Bre + Josh :: A Typical Weekend :: Campbellville Pine Forest Fun-Shoot

Ah young love.   The good old days when you’d drag a mattress into the woods in your PJs, bring along 87 books and play ‘superman’.

Kinda like the good old days.   Yeah, these things usually only happen in movies…still super cute, right?    Maybe it will inspire you to surprise your loved one with an afternoon in the woods reading…or doing other things.

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This was from a session last year that was a back-up plan for a Chic Critique contest challenge!    It was too pretty to not share though.bre-josh-woods-matress-books-5bre-josh-woods-matress-books-6


The Collaboration :: Vintage Wedding Dresses :: Hamilton Wedding Photographer

For those of you who have been watching the excitement on Facebook or Instagram a few weeks back a bunch of us got together and shot a vintage wedding dress shoot!

It was organized by me but after that I just let everyone do their thang, and these are the gorgeous results!

The only drawback was that there were TOO many photos…


Below are two installments of four dresses.  I’ll post the other half on Friday!  Stay tuned…

And check out what Jane & Hollie of White Elephant are saying about the shoot here at their blog.


And I want to show the credits here and below–so you don’t miss it!

Wardrobe + Accessories: White

Flowers:  i fiori by Beverly Zaruk

Hair & MU: Aimee Carreen Stricker

Event Styling: Bre of Breanna Black Event Planning +

Model Styling: White Elephant + Claire Dam Photography

Photography: Claire Dam Photography

Assistant: Maria Simmonds

And special thanks to Ashley, Frank & Bruce at 270 Sherman!




Jewel tones of green are THE colour of 2013!





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How Great Gatsby, hey?

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Another adorable cocktail wedding dress with the sweetest little collar and metallic details in the fabric.



Check out that hair-piece by Bev at i fiori!!!!!  Dying!





A sweetheart neckline for a sweetheart.  Wedding dresses don’t have to be white.

They should sometimes be pink.


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In case you missed it above–here are the members of ‘The Collaboration’

Wardrobe + Accessories: White

Flowers:  i fiori by Beverly Zaruk

Hair & MU: Aimee Carreen Stricker

Styling: White Elephant + Claire Dam Photography

Photography: Claire Dam Photography

Assistant: Maria Simmonds

Off-Camera Flash (OCF) with Amanda :: 270 Sherman :: Tutorial Photo Shoot


I know you, right?  I think we hung out once…but it’s been a while.  Hope you haven’t forgotten about me!

For the month of March I was the Monthly Mentor on the Chic Critique Forum–and as such I needed to create and share a video about an area of my expertise.  Now, while I do not call myself an expert at off-camera flash (OCF), I am an expert at PARTS of it.   So the tutorial was about the basics of this really fun and challenging skill.

Amanda was my model for the shoot–and was also being filmed at the same time for the video footage–thanks to Mark Van Noord of Airborne Video Productions.I can’t show you the footage–because you need to be a member of the forum to see it :)   There are perks to being a member!

*All of the shots that are side-by-side (the diptychs), are SOOC, or straight out of camera–except for straightening.  I’m a crooked shooter!*   If you want to know specifics about the images–ask me in the comments.  Most of the images were shot using different OCF techniques and equipment.

Anyway–I think I only released ONE sneak peek from this session–so here are my favourites! Enjoy!





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If you enjoyed this post–please leave a comment!  I love hearing from people!  …people?   Yes, people.

(Just people though….no pets.  If I hear from a cat I’ll be so po’d.)

Styling: Claire Dam Photography

Model: Amanda

Hair & MU: Amanda, model

Video: Mark Van Noord of Airborne

Assistant: Maria

Chic Critique’s Photography Idol Contest!

Yes I’m entering a contest.  I’ll be posting the full preview from this session this week–now that I’m back from vacation.

This is from Annie’s maternity shoot a couple weeks ago.   Annie’s an old pal of mine so she gave me permission to totally take over her shoot start to finish–taking inspiration from some words she gave me: ethereal, vintage, boho.

Once I had an idea in mind that I liked I scouted the location over about 2 days, designed and built the swing and designed and sewed the skirt as well as guiding Annie, the model, in hair & mu.  (Comments from Annie about my shoddy sewing job will not be approved.  It’s my machine…it’s a Kenmore after all.  Be kind.)

I was hoping for ‘ethereal’ golden sunlight to backlight my subject most of the time, but instead we got this moody sky and threatening rain–which, of course, in the end was an unexpected bonus.

Isn’t she the most ethereal/vintage/boho mama you’ve ever seen?  I loved this shoot so much–can’t wait to show you all the rest!  No, for realsies–possibly one of the best sessions of 2012….so far!

This image was posted in response to Chic Critique’s call for submissions for their ‘Photography Idol’ contest.    Chic Critique is THE elite resource for women who love photography (yes, they’re biased!). “Our mission: critique | confidence | community. We’re all about our Celebrity Photographers who encourage, inspire, teach, and critique our members…”

Thanks Chic Critique for the fun!  All the best to the other entrants.

St. Maria lets loose on James St N :: Hamilton Graduate Photographer :: James St N, Hamilton, ON

I had the distinct pleasure of working with a young lady from our church who I’ve known since my roommate and I had some of the teen girls over for a sleepover a few years ago.  We had invited all the 13/14 year olds and even though Maria was 12 at the time she fit in like one of the adults.  (Although calling my roommate and I ‘adults’ was a bit of a stretch at the time.)

Even now you wouldn’t guess she was just graduating high school.  Yes fellas, relax.  High school, not university.  (And I’ve already fielded a couple of those questions in person.)

Maria has put her head down and plowed through high school achieving a lot of great things in all areas of acedemia.   Clearly she’s an artist–which explains why we used the fantastic Mixed Media store on James N as a prominent back-drop–but she’s also a scholar!   Double-threat.

The day we did Maria’s grad shoot was actually the day of her graduation dance!   But even though we were on a schedule (that I didn’t really keep–sorry!) Maria was as cool as cucumber marching up and down James N in those killer heels.

A quick pit stop at our favourite little James N cafe, the Mulberry St Coffeehouse, for some refreshment and more photo ops…

Then finally we retreated to a quiet little parking lot behind Mixed Media to set up the last and certainly most epic shot of the session.  Actually…two epic shots!   I’m a machine.

On my way out the door of the studio I was hit by a flash of inspiration–Maria + artist + paint brushes = holy art.   Fortunately I work near a lot of artists who use very intimidating brushes…(thanks again Steph!)   So I grabbed a bunch and headed off to the shoot with a vague sense of what I wanted to create for Maria.

The whole scene was strange, I’m sure.  A beautiful girl in a sparkly little dress laying in a parking lot on a fur rug with paintings (carefully) strewn about her and paint brushes in her hair.     Fortunately there’s comfort in numbers and with the help of Maria’s mom and my assistant/friend we were able to take over the parking lot enough to get some really fabulous shots.

Finally–at the request of Maria and her mom, we created a shot that said ‘I love to litter!’  Hah, no it said ‘Don’t need these anymore–I’m finished school!’

Congratulations Maria!   You’ve worked so hard and deserve your moment of fun and freedom!

The Summer Photo Marathon! Hamilton Family Photography :: Hamilton, Ontario

Back in the cooler days of June I hosted the first bi-annual (possibly even tri-annual!) photo-marathon at a lovely park in Hamilton/Ancaster.

We had six sessions lined up for 20-minutes each and even though the sessions were really short we were all super excited by how many fabulous shots we were able to capture in that time!   I would highly, highly recommend this type of session to everyone!

If you’re considering family portraits but are nervous your little ones won’t be able to focus for an entire session a Marathon session is perfect for you!  It’s also budget-friendly :)
I have the Fall Photo-Marathon coming up on September 22nd–just in time for Christmas cards and presents!   Email me for booking info!

Enjoy Session #1!


Session #2


Session #3

Yeah, they know they’re adorable…


Session #4


Session #5

I don’t know why but every time I see this shot I think of Mexican drug lords…


Session #6 (my cousin!)

Thanks to everyone who took a chance on a weird concept–you all made my job really easy and fun!

Next Marathon is September 22nd!   $120 + HST, includes a private online gallery and TWO complimentary digital files (worth $45+HST each).   Email me

A Ladies’ Cocktail Picnic Party :: Hamilton Whimsy Photography

Dear Hilda was nominated by her loving daughters in my Mother’s Day Draw a few months ago–hoping to win a mini-session for their mother.   If you were around my Facebook page at the time you’ll remember that contest was hoppin’ towards the end–but after 111 votes Hilda beat out the competition and won the mini-session–which she chose to use with her daughters.

One of her daughters, Carolyn, is also a photographer, so she and I had fun planning the session and dreaming up something unique!  I think we achieved that goal and because of all the girls’ planning and creative energy (and actual energy moving furniture around!) we created a really whimsical little vignette for Hilda’s Mother’s Day mini-sesh.

Happy Mother’s Day Hilda!  You are very clearly much beloved by your girls.

Not Just Skin Deep photo marathon :: Part Five :: Courtney & Dan

We ended the NJSD marathon sessions at the end of a hot day with a romantic couple’s session–just as the sun started to set and that ‘golden hour’ started.   It was great timing for a couple’s session.  And not just any old session–it was their anniversary AND they had just moved into their new home that very morning.  I still can’t believe they even came out after moving the same day!

But I’m so thankful they did–thanks for your support you two.  And Congratulations…on all of it!

June Art Bus :: Hamilton Portrait Photographer

A couple weeks ago we had another bus full of Art Crawlers who were shipped over to 270 Sherman to enjoy some of what she has to offer.   Once again I opened up my studio to anyone who wanted a free portrait–with one catch: you HAD to dress up.  Even a tiny bit.

I’m not going to post the photos from the people who came in on the bus–but I will post shots of some of my friends who came in for the bi-monthly Open House.

Next Open House: August 10th!  630-830pm

Art Bus & Open House!

Every other month or so a bus load of people, literally, arrive at the studios at 270 Sherman Ave N and tour the studios of the painters, sculptors, photographers, and tradespeople who occupy her.   This was the first month I’ve been able to participate and I was tres nervous.

Since I do portraiture, I don’t have ‘pieces’ to sell–but fortunately I have been adding to my canvas collection and was able to display a few things as well as offer people free group photos!  I had a few people in who said it was a treat (and relief) to do something fun in one of the studios–instead of having to think.  I’ll take that as a compliment!  …kinda.

The Art Bus people had a ton of fun dressing up in the costumes I brought–but unfortunately I can’t show any of those images at this time–I need to get their approval first!

I decided to coincide the Art Bus tour with an Open-House for my new space–so after the Art Bus people left I had a few friends and family drop by for wine & cheese and silly portraits, of course!

So I hope you enjoy the photos from the Open House as much as we enjoyed making them and I’ll be offering this fun photo experience at every Art Bus night–so I’ll announce it the next time it happens and you should try to drop by!

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