On Saturday I had the pleasure of photographing “Rush Hour” by Heidi Duckler Dance NW. Heidi Duckler Dance NW interacts with the environment they perform in. In this case, the show was centered mostly around motor vehicles. I love photographing dancers and performers because dance used to be a huge part of my life. I danced for over a decade before I started taking photos! I love interacting with the performers, the music, and the energy. Enjoy these photos I took on Saturday, and if you’re a dancer or performer who needs photos, let me know by clicking here. I would love, love, love to photograph you!
You ask: What locations do you recommend for photo sessions?
Hoyt Arboretum (4000 SW Fairview Blvd)
Laurelhurst Park (SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd & Stark St)
Mount Tabor (6220 SE Salmon St)
Wallace Park (1516 NW 25th Ave)
Peninsula Park Rose Garden (700 N Rosa Parks Way)
Your home, if you have an open space with big windows and a yard. Sometimes your home can be the best place to have a family session because everyone feels familiar and comfortable there. However, if your space is small or you don’t get a lot of light, I suggest taking it to the park!
Headshots or Personal Sessions:
International Rose Test Gardens (400 SW Kingston Ave)
Council Crest Park (1120 SW Council Crest Dr)
Tom McCall Waterfront Park (98 SW Naito Pkwy)
The Fields Park (1099 NW Overton St)
Cathedral Park (N Edison Street and Pittsburg Avenue)
All above suggestions plus…
You ask: What should I wear?
You ask: What should I wear?
Be complimentary, but don’t match.
When you’re planning your outfits as a group or couple, it’s good to coordinate colors. However, when you match completely, the photographs start to look a little over-staged. That’s why it’s a great idea to wear colors in the same color family, but not necessarily the same color. For example, greens, blues, and purples pair well together. On the other side of the color wheel, oranges, pinks, and reds look fab together. However, sometimes wearing the same color works (see photo at the top of this post). They’re all wearing a similar blue color, but dad’s wearing a pattern and sis is mixing up the textures with a cottony-silk top and a corduroy overall number. If they were all wearing blue polos with khakis, it wouldn’t work! With that in mind…
Mix up your textures.
Mixing textures brings interest to your outfit. Silk and denim, jersey and velvet, cotton and lace. Fabrics are meant to be mixed!
Get fancy! Or at least a little fancier than normal.
It’s important that you look like yourself during your photo session. But maybe take this opportunity to dress up a little! You should look and feel like yourself, but as if you’re going to a nice event. No need to wear a ballgown (although that would make me very happy if you did), but if you usually wear a t-shirt and jeans, try wearing a dress, blazer, or collared shirt.
Patterns are a good thing.
Just like textures, patterns are a great way to spice up an outfit. And don’t be fooled - patterns can look professional. So if you’re getting your headshot done and you’re worried about looking appropriate for work, know that you can still wear a pattern. Looking professional is all about fit. So if you wear something patterned, just make sure it fits well - that it doesn’t tug on your body or hang down without shape. If you’re a family, especially a large family, I suggest that only some of you wear patterns. Take a look at the family above. Mom’s wearing a pattern and everyone else is wearing solids. They look great!
A fun pair of shoes, a lovely scarf, or some sparkly jewelry are all wonderful accessories that can make an outfit shine. If you’re a little afraid of colors or patterns, accessories can help you experiment safely. Kids’ accessories can be playful, if that’s your thing - a cape or butterfly wings are so much fun!
Ultimately, it’s most important to do what feels right to you (i.e., be yourself)
I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true - you gotta be yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing bright colors, don’t do it! Wear what you feel good in, and you’ll look good because you’ll be comfortable.
You ask: What’s the best time of day for a photo session?
If it’s a cloudy or drizzly day, usually the light will look great at any time of day. However, if it’s sunny, the light looks best at sunrise and 1-2 hours afterward, and at sunset and 1-2 hours before. I recommend booking your session about an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset. That’s when the light is softest and therefore most flattering.
You ask: What should we do if it rains?
My boyfriend always gets grumpy if he’s in the rain for too long. If that’s you, we should reschedule if rain is in the forecast. Similarly, rain can be uncomfortable for young kids. But some kids like to play in puddles, which can make for a fun rainy day session! Light rain can be really romantic for couples photos. It’s all about you and what you’ll feel comfortable in.
One caveat: if you’re getting your headshots done outdoors, we should definitely reschedule if rain is in the forecast. Rain during headshot sessions can lead to running makeup, frizzy hair, and wet clothes.
You ask: What can I do to feel more comfortable in front of the camera?
If you’re like most people I photograph, you don’t always feel comfortable being in front of a camera. If that’s you, don’t worry! Instead, think about what puts you at ease. For me, a little music always makes me feel better. If that’s you, put together a playlist of your favorite songs, and we’ll play them while I photograph you. Or maybe you love coffee. There’s no reason why you can’t bring a cup to your session! Don’t underestimate what a seemingly small thing can do to make you feel more comfortable. You might think that coffee wouldn’t make a difference. But if that’s part of your daily ritual, I guarantee you’ll feel better if you bring a cup along with you.
Have more questions? Please ask them in the comments! I want you to feel confident going into your photo session. And as always, if you’ve been thinking about scheduling a session, you can reach out to me by clicking here. I always, always love hearing from you.
My friend Kaïa and I met in our freshman year of high school. I had just started getting into photography, and Kaïa was also a photographer. We’d go out all the time together and set up little photoshoots. This past week, we went out like old times for a spring photo session on the Vista Bridge and Portland’s International Rose Test Garden. But this time, we’re eleven years older. I’ll always love and appreciate Kaïa for sharing my love for photography. Thanks for coming out with me, my friend!
When Ben and I went to Costa Rica, I looked up a lot of hikes and activities online before we did them. I read so many reviews that said that a certain hike/activity was really difficult, only to find it fairly easy when we did it. When I looked up Dog Mountain (a popular Columbia River Gorge hike in Washington), all the reviews promised it would be a strenuous hike with the reward of gorgeous views. Having done most of the Columbia River Gorge hikes already, mixed with my Costa Rica experience, I didn’t take the strenuous claim seriously. But I was wrong, because I definitely felt like I was going to pass out within the first half mile of our hike. And I got a slight headache when my ears began popping from the change in elevation. So now I’m going to go back to trusting Google reviews…
It’s finally spring! The days are longer, the flowers are out, and little by little, it’s warming up. Spring sessions are my favorite, and here’s why they might become yours, too:
Cherry blossoms! Magnolias! Tulips! So many blooms.
Some great spots for floral photo sessions:
Tom McCall Waterfront Park (98 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204)
International Rose Test Garden (400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205)
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden (5801 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97202)
Overlook Park (1599 N Fremont St, Portland, OR 97227)
Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm and Vineyard (33814 S Meridian Rd, Woodburn, OR 97071)
Spring is the most colorful time of year.
You’ll get busy later…and so will I.
Not too hot, not too cold.
Layers and accessories.
I was 13 when I took my first photography class, and I quickly discovered my self-timer. Photography became a way to create my own reality. It was how I learned to have compassion for myself and what I’d been through. My power had been taken away from me, but I was able to take that power back by orienting myself in space. I controlled when the shutter went off. I put myself in the way of light.
I love kids because they’re so honest. While it can be difficult to get adults to express themselves in front of the camera, kids always do. They haven’t built up a wall yet. They aren’t afraid.