Ballerina Photoshoot

 

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.

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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A day in the fall

It’s Calgary, as everybody knows we don’t have lengthy falls and winter can show it’s face any time with a surprise snow storm. Before this happens, I wanted to capture the beautiful colors of the fall and chose this Saturday as our photo shoot day.

I had a dress from my 20’s. I thought it would be a wonderful photo prop for fall photos. It was big for my 7-year-old but worked fine. She was going to be my model for the day. My son was my assistant holding the diffuser and pulling my equipment wagon. He was very happy with his job unlike his sister who was whining non-stop and refusing to look pretty. I promised them to pay for their work at the end of the day, and she cooperated. The timing was just perfect, we arrived at the park late afternoon and stayed until the sunset. I didn’t know the Nose Hill Park would make a prefect place for fall photos as there are lots of bright yellow trees which are human height so you can easily get beautiful bright fall colors in your portraits. I brought a children size guitar, a wooden stool, some flowers, books and an umbrella. I just loved how all these props worked with the dress. Little country girl in the fall wilderness. I think we can call Nose Hill Park “wilderness” as you can see cayotes and deer wondering around, lucky us, we didn’t encounter any cayotes.  When we got to the top of the hill, I started taking as many pictures as possible in the time limit my daughter was giving me. We emerged into a beautiful meadow which was covered with high grass and unfortunately lots of thorns. I enjoyed the golden hour through my daughter’s occasional whining and took some more sunset photos.

The moment I said, “thank you guys, we’re done” they jumped in the air and  started enjoying themselves/ one is riding the wagon, the other one is pushing it down the hill, screaming and laughing. And I? of course I was running behind them with my camera taking their pictures. Photography is like an uncurable disease and What I love the most is capturing candid photos of people living that very moment in all its reality and emotion. I am sharing here some of the couple hundred photos I took that day. When I asked my kids as we drove back home what was their favourite part of the photo shoot, they said “the wagon ride of course” LOL, I knew it. I paid $10 each for modeling and assisting. What a slave driver! :))

Click on images to view in high resolution.

Balloon Voyage

I always found hot air balloons fascinating. The big deep baskets that Home Sense sells just gave me a great idea and I decided to make a hot air balloon photo prop. I sew sand bags from canvas and filled them with styrofoam beans and attach them to the basket. The yellow flowers were a great addition to the balloon basket. After infilating a huge balloon, I hauled everything to car and head to Confederation park. I thought it would be a perfect place to launch a hot air balloon 😊 I arrived earlier than my clients to get the basket ready. Tying the balloon to the basket was a little stressful as the balloon was big and wanted to rocket into the sky so badly. Thankfully, I could keep it under control and didn’t let it fly. When the kids saw the hot air balloon, they got excited. They thought it was a real one and a little afraid to go in it as they didn’t want to part with their moms, lol. I guaranteed that it will not go up even an inch from the ground hahaha! But it would be cool to make it look like it’s flying. So I used a little portable table for that. I placed the basket on it and took a photo from below. Making the balloon size a little bigger made it look even more awesome. Heart shaped black board came in handy to put each child’s age on it when taking single photos.

It was a beautiful sunny day. Everybody had a great time and enjoyed their session in the park.

Click on each picture to view in high resolution.