Recently I was lucky to shoot an engagement session at Powell Butte with Grace and Thomas. We met on a warm Summer evening at a large nature park with dense woods and open meadows. I had been excited to shoot at this location for awhile and when Grace mentioned they wanted somewhere scenic but not too far away from downtown Portland, I knew just where to go.
I know that my clients aren't professional models and I regularly hear concerns about feeling awkward in front of a camera. For me, it's not only important to take great photos of my clients that are flattering but also create an experience and an environment that sets my clients at ease during their shoot; engagement sessions are great for this. These sessions are such a good opportunity for me to get to the know the couple aside from the hustle and bustle of their wedding day. They also allow my clients to get to know me and see how I work. During an engagement session, I work with my clients to find poses that are natural and comfortable all while exploring beautiful scenery and having a fun time together.
My session with Grace and Thomas started with a meander through a grove of shady old trees, which provided a backdrop for vibrant photos with soft light. As our shoot progressed, I was able to get some great shots of the two looking out over the scenic vistas of Southeast Portland. Grace and Thomas, were easy to work with and fell into natural poses that highlighted their comfort and ease with one another in front of the camera. Best of all they were down to hike, explore, and find all of the nice light. Photographing Grace and Thomas on the hillsides and overlooking the vistas of Portland was a perfect way to capture the beautiful simplicity of two people who really care about each other.
I wish these two all the happiness as they start their life in the Pacific Northwest together!
Living in Portland, it is hard to not know about the gem that is the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. It is one of those places that remind you just how much natural beauty exists within the Portland city limits. A short walk from Reed College and not too far from the bustling Woodstock strip, exists 9.49 acres of picturesque landscaping. It’s also a place that has accessible trails and restrooms and we know that when you do a photo-shoot with children involved, it is never a bad idea to have access to clean and well-kept facilities. Crystal Springs is not only, clean, accessible, and adjacent to the hustle and bustle of busy Portland neighborhoods- it is also a great place to take some great photos of families enjoying each other’s company.
I had a great time taking photos of this family at this location. The park has water features and open grass areas, giving us plenty of space to play with for backgrounds. Creating vignettes on the rustic bridges made for some adorable family and solo scenes for the children. You also can’t forget about the pure joy that seeing flocks of ducks gathering that provides free entertainment and a pep to any photoshoot. I love when nature gives us a hand in helping kids get in a good mood and feel comfortable in front of the camera. Watching ducks swim in formation or experiencing interactions between squirrels and geese brought a lighthearted and fun feeling to this session. Sometimes nature does a better job of making kids smile than a silly joke from a photographer (though silly photographer jokes have been proven to work 9 times out of 10).
Not only is the garden a great place to capture beautiful family images, it also is a great place to brush up on your botanical knowledge as there are more than 2,500 plants located on the grounds.
We look forward to scheduling many more family sessions (and learning about a ton more plants) at this serene location!
Shannon and Sean are a lovely, easy to work with couple and I’m so happy that all seemed to align to bring this Michigan based pair to have a wedding at the Multnomah County Courthouse in downtown Portland, Oregon. This shoot was a great opportunity to see the city through the eyes of a visitor and to get some really good photos that not only capture the love between these two, but also some of the highlights of the many faces of the Pacific Northwest.
It can be easy to fall into the rhythm of your city, head down, following your daily routines, somewhat oblivious to your surroundings. However, sometimes a gentle reminder, which for me came in the form of an elopement shoot, can serve as a great reminder of the natural beauty that is at our fingertips in Portland.
With their wedding party in tow, we were able to capture natural light portraits of the couple and their close friends outside of the Multnomah County Courthouse and the surrounding area, and we couldn't resist shooting under the Portland marquee at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. One of our favorite downtown scenes was shot in a somewhat unexpected space, under the blooming trees outside the façade of the Edith-Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building. Shannon and Sean were great sports as they soaked up the sights and received a continuous stream of congratulatory shouts from the downtown passerby.
After catching a few of the iconic spots downtown, the group traveled to Pittock Mansion to capture a different side of Portland. We got some great group and couple shots on the Wildwood trail, while also capturing inspiring frames of the couple overlooking the city.
I’m grateful not only for the opportunity to meet this couple and their friends, but also for an opportunity to fall in love with the city again. I only scratched the surface of photo shoot worthy locations in Portland and can't wait for future shoots. If you're planning a Portland elopement or courthouse wedding of your own, I’d love to hear from you! See more of my work here and drop me a line!
I put together a comprehensive guide on where, when, and how to elope at Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast. Intimate weddings and adventure elopements are becoming more popular these days but picking your special place and coordinating how to do it isn’t always easy. There are so many wonderful, beautiful places to elope in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest but none easier than Cannon Beach. Below you will find some location tips for your Cannon Beach wedding ceremony, recommendations for what times are best, and suggestions for places to celebrate afterwards.
Do you have a secret spot or have a tip on some great places for couples to eat after their wedding day? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list! I’ll be updating this as I go along, sharing new photos and other suggestions.
Learn more about my elopement photography packages here and see more of my wedding work here.
Where to elope at Cannon BeachCHAPMAN POINT
This is one of my favorite places to elope at Cannon Beach. Located on the northern stretch of the beach, across from Ecola Creek, is Chapman Point. Depending on the tide you can access the cove at the tip of Chapman Point which can be a quiet place for your ceremony. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can scramble up the rocks and have your ceremony on the bluff above. There is a small parking lot with a restroom on 5th St and for closer access to the point there is a small amount of street parking on Oak St. Thanks to its distance from the more popular areas of Cannon Beach, Chapman Point can sometimes be a little less busy.
The focal point of Cannon Beach is undoubtedly Haystack Rock and what better place to get married than at the base of it. Getting close to the mammoth sea stack is a short walk from either the town of Cannon Beach or a slightly longer walk from Tolovana. Both of these areas have ample parking and access to restrooms. It’s also possible to access Haystack Rock from Hemlock St. but services (parking and restrooms) are tricky.
At the southern end of Cannon Beach is a location called Silver Point. It’s a rocky stretch of beach with a smaller, yet still impressive sea stack. This part of the beach is definitely not as popular as the other spots and is a little tricky to access but it could be the perfect place for your elopement. Use Google Maps to find a side street that has access to the beach otherwise be prepared for a long walk on the beach from Tolovana.
This isn’t technically Cannon Beach but it does deserve a mention. Drive south down Highway 101 about 10 minutes and you'll find a small state park called Hug Point. It’s a beautiful rocky part of the coast with craggy ledges and coastal caves. There is a small parking lot that fills up fast in the Summer months and restrooms are on site too.
When to have your ceremony
The best time to get eloped at Cannon Beach is definitely during the week and in the morning or early evening. Cannon Beach in the Summer is a busy place and unless you want your wedding party to include hundreds of out-of-towners it’s best to stick to the weekdays. Exchanging your vows in the morning or early evening can work lovely for photos too as light is at it’s best. Be sure to check sunrise and sunset times and work with your photographer to pick the best time for photos.
Another important thing to keep in mind is what the ocean will be doing when you’re out there. Be sure to check the weather forecast as well as tide tables. At low tide you can access some pretty great places especially near Haystack Rock and Chapman Point but conditions can change quick so be safe out there!
The Oregon Coast can be a wet place. All that moisture is what makes Oregon so lush and magical (did you know there are 238 waterfalls in Oregon?!). It also means that there is a good chance your wedding vows may get a little soggy. Embrace it! If you’re looking for sunny beach weather, you might not get it. However, picking a wedding date in July, August, or September will probably increase your chances of sunshine. These are the driest, warmest months of the year but also the most popular. If you do luck out and get a sunny day, avoid having your ceremony in the afternoon when light is at its strongest. Nobody wants squinty photos in hard light.
Cannon Beach Wedding Permits
Unless you’re planning on having a big wedding ceremony you probably won’t need a special use permit for your Cannon Beach elopement. Most intimate gatherings that don’t prohibit the public from also accessing the area are in the clear. That being said review the rules by Oregon State Parks and see if they may apply to you and your wedding.
Cannon Beach Wedding Officiants
You may have the perfect, most well spoken friend who comes to mind immediately when thinking about your wedding day. That’s so awesome! Alternatively, you might be keeping the whole thing on the down low from friends and family and need a professional. Emily of Rooted & Wild and Carolyn of Oregon Beach Ceremonies are both wonderful officiants who help couples create ceremonies that are authentic and unique. They’re both well-versed in elopements, the Oregon Coast, and Oregon marriage law.
Additional Wedding Vendors
The Union Knot is a full service bridal salon that specializes in hair and makeup. They’ll have you looking your best on your wedding day.
Chris Brodell is natural light wedding photographer located in Portland, Oregon. He photographs weddings and elopements in both the Pacific Northwest and the SF Bay Area in a candid and photojournalistic style and creates images that are full love, light, and vivid colors. To learn more about pricing and his approach, visit his adventure elopement photography packages below or complete the contact form.
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I love photography, coffee, and hiking and I struck gold as all three were featured in Eita and Julia’s recent engagement session on Mt. Tabor. These two were warm, playful, and easy to work with and also came with the benefit of a cute backstory, the theme of which we tied into our shoot. It is always gratifying to be able to highlight meaningful aspects of my client’s lives in their photo sessions.
For Eita and Julia it was their love of coffee that brought them together and helped to cement their relationship. In an ultimate meet-cute style, these two met at a coffee shop in Taiwan and proceeded to do a coffee shop tour together through Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. They currently live together in LA and are experts in exploring their local coffee scene. They contacted me prior to their trip to Portland with the intention of documenting their first trip to this beautiful City of Bridges. It wouldn’t be representative of the couple- or Portland for that matter- without a chance to hold part of their session at the original Stumptown location on Division. It helped that Julia sent over a vision board with the look and style of images that she liked as I was able to help plan a shoot that encapsulated the vibe that this couple would cherish.
In true Portland fashion, we experienced both the warmth of the caffeinated indoors and also had the chance to visit our friendly neighborhood volcanic cinder cone- Mt. Tabor. Mt. Tabor is a personal favorite of mine and I loved showing Eita and Julia around. We couldn’t have gotten more lucky in terms of light. The fog was dense throughout the city but when we arrived at the top of the mountain the morning sun broke through and treated us to quite the show. Playing with sun rays helped elevate the already cute couples photos to the next level.
I look forward to combining my caffeine and photography passions together as often as I can in the future!. Thank you Eita and Julia for a great engagement session.
As a photographer I have the honor of being present at milestone events in the lives of my clients. Some clients are wedding clients, some clients are portrait clients, some clients book me for family sessions and sometimes I’m lucky to be the photographer for all of these events. I have several families that return each year to document the growth of their families and have also had wedding clients that turned into maternity session and eventually newborn session clients!
Being a part of all of these journeys means a lot to me as a photographer and newborn sessions are some of my favorite milestone moments to document. Comfort of my clients is of utmost importance for all of my sessions and this is especially true in a newborn sessions. I love to utilize the natural light of your home to capture vibrant images of your newborn baby, while highlighting the tender moments between baby and parents. In this shoot with baby Jasper I was also lucky to have three generations present- as Jaspers grandmother was able to join the photoshoot. It can be intimidating to have a camera in front of your face and it is my goal to create the most comfortable photoshoot experiences for both the oldest and youngest members of your family.
Babies, especially Jasper, have an incredible knack for being great models as their most simple “poses” (including yawning, stretching and cooing) are melt your heart level cute. Jasper had some great eye contact to show off during his first modeling session and I can already tell that he is a natural in front of the camera. It was almost too easy to get great images during this session- between having a loving family to work with and Jaspers ability to work the camera-it was hard to pick my favorite shots. As with all of my families, I look forward to seeing how Jasper grows and look forward to planning a session with you and your new addition.
While I love getting out of town, hiking, and exploring for adventure sessions, there is something about a simple neighborhood park family photo shoot that can’t be beat. I was able to spend a day with this cute little family in a place that their four-year-old daughter knows and loves, a place that she is comfortable with (and a place that isn’t too far to run back home and get some forgotten snacks or accessories). This accessibility and comfort is key in getting some great shots, as I have learned from taking years of family portraits is that when the kid is smiling the parents are usually smiling too!
The beauty of Portland is that it is packed to the brim with lush neighborhood parks. This is great for families day to day, as there are options for both parents and kids alike to avoid boredom and get outside. It is also great for choosing family portrait locations. If the park down the street looks a little packed with other families and children, it is a good bet that there will be another park just around the corner that will be just as great of an option.
I was lucky on the day we shot with this family as Berkeley park was full of sunshine, but not too full of people. Their daughter loved getting in tune with the last remnants of fall while exploring some leaves-which also made for some great props. It is always fun to take pictures of families that you have created relationships with-and it was no different in this shoot. The sessions produced fun, bright and vibrant- yet seemingly effortless images of a family having fun- which is what I’m all about. I have fun with my families and I think that this light-hearted approach makes the difference in the end result.
Even though we love the colors of fall, we are basking in memories of late summer with this wedding at the Peninsula Park Rose Garden in North Portland. Viktoria and Alex chose to have their ceremony in the neighborhood where they live and we love that they kept it local and were able to celebrate their wedding day in a place with a personal connection to them. In fact, meaningful location selection was integrated into the whole day as the reception was held a local joint called Bad Habit, where it just so happens that this couple had one of their first dates.
Viktoria and her wedding party put the finishing touches on the looks of the day at Shipwreck, which turned out to have an attic nook that was perfect for pre-wedding pictures! It was a great opportunity to get some pictures of Viktoria’s intricate and elegant beaded dress and capture the moment in which Viktoria’s mother first saw her in her gown.
After the wedding party was ready to go, it was time to walk over to the park where the ceremony would be held and we weren’t disappointed by the beautiful late summer light on the way. It was tons of fun to be able to shoot the couple exchanging their vows in the natural light surrounded by their closest friends and family (plus their cute little one!) under the park gazebo. We were definitely able to get our steps in during this active wedding as the entire party walked from the park to the reception venue together. It was during this walking that we were able to get some fun, casual, celebratory photographs that show off the walking wedding “parade.”
This wedding may have been intimate but it was evident that the couple was surrounded by a lovely and lively group of friends as they danced and celebrated the night away.
Getting a bite to eat? You probably open up an app and check out pictures and reviews of the restaurant. Thinking of doing some shopping? Take out that smart phone and look at images of what the local boutique has to offer. Scheduling a doctor’s office check up? You can browse through the staff photos to see who is taking new patients. Images on the screen, whether on your laptop or on your phone, help to create visual representations of businesses, whether you are a freelance writer, a fitness professional, or a nonprofit organization. In order to make the best decisions, we all want to see photos, lots and lots of good photos.
Having a set of professional headshots to add to your social media can add a fresh perspective to your online presence. I’ve worked with illustrators, healthcare providers, artisans, and burgeoning fitness professionals to help them create a gallery of bright, vivid, and visually attractive photos to bring some fun to their websites and social media.
I love what I do and want to help you elevate your business so more people can love what you do. For more information or to book a session in Portland contact me today.