Olive and Will came to me because they wanted the Oregon coast elopement experience since they were flying back to China where Olive’s family lives for the actual ceremony. I decided to take them to my favorite place for Oregon coast Elopements, Ecola State Park. It has a ton of variety to choose from including lush fern filled old growth forests to beautiful rocky beaches which turn into magic at sunset.
It’s always interesting meeting couple’s for the shoot when you haven’t met in person yet. We hadn’t had the chance to meet up ahead of time which I usually prefer to do. Luckily they were just the sweetest, easy going couple. It’s really a pleasure when the people you work with turn out to be fun and genuine. That fact alone made the shoot so easy and enjoyable. Olive and Will also brought their adopted puppy which had more fun than any of us running on the beach while we were taking photos. He even snuck into a couple of our shots.
For couples wanting to do a smaller wedding or more intimate, I always recommend eloping. Oregon is so beautiful with so many options(coast, mountains, waterfalls, desert). You really have everything here that you could want as a beautiful backdrop. The coast is still my favorite because no matter what the weather or time of year it’s always beautiful. We lucked out with some amazing sunlight for their elopement shoot. I could have shot those portraits for hours in that light.
If you’re wanting to elope or thinking about it, let’s talk. I love planning these shoots with my couples. They’re a lot less stress than a normal wedding day and you have a ton of flexibility on locations and style. I’d love to be a part of your elopement as I was with Olive and Will’s.
Anyone that knows me, knows how stoked I was to be able to photograph this Mt Hood Bigfoot Wedding shoot. It took some planning but luckily the weather cooperated and we prevailed. Originally we planned to shoot on the Old Salmon River Trail which is one of my all time favorite places to hike/shoot around because it’s a real life version of Ferngully. The road in was pretty snowed out though so we ended up down the road which worked out just as well.
Maybe my favorite part of this shoot is that Cliff Barackman, Sasquatch researcher of Finding Bigfoot fame agreed to officiate it. Dreams do come true. He ended up being a super nice guy and we were really lucky to have him join the team to make this happen. If you haven’t heard of Finding Bigfoot or Cliff, please check those links and see some of his work. Weddings aren’t Cliff’s normal wheelhouse so the fact he agreed still get’s me stoked.
Lately I’ve seen Bigfoot becoming more and more popular in pop culture and even among other photographers doing bigfoot related shoots(I’ll take all the credit thank you)…joking of course. Missing Link the movie is coming out and there’s even a coffee shop in LA called Coffee for Sasquatch among many others. But I am super stoked to see all of the squatch related media and products coming out. Now we just have to find him and we’ll be set. If anyone is planning on doing a Sasquatch inspired Mt Hood Bigfoot Wedding, I only hope you’ll give me a shout.
I couldn’t have done this shoot without all the super rad vendors that were involved. Please take a minute to check them out:
This Oregon coast engagement was as good as they come. Kelly and Travis were a blast to work with and the weather worked out for us after all. Kelly randomly is from the same part of New York I grew up in. So we had fun reminiscing about all of the same familiar stuff. The shoot itself was fantastic. We got so so lucky with the weather. Travis is in the Coast Guard and the day we had initially planned the shoot it was absolutely miserable weather. Luckily Travis couldn’t leave work that day so we reschedule for the next day which turned out to be beautiful at sunset. I’m so glad things work out sometimes.
Like most of my shoots I like to have a mix of candids and posed so we just walked the beach with no plans stopping whenever something looked great or the light became amazing. This part of the coast is right near Cannon Beach which most of you probably know. I love Cannon but it’s always very crowded and this beach offers a bit more variety without the tourist crowds.
This time of year in Oregon you either get rain and clouds or snow if you’re willing to go up on the mountain. So the mere fact we had a beautiful sunny evening to photograph made me and them so very happy. I do love the fog and rain, but it’s nice to be able to mix in the sun this time of year.
Have I ever told ya’ll how much I love a Portland waterfall engagement session? They’re easily one of my favorites. You literally cannot go wrong with a waterfall shoot unless you’re thinking about Multnomah Falls, which is gorgeous but always over crowded. My personal favorite to photograph is Wahclella falls, but the fire last year shut it down and it seems it’ll remain that way for awhile. Latourell falls however is the most bang for your buck. It’s gorgeous, close to Portland and easily accessible without a long sweaty hike. So lately it’s been my go to for waterfall shoots if my couples didn’t want to hike for a few miles.
These two were so great to work with. Originally we were talking about doing a cabin retreat engagement shoot up on Mt. Hood, but this time of year those places get really pricey and have two night minimums. So we passed up the forest and cabin vibes for the sure thing, the always epic and wonderful Latourell falls. As a rule I only shoot waterfalls in the morning during the week. Weekends these places get really busy and I hate photoshopping 40 people from the background. This morning though we had the whole place to ourselves for almost a whole hour. It was fantastic.
So here’s some tips if you’re thinking about doing a waterfall engagement/elopement session:
Bring a change of clothes. Getting so close to waterfall you’re inevitably going to get a little wet. And when it’s in the 40’s/50’s you don’t want to stay like that for too long. You can stay in one outfit for the shoot but it’s good to have something warm and dry to change into for the ride home
Don’t worry about everything being perfect. Part of why I love these sessions is because it’s literally impossible to keep your hair perfect or your shirt from flapping in the wind. You just have to relax and let the moment overtake you. I love the rawness/realness these locations provide. It’s not overly scripted and it feels real.
Again, go early. We shot this middle of the week and by the time we were finishing up the parking lot was beginning to get full. We were finished by 10am. And that’s why I refuse to shoot these on the weekends unless it’s a remote trail that takes a bit of work.
Lastly, do it. Seriously, these sessions are so much fun. Bring a bottle of wine/bottle of good beer and just enjoy it. And if you need any tips I’m always happy to help.
What a rad Mexico destination wedding! I recently returned from a week in Mexico photographing Josh and Monique’s beautiful Guadalajara destination wedding at Hacienda Santa Cruz del Valle. Destination weddings are always a blast. I’m lucky that couple’s trust me and love my work enough to fly me to these destinations like Banff, Mexico or Guatemala. It’s something I don’t take lightly and it’s always a blast. I spent a few days with Monique and Josh’s family. One of the first days in Guadalajara we heading out to Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende. By pure chance it turned out Monique’s cousin who was with us is a photographer for National Geographic among other publications and is married to another Nat Geo photographer. So I got to geek out a bit on the trip which was awesome. It was really great spending a day with the family before the wedding and getting to know everyone. That makes a big difference on the wedding day when you’re already familiar and comfortable with everyone.
The wedding itself was held at Hacienda Santa Cruz del Valle which is a beautiful hacienda steeped in Spanish colonial charm. It reminded me of a lot of the venues I’ve photographed in Guatemala. The whole wedding was so seamless thanks to a kickass venue coordinator who you can spot in the reception photos pouring tequila shots(we had fun). Originally the ceremony was going to be held outside under the arches but rain was in the forecast that day so the ceremony was moved into the small chapel they had on site. Partying was the name of the game for this wedding so the ceremony was short and sweet and the reception was a blast. Not only did it have way too much tequila, tacos, Mexican sweet bread and snack bar but they also had a mariachi band show up for the last hour of the night to play everyone out. By then the tequila was flowing heavy and everyone was having such a good time(myself included).
The next day I met back up with Monique and Josh in Tlaquepaque(a suburb or Guadalajara I scouted) to do a quick day after session. I couldn’t pass up the chance to photograph the colorful walls and get some true Mexican flavor in the photos.
This Banff adventure wedding was so so rad. Adventure weddings in general might be my favorite type of wedding to shoot. You can check out a preview one I photographed in Banff here. I have a deep fondness of the outdoors and love hiking to some killer spots, especially if I can convince a bride and groom to come along. Linh and Andrew eloped at the courthouse and decided to do a wedding shoot in Banff. As you’ll see by the photos, it was a pretty solid idea. I only shoot a few destination weddings a year any more because it’s just hard to stay on top of everything when you’re traveling. I’m heading off to Mexico for my last destination wedding of the year next week. It’s usually exhausting and scrambles my brain for a few days when I return, but when I’m able to capture moments in places like this it makes it all worth it.
This next year I’m really putting a focus on photographing more couples in locations like this, especially locally here in Oregon/Washington. This area is just too beautiful to get married inside. Even on a snowy day like this wedding shoot, the location and weather just add that much more to the story of the day. I love when a bride and groom are willing to get wet or cold to make some really rad photos. Some of these locations require a bit more work than others but it’s absolutely worth it.
If I’m being honest my favorite part of this wedding was how Linh rocked her hiking boots the entire time. It’s such a great look even though it was more out of necessity. We started at Peyto Lake for the epic “hero” shot and they did their first look there with Andrew standing on the rock. After that we hiked back up to the parking lot and headed down to Bow Lake which has awesome views of a glacier and a full on lodge at the shore of a beautiful lake. After we wrapped shooting the whole team went inside the lodge and ate some of the best bison chili I’ve ever had. Such a great way to spend a wedding day with two folks that have become friends.
This rustic Columbia River Gorge Wedding was stunning. If my perfect couple and perfect wedding could be summed up it would be this. Simple, heartfelt, meaningful, rustic and personal. Tim and Amanda decided to get married at Amanda’s family homestead on the Washington side of the gorge just outside of Stevenson, WA. The cabin sits right next to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest so you can walk miles in any direction and never see anything but a Bigfoot or some deer. Originally when I met with them they wanted me to focus on friends and family. Bride and groom portraits weren’t as important to them as capturing them enjoying their wedding with their closest friends and family. The dogs were a huge part of their lives as well and they wanted to make sure they would be captured(dogs make every wedding better).
I met Amanda at her hotel room in Hood River to capture her getting ready and some quick family photos. Then we all drove out to the Cabin to meet Tim who was directing all of the other vendors and making sure everything went off without a hitch. The ceremony took place against the original homes chimney. The home no longer exists but the chimney still stands. As soon as the ceremony was over Tim and Amanda ran off down a trail(surprise to everyone) to sit down by the river on a bench that her grandpa had made. The photos from the river are where that took place. As soon as we finished bride and groom portraits everyone just had the rest of the night to relax, eat delicious food and dance. As simple and perfect as a wedding gets.
What I loved about this wedding was the simplicity without sacrificing beauty. All of the details were done by hand and had very personal touches. I must say, my favorite part was the homemade huckleberry pies that Amanda baked herself. My lord they were delicious. They even had salmon they caught themselves. I must add that Amanda’s dad has Alzheimers and it was extremely important to her and her family to capture the joy of the wedding day with him. And when you really boil it down, that’s the reason photography is so important. It’s why I never complain about family group shots or the casual, “Hey can you take our photo.” Because in 20 years I know it’s going to be those photos that are most important. So yeah, this one was a good one y’all.