gwyneth colleen photography » portland, or wedding photographer


*what is photojournalism? do you do it? do I want it?
–photojournalism is the “buzzword” in wedding photography today. It basically means that the photographer documents the day from the perspective of a fly-on-the-wall observer. A true photojournalist does not interact with the environment at all…any alteration on the part of the photographer ruins the purity of the documentation.

In that regard, I am not a *true* photojournalist. I like to enter in and be a part of your day…unobtrusively, of course. If I am taking a photograph and I notice something like a dirty napkin on the table, I will move it to make the shot more aesthetically appealing. Not true photojournalism but prettier pictures! 😀 That said, of course I keep an eye out and an ear to the ground to make sure I capture the unscripted moments…the special glances between bride and groom…both of them cracking up at the best man’s toast…the tear in daddy’s eye as he gives his little girl away. I make sure you have photographs of your friends enjoying the big old party you threw for them…so that you can remember how much it meant to you that they traveled from near and far to be present and say, “we love you together.”

Most couples realistically want a mixture of more traditional portraits (when was the last time Aunt Sally and your mom AND Uncle Jim were all in the same place…not to mention all the cousins and grandbabies) and creative documentation. I make sure you’ve got a mixture that’s going to make you AND your parents happy.

*have you photographed at my venue before?
–honestly, probably not! I was just telling my clients last weekend, when they asked me if I’d been to their location before, “I think you could be a wedding photographer in New England for 20 years and never shoot at the same venue twice.” New England is a veritable goldmine of hidden treasures…old family estates full of charm and character, restored rustic barns, reverent and sacred churches full of history…There’s one on every corner! However, part of being a wedding photographer is learning to adapt to changing conditions and rolling with the punches. Rest assured that I know how to do that, and I always make sure I arrive early to scout out the locations so I have at least a hint about what’s coming. I haven’t met conditions I couldn’t face yet! This has remained true for everywhere I have photographed…from the Caribbean, to TX, to the Mid-Atlantic, and it’ll be true on the West Coast as well.

*what makes you different than anyone else?
–Each photographer is going to have a slightly different style. I started off (and will continue) just shooting what I like. After asking a lot of people, and looking at my work over and over again, I noticed that my favorite images tend to be intimate, vibrant, and authentic. Choosing a photographer comes down to two (equally important) criteria: do you like the photographs, and do you like the photographer?
I like to have fun while shooting…and I’ve heard from pretty much everyone I’ve ever photographed–“this was fun! You made us feel really comfortable!” Which is the best compliment someone can give me. When you’re having fun, you forget to feel self-conscious, and that paves the way for those photos to be intimate and vibrant and authentic. So, give me a call…let’s sit down and chat; I’d love to get to know you.

*are you the photographer who will be photographing our wedding?

–yep. I’m the whole show!

*do you have a second photographer?
–By default, I work alone. For more than 6 hours, I prefer to have another photographer. Having someone there with me increases our energy and inspiration and gives you two different perspectives.

*do you do destination weddings?
–hell yes! have passport, will travel! Especially in 2013 as I’m relocating, I am going to be offsetting my travel costs considerably. Basically–wherever you are, give me a shout. Let’s make this work!

*I really, really, really love your work, but I don’t think I can afford you!
–well, first off, thanks. 😀 haha! If you don’t think you can afford me, please send me an email and tell me about yourself and your event…it’s possible we could come up with a solution that would suit both of us. Please bear in mind…at the end of the day, all those rented linens will go back, the hors d’oevres will be crumbs on a platter, that expensive open bar will be sticky dregs in dirty glasses, and even the dress will be a pile of beautiful white satin and lace sitting in your closet. The ONE thing you will have to look back on and remember your day are the photographs. Don’t settle! Consider making sacrifices in other areas to make sure you get the photographer you really want…even if it’s not me!

*where is the best place to take our formal photographs?
–well, it’s probably not in front of the altar! If you want natural, beautiful portraits, the best light is natural light. As a general rule, that’s pretty hard to achieve inside most churches, thought certainly not impossible. I recommend going outside and finding a nice shady spot. I don’t want you or your loved ones to be looking into the sun and getting squinty photographs! That said, we can take photographs anywhere you’d like, especially if the location has significance to you.

*why do you include an engagement session in all of your packages?
–for SO many reasons! In fact, I think they are so important they are not reflected in the pricing at all! I want a chance to get to know you and vice versa. I want you to have gorgeous photographs of yourselves. (If I had a dollar for every couple I’ve heard say, “we don’t have any pictures of just us!” Even married couples say, “The only photos we have of us are our wedding photos.” I’m out to right that wrong!) Plus…most people are not very comfortable in front of the camera; I am no exception. But, after being directed and trusting various photographers…and seeing the finished result, I am a lot more comfortable. I believe that when someone suggests I do something…it is because it’s going to look awesome! If you’ve seen the finished product before your wedding day, you will feel that much more at ease and enjoy the photo-taking part that much more.

*why would we want to take photos before the ceremony?
–there are lots of reasons to do it before, and lots of reasons to wait. You probably already have your own reasons to wait, so I’ll just give you some reasons to consider doing it before.
1. your hair and makeup are fresh. You’re not going to look any better all day!
2. have you considered that it might be nice to have a private moment to see each other and soak in the magnitude of the moment? We can set up a special time for the groom to see the bride in her dress…I can capture that tender look in his eyes, and then skedaddle and let you have a couple minutes alone together.
3. cocktail hour! imagine actually being able to have that cosmopolitan and spanakopita with your guests…what a novel concept!
4. the flower girl and ring bearer haven’t got grass-stains on their fancy duds yet. They’re still in “best-behavior” mode…take advantage of this!

*is it ok if my Uncle Bob takes photos at our wedding, too?
–This is a tricky one. I don’t have anything against your Uncle Bob…I’m sure he’s a very nice guy. Unfortunately, you and I both know how quickly you want to be done with all those family photos. If Uncle Bob is jumping in and trying to get his shot too…that will definitely slow down the process.
I don’t currently have any rules against having a friend or family member there taking photos for you as well, but just remember: you’re hiring a professional for a reason! Make sure you tell your Uncle Bob that you so appreciate his extra eyes, but to make sure he’s aware of and not interfering with the professional’s work. I will not hesitate to tell someone if he or she is in my shot. It’s what you’re paying me for! (And I am generally not ok with anyone joining us during the bride + groom photo session…unless you want a friend along to help with lip gloss touch-ups…the fewer people around, the more relaxed and intimate you will feel, which will be reflected in your photos.)

*how many photos will you take at my wedding?
–I don’t have a limit on the number of photos I will take. I take as many as I need to take to tell the story. However, I often take multiple shots of certain things…like your first dance, or other action packed moments. Then I go through and select the very best ones. In the end, I’ll give you somewhere between 50-100 photographs per hour I was photographing. No need for you to be overwhelmed!

*can i see an entire wedding you’ve photographed?
–sure! just email me, and i’ll give you instructions on how to view one.

Any more questions? Shoot me an email. gwyn[at]