Here I find myself on this really stinking cold March evening dying for summer to hit again, looks like no luck on that front. So instead of blogging like I should be, I am looking for the next dress or skirt I want to shoot. I finally felt a little inspired to blog about the lovely fall session I had with my friend Faron. I wanted to get my turns in with the skirt before I sent it off around the Edmonton and surrounding area (it even made its way to my friend Jen in Uclulet). So I grabbed Faron and out we went for a few quick shots before the sun set.
I’m not the kind of person who makes friends very easily. Having been burned more than a few times, I find I am very reserved when it comes to making new friends and meeting new people. Laurissa came into my life about two years ago. I decided to sign up my oldest daughter Lila for a dance class as she loves to prance around the house making up some seriously bizarre moves and singing away.
When we got there I was as usual a hot mess hauling a car seat and telling Lila to hurry as we were going to be late (once again as usual). There we were met with two other moms and their kids and of course the first thing to jump to my mind was “ohmygod I can’t do this…” But I got Lila’s slippers on and one of the sweet girls grabbed her hand and said “Hi I’m Millie” and off they ran together with Audrey (I’ll introduce this sweet soul in another blog) to get to their dance class.
The girls have been friends ever since greeting each other with hugs so big it brings tears to my eyes every time it happens (which is like three days a week haha), Lila has a mad crush on Laurissa’s older son Liam, Stella (my younger daughter) always loves playing with her youngest daughter Eliza and I couldn’t be happier to say that Laurissa is truly one of the only friends I willing let hug me. They are like warm cookies and tea on a cold rainy, kind of day hugs that warm you right to your toes and her soul is the sweetest of souls.
I am so fortunate that I have clients that stuck with me through the thick and thin of learning and growing as a photographer. Tanya and Dylan are one of those families that started out as a couple with many loves that we had the same one of them being softball. I played for years. Like years and years, but thats another story for another day. Tanya messaged me a couple of years ago letting me know she was not only pregnant, but with twins I mean really how exciting is that? And as their family grew from two to four and from babies to toddlers I am so happy to say that they continue to come back to me every year, and every year is new and exciting with their two sweet little boys – tears and all!
This is another family that I have been so lucky to hold on to throughout the years of growing from a couple of two to a family of four. I photographed engagements for Crystal and Chris years ago, and since then they have turned into a family of four with two absolutely gorgeous little girls. And while this session was before the arrival of little Miss Claire, her sweet and hilarious big sister totally stole the show with this shoot. Keep scrolling to find out why and I guarantee you, you will be smiling and laughing out loud!
This fall was a killer in more ways than one this year. I booked a record amount of bookings this year for myself which was absolutely amazing, I am so lucky that so many families trust me with their memories year after year. This is where the killer comes into play, we were hit with snow storm after snow storm this fall. Every single weekend in September was a mad snow fall causing me to have to reschedule 37 sessions. 37 SESSIONS!!! Over one month! It was unbelievable, but I did it and got some absolutely amazing photos this fall despite all the crazy early winter activity!
I have always had a love of looking at lovely flow dresses and just before Christmas last year I was perusing the interwebs (probably procrastinating some blogging as usual) and came across this lovely deep red, indie vibes dress. My friend Briana instantly popped into my head and I thought I need to photograph that girl in this dress. I fired her a message letting her know oh btw I’m ordering a dress to shoot you in, and she was instantly on board and we planned shoot in the spring in a greenhouse kind of setting. We then decided to shoot it seasonally and did another shoot in the summer where I took her down to Millcreek Ravine and played with some smoke bombs.
I met Jamie, Jonathan and Jasper a few years ago. I was just beginning to really establish myself as a photographer in the community and had a giveaway contest so I could test out a new location and Jamie was the lucky winner of that contest. I was instantly smitten with this adorable family and was so happy when Jamie messaged me again this fall for some updated family photos including their newest addition Jackson who is as adorable as his big brother! Once again completely falling head over heels with this lovely family, I hope I get to be part of their memories for years to come in recording these two sweet little men grow up!
I met with Justine at the very beginning of 2018 at a coffee shop here in Sherwood Park for her to interview me for her and Tommy’s upcoming wedding that summer. We chatted about everything life had to offer and when I left the shop I called my mom and was like “I don’t care if she hires me, I want to be friends with her!” Justine has that wonderful, outgoing personality that just envelopes you in love the very second you meet her and when she messaged me back saying she cancelled all of her other interviews and wanted to go with me I was ecstatic. Their day was so lovely right from how involved every single member of Justine’s family was involved in the getting ready, right from Aunty doing hair and everyone doing each others make – it was wonderful. Love rang out through the day and my second shooter Jenny Pasterfield and I loved being able to celebrate every moment with them.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, I entered a huge contest called Shoot and Share. I entered again this year and went all in with 50 submissions from over my year of photographing all of my amazing clients.
This is the biggest contest that is held over the year with a jaw dropping 583, 150 entries this year. Photographers from all over the world enter every year and I am so excited that I had the opportunity to participate in it. The talent is amazing and I have learned so much from just looking at others work and knowing exactly where I want mine to be. We have just entered round 7 which means we are officially in the top 30% and I know I have at least 1 photo still in there floating around somewhere. SO Exciting!!
I went in with a full heart and a heavy hand on my decisions going back and forth adding and removing and re-adding selection after selection until I finally came to my final 50 choices. I chose photos that made me smile and laugh until I cried remembering every moment I spent photographing families, weddings, friends old and new.
I have loved every second of spending time with all of you, meeting you and finding new friendships. I chose photos that made my heart soar with memories and love and photos that made me feel all the feelings I have in me.
I truly want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for trusting me with your memories as you grow together, I couldn’t be happier that I got a chance to be part of it.
This year was the year for me, I entered 11 photos into the contest Shoot and Share and hit submit, all while cringing at the thought that other professionals around the globe would be criticizing and judging my work. Along with this contest I also took part in a travelling dress piece (you might remember the lovely little yellow dress I shot at the Edmonton Ice Castles last year), which was also a huge step for me as I don’t do very well with showing off my work, despite what you may think. I loved that concept so much I started my own travelling dress this year and a travelling skirt that are both making its way around Edmonton, Alberta and BC. Stay tuned for a blog post when the projects are all done!
Back to the contest though, I entered this contest thinking there was no way I would do well, I mean I only entered 11 photos out of the 50 max you could submit so really odds were already against me. I walked away thinking “wow there is so much talent in this world how can I channel that into my work? What do I need to do to get there?” I could have walked away thinking man I suck time to list my gear on Kijiji and sell it all, BUT I wanted to learn and grow from it. And grow I did.
I took what I saw and got to work. I completely changed my entire editing, shooting, mentality and pay structure on how I ran my business. I gave away a lot of shoots for free so I could learn. I sold off all my newborn posing gear. It was huge. And scary. I gave up all I knew and all I was comfortable with. I had some serious fails but overall my changes in my eyes were a major success. My editing process is exactly where I want it to be. I shoot a lot more of what I want to be shooting, not what I feel like I have to be shooting. That in itself makes me so much happier, shooting the things I love not that people say I should.
I guess bottom line of this post is – do what makes you happy and do it for you not everyone else. In case you were wondering, I had one of my eleven photos in last years contest end up in the top 30%. Not bad – but I want more.