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. 🙂 

TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE!

My Three Goals for 2019

Welcome to 2019! If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook (or… my newsletter??) you may have noticed that I’ve been focusing on a new year and what that means creatively for me. It’s not goals of numbers or bookings. My goals this year are solely creative, educational, and all about what I love to do: take photos. This little blog post will summarize my three big dreams for 2019 and what that means (for me and you!).

PS: I usually keep these to myself in a notebook that never sees the light of day. However, by making my goals public, I’m hoping it’ll make me a bit more accountable. Will you guys help me stick to it and follow through?! I hope so haha, I’m sometimes kind of hopeless on my own. Aside from these I have so many other goals this year so I gotta stay focused!

 

1. attend a workshop

I would looove to be able to attend a photography workshop this year, one of those ones where you all camp and drink and sit around a fire and take photos and have a wonderful time and experience. There are so many amazing people in this industry that it can be really intimidating sometimes. I wonder… why bother? But then another part of me thinks “but you can learn so much!!”. So I’ve got a few ideas of some I’d like to attend, but of course that requires $$$ and when you’ve got student debt it puts a halt on your creative pursuits sometimes. Alas!

Any recommendations from my fellow photographers out there? What are some workshops you liked? Who are some photographers that you really admire?

 

2. learn

Well that seems vague, you’re thinking. “Learn”? You can say you did that no matter what! No no. I have some specific things I want to learn.

a) Lightroom classes! I can get my way through Lightroom, and understand how it works, but I’d loooove to be so familiar and comfortable with it that I could run it with my eyes closed. I’m mostly going to do this through online tutorials (cause I’m cheap) but can anyone recommend any good Lightroom classes/teachers that are FREEE and online? 🙂

b) Another thing I want to learn is a bit bigger: different mediums! I want to stretch my creativity! Different formats! Different cameras! Different lenses! Darkrooms again! I want to push what my own idea of photography is, what creativity is, what a story is in an image (you’ll notice all the photos in this blog post are from my latest film scans… and I always remember how much I LOVE film when I get them back!!). So I’m hoping to play around with a lot of different cameras this year, OR at least… learn about them! Because that’s good too when you can’t afford crazy gear.

3. photographers without borders school

This is something I’ve been obsessed with for over a year but requires lots of planning and prep work and I have been really bad at it. Photographers Without Borders is an amazing organization that chooses documentary photographers and sends them abroad to shoot for NGOs across the globe. You submit your portfolio, get feedback, pass a system of approvals, and then you can apply to photograph certain jobs, help them send their message out there, and you get more potfolio photos out of it. Of course I’ve been letting my freelance documentary stuff go and it is NECESSARY that this year I build it up, so I can a) get a bigger portfolio and b) take amazing photos for an NGO someday!

Before I can get there I think I would need to attend one of their “schools”, where you pay (of course!) to go on a trip and take photos with them, see what they look for, etc etc. That OR I just need to build up my portfolio and apply without the school. What do you guys think? Should I apply anyway and see what happens?

 

And there you have it! Not small goals by any means but ones that are really important to me that I’ve been ruminating on the last year or so, but you know–as I always say–master’s degree came first. But I’m done now, so yay! I can try! Do you guys think I can do it? Haha… I firmly believe that by continuing to follow my interests and dreams in this field, I can become a better photographer for my weddings and clients too! I really do believe in the ability of a photographer to be adaptable and that all skills come in handy for cross photographing.

Anyway, leave your ideas, suggestions, or affirmations (I need them!) in the comments, and let’s goooOOO 2019! Maybe in June I’ll do a check in on these and see how they’re going….


Personal Show: Tampered Press in Toronto

I have some of my photographs up at a really cool local cafe in Toronto, Tampered Press! It’s right beside Trinity-Bellwoods Park and a place I’ve visited many times in the past to work and drink good coffee. They have a local artist section of their cafe, and my photos will be up until mid-October! This showing is of some photographs I took while road tripping around Alberta for my master’s thesis last summer. A lot of small towns there are beautiful, but also crumbling as the infrastructure and economy of the province changes. A lot of places felt sort of haunted and abandoned, and I felt that I needed to document it. So a selection of these photos are up (and for sale! heehee) until the middle of October. Here’s a little glimpse of them to get you interested to visit!!

It’s important to keep pursuing those things that you are passionate about. For me, it’s photography, but the many facets of photography. My personal pursuits are just as important to me as documenting cool couples in love, and it’s always the BEEEST feeling to see your work hanging in a shop, seeing people observe your photos, appreciate your work, and just… there’s no feeling like it! Everyone, if you have a passion, pursue it, no matter how small the steps! So I felt like even though it isn’t directly related to my work in the wedding world, I think it’s important to share this part of my life too and let you all know what else I photograph.

I’ve written a previous post on a show I put last year at Mitzi’s Cafe in Parkdale, so I won’t go over it again — except to say this was a much smoother prep as I was more prepared! 

It’s always a good idea to have a bio and business cards for interested folks! 

 

I will say these ones are on sale — it’s a first for me, but feel free to go check it out if you live in Toronto and feel like a great cup of coffee & good energy at the same time!! I can’t recommend this place enough! 


Cory and Kayla’s Wedding: Part II

Here is part two of Kayla and Cory’s wedding! It was an intimate affair, with the couple’s friends and family gathered for a night of memories, laughter, and dancing late into the night. It was so much fun and I was so honored to capture it! Thank you again to Kayla and Cory for one of the best days a wedding photographer can ask for!

And a few parting shots,with my true favorite at the very end. I hope you enjoyed reliving Kayla and Cory’s wedding with me!! 


Cory and Kayla’s Wedding: Part I

Here is the first blog post about Cory and Kayla’s day! I’m really bad at selecting only a few for blog posts, and why should I? It was a great day full of stuff! So I’m gonna share it! 

Here are some thoughts from the bride, Kayla, literally one of the most laid back people I have ever met! “Having my baba be a part of our wedding meant the world to me. She didn’t think she would be able to be a flower girl but I think she pulled it off quite nicely! I was so happy to have all my friends and family help with setting it up and making all the desserts. My aunts are savages in the kitchen when it comes to cooking! Overall I definitely felt the love of friends and family on that day, especially Cory. Super happy I got to marry my best friend amongst everyone. Even though Cory lost the ring on the big day… it was one for the books in that I had a handy fake one ready to go!”

Yes, the ring was lost… but it just goes to show that it’s not not the most important part of the day! Love of family and friends is all you need, and these guys definitely had that!

Vendors:

Flowers — Loriann’s Floral Design

Hall — Demmitt Hall Cultural Society

 


Cory and Kayla’s Wedding: A Sneak Peek!

Kayla and Cory got married at a lovely hall in Demmitt, Alberta, surrounded by trees, fields, and loved ones. The whole blog post will be out soon, but for now, here’s a lil peek to get you excited! 🙂


Adventure: Opeongo Lake in Algonquin Park

Wow! Time flies! Summer 2018 has been a bit crazy, and most of my focus has gone to finishing up my master’s degree. I defended my thesis at the end of July, so there was a lot of prep work and I knew that for a little bit my brain had to be there instead of photography. But I’m always thinking about it! I am so happy to finally have time to dedicate to my joy and passion in life again, and it’s gonna start with a blog post throwback to early June. I went on a canoe trip on Opeongo Lake in Algonquin Park, my very first time going on a canoe trip! I felt like a real Ontario person. We canoed to our campsite in the lake and everything.

Let’s remember I haven’t canoed since I was in high school and it was just down the little creek in my hometown. I remember getting stuck in weeds. I do love kayaking but canoeing is pretty different. We arrived at the lake in early evening, and the sun was just starting to set. We threw our bags into the canoe and began the journey into the lake, not quite sure where we would end up, just letting the sun decide for us. I remember how peaceful it was, gliding across the lake. It was like a mirror at this point, soft and still. Nature really is good for your soul. We found a spot before the sunset and set up camp. The mosquitos were INSANE but it was worth it to hear the loon calls until 2 AM, to see millions of stars at night again. We took the canoe out in the middle of the night to appreciate them, and went to watch the loons dance and sing to each other one night. I lost track of time and it was perfect to not be checking my phone, checking the time. I just lived by the sun.

I also portaged! Yes, I lifted a canoe on my shoulders and carried it BY MYSELF through the woods, where we ended up at a smaller lake to eat lunch floating in the canoe. Guys. Canoe trips are SO fun. I can’t wait until the next one! I hope to become better at steering…

So how did I take my camera with me on this adventure? Well, I took it in my smaller camera bag that has a rain cover (actually, both of mine do, but the smaller on was better for transport). At first I also had it wrapped up in a garbage bag, remembering my scary experience of having my camera bag without cover in a kayk while I was on the Pacific Ocean (not a great idea, Kristen). However, the garbage bag ripped and I kept being paranoid, so instead I just FACED it head on and kept it only with its rain cover and always had it flipped down on the rain cover side so that if any water pooled in the canoe, it would be protected. It ended up not being a really big deal, but I was so worried about it that I think in the future I need to invest in something actually waterproof, like a Pelican case. My do-it-yourself methods (re: carrying a lens around Vietnam in a sock) are not always the greatest. Does anyone have a Pelican case? What do you do so you can take your camera/lenses on adventures without it being a burden or being paranoid about it getting wet? I’d LOVE some tips, as I hope to keep doing this in the future! 


Portraits: Tabitha & Chung

It finally happened! 

Tabitha, Chung, and I have been trying to get together for photos since January. Luckily life kept getting in the way because we ended up going and doing it a few weeks ago and it was beautiful! The flowers! The sun! A lot of photographers hate shooting in the middle of the afternoon–the light is harsh, there are shadows everywhere, sometimes a face gets covered by a leaf shadow. But there is something about what we call “harsh” light that I love: it is direct, it is life, it is two people enjoying the sunshine together. I like to utilize these shadows and lines and just have fun with it! Sure, the photos aren’t magazine perfect that way, but I really love them! 

These two are simply a delight. Chung was the most laid back person I think I’ve ever had in front of the camera. They’ve been dating for 7 years and are a lovely example of a strong bond just bursting with love. I was lucky to witness this relationship at work, their kindness to each other and total strangers, and just hanging out with two friends. We even took some sweet selfies that made their way to my instagram

Tabitha was actually the graphic designer of my new logo and my business cards!! She is crazy talented and can be found over on instagram too!

We wandered through Cabbagetown, Allan Gardens, and down to Massey Hall. It was a busy afternoon in downtown Toronto! So I hope you all enjoy a snapshot of a day in the sun with these two! It was truly a delight.