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When I met Robin and Mike, they told me that they were having a relaxed wedding on Mike’s family farm. It was obvious from the start that these two were completely in love and that the focus of the day was going to be celebrating this with the people they loved. They warned me that they were both a bit nervous about being the centre of attention and having to pose for photographs. However, they were both so completely relaxed and easy going (and SUPER easy to photograph) when the day came. The hour I spent with the two of them running around the farm on the back of a pickup truck is one of my highlights of September. I loved hearing their stories of how their friends and family came together to create a stunning venue for their day (it seriously looked like it was out of the pages of a wedding magazine), of their plans for after the wedding and how appreciative they were of everyone who came out to celebrate with them. I love that they were up for anything and that they weren’t afraid of climbing into the forest for some pretty light (after a snake check, of course!). There were so many special details – the cake that Mike arranged, the wish balloons organized by a brother in law, the touching speeches etc. It was an honour to get to capture it all.

A big, huge, thank you to Heather Sterns for helping me out for the day – you did an amazing job!

Robin and Mike  – thank you so much for choosing me to be your wedding photographer. I had SO much fun with you and your friends and family. I love what we have created together! I can’t wait for you to see the whole gallery!

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There are so many special memories that stick with me from Evelyn and Colin’s day at the gorgeous Strathmere Inn.  I love that when I walked into Evelyn’s getting ready room she was hanging out, relaxed and ready for the day. I love the story of her wedding dress – Colin had seen it before they were even engaged and had sent a photo of it to her saying that he could picture her in it :)  She went looking for it later and bought it as a surprise for him. I love that as I cull through the photos, 90% of them involve laughing. I love that after Colin gave Evelyn’s parents hugs after they walked her down the aisle, he had to give Evelyn a hug too.  These two are in love and it is authentic and special. I’m so thankful I got to be there to witness their incredible day.

Thank you so much Evelyn and Colin. I loved every second of shooting your wedding! I’ll be in touch soon with your gallery!

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Within 2 minutes of hanging out with these two, I knew I was going to love shooting them (in a good way!) These two are so sweet, full of life and interests and so in love with each other. We could have shot forever with all of unique things that make them who they are – singing, comic books, ukeleles, Sailor Moon and Dr. Who….the list goes on! Their wedding is going to be equally unique with a ton of special details – it’s going to be a dream to shoot!

Thank you M and D for a great shoot. I loved our time together and I can’t wait for the big day!

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My cheeks hurt after this session from smiling so much while I was shooting! Little S was THIS happy throughout the whole session!

Her parents booked the session to be done just before they  move into their new house. I love that they will have photos to remember the little things they used to do with S while they lived here – including snuggling on the bed, playing on her mat (surrounded by all the toys!) and taking baths on the kitchen counter.  This family is so loving and attentive – it was easy to capture the connections they all share.

Thank you A and A for a wonderful afternoon! Your gallery will be ready soon! I can’t wait for you to see it!

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As we emailed back and forth about this shoot, Mom said that the plan was for everyone to look “awake and natural”. As I went thought the proofs, I felt that these words described the shoot so well – awake, present, natural, real, peaceful and authentic. This family followed their baby’s lead and we captured their story as it unfolded naturally this afternoon. The expressions, connections and love you see in these photos are real – as a photographer I can capture these things but I can’t create them. I gave such minimal direction to these 3 – they are naturals in front of the camera.

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Just to prove how natural and fun this shoot was. THIS is what I got when I said “I’m going to get some close ups of Zoe – you two can relax and do your thing” :) :
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Thank you so much K and M for having me over. I loved this shoot and I can’t wait to show you your gallery!

I’ve typed, deleted, and typed this first sentence at least 10 times now. It’s hard for a photographer to write about a writer.

I first “met” Tanya last spring through the blog she is writing – Musings about metamorphic change. It follows her cancer, her breasts and “most of the gory details” (her words). I was drawn in by her descriptive and unedited way of speaking her truth. She writes about her journey in a raw and candid way . It includes all of the details – her fear, her anger, her hope, her children, her sense of humour and her strength, her boots, her eyelashes, her seester, awesome music…

Tanya approached this shoot in very much the same fashion that she writes. She was open and candid. She showed some of the facets of her personality – there was cooking, children, yoga, dogs, large stuffed animals, wigs, tigers, no wigs, music and love notes all over the house from people letting her know she is supported. This woman is loved. I enjoyed every second of documenting the small snapshot of time in her journey.

I contacted Tanya a few weeks ago asking if it was still okay for me to blog about this session.  I wasn’t sure if she would want to go back to the summer when things were different. She was in the middle of counting down chemo and radiation treatments then – not finishing up reconstructive surgery. Her response was that it was my call and that I could write it “whenever the spirit moves you!”. I started writing the post in my head.

The post has had to change, but only slightly. There has been an irritating, annoying, painful and scary setback with Tanya’s reconstructive surgery. I’m angry that she’s having to deal with it.  I’m angry that her blog isn’t allowed to be filled with posts about how well her surgery went and how much she loves her new boobs (I am anxiously awaiting that post!). I’m angry that someone who has summoned so much strength over the past year is having to dig up some more.

I tried to figure out words to describe admiring someone’s strength and vulnerability without sounding cliche and unauthentic. It’s hard. I’m a photographer – not a writer. I’ll just say that I hope Tanya pursues writing more about her journey. I hope more people get to benefit from what she has to say (she is FUNNY…and she’ll make you cry…be warned).  I hope everyone reading this starts to follow her blog so we can be taken along the journey with her as she moves onward.

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When I asked big brother to tell me 2 special things about his new sister he said “Her name is baby Lulu and…and…she likes to nurse!”.  When I asked him for two special things about himself, he said “I like to play….and….um….and….I LIKE TO EAT!”. I loved being able to hang out and chat with him – the last time I saw him was 3 years ago at his newborn session. He has grown into a really engaging and lovable young man! He was my assistant for this shoot and he did a wonderful job!

Little Lulu was a dream to shoot. She was so calm. For the first 20 minutes that I held her she just looked up at me and stared and blinked her sweet little eyelids. She eventually fell asleep and we got to capture her with her family being snuggled and loved!

Thank you to Mom for having me over to capture the newest addition! I loved my time with you all! I’ll be in touch soon with your gallery!lulublog

This little beauty’s name means “lovable” and I can tell you from my couple of hours with her,  the name suits her :) . I spent a wonderful morning with her and her parents in their home capturing the story of this sweet girl’s first month. We chatted about travel, how children change our lives and the importance of having photos printed (they had some beautiful albums of their travels – it’s just not the same looking at photos on a computer!). It was peaceful and special, and I hope this lovable little girl will be able to look back at these photos and see how loved she is.

Thank you A and A for having me over for such an enjoyable morning. I enjoyed hearing about your travels and your plans for the future! I will be in touch soon with your gallery!

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If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together,put me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever . -A.A. Milne

Robin (Phoenix’s mother)  and I have been planning this shoot for a while. We were originally going to the shoot around little Phoenix’s 4th birthday, but due to a number of circumstances (that I believe were meant to be!) we had to reschedule the shoot. The shoot ended up being a very special one that took place when Phoenix’s “heart family” were visiting Canada for the first time. It was an honour to get to be a part of this morning.

The vibrant 4 year old you see beaming in the photos below is Phoenix. She was born healthy and it is believed that a virus attacked her heart, causing it to dilate. Her heart ended up stopping and she received a Berlin heart (an artificial heart)  to keep her alive and give her strength as she waited for a heart for transplant. That gift came to her from Natalia and her family. Natalia is honoured with the symbol of a butterfly. If you look closely throughout these photos, you will see that butterflies are everywhere.

It is hard to put into words how many beautiful things I witnessed this morning. These two families share a special bond. I hope these photos help capture that bond, honour Natalia and show Phoenix as a vivacious little girl who is here today because of organ donation.

In Ontario, you can find out more about organ donation here:  www.beadonor.ca.

To find out more about Natalia and her family’s mission to honour her memory and increase awareness about organ donation : www.nataliasavealifefoundation.com

Tiny Light Foundation

I was lucky enough to meet Jeremie through the Tiny Light Foundation. The Tiny Light Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides professional photography for children and families that have been faced with a life-altering diagnosis. You can find out more about the mission here: The Tiny Light Foundation.

When I started chatting with Jeremie’s mother about the shoot, she mentioned that there was a skate part just down the street from them where Jeremie loves to hang out. She thought getting captures of what he loves to do would be great – I couldn’t agree more!

Part way through the shoot I asked Jeremie if he wanted to take his hat off for a couple of photos and that I didn’t care about hat head. He smiled and said that he had worn exactly what he wanted to wear for the shoot without worrying about how he looked “because this is about who I am as a person and not about what I look like”. That truly is what I strive to do at my shoots – make the focus on who we are as people and less focus on how we look/or are dressed. I love that Jeremie felt the same way.

Melanie and Jeremie – thank you for the fun shoot! Enjoy your sneak peek! I’ll be in touch soon with your gallery!

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