With all of the idealistic New Years posts we have been seeing lately, I felt compelled to state the obvious. What you see on social media is not real, perfection is an illusion. In my experience (in all areas of life, not just photography), the closest to perfect we get is letting go of it entirely and embracing the very real chaos that life throws at us. I thought this session illustrated the idea beautifully.
This client is a very close and dear friend of mine and an incredibly talented artist in her own right, Ashley Swindoll (go check out her work! https://instagram.com/ashleyswindollart?igshid=1eq1y0bjopp3e). She was my muse/model during art school and now that we are all growed up, we have been wanting to set up a family session for years. She made a trip all the way from North Carolina to Portland, Oregon to shoot with me, and we had been planning it for months. We selected the perfect location in the Columbia River Gorge, made inspiration boards to curate the perfect mood, researched the exact right time for the perfect light, even went shopping together for the perfect outfits. Then, when we got there, it was . . . Not perfect.
It was windy. And I mean, like, baby tornado windy. Her hat wouldn't stay on, her hair was instantly a mess, and (most heartbreaking of all) her youngest son was TERRIFIED. The wind was loud, pushing him around, and it made the water very choppy, which he found particularly scary. He was crying, demanding to be held, and would not go anywhere near the water. Within a few minutes of dealing with this, along with being constantly whipped in the face by her hair, and chasing her backup wardrobe all over the beach, mama was over it too. On the verge of tears, she was so disappointed that the shoot we had spent months planning down to the last detail was “ruined”.
I have been a professional photographer for fourteen years, but even the most seasoned among us cannot control things like wind. No matter how much you prepare, you must be ready not only to expect the unexpected, but more importantly to embrace the chaos. I told Ashley to forget about what we had planned. Instead, pick up her son, comfort him and pretend I’m not even there. Then I followed them around while she cuddled him and took about a 1.2 million candids. And you know what? MANY them were ugly crying faces or her picking hair out of her mouth. But the others, they are some of my favorite family shots to date. I was able to capture a very real moment of connection between two sons and an amazing single mother in her element; being a loving, caring, strong, protective mom.
Anyway, this is much too long, but I thought it was worth saying. Hang in there, embrace the real, embrace the chaos.
These gorgeous men were originally scheduled for a couples session, when Zach text me saying he had proposed to Andy, and would I capture elopement portraits instead? The answer was, of course, a resounding YES! I stopped photographing traditional weddings three years ago, and ever since then people tend to assume I no longer shoot elopements, either. Not the case! I still happily except elopement assignments and absolutely ADORE them.
I met Zach, Andy, their pup, and two friends from out of state, bright and early on a Monday morning at Latourell Falls, in the beautiful Oregon Columbia River Gorge. They had never been before, and I was thrilled to show them this amazing place, the perfect start their first day together as husband and husband! It was cold, and wet, but they didn’t even hesitate and were such troopers when I asked them to stand scary close to the freezing, pounding water. I’m so glad they were up for it because these photos are ridiculous. I love these guys and the way these images bring out their tenderness, sense of humor, beauty, and fearlessness all in one. Congratulations Zach and Andy! I wish you both all of the joy, love, and endless adventure this world has to offer.
When I had the pleasure of capturing Nancy and Ricardo's maternity photography session back in April of 2018, I myself was seven months pregnant. I fell in love with this warm, funny, generally wonderful family. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when Nancy contacted me about a family portrait/one year session for Tiago. I took them to one of my favorite spots on Sauvie Island, where the grass is wispy and tall, and the sunset light peaks through the trees juuuuuuust right. With a balance of natural candids and some classic posed shots, this gorgeous family of three was a photographers dream to shoot. And, as always, golden hour came through in a big way. Thank you guys for a lovely evening, I cannot wait to work with you again in August!
As obsessed with this location as I am? I will be hosting my summer mini-sessions here this Saturday, 6/22, and I still have one opening left. Let me know if you want it!
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