Travel - Portland, Oregon

Years ago I read an article in The Globe & Mail about Portland's interesting vibe and culture and that made me so curious to check it out one day. Since I was heading to Vancouver/Whistler this January, I booked a multi city flight to Portland for 3 nights on the way! I had been excited to see the city and the forests and they did not disappoint. I even managed to dodge most of the rainy weather that Portland is known for. 

The food and drink options in Portland were everywhere, and overwhelming at times. Everyone had a suggestion on where I could find the best of this and that, but it was so fun to eat my way through every day. The donuts, the beer & cider, the ice cream, the breakfasts.....everything was delicious. 

A few things I loved about Portland:

  • Every area of the city had something interesting, or somewhere amazing to eat
  • Transit was so great and easy and day passes were only $5!
  • Food trucks (or carts) were embraced and were all over the city, including circling an entire block downtown
  • Forest Park (where all these forest photos were taken) was just a short ride away on transit and held a gigantic network of trails of all skill levels.
  • Portland has the world's largest independent bookstore. Powell's City of Books is so fun to walk around and get lost in. 
  • Bike lanes were everywhere, Portland is referred to as "Bike City USA"
  • Everyone drives a Subaru!
  • There are around 70 microbreweries in Portland 

If you find yourself in the Pacific Northwest, consider stopping into Portland. I plan to be back one day to check out more of the surrounding forests and mountains, and to drive out to the coast. Until next time! 

CBC - "P.E.I. photographer named one of Canada's 'most inspiring'"

On October 8th 2017, CBC News ran an article about me recently being named one of Canada's top 25 Most Inspiring Photographers for 2017 by Weddingbells Magazine! This was a fun interview to do, and I am so thankful to Sara Fraser from CBC News for doing such a great job writing this! I since received a lot of thoughtful messages from family, friends, clients, and strangers and they have all been so appreciated. If you haven't read the article, you can do so here:

P.E.I. photographer named one of Canada's 'most inspiring'

Enjoy!

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WPPI Las Vegas Recap

I place a lot of value on always learning in my photography business and believe in the importance of continuing to invest in education every year. This year, I attended the WPPI Conference & Expo in Las Vegas from Feb 5th-9th! WPPI is one of the largest and most well known conferences in the industry and attracts over 12,000 photographers a year from all over the world. Through a mix of keynote presentations, workshops, networking, and the expo, there is an overwhelming amount of educational opportunities. I always wanted to attend so I was excited that I was able to make it work this year! 

I attended presentations and live shoots from photographers such as Sue Bryce, Susan Stripling, Tyler Wirken, Peter Hurley, Dan O'Day, Jen Rozenbaum, The Youngrens, and Jerry Ghionis. Covering an array of topics, each speaker brought something different to the table and it was awesome to hear new perspectives and methods. I also took part in a fantastic, 6 hour wedding photojournalism workshop with Kansas City's Wirken Photography. That day we dove deep into the real reasons we photograph weddings, the importance of our roles, and about how capturing a couple's real love and connection should be more important than their wedding day details and decor. Through candid talks our group of 25 left the workshop with a new outlook and an excitement for our future work. 

This was also my first time to Vegas and I was fascinated by how over the top, grand, and flashy everything was. Although most of my time was spent at the convention centre, I did get a chance to explore the strip, do some photography for fun, and take in Cirque Du Soleil's Mystere - which was totally unbelievable. 

If you're a photographer planning to attend WPPI someday I would recommend it for the experience, and for the opportunity to stop, step back and take a look at your business to see what is going right, and what needs to be improved. I would recommend staying close to the convention centre (I was only 10 min away and still getting 18,000 steps a day!), bringing lots of water and snacks, and making a game plan of who you want to see before you go.  

The Las Vegas Convention Centre was the new home of WPPI this year after being held at MGM Grand for years. 

Canon had an awesome booth at the trade show where I was able to test any camera or lens I wanted and ask questions to their super friendly, and helpful staff. Thanks to Canon for the great service!

Miller's is the great company who takes care of my wedding albums. It was so helpful to see first hand their new product offerings, get advice from their staff, and work with them to make a plan for a new product I'll soon be offering my clients. I'm really excited about this and look forward to sharing more on that soon!  

I was also able to visit several other companies I work with including my print lab, WHCC. There were so many new products on display at the show that I could have spent a whole day wandering the floor. It was a photography nerd's dream land. 

A couple quick shots of our workshop with Tyler Wirken. 

One of my biggest influences and teachers over the years has been Susan Stripling - she is an incredible NYC photographer and I got to see her speak live, twice! 

Stay tuned later this winter as I'll be doing more travel photography and hopefully sharing those trips on my blog as well! Thanks for reading!

My Home

Last week I celebrated a whole year of being a homeowner! Time has flown by since I purchased my little home last September right before a busy Labour Day weekend. Many people have asked about my place since then, so I thought it would be fun to show what I've been up to! I feel as though you'll never truly feel like your home is 'done' but after a year, the rest of the projects can wait right? 

I was lucky to get one of the last units in this Stratford condo and at that time it was nothing but a patch of dirt and some stakes! The building was constructed by Marshall MacPherson who was a pleasure to deal with. It was such an exciting time as I waited impatiently for about 9 months for it to be completed. Being a new build I was able to pick the paint, lights, floors, and backsplash. In this time though I was able to slowly collect everything I needed, and do a little planning for what I wanted it to include. Since I wasn't rushed, being able to save and watch for deals was a huge help budget wise. A friend did joke that I should write a blog on how to furnish a condo on a budget, so I may as well include some of those deals I scored too! 

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An important goal in my first home was to have an amazing couch and I found that with this huge Dynasty cuddler sectional from M&M furniture. It was one of my only splurges, but well worth it. My friend had a similar couch and M&M was awesome in helping me find one the same.  

One of my favorite things in the home are these 4 framed photographs I took of 4 of my favorite places on PEI. I didn't want to capture them as you normally would, but rather something that looked more like art. From left, the ocean, Red Point, PEI National Park, Bear River Beach. The beautiful quality frames were a bogo deal at Michaels. 

Foxhound Collection candle, succulents from Kent Building Supplies and white ceramic dish from Bibles for Missions thrift. Checkered pillows from Homesense, green pillows from IKEA, and leather pillows were included with the couch! 

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Picked up a new shade at Walmart for this lamp from our old house that was destined for the garbage, and with a little clean it looks great! Curtains were $10 a panel from Giant Tiger. Seriously, the best spot for simple, plain curtains. 

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The cozy and comfortable living room! I love how the builder included an electrical box for the TV in the middle of the wall so you don't have to run the cords down. TV and mount were both on sale at Best Buy and I saved by not buying a smart TV. With an Apple TV, you don't even need it. The chair is Romeo from Structube, and the prints are from Bibu shop in Barcelona. Frames are IKEA. 

I searched for a long time for the right rug, and found this interesting design at Home Depot.

I'm obsessed with the wool blankets from MacAusland's Wollen Mill  and have two of my own. This natural wool shade perfectly fit in with my living room colors. They are even made right here on PEI, definitely check out their products! 

This little foot stool was in my grandparent's living room for years and years, and as kids we would always flip it sideways and play by rolling ourselves around the floor on it. It was always a symbol of going to Nannie's and I'm so lucky to have it now. A full reupholster and new stuffing by Ladner Upholstery in Charlottetown really brought it back to life. 

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For my two big house plants I saved on expensive pots and bought regular terra cotta pots, painting them matte black. 

This very old plumber's tool chest is one of my favorite things. It came from my Step Father who bought it when he was young and had it in my family's living room for years. I luckily inherited it when I moved in! Now it stores all my board games.

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A little $15 chair from the 70 Mile Yard Sale makes for some extra seating! 

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Purchased this old brown plastic, carpet(!), and wood record player from Habitat for Humanity Restore and gave it what seemed like a million coats of white paint to turn it into my TV unit. The top flips up and it actually works - I often use it for it's radio! The airplane from Homesense reminds me of all my travels, and the sweet little handmade mountains from Modern Jane remind me of my time living in Banff. The antique clock was a gift. 

These golden brass birds hung on the wall covered by a large plant for years at my parent's home. I never took any pass of them until one day I realized how interesting they were and asked if I could take them to a new home! 

This milk glass light fixture is the only one in the home that wasn't purchased from Kent. I found it for $20 at Riverview Antiques outside Summerside and after no luck searching for the right electric piece to fit, Burke Electric found an old dusty one in their basement and told me it was so old that I could just have it for free! I spray painted it white and it looks amazing. Thanks Burke Electric! 

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I love to cook and bake for myself and for others, so the kitchen is my favorite place in the home. 

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This style of stool is pretty common to find and they are all the same, but the best price by far (at the time) was from Kent Building Supplies. They were $45 each, bar height. 

Cute little $5 clock from Winners matches perfectly! 

Value Village knife block, and a refinished cutting board from Riverview Antiques. Had the cutting board sanded down and shined them both up with beeswax and they were good to go.  

I love the simple white subway tiles and this cool textured grey floor from Markan Hardwood

Still waiting on the perfect photo or art piece to hang above my kitchen table. 

This dining room table has seen thousands of meals over the years. It was the table at my grandparent's house and now has a new home in Stratford! 

Pendant lights were the most costly fixtures in the home but make a really cool statement over the bar counter. Teacup print from the lovely Inkwell Boutique in Halifax.  

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The paint color throughout the whole place is 'Horizon' from Benjamin Moore. 

I really lucked out on some great deals when Target was going out of business in Charlottetown. Shower curtain was one of them. Mirror from Winners. 

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Prints from Nova Scotia artist Colleen MacIsaac purchased at Inkwell. Opted for a simple and cheap Ikea towel rack on the door instead of wall mounted one. 

Cross stitch from Emmett & Ellie's. 

My room! MacAusland's wool blanket with Ikea duvet cover. Prints from Lila & Lola on Etsy and poster frames from Michaels. Flooring is 'Barn Oak' laminate from Markan Hardwood. 

These night stands were $35 for both at Riverview Antiques, and with a fresh coat of matte white paint and new hardware from Kent, they look brand new. Stand up mirror from Winners - $60. Lamps from Kent - $15 each. 

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Where I spend the most of my time at home - the office! This $60 Ikea dining room table makes a large workspace that holds everything neatly. I can't work with any clutter around me, so my desk is actually always this clean! I'd love something more on the walls, but I'm waiting for the right thing. 

My new Lacie 12TB backup drive. 

Painted this old handmade desk and bought some file boxes from Ikea for some extra storage. 

This super cool world map is like a scratch ticket, so when you visit a country you scratch off the foil to reveal the hidden color underneath. I had it custom mounted and framed at Michaels to make it last for years as I scratch away! It's a great motivation as I sit and work at my desk, 20 counties scratched and counting :)

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the tour of my little home! Have a favorite thing? Leave me a comment below! 

This is Your Life, Make it Beautiful

Back in the winter of 2014, a former wedding client of mine, Stacey Wyand came up with an amazing idea to bring some smiles and positivity into the life of several PEI woman undergoing various stages of cancer treatment. Over the course of a few weeks, Stacey gathered the support of her wedding photographer, makeup artist, hair stylist, friends, and family to come together and organize a day of fun and laughter for 4 local women. With no motive and no backing from any organization, we set out just to do some good. 

Based on the viral video If Only for a Second, we had a plan to offer a one day makeover for the women. The ladies were treated to a stylist at Rikki's, had their nails done and hands massaged, and enjoyed free time to mingle with everyone. They were instructed not to look in any mirrors until their hair & makeup were finished. What they didn't expect when their reflections were revealed in front of our mirror, were the ridiculous hairstyles that were created for them! Even it was 'if only for a second', their cares and worries were washed away with the shock and laughter of how they looked :)

You can check out the video from last year, filmed by the talented Lowell Productions

Because of the tremendous success of 2014, our team was so eager and excited to bring this event back for 2015. On a sunny Saturday in February we returned to Cymbria Lions Club to do it all over again with 5 incredible new ladies! Our 5 enjoyed mingling among themselves and the volunteers, drinks & snacks, and having their hands massaged and their nails painted. We even had prize giveaways including trailer rentals and camping at Marco Polo Land

This year we were excited to have Joel from Serious Media to film the day and the reveals. 

All hairstyling and nails were done by the talented Sharon Keller of Bounce! Hair Studio who also created our wigs for last year's event. 

One was unable to make it but we were so happy to have 3 of our ladies from last year's event come back to say hello again this year! Looking great! 

Holly Ryder from Priti Makeup Artistry volunteered her time again this year as well! 

Finally, after makeup and clothing were finished, our ladies came into a separate room where one by one their wigs were applied and they sat in our stool. Waiting on one side of a full length mirror was Joel filming it all, and on the other was me, photographing it all. 

Remember that they had no idea what to expect when they opened their eyes. Enjoy! 

This sign was found the morning of our event last year, and since it fit the theme of our day so well we had to include it. If you scroll back up, you'll notice one of our volunteers, Gaylene had the words tattooed on her arm in honor of her Mother who participated this year. 

From left to right, the amazing team who brought this event together:

Brady McCloskey, Gaylene Colborne, Joel MacDonald, Sharon Keller, Stacey Wyand, Holly Ryder, Michelle Gallant, Valicia Wyand, and Dianne Wyand. 

Part 2!

In April we invited the ladies back for a 'reveal day' at the PEI Brewing Company where we encouraged them to bring along family and friends to come watch the video and view the photos. We all laughed and enjoyed another happy and fun event!

This event has been an incredible experience for us all and we were thrilled to bring laughter and relaxation to these women who have gone through so much. It's an important thing to help others in need and we are fortunate to be able to do so. Watch out for next year because it will be even bigger and better than before!!

A special thanks goes out to all of those who organized, donated, or gave their support in many ways:

  • Emerald Isle Property Management
  • Bounce Hair Studio
  • Priti Makeup Artistry 
  • Serious Media
  • Rikki's Clothing
  • Cymbria Lions Club
  • North Rustico Co-op
  • Marco Polo Land
  • Wyand's Trailor Rentals
  • O'Connor Glass
  • PEI Brewing Company

To finish off, you can view the video of the event right here :)

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Recap - East Coast Survival Guide

This past weekend I travelled to Halifax to attend Applehead Studio Photography 's East Coast Survival Guide Photography Workshop. Since traveling to Philadelphia last year for Cliff Mautner Photography's Lighting & Skills Bootcamp, I decided to do at least one in person educational experience a year, on top of online learning. I've been following Applehead's work for a while now and when the opportunity to attend their workshop came along, I jumped at the chance! The photography duo of Liam & Steph have a incredible creative eye and their flash and editing styles were something I really wanted to learn from. They were recently named the "Best Wedding Photographer in Halifax" by The Coast. 

16 of us came together for 3 full days of tips for running a successful photography business here in the Maritimes. In between a ton of laughs, we covered everything from client communication, contracts, and marketing, to photographing, editing, and workflow. Though I was mainly soaking in all the information, I managed to take a few behind the scenes photos too:

No matter your skill level, any photographer knows that a bright, sunny day at a waterfront is one of the most difficult situations to photograph in. We photographed on the Halifax waterfront where Liam & Steph walked us through some of their techniques for managing these locations. 

The lovely Kyle & Kristie from the video team Lowell Productions  came over to be our models for the day! Otherwise know as "Canada's Cutest Couple", they were great to work with! 

Getting the shot, from anywhere. 

Our second volunteer couple being photographed by us all. 

Back at the studio on Saturday night we all tried out a few new flash techniques for shooting in reception style lighting. Looking forward to using some of these to make improvements to my own method. 

Being in the creative industry I think it's especially important to never stop learning. Every so often it's refreshing to step out of your comfort zone, do something different, and gain some new inspiration to take your work forward. Workshops are a perfect way to share ideas with like minded people. 

Group composite taken by Steph & Liam! This group was fantastic. We shared many laughs, and drinks throughout the weekend! I learned a lot from them alone, and can't wait to cross paths again.

While there, I finally updated my head shot! Thanks Steph for the new photos! 

A few previews of our hashtag #EastCoastSurvivalGuide on Instagram! Stuffed beaver and all. 

On our drive back home on Sunday evening, CHERYL PERRY PHOTOGRAPHY RIKI SULIS PHOTOGRAPHY , and I stopped at the Confederation Bridge to take a few photos...

All in, the weekend was incredibly helpful and I came away with a ton of practical tips for business going forward. I'd highly recommend Liam & Steph's workshop to anyone looking to pick up some new knowledge. Whether you've been photographing for two years, or ten, you can never have enough education. Now all that's left is to wait for wedding season to officially begin for me! Just 3 more weeks until Kristy & Lincoln's big day!