Portland Photographer // The Gemmers // A Northwest Portrait Session

Portland Photographer

This was more than just a portrait session to me. And don’t get me wrong, with every couple I photograph, it becomes very personal. I always strive to become close to my subjects and develop a relationship, that way our session transcendes that “photo session” feeling and turns more into a couple of friends hanging out. One of which, has a camera. It becomes very real and honest. I crave it. When I met the Gemmers for the first time, I felt like I was reunited with best friends I hadn’t seen in 28 years. Their infectious charm just has a way to warm up your spirit and make you smile. They’re already married but were looking to have some portraits done, especially to celebrate the fact that they’re bringing a new human into the world soon. Congrats you two! I don’t know if it’s Adams burly beard or the fact that they had a hand stitched wood hoop themed from the movie “UP” but they totally remind me of the couple from the movie. I thought I’d see a glass jar of savings that said “Paradise Falls” on it.


So we started in their house, to capture their home life. Shot a few frames of them in the room where their child will be in a matter of months. Then we set out on our adventure and headed to the gorge. It started pouring rain but we didn’t care. We just put up the back hatch to their volvo and let the sound of the rain set the mood. After a little adventuring we drove to the summit of the gorge where I had them read letters to each other explaining what it meant to them to be heading on this new journey with the other. I loved catching this on camera. It’s a wonderful moment to document, this time right before their first child is born and have them explain that to each other, it was beautiful. I didn’t listen to what they wrote each other but judging from the photos, I think it’s pretty clear. I love these two humans, a friendship from an old life that has been rekindled. Adam+Heather my friends….

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

in home portland portraits 01
in home portland portraits 02
standing in the soon to be nursery
loading up the volvo
driving to the columbia gorge
portland portrait sitting in the back of their volvo
portland portrait photographer columbia gorge
portland photographer documents couple in their volvo
portland photographer documents couple at the gorge
portland photographer documents couple inside their volvo
Phil Chester Photography 01
Phil Chester Photography 02
Tattooed Couple standing by their volvo
rad car stickers
keep portland weird bumper sticker on volvo
a couples hiking boots on the columbia gorge
phillip chester photography
rad couple overlooks the summit of the columbia gorge
portland photographer photographs couple at gorge summit
portland photographer photographs laughing couple at the gorge

  • Daniel - Beautiful as always, my friend.ReplyCancel

  • Anni - Beautiful work. Makes me long for a return trip to Portland.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - wow, really gorgeous. Love this.

  • Lisa Lupo - Phil, you completely nailed it! I can seriously feel how sweet this couple is. The song made it even more perfect <3ReplyCancel

  • stephanie - So good. And her ink is killer.ReplyCancel

  • Igor Demba - Right in the core.ReplyCancel

  • Heidi - Well I just love these. <3ReplyCancel

  • Luke Hayden - Love it man.ReplyCancel

  • Sara - Love love love these! The scenery makes me pine for Oregon :)ReplyCancel

  • Tuomas Mikkonen - Great set! Love those Volvo shots, hahaa!ReplyCancel

  • Kaisa - Awesome. Just awesome!ReplyCancel

  • dorothy - so quality.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - Nailed it Phil… So so so lovely.ReplyCancel

  • Briana Morrison - What a beautiful session. I love that they chose to do couple’s portraits before expanding their family. These photographs are beautiful, I can really see their personalities shine through. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Jade Sheldon - Oh my goodness. I can see why you connected to them! They seem like an amazing couple full of charm. Super huge congratulations to them on becoming parents! Ah! So exciting.

    Can’t wait for you to photograph me and my fellow someday… :)ReplyCancel

  • Emily - Great post! I love how you document people in cars. It’s all great, I just always notice that about your work. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - HOLY. SHIT. This entire set fills every corner of my heart and warms my heart. Phil, I want to tell stories like you sir.ReplyCancel

  • carly - Staaaaaahhhhhhppp… For real. You made the right decision moving to Portland. It suits you and you suit it, friend.ReplyCancel

  • The Gemmers - oh, phil. gosh…how can adam and i even *try* to put into words what it meant for us to have you capture this day. we were pretty bruised and untrusting after some unhappy circumstances, but we felt an instant old & dear friendship with you also when we first met! it was from that moment that you became a friend! we felt like you really knew us…like to the core! and, gosh. it’s an absolute honor. the photographs seriously brought me to tears. the night we looked at them…and now on the blog. especially to my favorite song! {smile} perhaps it’s the pregnancy hormones, but i am just so overcome with emotion at how lovely these photographs are. thank you from the very soul of us!! we look forward to a long & lovely friendship with you! and..thank you to all of the lovely people that made such kind comments!! {{hugs}}ReplyCancel

  • Maggie - My favs: green shoes, and the two in the back of the car shot from inside the car. Love your photos.ReplyCancel

  • Tomaž - Beautiful set! Adam and Heather seem like two wonderful people, bonded deeply. Congrats to them for soon welcoming another member to the family!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Oh my! You did an incredible job of capturing the spirits of my dearest friends. It has been awhile since I’ve seen them in person as I live on the East coast and they on the West, but these pictures made me feel close to them again! They are so stunning and perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen Stachniak - Oh my word. This collection is utterly amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Jessie - Phil, these are absolutely outstanding. I’m speechless.ReplyCancel

  • Maryanne Gobble - I love all these portraits so much I can hardly stand it. Someday I will move back to Oregon… These have such a great sense of place and culture.ReplyCancel

  • Siegrid - I am so very happy I stumbled upon your site! This shoot moved me to tears. It’s that beautiful. I can’t get over it. The mood, the frames, the emotions… bloody well done! And the pair of them and their story – just beyond lovely xxx S. from Austria.ReplyCancel

  • Kate - I don’t know you, and I don’t know these couples…yet I sit here at my desk with tears in my eyes. This is perfection, the photos, the music, all of it.

    Can you please tell me what the music is on this page? I adore it.ReplyCancel

  • The Gemmers - Hi Kate…
    You’re so sweet! The song Phil attached to this post is my favorite song. It’s by a Scandinavian sister-duo that will blow your mind! They’re called “First Aid Kit”, and this song is a remake the song Emmylou! {smile} Enjoy! They will surely become your new music obsession!ReplyCancel

  • Kate - Oooh thanks so much for the reply! I just purchased the song and will listen to it endlessly! Such a sweet, sweet sentiment, which is why it was so perfect for your shoot. Best of luck with your new babe.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Marie - Really awesome photos! They’re perfect couple and their house looks amazing :)ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *