Catch Them While you Can

Take some time to catch the moments. The littles in your life will change faster than you can imagine and the history of your family will depend on how often you train a camera and a mindful eye on your day to day life. Yes, there is always another load of laundry to do and I’m sure the dog needs a bath but that will be ongoing… your children will be differently little every day. There are some dear friends on Facebook who are on it. They post charming snippets of their kids and will no doubt have photographs to share with them later in their lives. Get your pictures off of your devices and put them in a safe place… you don’t get a Do-Over. That is incredibly important.

If you can, you should hire a pro every now and then to cover your family in a way that you can’t. I love it when my phone rings for a family session. It could be a walkabout in the Pearl District with an ice cream cone or it could be an hour or two spent hanging out at your home… the goal is to put real people in front of my camera and catch what happens. Let me sit on the floor and get to know the kids well enough that they are just themselves when the camera is out… the less direction from me or from you, the better.

I was lucky to have parents who took lots of pictures. The photographs from my childhood were rarely posed. Instead, I can look back through them and remember the houses we lived in, the cats and dog who were part of our tribe and even some pictures of my parents when they were young and beautiful, before time wore into them. That was a gift to me. ;0)

If you’d like to see more pictures of people, young and old, this will take you to my Studio portfolio. Let’s make some history! ;0)

An Unintended Sabbatical… or why my blog is so blue.

2016 has been a strange year… you may have already come to that conclusion and skipped ahead. I’ve had a chance to sit and reflect on the last few months and I’m still shaking my head.

In August, a group that I have blogged with since 2009 decided we would relax our policy of one post per week per member… we took it down to one post per month. Apparently it was a discipline I needed to maintain my own blog.

The wedding season that usually rules my summer was nicely spaced until I got to September… that’s where it started to ball up. Partly due to the workload but there was also a Tuesday towards the end of the month where I was the one getting married. Even though Opera Boy and I kept it small and very casual, it still required an inordinate amount of work and stalwart friends to pull it off. We had a fine time and I got a new look at what weddings entail. ;0)

The beginning of October brought a honeymoon… a visit to a town where I used to live. The French Quarter of New Orleans is a special kind of place in my head and a lot of it was still there. The thing that had changed the most was me. The week was spent walking all over the Quarter with a couple of cameras at hand trying to catch a few glimpses of the old magic. The French Quarter I was looking for can be glimpsed in my personal portfolio. It was the early ’70’s and I was a part of the place instead of being a visitor. Opera Boy gets the credit for knowing how much it meant to visit again.

Home again to all of the catching up… between that and the looming political storm, I barely got my head up. November and December were all that and more. As sabbaticals go, I wouldn’t call it restorative.

And now we are in 2017 for better or for worse.
Keep the faith, people.

Because… Portland Weddings

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Portland weddings abound in September. I’m sure it’s partly because the weather is a bit more predictable… also might be because the flurry of summer schedules is coming to a close. In any case, this is the time of year Portland’s wedding photographers are seeing some of the work start to stack up. Whenever I have a queue of brides and grooms lined up, I try to send out a couple of teasers to make the waiting a little easier. These went out this week to three great couples who had September weddings. Not only do they have to wait their turn, they also have to wait for me to take a short honeymoon… how’s that for tables turned? ;0)

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Hanna & Caitlin are proud members of the Lan Su Chinese Garden so it made perfect sense that their Portland wedding take place there. The Lion Dancers are incredible!

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Tracey and Michael had an intimate day starting at Cathedral Park and moving to a cozy and sumptuous feast at The Dekum Firehouse… of course, everyone will enjoy the story of the pole dancers that day… they were wonderful about letting us get the wedding done before setting up their rig in our line of sight. I am amazed that they can do what they do!!

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So Lucile and Scott had to do a work around the street protesters, the riot police and the Malhuer vigil… it was supposed to be a simple Friday afternoon courthouse wedding in downtown Portland… we did some sweet pictures but I wish they were taking me with them for their Paris wedding this weekend… she is from France and most of the small crowd spoke no English… it was a blast trying to talk to her dad about our respective cameras. ;0)

I love my job… it’s rarely the same twice.
If you’re getting married, I can guarantee you a good conversation about what to expect!

Vista Hills Vineyard… Perfect for an Engagement Session

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It’s breezy and quiet at Vista Hills Vineyard in July and an engagement session one month before the wedding gives us a chance to get used to each other before the big day. Susan and Milton are from Texas but Oregon is one of their favorite playgrounds. Around here, they are happiest in the Portland food scene and roaming in our gorgeous wine country.

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Besides getting used to the camera, Susan was able to try her hair and makeup ahead of time… the talented Katherine Ross did a lovely job! Susan also found out that her initial florist wasn’t up to the task… enough so that we didn’t use the flowers in this shoot. The trial run aspect of an engagement session can point to the strengths and weaknesses in the fabric of your planning, especially if you are making Portland a destination wedding.

The unexpected thing we got from this session was a chance to make a wine label for them. She had mentioned that they were going to have a September reception in Texas and that the cake was to be shaped like a large wine bottle in a box. She asked if I could make her label for the cake “bottle” and one that could also be used on the gift bottles for their guests. I hope they will share a picture of that cake afterwards. ;0)

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Getting to know my couples is one of the best things about my job… by the time we did the wedding last week, I felt like these two were new friends in my circle.
Getting married? Let’s talk!

Wedding Album… the Art of Love in Real Life

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Anna and her wife, Elizabeth, came to pick up their wedding album today. The cover, a rich teal blue leather, will really fit in with their art filled house. These two worked closely with me to plan their book… the hardest part was the choosing of the images to use. From there, the layouts went through a few revisions before we were all satisfied. As they opened the album, I was very pleased to see the reactions across my table. In a much earlier meeting, I remember them saying that even though the images look nice on a computer screen, it’s not the same as sitting next to your love on a comfortable couch… turning the pages together.

Some photographers do everything for you in the design process. They choose the images and put it all together and serve it up… maybe not super personal but easy and ready to go. I’m sure that can be a good thing in many ways but I prefer to tailor the album to fit my couples. I’m always pleasantly surprised to see that some of my quirkier shots were included… images that really caught something emotionally true in their crowd. If a wedding album can make you laugh and cry and remember wonderful things, then I have done a good job.

This couple was groovin’ from a seated position… the baby, almost due, probably enjoyed the dance! ;0)

DIY + PhotoBooth + Beach = Fun

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Cassondra and Reece had set up a space for a DIY PhotoBooth in the yard behind the reception hall. He had a nice little Nikon with a remote control… it was going to be on a tripod in front of a beachy backdrop. There were silly props galore! Considering that the crowd was full of extroverts, the stage was set!.

After the ceremony on the beach, the guests came in waves as the shuttle dropped them off. Pretty much everyone made a beeline for the beer taps on the back deck. Reece had made several different types of beer… he must be pretty darn good at it… there were lots of smiles and no complaints.

Besides the PhotoBooth and the beer, DIY ruled the day from the decorations to the food… maybe the only things not made or brought by a participant were the plates and glasses. It gave the whole day a very personal feel and that is always a win.

So, this silly picture made me happy. I was waiting for their camera to be set up and these crazy-wonderful bridesmaids started to goof around in front of the backdrop. I got to catch this instead of leaving it to the luck of the remote.

Weddings are a lot of fun if the ingredients are right!

The To-Do List

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Everybody’s got at least one, right? Well, how about the To-Do List on your wedding day?

You have seen the lists in every bridal magazine out there and you have dutifully kept a running notebook to keep your list manageable, right? Are you with me so far? On the day of your wedding there are some things that should have been done just to keep you from tipping over into insanity. The vows should be written and transcribed into whatever format you plan to use… doesn’t matter if it’s a nice paper on a fancy clipboard or a Kindle. What matters is not having to do it at the last minute. Stress is not a good thing on a wedding day and every little bit of non-stress is wonderful.

In the week before, your To-Do List should have clipped the tags off of any clothing… it should have taken care of manicures and pedicures. It should have figured out the seating chart and it should have packed your necklace and earrings in a place where you can actually find them. And don’t forget the socks, belts and ties on that list. Lots of the little stuff on the list will take up a great deal of time and energy if it goes sideways on your wedding day.

Wishing you a happy and carefree day!

Cannon Beach and the Love of Your Life

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Cannon Beach on a bright Saturday afternoon… pretty much a winner!! Cassondra and Reece lucked into a sunny June day for their wedding on the beach… they made a driftwood arbor and surrounded themselves with friends and family. The only hard parts in the planning were working around the tides and working around the crowds that flood this tiny town on pretty summer days. The rest of the planning was chock full of sweet little details and a really great a cappella group. The Cannon Beach Community Center was the choice for their reception and it was decorated to the hilt with beachy goodies like saltwater taffy and sea glass scattered among the netting and the shells on each table.

Cassondra’s dress was the reimagined dress that her mom wore in 1974… it was perfect for her. There was new beading and lace and a lot of love put into the redesign… a special family friend was responsible for most of that. She couldn’t be at the wedding but maybe these pictures will help her know how beautiful it was.

Meanwhile, amidst all of the details and the sunshine, these two sealed their sweetness in such a way that you know it will go on forever… they have been a couple for a very long time and will continue to travel well together… I imagine Cannon Beach will forever be a special place for them. ;0)

Moon Over Zenith

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It’s a mid October evening at the lovely Zenith Vineyard… Oregon is stellar this time of year and so very easy to look at!

The cocktail hour is coming to an end behind me as the guests make their way from the big porch into dinner… I turned to take in the moon rising over the ceremony site, to take a deep, cool breath before the next half of the day gets rolling.

I stayed to take this picture because they are all inside and missing it. A very important part of wedding photography is to catch all the parts. Many couples don’t realize how much they will miss on that special day … their focus is going to be on their guests. Pretty much a wall of people all day between them and many little vignettes that they won’t see unless the photographer is paying attention.

All of your vendors are important… they are going to make the day look nice and make sure it runs right. The food will be great and the music will be over the top if you have done your homework, right? So plan your perfect day, hire the professionals so that you don’t have to worry about every little thing… dance like you mean it and trust that it will all work out. ;0)

Paranymph, the Word You Never heard

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There is a dictionary app on my iPhone and every day, a new word. Some are pretty easy but some of them are so unusual that they stop me in my tracks. Yesterday, the word was paranymph. On hearing the definition, I was astounded to think that I had not heard it before… the simple definition is “A groomsman or a bridesmaid.”!

I can think of many interesting couples who would have loved calling their people paranymphs… it has a forest spirit, steampunk thing about it that would be perfect here in the wilds of the Great Pacific Northwest. These particular paranymphs were having a grand laugh during the group photos at Abigail’s Garden and, considering that the wedding had a Harry Potter theme running through it, they should have known about this word.
Paranymph can be traced to the Greek paránymphos meaning literally “person beside the bride.” It entered English in the mid-1500s.

Maybe we can revive the word and run with it? There might be ancient authors smiling somewhere in the mists. ;0)

It’s great when people are relaxed and having fun during the wedding day… it makes my job much easier.
Let’s make pictures that make you happy!