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Upload from July 14, 2011

laurenandrob200x.jpgWe’re Rob + Lauren, and we’re super excited that you’re here! We’re a portrait photography team from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We love shooting happy portraits of super fun people. Families, newborns, couples, and individual folks—we adore it all. 

***Take a moment, and check out the details on how we can create happy portraits of the people you love***

*Scroll past this post to see all the new awesomeness!*

Evan + Natalie // Floating Away

Upload from July 14, 2011

Upload from July 14, 2011

We’re so very glad we got to meet Evan + Natalie. They are two people who just absolutely love to have fun together, and have this way of bringing you into it. It’s a blast whenever these guys are around!

Evan is a photographer himself, and we got to chatting with him online. He was planning on arranging a photo session with us as a gift to his wife, Natalie. Turns out she had the same idea!! Great minds, great minds. 

The weather in Edmonton has been a bit…unpredictable lately. These two were really hoping for some sunset shots, but with rain being the common theme of this summer, we weren’t sure if it would happen. It was the day of the shoot, and there were some stormy clouds, but since there wasn’t any water falling, we decided to press on.

And goodness, if that wasn’t the best idea ever!! We were treated to amazing light, and a truly stunning sunset. Sure we had to wait until 10:00PM to get it, and brave the armies of mosquitoes, but it was worth it all. This session was one of those magical times where everything just worked out like it was meant to be. Cool location, amazing light, and, most important of all, some absolutely wonderful people to spend the evening with.

Thank you Evan and Natalie for being so gosh darn awesome, and letting us photograph you. It was seriously our pleasure. 

And Happy Birthday Natalie!!!!

Lauren :)

See more photos of this super fun couple on our Facebook page!

Get Details on Booking Your Own Session // View Our Portfolio // Give Us A Shout!

Clark + Lucy // Curiosity and Joy

Last year we got to meet the wonderful Sandaluk family, and spend a sunny summer evening photographing them. It was pure magic.

A couple weeks ago we were lucky enough to get to hang out with them again! This time we focused on just Clark and Lucy, the adorable wee ones, as their dad wasn’t able to make it in town for the shoot. 

Getting to create an entire session of just kids playing was absolutely fantastic. It was all about the two of them—having fun, exploring, and enjoying another perfect evening. 

Rob created another awesome Moving Portrait of them that will definitely make you smile! Click on the play button to check it out.

And I created the photos!

It’s incredible how much these two have changed in a year. Lucy is still adorable as ever, but now talks way more (sometimes in hilarious gibberish!!) Clark still loves to explore, and is now starting to learn hip hop dance. He gave us all a performance, and it was crazy awesome. That kid has passion! 

Photographing kids has been a fascinating path for us. They are far more interested in the world around them than in sitting still for our cameras. But y’know, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I believe that’s a very very good thing.

It reminds me of what I think is a fantastic quote from an unexpected place. It’s from the movie Knocked Up. Two guys are watching kids playing in the park, and the father says:

“I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles”.

Isn’t that so very true? These two kids had an absolute blast with bubbles, tree branches, swings, and feeding the ducks some bread. Total cost? Maybe $5 for unlimited and unrestrained joy. 

So, we hope that in our images and our Moving Portrait we were able to capture the curiousity and joy of Clark and Lucy. It’s pretty awesome stuff. 

Lauren :)

See more photos of these awesome kids on our Facebook page

Get Details on Booking Your Own Session // View Our Portfolio // Give Us A Shout!

Canada Day Fireworks

Hope you all had a lovely Canada Day yesterday! We shot a wonderful portrait session, and then headed downtown to check out the fireworks—along with half the city it seemed!

Here’s one shot for ya! Love how you can see all the other cameras :)

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Update: Added a few more shots!

Upload from July 04, 2011

Upload from July 04, 2011

Upload from July 04, 2011

Upload from July 04, 2011

Upload from July 04, 2011

Upload from July 04, 2011

Upload from July 04, 2011

Have a happy weekend!

Rob + Lauren :)

The Jones-De Cock Family // Loved Ones

These happy folks are about to move to Belgium! Wow! So they figured it was a perfect time for some happy photos with their loved ones.

Normally we just shoot one family, but this time we got a whole lot more love in the mix! Their grandma, grandpa and uncle joined us for a sunny morning shoot at the University of Alberta. 

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The Arts Quad at the U of A is a favourite playground for these little ones. Their dad just finished up his PhD (congrats!!), so they’ve been quite familiar with the area for the past few years! As soon as we showed up, Sebastian grabbed his truck, and was right into exploring mode. 

Getting to see and photograph all the relationships in this family was incredible. When I asked them for one word that described them, they responded with “care”. That’s the plain truth. Though they’ll all be far apart soon, we hope these photos are able to remind them of how much love and caring they share!

Thank you guys for such a wonderful morning, and the opportunity to photograph you all! It was truly our pleasure.

Tons of love,

Rob + Lauren :)

See more of this adorable family on our Facebook page now

Get Details on Booking Your Own Session // View Our Portfolio // Give Us A Shout!

From the past // Santorini

Lauren and I got married in Greece nearly two years ago! I can’t believe how time flies.

I think going through photos you’ve forgotten you even took is just about as magical as taking the photos themselves. 

This is a photo of a black sand beach on Santorini, an island in the Greek Cyclades. On a rainy day in suburban Edmonton it’s a wonderful memory to revisit :)

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Jocelyn & Chris // More Portraits

The only thing I love more than photographing awesome people is getting to photograph them more than once.

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We photographed these two adorable people just over a year ago. When the flowers bloomed a couple weeks ago, it was time to meet up again.

Jocelyn and Chris are truly incredible people. I don’t know if I can really do them justice in words. We feel insanely lucky to have met them. Insanely.

Shooting them reminds me of a quote.

A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people. - Annie Leibovitz

When we photograph, we fall in love with our subjects too. How can we not? They’re smiling, laughing, playing, and just being super happy. We get caught up in it.

So, when we get to see them again, photograph them again, and experience it again, well, we know we’re lucky.

Lauren :)

For some more photos from this session, head over to our Facebook page!

Get Details on Booking Your Own Session // View Our Portfolio // Give Us A Shout!

Camera Recommendation: Sony NEX

Hey all! Just a quick post here about cameras! We very very often get asked for recommendations, and are always on the lookout for something that will satisfy a lot of folks. 

We recently found a really cool one, and wanted to share it here, since I’m sure many of you want a great camera to take more photos of your family and your life!

We recently picked up a Sony NEX-3, took it with us to Buenos Aires, and tested it out for a month! Our thoughts? AWESOME.

This camera has amazing quality but in a teeny little body, which means you’ll actually bring it with you everywhere, and USE it. Which is really the most important thing!

To check out our whole review, with lots of details, head over to our photography education site here!

And here are a few of the shots we took with the NEX-3 in Buenos Aires! 

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Lauren :)

Transcend Coffee // Portrait of a Business

We have an unconventional concept of a “portrait”.

Historically it referred to a likeness of a person in art, with an emphasis on the face and expression. But, as we explored the idea of “portrait” in our work, we found that for us it referred more to capturing the essence of someone—or something—in whatever manner best fit.

If you live in Edmonton and are into coffee, you’ve heard of Transcend. They started out as one small cafe in an industrial area of the town. They carefully roasted their own beans, and did such a great job that they started expanding. Today they have a dedicated roastery, three cafes, two of which are in the busiest parts of town (the University area and Jasper Ave), and a growing online business.

They’re really really good at what they do.

We spent a day with the Transcend gang to create a portrait of what they do. We asked a billion questions, listened, watched, and photographed everything. In the end we can come up with one simple word that explains their success: passion.

Their passion for great coffee is so strong that the entire journey, from bean to cup, is handled with an unbelievable amount of care and dedication. Check out the Moving Portrait below to get a sense of just how much work goes into creating a seemingly simple latte!

Music Credit: Kevin MacLoed

We really love coffee, and have been big fans of Transcend for years, but had no idea just how much work goes on behind-the-scenes. It’s a process, rigorously executed, to ensure the absolute highest quality coffee. We had such an amazing time getting to see how much they care about what they do. We really hope you enjoy this look at how Transcend puts passion into their business.

From Bean To Cup

The roastery is filled with the traditional burlap bags that hold the makings of a cup of coffee. These are the green coffee beans, shipped from origin. Coffee beans are actually seeds of coffee cherries, from the coffee tree. Poul, the founder of Transcend, travels frequently to South America to work directly with the farmers growing these trees. He not only tries to find the absolute best product, but helps the farmers learn how to make even better beans. Great coffee starts with great beans.

Every morning during the week, Transcend roasts their own coffee in small batches. Kate, the roaster, comes in and warms up the huge machine. 

Then she gets down to it. She measures out the green coffee beans. 

Each batch is carefully weighed for consistency.

Then the beans go into the roaster. This is seriously cool. It is a 1950s German-made Probat UG22, made back when cast iron was of higher quality. It was retrofitted for Transcend by Giesen in the Netherlands, and is now a shiny, impressive, colourful machine.

Once the beans are in the machine they get tossed around and roasted. Kate carefully monitors the temperature to make sure the beans are roasted absolutely perfectly.

She routinely pulls a sample from the roaster and checks the progress. She smells the beans, and checks the colour to make sure everything is on track. 

Once the roasting is complete the beans are released from the roaster, and given some time to cool down.

Kate looks through the beans for any defects. I asked her if she felt proud when a great batch came out of the roaster, and, with a little smile, she said “Yes”. We watched her roast two full batches, and it’s a complicated, and detailed process. She takes notes every few minutes, in case she needs to go back and adjust her technique. She’s extremely dedicated to getting the perfect roast.

But the process doesn’t stop there. Every morning, Kate and the team at the roastery also test the beans from the previous day, in a process called cupping. First, she grinds beans from all the roasts she did the day before.

Two essential elements of the cupping process are the detailed notes she makes of everything she tastes, as well as the very cool cupping bowls! We got to drink some coffee out of one, and felt like real coffee connoisseurs. :)

The first step of the cupping process is smelling the dry ground beans. 

Poul, the founder of Transcend, joined in the cupping.  

After the dry smelling, they carefully poured hot water into the grounds. This part of the process is tricky, because you need to control all the variables—like the temperature of the water, and the time each cup brews.

Then comes smelling the brewed coffee. The step in this next photo is called “breaking the crust”. The coffee grounds create a crust on top, and with your spoon you break it, and smell the aromatics that come out. 

Then, the final step, is the actual tasting of the coffee. A special cupping spoon is used, and the coffee is literally slurped! If you watch the Moving Portrait you’ll be able to hear—it’s a loud process! Basically, when you quickly slurp the coffee it coats all of your tongue, so you can taste all the elements of the flavour. The inhaling also lets you get the full effect of the aromatic elements (a lot like tasting wine!).

Once the coffees have been tested, and the quality is awesome, they get packaged up. 

Then those little bags hit the road, and head over to the Transcend cafes!

The Garneau location is amazing. Relaxed, modern, and comfy… 

…with some seriously talented baristas. They go through a LOT of training (a minimum of 40 hours!!) before they’re ready to start pulling shots. And believe me, getting a great shot of espresso is a complicated matter!

First a very precise amount of beans are ground immediately before the shot. Then it is “tamped” (pushed down and smoothed out) with a specific amount of pressure (30 pounds, to be exact). 

The grounds then go in the super snazzy machine…

And that amazing, creamy, golden shot of espresso is created.

 Milk is expertly steamed to get just the right micro-foam on top…

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Which lets you create some amazing latte art!

And here you have it. All that work, all that careful roasting, testing, and preparation—for this one amazing cup of coffee.

As I hope you can see, there are a whole lot of people involved who are dedicated to making the best coffee possible. When you drink a Transcend cup, you suddenly realize just what coffee can be. It’s complex and nuanced, just like a glass of wine. 

What’s fascinating about Transcend is that they care about more than just producing a fantastic cup of coffee. They care very deeply about the people that grow their beans.

The fair trade issue is very big in the coffee world. There are a lot of workers who get paid very little, labour 7 days a week, and don’t even make enough to send their kids to school. Poul and his team are dedicated to “finding that farmer that fits our model of quality, and then celebrating the amount of work that they do and recognizing them for it”. They pay fair prices that allow the farmers to escape poverty, and take care of their families. 

There’s a whole lot more that goes into coffee, isn’t there? The team at Transcend put a ton of effort into every last detail, living up to their tagline—to raise coffee to a new level

I want to share what James at Transcend said about the work we created for them:

One of the keys to the Transcend Coffee marketing strategy is authenticity. Being real, open and honest, and making genuine connections with individuals. When we were just one café/roastery, it was easy for our customers to look through the giant plate glass window that separated the roastery and the café and see all the action – roasting, cupping, discussions, training, etc.

Now that we have three cafés and a separate roasting facility and cupping lab, we wanted to find a way to achieve that same openness and transparency. We wanted to bring the big plate glass window back. Working with Rob & Lauren on behind the scenes portraits and the fantastic moving portrait, did all that and more.

Rob & Lauren were fun, professional, relaxed, engaging, and well, just delightful human beings. And the results were way beyond our expectations. We’ll use the photos and moving portrait across all of our marketing channels: web, social media, in-store marketing and more to show the breadth and depth of our dedication to great coffee. Thanks Rob & Lauren!

To us, that’s the point of a portrait. To show the authentic, and to help create connection. Hopefully after seeing all this, you understand Transcend a bit more!

If you’d like to visit their cafes (which we highly recommend you do) check them out at:

  • Garneau Location: 8708 - 109 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Jasper Ave Location: 10349 Jasper Ave, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Argyll Location: 9869 - 62 Ave, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

If you’re not in Edmonton, don’t worry! You can still get your hands on their amazing coffee! Just order some online, and prepare to be amazed. 

And make sure to check out Transcend on the web:

Finally, if you’re part of a super passionate business like Transcend, and are interested in having us create a behind-the-scenes portrait of what you do, drop us a line. Showing the people and the process behind your product will help create a sense of community, and help you develop closer relationships with your customers. Business is becoming more and more authentic, and that’s an exciting thing!

Lauren and Rob :)

P.S. There are more photos from our shoot with Transcend on our Facebook page! Go check them out now! 

Steph of FoodHappy // Portraits of a Food Blogger

Steph is an awesome food blogger. Her site, FoodHappy, is all about making incredible food fun and easy. She’s just getting going, but already has inspired many (Rob and myself included) to start making our own bread, ice cream, and more.

Steph is also my younger sister, and I’m seriously proud of how much effort she puts into helping others learn more about food. I’ve learned tons and tons from her over the years, and am so stoked that she’s now sharing it with the world on FoodHappy.

We wanted to make sure she had some great portraits of herself, as well as a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at all the work she puts into her blog.

Starting off at the local farmer’s market, she picked some awesome looking tomatoes, then brought them home to make a calabrese salad. Even though it’s a very simple dish, it took her a long time to create because of how many photos she takes of everything!! There is a serious amount of work that goes into each and every post, and if you check out her work, it shows.

Hope you enjoyed these shots, and if you are into food, you definitely need to check out FoodHappy.

Lauren :)

Get Details on Booking Your Own Session // View Our Portfolio // Give Us A Shout!

Dayna, Mel, Kerry + Sierra // Puppy Love

I know you’re totally riveted, and anxious to hear the rest of the story of The History of the Portrait. I’m working on the sequel! So for now, with this super chilly rainy week, I thought I’d share some sunny happy portraits we took last fall of Dayna, her sister Mel, Mel’s boyfriend Kerry, and their mega adorable puppy Sierra.

These photos were for a surprise gift for Dayna and Mel’s parents, so I had to hold off posting them until the canvas was delivered! (I hear there were tears, so I think the gift was well apprecaited :)

Now we can all have a bit more happy in our day with some puppy love.

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I’m sure it goes without saying, but we had such a fantastic evening with these awesome folks. The sun was shining, the puppies were out and about, and it was an excellent way to relax, and just hang out together. We met up at the extremely cool Terwillegar Dog Park, and played.

Sierra is a very very loved pup. Even in the freezing cold of winter, these three would take her for walks every day, and worked hard to train her. She’s happy, frisky, and loves to be snuggled. When we saw her running towards us as the session started, we knew we were in for some fun.

Honestly, is there anything better than spending a beautiful evening photographing wonderful people and a happy pet? 

Not for me there isn’t.

Lauren :)

For some more photos from this session, head over to our Facebook page!

Get Details on Booking Your Own Session // View Our Portfolio // Give Us A Shout!