Picture Day At Akidemy Preschool

Calgary Preschool Photos

Picture Day At Akidemy Preschool

 

Today, I would like to share with you my photo day experience at Akidemy Preschool in Calgary and a few tips and tricks about how I photograph little kids and how I retouch those photos.

Starting out as a baby and kid’s photographer, children has always been my most favorite subject of photography. They are full of fun and energy. They look so adorable in their special photo day clothes and hairstyles! I feel like I’m shooting for ZARA kids catalogue. Those school photos can actually be used for modeling agencies, ha ha.

Once again, I was at Akidemy Preschool for student portraits. This time we decided to do it in the spring instead of fall, as the kids get better acclimated to the school and feel more comfortable on the photo day.

Whenever I come to Akidemy Preschool, I just want to be a kid again and dive into those activity tables with tons of different toys, fun materials and supplies laid on them. At Akidemy, they have such an adorable space tastefully decorated with natural wood furniture and pastel colours all around. Such an amazing place with safe, sterile and fun environment. If they opened this school 10 years ago, it was a no brainer to send my kids to Akidemy. Those days are gone and I am not a preschool parent anymore, but I am now a preschool photographer.

The preschool has a nice backyard with some trees, so I used this space to have a nature background in kids’ portraits. When the weather was cool or rainy, we stayed inside and took advantage of the pretty wallpaper they have on the school walls.

 

Tips and tricks to get a good smile

People often ask me how I manage to capture such good looking photos of kids. First thing first, you must break the ice with the kids and show your friendly face. This is most probably their first time getting in front of a professional photographer; at least the first they can remember. After spending quite a long time with kids photography, I came up with some tricks to get cute and natural looks from young kids during the photo shoot. One of them is giving the kids some objects like maracas, basketball, flowers or plush toys so they have something to hold in their hands, making them focus and keep busy. For example they love shaking maracas and this makes them smile. As soon as they hold the plush bunnies or kitties, they hug them or start pretend playing. These props are also great conversation starter. When the kids join in the tittle-tattle, they forget about being shy posing in front of a camera. For preschool photos, my target is first getting the typical or natural look of the child and then capture a variety of different expressions that parents would love to remember after years.

Some kids are not a chatterbox, so to encourage them for a conversation, I ask questions about their brothers or sisters, birthdays or what they will ask from Santa this year. When they start talking, I continuously click on my shutter button to capture some cute talking faces. When they are focused on the story they are telling you, they look quite like themselves, using their authentic facial expressions, instead of giving you fake smiles.

Some kids are hyper and can’t just stand still during the photo shoot. When I spot hyper kids, I encourage them to be active and ask them to jump as high as they can or reach for the sky. In the heat of the action, their facial expressions and body language can add excitement to the shot. I allow the child to be creative and try different jumping poses or styles. Sometimes their own ideas can lead to unique and memorable photos.

Another tip is using music at the photo session. I made a custom Spotify playlist that I use for preschool photo shoots. You know, baby shark, wheels on the bus or B-I-N-G-O, all those top tracks from preschool world. 😊 These familiar tunes make kids comfortable and cooperate better during the photo shoot.

The key point is to connect with the child and start a communication. When they see you as a friend, they trust you and relax. When they relax, they look natural and happy in their photos. Most of the time, parents are quite surprised when they receive their online proof gallery and see how capable their kids are when it comes to posing.

 

Editing is important

As a portrait photographer, I am often asked by my clients to touch up their wrinkles, double chin, white hair or flatten their tummies. When my subjects are 3-4 year olds, they don’t need any of those touch ups but they need others like editing out the goo around nose, a last minute bruise, stains on the dress… It doesn’t matter how beautifully their mom dressed them on the photo day, how pretty they fixed their hair, this all can change until the photo time. They can get cheerios in their hair, playdoh on their nose, their shirt collar may be folded inside, their cheeks may be marked with a pen. 😊 In my opinion it is also hilarious to take their photo with playdoh on their face, but I guess most parents would like a clean photo, ha ha. So first thing before photographing a kid, I take a look at the child to make sure everything looks good and try to fix anything fixable. Even so, you may end up with unwanted looks on your portraits, because high-end professional cameras can capture the littlest flaws you normally don’t see with your own eyes, such as dry skin, a tiny mucus in the nose or sleep crusts on the corner of the eyes or food crumbs around the mouth left from snack time. At Alpina Photography, my clients do not need to worry about any of these, as I do detailed retouching on kids portraits just like my business headshots. In the end, they take home beautiful, frame worthy portraits they proudly display on their house walls.

 

Sibling photos

Preschool photo-shoots can be a great opportunity for some sibling photos. So at Alpina Photography I offer sibling photos for the preschool kids who have sisters or brothers. This is a great option for the parents who would like a quick portrait of their kids together to send to grandma. Capturing sibling photos while they hug, kiss, or play together can indeed be a priceless and heartwarming experience. Basically, the families bring their children to the preschool with them on the photo day and I give them priority so they can leave as soon as their sibling photos are taken. You can check our preschool portrates page to learn more about Alpina Photography’s preschool photos offering.

 

A few words on candid photos

All moms and dads know how kids hate to stand still to pose for a photo. The best way to get beautiful and genuine photos of your kids is capturing the moments as they naturally occur. Avoid forcing poses or expressions; the genuine moments are often the most precious. Be patient and ready to capture spontaneous moments. Interact with the child and encourage them to play or engage in an activity they enjoy. This can help you capture their authentic expressions and reactions.

Enable continuous shooting or burst mode on your camera to capture a series of shots in quick succession. This can help you catch that perfect moment when the child’s expression is just right.

If the child is shy or easily distracted by the camera, use a zoom or telephoto lens to capture candid shots from a distance without intruding on their space.

If you like to capture some great memories with your kids you can check out our kids and family sessions here.

https://www.alpinaphotography.com/kids-sessions

https://www.alpinaphotography.com/family-sessions

 

Here is a link to Akidemy Preschool website for the ones who live in Calgary and would like to know more about this amazing preschool. www.akidemy.ca

Mother’s Day Photo Sessions

mother's day photo

Mother’s Day Photo Sessions – The best mother’s day gift ever

Camera is one of most magical inventions in history that gives us the power to freeze the time. Our life is like a compilation of millions of different moments in time. We don’t remember each and every moment, but we clearly remember the ones we photograph. We can even say that photography creates memories for us, which otherwise will be forgotten.

As a Calgary photographer, my mission is help creating memories for families before the time flies away.

When we become a mom or dad, we get lost in the busy pace of parent life and forget about the connection with our own moms. We are still their babies, and they are still our moms.

As our moms grow older, it becomes increasingly important to cherish the time we have left with them.

Take the time to connect with your mom, listen to her stories, share your own, take a trip down memory lane, do something fun together, take care of her. They have a place in our hearts that can never be filled by anything else. Celebrate your mom and all that she’s done for you. Throw her a surprise party, cook her favorite meal, or simply tell her how much she means to you. Sometimes we can’t express our love in words. Celebrating your mom or giving her a special gift will help her to feel appreciated and loved.

 

A Special Gift for Mother’s Day 2023

With mother’s day coming up, most of us are thinking of a different present to give them this year. Not like fulfilling your annual duty. Something special that you don’t gift just anyone. If you are in Calgary, I got you covered! A photography session is a great way to celebrate your mom. It’s a chance to make her feel special and appreciated. It’s a way to say thank you for all that she’s done for you and to remind them how much they mean to you. A gift that would be a treasure to look back on in the future.

When was the last time you had your photo taken with your mom? Months ago? Years ago? Let this one be a special photoshoot with a touch of a professional photographer. Many of my clients tell me that it was their first ever photo session with their family. This was once an old family tradition to go to a photography studio and get a professional photo done. As the point and shoot cameras had become more common, this tradition is almost forgotten. Then, cell phones with cameras came in our lives. Now we take photos of every moment with our cell phones, but it’s more sloppy and less artistic and we are not in most of those photos.

Lately getting professional photo services is once again becoming popular as people understand the value that comes with hiring a professional photographer.

Professional photographers have experience capturing special moments, posing subjects, and working in different lighting conditions. They can make you feel comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera, and can capture beautiful photos that you will treasure for a lifetime .

 

Mother’s day photo sessions by Alpina Photography

I love taking photos of moms and their children as I get to capture one of the purest emotions between two people.  As a Calgary photographer, I get to shoot in many beautiful Calgary parks and public places, so you have a wide variety of options to choose for your family session.

Alpina Photography-Mother's day gift certificate

Mother’s day sessions are regular family sessions with a focus on mother’s day and with extra flexibility to choose your shooting location.

Be it an outdoor shoot at a park, at your house or senior’s place, we can accommodate your mommy and me session wherever possible. If there is any special bond, a shared interest or special article between you and your mom, we can make it a themed session using it as part of our photo shoot. A few years ago I asked local people during a giveaway campaign what was their most favourite places in Calgary for photography. You can find a list of great Calgary location in this post: https://www.alpinaphotography.com/2020/02/16/valentines-day-contest-calgary/

Besides digital images to share on social media, you also have an option to order prints to frame or put in an album. You can book your session online from “family sessions” page of Alpina Photography website:

www.alpinaphotography.com/family-sessions

There are two different packages for single and extended families. You can always reach me directly for any questions.

As an alternative, you can give her a gift certificate where she can pick her photo shoot date and schedule it for later. Either way this will be the most unforgettable mother’s day for her.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

How To Prepare For Your Headshot Session

photshoot with mom

How To Prepare For Your Headshot Session

 

It is the photographer’s job to set up the lighting in the best possible way, guide you through the photo shoot, provide posing suggestions, and help you feel relaxed and confident in front of the camera. On the other hand, there are few things you can do to prepare for your headshot.

Preparing for a good headshot photo involves several aspects, including grooming, make up, clothing, and posing. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a successful headshot.

Grooming and Make-up

A natural, polished look is best for a business headshot. Make sure to get a fresh haircut or trim, shave or style facial hair, and clean and moisturize your face before the photoshoot. This will ensure that your skin looks clear and bright in the photo.Avoid heavy or dramatic makeup, as this can be distracting in a professional setting. Choose a foundation that matches your skin tone and provides light to medium coverage. Be sure to blend the foundation into your neck and jawline for a seamless look. make up for a headshot photoHighlight your eyes as they are an important focal point in a headshot. Use neutral eyeshadow shades to create a subtle definition and apply mascara to lengthen and volumize your lashes. Keep your lips simple. A natural-looking lip color is best for a business headshot. Choose a lipstick or gloss that is close to your natural lip color, or opt for a subtle, neutral shade.

How to dress for your session

When choosing what to wear for a headshot photo, it’s important to keep in mind that the focus should be on your face, so it’s best to avoid clothing with bold patterns. distracting graphics or logos. Solid colors work best for headshot photos. Neutral colors like black, white, gray, and navy blue are timeless and work well in professional settings. Dress in a style that represents your profession or industry. For example, if you work in a more creative field, you may be able to wear more casual attire, whereas a more formal industry may require a suit or blazer. If you are a new graduate or just starting your career, here is some more information on how to dress for work.

If you booked a studio headshot with Alpina Photography, you can bring a few outfit options to the photoshoot to see what looks best on camera. Just avoid anything too trendy or flashy.

The goal of a headshot is to showcase your face, so keep the outfit simple and let your face shine.

How to pose for a business headshot

Good posture is key in any headshot.  Stand up straight with your shoulders back and your chin slightly lifted. This will convey confidence and professionalism.

Relax your shoulders to avoid a stiff or uncomfortable look. You need to create a more natural, approachable look.how to pose for a headshot photo

Avoid leaning or tilting your head too much, as this can create unflattering shadows.

Find your best angle: Experiment with different angles by turning your head slightly to the left or right. This will help you find your best angle and ensure that your face is fully visible in the photo.

Practice your facial expressions: Smiling is always a good idea for a portrait, but try to avoid a forced or cheesy grin. Instead, think happy thoughts and let your smile come naturally. Practice your smile in the mirror beforehand, and aim for a natural, relaxed smile. You want to convey a sense of warmth and approachability in your photo.You can also try a more serious expression or a slight smirk for a different look.

Use your hands: You can use your hands to create a more natural and engaging pose. Try placing your hands in your pockets or lightly resting them on a nearby surface.

Remember, a business headshot should convey professionalism and approachability. With these posing tips in mind, you can create a photo that showcases your best self.

If you didn’t do it yet, you can book your business headshot with Alpina Photography in minutes through our website. www.alpinaphotography.com/headshot-sessions

Leave all your worries behind, I am here to help you look spectacular in your portraits.

 

Tips on what to wear for your maternity shoot

what to wear for maternity photo shoot

Tips on What to Wear For Your Maternity Photo Shoot

 

What to wear for your maternity photo session is an important point that needs to be decided beforehand. No panic! This can be a pleasant and fun experience for you!
You can start with your maternity photographer. If they have some outfits to your liking, you don’t have to go through the whole outfit decision process.
Inquire with your photographer if they have a maternity closet available for clients. If they do, you can ask them to share some pictures of the outfits. I have recently added a little section on my maternity photos page to give an idea about what style of clothing is available at Alpina Photography

Alpina Photography-Maternity wardrobe

 

In our maternity wardrobe, it is possible to find formal or casual dress options.  Even tutus! There is no strict rule about what to wear for a maternity session. You can decide it based on what style or look white lace maternity dressyou want for your maternity photos. For studio photo shoots, we usually recommend formal gowns. They in fact work in any setting from natural outdoor shoots to formal studio sessions. If it is an outdoor shoot in a natural setting, you can go with the casual styles too.

In my studio photo shoots, I like using loose fabrics to get a more artistic look. It is so versatile that you can get a few different impressions using the same cut of fabric. When it comes to loose fabric, I love laces, chiffons and tulles. They look very elegant and poetic in maternity pictures.

You can check out this video of Kelly Brown on Youtube:  DIY Maternity Dress with Kelly Brown    This gives an idea on how we drape fabrics on models as an alternative to sewn outfits.

Split open dresses gives you the option to show or hide your belly.

Flower headbands complement lacy outfits so well like an “angel” or a “fairy”. That innocence and purity of “childbearing” cannot be expressed better in pictures.

If you have a very specific style that you are after, you can either buy it online or have it sewn for you. Fabricland has a variety of amazing fabrics that you can buy in Calgary.

As for sizes, maternity dresses are easy to fit different body types, as they are mostly made of stretchy fabrics or adjustable straps. We have sizes from small to extra-large. If you are on the smaller side, you can choose any dress from small to large. We will make sure to make it look good on you during your photo shoot. If you are on the larger side, dresses from medium to extra-large should fit you nicely.

 

If you are planning a DIY maternity shoot 

The most important aspect of a maternity shoot outfit is revealing the maternity belly. Whether it is made of stretchy fabrics or have a split open skirt under the bust, it must do a good job on showing your belly in a flattering way.

Decide whether you want a casual or a formal style. Then you can narrow it down by browsing maternity photos on the Internet and photographers’ websites.

Avoid stripes on your dress as it would make you look wider. Try to choose solid colours as opposed to busy patterns to draw the focus on you. Remember this photo shoot is not about fashion, but your pregnancy belly.

You can use your regular jeans for maternity shoot, just leaving buttons or zipper open. Maternity jeans are not a good fit for photography as it is hard to hide the bulky elastic section on the belly.

For ready-made maternity dresses, I can recommend two online stores: www.asosmaternity.com and www.pinkblushmaternity.com they have both formal and casual styles.

Here is a few maternity clothing ideas for you:

Boho style dresses are perfect for outdoor shoots in a nature setting.

Bandeau bralette and tutu skirt fitted under the belly can be a cute option.

Long sleeve stretchy crop top showing off belly goes perfect with jeans or stretchy tube skirts

For an elegant style, you can consider dresses with deep v neck and rich skirts.

Lacy dresses with long sleeve or cold shoulder.

To be on the safe side, choose solid colours whatever style you decide. Black, white, pink, red, blue. Any colour, just solids! There can be some exceptions where a floral print can be beautiful on a casual dress, depending on its model.

 

Dos and Don’ts when coming to your maternity session

Most maternity outfits that are used in photoshoots have transparent sections like lace or chiffon, so it is best to avoid black, white or colour underwear. Skin colour underwear is the best bet to hide it under the garment. If it is seamless, even better. If you have a tube or bandeau bra, bring it with you; it may come in handy for strapless dresses or loose fabric draping.

Prior to your maternity session, make sure to wear loose underwear so there is no marks on the skin from elastics.

If you need a hair cut or a touch up on your hair roots, get it done before your maternity session.

If your partner will be in the pictures, they should dress the same style as you. If you are wearing a fancy gown, they should choose a dress pants and shirt. If you are going with a casual style, your partner should match it too.

Don’t miss this deal expiring on March 31, 2022Alpina Photography-maternity promotion

Alpina Photography is currently offering a promotion in Calgary, Alberta where you can get $100 off on your maternity sessions. You can save instantly at the time of online booking. All you need is to enter the promo code SPECIAL100 during check out. Your session can be booked for months later but booking needs to be done until March 31, 2022. Don’t miss it, book it today: www.alpinaphotography.com/maternity-sessions

 Contact Alpina Photography:

email: pinar@alpinaphotography.com

Phone: (403) 926-4832

9 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Professional Photographer

9 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Professional Photographer

We all take photos with our cameras or cell phones daily. Especially with social media becoming an important part of our lives and the development of smart phones equipped with cameras pretty much shaped our habit of taking photos so, one can ask why I would hire a photographer after all.

During the point and shoot era, dreadful photos filled our photo albums. We kept them for the sake of “memories”.  After many years of struggling with terrible picture quality and blurry images we took with our point and shoot cameras, finally we have cell phones that can take some fine photos as long as we have no problem with “image resolution” or “composition”.

Let me tell you about an anecdote from a few years ago:

We were at a restaurant, dining together with old friends first time after many years. I wanted to take a group photo as a memory from our get-together. My friend said, let’s ask the waiter to do it, so all of us would be in the picture. When the waiter took the photo, my friend wanted to see it before letting him go. I found it kind of offensive and unkind, thinking “who can fail to take a simple cell phone photo” My friend checked her phone and she burst into a laughter saying “our heads are missing”  I was both shocked and embarrassed for both the waiter failing to take a simple photo, and us being such jerks making fun of this, but I couldn’t stop myself laughing either 😊

Paying attention to including all important human parts in the frame, the second photo was much better with some lighting issues.

Cell phone cameras are terrific tools as an aid in our everyday life. We use them often when we are shopping, when we want to document visible health issues to share with the doctor, collecting inspirations for our art project, file sharing and so on.

On the other hand, photography is a form of art, just like painting or music; not only a tool to document what there is out there. When taking a landscape photo or a portrait, no matter what camera we are using, the purpose is capturing our subject in a visual order that is pleasing to the eye, expressing the emotions in the moment, reflecting the mood of the environment.  For a good photograph we need to melt technique and aesthetics in the same pot. If one of them is lacking, the photo ends up being a dull, lifeless picture. It may be ok for capturing everyday life and sharing only on the social media platforms. If you want some beautiful photos that you would like to display in an album or hang on your walls, then you need a professional photographer.

Let’s take a closer look at the 9 reasons why you should hire a professional photographer.

1. Artistically composed images

When it comes to composition, it takes more than capturing smiling faces with all body parts included in the frame.  If you are looking for more than quick snapshots, you can take advantage of a professional photographer’s expertise, knowledge and experience. A professional photographer has a trained eye to identify the best positions and angles in each situation. They assess the current conditions and location to decide where and how to position the subject to get the best light and a meaningful composition. Good composition is a vital element for artistic images, making it interesting, attractive and unique.

2. Editing that is worth every penny

In most cases Images do not come out perfect straight out of the camera. We do a post processing to make them look their best. Sometimes the weather or current conditions at the photography location may not cooperate with the type of photos we want to attain. High-end editing tools like Photoshop enables us to turn a gloomy photo into a bright happy one, or vice versa. Cleaning up the photo off the bad looks such as a garbage bin, or a car parked on the side of the road makes a huge change on the photo.

 

 

Detailed skin retouch is another aspect of professional photo editing especially for portraits and professional head shots. When you hire a photographer, photo editing is part of the package. You can have outstanding images that you will be proud to share or display.

 

3. Professional Equipment for excellent results

Professional photographers utilize high-end specialty equipment to get the best results for their genre of photography. At Alpina Photography we have top-of-the-line studio equipment for portrait photography. Our most popular studio sessions are newborn, headshots, maternity, family and children’s photos. We also bring our equipment on site for on-location business portraits, couples and headshot sessions.

4. Strike a pose like a magazine cover

I often hear people say, I am not photogenic”. I believe there is a right angle for everyone in which they look great. It is the photographer’s job to find it out and guide you through your photo session on posing to get the best shots. Portrait photographers are experienced photographing all body types and ages, so they know how to make you look slimmer, taller, younger or smaller. They steer you away from frequently done posing mistakes.  Your photographer can advise on how to dress or make up for specific styles and looks.

They can also point you out the best possible time of the day to ensure the best lighting therefore greatest portraits. In Calgary, for outdoor portraits, I advise my clients the exact time and place for golden hour photos, for blacked out silhouette photos and so on. This little girl in the below photo in the below photo is not a model, but her mom was 😊

 

5. You can be in the photos too

You don’t need to sacrifice anyone from your family to take photos. When you have a professional photographer, everyone will be in the photos, looking their best.

I wasn’t aware of how important it is until I realized I was missing from every single photo I took through the years, except for only a few, which were strictly posed and taken quickly. It’s a matter of passion. Not everyone volunteers to take photos.

 

6. Easy access to the best photography locations

Photographers know all the best places in your city to take certain type of photos. As a professional photographer, I am always in search of new places for outdoor photography. In Calgary, I have a list of places for family photos, couples’ photos, business head shots or cake smash photos. To get the best results, I do pre-session excursions to the target location and make sure if it will look pretty on the session date. In Calgary, spring comes late, summers and falls are short, so we need to be on the lookout all the time and check the weather and if necessary, reschedule the session. After a strong windstorm, in place of a beautiful park, you can find a post-apocalyptic movie setting for your family photos. It always pays off to scout the place beforehand. 

 

7. Getting high quality prints

Professional photographers usually work with high end photography print labs that only work with photography companies. The quick photo prints you will get from a local London Drugs or Walmart store will not please you as for quality, colour accuracy or sharpness as their printers are set for “low ink consumption” The bigger problem is, if your photos are taken in a different colour space than sRGB their printers will not recognize it and you may end up with lifeless photos with cold colours, unwanted tints or low contrast.

Another issue with prints is that most cameras take photos in 3×4 ratio. If you print your photos in different sizes such as square, 5×7, or 8×10, you will lose some of the image to fit in that size. Sometimes it is part of your arm or ear in a portrait that you must give up when you print it yourself.  When you order your prints through your photographer, they take care of such cropping issues. As a professional photographer, I never order prints as is, but check them and see how they look in the desired ratio and make that photo fit nicely into that size. To be able to do this sometimes I have to go back to photoshop and re-edit the photo or add a section to make it look meaningful or centered.

Professional labs also offer better quality archival paper and variety of print papers such as metallic, fine art giclee or cotton paper.

 

8. Variety of photography props

You don’t need to worry about props or backdrops when you hire a professional photographer. At Alpina Photography, we have an abundance of photography props from umbrellas to wooden crates, from flower headbands to Christmas decors and newborn size beds. We maintain a big inventory of photo props and backdrops to make your photo project successful, whether it is family photography, kids photography, cake smash or newborn photography we have you covered.  If you have a specific theme on your mind, you can also communicate it during pre-session phone meeting.  We do our best to accommodate custom themes at www.alpinaphotography.com

 

9. Convenience

You don’t need to go through the process of planning, scheduling, choosing a location, deciding what to wear or how to pose, editing photos afterwards, finding a good lab to print them out. These are all your photographer’s job.

 

Hire a Professional Photographer!

If you’re in Calgary Alberta and looking for professional quality photos for your family album, for your website, or for the baby coming into your life soon, give me a call at (403) 926-4832 to discuss what you are looking for and how we can make it happen for you.

www.alpinaphotography.com

pinar@alpinaphotography.com

Photo Shoot in the Snow

 When the white snow covers the earth, everything looks purer, cleaner and dreamier. While it is actually snowing, probably most of you noticed that magical silence fills the air as if you are in Narnia! Not a few blocks away from Trans Canada highway.

This is a precious opportunity for us photographers to go out and create something beautiful about winter season. New year comes with snow just like a new white page in our lives, ready to start filling it with colourful memories.

When I have an outdoor session in the snow, I always tell my clients to wear colourful clothings or accessories to stand out in that whiteness. With low depth of field, it is easy to blend background noises into the snow’s whiteness and I think portraits appear more distinct with a creamy white background that snow provides. Another advantage of winter shoots is that the sun is always low in the sky, shining in low power, giving us the perfect light. So there is not a narrow window for winter outdoor sessions unlike summer time. (we usually chase golden hour in summer days) We can do it any time of the day before it gets dark.

Of course it has challenges to take photos in the winter. First, it’s cold. The coldest weather that I had a family session was  -10 ֯ C . It was difficult for little kids as they tend to get cranky in the cold, so I go to those sessions well prepared not to lose any time on choosing a good spot or thinking of poses or putting together a theme using props. So I do all these beforehand and when we meet for the photoshoot we start it immediately. Keeping little ones toasty is the most important thing. I recommend putting kids in snowsuits before going in the car, so they can get warm on the way and keep their body heat for a longer time. Those tiny handwarmers come in handy for winter sessions. You can slide the them in your gloves or boots, it keeps warm up to 8 hours.  They are available in most stores from Canadian Tire to Costco. It’s a good idea to keep some in the car, you can never know when you would need them.

In Calgary, we are blessed with Chinook winds that gives us a break from cold winter. It is such a privilege in our cold country. We are lucky to have snow on the ground and wearing no jackets. I even remember one day we went tobogganing with kids and it was so warm and the sun was shining bright, we took off all our clothing layers down to a t-shirt!  As well as -10 ֯ C we have a chance to do a photo session in the snow at +10 ֯ C temperature in this city.

Maternity sessions in the snow would also be great but it is best to do it on a warm Chinook day, so you can pose in a fancy dress instead of big winter coats.

During sessions, I don’t like carrying heavy camera bag on my back so I bring a sled to the sessions to carry my equipment and some props (such as blankets, lantern, garlands) in it and drag along. It also serves as a photography prop and keep little ones entertained.

If you are interested in booking a winter family session at one of our beautiful parks, all you need to do is to choose a date and book it on the Alpina website: www.alpinaphotography.com

Here is a few frames from recent shoots in Montalban Park (Montgomery), Edworthy Park and Confederation Park.

 

Ballerina Photoshoot in Downtown Calgary

 

Couple days ago, I had a special outdoor photo session with a young and talented ballerina. It was such a fulfilling experience that I didn’t want it to end. A sweet combination of my favourite photography genres: Street photography, lifestyle, Portrait and Dance Photography

We planned it together with our dancer’s mom. The locations, poses, outfits and props.

Our first stop was Memorial Park Library. It is the first public library in Alberta, built in 1910.

This beautiful Victorian style sandstone building was a perfect place for ballerina photos with its strongly articulated entrance with ionic columns and lamp posts symbolizing enlightenment. I have always been fascinated with the classical portrayal of a ballerina lacing up her dance shoes. So I took some of those portraits on the stairs with balconies in the back.

Our second stop was Stephen Avenue Walk. My favourite photography location in downtown. The old Hudson’s Bay building would be a perfect place for some dance poses. This building is noted for its elegant arcade which wraps around the east and south facades. Us, photographers cannot resist when we see arches and pillars. That is why we choose it for many occasions from wedding portraits to architectural photography. It was a little difficult to find moments with no people in the background or Calgary transit bus or train passing by, but we made it.

The middle of Stephen Avenue Walk was where we took our next set of dance photos. This was an interesting experience for our young model as she never danced in the middle of a street before. She was very confident under the admiring gaze of people passing by. She was like a live art piece that brings beauty to downtown streets walking around on pointe, twirling and doing relevés, and assembles.

I love to use street furnishings and structures in my portraits, such as benches, lamp posts, hanging flower pots, stairs and bridges. The red dress worked great with red flowers at Olympic Plaza. We even improvised and used a broom as a prop that city workers left on site. 😊

Then we headed to Eau Claire for our waterside, bridge and bench poses. Some shoe lacing and stretching poses went very well and the time of the day was just perfect. 5pm.

I have tons of street dance portrait ideas in my head for fall, winter and indoor.  I can’t wait for my next dance shoot.

A sunday walk at Bowmont Park

 

I love Calgary for offering beautiful nature walks just 5 min drive away. This Sunday we went to Silver Springs Boardwalk which is the upper side of Bowmont Natural Environment Park. Summer months are like a party in the nature areas. Flowers from all colors can be seen on the side of the pathways. I love the wild Alberta rose the best as it smells like heaven. The happiest flower of all is daisies. Symbol of youth and innocence. It’s not a flower known for its scent, but I love daisy’s wild scent. It takes me to my childhood.

The wooden walkway all the way to the river is so cute and joy to walk on. The little streams come together and flow down to the river through a rocky path along with a small waterfall. The soothing sound of the flowing water is like a music to your ears. At the end of the boardwalk, you arrive a nice look out by the river. This is where we take our first break watching the birds bathing in the water and the people rafting on the river. From there we took a steep climb which wasn’t long and we were on the top of a hill overlooking Bow River, Paskapoo Slops, bridges and railroads. This is my favourite spot to take photos. The view is amazing, sky is beautiful. I never did a family session here as there is some hiking and climbing involved, but I would love to if anyone is interested. From here you have a nice long pathway to enjoy the view of the beautiful valley and Bowmont Park. When the pathway forks you can either go down to the Bowmont park and little lagoon or continue to a high deck sitting on top of another hill. It is a nice deck with benches where you can enjoy the beautiful view and have some rest.

On our way back there was a crazy wind which later turned to a rain storm. It was like a natural attraction for the kids as they were walking against the wind gusts with hair flying in the air.

I enjoyed taking photos of my favourite people playing with the wind, laughing like crazy!

Seriously, does anyone want a family session at upper Bowmont Park? 😊

Love is All Around

 

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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