Milla C. Photography » documentary wedding photography by Milla and Brad Chappell

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Hannah and Dave are friends of ours who are getting married on June 12th, and I am so, so excited that Brad and I get to photograph their beautiful day. I had a blast doing their engagement session this weekend at Mellon Park and Chatham University campus; it’s always SO fun hanging out with friends, hearing about their story, and listening to plans for the future.

Love it love it. Here are some favorites from their session!








  • March 29, 2010 - 9:23 pm

    Hannah - AH! I can’t believe you caught “blue steel”! haha, so fun and wondeful Milla, thank YOU for sharing your talent with us!!!!ReplyCancel

  • March 30, 2010 - 9:21 am

    Christina Montemurro - What a beautiful couple. They look so radiant and happy. I can’t wait to see what you capture on their wedding day!ReplyCancel

  • April 8, 2010 - 6:46 pm

    ayres photography - Awesome session, guys…great shots! Looks like everyone had fun, too! :)ReplyCancel

Last week I had the sweet privilege of documenting the 1st birthday party of two sweet, wonderful twins: Madelyn and Nolan. These are two of the sweetest, snuggliest, happiest 1-year-olds I have ever met, and they were surrounded by family as they opened gifts, blew out candles, and ate birthday cake.

Thank you, Jessica and Brian, for welcoming me into your home for this special event. I was truly amazed by the love and kindness of your family.

And now, a few favorites from the party!




  • March 22, 2010 - 11:43 pm

    Caryn - Oh my gosh – they’re getting so big! You did such a beautiful job, Milla – so glad you were able to go!ReplyCancel

What a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon we have here in Pittsburgh!! I am reminded to be thankful for the sun, as the photos I’m posting today were from a very grey, snowy, gross day in the city. These photos were actually taken a few months ago, but I haven’t posted them yet because I was hoping to get some large canvas prints on the walls and take new photos. Well… I still haven’t hung any canvas prints. But I can’t wait any longer to show you our new space!

Introducing…. the Milla C. Photography office!! We are now downtown at 239 4th Avenue in the Investment building, and I am absolutely in love with this office. I think it represents our business well, and it’s such a warm place to meet clients.

Here’s the inside of the office:


The window overlooks PPG to the left and Market Square to the right. I get to watch the construction AND the best thing is, I’m less than a block from MOES!!! (this is also very dangerous for my waistline…)


If you are ever downtown and want to come say hello, please give me a call. Perhaps we could take a trip to… Moes? It’s true, I am obsessed.

  • March 19, 2010 - 1:04 pm

    Caryn - Wow – Milla, that’s so exciting! I’ll definitely take you up on a tour + Moe’s :)ReplyCancel

  • March 19, 2010 - 1:50 pm

    Randi Voss Photography - I’m coming for Moe’s. Be right there. And I’d love to see your new space too!ReplyCancel

  • March 19, 2010 - 2:03 pm

    Heather - Milla it looks AMAZING!!! I love it!! Congrats my friend!!!ReplyCancel

  • March 19, 2010 - 3:17 pm

    Milla - Thanks everyone! You’re very sweet… moes any day! :)ReplyCancel

  • March 19, 2010 - 4:14 pm

    Elyse - its awesome!!!! i only see one problem NO PICTURES OF ME!!! LOLReplyCancel

  • March 19, 2010 - 4:46 pm

    Mary - Oh Milla, it’s WONDERFUL! I love it! Beautiful details…gorgeous it. By the way, where did you get that sticker printed? I need one of those for the studio…ReplyCancel

  • March 19, 2010 - 9:00 pm

    Christy - The table looks great in your space and the chairs are perfect for it too. It all pulled together very well. We are so glad that we could help you out and it was a win-win situation. Maybe we’ll even make the wall someday…lol!ReplyCancel

  • March 20, 2010 - 9:07 am

    Kate Miller - Milla, your office is fantastic! I really like your views of the city. No wonder you’re obsessed with Moe’s – it’s right there calling your name! I love their little joey burrito.ReplyCancel

  • March 22, 2010 - 7:06 am

    Christina Montemurro - Milla, it looks fantastic! I can’t even imagine the rush you must feel when you see your name & logo painted on the door. I would be staring out the window all day. :) Finding that frame that so closely matches your branding = priceless.

    I will definitely be in touch to come down for a tour! E-mailing you now.ReplyCancel

  • March 23, 2010 - 4:13 pm

    Eileen - Beautiful office Milla! You did a wonderful job designing it. Congratulations and best wishes!! Oh and I think I know where the frame on the wall is from. :)ReplyCancel

Hello everyone! The sun is shining through my windows today, so I decided to edit sunny, warm Las Vegas! Actually… it wasn’t that sunny or warm, but we can pretend, right?

While I was in Las Vegas, two friends and fellow photographers (Mary and Caryn!) and I went out to the desert/canyon area to take some photos. It was really wonderful just spending time with these two girls, but in addition, we got some very fun updated photos to use on our websites/blogs/facebook/whatever! The first photos I’d like to show are of my friend and fellow photographer, Mary. I met Mary through a luncheon for Pittsburgh photographers, and we have been wonderful friends ever since. She was my roomie at WPPI, and we have been brainstorming ideas from this wonderful conference ever since!

And on a sidenote, for you photographers out there who see yourself in “competition” with others in your area, I can’t encourage your strongly enough to change that viewpoint – friends working in your field are such a wonderful blessing to have. We ask each other questions, we offer encouragement, we send each other work, we give each other new insight and ideas, we have delicious meals together, and we always provide each other with fun photos… :)

Here are a few favorite photos from our desert photo shoot! Photos of Caryn to come in a few!



  • March 16, 2010 - 1:52 pm

    Mary - Ha ha ha…aww thanks Milla…somehow you made me look glamorous! Thanks for being such a great friend!ReplyCancel

  • March 16, 2010 - 4:07 pm

    Christina Montemurro - What beautiful photos of Mary. You did a fabulous job capturing her. My favorite is the last one – I love the depth in it. And I like the joy in the one two above that one, too.ReplyCancel

  • March 16, 2010 - 4:07 pm

    Caryn - Beautiful! My favorite is the sixth set down – ooh la la :)ReplyCancel

  • March 16, 2010 - 11:16 pm

    Lisa - Milla, beautiful work!!! Mary I think the image in the third set down says “I am intelligent, confident and ready to tackle your wedding day with grace and simplicity. Hire me today.”ReplyCancel

Okay… back with more Vegas photos, as promised!!

While I was in Las Vegas, two friends and fellow photographers (Mary and Caryn!) and I went out to the desert/canyon area to take some photos. It was really wonderful just spending time with these two girls, but in addition, we got some very fun updated photos to use on our websites/blogs/facebook/whatever!

I just posted some of my favorites of Mary. Now, I’d like to show a few of Caryn! I met Caryn through one of my friends, Stephanie. Caryn was the one who started putting together our wonderful PIttsburgh photographer lunches that we have every few months, and she has also become a great friend over the past year.

I said it on my last post but I think it’s worth repeating, for you photographers out there who see yourself in “competition” with others in your area, I can’t encourage your strongly enough to change that viewpoint – friends working in your field are such a wonderful blessing to have. We ask each other questions, we offer encouragement, we send each other work, we give each other new insight and ideas, we have delicious meals together, and we always provide each other with fun photos… :)

Here are a few favorite photos from our desert photo shoot!



  • March 16, 2010 - 2:43 pm

    Heather - All of these are great of both of these ladies! I just love the tonality in your images Milla! Its so beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • March 16, 2010 - 3:19 pm

    Mary - Fun, fun…so lovely! Now I need to share mine…ReplyCancel

  • March 16, 2010 - 4:06 pm

    Caryn - I love them, Milla! Thank you thank you!! :)ReplyCancel

  • March 17, 2010 - 5:57 pm

    Christina Montemurro - Milla, what beautiful images you’ve captured. Caryn looks awesome. I do want to tell her “be careful near the barbed wire!” but I love the leading lines in all the ones with the wire in them.ReplyCancel

  • August 21, 2010 - 9:40 am

    The City at Night » Chappell Blog - […] week, too. Caryn is a fabulous photographer friend who I have gotten to know the past year. We hung out at WPPI in February and get to see each other in town for photographer lunches, […]ReplyCancel

  • March 18, 2011 - 11:47 am

    Beth Sheehan - Milla, very impressive work, you are an Artist! and your friends are beautiful!ReplyCancel

Let me ask you a question: what would you rather receive for a wedding gift? A set of knives OR a large, beautiful, leather-bound wedding album with thick, hinged pages and your favorite wedding photos on every page?

If you would rather have the latter, then this blog post will make you happy! One of the ideas that I took away from WPPI and that I am starting immediately is the Milla C. Wedding Registry!


The purpose of the Milla C. Wedding Registry is to allow your guests to purchase photo artwork or products as a wedding gift! We will offer professional print sets, photo cards, photo artwork (such as framed prints, canvas prints, and standout mounted prints) as well as full albums and album upgrades on our registry.

What do I mean by album upgrades? For example, our standard wedding albums are either 11x14in or 12x12in with 20 sides. Well, if you would like a larger album or more cover options, guests can give you additional spreads or a size upgrade as a wedding gift! See the possibilities?!

How much more FUN is that than a set of pillowcases?! Heck yes!

This is how it works:

The Milla C. Wedding Registry is free-of-charge for our clients. All you have to do is the following:

1) If you would like to have a gift registry through Milla C. Photography, we will discuss which products you would like included in your registry. Then, I will send you a stack of cards to include in your save-the-dates, party invitations, etc. free of charge. These cards will indicate that you have set up a registry through Milla C. Photography. And, they will give your guests instructions for ordering photo products for you.

2) Your guests will contact us to place their order, and we will send each guest a card (to give to you) indicating that they purchased a wedding gift through Milla C. Photography.

3) After your wedding, we will present you with a list of the products your guests have purchased for you. And, we will discuss how you’d like to personalize them/combine them (for example, if you get two small canvas prints, we can combine those orders so you can have one large canvas to hang over your couch!)

4)  We are also offering photo bridal parties – ask me more about it!

Okay… enough information for now? Just contact me if you’d like to start getting this set up for your wedding guests!

Just to whet your appetite, here are more beautiful photos from our album company with some possible updates that your guests could give you as a gift!

Albums can be upgraded to include two or three leather colors! You can look at our samples to decide which colors you like together:

In addition to more colors, you can have more photos on the cover! Ahhhh the possibilities are endless…


Instead of having a leather cover, you can upgrade to an armour cover! Your photo on a metal cover! Awesome.

As usual, check out out all our album options here. Feel free to contact me for information about our other photo products!

  • March 15, 2010 - 11:21 am

    Mary - Awesomeness…you beat me to it! :) Love the examples of albums, too.ReplyCancel

  • September 8, 2010 - 10:44 pm

    Elizabeth Nichols - This is a very unique idea. I’m considering adding it to my wedding registry. I just starting getting it together so will have to put some thought in to it. Or this could be something to add to my bridal shower registry.ReplyCancel

I am so excited to show you some more white, snowy photos!! I know, I know… it is a little disconcerting to keep switching from sunny Las Vegas photos to snowy Pittsburgh photos. But, just stick with me here!

The second couple to meet me at Frick Park for a fun, snowy, wedding session was Leeann and Brad! Leeann is a fabulous photographer and new friend here in Pittsburgh. Check out her beautiful work here: Leeann Marie Photography. And, her husband is very cool because he has the same name as mine! :)

Leeann and Brad were married two summers ago in Pittsburgh, and though they had a warm SUMMER wedding, they were beautiful in the snow, too!

Here are a few favorites!


leeannbrad copy



  • March 13, 2010 - 3:02 pm

    Leeann Marie - Aw thanks, Milla! Love them!ReplyCancel

  • March 13, 2010 - 3:49 pm

    Mary - Ooh, love these, Milla! Leeann, you’re gorgeous! And so very brave!ReplyCancel

  • March 13, 2010 - 4:51 pm

    Christy - Milla, love these images! It’s amazing how beautiful the snow is despite the grey skies. Leeann’s dress is beautiful and love the knit gloves!ReplyCancel

    • March 15, 2010 - 10:28 am

      Milla - Thanks guys! They were brave to do sleeveless+snow! It was so fun working with a fellow photographer, as well!ReplyCancel

  • March 19, 2010 - 9:41 am

    Pittsburgh Photographer Questions and Answers Meeting | Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer | Leeann Marie Photography - […] of the wonderful attendees? Milla – who shot some recent photos of Brad and I Mary (Birchtree) – who also has an unhealthy obsession with Google Analytics Randi Voss […]ReplyCancel

  • March 21, 2010 - 4:48 pm

    Jessica - Yay for Leeann! These photos are fabulous – Milla, I think you were the one to refer me to Mary and Leeann when I was originally looking for a wedding photographer! :c) All of you ladies do AWESOME work!ReplyCancel

Part of my wonderful week at WPPI (a national convention for 15,000 portrait and wedding photographers) was a small workshop with the husband-wife team of The Image is Found based on So. California.

The Image is Found takes a creative approach to wedding photography – they have very individual taste and style, and they are not interested in “fitting in” with everyone else’s idea of what wedding photography should look like. And, it’s this individuality that has made their business wildly successful with couples who relate to them!

I really, really enjoyed this short workshop for so many reasons. Here are a few of the goals I set for myself as a result of their instruction:

1. Don’t be afraid to shoot wide. Our eyes see about 16mm wide, so shooting wide allows people to relate to photos more personally. And it allows you to work closely with your clients (rather than standing 10 feet away with a long lens). Nate and Jac shoot wider than 50mm 99% of the time. The only time they pull out an 85mm is during the ceremony for a few “key” shots, and they loathe the 70-200mm (I was like whaaaaa???).

2. Look for good inspiration. Nate and Jac purged their blog reader of all photography blogs (except those of their friends) to cleanse their mind of bad inspiration and/or the tendency to copy the ideas of others. They now follow news photography, fashion, editorial, etc. and look for inspiration from people they truly admire. This is one of the reasons their work is SO distinctive – they’re not trying to be like others in the same industry.

3. Think about what your website/blog/materials say about who you are personally. It it honest? You want clients who buy into your vision completely, and your web presence should reflect this. Don’t try to be like everyone else.

4. Outsource work that is mind-numbing Leave room for creativity in your workday, and in their case, they outsource to leave time for 2 young children and things that really matter such family, friends, and ministry.

5. Do not limit yourself to “good light” – learn to work in any light. The shoot they took us on was at 1:00pm in full sunlight. Awesome.

This was not a “shoot over my shoulder so you can get an awesome portfolio shot” workshop (which I was very thankful for!), but we had a blast learning from them and watching them work. Here are a few photos from the day:

Nate and Jacelyn, being goofy:

Working in a large, ugly drainage ditch in full sun (1:00pm). Can you make it work?

  • March 13, 2010 - 3:51 pm

    Mary - Totally good stuff here…great advice and reminders for my own work. But…is that a pop-up flash he’s using in the last photo???ReplyCancel

  • March 13, 2010 - 10:29 pm

    Milla - Haha… VERY good question! No… on Nikon camera bodies, the pop-up can be turned off and used as a transmitter for an off-camera flash. I actually feel like our cameras could maybe do this too, but I’m not sure? It has to be line-of-sight anyway, so that’s not really helpful anyway if you have pocketwizards.ReplyCancel

  • March 14, 2010 - 8:36 am

    Christina Montemurro - Great insight – their work really is so distinctive, and it’s so interesting to hear about their sources of inspiration.

    And no – you can’t use the pop-up flash as a transmitter on Canon cameras. That would be cool, but we’re limited to a 580ex, ST-E2 or a RF transmitter like a PocketWizard (I use CyberSyncs).ReplyCancel

Now that all the snow has melted in Pittsburgh and life is back to normal, I want to post some white, white photos from one of my two sessions in Frick Park a few weeks ago!

When I sent out the call for couples to join me in the snowy park, Betsey and Matt were the first to respond! Betsey and Matt (and their sweet daughter Lillian) are friends of ours from church, and though they were married years ago, they still had their wedding outfits (and fit into them perfectly – hey, that’s pretty impressive!!) Not sure I could say the same! :)

Here are a few favorites from their snowy session! Thanks so much for braving the weather, guys. It was SO much fun!




  • March 12, 2010 - 4:05 pm

    Mary - Beautiful! But I must say I’m glad the snow is gone… Did you design this post with indesign? Love the layout.ReplyCancel

  • March 12, 2010 - 6:03 pm

    chrissie k. - OH. MY. GOODNESS! OF course, the subjects are so stinkin’ endearing – but wow, Milla. What beautiful work! I totally agree w/ the go on the red boots. GORGEOUS.ReplyCancel

  • March 12, 2010 - 8:06 pm

    Emily - Holy crap! I LOVE these photos!ReplyCancel

  • March 12, 2010 - 9:41 pm

    betsey - wow I really can’t stop looking at these! wish you could have been our photog the first time around…thank you so much for sharing your incredible talents with us! we are so grateful for the opportunity.ReplyCancel

  • March 13, 2010 - 8:07 am

    ali - Milla! Betsey! These are fantastic!
    Love it! Betsey and Matt…you guys are just perfect together…i thought it before but now I’m convinced :)ReplyCancel

Hello all! I am back from WPPI in Las Vegas and am back to work on some more shoots and sample albums. We had a WONDERFUL time, and one of the things that I am really excited about are some new album leathers and design techniques that I learned about at the conference.

So… first to come is this large landscape studio sample album! For this album, I used photos from the wedding of Jennifer and Jack, and it will be huge – 12 inches high x 18 inches long. So, when it sits open, it will be 1 ft. x 3 ft. Wowza! You have to have a big coffee table for this one! :)

The main color is my new FAVORITE leather – secret garden. The accent strip through them middle of the front color will be the deep brown junkyard dog.


Click play to see the inside spreads (what you would see as the album sits open on a table). These spreads are flush-mounted digital pages that hinge across the middle; I can’t wait to show you pictures of the finished product after it arrives.

And as usual, to see more of our album options, just visit our website!

  • March 11, 2010 - 10:58 pm

    Mary - Oooh, I love it! I can’t wait to see the fabrics in person!ReplyCancel

  • March 12, 2010 - 8:39 am

    Stephanie - i LOVE this! Excellent layout and the size is so fun.ReplyCancel

  • March 12, 2010 - 9:49 am

    Christina Montemurro - Gorgeous! So many beautiful photos. I think my favorite is the backlit silhouette in front of the fire.ReplyCancel

So… as you can tell, we are a long, long way from Pittsburgh!

I am having fun out in Las Vegas with Mary Schwarz and Caryn Azure! We’re here for a national photography conference (WPPI), so we’ve been attending classes, talking about our businesses, and doing a little shooting as well! Here are a few photos from yesterday morning when we headed into the canyons and ran into some very friendly burros.


They would pose nicely for us! Until Caryn’s clicking boots spooked them that is… ;)

Singing donkey? No… just a yawning one.

The beautiful Mary!

Caryn, workin’ it.

More fun photos to come when I get home!

  • March 8, 2010 - 9:53 am

    Sam - oh my gosh that first photo took my breath away! How gorgeous! :) And I LOVE DONKEYS!!! :) they are such silly creatures…ReplyCancel

  • March 8, 2010 - 10:46 am

    Ivona - Sleeveless shirts? :::sigh::: Although! it is warming up here! We had a high of 50 yesterday! =) Enjoy yourselves! Tell Caryn and Mary I say hey!ReplyCancel

  • March 9, 2010 - 11:54 am

    pamela marie photography - ugh i am SOOOOO jealous!!!!!! i was stuck in jury duty yesterday, 8 hours in a stuffy room with nothing to do but SIT. are you learning a lot? how is the trade show?? have fun!!!!ReplyCancel

  • March 9, 2010 - 6:36 pm

    Alex Nelson - Cool photos!ReplyCancel

  • March 9, 2010 - 7:37 pm

    Amanda - Those burros are hilarious! I love these pictures. Looks like you have been having a blast. I can’t wait to see you in April!!!ReplyCancel

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I live in PA, but I am Florida girl at heart. And fresh, falling snow still makes my heart pound like a little kid.

It’s because of this that yesterday I sent out a call for couples to put on their wedding clothes and head outside in the freezing snow for some beautiful white photos. And, I had two WONDERFUL couples take me up on the offer: Betsey & Matt and Leeann & Brad.

I just got back from the shoots and downloaded the pictures, and I wanted to post two “teaser” photos. I am so excited to show the rest soon – thanks so much all 4 of you for being so amazing and coming out in the snow and cold!

If anyone else would like to take snowy photos in your wedding dress, I will extend this offer to two more couples. Contact me if you are interested.



  • February 27, 2010 - 5:24 pm

    ChrissieK - so excited!! CAN’T wait to see the pictures!ReplyCancel

  • February 27, 2010 - 8:00 pm

    Amanda - Love the one with the yellow daffodils! Wish I could come up and take some pictures in my dress. You are so creative Milla!ReplyCancel

  • March 1, 2010 - 9:58 am

    Emily - The flowers are so beautiful, and such a contrast to the white and cold of the snow!ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2010 - 9:40 pm

    Christy - I love the knitted gloves against the satin look of her dress and the bright flowers with the whites & greys. I’m starting to get excited to meet with a florist!ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2010 - 9:42 pm

    Christy - I’d love to take some snowy pictures, but putting on the wedding dress may be premature…but maybe we should talk?!ReplyCancel

I find creative inspiration everywhere: in conversations, in movies, in music, in books, in the photography of others. And, I’d love to just start posting some of that inspiration here. So, now for a new post series… inspiration everywhere!

Since I am headed to Las Vegas this week, I’ll post one of my favorite music videos ever: Human by the Killers.

What I love about this: backlighting, feathers, dance, sunglasses, landscape, tiger, bird, vest, big hair, great framing, bowtie, backlighting, backlighting, backlighting.

Have a great week, everyone. See you when I return!