Favorites shots, A+G

Two Saturdays ago, I shot a wedding, for my cousin Adam’s sister, Ashley. This was the second wedding I’ve done and I was a lot more prepared for this one. For starters, I knew how to use my camera, and I also enlisted my much more talented friend, Jason, to help!

It was a beautiful day with a ceremony at Phipps, two photo stops and a reception in Bridgeville. Here are some of my favorite shots, Jason’s can be found here. We made a pretty good team!

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

Ashley + George

My photos are far from perfect, but I am really happy with how they turned out. I had a lot of fun with Jason and it’s fun to see how we approached the same event differently. Definitely never going into the photo business but it was fun to play for a day.

family yearbook

It should come as no surprise that I take a lot of photos. (Mainly of Daisy.) I also don’t do anything with these outside of posting them online and then they just languish on my external harddrive. For a long time now, I have wanted to get a bunch printed and throw them in a photo album. I LOVE looking at old photos and figured I needed to get on the ball with creating some sort of physical representation.

And then, a year or so ago on Young House Love, they posted about their “Family Yearbook.” Bingo. Part photo album/part scrapbook/part yearbook, I knew this was the way to go.

I got a bunch of photos printed through Snapfish earlier this year, so decided to go with them for that reason alone. Also, I know they send out a ton of coupons via email so I figured I could snag a good deal.

I won’t lie, compiling 4 years of photos was not exactly fun. I first went through Lightroom and flagged all the photos I wanted to include. I did all sorts of photos, ones of us together, ones of Daisy, ones of places we went. I wanted to try to capture the whole year. After exporting them, I uploaded them to Snapfish by year. And then I just built the books! It’s super easy, just drag and drop. I spent a lot of time configuring page layouts, but the more I did, the faster it went.

I also added labels here and there where things weren’t totally apparent. I could have gotten a lot fancier with this/made it more scrapbooky, but I kind of just wanted to get it done.

I chose the 8×11 books and they start at 29.99, but each set of pages you add after 20 add to the price. I had quite a few pages by the end, but I also had a 50% off coupon, so I figured even if I doubled the price, it wasn’t bad.

I had 3 books in my cart when I got an email for 60% off and I knew it wasn’t going to go any lower, so I hurried up and finished my other 2 books. I wanted a book of engagement photos and I knew that would be the most expensive (I had 100+ photos) so I really wanted to get it in with that deal.

I finished them last Sunday and they were on my porch by Wednesday. I was blown away by how fast. And also blown away by how awesome they are.

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

I put a picture of Keith and me* on the front, and then Daisy on the back. (Except for 2009 which was before we got her.) I also did a mix of layouts for the pages and kept the photos in chronological order (Snapfish makes this easy), so it had more of a yearbook feel.

I am super happy with how they turn out and feel good that I finally DID something with all my pictures. I am already itching to compile the 2013 book and maybe I’ll start early so it isn’t so daunting.

I would definitely recommend them, but I would also recommend putting the books in your cart and waiting for a 60% off coupon. It was a pretty decent investment to do 5 books at once, but I’m so glad I did. Also if I keep up on it and wait for another 50-60% off coupon, I’d spend probably $30-$40 a year which isn’t bad for a year of memories.

*The only thing I’ll change next time is to not put such a close-cropped photo of our faces on the front. 8″x11″ of my face = pretty much lifesize and a little scary. Maybe I’ll appreciate it when I’m like 83.

friday favorites

This past weekend was my nephew Bradley’s first birthday. It is so hard to believe he’s already a year old! I’m sure it’s even harder for his parents than for me.


Here’s a slightly blurry picture of Brad and I the day we met. He was a day old.

pure bliss

happy baby bw

And there are my two favorite pictures I took at his (third!) first birthday party. If that first picture doesn’t epitomize bliss, I’m not sure what does. He is such a handsome little guy, I can’t get over it. Also so sweet. I don’t want him to grow up too fast but I can’t waiiiit for him to start talking. Being called “Aunt Trina” will probably kill me dead. I also really love the second picture. I typically never turn any photos black and white but once I saw the picture, I knew it would work.

Where do the favorites come in, you ask? Well he is without a doubt, my favorite nephew. (Also my only nephew – shhh.) But the camera lens from the bottom two photos is my new favorite.

I only have two other lenses, so it’s not a huge contest (the 18-55mm kit lens and a nifty fifty). I bought the 50mm in July but only started using it during my photography class. I was in love, but it was limiting. I need to get better with zooming with my feet, but I felt like sometimes there wasn’t enough room to use it. I was eyeing up the Canon 28mm lens, but I couldn’t justify a $450 lens. Then I got an email for a sale (200$ off!) on the Sigma 30mm and I snatched that sucker up.

I love it! I was shocked at how solid the lens was when I pulled it out of the box. The 50mm is down right clunky in comparison.

It has been living on my camera for the past month and I won’t be taking it off anytime soon.

Here’s a bonus picture of Daisy caught in the act of cuddling with her hedgehog.

caught in the act

cue sad sarah mclachlan song

So for my final photography project, we could take photos of anything we wanted, there just had to be a theme. I thought for days and days on what the heck I wanted to take pictures of. I had finally sort of decided that I would try to take pictures of people and their pets. I was trying to make a list of 10 people I knew with pets when I realized what a possible nightmare this could be.

“Hey…can I come over your house for an hour and take pictures of you and your dog?” times 10.

Yeaaaa…that wasn’t going to work. I also had the idea to take pictures of every place I have ever lived. This is something I still might do someday, but when I pulled up the house I lived in in Greene County and saw that it was almost 2 hours from my current house…yea, not going to happen.

Every day, I drive past the Animal Rescue League on my way to/from work. I finally had the bright idea to see if I could go there and take pictures. Tons of animals in one place! It took a while to actually get someone on the phone to ask if that would be okay, but when I finally did, they were incredibly accommodating. I went down a few times and was almost given free reign on which dogs I wanted to photograph.

Since Daisy is so attached to my hip and so used to having her picture taken, I may have underestimated a bit how difficult it would be to get other animals to actually want anything to do with me. Most of them were just thrilled to be out in the yard so they would just want to run around. I was armed with a bag of training treats though, so I could get their attention for a moment here and there. I also went one night to take photos of cats and they were actually way more cooperative! It helped that I was in a room with them, not a giant yard and it also helped that my friend Chelsey (who volunteers there) was there to wave toys around/wrangle cats.

So, without further ado, here are the 12 images I chose to print out for my final project. I am thrilled with how they turned out.












My purple kitty picture actually became semi-famous and made it onto both the Animal Rescue League facebook and the front page of the Consumerist.

And since I’m a giant dork…
Screen Shot 2012-12-15 at 11.57.39 AM

Screen Shot 2012-12-15 at 12.02.45 PM

My dog photos have also been used on the Animal Rescue League’s website which makes me incredibly happy. Overall this was a very rewarding project.

finals, photos, fantastico

So. Whew. No new developments with either our fridge or plumbing issues. The plumbing issue has settled down a bit and we can actually shower without too much worry. The refrigerator repair man stood Keith up last Thursday but is supposed to come tomorrow. I really really hope they can fix it under warranty. It is incredibly annoying to have to lug all my dinner stuff up/down the stairs every day. But I am really thankful that we do have another fridge because otherwise we would have been living off of canned soup for the past two weeks.

When I last posted I said that I finished my Microeconomics class with a B. Well, literally the next day, the professor emails that he posted a bonus assignment! I was really excited because I was tempted to ask if there was any way to earn some bonus but I was sooo over the class that I refused to ask for more work. Well I finally sat down at work today and went through the bonus. It was 10 questions and I needed to answer 8 to get an A.

I told my coworker, Sarah, to cross her fingers with me while I hit submit. And as luck would have it, I got 8/10! I don’t think I would have been more excited with 9/10 or 10/10. So now I have an A! I seriously can’t get over it. I really didn’t like that class and felt that I have retained exactly no knowledge. Thankfully, I shouldn’t ever have to deal with it again. But I do have to take Macroeconomics at some point…so here’s hoping they have absolutely nothing in common.

I have two more photography classes before the semester ends and I’ll be sad for it to end. I keep going back and forth over taking another photography class next semester. From my class, I can either go on to Intermediate Photography, Portrait Photography or Black and White. I’m not really interested in Black and White (although it is film so that would be neat), Portrait is not offered in the Spring…so I have been toying with Intermediate. I had mostly decided not to take it and just work on taking more photographs in the Spring/Summer and take Portrait next fall…but I don’t know. I don’t really want to have three classes next semester especially since I wouldn’t be taking the photography class for credit. If I didn’t have the other classes, I would for sure take it.

I guess I have never posted any of the pictures I took for class on here, so maybe I’ll post some over the next few days. Everyone loves looking at pictures!

One of our first assigments dealt with ISO:

low iso

Low ISO: 200

sunset over pnc parkMid ISO: 800

High ISO: 3200

I miss September.

oh snap.

Let’s talk wedding, for just one second.  Keith and I have been engaged for ~16 months now (yikes!) and we sort of haven’t done anything to prepare for the wedding. About two weeks ago, I decided I needed to get started with that and so earlier this week, I met up with our photographer.

I chose Tiffany and Jonathan at Hot Metal Studio and I seriously could not be any more excited. I have been gazing longingly at their blog ever since early spring and although there are many talented wedding photographers in Pittsburgh, I knew I had to go with them.  I met up with Tiffany earlier this week and she could not have been sweeter. Not that I had any doubt, but meeting her just put me totally at ease.

I’m not sure how much wedding stuff I am going to share on here…I kind of like to keep secrets, but I’m just really excited about our photographer and I will definitely share some photos here. Go check out their stuff in the meantime!

The wedding itself will be in May of 2014 and other that the photographer, the only thing we know is that it’s going to be small. I have a tentative guest list of 80 and I’m actually trying to make it smaller. Of course, there will be plenty of people we cannot invite and if you are one of those people and reading this, please know that it wasn’t anything personal. I won’t speak for Keith, but I am a total introvert and even just thinking about getting married in front of dozens of people makes my heart race. So secret, intimate and beautifully photographed. Sounds good to me.

dogs and weddings and photography, oh my!

So I’ve done nothing house-related in the past week, but figured I could post a general life update, because why not?

Last week, we had another sibling dinner, this time at my sister Mandy’s house. She didn’t take the easy way out like I did and actually cooked out. We ate some delicious food and my mom sent up some old pictures for us to look at, so that was amusing. My sister has two dogs, Junior and Jackson and I spent a lot of time hanging out on the floor with them. 


This picture of Jackson kills me. He could be Daisy’s little brother.



Sleepy Junior.



sam and me
Me and my baby brother who is almost a foot taller than me.

Daisy felt left out so here is a funny picture of her mid-yawn.


Last weekend, we went to New Jersey for Keith’s cousin’s wedding. We didn’t leave until after work Friday, so we stayed somewhere in PA before finishing the drive Saturday morning. “You have arrived at your destination,” the GPS said as we pulled up to an abandoned gas station. It was just after 11p.m. and we were in the middle-of-nowhere PA and our hotel was nowhere to be found. We drove around for 20 minutes down these terrifying and foggy backwoods roads. Google and the GPS thought the gas station was the hotel. Eventually, thanks to Bing maps (of all places) we found it. In the total opposite direction off the highway.

Luckily the rest of the trip went off without a hitch. They had an issue with the photographer and had asked me to take some pictures. I was incredibly nervous to do so but ending up having a lot of fun! My pictures aren’t anything to write home about, but some are decent! I also felt really cool running around and taking pictures during the ceremony.

allison & jonathon 7.28.12

Probably my favorite picture, edited with “colorize” from the Pioneer Woman’s actions. After the reception, we were all staying at the same hotel so we went back and took over the lobby for the rest of the night. We ordered pizza and everyone just hung out and it was a lot of fun!

I also fell madly in love with the bed. We were staying in a Marriott and the bed was like sleeping on a cloud. I was trying to figure out how I could smuggle it home, but had no success. Apparently you can buy the bed from the Marriott for the low, low price of ~3k. I am seriously considering saving up for it because it was that amazing.

allison & jonathon 7.28.12

I made Keith stand around the church so I could figure out my camera settings before it began. (I was pretending I knew what I was doing.) I’ve decided this is his GQ cover. (Edited with another PW action.)

 i'm a pro

I forgot my sweater at home so here I am rocking Keith’s jacket at the reception. I look so profesh.


I had so much fun taking pictures at the wedding, I figured it was high-time I learned how to really use my camera. Through Pitt, you can take some classes at Pittsburgh Filmmakers so on Monday I dropped one of my fall classes and signed up for Basic Digital Photography and I could not be more excited. Yay!