Thursday, March 15, 2018

wren | girl boss headshot session in ottawa

Something a little different on the blog today! I'd love for you to meet Wren, founder of The Hungry Hearts and boss lady consultant at Rodan + Fields. We virtually met when I was looking for my next batch of skin care, and were able to connect again when Wren found herself looking for some gorge and approachable headshots!

Whenever someone asks me if I do headshots, I try to make it immediately clear that I don't use light, backdrops, or own a studio. If you want that white background look, you gotta keep it moving friend. But if you want a headshot that looks like real life, with a little bit of personality and a touch of modernity -- I'm your girl. 

For Wren the biggest takeaways needed to be:

A killer headshot that she could use for R+F
Some social media stock photos that she could layer with text
And a cohesive collection of branding material 
(i.e. Facebook cover, Insta profile, etc.)

Take a peek into a few of my favourites from our recent session! 

I love this one because it's so perfectly Wren. Her true spirit right here :)

When it comes to shooting for social media, photos like this can prove so useful. Having something like this on your camera roll when it comes time to promote an event, a promotion, or reference your online presence -- it makes life so much easier. 

Not your typical headshot session for sure. These little pops of Wren's personality are what will make people connect with her business! We need to keep celebrating how different we all are, each with our own gifts to share. 

Since the day of this shoot it's been so great to see Wren working with her favourite photos! I love that her online presence is cohesive and filled with elements of her personality and spirit. From her R+F site:

To her Facebook cover:

And the awesome Insta content she's created:

The end! Hope you enjoyed this non-wedding-related post, and a peek into the other types of sessions that I work on! 

If you're in need of a new & relatable headshot, send me a note

I would love to work with you and help grow your online presence 
with a cohesive collection of photos that are ready to share.

Friday, March 2, 2018

tales from a cocktail party

The dialogue is quite often the same. 

What's new? 

Not too much! I'm heading off to a destination wedding in 
a few days / a week / next month! 

Oh wow, and they pay for your trip? 

Yes, of course! And a fee for my services as well.

Wow, that's awesome! 

It is. It really is awesome that a vacation spot in paradise could be my office for the week. And it's always my sincere pleasure to provide some insight into how destination photography packages are priced and organized. Especially since the truth is that destination weddings are often quite a bit more affordable than in-town weddings. While the photography cost might be a bit higher, it's usually in lieu of hefty food and beverage bills that are included with the trip.

(And as most of us who have planned a wedding will know, 
food and beverage accounts for the biggest chunk of your budget!) 

I find myself answering that question so often that it has become commonplace and rolls off my tongue without me even thinking about. But a few weeks ago, the dialogue was somehow different. At a lovely little cocktail party, with a glass of champagne in hand, I almost snapped. 

Instead of the conversation playing out as above, this particular woman, of a similar age and pleasant demeanour, said, "isn't it CRAZY the things people will spend thousands of dollars on for their weddings? Could you even imagine being so frivolous?!"

It stopped me dead in my tracks. 

That's my livelihood. That's the entire basis of my business. How could someone be so completely unaware of the words that came out of their mouth...

When I didn't answer right away, she filled the awkward silence with another insightful gem: "I mean, they could just use that money for their honeymoon!"

As a mother of two children under 4, I'm familiar with the feeling of not knowing where to even start with the explanation a foreign concept. But this was an intelligent, well-spoken, professional woman. How could I even begin to address the notion that the clients who procure my services were not frivolous, rich, luxury-obsessed snobs, and in fact they were kind and generous, down to earth people who make many other sacrifices to be able to invest in photography as part of their wedding day?

The truth was that her bewilderment into my entire business model caught me so off guard that I felt my blood start to boil. The way she questioned the mental state of someone who spent upwards of $6,000 on a destination wedding photographer was personally offensive to me, even though I knew that her bold claims were based on absolutely nothing at all. 

Her knowledge on the subject probably stems from the fact that they paid a mediocre photographer a mediocre amount of money and received mediocre photos from their wedding day. How should she know anything different?

I tried to detour away from this topic, but she immediately asked me what else I did during my Winters, since I wasn't shooting weddings. No problem! Another question I answer quite often: 

Oh, you know, with my Summers being so busy, the Winter is really the
 time I'm able to focus on the business side of things! 

I'm tying up loose ends from the previous season, meeting with and 
booking my clientele for 2019, and getting around to writing 
helpful blog content for my brides!

99 times out of a hundred, this answer suffices. People can appreciate that there's more to being a wedding photographer than attending weddings. Of course!

But this particular individual decided to ask me if I should be considering getting into studio family sessions and cake-smashes as a way to make money during my off-season. If I was seeing red before, then this was a deep shade of crimson. 

The sarcastic, Real Housewives loving, 28 year old inside of me wanted to ask her why she wasn't applying to work at Starbucks on the weekends to supplement her income as a lawyer. 

The truth is that this job that some people view as glamorous and frivolous is actually rooted in passion, heart, and a ton of hard work. The people who get that are the ones who I am lucky enough to work with. And the people who don't are the ones that I will not so quietly excuse myself from at a cocktail party. 

I no longer see red when I think of this conversation. 

Instead I'm choosing to make a choice not to judge others or run my mouth on subjects that I know nothing about. I'll be here under a beach umbrella, sipping on champagne and knowing the full story behind what it means to be so "frivolous."  

kitchen makeover!

One of my girlfriends warned me that when my health was finally restored after a really challenging Winter of continued tonsilitis, that I would feel an almost manic sense of purpose with energy to match. I pictured myself strutting out and about town for lunch dates and barre classes, but instead I went a different direction: a kitchen makeover.

Most of you will remember that we recently moved away from the white picket fence house of our dreams in Stittsville to pursue a life of quality over quantity in the Glebe. A smaller house for our family of four, a minimal commute for my hardworking husband, and a quaint lifestyle that includes walking to the grocery store and shopping local. 

My mission: to take our hundred-something year old Glebe home and shine it up a little bit, infusing elements from the beautiful house we left behind. And the biggest sore spot was the kitchen. Even though it was renovated fairly recently, it wasn't my taste and it actually made the middle of our house like a black hole of sunshine, sucking up all of the light and reflecting shades of orangey-brown. No thanks.

But only $150 later, after 6 days getting closely acquainted with my paintbrush and roller, the kitchen looks and feels like new:

No orange or brown in sight!!

I like to keep things pretty simple when I paint. For me that means no fancy supplies or expensive couture "whites," and I hardly wait the recommended time between coats.

We painted 4 test cabinets that are the same finish as the kitchen ones, but serve as storage until a bench in the front entrance. That's where I found the perfect recipe for this type of cupboard, which you can see below. Sanding, priming, painting, and clear-coating made these puppies look brand new. All in all, we were looking at approximately $150 in paint and supplies, plus 6 days of caffeinated effort.

I've been getting lots of questions about the backsplash ever since sharing this before & after on instagram. We slapped two coats of paint over the red mosaic tile on the night we got the keys, and haven't thought about it since. 

The paint was never meant to be permanent, but it would tide us over until we were able to paint the cabinets and get around to replacing the backsplash altogether. And now that's our next project!

Until then, I'll enjoy every morning spent getting coffee in this bright and beautiful space, knowing that every brushstroke was supremely worth it! I'll finish off this post with a few insights if you find yourself considering a major kitchen paint job like this one:

- When I say it took me 6 days, it's important to note that my husband helped me during 
both weekend days. If I were doing it entirely by myself, it would probably have taken 8 days.

- Having a large work area where you can set out and work on 6-8 cupboards at
a time made this go so smoothly. Our 24 cupboards we broken up into 4 groupings. 

- No one prepares you for how weird it is to see your kitchen with all the cupboard doors off... 
but it does inspire a full minimalism overhaul and re-organization -- added benefit!

- Even if the paint can says "apply a thin layer with a foam brush," sometimes the real answer 
is a thick layer with a synthetic brush. Trust your instincts. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

mary clare + rick | rideau canal engagement session

I first met Mary Clare on the set of a styled shoot wayyyy back in 2011! She was there to provide some really beautiful paper goods including an invitation suite, and we were able to connect just a few months after I had started my business. Since then so much has changed. I've been able to take photos for Mary Clare and her partner Rick, as well as their two lovely children, and she has watched my business grow and change each year :) 

Since day one, Mary Clare had always told me that when the time comes for them to plan a wedding, I'd be the first to know -- and she wasn't kidding! I am so excited for this sweet couple to make become officially husband and wife this Fall. I'll be there to capture it all. Until then, there are hot chocolates and beavertails and a darling Valentines Day engagement session on the Rideau Canal. Congratulations Mary Clare & Rick! 

See you in September! 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

krissy + shayne | dream wedding at riu palace cabo

Their chilly October engagement session was delightful, but I'd much rather be taking Krissy & Shayne's photos in 28 degree weather with the sun on our shoulders and cocktails in hand. Seriously some of my favourite wedding photos EVER appear in this latest blog post, and I'm so excited to finally be able to share them! 

Surrounded by so much love, after 12 years together, two of the kindest people on the planet exchanged vows in paradise and started the next chapter of their love story. It was my great honour to be there to witness it, and celebrate by their sides for the other 6 days of the trip. This is one I'll never ever forget! 

So with much anticipation, Krissy & Shayne's dream wedding in Cabo San Lucas -- enjoy!

On a typical wedding day I get to meet the ladies of the bridal party over a handful of hours together. Being a destination wedding, these girls became my dinner dates, disco dance partners, and poolside companions for a week straight. I adore each one <3

I can't even tell you enough good things about this girl. Krissy is honestly one of the sweetest people I've ever known. 

I wish everyone got a chance to reconnect with the people they went to high school with; the ones you didn't actually get to spend any real time with the first time around. After this incredible experience, I know she is a dear friend for life. 

The girls had silk robes and champagne, the guys had bathing suits and flip cup...

And approximately 5 minutes later, they were suited up and ready for the real events. Not actually, but compared to the ladies who hit the spa at 8am, it seemed like 5 minutes. 

An emotional first look for these two <3 When you wait 12 years to see your other half as a bride, it's bound to be good...!

After the first look, the three of us toured around the resort looking for every beautiful thing we could find. We didn't have to go very far.  

Okay hi. Is it our buddy Shayne or some fancy GQ model though? A photo like this is the reason why I would roll my eyes every time Shayne told me he wasn't photogenic. 

My absolute favourite right here:

Just a few minutes left until the ceremony would begin... I was having too much fun shooting this group and could have easily spent another half hour.

Looks like a pretty perfect day to become Mr. & Mrs. Curley... 

Officially official! This was such a happy moment!

Guests were sent up into the resort for cocktails while Krissy and Shayne made the most of the golden sun dipping behind the Cabo mountains. 

Aaaaaand this was the moment I died and went to heaven. 

When Krissy told me the reception would take place on the beach, I hardly pictured this elaborate setup under a canopy of palm trees and twinkling lights! 

Krissy & Shayne -- I am so grateful for the chance to follow you down to Cabo and check out your favourite place in the world! I can tell you that from here on out, your love will only get stronger now that you can call each other husband and wife. I loved meeting your crew of amazing people and getting to know you both better along the way! LET'S GO BACKKKK!


Hair: Kristie Pilon
Florals: Baja Flowers
Bride's Dress: Grace Loves Lace
Bridesmaids Dresses: With Love Bridal
Menswear: Moores
Invitations: Minted
Wedding Decor: Riu Palace
Photography: Laura Kelly Photography