Holly and Jay~Married in Belmont

Holly and Jay-it was a pleasure spending your day with you, it was truly beautiful beautiful wedding-your groomsen and bridesmaids were some of the funnest I’ve been with and I loved how both of you seemed so calm and relaxed, ready to enjoy whatever came your way.

This day started out grey and everyone was watching the skies praying for nice weather and for rain to stay away.  I assured Holly that each backyard wedding I’d photographed this year was in full sun(not a photographers favorite!) I’m was sure her’s would be too seeing as how the week prior was was ridiculously hot in Manitoba.  But I lied-as Saturday turned out to be the only cool day of the week.  Cool and cloudy may not seem to be optimal wedding weather but most photographers will say they prefer some cloud cover for lighting-so we don’t mind clouds and the occasional shower.  So I was thankful for the weather, and the showers did hold off but the wind did not.  I have to laugh because it was so windy that right before the ceremony some of the chairs blew away, by far the windiest day in a long time.  It would be easy for any bride and groom to be stressing out, but inside you wouldn’t have known there was any concern Holly was having fun with her sisters and friends, and Jay and his troop were all jokes when I met up with them.  It was apparent that the day was about the two of them finally coming together as one and niether of them even gave to a thought of anything else.  When I got to the house where the boys were getting ready Jay asked me if I’d seen Holly, and how she looked-knowing my answer.  Then at the farmhouse where at the girls were waiting for the ceremony to start the bridesmaids were  excitedly watching out the windows for the men, and Holly asked the exact same question to her girls.  I realized at that moment, without knowing both had asked the same question, each of  them seemed only to have thoughts for each other and they just that connected.  It pulled at my heart strings and reminded me that that’s how a marraige should start, and they were already on the same path the ceremony just makes it official.

In spite of the wind the ceremony was beautiful, from the gazebo setting to the groomsmen in their militatary uniforms, the laughter  at Holly’s expression when asked if anyone objected, and the obvious happiness that everyone shared when the kiss sealed the deal-and even the wind didn’t deter everyone from surrounding them with congratulations after it was all finished.  Thanks for letting me share such a beautiful day-you both deserve each other in the best kind of way. ~Robyn

October Rock The Shot Challenge: Orange

Fall is the perfect time to photograph the color orange.  The season is so vibrant and colorful that it is all around us.  I took a different route and enlisted the help of Make-Up Artist Maisie McClure and model Pam to create a portrait that carried the theme of orange.  Thanks to both because the final image is everything I’d hoped it would be and more.  It is off the www.rocktheshotforum.com for the October Challenge.  Head on over and check out the many unique images all surrounding the color orange.

 

Niki and Justin {Cypress River Wedding and Engagement Photographer}

 

I’ve known this person my whole life.  Literally my whole life.  When I was four he was born and from then on I was the ‘middle child’.  Basically you could say he ruined everything for me.  Just kidding-Im sure my four year old self was thrilled with the new addition and I’ve moved passed things and forgiven him for stealing the baby of the family birthright.  Fast forward 31 years and here we are- Justin is getting married! Of course Im thrilled to be photographing his wedding, that goes without saying but  I did try talking them out of it and in the end they still chose me.   Im not going to write alot about them because I’m saving it for the wedding blog but here’s the lowdown.  Justin was the eternal best man-standing up in more weddings than I can count.  I wasn’t even positive that he was going to get married as it seemed he was quite happy holding the rings and throwing stag parties.  Then out of the blue came a phone call.  One where he talked of this new girl that he was dating and just how much he thought I’d like her.   The mere fact that he called me to tell me about her gave it all away.  He was smitten and something was different. He assured me that I was going to like her and told me all of her redeeming qualities-I was interested, he’d never actually cared if I liked his girlfriends before.  Interestingly enough the things that he told me that I’d like about her were his favorite things, and over time I’ve come to my own conclusions.

She is her own person, soft, calm and quiet.  In the middle of chaos and stress she maintains her ground and stays true to herself, and her family-which is Dawson and Justin.  Her presense in the room is obvious, but not overpowering.  She’s quiet but not too quiet, not the meek kind of quiet-I get the feeling that when crossed she can stand her ground and draw her line in the sand.  I admire that in any woman, and especially a woman going to marry my brother.  She seems to  If I had to describe them with one word, it would be balance.  The two create balance together, just enough of everything-love, laughter, tears, hapiness, hopes, and dreams.  The very things that foundations are built from.   It seems so obvious now that I’ve met her, and I understand the time he took.  She is who he needed, and once he found her it all just made sense and fit together beautifully. Cheers and Congrats. See you at the wedding. And at Christmas and perhaps Thanksgiving.

~R

Olds Boudior

“A woman should never see a photo of herself that is bad-it’s like a knife to the heart.”~Sue Bryce (my hero)

 

 

I am behind with work-I desperately need to write an advertisement for my next day of boudior(that is quickly approaching), and I am experiencing a huge block.  The ad has sat open on the computer for days and every time I keep asking myself-what do women want to hear?  What compels them to get these photos done-and better yet what will compel them to book me to photograph them?  So tonight after an hour of striking out I realized that perhaps I have more to say than just a line or an ad.  Forgive the ramblings, I’m not a professional writer by any means-just a woman with a vision and hopefully someone out there hears it.

I was married a month ago.  Wedding images were posted on Facebook within hours of the actual event, and I was tagged instantaneously.  I have made a practice out of photographing people and there are very few photos of myself.  So when the little red notification went up and I saw they were wedding photos my first thought was “Do I look fat?” and it was directly followed by “People will see I look fat, people will think I look fat, I am fat and oddly enough, people will know I’m fat, (as if the people at my wedding and friends somehow have never actually seen me)”.  Those thoughts moved at lightening speed and the anxiety only reduced as I scrolled through the images and assessed my perceived ‘fatness’.  Im not happy those were my thoughts, and it’s definitely rare that I will be this honest (but if I’m going to be honest, why not share with the whole internet right)?  For the first time in my life they perplexed me-not because I hadn’t heard them before but because  with my photography of women I have heard it all.  It truly has allowed me to hear people’s inner thoughts out loud. It’s generally the same theme just a different script for each woman and what they tell themselves each day.  Too fat, too short, not pretty, freckles, too skinny, stretch marks, too old, too young, and just plain not worth it.    Photographs have this strange power over us-it’s like an image can affirm or dispel those beliefs and because of that the mere presence of a camera causes anxiety.  It is not limited to women, I had a young 10 year old girl tell me that she usually looks stupid in photographs.   It seems to me that photographs can enhance our negative view of ourselves.

The most common question women ask me is “Will you take out cellulite?” or “Can you photoshop me?”, and I have a response that I stand by and believe in.  It is always “Yes, I do retouching but I want to make you feel beautiful with who you are and love your own image.”  And it’s not just a line-I strive for that.  But then I turned around and told my own wedding photographer that he could photoshop me.  And I searched through my photos to assess my worth based on my appearance, and even worse because I’m a trained photographer I searched through his photos to see if he had edited me.  So very hypocritical right?  Im not immune to the camera’s mysterious power, and that’s what perplexed me and I put some thought into it.

Here is my conclusion.  I do believe all women are beautiful, any shape, and size.  That is my mantra, philosophy, and how I go about photographing.  Just as true we are real, we have fears, insecurities and are own worst critics, and the desire to look great in photographs is strong.  No one wants to look at an image of themselves that reinforces that negative script.  I know I’m not going to change everyone’s self talk (even my own apparently) but at the very least I can create an argument with it, and at the best show a woman who she actually is, not who she is telling herself she is.

From that conclusion it’s easy for me to articulate my vision, which is why it’s hard to figure out an advertisement to sell sessions.  It’s not a slogan or a pitch, it’s a set of goals that define what my purpose is and why I have that purpose.

My goals for every woman I photograph:  To create an experience for a woman that makes her feel valued and special.  To create a photo session that allows a woman to feel safe, secure, beautiful, and relaxed so that I am able to photograph her authentic personality.  To provide her with images that feature the truth of who she is and how the world sees her.

The goal drives each and every session.  Champagne is offered because I want you to feel pampered, luxurious and elegant.  Hair and make up is provided to so that a professional can build your confidence by enhancing your best features.  The setting has been determined for lighting and ambiance.  The session doesn’t start there though, I’ve come to realize that a session starts with an email or a phone call and each communication has the power to create the feeling of value and trust or move away from it.

Now that I have done a year of women’s portraiture I know just how much bravery it takes for women to be photographed.  It’s like staring all of those insecurities right in the face and taking a chance on what you will see as the result.  I have the luxury of knowing what the outcome will be-I already see their beauty but often I have watched woman sit in the make up chair, quiet and nervous.  Once they see themselves, in the mirror their whole demeanor changes.  You can see a brightness in their face, shoulders lift, and a swagger in their step.  Often at this point the cell phones come out and self pictures are taken because when you look that good it’s making it to the timeline.  Those women were not ‘changed’ by make up, their best features merely enhanced, as you can see by Jamie’s photo at the top.

Then it comes down to the photographing.  I won’t bore you with technical details but behind the scenes, I’ve assessed the light, the woman, her posing, her best features and how I can pop those.  If I only focused on that I’d miss the most important part-the mood.  If left to think, women go back to that self talk, they lose that sexy feeling and the authenticity as well.  It’s a constant balance of posing, instruction, chatting, pausing, photographing, and posing, and laughing, and photographing and chatting.  If I miss out on any step from start to end the images will not carry the same power, and my vision is lost.

It doesn’t stop there once the session is complete, there still is a process, selecting images, editing-revealing of the photos, designing of the album, and ordering-again should be tied right in with my goal.  In the end the woman should hold her images and be transported back to not just the day, but the whole experience and as she looks at the images really come to terms with herself, and let go of some of those misperceptions that wander around her head.

All of the pieces of the puzzle have to fit together, or like following a recipe.  When I follow that formula I experience a satisfaction from deep within that I am staying true to my vision rather the simple service of booking and selling sessions.

You see-that was never going to fit on an advertisement. So if you made it through all that, you just need to book me now! LOL!

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~R

 

 

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