The Other Side of Things

I had a wedding this past weekend. Not the usual photography gig. Nope, this time, I was on bridesmaid duty.

While I was honoured to stand up for a cherished friend as she wed the love of her life, I confess I was also excited to do a little behind-the-scenes research. I believe we never stop learning and the chance to observe another photographer in action while being in the action doesn’t happen very often.

While we smiled for the camera, I was busy taking mental notes. It was a combination of, “Okay, that’s a great tip, I’ll try that next time” and a reassuring “Cool, that’s just what I do!” Here’s what stood out for me:

Effective posing. “It may feel awkward, but it won’t look awkward.” This is so true. Even if you’re against ‘posed’ photos you still want to look good in your photos. Leaning-toward-the-camera-with-your-chin-raised-slightly-while-putting-your-weight-on-your-back-foot-and-your-front-foot-pointed-slightly-forward may feel acrobatic, but when you see the end result you’ll thank your photographer for your elongated neck and more relaxed stance.

(Case in point: I’ve been griping about my double chin lately and in the photo above, Voilà! No double chin.)

Give direction. Being in the wedding, you’re so wrapped up in the emotion of the day, that your photographer should be specific when setting up group shots (assuming you’ve asked for them). Is it time for a formal shot or a fun shot? Some members will be more than willing to improvise and let their personalities shine through, but I’ve found that most people like at least some direction. At this point in the wedding day the bridal party is thinking about just one thing: how quickly they can get to the reception.

Communication. It goes without saying that the lines of communication had better be wide open throughout the day. Even the best laid plans can go awry due to any number of factors. You and your photographer should have already discussed how you’re going to handle Plan B.

The verdict. Give me my camera any day – I prefer you in front of my lens. Hurray for wedding season!

Damn you, Instagram

Because of you, I don’t blog anymore.

@shessnaphappy Instagram

Well, that’s only partially true. There are other factors at hand. Like the fact that I haven’t ever regularly blogged. And the fact that I’ve always been more for pictures than words. And this little big thing called maternity leave. And, and, and.

Truth be told, Instagram is the perfect solution for this busy mama with a camera. Sharing instant one-liner photographic updates with a liked-minded community is the bees knees to me.

This nifty little app also has me thinking about photography in a whole new way. I’m constantly looking for a different take on the seemingly mundane things in life, and it also gives me the perfect forum to document the blissfully chaotic world around me.

Life Is Simple

So while there’s no replacing the real deal (I still have a pretty strong obsession with my 5D), I’m okay with the dust collection around here. For the time being.

In the meantime, let’s be pals on Instagram. Come say hello @shessnaphappy.

Knowing Our Limits

For the first time in my photography business, I’ve had to turn down two portrait sessions in a row.

I don’t share this to complain about being busy – we’ve all heard that discussion before and I don’t want to go there. Instead, I share it from the perspective of acknowledging my limits and understanding when to draw the line – if only to preserve my sanity. (And I keep telling myself it’s a good problem to have.)

I knew the holidays would be a busy time for family portraits – for obvious reasons – but I was somewhat unprepared for the influx of requests in November.

And as someone who strives to please everyone, it pains me to have to turn people away. I mean, aren’t we entrepreneurial types supposed to work like dogs to prove our worth? Possibly… but in my case, I’m smart enough to remember my priorities in that I have a truly great 8 to 5 as well.

Happily, I was able to say “yes” to these angels:

Little Renee has the best head of hair I’ve ever seen on a 10 month old.

I’ve been photographing Alivia since she was in her mama’s tummy:

And quite possibly – no, definitely – Nicholas is the smiliest little man I’ve ever met:

I’m blessed that these families have invited me into their lives to capture such a special moment in time. And if it required a couple of “no’s” to make it happen, then that’s okay by me.

Photographic Ramblings

So here’s the thing: I peeled the wrap off my shiny new website just over a week ago, complete with the requisite B-L-O-G, and I’ve already failed at my first attempt to establish some form of blogging routine. In writing this, a certain cartoon found last week on JJJJound comes to mind. (Makes me laugh.)

In an attempt to get on track with Blog Posting Number Two, here are some of my photographic ramblings from the past week:

The awesomely-talented Claudia Seabra asked me to shoot her gorgeous collection of custom-designed invitations. Here’s a few of my faves:

Lovely Cards by Claudia Seabra

Watch for Claudia’s shiny new site to be unveiled soon. (Psst, she’s the one who designed my logo.)

And, I can think of no worse place to experience a bad hair day than at a party full of hairstylists on a Saturday night. Despite this, shooting this 50th birthday party last week was a blast.  The guest-of-honour, Richard, was so kind and fun, I told the organizer that I wanted to have him as my friend. A few highlights:

Richard's 50th

As much as I’d love to, I don’t actually carry my full kit around with me everywhere I go. So *gasp* I’m adding a mobile phone pic to my post: a certain upside-down preschooler getting his teeth cleaned at the dentist. Hey, I think it’s pretty cute and it’s a moment I just had to capture.

That’s it for now – until next time, go out and shoot something. You know I will.


let’s do this!

This, my inaugural blog post, is dedicated to my always cheerleading, passionately creative and ever-patient friends who have been listening to me for the past three years say, ‘yeah, I’m working on my new photography website…’ Some of them will recall the drawn-out conversations, the (what I’m sure they thought were) lame excuses and pint-infused brainstorm sessions to find the “perfect” name, when in the end I decided to look to my signature. You know who you are. Cheers to you!

And a super-duper shout out to my awesome clients, past and present. I’m forever grateful to you for letting me into your lives to capture your special moments and milestones.

I clicked the publish button on my new site to have it go live September 13th. Today is a special day.

MHP Home Page

So, as the blog title reads, it’s time to do this. Time to get serious with this passion I have for picture-taking – if for no other reason than it puts a smile on my face and makes my heart happy. They say that to be truly satisfied in life you should find something you do well and you enjoy so much that you’d do it for free. Well, here goes!

Oh wait. One last thing before I go. I’d be remiss if I failed to mention my brilliant friend, Heather, who is a sheer genius with words and managed to describe what I do far better than I could have done myself. *hugs*

Here’s to what comes next!