Kaleigh & Shane’s Wedding: Part II

Here we are! Part two of Kaleigh and Shane’s wedding. 

I think receptions are kind of the best part of the day. Everyone has been working all day, the emotions have been high, and suddenly you get to the part of the day where you just get to have fun. Where you get to dance and drink and laugh with all your friends and family. When you get to hear beautiful, hilarious, horrifying, amazing toasts. Where old friends are reunited. It is such a lovely part of the day to document. It’s also my fave because I get to sneak off with the couple and allow them to have quiet moments to themselves, to dance and drink and remember that they are the reason for each other that day and it’s magical and fun and peaceful and great. Enjoy all these laughing joyful faces!

You can find part one of the day HERE! Trust me, it’s worth it. 🙂

Kaleigh & Shane’s Wedding: Part I

WOW! I am so stoked to share more of Kaleigh and Shane’s wedding over my next two blog posts! Because I took way too many photos for just one! Kaleigh and Shane were married in Hondo, Alberta, which is both pretty far north and far east. It’s a beautiful area on the edge of the boreal forest, near Alberta’s largest lake, Slave Lake. Their wedding was made up of a weekend-long camping trip for all their guests; Kaleigh’s aunt and uncle own a beautiful horse and bison rearing property AND the community hall across the street; so it’s a perfect location for a casual fun summer wedding. And that’s exactly what we had! 

It was so much fun hanging out with their laid back families, just enjoying some drinks, some sun and rain, and mostly, enjoying each other’s company. It was funny, sweet, a love story out of a teen movie, sometimes (like that Shane is Kaleigh’s brother’s best friend… the joke is never lost and brought up frequently). It made for a cosy weekend where everyone knows everyone, or if you don’t, you can drink together anyway.

I was so honoured to be a part of such a real group of people just celebrating real love, and it made me cry, like always, and I hope you can live the day through these blog posts! This post features our bridal parties getting ready, Kaleigh and Shane’s first look, bridal photos, and the ceremony. The next blog post will feature the reception, speeches, and other fun things! 


  • Wedding dress is David’s Bridal
  • Bridesmaid dresses are from H&M
  • Groomsmen suits are Moores
  • Those beautiful flowers are from Costco!

Dalton & Brit’s Wedding

July began with Dalton and Brit’s wedding in Whitby, Ontario! It was actually my first time photographing a wedding in Ontario; WHOA! 

These guys were amazing. I met them in the spring and they were so welcoming and warm, and it was great learning more about them everytime we chatted. It was so magical to see and hear about their love and respect for each other before and during their wedding day. Their story is so cute, their friends and family were all so supportive and loving, and–as always–I shed a few tears of joy during the reception speeches and vows (how do people not?!). Look below to see some moments from their day!

Venue: Royal Ashburn Golf Club
Dress: Rebecca Ingram
Suits: Joseph Abboud
Flowers: KT Floral
Wedding Cake: Mitchel’s Cake and Dessert
Hair & Makeup: Katie Lynne Makeup

Meet Your Photographer!

Who am I? I’m more than just the little blurb on the front page of my website. I’m also more than what Instagram or Facebook shows you. I’ve lived in different cities, provinces, and countries, I’ve traveled, I write, I play music, I am obsessed with certain video games (Zelda, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, just sayin), and a lot more!

So I’ve decided to write this blog post so that clients can get a better sense of me before contacting or even after contacting or maybe you think I’m really weird and you want to check out this post to see if it’s true (probs?).

So let’s go back and learn a bit about Kristen!


I grew up in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada.

That’s closer to the Northwest Territories than the States; it’s technically included in Arctic Circle events. I grew up going to the same school from kindergarten to grade 9 and because of this I still have so many close friends from this school, even though we live all over the country now! As a kid it was a quiet prairie farm sort of town. My family on both sides have been farmers in the area since the early 1900s. It’s a part of my history I’m particularly proud of. We have an AMAZING collections of old photographs from their pioneer lives and I remember being a kid and flipping through all the photos and realizing I was related to those people. Pretty neat! Here are some photos of my family (my dad, mom, and sister) just hanging out and being super 90s cool.

PS: I’m the younger kid! 

My parents are super cute and the ultimate love story. They met in junior high but didn’t start dating til grade 12. My dad was like, too cool for school basically and my mom was a good student so it’s like Grease, maybe, that’s what I tell myself hahahaha. They are still married and I love them so much! They are wonderful supporters, so friendly and thoughtful, and took me and my sister on many adventures as kids. My dad introduced me to photography, and my grandma bought me my first camera at 8! I was obsessed. I took so many bad photos of my dog on the couch, running around the house, and I would set my TYs up against a blanket backdrop. I was obsessed.

I have an older sister and she is way too cool for me. When I was younger I always looked up to her reading choices and politics, I forced myself through Jane Austen in like grade 6 because she was reading her and I wanted to also. She’s a gifted writer (my sister, not Jane Austen. But also Jane Austen)!!

Here are my parents being amazing in their youth AND only a couple years ago (second photo by Kate Ediger).

Above are some examples of my early work. Hahahaha. Honestly though, I loved capturing people and things in their natural elements, ever since I can remember. Through all my phases of cameras, film, point and shoots, digital, I was obsessed with finding moments and things just existing without any push from anything else. I loved it. I would have followed my dog around forever taking photos of her running around just existing if I could have, haha! Also yes, I took a model photo of a Grand Champion horse toy and it was honestly a photo I was proud of for SO MANY years as a child. My first attempt at posing something with a nice clean background. I’m pretty sure it was my front yard in the early spring.

I was always a part of the music groups in school, and I played flute and saxophone. It might sound dorky but it was SO much fun. We went on trips to Vancouver, CUBA!, and Toronto, and it showed me that living in bigger cities was possible. After all, the closest big city to us was Edmonton, about six hour drive south. I actually continue to play flute to this day, and I was President of the Simon Fraser University Concert Orchestra in my undergrad—but we aren’t there yet!

I got my first car at 16 and fell in love with driving around the prairies, exploring dirt roads I didn’t know, catching wildlife in the fields, and especially taking my camera out and taking photos of sunsets and sunrises, stormclouds, and especially canola, which is like a neon yellow field in the summer. Me and my friends also loved going out and taking photos of our explorations and there are so many old embarrassing photos of us on Facebook checking out forests and driving around. V exciting but it was so much fun!  

There’s not a lot to do in GP when you’re in high school, and I guess driving around with my friends was my big joy haha. I also LOVED going camping. I still do! It was nice to grow up only 5 minutes away from nature. There is the boreal forest right to the north, big rivers surrounding the town, and the Rockies aren’t too far away either. The winters are bitterly cold, and it was normal to wake up and scrape frost off my car to go to school in -35. I don’t know how many times I got stuck in snow or my battery died. A lot! The summers are dry and beautiful, they can be in the 30s, and the rustle of fields of grain in the sun is one of my fave sounds. Unfortunately, right now with climate change, the summers are quickly becoming fire smoke-filled months. It’s heart-breaking. Still, you can’t beat prairie sunrises and sunsets!

After high school I took a year off to decide what I wanted to do. I thought it’d be great to be a photographer or novelist, but I thought I could pursue those endeavours outside of school and should pursue something more realistic. SO, for SOME REASON, to me that meant archaeology! In case you don’t know, archaeology is the study of human history through material culture. Not dinosaurs. Not buildings. Anyway. In this year off I worked at a grocery store (I’ve been working since I was 14! My first job was the GP Public Library), and then I decided I wanted to travel so I went to Southeast Asia, because at that time it was very affordable. This would have been… 2010. I went to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, all by myself at 19, and it was a wonderful, important, eye-opening, sometimes scary but mostly exhilarating, experience.

Then I did a year at my local college to get my basic classes for university done, and then I had to decide where to go for university! I was still into the idea of archaeology and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver has a great archaeology program. So I applied and accepted without ever having visited it or checked it out. Omg! Luckily my mom came with me a couple months before to scope out the scene. Sometimes I take risks hahaha.

Then my family drove me to Vancouver and I officially left home! It was crazy. It was also just the beginning! I was pretty busy in my undergrad. I continued to work, take classes, joined my student society, joined the SFU Concert Orchestra, met new friends (some of whom are still my dearest pals across the country/world), did a nude archaeology calendar photoshoot (it was awesome and it sold so well and we had 12 archaeologist models!), went to work in Peru (archaeological work) for a summer, and lived in England for a semester, where I took some neat archaeology courses and then also explored the UK and Europe. Phew! I think I also got my scuba diving license. I’m sure there’s more?? I loved Vancouver. I still love it! It is honestly the most beautiful place you could plunk a city. I used to live by the ocean. I had mountain views everyday!! The cherry blossoms in the streets are killer beautiful. Honestly, it’s hard to beat in its beauty and nature!

After graduation I did an internship at the SFU Museum while working. Then I decided that archaeological fieldwork in Canada might not be the future for me. So I applied to the Master of Museum Studies program at University of Toronto and got accepted! So that meant another trip across the country, joining another new music group (Toronto Concert Band), getting involved in the student society again, working, taking a full course load, and writing my thesis. Sometimes I worked like 3 jobs. It was insane!

Below are some photos from my time in Vancouver: my co-presidents for the SFU Concert Orchestra, Nathalie and Adri, my fam and I at my graduation, and me working and exploring in Peru! 

Anyway. That’s a summary of my life up til now. I’m still in Toronto, I have a 9-5 in the heritage field, but I still dream of writing and photographing! Funny how you should probably follow your instincts…

Because I took the academic route I did not take photography courses. I’m self-taught. I know that’s not always the way it’s done but I am glad I did it this way! I do love learning though so I’m hoping to take photography courses on certain things, just to be a better photographer for future clients and myself! But you know, that’s all in the future.

Last year, 2018, I got two poems published, which was very exciting! I’m currently working on a poetry collection that is infused with photographs I’ve taken (two of my loves!) and am attempting to work on a novel but it’s hard when you’re busy! And of course, I have Golden Birch Photography, which hit my mid-year goal on clients. THANK YOU everyone for allowing me to follow this passion. It’s so exciting! I can’t wait to keep growing.

Ummm what else….. I love living in big cities! I always wanted to. In Toronto I ride my bike around now and it’s the best thing EVER. If you ever live in a big city, ride a bike! Or a small city! It’s so fun to be a part of it. I love the hustle and chaos of big cities, the old buildings of Toronto, the streetcars rumbling past, the unique cafes and restaurants and stores, all crammed into unexpected places. The bars are amazing. I loved Vancouver too, for different reasons: the nature, the mountains, the ocean at your doorstep, the beautiful skies. It had some of the same hustle and bustle, but not quite to the extent of Toronto. It’s hard to describe the vibrancy of a big city like this. I love riding my bike everywhere and being a part of everything. Too bad it’s so expensive here! It is honestly such an exciting place to live!  I’m so glad I’ve managed to experience all the places I’ve lived! I love them all for different reasons.

Still, one of my favorite things is traveling to new places. I love hopping on a plane and landing down somewhere completely new, where I don’t speak the language, where I have to learn and appreciate and respect and try new things. I love exploring new streets and seeing different kinds of architecture, plants, landscapes, foods. I am obsessed with reading and can usually be found with a new book in my bag. I have recently started taking advantage of the Toronto Public Library and it is AMAZING I forgot how much I love libraries (considering I worked in one). I’ve had a ton of jobs, lol, like a lot. All sorts, from bookstores to museums to highway maintenance. I’m all over the map.

I also LOVE gardening, I know like every hip girl on Instagram seems to love gardening now, but when I was a kid my mom and dad let me and my sister have our own gardens and I swear to God going outside and seeing my sweet peas blooming or going out and pulling weeds was like the highlight of my summer days. So I’m happy I can keep growing things and I haven’t killed too many plants (yet).

Last, most importantly, I am with the coolest guy I’ve ever known. He’s kind, smart, funny, so supportive, a crazy talented musician, cutie handsome, thoughtful, passionate, adventurous, hard-working, and amazing. He’s one of the best things to ever happen in my life, no questions asked! Oh yea, his name is Sean.

Some of my favorite things:

-good food, like pasta
-plants! Especially when they thrive and don’t hate me
-comfy chairs
-good books
-a crackling fire; campfire is the BEST smell
-on that note, camping
-listening to records
-going to shows, like symphonies or musicals
-going on walks down new streets
-riding my bike!
-video games
-fun earrings
-clothes shopping in thrift stores
-driving around the countryside
-PHOTOGRAPHY, especially film. I am deep into film these days
-pretty notebooks
-most things, really, I love life

Some of my least favorite things:
-doing the dishes (boooo)
-my hay fever and allergies (currently in the throes of intense hay fever)
-my expensive décor tastes cause I want to buy so many things and can’t
-when your phone dies in the early afternoon, like wut
-how attached I am to my phone
-cold weather
-mosquitos and wasps
-when you buy something and it doesn’t work/isn’t what you needed
-repetitive noises
-grumpy people

OKAY. That’s a deep dive into my life. I used to be pretty shy, it’s funny, I never would have imagined myself running a business or “promoting” myself in any way shape or form. But then high school hit and I actually discovered I thrive on social interactions and laughing, and then in university I just felt so RIGHT when I was making new friends and trying new things. I’m sure there’s more I could talk about (learning to ride a horse as a kid, dressing up as a pioneer for one of my jobs and the ridonk questions I would get, my obsession with writing fanfic as a youth, great character development in stories) but hopefully this helps you get a better feel for me, understanding of what I dig, and makes you excited to work with me!!!

Photo by Kate Ediger. 

Bonus image of 16-year-old me with my first photograph on display: a photo I took in Cuba on an old point and shoot; also, it was published by National Geographic! Dream big my friends! 🙂

Family: Cara, Chris, Will, & Pups

I’m so excited to share this cute laid back beach family session! I was concerned the day of because I’d been expecting clouds (good), even some snow (I can do it!) but direct sunlight in the middle of the afternoon on the ONLY sunny day that week? I was a bit worried, truth be told! However, luckily these guys are so chill and it all worked out. It’s also fun trying to wrangle two dogs to sit still for some photos! Either way, it’s always a ton of fun hanging out with families and giving them a good experience and photos! I am definitely not a dig whisperer. It’s definitely hard to remember to get family photos consistently, especially if you feel nervous in front of the camera or you’re very busy. But time flies!! Before you know it everyone will be grown up. (I mean, you can definitely still take photos with everyone grown up!). But there’s nothing to fear! In the end you’ll finally have some of those fam photos you’ve been wanting to have and share! I can’t wait to send them their 10 free prints too, because I firmly believe in giving the gift of a physical product. It is SO important to actually use, hang, and share your photos! <3 Anyway, enjoy these cuties! 

Do you like pup posts? Check out Kathleen and Penny and Julia and Sebastian’s photos! This year is apparently the year of the dog for me, hehe.

Kathleen & Penny

Wow! Way back at the end of March I finally got to photograph Kathleen and her beautiful dog Penny. I absolutely LOVE that we took photos just because they are bffs and adorable! I feel so lucky being able to say that I actually get to photograph people (and pups!) just because it’s fun to get your photos taken!! Anyway, enjoy beautiful Kathleen and hyper psycho Penny! Haha. But seriously she just wanted to play, we took the photos where Kathleen works, at the Scugog Museum outside of Port Perry! It’s such a beautiful area and home of the oldest grain elevator in Canada… now I know! 

Do you like posts with pups in them? Make sure to check out Julia and Sebastian’s High Park cutie session which includes their adorable dog Rocky! 

Cuba in 3 Cameras

I was in Cuba for a week. Sure, I spent most of my time relaxing on the beach/by the pool, which was SOOOO NEEDED; did you know I haven’t really taken a vacation or trip since I graduated even from my undergrad four years ago? So this was an undergrad + master’s travel present to myself, and I’d never been to an all inclusive before. It goes against my sensitivities and desire to explore and see new places, to meet real people and eat real food and witness life and understand I am just a tiny part of it. BUT……. endless drinks and swimming in the ocean and seeing thousands of tiny fish circling around me are pretty hard to beat.

While there we did actually leave the resort a few times, and upon discussion afterward we realized that it was both of our favorite parts. So next trip we know will be a good old fashioned backpacking adventure trip. Any ideas where we’ve been discussing? 🙂

ANYWAY. I brought three cameras on this trip because I always overdo it, and I thought it’d be fun to share my faves from each kind of camera and what I liked about each/traveling with each. Okay, onwards! Oh yea, I also had my phone and took photos with that too, but I mostly tried to use it mainly as a timekeeping device and utilize my other tools! I am a big fan of phone photos but I wanted to push myself a bit this trip (we have gotten so lazy and used to taking all our photos on our phones!).



I have been using my dad’s old camera for many years, usually as a side camera and for fun explorations and to better learn manual and composition in-camera. The magic of going to get my photos printed has never worn off and I still get a thrill everytime I see them for the first time. This particular instance I was so pleasantly surprised with the results. My grain is a little high for my liking, and I think that was me playing around a lot with exposure compensation due to the brightness of the beach and the sun. However, I really love how the town ones turned out especially (and of course of my handsome dude!). I am re-obsessed with film again and went and bought more fun film, like Kodak Portra 400, so I’m excited to go take more! Now I know to always take this camera with me on my travels and I’d love to try out different ones and lenses! 


I am currently saving up for a new digital camera (fingers crossed I should have it in the next couple months!! #businessinvestment) but this is still a great little camera that has done me well, and will be a great second camera for weddings, events, etc. I didn’t use it much on this trip because I felt film calling to me more in the nostalgic feelings of Cuba, and I kept the 50 MM lens on it so there isn’t a lot of variety. However, I loved using it to capture portraits of Sean and small things like the trees and the fruit. I should have used it more, especially on the beach, but it was definitely the least used this time. NEXT TIME!


Sean got me this for Christmas and it has quickly become a love of mine. As someone who is obsessed with film and getting it printed, there is nothing more thrilling than getting the photo back IMMEDIATELY. Of course, I screwed up a few photos on this trip because of weird lighting/specks on my camera, but I absolutely love having memories instantly and writing little notes on them. There are now instant photos dotting our apartment, in the kitchen and living room hehehe. I love seeing them! They look great. I love everything about them, and my faves were again the ones we took in town–look how cool they are!! Either way, I think film wins this round, but the point is that it’s so fun to explore and test and play around! In photography you’re always learning and I couldn’t be more grateful. 😀

Interested in seeing more photos from trips of mine? Check out last summer’s trip to Algonquin here

Julia and Sebastian in High Park

A couple weekends ago there was a BEAUTIFUL snowfall. I live right beside High Park in Toronto and knew it was the perfect weekend for a couple’s shoot. We missed the falling snow unfortunately, but Julia and Sebastian and their amazing pup Rocky made it the next day when it was still all beautiful and fresh! 

These guys are so laid back and it was so much fun tromping aroud High Park with them! Rocky loves them so much that if we tied him up outside of the frame for some human couple photos he would WHIIIINE and it sounded so sad so I snapped photos so so fast because he was making me too sad!! Then when we parted ways he started crying again so clearly I am a dog whisperer (just kidding, Julia told me he would do that because he does it to everyone). 

These two are so fun and photogenic and I hope you enjoy these cutie little photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!! 

Tips for Photographing Love

It’s Valentine’s Day! I totally didn’t plan to time this post to this day, but what do you know, it worked. I was going for a whole ~love~ theme this month, but I do want to stress that I love LOTS OF KIND OF LOVE. Not just couple love but friend love, family love, pet love, LOVE in its many thousands form is kind of a great thing. Sure, we can complain about it and all the pain it brings and our duties and the struggles that sometimes loving a person/people entails, but think of all the GREAT things! Smiling, laughing, feeling close to someone, sharing your life woes, writing stories together, taking photos together, going on adventures and making memories with loved ones. Love is actually pretty great once you open yourself up to it. 

This post I share my top FIVE tips I use when photographing love. Sure, I’m still a newbie in the wedding game field and yes, getting my degree changed up my plans a bit, but I still believe in and have a ton of fun photographing love in its many forms. So I’m gonna stop blabbing and here we go!

TIP 1 – make them laugh 

I’m pretty sure the only people who find me funny are me and my sister. However, ever since I was a kid I loved making people laugh and I try to use these traits to the benefit of photos! It is easily the best part of being a photographer. Make jokes, be weird, move in strange angles that make people laugh, lie in the dirt or snow or whatever you have to do to get people to smile and laugh. It’s been said to me that I can make people feel pretty comfortable early on and I think it’s because I try to get people laughing and joking right away. I mean I think I’m hilarrrrrious but I won’t be offended if you don’t. One thing I don’t use are those online prompts, cause they are kind of weird and awkward and make people feel weird and awkward. I do love making people run and dance though because sooner or later someone feels ridiculous and laughs and it’s my fave.

Golden Birch Photography
TIP 2 – let people be themselves! aka don’t pose a lot

Our job as photographers, at least for me, is not to make the day look the way we want it to. Our job is to capture life as it happens, those smiles and laughs and gentle touches. Those are great moments, and the more comfortable you are as the photographer and people are around you, the more likely you will start to see these real moments. I don’t want people to feel like they’re getting their photo taken; I want them to feel like I’m not even there. Then you get those great genuine moments and feelings and I cry when I see those! 

TIP 3 – let a couple make out

This is literally my fave way to start out a couple’s shoot. If you’re shy around photographers or embarrassed or worried (most everyone I’ve ever photographed is!!) don’t worry. My first trick is to ask you to make out pretty early on. The couple will probably laugh and be like omg why and then try it and laugh throughout it and then a) you get great photos of joy and b) IT IS PRETTY IMPOSSIBLE TO FEEL AWKWARD ANYMORE AFTER YOU’VE MADE OUT IN FRONT OF SOMEONE A LOT (this is a proven scientific fact). See below photo series where a makeout resulted in crazy laughter and I love it.

TIP 4 – let them have some quiet moments

People get tired. Photoshoots can be exhausting! So sometimes the best way to capture love–familial, wedding, friends, anything–is to take a step back, find a quiet corner away from the noise and the busy-ness and the insanity, and just let your subjects breathe and have a moment. Kids, adults, anybody, usually a break is needed at some point. Just take a breath and wait for the right moments to snap some shots.

TIP 5 – go on an adventure

THIS IS MY FAVE THING TO DO. I love going on adventures. Let’s go skating! Let’s go hiking! Let me take photos of you dancing in a river or eating pizza or playing board games or walking in a neighborhood we’ve never been before! Adventures mean doing something different. It’s a new memory for the subjects and a great way to get some casual and real photographs. I don’t wanna just stand in front of one tree for an engagement shoot. Let’s explore an old barn hayloft instead! Guys, trust me, adventures are the best. And I love going on them on or off a shoot, so it’s just a sweet sweet bonus when people I photograph are up for it too! 😀 

Well those are my top 5 tips that I tend to use in almost every photoshoot! I hope they help someone out there. To end my first post on luuuurve in its many forms, here are two of my best friends back in Vancouver in 2017. Cause I super love them. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Future Guides for You!

Hey everyone! This will be a very small blog post, in that it is only a POLL! With ONE question! 

I have a lot of fun making PDF guides and want to put out strong content with good design for EVERYONE! So I’m working on it again this year. If you have a second and are interested in getting free PDF guides on certain things (wedding day prep, engagement sessions, posing) please take a second to fill out the poll below! I’ll have it open for ONE week. It would be super hepful so I know what my peeps want to see from me! Thanks guys. 🙂 


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