you may remember Maria and Josh from their engagement session, where we roamed the streets of Butler and found some pretty cool spots for photos. It was so great to work with them again!

Love Maria’s shoes.

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As I was looking for a good spot to photograph the rings, I noticed that the family Bible was sitting open on the coffee table.  This book does not collect dust in Maria’s house; there are so many passages highlighted and tagged with stickies that you know how loved and used it is on a daily basis.  Maria says Psalm 91 is one of her mother’s favorites.

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Maria has the cutest little sister ever.  It is so sweet how close they are.

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One of the things I love about having a second shooter: while I’m getting a shot like this…

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Aaron is getting a shot like this at the same time:

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Oh, and he’s there to photograph me doing ridiculous things like laying on the ground.  Yes, I will do anything to get the shot!

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I love to see a big Greek wedding dance!

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The best part was being bombarded by a flying beach ball, lol.

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Aaron and I have such a good time shooting together; as he said on his blog, we are both complete photo geeks who feed off of each others enthusiasm for creating cool and unique images.   Behold, the result of our collaborative thinking!

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Sooo romantic.

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Maria and Josh, I had such a nice time with you again – thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your special day!  (((Hugs))) Sandy

If you like what you see here, like me on Facebook!

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Ceremony: St. Fidelis Church

Reception: Butler Country Club

Flowers: The Bloomery

Cake: Mimi’s Bake Shoppe

Entertainment: Red Hot Chameleon

Tiffany Bender - You are a true talent my friend! Congrats to the happy couple!

Sandy - Aww, thanks Tiffany! :o)

Travis Wyatt - I’ve subscribed to your rss feeds for a while and just loving the work you produce.

Sandy - Thanks so much, Travis!

Josh - Sandy, these pictures are beautiful! Thank you so much for being such a big part of our special day. You rock!

Aaron - These are terrific! You really captured some great reactions and moments during the ceremony and I really like the wide shot of them both with the stained glass behind them. Beautiful detail photos as always, and I love the lighting during the first dance. And those last two pics are proof that we need to collaborate way more often :) Outstanding!

Sandy - Thanks so much, Josh! It was absolutely my pleasure!

Sandy - Thanks, Aaron!

Amanda - Every time you post a wedding I think – I can’t wait till my wedding because I want photos like this with ME in them! (ok me AND sean – and maybe some other people…) Maria’s dress is fabulous! I love the black and whites of her getting ready and the shots at the country club. I totally busted out in giggles when I scrolled down and saw the one of you laying on the ground. I’ve so been there – anything for the shot. Thank goodness Anna doesn’t take my picture when I’m being crazy! Great wedding photos – I want to see more – I can’t get enough!

Amanda - P.S. Cake shot = Nom nom nom ..

Sandy - Thanks, Amanda! I can’t wait for your wedding, too!!

Dee Dee - Sandy,
I am completely amazed by your talent…..if a picture says a thousand words – yours say a million. You couldn’t have captured the day any better. These are gorgeous!
Dee Dee (Josh’s mom)

Sandy - Thank you so much, Dee Dee!

Suzanne - Beautiful work!!!! Those last two shots took my breath away!

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Engagement Photos | Amanda & Sean

You’ve heard me mention my good friend Amanda many times on this blog; well today, dear Reader, you get to put a face to the name!   Amanda and I have been kindred spirits since day one, and when you meet a friend like her, you thank your lucky stars!   There is no measure to the worth of a true friend, and Amanda is as true as they come.  I had the pleasure of photographing Amanda’s engagement session last fall, and soon I will have the honor of photographing her wedding!  I know it wasn’t easy for Amanda to be in front of the camera (we photographers don’t like to be on the other side of the lens), but I think you’ll agree with me when I say that she had nothing to worry about.  She is beautiful!  Here are a few favorites from the day:

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Love this one.

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And this one.

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Amanda had the great idea of bringing a few balloons to the shoot for a fun little punch of color.  I love how a simple prop can add so much to the feel of a session.

engagement session balloons

engagement session props

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Amanda and Sean, I had an awesome time with you both.  I can’t wait for the wedding!!!

(((Hugs)))

Sandy

 

Jenny - Awwwwww Sandy these are adorable. Amanda and Sean, you look so cute together.

Aaron - Love these! The balloons really do add so much, and the location is great. You’d never know it was hard to be in front of the camera, these two nailed it! My favs are all the ones in the middle of the woods and of course the last one; I’m a sucker for silhouettes. Very nice!

Sandy - Thanks Jenny and Aaron!

Amanda - We had such a great time doing a session with you! Even Sean who doesn’t love to have his photo taken (and me who cringes when I feel cameras pointed in my direction) totally relaxed and enjoyed our time in front of the camera. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the black and white image of our “serious faces” and the balloons were so much fun! I wish more people brought balloons to photo shoots.. I can’t wait for wedding photos!

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Weeds

Confession time, dear Reader.  I have a love/hate relationship with my yard.  Love: It’s one of the biggest and flattest back yards in my neighborhood.  It’s perfect for kids to play in.  Hate:  It’s lumpy and full of crab grass.  You see, my husband and I are both one of those people – we live in a neighborhood where everyone has a perfectly manicured lawn, but we do not.  We are anti-chemical, and anti-pesticide.  It’s not that I don’t love the wonderful aesthetic effect that those chemicals produce; it’s just that I have a problem spraying harmful substances where I know my precious daughter is going to play.  (By the way, no judgment here if you spray your lawn–it’s just our personal choice.  We are trying to embrace a more organic lifestyle.)

There are times when I am tempted to break out the Round-Up, especially when a few thistles (a.k.a. jaggers) pop up and poke my bare feet.  But, crab grass and other weeds are not too hard to live with, if you keep up with the mowing.  It grows faster than the “good” grass, so things don’t  stay evenly cut as long as it normally would.  Last month we went to the Outer Banks for a vacation with my family, and unfortunately, the person we had called to mow our grass while we were gone never showed up.  From what I understand it also rained quite a bit here in the ‘burgh that week.  So you can imagine the jungle that awaited us when we got home!

As I looked out the window in despair that evening, dreading the thought of struggling through the sea of tall grass and dandelions with our lawnmower, I had a thought.  It just happened to be the “golden hour” of the evening, when the lighting is magical…and although we were not in some picturesque field in the countryside, I do love tall grasses and dandelions for photos.  And, I never take enough photos of my own family (ironically).  So, I tossed my daughter into a pretty dress and took her outside.  I let her just be herself and enjoy doing what she does, which is to explore and marvel at things that seem ordinary, while I snapped away in contentment.  It was a wonderful evening…and the grass got cut eventually.

When life hands you weeds, dear Reader – take pictures!

XOXO

Sandy

 

P.S. On an unrelated subject which happens to have the same name as my post title, if anyone knows when Showtime is going to start airing new episodes of “Weeds”, please do tell!  Last season ended with such a cliffhanger!

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Aaron - This is exactly what I meant when I said your photos have that special “something”. These are in your backyard with weeds and they’re still awesome! Great photos, and it’s nice to see a personal side. Oh, and your daughter looks just like you! I shall call her…Mini-You :)

Sandy - Lol – thanks!

Amanda - Such a big smile today :-) Love love love these. Yummy backlighting in the first two and then the last shot – I would enlarge that with the quote and make myself a gallery wrap and hang in right near my editing station if I were you. Just sayin… :-)

Sandy - That is a good idea!

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Newborn Photography | Introducing Baby Christian

I had wonderful time cuddling this little cutie pie to sleep – another aspect about newborn photography that I love!  He tried his hardest to stay awake the whole time, but he caught a few winks towards the end of the session. ;)

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Thanks, Meghan and Dennis, for bringing in your precious little man in to the studio.   Congratulations!!

Aaron - So cute! I love his little army pants and the dog tags :)

Jenny - aaawwww… such sweet images.

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Pittsburgh Engagement: Cara & Scott

A perfect, sunny evening in Pittsburgh with an awesome couple and their three adorable dogs – what more could a photographer ask for?  I met up with Cara and Scott for a stroll through Riverview Park, which has a great off-leash area for dogs.  Their family members were kind enough to babysit their furry children while I had Cara and Scott alone for a while, bringing them in for the second half of the session.  Doesn’t Cara have one of the most dazzling smiles you’ve ever seen?

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Look at that gorgeous golden lighting…swoon.

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Oh yeah…a little to the left…that’s the spot.  Ahhhhhh….

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Cara and Scott, I had a fabulous time with you both.  Can’t wait for the wedding in July!!

 

Amanda - Mmmm delicious delicious backlighting… and adorable dogs! Love this new processing you’re doing. Whatever it is I like it 110% I think if you like it as much as i do that you have definitely arrived at your “style”.

Aaron - I’m loving that backlighting too! These are great. The wide shot of the “almost kiss” under the tree is definitely my favorite, and I love the B&W shot!

Jenny - I love this session. The backlighting, the processing, the one with them sitting under the tree, the black and white one, and of course the one with all three dogs with their backs towards the camera. I agree with Amanda that this feels so You.

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Baby Photography | Introducing Baby Declan

When a friend has a baby, it makes a newborn session all the more special for me.  I am so happy for my dear friend Mollie, who is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.  We go way back, from when I worked as the Activity Director at a nursing home.  Mollie, who was one of my assistants, was someone that I could always count on, rain or shine; words can not describe how grateful I am for all the times that Mollie pulled through for me when I needed her, always going the extra mile, always someone I could place my complete trust in.  A friend like that is truly priceless.

I love this first image, and I have my Dad to thank for the awesome tree stump prop.  He actually hollowed out the inside with a chainsaw to make it easier to move around, plus he made another one for me that has bark.  Thanks, Dad!!

Look how precious, smiling in his sleep.  I wonder what he’s dreaming about.

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My photog friend Aaron Varga was there to help out, and I must say, I was impressed with his ability to jump right in and learn how to calm the baby. Thanks, Aaron!

 

Mollie, congratulations on your little one.  I am so happy for you – he is going to be the joy of your life!  XOXO  Sandy

Aaron - Woah, who is that helpful and incredibly talented assistant you have there!? :)

These photos are just beautiful. I love that you captured the split second where Declan smiled, and I really like the two of mom & baby; such great emotion.

Sandy - Lol, he’s awesome, isn’t he? And he really IS helpful and incredibly talented! :)

Amanda - Ooo tree stump ! I can just picture you and Eric rolling those into the car and strong-arming them back to the studio ! Made of a great photo – Props to Aaron for being the baby whisperer!

Jenny - Sandy, these photos are so beautiful. Love the first one.

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Maureen & Art|Phipps Conservatory Wedding

It’s been a while since I posted a wedding, dear Reader!  I have been obsessed with building up the newborn and child photography part of my business – but never fear, my brides and grooms-to-be, I haven’t forgotten you!  I have a number of weddings I want to share with you, but I thought I would start with my most recent wedding.  (My photog friend Amanda would be proud of me for setting aside my Obsessive Compulsive Chronilogical Blogging Disorder.)

Maureen and Art were blessed with a beautiful afternoon of sunny weather for their ceremony at the outdoor garden at Phipps Conservatory; the weather forecast was threatening rain, but it held off just for them!

 

Aren’t this little lego bride and groom adorable??

lego bride and groom
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Maureen’s dress was simply stunning.  There is no other word for it.

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Their wedding was full of sweet little details.

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They had their rings custom made by a local artist – how cool is that?

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Art and his son had awesome Lego cuff links.

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Love this reaction to seeing Maureen in her dress.

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A moment between mother and daughter.

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Before the wedding, Maureen told Art that she just got a “simple dress”.  I loved the look on his face when he saw his gorgeous bride walking down the aisle in that amazing dress.  Wowza!

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Art’s brother explained the meaning of a special part of the ceremony, something akin to the unity candle or a sand ceremony, but truly unique.  He began by telling the story of how Maureen, Art, and his kids went on a hike together, and they each found the perfect stick.  They took them home and decorated them, adding ribbons with words and phrases written on them, like favorite pastimes, memories, and other things that were meaningful to them personally.  Then they placed them in an urn full of sand, until the wedding day when they would bind the sticks together.

 

 

 

Image by Jenny.

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My second shooter, Jenny, was so thoughtful to bring coins for Maureen and Art to make a wish in the fountain.  I am sure it brought back some fond memories for Jenny, who had her wedding ceremony in the Broderie Room, photographed by yours truly. :)  Thanks, Jenny!

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One more look at Maureens fabulous dress, which had so many cool details.

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Jenny and I took a moment to have a delightful caffeinated beverage. :D

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I just love this shot of a romantic kiss in the pouring rain.

 

Maureen and Art, thank you for allowing me to capture your amazing wedding day!  (((Hugs))) Sandy

If you liked the images from this wedding, dear Reader, take a moment and like me on Facebook!

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Ceremony/Reception Venue: Phipps Conservatory

Florist: Mt. Lebanon Floral Shop

Entertainment: Steven Vance (String Trio during ceremony), Hard & Purdy (DJ)

Cake: Oakmont Bakery

Makeup: Susie Popovich (412) 951-2774

 

 

Shannon - OMG – what a cool wedding!! Love all the little details, and the CAKE!! WOW!

Aaron - Sandy, these are just incredible. I seriously love every single one! The detail shots are fantastic, and I’m always impressed with your ability to capture great reactions and emotion. And that last pic is AWESOME! I’ve been dying to get a backlit kiss shot in the rain! Well done :)

Amanda - WOW! You guys outdid yourself this time! These are all awesome, what a fantastic wedding ! There are too many favorites for me to pick from here, the rain shot, the low angle in the broderie room, the shot of maureen with the flower girl walking under the arch, and so many more. I looked at these and thought – I can’t wait till you shoot my wedding so that I can have shots that capture moments like this :-)

Sandy - Aw, thanks Amanda. :)

Sandy - Thanks Aaron! Let me tell you, I was seriously excited that Maureen and Art gave me a few minutes after the reception to take that picture. I’ve been waiting for a willing couple to do a shot like that for the longest time! :)

Sandy - Thanks Shannon!

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Maternity Photos Pittsburgh|Tanya & Josh

This is my second maternity session with this wonderful couple, and I am honored to be the one to capture the growth of their family.  Thanks Tanya and Josh!  ((Hugs))  Sandy

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Amanda - I love shot #2 with all three of them ! So perfect! What a great moment captured for their family :-)

Aaron - Awesome photos! It doesn’t hurt that it’s a great-looking family either :)

Jenny - Great photos. Love the second photo with the whole family.

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B E   I N   T H E   K N O W !