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portland engagement photographer

Why You Should Have an Engagement Session

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Why You Should Have an Engagement Session

There are so many reasons why I want couples to get excited about engagement sessions. When I meet with clients and they mention engagement sessions, it often sounds like just another thing on their to-do list. Or even worse, they don't even want one! I wanted to write this blog post to hopefully give couples a new perspective on why engagement sessions can be so valuable and meaningful.


You rehearse pretty much every other part of your wedding :

You tried on your outfits, you tasted the food, you styled your hair and maybe even had a rehearsal dinner. Engagement shoots are basically rehearsal wedding photos! You have time to get to know your photographer, get all of your awkwardness out, and learn how to be comfortable and true to yourselves in front of the camera. When you get the photos back and see how amazing they are, you’re going to trust your photographer so much more and be able to go into your wedding day confident that it will be captured perfectly. Or, if worse comes to worse, you'll know that your photographer is not a good fit and will have time to find someone that is. 

Engagement sessions aren’t only for your announcements :

The time of your engagement is just as magical as the chapter before and after. It’s a time in your life where you and your person both decided that you wanted to spend forever together. That’s amazing. You don’t know what your futures look like or what experiences you’re going to have, but you do know that you want to go through them together no matter what. That’s sooo beautiful and all of your feelings and love in this moment deserve to be captured and remembered forever.

Engagement sessions can be just as meaningful as your wedding day :

Pick a location that means something to you. Whether that’s your home or the place you guys go hiking all the time. This is so important because when you look at the photos they’re going to mean way more to you 40-years down the line. You’re going to have flashbacks of all the other special times you spent there too. It’s about your whole love story not just your individual days.


I hope I’ve given you a different perspective on what your engagement session can be. It’s meaningful and special and magical and you should be completely excited about it! Nothing about your wedding day should be without meaning and everything should tell your story.

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Hayley + Zack | Cathedral Park Engagement | Portland Wedding Photographer

Hayley + Zack | Cathedral Park Engagement | Portland Wedding Photographer

These two are a freaking blast and we had so much fun during our shoot!! Zack has some kind of special ability where he's able to keep Hayley laughing pretty much all the time. These two just get each other and they're completely adorable together. Their love story started when they met in high school and will continue for the rest of forever.

I can't wait to shoot their beautiful magical wedding next year!!

Audrey + Stefan | Plaza Del Toro Wedding | Portland Wedding Photographer

Audrey + Stefan | Plaza Del Toro Wedding | Portland Wedding Photographer

Audrey and Stefan's Plaza Del Toro wedding was so simply them. No crazy details, no packed schedule and no stress. They didn't feel the need to follow normal traditions and focused on making their day exactly  how they wanted. This is something I'm seeing more and more couples do and it makes me so incredibly happy. If having tons of details will make you happy then seriously go nuts! If you want to be extra and throw in some wedding llamas then have at it, girl! As long as you do you and your boo, you can't go wrong (should I try and trademark that or is it not as good of a line as I think??). 

Audrey and Stefan started their day off at the Nines hotel in downtown Portland. When I got to the room Audrey was with a few friends and one of them was doing her makeup. They told me right away that the makeup artist didn't show up so she had to phone a friend (who luckily was a professional HMUA) to do it for her!! Her best friend Parinda had to run across the street and practically buy out all of the beauty counters because she didn't know what shades matched Audrey (lol!!). They the ride or die kind of friends for sure.

They did their first look at the Nines and then it was time to head over to the next venue! Having their wedding at Plaza Del Toro was such a perfect choice. Imagine a cool downtown Portland bar but the only people inside are your nearest and dearest.  Only their closest family and friends attended their intimate gathering and every single person was sooo excited to celebrate with them.

I love this crowd and they really love this couple. Thank you so much for letting me capture this special time.

Congrats you two! 

Carmen + Tasha | Mt. Hood Winter Anniversary | Mt. Hood Wedding Photographer

Carmen + Tasha | Mt. Hood Winter Anniversary | Mt. Hood Wedding Photographer

This was the snowiest and most magical day! I was invited by Emery Adair to join her on this amazing winter styled shoot and had the most fun ever. So many amazing local vendors added their creative genius to the shoot and made it extra special!! We wanted to inspire couples with these romantic snowy vibes and it turned out better than any of us could have expected. Mother nature graced us with fluffy snow to top it all off!

Carmen + Sasha are some of the most gorgeous women I've ever seen and their smiles are freaking BLINDING you guys. I hope you get to meet these ladies because they are the absolute sweetest, especially to each other. Their love is so clear and present in every photo of them together.

All of the participating vendors are listed at the end of the post!

Stylist | Axe and Wedge Events
Dress | The English Department
Florist | Ali Briskey Designs
Rentals | Vintage Meets Modern
Cake | Just A Dash Cakes
Rings | Lady Faye Jewelry
MUAH | Anna Bursofsky
Models | Carmen + Tasha Alo

Faith + José | Rowena Crest Engagement | Portland Wedding Photographer

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Faith + José | Rowena Crest Engagement | Portland Wedding Photographer

This Rowena Crest engagement session is one of the highlights of my year for so many reasons. These two are special to me. They are funny and kind and easy. I first met them last fall when we had coffee to talk about their wedding plans. They don't have that bubblegum romance that you see all over instagram. They make fun of the other person if they're taking themselves too seriously, they laugh about their mistakes and always make truly understanding each other a priority. Their relationship has layers and each one is beautiful. I also don't think it's possible for José not to make Faith laugh in any situation and that's another reason why these two are made for each other. 

For their engagement session they wanted something nature-y and dramatic so we decided on Rowena Crest! We could not believe how freaking beautiful it was!!! It had major Iceland vibes and we were all over it. It was super chilly and windy as heck but Faith and José were total troopers. It's natural to be worried that major winds will mess up your hair but I always tell clients not to be afraid of wind!! It adds such a romantic and magical energy to any photo. Team wind forever!! 

The day after we did their engagements at Rowena Crest, they messaged me with some really beautiful news. It made me remember why I love and cherish this job so much. I'm not just taking photos, I'm capturing history. Your life is always changing and it's impossible to be completely in-the-moment all the time. When I capture your present moment it's so you can look back later and remember every little detail about what it meant to you. For Faith and José, these images are the last moments before something life changing. That's everything to me.

I feel so lucky to be a part of their story and can't wait to capture their elopement in a few months! 

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Lilly | Romantic Bridal Inspiration | Portland Wedding Photographer

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Lilly | Romantic Bridal Inspiration | Portland Wedding Photographer

I'm in love with this romantic bridal inspiration shoot. I wanted to show brides that you can have a comfortable and simple look on your wedding day that still feels like you.

Getting ready for your wedding day can be such a special and intimate time if you want it to be. Whether you're surrounded by your girls or just putting yourself together, it's the beginning of you on your best day. This is actually my favorite part of the wedding day if you can believe it!! I love pulling brides aside and taking some timeless and delicate photos to capture this time forever. I want you to freak out about how amazing you looked on your day every time you see the photos.

With the help of some amazing local Portland vendors, we were able to create two beautiful bridal looks. A little bit modern, a little bit boho and a lot of romance. Arranged For You florals came through with TWO gorgeous bouquets that added so much to the looks. The accessories were so good, I seriously can't decide if I love the Sara Gabriel veil more or that gorgeous Emma Katzka crown. Thanks so much to Portland's a&bé bridal shop for loaning the dress for the shoot and for styling the looks! 

When you're planning out your bridal look, make sure each piece makes you feel like you. Schedule a time to do a makeup and hair trial with your MUA and redo it as many times as you need until you're totally happy! That's what trials are for!! I'm totally the kind of person that would feel super guilty about asking for more do overs so if that's you too, I feel ya, girl. Try on your dress with all of your accessories until everything feels totally right. 

You don't want to look like a stranger on your wedding day, you want to look like your best self. 

Check out a&beé bridal shop's blog post of this styled shoot!

 

Vendors

Dress: Truvelle Alexandra from a&bé bridal shop

Crown: Emma Katzka

Veil: Sara Gabriel 

Florals: Arranged For You

HMUA: Harshita Singhal

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Thuy-Linh + Vy | Castaway Portland Wedding | Portland Wedding Photographer

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Thuy-Linh + Vy | Castaway Portland Wedding | Portland Wedding Photographer

Last fall I got to assist Marcela Pulido at this AMAAAZING Castaway Portland wedding!! We started the day off at the church Thuy-Linh went to elementary school in when she was younger. Does anyone else get choked up over little sentimental details like this or am I the only one?? They had their first look right outside the church. it was seriously the most gorgeous sunny fall day! After they exchanged their gifts for each other it was off to the ceremony with all of their friends and family waiting for them inside. Once they went through all the official stuff, they were officially husband and wife and it was time to PARTAY!!

Their reception was held at Castaway Portland and it's now one of my favorite venues ever!! It's open without feeling overwhelming and it's got all of those good good downtown Portland vibes. Once we got to the venue we met up with the wedding llamas, which was totally insane. I've never been so close to llamas and they literally didn't move you guys. It was so surreal. At first it kind of felt like they were dinosaurs? I hope I'm not the only one that felt that way because it sounds super weird in text (lol). We took their couples portraits nearby Castaway Portland with the llamas and I've never seen something more unique than that! They're so fun and cute and seriously some of my favorite images.

After an amazing dinner (thanks Castaway), the cutest slideshow ever and a cameo from Seal, the rest of the night was spent dancing, laughing, drinking and more dancing. I've never been around a reception that was this wild!! This was such a fun bunch and such a perfect way to celebrate Thuy-Linh + Vy's love. Congrats you guys and a big thanks to Marcela for letting me tag along!!

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Analy + Jeffy | Frozen Lake Love Session | Oregon Wedding Photographer

Analy + Jeffy | Frozen Lake Love Session | Oregon Wedding Photographer

Analy + Jeffy are the cutest!! They wanted to do a fun love session in the snow so we headed up to Mt. Hood! We hiked 4 miles through the snow to get to the gorgeous Trillium Lake and finally made it there after 30 minutes of walking. The lake was COMPLETELY FROZEN! None of us had ever seen a frozen lake before so this was such a cool and special moment! Standing on it was freaking surreal. I'd been to this location in the summer so seeing it like this was so weird and magical. It was such a perfect and memorable way to start the year!! So glad I got to share the adventure with these two!

David + Kaitlyn | Cistus Nursery Love Session | Portland Wedding Photographer

David + Kaitlyn | Cistus Nursery Love Session | Portland Wedding Photographer

David + Kaitlyn came up from Eugene to do a shoot with me and we decided Cistus Nursery would be a perfect location! It's great for rainy days because the beautiful greenhouses protect us from the rain but we still get gorgeous green leaves and nature vibes in the images. I have a feeling I'll be coming here a lot before summer starts!

Annalisa + Alan | Columbia River Gorge Engagement | Oregon Wedding Photographer

Annalisa + Alan | Columbia River Gorge Engagement | Oregon Wedding Photographer

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Annalisa and Alan wanted to capture their time in Oregon with this fun + nature filled engagement shoot. They moved to Oregon from Minnesota for work and will only be in Portland for a year and a half. We decided to go to Cape Horn because the forecast predicted sun for the Columbia River Gorge area. We were only slightly surprised to show up to see rain and fog literally everywhere.

It doesn't get any more Oregon than this (for reals tho). We had the best time running around the fields with their 1-year old Golden Retriever, Macy, and feeling like we were floating in the clouds when we got to the viewpoint. Anni and Alan just get each other and it was so fun capturing their love on camera. 

Congrats you two!