We are so pleased to introduce you to the kick ass, talented, and down right adorable Deena Selbak of D. Selbak Photography! She is wildly good at what she does and is incredibly fun to be around. She is good people! Read on to learn more about her and her awesome local photography business. We love her and you will too!
Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?
I’m originally Palestinian, but was raised in Abu Dhabi, UAE. I’ve been in Portland on and off for over half my life.
What is your favorite thing about Portland?
There’s a lot to love about Portland – the walkability, the friendliness, the food scene, the size (not too big, not too small), its proximity to everything you could want (forests, beach and mountains are all within reach). Did I mention the food? Cause that’s probably my favorite.
What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?
It’s definitely a toss-up between eating my way through the city and all the amazing hikes.
How long have you been working as a professional Wedding
What people/training/experiences/opportunities led you to this career path?
My grandfather on my mother’s side was a photographer, and while I didn’t know him, I did inherit his old film cameras and his love for photography. I’m entirely self-taught, having dabbled in film photography when I was younger and moving into digital photography when I decided to pursue it as a career. Pair that with a couple business degrees and a conversation with my mama about pursuing your passion, and here I am!
How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a professional photographer for their wedding day?
Because when it’s all said and done – after you’ve poured your heart, your time, energy, money into your wedding – all you’ll have left is your photographs to look back on. These are not moments you can recreate, and having a professional (vs. a friend/family member with a nice camera!) means that we are well-trained, insured, and well-prepared to make sure that every detail and all those special moments are captured.
What is the best part of your job?
My most favorite thing about being a photographer is the relationships I get to foster with my clients in capturing their most intimate and cherished experiences – well beyond their wedding day. I can’t tell you how much I love getting that call that they’d like to schedule a session to make a special announcement, or to capture past brides’ beautiful baby bellies, and getting to capture their growing families for years to come. I really do invest so much of myself into my clients, and being intentional about that shapes so much of how I run my business. Plus, I get to celebrate life and love for a living. Pinch me!
What do you find most challenging about your specific line of work or weddings in general?
Weddings are so incredibly beautiful, but can also be stressful for those involved. Since we, as photographers, spend every moment of your wedding day with you, one of our challenges is helping you to stay calm and relaxed, and to remind you to ENJOY your day!
Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?
You get me and 1-2 assistants/second shooters who accompany me on your wedding day, depending on the wedding!
What do you attribute to your success as a wedding photographer? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?
There is no shortage of talent in our community of wedding photographers here in the PNW. I think what differentiates us from one another, aside from style, is who we are as people. My success as a Wedding Photographer is attributed to investing so much of myself in my relationships both with my clients and with my fellow wedding professionals.
At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?
As soon as you begin your planning process! This helps both ensure availability, and that we have plenty of time to cultivate that relationship (yes, I’ve talked about this a lot!). Plus, we get to hang out, plan your Engagement Session thoughtfully, and work together to bring your vision to life.
Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?
This may sound cheesy, but I draw inspiration from getting to celebrate love and life, and witnessing so many different wedding traditions across various cultures. In terms of trends, I get excited when my couples go rogue. I love when a couple’s wedding is truly a reflection of who they are, and not what’s trendy!
What is the most important thing that couples should ask someone in your profession before hiring them?
I don’t know that I could narrow it down to just one thing, but I think once you’ve identified a photographer whose style you like, it’s important to make sure you and your photographer really “click.” We spend more time with you than anyone on your wedding day, and your photographer should feel like your bestie!
What is your best advice for wedding clients?
To enjoy the journey. Make it your own, fill it with love and things that are meaningful to you and your partner, and hire a team of people who you know you can rely on to make your dream a reality.
Anything else you’d like couples to know about you?
What you see is what you get! I’m going to hug you when I meet you, be as excited to hear about every detail of your love story and your wedding as your BFF, and am probably going to get down with you on the dance floor. I’ve been known to sprint after limos to help get them get where they need to be, use YouTube to help the guys figure out how to tie their ties while using it myself to help throw together an updo when the hair and makeup artist couldn’t get to the venue, and make sure your mama stays hydrated as she cries all those joyous tears.
This Vendor Shout-Out was curated by Dana Barbar, The Art of Weddings Portland Content Manager.