Circus Performer Portraits in Dulwich Park

Shortly after stepping off the plane at Gatwick this March, I found myself standing on the train platform next to a woman with a curious and oversized box next to her. I was so incredibly curious but couldn't bring myself to strike up a conversation with a total stranger. We'd just survived the red eye and I'm pretty sure my hair was sticking up in weird places from where my sleeping mask kinked it. 
I resigned myself to just staying curious when a train flew by and knocked the box onto me. Ok. There's my cue. I struck up a conversation and by the time my train rolled around I was telling her I'd find her on social media to continue the conversation. 
Arielle Lauzon is an incredibly talented circus performer from Quebec. The two of us made plans to meet up on Easter weekend and do some shooting in a park close to where we were both staying. It had been an incredibly rainy few days, but the rain cleared up for our shoot and we adventured and explored Dulwich Park together. Our conversation flowed like we'd known each other for years, and she showed me some of her talents. 

I love chance encounters and meeting kindred spirits while traveling. It's probably the very best part of every trip. 

loveloveLOVE - Memorable Moments from 2017 - Lifestyle Edition

I trust yesterday was full of so much love for you!!

We're onto our final day of Lovelovelove. It doesn't usually end at the wedding, so this time we're continuing the chapter with portraits, families and lifestyle.

I get asked a lot if I shoot anything other than weddings, family sessions or portraits. The answer is always OH HECK YES! I love them so much! I've been filling my days with many portraits, maternity, newborn and family tradition sessions lately. Splashing on the shores of Georgian Bay, or playing at the local park, baking cookies for Christmas, exploring an historic location or bath time. From portraits in Berlin, to a family session in Vancouver, to a walk in the forest in my very own backyard. It's been a very full year. 

And finally... Happy day 3! Lovelovelove - The Lifestyle Edition.

Music - Precipitate (Instrumental) - Joey Kantor

loveLOVElove - Memorable Moments from 2017 - Weddings

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope today is full of so much love and cuddles and maybe some wine. Ok. Definitely some wine. 
Welcome to Day 2 of my new lovelovelove tradition. 3 days full of all kinds of love that is sure to melt your heart.

As I mentioned yesterday, this post has been in the works for a long time and it has not been an easy task. 2017 was a very full year of some of the biggest hearts imaginable. We covered everything from a private intimate ceremony on the shores of Georgian Bay, to a Summer Solstice wedding in the Rockies, to the count down on New Years Eve complete with noise makers and donuts. 

Thank you to each and every one of you beautiful couple's who trusted me (us) with your memories. I am so lucky to have you in my life and to witness the love and joy you have in your lives. I mean it with every fiber of my being. You are the reason I do this year after year. You make my heart swell. I love you dearly!!!

Thanks again to my second shooter, Joel Loughead. I love working with you more than you know, and you know a lot because I tell you all the gosh darn time. It's nice to be able to hug you when I'm feeling overwhelmed with love and I love the way you see things. 

Day 2 - Wedding Edition. Tissues at the ready!!!

Music: Steps (Instrumental) - SUNNE

LOVElovelove - Memorable Moments from 2017 - Couple's sessions

I will be the first to admit that I have a horrible time picking favourites. It's not something I excel at. Top Tens are a little easier, but not much. They quickly become lists of 25, 30, 50. It actually gives me great anxiety when someone uses the favourite question as a way to get to know me. I can't pick favourites. I love them all! Why can't I just love them all? 

It's the same with images. I have a terrible time narrowing things down. I get so emotionally attached to moments and the subtle differences a half second can allow. 

I thought I'd try something a little different this year. Rather than overwhelm myself to the point of paralysis on a Year End round up, I waited until the week of Valentine's (my very favourite holiday, minus the commercialism. Ask me about our Valentine Tradition sometime). I'm going to give you three posts of some of the most memorable moments from 2017. I will fill your week with so many images of love! Couples, weddings, babies, grandparents, best friends. They're all here. Why wouldn't they be? It's all love. And I do love love. 
So here's to a new tradition of lovelovelove.... 

I hope you're still with me... because here comes round one: Couples.

Cello from Portland  - Beautiful Eulogy

Thank you to all of my amazing couples who got vulnerable, and silly, and adventurous and real with me. I love you all to pieces. 

Rainy Georgian Bay Engagement Session | Lindsay & Tom

There are so many ways to react when you realize you're about to get rained out of a session. You could get frustrated or upset, you could postpone, or you could embrace it. I love it more than anything when couple's are adventurous and embrace what nature has given us to play with. We hopped on a boat and headed out to a secluded island where we explored and adventured together for the evening. It paid off in the end... check out that sunset!

I'm not sure there was a single moment that Lindsay & Tom weren't smiling. They make each other laugh effortlessly and have these ease about them. It was definitely one of those evenings you wish didn't have to end. 

These two are getting married tomorrow, and I really can't emphasize enough just how excited I am. It looks like we're even going to get some sun this time around! 

Our intimate wedding ceremony | September 15, 2016

This has been a long time coming. A year, in fact. It's been hard to digest and know exactly how to share this. I also didn't really realize I'd feel so precious and protective over our wedding. It came as a complete surprise, but it's been a year and I'm so ready and excited to share this with you now! I'm going to separate this into a couple blog posts, as our wedding was separated into a couple of days.
We chose to split our wedding into two days for a couple reasons.
One: I'm not particularly fond of being the centre of attention, nor am I thrilled with the idea of 100+ people watching me bawl my eyes out, even if I do love them to bits. 
Two: Even though we wanted a really small ceremony, we still wanted to party with our all of our friends and family, so we added a day two.

Welcome to Day One.
(this could be long, so feel free to skip to the photos if that's what you're here for. i don't blame you. they're pretty)

We really wanted our wedding day to feel as normal as possible and to incorporate some of the things that we really value. Turns out we're pretty sentimental people and added a lot of small things that meant a lot. I'm pretty sure my niece stole the show, but I wouldn't have it any other way. We didn't expect anything to change. We'd been together 7 years by the time we got married, and owned a house together for a year. What could possibly change? But it felt different the morning after. I'm not sure how to explain it really. It just felt... bigger, more important. 

I tried writing this out from the heart, but I just turned into a blubbering mess, so I've broken it down. 

Venue: We got married on the shores of Georgian Bay at a conservation area we spend a lot of time at. We weren't able to book it, so we just kinda showed up and got married. I loved that there were people walking their dogs and fishing in the background. Our good friend, Ashley, created a beautiful arbor for us with copper pipes and flowers and all of our friends pulled rocks from the shore to create a circle for us to stand in. 

Guest List: We only had 21 people and 3 children including our vendors. Basically, everyone present is family whether by blood or by choice. It was easy and difficult to choose. There were definitely a couple people we would have loved there with us. 

Ceremony: Our good friend, Ingrid, officiated and we wrote our own vows. Ingrid did such an incredible job of including personal elements into it. Our ceremony felt electric. I've never seen Joel look so handsome, and I couldn't stop from squeezing his hands. It took me a minute or two to compose myself to say my vows. My sister read Hug of Wars by Shel Silverstein, a childhood favourite, and a nice surprise for us. Joel's brother carried the rings in a leather pouch I made. We also made the decision to do the signing in a very informal way after the ceremony was over. We both liked the idea of keeping things flowing, and although that part needed to be done, it didn't really need an audience. 

Vendors: Every single one of our vendors is a good friend which really helped create an even more intimate feel to our big day. We handed over almost all control to each of them, trusting that they knew us well enough to nail it, and they did. Each one of them blew it out of the water! 

Dress: I found my dress on my very first outting with one of my best friends to the antique clothing show. The very first dress I saw when I walked in gave me goosebumps. It's an 1800's lace dress with a pink satin sash I found at the Gadabout booth, my very favourite vintage store in Toronto. It's pretty delicate, so they wouldn't let me try it on, but they held it in front of me and I burst into tears. Yep. I'm a crier. It did need a little bit of love though. Luckily, I found Maureen Patricia who altered it beyond my imagination. I wish I had a photo of it before the alterations. It had some pretty interesting sleeves. I love that it had a life before me. Everything became real the moment I put it on. My mom was kind enough to knit me a beautiful blue lace shawl for the evening, which definitely came in handy. 

Rings: I'm not sure if you've seen my engagement ring, but it's dainty. Quite dainty. Finding a wedding band that would not overpower it was impossible, so I had a custom ring made. Leslie LaCombe made a stacking gold band to match my engagement ring and then made a twisted stacking ring to go with it to give it a bit of bulk. Two weddings, two rings. Why not? For Joel's ring we took his grandfather's wedding band and Leslie melted it down to recreate it.. It was a bit big, but Joel liked the idea of having something of his grandfather's with him forever. Leslie took some birch bark from one of our trees and pressed it into the band which added a whole new level of significance.

Music: One of our very best friends is a brilliant musician and he very graciously agreed to play us into the ceremony, and to help me surprise Joel with a first dance. Obviously it was to Everything I Do by Bryan Adams (we have a thing for Kevin Costner, remember?) and Alastair did a perfect job. We're not ones to take things too seriously, so much of our first dance was spent laughing. 

Flowers: Ashley of Ashley Elaine Florals put together the most stunning bouquet and centre pieces. She also decorated and arranged all of the table settings. The only thing I said about the flowers was that I loved amaranth. Beyond that, I trusted Ashley completely. You can see why. My mom and I spent an afternoon with Ashley leading up to the wedding making cedar crowns for all of the ladies present at the wedding. We didn't have a wedding party, but I wanted to honour them in some way. 

Dinner: We headed back to my in-laws for dinner. Ashley arranged all of the tables on their deck using china from my mother-in-laws collection, and handmade table cloths made by Joel's grandmother, as well as flower arrangements she did herself. It was a tight squeeze, but it had a gorgeous view of the sunset and I love cozy. My mother-in-law is Sicilian and offered to make dinner for everyone. How could we say no? Everything she makes is delicious! She started off with a spread of antipasti and then a 5 course meal. I loved that it was a familiar space with familiar food. My father-in-law helped serve, and even Joel got up and poured wine for everyone. 

Cake: We weren't planning on having a cake, to be honest the whole cake cutting tradition is lost on me, but my little sister is a crazy talented baker and offered to make us one as a gift. I can turn down cake on any day, unless it's been baked by Danielle. Neither Joel nor I like traditional cakes so we requested she not make it too sweet and maybe use herbs or balsamic or something out of the ordinary. We chose a Blackberry Thyme cake with goat cheese icing. I cannot put into words how gosh darn delicious that thing was. The stuff of dreams. Paired with a cheese plate and port? yum!

Toast: Joel and I spent much of our childhood visiting Nova Scotia and it's a place that means a great deal to us. Conveniently there's a winery in Nova Scotia that makes one of the best sparkling wines in Canada, Benjamin Bridge Nova 7. We ended up having to go to a number of LCBO's to collect enough bottles, but through the help of my mom we made it happen. 

Photographers: I know that this one seems like it'd be the hardest, but it wasn't. I chose Jennifer Moher & Hugh Whitaker before we even got engaged. I think my very first conversation with Jen was asking about her services for our wedding despite not being engaged yet. It makes me sound a bit crazy, but I knew I loved her work and wanted to make sure I saved enough. Jen and Hugh have become good friends since that first conversation and it made it that much nicer to have them around. They photographed our day as it happened and really helped make it feel like a normal day rather than a big production. They caught moments I didn't even notice happening and really captured the feeling of the day.

Most memorable moment: Our first dance. For sure. Joel and I had planned to have our first dance on day two, but with Alastair's help I surprised him with something we had joked about for a while. By the end of the song, we were all singing, mostly off-key, and laughing. From the photos I love the image of my mom showing my niece the photo of my grandmother on her wedding day. It's such a special little moment I didn't get to experience in real time, but treasure now. 

Any regrets?: Just two. One: I wish we had recorded the speeches. They were so brilliant and thoughtful and even though I have copies of them, I wish I had recorded each person saying them. Two: I wish we had spent even more time with our friends and family. Maybe started the day earlier so we could squeeze every last moment

All photographs were taken by Jennifer Moher & Hugh Whitaker. 

Foggy Georgian Bay Engagement Session | Jenny & Bryan

There are few things we photographers love more than fog, save for maybe couples who fully embrace crazy weather. It was a torrential downpour the day we had set aside for Jenny & Bryan's engagement session. I don't say that lightly. It was torrential. There were puddles I was afraid my car wouldn't get out of once it went in. They had planned to come north for a session near Georgian Bay and a little weather wasn't going to stop them. You never know how a session is going to go when you have crazy weather, but Jenny & Bryan weren't kidding when they said they'd roll with it and that they were excited. They laughed through the entire session and fully embraced everything that came our way. I called in a favour and we started off our session at Kolapore Gardens, where I pick up my CSA every week. He has the most glorious view and barn with such beautiful light and it gave us a dry spot to start in. By the time the light was starting to disappear, the rain had dropped to a drizzle and the fog had rolled in. What a way to end a shoot! DREAMY! 

By far one of my favourite sessions. 

BEYOND excited to see these two again today. Joel & I are heading downtown to document their wedding. I cant' wait to get them giggling again. 


The West Coast Camp by The Camp Collective

The West Coast Camp was the first annual summer camp by The Camp Collective. When Tara Lilly first texted me about a new idea her and Sara Rogers were working on, I'm pretty sure my words were "I'm in". It didn't even take a second to think about it. What was there to think about? I've missed the days of summer camp, being surrounded by like minded peers, doing art, challenging myself, hanging out in nature, and being silly. There are no shortages of workshops for photographers, or conferences, but this felt different. This felt like an opportunity to learn and teach at the same time, to let loose and embrace being silly while also working on our businesses in a serious way. 
It didn't disappoint. The location was stunning and provided a beautiful backdrop for hiking, yoga, shoots on the beach, and just sitting and talking. The atmosphere and people were so positive and it felt so safe that it was pretty easy to talk openly. There were many heartfelt conversations and breakthroughs, some tears and lots of laughing. We played camp games, did photo challenges and ate meals together. Even when it was after hours, the learning didn't end. People would pull out their laptops to play with images from the day and it would turn into an impromptu editing class where everyone would share tips and tricks. We all took turns being in front of the camera and behind. It was bookended by the most exciting and magical bus ride I've ever taken. Our bus driver played music and handed out instruments to each of us as we entered. We sang and danced and laughed all the way there. It was the very first bus ride I didn't want to end. 

I learned so much from all of the men and women who were there and took some of my most favourite portraits to date. Being able to teach other's really re-ignited something in me. It turns out I've missed teaching a lot. (Also, I've missed being a councilor, but that came as no surprise. Who wouldn't?)

There's only one ticket left for the next camp in the Rockies, and planning is underway for our Ontario camp. If you're a fan of the outdoors, learning and making friends, you should probably grab a ticket. 
I cannot thank Sara & Tara enough for letting me be part of the first camp, and high fives to Cole Hofstra and Jacob Loafman for being stellar fellow councilors. It was so much fun hanging out with you and working with you all! <3

London England Engagement Session | Vanessa & Simon

On our very first phone call, Vanessa & Simon explained how important London, England was to them individually and as a couple. They were excited about the idea of doing their couple's session in a place that meant something to them, so when I threw the idea out there of coming to England, they were 100% in. Our session felt far less like a photo shoot and far more like hanging out with long lost friends. They showed me around their neighbourhood and pointed out spots that were important historically and personally, they took me to their favourite pub for Sunday roast, told me stories about how they met and then showed me where that happened, they took me through gardens and down secret walkways, showed me bits of England both old and new. Then to top it all off, we had a gin tasting at a local distillery. I mean, any gin fan is a friend of mine. They had me at hello, and I definitely plan on keeping these two. 
What struck me instantly about the two of them was just how much fun they have together and how much they laugh. Not just little laughs, big, full body laughs that are contagious. 

Can't wait to laugh with you again soon. 

Walters Falls Wedding | Cass & Jeff

Cass & Jeff opted for a small outdoor wedding ceremony at the Walters Falls Inn, near Georgian Bay. Travelling halfway across the country to celebrate their wedding meant they wanted to take full advantage of the time with their friends and family. Rather than just having everyone join them on the day of, they booked the Walters Falls Inn for two nights and hosted many of their family and friends for a rehearsal dinner the night before. They set out lawn games and gave everyone a chance to get to know one another better. It made for quite an intimate wedding with everyone already comfortable with each other.

The Walters Falls Inn is situated along the Niagara escarpment with the Bruce Trail running through its property and is home to one of the many waterfalls in the Grey Bruce area. It's the perfect wedding venue for an adventurous couple who love being outside. The hike down to the falls isn't particularly easy, especially in a wedding dress, but Cass was excited about it so she came up with a way of protecting her dress on the mucky hike down using a garbage bag. Not gonna lie, I was psyched she was so brave! Also, it turns out orange garbage bags are quite stylish.

Venue : Walters Falls Inn
Officiant : Sandy Conrad
Caterer: Walters Falls Inn
Flowers: Sarah Barber
DJ : DJ Mastermix 
Make-up : Rebecca Chantler
Hair : Katie D'Souza
Dress : Sophie's Dress Shoppe