I can’t even begin to tell you how amazingly AWESOME this year was for shooting weddings!! I know everyone says this, but I met some wonderful people, and I’m beyond humbled to have been asked to be a part of their wedding days! I can only hope that 2014 will match this past year in total mindblowingness! And if it exceeds it, my head just may pop off… I love being part of the process; seeing what my brides are pinning to their inspiration boards, getting text messages of selfies in bridal shop mirrors after finding “the dress”, statuses on Facebook as their day approaches, and then showing up on their big day to see the culmination of all their planning and excitement. And I also love how no matter what the “theme” of the day is, it is always unique. I can shoot 5 “vintage/rustic” weddings in a year, and they’ll all be totally different. Because at the end of the day, the day is about two people who fell in love. Two families who have come together to support their loved ones. Two lives that will be forever changed as they start their journey as husband and wife. And I know this is all terribly sappy, but I love marriage. I think our society makes us feel that marriage is no longer worth fighting for. But I don’t believe that for a second. If you’re not getting married with the mindset that you will do everything in your power to fight for your relationship, and to back down during a fight, and to do what you can to make your other half the happiest person on the planet, well, I’m here to tell you that you might want to re-think commitment. And yes, I’m a fantastic shrink. The bill’s in the mail. I’ll get off my soapbox now.
Thank you thank you thank you to all of these wonderful people!! Al & Rachel
From a business perspective, 2013 has been an UH-mazing year. Like exceed my wildest expectations kinda year. I’ve met some absolutely wonderful couples, and my mind is boggled everytime I get asked to photograph one of the most important days of their lives. I don’t mean to get all smooshy and sentimental, but seriously! I still wanna pinch myself that somehow I ended up in this profession!! I’m thankful to all of the couples that trusted me enough to capture their engagements and weddings this year, and I cannot WAIT to see what 2014 is going to bring. New opportunities, new skills, new friends – BRING. IT. ON!!!
Here are some of my favorite engagement images from this year. Stay tuned for the wedding post!!
Dawn’s favorite time of year is Christmas, so it made perfect sense to celebrate her & Leonard’s wedding day close to Christmas, using berries, evergreens, white lights and even a snow machine as decor! I’m not a huge fan of shooting during the winter months – in fact, my goal is to shoot destination weddings all winter (a girl’s gotta dream) – it’s cold, usually rainy, and there’s nothing left on the trees outside for nice clean backgrounds, which I’m a fan of. But this wedding?? BLEW. MY. MIND. The flowers (another brilliant job by Quik Pik Flowers!), the decor, the details, the gown, and the people. Oh the people. So many sweet, generous & fun-loving people came out to celebrate Dawn & Leonard.
I was stoked to be shooting once again with the ever-amazing, always hilarious, Charlene Stam Photography! We started the day with getting ready shots; Dawn and her bridesmaids at her home, and Leonard and his posse at Coast Hotel . The atmosphere at both locations was bright with nervous energy and excitement!
Once we ran a fashionable amount over our schedule, we headed off to Rosedale United Church, to make it official! Dawn has two awesome kids, whom Char and I lovingly dubbed Thing 1 and Thing 2. These two dapper dudes did a wonderful job walking her down the aisle and officially “giving her away” to her hubby!
I love seeing emotion from the groom! Leonard, you make me melt. I seriously wish this kind of love for every woman on her wedding day.
To keep with their winter theme, they had their guests throw snow as they exited from the church!
After the service, we headed off to the Agassiz Rosedale bridge in the rain and fog to get some stunning shots of the new married couple and their bridal party.
Love this shot!
Quik Pik, seriously??! These are stunning!!
♥♥♥You’re all kinds of beautiful my friend. Inside and out.♥♥♥
AND MORE CUTENESS!!
And these baskets?? See what I mean about the florals??
Love it – this didn’t even take much convincing!! Ladies, you might want to snag one of these boys before they’re off the market 😉
Photographer FAVES! ↓
The men having their GQ moment
Love this shot too – glad these two are patient!!!!!!
And once we had used up our time quota, we headed off to Camp River Community Hall for the reception! I absolutely LOVED how Dawn and her friend Lydia had decorated the place! Tons of white lanterns hanging from the ceiling in all sorts of shapes and sizes, the AMAZING woodpile head table backdrop put together by Thing 2 and his girlfriend, the Christmas trees, the lights, AHHH!! So cozy and romantic!!
Dawn & Leonard’s signature drink, which they handed out as guests arrived.
Ridiculously adorable snowman cake!
Lighting candles for family and friends who have passed and couldn’t celebrate this day with Dawn & Leonard.
Their first dance in the snow!
And then the shenanigans began! Such a fun day. You guys already know how glad Charlene and I were to be a part of it. Wishing you both a lifetime of love and happiness!!
The weather was so weird around the time of Janine & Cody’s engagement session. From Abbotsford to Vancouver, the valley was socked in by this thick, grey fog. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some eeriness, but not for an entire engagement session. I prefer sunlit, glowy, timeless images. If I could choose 😉 So we had planned to meet at Campbell Valley Park in Langley, but because of the fog we decided to meet in Chilliwack instead, where it was gorgeous, clear and sunny!! Until they got here… So the location I had planned was already clouded over, so we had to improvise on the fly, and found this little spot instead. I’m so excited about how these turned out, and these guys are awesome to hang out with!! And their dog? Amazing. I almost felt like I could handle an entire passel of puppies at my next session. Almost. Enjoy, and stay tuned for their wedding images next September!!
Dude, you are so stunning!!
Love the idea of having their wedding date stencilled on a piece of wood!
I’ve had 2 official family sessions since my first kiddo was born; one was through the Tiny Light Foundation , which is an amazing Canadian charity founded by a friend of mine, Melissa DePape, which offers free photography to families that have a child with a life-altering diagnosis, and one was done recently by my amazing friend, Charlene Stam . Our first session was shot by my SIL Andrea Devisser , which you can see here , and you can check out our recent sesh from Charlene here . I got a beautiful Collage printed of our first family session, and I’m still stewing over what to do for our recent one. But what I’m trying to say with all of this, is that I absolutely LOVE to look at our pictures. I have so so many pics of my kids and us saved on my computer, and I totally do look at them, but maybe twice a year. The ones that I have printed I see every. single. day. And they make my heart happy. I want everyone I photograph to have that opportunity, which is why at the beginning of this year, I upped my prices and started including a professionally printed 11×14, or a print credit towards anything else I offer, in addition to the digital files. Before I made the move to start offering prints, I wondered if I would have the time, or if offering digitals and prints was a valid business model, and a few other things. But nothing has made me happier than getting a ginormous canvas in the mail, and then dropping it off at a client’s house. It’s a business model that I’m bound and determined to make work. Yes, it definitely adds some time to my workload, but the payoff is huge.
So thanks to everyone that has supported me this year – the family and engagement sessions have been awesome, and the weddings have been OFF THE HOOOK. And to those that invested even more and upgraded to a canvas, image block, album etc – that is one of the biggest compliments you can pay me. So I thank you.
And since a post just isn’t complete without pics, here is a gorgeous 26×48 custom canvas of the Neels family!