the eyes have it

So, this is Mr. N, whose eyes are like puddles of warm melty chocolate.  He is both as wise and clever as his eyes would lead you to believe.

He came to visit me this past weekend.  He was feeling musical and brought his guitar.

So I let him play the piano, too.

But of course, being a toddler and having the attention span of a gnat, it was only a matter of time before it was peek-a-boo o'clock...

... then story time...

... then time to giddyap...

There was barely time to get a quick snuggle in with Mom & Dad...

... before it was time to play some football and call it a day.

C&L, thank you for bringing me your delicious, sweet wonderful little boy to warm my heart and make my Sunday beautiful.

book in NOW!!!

1) You MUST sign up on the Doodle poll using a valid email address - your spot will NOT be reserved without an email address.  If you do not get an email confirmation within 48 hours of signing up, assume you are not signed up and try again.
2) Deposits are non-refundable, non-transferable, and must be paid within 48 hrs of receiving your invoice or your booking will be released.
3) Sessions include hi-res digital images that will be delivered to you via your choice of digital transfer or on a CD that you may pick up at your convenience.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014: Costume-palooza
$50/hour, 4 persons max, 5-10 images.  This is a day dedicated to playing dress up.  With 200+ costumes.  This event is by invitation only.  If you want to come and play dress-up, send me a request to pictureLOVE [dot] ca [at] gmail [dot] com and I will send you an invitation.  Cost will be $50/group for an hour which will include sizing and fitting a costume, selecting which furniture and props to use, and shooting for as long as possible.  Due to space limitations, you may bring a maximum of 3 team members with you whether that's your own photographer, an HMUA team, or someone to dress up with.  To maximize your shooting time, you are welcome to arrive up to 1-hour before your session to do hair and make-up on-site if required.

Sunday, March 16, 2014: Mi Familia 
$125/family, 5 persons max, 1 individual portrait of each family member plus one nice and one silly or fun or awkward group portrait.  This is my annual "thank you" gift to my clients and their immediate family and best friends.  You MUST a) be a former client or b) have a personal referral from someone who has shot with me before in order to sign up.  If you have more than 5 family members coming, you will need to book and pay for 2 consecutive spaces.  Sign up with your email here!

Saturday, April 5, 2014: Me and my BFF
$125/group, 5 persons max, one individual portrait plus 5 group portraits.  This is a day dedicated to BFFs.  Perhaps your BFF is your sister or Dad.  Maybe it's someone you met in elementary school or maybe it's your spouse.  Doesn't matter.  Come on down for a special session dedicated to celebrating intimate and special relationships that need no explanation or excuse.  Sign up with your email address here!


Sunday, April 13, 2014: Old Hollywood-inspired Boudoir, Pin-up, Glamour 
$375 includes 3 costume changes, mini-massage, full hair and make-up, 20-30 unique images, and a sweet keepsake!  Think Garbo, Deitrich, Monroe, Davis... then get ready to get your sexy on!  This lovely day includes all kinds of pampering, starting with a mini-massage from a professional massage therapist, professional hair and make-up from an experienced and incredibly talented HMUA team, delicious strawberries and champagne, and of course about an hour of camera time to create sassy, sultry, glamourous images that you will smile about for the rest of your life.  Only 5 spaces available.  Sign up with your email address here!

Sunday May 11, 2014: Momma and Me Day!  
 $100/family.  Come prepared to spend about an hour at My Edmonton Studio with your children to participate in a special visit that includes a family portrait, kids' activities, refreshments, special gifts, and a whole lot of showering Love on The Momma.  A super fun, super sweet thing to do on Mother's Day with several different activities are planned including crafts, manicures, massages, and more, suitable for ladies and gentlemen of all ages (and maturity levels) ;)  Sign up with your email address here!

Dear Hope: I lost my mojo - where can I find it?

As a matter of fact, it's completely normal to feel like you're stagnating, so normal that certain professions actually have rather lengthy career breaks for refreshing, upgrading, and resetting built right in, amoung them chefs, designers, and professional educators.  And more and more people are creating sabbaticals for themselves -  Lifehackers even wrote a "how to" for people wanting to plan their own.  Unlike vacations, wherein you get to rest and relax, a sabbatical is intended to inject new life in your career by allowing you time and space to explore your career down avenues you might not be typically able to if you're tied up with ongoing projects or responsibilities.

I have loved this Ted Talk by designer Stefan Sagmeister on Sabbaticals for a very long time because it shows exactly how sabbaticals enrich people's lives.


As the Lifehacker article suggests, it *is* possible for many people to plan for a sabbatical if they are willing to make certain sacrifices and plan carefully, but when it's not an option for 3 or 5 or even another 10 years, how can you find your mojo again?  Well, I just happen to have some ideas to help you get un-stuck and re-motivated, but I warn you, there may be some growing pains.

1.) Take a mini sabbatical.  Sure, 6 months or a year would be ideal, but maybe all you can get is a month or even a week.  Make it happen.  A sabbatical doesn't mean you need to drop out of life completely, it just means that you take some time to look for ways to breathe new life into your work without having to "work" while doing so.  Lots of employers allow their employees to attend a short course, go to a guest lecture or speaker, or take a class during work hours, and if you're self-employed it's (actually) really easy asking the boss for a break.  So, even if you can't take a year, take a professional development break.

2.) Stop looking outward for inspiration. The best thing I ever did for my self-esteem was to stop cruising other photographers' websites.  Look inside yourself and remember what it was about shooting that drove you to pick up a camera even if no one ever paid you a penny.  Go back to when you didn't care what anyone thought and you shot simply because you loved it. That is the passion you need to rekindle.  Spend less time looking at other people's work and more time looking back through your own.  Close your eyes and remember that overwhelming urge to get out and shoot, shoot, shoot!  It's probably hiding there still, just below the surface.  Dig in and pull it out.

3) Mix it up.  One of the most inspiring things you can do for yourself is to go beyond your comfort zone.  Are you a strictly babies kind of person?  Go shoot fashion.  You only do families?  Try some boudoir.  Terrified of weddings?  Beg to second shoot one.  Never tried a commercial gig?  Find someone who wants product shots and volunteer your services.  And if you're one of those people who "specializes" in everything, I only say "jack of all trades, master of none" - your challenge is to design  a small narrow project (i.e.) photograph 100 fire hydrants) and complete it from start to finish before trying something new.

4) Take a Social Media Holiday.  Don't just log out or disable notifications, DELETE.  (I promise, everything is there when you get back.)  Give someone you trust temporary administrative control over your fan pages so they stay online, and tune out.  Here are some tips.  The first 2 days you will feel lost.  The next 5 will feel odd.  By week two you will only think of FB, Pinterest, Instagram fleetingly and if you make it all the way to four weeks you'll almost be sad to be going back online.  I promise you won't regret it.

5) Recalibrate your focus.  Sometimes we get so caught up in keeping abreast of hot trends and rocks stars in "the industry" that we forget to focus our attention where it needs to be: on our own business.  Have you been spending more time reading about marketing than doing marketing?  Are you spending more time watching CreativeLIVE than shooting?  Do you spend more time talking to other photographers than your own present and potential clients?  It's probably a safe bet that you will feel 100x more productive if you start being the person to watch instead of the person watching.

You don't have to be stuck forever.  Hopefully these tips will help get you started on the path to unearthing your mysteriously absentee mojo.  Good luck!!!