2018 Oregon Wedding Showcase

The 2018 Oregon Wedding Showcase is happening next weekend at the Lane Events Center in Eugene, Oregon (i.e., the Lane County Fairgrounds). This is the place to find wedding photographers, wedding dresses, wedding DJs, wedding venues, wedding caterers and all other things wedding related. Don’t miss it!



When Instagram became a thing, I noticed a lot of photos were being altered so they looked washed out and yellowy; most had an Instagram filter applied and they all looked kinda fake (to me). Now that the novelty has worn off, and folks are posting more realistic looking images, I thought it was time for me to join. Here’s a screen shot of my latest posts. Check it out!



Wedding Invitations

If you’re looking for wedding invitations, look no further than Basic Invite! They’ve just endorsed me and I was very pleased with the page they created for me:




Shallow Depth of Field

I’ve just returned from a wedding interview and the bride-to-be asked me a question about one of the images she saw in my slideshow (see below). She asked how I was able to create such a blurry background, yet have the subjects in clear focus. I explained the difference between f-stops, as well as focal distance, and she was very interested; so much so that I thought I’d post the photo here and give some lens data. When photographers talk about a fast lens they are referring to its minimum f-stop (aperture); how wide open the lens will go. The term fast simply means it’s easier to shoot at a faster shutter speed with an f2.8 lens than it is with an f4 lens. The wider a lens opens, the more light gets in, which means a faster shutter speed is necessary to properly expose the image. For example, say an image shot at f4 needs a shutter speed of 1/125th-of-a-second for proper exposure. That same image could be shot at 1/250th-of-a-second if an f2.8 lens was used. Not only does this make it easier to capture sharper images while hand-holding a camera, the f2.8 lens will have a softer bokeh (ie, blurry background) than an f4 lens. This is where depth of field comes in. Depth of field is simply referring to how much of the image is in focus, based on linear distance from lens to subject. A shallow depth of field (ie, f2.8) will only contain a small area in focus while an image shot at f16, for example, would pretty much render everything in sharp focus, provided the subjects were standing completely still. However, if I were to have shot the image below at f16, the bride and groom would not have looked so sharp, since everything behind them would have been in focus as well. Additionally, at f16, I would’ve had to have used a very slow shutter speed (1/30th-of-a-second, for example), and the entire image would have suffered from motion blur.

I used a Canon 70-200mm f2.8, Image Stabilized lens on my Canon 5D MarkIII for this shot, and I was zoomed all the way in to 200mm. Image stabilization helps reduce motion blur when hand-holding a camera. I’ve already explained how shooting at f2.8 creates a blurry background and a nice bokeh. Using a telephoto lens compresses the foreground and background, further enhancing the bokeh when the lens is zoomed to its maximum distance. By compression, I mean optical compression, not digital compression; it’s the effect of the glass itself that creates the compression, not a digital algorithm (which a lot of point-and-shoot digital cameras use, making enlargements look very fuzzy). For this image, which was taken in Flowery Branch, Georgia, I had the couple stand on a bluff overlooking the lake behind them. I stood about 30 feet away and zoomed in so they almost filled the frame. The woods and lake in the background are over 100 yards away from the couple but they look closer, thanks to the compression-effect of the telephoto lens. Shooting at an f2.8 aperture meant I only had a small area that would be in focus, but the telephoto compression actually gave me a bit more leeway. If I’d used my 16-35mm lens for this image, shooting at f2.8 would have been a disaster: I would’ve had to have stood within a few feet of the couple, and only a part of their faces would be in focus since I wouldn’t have the benefit of compression.

So that’s Depth of Field 101, with a bit of telephoto compression thrown in 🙂

Eugene wedding photographer

To flash or not to flash

I use some form of flash in nearly all my images, as I’ve stated elsewhere in this blog. However, there are times when flash is unnecessary, as was the case with this first image below. When I saw the light shining through the trees, directly onto that swing, I knew I had to get the bride and groom over there ASAP. I already had my camera set for the ambient light so it was simply a matter of finding the right composition and focal length. I was using the new version of the Canon 24-70mm lens, and it performed very well. So that’s the first shot below. The second image was made after the sun had just set; you can still see the orange glow on the horizon. Exposing for that light meant the bride and groom would have been silhouettes if I hadn’t added my own light. I had the wedding coordinator hold one of my external speedlights and point it through a white translucent umbrella, about two feet away from the couple. In the first image, no amount of flash could have improved the shot; in the second image, flash was key.

Eugene wedding photographer; Matt Emrich Photo

Eugene wedding photographer, Matt Emrich Photo

Eugene wedding photographer

Eugene wedding photographer, Matt Emrich Photo


Kaley and Derek braved this past Saturday’s rain showers and I’m glad they did. This shot was taken just before the ceremony, right after the First Look.

Eugene wedding photographers

mattemrichphoto.com, Eugene Wedding Photographer, Portland wedding photographer, engagement photos, Portland engagement photographer, Eugene engagement photographer, weddings, photography, photos, outdoor weddings, wedding cakes

Entering the Ceremony

Finding a good vantage point from which to photograph both the bride and the groom as they enter the ceremony site (if it’s not in a church), can be a challenge. At this wedding there was a hill just above the seating area that afforded me a view of both angles. The groom and his groomsmen all entered first, then the bride and her bridesmaids. I always love this moment, the one just before the couple sees each other.

Bend wedding photographer

Bend wedding photographer

A Portland wedding

Almost half the weddings I shoot take place in the Portland area. This also includes the vineyards of McMinnville and Newberg, as well as points further east such as Hood River and Bridal Veil Lakes. The image shown here, however, is of a traditional church wedding in the city itself. I like the idea of people blowing soap bubbles as the newlyweds exit the church; the bubbles are much more photogenic than grains of rice. I also like the expressions on the couples’ faces, especially the bride’s; you can tell they’re very excited and happy to be married!

Matt Emrich Photo


A Tree of Their Own

Whenever I shoot a wedding, I’m always looking for places that will make great images. When I saw this willow tree, with its large canopy of overhanging branches, I knew what I wanted to do. The entire wedding party is in the frame, but only the bride and groom are the subjects of the photo. I wanted to demonstrate the intimacy of marriage: your friends are still close, but it’s just the two of you who are in focus.

Eugene Wedding Photographer

Planning your wedding?

I’m starting to get inquiries for 2015 weddings and thought I’d put up a few links to some helpful sites. If you haven’t heard of Etsy, it’s a great place to shop for everything wedding related (or to simply get really cool ideas). The same goes for Pinterest. I have a few Pinterest pages; one for wedding photography and one for wedding cakes. 2015 is just around the corner so it’s never too early! This image is from a wedding I shot at Silvan Ridge, in Lane County’s wine country along Territorial Highway.

Silvan Ridge wedding, Matt Emrich Photo

Silvan Ridge wedding by Matt Emrich Photo