Pretty portrait: Lavender Valley

I am so excited to be posting about this location; ever since I heard about the Lavender festival two months ago, I have been waiting forever patiently for the Lavender to bloom. The cold spring altered the bloom schedule of the lavender and although you can still see some nice color, a week or so later and we would’ve seen the rest of the fields blanketed in a vibrant purple (similar to the first photo here). When you are there in person and walk in-between the fragrant aisles of purple, you feel as though you are transported into another time and place.

Once we had the perfect location, we asked two of our favorite subjects to model for us, Katie and Lilly. It was the perfect recipe for a fun summery outdoor session! =)

If you are ever in the Portland, OR area during summer time… you must take a scenic detour east along the Columbia River gorge to visit this hidden gem of a place: Lavender Valley, Hood River, Oregon. Not only will you get a chance to meet the hospitable owners of this quaint establishment, you’ll be able to cut your own bouquet of lavender to take home with you!

Did I mention the backdrop to the farm is also the snow-capped mountain range of Mt. Hood? It was truly an enchanting sight to see.

I love the natural pattern the lavender bushes create here.



We took out a lacy curtain for a little fun with the wind.

Katie sitting pretty in between the aisles. You can see how well maintained the farm is from this frame.


One of my favorite shots of Lilly, she looks quite lovely!

The owner of the farm was very kind and accommodating…he even let us use this lavender bouquet for a few shots. =)

BTS info:

All photos were taken under natural light using both our D700 (with the 50mm f/1.4G and 85mm f/1.4D lens) and D90 (with the 35mm f/2.0D) DSLRs.

It was a partly cloudy day with the sun shining through the clouds off and on. It really keeps you on your toes to get the proper exposure, especially with your subjects in white (you must not let the white overexpose and blow out). With a landscape that has a bright background, Aperture priority mode will get messy really fast… so you will want to use Manual mode. What’s the best way to double check for proper exposure? Well, under bright daylight it’s near impossible to rely on the preview image of your LCD screen to check for proper exposure. Instead of the preview image, the tip is to check the histogram. What’s the histogram? It is the screen that looks like a jagged white mountain. For your particular image, it shows the full range of levels of shadows (left side) to highlights (right side). There should be a way to turn on your histogram display for the preview image (check your user manual). When viewing your histogram, make sure it does NOT clip off too much to the right side. If it is clipping, that means you are losing a lot of detail in your highlights (white areas… the dress). This is another good reason to shoot in RAW mode, it will give you more wiggle room to recover some of your blown highlights later on.

Special Thanks:

Location: Lavender Valley, Hood River, Oregon
Thanks for being so generous and accommodating in letting us photograph around your farm. Yours is truly a gem in the valley. We hope to visit during full bloom next time.

Make-up artist: Maimee Her
Maimee is gorgeous herself so I am not surprised she is in the business of making others look just as beautiful! We requested a soft natural look for the girls and we were very happy with the results.

Models: Lilly and Katie
Nobody got stung by bees, yay!! Thanks again for enduring us and each other for the shoot! =p

  • Mor Yang said:

    OMG!! I love love the lavender field. Awesome photos as always BTW! Gotta come to the West coast one of these day. (:

  • Lori said:

    Love how natural and fun this shoot is. And geez, can I get one of those lavender fields in my backyard?!

  • bao bai said:

    Love, love, love! Reminds me of Chinese drama I have called lavender.:)

  • Wendy said:

    What a beautiful place to take pictures! I love it. Especially the upclose on of the girls with the lacy curtain around them. Absolutely and truly inspiring. LOL - I always joke with my boyfriend about how the pictures you both take makes me want to get all dolled up and go to a remote area and snap away. *sigh* One day soon. =)

    Perhaps it's time to call up my dear friend who resides in Portland and visit to check out that place.

  • Milly said:

    lovely photos! I really love the location! You both always have the best, nice location!!! :)

  • Susan Lee said:

    Kay I totally love lavender location. I need to visit OR soon during the SUMMER. Totally love it this SPOT.
    This is something where I would build a cabin right in the middle of the field.
    The gals are so cute, in their white dress. FUN FUN FUN

  • Mai Lee said:

    Wow, what a beautiful lavender farm!! I will defintely keep it in mind if I ever drop by in Oregon :)

  • Julie said:

    I swear, the background on my BF's computer has got to be this same lilac place. Gorgeous.

  • cynthia said:

    sucha beautiful shoot! this really reminds me of france.....how i miss it! can't wait to go back and take a gazillion of pictures when i go!