Category: Portraits

Ice Cream Session Red Deer

Ice Cream Session

Some things just go together perfectly. Like peanut butter and jelly. Macaroni and cheese. Spaghetti and meatballs. (Can you tell it’s almost lunch time?) But the best in my opinion: summer and ice cream. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and that’s something I passed down to my daughter, Iyla. She loves anything sweet. Anything…. but one of her favorites is definitely ice cream. So this ice cream session was perfect.

I took her down to the local ice cream shop and ordered the biggest ice cream cone she’s ever had. Her big brown eyes got even bigger when she saw it! Then… I handed it to her and let her devour it. I tried my hardest to turn off my mommy instinct and NOT wipe up all the drips and clean her face… and I’m happy with the result! (And she was pretty happy, too!)

Her big brother, Liam joined in as well with his Minion ice cream… we couldn’t leave him out. (Cause I’m biased and find him so dang cute!)

So here we go… iyla and her ice cream….

 

Red Deer Photographer

Beloved Life Photography

Red Deer Photographer

Beloved Life Photography

Red Deer Photographer

Beloved Life Photography

Red Deer Photographer

Red Deer Photographer

Beloved Life Photography

Beloved Life Photography

Kids Photographer Red Deer

They ‘cheers’ all the time.

Kids Photographer Red Deer

Kids Photographer Red Deer

Kids Photographer Red Deer

Kids Photographer Red Deer

As much as it drives me crazy, Iyla always has a messy face. Always. So this messy ice cream session suits her perfectly!

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Red Deer Kids Photography

Red Deer Kids Photography- Avlyn

 

How difficult is it to photograph your own kids?

Turns out… very difficult.

But a stunning niece? Not so hard.

This is Avlyn. She’s nine years old and the definition of a sweetheart. Seriously. She’s also my only niece. Yup- out of 6 grandkids, only 2 are girls. One is mine, and like I mentioned before, photographing your own kids can prove to be a challenge, so I take photos of Avy. (It helps that she’s a little stunner.)

Being a children’s photographer, I get all sorts of personalities in front of my camera… the shy ones, the posers, the runners, and the cheesy smilers. I’ve learned, over the past few years, that in order to get the most authentic photos of them, I have to let them be themselves. If they are silly, I have to be silly too. If they are shy, I take a quieter approach. If they are runners, I better be wearing good shoes.

Avlyn was simply, Avlyn. Super sweet, quiet, but when she had an idea, she spoke it. She had ideas for locations and outfits and poses (you can see some of her ideas below- and she loves contortionists and acrobatics!)… and as much as I had ideas in my head, I listened and followed along, allowing her to express herself, which made her more comfortable. When kids (or anyone, really) are comfortable, they let their guard down, and that’s when I can capture them at their best.

 

 

Red Deer Childrens Photography

Red Deer Childrens Photographer

Beloved Life Photography

Beloved Life Photography

Beloved Life Photography

Red Deer Photographer

Beloved Life Photography

Beloved Life

Beloved Life

Beloved Life Photography

Beloved Life Photography

Red Deer Photographer

Avy suggested she lay down and ‘sleep’ in the grass….

She also wanted a photo of her smelling the roses that she picked.

One more pose- all on her own!

Here are some of her ‘bendy’ poses…

Red Deer Childrens Photographer

ouch.

Red Deer Kids Photography

Beloved Life Photography

Red Deer Childrens Photographer

Red Deer Childrens Photographer

Red Deer Childrens Photographer

Avlyn-….follow those circus dreams. Auntie’s behind you all the way.

 

Click here to see more kid’s photography, including themed sessions!

And as always, check out my Instagram and Facebook for more photos and to see what I’ve been up to

Red Deer Family Photography

Red Deer Family Photographer

Red Deer Family Photographer

Think back to your house growing up… or your grandparent’s house. And what was on the fridge? Drawings? Photos? Probably both? And on the walls of the hallway? I’m guessing a lot of you would say that there were framed photos of family throughout the years (some we didn’t really want on display?)  Pictures of our middle school fashion mistakes, awkward smiles, and large-and-in-charge hair styles. But also beautiful memories that we are reminded of that mean the world to us. (And who didn’t love looking through old photo albums?) Graduation, weddings, the arrival of babies, etc. The reason they are there is because they show the things that we feel are important. We enjoy looking at the faces of people we love, and places we made memories in (vacation photos). And if you ask anyone what the first thing that they would grab in case of a fire? Photos. Photo albums. Or computers filled with pictures yet to be printed. They are priceless.

In fact, my husband, just this weekend, lost his phone while kayaking. He doesn’t care about how much money it cost, or the information on the phone. But he was heart-broken to lose irreplaceable photos of our kids. It’s just something that we can’t focus on (and I’m making sure to backup my own photos from my phone!) Pictures aren’t just ‘pictures’… they are a link to those we care about.

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this blog post. As a photographer, it’s my job to remind you of the importance of taking photos often. Not JUST when you feel pretty enough, or thin enough, or think the kids are old enough to behave. The truth is, you don’t know if all of those you love will be around when you feel ‘ready’ for a family photo session. A fellow photographer friend was photographing a wedding in Mexico recently and offered family sessions to the guests. One of the families who got theirs done was one with 2 little kids. They were beautiful photos on the beach and really showed the connection and admiration they all had for each other. A few months later, the young father tragically passed away. These photos went from being a nice keepsake to an irreplaceable memory that will be cherished like no other.

Now I don’t write this to scare you into getting photos taken… and I’m right there with you, not wanting to be in front of the camera… but I encourage you to get those people you love together and take photos of the memories you make together. Your kids won’t care if you could stand to lose 15 pounds, or your clothes don’t fit the way they used to (and trust me, everyone is feeling the same about themselves)- those little people want to see you. And only you the way you are. Right now. Maybe you have baby weight that’s sticking around, or are waiting for your hair to grow longer, or you think your session would be less stressful when the kids are a bit older. (Trust me, I have two kids- I know how stressful they can be). But don’t wait. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, just do it for your kids or the people who love you and want to have reminders of what you mean to them.

(Ever heard of ‘preaching to the choir’? Yup. That’s happening right now.)

The fact is, we are getting our family photos taken next week and I don’t want to. I know I’ll look at them and think my arms are too big, or I need to lose my jowls, and my waist has disappeared… but I’m doing it for my kids. I want them to remember me how I am… cause this is it. Baby weight and all. And I want them to look at photos of themselves on the walls of our house and know they are important in this family.

It’s funny- we do this for ourselves- waiting until we change a bit more into what we want to look like. But we do the opposite for our kids. We want to capture every moment and milestone and awkward stage because it is who they are. And yet, we want to forget what we look like now, and focus on what we could look like in the future. (Again, this post is as much for me as it is my readers.)

So take the photo. And GET IN the photo. And if you need someone to take them, I happen to know a girl 😉

 

 

 

 


If you want to see more Red Deer family photos, kids photos, or get more info on booking a session, please get in contact with me! Summer and fall are the best times for photo sessions (evening light in the long summer days is simply divine!) My email is [email protected] Or just hit ‘Follow’ on Facebook or Instagram!

Cheers.

 

 

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Photographing a Hero

Photographing a hero isn’t hard, but writing about someone who has survived and thrived through unimaginable hardship is a difficult task. I find myself in a cloud of words, trying to portray how this man embodies the very qualities of a hero, but unsure of how to do justice to his story. And what a story it is… seriously.

This is Ralph. He is my husband’s grandpa. He lives in Calgary and unfortunately, is a Calgary Flames fan (I can forgive him for that.) Most of his grandkids (myself included) have lived with him, taking claim to the big yellow room in the basement. In fact, when I go back, simply smelling the air downstairs takes me back to the days that I was living there, attending photography classes at SAIT, dating Ryan (he proposed in that basement), and finding my independence for the first time living away from home. Grandpa was the best roommate. But I do remember one evening, becoming worried that he wasn’t home yet. See, grandpa didn’t see very well, but still went out on his own. My anxious mind couldn’t rest until he came home. He finally walked through the door, and (like the parent of an unruly teenager), asked him where he was and why he was late. Turns out, he just wanted to go watch a hockey game, so he took the transit down to the arena (solo) and watched the game. He’s never let anything stop him.

Grandpa grew up out East, signed up to go to war, and met his love (at first site) at the train station, surrounded by other soldiers. That is the very simplified version of what happened. But remember I said he has a story? Well, he went to war but was captured before entering battle. He spent FOUR YEARS in a concentration camp under Japanese rule. He got sick. His friends got sick. Most of his friends didn’t get better. But he fought. For years. Eventually he was freed, and that’s when he came home and met his forever love, Phyllis. (see the photo below that he still keeps by his bed) He doesn’t speak much about the happenings of his time in the Japanese camp, but over the years we have learned more and more about what he went through. What thousands of people went through… and boy, did he fight for his life. But he would deny and callings of a hero.

Many who experience what he has, become hardened. But Grandpa decides to love. Seriously, this man would give you anything if he saw a need. He chooses to be joyful. He chose forgiveness.

To read more about his story, his grandson, Mark Sakamoto (Ryan’s cousin) wrote a book. And it just won the Canada Reads award… it’s called Forgiveness. It’s powerful, and not an emotionally easy read, but it needs to be read. It tells the story, not only of Grandpa Ralph, but of his daughter marrying a Japanese man, whose mother went through the torment taking place in Canada, for people of the Japanese heritage. (I seriously had no idea that even happened until I read this book…) Mark did an exceptional job writing this piece and I’m thrilled that it is getting the recognition it deserves.

Ralph has made an impact on an enormous number of people… myself included.  I’m proud that I am part of his family. I’m happy to have spent time with him back in my college days, in the home he built and raised his family in. I wanted to capture him in photographs, in his uniform that he so proudly wears to the few engagements that he goes to each year. Grandpa will be 96 next month, and he isn’t able to do the things he was able to years ago (his vision is next to nothing, due to his sickness in the camp), but he still lights up when we come to visit, and offers what he can to make us comfortable. He cares deeply.

I drove to Calgary and got just a few photos of him in his uniform, wearing the medals he so dearly deserves. Some photos are meaningful and tell a story so simply. I hope these do it justice.

 

 

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

 

(This is Marilyn, Ralph’s daughter. She cares for him, and has for many years- taking him to his appointments, checking in on him, taking him to church, and she’s a nurse, so she made sure he had the best care… she deserves a medal too)Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Here she is. The one he spotted in the train station.

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

 

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

 

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

 

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

Red Deer Portrait Photographer

 

Stylized Photography Sessions

What are Themed Sessions? | Beloved Life Photography

Themed sessions are my jam.

I find them so inspiring and feel like I can be creative in any way I envision. My goal is to get photos of the child(ren) being themselves and uninhibited. Children love to play and pretend- whether it be a superhero, princess, artist, cowboy, ringmaster, or something they have fabricated in their imagination. Whatever it is, I want to grab photos of them in that moment that will portray them in a personal way.

When I mention ‘themed sessions’ to people, most can’t picture what I’m describing… the words ‘prop’ and ‘theme’ are usually associated with something cheesy or tacky. And I agree, they certainly can be. I am careful to include props that only add to the personalization of the photos- nothing to distract from the kids I’m photographing. The point of having a themed session is to show and include what is important or inspiring to these kids at this certain stage in their life. I want them to look at these photos down the road and remember what it was like to have child-like freedom and a busy imagination. (These are the essence of childhood, in my opinion.)

I tend to use wooden swords, bow and arrows, hats, blankets, or any other prop to give them something to interact with and do with their hands. Sometimes they bring their own props and outfits, and sometimes I supply them (I do have a small collection of kids clothes, accessories, and props).

Below are some photos from 4 kids styled sessions. The first is a ‘Wild Boys’ theme, based on the story of Peter Pan. One of the best parts of this session was watching the boys’ faces when we told them to go get dirty; to roll in the dirt and wipe it all over their clothes and on their faces. Kids are always expected and told to be still and smile during photos, so this was a very pleasant surprise for them! I adored showing these brothers that photography doesn’t have to be boring or stiff; that it can be relaxed and enjoyable, and they can just be who they are without standing still and smiling.

All the props and outfits were put together by the brothers’ mom and myself. We just compiled all of our ‘boy stuff’ and it came out beautifully. The wooden sword actually belongs to my husband and was made by his dad when he was young.

 

Stylized Photography Sessions

Stylized Photography Sessions

Beloved Life Photography

Beloved Life Photography

Beloved Life Photography

 

This next series is circus-inspred, which all started with this girl wanting photos with her horse. Instead of doing typical photos, we decided to incorporate lively props and outfits, which resulted in some fun, bold pictures. I found the pants and jacket at a local consignment shop ( Once Upon A Child). The top hat was part of a Halloween costume from Value Village, and the shirt, boots, and whip were provided by this lovely girl.

 

 

 

Themed Sessions

Stylized Photography Sessions

Stylized Photography Sessions

Stylized Photography Sessions

Kid Sessions

 

Inspiration for a themed shoot usually comes to me randomly while I’m driving, listening to music, or playing with my kids. Once I thought about how cool it would be to have an old bed in a forest… then I began visualizing it and knew I wanted to do a ‘Wendy’ theme, based on (yet again) Peter Pan. I had photographed this girl before, and knew she’d be perfect for it, so I sent her mom shopping for a nightie and I got to work on putting the set together. I have a friend who owns a vintage rental company (Something Borrowed Vintage Decor), so she provided the bed and bedding, and a family member of mine has a bunny and leant it to us for the afternoon. It all came together perfectly.

Kids Stylized Sessions

Stylized Photography Sessions

 

Some themed sessions use minimal, simple props, while others take a lot of pre-planning, crafting, and include more elaborate clothing and accessories. Last summer, a friend of mine and I planned a steam punk session, complete with handmade props, smoke bombs, and a trip to a tiny town in rural Alberta. This was a big vision- but the work paid off…

All props and outfits were provided by the girls, or put together by myself, or my friend, Candice. (And yes, her hair really is that blue!)

 

Lastly, my vision for these ‘Dorothy’ photos came from a dress and a dog. I believe I found the dress while shopping at Once Upon a Child, and knew I could use it for a future session, but didn’t have a specific one in mind. Then I remembered that a friend of mine had a huge sheepdog and an adorable daughter, and I thought it’d be perfect for a Wizard of Oz inspired session. I didn’t want it to be a typical outfit, so I thought I’d get some red Converse shoes, to replicate the ruby slippers in a more child-like (and comfortable) way. The underskirt was, again, provided by Tannis at Something Borrowed, as well as the picnic basket. This is simply my take on Dorothy and Toto.

Red Deer Kids Photographer

Red Deer Pet Photography

 

I have a list a mile long, full of ideas for different stylized sessions- like I said, this is my jam.

Thanks for checking out my work and blog… and remember to leave some love in the comments. Also- my Instagram handle is @belovedlifephotogrpahy… just sayin.

Red Deer Grad Photographer

Red Deer Grad Photographer

So what were your grad photos like? Polaroids in your parents’ living room? Awkwardly posed on your front step? Did you even get grad photos? Mine were taken on my dads film camera, rushed and last-minute, with our intoxicated neighbour outside, wondering if the limo was there for her birthday…

Even though the moment was a little stressful (starting with the salon not having my appointment in their books, me having to use duct tape instead of my ill-fitting undergarment, and the limo being late) it was still one I won’t forget. I remember my dress, my tiara, the whole thing… the feeling of finally finishing school and facing the big, scary world. It is a huge accomplishment and comes with feelings of both pride and fear.

Not only is it a goal achieved by the grad, but also the parents. See, my kids are still small. We are still dealing with diaper changes, cartoons, books and songs before an early bedtime, help with zippers, and teaching manners. But I know that it all goes by quickly, and I will wish for the nights that they wake up to cuddle, and prefer mommy and daddy over anyone else. Soon they will grow more and more into the people they were made to be- leaving their dependance on us behind, and taking on the world as best they know how. It’s a scary thought, but I am so excited to see them achieve it all. And one of those milestones they will work for is graduation.

We don’t have prom here, so the closest thing we have is high school graduation… the ceremony is in the morning (complete with the gown, receiving the diploma, and throwing the hat), then in the evening, we dress up in our fanciest gowns, get our hair done, makeup, the whole nine-yards, and have dinner and a dance with our closest family members. After this, there’s an all-night party. It’s a big day. As it should be.

See, this is a big deal. I remember my principal saying that this is the biggest day of your life, so far. And it will only be shadowed by your wedding day, and the day you may have kids. Most of us glazed over all the speeches, waiting for the party in a few hours- but that stuck with me. The biggest day of your life, so far….. and it deserves a celebration!

Grad photos can be anything you want them to be. They can be the simple polaroid taken in an out-dated living room, or a snapshot amidst the stress of the afternoon, or something professionally captured and mounted on the wall. Either way- you need to remember these special days. Celebrate your kids’ accomplishments. Grad is a time that they will always remember- it’s the time when life is simple and easy, and they are faced with a multitude of possibilities. Capture it.

I have had the opportunity to take some grad photos of some stunning girls… both in a casual setting, and in their fancy dresses. These sessions are separate from the actual day- because as I stated, the day of graduation can be very rushed. We set out an afternoon to grab some photos that show who they are, right now.

I would have loved to have had a graduation session like these; granted, I certainly wouldn’t have rocked it like these girls!

Special thanks to Deer Prudence Thrift for hooking us up with the clothes for the casual session, and Ever-Green Greenhouses for allowing us to photograph in their space.

So, what were your photos like?

 

Red Deer Grad Photographer

Red Deer Grad Photographer

Grad Photography Red Deer

Red Deer Grad Photographer

Grad Photography Red Deer

Grad Photography Red Deer

Red Deer Grad Photographer

Grad Photography Red Deer

 

Red Deer Grad Photographer

Grad Photography Red Deer

Red Deer Grad Photographer

 

Thank you for sticking around, and showing all the love and support with this new blogging adventure I’m on. I will have more posts coming up, including more sessions, why I believe in photographing kids and not just whole families, what is involved in the different types of sessions, and some that are just plain informative (all with some of my photos, of course.)

Cheers.