Vitality Images Photography: Blog en-us Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones [email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) Thu, 09 Sep 2021 21:32:00 GMT Thu, 09 Sep 2021 21:32:00 GMT Vitality Images Photography: Blog 80 120 The Cost of a Part-Time Photography Business; Value of Photography This post is for professional or aspiring professional photographers and those who purchase photography (i.e. clients).

A professional photographer is anyone who has a camera and chargers for their work, right?

Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved

You could use that definition; however, running a professional photography business requires so much more in knowledge, skill, experience, physical equipment and supplies, and even physical ability. If your professional photographer does not know and have the means or equipment to manage and back up a workflow, have backup equipment of everything from lenses to camera bodies, to remotes/triggers, to memory cards, to computers, to hard drives to power sources, etc. you risk just plain not having wedding photos.

I have had a really fortunate year. Very few equipment breakdowns and need for repairs and replacement. So even on a conservative year, what are the costs of being a photographer? Keep in mind, I am only a PART TIME photographer so my financial success or short comings doesn't mean I can't eat or pay my mortgage. For those who are full time and depend on their photography, this is a serious reality. Their expenses are at least twice as much and the stakes are higher.

So as I complete my year end taxes, I am going to give you a glimpse:

2018 Part Time Photography Business Overhead: 

  • Product Creation: $2709.89
  • Make up artists: 725.00
  • Props and Styling: $948.93
  • Continuing Education: $2421.73
  • Rental of Space: $4575.5
  • Repairs and Maintenance: $430.46
  • Liability and Equipment Insurance: $562.25
  • Memberships: $784.00
  • Software: $603.34
  • Hardware: $2,186.05
  • Advertising: $526.30
  • Photography Equipment: $3011.4
  • Stationary and Printing: $957.7
  • Outsourcing: $791.00
  • Total: $21,633.55

That's right folks, before I even pay myself for my time, my PART TIME overhead for the year is north of 21K and this was a conservative year where I did not have to replace camera bodies or lenses.

Let that sink in.

What I did NOT include in this calculation - the typical small business stuff:

  • Car
  • Mileage 
  • Travel Expenses for photography related trips
  • Bills and Utilities
  • Interest and fees (i.e. Zen folio, PayPal, Square reader, etc.)
  • Shipping and Postage
  • Meals and Entertainment
  • Vacation time used from other employment
  • Misc. expenses

I spend very little on advertising because I rely mostly on word of mouth and am currently not trying to add to my client base very much. I am also extremely lucky I have a husband who will assist me and is happy being paid in groceries. Even luckier, I have had enough aspiring professional photographers want to work with me in exchange for mentorship that I rarely have to pay for second shooters and assistants. 

Let's say a wedding from start to finish takes 50 hours (in reality with consults, developing contracts, editing, engagement shoot, the 16 hour wedding day, product creation, culling images, etc. it may take way more). 

If I pay myself minimum wage:

50 hours x 15.00 = 750.00

Except I am not a minimum wage level professional photographer. I have awards, designations, accreditations, back up equipment of everything, insurance to keep my clients safe, and tens of thousands of dollars in continuing education. Most professionals in the PPOC are the same way. So let's value them like we would other professionals and bump up the wage to 45.00 which is more reasonable for a PART TIMER like me:

50 hours x 45.00 = 2250.00

If you are a FULL TIMER you need to charge more.

Now let's add the overhead and wear/tear. Let's have a battery explode in your speed light which costs $800.00 (I wreck at least one piece of equipment a wedding - par for the course). Also, take into account that for me, I have to use vacation days from my other work often to come to your wedding. Let's add the cost of a professional second shooter, or the travel to remote locations. 

Doing this calculation has made me realize - wow. I need to raise my prices. I'm pricing way too low myself. #guilty 

Why am I sharing this? Three reasons:

1. I want clients to understand what it takes to be a professional photographer and why you are paying the prices you are - it isn't so we can get rich because that ain't happening!

2. Photographers - do you math. Do not undercharge. Not only does it undervalue you, it undervalues the industry. It will cause you to hemorrhage money and your business is NOT going to be sustainable. 

3. Photography is a job of passion. We love it. That is why we still do it with all of the above plus the added physical and mental stress of the work on our bodies and minds. What makes it worse is when we are undervalued and unappreciated.

We are not just, "some person with a camera." We worked our butts off to get here, and as professionals, have every step of our business backed up so equipment failure won't affect your photography and your big day.

The Value of Photography - The Most Important Part

I can write a whole other blog post (and I will) on the value of printed products which I believe more strongly about as the years go by and technology changes at a record pace.

After your wedding, you won't remember the taste of the food, the centrepieces, the songs the DJ played (don't get me wrong though - good music is really important for a good party). You will remember those special moments between you and your spouse, your family, and the emotion. Photography helps you do this.

ABT WeddingABT WeddingVitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved ABT WeddingABT WeddingVitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved

We will spend thousands on decor, food, music, etc. however, as of late, people do not seem to see the value in the photography. This is literally what you are left with after the day and will have for the rest of your life. This is what captures the emotion. Why is this not worth it? Why is this where we try to cut corners and get deals? 

I partially blame us as photographers for not seeing our value and being push overs. Maybe we need to do a better job of educating the public which is what I am trying to do here.

Side note: A professional photographer should never work for "exposure." if they are, then that means they need it - this should be a red flag as a client right off the bat. Look for a photographer who doesn't need or want it. Also, exposure doesn't buy groceries. 

Please see the value and importance. You wouldn't bargain with other vendors like you do with your photographer. Yet, the photographic product is what you will have 50 years from now (unless you got the digital files... then it is much much less time but that is for the next blog post). It is what your family will have 100 years from now. Please stop undervaluing what we put our heart, soul, sweat, tears, time, and money into; the images will be the only thing that shows the emotion, personality, authenticity, and love of your family, friends, and partner for decades to come. That HAS to be worth something.

[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) alberta courage creativity inspiration photographer photography portrait portrait photography portraits portraiture PPOC wedding wedding photography yeg Sun, 30 Dec 2018 21:10:41 GMT
Looking to 2019: Part 2 So what's happening for Chelsea in 2019?

Good question.

What I do know:

  • I am starting my PhD in January 2019 until at least August 2019 and which point I am unsure if I will be full or part time student 
  • I am working 0.7 at the University of Alberta plus a little bit of teaching until at least August 2019.

I need to find some balance!

What does this mean for Vitality Images Photography?

  • I will be taking on less shoots, less weddings, and charging my worth so I can afford to keep my business afloat. 
  • I will continue to be the PPOC-AB North Branch Chair but am stepping back in my other roles like the Annual Magazine Portfolio, writing for Gallerie Magazine, judging, helping with the conferences, etc.
  • I am going to continue to work out of my studio - I am not ready to give up the space.
  • I am going to continue to strive to do quarterly VIP Education sessions and keep up in the VIP group.
  • There may not be as much going on with my social media because my time will be quite limited.

What am I looking forward to?

  • I will hopefully achieve my Master's in Photographic Arts by April, 2019.
  • I will be competing in the 2019 National Salon.
  • I am hoping to attain my accreditations in Pictorial/Scenic and Equine Photography.
  • I will be going to Costa Rica to photograph some turtles!
  • I will be attending Canadian Imaging 2019 in Montreal to see all my photography friends from across the country!
  • I will be travelling to Los Angelas, Vancouver, Toronto, etc. for HiMARC and PhD related work and educational opportunities!
  • I hope to visit my assistant and friend, Lindsay, in Italy in November, 2019 while attending the Album Epoca hosted AE Academy. It has been my dream to show my husband this amazing country and I am so excited that I will get to see my friend, attend this amazing educational opportunity, and share Italy with Kevin!

What am I grateful for?

I am not a religious person; however, never in my life have I felt like things are happening the way they are meant to be. The last 6 months have felt like everything is just, "the right place at the right time." I work hard, and have had some lucky breaks, but more than anything I feel like I am thriving because of the amazing community I have in my life. I have incredible friends, mentors, and colleagues through the PPOC community. I have a great team at work with the Department of National Defence and at the University of Alberta. My family, friends, clients, and husband are also so supportive with my newfound academic pursuits. I never thought I would go back to school, but this team and the positive environment I am in has allowed me to think and work at a level I never thought I was capable of. I hope this will transfer to creativity in my photography.

I am so excited and yet so terrified at what comes next. I don't know what that is. I am so fortunate and grateful that there really aren't too many bad options. I know that none of it is possible without my community and especially the support of my husband.

I was going to name people individually, but there are just too many helping me out and lifting me up to name. I don't know what I did to deserve to be associated with such amazing people. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I appreciate you more than you know.

There is one more reason I am writing this; accountability. Writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them. So if you are reading this thinking, "Why is she telling me this, I don't give a sh..." that's cool. Stating intentions makes one successful. 

2016 and 2017 were very challenging years for my mental and physical health namely because of a car accident (I am still rehabbing from today.) 2018 was an unexpected whirlwind, but I was finally starting to feel better in many aspects of my life that allowed me to experience some personal growth. I expect 2019 to be the same and I can't wait to share it with all of you being creative! Thank you for joining me on this unpredictable ride we call life!

Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2019!


Chelsea Jones

P.S. If you are wondering, have made it this far, and are still reading... I ended up with an A+ in statistics... still don't know a thing...

[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) alberta courage creativity inspiration photographer photography portrait portrait photography portraiture ppoc strong women travel year in review YEG Sun, 30 Dec 2018 20:57:43 GMT
2018 In Review Part 1 So I will admit that I started out 2018 with the New Year's Resolution of writing a blog post at least once a month and keeping up with my social media. With the exception of my Instagram @vitalityimagesphotography I pretty much failed miserably.

2018 was a year of changes both as a photographer and in my other career as an occupational therapist. Typically I like to keep my blog posts photography related only, but today I am going to write about the WHOLE picture so you can get a bit more of an understanding of who I am, where I am at, and what are my plans for Vitality Images Photography in the future.

2017 was a challenge with still recovering from a car accident the previous year and ankle surgery because of said car accident in October 2017. In 2017 I was limited in what types of jobs I took because of the physicality they required as well as because I couldn't take work while on crutches or in an AirCast.

Here is my 2018 recap - basically my attempt to make up a year's worth of not blogging.

EDITOR'S NOTE: ITS A LONG BLOG POST. I'm going to split it up into 2. Here is Part One.

January 2018

2018 started off with continuing my rehabilitation. By January 1, 2018, I was finally at least able to weight bear with two feet again!
So then Vitality Images Photography went to Minneapolis, MN to photography an awesome wedding in an awesome craft beer pub! This was also the week before they were hosting the Super Bowl! The city was buzzing (unfortunately the Vikings lost in the semis the day after this wedding...would have been awesome to have a hometown game!). Side note: Minneapolis is one of the most friendly and warm cities I have ever been to. Thank you for having us Liz and Steve!

In my other career as a full time occupational therapist for the Canadian Forces, in January I finished writing my first manuscript about cognitive rehabilitation for Canadian Armed Forces members with post-concussion symptoms through a program I developed from scratch called Brain Bootcamp.

 February 2018

I received my 12th and 13th Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) accreditations in Wedding Story and Child and Infant Portraiture. I also found out that 2 of my images had been accepted into the PPOC National Salon. These images were History Repeating in the Fine Art Category (photograph of the bell at the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, ON) and Rough Night on the Job which scored a Merit in the Editorial category (more on that later). I also was notified that I made the criteria to receive my designation from the PPOC as a Craftsman of Photographic Arts (CPA).


March 2018

A month filled with lots of boudoir, a wedding, and quite possibly my coolest shoot to date. I rented the Alberta Aviation Museum (must check it out!) and did a styled vintage shoot for family portraits as well as with models! 

Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

April 2018

Photography took me across the pond to Scotland to visit and friend and provide them with a family photography shoot! It was chilly with lots of rain, but I got to see Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, and Arbroath. I lived my Outlander dream with my red-headed husband as we hiked through Culloden and learned about the Jacobites and he drank scotch...lots and lots of scotch...

Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved

I also had the honour of photographing a few canines who I absolutely love and are no longer with us. Sam (beagle) was an Animal Assisted Therapy dog with the Chimo Animal Assisted Wellness and Learning Society (CAAWLS) for over 7 years. The 14 year old beagle was such a hit with kids and adults alike and loved to volunteer with his sister, Sonic, and owner, Dave. As well, Duke, a Great Dane who was adopted from the Greater Edmonton Animal Rescue Society (GEARS) also passed away. They are both missed!


On top of all this, an opportunity presented itself to move out of my home and into a new studio. That's right, Vitality Images Photography now has a studio! I am super happy I made this move. My space is just outside the Ice District in the heart of Edmonton. I now have a nice space to display my art, meet with clients, shoot, and keep some of my equipment which I think my husband is the most excited about.

I love teaching and I love photography. I also thought, why not try my hand and instructing beginner photography and inspiring some people? This month, VIP Education was born! I ran my first class on April 23, 2018 and have been running about a class a month since. I also started my VIP Education Facebook group to assist with sharing, inspiring, and teaching others!

May 2018

May was a BIG month. First, I went to Richmond, BC for Canadian Imaging and Photographic Tradeshow. I knew that along with seeing my photography buddies from across the country, learning a TON which included some of my favourite photographers like Nikki Harrison and Kaylee Greer of Dog Breath Photography, I would also be accepting my Craftsman of Photographic Arts Award. There were a few surprises that I didn't know about, however. My images, Rough Night on the Job was awarded Best in Class - Editorial and was added to the 2018 Loan Collection which is the top 40 photographs from the National competition. This was the highlight of my photographic career thus far.

I also successfully completed the Judging Clinic which means I could now judge Accreditations and Regional Salons. It was a fun time with fellow photographers, Susie O'Connor, Gerry David, Kent Wong, Linda Ryma, Kim Berlie and a few other awesome Canadian photographers that presented to us!

In Regional PPOC news, I started the position of North Branch Chair for the PPOC-AB. I have an awesome North Branch Board that are busting their buns!

I also had a concept shoot with one of my best friends, Ashley Hutchison of Castilia Design that garnished some international attention. Thank god for good friends who will brave mosquitoes and drop everything to model at a moment's notice! I also was able to photograph an awesome grad shoot which involved smoke bombs and a U-Haul full of balloons! So much fun!

June 2018

June started with photographing Haute Dawg: The Sequel for the Gordon and Dianne Buchanan Family Foundation. My dog, Nickita, was put in the show last minute and ended up winning Best in Show! We are very proud. My husband, a.k.a. Ginger Beef also modelled in the show. 

Towards the end of the month, I photographed a wedding in Airdrie, Alberta which was a ton of fun! Congrats Britt and Allan!

Haute Dawg the SequelHaute Dawg the SequelThe Show

ABT WeddingABT WeddingVitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved ABT WeddingABT WeddingVitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved

In my occupational therapy career, a couple things happened:
 1. My manuscript was accepted to the peer reviewed Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health for publishing in 2019. As a clinician, and not an academic,  I am pretty proud of this. It is tough to see patients and also complete research but I am lucky the Department of National Defence has been so supportive.

2. I guess I kind of like academics. I accepted a 1 year sabbatical from my job with the Department of National Defence to help with an initiative at the University of Alberta called the Heroes in Mind, Advocacy and Research Consortium, or HiMARC. This is a big career jump for me!

July 2018

I had an awesome opportunity to complete a commercial shoot for CAAWLS. 2 of our 3 dogs, Bear and Nickita, have been animals assisted therapy animals for them for some time now. I love this organization and it was an honour to photograph for them! My VIP Education for this month focused on pet photography and proceeds went to this awesome organization!

Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved Bear and NickitaVitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved

I also photographed some magnificent equine models, and, of course, a creative project with Kendra which I still need to edit.

Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

As always, we had a great family photoshoot with these kiddos last minute in the canola fields!

August 2018

I had the honour of photographing our dear friends, Matt and Morgan's, wedding. My husband was the Best Man, so it just made sense :) We got some incredible shots in and around the Yellowhead Brewery and legendary MaGrath Mansion. I am working on their wedding album as I type this!

I also photographed a Masquerade Ball on the newly renovated Edmonton Riverboat for WildNORTH which is an organization you should check out and sponsor because they do awesome rescue and conservation work for our regional wildlife. It poured rain, but we still had a great time! I had the opportunity to photograph a few other equine models as well:

Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved  

August had a few challenges. I started my new job with HiMARC at the University of Alberta which means a longer commute, a huge undertaking, and learning a whole new career. Long hours, long weeks, and my time for photography was cut into. Also, my main. computer hard drive started to fail which was unfortunate.

What was the most hard part of the month is that my favourite assistant (after my husband I suppose), Lindsay moved to Italy. She will be there for 4 years. While I am beyond excited for her and her family to embark on such an adventure, her ability to relate to people, her enthusiasm, work ethic, and assistance with everything from carrying items to working the reflector will and has been missed! I will continue to mentor her from here, and I can't wait to see the amazing photographs she posts from her adventures abroad! Here is one of her and her girls we did before they left:

September 2018

So this is right about when my life got thrown for a loop and where I go on a tangent. The new job with HiMARC really got exciting. I had no idea the fall would have me traveling all over Western Canada and the United States for work. 3 days before the due date for applications and on the day classes started, I decided to start my PhD in Rehabilitation Science. Usually this is something a person thinks about for a long long time. Not me. As soon as my husband gave me his support, I felt it was meant to be. I was in the right place at the right time with a topic, a little bit of financial assistance (although school was definitely something I did not budget for and costs a lot), a supportive supervisor, an more ideas than I knew what to do with for a topic and project. I thought I would work on it part-time for the next few years... more about that later. I also started teaching occupational therapy graduate classes for the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. Something I didn't think I was going to enjoy that much; but I loved it. I also had my first PhD level class - statistics. My WORST subject by far. 

In my photography life, I still was shooting a bit, which included an adult cake smash and a 50th Wedding Anniversary, and running my introductory VIP Education Classes. Gotta pay the studio rental somehow!

At the 2018 PPOC Alberta Provincial Salon, I had 3 of 4 photos accepted; 2 of these received a score of Excellence which is the highest a photograph can score. To put it in perspective, only 5% of the photographs entered received a score of Excellence. This was my first time ever receiving that score, and I was over the moon! 

October 2018

By this time I am working more than full time for HiMARC, travelling for work, trying to get my computer fixed which was an absolute nightmare, unable to learn statistics, teaching at the university, chairing the PPOC-AB North Branch, and trying to still run a business. Just when I was starting to wonder what the hell I was thinking, we threw a photography conference on top of that! I was assisting Chris Thombs of One Step Beyond with the running go Light Matters 2018 which is our PPOC Alberta annual conference. This year was honestly the best conference I have ever been to at a provincial level and I am not just saying that because I helped out. We partnered with the McBain Edmonton Photographic Trade Show which was awesome!

The national and international talent that presented at this conference was absolutely world class. Will Prentice from Captura Photography in Toronto, Clinton Lofthouse from the UK, and Asher Svidensky from Israel were inspiring with their amazing travel, documentary, composite, portraiture, lighting and fantasy work. Of course, one of my favourite artists is home grown - Renee Robyn. As usual, she awed all of us with her mad skills and creativity as she created one of her awesome images right in front of our eyes! Melissa Welsh is a BC photographer who is the answer to our prayers when it comes to finding your value, economics, and pricing. We are so fortunate that she came out to speak to us!

What was also super cool about all of these talented photographers is that they were so bloody down to earth. We had meals with them, a few drinks after the formal program was over, and they even attended our gala! I had the pleasure of hanging out with Asher after the conference. Since he likes dogs, Kevin and I took him out to Elk Island to see the bison and take our dogs for a walk. It was a fun opportunity to get to share one of our favourite places with Asher. Chris buddy, you did a good Conference! Light Matters - and so do YOU!


Light Matters 2018 hosted the last PPOC National Accreditation judging of the year. This was my first experience judging for the PPOC. Although it was a long day, I really enjoyed it!

My buddy, Gerry David, received a Citation of Service which is awarded only occasionally (much less than annually) to someone who has done incredible service to the PPOC or photography industry. I cannot tell you how happy this made me; this guys REALLY works his butt off because he is so passionate about photography and the PPOC. As well, I was awarded Best in Class - Portrait for my image, Aviation Amy and Best in Class - Fine Art for The CanCan. What made that last one even sweeter is that I tied with my friend Susie O'Conner of Images Studios with her image Dance with Me which I absolutely LOVE!

Light Matters 2019 will be here again in Edmonton, AB. I am going to try and step back a bit - but everything is stored in my basement. I don't think I am getting away that easily. I also flew to Saskatoon for the PPOC-SK Conference. I was hoping I would get to chill and learn instead of running around like I did at the PPOC-AB conference. That was partially true, and I was able to do so for day 1 with David Anthony Williams, who is always an inspiration, but then duty called on the second day. I had to direct my focus to grant writing for applications related to HiMARC that we just learned about for our research that were due 20 hours from the time we found them. 

November 2018

The most important event for me this month is my Family Christmas Photoshoot. I cannot emphasize how amazing all of my families were!
 All those kids were so unbelievably well behaved! 

December 2018

My computer saga continued, and it ended up with me purchasing a new one which is not what you typically want to do right at the holidays. I took a break from shooting this month to focus on catching up on making wedding albums, holiday orders, and other projects. I did find out that 3 of my images will be hanging in the Edmonton International Airport in the new year which is pretty cool. 

Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

So what happens in 2019? Check out PART TWO tomorrow!


[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) alberta creativity inspiration photographer photography portrait portrait photography portraits portraiture PPOC travel year in review yeg Sat, 29 Dec 2018 23:23:16 GMT
Canadian Imaging 2018 was a Success! Hello!

Yesterday evening I returned from Vancouver. It was a whirlwind weekend at the Canadian Imaging 2018 Conference hosted by the PPOC at the River Rock Casino. Kaylee Greer, Greg Blue, and Nikki Harrison were some of the speakers I was honoured to listen to! It was great to see my friends from across the country again!

I knew I would be presented with my Craftsman of Photographic Arts (CPA) designation at the gala - this was not a surprise. What was a surprise was seeing that my image, Rough Night on the Job was a finalist in the Best In Class - Editorial category. It also made the 2018 Loan Collection which is a collection of the top 40 photos from the 2018 National Salon. I was even MORE surprised when I won the award for Best in Class - Editorial. A nice bonus was receiving my Accreditation in Weddings as well. 

So in light of this exciting weekend, I thought I would share with you the making of Rough Night on the Job. 

My inspiration for this image was from one of the many Street Art Instagram accounts I follow. Although I myself have zero talent for it, I really love the colour, clarity, texture, and distortion that can be created by street artists. One such images was by Gum Shoe Art; which depicted a pair of legs donning Jimmy Choos and stepping in a big wad of bright pink bubble gum on the side of a building. This imagery reminded me of my early 20s when I would be walking to my vehicle after a waitressing shift at a seedy bar which is one of the jobs I had to pay my university tuition. I was a terrible waitress so most shifts were pretty rough nights, but something like stepping in a pothole, pile of snow, or gum with your already sore, high heel clad feet was just the first world problem that would really take the cake.

My unfinished basement which my husband has made into a rugged gym space would service as an indoor location where I could control light and not have to content with the wind and rain. This would provide the gritty setting I needed.

I required a massive wad of gum, and I certainly did not that enough time or muscular endurance in my jaw chew that much on my own. As I also have a career where I provide rehabilitation for hand injuries, I knew that the florescent pink Theraputty I provide to patients for physical rehab would be perfect. The oiliness of the Theraputty would also add interesting light dynamics and specular highlights. This oiliness also added a challenge; it would not stick to the bottom of the shoe. I ended up using double-sided tape on the bottom of the shoe to get the putty to stick to it.

I asked my model to bring black boots, but she also brought pink pumps she was planning to wear on a date after the photo shoot. After playing with the black boots as per my original vision, I felt that the result lacked the impact I desired. I asked her to try the pose with the pink heels she had brought. The colour harmony was improved with these heels. Unfortunately for my model, they did challenge her balance a little more as she had to stand on one foot as I very carefully positioned the Theraputty into a formation that I felt provided the desired look. The viscosity of the Theraputty is such that it does not stay in the same position for very long and gravity pulls it down into a viscous blob in a matter of seconds. I had to set it, grab my camera, quickly press the shutter, then go back to the putty to re-position. I found hand holding the camera was the best way to achieve this.

I spend a great deal of time placing the props so they would not distract from the main subject but still contribute to a story. Imagine my husband’s surprise when he walked into his basement gym and saw myself and a model with the contents of our garbage can and recycle bin spewed all over the floor. Luckily, he has learned by now not to ask questions. 

When designing my lighting, I wanted the quality to be harsh, and resemble the shadows and colour temperature one may see in a back alley with streetlights. I experimented with more fill for the shadows, but decided this looked more contrived than I desired. Eventually, I settled on a 4 foot rectangular softbox on a strobe roughly 3 feet off the ground and 4 feet away from the subject. High about the model and to the right, I had a speedlight without modifiers. 

I wanted a bit of a distorted image that would hopefully increase the 3D aspect. I used my Canon 7D and an old 18-55mm f 5.6 kit lens at 18mm at close range to my subject to achieve this. 

Inspired by the concrete and texture, I utilized Lightroom to adjust colour and density as well as increase clarity. I used Photoshop for some skin retouching, hue adjustment, and to remove some of the specular highlights in the glass bottles that I had not noticed in camera. I chose to add a heavy blue hue to the image as it offset the luminous pink of the Theraputty well while reminding me of moonlight. The end result appeared heavily contrived, however it reminded me of the original graffiti art I was attempting to play tribute to.

I was elated when my mentor told me this image could have potential to be accepted in a provincial salon as my original goal was just to enjoy a creative project that was outside my usual photography. The original name of the image was, “Sticky Situation,” however after entering it in the 2017 Alberta Provincial Salon I felt this title did not provide enough context to the vision I originally had especially for the Editorial class. I then titled it, “Rough Night on the Job,” knowing that this would evoke storytelling and impact in the viewer, while still being a throw back to own personal experience. 

I guess there are worse things to step in!


[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) cpa creativity editorial gum photographer photography portrait portraiture ppoc shoes tattoos yeg Thu, 10 May 2018 01:53:19 GMT
Moving up in the world! Hello everyone! I have a few updates for you this month!

1. We're moving!

2. Photography Education Classes

3. Craftsman of Photography Arts designation

We're Moving!

I have outgrown my home as a home base for my photography business. A few weeks ago, I was invited to rent some space in the heart of downtown Edmonton. At first, I thought, "I am a part-time photographer; there is no way I can sustain a studio space." I initially declined - but I could not stop thinking about it. I crunched some numbers. I thought about how the combined meeting space, studio, and office space could add to what I can offer in a more professional and comfortable fashion. I accepted. Studio 203 on 109th Street is a beautiful space with exposed brick, natural light, and a comfortable meeting space for consults and reveals! I can't wait to share the space with me current and future clients!

Kevin can't wait for me to get some of my photography stuff out of our house!

This is the dream I always had for my business and I never thought it would be feasible for me. It is happening because it is not only feasible (with some hard work and reframing the budget) but it has become necessary. I look forward to doing more corporate and business headshots and portraits in the new downtown space!

Photography Education Classes

Last year, I instructed a successful Beginner Photography Class with PSP Community Recreation at CFB Edmonton. I am mentoring a couple photographers as well. I LOVE teaching. Since I was 16, I have spent a great deal of my employed life teaching and public speaking; swimming, first aid, fitness classes, weightlifting, coaching sports, University classes for the U of A, professional conferences, etc. As an Occupational Therapist, I teach, educate, and motivate adults in a group setting on a daily basis. 

Teaching photography is something I have experience with and would be a natural progression for me. I am making it official! Starting on April 22, I am teaching Beginner Photography Courses! Want to take better photos? It doesn’t matter if you have a DSLR, point and shoot, or mirrorless camera - or maybe you just have your smart phone. Either way you can improve your ability to preserve memories, shine on social media, or express yourself artistically with this class! You will need a camera or at least a smart phone. Maximum attendance is 5 and cost will be 95.00 for April and May. Your spot is booked once it is paid in full by E-mail many transfer to [email protected]

I will focus on composition, how to use your equipment (whatever that may be), and how to identify good lighting. Most of all, I want to inspire people to go out and shoot and enjoy the process of creating images. I will have models for live demonstrations and practice in my studio space.

By attending, I will also add you to my VIP- Photography Education group on Facebook so you can ask questions and share your photos with the other attendees.

I can't wait to share my passion for photography with you! April 22, 2018 currently has one spot left. I have now opened up Sunday, May 27, 2018!

Craftsman of Photographic Arts

Last, but certainly not least, I was notified in February that I have reached the criteria of Craftsman of Photographic Arts (CPA) with the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC). This has been a goal of mine for the past 5 years and I finally made it! I now can use CPA after my name. This designation is reached by attaining merits through service to the photography industry and PPOC organization, as well as attaining accreditations and having photographs accepted into the annual National Salon.

Next goal: Masters of Photographic Arts by May, may happen, it may not. It will come down to my performance at the 2019 National Salon in February, 2019.

It's been a big month. On Saturday we are off to Scotland for another photographic adventure. I better decide what camera gear to take!

I'll leave you with a few photos from the epic family portrait shoot and styled shoot at the Alberta Aviation Museum from last weekend. The White Family was fantastic to work with as usual. More on this shoot in my next blog post.Thank you to Kevin, Meagan, and JoLynn for modelling, Melanie for hair design, and Lindsay for assisting. It takes a team to make art!

Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2018 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) alberta aviation creativity education family family photography inspiration photographer photography photography education pin up pin-up portrait portrait photography portraits portraiture ppoc retro vintage Sun, 18 Mar 2018 16:00:00 GMT
Castilia Design Inc. by Ashley Hutchison I would like to introduce another inspiring girl boss in my life!

Ashley Hutchison is the mastermind behind Castilia Designs Inc. where she offers 3D rendering, interior design, space planning, and architectural drawings. She has always been an intelligent, inspiring, and creative go-getter and it has been awesome watching her develop into the successful entrepreneur she is today. Her vast experience, professionalism, and passion for classic, modern, and chic design elements have lead to her thriving business creating high end residential and commercial projects inside and out. 

I first met Ashley in grade 10 during tryouts for the senior girls volleyball team at Evan Hardy Collegiate. We were 15, and she had just moved to Saskatoon from Alberta. She was easily the most skilled out of all the girls there who were not yet in grade 11 or 12. As such, she was also the only one in grade 10 who made the team. I had to settle for the Junior team. About a year later, I got to know Ashley better when we made the Senior Basketball team. We became fast friends, and as they say, the rest is history! After high school, Ashley ended up moving to Edmonton, and I followed a few years later. Ashley was key to helping me adapt to living on my own in the big city.

After some travelling, Ashley attended The Norther Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). studying Architectural Technology. As well, she also studied Residential Interiors at the University of Alberta. Although I was studying Occupational Therapy, we had many study nights together at NAIT - I can tell you that the Architectural Technology program is incredibly intense. As well, Ashley is also partially responsible to introducing me to photography. Ashley is quite the photographer herself and has taken some education in this realm as well. She was always more interested in landscapes, nature, and architecture genres opposed to portraits which is where my interest lies.  

I remember once I went rollerblading on a cool fall day in shorts and a tank top when it started to rain. I then realized I had locked myself out of my place, and didn't even have shoes! Ashley came to my rescue, with a pair of warm boots, a jacket, and even gave me lunch money so I could go to the food court and grab a bite before I could get keys to my place. She always goes above and beyond the call of duty both with those close to her as well as those who she engages in business relationships. 

Ashley worked incredibly hard to get where she is today; there were many years of working in the service industry and trades - often in roles where being female was uncommon. She knew to get where she wanted to go, it would take a lot of dedication and a positive attitude.

I always admired Ashley, but just when I didn't think I could admire my friend more, she became a mother. She has two absolutely amazing kids who are dangerously clever; those cunning kids are going to give her a run for her money in a few years! Being a mother is a full-time job in itself, but Ashley is still fully committed to Castilia Designs and makes parenting and entrepreneurship look easy. I am in awe at how she manages both so successfully, and know that it takes a lot of hard work, patience, organization, planning, and passion. 

Last summer, I got to do some business portraits with Ashley! In December, I helped her with her blog series, Drinks and Decor. It was a ton fun, and I hope we get to work together on more projects eventually!

Vitality Images Photography may have some projects for her in the future as well...

If you are thinking about building a house, overhauling the design of your home or business, or embarking on some renovations, contact Ashley Hutchison of Castilia Designs Inc. You can follow her on Facebook, Houzz, and Instagram!

I look forward to many more years of chasing Northern Lights and falling stars with our cameras together! Thank you for being such an inspiring woman in my life!


[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) alberta architectural architecture boss castilia creativity design designs entrepreneur girl inspiration interior photographer technology yeg Wed, 14 Mar 2018 04:37:57 GMT
I'm Back! 2 blog posts in one week?! Don't get used to it; my goal is one a month and anything extra is a bonus.

You may have noticed that I have been pretty quiet lately; there has been a few reasons for this.

As you saw in my last post, I have been hard at work on my re-brand.

As well, in May 2016 I was in a car accident that messed up my right ankle. I had scheduled surgery on my ankle in the fall of 2017 to repair it. I was on crutches for about 6 weeks and then in an Air Cast for another 5 which put me out of commission for most of the fall of 2017. I am so grateful that I was able to do a little bit of creative shooting with a ton of help from my husband, and some really flexible and understanding long-term clients. Than you for your patience and willing to come to my home and watch me hobble!

It all turned out for the better though, as I am hard at work at rehab, and it is already feeling and functioning better than it did before the surgery! The last year I have also been hard at work trying to rehabilitate my back and neck. As you can imagine, photography work can be quite physical, and this is really limited my ability to run by business and further my craft. 

For the first time in about 18 months, I am starting to feel physically capable, and in a place where I can confidently start scheduling weddings and other larger photography jobs. I'm BACK and it feels GREAT!

Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2017 All Rights Reserved Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2017 All Rights Reserved

So what is in store for 2018? Lots! I am currently booked up for weddings for 2018 since I only take on a few every year. Contact me if you are interested in 2019 wedding coverage!

I am working on selecting the images I will submit at the end of the month for the PPOC 2018 National Salon. I am going to attend a Judging Clinic in Vancouver in the spring as well as Canadian Imaging 2018 which is the PPOC's national conference. I am also excited to be working with some fellow PPOC-AB members on the 2018 Light Matters conference which I am confident will be the best Alberta regional conference to date! I am booked with boudoir, families, and powerlifting competitions until mid-May. I will again be the photographer at the second annual Haute Dawg Fashion Show hosted by the Buchanan Foundation at the Hotel MacDonald on June 2, 2018. I am hoping to do a boudoir marathon in late fall, 2018. 

As well, I am already booking my Christmas Family Minis. They will take place on Sunday, November 25, 2018. Please contact me ASAP if you are interested as I already about half full!

I can't wait to do more "just for fun" shoots with other creatives in the community. I also plan on chipping away at a few more accreditations...maybe child portraiture, equine, and pictoral/scenic. 

I have really enjoyed doing more commercial shoots and men's portraits. I hope to work more in this genre in the future!

I am planning on posting at least one blog a month. Stay tuned for some posts on other awesome entrepreneurial, and creative woman who inspire me and I am proud to call my clients! Next will be Ashley Hutchison of Castilia Designs

There are some awesome travel opportunities coming my way in the next 12 months. I will be in Minnesota this weekend followed by Scotland in March! Then I will start learning Spanish for our month long hiatus in Costa Rica coming next winter. Within Canada, I will be hitting up Calgary, Vancouver, Regina, Saskatoon, and the Greater Toronto area this year. 

I am in awe of where photography has taken me and continues to move me. I have so much more to do and learn; and I can't wait!

Happy 2018!

Chelsea Jones

Vitality Images Photography by Chelsea Jones 2017 All Rights Reserved

[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) 2018 alberta creativity happy new year inspiration photographer photography portrait portrait photography portraits portraiture yeg Tue, 16 Jan 2018 04:47:56 GMT
New Year, New Look: My Re-Brand Happy 2018 and welcome to my new website!

I had been thinking about re-branding my business for a while. I still love the word vitality, and the feedback I received was that the name has enough recognition already that it may not be a good idea to change it. As well, my name is really boring. Chelsea Lee Ann Jones. That is one of the most generic names I have ever heard. Naming a photography business with that is quite forgettable if you ask me!

So the name stays. What about the logo? Well, I think I spent 50 dollars on that logo in 2013. It is a bit juvenile, feminine, and my last name had changed since I got it made. It didn't even have the right name in it anymore! I LOVE the bright yellow and green, but it does not fit with all my imagery. Through my photography journey, I started with babies, families, some weddings, and pets. Lately, I have been branching out into more commercial work and creative portraiture for both men and women as well as sporting events. I definitely wanted something a bit more gender neutral that would work for the direction I was headed in while still working with the clients and genres that allowed me to be where I am today. 

So the old logo is out. What about the website? I have to say I have been with many website hosts in the past, and Zenfolio really meets my needs the best. I am able to sell product, set up large batch ordering after sporting events, provide password protected client accounts, and display my work. I definitely needed some lessons on how to design a website. 

So same platform, but new look. It was very clear I was in over my head. If you want to be a professional, you have to use professionals. I got in touch with Jillian Schecher of Jillian Screecher Studios. It was immediately clear that hiring a professional in branding and marketing was what I needed to do. Jillian is also a professional photographer and graphic designer.

Jillian asked me to make a mood board and reflect on what I wanted to achieve through my business. Photography isn't cheap; I need to make sure my business is viable while still allowing me to be creative and stay inspired. Making a mood board was surprisingly a real challenge; seeing how through photography I communicate through a visual medium, I thought I would be better at it! I found myself on Pinterest saving cute baby animal pictures and dank memes.

I felt like Jillian was tasked with the job of reading someone's mind when the person they are mind-reading doesn't know what to think or what they want. Eventually I was able to put some colour schemes, images, and patterns together that probably looked like a sorry excuse for a mood board. It's all good; Jillian got it and turned it into my amazing new logo and business cards!

I also worked on my Pinterest page, continued to update my Instagram account, and started a new Twitter feed to represent Vitality Images Photography. For information on clothing choices, posing, make-up for your photoshoot, etc. check out my Pinterest!

Through a Skype meeting, we were able to reformat the Zenfolio website and incorporate the new colour schemes and logos. 

Now for updating all my pricing, education and information materials, and other branding items. 

I love how everything is coming together to look like a cohesive brand and vision. I love my beautiful logo, website, and colours.

The moral of the story; professionals need professionals. It is worth the investment. 

Happy New Year!



[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) branding creativity inspiration photographer photography portrait photography rebrand yeg Mon, 15 Jan 2018 03:55:50 GMT
Mutt Love Photography It has been a while since I have posted on one of my inspiring, female, creative clients in a while! The next one is someone who I am a client of as well!

Meet Teann Dhwarial of Mutt Love Photography. She is a professional photographer and someone I think is on the top of the artisan pet photography game in the province of Alberta. She is one of the pet photographers in the Edmonton area that I would recommend in a heartbeat. She is also who I have chosen to document my fur babies through photography; last year she photographed myself and Bear, and this summer we hope she can squeeze us in so my husband and I can get photos with one of our other dogs, Nickita. Check out her work at Mutt Love Photography.

I met Teann in 2012 when she was doing some photography work for a local animal rescue. We both shared a passion for photographing dogs, and made plans to attend a photography conference together in Calgary where we got to know each other. She was also a foster mom to a delightful hound named Maggie at the same time I was involved as a volunteer with the rescue. We also have something else in common; although we share the love of photography, we both care a great deal about helping others and work in healthcare. Teann is also a Registered Nurse (which is a profession I hold in very high regard). She is also a mother of an adorable little girl; I really do not know how she juggles it all!

Teann's work is not just for families and private clients. She has multiple commercial projects and her canvases and artwork can be viewed in many of the vet clinics in Edmonton as well as other businesses in the area. I have learned a great deal about photography from Teann, and it was great to have someone with similar interests and passions working towards common goals as myself at a similar time. 

Even though I am professional photographer myself, I seek out other professionals to provide me with photographic services. Sure, I could produce the photos myself, but it is such a nice change to get a different style and take on photos. Plus then I get to be in them too. Teann is amazing at creating and capturing the connection between the client and their beloved pet. I know the images, memories, and products are going to be top notch and stand the test of time. They truly are priceless and worth the investment. Long after my fur babies have passed, I will still have the prints and their photo albums as a keepsake.

One of the most meaningful and unique things that Teann offers with her photo albums is custom paw printing. Teann provided us with a "print kit." We were able to provide her with Bear's paw print. From that, she was able to transfer it as a digital image to the back cover of the beautiful photo album. It was truly unique and special. 

Teann's fur child, and assistant, is a fantastic golden doodle named Juno. She is so much better behaved than my dogs! Here she is looking super cool and ready for summer! It is so amazing to meet other photographers who want to work together and be COMMUNITY and not COMPETITORS. Edmonton (and the PPOC for that matter) is full of great, uplifting photographers, who are willing to teach and work with you; not against you. Teann is a fantastic photographer and mentor . I look forward to the images we will create together in the future!

Happy Photographing!

P.S. Here are her adorable Guinea Pigs, Pickles and Mouse!

[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) YEG creativity photographer photography portrait portrait photography portraiture Sat, 17 Jun 2017 20:03:14 GMT
International Photography Conference Ottawa 2017 I have good news and bad news. What would you like first?

Bad news: The weather is not very desirable in my corner of the universe. Last weekend we have 30cm of snow in Edmonton, Alberta Canada and it is still chilly. I was hoping for apple and cherry blossoms; I have plans for some shoots I want to do!

Good news: Only 7 more sleeps until I fly to Ottawa for the 2017 Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) sponsored conference! The International Photography Conference (IPC) takes place from Friday, April 28 to Wednesday May 3, 2017 at the Ottawa Conference Centre. 

Bad news: The scheduled is PACKED which I guess is actually good news because there is educational sessions pretty much for 12 hours a day PLUS networking events, meetings, and the trade show!

Good news: I get to listen to some of my international photography idols such as Jean Chartrand, Joel Grimes, Dani Miller, Drake Busath, Scott Forsyth, etc. etc. etc. I also get to meet Joe McNally face to face. I interviewed him for the winter Gallerie Magazine. Now I can apologize for sounding like such a tool on the phone.

Bad news: I hate morning and I am scheduled for 4 of them at 7:00AM

Good news: Well, it is Eastern Standard time...which makes it 5:00 AM Edmonton time...which means I have to be up at 4:00 AM Edmonton actually I just have to stay up really really late...right? When life gives you lemons...right?

I'll be the girl crying in the corner.

Good news: Awesome trade show!

Bad news: I always leave broke (but never regret my purchases).

Good news: Hospitality suite that goes late into the evening

Bad news: At the ripe old age of 30, I can't keep up and will be asleep by 10:30.

Good news: It is a great networking opportunity with fellow photographers!

Bad news: I get shy around all these amazing photographers even though they are perfectly nice people!

Good news: I always leave the conference inspired and ready to work!

Bad news: I have to be patient for 7 more sleeps...

If you are interested, there are still some spots in the conference available! Check out the very packed schedule here. Another perk is that Ottawa is beautiful right now and full of festivities for Canada;s 150th birthday! 

In the meantime, I am photographing a cheerleading competition tomorrow, and have a maternity shoot on Sunday. I also have some personal projects to edit!

Suppose I should put some photos in this post. Here are some bison from Elk Island National Park (one of my favourite places). No specific reason; I just like bison.

Happy Learning!



[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) animal bison canada conference fun of photographer photographers photography ppoc professional Sat, 22 Apr 2017 03:16:17 GMT
Why I love being a member of the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) I have been meaning to write this post for a while, and I think I have been putting it off because I have so much to do I condense it into something that maintains a readable length?

Here goes... why I am a member of the Professional Photographers of Canada.


The Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) is an organization for photographic artists of all genres to come together for the development of their crafts and businesses as well as to promote high quality photographic services for clients all over the country.  It's vision is "To be Canada’s leader in developing and maintaining the highest level of photographic excellence." The mission is, "To qualify and support photographers to become industry leaders and to inform the public of the value in hiring an Accredited Professional Photographer." This organization has been around since 1946...that is a long time!

What is in it for the client? PPOC members have to reach standards with their photographic art to become Accredited in over 60 genres of photography. There is a Code of Ethics that the photographers have to adhere to that also protects the investment of the clients. If someone is looking for a photographer that specializes in a certain area of the craft, they can search for a local accredited photographer though the PPOC website and know that this photographer has met standards to be an accredited member and follow the code of ethics.

What is in it for the professional photographer? Well, I'll link here to the Member Benefits on the website because I know I won't be able to capture it all in this blog post. The educational opportunities, mentorship, networking, publications, discounts at vendors and on insurance, competitions, advocacy for issues such as Canadian copyright law, etc. just scratch the surface. I know you can click and read the link, so instead I'll share my story of how I joined the organization, and how it has become such an important part of my life. 

My story with the PPOC: I started as "professional photographer" in 2010. When I say "professional" I mean I was being compensated for the photographs; the very basic definition of what separates an amateur from a professional. Was I a good professional photographer? Let's just say I had an artistic eye and people were paying me to push a button but didn't have a shred of insight into what I didn't know. Knowing what I know now, I would not have hired myself back then but hey, every professional was an amateur once and we all got to start somewhere. I was taking a class on portrait photography with Tracy Grabowski when I think I heard her speak about the PPOC for the first time. It kept coming up through my classes and in 2011 I decided to join as an Observer level member. Being quite involved in animal rescue initiatives at the time, I had a lot of photographs of dogs. Eventually I mustered up the courage to apply for my accreditation in Canine photography in 2013; it took me a couple tries but I had my ten Canine photographs accepted and became a full Accredited Member of the PPOC that year. 

Some of those initial photos make me cringe now; but I suppose if you don't dislike some of the images you created in the past, then you haven't grown as an artist. Pictured above are 3 photos from my first accreditation. They also happen to be my fur babies, Bear Winston Weiman-Jones, Nickita Danger Jones, and Vincent McPatrick O'Jones.

I stayed pretty quiet in the organization. I felt like a bit of an imposter. Sure, I was technically a "professional" photographer, but I was a part-timer amongst these Canadian photography greats that hailed from my own province. The amazing work these artists create looked like an absolutely unattainable dream... I never thought I could even come close to creating those images. I didn't know how. I didn't know where to start to LEARN how. Surely these photography masters would think I was an absolute joke. Initially I was really intimidated and scared to put myself out there. In my brain, I felt like they wouldn't even talk to or acknowledge a phoney like me.

I mentioned I was a part-time photographer. I still am (and plan to always be). The day job is that of an occupational therapist. So imagine how freaked out I was when I saw Chris TT on my patient schedule for the day. Holy crap. This dude is on the Alberta board. One Step Beyond is a photography company that I follow and admire. Should I let him know I am a fellow member? Will he laugh in my face? I was totally fan girling and the receptionist couldn't understand why I was a sweaty nervous mess before that appointment. 

Chris had a case of lateral epicondylitis (fancy word for tennis elbow). For photographers, this is pretty much a textbook overuse injury. I was able to get the courage to tell Chris that I was a fellow member of the PPOC, and that I was a fan of his work. He lit up and immediately started taking about the PPOC and photography. He showed genuine interest in where I was at in my craft, and what my goals were. His enthusiasm was refreshing and challenged my preconceived notion of what "real" professional photographers were like.

I don't think I was very helpful for his elbow.

What came out of that conversation was a total revelation. It turns out I had built up these false pretences and somehow forgot that these amazing artists were actually human beings; and nice ones at that who truly love photography and want to share it with others. There was zero judgement, just an enthusiasm to help others improve and a total faith in this organization. I may have been just starting out, but that didn't matter because I was there, I was trying, I was learning, and I was determined. They were willing to help me achieve my goals and improve as an artist and businesswoman. 

Fun Fact: Almost half of the PPOC members in Alberta are Part-Time photographers. 

This meeting also lead to Chris teaching me how to use Lightroom which completely revolutionized my post processing skills and made those images by other photographers that I admired so much a little more attainable. As well, after a totally botched attempt at a Military Life Accreditation which completely threw my confidence and made me second guess myself, he was able to mentor and assist me with achieving it on my second try. 

Completing a Military Life Accreditation also helped me realize that I am way too much of a wimp for the military. Also, Sledge Hockey is fun. If you are interested in trying it  and in and in the Edmonton, contact me!

After that initial meeting with Chris, I had the courage to show up for some Alberta PPOC events, talk to other photographers, seek out mentorship, attend conferences, join the member Facebook pages, and even volunteer at some trade shows. I entered the provincial competition and the national competition that year. I had my first image accepted in the PPOC National Salon in 2014. I was able to meet some of the best photographers in Canada who are from Alberta such as Peter Gold, Mark Laurie, Robert Bray, Renee Robyn, Allan Bailey, Kristian Bogner, Jen Alston, etc. etc. I participated in seminars led by them but also was able to speak to them over a cup of coffee or beer at social events and conferences. I am continually floored by how accessible these amazing photographers are. With their resumes and accomplishments they COULD say they are too busy to help others just starting out, but their passion for helping others and improving Canadian photography as an industry is so apparent when you listen to them speak. These members and others have not only inspired us with their own work, but critiqued our work in a constructive manner and mentored us to improve our craft and our businesses. 

Wolf or Woof?  

My first image accepted into the PPOC National Salon. Huge milestone for me! I still didn't understand how to mat an image properly at that time, so thank goodness the judges looked past that!

Which brings me to my next point; photography is hard; running a business is harder. The education and mentorship that I have received from this organization and the fantastic members is priceless. Not only has it assisted with better financial success so my business is even viable, but I have also received educations and assistance with insurance, income tax, and contractual issues. The legal assistance and education provided by the membership is worth it alone (not that I ever aspire to require it, but in any business it is a necessary backing to have). The vendors they recommend and provide discounts with are fantastic. I can provide better products for my clients because of this. 

The advocacy and education on copyright in Canada is another area where the PPOC is benefiting the whole industry of photography in our country; not limited to the only members of the PPOC. I am proud that our organization played a role in that. I have a much more thorough understanding of contracts, licensing, pricing, and copyright thanks to this organization. If I have a question about anything photography related, it is usually just a Facebook post away in our Member groups.

I am having ankle surgery sometime in the next few months. My fellow PPOC members in Edmonton have my back! I feel so much better knowing that I can send any potential clients to these other photographers for the time I have rehabbing and trust they are going to get amazing images and service. When natural disasters have hit, such as the floods in Southern Alberta and the Fort Mac fires, the PPOC came together to help those affected members so they could continue to practice their craft and continue make their livelihoods through photography despite the loss of equipment and buildings.

I am incredibly excited to attend the International Photography Conference in Ottawa, ON this year. This is the PPOC's National Convention. I am excited because it is a few packed days of incredible speakers, technology, and networking with my favourite photographers from, not only Canada, but also the United States. Every year I leave inspired with a brain full of new ideas and knowledge...and usually with an empty wallet because I bought more gear. The packed weekend also has some great social events with these awesome people; I am not sure when I am going to sleep that weekend!

Where am I now with this organization? I am always trying to recruit other professional photographers so they can benefit from the organization.  Teann Dhaliwal is one such photographer who is already vey well established (I am a client of hers) who I can't wait to mentor for her first accreditation (she has it in the bag in my opinion and doesn't need my help). I have done some writing for Gallerie Magazine which is one of the fantastic publications from the PPOC. This also allowed me to interview Joe McNally (cue the sweaty, shaky, nervous mess again)! I am now on the Alberta Board of Directors and in charge of the newsletter publications for the province. After my Canine accreditation, I was able to attain 7 more and by the end of 2017 I hope to add at least 2 more to the count. I just went 4/4 at the National Salon with my images which is something I truly never thought I would be able to achieve. Next year, I hope to achieve the next designation of Craftsman of Photographic Arts and participate in a judging clinic. I love viewing and participating in competitions whether it is for accreditation, provincials, or nationals. I am not afraid of putting myself and my work out there anymore as I know this is how you get better; the confidence the members of this organization have helped me gain is one of the most invaluable things of it all. 



I am proud of my images being accepted into the National Salon this year. Of course there is still much more to learn and improvement to be had, but I can see that I have come a long way since I joined the PPOC. 

This organization has allowed me to better my craft and service to my clients by inspiring me to set goals and put myself out there to achieve them. Of course there is still much more for me to learn and improvement to be had in both my art and business, but I can see that I have come a long way since I joined the PPOC. I do not know what I would have done without this great organization. I stand behind it, am proud to give back to it, and will sing its praises to anyone who will listen. I have been a part of other photography groups and organization and this one has by far the best people, value, inspiration, and opportunity.  Thank you to all those members along the way who have helped me and continue to assist me through my photography journey! See you in Ottawa!

If you are a professional photographer, you should absolutely join as an Observer Member even if you are just starting out in your journey into the photography business. It is worth it!


[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) YEG alberta art creativity inspiration photographer photography ppoc Sat, 18 Mar 2017 21:22:32 GMT
My Elephant Adventure The Plight of the Elephant: My Experience in Ban Tathit

Try and find it on Google Maps and you will not have any luck. Ban Tathit is a small village in the south of the Surin province of Thailand. The province of Surin is known for its dry weather, poverty, silk production, jasmine rice, and, of course, elephants. Surin is one of the only places in the world where elephants walking down the street in the villages remains commonplace.

This is not a typical place for tourists to frequent. To reach the village, it is a seven-hour train commute from Bangkok followed by an hour long drive. This took longer for us as, during the season of rice harvest, most of the highways are down to one lane with the precious grains drying in the other. Most of the residents of the villages in Surin commute via scooter or motorbike; if they are fortuitous enough to afford this.

Elephants are the national symbols of Thailand and have been an integral part of Thai culture and Buddhism for many centuries. They are revered as sacred animals and their symbolism can be found in all aspects of Thai culture and history. The Thai elephant (chang thai) is endangered much like the elephants in other parts of Asia and Africa. Habitat loss, reduced food availability, poaching, the ivory trade, warfare, and the tourism (yes, tourism) are only a few of the challenges that have negatively affected the population and health of these magnificent creatures. Globally, the elephant-human relationship has faced many ups and downs throughout history and Thailand is no exception to this. 

These elephants have been domesticated for centuries, so to simply say, “why can’t we just release them back to the wild?” is like asking why your corgi puppy who attends doggy daycare cannot hang out in a boreal  forest with a wolf-pack. Having an elephant as part of the family is highly revered in Thai society. Mahouts have been taught the art of elephant handling from their ancestors. To be a mahout is to bring honor to the family, and certainly most families that have elephants in Ban Tathit treat them as part of the family. Owning an elephant is a sign of prosperity and status. It is not unusual for a family to have more photos of their elephants than their children incorporated into the décor of their homes.

Behind the scenes, owning an elephant is a full time job. Elephants eat everything; constantly. To avoid having an elephant eating vegetation that is part of a farmer’s crop, another animal’s habitat, raised with pesticide or purely decorative means that these elephants need to have access to bamboo; and plenty of it.  Planting, cutting, and transporting this vegetation require a great deal of time and effort. To attend to this means the mahouts, who are often also farmers and also need to provide for their families, have to take time away from their crops and other means of providing for the family’s needs.

Like many animals, there was once a time when elephants were utilized for farming and other tasks that allowed the Thai people to provide food or increase their prosperity. Predictably, since the industrial revolution reached Thailand, machines have filled this need. In 1989 the utilization of elephants for logging became illegal in Thailand thanks to the elephant conservation efforts of her majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand. Although meant to improve the quality of life of the domestic elephants, it also made the elephant more obsolete in day-to-day life. Today, these amazing animals cannot contribute to the family economics, but still require resources for their subsistence. With a lifespan of over 50 years when domesticated, a family must make a long, multi-generational commitment to the animal. If the family is unable to fill their own basic needs, they are most likely unable to do this for their beloved elephant. This led to the neglect, trade, and mistreatment of the domesticated elephants.

Street elephants are commonplace in most major cities in Thailand. Although an amazing site to see, this practice is discouraged and often illegal. Street elephants are forced by their owners to live and work in an urban environment. The elephant is forced to perform tricks for people’s entertainment. There are a number of issues with taking an elephant out of its natural habitat and bringing into a concrete jungle.  The feet of the elephant are not used to the hot, black, pavement since they typically would walk among the vegetation in the rainforests without potentially sharp metal, curbs, and rubbish. Traffic accidents can also cause injury to humans and elephants alike. Remember how elephants eat everything? Ingestion of rubbish or pesticides is incredibly harmful for the digestive system of the elephant. Heat exhaustion and dehydration can be problematic, as the elephant requires a clean, plentiful source of water as well as occasional shade. Elephants are also not used to the air pollution of big cities and this can be damaging to their respiratory systems. Obviously elephants are not born knowing how to allow humans to ride them. They have to be trained from a young age through brutal discipline.  The bright lights and unnatural noises can also be confusing to an elephant, which can also be hazardous to them and to the humans around them.

There are a number of amazing and humane programs in Southeast Asia where one can get up close and personal with these amazing endangered animals without supporting illegal or unethical industries. The Bamboo Project Thailand is one such organization with a number of volunteer opportunities including the elephant project we participated in. The Bamboo Project aims to help both elephants and the communities they are in by educating tourists and mahouts alike on the humane, ethical, and sustainable practices of caring for the domestic elephants while respecting their traditional beliefs and culture. The organization does not support riding elephants or street elephants, but does recognize that there is an obvious financial component required to maintain the quality of life of humans and animals alike. I really appreciated this realistic and respectful way of approaching the controversial issue that is the relationship between elephants and humans.

With this organization, we were able to make small contributions to mahouts, families, and elephants in Ban Tathit while having the experience of a lifetime. By assisting with cutting and planting bamboo, it freed up time for the mahouts to devote to other tasks such as farming.  We “walked” the elephants to the water and took them for a swim about 3 times a week. The mahouts are compensated by the Bamboo Project to accompany us and provide us with this incredible experience. By providing the mahouts with elephant friendly ways of making money, this reduces the need for the mahout to utilize their elephant in city streets to profit off of tourists.  As participants, we also spent a lot of money on potato crisps, (Thailand has amazing flavors) and ice cream at the corner store. To put the economic situation into perspective, what one person in our group spent on ice cream in a 4 day period was equivalent to the monthly income of some Thai workers after taxes. The economic contribution in the community can help reduce poverty making life better for the humans and animals alike. We were also able to assist with the rice harvest, teaching English, and canine care.

The elephants in this village appear in great condition and seem very happy and healthy. They are even starting to become a bit pampered; they now pick off the best green bamboo leaves instead of eating the whole thing! The elephants in the community are reproducing healthy babies on a fairly regular basis.  Once you learn about how long and tedious an elephant pregnancy is, you realize this is a rarity!

We were incredibly lucky that our time visiting Ban Tathit and Surin City coincided with the Elephant Festival, the annual Elephant Round Up, and the River Festival. As I witnessed the unhealthy street elephants walking around in Surin City, I made a mental note that none of the elephants, families, or mahouts I saw were from Ban Tathit. It may not make a huge dent in the massive issue that is the mistreatment of elephants in Asia, however, for that village, it meant they did not have to resort to these practices to support their families and their elephants. For the elephants and families of Ban Tathit, the Bamboo Project is making a difference. #wearebamboo

For more of my travel photography, check out @vitalityimagesphotography on Instagram

[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) Thailand bamboo project creativity elephant nature photographer photography travel wildlife Sun, 05 Feb 2017 20:26:02 GMT
Fierce Fashion Photography: Of Flesh and Love Again, I am so inspired by my clients. I love telling their stories in hopes that others may be as inspired by them as I am! Meet Kendra of Of Flesh and Love: Clothing and Harness Design.

Kendra was introduced to me by my husband. Without sounding like the most creepy couple ever, I was waiting to drop off supper for my husband at his workplace, and Kendra was walking up to us. Knowing me well, my husband said, "I've been meaning to introduce you to Kendra. You are going to want to photograph her."

My husband wasn't kidding. Kendra walked up with her killer outfit (which I later would learn she sewed herself), her beautiful tattoos, long hair, and unique jewelry. She was edgy, intriguing, and colourful, with an inviting face. Kendra also had personality and a sense of humour and it took me no time at all to outright tell her, "I need to photograph you." That's right. I didn't ask. I told her. Luckily she agreed and a fight did not have to ensue.

I am in no way saying I am bored of my clientele; but in a boudoir marathon day of teddies, underwire bras, and my conventional beauties, Kendra was a nice break from the typical. She showed up with dreadlocks and the most unique lingerie I had ever seen. She was confident, decisive, and creative. I like all those things! 

*Side note: You do not need to wear lingerie for boudoir. You can wear whatever you want*

Kendra called these pieces "harnesses." They created these great lines and designs on the body. Daring, but feminine; strong but seductive. I had never seen lingerie like this in my life even though I regularly photograph women in some great pieces. Although Kendra has a great figure, these pieces could work on anyone daring enough to try something outside the typical.

Kendra informed me that all her lingerie pieces were made by hand. No wonder I had never seen anything like this before; they were one of a kind made custom. 

Kendra's boudoir shoot was one of my all time favourites. Kicking ass is sexy, and the resulting photos spoke to us and others.

Above image accepted to PPOC-AB Image Salon 2016 in Portraiture Category

Kendra got the courage to put herself out there despite her original doubts regarding the demand for the product and her ability to run a business on top of her day job. I am sure glad she did because, unsurprisingly, there is a huge demand for her unique lingerie designs!

Cue the make up artist, hair stylist, models, and assistants! Last week, Kendra and I teamed up to do some fashion shots with her creations. I am so excited to share some of the shots here! I can't wait to edit a few more and share them with you!

To check out Kendra's creations, go to Of Flesh and Love: Clothing and Harnesses on Facebook and on Instagram @offleshandlove 

[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) Flesh and Love YEG alberta courage creativity creator fashion harness inspiration like a boss lingerie photographer photography portrait portrait photography portraiture strong woman Tue, 10 Jan 2017 04:27:06 GMT
Photography Instructor I am super excited to announce that I will be teaching some beginner photography classes for PSP at the Edmonton Garrison!

January 29, 2016 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM will be the first one and we are just firming up the other dates! To sign up, or for more information, go to:

Then go to Courses > make sure it says Winter 2017 > Adult > Recreation > and then the course name is Photography Jan 29. People save $5 if you register online.

I hope to see you there!

Class Objectives:
Learn the basics of how to use a camera
Learn basic composition techniques
Learn how to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a photo; and how to improve it
Explore different types of photography; and what technical considerations are relevant for each
Practice basic photography skills
Get inspired and have fun!
Class Structure:
     1 hour instruction
     30 minutes on image critique
     1 hour photo walk
     15 minutes for questions and wrap up
What you will need:
               A camera – minimum of a cell phone camera
Note taking system
Open mind
Weather appropriate clothing
4 Photos you have taken in the past
A can do attitude!
Lecture topics will vary depending on the level and goals of the participants:
The Basics: Body mechanics, equipment, safety, and settings
Other Technical Consideration: White Balance and Focus
Considerations for Different Types of Photography
Image Critique
Final Thoughts: Naming, Resources, Self-portraits, and Professionals
[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) Fri, 06 Jan 2017 03:37:29 GMT
Recent Travels I am back from my month long hiatus! I had a few scheduled posts come out while I was gone so hopefully you checked those out.

I was in Thailand and Cambodia. It was amazing!

In short: 

  • I love elephants! 
  • Temples are awesome 
  • If you go to Thailand don't leave out Chiang Rai in the North 
  • Even though we were there during the mourning period after the death of the king, and this was apparently the toned down version, Bangkok was still an insanely weird party placeIt was a really interesting cultural experience being there at that time.
  • I have a whole new respect for silk and rice.
  • Thai is a really hard language
  • I am skilled with a machete 
  • You can make paper out of elephant poop!
  • 10/10 would do again

I loved that all I brought and used ended up being my Panasonic Lumix GX8 (4:3 mirrorless camera), 2x 32 memory cards, an extra battery, charger, and a 35-100mm lens (equivalent to a 70-200mm zoom lens on a full frame camera). The flash, tripod, and all the other accessories I brought "just in case" never even made it out of the bag. Sometimes it pays to keep it simple. Run it through Lightroom, and I made some images that I am pretty happy with.

One thing about that camera is that it does not capture fast motion very well as keeping the focal point at a low aperture is challenging. I would go to my full frame DSLR for sports or for fast motion!

I am working on finishing all the items from 2016 that need to be done by the end of the month. I have a Christmas maternity shoot on Sunday I am super pumped about and some birth photography later this month. As well, I am super excited for 2017. I have the boudoir marathon, fashion stuff, and some powerlifting meets to photograph! Then I will probably take a it of  a bit of a break from shooting to work on editing some of my longer term projects before the spring rush.

Stay tuned for some posts on other artistic, creative, and courageous female clients of mine. 

Happy Holidays!



[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) YEG cambodia creativity hiatus photographer photography portraits portraiture thailand travel travel photography Thu, 01 Dec 2016 03:33:21 GMT
Ginger Beef: The story of my favourite model and assistant A victim of a creative mind...

Kevin has been putting up with my photography basically since we started dating. I say "put up with it," but actually he has embraced it without complaint and supported me the whole way. 

Pros of having a Wife as a Photographer:

  • Kevin gets free business portraits
  • Has the best looking headshot in the workplace
  • His wife can edit photos to make his muscles look bigger
  • Get free photos for website

Cons of having a wife as a photographer:

  • Constantly having to stop every two steps when on a hike or vacation so she can take a photo or set something up
  • Having to act like a mule and carry ladders, lights, props, etc.
  • Having to hold a reflector
  • Knowing that your wife is editing boudoir photos and you aren't allowed in her office (obviously no one else sees those photos). As he puts it, "My wife looks at nude people while I do the dishes."
  • Having to assist with posing animals
  • Having to model... a lot... against my will

"Kevin! That lighting is perfect! There is 90 seconds until it moves! RUN RUN RUN!!! NOW SPIN LIKE THE LEAVES ARE FALLING AND YOU LOVE YOUR LIFE!!" - Actual thing that happened for this photo to materialize.

So Kevin is a real team player. Just so you know, if he assists or models he DOES get compensated financially. I'm running a business here. Don't think I am treating him like a husband slave.

Through Kevin having to put up with this little photography habit of mine, some really cool things have happened.

One being that he got a wife out of the deal. Realizing that I had met a man who was so incredibly patient with my photography AND supported my goals and business meant a great deal. 

Aside for that, Kevin has become a very competent assistant. He is better than a lot of other hired help at handling and setting up equipment. I would also rather have him hold the reflector or off camera flash than anyone else.

He has also become better with the camera. I can use him as a second shooter at weddings!

I can also confidently ask him what he thinks of my images, and know I will get honesty. He has also picked up some surprising knowledge on the topic of photography! I guess he is listening when I am speaking! Also, he must be learning from osmosis when I am watching online critiques, webinars, or videos. I first realized he was accidentally learning when he saw I was trying to decide between a few photos to submit for a competition. He leaned over and said, "That one has way more story telling potential than the others. The crop on this looks a bit off to me." What?! What just came out of my husband's mouth?! He was completely correct on his assessment as well. 

Kevin keeps me grounded. He reminds me that I am running a business at times and that I need to stick to my guns. Other times, he sees how much an inspiration or idea makes me light up and says, "I know you have to invest resources into making your vision happen, but it is so worth it to see how much you love your craft and how happy it makes you." He is my cheerleader even when I can't find it in me to cheer myself on.

Even MORE interesting, is that Kevin has become one of the best models I have worked with. Kevin has had to model or be a stand in for me through all my practicing, assignments, and even some commercial shoots. Ironically, it turns out he even has some male fans who really like his work modelling knitwear! All jokes aside, Kevin has a face that can work with a suit, gym wear, knitwear, and a variety of different vibes or moods. I can alter his expressions easily, and he has an expressive face that is easy to direct. He has great body awareness and knows EXACTLY how to move his head when directed. I have utilized paid male models before and Kevin is by far the best one I have worked with. I guess he learned something!

Of course I am biased; he is my husband. I am being completely honest when I say that his movements, expressions, and body awareness are dead on. So if anyone needs a red headed male model...

So the nickname. Ginger beef. Well, Kevin is a Certified Exercise Physiologist. He works at variety of different organizations through his business, Jacked by Jones. Yep, that is Kevin and I in the photo on our wedding day. Other than that, most of the photos on the website have been take by Vitality Images! Anyway, Kevin is a powerlifter. Although he is incredibly modest and would be choked that I shared this, Kevin won the national championship in his category in 2012. So he knows what he is doing when it comes to exercise (the degree and gazillion other certifications he has may have something to do with that as well). Not only is Kevin a ginger, he has beefy arms and likes Asian food. His best friend started using #gingerbeef on Instagram when there was a photo of Kevin. The name stuck. I think it is awesome!


Many of my blog posts are about creative people. If you have read my previous posts, you know that Kevin comes from creative stock. His father is the lead percussionist for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and has been for over 40 years. His sister, Meghan, is a talented and internationally published knitwear designer. His mother is a talented fabric artist and musician as well. Sure, Kevin may come off as a bit of a gym rat, but he regularly shows me up at Paint Nites. He also is apparently a very talented piano player and the word "prodigy" has been thrown around by people when describing his percussion skills as a teenager. If it suited his interests, I think he could surprise us all with his artistic side!

Kevin is also a great father to our 3 dogs.

So that is a bit about my better half. I am incredibly thankful to be with this person. Happy Anniversary Kevin!

Check out Kevin's lifts on Instagram @jackedbyjones as well as on Facebook. If you are interested in speaking to him about personal training services or modelling, drop him an e-mail at [email protected]


[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) alberta anniversary edmonton ginger beef model model husband photographer photography photography assistant portrait portrait photography portraiture yeg Tue, 15 Nov 2016 01:45:00 GMT
Knitwear and Photography: Little Nut Meg Productions It turns out I have a lot of creative clients and people in my life! Meet Meghan Jones-Van Eyck of Little Nutmeg Productions.

I am very fortunate to have a rad sister-in-law with an awesome family who we love very much! My husband's family are oozing with creativity and artistic genes (although my husband will never admit it, he also has this DNA!). 

When I met my husband's family, they spoke about knitting, quilting, embroidery, and other "fabric arts" quite a bit. I put "fabric arts" in quotes because that was the first time I realized that was even a thing. 

To put it in perspective, my dance costumes growing up were glue gunned together by my mother who could barely sew a button (Whatever. The costumes only had to last until I got off the stage). I can sew on a button, but that is where my knowledge and skills related to anything with fabric, thread, or domestication stop.

As soon as I heard the term, "fabric art," and saw the masterpieces that Meghan designed and created from scratch (like we are talking spinning to yarn...another thing I didn't know people did) I wholeheartedly agreed that it was an accurate term. The creations Kevin's family create are absolutely works of art which require vision, creativity, and physical skill. Like photography, it is a balance between logic and creativity. Knitting takes math skills!

Meghan is my husband's oldest sister. She lived in Edmonton until moving to Calgary to attain her BFA in Fine Arts from the Alberta College of Art and Design.

This is also where she met her future husband. Seth was serving in the Canadian Armed Forces at the time. Meghan and Seth found they had similar interests (more about Seth in another post; he is also a creative and artistic dude!)

Seth and Meghan moved to Texas and then to Washington after Seth served in the United States Military.

Meghan started Little NutMeg Productions (the name makes me smile every time) which is an Independent Knitting and Design company. Meghan designs intricate, unique and beautiful patters for magazines, online publications, and books that are published internationally. It also means I get awesome knit gifts for Christmas.

Meghan takes very good photos of her products and patterns with her Pentax DSLR. Often professionals hire professionals as, not only can they delegate some of the work, but a different eye and creative brain can put a twist on the project. Meghan has contracted me a couple times to do photography for her knitwear designs. The other cool thing about hiring someone for this is that it means she could be the model and display the items how she feels they are meant to be seen.

Originally we shot some of the products in the Edmonton area in October, 2015, and then again in Washington in the summer of 2016. Check out my Knitwear gallery to see a few of the ones I can share so far! 

Meghan is another artistic, inspiring, and brave soul that I have had the privilege of having gained through my marriage! It takes courage to follow your heart, take risks, and run your own business. This is especially true when your business involves art; art is often undervalued. Meghan continues to wow the knitting and fabric arts community with her very intricate and unique designs while displaying them in a way through her designs that knitters can create a great final product. I am told that many of her products are not for the beginner knitter...I wouldn't know what that looks like because it all looks like Greek to me...but I can see the final product is amazing. I know it is a beautiful piece of art that takes talent, passion, skill, planning, and creativity poured into it to allow it to materialize. 

Meghan and her family still reside in Washington with their 3 adorable kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and chickens! She has also taken up teaching classes on different mediums of fabric arts in the United States and Canada. 

I love her blog posts as well that speak about her inspirations! The references to the prairies and her family make my husband and I feel like our American family is closer to home! Reading her blog, it is apparent that Meghan is passionate about her craft and that goes into every piece she makes and designs. 

Check out Little Nutmeg Productions on Facebook  and Instagram @meghanjoneslnmp to keep up with her art, antics, and designs! Designs and merchandise are available for purchase on Revelry as well!



[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) Little Nutmeg Productions artist commercial courage covers creativity inspiration knit knitwear photographer photography portrait portrait photography portraits portraiture strong women Sat, 05 Nov 2016 00:45:00 GMT
Hiatus for month of November 2016 The Holiday Cards are ordered, the photo shoots for the season are complete (okay, so I have a couple in December), and it is time for me to take a break!

I will still be photographing, but this time it will be in Thailand and Cambodia! I am off to do a little backpacking. I am calling it my 30th Birthday present to myself. 

For this trip, I will be taking: 

  • 4:3 G8X Panasonic Lumix mirrorless camera
  • 35-100mm Lumix zoom Lens
  • Wireless remote
  • Canon Speedlight
  • Speedlight Diffuser
  • Mini-tripod

Gotta pack light!

We will be working with elephants and traveling for about 3 weeks. Then I have a brief stop for a conference in Vancouver, and then back to real life. 

I will miss my dogs so much!

If I don't respond to your communications, this is why! I will get to them when I return!

Have a great month!




[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) YEG alberta photographer photography travel Fri, 28 Oct 2016 21:45:00 GMT
Very Special Dog Up for Adoption Hello!

As many of you know, animals are a very important part of my life. I have my 3 fur babies (Bear Winston Weiman-Jones, Nikita Danger Jones, and Vincent McPatrick O'Jones - but you can all him Vinnie). My husband is just as animal crazed as I am.

Animal rescue and well-being is very important to me. In 2013, became involved with this fantastic rescue organization; The Greater Edmonton Animal Rescue Society (GEARS). Through this, I was fortunate to be a foster dog mom to Stella; a small husky with the most amazing blue eyes you have ever seen. 

She became best friends with Vinnie. The two were inseparable. She was an absolute joy. If it was legal to have more than 3 dogs in Edmonton, we would have for sure kept her. She was also the last foster we took in for a reason you may not suspect; Vinnie got so attached and was beyond heartbroken when she left. We decided that we did not want to put our dog's hearts (or ours) through that again. It was very hard to let her go. Stella was also a fantastic girl to practice photography with; she had trouble sitting still, but otherwise was a great canine model! Such a personality!

Through no fault of her own, Stella is back with GEARS and looking for her forever home. 

Her information reads:

Name: Stella

Age: 4 years old

Gender: Female Weight: 60 lbs

Breed: Husky Cross

Energy: 10 out of 10

Dogs: Yes

Cats: Yes

Kids: Yes

Rescue Story: Stella came into care via Lend-A-Paw Animal Rescue. She is a distemper survivor and has a quirky head bob but is otherwise unaffected.

Stella’s Bio: Hi everyone! My name is Stella! Have you been on the hunt for a running companion that can keep up with your active lifestyle? Well, I just might be the one you’ve been looking for. I’m so active, I even run in my sleep! Aside from getting out of the house for daily runs, I can also entertain myself with toys; I love balls and anything that squeaks. I like meeting new doggy friends but I tend to get a little too excited sometimes and forget my manners. I know my basic commands like “sit” and “stay”and I’m really good off leash as well. I also get a little too excited around food when my human friends are eating; I may try and help myself to your meal. As far as my food goes, I’ve done really well on a raw diet. I’m sure there’s a lot of other stuff I could tell you about myself but why not fill out an application to see if we are a perfect match for each other? I look forward to meeting you! Interested in meeting me? Fill out an application today!

I am not going to make a habit or advertising animals who need homes on my blog, as there are so many, but Stella is really special. I want her to find a fantastic home. If you or someone you know are looking for an energetic husky who loves people and is great with kids, cats, and other dogs, this is your girl!

Check our GEARS on Facebook and apply for Stella (or other animals who needs homes) here!

Please, adopt, don't shop!

Now go give your fur baby a hug!




[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) Gears Greater Edmonton Animal Rescue Society Husky adoption Sat, 22 Oct 2016 18:47:19 GMT
A Feminist Photographer's Thoughts Postman, secretary, fireman, and stewardess are all fallen titles of occupations that we have renamed in our contemporary lingual culture in favor of more politically correct and gender neutral terms. Mail carrier, clerk, firefighter, and flight attendant are now the accepted terms for these occupations. As I count up my merit points for the year, I can’t help but think about what this changing language in our society means for one of the Professional Photographer's of Canada (PPOC)’s levels of membership; the Craftsman of Photographic Arts (CPA).

            Maybe it is my sensitive, feminist, liberal, millennial brain that is conditioned to be offended at any whim of social injustice and which wants to stir the pot at every opportunity. The truth is, I am personally not offended.  I strive to be a CPA at some point regardless of what it is called and will not be shy to tell others of this achievement once I attain it. I would, however be naïve to think that the reason a young, aspiring female photographer that I am trying to rein into eventually becoming a member of the PPOC at a tradeshow is raising her eye brow at something else when I say Craftsman of Photographic Arts while explaining the levels of membership.

            Is society too politically correct? I don't think so but that is a topic for another day. What about the tradition within our organization? Should that be respected? The designation has been called the CPA for years so why change it? What would the PPOC change it to? Crafters of Photographic Arts? CraftsPERSON of photographic arts? Crafty Person of Photography Arts? All of those don’t quite roll off the tongue the same way the the current title does.

            The PPOC requires the recruiting of new members to survive as an organization. This enthusiastic, sensitive, liberal, millennial generation are our future colleagues and members of the PPOC. Photography is well represented by men and women. Most other professions are consciously putting an effort into gender neutral language. It is becoming an expectation in our society. It may not be in the PPOC’s favor to fall behind the societal trend with language expectations.

            I love being a part of this great organization and will continue to sing its praises to anyone who will listen. I have written a lengthy post about that. For some reason, I keep thinking about this quite often. I don't want the organization that I respect so much to be referred to as the "Old Boys' Club."

           I also pride myself in being a person who backs up her complaints with possible solutions; but here I am without one. Just a thought to ponder. I don't know the answer, but I think it is something our organization will eventually take heat for. 

On the topic of being a female in the industry, here is a great article written by a female photographer on some of the strengths and challenges.

Happy Pondering!



[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) Feminist PPOC Professional Photographers of Canada photographer Thu, 20 Oct 2016 02:49:54 GMT
Photography for Writers Part II Last week I introduced you to Katherine Hole, creator of Loving Me, Myself, and I . This week, I would like to introduce you to Ashley Erin, and long time client of mine and a contemporary romance writer in the Greater Edmonton Area. Ashley was a hard working social worker who took a chance and followed her dream of being an author. Writing is currently her full-time passion. 

Full disclosure: I am not a romance novel enthusiast. I think there is potential to get into fictional pieces, however my logical brain is trapped with dedicating its reading time to evidence based literature on physical rehabilitation and the likes (the other career is as an Occupational Therapist). Reading for "pleasure" is something I do when I am on an airplane on vacation.

When Ashley asked me to shoot the cover of a book for her, I jumped at the chance! I was also a little nervous as I had never shot a book cover before. Part of the preparation for the shoot was that I needed to read the first novel in the series (I was shooting the second one). You are probably thinking, "Sure, you just wanted to justify reading a romance novel," which is probably partially true, but I did find it a beneficial exercise in understanding the flow, mood, character, and environment that needs to be depicted in the cover and teasers. It is also important for model selection. 

IT WAS A GOOD BOOK. There. I said it. I enjoyed the read. The book I read was All About Us which is the first of 3 books in the All or Nothing series. All About Hope was the book that I would be shooting the cover for and was still being written. I still maintain that I HAD to read it. It was for work. 

Ashley already had the model picked. It was an American model named Cody Johnvin who was as cooperative, friendly, and down-to-earth as he was shredded and delectably good looking (so like REALLY down-to-earth). Ashley had the great idea to not only bring him to Alberta to shoot the cover, but to also give him the full Western Canada experience and take him to Jasper, Banff, and the other amazing places we have around here. 

We had a beautiful day at a local ranch to shoot the teasers and the cover. I completely over-prepared, and rented way too much equipment (my nervousness coming through) but we got our images while having a ton of fun. Also, a horse tried to eat my pony tail. No pun intended. That actually happened. 

The tough part is having these images and then having to SIT ON THEM WITHOUT SHOWING ANYONE for 18 months until the book is released. On September 13, 2016, Ashley released the second book in the All or Nothing series; All About Hope with my photo of Cody Johnvin on the front and back cover. It is awesome and weird seeing your photo on a paperback. I could get used to this. 

Then of course, because, you know, my photo is on it, I supposed I should read the book...for work purposes only. So I did. AND IT WAS A GOOD BOOK, OKAY?! Like really. really. good. I was texting Ashley while I was reading, saying things like, "No you didn't!" "How could you do that to your reader?!?!" "How could you do that to the character?!?!" 

I guess there is no time like the present to tell you that I also ready Ashley's other books:

FOR WORK PURPOSES ONLY even though I have no work associated with these titles. I really like the No Rules series. I can't wait for The No Jock Rule. Also, Without Walls is a great stand alone and depicts the Canadian Rocky Mountain wilderness to a tee. But with more sex. 

For work purposes. Necessary for photography that I read these. 

You can also pre-order Part I of The Fine Line Between Love and Hate which is set to release on October 11, 2016. I have already. For work. 

Last month, we also completed the cover shoot for the third book in the All or Nothing series which will be All About Forever. I can't show you any sneak peaks from that though! You will have to wait a year! We had a great time on the ranch again and got some great images. Here is a great candid shot we got of her at the shoot with her horse, Belle. 

We also completed the cover for an upcoming stand alone. I can't tell you anything about this one, except it is a darker book based on Ashley's knowledge and experience as a social worker. It is going to be an amazing book, and the cover is just a proof and I am already beyond excited about it. We shot it in my husband's dingy basement gym with an intricate lighting set up and it was PERFECT even though it sounds totally unprofessional and low budget. You will understand when you see it. I am unbelievably excited about this one! You will hear about this in 2017.

Ashley has taught me so much about the writing industry, and we have a lot in common as artists! She also introduced me into this crazy industry and I can't wait to continue to collaborate with her on future projects. Thank you Ashley for having the courage to take a less conventional path and be a great role model for other authors and artists! You are an inspiration!

Check out Ashley Erin's book on ( links above in the titles). You know...for work purposes. 

Happy Reading!





[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) YEG author authors book covers books country courage covers creativity equine inspiration photographer photography portrait portrait photography portraits portraiture strong women writer writers Mon, 03 Oct 2016 17:49:00 GMT
Planning for 2017: Boudoir Marathon It is October already! I hope you are enjoying the fall! 

I am a planner. So while most people are thinking about Thanksgiving, Halloween, and maybe Christmas if they are keeners, I am already thinking about Valentine's Day!

Sunday, January 8, 2016 is my first Boudoir Marathon of the year. For 350.00, clients will receive:

  • Professional Hair and Make-up
  • A one hour photoshoot with 2 outfits
  • 10 Fully Edited High Quality jpg Files

Other products and gifts can be ordered in time for Valentine's Day if you are hoping to make it a special gift. 

The photoshoot will take place at the beautiful Photographer Studio in Studio 2.

Part of the reason I am so early is because I already have a few spots booked with deposits paid! If you are interested, please contact me at [email protected] to book. A 150.00 non-refundable deposit will be required to secure your spot.

Boudoir photography is my favourite. It is a fun, empowering experience. I have many clients who partake in it many times a year! It does make a great gift for your significant other for weddings, birthdays, Valentine's Day, Christmas, etc. since it is something intimate that they can't buy for themselves. That said, I love it when people want to do it just for themselves. We don't give ourselves enough self-love these days!

Boudoir photography can be "seductive," and "sexy," but the degree of coverage is completely up to you. Some are comfortable with complete nudes, while others wish to be fully clothed and have just head shots. Don't let the word intimidate you. You are in control. 

I offer Boudoir services to all genders.

I could go on and on about how much I love boudoir. Yes, I have done a couple shoots myself where I was the subject instead of the photographer; and I loved it!

Contact me for details!


Happy Weekend!



[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) Alberta Boudoir Edmonton Valentine's day YEG boudoir marathon glamour photographer photography portrait portrait photography portraiture valentine Sat, 01 Oct 2016 19:45:00 GMT
Photography for Writers Part I - Katherine Hole and Mindfulness I would like to introduce you to three inspiring women who I have had the pleasure of working with! This is Part I of my blog series on local female authors.


Katherine Hole - Author of Loving Me, Myself, and I

As most of you know, in my other career, I am an Occupational Therapist. Something I do on a daily basis is teach mindfulness to clients. Mindfulness is awesome (post for another day). That said, through my experience, I have observed some really crappy ways to teach mindfulness that will turn a person off real quick. It is so unfortunate when this happens, because the scientific literature behind the immense benefits for mindfulness practice is quite solid and to facilitate someone's closed mindedness to mindfulness is a real crime. 

I was fortunate to meet Katherine Hole through my photography. Not only was Katherine friendly, warm, accepting, openminded, and amazing to work with, she has put together this awesome publication that makes mindfulness accessible, understandable, enjoyable, and "no pressure." 

We completed her photo shoot in and around her beautiful, rustic, cozy home on a property in the country. My favourite shots ended up being those in her kitchen, office, and with her dogs. She was so joyful and relaxing to be around which allowed for natural and inspiring photos. It was nice to be around someone who truly practiced mindfulness from moment to moment; not just talking about it. 

Katherine's products includes a guided journal and flashcards that focus on attaining balance and mindfulness "one step at a time." As a clinician, I was impressed with her product. I promise; impressing me is not easy on this topic. 

I did something I never thought I would do as a result of this encounter with Katherine; I took the mindfulness cards to work and started using the flashcards with my patients to teach mindfulness. Through her own personal life experiences, she has created a product that I think is better than what many clinicians put together for their patients. 

I KNOW about mindfulness. I LEARNED about it in school. I TALK about it 5 days a week. Do I practice it? No (well, okay, photoshoots are as close as I get, but certainly editing photos is not "mindful" for me). Katherine's journal and the mindfulness cards are the subtle push and reminder I needed to actually practice what I preach for a change. 

I've actually started painting a bit. I am more present with my dogs when I am playing with them. I am slowly finding ways to practice mindfulness in a meaningful way that is for ME, and not because I just want to feel like less of a hypocritical clinician.

I am currently looking into if my clinic can purchase more of these mindfulness cards for my patients. Maybe this is what our clinical brains need in our practice; something less clinical and more accessible for people.

So a huge thank you to Katherine for not only being an awesome client, but also for following her passion, being brave, being an artist, and for helping those through art (past, present, and future). 

You can get Loving Me, Myself and I on Amazon and also check out her website for other tips and ideas!

Next Week is Part II: Ashley Erin - Romance Author



[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) YEG author authors courage creativity inspiration photographer photography portrait portrait photography portraits portraiture strong women writer writers Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:00:00 GMT
Photography for Writers I have been fortunate enough to meet some really cool people with my photography. Through photography, I have been able to learn about some interesting industries I would have never thought twice about before. Working with authors and writers has allowed me to ride a steep learning curve in graphic design and photography for this industry. 

I just had my first book cover released this month. The photo shoot was 18 months prior and it finally has become a tangible paperback! Earlier this month, I shot two more book covers, which will likely be released in late 2017 and early 2018. The toughest part about these projects are that even when you have a great shoot and get the results you hoped for, you have to keep quiet about it for such a long time!

I also did some promotional photography for a couple authors. 

It is interesting (and somewhat disappointing) to see that writers deal with some similar issues to other artists and photographers when it comes to their industry. With art becoming more digital and the cost of production going up, their great work is often under-valued. With social media often dictating what becomes well known and popular, those who produce high quality work are often not as recognized as others who have a stronger PR team, or deeper pockets, or more networking connections.

It is difficult to see talented artists selling their product on Amazon for 0.99 per E-book. Like other artists, it is about the love of writing, the love of the characters, and the desire to provide their fans and readers with an emotional reaction and connection to the story. 

With photography, I hope to convey a story and create an emotional response; it is about the love of creating the image. It really isn't that different. 

It makes me think a lot about how all us artists (writers, mixed-media, musicians, photographers, fabric artists, etc.) are all forced to under-value our work to survive in the industry which does not benefit it as a whole. That is a post for another day, but I just wanted to remind all you artists out there to remember your worth (and know it is high). 

Thank you to those brave souls who, despite the trials and tribulations of our creatively driven and subjective industries, continue to take risks to push their crafts while creating art for the rest of us to enjoy. Sometimes this means doing it along with a day job, and other times this may mean abandoning the traditional, and secure life path for a much more unpredictable one.

I am writing a three part blog series on three clients of mine who are authors. After that, I can't wait to introduce you to two other clients who are in fabric arts. How did I get so lucky to meet so many gutsy, inspiring women?


[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) September YEG alberta author authors books photographer photography writers Tue, 27 Sep 2016 03:23:43 GMT
The Ups and Downs of Photography I love photography for many reasons:

  • It combines art and science
  • It forces my non-artistic brain to think outside the box
  • It allows me to meet so many cool people within the industry and within so many other industries (e.g. music, writing, industrial, etc.)
  • It allows me to make others smile
  • It is challenging
  • etc.

This last year, I have went through a bit of a phase where I hated EVERYTHING I shot. Not because it was terrible, but because I didn't feel it was noteworthy. It was average. I wanted amazing. Clients seemed happy, I was getting some accreditations on the first try with the PPOC, so I knew it wasn't all bad, but I just didn't like where things were. I was in a slump. I felt stagnant. Made worse by the fact that in order to try something new, push myself, and get amazing shots, I was missing one precious resource; time. I know none of us have enough of it, and I don't even have kids so I don't have the best excuses as others do, but I have 2 careers that I love (photography and occupational therapy) and sometimes it seems hella difficult to keep both of them afloat at the same time. This summer was especially rough because I was in a car accident and had to turn down a lot of work based on my reduced physical capacity.

I debated even submitting any photos to the Alberta PPOC Provincial Salon. Partially because I felt I didn't have anything remarkable, and partially because it would mean taking time away from editing paying projects. On top of that, I knew I could use the entry fee for something else...a pair of new boots perhaps. The benefits of the salon is that you are provided with some feedback on your photos. Whether you are entered or not, the most value is in watching the critiquing online or in person. This is how you learn about photography and what judges are looking for. This is how you improve as a photographer. 

Worried I would regret it if I didn't send something, I picked 4 photos on a whim, and sent them in with very little extra editing. This was in early July.

Then at the end of August, I saw on Facebook a post that went something like, "Thank you everyone for your hard work this weekend at the PPOC-AB Salon!" Crap. I missed it. I completely forgot about it even though I had it in my scheduler; I think I was blocking it out because I was certain entering was a waste of my time. I didn't watch a single thing. I had no idea how my images did (I assumed not well) and I missed a good opportunity to learn. Shame on me. 

Then I got an e-mail that I had to read 5 times to understand. Not only had all 4 of my images got accepted, but one was awarded a Merit for one image! I had never received a merit before and I had never gone 4/4 at a Salon! 

Maybe I don't suck as much as I feel I do. I am my own worst critic at times. Sometimes you submit 4 images you think are slam dunks and you get slammed.  This was the opposite. Maybe I need a little more confidence in what I am doing. My Dad always says, "You need to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good." and I think this was one of those scenarios. It's a bit of both.

So I am on an extreme photography high. I'm out of my 18 month slump. I just nailed 3 shoots last week, and I get to see my images at the PPOC-AB Salon this weekend at our PPOC AB Educational Event this weekend in Calgary. 

Give me a month though. The highs and high, and the lows are low. Maybe I will get slaughtered in the other competition I entered. Maybe I won't get my next accreditation. Who knows; art is subjective. All I can say is photography is super emotional and challenging. This is why I love it. 

[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) PPOC Professional Photographers of Canada September YEG alberta photographer photography portrait portrait photography portraits portraiture Fri, 16 Sep 2016 19:30:00 GMT
September for Photographers is like April for Accountants or December for Santa's Elves

September is a crazy month for photographers. Many are still doing weddings, or are working on product fulfillment from the summer and spring nuptials. Everyone wants family photos with the beautiful colours of the season and kids are back in school meaning many photographers are busy with school pictures! Throughout all the seasonal traditions, photographers are also already thinking about the winter holidays and how to manage the Holiday card orders. 

Last year, I feel like I took on too much in September, and I was working on Holiday cards and Christmas gifts right up to the last minute with 80 hour work weeks (between the two jobs that is). So this year, I am trying to set some boundaries! 

It is incredibly difficult to turn down work, especially when the leaves and the harvest light is so beautiful! I do have to make sure things are more manageable this year though. So...

  • Holiday card orders are due by September 30, 2016
  • I will no longer be taking any more bookings until 2017  
  • Holiday card orders will be received by December 1, 2016. If you have ordered them please let me know if you have not received yours by this time.

I am on a bit of a break from editing until I can get through the September shoots. Partially because of the workload, and partially because the break has been imposed on my by a sinus infection. I will get back to fulfilling orders in 2 weeks. Apologies for the delay, and thank you for your understanding!

Also, I did a big website update. Take a browse. I am eager to hear what you think!

It is beautiful outside! Go enjoy it!

Happy Fall!



[email protected] (Vitality Images Photography) Couples Engagement September YEG apples autumn fall leaves photographer photography Wed, 14 Sep 2016 19:01:12 GMT