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

* We specialize in capturing intimate wedding days with personality and style - if you're planning an awesome wedding please fill out our contact form and get in touch to see how we can create art from your memories! *

Friday, January 2, 2015

Julia & Al's Awesome Doctor Who Wedding: Through All of Time and Space :)

Julia & Al first met when they were in high school, when they both attended Forest Hill Collegiate Institute (where we went for their super-fun engagement session at the end of the summer). In the years since then, they've added a few adorable cats to their family, and have supported and encouraged each other as they blossomed into the amazing and lovely people they are today. They're the kind of couple where you can see that each one makes the other a stronger and better person, which is such an amazing and beautiful thing :)
Not only did we immediately like Julia & Al as people, but they had one of the greatest wedding themes imaginable - at least to those of us who are Doctor Who fans! Starting with a TARDIS ring box at their proposal, through to entering their reception to the theme music from Doctor Who, there were so many whimsical and romantic details that gave a nod to the show. They had a playful and perfect day, and also had the perfect venue: The Doctor's House in Kleinburg ;)
Join me on the adventure of re-living this great day..
Bow ties - YES! 
Julia & Al had written letters to each other, and asked me if they could read them as part of their First Look.. it made for a very touching and sweet start to their time together on their big day :)
Did I mention they had a life-sized TARDIS? Because they did, and it was fantastic!

 All of the romance of the day was balanced nicely by the couple's sense of humour ;)
 Kissing under a portrait of Queen Victoria.. who may or may not be a werewolf ;)

The big picture windows at the back of The Doctor's House were a beautiful backdrop for photos :)

 And then we moved upstairs for the ceremony - the fire added a lovely touch to the cozy atmosphere!

{I love this epic first kiss shot! Thanks Julia for suggesting it :D} 
Julia & Al signed the registry using this sonic screwdriver pen, and guests were assigned a key to walk through the TARDIS into the reception hall :) The sunflower centerpieces were a nod to the "VanGogh" episode (which was a fantastic one and brought tears to my eyes!), and check out that awesome cake-topper!
Making a grand entrance through the TARDIS, and then lots of fun with the traditional Hora and Greek dancing to honour both of their family backgrounds
It's much bigger inside than it looks from the outside ;)

 A special treat: Al's brother Christopher really got the party started with his awesome djembe skills!
 Bridal Party TARDIS photobooth!

 A few last shots of the happy couple at the end of their very happy day :)
Julia & Al: you guys are great and your wedding day was magic :) May your futures be a romantic adventure through time and space together!
Jessica + Norman

Maureen & Matthew's Winter Engagement Session at the Distillery District :)

Maureen & Matthew are one of those couples who almost seem to have a language of their own.. they don't exactly read each others minds - but it's pretty close ;) To spend time around the two of them isn't to feel left out of this close circle though, it's actually the opposite: they are both so warm and personable that we immediately felt like we were part of their secret gang too :)
There were two things I particularly loved about Maureen & Matthew's engagement session (other than the fantastic locations!) - the first was how cozy and snuggly they were together, and the second was how often they made each other laugh :) Here are some of my favourite images from their session..
One of my favourite places in Toronto this time of year: the Distillery District :) It's hard to beat the atmosphere of all those little lights, especially with a cup of hot chocolate keeping you warm!

Maureen & Matthew: you two are adorable and were such fun to photograph :) We can't wait for your wedding day!!

Jessica + Norman

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Liz & Joe - Romantic Downtown Christmas Engagement Session :)

Liz & Joe are one of the sweetest couples I've ever met :) They wanted a Christmas-y feel to their engagement session, so we headed downtown to be right in the heart of all the evergreen and Christmas light action! Here are some of my favourite images from their cozy winter session..

 We thought that a trip to the poutine truck would be a perfect warm-up..
And then headed over to the skating rink at Nathan Phillips Square, just in time for it to light up like a fairy tale :)
Liz & Joe: we had so much fun with you guys, and couldn't believe how well you endured the chilly weather! We can't wait for your wedding this spring :D
Jessica + Norman

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Super-Smiley Baby Kayla at 18 months :)

Since we last photographed her for her first birthday, little Kayla has acquired lots more teeth and a huge vocabulary! She was up to over 400 words a couple of weeks ago, which means that everything you say gets echoed back, and everything she sees gets proudly announced :) She loves to colour and chase her kitty around for hugs, and by the time we'd left that day had added two other words to her repertoire: "Jessica" and "Norman" :D
She was also pretty awe-struck by the Christmas lights :)
 My new assistant, helping take a picture of Mommy & Daddy :)
 And THIS: Kym spent about a million hours making their Halloween costumes this year - with awesome results! (That's Rainbow Brite and Twink, for those of you who weren't 80's children ;) )
Thanks again Kym & Adam - I can't wait to see what new skills and words Kayla has figured out by the next time we see her! What a super-sweet little girl :D

xo Jessica + Norman