Romantic sunset engagement session in the Elora Gorge

Elora has always been this magical place in my mind. We visited it many times as a family when I was a child, and the buildings and area seemed like they were straight out of a book. The kind of place you’d expect to meet someone that has a spark inside them and that you just instantly want to know and be in their presence.

It seemed the fitting backdrop for an engagement session with Adele & Andrew. The two of them have this incredible chemistry and their eyes light up when they’re around each other. They have that spark. They hardly go a minute without playing with each other’s hands or laughing.

We explored the Elora Gorge together and got our feet wet. If either of them were shy or nervous, they hid it incredibly well. We felt like old friends immediately and I was a little sad when the session ended. Please light! Don’t go away! Just a little bit longer!

Watching the way these two interact and love each other made my heart grow a size.

Cannot wait to cry at their wedding on Saturday. I would correct that to say I cannot wait to document their wedding on Saturday, and that’s true too, but oh man will there be tears! Thank goodness for auto-focus, amirite???

Custom USB drives for photographers

I recently posted an instagram story with a little snippet of my final wedding package and it caught the attention of some fellow photographers. (spoiler alert, I will be doing a full post on the whole package very soon!) I received a number of messages about a few things, but one of them was my custom USBs so I thought I would delve into it a little bit for all you photographers out there.

All of my current wedding packages come with a final care package which includes a USB with all of my client's final images on it. I like knowing that even if they've downloaded them from their gallery, I've handed them something physical and given them their first backup of their wedding photos.
When I first started out this was a part that stumped me. I didn't love the idea of handing over a generic USB, but the branded USBs I found looked a little cheap. After much scouring of the internet I found USB Memory Direct. They offer a wide variety of custom USBs, including two wooden options. These fit my brand perfectly.

These wooden drives feature my logo on the front and two magnets in the cap so it snaps back into place easily and stays nice and secure. Each USB stick is slightly different, as they are using natural materials. Personally, I love that each one has it's own character. 

To top all of this off the customer service was excellent. They were incredibly patient with making sure my logo was perfectly placed and helped get me the best deal. If you're on the hunt for where to get your next set of USBs, definitely reach out to USB Memory Direct. 

Four Favourites this Friday

If you've been following me for a while now, you have probably noticed a little something I do on instagram called #fridayintroductions. It's a trend among self-employed to introduce themselves to their clients a little bit better. Tell you little bits and pieces about us so we can better connect with you.

image by  Keith Bridle

image by Keith Bridle

Well! I'm going to try something a wee bit different. Rather than just posting a list with a self-portrait on instagram, I'm going to tell you four of my current favourite things in a blog post and share a little more about them. Feel free to let me know what you think, or let me know what other favourites you'd like me to tell you about. 
You may also know by now that I don't really like picking favourites. Not really. I feel like it's unfair to everything else there, but I also really love alliterations... so hence the name. These are the things I'm currently crushing on and why.

Here we go! 


1. Kevin-
Kevin is our marital boat. She's a Swift Keewaydin 16 in sage and I love her to the moon and back. Our dream boat. Joel & I had many a conversation about what our perfect canoe would be like and I'm pretty sure this outdid my expectations. Actually, it's almost identical to what we agreed we'd want, save the colour. That was a last minute decision. Named after Kevin Costner, of course, she's taken us on a few awesome adventures already and I'm constantly day dreaming about the next one. We may have cheated on her last Sunday when we floated the Beaver River in a friend's canoe, but that's only to save her from some unnecessary bruises. 

2. Reply All-
I spend a lot of time in my car. A lot. Between meetings and shoots and awesome road trip adventures across Canada, I have managed to carve a very decent butt indent into my seat. I love listening to music, but I find podcasts are my jam these days. One of my absolute favourites is Reply All. It's smart, funny, thoughtful reporting on anything to do with the internet. It's pretty far reaching and keeps my attention episode after episode. Plus their laughs are fricking awesome. 


3. The Camp Collective-
The Camp Collective was co-founded by a great friend of mine, Tara Lilly, and a great friend of hers, Sara Rogers. Two west coast wedding photography stars who had a vision to create a summer camp type experience for photographers. Rather than your typical workshop or styled shoot, it's an opportunity to let loose, get creative, learn and meet your peers. I've been lucky enough to be along for the journey since the beginning and help put together the very first Camp in Ontario called THE GREAT LAKES CAMP.
Tara & I will be co-directing and we've been really hard at work in behind the scenes to put this together. I'm so friggin stoked to be part of this and to bring everyone to this amazing venue I found. It's going to be amazing! It will be running at the tail end of wedding season, so just in time for everyone to need a bit of a break, have some fun and to finally make time to create something unique and fun. 
If you want to be the first to know when the tickets come out, sign up for the newsletter. It doesn't look like they're going to last.


4. Yoga-
I was in Italy just over a month ago documenting a Yoga Retreat by Yoga Gym Escapes. I've always enjoyed yoga here and there, but had never really been to a class regularly. Well! I caught the bug. Now it's a regular activity for me and it's doing some wonderful things for my flexbility, my strength, my waistline but most importantly: for my mood. 2018 has been a rough one and having an outlet that ticks all those physical and mental health boxes is essential. I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to immerse myself in yoga with this wonderful group of ladies (+ Tayo). It was a total game changer. 
If you have the opportunity to go on one of the retreats, you should. Kirsten is amazing!!! Kenya is next. Make me green with jealousy and go!!!

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.