Senior Photos with Madeleine


This is the second in my series of blog posts co-written with my subjects.  My recent subject was Madeline, a senior at Clackamas High School.

Recently I had the privilege of photographing Madeline.  When she called

our studio to set up her senior portraits, I could tell right away that she was sweet with a little shy mixed in.

We talked for a while as I tried to get a feel of what Madeline was looking for in her senior portraits.  I suggested we meet in downtown Portland at the waterfront.

Madeline’s perspective

I had a phenomenal experience with Visual impressions Photography. I’m pretty

Senior photos from Visual Impressions Photography

Madeleine photographed by Visual Impressions Photography

shy, so I was nervous about getting my senior pictures taken. But Amanda made me feel totally comfortable and the pictures turned out great.

Melissa, Madeline’s mother

Our experience with Visual Impressions photography exceeded our expectations. When we talked to Amanda, she had great ideas for where the pictures could be taken. One of her suggestions was the downtown waterfront. It was an ideal location because she was able to take pictures by the bridges, in the grass, by the river, by Saturday market, and by the trees.


When I met Madeline for the first time I was struck by how quiet she was. The fun part of my job beyond photography is to get to know my clients and draw out that sparkle that might be hiding behind a shy exterior.

Madeline had her mom and sister with her and it was nice to meet her family.

As the session moved on I was so excited for the images we were getting and also for how Madeline was warming up. She is such an interesting person. She has a passion for reading and shares her enthusiasm with you as she talks about one of her favorite authors.

At the end of our session I was very excited to have Madeline and her family back to the studio to view her images.


I really think [the photos will] stand out in the yearbook. She helped me choose a location (Downtown Portland) and she had some ideas for poses, which was incredibly helpful. Plus, she took care of sending in my senior pictures to my school directly, taking the hassle out of yearbook photo submissions.


Amanda made us feel comfortable and we had so many awesome pictures to choose from afterwards. Amanda could send the yearbook pictures directly to the school, saving us time and worry. The overall experience was wonderful.


In the end Madeline fell in love with my personal favorite image, the one that shows that sparkle in her beautiful eyes while picking up the green hues of the Portland summer grass.

She will definitely stand out in her Yearbook Photo.

Thank you for choosing me as your photographer Madeline, and good luck as you make your mark on the world.

Family Photos with Bryn and Paul


, ,

Recently, I took family photos for the family of my social media consultant, Bryn of Wittmayer Social Media.  We’re trying a new thing here on the blog with photo session posts, and for this one Bryn and I are each going to share our thoughts on the session.

Family Time.

Family Time.


Having already worked with Bryn for our social media needs I knew we were going to have fun. I was excited and nervous because it’s always really important to me to make a good connection with the whole family. The two young girls were vibrant, and curious. I loved the clothing choices because you could tell the girls were really proud of what they were wearing.


Amanda is one of my first clients and I knew that she and I would work well together.  But adding my family to the mix?  I was a bit nervous about that.  She made us all feel comfortable right away and my kids immediately loved her.  Also, getting my family ready for photos is always stressful.  As the mom I worry about what everyone will wear and how they will look together in the finished photos.  My girls badly wanted to wear some fairly bright and colorful dresses that didn’t leave me with a lot of options for my own clothes.  Looking at the finished photos, I like how they look, but I wish I was wearing something better.  Why do we do that as women?  When we’re looking at a gorgeous image of our family, why do we focus on the imperfections in our own appearance?  We’re too hard on ourselves.  Every time I look at one of these amazing photos, I try to remind myself how happy we all look together.


Bryn and Paul's family

Bryn and Paul’s family

When working with someone I have an existing relationship with, it is extra important for me to make them feel comfortable enough in front of the camera that they don’t feel “staged”. Bryn’s family was so wonderful together that I was able to guide and nudge the little ones into scenarios that created beautiful and natural images. Asking the girls to do something or say something silly to engage mom and dad often allows mom and dad to focus on them instead of the fact that they are having their pictures taken.


The photo session went fairly smoothly, especially when I forgot to worry so much about if my youngest was smiling and just let her be her natural self.  Without Amanda’s encouragement I probably could not have done that.  I was extremely conscious of looking good in front of Amanda, who is a valued client, but as we got into it I found all of that fell away.   As I focused on looking like a loving family, I increasingly felt like a loving family in ways I sometimes forget in the bustle of everyday life.


While it was important for me to create a great lasting family portrait for this family, I also found myself drawn to the close relationship between the two girls. Capturing these precious candid moments allowed me to see how these two interact on a daily basis and really helped me feel connected to their family. I always feel blessed when I photograph a new client, it takes a level of trust to allow someone access to your family; to be able to glimpse the intimate connections between them is a true honor.


The girls together with Dad in the background.

The girls together with Dad in the background.

The best moments of the photo shoot were the natural ones.  My favorite photo so far is this one where my oldest daughter picked up my youngest.  That is something she does all the time, and to capture that love between them, with Paul looking on in the background, is a treasure.

I didn’t want the morning to end.  We had so much fun with Amanda and so much fun together that I wanted to keep going.  It’s almost a cliche, but taking photos together really reminded me to take time to just have fun together.  Life is so busy, ballet, soccer, homework, chores, that sometimes we just don’t have fun.  This was a morning of fun together and it made it clear how much we need that as a family.

Thanks Amanda for the wonderful photos!

Stop! Don’t steal those photos!


, , , , ,

A photographer works hard and creates beautiful photos of a family. The mom is so thrilled with the photographer’s work, that she scans some of her prints and shares them on Facebook with her friends and family. The photographer is stuck, not wanting to alienate a valuable client by asking for photos to be removed, but also seeing a poor version of her work posted online.

She sends the mom a message asking that the photographs be removed from Photographic Copyright and Yousocial media, as gently as possible saying that the package the family purchased did not include social media. The mom is angry and indignant. She paid for those photographs; she should get to post them anywhere she wants.

Some version of this has happened to many of us, or to someone we know. Your photographer took beautiful photos that captured the spirit of your family. You want to share her work with everyone, so you scan one and post it on Facebook. You don’t know that you’ve broken the law and stolen from her.

The visual internet is so powerful that most people repost or share without even thinking about ownership. When we have photos with our family in them, we think that we own the photos, not the photographer. It is only natural to want to share them with everyone!

Photographers own the copyright to the photos they take. This means that no matter who is in the photos, they own the right to reproduce them and reproduction includes all forms of social media. When they sell you prints they are not necessarily selling you the right to reprint and post those photos anywhere you want. If you did not purchase that right and you repost the photo, you are stealing from your photographer, just the same as if you stole a candy bar from a store.

Photographic copyright in the United States has been protected since the Copyright Act of 1976. It’s clear that photographers own their images from the moment of creation. Educating the public on photo copyright is an ongoing issue for those of us who make our living this way. We depend on reprints as a source of income: to pay our bills and feed our families.

So, you want to share your photos, but you do not want to steal, what can you do? Talk to your photographer! Many already have packages that include permission to post your images on social media if you leave the photographer’s logo or other copyright information. Before you take a quick photo with your iPhone and post an image on Instagram, ask; before you share something on Facebook, send your photographer an email and secure permission.

Photographers want their images to be seen and loved. Let’s work together to find a way to do that legally!

If you’d like to learn more about photographers and copyright, check out the sources below.


Understanding Photographic Copyright, Professional Photographers of America

Copyright Guide for Photographers, American Society of Media Photographers.

What Do You Want to Be? Special Event


, , , , , , ,

Visual Impressions Special Event

Visual Impressions Special Event

What do you want to be when you grow up? It can be so much fun to ask kids this question. You never know what they’re going to answer!

This fall, we’re celebrating that joy with special What Do You Want to Be? photo sessions.   Bring your kids in for a short session, complete with special props, and mark the start of a new school year and the new ambitions it brings.

This special event runs only from September 5th to 20th. So book your session today. Space is limited.

I want to be ...

I want to be …

This event is open to all ages and is a great way to explore custom portraiture.

Customers will enjoy our special “Limited Edition” pricing during this event only.    Check out our limited edition price list for the packages offered during this special event.

Contact Amanda today to schedule your session for our What do you want to Be? event. Together we will create beautiful photographs to treasure for a lifetime.

Get in touch at (503) 320-3076.

There are so many products to choose from and we are very excited to work with you this fall.

Grown Up Dreams

Grown Up Dreams

Fill your home with Portraits, your shelves with albums, and your hearts with memories.



I remember when it became popular to purchase the digital files from a portrait session: to have that need to “own” all the images created by the photographer. It has become common to hire students, relatives, or another talented individual for a minimal fee and receive all images on a CD or thumb drive. When you do this, you lose so much and you might not even realize it.

What we don’t realize is that this is not the first time customers have felt the need to own everything created at a portrait session. Prior to digital it was common for customers to inquire about purchasing the negatives, and often they were turned down. Owning the negative meant the photographer was able to protect the quality of the final product before it left the studio.

Today we see the desire to own the digital files and often as photographers we feel pressured to comply. Many times a customer is intent on owning the digital files because it has become so commonplace and they don’t know of an alternative. Many of my clients who have come to me, have at one point or another purchased digital files from someone.  When I ask them if they have printed any or shared them they have often (about 75%) admitted that not only have they done nothing with the files, but they are not sure where they are.

A photo book by Visual Impressions Photography

A photo album by Visual Impressions Photography

As an artist I want to give you Art to cherish. I do not sell photo paper and so my prices will reflect that, but like any boutique you visit or art piece you purchase there is an experience to be had, a sense of ownership in a completed piece, and an heirloom to carry on your memories to your children. What I have often found with my clients is that while they may initially feel they need the digital files, after we explain that all that we offer in our products – color correcting, editing, and quality – are so easily discarded when a client walks out with a file instead of art. I am no longer in control of where my image is printed or what quality the end result will be and the client loses all of those services.

Canvas Wall Art

Canvas Wall Art

At Visual Impressions I create custom pieces of work for my clients including canvas wraps, albums, and so much more. These heirlooms are meant to last for many generations and to be shared and passed down through your family. They are worth so much more on your walls and coffee tables, bookshelves and nightstands than images on a CD relegated to a dark box at the bottom of a closed closet.

Together at Visual Impressions we make a lasting piece of art that does not deserve to languish on a CD. It deserves to live on your walls where you and your family will love it for generations.


Spring Limited Edition Portraits


, , , , , , , , , ,

Nicer weather is just around the corner and to celebrate we are hosting our annual Bunny Event March 22nd, 23rd, and 24th. This event is open to all ages and is a great way to explore custom portraiture.

Customers will enjoy our special “Limited Edition” pricing during this event only. Check out our limited edition price list for the packages offered during this special event.

My Peeps Bunny Event

My Peeps Bunny Event

Feel free to contact Amanda today to schedule your session for our Limited Edition Bunny Event. Explore the world of gentle creatures as a baby bunny cuddles up to your little one as we create that beautiful photograph to go on your wall. We can also create cards to send out to friends and family to welcome in the warmer season.

There are so many products to choose from and we are very excited to work with you this spring.

Children photography

Children photography

With custom backdrops and gentle bunnies you will love your finished portraits. Whether you purchase a framed piece of art or want gift prints for family you will find something you’ll love and cherish for many years!

Supporting Local Schools and Community


, , , , ,

Learning Garden

Verne A Duncan Elementary School builds an outdoor classroom/garden

For those of us with school aged kids we know more than ever what a big role our schools and community play in raising our children. This time of year is ripe with auction procurement and committee meetings by dedicated parents who want to improve their schools and the programs they offer. One such school that is gearing up for an April auction is Verne A Duncan Elementary in Happy Valley, OR. Through a partnership with Visual Impressions, this school benefits from photographic coverage of this ongoing project that their auction will further support.

Because we value our Community Visual Impressions strives to connect with schools and businesses around us. One way we go about doing this is by donating to our local school held auctions. While most auctions don’t happen until March or even April it is important to start thinking how to support your local schools now. Each auction item schools are able to procure, goes into either a silent auction or a live auction–for those oh so coveted items–for parents and community members to bid on. The hope for all of us is to get a good deal on an item but we must not forget that even more important is to remember that the function of this is to raise money for our schools. So you want a beach house for the weekend, you know what it is worth and don’t want to bid past that cap? Try another approach, think “donation” that comes with a pretty cool perk, this will get us all past the initial draw of “whats that worth” and a little closer to doing a great thing for our schools.

Visual Impressions makes it a point to donate to at least 3 local schools in our area of Portland Oregon, by doing so we are creating connections that will continue to support our schools for years to come. Our clients are our neighbors, friends, and sometimes even our family; it is important to remember this as the school we are supporting today might be the school our children attend tomorrow.

If you are interested in donating items to your local school auction please contact your schools PTA or secretary for the person in charge of procurement. I hope everyone enjoys a prosperous auction season and if you need a donation to your school, remember to contact your neighbor, Visual Impressions Photography.

2014 Annual Bunny Event


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My Peeps Bunny Event

My Peeps Bunny Event

Visual Impressions Photography is proud to announce our 10th year in Oregon and we are celebrating with BUNNIES.

This year celebrate spring with our “My PEEPS” sessions.

These are mini sessions with live bunnies and are a treat for all ages. While recommended for children 7mo. to 7 yrs we have clients of all ages scrambling to be photographed with these precious bunnies.

Come and experience a private mini session where you are the main star. Each session lasts approximately 15-20 minutes with up to 6 poses to choose from. Your session fee is good for immediate family and is such a fun experience. Feel free to dress the kids up, or go for a more casual look, either way the photographs will be adorable!

This year our Bunny sessions will be held March 22nd, 23rd, and 24th.

CALL for your appointment today! 503-320-3076


Please Vote For Visual Impressions Photography


, , ,

Supporting local businesses is an important part of a thriving economy. Visual Impressions Photography is proud to say we have some of the best customers around.

I ask that you continue to show your support by voting for my business in the Fedex Small Business Grant contest. The winner receives a $25000 grant to use within their business and community.


Why should I use a professional or “boutique” photography studio?


, , , ,

“AAAAAH…. Mommy Susie hit me!”Portland photographer

“Did not!”

“Did to!”

“She started it”

Now picture yourself with your two children in a crowded cubicle waiting for what you where hoping for would be a “serene” photograph you could hang on your wall.

It could still happen… except wait, you now have a head ache, your shoulders are tight and you can’t wait to get the kids back to the car but know that if you leave now you will miss your 15 minute photo session with the 16 year old photographer who is at this minute wrestling with a 1 year old in the camera room.

This scenario is one of many my clients share with me when they come for their session at Visual Impressions Photography. I understand that boutique photography is not for everyone and that the price-point many of these chain stores hit appeals to many.

The main difference between what our clients can expect to find with us vs. the chain photographer is the experience.

When you come in for your personal consultation we will determine what kind of photography you are looking for. Whether you want all Black & White images, something funky and colorful or even something traditional, this consultation is going to uncover exactly what your hopes are for your photographs.

The experience you will receive at a boutique studio include:

  • A private portrait session in a quiet studio where you and your children are the focus.
  • No lines – You will find that you won’t have to wait; there are no other distractions and the photographer has everything setup for your session because they know what it is you want. Before you realize it, the session is over and the kids don’t want to leave.
  • Our photographers are prepared for unexpected situations and will provide support to overcome them.
  • Many photographs and poses to choose from
  • Backgrounds created to fit your session and a vast supply of props.

Many parents don’t know what to expect when they go in for a photography session, or realize what they are hoping for as a result. Most can agree though that spending money and time on portraits that don’t meet expectations is frustrating and often times why they postpone additional portraits of the family. I can’t tell you how many people I talk with who had photographs taken of their children at age five and then realized that their children were 15 and 18 and hadn’t had a family portrait for 10 years.

I hope this look into the world of Boutique Photography will mean you don’t let 10 years pass between those family portraits.