When Jen and James first contacted me about doing lifestyle maternity and newborn photos for them they told me how much they loved the mountains and being outdoors so I wanted their photos to reflect that. I somehow convinced them to meet me in Canmore at sunrise on a very cold morning just as the snow was starting to fly. We had so much fun chasing their puppy Dane around to stay warm. Shortly after, they welcomed their beautiful baby boy Finn and I was lucky enough to capture some sweet moments of them as a new family of four. Their home was warm and woodsy, just like them and Finn was an absolute dream. These two were so laidback and comfortable in front of the camera and I love that their photos really reflect their chill vibe.
Rachel & Corey live in Southern California and hired me to shoot their intimate destination wedding in Banff last fall. Check out the link to see their beautiful mountain wedding https://www.rockymountainbride.com/blog/banff-tunnel-mountain-intimate-wedding/
I was planning a girls trip to LA in the spring and reached out to see if they’d want to meet up when they told me they were expecting a baby! Obviously I insisted on doing a maternity session with them. The girls and I had a pretty jam packed weekend planned so the only time I was free was super early in the morning. They drove and hour and a half, picked me up from my hotel at the crack of dawn and we wandered around the LA County Museum of Art. It was the perfect sunny California morning and because it was so early we had the entire place to ourselves. I’m so glad that I was able to meet up with them and capture this special time for them. The best thing about building awesome relationships with my wedding couples is getting to watch them become parents as well. They’ve since welcomed the most perfect baby boy. I guess I need to plan another girls trip so that I can meet him and do a family session.
During a speech by the bride at one of my recent weddings she said something that really resonated with me. “I’m so happy that today has finally come and I’m so happy that I never have to do this again. Planning this wedding was the most stressful thing I’ve ever done.” Ask any recently married couple and I’m sure they’ll agree, wedding planning ain’t easy. Well guess what? Wedding planning and your wedding day don’t need to be filled with stress. Here’s a few tips to make the whole process a little more chill.
do you boo
As soon as you start wedding planning you’ll be bombarded by opinions. Your mom thinks you need to invite all 30 of your cousins, your dad wants to do a million family photos, your girlfriends think that they all need to be bridesmaids. Its a lot, and trying to do everything that everyone else thinks you should do will just lead to a bunch of stress and end up turning your day into the opposite of what you envisioned. The only opinion that matters when you’re making all of those planning decisions is your future husband’s. There are no wedding “rules” anymore and you can design your day exactly as you both want. You can politely tell everyone else to take a hike.
keep it small
I’ve been to a LOT of weddings. Like close to 70. And something I’ve never heard a bride or groom say after the fact is “ I wish we invited more people and spent more money”. The common thing I hear from past couples is that they wish they had invited less people. The more guests you include in your day the more it becomes about them and the less it is about you and your husband-to-be. A rule that my husband and I made when we were creating the guest list for our wedding is that if we wouldn’t invite somebody over to our home for dinner then they probably didn’t need to be a part of our wedding. The same goes for wedding parties. Trust me, your friends will totally get it if you don’t ask them all (or any of them) to be in your wedding party. They can still be involved in other ways like all of the festivities leading up to the wedding, getting ready or take on the role of an usher or mc. The more people you have in your wedding party the longer you will spend getting ready and doing photos and the less time you’ll get to spend with your partner and guests. True story, I once shot a wedding where the bride was late because her maid of honour was having a meltdown about her hair and the bride had to help her redo it. That’s not a chill vibe.
hire a team of experienced vendors
I’m a firm believer in the philosophy that you get what you pay for. If you’re opting to spend the money on vendors for your wedding then you want to make sure that you’re hiring a team that knows exactly what they’re doing. The more things that you can take off of your To Do List then the less stress you’ll have during the planning process and more importantly on the day of. If you know that every aspect of the day is being handled by a pro you’ll truly be able to relax and be present . If you haven’t considered having a wedding planner or day of coordinator I can’t tell you enough how much better your wedding day will be if you hire one! Having someone to oversee everything and make sure the day is flowing smoothly is worth every single penny. Also, hiring people to deal with set up and tear down is such a great investment. Even though your family and friends say they’d love to help you clean up the next day, they most certainly do not. Trust me, I’ve been roped into this and there’s nothing worse than going back to clean up the dance floor with a raging hangover. True story, my husband and I were so tired and hungover the day after our wedding that we abandoned all of our wedding decor that I had planned to sell at the dumpster behind the venue because I just couldn’t deal. Here’s a link to my post of local vendor recommendations
choose the right venue
Choosing a venue can be one of the hardest aspects of wedding planning. Having to hire a caterer or worry about how your guests will get home or building a dance floor can all lead to many other stressful decisions. Choosing a venue that’s right for you and what you’re envisioning will definitely ease some of those decisions. I love shooting at restaurants. Choose one that already has amazing decor and great food and you’re basically good to go. Also, if its located within the city then you don’t have to worry about transportation. Another great idea is choosing a dedicated wedding venue that is kind of like a one stop shop. There’s one that even has flowers and an officiant included in their package, win!
spend more time together
I think one of the things that contributes to a stressful day is not being with your person. You’re marrying your teammate and not being together to deal with any issues that come up together can be very stressful. Some of the most chill days that I’ve been a part of were when the bride and groom spent their day together. Its such a weird concept to me that its your day but you traditionally spend a majority of it apart from each other. Break the rules guys! Spend the night before getting a couples massage in your room, have breakfast and a mimosa together, get ready together, do a first look early in the day.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Shit happens yo. Unfortunately you can’t control everything. It might rain, it might snow, your wedding may have to be moved inside. Guess what, it doesn’t matter. Some of my favourite weddings were in the rain or snow and they turned out perfectly. Your sister bought white candles instead of cream, you forgot your earrings, the flowers aren’t the perfect shade of blush - doesn’t matter. At some point you just have to let go of the things that didn’t get done or that aren’t perfect and roll with it. Trust me, your guests wont notice and neither will you. This is another reason to hire experienced vendors as well, if there’s a fire to be put out they’ll deal with it quickly and calmly before you even notice.
So, take a deep breath, go to a yoga class and try to enjoy the planning process. Namaste!
Rachel & Kyle’s wedding at High Country Tree Farm in Sorrento, BC was the first wedding of my busy summer wedding season. I was born and raised in Kamloops and spent a lot of summers at the Shuswap as a kid so it was such a treat to go back and photograph a wedding there. Most of Rachel and Kyle’s guests travelled from all over BC and Alberta so it was kind of like a destination wedding for them. They had a ton of games and activities to keep their guests happy and it was such a fun, relaxed day. Rachel’s dad performed the ceremony which was really sweet and emotional and we ended the day with a sunset stroll around the property for photos.
I can’t rave enough about how beautiful this venue is. Everywhere I turned was a another gorgeous photo op. Its run by the sweetest mother/ daughter duo and you can tell from all of their thoughtful details that they just love hosting weddings on their stunning property. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to start my summer season!
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.
The Bridal Boutique on Elbow Drive has some show stoping gowns and should definitely be on your list of places to visit. A few of my brides this season have worn dresses from there and they were all gorgeous.
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.
Flowers by Janie has a sophisticated, romantic style. They are available for city weddings and even willing to work with out of town couples.
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.
Top Knot Brides are so good at what they do and amazing to work with. I’ve worked with them a few times this season and they kill it every time.
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 day 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!
Beyond The Proposal are so awesome to work with. They will take all the wedding planning stress out of your day so that you can be present and soak it all in.
Jacqueline Ray is so good at what she does. This lady will have your wedding running smoothly and looking amazing, with a smile on her face.
Smitten Weddings are an awesome team to work with. I recently worked with them during a very stressful wedding day filled with bad weather and a few other potential problems and they totally handled it like a boss.
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.
Kassidy Collins is new to wedding videography but has been doing videography for a long time. I recently worked with him and he was awesome to deal with and I cant wait to see what he captured email@example.com
Ok trust me on this one, I’ve been to A LOT of weddings and the music can make or break your day. Want to save money by playing your ipod? Don’t do it! Your cousins best friend is a dj on the side? Fail! Bad wedding music can totally kill your party.
Local DJ are hands down the best I’ve worked with. They played awesome, non-cheesy tunes all night, were organized and professional and knew exactly what they were doing. Matt was my favourite but any of their dj’s will do an amazing job.
Pez Productions have been in the wedding industry for along time and know exactly what it takes to get the dance floor going. they’ll show up with lights and even a smoke machine if you want.
They’re basically the main reason that you’re even having a wedding right? Choosing the right officiant for your ceremony is so important. I’ve had an officiant call the bride by the wrong name 4 times during the ceremony, talk about buzzkill. When I first started shooting weddings I thought officiants were all old men in terrible brown suits with ear hair but that’s actually not the case. I’ve worked with some amazing officiants that will get to know you as a couple and personalize your ceremony to get those waterworks flowing.
Young Hip and Married I’ve worked with these guys many times and they absolutely kill it every time. They live up to their name as being someone that will feel like on of your guests as opposed to your weird great uncle. Definitely recommend!
Vows by Judy Judy is such a breath of fresh air and is the sweetest person to work with. She will meet with you to get to know you as a couple and create some beautiful, meaningful words for you and your guests.
Tamara Jones is awesome to work with and such a professional. She’ll make sure that your ceremony is exactly as you’ve always imagined it.
Urban Officiant I recently worked with Levi and he was amazing. The guests were raving after the ceremony about how awesome it was which is definitely not always the case.
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!