Amanda + joel Engaged

They met while working at a restaurant once upon a time. They were friends. Thought each other were pretty cool, but for now… that was it. Just friends.

It wasn’t till a couple years later when they ran into each other again, where something seemed a little… different. So, they hung out. Maybe a date? Sure! That date quickly turned into something more. Something definitely ‘different’. Something special.

I have to admit, I have an inside scoop on this amazing couple, with this being my little brother! Which means I even remember the first time Joel brought Amanda home to meet our crazy family. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we loved her right from the start.

Amanda is this incredible woman. Not only is she a sweet soul, she is hilarious, she’s passionate and did I mention a true beauty. I was very excited for Joel right from that first day, because what I could see, seemed like a perfect fit for him.

She immediately became a part of our family, and I have considered her my ‘sister’ for a long time now. I am excited that it will finally be official, with her and Joel having just got engaged in Paris. Of all the places… Paris.

As it happened, my entire family were all on European vacations this past month because of a wedding we were all going to (which you’ll hear about next week!), but it meant that I was in Paris at the same time as these two. So of course we stole an hour to do a few photos while walking near the Eiffel Tower!

Joel, you are my little brother who I think the world of. I know you have always looked out for me, you have been someone I know I can always turn to. You have been a rock within our family, and I know you are going to be that for Amanda as well. You are both incredible and both deserve the world when it comes to love, and I believe you’ve found just that. Congratulations on making that love a bit more ‘official’ half-way across the world, and I can’t wait to see where it takes you next.

xo

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Sara + Blair Engaged

It never hurts to warm up with a little bit of fabulous vino before heading into your engagement session, especially a ‘winter’ engagement session! Keeps the cockles of the heart (and toes) just a little bit warmer!

It was such a treat to meet Sara + Blair at Perseus Winery for their photo shoot. We started off within the warm walls of the winery and enjoyed one more glass of Pinto Gris.  Eventually we bundled up and headed into the beauty of the Okanagan. Even in winter, I have so much love for this valley. The stunning surroundings that we call home always takes my breath away.

As we walked along the clay cliffs of Penticton, S+B were amazing!  There is no hiding their comfort with each other. You could see they relied on each other within the moments to keep it real. Keep it honest. Keep it fun! There was a lot of laughter. There were beautiful, quiet moments that fluttered my heart. Made for a perfect session as we prepare for the big day!

Thank you two for entrusting me to be your photographer! I will be so excited and honoured to see you on wedding day. xo

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We’re Engaged

Let’s start the conversation about one of my favorite parts of the whole wedding process.

The Engagement Session.

This is often the first time I will meet up with my clients, or possibly the second, if we had the opportunity to meet for coffee during the initial process. But either way, I am always so excited for this day.

They are a bit nervous. A bit unsure what to expect. Definitely excited. And they look amazing!

The beauty I find in this session, is the opportunity for me to capture images that depict the couple in a more natural, every-day environment. On a wedding day, they are dressed to the nines in an outfit that they will never wear again (at least this is true for the bride). They are distracted (in a very good way) being surrounded by everyone they love and care about. They are hosting the biggest party they’ll most likely ever host. AND they are marrying the love of their life. Definitely distracted.

Hence why I love the intimacy of the engagement session. They are wearing clothes that more represent their true personality. They get to choose a location that they love and feel comfortable in.

And most importantly, all they have to focus on is each other. Holding hands. Snuggling while looking out over somewhere beautiful. Being quiet in the moment. Being goofy in the moment. Simply being the moment.

A lot of brides will scour Pinterest for inspiration, which I totally support, as I am a sucker for Pinterest myself! And when a bride shows me images of a couple having these super gorgeous, organic, romantic, passionate moments, I first, get very excited, because I too, love love love those moments. I always follow up that excitement by saying, “you can have those kinds of photos too, you just need to allow yourselves to BE organic, romantic and passionate throughout the shoot.”

And that is the truth. I have a lot of little tricks up my sleeve for directions and encouragement for everyone that I work with, but it’s when a couple starts to just be themselves and relax into the moment, that’s when beauty really shines through.

 

Outfit selection is a fun, but potentially stressful part of the preparation. Some of my basic suggestions to couples are:

  1. Choose outfits that compliment each other, but don’t necessarily ‘match’.
  2. Try to avoid large logos or words, as these can be really distracting. If you are unsure, trying to stick to more classic, simple colors is best.
  3. Black on black on black is usually not a good idea (unless you were, for example, pulling out a tuxedo and that unbelievably sexy little black dress. In that case, rules are always meant to be broken!)
  4. Try to think of all the little details. This is a perfect time to get your makeup and hair done beautifully. Have fun with your accessories, and even make sure to touch up your manicure! I love to photograph the details (especially that beautiful new engagement ring).
  5. Be mindful of the environment and season we will be shooting in. If we’ve chosen an open field and dirt roads, this would not be the time to wear high heels and a sparkly evening dress. It would, however, be perfect for a pair of leather ankle boots and a flowy top that will move beautifully in the breeze. And if it’s cold out, make sure you have a jacket that you love and are happy to be photographed in. Freezing in the wind and cold temperatures doesn’t make for ‘organic, romantic, or passionate’. But wrapped in a beautiful parka with the hood pulled up over both of you? That’ll do it!

 

For inspiration, here are a couple of my favorite engagement shoots I’ve had the pleasure of shooting. A little bit of effort can really go a long way…

xo

SHERYL + STEVE – Gorgeous Calgary engagement

STORMEE + RON – Kelowna sunset session

TAMARA + COLE – Caldwell Heritage Farm engagement (link to location HERE)

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We owned the beach

I believe the best way to move forward, is to appreciate and acknowledge where you’ve come from, and know where you want to go. It’s felt important to reflect on what happened this past year, and even more exciting to see where it has led me to. There were some pretty tough personal moments, some amazing personal moments, many wonderful, beautiful photography moments, some sad world moments, and happy world moments.

May as well start with the tough stuff, and then we get to finish with the icing on the cake!

The beginning of last year, our little bub was diagnosed with a Juvenile from of Arthritis (JIA). Shocked and heartbroken, this took us some time to digest what this really meant. Thankfully, we’ve had some incredible doctors who have helped us understand what it all means.

I haven’t yet shared this outside of my one-on-one conversations with people, as I really just needed time to soak in what this will mean for my little girl as she grows up. But I also want to say that I feel sharing this information and putting it out to my community, will inevitably open conversations that I’m sure will help us to deal with this new challenge in our family.

I hadn’t ever heard of Juvenile Arthritis before. I absolutely thought it was something you get when your older. Not when your 2 years old. But as I’ve now learnt, there are many, many forms of arthritis at all levels of severity, and at all ages.

Thankfully, Ari has been doing so well with her treatment and is a normal little monkey again at the playground. Yes, we have a bit of a hill to climb and I’m sure there will be some hard days ahead, but she has been such a trooper though all the doctor visits, the medications, the poking and prodding.

I also lost my grandfather at the start of 2016. He lived a beautiful, full life all the way to 95 years. It was a celebration of life, for sure, but nonetheless, hard on my heart to actually see him go. But I feel so lucky that Ari and I were able to spend time with him before he left. She will still see a photo of him, and say, ‘Hey! There’s Great-Grandpa!’. It warms my heart that she has those little memories and the photos to keep his spirit alive.

With a few other challenges though the spring, we did absolutely manage to come out the other side still motivated to keep pushing and moving forward.

The summer was amazing. We took Ari camping and she connected so much to Mother Nature! She loved every minute of it, surrounded by her grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

We owned the beach this year. We literally took a picnic dinner to Skaha at least 4 times a week after work. There is no other place I’d rather be when the sun is out in the Okanagan. We even did a mini-staycation this past summer and LOVED it. We are so blessed to live here, and I promise to never take for granted that we live in a summer-paradise!

Every wedding and engagement that I photographed this year, I truly felt so connected to my clients. I am so lucky to find such wonderful people to work for, and it makes me want to do a 150% job for them. I so appreciate each and every one of the bride and grooms who entrust me to capture those memories for them.

I finished up my shooting season at the end of September this year, and had an amazing fall, focused on my own little family. Ari became obsessed with ‘ghosts’, therefore had to be a ghost for Halloween. Cutest little ghost I ever did see!

Wrapped up all the edits and albums for clients by mid-November, and then was able to focus on Christmas with a toddler! So. Much. Fun.

And now it’s a new year, and I can’t wait for it! We already have so many amazing things planned, that I can hardly contain my excitement. The next blog post I’ll share a bit about what is coming up.

Let me leave you with just a few of my faves from this past season…

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Amanda + Derrek Engaged

“I have so, so much love for him, and he is seriously the most important thing in my life…” Admittedly, Amanda was referring to her beautiful pup Titan at the time, but trust me when I say, she’s got all sorts of love for both her boys, Titan AND Derrek.

It was such a special treat for me to do these photos for Amanda and Derrek’s engagement. Amanda and I went to school together once upon a time. And to see her now, looking so gorgeous, so full of joy, and getting married to a guy who is a perfect fit for her.

We walked around downtown Kelowna, and enjoyed talking and catching up with each other. And of course, taking a few photos here and there! Titan joined us for the first few minutes, and then waited patiently as I did a few more of just A+D at the waterfront, taking advantage of that gorgeous Okanagan light at the end of the day.

Thank you two for inviting me to be a part of this ‘getting married’ journey, and I hope you love these photos and they become a beautiful reminder of this special time in your lives…

xo

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Amanda’s beautiful hair done by: Courtney Scott at The Beauty and Shave Parlor

Amanda’s beautiful make-up done by: Jenny McKinney

 

Sheryl + Steve Engaged

One of my favourite parts of an engagement session, is the moment when I feel like I have finally ‘seen’ the couple. It always takes a few minutes of photography before the walls come down, but it is always my goal to make sure that before I leave, I have gotten photographs that truly represent who they are. How they love. What they look like together in those simple moments.

For Sheryl and Steve, I would say I had a bit of a leg up. We started out the session in their home. In their every day. In a home that they had designed together to be their sanctuary. And it was so fun to be invited into their space… I felt like it really allowed me to connect with them in a space they already knew. Their home.

And then, of course, we ventured out into Mother Nature. Sheryl, having some country roots, had her eye on a gorgeous little barn. One of the oldest barns in Calgary, which was a perfect backdrop for a few photos of S+S. And to finish off, we found a little creek – a beautiful corner to find those last few quiet moments of the day.

Thank you two for asking me to be a part of this journey. I absolutely loved meeting you both, and can’t wait to be there to help celebrate and capture the moments of this very exciting year to come!

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Brianna + Nathan Engaged

From high school sweethearts, to fiance, and soon-to-be husband and wife. Brianna and Nathan are one of the sweetest, loveliest couples I’ve had the pleasure to photograph. There was a lot of giggling throughout the entire session (which you can definitely see throughout the photos…lots and lots and lots of laughter), along with so much love and beauty. Bree is this stunning young woman who has found a man who adores every bit about her. And Bree is clearly head over heels for Nathan. With so much of life ahead of them, I can’t wait to see where they carve out their path together. Step one, wedding in September! xo

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Niki + Chase Engaged

Niki + Chase are getting married this August, and I couldn’t be more excited to be their photographer.

I have known both of them since we were littles. And to see them now, getting married, raising a beautiful little boy, it made for a really lovely evening. Niki is such a sweet, gorgeous woman who has such a strong love for her little man, and such a strong love for her man-man. Chase’s gentle nature towards Kamdyn and Niki shone through the evening, and it warmed my heart to see them as a happy, beautiful family.

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Laceigh + Chris Engaged

Up till this day, I had not met Laceigh + Chris in person. We had only communicated via email, so I was very excited to get to meet them both. And if I could imagine meeting them and having the conversations we had WITHOUT seeing them, this is what I would take away from it:

I would think Laceigh to be a woman who goes through life with a positive, beautiful spirit radiating through. Her passionate, yet demure spirit was such a beautiful energy to be around. There was so much laughter and warmth between her and Chris, it was easy to feel the love and respect they have for each other.

Chris had such a calm, encouraging energy which allowed both of them to ‘be themselves’ and laugh together. He was Laceigh’s support through the session, and it’s easy to see why she picked him as her partner in life.

And I think the photos below are proof of the love they share. Simple, strong, and passionate.

Laceigh, you are such a beauty inside and out. I think you have chosen so well, and are lucky to have found such a love in Chris.

I cannot wait for your wedding day this summer, as I know it will be a day filled with so much beauty and love.

xo

 

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Leah + Brian Engaged

As she slowly made her way through the grassy field, Brian was holding her hand tightly, protectively, lovingly.

I can’t say I’m surprised by Leah’s positive attitude during our engagement session. Being a traithlete, she is obviously a natural when it comes to persevering through a few bumps and bruises.

Just so you know what I am talking about, this gorgeous woman who is smiling and being AMAZING during her engagement photos, was just a couple weeks out of getting knee surgery. Aka, she really couldn’t walk. Her finance, Brian, had his focus entirely on her and making sure she was okay throughout the evening. He held her tightly and took it slow.

On top of all that, Brian was recovering from the ever-so-infamous cold/flu bug that likes to fly around this time of year. Together, they were quite the team! Sniffly and a little slow, but I really enjoyed our evening and they were a complete joy to photograph. Plus, it always helps when there is an adorable pup to keep us entertained! Their amazing little dog joined the party for a few photos, and completely stole my heart.

I am so excited for their wedding day next year, which I know is going to be a beautiful day filled with all sorts of love! xo

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