Merry Christmas – A Snapshot of 2012

Merry Christmas everyone! This video says it all …


Behind the scenes of planning a photo shoot

I’m a behind the scenes kind of girl.  I love to know how things work, and there’s something about the buzz and adrenaline of something BIG about to happen on stage before a live audience.

When I was 20, I auditioned for Theatre Studies at the College I now work at, and didn’t get in. I’m pretty sure I was folding my t-shirt in my sweaty hands as I read my monologue in that darkened studio. I then moved to a different room and panel of judges to sing “Hopelessly Devoted” with attempted Olivia Newton John grace, but alas, it wasn’t for me (thankful now!). I’ve since learned that I actually enjoy the conceptualizing and visioning of such tales, more than being in them; although I have enjoyed the odd spotlight when it shone on the theatrical stage.  Even after watching the making of The Lord of the Rings trilogy I had a deeper understanding and love for the enormity of such a filmmaking task.  

This past weekend I had six photo shoots. Yes, six. It was family shoot weekend, and ended with a shoot for a yoga instructor.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to plan BEFORE you get to the location? Well, follow me as I share for you the “behind the scenes” of pre-shoot photography…

  • When a client calls or emails, I ask a few questions.  I ask how they heard about me, ask them about their interests, what they’re looking for in a shoot, and how many people it will be for. What are their “photo wishes”
  • We nail down a date and time
  • I collect a deposit to hold the spot
  • Thus begins the location scouting!  I generally ask if people prefer an urban or natural setting, as that helps me narrow down spots and get a feel for the personality of the shoot. This usually requires 1-2 hours of me driving around or on the constant look-out for just the right spot! I look for angles, colors, shots that will add depth and won’t appear flat, possible shadow factors… you get the idea!
  • Depending on how detailed we’ve decided to make the shoot (some clients prefer clean and simple, some require more props), I will send ideas of wardrobe, colors, props to be brought, etc. We often talk on the phone, in person, or email again before the shoot (sometimes several times!)
  • The night before I go over poses in my head, scenarios, the “what ifs”. Do the kids need candy? sort of thing. My heart races in nervousness because I really truly want to deliver!
  • Once the day of the shoot arrives, I am there 15-30 minutes prior to make sure I’m in “shoot mode”.
  • We capture you, your family, the occasion!! Shake hands, and sometimes even hug (I’m a hugger 😉 )
  • I send a couple sneak peeks via email before you get your discs/package.
  • Voila! That is the lead-up to a photo shoot. Then comes the editing……

I should add in there a point called “stretching and hydrating”, but for brevity sake, have left it out 😉

Last night I had a fall photo shoot with a yoga instructor in town. I walked around the park we were using to get ideas for posing locations and what we would do in each spot. Only because the colors are so fantastic, I thought you just had to see this…


Create 2 Educate :: Art Show

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world.”
Margaret Mead

This past winter while experiencing a green winter and serving drinks in an English tea room, I learned that Home of Hope was starting schools in Rwanda and Kenya – all by faith. I also learned that there wasn’t a lot of funding yet for these schools and the hundreds of kids that need education. My immediate reaction was, “What can I do?”  The idea came that when I returned to Canada, perhaps I could gather artistic friends and do an art show in my home city.

Thus was born Create 2 Educate. This Saturday, July 21 from 1-5pm at Hudson Madison in downtown Red Deer, we will be having a silent auction in support of these schools with Home of Hope.

Each dollar REALLY will make a difference!

A child could go to school for $2 a month! Monthly fees for a teacher are $200. If we raise $2000, we could send 100 kids to school for a year, or provide a salary for a teacher for a year. Perhaps we will raise more, and be able to do both!!

I am beyond thankful for the friends who have donated so far.  I will also have some of my European photography prints for sale. A big thank you to Hudson Madison for opening their doors as our venue, to Babycakes Cupcakery for donating cupcakes, and to the loads of friends who’ve donated their creativity! You are heroes to these kids.

Justina Smith
John Mueller Photography
Lindsey McStravick Photography
Britton Ledingham
Lani Ledingham
Nathan Graalman
Blaine Alexander
Rachel Zwambag
Osi Lahtinen-Cruz
Gloria Strohschein
Crystal Webb
Hudson Madison
Gloria Strohschein

Also thank you to Jolena Sebry and Sauve MacBean for the musical entertainment they will be providing throguhout the afternoon!

If you are in the Red Deer area, we hope to see you this Saturday at Hudson Madison and help us raise funds to send these kids to school!