Welcome to Our Blog!

Your wedding is more than just a collection of photographs. It’s a story of your love. And I’m here to capture that story in all of its romantic glory. Imagine your dream wedding where your only responsibility is to fall more in love, while I capture all the beautiful moments for you to love forever.

Top 10 portraits of 2017

When I attempt to smoosh all of my favorite things into a David Letterman-esque top ten list, I immediately break out into hives.  I am not great at picking favortes--admittedly, all of my photos are my favorites!!!!  I get so personal invested in my client's stories and their quirks and nuances, picking a gavotte picture becomes like trying to pick a favorite child. Or worse, trying to pick a favorite cookie from the cookie table--why can't I love them all equally!!!!!


I digress...lol


In an attempt to sum up 2017 in the portrait category, here are my top ten favorite [non-wedding related] portrait moments of the year.  Enjoy


2017 engagement sessions highlights

2017 was a FUN year for engagement sessions!  We went to San Francisco to watch the sunset over the Golden Gate bridge (!), we made s'mores by the fire at the summer camp where the couple met ::swoon::, we walked puppies in the park, strolled along the Riverfront, watched Spring flowers bloom, enjoyed the sunset on a downtown rooftop, and--of course--fell madly in love <3

Enjoy a few favorite images from the 2017 engagement season, and check out my previous best of post for some 2017 wedding highlights!

2017 wedding season highlights

what. a. year.

2017 took me all over--Pittsburgh to Paris, California to Georgia, Croatia and Italy, Bedford to Berkeley. what a year!

I feel so lucky to attend and document such incredible beautiful celebrations, meeting such lovely people--how do I even begin recap all of these experiences and memories and images and people into one blog post?!  The answer is I can't--I can just share a few.  While every wedding is beautiful and unique, as a photographer there are some shots that just speak to my soul and my style that I love to share.  So here it is, my attempt to recap some of the amazing moments from this past year, for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Exciting news for Palermo Photo!

Hello lovebirds!

I am SO excited to share the exciting news with you that Palermo Photo has received a ton of press and publications his year for our beautiful couples!

The most recent of which is the incredibly beautiful collaboration with some of our favorite vendors on the Figs & Honey shoot, seen today on The White Wren:

Figs & Honey Elegant Wedding Inspiration

Check out more photos and details from the shoot here on Palermo Photo’s feature of the Figs & Honey Shoot 

Check out some other amazing publication and press features for Palermo Photo this year:

The AHHHHHMAZINGGGGG shoot we did in Provence, France featured on Style Me Pretty

Dana & Tim’s modern wedding at bar Marco featured on Grey Likes Weddings blog

Eunice & Tyler’s incredibly gorgeous wedding featured on Borrowed & Blue Blog

Sarah & Aj’s Christmas-time surprise engagement shoot shared on the How He Asked blog

Anna & Grant’s rustic farm wedding featured on Pittsburgh Magazine’s blog

Palermo Photo was chosen to be hi-lighted as a preferred vendor this year on two of our FAV wedding blogs, Wedding Sparrow and Grey Likes Weddings 

It is always a pleasure to see Palermo Photo recognized publicly for the beautiful images we are lucky enough to capture of our incredible clients, stay tuned for more exciting publication news to come!

Who are Palermo Photography Clients? | Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer

Maria Palermo is an award-winning Pittsburgh wedding photographer available for travel. Ready to find out more? 

Palermo Photography clients are in love!

They’re excited to tell and retell the story of their engagement.

pittsburgh wedding photographer

They hold the most intimate weddings, typically squeezing only about 150 or fewer loved ones into perfect, quaint venues.

pittsburgh wedding photographer

Sometimes they travel—even elope!—because they want their wedding location to reflect the uniqueness and intimacy of their love.

pittsburgh wedding photographer

They experiment with—or even totally forgo!—wedding traditions because they know their love is anything but traditional.

pittsburgh wedding photographer


Allow me to repeat…

Palermo Photography clients are in love.

You’re in love.

Head-over-heels, excited, enamored, mad, crazy, wildfire love.

You know how they say you should be with someone who makes you feel the same way you feel when your waiter shows up at the table with your food?

You get it. You’ve found that person, and you totally get it now. This is it—this is love.

For you, the wedding isn’t about the wedding—it isn’t about the flowers and the dress and the cake (though all of those things are amazing)—it’s about celebrating!

It’s about reaching out to all your friends and family, pulling them into that big, warm, happy feeling in the pit of your soul, and saying, “This feels amazing, and we want to share that feeling with you!”

You’re not picking out flowers because you’re supposed to pick out flowers: you’re looking for something that physically matches that beautiful, vibrant, tender love you feel in your heart.

The cake? It’s way more than just a cake. It’s a reflection of the sweetness this person inspires in you (which is why it’s so important that it should be an ultra-delicious cake!)

And the photographer? You’re not interested in hiring someone who can snap a few pictures. Your love—and the celebration of your love—is a story, and you want someone who can tell it.

Why am I telling you this?

pittsburgh wedding photographer

Because unlike other wedding vendor experiences, having an amazing experience with your wedding photographer really comes down to one thing—our connection with each other. That connection, those shared values, and that shared joy, are going to come through in your photos.

Over the last several years, through working with hundreds of unique and beautiful couples, I’ve learned that this organic, exciting, and passionate expression of love is something they almost all seem to have in common.

So, the question is—

Are you a Palermo Photography client?

Let’s connect!

In search of award-winning Pittsburgh wedding photography? Contact Palermo Photography now!

Pittsburgh Wedding Planners: 3 of My Favorites!

Pittsburgh wedding planners are some of the best there is. Which is good news—I’ve worked with couples who have tried to take care of everything themselves on the day of, and that. looks. exhausting.

Even better news, though—recently, my clients have been talking to me about the costs of hiring a wedding planner, and wouldn’t you know: it’s actually not as expensive as you’d think.

Something to keep in mind:

There are wedding planners/coordinators, and then there are wedding stylists. Wedding stylists mainly just focus on the aesthetics of your wedding. They’ll help you make plans for tablescapes and things like that.

Wedding planners and coordinators will actually hang out with you on the day of and make sure everyting goes according to plan, and according to the timeline. (I’m also a timeline fiend myself, since a wonky timeline usually means there won’t be much time for pictures.)

Today, I’m featuring 3 of my favorite Pittsburgh wedding planners. Note that they don’t all do day-of coordination: your best bet is to give them a call and simply ask questions. (Or contact me! I’m always happy to help.)

Here we go!

1. Natalie Berger


She doesn’t have a web presence yet, but I’ve personally worked with Natalie and I can vouch: she is incredible at what she does. In June 2016, she did a little interview here. You can check that out and get to know a bit more about her. She is absolutely a wedding planner, so in addition to helping you with design, she’ll also make sure everything runs according to plan.

For more info:

Phone: 412.298.4638

2. Epic Event Planning by Jessica and Kourtney

Jessica and Kourtney won Wedding Wire’s Couple’s Choice Award in 2016, and I can see why! They can pretty much do anything. Not only are they great at weddings (and wonderfully pleasant people,) but they help style and plan other kinds of events too, so they’re extremely flexible and can get really, really creative whenever necessary. They’re even available in the event you need a whole wedding weekend planned, which is pretty great.

Website: http://www.epiceventplanningbyjessicaandkourtney.com/
Phone: 412.445.8280
Email: Jessica is Jessica_EpicEventPlanning@yahoo.com, and Kourtney is Kourtney_EpicEventPlanning@yahoo.com

3. 4121 Main

So here’s a company that’s less planning and more styling (but again, simply contact them and ask questions—all the Pittsburgh wedding planners I’ve worked with love getting inquiries and are so accommodating and helpful.) Their floral designs are absolutely to die for, and their event styling always looks like something straight out of a magazine.

Website: http://www.4121main.com/
Phone:  412.708.4500
Email: hello@4121main.com

Visit my vendor guide here if you’d like to see other options too!

In search of award-winning Pittsburgh wedding photography? Contact Palermo Photography now!

Light Matters: What Clients Need to Know About Natural Light Photography

I specialize in natural light photography. As long as the sun is not directly overhead (boo, nose and eye shadows!) she and I maintain an excellent relationship.

It’s why I love that my studio has such enormous windows—the light that pours in from them is not only soft and beautiful, but incredibly flattering on my clients.

I’ve said it before—being a photographer is about so much more than just taking pictures. Part of my goal is to ensure that when you see your photos for the first time, it inspires you to feel amazing about yourself! To achieve that, I work hard to pay attention to lighting everywhere I go, and you know what?

You should, too.

Here are 4 “dos” and “don’ts” when it comes to natural light photography:

DO schedule your wedding day timeline around light, if at all possible, to ensure the best photos.

natural light photography

My #1 tip for all my clients—for great photos, try to schedule your portraits when the sun is lower in the sky. During daylight savings time, this could be anywhere from between 6pm-9pm. During the fall and winter months, this will be somewhere between 4pm and 6pm.

I’ll admit—it can be hard to follow this. Sometimes it’s easier to schedule the ceremony at 1pm to account for family members who need to travel long distances home after the reception, or because your venue mandates specific time constraints. If you need to do that, then we can still work together to carve out an hour or so when the sun is lower in the sky for your portraits.

What happens if you shoot when the sun is higher in the sky?

Well, if you can’t find some shade, you’ll find that your eyebrows and nose can cast unsightly shadows on your face. And we absolutely don’t want that on a day when you should be feeling your best!

DON’T be late to an evening engagement session or we’ll lose that incredible, glowy sunset!

natural light photography

The sun moves fast. If our session is scheduled for 5:30pm, please do your best to get there on time! 🙂 Once we’ve parked and spent a few moments chatting, we may still need to walk a short distance, and that sun is just dipping lower and lower every minute. There’s about a 3o minute window where the sun’s location in the sky will be primo for natural light photography, and we don’t want to miss that.

IF we have to schedule a shoot midday, though, we can always find some shady woods or an interesting building that’s casting a helpful shadow.

DO consider taking family portraits outdoors instead of indoors.

I’ve shot plenty of family portraits inside dark dated churches, hotel lobbies, and innumerable other interiors– but the best results truly come when we can all step outside!

natural light photography

This goes back to scheduling your wedding timeline around light, if at all possible. Again, if you can’t, be sure your ceremony venue has access to some huge windows or a shady outdoor area. (We can chat if you’d like some help with this!)

Another idea, especially if your reception is in the late afternoon at a really gorgeous venue, is to just do family portraits at the reception site. Just be sure to organize your family beforehand so everyone knows exactly where to be and when.

DON’T get ready for your wedding in a dark or windowless room if you can help it.

I know it’s not always possible, but when scoping out getting-ready locations, try to find a place with some BIG bright windows.

Several locations have a bridal suite in the basement or some other dark locale, which really isn’t the best for natural light photography.

Some sunlight coming through a pretty window, though? Perfect.

natural light photography

The bottom line though?

Don’t worry. No matter what—sunlight or no sunlight—we’re going to take some amazing photos together.

Plus, at the end of the day ( pun intended) the real light is going to come from you—from your love, your joy, and your wonderful smile. 🙂

In search of award-winning Pittsburgh wedding photography? Contact Palermo Photography now!

The Pitfalls of Pinterest

*raises hand*

Hello everyone.

My name is Maria Palermo.

I am a Pinterestaholic. With no plans for recovery.

That said, I’m probably the perfect person to spend a minute or two discussing the pitfalls of Pinterest—at least, concerning photography.

I want to address what I feel like is the blurring of lines between taking inspiration from others’ ideas and attempting to copy another style exactly.

Because originality matters. You are an original. And I really want to hammer home how important and beautiful and wonderful and special that is.

Part of that involves no longer succumbing to the pitfalls of Pinterest (myself included) and paying close attention:

Over the last few years, I’ve noticed more and more couples requesting very specific images to be recreated on their wedding day. The thing is, over and over, each of these clients request the same handful of images–ones I have absolutely seen pinned again and again on Pinterest.

I love to make every wedding photo experience as fun and unique as possible, so I am all for creative photos, and Pinterest has been a tremendous resource for gathering inspiration! But…

…unfortunately many of the most highly-requested images at weddings have already become *gasp*…


So, for your protection—

—here are 3 reasons NOT to attempt to recreate those gimmicky wedding photos we all stumble upon again and again on Pinterest: 

1. Gimmicky, cliche wedding photos take attention away from the story, and put the attention, instead, on the photo.

Let’s take the old, popular T-Rex wedding photo, for example. (I haven’t seen it in awhile, but nevertheless.)

If you were to place 12 T-Rex wedding photos side by side, you’d see 12 nameless wedding parties. You’d flip through the photos, bemused momentarily, and think, “Hm. There were a lot of dinosaur wedding pictures that year.”

Those folks set aside valuable time on their wedding day to take that photo, and now that photo’s just been overshadowed by a trend—not a story, just a trend.

2. You miss out on creating really timeless images

Gimmicky, trendy wedding photos sacrifice timelessness for what amounts to a cheap laugh. (That T-Rex photo, for example.)

The thing is, the personalities of the couples I work with shine through so very, very brightly and timelessly!

You want the documentation of your love story to be as candid and as true to form as the day it was captured–not played out and hidden in the bottom of a drawer or image folder until the end of time.

Still want to be a little crazy and show off your fun side?

Just be you! Let the photographer capture what’s already there. It takes less time. It’s more sincere.

It lasts a lifetime.

3. Trendy photos don’t tell your story—they tell someone else’s.

If you’re browsing Pinterest and find a funny photo you want to recreate on your wedding day, ask yourself:

does this photo tell your story?

Let’s use Mister T-Rex again, for this example.

So, you have your photographer photoshop T-Rex in the background of your wedding party photos.

Are you paleontologists?

‘Cause if not, why are you running from a dinosaur? Does this really demonstrate who you are? Why did T-Rex get invited to your wedding? And why is he so angry? And why isn’t he being a nice guest and bringing me a cookie?!

I’m more than happy to take some zany photos for you on your wedding day: my only concern is that in 20, 30, 4o years, you’ll be able to look back at those photos and see a shining example of who you were—so you can see how far you’ve come.

The takeaway…

A professional photographer is at the forefront of their industry, constantly paying attention to trends and trading ideas with other professionals from all over the world.

In other words—the really unique and creative photo ideas aren’t even on Pinterest yet! And I say this with the hope that you’ll put faith in your photographer’s experience and step away from Pinterest (for just a moment!)

I’ll be on Pinterest if you have any questions. 😉

4 Wedding Traditions to BREAK!

Today, I’m thinking about some of the most fun wedding traditions to break!

Why break tradition?

Well for one, it’s 2017. And for two—it’s YOUR wedding, and you’re free to express yourselves, your personality, your values, and your interests, absolutely anyway you want.

Furthermore, some of our most time-honored wedding traditions are steeped in weird lore…

Did you know the best man’s role used to be to steal the bride away so she’d get to the wedding ceremony in one piece? He was also traditionally an epic swordsman. I’ve even heard the best man stood guard to be sure the groom didn’t back out of the deal (you know, back when women were property,) and even to protect the bride’s virginity. Eesh.

Speaking of virginity, did you know the garter was once supposed to be given to family members as proof that the marriage had been, erm, consummated? (Do we really need that anymore?)

Even the bride’s bouquet served an odd purpose. Back in the day, women typically only had one bath a year. The bouquet was to stave off her, um, fragrance.

Now that we’re sufficiently weirded out, let’s dive in here and think of some other wedding traditions to break…

DISCLAIMER: Your wedding day is about you, and the most important thing is that your day is perfect and totally expresses who you are. I’m simply here to give the creativity-seekers some options, and food for thought!

1. White dresses

wedding traditions to break

You should always wear what you feel most beautiful in—I repeat—always wear what you feel most beautiful in!

And you know what?

If you don’t feel drop dead gorgeous in a white dress…then who cares!

Some people say brides wear white as a simple of “purity” (ahem)…others say it’s because Queen Victoria made it all the rage.

I say of all the wedding traditions to break, this one would be a great one to start with, simply because of confidence: whether you wear something off-white, or bright red, just be sure you feel amazing about yourself. Tradition or not.

2. Veils

wedding traditions to break

So, the funny thing about veils—Romans believed they warded off evil spirits.

In my 10+ years of wedding photography, I’ve never seen a wedding ruined by evil spirits. BOOM. de-bunked.

What I have seen though are some great replacements for the veil. I’m talking flower crowns, ornate headbands, epic braids.

3. Not seeing each other until the ceremony

wedding traditions to break

I made this post a few weeks about  5 reasons you should do a first look.

Here’s another reason to do a first look:

Did you know that one of the reasons brides traditionally don’t see grooms before the wedding was so that, should the groom see the bride before the transaction was complete, he wouldn’t go “EW!” and change his mind?

Seriously. The fear was that if the groom saw the bride before the ceremony (and remember, back then it was more of a business deal than a love-connection) he’d change his mind and the business deal would fall through.

Let’s consider dropping this tradition. There are benefits for all!

4. The garter and the bouquet toss

Alright, fine. Everyone loves dancing to Beyonce’s Single Ladies.

But like I mentioned earlier, these traditions are steeped in a little weirdness, too. Way back when, the groom would hand the bride’s garter over to her family members just to prove that the marriage had been consummated.

Now, we have a tradition where the groom awkwardly climbs up his bride’s dress in front of grandma. We also have a tradition where all the unattached women have to come out to the middle of the dance floor for the bouquet toss which, for some, can be a little embarrassing!

Why not try a breakaway bouquet, or even a flower ceremony where all the women are called to the floor to receive a flower from your bouquet? Other ideas here!

Can you think of other wedding traditions to break? Let me know in the comments!

In search of award-winning Pittsburgh wedding photography? Contact Palermo Photography now!
Follow us on Instagram
Maria@PalermoPhoto.comTelephone • 412.680.4149
Available worldwideBased in Pittsburgh, PA USA

Telephone • 412.680.4149



Available worldwide