Love is All Around / Engagement Session

 

Love, innocence, wisdom, humor… a few of the things I enjoy photographing. Several days ago I had a photo shoot where I got to capture “love”. This young couple are engaged and wanted some photos captured before their wedding. As soon as the session was booked, my creative juices started flowing. This is the perfect season to capture love with all the spring blossoms creating a beautiful backdrop. I envisioned those old movie scenes where two lovers ride a bike and fool around. I would be a perfect engagement photography theme.

To turn the vision on my head into reality, I needed a vintage bike with a basket, a treed pathway with spring blossoms, a good weather with no clouds and sunset time. As my couple has been working from home since the Covid 19 outbreak, date and time wasn’t a problem. The most difficult part was the Cherry blossoms. So we went with their timing avoiding stormy weather. Checking the blossoms and the weather everyday. On the other hand, I started looking for a vintage bike to borrow and I was lucky enough to find one in my neighbourhood just a block away. It’s nice to be surrounded with people who generously offer their help.  The bike was exactly what I was looking for. It even had a basket in the front!

On our day of shooting, we decided to do it just a couple hours before, based on the weather and blossom status. It requires a lot of effort and cooperation to put everything together for a fine photograph. I have plenty of passion that fuels me to go through all those due diligence and preparations.

Working with people who listens to you and cooperate during posing, makes a world of difference. As a photographer, you get to focus better on your job, pay more attention to little details and be more creative. My style is not imposing my ideas, but rather share them with my clients and see if they like it too. I do this during the planning stage of the session, way before the shooting day. In addition to the theme we agreed on, I also listen to their requests during the photo shoot and let them lead the way when we’re done with staged poses. I like that the bride-to-be brought a pair of high heels for some specific poses as it looks much more flattering with high heels. If we didn’t discuss the theme, mood and style before, she wouldn’t think of bringing a spare pair of shoes.

As we started our photo shoot right before sunset, we had opportunity to get some shots with the most beautiful light of the day making your skin glove with a warm hue. In the end, it was a fun session for everyone.

Here is some of the shots from that day. Click on images to view in high resolution.

Cake Smash In The Park

 

 

After a 2-month Corona virus lock down in Calgary, I had my first regular photography session last Friday. It was also my first outdoor cake smash session. Little McKenzie just turned 1 and her family wanted to celebrate this big milestone with a fun cake-smash. Since it is the most beautiful season of all, with the weather warmed up and trees turned to green, I wanted to give it a try and use the nature as my backdrop instead of paper or fabric backdrop and the sun as my main light instead of studio strobes. I was so excited. I started working with the color scheme based on the outfit mom wanted to use for cake smash. I prepared matching banners and made a whole new flower hoop which would go perfect with spring theme. I put together some other settings for different looks during the session. Even though it is a photo shoot with a focus on baby smashing and eating cake, to make it more versatile I always add different props to the scene before introducing the cake to the baby. In a park setting it is easier to change background by simply moving from one place to another. For an outdoor birthday session, I chose Edworthy Park and set up my studio at the meeting place before the clients arrive, so we could start as soon as they come. Babies at this age don’t stay up too long and get tired easily, so I don’t want to waste any of this valuable awake time.

I brought different outfits for each different settings.

First a fairy dress with a matching headband to go with the flower hoop. I used a big wooden bowl and some fluffy layer in it for baby to sit.

Second outfit was pink jumper to use with the pink-yellow decorated balloon basket. Third one was baby’s own cake smash outfit with a fluffy pink tutu skirt and a onesie that to be used with birthday garlands and cake.

I even prepared a fourth setting as a bonus if baby endures all three stages and still doing good, McKenzie succeeded to reach this bonus stage. Main prop for this setting was a white toddler size rocking chair with blue wool layer staged with some white/blue flowers in the back and a mini white lace umbrella attached to the chair.

Since this is a photo shoot conducted with Covid safety measures it was a touchless photo session, wearing a face mask.

As communicated with before, mom was going to be the main person to pose the child. So she followed my directions on where and how to place the baby, which way she should be looking, propping the feet so this cutest part of the baby can be seen in the photos.

The cake was made by grandma and brought to the site. As always, we started with non-cake poses. After the flower hoop and the balloon basket we switched to the most exciting stage of the session: Smashing the cake. 3 year old brother helped a lot at this stage, showing his sister how to smash the cake and letting her feed him cake and make her laugh so hard! After some rather serious looks, we finally were getting some big smiles and laughs. Cake’s sweet taste may have helped too.

At the end, we did some family poses and the bonus setting. Baby McKenzie did great throughout the session.

It was a very fun photoshoot for everyone. . Instead of sitting in the studio, we were enjoying outdoors in a picnic mood. Those cute 1 year old hands covered with cake icing will always be remembered with these photographs.

I loved this outdoor cake smash idea soo much that I want to do all my summer time cake smashes in the park as long as mom wants it too.

 

Here is some shots from this session. Click on images to view higher resolution.

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Porch-raits / A Novel Trend In Pandemic Times

What the heck is a porch-rait? It’s basically a portrait of the porch people tongue-out

During Coronavirus lock-down, a creative photographer came up with the idea of taking friends’ portraits from a distance, at their porches, windows or balconies. It has spread all around the world faster than the Corona virus itself. In this isolation time where we stop meeting with people, porch-raits has been a way of spreading positivity and cheer. Connecting with people through a fun photography project was a great idea that has gotten photographers out of their homes and put a smile on people’s faces. At the beginning I didn’t feel like doing it as it was still cold and snowy in Calgary but, when it started to get warmer, it turned into an attractive and fun thing to do.

I was drawn into the porch photo idea, also because I LOVE PORCHES.  Seriously, I love everything about porches. Doors, windows, stairs, pots, railings, plank floors and everything that goes along with it. When I’m walking on the streets the front porches of the houses always catch my eye. That pretty “home sweet home” feeling! When you add your family to this view, it completes the cozy home picture where we live, be loved and belong. There is no place like home!

So the last couple of weeks, I’m enjoying the spring in the air, going to different neighbourhoods, capturing beautiful smiles. Families cuddled on the front steps, giggling kids, pets, babies…♥♥♥

One of the lovely people I photographed told me that they just bought and moved in their new house right before the lock- down and this porch-rait of their family will be a beautiful memory of their first days in their new house.

I actually started thinking of making these sessions permenant minis especially for people who just bought their new house!

 

 

Tags: calgary family photographer, calgary family photography, Coronavirus, covid19, family mini session, family photo, family photographer, front steps project, home sweet home, isolation, porch photo, porch-rait, social distancing, professional photography service, outdoor family portraits, family pictures, family photos, family pictures on the porch, kids photography, children’s photography, porchraits, porch-traits

Corona Days: 9 Things You Can Do While You’re Stuck At Home

Ok, it wasn’t a happy start for a new year, thanks to Coronavirus. We can’t do our jobs, we can’t socialize or travel. We are all confined to our homes.

As a photographer, I had to cancel all my newborn sessions and studio shoots. It hurts not being able to do your job especially if it is also your passion. Cancelling everything when you are planning various photography projects, getting new props and ideas. cry

Anyway, it is real and it is here. We have to accept the situation and start working on “how to make the best use of this depressed lockdown time and get things done. I want to share a bunch of ideas that I come up with and start doing myself during this dormant period.

 

1. Start your garden!

Spring is here, it’s a good time to start flower and garden veggie seeds indoors as well as garden/yard clean-up. We have planted some tomatoes, sunflowers, basil and daisies in tiny starter kits. Looking forward to transplanting them to the community garden a few blocks away. It’s also a healthy leisure activity for kids to visit the garden once in a while to water and weed.

 

 

 

2. Online learning

This is a great opportunity for online learning on subjects related to your job or any skill you want to learn. Calgary Public library provides its members with free access to Lynda.com with tons of learning videos with exercise files you can download from their site. Here is the link to access Lynda.com through your library membership: https://calgarylibrary.ca/read-learn-and-explore/digital-library/lynda-com/ I use Lynda though our Roku device from the comfort of our living room couch, sipping my tea. Learning has never been this easy! 🙂

Calgary public library has lots of other online resources for kids and adults, I highly recommend to check it out.

 

3. Crafts

Yes, crafts that you always wanted to do but didn’t have time. It can be anything from watercolors to knitting, from wood working to robotics. YouTube is a great resource where you can find very specific how-to videos on almost any subject.

The last few weeks, I have been knitting like crazy and making newborn hat-wrap sets and cute headbands which comes in handy to stock some newborn photography props. I can’t wait to try them on my littlest models!

 

4. Basement clean-up

This is a perfect time to get rid of the clutter and turn your basement into a space you can use for different purposes. People are still using Kijiji to sell stuff, practicing social distancing when pick up stuff or just do porch pick up. I’ve been working on organizing my photography equipment and props in an IKEA Pax wardrobe in the basement and try to get rid of the items we don’t really use to make more space for my studio.

 

 5. Quality time with kids

It is a difficult time for everyone, especially for kids. You can set a time everyday to do something with kids, like boardgames, home schooling, outdoor play, crafts. Our favourite family board game was “Pandemic” until recently. It’s scary now!

 

6. Daily walks or biking around the neighbourhood

As a result of the Coronavirus lock-down or social distancing, we all became much more inactive. When you add eating out of boredom to it, it is not going anywhere good. It is fortunate that this pandemic coincided with good weather, so we can at least go out for fresh air and some activity. As a family we are walking around the neighbourhood everyday after breakfast. As the weather gets better, we will add more rounds to these short walks and biking.

 

 

 7. Organizing old photos

Organizing old photos and putting together family photo books is another thing we tend to procrastinate. After switching to digital world, we all compiled thousands of photos in our discs without revisiting, arranging or printing them with the comfort of knowing that we “have” them. It is as much difficult to browse through so many similar photos as it is easy to take them. Lock-down time is perfect to go back to old photos, delete the bad ones and organize the good ones in separate albums. On top of that getting a few photo books to share on the coffee table would be great! Online print places are still servicing.

 

 8. Small repairs around the house

Is the bathroom faucet leaking? is bedroom door squeaking? Are the felt pads under the furniture worn out and chairs are rubbing against the floor? Little malfunctions that annoy you everyday but never have time to fix. I accept It’s not fun, but this is the time!

 

 

 

 

 9. Free entertainment at home

It cannot be all about work of course. For entertainment and feeding our soul, we need music and arts. Here is a few online resource where you can access free concerts and shows:

For live music performances, you can go to https://nac-cna.ca/en/canadaperforms where Canadian musicians perform live on Facebook.

For theatre plays, UK’s National Theatre records their live plays at high definition quality and put on youtube which stays there for a week. A play for each week. You can find their schedule here: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/nt-at-home

For musical plays, check out Youtube channel The Shows Must Go On!  When they post a new video, it stays available for 48 hrs because of the rights restrictions. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdmPjhKMaXNNeCr1FjuMvag

For opera, you can go to New York Metropolitan Opera website as they are streaming HD video recordings of their live performances on their website with each performance available for a period of 23 hours. https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams/

If you are using Apple, Amazon, Roku devices or Samsung Smart TV you can watch the videos through the Met Opera on Demand app. To access them without logging in, click “Browse and Preview” in the apps for connected TV and you will see some of the videos are marked “free preview” on the corner.

Dim the lights and enjoy it!

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Valentines Day Contest

We did a photography session give away contest for Valentines day and we received great response! One of the contest rules was answering the question “where is your favourite spot in Calgary for outdoor photography” and the answers were varied. I must admit, there were places that I didn’t even hear before. I will be checking them this spring and discover new locations for my spring blossom sessions. It was so much fun to interact with people on a subject that connects us.  I want to share all of the answers here. I can’t wait to go and take beautiful photos!

 

  • Bowness Park (this one swept most of the votes)
  • Fishcreek Park (this was the second most popular)
  • Prince’s Island Park
  • Confederation Park
  • Edworthy Park
  • Baker Park
  • Riley Park
  • Shouldice Park
  • Nose Hill Park
  • Big Hill Springs
  • Birthplace forest and botanical gardens in Silversprings
  • Downtown/Stephen Avenue Walk
  • Peace Bridge
  • Carburn Park
  • East Village
  • Eau Claire
  • SAIT area
  • Inglewood bird sanctuary
  • Reader rock garden
  • Hamptons NW
  • Nikka Yuko Japenese Garden in Lethbridge
  • Banff
  • Public Library
  • Elliston Park
  • North Glenmore Park
  • Anywhere with blue sky (I love this one, easy to find in Calgary)
  • Anywhere with cherry blossoms in the spring
  • By the river
  • Near Didsbury
  • My own backyard 🙂

Tags: Alpina Photography, business portraits, calgary family photographer, calgary headshot photographer, calgary kids photographer, calgary newborn photographer, calgary photographer, calgary photography, environmental portraits, giveaway contest, Valentines Day, valentines day 2020, valentines day giveaway, valentines giveaway