A lot of photographers don’t include engagement sessions in their wedding packages anymore. We do, and there are so many reasons why. When a couple books us to photograph their wedding day, we’re still strangers to them. The engagement session give us all a chance to get to know each other, and we get comfortable hanging out together. It’s also a great opportunity to create some creative images that might not be possible on the day of the wedding (like hitting a book shop). It also allows the couple to get any camera jitters out of the way before the wedding. All of this is necessary in our books, but I also have a purely selfish motive. I need this time to remember what our couples are like. We always meet with people before we book them, it’s so important that we make sure we all mesh and we’ll have fun on their wedding day. I’m going to confess something now. When we first started out, probably the first five years, I remembered EVERYONE. Their names, their families, their stories. I have a people memory. As we get busier in our business, and now that we have kids, my brain has had to shift. I have a mom brain now. It’s full of kid activities and schedules and all those worries moms carry in their minds. So I love to have these engagement sessions to really remember the couple. Once we photograph them, I remember. And then we have an engagement session filled with books, light & love, well you know I’m going to remember that!
Emilie and Andrew requested the book shop as one location for their photos. I adore when couples think of a setting, or a place, or an activity that resonates with them. It makes the photos more meaningful! It was also a great way to get some variety and stay warm for their winter engagement session.
Gareth and I had the rare opportunity to go to this session together. It’s not often childcare lines up for engagement sessions, so they did. Gareth photographed this whole session, I didn’t even have a camera with me. I think he gets overlooked quite often since I’m our voice through email and social media. But it was a really cool opportunity for me to watch him work, and stand back and assist him when he needed.
This whole session was a blast. We laughed so much, through trying to spray the bubbly, keeping warm, and my attempts at running around them with a sparkler! haha! Gareth tried to show me up at the end with his own sparkler run, but mine was the best. Their wedding day is going to be so amazing, I’m sure of it.
Emilie and Andrew, you two are wonderful! We really enjoyed hanging out with you, and we cannot wait for your wedding this year!
Shauna & Gareth xox
A beautiful baby boy named Caleb came to see us and he had the cutest chubby cheeks! This newborn session included cuddles and laughs and a very sleepy baby.
This family is absolutely wonderful. We had such an enjoyable morning hanging out with them, watching big sister cuddle Caleb. They brought a few props to the session to use, which we’re always happy to incorporate. They even left one of the props behind as a little gift for our elephant loving Callum, which was beyond sweet!
Thank you so much for coming to see us! Congratulations on becoming a family of four.
If you’re interested in booking a newborn session with us, we would love to work with you! We are now booking 2019 newborn dates
(Melissa found us through the wonderful Fit Your Life)
Last year I had an idea in the midst of my 365 day challenge (taking a photo every day for a year). I thought it would have been amazing to start and finish off the year with a portrait of Callum and Max. Something portrait style to see the details in their features, and to document how they change in the space of a year. So on January 1, 2018 I did a Hello 2018 White Session with my boys. I plan to bookend the year with another White Session to see how much they have grown in 2018.
The boys are at an age that portraits can be tricky. Neither of them last too long sitting in the studio. Callum looks all over the room but rarely at the camera. Max has the cheesiest “CHEEESE” smile which is so common in two year olds. But you know what – this is them. Right now. Callum is nearly five. He’s leaned out and sprouted into a tall, lanky little boy. Max has lost most of his baby chub and the baby in him seems to be all but gone.
They are still my babies, but they aren’t babies anymore. They are beautiful, intelligent, funny little boys.
These White Sessions continue to hold such a big place in my heart. We have been documenting the boys like this since the beginning, and seeing the progression as they grown is quite astounding.
These boys of mine just keep stealing my heart more and more every day.
The rolling Welsh hills, a deep verdant green, stretch on as far as the eye can see. Short, thick hedgerows checker the sides separating flocks of sheep. The saturated ground gives rise to thick mist that lingers until late morning. Finally the sun peeks from behind masses of clouds sparkling on the dew covered grass. There is a reason Wales is so vibrant a land. The rain falls thick and heavy throughout the year. When the sun does shine, no matter the temperature, people flock from their doorways to absorb its warmth.
After the crisp festive days of London, finding blue skies bursting overhead in Wales was splendid. We rejoiced that we had managed to avoid a bitter Canadian winter for such glorious December days.
My mum once again played chauffeur as we toured around Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. We marveled at the views from Castle walls, the deserted beaches and peaceful country lanes unsuspecting of the change that was about to come.
Overnight snow laden clouds rolled into the valleys. The green gave way to a carpet of white. With the knowledge that a warm wood fire awaited our return indoors, Shauna and I headed outside to make the most of the day. Without winter boots we borrowed wellies (rubber boots) to tramp down the driveway and out into the lanes. No matter where you live there is something magical about the first fresh snowfall. The clean crisp sound of snow crunching underfoot before it is sullied by cars or other people is irreplaceable. It was certainly, something to savour when so unexpected.
Next week, as the cold lingers we head off to Edinburgh for Christmas and Hogmanay (New Year) in Scotland.
Imagine a day in the last warm rays of sunshine that Autumn brings. It’s those rays of sunshine that remind us of the wonderful summer we’ve just experienced. Those rays of sunshine mix with the falling leaves and create the smell that is quintessential Autumn. This is the best way I can describe Amanda and Jordan’s Edmonton Autumn wedding. Warm sunshine on our faces while we photographed their First Look. The perfect smell of autumn while we were in the paths before their ceremony. It was such a beautiful day, and we were surrounded by a really amazing group of people. This is what I call a perfect wedding day.
We’ve known Amanda for a long time now. I want to say she was still a kid when her and her sisters hired us. We were just starting out, finding out footing, and they believed in us then. They believe in us now. Photographing this wedding was the last of the three sisters, and it was an absolute honour to photograph all three weddings.
The wedding day involved a First Look, which we’ll always suggest! A First Look gives couples a unique opportunity to see each other for the first time, just the two of them. Everyone can feel their emotions and it usually gives them more time together on their wedding day.
The ceremony was really emotional. It was tender and intimate and incredibly family oriented.
The whole day was wonderful. Amanda’s dress (the DRESS!), the decor in the reception, and their rockstar wedding party. It all added up to a stunning, fun day.
Thank you so, so much for having us there. We wish you both nothing but the absolute best.
In the beginning of the new year Shauna and I started a new project 52. For those that don’t know, this project consists of taking and picking a photo or photos once a week for a set theme. Week four is already hard on my heels. It’s generally a bad sign when it seems I am playing catch-up from the outset. In reality though, I am firmly in the game, trying to shoot on a regular basis capturing life around us. I have not posted much as yet because I am also making a concerted effort with screen time and being involved rather than taking pictures from the Sidelines.
Week one started with “In the Beginning”.
Having children makes you infinitely more conscious of the passing of time so it only seems right to start the year with looking to our boys. What they play with and how they play is a constant revolving door. With this in mind I thought to capture what their interest is at the years outset. Christmas of course has a massive effect on where their play begins because anything new has a certain novelty value. In our house the train set is once again the favourite thanks to two new motorised trains – Diesel and Salty.
Keep an eye out for Shauna’s pics for each category.
This is what is coming up in the next couple of weeks:
03. Close to your heart
Winter in Edmonton can get us down pretty easily, but this winter a lot of our clients are choosing to do photos in the snow. It’s the best way to embrace this beautiful but harsh season, and it really is spectacular. I met Katelynn and her family just before Christmas, and when Katelynn pulled out the red dress for her Edmonton maternity session, I knew we were going to make some magic. Red against the stark white of the snow is such a stunning combination!
Family photos come first in most maternity sessions, let’s start there! The girls were happy to play in the snow, and that made for a fun portion to the session! We had to be quick! No jackets in the winter look adorable, but it gets cold fast. Not to worry, I work quickly! If you’ve worked with us before, we know kids lose their attention span anyway, so we’re used to getting the kids finished as soon as we can.
The girls finished up, so we sent them with Grandma. It’s always a good idea to bring someone with you to help with the kids, and it’s a great reason to have some grandparent time.
The red dress. Katelynn pulled that one and she just radiated beauty. That dress is magic against the snow, and it’s so perfect for photos around Christmastime. The sun obviously agreed, as it flooded all around us just as we started shooting with the red dress.
What a stunning end to the session. Katelynn is barefoot in these photos, so we were quick! Katelynn, thank you for such a stunning session. You said you wanted to feel beautiful in these photos, and I truly hope you do, because girl you look amazing!
I can’t wait for your Fresh 48 session, and your newborn photos!
“We have been planning…and hoping…and dreaming for a long time now. And things have finally become 100% official.
On December 8, 2010, Gareth and I are setting out on a little adventure. We are going to be away from Canada for at least a year with many stops on the way. The first stop is the UK for Christmas with Gareth’s family. Our longest stay will be in New Zealand, for one year.
Yep, you heard me. We get to spend a year in the amazing, beautiful, irresistible Kiwi country. Just writing this is making me grin and sets my heart racing – we are SO excited!”
On 26 September 2010 Shauna used these words to announce to the world we were leaving. We had been married only a year. I’d had Canadian residency less than six months. We were about to head off on a new adventure.
By December the first leg of our travels was underway. We left Canada bound for Gatwick airport. The flight alone takes almost 9 hours. Add the seven hour jolt to the clocks and we were leaving the plane early in the morning UK time, still the middle of the night in Alberta. Tired, but keen we ventured forth to the train into central London where we would be meeting our dear friend Rob.
The train delivered us to Victoria station and a seething mass of people moving with purpose to their destinations. Bags gripped tightly we joined the throng heading for the tube. As much as I love the London underground system for seeing the city it can get tiresome very quickly under the strain of large backpacks. Rush hour is the worst of all. Shauna and I had set a precedent several years before that we both know exactly where we have to get off the train just in case we get split up. On this day, squeezing into train carriages tighter than cattle trucks it was particularly important. Needless to say after twenty minutes we were glad to be able to escape its confines.
Three Days in London
I vaguely remember the first time I visited London at Christmas. It was over thirty years ago. My mum and dad were taking my sister and I to see the Christmas lights followed by a pantomime at The London Palladium. The whole experience was unbelievably exciting. Returning to spend three days in London at Christmas with Shauna, who had never experienced it before, rekindled these old memories. My anticipation was brimming.
We had three days in London. Three days to fit in as much as possible before moving west to Wales. Thankfully this was not our first time in the capital, so many of the major landmarks had already been ticked off. This time was for Christmas markets on the South Bank under the watchful gaze of the London Eye. Jumping in front of Buckingham Palace and sipping delicious real ales in pubs down narrow lanes. Shauna tasted fresh mulled wine whilst we admired tasty treats in Covent Garden. I laid in a remarkably trafficless Westminster Bridge to take a picture of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. The National Gallery provided a welcome break to warm our hands whilst viewing the worlds great art. To top it all we enjoyed numerous London walks that kept our minds reeling with information and discoveries of hidden gems.
We walked for hours admiring the architecture, browsing shop windows and open air markets. There is something reassuring about being surrounded by so many landmarks that are instantly recognisable. To this day London remains my favourite city. There is a wealth of things to see and do for every age at every time of the year.
Come back next week for the next leg of our journey to West Wales where pristine beaches stretch on for miles.
Top London Tips
The underground, despite its flaws, is an amazing, simple system for getting around central London. Whenever we are there we use Oyster cards (pay as you go payment cards), so that we can hop on and hop off of buses and pass quickly through tube stations. Transport For London has lots of information to help with trip planning, as well as tube maps and fare rates. I would also now recommend the London Pass. It gives access to multiple sites at a discounted rate, as well as the hop on hop off bus. In some cases you can even skip the waiting queues of people.
Booking in advance is the best way to find the best deals. This is especially true of train travel away from London. Commuter times attract premium prices so flexibility is beneficial. Aside from taking the train coach services run nationwide, and again great deals starting at $3 can be found. On our last UK trip we rented a car straight from the airport. This is hugely beneficially for visiting out of the way places like Wales or Scotland.
Over the past year Shauna and I have worked hard at defining our style and approach to photography. We want our work to show the connection between the new and growing families we meet. This is something that we feel is very important. In particular with our newborn sessions we always include family photos in a setting that is comfortable for everyone. We know that with older siblings it can be a challenge to get the perfect family photo, but we truly understand how important it is. This in part is why we now offer an in home lifestyle newborn session.
Lets be honest, sometimes the idea of getting out of the house with your newborn and a toddler in tow is a daunting task. An in home lifestyle newborn session offers flexibility to take the guess work out of fitting in nap time. The hangry toddler can have a snack because they are right there in your kitchen. That’s not to say having older siblings is the only reason to have an in home lifestyle session; there is a difference in style between our studio and lifestyle work. We keep our studio warm (30 degrees), and control the light. We make the environment suit the baby. This is not always easily achieved in your home, so the style is a bit different to accommodate the different setting.
Having any kind of photo session in your home is a very special experience. The pictures we make are a reflection of your life because they are filled with everything you know and love. The intimate moments that take place in your home every day are important, and we want to capture them so that they will last a lifetime. We will always help you to look your best. We always aim to capture all of the tiny details that are so fleeting. I would also like to add that in coming to your home I will still bring blankets, hats and headbands. The period of time that babies are small is short. We are equipped with props to suit so that you don’t have to purchase things that will only last a week.
Earlier this year I photographed a beautiful in home newborn session in Edson. Laurie and Everett welcomed me into their home to photograph their growing, vibrant family. I couldn’t be happier that I made the drive to be part of one day of their amazing life.
For more information about our newborn and first year packages you can contact us here.
One year sessions are SO special. So, so special. Reaching your child’s first birthday should involved some high fiving between parents just to celebrate that YOU DID IT! All those sleepless nights, every decision, all the uncertainty and worry and anxiety. You got through and here you are! What an incredible milestone. Yes, it’s their birthday and it’s about them, but it’s a pretty huge celebration for mom and dad too. Most of our one year sessions have included food – we’ve done cake smashes and donut smashes, timbits and macraoons. They’ve all been so much fun! For Jacob’s first year session we decided to do something a little different. We decided to have Jacob create something they would have forever, so we got out the brushes and the canvas, and it was time to paint!
Jacob’s parents booked our First Year package, so we have had the pleasure of seeing these three a lot in the past year. Stephanie’s maternity session was just stunning (check it out here). Their newborn session was a big one for Gareth, as he tried out a new lighting technique that we now use on a regular basis in our newborn sessions (their newborn session is here). Jacob’s six month shoot was ALL about his big, beautiful eyes (check that one out here).
And now we’re here! They chose to add on family photos to this session, and I’m so happy they did! Our family photos in the studio have evolved into such comfortable, casual, natural photos that I love when parents add them on to a child’s session.
The paint worked out better than we could have planned. Jacob was inquisitive and and happy and he was focused! They’ll have it forever to remember his first birthday, and how cool is that!
It has been pretty incredible seeing Jacob grow this past year. Thank you so much you guys!