Friends and family have been patiently awaiting the delivery of Darren + Laura’s little peanut and SHE (surprise!) arrived last night! I’m so excited to share some photographs her parents asked me to make, as their chosen family photographer, in the time leading up to her birth!
In my line of work, I get to share some really special times with some really special people. Maybe at the beginning, they are planning one of the most memorable days of their lives; we meet for tea, create some engagement photographs together, keep in touch between, and then it arrives: the wedding day! There are hugs, laughs, tears, speeches, and honeymoons … and then there’s back to “real life”. The jobs. The adjusting to married life. The dreams of what comes next!
As couples I’ve had the opportunity to photograph over the years start growing their families to include new homes and children, I’ve had my own little dream growing – a dream that Darren + Laura were on board with and were gracious to be my guinea pigs with!
My dream is to photograph families in a way that shows who and where they are in this moment; I want to be help people document their “right nows” so that years down the road, when Darren + Laura’s little daughter has long since left her parents and started her own life, they can all look back together and share these little things, these memories that are a part of who they have become. It’s not about having everything be polished to perfection and ready for a magazine, but about celebrating real life and being honest instead. It’s the crazy (amazing!) retro wallpaper in the entranceway they may laugh about later, the parents’ wedding pictures displayed in the living room that gave the now-grown child an extra sense of family security and love when she was small, the big fireplace that warmed the family up after long winter plays at the park up the road, and the rooms that were painted with love and care and help from grandparents, excited to be sharing in the stories and victories of their children and future grandchildren.
It’s these little things that make up a family’s history; these little things that no one photograph can tell the full story of, or any family session in the park alone can give sight into, but something that I might be able to document even just a little bit of, for families to hold on to through the years.
Darren + Laura, thank you for sharing these special life moments, for believing in this dream, for trusting my vision, and for opening your home to me. May you and your daughter look back on these images one day and be reminded of the excitement of waiting for your firstborn, and of the love, warmth, and joy that filled your home in anticipation of her joining you there. I can’t wait to meet your new little lady, witness your journey into parenthood, and continue this story for you and your family. XO
Today I’m happy to share the engagement session of a very special couple – Loukia & Roy!
For Loukia & Roy’s session, we decided to celebrate all the special little moments in their relationship so far by visiting some of their favourite places to spend time together – specifically Bastion Square and the beach along Dallas Road.
Loukia says “As hard as it is to believe we’ve been together for almost 8 years now! When we first met we lived just a few blocks from each other. My sister introduced us when she invited her friends over (who brought Roy) to join us for a night out. From then on we spent lots time together and quickly became good friends, enjoying strolls along Dallas Road and cooking tasty meals for each other. I guess you can say we won each other over with food and cuddles!
On June 21st 2008 Roy took me out for one of our favourite weekly dates at Azuma Sushi, then for a stroll through Bastion Square to listen to some live music while we shared a delicious Cascadia brownie (one of my favourites!). We then headed out to Dallas Road to watch the sunset, and by this point I could sense something was up! Roy seemed really nervous – it gave me butterflies! He took me out to a beautiful lookout point, pulled a sparkly ring from his pocket, got down on one knee and popped the question! I was caught by surprise and accepted with a YES, YES, YES!!! A perfect evening with a perfect ending…or should I say beginning! We can’t wait to make it official!”
One of the sweetest things about Loukia & Roy is their obvious affection for each other! To start their session, we met at The Irish Times Pub, where I found them sharing a single beer and writing love notes for each other that they would later share when we reached the beach! So adorable, and it made for a great new memory at a place that already had special meaning for them!
Plus, Loukia had prepared a wonderful little picnic for the beach, complete with mini Ooh La La Cupcakes (yum!), San Pellegrino Limonata, and a familiar face – their dog, Ozzie!
I’m so excited to see Loukia & Roy start their married life together tomorrow and celebrate their Greek and Irish heritage! It’s going to be so, so beautiful! Can’t wait!
Mini Cupcakes | Ooh La La Cupcakes
Hair | Studio L Hair Design and Aesthetics
Makeup | Hollie, Makeup Artist
Heart-melting! Love this one!
Eskimo Love Song – Wedding Vows
You are my husband (wife)
My feet shall run because of you
My feet shall dance because of you
My heart shall beat because of you
My eyes see because of you
My mind thinks because of you
And I shall love because of you.
There’s something so beautiful about traditional wedding vows. But, when a couple chooses to write their own vows or include
something a bit more untraditional, I swoon.
The Eskimo wedding vows Emily & Thomas shared with each other were some of the most beautiful I’ve heard a couple exchange.
Not to ruin your dinner with dessert, but here’s a hint about a little announcement in today’s vlog – the LAST vlog of the 30 Day Vlog Challenge!
Today’s vlog talks briefly about some things to consider when planning a session to include your adorable fur baby! But first, let me introduce you to my newest little fluffy friend, Ozzie!
Today I had the loveliest time outside at the beach photographing Loukia & Roy (and their little fur baby)! I could tell straight away that Loukia & Roy are best friends in every way and have been looking forward to photographing them together ever sine we first met! Excited for your upcoming wedding (and to share more of these images)! XO
And on to today’s vlog post about second shooters!
Let’s start today’s post off with a little love in the garden shall we? Rebecca & Chris – you two are so much fun and I had a great time getting to know you both better today and photographing your beautiful love! Thank you for choosing me to be your photographer! XO
And now for vlog #27!!! Enjoy!
Oh, photography conferences!!! Today I returned home from the first annual Canada Photo Convention (which I’m pretty sure should be renamed “WPPI, You’re Amazing, but CPC is the BEST Photo Convention of ALL TIME!”) and I’m on such a creative high right now. I love what I do and feel completely refreshed (even while running on a complete lack of sleep from go-go-go scheduling and staying up late talking with newfound photographer friends) from witnessing so many talented, talented photographers share their hearts and photography with the attendees.
On the ferry ride home I felt like I was seeing moments and details in a completely different light and cannot explain the gratitude and overwhelming wonder I have for the abundance of JOY in my life right now. Talk about a great way to head into a weekend of engagement sessions, eh?!
HUGE thank you goes to Jasser Abu-Giemi, a rocking photographer from Edmonton, AB, for planning EVERYTHING and making this conference happen! Just barely 24 hours out from the last presentation of the 2012 conference, and I’ve already purchased my ticket for the 2013 conference! See you there!!!
Thank you also to each of the inspirational speakers who were so wonderful, so humble, so approachable, and so giving of their time and knowledge. I’m thrilled that I can take with me a little bit of each of you from every slideshow that struck my heart chords and brought me to tears, or mini-conversation shared between classes, or page of notes scribbled just trying to keep up with your brilliance! Thank you for SHOWING UP BIGTIME!!!
And thank you to a special guest for today’s vlog post! (and the lovely Kelsey Goodwin for her filming and directing!)
In case I didn’t explain it clearly enough in today’s vlog (it would seem clarity sometimes escapes me when filming at 2AM!), Tim King, an event and travel photographer based out of San Diego, travelled up to Vancouver, BC for the convention. Tim also happens to be the kick-starter behind the 30 Day Vlog Challenge! Awesome timing for the challenge and the conference to overlap, right? With only 30 bloggers taking part in the 30 day blogging community worldwide, I thought I’d take advantage of the chance opportunity to ask Tim in person how his crazy idea for vlogging 30 days consecutively came about! Thanks for participating in this post, Tim!
Heather and Grant – you could not be any more lovely together. I like you two. A lot!
Today’s vlog (see below) is about taking a mini-vacation from your brain and focusing on your heart—like these two did recently!
Remember that one time some photographer went almost a full day before realizing there was no video lined up for vlog #21? Ya…
So, because I’ve told myself NO MORE WORK tonight, I’m giving you special folks a repeat performance of my entry video to win a seat to a photography workshop in Seattle back in January. I wasn’t chosen to attend, but I did tune in to their online broadcast and loved learning via the Interwebs! Such a cool thing to have workshops available over the internet! Plus, I had a lot of fun with my lovely sister and videographer extraordinaire, Rachel, coming up with the content for this video! Thanks for the help lady! xo
Ahhhhh, some days I just have to pinch myself! I LOVE what I do and today I feel like I’ve been hit with an especially large dose of gratefulness for having so many people who believe in me and allow me keep on dreaming.
Meet Dustin & Kristina – excited to share more of these two soon! Goodness, they are waaaay too adorable together!
It’s been just over a month since my new website launched and the Hunger Games Styled Shoot I organized was featured on The Wedding Chicks; such an exciting time with lots of appreciation for the shoot and its inspiration coming in – even now!
My sister and photography assistant Rachel took a little video on her iPhone 3GS on the day of the shoot, but because we kept everything so private leading up to the reveal on The Wedding Chicks blog, I kind of forgot altogether that she had taken that video for us! So, today’s vlog will give you a little look into our mucky location and how a styled shoot looks…before the photos are released to the world! Keep in mind the difference in wardrobe from our talented professionals to our lovely models – from coats and scarves and boots to a wedding dress! Jill, thank you for braving this shoot for us! xo
Also, looking back on our shoot, I’m thrilled with how everything came together and cannot thank everyone involved enough – I was totally blessed to photograph the talents of such an amazing team! I think the one thing I would have changed now though is that I would have considered contacting a professional videographer to document the shoot for us; it’s nice to have a different sort of visual record – especially with anything “Behind the Scenes”. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for next time!
Photography Assistant, Moral Support, and BIG TIME Cheerleader: Rachel Broughton
Floral Design: Erica Smolders of Rook & Rose Floral Design Boutique
Table & Food Styling: Erica Smolders & Ellie Chapple of Rook & Rose Floral Design Boutique
Makeup Artist: Lindsay Archdekin
Hair Stylist: Danielle Bennett
Model (Katniss): Jill McQuary
Model (Prim): Grace with Coultish Management
Stationery Design: Joann Lee of TingTing Paperie
Furniture Sourcing: Leanne McKeachie Design
Cake: Ooh La La Cupcakes
Bridal Gowns: Blush Bridal Boutique
Bridal Gown Designer: Pronovias
Stylist: Khloe Campbell
Stylist Assistant: Whitney Buczkowski
Also, in other Hunger Games Styled Shoot related news – check out this interview on Bella Sugar with our amazing hair stylist, Danielle Bennett, on her inspiration for the Katniss looks. And don’t forget to stop by the Ooh La La Cupcakes location at 1391 Hillside Avenue to view the special little display they have up with the cake and images from the shoot! When you do, their Red Velvet cupcakes are a MUST TRY!!! They are so, so good! Enjoy!
I know I’ve blogged about Guestbook Albums before, but they really are incredible…so I’m vlogging about them today. These sample albums come with me to every meeting with couples interested in having me photograph their weddings and are a huge hit! I seriously wish I had one, but you’ll hear about that in today’s video!
Again, a BIG Thank You to readers who signed the petition to Save Communications in BC. It’s so important this message continues to be heard by Government and Camosun College alike! Please consider doing this if you have a moment!
And now, the video!
Before you read any further…GO SIGN THIS PETITION PLEASE!!! Everything is explained below, but I want to make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to help out by signing the petition. It will take you less than 2 minutes I PROMISE!
You might remember me sharing a post last year about visiting Camosun College as a seminar speaker for the Applied Communication Program – the same program I graduated from only two years previous! Well, sadly it was just recently announced that this program will no longer continue after the current first year class graduates in April 2013 because of some very unfortunate budgets being cut by the BC Government to Camosun College.
This news has been disheartening to alumni and current students and faculty alike. If you live in Victoria BC, chances are extremely high that you know someone who graduated from this program; we are everywhere! We’re in radio stations, TV newsrooms, government positions, design firms, communications offices, and so many other places (including running our own successful businesses!) that it’s completely hard to believe this program would ever be discontinued!
So today I found myself back on campus with one of my fellow alumni, the wonderful Jennifer Lancaster, and we occupied Village Now, the on-campus radio station that has been hit especially hard with the program’s cancellation, but a notice to immediately close the radio station’s online broadcasting. Meaning the current students, who will be finishing their last year of the program this upcoming fall may not receive the practical education of what it’s like to work in a radio station similar to what they would find in the working world.
During my time at the Applied Communciation Program, I interned at Village Now (which back then was called Village 900) for the summer (the same summer I married John actually!) and it was one of the highlights of the program for me.
A new digital media communications program has been proposed to Camosun College but there is no confirmation of its acceptance yet. I can’t stress enough how important it is for Victoria to continue with some sort of hands on media training.
So PLEASE if you have a moment, go sign the PETITION. Want some more information on this situation? Check out these links:
Thank you to Earle Thompson for this photo of Jennifer and I at the station today during our shift! Happy squinty eyes!!!
Thank you Jennifer for co-hosting with me, and for filming today’s vlog and sending it over in time for me to make today’s vlog challenge deadline!
…what would I be instead?
The video is just a quick little intro to something I’ll be diving into more with tomorrow’s post, so give the video a play and check out the audio track at the bottom of the post! The audio is an interview I did as part of my education at Camosun College’s Applied Communication Program and features the man responsible for bringing murals to the little Vancouver Island town of Chemainus! PS…I was still going by my maiden name back then – hence the Courtney Broughton sign off!
Enjoy and come back for a visit tomorrow – exciting news about where I’ll be tomorrow from 12-2pm!
Some helpful tips for planning your family photo time at your wedding!
Follow these tips and things will run extra smoothly for you with your wedding day schedule! You’ll be laughing like these two!
I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend and had a chance to spend time with family and friends!
The vlog continues on, so you can find today’s video at the bottom of this post; I want you to see Jamie & Andrew’s wedding first!
Right from first contact, Jamie was a sweetheart to connect with and I’m thankful I got to share in her wedding day by photographing all the lovely moments! If you saw Jamie & Andrew’s Victoria engagement session post from last year, you might remember that they chose to share their first kiss with each other on their wedding day in front of their friends and family! Kind of a big deal and definitely not something I wanted to miss in their wedding day imagery!
So, my photography assistant extraordinaire (and lovely sister!) Rachel and I packed up my tracker and made the looong trip up to Port Hardy! On the drive up, there was a lot of giggles, singing along to the radio, and excitement for the wedding up ahead!
Jamie’s something borrowed (bracelet), something new (hairpiece), and something blue (cross that was pinned inside her wedding dress).While Jamie was getting ready, the guys were getting suited up! The “Husband” cufflinks were Jamie’s wedding gift to Andrew.
The moment everyone was waiting for!!!Jamie & Andrew chose to have guests sign one of their engagement session images as a guestbook!Aw, sisters who laugh together!Jamie’s dress was completely stunning! She contacted the very talented Lily Kennedy, of Lily Kennedy Custom Gowns, to design and create her unique and intricate wedding dress; so lovely and so perfect for Jamie!As the afternoon reception was winding down, we found these incredible plants (I believe they are called Elephant Ears?!) and the light evened out a bit to create these fresh green images.
Thank you Jamie & Andrew for choosing me to be your photographer! And thank you to Rachel for sharing the adventure of driving allllllllllll
the way up to Port Hardy with me and being an awesome assistant!
ceremony & reception venues | Private Properties in Port Hardy
dress | Lily Kennedy Custom Gowns: Website // Facebook Page
You’ve made it to the bottom of the post! Today’s vlog addresses a concern that comes up from time-to-time about wedding details and how a wedding will look on camera.
Today I’m out celebrating the Good News that it’s Easter Sunday, but I won’t let that take me out of the 30 Day Challenge; miss one day and I’m outta there! So here’s my video today and Vlog post #9!
Thanks to Carolyn & Scott (and other wonderful couples) for trusting me to take the best images for you! xoxo
With the cost of investment of photography equipment, it’s pretty important to protect your gear when you’re out enjoying it! Here’s a quick look into how I keep my photography gear safe while I’m on the job!
The Kelly Moore JuJu bag can be found here and the the Shootsac can be found here.
Today is Good Friday, so for those who celebrate Easter as the death and resurrection of Jesus as I do, I’d love to point you to my friend Laura’s blog. She posted a collage today of some sky writing that was done in Sydney, Australia for Good Friday. ✝ = ♥
I’ve noticed that some bloggers are incredibly consistent at featuring weekly “Favourite Things Friday” posts; given that it’s Friday today, I thought I’d give it a go with a product I have fallen completely in love with! So here it is, Vlog #6 (almost one week in!).
You can visit Clear Skin Victoria at #1-1015 Cook Street; I had never been in before picking up my bkr and loved their bright, cozy office with lovely stained glass windows and very friendly staff. I’m certain I’ll be back! They are open tomorrow (Saturday) from 10am-4pm but will be closed for Easter Monday.
To learn more about the bkr team (and to find locations outside of Victoria, BC that offer this product), visit the bkr website or the bkr Facebook page.
Here’s my happy little bkr family; julep for me and grey for John!
If you haven’t yet heard of Pinterest, you are missing out! I first joined this online community just over a year ago and have found so much inspiration browsing the “pins” other users share. Here’s today’s vlog post, a little look into what the idea behind Pinterest is!
Already on Pinterest? Let’s connect! I can be found riiiiiight here: www.pinterest.com/courtneyclarke
(and I write this FULLY aware that it’s a super basic intro post – I know some of you are seasoned professional Pinterest pinners by now!)
A friend of mine created the artwork pictured below as a gift for me after noticing I had repinned this pin onto my “DIY” board. So sweet!
Oh my goodness: PHOTOBOOTHS!!! I LOVE them! A photographer friend I admire recently referred to me as a “photo booth master” when recommending my photobooth services and it totally made me light up!
I think what I love so much about offering Photobooth services is the permission it gives guests to be silly, to play, and to reveal things about themselves that they might usually hide with a “camera smile” when in front of a stranger’s camera.
It’s an opportunity to forget about perfection and simply just have fun – you know, laugh “the ugly laugh” and maybe even snort out loud when you see the fabulous costume get-up your friends decorate themselves with! And really, shouldn’t all wedding guests have this kind of fun on days where the whole purpose is to celebrate and be joyful for the exciting commitment their friend/family has made?!
Yes, this is what I love about Photobooths.
So, for today’s Vlog, I have 5 tips to help you set the groundwork so your wedding/event Photobooth will the best thing EVER! PS…guess who figured out how to film the RIGHT way, and not mirrored?!
Now for some of the Photobooth images from Darcy & Jordan’s wedding! Darcy & Jordan had already chosen their photographer, Curtis Pelletier, to photograph their beautiful spring wedding, but decided they wanted a Photobooth as well! So, Curtis connected us and I had a great time photographing guests while Curtis went out with the wedding party and created some gorgeous images for them on the property. Thank you for connecting us, Curtis!
Usually I bring a backdrop for Photobooth set-up, but with the wedding and reception taking place at the gorgeous Church & State Wines here in Brentwood Bay, we were able to simply use the beauty of their wall of wine as a stunning backdrop!
Darcy was SO into the Photobooth – love her expressions!!!This little guy embodies everything I love about Photobooth! I’ve never seen anyone enjoy cheerleading pompoms so much!Updated family portrait, anyone?!
To book Photobooth Services for your wedding or event, please connect with me here!
Today is Day 3 of the 30 Day Vlog Challenge, but you can find today’s video at the very bottom of this post. Let’s see if you can guess, without checking the video first, what tip I’m hoping you might take with you from this session! Good luck!
Oh, Lindsay & Mark – such an incredible couple! To say I simply like these two would be an understatement!
These newlyweds just celebrated six months of marriage this past month and I couldn’t be happier for them. Lindsay is an amazing woman, so kind, positive, and genuine, and Mark, a complete gentleman, absolutely adores and celebrates her; it’s no secret that he even had a star named after her while they were dating!
Right from our first tea date Lindsay had me in complete “Awwwww” mode as she told me the story of how she and Mark came to be a couple! What started with a good friendship and many group hangouts playing Risk eventually arrived at a point in time when Mark felt it was time to tell Lindsay his true feelings for her. Concerned about the idea of jumping into a relationship and possibly ruining a good friendship, Lindsay took a step back for a little bit. It was during this time that the thought came to her: What if I could be missing out on something really good with Mark? And I’m SO excited to tell you that what Mark & Lindsay have found with each other is truly wonderful! Stories like these give me tingles and witnessing the love between these two always make me gush about how incredible they both are.
On Lindsay & Mark’s nine-month dating anniversary, Mark planned an extra special date for Lindsay; they went for dinner, followed by skating, followed by a horse-drawn carriage ride, followed by a cozy evening curled up reading the last book in The Hunger Games trilogy. You see, these two had read these books, right from the first one, out loud to each other! Ummm, adorable?! Absolutely!
When Mark was planning out the proposal, he purchased a second copy of the book, estimated approximately where he thought they’d be with their reading on their nine month anniversary, glued the last few chapters of pages together, cut out a compartment in the pages for Lindsay’s stunning engagement ring to sit in, and placed a bookmark “just so” so that later on, when he would ask Lindsay to bring the book over for reading, she would discover the ring at just the right time!!! Such a creative proposal (and actually the story that inspired me to start reading the Hunger Games series)! Needless to say, Lindsay was ecstatic, said “Yes!” and now they have begun a beautiful adventure together as a married couple!
Lindsay is also a talented make-up artist; she created her lovely look for this session, as well as both looks for the Hunger Games inspired Bridal Shoot and Fashion Shoot posted here recently (how could she NOT be included in these shoots after that amazing proposal?)! Lindsay can often be found at MAC at the Mayfair Shopping Centre, where she works! If you have any make-up needs, please go find her at MAC and have her work with you to find the right make-up for you! You’d be doing yourself a huge favour! Lindsay is incredible at what she does and I always love my visits with her at MAC!
I will be sharing their wedding images at the beautiful Overbury Resort on Thetis Island soon, but for now please enjoy this sunny engagement session we had together last year! I can’t wait to see more of this sun soon!
This is how Lindsay found the ring when Mark proposed! Love it (and her ring – gorgeous)!Lindsay & Mark are sweethearts; when I asked if they’d each be up for writing a little lovenote to share with each other at the session, they agreed and I’m so glad they did! This next series of images includes their reactions to hearing the words written for them by their love.
And now for today’s Vlog portion of the blog! Have you guessed what I’ll be talking about?
Verônica must be one of the sweetest women I know! I’m so thankful we had the chance to connect leading up to her wedding last year and I’m proud to say she’s been the hair stylist I’ve gone to ever since at Cabello Salon; coming from a serial hair stylist hopper, I can say it has been so nice to have a consistent person to chat with and trust with any changes I decide to subject my locks to!
Not only is Verônica such a sweetheart, but if you ever see her and her husband Bruno together, your heart just might melt; they complement each other so well and I don’t think either of them could have found better partners…they both won big when they found each other! This was my first time photographing a Portuguese wedding and it was SO much fun! Definitely a lively spirited and joyful community – I’ve now added “Visit Portugal and experience the culture firsthand!” to my Bucket List.
You can read Verônica & Bruno’s beautiful love story and see some of their engagement images here, scroll through their wedding images below, and check out the video to see what they were included in today’s Vlog post (#2 for those who are counting!). (and yes, I know I look a little bit red like a lobster in this video…weird lighting!)
Verônica & Bruno’s wedding day started off at Cabello Salon, where Verônica can often be found styling hair like none other!This is Verônica’s beautiful mother, Fatima! Her love story with Verônica’s father, John, has so many parallels to Verônica & Bruno’s story – right down to the Canadian – Portuguese long-distance relationship part (see engagement post the details!).Hair for the bridal party was provided by the super talented team of ladies at Cabello Salon; I can’t say enough good things about their talents! Jessica, the owner is pictured on the right side! Say “Hi” to her for me when you drop by next!Raquel Loglisci was on-site perfecting make-up and bringing out the beauty of the bridal party ladies!
This brooch was Verônica’s “Something Old”, “Something Borrowed”, AND her “Something Blue” – her Mom wore this same brooch on her wedding day! I love it when personal details are included on wedding days!You can see the impact all that gorgeous window light I mentioned in today’s video has, right?!After the ceremony, two white doves were released!This little guy made me laugh – such a cutie!Verônica & her Dad had one of the most emotional father-daughter dances I’ve had the honour of photographing.By the end of the evening, these beautiful flower girls were covered in chocolate, dresses tattered, and shoes missing, but I’m fairly certain they had the most fun of anyone!
Thank you to Tamara Poppitt for second shooting with me to create the perfect Wedding Collection for Verônica & Bruno!
hair | Verônica styled her own hair and the ladies at Cabello Salon styled the rest of the bridal party
makeup | Raquel, Make Up By Raquel
florist | Kenmar Flower Farm
ceremony venue | Our Lady of Fatima Parish
reception venue | Royal Colwood Golf Club
cake | Lighthouse Bakery (Passionfruit Flavour was amazing!)
dress | Blush Bridal Boutique
Today marks the start of a personal challenge to not only BLOG for 30 days, but to VLOG (aka: video blog) for 30 days! If you’d like to learn more about this challenge and view the videos of other participants, visit The 30 Day Vlog Challenge website!
If you are viewing this post (or any of the next 29 posts!) on a mobile device, you can access the video directly on your mobile by installing the free Vimeo app.
And, I PROMISE I will be working at reducing my use of “Ummm” as a filler word!
When I was younger, my parents used to have a wall clock hanging in their bedroom that had an image of a ballerina in motion and the quote: If you can dream it, you can achieve it. I’m thrilled that 2012 so far has been a year of dreaming and pushing myself to dream even bigger. I haven’t completed a “101 things to do in 1001 days” list like I’ve seen on so many other photographers blogs, but I know that the past three months of this new year have definitely helped me reach some unwritten goals and dreams with my photography.
Last night I had the chance to watch The Hunger Games – the first movie to go along with the book series. And I loved it! For a book adaptation, I thought they did a pretty great job. It’s incredible seeing a world you’ve created in your own imagination come to life, and I might have let out a few squeals of excitement in the theatre! The biggest difference between my imagination’s version and the movie’s version was just the people of the Capitol; I think I pictured them more like Lady Gaga and less “flowery” – you might understand what I mean if you watch the movie!
As promised, today I am sharing Part Two of The Hunger Games inspired shoot on the blog – the portion of the shoot that was inspired entirely by the character of Katniss, The Girl Who Was on Fire! I’m also excited to announce that my very sweet friend Leslie Kerrigan, creator of Seniorologie (an inspirational blog for senior photography) is featuring the images on her blog today also! Now when I say “senior photography” I’m not talking about photography for the elderly – I’m talking about photography for high school seniors, or Grads as we call them in Canada! This is a really big genre of photography in the States and an area I’ve also been dreaming about growing with in my own photography, so it’s a big honour to be featured on Leslie’s site! Jill, our “Katniss” was actually one of the first grads I ever photographed and I was thrilled when she agreed to model for this shoot! You just never know when I may call up photo subjects from the past for special projects like this one!
Apart from this text, my blog post here is images only (with a few extra images for my blog readers that you won’t find on the Seniorologie post!), but please check out the Seniorologie post for my interview all about the shoot, what amazing professionals contributed their talents, how the concept started, the inspiration board for creating this look, and what it’s like shooting in your own backyard with a smoke machine!
Thank you again to the amazing team of women who collaborated on this shoot; each of you are so incredibly talented and I’m blessed to be able to celebrate this shoot with you! XOXO
Assistant Stylist & Dress Designer: Whitney Buczkowksi (Whitney designed & created the red dress from scratch and then she and Khloe completed the look on the day of the shoot! So much talent!)
You might remember back in this post I mentioned that The Hunger Games wedding inspired shoot that has been showing up all over the internet was actually one half of a TWO part Hunger Games inspired shoot. If it sparked your curiosity and you’re wondering what the other half might be, then here’s a little teaser for you!
A full post (and another feature!) will be available for viewing tomorrow, but for now, here’s just one frame to get you excited for The Hunger Games movie release weekend! Who’s excited to see the movie?!
Assisted by Rachel Broughton
Model: Jill McQuary
Make Up by Lindsay Archdekin
Hair Styling by Danielle Bennett
Fashion Styling by Khloe Campbell
Dress Designed and Created by Whitney Buczkowski
Ahhhh the beginning…such a daunting place to start! Where is best to even begin on a post about things so close to my heart? With thanks. The past couple of weeks have been beyond amazing with the encouragement and love shown from so many people towards my work, the new website, and the Hunger Games shoot. I’m so very thankful and grateful for everyone’s sweetness and support! Thank you!
While it’s been a joyful season, it has also been a season of contemplation.
Today marks the first anniversary of the passing of my Dad’s Dad; my Granddaddy. He lived an incredible life, generously sharing his time, faith, handiwork and good humour with others, and left a beautiful impact on so many people. Even with 79 years of life, his time came quickly and unexpectedly, and if you ask anyone who knew him, too soon. It’s still hard to believe he’s no longer here, but there is a great peace knowing he is with our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, it’s been a tough day sorting through photos, remembering, and celebrating the man who was a big part of why I was so proud to be a Broughton before I became a Clarke.
There are many things about Grandaddy that I miss: his deep laugh, his funny sense of humour (and silly faces!), listening to stories about his morning walks or his motorcycle-riding younger days, and hearing my Dad pick up the phone with his usual “Hellloooo Father!” anytime Grandaddy would call.
Sleepovers at Grandma & Grandaddy’s always meant CFAX 1070 while Grandaddy whirred up the machine to grind his morning coffee.
Grandaddy (aka: the dishwasher). Such a gentleman to clean up after Grandma and I when we made Grandma’s famous chutney in 2010.
The image above was actually taken before I’d even launched Courtney Clarke Photography – back in February 2009. I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to have a session with my grandparents. Being able to photograph the people I love most (and the people that others love most in their lives) is an honour and a gift.
It’s days like today, when I’m reflecting on the beauty one person can add to our world that remind me how finite my “todays” are and to choose wisely where I invest my time and love with each one.
During my stay in Vegas last month for the 2012 Wedding & Portrait Photographers International conference, I listened to some super talented photographers speak and though they spoke on different topics, the thought I took from almost every single one was to really make what I do count. Make life count. Don’t let fear have a hold on my dreams. As the following quote goes, “this is your ONE wild and precious life. use it.” Easier said than done, but I’m thankful to have a strong start to 2012 and plan to continue nurturing and honouring this one wild and precious life I’ve been given. What a gift!!!
Thank you to fellow photographer Emily Scott for allowing me to share this page from her notes from Mary Marantz’s Platform Class at WPPI. I LOVE Emily’s clean and beautiful way of recording her notes.
This week has been full of excitement with the launch of the fresh new Courtney Clarke Photography website and blog! Today the excitement continues with an announcement I have so been looking forward to!
Back in September, Lindsay and Mark were married in a beautiful ceremony on Thetis Island. I adore this couple, so when they told me how the Hunger Games book series played a part in their proposal (Mark custom altered a copy of the third Hunger Games book and had Lindsay’s engagement ring hidden inside!!!), I decided I had to start reading the series before their wedding day. And I’m so glad I did! Not only is the book series compelling (read: addicting!), but a dream was born to create a two part styled shoot taking inspiration from the books! And throughout this process, which began in December, I’ve been blessed to meet and connect with some amazing local creatives whose talents absolutely shine in these images. I cannot get over the wealth of talent we have in our area!
I’m beyond ecstatic that The Wedding Chicks (click the link!!!) have chosen to exclusively feature images from the bridal portion of our shoot! Jocey & Amy (the editors) have both read the series, which is actually why I chose to submit this session to their website in the first place! Sure, the images are pretty, but I think it really takes a fellow Hunger Games fan to appreciate all the details from the shoot that are right from the books! Right down to the decision to have our Katniss photographed with her very beloved younger sister Prim, instead of having a groom in the shoot to be our Peeta.
I cannot post the images without a thank you to each of the following AMAZING professionals. When the idea for creating my first styled shoot started out, my vision was so much smaller than what has resulted from creative collaboration. I’ve been completely overwhelmed by each person’s dedication to this dream and cannot thank you enough for the hours of effort you contributed to creating the magic I witnessed on our shoot day! Thank you for choosing to work as a part of a stellar team and for driving this shoot further than I could have ever imagined. XOs to you all. Seriously people, if you have need to hire any of the professionals below, I’d highly recommend it. I’d even suggest you find a need for you to hire them, just so you can experience their talents first hand.
Photography Assistant, Moral Support, and BIG TIME Cheerleader: Rachel Broughton
Floral Design: Erica Smolders of Rook & Rose Floral Design Boutique
Table & Food Styling: Erica Smolders & Ellie Chapple of Rook & Rose Floral Design Boutique
Makeup Artist: Lindsay Archdekin
Hair Stylist: Danielle Bennett
Model (Katniss): Jill McQuary
Model (Prim): Grace with Coultish Management
Stationery Design: Joann Lee of TingTing Paperie
Furniture Sourcing: Leanne McKeachie Design
Cake: Ooh La La Cupcakes
Bridal Gowns: Blush Bridal Boutique
Bridal Gown Designer: Pronovias
Stylist: Khloe Campbell
Stylist Assistant: Whitney Buczkowski
Thank you also to my handsome husband John and my amazing Dadio, who were instrumental to transporting ALL the furniture out to the field. And also a HUGE thanks from everyone involved to my beautiful Mom, who generously donated her time during the day to prepare snacks and food so we could keep our energy up and focused. I love you Mom! Thank you! xo
Thank you also to the owners of the beautiful private property who graciously lent us use of their field; the location was absolutely perfect for what I had envisioned and I’m so grateful to have been allowed to photograph at such a gorgeous and fitting area!
It’s been so, so difficult to keep the details of this shoot on the down-low with talk of Hunger Games popping up all over the place, but I knew it was super important to not just plan this shoot well, but to be the FIRST! The first to get our images out there and to enjoy everyone’s excitement for the novel series through our imagery. I hope you love the shoot as much as we do!
Let me invite you to share in the lovely details leading up to Katniss & Peeta’s wedding (as we imagine it)!
Share this post if you love The Hunger Games and leave a comment if you’re excited
the first Hunger Games movie coming out on March 23, 2012!!!
The past week I’ve been back in action, returning emails and phone calls after spending a week away in Las Vegas for a photography conference! Last year was my first time attending the conference and I learned so much and met some incredible photographers; this year was no different – just a continuation of a completely amazing time away getting inspired and meeting other amazing photographers! It basically feels like summer camp…for photographers!
But aside from the emails and excitement of new wedding inquiries, I’m really excited to announce today is the LAUNCH OF MY NEW SITE AND BLOG!!! I’ve been working away on these two for a while and I’m so thrilled to have finally designed them to a place where I feel ready to release them to you! There might be a few changes as we go along, but I’m SO excited to hear what you think of the new look! I’ve been saving some great announcements and images for the launch, so there should be lots of new content coming your way in the coming weeks!
Greatest thanks to Rachel, John, my Mom & Dad, Darleena, Dave, Tamara, Kathy, Jesse, Jon-Mark, Charissa, Natalie, Abby, Kristi, Brian, Stephanie, Ariel, and Rebecca for some awesome beta testing and constructive feedback! You each helped so much and I appreciate having you as extra eyes during the process! And an especially big thank you to every single beautiful face on the website – your choice to have me photograph your special moments and relationships means the world to me and there would be no new website to speak of without you!
There are many blog posts to be shared ahead, but for now, here’s the view from The Palms, where I spent an evening at a super mod penthouse suite with a group of amazing women photographers from all over the States while in Vegas. City of lights indeed!
Thanks also to Tonhya Kae for the image of me in the new blog header! I LOVE the session John and I had with her this past summer! xo
Today is my little sister Rachel’s birthday! There truly aren’t enough words I could write into this birthday dedication post to give you an idea of what a beautiful person and friend she is to me!
Rachel came on the scene when I was just over three years old and ever since, my little sister has been fireball, tearing past me, challenging herself, excelling at everything she does and encouraging me to get a move on in different aspects of my life and work. It has always been this way.
I remember that after months of begging, she was finally allowed to get her ears pierced on her fifth birthday. Not to be outdone, my eight-year-old self (who hadn’t given any thought to having my ears pierced at all before this time) decided to have my ears pierced immediately following Rachel’s turn. When Rachel was eight or nine, the three-meter diving board became a fun new adventure for her at the pool. My eleven-year-old self, usually the one to avoid diving boards altogether during swim class (yes, even the measly one-meter board), decided it was unacceptable to be shown up by my fearless younger sister and took the plunge off the three-metre board one afternoon…even though it did take me about five minutes of standing at the very tip of the board to finally get up the nerve to jump into the water. In the end, I think the only thing that actually sent me off the diving board was the mantra “If Rachel could do it, so can I!”.
Dearest Rachel. You have shown me braveness. You have shown me perseverance. You ALWAYS make me laugh. I’m so proud of you, Rachel, and I admire so many of the qualities that you have! I’m thankful you’re my sister and friend and I’m grateful for the generous support you give me always. I love you and wish only the best and the brightest for you this year! xoxo
Rachel often comes along to assist me with weddings! I’m blessed to have such a fun companion who is so on top of things! Our post-wedding giggle fits on the drive home are always the nicest way to end each wedding day.
It’s a strange thing to look back at images I’ve taken nearly a year ago. As an artist, a year can mean a lot of growth and change in style, and while I can point out changes between Darren & Laura’s engagement images from last December and images from sessions I’ve had in the last month, my hope is that anyone could point out that their session shows the same focus as my recent work: a focus on the connection the couple has and how they are together! This will always be the most important aspect of my work.
We’re only FIVE sleeps away from Darren & Laura’s December wedding and I can’t wait! As I didn’t have a blog last year, these images haven’t really been shared, but I’m happy to post them here today!
I think I met Laura in 2002; despite being a year apart in school, we met in band class where we both played clarinet. I’ve come to increasingly realize just how small Victoria and even BC is with all the networks I’ve become a part of, but when you’re from the Saanich Peninsula area, it seems the world gets even smaller and Laura and I crossed paths again last summer when I photographed Chris & Angela’s wedding and Darren was a groomsman! Darren & Laura got in touch with me pretty soon after that wedding to be their photographer – I love it when couples choose me as their photographer after finding my photography through friends!
Laura was actually introduced to Darren through Chris (from the wedding mentioned above) in 2006. Their friendship grew quickly and dating soon came after that. Three years later Laura flew off to Greece with a class from her studies at UVic; during this time it became crystal clear to Darren just how big of an impact Laura had on his life, so he got moving! First up was asking Laura’s Dad’s permission to marry her and then came the search for the perfect sapphire engagement ring before she returned home in May! Darren’s proposal took place on the top of Mt. Finlayson and because of a previous joke Darren & Laura shared, Laura thought for sure she was getting a Walmart ring to go along with their joke…until she saw the Michael Hill jewelry bag that Darren pulled her ring box from as he dropped to one knee. As Laura put it on their wedding website:
“Darren ask me to be his wife and I responded with, well not words so much as glee and tears and hugs. Darren says I never actually said yes, however I did throw my arms around him, begin to cry and accept the ring, I think that’s a pretty big yes.”
Laura & Darren – I’m so excited to photograph your “I Dos” this Saturday. Wishing you a forever filled with many more happy “Yeses”.
This is Laura’s gorgeous sapphire ring! Luckily, even as Laura was away in Greece, she was able to offer Darren a folder of inspiration images she had started gathering on her home computer for the type of ring she was hoping for!
Just a day after we had this session together, I had the opportunity to photograph Laura’s family as well and we had so much fun at Island View Beach. I can tell this weekend’s wedding is going to be a party for sure and I’m looking forward to celebrating with these beautiful people again.
What a week it has been – a great one that is! I’m thrilled that December has arrived and this weekend will include putting up the Christmas tree!
This weekend has some fun things in store for me: a Cuban music concert, a couples session for Christmas cards, a Christmas Party complete with the Photobooth set up tomorrow, some time with my hubby and the book I’m currently enjoying/devouring! Can’t wait!
Here’s one frame from Sarah & Jordy’s engagement session. These two are so fun-loving and adorable together and after being rained out at their engagement session for 15 minutes and hiding in their car, we got to enjoy a breathtaking Victoria sunset at the top of Mt. Doug. Definitely worth waiting it out I’d say. Their engagement session was a blast – more to come of these two for sure.
PS…this week I met a personal goal of blogging consecutively from Monday-Friday AND I even managed to put together a little blog for the Victoria Tea Festival about leaping into the world of loose leaf tea as well! If you want to check that post out, you can find it right over thatta way.
Happy December!!! OK, this is one of THOSE cheesy posts about loving life! Consider yourself warned, people.
About a month and a half ago I entered two images from my 2011 wedding season into the Professional BC Wedding Awards, recently referred to as the “WOscars”, or the “Wedding Oscars”. The first awards took place last year, but this year was my first time attending and I so enjoyed it! I talked my husband into attending with me (most dashing date ever!) and was happy to find out kind of last minute that local Victoria photographer friends Jesse Holland and Kelsey Goodwin were also attending!
Not really knowing what to expect of the evening, I was blown away by amazing decor (there was even a red carpet and the most humungous disco ball I’ve ever seen in my life!), the evening’s program, seeing so many familiar faces and friends in the industry, and meeting new friends too! Vancouver’s The Wedding Belles hosted and they did an incredible job keeping the attendees engaged as they opened envelope after envelope revealing the talented wedding professionals who won each award!
I went into the event looking forward to seeing all the talent across the board and catching up with Vancouver friends who I don’t often have the chance to see, which was awesome! Having submitted a couple of images for judging, I was extra excited to see who would win each category. Unfortunately I didn’t leave with an award, but it was great to see all the images that caught the judges’ eyes and did win.
It would have been such an honour to come back to Victoria an award winner, but I’m reminded of just how blessed and fortunate I am in so many other ways. Blessed to have my husband’s company for a quick trip to Vancouver – especially when it came to SkyTrain transportation (I don’t know how you Vancouverites do it! Victoria is definitely more my size of a city and I’m just glad I didn’t have to get around solo!). Blessed to have an amazing sister who has supported me every step of the way in my photography and often accompanies me to weddings and helps keep things running smoothly for me. Blessed by each of the couples I have the opportunity to photograph. For example, just a few hours before the awards, my bride-turned-friend Darleena sent me the sweetest text message, knowing that I had submitted an image from her wedding to the awards:
Good luck tonight!!! Have tons of fun. And no matter what, I think you’re the best photographer!!!
So, you probably think Darleena’s pretty much amazing for sending over some encouragement, right? Wrong – she’s even more awesome than amazing! Just last weekend, as she was working through some of her wedding thank you cards, she also sent me a note including the heart-melting excerpt below:
Courtney, I truly cannot even begin to imagine not having you there on our wedding day!! Words honestly cannot express how much joy it brings me to go through our wedding pictures and to watch our slideshow for the bazillionth time. You are an awesome photographer, and I am really happy that you are now a part of my life!!
Darleena’s note was a perfect reminder going into the awards that while receiving an award would be incredible, when the couples I photograph are in love with their images, and I have all those things I listed above (and more!) to be thankful for, I’m winning. And not in a creepy Charlie Sheen way either (phew, no chance of my face “melting off” as per this awesome Schmoyoho/Charlie Sheen song).
This image of Darleena and her groom Doug is one that I submitted for Best Bride & Groom Together portrait. I’m really looking forward to sharing their intimate Sooke wedding as I get caught up on blogging the 2011 wedding season! I LOVE how Darleena’s dress was so flowy!
The following image was from Nicole & Colin’s wedding and was submitted for Best Bridal Group Photo. This was actually my first ever composite flash image – it’s tricky to explain, but basically for a group this large, it would be impossible to light each face from the same one light source in one take. So, for this image I had my second photographer running around and lighting each pair or individual separately and then I edited the images and pieced them all together in Photoshop afterwards! Nicole is a sweetheart and I’m really thankful we became fast friends over our pre-wedding tea dates. Plus, she’s a great inspiration to get in better shape – she even managed to get me out to spin class with her a few weeks ago! How am I so lucky to have so many incredible brides to photograph and hang out with? Seriously?! So blessed.
These images represent just TWO of the fourteen amazing couples and weddings I’ve photographed this year – each unique and incredible in their own way! What a privilege it has been to be chosen as the wedding photographer for each of these marriages! I’ve loved meeting and photographing all of you!
Thanks also to everyone who has ever rooted for me, referred friends my way for photos, and given me a word of encouragement in any way, shape or form. I’m so thankful for the kindness you have shown me. XO
Blogging is not one of my strengths. This past year has been an incredible whirlwind of amazing weddings and photography sessions, and while I’ve been so grateful for each opportunity that has come my way, I haven’t taken much time to share. And believe me, the amazing couples and families I’ve had the chance to photograph are definitely worth sharing with you!
Yesterday’s share was about the colours of fall – today’s share is headed in more of a wintery direction – even if the sun is trying to make a comeback this week after a particularly rainy day yesterday. Has it not been so cold lately?! We haven’t received any real snow in Brentwood Bay yet, but the frost has certainly been putting up a fight. Last week as my husband was gathering his equipment and warming up his truck for work, I stepped outside to bring him his morning hot chocolate, only to find a sparkly layer of frost covering the bed of leaves in his trailer. Brrrr! What a great reminder of how quickly the fall season has come and gone: winter is here.
I’m looking forward to December – a month of warm drinks, peaceful, twinkling lights on the tree, and lots of time with family! But until December arrives tomorrow, I’m sharing with you below some of the pre-snowy chill around my house that I experienced last week!
Also, John and I are headed over for a quick trip to Vancouver this afternoon to attend this evening’s Professional BC Wedding Awards. I’m giving my cellphone and email a rest while we’re away to just enjoy the trip together, so thanks in advance for your patience – I’ll be returning all emails and phone calls on Friday!
This is my handsome husband, John. And his big truck! These images make me smile because they remind me of all the times John has tolerated me putting him in front of my camera; what can I say? He’s my favourite subject…even when he gives me goofy smirky smiles!
Fall is by far my favourite time of the year – I just love everything about it, from the colours to the sound of walking through crunchy leaves! Every time fall comes around, I keep high hopes that the season will be everything I wish for it to be: crisp and sunny and bright!
A few weeks back I had an especially out-and-about day between errands and an interiors shoot and I had to drive past Elk Lake Park about four times; unfortunately there was no time to stop and enjoy the view, even though the sun was out and the vibrant colours of fall were shining across the glassy water. If you know the Victoria area and you’ve driven past Elk Lake Park in the fall, you might have noticed what I’m talking about; it can be a breathtaking sight on a crisp, clear, sunny day. I was itching to stop, get out and take photos, but with a schedule to keep, I headed on to finish my day as planned, and promised myself I’d stop by another day for photos – as long as the sun was still shining strong.
After a few gloomy days (and some extra windy days) later that week, I thought I might have lost my chance altogether for the 2011 fall season…until one afternoon when the sun was particularly bright. In a split-minute decision, I flipped my laptop closed and made the drive out to the lake to get my images, and I’m so glad I did! Taking a few moments to slow down and enjoy the colours of fall was just what I had needed that day.
What a beautiful city we live in! Cheers to making time to do the things we love and enjoy the beauty around us!
I have so very many things to be thankful for, in my life in general, and also with my photography: the people I meet, the love stories I get to hear (and then tell through my images), and the relationships I make with the people I photograph – to name just a few!
So often, as I’m editing through a session or a wedding, I have the biggest smile on my face – maybe it’s a combination of the music I’m listening to and the moments on the screen in front of me, but I get all mushy and can’t help but smile. And be thankful.
Ariel & Armando have asked me to save their blog post for the New Year, as some of their engagement images might just find their way to friends and family as Christmas gifts, but they’ve allowed me to share one for now. So this is the image I chose – just a snippet of the joy, love, and laughter that surrounds these two when they are together. It’s the real, little moments like these that are always the closest to my heart.
Well, friends, it has been a very busy summer of weddings, engagements, portraits, and all sorts of sessions, and a little bit of travel here and there (including a quick anniversary trip for John & I to Seattle for our very own anniversary photo session – more on this later)! I have felt so blessed to do what I do and have loved the chance to meet so many incredible people, make new friends, and reconnect with and photograph people I’ve photographed before! And now I’m making the big return to blogging to share some of what I’ve been up to, along with a bunch of lovely faces!
I have a few blog posts lined up for this week to help get the blogging back in full swing, and I do plan on back-tracking to make sure each of this summer’s weddings make it up for your enjoyment, but for now, here’s just one frame of Darleena & Doug to kick off the return to blogging! Darleena & Doug had one of Victoria’s nicest summer evenings for their engagement session; we found some great spots and I’m really looking forward to sharing more soon! xoxo
Hey friends! It’s been a busy few weeks with out-of-town weddings and engagement sessions, but I’m making my way back online and I’m so excited to show you the most recent delivery to make its way to Courtney Clarke Photography; a wedding guestbook!
Before John & I got married, we didn’t have an engagement session; our wedding photographers were from Alberta and weren’t in Victoria much before our wedding day. It’s something that I’ve regretted ever since and something we plan to remedy later this summer/early fall (more on this in another blog post!). So, for our guestbook, we wanted to do something unique, but without any self-portrait style images of the two of us, I decided on 4″x6″ cards cut from scrapbook paper for our guests to write on that we planned to “put in a photo album” following the wedding. Well, that never happened. Sure, we read through our guest’s notes (most of them!), but we have yet to put them in an actual album.
With every Courtney Clarke Photography wedding collection, a complimentary engagement session is included; this somewhat stems from my regret of not having an engagement session and also from my I belief that engagement sessions really are the best way for a couple to connect with me in advance of their wedding—plus, it allows couples to have great images together in non-wedding attire too! For a while now, I’ve loved the idea of custom wedding guestbook; the idea is that the guestbook album showcases a couple’s engagement images, but also has blank space for wedding guests to sign and leave little notes! These kinds of albums are pretty much the ultimate wedding guestbook; they make for the perfect coffee table book and I absolutely wish John & I had one like this from our wedding!
So, I’m very proud to share my first ever guestbook album design, for one seriously wonderful couple, Carolyn & Scott! This album is a 20-page 8″x8″ album with hinged pages (see the image captions below to find out what that means!). If you’re interested in adding a customized wedding guestbook album to your wedding collection, just let me know at: courtney[at]courtneyclarke[dot]com
The “shoe shot” was one of Carolyn’s favourite from her engagement session and she requested it be on the front (and back!) cover!
One of the greatest features of the wedding guestbook albums is that the pages are hinged, meaning they sit completely flat when opened and images can continue right across a two-page span! This makes it super easy for guests to sign—no more fighting with pages to make them sit right!OK, album spreads aren’t the easiest to photograph, so I went for one “pose” and worked a few of the pages!I can’t wait to design another album soon; if you love your engagement images, show them off! I also ordered a studio sample with this album, so if you’d like to see in person, let me know!
>> What are you doing for your wedding guestbook? Leave a comment in the section below.
Happy Friday! Today is a pretty exciting day! As you are reading this my sister Rachel and I are driving all 510.52 km (according to mapquest.ca) up to Port Hardy, BC for the wonderful marriage of Jamie & Andrew!
Despite having both been Vancouver Island born and raised, Rachel and I have never actually made the trek that far up the island; I’m pretty excited to make the trip, photograph an awesome couple, and have some quality sister time along the way! Our plan includes driving without stopping as much as possible on the way up so we make it on time for the wedding rehearsal, but on our way back to Victoria on Sunday we’re hoping to take some time to explore the island!
Image from www.mapquest.ca
If you’re well-acquainted with the northern parts of our beautiful island and have a recommendation of a “must see” location for us on the way home, please let us know in the comments section below! I’m really hoping to visit some new spots, whether it’s a scenic, not-t0-be-missed beach, or your absolute favourite coffee shop of all time, please don’t hold back from sharing!
I have had the honour of knowing Carolyn for a few years and I’m so excited to be sharing in the celebration of her upcoming marriage—even if every once in a while I do get a bit nostalgic and have a hard time remembering this is not the 13 year old Carolyn I once knew, but the beautiful, witty woman with a quirky sense of humour who is about to be married in one month tomorrow!
I had only briefly met Scott before this wonderful couple’s engagement session, but I’m so thankful I had the chance to get to know him better during their session! He and Carolyn love to laugh and it brings me such joy to see the fun they have together! Scott is in the Navy, so Carolyn has been doing much of their wedding planning with the help of family and friends and will be joining him on the other coast of Canada once they wed. I’ve never photographed a wedding where the groom has worn Navy Whites, so I’m looking forward to that!
Carolyn & Scott went to the same high school, but didn’t start dating until a while afterwards. During their session, Scott told me about how he and Carolyn had both left their numbers in each other’s yearbooks at the end of their Grade 12 year. Of course, I had to ask who made the first move! A mischievous little smile crept across Carolyn’s face as she confessed it was she who made the first call to Scott! And the rest is history!
Carolyn & Scott were brilliant and aside from choosing to start their session at the beach where Scott proposed on New Year’s Eve, they turned over all trust to me to choose locations! Thank you for trusting me! I’m so happy with how the images turned out and I loved exploring a few new spots on the peninsula together!
If you’re anything like me, you like to hear the meanings behind tattoos! The four roses tattooed on Scott’s arm represent the four women who play an important role in his life; his mother, his grandmother, Carolyn, and Carolyn’s mother!Carolyn has such beautiful eyes! Absolutely piercing and gorgeous!
Following their engagement, Scott got this tattoo of Carolyn’s name, so we had to show it off a bit in their images!
I just love this fence! I came across this spot on a run one day…maybe I should try running more often for location scouting!Carolyn, you are a stunner!I’d been eyeing up this alleyway for a while and I’m so glad Carolyn & Scott were up to try something different and have a few images taken there!Carolyn & Scott are the most rock ’em sock ’em crime fighting duo you’ll ever find!Oh, cherry blossom season! We were so, so lucky to get these cherry blossom images as the rain started coming down just as we were on our way to this location! It literally let up for only a few minutes so we were able to get these gorgeous images!
OK, so that was arguably the cheesiest post title I’ve ever posted, but it sums up my day for this past Sunday…or the first half of the day anyway!
Sunday was a gorgeously sunny day in Victoria and I had the pleasure of taking part in two super fun activities: a afternoon lighting course hosted by Kerrisdale Cameras Victoria and taught by Al Smith, and an evening engagement session with the lovely in every way Miss Lindsay and her wonderful fiancé Mark!
As a self-employed professional, I have the great joy of choosing which professional development courses and workshops I want to take and which skills I want to tackle next! It can be a daunting task, with so many incredible workshops to choose from across the globe hosted by a number of incredible photography industry leaders; I feel incredibly fortunate to have attended workshops in Newport Beach, Las Vegas and Vancouver in the past year alone!
When I heard Al was teaching a local off-camera flash workshop I decided to jump in and try it out; off-camera flash is something I’d like to start incorporating into my photography bit by bit (and I thank you in advance for your patience in front of my lens as I learn and experiment)!
Thank you Kerrisdale for putting on the workshop, thank you Al for demystifying off-camera flash systems for me, and thank you also to our model Leanne for joining us for the day (and enduring the chilly tunnel as we set up our lighting systems)! Brave girl!
Here are some of my images from the fun we had at the workshop! As you can see from this first image below, we backlit Leanne with a flash that had a blue gel to give her that blue rim light around her hair and the edges of her sweater!
Fellow photographer, and friend, Jesse Holland shares some of her images with Leanne (hidden just behind Jesse), Caitlin, and Chris.
Al got his turn in front of the lens too; Jesse has the “official image” for this shot riiiiight here—I just wanted to show the lighting set-up!Once we had experimented with the blue gel, we added in another flash with a red gel to give some differentiation in the background!Al getting his serious instructional face on!For the next series of images, we shot with a bit of a different set-up. As you can see in the image below, we had three flashes on a rig together, which we took turns positioning around our model while everyone got a chance to learn and shoot!Jesse, you are absolutely adorable! I have no idea how you can balance so well with this photographer stance, but you work it out just fine!Things got a little silly at this point, with Al taking a turn to play with dandelions…while suited up with bluebells and daisies to boot! The following images were taken without flash.Again, Jesse has the official images of Al’s dandelion escapades, which she and Al are scrolling through below.Thanks again to everyone who brought this workshop together; it was a great learning opportunity!
Congratulations to Amy-Leigh for winning the Anniversary Session giveaway with me through Weddings in BC! I’m so excited to meet you and eventually celebrate your 1-year wedding anniversary with a special anniversary session!
Thank you so much to the brides who entered the giveaway! Including today, you could still win 7 other wonderful prizes (and a dream honeymoon!!!) through Weddings in BC, so visit their site to get in on the goodness! While you’re there, don’t forget to create an account for a free monthly magazine and leave me some vendor love! Instructions on how to do that are riiiiight here! I just received my magazine in the mail today and it is gorgeous! Love it!
Hope you’re making it through a gloomy Victoria Wednesday alright! Here’s a little touch of smiles and sunshine to brighten your day! These little monkeys are two of my sweet younger cousins! I’m working through their family session today, and their energy has been making me smile, so I thought I’d share!
Happy Monday friends! And a beautiful Victoria Day holiday Monday at that!!!
I’m so excited to introduce you to my good friends over at Weddings in BC today! Weddings in BC has been online for the past few months, providing great wedding resources and ideas for British Columbian brides! May is a very exciting time for Weddings in BC; it marks the first month of publishing their gorgeous, free monthly magazine created just for the beautiful, tactile brides of our province!
I had the honour of being featured on Weddings in BC‘s website last month with Jodi & Michael’s surprise wedding at the Villa Marco Polo Inn (florals designed by Rook & Rose Floral Design Boutique), and I’m thrilled to celebrate the launch of their publication by partnering with them to give away a Courtney Clarke Photography Anniversary Session! This session will be given to one couple whose wedding takes place (or has already taken place!) in 2011! The winning couple will receive a one hour session in the Greater Victoria Area of Vancouver Island (to be booked before the end of 2012), and a disc of up to 25 high-resolution images.
One of the reasons I’m so excited to participate with giving away this session in particular is that I strongly believe and encourage couples to regularly celebrate their love with a photography session—photography sessions are not just limited to engagements, weddings, families, or even anniversaries! I believe love is occasion enough to book a session with a photographer, have a fun and memorable experience, and have lasting images of those authentic moments. What couple wouldn’t want that? Or even for their parents to have that kind of experience? It’s an incredible gift, and such a valuable investment! My husband and I are looking forward to having our own session together later this year, and you can be sure I’ll share some of the images here!
To receive your own free Weddings in BC monthly magazines, you can subscribe by visiting their website and create an account! Once you’ve created an account, it would mean the world to me if you’d also leave some vendor love for me by searching Courtney Clarke Photography in the search bar and clicking the little heart next to the company name (as seen below)! Much like Facebook, each heart counts as a “Like”, so you’ll find hearts throughout the Weddings in BC site (even on the images in the giveaway post!) that you can “Like” by “hearting”!
To win the Courtney Clarke Photography Anniversary Session, visit Weddings in BC on Facebook and enter your submission by commenting on their status about this giveaway; they want to hear if you’ve found your wedding dress! Was it the very first dress you tried on, or did you search high and low through all the bridal boutiques in your area to find the perfect one?
If you’ve entered the giveaway on Facebook, leave a comment below; I’d love to hear about your wedding! Looking forward to all the entries and good luck!
Meet Verônica & Bruno! Their beautiful love story spans miles and oceans and many a long distance phone call before Bruno proposed last year!
Verônica grew up in Victoria, occasionally visiting family in Portugal. Bruno grew up in Portugal, less than a day’s travel away from where Verônica would visit relatives. It wasn’t until a few years ago when mutual friends in the Portuguese community suggested Verônic & Bruno meet—on Facebook!—that they even knew each other existed! After a year of online chats, long distance phone calls and eventually meeting up in person, these two realized that distance was not obstacle enough to threaten their love!
I know I’ve said this before, but I am so blessed by the incredible couples who’ve chosen me to be their wedding photographer for the upcoming season! I adore these two; Verônica has such a genuinely kind spirit and I’m so glad we’ve become friends! Plus, she is an incredibly talented hairstylist at Cabello Salon, a modern hair salon in the Reflections Building on Veterans Memorial Parkway in Victoria, BC; I highly recommend you schedule a haircut, colour, or updo with her if you’re looking to find a hairstylist you’ll enjoy visiting again and again! I’m so thankful to have a hairstylist I trust and love chatting with after years of hopping from one hair salon to another, without finding a hairstylist I “clicked” with! During our pre-wedding meet ups, I’ve seen how sweetly Bruno treats Verônica; he is a true gentleman and values family just as much as Verônica does! I can’t wait to witness how beautiful Verônica & Bruno’s future and family will be in years to come!
Tomorrow I will be photographing Verônica & Bruno’s wedding day (my first wedding of 2011!) and celebrating their love and the start of a sweet life together, but for now, enjoy their engagement images!
Verônica, you are absolutely gorgeous (and I have major hair envy!).
I loved getting up close and personal with these two!
Bruno picked out Verônica’s engagement ring last year in Portugal and brought it all the way to Victoria to propose when he visited her last year! How romantic!
After a quick stop at Tim Horton’s for some café mochas and an outfit change, we headed to a pretty little alleyway I’d been eyeing up for a few weeks and Verônica & Bruno worked their magic! I loved Verônica’s cute dress and nude coloured heels! Stylish!
One of my favourites from the session!We completely lucked out on catching so many cherry blossoms!Verônica once told me that her parents’ love story is similar to hers & Bruno’s, only pre-Facebook era! Verônica’s mother, Fatima, is from Canada and Verônica’s father, John, is from Portugal; they met one summer when Fatima was visiting Portugal. Verônica explained that years ago, families were more strict with dating rules, so young men and women would “date at the window”; basically instead of going out on dates right away, young men would court the young women they liked by visiting their window and spending time talking at the window before officially dating! It was that idea that sparked inspiration for the next few photos, as well as the location!
I just love this last image! Verônica & Bruno, your love is so beautiful!Thanks for stopping by to celebrate Verônica & Bruno and view some images from their engagement session! Leave them some wedding day wishes and love in the comments section below!
I LOVE getting mail. Like, I really love it! Of course I don’t mean bills—I’m talking about opening the mailbox to find invitations to the weddings I photograph, notes from my sponsor child in El Salvador, magazine subscriptions or handwritten letters! Surprise me by sending something in the mail and I will love you forever!
Last week I designed and ordered a sample photobooth album of the UVic Nursing Student Society’s Grad Reception Photobooth. And I had to wait. It only took a little over a week from placing the order to receiving it, but waiting for my little album was a test of patience for sure!
It finally arrived and I’m so excited to share! Measuring 10″ x 8″, this 40-page album is the perfect size for a coffee table book! In addition to wedding and portrait photography, I also offer photobooth services for wedding receptions and other events. Should the couples I get to work with choose to have a photobooth at their wedding, an online gallery and an album like the one pictured below is included with that service! Photobooths are fun way to engage your wedding guests and have photos of everyone who celebrated with you! For couples serving buffet style dinner receptions, photobooths can offer an alternative to photographing wedding guests at reception tables by having your guests filter through the photobooth on their way to the food line!
Like what you see? Let’s get the conversation started at courtney[at]courtneyclarke[dot]com to talk about having a photobooth at your wedding! If you’re more tactile than visual, I’m happy to share this album with you in person!
On a completely unrelated side note, last Friday I found two four-leaf clovers growing side by side through a little crack in my driveway!
I’m not the superstitious type, but I thought it was a nice way to head into a weekend!
Jamie and Andrew: there really aren’t enough sweet things I can say about these two! Their love started with acquaintanceship, grew to friendship, and now here they are, waiting to pledge their lives and love to each other just one month from today!
The first time Jamie and I met, she invited me over to her little Victoria apartment. It just weeks before she would be making the big move up to Port Hardy, where she and Andrew will be married, and where they will live following the wedding! Her enthusiastic personality won me over right away and we quickly connected over a network of mutual friends and a shared faith in Jesus. Jamie’s faith is one of the things I admire so much about her; she just glows with love and it is infectious! To see her marrying a man who shares this same strong faith brings me such joy!
As we sat on her cozy couch, she unravelled the beautiful love story of “Jamie & Andrew”; how they had been a part of the same Bible study group a few years ago, but how it was a completely “friends only” situation. Andrew ended up moving out of Victoria, and in the process, realized he wanted to start an organization to help people all over the world (more on this in future posts, I’m sure, as this organization is in its early stages right now!). Andrew asked Jamie to be on the board for this organization and called her up once a month or so to “talk business”. Eventually the phone calls were every couple of weeks…and then every week…and soon enough, the phone calls were coming in with such frequency that Jamie knew something deeper was taking place!
With every phone call, Jamie started noticing the new feelings she had for Andrew, but she still had some hesitations about letting these feelings grow. “Because I hadn’t seen him in so long, I started to wonder and pray about funny things like: God, is Andrew taller than me? Is he funny? — I couldn’t remember some of these things!”
It wasn’t until Andrew invited Jamie to drive up to Port Hardy with him that these two actually started talking about taking their relationship past the friendship stage. That was September 2010; jump ahead to January 2011, and Andrew found himself on one knee, proposing to Jamie at Beacon Hill Park!
When I met with Jamie, we talked all about wedding photography and what she’d love to have her own wedding photography represent.
“Well, I really like the kissing photos. I really, really like those ones,” she said, eyes all a twinkle! “We’re waiting to kiss each other for the first time on our wedding day!”
Needless to say, this sort of a goal requires a ton of willpower, and I have so much respect for how these two are honouring that inent! During their engagement session, I could feel the excitement in the air as Jamie & Andrew count down to their wedding day and their first kiss! Jamie suggested Fleming Beach for their session, with a little bit of Beacon Hill Park and a nearby James Bay street full of cherry blossoms for good measure!
Everything was perfect for images at the beach! Gorgeous blue hues, dramatic clouds, and a couple very much in love!
Jamie, you are way too gorgeous! I love that you brought along a hat for some variety in your photos!Doesn’t Jamie’s smile just say it all in this next image? Love it!
I’m pretty sure I said something along the lines of “Just be all about Jamie right now!” to Andrew while I was taking the image below. If I remember correctly, Jamie’s immediate reaction was “Yes! I like that! Be all about me, Andrew!”
This is where it all happened back in January! The official engagement location at Beacon Hill Park!
Jamie & Andrew, I completely adore you both, and I am ecstatic to be making the trek up to Port Hardy, BC, to photograph your wedding (and first kiss) next month! Thank you for sharing your love story with me and for being such a blessing in my life; I’m so honoured to call you friends!
Disclaimer: This post is full of text and photos! I hope you find as much joy scrolling through it as I did photographing, editing, and writing for it!
One of the things I love most about what I do is the opportunity I have to meet so many incredible, fun-loving people—a special evening a couple of Saturday nights ago proved to be no different! Last year a friend connected me with the University of Victoria’s Nursing Student Society to photograph their 2010 UVic NSS Grad Reception and do a photobooth; photobooths are a great option for events (weddings, business parties, you name it!) and I had an absolute blast photographing their reception, so when I was asked back for this year’s reception by the wonderful Sarah Anne Koster (thanks for rooting for me, Sarah!), I was thrilled!
This year I wanted to do something different—I figured for this very special group of brilliant individuals, ready to start out on sparkling careers bettering the lives of patients and others around them, I’d like to try something new, so instead of packing up the big white backdrop I’ve often carted to events or weddings, I daydreamed of how I could make this photobooth the best ever! The idea to construct my own custom backdrop came to mind, but without any sewing skills, the idea quickly fizzled…that is, until my generous Auntie Chris (recently turned Brentwood Bay neighbour!) offered to help me create what I was thinking of! We made the connection that she could make my photobooth daydreams come true on a Wednesday…but the event was happening that Saturday. Was it a challenge? You bet! Was it impossible? Not with her amazing sewing skills!
We headed to the fabric store on Thursday, and after drawing up markings with an eyeliner pencil, enjoying a little wine, nursing some handcramps from cutting, and realizing we (and everything around us) was covered in glittery sparkles from some of the fabric, we were well on our way to having a fun new backdrop. I really have to give complete credit to Christine for all the sewing—I never even touched the sewing machine…and that’s probably a good thing! By Friday afternoon, Christine had completed the sewing portion of the backdrop and I LOVE how it turned out! Plus, the gold and glitter streams of fabric completely fit the “Hollywood Glam/Red Carpet” theme the grad class had chosen for their evening! Thank you so, so much Auntie Chris for making this backdrop happen!
This year’s grad reception was held at the Fairmont Empress and I set up the photobooth in the gorgeous Palm Room, which was a perfect setting! During the evening, guests could drop by and have their photos taken in their beautiful gowns and handsome suits! Oh, and they could get all glammed up with wacky costume pieces! This photobooth was not only improved by the generosity of my aunt and her sewing skills, but also by a fellow photographer, Tamara Poppitt, and her suitcase of fun! The day before the event, Tamara offered to lend me her suitcase of props and costume pieces; I picked up the suitcase on my way to the event and didn’t even have a chance to open it before setting up the photobooth, but all the orange feathers bursting from the hinges were promising and I knew whatever else was in that suitcase was going to be great! Thank you T!
The last big thank you of this blog post goes to my lovely sister, and assistant, Rachel! Rachel was a great help during the event, but if you really wanted to see how we work together, you should have seen us carrying all the gear from the car to the venue; let’s just say there was a lot of wind, and a lot of giggles as a certain unnamed pair of girls struggled with a great many number of bags through the streets of Victoria, barely able to see straight because of the violent pull of the wind on their hair. Rachel, you are a trooper! Thanks for laughing through the struggles with me!
Without further adieu, I present to you some of my favourite images from the 2011 UVic NSS Grad Reception! In homage to those graduates who rifled through the costume suitcase to find the perfect accessory to their formal attire, a majority of the images in this blog post are of costumed guests! These images are just a small collection of all the wonderful graduates in attendance, so if you remember having your photo taken but can’t find it in this collection, you can view and order from the full event collection right over HERE. I’ve enabled the gallery so you can order watermark-free digital copies (individual images or the entire gallery!) as well as prints! Just explore the “Downloads” tab of the shopping cart feature! For the couples and groups featured in this blog post, feel free to head on over to the Courtney Clarke Photography Facebook Fan Page and tag to your heart’s content—I don’t know everyone’s names, but I’ve just uploaded an album there, so I’ll leave this part up to you!
Of course I love photographing everyone, but this first couple was one of my favourites to visit the photobooth; their creativity for posing was hilarious! They totally had me laughing, so you’ll see them pop up (or, in the spirit of the bunny ears, should I say “hop” up?!) throughout this post!
Even without costumes, the photobooth still brought out all kinds of fun!
The bunny ears and pink garland necklace were some of the most popular items of the evening; photobooth perfection!
The next couple of pictures feature one of the honourary un-costumed couples to make this blog post! Breaking form a little, but how could I not, with the cute look they’re giving each other in the image below?! I think these two might have had the biggest smiles I saw all night, and they were so, so sweet! Thanks for visiting the photobooth!
You can see why I had to include a few more images of this fun couple, right?! I’m pretty sure they were made for photoboothing together!
Thanks again to all the magnificent graduates who stopped by the photobooth! Congratulations on your many achievements—wishing you all the best as you continue to grow and explore your field! I sincerely hope our paths cross again in the future and I have more opportunities to photograph you all!