Janelle + Zac | Urban Pittsburgh Engagement Session at PPG Place
Pittsburgh engagement session at PPG place

So that title is a bit of a teaser - we weren’t JUST at PPG place for this amazing engagement session in the city, but we pulled out all the stops and explored some of the most beautiful and iconic places Pittsburgh has to offer like Northside Allegheny Commons Park and the most colorful place this side of the three rivers - Randyland!

As Pittsburgh natives, Janelle and Zac love their city, the architecture, the bridges, the skylines - and have allll of that amazing goodness to look forward to in their wedding photos next year that will highlight the city scape and bridges near their reception venue, the Renaissance Hotel. For their engagement session, however, they still wanted to be true to their love of Pittsburgh and it’s architectural features, but maybe something a little more fun and casual!

We started the evening at PPG place, where by summer it boasts a really unique and fun water fountain feature that springs right out of the ground, and by winter is a magnificent Christmas tree surrounded by an open, public ice skating rink! We made good use of the architecture, with it’s dark mirrored glass and silver lines, to add drama, while Janelle’s cute pink dress provided the movement and whimsy to keep things light. And, of course, I made them step in the fountain.

They told me that they wanted to incorporate some bright colors, so they asked if I have ever heard of Randyland and if we could go. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT MY DREAM COUPLE?! Yeah girl, I’ve been to Randyland. hahahahaha! We snapped some cute photos around the sidewalks just as golden hour was hitting, and were even treated to a monologue by Randy himself about some of his methods and finds that make his courtyard so special.

After wrapping up in rainbow paradise, we ended our session at Northside Allegheny Commons Park where golden hour was in full force. It was almost impossible to take a bad picture there while everything glowed a gorgeous yellow. We met up with their sweet pup Sophie to get some family pics, and of course captured more of that Pittsburgh skyline Janelle and Zac love so much.

I hope you enjoy the highlights of this shoot. It was, and I don’t say this lightly, probably by favorite session as of yet! I can’t wait for the wedding!

Dawn + Richard | Farm Country Engagement Session, Mineral Point, PA
 @Jill Gearhart Photography |

When your future bride client texts you and tells you to wear shoes you don’t mind getting dirty, but you already left the house for the day in flip flops, you make the best of it and wander around the farm anyway! When I first met Dawn and Richard one evening over a Starbucks coffee, I was excited to work with such a sweet pair. Little did I know how fun and playful they were, and how totally opposite their upbringing was! We started this sun-kissed country engagement session at the farm where Dawn grew up in Mineral Point, among ponds with Queen Anne’s Lace, dairy cows, frisbee-fetching collies, and corn fields drenched in golden hour light.

Our first few snaps were playing around in the corn field where I learned RIGHT AWAY that these two would be a DREAM to photograph. Richard probably has the best, most natural smile for a groom (to be!) that i’ve ever been blessed to capture. Whether he was actually having fun or found the whole process hilarious I’m not sure, but dang those smiles are killer! Dawn is of course a knock-out, so it was almost too easy to get incredible photos of these two enjoying the place that’s so dear to them.

We found little spot beside a pond along their lane up to the farm rimmed with “weeds”, but framed the right way, the weeds can be beautiful! To me, this session was all about chasing light. Both Dawn and Richard just returned from the beach the day before, so their glowing tans coupled with the beautiful gold light made for a warm, rich feel to the photos.

After the pond, we paid a visit to their pet dairy cows (yes, one is named Annabelle!) and even made sure these girls had a chance to photobomb some moments to make the session even more memorable. Besides the dairy cows, Dawn’s family also has beef cows, pigs that eat marshmallows out of your hand, kittens, a Great Pyrenees, and two Border Collies! We ended the session with some piggy-back rides under the family’s apple trees and a good round of frisbee with Dawn’s 10 year old Border Collie Lilly.

These memorable sessions are what make my job amazing - to be invited into someone’s world to experience the things that make them happiest, the people who make them who they are, and the moments they want to hang on to forever. I hope you enjoy some of my favorite moments from this county engagement session on the farm!

Best of 2018 Wedding, Engagement, Family, and Senior Photos
From our incredible time in Waco, Texas shooting my first destination wedding!

From our incredible time in Waco, Texas shooting my first destination wedding!

Here you’ll find all of my favorite images from the 2018 season! There’s no better way to get a good look at the scope of a photographer’s work than by cruising through their top picks for the year! Read on for a snapshot of the people and places that helped shape my year, OR just skip on down to the galleries!!

This year was iconic for me in starting to realize my dream of being a destination wedding photographer! Cody and Faith were so kind to invite us to Waco Texas to shoot their incredible wedding in June, and while nothing else can really beat that, a few venues back here in Pennsylvania came close! 2018 took me to weddings at PNC park, the Renaissance Hotel, Jumonville, a city rooftop, country clubs, beautiful local barn venues, a private horse farm, a sheep farm, a cattle farm (lots of farms this year!), and a romantic outdoor campsite just to name a few! How incredible it is to be a photographer!!

I was so blessed to shoot a total of over 40 family shoots, 8 senior sessions, and 22 weddings, some as a second shooter with amazing local photographers like Karen Plate Photography, j.jae photography, Carolyn Renee Photography, and Sparks Ignite Photography. I got to attend two workshops, one right here in Indiana PA hosted by the awesome Jon Blanchard, and one in New Jersey hosted by the girls of NJ Spark!

This was a big year of knocking out some big personal projects like creating a wedding magazine chock full of advice just for my brides, converting to all digital contracts for the convenience of my clients, a styled shoot in coordination with, and over original 30 blog posts! While it’s certainly a struggle to keep the momentum going in the off season, the sheer volume of exciting people, experiences, and images that I’ve had this year make me fall in love with photography over and over again! I can’t wait for 2019 and some of the incredible places (Lingrow Farms!! South Carolina!!) that it will take me!!





So He's Not Into Photos - This Type of Session May Be Perfect For You
 @Jill Gearhart Photography |

If you have a grumpy groom-to-be that's not jazzed about engagement photos, a lifestyle session may be the perfect thing for you and your hubs-to-be. Picture this: you are recently engaged, and besides staring at your amazing bling and grabbing every copy of bridal mags out there, your are pinterest-obsessed with planning the perfect engagement photos to make it Facebook official. But what if your new fiancé is totally not into photo sessions? At all. Enter lifestyle engagement sessions. This is were a photographer comes into your home and photographs you doing everyday things, but cutely! They may be posed, they may be totally candid, but they will always be fun! Guys are usually much more comfortable in a familiar environment, and definitely more comfortable when they know what's expected of them and they have things to do or clear directions. 

What if we don't have a house together yet?

That's totally ok!! If you love the style and relaxed vibe of lifestyle shoots, your photographer can find a cozy living room, nice kitchen, and cute dining room for you to do photos in. My current house is perfect for this! It could even be at one of your family members homes or a friend who has a floorpan you admire. Most people will be flattered that you asked them to use their home because that says "I think your home is beautiful enough to photogrpah."

What do we do during our shoot?

This is where your personalities and preferences can really shine! A lot of couples opt for sharing a cup of coffee together with some cute pastries for props, playing a favorite board game together on the living room rug, snuggling together on the couch, jumping on the bed, pillow fights, 

What if my house is ugly?

Keep in mind that only a select part of your home will show up in the photos, so if you have a couch that you like and you don't mind the wall paint color, you will have some killer photos. Is there an area or room that you love? Incorporate it and plan activities that would make sense for you to be doing there. If you love your kitchen, you can do lots of photos making coffee, baking cookies, or just kissing on the counter :) 

How much do I have to clean?

You don't. I mean, minimally. Depending on the room you want to be photographed in, go ahead and run the vacuum, do the dishes, and make your bed. Look around at the "stuff" in each room too, and if you don't like it or it looks cluttered to you, chuck it in another room temporarily. As as far as the rooms you are NOT photographed in? Don't even think twice about them! You can also check out this sister blogpost about getting your house ready for an in-home shoot!

 @Jill Gearhart Photography |
 @Jill Gearhart Photography |
 @Jill Gearhart Photography |
 @Jill Gearhart Photography |
 @Jill Gearhart Photography |
 @Jill Gearhart Photography |
 @Jill Gearhart Photography |
 @Jill Gearhart Photography |
 @Jill Gearhart Photography |
 @Jill Gearhart Photography |
 @Jill Gearhart Photography |
 @Jill Gearhart Photography |
A Proposal Story at the Jumonville Cross | Engagement and Wedding Photographer

A month or two ago, an old friend sent me a message on Facebook asking me to help him pull off an epic surprise proposal. I was hesitant at first because it was so far away, but after hearing his story, I understood that the gigantic Jumonville cross symbolized the very thing Chad and Lilly build their relationship on. Chad and I met when I was his Youth Group Leader at least, geez, 6 year ago now? 7? 8? Why do we have to get so old?! And now he's all grown up, working a good job, and now ready to settle down with the love of his life. 

This past weekend, Chad asked this very special girl to marry him. Not knowing her, but seeing that she literally climbed a mountain in scrappy heels and wasn't the least bit angry about it, I knew she had what it took to put up with Chad. Heheh just kidding! Brandon, my husband, and I huffed and puffed our way up the mountain a few minutes before these two came, and I did my best tourist with a camera impression. It must have worked because afterward Lilly said she had no clue I was more than just a creepy person following them with a camera. 

In the photography industry, everything is about intentional relationships, finding true personalities of couples, and unearthing just what makes everyone's love story so special. So who better to tell it than Chad himself? I hope you enjoy the story that he so thoughtfully wrote out for me to share with all of you!


"Lilly and I started talking a couple months prior to April over text message via a dating app. I thought It was unlikely that I would find true love considering I moved four hours away from my family, so I said it's worth a shot and I went for it. I didn't have much time to go out and meet people because of how much I work, and it was all new to me, but I still tried to talk with people on the app. After she replied back we started texting and immediately I saw how beautiful she was inside and out. I honestly would get nervous when we would talk and I'd always looked forward to texting her on my breaks from work. I honestly never wanted to stop talking to her. I think my biggest fear was that she was going to stop talking to me.

When I asked her on the first date we went to the bowling alley. Never having gone before, Lilly was thankful for some helpful tips and we had a memorable time. Soon after we went to a restaurant and started to really get to talking about ourselves and what we like and who we are as a person. I think what really broke the ice was the mariachi singer. Important to know, at this time in my life I wasn't doing very well with my self esteem so this was a point where I had my hair grown out and a full beard which grisly isn't like me. My thoughts were if someone doesn't like me for my looks it's their fault because what matters is who I am on the inside. Lilly saw through all of my walls and still says to this day that I was handsome. Ever since that day and a couple dates after I knew she was the one.


I have never seen someone be so selfless and take care of other people even though she needs it the most. She juggled family, work, school, and me and never broke down and called it quits. I seriously would look into her eyes and think this can't be real. I thought sooner or later her attitude would change, but she has loved me the same throughout our entire relationship.

After seeing that she had the purest heart out there and I wasn't being fooled I saw us growing closer and having a deeper connection spiritually. That was the greatest thing for her to have a relationship with God and right then and there I knew she was the one I wanted to marry.

It took about 5 months of planning, but she was worth it. On my weeks vacation I took Lilly up to my hometown and said wouldn't it be fun to try on rings to see what they look like? Well prior to us visiting the jewelry store I snuck away from dinner to call up saying I want her to pick out her engagement ring without her knowing. Now I had to think of some way to get her up to my hometown and it clicked that I could just say I'm having a reunion concert with my old band and I wanted her to come.

Now the place of engagement was really a no brainer, because I wanted to propose in a way that solidified Gods blessing, intervention, and love upon our relationship and the Jumonville cross was the place to go. I lived four hours away and I could have settled for anyone else, but God showed me how amazing he can be and gave me Lilly. I kept the ring a secret and in my sock drawer just like any other man, hidden for 4 months.

Now as of last weekend this girl thinks we're going to a concert and afterword a dinner, which is why we had to match or compliment each others outfits. I'm getting ready for the trip and I see that Lilly has on high heels and I'm like oh no how do I tell her to change because I know how steep the mountain is to the cross, but she didn't have anything else. This girl powered through the side of a mountain in heels and she didn't stop till she got to the top.

I admit I was very nervous, but not for the fear of her saying no, it was more me not messing up my lines or which knee to take. As we are praying for Gods blessing on our relationship and giving thanks for giving us the chance to meet i take out the ring box and after I close the prayer with an amen, Lilly sees me asking her to marry her right before her eyes.


Now a couple days later post engagement we feel as if the hardest thing to overcome is not being able to see eachother more than the weekend. I have been working 6 day work weeks for about a year and we are looking for apartments to move in to. She lives about an hour away and works an hour away from her home so we are trying to make the best of the situation until we can spend more time with eachother. We have gotten through trials before, but God has always brought us through them.

I am most looking forward to being able to be there for Lilly when she needs a shoulder to lean on and to be able to have her next to me. She is honestly my best friend and soulmate and everytime I look into her eyes I see my future wife and future mother of my children all thanks to Gods blessings."

Do You REALLY Need Engagement Photos? | Fall Engagement Photographer in Indiana, PA

When you are planning a wedding, every expense might be carefully weighed and considered. Do you REALLY need a 20 minute fireworks show after dinner? Do you need a 200 pound clump of florals and eucalyptus as your ceremony backdrop? Do you really need escort cards made from marble tiles and hand-lettered with 14K gold ink? Some wedding trends, while absolutely gorgeous, make me giggle. Of course, how extravagant you are depends on your dream and your budget, but an expense I think most brides may consider is whether to do engagement photos or not. My opinion is obviously YES! GET ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS TAKEN! But not necessarily for my own financial gain but for the benefits I talk about below! So keep reading, soonly-wed!


While the obvious benefit of engagement photos is to make memories and have some beautiful shots to share on social media, a really great reason to "go for it" with engagement photos is the beautiful, high quality decor options now available to you for your wedding. I've had couples make their guest books from engagement photos, or even great a guest "book" with a large print and have guests sign the matting in the frame. Engagement photos can be used as centerpiece elements for your wedding OR your bridal shower if the timing works out! The last time I was blessed to be a bridesmaid, we used photos from the couples engagement session as a cute element to the book-themed centerpieces for the brides shower - and everyone ended up taking them home! What a great keepsake! You can also use your engagement photos for your save the date cards and newspaper announcements!



This is my faaavvvvorite reason why I will always recommend any couple gets engagement photos taken. Getting in front of a camera, in front of a stranger, and told to look happy, serene, joyful, and at ease is just. plain. weird. There are a million questions running through your mind about how you look, if your hair is cooperating, how your smile seems, and just what is this photographer thinking about you!? By getting photos done BEFORE your wedding day, you and your fiancé have a chance to connect with the photographer, tell stories, learn likes and dislikes, and just build a relationship. Think of your engagement photos like your first date with your photographer. Now that we've gotten all the awkward "so what do you like to do?" "what's your favorite _____" questions out of the way during the client meeting and engagement shoot, everyone will feel more at east and relaxed on the wedding day, where the photos count the most! 

Getting to know Morgan and Daniel, the couple featured here, has been an absolute blast! We both have mutual friends through our church, and even though Morgan served on our volunteer teams for a short time, doing an engagement shoot was still very beneficial to see the chemistry between her and her fiancé Daniel. Some couples are super silly. Some are super serious. Some act more as friends, and some just want to make out the whole time! I was so happy to come along to not only capture some stunning scenery (these kids love to explore and were down for a hike!), but capture the sweet, silly, and carefree relationship that they have. It was as if I wasn't there at times, which of course is every photographer's dream! I hope you enjoy the beautiful moments we captured of this enchanting couple. (I bet they are giggling at the fact that I called them enchanting) :)