Hamilton Photo Studio

2017 : Year In Review | Hamilton Wedding Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

Every year I’m completely overwhelmed (in a good way) when drafting this post. Not only because I get to look back on all the stories I got to tell in the past 12 months, but because I’m reminded again of how lucky I am to be able to capture these moments.

Last year I broke down how I go about choosing these images, and things definitely haven’t changed. [Check out last year’s post + my reasoning here.] The genuine moments between couples, family and friends top the list yet again, and there are a few of my favourite epic shots as well.

I’m so excited to share these faves with you today, and even more excited for all the stories that are still to be told. 2018 is going to be filled with so many new chapters that are waiting to be captured….if you think you might like some of yours documented, I’d love to hear from you.

So, here they are… the best moments of 2017.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

TOP 10 : All The Feels 2017 | Hamilton Wedding + Lifestyle Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

One thing I noticed this past year was that I was getting more and more drawn to the images that made me feel something. Not just ones that brought a little smile, but ones that made me pause a little longer. I'm talking about those authentic moments that can pull you right into the image even if you don't know the people or the story behind why they are so special. Being so invested in my clients and their stories, I had such a hard time narrowing this down -- but I did my best to get it down to 10!!

One of next year's goals is to chase these moments, and I can't wait to share some more as they come. These were chosen because they don't need much more of an explanation, so I'll leave you here to check them out for yourself.

(I'd love to know which one you like the most - so definitely leave me a note below!!)

... and a few honourable mentions I just had to include :

5 Years - 5 Moments | Hamilton Wedding + Lifestyle Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

Today marks a pretty exciting milestone for me! It was 5 years ago today that I completely changed paths, went back to school and officially began this journey behind the camera. 2 years of school and then 3 more full time here at MBL have brought some pretty incredible moments… ones that still make me feel so lucky to call this a career.

 

Instead of gushing about my amazing support system, my incredible clients and all the people that have helped me along the way (…you are all the BEST, by the way), I wanted to share something a little different!  I tried to think of some things that I’ve been a part of over the last 5 years that have truly stood out as some of my favourite moments. A little bit of the magic I get to experience - whether it is on camera or not – have been tough to narrow down for you here:

 

1.    The “Photo”

Two summer’s ago in Kelowna, Alanna + Matt were saying their speech and they reached the part where they began thanking people as couples often do. Alanna + I lived together at University, and I of course had known Matt pretty well too… so I got a touching shout out from them which made me grin ear to ear. I wasn’t shooting away at that point, but just took the moment to be the friend instead of the photographer. As I was turning my eyes back to my camera, the Best Man (Devan) caught my attention. He was holding up his hands in the shape of a camera, and hit the imaginary shutter to capture my reaction. I’m not sure anyone else saw this or if he remembers but it was just so adorable and will probably always be on this list of best moments ever.

 

2.    Grandpa

Moments with grandparents almost always stick out for me as there are not too many things more special than capturing this bond. Couples are always so lucky when Grandparents can be a part of their day in person, and even more so when they can take an active part in the wedding day.

 

Story 1 – The first time a Grandfather really stole my heart was when I was second shooting with a friend of mine.  The Groom’s Grandfather not only sat in the front row all day, but also said the speech for his Grandson on behalf of their family. He recalled memories of the Groom’s childhood, told stories and gave advice. As the second shooter, I hadn’t met anyone before that day, but it was so epic and so touching that it had me tearing up behind the camera.

 

Story 2 – This moment happened just a few weeks ago at Alex + Chris’ big day. During the classic first dance between the bride and her father, Alex’s Grandpa got up from his seat and cut in half way through. Seriously. Not sure there was a dry eye in the house.

 

3.    Generational Portraits

I get a little extra excited any time an inquiry comes in where there are more than two generations in a family portrait session. One session in particular from a few years ago will always stay with me. Grandma + Grandpa (who were in their 80s), their two sons and each of their families all met me at McMaster’s Campus. I set up a large group shot to start, got some great smiles and then was ready to move to the next spot. Grandma came up and thanked me as she stepped down the stair because she “was just so pleased that they had this done.” She thought we were finished after the first set up because that’s how things were done the last time she had a portrait taken. (…so adorable.) I explained to her that we still had a whole hour, and her excitement made me melt. We got lots of variety throughout their session and I won’t ever forget how much the grandkids made their grandparents laugh. Real belly laughs that I think only Grandkids can create. The photos I have of the 5 of them together are just priceless.

 

4.    Dancing Floor Shenanigans

There are so many of these that would make the list that I couldn’t single any one out. The signature moves, the dance offs, and the hilarious outtakes are all so epic and some of my faves to capture on a wedding day. I couldn’t possibly narrow this down to one specific story, but maybe it will make for a special list in the future!

 

5.    The Onesie

This last one is a little more on the personal side, but happened a year and a half ago at my Studio’s First Open House. The two months I spent renovating the studio came with nothing but moral support and manual labour from my family. When the night arrived, so many people came through that it was truly overwhelming. The cutest moment though? My niece (who was 6 months old at the time) made her appearance wearing a little “Moments –by Lauren” onesie. She totally stole the show.

 

Passing the 5 year milestone is definitely one that feels pretty great, as it’s one that a lot of businesses never reach. A HUGE thank you to everyone who has let me be part of a few of their moments so far. I can’t wait to see what the next 5 years will bring.

 

They say time flies when you’re having fun. They’re right. 

Heirlooms | Hamilton Wedding Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

Real Talk – I’m not usually one to fill my feed with details shots. 

Of course, I shoot these on a wedding day because I know they are important to my clients – who have made these choices in the jewellery, tie, or shoe department for a reason. It’s fun to approach them in a way that might be a little bit different, but they just never seem to be the images that speak to me or that I am eager to share. 

If you can believe it, this is one that is more than just a ring in a box. This is a ring belonging to Great Grandma, and one that the bride wore with her throughout the day. When I edited this image today it made me so happy. I truly love when there are heirlooms woven through a wedding day. 

When you think about it, this ring has been around way longer than any of us have. I’m sure it’s been on the finger of a few ladies in the family – it’s seen lots of happy times and maybe a few sad - and it was there again on one of the most important days of Angela’s life. I can’t help but wish it sees a few more wedding days too. 

To me, that makes this rather plain image epic…and totally one worth sharing. 

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Taylor + JJ | Burlington Wedding Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

I may sound like a broken record when I talk about the love I have for telling someone’s life story... but here we are again. I’ve been lucky enough to document a few chapters for Taylor + JJ so far, and I must say it’s all been pretty epic since the first frame of their engagement session.

What I love about these two is how comfortable they are not only around each other, but around everyone. They know how to have fun, they don’t hold back their laughter, and they were up for anything from the get-go. Their wedding day was no different! Both Taylor and JJ got ready with their families + friends before heading off to a personalized service held not too far from their home.

We all survived the heat as we took in the waterfront before kicking off cocktail hour back at the Burlington Convention Center. Their personalized donuts + root beer were a perfect welcome for their guests as they got their first greeting as Mr. & Mrs. Jones. Their formal introduction, capped off by a perfectly executed handshake led into their touching first dances (which finished off with the most adorable flower girl interruption). The moving moments continued as the speeches got underway. The whole room reminisced, they remembered those who were there in spirit, and they also shared a lot of laughs. It was the perfect combination of tributes + touching moments…and JJ actually still holds the trophy for the longest groom speech I’ve been able to capture ;) haha.

I can’t believe it’s already been a year since they tied the knot, but I still feel so lucky to have joined them.  The icing on the cake…the just welcome their first little one - a baby boy - last week.

Happy Anniversary, guys! I can’t wait to see where life takes your little family next.

 

Crazy story. When Taylor + JJ picked their wedding date I realized it was the day after I was to be a bridesmaid for one of my best friends. No biggie, right? The only snag was that the wedding I was lucky enough to be in was in Vancouver.  Eeek! I knew I couldn’t pass up seeing one of my favourite ladies walk down the aisle in BC, but after knowing Taylor for close to 20 years I couldn’t imagine not being able to tell her wedding story. What’s a girl to do? I cleared it with both brides, booked a red-eye and had one pretty epic weekend.  Then one pretty epic Sunday nap. 

 

Vendor Team: 

Florist – Satellite Gardens Hamilton

Hair – Giorgios Mystical Circle

Makeup – Robin Dunn – Mac Makeup Artist

Transportation – Star Night Limousines

Décor – Classic Creations

Invitations – Taryn Thomas

Catering/Venue – Burlington Convention Center

Wedding Dress – Maggie Sottero – Heirlooms Bridal

Bride’s Shoes – Vince Camuto

Bridesmaids Dresses – BCBG

Suits – Moore’s Clothing

Videographer – Calicocat Productions

Cake – Homemade Sweets by Ashley

Officiant – Ray David Glenn

Second Photographer - Alexandra DelBello

 

MURAL! | Hamilton Wedding + Lifestyle Photography | Moments -by Lauren

A very short, but very exciting post on the blog today! I've been SO pumped for this day and am so happy it's finally here! As some of you may know, the outside of the studio has been undergoing a bit of a facelift over the last few months. There will be more on that in the future, but this latest update was too good to hold off on! 

The back-story -- I contacted Claire (of Claire Hall Design) almost a year ago with an idea in mind for something a little different...something big. That same week, she sent over a mockup of this camera and I was immediately OBSESSED. I mean, she basically read my mind after only giving her a few details.

Fast forward to Monday when she started this project that wrapped up yesterday! It was incredible watching her bring this vision to life and I am so thrilled with the final product!

Check out the brand new custom mural with a few behind the scenes photos of it in progress, below!  Visitors are more then welcome if you'd like to check it out in person too! 

p.s. Claire is a total dream to work with - if you need some custom artwork done...she's your girl! 

Feature : The Hamilton Spectator | Hamilton Wedding + Lifestyle Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

I'm thrilled to share that I was featured in the "Young Professionals" section of The Hamilton Spectator this week! Not only was it a huge honour to have my business profiled, but also so exciting to get a chance to chat about what it's like to run a business and chase my dream in #HamOnt! I've been so overwhelmed by all the support and well wishes, and am so looking forward to where this journey takes me next! 

I'd love for you to check out the feature here -- > Young Professionals : Lauren Valvasori

4 Years

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I'm a few days late with this post, but for a very good reason! I actually spent the 4th Anniversary of the launch of Moments -by Lauren celebrating the marriage of one of my best friends! The best part being that I was honoured to stand beside her instead of being behind the camera (even though that would have been pretty fun too!). Celebrating so much love this past Saturday reminded me how lucky I am to do what I do, and how much fun is really wrapped up in a wedding day. 

This past year has come with so many awesome moments and milestones, and I couldn't be more excited for the journey that I'm on. A huge thank you to everyone who has been a part of the past 4 years and to all of the people I've been lucky enough to cross paths with. Telling a little piece of your life's story is something that I truly treasure and I can't wait to see the pages continue to turn and what the future holds! 

As always, I'm sending all my love and thanks for the support, the kind words, and the referrals to a friend or family member. You all are what keep me going and allow me to spend my days doing something I totally love. 

So many more blog posts coming your way soon - I can't wait to share some fun moments from this summer season!

-Lauren 

Emily + JD | Hamilton Engagement Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

Emily + JD were home visiting from Edmonton a couple of weeks ago and we were sure to squeeze in an engagement session before their big day this fall! These two cuddled up as we strolled through downtown and got a killer mix of old and new backdrops in the James St North District. Getting to know these two was a total blast before we finished up the session at the exact spot JD proposed to Emily, putting my own spin on a spot that will always be special to them - one of my fave things to do! 

They will be back in town and back on the blog this September, so leave them some love and come back and visit then! 

Masi | Newborn Lifestyle Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

Meet Masi. This little guy was welcomed into the most loving home by his awesome parents and adorable pups. Settling in nicely as the first grandchild to all his grandparents, he’s sure to be spoiled rotten (just as it should be). I spent some time capturing the latest milestone in Britt + Chris’ lives and feel so lucky every time I’m asked back to join them in catching all those little moments that will tell their story.

I’d love for you to start your week off right and take a peek into Masi’s world, his darling nautical nursery, and all the love that comes with it. 

The Lawlor's | Hamilton Family Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

It was such a blast having this group in the studio a few weeks back for a winter family session while everyone was in town...and in the country! Just like a lot of families I hear from, their portraits needed updating and February was the perfect time to bring everyone together. 

I think family portraits are even more special when they can bring more then two generations together as the family continues to grow, and I was so happy to capture some moments with the whole gang together that they can look back on for years to come. Not to mention that grandparents and little ones always seem to bring out the best in each other, don't you think?

Check out a few favourites below, and a sample wall collection I designed at the end! 

It's so much easier to enjoy your images when they are on display! Check out a wall art design I put together using some favourites from the Lawlor session, below!

If you think your family or walls need some updated portraits, I'd love to hear from you!  

Renovation Diaries

If you follow along with my instagram or snapchat, you've likely seen a few of these attached to the #renovationdiaries. I thought a fun way to cap off the few posts I've done on my new studio would be to do a full Before and After, with a few extra behind the scenes photos and videos. 

So take a peek at some of my favourite shots of the transformation with quite a few photobombs from my dad, randomly scattered coffee cups, and more then a few changes.

It sure was quite the facelift! 

 

And the side-by-side's are even better to show the real Before & After! 

 
 

And a few more random shots throughout the process are below! 

I obviously couldn't have done this on my own and can't thank my family enough for their support! Although I'm sure there were times we struggled, were too tired to keep going, and wanted to kill each other - I LOVED renovating this place with my Dad. He saw the original potential in this building and after a few design conflicts discussed in a loving manner I seriously couldn't be happier with the way it turned out. (I just count my blessings we have similar taste in music - as it was one less thing to debate!) Whether you pitched in with some of the reno, brought by a coffee or a snack for us in the wee hours or even sent a quick message of support - this process made me realize I'm almost too lucky to have such awesome people in my life that were just as excited to help me as this new venture gets off the ground! 

Now that I've shared the full story behind the renovation, I'm so excited to get back to blogging some of my client work! All new images on the blog this week! 

Inside Look : Studio

A little behind the scenes look at my studio + office space right here in #HamOnt! 

If you missed the Open House, and wanted to swing by for a visit - I'd love to have you!

Just drop me a line! 

Sarah

As I've mentioned a few times, working with clients and getting to know their stories is definitely my favourite part of what I do. This especially rings true when I hear from someone who has a mission to accomplish as part of their time with me...whether it's to surprise their parents or grandparents with some new prints, to create some new memories with their loved one or just to treat themselves to a new experience. 

Sarah's mission was to get out of her comfort zone...and I was so honoured she chose me to help her do it. She was a rockstar at the session and after getting her permission I wanted to share a few words from her to go with a favourite frame from our time together.

Hi Lauren,

I just wanted to send you a quick note about the photos we did back in June. As you know, Connor and I recently got married and I had made a photo book for his gift. To say the least he was over the moon with it. He said that you captured the woman he has always admired to the fullest. So I wanted to thank you!  You made me feel so comfortable even in the most awkward shots, hahaha. I cannot wait to show him the rest of the session and pick out a canvas soon.

If you ever need a testimonial for anything, let me know as I would be more than happy to provide you with one. Or you can simply use this email.

I can't wait to see our paths cross again. I wish you all the best in your future projects and studio.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Sarah

If you've been thinking about getting out of your comfort zone and treating yourself to a session...I'd love to hear from you

Open House

I was so overwhelmed with the love and support I received from family, friends and clients this past holiday season. So many stopped by to check out the new space, catch up over some de-lish food and drinks and take part in a session giveaway (Congrats to Lesa Holmes)! I can't wait to share the full transformation of my new studio with plenty more details, but for now - check out a few favourites from my Open House! 

A big thanks to my own family for all their help, and to my pal Alexandra DelBello for being behind the lens that night!