Author Archives: marla

Locations, locations, locations!

I often get asked for advice from my couples on where to go for their engagement shoot. I think it makes sense to choose somewhere that means something to them and fits their lifestyle.

There are so many beautiful places to choose from right in our own backyard in the Lower Mainland. If you are more uptown and dressy, how about Coal Harbour or Gastown? If you are outdoorsy and casual… maybe Lynn Valley or Pitt Lake would work for you. Of course the popular standards are always great, Queen Elizabeth, Deer Lake or Stanley Park have so many different locations to choose from. Maybe one of our many beautiful beaches on a warm sunlit evening would be a good choice or the colourful extravaganza that is Granville Island.

I can’t think of a better way to feature some great locations and help couples to decide than with pictures! All in all this is a fun shoot where we get to know each other a little better and helps the couple get used to being photographed, oh and for the guys… kissing will be involved 😉

Lynn Valley

Pitt Lake

Coal Harbour

Stanley Park

Granville Island

Crab Park

Third Beach

Stanley Park

Pitt Lake

Marine Building downtown Vancouver

Granville Island

Lighthouse Park

Granville Island

Deer Lake

Coal Harbour

Kits Beach

Queen Elizabeth Park

Stanley Park

Deer Lake

Stanley Park

Burnaby Mountain Park

Brockton Lighthouse

Jericho Beach

Burnaby Mountain Park

Queen Elizabeth Park

Jericho Beach

Alouette Lake

 

 

Brennan & Kendra… South Bonson Community Centre wedding

Peter and I met Brennan and Kendra for their engagement shoot on a cool autumn evening in at Campbell Valley Park. We wandered amongst the trees and got to know this sweet couple, hearing all their plans for their big day, and of course taking photos.

Fast forward a year later and the long awaited day was here! Kendra got ready at the Sandman Signature Hotel with her best girl friends as Brennan and his best men (and best dog, Maks) waited patiently for the girls to arrive to the South Bonson Community Centre.

This autumn day had every weather… from pouring rain in the morning to sunshine in the afternoon, and one of the prettiest skies at sunset. Because of the unpredictable weather the ceremony was held inside, but fortunately for portraits, the afternoon turned lovely and mild. The afternoon’s beautiful water-colour sky was a nice trade off for the morning’s rain.

The reception was lively at the Community Centre, great food and great people! Kendra put some much thought and effort into her decorations, with a nod to all of the couple’s favourite movies!

I love when we get to sneak the couple out for a few sunset photos during the reception, and Brennan and Kendra were keen on the idea, too. It gives the couple a few minutes to themselves and always get some great photos, whatever the sunset may look like. This night’s sunset, my favourite part was the afterglow of pale pink and blue, so pretty and romantic.

After our return, the reception got underway with toasts and dancing and a fun evening for all. Brennan and Kendra (and Maks), we wish you all the best!

Stanley Park Pavilion Wedding… Chris & Liz

Chris and Liz were married at Stanley Park Pavilion in September of 2016. The Pavilion is the jewel of Stanley Park, and one of the prettiest locations for an outdoor wedding in Vancouver. Peter and I were thrilled to be shooting there again.

It had been a long hot summer, but the weather was perfect on the day of the wedding. It was still quite warm, but the rain from the day before had left a freshness in the air. The grounds surrounding the Pavilion were gorgeous, the flower beds still bursting with colour even though summer was almost at an end. The garden ceremony was gorgeous and we didn’t have far to go for great photos after.

For the reception, the Lord Stanley Ballroom with it’s bright and fresh interior was a lovely backdrop to Liz’s gorgeous flowers. Chris and Liz love to travel and the theme for the reception decor was places from their travels. It was a very relaxed evening with great food and music. The funny stories and kind words from loved ones resulted in tears and laughter, happily more of the later.  After the cake was cut, it was time to party!  Everyone let loose and had a great night with dancing and fun times.

Chris and Liz, we hope that your first months of marriage have been a blast and the travels that lie ahead of you will be as amazing as your wedding day!


Shaun & Lisa… the wedding extravaganza!

This is a long post… I repeat, long. 🙂 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! 🙂 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 Guimarães, 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. 🙂

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’ 🙂 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. 🙂

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!) 😀

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. 🙂

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! 😀