"I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."


The title of this blog is from a quote by Michael Jordan. The longer version is "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." Currently we are in the "missing the game winning shot" part of this quote. 

A few months ago we received an email from Rangefinder that we were nominated for their Rangefinder top 30 Rising Stars. We were asked to submit 30 images that showcase who we are as photographers. Christa and I compiled images and then continued to review and edit and switch certain images out. This process was crazy. Trying to sum up who you are as photographers within 30 images is no easy task. However, we got to a point that we felt we were ready to hit the Submit button. We showed a few other photographers the collection and they gave their insight, but for the most part, we got great feedback and told the collection was strong and had a good chance of winning. 

We waited weeks for the results. Today was the day we would all be emailed and some of us photographers were messaging back and forth waiting for the results. I felt honored to be nominated but was ok with the idea of not winning, though it would be cool. 1:41 I hear the email alert and begin to read. My eyes were immediately drawn to the word unfortunately. That's never an easy word to read but I can honestly say it did not shake me up. I love what I do but it does not define me. Before we are wedding photographer's, Christa and I are sons and daughters of the Most High God, a husband and wife who love each other dearly with some arguing here and there, parents to baby Jonah who makes his appearance later this year, and lovers of our families, church and city. So though it would have been cool to win, we are ok with not winning as well. 

Rangefinder also offered for those who didn't win to meet with their chief editor and discuss the reason for their decisions and what could be done for next year. Though I am VERY thankful for them offering their time to do that, I truly can not see myself doing that. I look at our collection and it is filled with emotion and real moments and that is what we have built our brand on. I do not want to risk switching what we do for a chance to gain recognition or win a contest. Our brand has been successful and has impacted our couples because of what we do and I could never sway from that. We may never win a contest but as long as our couples continue to fall in love with their galleries, we consider that success. 

We are looking forward to see who did win top 30 and we want to encourage those who did not to keep their heads up. I know a few of you who got the same email as we did, but want you to know how incredible and inspiring your work is to us. Once again, thank you Rangefinder for this awesome opportunity. 

-Phil and Christa Porto

Here are our 30 images that we submitted. 


“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not fighting the old, but on building the new.”

The title of this blog is a quote that some say was spoken by Socrates and others say it wasn't. Honestly, I couldn't care less. Regardless of who actually said it, doesn't change the fact that it is spot on. Change is something so many people tend to try and avoid and I personally think change can be a really good thing and very healthy at times. The Portos brand is going through a lot of changes right now and, honestly, we are excited for it. With growth, change is inevitable. 

So, what exactly is changing? Well, this time last year The Portos consisted solely of Phil and Christa, the dynamic husband and wife duo. In the past year, our team has grown not only in number but in the caliber of work we have been able to put out. In this time of transition for the business, there has also been some change in the life of the dynamic duo. With the news that our personal family was growing, we put more of a focus on being an awesome agency of photographers and allowing Christa to take more of a behind-the-scenes approach to the business. 

All of those changes have led to positive results. Our team is stronger than ever and we have worked with some of the most amazing couples we could ever ask for. This past year, we also crossed paths with a videographer, Dan Farias, who had such potential and was just getting his feet wet in the wedding industry. We reached out to him and instantly felt the connection and brought him onto our team. It could not have been a better fit. Our styles and approach to capturing real moments fit like ice cream and sprinkles (yeah, I am a fat boy at heart).  However, as Dan continued to shoot alongside us and continued to grow in his craft, we decided to make another change in the Portos Brand. 

John C. Maxwell said, “Good leadership isn’t about advancing yourself. It’s about advancing your team.” In order to advance our team and advance Dan's career, we will no longer be offering video services or having Dan shooting under The Portos brand as a subcontractor, but rather, he will continue to build his own brand, All In White Films. We are still offering Wedding Photo and Video Packages but we have formed a partnership with All In White. This benefits our couples because they still get a team that works fluidly together and have similar styles, but you will now have videographer who solely focuses on the art form of videography.

John C. Maxwell also said "Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others". We are empowering someone who we really believe in. Any good leader is also able to admit when the student has surpassed the teacher and Dan has done exactly that. His work is incredible and his passion for what he does is unmatched. 

The hiring process will still be exactly the same. Can you hire the Portos for photography and someone other than Dan for videography? Of course. However, we highly recommend hiring the photo and video package in order to get a team that works seamlessly together. 

Here is a video trailer showing how talented he truly is. 

Brett and Michelle | Fort Lauderdale Gatsby Wedding

Sometimes wedding planning can be so much fun and some times it can get very stressful. For instance, when you have your perfect backyard "Gatsby Style" wedding planned in Tampa and then have to scrap your plans and start all over and move the event to Ft. Lauderdale, that can be stressful. Michelle and Brett took the situation by the horns and turned it into their dream wedding. 

We hoped on a flight to South Florida and we were so stoked on how the day turned out. The weather was beautiful, moments such as when Michelle's father signed to her his reaction to seeing her for the first time, Michelle's mom signing to dad the words of the Father and Daughter Dance, Brett's father's band tearing up the stage, their friends and family burning up the dance floor, and just the love between Michelle and Brett made this a wedding day for the books. 

Fuji?! Really?


Christa and I have been Canon shooters for a long time. It was a beautiful relationship. When Fuji Released the X-T1, the look and size of the camera really intrigued us, so we placed an order on B&H immediately. Upon receiving it, we enjoyed it; however, it did not have the speed or focus we really were looking for, so we returned it and continued our relationship with Canon. Though people were jumping ship from Canon to Nikon by the hundreds, we stayed faithful. I, Phil, had numerous conversations with other photographers about the Portos being "Team Canon" forever. Though we had switched to Sony for video, we did not see ourselves ever leaving Canon for photography. 

Then, Fuji announced the X-T2. After reading about the improvements of the speed and focus points, our faithful Canon hearts were struck with curiosity. I remember thinking, "If this camera is everything I loved about the X-T1, but is suitable for weddings, we may have to consider switching." We rented the camera as soon as Fuji released it and, instantly, we were sold. There have always been conversations in Facebook groups and photographer message boards about how Fuji cameras are not suited for professional wedding photographers. Let me be clear in saying this, that could not be further from the truth. After shooting with the camera at one wedding and playing around with the RAW files, Christa and I, along with some of our close friends in the industry, were all ready to say goodbye to our long relationship with Canon. We wanted to be wise, though, and make the decision that was best for our business, so we also rented Sony A7II and Zeiss and G-Master lenses to compare with our Fuji experience. All it took was one wedding to make us see that Fuji had, indeed, stollen our hearts. 

So what about Fuji pushed us over the edge?

1. Size and Weight: We shoot a lot of weddings and we travel quite a bit and carrying around Canons cameras and lenses was really starting to take a toll on our bodies. Even with the amazing Hold Fast Money Maker, it was still a lot to carry around. 6-10 hour wedding days carrying around all our Canon gear was not easy. I, Phil, also have had some issues with my legs that we still do not know what the cause is, and the weight of our previous gear wasn't helping. With Fuji we get quality gear without our bodies having to suffer. We want to be around for a while and we want to protect our bodies in the process. 

2. Usability: The Fuji X-T2 is so user friendly and we truly enjoy the experience. Within a few hours of playing with the camera, we were ready to tackle the next wedding. I, Christa, tend not to like to play the guessing game when it comes to settings. I've been told for a long time now that I should be able to master any lighting situation and be able to change my settings on a dime without looking. If you can do that, I truly applaud you. I, on the other hand, tend to second guess most decisions that I make. So, flipping settings in a high-stakes situation that catches you off-guard tended to be a high-stress experience for me. It usually turned out ok, but who wants that anxiety? With Fuji, I can see what I'm doing in real time, which not only puts me at ease, but has made getting comfortable with the Fuji settings like second-nature. And I, Phil, am short so I love that swivel screen. 

3. Product: We have loved the quality of images we have been able to produce thus far with the X-T2. The tones are rich and the glass is amazing. The 56 1.2 is eye candy!

4. Customer service: Due to my previous years working with Apple, a company whose credo was all about Enriching Lives, customer service means a lot to me. A bad experience with customer service can make me leave a company quickly. I can not say anything bad about our experiences with Canon. They were always good to us and ,if you are a Canon user, you should truly enlist in their CPS program. That being said, for us to switch, we would need to find a company whose customer service was equally on par. Our experience in communication with the Fuji team during the two weeks we rented the camera was amazing. They were quick to respond and always willing to accommodate. That made us feel comfortable and confident in taking the leap to switch.

5. Go against the grain: The Portos, our Heights Wedding Collective team member Ernie Lemon, and our good friends the Hons have always enjoyed coloring outside the lines. When people say something can't be done, we enjoy the challenge. When naysayers say the Fuji X Series isn't suitable for professional wedding photographers, we want our work to prove those statements wrong. 

We know that no camera system is perfect, but we are looking forward to our journey with Fuji!




Alex and Michelle's NJ Wedding

The Portos are always intentional about the couples and weddings we photograph each year. We want to make sure that this never becomes about monetary gain, but a true connection with the bride and groom. When we met with Alex and Michelle, that connection was instant and we were counting down the days until we could capture their wedding. 

The wedding day was everything we had hoped it would be. Two awesome people truly in love and ready to celebrate with their closest friends and family. We normally suggest an un-plugged ceremony (phones, cameras, and tablets shut off) so that no moments are missed. One thing you will notice, though, is we took several pictures of an iPad in the front row. Michelle has always been close to her grandmother, but her grandmother was sick and could not attend the wedding. Luckily, the iPad and Facetime allowed Grandma to be front row next to grandpa, watching the whole ceremony! 

From the laughs during prep, the excitement of the first look, the signing of the Ketubah, the traditional elements of the ceremony, and the big party - this wedding was one for the books.