Sweetlife Photography is one of our favorite photography vendors – Jake and Anna are a husband + wife team and their images are just as sweet as they are! Their light and airy artistic images will make you feel like you are in a dream. Read on to learn more about them and their thriving wedding photography business.
Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?
Jake was a SoCal boy. Anna was a Portland girl. We met one fateful night in college, fell in love pretty much instantly, and settled in Portland to begin our lives together. We were married in 2009 and Sweetlife Photography was founded in 2010.
What is your favorite thing about Portland?
As photographers, we appreciate the natural beauty of the PNW! Portland is central to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, and it’s never lost on us what a privilege it is to photograph our beloved couples against such incredible backdrops from the gorge to the coast.
What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?
There’s so much to love here! But first choice, date night tacos and margaritas at Por Que No.
How long have you been working as a professional wedding photographers?
Almost 10 years! We started in 2010 and have since photographed nearly 150 weddings. We just love thinking about all of those sweet love stories we’ve had the joy of preserving
How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a professional photographer for their wedding day?
Why hire a professional photographer? Because each love story has the power to shape and change lives. Your love story matters a great deal, and the more thoughtfully and cohesively it’s preserved, the more tangible and impactful it can be for future generations. The vast majority of our clients get a big, beautiful heirloom album from us, and we dream that one day they’ll sit with their family, pull that album off a shelf, and use it to help teach them the definition of true love. Great photos and great love stories leave a mark on this world, and that’s something we’re always honored to be part of.
What is the best part of your job?
Our absolute favorite part is getting to be a source of encouragement and support for our couples as they begin their marriage. It’s a special thing being a husband and wife team in a wedding business. We instantly have something really important in common with our couples and as we’re celebrating our own 10-year wedding anniversary this year, we’ve realized that we’re in a position to really make a positive impact on them. Our main goal is to make our couples feel encouraged in their lifelong commitment to each other.
Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?
It’s just us most of the time! Most couples choose to have both of us shoot their wedding day, although they do have the choice to have Jake shoot it alone. This can be a great option for couples on a tighter budget, but who still want our signature fine art film style of photography. Even in that case, our couples still work closely with Anna behind the scenes on the photography timeline and designing the album together after the wedding. All of our clients receive the husband + wife experience from us!
What do you attribute to your success as a wedding photographer? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?
Being a team, hands down. We can’t even count how many late nights of brainstorming we’ve had, how many coffee dates to talk through new ideas, solve problems, or make changes. We’ve handled every success, failure, and challenge together, and our best ideas have always been the result of long conversations. We’re truly better together!
At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?
It’s usually a good idea tohave your date and venue set first, but somewhere right around then is perfect! We’ll come alongside in the planning process as soon as you’ll let us and can give a lot of insight into vendors we love and key decisions that will set you up for amazing photos. The earlier we can get involved, the better! Popular dates usually book 8-12 months out, but smaller weddings, off-season and weekday dates can book anytime.
Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?
Our main inspiration honestly is marriage itself. The idea of marriage being a lifelong, unwavering commitment goes right to the core of who we are and what we believe. So while we’re shooting, most of our inspiration just comes from our couples. We’re always watching for the natural things they do, the sweet ways they interact that are unique to them. Every couple is different and the little moments and interactions are what bring their love story to life in our photos. We try so hard to capture them in an authentic way so our couples truly see themselves and their relationship in their images. Beyond that, we’re inspired by the beautiful landscapes throughout the PNW, great fashion choices, and lush florals! Those kinds of elements really bring out the artists within us.
What is the most important thing that couples should ask someone in your profession before hiring them?
We think a couple’s goal should be to uncover a photographer’s heart behind their work. Of course you’re going to ask about packages and pricing, but it’s important to ask questions about how they got started in photography, what they like about shooting weddings, and how they view their role on your wedding day. In other words, get them talking about their story and their values. If you do that, you’ll be able to see whether they’re a good match for you, and whether they’ll add value to your wedding day by being part of it.
What is your best advice for wedding clients?
Assemble a team of vendors who truly care for you, who are excited about your wedding day, and most importantly, who want to celebrate and encourage your marriage. Every couple deserves to be surrounded on their wedding day only by people who add to their joy. Your vendors have a MAJOR impact on your day, so choose well, choose carefully, and choose people who have big hearts for you and your wedding day!
What other local wedding professionals are currently inspiring you?
We’re always inspired by our florist friends! There are some truly talented folks around here, including Swoon Floral Design, Seventh Stem, and Hart Floral. We LOVE White Pepper Catering, a fellow husband + wife team. And the creative planners we get to work with: J29 Events, Whitney Werts & Co, Bridal Bliss, Your Perfect Bridesmaid, and Vanity Affair Events.
All images in this post courtesy of Sweetlife Photography.
This Vendor Shout-Out was curated by Dana Barbar, a local writer and trusted wedding professional.