Tara and Nate | Pittsburgh Engagement Pictures

They met as friends–and just began hanging out together. They were just that–friends.

And then Nate was going to move away–and suddenly they realized they didn’t want to live apart from each other. Their relationship had all of the deep roots of a good friendship, but it was obvious there was something more to it than just hanging out and going to concerts.

Fast forward to one pumpkin carving day, and Nate asked Tara to spend the rest of their lives together. She, obviously, said yes.

Last night I met up with Tara and Nate at Hartwood Acres in Pittsburgh, which is always a lovely spot for engagement photos. Due to it being a hectic day for them both (they’re moving in a few days!), we got there kind of late in the evening. But, I think it worked out just perfectly…as you will see.

Pittsburgh Engagement Photo

Yay for brave couples!

Kind of tricky getting down…

We found this awesome tree stump.

How incredible is this? A moon, barn, and a horse in a field!

Tara and Nate, I’m looking forward to your wedding next year!

Lingrow Farm Wedding Photography | Tara and Nate | Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer | Birchtree Photography Blog | One of Pittsburgh's Best Wedding Photographers - […] of last year. I loved the vision that she had for her wedding, and when I got to meet Nate at their Hartwood Acres Engagement session, I was even more excited for their […]

Love and Poetry

In keeping with tradition, Jay gave me a book of poetry for our anniversary. This is not because he’s a Romeo romantic, but rather because I really love poetry.

I remember the first poet I fell in love with. I was in 6th grade–he had long been dead. Nevertheless, I was quite smitten with Edgar Alan Poe–and not just because of his famous “The Raven” bit. I still have my first anthology of his work that my mother bought for me in Russia–I know because the price sticker is in rubles.

Now, I’m not any good at writing poetry, but that doesn’t stop me from trying my hand at a verse or two every now and then. But, most of the time I just stick to reading it…John Donne, Thomas Hardy, Emily Dickinson…and of course the Russian poets–Anna Akhmatova and Osip Mandelshtam (thanks college for exposing me to their talent).

This year Jay gave me Sylvia Plath’s “Ariel.” It’s probably about as far from romantic stuff as you can get. In fact, it’s downright depressing. Despite this fact, I’m quite amazed at her raw talent and deft use of the English language. Still, not exactly your snuggle-up with book.

Do you like poetry? Do you have any recommendations for next year?

Winter Reading List » Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers | Birchtree Photography Blog - […] of the stack is the complete collection of Anna Akhmatova’s poetry, translated into English. I love poetry, and Akhmatova is my favorite Russian poet, so this was an excellent birthday […]

How to Get Your Best Wedding Photos

I’m guessing that if you’re reading this blog and planning a wedding, you place a high value on your wedding photos. After all, when it’s all said and done, the only thing you’re going to have left from your wedding is a used dress, tired feet, some frozen cake, and of course, your pictures.

So, I want to share some of the best tips I’ve learned for getting great wedding photos. This is also my “wish I’d known that” list when I was planning my wedding.

1. Choose a Professional Photographer

This should go without saying, but I’m including it here as the foundation for everything else. If you really do value your wedding photos, I highly recommend choosing a professional–if not me, someone else who has professional equipment and has experience shooting WEDDINGS. Also, choose a photographer whose style you like. If you don’t like their style, you won’t like your own wedding photos.

2. Give Yourself Some Time

This was one of my biggest regrets from my wedding–I didn’t allot any time for photos outside of the church. HUGE mistake! While most of your photos will look more like this (ie, candid–which I LOVE):

The ones you’ll probably want to hang on your walls may look more like this:

The truth is, you can’t get those kind of shots unless you give yourself some time to take them (and a nice location doesn’t hurt). How much time? As much as you can spare! Of course, you should be mindful of your guests, but you should also realize they probably expect to wait a bit for you.

I would recommend giving yourself at least 1 hour to take photos at a second location–in reality, you’ll probably end up having less time as few things go as punctually as you planned. If you can spare more time, go for it!

3. Appoint a Wrangler

That’s right, my brides–I may be from Texas, but I’m not kidding about this one. Find the friend, relative, or unlucky guest who has the loudest mouth and knows who is who and appoint that person to be your wrangler. Their main task is to make sure everyone who should be in a family photo is sitting in the pew ready to go when you are.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen brides having to wait on missing relatives–and that just cuts into your time for fun formals!

4. Communicate With Your Photographer

I want to know your expectations, and I want you to know how I work. That’s why I include the engagement session with every package–I want to get a feel for how you and your fiancé interact, and I want you to be comfortable with me. If you’ve got some ideas for your wedding photos, I really want to hear them! If there’s things you absolutely can’t stand, let me know. I’m not really good at guessing that type of information, so you’ll have to tell me about it.


You’ve planned for months and you’ve covered every detail, now just enjoy your wedding day! Let everyone else sweat the small stuff! You will look gorgeous, rain or shine, trust me. I can fix little things in photoshop, but I can’t create a belly-laugh-smile. If you have fun on your wedding day, your photos will be BEAUTIFUL. So relax and soak up the moments!

Becky and Joe are Married | Pittsburgh Wedding

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of photographing Becky and Joe’s beautiful wedding in Greensburg, PA.

To say it was HOT would be an understatement. And I’m not just talking about the temperature outside!

Becky started her morning off at Rambler Hair Design in Greensburg. Then she grabbed a bite to eat at her mom’s house, and then it was off to First Presbyterian Church in Greensburg. This church was gorgeous, and it had a wonderful room where Becky could get ready and wait with her bridesmaids.

After the ceremony, we stopped by the Pitt Greensburg campus for some formal shots. What a wonderful pick that was!

Lastly, Becky and Joe celebrated and danced with their family and friends at Giannilli’s II, also located in Greensburg.

Becky’s dress was stunning, and it showed off her beautiful figure perfectly.


I just love the way her dad is looking at her here.

The handsome groom.

The guys thought it’d be funny to look studious in the library.

I loved Becky’s navy blue and hot pink color scheme.

Joe striking a pose.

Hot, hot, hot!


Becky and Joe had a rocking dance floor.

Can’t you just hear Counting Crows’ “Mr. Jones” here?

Congratulations Becky and Joe!

Tracey Daily - voting for becky and joe!

Cherie Labrecque - Voting for Becky and Joe as the best wedding.

Andrea - Love the photos- by far the best wedding!

Jessica Ritter - Best wedding Ever!!!!

Jessica Pompe - Becky and Joe have my vote!

Anonymous - Mary, Thank you so much!! We love the pictures and can't wait to see the rest of them! You're the best! -Becky n' Joe

Lisa Piellusch - Really nicely done! <3 :)