In the heat of the summer the last minute proposals happen; and then comes the scramble to get married to have your first Christmas together. I had the chance to work with a couple that had everything planned and the last thing to put together was the actual engagement. Scott and I met on a rooftop in Portland to talk about their relationship and what he was hoping to get in the photos.
" I really want to do it on the 4th of July and I really want to surprise her."
"We can really do anything, the difficult part is really getting the fireworks in there. I recommend that we have elements in the photos that add that environmental lighting in that is a lot more dependable and consistent then fireworks."
After the surprise shoot on the rooftop, we used the rest of the stylish AirBandB for a bedroom shoot. Totally worth it.
2018 I am going full force with wedding photography! Contact me to hear more about free engagement shoots with every wedding booked!
Shawn and Darisha's preview wedding photos from the Abernathy center in Portland Oregon.
Check out the booking page for more wedding information.
"Every season I take on one special wedding that I find myself a part of from the beginning. I took Claire and Alex's photos over a year ago at the Chattanooga Aquarium. You can find those photos in my albums.
3 Days before the wedding. I was on a plane while Claire and Alex did their last minute planning.
2 days before the wedding. I met with my assistant and checked out the TN river place to see how the day will play out.
1 day before the wedding. I visited my family while Claire and Alex got ready.
The wedding day.
We started at the Tease Salon with hair and make up for most of the ladies, a few opted to have their hair done at a different location and we followed the bride to the TN River place directly after. The groom found his way there before the rest of us and the rest of the groomsmen were finishing getting dressed. I was very happy to see everyone's humor even during the wedding day heat.
We went through the day with just one change in the schedule, I wanted to give the bride and groom one moment to themselves. Temperatures outside pushed 90° so we had a mini session inside for cocktail hour. I thought it was charming to see the couple joking a not taking life seriously; the way they've behaved together since I met them the first time.
I immensely enjoyed the festivities. ""Thank you to Claire and Alex for giving me the opportunity to come home for a few days from my new home in Vancouver, Washington.
Please enjoy and have a look around the website for more. If you were at Claire and Alex's wedding please drop me a message to receive a link to the full photo gallery.
I met chris and chel while manning my booth at the Cerimon House Open House a little over a month ago. There, they noticed my photography, I made sure to stuff them full of sweets from Tres Belle Cookies, and we put each other in each others calenders to talk about wedding photogrpahy. A few weeks later, I can't tell you just how much fun we had taking photos in IKEA.
It astounds me how powerful of a tool it is to just ask. “Welcome to how to have a conversation with people with tact.” would be a wonderfully successful college course. I spoke to Chris, Chris spoke to IKEA, IKEA spoke to their marketing department, and their marketing department spoke to the district manager and we got the green light to shoot Chris and Chel’s engagement photos in their Portland Oregon store.
There was a balance that we needed to achieve. We wanted to show off the fact that this was in Ikea as much as possible, at the same time, achieve a consistent look expected out of engagement photos. The key was to make sure that whatever they did, they had fun. Beds, closets, futons, chairs, and even the parking lot were all ours to use.
Some advice to people who get the opportunity to shoot in an IKEA like location, neutral clothing, additional lighting, and an unshy couple will be your friends.
Check me out on Instagram don't forget to make your way to the booking page.
"The story behind one of my featured photos is a fun one. I know patience is a virtue but I am so impatient for this summer. The chance to run around the PDX with a camera, finding parks and waterfalls.
In the mountains of TN I was brought to a spot known as the blue hole in the blue ridge parkway. As I was preparing myself for the departure from my college town for the last time, I wanted to say goodbye to this beautiful location with a photoshoot. Katelyn and Gabs were the proper models for this photo, young and adventurous, and great actors as well. They needed it to hold a strait face in the cold water that came up to your chest in spots. The first photos were to get them use to me, but honestly they were not anything special. But they were just the prep for the shot of the day. We knew that this was coming but it was time to man up, and lead the charge under the waterfall. No housing for my Sony a7ii and the 55mm 1.8 zeiss lens, just balls. I crouched like shmeagle in the back of the small cave and for the fist time, shot a bronzer panorama. It was a hell of a way to start a new technique that has now become one of my standards.
When we got out and back into town, everyone spot off to take care of their daily tasks. Lydia had to go see her family, Katelyn needed to attend class, and Gabe was expected at home. But I asked Katelyn if she could meet me in four hours. I set this time limit on myself to limit my dependency on the Brenizer image. If I couldn’t create the final image in a reasonable amount of time, I needed to develop a new process. The final image is the one you see before you. I put the other shots of the day into storage and gave them one shot for a days worth of work. Katelyn was the first to see and I only released the photos after Gabe had a chance to see the photo in private.
“ so how did he like it?” on my phone call with Katelyn a few days later
“ He just looked at it with his mouth hanging open for 20 minutes, I think he likes it.”
Thank you for checking out the story behind one of my favorite images. If you would like to book me as your couples photographer or are interested in creating a fine art piece like the one above, please check out the booking page!"
"If you spend enough time in theatre, you can see it in other people. I could see it in Erica; a nanny, an editor, an artist. Her husband, Tyler, a compliment in every way. A perfectly great couple to work with right before Valentine's day. We are all separated by five degrees of friends and acquaintances. The friend of a friend led me to our shoot and the perfect opportunity to be out on a bright warm day at the St. Johns bridge. Brooke joined me for this shoot as my assistant, you can see the journal on her here.
The turquoise bridge is an easy landmark to find. "" Yeah, lets meet at the green bridge."" It makes me feel like a local knowing exactly where it is. Gothic spires with elegant arches, it's little wonder that it's a staple background to so many portraits, evenings in the sun, weddings at the amphitheater below the bridge. The challenge came with making myself just a little bit different. But you have to start at the start, so we headed to the amphitheatre right below the first support. We began shooting right at the center of the amphitheatre, and we worked our way down to the water. It was a nice day so we had some company all around us, but no one minded that we had cameras going off. I scaled the base of one of the 40 story tall supports, making my way and ( I would say at least) impressive way up to take the photo suspended above Erica and Tyler. We finished off the shoot when we came back from the water to where we began. They were warmed up to the camera, and kept each other close for more warmth.
On the way to the water I got to hear their love story.
"" We met at church, he was part of the introductory team. We had met before but this is where we really began connecting"" I met them right by their 8th month anniversary so this was the first Valentine's together. ""Movie and dinner. Married life.""
"The more time I spend in the Vancouver and portland area the more I come to understand the instincts of the people. When I invited Erica and Tyler to a coffee shop downtown I saw the look I was after, and I had my camera. So the last few photos in this collection are of a slice of their life together. I left TN for the styles appreciated locally to Washington and Oregon.
If you would like to book a couples shoot with me, pease head over to the booking page!"
"I had some layover time in my home town before heading out west. I made the best of the time by sitting at the coffee shop for hours a day, wandering around, and taking photos of everything that came into view. The Beanery Uncorked was the towns hub for wanderers. Before my final day in town I have to admit that I developed a sense of community on my way out. Seeing old high school friends, making new acquaintances at old haunts, and taking on projects that only after college did I feel adequate to take on. Leeann brought me on a project on a hunch and I can happily say that I see her as both a colleague and a friend. It was my surprise that the bride, who's wedding was a weekend away, was someone I knew in class almost nine years prior.
The old woolen mill, a late fall wedding, two hundred guests, and drinks all around. It was as great as a wedding could go. The mill itself was a bit of an oddity that I came to appreciate. Broken glass everywhere, the structures that were destined to collapse on itself at some point in the future. Then again, its already been over a hundred and twenty years standing. It was vast as well, as we were taking photos of the groomsmen, a fashion shoot by another photographer was taking place in the ally by the graffiti on the far side of the building. Residents were coming and going in and out of their homes, but they seemed to know how to stay out of the photos.
The ceremony and reception hall were such a contrast from the outside. Exposed brick walls and antiques encased in glass on the walls. The stage, surrounded by chairs, was ready for the bride and groom. Erica and Nick met in college, love animals, have their home, family, and a community of people that care about them. And the box of wine that Nick ran away with at the sparkler exit."
Thank you for checking out the Journal. Erica and nicks wedding photos are also featured on the gallery page as well as throughout the website. Big Thanks to Leeanh for bringing me on as a second photographer to this wedding.
I shoot weddings for the moments. The moments when the bridesmaids sense a tremor in the bride's composure. A slight shiver of weakness that calls them to action. What are best friends for? They are there to make you cry. They remind you of every childhood moments you spent together and tell you that those moments have led to this one. That no matter what decision you make, they love you. I have seen and documented more people crying than I ever expected to, even this early in my career. But each time, I find that tears of sadness are surpassed by tears of love in its quantity. The moment starts when there is a tap on the elbow of the bride.
A suggestion, “lets pray.”
The first five seconds I am shooting the prayers, my camera is the only sound. But they are not listening. One tear, two tears, three tears, each one comes from a different woman in the circle. It's not a clean circle. It is slightly out of shape and has an oval shape to it. Someone was standing around an ottoman, the mother. The bride is halfway in the center of the huddle but keeps her hands for her support on the ladies on her left and right.
A click of the camera is barely audible over the words. In their life, several hundred more prayers will be spoken and remembered. But this prayer will be remembered as the one that they all cried for someone they couldn't be more happy for.
Ten seconds pass.
I can feel the the warmth coming from unspoken words. A person walks out of the restroom and holds her place, the dog has found a bit of carpet that has held a depression from a grandparents footstep, the backdoor is lifted from its fitting by the breeze. The house was breathing with them.
Twenty five seconds pass and they break apart. Words were spoken but I do not remember any of it. Even when I was there I can not remember hearing words as I worked. I only felt, and saw the bride as clear as the sunlight touched her dress. The shivers were gone but now they were on the bridesmaids, each one taking a little bit of the burden and sharing it.
I catch the eye contact from the sister of the bride and felt a thank you hit me. That I was there to help them remember this moment with my tool of the trade, the camera. One last photo of the sisters, the bride and the maid of honor, red nosed and smiling without reservation.
I never told you guys but your wedding was right before my birthday! Twenty four, cake, and off to cover a wedding. I want you to know that that was an amazing gift to me and I can only hope that I could do that honor for your day as well. I can only give half the gift though. Thank you Katy Sergent photography for having me along on this beautiful backyard (and technically front yard too) wedding.
"Dear Robin and Brian,
I know that this will take some time to get to you. You are exploring china and living your lives far away from family, home, and the community that you grew up in. We went to college together so to say that I miss your uniqueness is an understatement; especially since I have since gone to the Portland area myself, home of the weird and strange.
If I can take a moment for pride and be forgiven for it, I will say that you have given me a gift that I covet. The opportunity to say that I might have done a first in the wedding industry. Let me put it in a sentence. You gave me the opportunity to have shot an elopement with, yourselves, the reincarnation of betty Paige and a writer, at the concrete wigwams of Kentucky by/in Mammoth cave.
The goal that day was to make unforgettable compositions. I had plenty to play with so lets start with where we were staying. The wigwams are a touch of the old, with a touch of the new. I doubted that native Americans had the discovery channel available in the 250 circular foot area. I did not expect the cold so I was very grate full for the shelter in my own wigwam a few from your own. “Stay in a wigwam.” introduced the semicircle of concrete cones that were our shelter. The neon sign that glowed in the evening gave the space a later 1950s feel.
Hot and cold, hot and cold was the game that we played with the weather. Freezing in the shade where the morning bridal shots were done. Running in to the sun near the end of the morning shoot was a treat as we made our way back to Brian in a suit and leopard print tie, matching your heels.
Parent and a sister with her husband. The official second set of newlyweds starting that day and no longer the newest. A best friend to witness the matrimony and bring a gift. An original Dali print. The challenge was on, beat the master of the surreal. It was a piece that I had seen in a book before. A waterfall and river with symbolism featuring femininity and anti-culture. If you look closely, you will see where I got the idea for one of our photos in the set. "
"The day was long and short at the same time. A unique day, as much as the couple is. I hope to see you guys again in ten years when you come back from Shanghai. Older, grayer, and still taking photos. You will be just as different, just as fun, and will still make me question out of the two of you, who is more niche."
"I do not think that there is anything wrong about talking about we almost got blown off a mountain during an engagement shoot. Roan Mountain to be precise.
Before making our way up the mountain, Bellamanda photography handled the shoot in the woods half a mile from the cars. A good excuse to avoid the wind, sun, cold, and climb all at the same time. My assistant and I joined them and enjoyed the tranquil quiet of the timbers, assisting, but generally observing and learning from much more experienced photographers.
We visit, we make noise, we make camp, but we can only imagine what absolute quiet can be like. If things are calm we listen for our own heartbeat or we search for the aura of another living being. But what about the trees, they live and yet there are fewer things calmer than the thick forest. I was not my usual overly energetic self. But this time, I wanted the couple to feel the sense of stillness. It was too cold for a lot of forest creatures to make an appearance. And this deep in the woods the wind had a hard time penetrating our little clearing. I took a few shots of them in the calm, then back to shooting energetic engagement photos.
This is where we parted ways. Bellamanda photography had a prior engagement to attend and the rest of the shoot was left to me and Sarah, my assistant and trainee for the day. We climbed and I remember the substantial amount of times I had ascended the small mountain over the last two years. The first thought was that this is the last time I go up this mountain, in a few weeks I will be on my way to the Pacific northwest. I will compare Mount Roger, Mount Hood, even MT. St. Helens to my enjoyment of the Roan Mountain path for a very long time. So this was the last time, and it was a heck of a climb as well. A full mile up, zigging and zagging as you go. When we reach the top, I was winded. Not that my aging body of twenty four couldn't handle a little climb, but the cold from the wind breaking through the saplings, and twenty five pounds of gear, camera, and light modifiers were having an impact at the higher elevation. Bellamanda had lent us some of their gear and I was instantly reminded why I went from my clunky Canon 5d series with L series lenses to my current gear, the Sony A7 models with Zeiss primes. Think of trying to stuff a 12” TV monitor in your pocket instead of your phone and walking around the city with it to look at Instagram.
We would shoot, and then we would wait. But most importantly, and I was hoping Sarah would catch this, was that we talked. They were highschool sweethearts, away from each other in college and they have come back together. Growing up in their own ways and knew that their lives fitted each other. Their wedding was close so a lot of pressure was on them to get great photos. I reassured them that that was already completed. Stellar photos by Bellamanda photography had been made in the forest and these were just icing. At that promise, up they went. The sun was setting, and up in those mountains you have exactly seventeen and three quarters of a second to catch the perfect composition of blowing grass, a receded but warm sunset, and the awe that comes of the faces of a bride to be and her fiancé when I tell them to look at the pink of the clouds as the sun vanishes. We got the shot and it was time to go home. As soon as we got off the coldest part of the mountain, my sense of completion took over “ I feel like we have shot all that we needed to and we have stuck very close to my associates style, but are you guys up for shooting a few in my style a bit further down the mountain. It's on the way back home for you, there is no wind, and it's a steal.”
They said yes and we took some more photos by the road on our way down. It was fun and we called end to a full day. "
Sarah and I had took the time to meet Bellamanda photography for BBQ later on. It was delicious. I hope you guys enjoyed the images. Please check out my booking page if you are interested in having your own engagement captured by Trung Phan Photography. Now servicing the Portland and Washington areas. The next article will be about a recent trip to the ocean I took when the stresses of life, forced my hand. Running away to take photos of a small mountain of the beach, in the ocean, with the wind coming over the mountains behind me, and the salted ocean breeze coming over haystack rock.
Girl goes to University, boy goes to university, they deal with school, and find out they still like each other, so they get engagement photos before the wedding.
Before I met with Jeri and Dean for the engagement shoot, I took a suggestion from Dean. ""What do you think about the Botanical gardens?"" I said that I love the idea, but I've never been there. So I took a drive, navigated Knoxville, and found the gardens tucked away in a neighborhood a few hours before it was time to take photos. As soon as I stepped onto the grounds I had two directions that I wanted to take. The first was towards what I would call a garden of tarnished metal and masonry. The old twisted metal rails connecting the second floors of refurbished offices has a dilapidated charm. Like the garden itself was bringing the man made objects a little bit closer to earth. Bringing out the attractiveness by highlighting small imperfections and magnifying them. Rustic, I would say; but earthy is accurate. The rest of the garden was in bloom, perhaps a little bit more because a storm was on the way. I decided that it was worth taking the chance to get our photos and try to dodge the storm.
It was a holiday so everyone was home with their family, I would have generally been home as well but this was a special exception. The advantage was that we had the entire Botanical Gardens to ourselves.
Fun. Nothing more and nothing less than fun. I hope you guys are well and you enjoyed the Journal entry, Jeri and Dean.
"It was a warm day. Two hours driving in the car in the summer in Kentucky. I was assisting Bellamanda photography as I did so much over the summer of 2016 and enjoyed running into them at the location. This time I arrived a few minutes earlier than my head photographer Amanda and Chad duo. The first location of the day was the hair salon where all of the girls were getting ready. I joined in and introduced myself "" Hello, I am the assistant photographer to Amanda and chad, they will be here shortly while I can begin taking some photos if you don't mind"". I started with the bridesmaids as the bride took the chair for makeup and hair. Chicken salads all around, mimosas, and matching bridesmaids robes. Everyone seemed so relaxed, I found out later that the family's eldest daughter just had her wedding months prior so this was just as important of an event. But everyone had come to understand the rhythms of a wedding at this point.
Chad and Amanda found me upstairs in the salon a few minutes later. We coordinated final details of the day, took a few more details and portraits, and as Amanda attended to the Bride's wedding dress, I set off to find the men at the church.
When I arrived at the church, the ceremony location, I had a sensation of a cozy little church. It was nestled right in the industrial district of the city. Tall exhaust chimneys reached above the city line all above me. Signs of urban neglect such as graffiti and vines strewn the shared parking lots. As soon as I stepped into the church, my mind raced with so many photo opportunities outside.
The men were hiding in the back area behind the church sanctuary. I stepped back there and found the first young man in a suit and asked
""where can I find the groom?""
""He is the handsome one in the back"" he tells me. They were all in suits, completely ready, clean cut and combed, but one guy was the center of all their chiding. I could have just asked him directly if he was the groom but to hold their confidence in me I decided to draw their attention. The attention shifted and eyes were on me as I told them where the bride was, how she was looking, how nerves were calm, and everyone was excited. Everyone looked to one guy to see his reaction. I found the groom.
Then it was time to get back to work, family photos taken cared of on Jacob the grooms side and then the brides family had arrived. This meant the bride was probably outside. We had strict instruction, not a hint of contact before the wedding ceremony. We scrambled, hid the entire family, and then took care of the brides family photos.
the congratulations from 200+ wedding guests,
travel to the reception at the Inn at Wise Virginia.
It never ends, especially when we the bride disappears, the groom too. Plenty of places to hide but not using cocktail hour meant missing out on many photo opportunities. Dehydrated and exhausted was the bride when I found her and a small circle of the family at the back entrance of the Inn. I informed my head photographer Amanda and could't help take the brides photo, who, returned a smile.
A candle lit reception hall. A chance to take the photo I had been after since seeing the story behind Jerry Ghionis's candle lit masterpiece. I asked, they said yes, you can see the photo below.
There was nothing left but the be there for the party, and cover the event."
Thank you for viewing the photos and reading my experience working with Bellamanda photography at the Inn at Wise wedding. Wonderfull wishes to Courtney and Jacob and their new life together.
"We are all ready to see 2016 go. I will post a look back journal pretty soon but I am a little caught up with giving this year a proper send off. I hope everyone enjoys New Years eve and I will see you next year!
Before the shoot, I went to my a favorite spot of mine on the ocean. Its a little cove on the cliffside that shelters you from the waves but only on low tide. At high tide the spot is underwater, flooded by the ocean just like the caves on the other side of the cliff. I arrived an hour before my photoshoot with the couple and took a second to enjoy the sunlight at noon. The last time I came to the ocean, sand and salt came into my camera lens and I could feel the grit every time I would manually focus for a shot. This time I was a lot more careful.
Ryan and Rebecca, on the beaches of Oregon and ending at Deadman Cove in Washington. Rebecca came to visit for the new year and Ryan thought it was best to have a photoshoot. He thought correctly. We explored the beaches along the coast of Oregon and Washington and found that even in the middle of winter, it is really hard to beat that nice coast sunshine and breeze. The grass field was a great setting in the harsh sun. Then we found some shade and clouds in Deadman's cove. And when we finally called it a day, I headed back home right outside of Portland, and I could tell when I could no longer smell the salted air.
If you are interested in booking your couples shoot this next year, please feel free to contact me on the booking page!"
"* I was in a rush the last time I wrote the description for this journal entry. I don't think that really does this justice so here it is. fully fleshed out this time!
I arrived in Portland at 9am, to scout out the city before my clients arrived. It was what I would consider the art district of Portland. Right outside the downtown art museum and Theatre area. I took a counter clockwise loop around and around searching for the best locations, knowing that Derek was sure to tell more about the local spots. By the time I came back to my car on the street corner I still had a few minutes before their arrival. I took a second to just take it in, I live here now.
Feeling more like a local I decided that it might be good to actually get a lay of the area. One day I intend to mentally map out the majority of Portlands urban area. Next time I want to find the older parts of the city. The place that had thrived a decade ago but now sits, waiting to be updated.
When Heather and Derek Finally arrived I greeted Heather with a hug. It had been a year and a half since we had previously worked together and neither of us really seem to age. Or for whatever reason we go through a season of change and then we only see each other after the latter and before the next wave of life. Heather and Derek came to visit his family in beaverton. It was very kind of them to take some time of their annual visit to see me, have some photos done, and enjoy the coffee.
I hope you guys enjoy the photos below!"
If you are interested in having a couples shoot done, I can be contacted via the Booking page!
"When the Journal entries were revived on trungphan.net I lost all of the old entries. I was lucky enough to save a few and now have them up for your viewing.
Can you imagine waking up at 5:30 am every day. If you can then you have one of two things. First, a job and position that you agree with. Or Secondly, a passion that you love. I love photography, but I love seeing others passions as well. It is difficult to resit the opportunity to put someone else's passion into photography. Victoria and I met at the local Starbuck, after a brief conversation we decided on a time and day for a shoot with her horse Dale. "
A year of planning, nine months of work on the wedding dress, and so many more hours on all of the costumes needed for the viking wedding. Myself and my assistant photographer woke up early ready to go on the 22nd of October, historically around the time that vikings would be traveling and raiding. Very fitting for our wedding. Then we got to work at Lincoln Memorial College. Can you imagine a sight where your ideas of how to theme your wedding reaches you guests and your venue as well? Not a single person could be spotted as modern.
"Hair and Makeup was done by the bridesmaids and Bride.
The dress was handmade by the brides grandmother.
all food was handled by food city in The Cumberland Gap and Middlesboro.
A special thank you to my assistant Sarah Mclaughlin and to Lincoln Memorial college as the venue for this very unique wedding."
I have always wanted to have an entire wedding finished in black and white. I finally got the chance to do that with Amber and Jared's wedding at the International Story telling center this past summer wedding season. The large and tall windows gave a wonderful light atmosphere while their rustic but light color designs gave me a color palette that resonated with a monochromatic look. I chose to finish their wedding entirely in black and white to one: push my skills just a little bit further than normal. And two: give them something unique to all of the other weddings happening over the summer season.
Whitney and Isaac where the couple I was looking for, because they changed how I saw photography.
I had to get them in front of the camera and have their photo done. Two months prior to this shoot we had a day to just to get to know one another. A day of hanging out and looking around, we explored the quant town of Johnsborough TN. I already knew where we were going to end up shooting the photos but I needed to get to know them more. Then on the 4th of July we made a photo for them. Now they knew me, it was just time to wait for everything else to come together.
Months later it was time to shoot the photos we were really after. Sweaters and a small room were all we needed. I mentioned above that I sought them out for the photos. I am in a transition where I will leave everything behind to be in Washington State after Nov 2nd to start my career again. This has made me revaluate who I am as an artist. I chose them because they reflected who I am as an artist.
Whitney: The same ambitions that I never made successful because of my fear of failure are being realized by whitney and her pursuit of theatre. The same degree as mine is being used and lives through what she does on stage.
Isaac: Nothing I have ever dealt with comes close to the challenge they are facing, but they are always answering the question; " Would you love me no matter what?"