Welcome to the World, Little K. | Pittsburgh Child Photographer

This past Sunday my husband and I had the honor of becoming the Godparents of our nephew, little Mr. K.  Isn’t he a little cutie?  Sigh…there is nothing like holding a sleeping baby; the sound of their soft breathing and the downy feel of their fuzzy hair on your cheek is so relaxing.  (That is, until they wake up…lol.)  I’ve only known him for a short time, and yet I already love him.

I remember when I was a child and there was just my sister and I.  I couldn’t imagine what life would be like with another sibling; I couldn’t imagine loving a complete stranger who would soon be a part of our family.  Our family, we were just fine the way we were, I thought to myself.  Why change things now?  My mother was going to have another baby, but I didn’t think we could feel the same way about him, the same attachment, the same love, the same sense of belonging that we had for each other.  Or at least it would take a long, long time to feel that way, once we got used to him, I thought.  Oh, the silly mind of a seven-year old.

When Andrew was born, instantly it was hard to imagine what life was like without him.  Was there really a time when there was just my sister and I?  Why didn’t we know how incomplete our family was?  How did we not know that something was missing?  It was strange to think of a time in our family’s history when he didn’t exist.  It was like he had been there since the beginning…

And so this Sunday, as I looked down at my little nephew, I somehow still felt the same sense of wonder and amazement that I felt when Andrew was born, and when my little girl was born.  What was life like before them?  I can’t remember, because it’s as if they had always been a part of our family.  It makes me wonder, who else haven’t I met yet that will become an indispensable part of my life as time goes on?

Welcome to the world, little K.  We’ve been waiting for you.



Kristen - He’s beautiful! :)

Amanda - Kobe has the most adorable little round tummy :-)

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Molly & J | Hitched

Finally!  Things have been quite busy in Red Lotusville, and I am slowly catching up.  You might have waited even longer for this post, had not a good friend shamed me into just posting already!  Oh Reader, I confess that I have been a bad blogger, and I vow to change my slow-blogging ways!  Lest I make promises that I can’t keep, I will start small by making it my goal to post once a week.  Baby steps!

I have been dying to post Molly and J’s commitment ceremony pictures, not only because there were so many amazing details, and not only because Molly and J are such an awesome couple, but also because I had the fortune to have the fabulous Amanda Wilson (the aforementioned good friend) as my second shooter!  I can’t tell you how excited I was to have Amanda with me all day; the details she captured were just fantastic.

Molly and J celebrated their commitment to each other in a beautiful wooded setting just behind the Barn at Fallingwater, followed by a reception in the Barn.  Truly, I can’t imagine a more idyllic setting; surrounded by tall trees, leaves rustling in the breeze, and sunlight filtering down to create the perfect soft lighting.

Molly’s dress was so elegant, and the perfect shade of blue.





Molly and J opted to see each other before the ceremony for pictures (sometimes referred to as a ‘First Look’), which I love!  It’s nice to be able to get some alone time with couples before the ceremony, and it takes some of the stress off of trying to squeeze in everything before the reception.

Molly is workin’ it here – muy caliente!


Can I just say that the camera loves these two?


They began by making their entrance to the sound imagery of music and poetry performed by their friends; they each walked down opposite sides of the clearing to meet their parents, and then both families convened in the front to greet each other with warm smiles and hugs.  Then several of their friends gave touching testimonials of love that made everyone laugh, and sometimes well up with tears.  I admit that I got a little misty more than once.







Such passion and love for each other that Molly and J expressed in their vows…just beautiful.


We were able to take a few photos at Fallingwater before the reception.


Do you remember how in a previous post I said that I loved peeling paint, old wood, rusting metal and such?  Well, the only thing I love more than those things is a field of tall grass.  Any time I am out and about, I keep my eyes peeled for possible photo locations, and my heart skips a beat when I find a hidden patch of tall grass.



Amanda gave me the idea for this one–thanks Chickie!  Molly and J actually used this picture in the design of their thank you cards; I photoshopped the words ‘thank you’ on their knuckles to look like tatoos.


First dance.


Just when everyone thought it couldn’t get any more fabulous, Molly and J  broke out into a surprise dance that they choreographed to Michael Jackson’s song Billy Jean.  IT WAS FANTASTIC!!  I could only dream to move with such skill and grace.






Molly and J, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your special day.  It’s something that I will never forget!  I wish you both many years of happiness together!

Amanda - OMG. This wedding was SO GREAT! I am drooling with jealousy over the shot in the grass with the soft edges. And I love the glowing wine bottles and the pearls on the drink list and the twisted string of lights. How did you ever edit all of those shots?? There had to have been so many!
I had a Fantabulous time with you guys and I can’t wait till we get the chance to shoot together again.

Sandy Yetter is a rockstar !

We should wear capes and hire out as a dynamic duo.

MollyBain - These so beautifully represent our evening of festivities! Thank you, thank you! We had such a wonderful time working with you and your two fierce assistants who packed cameras and lights galore. We love how you capture the space, the green and warm and hazy environment, our community of friends and family, and all the love! Dear Goddess, how I adore the Sandy-Montage!! Thank you again; and thank you, Amanda, for your contributions–they’re great!

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Molly & J | Riverquest Cruise

You may remember the fabulous Molly and J from their couple session that I posted a couple months ago; well, the evening before their wedding day, Molly and J treated their friends and family to a tour of Pittsburgh’s three rivers in RiverQuest’s Explorer vessel, a state-of-the art, eco-friendly hybrid electric bio-diesel boat used for education as well as events.  It was a lovely affair, with a spectacular view of the city that you just don’t see every day.




The food, by The Enrico Biscotti Co., was a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds.


Molly and J do more than talk the talk about being eco-conscious; they walk the walk and live it every day.


Image by Amy.



These two are hilarious when they are goofing off.  If a healthy sense of humor is essential to a great marriage, they are set.





Pittsburgh really is a beautiful city.




Soon to come:  a selection of photos from Molly and J’s commitment ceremony, which took place at the barn at Fallingwater.  Family and friends, FYI: to see all of the photos from the cruise, visit Molly and J’s private online gallery here.

Amanda - Ahhh! So good to see these guys again – (although this is before the after, but now we’re after the after) you know what I mean.

The food shots are AWESOME and the city at night – DROOL :-D :-D

You rock, I can’t wait to see the wedding!

simone - wow! this is gorgeous ms. sandy!!


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Happy Birthday Little Miss Imogen!

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is getting to see a family grow right before my eyes.  I first met Rosalie and Chris over a year ago for maternity photos.  Since then, they have referred two couple for wedding photos; Vanessa and Matt, who were married in May, and Jessica and Danny, who will be married in August.

Rosalie and Chris, happily expecting…


Then this couple became a family of three when little miss Imogen was born…


I had the pleasure of returning for her 6 month milestone…


And now, it’s hard to believe that Imogen is 1 year old!  How she has grown and changed in such a short time.  I feel honored that Rosalie and Chris have chosen me to document their family’s growth.






I’ve been trying some different processing for a new look here and there; which one do you like better?


These photos make me chuckle. :)  We kept Imogen happy with a handful of Cheerios; here they are suspended in the natural catch-all of her poofy little tutu.




She is so engrossed in pushing the phone buttons…already at the tender age of one and she is embracing technology!




It took several tries to get her to keep her birthday hat on.  My favorite is the one in the lower right corner; the look on her face as she pulls off the hat is priceless.


Rosalie and Chris, thank you so much for once again allowing me into your lives.  I am already looking forward to the next session.  Happy birthday, Imogen!!

Amanda - Sooo cute! I love the hat ones! The photo J purist in me says I like the unshopped version of the tutu shot BUT the shopped one with the cool patterned background and the tinge of teal just SCREAMS to be made into a 16×20 canvas print and hung on the wall. I think its my favorite !

Sandy - Amanda, thank you for always answering in the comment form when I ask things like ‘which do you like better’ or ‘what do you think of…’. I appreciate the feedback!

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Vanessa and Matthias | Wedding {Part 2}

As promised, more images from Vanessa and Matt’s wedding…

You know me and my affinity for bold, saturated colors. :)  The strong geometric pattern combined with the blues and golds really appeal to me in this image.


Can I just say that the moment just before the kiss is even better than the kiss itself?  It gives a sense of anticipation to the image.  This moment looks like it belongs in a timeless romantic movie.  (Wistful sigh…) This was captured exactly as it happened, at the perfect moment, without guidance from me.  But here’s a little tip for brides-and-grooms-to-be: when the time comes for your own photos, once in a while try lingering just barely apart for a few seconds before your lips make contact, and see if it adds a sense of anticipation and movie romance to your images.


You know what else I love besides saturated colors?  Peeling paint.  That’s right, I said peeling paint.  I love the contrast of beautiful people juxtaposed to a grungy scene like this.  Peeling paint, old wood, rusty metal, you name it.  If we are on a photo shoot and come across something like this, be prepared to hear a squeal of delight from me!



Two grungy backdrops in one day?  And this one in rich purple?  I was in heaven.


I used a little cross-processing to give this one a different feel.  What do you think?


Vanessa chose some amazing details;  I love, love her stylish feathered hair piece–so chic!



I won’t tell you what lengths I went to in order to get this shot, but I will say that it was totally worth it.


And finally a moment alone at the bar…


Vanessa and Matt, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your day.  I wish you both many years of happiness and love!

Amanda - WHOA! I think this is the best wedding yet from you!! LIKE WHOA. I love the people waving out the window – the bridal details – the reception photos – and the bar shot!

I like the cross processing!

Vanessa - Sandy, I cannot thank you enough for doing such a great job capturing the day. I love all of these pictures! I knew I would-you are just so great!

Jessica & Danilo | Pittsburgh Wedding » Red Lotus Photography Blog - […] I wish you both a lifetime of happiness together!  Also, a big shout out to a past couple of mine, Vanessa and Matt–it was wonderful seeing you both again!  Vanessa and Matt were nice enough to refer Jessica […]

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Vanessa and Matthias | Wedding {part 1}

On May 2nd I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding of Vanessa and Matt.  Once again I have been blessed with a wonderful couple who are  just an absolute delight to be around.  The ceremony was held at St. Catherine of Siena, and the reception took place at Six Penn Kitchen downtown.



Look at this little man, waiting for the ceremony to start.  Isn’t he a cutie?


Vanessa looked absolutely stunning on her wedding day.






Vanessa and Matt wanted some photos taken on the 6th street bridge, which was a short walk from the reception.  As luck would have it, the bridge was blocked off from traffic for the Pirate game–it was meant to be!





Soon to come:  Part 2 from Vanessa and Matt…

Amanda - Sweet! I love the ring shot! I can’t wait to kick it with you at fallingwater this weekend :-)

Shannon - These pictures are great Van…I love the ones of you guys on the bridge, very cool! And cracking me up that you got us in the window! :)

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Life is Good

This morning I woke up to this spectacular view.  [Contented sigh…]


The soft ocean breeze, the sound of waves crashing, the warm sand beneath my feet…I’ve been waiting for this, and I’m so glad vacation time is finally here.


I love the Outer Banks.  The last time my husband and I came here was five years ago; my daughter was no bigger than a grain of rice growing in my belly.  It was the best vacation ever…until now!  Now she is 4 years old, and we are seeing everything for the first time again, through her eyes.




We love flying kites, and the breeze by the ocean is always perfect for kite flying.



Life is good, and I am grateful.


Amanda - These are fantastic! I can almost hear the waves :-) I love the sunset and the seashell and the kite and the seagull sillhouette is sweet!

Nat - I’m so jealous!

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Bethany and Chris | Wedding

It’s been a while since I have blogged, longer than I intended.  But I hope, gentle reader, that you will agree with me when I say that good things come to those who wait.  I can’t think of a better way to start off the wedding season than with Bethany and Chris.  The wedding was held at St. Joseph’s church in Sharon, PA, and the reception at Avalon Country Club.  Fellow photographer and kindred spirit Jennifer Churches accompanied me as second shooter, which was a treat in itself.




I absolutely loved the flowers that Bethany chose for her bouquet.  Purple hydrangeas are just a feast for the eyes.




I don’t know what it is that I like so much about this image…something about it says old Hollywood glamour to me.  Perhaps I was inspired by the dramatic portrait of Drew Barrymore on the wall of the bedroom, depicted as an old time Hollywood starlet.


You can see Chris smiling as he watches his beautiful bride walking down the aisle.




Just married!



Look at that bling.  Simply stunning.  Chris chose the rings himself, and I must say he did a fine job.


A shower of purple flowers awaited Bethany and Chris outside.  Image by Jennifer.


The only thing more stunning that Bethany’s ring?  Bethany herself.  Look at those green eyes!


I just adore this image.  The flare from the sun gives it the most brilliant warmth and a feeling that I can’t describe.



Bethany and Chris treated their guests to a fabulous candy bar.


The little captions they came up with for each candy were so cute and clever.



I was fortunate that Bethany and Chris took some additional time away from the festivities for more photos.  I can not stress enough the value of setting aside extra time for photographs at your wedding.

Look at that blue night sky, and the glass-like reflection in the pool.



And one more kiss in the wine room before rejoining their friends and family.


Bethany and Chris, thank you so much for a wonderful time, and for entrusting me to capture your precious memories.

Church: St. Joseph, Sharon, PA

Reception venue: Avalon Country Club

Entertainment: Frankie and the Sensations

Amanda - Ahhh! Thank you for posting I was about to call the blog police and send out a search party!

I LOVE the shot of the dress and her rings are to die for! Great wedding!

mike homer - all of these pictures are beautiful very well done

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Molly and J | Couple Session

She is an instructor of writing composition at Community College of Allegheny County; he, a professor mechanical engineering, engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University.  She has a passion for the performing arts, having written and performed two one-woman shows among her accomplishments.  He has a passion for his research, photography (yeah!), and music, and plays a mean guitar.  Both have a passion for social justice, the environment, and more than anything, each other.

Last week I had the pleasure of photographing, and exploring Pittsburgh with a delightful couple.  I can think of one word that would best describe Molly and J: awesome.  Spend a few minutes with these two and you will see what a cool, fun, witty, creative, and nice couple they are.

We started at the fountain at the Point.  This was my first time at the point, and oh my goodness, I never realized how humongous the fountain is.  It was not running yet, which was fine because we a had a clear shot of Heinz field in the background.


Here is J looking cool by the edge of the river.  This could be the cover shot for his CD.





In this one I shot with a slow shutter speed to make the speeding cars blur.


So sweet, putting a blossom in her hair.


Cool action shot.  These two are much braver than I!  Molly made the leap in clogs, no less.



I love the feel of this image, and the vibrant orange color.  And OMG, does Molly not have the most ridiculously beautiful blue eyes you have ever seen?



I have always wanted to do a shot like this, and luckily the stars were in alignment for me this evening: awesome couple+beautiful weather+low traffic = timeless image that I am just giddy over.


Molly and J will be celebrating their commitment to one another Memorial Day weekend, and I can not wait!  Thanks for an amazing time, M & J!

patti frounfelter - Sandy,

These are wonderful, beautiful, creative! And, of course, such a dynamic couple..fun and adventurous…and very good-looking!!

Your interpretation of the couple and the space around them (pattern, line, texture, color) is fabulous!

Patti Frounfelter

Amanda - AAAAAahhhhhhhhhh! SO COOL ! I will be here often !

P.S. I bought a 5D. On a whim. I wanted one and then I started talking to another photo friend of mine who reminded me that they are discontinued thanks to the new model coming out (which is more expensive and supposedly not that much better) and so the old one (v 1.0) is starting to disappear. Much to my dismay upon investigation BH no longer has any AT ALL. And KEH only has 1 that’s Like New Minus condition…which I don’t want to pay $1800 for something someone else already changed all the settings on and has some wear and tear.

I found possibly the last one available on Amazon. I didn’t want to spend the money but I cannot sit by and watch all the fantastic success people are having with these low light shots and not be part of it. I just need more pixels!!

Molly Bain - We had such a wonderful time working with you, Sandy. You were creative and energetic, while deeply focused, and easy-going and playful, while impressively professional. We felt comfortable and encouraged to share our ideas, play, and open our hearts in front of your camera. Thank you for your work (your use of color and the Pittsburgh environment absolutely enthuse me!), as well as your willingness to run around and actually lie down on Pittsburgh streets with us! Molly

"Auntie" Donalee - Sandy, Molly and J are the BEST, aren’t they?You really caught their personalities with your camera. Looking forward to meeting you.
-Donalee Frounfelter

Molly & J | Riverquest Cruise » Red Lotus Photography Blog - […] may remember the fabulous Molly and J from their couple session that I posted a couple months ago; well, the evening before their wedding […]

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Introducing: Baby Wyatt | Newborn Session

As promised, here are some pictures of Tanya and Josh’s little peanut, Wyatt.  What a cutie!  I never get over my amazement at how small and precious newborn babies are.  I look at my 4 year old daughter, and I can’t believe that she was this small when she was born…








Thank you Tanya and Josh for welcoming me into your home, and allowing me to capture these precious memories for you.

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B E   I N   T H E   K N O W !