Jeannie + Anne's Downtown Portland Engagement
I really can't emphasize enough how well everything fell into place for this Portland trip. Only a week or so before my departure, Jen emailed me saying that two of her friends (who were also the witnesses at her elopement) had recently gotten engaged and would be interested in an engagement session. I could not have asked for a more fun and easygoing pair to work with!
As they are avid bibliophiles - particularly lovers of poetry - we decided to start our session at the famous Powell's City of Books. We didn't decide on this until after I had already been there earlier in the week scouting locations so when they threw out the idea I immediately jumped on it since it was one of the places I wanted to photograph in most. And for good reason; the shelved upon shelves of books spanning three levels and something like ten rooms was the perfect backdrop for Jeannie's and Anne's relaxed session since we wanted to emulate a simple afternoon date in the book store. Although they'd thought about dressing fancier at first, they settled on coordinating hoodies since that's their signature style and it suited the mood of the shoot nicely.
The most difficult part of shooting at Powell's was trying to find a spot sans people. On a Sunday afternoon, the store was teeming with readers so we walked through almost every room before finding this quiet nook in the top corner, naturally, in the photography section. The best part was the copious amount of natural light shining into the dark store from this wall of windows, even providing a beautiful spotlight on their faces in later images.
Once we had our fill of the "reading poetry together on the top of the bookshelf" (and not getting in trouble!) images, we wandered around a little more searching for a spot I had noticed on my scouting trip but of which was unable to recall the exact location. Thinking it was near the kids' section, we happened upon another cute idea: a few shots of them sitting on the floor reading children's books to each other. For the whimsically-minded, a bookstore really is the perfect place for an engagement session.
We finally found the spot I was looking for - a bench right in the middle of the Young Adult bookshelves obviously meant for some teenager to hide themselves from the world and read for hours - and had to kick an older couple off before being able to use it. And by "kick off," I do mean we asked nicely and they graciously left, I wouldn't actually bully someone just for a good photo location (but maybe for a great one.)
The second location we'd selected to get some of that "Portland flair" was the Eastbank Esplanade so we could get a good view of the Willamette and downtown. At this point, we were nearing golden hour, and the soft, warm light helped create a beautiful romantic glow as we walked (me excitedly hopping up and down at each click) from photogenic spot to photogenic spot. To add some color and a bit of nature to their shoot, Annie of Floral Sunshine had made a lovely bouquet that not only fit our color scheme perfectly, but also featured kale! Though I don't like using cheesy props for photos, this gorgeous arrangement enhanced the images rather than distracting from the couple's love for each other.
One of my very favorite photos from this shoot came about as a happy accident (as all great photos seem to) when they happened to look out over the water while on the metal ramp to the dock. Although I was in the middle of saying something, upon seeing their reflections in the metal I let my sentence trail off and threw my viewfinder up to my eye - the reason I constantly have a bruised nose - to capture the scene.
Throughout the session we just chatted about Portland, where I'd photographed so far and still needed to go, what their story was, how nice the weather turned out to be for our shoot and how wonderful the flowers smelled so that by the time I'd taken my last images I felt like we were friends. Reliving these Portland shoots only has me more resolved to return this year so I can meet more fantastic couples, drink more delicious coffee and push the creative bounds of my travel photography.