This Friday, August 19th, marks the grand re-opening of the Photos By Orion studio in our new location, and the grand opening of Purple Kat Business Development, my newest brain-child. I hope you can make time to come out and help us celebrate between 2:00 and 6:00 pm. Our official ribbon cutting is at 3:00 pm and I can’t wait! Hope to see you there! Our new address is 2416 13th St SE Suite A Salem, OR 97302.
Beautiful family portraits and preserving them for the future
That special time of year has arrived again! The cherry blossoms are here and that means the camas and wisteria are not far behind. Each year these 3 beautiful flowers offer their blossoms up and families want to take advantage of their beauty for family photos like these:
I always love this time of year because I know the kinds of amazing photos I can give my clients. But it is also a bittersweet time because every year I also see destruction left by those photographers and budding photographers (pun intended) when they take a client or model to these places and knock cherry blossoms off or stamp down the wild camas so their subject can be “among the flowers.” Every year when we take clients to do photos, well anywhere really but especially these one a year treasure places, we always make it our goal to leave the place just like we found it (and sometimes better!).
Sometimes the ends don’t justify the means
There are always ways to get the photo without destruction. For example, To get the falling blossom effect we pick up blossoms off the ground or wait for the wind to knock them down (as it would do whether we were there or not). For the wild camas, we try to put our clients on paths where we look over the camas to them, or use places that have only grass, to get the same effect as planting them on the camas.
So if you are going to be looking into booking a family session to take advantage of these rare opportunities, it is worth taking the opportunity to tell the photographer you choose (though I would love it to be me!) that you want to conserve the natural beauty as much as possible and save the flowers. Our community and your children will thank you!!
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
Minto-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
in 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
Keizer 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
Salem’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
Downtown Salem, Oregon is ripe with old and new buildings, and maintaining these buildings in good conditions is important and people that want to do this, try Central Penn Contracting Services which specialize in this kind of work. 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.
My favorite weather conditions to take portraits in is when it’s cloudy. Can you believe it? Bright sun definitely makes for a boost in morale, but it’s really the days when it’s cloudy that I prefer to take portraits in.
Why is that, you ask?
When it’s cloudy, the light is spread out better and colors are more even. If you’ve ever been in a photo studio, you might have noticed those large white screens. Those screens are small versions of clouds. Light is bounced around and reduces shadows, leaving your photos looking better. Fortunately for me, I primarily shoot in the Pacific Northwest where clouds abound. I feel very luck in this respect. I have even nicknamed Oregon the “land of diffuse light”. =-)
Don’t get me wrong about sunlight though. I love to shoot on the sunniest of days as well. Sometimes I’ll position you in the sun for shots, but on these kinds of days, I will usually have the light blocked with either a scrim or I will just position you in the shade.
Part of the reason why I love photography is because I don’t have to be in front of the camera =-).
If that sounds like you too, then I have some important advice for you that I’ve learned from being in front of the camera that can make your portrait session much more rewarding.
One of the best things you can do to improve your portrait shoot is to be yourself. Really! From behind the camera, it’s very obvious when my subject is uncomfortable because they are not acting like themselves. Stiff body lines, pasted grins and body language translate to photos that are not comfortable and whoever sees those photos will understand the same thing. It’s those moments where your happiness are captured and frozen in time that you will see every time you look at that photo that make it a great experience.
I want to take photos of my portrait sessions as perfectly as I can. I want you to go home with your photos feeling and looking your best because I have a happy client and because I can use that photo to promote my photography business. If you come to the session knowing that I am there to make you look your absolute best, then you can feel safe that how I direct you is helping you look great. Trusting your photographer helps you both have a great session experience and get great portraits.
There are many things you can do to come prepared to your photo shoot. It all depends on what you want to get out of it. A few things that I recommend thinking about prior to your shoot are your clothing and color choices and bring props or an activity that you enjoy. It will make your session more relaxing and fun.
– Photos By Orion
Natural light is your friend
Have you ever had a photoshoot scheduled and it looks like it’s going to rain shortly before your outdoor-Oregon family photo session? Don’t worry too much about it, call your photographer up and see if they think it’ll still be a good time to take photos. If the weather is like many Spring days in Oregon are, there is likely a chance that that dull gray sky will actually enhance your photos. I like to think of those dull gray clouds as a gigantic light diffuser. Talk to your photographer to see if the weather will be good or not, you may be surprised.
Great foliage backdrops
Spring time is the best time to go out and capture family photos with excellent greenery and flowers. The grass is vibrant green and the flowers are usually plentiful and colorful. If you don’t have a special place in mind for your photoshoot, your photographer will. I have several places around the Willamette Valley that I enjoy taking clients to and I typically try to schedule photoshoots around the times when those flowers and trees look their best. A personal favorite are the Japanese Wisteria in Bush Park.
The weather in Oregon during the Spring is a time of change and your clothing choices should follow suit. =-) I recommend being prepared for both rain and sun. If you happen to have a new jacket, bring it along. It may go great with the background. Not every photoshoot needs to be formal.
Sometimes, props can be great add-ons to a session. Here in Oregon, an umbrella may not get used in the rain, but it can make a great prop for photos! Giving it a little thought and grabbing a couple things that are special to you can take a good photo session to great in a flash.
From your photography team at Photos By Orion
You’re engaged, planning your wedding, and are super excited to start meeting with vendors. They ask you about your ceremony and you suddenly realize you have no idea how to put together a wedding ceremony! You start to freak out as you add yet another thing to your list of to-do’s that is already a mile long. But…DON’T PANIC!
A wedding ceremony can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. Realistically, the list I have compiled below is what happens in a typical American ceremony. Different cultures will change this accordingly. I have tried to keep this list as bare-bones as possible, just the things that are typical and/or necessary, and labeled everything else optional. If you follow this simple formula you can have a ceremony plan in a few short minutes!
Wedding Ceremony Elements
Processionals – where the wedding party and parents of the couple walk in. Typically the parents are seated by ushers or groomsmen/attendants (attendants = the people standing with the couple up front, not the guests) first, then the groom/partner#1 walks in with the officiant, then bridesmaids/groomsmen/attendants walk in, followed by the ring bearer. Finally, the flower girls/grandmas/people walk in just ahead of the bride/partner #2.
Officiant opening remarks – These are typically short comments welcome, of what makes a marriage work.
Charge to the couple – This is the remark about the couple coming together seeking a committed relationship and that they are here to take the other person as their husband/wife/partner.
Vows – These are your promises to each other. They can be the same to each other or completely different. They can be repeated after the officiant or read from a paper. However and whatever you choose to promise to your soon to be spouse, this is the important part of the ceremony as it is what will bring you together. Spend time on your vows, be honest and committed to what you say here.
Unity event – (optional) I have included this because about half of all weddings have some sort of unity event. Some examples I have seen are unity candles, hand-fastenings, and sand/bead/candy ceremonies, although this could truly be anything that brings two things together into one.
Pronouncement of marriage – “…By the power vested in me…”
Closing Remarks and presentation of couple – “May I be the first to present…”
Recessionals – wedding party walks back in reverse order.
There are many ways to make the wedding ceremony all your own, but as long as you start with this framework you will be good to go.
Comment below to let me know if I missed anything. These are the elements I have noticed in my wedding photography career as going into a typical ceremony.
Your “Must Have” list is a very important part of your wedding planning. It not only determines the amount of time you need for your photography, but it also helps you with your timeline planning, with the order of events, with knowing if you need one or two photographers, and if there are other options like bridal portraits that will help you keep your wedding on track and on budget.
The list given below is a general list that I have used to help my clients over the past 10 years plan their wedding day photography. It is by no means completely inclusive, but I have found it helps my clients start the process of making their own list. While the list is written in “Bride and Groom” language, the ideas and concepts can be used for any wedding couple!
For planning purposes, plan to set aside 3-5 minutes per pose/picture on your list. This is a great starting time reference.
“Must have” wedding photo list ideas
Rehearsal area before guests have arrived/details
Prep Shots – Bride & Groom getting ready
The Dress – Hanging or Draped
The Rings – with invitation, bouquet, etc.
Bride Applying Make Up
Groom Fixing Hair
Attaching Boutonnière to grooms lapel
Groom waiting at altar
Church Wide Shot (with & without guests)
Bride walking down aisle ( Side Profile & Front )
Father giving away bride
Groom over the shoulder shot of bride ( & Vis Versa)
Holding hands – Bride and Groom
Bride & Groom Kiss
Bride & Groom Leaving Church ( Receiving Line)
Reception/Banquet Hall Outside shot
Food Shots (Cocktail Hour, Drinks, etc.)
Shot of each table full of guests
Bride and Groom Hand & Ring Portraits
Bride & Father Dance
Groom & Mother Dance
Guarder Belt Toss
Bride and Groom Feeding each other
Misc. Guests Dancing
Best Man & Maid of Honor Toast/Speeches
Bride & Groom Toast/Speeches
Centerpieces & Flower/Decorations
Bride & Groom “Just Married” Vehicle – Driving Away
Thank you picture (if doing one)
Bride and Groom
Bride and Groom at alter
Bride and Groom with Officient
Bride and Groom kissing
Bride with Groomsmen
Groom with Bridesmaids
Bride with Bridesmaids
Groom with Groomsmen
Bride with flower girl(s)
Groom with ring bearer
Bride and Groom with bridal party
Bride with parents
Groom with parents
Bride and Groom with bride’s parents
Bride and Groom with groom’s parents
Bride and Groom with both sets of parents
Bride and Groom with bride’s grandparents
Bride and Groom with groom’s grandparents
Bride’s parents alone
Groom’s parents alone
Spring time is nearly here and that means there will be some great opportunities for outdoor photography in Salem. One such location that I really enjoy taking photos of families at is Bush’s Pasture Park.
Bush’s Pasture Park is a 90 acre park located just south of downtown Salem. It has several sports fields, including Willamette University’s track and field stadium, a soap box derby track, running trails, open fields and play structures. But that’s not all. It also contains several gardens including a rose garden with gazebo. Wildflowers grow all over the park during the spring and it’s these areas I like to take clients to for photo sessions.
With the plethora of available backgrounds available, I consider Bush’s Pasture Park to be an ideal location for family photo sessions. The rose garden and gazebo are great places to capture classic photos. Add in the few historic buildings in the background and you have an excellent location for photography.
I personally enjoy the extensive Camas meadow. It’s a great location in one of the quieter parts of the park where Camas flowers (Wild hyacinth) bloom in a sweeping bed amongst a small grove of trees. It provides ample shade during hot days and a nice colorful backdrop to photos. (see photo to left). The purple Camas add just enough color to really make the portraits pop.
Another excellent spot is this one tree near the Bush House and rose garden. It only blooms for about a week each year so getting there can be a bit tricky and you have to be flexible with dates to make it work, but the photos from there are simply amazing and worth the hassle! This tree blooms beautifully purple every year and gives the illusion of being surrounded by wild blooms, making for stunning portraits for a small group or individual.
To book a session at Bush Park, please contact Kathryn at 503-871-8417. For the special tree call between February 15th and April 15th to get on the schedule and we will contact you when the time is right.
So you just got back from a bridal or wedding show. You have tons of materials from all sorts of vendors and you are on wedding overload! You are probably asking now what do I do?!? If you read our previous article Bridal Shows: 5 tips for couples then you are prepared for this moment and I recommend you skip to step 3 and take a week or two off! If you haven’t read that article that is ok, there are a couple steps to do right away before you take your time off.
Step 1 – Take notes and Sort the materials
When you get home from the wedding show, or very shortly after (hopefully within a day), you will want to clear the floor and dump out your bag (or bags!) of information you received and start going through them. You will want to start separating the information into categories (venues, caterers, photographers, etc.). As you do, take a minute with each to remember each one and takes notes on what you remember. Think about how each one made you feel, a memorable quote or experience at their booth or while you were talking with them, your likes and concerns about their work and how they would work with you, and anything else you can think of. You want to do this while it is still fresh in your mind and when you can remember the most.
Step 2 – Order the categories by which you want to hire first
Next you want to order the vendor types into the order you are planning on booking them. This helps balance your priorities and all your desired pieces. It will also help you in step 4 to stay focused and should make decisions easier. If you need help on when to book there are several helpful articles available online, such as this compiled timeline from MyDeejay. I like this timeline because it gives you the suggestions from the three biggest wedding websites (The Knot, WeddingWire, and Brides.com) as well as the author’s suggestion and why they suggest it.
Step 3 – Take a break!
Now that you are all organized, you deserve a break! Take a week or two off to relax and recharge before you get into actually choosing your vendors. This will not only help you clear your head, but should help you narrow down your choices in each category.
Step 4 – Choosing your vendors
While each couple will approach this part differently, there are a few tips I can pass on here. First is to choose one vendor at a time according to your organized categories. This will let you more easily compare packages/offerings from vendors in this category and will let you deeply explore what you want from that type of vendor. Next, You will want to discuss each type of vendor together and make some choices before you start talking to vendors. For example, do you want a religious ceremony? Do you want the ceremony and reception all in one place? Do you want a DVD or digital files of your picture? How much are you hoping to spend on this category? And many other questions.
Once you have narrowed down what you want from each category, then take the first category and read the materials you collected, looking for those elements which you decided were most important for you.
Finally, choose your top 3-5 from each category based on what you want and your budget, and call them for a consultation. This will allow you to get a better feel for them and a personalized quote for your wedding. If you find what you feel is your perfect vendor from these consultations, put down your deposit and move on to the next category. If you are still on the fence and can’t seem to make a decision, move on to the next category and come back to it. The important thing is that you can make the decisions without feeling pressured or frustrated with the process. Planning your wedding should be a wonderful experience. And always remember the experts are there to help you. There are many wonderful planners and vendors out there that can help you along the way.