Walking to your wedding can be pretty cool. Think about it… maybe it’s just the two of you and your photographer walking from the Nines Hotel to the Chinese Garden. Maybe you have a cool and cloudy day and you have to carry a wrap but nothing else. Maybe your photographer is carrying just the amount of gear she needs for the walking, knowing that her big bag is being dealt with by her assistant who is also moving the car. Meanwhile, your bridal party and family are moving towards the garden, too, bringing all of your stuff. The posed pictures have been done and we have timed it so that you have some spare time to play.
All this means that for about a half an hour, the three of you are making interesting personal images and getting used to each other before you join the rest of your crowd and before the nerves kick back in for the ceremony. There was the stop at the gate to China Town and then the quick dip into Voodoo Doughnuts followed by some sultry shots at the adult theatre with the old marquee lights. Then, just as you were getting a little worried about the time, that nice Pedicab driver gave you a free lift the last four blocks to the garden… just because. ;0)
Portland was a destination wedding for these two and they wanted to be sure to put some Portland into their day… this was a small but heartfelt chance to do just that.
The Aisle Walk is that great part of the day when you have made it past the hard work… nothing but good times ahead, right? Emotionally, this walk is a real mix for most people… sometimes the newlyweds are able to focus on the faces of their friends as they swing by and sometimes they are too stunned to focus on anything except getting out of sight for a few minutes. Mostly, I see huge amounts of joy and the camera loves that. ;0)
Personally, I think this is one of the best arguments for doing the formal group photos before the wedding. The Aisle Walk is the beginning of the face time with your guests and you can bet they are ready to get on with it! If you can dive right into the crowd during a cocktail hour, no one is going to feel left out. Receiving lines and bossy photographers can harsh that vibe in a heartbeat. Plan on getting the “business” photography out of the way early and then, if you and your photographer want a small session of relaxed portraits, it can be done easily.
A lot of my couples opt for a 15 minute session right before dinner… they get to have most of the cocktail hour and then when their guests are starting to jockey for a table, we head out into the softer light and get the romantic shots. Nobody misses you for that short time and, if you like, you can be announced to the crowd when you come back. Party on!
I love my job!
History is a fluid thing… we make it every day. Some of it will get saved for years and some of it will evaporate in a few hours. As a fairly recent invention, photographs have given us a way to look at history a little differently than other types of art. Photographs are personal and portable… you can pass them down to the generations to follow and hope that they continue to be shared.
In my head, I imagine the youngsters at this pool table, many years from now… old enough to have have grown kids and grandchildren of their own. Someone will pull out an old album or a beautiful box of special things and this photo will be in it. The kids will hear the story of the grand hotel in downtown Portland with the little library off of the huge lobby. Someone will say that the history of the hotel mentions that it used to be an iconic department store… that their Great Grandmother used to meet her friends for lunch at the Georgian Room on the 10th floor.
I don’t know about you but history is astounding and I like helping to keep some of it alive. ;0)
Happy New Year to everyone!
Planning on having framed prints from your wedding reception? You have seen them… usually a nice portrait framed in a fat mat so that the guests can all sign it, right? Tiffany and Jon had this sweet little piece designed for them as a way to include their silly Corgis and their guests all in one place. The fingerprint inks were chosen for leaf colors and it was fun watching the guests decide where to place their leaves on the tree. If you like the idea, there is a Pinterest page with some cute ideas on fingerprint art. It’s a nice, modern version of the signing board.
The Nines Hotel made sure they had a good sized and carefully covered table stocked with cleaning wipes for after the prints… if you decide to set one of these up, make sure your guests can clean their fingers, ok?
Next time I go to Seattle, I’ll expect to see it hanging in their cute home. ;0)
I meet some of the nicest people in this work… these two were a lot of fun throughout the entire process!
Dave was lost in thought a few times as he got dressed for his wedding on that rainy day in May. He was paying close attention to the details so I tried not to intrude very much. There is a process to dressing, yes, but you can bet there is a process to getting ready to get married… an interior conversation that goes on. His best man and his father were in the other part of the suite and we could hear the comfortable humor of two men who were there for back-up. Pretty soon the four of us were downstairs in the library of the Nines Hotel… the men began playing pool while they waited for the women.
Upstairs, Tricia was smiling and sharing sake with her mom and sister… her mood happily contagious. When her dress was finally finished, I asked if she was ready to go see Dave. Her answer was purely visible… a twinkle of an almost tear in her eyes.
There was an amazing day ahead of them…the unexpected stop at the 24 Hour Church of Elvis and the quick drop into Voodoo Donuts before arriving at the Lan Su Chinese Garden… all of the details and flavors of the day swirling through my cameras. I am sure they will never forget their lovely and lucky wedding. ;0)
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.
For accuracy, the original e mail: Continue reading