Your Engagement Session - Fashion Style Guide

I am by no means a 'fashion guru' or expert but I have a keen eye for what looks appealing and what can boost a guy or gal's confidence while getting photographed and #1 is feeling awesome in what your wearing and how you look. Give yourself time to get ready for your session, when you walk out the door - I want you both to feel like your ready to take on the world. Think of your engagement session not as a photo-shoot but a date night, and your getting all dolled up to go out.

When I am getting all dolled up for our date nights, I feel like I walk with a whole new...swagger... joking, stride. I put on the heels that I love, curl the hair, rock the dress and BANG - I feel like a million bucks. I'm picking a dress that I feel comfortable in and makes me look my best - holla at empire waists. (Swagger & Holla? Are you kidding me... applying for language classes asap).

What I tell my couples to get ready for an engagement session is I want you to feel incredible, do whatever you need to do, to feel beautiful/handsome. Sometimes that's the perfect day to get your make-up and hair trial done then go to your engagement session. I want my brides in particular to feel empowered when I meet them at their location and know they 'got it going on'. I also tell them to bring two outfits one casual, the other formal and the degree of formal is up to them. Have fun with your clothing! Wear something that you wouldn't usually attempt to - or wouldn't know where to wear it.

{ Style Inspiration }

This is going to be a little more detailed than I originally had thought about doing, but with couples asking me what they should wear and what would be ideal, I thought I would put together a style post with inspiration from various stores that I personally like and a wide range in budget, any of these pieces range from $50-$100+. 

Let's start with the guys.


The first looks are from ZARA 
for a local store, ZARA is located on Robson or Metro Town Vancouver

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Simple & clean is always a good look for guys. Pair a white dress shirt with his favourite dress jeans, or dress pants for a formal look - or hey if your guy is up for it, put on a tie. As Barney from 'How I met Your Mother' would say "Suit up!"

Le Château
I feel like if any guys are reading this, they're already rolling their eyes at Le Chateau - but trust me they have great dress shirts at reasonable prices & unique blazers that aren't straight out of a GAP catalogue.

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Armani Exchange

I'm not picking Armani Exchange because of it's large logo's but they make and pair nice dress clothes without the large AX logos all over them. Not only that, but they are affordable and often they are "slim-fits" - if your purchasing a men's shirt a very attractive fit for your man is "slim-fit" all the way!

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MEXX is also a great spot for guys to get nice dress shirts and ties. They carry a huge selection of slim-fit dress shirts, this is where I send my 2nd shooter to get his dress clothes for weddings. 

Key's for making your outfit your own for THE MEN.

 Dress it up from HEAD TO TOE - leave the running shoes/skates at home. You get a pass for puma's or diesel kicks or one of a kind Nike's etc.
Leave that collar unbuttoned - you do not need to have it buttoned all the way to the top especially with a tie, leave it a little loser... call it European... ladies love it
• Just because your wearing a long shirt doesn't mean it has to be buttoned at the cuffs - unbutton the cuffs and leave the shirt long, or roll it up just before your elbow - show off your forearm. If your going to leave your cuffs unbuttoned, let it show underneath your jacket, the sleeve length of your shirt should be half an inch longer than your jacket sleeve.

Go Tuck Yourself (thank you GQ) - not always, but sometimes, more often than not - dress shirts were made longer to traditionally tuck them into a dress pant. Now there is an exception, if the dress shirt length is made shorter not for tucking. Know your shirt, and tuck or untuck accordingly.

• Be an IRON MAN - some shirts need a good ironing, and let's face it, most guys don't even own an iron or their mom's do it. While composing this style guide, I totally cheated and got pointers from GQ they had this awesome image below for education:
to see more awesome tips & fashion guides from GQ click here.


The first looks are from
I personally love BCBG and most of the dresses that I wear for photographing weddings come from BCBG. I like to stick to an "A" line dress and LOVE, absolutely love that their dresses include pockets - for a photographer, it's a hidden spot for quick CF Card switch. 

I'm the kind of girl that when something new is going on, or we're celebrating - I love a new dress. New Years, Christmas, my birthday, TGIF, booked a wedding, it's sunny in Vancouver... ya catch my drift? A new piece of clothing can add a little bounce in your step.

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Don't be afraid of colours, whites, or patterns - just keep in mind that you and your man aren't clashing with patterns/colours.

Here's another tip, good shoes aren't cheap - invest in a pair you will love. Find a shoe you love; stilettos or wedges that are comfortable and quality made.

While I'm photographing I've now started to wear a comfortable wedge heel made by Coach and honestly, I have no idea why I bothered to buy 'Hush Puppies' these wedges rock for weddings. I eventually will slip into flats for the remainder of the day, but I love to start off in my wedges/heels.

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Have fun with your outfits and let them show some of your personality.

Next looks are from
H and M and ZARA
All the stylish women were raving about H and M and Zara, Trendy fashion forward looks, for affordable prices. I'm not a fan of all their clothing, but a great place to get a unique dress. In my last blog post the long patterned beach dress was from H & M. They also carry a plus-size line. This is probably the most affordable store to get great dresses.

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Armani Exchange

There's even a an outlet in New West, and they carry very adorable women's dresses. Again, stay away from heavy logo pieces and opt for flattering styles for your body type - pear, slim, hour glass - know your body and what fits. Most of the dresses below start at $59. I love Armani Exchange's quality of material, and they have a great mix of dress clothes and casual dress.

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I love bebe - a new love since Hawaii. I picked up these awesome white pumps from bebe and ever since it's been love with their style and pieces. Runway items that range from $200-600+ that are gorgeous with linens and silks. They carry a great variety of casual dress and unique dresses in all sorts of cuts for every body type. For example, I'm probably not going to opt to wear a dress that hugs my hips till my knees as I'm a curvy gal, I'll opt to wear "A" line, or Empire waist styles.

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Key's for making your outfit your own for THE LADIES.
 Accessories - dress it up with special pieces whether those be heirlooms or new ones - H&M has an awesome selection of accessories as does FOREVER21.

 COMFORT - make sure you feel GOOD, you don't want to feel uncomfortable in what your wearing, but going outside of your comfort zone a little is okay
 OWN IT - rock it out, whether it's a dress with flats, heels, or jeans and your favourite top, own it. Feel like a million dollars in your own skin.

 Know your body type - I'm not a pro at this one, but I do my best to keep it in mind. Try to always get pieces that flatter your body. There was this show on called "how to look good Naked" and it was hosted by the sweetest man ever named Gok Wan and he would educate women about their body shapes and what styles work for them. It's not about changing your body, but loving yourself in your own body, knowing it and being confident. Confidence is key! Unfortunately we live a world wear most clothing companies make cookie cutter designs and it's our job to know what works for us ladies. Here's an AWESOME link to educate yourself about your body shape.
 Mae West once said Clothing should be fitted enough to tell the wearer is a woman, but loose enough to show that she is a lady. 

With that, this ends the fashion style guide - I'd love to read feedback, or tell me about your favourite boutiques! Hope this helps any of those couples looking for a few pointers.

Best Voicemail Ever - Happy Photographer right here!

After our long drive back up from the Oregon coast I was finally across the border back into Canada. I was immediately going to check email and voicemails since I finally had service. I had the best surprise waiting for me on the other end of my voicemail...

My bride from May, Brianne had called to leave a message - you can listen to it below. Thanks Brianne for being awesome about me posting this online :) Your such a sweetie!

Brianne and Peter were married this past May 2012, you can view their wedding featured on Sash and Satin here.

This is a real Bride's genuine testimonial without being asked - how awesome is that!

photo by my awesome 2nd shooter - Dayne Cody

Behind the Scenes - Seaside, Oregon - Wedding Photographer's Time Off

I have this bug that creeps up on me when I least expect it or thought I've 'cured' it. I'm never entirely sure when I'll get it, usually it's about every 4 months. They call it the "Travel Bug". Ever intoxicating feeling of wanting to explore and adventure to places we've never been. In the last three years we've made it a real priority to travel and see different things. Even if it's just a quick drive out to Harrison Lake for the day, we want to constantly take advantage of our down time and explore/travel.

 If you've read my blog before you would know that my mother has a bone disease that limits her abilities, affects her eye sight and pressure in the eye. Travelling is very complicated for my mother due to her condition. She sat me down this past year to tell me that I should make sure I travel and do as much as I can while I'm young and healthy and don't bank on retirement. My father works incredibly hard as an entrepreneur and they were hoping to do a lot of their travelling as they got older, but between my mother being ill, it takes a lot of planning and sometimes worsens her condition. She told me to live in moderation but do my best to seize the moment that is now.

 The whole conversation really changed my mindset on life really. Do what you love, be passionate about it and at the same time live.

 Last week Verlon and I went down to Seaside, Oregon and travelled down the coast all the way to Newport (about mid-way). The West Coast is gorgeous, and I hope to make this trip again. We had initially planned on camping it, but due to procrastination and last minute bookings we kept postponing it to the point where any campsites we wanted to stay at were fully booked. However, I'll give points to procrastination - we lucked out, and I mean hugely lucked out on a waterfront spot that wasn't book and available last minute, SCORE!

If you plan on driving down the West Coast you will not be disappointed. It's beautiful and it's a must to do at least once. Some of the places we absolutely loved: - Yummy! Wine Bar and Bistro in Seaside, Oregon - MOJO Coffee in Lincoln City - Newport Boutiques on the Sea - Cannon Beach - Hug Point.

"I got my swimsuit and my flippy floppies"

token in the car driving photo

Seaside, Oregon Strip

Seaside Beach

Smug Ver at Hug Point

So, I think I'm pretty clever but I knew I wanted photos of us on the beach and well... I knew how awesome the timer function worked on my camera... aka I had to book it to be in the photo, and then I came across this nifty device called a remote! Yup, any of the photos taken of both of us were done by remote control! I framed the photo just how I wanted it (crop in camera), set the settings manually and voila remote photos of us. This was only great because we were pulling tourist stops and needed photos...everywhere...

But we tried to do some fun running/jumping photos and they totally didn't turn out or work since there is such a harsh delay with the remote, and well honestly the camera is stationary... I need to hire a pro-photog to simply follow us around when we go on trips since I'm so bent on taking pictures of Verlon & I.

photo taken by Verlon Mundall

One other very important tid bit I'd like to bring up is how awesome everywhere in the US serves ICE BREW TEA! That's right not the sweet syrupy stuff we have up here. But REAL BREW TEA! How awesome is that? I swear part of me was meant to live in Georgia/Floria and sip ice tea on a porch for the rest of my being.

Play the lottery while waiting for your order of breakfast, sure! Sounds like a fun idea to me. We played the Oregon State Lottery and though we didn't win millions... we won $4.00 - hey small victories right?

 The Cafe we ate at the Gearhart Junction had an awesome breakfast. I never saw "Biscuits & Gravy" for breakfast before so I gave it a go and oh my goodness was it ever yummy! It was like a scone covered in a cream breakfast gravy and the breaky potatoes were delish! A definite breakfast stop just outside of Seaside, Oregon.

If you've driven anywhere in the US every block has these little pop up Coffee Drive Through Shops and how awesome is this one? MOJO Coffee was not only really great coffee just outside of Lincoln City but the building itself was adorable! By far the best looking drive through coffee shop! Not only that but the staff member who was working was incredibly kind!

Newport Beach - how beautiful is that!

Okay, I'm really excited to mention this place - YUMMY! Wine Bar & Bistro. Seriously, incredible food & wine. Verlon and I stopped here and enjoyed our meal & experience so much we went back on our last night in town just to get take out to enjoy! We had the Silvan Ridge - Viogner and it was fabulous! 

I was just so stoked about this place I had to attached some Instagram photos below that show our meal. We had the 'Beet Salad' that was so flavourful with roasted beets sliced, honey maple walnuts, montrachet cheese herb crèmefraîche, dried fruit, milled juniper berries, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, basil dressed organic greens.

I had then the house made yummy veggie burger tofu & peanut based burger patty, fresh avocado, tillamook cheddar cheese, sliced tomatoes, red wine port and black truffle ketchup, organic baby arugula, on a toasted pesto focaccia roll. Heyo, gourmet burger!

Verlon had the pistachio gnocchi soft potato dumplings slow cooked with ground pistachio butter, topped with roasted marinated tomatoes, sweet peas, grated asiago cheese & fresh parsley. I had a few bites (okay, more than a few) and it was so delicious. This place really had their menu down pat.

And we enjoyed the tasty desert of lemon tartlet   this very zesty lemon tartlet is topped with pure vanilla bean whipped cream & accompanied with a red wine blueberry compote. I don't usually choose any lemon related treats as most of the time I get disappointed or want cheesecake... yeaaaa I have a little sweet tooth. Anyway, this tartlet rocked my world so much that we ordered it twice!

I don't usually write so much about specifics of food we eat while we travel, but seriously - I just loved this placed.

Trip highlights on Instagram
Maple Bacon Cupcakes - Yup! And were they ever delicious! I was so surprised.

Near Sand Lake, Oregon - forest at the look out. It was such a foggy day the forest was looking sort of magical.

Well, I hope you enjoyed getting a few into the behind the scenes of what's going on recently. I loved Oregon and highly advise everyone to make a trip there, even if it's just once to drive along the coast.

Featured - Published Online: Brianne and Peter's Wedding in Sash & Satin

So excited to finally blog about Brianne and Peter's May 2012 wedding being published online in SASH & SATIN! YAY! When Elyse contacted me and asked to feature the wedding online I was floored that she saw the post and loved the wedding! Getting featured is such an honour for a photographer as taking photos is my art and I get to unleash my creative side. 

SASH & SATIN is Canada's Freshest Online Blog - check it out Brides for some local inspiration :)

If you'd like to see the feature you can click the link here to view it.