California just rules. It just does. Something about that light, those hills, those sunsets that just gets me. I had the privledge of heading down to LA a few weeks ago to shoot portraits of Nancy and Trenton around their hood. Here’s a few frames from the day. Crazy excited to shoot their LA wedding next year.




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  • Nancy Rodriguez - I still can’t believe how awesome these are, Phil. Sooo happy that we got to shoot in multiple locations. I still remember racing against the sunset to get those last shots in near the mountains.. so glad we did! Thanks so much for capturing this special time in our lives!ReplyCancel

  • James - Theres a reason you were in the Rangefinder top 30. Nothing but quality my man.ReplyCancel

  • Kristen Curette - Love this set! Obsessed with the song! Great job!ReplyCancel



Well, it’s been a few months since I’ve blogged a wedding. This summer was better+busier than I ever expected. So now as I’m catching up, I have so much to share! Thea and Colin’s Oregon wedding was just perfect. A perfect summer day in the Pacific Northwest. A beautiful , small, intimate gathering really allows for everyone to connect and fully be present throughout the day. Two ultra kind souls, madly in love, surrounded by incredible family and friends with the highest of spirits. Set deep in the beautiful location of a private farm outside of Portland. I mean, did you see that light!? As you scroll below, you’ll see the magic as it unfolded. One of those perfect days. Thea+Colin.

This wedding was also featured on the wonderful Green Wedding Shoes! Head over their to learn more about their day.

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Event Planner: Prost To The Host

Vintage Rentals: Something Borrowed // Portland

Last year Rangefinder Magazine did a feature on the top 30 rising stars in the wedding industry. I remember looking through the magazine, being in awe of the photographers who were selected. The 30 Rising Stars feature is an international award given to select photographers from around the globe who have been in the industry for under 5 years, nominated by top industry leaders and top editors. I got a crazy e-mail a few months back saying that I had been one of 150 nominated to potentially be selected for this years issue. It came out of left field, I still have no idea who nominated me but thank you!! So nervously and slowly I put together a small selection of my work to submit. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago as I’m walking through the Denver airport connecting to a flight for Ohio when I receive the e-mail that I had been selected as one of this years TOP 30!!! In the world! I kept a cheesy grin on my face for the next 30 minutes.

Thank you to all the couples and wonderful humans who’ve trusted and put their faith and creative trust in me over these past 2 years.

This is just the beginning.


You can read the article on my on page 71 of this months issue, here’s a link to the digital version.

Here’s the link to my gallery I submitted, located here, on Rangefinder’s Website.

Big shout out to all of my buds who also made it into this amazing group… Andria, Pat, Logan, Katie, Emma, Ryan and Ariel. So rad to have such talented friends.





In other excited news, I have 12 pages of my work featured in the new book from Gestalten, Just Married. A selection of awesome weddings curated by celebrity stylist Fiona Leahy. The book is available for purchase on their website.



I also had the honor of writing an article for The Define School earlier this month speaking on some topics very near and dear to my heart. The article was then picked up and featured on


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  • Jade Sheldon-Burnsed - I’m just so darn happy for you!ReplyCancel

  • The Gemmers - PHIL!!!! BUDDY!!! You’re so rad & we love ya so much!!! SO, SO, SO happy for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You deserve it 10000%!ReplyCancel

  • pat furey - the take over. so happy to know you, Phil. you are not only insanely talented but hardworking and very deserving of all of this recognition.

    here’s to the future man. let’s link up in 2014.ReplyCancel

  • ryan - you rock, dude. well deserving of the recognition all around!ReplyCancel


Their love started in a photo lab. She would bring in her film to him. He would develop it. She called him “Pro Photo Guy” to her friends. He lit up every time she walked in the lab. Months went by. Awkward conversation and hellos and good byes were all they exchanged for months. One day they both built up the courage to move their conversation outside the lab, and onto bikes. They rode around exploring Portland, in areas they both had never been to. Both film photographers. Both so attracted to the way each other saw the world. Both falling in love with each other. Fast forward to 2013. I get an email from Julie saying she was handed a copy of Oregon Bride magazine where she had seen my ad. A connection was made. They brought me into their lives to photograph something beautiful. I learned so much from that day about myself, about love, about hope and trust. I felt like we were best friends in a few lifetimes back, reunited for these images. Julie+Nate.

This session was also recently featured on one of my favorite blogs, Green Wedding Shoes.



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  • Erik Lindahl - Hi Phil!

    Really beautiful pictures, especially those in the forrest with the ray of lights. Emotionally stunning!!ReplyCancel

  • brad - wow….well.done.ReplyCancel

  • eugene pavlov - This entire concept is ridiculously amazing. Not even mentioning the fact that the images are stunning. Well done…well doneReplyCancel

  • Kelly Stonelake - Brilliant and inspiring. Bravo!ReplyCancel

  • Sara - lovelovelovelove this session. you can feel their love.ReplyCancel

  • Chris Mueller - Beautiful work, Phil!ReplyCancel

  • jenny l. - These are some of the most beautiful images I’ve seen in a long, long time, Phil. Seriously can’t believe the bedroom shots…stunning.ReplyCancel

  • don barrington - nailed it my friend!ReplyCancel

  • Cameron - Phil, dude. This is one of the best sessions I’ve ever seen. Ever. From anyone. I’m feeling so inspired right now.ReplyCancel

  • Vagelis - Very beautiful picture,bravo!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie Hall - This is spectacular. Incredible work. That shot of her in the sunlight- wow!!ReplyCancel

  • Jaakko - The most impressive engagement session I’ve ever seen… I’d like to see these more often.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - Those shots in the forest are INSANITY!!!ReplyCancel

  • Anja - I am in love! With the photos and the athmosphere you captured. And the personal, warm, comforting feeling these photos carry. Amazing! Especially with the song connected to these frames.ReplyCancel

  • Sam - Boom! In L O V E with it all.ReplyCancel

  • Anna - Beautiful and touching session.ReplyCancel

  • Zak - so good. so so good.ReplyCancel

  • dorothy - sooo goodReplyCancel

  • ainsley - the cutest engagement shoot if i ever saw oneReplyCancel

  • Rich English - wow, just wow..
    this is the type of love i think everyone should experience.
    and you captured it in the most brilliant of waysReplyCancel

  • Lindsay Anne - Wait…these are incredible. I’ve never seen anything quite like this.ReplyCancel

  • Monika Cameron - Words cannot do it justice. So very beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen Kelly - Oh, man. No, I did not just totally tear up real bad…ReplyCancel

  • Talia Unger - I love everything about this session. So beautiful, honest and real.ReplyCancel

  • alex anne - you are one of the best storytellers i know. like wow. this could be a novel. love these shots so so much.ReplyCancel

  • fer juaristi - dude, love this clicks! awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Antonio - It’s a fantastic JobReplyCancel

  • Michell - This is utterly beautiful. These photos are unique but more importantly you feel life in the photo themselves not to mention the love these two have for one another. What a beautiful memoir of their relationship.ReplyCancel

  • Joshua Grabowski - Beautiful, absolutely stunning work. Words can not do justice.ReplyCancel

  • yan palmer - maaaaan. felt it.ReplyCancel

  • David Josué - I love it, moving emotions.ReplyCancel

  • Brittany DeFrehn - Beautiful. Challenges me. Seriously awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Cope - Gorgeous couple, gorgeous settings, gorgeous photographs!ReplyCancel

  • Kat - Swee Jesus, the hair toss is epic!ReplyCancel

  • Jade Sheldon-Burnsed - Pure magic. I have had fantasies of doing an “at home” shoot with Cory. There is just something so beautiful in the celebrating of true, everyday life together…ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - I love it. All of it.ReplyCancel

  • Andy Stenz - Hair flip = mic drop.ReplyCancel

  • Kyle - These are SO. Ridiculously. GOOD.ReplyCancel

  • CHRIS THEIBERT - So proud of you man. One of the most talented humans I know.ReplyCancel

  • Ryan - Nice work, Phil! I really love the shots in the forest. Was that the trail to Indian Head?ReplyCancel

  • Ryan Brenizer - This is my favorite engagement session I’ve seen in a LONG time.ReplyCancel

  • Brian Kraft - For realz, yo!ReplyCancel

  • Sally - Absolutely stunning. Particularly the shots with the light coming through the trees. I love the juxtaposition of the ordinary suburban morning and the majestic outdoor shots.ReplyCancel

  • Kaisa - I am absolutely in love with the photos and the story of the couple! Really special! It is so good to see that there’s so much love and little happy things in the world! xxReplyCancel

  • ed peers - Perfect Phil. Such a good story.ReplyCancel

  • tim riddick - i think i just heard a mic drop on the floor…. and then phil chester walked away and said other photographers “top this”

    simply beautiful dude… killer clicks… killer session… best engagement session ever.ReplyCancel

  • Francis - I am so blown away by this set. This couple is so brave for inviting a photographer in such an intimate setting. But you pulled it off sir.. I’m still picking up my jaw. Gorgeous set!ReplyCancel

  • Stéphanie - Une vie simple par les bonheurs de la vie, une vie belle par ces bonheurs. C’est merveilleux.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Ter Meer - Seriously my new favorite engagement session .. Your work is so inspiring Thank you <3ReplyCancel

  • Alexxus - blown away.ReplyCancel

  • kay - BeautifulReplyCancel

  • Victoria - Really great. brought chills down my spine, in a good way.ReplyCancel

  • Mairi - absolutely stunning.ReplyCancel

  • Life with Kaishon - What a beautiful couple. I love this story of their love. I would love to see some of their film.

    I love how you see the world : )ReplyCancel

  • Jen Downer - I do believe these are my very favorite couple photos of all time. Absolutely gorgeous! Well done!!! Also… Hi! I’m happy for the intro to your work. I’m a Portland (family) photographer as well!ReplyCancel

  • josh - beautiful…ReplyCancel

  • veronika goisova - wow ,simply whole whole session I wish to have pictures like this with my love!ReplyCancel

  • Ann Gordon - Wow, wow and wow!! So in love! Forest shots are amazing, as well as all of the others!!!ReplyCancel

  • Monika Eisenbart - wow!!!!! Breathtaking!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - I love these, they’re so real and so heartfelt and beautiful. Incredible work!ReplyCancel

  • Michael Wachniak - This is magic. So well done, dude!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie - Beautiful photos and such a lovely couple. I’ve never seen an engagement shoot done quite like this!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Perlman - Woah! Totally felt the love in this.ReplyCancel

  • Trish - In the masses of posts and feeds that are around….I happened to click on this. And boy am I glad I did. Thank you for the inspiration, and the beauty that I was able to share in today. Love it so much, what a lucky couple.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - Wow! Amazing. I wish you had been doing these when I got engage 10,000 years ago. And if you were, I wish I had known about you. Fabulous work.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Hoffarth - This is my favorite engagement session I have ever seen. Amazing work. What a treasure this couple now has!ReplyCancel

  • Kismet - This is what ALL engagement sessions should be like. REAL.ReplyCancel

  • Elisa - oh, gosh. I think now I’m a little bit in love with them too!


  • JoDee - Now that’s an engagement session! Absolutely inspiring. I particularly love the golden-lighted image where she is tossing her hair and then the next image where he is looking (my assumption) at her, smitten. This session captures what being engaged is all about!ReplyCancel

  • abi campbell - Jesus. I’m giving up.ReplyCancel

  • sara montour - This is complete perfection, Phil. Gorgeous gorgeous real life.ReplyCancel

  • Carly Fuller - These are incredible! Wish all couples wanted to capture such intimate and beautiful moments! Amazing workReplyCancel

  • Joy - These shots are beautiful. They capture both the individuals and their lives as a couple, which seems almost impossible to do in a way that isn’t contrived. But heck — you’ve done it. They are the kind of shots their children will pore over for the rest of their lives.ReplyCancel

  • meshack - Picture together with the music they are wow, absolutely! I left speechless, they got me blown away,amamizing,amazing, amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Liz - How totally lovely!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle ferris - I would love to see more of your work and check out pricing. These shots are great!ReplyCancel

  • James - So so good, its not even funny.ReplyCancel

  • Darren Miller - great work and concept to follow for the day in their life:)ReplyCancel

  • Something Good | A Thousand Shades of Gray - […] Julie+Nate // Portland Engagement Session, a beautiful set of pictures from Phil Chester. The ones with the light and the trees are […]ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Gilbert - Absolutely breathtaking and wildly original. What a blessing these two now have, in each other and in these images. Brilliant work. I’m very inspired!ReplyCancel

  • Claire - What lens/es were used?? I have a Canon EOS 60D and love it, but am looking to buy a new lens soon. The quality of these are amazing! Love them.ReplyCancel

  • Brianna Hays - Stunning. Beautiful. Simply gorgoues. Hands down my favorite engagement session. Perfectly done.ReplyCancel

  • Craig Flood - phenomenalReplyCancel

  • The Gemmers - Ahhh!!! FRIEND!!!! SO SO lovely!!!!!!!!! Seriously breathtaking! We’re going to rock my pregnancy session OUT! {smile} SO happy for all the LOVE you’re receiving, friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Denise Rexhall - These photos are so magical. Wow!ReplyCancel

  • Sharina - Seriously. These are fantastic. Please come and document my life forever.

    I’m in love with his owl cup.ReplyCancel

  • Taylor - so much WOW! I would love to learn from you! So inspiring!!! Thank youReplyCancel

  • Brian - Phil, these are so gosh darn good. The sun drenched vertical of her is the top of the tree.ReplyCancel

  • Tiarra Sorte - holy @$!#.. I seriously said bad words on several frames. Incredible, I mean. WOW!ReplyCancel

  • Vickie - so, so gorgeousReplyCancel

  • Laura Babb - Just beautiful. The connection between them and your camera is magical.ReplyCancel

  • My Day My Way - You really have captured the light and their love- Great pics!ReplyCancel

  • sui - i’ve fallen in love with these, especially the cuddling ones in the beginning. remind me to book you when/if i ever get engaged. ;) :) ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - i mean, holy god. these are amazing. so honest and sensual. i’ll be booking you for my (eventual) wedding and engagement!ReplyCancel

  • Max Lewe - What an amazing concept.. loving these images, youre an inspiration for me !ReplyCancel

  • Tonja Meyer - Real Love!ReplyCancel

  • Union Pine Wedding // Julie+Nate // Portland - […] Union Pine wedding was nothing short of magical. As you probably saw in their portland engagement session, they radiate with an intimate connection. A true honest love that comes through in every photo […]ReplyCancel

  • Madeleine - I really love this! Beautiful photos….ReplyCancel

  • Michael Jackson - Good heavens that’s insanely beautiful. That’s probably the best engagement shoot I’ve ever seen. Unreal.ReplyCancel

  • Joelle - these (and the story) are COMPLETELY magical. totally in awe…ReplyCancel



Welp wedding season is definitely in full effect and theres less and less free days on the calendar this summer. I don’t mean that in a negative way however. I’m insanely grateful for it. I remember how nervous I was packing up my life and moving to a state where I knew absolutely no one. But this city is a perfect fit. Somehow people managed to find me out here and connect and I’ve been able to seamlessly transition. I guess its because it just feels like home here. I’m so grateful for that.

Aside from weddings and engagements, I’ve been building another business with some amazingly talented individuals. I walked into a floral shop one day on a whim, fell in love with the store and connected with the owner Jill, asking if she was ever down to collaborate on a project, that’d be awesome. She got back to me mega quick and said had some ideas and also wanted to bring along her ultra talented friend Kate, who’s a stylist and jewelry designer here in Portland. 3 weeks later we threw together our first shoot. In a few weeks we’ll be launching our site. I’m pretty damn crazy excited about it. Our focus will be on fashion/editorial photography, styling, and story/concept creation. It’s fun to keep things fresh. It’s fun to have multiple outlets for your media, whether it be the amazing couples I document, or a look book for a rad new clothing shop, it’s incredibly fulfilling. So thankful for this city letting me come in from out of town and create. Below are a few teasers from our shoots thus far, and plenty more to come.


Stay tuned.