engagement party

It was finally time to celebrate the year of Christina and Mike’s wedding. Since we’ve still got many months to go before the big day, we decided to have a little engagement soiree at a local Vancouver restaurant.

So last Friday night, the couple met up with their amazing group of friends to just enjoy a night together in honor of their upcoming wedding. I couldn’t help but snap a few fun photos of C+M laughing with their friends over a glass of wine and great food at The Oakwood. If you are looking for a fun date-night or a restaurant to host a party, The Oakwood was awesome. Super easy to deal with, the best burgers and poutine and great service!

And could these two be any cuter? Look at Mikey checkin’ out his bride-to-be.

Oh, John… always the laugh of the party!

vegas + wppi

This morning I wanted to take a few hours to go through Vegas. Try to write out what happened in Vegas. I know, I know, ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.’
But this time, there will be some secrets I will keep just for little ol’ me, and there are some things that I want to shout out to everyone about how amazing this experience was.
For those that don’t know, I went to WPPI, which is a conference for wedding and portrait photographers. It is insane. Something like 15,000 photographers attended, and we had the opportunity to listen to some of the greatest photographers from around the world.
My photography-crush was there, and I had the chance to listen to her speak, and it was so great. Because I watch her blog, I know a lot about her business and the way she approaches her work and her life, but to listen to her was pretty incredible.
A couple highlights from J* was the fact that she started off her talk with a seriously cool DJ. He had the place pumpin’!
She encouraged all of us to continue to push and continue to change our businesses (for the better), and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
One of my favourite lines from the day was when she was talking about how her work was starting to creep into her personal life/time, “I was making out with my computer at midnight. This was totally jacked up!”. She had great insight into  how to propel your business forward without sacrificing what is truly important in life. She’s so great!

This is Jasmine Star doin' her 'thang' on stage. On the right is one of the many photo shoots going on throughout the massively epic tradeshow.

Another great speaker I saw was the super cool, uber-swag, Jerry Ghionis. An Australian wedding photographer who started out his presentation (at 8AM in the morning) with nightclub music and models walking around showing off a fab new light! It was pretty cool…
He was the ‘lighting guy’. Talked about taking places without a lot of ‘charisma’ and turning them into looking like a million dollar hotel. I am reading what you are writing, Jerry. Yes please!
One of my fave Jerry quotes was this, “How many weddings are fairy tales? If it’s not, make it one.” Our job as photographers is to capture wedding days the way you always dreamed it would be. That is our job, so no matter what, we need to work to make that happen no matter the circumstance. Every time.

The fab Jerry Ghionis

Next was Becker. Yup. One name. Like Cher. Well, not really. His full name is Christopher Becker, but he’s so cool, people just call him Becker.
I liked Becker a lot. He was super funny and was easy to listen to, but what I liked about Becker was his push to always better yourself. One of my favorite lines from Becker was (excuse my potty language), “Know your sh*t, and then learn some new sh*t.”
To the point, and so true. Our photography world is ever-changing, and we need to stay up on what is happening and continue to learn and grow! Plus he gave mad-props to one of my favorite photography-peeps, Gary Fong, for being one of the first to start the crazy change we are seeing today. And if you know Gary, you know he is still working to continue the change and bring new ideas to this industry.
I also saw Jose Villa, who’s work alone inspires me to continue to mould and shape my photography style (even though he hates the word ‘style’, so maybe I should say…. ‘niche’ ‘brand’ ‘?’). If you haven’t seen his images, GO NOW! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
And of course there is the ever-cute Zach and Jody. These two had some awesome tips on the business side of things that I have already started to put into place into my own business. So, so great. Love these guys.
There was SO MUCH MORE that I could write a zillion blog posts about, but I won’t do that to you (or to me). But know that this has changed my business (for the better) and I cannot wait to continue implementing all I have taken away from WPPI in the Okanagan!

A pic of me walkin' the Vegas beat, trying to bronze up as much of my white Canadian skin as possible!



a paperclip exposé: bachelorette jillian

I’m not a celebrity photographer, I’m a wedding photographer, silly! But somehow, someone got my number, and this someone called me up to see if I had time to get a photo of Jillian Harris (‘the bachelorette’ from ABC’s The Bachelorette) and her fridge.

Come again? A photo of Jillian and her fridge? The celeb lifestyle magazine, VIVA, contacted me needing a quick photo of Jillian and her fridge and of course I said, YES!

It was for a healthy-eating story, so once I heard the details, it made sense and sounded cute! I rounded up an assistant for the shoot (aka. my cute little brother), to help with lights and reflectors, but also to be my wing-man just in case I froze in front of this famous person! I’d never met anyone famous! What would she be like? Is she lovely? Or is she only nice on tv, but maybe totally scary in real life.

I’m not sure if you recall, but last week, I admitted my shameless addiction to the Bachelor, and Jillian’s season was no different. I remember watching her go through her c-c-crazy journey full of hunky boys with lots of kisses and helicopter rides. So when she opened the door, I could tell from her smile that she was just as lovely in real life as she was on tv! Down to earth, super sweet,  and even prettier in person!

With such a specific request from the magazine, we quickly went to work setting up Jillian’s kitchen/fridge for the shoot. Being a wedding photographer, this was a bit out of the ordinary for me, but it was a lot of fun, and at the end I wanted to steal a few final images of Jillian in her amazing living room.

If you don’t know, Jillian is an Interior Designer by trade, and has been on shows like Extreme Home Makeover and Canada’s Handyman Challenge. So her place was to die for. Accents of teal, lots of white and bright colors. Wood, vintage-style side tables and so much more eye candy that I could even take in! I wish I could’ve spent more time photographing the details, because her place was absolutely inspiring!

Thank you Jillian for inviting us into your home! You are truly beautiful inside and out, and it was just a pleasure to meet you.

Wow. Bombshell, seriously. So gorg….And I couldn’t not post one of our ‘fridge’ pics! You can check out the printed version in the current issue of VIVA!

its arrived!

My very own sample album has arrived. The box was put into my little hands yesterday, and I couldn’t wait to get home to tear open the tape, unwrap the plastic cover, and soak it in. As a opened the box, I could see the pink corners through the wrap, and my heart skipped a beat. Yes, I ordered hot pink. Of course! I also ordered a color ring, so for those that don’t want a hot pink wedding album, you can choose whatever color suits you!

With no further ado, here are a few pics of our new fabulous sample album!

The album was created by KISS, and comes with this super cute protective bag to keep it safe.
Seriously love the bag!Ooooh, la, la

gambling + love

“Marriage is life’s greatest gamble. Are you ready to make take that bet, Ben?” – Courtney’s dad

This was a quote from last night’s previews for the Bachelor. Ok, yes. I admit it. I watch the Bachelor in all its horrors. And I love it. But last night when I heard that little quote from one of the fathers about marriage, both Ry and I looked at each other, and were like, seriously?
I know life can feel like a gamble sometimes. We make choices in life, and we really never know what we’re going to get.
But I think there are two different types of choices we make. Some are gambles. For example, the last bag of chips I bought for a camp-out was a flavour I had never tried! But it sounded soooo good, so I had to try it! And to my dismay, it was awful! It tasted like bbq gone bad with a side of old crusty mayo. Yes, that gross. I wish I could tell you the name, but I seem to have blocked the memory from my mind.

But then there are ‘decisions’. Things that you feel confident in. You know what you are choosing and why. And this is the category I feel great marriages fit into.
When Ryan asked me to marry him, I knew how I felt, and I knew how he felt. He was the love of my life, and I knew I did not want to live another day without him being a part of it. And in the deepest part of my heart, I knew he felt the same. So we married, and I will never feel like that decision was a risky one.
Yes, we do not know what life will bring us. Some people have to go through some extremely difficult situations with their families, and I only hope and pray that whatever comes our way, we can come out on the other side. But these ‘things’…. these ‘situations’ would happen whether I was doing them beside the love of my life or not. People get cancer. People lose their jobs. We lose money, we earn money. We buy homes. We make all sorts of choices that don’t always go our way, and sometimes they do.
But when it comes to love. When it comes to the person I want to raise a family with. When it comes to matters of my heart, that choice to say YES when he asked me to marry him, was because I KNEW he was the one. Not because I was ‘hoping’ he was a good flavour.

Ryan is my big bag of sour cream and onion chips. Rippled or plain. Love it every time! No gamble there!

Happy Valentine’s Day to my husband, Ryan. You make me so very happy.

inspiration board

It’s been a while since I posted about my board. So, here it is! And lately it’s been all about the men. And of course a few amazing women inspirations… but I’ve been really drawn towards great images of men! How to photograph a groom who looks confident, strong and sexy. It’s not rocket-science, but it is a skill! These are some images I’ve snagged from magazines that got my photographic eye excited! Check it.

Here it is. Simple + sexy.Love the image on the right with such a strong connection between the man and the women, and they don’t even need to look right at each other. Amazing.Love this honest and natural image of a beautiful moment.And I came across this image and loved the confidence from these women. Beautiful, different and strong. Love.

And lastly, here are a few final ‘man inspirations’ from the online GQ magazine that I came across. I love the arms in all these images. Comfortable and strong.

gann, rob + mary

They said their vows, they shared a kiss, and their close friends and family joined them as they became husband and wife. After many years of building a life together, Gann and Rob have now shared one of life’s most special moments. Vowing to each other that this life they have created, they will spend it hand in hand until the end. Their beautiful daughter, Mary, was there to share in this day, and her smile (and wink!) says it all. Congratulations, G+R, and I hope you enjoy this little sneak peek of your photos.

A simple and beautiful bouquet by Heart to Heart Flowers and Gifts.

love month giveaway

I am so excited to announce our very first blog giveaway! We felt that since it is the beginning of february, what better time to give a little love out to our blog readers!

If you saw the blog yesterday, we featured our first ‘paperclip exposé’ with oranj dance and fitness owner, Sheila Chutskoff as our girl.

And today, we are lucky enough to be giving away a killer 20 punch card for any classes at oranj! This is valued at $250, but the value is totally in how amazing this is for your body and soul! Whether you wanna take ‘Big Can of Whoopass’ Bootcamp, ‘Candlelight Pilates and Yoga Fusion’, ‘Psycho Cycle’ Spin Class, Zumba, Hip Hop, and SO much more! It is here.

Tell your Kelowna friends, tell your Kelowna family! All you have to do is join us on Facebook! And you can earn up to 5 entries just by facebooking and tweeting us! Check out the instructions below. Contest ends February 7th, and the winner will be drawn randomly on Wednesday, February 8th!
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a paperclip exposé

cue: November, 2005
The door opens, and welcoming me into the half-constructed building was this gorgeous brunette with free flowing hair, the brightest, most striped Lulu pants I had ever seen and comfy cozy Ugg boots. I was in pointed-toe pumps, dress pants, hair in a nice up-do, and all of a sudden extremely nervous that I wore the wrong outfit. I was applying to Lululemon, and I was wishing upon wish I could go home and change into my groove pants.

This was my first encounter with Sheila Chutskoff, the current owner of oranj Dance and Fitness Studio in Kelowna, BC.
She was my store manager many moons ago when I worked at the fabulous Lululemon Athletica. I knew right away that Sheila was someone very unique. She was young, extremely motivated, super energetic and an incredible leader. She challenged us to grow and shape our dreams into reality, and because of the culture that surrounded the store, we became a little family, and we all inspired each other to chase our dreams.

Today, Sheila is celebrating her fourth anniversary of oranj, and she still amazes me with her drive and her spirit.
One of the things that blows me away with Sheila, is her timeline. I’m not sure how she managed to fit all of this in, but since graduating highschool, Sheila has earned a business degree from Royal Roads University, she worked her way through Lulu to be the woman to open and manage the Kelowna Lululemon, earned her yoga instructional status, and now has owned her own fitness studio for four years. Oranj is doing so well that it is exploding at the seams! She has filled the studio rooms with incredible instructors of all genres, created a wicked smoothy bar and such great energy between her clients and her staff. Oh, did I mention she is still in her twenty’s?
And I can’t forget to mention that between all of this, she still manages to fit in some serious travel time. Wow. Double, triple wow.

If you have not checked out Oranj, GO! If you need motivation for anything, GO! Take a yoga class, take a spin class! Grab a smoothy, sit and chat to Sheila and her amazing staff while checking out the cute products that line the shelves.
And now Sheila is beginning to share her wealth of knowledge by offering coaching sessions on goals and business! You can check out her YouTube channel HERE. She is an inspiration, and I am so thankful to have met her and had some of her energy rub off on me!

Here are a few photos of this beauty.

Here are a few details of her fab studio! The studio is located downtown at 529 Lawrence Avenue.And I couldn’t leave without capturing her puppy, Thelma, who is obviously a huge part of the Oranj family!


ps. each month I will be featuring someone amazing and inspirational within the Okanagan/Vancouver area. If you know of someone who you think would be incredible to read about, let me know! Send me a message to janelle@paperclipcollective.com