Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dana and Erica's Engagement Session

Dana and Erica recently booked me to photograph their wedding next year. They also wanted engagement photos, so in early September we scheduled a photo session for October 8. At the time, I was concerned that with Fall coming, we had no idea what the weather would be like for the shoot. Fortunately we lucked out, and the weekend in question was part of the warm and sunny stretch that we had.

The session was scheduled for Sunday afternoon in Oakland, near the Heinz Chapel. We shot in the garden areas around the Chapel, and then headed over the Software Institute, across from Saint Paul's Cathedral. With the columns, steps, and "porch" area, it is a great place to shoot. It is especially popular with wedding photographers on rainy days, because the "porch" is under an overhang and protected from the weather.

Even though it was a quiet Sunday afternoon, passer-byes still took notice, including one who took a photo of me taking a photo...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2011 Race for Pace/Paws for Pace Event

Last Saturday I photographed the 2011 "Race for Pace/Paws for Pace" event, sponsored by the Pace School in Churchill. The was a 5K race for people, and a 1 mile walk for dogs (and their owners). Besides the usual race awards there were also awards for Biggest dog, smallest dog, and best costume. As in the past, this year's event was hosted by WTAE's Mile Clark and Kelly Frye.

The weather was a definite improvement over what I had to deal with at the "Tour du District" bike ride two weeks earlier. There was no rain, and we actually had sunshine towards the end of the race. The only problem was high winds, which blew over sponsor displays and prize boards.

As a parent of a child with autism, I was more than happy to help out a school that offers such an important service to our community.

Photos from the event can be found here:

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Street Shoot" with Amber Rose

Amber is new the modeling scene. I was actually surprised when she first contacted me, because she lives in Northwest Pennsylvania, and has a bit of travel to get to the Pittsburgh area. Turns out she has friends in the area, so it isn't much of a problem for her to be here.

For this shoot I decided to try something different and tried a "Street shoot". The idea is to travel light (just a camera for me, just one outfit for the model) and work in a business district, posing with whatever is handy. It is quite a bit different from the "regular" shoots that I do, with a bag full of camera gear, flashes on stands, and other photo paraphernalia. Amber and I met in Squirrel Hill, along the Forbes Avenue business district. We went down one block, crossed the street, and came back the other side, with only a couple of minor detours (an alley, and a short distance on another street). I was amazed at the variety of settings we were able to find in just that short distance.

Amber was great to work with. It didn't faze her that we were working in public and people were watching. She took direction well and did everything I asked of her.

I'll be definitely planning more "street shoots" (and photos with Amber...) in the future.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Michal Renee (who prefers to be called Mikkey) contacted me on Model Mayhem, looking to add some shots to her portfolio. She's actually taking a short break from college to pursue her modeling dream. So we scheduled a session this past Thursday down at Cedar Creek Park, in Rostraver.

Micky is amazing in front of the camera. She has an extensive dance background, and it shows in her posing. She doesn't have a bad angle, and each pose is unique and effortless. When you combine that with a professional attitude, creativity, and fashion sense, she truly is a joy to work with.

This was the first of a series of shoots I scheduled to take advantage of a stretch of great weather we're having. It's a little bit crazy, I suppose, having 5 shootings over an 8 day stretch, but given this may be our last nice stretch of weather until April (ugh!), I definitely want to take advantage of it.

Let the fun begin!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

2011 Tour du District

Saturday I photographed the 2011 "Tour du District" bicycle ride, sponsored by the Woodland Hills Foundation. I live in the Woodland Hills School District, so this was a great way for me to give back to my community (as well as getting my name out there). This is the second year for the bike ride, with is intended as a fundraiser for the foundation.

Unfortunately the weather really conspired against this year's event. In addition to the threat of rain, this year's riders had to contend with unseasonably cold temperatures (45 degrees when we left the house), which really put a crimp in attendance. Skies were so dark that I decided to use a flash in order to freeze motion. I was glad that I wasn't riding, and could go into the school building to warm up.

Photos from the event can be found here:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

All Fall 2011 Dynamo Soccer are Online!

This past weekend was the makeup weekend for the Dynamo Soccer Fall 2011 Recreational League. Other than a few random drops, the rain held off and I managed to get all of the teams photographed. All told, I shot over 3800 photos over this Fall. That's about 500 more shots than I did in the Spring.

All of the photos are online, sorted by team. The Fall photos can be found here:

There is a 15% "Early Bird" discount for all orders placed by October 1 (that's this Saturday), so you still have a couple of days to order and save!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dynamo Soccer Fall 2011 Photo Day

This past weekend was Photo Day for the Dynamo Soccer Fall 2011 Recreational League. I was at Schenley Park both days to photograph all 68 teams. As usual, the weather played a factor. Both days had a chance of rain and thunderstorms. Saturday we had sunshine and warmer temperatures until 4 pm, when the skies suddenly opened up (even though the sun was still shining) for about 30 minutes, killing my chances of getting any photos of the teams scheduled for 4 pm games. And all that rain on Saturday meant that the grass fields were a mess on Sunday. All told, I shot almost 2500 photos over the two days.

The makeup weekend is scheduled for the weekend of September 24 and 25, when I'll be at the field to photograph anyone who missed the first weekend.

I've started posting the photos online. Currently I have all of the photos from the Saturday games up, and I'm working on the Sunday games now. The new gallery can be found here:

There is a 15% "Early Bird" discount for all orders placed by October 1, so order now and save!

By the way, a bit of explanation for the above photo is in order. Sometimes the players want to ham it up for the group photo. Since I usually shoot several group shots, I will tell them that if they give me two "normal" group shots, they can have some fun with the third shot. So the U10G California Blue girl's team decided they wanted to be "Drama Queens". The result is just plain fun!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Last Chance Sale" for Dynamo Soccer Spring 2011 Photos

Mark your calendars. Photo Day for the Recreational League Fall 2011 season is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of September 10 and 11. I'll be at Schenley Park both days for both team/individual photos, and also for in-game photos. The makeup weekend is scheduled for the weekend of September 24 and 25, when I'll be at the field to photograph anyone who missed the first weekend.

Since I'll soon be posting new photos, I need to make room by taking down the current Spring 2011 photos. This is your last opportunity to purchase photos from the Spring 2011 season. As an added incentive, I've added an automatic 10% discount on all soccer photo orders placed from now through September 10.

The link to the Dynamo Soccer Spring 2011 gallery is:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Michael and Valerie

August 20th I got a chance to photograph Michael and Valerie's wedding out in Westmoreland County. This was my first "Second Generation" wedding, in that I had photographed Valerie's parent's wedding over 20 years ago. I had also photographed Valerie's aunt's wedding around the same time. It was interesting to see everyone again, and a reminder as to just how long I've been doing this...

The bridal party was a wild bunch and all the guests really enjoyed themselves. But we still had time for a simple, elegant portrait before entering the reception.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Quick & Easy Outdoor Portraits

I got my start professionally photographing portraits and models outdoors. As a poor college student, I didn't have the funds for flashes, umbrellas, and the other paraphernalia that indoor portraits require. Fortunately my alma-mater, Michigan State, had extensive park and garden areas available that made ideal locations.

I still enjoy working outdoors. Lighting is much more natural, and being out of a studio environment tends to relax subjects more. I try to avoid an overly elaborate setup, preferring a flash with diffuser attached to the camera with a rotating flash bracket. Put the sun at the subject's back, add enough flash to fill in the facial shadows, and everything's ready to go.

Last week I was contacted by a member of my synagogue, asking if I could shoot a portrait for use with her daughter's upcoming Bat Mitzvah announcement. It needed to be done quickly, and the fact that I would come to their house to shoot the photos was a big plus. We had the option of shooting inside (I had my flashes and umbrellas in the car), but we had a nice day and they had a nice front yard, so everyone agreed that outdoors was preferred. The rest of the family sat on their front stoop while we shot. I used the dark hedges for a background, making the hair highlights really jump and helping to separate the subject from the background.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I just finished a shoot with another OneModelPlace model who goes by "Deanna Destruction". She's a total professional who is a blast to work with. She's got a great head of hair that looks great when the wind catches it.

We did part of the shoot under a highway underpass, and I turned it into an outdoor studio. I set the exposure manually to kill the ambient light, and then used three flashes (one on-camera, one from behind on the left, and a snooted flash high and on the right. The results were dramatic and exciting, with an old-school glamor flavor to them.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

2011 Spectrum Charter School Graduation

My older son KJ has been going to Spectrum Charter School in Monroeville for four years now. Spectrum is specifically set up for high-schoolers with autism spectrum disorders. All of the kids there thrive and grow in that environment. Every May, a few of them graduate, and the entire student population, family, and friends attend. It celebrates just how far they have all come.

The gallery of photos can be found here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Double Trouble"

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to photograph Haley and Gwen's B'not Mitzvah ceremony. They're twins, or as the Rabbi referred to them, "Double Trouble".

I was specifically asked to take photos during the actual ceremony, rather than doing staged photos beforehand. This presented some challenges, because the Synagogue requires the photographer to stay in the back (in one location only) and to not use a flash. Shooting indoors with a telephoto lens and no flash is tough. The long (slow) shutter speeds mean that any subject motion results in a blurry image, and the telephoto lens means any camera motion is amplified and also blurs the image. And the wide apertures needed for low light mean that the focus has to be right on the mark.

This a perfect situation for my recently acquired Nikon D300 camera, because it offers much better low-light capability than my previous Nikon D70 cameras. I also decided to take advantage of my fixed location by bracing the camera against the door frames at the entrance to the Sanctuary. This will steady a camera almost as well as using a tripod or monopod. The net result was a much higher percentage of "keepers" than I've had on the past. And that means a happy client...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dynamo Soccer Make-up Weekend

This past weekend was planned as a make-up weekend for shooting Dynamo Soccer photos for anyone who was missed the first weekend. The original plan was to spend a few hours each day at the field, so parents could just bring the player over for their photo, or a team could come over to have a team photo re-shot.

Unfortunately, the lousy weather our first weekend (April 16 and 17) meant that a lot of teams were missed that first weekend, and in some cases the players were covered in mud for their photos. So I planned to stay the entire day this weekend to make sure I got everyone taken care of. Mother Nature, however, had other ideas. Saturday was gloriously sunny, so much so that I got sunburned. But Sunday was a rain-out again, with weather only fit for ducks (see photo). So there are still a number of teams I still need to shoot. I haven't figured out yet whether there will be ANOTHER make-up day, or whether I'll try to make it to some practices to get the remaining teams. I'll post an update once I know more.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dynamo Soccer

The last two times I've photographed Dynamo Soccer, I've been blessed with really great weather. Well, I guess the law of averages caught up with me! I had scheduled soccer photos for the weekend of April 16 and 17. This had to be the wettest photo day since I started shooting Dynamo Soccer. Dynamo ended up cancelling all of the Saturday games that were being held on the grass fields (The artificial turf on the main fields has pretty good drainage).

Sunday the weather was better, although it was still extremely windy. And the grass fields where Sunday's games were played were still waterlogged and muddy from Saturday's downpours.

The gallery with the soccer photos from the first weekend can be found here:

I'll be on the field this weekend (April 30 and May 1) to photograph the teams I missed that first soggy weekend. I'll update this post as more photos are posted online.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Easter & Mother's Day Special: Gift Certificates

We have a special Easter and Mother's Day offer available if you are still looking for something unique and memorable: A gift certificate for an on-location family portrait session and one 8x10 print (which you select) from the session. Normally this costs $80.95 ($70 for the session and $10.95 for the print), but from now until Mother's Day, you can purchase a gift certificate for only $39.95 (less than half price!). If you would like a gift certificate, you have two ways to order one:

1) If you wish to pay by cash or check, please email ( or call (412-480-4698). We will make arrangements so you can purchase your gift certificate and receive it before Easter or Mother's Day.

2) If you wish to purchase your gift certificate using a credit or debit card, click on the button below to pay for your gift certificate using PayPal. We will mail the gift certificate to your PayPal address within 24 hours.

Samples of my portrait work can be found in my portrait portfolio. If you have any questions, just ask!


Last Chance to Order Dynamo Soccer Fall 2010 Photos

I'm getting geared up for the upcoming Dynamo Soccer Photo Day the weekend of April 16 and 17. As a result, I'll need to be taking down the current Fall 2010 photos.

This is your last opportunity to purchase photos from the Fall 2010 season. As an added incentive, I've added an automatic 10% discount on all orders placed from now through April 17.

I've also added the new 5x7 Dynamo soccer border that you will be able to order with the player's name and the Dynamo logo. I also added the Memory Mate Mug, which includes a player photo, player information, and a team photo.

The link to the Dynamo gallery is:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dynamo Soccer Spring 2011 Update

Spring 2011 Photo Day Scheduled
Mark your calendars. Photo Day for the Recreational League Spring season is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of April 16 and 17. I'll be at Schenley Park both days for both team/individual photos, and also for in-game photos. We will also schedule a makeup weekend when I'll be at the field to photograph anyone who missed the first weekend.

We're also planning to photograph the Travel League teams also. All of the details haven't been finalized yet; I will let you know once they are.

Save Even More with Prepaid Photo Vouchers
I've always offered special promotions and discounts to help parents save money. For a limited time, I'll be offering another way to save even more: prepaid photo vouchers. The voucher is good for $20 towards your order, but only costs $18. That's a 10% savings, which can be combined with other discounts that I offer for even greater savings.

Photo Vouchers work just like a gift card (except that you don't get double FuelPerks, sorry!). You purchase the voucher in advance, and then enter the voucher code during order checkout. The voucher amount is deducted from your order total, and you only need to pay for the remaining balance of the order. If your order total is less than the amount of the voucher, then you pay nothing; and the order total is deducted from the voucher balance. You can use the remaining voucher balance on a subsequent order, simply by entering the voucher code again.

Vouchers can only be purchased until March 11, and will only be available in $20 values for $18. You can purchase multiple $20 values if you choose. You will receive a single voucher code via email for the full value you purchased, since only one voucher code can be used per order. To order your Photo Voucher, please click below:

Edit: Link removed after sale ended.

New Sports Photo Products Coming
One of the new things I'll be doing is to offer a greater variety of personalized and gift products. There will be a new Dynamo soccer border that you will be able to order for your prints, and I'm also bringing back the Memory Mate Mug, which includes a player photo, player information, and a team photo. If you have any additional product suggestions, please email them to I'd love to hear your ideas!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day Treat

One of the advantages of working as a photographer is that I can make time during the day for my kids' activities at school. Of course, this also usually means that I'm asked to take photos at the activity. Which I'm perfectly fine with. Such is the case this past Monday, when my younger son's class was having a special Valentine's Day treat at school. (I guess once you hit the age of 10, it isn't cool to exchange actual valentines any more). The Class Mom (who does an incredible job of organizing these things) wanted to have strawberry shortcake for the kids, and I (along with several other parents) offered to help serve the goodies. Class Mom dropped a not-so-subtle hint that it would be nice if I took photos. Like I said, not a problem. As it turned out, many of the parents had to cancel at the last minute, due to a cold bug that is going around the school. That actually worked out better, because the space we had to work in was cramped, and it really doesn't take that many parents to fix the treats. As you can see, the treats looked delicious, and were a huge hit with the kids.

Winter Sports Shoot

Winter isn't always the best time to be photographing models outside. It can be cold, wet, and miserable. But it can also be a different and unique backdrop. I decided to try and take advantage of the situation by trying to set up some shootings based on the theme of "Winter Fun". I wanted to use winter sports, as well as year-round sports like running or bicycling. I posted this as a casting call on ModelMayhem, and waiting to see if any models might be interested. After a few days I got a response from Jaci Lilly. Besides modeling, Jaci is a marathoner and a personal trainer. She loved the idea of getting some outdoor running shots.

We lucked out and had some sunny but cold days, when there was still plenty of snow on the ground. We met a Frick Park after Jaci had finished her morning training run. Jaci was a trooper, doing numerous run-bys. Even though Jaci is used to running in the cold, I kept the session to under an hour because we were outside the entire time.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Judy at Panera Bread

Over the years I have spent quite a bit of time at the various Panera Bread stores in the Pittsburgh area. With their free WiFi and great food, they make a good place to work when I need to get out of the house, or if I need to meet a potential client. And sometimes it is interesting to just sit there and observe people. They study, conduct business, meet friends, or just take a break. Many Paneras also have a semi-private room if you need to have a meeting. All of which can make for an interesting photograph.

So I decided to set up a shooting using one of the semi-private meeting rooms. There is no rental charge for the room, but you are expected to purchase $50 of food and drink. From the outset I figured this would be a multi-model shoot, and the $50 food and drink charge would provide refreshments and snacks for the models, which would be a nice perk (for them and me). The theme of the shoot would be the different things people do at a place like Panera, and how they interact with each other. I reserved the room, and then set about lining up models. Then the fun started.

Ideally, I wanted to line up three models for the shoot. Now, I have a variety of models that I've worked with in the past, and several more that have contacted me about working together. So you wouldn't think lining up three models would be that hard. But all three models needed to be about the same height (so they wouldn't look out of place), and models can be anywhere from 4'11" to 5'11". So I decided on 5'5" as my "ideal", and tried to recruit models from 5'3" to 5'7". Of course this excluded two-thirds of the models I know. As it turned out, most of the models I contacted (who did meet the height requirement) were unavailable. In desperation I started contacting models on OneModelPlace and ModelMayhem, as well as posting a casting call on ModelMayhem.

This was my first time using the Model Mayhem website to recruit models. I've been a longtime (since 2004) user of OneModelPlace, but lately it seems that there are more local models on ModelMayhem. In addition, photographers seem to get more bang for their buck at ModelMayhem. On the flipside, I've also heard that there are more model no-shows there. And my experience on this shoot certainly seems to back that up! Of the three models I lined up for this shoot (all from ModelMayhem, two canceled the morning of the shoot, giving me less than 5 hours to try and line up alternates. So what started as a multi-model shoot ended up with just one model.

That one model was Judy. Judy is a student at the Oakbridge Academy of Arts in New Kensington, and is new to the modeling business. She was punctual, easy to work with, and took directions well. Although we got some great photos, there are still some multi-model themes and poses that I didn't get a chance to try. Most likely I will try to set up another multi-model shoot at Panera before the year is over.