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

* 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