Shaun & Lisa… the wedding extravaganza!

This is a long post… I repeat, long. ūüôā This is the journey of Shaun &¬†Lisa as Peter and I have come to know them. We¬†have spent a lot of time with this lovely couple and I am happy to say that I now consider them¬†friends.

It starts out with a few photos from their amazing engagement shoot at the Marine Building in downtown Vancouver. I have always loved shooting in front of the amazing Art Deco revolving doors, but since Lisa works in the building we were allowed access to the lobby after hours. We had so much fun and this couple is very easy to shoot!

A few months later it was time for the wedding extravaganza! It was a backyard event¬†to end all others! Lisa and friends spent a lot of time and effort with the DIY touches and the already beautiful yard was decked out to party. After the Chinese tea ceremony, the couple said their I do’s in the brilliant sunshine while their family and best friends looked on.¬†This was my first wedding that included a poutine truck and a bouncy castle¬†and needless to say¬†was a fun afternoon!

The reception was a 10 course Chinese dinner at Shiang Garden in Richmond with fun & games, cake cutting, and toasts & speeches between courses. I can safely say that no one went home hungry, but calories were burned with everyone ripping up the dance floor!

A couple of days later, after everyone was rested from the big party, I met Shaun and Lisa  for a family picnic/big group photo before all of the overseas guest went back home. I surprised Shaun and Lisa with a small photo book of their wedding photos just two days after their wedding. It was very special for me to watch their reactions as they saw a few of their wedding photos for the first time.

The wedding day had been a whirlwind of activity and even though I got some great photos of the two of them on the day, we decided to meet again for a sunset photo-shoot in their wedding attire. I was so glad we did, I shot some of my favourite photos ever on that shoot.

Our last shoot together was a lifestyle shoot of the newlyweds in their home. I wanted to capture them as they are… I’m sure Shaun makes cookies every weekend! ūüôā¬†He’s a keeper, Lisa!¬†I think it is really special to have a glimpse of their life during that first year of marriage and I’m sure they will look back on it fondly as they grow old and grey together… love you guys!

Kevin & Chantelle… Best Western Hotel wedding

We met Kevin & Chantelle for their engagement shoot on a cool autumn evening in Stanley Park, the pride of Vancouver. It holds special meaning to so many people, I guess that is why so many of our couples choose it for their engagement shoot. We are always happy to shoot there!

Fast forward a few months later and it was Kevin & Chantelle’s big day! The couple said their ‘I do’s’ in front of a small gathering of family and friends in the garden atrium of the Best Western Hotel. After the ceremony we headed to Como Lake with the bridal party for photos and fun. As summer weddings can be, the weather was hot… really hot. I feel for the guys wearing jackets but those wedding dresses can be hot too!¬†After wrapping up portraits, a pit stop to Timmy’s to refresh was in order!

Back at the Best Western, in the revitalizing¬†A/C, the reception began with the famous baron of beef, touching speeches, fun and games. It continued on through the night with dancing and eating cupcakes until literally ‘blue in the face’! Too much fun!

All the best to you Kevin & Chantelle!


Minh & Anna… Celebration Pavilion wedding

A evening stroll in the city¬†was the theme for Minh and Anna’s engagement shoot a few months before their August wedding. We were recommended to them by George and Tina, a couple ¬†we had shot a few years earlier. Having that recommendation from past bride’s and groom is the highest compliment we can receive!

Minh and Anna are both quiet people and let us know that they were not comfortable in front of the camera. I hear that a lot, so it did not worry me at all. Our style is a mix of casual posing and ‘directed’ candids and¬†it doesn’t take long before the couple warms up to each other in front of us. Minh and Anna were adorably sweet with one another.

Their wedding was a lovely day at Celebration Pavilion, one of my favourite venues to shoot. Right there in Queen Elizabeth Park, a perfect place for all your photo needs! After family photos, and we had lots of time for the two of them for portraits and even enjoyed a shaved ice to beat the heat!

The reception was at Shiang Garden Restaurant in Richmond, the 10 course dinner was amazing. It was an evening of games, toasts and a choreographed dance for the bride and groom by some young guests,¬†The bouquet toss was so sweet, two young girls caught it at the same time and the one girl let the other on have it with no complaint. After photographing the bride with the two girls, the girl that had the bouquet gave it to the other… awww. A¬†first for sure! It is more often every gal¬†for themselves, and stand back! Such sweet young ladies! It was a fun night to capture and all the best to you Minh and Anna.


Dan & Mandy… Cecil Green Park House wedding

Dan and Mandy were married last summer at Cecil Green Park House at UBC, an elegant old mansion with gorgeous grounds, perfect for a summer wedding.

We had done their engagement shoot a few moths prior to the wedding, and with them both being busy professionals, we met them at noon at Granville Island for a quick photo session. These two rocked the session and I loved how easily Dan could make Mandy laugh!

On the day of the wedding, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. There was a threat of rain, which did not materialize and¬†the clouds keep the temperature¬†mild. It¬†was a very relaxed day, we met Dan and Mandy¬†first at the UBC Rose Garden for a few portraits of the two of them before the garden ceremony. After the ceremony, the couple greeted each and everyone of their guests with love and warm embraces on the veranda of the stately house. They¬†weren’t worried about the typical traditions of a wedding, they just wanted a really nice day to share their love with each other and their loved ones.¬†The evening was spent with touching speeches, an amazing dinner and dancing the whole night through.

It was such a pleasure to capture your wedding Dan and Mandy, and I hope your first year of being newlyweds has been filled with laughter and love!

Our amazing stay in the Pousadas of Portugal!

Peter and I took an amazing trip to Portugal where we stayed in the Pousadas of Portugal, chain of historical and luxury hotels. Included in our trip was a rental car (our little Fiat was great but the GPS left a lot to be desired!) for five¬†days and you could stay in one¬†to five¬†pousadas depending how much travelling you would like to do. This was our ‘third honeymoon’, and would definitely recommend this tour package for a first, third or tenth¬†honeymoon!

Our first stay was in the small city of Viana do Castelo at the Pousada de Monte de Santa Luiza. After leaving the airport and getting to the pousada in the dark of night, we woke to the most stunning view of the Basilica de Santa Luiza. It is designed in the shape of a greek cross with granite and marble construction and gorgeous stained glass windows. We booked two days here and we enjoyed the sights and the beach in the northern part of Portugal.

Our second¬†stay was in Guimar√£es, the¬†‘birthplace of the Portuguese nationality’. It was not a far drive… only about two¬†hours, so we thought. We made a pit stop in Amares for lunch and we didn’t think it would take us too far off the beaten track. Oops… ¬†we had issues with the GPS again and had a round-about¬†mountain¬†drive for an hour. It was beautiful but I only took one photo, I thought we might be lost forever! Some of the roads we were on were only as wide as our tiny little Fiat. We were relieved when we reached our next stop,¬†the Pousada de Santa Marinha,¬†an ancient 12th century Augustinian Monastery. We found a quiet place to chill on the grounds… where monks once walked, we had a beer. ūüôā

Poudasa number three¬†was the Pousada de¬†Rainha de Santa Isabel in¬†Estremoz, a castle from the 12th century. Because of the previous day’s misadventure we decide to stay on the main road as we had a four¬†hour drive ahead of us. The castle was a absolutely ‘marble-ous’ ūüôā in fact Estremoz is well known for it’s marble, even the cobble stones and white wash on the buildings were made from it.

Our final pousada was a short drive to Alcacer do Sal where we stayed in the Pousada D. Afonso II. This one was a mix of original structure of the 5000 year old castle with ultra modern updates. After a little pool time we walked beside the Sado River and had dinner under a strikingly clouded sky.

Our pousada tour was now over but we still had two¬†days in Portugal. We drove to Lisbon and said goodbye to our trusty little car. We were now in the heart of the city and able to use the metro, buses and even a ferry to get around. One of the highlights was visiting Cristo Rei, the Christ Statue of Lisbon. Our hotel was passable but¬†centrally located and¬†we didn’t spend much time there. In fact we messed up on the reservation and arrived a day late. Since our flight home was early we decided not to book another day there. So our final day in Portugal we walked and saw every sight (and Peter managed to get a Euro¬†Cup game watched) until midnight, then went and crashed at the airport… always an adventure. ūüôā

Portugal you have my heart!

Shaun & Lisa… Lifestyle shoot; the art of the everyday.

Lifestyle shoots¬†are quickly becoming a favourite way of mine to shoot couples! After chatting with Lisa, she and Shaun were totally on board to give it a try! I had big shoes to fill as I had recently entered¬†a photo of the couple (the first photo of this post) into the Shoot & Share Photo Contest and it placed in the top 100 out of 35,527 photos. (had to throw that in!) ūüėÄ

The idea behind these lifestyle shoots is to capture a couple in the relaxed environment of their home in the ‘art of the everyday’. In the years to come it will¬†a great memory of how things were in the early stages of marriage. I will give a few suggestions to get the ball rolling, but it is up to the couple to decide what they want to do while I shoot. I will mix in a few portraits but mainly my goal is to have a more relaxed non-posed shoot.

When I arrived at Shaun and Lisa’s condo, it smelled like heaven! Shaun was on his second batch of cookies and Lisa was relaxing. That is a recipe¬†for an ideal Sunday afternoon, in my book. There was some discussion about Shaun using a cookie mix, but there is no shame in the Betty Crocker game! While cookies were baking we did a family portrait complete with their children, Monkey and the small one… sorry his name escapes me. ūüôā

Shaun and Lisa, how fun are the two of you!¬†I can’t think of a¬†better way to spend a rainy¬†Sunday afternoon than with a board game¬†and a huuuge stack of cookies! Before leaving, I decided to try something new. I asked the couple¬†to chill¬†on the couch while I enacted¬†my plan. Because their condo is on the first floor, I wanted to try with using a light outside of the window… a little faux sunshine on a rainy day. I think I may just enter the resulting photo¬†into next year’s Shoot & Share Contest! ūüėÄ


Justine Russo Photography Workshop… Engagement Shoot Walk-Through

Last weekend¬†I attended Justine Russo’s ‘Engagement Shoot Walk-Through’ Workshop. I am always up¬†for continued learning, and it is a great feeling to¬†dust off the camera in the slow season to keep that creativity flowing. The workshop was a combination of business/personal brand coaching, tips for meaningful ‘engagement’ (see what I did there ūüôā¬†) with your couples during meetings and photo shoots, ending with¬†a photo shoot and¬†some good old net-working with other creatives.

Also attending were¬†other¬†photographers from the Fraser Valley who are various stages of their photography businesses… each and everyone of them very down to earth and very definitely talented.¬†After the coaching session we headed to a nearby park to shoot a couples session. One of the harder things during photo sessions is truly getting couples to feel relaxed enough to have fun, be romantic and show true emotion. Justine gave us tips on that and how she gets her fantastic ring shots.

I attempted to bring as little gear as possible to force myself to use what I had, but I totally caved and brought four lenses. I did settle on my 85mm (I think it will be named as my desert island lens!)¬†and since¬†it was a workshop rather than my own shoot, I decided to push the limits of that¬†lens. I shot wiiide open (f1.4) and¬†I kind of think I love it! I am feeling very fired up and can’t wait for my engagement season to start up in just a few weeks! Thanks Justine!¬†




Pat & Anne… lifestyle couples shoot

Pat and Anne were the winners of my Valentine’s lifestyle couples¬†shoot!¬†I held this contest as¬†a way to thank my past brides and grooms¬†for the great reviews on WeddingWire.¬†For the contest winner I had decided to try a different kind of shoot… a¬†cozy relaxed photo shoot in their home¬†that does not depend on good weather!

Pat and Anne just celebrated their first anniversary, so what better way to celebrate than with me and my camera! This was the third shoot with this sweet couple, we had a chilly winter engagement shoot at SFU and I shot their winter Wedding at Swaneset Bay Golf Course.  I asked them to think of something they could do in their home to give us a jumping off point. Both of them being coffee lovers, they decided that simply making a coffee and sharing some time together fit them as a couple.

Once inside Pat and Anne’s lovely condo, the thing that struck me was that Anne collects crowns. I thought it was fitting for a newlywed as Anne is certainly the queen of Pat’s heart ūüėČ but I found out that¬†Anne¬†competed with her¬†quartet, Frenzy, at the Sweet Adelines International quartet competition last October, and won! They¬†were named the International Quartet Champions (the best in the world!) and as a result, they¬†are now considered ‘Queens of Harmony’. Each year, crowns are presented to the winners by the Coronet Club. After I asked,¬†Anne showed me her official crown and happily donned it for a few photos (I think she looks adorable in it!). The shoot was super relaxed and I tried to use as much of their lovely condo as possible, even fur-baby Sophie had her moment in¬†the spotlight.

Pat and Anne, it has been a pleasure to work with the two of you over the last two years and wish you both (and Miss Sophie) all the very best in your future!

You can read my WeddingWire reviews here… ¬†–e2678/reviews



Ryan & Jen… Scandinavian Community Centre wedding

To start off this post… a few photos of Ryan and¬†Jen’s engagement shoot at Whytecliff Park, (I’m a bit behind in blogging, so a combo-pack seems like a good plan). Ryan proposed to Jen at Whytecliff¬†and I love when couples pick a place that is very special to them!

A few¬†months later, it was finally the big day! Ryan and Jen were married in the beautiful Canadian Memorial church in Vancouver. Peter and I had shot Jen’s brother’s wedding there a few years earlier. It¬†is such a compliment to shoot multiple weddings in one family!

The day was beautiful, bright skies with a bit of cloud and no rain in sight, perfect for portraits in Queen Elizabeth Park. ¬†The reception followed at the Scandinavian Community Centre in Burnaby. As Peter and I¬†arrived, I spotted a small patch of wildflowers next to¬†the parking lot… it didn’t look like much but¬†after telling Ryan and¬†Jen about it, they agreed to take a few minutes before the reception. I love when a couple gives me their complete trust! The resulting photos were magical and in the running for my¬†favourites of the year!

The rest of the night was a big party with BBQ-ed burgers, beer and lots of belly laughs! Ryan and Jen, it was such a joy to work with you both, all the best in your life together!