As parents we feel our proudest when we see our children achieve and accomplish dreams they've drafted. The rush of emotion the moment you realize, this is it, they are independent and their voice in the world is now as powerful as yours sets your head spinning. So when Janet contacted me in the Spring to book a casual lifestyle session with her son, she was vividly wanting to celebrate the big accomplishments happening in her son's life. Erik had graduated university and began a career in the financial sector in Toronto. It was a turning point and the images that hung proudly on her walls today only showed Erik as little boy. In fact, the last photos she had of him and her where done when a dear friend had given her a gift certificate when Erik turned 13 years old. A new chapter in both their adult lives was taking shape and to remember their current home in Rosedale just steps away from the hip Bloor neighborhood was best fit for our backdrop. I hope this session inspires you that no matter how old your children get they are still the most important people in your life worth having photographs of.
How sweet are they?! I first met the Lynch family when Landon was 4 months old! Today he is 4 years old and is joined by his sweet sister Layla (9 months old) and I couldn't be happier to be invited back to capture them as a party of four :)
In "MOM'S WORDS" ....
1) What was your biggest fear in hiring me or even considering having a photographer capture your family? Did it come true, if not, what happened instead? How do you feel about the purchase now?
I had no concerns as I knew that you would be awesome with the kids and that you would be able to capture amazing moments of our family. Since Landon is 4 years old he's at an age where he listens and understands. Yes he can be silly but we loved having those moments captured as well since that is a part of who he is. Layla just smiles all the time so we knew she would be easy to photograph. I also think timing is everything. First thing in the morning when everyone has had a good nights rest also helps. The photos are all so amazing! We couldn't be any happier with them!!!! My favourite ones are with the kids sitting on the couch. Especially the one where Layla's mouth is open and Landon is making a silly face!
2) What did you enjoy the most about your session and why?
You are so gentle, calm and funny. You really helped Landon feel comfortable. We truly enjoy spending time with you and having you in our most intimate space.
3) If you where to tell your best friend about your photography experience, what would you say?!
That they have to hire you!!! I will always recommend you. With both sessions we have had we have been so happy. Again your gentle demeanor and your way of making everyone feel comfortable goes a long way! Thank you again!!!
When it comes to printing photos it can feel overwhelming and daunting as the process from capture to print has multiple steps. Nowadays we feel too busy to perform any of these steps that lead to resulting in prints. Why? Because I feel we are just too excited to be able to show our images instantly. The new digital world has focused the importance of sharing our work in the now. What we don't realize is that our memories today need to be enjoyed in the future. Our social browsers may not exist in some future year and the access to our cloud platforms will most likely change too. What I have learned over the last decade is that digital media is constantly changing, I started university when floppy disks were cool. Today, I don't even have a computer that will access any of the work I created during that era. The same will soon apply for CD's and USBs ~ the truth is we need a better way to save and share our digital projects. Because one day soon our children will very much want to see the younger version of their parents and get to know their family history! Without surprise, I experienced this scenario with my own kids who recently discovered a few baby photos of me. They could not believe I was ever that small! Thanks to my parents who printed and kept these images in albums, today they are being talked about and a past is re-born.
This could be one of the main reasons I introduced an all-inclusive collection this year. I want each family to have a printed record from our session. To walk away with a physical product they can share for generations, to have access to their images any time they like, to not worry about technology changing and most importantly to have a complete photographic experience from shoot to print. I've felt this new direction to be important as my duty as your photographer. To bring a deeper awareness to the simple fact that digital data can be lost or misplaced. To solve the worry of where to get prints, how to organize and display, but rather walk away with a custom designed album and prints to be proud of. I simply do not want your jpgs to remain jpgs!
Here are my 5 reasons to why printing your photos still matters!
Creates a collection of key moments:
For every one good photo you like there’s probably a hundred similar ones you don’t like. Make your collection more organized and easier to view by printing your prime photos so you don’t have to scavenge through slides upon slides of photos on your computer. Better yet, you can put them in an album!
Great conversations are born:
Everyone appreciates the inviting look of a print on display, it is a conversation starter and brings a warm feeling to a home. Plus it is a daily reminder of the wonderful people in your life, instant smiles!
The power of a feeling is always imprinted in photos. Freezing the moment is how most of us understand it! Now imagine if you can physically hold a moment in your hands! Reflect on it and see it linked to a series of images from that day, it bring a much more enjoyable experience than digging through digital file archives on a computer.
Printing is a way of sharing – for the beholder and for the giver: sharing a memory or a story, sharing a feeling or an emotion, and sharing the gift of a common point in time that triggered something that is worth recalling proactively: every time one sees that print.
Technology can fail:
Technology is not always reliable and has been known to fail. Hard drives can malfunction, flash drives can break, software updates can fail, and you might even run out of space to save your photos. Also, over time, if you are copying, duplicating, opening and closing photos, the .jpg will decline in quality from the original image. Making the process of creating an archival print ever so important. It is the only way you can outlast the technological changes we have been experiencing. Prints are known to last a 100+ years as the chemicals used lock in the image in a permanent state.
I first met Emily when she was 9 months old! She was sweet, shy and curious about the world. I remember vividly her smiles when she glanced over to mom or dad, you could feel the love she had for them! Fast forward a year and half later, Emily is now a BIG sister to James, who was equally shy on our first meeting. He did not fancy much to explore but rather preferred the safety of his mom's arms. This is a great example of how working with children can feel unexpected. I had chatted with mom before our session, she was sure James would be the more playful one and Emily still very much shy! It ended up being the complete opposite.
Most parents will feel the pressure of uncertainty when it comes to how their children will act during a photo session. In fact, it is the most common concern. The good news is, my job is centered around gaining their trust and allowing them to not feel pressured for smiles, giggles, or any other interaction. To me a photograph needs to represent a person in a true form, this can be very difficult to achieve if a child is placed in a new environment. So I asked mom to describe the experience in her own words, so new readers can better understand the focus around lifestyle photography.
"In mom's words"
Before the session, were you worried about how your kids would behave or act? Did it come true, if not, what happened instead?
Our session was a good example of "expect the unexpected". My 3-year old daughter is shy and has has trouble warming up in photo sessions in the past, so I warned Irina she might need a little extra TLC. But, unexpectedly, my outgoing little 1-year old was the one who had more trouble warming up. My daughter instantly got into it and posed for the camera. They both eventually settled in and enjoyed themselves.
What did you enjoy the most about your session and why?
It was very relaxed. Irina and I chatted, the kids played and photographs were taken. I loved her space - it is light and airy and the kids felt free to just play. The photos turned out beautifully. She captured some great moments.
If you where to tell your best friend about your photography experience, what would you say?!
If you want an easy photography experience in a relaxed environment, visit Irina's studio. She's wonderful.
On a perfect summer afternoon at the classic Palais Royale in Toronto, Sarah and John celebrated their nuptials in front of loved ones. It was my first time at the Palais Royale and I was quickly impressed with the breathtaking terrace which overlooked Lake Ontario. Both the ceremony and cocktail location took place on the terrace, with the sun and water reflecting all around us it created the perfect backdrop for photos. We were able to capture all the family formals at the gardens on the west side of the building and allow everyone to quickly get back to the party once done. It was wonderful to see a venue which allowed a couple to stay on site for their entire event. Thank you Sarah and John for the warm hospitality, we are so thrilled to have captured this special event! xo
I am simply in love with the vision and purpose of this local Ottawa company! They create the best boxes for all types of events, from new baby, to pampering mom and even a love for dad. They do also offer custom gift boxes (which I've ordered!) to just about anyone special in your life. These two sisters have thought of it all! Sharing their story below and ensuring you know the best local place for all your baby and family gifts in Ottawa! What I am most excited about is their new subscription boxes which they will be launching next month, imagine receiving the perfect blend of pregnancy care, birth essentials, post-partum care and newborn baby necessities ~ dream! Thank you Tara and Tiffany for sharing your story with me and helping us create unique gifts for the special people in our lives! xo
Introduction: Tell us a bit about yourself!
Pimpernel & Plum is curated gift box company run by two sisters, Tiffany and Tara, who are also Moms. I (Tiffany) am the eldest and have a 1.5 year old boy. My sister, Tara, has a 3 year old and an 1 year old girls.
How did your business venture come about?
Being a new Mom can be a challenge. I was on maternity leave and it felt isolating. To help each other through the rough times, my sister and I would message back and forth on our phones every day. We would mostly chat about what our babies were doing, play scrabble, and share fun links - anything to get us through the day.
One of the things we ended up messaging about were gifts for Moms. We would see the options that were out there and felt that we could do something better. And we felt so passionate about our ideas, that we decided to take the leap and make them into a business.
Why did you decided to cater your products towards mom and baby?
Being new Moms ourselves, we feel we have a good perspective on what products are helpful for Moms and babies. We don't want to forget new Dads, too, so we have created special gift boxes for them.
There are many great handmade baby items, artisan foods, natural and organic health products, and more that are all great for new families. We like to bring them together, so that friends and family buying gifts can give them something that is special and thoughtful. Many of the products we carry are also made locally, so you are supporting many other small, local businesses when you buy one of our gift boxes.
Which is your favourite curate gift box? Why?
My favourite box is probably the New Dad Box. I love it, not only because it is great for a first Father's Day gift, but also because I put so much time and effort into making the perfect gift a new Dad would appreciate.
If you have any advise to give a fellow mom, what would it be?
Both my sister and I love this quote from L.M. Montgomery (very Canadian, eh?): "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it".
What do you wish to remember the most about your children today?
I want to remember my little guys laugh and the fun times where simple things, like splashing water, can hold so much pleasure.
Sweetness and love are the only words to describe this family. There is so much beauty in watching a family grow, I am honoured to witness such an incredible moment. Little Quinn was such a tropper and a huge fan of big brother kisses!
Lindsay and Orest said their nuptials in front of family and friends at the historic Casa Loma in Toronto. It was an event to remember as they recreated Diner en Blanc from Paris where all attendees arrived wearing white head to toe! It was a spectacular event to be part of and such a treat to see past clients all in one place. Thank you both for such a wonderful celebration, wishing you a lifetime of happiness and love. xo
Message from Linday and Orest:
Irina is an amazing photographer who we hired to photograph our wedding at Casa Loma in May 2017. She has the ability to put even the most photo shy person at ease. She makes sure everyone is comfortable and is able to capture subtle moments you didn't even realize you were having. During the ceremony and reception, she is unobtrusive so that you are able to forget that a photographer is there and are able to live in the moment. I would not hesitate to hire her again for any special occasion that I want to ensure is beautifully capture.
Please enjoy a full day collection below!
Personal Message regarding wedding commissions. A very limited availability is open in my calander and this post is to echo my everlasting love for working closely with couples. Couples who are looking for an editorial feel and emotional imagery to tell their love story ratherthan cookie cutter styling.
Over the last three years, I've been scheduling less and and less weddings to my calendar. My new couples are strictly from referral clients. It was a personal choice I needed to make as my family photography work began to grow. Making wedding photography more of a personal enjoyment!
One highlight in my career is meeting strong women who have a vision to help other women! I met Aviva and Liz at the Meet the Doula Event hosted by Ottawa Doula Services, Aviva was holding her little baby girl (just 4 weeks old) and I was immediately smitten by her ability to mother and get her materials together for the event. Shortly after, I couldn't resist and asked to hold her baby girl and help her settle ~ moms helping moms!
Being new to the Ottawa community, it was lovely to attend an event and meet other women who share the same passion for babies and families. I asked the the lovely trio at Mom Friends to give my readers an introduction to their postpartum product. With an added bonus to share some of their personal advice and how they value the moments of being around their own children! Below is our chat :)
All photos by Aviva from Mom Friends
Find Mom Friends Online: momfriends.ca
Thank you ladies! xo
Introduction: Tell us a bit about yourself!
We are Aviva, Lisa and Liz in Ottawa, Ontario. We know a lot of people making babies, and have made a few ourselves. We have noticed from these experiences-especially for first-timers-that there is a lack of knowledge and access to postpartum care products that support healthy bodies and minds. There seems to be a bit of an unspoken stigma about what post-birth is like for mom. We want to fix that by increasing how women and their loved ones share information, peer support and postpartum resources. Thanks to the input of hundreds of moms we have conceived (see what we did there?) practical, intimate and thoughtful postpartum care kits to help moms and their loved ones during those special first days.
How did your business venture come about?
We realized that we knew very little ourselves about postpartum care. So we started gifting postpartum care kits to our friends at their baby showers. When we were putting them together we found that the items were often hard to find and the quantities often weren't quite right for products used during the first week after giving birth (e.g. adult diapers). So really the idea came from our own struggle as new moms and friends of new moms!
Why did you decide to cater your products towards postpartum moms?
Postpartum rest and recovery is primarily for the mom to figure out, but she can't do it alone. By developing the postpartum care kits as the perfect baby shower gift we are hoping that awareness around postpartum support grows and it starts a conversation between moms and all of their supports be they partners, family or close friends.
Which is your favourite postpartum item? and why?!
Tough question! We can only pick one!? Well for me (Aviva) I would have to go with the reusable organic bamboo nursing pads. Many women experience leaking, engorgement and sore nipples after giving birth and the bamboo material in the pads we have sourced is the softest and most absorbent there is! We were especially excited to be able to source them locally for our kits as they are hand-sewn by FWrap :)
Let's get Personal ...
If you have any advise to give a fellow mom, what would it be?
Don't Google! Just kidding.... but also not.... I would say trust your instinct. Whether you are a first time mom or not, you may doubt yourself from time to time. But remember that every baby is different so what works for some babies may not necessarily work for yours. As much as other moms may loooooove giving unsolicited advice, you can take it or leave it and remember at the end of the day, it's your call (your partner's too!)
Also, while you may want to do everything for your baby, you must take care of yourself first. I know it's hard as you just had a baby so it's an intense time but looking after yourself is just as important. Our philosophy is that often healthy baby isn't possible without healthy mom too. Postpartum is a time of emotional and physical healing in a lot of ways which is why it's so important to rest and relax. Don't refrain from getting help from your loved ones!
If there was one thing you wished to remember about your children today, what would it be? and why?!
So much to remember and they do grow up so fast. For Lisa the memory she always wants to relive is the moment her son was born and his warm wet oily body was placed on her which she says is the best feeling in the world. It's hard to come up with something else as I totally agree that is a moment I always want to remember because it shows that the pregnancy, labour, delivery and postpartum is totally all worth it! But every day for me it's their smiles which warm my heart. In my mind a smile from your child is their way of saying thank you for being an awesome mom (even when I don't always think I am uh oh... cue tears!)
Greetings dear friends,
This journal had been put on mute as I've been transitioning through a move and business change these past months. With two young children in tow, time simply slipped me. Now with a better routine and my office setup, I am feeling a bit more balanced to write.
Let's begin with a personal change and how it also triggered a professional one too....
Last Winter we made a firm decision to move a lot closer to my parents and receive some much needed help in managing our schedules with kids. As a self employed mom of two it had become harder to balance a household and a business without extra help. Many know my husband works long hours and when home he will spend every spare moment with the kids but our time together as a family was becoming more difficult to organize, as when he was home I would be out working. We truly needed to change our lifestyle and become more family orientated, as there is nothing more important to us than to be present in our children's lives. Living closer to my parents would give us the extra help I required during the week and give the kids a much more vibrant relationship with their grandparents. It was a win-win for all. Now we have our primary home in Ottawa where my parent live and I travel to Toronto for work assignments to which I very much enjoy. To all my Toronto families who still allow me to capture their loving families I appreciate you dearly. My photography career wouldn't be where it is today without each and every one of you. I am truly grateful for all the wonderful people who have supported my journey as a photographer. Welcoming me into your lives with the same respect you show each other. You are all amazing souls and touch my heart.
During the same time, a professional change began to blossom as I began digging deeper into understanding the artist I was evolving to and how my views and ideas where changing. I am certain any photographer or artist reading this knows exactly how hard it can be following your heart and questioning the creative mind. Today, I am very grateful for the support I have received during my capture transition, thank you!
All the images you see below this post where taken on film ~ yes a method you may of heard of, most likely talked about by your parents or grandparents. Of course, in today's world, it may feel uncommon to hear of a photographer using this medium to create work as we are accustomed to referring to photography as instantaneous and fully digital. But in truth, the root of my studies in university where all in film and I assure you that was only 13 years ago ;) So digital is really just a baby in how our predecessors learned and worked in preserving the "moment".
What I am enjoying most about this process is the honest ability to slow down, and connect more authentically with the people in front of me. It connects the technical side with the human side of memory in a more meaningful way. It also makes me happy to offer a more nostalgic piece of work in a world that has more pixels than prints. This slowed down process makes creating and capturing more fulfilling for both myself and clients as we patiently wait the arrival of the negatives.
Today I am capturing most of my baby and family sessions using film. I do bring my digital equipment along too but I find its is not my main tool anymore. I would love to hear your feedback on how you see film and what your understand of it is compared to digital. Send me a note or leave a comment!
Hope you enjoy these images of my little family ~ my daughter is 7 months old here and her last cheeky smile at 16 months!
Film: Kodak Portra 400
Scanned: Canadian Film Lab