I was so excited when Carissa contacted me to shoot her cozy, intimate maternity session. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of options for cozy locations in Calgary in the middle of January. We scoured Air Bnb and found this gem of a rental that looks and feels like a treehouse in the middle of the city. From the beginning we knew that we wanted to create something with lots of colour to combat the dull winter hues outside. Carissa is a florist so I knew that she would go all out with the florals and I’m so glad that she did. This is Carissa’s third babe so she really wanted to celebrate this pregnancy with some beautiful photos. The date of our shoot also happened to fall on her and husband’s anniversary so they left their littles and home and turned it into a relaxing staycation. I love how warm and relaxed the photos feel, you can barely tell it was -40 outside.
Amanda and Jeff’s wedding is this August at Deane House in Calgary. Since their wedding photos will have a summery, city backdrop I was super excited when they suggested Fish Creek Park for their fall engagement session. September has always been one of my favourite months. I love the slower pace and shorter days after the hustle and bustle of summer. Also, the colours are so vibrant and warm.
Amanda was the ultimate boho babe in her gorgeous dress. I love when my clients put extra time and effort into choosing their outfits. Its not everyday that you have the chance to get dressed up and have professional photos taken so you should definitely make sure that you look and feel your best.
We had such a fun evening together playing in the gorgeous meadows at Fish Creek Park with their sweet puppy Gus. It wasn’t until the end of our session that Jeff casually mentioned that he had food poisoning and had been deathly ill for the last twenty-four hours but toughed it out for their session. What a champ! If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
Janelle and Pierre’s Calgary wedding at Meadow Muse was one of my favourites of the season. From the beginning they had a very clear vision of what they wanted their day and their photos to look like. They wanted photos that were timeless and classic, filled with emotion and all of those candid moments. They totally trusted me and I worked closely with them to create a relaxed timeline that would allow for lots of fun moments and plenty of time to enjoy their day together. One of the things that I talk to my couples about in our consultations and throughout the planning process is that in order capture all of those fun candid moments they need to have a relaxed, stress-free timeline to allow them to unfold.
Janelle and Pierre love the classic feel of black and white and wanted the majority of their photos to reflect that. This was music to my ears. I also love the look of black and white and how much emotion they convey.
Janelle and Pierre chose to have their ceremony and reception at beautiful Meadow Muse Pavilion in Fish Creek Park. The white walls and clear sides of the Pavilion allow for gorgeous lighting and a blank canvas to decorate it to totally fit your wedding vibe. The surrounding grassy meadows are the perfect backdrop for photos and I kept saying that it felt like we were in South Africa an not the middle of Calgary. We even saw some deer in the field when we snuck out for our sunset portraits. Another thing that I also recommend to my couples is sneaking out for a few minutes before sunset to catch the last of that golden light and to enjoy a quiet minute together before they hit the d floor. And these two hit the d floor HARD!
See Janelle & Pierre’s East Village Engagement session here https://mintphoto.squarespace.com/lisapateyblogspotca/2018/4/6/calgary-engagement-photographer-east-village-engagement-session
Dress from Blush and Raven
Designer Marina Semone
Venue Meadow Muse
As a photographer in Calgary I am pretty spoiled with the Rocky Mountains in my backyard but still one of my favourite places for maternity sessions is at home. I love how relaxed you can be in the comfort of home, especially in the middle of winter. It was -25 outside the day of our shoot, not ideal weather for showing off a growing belly.
What I love about being a maternity photographer is being able to document a woman’s transition into motherhood. Each pregnancy is so different from start to finish and I’m honoured to be able to freeze a little moment in time for her to look back on when her babies are grown.
If you’e expecting and have been considering planning a maternity session I recommend doing your photos at around seven months. At that point the initial fatigue and sickness of the first trimester is usually a distant memory and your belly is growing big and beautiful without the joys of swollen feet that tend to make an appearance later on. We can get as intimate or adventurous as you’d like. Your session should be personal to you and your story and I would love to help tell it.
If you’ve booked your family photo session or have been considering booking one but are feeling a bit intimidated I’m here to help! I have been a family photographer in Calgary and Vancouver for 5 years and would love to share some of my experiences with you.
My first piece of advice is to research your photographer. This may seem obvious but you should choose a photographer that has the editing and posing style that you’e attracted to. If you don’t love the photos in your photographer’s profile then you probably won’t love yours when you get them back. If you love a light, airy style that is posed with everyone smiling at the camera then I’m probably not your girl. I like to keep it real. Those in between, everyday moments are my favourite to capture. I love the chaos and messiness of having kids and believe that when yours are grown you’ll cherish those photos of them tickling each other or pouting in the corner more than you will a contrived photo of everyone fake smiling at the camera.
My second piece of advice is to just relax and have fun at your session. If you’re stressed out trying to get your kids to behave or nagging at your spouse to fix his shirt then that’s what I will be taking photos of. Its my job as your photographer to straighten everyone’s outfit and make your kids laugh. I’m a mama of two so I know how it goes. Kids are adorable no matter what they’re doing so just make sure that you’re looking your best and have a smile on your face and I’ll take care of the rest. They might freak out or hide their face from the camera and that’s ok. I’ve seen it all. Kids are my jam. I think I’ve watched every episode of Paw Patrol so I definitely have something to chat about that will get them to open up. Also, the promise of a treat after always seems to work. No judgement here, bribe them with something special. They also feed off of your vibe so if you’re nervous or uptight then they feel that as well. The more that you’re interacting with each other as opposed to me the better your photos will be. I’ll give you some cues to make the whole family feel comfortable. To avoid a meltdown make sure that everyone is fed before your session. Also, when we’re scheduling your session take into account naptime and bedtime. If your little one usually naps in the afternoon then an afternoon session is probably not a good idea.
My third piece of advice is to put some time and effort into choosing the whole family’s outfits. Again, this might seem obvious but I’ve literally had a dad show up in sweats and a ripped tee while his wife was in a dress and kids had bow ties on. You’re investing your hard earned money in hiring me to take your photos so you want to make sure that you’re looking your best. If you’re not loving your outfit then you won’t love it anymore when you see it in photos. This doesn’t mean that you have to get fancy but you should consider that everyone is wearing complimentary colours and patterns and that everyone feels comfortable with what they’re wearing. If you had to force your kinds into an itchy sweater or shoes that are a size too small you can guarantee some whining. I always tell my clients no active wear (I’m taking to you Sweatpant Dad!), no logos (in my opinion logos cheapen your look and also take the focus away from your beautiful faces). In the winter when the landscape is neutral I suggest vibrant jewel tones to make you and your family pop and in spring, summer and fall when the landscape is more colourful I suggest neutrals to make you stand out. When you book your session I always include a link to a Pinterest inspiration board to help you plan your outfits.
Now that you look amazing and are having a blast with your sweet family the photos will be awesome!
Since moving to Calgary I’ve been dying to shoot a farm wedding. So I was super excited when Lindsey and Dustin hired me to capture their gorgeous wedding at The Gathered Farm. This venue is such a hidden gem. They make all of their own delicious food, most of it coming from their own garden in the summer months. They even have a late night donut stand complete with your choice of homemade fillings. Any wedding that includes donuts is my kind of wedding!
Lindsey and Dustin’s day was also filled with a million of those genuine, candid moments that I love to capture. Their family was such an important part of their day and they planned a relaxed timeline that allowed them to spend lots of time with their friends, family and each other. I always encourage couples to see each other as early in the day as possible. The more time that they’re able to spend together laughing and having fun the more awesome candid photos I’m able to take.
This day was also a lesson in trusting your photographer. Lindsey and Dustin had planned for a first look outdoors when a sudden, unplanned rainstorm derailed our plans. I was left scrambling trying to come up with another option. When I asked them “Do you trust me?” they both responded with a yes. They didn’t even question me when I lead them to the Superstore parking lot and reassured them that it would be awesome. Check out the photos below to see how it all turned out.
Congratufreakinglations, you’re engaged! Now what?
Chances are this is probably your first time planning a wedding and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. I’ve worked with so many talented vendors in Calgary and the Rocky Mountains and I’d like to share them with you. Assembling a team of experienced vendors to help bring your vision to life will make the planning process stress-free and make sure that your day flows smoothly.
First things first. All those wedding “rules” that your mom told you, you’ve read about and seen in every romantic comedy, forget about them. Wedding rules don’t exist anymore. Your day should be a reflection of you, your partner and your love for each other. Most weddings have a budget but you don’t need to break the bank to have the beautiful, unique wedding day of your dreams. My philosophy is that you should decide which aspects of your wedding day are the most important to you (cough, cough photos) and spend your money on those. If something isn’t meaningful to you both then it isn’t worth spending your money on.
I have a personal relationship with all of the vendors below and am lucky to call some of them my friends. I’ve worked with them on many weddings and they are so good at what they do!
Dress shopping is basically the reason girls get married right?
Blush & Raven in Calgary is one of my absolute faves. I’ve worked with them on many occasions and these ladies know how to treat a girl right. Their store is beautiful and they carry so many amazing lines. I definitely recommend making an appointment with them to find your dream dress.
Pearl and Dot is another Calgary favourite of mine. They have a beautiful space and only book one appointment at a time so you and your bride tribe will have their undivided attention.
Lovenote is a brand new store that just opened in Inglewood. They carry a bunch of amazing brands as well as my favorite bridesmaid dresses by Park & Fifth Co. The store is a stunning minimalistic space and definitely worth checking out with your ladies.
Dress from Blush & Raven, HMUA Sydney Janzen, Bouquet by Black Earth Floral
Black Earth Floral Gallery is one of my favourite Calgary florists. The owner Karla has a modern, edgy aesthetic and will definitely create a masterpiece for you. I also highly recommend stopping in and checking out her beautiful store.
Fall For Florals have an elegant, romantic style and are a pleasure to work with. Their colour palette is to die for. These ladies will help bring your vision to life.
Chickweed Cottage has a natural, organic style that would definitely suit some of the beautiful rustic venues in Calgary and the Rockies.
Wild Magnolia Floral are a husband and wife team that are awesome to work with. They love whimsical, timeless designs.
Willow Flower Co is located in Canmore and serves the Rockies. They are so awesome to work with and their designs are always stunning.
Sydney Janzen does both hair and makeup. She has a fresh, natural style that will highlight your natural beauty.
Something Borrowed Beauty does both hair and makeup. They are available for travel throughout Alberta, BC and the Prairies. I have worked with these ladies many times and they always do an amazing job.
Orange Trunk Vintage Styling and Rentals has the most gorgeous collection of pieces that will transform your wedding into something magazine worthy. Once you start looking through the inventory you won’t be able to stop. I highly recommend getting in touch with them to find that special something to take your decor to the next level.
Planning by Something New Banff, Florals by Willow Flower Co. , Cake from Kakes by Darci, Venue The Bison Restaurant in Banff, Ab
Something New Banff are Rocky Mountain planners that I’ve worked with in the past. They will totally take the stress out of planning so that you can just show up and get married. I highly recommend using a planner or da of coordinator, especially if you’re planning a destination wedding.
Coco and Ash are Calgary based planners with a stunning portfolio. If you’re felling overwhelmed about planning or have some epic ideas that you want brought to life Chelsea is your girl!
Parfait Productions is a Calgary videographer team that will create the most beautiful cinematic experience of your wedding. Their work is absolutely stunning.
Ritz Photo & Film is based in Calgary and recently started offering video. Sophia is a friend of mine and just the sweetest person.
I’m so excited to share Janelle & Pierre’s gorgeous East Village engagement session... They both showed up looking amazing, with an open mind and even let me convince them to dance in the middle of the street. I'm so happy with they way their session turned out and I can't wait to create more magic with them on their wedding day! They've also recently created a personal blog on Instagram with lots of amazing style, food and lifestyle tips. Check out the link below.
Janelle and Pierre are basically my dream clients. Not because they are basically models and have the best chemistry in front of the lens but because they hired me based on my style and work. I think people often choose their photographer based on budget and availability not necessarily because they love their work. When I was first starting out I definitely took on a few weddings where the couple hired me because I had their date open and fit within their price range and I feel like they weren't 100% satisfied with their photos because my style wasn't what they were looking for. I've actually gone to client meetings where the couple hasn't even looked at my website and are meeting with multiple other photographers with completely different styles.
At my initial consultation with Janelle & Pierre they had a list of photos from my website that they loved as well as a clear vision of what style they were looking for. When making such a big investment on something that will last a lifetime you should be absolutely certain that you will be getting exactly what you want. Doing your research and finding the photographer that not only has the style of photos that you love but will also be a good match for your personalities is SO important. I now make sure to meet every one of my couples in person or over FaceTime before we commit to each other. How awful would it be to have to spend the most important day of your life with a photographer that just didn't mesh with you both? The same goes for me, I know that my style is not what everyone is looking for and as I've gotten more confident in my style and ability I'm not afraid to tell couples that I don't think I am the right photographer for them and refer them to somebody that I think will be better suited to them.
As soon as I met Alison and Hunter for our first coffee I knew that I was going to love their winter wedding at The Lake House. They really wanted to do things differently and keep the planning process and simple and carefree as possible. Instead of going the traditional route they planned an intimate brunch wedding at the Lake House for their close friends and family. The officiant quoted Bob Marley, their guests sipped mimosas and we did their portraits on the deck because it was snowing so hard. The day was as relaxed and mellow as this sweet couple and I couldn't have chosen a more perfect wedding to be my first official Calgary wedding!
The good thing about moving to Calgary is all of the amazing new areas to explore! I've been dragging my family and my camera out at every opportunity to scout out all often hidden gems that my new city has to offer. We went for a stroll through Nose Hill Park one weekend and I knew that I had to shoot there. I had a little giveaway on my Instagram for a complimentary maternity session and Madison was the lucky winner. She was such a trooper slipping and sliding through the snow on a super cold fall day. It was all worth it though, I'm so happy with how beautiful our session turned out. I hope that I was able to capture some beautiful images for her to remember her pregnancy one day. She is one stunning mama and I'm so glad that we were able to connect. She has since welcomed the sweetest little baby girl!
Kady & Jamie's boho Shylynn Ranch wedding was my first wedding of 2017 and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect one to start my season.
In the week leading up to their wedding my husband and I packed up our North Vancouver condo and began our journey to Calgary with our toddler and newborn in tow. To say it was a busy and stressful time for us is putting it mildly. We packed our moving truck knowing that we would not see our stuff for the rest of the summer as we planned to couch surf until we could move into our new home in Calgary. Trying to jam all of the things that 2 adults, a toddler and newborn need for 2 months into a Subaru Forester is not an easy task let me tell you.
Kady and Jamie are best friends of ours and Jamie actually introduced me to my husband and was the Best Man at our wedding. I was thrilled when they asked me to be their photographer. Having shot a few friends' weddings I knew that I would be making a few sacrifices choosing to "work" instead of just be a guest. But I knew their day was going to be amazing and being their photographer actually allowed me to be more involved. At the time they chose their wedding date we did not yet know that we would be moving to Calgary so it was a total fluke that their wedding coincided with our move. The fact that we were on our way to spend the weekend with our best friends definitely made drive away from our first home together a little bit easier.
Knowing these two, their wedding party and most of their guests I knew the day was going to be filled with fun and laughter and it did not disappoint! Their sweet dog Sam walked her dad down the aisle and stole the show as she begged for someone to throw her ball during their vows. Kady planned and created all the decor herself with the help of Jamie and friends and family. Check out the backdrop for the head table, I'm still obsessed with it! Her cousin and Aunt did all the flowers which were absolutely stunning and her dad managed the popcorn bar. Their guests partied the night away in the beautiful barn to the sounds of a live band and were treated to a surprise (forbidden) late night fireworks display.
With a new baby at home and toddler to chase around everyday I don't have a lot of time for passion projects lately. However, this is something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I partnered with my friend Hilary who started Wild & Tiny mom group to give away a mini session to one lucky mama. If you aren't already, make sure you start following Wild & Tiny on all of their awesome adventures around Vancouver led by Hilary. You'll likely recognize her from my blog and the many shoots I've done with her and her family.
I don't do many family photos anymore but something I notice is that no matter how relaxed and casual I keep things families show up frazzled and frustrated after fighting to get their little ones dressed and out the door and begging and bribing them to "smile at the camera". Don't get me wrong, everyone has fun and we get beautiful photos of everyone smiling at the camera to frame for Grandma and Grandpa but this time I wanted to do something different. As a mom I know how easy it is to get caught up in the rat race of diapers and naps and swimming lessons. Before you know it another stage has passed undocumented except for a few iPhone snaps, likely with mom behind the camera. I wanted to create a calm, loving environment for moms to hang out and interact with their babes and get in front of the lens.
All of the photos came out really beautiful and the sessions were calm and loving, exactly as I envisioned. I was so excited to share them with all of the sweet mamas. Unfortunately not all of the feedback was positive. I received a couple of comments like "Thank you so much for the photos but do you have any more of us looking at the camera and not at each other?" and "I love the ones of my baby but I look terrible." This broke my heart. It wasn't the negative feedback that made me sad but the fact that we are so hard on ourselves. Motherhood is not perfect, its messy, its exhausting. I'm lucky if I get to wash my hair twice in one week, my kids sometimes wear the same outfit two days in a row. We have this constant pressure from social media to live this flawless life and unfortunately thats just not reality. Nobody cares if your house is a disaster, your kids are in their pjs at noon and they're eating Cheerios instead of homemade, gluten free granola. Nobody. When your kids are 40 and looking through photos of the two of you together they are not going to notice that your skin looks bad or that your eyes look tired. So kiss their dirty faces, sit back and sip your cold coffee and savour every single moment. And get somebody to take a damn photo!
Beautiful flower arrangement provided by Special Moments Flowers and Gifts in North Van. They have the cutest little shop, pop by and say hi!
I've had the pleasure of photographing this beautiful couple a few times over the last couple of years so I was super excited when they contacted me about an at home session in their newly renovated home. Although I love at home sessions, they can be really hit or miss depending on lighting and decor. I had no doubt that this one would be gorgeous. Mish has amazing style and always has a great vision for our sessions and this time was no different. I guarantee you'll want to move in with them after seeing how pretty their new home is!
Two of my closest friends are getting married this August in Kelowna and I'm so excited that they chose me to be their photographer! I always struggle with the decision to photograph friends' or family member's weddings because I don't want to miss out on anything and want to be in the moment and enjoy their beautiful day. In the end, I always end up saying yes. Being behind the camera allows me to be an even bigger part of their day and witness so many amazing moments that I wouldn't even know were happening if I was there just as a guest. I also find that I end up creating some of my best work when its for friends because we are all so comfortable together and I'm so invested in making sure they have absolutely amazing photos. The only downside is that it usually takes me twice as long to edit the photos because I'm so in love with every image and they all hold so many special memories for me. Mal & Jess, I can't wait for your special day!
I'm so in love with this romantic indoor maternity shoot! My beautiful friend was absolutely glowing throughout her pregnancy and I'm happy I was able to capture that for her. Flower crowns get me every single time and this stunner from Celsia Floral did not disappoint. As much as I enjoy shooting outdoors with beautiful sweeping backdrops this cozy indoor shoot really allowed us to focus on the shape of her gorgeous belly.