patience is a virtue I lack

Such a delightful day at My Edmonton Studio yesterday working with this young lady!  Kailee Cheung is a singer-songwriter from right here in Edmonton, and at the ripe old age of 14 (or, a she prefers it, "almost 15...") has landed herself a spot on the ATB Homegrown Stage at Big Valley Jamboree on August 2, 2013.  (You should take a minute to subscribe to her YouTube channel and follow her on Twitter!)

What made her so much fun to work with is twofold.  First, she is a goofball.  She's not afraid of playing, of having fun, of laughing, which made my job really easy.  Second, and more importantly, Kailee is completely down-to-earth.  She's not the least bit of diva you might expect from someone with such huge talent.  

Kailee has never had a professional photo shoot before, so I took some time to explain how things work, especially when her and Mom asked if they got all the photos, even the ones we're not using.  I said, no - there is a lot of retouching and tweaking that happens even in the simplest of images.  The deal is, if it's temporary I'll take it out but if you would require a) a long time or b) surgery to change it, it stays...  

Here's an example of the magic of before and after Photoshop.  Even with an image requiring minor retouching, I still spent time to remove mosquito bites, bruises, and flyaway hairs caused by the perfect expression being caught when the fan wasn't doing its' job.  I also got the mismatched pinks to be a more similar and complimentary tone.  Crop, extend edge, blend, tweak saturation and contrast, sharpen it all up, add watermark, and voila - final image: (Click on the images to see them bigger.)

We had music playing while we were shooting and Kailee started singing along with an invisible mic, so we just went ahead and handed her a hairbrush.  (Come on - we've all done it... lol)

But when it was time to "work" Kailee was completely mature, professional, and polite.

Kailee's Mom was there for the entire shoot and became the unofficial assistant, helping with lighting, refreshments, and of course clothing malfunctions...

All in all, a super fun morning...

But, I'm not gonna lie - the best part of the day for me was the last set which we started shortly after lunch.  Kailee is a bit of an old soul, and between singing Adele and Beyonce covers, likes to sing a bit of Elvis, her Grandma's favourite singer of all time.  So we decided to channel Priscilla circa 1967 and go for an outrageous retro look replete with giant hair, heavy black eye make-up, and a dress that looked like it came off the set of an Austin Powers movie.  It involved a lot (A LOT) of make-up and backcombing... and a big foam hair donut to support all that long long hair of hers in a bouffant.

The "Priscilla-pics" are top-secret for now - we're holding them back until Kailee gets a song or two recorded - and it's killing me, really - I am not a patient person.  I know it's not my place to start riding her butt about rehearsing, writing, and getting into the studio, but I kind of caught a bit of stage-mom-itis from the day.  For now, this is all you get for a teaser:

After we finished with the "official" pictures, Kailee really REALLY really really wanted to wear a cupcake tutu for a few pics.  And since when I have I ever been one to say no to a tutu picture?

At the very end of the day Kailee's Dad and two little brothers stopped in for a few minutes.  Her youngest brother felt like he needed a jumping picture, too.  (If you watch this video in its entirety, you'll learn a bit about this little guy.)

I showed this pic to Kailee on the back of the camera and she said, "He looks like a flying pencil!"  And you now what?  He kinda does.  Unlike Kailee, who looks a bit like a flying kamikaze in this pic...

A million thank yous to the incredibly talented Juanita who accomplished such amazing things with Kailee's hair, and to Lindsey who took our creative vision and went above and beyond to create the perfect look; to Kailee's Mom Crystal for keeping us fed, coffee'd, and coordinated; and to Kailee for being such a quick study in smoke-and-mirrors and a sheer pleasure to work with.

more kickin' cancer's ass

New photos have been added to the 2013 Relay for Life Zoomphoto album.  If you were missing team photos or other images from the event, please go check now on the last pages of the event here.

"Mom! I'm a dot com!"

Super-excited that me and some wicked cool hair and make-up people get to hang out with this talented young lady from right here in Edmonton next weekend shooting some promo pics for her newly launched website,

Kailee is just 14 years old and has this HUGE talent yet is one of the sweetest young women you could ever hope to meet, full of humility, charm, warmth, and a wonderful sense of humour.  When she first saw her website late last week she apparently yelled, "Mom!  I'm a dot com!"  She's just started working with a new pair of vocal coaches and is getting ready to start on some original and co-written songs as well.

Please go visit her dot com (which is actually a dot ca but let's not split hairs) or send her some love on her newly-launched YouTube Channel (she has a playlist of her 2011 and 2012 competition performances in "Edmonton Undiscovered" if you want to see more) or follow her on Twitter (or all of the above.)

She's performing on the ATB Homegrown Talent stage August 2nd, 2013 at Camrose's sold-out Big Valley Jamboree and I have to miss it due to a family commitment... so I'm really hoping she announces another gig soon!  In the meantime I have to settle for some youtube performances.  Below is a video she uploaded just a few days ago of her rehearsing a new song.  If this is what "practice" looks like, I can hardly wait to see "perfect."

Kailee, I wish nothing but good things for your upcoming career and I am so grateful to be a part of the early days, and maybe 5 years from now I can say, "Oh, yeah - I knew her when..."

it was orange, and red, and then green, and then more green with maybe some blue

I'm not actually going to say a lot other than, outtakes are awesome, come back often.  Seriously? You can't PAY people to look as authentically "familial" and "in love" and "genuinely whimsical" as these guys.  I said, hey, abandoned parking lot, empty school - think obnoxiously bright painted bricks, pavement, giant red balls, concrete... and Mom and Dad were like, sure, OK - we trust you!  I'm not sure if they are the smart ones or if I ought to take some credit here for having good instincts. Either way, hello?  This was AWESOME.  Yay!!!

I really cannot find words to express enough gratitude for people who entrust me to do my job.  It is both validating and overwhelming, which kind of sums it all up for me nicely.  Yay photography!!!!

it's a...

You might remember these two boys, who were hoping for a little estrogen injection in the house.

Well, the bad news is, they didn't get their wish for no new boys in the house... 

The good news is, they seem to have adjusted well to adding beautiful Mr. R to the mix.

Really, he's delicious.  Like, I was speechless how perfect he is. The beautiful little lips, his sweet cheeks, his perfect little toes!

Mom & Dad seem... least as smitten as the big brothers.

And it's plain to see why.  Congratulations on the arrival of Mr. R.  Thanks you for letting me snuggle, smoosh, palpate, sniff (oh yes I did) and pose him for my own selfish pleasure.  

Really.   Seriously.  Look at these and tell me you are not jealous he wasn't in YOUR space for a little while:)

As we advance in our years, I don't think any of us wants to admit how long we've been at this picture taking thing for someone's family, because it makes us look and feel old... but I have to say that I am so grateful to have met the C family, to be a part of their family's history, and to be the lady these amazing, funny, sweet boys look forward to at least once a year.

My hope right now is that Mr. R. learns to tolerate me as well as his big brothers.

So muchLOVE to you all, C family - it is an honour and a pleasure.  And I'm not going to lie - I am REALLY excited for what the 3-brother version of this looks like about 5 years from now: