Friday, July 30, 2010

Reflections on Being

As the sun broke the horizon of houses to my East this morning I sat savoring my first cup of coffee while completing my goal list for the day. Weather permitting, I take time in the early morning to sit outside and ponder the coming day, thinking, planning and reflecting.

While I wrote I noticed a tiny grasshopper making a daring effort to scale a foam covered pipe that is attached to the back of my studio. The pipe runs from the air conditioning unit on the ground up the wall about 14 feet and into the building, a gargantuan distance for such a small creature. This diminutive guy was climbing the pipe for who knows what reason, but he was doing it, step by step by step. As I watched, he would pause, presumably to rest, then begin again slowly and carefully making another step toward the top.

This fellow made me think. We all have our own struggles in life, our own climb and our own goals. Do we have the perseverance of a grasshopper? Can we keep going, keep struggling, keep climbing even when we cannot see the end? It's easy to give up and accept less than what we deserve. The grasshopper could have stopped at any time, but he didn't. He kept moving ever so slowly, changing position around the pipe for better footing as he climbed. When we need to adjust our direction, and everyone does at times, do we keep on moving?

But we're people, not grasshoppers. Sometimes we need help. Sometimes we need to be pointed, or repointed, toward our goal. On August 8-11 Skip Cohen is presenting the first ever edition of Skip's Summer School in Las Vegas. In just two and a half day you'll be exposed to 15 of the greatest image makers and marketing experts in the world. These folks will energize you, inspire you and keep you pointed on task to reach your goal, or help you climb to new heights beyond your current imagination. You owe it to yourself to take the time to learn from the best. Flights to Vegas are cheap. The workshop is incredibly cheap. Even the rooms are cheap. The experience, however, will be priceless.

Be a grasshopper, go to Skip's Summer School and climb to the top.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Matthew Jordan Smith | Creative Experience Seminar

On July 19th and 20th I had the extreme pleasure to attend the Matthew Jordan Smith Creative Experience Seminar in Akron, Ohio. Matthew is a world renown photographer who's client list reads like a who's who of the fashion, beauty and celebrity world -- Tyra Banks, Vanessa Williams, Oprah and Aretha Franklin, just to name a few. Most important, he's one of the warmest, most giving individuals I've had ever met. In two days he shared so much of his knowledge and insight into this business it was at times hard to keep up with notes.

Some colleagues asked why I went to a workshop when I've been shooting for so long. Simply, you never stop learning. Sure, some things Matthew discussed were not new, but there still were many things I learned for the first time and even those things I knew, it was good to hear them again. Everyone has something they can learn and adapt to what they do or how they work regardless of how long they've been making photos. It was a privilege to meet Matthew and a joy to be able to call him a new friend.

One of the fun aspects of the seminar was the model shoot. Rebecca Shore is a model from the Cleveland area that was hired for the day. Matthew found her on While everyone started with the typical "girl on white background shots", Matthew stressed to be creative with locations. I found the location for my photos in the men's room! You never know where you find the right light and location.

Of course, no fashion shoot is ever complete without a great make-up artist on your T.E.A.M. (Together Each Achieves More) and Heather Smith was absolutely the BEST! If you're looking to hire an uber talented make-up professional you can reach her at

I would be very remiss if I didn't mention one of the greatest aspects of a seminar -- meeting other professionals. This was a small seminar (by design) so everyone got a lot of one-on-one attention. Everyone is now connected to each other and I suspect many good friendships will form.

And a very special shout out has to go to one person from the class, Chris Blank. Because of an out of town photo assignment I had to leave the seminar early on Tuesday. In my rush to get out the door I unknowingly dropped my legal pad full of notes. Chris rescued my papers and immediately sent them out to me. Thank you, Chris!

Thank you Matthew for a great Experience! I'm looking forward to talking with you again soon.

Heather Smith preparing make-up

Rebecca Shore

Matthew photographing Rebecca

Friday, July 09, 2010

Mary & Dan's Wedding | Pittsburgh Wedding photography

Last week I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding of an old and dear friend. It was just one of those special and beautiful things when the stars aligned and two people were brought together at the right moment in each others lives. And love happened. Mary and Dan, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to crash your wedding share in your day. : ) I'm so happy for you both!

One final check

Dan got a bit emotional as he waited for Mary's arrival

Balloons and confetti dropped from above the alter during their first kiss

Together, at last.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Stacey & Jim's Engagement session | Uniontown Wedding Photography

It was a hot and steamy day, not a day you wanted to spend too much time outside. So rather than battle the elements, Stacey and Jim decided to have their engagement photos made inside the place they first met -- the Titlow Tavern and Grill in downtown Uniontown. A good choice it was! Not only was it air conditioned but the light was absolutely lovely bouncing around inside the early 1900's building. Luckily, with a November wedding we shouldn't have to deal with the same heat. Hopefully, then again, this is Western PA! Thanks for the great afternoon and I'll see you guys soon!!

This is the EXACT spot where they first met

It's the Real Thing... sorry, but I couldn't resist
(for those who don't understand, that's Coke's slogan)

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Lindsay and Justin Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Wedding | Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

What a fun day it was photographing Lindsay and Justin's wedding on June 26th! After a beautiful ceremony at Library Baptist Church we headed to the reception at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland, which was very fitting since Justin is a decorated Veteran, having served in Iraq with the National Guard.

To maximize time at their reception, Lindsay and Justin decided to do a Day After session. It was awesome to be able to create a set of special images for them without the time constraints of the wedding day. For two hours we bopped around Pittsburgh shooting fun pictures in interesting locations.

Lindsay and Justin, thank you again for the honor of photographing your day. I hope you're enjoying your honeymoon and I look forward to seeing you soon!!

Dad gets a quick peek

The beautiful bride by the light of a tiny church basement window

The handsome groom, by the light of an even smaller church basement window!

A little case of nerves before the walk down the asile

What a first kiss!