Trung Phan
IKEA, Lets Shoot our Engagement Photos in IKEA.

    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.

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Under a waterfall, coupes shoot in the cold.

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!

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Back to St. Johns Bridge, Valentines day in Portland

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!

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Urban Exploring with Jayce in Vancouver Washington

This shoot was a chance to work around the weather that did not hold up very well in my last attempt to explore the city. It's possibly my own fault for believing I could outsmart the Portland/Vancouver weather. A photoshoot on Sunday, Rain. A day in the office editing on Monday, sunshine. Then another photoshoot on Tuesday, rain. You start to realize its something to work with, not fight. 

Coffee, edit, meet up, photos; I couldn't ask for a better day. Jayce is a new friend so we spent some time just getting to know each other. If you follow my Instagram at Trungphanphoto you would have seen we went to go look at puppies and ate mall food after the photoshoot. Standard protocol kind of thing. There is a parking garage downtown, and its become a favorite spot. Nooks and corners giving me control over the light. The stairway funneled the great overcast sky to give a gorgeous look in Jayce's eyes centered in her parka. 

You will see Jayce again, but next time we will probably work together on one of her projects in video. Head over to the booking page to have me as your photographer!

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A Grey day in Vancouver Washington

Brooke and I took a tour around town. We met up on a Sunday for coffee and looked outside. Rain for the day and cold winds to go along with it. But the city was calling for us to explore. The first stop was the tower in the middle of the city that I kept asking about. On the walk there, the rain was patting the top of our heads with relentless persistence; never letting up. I learned a little bit about Brooke on the walk to Esther Park, we wanted to shoot right below the clock tower. Its a nice place in warmer weather, but deserted when we arrived. She has a history in theatre that reflected my own, but with a little bit more swing dance instead of ballet. 

After the park we simply made our way around town. The parking garage that over looked the city. A great view, regardless of the rain. In the summer I can imagine it would have been scorching but it was mild. The center building on top of the garage sheltered us from the rain. From the gutter we got a rhythmic patting sound that you could hear above the sounds of the city. Given it was super bowl Sunday, maybe we lucked out on the crowed, but I appreciated the opportunity to work with Brooke uninterrupted. 

Our next stop was the Vancouver community Library. Very modern by appreciable library standards. 5 floors, each devoted to a different genre; nonfiction, fiction, editorials, mysteries, etc. I will have to return to the coffee shop soon enough. 

I have to say after some food that that was our day. Come back next week and our next Sunday adventure will be up.

Thanks for checking out our little adventure in the rain! Head over to the booking page to Book Trung Phan photography as your wedding photographer. All other inquiries can be made to


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