Happy Summer! It’s finally here, and now begins the time to tan, bike outdoors, and enjoy these long evenings. I always love it when the summer rolls in (although fall is always my favorite season), and I’m celebrating summer with some new treats, makeup, tees, and workouts. Here’s what I’m feeling lately, according to my credit card statement
Yes, yes, we know I have a minor obsession with Target, and fully believe that you can never leave there without spending $100 – even when you just came in for new shampoo and a picture frame. I buy a lot of clothes at Target, because they’ve got great basics. I’ve always been a fan of their t-shirts, since the material tends to be ultra-soft a wash really well. They’ve got some cute cheeky tees in-store now, and they’re worth checking out. Something tells me they have one with The Collective logo on it!
Urban Decay Naked Palette
I know, I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I finally picked myself up a Naked Palette from Urban Decay, and I love the colors. Their eyeshadows are so blendable, and the colors are really flattering. On top of that, it’s easy to travel with and have all of my eye makeup colors in one spot!
Lolli Cakes from Sinful Sweets Downtown Pittsburgh
I was downtown not long ago to have lunch with a friend from Colorado. We headed to Nine On Nine, and then spotted Sinful Sweets directly across the street. I had yet to go in there, so we ventured over after our salads and rambled around their shop a bit. They had some delicious-looking baked goods, but the Lolli Cakes stood out to me immediately. I got Brad one that was maple syrup and bacon flavored (called “Breakfast of Champions”), while I enjoyed a salted carmel. They were absolutely delicious – a must try!
I got a FitBit! It’s waterproof, so I can wear it everywhere, and I’m loving it! As an engineer-at-heart, I love looking at all of the data it provides to me, including daily steps, sleep patterns, and even a silent alarm clock. I’m currently linking it with the My Fitness Pal app, so I have calories, exercise, and daily activity all feeding into one spot. It’s not at all annoying to wear, and I find it to be motivating (most of the time). I have even learned that apparently I roll over at 2:22am every night. Of course that’s necessary to know.
What are YOU into lately??
There’s so much awesome packed into this engagement session, I can barely contain myself. In fact, Gabby and Scott are so much awesome they can’t keep from getting married! These two were truly an honor to work with, because they came to me with a specific idea, explained what they were looking for, and then allowed me to intrepret that in my own way and create something totally unique for them! (Thank you!).
When Gabby initially contacted me, she sent me a photo that she saw on Pinterest of a couple with the nighttime Pittsburgh skyline. Of course it was adorable! I had an idea of what they were looking for with that one image: color, lights, romance, something different. That helped me to take their idea, create a Pinterest board of my own around it, and then shoot their session from the creative heart. We didn’t have the nicest weather (it was that really random cold Friday), but we made it work – and I’m obsessed with their engagement photos.
Gabby and Scott will be married next May in New York City, where Gabby is from and where they met. They are both huge in the health industry, and have created their own fitness and lifestyle business around their shared passion. On top of that, you can just tell that they are thrilled to be together, and are really excited about their wedding next year. And now, without further chitchatting… their engagement photos!!
I LOVE color. And also Gabby’s hair. It’s fab.
A bit of a soft, romantic touch:
The streets of Downtown Pittsburgh have so much color, texture, architecture. I love the constantly changing backgrounds I get photographing sessions in the city.
The new T station: All glass and a little bit of warmth.
CAN’T GET ENOUGH. I’m in love with this shot, so it stands alone.
A soft kiss and a little gust of wind make a great picture!So do reflections!
Photographing engagement sessions or weddings in the dusk/evening hours can (to some) seem daunting, but I absolutely love it. There’s so much rich color you get to take advantage of, and nothing a little flash can’t solve:
My favorite shot from the session. Just *swooning*!
You’ll want to know this girl. Her name is Dallas, and she’s my nail guru! If any of you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know some of the amazing nail designs I get throughout the year – and they’re all thanks to Dallas! She is amazing at hand-drawing using Gelish, and she’s super cute to boot!
All of my manicures are Gelish manis – aka “shellac” – and they last me anywhere from 2-3 weeks! That’s a lifetime in manicure days!
Dallas has a handful of WEDDING PARTIES that she is working with this summer, which is another reason you should know her! Treat your girls to custom manis the day of (or a few days before!) the wedding!
Phone: (412) 552-0307
Hashtag it!: #nailsbydallas #hookedondal
Here are some of my favorite designs (these are all me!)
Sarah and Matt wanted bright, bright, bright for their wedding colors! Here are a few from their wedding day!
Loren’s got a great new macro lens, and she’s getting some killer ring shots!
Sarah opted for bright pink for the bridesmaids and matching lilies for her wedding bouquet:
Bringing even more color into the mix!
Loved that the guys all had a different color for their look.
The Harmar House all multicolored:
Now I’m hungry…
I LOVED Summer + Brian’s wedding day details at Destiny Hill Farm. In fact, I love all of their wedding photos, it’s taking me just a wee bit longer to get through them cause I tend to hang out and… you know, CRY OR SOMETHING.
Even attentino on the kinds of straws! That’s detail!
Summer had lots of help from my awesome 2011 bride (and her good friend!) – Katie. Can you tell? Both had amazing details!
They even remembered the kids, by having a kids table where they could color!
A really cute way to display the table assignments:
This is the inside of the main barn area, where the reception and dancing was held:
And, of course, her amazing and really classy cookie table! I loved that Summer incorporated eucalyptus into her flowers. It always smells amazing.
Destiny Hill is a beautiful, and serene spot nestled right in the heart of Washington, PA – who would have known!
Welcome!! I’m excited about this blog post, because it is the start of an eight part series! Often, when meeting and talking with brides and grooms, they mention that they want “photojournalistic” or “candid” coverage of their wedding day. I totally understand this, because it’s often those “in the moment” photos that really ring with our emotions, and allow us to feel reconnected with an event, place, or person even after it has passed.
Our main goal at The Collective is to create a wedding day experience that also tells your wedding day love story. There are so many parts of this, that it’s not always just “candid”! Part of the experience is hiring photographers is to find someone who can:
- Step in and assist, direct, organize when needed
- Capture the little details and the big picture
- Know where to be at any given time
- Keep organized with their assistant photographer, so there are always different angles and no photobombs
- Tell the funny stories, and the emotional ones
- Capture all of the wedding day guests
- Analyze lighting situations on the fly, and come up with creative ideas and solutions (this can be a challenge, and make and break your photos!)
- Aleve any stress for the bride + groom + family
- Grab you a new glass of wine when you accidentally dropped yours on the dance floor
We have years of experience photographing weddings in the Pittsburgh area, and have photographed over 100 weddings! And now – the FIRST part of the “Breaking Down The Wedding” series – how we handle preparations!
For this entire series, I’m using Kaitlin + Brandon’s wedding as an example, so you can see how their entire wedding gallery unfolded.
1) The Guys: Usually Melissa or Loren will meet up with the guys, and will photograph them doing “guy things” (as I like to say! Men are a mystery.) This usually includes the manly details, having a drink, joking around, and generally doing dude-like things. Loren photographed this wedding with me, so she met up with Brandon and the guys at his house, and made sure to capture the custom suit, and him opening a card from Kaitlin.
If we have a bit of time before the guys leave for the ceremony (or at the church before seating guests), Melissa/Loren will capture a some groom portraits, and photos of the guys all together. We also make sure to get a photo of the groom with each of his groomsmen.
We knew that their dog, Bernard, was really important as well – so we made sure to include him in photos too! The more we know about our couples, the more we can incorporate the important things in their lives into their wedding photos!
When I meet up with the girls (usually about an hour before prepping/leaving for the ceremony), I start by photographing details. This allows everyone in the room to get comfortable with my presence and camera, and also get these little things before they are put on!
I also like to capture some of the candid details and moments of the girls hanging out before the ceremony. This usually includes opening gifts, laughing, dancing, and makeup!
If we have some time, I think it’s fun to get “girlfriend pictures!”. Each of the girls was wearing a super cute buttondown shirt, so I wanted to include them in the pictures. We’re always looking for great light, and in this case – it was indoors. The sun was really high outside, so we stayed right in the church lobby for this photo.
Getting into the dress, don’t worry! I don’t take underwear photos unless specifically asked, and will definitely make sure that you are covered in all of your photos! Here is Kaitlin getting ready to put on the dress.
Lots of times members of the bridal party will help with the bride’s details and final preparations, so I like to make sure we capture that as well. When it comes to where to get dressed – I scope this out upon arrival. I’m looking for a place with nice light, and little clutter. Sometimes I will turn off lights if necessary, and ask to move bags to a different room. In this case we were inside of the church and the guys were there, so our location was limited.
Since the church room was a little more crowded, and had some overhead lighting, I chose to attach my flash and light Kaitlin nicely. This is the difference between nicely lit portraits, and those where the lights overhead cause weird shadows and skin tones. Again, another critical decision that makes a big difference.
Stay tuned for Part 2: The Ceremony coming soon!
Working with Erin and Tim has been a dream. They have both trusted me fully throughout the wedding process, and I can’t tell you how much that means to me! Anytime I feel like I have complete freedom to do my ‘thang – it woks out so well!
Erin and Tim were married in the beautiful Beaver, PA – a town that I am in love with! It is absolutely beautiful and a little slice of true Americana. Erin and Tim live in a beautiful old home, and I just couldn’t get enough of it! I drove up to Beaver early on the wedding day (since there was a chance of rain) to scope out perfect locations for photos that were still close to the church. While driving around, I came across this one home that had just stunning landscaping – and I was smitten with it!
I’m not afraid to go knock on a door and ask to photograph wedding or engagement images on private property, and the owners were incredibly open to the idea. Thank you! And so, Erin and Tim had the perfect backdrop! (See above)
Erin’s wedding dress was a color called “cafe”, and it looked just beautiful on her!
They aso had a harpist play during their wedding ceremony, and the flower girls were enjoying a little private concert before everything began:
From the view of the guests…
What happens when the flowers also create allergies. I still think it’s cute!
Instead of rain, we had beautiful scenery and light!
Are you falling in love with Beaver too? Their wedding photos are so pretty with this scenery!
There was also a little barn in the area where we photographed some of their images.
Last one, and then I’m done!
Oh grooms.. always messing with the cake knives…
I love how Tim looks like this is just totally normal and expected.
But he’s a happy groom, that’s for sure!
Get those kids off of the dance floor! (kidding!)
Getting ready for his turn at the dollar dance:
Tim’s dad enjoys the photobooth! Congrats, Erin + Tim!
Carla and Bill are laid back, enjoy their time at concerts and Pittsburgh sporting events, and are ready to get married this September. They met on Match.com, and have been together for a couple of years now. Who would have known that the internet could help two people find love? And these two are definitely meant to be. They’re relaxed, easy-going, and I’m happy I get to work with them. We ventured around W+J campus for their engagement photos, and they fully trusted me with the location and ideas – thank you!
Here are some of my favorites from their engagement session – I’m looking forward to their wedding in September (one of the BEST months to get married!)
Love the color and expression in this photo:
Carla said “Oh, so that’s how you work your magic!” (Secret not disclosed)
Love her eyes with the blue!
A classic couple:
Pretty and wispy:
Thanks! See you again before you know it!