Hamilton Portrait Photographer

Lesa + Whit | Oakville Waterfront Maternity Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

Oh, this next chapter sure looks good on these two.

It was such a pleasure having Lesa + Whitney back in front of my camera before they welcome their first little one in the next couple of weeks! Check out a few faves of their waterfront session below, and just try and not feel the love here. I dare ya.

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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

The Spencer Family | Hamilton Wedding Photographer | Moments -by Lauren

What comes to your mind when you think of the perfect family session? 

As you’re envisioning it, I’ll tell you what comes to mine…

 

To start off, it’s a session that takes place in a spot which the family feels totally at home…a place that is just “them” and one that they’ll look back on with fond memories of during that point in their life. That same session feels like I’m just tagging along with the family as an extra member (who happens to have her camera with her). It’s one that’s filled with belly laughs, natural silliness and genuine love with every member at any age.

The most important thing that ties the perfect family session together though? It’s not the coordinated wardrobe, or the perfect glowy light (although those things are nice too)… It’s the images that can tell even a stranger what that family is all about. Personalities, stories and emotions jumping out of an image are things that just make me so happy. I also like to hope it’s the exact thing my clients love too, especially when they look back at images years after they were taken.

The session below has all of these things, so it’s one I totally had to share. It speaks to what the Spencer Family would be found doing on any random night together…and that is also what makes it so special. They walked down a path for about 45 minutes, and I helped take care of the rest. It’s them, and it’s awesome.

Check out the family’s take on the session after a few of my faves!

 

"Lauren has an amazing ability to make a photo shoot an evening of fun. She’s super relaxed, goes with the flow of our kids and captures their own personalities in every shot. Lauren made the evening perfect – nothing was forced, the time flew by and we all had a blast. Endless thanks to Lauren for everything!" - Steph + Geoff

"I loved the telephone game, it was so silly, I almost peed my pants." - Kate, 6

 

If this looks like a way you'd like to document your family's current chapter, I'd love to hear from you to plan your custom session. 

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!

Chrissy + Mick | North Vancouver Maternity Photographer | Moments –by Lauren

On my way home from Victoria last month, I knew there was a required pit-stop I needed to make with my camera in tow. Chrissy + Mick – who I’ve known since our University days – are currently counting down the days until they welcome their first baby this summer.

As a photographer who loves nothing more than telling people’s stories, it comes as no surprise that documenting the milestones of friends is that much more special.  After living across the country and then being asked to join their wedding party for their big day this past summer…this was the first time I’ve had these two lovebirds in front of my lens – and we certainly took advantage of it!

With the whole day to ourselves, Chrissy and I borrowed Mick to stroll the Lynn Canyon trails on this lunch break and then spent the rest of the day making memories. We might have shared a few laughs here and there too. We perfectly dodged raindrops and captured this mama-to-be against some gorgeous backdrops that only Vancouver could offer. [Could seriously shoot here all day every day…]

Check out a few faves of Mr & Mrs Heck below, and leave them some love before they become a trio!

 

p.s. If you aren't following me on Instagram yet (@momentsbylauren), jump over there now! A Mother's Day Giveaway you won't want to miss is coming this Monday!! 

2016 : Year in Review | Moments - by Lauren | Hamilton Wedding Photographer

Well folks, here it is – the one blog post that wraps up an entire year’s worth of favourite frames…and boy is it a doozy.

As I was selecting the images that I loved the most in the past 12 months I realized I’m especially drawn to images that have certain qualities to them. I would imagine this is what draws many of you to me as well… as it’s hopefully something that comes through in my style.

First, I’m looking for the light. (Duh). Light is the start and base of every great shot. Some of my faves are the ones where the light just adds that extra dynamic edge to a shot. Sometimes it goes unnoticed if you aren’t paying attention, but at times it can be the focal point too. A flare can sometimes steal the show…but when it’s done properly, it definitely makes my day.

Next, you should know that I’m constantly searching for compositions. I live for something a little different. I love when I find a hidden gem, a new angle, or position my subjects to not only showcase their best self but also the killer location around them. Having a client request I try new or different things, is like music to my ears. You’ll be able to spot these ones right away!

Last, and most importantly are the moments. I would throw the other two of my criteria out the window every time to get shots like this. It’s my total mission, the name of my company and something I want to help create and capture for every- single-client... because I believe in this so much! Forget the overly posed images…I want the ones that capture you and exactly how you’re feeling in that moment. These always stand out to me every time I go through a gallery and hope they are the ones that you love the most too. These images are the easiest to spot, as they are the ones that will make you feel something in your gut or make you smile.

When I check all three of these boxes – it feels like magic and still to this day will make me giddy to deliver the image.

After trying to find some of these common threads in the images, I knew one thing for sure… without a doubt I can say I have the best job on the planet. I get to tell the story of some of the biggest moments in your life…even if they just seem like ordinary ones.

I was lucky to meet so many new friends in 2016, as well as catch up with some old ones along the way.

As the MBL Family continues to grow…I’d love for you to be a part of it!

Happy New Year, Everyone! I hope the moments that make up your 2017 are the best ones yet!

 

Seniors

Where has the summer gone?! As we roll into the final two weeks of August I wanted to share something new with you here on the blog.

At the end of this past school year I gathered up a few of my favourite high school seniors to document them at this point in their life. This is a time where everyone is heading in a different direction, and a time where everything is about to change. The excitement and nerves that I’m sure are running through their heads is definitely something they will look back on in the years to come and is another one of those defining moments in a person’s life. 

It’s one of those moments I want to capture, have some fun with, and eventually help them remember who they were at that time.

Heading into your final year, or know someone who is? I’d love to hear from you to chat about your custom Senior Session before you start your next chapter.