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Wedding Videography in Pittsburgh | A Cinematic Experience

I believe in the power of a still photograph to reveal emotion, feeling and truth.  As our eyes scan a photograph the still image invites us to participate by associating a memory – how you were feeling if you’re a subject in the photo, or through empathy if you’re a viewer – or by simply enjoying the juxtaposition of the elements in the frame.

During my days as a news photographer I learned to shoot and edit video.  It was a new challenge brought on by a shift in the way people got their news; logging on to a website instead of reading a newspaper that had been delivered to the door.  The internet allows news organizations to present their information in many different ways, one of which is video.  While I enjoy shooting and editing video, I quickly found out that despite the capability of the new generation of digital cameras to take both still frames and HD video, it is impossible to do both at the same time and do either of them well.

Many clients ask for a recommendation for a good videographer.  It’s kind of a difficult recommendation for me to make since a video crew that doesn’t work in the same unobtrusive, documentary style that we do can be a hinderance by getting in the way of real moments as they happen.

Rachel Wagner has been working with me for a few years helping with post processing of the thousands of images that we shoot during a wedding season.  Recently, she graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Fine Arts degree.  For quite a while now we’ve been working on something a bit different in concept from the traditional wedding video.

I’m very excited about what she’s come up with.  It’s a short film with all of the essential elements of the day in a skillfully photographed, edited and custom-crafted piece that is a joy to watch.  Her talents blow me away.

It’s great to have someone on the same team working together to ensure the client gets a collection of still images that tells the story of their day in a powerful way as well as a cinematic experience that engages a whole other part of the viewers’ hearts and minds.

Here’s a sample video.  It’s kind of a movie trailer from a recent wedding at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum:

Emily & Ryan from Rachel Wagner on Vimeo.

More examples can be provided upon request.  Please contact us with questions about pricing and availability of wedding videography in Pittsburgh.

New York City Engagement Photos – Arielle and Jeremy

engaged couple laughs as they kiss in central parkI love New York City.

My wife and kids and I visit New York at least once a year.  Our family vacation is split between visiting relatives in Babylon, Long Island, and enjoying the lovely beaches there and a few days in Manhattan. While I love to travel, I kind of hate to feel like a tourist – even if that’s what I am.   A number of my clients live there and return to Pittsburgh for their weddings.  This year I had the opportunity to do some portraits while in the city, which gave me a sense of purpose as I went about town.  I liked it:)

Whenever possible, I try to meet my couples before their wedding.  Like a lot of my clients living out of town, Arielle and Jeremy booked me after corresponding through email and a meeting over the phone.  So, I was really looking forward to getting to know them a little better during our engagement portrait session.

Arielle and Jeremy had it all planned out, and were my guides as we went to many of the locations in Manhattan that are important to them as a couple.  I loved seeing the city through their eyes.

We started at the bar that they met at, Professor Thom’s.  Really, two kids from Pittsburgh had to go all the way to the East Village in New York City to meet and fall in love!  They stood out to each other because they were both wearing Steeler’s jerseys in a place that draws a crowd of Red Sox, Patriots and University of Michigan fans.

young couple smile and laugh as they enjoy a drink in a bar

From Professor Thom’s we headed to Central Park.  This will forever be known as “The Love Rock” because that’s just what Arielle and Jeremy realized they were feeling as they listened to a concert in the park sitting here.

a couple sit together on a rock in new york city central park

We walked further into Central Park for more photos.  When I prepared these photos for this post, I realized that in none of them are they aware of the camera.  While I might suggest that a couple stand somewhere, or walk, or turn and face each other, I’m still looking for a moment.  A natural spark that shows the spirit of their love.  It was pretty easy to find with these two.

a couple share an intimate moment in a public space in central parksilhouette of a couple dancing beneath the stairs in central park as a man plays flute a beautiful woman in a red dress with her boyfriend on a path in central parka couple looks at each other as they walk through new york city

We wrapped up after the sun had set.  Since I was traveling light, I had a bare minimum of gear with me which was, in a way, liberating.  It made me think hard about what my composition was going to be because my choices were limited when it came to lighting.  I love this photo (and the first photo in this post) because of its simplicity and the fact that it’s all about the moment between Arielle and Jeremy.

a couple embrace while standing near the fountain in central park after sunset

While I really enjoyed the New York City engagement photos, I’m very excited about their wedding at the William Penn Hotel in a few weeks!

Sherry - August 8, 2013 - 1:49 pm

These are gorgeous Joe!

[…] Arielle and Jeremy are two Pittsburgh kids who both moved to New York City. It was there that they met and fell in love. I had a great time getting to know them and their favorite places in NYC when I photographed their engagement portraits there last summer. You can read a little more about that story by clicking here. […]

Portrait Photographer in Pittsburgh | Couples, Babies and Families

Summer is a busy time for weddings and I love it!  Weekends are filled with the anticipation, joy and celebration that comes along with wedding season.  During the week, things are a little bit quieter but I’m still very busy editing photos, designing albums and the dreaded bookkeeping and other necessary office tasks.  So it’s great to get out on a warm evening around sunset and be a portrait photographer in Pittsburgh.

Engagement portraits are a lot of fun because they’re done when there’s no pressure to get back to the reception.  They’re scheduled when the light is beautiful and are a great way to get used to being in front of a camera.  You’re wearing “civilian” clothes instead of your wedding outfits, so it’s sort of like the first family photo session.  Here are a couple of photos from recent engagement portrait sessions:

Once married, many folks decide that they want to start a family.  It’s such an exciting time!  I remember very well the anticipation and joy that came while my wife and I were expecting our first child.  The second one was fun too:) Elizabeth and Joe are expecting their first child in a few weeks.  We went out last night and did some portraits at Point State Park:

Elizabeth looks fantastic!

 I photographed Stacie and Eric’s wedding three years ago.  Now they have two beautiful baby boys.  It was great to reconnect with them and see their family grow:

I got to reconnect with another couple who’s wedding I photographed a few years ago. Julie and Chad’s daughter Kaelyn was just a toddler then.  She’s all grown up and will be starting kindergarten in the fall:

My wife and I have family portraits on our walls.  I love looking at them and remembering what the kids looked like just a few short months or years ago.  They change so fast.  Give me a call if you’d like to talk about a doing a portrait session that results in photos that are more than a record of how you look.  I believe that a good portrait ought to reveal who you are as a person, a couple and a family.

katrina wallace - July 9, 2013 - 2:13 pm

So sweet to see families grow. Kids get big so fast and it’s so important to have photos taken. I especially love the photo of Kaelyn. :) So cute!!

Julie Weber - July 9, 2013 - 2:50 pm

More amazing work done by you Joe! All of the photos here are beautiful – I find myself still coming back to check out all your work time and time again. Thank you again for our wonderful family portraits! Everyone loves them :)

Twentieth Century Club Wedding Pittsburgh

wedding couple portrait with fall leavesRebecca and Seth were definitely ahead of the curve with their 1920’s Art Deco-era inspired wedding decor theme.  With the recent release of the film The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio, the style of the 1920’s has become very popular.  That beautiful landmark lent itself perfectly to Rebecca and Seth’s theme for their Twentieth Century Club Pittsburgh wedding last fall.

Rebecca was absolutely gorgeous.  She wore her mother’s wedding gown, with a little modification from a designer friend.  Seth looked great, too, in his grey tuxedo and bow-tie.  But it was their son Rowan who stole the show when he carried their rings down the aisle wearing a black tuxedo!

Here are some of my favorite photos from the day:

bride has her hair and makeup done

gray tuxedo with polkadot bow tie and a vintage wedding dress in the style of the Great Gatsby

Seth is a great dad.  Seriously, he and Rowan are so sweet together.  Tux or no, when the kid needs a diaper, the kid needs a diaper:

father with his son before a weddingfancy peacock cake topper and sequined high heels

Truth be told, Rebecca was a little bit nervous before the ceremony.  Hey, it’s all part of the day and the relief that comes after the ceremony makes the reception that much better!

bride reflected in a mirror on her wedding daybride with her mother on her wedding day

Seth, on the other hand, was all smiles as he walked down the aisle with his mom, Mona, and dad, David:

groom walks down the aisle with his parents in the Jewish tradition

Rebecca and here dad Dan shared a quiet moment before heading to the ceremony:

nervous bride with her dad before a wedding ceremony

I told you that Rowan was so cute in his little tuxedo.  He walked down the aisle with his grandma Anita (Lisa’s photo):

cute ring bearer walks down the aisle at a wedding

Rebecca’s nerves disappeared once she started down the aisle.  Such a beautiful smile:

bride smiles as she and her dad walk down the aisle on her wedding day

Lisa’s photo below:

bride and groom kiss during wedding ceremony

bride and groom celebrate at the end of their wedding ceremony

I loved this moment just after the ceremony:

bride and groom hug after their wedding ceremony

Rowan joined Rebecca and Seth after the ceremony:

bride and groom celebrate with their young son after a wedding

Some portraits by the big window on the second floor of the 20th Century Club:

bride and groom portraits in front of a large windowbride and groom portrait against a stone wall


motorcyclist with an iron man helmet

The sunlight was so beautiful that afternoon:

bride and groom dance in the afternoon sunlight

Rebecca and Seth during the toasts:

bride and groom laugh during toasts

Rowan joined Rebecca and Dan during the father/daughter dance:

bride dances with her father and her young son

The Hora:

bride is picked up in a chair before the hora dance at a weddingbride and groom are held aloft in chairs during a hora dance at a weddingmen dance around a bride during a wedding reception

Seth and his dad dance:

groom dances with his father

Seth and his buddies danced around Rebecca:

groom dances with his friends at a wedding reception

Here’s a different view from Lisa:

detail of a bride

Seth dances with his father and father-in-law:

groom dances with his father and his father-in-law during a wedding receptionman dips his dance partner during a wedding receptionCompetition for the bouquet required some serious athletic skills:

guests fighting for the bouquet toss at a wedding reception

I guess all of the excitement was too much for Rowan.  What a sweet moment:

bride and groom with their child at a wedding reception

Mike Garrard - June 27, 2013 - 6:25 am

Great moments as ever Joe… nice ‘catch’ on the bouquet toss!

Ben Godkin - June 28, 2013 - 12:48 am

Beautiful work Joe!

katrina wallace - June 28, 2013 - 4:42 pm

Love this set Joe … it feels so heart felt.

Photography Education | Pot Luck Pow Wow

One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that I’ll never figure everything out.  Change is at the heart of the nature of life: Business, art, style and fashion are always evolving.

That’s why I feel so strongly about the importance of photography education to professional growth and learning.  So I regularly attend workshops, conferences, webinars and other events to inspire me and help me to evolve.

I’m extremely fortunate to be friends with a lot of very fine photographers.  A few weeks ago, 19 of us got together in the Hamptons for a home-brewed workshop and week of fellowship and fun.  It was one of the most valuable learning experiences of my career.  Since we each chose a topic to present on, we decided to call it the Pot Luck Pow Wow:) I was the only Pittsburgh wedding photographer there – we had folks from overseas, Ohio, California, New York, Boston, Chicago, Montgomery and Austin.  Everyone left their egos at home and openly shared their experience, knowledge and skills.

Although I took my professional gear, I ended up taking photos with my iPhone.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Mark Janzen held class outside between the pool and the tennis court:

Mike Garrard traveled across the Atlantic Ocean from the UK to be at the Pow Wow.  He brought his mad ping pong skills with him:

When you get a bunch of photographers together you’ve got to expect a certain amount of geeking out!  I saw the image that Ed Atrero and Julie Lowry were working on and it was really cool:

Genevieve and James Nisly are a dynamic photography team from Ohio.  I was so glad to have had the opportunity to get to know them better:

Steve Koo reprises his role from the original Karate Kid:

Me and my dear friend and running buddy, Julie Lowry:

See, it wasn’t all fun and games – we got a lot of learning done:

I’m still dreaming about the dutch apple pies that Caroline made:

Aga talks about connecting with clients:

I love the beach in all weather conditions:

Gulnara, Nadine and Candice on a windy evening at the beach:

Thanks friends!




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Joe Rumore - June 27, 2013 - 11:51 pm

Hey, you left Portland out! (kidding)! But seriously, what a great summary of a few days together with some fantastic wedding photographers! It was a truly great experience living with you and learning from each other… and having some fun too!

Joe - June 28, 2013 - 12:01 am

Joe! I’m sorry. Portland – there I said it :) It was so great to see you and Britney!

Caroline - July 3, 2013 - 8:18 pm

Aww yay!