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Posts tagged Connection
Pre-Wedding Consultation: FIsh Tacos, Cocktails, Gelato
Ed's Real Scoop, Game of Cones
Ed's Real Scoop, Game of Cones

10:30pm and I just got back from a dinner meeting with Ervin and Grace. I have a strong opinion on why it's important to get to know your wedding photographer. I often try to meet with a couple before their wedding to review their questionnaire together. I call it a "pre-wedding consultation" - very professional and official. Sometimes things are too hectic so we do it over the phone… But other times the gods smile, the chemistry is right, and white wine spritzers and chocolate get involved.

Grace and Ervin came into Leslieville and we went to a local bistro for fish tacos, burgers, and bangers & mash. We spread out on the comfy bench seat and made ourselves at home.

Recently they each travelled out of the country (separately). The cutest: they both documented their travels including everything they ate, on their iPhones, to show one another. Whenever my friends travel one of my first questions is “How was the food – did you find any good restaurants?” So of course when asked, Grace whipped out her phone and started describing delicious berries with their explosive taste – perfect for waffles with whipped cream; Ervin showed us the rare selections of Japanese cuisine that only those more daring foodies would taste…  Much ooh-ing and ahh-ing was heard from our table.

“I don’t usually take pictures of food – actually I think it’s kind of silly,” Grace explained. “But for this, since we weren’t together, I wanted to show Ervin everything.” Um, so sweet.

What a fine evening! After dinner we walked down the street to Ed’s Real Scoop and indulged in some ice cream and gelato goodness. It was a warm evening, with a nice breeze, and we sat on the bench outside chatting about work, life, following your passion, cute dogs, food, Game of Thrones and Grey’s Anatomy (specifically around the topic of yelling at one's television set in shock/scandalization)...

I am so excited for Grace and Ervin’s wedding, but also in this very moment I am just grateful that I’ve found a path where I get to share and enjoy some life with human beings; celebrate, laugh, connect, make friends.

Wedding photography is not just about shooting, editing, printing. It is sharing in a rite of passage with families, hopeful and proud parents, and friends. It’s also often a collaboration with couples who have found an outlet for their own creativity and passion to emerge. It is the prime of life, no matter their age. It is humbling and simply a blessing to be a part of.

While you're waiting for the wedding, feel free to check out Ervin and Grace's gorgeous University of Toronto engagement photos.

Life is Happening! On Being Present at Your Wedding
Being Present at your Wedding
Being Present at your Wedding

You may wonder why I care so much about all this “being in the now” stuff for your wedding.

The busier we get in life the faster it goes. No one ever laid on their deathbed and said “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” ...But what if “the office" was truly delightful? I spend a lot of my life on my clients' wedding photography experience, so I want the process to be meaningful both for them and for me. I want us to look back on the years working together and remember our time laughing and being inspired.

What this is getting at is How to be present in your life, how to connect with the people around you, and how to experience joy – in its fleeting moments.

I practice this myself and, just like finding a good book or a fabulous restaurant, I want others to experience it too. Especially for those big moments in life like a wedding!

I wont lie to you – this is a work in progress.

Last year I sat in a coffee shop with a client-turned-friend after her wedding and she told me “I was so obsessed on my wedding day – I must have driven you crazy! All I could think about was the photos. I just wanted everything to look perfect.”

We discussed this and realized that the ceremony was the only part of the day when she was completely present in what was happening… and you can see it in the pictures. We looked through her wedding photographs and commented on the images from the church – “they look so holy” she smiled a secret smile at the memory.

And she looks so serene. She looks like she’s come home; this is the place where she is supposed to be, and this is the man she is supposed to be with. All is well. All questions are answered in this moment. It shows.

After that conversation I vowed to make it a goal in my business, for my clients: presence. It’s an ongoing effort for all of us. If we can be awake and be together then we are living.

How do you stay in the moment? If you have tips or comments, please share them below!

Your Turn Challenge Day 2: The New Moon

The topic for Day 2 is "What is important to you?" ...What is important to me? Heck - what ISN'T important to me?! Caring too much is the cause of most of my worries already. But I'll tell you what I care about right now at this moment: the moon. Tonight is the new moon - the supermoon of 2015! When I was seven my parents divorced. They were very conscientious and probably read all of the "how-to-do-a-healthy-divorce-when-you-have-kids" books. Anyway they did their best. One day, according to my dad, I said to him that I felt better when I looked at the moon, because I knew it was the same moon he was looking at. I knew, even at 7 years of age, that the universe kept us connected. Maybe not in the magical new-agey way you might think, but we were together nonetheless.

The moon has always been special to me. I've resorted to a few whispers directed at that light in the sky. Sighs, secrets, straight up straight talk. In times of need there's been at least one night of ululation, if not more - howling at that moon for pain, pleasure, direction, liberation.

And every month, for almost the last twenty years, the moon has had more of an influence in my life than I'd like to admit. Women anywhere can tell you their cycles are synced with one another and the planet. And why not? The moon pulls the oceans and creates the tide, and humans are also made of water. That means physical and emotional experiences that are as real as fifty feet of water flooding the Bay of Fundy every day.

"Periods syncing? That's not scientifically proven," a man once told me. But I don't need statistics to tell me what I've known since I was seven. Whether it's spiritual belief or connection with nature, we are human animals, we are connected with the universe and each other, and it's that blessed mother of a moon that tells me so.

Full Moon behind clouds
Full Moon behind clouds

You see the moon at night, when darkness comes - the same darkness that plants and roots need to grow and ground. The same darkness where sleep and dreams heal the body and reorganize the soul. I've always been a bit afraid of the dark. I even avoid it in my photography - I stay safe and warm in the sunlight. But now it's a new chapter. Time to play in the moonlight and see what happens.

Travel Adventure to San Francisco: A Love Letter to Maya & Ben

Arrived home this morning from San Francisco, one of my favourite cities in the world. I feel so much – so many things - but don’t know how to say them all at once, or properly. I “met” Maya and Ben on Skype, after we had been e-introduced by their awesome wedding planner Jodi Gagné. Living in California, Skype meetings are routine for these two. We had instant chemistry. There was a lot of laughter, which I now realize is a huge part of this couple’s life (being that they’re both hilarious and Maya is a constant joker). Somehow we group-fantasized that I’d go to the Bay Area and shoot their engagement session,,, and then somehow we made it happen.

I’ve just arrived home.

Palo Alto Engagement Photographer

Talk about adventure: Ben and Maya invited me – effectively a stranger from another country – into their home, and I accepted. We spent the weekend hanging out, eating delicious food, exploring San Francisco and Palo Alto, shooting pictures, telling stories, and laughing our heads off… it was beyond great.

What’s more, I found myself personally inspired by Maya and Ben. Not only as individuals, professionals, and inherently artistic beings, but also as a couple. Now, hold on before you go getting all judgey about how cheesy I am – hear me out.

Ben and Maya see, hear, and encourage one another with remarkable enthusiasm, care and interest. One’s happiness excites the other as if they’ve just met (and they haven’t). And the best part, is that the world is theirs; they have no self-consciousness about feeling this way and expressing it openly. I’m not talking about PDAs (though I have no problem with public displays of affection) – I mean that this love is just 100% out there, no apologies.

We all develop barriers in life, to protect our hearts and our egos from getting hurt. Maya and Ben are brave and confident and passionate in many aspects of their lives, and it is this that I find so incredible.

Thank you Maya and Ben for opening your home and your life to me. I can't wait to share your engagement photos in San Francisco, and I’m so excited to see you in Toronto for the wedding!

Congratulations, and Cheers, and Cheers again! Love, Kate

Baker Beach Engagement Photo
2013 Year Review… Prepare Yourself - it's Emo.

So it’s mid-January and I'm finally writing a 2013 year review... There is much to say. A year ago I was obsessively researching websites for Sweetheart Empire's portfolio. For those of you unfamiliar with the phenomenon of “obsessively researching” I'm talking about Procrastination. I studied all sorts of stuff until finally – for whatever combination of reasons – I snapped out of the fog and took action.

I started even though I felt I wasn’t ready… And everything began to fall into place. A year later I have experienced the following list of awesomeness.

Neither chronologically, nor in order of importance, in 2013 I:

  • Launched my own website and had to stand by my work all on my own
  • Experienced weeks and months [on and off] of debilitating fear of rejection and failure, self-torture, doubt, excitement, and more fear
  • Flew to Las Vegas (first time) alone for eight days, and attended WPPI – the world’s largest wedding photography conference
  • Had a portfolio review by José Villa (I was starstruck, and had to concentrate so hard on controlling my facial expression that I almost forgot to listen to the feedback)
  • Attended a Jesh de Rox workshop, had my mind blown, and felt that I had found “my people”
  • Meditated and worshipped the new moon with belly-dancers, yogis, philosophers, MBA students, and other such wandering souls
  • For the first time, a couple booked their wedding date based on my availability (and sent me a delicious babka to boot!)
Jose Villa, Nico Koenig and Babka
Jose Villa, Nico Koenig and Babka
  • Celebrated my mum’s 70th birthday in the same week that I found out my sister was pregnant
  • Experienced, from afar, the death of my nana and my uncle
  • Had a broken heart
  • Faced things about myself that I had been trying to ignore for many years
  • Experienced moments of self-acceptance so profound that words couldn’t explain the shocking peace of it
  • Relapsed back into judging and then judged myself for being judgmental
  • Began to work with some of my favourite photographers in the city, and was astoundingly lucky to learn and grow both professionally and emotionally from this
  • Co-produced my first video testimonial
  • Photographed my first magazine cover (and spread!)
  • Shot my cousin’s incredible wedding in Manhattan, and got to know family members who have lived in Ireland all my life
  • Assisted in the delivery of my sister’s beautiful daughter - indescribably life-changing.
Manhattan, Persian Tribune & Elle Daftarian, Baby Aisling
Manhattan, Persian Tribune & Elle Daftarian, Baby Aisling
  • Met several new soul-sisters and reconnected with old ones
  • Made many mistakes, stayed up late nights, relapsed into perfectionist-procrastination, doubted my decisions, let down my loved ones, over-booked and over-worked, missed many birthdays, hunched over my computer for too many hours
  • Started doing yoga again, dancing more, singing louder in the shower, going for walks around the park, and making green smoothies
  • Forgave
  • Took another Jesh de Rox workshop and consequently started training in Beloved Technique
  • Had my first interview published online
  • Made the commitment to only work with people I feel a connection with
  • Doubted my commitment and felt scared
  • Read Seth’s opinion on choosing who you work for, and felt good again
  • Then booked several awesome new clients who I totally feel the connection with!
Silverline Studios, Jasper Savage, Jesh de Rox, Sunset
Silverline Studios, Jasper Savage, Jesh de Rox, Sunset

...and finally, the topic to which this website is dedicated… In 2013:

  • I got to know amazing couples who put their faith in me, and allowed me to witness their strengths, vulnerabilities, and unique expressions of love and family.
  • And felt so overwhelmingly grateful that there was no appropriately powerful hashtag… so I kept it for myself, in my heart.

No doubt this is the same year most people experienced. Possibly with fewer bouts of neuroses – though really it’s just the "normal" neuroses, I like to think. Anyway, come on - the emotional roller-coaster is pretty okay!

So. Now is not the time to list my resolutions – you're all listed-out for today. But I do hope to start posting some of the many beautiful moments that took place, here on the blog, and I hope you will join me for more adventures this year.

Follow @SweetheartEMP on Instagram to catch a glimpse of the Empire, or just reach out to me and let's have a chat. Happy 2014!