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Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer 
based in Portland, Oregon.

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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 Across the Country

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