PORTLAND VENDOR GUIDE | ALIXANN LOOSLE
Welcome to the second edition of our Portland Vendor Guide! This week, we present to you a wonderful local photographer: Alixann Loosle. We met Alixann almost immediately after moving to Portland, just as she had relocated to Portland from Utah. We are so grateful to have met Alixann so quickly, as a collaboration soon followed which resulted in the Cape Kiwanda photoshoot that you will see sprinkled below.
Alixann’s photographs captivate us, as they feel perfectly organic and natural, yet, simultaneously, so artfully composed. She effortlessly applies a technical mastery of her medium, capturing the most flattering angles and exquisite compositions, all while faithfully documenting candid movements and raw moments of emotion. Not only does she have a natural talent for working these moments and angles, but, on a personal level, Alixann is just as authentic as her photographs. Unassuming and down-to-earth, her demeanor sets her clients at ease, rendering her inconspicuously present to witness and capture precious moments at the precise moment of their genesis. We hope you enjoy learning more about Alixann, including her perspectives on photography and a few tips here and there for potential clients!
Can you describe the full scope of your PROFESSION so that readers and clients can understand everything it means to be a wedding photographer?
“My job involves much more than showing up the day of the wedding to take photos. It involves running my own website, managing my books, marketing, advertising, and customer service. It also involves creativity, which is my favorite part. I spend a lot of time studying photography and finding creative inspiration so that I can apply it to my photoshoots and weddings. I love to try new things and to implement a style of shooting that coincides with my own style, as well as my client's style. Being a small business owner, you're constantly juggling ideas and tasks that come together to make your business unique and distinct.”
What values would your ideal client be searching for in a wedding photographer?
“I think making sure that your styles align is number one. I don't want to work with someone who wants a different product than what I offer. If they look at my work and feel inspired, that's a great starting point. From there, I can work with whatever circumstances they give me because I know I'm trusted to be my own creative self.”
What is a piece of advice you’d like to give to all the potential clients out there when searching for a wedding photographer?
“Look through their entire body of work. Don't just follow them on Instagram and skim their website. Look at each wedding and make sure they know how to work with all lighting situations and know how to capture the entire wedding day in a beautiful way.”
“Movement is everything to me.”
Your photography has such a strong documentarian feel- what about your creative process with your clients allows you to create this type of work?
“I really love to keep my photo shoots and weddings very relaxed. The pressures of looking good can get out of hand and can lead to awkward movement and posing. I love to chat with my clients, walk around, ask them to hold hands and perform tasks like walk up to each other and hug. I give a lot of cinematic direction, as opposed to making someone stand still and hold a forced pose for a long period of time. Movement is everything to me.”
Your father was a photographer and quite influential to your path of becoming a wedding photographer. Can you tell us a bit about what you learned from him while tagging along to his wedding gigs? What is his photography style like?
“Yes, I started shooting with him when I was 12, so I had years of experience before shooting my first solo wedding at 19. He taught me how to look for expressions and special moments. I was always watching the bride, groom, and their close family members to predict their actions and catch them at the right time. He also taught me how to find the perfect light. After I took a photo, he'd ask me why I chose that particular location and that particular lighting, which helped me to evaluate what made something beautiful to me. I still love shooting with natural light and I shoot a strong documentary and candid style because of what my dad taught me.”
What advice have you received that has helped you in your photography journey?
“Ooh, there's definitely a lot. This wasn't verbal advice, but watching my dad interact calmly and attentively at weddings really influenced me. He never panicked under stressful situations and always made light of situations. He was good at calming everyone down and making things fun. I really try to keep a relaxed and positive demeanor at weddings because it sets the vibe for everyone else. I definitely learned that from him.”
“Humanity is beautiful.”
Where do you find unlikely inspiration?
“Driving. I will see locations and moments take place from the seat of my car that inspire me to think of ideas for future shoots. I love to see beautiful landscapes, but I am also a big people-watcher. I love seeing the way people act when nobody is looking. Humanity is beautiful.”
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE WEDDING DAY MOMENTS TO CAPTURE?
“I really love the portrait section, of course, because it's my time to really get some epic shots. However, I also really love the cocktail hour because everyone is drinking, relaxing, and at ease, which makes for amazing candids.”
Are there traditions in your field that you’ve chosen to challenge? If so, why?
“Definitely. When I first started 10 years ago, things were very posed and cheesy. Every bride wanted to be smiling at the camera with her ring hand tilted perfectly so that everyone could see it in her engagement announcements. I started trying unique poses and movements right from the start. I also try not to jump on bandwagons with my work. Certain images and styles will become popular and it's easy to feel like you need to start shooting in that particular way to keep up. However, it's good to filter what you like and don't like and to draw inspiration from photography you admire, rather than forcing something that doesn't feel right.”
What major obstacles have you run into while operating your business as a wedding photographer? How have you overcome them?
“I think getting over the initial hump of just being bad at something new was the hardest. When you first start shooting, your images just won't be great. That's just how it is! But with each shoot, I got better and better, and finally was able to call myself a professional. It took me a good year or so to feel comfortable with that. Traveling has also been pretty difficult because there's so much that can go wrong! Luckily, I've got the drill down at this point.”
What does your daily routine look like?
“Wake up, eat breakfast (coffee, toast, peanut butter, and a banana), then email responses first. I always get my emails done first thing. After that, I'll edit for a few hours then head to the gym. After the gym, I usually head back home, edit more and work on any other small projects that need to be finished. I try to cut myself off from work around 6pm, but I often have engagement shoots so it really just depends on the day! I sound a little boring, but I like to keep things as structured as possible since I'm self-employed.”
Looking about 5 years ahead, what do you suspect will be the next big change in your industry?
“Because I've been doing this for 10 years, I've seen a lot of change already. I think the photography industry will move more toward experimental and artistic work. It's been doing that for years, but I think it will continue to do so. There is so much image inspiration all over the internet now and I think people are more open to thinking outside the box in relation to their wedding photos as well as their actual weddings.”
If you had a list of “best-kept secrets” (websites, books, coaches, etc) you’d recommend to other small business owners, which would you include and why?
“I really love to read. A book that changed my life is Manage Your Day‑To‑Day by Jocelyn K. Glei. This really helped my productivity and anxiety level. I also am very into meditation so I would recommend Waking Up by Sam Harris. This helps me to stay calm during chaos. I also am constantly looking for image inspiration on tumblr and Pinterest. My best advice to anyone who wants to achieve any sort of goal is to ignore any worries or negative thoughts that sidetrack you or make you feel like you're not good enough. Ignore those and focus on the tasks/goals that will lead you to where you want to be.”