Friday, July 17, 2015

Louisa & Ellie's Walk Down Memory Lane Engagement Session :)

Louisa & Ellie are one of the funnest and most playful couples I've ever met - I knew we were going to have a great time at their engagement session before we'd even started planning it :) And then we started discussing ideas about locations, and wanted to be sure to include all the important places in their history.. "first kiss", "first date", and best of all - where they first met: a downtown drag bar where Ellie used to tend bar!
But before all that excitement, we started off at the park where they walk their little puppy Dewey :)

 Our next two locations were The Banknote (first kiss!), and The Princess of Wales Theatre 
(first date!)
And then for the evening.. we had a lot of fun revisiting the drag bar where Louisa & Ellie first met!

 I love this image :)
Special thanks to Matt & Tommy for helping out with the shoot, and to Crews & Tangos owner Michael for allowing us to use this fabulous location!

Louisa & Ellie: we had such a blast following you down memory lane! We can't wait to see you in England for your wedding!!

Jessica + Norman

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Eleanor & Liam's Toronto Island Engagement Picnic :)

Eleanor & Liam first met doing stage production in university, but it wasn't love at first sight. Actually, it wasn't until 13 years later that fate stepped in - Liam was the only person who showed up for a BBQ party at Eleanor's - and the rest, as they say, is history. When I asked them what they loved about each other, Liam said he loved how Eleanor makes him smile all the time, and Eleanor said she loved Liam's ability to be silly and spontaneous.. When we all took the ferry over to Ward's Island this week for their engagement session, the evening was full of smiles, silliness, and more than a bit of romance :)

These two are professional level picnic planners, and we thought this was the perfect picnic tree :) Hats off to Liam for putting together such a good-looking spread!
Next we headed down to the beach, where Eleanor drew a heart in the sand with her toe, and Liam gave lessons on skipping stones..

We wandered through the unreal cuteness of the lanes of cottage-style homes on Ward's Island, and paused to enjoy the magic of this birch grove (I love this image of the two of them!)
Before heading back to the main land, we waited on the beach until the sun went down and the city started to glow.. and then lit sparklers :)
Eleanor & Liam: We can't believe that somehow all this fit into one evening! We had so much fun with you two on your romantic Island adventure, and can't wait for your wedding in the fall!!
Jessica + Norman

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Angela & Roman's Romantic Vintage Wedding at the Heintzman House :)

Angela & Roman have known each other for many years, and have been sweethearts living in separate countries for most of those years. After rising to the challenge of a long-term long-distance relationship, they spent the past year with an additional challenge: planning their wedding together across many miles and a few time zones. Every time we saw them, they seemed full of joy just to be in the same place at the same time together, yet they are also one of the most relaxed and thoughtful couples I've ever met :) The most important thing to them about their big day? The family and friends who would be there to celebrate with them. They put so much thought and time into designing and making many of the details, which resulted in a day that was beautiful, personal, and full of love! Here are some of my favourite images from Angela & Roman's romantic vintage wedding at The Heintzman House..

We started the day with the guys getting ready.. Roman had two camera looks that I loved: his "philosophical contemplative" look (which he would later demonstrate for Angela),
and his boxing stance ;)
Then down the hall to the bride's room, where Angela's bridesmaids were over the moon excited for her big day :)
Absolutely stunning! Angela glowed :)

The suspense before their "First Look" - I love how you can see Angela take a deep breath as a single tear slides down her cheek while waiting for Roman..
(Roman shows Angela how philosophical he can look below.. she was obviously very impressed!)
The aisle was a runway of heart-shaped flower petals :)

After a lovely ceremony and brief reception at the church, we went back to the Heintzman House for photos and cocktails.. Roman's Auntie and Angela's Uncle both traveled quite far to be there for the day, which the couple was very grateful for :)
Great couple, beautiful venue, and a gorgeous classic car! The family friend who did all the floral decor around the tulip bed has known Angela since she was about 8 years old :)
I loved this bridal party - everyone was up for a laugh and we had a great time together!

A quick change of gowns for the bride, and then all the guests joined us out on the patio for a huge group shot before the bouquet toss..
I loved all the pretty vintage details Angela & Roman had - the twinkle light backdrop
was especially magical!

Roman's parents presented the newlyweds with a traditional Russian bread, which they tasted before Roman literally swept Angela off her feet and swooped her around the room before arriving at the head table!
During dinner there was never a dull moment - we were all highly entertained by all the challenges and games organized for the couple, including a singing showdown where Angela's "O Canada" was met by Roman's freestyle rapping..
Roman was put to the test: having to identify his bride's hand from a lineup while blindfolded, and having to pick her lips from a series of lipsticked napkins! (Luckily for him, he won both challenges!)

After dinner, all the guests headed outside for some great fun with sparklers :)
 .. and then back inside to get the party started!
Before the night was over, we snuck Angela & Roman out for a couple of last shots - some fun with photo booth props, and a lovely glowing end to a radiant day :)
Angela & Roman: you two have been an absolute pleasure to know from the first time we met you! We had so much fun photographing your wedding, and loved getting to know your families and friends. After all you've been through together, this is the beginning of your next exciting chapter - we wish you loads of laughter, kisses and happiness in the adventures to come :)

Jessica + Norman

Hair & Makeup: Jessika D.
Photography: Jessica + Norman, Jessica Lin Photography

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Baby Oliver Turns 1!!

We've actually been photographing Baby Oliver since he was still in his Mommy's tummy, and had such a fun year capturing this little guy as a newborn, 3-month-old, and 6-month-old baby :) The year has flown by, and before we knew it we were at Baby Oliver's first birthday party last weekend! We had so much fun, and - as you can see from the pictures - so did everyone else..

The Birthday Boy :) It was so great watching him play with the bubbles!
Sarah did a fantastic job as always: making rainbow cupcakes as well as this mini three-tiered cake for Oliver to enjoy. She even made a bucket full of colourful felt monsters for the kids (and photographers!) to take home :)

One of the entertainment highlights was this inflatable pool full of balls - I love this action shot of Big Brother Cameron! And how heart-meltingly adorable is the little snuggle sequence below?!
There was also a circus tent and crawl-through tube that were as fun to photograph as they were to play in! Plus - balloons, which were second maybe only to bubbles in terms of popularity :)
I love these images above - Oliver covered in berry juice, and Mike and Cameron giving 
him fits of giggles!
And then.. drum roll.. cake time!! (Cameron did a great Big Brother job of helping to blow out the candle)
The cake was a big hit :) And how sweet is that perfect tiny icing hand print on Sarah's jeans??
Just over a year ago, we took a photo with a stack of three hands.. and now there are four :) 
Happy Birthday Baby Oliver!!

Sarah & Mike: True story - on our way home, I got a bit nostalgic and said to Norman, "I wonder how many more years Cameron will think it's hilarious to be tickled and chased around the room? I wonder how long we've got until these boys aren't young enough to think that playing around with us grown-ups is fantastic, and instead we become embarrassing weirdos?" and he said, "I guess that's why it's important to Sarah and Mike to capture this while they're still young." You guys are awesome, and thank you so much for sharing your special family moments with us!

{to put it in a bit of context, this is now the 10th time we've photographed Cameron in his sweet little life, and the 12th time I've photographed Sarah & Mike, so it's maybe understandable that I'm pretty attached to this lovely family ;) }

xo Jessica + Norman

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spring Fun: Amanda & Sam's Family Portraits :)

When Amanda & Sam first came to Canada from Australia, they thought they'd stay for about a year. 5 years and two super-sweet kids later, and they're still here :) We recently had tons of fun hanging out with their family.. playing trains, reading (and chewing on!) books, and going to the park on a gorgeous early spring day. Here are some of my favourite images from this playful and candid family portrait session..

How sweet are those smiles?!
There was multilingual toe-counting (a first for me, and I have to say a pretty awesome way to count toes!), and Baby Sister patiently sat still for lots of kisses from Big Brother - super-cute!
Amanda & Sam: we loved spending time with you guys and your adorable wee ones! Thank you so much for having us over to capture this fantastic time in your family's history :)

Jessica + Norman

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Time Flies When You Do What You Love :)

So recently I took a breath in between post-Artist Project and pre-One of a Kind chaos, and realized that this May marks the 15th anniversary of the start of my business.. !!
At first I was shocked (surely I'm far to young to have a 15-year-old business! Haha), but when that passed I felt mostly two things: proud of how far I've come in those 15 years, and super-excited about what the next 15 or so will hold!

When I first started my business, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. No clue that I was signing up to work pretty much 7-day weeks, almost every week of every year. No concept of what it's like to get pneumonia and not have a drug plan or paid sick days, and have nobody who could do my job while I was recovering. I now know all of this, and wouldn't change a thing :)

15 years ago, I actually had a full-time job as well as a business. This was back in the days of film and darkrooms, and not being able to "fix it later" in Photoshop. I learned a lot from the people I worked with, and most importantly learned that I didn't want to work for a big company. Which is a great thing to know, because it's made me never regret how hard I've had to work since going out on my own :)

I haven't gotten rich in money, but can't even begin to count the riches in other parts of my life.. I've had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places, I've worked with such an amazing and talented group of people, and I've been able to chase my dreams and inspirations where they have led me. I'm filled with so much gratitude that I've been able to do what I love over these past 15 years.

This actually feels like a much bigger milestone than any birthday I've ever had - after all, birthdays come whether you actively pursue them or not ;) So to celebrate, and to spread some of this excitement around to the people who've made it possible, I've decided to spend the next 15 months giving little perks and bonuses to my clients! One a month will bring us right through my 15th year, with the final month being May of 2016.
The first one is immediate: I'll be exhibiting at the Spring One of a Kind Show in Toronto a week from now, and anyone who stops by my booth to say "Happy Anniversary" will get 15% off anything in my booth :) This will be my first time doing the One of a Kind show as an exhibitor, and I'm really excited to branch out into this fantastic community! The show runs March 25th-29th at the Direct Energy Centre (at the CNE), and I'm in booth M19 - hope to see you there :) I'll be sharing some work in progress pictures over the next few days on instagram, facebook, and twitter if you like the "behind the scenes" type of stuff. *use this link to save $3 off regular admission to the show!

As for the rest of the perks, I'll be sharing that information every month on facebook and twitter, so be sure to follow! I also have an email list that you can sign up for - here's the link for the Fine Art news and updates, and here's where I'll announce any specials for couples or family portraits.

A HUGE "Thank You!" to everyone I've worked with over the past decade and a half - many of you have trusted me with the most precious moments and memories of your lives, or the promoting of your own small business dreams, and many others now have my whimsical depictions of far-away places hung on your walls.. all of you hold a special place in my heart for the role you have played in allowing me to live my dream :) I look forward to seeing you sometime soon!

xo Jessica

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Liz & Joe's Chic Rooftop Wedding at The Thompson Hotel

Liz & Joe have known each other since high school.. first they were just part of a mutual group of friends, then a few years down the road they started dating. When they got engaged, they celebrated with champagne and pizza, which - as it turns out - is a perfect representation of the two of them: very classy, and at the same time very casual and lots of fun :) They were up for anything at their Christmastime engagement session, and we knew that their wedding day would be fantastic! The perfect combination of great families, a close group of friends, and a stunning location all played a big part, but in the end it was the sweetness of Liz & Joe as a couple who made the day so perfect :) Here are some of my favourite images and moments from their gorgeous wedding..

Maids of Honour Christine & Shey, and close friend (and fabulous event planner) Kristina all took turns with the one million little white buttons on Liz's stunning gown..
Wow. We couldn't stop saying it that day, and I can't stop thinking it looking at the pictures - Liz looked nothing short of fabulously amazing :) I especially love her romantic side-swept curls!
 Joe looked sharp in his charcoal three-piece suit!
 and with his excellent team of Best Men: Greg & Adam
 I loved the rooftop bar at The Thompson Hotel for many reasons, and it made a great location for one of my favourite parts of the day - The First Look :)

We went back down to the main floor lounge for some great graphic backgrounds - this bridal party was so much fun that we had trouble catching them in between laughs ;)
 And now for the main event - a beautiful ceremony up on the rooftop :)
 I'm in love with this picture of Liz & her dad, with their reflections in the glass..
 Joe's sister and Liz's brother each did a reading :)
 I love this image on the right (below) - I love how you can actually see the hands squeezing on (as the officiant said) Toronto's newest happily married couple :)
Time to get the party started! Cocktails were served upstairs while the finishing touches went on to the decor in the Wellington Room downstairs..

 First dance, a toast, and a final relaxed moment in the screening room down the hall :)

Liz & Joe: you two are a fantastic couple, and I'm so happy that you had such a perfect day! It was a pleasure being part of your wedding, and we can't wait to show you the rest of the pictures!! All the best for many years of love and laughter together and among family and good friends :)

xo Jessica + Norman

Venue: The Thompson Hotel
Event Planner: Kristina Chau, Not Your Average Party
Hair: The Joint Salon
Make up: Isabel from Earthy Vixen
Gown: Dina Alonzi
Florist: Roxy at Art of Celebrations
Cupcakes: Bake Sale
Live Music: The Digs
Photography: Jessica + Norman, Jessica Lin Photography

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