Rhinehart Photography bio picture
  • Welcome to my blog!

    Hello there-- I’ve been waiting for you!!! You know who you are and are true to yourself, you are a liver-of-life, a collector of moments, a person who appreciates great photography and its ability to press the pause button on life’s most incredible moments.

    You want a photographer who is able to handle all aspects of wedding photography with ease, capturing: candid, romantic emotion; flattering, beautiful portraits; breathtaking scenery & architecture; the joy and energy out on the dance floor and all those sweet wedding details that you have been working on for months in an artful, creative way.

    I have great news for you—I’ve got you covered!!!

    My work is creative & thoughtful. My goal is to share your unique love story. I get to know your interests & personalities in order to capture them forever in beautiful, personal, artful photographs that tell your story. I invest my time helping you become comfortable in front of my camera & find the most flattering lighting and angles for you and your surroundings.

    If this sounds good to you, and you’d like to reach out to me to find out more, please connect here.

Highlights from 2015: Creative, vibrant, unique wedding photography

In 2015, I captured 36,585 photos!!!  Here are roughly 50 images, set to music, along with a few of the reviews that colored my year.

I create personalized, emotional images that tell a couple’s unique story.  I have an eclectic style and enjoy the diverse photographic opportunities that abound in weddings.  I capture everything from portraits and landscapes to details and photojournalism.  I enjoy capturing creative, vibrant, thoughtful photos.

Here is my year in a couple of minutes set to music.  I’d love for you to check it out….

What did you think?  Please share on social media or comment below!

National Gallery of Art Wedding Engagement: Christine & Alec

A fun, modern Washington DC engagement at the National Gallery of Art


Christine and Alec first came across my photography in the Washingtonian.  She appreciated the style and creativity of my work.  She liked the way I was able to capture an eclectic mix of photos.

While some of my photographs capture architecture, others show creative angles, while others play with exposure.  The image above incorporates all three!

She also liked how some photographs are more traditional  portraits of couples…


Christine was particularly interested in photos that look natural and capture emotion, but also have an artistic flair.  I think the next image does both. 😉

As Christine and Alec walked outside of the National Gallery I caught this reflection off of the skylight below.


They chose the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art because it showed the more modern side of Washington, DC.

Inside the gallery, Christine & Alec stopped to view some of the art.  This piece is called “Tiger.”  I framed Christine and Alec in the white space as they pondered…


During our initial meeting, Alec shared that while they can both be serious and focused, they also have fun sides, too.

While they’d want some photos to be more chic and sophisticated, they definitely wanted some that just show them being goofballs, too!

That comment inspired me to capture this, hehe…


Alec and Christine also shared the story about how they first met each other.    Alec said, “We met at a birthday party.  I couldn’t help but notice Christine”.

Alec walked out to the deck with two of his friends, not only to grab a drink, but also to tell them that he’d appreciate them not mingling with Christine– he was smitten.  😉

Insert stalker picture here, haha…


(In reality I really like the lines, symmetry and  negative space in the photo above, but it is so fitting with the story that I couldn’t help myself).

He spent the entire evening trying to flirt with her, but she was oblivious to his wooing.    Luckily, Alec did not give up that easily…

He arranged for their mutual friend to invite both he and Christine to a music show.  Luckily he did a much better job of wooing her the second time around.  :)


Christine said that she has come to love, “Alec’s outgoing personality, his sense of humor and his GREAT looks.”  :)

While we already had a more traditional portrait of Alec and Christine, I wanted something that was a little different, a wider shot that would show more than just their faces.

I noticed this vine growing outside of the National Gallery and could envision the way I could frame both of them between it’s foliage and branches.


Alec shared, “I really love Christine’s nurturing personality, her patience with me, and the fact that she is one of the sweetest people I ever met!”

I think you can see both her sweet, nurturing, supportive sides in this next photo and the way Alec appreciates her.


I’ll end with a photo taken *inside* of an art installation by Leo Villareal.   It is called Multiverse and was created for the underground walkway between the East and West buildings of the National Gallery of Art.

It reminds me of stars and is a bit futuristic.  For that reason I believe it fits the last statement that Christine shared with me very well.  “We are very much in love and looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together!”


Christine and Alec, thanks for opening up and sharing your lives and love story with me.  I absolutely love the new renovations in the East Wing and had a great time working with you two.

I hope that these photos captured your modern, sophisticated style, genuine and fun-loving personalities and the love that you share for each other.  I am looking forward to photographing your wedding next summer.  :)

For any future clients looking for a great indoor location for your indoor engagement session, I’d highly recommend the National Gallery East.

Independence Seaport Museum Wedding Photographers: Evan & Sheri

This nautically inspired Philadelphia wedding took place at the Independence Seaport Museum on Penn’s Landing.  It was vibrant, emotionally-charged and took it’s red-white-and-blue theme even farther with a blessing from a wedding guest who is also a national hero!


Evan and Sheri contacted me looking for a photographer that they could trust to provide unique, artistic images and custom tailor the wedding day photography coverage to fit their needs and desires.  Following a friends’ recommendation, they looked at my work and knew immediately that we were the perfect fit.

Their nautical theme incorperated navy blue and white stripes with pops of red.  Sheri’s shoes were adorable and had little bows that tied in the back.  They chose red roses because they really stood out against the navy bridesmaids dresses and gray tuxedos.


Evan and Sheri’s wedding bands were stunning– they were both very ornate and  really shimmered and gleamed in the sunlight.

I wanted to show off those elements by contrasting the bright ornate rings against a dark, solid background where they could get all of the attention.

I found a surface that not only did that, but was also reflective, intensifying the effect…


One of the reasons that Sheri and Evan chose the Independence Seaport Museum in Penn’s Landing was its proximity to the iconic Ben Franklin Bridge.

I noticed this black and white photograph of the bridge on the wall and if I stood at just the right angle I was able to see the reflection of Sheri and her wedding gown.

I thought it was a unique way to bring the Ben Franklin Bridge indoors and into their photography…


I really like photography’s ability to freeze time.  here Sheri’s make-up artist is applying a finishing spray.  I snapped this photo just at the moment before the spray touched her skin, illuminating it against the dark window curtain of the Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing.


Evan shared that Sheri is the most amazing woman that he has ever encountered.  They first met in high school, Sheri was “the new girl” and had been in Catholic School up to that point.  They had classes together, but she was very quiet.  They both had secret crushes on each other, but nothing really came of it until after they graduated.

While Sherri is quiet, Evan shared that she has more drive, perseverance, strength and determination than anyone that he knows.  She is physically strong as well and invests time on her fitness, too.  I like this photo because it shows her quiet side as well as her strength.

Her body language conveys her more demure and humble demeanor, while the dramatic lighting and positioning of her arm shows her strength, all the while showing that she is absolutely gorgeous :).


Evan went on, “Sheri is extremely smart and excels in everything she does.  She is so beautiful, she goes out of her way to help so many people. Her heart is bigger than the world.  She is so supportive of me and has backed me since day one… I feel so blessed and lucky to now be able to call Sheri my wife!”


Here Sheri stands in front of the Ben Franklin Bridge.  I told her she should totally be on the cover of Philadelphia wedding magazine.  :)


The bridesmaids joined in.  They were so such fun and so excited for Sheri and Evan!


One of the highlights of Evan’s day was arriving at the Independence Seaport Museum by boat.  His friend piloted his boat past the Moshulu and other historic ships that were docked at Penn’s Landing.

If you look closely at the next photograph you can see Evan arriving with his groomsmen along with Philadelphia’s skyline and two historic ships.


Evan went straight from his arrival to the “First Look” where he saw Sheri for the first time on their wedding day.   He was looking very dapper and was eager to see his bride-to-be!


Sheri said, “We went back and forth about doing pictures before or after the ceremony, and I personally struggled as it is tradition for the groom not to see the bride until she walks down the aisle. Eventually we decided to have a first look, so we could enjoy cocktail hour with our guest. I had no idea what to expect with the first look, but Lisa and Kris made it such a beautiful, special, and private moment for just the two of us.”


Evan shared, “The first time I saw her on the wedding day I honesty almost cried. Standing in front  of me was the most beautiful and amazing woman I have ever seen. It almost felt like a dream. I’ll never forget it.”
His face says it all…


Sheri felt similarly and said, “The first time I saw Evan on our wedding day I was in awe.   I was filled with happiness that we would be life partners and that he chose me to be his wife! I am looking forward to many more memories and years of happiness together, living our life together, and one day starting a family of our own.”


Evan and Sheri’s relationship has grown over the last *ten* years.  Sheri said time has really helped them to grow as individuals and as a couple.   She said that they work well together probably because of thier support and encouragement of each other.  Evan was a huge support to Sherri when she went back to grad school, and Sheri supported Evan starting his own business.


Evan and Sheri both live active lifestyles.  They love mountain biking, boating, kayaking, really just enjoying each others company, especially on the water.

They were looking for a wedding venue that would be different and unique and when they came across the Independence Seaport Museum everything just clicked.

Evan was particularly interested in the historic boats harbored in Penn’s Landing.  Here you can see them strolling along the waterfront…


Sheri said she was impressed with the way I was able to accommodate for their unique needs as a couple.  I was able to have a strong creative vision of my own while also being collaborative and even laid back at times, too.

She was especially appreciative of the way I took time to understand their priorities so that I would be on the same page as them throughout the wedding day.


Sheri was eagerly anticipating their wedding ceremony.  Not only was it a decade in the making, but they would be surrounded by thier closest friends and family at the Seaport Museums’ rotunda overlooking the water.  The site was absolutely breathtaking.

While I’m not nearly as physically fit as Sheri, I make sure to keep in shape so I can capture photographs like this.  I literally ran from the ceremony site to climbing a few sets of stairs to a deck that was quite a distance away.  Kris covered for me at the ceremony site in case anything out of the ordinary happened.  😉


I was back with plenty of time to spare– here you can see the ring exchange.

I love their expressions here:


The ring bearer was adorable.  While the wedding officiant spoke, he eventually sat down and played with flower petals, haaa such a cute moment…


The kiss– I love all of the energy in this photo from the kissing couple to the clapping bridal party and guests to the wind and waves in the background there was so much movement and excitement!


To say the bridal party was happy for Sheri & Evan would be a huge understatement.  😉


Their cocktail hour was held on the deck of the museum.  It provided a view of the Delaware River Waterfront and Penn’s Landing as well as an interesting view of several tall buildings surrounding the museum.


The gathering felt very hip and luxe, part of that was the atmosphere above, but part was also the music.  Sheri mentioned, “Chris Dougherty, Steve Watkinson, and Carol Borelli from Keystoned played our cocktail hour, we loved that they incorporated a variety of some of our favorite songs from Dave Matthews Band, Bob Marley, Jack Johnson, and more!”

I liked the look of the Edison Bulbs, with the Ben Franklin Bridge in the distance.  The band was tight and really created some real ambiance.


I moved inside to prepare for the bridal party entrances and noticed Sheri through an open door.  She was chatting with her guests and enjoying her time t cocktail hour.  I like the way the pains of glass break up the frame and the open door and white dress draw attention to the bride…


The bridal party entrances were fun and far from ordinary.

One of the bridesmaids was escorted in by *two* groomsmen and she totally embraced her inner diva while the groomen danced around her.  Another bridesmaid, who I effectionately called Elsa hehe, embraced the red white and blue theme and waved an American flag while perched upon a groomsman’s shoulders…


Sheri & Evan  decorated the Seaport Museum with blue up-lighting which gave it an almost underwater feel.  I captured that unique lighting during their first dance.


The flower girl *loved* Sheri and during the first dance when van spun Sheri, the flower girl ran up to her to give her a hug and dance along.

Evan and Sheri smiled and kept dancing.  Evan said, “Sheri is so great with my nieces and nephews, all kids really.  She will be the best mother someday.  We already have names picked out, haha!”


Remember how I mentioned the guest of Honor?  It was actually Evan’s grandfather.  He is 93 years old and like a second father to Evan, and also a true American hero.

While fighting in World War II with the Army Airforce, the B17 plane he was in was shot.  The plane split in half and only his grandfather, Horace Hosbach, and the radio man were able to parachute out, the rest lost their lives.

Touched, Sheri went on, “After the plane was shot down, he was immediately captured by the German Army and was a POW for 14 months and held in several POW camps in Poland and Germany. It is amazing this man is alive to tell his story today. We were honored that he was able to give a blessing on our wedding day, as both Evan and I and the whole family love him and look up to him so much.”

You can see all of that in Evan’s eyes…


The guests were a lively and fun bunch.  They enjoyed the speeches and toasts and were very participatory in everything.

Here you can see them raising their hands in agreement when the best man brought up some of Evan’s recent Facebook posts, haha!


The speeches made Evan and so many of the guests laugh out loud.  Here you can see Evan’s nephew, who was such an awesome kid, he seems to be looking up to Evan…


Group hug!  This happened following the best man’s speech!


Cake smash!!!   Sheri had every intention of giving Evan a polite little bite of cake.  That is when the crowd began egging her on (I told you they were feisty) and she went in for the all out smash:


Haaaa this has to be one of my most creative compositions ever!    If you look closely you can see that Evan snapped the garter, as if he was hiking a football.

You can see it hovering between his legs as several men watch and one springs into action.  I love the expression on his face hahaha!!!


Sheri hit the dance floor with confidence while guests resourcefully incorporated props from the photo booth…


There is something about this photo that I really like– it captures the fog machine as light beams through it.  You can also see a cocktail illuminated the the light and the crowded dance floor.  The ladies are looking fabulous :).


I’ll end their set with a romantic photo from the end of the evening.  I liked the lights from Penn’s Landing and allowed them to create patterns of light in the background while silhouetting Sheri & Evan against the dark sky and making them pop with a bit of rim-light.

Everything about this image says that they lived happily ever after…


Evan and Sheri, thanks for inviting me to spend one of the greatest days of your life by your side.  It was a pleasure to capture you and your family and friends– your event was unique and a lot of fun!  I hope this text and these images do it justice!

Thanks for your kind words, “We instantly knew we wanted Rhinehart Photography to capture our day. Lisa was very thorough throughout the entire planning process, which was great since Evan and I had no idea what to expect. We are so glad we chose Rhinehart Photography to be a part of our day.  They were very accommodating– anything we asked, they found a way to make it happen!”

Kings Gap Mansion Wedding Engagement Photographers: Steph & Will

Nature-loving soccer players enjoy an afternoon outdoors with their adorable pups….


Stephanie and Will were first introduced to my work at Green Grove Gardens.  Steph said they were impressed by Rachel & Jason‘s photos, and loved the creative way that I share each couple’s unique story.

They wanted photos that were fun, candid and expressed their personalities and interests.   Soccer is what brought Will and Steph together, so I thought it was fitting to start with this photo– it’s fun, candid and acknowledges soccer playing a role in their relationship.

They are also balanced at either corner of the frame which gives a nod to their relationship.  Steph shared, “We work so well because we balance each other out. I am the organized, 15 minute early type of person and Will is the laid back, 15 minute late type of person. :)”


Will organized pick-up futsal in Frederick.  They got to know each other over her senior year in college as they’d play soccer together.  Once she graduated he kept calling her to play.  Eventually they started getting closer and were pretty much inseparable– best friends.  That is when they started dating…

I used a slow shutter speed to capture this next image.  It allowed the ball to be slightly out of focus and show movement, while Steph’s shoe laces are in sharp focus.


Steph said she knew they were meant to be when she went overseas to Sweden to play soccer.  It was a challenging time for her.  The time difference made communication difficult, but Will would wake up at 2:00am just to talk with her everyday, showing his support for her and her intense soccer schedule!

While I love taking personalized, candid images, I also enjoy taking more traditional portraits as well.  I like this photo in particular because of how happy Steph and Will look and I also really think it shows off their bright eyes and smiles as well as Steph’s bling, haha…


For those of you who want a closer look, here is a photograph of just the ring.  I like the way the band twists in an organic way.  It reminds me of young branches, so I put it out in nature among leaves that had similar width lines that were not intertwined.  I also liked the dark leaves because it really made the ring pop against the background.

I used a macro lens to photograph this image, so that I could get the diamond engagement ring in sharp focus as well as some of the intricate veining in the leaf while filling the frame with other leaves that I kept out of focus.


Steph shared about her experience seeing Will after returning home after her time in Sweden.  “I still remember seeing him standing there all cute in his white t-shirt at the airport when I came back to the states. From that moment on, I knew I had found ‘the one’.”

I love the intimacy of this next image– you can see that they appreciate being close, no longer separated by the Atlantic Ocean and 7,000 miles!  I also like to get creative and play with reflections…


Steph and Will live very active lifestyles.  In their spare time they enjoy hiking, biking and just about anything outdoors.

They didn’t have a specific location in mind for their engagement photos, but I knew about their love of nature and suggested Kings Gap Mansion as a location where they could enjoy the outdoors and easily bring their dogs, suggesting that they bring an soccer ball as well.  😉

Steph shared, “We just went with the flow and trusted your instincts/guidance. Our goal was just to hopefully not look awkward :)”  I was able to do so much with their relaxed attitudes and felt like they were so much fun to be around and far from awkward.  They look especially comfortable here:


When Steph and Will got their own place, they wanted to get a dog.  They found a super-sweet Yorkie-Poo (Mia).   Here she gives will a kiss on the cheek :).

I captured Mia’s tongue in focus while allowing Will and the rest of Mia to be soft.  I think it helps to convey the emotion of this sweet moment…


They wanted to find a friend for Mia and discovered one in, Elsie, a Mini Australian Shepherd.  Here Will and Steph walk Elsie and Mia.

I like the forest and mountain view in the background and the balance and symmetry in the shot, as well as the way the wind hit Steph’s hair at just the right moment.


Elsie is so loveable and craves attention.  At this moment I was laying in the grass, calling the dogs and their personalities really came out.

Mia is more reserved while Elsie is pulling, full-force towards me ready to tackle me with kisses, lol!  It is a little difficult to tell who is walking who, haha!  I totally wanted to get a dog after this shoot!


As Will and Steph sat on the porch and took in the view I tried to get a photo from behind them.  I used a wide frame in order to capture the view and the tree branch above them and had planned to silhouette the couple.

Will put his arm around Steph, it was really shaping up to be a perfect moment,  then the pups popped up their little heads, so I quick zoomed in and caught this photograph:


They leaned in towards each other and the dogs leaned back behind them.  I went back to my original vision and silhouetted the couple against the stunning view.

I like how the wind is gently blowing Steph’s hair and light is passing through the edges.


Steph and Will, thanks for trusting me fully with your engagement photos!  I hope they are as fun, candid and unique as you wanted and also capture your personalities and important aspects of your relationship.  Feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you think!  I am eagerly anticipating photographing your wedding day in Greencastle!

ledges hotel wedding photographers: Matt & Mike

Rock climbing in tuxedos, waterfalls and gourmet fare– this chic wedding united two nature enthusiasts, perfectly integrating their sophisticated tastes, love of adventure and each other…


Mike began following my work a few years ago when I photographed his friends’ wedding.  Matt and Mike contacted me following their Versailles engagement, already familiar with my photography and friendly demeanor.

They said that they simply loved my work– from the vibrant color, to my use of light and dramatic compositions.  They also liked the way I custom tailor and personalize my wedding photography coverage to fit each unique couple.

In the photo above you can see them rock climbing (in their tuxedos!)  which was so “them,” and posed in front of the lovely waterfall, their favorite feature of The Ledges Hotel in Hawley, Pennsylvania.


Their wedding was sophisticated and modern with gourmet fair and designer garb, yet it was also natural with organic elements of waterfalls, rock, wood and geodes.

Mike and Matt’s wedding bands are perfectly suited for them and illustrate their theme well!  One has a metal base with inlaid wood and the other is the reverse.  They are chic while also having that earthy element.

I photographed them on the wooden planks of their guests’ seating– I thought the contrast and diagonal lines were a perfect compliment to the bands…


Their wedding suite was gorgeous and spanned two floors of the Ledges Hotel.  This allowed them to get ready for the day without seeing each other, as they wanted to have a “first look”.  I stood outside as they put on their finishing touches.  I really love this next image.  It is a signal photograph, but tells so much of their unique story.

It captures their morning preparations and shows their cheerful personas, it shows the stonework of the Ledges and even brings in the natural element of succulent plants in a window.  Most importantly for me, it conveys a sense of symmetry and balance in their relationship….

I moved inside their suite as it began to rain.  The chance of rain was rather high on their wedding day.  Not only did they not let the forecast dampen their spirits, they actually embraced it.  More on that later ;).

Matt and Mike’s Tuxes were from The Black Tux, it is similar to Rent the Runway, but for Tuxes.  Here I captured Matt’s reflection as he perfected his bow tie.


Matt shared that Mike was an exemplary wedding planner.  I have to agree, every detail was so perfectly and uniquely them.

Their boutonnieres were designed by Kristy Claire and incorporated  wheat, dried lavender, thistle, feathers and twine.


When Mike and Matt began looking for a wedding venue they had two words in mind, castles and waterfalls.  They share a love of fantasy and also the outdoors and felt both would suit them.  :)

Mike shared, “As it turns out, booking a real castle is silly-expensive. Finding a venue with a waterfall was a bit easier, but Ledges brought us a bit closer towards our castle-y desires with its old stonework and industrial/historic/rustic feel.”

Here I photographed Mike as he descended the spiral staircase in his suite upon hearing the news that the rain had slowed to a drizzle.  I like the interesting vantage pint and the contrast in this photo:


They shared, “Being the adventurous sort, and rock climbers, we couldn’t resist getting closer to the falls. Even though the many decks wrap beautifully around the falls, we wanted to get in the thick of things. Dress shoes, as it turns out, are not well suited for scaling boulders, but it was a blast to jump the fence and get out and explore the falls.”

They warned me of this prior to the wedding day, to see if I’d be game for a little climb.  I love to hike myself and was definitely game.  :) As they both got in position for their first look, the rain stopped– not a single drop!!!


Their first look was incredible.  In nature, surrounded by water and vibrant foliage with colors even more saturated by the previous rain.

Mike shared, “When I first saw Matt out on the stones on our wedding day my first thought was how happy he looked and that made me really happy in this wonderfully mushy feedback loop. Then I thought, damn, I have a very sexy soon-to-be-husband and he looks mighty fine in that tux.” They embraced.


I wanted to capture that surreal fantasy feel that they like so much and found myself drawn to their reflections in the water.  This looks surreal to me, almost like when Alice peers through the looking glass.

The clarity of their reflection is incredible and the contrast of them against the dark water really makes them pop, it is all about them in that moment.  You can see their actual (upside down) selves less clearly with all of the surroundings making for a more busy photograph…


Matt shared, “I thought that Mike looked amazing in his tux and that I hadn’t seen him happier… well, maybe except that one time in France when he proposed. I thought that this was our first adventure officially together… with many more to come. I’m looking forward to all the ridiculous things we will do together for fun (like climbing over wet rocks in dress shoes).”  :)

Here you can see Matt offering Mike a hand.  For me it captures his thoughtful, encouraging, adventurous, gentlemanly personality all at once.  He is incredibly genuine and kind, and I think this photograph captures that.


Matt saw a clean rock face and hopped up, beginning to climb.  Mike joined in.

This next photograph really gives you a sense of so much of what these two and their wedding day was about… rock climbing in tuxedos and smiling ear to ear.

I love how Matt’s free spirit and enthusiasm especially shines in this image.


The couple had brought along paper boats to the first look.  They were folded from sheet music of one of their favorite songs, “I will always find you, it is written in the stars… we are paper boats floating on a stream, and it would seem, we’ll never be apart… I will always find you.”

It was a beautiful, symbolic gesture.  I like the ripples in the water and again those surreal reflections…


There is something about the fall leaves beneath the water resting on a bed of rock and the words and music “always” that I really like.  Well folded, Matt!


The Pocono Mountains are breathtaking with their forests, waterfalls, plateaus and gorgeous.  This Pocono wedding takes you into the thick of all of it!

Here I found a way to bring the clearing blue sky into the same frame of Mike and Matt.  It has such a dreamlike, fantasy feel and also gives a nod to their ability to take leaps of faith together and traverse gloomy, threatening situations undeterred.


While I love creative, emotional, symbolic images I also enjoy capturing more traditional portraits.

Such dapper gentlemen!


As  we climbed back over the fence (actually I think Kris lifted me over, haha!) we saw two familiar faces.  Mike’s mother and his best-person, Caroline, were smiling and waving at the happy couple having observed much of the first look from their rooms.  :)

I photographed their happy expressions through the window.  You can see a bit of the ruins and Edison lights of the ruins in the frame as well– maybe a bit of foreshadowing of things to come…

Geodes seemed to perfectly unite the earthy rock vibe with the fantasy element and were incorporated into Matt and Mike’s wedding invitations.

Here I pulled an actual geode from their wedding decor and photographed it next to an invitation.  Stone seemed to be the perfect background.


It was time for the wedding ceremony.  The ceremony was lead by celebrant, Lois Heckman, an enthusiastic wedding officiant who I have had the pleasure of working with before.

The ceremony was completely customized for this couple, absolutely unique and fitting.  You may recognize Lois from her popular blog and local newspaper column, Pocono Wedding Talk.  It often features photographs from my weddings :).

The ceremony took place on the top deck of the Ledges Hotel, overlooking the beautiful Paupack High Falls.


These lines from the ceremony so perfectly capture who Matt is as a person and Mike’s view of him…

“Michael loves Matt’s overwhelming positive energy and his excitement and enthusiasm for life, which lifts him up! He loves that Matt shares his interests and how they have in-depth conversations about all their passions, including the nerdy stuff, as well as sharing a love for hiking, climbing and outdoor adventure. He loves that unique and wonderful combination that is Matt, and how he is always willing to help, being proactive and supportive and that he is a genuinely caring person.”


The words made Matt tear up.  Mike said that the most special moment of the cermeony for him was, “seeing Matt pull out a tissue during the ceremony and dab at his eyes very delicately. It’s just so Matt! He tries to be all proper, but inside he’s this sweet ball of emotions just bubbling over.”


Matt shared that he loves Michael’s energy and the way he thinks and finds his focused-creativity inspiring.  They understand each other and communicate well, talking about anything and everything.  He loves the life he sees in Michael’s eyes.

I like this image because you can see the emotion welling up in Mike’s eyes and Caroline and Adam (the couple whose wedding I initially photographed) standing in support behind him…


The ring exchange… I like how intimate this moment feels with the macro perspective– the light was so beautiful…


The kiss…


Here Matt hugs a true guest of honor, his mother.  He was concerned that her stage four lung cancer diagnosis would prevent her from being able to attend the wedding, and moved the wedding up by a year exactly for that reason.

Matt shared, “It was beyond wonderful that she was able to be there. It just wouldn’t have been the same to “Walk down the aisle” without her. Thankfully she has been in great health so far and things seem to be going really well with her treatment.”


Together forever…

“We work well together both because we share a lot of similarities and because we are very open with each other and talk about everything (especially when something bothers one of us). We talk through things before they have a chance to become problematic… We succeed by taking on the world together.”

Here they stand on the deck where they exchanged their wedding vows, nearly silhouetted against the gray sky:


Here Caroline holds her bouquet of dried lavender, thistles and wheat.  It was fantastic to see her again!


Guests passed the breathtaking view of the falls as they moved from the ceremony space to the reception…


The reception was held in the “ruins“of the Ledges Hotel.  The exposed stone and Edison lights, the wood farm tables and burlap and fern accents fit the occasion well.

Matt and Mike walked the line of organic/natural and chic/sophisticated perfectly… while the setting may read slightly more earthy, their attire and cuisine added an element of formality and sophistication.


A playful nod to their geode theme was brought into their cake which was creatively constructed using fondant and rock candy!  Each piece of candy was meticulously placed using a pair of tweezers…


Here you can see the steps leading down from the ceremony space to the reception.  I captured attendees chatting through the window opening in the ruin.  I like the composition of it:


Touching speeches were given… Matt’s best man slipped in a special reference just for Mike…


The reception that followed felt very much like a joyful cocktail party held for close friends.  In the image below you can see both Matt and Mike’s mothers as well as several other guests enjoying the night.

The sky glowed blue, a similar shade actually to the geodes…


Dinner was lovely, half the guests swore they didn’t like Brussels sprouts until that meal ;).

As soon as the meal had ended and people returned to chatting, the rain began.

Slowly at first, (giving enough time to move people and items under the cover of the porch canopy) but eventually there was a total downpour.


I set up the shot in drizzle, and completed it in downpour.  I was soaked, my camera needed to be sent in for repair as water had seeped into it’s delicate buttons, but I recorded these memories, which were absolutely priceless… when they look back at this moment I hope that they think about their ability to live out their dreams fearlessly…


Matt and Mikes photos worked so well, and I think it was partially because they kept things simple.  They knew who they were and stayed true to their priorities throughout the day– everything was at one location, the bridal party and guest list was intimate, and most of all they took in every moment and savored their wedding day. I had time to get creative and think about who they were and capture them fully :).

They wrote to me saying, “It was an absolute blast working with you on our big day. You guys didn’t shy away from any challenge, and we put you through a number of them! From hopping fences and navigating water-slick rocks to capturing night photos in pouring rain, you were DEDICATED. You were also a lot of fun to work with; you have a pleasant demeanor, great sense of humor, and yet you are on task. We also appreciated your ability to both incorporate our ideas but also suggest lots of ideas for us.”

Matt and Mike, it was truly a pleasure to work with you two on your wedding day.  I wish you both all the very best and am very happy for both of you!

Skytop Lodge Wedding Photographers: Marissa & Thomas

An incredible fairytale wedding for two US Army Captains (and Star Wars fans) who had finally found their match 😉


Marissa & Thomas shared that photography was literally the number one priority when they started planning their wedding.  Before they even looked at venues they called me to find out my availability!!!  Marissa had been following my blog for several years and was set on having me photograph her wedding, seeing her brother Joe’s wedding photos confirmed that choice.

Marissa and Thomas loved how unique, personal and creative my photos were and my attention to detail.  I knew that they were Star Wars fans, so I thought about a few ways to incorporate light sabers in their portraits.  I also knew how important the scenery of Skytop Lodge was to them and really wanted to show off the vibrant, fairytale feeling of that beautiful setting…


Here are a couple of small details that had supreme importance, Marissa & Thomas’ wedding bands with her lovely diamond engagement ring.  I used a macro lens that could capture all of the detailed cuts in Marissa’s diamond and placed the rings on a dark, reflective background to really make them pop.:)


Thomas shared that Marissa’s radiant personality had him from the very start.  She is brilliant, ambitious and funny and also incredibly supportive, devoted and unconditionally loving.

I snapped this photo as Marissa put on her earrings– it is such a simple moment, but you get a feel for her natural beauty and  exuberant personality.


Skytop Lodge is a historic retreat hotel built in the 1920’s.  It’s breathtaking architecture is classic, elegant, and just the look that Marissa and Thomas wanted for their wedding.

Here you can see Rissy back-lit by the grand windows and doorway.   What a stunning bride!!!


Marissa shared that she owes everything she is and has to her parents.  They taught her to be happy, enjoy life and strive to better the world every day, and to always think of others.  They have always made her feel loved and supported.

When Marissa was a little girl, she wanted to be Belle for Halloween, her father dressed up as the beast, I kept thinking throughout the day about what a moment this must have been for him as well.

Here he saw her for the first time in her wedding gown.   His face says it all…


He said, “Mom and I have seen and cherished your beauty– inside and out– since the moment you were born.  Watching that radiance grow even brighter because of the love that you and Thomas share is the greatest happiness that any parent could ever know.”

Marissa carried a lovely bouquet.  It incorporated photographs of her grandparents.  They were in a nursing home and unable to attend the wedding.  Thomas and Marissa re-dressed in their wedding outfits the next day and visited them!


Beautiful bridesmaids…


Seeing Skytop Lodge last July was Marissa’s first “bridal moment”– it brought tears to her eyes and took her breath away.  The lodge was the perfect balance between classic elegant and relaxed fun they they were looking for and she knew she had found “the place.”

Here she and her bridesmaids take a moment to let it all sink in and celebrate!


Marissa’s mom has been her best friend throughout her entire life.  Marissa said, “I have no idea how she was able to strike the balance between “friend” and “mother” but somehow she made it work.  She is the most selfless, intuitive, patient woman I know.”


Marissa wore a cathedral length veil and here her mother is helping her to put it on.  I love the joy and movement in this photo– it is such a sweet moment…


Time to meet Thomas…  Marissa shared that falling for him was easy.  She said that he is incredibly generous, hilarious and  intelligent.  He pushes her to better herself and lifts her up when she needs it.

She went on to say, “He is my partner in every sense of the word…  I can’t wait to continue exploring the world and face all the new challenges that I know life hand us.  No matter what challenge it is, I know that Thomas will be with me and we will be a team.”


Thomas and his groomsmen walk together on the front lawn of Skytop Lodge before the ceremony begins in the Formal Garden.


If the five story stone structure boasting 125 guestrooms didn’t give you a fairytale feeling, certainly this mode of transportation will!  Marissa and her father arrived to the ceremony site in a horse draw carriage.

While I waited for the ceremony to begin from the garden level, Kris watched the carriage arrive from the roof deck.  I love how you are able to see the forest, mountain and sky!!!


As it approached more closely he was able to capture this moment as the horse and carriage pulled up to the ceremony…


While I have several beautiful photos of Marissa being escorted up the aisle by her father, I think this is my favorite photo from that moment.  It is the look on Thomas’ face as he watches Marissa approach.

He said, “When I first saw her on our wedding day I think my brain backfired a bit due to how unbelievably beautiful she looked. She looked absolutely stunning!  That was enough to make me lock my knees and almost take a tumble down the stairs!”


While guests gathered in Skytop’s Evergreen Garden, the ceremony took place on the south porch, overlooking the garden.

Their bridal party stood on the steps flaked by two large evergreen trees.  Here Marissa slides the ring on Thomas’ finger:


The kiss…


Marissa shared, “I wasn’t nervous at all on our wedding day. I’ve never been surer about anything in my life. I was excited all morning, but when I saw Thomas, I thought my chest was going to burst with how happy and thrilled I was!”


A toast to the happy couple…


Spending quality time alone together was important to Marissa and Thomas.  They walked on the lawn and in the gardens and took some time to let it all sink in… husband and wife 😉


I like to provide an eclectic mix of photos for my couples and their families.  Many focus on emotion, but others may focus on the details or the setting.

In the image above I put all of the focus on the couple and allowed the garden and the building to blur into the foreground and background.  It adds color and depth and frames the couple.

In the image below I used the architecture to really frame the photo and allowed much more of the architectural detail to show.  Again I used the columns to frame them as they kissed.


I also really enjoy providing a unique perspective– here Marissa and Thomas practice their first dance as I stood a level above them on the porch.

It allowed me to capture the natural beauty of the flagstone and the mossy-clover growing between as well as all of the vibrant color from the garden and window boxes…


This has to be one of my favorite moments from the day.  Thomas looked down at Marissa’s hand wearing the engagement ring and wedding band.  He got a little choked up, which was really sweet.

He said, “Marissa is the consummate partner in all things that I do, which is probably my favorite thing about her.  That’s a constant humbling reminder of her unconditional love for me and her devotion to our relationship”.

His face says it all…


You can see how proud he is to have Marissa by his side…


Marissa is incredibly proud, too.  Here Thomas pins his last name on Marissa.  It was something really sweet that Marissa wanted to do.  I think it says a lot about the level of trust and devotion that they have and also gives a little bit of background about their involvement in the military…


Marissa shared, “We started our relationship when we were 9,000 miles away, which was crazy, but really helped us get to know one another because all we could do was talk. We face many challenges together as a team, from deployments to the stresses of daily life. These sort of challenges have helped us gain a lot of perspective about what is most important in our relationship. We’ve gone from a long-distance relationship to spending almost every hour together, back to long-distance, and together again…and it will always work. We are unconditionally loyal to each other and value one another.”


Mmmmm wedding cake….


I know I haven’t mentioned Star Wars since the beginning of this blog entry, so I think it’s about time to share some more…

Thomas has always been an avid Star Wars fan to say the least. Thanks to her older brothers, Marissa enjoyed the movies growing up, but wasn’t a die-hard fan until Thomas.

A saber arch is a military tradition that Marissa and Thomas took in a playful, Star Wars direction with a LIGHT saber arch!!!  Thomas looks like a kid in a candy store, hahahaha….


Ian was Thomas’ co-best man and a friend that he has been close with since high school.  The summer of 2012 was a big one for them.  Ian headed out to the Peace Corps in Benin, a country on the west coast of Africa and Thomas deployed to Afghanistan.

Ian joked that despite Thomas being in a war-zone he still managed to send Ian care packages containing Oreos and magazines.  I think it spoke a lot to Thomas’ character and his care and dedication to his friends.


Thomas dance with his mother was an emotional one.  He said, “My mom has been a huge source of inspiration for me. She has been there for me through some of my toughest times  and has always been someone I can count on for love, support, and advice. She also instilled a number of core values in me: the importance of hard work, dedication, duty, and the value of setting high uncompromising standards for yourself.  She helped to forge me into the man I am today.”  This is what love looks like…


When I asked Marissa and Thomas what their favorite moments were in the wedding day, almost knocking over the cake made top three, hahahaha!

Marissa and Thomas used her father’s West Point saber that her parents used to cut their wedding cake 36 years ago.

To the left of the frame you can see two staff members from the Skytop Lodge steadying the table and preparing to steady the cake, the couples’ expressions are also priceless…


You are probably wondering what the other “top 3″ moments of their wedding were– well number one was the ceremony itself– finally holding hands and standing together in front of our family and friends at the beginning of the ceremony and number two was dancing….


The dancing portion of the evening was lead by Magic Mike and was pretty incredible.  They shared, “Making sure our guests had fun was paramount in our wedding. Knowing who we were inviting, we knew that music was key because people would love to dance! We wanted a DJ that would keep people on the dance floor and make our guests feel involved in the party.”


At the end of the night, all of their guests circled Marissa and Thomas…


They lived happily ever after…


….and the force was with them, always 😉


Marissa and Thomas, It was such a pleasure to see you two and your wonderful family again!!!  You are such an awesome couple and perfectly matched.  I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!!!

F a c e b o o k