Miles is nine. His mom was getting married and he was to have a tuxedo for the very important job as a member of the wedding. His excitement ran high that April afternoon, including wanting to get dressed many hours too early… when it was time, his mom steered him through the special buttons and the always cool cuff links. His tux fit very well… something that doesn’t always happen with the young guys. He wore it with style and confidence… the very definition of élan. He wore it like he was born to it.
The day started to roll and this kid, the only one at the wedding, was the epitome of a perfect guest. I was happy to watch him engage with everyone like a grownup… he kept up his end in a way that I would love to see more often.
During the toasts, his was solid and emotional and heartfelt enough to bring some tears around the room. Later, as the dancing ramped up, he was invited to run a song with a stint at the dj’s table… happy as could be, disco lights vibrating all around him.
It’s true that Opera Boy and I save most of the bread heels. We freeze them and when the freezer gets too full, we have a perfect excuse to go to the beach. He gets a kick out of chumming for sea gulls. To his credit, he tries to do this away from the crowds. ;0)
If the beach of choice is Lincoln City, his first order of business is to buy taffy (alledgedly for the guys at work) and then we feed the gulls… enjoying the drama. After that we head to one of the places where we can fly our kites. Sometimes we get skunked… there are calm days at the coast more often than I knew before I had the kite habit.
When it’s calm, we walk. Watching the crazy-happy dogs and the slow progression of people weaving over the sand and sitting on the driftwood makes me happy. There are rock cairns and sand castles, feathers and shells and sea grasses. And sometimes, there are palm trees underfoot, right? Life is better with beaches in it.
Spring Fever is turned up high at my house and most everyone I know is wondering when the Vernal Lady will make her usually spectacular appearance here in the Pacific Northwest. We have had two months in a row of record breaking rain… even my die-hard pluviophile friends are beginning to crack. Today is no exception. It is pouring as I write… but there were geese flying northwest over my back deck this morning so maybe it’s almost time. ;0)
So, in hopes of spreading a little cheer, I am posting a photograph from a past Spring wedding… Jenkin’s Estate has this lovely teahouse behind the elegant main house and on this fresh April day, everyone was happy to be standing in the early sun watching two wonderful people make it real.
Are you planning a wedding? Have you taken into account all of the possible flavors of weather you might encounter? I ask because, lately, our tried and true local weather has become less predictable. Portland’s longtime favorite wedding month of August is now likely to bake you right out of your mind. Maybe it’s time to move some of these events over into the shoulder seasons of early Summer or late Fall or to at least consider venues with indoor/outdoor options.
Oops, gotta run… sun is out now and I have a little yard work to do before it rains again! ;0)
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)
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.
One of the best things about this job is the chance to look back, to look in the rear view mirror. Many of my wedding clients go on to make scrumptious families and I get to watch them grow. It’s a slow process and if I work with someone fairly often, it isn’t as evident to me until I start putting pictures from the different times side by side.
Stephanie and Lee have been a favorite couple of mine… there is such an easy grace to their relationship. I saw it on the wedding day and in the planning beforehand and it continues as they raise their two rambunctious daughters.
The first one laid the groundwork for a couple of years before the second one came along. This latest session was a fine example of fully present parents and charming children with just enough wild in them to make life good.
If you haven’t considered keeping your favorite photographer on hand to document your family every now and then, you might want to think about it. I know this blog has been wedding-centric since it started in 2009 but in 2017, I plan on posting more of the other work here, too. Families and babies, sure, but also head shots and senior portraits and the like. People photography. ;0)
Onward to the New Year… it’s time to leave 2016 in the rear view mirror!
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)
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!
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!!
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!
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.
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)
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!
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)
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!