Sarah & Cole

My hubby and I don’t do wedding and portrait photography as a job anymore but occasionally we are honoured to photograph our family and close friends. Our cousin Sarah was married in the snow to Cole this past weekend and I’m excited to share some of my favourites from the wedding here with you. Hope you are all staying dry and warm in this crazy snow fall season!

Congratulations Sarah and Cole it was so lovely to be able to capture these memories for you! ❤

Painting Reveal – Nature’s Urban Goddess


Nature’s Urban Goddess – acrylic on canvas – 4.5′ x 3′

As promised yesterday – here is the first painting inspired out of my summer photo shoot with the beautiful and talented Jayli Wolf!

For some reason I like to make things hard for myself… I decided to use a large canvas for this one – 4.5′ x 3′ to be exact – eep! Hence, this piece has taken me almost four months to complete – not only because of the size but because it was a whole new concept for me as well… I don’t often paint people and then the act of adding them into a landscape painting in my style was definitely a new challenge.

IMG_0510a_SmallThis photo above was my first choice although I was tempted to use the one below as well (it will have to be my next 🙂 ). I was drawn to the tall cathedral-like trees and really looked forward to creating a landscape using those. While the final painting was never meant to be an exact likeness of Jayli it was an attempt to capture her spirit and the relationship of that spirit to nature. We might know Jayli as a musical urban goddess but I feel like she also belongs here as well. The furniture and the window props create a “home” for Jayli and I find she appears both earthy and ethereal – like she stands apart and belongs at the same time. It was fun to try and capture this in the painting.IMG_0581_SmallI photographed the progression of the painting and it took sooooo long to complete. Such large surface area to cover… Apparently I’d make a terrible a muralist! However, I love the physical presence that this large canvas brings.

IMG_0228_Small Small IMG_0539_Small IMG_0541_Small IMG_0542_Small IMG_0563_SmallFinished_CollageThanks so much for stopping by and checking this out – I’ve been super excited to finally share this, especially after so many months of work. We artists are always the hardest on ourselves and since this is my first attempt at a person in a landscape I feel happy with many parts but also a bit insecure about others – my constant drive is the chance to improve with time and practice. 🙂
Hope you all have an amazing weekend friends! xo

The Ultimate in Mixed Media Art

IMG_0650_SmallBefore I begin to explain what I’m up to here I must say that we artists can get crazy projects and ideas into our heads! And sometimes we can’t always pull them off alone – we need others – this is why having close creative friends is such a gift. My fellow artists and friends, Hayden and Jayli Wolf have helped me with several projects over the past few years. These two are full fledged artists in every respect; art, writing, poetry, photography, design… I could go on but at present their music is their first love and passion. So before you continue scrolling you’ve got to head out and peek at what this husband and wife duo are up to –> (Pssst… Click here!) When I introduced my idea to them this summer they willingly sacrificed time and energy, during their holidays, to help me make it happen. Jayli modelled for me and Hayden helped as my photography assistant – I am unbelievably grateful to them – thank-you guys SO much!!!

IMG_0727_SmallThough I closed my photography business years ago I still love taking photos – especially the kind where I get to imagine and design the details and then bring them to life. Jayli helped me plan this shoot and the intent was for this series to turn into a painting or maybe even a series of paintings afterwards. I often use photographs for art inspiration but I have never deliberately created a photo with the intent that it become a painting… I got excited about the idea because in my mind it was a form of mixed media; fashion and beauty, staging and design, photography and modelling, people and nature – all mixed together with the singular goal. Maybe that’s a loose interpretation of mixed media but I like it. 🙂 The focus aside from this was on portraiture in nature – old masterpieces come to mind, people in the landscapes, I wanted to see how I could translate that in a modern way. (I say modern but I guess I really mean in my way.) 😉
So my plan is to share my favourite shots (yep, there were many more) with you today and then tomorrow I’ll post the first painting I did inspired by this series. I hope you enjoy these!
IMG_0494_Small IMG_0629_Small IMG_0581_Small This was the storm brewing during our shoot – so beautiful but a tad bit windy! IMG_0530_Small Jayli’s beautiful headpiece and ring were created by T.Lane designIMG_0492_Small IMG_0524_Small IMG_0654_Small Hair and make-up was styled and designed by Lindsay Floer from The Salon at Cranberry Manor. (Thanks Lindsay – you are such a talent!)IMG_0496a_Small IMG_0694_smallIMG_0652_SmallIMG_0510a_Small

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for my painting reveal!!! IMG_0683_Small
I think Jayli would have loved to do the painting with me. 😉IMG_0689_Small

A few “behind the scene selfies” pictured below – you can see how much wind we had to contend with – ha ha!

IMG_0606 IMG_0612Windy but joyful! Can’t wait to show you the painting tomorrow!

Rachel & Joel

My hubby and I don’t do photography as a job anymore but occasionally we do it as a gift for family and close friends. Our cousin Rachel and her now husband Joel actually got married on our farm this July 11th. The wedding turned out lovely (despite the rain) and I couldn’t resist sharing some of my favourites with you all. Hope you enjoy! Blog_0008Blog_0005Blog_0003Blog_0002Blog_0001Blog_0013Blog_0004Blog_0010Blog_0009Blog_0006Blog_0011Blog_0012Blog_0023Blog_0018Blog_0019Blog_0031Blog_0020Blog_0021Blog_0022Blog_0016Blog_0032Blog_0030Blog_0017Blog_0026Blog_0025Blog_0029Blog_0024Blog_0028Blog_0015Blog_0014

Joel and Rachel, it was an honour to be a part of your day – Shane & I pray for an abundance of joy, life, goodness and little bit of whimsy into your life together. You are loved.

Pssst… this is only just a little preview of your photos – there are SO many more to come! (As soon as I’m finished editing that is… 😉 ) xo

How to Take Better Photographs For Beginners : Taking Creative Photographs Indoors

_S_Paulsen_Oct_2010_0009I missed my Wednesday post – somehow the day just slipped by… whoops! Well Thursday is a good day too – isn’t it? 😉

As I mentioned in my last photography post, I have a tendency to steer away from flash photography… It’s not that flashes are bad, on the contrary, they can be quite useful and even creative but my personal preference is to use natural light whenever I can. Although natural light can be a little scarce when it comes to doing indoor photography. Normally there  isn’t quite enough light inside to capture a clear well-lit picture. However, there is one spot (or two spots) in everyone’s house that have a decent amount of natural light… Wanna take a guess? Yep – that’s right – by the window, or a doorway or an outdoor opening of any kind.

So, whenever I’m taking pictures indoors I head for the windows (or door, or opening)!

Now – if you are a point and shooter you are gonna need to take out your camera manual (I know… the dreaded manual…) and learn how to shut off your flash. Should be a fairly simple step. When you are indoors, your camera will often automatically decide that you need your flash but for taking creative pics by windows it looks best if your flash is shut off.

The fun thing about window light is that it can be very dramatic and you can play with it creatively. The other bonus is that once your flash is off, you can just frame your shots and then point and shoot. Be sure to try lots of different angles. Have a peek at the pics below for some inspiration. 0016_Small 0017 Jola Skretting_Nov_10_0044 Lara_Merz_Jan_10_0012 Williams_2013_0012_S_Paulsen_Oct_2010_0001

How to Take Better Photographs: Beginner Tips For Full Sun Photography #2

Okay all you point and shooters out there – today is the day! You finally get to break out that camera manual! I know you are all filled with joy and anticipation… Or not… 😉 Please don’t panic! I’m gonna keep it super simple and I’m confident that you can do this! My first tip outlined how finding shade is essential for better point and shoot photographs and my secound post showed you how easy it is to take a creative silhouette in full sun. Now I know that both of these tips were camera manual free, however, today you will need to read just one itty-bitty little section of your manual – I promise this mini read will be SO worth it!0004 Sometimes it’s impossible to fully get out of the sun or maybe a silhouette isn’t really what you’re going for…  What then? Well actually, you basically set up your shot like a silhouette but this time you will fill in the light so that your subject doesn’t go dark. (See pic above.) There are two ways of doing this: using your flash to fill in light or overexposing. Now I’ve never been a flash girl… that’s not to say that flashes are bad – they are not – it’s just a personal preference on my part.  I use flashes when necessary and I do plan to post a few basic flash lessons but, in this case I want to teach you an easy way to just overexpose your picture. Overexposing simply means adding light. IMG_0015 Most cameras nowadays have the settings pictured above. What I want you to note is the ‘P’ setting. This is your “Program Mode’ – it’s almost exactly the same as your “Auto Mode” but with a few useful perks. IMG_0031 The “P” mode allows you to use something called your “Exposure Compensation”. (I circled what it looks like above in red.) Exposure Compensation lets you add light and take away light, hence the + and – signs at each end. It’s a simple automatic tool that changes your shutter and aperture speeds for you. (This tool is best used in outdoor lighting situations.) Okay are you ready? The time has come  – please take out your camera and your camera manual. You need to find the “P” mode and then also find your “Exposure Compensation” instructions.  Set your camera in “P” mode and spend a moment figuring out how to dial the + and – for your “Exposure Compensation”.  It should be a pretty quick read. Now that you know this one simple tool on your camera you can easily overexpose and add light to your full sun pictures.  Frame your shot with the sun fully behind your subject (just like doing a silhouette) and dial the Exposure Compensation up a notch on the + side.  (Remember – the + sign side is for adding light (brighter), the – sign side is for taking away light (darker).) Try the shot and if your subject is still looks too dark dial up the + sign side up more until you finally get the look you want. One of the fun perks to putting the sun fully behind you subject and then overexposing is the pretty glow or halo effect around the subject. m_jensen_sept_2011_0035 stacy_robbins_oct_10_0003 s-z-deal_june_11_0001 0020_c_jaggers_aug_09 Thanks again for checking this out – I’m so glad you stopped by – I’ll see ya next Wednesday when I’m back with another full sun tip! Oh and be sure to send me any questions you have – I’d love to hear from you – especially if my instructions are confusing. 🙂

How To Take Better Photographs: Beginner Tips For Full Sun Photography #1

In my last post, The Most Essential and Practical Tip For Point and Shoot Photographers, I warned you to stay out of the sun! And I stick by this advice because using bright even shade or taking photos on a bright overcast day can dramatically improve the lighting quality of your photographs. (Check back to my previous post to learn more.)

However, there are days when shade is scarce and you just can’t get out of sun… Or you really want to use the sun to your advantage and create certain photographic effects like; silhouettes or warm backlighting. Often times taking well lit photographs in full sun requires a basic knowledge of your camera’s settings but, today I’m going to keep it very simple. No camera manual required just yet (all you point and shooters out there can breathe easy). 😉  We’re starting off with SILHOUETTES!


Silhouettes can be super creative and require very little effort. It’s a matter of framing your shot, making sure the sun or light source is fully behind your subject and then point and shoot! Yep, that’s right, your camera will automatically choose the correct setting as long as your subject is fully backlit. By ‘backlit’ I mean that, almost the entire area behind your subject is bright with light or sunshine.

photo 10 0026Summer_2010_0028WinterEarlySpring_2010_0017CloudNine_0006_Small


Easy peasy, right?! This means even YOU can pull off a silhouette!

I’ll be back next Wednesday with more full sun tips. If you feel inspired by this post and get a chance to try out a silhouette please share it with me!!! 🙂



How to Take Better Photographs – The Most Essential and Practical Tip for Point and Shoot Photographers

Are you one of those people who really doesn’t want to read the camera manual? I hear ya, although the manual is useful and informative it can be pretty dry… If you are like most folks, you just want to press the ON button, focus on your subject and then click. Am I right?  The sad thing is that these point and shoot pics don’t always turn out the way that we hope… This is where I come in! By using this one simple photography tip, your point and shoot pics will suddenly get a whole lot better!

What is this miracle tip?


Yep, you heard me right, get out of the sun! Or more specifically stick to taking pics in bright even outdoor shade or on a bright overcast day.

Bright shade or overcast clouds diffuse the light of the sun making the colours and the light even and soft.

Check out the examples I’ve attached below to catch what I really mean –>


Harsh FULL sun – see all the uneven light and shadows in the above pic?


Now compare the photo quality and difference here, when a similar picture is taken in bright-even-shade or on a bright overcast day. The photo is much nicer without all that uneven lighting and nasty distracting shadows!

The same principle applies to portraits:


Harsh FULL sun… vs —>


Nice even bright shade… Aaaahhhhh….

It truly works folks!

Does that mean we can never take pics in full sun? Well, no. We can take pics in full sun but it requires a bit more understanding of your basic camera settings. (And yes, that does mean reading a wee little section of your manual… 😉 ) I plan to post tips on taking better pics in full sun next Wednesday – so be sure to stop by! 😀

Pssst… if you found anything confusing in this post or if you have any other questions – please leave them in the comment box below and I’ll get back to ya! 🙂

GOOD NEWS! Have YOU ever wanted to learn how to take better photographs?


Hello friends! It’s a beautiful sunny day here!!! Loving the weather and finding it hard to stay inside.

I’ve decided to take a little break from my weekly photo challenges. I’m getting more painting commissions (which I absolutely LOVE) and I need to free up some time and energy. This doesn’t mean you won’t be seeing any photos from me – I can’t help myself really… I’m always taking pics in my regular everyday life and I often post those to my Facebook page and Instagram account. So don’t miss out – please follow there!

BUT here’s the really GOOD news – I’m going to start a series of weekly posts with tips on how to take better photographs. These posts will start on Wednesday and will replace the weekly photo challenges for now. I really hope you can tune in and enjoy these!

See ya Wednesday!

P.S. In case you are wondering, that is me laying on the ground. Sometimes it requires sacrifice to get a great shot. 😉