I am often given the big smiling handshake at weddings by someone who then, with an air of gleeful conspiracy, will say, “You know, I’ve always wanted to be a photographer.” I used to give a polite smile and nod. These days I reply with the same excitement, “You know, I always wanted to be a Rock Star!”
That almost always seems to get me a good ice-breaking laugh.
I draw inspiration for weddings through my street photography. The emotions can be the same. A mentor of mine told me years ago that an abandoned building has just as much emotion and character as the most beautiful bride. For the most part, he was right.
Pounding the big city pavement, camera in tow, is how I learned to shoot. One of my first influences called street photography, ‘the ultimate classroom’. I spent years shooting urban landscapes and people in Cleveland, Detroit, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and my favorite city in the world, Pittsburgh.
I fell into wedding photography almost by chance. A colleague of mine needed help shooting a wedding, and he asked me to give him a hand. Shoulders shrugged, eyes rolling, I agreed. Ten minutes into the day, I knew this was a cool thing, a really cool thing. I finally felt challenged. I remember watching the bride’s face through my lens. She was crying and laughing with joy. I snapped the picture. That was the first of thousands of pictures I would take of brides. It still hangs on my office wall today, as a reminder of my first frame ever shot at a wedding. Two days later, I started Limelight-Images.
When I’m not shooting weddings or urban exploring what’s on my plate? Baseball. baseball, baseball, the Pirates and Yankees, mountain biking, walking, collecting baseball cards, working out and g-g-g-g-g-golf? Well, not yet, but it looks like an interesting game.
Did I leave anything out. Of course I did. The most important three people in my life, my little girls Micky and Gigi, who we call Knickers and Lish and my most beautiful wife and partner, Kristy. My family is my rock. Without them, I wouldn’t be blessed with everything I have!
I am a people watcher. I love to sit off in a corner and just watch. It is one of the reasons I first picked up a camera. I often found myself looking for “the moment” in each situation, you know, the one that counts, the one that tells the story. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than a bride on her wedding day. It is her ultimate story. Once I fell in love with the lens, I knew I would end up at weddings. To be the one to help you relive the best story, your happily ever after.
I eat popcorn, lots of it, everyday. My all time favorite is from the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company, ranch, mmmmmm. It is a problem I am working on. I love the fall time, the smell, the leaves, the first time you need to pull on a sweater. My days are so busy that I tend to stay up pretty late to watch all of my DVR ‘ed reality shows, I cannot get enough of them!! Every year I decorate for Halloween two months ahead of time and my Christmas stuff goes up on November 1st. My house always smells like caramel cookies. I have a huge addiction to Diet Dr. Pepper and food served on Thanksgiving. I love my electric blanket and taking the time to wrap gifts extra special. I change my hair color with the seasons and continue to be obsessed with the Twilight Saga. I sing in the car at the top of my lungs, even if I do not know the words. You will probably see me sneaking on the dance floor at your wedding. I cannot help it.
I fell in love with Jimmy over twelve years ago and after eight years of marriage, I am still head over heels in love with him. He still gives me butterflies. Every Saturday, as I hear couples reading their vows, I look over at Jimmy and realize how lucky I am that I got to marry my best friend. My two beautiful girls are my life and my rock. They keep me grounded and constantly remind me what really matters in life. Micky, my older child, and a budding artist, is the spitting image of Jimmy. Then there is Gigi, whom we call Lish. She is a FIRECRACKER and a mini-me. I love my family, I love my job and I love my life.