The Saga of Amelia & Robert

December 09, 2021

By: Steve Groves

It may have taken longer than they initially planned, but Amelia and Robert were determined not to let anything get in the way of their wedding. Buckle up, folks—this one is a bit longer of a post, but everything here culminates in one of the most awesome and unique weddings Melanie and I have had the opportunity to photograph to date. I didn't title this a 'saga' for nothing!

Rewind to 2018. I'm working at my day job at Duquesne University. One of the graduate students shows up at my office to ask if I'd be willing to photograph her so she could have some new headshots for her business' website. Amelia, a wonderful oboe player here in Pittsburgh, had recently launched vanhowe-oboe.com to market her freelance work as a performer, teacher, and reed maker. Of course, I agreed.

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It was just a quick 10–15 minute session—nothing super fancy. Just a few headshots, right? Right. But then, a few months later, she shows up again to say she'd gotten engaged and wanted some engagement photos with her fiancé. Enter Robert, a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon University studying cognitive neuroscience. (I know, right? As a musician, myself, I can safely say that sometimes it can take a cognitive neuroscientist to understand all the crazy stuff that goes on in our heads!)

Fast forward to 2019. A Pittsburgh transplant from San Antonio, Robert struck me immediately as a perfect match for Amelia. Both of them have such unique personalities—fun, quirky, and genuinely a pleasure to call friends. I show up to do the photoshoot, this time in front of the building that houses the Carnegie Museum, Library, and Music Hall in Oakland. We knock out another great shoot, complete with a giant dinosaur.

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So, then they called you to photograph the wedding, right, Steve? Yep. But, as fate would have it, we can't fast forward to that just yet. They did book me for their wedding, but then a little thing called COVID-19 reared its ugly head. You'll have to ask Amelia and Robert to tell you how many times they had to reschedule; I'm not at liberty to discuss. :)

While we can't skip to the wedding just yet, we CAN jump ahead a little to 2020, because while the wedding is on hold, I get a text from Robert. He needs some new headshots of his own, but he has another idea that he wants to see if I can make happen. Something a little more...colorful, shall we say. All I can say about this shoot is that I am eternally grateful to Robert for being so patient with me as I tried so many different things with multiple flashes, gels, and camera positions to get this amazingly colorful portrait:

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Now that you're a little more familiar with both of these amazing people, we can finally fast forward to the wedding. Amelia has graduated and has become the music librarian for the orchestras and wind ensembles at Duquesne. Pandemic restrictions have been lifted to some extent, people are getting vaccinated, and the wedding is back on. And what a wedding it was! Melanie and I met the wedding party at the Hyatt House in Shadyside as they all got ready. Then we headed over to Slate Studio, a really great space in the heart of Pittsburgh's Strip District. The couple did a first look there and we got some bridal party portraits done before heading to the ceremony location—the elegant grand staircase at the Carnegie Museum.

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Everyone then made their way back to Slate (including the guests this time) where the night played out with heartfelt speeches, a wonderful dinner provided by La Palapa, and music by the wonderful Bachelor Boys Band.

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It has been such an honor to work with Amelia and Robert over the last few years, both separately and together, and I genuinely enjoy getting to work with Amelia on a day-to-day basis at Duquesne.

Congratulations to Amelia and Robert!

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