Badass Brides: Wedding Photography that Shatters the Mold, by Mike Allebach

Philadelphia Allebach Photographer

If you type Wedding Photography into Google’s Image Search, you’ll be greeted by a flood of Pin-able fairytale wedding photographs for the traditional bride who wants the traditional white wedding where everything is perfect and there are no sitcom clap tracks.

But what if you’re not the typical couple who wants the typical wedding? What if the best term to describe you is “badass” or simply “different”? Well, that’s when you call Allebach Photography, a studio specializing in wedding photography the likes of which you won’t see in ye olde bridal magazine… although you will see it in many a tattoo publication.

Mike Allebach got in touch with us a few weeks back, and his opening sentence immediately caught our eye: “I photograph tattooed brides. My work has been featured in Skip Cohen University, Rebel Ink Magazine, Best Ink TV on Oxygen Network … but sadly not here.” Sadly indeed! And what better day to remedy that situation than Valentine’s Day?


Allebach is as unique a wedding photographer as you’re ever likely to run across. For one, his journey into photographing brides started as a guitarist in a punk rock band who also photographed the underground music scene. Knowing that, it’s not hard to understand why the man described as “the Original Tattooed Bride Photographer” by Rock n Roll Bride is so good at relating to the ‘offbeat’ couples he photographs.

In his bio, Allebach explains why he specializes in ‘Tattooed Weddings, Bookworms and Party Animals.’ For him, it’s about telling stories that might otherwise go untold:

In the end, what I do isn’t about photography, photos or tattooed brides … it’s a passion to show everyone their story is important. I don’t pretend to run a normal wedding photography business or think that this is normal.

Some people apologize for not being cool enough or for not having tattoos. Then I realize they are my kind of person. All I ask is that you show your true colors.

Your story matters. Your story is worth telling. So let’s take some photos…

Here’s a look at some of the best of Allebach Photography:

Philadelphia Allebach Photographer

Philadelphia Allebach Photographer


Philadelphia Allebach Photographer

Philly Wedding


Philly Wedding

Philly Wedding


Philly Wedding



Philly Wedding

Philly Wedding


Philadelphia Allebach Photographer


“In my heart I’m instinctively inclusive… I think that everyone deserves to love, be loved and we should all live a story worth telling full of tragedy, failure, love and grace,” says Allebach. “And dammit I’m tired of wedding magazines telling people to cover up their tattoos.”

Hear, hear! To see more of Mike’s phenomenal offbeat wedding photography, or if you’d like to find out how you can hire the man for your own upcoming nuptials, head over to the Allebach Photography website by clicking here.

Image credits: All photographs by Mike Allebach of Allebach Photography and used with permission.

  • GoodToKnow!

    Is this that “traditional mariage” thing that gay people can never ever be allowed to have?

  • YouCunts


  • YouCunts


  • Tobias W.

    Sometimes I feel there should be a Petapixel offspin dedicated to wedding photography only…

  • Laura Babb

    Why is that? Wedding photography is a form of photography and Petapixle is a photography blog.

  • John

    Badass is about having tatoos?

  • agour

    To me they don’t seem very different from normal wedding photos? I mean sure they have a few tattoos, but they’re not ‘breaking the mold’.
    Nevertheless, nice photos! (Apart from the bottom one, that sucks).

  • Jeffrey Howarth

    Well yeah, but the tattoos must be worn with very traditional wedding wear so it looks totally out of place :-)

  • Mike ‘n’ Andy

    Great images, but not breaking the mold at all, no different from thousand of other wedding images i have seen. Badass is attitude not tattoo’s

  • harumph

    Some nice photos, but I think we’re past the point in history when people with tattoos can be considered unusual or atypical.

  • Adam S.

    Very nice wedding photography. He has a distinctive style that works well with his subjects. I like it. But… shattering the mold? I think PetaPixel is over-egging things a little. More power to him, though.

  • superduckz

    What is this mold of which you speak and how do these shots “break” it exactly? A few tattoos and brides aren’t mold breaking. Generally nice shots though.

  • Helk

    The fact that this doesn’t really break the mould as purported makes it sound like an advertisement rather than a bona fide article.

  • Strom

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Nice shots but having a tattooed subject isn’t really breaking the mould.

  • That Guy

    Not enough comments about how this mold hasn’t been broken.

  • Don Tusk

    Very nice pictures but nothing shocking.

  • lololalallll

    Agreed. They’re lovely photos, but there’s nothing that sets them apart from any other excellent wedding photographer, except that he has people with tattoos versus the vanilla life.

  • lololalallll

    Agreed. It’s pretty normal now.

  • Tobias W.

    I think it’s pretty obvious wedding photography is over represented on this site. And most of the content regarding it is primitive “don’t step on my turf” rants and whining.

  • harumph

    Longtime Petapixel readers will have noticed that they’ve mastered the “Life Changing! Mold Breaking! Mind Blowing!” method of headline writing over the past year or two. It’s link bait. So yeah, it’s an advertisement, essentially.

  • Eugene Chok

    ‘wedding photography that shatters the mold’… those tattoos totally revolutionized the wedding photography industry!

  • Bella

    I believe what you mean is to categorize particular wedding themes. That’s cool. I’d head straight for those blogs. I’ve seen enough traditional.

  • Fernando Callo

    I only like photo number 11 because of the tattoo

  • Anthony le Bourlier

    Ca change !

  • BrokenHelix79

    I haven’t actually stopped to count the number of wedding posts, but I’d say it’s a rather low percentage, in reality. And besides, the wedding photography industry is huge and continues to grow, for better or worse (mostly worse). I agree a lot of the content is, as you said, “don’t step on my turf” kind of stuff, but it’s not as if other content is being pushed out in favor of weddings. Yesterday alone, there were EIGHT posts that had nothing to do with them, in fact!

  • buck pago

    nothing different, same old hipster style photography.

  • sa

    so they are basically the same moulded wedding photos that we are used to. Yaay for an absolutely boring article. Or is this a commercial for the photog?

  • cgw

    Just another way of monetizing narcissism and self-absorption. Next?

  • Mark

    These are really great photos–I would love to do more “alt” weddings like this guy does!

  • sarahmdugan

    I just had the gift of taking one of Mike’s workshops at the Inspire Photo Retreats in Massachusetts this past week. This man’s work is amazing and he truly is one who looks to include, who looks for people to speak *their* story.

    And for those who say “what’s the big deal” about these wedding pictures, you only have to look at uber popular blogs like Snore Me Pretty – I mean Style Me Pretty, The Knot or Wedding Wire. The majority of wedding world images that are shown are pretty, preppy couples using mason jars at a country club or some sort of fancy hotel. Oh yeah, you get the occasional farm setting and the occasional different blog (thank you Offbeat Bride) but NONE of those traditional blogs will show a wedding shot in an old penitentiary…yup, just like Mike’s done.

    Check out his other stuff at Brandsmash for some really amazing videos.

    He’s show both couples and the wedding industry it’s okay not to want Jimmy Choos and a Maggie Sorretto dress. I thank him for it!

  • dahlph


  • Ben Helton

    Just seems like acceptably good wedding photography of people that have tattoos. I don’t know how this person markets themselves, but i would be embarrassed and ashamed of myself to focus my business in this little niche. I don’t know if it says more about the photographer of the clients doing the hiring – you don’t want to lose any PR cred so you hire a “badass” picture maker…. Sad really.

  • Will Mederski

    coming from a guy without any tattoos, this article just seems to further stereotype people ink…
    like saying “I specialize in photographing amputees.”
    why should they be photographed any differently?

  • Dover

    Tattoos: so what! I repeat….tattoos….so….what? This is a photography blog supposedly. Yes, photography does make an appearance in this blog post. But I think most followers of this blog are more interested in current photography trends. Just because someone allowed, what seems to be, a 6 year old with a sharpie draw all over them does not make this compelling photography.

  • Sid Ceaser

    Sarah, you’ll have to share your experiences of Inspire with me. I’m curious.

  • James

    I think it’s surprising that they don’t have a dedicated section, but yeah, it’s far from the majority of their content.

  • Jeff

    I would like to have seen lighting or compositions that highlighted the tattoos. Hardly any of the photographs would have been photographed differently without the tattoos.

  • Linka A Odom

    Here’s my breaking the mold wedding photo :) gorgeous wedding party at BRC, 2011.

  • Antic Andy

    Thank you for that. I don’t thing people are getting the whole picture. Is there a way to “Reply all”?