meLOVE: what says , "I love you?"

I've been having some very interesting email conversations with a dear friend, and one of the topics we've touched on is receiving acknowledgement. Gary Chapman is credited with identifying them as: quality time, acts of service, words, gifts, and physical. There are often vast gaps between what we give and what we want to receive that can leave two people who love each other very much confused and unsure if they share the same feelings. So, a little audience participation here. How do you like to receive acknowledgement from your friends and from your spouse and children? How do you show your appreciation for others? Do you notice any correlation and recognize how there could be discrepancies in the love languages you exchange?

feature photograpHER

Tara of Pinkstar

If I had to prepare a meal for the queen I would serve … A juicy Alberta Beef Steak, potatoes, fresh farm corn and cesear salad!

If price was no object, I would beef up my camera bag with …A Canon Ef 50mm-f/1.2 I make due with my f/1.8 but would love to upgrade soon!

The one place I will travel to before I die is … Italy, besides the obvious beauty, culture, Architecture, Art, Climate, I want to eat authentic Italian food!

If I could interview any person, alive or dead, I would have to pick… My grandma I never met, she passed before I was born.

I shouldn’t be admitting it, but when I’m buying groceries I always end up buying… Chocolate... I need a 7 step program.

When I’m shooting, I’m most worried about… Camera shake, so I stop breathing.

My best piece of advice for someone thinking about taking up photography is… To play around, practice, experiment, learn, create and ask when you just need to know something. The only limitation in life is yourself! Everyday I learn something new, whether by accident or because I sought it out. As adults we need to live to learn as much as we did as kids. The advantage of being an adult learner is you get 100% control over what you educate yourself on. The forced learning is done with for the most part. Now is your time to fill your mind and stretch it full of real wisdom.

One thing I’d love to shoot but haven’t had the chance yet is… A natural human birth. Nothing is as natural as a human baby entering into the world. The emotions and feelings would be so genuine, and heart felt through the lens. To capture that raw beauty would be an honour.

All I want for Christmas is… Peace. Not just globally but just locally. Every woman, man and child of all faiths and races. We need to find a way to embrace each other's differences, and compromise to co exist. The alternative is an unthinkable future for our children.

My favourite charity organization is (please provide weblink) I don't have a favourite charity per se. I do have an interest in the AIDS epidemic and the affects the disease has had on the people socially, especially the orphans. I was made aware of an amazing book written by Melissa Fay Greene, 'There is no me without you'. This book focuses a light on the nation's orphaned children, and the Grandmothers left to care for them. The courage and strength of the Grandmothers is awe inspiring. is the site with info on the charities and the author. A charity that helps is

feature photograpHERs

Want to suggest or nominate someone who shoots to answer a few intensely personal questions about themselves? Drop me an email with her (or his) contact information to h dot walls at shaw dot ca

Speaking Engagement: 10 of the dirtiest photography secrets EVER

In case anyone is interested, Hope Walls has been invited for a speaking engagement:

W.I.S.E. stands for Wealth, Inspire, Successful, and Educate

This seminar is meant to do all of the above! We have speakers from all walks of life speaking on issues that matter to us as women. It's a fun and enjoyable evening! Coffee, tea, juice, and yummy sweets will be served and door prizes to be given away. Tickets are only $5.00. Please contact jaimelyn [at] shaw [dot] ca if you'd like to attend or reserve tickets. We only have 100 tickets so act fast! They disappear quickly.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
6:00 – 9:00pm
Four Points by Sheraton Edmonton South
7230 Argyll Road

Please forward to friends/relatives or bring them with you.

Seminar Topics:
The Zebra Program-Edmonton Police Services
Nutrition for Healthy Living
The Differences Between Male and Female Brains
“Dirty Little Secrets
of Photography

A detailed program will be available at the event.

1st annual retreat

Officially, this site isn't up and running yet. In the meantime, however, there will be some tidbits of unofficial news floating around on here while we get the plans in place for the 1st Annual retreat on April 16 - 18, 2010 in central Alberta. Without giving it all away, about $200 will cover your Friday and Saturday night accommodations, Saturday brunch, events, and supper, and Sunday breakfast.


Game on.

recipeLOVE: Cabin Stew

My chicken stew is a big hit with my whole family, and it was well-received at the cabin gathering a couple of weekends ago. I was asked for the recipe but kept forgetting, until now. Probably because I woke up to an abysmal grey morning and felt like a big ole pot of stew would make me feel better. This is the kind of recipe you can make a little or a lot of, but you'll probably want a lot of - the leftovers are great for freezing! (The recipe below will generously feed 8 people, or 4 people for 2 days...)

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 3 or 4 chicken breasts, skinned and chopped into stew-sized chunks
  • (if you're into bacon, you can add 3 strips of bacon chopped into little pieces)
  • dill, sage, salt & pepper to taste, go heavy on the dill
  • about 20 medium sized mushrooms, cut in half (brown ones have a much stronger flavour in the finished stew)
  • 6 or 8 medium potatoes chopped into stew-sized chunks (I use red potatoes and don't bother peeling them, especially if I can get my hands on new baby potatoes and don't even have to cut them...)
  • about a cup and a half (pick and choose your favourites) each of peas, corn, beans, broccoli
  • about 3 cups of carrots, in stew-sized chunks
  • (if you want to get fancy, slice, coat in olive oil, and grill 2 or 3 sweet red and yellow bell peppers under the broiler)
  • 1L of chicken or vegetable stock
  • *milk (I use skim)
  • corn starch & water
  • thick buttered pieces of warm crusty whole-wheatie bread with burdseed in it
Method: Melt the butter in a HUGE pot and sautee chopped onion, minced garlic, mushroom halves, chicken, and spices (I use at least a tablespoon of dill, about a teaspoon of sage, a crapload of pepper, and just a dash of salt) until onions are transparent and chicken is cooked through. (For those who dig on swine, you can sautee your bacon with this stuff.) Add all the other ingredients to the pot except for the milk. Once all the ingredients including the soup stock are added, you will pour in just enough milk to cover the stew. Bring mixture to a rolling boil and reduce heat to medium, stirring often. When potatoes are tender (this is a good time to put your loaf of crusty whole wheatie burdseed bread in the oven to warm...) make a runny paste of the corn starch and water (about 3 - 4 tbsp corn starch and maybe 1/2 cup water). Pour paste very slowly into stew while stirring constantly. When stew thickens to desired consistency (I prefer mine bordering on glue) reduce heat to low, butter your bread (needed for sopping up the gravy), and tell everyone to wash their hands - it's time to eat! showing at a blog near you...

Save the Date

Here's your official invitation to Save the Date for the First Annual Chicks Who Click Retreat taking place April 16 - 18, 2010.

What's this for?

Have an upcoming event that might be of interest to other photographers? Know of a great product we all want? Need a place to show off your new website to an appreciative audience? Drop me a line to h [dot] walls [at] shaw [dot] ca

Welcome to Chicks Who Click

Did you have ovaries at birth? Are you a chronic with your camera? Are you a macho enough to hang out with people born with ovaries walking around shooting people, places, and things with wanton lust? Then you're a photograpHER (or a brave boy) and you've come to the right place. Welcome.


avoiding the urge to photoshop: accentuate the positive...

In light of my adamant stance against giving people new skin and bodies in Photoshop, I've had a few photogs say, then how do you get a client who is self-conscious to LIKE their pictures? Well, that's a great question. Here are a few tried-and-true tricks (VERY dirty little secrets) for photographing people that allow you to take a 'real' picture of your subject without highlighting the things they may feel less than satisfied with and having to rely on Photoshop. Just like in real life, you can't eliminate certain things without cosmetic surgery or an eating disorder, there are ways of disguising or minimizing what your client perceives as their problem areas (99% of the time skin and body, though sometimes I get asked about whitening teeth...) with lighting, clothing, positioning, lenses, and angles. (The added bonus is you save time processing if you get a good shot SOOC...)

Large pores or poor complexion: OK - I admit, I zap zits with Photoshop. All the time. They are temporary annoyances that plague most of us, and there's no way of knowing if one of the little beasts will rear its ugly head the day before your session. Ditto for a small patch of dry skin. But what if the person has chronic acne, severe acne scarring, discoloration or bruising, or large pores? There are a few things you can do to help minimize this. DISGUISE: You can shoot from the side of the face that is least affected, you can partially obscure the person's face. For example, for a family session have the client hold their face close to their child's head in a hug or shoot them from behind looking over their shoulder so that only their profile is showing. If it's a glamour session, have them wear a hat, wrap themselves in filmy fabric, or hold a fan to frame or draw attention to their eyes. LIGHT: High-contrast pictures (the blacks are super black and the whites are super white) can minimize unwanted texture for example sitting your subject close to a window or bouncing your flash off the wall instead of the ceiling. Converting the images to a classic B&W will reduce the appearance of any redness. If you're feeling really creative, you can try using gels (or a piece of tissue paper over your flash) from the yellow-orange family, which will further reduce the appearance of redness if the image is being converted to B&W. Alternately, specifically in the case of large pores, a very well lit subject with light coming from multiple directions (both sides as well as from above) can minimize the appearance of texture as the pores are visible only because they create shadows. Please note that scarring on dark complexions often appears as dark brown or black spots, and your best best may be to go for a high contrast side-lit image. If you're feeling like having some fun, put a piece of gauzy fabric over your lens while shooting or use a texture layer in your post processing. For whatever it's worth, these tricks work to a lesser degree on deeper shadows like laugh lines and cellulite, too. None of these options requires you to perform a Photoshop skin graft on your client.

Rubenesque, stocky, or obese clients: yes, some of us are built like brick outhouses. Some of us aren't particularly fat but we're shorter and therefore look heavier. And yup - there are clients who are just plain clinically obese. In order to help people who are body-conscious to relax in front of the camera there are a number of things you can suggest and employ. DISGUISE: #1 is getting your client to dress in something flattering. A 3XXXL wearing a fluorescent orange and yellow sleeveless Hawaiian print golf muumuu and plaid spandex pants will not photograph well. Wearing a tent is no more flattering to a larger body than wearing clothes that are cutting your circulation off. The key to dressing for a larger body is simple: dark, monochromatic, not-too-tight but not-too-baggy clothing. A tailored suit, wide-leg slacks, an ankle-length pencil skirt, long sleeves, etc. in black, a dark grey, navy, or a warm brown are all flattering options. If someone wants to add a little pizazz, thin vertical (not horizontal) pinstripes create the illusion of height and have a slimming effect. POSITION: Shooting from above will have a slimming effect on a larger body. If used carefully, a wide-angle lens can also have a slimming effect, as long as you are cautious about creating the bobble-head effect. Have them stand with their hips at a 45 degree angle to the camera and one foot in front of the other, get them to lay down on their stomach, or give them something to hold - an umbrella, a newspaper, a bouquet... whatever. If they are seated, shoot them from the side and avoid embarrassing them by trying to make them cross their legs. (I know all you people out there with generous thighs know EXACTLY what I am talking about lol) Get them to cross their feet and lean their knees to the side instead. If there is a group shot, avoid putting the heavy person front OR centre. They will feel more comfortable having their body partially obscured so pack their kids in front of them, get them a stool to stand on in the back row, or seat people in front of them. Have them lean down and put their arms around their spouse/child/parent from behind - it's a great shot and makes everyone feel a bit more comfortable. If you happen to have a location that affords it, put them in an oversized space - a huge doorway, an open field, something with cathedral ceilings. A large space lends itself to making a person look proportionately smaller than their surroundings. (Imagine the difference between putting someone heavy-set next to a skinny poplar you can wrap both hands around vs. a full-grown oak tree you can barely wrap your arms around.) In the case of boudoir or glam photos, a shallow depth-of-field is your best friend. Focus on the eyes, the feet, the cleavage - whatever the person feels are their personal highlights - and leave the rest blissfully out of focus. Stick with highlighting body parts (head, calves, cleavage, eyes, shoulder) as opposed to the whole body. If you're shooting digital, be sure and show your client a few samples on the back of your camera - when they are able to see that they are not being depicted in a manner that makes them feel more self-conscious than they already probably are, then they will be that much more willing to relax and trust your direction. LIGHTING: Again, side-lighting and high contrast is a good way of giving the illusion of someone being half their size. If they have lumpy bits (most of us do) try and camouflage them - a filmy scarf, gauzy over your lens, and (this is a trick from peeler bars) red gel over your lights will all help... but I caution that trying to get a plus-size person well lit to minimize the appearance of lumpy upper arms or thighs will not be as effective as it is for disguising pores...

So, there are my tips for the 2 biggest concerns that (usually) women but (sometimes) men have when getting their picture taken. Emphasizing our best qualities and minimizing the rest is a way better metaphor on how to love yourself than creating an image of ourselves that we can't possibly obtain. It's making seriously tasty lemonade, from our own seriously nasty lemons.

tubeLOVE: gearing up for pinning up...

OK - I am old school Depeche Mode. I had every cassette and a few singles on LP, a hand-painted rose on a brown suede jacket al la Violator (it was very sweet), and camped out in a public mall to get tickets for them. (We were close enough to the stage to smell their sweat.) So, while I can't say I *like* this cover of their classic "Just Can't Get Enough" (really, it is almost more than I can stomach) the video is itself to die for. Good thing I can MUTE. Enjoy...

can of worms: when do you get to be happy?

I thought this warranted its own post. It was a response to the previous post about Photoshop. The clip Heather has referenced is this one which I've posted before. This one is great, too. If you're looking for alternatives to Photoshop, some dirty little secrets (about photographing self-conscious people) are posted here. Open this link in a separate window if you'd like a soundtrack for your reading pleasure...

Heather - yes, I have seen the Dove clip. It doesn't seem to matter - there are still people out there thinking they will be the one to achieve that level of perfection. Rebecca - this is an issue I have with Photoshop, BIG TIME. I grew up with body dysmorphic disorder resulting in 2 extended stays and over a year as an outpatient with a disordered eating clinic. It used to be that we were in our teens when we developed eating disorders, but it's slipped down to the pre-teens over the last decade, and now we have parents paying photographers to photoshop the sh*t out of their family portraits so that they can hang this vision of perceived perfection on the walls of their home. The message this sends our children, from infancy onward, is that they are somehow not good enough to be seen 'in the raw.' It's one thing to take off a pimple or a cat scratch, but things like scars, birthmarks, signs of aging, and the weight we are is actually what people see, every day. Imagine a child growing up in a home where you look in a mirror, look at your photoshopped portrait, and you never look as good as that. What if your child were to die and the only pictures you ever had of them were altered so that you had no 'real' pictures of that child? I weigh at least 30 pounds more than I should and while I know I could stand to lose a few pounds, there's this whole mentality that we will only allow ourselves to be happy if or when we ~insert superficial goal here.~ "I'll be happy when I lose 20 lbs." "I'd be happy if only I didn't have wrinkles." "I'll be happy when I save enough money to get plastic surgery." Sure, Photoshop can sort of take care of some of that, but really all the photoshopped picture does for you is create a fictional version of who you wish you could be, that you somehow make out to be better than the person you are. So what if you never lose that 20 lbs or get money for a facelift? You never get to be really happy? Seems kind of like a depressing life to aim for. When YOU look at your picture, you see the person you hate. When everyone else looks at it, they want to see the person they love, not the person you wish you could be. Consider this: would you love your parents any less if they gained 20 extra pounds? Will you love your children any less if they get a scar on their chin? Does your best friend decrease in value when they get a grey hair? Do you want your children growing up with the same issues that you have? I certainly know that I don't wish to pass along this legacy to my children. So. I'm voluptuous, I'm going grey gracefully, and I have laugh lines, not wrinkles. I'm cool with that, and I need my clients to be cool with that, or I have to refer them elsewhere.

And in conclusion, I'd like to say:

youLOVE: some thoughts on Photoshop

I remember once upon a time the goal was to be a size 5. We're down to a size 0 now?

togetherLOVE: chicks who click

I had the pleasure of spending an entire weekend brainstorming, sharing, reminiscing, and shooting with a group of 7 women (it was supposed to be 10 but 3 couldn't make it... congratulations on the arrival of your beautiful boy Amanda, and Rebecca & Laura - you were sorely missed. Talitha was supposed to come, too!) We stayed at the exquisite Mulhust Bay Chalet, which is positively THEE perfect place to stay if you're ever looking for the comforts of home with the luxury of beautiful architecture and clever design and convenience just minutes from beautiful Pigeon Lake (and only an hour from Edmonton.) In an industry that can often be superficial and cut-throat, riddled with backstabbing, client-thieving, ladder-climbing, and name-dropping, it is incredible to have a circle of fellow shooters who are as wonderful as these ladies. Lovely laughs, fantastic food, shimmery drinks, and treasured friends - the perfect way to wind down from a busy shooting season.

EDITED TO ADD: There was one other individual who was invited but through an apparent miscommunication didn't get included on the roster. My beloved friend Tasha of Fresh! was somehow missed, and if I had the opportunity to shoot her holding a piece of paper, the word I would have for her is "strength" - she is not only a dedicated wife, talented photographer, and incredible Mom to 4 amazing and beautiful children but she has conquered about a gazillion and two hurdles over the past 2 years that prove she defines tenacity, fortitude, and commitment. Tasha - it isn't that you were missed - you ARE missed. I'm SOOOO sorry you weren't here, too!!!

We went on a "photo scavenger hunt" and let each other know what we REALLY think of each other while taking pictures... but it would be too hard to explain it all. Good thing a picture is worth a thousand words (though there are words, too, if you go to the Picasa album...) Lisa, Christine, Amy, Amber, Lariena, and Heather - THANK YOU. I love you all! Here is my take on our lovely weekend:

Christine. You are my soul sister. I don't think I have more words. You're talent, heart, resolve, integrity, and humour often leave me speechless, and that says something. If I had to pick a second word, it would be, "Thank you." That says it all. And it still doesn't scratch the surface.

Lisa: Your talent and dedication are self-evident, but I crumpled up the paper that said, "Complex and Dynamic Onion." What amazed me this weekend, was how much you amazed me. Your gentleness, your broad knowledge and experience, your witty humour, and your understated way of being larger than life were unveiled.

Amber: Amber's Mom (who perhaps ironically shares my name) could not have chosen a better name for her. She is a true gem - not a flashy or ornate one, but the kind that is treasured and sought for it's inherent warmth, beauty, and glow, its soothing properties, and the way it often houses other treasures. (I'll tell you about the piece of amber I have in my purse 24-7 some other time...)

Lariena: There is nothing pretentious about Lariena. What you see and hear is what you get, always from a place of truth within her heart and unparalleled integrity. She puts her entire being - heart, soul, and spirit - into her life with dignity and grace. Lariena is that favourite book you can read 982 times and it never gets old or boring.

Amy: Another word for Amy would be 'infectious.' Her laughter, her sense of playfulness, and her genuine interest in enjoying her (and helping other people enjoy their) life all day, every day, is better than copious amounts of rich tasty coffee, a deep tissue massage, bungee jumping, a family-sized Toblerone, and a high colonic combined.

Heather: When I launched my website in January of 2009, I wanted to redefine what it was about photography that drives me, and in a word it was 'LOVE.' Heather embodies in her personal and professional life precisely what I feel when I'm out shooting: massive amounts of love for life, photography, and basically all of humanity.


EDITED TO ADD: I figured I ought to include the others that were absent for various reasons.

Amanda: Unwavering. Everything about Amanda is gentle, which should never be confused with weak. Amanda is like a tall oak tree, firmly rooted in her own family and beliefs and strong enough to have (now) 2 boys swinging off her arms, yet possessed of soft, sweeping, and arresting beauty.

Rebecca: Potent & deserving. Rebecca is one of the most underestimated human beings I know, especially by herself. She's the kind of person whose ego could use a boob job to inflate it. There is no shortage of fortitude, dedication, humility, or vision in this woman and she simply is, potent, and deserving of more respect, awe, and admiration than I can muster in simple words.

Talitha: Reckoning. You know when you meet someone and they immediately strike you as the kind of together person who you know is a force to be reckoned with? They have poise and confidence yet ooze the kind of modesty that makes them totally approachable? THAT is Talitha. I am honoured to have met her, and think she should move to Edmonton.

Laura: Oh, my Laura. There isn't a single word. Laura is indescribable. I like being drunk on Laura. Laura's beauty, her sophistication, her loyalty, her depth and breadth and strength of character, her perspective, her kindness, and her love. I think my word for her would have to be, "Intoxicating." And she's totally worth the hangover. A million and twelve hangovers times infinity squared.

When the list was put together for this retreat, while I wanted to invite everyone, the short-list was restricted to the people who are a) actively shooting professionally and b) who attended several workshops and/or events during the first year of the DLS series and were therefore instrumental in the development, refinement, and expansion of the Workshops.

As Tammy of Smiley Eyes never attended any of the workshops, she was not short-listed, BUT I think she deserves mention here, because she was there for the first year in spirit if not in body.

Tammy: Tenacious. If you present Tammy with a challenge, she's not only going to accept, but she's going to mop the floor with you. She is no-holds barred, full-on commitment, and unapologetically embraces life to the fullest at every opportunity. She is willing and able at any time to raise the bar and push herself harder than anyone I know, yet manages to do it with the smile that earned her the nickname, "Smiley."

Reanna of Blackbird photography was also not short-listed because she joined very late in the series. Again, I think I would be remiss if I did not mention her here, too.

Reanna: Inventive and thoughtful. Reanna is the person who, just when you thought she'd done it all, comes up with something new, curious, and interesting. While she appears fearless in her approach, she is meticulous, thoughtful and thorough about the details, which mirrors her personal life, too.

And last, but of course not least, are some friends from afar who again, while not an active part of the DLS series, were in the wings during that first year and deserve mention.

Carol: Exquisite. A sweet, dedicated parent, Carol picked up a camera and without meaning to, became exquisite. She sees beauty in the details that compose life, and exposes them with the sweet, beloved, homey warmth of a wife, mother, and woman. Her work and her heart are exquisite.

Cathy: Blond Ambition. If there is a Madonna of the Photography world, Cathy is it. She's got her eyes on the prize and there's no stopping her. Once Cathy has set her mind to something, there is no derailing her. Cathy is driven in all that she does, several times over, from her marathon runs to her parenting SIX children to her photography...

Speaking Engagement

In case anyone is interested, I've been invited for a speaking engagement:

W.I.S.E. stands for Wealth, Inspire, Successful, and Educate

This seminar is meant to do all of the above! We have speakers from all walks of life speaking on issues that matter to us as women. It's a fun and enjoyable evening! Coffee, tea, juice, and yummy sweets will be served and door prizes to be given away. Tickets are only $5.00. Please contact jaimelyn [at] shaw [dot] ca if you'd like to attend or reserve tickets. We only have 100 tickets so act fast! They disappear quickly.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
6:00 – 9:00pm
Four Points by Sheraton Edmonton South
7230 Argyll Road

Please forward to friends/relatives or bring them with you.

Seminar Topics:
The Zebra Program-Edmonton Police Services
Nutrition for Healthy Living
The Differences Between Male and Female Brains
“Dirty Little Secrets
of Photography

A detailed program will be available at the event.


In case anyone is interested, I've been invited for a speaking engagement:

W.I.S.E. stands for Wealth, Inspire, Successful, and Educate

This seminar is meant to do all of the above! We have speakers from all walks of life speaking on issues that matter to us as women. It's a fun and enjoyable evening! Coffee, tea, juice, and yummy sweets will be served and door prizes to be given away. Tickets are only $5.00. Please contact jaimelyn [at] shaw [dot] ca if you'd like to attend or reserve tickets. We only have 100 tickets so act fast! They disappear quickly.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
6:00 – 9:00pm
Four Points by Sheraton Edmonton South
7230 Argyll Road

Please forward to friends/relatives or bring them with you.

Seminar Topics:
The Zebra Program-Edmonton Police Services
Nutrition for Healthy Living
The Differences Between Male and Female Brains
“Dirty Little Secrets
of Photography

A detailed program will be available at the event.

togetherLOVE: two too sweet!

If you go to and come across a picture of a little girl licking her lips and holding a big sunflower, you will recognize the big blue eyes on both these little cuties, who were SO much fun to hang out with a few weeks ago! It was great seeing you all again, Mommy & Daddy - thanks for letting me chill out (really, it was literally chilly!) in the blustery beauty of Dog Rump park with you and yours!

myLOVE: a weekend in the woods

We spent the entire weekend out at the cabin. We did some work (moved in the princess furniture, reorganized and rearranged things to accommodate our crap, hauled the lifejackets and paddles to the shed...) but mostly we concentrated on hanging out. Cribbage, crocheting and embroidering, and of course a big turkey dinner with in-from-town guests. The weather was perfect, the company was fine, the walks were refreshing, the air was brisk, and the sleep was incredible. I really didn't want to come home this afternoon and have started the countdown to the next visit already...

newLOVE: Rory sittin' pretty!

No one was more excited than I was to find out that my beloved Rowan was going to be a big sister, and Rory was well worth the wait. Now that he's already 6 months big, he's sitting up and driving his big sister as crazy as a little brother should. Rowan was extra helpful, giving wonderful direction on which shrubs, flowers, animals, and toys I ought to photograph. I couldn't be more thrilled with this set, even if the weather was a bit nippy! Thanks for making me such a pretty baby to take pictures of, J & J. (And YAY on the eyes!!! Woot woot!!!)

tubeLOVE: a little Withers for the Weekend

Happy Thanksgiving! May your friends and family be near, may your days be filled with gratitude, and may your turkey be moist!

No soapboxing here, just a quick shout out to my family, friends, and clients to express a sincere and humble (but really really loud), "THANK YOU!"

Stay warm, everyone!!!

youLOVE: Calling All Calendar Girls!

This session is all about YOU!

Join us on November 11th, 2009 at the Glenora Bed & Breakfast for relaxation, pampering, and photography.

Prior to the day, you will be contacted by Hope Walls who will briefly consult with you on the style of photographs you are hoping for – retro style pin-up, Hollywood glam, boudoir, or casual… maybe all 4… On the day of the shoot, when you arrive you will be whisked away by the professional hair and make-up team who will primp and preen you to absolute glamorous perfection while you relax and enjoy a glass of champagne and nibble on fresh fruit.

Whether you want something risqué or relaxed, saucy or subdued, classic or kicky is up to you. Suggestions for clothing include: jeans and a plain white t-shirt, a man’s shirt (maybe your hubby’s?), a bustier or teddy, a plush bathrobe, a retro-styled or classic black dress, and, of course, a pair of FABULOUS shoes. (Bring your swimsuit and a housecoat if you’d like to be photographed in the clawfoot bubble bath….) There will also be a selection of props, accessories, and costumes on hand – everything from a vintage telephone and hats to gloves and rhinestones - to amp up your look.

Once your look has been completed, you will receive about an hour and a half of camera time, during which we will create a series of 15 – 20 images in up to 3 outfits that will be professionally retouched in the style we’ve discussed and put into a 2010 calendar (11 x 8 hardcover foil-wrap books are available instead for an extra $50) as a reminder of how gorgeous you really are. Don't do it for your boyfriend or your husband, do it for YOU!

Sessions include: hair artistry, professional make-up, photography and retouching services, and the calendar or book delivered just in time for Christmas. Contact h [dot] walls [at] shaw [dot] ca to book - only 4 spaces available and 2 are already taken!

Calendar only: $400

Book only: $450

Calendar & Book: $475


My skin isn’t perfect… No worries – make-up, lighting, and retouching will ensure that your skin looks as supple as a newborn baby’s bottom. Blemishes, scarring, and large pores will be minimized without making you look like a plastic dollie.

I’m not as thin as I’d like to be and don’t think I’ll feel very sexy in front of a camera in lingerie… You don’t need to be super-model thin to participate. All photographs will be taken using flattering angles, lenses, and lighting to highlight the parts of yourself you love and downplay the parts you don’t (maybe you have incredible cleavage or super sexy calves but don’t like your thighs).

myLOVE: Wil strikes again

Remember this post? A mom NEVER wants to get a call like this: "Hello, Mrs. Walls? This is the paramedic. You're son was hit by a car. We're en route to the hospital..."

Wil got hit by a car today while crossing the street. Hell of a kick-off to the weekend. He was in the crosswalk, going to catch his bus to school. He looked both ways and got pegged off when he was over halfway to the curb. (trust me - he doesn't walk fast, ever - there was PLENTY of time to notice a pedestrian in the crosswalk at a traffic circle.) The driver was too busy looking LEFT to merge into RIGHT turning traffic to look RIGHT for pedestrians. Wil is fine - he got lucky... after being hit by the car and bouncing off the windshield hard enough to shatter it, he now jokes about rolling off the other side and not "sticking the landing." He spent several hours pretending to think it was all funny, while involuntarily shuddering and shaking as his body did what his teenage brain was too cool to register: he was hit by a freakin' car. To accompany several bruises and really sore muscles, he has road rash covering most of the right side of his back so deep you can see the pattern of the ribs that scraped over the asphalt.

As a bicycle commuter, I am all too aware of how often drivers making a RIGHT turn are so busy looking LEFT for oncoming traffic that they fail to look RIGHT for people crossing streets or walking on the sidewalk. (I ride on the sidewalk when I have Serejane in the trailer, because drivers are a$$holes.) In my first year as a bicycle commuter I had my share of road rash to this effect, twice dodging right-turning traffic and once being hit by someone who just didn't bother to look. Now, in my fourth year of bicycle commuting, I never cross any street, driveway, or alley until I have made eye contact with any driver who happens to be there. They normally don't notice that I'm there until they've already gunned it and are proceeding into the intersection, their facial expressions are all the same: "Holy sh*t! I didn't even look!" If there's a passenger, the passenger usually looks completely stunned, while the driver looks straight ahead pretending not to have seen you, like if they feign ignorance they will somehow be exempt from acknowledging they could have killed someone.

While Wil's last visit to the hospital was self-inflicted, there was virtually NOTHING he could have done to avoid what happened to him today besides stay in the house, or be made of steel. Vehicles cannot safely fly through an uncontrolled crosswalk at 50kms an hour during peak rush-hour. Slow the hell down, and look both ways before you proceed, both as a pedestrian AND as a driver. I think every driver on the roads should spend a week bicycle and foot-commuting to remind them that while they floor it to make a break in traffic, there might be a fragile body made of breakable bones and soft flesh that will always, each and every time, be more important than punching the clock on time because you hit snooze one too many times. Lives are at stake: always look both ways before proceeding.