Posts in Portland Oregon
2018 Reflection: The Building Year

I like to use the changing of the calendar year as a start- and end-point to evaluate my metrics and to reevaluate my goals. This is the first time that I ended the year with a very different sense of achievement than I began: I entered hoping to bolster my bookings and set my goals accordingly. But I ended having learned the true “why” behind my drive to do each of these types of photoshoots. In essence, my work has become not just about the end product (typically a storybook photo album) but the entire experience of the session, and by extension an enjoyment of life.

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November 24, 2018 Intimate Wedding at Clarklewis || Portland, OR

A couple weeks ago I got to live out one of my many dreams; I got to photography a wedding in Portland. The milestone was exciting, but it was my experience at the wedding that really reminded me why I began photographing weddings in the first place. Every single piece of this celebration - from the seating assignments using a photo of one or both of the brides with the assignee to the dozen toasts to the chorus of every guest singing the final ceremony song - was personal. The atmosphere of the entire day was one of thoughtfulness, of peace, of brilliant happiness (both for the couple and from them.)

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Travel Prints || Portland, Oregon Film Photography

In the span of my first three trips to Portland, I shot five rolls of film. On this past trip, I shot five rolls of film.

Street photography has become meditative for me. Since I’m shooting only for myself, it allows me space to try new things while developing my style, to continually train my eye to find the story. It’s also a time for me to “unwind,” to let everything else on my mind melt away for a couple hours while I focus solely on the sights around me.

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Cannon Beach Roadtrip: Making Friends as I Go

I talk about that a lot - not having a plan. That’s become rather important to me this year. I mean, obviously it’s useful to have some sort of game plan for a lot of things (I know several routes I’d like to explore in my business next, for example), but the key is to not get hung up on one objective, not fixate on one goal. So, when I organized the trip, all I said was that I wanted to go to the coast and I wanted to take photos, and that if we added in a winery visit I would not complain.

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Portland in November Days 1-3: A Little Bit of Everything

I finished up what turned out to be one of the best days I’d had in a good while with a delicious meal at Thai Peacock. Noodles are good in all circumstances, but perfectly cooked Pad Thai with crispy trout after a very long day of photography really hit the spot. As I took the bus back to the house, I reflected once again on what an amazing journey it’s been: from that first feeling that Portland was the place to start, to this day capturing the love of two people I would never have gotten to be friends with had I not taken the initial plunge. Sometimes things happen slower than you want them to, but now that I’m on the other side enjoying the fruits of all my hard work, I can see that every bit of it was worth it for a day like this.

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Travel Prints || Portland Film Photos

Interestingly enough, while I've spent the most time out of any destination in Portland, Oregon I've shot the least amount of film there. This is probably because I'm always there to do portrait sessions, which I still shoot in digital. Nonetheless, each day as I'm walking to my meetings or shoots, I always have my Vivitar locked and loaded. Along the way, I've created some images I'm quite happy with, a very basic beginning in capturing the flavor of the city. 

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Portland Family Photoshoot || Alison, Tom and Josie's In-Home Session

Alison, Tom and Josie were one such family. When Jen put us in touch, Alison said that they hadn't had any family photos made since their daughter, Josie, now three-and-a-half years old, was born - it was definitely time to change that! A family who loves simple pleasures, they wanted to do their photoshoot in their home to "capture the simple joy of being together just the three of us." I love in-home sessions for that exact reason; not only do they put my subjects at ease in front of the camera because they're in their own home, but they allow me to capture how they actually live their day-to-day lives. To me, these lifestyle sessions are the essence of what my brand is about: documenting the simple moments that my clients will want to remember years later. Not to mention, photographing inside meant we didn't have to worry about the constant Portland March rain!

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Film Photography || Original Prints For Sale

When I picked up my now 10-year-old 35mm film camera last year, I didn't really know how this was going to affect my work. At first, I just shot a few rolls around town to enjoy being outside while photographing something other than portraits. But then, I brought my camera and 6 rolls of film with me on my family trip to Ireland and realized that the missing piece in my work, what I'd been trying to put together for all these years, was this travel photography in film.

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Portland Day 1: Same Old Portland

It's funny traveling to a city that's at once all the way across the country and yet so familiar. Now on my third trip to Portland, while the city doesn't feel like "home" precisely, I've found it easy to jump right into the rhythm of life here without even thinking about it. 

One of the best part of traveling from East coast to West is the time change: the only way I function decently after getting up at 7:30am is when it actually feels like 10:30! I walked the girls to the bus stop as usual, then quickly got ready and headed off to my first meeting of the day, a wedding consult for a couple whose engagement photos I shot last year.

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Portland Family Session + Birthday Celebration

Since they hadn't gotten photos with the whole family together in quite a long time, we started the gorgeous sunlit evening with some group portraits out in front of the house - first with just Sue and her daughters, then with spouses as well. Not only did their outfit colors all coordinate with each other (and the house!), but they had so many perfect seating spots for portraits - especially the wooden swing - so I felt like the yard was made just to be a photographer's playground. 

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Meet the Photographer || Betting on Myself

Music has been an essential part of my life for as long as I can remember: I don't start driving without choosing a song, I immediately turn on a playlist when I get home, I live for seeing live shows. There are certain songs and records that define each and every period of my life. For the past 6.5 years - since I left home and set off on the journey towards "adulthood" or whatever this is - Imagine Dragons (the band) has provided me with the majority of these tracks. I could discuss them for days, but the best of them all that literally gave me the defining moment to move forward into a new phase of my life is "Bet My Life" off their sophomore album Smoke and Mirrors

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2018 Goals

Each year, right around Christmas, I evaluate my goals from the ending year and then write out my goals for the coming year. I them let them sit for a few weeks while I evaluate other metrics - making sure that these are the goals that really resonate - and eventually come back to them during the first week of the new year to write this blog post. This year I've been so busy that I'm just now getting to it!

Nonetheless, I'm more than a little excited about this coming year. While each of the past 6 years has brought be a step closer to my ultimate career goals, this coming year is the first one where I feel like I'm really on the right track towards doing exactly what I want to be doing. It took me a while to figure out that exact intersection where my skills, enthusiasm for the work and ability to help people all coincide to create my "calling", but I'm only 24 so it's hard to complain. So, without further ado, here are my intended plans for 2018!

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2017: Love and Lessons

New Year's Eve has always been one of my favorite holidays. Not for the parties or the food (okay, maybe the food) but because it's a collective time of reflection and refocusing. I've always been a very goal-oriented person (which is both a blessing and a curse) so for my business, this gives me a very specific deadline to analyze not only the growth and financial status of my business, but also gauge my passion for the work I've been doing and decide what I want to pursue further. I'll discuss in my next post what my goals are for the year, but as it's still 2017 for a couple hours, I want to look back at the goals I set for myself this time last year and reflect on just how beautiful this year was for me. 

So here, in the same order as I wrote them last year, are my 2017 goals and how well they played out: 

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Portland Day 1: All of My Favorite Things

I started off my first full day in Portland bright and early, catching the bus at 7:30 to get over to Cathedral Park for my first session. I was really hoping that since it was actually 10:30am in Asheville I might have an easier time waking up, but no such luck. So with bleary eyes, I transferred to the MAX along with every other person in Beaverton and attempted to not stick out as we bumped and jostled our way along. I certainly can't speak for everyone, but whenever I travel I always feel this need to look as un-touristy as possible (perhaps a reflex from being an American abroad), but trying to look unmoved as I repeatedly jolted from side-to-side, white-knuckling the hand rail, was a bit difficult. It did wake me up though!

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Mudiyanur Family Photo Album

Every album comes with its own set of storytelling challenges and for family albums, that challenge is generally making sure each person has their fair share of page space. For this album, we used a mix of sibling photos, spreads with all three girls (the sisters plus their cousin), and a few individual pages and spreads to give each sister the spotlight. 

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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! 

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Jen and John's Mt. Tabor Elopement in Portland, OR

These two almost-weds had selected the crest of Mt. Tabor Park as the place to make their vows, so we grabbed what we needed for their ceremony and hiked up the numerous steps to the top, coming out into a grove of evergreen trees. Jen and John both practice mindfulness, so they wanted to begin their ceremony with a few minutes of silence as they readied themselves for marriage. Their unique idea was to set up a circle of flowers which they would each step into once they were ready to begin. In a stroke of genius, Jen had the idea to bring a hula hoop in order to create a perfect circle (this hula hoop also served a photographic purpose later in the shoot) so Jen, John and their two friends/witnesses set about selecting greenery and placing flowers from Costco around the hoop.  

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Jen and John's Portland Coffeeshop Engagement

"Some people follow their dreams. Others hunt them down and beat them mercilessly into submission." This is the quotation that graced the back of our team t-shirts one year in high school and I've found it's applicable to a lot of things, especially business as I believe you really have to go after what you want. When I was planning my trip to Portland, OR last month, I knew I wanted to photograph a couple of engagement shoots and an elopement to use for my destination portfolio, so I sent out email upon email to local professionals hoping to find the right people to work with, and I did! As it happened, although he performs far more full weddings than elopements, Steve of A Beautiful Ceremony was officiating an elopement the very week I'd be there and as it was planned last minute, they did not have a photographer. Long story short because I'll be talking about the elopement later this week, they were delighted with the idea of actually having photos of their special moment and just as excited about the idea of getting some more casual engagement photos. 

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