Pittsburgh photographer's resource and location production guide by Mark Bolster

As a location photographer who is a well traveled road warrior, I know what it is like to travel to a strange city and know the stress that goes with making a successful photo shoot in an unfamiliar place. A really successful location shoot not only means bringing back great photos, but it can also be taking home memories of a new place, thoughts of a great meal, or maybe a great conversation with a colorful local. Admittedly, this is tough to do when there are land mines waiting around every corner to give you problems, rob you of sleep, and logistical nightmares that put your professional reputation at stake every time you step out of the studio.

Early in my career, I had the fortune to assist some of the best location photographers in the world. I have learned secrets to making travel easier and have learned to produce and shoot in an almost zen-like state when on location. Being prepared and organized is the key. I do my homework, make plenty of phone calls and type many e-mails before I head to the airport. My goal is to have most (if not all) elements of my production in place before I even leave my studio.

I often use city guides that can be found in numerous places to help with some basics as well as consulting photographer friends and people in the production business world-wide, whom I've developed relationships with after many years of working in this crazy business.

I hope if you are shooting in Pittsburgh you can find help in this data and that your trip will be remembered fondly. If you stumble upon a great resource during your travels to Pittsburgh, please drop me a line and let me know!

Pittsburgh travel basics...

The Pittsburgh metro area is approximately 1.2 million people in the city and surrounding suburbs. Pittsburgh is the county seat and home to Local, State and Federal government offices. Downtown is referred to as the "Golden Triangle", a relatively small compact downtown area, surrounded by the Allegheny River to the north, and the Monongahela River to the south. Both rivers form the confluence of the Ohio River and meet at Point State Park. Fort Pitt, is a historical landmark located in the park.

Pittsburgh is within 500 nautical miles of almost 80% of the U.S. population. Located in western Pennsylvania, we are about a 7 hour drive across the PA turnpike to Pennsylvania's largest city, Philadelphia. Air service is excellent, with Pittsburgh International Airport consistently rated one of the best in the world. Major industries here are service oriented. Universities, hospitals, banking, and some high-tech software companies make up the majority of the economy. A number of FORTUNE 500 companies are headquartered here, including: USX, Alcoa, PPG Industries, HJ Heinz, PNC, Mellon Financial, with many others having facilities here. Pay close attention when you drive through the Fort Pitt tunnel, the beautiful skyline will hit you like a ton of bricks, and I never get tired of seeing it.

TIME ZONE: Eastern

TELEPHONE AREA CODES: 412 and 724. When dialing locally, you will need to dial the area code to reach your party. To dial abroad outside of Pittsburgh: Dial 011+country code+city code+relevant number; Operator Assistance: Dial 411; Directory Assistance of the area: Dial 1+(412)555-1212; All emergency help: Dial 911 (no toll or change required at public pay phones).

TIPPING: Getting great service while you are on the road is often dependent upon how well you can grease a palm. Most service workers are paid little in salary and depend upon tips for a living, so don't be cheap...your client is paying the freight anyway... A minimum of 15-20% is usually expected for your waiter at restaurants. Figure about a dollar per drink ordered at the lounge, 15% of your cab fare to a good cab driver, 4-5 dollars per day for your chamber maid at your hotel, and 2 dollars per bag for your heavy equipment to porters at the airport, and doormen. A nice word, or note to the management, is always a great way to get a heart-felt welcome back for service that is excellent and that goes beyond the call of duty. Unlike European custom (or South Beach, Miami) gratuities are not charged within your meal bill.

ARRIVING: Pittsburgh International Airport is about a 35-minute cab ride to downtown. Taxi fare is approximately $40.00. Limo and bus service to major hotels are also available, as of course, are rental cars from the land side terminal. Airport code: PIT www.pitairport.com

DRIVING IN PITTSBURGH: While not impossible, it is very difficult getting around in the city and finding where you need to be. The primary reasons for this are Pittsburgh's hilly terrain, small municipalities with a different name for a street every couple of miles, bridges and tunnels to navigate, and constant road and bridge repairs. I recommend hiring a local assistant to help with the navigation chores. Pay close attention to parking signs and regulations within the Downtown area. Police love to tow and then charge a king's ransom to get your vehicle back, so use garages to be safe.

TAXIS: Yellow Cab Company (412) 321-8100.
Cabs can be found in front of all major hotels, but taxis do not cruise looking for passengers. Call for a ride. No surcharge is applied for this service.

Imperial (412) 745-3000
Pittsburgh Limousine (412) 771-9900
Embassy (412) 381-4600

CITY GUIDES AND HELP: Pittsburgh City Paper is widely distributed throughout the city, and is full of entertainment and dining suggestions for the week.
www.pittsburghcitypaper.com www.visitpittsburgh.com - For more goings on...

PITTSBURGH HOTELS (small recommended sampling):
William Penn Omni-Downtown - Beautiful lobby with afternoon tea. (412) 553-7100
Sheraton Station Square - Southside. Nightlife abounds (412) 261-2000
Renaissance Pittsburgh - Beautifully renovated, cultural district (412) 562-1200
Westin - Convention Center-Downtown. Convenient to Convention Center, cultural district, and Federal offices. (412) 281-3700
Ramada Inn - Near Mellon Arena (412) 281-5800
Springhill Suites by Marriott - Federal Street (888) 287-9400-Across from PNC Park and near Heinz Field, Northside (opening spring 2005).
Marriott City Center - Across from Mellon Arena. (412) 471-4000
Hilton Pittsburgh - Across from Point State Park, downtown (412) 391-4600
Priory-A City Inn - Northside of Pittsburgh, beautiful small hotel run by hotelier John Graff. (412) 231-3338
Holiday Inn Select - University Center Near PITT and CMU campuses. (412) 682-6200

RESTAURANTS: This is just a small sampling of places that I like, have eaten at or know the quality and experience will be good. Dining establishments in Pittsburgh, like any other city, open and close on a regular basis. Buy a copy of Pittsburgh Magazine, or grab a free copy of, the Pittsburgh City Paper to explore many options and get addresses.

Entree prices:
$ = 10 dollars or less
$$ = 11-19 dollars
$$$ = 20 dollars and up.

Common Plea - 310 Ross St. Downtown (412) 281-5140 $$
The Elbow Room - 5744 Ellsworth Ave. Shadyside (412) 441-5222 $
Gandy Dancer - Saloon Station Square-Southside (412) 261-1717 $
Gulliftys - 1922 Murray Ave, Squirrel Hill (412) 521-8222 $ Great desserts! Smoke free.
Luma - 8 Brilliant Ave. Aspinwall (412) 781-0355 $$
Union Grill - 413 South Craig St. Oakland (412) 681-8620 $$ Near PITT and CMU
Willow - 634 Camp Horne Rd. North Hills (412) 847-1007 $$ Crab cakes to die for...

Deluca's - 2015 Penn Avenue Strip District (412) 566-2195 $ The place your cardiologist warned you about...
Jo-Jo's - 24th and Smallman St. Strip district. (412) 261-0280 $
Original Pancake House - McIntyre Square and McKnight Rd. North Hills (412) 358-9622
Pamela's -Great Pancakes that the Prez likes to eat when he's in town-various locations
Eat n' Park - Multiple locations, a Pittsburgh staple...

Smokey Bones - Various locations, franchise (412) 788-0123 $

Sorry... you're better off booking a flight to New Orleans.

Kaya - 4923 Smallman St. Strip District (412) 363-8211 $$

China Palace - Multiple locations in Shadyside and Monroeville $
PF Chang's - 148 W. Bridge St. Homestead (412) 464-0640 $$
Sesame Inn - Multiple locations $$

Coffee Houses
Affogato - 613 Lincoln Ave, North Hills (412) 761-0750 Namesake means, "expresso dripped over gelato" in Italy. They don't serve it here, but it is a great place to hang. Live music, bookstore, wireless Internet and some unique drinks bring some buzz to Bellevue.
Beehive - 1327 E. Carson St. Southside (412) 488-4483
Craig Street Coffee - 305 South Craig St. Oakland (412) 683-9993
Sphinx Cafe - 901 E. Carson St. Southside (412) 481-1918 Coffee and a Hookah Bar...
La Prima Expresso - 205 21st St. Strip District (412) 281-1922 Many coffee houses purchase their beans here.
J'eet Cafe - 4200 Penn Ave. (412) 716-9317 Lawrenceville across from Children's Hospital. The BEST coffee in town, IMHO.
Leaf and Bean (cigar and coffee) - Penn & 22nd St. Strip District (412) 434-1480

Baum Viant - 5102 Baum Blvd. Shadyside (412) 682-2620 $$$
Cafe Sam - 5242 Baum Blvd. Bloomfield (412) 621-2000 $$
Eleven - 1150 Smallman Street Strip District (412) 201-5656 $$
Hyeholde - 190 Hyehold Dr. Moon Twp. (412) 264-3116 $$$
Palomino - Four Gateway Center Downtown (412) 642-7711 $$$
Sunnyledge Inn - Fifth and Wilkins, Shadyside (412) 683-5014 $$ B&B with charming restaurant and lounge

Sandwich and Deli places
Primanti Bros. - Various locations. $ The Strip District location is the best. Go there at 2 AM for an unforgettable Pittsburgh experience.
Peppi's Sandwich Shop - Various locations. $ Best cheese steaks west of Philadelphia.

Casbah - 229 S. Highland Ave. Shadyside (412) 661-5656 $$
Opus - 107 Sixth St. Downtown (412) 562-1200 $$
Siba - 530 Northpointe Circle, Seven Fields, North Hills (724) 741-6000 $$

LaForet - 5701 Bryant St. Highland Park (412) 665-9000 $$$
Le Pommier - 2104 E. Carson St. Southside (412) 431-1901 $$$

Greek/Middle Eastern
Amel's - McNeilly and Sussex, South Hills (412) 563-3466 $$
Christo's - 130 Sixth St. Downtown (412) 261-6442 $
Mike and Tony's - 1414 E. Carson St. Southside (412) 431-2299 $ Gyro heaven...

India Garden - 328 Atwood St. Oakland (412) 372-0400 $
Star of India - 412 S. Craig St. Oakland (412) 681-5700 $

Antonini's - 2275 Swallow Hill Rd. South Hills (412) 276-2828 $$$
D'Imperio's - 3412 Wm. Penn Hwy. Monroeville (412) 823-4800 $$
Girasole - 733 Copeland St. Shadyside (412) 682-2130 $$
LaStrada - 620 Liberty Ave. Downtown (412) 697-2800 Just love their print ads...
Lidia's - 1400 Smallman St. Strip District (412) 552-0150 $$ New York's "Cooking with Lidia" television chef adds Pittsburgh to her resume. Busy place.
Piccolo Mondo - 661 Anderson Dr. Greentree (412) 922-0920 $$ Serious wine list here.
Rico's - 1 Rico Lane North Hills (412) 931-1989 $$$
Vivo - 565 Lincoln Ave. North Hills (412) 761-9500 $$$ Tell Sam and Lori I sent you. No liquor license due to a dry town, so it's BYOB...

Nakama - 1611 E. Carson St. Southside (412) 381-2007 $$ Current "hot spot" in Pittsburgh
Original Fish Market - 1001 Liberty Ave (Westin Hotel) (412) 227-3657 $$
Sushi Two - 2122 E. Carson St. Southside (412) 431-7874 $$
Sushi Too - 5432 Walnut St. Shadyside (412) 687-8744 $$
Umi - 5849 Ellsworth Ave (upstairs from Soba) Shadyside (412) 362-6198 $$$

Cozumel - 5507 Walnut St. Shadyside (412) 621-5100 $
Mad Mex - Various locations $
Baja Fresh Mexican Grill - Various locations, Made to order, fresh fast food... $

Soba - 5847 Ellsworth Ave. Shadyside (412) 362-5656 $$$ Feng -Shui never tasted so fine.

Grand Concourse - Station Square, Southside (412) 261-1717 $$$ Beautifully renovated train station and consistent tourist pleaser. Be sure to order the Charley's chowder...
Monterey Bay - 1411 Grandview Ave. Mt. Washington (412) 481-4414 Great seafood, million dollar view overlooking the skyline. Bring a heavy wallet...
Original Oyster House - 20 Market Square Downtown. Lunch in the historic Oyster House while looking at panoramic photos of past Atlantic City Beauty Pageant contestants. $
Original Fish Market - 1001 Liberty Ave. Downtown in Westin Hotel (412) 227-3657 $$
Steelhead Grill - 112 Washington Place Downtown Marriot (412) 394-3974 $$$

Mallorca - 2228 E. Carson St. (412) 488-1818 $$ The Pallella is a must have. Bring an appetite.

Morton's - 625 Liberty Ave. Downtown (412) 261-7141 $$$
Ruth's Chris - Six PPG Place Downtown (412) 391-4800 $$$

Get real...you're in Pittsburgh...

Pennsylvania is one of the most strict states regarding the sale of alcohol. All beer must be purchased at a licensed beer distributor and then is sold only by the case. Bars are allowed to sell up to two six-packs of beer, to go, over their counter, usually at full retail price. Wine and liquor must be purchased at State run liquor stores. Bars generally have last call at 1-1:30 AM. State imposed penalties for underage (-21) drinking are very stiff.

As with restaurants, bars and nightclubs come and go. Be sure to check the Pittsburgh City Paper for music acts, midget tossing, karaoke, wing nights, girls gone wild, etc. Here are some current (today) places that seem to be hopping. Keep in mind this photographer tends to prefer martini lounges as opposed to spring break wannabe type clubs...

Bossa Nova - 123 Seventh St. Downtown. (412) 232-3030 Upscale lounge, yummy tapas, and cigar friendly.
Club Cafe - 56 S 12th St. Southside (412) 431-4950 Intimate club with blue decor features local and national music acts. Say hello to Dan, the best bar keep in the burgh...
Finnigan's Wake - 20 E. General Robinson St. Northside (412) 325-2561 Irish bar.
Firehouse Lounge - 2216 Penn Ave. Strip District (412) 434-1230
Club Havanna - 5744 Ellsworth Ave. Shadyside (412) 661-2025 Smallish martini lounge with salsa dancing on selected nights. Place gets packed on weekends.
Sanctuary - 1620 Penn Avenue Strip District (412) 263-2877 Multi-level dance club in a converted church. Pittsburgh's version of Limelight in NYC...
Zythos - 2108 Carson St. Southside Lounge with electronica, ambient and trance. Check out the metal sculpted bar by Pittsburgh artist, Rick Bach.
Privilege Ultra Lounge- 1650 Smallman St. Strip District
Shootz Cafe & Billiards - 2305 E Carson St. South Side (412) 488-3820
Red Room - 134 S Highland Ave East End
Brillo Box - 4104 Penn Ave (412) 621-4900

Comedy Clubs
The Funny Bone - Station Square, Southside (412) 281-3313
Improv - Waterfront complex, Homestead (412) 462-5233

Brew Pubs
Penn Brewery - Troy Hill Rd. and Vinial St. Northside, (412) 237-9402 The best brewery in Pittsburgh, if not the east coast...Authentic German food.
The Church Brew Works - 3525 Liberty Avenue. Lawrenceville (412) 688-8200
Rock Bottom - 171 E. Bridge St. At the Waterfront Complex, Homestead (412) 462-2739
John Harvard's Brew Pub - 3466 Wm. Penn Hwy. Monroeville (412) 824-9440

Naked Girls...because life on the road can be lonely...
Blush - 135 Ninth Street Downtown. (412) 281-7703 Full service bar.
Club Erotica - 524 Island Ave, McKees Rocks (412) 771-8872
Cricket Lounge - 280 Morewood N Oakland(412) 683-9000

The Warhol Museum - 117 Sandusky St. Northside (412) 237-8330 Andy Warhol couldn't wait to leave his hometown of Pittsburgh for NYC. However, that didn't prevent him from getting the newest museum in town...
Photo Antiquities - 531 E. Ohio St. Northside. (412) 231-7887 Owner Bruce Klein has amassed one of the largest collections of antique photos in the country. All types of antique processes and equipment are on display. Many are for sale as well. A very unique resource in Pittsburgh.
Silver Eye Center for Photography - 1015 E. Carson St. Southside. (412) 431-1810
Pittsburgh Regional History Center - 12112 Smallman St. Strip District. (412) 454-6000 Learn all about Pittsburgh's rich history of industry, sports and culture in this interactive museum.
Carnegie Museum of Art - 4400 Forbes Ave. Oakland. (412) 622-3359 This institution needs no introduction. Large complex that connects with the Museum of Natural History.
Carnegie Science Center - Northside (412) 237-3400 Visit the WWII submarine, catch an Omnimax movie and star gaze in the Planetarium.

Chad Crowell - crowellphoto@verizon.net (412) 370-5433 Cell: (412) 370 - 5433
Alex Jones - www.alexjonesphotography.com (412) 341-5459
Matthew Blasey (412) 563-1847
Mike Reed (724) 545-1477
Ed LaBuda Cell: (412) 559-0120
Scott Smathers Cell: (412) 414-1860

Pittsburgh Custom Darkroom - 521 E. Ohio St. Northside. Full service lab with film and digital services E-6,. 1 hr. C-41. (412) 321-2100 www.photoprocess.com
Warren Associates - 2901 Brighton Rd. Northside. (412) 766-6993 Best for PR and quantity prints and composites. Digital services available.
Photo Depot - Rt. 65, Ohio River Blvd. Quaker Village shopping center, Leetsdale (412) 741-3350 Full-service lab with digital services. www.photodepot.com
ImageMark - 11 Mayview Rd. Lawrence. (724) 743-1070 www.imagemarklabs.com

Bernie's Photo - 525 E. Ohio St. Northside. (412) 231-1718 Fuji, Kodak, Agfa and Polaroid. Be sure to determine if the film is gray market or domestic, they sell both.

Bernie's Photo Center - 525 E. Ohio St. Northside. (412) 231-1717 www.berniesphoto.com
Pittsburgh Camera Exchange - 529 E. Ohio St. Northside (412) 422-6372 Used equipment and esoteric junk. Buys, sells and trades.
Ritz Camera Centers - Numerous locations around Pittsburgh

Plan to bring the majority of the equipment you need with you. While hot lights and HMI equipment is fairly easy to rent, Pro level rental shops for still cameras, lenses and strobes aren't here. Bernie's Photo rents some equipment, but inventory is limited and rental fees are steep compared to pro rental shops. Some assistants have camera/lighting equipment packages that they rent along with themselves; be sure to ask.

Performance Lighting - www.perflight.com - 5200 Harrison St. Lawrenceville. (412) 781-5655 Good place to buy colored gels also.
Vincent Lighting Co. - Greentree (412) 788-5250
Both Vincent and Performance rent fully equipped grip trucks with drivers at reasonable costs.

A note on rentals. Pittsburgh doesn't have any strictly full time-rental studios. Many photographers are happy to rent their spaces to out-of-town shooters provided no scheduling conflicts. Here are a few of the nicer studios that are available...
John Sanderson Studio 2310 Penn Avenue Strip District. (412)263-2121 5,000 sq. ft. Drive-in capabilities, equipment rentals.
Big House Studios 1400 Breed St. Southside (412)488-4500 Nice set up, 2 studios and efficient staff. www.bighousestudios.com
Ken Balzer Studio 600 Bingham St Southside (412) 381-3130

Docherty - (412) 765-1400 www.dochertyagency.com
The Talent Group - (412) 471-8011 www.talentgroup.com

These artists can be booked through the above agencies or contacted independently.
Patti Bell - (412) 921-4477, (412) 298-3936 Cell
Rachel Geary - (412)292-1809
Diane Ulan - (412) 244-8667, (412) 370-7595 Cell
Debi Maker - (412) 818-4097 Cell
Amber Altany - (412) 726-5017 Cell, (724) 224-4320 Home
Cheryl Haus - (412) 306-0838 Home, (412) 721-3130 Cell
Lois Bower - (724)945-6803
Susie Popovich - (412) 951-2774 Cell

Courier Express - (412) 481-7300
Jet messenger - (412) 471-4722
1st Courier/Dynamex - (412) 322-0300

K Rentals - (412) 864-8533
Haddad's - (412) 655-8822 Trucks, coaches, trailers, camera cars, vehicles, generators.

Dave at Barry's - Downtown (412) 391-3973

Rainbow Rentals - Crafton (412) 921-1200

Chucko Brothers - McKees Rocks (412) 331-8112 equipment, tents, party needs, tools.

Audio Visual Connection - 315 South Broadway, McKees Rocks (412) 331-3308
Appel Services - 2708 Penn Ave. Strip District (412) 281-1313 A/V, Presentations

Camera Service Company - 427 E. Ohio St. Northside (412) 323-0771
Camera Repair Service Inc. - 453 Market St. Downtown (412) 261-5225
Nichols Camera Repair - 407 Grant Ave. Millvale (412) 821-3100

Cindy Bowen - (412) 766-1622
Linda Iannatta - (412) 322-5697
Boulevard Deli - (412) 281-4300
Bradley House - (412) 655-9216
Fluted Mushroom - (412) 381-1899
Rania's Catering - (412) 531-2222

Apple Store - 5508 Walnut St. Shadyside (412) 683-1186 www.apple.com/retail/shadyside
Apple Store - South Hills Village (412) 833-1848
Don Miller-5 Minute Mac - (724) 758-2370 Apple consultant and troubleshooter to photographers and the design community. www.5minutemac.com

Apple Store - 5508 Walnut St. Shadyside (412) 683-1186
Best Buy - Many locations in Pittsburgh Area 1+800-332-4800

Shui - (412) 580-6123
Ann Marie Leyden - (412) 833-7092
Ana Kelly - (412) 481-0767

Bloom's - (412) 481-1240

Performance Lighting - www.perflight.com - 5200 Harrison St. (412) 781-5655
Vincent Lighting Co. - Greentree area (412) 788-5250
Haddad's - (412) 655-8822

Webb Law Firm - (412) 471-8815

Ron Seman-Object Works - (412) 351-1880

Costume World - 1690 Smallman St. Strip District (412) 281-3277 www.costumeworld.com
Abmayr Costume Service - 4610 Liberty Ave. Bloomfield (412) 683-7369

TW Technical Services-Ted Wills - 514 California Ave. Avalon (412) 766-1669

Pittsburgh Film Office - (888) 744-3456, (412) 261-2744 www.pghfilm.org
City of Pittsburgh - www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us
Pennsylvania Film Office - (717) 783-3456 www.filminpa.com
Allegheny County Parks - (412) 392-8480
Laurel Mountain State Park - (814) 445-7725
Ohiopyle State Park - (814) 329-8591

PASSPORT OFFICE (412) 350-5770



Pittsburgh photographers, and location photographers, working in Pittsburgh, can take advantage of this photo resource directory compiled by Mark Bolster Photography. Photo assistants, makeup stylists, and travel recommendations can be found here.