Hamilton Photographer

Maddy + Craig | Collective Arts Engagement Session | Moments -by Lauren

Patio beers, pizza, and a little bit of soccer at sunset.

A perfect evening of celebrating Maddy + Craig’s engagement. Reminisce a little with me, won’t you?!

Views from Doors Open Hamilton | Hamilton Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

Have you heard about “Doors Open”?

I randomly stumbled upon it last year, where at the last minute my Mom and I toured the old Knitting Mill here in the heart of HamOnt… and it. was. EPIC. This year, I knew I had to throw it on my calendar and do a little planning ahead of time to make sure I didn’t miss out.

Four of us spent the day exploring a few unique spots in this awesome city that are not typically open to the public. We took in a little history and got the chance to see some pretty awesome stuff. We started at Auchmar, popped over to Gibson School Lofts (where I am in the last photo), followed by Playhouse Cinema, BD Salvage (which is AMAZING), and then wrapped up at Custom House! If you’ve been hanging around a while, you know I’m a huge fan of anything vintage, and anything with a story. This lovely afternoon brought everything together with some great company and I just wanted to share a couple favourite frames from my day of exploring — little details that I found pretty cool. A few from my DSLR, and a few from my iPhone too!

It’s a bit different than the normal things you see here on the blog, but thought sharing a day from my personal life was a great change of pace!

Is this your type of thing too?! Did you go? Want to tag along next year?! Let me know, below!

Behind the Scenes : 2018 | Hamilton Wedding Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

Well friends, here’s a fun look back at all the things you don’t really get to see throughout the year. A look behind the scenes! All of these have been snapped by me, one of my pals second shooting, and even a couple of clients - and they give a quick peek into some of my days behind the lens last year!

You’ll see some action shots, some light tests, and some hilarious outtakes too. Even though I am constantly wearing black, usually have incredibly messy or wind-blown hair, I can guaranteed I’m having such a blast fixing a dress, setting up a shot or petting any dog in sight.

Take a peek, have a laugh and hopefully stick around for the Year in Review coming tomorrow!

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Ali + Jake | At Home Engagement Session | Moments –by Lauren

Ok, so before we get into how amazing Ali + Jake are, I want to let you in on a quick secret. Neither of them were super gung-ho on an engagement session when we first started chatting about their wedding photography… which is totally fine.

Similar to every couple that says that exact thing, I convinced them it was a good idea and they both came around – and were even up for a winter session (bonus!). So we waited for some snow and finally were all set – except for the fact that the snow melted through the afternoon on the day of the session. Seriously…

Lucky for us, we were already planning on shooting a part of the session in Ali + Jake’s new home so after I got there and basically wanted to move in – we spent most of the time just hanging out in their awesome space. I seriously can’t tell you how much I love these two and their ability to just go with the flow.

If I’m being honest, it’s quite the (incredible) jump going from not really wanting to be in front of the camera to letting your photographer stand a foot above you while you’re cuddled up in bed. But boy am I thankful. These adorably fun frames are some of my all time favourites, and I’m so excited to share them below!

Let me know what you think of the “at-home” vibe?? It’s quickly becoming one of my favourite places to shoot!

Event Boutique & Co. | Lifestyle Business Portraits - Hamilton | Moments -by Lauren

I truly love connecting with other entrepreneurs. There’s just something about chatting with a fellow business owner that instantly connects us – because no matter what field you’re in, the ups, downs and stories are all so relatable.

What’s even better than just connecting with these awesome people, though? Is having them in front of my camera!  It was such a blast having Carina of Event Boutique & Co, and her newest team member Alex, hang out in the studio a couple of weeks ago! These amazing ladies wanted some updated images for their website + social media pages and I couldn’t have been happier to oblige. Not only were their style choices on point, but these #BossBabes couldn’t have been more adorable in front of the camera.  Let’s be serious… when these ladies aren’t busy planning corporate events, I’m sure they use their spare time for modelling.

Now, these are not the classic frames that may come to mind when you think of some updated "headshots", but they come from more of a lifestyle approach - which I love so much. They're relatable, they're fun and most importantly they're real. I'd love to know what you think of them, below after you check out a few faves below!!

 

Happy Monday, Friends!

 

p.s. If you’re looking to freshen up your headshot or social media game – I’d love to hear from you

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!

Behind the Scenes : 2017 | Hamilton Wedding Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

It’s not often you get to see things other than how they look through my lens, but I just had to share a few frames from this past year from a totally different angle! It’s a funny little look at some of the things you don’t get to see on a wedding day!

 

You’re sure to find me behind the lens, pointing, directing, dress-fixing, being caught mid-sentence and all around loving life. You’ll see some of my wedding-day pals – and Alex who is my right hand woman (second shooter) and professional light + background tester!  

 

There’s a few frames mixed in from my speaking engagements this year as well as my first semester in front of a class – and I wrap things up with a few extras from my phone!

I’m promising to bring you along a few more places next year, but in the mean time…here’s a look back at some BTS of 2017!! A huge thanks to all my seconds this past year for helping me tell a bit of this story!!

 

p.s. If you want to follow along with the day to day – hop on over to Instagram!! 

...and a few extra iPhone snaps!! 

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. 

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

Location, Location, Location | Hamilton Wedding + Lifestyle Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

Choosing the backdrop for your session is one of the most important elements that go into planning your time in front of the lens (and it’s also one of my favourites)! I love to work with my clients to find the spot that’s just perfect for them and their portraits that will last a lifetime. Check out a few quick items that go into it, below!

A few things *YOU* need to think about:

1.     Interests + Activities

Kick off your brainstorming by thinking about what you love to do in your free time. Where are you most comfortable? Perhaps out on a trail, maybe strolling through downtown? I always ask my clients to finish this sentence: “On a free Sunday, you could find us…”

2.     Room Décor

Now that the wheels are spinning, also factor in your home décor. What type of location will look good in your living space? Decorating your home with personalized artwork from your session is a perfect way to update your empty or outdated walls. Remember this when you think of potential locations, their colours and backdrop options!

3.     Style

One of the other major items to factor into your thoughts is your own personal style. What types of locations vibe with your favourite outfits? Often times your personal style already goes hand in hand with some of your favourite hotspots, so the connection might be easy to make!

Once you do a little bit of brainstorming, I help narrow things down. Leaving the technical side of planning your session is totally my job, and rest assured you’re not left to figure things out on your own!

A few things *I* have to think about

1.     Backdrops/Settings

I always check locations for what types of backdrops are available. Is there only one usable spot, or are there 10? Is there some sort of variety in this one location or should we add a second? I love using different backdrops during your session so this is totally something I plan for ahead of time!

2.     Lighting

All of your session’s images begin with lighting. I scope out locations to make sure they have some killer light coming through in the best spots. This is a big indicator of how we move through a session as well, so having my game plan in place is super important!

3.     Time

Taking the first two factors into account helps dictate WHEN we should schedule your session. A lot of my clients are drawn to the glow and emotion of my images…and this doesn’t happen by chance. The sunrise + sunset are my favourite times to book a session, and I’ll be sure to let you know when the location we pick will look it’s best!

Now, these definitely aren’t the only things that we will both factor into our choices…but this is just quick cheat sheet to get you thinking. I have a whole list of favourite spots – a “bucket list” if you will – to suggest in case you’re drawing a blank. I love to hear your input and of course explore some new spaces so no suggestion is a bad one to throw out there! Before any session or big day I ALWAYS scout out where we will be heading to make sure it’s a good one + to craft my game plan!

Want to see a few behind the scenes “Before + After’s”? Check out a few cell phone snaps I’ve taken on my scout and compare them with the final product from the session itself!

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Have any cool photo location ideas or hidden gems?! Have a place in mind for your next session? I'd love to hear from you!

Josie + Bryan | Hamilton Wedding Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

Last year’s love stories have been long overdue here on the blog, but I’m so excited to kick things off with Josie + Bryan’s big day!

If you remember their engagement session, you’ll know that Bryan and I go way back and that I got to meet Josie long before these two became an MBL couple. That being said, all the details leading up to their wedding had me so excited not only as their photographer – but also as their friend… and it definitely didn’t disappoint.  

Through all the genuine moments of the day I don’t think I would be able to pick a single favourite, but I can say that the smiles these two have on their faces will certainly bring one to yours. From the false start down the aisle…to the quick break for McDonalds, the laughs this group shared can almost be heard through your screen.

From the moment you stepped into their cocktail hour at Michelangelo’s, you were thrown back into the 20’s with Josie + Bryan’s on point décor and flapper dancers that joined everyone through dinner. A perfect dice game brought out some epic dance floor moments that had everyone ready to celebrate this awesome couple in style for the remainder of the evening.

It goes without saying that I was honoured to tell their wedding story and I’m so happy to finally share it. Check out a few moments from their Gatsby inspired day that was filled with love, laughter, dancing and of course champagne. 

 

Hair + Makeup –  Makeup Worx

Transportation –  Exquisite Limousine

Invitations –   Rita Bruno Gallo Designs     

Catering/Venue – Michelangelo’s Banquet Center

Wedding Dress –  Angie’s Bridal

Bride’s Shoes – David’s Bridal

Bridesmaids Dresses – Mirella’s Ladies Boutique

Bride’s Accessories – Frilly Bits

Suits – Tuxedo Royale

Groom’s Shoes - Aldo

Videographer – Patty Menedez

Second Photographer – Marek Michalek