With 2015 coming to a close, we wanted to highlight on multiple monitors 15 of our favorite shoots of the year.
I must say, 2015 was the best year yet. When I started Paul Rich Studio my goal was simple – photograph as many weddings as possible. However, in the Pacific Northwest, the wedding season is primarily confined to the months of June-October. Weddings occur outside of those months, but this area has a rather concentrated season for weddings. So what ended up happening over a relatively short period of time was a summer that was just swamped with work. It was great, but for anyone who lives in this area knows, summers are the most coveted time of year. Oregon offers incredible hikes, waterfalls, and stretches of beach. Who doesn’t want to spend some down time outdoors? So, I knew I had to diversify my work if I wanted to be able to have some time off in the summer. That’s when I began focusing on family portraits back in 2010 and expanding into a photography studio space. Well that focus and intensity really paid off. This year we photographed a total of 16 weddings (less than I have photographed in over 5 years) and an all-time high 57 portrait sessions (not including our mini-session specials). We also had the opportunity to photograph more events and editorial assignments than ever before.
So, in no particular order, here are our favorite 15 photo shoots of 2015.
Set of twins born through surrogacy – Nicolas and Tom flew in from Luxembourg to welcome their newborn twins who were born through surrogacy. We had the opportunity to capture the birth story and other portrait sessions with the twins and surrogate family. Nicolas and Tom were kind enough to share their experience working with us on YouTube. Check out the Portland surrogacy video to see more.
Australia & New Zealand – One of the most challenging yet gratifying experiences of being self-employed is taking time off. This year I was able to take a month off for an epic trip with my sister to Australia and New Zealand. We rented a camper van and toured the North Island in New Zealand and a beautiful stretch of Australia from Sydney to Melbourne and a bit beyond. More images from Australia and New Zealand can be viewed in the online galleries that were created from the trip. I am in the process of submitting these images to the two main stock photography agencies that represent my photography work.
Adam & Josh’s Wedding – Themed weddings are always a special treat to attend and especially fun to photograph. Adam and Josh hosted an Up inspired wedding at Home Place Farm in Molalla, OR. The venue provided the perfect setting for their themed wedding. Their wedding is featured in the current issue of Portland Bride & Groom and is filled with incredible ideas and inspiration.
Samantha & Jamie Engagement Session – Samantha & Jamie requested to have their engagement session at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in SE Portland. I had heard of the location many many times (and in fact live within 3 miles of the garden), but had never actually photographed there before. It was everything I had heard of and so much more. It is truly a great location for portraits. This is one of my favorites from their engagement session.
Customer Appreciation Sessions – To celebrate the launch of our new photography studio in January 2015, we offered a complimentary portrait session to our clients during a Customer Appreciation Weekend Event. It was an opportunity to introduce everyone to our new space in NE Portland and thank them for supporting our business over the years.
ANSAC – In April of this year I was hired by ANSAC to document a ship christening by Wyoming Congressman Lummis. The ship was built in Japan and brought over to the Port of Portland for the ceremonial christening event. During the event, the ship was loaded with soda ash and prepped for departure back to Japan. I had a 5 minute period of time to setup and execute this portrait of Congressman Lummis with all the attendees of the event.
Amy & Paul’s Wedding – Amy & Paul’s wedding was such an honor to document. Amy provided Pinterest boards, concepts, and ideas of what she was wanting in her wedding photography and it was really fun collaborating together to make it all happen. We pulled off an evening engagement session in downtown Portland and captured one of the most epic wedding celebrations of all time in October of this year.
Heather Pearl – Heather contacted me wanting to capture some updated photos of her various characters. She regularly performs in the Portland area and is one of the core members of the Nomadic Theatre Company. These types of photo shoots are incredibly fun and a great opportunity to collaborate with other artists.
Family Christmas Photo – We photograph a number of families each year during the months of Nov and Dec for holiday cards. However, one family in particular wanted something really different for their holiday card. Each year, this family participates in a friendly “competition” amongst their closest friends to see who can come up with the most creative and different holiday portrait.
Same Sex Wedding in WA – We had the opportunity to photograph a same sex wedding this summer up in WA where the “wedding venue” was a spacious log cabin home that was rented through Airbnb. I thought this was such a neat idea. The home had multiple rooms allowing enough space for a number of guests to spend the evening. I expect to see more of this in the near future. The couple very much wanted a portrait of the two of them enjoying a star filled sky with a shooting star. We were able to create this image in a rather non-traditional way making it rank among our top favorite shoots of 2015.
Maternity Session – Misty is a highly sought after coordinator in Portland who designs and produces some of the most stunning weddings and events in Portland. She contacted us looking to have a maternity session captured that gave the feel of a lazy Sunday morning. I loved the concept and enjoyed collaborating together to make it happen. Maternity sessions are most often captured at our photography studio or outdoors in a park-like setting. This session, however, was captured at the Hotel deLuxe in downtown Portland.
Potato Sensory Evaluation – It is certainly not everyday that one is asked to document a Potato Sensory Evaluation. In fact, I didn’t even know that they existed until I was contacted by the Oregon Potato Commission to document it. The event was held at Le Cordon Bleu in downtown Portland and easily ranked as one of the more unique experiences of the year.
Ashlyn & Chad’s Engagement Session – One of my favorite locations to capture engagement sessions is Sauvie Island. That is where Ashlyn & Chad chose to have their session and it was a heck of a lot of fun. The weather was perfect. We had an opportunity to include their dog in a few photos and most importantly, we just had a lot of fun together.
Toni & Jared’s Wedding in Boston – Having the chance to head home, visit family, and photograph a wedding was a really fulfilling experience. The longer I live on the west coast the more I appreciate my roots back east. So it is always a treat visiting Boston and all it has to offer.
Santa Toy Drive Event – Last year, when the Ice Bucket Challenge swept the nation, I crafted up an idea to offer 15 minute mini-portrait sessions for $15 as a way to raise money for ALS. I charged just $15 for the digital files from the event and in sum total raised over $1,000 in 1 weekend. The idea enabled me to donate a far greater amount of money than I would have been able to commit to on my own and reminded me of the power and synergy that is created when people work together. It inspired me to want to do more of those types of events in the future. So, this year, while putting together an idea of photos with Santa, my friend Amy suggested the idea of a toy drive portrait special. It was the perfect idea! Amy and I offered mini sessions with Santa in exchange for the donation of a new unwrapped toy. Again, with the collective effort of many, we were able to donate a nice selection of toys to young boys and girls in our community.
I cannot thank you all enough for your business and continuous stream of referrals. You have enabled me to pursue my dreams and live a life I never thought imaginable. Thank you so much.
I wish everyone a fabulous New Year. May 2016 be your most prosperous and fulfilling year yet.