Every bride has a wish list. It’s no surprise that parts of her photography coverage will include items on her wish list. It’s my job to find out what she has in mind… to be sure that we communicate in detail about the parts of the day that she has dreamed about. Case in point, I don’t usually look for a huge landscape with a tiny couple in it when I consider portraits. It is a trend in today’s wedding imagery that sort of baffles me because it takes the emotional content out of view.
Last week, I had a a great little wedding in Old Town Alexandria. The Morrison House Hotel was the venue and my couple really wanted a portrait on the front staircase… they had seen one like it during their planning sessions. It was a classic sort of space and it made for a nice image. It may not classify as a portrait, per se, but I am sure it will satisfy her wish and will remind them of this happy day for a long time to come.
If you are making plans, local or destination, I’d be happy to talk to you!
The Final Frontier is the phrase that comes to mind when I look at this picture… my couple asked me to step into the men’s room high above Portland at the Nines’s Hotel. They have explored the Nines over several visits from Seattle and they really liked the trippy light and the strange colors on the rooftop level. Departures is not always available for camera time but we were lucky to have about 20 minutes to play before they opened it to the popular afternoon cocktails and fine dining crowd.
Our keys to this rarefied kingdom came from Charlotte Bell… she has to be the most helpful hotel event coordinator I have ever worked with! The entire event from start to finish was in the hotel and every section of it came off without a hitch. Charlotte took me up to Tiffany’s room and then was available with her express key to get us to the roof for a first look. From there down to the lobby for group photos and then back to the roof to play before the ceremony. Never once did we have to wait for her and that tells me that my bride and groom were well taken care of.
The planning is important but the people who will be on hand to see those plans through, those people are priceless.
I guess it had to happen eventually… our professional photographic community got an e mail from The Nines Hotel this week detailing a new fee schedule for any photographs taken on their property. This makes sense for a hotel trying to just be a hotel instead of a destination for anyone in town with a camera… yes, it’s a very pretty space but it’s a private space and, understandably, they have gotten very tired of tripping over photographers. I get that. My concern is that the brides might not understand and it will be a budget issue in every case. The fees are high enough to give everyone pause, high enough that the wedding client should not expect her photographer to carry the fee. If you are planning your wedding day with this hotel as part of it, please be ready for the conversation with your professional photographer.
There is also now an annual fee to photograph clients in Portland’s public spaces… if your photographer doesn’t have that big yellow permit hanging from her bag, chances are you might get kicked out of the park. These are things that you, as clients, need to be aware of. Do your homework, hire the pros so that your plans go smoothly.
If this is the beginning of the crackdown, we will all need to step back and have a very serious discussion about expectations on both sides of the issue. Maybe it’s time to require that photographers be licensed… maybe if we are actually serious about this line of work, we will treat it more carefully, with more respect.
Happy to answer any questions you might have in this complicated process.
Every photographer in Portland has shot this great space at the Ace Hotel… it was made for my kind. What I am hoping to bring to the front in this image is that my couples are not required to be on point for the entire portrait session on the wedding day. I want every couple to have a few minutes to themselves without my interference… they need some time away from the crowd to marvel at their new beginnings… face time without the rest of us in the way.
In my post last week, I was talking about taking the time to do some good portraits. Well, in this one, Erin and Rob had to stay still for the 12 second exposure… they did pretty well. I used a Pinhole camera, a beautiful wooden box with a tiny hole in it so only a pinhole’s worth of light gets to the film. That makes it a slow process but a special one. From there, I have to scan the negative to make it compatible with the rest of the wedding images.
My summer clients get the chance to try the non-digital approach for some of their portraits… I can’t always use them so I don’t make any hard and fast promises but when the conditions of light and time are met, we can make images from another time and that can be a wonderful thing.
Every wedding day goes by too fast. As a photographer, I spend that day in documentary mode… not posing, not directing, not getting in the way. However, I firmly believe that I am entitled to about 15 minutes of uninterrupted time with my couple away from the crowd. If possible, I’ll take 15 minutes twice during the day. I want it to be when the light is good and it is important that they can relax for a bit. The relaxing is the hard part for a lot of people so the less posing, the better. I find that the personalities will come to the surface and I can usually pull that mood into the setting. The portraits should fit the couple.
Erin and Rob gave me so many cool chances that muggy day… we were at the Jupiter Hotel and somehow,it looks like a small southern town. We had some very urban corners to work in and they brought all of their love and feisty spirit to bear. And then they moved to Texas. I hope they come back to Portland soon… great people!
I think it’s important to have a collection of images from the wedding feast without making those awkward fork-in-face close ups. If you have a buffet service, it’s easy enough to showcase the food before it’s on the plates but if you have a seated dinner it becomes a different thing altogether. Ambiance and mood are key elements in any reception. As a photographer, I still have to bring it back for the bride and groom but I have to avoid embarrassing anyone. With any luck, I am still mostly invisible in the process.
Where to start? Tricia and Dave came to Portland from sunny Palm Desert to get married in our beautiful Lan Su Gardens. Tricia came into the day like a house afire… she wanted to go to as many Portland spots for pictures as possible. Given the window of time we had, she scaled it back to some interesting spaces that we could walk to on the way from The Nines to the Garden. We stumbled across The 24 Hour Church of Elvis… for 50¢ you can get married there… you just have to push all of the right bright buttons and answer the many questions on the screen. It was a lot of fun to watch! From there to the Chinatown Gate and on to Voodoo Donuts and The Paris Theatre… honestly, it was a marvelous carnival mix… we all came away smiling. As we walked, a pedicab driver offered us a free ride for the remaining two blocks… all of this was just the beginning of a great celebration.
Luckily, the rain held mostly until the end of the ceremony and the rabbi didn’t seem to mind that they were already married in the eyes of Elvis.
A lot of credit for this day goes to the vendors… they made it work even when the skies opened…
Dave made an interesting contribution… he designed four Saketinis for the party… the reviews were good! Vibrant Table ran the show and fed everyone a lot of really great food. Page Winograd also of Vibrant Table, did her floral magic, even incorporating some of the family’s antique fans. Finales made a series of delicious cakes… inspired by henna tattoos. Takohachi Taiko entertained the diners with a fascinating drum ensemble. Swingline Cubs got everyone up and dancing. Continue reading →
April 24th was a fine day to get married… a little cool and breezy… just the kind of Portland day you hope for in the Spring. These two are new to our city and have completely embraced it… I think they will be a good addition. In their first meeting, Betsy made it clear that she wasn’t looking for the typical details shots… no shoes or lingerie fluff for her. When I got to the hotel, she very carefully arranged her watch on the lilacs in the room… then she put it in the pocket of her marvelous dress.
Betsy and Alex made the old fashioned choice to not see each other before the ceremony… it required a little fancy dancing to keep them from running into each other at the Art Museum but we had the ever talented Molli of Bon Soiree keeping tabs on them. These two hired a veritable dream team of vendors and it made for a great run… Vibrant Table staged the room and catered a great meal. Page, also of Vibrant Table, designed the lovely floating tulips. Eric Wright, Portland’s consummate music man, had the dance floor jammed and jumping all night!
It always seems to go by so fast… even with all those watches. ;0)
My lucky life has more of this in it… the oddities stumbled upon. Seems as if I spend a great deal of time working at the computer for other people these days and I miss the sense of adventure… maybe chance is what I should call it.
I need to grab a little more time for me. That’s a given.
This particular scene is on the way into Santa Fe… right there on the side of the road. Seems that the owner/artist has a blow-in insulation company and he has crafted all of these life sized foam creatures in the yard by his house.
I passed by it a couple of times before I drove up to the house to ask permission. I am pleased to share the planet with all sorts of people. ;0)
The massive crab on the Governor Hotel used to show up every summer in the ’90’s… it was a promo for Jake’s Grill and I was always amused to see it up there. Well, one day I got serious and went downtown on a mission. Having waited too long on a few other things in my life, I was determined to make sure I showed up for this one.
My favorite personal film for the longest time was Kodak’s Infrared… all of the images in this post are that flavor. For all that digital has made reasonable progress, they have yet to bring this one to the table. I will keep my fingers crossed.
The Pterodactyl in Pioneer Place was a real surprise. I wish I had taken note of the artist’s name so that I could give proper credit here. It had a full, articulated wing span and I left out the beautiful wings and their supporting structure in this picture because I needed it to be more organic somehow… in film I didn’t have the chance to leave out the shiny metal rods. Makes me wonder how I might shoot it today since I have more tricks up my photographic sleeve?
Makes me wonder if that is a good thing…
I do believe photographs should be honest and I will try to keep that promise to myself.