Mark, Cara and Babe

“I don’t believe in magic”
the young boy said,
and the old man smiled,
“You will, when you see her.”
-Atticus

Hanging out with Mark and Cara is like reading a good book of poetry while sipping a cup of coffee. They are everything love ever promised. I watched as I took photographs, and my only thought was that these two seemed like lifelong friends. It felt like two people found each other, and in the other, they found a home.

Doing their shoot was every photographers dream. They feed off one-another, they hold each other until the nerves ease and they laugh more than any couple I know. Their babe is going to be a lucky one, and I can’t wait to see them as a family of three.

Apparently fate is actually a thing, and here’s to that. ❤

Matt and Heather

Summer 2018 was a big summer for me.  It was the summer I went full-time in photography, it was the summer I moved into our cute little apartment and it was my first summer doing solo weddings.

I have learned so much about photography this summer. I am realizing more and more that photography is the best when it’s left alone. It is best when you are simply there capturing moments and telling stories. Editing is best kept minimal, and emotions are best kept natural.

As a photographer my job is to be there for my couples, and give them photos they can connect with. It’s beautiful, and I can’t wait to learn more about it every single day.

Matt and Heather are firecrackers. These two compliment each other in every single way possible, and watching them celebrate their love was beautiful.

Their day took place in Sioux Lookout, Ontario on August 11, 2018. The day was hot and smokey, but neither of those things made it any less of a party. Their ceremony was short and sweet, their photos were full of love and laughter and the reception was a party.

I know I say it a lot, but I have the best couples. Period.

I’m going to let the photos tell the story for you. ❤

 

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You have a big butt and legs

I have been doing some boudoir shoots for clients, and thought I should be the model for one so that I know what it’s like for my people. I wanted to be able to help them feel confident and happy.

My first thought was to figure out a diet or amp up a work-out plan, and lose a little weight. However, after some thought I realized that’s not how I wanted to live my life. In-fact, I have worked incredibly hard to not live life that way… So I decided to do this boudoir shoot as I am. Small boobs, large hands, crazy curls, hips and tummy. I wasn’t going to do it shamefully, but with absolute confidence and happiness. I was going to wear lingerie, and thank my body for getting me where I am today. I was going to laugh, dance and be fully present. I was happy, excited and confident. It was going to be a self-love date, and a good one at that.

Michael and I had talked about it, and I decided my day trip to the city was going to involve some lingerie shopping… I woke up last Thursday, and was on a mission.

I walked into La-Senza and explained the shoot to the lady working. I told her I’m an artist, which means most my clothing is oversized and boho (insert denim over-alls I was wearing today).. not sexy lingerie. The girl was trying to be helpful, looked me up and down, and said, “well, you have a large butt and legs… You should get a cute kimono to cover them up.”

I felt dirty, worthless and like I really wanted to disappear at that very moment. My body suddenly felt really under-qualified, and I almost felt like I shouldn’t be in public. I looked at this girl, and already knew she looked like what I tried to be for years. She had a perfect body shape, I don’t think she knew what fat was and her boobs were still bigger than mine. Her skin, hair and body were flawless. She was the kind of girl who everyone comments on, because she is the picture of what society tells us we should look like.

I walked to the change room, looked at the lingerie and didn’t even try it on. I left it in the change room, put my head down and walked out of that store. I started thinking about how I could cut meals out, get another gym membership and make losing weight a priority.

There was a four hour drive home after that, and I did a lot of thinking.

It went something like this:

Me: “Am I fat? How fat am I”

My heart: “so what if you are.”

Me: “But if I’m fat, I’m not good enough. I’m definitely not good enough for a boudoir shoot… Or good enough to be confident in my body. I’m not good enough to be a successful business owner… AND don’t get me started on my worth compared to other girls! Worst of all? I’m not good enough to be wanted, loved and accepted”

My heart: “If you are fat, you are fat. If you are skinny, you are skinny. If you are in-between, you are in-between. That is it. Your size is only a size.”

Someone tell me, when did our body shape give us so much identity? Why is our confidence intertwined with being a size 2 or 12. Why are we reading books, writing words and investing so much thought and emotion on something as trivial as body size?Why do we try and lose weight before a shoot? Why do we think we need to? Why is our size mixed up with our worth?

I bought lingerie, and guess what? I’m still freaking pumped for that shoot. I’m pumped because I’m not a size 2 with big boobs – I’m pumped because I’m okay with that. I’m pumped because I know what makes girls and guys look beautiful in photos. I know it’s in their love for life, in their contagious laughter, in their smiles and don’t get me started in their love for their people. My god, if you want to see beautiful people, watch for the way a bride and groom look at each other in the quiet moments of their wedding. Or look at the eyes of a parent as they gaze at their newborn baby. Look at the heart of someone helping a sick loved-one. I promise, size has nothing to do with it. Nothing.

I’m glad I have a “big butt and legs.” I’m glad my body is mine, because it has gotten me through a lot. My body has survived battles that I have never talked about, and it has survived battles that people see within the scars of my arm. My body has gotten me through illness, it’s gotten through trauma and it’s never stopped fighting. My body has given me the ability to laugh in hard times, and persist when my mind wanted to stop. My body gave me life when I attempted to end it. That is what we need to be thinking about as we prep for a photoshoot. We need to find our confidence in the bad-ass body we have. We need to find our confidence in knowing what we, our mind-body-heart, are capable of.

Guys, that is what needs to show up for shoots.

Why am I sharing this on my blog? Because it is my wish for each and every one of my clients. I know it’s not that easy. I still get triggered, and I have moments of thinking I’m not good enough until I lose some weight. I know this message about body-size has been so widely marketed that we struggle to see the bigger picture. I know it can be done though – we can stop trying to fit into a box that we were never meant to be in. We can be confident, which is so very sexy.

So next time you’re getting ready for a shoot? Put the pants on that make your ass look real good. Wear the shirt that makes you feel like you are a goddess. Dress your style. Treat yourself to a good glass of wine, and have a delicious meal that makes you feel good. Make a list of all the amazing things your body has done for you. Throw yourself into that shoot, and let you be seen. Show off that radiant personality, show off the body that has gotten you to where you are today and know that you are beautiful for it.

Know that you are enough, because you are you.

 

 

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Send me a message to book your Mini!

 

impulsive-artist to my planning-pilot

“You are the impulsive-artisit to my planning-pilot.”

Those are the words my boyfriend said as we paddled into the sunrise, after waking at 5am, packing up camp, loading our canoe and launching into the waves. Living on the island, making a tent our home and letting the sun be our clock left me feeling inspired and alive.

We finished our sunrise paddle that morning, and Remi (the Rhodesian-lab) and I climbed out of the canoe. I pulled it further up on shore and Michael jumped out of the stern, into the water and walked towards me. He took me into his arms, kissed me and told me he loved me. We stood there for a moment, and watched as the white caps crashed into the shore.

We balance each other out. I’m impulsive and a dreamer. Michael is a planner and a realist. My instinct is to go by feel. Michaels’ instinct is to go by logic. I am a moment seeker, and Michael is a consequence thinker… I push us out of our comfort zone, and Michael brings us through the adventure safely. I come up with the dreams, and Michael makes the plans.

Probably the three things that we have the most in common: 1. We both think we’re right, always. 2. We both hate being told what to do, and will probably disagree only because we were told. 3. We both have insane empathy, and without it, the first two would probably have us doomed. 🙂

There are many moments when I stop and look at our life together, and am often surprised that it could turn out this good. Don’t get me wrong. We have hard days too. We have days when we are both filled with anxiety, when we project our emotions onto one another, we argue and sometimes we hurt each other accidentally… We are human, and we do human things. However, I’ve never had an argument that doesn’t end in a long conversation of talking and listening, in forgiveness, understanding, empathy and lastly in “I love you.” 

I found Michael when I started being true to myself. I stopped looking for someone to save me, because I realized I could save myself. I stopped looking for a hero, because I could be my own hero. I stopped aiming to please everyone, because rock-bottom made me realize living to people-please would always result in being broken, dishonest and defeated.

I went through years of therapy to reach a point of not caring so much about what other people thought, and when people voiced their judgements and opinions I learned to keep being true to myself… Because I knew I’d put the work into building a healthy level of self-respect, and I could trust myself.

I met Michael at his birthday party, and eventually our conversations and adventures turned into something more than either of us imagined. I found someone who wanted to be equal. I stood with confidence and told him my story, exactly as it was, and was met with the same confidence in return. Within the first month of knowing each other, someone acted like we were in a relationship, and it resulted in the “let’s figure out what the heck this it” conversation. We talked, I told him he didn’t know me well enough to be in a relationship, he told me the same and then he asked what happened to “old-fashioned-dating.” I was quite possibly won over by that question, and it turned into a wonderful summer of talking, adventuring, no strings attached and seeing what life had in store for us.

We found each other, and we appreciated one another for exactly who they were and what their story told. I found a man who kissed the self-harm scars on my arm, and someone who saw the strong and independent woman their stories made me into. I found a man who was humble, could care less what other’s thought of him and was ready to do whatever it took to make his dreams come true. I was won over by his respect, his authenticity, his honesty and open-mind view on life. I found a man who was unlike any other, and together we took on the world.

Our story is my favourite love-story, and one I’m happy to continue writing day after day.

Here’s a couple shots from our latest adventure.

 

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Zelie is ONE

I first met this beautiful little family last year durning my mini shoots, and since them I’ve gotten to see them through my lens a few times. So of course, When Melissa talked to me about doing Zelie’s “one year” shoot, I was pumped.

I don’t know who I should brag about first…. How adorable their daughter is, how Melissa is total #momgoals or how stinkin’ beautiful their family is!

Okay but seriously! I got a text message the night before their shoot, and it was warning me that their dogs had been sprayed by a skunk. We are talking two dogs, a heat-wave and skunk. So if that doesn’t want to make you throw up your hands and give up on life… I don’t know what does! (That may be a little dramatic, but I dread the day my dog goes after a skunk. It’ll result in him living in a tomato patch, and me crossing my fingers that tomatoes actually work.)

When I walked up to the house, everyone looked fabulous. Melissa looked like a model, her house looked fabulous and they were making jokes about the skunk chaos all morning. She continued to show me the two backdrops, teepee, banner and cake that she made for her daughters shoot/party.

We made our way down toward the lake, and tried to find a pocket of sunshine between storm clouds. The love these two have for each-other and their daughter is so evident. All you have to do is take pictures of them interacting with one another, and you have a beautiful gallery. Their daughter has one of the most precious personalities, and doing her photoshoots is an honour for this photographer.

I love watching families grow together. Getting to document that through my camera is my favourite thing, and being able to give them keepsakes to treasure is why I do what I do.

 

Happy first year of life, little one. ❤

-xo

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WildFlowers

And though she be but little, she is fierce.” 

I think there are a hundred things children can teach us, and Malenah confirmed all of that. Last week I cleaned my lenses, checked that my batteries were fully charged and packed up my car. I met Ashley and her little lady on the side of a road somewhere, and we headed for the wild flowers scattered throughout the ditches.

Malenah was in her glory. I offered to have her carried down and ease into the pictures, but she was her independent self; a girl after my own heart. She bravely walked her way down into the heart of the flowers, and proceeded to admire all the different shades of pink and purple.

“I’m going to pick this for Grandma.” She continued to search for the perfect flowers to give to the people she loves.

This little girl did what so many of us struggle to do. She wasn’t thinking about what she was going to do later. She wasn’t thinking about what happened earlier in the day. Her mind wasn’t racing with things she needed to do. She wasn’t distracted by insecurities or anxiety. She wasn’t reaching for a phone and distracted by social media.

She was just herself, and her heart and mind were simply present. When she saw bees, she got scared, and Mama swooped in to help her work through those fears. Moments later, the fear she felt eased and we continued to look at each and every individual flower. She felt every emotion, she took in every moment and enjoyed what life was giving.

She smiled, danced, made jokes and looked for flowers in my camera. She told me what she liked and didn’t like. She laughed at me when I shook my bum in the bush to scare the bees away. She collected pink, purple and yellow flowers to giveaway and possibly keep.

There are so many things we could learn from this little girl, but possibly the greatest lesson would be how to simply enjoy life for what it is. To live in this present moment, feel the present emotions and take it all in.

Little Malenah, you are going to go so far in this life, and your parents already have so much to be proud of. I hope you never stop walking through wild flowers while being completely captivated by their beauty.

 

-xo

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Piper Marie

Ya’ll should play this song, cuz it’s beautiful. Moving on now 🙂

I don’t know anything in life that makes me feel so alive as photography. It’s not about the camera or the lens. I am not a technology person, at all, just ask Michael. *insert face-palm here* I am a sensitive person, and even more importantly, a people person.

Pho·tog·ra·phy: The art of capturing moments, cultivating life and seeing into another’s story.

I went through a chapter of seeing less with an open mind and heart. I became quite guarded and gave less grace. I also went to therapy to work through the chapters that created said walls. It’s a process, but I have grown to be more like the girl who looks at people through grace-filled-glasses. I look less through my black-and-white view, and I really try to see them and create moments that make life slow down. I try and live less through emotional heights, and more through empathetic-eyes. It’s a beautiful way to live.

Perhaps that is my favourite part of photography. My goal is to create moments that are full of life, authentic and raw. To bring people together, and live out their story. I have learned that we are all worthy of love, and everyone should be able to celebrate life through pictures to carry with them forever. At times it may feel uncomfortable, but I think it’s wonderful that we can learn about ourselves just through a simple photoshoot.

I am so excited to spend my life capturing moments, cultivating life and seeing into another’s story. I am grateful for the people I get to meet along the way, and the adventures we go on.

For now, I’ll leave you with this beautiful lady, and the final chapter of what has been most of her life. Piper has finished high school, and is moving onto bigger and better things. She is leaving one chapter behind, and opening the next. What an emotional time; full of change and empowering moments.

Her Mama had to be out of town for work, but we were able to sneak a few shots in her with Viking Dad, and her boyfriend. This woman is a babe, let me tell you.

I am so excited for the life you will live girl. I can’t wait to hear about the lessons you will learn, the growing and the exploring you’ll do. Live this life, embrace seeing it through a hundred colours, and make every step count.

-Xo

 

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Creative vs perfect

It seems my photography goes through phases… I feel comfortable and content, and then something in me begins to change. I begin feeling like I’m missing something. I get restless, and I start to ask myself questions. I do shoot after shoot, and though I still love it, the outcome leaves me wondering what I missed. I love it, but I don’t enjoy doing photography as much. The pictures are good, but my soul feels discontent. It seems to be the refining process of an artist. This restless feeling always means it’s time for some growing.

I have been feeling this way over the last month, and kept searching myself to see what the cause was. I’ve talked to a couple people about it, and I began wondering if it was just learning the balance between art and running a business. Perhaps that was it? I dug deeper though, and I began to find the answers.

As I walked through the sunset with Michael last night, I sat on the reclining wall, and watched as the sun went beneath the horizon. I felt a calmness that my busy schedule hasn’t allowed time for. I breathed in the fresh air, and listened as Michael told me stories and expressed what he has been learning about himself. I felt my heart relax as I stood in the stillness with the one I love. I felt all the wonderful emotions that push me to capture moments for others. I felt the calmness that I need to do art.

I took it all in, and I suddenly knew what I was missing. I was trapping my creative heart inside a rigid schedule. I was all business. I was reading photography books, watching youtube videos, looking online for advice. I was making a list of rules for camera use and photoshoots. I was gearing up for rule of thirds and arm placement. I was making sure it was a clear shot, and that everyone could be seen. I was beginning to become a rule follower. This is the very reason I chose not to go to school for photography, because my work has always been everting but following the rules… It is relentlessly rebellious in that it ignores the technicality, and goes for the hearts of those it captures. That’s what makes it unique and my own. That is what my passion is for.

I watched as the sun created a canvas of colours, and wondered what it would be like if this Universe was as caught up with perfectionism as we are… As I am. Being a perfectionist is my greatest creative killer. It hurts my photographs, my raw style, my spirit, my relationship with myself and others.

I hope people book me because my pictures make them feel something. I hope they aren’t looking for the perfectly framed moment, the perfect faces or the perfect pose. I hope it’s because they see the love between two people, they see the joy knit between a family and the feel as the light creates a canvas to work with. I hope it’s because they are in love with life and each other, and they want to have a keepsakes to carry with them in every chapter that will follow.

For the following weeks I will be focusing on breathing, journalling and taking care of this heart. I’ll be focusing on letting creativity grow stronger than perfectionism, and continue to share that with others. I’ll visit the sunset more, kiss my boyfriend more, run with my dog more and do more family dinners; I’ll appreciate what makes this life important.

-xo

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Oh Baby

I always used to be afraid of newborn shoots… Actually, I was basically just afraid of newborns in general. Maybe it was because during a rough chapter in my own life I had a miscarriage, and a newborn simply felt so fragile to me. Maybe it was just that a newborn was so vulnerable and so… New? Either way, I was always good with toddlers and teenagers; I just wanted to skip over the newborn phase.

However, that’s changed over time. I look forward to days in a studio, with a tiny little human and my lens. I look forward to dreaming for that little one. I think about the beautiful person they already are, and think about the amazing things they will do. I think about how they are at the very beginning of a crazy ride, and how much they have to look forward to. I watch and appreciate how loved and adored they already are by their family. I get this emotional wave, because my god, life is a beautiful thing.

I look forward to the sibling kisses, the parent smiles and the mix of so many emotions that take place during a newborn shoot.

Photographing Alex and Hayley’s little family was nothing short of an incredible experience. Their little guy did amazingly well, their little lady was my favourite assistant and their family is just so beautiful.

I hope you enjoy a little piece of their lives captured in the pictures below.

-xo

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Welcome to this world little Zachary. 

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Have I mentioned how much I adore that little tulip lady? 🙂

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People don’t always have to be looking at the camera when you take a picture. Sometimes, the cutest picture is when everyone’s paying attention… Except for a little girl, who can’t take her eyes of her Dad. Heart-Melter. 

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Jen and Perry

Welcome to my first, of quite a few, Mother’s Day Mini Shoot post!

I first met Jen during a mini shoot with her little family last Christmas, and I’m grateful that due to living in a small town we have been able to bump into each other here and there. When her husband contacted me about booking a Mother’s Day Mini for her as a birthday gift, I was beyond exited!

They showed up for their Mini dressed in beautiful spring colours, and Perry was ready to rock this modelling gig. All I had to do was press the shutter on my camera, and the girl gave the most beautiful smiles; seriously, her facial expressions would be enough to melt anyone’s heart. As we were finishing up I commented on how much Perry had grown, and learned it was her nine month birthday. So, happy nine months baby girl. You are going to do such wonderful things with your life.

There is a calmness that Jen brings everywhere she goes, and watching her interact with her little lady is possibly the most beautiful part of the photoshoot. I rarely have to give her prompts or ideas; she simply interacts with Perry and together they make beautiful memories that I get the privilege of capturing.

Elegant, joyful and gorgeous… Here are just a few words I would use to describe this Momma.

Special, unique and and powerful would be the words I’d use to describe the relationship she has with her daughter.

I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

-xo

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What should I wear?

 

What would be the most common question I get before a shoot? The most common question I ask myself every morning?

What the heck should I wear? (Now just picture me changing ten times, clothing everywhere, my boyfriend laughing/shaking his head and finally putting on the first pair of blue jeans and Tshirt I tried on…#nailedit)

We’ve all been there.

I can’t dig through your closet, and tell you what to wear. I mean, I would if you wanted me to, but most client’s won’t want their photographer digging through their wardrobes. I also can’t tell you what to wear based on what I would wear. Why? Because photography is about authenticity. I want to see you, because you do you best. Also, because you is beautiful. So I can’t tell you want to wear, but I can give you advice of what works best on your side of the lens.

This is the first article in the “what should I wear” series. Next I will be talking about what clothes flatter what body types.

Here’s a list of tips and tricks for you!

  1. Let’s talk about you– My first rule, especially for parents, is to start with your outfit first. Once you have that figured out, you can use it to build the other outfits. I know a parent’s instinct is to put the kids first, but this time I encourage you to put yourself first. You can find cute clothes for your kiddo in every shape, colour and style. They probably don’t understand what it’s like to be insecure yet, and they will most likely be comfortable in almost anything. You’ve lived in society long enough to feel the insecurity it brings, and question your own looks. So this time, pick out that outfit you love, and build an entire look for your family.- Now that we’ve got “you first” covered… Let me move onto my second rule. Love Your BodyThat’s right. Second rule to picking out an outfit for your shoot is to love love love that goddess of a body that you’ve got. Love every inch of it, every curve, ever flaw and every perfection. Don’t go into picking out an outfit with the negative self-talk. Go into it thinking about what you could paint this beautiful canvas with, and then rock your style. Pick what makes you feel real good, and own it. Pick what looks great on your body. If you’re confident and comfortable, I promise the pictures will be absolutely radiant.

    – You are beautiful. Love your body the way it is. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and beautiful; there are no rules for this! Be you. 

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  2. Now let’s talk about colour–  Colour is very much so an individual thing. I put colours together, and my rational minded sister looks at me like I’m crazy. She puts colours together, and I tell her she should add a few different colours to mix it up. Comprende? However, I will give you a few tips and what works real well, and what doesn’t.- I encourage replacing matching with coordinating. Matching makes everything the same, and leaves less room for creativity. It would be like painting a canvas all one colour. Boring, right? However, when you paint a canvas with a little mint, some pink and white? Stunning. So don’t go with blue jeans and white shirts for everyone.

    – Avoid extremely bright and fluorescent clothing. They just don’t get along really well with the camera. Fluorescent colours can make skin tones look off, put colours on white walls and cause all kinds of havoc.  Take primary colour and build variations from there.

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    The only thing I will tell you to do isssss to… NOT wear these shades for a shoot. Fluorescents will do nothing for you. 🙂

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    These are your happy place! Go with primary colours, and create whatever look you like!

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    Like this!

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    Or this!

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    oooooooor this!

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    And this!

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    Oooooh but this is pretty too!

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    These besties are a GREAT example! The different colours, but similar palette, really bring the picture together and add more interest.

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Okay, I think you get the picture. An idea that always works is googling or Pinteresting (that’s a word now) something like, “Spring colour palette” and going with those colour combos. You’ll figure it out, and I’m always up for figuring it out with you!

3. Now onto the boring ol’ practicality

– I feel like practicality is one that we don’t reaaaallly love to talk about when it comes to getting ready for a shoot. It’s boring, but it’s important. I try and make everything perfect for my clients… But unfortunately, Mother Nature and I don’t always see eye-to-eye. Weather will do it’s thing, regardless, and so my advice is to give in and go with it.

– We are heading into Spring, and that makes this part a lot easier. If you have that cute tank top, wear it, but throw a sweater in the bag that you love with it. If it’s warm and you don’t need it, great! If it’s cold, take a few without, but wear it once in awhile. Cold people make tense pictures, and relaxed is always best. 🙂

Put your kids in something they will be warm and comfortable in. Kids don’t care if they look perfect for a shoot, but… They care if they are cold. If they are a baby, they will most likely cry throughout the whole shoot if they