• Why I became a photographer

    Portrait of Dad
    This is my dad. My hero, my mentor, and one of my career inspirations. He comes from hard-working people. He’s a provider. I love him for his strength, his perseverance, and his love for his family. I’m his only daughter.

    Ironically, he’s not overly fond of the lens, so there are very few photos of him in existence, save the ones I’ve secretly snapped when he hasn’t been watching, which isn’t often. He’s a quick one. Someday, photos will be the tangible legacy of our family’s memories. They’re precious cargo. Snap that shutter today, or commission me to photograph your family’s most special moments. They will be glad you did.

The first thing Patrick did was convince Ashley that they should get a dog. Jersie, a beautiful chocolate lab with soulful eyes, became a part of the family in a big way. Now Jersie and Ashley are best buds, and she was the first baby of the house.

Fast forward a few years. Ashley has always wanted to go to Costa Rica… like since she was in grade school. She has always been fascinated with the monkeys there, and when she and Patrick finally had the chance to go, something wonderful happened. She had an experience that she has always dreamed about, and she came home with a new glow about her. She told me that she remembers Patrick saying that he was excited because he thought she might be pregnant. Sure enough he was right.

Patrick and Ashley are quite proud of their new nursery: Monkey themed. It was so much fun to capture them in this special place, and to include their fur baby in the images.

These two are so sweet, and I am looking forward to working with them over the next year during their Baby Plan, a collection of four sessions including maternity, newborn, 6 month, and 12 month.

Patrick & Ashley Maternity Session

Patrick & Ashley Maternity Session

Patrick & Ashley Maternity Session

Patrick & Ashley Maternity Session

    

Jonah, Jude, and Josie never stop moving. Not ever… ok, well maybe only when they are sleeping. They are filled with so much energy, and they are either full gallop or all stop. Mary-Ann and Nik describe outings with them as “organized chaos”, so we set out to find the beauty in the chaos.

We met the Rowlston family before, during an event we were photographing at the park. They really enjoyed the open grassy areas and shining water, so this year we decided to go back to the same park for their family photography session. Each child has their own unique personality: big brother Jonah is funny and loves being the centre of attention, little brother Jude is a little more serious and enjoys snuggles, and Josie is very independent (the pink rubber boots where her idea) and even though she’s small, she wants to do whatever the boys are doing.

Here are a few of my favourites of these adorable kiddos.

Rowlston Family

Rowlston Family

Rowlston Family

Rowlston Family

Rowlston Family

Rowlston Family

    

Mary didn’t want a big party for her birthday, even though she was celebrating a big milestone.

Her daughter Gayle, got in touch to plan all of the photography details with me for their get together at The Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth. They had a private room booked with a fabulous view of the Halifax Waterfront. The evening started with hors d’oeuvres, then we headed out into the patio for some photos, and wrapped up with the beginning of dinner.

Some of the highlights from the evening were when Mary’s granddaughter Julia popped out from a hidden place to surprise Mary. Julia had been away on a trip, and wasn’t expected to be back in time for the party. Her family was able to get her on an earlier flight, and so everyone was there. Mary’s Daughter Erin sang a song honoring Mary. It was witty, and funny, and sweet. During dinner there were some wonderful words said, and Mary was almost moved to tears. The evening was full of emotion, laughter, and good times… just as it should be.

It is so wonderful to witness close families, who make it a point to spend time together. They will have so many good memories after a life well lived.

We captured many more family and documentary photos, but here is a little teaser.

Gorman Family Party

Gorman Family Party

Mary with all of her grandchildren.
Gorman Family Party

Mary with her daughters.
Gorman Family Party

The whole Gorman family.
Gorman Family Party

Gorman Family Party

Gorman Family Party

Gorman Family Party

Gorman Family Party

    

Brenda is full of heart, totally down to earth, and a gentle soul… until she gets on her Harley! It was so cool to watch her go from everyday to hot chick on a bike. She has always wanted one, and finally she treated herself to her dream motorcycle.

The drive down to Falmouth, Nova Scotia was picturesque and the weather was fine. We arrived at the river when the sun was low in the sky, casting rich golden light on the earth, and all that chrome (She tells me there’s more chrome to come too). Brenda was dressed to kill, and she knew it! What a treat, to take special time for something she loved, and to celebrate her vitality. So often we get caught up in life, and forget that we are wonderful and beautiful creatures, and it’s nice to be reminded.

Brenda and her Harley

Brenda and her Harley

Brenda and her Harley

Brenda and her Harley

    

I have known Laura since we were in high school. She has always been so vibrant and playful, and she loves to laugh. Even though she and Keith now live in Edmonton, and we don’t get to see each other very often any more, nothing has changed!

There is something about the red cliffs in PEI that just feeds the soul, and everywhere you look on the Island, there is lots of red dirt. We started the day with the gentlemen on the riverbank in Cardigan. Keith was really looking forward to surprising Laura with a cool fedora that found while shopping. It was a somewhat mischievous purchase, since he knew he was pushing his luck with her a little, but it turned out to be all good. (I thought it was awesome!)

The ladies were getting ready just across the water at Keith’s mother’s house. Laura has dutch ancestry, and she chose to honor that by wearing a bracelet with a tiny little china clog charm on it. She also wore a delicate necklace with a horseshoe on it. I think that was for equal parts luck, and equal parts because she loves horses so much. Her and Keith even had their engagement photos done in Alberta at a horse stable.

In the morning it poured rain for about 30 minutes and then, as if the sky knew it was time, the sun came out and beamed down on the two love birds for the rest of the afternoon. The ceremony was held on a point of land with a beautiful historic light house, called Point Prim. When Keith saw Laura for the first time, coming down the isle toward him and the rest of their lives together, he totally teared up. It was magical. However, she knew that if he started then she would start. This would lead to a chain reaction and everyone would be crying by the end, so she kept him laughing and smiling during the whole wedding ceremony. Afterward, we photographed some family and bridal party photos at the lighthouse, and then headed to the reception location at the Dundas Plowing Match fair grounds. The fair grounds are a wonderful place featuring pioneer agriculture… grassy fields, white wooden fences, big red barns, and no shortage of eye candy.

It was so wonderful spending the day with Laura and Keith and partying with them when our official duties as photographers were over. Laura was a bride’s maid in our wedding 10 years ago, and it totally brought back lots of good memories. Congratulations to you both, and welcome to the married club!

Laura & Keith
Laura & Keith
Laura & Keith
Laura & Keith
Laura & Keith
Laura & Keith
Laura & Keith
Laura & Keith
Laura & Keith
Laura & Keith
Laura & Keith

  • Laura MacSwain - We were so happy that you were able to do our pictures for us and just as I thought, they turned out amazing. We had such a fun time (just like back in high school) and you made our day go so smoothly. With these being a taste of what is to come, I can’t wait to see the rest.

  • Rebecca Clarke - Laura, it was our absolute pleasure! Anyone can tell that you and Keith are meant for one another… makes photography feel easy :)

    

Remember that day last week when the fog sat on the harbor all day, and just wouldn’t burn off? That was the day of Olivia’s bridal portrait session. We planned to meet at the park at 7:00p, and I knew we were in for dark and dramatic images as I drove from sunny blue skies and puffy white clouds in Sackville into a wall of fog downtown.

Her friends Lindsey and Nancy were a huge help providing encouragement, carrying and arranging her dress, and sharing in the fun and laughter as we encounter all manner of characters downtown.

Bridal Portrait

Bridal Portrait

Bridal Portrait

Bridal Portrait

Bridal Portrait