Orion Shooting Orion

If you didn’t know, my name is Orion. It makes sense for the business name, but as my wife is really the face of the business, I’m the name. So when I got contacted to shoot someone else with my name, I was immediately excited about the opportunity.

IMG_3505I’ve known of a few other people in the area and in the world of Facebook with the name Orion, I’ve never met another in person in real life. When I finally met Orion, I was surprised again to find out that she was a she! How rare is that!

Orion was a rather shy senior who was a pleasure to work with. We went down to Deepwood where we captured some nice photos among the trees, along the river and on the stairs. Like a majority of our senior sessions, we also shot some photos in the studio (it’s definitely a great thing to have available during the Oregon winters!)

It was such a neat experience taking pictures of Orion! I hope it was equally unique of an experience for Orion. How many times has that happened where Orion got her pictures taken by Orion!

5 of the best spots for senior and family portraits in the Salem area

The Willamette Valley is full of great outdoor locations for Fall family portraits or Senior shoots. Here are 5 of my favorite:

 

  • Minto-Brown Park

7B4A9722Minto-Brown park is located minutes from downtown Salem, Oregon. It is the largest park in Salem. Numerous fields and paved paths abound in Minto-Brown Park, providing a variety of locations to choose from which makes it a favorite location for me because it has a good variety of location types. There are old stumps with vibrant green foliage, grass fields  and river views that can be taken advantage for excellent backdrops. During a few weeks in the fall, there’s even a little-known road along the slew that has fall leaves everywhere. I tend to take clients to the first parking area near the entrance to the park. From here, there’s a paved pathway that leads around a large field of tall grass (which makes for a great backdrop), past a fallen tree and on towards a new bridge that connects Minto-Brown park with Salem’s Riverfront park. I really enjoy the lighting amongst some of the evenly spaced trees.

There’s a second parking lot that is reached by continuing past the first lot. Near the second lot is a small park with toys for kids to play on and a covered area. From here a path takes a turn towards the river with tranquil views of the water. Proceeding down an alternative path will lead to quiet lakes, some with small viewing platforms.

Any of these locations make for nice backdrops or quiet locations for photos.


  • Deepwood/Bush Park

IMG_9843Deepwood and Bush park are just south of the downtown area in Salem, Oregon.The parks are separated by a small stream, so I tend to stay

IMG_0300in one of the two locations during a single photoshoot. Both locations have numerous great locations to take photos. Deepwood is situated on a street corner and the original house for the property is a historic location featuring daytime tours for those interested. I often use the house as a backdrop for clients, especially family shoots. Surrounding the house are several gardens. The formal garden has nice gated sections that make for great locations. Continuing around the house there is a tennis court that is used for wedding receptions. Around the court are short trails that are quiet and not often walked. I enjoy taking photos along the creek or gather the giant leaves that fall in the Fall to use in portraits.  It’s not difficult to find shade on bright days or a quiet location beside the creek.

 

 


 

  • Keizer Rapids Park

_MG_3424Keizer Rapids park is located in Keizer, Oregon, which is north of Salem, Oregon. This park seems to be going through changes every year. They currently have a large playground called The Big Toy that can be used as an excellent opportunity for kids to play on. There is a boat down with a large field surrounding it. I’ve taken photos of families at the amphitheater that boarders a treed area. In the trees is a Frisbee golf course and if you want to explore further, a wide bend in the Willamette river has fields of rocks where the river floods in the winter. I’ve often seen small rivulets that would make excellent backdrops.

 

 

 

 

 


 

  • Riverfront Park

IMG_1015Salem’s Riverfront park has become an increasingly popular place for senior photos. Riverfront park is located along the Willamette River and is situated right next to downtown Salem. Many events and carnivals can be found here at various times of the year. As for photo locations, there are two walking bridges at each end of the park that cross over the river. The one to the north is an old train tressle made into a walking bridge. I’ve taken many photos here using the bridge pattern as a backdrop.  The park has nice grassy fields and a splash park that kids love, even when it’s not on. I find it a good place for photos featuring smaller kids. The main feature of the park is a carousel which can be used for photos. If your photoshoot is during the winter, the park also features a temporary ice skating rink!

For the seniors, I usually walk across the street from the park to capture those cool brick-walled backgrounds. It’s not uncommon to find someone has written on the wall the graduating year, which I like to take advantage of in pictures.

 

 

 


  • Downtown Salem

IMG_1700IMG_0031Downtown Salem, Oregon is ripe with old and new buildings. Between many of the streets are neat little alleys that people often use for photos. From arched alleys to wide steps to twisty trees, a short walk easily brings together a variety of brick locations and quiet spots available for your photo session.

 

 

 

Hopefully any of these locations spark your interest in outdoor photography locations. If you’re wanting outdoor photos but aren’t sure where to choose, we will work with you to take advantage of the best each location has to offer at the time of your photoshoot.

Favorite Tree at Bush Park

Family Portrait at Bush House in Salem OregonBush park is one of my favorite places to take clients for shooting. There’s a variety of reasons why I like this place, it’s close to my studio, there are tons of flowers of all sorts and there are different settings all within a short walking distance. But among all this variety, I have a very favorite tree there, a Japanese wisteria. Bush park actually has a few of these dispersed throughout the gardens. There’s a giant one next to the historic Bush house, another in front of the house and a small one across the rose garden from the house. My favorite is the one in front of the house. It’s not small, but not large either. It sits relatively close to the ground and is surrounded by grasses and small flowers. It’s perfect for someone to sit within its branches. That’s often where I direct people to sit. There’s even a stretch of wood that works great as a low stool. Once within the branches, the purple and white petals fall downward and provide a great backdrop.

But there’s one major drawback to this location, it doesn’t last long. Two weeks pushes the height of the best photo opportunities with these Japanese Wisteria, which makes timing with the weather more difficult, but if you can get in a session with me, then you’ll be really pleased with the results! Based on the weather we’ve seen in the Willamette Valley so far, I’d guess this spot will be good in a week and will last about 10 days, so call us and schedule your session with us soon to book your spot!

Senior Portrait at Bush House in Salem, Oregon

Budgeting for your wedding

Weddings are expensive. Let’s face it.

According to CNN, the wedding industry is a 53.4 billion dollar market and the average wedding costed about 28,000 in 2012. Those are some crazy numbers, and I’m certain they are only rising. That doesn’t mean that you have to take a second job just to be able to afford your special day. Plenty of brides are on a budget and their wedding days are magical.

I believe that there are two main factors that need to come into play when you’re planning and budgeting for a wedding:

  1. Prioritization
  2. Effort

Wait, what?

Granted, those traits sound quite boring, but they are of utmost importance in my opinion.

What I mean for prioritization is to organize what you want your wedding day to be and then prioritize each component. Think about all the things you want in your wedding and then place them in order of importance. For example, you have a list like this:

  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Officiant
  • DJ
  • Cake
  • Flowers
  • Dress
  • Etc

Then you need to organize them in importance to you. Perhaps flowers are at the bottom of your list and the venue is at the top. Then list everything else in order, for example:

  1. Venue
  2. Dress
  3. Officiant
  4. Photographer
  5. Cake
  6. Catering
  7. DJ
  8. Flowers
  9. Videographer

For this list, I put the venue at the top because I think that getting married in a beautiful location is the most important thing. Videography is at the bottom because I am not very interested in watching my ceremony video years down the road. Videography is still on the list though, because I put some importance to it. If my budget allows, I will hire someone to make a video. Perhaps the dress isn’t a big deal to you. List it lower. Maybe having photos is really important. List it higher. Once you have your basic list organized, you can really start seeing how much your wedding is going to cost when you start approaching vendors and seeing their price lists.

The second thing that I think is really important in planning a wedding I’m calling effort. What I mean is that the amount of effort you put into your wedding day should give it greater importance in your life. I don’t necessarily mean that you should try to arrange all your flowers or make your own cake, but by all means do so if that interests you. For me the wedding ring I gave my wife was really important. I wanted to make sure that not only did I choose a beautiful ring for her, but I actually wanted it to cost more money than I normally would have spent. I had to work more hours and save more money to buy her ring, but it was so worth it. For the extra hours and saving, I’ve ensured a lifetime of her being proud of her ring and the symbol it stands for. I’m not saying that anyone who chooses to buy a cheaper ring is going the wrong way. When you have your list of priorities, you’ll list what’s the most important thing first and I think you should work extra for that. If you really want your guests to have a great memory of your wedding day, perhaps a DJ who can keep the day upbeat and rocking is your thing.

So really take time to prioritize your list of wedding things by importance to you and then put in the extra effort for the important items on your list and you will be more successful at keeping to a budget and you’ll still have your special day, perfect for you.