from day to night workshop

Education has always been a passion of mine. Every year I push myself to learn new skills and improve my techniques. In fact, I make a point of at least reading one article about photography, art or business every work day. Although it feels like I'm just picking up one or two new tips at a time, all this learning has a remarkable cumulative effect, and by the end of each year it's incredible to look back and see how the knowledge passed on by others has shaped and refined my approach as both an artist and business owner.

Workshops, when they're good, offer a super concentrated dose of education. Last summer, I was lucky to attend an excellent two-day intensive offered by Lisa Mark in Toronto. My connection to Lisa is that she photographed my own wedding. That's right, I studied with my own wedding photographer! I remember stumbling upon her work after endlessly searching for a photographer whose style resonated with me. I found her portfolio and instantly knew she had to be the person to document my and Brian's day. I admired her technical prowess, and I also thought her command of lighting and her use of colour were unparalleled in our market. At the time, washed-out vibes, yellow filtered post-processing and pastel tones dominated. I found Lisa's work and thought, "vibrant colour, at last!"

I was so happy to be in the city when she hosted her From Day to Night photography workshop in Toronto last summer. During the two days, Lisa taught us about her approach to business and marketing, and offered thoughtful and helpful critiques of our images. We talked about everything from gear to website design, and her five steps to creating a beautiful image. During the second day, we did two shoots — one in the afternoon sunshine, and the second during sunset and into night. She taught us a lot about using and modifying light, and also balancing ambient light with flash and continuous light. I learned so much, it was dizzying.

Here's the official review I wrote of Lisa's workshop:

From Day to Night teaches everything I never learned in any other workshop! Lisa has a rare skill set and a wild ability to create radiant portraits in every lighting condition, from full afternoon sun to deep twilight. In her workshop, she generously shares her knowledge and expertise and offers support and encouragement as she guides you through the technical and creative aspects of her practice. I would highly recommend this fabulous workshop. I would also like to add that I chose to hire Lisa as my own wedding photographer, so to learn from her four years after my wedding was a true honour and a pleasure.

A few months later, I am happy to report that I've put everything I learned from Lisa to use. I made a lot of changes to my technique during the second half of 2015, and am planning to roll out lots more exciting changes this year. I am so grateful to Lisa and her husband, Justin, for all their generosity during this workshop. I'm a better photographer for just knowing them.

Here are a few of my favourite images from the practical portion of the workshop. The models were real-life husband and wife, Jonathan and Melissa.



maya and matt in toronto

This summer, I photographed my friends Maya and Matt exploring Toronto's Little Portugal/Dufferin Grove neighbourhoods. In addition to being kind and hilarious, M & M are two of the busiest, hardest-working, most inspiring people I know. I was so grateful we managed to find a time when all three of us were in the city in order to meet up! It's always a pleasure to take pictures of Maya,

as I did before

when we both lived in Montreal and it was even more fun to photograph her alongside her partner. Thanks so much for being part of my project, you guys, and thanks to Enoteca Sociale for allowing us to shoot in your beautiful restaurant. 

This shoot was featured in my

Special Occasion video


vancouver engagement | carolyn & brian

Photographing Carolyn and Brian's engagement was the first chance I've had to document such an occasion for a family member. It was so much fun! Carolyn is my beautiful sister-in-law and Brian is her love. They will be married next summer at a gorgeous venue in Vancouver, and I can't wait to stand up as co-maid of honour and celebrate alongside them.

Carolyn is a remarkably strong, independent and driven person. She had always dreamed of moving back to her birthplace of Vancouver, so when she was recruited by a company and offered a position in Toronto, she asked if they had anything available in British Columbia. As luck would have it, a position was open, and in a flash she packed up her apartment and her new puppy and prepared to move across the country. Around the time that she was setting up her new life, she hit it off with a handsome gentleman she'd met through family friends. They shared a love of hockey, travel and fresh coastal air, and before long, they decided life would be sweeter if they lived under the same roof.

They recently bought a home together and now have two adorable Havanese pups who fill it with cuteness and humour. Over Thanksgiving weekend, they hosted our family, and we excitedly toasted their future. I know it will be filled with adventure and so much love. I can't wait to have a third Brian in my immediate family (father, husband and now brother-in-law!)

During our Thanksgiving visit, we spent the day exploring some of Vancouver's prettiest spots while I took their engagement photos. I love that dreamy, overcast, west coast light. It's so soft and lovely. C & B, congratulations! I am so excited for you and everything that's to come.

guelph university engagement | taryn & andy

When Taryn decided to attend Guelph University, she was following her dream to one day care for animals. During her time at the Ontario Veterinary College, she met a kind and handsome guy who was doing a masters in stem cell biology in the same program. They would pass each other in the hallways, smile and say hello. Occasionally they'd run into each other at parties or when out with mutual friends. At the time though, that was it. They both finished up their degrees, graduated and moved away from Guelph. Several years later, they ran into each other while working out at the same gym in a different city. They went on their first date a week later and have been together ever since.

I often encourage couples to choose a location for their engagement session that is meaningful to their relationship. When Taryn suggested head to Guelph to shoot where they first met, I loved the idea. I met them on a beautiful sunny afternoon with their dachshund puppy (and puppysitter, Taryn's lovely mother) for a laid-back and relaxed afternoon shoot. Taryn and Andy thank you so much for choosing me as your wedding photographer. I had so much fun with you guys and I can't wait to celebrate with you in Burlington next June!