the feeling of fragrance

the feeling of fragrance | lavender

It's time for the next edition of my The Feeling of Fragrance series, where I show you the final image that was included in my collection, then share some other options and talk about the stories behind the images. Today I'm sharing shots from my "Lavender" portrait. Here is the image from the show: 


Although it's often associated with the home and known for its relaxation and sleep-inducing properties, lavender has always seemed exotic to me. I don't think I really encountered its intoxicating fragrance until I was a teenager, but upon discovering it, I was enchanted. Lavender is gorgeous in bouquets but truly at its most photogenic in its natural habitat, the fields in which it is cultivated. When I decided to feature it as a scent in this project, I knew I wanted to shoot on a lavender farm but I had no idea where to begin looking. Thankfully, my friends at The Event Room pointed me in the right direction. Timing was tricky, as I had to plan the shoot for when either the farm's French or English lavender was at peak bloom. Once I'd pinpointed the week the owners assured me the colours would be at their most vibrant, I began looking for a model.


My brother's girlfriend, Ida, had just returned from Sweden and she and my brother were thankfully free to help me at the right time.

These images were shot in September 2014 in Hamilton, Ontario. Special thanks to Jon for taking the above behind the scenes shots, even when it meant lurking in the lavender (see below). I found a gauzy, casual dress in the perfect shade of lavender. I kept her hair loose for some images, and braided it in a simple side braid for others. In terms of makeup, I really just used some simple highlighting cream and blush, dusted her lids with a sheer lavender shadow and added a stain to her lips. Natural and so pretty.


Thanks so much to Ida and Jon for all their help with this portrait!



Here are the rest of the images:




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the feeling of fragrance | roses

It's time for the next edition of my The Feeling of Fragrance series, where I show you the final image that was included in my collection, then share some other options and talk about the stories behind the images. Today I'm sharing shots from my "Roses" portrait. Here is the image from the show:


These portraits were shot in late September, 2014, just around the corner from my apartment. We shot in the quickly fading light of dusk, with almost no direct light. In fact, many of these portraits were done after the sun had set using only the lingering ambient light and shot at a high ISO. I chose the shot above as my final image after much internal debate and suggestions from family and friends. I landed on that image because it captured the feeling of buying or receiving a giant bouquet of roses, and the buoyant effect their aroma can have on your mood. I think my friend Paige did a wonderful job of embodying that blissful feeling where just for a moment your reality is elevated by a fragrance alone.

The coolest thing about prepping for this shoot was walking home from different flower shops with all the roses I bought. Almost every person I passed would break into a grin when they spotted the bouquet. A lot of people even said "aw, for me?" or "congratulations!" as they passed.


I wanted this look to be very natural. Paige arrived with her hair and makeup done, so I just added a few touches of products that I always use for natural light portraits, such as luminous cream and extra blush. And though it took me a few tries to get the colour right, I finally found the perfect lip shade to complement Paige's both colouring and the roses. Part of the reason I asked Paige to model for this portrait is that I thought her peaches and cream complexion and vibrant hair would look really lovely with the multi-hued roses.

While scouring the entire west end of Toronto for roses (I'm not exaggerating!) and finding so few, I discovered that early fall is when many florists have their lowest stock of roses. Obviously they stock up for the holiday season, Valentine's Day and springtime, but apparently roses just don't sell well in the fall. Luckily, I found Poppies, and the friendly ladies who work there were able to help me. The introduced me to the creamy/pale yellow roses in the bouquet known as Crème de la Crème, which are incredibly gorgeous and startlingly fragrant.


Paige, thank you so much for spending an evening with me in your very chic outfit. I appreciate your time and assistance so much!

the feeling of fragrance | soap

It's time for the next edition of my The Feeling of Fragrance series, where I show you the final image that was included in my collection, then share some of the other options and talk about the stories behind the images. Today I'm sharing more shots from my "Soap" portrait. Here is the image from the show:


Of all the portraits in this project, "Soap" was the most labour-intensive, but man I loved every single moment! I always knew I wanted to create a portrait that embodied the heady, clean scent and playful feeling of a bubble bath. From the beginning, I envisioned layers of pastel tones and when I found this pink, pearl-covered cardigan at an antique mall in Wisconsin, my vision for the portrait suddenly sharpened. By pairing the sweater with a frothy skirt, I'd have the dreamy outfit that this portrait required. The main problem was that I couldn't find a multi-hued skirt anywhere, and I didn't know how to sew. I had decided to just buy some tulle anyway and break out my glue gun (my family's version of a needle and thread) when two of my friends, Christina and Courtney, offered to help out. They showed me how to use a sewing machine and helped me start the skirt. Lo and behold, I kept at it and somehow produced an approximation of a tutu!


I found the beautiful model for this portrait, Meredith, on instagram! I really don't remember how I first came across her account but once I did, I thought she would be perfect for this photo.  I reached out to her and she agreed to make her modelling debut for my project. She is a very talented photographer, so please take a moment to check out her lovely work if you have a chance! She and her mother, Heather, travelled to Toronto to be part of this project and I am immensely grateful for their time and assistance.

I location scouted extensively for this shoot, as finding the perfect backdrop to show off both bubbles and a tulle skirt was tricky. I had narrowed it down to a half dozen backdrops, most of which we tested (see below) and found wanting due to lack of contrast, weird texture or less than ideal light.

Finally, we found the perfect backdrop!

Once we found it, we tested out the small bubble maker. Heather, I appreciate your assistance as bubble machine technician that day!

We also tested the large bubble wand:


From the beginning,  I planned for "Soap" to be a composite image, as I wanted as many bubbles in the photo as possible. In the end, the portrait is composed of elements from nine different images! In the process of photographing Meredith from many vantage points to create lots of options, we produced some really pretty pictures of her. I couldn't believe it was her first time modelling. Her poise and grace were really impressive.

We had a lot of fun with the bubble wand


After I decided we'd collected the shots  I'd need to create the composite image, we played around in the alleys to create a few more images for Meredith and Heather.

I absolutely love photographing mothers and daughters together, and it was so great to see the love and friendship between these remarkable ladies. Meredith and Heather, thank you so much for being part of my project. It meant the world to me to have you involved!

the feeling of fragrance | grass

It's time for the next edition of my The Feeling of Fragrance series, where I show you the final image that was included in my collection, then share some of the other options and talk about the stories behind the images. Today I'm sharing more shots from my "Grass" portrait. Here is the image from the show:


Grass is such a quintessential scent of summer. It reminds me of picnics, garden parties and just feeling really relaxed and free. I asked my cousin Tara to pose for this portrait, as we share many great memories of walking around the lush terrain of our relatives' property at family get-togethers. Tara has modelled for me many times before, most recently during this shoot in 2013, and I lover her vibe in photos. She's a talented artist who's studied animation and illustration and is now learning the art of tattooing. She recently did an illustration project for my business that I can't wait to share with you shortly.

When it came to styling this portrait, I kept things quite simple. I left her hair natural, as she'd styled it that day, and just added a flush of pink to her lips and cheeks overtop her everyday makeup. I chose a dress that had texture and a bright enough shade of seafoam to pop against the green of the grass.

While I was really happy with the lighting and depth of the images of Tara standing in the clearing (above), I ended up choosing an image where she was sitting right in the long grass itself as it had more of the carefree and quiet feeling.

Tara, thank you so much for being part of this project!