Sometimes sessions don’t go as planned… and you know you have a really great couple to work with when they’re down for whatever adventure the day brings!
Kelly and Aaron are big time snowboarders. They’re all too aware of how snow conditions can change quickly, especially early in the season. The 3 of us were watching the forecast and snow levels in the days leading up to their session. Living in Portland, it’s not the shortest drive to come to Bend and Mt Bachelor, but the snow was better here than at Mt Hood so we went for it. …that is until the snow started to melt. 🙁 Overnight the temps started to rise and so did the snow line. We met up at a very-not-at-all-snowy Wanoga Sno-Park to make a plan; which ended up being go to Bachelor and play in what little snow was available. The snow gods smiled on our determination and started dumping snow of all shapes and sizes on us and their 2 pups – Tonks & Dobie – who were very excited by the change of scenery.
Aaron and Kelly are a super sweet couple. Between warming up our hands and throwing snow balls for Dobie & Tonks there was lots of laughter, gentle rough housing in the snow, and plenty of smoochin. One thing that we did get to keep from our original plan was a short hot chocolate with marshmallows picnic. The warm mugs were welcome in cold hands as was the snuggling.
Looking for a wedding photographer? Let’s get coffee… or happy hour! Reach out on my CONTACT page.
Second shooting for Gina Cholick.
It’s that time of year where I get to share the photography from weddings that I was a second shooter for this past season. For those of you that aren’t familiar, it has become increasingly common for a wedding photographer to bring on another professional to assist them on a wedding day. This has so many benefits to it and is absolutely worth the investment if it’s not included in your photographer’s service. The second shooter covers alternate angles during the ceremony, helps wrangle family and wedding party for portraits, will work with one of the partners while the primary photographer is with the other, shoots boat loads of candids and reaction photos while the formal portraits are happening, and fixes clothes, hair, makeup, etc. Sometime photographers will use the opportunity to second shoot to learn and gain experience in a highly competitive and high pressure field… personally I only use established professionals for second shooters, but will bring on an assistant or third shooter if someone reaches out to me. As an established professional myself, I really enjoy second shooting for other pros! It gives me an opportunity to make connections with other photographers, try new ideas/techniques, and sometimes diversify my portfolio.
Tim and Emily’s wedding had a certain coziness to it. I’m not sure what it was exactly… but it felt extra welcoming and chillax.
Aspen Hall is a local event hall next door to one of Bend’s larger city parks – Shevlin Park. The hall is surrounded by walking/hiking trails, a fishing pond, Tumalo Creek, and of course aspen trees. Tim and Emily had an outdoor ceremony under a rustic arbor decorated with flowers and greenery. Their indoor/outdoor reception was centered around the photo-booth, dance floor (indoor), and shaded bar (outdoor) featuring local Deschutes beer and custom pint glasses. Toward the end of the day we took advantage of a glowy sunset for some romantic post-ceremony portraits at a nearby overlook.
Enough talk… more photos!
Venue // Aspen Hall
Planning + Coordinating // Shine Events
Floral // Woodland Floral Design
Catering + Bartending // Bleu Bite
Music // DJ Sir Juan
Photo-Booth // Adventure Box Photo Booth
First, welcome to my first non-photography, non-wedding related blog post yaaaay!
Anyone who has known me for more than 5 minutes will tell you that, “Amanda has opinions… and random ideas… and weird dreams.” One of the things that I’ve started to have strong feelings about is gift giving. These feelings are a reflection of my feelings and opinions on consumerism, waste(fulness), child-rearing, social constructs, and family dynamics. Now, before you ask the answer is no I do not have children. My partner has a son that I’ve been so fortunate to watch grow into a young adult and who doesn’t rolls his eyes at my opinionated ramblings. Even if that weren’t the case I still believe that I’m perfectly justified in having opinions on child-rearing because I’m a human who interacts with other humans every. single. day.
Another foundational opinion that influences my feelings on gift giving is that it should be about the gesture. A gift is a gesture that someone cares about you, has paid attention to your wants and needs, and knows you well enough to know what your likes, interests, etc. What it is not/should not be is an obligation (of which there are varying degrees), a contest, or something that people max out their credit cards over.
For the last couple years my partner and I have been purging. We have too much stuff (more on that in another post), not enough space, and have developed our own tastes and styles. So, last year, when my Mom called to ask what we’d like for Christmas I said, “Consumables.” “Like what?” “I’m not sure, but we really don’t need or want any stuff.” She did a good job, but I think that when I gave the same answer this year it was frustrating so I started thinking about what would qualify as “not stuff”. I have also had so many conversations with friends about how there’s always that one person who’s soooooo impossible to shop for. Here’s another opinion I’ve taken on thanks to my partner-man: sometimes you have to know better and get them something that they want, but that they don’t want to want. I’m a perfect example: I don’t like “girly” stuff (yes I do), but more importantly I’m not going to buy it for myself. This can be as simple as when he got me a pair of purple handlebar grips for my bike instead of the black ones. He knows I was eye-balling the purple ones because they’re fun and colorful, but that I would play it safe and get the black ones instead.
So with all of that here are my gift ideas for people who don’t want “stuff”, who “have everything”, are minimalists, or are “impossible to shop for” (in no particular order, not all ideas were originally mine)…
- Date night gift cards or coupons – Also a good idea for kids!
- Dinner at a restaurant they like
- Tickets to a movie/concert
- Child/Pet care
- Self-care day gift cards
- Bottle of wine
- Child/Pet care
- Original Art! – Also a good idea for kids!
- Support artists that they like or know
- Commission a pet portrait
- Perhaps it’s of a place/thing they like
- Plants – Also a good idea for kids!
- Low-maintenance house plant(s) with container
- Seeds/Starts for garden
- Plant supplies
- Replace something “old” or “broken”
- Should legitimately need to be replaced
- Like… kitchen/bath towels, oven mits, utensils, door mats, etc
- Cover a month/year of an existing subscription
- Like… gym, magazine, CSA box, Blue Apron, domestic service, etc
- Class/Workshop & Supplies – Also a good idea for kids!
- Should be a topic that they’ve expressed interest in and/or that you can do together.
- Car Wash & Detail Gift Cards
- iTunes or Audio Book Gift Cards (commuters will LOVE this) – Also a good idea for kids!
- Fancy (or not) Consumables
- Like… spices, coffee, alcohol, oils, body care products, other non-perishables
- Activity that has tickets or cover charge – Also a good idea for kids!
- Like… Membership to local museum, seasonal events, concert, lecture, festivals, outdoor anything, etc.
- Did they recently get married, have a baby, or a family portrait session?
- Yes? Purchase prints/display items
- No? Gift card for session
- Acts of service coupon book
- “Good for one…”
- Make a charitable donation in their name… to a charity that THEY care about.
- Buy them an eff’ing star!
- Pool together for an AirBnb weekend
Also if there’s one thing that I appreciate as an adult that I hated as a kid… NICE SOCKS & UNDERWEAR.
When it’s one of your own getting married you just can’t hold back!
Robin is the hair and makeup goddess behind Desert Rose Bridal Styling. Her seamless blending, bold moody eyes, and refined hair styles are, in my opinion, her signature look. So when she announced that she and Russ were tying the knot the whole wedding community was bustling with excitement! If there was one thing everyone knew to be true, Robin & Russ’ wedding would be GORGEOUS… and it really really was.
The reception tables were my favorite part of the design and styling. Rich blue linens, mismatched chairs and jewel toned glass, centerpieces ranging from full blooms to delicate cloches to gothy skulls lined the tables. Everything was placed with intention and created an intimate reception spaces for the cold night ahead. One hiccup was the weather… as is common in Central Oregon the Fall can be unpredictable and turbulent. The original plan was for the ceremony to be in front of the tipi with Smith Rock State Park in the background. During set up we had to make the call: outside and risk everything getting ruined plus a rainy ceremony? Or inside where everything is safe, but it’s dark and there isn’t enough room for everyone (anyone) to sit. We went with inside; then just as the ceremony was getting ready to start everything settled down and the sun broke. Such is (wedding) life. …that’s probably a good analogy for marriage actually. Ha!
The creative teams worked through the morning and early afternoon to get the spaces just right; full of floral arrangements, heat lamps, boho decor, candles, string lights, and a prettiest geode cake I’ve ever seen. At the Clubhouse, Robin was working her own magic in the bridal suite with her sisters and soon-to-be step daughter, while Russ was managing their two little boys and rubbing elbows with family. Soon guests would start to trickle in and take in the views from around the Tuscan Stables and enjoy the pre-ceremony cocktail hour that included a rosé that they made from grapes grown at a small vineyard on the Ranch at the Canyons property. With a limited guest list everyone was there because they had deep ties to Robin & Russ. There was laughing and crying, hootin’ and hollerin’, all the hugs and all the cheers! The entire day felt so intimate and personal, like we were all getting a first hand glimpse into their life, their family, and their love.
I don’t always have the pleasure and opportunity to spend time with my couples before their wedding day.
Such was the case with Kate + Katie… in fact we met for the first time when they arrived at Shevlin Park to be married. I always encourage my clients to take advantage of an engagement session, we usually meet up a few times to discuss particulars over coffee, I attend rehearsal the day before, then I spend the bulk of the wedding day with both of them. But sometimes even though you’re clients live busy lives in Portland you still feel connected to them the moment you see them walking toward you. I suppose when you’re radiating love and light on your wedding day it’s easy to share that with everyone you see. 🙂
Kate + Katie met through a mutual friend. According to them they were friends for 6 months “…then we weren’t [just friends].” They enjoy spending their time together hiking, traveling, going to concerts, and playing with their dog, Chance. These two beauties were surrounded by their families and closest friends for a very intimate elopement style service performed by Kate’s brother. Tumalo Creek sang behind them as Kate + Katie shared their vows and exchanged rings. They promised the be kind, patient, to love each other for who they are and for who they will be.
Q1. What was your favorite part of the day?
K+K: Our favorite part of the day was standing in front of our family, saying our vows with the river in the background.
Q2: What are you most looking forward to in married life?
K+K: We’re most looking forward to sharing our lives together and building a family.
Q3: What advice would you like to share with others?
K+K: Our advice is to be present and focus on each other.
Venue // Shevlin Park, Bend Oregon Photography // Amanda Photographic Coordinating // AE Creative Dresses // BHLDN Flowers // Donner Flower Shop Rings // Twist HMUA // Julianna Clausen Music //Quinn DeVeaux Reception // 900 Wall
I once overheard a woman angrily talking with her friends about her son’s wedding photographer wanting to do an engagement session and how she believed that it was “just one more place for them to gouge us!” Needless to say it took a lot of self control to not correct this woman with the much more probable reasons they wanted to do an engagement session… and inform her that her bitching was ruining my self-care manicure. But it got me thinking about the reasons that I encourage my couples to take advantage of my complimentary engagement sessions and how to put that into words that even a penny-pincher would agree with.
I’d like to use my session with Robin & Russ as my example…
These two have been together for over 5 years and their wedding is actually this weekend! All the same I asked them to meet me for a mini engagement session at a nearby natural area at every photographer’s favorite time – golden hour (the hour before sunset). Robin & Russ didn’t neeeeed engagement portraits; they wouldn’t be used to announce their intentions, for save-the-date cards, a wedding website, invitations, or for wedding day decor. <<< Which are all very common and great reasons to do an engagement session by the way. Instead this session was more tactical, this was our opportunity to work together before the wedding and give all of us a chance to experience how each other worked.
Examples of questions that I would like answers to before the big day: What are their bad photo habits? Do they tilt their heads a lot? Can they give me a natural smile? How do they interact with each other? Are they blinkers? Is there anything they’re self-conscious about? Do they know how to ignore the camera? How much direction do they need? Is their chemistry visual or verbal?
Examples of seeds I want to plant in my couple’s brain before the big day: Chin down and forward. Thumbs in pockets. Dropping the hip to the back. Level out the head. V shape. Walking sloooooowly. Hold your bouquet low. Ignore the camera. Laugh to smile.
Robin is the magic behind Desert Rose Bridal Styling and I can’t wait to see how gorgeous their wedding turns out!!!
Remember that time when Central Oregon was heavy with wildfire smoke… yea, we all do.
Fortunately for Alison & Austin the Millie Fire didn’t advance far enough to put a damper on their wedding day at Five Pine Lodge in Sisters, Oregon. The air was still scratchy and it “looked like” a thick overcast or fog was looming in the sky, if it wasn’t for the plenty high temps and red glowing sun you’d almost believe it.
Both having Oregon roots, Alison & Austin chose Central Oregon for their ceremony with their love of the outdoors, mountains, and our favorite… beer! They also enjoy “good tv”, eating amazing food, and fun music. In fact their first dates included the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Fransisco and a Stanford vs. OSU football game. “I can’t believe we rooted for Stanford!”, said Alison. Lol! Speaking of fun music, a friend of Alison’s from high school was their live band – professional honky tonk one man show!!! It was glorious.
My favorite parts of the day: Alison’s Trample the Patriarchy unicorn tank top and GORGEOUS blue & gold wedding dress <3, them both working so hard to keep it together during their vows… even though I insisted that they let it out and cry, those custom riiiiiings, forgoing cake for dessert and having Addy Mac’s ice cream instead!
Here’s what they had to say about their special day:
1. What was your favorite part of the day?
Alison: My favorite part of the day was walking into the wedding venue after the ceremony and greeting all of our guests. It’s a really rare thing to be in a large crowd of people where everyone you see is not only someone you know, but also someone you really like! On top of that, I knew that each one of my guests had made a lot of effort to travel to the wedding venue just to show their support for me and Austin. So each time I said hi to a different person, I was overwhelmed with the love their presence suggested and how much each person clearly cared about me. I was left with a very full heart after having everybody I care most about in one place at one time!
Austin: Seeing Alison for the first time and being absolutely blown away! Also the combination of Alison / her amazing dress / the FivePine landscape / the smoky alien sun just made for an incredible scene.
2. What are you most looking forward to in married life?
Alison: I’m most looking forward to seeing how Austin and I change and grow together over the years. We’ve known each other for five years now, and every single year we grow up a little bit and also grow a little bit closer. We challenge each other to be kind, thoughtful, and empathetic people not only towards others, but also to each other and to ourselves. Now that our lives are officially entwined, I hope our insight and care will lead to an even deeper relationship that allows us to support each other through whatever obstacles lie ahead.
Austin: Hanging out with my best friend every day and knowing we get to do that for the rest of our lives!!
3. What advice would you like to share with others?
Alison: My advice for wedding planning is to hire good people (like Amanda!) who clearly know what they are doing and really know the whole process. Then, give them a little guidance on the vision, hand them a check, and let them take over the rest. I had an amazing time on my wedding day and wasn’t stressed during the planning process because I didn’t go insane over every tiny little detail. There were still inane details for which I was the one that eventually had to make the decision, like what color pens I wanted for my guest book and how to display the seating charts. In those cases, I spent a short while looking at options, and then just made a decision, ordered the necessary things from Amazon, and then crossed that action item off my list. You can spend forever optimizing, but in the end, what people really remember about the wedding is how much fun everyone had! No matter how beautiful your seating chart is, people won’t be talking about it for years to come like they will be talking about the smile on your face.
Austin: For the wedding: Make it your own day – don’t be bound by traditions that you think are important to other people. Make your OWN traditions that reflect your values and what has brought you together as a couple. Everyone will recognize the authenticity and embrace it (otherwise why are they at your wedding?!?)
Venue & Catering // Five Pine Lodge & Conference Center Photographer & Photo-Booth // Amanda Photographic Florals // Woodland Floral HMUA // Makeup Mafia Dessert // Addy Mac’s Ice Cream Second Photographer // Andrew Paul Photography Assistant // Sara Mansfield Ceremony Music // Sam Saunders (Alison’s Brother) Reception Music // Mario Carboni “The Honky Tonk Rebel” Custom Rings // Waylon Rhoads Dress & Suit // Nordstrom
Could these two be any more adorable?
I didn’t think it was possible for them to be any cuter than they already were at their engagement session at Forest Park back in March, but they really upped their googly eyes game for their wedding day! Hannah and Nathan were celebrated by their friends and family at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church outside Portland in mid-August, followed by a tented garden reception at the McMenamins Cornelius Roadhouse. The entire day was filled with happiness, signing, memories, and a few surprises.
My top three moments of the day: 1. Hannah’s mom, Erin, seeing her daughter at the hotel and immediately bursting into (happy) tears. Besides that Hannah was a stunning bride, she was also wearing several pieces of heirloom jewelry from her grandparents and a garter made from part of Erin’s wedding dress. 2. The first look! Always a favorite. 3. Nathan’s sister and cousins surprising them with a group rendition of The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” … all the guests joined in of course.
I love sharing the couple’s perspective on my blog so here some words from Hannah and Nathan…
1. What was your favorite part of the day?
H: I think my favorite part was actually saying the vows. Looking at Nathan and making that promise to him was by far the most meaningful moment that I will always remember.
N: There was a moment, as my parents introduced/recognized my grandparents, that I made perhaps the most meaningful eye contact I’ve ever made with another person, with my grandfather. Other than that, my favorite part was probably going around the tables and talking to everyone.
2. What are you most looking forward to in married life?
H: It’s really nice to always have a person to come home to. So much about the future is uncertain, but being married, I can count on this awesome person to always be a part of my life.
N: Not living alone/having someone to do something with during the week.
3. What advice would you like to share with others?
H: Whenever I got stressed out about wedding planning, I would try and remind myself that the important thing is the marriage. Not the wedding. The wedding is really just a big party. Technically, it’s optional. Whatever happens with the wedding, we are still going to get married, and that’s what matters.
N: 6 month engagement was fast, but definitely worth it. My advice to all my friends who are engaged or nearly is to try for a faster rather than slower engagement.
Venue // Prince of Peace Lutheran Church & McMenamins Cornelius Roadhouse Photography // Amanda Photographic Second Shooter // Stevi Sayler Bride & Bridesmaids Dresses // David’s Bridal Menswear // Mens Wearhouse HMUA // Bella Salon Floral // My Belle Blossoms Catering & Bartending // McMenamins Cornelius Roadhouse Officiant // Pastor Butch Olsen Papergoods // Emily Klammer Decor //DIY
Jeff and Amy have quite the love story…
It all started waaaaay back in 1997. Amy was blissful 19 year old working at BoA as a drive-up teller and Jeff was already sporting is own construction business so he was a regular at Amy’s window. One day she “happened to remembered” Jeff’s phone number from his checks and decided to give him a call. …crickets for 4 days. In her own words she was mortified and thought about how she could never show her face again. Lol! Teenagers can be so dramatic. Jeff called on the fourth day with a perfectly legit excuse; he was out skiing and had just gotten the message. Keep in mind this is 1997 and cell phones were not a thing yet. I remember there being car phones but only rich people or people who lived in the middle of nowhere had them. They had their first date at Applebee’s and 20 years later it was their wedding day!
Ok now time for the proposal story… also super cute.
Amy was home chillaxing when Jeff arrived home and scooped up their pug, Ryder, to “trim his nails in the garage.” He told Amy not to come in the garage because it would excite Ryder and we all know how tricky it can be to trim doggy nails. Jeff put a black shirt on their dog that said, ” Amy will you marry me? p.s. Ryder thinks you should.” When he let their pooch back in the house he immediately jumped on Amy’s lap; she read the shirt as Jeff approached her with a big bouquet of flowers and proposed on one knee. Awwwww!!! Then he spoiled her all day with shopping and dinner at their favorite restaurant. Good work Jeff!
Their wedding was held at Three Strands Farm outside Lebanon – surrounded by tall trees, friends, and family.
According to Amy choosing her bridesmaids was one of the hardest things she’s ever done. I guess having a million best friends is a good problem to have. 🙂 Her Uncle Pat officiated the ceremony with sincerity and humor – his specialty. My favorite part was their 4 year old nephew walking down the aisle with his twin sister holding a sign that said, “After 20 years are you sure?” Lol!
Less talking, more photography! #keepcalmandcurryon
Venue // Three Strands Farm
DJ + Lights // Apogee Events
Dresses // David’s Bridal
Suits // Men’s Warehouse
Videographer // Alicia Scherer
I’ve been waiting all year for this wedding!!!
Mo & Stacey are two of the most genuine people I’ve had the good fortune to meet since moving to Bend. We hit it off immediately over pints of cider and gushing about wedding plans, snowy adventures, and their dog Georgia. We started our photo-relationship with their engagement session at Edison Sno-Park just outside Bend, which contrasts so beautifully with their summer forest wedding at Horse Creek Lodge in McKenzie Bridge.
The day started like any other… with a mountain bike ride. A dozen or so wedding guests joined them for a few “laps” around a forested trail system near the lodge while designated friends and family continued set up for the ceremony and reception later that afternoon. Both Mo and Stacey agreed that it was a great way to get some energy out while spending time with friends. I’ve seen morning yoga sessions, river floating, fishing trips, and hikes as well.
They got ready together while guests began to filter in and enjoy the teahouse tipi, lawn games, photo-booth, and scenery. When it was time for the service to begin the guests made their way down a wooded path with photos of the brides on either side; they were greeted by a sage smudging before entering the clearing. Both Mo and Stacey were walked part way down the aisle by their parents and Georgia; after a family hug the parents found their seats at the front while Stacey & Mo high-fived their way down the aisle – their roomie, Alicia, played her guitar and sang for the processional. A close friend Jenni officiated the ceremony while radiating love and joy over them; another friend John Paul made their rings and passed them between guests for blessings. Thoughtful vows were exchanged that were serious with a pinch of humor followed by placing a ring on the other’s finger. Another friend, Beth, read an original poem that she wrote for their wedding that left everyone who wasn’t already crying in tears. …this was my FAVORITE part. 🙂
I asked Stacey & Mo what they thought about their special day. Here’s what they had to say:
What was your favorite part of the day?
Mo: The Ceremony. Stacey doing 15 push ups in a wedding dress. (it totally happened!)
Stacey: The Ceremony- looking out at all the smiles and the teary faces of our most favorite people….and sharing the most pivotal experience of my life with all of them. All of the hugs!
What are you most looking forward to in married life?
Mo: More adventures!
Stacey: Not planning another wedding. (lol!)
Soapbox: In some of our initial emails it was brought to my attention that planning a wedding and attempting to hire vendors was a bit of a daunting task. Each time Mo would email a potential vendor she would have to preface it with the fact that she and Stacey are a same-sex couple hoping to work with them. Fortunately there are sites like A Bicycle Built For Two – a LGBT/Queer wedding website – which is where they found me. It hadn’t occurred to me (privilege) that one aspect of wedding planning/vendor hiring that could be particularly stressful for queer couples is coming-out over and over and over again to strangers via email. Is this person LGBT friendly? Friendly vs. Affirming? etc. In our current climate being part of the LGBT community is hard enough. Planning a wedding is hard enough. Doing both probably feels impossible sometimes. …which to me is complete crap! Nobody should feel sadness, fear, pain, or loss because of who they love. If you are fortunate enough to love and be loved by another human being hold on to it with everything you have. …and give a big middle finger to anyone who tries to take that away from you. Mo & Stacey: I adore you both, your love for adventure, your fierce commitment to your community, and the work you both do. Thank you for letting me celebrate you!!!
Venue // Horse Creek Lodge
Rings // John Paul Designs
Catering // El Sancho
Music // Cascade Crescendo
Photography // Amanda Photographic
Everything Else // DIY