Portraits – Family and Engagement

Just Hanging Out on My Couch in a Field – Katherine, Tim and the Boys

16 Sept 2012

This session, on what had to have been one of the hottest evenings of the summer (34 degrees at 6:30?! Come on!), was an absolute hoot! August was drawing to a close and the sun was shining, so we left the studio behind when this family joined me for their family portraits. We started a little tentatively while the boys sussed me out, but by the time I broke out the couch, the youngest had fallen asleep, the oldest had decided I was actually alright, and his hamming had us in stitches. Pretty hard to take photos when you’re busy laughing, but we managed to get through with some absolutely priceless shots. Thanks to Tim, Katherine and the boys for the evening’s entertainment!

Life’s a Beach! – Cornwall Family Portraits

24 May 2012

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Jon and Kelly came to see me a little while ago, looking for some family portraits with an eye to their pending November wedding. We booked a shoot for May, thinking that the weather would brighten up and we’d be able to get some nice sunny shots with lots of greenery. Well, sunny it was – a scorching 28+ degrees meant that a day at the beach was just what was needed.

I had a whale of a time working with this fun family of four last weekend. The two boys are an absolute joy – and little bundles of non-stop energy, which made for an entertaining shoot! Here are some of the results…Image

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Maddie and Family – Family Portraits

17 May 2012

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I spent Mother’s Day photographing an absolutely lovely family. Maddie was a superstar and put up with being outside in the sun and in the studio. The strong midday sun made for a few challenges, but I’m please with the results! Here are a few favourites (click on each to see in larger format)…

Like Child’s Play – Heather and Rob’s Engagement Shoot

15 May 2012

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Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Heather and Rob, an awesome couple whose July wedding is set to be a memorable one.

When we first sat down to discuss their wedding, Heather and Rob told me that they wanted me to ‘just have fun’ with their photos. Giving me a green light like that is both exhilarating and daunting. You’ve just told me I can do pretty much anything I want with you, so….. what am I going to do?

Given the fun-loving nature of this oh-so-cute couple, I thought about the nature of ‘play’. This led us to a local playground where Rob patiently waited for his turn to climb up to the slide and Heather tried not to squeal while she slid down. From there we hit the sand where my couple braved the freezing St Lawrence (in May?! Are we crazy?!). I could’ve worked with these two for HOURS, but sadly, the sun had other ideas. Here’s a selection of shots from their photo shoot.

Show Me How You Burlesque

07 Mar 2012

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Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to be a part of something truly special. It seems odd to say that, given that the event was of my own idea, but it became something so much more than what I’d imagined.  For the past couple of months, I’ve been thinking about and trying to plan a burlesque shoot. The idea for this came about as a result of my research into boudoir photography, which revealed a startling number of Penthouse-esque images of uncomfortable looking women in awkward poses that seem to over-emphasise the need for nudity in order for an image to be seen as ‘sexy’.  The more I thought about it, the more I realised that I needed to explore how seduction and allure can be captured by a camera. In order to do that, I needed to research the art and history of burlesque dance – an artform that encapsulates seduction without placing undo emphasis on nudity.

Feeling frustrated but motivated, I emailed Amanda Marini-Rohde, who teaches a burlesque dance class here in Cornwall, to see if she might know of anyone who would be interested in participating in my project. She came back with a positive response from her dancers and, after a couple of speed bumps, we had a date, time and location all set.

I arrived at the site expecting to take shots of their group routines and do a few individual shots of each individual. What I didn’t expect was the stories of increased self-confidence; the celebration of their derring do; the sense that each of these women had grown to be so much more at ease in her own skin; the woman who showed me the diamante breast cancer ribbon on her chest that was a tribute to her sister, who was always the daring one; and the sense that I was at a dance party, not in a room full of women who could be potentially uncomfortable with what I was going to be asking them to do.

This project was a personal one – it was “my” shoot. I wanted to learn how I could go about encouraging women to show off without being awkward. I wanted to see if I was capable of capturing charm and allure while making my subjects feel at ease. What I didn’t expect was the feedback; my email inbox and Facebook pages have been filled with messages of thanks and comments about how wonderful these women felt because of what clearly became “our” project.  More than a lesson in studio work, this was a lesson in how to encourage and compliment women so that they are willing to let loose and celebrate themselves. My heartfelt thanks goes to those 8 spectacular ladies who made the afternoon a success and taught me far more than perhaps they realise. Their patience, sense of fun, and free spirited attitude were what made this project work.

Here are some of the results:

Falling for Autumn – October Outdoor Portrait Photography

20 Oct 2011

October has been a busy month! While I work at increasing the speed of my
post-production processes, I thought I’d post a few photos that show why I
think autumn makes for a better season for photos than summer. The colours, the temperature (the only person working up a sweat was the photographer!), the light… It all combines to make for beautiful photographs and happy clients.

I’ve had more shoots this month than any other month so far and there has been a huge variety in the clientele, which has created some awesome opportunities for my professional growth. One of the aspects of outdoor shoots that I’m loving is when clients come to me with an idea of where they would like their shoot to take place or what they would like to have in the background. This month, the requests have given me a chance to take advantage of some of the Cornwall area’s more-beautiful-but-less-photographed sites.

One of my sessions this month was with a couple who recently decided that it was time to tie the knot. Having been together for many years, they found the idea of an ‘engagement session’ a little silly but, upon further discussion, realised they didn’t have any photos of just the two of them. So, the engagement session was on. We headed off to Cooper Marsh, a place that was filled more with significance than full fall colours (except for green and a beautiful gold), but that resulted in some stunning photos and a couple who are, as a result, far more comfortable with the idea of having their own ‘paparazzi’ on their wedding day.


Another of my shoots this month was for a family of 12 who decided to get together for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. One of the Christmas elves organised an outdoor family portrait session for everyone and stipulated a need for pumpkins. Pumpkins, you say? How about pumpkins, fall mums, an orchard and some hay? Done.

Fortunately for me, I have worked with people with great senses of humour willing to make the shoot a little interesting. This month alone, I’ve seen yoga, interpretive dance, stick and grass ‘fights’ and Bond girl faces. I love it when clients are willing to get a little goofy during a shoot. It helps them relax, it shows a little personality, and you get some entertaining photos out of the deal, too.

Coming soon: my thoughts on the joys and challenges of infant photography (with some adorable Hallowe’en portraits just in time for the holiday).

The Value of a Memory

8 Jan 2012

After seeing this post, by Jeanine Thurston Photography, come up for the second time in the past week and having just lost a family member to cancer today, I thought the post is too valuable not to be passed on. Please read and think carefully: http://wp.me/p9Kwh-vR.

Memories go beyond having a value; so do the photographs that capture them. Go take some.

Portrait Photography and the Joys of Working with Family

7 Aug 2011

My brother, home from Toronto for a visit, decides he needs some portraits done for various professional sites. So we troop down to the studio and I get everything set up, then I ask, “Do you know what you’re wanting to do?”

My brother, ever the casual guy, says, “Nope.”

Right. Well. It is my job, after all, to be a portrait photographer who knows how to capture people in comfortable, ‘lightly posed’ photographs. So we get to talking about what he wants the photos for and how he wants to come across. I break out the stool, hand him something to fiddle with so he has something to do with his hands and away we go…

Except that now he looks awkward and uncomfortable:

Awkward…? Party of one…?

Need to relax! Keep trying…

Right. Well. It is my job, after all, to be a sister who knows how to tease her brother. A few stabs at making fun of his appearance (“Where did the buck teeth come from?!” or “Dude, stop looking like you’re going to attack a small animal hiding just off-camera!” tend to do the trick nicely) and he’s wondering why he’s suddenly the target of my jabs, but he’s laughing so we’re in business.

That’s more like it!

Background light misfired, but the photo worked anyway…

Making fun of my subjects is not something I’d do with my average, everyday clients, but it certainly works for family – and provides me with cheap entertainment while I’m at it.

Props make for great icebreakers – and blackmail photos!
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