She is style. She is grace. She didn’t land on her face.
I knew I was going to have fun at this session, I didn’t know how much, but I am glad we got this one in before COVID struck. Again, this was pre-pandemic, so no masks, no high anxiety, and no wondering if we were breaking any laws or mandates. I am just behind in blogging!
A few years ago, I started photographing the Storm City Roller Girls when I could. Going to the bouts and just having a blast watching them. My minion would come with and we made a mom/daughter date out of it. So when Sarah and Stacey decided it was time that they finally got married, I was super happy that they chose me as their photographer.
Cut to January where we met up at McMenamin’s Edgefield for their engagement session. Last time I was there, I stumbled across a sweet little library tucked away from everything else. Since it was still morning and a little chilly, we started there.
Cozy little tables and nooks along with a nice little library so that they could pretend to be reading, and of course attempting to mimic the painting behind them. Makes my massive anxiety before any shoot just evaporate.
We left through a side door and headed to the back steps. The light was a little spotty, but they didn’t seem to mind.
My problem with Edgefield, is that every time I am there, I find new spots that I love. I would always pass up this little building, it is either super busy, or hidden from me during concerts. But being there in the morning, it let us finally check it out. I am in love with the pathway and how cute the place is.
Let’s also not pass up how much fun these two were having during this entire shoot. Speaking of, I believe it was shortly after this that the “tree incident happened”
That little GIF that you saw when you first started reading? Yeah, it was all this tree’s fault. It taunted Sarah and convinced her that she could totally climb it. So of course, she took on the challenge in what would definitely be a “hold my beer and watch this” moment.
Here it is in all of its glory.
After we were all done laughing, and making sure she was ok, I had them walk it off and snapped some along the way.
We rounded the corner of the building and came across the big entrance, with the fancy fountain and everything. Being January in the Pacific Northwest, it was turned off, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t use it.
On another one of my adventures here, I found a path lined with plants that led to a hidden courtyard, so why not head there for this session as well. Let’s also not forget that Sarah wanted to make sure that her style was shown here as well.
And it has this really cool tree that works well for some backlit shots. Even during the day, if we can find a darker spot, we can make some magic.
In winter, the herb garden isn’t as colorful as spring, but they do have some cool structures and benches, in pure McMenamins style. Plus, the sun was finally deciding to play along with us.
We ended in front of my favorite wall. Behind the Powerhouse is the giant brick wall that has gorgeous ivy growing all over, plus a few Adirondack chairs to just grab drinks and chill. Sarah and Stacey thought that it would be the perfect place for a thumb wrestling match instead.
After being outside for awhile in the January cold, we headed into the Powerhouse for some tots and beer to warmup and relax.
While Covid has forced the postponement of these twos wedding, I can’t wait to celebrate the marriage of these two!
When the Stewart family told me of their annual tradition, I knew that I had to work with them.
The session started like every other family session, with the kids contemplating how much they really wanted to be involved. But with some coaxing we got them to have some fun together. At one point, they even decided to share a jacket since it was so cold outside.
We used their backyard for the images as they loved it and they a perfect backdrop. It was the end of the fall, so we got some color, but we got perfect natural lighting.
And some really sweet family ones before the big transformation.
We got into our cars and headed down the road a bit for an industrial view of Camas, WA. Why you must ask?
Because they had some Incredible things to do! Get it? My horrible word play?
Apparently they all dress up together for Halloween, and then use those same costumes for their holiday cards every year. I think that it’s a fantastic tradition!
Now to see who they choose to dress up as this fall!
I get it. You have a fancy smartphone and it takes pictures and they look ok for what you are offering through your business. But, I want you to step back now and look at what the other businesses that are similar to yours are doing. I know, I know, if you’re like me, you consistently tell yourself that you shouldn’t be doing this comparison, but this is for another reason.
Do those businesses marketing images have the same style, look, and ideas that you are presenting to your audience? If so, how are you making yourself stand out?
One of the situations that I come across in commercial photography is that when I look at a brand’s social media, I can tell if they are just out there using their smartphone, or if they have someone that is bringing in some professionalism with some camera knowledge.
Now using a smartphone is NOT a bad thing. There are multiple opportunities that present themselves for a perfect image to tell your brand’s story, but they should not be the only images that you are presenting. Even if you are using a local marketing company to run all of your media, you should not allow them to only use images that they captured with their phones.
Visuals are the way to catch your customers on social media.
You may think that the witty wording that goes along with your quick pic is what they want, but research has shown that if you can’t catch their eye with the image, people are just going to scroll on by.
Here is a quick example below of what can be done in a short amount of time by hiring a professional photographer to build your visuals. I did a quick cell phone shot of my setup. But then I added in knowledge of lighting and adjustments on camera settings, and BOOM. It was now raining and dark on a clear day. Thank you to my daughter with the hose providing the water and not spraying me with it.
Big difference, right? Sure, I could have just taken my phone and taken an image of the cans to give back, but would it have made you stopped your scrolling? Probably not.
Like I stated above, there is a time and place for using your phone for your images. Like something fun happening, a quick candid shot of the new products that just came in, and behind the scenes. But weaving those in with images that wow will keep people watching what you are doing and want to be part of it all.
So here is what I am offering. I am starting up a monthly subscription service for images that are built specifically for your business. Either I personally come in and shoot at your place, or you can send products to me, I can photograph them, and then send them back. Nothing is super intrusive that would require you to shut anything down. It’s actually better if you are in full operations at the time for more authenticity.
And guess what, it can cost you as little as $100 a month to have a growing library of images for you to use at any time, and in any way that you wish. You can even send them to an outside marketing service that you use if you wish!
So if you are ready to step up your visual game, contact me at email@example.com, and lets set up a complimentary consultation and chat about what we can do by working together.
If you would like to read more about how commercial photography can help you out, check out any of my articles that I had the privilege to write for the Vancouver Business Journal.
I really tried to get us into the Timbers stadium on an off day for these two, but we were denied. Being fans of the team, I thought it would have been perfect! But, I suck at smooth-talking people. So instead, we met just outside the stadium and used some of the awesome architecture to kick off their session.
One of my favorite things to do during a session is to just start exploring. It may the session a tad bit longer, but we find some real gems along the way. As we were walking towards a building I saw a few roads over, we got a nice view of the Timbers Stadium/Providence Park and got to incorporate the signage.
Speaking of the building, it was the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and its looks that caught my eye. I mean, look at those doors! I mean, look at this adorable couple!
I think the unplanned moments and stops are my favorite. As we were walking around the back to get to the park, I saw this scene. I am so happy when the couple wants to play along.
As I am trying to post only one blog a week, it’s taken a bit to get to all my sessions. So, as you can tell by the leaves, this was a gorgeous fall day in Portland.
After the park, we hopped back into our cars and headed down to their favorite bar for some drinks and relaxing.
When in downtown Portland, you have to stop at Powell’s, its a law. You also have to find ridiculous books to use in your images. Perfect for some pre-marital advice.
We were going to wrap it up there, but we saw these lights coming from the armory and ducked in there. LOOK AT THIS WALL OF LIGHTS!
With the majority of the session being natural light and outside, we felt that adding some light to the situation is always a good idea. The clerk inside was very nice and let us play around. There was a show going on inside, so as long as we didn’t disturb people (who were in a closed-door theater anyway) we were free to roam.
Outside is where we hung out as the sun faded and took some of the last images of this session, and to play with their hats.
Shannon and Matt’s destination wedding was suppose to happen this year and then a party in downtown Vancouver to celebrate with everyone. But we all know what is really happening this year. SO, I am excited to hang out with these two in 2021 for their reception! And most likely go grab a beer with them when it’s safe and hang out.
I was so excited when Katrina and Lennon wanted to head down to the Witches Castle in Forest Park! Its a short little hike with some gorgeous scenery along the way, and perfect for an engagement session.
The path drops steeply and winds down to a cool little bridge spanning the creek below. The trick is timing everything so you don’t get the other hikers in your shot.
From there, the trail meanders through the woods and along Balch Creek. Lots of spots to play around in the water and soak in the scenery.
Contrary to the name, the Witches Castle is neither a castle nor have anything to do with witches. It is in fact a dilapidated stone bathroom from the 1930s. A storm came through and caused so much damage, that the Portland Parks Department decided not to refurbish it. Since then, it’s been open for the public to crawl all over and enjoy the stonework. It also makes an amazing backdrop.
The castle was our main goal, so after playing around here for a bit, we started making our way back up to the top. Stopping along the way to find more spots.
To wrap up the session, we used the bridge a little bit more. Coming back up from the bottom you can capture the trees all around it.
Heading down to the Witches Castle is easy, its coming back up the switchbacks that get you.
Still, a great time with these two and cant wait to capture their wedding in August!
Let me tell you about Megan and her awesome kids.
Megan wanted a special session that celebrated her kids and herself. They live in the Camas, wa area, so why NOT celebrate in their gorgeous downtown. We met up on a fall day in front of the Liberty theater and started our wanderings from there.
Knowing Megan wanted to celebrate a special announcement, we hunted down the perfect little window.
We finished where we started, in the front of the iconic theater.
Thank you so much for being such an amazing family to hang out with and capture!
I met Jessica at Tap Union in Vancouver, WA, to start planning her engagement session with John and their plans for their wedding.
They wanted to have some fun outside, and it was still winter, so why not head up to Mount Hood and play in the snow?
While most of the trailheads and parking lots get packed during the weekend on the mountain, there are a few where we can have some spots to ourselves, minus a few snowmobilers going by now and then. And of course, they brought their fur baby along.
While they are getting married on June 12th, things have definitely changed due to the pandemic. Instead of the large gathering of friends and family, they are having a small gathering in a family members backyard and then a larger celebration next year when this is hopefully all over.
This session was captured a few months before the pandemic, so we were still allowed to have close contact and have some fun as a group in the snow.
These two are so sweet together. Jessica was even brave to shed her jacket in the cold weather.
It lasted a little bit until the coat had to go back on, and the pup wanted to join back in.
And as football fans in the Pacific Northwest, they had to include their jerseys.
Congratulations to Jessica and John and I will see you shortly for your ceremony!
Did you know that you could get married inside of Powell’s Books? I didn’t. And not the main store areas where I have captured a few engagement sessions, but my favorite spot, the rare book room. That is precisely what Mitch and Megan did back in November.
I met Mitch and his family outside of the Rare Book Room and got them all together for their family images along the walls of books.
When the book room opened, we all fit inside to wait the arrival of Megan.
Also, bookcases make the perfect aisle.
Both Megan and Mitch had vows that made the whole room cry with lots of literary references and how awesome that they are together.
And then, the kiss.
Being in the perfect room already, and all of their direct, close relatives, the formals were quite a breeze.
ALL of the hugs and happiness being passed around.
The dinner and reception were both being held in two different locations, so I stole the couple while everyone else went to the locations to setup and wait for them. This time, we got to roam the entire book store.
Congratulations to Megan and Mitch!
When Shar reached out to me to schedule her engagement session, I know they were the perfect couple to work with. We met up at Heathen for a beer and then went over to Tap Union for even more beers and the fire pit. We automatically hit it off and knew that their session would be a blast.
We got a nice fall day to head into downtown Portland as the Portland sign was high on their list of locations.
I love Old Town Portland and the architecture. This building has always caught my eye down there. So glad that Shar and Isaiah went along with everything.
And of course, right across from this building is waterfront park. They also brought their pup out for the fun excursion.
Shar and Isaiah had been friends for a long time before taking the step into the relationship. And that moment happened over at Widmer. However, the taproom is now closed, so we hung around outside to capture some memories.
We even talked a tenant of the apartment building adjacent to the building to let us sneak into the courtyard to use the fountain. It worked well with the height difference of these two <3.
Before we wrapped up the session, we hit the park adjacent to where we parked for just a few more shots. The fall colors on the ground always help.
Congratulations to Shar and Isaiah! I hope they are doing well during this quarantine!
When I met Megan and Taylor, I was hanging out in a parking lot with a friend and pretended that we had no idea what was about to happen. After a steep hike (where Taylor would randomly yell encouragement to me like I was a stranger), my friend (who is also a fantastic photographer) and I captured Taylor proposing to Megan on the Cape Horn trail. It was magical and awesome. You can read more about that here.
Once Megan said yes, and the wedding planning started, we booked an official engagement session in the fall at Cathedral Park.
Cathedral Park is known for the architecture of the bridge that is above it, but the paths, lamp posts, and sooo many colorful trees make it a great spot in the fall.
It’s also a good spot for a leaf fight.
We arrived about two hours before the sunset. To the southwest of the park lay the hills of Portland, so I wanted to make sure that we could catch some gorgeous rays before the place turned dark.
What makes the bridge special? These arches! They frame everything beautifully, and as a fan of architecture, I love them.
Most people just stay on the north side of the park, but if you walk down towards the water, it opens up to some great views.
Speaking of the waterfront, they do have a little fishing dock thats a great spot to watch the sun fall behind the hills.