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Entries in wedding (5)


Making the climb together (Portland destination wedding photographer)

My little family and I hiked Wahclella Falls one summer, a trip the guidebooks called an easy trek for the whole family. With our baby boy in a front-pack carrier and our preschool-aged daughter in hand, we climbed the narrow cliffside to get to the falls at the top. At times it was nerve-wracking for this anxious mom, but the view was definitely worth it.

A few months later, I met Eric and Susan, a sweet engaged couple who told me their plan was to get married beside that very same waterfall. I knew the falls would be a moving backdrop to start their forever, and I was excited to photograph it.

Eric, Susan and I had an instant connection. They are two of the most kind, fun and easy-going people I’ve ever met, and it was truly a joy to get to know them.

Recent transplants to the Pacific Northwest, Eric and Susan’s entire families flew from the Midwest for their destination wedding in the Columbia Gorge. Everyone from grandma to toddler nieces and nephews made the hike like champions, and it was so cool to see their all their faces as they caught their first glimpses of the falls.

After an intimate ceremony, we hiked back down the trail to the awaiting party bus. There was dancing and karaoke that made for the most fun bus ride you can imagine.

The party kept on going as the fun group arrived at the Firehouse, a charming fire station-turned restaurant in Northeast Portland.

Today marks one year since that amazing day these two took their vows. Eric and Susan, I’m so glad you picked me to share your beautiful day. Happy anniversary! Here’s to many, many years of beauty and adventure, and making the climb together.



Eight tips from a do-it-yourself-bride (Clackamas wedding photographer)

Are you a DIY bride? Craft Warehouse in Gresham is hosting its first-ever DIY by Design “I Do” event on Friday, May 8, 2015 from 5 to 9 p.m. Come and learn how to make your own invitations, tablescapes, jewelry for you and your bridesmaids, paper flowers and much more. There will also be free demos and giveaways. Craft Warehouse is located in Gresham Station at 687 N.W. 12th Street. If you haven’t visited their shop before, it’s a very inspiring place! I was so honored when they asked me to have a table, so stop by and say hi! For more information, call the shop at 503-907-3137.


Amanda and I were born two months apart, and our parents became friends when we were still infants. She is my oldest friend. I have great memories of driving to her house in Damascus and playing board games, doing crafts, listening to NKOTB, climbing trees and telling stories. Our time was so full and happy that even when I was older, I still always fell asleep on the car ride home. 

That’s why it was beyond meaningful to me to photograph her beautiful wedding to Jake in the backyard of her childhood home. 

Amanda, whose love of craft projects as a child grew into a full-blown passion as an adult, is a gifted artist who can make just about anything. 

With the help of her family and friends, Amanda hand-crafted just about all the little details that made her day special — invitations, decor, jewelry, signage, bouquets, her veil, etc. Other than the wedding attire, everything was handmade. 

“I know that professionals know what they’re doing, but I just like doing it on my own,” she said. “It gives me a sense of accomplishment.”

To plan her do-it-yourself wedding, Amanda said she started by thinking about what she wanted — an antique/country wedding — and chose sage, lavender and wheat as both a color palette and a recurring theme.

“I really had fun making the jewelry for everyone because it was something they could take with them, and I could make exactly what I wanted with the exact colors I wanted,” she said.

As the wedding day got closer, Amanda said she wondered if she was going to have enough decorations once they were all spread out in the space, but once she saw it all together, she was happy with the outcome. 

“I thought, ‘This really does look pretty darn good.’” 

 So here are eight tips from a lovely do-it-yourself bride who’s been there:

  •  Think about timing: Make sure you have plenty of time before you start projects. Remember it could take a lot longer than you think, especially if it’s not something you’ve tried before. “It’s easy to get carried away because it’s fun.”
  •  Make a list of projects early on: With a  complete list in hand, if anyone asks if they can help, you’ll know exactly what you need. You’ll also be able to prioritize and make sure the time-sensitive projects (invitations!) meet their deadlines. 
  • Solicit your friends: People are so willing to help if you give them a job and make it fun. Amanda said sitting on the porch with loved ones making centerpieces was one of the best experiences of wedding planning.
  • Don’t micro-manage: If you have loved ones who are willing to help you, just give them clear instructions and then try not to be critical if there’s a little extra glue or if the ribbon isn’t perfectly straight. These projects are an act of love. 
  • Break projects into smaller pieces in case disaster strikes: That way, if you mess something up or a detail changes, you can just fix one part of the project instead of starting from scratch. For example, Amanda and Jake had to change the venue partway through their planning, so they had to redo the invitations. Luckily, they had made them with three separate parts (card stock, vellum and ribbon) so they were able to just change the vellum printed part.
  • Be realistic about costs. Some projects will cost more than you think, especially if you don’t already own the right equipment. 
  • Give yourself a deadline of at least a few days before the wedding: You don’t want to be up until 2 in the morning the night before your wedding gluing burlap to vases. If it didn’t get it done in the weeks ahead, just let it go. 
  • Enjoy your day: “If you’re going to do everything yourself, then on day of the wedding you’re done. Just enjoy your day and let everyone else take care of the details.”



Putting a bird, and a ring, on it (Portland elopement photographer)

Ballgowns and ballrooms just weren’t in the plan for Tanis and Michael. When the adorable, longtime couple decided to tie the knot after 14 years together, they wanted a day that reflected their personalities. The North Vancouver, B.C. natives both love Portland and “Portlandia,” the show that skewers all the unique/hipster/silly and nontraditional aspects our town, and incidentally the elopement they planned could have made for an episode of the show.

After a few days of enjoying our food carts and sights, the couple got married in a quirky ceremony inside Portland’s most famous pastry haven, Voodoo Donuts. With a line full of customers as witnesses, the couple exchanged rings amid Cap n’ Crunch-topped crullers, a painting of Shaft and a man in a hot-pink gorilla suit. A circle of rainbow-colored sprinkles around them sealed the union. A heart-shaped donut the size of a human head served as their wedding cake. (The donut had "Put a bird on it" in icing after "Portlandia's most iconic catch phrase!)

After they exchanged vows, we headed back to the Ace Hotel, where they were staying. The hotel is beautiful and full of eclectic touches, like a photobooth and cruiser bikes in the lobby, and an eight-foot-tall mural of a handsome cat in their room.

Spending the day with them and taking their photographs was such a joy. Tanis and Michael are very loving and kind to each other and definitely one of the most easy-going couples I’ve ever met. Their day was a perfect reflection of the spirited and adventurous life they’ve built together. Tanis and Michael, here’s wishing you MANY more years of happiness and fun!

P.S. The Boston Creme donut I had later that night was fantastic.

If you'd like to see more photos from this fun destination elopement, check out their slideshow below, and email me here if you're interested in wedding or elopement photography that fits your personality and style.  



Lessons Kenny Rogers taught me

One of my favorite parts of a wedding is when couples have an anniversary dance. The first time I saw one was at my cousin’s weddings in 2005. His bride is from a small town where everyone knows each other, and most everyone showed up for their big day. So when the DJ asked all the married couples to make their way to the dance floor, there were dozens of couples joining together on the crowded parquet square, close enough to bump elbows.

The song was “Through the Years,” which I already had a soft spot for because I grew up with a Kenny Rogers-loving mama. A few beats in, the DJ asked anyone who had been married less than a day to leave the dance floor, and the blissful newlyweds sat down. Then he went on, asking couples that had been married less than a year to sit down, then couples that had been married less than three years, etc. He continued adding years, and as each couple exited the spotlight, the whole room honored the time they’d spent together through cheers, smiles and waves. It was amazing to see a whole room of people celebrating one another's commitments.  

I loved seeing my own parents up there, partly because I’d never seen them dance in public before, but mostly because they seemed so proud of their 35 years together. By the end of the song, there were still a handful of couples holding each other close; the longest-married pair swayed together until the end of the song, and the whole room cheered their 50 plus years of matrimony. 

I’m not usually a very sappy person, but that was a really beautiful moment.

This week I celebrate eight years of marriage with a man who is loving, goofy, honest, generous and almost weirdly kind to strangers. I couldn’t be happier about the life we’ve built, and am thankful to have him as my husband every single day.

Happy anniversary to the amazing guy I married, and here’s to Kenny Rogers-inspired love all around.

(Self portrait circa 2005.) 


Write as if no one is reading (Portland, Oregon portrait photographer)

For someone who is a trained writer, the decision to blog was surprisingly hard for me.  There’s always the fear that I don’t have anything interesting to say, but it was much more than that. For one thing, with jobs and kids, housework and errands, I couldn’t find the time and I didn’t want to commit to blogging if I couldn’t do it on a somewhat regular basis.

But anyone could say that.

Another hold up was about my day job. As a working journalist, I often felt guilty writing for myself because I always had something I should be writing for work.

But as sensitive as it may seem, I think the biggest part of my hesitance was because of the negativity that is often spewed from an anonymous audience. I wasn’t sure I wanted to defend my ramblings. In my career as a newspaper editor, I’ve gotten phone calls and emails and a very passive-aggressive letter or two (anonymous of course) from readers on those occasions when my articles were printed with (GASP!) grammatical errors. One woman wrote me a scrawling, hand-written letter about apostrophe use with a glued-on definition of its vs. it’s and told me I should be ashamed of myself. (For the record, when I see typos in print, I just gloat silently for a minute like most decent humans; contacting the person directly and telling them how stupid they are is super lame.)  Other than grammar and spelling errors, I’ve seen how icky internet trolls can twist comments from something totally innocent into something nasty. I have been amazed time and again how a perfectly benign article could solicit terrible comments. It's shocking to me how a story about a school play starring a kid with a foreign-sounding last name could spark an immigration debate. And that’s not all; sucky people love to rant about teachers, health care, the president, etc. in places where it doesn’t belong.

Then there’s photography, a completely subjective art form. Am I ready to have my work judged by the masses?

Despite my resesrvations, blogging is the best way I can think of to share my passion for portrait photography, my love of all things wedding-related and my joy for connecting with others through photos. And I’ve just had the urge for so long, I figured it’s time to do something about it.

I absolutely invite your comments, suggestions and thoughts. And if I spell something wrong, go ahead and point it out. How else am I going to learn?

So here goes nothing.