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columbia river gorge, oregon

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mount rainier
annivesary

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colchuck lake elopement

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Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer 
based in Portland, Oregon.

welcome

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It’s always a pleasure photographing Michael and Matt. We spent the afternoon under the St. Johns Bridge at Cathedral Park, Portland Oregon. I snapped a few shots of them before the sun went down across the river. We are trying to embrace fall in Portland as much as possible before it gets freezing and rains every day!

Cathedral Park Anniversary – Michael + Matt

Anniversary

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This was such a magical weekend. When Derek and Willow inquired for their intimate wedding in the spring I had just planned to move to the pacific northwest the week before. I was so excited for their big day and we instantly became friends over phone calls. Moving my business across the business was terrifying but this gave me hope.

Derek and Willow decided to elope with just their family and a couple of close friends. They rented out this beautiful cabin for getting ready and their small ceremony. We drove to and from Mount Rainier several times for the first look and portraits and it was so worth it! These two love birds made it so easy. Their families welcomed me like their own and made the weekend so memorable. Derek and Willow are two of the kindest people and I am so thankful I had the chance to share this special day with them. Thank you for letting me document your big day.

Mount Ranier Elopement – Derek + Willow

Elopements

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Whether it be asked at weddings, over Instagram, or from friends, the common question is, “What gear do you shoot with?” “Canon or Nikon” etc… well today I am here to share all of that fun information with you! This is what I use for all of my work, including weddings!

Canon 5D Mark IV: This is my workhorse. I use this camera 75% of the time. The quality is so crisp, and it handles low light so well for wedding receptions! I love this camera so much, and it has been with me for almost three years!

Canon 5D Mark III: My second baby! This camera was bought six months after purchasing my Mark IV. I started to take wedding photography more seriously in the fall of 2017 and purchased this camera as a second / back up! I use both cameras on wedding days with my Rose Anvil Camera Harness!

Canon 35mm 1.4 II: Oh, the 35mm. This thing is on my camera, literally all. the. time. I hardly ever take this lens off, especially during adventure shoots. In my opinion, this is the perfect focal length, and it is so sharp, yet it doesn’t warp the frame. After shooting with a wider focal lengths, I noticed the images start to wrap around the edges, which can be no-fun!

Canon 50mm 1.2: This is, unfortunately, my least used lens! I shot with the 50mm 1.4 for several years before upgrading, and it never left my camera. I then upgraded to the 1.2 after that one fell down a sand dune… but not too long after I purchased the 35mm, and it replaced this lens.

Canon 85mm 1.2: Butter. This lens is so dreamy, especially for wedding portraits and ceremonies. This lens has the sharpest focus and makes every photo look like a dream. My favorite time to use this lens is getting a groom’s reaction as the bride walks down the aisle!

Profoto A1 Flash: This was my first flash as a wedding photographer! I started shooting weddings and quickly realized that I didn’t have any lighting or flash for receptions, so I dove right in and purchased this bad boy, and was it worth it? I’d say absolutely! I love this flash so much, and my favorite part is the rechargeable battery. The lighting is so soft, it’s SO simple to use, and the recycle time is incomparable!

Rose Anvil Harness: This harness is the newest to my collection. I’ve only had it for about a month, and it has been incredible. I used another harness for several years that slowly gave me shoulder and lower back pain after weddings… in the long run, not worth it. I bought this harness because of how sleek, light, and practical it was. The hooks on the side that clip into your belt loops are the biggest game-changer. Say goodbye to your camera flinging around and clinking into tables or the ground! Highly recommend!

Polaroid One-Step: This thing is so much fun! I love shooting polaroids at any given moment; they are instant memories and can become such incredible keepsakes. You instantly have a physical copy, which is such a rewarding feeling. I LOVE physical photos so so much! Catch me with one of these are wedding receptions or parties!

Canon G7X Mark II: This thing. This thing is with me almost everywhere I go. Documenting day to day life is so important to me, and I love having things to look back on. Many of you will know of this point and shoot as a “vlogging camera,” and you are 100% correct. I am a YouTuber! ~shamless plug~ https://www.youtube.com/bradybates

Thank you so much for taking the time to check out my very first educational blog post! I hope you enjoyed reading about what I use to shoot, or I hope you learned something new! Let me know if you have any questions regarding gear! Always remember, you don’t need the best gear to take good photos. Use what you have, go be creative &, most importantly, have fun with it! Love you guys!

What’s In My Camera Bag?

Business

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As most of you probably know, I moved to Portland, Oregon, in July from Richmond, Virginia. Today, I am here to talk about the transition and be completely open and vulnerable with you. A common question I get is, “Why did you move?” “What made you choose Portland?” “Was it scary, leaving you business and family?”

It was January 2018, I remember talking to my mom in our kitchen and asking if I could take a trip to Portland. It was a super random idea but let’s be honest, I’m an enneagram #7 which means if I have an idea, I’m going to make a plan. I wanted to learn from Anni Graham (the freaking best photographer) and explore the Pacific Northwest. I wanted to feel independent and take my first solo trip. I had turned 18 years old a few months prior and was ready to explore all the touristy spots from Instagram and get capture portfolio content in a new location.

I had just left community college a few weeks prior and was ready to go full speed into my photography business. I had just started offering wedding packages and wanted to break into the industry as quickly as possible. Two short weeks later, I was on a flight to a place I never thought I would call home. My parents dropped me off at the airport, and I was on my way. Five days of no strict schedule, I was immersing myself in the west coast culture for the very first time. It was such a thrilling time.

That week was one of the most memorable weeks of my life. I was shooting content, meeting incredible creatives, and felt so at peace with living in the moment and taking it all in. I stayed in a cheap hostel, became friends with the workers at The Society Hotel, drank so much good coffee, and ate a scary amount of avocado toast. I met up tons of friends from Instagram, explored the coast, and kept Uber in business. It was one busy, hell of a week.

Not too long after, I visited Seattle that July and then revisited Portland in December, both for photography jobs. During my trip in December, I was coming to meet Alivia, my friend from YouTube to photograph her and her soon to be husband, Zach. We took engagement portraits in the Gorge, and they introduced me to their friend, Dakota. Dakota was also a photographer and blogger who instantly befriended me. We shot content downtown and bonded over coffee. It wasn’t until my last few days in Portland that I sat down and thought about what life would be like living there. I knew I felt a level of inspiration that I couldn’t feel anywhere else. It was a drive to create, meet new people, and explore the beautiful lands all around.

Fast forward four months later, April 2019, Dakota and I were messaging via Instagram about our leases ending in August 2018. We briefly talked about the future and where we were going to move. We discussed living together in Portland, Oregon, and it just so happens we are now roommates. Was it spontaneous? Some would say. Did I want to move to Oregon badly? Absolutely! Two months later I was packing up my small bedroom in Richmond, Virginia and I moved out June 1. Dakota and I found our dream apartment, and I was on my way. My friend Finley, and I drove cross country, which was a trip of a lifetime. That was one of the best, most memorable weeks that lead up to an exciting new life of the unknown.

I am now three months into living in here, and I am just as in love now as I was when I first moved in. It’s been a slow transition bringing my business back over to the west coast, but to me, it was 100% worth it. I am so happy and have met an incredible group of friends. I am forever grateful for this opportunity and all of the support that came along with this significant change.

If you are thinking about doing something that could be lifechanging, follow your heart, and pursue your passions. Life is short; choose to be happy. Will you face challenges? Of course, BUT if you want something you will make sacrifices, and I promise it’s always worth trying.

Here is a fun video that we filmed in the Columbia River Gorge at my favorite waterfall. I hope you enjoy it! If you are ever looking for advice or want somebody to talk to my email and direct messages are always open.

Brady Bates

Moving to Portland, Oregon

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