My Favorite Thing to Photograph: Can You Guess What It Is?

When I introduced myself as a photographer to someone recently they asked me what my favorite thing to photograph is.  It was a simple question, but I didn’t have an answer at the ready so it got me thinking.  While I really enjoy the variety of things I get to capture – high school seniors, engagements, weddings, families and babies, I’d never pinpointed which was my favorite.  As I thought about what I like most about each of these types of sessions I realized capturing the connections between my subjects is what I enjoy the most, which is exactly what elopements are all about.

The intimacy that comes from these simple nuptials always makes my heart happy to see and document.  Because the event is relaxed, so are my subjects.  They aren’t stressed about what a family member said or did.  They aren’t watching the clock to make sure they stay on schedule and everyone is where they are supposed to be.  All they are concerned with is each other and expressing their love in a deep and emotional way as they share this moment together.  It’s humble and sweet and beautiful.  And those peaceful emotions come through in their images.

Elopements also allow the little details to shine – from the sentimental elements of a bride’s ensemble to the touching words the couple penned for each other.  Without the distraction of fancy venues and big wedding parties, there is room for these special small touches to stand out.

The other thing I love about elopements is that they are each unique to the couple.  Some are very small, just the couple and witnesses (often me and a passerby!).  Others include immediate family or close friends.  Because they’ve already shunned tradition, many incorporate choices that are extremely personal to the couple – a colored dress, skipping vows, presenting special gifts, and more.  I’m always excited to see what each couple chooses to declare their love on their own terms.

So if you’re considering eloping in Alaska I highly recommend it and I’d love to hear about your plans!  You might just have an idea that I haven’t seen before, and I’m happy to help you find local resources to make it happen. 🙂

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8 Simple Tips on What to Wear for Senior Pictures

Your outfit is a big part of your senior portraits and it’s something you’ll notice every time you look back on these images. While Pinterest and Instagram can be helpful to gather ideas, it can also be overwhelming. Here are a few simple tips to help you choose options that you’ll still be happy with when you dig them back out for your reunion!

Dress for the season.
This is the most important tip, especially in Alaska. If you aren’t appropriately dressed for the weather you won’t enjoy the experience and it will show in your expressions. If your session is during the warmth of summer choose lighter fabrics. Fall encourages adding a layer like a jacket or scarf. Winter sessions require a warm coat and footwear, which can be paired with fun gloves, hats and scarves for extra warmth.

Plan options with diversity
Bring several outfits so we can decide which works best in each location and include a variety of options, from casual to dressy. Remember to bring all the pieces of each outfit – from the undergarments and accessories to the footwear. It’s also a good idea to check all your clothing well before your session to make sure there aren’t any stains or tears that will limit the item’s use.

Consider colors and patterns
You can either coordinate with the seasonal colors, or contrast them to really stand out against the scenery. A good rule of thumb is to avoid red and neon colors as both can create unflattering color casts on your skin. While neutrals, yellows and dark green compliment fall tones, bright colors look great against the snow during winter. Summer provides more options depending on the location you choose. If you’re near water, sticking with blues and greens is a good option, but if you’re surrounded by lush greenery you’ll want to wear a different color so you don’t blend in. Also, plan a variety of colors in your outfits, not just your favorite color.

Be comfortable and keep clothing visually simple
You don’t want to spend your session tugging at ill-fitting clothing or worrying about how something looks. Wear clothes you feel comfortable and attractive in so you can focus on the fun you’ll have at the session. Keep prints simple, skip bold jewelry and avoid outfits with words, designs, or pictures, with the exception of your school logo or mascot. These styles can distract from your expression and may not photograph well in each pose.

Don’t follow the trends
What’s trendy today might be out of style before you complete your senior year. And the current trend may not photograph well on your body type. Choose clothing that accentuates your best features, even if it’s not the current style.

Be you; Incorporate your interests and culture
This is not the time to try out a look drastically different from the one you have every day. Your clothing should match your personal style, and hair and makeup should be in line with your daily look. However, this is a great time to showcase your culture and hobbies so bring those items and we can work together to incorporate them into a portion of your session.

Wear your glasses
If you wear glasses every day, wear them for your senior portraits. If you alternate between glasses and contacts we can do some shots with and some without. If possible, remove the lenses of your glasses to avoid glare. Most opticians will remove lenses from frames for no cost, but give them plenty of time so there is no rush.

Pay attention to details

  • Tan Lines: Be aware of tan lines that will be accented or show in your pictures. Avoid sunburns because red peeling skin isn’t flattering on anyone. Nails: Have your nails trimmed and clean for your session. Gals – if you’re wearing sandals make sure your pedicure looks fresh.
  • Hair: Plan a haircut at least a week in advance so it looks natural at your session. Guys should have a fresh shave and groom facial hair.
  • Blemishes: Conceal them if you can, but don’t aggravate them if you can’t. I’ll remove them during the editing process.

I hope these tips make it easy for you to pick out your perfect outfits for your session. Once you’ve got it all planned out just relax and let the fun happen!

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A Fairy Tale at Multnoma Falls

When my husband and I took a trip to Scotland last fall I dreamed of doing photo shoots with the amazing castles we saw. Unfortunately I didn’t have anything lined up and castles are few and far between here in the states, so while planning a trip to Portland recently I decided to arrange a photo shoot at Multnoma Falls Lodge, which has amazing stone walls that give a castle-like look. I’ve adored this location for years, after first seeing it while visiting my Mother-in-Law who lives about a half hour away.

Luckily, I was able to connect with Kiyerra, a Washington photographer through a national photographer group we’re both part of. She answered my call for a model and took a turn in front of the camera for a change. She even did her own make-up and hair styling! I rented up a couple dresses here in Alaska and brought them with me to Portland to complete the romantic fairy tale look.

Devastating wildfires raged through the area around the lodge last summer, but the lodge was saved thanks to the efforts of several fire crews who stayed throughout the night to soak the roof and surrounding ground, keeping the fire at bay! Their efforts kept the lodge safe so that future generations can continue to enjoy it. I’m grateful for their dedication – it preserved a piece of history and provided me the opportunity to create these images.

Due to the fires, many areas of the valley are still closed off and access is limited. This caused a few headaches with traffic getting to the lodge and parking. We also had to work around mobs of tourists who had come to see the historic site, but we made it work and had fun getting to know each other and chatting about photography while we shot. While it’s not a castle shoot exactly, I love how the images turned out. I hope you enjoy them too!

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