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Longue Vue Club Wedding | Cari and Sims

portrait of a bride and groom on the hill high above the allegheny river

In many ways Cari and Sims’ Longue Vue Club wedding was the perfect way to begin what was a busy winter season.  I’ve said before that I love winter weddings – it just seems that there is a wonderful celebratory feeling to having a wedding outside of the traditional busy season.  That said, Longue Vue Club is a very lovely place to have a wedding at any time of the year.  Everything was coordinated to perfection by my friend Theresa Kaufman – a great event planner.

Cari and Sims are very busy professionals who live in Chicago, so I know that they relied heavily upon Theresa working with Cari’s lovely mom Linda to make the event come to life.  I relied on my buddy James Knox to help me photograph the wedding and, as always, it was wonderful to work with him.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the day:

The historic stone clubhouse at Longue Vue Club

a bride has her makeup done in the ladie

a groom shares a laugh with his brother before his wedding

Linda helps Cari with her wedding gown:

A bride

Sims and his brother put their ties on as their dad looks on:

groom gets dressed in the men

a bride holds her dress as she walks up a flight of stairs

A groom and his best man cast long shadows as they walk to the over to the ceremony at Longue Vue Club

Cari fights back tears:

a bride fights back tears before her wedding at Longue Vue Club

Cari’s dad Tony keeps her laughing before they head down the aisle:

a bride and her father share a laugh just before her wedding ceremony

a bride and her father walk down the aisle during a wedding in the grand ballroom at longue vue club

a groom whispers to his bride during their wedding ceremony

a bride and groom laugh during their wedding ceremony

It gets dark early in the winter, so we took advantage of the remaining twilight to get a few outdoor portraits.

portrait of a bride and groom outside during a winter wedding

portrait of a bride and groom beneath one of the arches at Longue Vue Club

First dance:

a bride and groom during their first dance

Tony welcomed Sims into the family:

a groom is toasted by the bride

Cari cracks up as Sims makes a speech thanking their guests:

a bride and groom make a speech during their wedding

Parents dances:

a groom dances with his mother while a bride dances with her father during their wedding

Don’t worry, no cake was harmed as a result of their arm wrestling:)

a bride and groom arm wrestle before cutting their cake

a bride and groom dance in the grand ballroom of Longue Vue Club

Tony sat in on drums with the band:

a bride

guests dance during a wedding

Cari and her mom Linda:

a bride and her mother dance during her wedding

a bride and groom dance during their wedding

Theresa and her crew set out luminara candles on the drive in front of the club house.  Beautiful:

luminaria on the drive outside of Longue Vue Club

We had a busy winter, so check back soon for some fresh photos!

Wedding Photography at Lingrow Farm | Noelle and Bryan

beautiful bride reacting with surprise to something her husband saidIt was a beautiful Friday night when Noelle and Bryan had their wedding last fall.  They came all the way from Los Angeles for the wedding and the weather didn’t disappoint.

Wedding photography at Lingrow Farm is always a treat, but this one was unlike any other wedding I’ve done there.

I’ll tell you straight up that despite months of effort sometimes things don’t work out as planned.  I am a photographer who works in a documentary style for my clients to tell the story of their wedding day.  So whether an event is pitch perfect or it goes off of the rails, I’m going to photograph it.  Within reason, of course, while I want to tell your story I certainly don’t want to embarrass anyone.  I really struggled with whether or not to even put this post on my website because things went wrong with the electrical power at the venue that night.  I don’t want to embarrass the folks at Lingrow Farm and I trust that they’ve since corrected whatever problem caused the power to go out.  I will say that the staff handled things well and the Gilpin Township VFD were nothing short of awesome.

In the end, the evening turned out to be one of the most intense, energetic dance parties that I’ve ever been to!  I guess all of the pent up emotion of having a delay in the party and doubt as to whether it would be able to continue had to come out.  I was blown away by the energy that Noelle and Bryan showed along with their friends and families!

My dear friend Annie O’Neill worked with me that evening and I am so glad to have had her steady hand and fantastic eye to rely on when things got crazy.  In fact, Annie took all of the good pictures in this post:)

Enough with the reading and writing!  Let’s look at some photos:

Bryan and the guys on their way to the church:

a groom clowns around with his groomsmen on their way to a wedding near Pittsburgh

Noelle got ready at the farmhouse at Lingrow:

a bride gets her hair and makeup done prior to a wedding near pittsburgh in the fall

Bryan’s niece Isabel looked like a little ballerina in her flower girl dress:

a cute flower girl dances before a wedding near pittsburgh

Noelle’s mom zips her wedding gown back at the house:

a brideBryan and his brother waited at the church while Noelle got ready.  These guys crack me up!

a groom looks at his watch because his bride is late to their wedding near pittsburghAlmost ready:

a bride gets ready for her wedding at a farm near pittsburgh

This is too much!

a groom and his best man goof around before his wedding in Pittsburgha bride fixes her hair in a mirror before her wedding near Pittsburgh

Noelle’s cousin was her maid of honor.  I guess the hairband was to keep her bangs from flying up:

a bride walks with her maid of honor

Bryan has a way with words, which brought Noelle to tears when she read a card that he left for her at the back of the church:

a bride cries as she reads a letter her groom wrote hera bride shares a laugh with her father before her wedding near Pittsburgha groom watches his bride walk towards him during their wedding near Pittsburgha bride walks with her parents down the aisle at her wedding near Pittsburgha bride and groom walk down the aisle together near Pittsburgh

Personally, I’m glad we started a little late.  The light coming through the window was perfect!

perfectly sunlit bride and groom during their wedding near Pittsburgh in the fall.a bride and groom shown from behind as they are illuminated by the sun during a wedding near Pittsburgha bride is lit by sunlight during a wedding near Pittsburgha couple kisses as the priest looks on with amusement during a wedding in western pennsylvaniaa happy bride and groom after their first kiss during their wedding near Pittsburgha bride gives the sign of peace during a catholic mass near Pittsburgh Pennsylvaniaa bride and groom smile as they are announced as husband and wife at a wedding near Pittsburgh in the fall.a bride and groom kiss at the end of their wedding ceremony near Pittsburgh as the best man and maid of honor applaud.

Showing off the ring:

a bride shows off her wedding ring to her bridesmaids at a wedding near Pittsburgh.

The light was truly spectacular that evening.  We worked really hard for just a few minutes and came away with some pretty amazing portraits:

a bride and groom stare into each othersilhouette of a bride and groom at sunset in a field near Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Bryan knows what a lucky guy he is:

A groom knows how lucky he is as he looks at his beautiful bride near pittsburgh in the fall.a bride and groom hold hands as they walk through a field at sunset near Pittsburghan exceptionally beautiful bride in a flowing gown and long veil stands in a field at sunset.

Just as they were to be announced, the electrical box blew:(

sparking electrical box, an angry bride and groom, a fire engine outside of a wedding hall in Western Pennsylvania

The barn had to be evacuated.  The guests were in good spirits and Noelle and Bryan decided that the party had to go on…

a grandmother keeps her granddaughter warm under a blanket outside

…so the guys from the Gilpin Township VFD set up a generator and loaned their gear to the groomsmen!

groomsmen wearing firefighting gear as they drink beer and laugh.

An entrance like no other I’ve ever seen:

a bride and groom cheer as they enter their wedding reception with him wearing firefighting gear.a groom wearing firefighters gear dips his bride as they kissa bride and groom share their first dance together during their wedding reception.a bride embraces her groom during their first dance as seen from behind the groom with only her hands visible.a groom kisses his bride during a champagne toast at their wedding reception

Bryan and his mom:

a groom and his mother share a moment on the dance floor at his wedding reception.

Couples often ask me how they can ensure that their guests have a good time at their wedding.  See my answer below:

a bride and groom dance their hearts out at their wedding reception.

Guests are going to be where the couple is.  If you’re both on the dance floor, then this is what you get:

a maid of honor smiles and dances with her arms up at a weddinga bride and her friends sing and dance together at her weddinga bride tosses her bouquet to single women guests at her wedding who then fight over the flowersa bride and groom share an embrace on the dance floor of their wedding while the guests gather around themclose up photo of an engagement ring on a monogrammed matchbox

What a night!


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.

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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 :)