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.

What are Intimate Weddings?

Obviously, I love weddings. But intimate weddings? I really love intimate weddings.

intimate weddings

That’s because it’s not really the weddings that I love—it’s the people. It’s the love and the celebration and the secret glances and the unabashed smiles and the single tears. It’s the intimacy that makes marriage meaningful—that makes that moment, that exchange of vows, so meaningful.

But what do I mean by “intimate weddings?”

Here’s the thing:

Huge weddings with 200, 250, 300+ attendants are really fun: especially once the dance floor opens up.

But in an intimate wedding, I get to experience all that love and sweetness even more up close than I can while swerving in and out of an enormous wedding party.

intimate weddings

I classify intimate weddings as having about 150 attendants or fewer.

But intimate weddings, to me, also include destination weddings…

…and elopements!

You know how they say “the more the merrier?”

To that I say, “The fewer, the sweeter.”

intimate weddings

Smaller weddings give me an opportunity to really get to know my couples and everyone they love.

They tend to be significantly less stressful on my couples as well, meaning more relaxed shoulders, brighter eyes, bigger smiles.

Another pro: couples who choose destination weddings, elopements, or smaller weddings tend to be able to reserve more cash for an incredible storytelling experience with their photographer.

intimate weddings

So, what do you think? Why do you prefer a bigger (or a smaller) wedding? Let me know in the comments!

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


Giving Thanks: A love letter to my work

When I stop and think about the road I have traveled to get to where I am today–in my business, in my life in general–there is a lot to be thankful for.  I am so genuinely thankful for every day that I get to do this work, capturing life’s most precious moments for people who invite me in to see a glimpse of what moves them, what fills them with joy and excitement.  I am so thankful every time I meet a new couple who are about to embark on a life together.  I am so thankful every time a new mother asks me to photograph the perfect miracle that is their new child.  I am so thankful to see that year after year, there are so many people out there falling more in love every day, making new memories, adding new milestones and members to the their love-filled lives.  And most of all I am so thankful that I get to share these precious, intimate and fleeting moments with people who enter my life as clients, and walk away a friends.

One such couple I am so grateful to have met are these two lovebirds who just tied the knot at the beautiful Pittsburgh Fairmont last weekend.

It was a day full of love and excitement–and precipitation!  Tears were shed, laughs were shared, rain poured, snow fell, and memories were made as Gina and Ryan said “I do”.  Never was there a mother more elated to see her daughter get ready for her wedding than Gina’s mom.  Never  a group of friends and family more ready to see a couple tie the knot than the Falvo-Ek clan.  Hands down favorite moment of the day was watching Gina walk down the grand staircase at the Fairmont to greet her groom for the first time on their wedding day–such a beautiful, real moment between two people so incredibly in love, and Im just so darn thankful that I was there to see it all, to capture it all.   Share a few moments with me 🙂

If you like what you see, leave a comment below sending well wishes to the bride and groom or tell us what you are thankful for this holiday season!



Reception venue: Fairmont Pittsburgh
Makeup: Brazil Raine
Bride’s Dress: Anne Gregory

3 Tips for Better Wedding Family Portraits

Wedding Family Portraits: What You Need to Know

wedding family portraits

Most will admit—compared to all the other photo ops on your wedding day, family portrait time might not be the most glamorous.

But for a vast majority of the couples I work with, it’s still an extremely important tradition—for the couples, AND for the family!

There are 2 problems though—2 BIG problems with wedding family portraits, actually.

  • TIME: Dark churches with staff trying to rush family members out after the ceremony resulting in major time constraints
  • and ORGANIZATION: basically, Grandma not realizing that everyone was staying after the ceremony for portraits—so she heads off to the reception and doesn’t get to be in the pictures

Today, we’re going to solve those problems.

wedding family portraits

1. Making TIME for wedding family portraits

Traditionally, family stays behind after the ceremony to get their pictures taken at the altar. This is all fine and well, but a lot of times we run into problems:

  1. Lots of people on a dark, shadowy altar with overhead lights
  2. Church time limits requiring the family to leave the church between 15-30 minutes after the ceremony (and we’ll always lose some of those minutes, especially if you have a receiving line right after the ceremony)
  3. Outdoor weddings that take place midday: now we’re dealing with taking portraits while the sun is high in the sky (more on why lighting matters in this post.)

To avoid these issues, I urge couples to schedule your family portraits into your wedding day timeline! (If you have a wedding planner or coordinator, talk to them about this, too.)

  • Some couples who opt to do a first look (and get wedding portraits out of the way pre-ceremony) may also want to set aside time to have family take portraits before the ceremony, too.
  • In cases where you have a time limit in the church, simply be sure to communicate with your family that there is a time limit on portraits and they need to stay together near the altar so photos can start ASAP. (Communication really is key!)
  • You can also consider scheduling family portraits later, outdoors, when the sun is lower in the sky. If you’re at the reception, simply have the DJ make an announcement instructing your family to head outdoors.

There’s a huge number of ways to ensure you have time for all your wedding family portraits. Just chat with me and with your wedding coordinator—we’ll come up with a great plan for you!

2. ORGANIZING wedding family portraits

Every family—and every couple—is different! So plan AHEAD of time who you want in each family photo, and how everyone may want to be grouped up.

  • This checklist on WeddingWire.com is great for giving you an idea regarding how you want to organize your family portraits.
  • More importantly, though (and as I’ve already mentioned) COMMUNICATION IS KEY!
  • Send out group texts to everyone you’d like in the family portraits so they know where to be and when. Or a Facebook message. Or an email.
  • On the day of, designate a family member to be sure that everyone is on track and on time for family photos.
  • When it’s time for family photos, it’s always helpful for me to have a list of who is going to be in the photos and on whose side of the family (bride’s or groom’s) they’re on. That way, I can quickly call out the groups while we’re taking family portraits (sort of like a role call)—though it’s always, always helpful to have another family member enlisted in helping me gather everyone up!

3. My favorite wedding family portraits tip—go outside!

Alright, I’m not going to spend a lot of time here because the headline says it all, but once you’ve made time for portraits and gotten everyone organized, the only thing that’s left is to take some incredible portraits.

To that end—

—let’s go outside!

Not in the middle of a field at high noon…

Not in the center of the church parking lot at 2pm…

Instead, find a nice shady location:

  • a wooded area near the church
  • underneath an awning against a rustic barn
  • on the shady side of a green hill
  • in a meadow near the reception just before the sun sets

wedding family portraits

So there’s some key info to ensure the time you spend on wedding family portraits doesn’t totally ruffle your entire day’s timeline!

And believe me, I’ve seen it—couples losing time on their own bridal portraits because family portraits took so long; grandma missing from photos; couples being late to the reception due to family pictures; or portraits not even getting finished because some old church lady was rushing us all out the door!

Stay organized, though, and it’ll all be okay—and YOU’LL be so much less stressed! 🙂

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

11 Ideas for the Warmest Winter Wedding

The likelihood that your Pittsburgh winter wedding will be a cold one is high. No worries!

I’ve hopped on Pinterest for you and nabbed a couple really great ideas to keep spirits and shoulders toasty warm for your whole wedding.

Got any ideas to add? Let me know in the comments!

pittsburgh winter wedding

These warm shawls can double as an awesome bridesmaids gift!


pittsburgh winter wedding

When photographing in the snow, consider something that will add a bright pop of color against all the white! See more ideas here!


pittsburgh winter wedding

Check out these delicious hot cocoa bar ideas over on KateAspen.com.


pittsburgh winter wedding

We’re going to expand on warm wedding attire ideas in another post…meanwhile, look at these gorgeous ensembles here.


pittsburgh winter wedding

Grab a huge, soft blanket and bundle up! Bonus points if it’s an heirloom blanket. More ideas here.


pittsburgh winter wedding

What an awesomely different idea for a bouquet—and also perfectly suited for winter! Photo by Perez Weddings.


pittsburgh winter wedding

Another warm blanket idea, and a beautiful photo from Anastasiya Belik.


pittsburgh winter wedding

Outdoor weddings in the chilly autumn or winter air aren’t totally unheard of! Grab a bunch of fleece blankets and let your family and friends cuddle up! More ideas here.


pittsburgh winter wedding

No time to learn calligraphy? You can print out this hot chocolate bar sign here.


pittsburgh winter wedding

Gorgeous table scape. But also, these birchwood candle holders are really easy to make. (And birch looks amazing at winter weddings!) Learn how to make them here.


pittsburgh winter wedding

Really, really pretty rustic cake. See more awesome cake ideas here.

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

5 Heart-Melting Engagement Stories

I love these incredible, heart-melting engagement stories. Why?

They’re from my clients!

Palermo Photography is passionate about storytelling, so it only makes sense to share some of these incredibly sweet engagement stories on the blog. Clients telling me their engagement stories first-hand is also a really important part of connecting with them: the more I know about your story, the better I can tell it.

Now, get the tissues. 🙂

1. Bryan & Susannah

engagement stories

“After a long-distance relationship, Bryan proposed on June 14, 2016. He took me to the lobby of his old apartment building where we first met at a party and popped the question there. His friends still live in that apartment, and all our family and close friends were waiting there to celebrate afterwards! Bryan is very much the ‘chill’ outgoing one in the relationship, while I am more type A, but he brings out my fun and silly side! Bryan is the nicest guy in the world and he is very close with my family.”

2. Kate & Danny

engagement stories

“The proposal was not quite a surprise—we talked a lot about getting married, wanting to be married, and then finally, we were ready to get engaged—so I knew it was coming sometime soon.

Then, on Columbus Day weekend, it just so happened that both of our parents were going to be in town. (And this was not pre-planned!) That Saturday we went out to dinner with my parents (we had seen his parents the night before) and at the end of the night, while we were having after dinner and drinks with my parents, I noticed he was acting…weird. He just seemed nervous and wanted to call it a night early (well, relatively early), so we hopped in a cab to go home after we finished our drinks. Then the whole cab ride home he kept asking me if I was tired or if I wanted to stay up for another drink when we got home.

Finally we get home, and then he’s pacing around the apartment, seeming even more nervous. Finally, I said, ‘Are you doing this right now?!’ And then he did. It was perfect, we drank champagne, and then had lunch with both of our parents the next day.”

3. Caitlin & Tim


“My fiancé and I met while I was in Philadelphia for medical school.  We have recently moved back to Pittsburgh for me to start my residency at UPMC Shadyside. Tim proposed in a hurry after finally getting the ring mailed out from a local Pittsburgh jeweler, because I told him one night that I wouldn’t be seeing him for about a week because of all my night shifts in the ER. He started cleaning out all of our dog’s toys from under the couch and pulled out a paper hardware store bag, in which was my ring! It was a huge surprise which was the nicest part of it all (aside from the ring!).”

4. Bethany & Mike

engagement stories

“In short, my fiancé and I met sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh. I had scoped him out on campus and when I ran into him at a party, I introduced myself. We became friends, but were both dating other people. After sophomore year we lost touch, but we ran into one another right before finals week our senior year. From that point on, we have been together. He proposed in our apartment. He had cleaned the apartment and planned to cook me dinner, but I had thrown a wrench into his plans by asking if he wanted to meet me for dinner at a restaurant nearby after work. The whole dinner he was acting strange and couldn’t stop grinning. When we got home, I realized something was up because the apartment was clean. I reached for his pocket and felt the ring box. He was kind of forced to propose right then!”


5. Alison & Julian

engagement stories

“We met in Virginia while I was spending a year down there to work before I went to law school.  Julian was working for a fencing company at the time.  My sister and her husband set us up at a bar and we’ve been together ever since.

Julian proposed on a trip to San Francisco on August 7, 2013.  We’d been together for almost 3 and a half years before then.  We had dinner reservations at this place overlooking the Pacific Ocean one night, but before we went to dinner, Julian wanted to stop by to see the Golden Gate Bridge.  Once we parked in the parking lot, he led me down a path closer to the bridge.  I was looking at the bridge and when I turned around, Julian was fiddling in his pocket (I thought he was getting his phone out to snap a picture).  It was then that I saw the ring box and I threw my hands up to my face and started to cry.  He got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him.  Of course, I said yes!”

Want more great engagement stories? Check out the comments!

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

The Folklore of the Pittsburgh Cookie Table

The Pittsburgh cookie table is one of the reasons why this city is the perfect place for me to work.

Pittsburgh cookie table

Sure—the wedding industry in this city is an active and creative one.

There’s also all the interesting things I discover shooting engagement photos and weddings in new churches and chapels.

Another plus—I get to be a part of one of life’s happiest moments for countless people every year!

But really, the cherry on top of everything?

It’s the Pittsburgh cookie table.

Pittsburgh cookie table

Psst: some of my clients recently won awards for their cookie tables. Check out the features in Pittsburgh Magazine here and here!

A cookie table is a spread of literally thousands of cookies in dozens of different varieties that sometimes replaces the cake as the center of attention during dessert.  Just as often, though, an ornate cake will accompany this vast array of sweets.

Pittsburgh cookie table

The important part, though, for many Pittsburgh weddings is that there’s a table stacked with home-baked goods.  The tradition of unveiling the table is as long-standing for some families as the couple’s first dance or the exchanging of rings.

The cookie table is a local phenomenon that stretches back almost a hundred years, according to some accounts.  In fact, it’s so embedded in some families’ wedding celebrations that you might be just as surprised that people haven’t heard of a cookie table!

Pittsburgh cookie table

It’s not without its controversy, though. While any born and bred Pittsburgher will tell you the idea started in their hometown, it’s often contested that Youngstown, Ohio holds the title of “Birthplace of America’s Cookie Table.” Regardless, the Pittsburgh cookie table is wholly regional, stretching no further than the tri-state area.

Pittsburgh cookie table

Not only is the cookie table a local phenomenon, it’s also cultural. It is often seen at weddings where at least one member of the happy couple is of Eastern European or Italian descent. Of course, no one single culture lays an undisputed claim to inventing this sweet tooth titan.

As you may imagine, the cookie table isn’t simply about filling up on sweets.  It’s an endearing way for families to come together and share part of their heritage.  It’s also a way for families to bridge their different histories as they come together to celebrate.  It is truly one of the most seamless frameworks for past, present and future to mesh in a delicate–and delicious–harmony.

Pittsburgh cookie table

While the cookie table is traditionally a time for grandmothers, aunts and mothers to whip up some of their legendary classics, local vendors have recently caught on and have started offering to cater cookie tables.  Others will charge a plating fee for homemade cookies. 

(Pro-tip: looking for an amazing resource to help you fill up your cookie table with really original cookies? Check out Yummyholic.com!)

But there is probably one question still on your mind: why is the cookie table so important to me as a wedding photographer?

Well, it’s confession time…

Not only are cookie tables visually stunning, but I am, in fact, the human version of the Cookie Monster.

If it were sensible to request payment in cookies, it’s something I’d consider.

Pittsburgh cookie table

If you have any favorite cookie recipes, share them with me in the comments! (I may even bake them and make a post about it!)

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

Welcome to the NEW Palermo Photo!

Icons-11Once upon a time, in a neighborhood not so far away, a young girl picked up a camera for the first time, and basically never put it down.

Flash forward many years later (more than 10 years ago now), Palermo Photo was born! Staying true to the passion, and a love of all things photo that little girl with a camera had. Palermo Photo is all about using photography to capture the beauty of life’s special moments.

“Life is full of fleeting moments fading away off a linear track, but as a photographer I can grab a moment and save it forever.” ~Maria Palermo


We are Palermo Photo, a boutique photographic studio dedicated to giving you a custom and incredible experience as you embark on the most exciting journey of your life!


Weddings last only a day, but the memories live on for generations. Taking photographs is not something we take lightly. We feel it is SO important to find the best photographer that delivers to you a stunning collection of moments and emotions that perfectly reflect your individual personalities. Those memories define your relationship, and ultimately your wedding day.

Like any living being, each relationship is unique. We aim to tailor the experiences we offer to bring out the essence of your love for each other, and the exquisite beauty that is the bond of love.

At the core, Palermo Photo is about relationships. Relationships between loved ones, but also the relationships to our memories and to ourselves. When two partners make the decision to get married, they start a new chapter of life where they are both the authors of their life story. The wedding should be seen as a telling of their story that is about love, commitment and relationships–with photos at the center as the visual storytelling medium.  Friends and family will gather on wedding day to be immersed into the excitement and joy of this shared experience. Sharing memories of the past, creating new memories in the present, and toasting to the future.

_7006176.01Palermo Photo helps enable and record these organic experiences by working one on one with couples to build and execute a wedding timeline. We coordinate resources while building trust, and lend valuable insight into your style and desires. The resulting insight and trust allows us to build a rapport with your family and friends, while capturing the life of the wedding without disrupting the memories being made.

We are all about capturing life’s moments as they happen—naturally, with sincerity and passion, a little whimsy and a lot of romance! Our work is all about capturing life’s moments as they happen. Our photographic style is a combination of beautiful candid photojournalism fused with traditional but natural poses to provide clients with vivid and lasting memories that are true to the spirit and feeling of the moment, the person, and the message.

Palermo Photo creates timeless images that are authentic to the couple, and we take extreme care on the day of your wedding not to interfere or interject, but rather observe and capture moments as they happen.


You should be smiling at the camera because you’re having a freaking awesome time, not because your photographer says “smile!” Making beautiful images is a collaboration between artist and subject. The core of our mission is to invite collaboration, inspire the artist and intrigue the lover within everyone we work with. We aspire to bring greater meaning and depth to your photos and a larger purpose to our passion.

We are storytellers. Image makers. Memory keepers. Cookie eaters. Loud laughers. Bowtie straighteners. Artists. Friends.

Come see what Palermo Photo is all about!


Palermo Photo wedding featured on Style me Pretty!


Im past words at this point. Sounds and squeaks, its all that I can muster to show how super, over the moon, couldn’t be more excited happy to share that one of my faaaavorite weddings and faaaaavorite couples now find themselves on Style Me Pretty this morning–gaaaaahhhh!!!

Check out the post on Style Me Pretty here: http://www.stylemepretty.com/little-black-book-blog/2014/12/03/elegant-summer-wedding-at-pittsburgh-golf-course/

For those of you who don’t know why I am soooo over the moon, Style Me Pretty is the industry leader in pretty weddings and its an honor to find my work on the site.

The bigger honor was being chosen by this amazing couple to photograph their wedding day and I will cherish the memories and photos from this beautiful wedding always ^__^

Check out my blog post from Danny & Kate’s wedding by clicking here, and leave us some love in the comments if you like what you see!

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Maria@PalermoPhoto.comTelephone • 412.680.4149
Available worldwideBased in Pittsburgh, PA USA

Telephone • 412.680.4149



Available worldwide