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Weddings

Amanda + Chris: Allegheny County Courthouse Elopement

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Amanda + Chris: Allegheny County Courthouse Elopement

Amanda and Chris’s elopement was technically my very first wedding of the 2019 season! And let me tell you - the more elopements I photograph, the more I completely fall in love with them! The intimacy and stress-freeness (is that a word? 😉) the couples I work with experience when eloping is like none other!

Their elopement took place on a Friday morning at the Allegheny County Courthouse, on the beautiful Grand Staircase. Integral Weddings officiated the grand occasion, and after their short (but sweet!) ceremony, we took a few photos with family, then spent the next hour and a half walking around Pittsburgh with the new Mr. & Mrs.!

Amanda and Chris, what an honor it was to work with you! It’s easy to see how much you love each other, and that you’re truly the best of friends. Congratulations on your marriage and on this new season of life! 💛

Also, I need to give a huge shoutout to Jill of Jill Gearhart Photography for helping me carry equipment, and for adding some additional photos to Amanda and Chris’s gallery (you’ll see a few photos of hers sprinkled in below!).

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One Clever & Revealing Question to Ask at Your Vendor Consultations

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One Clever & Revealing Question to Ask at Your Vendor Consultations

Do you ever have one of those moments where you’re just not really sure what to say?

I had a wedding photography consultation with a couple a few years ago (who I absolutely love!) who asked me an AMAZING question. And only a few months ago did I recognize the significance of it!

THE BIG Q

“Who would you hire to photograph your wedding?”

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Whoa. No one had ever asked me that before (at least, not a potential client!). First, I explained that I had in fact already gotten married, and that we had hired an amazing local photographer and absolutely loved our photos. But then they asked me again:

“If you could hire anyone to photograph your wedding, who would it be?”

Well, they got me there.

So many options raced through my head – local photographers, national photographers, international photographers - but a married couple from New England stuck out as the top pair in my head. Not just for their work, but for their incredible heart and connection that leaps out of each and every once of their images!

We moved on from this topic of conversation, and I didn’t think about this question again until months later, at the couple’s engagement session, when they were telling my assistant why they had decided to go with me as their wedding photographer.

They explained that they had asked multiple photographers the same question they had asked me: “Who would you hire to photograph your wedding?” And, believe it or not, one of those photographers said that they would hire me.

I was stunned when I heard this. Completely flabbergasted. Totally in shock! This question – though simple and straightforward – had landed me this booking. I felt kind of bad at first, sort of feeling like it was unfair that I had said someone out of state, and that this photographer had mentioned me. But then I realized: this couple? They were geniuses!

Who better to ask about hiring a wedding photographer than a wedding photographer? They know the industry, see SO much wedding work, and have tons of connections… so, again, who better to ask? And what better question to ask?

BUT WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

I’m writing this blog for a two-fold reason: first, from a bride’s perspective, I wish that I had asked this question to my vendors when I was getting married: to my DJ, to my florist, to my caterer, possibly even to my wedding venue. I really think it is an easy question that reveals so much!

If I don’t believe in my product or service… why would anyone else?

And second, from a wedding photographer perspective: why didn’t I throw my own name into the ring? Part of me wonders why I didn’t think: I wish I could photograph my own wedding! But that thought didn’t even cross my mind. For obvious reasons I couldn’t, but it reminds me that if I don’t believe in my product or service… why would anyone else? That’s a mindset and perspective worth shifting.

To the couple who asked me this thought-provoking question: thank you. So much. You know who you are, and I am so thankful for you!

To the bride who might be reading this: try asking this question at your next vendor meeting. I’m sure it will give you some answers that you’ve been looking for!

And finally, to the business owner: look at your product or service through your client’s shoes. Would you hire yourself to provide the product or service you’re asking your client to pay you for?

Thanks for reading, friends!

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My Biggest Hang Up with First Looks

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My Biggest Hang Up with First Looks

There are SO many reasons to love first looks. That intimate moment between just the bride and groom before the ceremony?! It’s almost always my favorite moment of a wedding day! My husband will sometimes photograph weddings with me, and every time we photograph a wedding with a first look, he inevitably will turn to me and say: “I wish we would’ve done one of these!”

THE DILEMA

Yes, first looks are amazing, intimate, and can be really helpful from a timeline perspective if there isn’t quite enough time for photos between the ceremony and reception, or if you want to attend your cocktail hour (click here to read an article I wrote about the pros of having a first look!) – but I do have one pretty big beef with first looks, and it’s something that I don’t see many people talking about.

The light.

Because first looks happen before a wedding ceremony, most of them take place around lunchtime, or when the sun is highest in the sky. And if you’re getting married on a farm in the middle of July with a first look at noon… the light (unless it’s an overcast day!) has the potential to be pretty harsh, and sometimes, quite unflattering. And if you opt to have all of your photos taken before the ceremony, all of those photos you’ve seen with glowy, soft light with a bride and groom frolicking through a field… they’re not really attainable. Because it’s just too bright. Those photos with glowing, golden sunlight are taken a few hours before the sun sets (or a few hours after the sun rises).

WHAT TO DO?

Well, first, I’m going to let you in on a little secret – just between you and me. A lot of wedding photographers love first looks because, the majority of the time, there is not enough time allotted between the ceremony and reception for us to get all of the photos we need to. So, when the photos of the bride & groom, bridal party, and sometimes even the immediate family happen before the ceremony, things are a bit more relaxed, because there is more time. And that’s what we want for you most – for you to be able to enjoy your day without being rushed!

Most couples don’t allot enough time for photos because A) they don’t want to make their guests wait too long, or B) the venue told them they have an hour between the ceremony and reception for photos. And, trust me - I believe those are completely understandable reasons to be cautious about the amount of time you allot for!

But let me tell you something, friends. This day happens once for you. And you are investing in these photos. And you know that saying about how “good things take time”? Well, the same goes for wedding photos, which also take time! (If you’re wondering how much time you should allot for photos, for a sample timeline, click here!) I like to suggest leaving at least a full hour and a half (not including travel time) just for bride and groom, bridal party, and family photos (or about a half hour for each… if not more!).

THE BOTTOM LINE

The key is: whatever you choose to do, make sure you leave enough time for your photos. That’s it! If you choose to have a first look, amazing! If you choose to forgo a first look and have the majority of photos taken between the ceremony and reception, that’s great! But don’t be afraid to plan for an extended cocktail hour (i.e., a cocktail hour longer than an hour) so that you can get the photos you’ve always dreamed of!

 Happy planning!

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5 Crucial Questions to Discuss with Your Fiancé Before You Begin Wedding Planning

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5 Crucial Questions to Discuss with Your Fiancé Before You Begin Wedding Planning

As the famous Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” 

Have you ever thought about preparing to plan your wedding? (And no, I’m not talking about that wedding Pinterest board you’ve had for the last 5 years 😉). It might sound kind of strange, considering the fact that wedding planning itself has to do with preparing for a wedding day. But one of the very best pieces of advice I could give to couples is - before doing ANY type of planning - to prepare to plan.

The questions below were carefully collected and crafted over years of meeting with engaged couples. Many couples aren’t sure what to expect or how to proceed with planning because they’ve literally never done it before. It’s like, you get engaged, and all of a sudden you’re supposed to know exactly what to do, how to plan, what wedding vendors cost, etc.?! I don’t think so!

As a recent bride myself (August 2015), even with WORKING in the wedding industry while planning, I felt overwhelmed with where to start and what I should be focusing on. So today, I’m excited to share five crucial questions to discuss with your fiancé before you begin wedding planning, so that you can plan your wedding a bit more prepared!

1.     What makes us excited about marriage?

First things first: even though you have a wedding to plan (yay!), it’s so important to focus on the marriage you’re working towards, not just the wedding day. Consider this your invitation to close your Pinterest browser and pump the breaks on creating your wedding website.. It might sound silly or obvious, but knowing why you are excited about marriage and why you want to get married is so much more important than any sort of budget or priorities when it comes to your wedding day.

This first question is actually one of my favorites to ask couples when I meet with them at our initial consultation. In my mind, it sets a tone for talking about the wedding day: through the lens of marriage. I hope that, by starting with this question, we’re putting what really matters first and constantly pointing back towards the ultimate reason for the wedding: the marriage.

2.     What are our priorities when it comes to our wedding?

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Let’s face it: weddings can be expensive, and sometimes a budget can force you to choose what’s most important. Knowing your priorities when it comes to vendors will help you decide where to allocate the majority of your budget.

When Nick and I were planning our wedding, we decided to name our top three priorities (it might be a different number for you): the venue, the photography, and our honeymoon. We decided to allocate the majority of our budget to those three categories, and then do the best we could with other expenses associated with our day. And to be honest? I’m SO glad we set those priorities from the get-go, because it helped drive our decisions for many of the other choices related to our wedding day. For example, we said “no” to floral centerpieces and created them ourselves. We said “no” to a big cake and got a small one for us to share, with sheet cakes for guests in the back. We said “no” to a lot more other things, too, but it allowed us to say “yes” to things like our dream venue, an amazing photographer, and an unforgettable honeymoon in Disney.

As a sort-of side note, something else that was a priority to us was marriage counseling, which was something we budgeted for and pursued in the months leading up to our wedding day (yes – before we were married). We knew that, while we could put tons and tons of effort into our wedding day, if we didn’t focus on building a solid foundation for our marriage from the start, all of our wedding planning would be in vain!

3.     What should we expect to spend on quality vendors?

It’s important to know what seasoned vendors in your area charge before deciding on a budget for your wedding day. If photography is one of the priorities for your wedding because you know it’s one of the few things you’ll have once your wedding day is over, know what a quality, seasoned photographer charges in your area, and make that a priority in your budget. In contrast, even if something is not a priority – for example, your cake – know what the going rate is for a seasoned baker anyways, so you can know what to expect to allocate in your budget for someone who might be newer to baking, or even to a friend who might be interested in helping!

4.     Are there any connections who can help us with the parts of the day we’re willing to compromise on?

Speaking of a friend baking your cake – if there are parts of the day you’re willing to compromise on that aren’t a part of your “big three” (or whatever number) priorities, consider your connections. We were blessed to have connections with a caterer who was willing to give us a friends and family discount, as well as a florist who pretty much did our wedding flowers at cost (just because she loves arranging flowers!). But here’s a BIG tip within this question: never expect someone to do something for you for free, or even discounted. Many people who want to “break in” to the wedding market (who may have another full time job) are willing to do things a bit cheaper than those whose full time income comes from bookings, which is totally fine! But it can be tough when someone asks you to give a discount for a service or product that literally puts food on their family’s table.

5.     What can we actually spend?

Or, as an article from popular wedding blog Junebug Weddings puts it: “How much money do we want to spend? Vs. How much money can we actually spend?”

It’s one thing knowing how much a service or product costs, but it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame knowing how much you can actually spend for that service or product! Knowing your priorities, knowing how much your “priority” services/products cost, and knowing how much you have left to spend on your “compromise” services and products will give you a rough idea of what you can actually spend on your wedding day. The keys here are to be realistic and to know what you feel comfortable spending.

And now that you’re prepared to begin planning - happy planning! If you’re in need of some additional resources to help with your wedding planning and preparation, feel free to scroll through the blog archives for more tips, tricks, and advice related to wedding photography and behind!

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6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Venue

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6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Venue

Choosing a wedding venue is typically the first thing you’ll do after getting engaged – which totally makes sense! Venues tend to book up super fast (especially in the spring, summer, and fall here in Pittsburgh), so most couples feel the pressure to make sure they lock one in for the season they want quickly!

 But before you commit to a venue, a word to the wise: be careful not to book too fast, without getting the most important pieces of information from your list of potential venues. There are six specific things that I often see overlooked when couples book their venues that are important to remember before signing on the dotted line!

1.     Rain Plan

If it rains on your wedding day (God forbid!), are you happy with the rain plan your venue provides? Do they have a rain plan? Will it cost extra? Where will the ceremony be moved to, if you were planning on an outdoor space to say your vows? And are you okay with that option? Are there any locations you could use for photos if there’s a downpour on your day? (Overhangs, indoor spaces, etc.) It’s important to have an idea of the rain plan before you book so you can make sure you’re okay with it, in the case of inclement weather!

2.     Event Location Proximity

Are all of your wedding day events (getting ready, ceremony, pictures, reception) taking place in the same location, or will you be driving between locations for different parts of your wedding day? From personal experience, one of the BEST decisions we made in regards to our wedding day was the decision to have everything happen in one central location – which meant no traveling between different locations. This reduced stress, was cost effective (we didn’t have to pay for additional transportation, or pay our photographer for a 20-40 minute drive), and saved a ton of time!

3.     Mandatory Vendor List

Does your wedding venue allow you to choose your own vendors, or does it require you to pick from a pre-made list? Many wedding venues have working relationships with vendors local to their area, and if they love working with them, they’ll add them to a list of preferred vendors. While many venues will allow you to bring in other venues and only offer the list as a guide, some venues will require you to choose from those specific vendors. Which is great – unless you have another company in mind for that specific vendor category. Be sure to ask so you aren’t caught off guard after already signing a contract!

4.     Amount of Shade

This might seem like an odd one to throw in, but it’s one of the first things I look for when I’m checking out a venue as a wedding photographer! Why? Many times, portraits of the bridal party and bride and groom will take place at times of the day that aren’t typically known to be the best for photos (a few hours before sunset is typically the best time, while mid day and mid afternoon can be the brightest/most unflattering time for portraits!). Having a plethora of shade to work with for mid-day portraits ensures that your photos will be evenly lit and flattering!

5.     Guest Travel

Where is your wedding venue located in proximity to where most of your guests will be coming from? Or, if the majority of your guests are coming in from out of town, is your venue within close proximity to hotels in the area? Some wedding venues are far out in the middle of nowhere, which means lots of extra driving. If you have a lot of guests coming in from out of town, consider choosing a venue within close(r) proximity to a hotel to accommodate them!

6.     Set up & Clean Up Timeframe

If you are decorating parts of your ceremony/reception, when are you allowed to come in and start decorating? And likewise, if you are required to clean up the decorations from your own venue, how much time will you be given to do so? My husband and I opted to get married on a Friday so that we had the entire day before to set up! The couple whose wedding was held at the same venue the next day only had that very day to set up their décor. For us – we didn’t want to have to deal with that on our wedding day. We just wanted to relax and be present with friends, family, and each other!

Thanks for reading through, and happy planning! 💛

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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!

Name *
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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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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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Chiara + Patrick: The Grand Hall at the Priory Wedding Photos

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Chiara + Patrick: The Grand Hall at the Priory Wedding Photos

A Christmas-time wedding with a couple who loves Disney: does it get any better?! For those of you who might not know, my husband and I are HUGE Disney fans, and even moreso fans of Disney’s Boardwalk Resort - which is where we spent our honeymoon in August of 2015. When I found out that Patrick had proposed to Chiara AT Disney’s Boardwalk Resort - I think I almost fell out of my chair. I think we were destined to work together! And to top it off - I found out that Nick and I were going to be in Orlando at the same time as Chiara and Patrick - literally right after their wedding. And we almost stayed at the same resort as them! (The Boardwalk!) Talk about a small world!

We joined in on Chiara and Patrick’s wedding day at Chiara’s parents’ house, where Chiara and her bridesmaids were getting their hair and makeup done. The house was full of Christmas trees - each decorated with a different theme - and even though it was a dreary day, there was an endless supply of beautiful backdrops right within Chiara’s parents’ home!

Their ceremony took place at Saints John & Paul Catholic Church in Wexford, with their reception at the Grand Hall at the Priory on the North Side of Pittsburgh, which was decorated to Christmas perfection. Trees, lights, wreaths, and candles dotted the reception space, creating a warm, inviting atmosphere for guests - which also doubled as beautiful backdrops for Chiara and Patrick’s portraits! Santa Clause even made a surprise appearance near the end of dinner to say congratulations and dance with the bride!

Chiara and Patrick, thank you for the huge, incredible honor of being a part of your wedding day! You were a joy to work with, and we are so thankful to know you both!

Vendors:

Reception: The Grand Hall at the Priory

Ceremony: Saints John & Paul Catholic Church

Makeup: See Jane Blush

Hair: Static Styling Salon

Florist: Blossoms by Jillian

Bride’s Dress: The Exquisite Bride, Stella York

Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie

DJ & Violinist: Steve Vance Entertainment

Cake: Priory Fine Pastries

Videographer: Kesneck Videography

Photographer: Jenna Hidinger Photography

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