Advice for a Happy New Year – From Your Photographer’s Kids

Fort McMurray Memories

1Advice from kids, be happy, photography, make memories

I asked my kids to help me out with this one, and give me their advice for how to have a great 2018. Here’s what they had to say:

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This one took a bit of interpretation as my littlest doesn’t talk quite yet (well she does but it’s not a language I understand). I took this to mean “Don’t hide from your problems, instead take a bite out of them!”

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My super charming, not-so-little boy, said to tell jokes and have lots of tickle fights!

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And my oldest says to dance to the music in your head <3

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But most of all they all agree to make sure to prioritize spending quality time with the people you love the most.

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Happy New Year from my family to yours, here’s to making new memories with the ones who mean the most to us <3

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Mom Life is the Best Life – Fort McMurray Maternity Photography

I have a new shirt (from my favourite local day to day clothing shop Colour Me Pretty) and it says “Mom Life is the Best Life” which I thought was the perfect title for this next blog because this stunning lady is going to be a mommy any day now!

Beautiful baby belly photography in YMM Alberta when you

Everyone’s journey to becoming a parent is a little bit different. When this mommy-to-be talks about her baby her eyes literally sparkle. She’s the kind of excited that makes you feel extra thankful for your own babies as well as excited for her.

Fort McMurray best Professional Maternity Photographer

Pregnancy is so beautiful, however I hear over and over from expecting moms (and remember the feeling myself) that they don’t feel beautiful. Every expecting mom I talk to thinks she is the exception that doesn’t look like the other beautiful pregnant women, and that she is bigger and not as defined in shape. I think we often have a hard time seeing ourselves as beautiful as we are to others, but also in these suddenly foreign looking bodies it can be extra difficult.

Beautiful Pregnant Heirloom Gift Photography Luxury

Can you believe she told me that she didn’t look like the women in the really nice maternity photos on Pinterest? I If you don’t feel the most beautiful photos have women that look like you, then it’s time to make the most beautiful photos with you! So pin away <3

Beautiful Amazing Pregnant Body

And top it all off with a little bit of fun! No mommy-to-be’s were injured or in danger during the creation of these images 😉

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Bodysuit is part of the Glow Bodysuit Collection by Sew Trendy Accessories https://www.sewtrendyaccessories.com

 

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Are you living too fast? – Fort McMurray Maternity Photographer

Peaceful

Tranquil

Reflective

Relaxed

Awaiting

Anticipating

Beautiful

Expecting

fort mcmurray, YMM, pregnant, baby photographer, newborn, maternity, quality, heirloom, value, culture, indian, traditional, stunning
In a world of fast food, fast fashion, fast photography and plenty of instant answers are you taking the time to slow down and enjoy the journey? You’re probably documenting your life with your phone, because we are blessed to have amazing technology at our fingertips, but what are you doing with it once it’s documented? I know I stumble across my videos on Facebook memories or occasionally when I’m cleaning out old hard drives, which make for fun evenings of reminiscing. Our children change so much, so quickly though, that I feel I want daily reminders of who they used to be. I want reminders of who I used to be.
YMM expecting mother celebrates her body with beautiful photos

And so I started a photo wall and now am onto a second, and it’s changing my life. I slow down. I take the time each day to look at each photo, and each photo makes me feel something different than the others. It’s like having the opportunity to see my life flash before my eyes, without a terrible circumstance causing it haha. For me, it’s not about having a hundred images, its about having a handful of amazing images you’ll want to put on your wall so you can see them, enjoy them and relive them every single day.

Beautiful maternity photos in YMM studio by professional award winning photographer

As a photographer though, I see how this fast paced world we live in can make us forget or postpone things that improve our quality of life the most, and I myself have been plenty guilty of it! Don’t postpone spending time with family. Don’t postpone going on that hike, or that skate, or making that craft. Don’t postpone hanging your photos on your wall so you can enjoy your own story everyday.

Professional Photographer Capturing Gorgeous mommy-to-be in Fort McMurray before she has baby

Once we’re hanging photos again, really hanging them, as art not with a magnet on the fridge in a temporary way that will result in later filing it in a drawer, or worse throwing it out; then we start to see the value in investing in quality images. Suddenly those iPhone shots, while they are certainly priceless and meaningful, aren’t up to par as the only source of capturing the amazing life you have created. Suddenly hiring your neighbour because they bought a nice camera isn’t quite good enough to capture the most precious people in your life. Suddenly you realize your photos are more valuable than your daily coffee  – I love coffee but even it can’t bring me the daily happiness of seeing my kids being sweet to each other posted on my real life wall each day.

Fort McMurray Pregnancy, baby, photographer, fine art, quality of life, expecting, newborn

Take the time to celebrate yourself. You have a short window and then it’s gone, and someday when you look back you regret not celebrating this point in your journey. Whether it’s a pregnancy, a new baby, a milestone, or a phase, live it and capture it so you can relive it once it’s gone.

Contact me if you’d like to have your life captured with love so you can enjoy it forever.

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What’s the real value and purpose of a photograph? Illustrated with a Fort McMurray Family

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the value of photography. Thinking about what causes a photo to be valuable, who it’s for and what the purpose of the photo really is. I love taking a multitude of different types of photos so take a read with me about my interpretation of their importance and I’d REALLY love for you to share your opinions of the value for the photos you want in your life.

The purpose of a posed, smiling, family picture is to capture loved ones together at regular points in their lives. Families change, people change and the photo freezes time. The body language tells more over the years than people may realize, like a little girl growing up knowing her mommy cuddled her so close, and in her arms is where she felt most safe. This is often the type of photo people as for to print for their mantle or walls. It’s a photo you can display next to a similar style photo taken the year before or a few years before to show how time has past.

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However, my favourite things about the posed photos is the moments in between. When something truly genuine slips in like a kiss for a little sister who is biting her nails because she’s a bit shy in front of the camera. Don’t hide those young habits (that some of us never outgrow), it shouldn’t be about apparent perfection, you’re who these photos are for. It’s not about a Facebook share or a christmas card, it’s your life. It’s your children. Of course I’m not against a Facebook share! I do that ALL THE TIME, as my parents live in the southern USA and we don’t see them as often as we’d like. But thinking long term, I want our photos to be something my children can look at when they’re grown, proudly put on their walls to remind them of their relationship with me and of how much I love them. I want them to share photos with future generations. I want them to have flashbacks when they see the photos to being that little kid.

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 Hands down my favourite photos are the ones that show a connection between loved ones, especially mothers and their children. A connection that can’t be faked, or rehearsed, that you feel when you look at a photo even if you don’t know the people you’re looking at. The photos that can make you cry if they’re set to the right music.
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Fort McMurray Family Photography
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I value most the photos that make you feel. Whether it’s the feeling in the photo or flashing you back you to a memory of your own. I hope when you see a photo like this you remember when your children were young and ran to you in joy and sorrow because you were their answer to everything. I hope you have a photo that can take you back to that moment. A photo that gives you a flash back into what may now seem like a previous life so far removed.

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This is the kind of photo I want to see everyday and hope moms have of themselves. The photo that shows you that you are an amazing mother. The photo that shows you that you did take the time to play and connect. We all get lost in the schedules and “supposed to’s” sometimes but so often we are too hard on ourselves, expecting an unrealistic perfection and more energy than even coffee could possibly provide. I want you to have the photo that shows you that you’re giving your children and awesome childhood. I want you to see how you look through their eyes.

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I want to slow down and take the time to cuddle. I want to see on my walls, that I have made cuddling a priority. I want you to see on your walls how much your children love you so in the moments when things are hard you can see how important you are by looking around your house.

…and dads matter too….

YMM Photographer, Fort McMurray, Alberta

…but lets face it, they always get to be the fun ones!

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Fort McMurray; YMM; Alberta; family; photography; daddy; daughter; children
Photograph of Dad playing with his daughter
Don’t forget about some full family fun!

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YMM; Family; Fun; Alberta;

Of course there are also the photos to show the sibling relationship. In this case 2 sisters 2 years apart, who are sure to be close for life.

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Each child’s individual personality needs to be captured because we all know they change so fast! The mannerisms and silliness disappear too quickly.

Lastly, as much as I treasure the images of children the most (I really do, there’s no comparison haha) I also believe it’s important for parents to have photos together, without their children. Why? Who does that? The answer is NOT ENOUGH COUPLES! You love each other! Sometimes it’s easy to forget that because you’re busy! I know you’re busy! But isn’t it amazing when you get 2 seconds together nice and close, where you can hear each others voices and really look at each other?

Even if there’s a little chaos behind the scenes?

Fort McMurray; photographer; real life; YMM; alberta; family; couple; love

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Let your walls tell your story so you can enjoy your story everyday.

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Growing Families – Fort McMurray

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This month I was delighted to become a member of APNPI (Accredited Professional Newborn Photographers International). The organization provides safe handling techniques and testing to ensure parents their photographer has a certain level of expertise when handling their most precious little gifts. In addition to the safety aspect the organization also requires members submit an extensive portfolio of newborn, maternity and baby images to show a competence with technical skill and artistic expression. Be careful of other similar organizations which will accredit photographers if they pay a fee, and require no training, testing, or portfolio reviews. For example, when photographing young siblings like baby J and her big brother here, the standard laying on the floor photo was not a safe option. I could have tried to get a photo of big brother next to a prop, and then taken a photo of baby J in the prop, and photoshopped the 2 images together, but I would not have baby held by her big brother without an adult. Instead we used biggest brothers arms to hold her safely at a height where he could reach her, but also where she could easily be whisked away if he decided it was time to jump around or practice some karate. 
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Though I myself have been primarily on maternity leave this year, I have made a point to shoot a newborn each season so I can keep the skills I have developed though the years and several hundred hours of training sharp. Photography is certainly a skill that can fade if not used regularly in my experience, so while I photograph daily for my own family newborn posing is something know I need to always be doing. This next pose is one I just learned last winter and practiced on my own little one in February to perfect. I vary the pose using different colours, and textures, like this felt wool used as a wrap here and this gorgeous hat by Mag Mugs.

2YMM, expecting, baby, portrait, studio, posed, wrapped, potato sack, sleeping, perfect, pink, girl, monotone, professional, safe

Sweet baby J was 2 weeks only for her session, right at the end of the recommended age for photographing newborn babies in the sweet cuddly poses you typically see. My sweet spot tends to be around days 6-9 days, however every baby is different and this little doll was content as can be as long as she was wrapped up in some way. The pose above is easily transitioned into a prop to get a completely different look, relatively quickly, and without bothering baby at all. The yellow floor drop here is actually a one of a kind hand painted canvas I made! I may have a new obsession! Also, she’s the sweetest thing ever right? This is a photo that should be printed and hung on a wall to enjoy EVERY day. That’s my goal for all of my photos, daily enjoyment <3

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This family may look familiar, as I shot mom and dad’s wedding when I first started out, and shot big brother’s newborn photos a couple of years ago. I love watching families grow and helping preserve memories.
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Fort McMurray, YMM, newborn, expecting, maternity, photography
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Gorgeous Graduate – Fort McMurray Celebration

YMM; Fort McMurray; Alberta; Photographer; fine art; beauty; heirloom; moments; memories; westwood; high school

The last couple of years I have been trying to break into fine art graduation photography; but between the fire last year and having a spring baby this year it hasn’t really worked out. I’m determined that next year will be my “Third time’s the charm” year though! In preparation I did manage to get together with this sweet and stunning member of 2017’s graduating class from Westwood High School. Even though the weather prevented us from doing multiple dates to include a casual look, I think it’s important to incorporate the school as well as a more whimsical location, so we made sure to do that. The first few photos are taken within steps of the Westwood Entrance, while a nearby park was the second location. 

YMM; Fort McMurray; Alberta; Photographer; fine art; beauty; heirloom; moments; memories

YMM; Fort McMurray; Alberta; Photographer; fine art; beauty; heirloom; moments; memories; westwood; high school
I’m a strong believer that beautiful photos can be taken anywhere, and the light has a lot more to do with the beauty of a photo than the location. However trees never hurt!    
YMM; Fort McMurray; Alberta; Photographer; fine art; beauty; heirloom; moments; memories; westwood; high school
YMM; Fort McMurray; Alberta; Photographer; fine art; beauty; heirloom; moments; memories; westwood; high school
YMM; Fort McMurray; Alberta; Photographer; fine art; beauty; heirloom; moments; memories; westwood; high school
She was rocking the poses and fierce and powerful looks to celebrate her fierce and powerful self!

If you’re interested in finding out more about customized, luxury photographic experiences contact me!

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Sweet Baby M – Fort McMurray Newborn

Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate; YMM

 

If you are pregnant in Fort McMurray you either know this sweet momma, or you should! Jessica runs Blossoming Bellies and Bosoms, which is an amazing store full of quality maternity and nursing clothing (as well as a few super cute baby items). Jessica kept me from wearing PJ’s all winter, instead dressing me in luxurious hoodies and wrap sweaters made in Canada! Then about half way through my pregnancy she became pregnant with her second child! We’ve had some chatty shopping sessions and photo sessions and she is one of the sweetest people you could ever meet, so definitely check out her shop for a little sunshine in your day.

Jessica asked pretty early on if I would photograph her new baby, and of course I knew I would be honoured to. Her former family photographer had unfortunately lost her home in the fire and moved out of Fort McMurray, however Jessica and her husband really value beautiful photography, displaying it in their home and gorgeous albums, so I was honoured to be chosen to add to their life art.

Shortly before baby her boy was expected to arrive Jessica and her daughter came by to capture a few photos. One of the most impactful moments of my life was seeing my oldest daughter for the first time after delivering my son, so I absolutely love capturing moments in those treasured final days before a new baby joins the family. 

Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;

Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;

Once sweet baby M arrived everyone was in love! He has such incredible and unique features, and I fawned over him the entire time I photographed him. Being my first newborn after having my own baby, he seemed so tiny and my own little one sure didn’t seem so little once I held her again afterwards! They grow too fast, so I’m so glad I was able to capture his teeny-tiny-ness before it starts to fade away <3 Enjoy!

YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate; family
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate; YMM
And after the family had a chance to cuddle him for photos it was my turn! This sweet boy was a posing pro and showed off his cute pouty lip, gorgeous eyes, and spitfire tongue <3 
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
YMM; Pregnant; Fort McMurray; maternity; expecting; newborn; baby; child; family; photography; pictures; dresses; rentals; beauty; celebrate;
Thank you for choosing me to capture this incredible time in your life and the beginning of baby M’s <3 

 

If you’re interested in finding out more about customized, luxury photography experiences contact me!

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Happy Aboriginal Day RMWB

Fort McKay NorthWind Dancers

I had the incredible honour this month to photograph the Fort McKay NorthWind Dancers, and thought this would be the perfect day to share a few photos! Fort McKay has a special place in my heart, as I taught Junior High there for 2 years when I first moved to Fort McMurray, and met some of the most wonderful people I know. My heart is always full thinking about those wonderful years. When my family evacuated during the fire we went to Fort McKay the first night and were taken care of by many of my former students and their families, from them allowing us to park our camper in their driveway, bringing us blankets, air mattresses, food, toys and most importantly their support.

 

This post is also just in time to tell you about Treaty Days happening in Fort McKay starting tomorrow and going through to Sunday. The Treaty Days will include a traditional Powwow this year which you won’t want to miss! To see more photos check out my instagram and Facebook pages! The link to the event schedule is at the bottom of the page, so check it out! I enjoy getting out there every year to see the festivities and catch up with former students <3

Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
Jingle Dancer

 

Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
 Grass Dancer

 

Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
Grass Dancer (and my handsome hubby!)

 

Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
Hand Drummer

 

Teacher; Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;;
 Fancy Shawl Dancer (and the wonderful woman behind organizing the Fort McKay NorthWind Dancers!)

 

Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
Jingle Dancer

Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
 Fancy Shawl Dancer

 

Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
Jingle Dancer

 

Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
 Fancy Shawl Dancer

 

Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
 Fancy Shawl Dancer

 

Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
 Fancy Shawl Dancer

 

Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
 Jingle Dancer

 

Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
 Fancy Shawl Dancer

 

Fort-McKay; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
Jingle Dancer

 

Fort-McKay; suncor; Aboriginal; photographer; dancer; treaty; powwow; fort-mckay; rmwb; alberta;
Traditional Shawl Dancer

 

Hope to see you in Fort McKay this Treaty Days!

Here is the event schedule:

http://fortmckay.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/TREATY-DAYS-EVENT-SCHEDULE-2017.pdf

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Fort McMurray Newborn – Our Fire-baby

It was almost a year ago now that we all urgently fled the city. That dark day and the weeks that followed were filled with constantly checking for updates and hearing heartbreaking news day after day, week after week. We were the lucky ones though. We came home, and not only did we come home, but we came home with the best souvenir despite not knowing it. Shortly after returning to Fort McMurray we found out we had a surprise stow away, and are so in love with our newest addition, Nova Willow. Like many Fort McMurray families we have a new light to shine through the dark memories.

1Siblings; newborn Photographer; Baby; expecting; family; professional; studio; posed; pregnancy; sister; brother;
1Art; baby; YMM; Fort McMurray; Alberta
1Alberta; Art; Baby; Expecting, Pregnant; YMM
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3Fort McMurray; YMM; RMWB; Newborn; Maternity; Pregnant; Expecting; Professional Photographer; Chin on Hands; Froggy; Composite; Safe Posing;
1Fort McMurray; Baby; Newborn; Wrapped; Posed; Potato Sack; Styled;
1bum up; Fort McMurray; RMWB; Photographer; Styled Session; Posed photos; Baby; Expecting; Maternity; Pregnant; Alberta;
 
1Baby Girl; Maternity; Expecting; Newborn;
1Fort McMurray; umm; rmwb; alberta; wood buffalo; head on hands; head up; posed; baby; expecting; maternity; pregnant; evacuation baby; blessing;
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1Fort McMurray; YMM; RMWB; Alberta; Photography; Maternity; expecting; pregnancy; bonnet; props; sweet;
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And because Photographers need family photos too, I am very thankful to have the wonderful photographic community we have in Fort McMurray. Below is a photo I love, taken by the talented and very sweet Christine Gogolinski of Uncontained Photography.

1Uncontained Photography

And the next one, which I also love, was taken by Amie Roberts of Amie Roberts Photography, a talented photographer who first started out taking a momtography course with me a few years ago <3

1family

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It’s been a while…

The truth is I just didn’t know what to say. For a while I thought it would just come to me so I waited. I waited, and waited and nothing has come. I still don’t know what to say so instead I’m going to share a few photos instead. What I’ve been most inspired by through all of the devastation is the children. The children of Fort McMurray, the children of Alberta fro embracing them, and those from across Canada who have reached out to them. As they prepare to go back to school on Tuesday, for the first time since May 3 for some, I think it’s time we recognize and celebrate their resiliency.

The view from a house that didn
Fort McKay
Fort McMurray Photographer
The Strength of a Child
Fort McMurray Photographer
Fort McMurray Strong
Fort McMurray Evacuee
The Escape
Fort McMurray Evacuee
Children
Children
Fort McMurray Photographer

Though this fire has taken so much from our community and loved ones, it has also given to us. It has strengthened bonds, clarified priorities, reinforced values, celebrated heroes, shown hearts, and it has also given my family the greatest gift possible; a new baby who will be joining us in February.

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