Today we're chatting with Alyssa McConaughey of Alyssa McConaughey Photography. She's a Newberg-based photographer who does incredible wedding and senior portrait photography! Her work is authentic, rich, and full of genuine emotion.
We loved finding out more about her process for serving her clients to capture these beautiful images!
Let's talk about your senior portraiture! What can a high school senior expect out of their experience in a session? Do you have favorite prompts or anything special you like to do to help clients relax?
Senior portrait sessions can be so much fun! We’ll pick a location and then spend our session times wandering around finding beautiful spots with magical light to take photos. I’ll definitely want to hear about how your senior year is going and what your plans are for taking on the world after graduation.
For posing and prompts, I always have to ask my seniors to trust me! Because I’m going to ask you to do some strange sounding things like sniff your shoulder or laugh at a tree. I also might have you do some silly things that help you move and laugh so you feel comfortable and confident. I also recommend bringing a friend or family member along if that will help you loosen up! I want your senior photos to look and feel like YOU above all else. Forget the trendy poses on Pinterest and Instagram… I want to take photos that show off YOU - your real smile, your interests, and who you are as a person.
You have some incredible portraits in your portfolio, particularly for couples and weddings. What drew you to that niche?
There are at least 100 reasons why I love photographing couples and weddings. I was initially drawn to photographing love stories because of how happy and comfortable people are with the person they’ve chosen. It makes creating photographs that are emotionally honest and connected so easy.
It’s an honor to get to come alongside a couple and see their deep connection to one another. Selfishly, there’s something about experiencing a piece of that love first hand that really speaks to me and adds depth and joy to my life. I also know how important my relationship is with my partner and how much I absolutely cherish all of the wonderful photos we have of us together. And of course, our wedding photos are so priceless to me. I love that I can give beautiful and meaningful images like that to people.
Also, weddings are SO FUN. They’re also crazy and exhausting. But wow, they’re so fun. I love how emotional and exciting wedding days can be. The way family and friends come together to celebrate is heartwarming to me every single time. I absolutely love being a part of it all.
What do you look for in making a photo that makes it compelling to you? You know that feeling of "hey, that has to be in my portfolio!" -- what makes that type of photo for you?
My favorite photos are ones that show an honest connection, expression, or emotion. And when that depth collides with a beautiful setting and the right light - that’s when a must have portfolio image happens for me. I want my photos to be both beautiful and rich in content.
What are three words you would use to describe your overall aesthetic?
Lush, honest, and simple.
What makes an ideal Alyssa McConaughey Couple?
My ideal couple is a couple that loves one another and is open to showing that on camera. I love working with people that come to me exactly as they are and trust me to bring out the best in them while we’re shooting together. My ideal couple also values the work that I do and the art that I create for them. And of course, they think I’m funny when I try to make them laugh for a photo.
But when all is said and done, my ideal couple is exactly who you are - nothing different. Nothing more and nothing less. Just you.
What portion of a wedding day is your favorite to photograph, and why?
Just about any part of the wedding day where someone might cry… and that’s probably going to be my favorite part to photograph! I love photographing moments like the mother of the bride helping her daughter put on her dress or best friends giving a heartfelt toast. Another favorite part of a wedding day is grandmothers. They’re simply the best.
I also absolutely love pulling couples away from their reception for some sunset/golden hour photos. It’s a nice breather from the big party and all the attention to a chance to sneak away for a few kisses in some beautiful light.
What is one of your most memorable moments as a wedding photographer?
For the last three wedding seasons, I’ve managed to get stung by a bee or bitten by a wasp at one wedding each summer. Before that first sting in 2017, it had been almost 20 years since I’d had a painful run-in with a bee - so it’s a little crazy to me that this keeps happening. Luckily, I get SO into shooting that I’ve been able to ignore the pain and finish out the day no problem. I’m hoping to break this tradition in 2020… someone tell the bees!
But for each of those bee stings, there are countless good memories from this dream job of mine. So many kind and generous families have opened up their hearts and invited me into such personal and sacred spaces. I’ve laughed HARD with dozens of wedding parties and cried tears of joy for my couples. I’m so incredibly thankful that I get to do this intimate and personal work for such wonderful folks year in and year out.
What is unique about how you serve a couple for their wedding photography experience?
I aim to be there for my couple’s every step of the way! Most of the people I work with have never hired a wedding photographer before hiring me, so I like to be open and available to answer questions and talk through things like day-of timelines. I want all of my weddings to be as stress-free as they can be and I’ve learned plenty of ways to help reach that goal.
I know I’ve talked about this a lot already, but I’m here for the emotion! I think my emotional range and sensitivity are a real asset to my work as a wedding photographer. I consider myself very emotionally aware, and emotions often run high on a wedding day for the folks involved. When I’m able to feel and relate to the things happening in the space around me, I’m able to not only respond in helpful ways, but to capture those feelings in an honest way. I’m drawn to emotions and things of significance like a magnet and that helps me take photographs that mean something to my clients.
As a business owner, one of the things that makes my heart SOAR is when a potential client reaches out to me with a specific vision for their photography experience and that vision is completely in line with what I offer! I put a lot of effort into perfecting my process and shooting style so that I offer a consistent experience to every client that comes to me. I love when I know exactly what I'm getting from a store or service provider, so I try to create that for my clients! So when I get that email from a potential client that has heard about my work and wants that experience, I get so excited that my hard work is paying off! With these types of clients, we create MAGIC because we're all on the same page about what we're creating, and those are the most successful sessions.
So how do you make sure you hire a photographer who will create that kind of magic with you? Here is my three step system to make sure you connect with the PERFECT photographer!
1) Go beyond price
The BIGGEST thing you can do for yourself is to look past price! Of course, that's always a consideration, and having a general budget in mind is essential. But that definitely shouldn't be the ONLY thing you should consider as you search for a photographer. I see many people search only as long as it takes to find someone who can photograph them within their budget, and then they hire the first person who fits that budget. Well, what if that person fits the budget, but the style of photos you get back isn't what you were envisioning? That's why step two is SO important!
2) Think about style BEFORE you search
It's easy to get lost down the rabbit hole of Google searching for photographers! Next time, before you even open up your computer to search, spend some time brainstorming what words you'd use to describe the look you'd like your photos to have. Which of these phrases appeals most to you? More than one is totally fine, and absolutely feel free to add your own!
Light, bright, and airy / Film-inspired / Soft and romantic
Dark and moody / Emotional / Edgy
Bold and colorful / Free-spirited / Boho
Classic and timeless / Posed / Traditional
Once you have a solid list, use those keyphrases in your search to narrow down the options. Photographers who specialize in these types of styles will have made sure these words appear on their website to make themselves easy to find to their perfect clients!
3) Think about your ideal experience
I think this is MOST important for wedding and birth photographers, where you're spending 8+ hours of the most important day of your life with your photographer, but really it applies to anyone! When you look back at your photos, you'll remember what your experience making those photos felt like, so it's really important that you choose a photographer that you vibe well with. For larger projects, you'll want to have a consultation before you hire a photographer to get a sense of their personality and see if you mesh well together. Pay attention to how your conversation goes: do you like this person? Did you enjoy chatting with them? Did they put you at ease and make you feel like you could be yourself? These are all really important things to think about before inviting a photographer to spend a day with you.
For sessions, think about how you'd like to feel during your session. Do you want to travel somewhere exciting and have an adventure-inspired session? Look for photographers that feature large landscape-focused portraits and focus on adventure and travel. Or maybe you'd like to hang out at your home--look for a photographer who advertises in-home sessions. Do you like to be encouraged and take the guesswork out of how to pose with direction from the photographer? Do you like the poses to be traditional or more lifestyle? Are you looking for a free-spirited session with funny prompts instead of poses for a session where real life is most important?
The last part of the experience is how you'll receive your photos. What kind of guidance would you like in making your final choices for photos to print? Some photographers will guide you through the selection process so that you can choose the best photo to fit your final art piece. They'll take care of ordering prints for you and do album design. Are you only looking for digital files? Check that the photographer offers those. Would you rather make choices from your home? See if your photographer offers Skype sales sessions or consultations.
Phew! That seems like a lot to think about, but I promise, when you're making an investment in to your photos, these are ALL important things to consider to make sure that your investment is WORTH IT! By taking a few minutes to brainstorm how you'd like your photos to look and how you'd like to feel during the entire process, you can easily narrow down your potential photographers to quickly find the perfect one for you! As you click in to each photographer's website that you're considering, you'll be able to quickly see if they're a good fit by comparing their photographic style to your wish list. As you browse their website further, you can see what type of experience they offer and, if you've done the work to think about what you want beforehand, you'll know right away if they are a good fit for you! And last, make sure you get a good sense of their personality through a consultation or at least through following their Instagram! With all of these connection points in line, you'll be sure to have the best photography experience yet!
We're so excited to showcase Wild Valley Photography again, this time with some fabulous Motherhood Mini Sessions. Amy is an amazing motherhood photographer and is based in Newberg. Here's what she shared about these mini sessions:
I recently hosted Motherhood Mini Sessions at Bob & Crystal Rilee Park in Newberg. This is such a gorgeous location. It's a Century farm located on Parrett Mountain. There are mossy old barns, a lush flower garden, a meadow of wildflowers, and lots of hiking trails. If you haven't been there... GO! It's so lovely!
Motherhood sessions are so close to my heart, I love capturing the unique connection between mamas and their children. Most moms that I know are usually the official photographer for their family and are therefore rarely in front of the lens. The Motherhood Mini Sessions are a great opportunity for mamas to get in front of the camera and document those sweet moments of loving on their kids.
If you'd like to book your own Motherhood session send me a message. I'd love to work with you to document this special time in your life.
Ronda with LaRae's Images is sharing a super fun session today for our feature! She is a portrait photographer based in Carlton, Oregon, right in the heart of Yamhill County. Ronda shared with us about a recent session she did in Beaverton:
This session is so very dear to my heart. My grandson Owen was born with Down Syndrome. He's 2 years old. Ever since his birth I have been involved with supporting the DSDN group: Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network. This session was done with Owen and a group of his Homies with extra Chromies. They are all wearing T-shirts from Kale Chips. The owner, Vanessa, herself has a little with Ds. She makes these T's and sells them. This is a true passion of mine to give back and give of my time and talents. Having moms and even dads get together with their children and know that they are supported, is very important. To watch all the kids play, laugh, and even cry because they were a bit overwhelmed just goes to show you that these kids are more alike than different from typical children.
I held this event at Jenkins Estate in Beaverton, because I knew they would have a spot big enough for all of the kids to play and have fun. So I called ahead and got the O.K. to have it there. Our next meet up is Aug 10th!
Today we're featuring a family session from Samantha Shannon Photography! Samantha specializes in light and airy photography for weddings and families. If you're looking for sunny photographs that feel like summertime, she creates those! Today, she's sharing a recent family photo session.
Family sessions in the summertime are always my favorite! I believe that most families would find their yearly portraits less stressful if they scheduled them in the summer. Most people wait until the holidays, when they need their annual holiday family photo for cards, to schedule their session. But isn't that the busiest time of the year? In the summer, kids are out of school, illnesses are mostly at bay, and your schedule is more flexible. And as an added bonus, there's more sunshine! We can do outdoor sessions in nature without having to worry about rescheduling because of rain. See? So. Many. Positives!
Anyways, this sweet family was a wedding client for a wedding at Green Villa Barn in Independence, Oregon a few years ago. It's such a rewarding part of my job to not only experience a wedding day with couples who grow to become friends, but to then get to see them again as their families grow and they need family photos! Emily and Ryan met up with me for family photos at Champoeg State Park near Newberg. We had a beautiful evening and loved seeing them as a family of THREE! Enjoy a few of my favorites from their session!
Convinced a light and airy family photo session is for you? Get in touch with Samantha by visiting her website here!
In May, our group held a small styled shoot out at Champoeg State Park in Newberg. Our goal was to create a positive collaborative shooting environment to take some creative risks and grow as a community! Our core colors were peach and blush, and the overall theme was wine country rustic. We hoped for organic, romantic, and classic images that were also relaxed and unfussy. With our incredible models Monica and Brian, along with a gorgeous 4-tier cake with handmade sugar flowers from Sewell Sweets and a hand tied bouquet of farmer's market peonies, our vision came to life! This was an amazing evening of collaborative shooting, and we're excited to share some of the images with you today!
One of the greatest things about shooting collaboratively like this is that not only do we get to feed off of each other's creativity, but we also get to see the shoot through other photographer's eyes. Our models received four different galleries with four vastly different styles! Each gallery has a different atmosphere and it's just so incredible--these were all shot at the same time. This is an amazing reminder that if you're searching for a photographer, it is super important to check out their portfolio to make sure they create the style of work that you're looking for. We're all listed over on our Find A Photographer directory, where you can quickly check out and compare ten of Yamhill County's best portrait photographers! And now--let's get to the pictures!
The images above are all from Samantha Shannon Photography, who organized the shoot. "I wanted to create a shoot that reflected my love of sunshine, vibrant pink florals, and our beautiful Oregon wine country weddings. I love to shoot with a good amount of sunset glow, and the day did not disappoint! My style is clean, bright, and airy, which paired really well with the romantic and organic feel of the shoot. It was a pleasure working with some of my favorite Yamhill county wedding vendors!"
Visit Samantha's blog post on the styled shoot here.
These images are all from Elaina Noelani Photography. Elaina said, "Walking into this beautifully styled session by Samantha Shannon Photography was a dream. But being met with the gorgeous warmth of the light plus a completely crazy in love couple was like a fairytale! For this session, I focused my attention on the glow and flares that the sun was providing to create beautiful depth in the images and focus on the authentic love and connection of our subjects. The light just danced around them- just pure beauty!”
These are images from Michelle of Chelletography. Michelle says, "The location was gorgeous and I had such a fun time with everyone! I absolutely loved watching how Brian & Monica interacted as a couple!"
These are photos from Rachel of Wishflower Photography.
This was such an incredible shoot! We have a few more photos to share--some behind the scenes photos of us in action!
Thanks for following along on our Spring Styled Shoot! If you're interested in working with us as a vendor or photographer on the next one, contact us!
We're excited to share this feature today from Katie Coleman Photography on a recent Portland personal branding photo session! Personal brand photography has become a must-have for so many of us, and Katie is based right here in Newberg to serve you!
"If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you."
How do you get someone to trust you if you’ve never met them? Think about your experience with certain brands that you purchase over and over, or when you scroll Instagram. Who have you subscribed to and look forward to their posts? On some level, you probably have a sense of trust that they will consistently deliver, whether it’s entertainment, a product, or a service. That’s ultimately the goal of personal brand photography, curating a story of images that allows your viewer to get a deeper understanding of who you are, what you stand for, and what you are promoting or selling, in hopes of organically building a sense of trust.
Who can benefit from personal brand photography? A lot of people! It’s for your small brick and mortar business owners, social influencers, authors, MLM sellers, artists, bloggers, etc, basically anyone that wants to build their online presence through photography.
There are lots of benefits to a personal branding photo session. In addition to building trust with your viewer, it also allows the busy entrepreneur to save time when it comes to social media as the thought has already gone into curating images for you. You also walk away with a commercial license for your images which allows you to edit and modify those photos as you see fit for your brand. This means you can add text to an image for your website banner, overlay a quote for your Instagram feed, or alter the coloring for an ad.
You may be thinking, well how many images of myself do I really need? People don’t want to see my face everywhere. Well first, personal brand photography doesn’t only focus on photos of you, but can incorporate physical products, props, and close up images specific to your brand. Think “stock photos” that only you have access to, setting your Instagram feed or website apart from the competition. And second, people actually do want to see you. They want to know who you are and who the face is behind the service or product.
Meet Jessica Johnson, a Portland lifestyle blogger, influencer, event planner, author and speaker. Jessica began her influencer and blogging journey under the title The Complicated Blonde, which she shares was, “to inspire others to take back their power in an otherwise seemingly powerless situation” after her divorce. Since then, her journey and her brand has evolved and she’s ready to take her blog and business to the next level.
For our session, Jessica wanted to communicate fun and flirty and so we met up in downtown Tigard for a few shots and then headed over to downtown Lake Oswego to finish up the shoot.
I’m so excited to see what Jessica has in store with her new website and content! With her fun and laidback personality, she’s totally relatable and one you’ll want to be following. Check out her Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook pages to follow along on Jessica’s journey!
Ready to chat more about creating your own personal brand photos? Hop over to Katie Coleman Photography and get in touch with her!
One of our Newberg members, family photographer Amy with Wild Valley Photography is on the blog today! She's an expert at capturing real, honest photos of families, and in particular, newborns, and mothers. We're so excited to showcase one of her recent Fresh 48 sessions today!
When we think about the big moments of our lifetimes, the moments that define who we are as a family, one of the first things that comes to mind is the birth of a new baby. As anyone who has cradled a brand-new little one in the moments following their birth can attest to this is a beautifully surreal time. It is drenched in overwhelming love and slightly clouded with exhaustion. Fresh 48 sessions help to preserve these important first moments and all the love of this special time.
The Carter family invited me to document the arrival of their second child, Ivan. I arrived at Providence Newberg Birth Center on a cloudy spring morning only moments after Ivan's paternal grandparents and his big sister Elizabeth. The room was over-flowing with love and adoration for this sweet new babe.
Elizabeth was so excited to meet her little brother. While she was holding him he began crying and she gently whispered "shhh, it's ok baby!". Oh, my heart Elizabeth. What a wonderful big sister!
I am always so honored to be a part of big moments such as this for families. These first precious moments can never be recreated and I want to create beautiful photos that you will treasure. I have done the work to ensure that I bring a calm relaxed vibe to every photo session. This helps to create a space that allows you to be present with the ones you love. I will direct you into the pretty light and take the time to guide you into authentic moments with your loved ones. When you look at your photos I want you to remember the love you felt that day. Let's document your defining moments!
Thanks for joining us to check out this Newberg Fresh 48 Session by Wild Valley Photography!
This month, we took a little road trip to Salem to photograph the cherry blossoms at the Oregon State Capitol. Our group shoots normally happen around Newberg, but because the Capitol is just so beautiful in the spring, we had to make the trip down there!
We brought some of our kids, and we had a fun morning making some great portraits! We hit the very tail end of blossom season, but lucky for us, the Capitol is perfect for photography in all seasons! It's always so fun after meetups to compare images and see the different ways each of us captured the same location. Scroll down to see more of the magic that each of us captured!
Katie Coleman Photography
Laura Diebel Photography
Samantha Shannon Photography
Today we're excited to share a newborn session from one of our members, newborn photographer Wishflower Photography! Read on to see some of the magic that she captured at little Henry's newborn session in Newberg!
Hi! I’m Rachael with Wishflower Photography.
I do photography of all kinds and truly enjoy it all, but what really feeds my soul is the magic of capturing a new life. It truly is a miracle and I just feel so honored when a family asks me to be there with them to capture a little slice of what this new adventure is like for them. I work out of my studio or come straight to your home. Either way the magic is tangible.
I love the way a precious new babe snuggles right into their mama and so often is immediately calmed. I love how tiny they look when being held in Dad’s big and strong hands. The tiny toes are so sweet and the grip of their hands holding your fingers is amazing.
This particular sweet family invited me into their beautiful and simple home. It was just perfect for focusing on the genuine love and joy that they share together. We found gorgeous pockets of light to use. I always enjoy the challenge of walking into someone’s home and scoping it out for the BEST light! It’s a personal treasure hunt!
Little Henry was a champ. He slept or smiled throughout the whole session, with the exception of one time-out to pee all over Dad. This is one of the essentials of a newborn session, just FYI. We always make time for that part. Haha!
Henry’s mom and I couldn’t get over how our styles totally matched up! I love sweet and simple, organic and earthy tones and colors. She did too and her home was filled with just that. So all the wraps, hats and accessories I brought with me were a breeze to match up to her palette.
I find so much joy and energy in capturing this special time for my clients. It really does go by so quickly. You will NEVER regret having this short and sweet time captured and preserved. I know my own photos of my babes are amongst my greatest treasures.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know more about Rachael and her newborn photography! You can see more of her work or get in touch with her to book a session by visiting her website here.