Coordinating multiple outfits can be a daunting task, so I have complied some of my favourite tips I shared with you last year and added a few more fresh ideas for this year’s 2019 Fall Photoshoot Styling Guidelines Blog Post!

  1. Layer it up! Layers create visual interest and will keep you warm and cozy if we’re heading outside for your pictures. Think tights, cardigans, vests, blazers, and scarves.
  2. Choose two main hues you love, and develop your colour scheme around them. Use the brightest colour — also known as the accent colour — sparingly.
  3. Aim to coordinate, beware of matching. If you love having your kids or family wear matching outfits, go for it, but keep in mind the risk you’re taking in blending together too much and looking like you’re all wearing a blanket.
  4. Solids and Patterns. It’s a good idea to mix solids and patterns throughout the family.   For example, if Mom is wearing a red sweater her daughter could wear a dress with hints of red in it or a red head band.  Or if Mom is wearing a patterned dress, her son could wear a solid top and pants.  
  5. Don’t forget accessories! Accessories not only add interest to your outfit but they can be fun to use in photos. Necklaces for young girls to play with, a beautiful headband or hats and scarves to hide behind are a few possibilities.  

And here are a few other quick tips you might find useful to have:

  • Look for clothing collections in stores.  Purchase from stores that typically have colour coordinating collections that you can buy off the rack in one place!
  • Limit patterns and stripes.  Patterns and stripes can look great but are generally best worn in moderation.
  • Say no to characters.
  • Avoid all white or all black clothing.

Happy styling!

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After a good long break, I am back to work busily creating mood boards for a few exciting professional shoots I have coming up…including my own! 

I resolved this year to practice what I preach and refresh my own professional images once a quarter.  Sometimes I ask a friend to pull the trigger and I edit the shots myself, and at least once a year, I have committed to hiring a professional photographer to capture the really key images I’m looking for.

So for all of you occasional (like me) or full time do-it-yourselfers, I’ve compiled 4 easy tips that will take you beyond the obvious of good lighting, proper framing, appropriate wardrobe, and a HIGH quality camera to help level up your photography game!

Here they are:

Tip 1- Showcase YOU with your work!

Whether you work in a creative field or a corporate setting think about ways you can showcase either your work environment or your work itself somewhere in the frame with you.  It will create interest in your shot and give your viewers more insight into who you are and what you do.

After a good long break, I am back to work busily creating mood boards this week for a few exciting  professional shoots I have coming up…my own included!  I resolved this year to practice what I preach and refresh my own professional images once a quarter!

Beyond the obvious of using good lighting, proper framing, appropriate wardrobe, and a HIGH quality camera, I wanted to share a few super easy tips for all of your do-it-yourselfers that will help level up your professional photoshoots!

Tip 1- Showcase YOU with your work!

Whether you work in a creative field or a corporate setting think about ways you can showcase either your work environment or your work itself somewhere in the frame with you.  It will create interest in your shot and give your viewers more insight into who you are and what you do.

Tip 2-  Shoot on an Interesting Background, Not a Busy Background and Look What is in Your Shot!

Tip two is a caveat for tip one.  While professional photographers can get a little creative with where they place their subjects for headshots, unless you have experience in this area, it’s good to keep a close watch on what you’re capturing in your shot and keep it simple.   Make sure you’re not catching your living room couch or bathroom mirror in your shot, and if you’re taking a shot of you at your desk make sure your papers are tidy and your Starbucks cup is out of the frame!

TIP 3-When shooting a team, keep it clean!

If you’re taking headshots of a team, consider keeping a consistent look and feel, framing and format for each of the shots.  Shoot everyone on a similar background, but allow each person to be captured in their most flattering pose.  This will give you lots of versatility for future use of your headshots as well as create a more polished look for a team page on your website.

Tip 4-Tell your story.

Visual storytelling is what I love most about photography.  And telling stories through imagery has become a HUGE  trend across all business and in marketing.  With the right visuals, brand stories engage customers by enabling them to connected with you in your story and identify with your brand. In fact, your visual story is often the first thing potential customers relate to and what can separate you from your competition. Photos help you tell your story quickly with impact and emotion.

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I’ve been saying this for sometime now, and while I don’t like to make assumptions, I’m going to now;). 

I think Mothers are slowly recognizing that they are missing from pictures ever since their children came along, or maybe even, shortly after their wedding day?  How many of you have you had a professional portrait taken of just you since your wedding day? Photos taken to update your passport, at a government office, or a headshot for work DO NOT count!

Let’s face it!  We’ve been busy documenting our own kids lives, taking quick snapshots on our phones (where the images will live forever or likely die) of day to day moments as well as capturing the bigger milestones like first steps, birthdays and more, and we started to evaporate from pictures.

So while I feel Mothers do recognize the need for family photos they are part of, I believe we still have quite a ways to go.

After much consideration I believe there are FIVE portraits every Mother should have

One of these, Mom ALONE, is the one I am sending out a rallying cry this Mother’s Day to try to encourage and advocate for more Mothers to #honourthemselves!


I know I just said, I think Mothers are getting better at recognizing the need to exist in their family pictures, but I have a lot of Moms still say to me “I would love to have pictures of my kids, but I don’t want to be in the pictures.”

Look, I honestly don’t like being in front of the camera myself, so I feel for you, I really do! But what I am certain of now, is that it doesn’t need to be uncomfortable or awkward. It’s your photographers job, my #1 job, to guide and direct you through the entire session and capture pictures of you that you truly LOVE! I can honestly say that I have yet to have a Mother regret being in her family photos.  




Simply beautiful portraits of you with each of your children are treasures! Capturing the unique bond that you have with each child, remembering how it feels to laugh with them, how it feels to hold them in your arms, how it felt to have their little arms wrapped around you, your children knowing how protected and safe they were in your arms…every Mother must have these kinds of portraits.

I didn’t start my second career as a photographer until my kids were school age. And so I let many milestones and incredibly special times in my life pass with no record of them to go back to.  How I wish now that I had beautiful maternity pictures taken and newborn portraits of me with my tiny little babies.  What I would do for these now and, as we all know, there is no going back!


Oh yes, I mean it!!! You and you alone, in front of the camera. I call these ‘Legacy Portraits’!  While you may never want to look at these photos (but I assure you will), your kids and their kids will be absolutely thrilled and so grateful to have special photos of you from when they were growing up. Time changes us all and memories do fade.  It is a gift for your children and future grandchildren to be able to look back and see what their Mother looked liked when they were 30, 40, 50…you see where I’m going with this!  Your children and future generations will always treasure photographs of you no matter what lines you think you have, what size dress you’re wearing at the time, whether or not you feel 110% picture worthy, I promise you, you are perfect just as you are and your children will think so too!



While this blog post has been all about Mothers, I have to include Dads!  I really do LOVE taking pictures of Dad’s with their children, partners and wives.  These strong, stoic men who soften and light up with their family in their arms. These photos are just as touching and precious to have.  I make a point of taking special pictures of Dads with the kids, their partners/wives in every full family session because they are equally important.



I realize not everyone is blessed with great parents, which honestly pains me to think about.  However, if you were lucky enough to have kind and loving parents, I am sure your appreciation of them has deepened over time, especially after becoming a parent yourself.

As I have shared before, I won the lottery with my parents and struck gold with my in laws. Our parents have always been there for us when we have fallen and celebrated with us as we rose again.  Our girls adore their grandparents and revel in the love they shower on them.

Bottom line is, we only have one Mother and one Father and they are the one’s who gave us two of the best things in the world…life and love. 

So please have timeless, meaningful pictures of your parents taken.  You will never regret it and if your kids are anything like mine, they will fight over who gets the pictures in their room. 


Which brings me to my final point.  Always order extra prints!  Everyone loves to be able to hold time and love in their hand!

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!

Carissa xo

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Photoshoots, especially editorial shoots, can require a lot of upfront creative planning and imagination; but for many shoots, the real creative heavy lifting for photographers starts after the shoot.

I thought I would take the opportunity in this post to clear up a few potentially murky issues regarding editing versus retouching and shed some light (pun intended) on some of the steps photographers take to deliver you a final captivating, polished image!

But first, a short back story on RAW image files…excited?! 

Most professional photographers shoot in what is called RAW file format. RAW files are considered to be the best form of image file, since it captures ALL that the camera sensor sees and doesn’t compress any of the information. Saving all of that information in an uncompressed file leaves total control of the editing to the photographer. Yay!

However since colours and details are not compressed like they are in jpeg files, RAW files come out of the camera looking flat and dull and so all RAW files require some degree of editing

Depending on the project, the post-production process of transforming a RAW file into a final image can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours of work per picture.  

Photo editing, retouching and photo manipulation (i.e. extensive retouching), are critical parts of photo processing and while some people ( I’m definitely guilty) use the terms “editing” and “retouching” interchangeably when they really mean very different things.  Photo manipulation too is a process onto itself.


So let’s dive a little deeper into what each process entails.


I edit every final photo that I send to a client. To be specific, I correct for lighting/exposure and colour temperature, crop the image if necessary, as well as add my own ‘signature’ touches to the images. 


When simple editing won’t do the trick, retouching begins. For me, basic retouching means up to 10-30 minutes of work on an image – removing blemishes, brightening teeth, smoothing skin, or even removing a distracting element.

Extensive Retouching or Photo Manipulation

I usually get into ‘extensive retouching’ for the standout images from a shoot I want to send to a client.  Also, when I’m shooting younger children, families and big groups I often need to manipulate images often cutting and pasting faces from different images to get a final picture where everyone is looking at the camera with flattering, happy expressions.



Extensive retouching can also means things like removing a person from an image, compositing several images together, or completely changing the background of an image.

For extensive retouching projects requested by clients and special creative pieces like double exposure portraits I will charge an additional fee to cover the extra time these images require to make happen.


So there you have it.  The three cornerstones to creating an image worthy of  framing, hanging, or posting for you and all the world to see and ultimately enjoy!



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Before my photography business, kids, and a few years working with my hubby (an ultimate test of compatibility before marriage) I worked in the world of corporate and, later, small business marketing.  This was at a time when “Branding” was so ubiquitous that I literally spent years researching and trying to quantify and grow my clients “Brand Equity”.

Of course people no longer just think of brands in relationship to companies and products like McDonald’s or Apple. Nowadays, anything and anyone can be a brand.

Professionals, Creatives, and Entrepreneurs alike all have personal brands now. And no matter what your profession, art or business is you deserve to be seen, heard, and felt.

I have found that almost all business professionals and creatives can benefit from having a great headshot, but I am also finding that many of us need more than just one photo of our face to tell our story. We need images that tell more about us, and what we do. A bigger picture, (pun intended;)) of our work and business.  So that’s why I have created two different sessions and packages to meet different needs.  And to make it easier for you to decide what best meets your needs, I have created an overview snap shot of each.

Here it goes…

A headshot session is best for those:

  • on a tighter budget
  • are not sure exactly what they need, may wish to dip their toe in the water for their first session
  • with limited availability in their schedule 
  • who prefer a simpler appointment, less is more!

A Personal Branding session is best for those:

  • who are looking for a full service
  • have a flexible budget to accommodate a higher level of service including image evaluation as well as a wardrobe & concept planning appointment
  • interested in multiple wardrobe changes, and even hair & make up service
  • wish to elevate their brand with a variety of images to better relate to multiple audiences with a consistent brand message 
  • prefer more photographs to reflect the multiple roles that they have, be able to appeal larger audiences, have a variety of images to reflect the changing seasons etc.

More specifically, here is how the two types of sessions differ:



In depth process to meet your individual needs

Efficient process by preset appointment

By calendar availability

Limited dates & times

Evaluation of existing imagery vs.vision for new images

Pre-shoot consultation to plan wardrobe, styling of the shoot and poses.

Multiple outfit changes to achieve a variety of looks and take you through different seasons

Arrive wardrobe ready for session.  No outfit changes permitted

Wide variety of posing and crops

Limited posing and crops


$500 for 2hr photoshoot, $100 per additional hour of shooting

Private online proofing gallery

5 edited/retouched high-res and web-ready images included

$50 per additional edited retouched digital image

$250 for 30mins of shooting, $100 per additional hour of shooting

Private online proofing gallery

2 edited/retouched high-res and web-ready images included

$50 per additional retouched digital image

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