The Pros and Cons of Having a First Look

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The Pros and Cons of Having a First Look

The topic of a “first look” is often highly debated among brides and wedding professionals alike. If you’re unfamiliar with what a “first look” is, essentially, it is where the bride and groom plan a time before the ceremony to see each other – just the two of them.

 But before we move on, a quick disclaimer: the very last thing I ever want to do when talking about a first look is make someone feel bad for choosing to opt for a more traditional route of the groom seeing the bride for the first time while walking down the aisle. Heck, my husband and I opted to not have a first look, because we both decided that we wanted to keep that aspect of our day a bit more traditional! But with that being said, I do want to share some pros and cons of a first look to help those who might be on the fence!

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PROS:

You’ll have more time together.

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This is a HUGE one, and one I wish I would’ve considered going into my own wedding day! On your wedding day, you’ll come down the aisle, get married, jump straight into portraits, then jump straight into the reception – there’s barely any time to have a relaxed moment together. But with a first look, you’ll get the majority of your photos done before the ceremony, and will therefore have much more time to enjoy just being together (plus, you’ll get to attend cocktail hour – which leads me to my next point!).

You’ll get to spend more time with your guests.

If the majority of your photos take place before the ceremony, you’ll most likely be able to attend the majority of (or part of!) your cocktail hour! This is a great way to make sure you get to talk with the majority of your guests and enjoy the party you worked so hard to plan!

You’ll feel less rushed.

Have you ever been to a wedding where there was a 3-5 hour time gap between the ceremony and reception? Me too. I remember being antsy, hungry, and ready for the party to start by the time bridal party made it to the reception. Doing a first look means being able to do the majority of your photos before the ceremony, which cuts down time between the ceremony and reception for your guests.

You’ll be less nervous.

I’m naturally more of an introvert, so being in front of a crowd of people gives me a little bit of anxiety. If you’re like me, consider doing a first look. You’ll get to experience that moment together – just the two of you (plus your photographer, hopefully from afar ;) ) – without anyone else around. There’s no pressure to react a certain way, no onlookers, just a private moment between the two of you.

You’ll have more time for portraits!

Sometimes on a wedding day, things run behind. The ceremony goes a little over, the receiving line is unaccounted for in the official timeline, or the transportation to the reception takes a bit longer than expected – which all cut into photo time. Having your photos taken before the ceremony means that you can plan a bigger time chunk without having to worry about everything running behind and arriving late to your reception or making guests wait for you!

*As a side note, if you’re getting married in the winter months, the sun will set a bit earlier in the day. Make sure you pay attention to when your photo time will take place in relation to when the sun sets so you aren’t taking photos in the dark!

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CONS:

Your fiancé will see you before the ceremony, so the “down the aisle” moment will be a little different.

It’s true, that moment down the aisle you’ve always been dreaming of may feel a bit different since you will have already seen each other.

You’ll have to start getting ready earlier in the day.

With a first look, you’ll need to be “photo ready” earlier, which means you’ll have to start getting ready earlier. It can be helpful to ask your photographer when he/she thinks the first look should happen, based on what time the ceremony is set to begin. Then, you’ll be able to ask your hair and makeup artists how much time hair and makeup will take, and when you will need to start getting ready.

Lighting during the first look isn’t always ideal.

The best time of day for photos is a few hours after sunrise, or a few hours before sunset. The biggest thing I get hung up on with a first look is the light! Most first looks happen in the middle of the day, when the light is harsh, so sometimes it’s tough to find a good spot with flattering light – especially for photos with large groups of people (like a bridal party!).

 First looks have both their pros and cons, but when it comes down to it, all that really matters is what you want your wedding day to look like. If you want a first look, do it. If you don’t want a first look, don’t do it. But whatever you do, make sure you weigh your options so you can make an educated decision either way!

Happy planning!

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Bridal Detail Checklist

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Bridal Detail Checklist

Let’s just say it like it is: there is SO MUCH TO REMEMBER when you are a bride. Keeping track of vendors, decor, family members, bridesmaids, groomsmen - the day of a wedding can feel like a complete blur!

One of my biggest goals as a wedding photographer is to help my brides and to take things off their plate that have the potential to be stressors. When I arrive onsite on a wedding day to a bridal getting ready suite, there are so many different things going on! Makeup, hair, lunch, steaming the bridesmaid dresses, writing speeches and vows - not to mention taking the time to actually enjoy yourself! The one thing that I don’t want any of my brides to have to do is stop everything just to look for her details for me to photograph!

A great way to not have to worry about gathering all of your items frantically when there are a million other things going on?! Have all of your items set aside in advance. The day before the wedding (or even the morning of!), put all of the details you’d like to have photographed in a bag or box, with your dress hanging nearby. That way, you won’t have to worry about stopping the world to look for your earrings mid-makeup!

And now you might be wondering - what exactly should I be setting aside to have photographed? Well, I’m glad you asked! Below is a comprehensive list of all of the items I recommend my brides set aside for me to photograph! And if you’re more of a “hard copy” type of person (like me! ☺️), or if you simply want a PDF to put in your wedding binder or store on your desktop, I’ve created a PDF version of this list for you to download for free at the bottom of this post! Happy planning! 💛

  • Wedding Dress

  • Dress hanger

  • Dress belt (if there is one)

  • Veil (if there is one)

  • Bouquet

  • Shoes

  • Invitation suite (bonus points for including envelopes!)

  • Save the date

  • Garter(s)

  • Wedding rings

  • Ring box

  • Engagement ring

  • Perfume

  • Purse

  • Headpiece

  • Jewelry (necklace, bracelet, earrings)

  • Something old, new, borrowed, and blue

  • Gift from the groom

  • Vow book(s)

GET YOUR FREE PDF CHECKLIST!

Want a free, comprehensive PDF Bridal Checklist to add to your wedding binder? Fill out the short form below to download yours as my gift to you!

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What You Should Know About Wedding Photographers

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What You Should Know About Wedding Photographers

At one of my weddings this past summer, a father of the bride came up to me and told me he had read my college thesis.

Gasp.

He found it online while he was researching me, and while he was trying to figure out how wedding photographers worked and why wedding photography costs so much.

As the father of the bride was explaining all of this to me, I literally started to sweat. I had no idea where this was going. For my honors thesis project, I wrote a business plan for, you guessed it, Jenna Hidinger Photography. I’ll be honest – I haven’t used it much since. If there’s anything I’ve learned about business while running a business, it’s that nothing stays the same for very long, and that you have to be constantly adapting to changing clients, markets, products, and services. But while he was talking, I kept thinking I wrote that paper almost four years ago, so much has changed since then – I hope he doesn’t hold anything I wrote against me!

But then he said something that astounded me, that I rarely ever hear: “Now I understand what all goes into wedding photography and why it costs so much. I used to think a photographer would just show up the day of, take some photos, and leave. But after reading your thesis, I feel like I understand and really appreciate what you do. You do so much. Thank you for all you’ve done for my daughter.”

Cue the gasp again. Those were most certainly not the words I expected to hear, but they brought so much joy to my heart! As his words echoed through my mind throughout the remainder of his daughter’s wedding day, alternative thoughts from other photographers kept echoing through my head: People should inherently know the value of what you do as a wedding photographer. You should never have to explain yourself or your pricing. People should know.

But if you’re not a wedding photographer, if you’re not friends with a wedding photographer, if you’re not married to a wedding photographer, if you don’t have a wedding photographer in your family… how are you supposed to know? How is anyone supposed to know unless we, the wedding photographers, tell them?

So today, I would love to share a few things you might not know about wedding photographers. There might be some pieces that have to do with money, and some that don’t. But my goal today isn’t to guilt you into paying more for your wedding photos - it’s to show you everything that goes into what we do outside of just showing up and taking photos. Because if no one has ever told you… how are you supposed to know?

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  1. We love when you ask for our advice and help!

    From a photography perspective and a planning-a-wedding perspective, few things give me more joy than being able to help a bride out, whether it’s by providing vendor recommendations, giving a second opinion on decorations, or helping create the perfect timeline. Most couples have never planned a wedding, so they aren’t always sure, for instance, how much time to allot for family formals, bride & groom photos, or bridal party portraits. Always double check with your photographer to see if they have a specific amount of time they recommend!

    I’ve created an 80 page magazine brimming full with tips, tricks, and advice all relating to engagement photos, wedding photos, timelines, first looks, rain, details, destination weddings, and the like. All brides who book with me receive this as my gift to them!

  2. There is a LOT more to photographing a wedding than showing up the day of!

    Emails, phone calls, timeline creation, location scouting, questionnaires, invoicing, contracts, album designing, product ordering, blogging, packaging & mailing – just to name a few! On top of the routine items in each wedding’s workflow, we’re also doing things like improving our education, bookkeeping, collecting and paying sales tax, creating educational resources for clients.

  3. We have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest (more on that here).

    Pinterest has given all brides everywhere access to more ideas than EVER before in every style, variety, and color scheme imaginable. Sometimes, it’s so easy to get caught up in the “Pinterest-perfect” photo opportunities, that you forget to let your day unfold in a way that’s true to you. Don’t miss out on true and authentic moments while trying to recreate someone else’s!

  4. Editing thousands of photos can take a long time.

    Sorting through 4,000 to 5,000 wedding photos, then editing ~1,000 can be a big job. Know that most wedding photographers want to finish editing your wedding photos as fast as you want to see them! But they also want to make sure that your once-in-a-lifetime day is edited to perfection – and perfection can take a little bit of time!

  5. Knowing of any family drama ahead of time is a HUGE help!

    It’s oh-so helpful to know any sensitive family situations so we don’t have two people who aren’t so fond of each other nice and close in a family portrait! The last thing we want is to make anyone feel uncomfortable on our account due to ignorance.

  6. The price you pay for your package is not what we get to keep in our bank accounts.

    If you want to make a buttload of money for working one day, wedding photography is not for you. Being a wedding photographer means lots of expensive equipment (which is expensive to upkeep!), backups for that expensive equipment in case something stops working mid-wedding day, liability insurance, equipment insurance, sales tax, editing software, computers, income tax, paying for continued education, hard drives to store our client’s photos, paying out of pocket for health insurance (or paying for an expensive plan not through an employer), not to mention every day expenses that don’t even have to do with the business (rent, cars, groceries). Don’t get me wrong – I love photography and it has been worth every single penny invested! But to be a full time, professional wedding photographer, major cost is involved.

  7. Besides actually taking pictures, keeping the wedding day on time is one of our biggest jobs.

    This is especially true if there is no planner! It’s easy for family members and friends to get swept up in the emotion of the day (for good reason!), and lose track of the timeline. Keeping the timeline on track ensures that we’ll be able to deliver the quality (and quantity) of images you would expect from us!

  8. We want to know what you like about our work.

    It’s helpful to know what a couple is attracted to in our work. Is it the light? The colors? The posing? The bridal detail styling? Reception lighting? Another special technique? Knowing in advance will help us pay special attention to what’s most important to you!

  9. We love recommending people who know, love, and work well with.

    On a wedding day, the vendors you hire will have to work together to help make your vision come to life, and if those vendors work well together, it’s going to make your wedding that much more epic! We have some vendors who we absolutely love to work who have a similar goal to us: to love on our couples and make their day as amazing as possible! If you would like to see a list of our favorite recommended vendors, including videographers, DJ’s, florists, hair artists, makeup artists, calligraphy specialists, invitation designers, caterers, photobooths and more, feel free to use the contact tab above to reach out! (Or, I linked to a few of my favorites above!)

  10. We love when you trust our expertise and opinions!

    Decisions we make can sometimes seem counterintuitive as to what could make for an epic photo or location, or how much time we allot for photos on a wedding day. The great thing about hiring a professional wedding photographer with experience? You shouldn’t have to worry about those decisions. We’ve acquired experience and education to be able to approach and photograph your wedding day in the best possible way. We love when you trust us to do our job!


The truth is, we never really know what goes into any profession that isn’t our own. We don’t know the time or money spent, or the work that goes into something behind the scenes. But we can listen. We can learn. We can ask questions – heck, we can even read theses! Most importantly: we can give each other grace.

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3 Ways to Support Local Businesses Without Spending a Dime

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3 Ways to Support Local Businesses Without Spending a Dime

Nearly 4 in 10 Americans has a side hustle (source), which means that about half of everyone you know is working on growing a service or product that can support them in addition to their current job – not to mention the immense amount of Americans who are self-employed, or working for small businesses! But with so many small business owners and side-hustlers, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to support them all from a financial standpoint. But did you know that there are ways you can support side-hustlers and local businesses without spending a dime?

 Below are three ways you can start supporting local businesses – without spending a dime – today!  

1.  Like and share their social media content.

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This may be the easiest way to support a local business owner, considering that 77% of Americans are on some form of social media (source). Sharing a small business owner’s content helps them get in front of a different audience than they might normally be able to reach on their own!

2.  Refer them to your friends and family! (If you like them! ;) )

Most small business owners offer a product or service that can solve a problem. Need the best haircut of your life? Let me tell you about the salon I love! Looking for someone to groom your dog? I know the best groomer out there! We naturally talk about and share what we love, and if you know someone who you love who owns a small business, don’t be afraid to talk about them to those who they might be able to help!

3.  Leave positive online reviews.

The very first thing I do when I am recommended a new product or service is head straight to Google to find some reviews! If I’m looking at two similar products, and one has some mixed reviews? I’m a bit more hesitant. But if there’s a similar product with loads of amazingly awesome, 5 star reviews?  You’ve got my attention, and you better believe I’ll be buying from them! Even if you’ve never used a business’s product or service, if you have a personal relationship with the business owner and can speak into things like their character, work ethic, or integrity, that is a HUGE piece of the pie for potential buyers to consider and is (dare I say) just as valuable as an excellent, quality product or service!


Use these three ideas to show a little love to the local business owners in your life - I know they’ll love ya for it!

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What to Wear for a Winter Photo Session

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What to Wear for a Winter Photo Session

Dressing for a winter photo session can be tricky! You want to stay warm, but you want to look good. Really, the key to dressing for a winter photo session is to be flexible. If you happen to be a native to the Pittsburgh area (or to any colder weather area!), you know how unpredictable winter can be. Here in Pittsburgh, it could be 50 degrees one day, and 20 the next – and trust me, when it’s below freezing, you do not want to be getting your photo taken with just a shirt and a pair of pants on. You’re going to need a bit more to make sure you don’t freeze to death!

Below are a few of my top tips for dressing for your winter photo session! 

  1. UTILIZE LOTS OF VISIBLE LAYERS

Now is the time to pull out your strongest layering game! Lucky for you, not only will wearing layers in your photos keep you warm, but they look so good and add a lot of visual interest to a photograph! Try layering a collared shirt with a sweater, or a nice sweatshirt with a jacket, or a sweater dress with a blanket scarf. Below are a few of my favorite ways clients have utilized layering for colder season sessions in the past!

2. INCORPORATE HIDDEN LAYERS… AND HOTTIES

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Hidden layers can be powerful when it comes to having your photo taken in the winter. The key? Be careful where you put those extra layers. Putting on extra socks? GREAT idea! Layer those babies up, because they won’t change your body visually in front of the camera. However, try not to go too bulky. For example, if you are planning on wearing a winter coat with some layers underneath for your session, try to choose a coat that accentuates your waist with a belt or seaming. This will accentuate the smallest part of your waist and give your body shape in front of the camera!

Oh, and shove hotties (hand warmers) wherever the heck they will go! In your shoes, in your pockets - if you’re wearing a skirt with leggings underneath, tape them to your legs! This is all about survival, people!

3. USE WEATHER APPROPRIATE ACCESSORIES

Pull out your winter hats, scarves, boots, mittens, and socks, or use your photo session as the perfect excuse to buy a cute new coat and/or boots! If you’re having your photos taken during winter, it’s completely appropriate to dress like it’s winter! Some of my favorite outfits from winter photo sessions are those that embrace the winter garb and use accessories to their advantage - like the ones below!

All and all, just remember: if you don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera, chances are, you will look uncomfortable. And if you’re investing in photos… it’s worth it to try to stay comfortable, and in the cold, stay warm!

In need of a little more winter outfit inspiration? I created a Pinterest Board with some of my favorite winter outfits for seniors, couples, and families - click the link below to check it out!

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Kim + Darren: Historic Harmony Maternity Photos

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Kim + Darren: Historic Harmony Maternity Photos

What a sweet season these two have entered as they prepare for the birth of their first child! I’ve taken photos of Darren and Kim twice before (check out their engagement photos here and their Myrtle Beach photos here!), and they are always so much fun! As you’ll discover in the previous blog posts, my husband and I have known Darren and Kim for quite a few years!

The morning of their session, all of Pittsburgh was preparing for the blizzard of the century (i.e., the blizzard that turned out to mostly be rain and a few inches of snow that stuck! 😂). While we may not have gotten any snow, and while it was pretty darn cold, Kim and Darren were such great troopers. They even chose one of my favorite locations for their photos - Historic Harmony! 😍

Kim and Darren, we are so excited to see you two become parents and to meet this baby that God has blessed you with!

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How to Pursue a Healthier Work Life Balance

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How to Pursue a Healthier Work Life Balance

“When does Jenna feel like the healthiest version of herself?” As the question  filled the room, my first reaction was to push back - to dub this appointment a mistake and walk out the door. The reason why: I hadn’t thought for a second in the last five years how and when I feel healthiest. I simply saw a goal and pushed through, whatever it took, to achieve it.

If you’re familiar with the Enneagram test, I’m a type 3. And if you’re unfamiliar, a type 3 is the classic achiever: the type of person who sees what it takes to achieve what they want and goes for it, sometimes neglecting other important areas of life to get there. They hustle hard, often to the detriment of themselves and others if they aren’t careful.

This is where I found myself at the end of last year. Hustling hard in my business, and burning out as a result. I’m a people-pleaser and a “yes” girl at heart, simply desiring to make others happy, with a desire for affirmation. So somehow, throughout the years, I allowed my schedule and my life to be dictated by everyone but me: I found myself bitter towards others for decisions I alone had the power to make, and that’s when I knew I was in a dangerous place. I knew it was really dangerous when I “suddenly” wanted to quit. But really, it wasn’t so sudden. I had been doing this to myself for years, and it had finally caught up with me.

So, I asked myself the same question my therapist asked me: when do I feel like the healthiest version of myself? And what will it take to get there?

The biggest word that stood out to me - the constant theme that kept popping up as I began to seek answers and healing was this word: boundaries.

If you’re anything like me before I actually set up some good, solid boundaries, you’re probably thinking: I’ve heard this all before! I know I need to set up boundaries. But then you just… don’t. You know you need to, but you keep moving at the pace you’re currently moving at, because, well – something about it feels good. It feels validating, even. That’s what busyness does – it falsely validates achievement and success until busyness becomes our idol. For example, in the wedding photography industry, we love to talk about how many weddings we have booked. It feels good to hear that number and for it to be the highest in the room or in the Facebook group – until you’re actually grinding through all of those weddings, and they aren’t fun anymore. They’re just work.

The biggest thing that has the power to destroy my passion is my pursuit of busy.

And really, that’s the LAST thing I ever want my work to become: just work. I started photographing weddings, seniors, and families because it’s my passion. I feel alive and like I was doing what I was created to do when I’m loving and encouraging people with a camera in my hand. But the biggest thing that has the power to destroy my passion is my pursuit of busy.

When I realized that, I knew immediately that something needed to be done. But what? Lucky for me, I had a few months of an “off” season from weddings with light work (January through March) to really think things through. What boundaries would I need to set up to make sure I stayed passionate? Or, as a friend of mine likes to say: what was my “long game” going to be? If I focused on the short term – booking the maximum amount of weddings and shoots I could for the year – I would inevitably burn out. But if I focused on my long game – what would allow me to do what I love (and keep loving it!) for the longest amount of time I possibly could – I could continue to love and serve my clients in the way I desired to, without growing any bitterness in my heart.

I decided to set up the boundaries listed below. But before you read through these, let me preface this list by saying that I know that everyone is different. What works for me might not work for you, and what works for you might not work for me. You might be able to do more and still remain passionate – but for me, these changes helped me avoid burnout and while remaining passionate:

  • I took at least one FULL day off per week – mandatory! For me, that meant no shoots, no email, no meetings or phone calls, and no editing. Typically, my day off fell on Sunday.

  • No answering emails on the weekend (and I put up an away message to make sure I stuck to it and had NO excuses!).

  • No answering emails past 5PM, unless I designated the evening a “work” evening (i.e., if I started my work day a little later).

  • I took only one wedding per weekend. Period.

  • No sessions the evening before or morning after a wedding.

  • I limited the number of sessions I took, especially during wedding weeks. My goal was one to two shoots on the weeks where I had a wedding scheduled (this one was harder to stick to during my busiest months, but was much better than last year!).

  • I set up a calendar for people to schedule their sessions from dates I picked out in advance, rather than having a free-for-all when it came to booking.

  • In addition to a booking calendar, I invested in a management software called Pixifi, where I can manage clients, invoices, contracts, proposals, workflows, automation and questionnaires – all in one place! I really believe that this is the best piece of software I’ve ever invested in - it’s been like having a virtual online assistant for super cheap! If you’re interested in checking it out, click here!

  • I limited my social media usage. Because, let’s be honest – social media is a breeding ground for comparison! I started using apps like Hootsuite and Grum to schedule my content so that it would automatically post, instead of me having to log into the app every time I needed to post!


And here is how these specific boundaries impacted my year:

  • I was able to enjoy my job SO MUCH MORE! There were still periods of time where I felt overwhelmed, but overall, I feel like my workload was much more manageable!

  • I was able to give each client my full attention at their session, instead of worrying about how much work (or editing) I still had to do.

  • I was able to pour more into my relationship with my husband. Instead of constantly working, day and night, we were able to enjoy more time together and continue to build our relationship!

  • I picked up a couple of hobbies and made time for them! I know it sounds crazy, but for one of the first times in my LIFE I felt like I could take the time to enjoy things that I wanted to do for myself, and not just things I needed to do to get the job done. A few mentionable include: writing, knitting, baking, and reading! (Just call me Grandma Jenna!) And I’m hoping that list keeps expanding!

  • I was able to invest into other areas of my business. I found something else that’s fun for me – photographing stock imagery! It’s something that I can do on the side of my full time business, but without any pressure!

  • I ended 2018 in a MUCH better place mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually than I ended 2017. I feel like I have more clarity, stability, and grit than ever before! (But still with a long way to go and lots to improve!)

  • And the real kicker: I set up these boundaries thinking that it would mean taking a pay cut – and I was truly okay with that. But, surprisingly, the opposite happened – I actually made 25% MORE this year than last year!

When do you feel like the healthiest version of yourself?

My question for you is the same one that was asked of me at the end of 2017: When do you feel like the healthiest version of yourself? And what boundaries do you need to put in place to make sure you get there? Are you playing the short game, or the long game?

If you’re in the same boat that I was (and that I sometimes still have one foot in! ;) ), know that you aren’t alone. Don’t allow yourself to go through another year – or, heck, another week without sitting down and putting even one small boundary in place to work towards the healthiest version of yourself. Make 2019 your year. I’m rooting for you!

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Grant B: Winter North Shore Senior Photos

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Grant B: Winter North Shore Senior Photos

Grant’s senior session was originally supposed to take place on a Saturday afternoon, but due to a snow storm, we bumped his session to the following morning - which ended up being a huge blessing in disguise! The North Shore is almost completely empty on Sunday mornings, except for the occasional runner and police officer. And even more exciting? Parking is free!

But what made Sunday morning so awesome wasn’t the free parking or the empty locations - it was getting to work with Grant! A senior at North Catholic, Grant is looking to start his post-high school education in the medical field. Grant broke his back (yes, you read that correctly!) not too long ago, and what helped him solidify his decision to head into this particular field was all of the time he was able to spend talking to and with the medical professionals who worked with him. Pretty amazing story!

Grant, it was an honor to take your senior photos. You are going to do great things!

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Kirsten + Travis: Elegant Burgundy & Navy Winter Wedding in Saxonburg, PA

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Kirsten + Travis: Elegant Burgundy & Navy Winter Wedding in Saxonburg, PA

A girl from South Africa and a boy from Saxonburg, Pennsylvania meet while at college at Penn State. At the time, neither of them know that what once started out as an acquaintance would grow into a life-long relationship built on love and most importantly, on Jesus.

After the chatting with Kirsten and Travis over Skype when they first inquired, I knew that they were exactly the type of couple who I love working with most: while, yes, they wanted everything to be beautiful, for the details to be meaningful, and for their friends and family to be a meaningful part of their celebration, their love and life-long commitment was the most important thing about their day. Even on their wedding day, they demonstrated their desire to love and serve each other by washing each other’s feet, like Jesus washed his disciples feet (if you’re wondering what the heck that means, click here).

It was an unusually warm January day here in Pittsburgh, which made outdoor portraits so much more pleasant! (Though everyone in attendance from South Africa will tell you it was still pretty darn cold - which it was!). We were able to take photos at the absolutely BEAUTIFUL Saxony Farms in Saxonburg (thanks to Travis’ sweetheart of a mom!), and we were blessed with the most beautiful light and sunset (again, crazy for January!)

The celebration continued at Cooper Hall (at the Saxonburg Museum) where firefly lights lit up the reception space. One of my favorite parts of their reception was the “open mic” toasts. Kirsten and Travis set aside about 30 minutes for anyone to give a little toast, and so many of their amazing friends and family did, from all over the world. And really, their stories of hospitality and kindness didn’t surprise me. Having spent just a few months communicating via email, phone, and Skype with these two, it’s easy to tell they have a supernatural love for those placed in their paths!

Kirsten and Travis, what an incredible honor it was to be a part of your day! I know your marriage is going to shine so brightly in this world.

And without further ado - here is the story of their day!

Vendors:

Ceremony: St. Luke's Lutheran Church (Saxonburg), Ceremony by Ps. Barry Keurulainen

Reception: Cooper Hall (Saxonburg Museum)

Invitations: Shutterfly

Bride’s Dress: Formalities by Tracina Fisher (Bridal Shop), Sophia Tolli gown, Mon Cheri (Designer)

Bridesmaid Dresses: Burgundy velvet dresses through Esty store, DesirCouture by Neringa

Makeup: Beauty by Joy

Hair: Hair by Wendy Vario

Menswear: Macy's

Cake Artist: Diane Lehnerd

Catering: LeFevre's Catering

Caller for Line Dancing: Brad Deibert

Chair Covers: Elegant Chair Design Covers

Lines & Tables: Classic Tents

Videography: Light Ridge Studio

Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer: Jenna Hidinger Photography

A special thanks to my second photographer, Taylor Dymond!

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