Wednesday, April 19, 2017

barbara + patrick | in-home maternity session

The couples from any given year meld together in my mind as a sort of "wedding photography yearbook." I can picture the 2014 brides as if they were a graduating class, all lined up with their stunning bouquets and happy smiles. 

It's now 2017 and I've shot my THIRD maternity session for a 2014 bride. They were married in the same year, and they're adding their first little bubba all within a few months of each other. My heart basically explodes with the news of every pregnancy announcement, can't you tell?

Today, I'm sharing a few photos from Barbara & Patrick's cozy in-home maternity session. It seems like just yesterday we were meeting up at the beach for their engagement photos, or driving to Montreal for their wedding. And when it comes to in-home sessions, there's no place I'd rather be than their super modern, freshly renovated home in Quebec: 

We kicked off our Tuesday morning session with a pot of decaf espresso, using some crazy tin contraption that Patrick pulled out of the cupboard. I won't lie, I kinda didn't believe this thing would actually make coffee...but it did!

Barbara's tiny bump is so cool and suits her so well! She will be an AMAZING mama. 

(I know this because she's one of the best dog moms I know...)

The magic tin machine makes coffee!

We don't yet know if this little peanut is a boy or a girl -- I am dying to find out! 

So soon we'll be adding a little baby and re-taking this picture!

No joke, I took the picture on the right just to be able to show husband this insane mantle -- I need it in my life.

Upstairs in the nursery, the light poured in through the windows and filled the entire room with happiness. That little baby is going to love it here <3

Time to talk about that half-canoe? Obsessed! It's from Indigo, friends. That's right, I asked. 

Baby started kicking right when this photo was taken, which made for the biggest, realest smile. It's the perfect place to end this post. 

Congratulations, Barb & Pat! I am so honoured to be 
your family photographer and it was been a delight to celebrate 
alongside -- love you guys!  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

6 colour palettes to create the perfect outfit for engagement photos

I picture most of my brides have a bed full of clothes and a racing heartbeat the night before their engagement photos. We have nothing to wear! Why is it the night before?! She said no black, right? Or did she say definitely wear black...?

The panic doesn't inspire a very relaxing experience on the day of the session, so I created the FAQ guide as a way to answer the question: what should we wear for our engagement photos?

I boiled it down to DOs and DON'Ts, which I'll outline again here:

Wear clothes you like and feel good in.
Wear clothes with pockets (it really helps when it comes to posing!)
Include one pattern (but stick to a max of 2 bright colours)
Accessorize (this is a big one! A simple necklace, modern watch, and a cute pair of shoes goes a long way)

Wear solid black (unless you're blonde and everything else is super light)
Wear the same colour shirt as your man
Wear an overwhelming logo or have text on any of your clothing

But I also thought it might be helpful to provide a few examples of wardrobe colour palettes that have worked beautifully in the past. My brides have AMAZING style I am indebted to their skills! 

Let's kick it off with the light and cool wardrobe, which looks especially stunning in a neutral, bright background like this one: 

Sarah & Ben's engagement session will be a forever favourite. This is a perfect example of mixing lights and darks, incorporating a modern pattern, including pockets, and sticking to a max of 2 bright colours. 

When I think of coastal and trendy engagement attire, I think of Katrina's bicycle dress from Anthropologie. I spy a modern print, a pocket, some stylish shoes, and a couple accessories. Once we start to break it down it's actually a pretty simple recipe!

This is one of my favourite engagement colour palettes, maybe because it reminds me of every single room of my house... The mix of browns, beiges, creams, and whites, plus the gold detail on the shoes -- perfection. This neutral and summery wardrobe looks great when photographed by the water, in a park, or with neutral buildings in the market.

This next palette makes me want to get a pumpkin spice latte, curl up with a good book, and light the "flannel" scented candle. Amanda and Ron kept it fresh and crisp by pairing a floral pattern with some autumn darks. Because they both have red hair, they were smart to stick to just one brighter colour.   

Michelle and Andy's bright and punchy wardrobe is an example of how a black shirt can work as long as everything else is super light. The white boat, the sunshine on the harbour -- it all works to keep their engagement session looking fresh and bright. 

Dressing for comfort is another big factor when it comes to choosing the perfect outfit, but I don't mean comfort in the "sweatpants and slippers" way. Instead, I mean dressing in clothes that don't need a lot of fussing. If you're constantly pulling down your shirt or can barely walk in your shoes, something might need to be adjusted. 

I mentioned in PART ONE of this engagement series that a hair and makeup trial is the perfect way to give you a boost of confidence and ensure you really LOVE your photos. 

Feeling your best means your real personality is free to shine through, and when it comes to style, there's nothing better than true happiness.

Monday, April 17, 2017

choosing a season and location for your engagement session

Last week I started a series of posts about preparing for your engagement session! The first part was about WHY we should be taking engagement photos in the first place, specifically how they help to prepare for the wedding day. Next up: Tips for choosing a season and a location for your shoot!  


I'll often be asked WHEN in the planning process should the engagement photos take place. Should it be relatively soon after the proposal? Or closer to the wedding date? Some people think if they're having a Summer wedding, they should do Fall/Winter photos for some variety. Truth is, there's no right answer. 

I do, however, think there should be at least 5 months between the engagement session and the wedding day if possible, just to ensure you have some time to use your photos in any way you choose.

I think the best place to start is with choosing your season. If you're not a Winter person, then Winter is out. And trust me, you know if you're a Winter person because you make -25 degree days look as cozy as this:

Spring is lovely, but sometimes the grass doesn't turn green as quickly as we'd like. And if you're the type to stress about the grass not being green, you can skip Spring and head straight for Summer. 

Summer engagements are probably my favourite since they feature a lengthy sunset and a 7:00pm start time. If you're the type to worry about your hair on a super humid day, Summer might not be for you.

As for Fall, it's the busiest time of year in my business. Comfy sweaters, to-go coffee cups, and heck -- you can probably get a Christmas card photo out of it! My advice for Fall sessions: the leaves change MUCH later than you think! For true Fall colours, you're looking at anywhere between October 12-25. It's a short window so book those spots quick, girl. 

I have favourite engagement sessions from every single season, on cloudy days and on sunny ones, indoors and outdoors. It's all about finding the perfect fit for you as a couple, and of course finding the best light. 


When I think of getting my own photos taken, I start with picturing how that photo would be used in my life. If they're photos for the walls then I know I'm working with a somewhat neutral palette, with an emphasis on whites, blues, and greys because that's what would compliment my interiors. I might not choose a late October shoot in a field of orange trees if I plan on framing a photo for my all-white living room. 

If you plan on using an engagement photo for a save the date, make sure the colours, the location, the wardrobe, and the season are well suited for your invitations.


The perfect location for an engagement session is one where you'd actually venture to on a Sunday afternoon stroll. It's a place where you've shared a kiss or two, and a place that makes you feel at home just being there. 

Don't worry too much about choosing somewhere "scenic," because I can work magic in a parking garage or any plain old park. It's about light, and that's something we can't plan.

The best thing I can do to help you choose a location is to send you on a quest through the blog, searching for a previous engagement session that inspires you. You'll find wintery engagement sessions in the woods where the bride-to-be is in a long black gown and holding a bouquet. You'll see others on the beach at sunset, or in the park with Suzy Q donuts. Something will speak to you, either because it looks like what you might find yourself wearing, or it'll remind you of a place that means something to you.   


All of these tips are well and good, but you might still be looking for some extra hints for finding an amazing location for your engagement session. Well, friend, here you go: a few of my favourite locations from the last year or two...

Any apple orchard is a win in my book, but when it features cute little wooden baskets, I'm extra sold. 

Michelle & Andy's sailboat engagement is one of my favourites ever, which is why it's still featured on the home page of my website. The colours from the harbour...I mean. 

Maybe this Starbucks engagement session in Westboro will be speaking to you:

Or maybe you have a connection with the love locks by Ottawa U

Or something by Dow's Lake! An oldie but a goodie. Please note the dreamy sunset colours in the water, and how their clothes are so effortlessly matching. Or how there are tiny little bicycles on her dress. These are the things that turn a nice shoot into a dream.  

And speaking of wardrobe, that's coming up soon as the next part in the engagement series! A full breakdown of what to wear, what NOT to wear, and what you should bring with you. 

Oh, and if you missed first part of the series, check it out here