Michelle + Mike | Editorial | Cherry Ave Farms

You're in for a treat! Give a warm and fuzzy welcome to our returning guest blogger-the lovely Amanda-wedding designer and event planner extraordinaire! She's going to tell you of a magical evening that happened in the orchard this summer... 

I am so excited to share the story of one of the prettiest events I have been a part of with you today -- so much so, I suffered from withdrawals for days ok, weeks afterwards. maybe it was the perfect weather, or our sweetest couple...maybe it was how it came together so naturally, allowing me to enjoy and savour every moment of the planning, designing and especially the styling stages. whatever it was, i am truly thankful to have the memory of it.

nothing says summer quite like the perfect night, an ice cold beer, a good movie and some even better friends, so when it came time to show mike + michelle their wedding film, they invited thirty of their closest friends and family to join us for an outdoor movie night with a special screening.  taking place on a warm, perfect summer evening in august, in the barn of a two hundred year old farm nestled in the heart of niagara, cherry avenue farms provided the perfect backdrop for our outdoor movie night, complete with a cocktail reception among the peach orchard, and a warm and cozy viewing of mike + michelle's wedding film in the big ol' barn.

sparing no details, guests arrived at dusk as the sun set overtop the orchard, casting the loveliest golden light on our intimate-yet-fun little cocktail reception. serving 'barn raiser', a too-perfect-for-words locally made craft beer, freshly popped popcorn, classic concession chocolate bar choices, and deliciously sticky candy apples, guests enjoyed the prettiest atmosphere of summer harvest flowers as well as our seating areas and bar, created by our super talented and creative vendors. working around the farms rustic feel, we were able to utilize several elements the farm still uses to this day, including century old fruit picking ladders, wooden crates, baskets, bushels and fruit stands to display sun ripened peaches picked only hours before our guests would arrive and would slurp and snack away on all evening long.

Mike + Michelle were just the couple to celebrate at an outdoor movie night. genuinely madly in love, the joy these two have for not only each other but for their family and friends as they thanked them all for coming that evening, was worth the work and effort that went into this special evening a thousand times over, and i am more than honoured to have been a part of the night -- It will forever hold a very special place in my heart.


Our truly talented vendor friends who made the whole night perfectly possible:

Venue: cherry avenue farms | Floral design: my bouquet | Planner/designer: amanda cowley sweet events | Vintage rentals:  The Warehouse | Invitations & paper details:  Kim Roach | Movie screen: JML construction best bro ever!! | Fabric drapery:  | glassware + beverages: Oast House Brewery | *featured on 100 layer cake






Kristin + Simon | Wedding | Inn on the Twenty

They met at Queen's University and have been together ever since... for over ten years. You can imagine their family doing the happy dance when they announced their engagement and when I met with Simon's mom about photographing their wedding it was evident that they were planning the most perfect day for their kids. And it was perfect... clears skies and all! Top 5 favourite things about this wedding... 1) the sunshine-the last few weddings I have photographed at the Inn on the Twenty had been rainy ones...so I was thrilled to see an outdoor ceremony in the vineyard once again. 2) Kristin's dress was perfectly beautiful... wish i could descrbe it more creatively but the dress was soooo her! 3) the florals created by fleurish were rustic and gorgeous and a lot of them grown here in Niagara... brilliant. 4) being hard core hockey fans... they drank niagara wine from a stanley cup and made their ceremony uniquely their own  5) Simon's mom and Kristin danced to 'here's to you Mrs. Robinson'

All in all a fabulous celebration and we're grateful to have been invited to document the wedding story! Enjoy a few of our favourites from the day...

Vendor Love: Venue: Inn on the Twenty Flowers: Fleurish Hair and Make Up: Inn on the Twenty Spa DJ: Liquid Entertainment Decor: Gala Decor Officiants: Niagara Weddings by Sheldon and Judy

Carrie + Steve | Family | Jordan

October is a beautiful time to update your family picture, order christmas cards, change your wall art... so we declared it to be family portrait month!  We've been taking advantage of the warm summer light and the lovely fall colours. Here are a few images from Carrie + Steve's family session.

Marija + Erns | Wedding | Chateau des Charmes

'We met in Toronto while Erns was on a 3 month work secondment from South Africa. We met, fell in love, and he left 3 months later.

After Erns went back to South Africa, we kept in touch constantly, even though we didn't think anything would come from it. About 6 months later, we decided enough was enough, and met half way in London. We think of this as our first date. We met in the hotel lobby, and it was like we had never been apart. We went for lunch right away at a cute Italian bistro. We talked like old friends.'

These 'old friends got married on a warm and beautiful summer day last season. Marija and Erns celebrated at Chateau Des Charmes but before their reception they had a 'first look at Centennial Park in Stoney Creek and were then married at their local Serbian Church. 

Amanda + Paul | Family | Niagara

I met Amanda in 2010... she was looking for a wedding photographer and what she got was an 'all the important events of my entire life' photographer.  We've been there for her engagement photos, the wedding, the maternity and the most recent... the baby.  It is such a joy to photograph this woman-she is so full of light and love. She also comes with a pretty handsome life partner...it's hardly work at all! although amanda would argue that anyone who can get Paul in front of the camera should be given a lifetime achievement award. You'll also see a few of pictures of india... she has been at every shoot... and she wasn't about to miss this one either.  She hams it up in front of the camera every time i come around... love her!

Amanda and Paul were about 6 weeks away from meeting their gorgeous little boy when we captured them in their home-what a treasure to have photos of the nursery... of the home thy've made together and the home that is about to change for good.

And meet the adorable Baby Jude....

Naya + Matt | Wedding | Pillar and Post

One last look at winter before the spring weather rolls in! In February we celebrated with Naya and Matt at the Pillar and Post in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Is there a more romantic setting for a winter celebration? 

Congratulations again Matt and Naya! 

Vendors: Venue: Vintage Hotels Pillar and Post Flowers: Fleurish Design Studio Beauty: Allure Hair and MakeUp Band: Sandy Vine and the Midnights

Flavia + Marc | Engaged | Niagara-on-the-Lake

Flavia and Marc will be back in Niagara next summer for their wedding! They'll enjoy a sweet little wedding at one of our local craft breweries Oast House. Among a few other of their favourite things are tandem bikes, coffee houses, and surprises! 

Mini Session vs. Portrait Session

If you're researching Photographers and have stumbled across my site, you already know that each studio's policies and procedures are a little different from one another. I've been posting to facebook and Instagram about an upcoming offer of Mini Portrait Sessions and have had a few questions so I thought I'd write a short article to explain the difference between the Mini Session and the Portrait Session. I offer both for a few different reasons.

The mini session is just that... mini. Usually just 20-30 minutes and enough time to make a beautiful portrait to update your family album. The mini session is perfect for the returning client-they're familiar with the way I shoot, the kids are comfortable with me. The Mini session is also a great way to gift a new portrait to Grandma and Grandpa-personally this is the one thing that I know my parents are going to LOVE! You can expect a gallery of 10-15 images to choose from.  A location is chosen by the photographer and these sessions are offered on specific dates only. The Mini session 'offer' is not available outside of those dates.

Below are a few images from a mini session in the fall...

The full hour session is for those who have not been photographed in quite some time or would like a more customized experience. For those that want multiple poses within one sitting-individual portraits of the kids, a sibling picture, one of the whole family, one with the family pet, one with each parent. This could be a life style session done in your home, at a favorite place you like to spend time with the family-a place with special meaning to you-you'll work with me to select the best location. You can expect a gallery of 30-50 images-a collection large enough to have a family album made and create a portrait gallery in your home. These sessions are booked on a date that's convenient for you. Preferably during that lovely spring/summer evening light. 

The Cowleys booked a full Portrait Session to photograph their newborn baby. We decided to photograph at their home so we could document where they started as a family-the baby's nursery, their camera shy cat and their camera lovin' dog... and the babe's collection of vinyl (this kid is already cooler than I am) were all included in the shoot! 

What to wear | Family

We've been chatting about portrait sessions the last few weeks while we've been promoting mini sessions. This week we're chatting about what to wear for your portrait session. And for the wedding clients that follow along, these tips could apply to you for your engagement session as well!

What you wear is key for a successful session. Clothing complements who you are as a family, speaks to the environment in which the session is taking place, and coordinates with the home where final images will be displayed. Your style should be as unique as your family, so we’ve put together some clothing advice for a creative, comfortable session.

Below are a few more tips when selecting your wardrobe:

1. Find an outfit for the kids and pull colors from that outfit for your own. If you're shopping, many stores have coordinating line ups and you may be able to outfit the kids with their guidance.

2. Choose colors that are in your home-you'll be choosing a few images to hang in your space so if you're home is decorated in neutral colors consider choosing a neutral palette.

3. These portraits will be around for a long time so consider a classic look.

4. Layers are great- add a sweater, a scarf, a jacket.

5. I enjoy a good pattern, however, you should choose one or two outfits to have a pattern and the others should be in complimentary solids. If everyone is wearing a pattern the portrait will be too busy. Logos, on the other hand, I find are distracting and may date the portrait.

6. Long or 3/4 length sleeves are more flattering on adults-even if we're shooting in the summer.

7. Pinterest is a great resource to find wardrobe inspiration and I've been pinning for you! Hope this inspires!  

Happy planning friends!

Winnie + Calvin | Wedding | Vineland Estates Winery


Winnie Calvin 0085.jpg

It's the month of love! Perfectly fitting for a lovely wedding at Vineland Estates Winery. Winnie and Calvin kept it simple with an intimate ceremony in the carriage house and dinner with 20 of their favourite people. We found just enough snow to make their day look a little wintery and the reflection of the snow adds a soft light to their portraits! That's been the challenge this year-finding snow. But as I always tell my couples, it's not so much the location, or even the weather that matters; the camera is on you!