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After emerging from a camera break over the winter, I came lumbering out of my cave squinting my eyes ready to get back in the swing of things…I truly didn’t touch my camera for nearly two months. This is not something I’d recommend, as I felt very rusty diving into this little shoot. However, I tried to embrace my rested eyes as my tiny team and I drove out to the country for some simple bridal portraits.

Mamiya 645AF | 80mm F/2.8 Lens | Kodak Porta 800 Film | Scans by PhotoVision

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These are some of my favorite scans I’ve ever received back from my lab. I’ve struggled to find the proper film stock and post-processing techniques to fight the very flat Pacific Northwest light. I used to believe that over-cast was a gift…and sometimes it is. However, as I’ve developed my style I find that I am drawn to rich color and slightly deeper contrast than I used to be. I just MAY have found the solution in Kodak Portra 800 Film. I love how saturated the colors are – but still dreamy and pastel like. Shooting Fuji400H doesn’t always render the results I’d like in our very green, gray climate. The 800 speed on the portra stock also allows for more flexibility on dreary Oregon days where light can fade so quickly.

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The rich greens set against Alexandra’s red hair is such a delight to photograph. I love how the tones in these scans turned so emerald and deeply forest green. This was my first time shooting 100% film during daylight. When you have a successful film session, it’s so rewarding because there is very little post-processing needed. In fact, these photos needed nothing besides a little brightening on a few frames. Overall, I sent the film rolls off, got them back looking finished and am blogging them in record time. That experience is the one that every film photographer is after. It’s so peaceful and fulfilling when it works out that way – and saves you so much time and energy at the computer so that you can get back to the fun part, the actual shooting.

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These images wound up looking like they could have come out of Europe and have a very “moody” quality that I’m really pleased with. When I see the cobble stone, ducks and water texture, I think of Jane Austen or the Irish Isles. The funniest part is I actually shot these in a combination of Laurelhurst Park and Milo McIver State Park. Who would have thought these simple park settings could look so elegant?

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I’m learning to create a story while shooting and look for details that compliment the over-all tone and color palette. This becomes so important when walking into a wedding. As photographers we don’t always get to shoot our dream weddings in the perfect venue – but I’ve learned that every celebration has something special about it, something the camera can zoom in on and make shine. This shoot was a good practice in that.

Location Milo McIver State Park + Laurelhurst Park 

Model Alexandra Hagel

Dress Cover “Duster”  Forever21

Dress Forever21

Florals + Ribbon Pistil + Stamen

Assistance Ken Kupelian

Film Lab PhotoVision 

Posted in Photographs
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“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.” -Edward Abbey

Shot on a Mamiya 645 AF on Fuji400H Film in Smith Rock, Oregon.

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Opportunities to problem solve are endless working as a photographer, and while I know they have great value…in the moment it can be stressful. After an unusual storm hit Portland, our scheduled venue was closed the morning before this styled shoot due to flooding and downed trees. This left me scrambling to find an indoor option with good window light, with less than 24 hours before we were to begin. With the help of a friend, we managed to create a simple scene with beautiful window light.

It was still a challenge, as it was a dark day in Portland and I wound up asking the amazing folks at PhotoVision to push my film 3 stops. This created a look I hadn’t planned on, but was an interesting lesson in working with less than ideal light, particularly when shooting film.

FILM IMAGES: Mamiya 645 AF, 80mm Lens, Fuji400H, Scans by PhotoVision

DIGITAL IMAGES: Canon 5d Mark III, 50mm Lens, Mastin Labs Pre-sets + my edits

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I’m most inspired working outside and creating photographs in nature, so this was a great exploration of being indoors and working with window light. I definitely struggled through my posing and management of the short window of light we had, but I could not have asked for a better learning experience. I’m so grateful for the supportive and patient vendors who trusted me to work out the kinks along the way.

I’m excited to say that this shoot is featured TODAY on Inspired By This, which is lovely blog filled with endless inspiration for weddings and celebrations of all kinds.

Special Thanks:

Floral Design: Foraged Floral

Calligraphy: Kelsey Malie 

Veil: Annie Ekstrom Bridal 

Gown: BHLDN

Hair + Makeup: Tabiba Styles

Assistance: Ken Kupelian

Studio Rental: Becca Blevins Photography

Model: Corrina Winstead

Posted in Photographs
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As a photographer, I have an interesting (and humbling) opportunity to get a brief glimpse into my client’s vulnerable places. My camera has found itself capturing incredible people, some of whom have lost children, battled illness, lived in extreme poverty, experienced abuse, gone through divorce, journeyed through infertility, or fought an eating disorder. I’m often amazed how disarming the camera can become and I’ve been honored to learn bits about my client’s lives. I never ask them specifically, but I think there is something about the intimacy of photographing a soul that often compels my subject to share a little about themselves along the way. I consider it sacred and special – and I treat it with the utmost care and gratitude.

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I know there are a lot of “selfie” obsessed people out there, but they never seem to find their way to me. Hands down, the most common thread among my clients (particularly among women) is that they do not feel beautiful in front of the camera. My clients often confess this to me out loud in our consults and then again when we begin to shoot.

They feel too fat, too un-stylish, too old or too acne prone. They worry their wedding gown doesn’t look good enough and they don’t look like the brides they see on Pinterest, so they try to shrink behind their bouquet. They arrive to family sessions tired and nervous – already believing that the shoot will be a sham either because they aren’t good enough or their kids won’t comply or their husbands are going to have a terrible time. They’ve changed outfits several times before leaving the house and eventually shrug in front of the mirror and think, “I guess this is as good as it gets.” They’ve shamed themselves for so many years and believed lies for so long that they believe my camera will show them what they’ve always worried was true : that they simply aren’t worthy or loved.

That is such a tragedy.

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So let’s spend a little time with the truth this morning – while I have your brief attention in this tiny corner among the host of media you will experience today. Sharing my personal beliefs isn’t something I do much on my blog or social sites, because I think that’s better suited for a face to face with ample time to chat (there is WAY too much flippancy and fighting on FB, etc). For good measure today, here’s what I believe.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. -Psalm 139: 13-17

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I know, full well, the pain of feeling afraid and unworthy. I wasted so much of my life to darkness and depression due to such beliefs, and still struggle every day to stay rooted in the truth that I was created, just as I am, with love. I still have trouble relaxing on camera and don’t always like what I see, but I’m growing.

I want to encourage you, human reading this, that you are worthy. When you allow me or another photographer to create photographs of you, and you share them with your loved ones; you create heirlooms. You create a tradition that is handed down to your children, or your nieces and nephews or your friends. You are creating a story that is precious and matters…that people will cherish. Recently I found a photo of my Great-Great Grandmother, standing amongst roses looking fierce and strong – a scarf wrapped around her head, her high cheekbones gleaming in the sun. I thought to myself, “I know nothing about this woman but now I want to! What a force of nature!”

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Can you imagine someone thinking that about you when they find your photo someday? Listen, the media’s idea of beauty is wrong and messed up and blah blah blah (we hear this all the time). But know what it is mostly? BORING. It’s so boring, I mean, aren’t you bored? What if we were beautiful because of our hands that dig in the dirt, our legs that take us on adventures and our jobs that we work hard at. Did you push a baby out of your body? That is simply incredible to me. Did you open your home to somebody in need…did you surprise somebody with a genuine greeting card (remember those?), do you play the accordion? That is so much more interesting! These things were given to you and put in you and they make you gorgeous.

I run the risk of standing on a soapbox at this point, but I hope you can finish out your day and take it easy on yourself. I’m not asking you to be selfie obsessed (that is just THE WORST), I’m asking you to cut yourself some slack and gather up every bit of confidence you can muster and go about your day walking in that perspective. You only have this one life, and you can only be who you were created to be. Every other effort is to labor in vain. Next time a camera pops out, I hope you can delight in the opportunity to create a memory with those you love most. I’ll do my best to do the same, and live in that same courage….not only can we do it, but we must.

Today I am honored to say the film images from this Cannon Beach portrait session are featured on Belle Lumiére, which is a gorgeous lifestyle print magazine + online journal. I was able to share just a bit of vulnerability in the feature, which I’m really grateful to Belle Lumiére for including in the post.

Mamiya 645AF  |  80mm Lens  |  Fuji400H Film  |  Scans by PhotoVision

SPECIAL THANKS

Debbie Sue Young – Model

Belle Lumiere – Publication

Ken Kupelian – Assistant

PhotoVision – Film Scans

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Mamiya 645AF   |   Fuji400H   |   80mm F/2.8 Lens   |   Scans by PhotoVision

On this gray and rainy day here in Portland, I came across one of my very first experiences with film, shot in Nice, France on a gorgeous winter day. You’d never know it was winter from the photos though, with the golden light and crisp blues of the ocean. I adore this breezy palette and the quiet moment it represents for my husband and I. We had been wandering in the city, not sure exactly where to go and feeling a little homesick, and the marital stresses of traveling. So my husband just suggested we go down on the beach and throw rocks…act like kids…forget our frustrations. So we did. I took out my lightly used new film camera (now my beloved Mamiya) and shot away while Ken (my husband) goofed around by the shore. These images continue to be some of my favorite as the light represents my brand of photography so well and the spirit behind them exactly what I hope to evoke when I shoot weddings. This was also my first experience with Fuji400H, which performs so beautifully- particularly in warm, golden light (in my opinion). It was a first glimpse into my new film journey, that is continuing to develop (no pun intended, but it’s a pretty good pun).

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I hope the blue water brings you a boost in the midst of the gray (if you are in Portland that is). Thanks, once again, for reading!