Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunny Solstice

Aloha from Kaua'i! The wedding was beautiful. The weather was rainy at times, but turned gorgeous on the day we were leaving. It figures, huh? Except that the Portland airport was shut down due to inclement weather (guess there's a whale of a snow and ice storm going on in the PNW), so we were stuck here for three more days.

I'm guessing that no one is feeling sorry for us, huh? Congratulations to Dannielle & Nels!

And if you're looking for a fabulous destination wedding site, check out Smith Family Gardens.

And remember to bring your favorite photographer!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I leave on Saturday to photograph a destination wedding in...Hawaii! Nels & Dannielle originally hoped to marry in Salem this summer, but Nels is a nuclear engineer on the USS Abraham Lincoln, and summer found him deployed in the Gulf. The wedding was delayed until December, and they decided upon a tropical location.

Nels & Dannielle highly value photography (Nels is the son of renowned photographers Neil & Miriam Haugen) so they asked me to consider going to Hawaii to photograph the wedding. I considered for a good 2 or 3 seconds before I said - yes!

So, the house sitter is in place, the bags are almost packed, the camera equipment checked and checked again. Aloha!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Please Call Me Back!

In August, I had the privilege of judging Youth and Student prints at the State Fair. I was so pleased to see the depth of talent exhibited by these young people.

After the awards ceremony, I got to talk with several of the entrants. I provided my telephone number and encouraged them to call me for further photography chatting.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the young women called me. I was in a session, so she left a message on my answering machine. I was so excited to hear from her. Since it was after hours, I saved the message, intending to call the next day.

Except that when I went to call her, I discovered that I'd accidentally DELETED her message, rather than saving it! I've been hoping she would call me back, but I haven't heard from her.

If you are the young woman who called me, PLEASE call me again. I promise I won't lose your message this time! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Company that Saved Me

Every once in a while a business takes such good care of its customers that it makes us all sit up and take notice.

Willamette Technical
is one of those businesses. In September, I had a rotten, awful, no-good, really-bad day. On that day, all THREE of my computers decided to misbehave, all with unrelated issues. It was a busy client day, and I desperately needed my computers to run.

Brian and Brent of Willamette Technical came to my rescue! At one point, both of them were at my studio, busily working to restore my computers. They got them up and running before my first client arrived.
Here's the thing: They actually LOVE working on that blasted hardware. And it shows. They are competent and caring, and they saved me that day. I brought them back out to correct a couple of long-standing issues, and again, they were able to quickly make my computers run more smoothly than ever.

If you ever need computer assistance, call Willamette Technical at (5030 485-2801. They will take care of you!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Em makes the news!

Emily and her family are part of the 'Cherie Renae' family. We first met in 2008 for a family portrait session, and this summer I photographed her older sister, Kelsie - class of 2009.

Emily is a talented soccer player, and is in the Statesman-Journal today. Note that she is taking the ball from two opponents! Click here for the full story.

image (c)2008 Statesman-Journal

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Harris returns

Harris was one of my models this spring. We recently completed his senior portrait session - and wow, was it fun! Harris has one of those faces that lends itself perfectly to that serious and brooding look. Yes, we got big smiles from him, too - here's a sneak preview of his session -


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bill & Tina

I met Tina in person only a day before her wedding. I was a little nervous about this, because I usually enjoy a long relationship with my couples before the Big Day. However, Tina lived in California, and it wasn't possible for us to meet face-to-face until Friday.

We hit it off immediately. On the wedding day, she turned to the members of the wedding party and said, "Do whatever she says. The pictures will turn out terrific - I've seen her website!"

That's how so many of my couples find me - my website. ( I am complimented over and over about the look and the ease of use of my site. (I'll be changing the look of it in the next few months, but it will still be easy to navigate.)

Thank you to all of you for your kind comments, and THANK YOU to Bill and Tina for inviting me to be part of their wedding!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Weddings, weddings, weddings!

I know that people get married all year round, but photographers seems to be busiest in the summer season. (Sometimes I feel like running a newspaper ad that says, "It's OK to call photographers for weddings during the winter months!" Help me get the word out, will you?)

I love weddings. I always cry. I usually manage to get clear images, though... :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Senior Sessions

High school senior portrait season is in full tilt now. It's so strange - one minute our children are babes in our arms, and just a second later they are getting ready to graduate and move on to new hopes and dreams. We spend hours and days and years loving them and raising them just for this moment. But when it comes, so do the tears. How did the time pass so quickly?

I guess that's why we think it's so important to commemorate this moment of completion and perfection. Here are two beautiful young women who visited my studio in July.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A visit from family!

My daughter, Ariel visited from Texas with my two grandbabies, Patrick & Isabelle. They are 2 1/2 and 18 months old. They are fun and happy and busy, busy, BUSY babies! We had a wonderful time - and believe it or not, Ariel and I had time to redecorate the studio! I will be having an open house in September so you can see the transformation.

It was fun to work on the studio, but it was much more fun to hold and spoil my grandbabies. They were here for 10 days, and I miss them already.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Back from Great Britain

Your wayfaring writer/photographer is back! I'm still a little jet-lagged, but I spent a full day in the studio today (Saturday), and feel almost back in the swing of things... The image at the top of this newsletter is Stirling Castle, an important historical site in Scotland.

We started our journey in London. After landing in Heathrow Airport, we dropped our bags at our hostel, and started wandering.

As we crossed the Thames, I commented that I couldn't believe I was really standing on a bridge overlooking this historic river. Gabe asked, "Are you wondering what took you so long to come here?"

I replied, "No, I know what took so long. I was busy sending you and your siblings on trips across the country and across the world. In fact, I'm not sure I can afford this trip even yet."

Gabe responded, "What good is solvency if you never see the Thames?"

Gazing at this incredible city, it seemed a sage question. Have you travelled where your heart desires?

We spent most of our time in Scotland. The highlands are wild and beautiful - the colors so vivid, the fragrance on the air so unique, the feel of the place so otherworldly that I understand why immigrants from Scotland get teary when they talk about their home country.

We spent a week on holy Iona Island. St. Columba landed there in 563 AD, bringing Christianity to the British Islands. It is suspected to have been a sacred island long before his arrival, too. It is said to be a 'thin place'. The abbey where we stayed dates back to the fifteenth century. St. Martin's cross out front was erected in the 9th century. The intricate carvings are still visible, over a thousand years later.
I walked the street of the dead and contemplated the many feet who trod the overgrown road through the centuries. What were their passions and deep desires for their lives? Did they fulfill them in their lifetimes? Will I fulfill mine? What are my passions, anyway?

This rumination (and many more like it) led me to contemplate returning to college for a Master's program in Creative Writing. I can attend part-time while continuing this wonderful creative journey that is Cherie Renae Studios. Perhaps its time for this dream, or perhaps there are others. Only time, and continued meditation, will tell.

What are your dreams, your passions? My hope for my clients - my friends - is that you will pursue your path single-mindedly, with joy and with passion. It is my hope for us all.

Cherie Renae,, 503.508.5157

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lisa & Michael

When a couple is as perfect together as Lisa & Michael, a photographer's job is easy. I captured this quiet moment at Deepwoods Estates, a popular spot for all types of photography.

During this fun session, we wandered all over the grounds, taking advantage of greenery and buildings. It was a lot of fun!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Cameron is a singer and guitarist from McMinnville. One of my class of 2009 models, he will be travelling to Ireland this summer with YWAM. (Youth With a Mission)

We share a love for Keith Green's inspirational music (gone these many years, but not forgotten.)

Cameron is also an aspiring photographer. You can check out his work here.


Marie makes it look like this is the middle of summer, doesn't she? She is a TRUE model - you can't tell that she was shivering in the cold weather!

Marie is another of my class of 2009 models. She attends South Salem High School. Thank you, Marie!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ashley knows Vampire Weekend!

I was excited to find someone else who has heard of my current favorite group! Vampire Weekend rocks - if you haven't heard them, check 'em out!

But this isn't a blog about music - it's about another of my models, Ashley. She speaks both Chinese and French fluently, and plays piano and tennis.

And is a natural in front of the camera...thank you, Ashley!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fantastic Four

Does this group of guys look like trouble to any self-respecting photographer, or what? They wanted to do a group photography session, and I thought, "Why not?"

Why not? Well, what are a group of four guys going to do when they're together? Besides give each other a hard time, indulge in friendly slaps and punches, and generally wreak havoc?

Just kidding. These guys were great. Well, yes, there was a bit of the above, but when it came to camera time, they were more than ready. And gracious. And fun!

So, here is a preview of the session I had with Harris, Nathan, Bryce and Andrew. Thanks, guys. It really was a LOT of fun!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Models 09 - South Salem

As I mentioned in the prior article - it's that time again! I love senior portrait season, and each year I invite students from the upcoming graduating class to be models for my marketing, website and travelling art gallery.

Rachel visited my studio today. We took advantage of my portrait park! Rachel is a member of Symphonic Choir and Southernaires at South Salem High School, a powerhouse for music in the state.

Models 09 - McNary

It's that time again! Each year, I ask students from the upcoming graduating class to be models for my website, my marketing materials, and my travelling art gallery.

Carin attends McNary, and she came to my studio today. She is in the Oregon Junior Miss pageant, and she is a member of the always awesome McNary choir program.

Here is a sneak preview of the images to come....

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring - a season of love

I give every wedding couple the gift of an engagement session. The engagement session captures the couple in their casual moments. It gives the couple the opportunity to enjoy portrait art when they are 'looking like themselves', to quote one groom.

As importantly, it gives each couple the opportunity for a 'dry run' before the all-important day. Most people approach portrait sessions with fear and trepidation. Either they are nervous because they've never done it before, or their prior photographic experiences have only reinforced their aversion.

If you've had a session with me, you know that I believe that photography can AND SHOULD be fun! I love to make people laugh, and to watch them relax and enjoy their time with me. When my couples discover that my camera is not a thing of fear, it makes all the difference on their wedding day.

Neil and Angela visited my studio today. We managed to avoid raindrops (for the most part) and to enjoy the fresh green of the budding leaves and the yellow of the daffodils at Deepwoods Estates.

I also had the pleasure of photographing Megan and Josh's engagement session recently. Again, we were blessed with beautiful weather. Oregon is such a wonderful place to be in the spring!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wedding Bells for Michelle and Bill

Best wishes to Michelle and Bill. I had the privilege of doing formal portraits in their traditional Russian Orthodox wedding finery on the day of their wedding. Michelle's spark and Bill's quiet confidence showed through in their portraiture. What a fun session!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Swimsuit Contest Begins!

The contest begins! Well, at least, the photography has begun. We are looking for at least 50 people to compete for our "Men & Women of the Willamette Valley" swimsuit calendar. Do you know someone (perhaps yourself?) who would enjoy posing for Cherie's camera? Please help us get the word out. We need more entries for the contest to fly -- There is no cost - no obligation - just a lot of fun.

By the way, the images shown here are not their contest entries - they're just a preview of the fun that we're having. See the website for details, and consider joining the fun!