Engagement photos that give back, and the ripple effect its creating

A few months ago, one of my brides-to-be reached out to schedule her hair and makeup session for her engagement photos.  Nothing too unusual about that request ...but when she explained that it would take a bit of coordination between myself, the photographer and Humane Animal Rescue (HAR)- a local animal rescue organization that would be providing adoptable dogs to be featured in a portion of the shoot... Now there was something new! The wedding industry officially topped over $72 BILLION in 2016.  All of the planning, the engagement photos, the extravagant dresses, costly venues that are booked a year or more in advance, over-the-top flowers, professional photography and hair & makeup, DJ's, bridal planners, food and beverage, three-tiered cakes hanging upside down from the ceiling... the list goes on and on and on.  For just one day, all eyes on you, celebrating your union. But what if it could mean a little more?

Here was a local bride using her time in the spotlight to give back to a cause that she and her fiancé Ryan are both so passionate about.  Not only was I "in", but I knew I wanted to do my part to help make this shoot as special as I could for these animals, but also for this incredible couple.

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The engagement session began at HAR's East End location where Shannon and Ryan met with photographer extraordinaire, Dawn Derbyshire.  Here, they were joined first by Loki.

Loki is the longest tenured resident at HAR. He was a natural during the shoot and loved being outside laying in the grass.  Like many adult resident at HAR, Loki is already well-trained and would make a perfect companion.

Loki was a perfect gentleman, and a natural born model!

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Next we met Panda.  Oh, I cannot tell you what Panda's sweet, sad hound eyes did to me that day. Panda was quiet and reserved during his shoot but loves to be outdoors running and hiking.  He's a good match for an active family and loves an occasional ice cream treat after an adventure.

Lastly we met Tina.  Tina just stole Shannon and Ryan's hearts during her shoot.  A true lover, she's sweet and affectionate and enjoys the outdoors after spending her early years growing up on a farm.  She's a loyal companion and great with other pets.

Do you think Loki, Panda or Tina could be a perfect addition to your family?  Call Humane Animal Rescue to learn more and inquire about their availability.                    (412) 345-7300.

As for me, I knew I couldn't tag along to this photo shoot without bringing a little something to help boost the spirits of all of the animals residing at HAR while they await their forever homes.  So in the weeks leading up to Shannons engagement shoot, I collected donations from a few area pet stores and bought a few treats to leave behind for these new friends.



In the weeks since, Shannon and Ryan's engagement shoot has gotten plenty of attention. Their story has been featured on local wedding blog BurghBrides and they had a fantastic write up with Pittsburgh Magazine.

And people continue to be inspired by their story and their commitment to a cause so close to their hearts. It's a ripple effect of the best kind. Kindness and compassion inspiring others to spread love and joy of their own.