why | portland wedding photographers

One of the highlights of being three years old: everything around you is new and exciting, and with your new found ability to engage with the world, you love to ask one thing:


My daughter's favorite question has gotten me thinking of late. The last years of my life have been spent in much the same manner: asking why. Why do we act without thinking? Why do you consume without questioning? Why do we spread hatred all while expecting the world to turn fully to love?

On an unrelated but actually very related note, I've been asking why every time I pull up my instagram feed lately. I follow a lot of very talented wedding photographers. Don't get me wrong, I respect their work, and the incredible amounts of effort that go into every photo they take. But lately, as I mindlessly scroll through those photos, seeing wedding after wedding after perfect wedding (and I'm one of those who posts lots of wedding photos, so maybe I'm throwing myself under the bus here, too), I find myself growing tired of seeing brides and grooms in stunning locations posing in a way that makes their hair, their makeup, their bodies and their clothes look... perfect.

Friends, perfection isn't real.

I do not deny the desire, or even the need for gorgeous photos from your wedding day. What kind of wedding photographer would I be if I denied that need? I do truly believe that everyone deserves beautiful pictures.


So you can print out a huge canvas of yourselves on a mountain and hang it over your bed? Hell yeah.

So you can share a thousand photos of how perfect your day was, and how beautiful you looked, and how stunningly handsome your person is? Maybe.

But here's what it actually comes down to-- for me at least.

  • Your 89 year old grandma, caught up in the high spirits, threw her cane aside and danced the boogie at 10pm on a Saturday night.

  • Your four year old niece insisted on meticulously sprinkling EVERY LAST ONE of her flower petals before she sat down and let you walk down the aisle.

  • Your groomsman dove/tackled you into the family pond, effectively ruining your suave look and really getting the party started.

  • Your favorite people in the world flash mobbed you during the reception, belting out Justin Bieber at his finest.

  • Your parents on the dance floor, moved almost to tears, held each other closer than they have in years.

  • Your dear friend was present on your day, living and laughing and loving, who will, only weeks later, pass away unexpectedly.

That is why. Because you don't only hire a photographer to capture you at your finest (which you should). You hire them to capture photos of grandma, auntie, best friend, cousin you haven't seen for twenty years, your sons, his daughters, whatever your family/friends/loved ones look like. I will be there to take photos of them on one of the happiest days of your life. And you will have those photos to treasure forever.

Because the value of photography only grows with time. Fifty years from now, can you imagine?

*All of these are based on things that really happened at weddings. Totally. Worth. It.

Let's talk, friends, and preserve some memories together.

on beauty | raw, real portland wedding photographers

I remember the first time a boy told me I was beautiful. 

I was seventeen, young and quite possibly in love, and those words changed everything. It was as though someone had inflated a balloon inside my chest.

I knew the other girls were beautiful— my friends. I wasn’t so sure about me. Sure, I had gone through the checklist several times over and come out— decently.

*I’m slender— check. Or am I skinny?

*I have nice eyes— check. But those damn circles.

*My boobs are too small. Too bad.

*My nose is fine. That’s good. 

*Hair? Almost blonde, almost red, not really either. Too bad. Dirty dishwater blonde, as my sister so lovingly called it.

*I have freckles, which is a big plus. Freckles are unique, right? But sometimes they’re less like angel kisses and more like an attention deficit saint had taken a perfunctory swipe at my face and then wandered off to go bowling with his saint buddies.

It didn’t matter that my mom told me I was beautiful (now I realize that it very much did). 

It didn’t matter that I had been raised to be strong, brave, and confident (now I realize that it very much did), it mattered what some dreamy 18 year old boy told me in a fit of hormonal teenage passion.

When he spoke those magic words, there on the dock of the Silverdale Waterfront Park, holding me in his arms, I knew it was true. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was accepted, had been welcomed in to this club, this secret society of beautiful people. Now, perhaps I’d see what all the fuss what about. I won’t have to struggle in life. People will like me. I count as a real human. 

When I was quite a bit younger, I remember proudly presenting my mom with a handwritten sheet of paper. It said something along the lines of “I like my face. I like my hair. I like my freckles. I am beautiful.” Boom. I felt it. I knew it, there in that moment.

Not long after, probably mere weeks later, in a fit of self-loathing, I raced in to her room, snatched up the note, and tore it into pieces. This cannot be true. Look at me. Good Lord, Gollum has a better chance at being loved.

I had a tight knit group in high school, including myself and three other girls. During our sleepovers we took to divvying each other up, deciding on each girl’s best features, and announcing that if we combined all those features (your boobs, your eyes, your legs), we’d be one perfect woman. Looking back now, I’m not sure if that’s horrifying or hilarious. There was absolutely nothing wrong with any of us, but we saw fit to assemble the perfect woman, piecemeal, because that’s what men want. Right? Right?

Then the moment. The dock. I found out the truth. From a boy who just wanted to make out with me.

As I examine the years following, I’m saddened to recall how much of my value, my self-worth was based upon how attractive people found me. Sure, if was a bonus if they thought I was funny, or a good person, but damnit, if you think I’m beautiful, you’ll like me. If you like me, I’ll feel accepted. Please, oh god, accept me.

Perhaps I am oversimplifying things. Certainly I am oversimplifying things. All the same, the weight lay too heavily upon such a surface attribute.

I never really thought much of these moments as a young adult. I got over myself, realized that there are much more exciting things in life than being thought beautiful (though it’s nice to be told so once in awhile), like building a life with someone you love, making a difference in the world, and working hard on your dreams. 

Then I had a daughter. In last few years, in the beginning stages of raising this beautiful, brave, and confident girl of my own, everything I know (or think I know) about being a woman has been thrown into sharp relief.

I clearly recall the moment it began: she was old enough to walk, not quite talking fluently yet. Probably over a year ago now. She toddled over, half naked, to the full length mirror in our bedroom. Her magnificent belly, in all its round glory was pressed against the glass, the drool dribbled down her chin, and she leaned in very, very close, taking in what she saw. 

The radiant smile on her face said it all. 

That is me. I am awesome. I am beautiful. Full approval. 5 stars.

Oh, my mama heart. Is it at all possible for us to hold on to that beautiful, innocent self-approval? Maybe not in the same way an 18 month old would. But I would argue that it is possible.

Hey man, this is me. I’m beautiful, but not because I’m slender, or because I have nice eyes. I’m beautiful because I believe in being kind to people. I am beautiful because I try hard, because I fight for what’s right, because I am f’ing hilarious. If you happen to find my face nice looking as well, then bully for you, my friend.

Me? I’m still working on getting there.

May you, may we all strive for more belly-pressing, drool dribbling mirror gazing sessions with ourselves. 

5 star, full self-approval required.


Marry ME! wedding event | portland oregon wedding photographers

Time to drop some knowledge.

I don't like being sold to. In fact, I so strongly dislike being sold to that if I ever come across an extra pushy sale or salesperson, I purposely dig my heels in and actively avoid buying a product, even if it is something I am interested in or need.

Crazy, right?

Being my own sales rep for my own business has been one of the most challenging parts of this journey. Every time I design a promo or post an ad ("10% off!" "Free sh*t for everyone!" "Yay money!"), I feel nauseous. Granted, promotions create sales, and sales bring money, money buys food and home and travel, all things I am fond of. I get it. There's a reason for it. But blatant salesmanship, leaping down the throat of every holiday in order to make an extra buck give me the squirmies. Yes, that's a word now.

Here is the deal: I am participating in the Marry ME! wedding event coming up this Saturday Feb 17th. For the show, and for the rest of the month of February, here's my special one time offer!! Although it will hardly be a one time offer, I have the feeling I'm just getting started on this sort of thing.

You've met me. You've seen my work. You dig what I do. You are looking for a wedding photographer. Good. First step is done.

Next, book any wedding collection with me, and I will donate 5% of your total wedding collection price to one of the three following charities. You don't save extra money. I don't gain extra money, but do you know what happens?

A whole lot of good. Food for the hungry. Help for at risk children. A little extra love for our planet. I'd say those are three things that the world needs right now.

Oregon Food Bank
Friends of the Children

Book your wedding. Choose a charity. We donate. That's it. Give me a hand in doing some good this February. Together, I think we can affect some change, and I don't mean nickels and dimes.

No sales pitch (or was that a sales pitch? whoah). No sleazy smile. No winks and nods and secret handshakes. Just you and me, partnering up to send some help to those who truly need it.

Cheers, friends. Hope to see you this Saturday.


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