1. Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?
I moved to Portland via Alaska in 2007. I’m originally from Michigan and fell in love with the Pacific NW when I was offered a job photographing weddings in Anchorage.
2. What is your favorite thing about Portland?
I love the proximity to the oceans and mountains and I love the thriving food and music scene. The community of photographers in Portland has also been really inspiring and some of my best friends are fellow photographers.
3. How long have you been working as a professional wedding photographer?
I first started photographing weddings while attending college in Ann Arbor, Michigan way back in 2001.
4. What people/training/experiences/opportunities led you to this career path?
I attended art school originally thinking that I would become a graphic designer, but as soon as I took my first photography classes, I was hooked and haven’t looked back! I then changed my major to Photography and graduated cum laude with a BFA from the University of Michigan in 2004.
5. How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a professional photographer for their wedding day?
An experienced professional photographer not only documents the day as it unfolds, but also anticipates what’s going to happen before it actually happens, which is how we get those truly remarkable moments. A professional photographer also suggests great photo locations, knows where the best light in the room is and manages groups of people with grace.
6. What is the best part of your job? Truly telling the story of a couple’s love through imagery.
I love getting to know a couple better through an engagement session, the way he looks at his partner, or the way she touches the back of his neck. I usually continue my relationships with my couples through the years and I love watching their love and family grow. It’s the little moments that make up this amazing life! The highest compliment I can receive is “These photos are so US”.
7. Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?
I typically shoot with another talented second photographer as I find it helpful to have two perspectives in two different places during the wedding day.
8. At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?
I typically book 8-16 months in advance.
9. Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?
For me personally, I love looking outside the wedding world for inspiration. I find beauty in architecture, modern art, music and dance. A favorite magazine is Vanity Fair for their sleek art direction and exquisite ad campaigns.
10. What is your best advice for wedding clients?
I think knowing what you really want on your wedding day before you follow the trends, or get peer pressured by family is really important. Don’t want bridesmaids, then don’t have them! Hate cake, but love ice cream? Opt for an ice-cream bar instead! I also think it’s important to realize that the day is really about you and your love, not just the pretty things or conventional rituals.
For more information about Jessica, check out her website!