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

 

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.

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

Cake Smash Experience

Today I had a cake smash session with little Owen who just turned 1!

Like most 1 year olds, he didn’t taste much of sweets until his birthday. He was quite skeptical about the cake when we first introduced it to him. Later when he put some in his mouth, he kind of liked it and started exploring what else he could do with a cake. Finally he discovered that he can roll it on the floor like a ball. Paint on the paper with the colored icing. If you leave it to kids, you’ll see the possibilities are endless 😊))

Big brother, who was watching Paw Patrol at the moment appreciated home made banana cake better than the little brother, taking short breaks from his favourite show to have little pieces from cake rolling on the floor. LOL.

Preschool Portraits

This week I was at the University Heights Preschool  to take 2019 student portraits. It was amazing to see how such young kids (3 & 4 year old) can follow posing instructions and surprise you! Some were shy, some were like a rockstar, but results for all of them are beautiful. I am not a traditional school portrait photographer. As soon as I get the “school” type of look, I switch to “free style” and try different poses and let them lead the way. When you leave posing to them, they can be really creative and unbelievably cute!! I’ll post some of them here when I get model release from parents.

As promised, I’m sharing some photos from the preschool picture day. Click on the images to view full resolution.