Will this ever work right?

This has been a tough slog to try and figure out all the bugs associated with the blog. The pictures don’t really show up and it takes forever to load. Let’s see how this picture looks.

Bailey at her wedding.

Another test

I would really like to see this work properly. The blogging has been on hold and I didn’t have everything up and running for such a long time I forgot how to do it with this new website.

So here goes.

This photo, of Ashley and Mark, was from their elopement in downtown Bend last winter. For such a short wedding, the photos were fabulous. She wasn’t wearing a dress, so I use them in the engagements section of the Pete Erickson Photography website.

Ashley and Mark celebrate their elopement in downtown Bend.

Wedding Photography: Michelle and Brian at Five Pines in Sisters

My sometimes shooting co-worker Todd Martyn-Jones was hired by Michelle and Brian for us to shoot their wedding at Five Pines in Sisters in January. I rarely get a chance to meet the couple when Todd gets hired. So it’s always a surprise when meeting them for the first time on their wedding day and getting busy with pictures.

What a pleasant surprise to have such a fun, good-looking, and nice couple to spend the day with! Michelle willing to jump on the bed and do the cheerleader pose mid-air made my day. She wanted a nice ice-blue wedding in the winter. It was only raining during the day, but we had a nice frozen pond to use for after-the-ceremony portraits using two lights. Michelle knows the words to the songs in “Frozen” and was singing them with her friends before the ceremony.

The couple wanted to have their first look before the ceremony, which makes things easier, and I stayed behind them while Todd shot from the front. The small windows in the door made the perfect frame for an intimate moment between them and I got the shot.

I used both Profoto lights bouncing off the wall to get the dancing and it came out really well. The lights did light the background dining area a little, but they did give perfect window looking side lighting to everyone.

The first-look picture, the ice pond portrait, and the jump on the bed in front of the dresses are making me think this might be a rare portfolio wedding. Now to get off my bum and put it into my wedding photography website.

 

Two Profoto lights, a red umbrella, good looking couple, and an iced over pond make for a nice portrait.
Two Profoto lights, a red umbrella, good looking couple, and an iced over pond make for a nice portrait.

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The moments before the ceremony are some of my favorites of the day.
The moments before the ceremony are some of my favorites of the day.
Detail shots aren't my super specialty, but when I can get a smiling face in the background, they work perfectly.
Detail shots aren’t my super specialty, but when I can get a smiling face in the background, they work perfectly.
The red umbrella works perfectly against the green umbrellas.
The red umbrella works perfectly against the green umbrellas.

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The Profoto with a big umbrella works wonders for group shots.
The Profoto with a big umbrella works wonders for group shots.
Moments like this are a big reason why I love being a wedding photographer.
Moments like this are a big reason why I love being a wedding photographer.
The red umbrella made some red light on their faces.
The red umbrella made some red light on their faces.

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Setting up two Profotos to bounce light around the room makes for some super light.
Setting up two Profotos to bounce light around the room makes for some super light.
Michelle is the best.
Michelle is the best.

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My Bend Oregon Wedding Photography website and SEO

The pre-dawn light appears ethereal at the Temple of the Sun in Capitol Reef National Park.
The pre-dawn light appears ethereal at the Temple of the Sun in Capitol Reef National Park.

Looking at this picture cheers me up. Just starting to read a book on SEO and how to improve my Bend Oregon Wedding Photographer website doesn’t cheer me up. In short: I haven’t the faintest clue how to improve the standings of my fledgling website and I’m sure whatever getting done now to the site is the totally wrong solution to the problem.

As it stands now, any bride finding me on the new site will have the determination of an arctic explorer on a dog sled searching for one of the poles. It’s simply not showing up and I haven’t the faintest clue how to make it go to the first page. If it’s not on the first page I might as well not be doing any wedding photography in Bend.

There’s one idea to improve the links to the page: send a 16 x 20 print in to the annual WPPI print contest. I remember seeing a list of entries with website links on the WPPI website last year. Having a link to an international photography website will be like finding a golden egg at the top of a giant bean stock. It’s the rest of the SEO stuff I’m really concerned about. Where to start? How to make it better? When will the site start moving in the right direction?

I need to come up with a list of relevant sites to try and get links from and to and help in that way. The other place might be…? What dragon have I awoken with reading this book? Is the dragon real or is it just a windmill and I’m panicking over nothing?

We’ll see. It’ll take lots of time and energy to conquer, but I’m a person who’s done quite a bit of conquering obstacles in his life.

First I’ll get busy and read the book all the way through while making notes of important actions to take. Then I’ll start working on the actions.

One is this Google+ thing. Have to start figuring that one out this week and make it the first challenge.

Have to get to dinner.

Betsy and Russell at Camp Sherman

My co-shooter Todd signed up Betsy and Russell for us to do at Camp Sherman a couple weeks ago. When Todd signs up the couples, I never get to meet them before the wedding. So it always takes a few minutes to get the feel of what kinds of people I’ll be working with for the day.

When I first walked into the tiny cabin where Betsy was getting ready I was very pleasantly greeted by a super nice bride, her family, and her friends. Meeting nice people makes for great pictures. They had her set up in a very small and dark room at first. I walked around the cabin and the room at the other end had much better lighting options, so I asked if they could move to the better room. They were very happy to do so, and we all got busy getting ready for their fall wedding.

The room proved invaluable for placing my Profoto with a beauty dish outside and having fun popping the light through the window. I was happy there was no wind during the day because my assistants were all busy and the light had to stand on it’s own.

One of the bridesmaids had helped a photographer with a reflector in the past and was invaluable with the closeups of Betsy in a doorway with the Profoto taking up half the room to light her.

The kid’s up and yelling at me to do stuff for her. It’s impossible to continue.

Enjoy the photos!

Today’s shameless keyword link: Bend Wedding Photography

The dark room had one advantage: getting a picture of the dress in the window.
The dark room had one advantage: getting a picture of the dress in the window.

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Had a great time with Betsy posing for me with the Profoto and beauty dish outside the window.
Had a great time with Betsy posing for me with the Profoto and beauty dish outside the window.

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Profoto beauty dish to camera right, white reflector to camera left. A recipe to make a bride glow.
Profoto beauty dish to camera right, white reflector to camera left. A recipe to make a bride glow.

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I try to keep the photography to just a 35mm lens and an 85mm lens, but the 20mm comes out for key pictures at every wedding.
I try to keep the photography to just a 35mm lens and an 85mm lens, but the 20mm comes out for key pictures at every wedding.

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Loved this moment. Loved it especially in black and white.
Loved this moment. Loved it especially in black and white.

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Loved these colors. Here and gone so quickly every year.
Loved these colors. Here and gone so quickly every year.

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The leaning tower of cake. This cake had more personality than almost any wedding cake I've ever seen.
The leaning tower of cake. This cake had more personality than almost any wedding cake I’ve ever seen.

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Bailey and Joe: Wedding Photography in the Oregon High Desert

I love these two. They are my ideal couple to work with. Now to figure out how to only hire the Bailey and Joe’s looking for a wedding photographer. Fun to be around, having fun with each other and willing to get creative for their pictures. It doesn’t get any better for me. Well, maybe if they wanted me to be their destination photographer in Tahiti or Hawaii, then it would get better.

They’re a great example of the kind of couple I need to do the “reverse sale” with in the future. The idea of the “reverse sale” comes from my favorite wedding photography business people Justin and Mary. This idea, they said, comes from watching The Office on TV. It’s the idea of making people sell themselves to you so you can get the best, most creative and animated couple possible. These couples will then become what’s called your ‘sneezers’ and will spread your word to their friends.

It was obvious to me when I did their engagement portraits the upcoming wedding had a high probability of becoming a very rare portfolio wedding on my Bend wedding photographer website. It’s interesting how I just know when a couple has the potential to have a portfolio wedding. As a matter of fact, I just last week signed up another couple with the potential for a wedding next September. Like Bailey and Joe, I can tell they’re enthusiastic, wanting to get creative, and wanting to have fun.

This super couple were married at a ranch located way, way out in the middle of nowhere near the power station on the road between Prineville and Madras. It was one of those super hot and bright days in the Central Oregon summertime.

When I showed up, the first photo I did was the group shot of Joe and his groomsmen all wearing their cowboy hats. The porch was perfectly lit in the shadow of the building and I knew right away the old photo black and white would work perfectly. It’s always interesting to know exactly what will work even before doing the photo. After getting the shot I knew the boys were covered in the best possible way and so I walked up the dirt road to the house were Bailey and her bridesmaids were getting ready.

The living room where I found them was colored in a nice, rich, warm earth tone and reflected these nice colors all over the room. It had a great east facing window acting like a giant softbox and hitting the room with the reflecting warm light almost perfectly. I had a great time making lots of super fun pictures of her and her friends. We actually got too many nice pictures in this setting. It was tough editing down all the super pictures to fit into a reasonable number for the portfolio.

The wedding, the portraits, the group shots, the toasting, the sunset pictures all came out super. At the end of the night my assistant, Hannah, and I jumped into the back of a pickup for a ride way out to the middle of nowhere to get some nighttime photos. My Pocket Wizard remote wasn’t helping fire the Profoto as well as I would’ve liked and I didn’t have a tripod to freeze the tree. (Two things I’ll have to fix in the future) Even with those problems I scored a pile of super portraits of them next to the tree with the stars and the remnants of the day’s light and also a quick idea to have them dancing in front of the truck with the light from the truck behind and the Profoto lighting them from the front.

We didn’t get home until 2AM. The next day I shot Stephanie and Brian’s wedding at Black Butte Ranch and scored another portfolio wedding. What a great weekend to be a wedding photographer!Groom group photographyWedding detail photographyGetting ready wedding photographyBride detail photographyReflectionsMom helps with neclaceWedding ring detail photographyBridal portrait in a doorWedding toasting photographEmotionBridal selfieThrough the screen wedding portraitWedding photography of the ceremonyOverall shot of the ceremonyEmotion at the ceremonyNice lightQuiet momentBride with groomsmen portrait photographyAnother idea for a wedding portraitCentral Oregon wedding day lightAnother wedding portrait with the Central Oregon lightProfoto to the rescueThe Profoto catches a tearMother-son dance with the Profoto B1The garter belt in the darkThree light danceStarry night with the Profoto B1

Amy and Steven wedding at Rock Springs Ranch

I haven’t been very consistent with the blog posting lately. Two time consuming activities have filled my calendar instead. The first activity being the shooting, editing, and sending out of my wedding and portrait photography. Setting up my new Bend Oregon wedding photography website being the other time consuming activity. Websites really suck the life out of a persons mind. Sitting down to type and add photos to this blog became impossible.

Now it’s been so long I can’t remember what weddings are in here and what I had to say about them. So I’m going to start from scratch and add a pile of pages over the next couple weeks and try to catch up with the weddings and maybe the portraits.

I’ve already gone through this blog and redone most, if not all, of the links to the new wedding photography site. Now to put in some of these weddings as both posts and as portfolios in the portfolios section of the menu at the top of the page. I think there’s an entire wedding from Corey and Morgan still up there and it’s still linked to the old website. There’s a pile of work to take care of, and soon, before the old site comes down and I’m left with an endless supply of broken links.

This first one, Amy and Steven’s wedding at Rock Springs Ranch, happened about a year ago now and I think it might have already been blogged about. I’m redoing it to match the portfolio on the new wedding photography website and will include these photos into the portfolio section in the blog menu.

Amy works at Brasada Ranch and Steven owns Barrio Restaurant in downtown Bend. They’re a super couple and I love running into theme every now and then. The food at Barrio rocks. My kid Eimear and I love hitting that place every now and then.

My favorite two photos from this wedding are the ‘cake-n-the-face’ and the ‘log’ at the end of the wedding. The cake-in-the-face was done with my little on camera SB-900 flash pointed up and around to the back to bounce off the wall behind me and the log photo was done with the flash pointed straight up at the entryway ceiling. The photos aren’t about the fancy camera techniques I used, but rather about the moments they show. I love the face Amy makes when pushing the cake into Steven’s face. She’s a-gitten him with that cake. He’s caught completely by surprise. I love the log photo because even though it’s posed, all the characters in the picture show something different. The friend out in front helping with the posing really puts it over the top for me.

I love when people show their natural selves in a picture because it makes the picture genuine. Most people aren’t models and can’t fake emotion. I’m horrible at creating emotion for pictures. It looks artificial. Plastic fantastic looks might work in a Prada ad in Elle magazine, but it really doesn’t work with real people at their wedding. I love giving people a direction to go and then watching what happens. Some people require a giant push, others not so much. Beer and tequila consumption on their part helps with the prodding because it greatly lowers peoples inhibitions and brings out their natural selves for photography. This is a big, big reason why I always try to talk people into having open bars: it helps with the photography because people are having the times of their lives.

 

Getting ready for the wedding at Rock Springs RanchGetting ready for the wedding at Rock Springs RanchWedding portraits of getting readyGroom and groomsmen getting readyButtoning the shirtDetail wedding photographyWedding day portrait photographyFirst look wedding day photographyWedding day portrait photographySigning the ketubahWedding ceremony photographySeven timesThe kissDetailsGroup portrait photographyThe log shotFun portrait wedding photographyFather daughter danceToastingTraditional danceHora danceTraditional danceHomemade cakesReception fun wedding photographyThe drunk coupleFriends having funBubbles and camera wedding photographyDrunken guestsHaving a great timeSinging and dancingBend_Oregon_Photographer-1001-2Having fun

 

PeteErickson.photo

I’m hoping it’s not too soon to announce this, but I started a new Central Oregon Wedding Photography website yesterday. Now to change all the links in this blog and do some other changes associated with this big move. It’s something I’ve been working on for quite a while.

The purposes for the new site are many. The biggest is so I can save a pile of money on the website. The current site costs me money every month and more money every time I make a change. The changes have been happening so quickly in my wedding photography  that it would cost thousands of dollars to make them as fast as they happen. If you look at how much I’m currently charging for my wedding packages you will read this:

“Preserving your memories starts at $1,500 for five hours of coverage. I offer a full range of products and services for you to customize your wedding package to best suit your needs. I still have openings for 2015 and beyond. Please contact me for more information.”

That’s not nearly enough to afford an expensive site.

That first reason and the second reason, to make changes reflecting my current work, are one and the same.

I have absolute and unwavering confidence in my current and growing body of work. There’s a new portfolio shot made at almost every wedding. Paying $250 for every change gets prohibitive real quick.

So there you have it. These are the samples I have in the brochure section of the Central Oregon Weddings website.

 pete_erickson_cow-9Great time dancingpete_erickson_cow-7pete_erickson_cow-6pete_erickson_cow-5pete_erickson_cow-4pete_erickson_cow-3Wedding portrait photography in Camp Shermanpete_erickson_cow-1

Bend Wedding Photography: Kat and Brad at Wigi Creek

Seeing happiness and doing pictures of people having fun together is food for my soul.  It’s the biggest reason why I love doing Central Oregon wedding photography.

Kat and Brad’s wedding last weekend perfectly exemplifies this idea. My assistant Hannah and I did their engagement photos last fall along the Deschutes River and we got to know them before the wedding. They’re one of those couples who are one person alone and more than two people when together. I’ve only met them a couple times now, but their synergy is obvious.

The song “Dazzey Duks” by Duice is playing on my earphones right now and I’m thinking of the Shakespeare quote:

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

(How many people would put Duice and Shakespeare in the same sentence?)

Their wedding had a super reception with Dave Star of Star Productions playing the tunes. This quote is the perfect one for their entire day. (Disclaimer: Dave is my favorite local DJ who played our wedding.) I experimented with a different lighting scheme for the outdoors reception and it worked really well. So glad to have tried this with their wedding.

The trouble for this blog is I tried to only have 20-30 photos of the wedding for this post, but couldn’t get it below the 56.

You could say that’s problem any photographer would want to have.

Sadly they’re moving to California and a new biotech job next week, so we won’t be able to have the occasional Deschutes Brewery beer together.

I wish them the best of luck and would like to remind them how much fun it would be to take a road-trip down there sometime for a destination wedding in wine country.

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My favorite productivity tool

My 60-year-old Underwood typewriter and today's assignments.
My 60-year-old Underwood typewriter and today’s assignments.

Last week I talked about my new/old Underwood typewriter and how it’s slowly making me more productive. The colors of my logo are changing to Navy/Red to match my bow ties and there’s a pile of old stationary in a plastic wrapper to use up, so it works perfectly for doing my daily assignments for wedding photography, to-do list for around the house, a daily Shakespeare quote to keep focused on love and wedding photography, shopping list, and things to remember.

The lists have been growing longer every day and now include the things to remember and the daily Shakespeare quote.

Before doing this, I would accomplish maybe two things a day and get yelled at towards the end of the day for being lazy. With the list I get about 8-10 things done per day and don’t get yelled at anymore.

Slowly, like a glacier, I’m working towards my various goals. These include getting entire weddings done in 7 days. Mountain biking 4-5 times per week (smoke permitting). Taking care of household chores like doing/folding laundry, ironing, shopping and cooking, and cleaning up. Most people don’t need a list for household stuff, but I’m notoriously forgetful when it comes to taking care of home chores.

I have calendars, daily lists, iPhone stuff, etc.

None of it works nearly as well as typing out a list on my Underwood every morning. There’s something about the tap, tap, DING! that keeps me remembering what to take care of during the day.

Even this blog post has been written onto the list and will be scratched off as soon as this gets done.

After finishing this job, I’m going to make sure Eimear is taken care of and then get out for a mountain bike ride. Might have to hit the Helicopter Pad today. The Pad kicks ass for hill climbing practice.

It’s noon, and including the mountain biking I will have taken care of five of eleven items by the time this post gets finished. Before the Underwood it might have been one or two items done, and the exercise wouldn’t have happened.

People all have different techniques for productivity. Most can get things done with a simple iPhone calendar. I need something physical to do in the morning and then carry around all day. Something I can scribble on with a pen. Something that makes sound while getting done. Something with typos and off line capital letters.

Something real, created in my mind, and done by hand.

Kind of like my Bend Oregon wedding photography.