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

For me, one of the best things about being a photojournalist in Pittsburgh is that my camera is kind of a golden ticket into some pretty noteworthy events. Sometimes it’s a reason to bear witness for a couple on their wedding day, sometimes it’s a sporting event like the Super Bowl, and other times it’s a chance to be up close to world leaders.

US President Barack Obama runs on to stage in front of giant American flag during a visit to the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center. As a photojournalist in Pittsburgh, sometimes I get to photograph cool things like a visit from the leader of the most powerful nation in the world.

Yesterday was one of those days. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden came to the Pittsburgh area to talk about education and job training initiatives. So there I was in the White House photo pool as Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden were given a tour of the mechatronics program. President Obama joked that the program, “Sounds like something Godzilla would be fighting.” but he said he was impressed by the students who showed him around the facility that teaches them how to repair and make parts for complex machinery.President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are given a tour of the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center. This photojournalist in Pittsburgh was with the national traveling press as the president and vice president toured CCAC.As a photojournalist in Pittsburgh I got up close as US President Barack Obama gestures with his left hand as he gives a speech at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center near Pittsburgh, PA.



couple stands amidst pink streamers for a dramatic portrait shot

Just one look at the photo above and you can see that Emily and Ryan’s Pittsburgh Children’s Museum wedding was filled with color.

In fact, The Children’s Museum really was the perfect place for Emily and Ryan to express the unique vision they had for their wedding which was both fun and non-traditional. You’ll see this in the photos on this post. I crack up every time I look at Lisa’s photo of Ryan goofing around as he and his friends got ready at their home:

a bride and a groom get ready for their wedding. the groom strikes a Conan the Barbarian pose.

Separate portraits of a bride and a groom before their wedding

Ryan watches as Emily walks down the aisle in the older section of the museum, which was once the Allegheny City Post Office (Lisa’s photo):

a groom watches as his bride walks down the aisle to him during their wedding ceremonya bride smiles and laughs as her parents escort her down the aisle towards her groom during their wedding ceremony

Ryan and Emily exchange vows:

A groom looks at his bride as they exchange wedding vows

Lisa’s photo below:

A bride smiles at her groom during a wedding ceremonya bride and groom share their first kiss as husband and wife

Ryan stomped on the glass about 5 times, just to make sure 😀

a groom breaks the glass in the jewish tradition during a wedding

I love the look on Emily’s face as she and Ryan were introduced as husband and wife:

a bride and groom are announced as husband and wife. pink streamers hang above them as they smile.

One of my all-time favorite recessional photos:

a groom kisses his bride on the hand as they exit from their wedding ceremony

The area around the museum is great for portraits, so we took a short walk. The steps to the Carnegie Library were our first stop:

portrait of a bride and groom near the andrew carnegie free library on the north side of pittsburgh

Then we went over to the “Cloud Arbor” sculpture. The fine mist that comes out of the standing pipes was turned off that evening, although it might have felt good on that hot summer evening.

a bride and groom stand in between silver poles that are a part of a sculpture on the north side of pittsburgh

The couple is greeted by an enthusiastic group of friends:

a bride and groom are enthusiastically greeted as they walk towards their friends.

Some details:

wedding details including candies, macaroons, day of the dead bride and groom figures and flowersdetails from a wedding including jelly bean seating card wedding favors, cupcakes, flowers and a glass that is to be broken in the jewish tradition at the end of a wedding ceremony

Their first dance was to Guns ‘n Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine”

a bride and groom dance their first dance together

Emily’s dad, Lee gave a very funny speech:

father of the bride gives a humorous speech with large graphic elements in the photo

Ryan doesn’t often wear a tie, so that got called out in Lee’s speech:

a groom holds his tie up so that everyone can see

Ryan’s mom was next up with a very lovely and moving speech:

a bride and groom hug the mother of the groom


a groom gestures triumphantly after cutting the wedding cake

Parent’s dances in the Big Red Room:

a bride dances with her father beneath a huge chinese lanterna groom dances with his mother during his wedding reception

The Hora is always a lot of fun!

a bride and groom are raised up on chairs as the hora is dancedmother of the bride is held up on a chair as the wedding guests dance the hora

parents of the groom are held up on chairs during the hora dance

The dance floor was packed for the rest of the evening:

friends hold hands as they dance during a wedding receptiontattooed wedding female wedding guesta groom dances with his friends during his weddinga long haired woman dances wildlya bride and groom dance with their guests during their wedding

There was a Skyblast night at PNC Park which provided a fitting backdrop at the end of a wonderful evening:

a bride and groom with fireworks during their wedding reception

  • Rachel Hallas - April 9, 2014 - 4:33 am

    Beautiful. It looks like you had a great time.

Julia and Steve were one of the first couples to have their wedding reception in the new grand ballroom at the Wyndham hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. So this post featuring their Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Wedding is kind of historic in its own way:)

A few months before the wedding we got together for an engagement portrait session. After spending a couple of hours with Julia and Steve, I knew that their wedding would be a great time! Julia is energetic, enthusiastic and stylish while Steve is a laid back guy with a very positive attitude. Since they live out of town it was great to have the opportunity to get to know each other a little before the wedding day. That’s one of the big benefits to doing engagement portraits.

Here are Julia and Steve in the street market along Penn Avenue in the Strip District:

bride and groom embrace during a portrait in the strip district in pittsburgh PA

Julia shows her dress off to her bridesmaids:

bridesmaids react to seeing beautiful bride in her wedding gown

Steve and the guys were already at St. Stanislaus in the Strip District (Lisa’s photo):

groom and groomsmen clown around in front of St. Stanislaus church in the strip district of Pittsburgh PA

The flower girls were so cute!

bride points at cute flower girls

Julia gets a look at the back of her gown in a mirror at the Wyndham:

bride looks into a mirror at the wyndham grand hotel in pittsburgh

Steve’s dad helps him get ready (Lisa’s photo):

groom gets a watch from his father

There was a Furry convention in town that weekend!

bridal party poses for a picture with a group of curries

Julia and her mom share a moment before heading over to the church:

bride and her mother share a tearful embrace

Julia gave her dad a kiss on the cheek before he walked her down the aisle:

bride kisses her father on the cheek

The flower girls doing their job (Lisa’s photo):

flower girls walk down the aisle at St. Stanislaus catholic church in the strip district of Pittsburgh PA

St. Stan’s is a beautiful church:

couple gets married at St. Stanbride and groom are introduced after being pronounced man and wife at St. Stanislaus catholic church in Pittsburghhappy married couple outside of st. stan

We had a great time walking around the Strip District for portraits after the wedding:

bride and groom pose for a portrait in the Strip district of Pittsburghportrait of a bride in front of a mural in the strip district of pittsburgh pa

The wedding party got a little thirsty, so we stopped for some refreshments:

bride and groom toast with shots at a bar with their bridal partybride and groom walk down penn avenue in the strip district of pittsburgh

More toasts. This time in the limo on the way to the Wyndham:

bride and groom toast in a limousine

It’s ginger ale:)

flower girl joins in a toast to bride and groom

Point State Park is a great place for portraits, so we took a quick moment before heading into the hotel:

bridal party portrait in point state park

Julia and Steve had a receiving line at the cocktail hour:

bride greets her guests at a weddingbride and groom with funny reactions as they cut their cake

Steve’s sisters watch as the couple cuts the cake:

bridesmaids smile and applaud first dance

Julia and her mom embraced after her mom removed Julia’s wedding veil:

bride embraces her mother

Steve danced with his mom while Julia and Steve’s dad watched:

bride and father-in-law hug as groom dances with his mother

Julia and her dad were up next. The windows in the grand ballroom provided a beautiful backdrop:

bride and her father dance during her weddingbride dances with her guests

After a quick change into her reception dress, Julia was back on the dance floor:

crazy dancing at a wedding reception

Anniversary dance:

anniversary dance during a wedding reception at the wyndham grand hotel in pittsburghbride laughs during her receptionbride and groom dance during their reception

Such a great evening!



  • ReginaandPaul McGlynn - March 27, 2014 - 4:21 pm

    Beautiful couple!!!!! Wishing them many years of happiness. Very glad we could be a part of their special day.

  • Chris Werner - March 27, 2014 - 5:14 pm

    Joe, these are awesome!

  • Paulette Midlick Mahon - March 28, 2014 - 12:29 am

    Love my cousins so much!! What a wonderful wedding!!

  • Phyllis M. Riley - March 28, 2014 - 12:48 am

    Beautiful pictures of your special day

  • Patricia Lane-Fusselman - March 28, 2014 - 12:49 am

    WOW!! What beautiful pictures and memories.

  • Anne Moss - March 28, 2014 - 1:48 am

    Beautiful pictures, Mary! I love the ones of you and Julia! Thanks for sharing.

  • daniellabean photography - May 23, 2014 - 9:00 pm

    These photos are awesome!

I belong to a couple of organizations that promote excellence in wedding photography and professional standards. Both organizations hold contests to showcase the best wedding photography in the world.

I’m pleased to say that in the last round of contests two of my images have been chosen as winners.

In the latest Fearless Photographers contest this image from April and Jamie’s wedding was one of 203 images selected out of thousands entered from all over the world :

best pittsburgh wedding photography

It’s a photo made at a stressful moment during a long day filled with joy, beauty and love. Check out the rest of their images from Duquesne University Chapel and The Grand Concourse here.

This image from Kim and Jim’s wedding took a 9th place in the International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers winter 2013 contest:

award winning wedding photography

I saw the opportunity to make this image when I scouted out the reception room at Lingrow Farm before anyone else got there. There was a good chance that the elements wouldn’t come together and this photo would be a bust, so I had my second photographer position herself on the other side of the cake to get the safe shot. The ability to swing for the fence when I see the chance for a special photo is made possible by working with a trusted teammate. Here’s a link to more images from this wedding.

It’s always an honor to have images selected by my peers as award winning wedding photography. I am so grateful to my clients for their trust in me and for allowing me the opportunity to make photographs for them that have meaning to them.

Some of my favorite photos from Kate and Brian’s wonderful Pittsburgh Golf Club wedding.

bride and groom stand outside on a golf course on a sunny day

When Kate told me that her dream had always been to begin her wedding day with a 5K race I got really excited. What a great idea! So on the morning of their wedding day Kate and Brian’s friends and family all got together at the Bartlett Shelter at Schenley Park for bagels, mimosas and a race along the same trails that Kate ran with her high school cross country team.

bride and groom smile after running a race before their wedding

I ran the entire 5K backwards 😉 so that I could get shots like this:

bride and her bridesmaids run a 5k race prior to her wedding

A little bit later we met again at the Golf Club for the wedding. It’s such a beautiful old Pittsburgh place. I’ve photographed other events there, but this was the first time at the club for a wedding. I loved it. There’s an abundance of natural light and the building and surroundings are an elegant oasis in a busy city.

Kate’s mom Sally helps her with a necklace:

mother helps her daughter put a necklace on before her wedding

Kate and Brian wanted to do a first look so that they could have time for formal photos prior to the wedding:

bride taps her groom on the shoulder as they have a first look before their wedding ceremony

Andrew Russell, one of my former newspaper colleagues, joined me for the day. It was great to work with him again. He did a fantastic job! (Andrew’s photo below):

closeup photo of a bride and grooms hands with wedding ringsbride and groom embrace as they first see each other on their wedding day

Brian’s sister couldn’t make it to the wedding as she was almost ready to have a baby so was prevented from traveling. Since she was watching things via Skype I figured out a way to fit her into the family formals:

family portrait at a wedding with one family member on an iPad because she couldn

I love this photo of Brian and his guys (Andrew’s photo below):

groom and his groomsmen around a table

Kate is very beautiful:

portrait of a beautiful bride with short lighting from a window

In the hallway waiting for the ceremony to begin:

complex composition of a bride with her parents before her wedding ceremony

Brian and his parents Carl and Kathleen prepare to enter the room where they held the ceremony:

groom with his parents enters the room at the start of his wedding ceremony

Kate enters with her parents Martin and Sally:

bride and her parents enter the room where her wedding ceremony is held

Brian got a little emotional upon seeing Kate. Sometimes people worry that having a first look will rob them of this kind of moment, but it’s still a thrilling emotion-filled moment for a groom to see his bride walking towards him:

groom gets emotional upon seeing his bride enter the room for the wedding ceremony

(Andrew’s photo below):

groom looks at his bride lovingly

Kate and Brian listen as their friends Caitlin and Sean perform a song:

bride and groom watch a friend sing a song for them during their wedding ceremony

A sweet moment just after the first kiss (Andrew’s photo below):

bride and groom embrace after their first kiss

Brian breaks the glass at the end of the ceremony:

groom breaks the glass beneath the chuppah during a wedding

Kate and Brian had a self-uniting ceremony. Sometimes it’s called a Quaker Wedding. Brian’s childhood friends Joshua and Zachary served as the officiants of the ceremony and then witnessed the signing of the marriage license:

bride and groom sign their marriage certificate

It was a lovely early summer day:

portrait of a bride and groom on a golf courseA couple of cute kids:
a baby squirms on the floor as a little boy watches

First dance (Andrew’s photo below):

bride and groom during their first dance

My view of the first dance:

bride and groom nose to nose during their first dance

The speeches from Matron of Honor, Shari, and Best Man, Samuel, were hilarious. Shari handed out medals for the 5K earlier in the day:

collage of photos from the speeches during a wedding reception

Dancing the Hora (Andrew’s photo below):

bride dances with her guests as seen from a  balcony above

I love Kate’s expression in this one!

bride and groom hold on to a napkin while being hoisted in chairs during their wedding reception

June 22nd was the night of a Supermoon – the largest and closest full moon of 2013. Brian is a college physics professor and professional astronomer, so you bet they were going to get their portrait made with the moon in it. The best part was when we went outside their musician friends Caitlin and Sean were already there checking out the sky. So naturally they began to serenade the couple with a lovely rendition of “Blue Moon” while we did the photos. A perfect ending to a lovely day!

bride and groom stand for a portrait during a super moon astrological event


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  • Kate McElwee - February 17, 2014 - 1:00 am

    Oh my goodness Joe, that hallway photo (before the ceremony) is just spectacular! Beautiful coverage as always. The Skype family formal is such a cute idea too. :) Kudos!

  • Kate Louise - February 17, 2014 - 2:01 pm

    You did a fantastic job, Joe! We really hit the jackpot finding you. A wonderful photographer and a runner!

  • Katrina Wallace - February 18, 2014 - 11:16 pm

    oooooh i love that hallway portrait before the ceremony too! beautiful images joe!!