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Lauren + Cody: The Gathering Place at Darlington Lake Wedding Photos


Lauren + Cody: The Gathering Place at Darlington Lake Wedding Photos

The first time Cody saw Lauren was when she came in for an interview at Red Robin, where he works. After she left, he said to the manager: "hire her, she's gorgeous!" Not long after, they started dating, got engaged, and began building a family... and this May, on one of the most beautiful Pittsburgh spring days, they became husband and wife!

I was lucky enough to be introduced to these two through my mother-in-law, who babysat Lauren when she was a little girl - and even though we were there as photographers, we felt like part of the family throughout the entire day, celebrating right alongside them! 💛

I actually had the pleasure of working with Lauren and Cody not just once for their engagement photos before their wedding (click here to see their downtown Beaver engagement photos!), but also for some family photos just a few short years ago (click here to see their Moraine State Park family photos!). I always love being able to get people in front of the camera before their wedding day so they know what to expect!

I love how many personal details were included in Lauren and Cody’s wedding day, lovingly made possible by close friends and family! For one, Lauren’s invitations were custom designed by her Maid of Honor (and are GORGEOUS!), and her flowers were all put together by the Maid of Honor’s mother Denise Silvestri.

But even more than the personal details, gorgeous venue, and beautiful weather, what stood out most about Lauren and Cody’s wedding day was the bond these two share. Before even uttering their vows, it’s easy to see that they had long been living them out in their relationship - for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health. Lauren and Cody - here’s to many more years of love and laughter for you and your sweet family! Thank you so much for the honor of being a part of your day - congratulations on your marriage! 💛


Ceremony & Reception: The Gathering Place at Darlington Lake

Makeup: Bailey Rae Makeup

Hair: Ashley’s Mobile Studio

Bride’s Dress: M'Kaysha Bridal, made by Stella York

Bridesmaid Dresses: Bridal Boutique in Mt. Lebanon

Invitations: Designed by the Maid of Honor, Abbey Hlista

Florals: Maid of Honor’s Mom, Denise Silvestri

Officiant: Ceremony Offciants

Cake: Bella Christie & Lil Z’s Sweet Boutique

Catering: Medure’s Catering

DJ: Bruce Matteo

Videography: Dana Lynn

Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer: Jenna Hidinger Photography


Communicating Style & Aesthetic to Your Wedding Photographer


Communicating Style & Aesthetic to Your Wedding Photographer

When I first started photographing weddings, a seasoned wedding photographer told me: “All weddings are literally the same. The only thing that changes are the people – but besides that, everything is the same from weekend to weekend.”

While the wedding day might have a similar set up or timeline with getting ready photos, followed by a first look or ceremony, followed by portraits, then a reception, after photographing 100+ weddings, I would argue that so many things change from weekend to weekend, making each wedding completely unique. The general, skeletal framework may remain – but things are always changing.

For one, the couple changes, which changes the vibe of the day itself. I might have a quiet, romantic, love-to-be-close-to-each-other couple one weekend, then an outgoing, silly, fun, crazy couple the next – which, consequently, changes the way I photograph them, always keeping me on my toes! Likewise, I might have a laid back wedding on a farm one weekend, and an upscale, black tie wedding the next.

You might be wondering, “but why does this matter?”

Because the aesthetic of each wedding is so different – from the couple themselves, to the venue, to the theme, to the styling and décor – I’ve found that weddings can start to feel the same when I’m unaware of what makes each wedding unique.

Now, there are a few things I do in advance to get the general vibe of a wedding day. For example:

  • I always try and chat with the couple before they book to talk about their pending style and aesthetic (but I do know that a lot can change from when you start wedding planning to when the wedding actually happens!)

  • Which is why I send a follow up questionnaire a few months before the wedding day to get some of the more solid details, like the colors, theme, and other specific details.

  • I also check out the venues and photo locations beforehand. Most venues each have a personality all their own! A wedding that takes place on a farm in a barn has a much different feel than one that takes place in a historical hotel in downtown Pittsburgh.

When I know in advance what makes a wedding unique, I can plan. (And boy do I love planning! No, that’s not sarcasm! ;) ). From the portraits, to the details, to everything in between, knowing the vision, aesthetic, and style behind a wedding helps me come prepared from the get go. Your photographer can gather a lot of things from who you are and from the locations you choose, but there are some things that can only be communicated by you: like the theme, style, and aesthetic. And communicating these things in advance to your photographer can actually give you better images!

Let me share a few of my favorite examples:


This wedding is by far one of my favorite examples of communicating style and aesthetic beforehand, and how it can have a profound impact on your wedding day!


When Lyndsay (the bride) first started the conversation with me about her wedding day, she had a true vision: bright, colorful, laid back, classy barn elegance. She painted a vision of colorful florals and eclectic details, which made it easy for me to make style based decisions on their wedding day.


While we had a few portrait locations planned for Lyndsay and Justin’s wedding day, and all of them were nature focused. But before this shot - none of them had a ton of bright, bold color, like she had talked about during our numerous emails, phone calls, and final planning meeting. When I showed up the day of the wedding, I knew that to create cohesion between the bridal details, reception details, and portraits, it would be helpful to include some portraits with bright color! The scene in the photo above stood out to me as THE perfect spot to bridge the style gap in their day, and to make some of their portraits cohesive with the bright, bold style of their details!


And - speaking of details - knowing the vision and style of the wedding before I showed up on their wedding day helped me make styling choices cohesive with the vision of the wedding. For example, you’ll notice that the invitation below is very simple (and gorgeous - designed by the bride!). I knew when I saw it that I wanted to bring something bright and colorful into the frame in order to really make the shot “pop” and match the style of the wedding. Lucky for me, Shady Elms Farm does all of the floral arrangements for their weddings, so I was able to simply ask them for a few extra flowers to frame the invitation with. I also chose a bright yellow ring box to compliment the vibrant color palette, creating a photo of the invitation that complimented the style of the rest of the wedding day!

Knowing that Lyndsay was planning on having lots of eclectic details at the wedding also gave me the understanding that I could fill my background a bit more with different textures and details. Also, when I think of a farm, I think of overgrowth, flowers, plants, etc., a vibe which I feel was matched through the way the details were photographed!


Now, we’ll contrast the farm wedding above with a classy black tie city wedding below! Next up: Janelle and Josh’s Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh wedding!


I had a clear understanding of Janelle and Josh’s wedding from the emails we exchanged and the questionnaires they filled out - when I saw their wedding venue, I saw it to be the perfect match of everything she had described to me: a classy, modern, black tie city wedding. And knowing some of the more specific style details in advance helped me make location choices for both the portraits and for the details that were consistent with the overall feel of the wedding!


We’ll start with the portraits! Choosing locations for Janelle and Josh’s wedding was quite easy, knowing that 1) they were having a classy affair, and 2) they wanted to showcase the city. So when it came to their portraits, you’ll notice in the slideshow below portraits that showcase the city (on the street, with buildings in the background, in the iconic Pittsburgh Strawberry Way), and, since their wedding was so perfectly colored to match their reception venue, photos in the venue that provide that classy, upscale feel!


Sometimes I struggle with finding the perfect spot to photograph bridal details, because I want the backgrounds (including colors) of each detail shot to compliment the photos from the rest of the wedding. With Janelle and Josh’s wedding… I knew as soon as I walked into the hotel that their details had to be shot in the lobby! And lucky for me, since I had enough information style and aesthetic wise to know what they were looking for in advance, I was able to choose specific locations in the lobby I would use for their details photos beforehand. Which was so helpful the day of the wedding! I was able to work faster on the details because I had already formulated a plan!

In addition to knowing that elements in the lobby of the hotel would make excellent backdrops for their details, I was able to bring a few extra elements with me on the wedding day to use for styling, because I had an idea of what would compliment the details. For example, in the invitation suite photo below, the only elements that were from the bride were the shoes, the invitation suite, and the purse. The lace, gold box, leaves, and small flowers were items I brought with me to enhance the set up!


In summary, when a photographer knows the style and aesthetic of a wedding beforehand, they can…

  • Help recommend portrait locations that fit the style of the overall wedding, helping to create a cohesive gallery from the wedding day that tells the story of the day through each section of the day.

  • Be prepared to photograph bridal details by either choosing a location in advance, or bringing styling elements to help further compliment and tell the story of those details, and of the wedding as a whole.

  • Focus more on the couple, bridal party, and family members. At least, for me this is true! When I know more in advance, I prepare more in advance, which frees up some of my brain space to focus on the people immediately around me - rather than on trying to find the perfect spot to photograph the invitation suite!


If you’re a bride reading this, you might be wondering: what would be helpful to communicate to my photographer about my style and aesthetic beforehand? Below are a few pieces of information that are personally helpful for me to know before going into a wedding day!

  • What the invitation suite looks like. Even better if you can send me one beforehand!

  • Your wedding colors.

  • What your dress looks like. The bride’s dress tends to set the tone and style for the wedding as a whole!

  • What type and color of florals you’ll be using in your bouquets and boutonnieres.


So, the more of the story: don’t forget to communicate your style and aesthetic to your wedding photographer! In fact, make it a priority! For any couples who book their wedding with me, I send out a questionnaire a few months before the wedding with a few questions about style to get a better idea of the aesthetic beforehand so I can come prepared. That, along with checking out the reception and ceremony venue beforehand, give me a better understanding into each couple’s day, and the best way I can go about approaching the day and preparing beforehand.

But to any of my couples who might be reading this: never hesitate to over communicate on style and aesthetic to me! As someone who’s invested in your day, I love to be prepared for each and every wedding I photograph to the very best of my ability.


Megan + Richard: Montour Heights Country Club Wedding Photos


Megan + Richard: Montour Heights Country Club Wedding Photos

A girl (Megan) from Pennsylvania and a guy (Richard) from Wales meet in an online chat room for Paramore fans. They start talking, become friends, and then, years later, begin dating.

Mid-May, they celebrated their movie-like love story by exchanging rings and saying vows in the church where Megan's mom and Grandma both were married, years before. With so many details representing them both, along with their unique relationship, including: Disney music on the violin before the ceremony, the groomsmen walking in to the church to Lord of the Rings music, a small, white Bible with gold lettering carried down the aisle by Megan that was carried by her mother and grandmother before, lilies in the floral arrangements (the official flower of Whales), a sand ceremony utilizing sand from a beach and Whales and a park in Pennsylvania, and a cake topped with the word "cariad" (the Welsh word for "love") - their day was beautiful, romantic, and full of so much joy - and so incredibly personal to them!

Megan and Richard, it was an honor to be a part of your wedding day. Thank you for the incredible honor!


Ceremony: First Presbyterian Church (Beaver Falls)

Reception: Montour Heights Country Club

Florals: Patti’s Petals

Cake: Cakes by Brenda McGee

DJ: Steven Vance Entertainment

Makeup: Marie Miclot

Hair: Revelation Hair Designs

Bride’s Dress: Mary’s Bridal

Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal

Invitation Suite: Blake Pawelec

Decorating: Vintage Alley Rentals

Calligraphy: Simply Stated Lettering

Cupcakes: Batter and Dough

Room Blocks: Courtyard Marriott

Pittsburgh Wedding Photography: Jenna Hidinger Photography

A huge thank you to Taylor Dymond for being an amazing second shooter on this wedding day!


How Much Photography Coverage Should I Book for My Wedding Day?


How Much Photography Coverage Should I Book for My Wedding Day?

I read an excellent blog post by Pittsburgh wedding blog extraordinaire, Burgh Brides, titled “One Very Important Thing to Consider When Hiring a Wedding Photographer” not too long ago. As a wedding photographer myself, I was immediately curious as to what one thing could refer to. How could there be just one important thing to consider when hiring a wedding photographer?

What I love so much about this article is that in it, Victoria (Burgh Brides creator) talks about how important it is to know how much coverage you’re going to need on your wedding day, and therefore, how many hours you’ll need to book with your photographer, based on your preliminary timeline. It might seem like a far stretch to try and think through your timeline a year to two years before your wedding day actually happens, but having a general idea of when things will be happening will help you make a more educated decision when it comes to the number of hours you’ll actually need! Or, as Victoria puts it:

“When you’re just starting to plan your wedding, a certain number of hours of coverage may seem like enough. Later down the road though, when times are more finalized, you may quickly realize that the package you booked won’t allow for photos of some moments, like your hair and makeup being done or the last dance of the night.”

Thinking about the important points of the day ahead of time - the beginning of the day, the ceremony, and the end of the night - is so important! Below are a few questions I put together to help couples who might be unsure of how much coverage to book get the ball rolling on figuring out a preliminary timeline:

  • When will the ceremony take place, and how long will it be? This will be the starting point for figuring out how many hours of coverage before and after the ceremony you’ll need! You might need additional coverage if you’re having a longer ceremony (like a full Catholic mass) opposed to a quick 15 minute outdoor ceremony.

  • Do we want to have a “send off” at the end of the reception, and do we want it photographed?

  • Will we have a first look? You’ll need more time before the ceremony if you do!

  • …or will we opt to have our photos taken during cocktail hour? Make sure you leave enough time for photos during your cocktail hour if you opt to go this route!

  • Will we be traveling a lot on the wedding day? More time in the car = less time photo taking time, which means you might have to book additional coverage! For example, if you book 8 hours of coverage with your photographer, but the ride from your getting ready location to the ceremony is 30 minutes, then the ride from your ceremony to your reception is another 30 minutes, that’s a whole hour that your photographer will be driving and not taking photos. So you actually only have 7 hours of coverage, not 8, and might want to consider booking another hour (or two!).

  • What is most important to us when it comes to our wedding photos? Maybe it’s portraits of the two of you. Maybe it’s you and your girls getting ready. Maybe it’s your grandma dancing at your reception! Or maybe you really want to make sure you have epic detail photos of your dress, invitation suite, and rings. Know what’s important to you, and then ask your photographer how much time they think they’ll need to capture those important parts of your day! Here’s a sample timeline I made for my couples to help them figure out how much time to allot for each part of their day!

With all of that in mind, check out one of the best timeline graphics I have ever seen (thank you SRW Joyce)! This graphic lays out the typical events of the wedding day, along with an estimate to the left of the events of how much coverage you’ll typically need to capture those consecutive parts of the day.

Graphic representation thanks to  SRW Joyce

Graphic representation thanks to SRW Joyce

And if you’re looking for an estimate of what the majority of couples choose for their coverage, based on the weddings I’ve photographed, most couples choose packages with 8 to 10 hours of consecutive coverage. Most couples who choose 8 hours are not traveling between different locations on their wedding day. Couples who are traveling between different locations (getting ready to ceremony, or ceremony to reception, or ceremony to a photo location, or all of the above) almost always end up booking at least 9 to 10 hours of coverage!

If you’re a bride who’s unsure of how many hours of coverage you should book, or a bride thinks she might need a few extra hours of coverage, I’d be happy to help! Feel free to reach out to me directly at (or via the contact tab in the top navigation) for a second opinion!

A huge thanks to Victoria from Burgh Brides for writing such an epic article! 💛 If you’re a bride in the Pittsburgh area looking for wedding inspiration, I highly recommend checking out the Burgh Brides blog!

And until next time - happy planning!


Becca + Brandon: Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh Wedding Photos


Becca + Brandon: Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh Wedding Photos

After hearing Becca & Brandon's story, I could not WAIT to meet them on their wedding day. You see, these two met when Brandon bumped into Becca (accidentally) at Barnes & Noble, and offered to buy her a new coffee! (Sounds like the start to a great movie, right?!) A little over a month after their first run in, they became "official" when Brandon asked her to "go steady."

Fast forward slightly down the road to the proposal - where Brandon proposed to Becca in their chicken coop (amazing, right? 🐓). Surrounded by their chickens, Brandon kneeled down in the coop (& in chicken poop!) and asked Becca for her hand in marriage.

And in April of 2019, Becca and Brandon tied the knot in a very different setting than a chicken coop - starting with a ceremony at Mount Saint Peter Church in New Kensington, and ending with a gorgeous reception at the Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh! It was such an incredible honor to spend the day with these two, along with their friends and family. Here's to many more years together, and many more chickens!

When the bride and groom ask for the last photo of the evening to be a photo of the two of them with me and my second shooter, no matter how sweaty we are, we are always so honored! 💛


Reception: Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh

Bride’s Dress: Exquisite Bride

DJ: Andy Booth Productions, Pittsburgh Wedding DJ

Cake: Bethel Bakery

Florist: CAP Floral Designs

Signage: Victoria Fiaretti

Makeup: Allison Renock

Hair: Simply Stunning Hair Salon

Invitations: Simply to Impress

Photographer: Jenna Hidinger Photography (Second Shooter: Taylor Dymond)


Jenny + Max: Carnegie Museum of Natural History Wedding Photos


Jenny + Max: Carnegie Museum of Natural History Wedding Photos

Jenny and Max met in college in Melbourne, Florida, and their first date was at the beach! Definitely not something you hear about every Pittsburgh wedding 😏 But the beginning of their story was absolutely perfect (and very in character), considering that both Jenny and Max are marine biologists! Max even popped the question on their fishing boat. Knowing all of these little details going into their wedding, I knew that they would have some great details to tie their love for the sea into their day - and they did not disappoint!!

Jenny and Max chose one of the most beautiful and iconic wedding venues in all of Pittsburgh - the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. With its iconic grand staircase (voted one of the best museum staircases in the world!) and gorgeous rooms modeled after wonders of the world (you’ll see what I mean once you start looking at the images!), one detail that rose above the rest and was so important to Jenny and Max was getting photos with the fish and dinosaur fossils - because it is a true representation of their relationship and mutual love for the ocean! While we did utilize other areas of the museum for photos, it was so exciting to be able to capture images that really reflected the two of them!

Along with photos with the fish and dinosaur bones, there were a number of other unique and personal details sprinkled throughout their day: the first detail I encountered on their wedding day was an olive branch that Jenny had brought all the way from a tree in their backyard in Florida, which I was able to incorporate into some of her bridal detail photos (there are also olive branches in her bouquet!). Another bridal detail of such sweet significance is the Pandora charm bracelet you’ll see in the images below - each of the three sisters (Jenny, her twin, and their older sister) all have the same charms that represent each of their weddings. Such a sweet and sentimental detail!

After getting ready at her childhood home, we hopped over to the Museum for the ceremony in the Museum’s Hall of Architecture, which, according to the Museum’s website, was created with 140 plaster casts from architectural masterpieces from the past, both in Europe and the United States. As a whole, the room was “inspired by one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.” Talk about the perfect place for a wedding ceremony!

After the ceremony and photos around the museum, we headed over to the grand Carnegie Museum Music Hall Foyer for their reception. Its large, marble columns and scenic balcony overlooks make it the perfect spot for a dream reception! And here is where even more meaningful details came to life! Just to name a few: the groom’s cake, modeled to look like crabs in an ocean with Old Bay Seasoning; Old Bay Seasoning on the cookie table for guests to take home; the most adorable fish, mermaid, and sloth cookies; signature drinks, including the “Captain’s Tea” and “Mermaid Mule”; and to top it all off, Max and his mom danced during their mother-son dance in fishing boots!

The attention to detail and thought behind each piece of the wedding day completely blew my mind! What an incredible honor it was to be a part of this beautiful day. Congratulations on your marriage, Jenny and Max! There are officially two less fish in the sea 🐟🐠 (I couldn’t resist!). Enjoy a sampling of their images below!


Ceremony: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Hall of Architecture

Reception: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Music Hall Foyer

Bride’s Dress: The Exquisite Bride, Maggie Sottero Designs

Bridesmaid Dresses: Joanna August

Invitation Design: Nicky Armstrong

Menswear: Jack’s Tuxedo

Hair: EnV Hair Studios

Floral Design: Dan’s Florals

Cake: Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Groom’s Cake: Tasty Bakery

DJ: Andy Booth Productions

Videographer: Dorosh Documentaries


3 Ways to Get the Most out of Your Wedding Photography Investment


3 Ways to Get the Most out of Your Wedding Photography Investment

The definition of “investment,” according to Google, is a “thing that is worth buying because it may be profitable or useful in the future,” as well as “an act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.”

If there’s one thing in relation to your wedding day that you’ll spend money on that could be seen as an investment, per the definition above, I think wedding photography would be it! Wedding photos are one of the few things you’ll have left from your wedding day that will allow you to re-experience everything that happened on your wedding day - the emotions, the joy, the tears, and even the decor and details that you put so much thought and love into! And most importantly, your photos will let you experience the beginning of a new adventure with your now-spouse!

As a wedding photographer, if you’re one of my brides (or considering becoming one of my brides! 😉) one of the most important things to me is that you get the most out of your investment. But how, exactly, can you maximize your investment? I’m all about practical steps, so below, I’m sharing three practical ways to maximize your wedding photography investment and get the most ‘bang for your buck’ (one of my mom’s favorite sayings!) when it comes to your wedding photos!

1.     Have all of your wedding events in the same location… or at least within close proximity.

Having all of your wedding events in the same central location has some major benefits! Going from location to location takes time, which will eat into your wedding day photography coverage. For example, many brides book between 8 to 10 hours of “continuous” wedding day coverage, meaning that if your coverage begins at 12PM, it will end at 8PM, regardless of what events happen during that timeframe, whether ther e are events for your photographer to take photos of or not. If you book 8 hours of wedding day coverage, but are driving between different locations (getting ready location, ceremony location, photo location, and reception), and all are about 20 minutes from each other, that’s 60 minutes of wedding day coverage you’re paying for that your photographer is not taking photos during! However, if you book 8 hours of coverage and do not have to travel between locations, you’ll actually get the full worth of your 8 hour coverage investment!

2.     Ask your photographer how much time to leave for photos… then plan for that amount of time!

A full time wedding photographer will typically photograph anywhere from 20 to 40 weddings each year, dealing with and planning the logistics of each of those weddings. If you’re planning a wedding, you’re more than likely pretty brand-spanking-new to this, and you’ve probably never had to think about things like how long you should leave for things like family photos, bridal party portraits, and/or photos of you with your new spouse on your wedding day! Lucky for you, your photographer has ample amounts of experience in this area – so be sure to ask for their help when planning your timeline! As photographers, we want you to ask for our help, because we want to make sure we have enough time to take the dreamy wedding photos you’ve always wanted!

3.     Sneak out during your reception for some sunset photos or epic night shots!

Once the reception gets going, it can be fun to leave the party for a few minutes to get just a few more photos of you with your new spouse! I usually consider this not only “bonus” portrait time, but time for my couples to have a few minutes to themselves. And I’ve never had a couple tell me that they regretted leaving their reception for a few additional photos, whether it be an epic night photo or a few “golden hour” (or sunset) portraits! Many of these photos end up being my favorites (and my couples favorites!) from the entire day.

All of the photos in the slideshow below were taken during “bonus” portrait time!