artistic portrait photographer Portland FritzPhoto-Nicole-023

Nicole told me she was bored with the senior portrait photographers she found in Salem, her home town, where she goes to Blanchet.  So when she and her mom started searching for more creative, artistic portrait photographers, they decided on me.

They drove up from Salem to Portland in the pouring rain, and we had an enjoyable portrait session, indoors, in central Portland.  After photographing indoors for quite a while, I asked Nicole if she was comfortable stepping outside, into the rain, for a few.  She said she was up for anything (I love high school seniors…), and the outdoor results are wonderful.  But so are the indoor shots.  You just can’t lose with someone as fun and easy to work with as Nicole….

High School Senior Portraits Portland Oregon FritzPhoto-Nicole-005

Portland Senior Portraits FritzPhoto-Nicole-007 Location Portrait Photographer Portland FritzPhoto-Nicole-030 Uniquie Portrait Photography Portland Or FritzPhoto-Nicole-038

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Baby Portraits portland FritzPhoto-Silas--039It’s been a big month in my family.

I have three younger sisters.  The oldest of the 3 has a 7 year old son, and he and I have a lot of fun together.

In the past month, we’ve added two more children to the clan: my youngest sister, Evie, had Silas a month ago.  They live in Denver, and I was happy to be able to visit recently and photograph my new nephew.

Exactly one month after Silas was born, my middle-younger sister had a daughter, Abigail.  I got to see her today for the first time.  No photos yet, but I’m sure there will be many taken over the years.

Here’s to a lifetime of fun with my nephews and nieces!

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  • December 13, 2009 - 11:39 pm

    evie - Funny you picked this picture, because it’s the exact we’re using for our Christmas card/Baby announcements! We LOVE the ones you took while you were here… thank you Fritz!!

WSUTC Photography Show

This month, I’m pleased to announce that Skeleton in the Closet: Eating Disordered Lives is currently showing at The Art Center at Washington State University. If you’ll be in the Tri-Cities, Washington area through November 30, please stop in and see the show.

Speaking of university shows, I’m currently in the process of booking Skeleton in the Closet at University and other galleries across the nation. The reviews of this work have been overwhelmingly positive, and I’m excited about the shows that are in the works. If you, your university, or gallery would be interested in showing the series, please contact me.

To this end, I designed a new website this past year, specifically to showcase this work. At, you can view the images and stories, leave comments on the series, and view information on showing the series, purchasing a print, or purchasing the Limited Edition Portfolio for your collection.

Please take the time to visit the site, and leave a comment on the work. I’d love to hear what you think.

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Portland Family Portrait Photographer FritzPhoto-Drazan-066

Continuing with my string of posts (read the two previous posts) related to Facebook and photography, let me tell you the story of Christine Drazan.

Christine and I were friends in college, nearly 20 years ago, at George Fox.  The last time I saw her was at her wedding, in the mid-nineties.  As happens in life, our paths parted, and we lost track of each other.

This past year, while browsing through classmates at Fox on Facebook, I discovered Christine, and we reconnected.  It was great to hear how she was doing, and to know that her family of 5 is doing well.  Shortly thereafter, she invited Shannon and I to her summertime garden party, in celebration of her birthday.  It was a delightful evening of catching up with old friends, and making new ones.

Later in the summer, Christine asked if I would be willing to photograph her family for her.  The speed at which her children were growing and changing made her want to document them as they grew, and furthermore, she needed some artwork for her walls.  I told her I’d be happy to create some beautiful artwork, using her children as subjects.

Childrens Portraits Portland FritzPhoto-Drazan-056

Child Portrait Photographer Portland FritzPhoto-Drazan-046

The Drazans live on a couple acres outside of Portland, and it was a lot of fun to photograph her kids playing there.  We spent a few hours together, wandering their property, playing on the swings, visiting with their dogs (pointers) and pigeons.


Child Photography Portland FritzPhoto-Drazan-036

Location Child Portrait Photography Portland FritzPhoto-Drazan-072

In the end, Christine and Dan have in their hands a beautiful 10×10 book which I designed for them, as well as a set of canvas wall prints that are now gracing their living room and kitchen, along with various other prints for Dan’s office and the childrens’ bedrooms.  One of the more gratifying parts of my work is knowing that people look at my photographs every single day of the year–on their walls and in books, in their wallets and online–and smile.

Family Portrait Photographer Portland Oregon FritzPhoto-Drazan-067

Childrens Portrait Photography Oregon FritzPhoto-Drazan-058

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  • May 14, 2010 - 6:37 pm

    The Drazan Children » Fritz Photography - […] photographed these beautiful children and their parents back in the Fall, and they had me return for some spring portraits.   They’re a pretty good-looking clan! […]

Portland Model Photography FritzStock--3562

While in New York for another assignment, I was commenting on Facebook about the constant downpour of rain in the city.  I’d noticed that all true New Yorkers have umbrellas–because they walk everywhere.  Even their baby strollers have rain covers and windshields.  Coming from Oregon, I figured I could handle a little rain.  But then it dawned on me: in Oregon, the most we ever walk in a severe downpour (unless we’re hiking) is from the front door to the car.  In New York, you walk most everywhere, and an umbrella is a must.  Especially when you’re wearing very fashionable, very black clothing.

To my little Facebook note about the New York rain, my friend Anna Adams commented, “It’s crazy, huh?”  I thought: How would Anna, in Portland, know about the New York rain, unless she were here?  So I jotted her a note and, sure enough, she and her husband Sam had moved to NYC several months prior, to explore their options in film and modeling.

I met Anna and Sam several years ago, while working on my project Skeleton in the Closet.  I enjoyed working with them, and the text they wrote for their piece was especially poignant.

Anna and I made plans to get together in New York, and we caught up over tea.  It was great to hear how well she and Sam were doing.

Having explored the city for several days, I was itching to photograph there.  (It’s a real pleasure to photograph in places with historic architecture and varied scenery.)  So Anna and I decided to do a little shoot, to expand her portfolio.  We headed up to the West Side, and then into Central Park, taking a lot of images and trying a variety of ideas in response to the locale.  She’s a delight to photograph, and we had a lot of fun.

FritzStock--3441 Model Portfolio Photographer Portland

Location Portrait Photographer Portland Oregon FritzStock--3415

Location Portrait Photography Portland FritzStock--3463

Portrait Photographer Portland FritzStock--3508 Editorial Photographer Portland FritzStock--3436

Model Photographer Portland Oregon FritzStock--3547

Location people photography is my favorite kind of work–whether for portraits, modeling portfolios,  editorial assignments, or art projects.  Being able to work in a visually interesting city, with a fun and beautiful friend, made my time in New York that much brighter.

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  • March 28, 2010 - 4:15 am

    Model - great pictures ! thanks ! 😀

  • June 27, 2010 - 11:00 am

    John McHone - These photos of Anna are outstanding! I am a photo student in North Carolina, and these photos are inspiring to me. Excellent job!

  • August 12, 2010 - 5:06 pm

    The Drazan Family * Portland Family Portrait Photography » Fritz Photography - […] with my string of posts (read the two previous posts) related to Facebook and photography, let me tell you the story of Christine […]

Destination Wedding Photographer New York FritzPhoto-Reinken-278

Facebook sure is a lot of fun, and aside from the fun of keeping up with friends and family, I have another reason to appreciate it: Julie Moon saw my ad for wedding photography, and hired me to tell the story of her wedding on Long Island, New York.

No problem, I told her.  I photographed a wedding in New York City a couple years ago, have photographed there numerous times, and love working there.

I spent a few days in the city prior to the wedding, seeing Broadway shows and a Carnegie Hall concert (I actually performed there, but that’s another story…).  Spent some time with friends, and a couple afternoons perusing the astounding Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim.  It was, in fact, the most fun I’ve ever had in New York.

Julie and David’s wedding was on Halloween–though not for the holiday, but for other scheduling reasons.  My second photographer Rich and I headed out to Long Island on a day with a forecast for rain, yet the light was lovely, and the weather turned unseasonably warm.  In fact, it was an astonishingly beautiful day in a colorful fall landscape, on the Northport Bay.

New York Wedding Photographer FritzPhoto-Reinken-042After photographing people getting ready at the historic Carr Bed and Breakfast, we headed to the church in Northport for the ceremony.  Having said their vows, we headed past all the little trick-or-treaters in downtown Northport, down to the waterfront for portraits.
Long Island Wedding Photograhper FritzPhoto-Reinken-160
I really wanted to take David and Julie and their families out on the pier in this picture-perfect harbor.  But as we stepped out onto the pier, we discovered that the wind was beyond breezy–it was downright powerful.  Gale force.  Epic.

Wedding Photographer New York FritzPhoto-Reinken-280

FritzPhoto Destination Wedding PhotographerSo I took the family back to the park, off the water, where the wind wasn’t quite so strong.  Once we‘d finished the group portraits, I asked Julie and David if they were up for heading back to the pier for some portraits.  Julie looked at me and said, “I can tell you want to!  And if you’re up for it, I want to!”  So we braved the wind, walked to the end of the pier, and took some gorgeous portraits.  I love working with subjects with moxie.

Destination Wedding Photography New York FritzPhoto-Reinken-692 FritzPhoto-Reinken-659 Destination Wedding PhotographersTheir wedding reception was held at the nearby Northport Yacht Club, and included a couple of solo performances by Julie (a vocalist by vocation), and lots of dancing.  We had a good time, and left with a load of great photographs.  (You can view my Trailer of their wedding photo favorites.)
Wedding Photographers New York FritzPhoto-Reinken-457
It’s always a delight to travel and photograph destination weddings.  Most people assume that they’re stuck with local photographers for their wedding or assignment.  But in this age of relatively inexpensive travel, it’s easy to import a quality photographer to cover your story, anywhere in the world.  And when the time comes that you need a destination wedding photographer, anywhere in the world, you’ll know where to find him.

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University of Portland Wedding Fritz Photo-Avella-063

University campuses are wonderful places for photography.  They’re well-manicured, spacious, beautiful, and include plenty of solid old buildings.  I was pretty happy to have the opportunity to photograph Christi and Vicente’s wedding ceremony and portraits at University of Portland‘s Chapel of Christ the Teacher.

FritzPhoto-Avella-056 University of Portland Wedding Photographer

Portland Bridal Portrait FritzPhoto-Avella-080

Christi is an alum of UP, and we had a wonderful time walking the campus and photographing her and Vicente, and their family and wedding party.  In fact, Vicente is from Venezuela, and he must have had 20 family members at his wedding, directly from Venezuela.  Impressive.  And a beautiful family at that.

Bride and Groom Portraits Portland FritzPhoto-Avella-297After the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom were whisked away to The Aerie at Eagle Landing for their wedding reception.  The bride’s father told me later that this car is owned by a car collecter/builder friend of his (a friendly older gentleman), and it is worth $500,000.   We took some beautiful photographs with that car in the fading October sunlight. FritzPhoto-Avella-332 The Aerie at Eagle LandingI eat a lot of wedding food, and to be quite honest, most of it is overpriced bland, mass-produced blahness.  I can’t believe how much couples spend on food that is generally so uninteresting.  And don’t ever try to serve me salmon; I’m over it.

So it’s a real treat to be at a wedding reception where the food is both beautifully arranged and tastes fantastic.  In fact, the cook told me afterwards, when I complimented him on the amazing beef he’d cooked up, that he takes the opinions of wedding photographers very seriously, because we taste a lot of wedding food.  I’d say he cooked up some of the tastiest wedding grub I’ve had yet, and made a nice show of it as well.

The Aerie Wedding Photographer FritzPhoto-Avella-501As you can imagine, with a good mix of American and Venezuelans, the dance floor was a happening place.  Thanks to the tunes of DJ Bart Hafeman (one of my favorites) there was a lot of fun action to photograph.

FritzPhoto-Avella-638 Wedding Photographer

The wedding day was made complete by a send-off of the bride and groom with sparklers.  You just can’t beat that.  Especially when there were about a hundred leftover sparklers, and all the boys (young and old) present went berserk with them.  Good times.

Are you looking for a wedding photographer for your wedding at The Aerie at Eagle LandingContact us today to tell us all about your wedding; as award-winning wedding photographers, we’d love to tell your love story!

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  • November 5, 2009 - 12:23 pm

    Linda - Fritz — You made a lovely story to go along with your always-lovely images. I enjoyed reading it! What a car — lucky couple to have such a perfect wedding!

Portland Oregon Fashion Photographer FritzPhoto-HannahW-039

I met Hannah last year at my local Gyrotonic gym, Center Gyrotonic. She’s been working there part time, around her school schedule, so I’ve chatted with her now and then about art and dance.  The owners trust her so much that she runs the place by herself on Saturdays.  No wonder; she’s a sharp, intelligent young lady, who also has an internship at the Portland Art Museum.

She didn’t know this until I told her so today, but I’ve wanted to photograph her since the first time I saw her.  There’s something about dancers…they know how to move, and the grace of their movements translates well even into still photographs.  So I was delighted when she told me she’d like to have me photograph her senior portraits here in Portland.  My intuition proved correct; she was a natural, and we had a wonderful time working together on a surprisingly sunny October Saturday.

Senior Portrait Photographer Portland Oregon FritzPhoto-HannahW-001 Vancouver Washington Senior Portrait Photographer FritzPhoto-HannahW-006 Portland Oregon Senior Portrait Photographer FritzPhoto-HannahW-016 High School Senior Portraits Portland FritzPhoto-HannahW-024 High School Senior Portrait Photographer Portland FritzPhoto-HannahW-011

You can always view this and more Portland high school senior portrait photography on our frequently-updated Fritz Photo website!

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FritzPhoto-Devon-Portland Senior Portrait PHotographerIf you ever have the opportunity to photograph portraits or a wedding on a university campus, I say: go for it. Manicured grounds, historic buildings, grand vistas.  What more could you ask for?

Devon grew up at the edge of Portland’s Reed College, so when we discussed where she wanted to take her senior portraits, Reed was the answer.  She played on the swings as a child, wandered the campus as a youth.  It’s a beautiful place, especially in the fall.

FritzPhoto-Devon-Portrait Photography Portland Oregon FritzPhoto-Devon-Senior Portrait Photography Portland Oregon FritzPhoto-Devon-Portrait PHotographer Portland Oregon FritzPhoto-Devon-Location Portrait Photographer Portland Oregon FritzPhoto-Devon-Fashion Model Photographer Portland Oregon

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FritzPhoto-Resort at the Mountain Wedding Photographer

This past week saw the publication of an article of mine in Rangefinder Magazine/Wedding and Portrait Professionals International.  It needs no introduction, as it says it all:

A Wedding Photographer Must Be Everything

A brief defense of the modern wedding photographer’s multifarious talents.

Fritz Liedtke

“Oh, he’s a wedding photographer.”

How many times have you heard words to that effect, spoken by a commercial photographer, or a photojournalist?  I’ve heard it a few times, and I must admit, sometimes I, too, fall into the trap of thinking this way.

For instance, if I’m soliciting business from an editorial client, I won’t show them my wedding photography website.  No matter how good my wedding work is, I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a mere wedding shooter.  I want to be taken seriously as a professional photographer, capable of producing quality work for the client at hand.  I find myself oddly embarrassed of the wedding photography–even though the work itself is of excellent quality.

In the history of photography, I’m not exactly sure where wedding photographers got the bad rap.  But I have some guesses.

We’ve all seen the albums filled with stilted smiles, awkward poses, and dully lit images.  Somewhere along the line, all wedding photographers were nailed to the cross of their industry’s weaknesses, and sadly, any experienced wedding photographer worth his weight in coated glass has suffered from this poor reputation ever since.

But the wedding world has changed.  Wedding photography has become sophisticated, fashionable, varied, and very profitable.  And yet there are still many people–photographers, art directors, editors–who poo-poo those who keep wedding photography in their lineup.

And to that I would say, “Maybe you’re not a wedding photographer because you just can’t handle the pressure.”

Recently, I had to find a new second-shooter to accompany me on a few summer weddings.  As I was searching for a quality assistant, looking at their portfolios, it dawned on me: this task has become more difficult.  I can’t just hire someone because they have nice portraits in their book.  In fact, I’ve had some fine young portrait photographers accompany me at weddings, and take very marginal candid images.  Other potential second shooters had good photojournalism skills, but couldn’t smile and carry on a conversation if their job depended on it.  And I’ve worked with super friendly assistants that couldn’t set up a mono light without breaking it.

That’s when it dawned on me: a wedding photographer has to be everything.

Today’s top-notch wedding photographer has to be well-versed in almost every aspect of photography.

As portrait artists and fashion photographers, we must be able to capture elegantly posed images, and yet make them seem fresh and vibrant.  Whether working in the studio with lighting gear, or on location with natural and artificial light sources, we have to create a pleasing and well-lit scene.  We have to think on our feet, find appropriate locations, and help our subjects feel comfortable, relaxed, and beautiful.  And then we have to be a Richard Avedon, producing magazine cover-ready images.

We have to be photojournalists.  While beautiful portraits are expected, I find it’s the little details of the day–the stolen glances, the giggling girls, the outrageous dancers–that really make my customers smile.  And we have to capture these in every imaginable kind of light, indoors and out, in cavernous cathedrals and dark dance halls, in bright sunlight and glaring snow.  We have to be Henri Cartier-Bresson, capturing several hundred Decisive Moments in the space of 8 hours.  All I can say is: thank God for digital.

Many other types of photographic disciplines also come into play.  We must be able to compose grand scenic, landscape, and architecture shots, capturing the beauty of the venue.  We have to arrange still lifes and products–even macro shots–of details such as cakes, flowers, rings, and decorations.  If we shoot destination weddings, we have to be experienced with travel, and travel-related photography.  And, of course, we’re all paparazzi.

A professional wedding photographer must also be a people person, a real Dale Carnegie, able to make friends and influence people.  We have to be enjoyable to be around, because we’re at the wedding all day long.  We have to smile, make people feel comfortable, occasionally bring ease or laughter to a tense situation.  By the end of the day, we have to be everybody’s friend; or, at the very least, not their enemy.

As with any small business, we must also wear all the business-related hats: CEO, advertising exec, HR person, teacher, accountant, IT guy, vision-caster, investor, designer, researcher, client-meeter, negotiator, webmaster, marketer, office cleaner.  When someone asks me, “How can you charge so much for what you do?”  I think, “How can I charge so little?  It’s taken me 25 years to know what I know and do what I do!”

And in the end, after every wedding is over and the gear is put away, we have to be able to pull together a cohesive photo essay, well edited and color corrected, and beautifully laid out in a lovely book, magazine, or DVD.  (Which means we must also be editors, producers, graphic designers and filmmakers.)

No problem, you say?  You have to do all of that in your {insert editorial, advertising, fashion…} business as well?

Oh, I almost forgot.  For the professional wedding photographer, there are no do-overs.  No weather-related delays.  No reshoots.  No reschedules.  You have to know everything and be everything, and have it all in the bag by midnight, when everyone turns back into pumpkins.  Period.

None of this is to say that wedding photographers are better than anybody else.  Nor is it true that a wedding photographer could immediately go out and cover a sensitive story in a third world country and score a magazine cover.  Every photographer wears many hats, and must have extensive knowledge of his field.

But we do deserve some respect.  And the experience a wedding photographer gains every day does transfer to other types of work.  I shoot documentary work all over the world with speed I would not have if I was not honing my skill at every event I cover.  I shoot editorial assignments in all kinds of locations with an eye for lighting that is honed at weddings.  My fine art work is stronger for my constant attention to detail in my wedding work.

So to all those who look down their long noses at the creative professional wedding photographer, who has to have a grasp of nearly every type of photography and business skill in order to perform at a high level, I would respectfully say:

If you can’t take the heat, please stay out of the kitchen.



Copyright 2009 Fritz Liedtke

Not to be reproduced without written permission from the author.

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  • October 15, 2009 - 11:21 am

    Randy - I remember when I was first assisting and worked with a commercial advertising photographer who photographed $20k a day shoots for the major automobile manufacturers…here is a guy that dealt with unimaginable pressure on a shoot and when I told him I photographed weddings, he looked at me and shook his head…”there is a special place in Heaven for wedding photographers”. He’d NEVER go near a wedding as they were simply too much pressure.

    GREAT article and about time we got the respect we’ve earned and deserve. Thanks for increasing awareness of the special niche of wedding photography in today’s world.

  • October 15, 2009 - 2:08 pm

    Anita - Bravo!!!!..*S*..

  • October 15, 2009 - 3:10 pm

    fritzphoto - That’s a good story, Randy. Thanks for sharing, and solidifying my point!

  • October 27, 2009 - 8:46 am

    Bert - Heck yeah. Thanks for this article. It amazes me how little this genre of photography is appreciated. But we do it anyway!

  • October 28, 2009 - 8:14 am

    fritzphoto - Thanks Bert. Hopefully articles like this will educate folks a little bit about what is required of us as professional wedding photographers, and earn us a little street cred.

FritzPhoto-Savannah-Portland Oregon Model Portfolio Photographer

Last year, 2 days before heading out for 3 months in Europe, I photographed a wedding in Astoria, Oregon.  It was a lot of fun, and I was stunned by the panoramic views from the Astoria column.  (You should view Leslie and David’s Astoria wedding photographs, including the shotgun scene.)

While photographing the wedding, I noticed one of the bridesmaids, a quiet, tall, striking young lady named Savannah.  She was the bride’s niece, I learned, and was 12.

Fast forward to this past summer.  I was creating Leslie and David’s wedding story album, and was struck again by Savannah’s look.  So I contacted Leslie, and she connected me with her aunt.  After talking it over, we scheduled a test shoot for Savannah here in Portland.

Savannah Herrington and I had a good time photographing together.  She’s one of those girls who looks much older than her 14 years; she’s at least as tall as me, perhaps taller.  You’d think she was at least 17, a high school senior rather than a freshman.  Her interest in modeling should be well served by these striking images for her portfolio.

FritzPhoto-Savannah-Portland Senior Portrait Photographer FritzPhoto-Savannah-Portland Fashion Photographer FritzPhoto-Savannah-Model Portfolio Photographer Portland

I love photographing model test shoots like this, in Portland, and around the world!  Contact us today for your own modeling portfolio test shoot.

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FritzPhoto-Lauralee-Portland Senior Portrait Photographer

Some assignments make me feel older.

I knew Lauralee’s parents when they were in high school–and I was, too.  I remember her brother in a carseat,  Lauralee as a toddler.  Such a sweet child; I photographed her numerous times when she was younger.  One of those images went into an artist’s portfolio that was collected by Portland collectors.  Another, a favorite of mine, is of Lauralee in my wife’s dress, draped in a tree at Rose City Golf:

FritzPhoto-Lauralee-Childrens Portraits Portland

Time marches on, and in my experience, children are the most obvious reminder of this truth.  (Kids I photographed in my Adolescence series just a few years ago are now college graduates.)  While I wasn’t looking, and while her world whirled around her, Lauralee grew up.

Apparently, she’s been telling her mom for a couple of years now that she wanted me to photograph her senior portraits. (Lauralee’s dad is a photographer, and she’s been photographed by Jock Sturges as well, so I was honored to be her chosen favorite.)   So she was pretty excited to get together for a session.

She’s an interesting kid, with a fun wardrobe (some of which she’s made herself).  So we had fun going through her closet, looking at various outfits and costumes.  Good clothing makes a big difference in a photo shoot, and I always like having an interesting palette to work with.  We photographed just up the hill from her house, at Rocky Butte (another of Portland’s hidden treasures), and came up with some creative images.

Now, when the time comes to photograph her wedding, I’ll really feel old.

FritzPhoto-Lauralee-Portland Location Portrait Photographer

FritzPhoto-Lauralee-Senior Portrait Photographer Portland

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