What matter most, to me.

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Now this image may not look like much to you, but it's an hour in my life I cannot have back. And it's an hour in my life I treasure greatly! I debated even bringing my camera skating, but I promised my family I would capture memories of our daily adventures to look back on. It's something we already spend loads of time doing. We whip out our yearly albums and comment on how cute we all used to be! And the kids maybe even say how young mom 'used' to look! 

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I think I still look young ;)

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She is learning to skate at our local outdoor rink. The boys tease her she's not skating but walking, but I think she's got skate cred.

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I remember a time I quit taking photos of my family. I think work was really busy and maybe I just got lazy. I didn't always want to be the one behind the camera, I wanted to be enjoying those moments too! If only someone would come capture my daily moments with me in them... huh. Good idea, right?!

So anyway, my hubby mentioned to me one day that he sure appreciates how I capture our kids as they grow and why don't I do that anymore? Wow, I didn't know he appreciated me doing that? I kinda thought it was annoying. And maybe initially it was~ maybe he didn't always want to be in front of the lens. The changed happened after he looked through some older albums. He couldn't believe how quickly everyone was growing, and BAM I was back in business! 

These kids are changing daily! moment by moment, second by second they are changing. I honestly can't keep up. Capturing them is important, this is more important to me than a new car or a hot tub or a family vacay actually. Because those things seem to matter now, but I'm concerned with what will matter later. When they are grown, when they are in university, when they leave home. When they don't wrap their arms around my neck or crawl into bed with me. Time slips away you guys! It may not feel that way now, living in chaos, but it will matter. It will matter then!  

And what will I miss the most? These moments above, these gentle + simple + fun family moments. 

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We created our WHOLEHEARTED sessions for this reason exactly. We aren't asking for perfection, we're asking for connection. We're asking for a willing spirit, and a real life. We're asking to capture moments you will forget, so you that won't forget them! We are asking you to think about how quickly those kids are growing, ask yourself if you'd ever regret stopping time and writing your memories in order to encapsulate them for all time. I'm pretty sure your answer is no, I would never regret that. And maybe it's hard to get your hubby on board, I get that too. However, if this stirs your heart at all then reach out to us. Our WHY is about YOUR connection. From our heart to yours, we would just love to capture your wholehearted connection. 

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Making Lemonade

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Life can be a bit like birth.  It's unpredictable.  It doesn't always go as planned.  But I'm learning that is OK.  And not only is it OK, but life is constantly giving us opportunities to choose joy in the middle of the unpredictable.  That's what I love so much about this session.  The night before our scheduled maternity session, this mama texted me saying she was in labour and had been admitted to the hospital.  So what did we do?  We did the maternity session there - we made lemonade.  And it was pretty AMAZING.  

One of my favourite things about this session what having TIME.  We didn't rush things, I came and spent a few hours with them.  We talked more then I took photos.  I left feeling so alive and rich.  I think this is why we are so passionate about our longer sessions - we love having time on our side.  It allows everyone to relax and truly BE THEMSELVES.  In the end, this produces the most honest, beautiful, true-to-you images.  

More then just taking your photos, we want to share in your story.  We want to capture all the unpredictably beautiful moments it's made up with.  The light and the shadows - it's all for purpose, and we are convinced that every story matters.  

As a side note, we just launched our Wholehearted Sessions - 12 one hour sessions January through December of 2018!!  We are taking on 4 families to tell their story, using both image and word.  You'll also get a beautiful journal from Soult Journals with prompts to help you write out your story.  At the end of it all, you'll get a stunning book full of your images and words.  If you want more info, send us an email!!  

PS.  If anyone is looking for birth photography or a Fresh 48 session for the new year - get in touch with me - I'd love to talk!  

- Tamarah 

That new love.

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There's nothing quite like that NEW LOVE.  You know, the "we just made this tiny human, and our hearts are exploding" kind of love.  It's truly indescribable.  It's one of my favourites seasons of life to capture.  It's joyfully raw, and full of emotion.  It's the most blissful kind of exhaustion our hearts and bodies will ever go through.  The late night feeds, poopy diapers and constant giving of ourselves easily become our voluntary servanthood because this little person means everything in the world to us.  And that shapes us.  I always tell people if you thought marriage was teaching you to be selfless, have a baby.  And maybe the most beautiful thing about it, is that being selfless for them becomes our joy.  No one has to ask us to do it - we are simply and deeply compelled by love.  It's as though this very giving of our lives was our entire reason for living.  And maybe for the first time in a long time, or maybe for the first time ever we learn that self-less, life-giving love is the most worthwhile way to love God, and to love this world.  

beauty in the broken

This is family. Imperfect, flawed, beautiful family. 

Many families want to appear like they have it all together, when none really do. We all have our gates we haven't walked through. We all have shame and hurt and our 'stuff'. 

Family is choosing to love one another in spite of that stuff. To comfort each other in our pain, to fail at comforting each other the 'right' way, and then to simply keep trying to do our best. 

My greatest learning has come from families wiling to share their brokenness with us. Authentic + honest, + at times ugly, brokenness. And I mean ugly in the most beautiful way. Loving one another with our whole hearts requires showing our whole hearts. Every side, angle, hidden crevice within. Being free from shame, being blown open by love, being torn apart with grace. This is the kinda love that makes life worth living.

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Think about that family you admire, who seems to have it all together. Here's a little secret, they don't. What they do have, what all families have, are stories. This family's story hold light, babies, mental illness, forgiveness, choices, laughter, and deep deep love. 

I'll share a bit of it with you, if you'd like to hear.

Jesse's (dad) words:

"My angel baby Berly.

We had a beautiful daughter, Halle.  I remember thinking that she was all I needed.  One.  How could I love another child as much as I loved her?  How could l adequately provide for and protect her AND another?  I was pretty much dead set against having another baby.  Lisa really felt the motherly pull to have another child, a sibling for Halle.

I was really struggling at the time (although no one knew.)  PTSD from childhood trauma, and depression which eventually manifested into addictions and self-destructive patterns and behaviours.  Unhealthy coping mechanisms, I know now…trying to forget and escape a very terrible party of my life.

I had ben extremely blessed with a supportive wife, a beautiful and healthy daughter.  We had an amazing acreage and home, and lots of nice things.  From the outside, I’m sure everything looked perfect.  However; I was just barely hanging onto life.  All of my energy went into the facade of making things look like I was doing well - when in fact it was the complete opposite.

Fast forward: Lisa became pregnant with our second daughter. I was still spiralling downward (unknown to everyone around me, including Lisa).  It was an incredible weight just trying to be a husband and father.  Berlyn was born, and although I loved her SO very much I was still very unwell.  It all came to a head one particular night when everything changed.  I was rocking Berlyn to sleep.  As I snuggled my child, I broke down….

It was then that I decided to live.

Not really knowing how that would exactly play out, but it involved coming clean about a lot of hidden things, getting help, doing some brutally hard work, moving, therapy…and so much more….but I basically chose to live for my family, my two babies made life worth living.  They deserved to have me, even if I wasn’t sure if I deserved them.”
 

Such incredible bravery. It's humbling that anyone is willing to share their heart with us, to tell their story in spite of the pain it must carry to the surface. But only in shedding light on those dark corners of our lives can we truly walk in freedom. 

The love this family holds is beyond words. The images captured are the best I could do to communicate it for you. But the real love rests within their family. Within everything they have shared together, all the beauty + the broken. Those cracks in their story that let the light shine through. 

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love. love. love.