Monday, July 07, 2014 10:28AM
By Jen
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I'm feeling like a kid at Christmastime right now.  After reviewing what I have and have not shared on this blog, I realized that there are a bunch of wedding image collections I have not shared from last year.  I had quite a stressfull year that was full of a bunch of speedbumps and things that caused me to slow down and pay attention to my life.  I have had the most amazing clients who have been so kind and understanding.  I have booked myself very light this year because I need to still take care of myself.

I would like to share Allie and Joel's wedding image collection from last summer.  I competed the very last image into professional image competition (PPOC), which was accepted into the salon, so I am very happy about that.  I loved working with Allie and Joel and their families.  :-)

Wednesday, July 02, 2014 10:51PM
By Jen
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I love this gorgeous girl.  I've known her parents since 1995 when our oldest children were babies.  I watched Jaylene as a little girl at times when her mom was in school and working, and if I had to work, my daughter would go to their house.  My own family photo archives has many pictures of Jaylene playing alongside my daughter at the park, or at birthday parties, or other outings we went on.  Jaylene has grown into a sweet, beautiful woman and it says a lot about Zach that they chose eachother - he is a GREAT guy.  

I usually fall in love with my brides and grooms, but this wedding was a little different.  It felt like I was photographing my daughter's wedding.  There was an extra layer of love like a cherry on top of a sundae at this wedding.  I watched her grow up!  I felt highly privileged to be the one to document her day.  It was a very 'circle of life' experience for me seeing her marry the man of her dreams and also seeing my good friends as the parents of the bride.  It was a beautiful day and I wish them nothing but the happiest life together.  :-)

If you'd like to see more images in a slideshow, please click here:  slideshow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 9:22AM
By Jen
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There is a dance school here in Lethbridge that opened up a few years ago.  Brittany is the fearless leader and owner of Urban Beat Dance Studio (website).  I've been photographing for them since their beginning and they have grown so fast!  Brittany is educated with a Master's Degree in Kinesiology and she knows her stuff.  The second thing that makes this studio stand out is that it is such a positive space with positive people.  It is the most fabulous environment for a child to learn dance.  They have done well in the competition scene as well.  They have grown so fast, that in a few short years, they have needed to expand their space.

I love going in there.  I love that I will always be greeted by Brittany's smile.  If anything ever goes wrong for this girl, I'd never know it.  I love being a part of her team.

If you are looking for dance education for your child or for you - I would HIGHLY recommend this dance studio.  I've taken dance pictures for many years, and this environment really is a unique and wonderful place.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 8:02AM
By Jen
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I'm in my 11th year of being a wedding photographer.  I love taking pictures of couples and trying to artistically document who they are, using skilled photography techniques.  This year, I have decided to take things slow.  I've booked myself light this season, and I can already tell how much I have needed this gift to myself.  For the last 11 summers, I gave myself the most impossible schedule.  I'm a very hard worker, and I love working with the brides and grooms that I have had.  Normally, on any previous summer, my camera is in my hands so much that I had spots of skin that rubbed off where my hand touched my camera constantly.  I don't even want to go into the long computer hours.  I didn't pay attention to back-aches, eating regularly, or restroom breaks at all.  I was in creative zone and I loved it there - so I lived there.

That lifestyle took a heavy toll on me.  So, I'm giving myself a break, and it is such a great thing.  Learning to move at a slower pace to care for myself is definitely a necessary education.

I met Christine and Shaun in Waterton for their engagement session.  When they drove up with their two fur-babies in their car, the dog-lover in me exclaimed, "doggies"!!  I was happy that they wanted to incorporate their "kids" into their engagement session.  

Waterton is my playground.  We are so blessed to have this amazing landscape so close to us.  I was so happy to be there with these two.  It was a relaxed session and Christine and Shaun were up for anything.  

It felt SO good to have my camera in my hand again.  My need to be creative is like my fourth child I need to care for, or an itch I need to scratch.  I HAVE to use my creativity.  I've always been this way because I am a creator.  I'm just giving myself rules, so I can balance my life.  

Enjoy this fun couple's images...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 6:53AM
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I have been looking forward to earning my Master of Photographic Arts (MPA) for four years, since I joined the Professional Photographers of Canada Association.  At the end of April, I was awarded the designation at a banquet in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  This hard-to-earn award is a lot of work of image competition success and dedication to serving the industry and teaching other photographers.  It shows demonstrated mastery in my field.  

The first image is of me in my hotel room right after they first put my medal on me and before I received the wall plaque at the banquet.  It was exciting.  I was glad I went.

Saturday, April 26, 2014 6:43PM
By Jen
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Oftentimes when people show me their photos on their phone or if I comment on people's photos online they usually mention a disclaimer of their photography skills.  I will usually shoot back something disarming right away.  I'm not judging photos everywhere I look.  I mention that it is much more important to take the photos as life unfolds and changes before all of our eyes.  Candid or not - photograph a lot.  Kids grow and change so fast.  I wasn't always a professional photographer, but I sure have always been snap-happy.  In the digital realm, there is no monetary cost to photographing.  In the film days, film and processing costs slowed us shutterbugs down a bit.  Take pictures of everything!  :-)  My kids, of course, were my favorite subjects.  I can tell, as they grew, I got better at my skills, which is a good thing.  Now that they are older, our family photos are priceless.  It seems only a few short years ago they were this little.  It warms my heart and I am so glad I have captured moments of what is now a lost time.  

Friday, April 25, 2014 5:03PM
By Image Competition
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Competition season!

This is one of my favorite times of the year.  Image competition!

I was a judge for our Provincial competition in January, which was a very interesting thing to do.  The Professional Photographers of Canada National Image Competition was at the end of March, and I am pleased that three of my entries got through.  I received two "accepted" scores and a "merit".  Even though I've had to slow down a bit, I'm glad I didn't miss competing.  :-)  

Friday, April 25, 2014 5:02PM
By Jen
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I would definitely describe myself as a dreamer.  My mind is at home, in my jammies with my slippered feet up, when it sits back and marinates in all it's creative juices.  Emotions, texture, lines, shapes, feelings...expressions - and colour.  Colour!  I am so blessed to see the world as I do.

I have had to slow down the last little while because my body and mind could not keep up the pace I had set for myself for the previous ten years in business (see my previous post).  I've had to learn, the hard way, what non-workaholics learn much earlier in their lives.  This more manageable pace has been exactly what I needed.  It has allowed me to rest in my mental creative marination and exercise reflection of many things.  

I haven't been sitting back eating bon-bons, however.  In my time of reflection and choice, I have been working on what needed to be worked on, organizing what needed to be organized, talking to who I needed to talk to, checking things off my to-do list (albeit slower than before), and creating a portrait of my future.

I will continue to lightly book weddings around a school schedule starting this Fall as I pursue a Bachelor's degree.  I'm shaping another skill and career around my photography.  At the same time, I am sculpting what kind of retirement years I'm going to have.  I have a beautiful plan set out, one that I'm very excited about.  This summer is populated with a lighter wedding schedule - which is breathing life into my creativity just thinking about it.  For the first time in ten years, I'm not going to be run ragged during the summer months.  I'm also going to tackle my to-do list and get everything off my plate.  I even have a summer family vacation planned!  (That has not happened in a long time!)  I am slowly, but surely, changing my workaholic habits.

My life was very gray, very dark for a time.  Life's light and colour are returning and I can see that it is exquisitely beautiful - like getting my first look at Spring after a very long, stormy-gray, lonely, record-cold, traumatic winter, but I don't remember Spring ever being this pretty.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 2:57PM
By Jen
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*Stretching Fingers*

What a difference a year makes!

I don't usually get personal, but I'm going to get personal in this post.  (which makes me nervous).  Why?  Because I'm human - and I recently realized it.

My personality could be described as energetic and outgoing.  I was that person to charge through anything.  Put a challenge in front of me and I'll conquer it.  I'll work 18 hours a day, seven days a week for years on end.  Who needs sleep?  Not me!  Creativity and out-of-the-box thinking got me through a lot.

Through the last 12-14 months, life has seen to it that I learned some hard lessons that has taught me that I need to watch out for myself.  I now feel like a quiet introvert, managing a quieter life out of necessity.    If you think about chemistry - if you pour enough acid on something it changes it.  

Over the last year and a bit, but concentrating on last Spring, life caught up to me and delivered one major blow after another, generated from different directions.  It took a series of things that finally brought me to my knees.  They just kept coming and coming.  It was high time I learned I'm not immune to life's lessons.  

I've had to slow down - waaay down compared to my former pace.  

I will be scaling back from my former pace of business, and will be taking on fewer weddings for the next little while.

This all came at a time when I should be celebrating my tenth year in business and I should be celebrating earning my MPA (Master of Photographic Arts) designation in a few months.

Hiccups or crossroads like this can be an opportunity.  A big opportunity for growth, change and renewal but it requires that I pause and take a breath and decide in which direction to find the opportunity.  I love being the age that I am.  There is a wisdom that comes with it.  (I'm sure all you forty-plusses out there are agreeing with me.)  It is good to refocus on those close to me, appreciate those who are looking out for me, and judiciously sift through my life keeping what needs to be kept and discarding what needs to be discarded.  I have been through many difficult things in my experience, but not a string of them all at once.  Just....another....learning....experience.....right?

I love my clients.  I have been so lucky of the past ten years that brides and grooms that find me to be their photographer are top notch people - like AMAZING people.  

I have let my blogging lapse, but I am still here.  I'm still dreaming of the next award-winning wedding image I want to create.  I'm still designing albums.  I'm still thinking about white dresses and veils and what I can do with them against glorious skies or breathtaking landscapes.  I'm just giving myself a pause or a slower pace - it is a difficult thing for someone like me to learn how to do.  I am already beginning to feel renewed after the hardship of this Spring.  I will try to check in more often and share more of my summer wedding images.

Love to you all.