It's been a while since I've come on here and used my blog space. I recently had a photo session with a WONDERFUL family known as the Pyrz family.
I've known the Pyrz family casually and personally for about 5 years, and they are a group of amazing people! In 2015, I photographed Emily & Gareth's wedding - my first wedding ever!
I've been fortunate to have all of them as valued and consistent customers over the last 4 years. From smaller, nuclear family sessions to larger ones like these, it's been an absolute joy getting to know them!
With three little kiddos in the pictures, I've learned a lot about designing my family sessions to be productive and fun. I've learned some tips and tricks along the way to help me make sure that family sessions aren't being dragged out. We all know that a kid's attention span is hard to keep up with, so here are the things that I do when preparing for family photo sessions.
P.S. Uncle Peter's the COOLEST. Duh.
Prepare the Kids
I usually email or text the parents/clients for the session a week in advance and tell them to start telling their kids about me. Show them what a big camera looks like if they've never seen one before. There is nothing scarier to a child than this large black piece of equipment in their face. What's more terrifying - the lady holding it is a stranger! Because of this, I recommend saying things like this over the week leading up to family photos: "Hey, our friend Janelle is coming over on Saturday to take some nice photos of us! Show me your smiling face for Janelle." Depending on your child's age, you will likely have to use this strategy a few times throughout the week and into the morning of the session.
Also, I'll usually spend some time chatting with you, your family and your children before the session. I see no need to jump right into things, and I want everyone to feel comfortable!
Time is of the Essence
Now, the Pyrz grandchildren are great kids, but their ages range from 1-5 years old, and as I mentioned above, attention spans are SPARSE. This session literally took 35 minutes. Our setting was simple - in front of the family home, and Sarah had made a list of combos and pairs that needed photographing.
We photographed everything with the little kids first so that we could get their smiles and expressions without any meltdowns. (Impatience commonly leads to meltdowns.)
I've found that a lot of family sessions can be quite short and still provide the same amount of variety and quality as a more extended session.
Coordinate, Don't Match
Okay, I've literally been telling my family photo clients this for years. I think the age of outfit-matching family photos are behind us unless there's an insider reason. I might offend some people with this one, but it's just not my jam. I recommend to all my clients that coordination is critical. If the family is wearing jeans, perfect! Make sure all tops are in the same general colour combos. If one person is wearing hot pink, then everyone should be wearing an equally bright colour. Keep in mind, this is my opinion and what I've been work best in my sessions.
I also don't oppose to layering for the illusion of outfit changes - it adds variety to your photos! Well done, Rob ;)
The exception that I've loved is when the "matriarch or patriarch" of the family stands out a little bit. I once photographed a multi-generational family, and the grandfather had passed away a few years prior, and I definitely made a point to keep their grandmother front and centre.
She seemed uneasy about being the centre of attention. I looked at her and said, 'All these people wouldn't be together here if it weren't for you." She happened to be wearing a different colour from everyone else, and I thought it just worked out so nicely!
So there you have it, some tips and tricks to photographing families. I'm sure that in the next 5 years of my career I'll have a whole new list to share with you.
If you're looking to book family sessions for this fall, please act fast! Fall is busy, so please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I JUST finished editing my photos from my time spent in Europe in 2017. Yes, almost two years to complete editing and finally being able to sit down, cull, sort, and fine tune edit 600 photos. Woah.
In 2017, my fiance Chris and I visited 5 countries in 4 weeks. Our purpose for travel was two-fold: for one, I had just graduated with my Bachelor of Commerce degree in the spring and was ready for my first European adventure! Secondly, it fell nicely because Chris was heading to Poland at the end of July to dance in an international dance festival there called "Światowy Festiwal Polonijnych Zespołów Folklorystycznych Rzeszów 2019."
Say that 10 times fast.
All of my recommendations and small tips are based on short travel times in each city/country. The cities that we visited were Glasgow, London, Rome, Salzburg, Zakopane, Krakow and Rzeszow. This blog will only expand on the first 4 cities because Poland deserves its own blog post.
1. Glasgow, Scotland
Ahh, Glasgow, arguably my favourite city of the whole trip and honestly? It wasn't really technically on our schedule! We flew into Glasgow with Westjet because it was honestly one of the most affordable flights we could find. I had no real desire to visit or tour Glasgow at the time.
The people here are SO kind, like Canadian-level kind! Also, it was excellent ease into European culture in a country that spoke my language. We ended up arriving in Glasgow at 8:30 am, and I refused to let jetlag and exhaustion get in the way of starting our vacation. I personally don't sleep in on vacation - what about you??
Here are my top visits in Glasgow:
Meadow Road Coffee: if you know me, you know that I'm a coffee snob/nerd/enthusiast. Meadow Road Coffee was right across the street from our Airbnb and were lifesavers as the sleepy Canadians, fresh off the plane, walked into the cafe looking for coffee before they were able to check into their apartment. They served proper, third wave coffee and were delightful to chat with.
Buchanan Street Shopping: our Airbnb host suggested this shopping district to us, and it did not disappoint! It reminded me of something you would find in Montreal or New York. Be careful actually spending money there though, the Pound to CAD conversion is brutal!
University of Glasgow: Now THERE'S a real university! Wow. We didn't officially tour the campus, but we walked around and let it take our breath away! It reminded me of Hogwarts! Did you know? The University of Glasgow is the 4th-oldest English speaking University in the world!
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Mueseum:
Ashton Lane: this was our last stop in Glasgow before heading out to London the following day. The cobblestoned back alley is a vibrant place to eat and drink! We enjoyed fish and chips at the Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchen.
Bonus Point: the subway/tube system in Glasgow is so simple to use. It's one big loop around the city so if you miss your stop, just hold tight! You'll get back there eventually!
2. London, England
You'll find this list much shorter as we literally had an 8-hour layover (or so) in London. We spent one afternoon in the city, stored our bags for the day and took our own walking tour. We also spent way too much money (approx $40 each) using the London Express to take us from the Airport to Victoria Station in half an hour. Don't be like us. Use your money for better things!
Our departure from Victoria station took us walking distance to the main sites though!
Buckingham Palace: Way too many people, but it was so fun to see where the Queen lives! I always only saw these places on TV so to see it in real life was exciting!
Westminster Abbey & St. Margarets Church: our stroll took us to these grand spectacles of architecture. Again, so many people but London was so beautiful!
The London Eye: Again, we just looked at it, we didn't ride it. We did stop at a nearby McDonald's though because we were in desperate need of wifi and water. London is sweaty in the summer - dress accordingly.
Big Ben: I'm glad that we passed and I was able to photograph Big Ben because I believe that this time around it'll be under construction/renovation and unable to be seen.
London was short and sweet, but if you're on a tight budget and not there for long, it is possible to see all the sites without completely breaking the bank!
3. Rome, Italy
I guarantee you that I'm crying or will start crying as I write this. Rome is Disneyland for me. Rome is the Catholic Church and pasta and pizza and everything I love in life. Rome is heat and culture and loudness and prayer.
Airbnb: I'm going to link our Airbnb here because it's a gold mine and I want everyone to know about it. We had air conditioning in our ROOM. Not just in the entire apartment, but in our own room. That was huge! Rosa was also excellent because she waited up for us even though we arrived in Rome very late (around 10:00 pm) and were so hungry. She let us into our Airbnb then directed us to Al Jolly Ristorante, a nearby restaurant. I was in heaven.
Vatican City: I mean, duh. As a cradle Catholic, this was EVERYTHING to me. We pre-scheduled the 4-hour tour and never looked back.
Okay, that's not entirely true. I genuinely love being Catholic, but I don't think that I will ever do this tour again. And if I do, it'll be to skip the line and then go pray in St. Peter's on my own. A 4-hour tour of anywhere in +30C heat and huge crowds aren't good for anyone. I'm so grateful that we were able to be there, but I preferred our early Sunday morning, private, mass experience.
SIDEBAR: Chris proposed after the 4-hour tour, so it wasn't THAT bad.
We went back early Sunday morning (I think like 8:00 am) for Sunday mass, and that was much better. No lines, no security, just people who were there to pray and receive Christ. We snuck into a Spanish mass that was being said at one of the side-alters in St. Peter's and I am still so grateful for that experience.
Pergamino Caffe: Chris and I had a fundamental rule during our trip called the 2/3s rule. We spent two-thirds of our day together; touring, sleeping, eating, hanging out, whatever. Then we spent one-third of our day separate. It was so important! Time apart meant that we'd have something to talk about when we came back together and also gave us the opportunity to just breathe separately. Chris really loved the Hop-on, hop-off tour buses and I really liked coffee shops. I spent a few hours one day at the Pargamino Caffe which can be found at the North-East side of the Vatican, outside the walls. 10/10 recommend for excellent service and great coffee.
4. Salzburg, Austria
Austria is the birthplace of music and the home of the Sound of Music, and I loved every second of it. It indeed is a little fairytale within itself.
The Sound of Music Bus Tour: BONUS IT'S A SING-ALONG BUS TOUR! This day was the most fun. Chris and I spent the night before watching the (whole) movie so that we were both ready for this tour! They play clips of the film as you go which is great because then they stop at where you are in the movie. I cannot recommend this tour enough! It's so fun and so beautiful! Also, you really learn the inside scoop about the film and its production.
Hotel Sacher Salzburg: this whole area and the river, in general, are lovely to walk down. The Hotel was where Julie Andrews stayed while she was filming the Sound of Music (what a queen!). Chris and I spent our first evening walking across the Love Locks Bridge and strolling through the street corners. On the opposite side of that lock bridge from the Hotel, there's a spot for cruises of the river, and right near that, there's was a hotdog and beer stand. LET ME TELL YOU, that was the best hotdog and best radler that I've ever had.
Stiegl-Brauwelt: This was fun. We walked here and don't ask me how because I'm pretty sure it was a 30-minute walk both ways, but it was worth it! The tour itself was interesting and only about 45-minutes. We ended with a drink or two in the garden restaurant.
BONUS POINTS: I noticed that Red Bull was on the menus in restaurants around Salzburg a lot and then learned that their head office is there. We passed by it on the Sound of Music tour, and it seemed really cool! I would try to get a trip there next time if I could!
These 4 cities were wonderful visits and places to temporarily call home. I've linked all of the Airbnb's that we stayed in so please check them out if you're planning on visiting the area! I haven't touched on Poland, but we spent about the same amount of time there as we spent in these 4 cities, so I'm going to save the Poland blog post for another day!
Let me know your comments and questions below! I'd love to hear from you.
I never thought a mug would inspire a blog post, but here I am.
A few months ago, I bought this mug:
It really made me think. What are we hustling for if we don't understand our specific desires and goals?
This is my current experience. I work really hard. Usually, I work hard to the point that I crash or get a severe cold from lack of rest, sleep and healthy eating. Truth be told, I'm still not sure what I want to do long-term. I love my marketing gig and might want to pursue that or work in the education system further, but I also love photography and the creative work that I get to do - and the fact that I get to do it on my own schedule.
I'm running in circles some days, and I don't feel inspired by the hustle. I also listen to people like Jenna Kutcher & Gary Vee, who are SO. ON. FIRE. with their work. They're willing to lose the sleep and raise the family and still enjoy the chase. Keyword: enjoy. I don't always enjoy the pursuit, sometimes it completely exhausts me. I miss spending time with my family or sleeping!
How can I overcome this? By aligning the hard work that I'm willing to do with my absolute deepest desires.
How do I figure that out? I have no clue.
There a few things that I'm doing, the first is aligning my schedule and goals with my fiance's.
This might seem odd because we are our own individualistic people, but our lives are about to come even more intertwined. I don't want to be part of a marriage where I'm never home to actually be with my spouse. I want to sit down and enjoy a meal together and talk about our days and watch Netflix. That's an essential desire for me.
My next approach is found in my faith and pursuing the will of God in my life. If you're not religious, this might be translated into looking at what the universe desires for you - but around here, I speak in Jesus-terms. Ways that I'm working on that is by taking more time in silence, being attentive to what the Spirit wants to tell me and following my gut.
I believe that the "hustle" is only worth it if you're absolutely aligned and working towards an end goal that you desire! If you find yourself working towards something in the "wrong direction," that's okay! You'll see that you learned valuable lessons along the way because of it.
Keep your head up but don't exhaust yourself. Take time for the things that matter - family dinners, time with your partner, time alone - and see what God has in store for you. I promise you this, whatever it is, it'll be great!
TableSpace Co x Alice & Flore
If you're like me, you know that finding a new workspace in Winnipeg is like finding a coveted gem. You want to hold off on telling people about it for as long as possible. Whether it's a new coffee shop or another restaurant, space with a PLUG and WIFI, somewhere, you can spend the bare minimum ($$) to stay there for up to 5 hours.
Coworking space is a popular trend. According to chargespot.com, "Coworking spaces are essentially shared workspaces. They offer affordable office space for those looking to escape the isolation of a home office or coffee shop." I don't know about you, but I spent the day working from home the other day and nearly lost my marbles. It was too quiet in the house, and I felt too much isolation. Also, I had given up Netflix for Lent so I couldn't even have my usual background noise playing. I didn't want to go out to a coffee shop or somewhere that I would be afraid to use the washroom for fear of having my stuff taken. Then not wanting to take my things to the restroom for fear of my place being gone. It's a delicate balance. Finding space is hard! Space to work quietly or collaboratively while at the same time being comfortable enough to leave or take a lap and refresh your brain is a hidden gem.
Enter Rachel and Andrea: they saw this need independently and are coming together to create TableSpace Co! TableSpace Co. will be a shared workspace coming to Winnipeg this summer. It is marked as being a place to co-work, collaborate and connect and I cannot wait to see it!
In the meantime, I worked on some content photography for these ladies and their company so that they could get their website and social media presence in motion. Check out some of the images below!
Families are precious in ways I can't comprehend, and I know that I can't wait to have one of my own.
I can't wait to find out what my kids' weird quirks are. Chris and I are both dorky kind of funny, and I hope my kids are lucky enough to inherit that from us. I also hope they inherit Chris' attention to detail and my love for following my dreams.
Kids are fun, and Laura & Eric's kids were no exception. M looked at me intensely and fiercely as I paused in between photos. G just wanted to look through old albums and had a beautiful old-soul quality to her. And Z? She slept like a baby. Just as a newborn should and will.
I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I genuinely enjoyed taking them!
Thank you, Laura + Eric, for your witness of love + family.
thank you, bonnefoy family.
[Please hover on the companies to get the links!]
I met Nancy and Annette at a wedding a few years ago and fell in love with both of them. Nancy is the owner of MADE. Beauty Co. and a dedicated Beauty Counter consultant. She's spent her 15+ years in the industry researching and dedicating herself to providing her clients with the absolute best product. Annette is a talented hairstylist who works for MADE. and also at Angles Hair Salon in Winnipeg. She also does a fantastic job at managing their social media!
Every couple of months we come together to create content for their social media and brand. It's super fun and filled with coffee and laughs. We're all new to this whole business of content creation but it's been a blast!
Check out our fun below!
Hello, internet! I don't know what it is about this evening, maybe it's the kombucha that I drank or the three cookies that I ate from the staff room, but I came home motivated as HECK. I finished editing my last wedding of the summer -- I still have the blog a few more, but at least the memories will be in my amazing clients' hands soon!
The past few months have REALLY been a season for me, but that's a blog post for another time. I'm happy to use this spurt of energy to bring you another blog post!
Towards the end of the summer, I had the honour of photographing new headshots and web content for these two lovely ladies. Lindsay & Kristine are talented, career-driven women who are thriving in their workplace as financial advisors.
It was a pleasure to learn from them and work with them. These ladies were more than willing to work outside the box with me and wanted to ensure that their photos best represent themselves and their personality.
Lindsay and Kristine, thank you for your time and energy! Thank you for entrusting me to work on this project with you! Check out these rad shots below!
Thank you, ladies! I had so much fun working with you both!
Interesting in learning more about what Kristine & Lindsay do?
Check out www.wellington-altus.ca
Back in the summer, I had the honour of being on the Brunch Banter podcast hosted by my dear friend, Tache Forbister. I met Tache in university through mutual friends and was so happy when she asked me to record a podcast with her!
It's exciting when you have the opportunity to work with fellow creatives and learn from them. Tache decided that she needed new head shots for her blog and I was so happy to oblige!
Check out the photos of this stunning woman below and be sure to check out her podcast, The Brunch Banter on iTunes! Oh, and follow her on Instagram here!
Thanks again for the session, Tache! I had a blast!
Yeah, you read that right.
Today, I'm shifting from photography posts to write about something near and dear to my heart.
If you took time to read my About page, you will notice that in my fun facts, I admit - nay - I proudly testify to the fact that I have been watching Friends on repeat since about the same time I started my photography company.
Chandler, Monica, Ross, Joey, Pheobe & Rachel make for great background noise as I edit, okay?
Over the past 3 years, I've learned a lot from these six beautiful, fictional people.
I've learned that if you get married three times, your friends will never let you forget it. I've learned how to spell Phoebe (if you watch the show enough, you'll get that reference immediately). Along all of that, I find that Chandler, our sarcastic but lovable character teaches us some valuable lessons throughout the series.
Today, I'm reflecting on those valuable lessons that Chandler M. Bing has taught me.
1. Honesty is the Best Policy.
Chandler tells it like it is. From season 1, right until the very end. Heck, he opens the entire series by telling the gang about a VERY odd dream. He has no filter, no shame and has no problem keeping his friends humble.
Savage, but true.
In addition to keeping his friends - but mostly Joey and Ross - in line, Chandler is also very aware of his limitations as a person with emotions and ensures that his friends know just how much they mean to him.
No, this part didn't make me cry, it made YOU cry.
So yes, Chandler is savage, sarcastic and maybe even rude but he cares for his people with no boundaries and ensures that they know that firstly and foremostly.
2. How to Dance Like No One's Watching -- Even When They Definitely Are.
Remember when Rachel found out from Monica that her new boy toy was the best sex she ever had?
Then Chandler danced like this:
I don't blame him! For a guy who had no luck with women for almost the majority of the series, he struck gold with Monica. AND she stayed with him even when he danced like this!
Once again, Chandler is so self-aware! Definitely knows that dancing isn't his forte and admits to it wholeheartedly.
Chandler's iconic "flailing" dance moves have definitely inspired me over the years.
My fiance and I have definitely considered breaking out into that style of dance during the first dance at our wedding. We've also certainly busted a Chandler Bing dance move when we don't know how to dance to a certain song at a Manitoba-social.
Do we look ridiculous? Always.
Do we ever get bored? Never.
Yes, always yes.
3. Self-Care Is Important
Time to relax. Time to sit and do nothing. Time to catch up on your favourite TV shows.
For me, it's obviously Friends. For Chandler, it was Baywatch.
Throughout the 10 seasons of Friends, Chandler (and usually Joey) remind us how important that ME time is!
In a culture where companies such as Saje and Nordic Spas encourage us to take time for ourselves, breathe in essential oils, drink more tea and take more baths; Chandler proves time and time again that he was a pioneer in this way of thinking. (Minus the tea!)
Some might find his methods unhealthy. For example, the episode where he and Joey decided that they were not to be moved from their barcaloungers.
Here, you see them order their food to come to Monica & Rachel's apartment so that they don't need to move! This takes relaxation to that spectrum that borders on laziness, however, we also live in a world of Skip the Dishes so... we can't really judge.
4. Pets can enhance your life and build relationships
Or ruin your life and tear down relationships. It's a fine line.
Okay, this is where I lose people...
TO BE HONEST, I'm not a pets person.
My family had a cat from the time I was 5 until I was about 13. I loved that thing. He hated me, but I loved it endlessly.
What I loved the most about this cat was the fact that it took care of itself. We fed it in the morning and cleaned the litter box, we showed it love when he felt like being showed love and that was it. Easy peasy.
Dogs? Hamsters? Nah. Not for me.
Chandler and Joey both solidify this opinion for me. Joey impulse purchases a chick from a commercial ad around Easter time, then they decide to buy a duck because the chick will get lonely. It may not be the central focus of the show but this causes a lot of relationship-testing for Joey and Chandler.
You know how sometimes women will buy their man a plant to see if they can care for it?
I feel like it's the same with pets.
Couples *sometimes* get them to see if they can manage to care for another living being together.
(Whether they realize that's the intention or not!)
I feel that's what Chandler and Joey do here. They don't realize it but they use the chick and the duck to help them remain strong in their relationship and roommate-ship.
Remember when Chandler kisses Kathy and Joey is going to leave to go live with his folks and Chandler points to the chick and the duck and says, "If you're not going to stay for me, at least stay for them!"
5. Marry Your Best Friend
Ah yes, I went there.
Those of you who are as obsessed and weird as me follow the Chandler-Monica love story with passion.
They're the only ones I can really look up to in the series.
Rachel and Ross are all over the place, Phoebe's kind of weird with men and Joey --- well I'm convinced that the writers ran out of ideas when they tried to make Joey and Rachel a couple.
I've never looked into this further, but I swear that the writers from episode one knew that Chandler & Monica would eventually end up together. THERE WERE SO MANY SIGNS! The episode at the beach where Chandler is bugging her about dating him. Then him offering to have a baby with her if they both don't find anyone by the time they're 40. Then Monica being there to comfort him when he was in love with Kathy... AH! What a friendship-move!
I believe in this type of love, I really do.
Someone once told me that unicorns were their spirit animal and without missing a beat, I responded, "Chandler Bing is my spirit animal." and you know what? It's 100% accurate.
I hope that you enjoyed this quirky little article about my fictional soul-mate.
Let me know in the comments who your fictional bff/spirit animal is!
I love you, Chandler Bing!
I hope you read that in Janice's voice.)
Large family sessions BRING ME LIFE! This one was no exception!
The Dahl family is an Italian-Ukrainian combo-pack dream team and I was so happy to capture some beautiful memories for them!
33 Years Strong
thank you, Dahl family! xo
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