Hi there,

I'm Dianne, and welcome to my blog! I'm a wedding and family photographer based in Southwestern Ontario, and I just love meeting people in every stage of life, but have to admit that love stories are my favourite! I'd love it if you'd grab a coffee, snuggle up on the couch, and browse through everything that I've been up to lately, and become a part of this amazing DVI community! You can even get to know me and my family!

I'm Dianne, and welcome to my blog! I'm a wedding and family photographer based 

photographer based in Southwestern Ontario, and I just love meeting people in every stage of life, but have to admit that love stories are my favourite! I'd love it if you'd grab a coffee, snuggle up on the couch, and browse through everything that I've been up to lately, and become a part of this amazing DVI community! You can even get to know me and my family!

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Simcoe Cherry Orchard Family Session | The Van’t Foort Family

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Spring has finally arrived, and with it CHERRY BLOSSOMS! This Simcoe cherry orchard family session was supposed to be an apple orchard session. I don’t think anyone minded the slightly longer drive to Simcoe, however. The white blossoms on these trees were the perfect background for this gorgeous family.

MOM & DAD & KIDS MAKE SIX

Kelli and Andrew are parents to four of the most fun and joyful children ever, but I might be biased. I’ve had the privilege of seeing this family grow over the last few years, and it’s been an honour. From the twins’ mischievous giggles to Logan’s love for his dad, the session never slowed down, and I ended up with a gallery of over 150 pictures! I’m so excited to deliver these, I know they’ll be up on their walls in no time for visitors to enjoy as well!

TWIN GIRLS

Kristyn and Kailyn are the cutest 6-year-old twin. Mom Kelli mentioned to me that the bond that they have is so much more than the bond between regular siblings. I cannot even imagine. They giggled and laughed, and not many words were said between the two. I’m sure their bond is something that brings their parents much joy!

SIX TIMES OVER

That’s how many times I’ve had the privilege of capturing Lauryn already. From her newborn photos to her latest second birthday session, including two family sessions now. To say that I appreciate watching her grow up is an understatement. Every time she is cuter and more smiley than the last!

BEST BIG BROTHER

Logan is the lucky big brother to these three girls, and I’m sure he’s going to have his hands full once they start dating. If anyone has their best interests at heart along with their parents, it’s this little handsome man. Dapper as all get out, and head-over-heels with his Mom and Dad. He was pretty proud of that tie as well!

All in all, I’d have to say that this family is one of my favourites, and capturing them in this stunning setting was such a treat. Kelli and Andrew, I hope your travels go well tomorrow, and wishing you an incredible time with family, celebrating your brother’s wedding!

Cherry farm family hugging Cherry farm family kids walking Cherry farm family kids walking Cherry farm family hugging smiling Cherry farm father son walking laughing Cherry farm father son walking laughing Cherry farm twins Cherry farm twins Cherry farm twin Cherry farm twins Cherry farm twins blossoms Cherry orchard twins sitting Cherry orchard twins blossom Cherry orchard girl smelling blossom Cherry orchard couple hugging blossom

This little girl is just adorable, don’t you agree? She’s been in front of my camera SIX TIMES now! LAURYN’S TWO-YEAR SESSION was one of my favourites ever; especially with that sprinkled donut!

Cherry orchard little girl smelling blossom Cherry orchard little girl sitting Cherry orchard kids sitting in grass Cherry orchard blossoms Cherry orchard family Cherry orchard family, baby kissing father Cherry tree farm Cherry tree farm blossom, mom hugging children Cherry orchard mom with kids Cherry orchard mom and dad being hugged by kids Cherry orchard little girl walking Cherry orchard little girl walking Cherry orchard little girl kissing mother Cherry orchard twin walking Cherry orchard twins hugging Cherry orchard girl and blossom Cherry orchard twins walking Cherry orchard blossom and twins hugging

Family

May 21, 2019

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Why You Need a Wedding Planner

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Anna, from Spunky Sapphire Events, is as vivacious as her business name suggests, but she is definitely an introvert and prefers to recharge by herself or with her husband and toddler hooligans. She has been in the wedding industry for over ten years and has run SSE for almost six years (what!). While serving her sweet clients, she helps them focus on building a marriage more beautiful than the wedding day, focusing on their relationships rather than the logistics, and starting married life on the best foot possible. She’s a bride-whisperer, a type-a sidekick, and will quickly turn into one of your friends—and how cool is that on your wedding day?! She regularly fields the question, “But why do I need a wedding planner?” so I’m happy to have this Hamilton wedding planner share on the blog today!

HEY THERE!

Congratulations, bride-to-be!  You’re getting married and Pinterest has become your new best friend.  With all those ideas, you’ve started hiring a photographer, florist, caterer. You may have even hired a decorator for that gorgeous head table backdrop, beautiful tent chandeliers, and candles with the perfect lounge area.  So you’ve got the necessities, you’re super organized, and your mom and sisters are thrilled to help you out anytime.  What can a planner add?

First, I’ll be blunt: when I get asked this question, I probably get an “are you serious?!” exasperated look on my face, and that’s not just because I’m trying to get a new client.  Haha!  (Can you picture it?)

hamilton wedding planner arranging flatlay

YOU. NEED. A. WEDDING. PLANNER

Unlike the name “wedding planner” suggests, most of my clients don’t hire me to take control of everything, plan the wedding for them, and greet them when they show up for their big day like you see in those movies (you know the ones–*wink).  I haven’t thought of a replacement name for “wedding planner”, so, until I do, I think of myself as a Type-A Sidekick.  That’s what my clients hire me for.

SEE THIS AMAZING HAMILTON WEDDING PLANNER AND HER FAMILY ON THE BLOG HERE!

They want to plan every detail of their own wedding; from hiring the photographer of their dreams to choosing their menu to staying on track with every free downloadable planning tool there is.  However, they know they can’t clone themselves on their wedding day. They really want to enjoy every second stress-free and full of joy. To focus only on their new spouse, family, and friends.

Trust me, NO ONE wants to deal with the gross logistics on their own wedding day.

What if a vendor’s car breaks down on the way over?  What if you’re super overwhelmed by the idea of putting everything you’ve ordered and hired out into a cohesive timeline?  What if the rental company loses your order that you placed ten months before your wedding (and you got confirmation and paid your deposit for!) and the week before, they tell you that you haven’t rented anything?  (Yes, that really happened.)

You can plan a wedding on your own.  (I mean, I’m always here if you need me, have a question about anything, or change your mind!).

hamilton wedding planner

DOWNLOAD YOUR IDEAL TIMELINE GUIDE AND WORKBOOK HERE.

 

WHAT YOU CAN’T DO?

Be in two places at once on your wedding day. Know everything there is to know about weddings. Answer hundreds of emails and phone calls from vendors with questions (on the wedding day, no less!). Deal with opinions and “I just think you should do it this way” comments. Work a full-time job. Take care of yourself. All while staying joyful about the whole process while not threatening to elope.

And when those crises in the questions I asked above come up, the planner you hired is 1000% ALL IN to get them resolved, sorted out, back on track. Whatever needs to happen so your day is flawless.  More times than not, you won’t even know there were issues of that magnitude because of your wedding planner.  She’s on your side, working for you, every minute you’ve got her.

I WORK FOR YOU!

And, while we’re talking about “on your side” (and I’m going to get a question about this!), venue coordinators are generally lovely.  But they work for the venue, not you.  I’ll say it again: Venue coordinators/planners work for the venue, not for you.  That means, if something happens, it’s literally their job to take the venue’s side on any issue.

I’ve worked with several amazing coordinators; they’re valuable, and I love them.  But, they’ll admit they can’t do everything an independent wedding planner can do for you.  Their hands are tied in some areas and if there’s an issue with a vendor that’s not related to anything at the venue, they won’t resolve it for you.  And, surely, if someone’s car breaks down on the way to the venue, they’re not going to send their delivery van or call an Uber for that person.  Imagine having to deal with that all on your own while you’re trying to sip a mimosa and get your hair done!

hamilton wedding planner arranging florals

YOU DESERVE TO ENJOY YOUR DAY!

The number one response I get from past clients when I ask what they were able to do on their wedding day because they hired me: “I was able to relax and enjoy myself every minute of the day because I knew you had everything under control.  Our day was beautiful just like we planned it, and we could appreciate it because of you.”

When I get sweet responses like that, I know it’s true that wedding planners make a difference.  They tell all their friends that it was the best investment they made for their wedding.  And while a planner is an investment, the money you spend on their expertise will definitely be saved somewhere else because we know how to work magic with a budget, avoid costly mistakes, and get you the most bang for your buck.  Time is the one commodity we’ll never recoup…imagine what you could be doing with freed up time and brain space.  Hire a planner.  The new wives with wedding planning experience have spoken! 😊

GET TO KNOW THIS HAMILTON WEDDING PLANNER BETTER HERE!

Guest Post, Tips for Brides

May 9, 2019

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Scarborough Bluffs Engagement Session | Julia & Andrew

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As he spun her around and around, her white and blue dress flowing out behind her, he looked at her. Like, really looked at her. As if he was seeing her again for the first time. And she was just as goofy, happy, and crazy as she was back then. In this place that made us think we were somewhere in the Mediterranean, these two kissed more times than I asked them to. They laughed harder, smiled bigger, and made me the happiest photographer on the planet!

THE TURQUOISE WATER AT THE BLUFFS WAS THE PERFECT BACKGROUND

Julia and Andrew remind me so much of my husband and me! Julia and I are both goofballs and super easy-going! Andrew and Bert are both calmer, more grounded, and would much prefer to spend their evenings at home spending quality time with their girl. This Scarborough Bluffs engagement session was everything that we all dreamed of, I’m sure. I know it was for me!

At their consultation, Julia admitted that she’d found me on INSTAGRAM, and had scrolled all the way down to the bottom to one of last year’s wedding detail shots and fell in love. If I remember correctly, her words were, “If I had a photo like that of my wedding, I’d hang it on the wall!” That would make any photographer squeal inside, of course, but I literally squealed (although I waited till I was on the way home).

Julia admitted that they had a hard time choosing their outfits, but thanks to some super inspiring Pinterest boards, they absolutely nailed it! I am so totally going to use both of these outfits for the engagement session style guide that’s in the works for later this year! It’s always so amazing to make these decisions a little bit easier (and more fun) for couples. Engagement sessions should be all about laughter and relaxation! I always say that it’s just practice for the big day!

THEIR BURLINGTON WEDDING IS GOING TO BE EVEN MORE AMAZING

These two are having the most amazing wedding at LaSalle Banquet Centre in Burlington, and I heard something about a poutine bar! I mean, anyone who knows what a cheese-and-gravy lover I am, knows that’s the only reason why I’m really going, right? Just kidding!!! I literally am counting down the weeks till their July wedding. Julia is going to make the most beautiful bride and Andrew such a handsome groom.

Julia and Andrew, you two are some of the most beautiful (inside and out) people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. It was so amazing to make these memories with you. I’m excited that you are so confident in your choice to have me as your wedding photographer, it really is an honour. I cannot wait to see you again soon!


The lighting was just as amazing as THIS WEDDING the week before.

Engagement

May 6, 2019

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University of St. Michael’s College Wedding | Cana & José

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“José called me, and said, ‘I’m bringing a girl home, dad’!” José’s father stood with a microphone in his hand, the silly grin on his face very reminiscent of his son who was married earlier that day. “I thought to myself, ‘Well, that’s a lucky girl!'” He’s totally right, Cana is so blessed to have this loving, wonderful man by her side! The story went on for a little while until most of us were brought to tears when José’s father said, “But when I actually met Cana and got to know her a little bit, I realized it was my son that was the lucky one.” Hearts officially melted, like, seriously!!! The ending to this Toronto University Wedding was just icing on top of a really beautiful cake!

A DAY FULL OF LOVE

This entire day was so full of love and laughter, it was just incredible. It was so obvious that there is such a deep meaning to their lives and the way they live it. I just cannot stop thinking what an honour it was to capture this day. From the moment I walked in the door at Cana’s home that she shared with some of her closest friends, I was welcomed like a close friend. The way that Cana is loved by her friends was just astounding. I know they’ll be seriously missed here in Ontario, as they are moving to the west coast after their honeymoon in Mexico.

SAYING “I DO”

José is quick to pull a goofy grin when emotions overtake him, but we watched him grin from ear to ear as his father-in-law brought Cana down the aisle. And that grin never left his face! The wind couldn’t take an ounce of the happiness of these two; it just made them hold tighter to each other. It was interesting to capture family portraits beside the church with a family that spoke mostly Spanish; their excitement was very contagious but I just didn’t know what it was about.

AND THEN MORE LOVE

The reception was a litany of heartfelt speeches and toasts, which meant that emotions ran high all night long. Well, at least mine did. Speeches always seem to do me in. After a day of capturing the most important day in the lives of each of my couples, I really start to love them. Then hearing from their parents and wedding party about how they are loved… well, it just does me in! Cana & José were blessed with the most amazing wedding party; from handling our parking (even paying for it) to making sure we were well fed. I literally could not hold back tears when the maid of honour thanked Cana and José’s parents each for raising such amazing people. I know, I should stop, but it really was that incredible. I’m such a lucky girl for having the opportunity to capture all of these memories for them.

I wonder who’s more excited here???

bride and groom bride and groom bride and groom bride and groom bride and groom bride's bouquet bride bride walking groom and pocket watch detail bride and groom and groom detail shot groom bride and groom bride and groom walking bridal party walking into reception bridal party walking into reception bride and groom at reception

This amazing group of people have a special bond. A special purpose in life, to be very honest. They all stand for the lives of the unborn and go above and beyond to do so. This means they’ve experienced some incredible things together. And that kind of bond just doesn’t easily break, not even if the bride and groom move to B.C.!

bride and groom cutting cake bride and her closest friends first dance first dance reception details

And I had to throw this #DVICOUPLE selfie in there, because these two just mean the world to us. I honestly cannot wait to see them again! Who knows, maybe it’ll be sooner rather than later!!!

bride and groom with photographers reception details

Wedding

April 30, 2019

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A Black Tie Affair | Haus 820 Lakeland Styled Shoot

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Even after many years of marriage, Sandra and Matt still looked at each other as if it was the day of their wedding. His eyes shone with admiration for the woman she has become since then. A mom of two, and an absolute stunner to boot! This Black Tie Styled Shoot at Haus 820 in Lakeland Florida was part of a workshop I was privileged enough to take part in. The feel of the shoot was a luxury black tie affair with stunning but simple details. Shauna and Jordon of Shauna and Jordon Photography did not disappoint!

It is not easy to organise and run a styled shoot for ten professionals, but Shauna and Jordon outdid themselves! There was very little elbowing (the few times it did happen it was accidental); and there were enough stations to keep us all occupied. A few things I learned: A luxury bride is a detail-focused bride, loves simplicity and does not need bright colours to add interest to her big day! So if you’re planning your big day, and you happen to stumble on this post; Yay! I can’t even begin to recommend using minimalism from the details to the dress and everything in between! Just take a peek!

The amazing vendor team:

Workshop | Shauna & Jordon Photography

Planning | The Apostolic Wife

Venue | Haus 820

Event Rentals & Decor | A Chair Affair

Florals | Northside Florist

Bride’s Attire | The White Closet Bridal

Hair and Makeup | Ashlee Ann Makeup

Invitations/Stationary | The Moxie Workshop

Calligraphy Banner | Mac Calligraphy

Cake | Laurel and Oak Cake Design

Gelato Cart | The Gelato Carte Tampa

Cafe Cart | Café a la Carte Tampa Bay

Designer Shoes | Bella Belle Shoes

Cotton Candy | Cake a Pig

Styled Shoot

April 9, 2019

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Royal Botanical Gardens Wedding | Mark & Leona

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They looked each other in the eyes as they described what they so loved about each other. In front of all of their guest, in a dim lit hall with candles flickering on every table. Every guest was quiet. In awe. There were few dry eyes in the room as these two thanked each other for everything that God allowed them to be for each other. This speech at the end of this amazing, incredible and beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens wedding was on everyone’s mind. Even after Mark and Leona waved farewell, and that’s saying something!

Their Details

Their Union

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time.” Ecc.3:11. This was Mark & Leona’s wedding text that Pastor Bilkes explained so perfectly. Sometimes one has to wait and go through many trials before coming to something as beautiful as Mark & Leona have found in each other. I, for one, cannot wait to see what the future holds for them!

Their Love

And though it’s not visible in any of these photos, Mark & Leona’s wedding day was the dreariest day of March. With 25mm of rain having been forecast, we had managed to reserve the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington for their portraits.

Their Loved Ones

Welcoming Mr. & Mrs. Pas at the reception! What a joy-filled party this was, and so to Christ’s honour. It was an absolute privilege it was to capture this all for our dear friends.

The singing at this party was amazing! The rules for the evening were sung in song-format by Leona’s two brothers, Nathan and Joshua, and they gave everyone the chills I think!

The kissing game had to include shooting, of course! No surprise as Mark is an avid hunter.

“How do you solve a problem like Leona?” Yes, they even adapted the very iconic song from “the Sound of Music” to Leona. In many ways Leona actually is so much like Maria, and we all love her so much for it! Mark is a lucky man.

And then there was a challenge for Leona to join one of her cousins to sing one of the songs they always used to sing when they were younger. I think all of our hearts were singing when we left, and we would love to do the evening all over again!!!

With thanks to the amazing vendor team:

The amazing vendor team:
Dress | Michelle My Belle Bridal Boutique

Shoes | LE CHÂTEAU

Rings | Wilson & Markle Jewellers

Florals | Grand Floral Studio

Hair | Rebecca Jonkman

Makeup | BLUSH by kayla

Bridesmaid’s dress | JJS HOUSE

Men’s attire | Tip Top Tailors

Invitation suite | Minted

Portrait Location | Royal Botanical Gardens

Wedding

April 2, 2019

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Donuts & Sprinkles for Lauryn | Norwich 2-Year Birthday Session

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Her eyes glistened with mischievous intent, and her arms went up. She twirled around and around until she lost her balance and collapsed in a bunch of giggles. Her mom and I couldn’t help but laugh. The residue of the sprinkles on her cheeks was the perfect touch. The sugar-filled donut likely added to her energy level, but that only made this girl birthday session more fun.

She demanded to have her jacket on once again, and proudly looked at her silver shoes. This little girl’s world is so full of joy, and it was totally contagious! Lauryn is the first baby that I have been able to capture with my camera her whole life, and I’m very honoured. Now that she’s two, I think it’s safe to say that she is no longer a baby. She loves to run and jump. She runs to her Mama and gives her a great big hug, “I love you, Mommy!”

What do I love about photographing little girls? I mean, what is there not to love about it? Those little details; her hands, her pearl necklace, and those gorgeous brown eyes! When she dug into her donut, she made sure to catch every sprinkle that was tempted to fall on the floor. She finished every last bite, and after her hands and face were washed, there was still a hint of the stains that the sprinkles left around her mouth. Everything about this session was happy, and I hope it makes you smile!

See this little girl’s 6-month session HERE.

She’s just so excited about that donut!

Children

March 21, 2019

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What It’s Like Being a Mompreneur

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I’m locked in my office. Well, not actually locked in, but enough so that my kids don’t see that I’m in there. The noise can be distracting, but I’m getting better at tuning it out. Then something happens. They all laugh! Not just Jenelle, or one of the boys. No, every single one, including my husband. It happened again. Something absolutely hilarious that I happened to miss because I’m stuck in here. Working to make this thing called photography work. Working to make a living. And while I know that it’s okay; they understand, the heap of guilt just got a little bit bigger. I just missed something, and I’ll never get that moment back, because I’m stuck here. Behind my desk. Hustling. Being a mompreneur.

MY PAST

It’s been 17 years to the day that I first set foot on Canadian soil. My parents, four siblings and I just flew from the Netherlands to start a new life on a dairy goat farm just outside of Norwich, Ontario. Life was good. Well, actually, not really. I was 11 years old, and had been the subject of bullying in Europe already. Innocently, I made the mistake of taking that self-image with me when I started attending school in Norwich, and my fellow students quickly took advantage of that.

I was a bubbly and energetic grade-6er, with a red tint to her gorgeous brunette curls and freckles splattered all over my face. Now I look back and think that I was just adorable, but at that time, not so much! Slowly, I lost my self-confidence to the point of severe depression. To the point where I wasn’t even able to graduate high school.

My Grade 8 yearbook picture

MY START IN PHOTOGRAPHY

My little point and shoot camera died at some point during the summer of 2015. I started looking at getting a “big camera” for some reason. After chatting with Bertus, we decided to go ahead and purchased my first DSLR; a Nikon D5300. I realize that to most of you, this means nothing. It is pretty much just a very small step up from a basic entry-level camera. Boy, I was so proud!

One of the first family get-togethers held after that, I took it with to practice. My sister-in-law came up to me and asked me if I was going to be a photographer now. I hadn’t even considered it, to be honest. And my first thought was NO!!! I think that anyone looking for a service deserves to get the best, and I wasn’t anywhere near ready to go there.

After being asked to do pictures for a few friends and family members, and seeing how it impacted them… it started to impact me. And I fell in love, all over again. This time with photography.

Here is a picture of my first session; my two adorable nephews!

LEARNING SO MUCH

It was time to buckle down, and start hustling. At first I was happy with being a “beginner” but I think any entrepreneur starts to tire of that mentality soon. We all want to grow. And that desire to get better is what drives us. We start pushing to get out of that “beginner stage”, and it’s not always easy. There are so many ups and downs when you own your own business. The ups are what keep us going, while the downs are what keep us growing.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

When you own your own business, you have the luxury of setting your own business hours. And that can be amazing! It can also be very tough. Because, let’s be honest, when you want something bad enough, you lose track of time. And when you work from home, that can mean that things like laundry and cooking fall by the wayside. Now, when you work from home and you happen to have a few little munchkins (four in my case), that makes things extra difficult.

Being a mom means changing diapers, lunch at a reasonable time, stories, and any other distractions that they bring with them. Being a mompreneur means you have even less time during the day, which often translates to even later hours at night. Mama’s gotta hustle! But there comes a certain time in any business where you realize you have to start treating it as a business. With business hours. And limits on yourself. And that is the toughest part. Because your passion for your work is still so strong!

TREATING YOUR BUSINESS LIKE A BUSINESS

When you receive an inquiry for a job that gets you really excited about, but it happens to come in later at night, you automatically want to reply right away. You want to give that potential client the best experience you probably can. But it’s so important to come to the realization that it can be better for both of you to set limits. Replying to emails during your official (or unofficial) business hours conveys that you are taking this seriously. Sticking to pricing shows that you know your worth. And this is not only good for you when it comes to stress levels. This is even better when it comes to how it impacts your relationships. When you have evenings available to spend with your hubby after the kids are in bed, he appreciates it.

My husband knows that it’s not always possible. Hy understands that I try hard and therefore appreciates the times where things work out and we get to have an adult conversation. And he forgives me for the times when I take on too much and it starts to wear on both of us.

Today I’m listening to THIS PODCAST from Cultivate your Life with Lara Casey, and you really should too! Learning about how to number your days makes you think twice about hustling

MY GOAL

I want to be a mom and a wife first, but I understand that being a mompreneur means that this is a constant struggle. But it’s so worth it! I am working very hard at figuring out how to time block, so I devote the right amount of time to my business and to my family. I also have to set different goals for my business, starting with how I devote my Saturdays. I love weddings; they are my passion, and since most weddings fall on the last day of the week, this mompreneur has to count that as part of the sacrifice she has to make. But that means that the Saturdays when I don’t have weddings are mine. As of this year, I am no longer taking sessions on any summer Saturday. There are exceptions to this rule, feel free to contact me for details.

Saturdays at the beach are the best way to end the week!

WHY BEING A MOMPRENEUR IS IMPORTANT

Having purpose. For 7 years I was “just” a mom. There is no such thing as “just” being a mom. Being a mom is all-consuming, life-giving, and one of the most humbling experiences that a woman can ever go through. When I found this passion of mine, I realized that it was the icing on the cake, but the cake was just a little harder to get right. The cake is still the most important thing though. When the cake falls flat, it doesn’t matter how amazing the icing is. So if you’re a mompreneur, remember that focusing on your family is good!

Now let’s get started on the business part of being a mompreneur. I get it, you want to succeed. I’ve been there. I’m still there. In my head, I know that being a successful family and wedding photographer reflects on my reputation. So I work hard. I hustle. And because of that, I’ve been feeling so much better about myself. I applaud women who work in addition to having a family. Working outside of the home is a different sacrifice, but it’s no more or less hard than being a working-at-home mom.

I’m excited to use the talents that God gave me and impacting my family and wedding clients with the DVI experience. But above all, I’m excited for all the opportunities that will open up because of the fact that we have this extra income. I know I have to work hard for it. I know that there are times when things are going to be difficult. But the thought of being able to go on another trip like our cross-country trip last summer keeps me motivated! (See HERE for some Instagram posts from our trip)

A GOOD DOSE OF REALITY

An incredible woman gave me some incredible insight last week; she mentioned that it always seems like I have everything together. I asked her about it today, and this is what she told me: “I’ve always admired your photography – it evokes such romance in the way you capture love so elegantly. I feel lucky to have worked with you and you’re always so polished, professional and seem to have it all together. Always smiling, proud mom and wife. You are definitely an inspiration.” This woman happens to be Angila Peters, an incredible supporter of mine and an amazing business coach! (Learn more about her HERE.)

It hit me; things are never the way they seem. But at the same time, they are never the way we see them ourselves. So it’s a good thing to find a support system in your community, like I’ve done. They help keep you motivated, while at the same time telling you that you’re imagining things when you’re being too hard on yourself. At the same time, it’s a great way to still feel connected to society, especially when things get a little lonely at home.

Visiting Sioux Falls on our cross-country trip during the summer of 2018 was all possible thanks to me being a mom-preneur

WHAT I’VE LEARNED

This 3-year-long journey has been incredible. I’ve learned so much in my business. Aperture, the best lighting to achieve my sunny and colourful style, but most of all, I’ve learned that there are positives and negatives when it comes to being a mompreneur. I’ve learned that having to hustle to make things happen has made me learn faster, that limits are not just good for my business, but also for my family. And I actually have also learned that setting scary-big goals is the best way to grow! But that’s a whole other blog post for another day, because this lady is signing off and going to cook dinner. Have a wonderful week, y’all!

Business

February 25, 2019

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The First Vendor A Bride Should Book

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Wedding photography is not just what I do. It’s my passion and so much more! I live for the look on a groom’s face when he first sees his bride! The emotion of a bride being walked up the aisle by her father is almost tangible to me! My job means so much to me because of those moments! And I feel honoured to be a part of your big day. Let me tell you why your photographer should be the first vendor to book!

A BIG DECISION

There is a reason you are so intimidated by photography, and why it is such a big decision for most couples; it’s one of the more long-lasting relationships that you can envision. Photographers, along with wedding planners, are the people that are with you the most on your wedding day! Therefore it is super important that you get along well with your wedding photographer. And that means it’s not just important to you, it is to me as well!

YOU’RE ENGAGED!

He just popped the question, and you said “YES”! With a lot of excitement, of course. Whether you knew it was coming, or it was a huge surprise; it’s a moment you will remember for a very long time! I still remember mine; the one thing that really stands out is the fact that we found a super cool tree frog in the field at my parent’s farm (Did you know that they live up here in Ontario? I had no idea!). The other thing that I remember was the fact that Bert was super nervous! And I know I’m not the only one who says this, I’ve heard it from so many engaged couples!

THE PROPOSAL

Some boyfriends go all out and take their girlfriends to some big hockey game where the big question gets displayed on the big screen or even take her to another country to pop the question. Others, like my husband, find it more important to do something low key and get down on one knee in a field somewhere surrounded by the crickets. Either way, I’m sure yours was super special and there was a reason for him to propose to you the way he did!

SO MANY DECISIONS

Then come the big decisions; your wedding party, and the date of your big day. I know I was super excited to ask all our groomsmen and bridesmaids to be a part of their wedding day. I knew what an honour it was to be asked.

Even though I was not a photographer back then, I recognized the importance of those photographs; they would be the only reminders I’d be left with afterwards. So Bert and I decided that we were willing to spend good money on a great photographer. Someone we could see capturing the moments that mattered most to us. And we did!

 

For more incredible tips and resources to help plan your big day, see THESE AMAZING TOOLS from Wedding Wire Canada!

1 | Photographers book many, many months in advance

We were lucky enough to find a great photographer, whose character we could really get along with, quite quickly! Not all couples are that lucky. We reached out to several photographers shortly after we got engaged. Some of them were already booked. We were calling about 8 months ahead of our wedding, but photography was not as saturated of a market then as it is today. This is good for you, it means you have more options available. On the other hand, your choice could be more difficult. Some photographers book weddings as far as 2 years ahead! So contacting your preferred photographers shortly after you’re engaged can really help you get the photographer you most admire! This is especially important if you’ve chosen to get married at your wedding location’s busiest season!

Like for example, in Ontario, it would be anywhere from the middle of May till the end of October; with the busiest part being July and August. In Arizona, however, where it’s just too hot to get married in the summer, high season falls in Spring and Autumn. It is a great idea to follow your favourite photographers on Instagram or Facebook so you can have a sense of when their busiest time is. Then you can plan around that if having a certain photographer is that important to you (which we understand completely). This makes us as photographers feel valued. And is a great start to your relationship with your photographer.

 

2 | Have your engagement session when you’re just engaged

The first order of business, once you book your wedding photographer, will be to schedule your engagement session. As a photographer, I cannot stress the importance of having an engagement session enough! It’s a great way to make sure that you love your wedding photographer as much as you hope to. It also helps instill the trust that you will receive wedding images that you’d expect from him or her!

When you’re just engaged, the experience is fresh in your mind. There is even a bit of a honeymoon phase after your engagement. Photographers love capturing couples within the first month or two of their engagement. You are still so focused on their connection; the reason why he asked and you said “Yes!” Some couples would like to send their guests “save the date” announcements as soon as possible so they can share in the excitement. As a photographer, I deliver my couple’s engagement images within two weeks, which is great for that exact purpose.

3 | Photographers have many contacts in the wedding world

You have a great resource at your disposal, when you sign your contract with your wedding photographer! Most wedding photographers have a lot of contacts in the wedding world. They definitely have the biggest variety of vendors in their contact list. They can tell you which wedding planners they like working with (if you’re going that route), which venues are great to capture your portraits at, and where you can say I do in the most romantice way possible!

I love helping my couples find the right people for their wedding; it is a great way for me to serve them, and show them that I care. I’m there for my brides, if they have any questions, and I actually love it when they stump me with a question that I don’t have the answer to right away. It is a great opportunity for me to learn something new and this often provides unique photography opportunities. This definitely applies when it comes to photography locations.

 

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4 | Get the most out of your relationship with your photographer

Very rarely are engagements shorter than 6 months, and if yours is, we love the fact that we don’t have to wait long to see you in your dress and capture your special day! In my experience, most couples wait about 1 to 2 years after their engagement to get married, which means that there are quite a few months for you to enjoy your engagement images. This also means you have ample opportunity to ask advice from your wedding photographer to ensure that your wedding day is set up perfectly for the best photography results.

It is my goal to not just be a wedding photographer, but to be so much more than that. Especially at weddings without planners, you will see us helping out to make sure people are seated on time, and just maintain a good wedding timeline in general. This might be for slightly selfish reasons, (that we have plenty of time to capture your wedding portraits), but again, that is great for you! Because the better things flow on your big day, the more variety of images you will end up with, and isn’t that why you hired us in the first place?

If you’re just engaged, I hope this post will instill an urgency to find your wedding photographer soon. If you’re in a serious relationship, and you can see him proposing shortly, I can’t wait to hear your big news! And if you’re still single, kudos to you for just being interested in wedding photography before your time, I hope you remember the gist of this when your time comes.

And for those of you who are reading this, reminiscing about your big day, I’m sure it will bring back fond memories! Whatever stage of life your family is in, I’m sure you know someone who could benefit from this content. After all, it will be the most important day of their lives to that point, and that’s a pretty big deal!

Tips for Brides

February 21, 2019

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