Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jodie & Jeremy - Engagement Session East Side Style

One of the things I love best about engagement photos is that they can be pretty much anywhere.. it gives the couple a chance to do something fun or casual, or just go to a location that is totally different from their wedding venue. Even though we've lived in the east end of Toronto for over a year and a half now, we haven't really explored any further east than our street. We've been meaning to go check out the bluffs, but just haven't gotten around to it yet. So when Jodie & Jeremy told us they were thinking of doing their engagement photos at the Rosetta McClain Gardens (near the bluffs), we were totally excited to check it out!

And what a fantastic location it was :) So many different background options in a short walking distance, all of them really beautiful.. and hardly anyone else was there! We also managed to dodge the rain in the forecast, and get some really pretty evening light..

we all really loved this gazebo :)

and I thought this was pretty much the perfect tree for an engagement shoot..

Jodie & Jeremy were so much fun to work with - they were both really relaxed and enthusiastic, which made our job a pleasure :) We're really looking forward to photographing their wedding in just over a month!

see you soon!
xo Jessica + Norman

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Norman & Jessica's Destination Wedding + Photography Adventure (Part 4)

(my apologies to my sister and anyone else who was impatiently waiting so long for this next post, but we have been really busy the last few weeks with what those of us in the business call "work" haha..)

Missed the beginning? Here's where it all started: Part 1 - The Proposal, Part 2 - The Wardrobe, Part 3 - The Adventure Begins

And now...

Part 4 - The Ceremony

May 5th, 2011 - the day we got married :)
We woke up at 6am. This (as any of you who know me probably already know) would be painful enough for me in Toronto. But in Belfast, two days after arriving, 6am still felt a lot like 1am. So if we look a bit tired, that's why ;)

Luckily for me, Elaine is a professional make-up consultant and had very kindly offered to do my hair and make-up the morning of the wedding. Unluckily for her, that meant she was also up at 6am.. (nobody was awake enough at this point to operate a camera, so there are no pictures of the getting ready  chaos!) Joe & Elaine organized a lovely and simple breakfast of croissants and OJ which I ate mainly because I had bullied my sister into eating on her wedding day back in February so I thought I'd better follow my own advice!

Ready at last, we piled into the car and headed to Belfast City Center, picking up Norman's best friend Ian (and our photographer for the day) on our way. We parked close to the City Hall at Norman's cousin Keith's place of business, and Keith was good enough to give the five of us a lift to the front gates of City Hall (after teasing me about trying to get into the driver's seat - I was half awake and still not adjusted yet to the fact that they drive on the opposite side of the road haha..)

The funny thing is, even after almost 10 years of shooting other people's weddings, I still had the nervous butterfly stomach heading to our own.. I sort of loved that :)

Speaking of shooting other people's weddings, I would like to take a moment to appreciate what Ian did for us. I've shot photographers' weddings before, and it's about 5 times the pressure of shooting anyone else's. And Ian, although he has been photographing for many years, does not normally photograph weddings. So I know what a huge favour we were asking of him by handing him the camera for our special day, and I think he did such a fantastic job :)

Anyways, here we are: the incredibly impressive Belfast City Hall..

Norman and Joe waiting in the Wedding Chamber - I must say, they look pretty relaxed about the whole thing.. (at this point, I was down the hall with Elaine in the ladies room getting into my dress. Even though Norman had already seen me in the dress when we first found it at Cabaret, the girly part of me didn't want him to see me in it on this day until I was walking down the aisle)

I'm so glad Ian got a shot of this fantastic map they had out in the hall - the "Chart of Betrothal Bay" shows such important landmarks as "Introduction Cliffs" and "Big Brother Isle" on the "Male Route to Churchdoor".. they also have a spot marked "Kissmequick" ;)


from here on in, the next bit was a bit of a blur...

Elaine helping me put on my grandmother's pearls... When she gave them to me just before we left, my mom told me that my grandfather had brought these back for my grandmother from Paris when he came home after the war. I loved the idea of bringing them back across the same ocean over half a century later to wear for my wedding day :) (I also love that my sister wore them on her wedding day too!)

I walked down the aisle to Blue Rodeo's "Lost Together". My first choice had been Journey, but Norman urged me to reconsider (haha) - in the end, this song was perfect :)

My cheeks hurt from smiling :) especially when I saw Norman wipe a tear from his eye.. 

first kiss :) with many more to follow..

How can you not dance to Billy Joel on your wedding day??

My awesome veil and fascinator are courtesy of Oh Dina! in Toronto (thanks Nicole!)

The four of us, plus Norman's cousin Cathy who surprised us by coming to the ceremony (Norman's mummy and Cathy's mummy were in the hospital at the same time to give birth to the two of them, so they are practically twins ;)  )

We went back to the stunning lobby to take some photos - we were the only wedding that day so we didn't have to worry about rushing, which was so nice..

I think this last image is my favourite :)

On Cathy's recommendation, we then went to the most fantastic restaurant I've ever seen - which I will show you in the next post! I promise it won't take as long as this one did ;)

xoxo Jessica & Norman

Photography: Ian Ritchie (a HUGE thank you to Ian!)
Dress: Cabaret Vintage, Toronto
Veil & Fascinator: Oh Dina!, Toronto
Shoes: Response Clothing, Toronto

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Girls' Night Out

Not too long ago, I received an email from my friend Carolyn's boyfriend John. It was an invitation, sent to seven of Carolyn's closest friends, to spend an evening celebrating Carolyn's upcoming 40th birthday party. John's idea was to have a limo pick us all up in front of the Royal York, drive us to Niagara on the Lake to enjoy dinner overlooking a vineyard, and then bring us back to the Royal York for a drink at the Library Bar. His treat. I read it a couple of times before it sank in that this was real, and then quickly checked my calendar to make sure I was available.

I decided to bring my camera with me because even though I have a million pictures of other people having fun with their friends and family, it never seems to occur to me to take pictures when it's my fun and friends and family. I'm so glad I did - it ended up being such an amazing evening and I'm happy to be able to share some of my favourite images...

We all met up in front of Union Station around 4:30 on a lovely sunny Saturday. There were some introductions and lots of happy birthday wishes. Apart from Carolyn, I already knew Janine and Laura from working with them years ago (we also shot Janine's wedding in May and her sweet little nephew just last month - I'm almost her personal photographer now ;)  ) but hadn't yet met Stephanie, Mary, or Vicki. Vicki and Carolyn have been friends for pretty much forever, and all the other ladies (including Carolyn) are stylists who work in photo studios making things look awesome for photographers.

John had very kindly made sure to stock the limo with a selection of white wines and champagnes - the only thing we were missing was cups, so we did what any resourceful ladies would have done, and asked the driver to pull over at Party Market..

the Birthday Girl :)

What every 40th birthday party needs - martini glasses with a big sparkly "40" on them..

back to the limo..

these glasses look fantastic, but were a bit to "spilly" in a moving vehicle - thankfully we also had flutes!

the fun is just getting started...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Newborn Cameron - One Week Old

I first met Sarah & Mike (and their cats Chewy and Roy) in 2007, when they were planning their wedding and asked me to be their photographer. From their engagement shoot at High Park, to their beautiful lake-side wedding, to the experience of creating an album of their favourite images, they have been a lovely couple to work with. Norman & I also photographed Sarah's sister Janine and her husband Jon's wedding a few months ago, so by now we sort of feel like part of the family. We were actually at their place for dinner (along with Janine & Jon) the night before Baby Cameron arrived in the world, so when we came to photograph him a week later we felt as if we knew him already :)

And now - without further ado - we would like to introduce you to... Baby Cameron!

Sarah is a super-talented knitter, and she knit this beautiful pennant piece to hang above her Little Man's crib (love the colour combinations!) as well as the matching blanket to go in the crib

Mike - a very proud Papa :)

Cameron kept a close (tiny) eye on us most of the time we were there...

One of the perks of being a knitter is that you know other knitters, and they make you awesome baby things like this little elf hat made by Sarah's friend Jana...not only did she knit the hat, she actually dyed and spun the yarn herself!

The challenge with Baby Cameron is that he didn't seem too happy to be put down anywhere - the best part about that is that we ended up getting loads of really sweet images of him being held close by Mommy and Daddy :)

Even though Cameron is only a week old, we were both touched by how comfortable and natural both Sarah & Mike were with their Little Guy :)

This blanket below was made by a group of Sarah's friends who started a tradition when the first one of them had a baby about a year ago - each friend makes a square, and it's called the "Auntie Blanket" because it was made by all the baby's "Aunties" - I love cozy handmade traditions and I think this is one of the best ones I've ever heard of :)

This blanket (below), along with most of the sweaters below, were made by Sarah's awesome knitting friends from the Knit CafĂ© on Queen West. 

(Sarah told us that Cameron has his Daddy's toes..)

What we found when we peeked in Cameron's closet.. he'll be a cosy baby this winter!

Auntie Janine, finishing off the re-covering of the Hollands' family bassinet - both Sarah & Janine, along with a few cousins, slept in this as babies. Now it's Cameron's turn..

Love this smile :)

Getting sleepy...

We were sure that Mommy, Daddy and Baby all must have slept well after such an exciting afternoon! It was such an honour to be a part of this very special week in their lives, and we look forward to watching their family grow :) 
(P.S. We apologize to Sarah's parents, the proud new Grandparents of Baby Cameron, for hogging the Little Guy while they were visiting - hopefully the pictures make up for it!)

xo Jessica + Norman

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