Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers » One of the "50 Top US Wedding Photographers" - weddzilla.com

Pittsburgh Photojournalist:

I love weddings. Filled with narrative, emotion, beauty, and joy – they’re an ideal vehicle for visual storytelling.

Variety, as is said, is the spice of life. For a very long time I worked as a full-time newspaper photojournalist. The subject matter and range of situations that you find yourself in while doing that job is nothing if not varied. I still enjoy the opportunity to do that sort of work and I’ve been very fortunate to have done some freelance work for The Washington Post over the past couple of years.

Here’s a story that I photographed for the Post. I had a great time with the King family, of the Great American Country network series Farm Kings. The editors liked the photos enough to┬árun them on the section front with a double truck spread inside! That sort of play really gets a photographer jazzed up. Since it was in one of the country’s largest and most-respected daily newspapers you can just imagine how I felt.

Newspaper section front showing a family eating dinner together outdoors at picnic table as well as an image of plated turkey with all of the fixingsNewspaper pages with images of a family being filmed by a television crew while eating dinner, a woman picking flowers, men cleaning butchered meat, a man removing plastic mulch from a field and a woman making gravy for dinner

Here’s a link to the online version of the story on the newspaper’s website. The photos are bigger in this gallery.

If you follow me on Instagram (joeappel) you know that I love to photograph food, so that made this assignment that much better ­čÖé


Diane and Rick’s Fairmont Pittsburgh Wedding:

Rick and Diane had their wedding in the late spring. We returned to the beautiful Fairmont Pittsburgh hotel for the┬ásecond weekend in a row. It’s a great place as is St. Mary of the Mount, where they had their ceremony.

married couple stand close together on the walkway beneath the convention center by the Tenth Street Water Feature

Diane gets ready with the help of her bridesmaids:

bride and her bridesmaids are reflected in a mirror while she puts her earrings in

Her parents Mike and Peg look on:


Diane’s maid of honor (and sister) Sarah helps her put her shoes on:


Such a beautiful bride:

portrait of a beautiful bride focused on her blue eyes

Some details, include Louboutin shoes for her and mis-matched socks for him:

detail photos include funny socks on groom, Christian Louboutin shoes, buttons on the back of bride

The guys had some refreshments before heading over to the church (Lisa’s photo):

hands reach for shot glasses

Like any good husband, Rick knows how to follow directions. Like any good wife, Diane knows how to give them (Lisa’s photo):

groom holds note that bride left for him giving him instructionsbride wears her Christian Louboutin shoes

Rick and his mom share a moment outside of the church (Lisa’s photo):

groom and his mother share a private moment before the wedding ceremony

I don’t know who looks happier, Diane or Mike?:

father looks at his daughter as he walks her down the aisle during her wedding

Rick had tears in his eyes as he saw them walking towards him (Lisa’s photo):

groom tears up as he watches his bride walk towards him

You never know how the handoff is going to go at the front of the church. This was a really nice moment:

groom embraces the father of the bridebride caresses her groom during their wedding cereomonybride and groom kiss at the front of the church during their wedding at Saint Mary of the Mount

Really, it’s not that difficult ­čśÇ

groomsman makes a face as he opens a bottle of champagne in the limousine after the wedding

Bridal party photo on the water steps near PNC Park:

wedding party cheers while the bride and groom kiss at the water steps near PNC Park

We went over to the walkway underneath the D.L. Lawrence Convention Center for some photos. Intense sunlight can make doing portraits in the middle of the day difficult, but the light was beautiful there:

Beautiful bride beneath the David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Rick’s turn:

Three portraits of a groom beneath the Pittsburgh convention center

Back on the limousine bus, the party was in full swing:

Groomsmen sing and dance onboard the limousinebride and her bridesmaids sing and dance on the limousine

We took a few moments for portraits in the lobby of the Fairmont before the cocktail hour:

bride and groom stand together on the stairway next to the big windows at the Fairmont Pittsburgh

Some details from the reception:

detail photos of the decor including flowers, place settings and tables at the Pittsburgh Fairmont

The couple makes their entrance into the reception (Lisa’s photo):

A man applauds as the bride and groom are introduced into their wedding reception

First dance in the Fairmont Hotel ballroom:

bride and groom share a first dance at the Fairmont Pittsburgh hotel ballroom

It was very sweet to see Diane’s reaction to Rick and his mom dancing together:

bride watches as her husband and his mother dance

Diane’s grandfather is a LOT of fun. He was on the dance floor for the whole evening:

crazy old man dominates the dance floor at his granddaughter

This was great. Mike and his brothers cleared out a space on the dance floor, got in a circle, and ran towards each other:

a circle of men rush towards each other

I love the reaction of the other guests!

A circle of men bounce off of each other as they jump into the air the father of the bride yells after jumping into the air with his brothers


a couple dances very close to each other during a wedding reception

These lighted foam sticks were Rick’s idea. The guests loved them!

a group of guys play air guitar as they dance

Bouquet toss:

a bride gets ready to throw her bouquet to single women

Sarah grabbed it:

the maid of honor raises her hands in triumph after catching the bouquet

The garter toss was hotly contested (Lisa’s photo):

a single man jumps for the garter tossed by the groom

Rick and his guys:

the groom and his friends sing as they dance together

Diane and her bridesmaids (Lisa’s photo):

the bride and her bridesmaids laugh and dance together

Rick and Diane’s dog made an appearance. I don’t think he knew what to make of the celebration:

the couple

Last dance:

the groom lifts his bride and a beer during the last song of their wedding reception

Susan and Jason got ready at the beautiful Fairmont Pittsburgh hotel before their Grand Concourse Wedding on a lovely late spring day. They’d planned their wedding from out of town, so it was very helpful to have professionals like the folks at the Fairmont and especially Brian at the Grand Concourse to lean on. As it turned out, the day went so smoothly that it┬áseemed to fly past.

bride and groom pose for a portrait at the top of the stairs of the Fairmont Pittsburgh

Susan’s maid of honor helps her put on a pearl necklace:

A bridesmaid helps the bride put on a pearl necklace while getting ready for her wedding at the Fairmont Pittsburgh

A bride and her maid of honor hug at the Fairmont Pittsburgh

Susan got very emotional when she saw Jason standing in the little park outside of the Fairmont where they had their first look:

A bride wipes tears away as she prepares to see her groom for the first time in the small park outside of the Fairmont Pittsburgh

Bride and groom embrace during their first look in the small park next to the Fairmont Pittsburgh

Bride and groom in the small park next to the Fairmont Pittsburgh

The light was shining through the windows at the Fairmont making a cool color that I thought was a perfect compliment to the big art piece behind the front desk. Add a beautiful bride, and viola!

Bride poses for a striking portrait in front of the artwork behind the front desk of the Fairmont Pittsburgh

Bride and groom sit in the window of the Fairmont Pittsburgh before their wedding on a warm, sunny spring afternoon.

We arrived at the Grand Concourse in plenty of time for the ceremony, so we went up to the third floor for some portraits:

Bride poses for a portrait in the Grand Concourse

Susan and Jason’s sister share a moment before the ceremony:

Bride and bridesmaid hold hands prior to her wedding at the Grand concourse

The bridesmaids provided cover for Susan so that the guests wouldn’t see her before the ceremony:

bride hides from her guests behind a wall of bridesmaids at the Grand Concourse

Bridesmaids look out of the second floor window as the wedding guests assemble below them at the Grand Concourse

Susan’s grandmother paused for a moment to touch the photo of Susan’s late mother as she lit┬áa candle in tribute:

Grandmother lights a candle in memory of her daughter, the bride

Susan and her dad get ready to walk down the stairs to the landing where the ceremony was held:

Bride and her father wait to walk down the staircase at the Grand Concourse

Father of the bride pulls the veil from his daughter

The couple took a moment to honor their parents:

Bride and groom look at their parents who stand at the bottom of the stairs at the Grand Concourse

Groom looks at his bride during their wedding ceremony at the Grand Concourse

As usual, I felt it was important to be as close to the action as I could be without being a distraction. It’s times like this that it’s so important to have a second photographer that I can count on.

Bride says her vows during a wedding ceremony at the top of the stairs at the Grand Concourse

Which you can see in this wonderful photo by Lisa of two little girls standing at the bottom of the stairs as they took a cue from the couple:

little girls mimic the bride and groom by holding hands during the wedding ceremony

bride and groom have their first kiss at the top of the stairs at the Grand Concourse

First dance with color provided by the big stained glass window at the Grand Concourse and the DJ’s lights:

Bride and groom during the first dance

We went up to the Smithfield Street Bridge for some photos around sunset. The ladies had some fun:

Bride and maid of honor dance on the sidewalk along the Smithfield Street Bridge

Bride and groom laugh while cutting the cake at the Grand Concourse

Grandma owned the dance floor (Lisa’s photo):

Grandma dances during the wedding reception at the Grand Concourse

Dancing guests during a wedding at the Grand Concourse

Bride throws the bouquet from the stairs of the grand concourse

Ouch! (Lisa’s photo):

Women fighting for the bouquet during a wedding at the grand concourse

Bride and groom stand on the Smithfield Street with the sun setting over the Monongahela River.

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William Penn Hotel Wedding Photography:

Tera and John were married during a beautiful ceremony at the chapel at Duquesne University followed by a reception in the Grand Ballroom at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Their wedding took place in January in an unseasonably (by last winter’s terms, anyway) warm spell. So, we were able to do a few photos outside, like the one below:

Newlyweds embrace in front of the mural on Duquesne University campus

My friend Justine Lynn of Beauty Justified made sure that Tera and her girls looked their best:

Make up artist Justine Lynn of Beauty Justified holds up a mirror for a bride to see the results of her work

Meanwhile, John was getting ready with the help of his groomsmen. I was lucky to have my good friend, the fabulous Rebecca Kiger shooting with me that day:

a groom gets dressed in his hotel room with the help of his groomsmena bride is reflected in the mirror as she smiles at her hair stylist

Tera’s mom is legally blind which meant that in order to get an idea of what her daughter looked like she had use her sense of touch. It was a really beautiful thing to see:

a bride

Tera (by me) and John (Rebecca’s photo) looking their best before heading for the ceremony:

portraits of a bride and groom on their wedding day

John waits nervously for the wedding to begin (Rebecca’s photo):

a groom nervously awaits the arrival of his bride at the church

Tera and her flower girls cross William Penn Place on their way to the waiting limousine:

a bride leaves the William Penn hotel with her flower girls

Tera’s sister kept the mood light before the ceremony began:

a bride

The ring bearers get some last minute instructions from their dad:

ring bearers walk down the aisle at the Duquesne University chapel

Tera’s dad joins her and John’s hands together:

father of the bride hands her over to the groom during the wedding ceremony

Tera makes sure that she gets the ring on all the way ­čÖé

bride puts a ring on the finger of her groom at Duquesne University chapel

It’s tough work carrying those rings all the way to the front of the church:

a little boy sleeps in his father

a bride and groom embrace after being declared husband and wife

Tera and John share a kiss at the back of the church right after the recessional:

newlyweds kiss in the back of the Duquesne University Chapel

The winter sunlight was pretty spectacular as we made our way through Duquesne University campus to do some portraits after the wedding:

dramatic winter sunlight shines on a bride and groom as they walk through Duquesne university campus

The lobby of the William Penn is one of the most lovely public spaces in Pittsburgh. So we set up a couple of portraits. Mine is on the left and Rebecca’s on the right:

hero portraits of a bride and groom in the lobby of the Omni William Penn hotel

The best man’s toast was more like a roast, but it was all in good fun:

bride laughs as her husband

John picks Tera up at the end of their first dance:

groom picks up his bride at the end of their first dance

I love winter weddings. It always seems like people are ready to cut loose after the holidays and this night was no exception. The dance floor was filled all night long (Lisa’s photo below):

bride dances with her bridesmaids during the wedding receptionbest man and his wife dance in the main ballroom at the William Penn hotel

Rebecca’s photo below:

a father dances with his daughter during a wedding reception

Lisa’s photo below:

bridesmaids dancing during a wedding reception

Rebecca’s photo below:

bride and groom dance their wedding reception

Tera’s fur wrap was a big hit with the wedding guests. It looked better on her, but this guy really makes it work for him:

wedding guest dances with the bridebride and her friend dance during the wedding receptionbride and groom kiss as they dance during their wedding reception

It was a fantastic evening and I’m always glad to see these two warm, positive, and thoughtful people. Congratulations are in order as they’re expecting their first child in the near future!

Phipps Conservatory Wedding Photography:

Kylie and Rachid were married at Sacred Heart Church in Shadyside in a lovely ceremony that combined elements of both of their faiths. The ceremony was followed by an evening of dancing and fun at Phipps Conservatory. We met up a few weeks prior to the wedding for an engagement portrait session by the big duck that was a huge attraction in town last fall.

Here are some of my favorite photos from their day:

Young married couple smiles for a portrait at Carnegie Mellon University

Rachid and the guys looked great in their black suits as they headed to the limousine parked in front of The Westin by the convention center (Lisa’s photo):

A groom and his guys walk reservoir dog-style to a waiting limousine

Kylie and the girls got ready at a friend’s apartment in Shadyside:

A bride raises her hands into the air in celebration after getting her dress on

She looked fantastic!:

a bridesmaid holds a mirror for a bride who looks into it

Rachid and his best man Bryan walk to the front of the church (Lisa’s photo):

the best man puts his arm around the shoulder of a groom as they walk down a hallwaysacred heart roman catholic church in the shadyside neighborhood of pittsburgh

Kylie and her maid of honor Laura wait outside for the ceremony to begin:

a bride and her maid of honor sit inside of a limousine

Kylie gives her dad Kyle a nervous smile before they walk down the aisle:

a bride nervously smiles at her dad before walking down the aisle at Sacred Heart Church in Pittsburgh

Tears well up in Rachid’s eyes as he sees Kylie walking towards him (Lisa’s photo):

tears well up in the groom

A beautiful place for a wedding:

bride and groom stand at the front of sacred heart church during their wedding in pittsburgh

Kylie and Rachid were all smiles:

bride and groom hold hands and smile at each other during their wedding ceremonybridesmaids hold hands during a wedding ceremonygroom smiles big as he puts the ring on the bridebride and groom smile as they exit sacred heart church

We stopped off at the Mellon Institute for photos with the bridal party. Ever the gentleman, Rachid holds an umbrella for Kylie:

groom holds an umbrella over his bride as they walk down the steps of the Mellon Institute during a rainy fall afternoon

First Dance (next 2 by Lisa):

bride and groom stretch out their arms as they dancebride and groom share a kiss as the groom dips the bride at the end of their first dance

Kylie and her little sister dance:

bride dances with her younger sistera couple jumps into the air as they dance during a wedding reception at Phipps Conservatory wedding

Kylie and her grandfather share a dance. I love the reactions of her sisters in the background:

a bride dances with her grandfather as her sisters hug in the background

Last 2 by Lisa:

very close shot of a little boy and his mother dancingbride and groom dance at the end of their wedding receptiond

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