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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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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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Bree + Wade, Lake Raystown Resort Wedding

Bree and Wade know how to host a party! They were married at Lake Raystown Resort and had an entire weekend of parties and fun planned for their guests. I know I had a great time! I met these two crazy kids nearly two years ago at their engagement session – Bree loves the camera and it loves her more, so we had an awesome time that extremely cold January afternoon. Rain threatened on their big day, but held off and the mixed weather cast a beautiful soft glow on the ceremony and down by the docks where we did the portraits. The party was non-stop…their very large bridal party was so fun and never stopped. They are truly blessed to be surrounded with so many wonderful friends and family members – everyone I came in contact with was so sweet and treated my second shooter Steph and I like we were part of the inner circle. Thanks for an amazing weekend, Bree and Wade! Best wishes!

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Katrina, Class of 2017

When Katrina contacted me about doing her senior portraits, I couldn’t have been more excited! I had been driving past a few spots around small town Indiana, PA all summer and was just waiting for the right person to photograph at the spots …and Katrina was my girl! I was super-pumped when she loved the ideas (client gets to pick of course!). A lot of time can get lost during a senior session if too many locations are used, so I try to make one location turn into 3 and keep the other spots fairly close together. We had 3 mini locations in town (I say “mini” because they were within 2 blocks of each other) and then finished the session at Yellow Creek State Park because Katrina wanted some fun water shots.

Overall, we had a GREAT time, Katrina totally KILLED the session, and I couldn’t be more excited to share these images!

Tyler + Emily, Seven Oaks Country Club

Tyler and Emily were married in July on the hottest day of the year so far. Seriously — it was over 100 degrees and 100% humidity on their wedding day. Not typical for western PA weather!! Very uncomfortable…and I wasn’t even the one wearing a suit or heavy gown! They were married in Emily’s church, Four Mile Church in Brighton Township and had their reception at the Seven Oaks Country Club, which was right down the road. Luckily, the church and the reception venue had amazing AC so we really limited our time outside to less than 5 minutes. Even then, I forced them to sweat on each other for the sake of a photo…it turned out great.:) Congratulations, Tyler and Emily!


Carmine is 1

Little Carmine has such a big personality — and he hammed up it for me during his 1st birthday portrait session!
Carmine is the nephew of a soon-to-be Elders Ridge Photography bride, Bethany. I was flattered when a friend of her family loved Bethany and Nate’s engagement pictures so much that they hired me to take Carmine’s portraits, too. Yay!!:)

Carmine’s parents, Tom and Andreana, live out of state, but they were all in town for his 1st birthday celebration at his grandparent’s house in Indiana, PA, so we decided to do the portrait session there. The house is beautifully landscaped, making it easy to find backdrops for the pictures. And with a little help from Uncle Anthony holding the reflector, the scrim, and handling giggle patrol with funny sounds and faces, we had all the ingredients for a successful session!

Looking forward to catching up with everyone in this family in October at the wedding!


Hannah is 5

Hannah’s mom, Amanda, always does her homework before our sessions. She sends me inspiration pictures and we go back and forth with ideas and locations, working together to have an amazing session. And when you see the images below, I think you’ll agree it was time well spent!

Hannah is growing up so fast – I swear she has grown 6 inches taller since last year! For the session, Amanda shared a lot of rustic, down-on-the-farm type images, so it made sense to have the session at her sister’s fiance’s farm in New Brighton, PA — my hometown. And I can’t be sure, but I feel like I was out near this farm before…like at a senior party or something… memory’s a little fuzzy.:)

The farm had so many spots for pictures that went along with the ideas Amanda had. Tall golden grass, a big red barn, a wooden swing tied up to a tree… farm girl central up in here!:) The weather was insanely hot that day, so maybe we spent some extra time under the shade of the barn, but again, time well spent – my favorite images were made inside the barn!

Can’t wait to see what we come up with for next year, Amanda! This year was a home run! No pressure!!:)

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Brady’s Run Park and Beaver River Sunset Family Portrait Session

It’s been over 3 years that I’ve been photographing this family and you’d think after awhile all our sessions would start to feel the same. Not true at all! Sure, we return to some of the same locations so we can see how the girls grow (this session was just for Cordelia’s 15 months – Rita got to spend the evening with Mamu and PopPop), but we always come away with something different. And I love it! The plan is always loose and we see what the 2 hour session will bring.

On this particularly humid June evening, we started at the creek (pronounced “crick”) at Brady’s Run. For one, it’s much cooler in the shaded creek, but how about that light? So magical! After the creek, we returned to a playground that we captured Cordelia’s big sister playing at around the same age. I love the different colors and shapes and Cordelia’s interactions with them.

And finally — I must say first that I am in love with rivers — we went down to the Beaver River in Bridgewater to catch a beautiful pale pink and orange sunset. When we arrived, the sun was working its way down, but was still a little too bright, so we passed the time by waving to boaters docking up for the night. Finally, the sun began to set and we headed down to the dock to capture the last few shots. Even the geese wanted in on it!

Looking forward to our session this fall!


Brittney + Rocco, Camp Kon O Kwee Wedding

Rain was a big part of Brittney and Rocco’s wedding day, and not just a little shower here and there, we had Luckily, the ceremony and the reception were always going to be indoors, so we just had to get creative for the portraits.Each bridesmaid had a different bright colored dress with a matching hand-made bouquet to match…and because of the rain, Brittney also included a matching umbrella for each girl. The colors really popped on the very green and brown rustic backdrop we had. The reception was held inside the main lodge and was a ton of fun! Everyone danced all night long and ended the night with a lantern send off. Rain: 0, Brittney and Rocco: 1. Thank you so much for allowing Allison and I to be a part of your special day!

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Are those lanterns making an “S” for the new last name of our bride and groom?? I think they are! Best wishes, Brittney and Rocco!

Smeltz Family Portraits, IUP Co-op Recreational Park

It has been a pleasure working with this family! Back when I was first starting out, Emily asked me to take Ian’s 2 year portraits and they became one of the first real portrait sessions I ever did. And since then, I’ve been able to capture this family’s growth each year! This year, Ian is 7 and Ellie is 2. We went out to the IUP Co-op Park for the session to make use of its beautiful surroundings.
2 year olds always like to make me work for the perfect shot and I’m always ready for the challenge — as was Emily (if you haven’t figured it out by now, the client and I have the same first name. I’m not just going in and out of first and third person tense!). She brought the 3 B’s: bubbles, balloons, and balls. Keep those 3 in mind the next time you’re trying to make a 2 year old smile – they work wonders! Also, Ian has been playing baseball in the Indiana YMCA Miracle League, so we took advantage of the old ball fields at the park and got a few shots of Ian and Dad throwing the ball. The best sessions always happen when they are about personal interests and the interactions between the family. The posed shots are definitely nice, but my favorites from this session were all the smiles and giggles caught in the real life interactions. Enjoy!

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