The Desert has my heart

I have been dreaming of visiting the desert for years. There is such a pull to it’s raw beauty, the desolation, the total opposite of where I live. This past week I was blessed with an opportunity to join other artists and creatives on a 4 day convention called Promoting Passion, hosted in Joshua Tree California with Brooke Shaden. I have been following her work for years, and I get alot of inspiration from her and by that I actually mean she inspires me not only her work but her being. There were 160 other creatives attending this convention and wow what a journey, what an adventure, and what a course correcting few days.

Upon arriving we filed into the sanctuary and right off the bat we began digging into our souls -you see that is one of the most precious things about Brooke- she comes from a place of vulnerability and guiding you out of your fear or your rut in your creative journey. Within 2 hours of arriving we had hugged more strangers than I can recall, stared into anothers eyes for minutes at a time (try that with someone you KNOW - wow) we mingled and connected with at least one person and then finally we stumbled in the darkness to our lodges. Exhausted, overwhelmed and still excited to see the sunrise.

The next morning was glorious. Many participants were up and shooting at the crack of dawn, I mean who would want to miss that sunrise. That was the moment I fell in love with the desert. From the darkness to a glorious burst of color as the sun literally bloomed up the sky. I honestly stood soaking it all in, the air, the sun, the animals, the birds and bats.. it was amazing.

Tips for Beautiful Fall or Winter Photos

There is a special kind of magic that comes with outdoor, fall photo sessions. The leaves are changing color, and covering the ground. There is a crispness in the air and a glow to the light that creates a lovely backdrops at this time of year.   If you are looking to book a session here’s a few tips to make your session go smoothly.

1.       Dress warmly. You will be surprised at how often this is overlooked. Since you’ll be standing outside for a long period of time think of layering your look.  A great jacket, warm sweater, shrug or scarf and gloves will be welcome.  Trust me, shivering makes it hard to stay relaxed, enjoy your session and pose properly. I suggest investing in hot pockets

2.       Bring heat packs with you. This is an add on to dressing warmly particularly if it is a winter shoot. Be prepared with reusable or disposable hot packs that can provide instant heat to warm your hands and body.

3.       Watch the weather. Fall days in my neck of the woods usually means misty rain or fog, which may not be the images you want. If you are looking for bright sunny fall day, try and keep an eye on the weather forecast to make sure that you don’t end up with a downpour.

4.       Be flexible. If the weather isn't exactly what you had hoped for, see if you can still make the photo session work.  Perhaps adding a nice umbrella would give you fun fall images as well.   If your photographer is agreeable, reschedule the date.  However, if you were scheduling this session in advance, you may just have to work with the weather on that particular day.

5.       Incorporate color. Even though fall and winter have some amazing colors to work with, why not wear a splash of color to really stand out in your photos? For example, vibrant shades of blues and greens look amazing amongst crunchy brown leaves.

6.       Plan your day. The best time for taking photos is just after the sun rises or just before it sets.  You will get amazing light so plan your session around those golden times.

Finally, take some hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate along to make your photo session even more enjoyable, oh and hey include that in the shoot as a prop!Here’s to fall sessions and some beautiful photo memories.


Sometimes it is not what you intend to create but what you need to create to open you up to inner most dialogues and thoughts.  This image was inspired by a creepy image of a hand lit from above with melted wax - the ending seems so far from that. 

So many things go into creating images, from your model to the weather and occasionally what you are reading or which netflix show you watched.  I listen to audio books (alot of audio books) when I go on my walks, and hubby recently introduced me to a new title by Neal Donald Walsh called 'Tomorrow's God' it has clearly had an impact on my inner workings and contemplation.  I found myself saying to my hubby 'I know this will sound weird but I think the purpose of living is to have joy, and that worry is (along with other factors) why I got sick.  The purpose of living it so enjoy life not to be caught up in worry and frustration'  (I had to pick up my hubby off the floor at this point).  So, considering all of that is it a surprise that I created an image that is comming out of the dark, with the trinity (be it subconscious, conscious and super conscious or Father, Son and Spirit)  It is the marrying of the 3 to help lift us out of the struggles.

A Portrait of Tammy

Tammy found me through from a FB post and promptly emailed to book a session.  She said she wanted to capture this time in her life, and celebrate the milestones.  Oh and she's turning 50 in October, so this was a little splurge for her soul as well.  We had chatted a few times about what she was looking for, mostly casual images and a few for her website.  Tammy is a silversmith, and is updating her website... so of course one of those would suffice for her 'about me' section.  

She arrived at 9 am and Haley got to work, while I went through the clothing options.  We chatted and laughed - oh yea she brought her amazing pup Buddha as well.  

Time came for her to step in front of the camera, with a bit of nervousness she sat down and we started working on capturing her amazing smile.  (Of Course not to be outdone by Buddha)

In the last 10 minutes I was inspired to 'Glam her up' and I pulled out a satin wrap and a tulle skirt and we got to work.  I KNEW this was going to capture her in a way she had not seen often and yet I saw immediately... she simply radiates royalty to me. 

We had so much fun, and when I was clipping her into this dress to create my vision, she said I am not really a 'glam' gal... well.. maybe not but WOW....  you certainly brought it for these last images.


If you want to see Tammy's work please check out her FB page Artwork of Tammy D. Manley

Story of a Birth Session

Natasha and Joel - a beautiful couple who have been trying to conceive for a few years.  They have gone through ups and downs with their family plans and finally they were blessed with their baby girl.  As soon as I found out she was expecting we made a pact to get as many portraits of her through out the pregnancy.. I am still working on some of those images.  3 weeks prior to her due date I was inspired to offer my services to capture the entire birth of her beautiful baby girl, and they said YES.  i received a text message on Saturday morning at 7:30 am stating her water had broke and it would be 'hours' so no rush.  I jumped out of bed and met her in the drive way 20 minutes later.  We spent a few minutes outdoors lapping the house, and finally it was time, and the contractions were getting more intense and closer together.  Call Kate (the midwife)  and fill the pool - it was time.  The next 4 hours were spent surrounded by love, family support, encouragement, laughs and creating the most beautiful birthday setting possible. As Kate had stated a beautiful baby girl was born before noon on the 7th of the 7th month.  

New Team Member

As a full service studio, I like to include hair and makeup along with your session.  Of course it is great when one has an awesome team of talent, and I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to Haley, who has been working with me for about 6 months.  So, Introducing Haley.


Hi, I am Haley

and I am a makeup and special effects artist on Vancouver Island. I have always loved makeup and story telling since I was little, and now it is my job.

I grew up dancing where every year, at the year end recital I would put on bight red lip stick and wear winged liner. I never realized until now, that was one of the reasons I loved dancing so much. I kind of fell into makeup, not because i’m clumsy but because this is what I was meant to do.

It was kind of an accident, a lucky one. I attended The John Casablancas Institute. I didn’t even really mean to apply. I was interested in getting some more information and with one call, I had an interview the next week, and got accepted the following. It was a happy accident. I did the unlimited makeup program, which is a year and teaches you everything from beauty and bridal to airbrushing, out of kit effects and prosthetics. I graduated in December 2016 with distinction.
Since graduating I have done a few weddings, a few photoshoots, and some short films. Im dipping my toes in wherever I can. I am still learning but in this industry you never stop. There is always a new technique to try or a new trend to follow.

Many people think I work in the beauty industry because I love makeup but that is only a small part of it. One of the reasons I love what I do is because of the way you make people feel. I never do makeup to change the way a client looks but rather to enhance the beauty that is already there. When I get to see the transformation that a client has will always be a favourite part of the job. The sudden rush of confidence they get, they feel beautiful.

I am always excited to do makeup and if you want to follow my journey you can find me on Instagram or Facebook @HaleySwitzerMUA
Or check out my website

Selfie non selfie

I realize the term 'selfie' referred to using your camera phone for a quick pick...and that the images below may not exactly fit into that category.  Trust me they are still selfies.. done with  tripod, and a remote trigger.  

A selfies - from what I have seen are usually just of the subjects face, and taken from above - they are quickies usually when we are having a good hair or makeup day. The intention here was from a desire to create on a rainy day... and then the post shoot selfie looking out the window.