Bennett Family | Portland Family Photographer

This is the family that won my PDX Kids Calendar giveaway last month!  I must admit, however, that I felt like I had won a contest when they showed up in the cutest outfits ever–a palette of greys accented by warm pinks, purples, & reds, contrasting patterns, and beautiful textured fabrics!  There were also sequined boots involved… it’s true!

I loved meeting this family, especially mama Laura, who has a BFA in photography and a wealth of experience in “old school” fine art film photography.  Brought me back to the old days of developing film, using an enlarger, etc.  I went to this fantastic grade 4-12 arts magnet school in San Diego, and we had the best darkroom facility that I’ve seen to this day (and the best teacher!). I have always felt very passionate about all that stuff, but I have grown to love digital photography even more now.  There is something about all those chemicals that I never trusted…

PDX Kids Calendar Portrait | Portland Family Photographer

This past weekend I met up with Ali & Tabitha from PDX Kids Calendar to take a few photos to say “thank you!” for their help on a recent promotion & giveaway at  They are pretty much celebs around these parts so it was really fun and exciting to plan a shoot for them.

We chose two locations… first location is Sellwood Park, which is a gorgeous natural park overlooking Oaks Park amusement center, with a gorgeous view of the downtown Portland mini skyline.  As the kids warmed up to me, I took some larger group photos, and then I forced Ali & Tabitha them to pose with a taxidermied (is that a word?) squirrel named Mort that I borrowed from a friend.  I thought it fitting since their PDX Kids Calendar logo has a squirrel in it.  Luckily that didn’t creep them out too too much and they allowed me to continue taking their pics at Nectar Frozen Yogurt Lounge in Sellwood afterwards. What a cute location for a photo shoot, and the staff at Nectar couldn’t be nicer!  We had some pumpkin frozen yogurt, YUM.

For most of the park photos I used my 50 mm 1.4 lens with no flash or reflectors, and in the yogurt shop I used my 35-70 with a Speedlite & umbrella on a light stand triggered by an on-camera master/Gary Fong LightSphere (sometimes master enabled, sometimes just used as a trigger).

Fun day, gorgeous pictures!

Family Portrait | Portland Family Photographer

Chelsea, James, & 1 1/2-year-old Jay came to the studio looking posh and fantastic for a holiday family portrait.

At 17 months, Jay is a little wild man and has given me another glimpse of what’s in store for me with Jonah in a few short months!  When photographing energetic toddlers, the best tactic is to find something that engages them and go with it rather than trying to get them to sit still because that is not likely to happen with these guys unless they’re asleep!  Could be ticking, peekaboo, or me acting, uh… zany (stupid) that does it, you just never know.  For this little guy, it was throwing things and/or keep-away!  For whatever reason, we got mega smiles every time I hid something from this cutie.

For these photos I used a singular XL softbox on the right and a huge reflector on the left, and I very much like the large, soft light from the softbox, especially on the portraits of James & Chelsea.  I just got a 430 EX II slave earlier today (at Best Buy, where there were 10 people already waiting for Black Friday savings… the thought occurs to me that waiting 2 days in the rain is maybe just a little excessive?!) to complement my 580 EX II, so I think I’m going to start using a lightweight wireless Speedlite setup in the studio more often as well as on location.  It’s so much more portable and flexible than the strobes, and it seems to have all the power I need in there, so I’m going to invest in some more flash modifiers (beauty dish, strip light, octobox, Rogue grid?) and do some test shooting over the next month or so. I already did a few test shots on Jeremy & Jonah, and I love them!  I have learned so much from this book, highly recommended for anyone looking to learn more about Speedliting.