Ian + Erica, State College Backyard Wedding

Confession: when Erica told me her wedding would be in her parents’ backyard, I was skeptical. But when I arrived and saw the magical, lush garden behind the beautifully restored 1800’s farmhouse in Boalsburg, PA minutes outside of State College, I was blown away. Like, WOW! A stream runs through the backyard and Erica’s friends and family built a special deck overlooking the stream where she and Ian would exchange vows. The ceremony happened on one side of the stream and the party happened across the stream, as if to signify that all the guests crossed the bridge together to celebrate the next chapter in Erica and Ian’s life. And what a celebration it was! These two Phish fans know how to throw a party for guests of all ages! Congratulations, Ian and Erica!

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Hannah is 6, On the Beaver River

As a girl from Beaver County, I love rivers…and so you can imagine how excited I was to meet Hannah and her mom, Amanda, for a session on the Beaver River at dusk. I’ve been photographing Hannah since she was a baby and each year her mom comes up with a fun theme to try for each session. This year was “painting on the river at sunset.” Amanda and Hannah visit the river a lot, so it just felt like the perfect location. The last image is one of my all time favs! Happy birthday, sweet girl! Can’t wait to see what we do next year!

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Alexis + Sam — Barn Wedding, Indiana, PA

“Barn wedding” doesn’t really do this venue justice, but I try to keep the titles short. The barn that Alexis and Sam were married in is over 100 years old, on her family’s farm, and was recently restored to the beautiful site that it is now. Alexis’s whole family and many friends helped with the restoration, making it that much more special.

Coincidently, my husband was one of the subcontractors who helped with the restoration. He had mentioned this project to me and said that the barn was being restored for a wedding…and that he would drop my name to Alexis as a possible photographer. Well, Alexis is much more organized and quick-moving than my sweet husband, so she actually reached out to me before Forrest had a chance to talk to her without knowing the connection. It was meant to be!:)

For such a special venue, I wanted to make sure extra special pictures were taken, so I hired RS Aerial Photography to shoot aerial photographs with a drone during the evening. He got some amazingly gorgeous views of the barn.

Congratulations to Alexis and Sam!

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Elizabeth + Chris, Pittsburgh Engagement Session

Elizabeth and Chris brought some heat to the Hot Metal Bridge at the start of their engagement session on a cold day in March. We chose Pittsburgh as the location because just a few months earlier, Chris popped the question during a special date night in the city. And that’s just the start of the story! During dinner, Chris had given Elizabeth another gift to throw her off a little (she confesses she was hoping he’d be proposing that night!). Then, after dinner, they rode the incline…and Chris made sure they had a car all to themselves and that’s when he surprised Elizabeth! So of course we had to make a stop at the incline during the session. Plus, it was warm.:) Bonus! After the incline, I wanted to try a shot on top of a parking garage in the cultural district. I love how the tall buildings surround them and put them in their own little world. Congrats to these two love birds and can’t wait to shoot their wedding in September!

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Cora, Almost 2 – Beaver Train Station

Every 3 months, I get to see this amazing family because since they were pregnant with their first, they made the decision to capture the growth of their girls every 3 months of their life for the first 2 years. I so look forward to seeing how the girls change…and you’d think there wouldn’t be that much change in 3 months…but, oh, there is! It happens so fast! Their collection of albums from each session will be a cherished keepsake for the girls as they grow.

We started planning our January session a few weeks prior and to our surprise, the weather turned and we got to do the session outside! 65 degrees in western PA in January – amazing! We chose the Beaver train station as our location. A rustic cabin sits right across the parking lot and the sun seems to be perfect no matter what time of day you shoot.

Part way through our session, we changed shoes (although the weather was beautiful, the ground was still soggy) and it threw Cora for a moment, but mom saved the day with “squirrel lollipops” and we got right back on track. I love letting little ones explore during our sessions – it gives me the opportunity to capture their big personalities. Those are the moments you want to remember forever!

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Kinley – Newborn Portraits

Sweet little Kinley was 9 days old at our session and so stinkin’ adorable, making me want another baby. The struggle is real! We started the session with a set-up inspired by a post I saw on Instagram – a baby in a wreath of beautiful fall flowers. Since Kinley is a winter baby, I went with a more neutral pale pink flower in my wreath. Kinley wasn’t too sure about this set-up, but we got the shot and made sure to move on to lots of snuggles for the lifestyle portraits part of the session. Katelyn had her nursery decked out in lavender with so many personal decor touches. I especially loved the white mirror above her dresser. After a feeding, more cuddling, and a good burp, Kinley was ready for her close-up! She peacefully napped as we worked our way through the different outfits and accessories…and some of my favorite newborn portraits were made! Congratulations, Dave and Katelyn! Kinley is perfect!

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Catie, Class of 2017

The first thing Catie said to me when we met for her senior portrait session on a beautiful fall November day was “I hate fall and don’t want any leaves or fall-y things in my pictures.” As I looked around at the very rustic, very “fall-y” location we agreed to meet, I felt sad to abandon the perfect warm sun streaming through the last of the leaves and golden grasses, but I had the perfect spot in mind – a place I’ve been waiting for the right person to photograph there.

My hometown of New Brighton has some great old cobblestone roads, graffiti covered tunnels, and lots of other cool semi-urban, definitely not fall backdrops for us to take advantage of. So that’s where we headed. I did incorporate a liiiiiiittttle fall into the pictures, but it was “Catie approved fall.”

Catie is spunky, tough, and confident with Beyonce good looks and a passion for life. In fact, she just recently had ACL surgery and was on crutches for our session, but that didn’t stop her from scaling a hillside and a stone wall to get to the perfect location for shots with her snow board. I found myself yelling “Yaaaassss!” more than someone of my age should during our session because Catie totally ROCKED it!

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It’s a Wonderful Life Themed Christmas Card

Every year, the Jones family does a Christmas card that totally blows all other Christmas cards out of the water. They pick a holiday movie or song, we come up with a concept, get the costumes, do the hair and make-up, and create something one-of-a-kind. And often times hilarious. This year, they chose the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”…which just happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time! Maybe not as funny as years past, but still totally original and I love their dedication to the process! I look forward to our sessions every year! Check out the results:

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Ben + Danielle, Pittsburgh Engagement Portraits

Warm November days are few and far between sometimes, so when they come around, I’m always excited to spend them in the city photographing two people in love. Ben is my husband’s cousin and I was so excited to when he and Danielle asked me to take their engagement pictures!

Fun fact: Ben and Danielle are talented musicians and you should check out their band The Lion Summer. Folksy perfection! I thought for sure we were going to do an eclectic folk inspired shoot, maybe in a field with some random furniture or at least a hipster streetscape, but these two surprised me when they wanted to do traditional Pittsburgh as their backdrop. We started at Mount Washington, visited the Point Park Fountain, and ended with the Clemente Bridge and North Shore walk. I had a great time with Ben and Danielle and look forward to welcoming Danielle to the Smith family this summer!

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And I love this last one! You guys rock!

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Bethany + Nate, Springwood Conference Center

Bethany and Nate’s October wedding at the Springwood Conference Center in Verona felt more like a summer wedding than a fall wedding. Our dependable Western PA weather (i.e. rain) just couldn’t stay away, but once again, I say “thank you” because as soon as the rain cleared, an absolutely beautiful glow covered the stately grounds at Springwood and made my job very easy! All the trees were so rich and green and the stone looked shiny and the whole place just looked like a beautiful summer day. And to top it off, RAINBOW! Checking that one off the photographer bucket list!

I loved the navy accent colors Bethany incorporated into the reception decorations. The bridesmaids wore tea length navy dresses, which matched the gray suits the groomsmen sported. What a beautiful wedding! Congratulations, Bethany and Nate!

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