Mitchelldyer Photography | Portland Wedding Photographer | ISPWP Spotlight

Posted by ISPWP Admin on February 1st 2009 .Comment(2)

Photographer Contact Information

Denver, Colorado, United States Photographer

http://www.josephmilton.com admin@ispwp.com 503-317-2215

See This Photographer's Website

Today’s ISPWP Member Spotlight interview is with Craig Mitchelldyer. Craig is a freelance editorial, wedding and commercial photographer located in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in numerous national and international publications including the USA Today, New York Times, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and most newspapers in Oregon.

Craig Mitchelldyer, Portland Oregon Wedding Photographer, ISPWP Member
website: Mitchelldyer Photography | email: craig@craigmitchelldyer.com | phone: 503.513.0550

Photographer Contact Information

Denver, Colorado, United States Photographer

http://www.josephmilton.com admin@ispwp.com 503-317-2215

See This Photographer's Website

Photographer Bio

Today’s ISPWP Member Spotlight interview is with Craig Mitchelldyer. Craig is a freelance editorial, wedding and commercial photographer located in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in numerous national and international publications including the USA Today, New York Times, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and most newspapers in Oregon.

Craig Mitchelldyer, Portland Oregon Wedding Photographer, ISPWP Member
website: Mitchelldyer Photography | email: craig@craigmitchelldyer.com | phone: 503.513.0550

How did you get your start and why you chose to do wedding photography?

I started shooting weddings in 2004 after my first child, Jordyn, was born. I was working for Community Newspapers, a chain of newspapers serving the suburban Portland, Oregon area and decided I wanted to spend more time with my family and less time working crazy hours and shooting 5-6 assignments a day. I had been thinking about going freelance for a while and had begun to build up a pretty decent client base, Jordyn was the final piece. I shot 14 weddings that first year and had a blast doing them. When I worked for the paper, the phrase “wedding” was a scary thing, but I decided to shoot them like I was shooting for the next day’s news cycle and that made it fun. I was able to capture some really nice moments and won a few awards right away, so I figured i must be doing something right. Now I shoot 50-60 weddings a year as well as numerous editorial assignments for various newspapers, magazines and wire services. I have a studio south of Portland in Milwaukie and shoot high school seniors and commercials jobs as well. I stay pretty busy.

A nice shaft of light during the first kiss near Washington DC August 2008.

How has your experience helped you in difficult circumstances on a wedding day?

Something goes wrong at every single wedding, a professional knows how to quickly adapt and overcome problems before anybody knows that they are problems. Bad light, bad backgrounds, equipment malfunction, people tugging at you to “make sure to shoot this and that”, etc. I think working for the paper really helped me prepare for these kinds of things. Going into most assignments you would have no idea of location, light, etc and you have to figure it out on the fly. I am really good at adapting to my location and making things work. One time, I was shooting a reception in this rather large tent. I had 3 lights setup in the corners of the room and I was shooting the father/daughter dance. I looked up and one of my lights was smoking, it had started on fire! I gave my assistant ” a look” and she ran over to the light, grabbed it and ran it outside, then came back and put a backup light up in its place and I shot the rest of the dance. No one even knew about it until I wrote about it in my blog . An amateur might have made a scene, freaked out, and made a bad situation worse, but because of my experience I was able to just keep going and nobody ever knew about it.

Tell us about one or two of the more unique weddings you’ve shot.

The first one that comes to mind is the “Pink Wedding.” The bride really liked pink and wore a pink dress to the reception. They also asked all the guests to wear pink. It was very fun and made for a very unique photo at the flower toss.

Another one that was very cool and unique was at Timberline Lodge a couple of January’s ago. Timberline has a very cool little warming hut called the Silcox Hut at about 7,000 feet up the mountain. The only way to access it in the winter is by skis or by snowcat. This day there was a huge storm and blizzard/white out conditions and 70MPH winds. All the guest were brought up the mountain in the blizzard via snowcat. There was a snowball fight at dinner and they people were just really fun to be around. I am lucky to say that this particular bride and groom are now very good friends. That is another reason I love shooting weddings is meeting such great people that I would never have the chance to meet otherwise. Another one that comes to mind was just last summer. The bride and groom were huge Star Wars fans, so the father of the bride bought Storm Trooper costumes and hired actors to come and “capture” the bride and groom after the ceremony. The had no idea it was coming and the look on their faces when they turned around, heard the Star Wars theme playing and then saw the Storm Troopers was just perfect.

The Pink Wedding. McMenamins Kennedy School, November 2006.

The bride and groom react as Star Wars Storm Troopers walk down the aisle. The father of the bride hired actors to play the storm troopers and the couple had no idea. Beckenridge Vineyard Dallas, OR July 2008.

What are some of your favorite local venues and why?

Well, lets consider the Columbia River Gorge local. It’s about an hour out of Portland, but nothing beats the Gorge. My favorite places out there are Gorgecrest Winery in Underwood, WA and Mt. Hood Bed and Breakfast in Parkdale, OR. Gorgecrest sits on top of a hill and looks over the Columbia River and has spectacular views of Mt. Hood (a couple of photos are included with this article), great light and great backgrounds. Mt. Hood BnB basically has the mountain as its front yard. The owners are the best venue managers I have ever worked with and the scenery is amazing out there. For the Portland Metro area, I’d have to say Garden Vineyards . Again, amazing views and great light and is very well run.

Dancing with Mt. Hood in the distance at Gorgecrest Winery in September 2008.

Man’s best friend and groom’s best man. Gorgecrest Winery Underwood, WA September 2008.

What’s your one piece of advice for brides who are looking for a wedding photographer?

Make sure they see a few complete weddings. Anybody can get a decent shot here or there for a portfolio, by looking at complete wedding you will see if they can shoot 400 really good pictures during the day consistently, or just a few good images. Make sure you like the images. I know it sounds funny, but look at a bunch of weddings and make sure you like the style. Don’t ask someone to shoot a style you want, hire the style you want. Make sure they can light a dark room, make sure they can clean up nasty backgrounds, make sure they use a variety of lenses, make sure they can use available light well. Do they only shoot weddings? What else do they shoot? Do you like the other images as well? Who do they work for? This is important because in wedding photography there are so many weekend warriors that you never know who you are going to get or what kind of business they run. You want to make sure you will have your images in a timely manner and that you can reach this person when you need them. Ask for references and follow up with those references. That’s more than once piece of advice, but finding the right photographer is the third biggest decision behind the venue and the dress. The photos will be the only thing you will have to remember the day 10 years from now. You don’t want to regret not having great images to remember the day.

What’s your favorite part of the wedding day to photograph?

Probably the reception. Most of the “action” happens during the reception, the nervousness is gone and people can relax and have a good time. Makes for great images.

What kinds of weddings do you love to photograph? What are your tips for brides?

I love shooting weddings where everyone is relaxed and having a good time. If you are stressing out about minor things and micro managing, you are not enjoying your day and it does not make for nice pictures. So my best advice is to relax and enjoy yourself. The day goes by fast and you won’t remember most of it. 10 years from now, you will not care if the color of the flower’s was one shade too light or if the cake was late. Personally, I also like it when people just ignore me and let me do my thing, that’s when the great moments present themselves and great images are created, when no one is expecting it.

How important is it to hire an experienced wedding photographer?

Extremely. Like I said earlier, something will go wrong at every wedding. Having someone with experience that can adapt to a fast paced environment with even faster changes in light and location and backgrounds, etc, will make sure your photos look great. Remember, even a blind squirrel can find a nut once in a while, make sure the person you hire knows what they are doing and doesn’t just have a portfolio of 10 decent images, do your homework.

Do you recommend that brides sign a formal contract with their wedding photographer?

Yes. A contract will lay out exactly what you are paying, when payments are due, what products you are receiving, how long the photographer will be there on your wedding day, etc. You should always have a contract.

Is it common to ask a photographer you love if they will travel for a Destination Wedding?

You bet. I travel quite a bit for weddings and for other jobs as well. Not as much as some other people, but last year I shot weddings in San Diego, Seattle, DC, Denver, LA, Boston, Sacramento, Southern Oregon, etc. Not exactly “Destination” but I would go to Mexico or Canada just the same. Most photographers will travel. You may be surprised to find that even after travel expenses, sometimes it is still just as affordable to bring someone out from a smaller market because our cost of doing business may be less or our rates may be less than someone local. Of course I believe that if you really love a person’s work, it is worth it to bring them to you, no matter the cost involved.

What do you think makes people want to come back to you and refer you?

Customer service. I am a big believer in good customer service. In this day in age it is so important to answer emails quickly and be available when people need you. The customer is always right, even when they are wrong. I live by that.

Craig Mitchelldyer, Portland Oregon Wedding Photographer, ISPWP Member

website: Mitchelldyer Photography | email: craig@craigmitchelldyer.com | phone: 503.513.0550

Looking for a wedding photographer? Check out the ISPWP Wedding Photography Directory!

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2 Comments

Delane Rouse February 25th 2009 at 10:08 PM

Wow…EXCELLENT work man!!! We’re so glad that we hired you to photography our wedding, that was the single best move we made and we couldn’t be happier with your work. AWESOME!!!

Sandy Huffaker February 2nd 2009 at 08:07 PM

Nice going Craig! Hope you can use that to attract some Biz. Sandy

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