Friday, February 26, 2016

candace + mark | winter engagement session in old montreal

They don't have one of those "been together forever" kind of love stories, but their story does have that "we knew it was right from the very beginning" sort of quality. 

Meeting Candace and Mark for a wedding consult near the end of last year was such a delight. Finding out that the upcoming Christmas holiday would be their first one as a couple was inspiring to me. They were like puzzle pieces searching for that perfect click, finding in it each other and hanging on tight. They didn't need dozens of holidays to know that this was a match like no other. 

The wedding they're planning sounds like my absolute dream. I am so excited to share that with you later this year, but for now...enjoy my favourite photos from their Old Montreal engagement session. In my line of work I get to see a lot of happy couples. Candace and Mark are right at the top of that list.  

Mark: I'm so glad it "wasn't as bad as [you] thought it would be!" 
You're a gem and you killed it.

Candace: Thank you for being what we call in the biz, a "dream client." 
You already had the "Maid of Honour" training in your resume, and now you're a true Laura Kelly Bride. I am honestly so completely touched that you thought of me when it came time to plan your own wedding. I have never forgotten what a ray of sunshine you were at Danielle's wedding, and I am so grateful to have you as a client and friend. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

draw winners from ENGAGE!

I hope by now you've seen my recap of Engage Ottawa. If you haven't, let's get you caught up over here. Since the show, I've been keeping myself busy packing away my booth set up, emailing some beautiful brides about their plans for 2017, and dreaming of ways to make my next booth even lovelier. 

Now I get to do the fun part and announce TWO WINNERS for free engagement sessions! YAY! So without further delay, please scroll down past this beautiful table by The Design Co. and check out the names of two lucky brides-to-be!


Nicole Mraz
Anik Lamothe!

I can't wait to get together for your engagement sessions!! 

A huge thank you to everyone who took time to fill out a ballot. It means a lot! 
I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did <3

in the thick of it

Jillian came a little sooner than expected. We were delighted! But it was, in a sense, unplanned. Thank goodness Cooper was the best behaved 6 month old that ever existed, because baby number two was on the way and suddenly the phrase "two under two" was on my mind everyday.  

I started asking everyone I knew who had kids close together about their experience. What was it like? Did you lose your mind and find yourself without a shower for 4 days straight? Most of the women I asked said, "the first three years is a blur," or "get your sleep now!" Even, "HA! Two under two? You're not going to know what hit you."

But one comment stood out among the rest, in a good way. It came from the mother of one of my close friends; a woman who I totally want to be when I grow up. She said, 

"It will be busy, but one day you'll look back and realize that
 you were in the thick of it, even when you didn't know it."

It's been almost a year since those words first hit my heart. I've applied them to so many experiences from my life, and handed them out to others who might be needing them. 

I think everyone can relate to the feeling of looking back and realizing that what you were doing was hard, while recognizing that it didn't last forever.

I know now that I was in the thick of it when I agreed to do a Groupon within four months of starting my business. In the 6 hours that the Groupon ad was live, I sold 406 one-hour photo sessions. I remember so vividly the combination of laughing and crying I did that day... Laughing when I thought of the cheque that Groupon would be sending me, and how it allowed me to leave my day job. Crying when I read the comments from other photographers on a Facebook group that they didn't think I was a part of. Reading that my sale was "literally taking food out of [their] kids' mouths," and that I would surely "be flipping burgers in 6 months because I would make more money doing that than ever being a photographer..." 

I was in the thick of it. 

I thought the 386 sessions that were redeemed would last forever. I thought I would be shooting 21 shoots a week for the rest of time. That's how it felt at least... Little did I know I was accumulating about 5 years worth of experience that would propel me towards the price point and the success that I was dreaming of for my business. 

And when I have a particularly challenging morning with the babies (think "listening ears" for the older one and spit-up for the little one), it feels like we will be living in baby world forever. This is the thick of it...but it's also the time I will cherish the most when my babies grow up and start to live their own lives. Someday they won't want to sit on my lap and do puzzles or read books all afternoon. And I'll look back to this time and think, "that was hard." But really it was so, so good. 

Just like the days of shooting 21 sessions a week. All those days I hustled for my new business...they were so good! I was chasing after a dream and slowly but surely getting closer and closer to it with each shoot. 

I'm posting this today in case one of my readers needs a little reminder that this is the tough stuff. Maybe you're in the thick of it. Maybe you need to cut yourself a little slack or give yourself some appreciation. Maybe you need to share these words with someone who's going through a tough time. 

Either way, I hope those words find meaning in your heart, too.   

Monday, February 15, 2016

engage ottawa luxury wedding show recap

What an exciting weekend! Actually, I guess the excitement started back in November when Stacey from The Design Co. asked if I would be interested in having a booth at ENGAGE. I read that email on my way to a night out with some girlfriends and the evening took an immediate turn towards celebration. I couldn't believe it! I would get to showcase my work and meet some lovely brides-to-be in none other than the ballroom at The Chateau Laurier.

Wedding shows are definitely one of my favourite parts of the business. I feel like I could chat with brides all day about their ideas for venues, florals, bridesmaids dresses...and at some point we start talking about photography too. Let me walk you through the entire ENGAGE experience!

First, a look at my booth :)

My amazing booth assistant, Brittany. She knows my services inside and out and has the best rapport with brides. Can't imagine doing a show without her!

Shortly before showtime, this little box arrived on one of my tables. It was a gift from the girls at The Design Co., with a handwritten note, a bottle of bubbly, and a copy of the ENGAGE Lookbook. Details like that? That's what making a difference looks like.

Next, a tour of the beauty The Design Co. had in store for everyone.

The VIP brunch looked pretty tasty...

And the swag bags were out-of-control full. 

And lastly, a few favourite photos from the show itself. Florals everywhere you looked, sequinned table cloths, chandeliers and candle was a sight to see, my friends.

It was such a pleasure to be a vendor at ENGAGE. Surrounding myself with such talented people in a place more beautiful than I could have dreamed...I enjoyed every minute.