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Aisle Style bio picture

About our blog

People say to me all the time: “You're so lucky. You get to go to weddings all the time." They're right. We are lucky. We get to be among people having a great time, looking and feeling their best and participating in what is often the most important day in someone's life.

Here’s the other thing we are lucky to see: the terrific style and creativity that our clients bring to their celebrations. If there is one thing we’ve learned while photographing weddings, it is that a wedding doesn’t have to be expensive to be lovely. We dedicate our blog to sharing the terrific ideas that we’ve seen before and will see this coming season, with a focus on ideas that are simple, elegant and stylish.

All these images are the work of us or our associate photographers from events we've photographed. So, we say "thank you" to our clients who have shared their warmth and happiness with us. 

About John & Theresa Valls

Because we love to travel, we photographed our first wedding together in exchange for two plane tickets to Europe. That was our original plan: we'd photograph a wedding or two, basically just enough to underwrite our love of italian food eaten in Italy. What we hadn't counted on, however, was how much we would grow to love everything about shooting and working together.

John's wedding photography is influenced by his advertising work with agencies, companies and magazines he shoots for. Avoiding an overly-produced style for his photos, John's images reflect his light touch as well as his ability to capture what is descriptive, yet beautiful.

My background in design management helps us create wedding albums that are both contemporary and timeless. I'm an avid believer in the strength of a killer edit, so I work with our clients to compile a photo selection that will meaningful and satisfying 25 years in the future. 


we’re moving today!

endvallspostThe imaginary moving van is packed, the imaginary neighbors are standing outside to wave goodbye. Today we metaphorically drive off to our new home at Altura Studio. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been cross posting so that most of our new thoughts show up in both places. But as of today, we’re unpacking into our imaginary new home and all our future posts can be found at Altura Studio’s “Aisle Style”.

If you are a current or past client, our past blog entries will stay up for about a year. However, try the new site. You may discover that your wedding and links are posted both places. No matter where you find it–everything is just the same, just a little better. And if you have any trouble finding what you’re looking for, drop me a line and I’ll help you straightaway.

And if you’re a new visitor to our site, thanks for stopping by. See our latest ideas and inspiration for planning your Northwest wedding at our blog–Aisle Style.

updated: Connie and Stewart, Silcox Hut on Mt hood


“Baby, it’s cold outside” would be a good theme song for Stewart and Connie’s cozy wedding at Silcox Hut, perched high on the flank of Mt. Hood.  However, icy gusts were no match for warm hearts and warm wishes at this wonderfully simple wedding celebration. We appreciated that Connie and Stewart were game to be outside for pics–it was sooooo cold. Connie was  adorable in her white fur shrug, and Stewart accessorized with the smile of a happy, happy man.

About 30 friends and family gathered by the big fire in the hut to celebrate with this sweet couple as they tied the knot, and then after, toasted the newlyweds to the music of 3 leg torso. After cocktails, the entire party rode down the hill in the giant snow-cats for more celebrating over dinner in the Raven’s Nest at Timberline Lodge.

Congratulations Connie and Stewart. We are so glad you found us all the way from New York. Here’s a selection of our favorite pics set to music. Update December 8, 2009: here is a link to Connie and Stewart’s wedding gallery.

Update: Emily and Nick, October 24th, 2009

websneak-peekThere are a few things in life that are perfectly classic: satin pumps, a black sheath, candlelight, pearls. Lovely Emily’s October 24 wedding to the ultra-handsome Nick would fit securely in this category. Before the wedding, Emily and Nick met up briefly in the park, where the fates had unrolled a perfect canopy of fall leaves, and then after, the couple joined up with their wedding party in the park blocks. And from there? The quintessential ballroom celebration: touching vows, happy smiles, gorgeous flowers, sexy lighting and the most romantic first dance I’ve seen in a long time.

Here’s a slideshow of our favorite photos from the day.

UPDATE November 24, 2009. Here’s the link to all Emily and Nick’s wedding photos.

Updated: Holly + Joel, Timberline Lodge, October 17, 2009

sneekpeakTimberline is a wonderfully cozy spot for a late autumn wedding on Mount Hood. On Saturday, October 17, we photographed Holly and Joel’s sweet wedding in the Raven’s Nest. It was a pleasure to meet their friends and family, most of who traveled long distances to join the celebrations. Family on both sides participated: Holly’s adorable little nephew served as ringbearer, while Joel’s father stood up as best man. And Holly’s father sang a beautiful song as part of their ceremony. All around it was a cozy, festive celebration.

You can see our favorite images from Holly and Joel’s wedding here. UPDATE: here is a link to all of Joel and Holly’s wedding photos.  Thanks to you and your families for having us along on your special day.

a break for a chuckle….


We haven’t posted much lately because we’ve been crazy busy putting the finishing touches on our updated website, portfolio and blog. While running through some bio images, I came across this silly photo of John and it made me laugh out loud. I thought it was a perfect antidote to the studio stress I’ve been feeling the last few weeks. Enjoy it now, since John will likely make me take it down once he sees it here.

planning the work, working the plan….Valls Photographic is becoming Altura Studio

altura_adFor about a year, we’ve been planning on evolving our name from “Valls Photographic” to “Altura Studio”.  Our busy studio does two kinds of work; we shoot weddings, but we also photograph editorial assignments for magazines and ad agencies. It’s been a little confusing, for example, when the photo editor of Food & Wine accidentally runs into our wedding site. Or, say, when a bride is looking for our wedding work, but instead finds John’s commercial portfolio.

Our solution to the whole thing is to separate our work, by giving our wedding studio a whole new name and look. And this is your first preview of our new logo, which shows up in the 2010 Bravo! Wedding guide. Over the next four weeks, I’m working like crazy on updating our brochure, website and portfolios.

The official launch is scheduled for November 19th, when we will be celebrating with a kickoff party at the studio. If you would like to receive an invitation, please drop me a line. I would love to hear from any readers what you think of the new name.

Stay tuned for a full scale rollout of our new name and new look in the coming few weeks.

update: Robin + Jason, September 26 at Garden Vineyards

sneak 2

Robin and Jason planned the most lovely autumn wedding at Garden Vineyards. Together they orchestrated every last detail–and it certainly showed. The beautiful colors they chose for their clothing, flowers and decor were a luscious complement to the rich hues that nature provided. I heard that Jason was inspired by a James Bond movie still when selecting the style for his suit. And Robin’s gown had beautiful, intricate beadwork on the back, so she was equally lovely both coming and going.

What struck me most about this wedding was how helpful and attentive Jason’s groomsmen were. As a team, they were johnny-on-the-spot with a tissue, an arm, a greeting or a cool drink of water. He’s lucky to have such warm and funny guy friends. Robin is part of a dragon boat rowing team: on the high points of the evening was when the couple were announced into the party and entered under an arch provided by her teammates boat paddles.

Congratulations Robin and Jason. Thank you having us along to your sweet and spectacular day. Here’s a little slideshow of our favorites.

UPDATE, October 18, 2009. Here’s a link to Robin and Jason’s yummy wedding gallery.

A very interesting article by our colleague, Fritz Leidtke

A fellow wedding photographer and colleague, Fritz Leidtke, wrote this terrific article for WPPIonline (that stands for Wedding & Portrait Photographers Intl.). In the article he writes about the kinds of demands placed on wedding photographers. It’s an interesting read for anyone who is interviewing potential photographers–and also a good reminder of why chemistry is such an important thing to factor in when choosing someone to document your big day.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

That’s when it dawned on me: A wedding photographer has to be everything. Today’s top-notch wedding photographer has to be well versed in almost every aspect of photography. As portrait artists and fashion photographers, we must be able to capture elegantly posed images, and yet make them seem fresh and vibrant. Whether working in the studio with lighting gear, or on location with natural and artificial light, we have to create a pleasing and well-lit scene. We have to think on our feet, find appropriate locations, and help our subjects feel comfortable, relaxed and beautiful. And then we have to be a Richard Avedon, producing magazine cover-ready images.

We also have to be photojournalists. While beautiful portraits are expected, I find it’s the little details of the day–the stolen glances, the giggling girls, the outrageous dancers–that really make my customers smile or cry. We have to capture these moments in every imaginable type of light, indoors and out, in cavernous cathedrals and dark dance halls, in bright sunlight and glaring snow. We have to be Henri Cartier-Bresson, capturing several hundred decisive moments in the space of eight hours. All I can say is: Thank God for digital.

Many other types of photographic disciplines also come into play. Wedding photographers must be able to compose grand scenic, landscape and architectural shots, capturing the beauty of the venue. We have to arrange still lifes and products–even macro shots–of details such as cakes, flowers, rings, tattoos and decorations. If we shoot destination weddings, we have to be experienced with travel, and travel-related photography. And, of course, we’re all paparazzi.

A professional wedding photographer must also be a people person, a real Dale Carnegie, able to make friends and influence people. We have to be enjoyable to be around, because we’re at the wedding all day long. We have to smile, make people feel comfortable, coordinate well with other vendors and occasionally bring ease or laughter to a tense situation. By the end of the day, we have to be everybody’s friend, or, at the very least, not their enemy.

And a bit more:

And, in the end, after every wedding is over and the gear is put away, we have to be able to pull together a cohesive photo essay, well edited and color corrected, and beautifully laid out in a lovely book, magazine or DVD. (Which means we must also be editors, producers, graphic designers and filmmakers.)

If you would like to read the entire piece, go here: The Mutifarious Talents of the Modern Wedding Photographer, by Fritz Leidtke.

updated: janna + daniel at timberline lodge, september 19th, 2009

sneak-peekJanna and Daniel’s wedding was definitely the most fun we’ve ever had shooting at Timberline. We laughed and smiled all day long with this very sweet couple.  There are so many reasons why this was such a great day. To begin with, everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) was warm, sweet and kind. From the completely gorgeous Janna, to kind-hearted Daniel, the lovely sister, every single wedding attendant, two sets of caring family and scads of friends–every single person we encountered was radiating affection and love for the couple.

Next, Janna and Daniel are two really terrific people. They love each other like crazy and are not afraid to show it. During the ceremony, the vows they had written to one another nearly made me cry. And I heard during the toasts that Daniel, at one time, had shipped Janna a box of autumn leaves so that she would feel less homesick for Oregon’s fall. You can tell from the way that Janna looks at Daniel that she’s found just the right man.

And selfishly, we appreciated that Janna and Daniel were totally game to make some amazing photos with us. The weather was crazy: rainy, sunny, windy, cold. When the sun peeked out they were willing to let us take them outside and drag them through the puddles.  Worth every splash, I’d say. Janna’s wide smile and Daniel’s warm demeanor made them a joy to photograph. The image above in the lower left corner is now our favorite photo of the year. Thanks Daniel and Janna! We were so happy to be with you on your wonderful wedding day.

Here’s a little slideshow of our favorite photos.

Update October 9: Here’s the link to Daniel and Janna’s wedding gallery.

This week’s entry at

valls_mpp_928We are proud members of, which is an informal group of Portland wedding photographers. Together, we encourage and support each other and one of the ways we do this is our collective blog. Each week, the 20 members post their favorite image. It’s a terrific way for us to share our work–and also help Portland area brides find their perfect photographer match.

My entry today was my favorite photo from Saturday’s wedding at Garden Vineyards. We haven’t even made a dent in the editing yet, but this image popped up right away as a stand out.

If you’re interested in MyPortlandPhotographer, check it out.