My best friend got married this year. And I can’t even explain how excited I am that I was the one to capture it.

I first met Ben over a decade ago when I was working as a Registered Veterinary Technician and he began to bring his dogs to my clinic.  I can vividly remember when I first met him as I thought to myself “this guy is such a stressed dog owner, I hope he never has children or he might have a heart attack!” 😉

Throughout the years I watched his life change and grow, eventually having 3 beautiful children of his own.  (and gasp, TWINS! how did do it!) He was the most incredible dad, both dog dad and child dad.  Our friendship grew, our banter and laughter was the number one aspect of our friendship.  When I left the clinic I was at, he trusted me so much that he chose to come to my new clinic with his pets.  And our friendship grew.  We both supported each other when our lives were turned upside down and “crumbled” around us (albeit at different times, not together).   And when he began to tell me about Robin, I knew this was it.  I knew she was “the one”.  He lit up when he spoke about her.  He had a completely different feeling and vibe to him.   He took with her, her 2 beautiful children and together they began to raise their 5 amazing children.  (who are all within 4 years of each other, so you can imagine how busy that house is!)

I can still remember my reaction when he proposed to Robin.  My excitement and happiness was through the roof.  And Robin is a kick ass woman.  Like truly amazing.  It takes a special woman to add three more children to her crew, and take on Ben! She truly is a special woman.  And she accepted me, our friendship and became my friend as well.  She, along with Ben, have been there for me, supporting me, guiding me, giving me advice through some of the hardest times of my life.  In so many walks of life, a friendship between a man and a woman aren’t always accepted.  It takes a very special, incredible person to accept, understand and support their significant other and the friendship they have with someone of the opposite sex.  No question.  And while my best friend found the love of his life, I found a new friend, one who can understand a truly incredible friendship.  (And of course, we bond over making fun of Ben on occasion, especially when he’s being so emotional) 😉

The day of the wedding was full of love and excitement.  I can say I have not attended a wedding that had more love, and true happiness from EVERY SINGLE PERSON.  You could feel the excitement and love.  Even looking through the images as I edited, you could feel it again.  The kids were beyond adorable. BEYOND.  And in one of the most heart touching moments, all five children signed their signature on their mom and dad’s marriage certificate, creating the most beautifully ‘decorated’ certificate we had ever seen.

There were tears all day (mostly from Ben), tears of extreme happiness, love and gratitude, especially when people began to discuss what an incredible dad he is (gets him every time!)  Thank you Ben & Robin for allowing me to be part of this amazing day; I love you both!

Shout out to my friend Dana, with Dana Marie Photography for second shooting along side me for the day! ❤

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What comes next….

When I asked whether I should stop in Montreal or go to old Quebec City, someone asked me “What are you going for?”. I replied “For adventure and to take photographs”.  They said “Well, if you want drugs and hookers, go to Montreal. If you want culture and experience, go to Quebec City”.  Well then! That was 1 point for Quebec City.  As I was approaching into Montreal (which, woah, if you’ve never driven there….it’s like Toronto, only I had NO CLUE where I was going) I saw a sign for gas.  Up until this point, gas had hovered around the $1.20 per liter mark (I was “so thankful” it jumped from $1.10ish to $1.20 just a day before my big road trip commenced!).  Well, in Montreal it jumped to $1.43 per liter! Um….nah….forget it. I’ll just have to skip the drugs and hookers this time around (kidding!~ obviously, I know that there are a million other things about Montreal, but I just chose to skip it this time) and kept driving right to old Quebec City.

I had decided to stay right downtown, just off the “strip”.   I rented a room (which was soooo big as you can see in the photo!).  As soon as I parked, I popped my things up to the room, grabbed my gear and headed around to look about.  It was incredible.  I loved being able to casually walk about, as slow or as quickly as I wished, stopping where and when to take photos of anything and everything.  I saw the horse drawn tours and immediately headed over.  I asked him the cost, his reply was “$90”.  I said Great! Lets go!  He had a bit of a shocked look and repeated the $90 fee (I am guessing, he may not have a ton of people be so excited over that fee and decline).  I said yes, I know, I’m ready! 🙂 Remember, I was on this trip for experience and to try new things, not “stuff” so I was ready for it!   I hopped on and away we went.  The tour was just over an hour long and I got to see all of old Quebec City as well as into the new part and parliament buildings.  It truly was an amazing tour.  He told me of some amazing places I must visit and we talked about his life as well.  Well worth the money!!!

I had him write the suggestions in my phone since his accent made it slightly tricky to know how to spell some of the places he was talking about!

He recommended this Poutine Restaurant for dinner, so I went. (Even though, before this day, I would have told you I was very un-Canadian and hated poutines!) But Oh. Em. Gee! This place was amazing. I sat at the window and watched as the city went from day light, to street lights and the continued hustle of the streets.

 

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Mr I Heads off to JK!

With a slight tear in my eye, I photographed this sweetheart earlier this year.  I have literally been photographing him since he was in the womb and every year since and here he is, 4 years later and about to start JK!  He is so sweet and vibrant and funny- such a joy to see.  And it warms my heart that his parents still travel back to Windsor for me to photograph him!
I was excited to “surprise” his mom during the session with the “back to school” photos- and I loved watching his concentration as he wrote his name.
Have a great time in JK buddy!

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The Gift ~*Surrogacy*~

Earlier this year I had the amazing pleasure to photograph the birth of a set of twins who were born via a surrogate.  When I arrived at the hospital the excitement and ease of the room was incredible.  The surrogate mother was so easy going, laughing and enjoying this time.  She might have had an advantage or two, considering she has 6 of her own children, with the last 2 being twins that were born just 1.5 years ago.  The father decided he wished to be in the delivery room when his babies were born so I did need to step out for the 7 minutes it took to vaginally birth these two!  When I walked back into the room to see the parents holding their two little boys,  it took everything for me not to cry.  Although there was a fair number of people in the room, I can almost guarantee they had no idea that anyone else was in the room besides themselves and their babies. It was like I was literally watching them fall in love. And it was incredible.  The gift the surrogate mother gave is beyond words.

 

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It’s Prom Time!

When I met Ashton for the first time, he was but a mere young boy.  A sweet, well mannered boy.  He was the *little brother* of a dear friend of mine who met him through the organization.  Over the years we have watched him grow into a fine young man, sometimes I cannot believe how grown he is (it makes me feel “old”)
And he is the third and last brother I have photographed for this family- there certainly is no shortage of manners, good looks and smarts in these three boys! I am proud of where Ashton is going and how he has grown and I look forward to watching him continue on with his life.
I have a soft spot for this handsome young man and I was honoured (and excited) to photograph him on a very special night in his highschool career; his prom.  I can remember, not too long ago, my own excitement at my prom and dressing up and having a night out with my friends.
Ashton looked so handsome, and with a beautiful date by his side, I am sure he had quite the time.  Honestly, these kids have such style! Not too many can pull this look off so flawlessly. But just look at this!

I have enjoyed photographing these three young men for their mama, a woman who has done an incredible job with these three boys and whom I can see, they love very much.

Congratulations Ashton.  And to quote the famous Dr Seuss; Oh the Places You’ll Go!
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Happy Easter! Hopping For Hospice

On April 5th I teamed up with Sweetheart Baby Boutique to do Easter photos with the Easter bunny.  I was able to set up a mini studio like scene at Maraget’s store, Sweetheart Baby Boutique and waited for the clients.

We weren’t entirely sure how it would all go or how busy we would be, but I will say we beat my internal goal and hopes for this event.   I was humbled to see so many that I knew come out to support this event, and ultimately, me.

I enjoyed extra snuggles with some really little babes and some super adorable children.

All the money we raised to be donated to Hospice of Windsor.  As some of you may know, my Grandfather passed away last week after his stay at Hospice.  We couldn’t have been more grateful to the amazing care at Hospice and I was incredibly happy to be able to make this event happen.  We were busy in our 3 hours and we raised $600 to donate to Hospice! Here are a few photos from the event. It’s not always easy setting up “studio” in a different location without the control of the lighting and environment.  I thought the kids did amazing and we had very few who were too afraid to be in a photo with him (Of course, mine were some of those few!)

I greatly appreciate all who came out to support this event, have their adorable little ones photographed with the Easter Bunny and shopped around at Sweetheart Baby Boutique.

If you haven’t been there, I urge you to check it out. Margaret has so many amazing products and her and Lisa are a wealth of knowledge and support to mothers.  They are located on Wyandotte near Pilette in Windsor, Ontario.

Here are just a few of the photos from that day 🙂   Thank You!!!!

#easterbunny #Easter #Charity #HospiceofWindsor #Bunnylove#windsorfamilyphotographer

A aaaa

How can this not make someone smile?                                                                                                                     Two of my handsome nephews

aaaaa aaaaaa

This was as close as this cutie was getting!                                                                                                                                Future BFF’s

aaaaaaa aaaaaaaa

 

My oldest daughter, and even she didn’t want to get too close!

aaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa

 

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My triplet nieces and nephew- haven’t they gotten so big!!!!                                                                                                  My future nieces and my future _____??? My sister and sister in law 🙂

Preston ~*Senior Grad Shoot*~

I was first introduced to a member of this family many years ago when one of my best friends was a Big Brother.  I feel I have watched this “Little Brother” grow from a little child to a wonderful young man, who has been a wonderful example to his younger brother, respectful, honourable, intelligent, winning awards and accolades. 
When I was asked to photograph his younger brother in honour of his graduation I was excited.  And when I met Preston, I not only can see that he looks like his older brother but he has the confidence, respectful manner and maturity that his brother has.  Maturity beyond what years he has been here.   I was unbelievably impressed with this young man (and since I’m not “very old” that statement seems weird writing!).  I had to remind myself that this was a young man who had graduated not of high school but of elementary school!  His answers to my casual questions were well thought, articulate and seemed mature beyond his years.  His mother must be extremely proud of all of her boys, a true testament to her love and her nurturing that has raised them.  Not only is it clear this young man is going places (already striving to lead down the medical path) but his physical and athletic finesse is impressive.  Speaking with his mother, he has had a hand (or foot) in a vast variety of sports and been extremely successful in any he has tried;  travel soccer, badminton, university level volleyball…the list goes on! 
And on top of all of these impressive attributes, he is quite handsome!  Without meaning to offend many of my friends I have had since elementary school, I don’t remember the boys looking like or having this kind of style! Look out world, Preston is on his way!  Lastly, I must also congratulate his mother on such an amazing job!!!
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*~Zeus~* The World’s Tallest Dog

Recently over the weekend a fundraiser was held called “WOOFA ROO”.  It was an amazing event full of information, fun, entertainment and excitement.  The money raised went to animal charities such as The Windsor Essex County Humane Society.
I was honoured that I was asked to be part of this event and excited to be able to meet Zeus.  For those of you who don’t know, I am a full time working Registered Veterinary Technician.  So to be photographing, at an event geared towards animals, well that’s just like a big chocolate cake and tall glass of milk- awesome!
Zeus’ family is from Michigan, about 3 hours away from Windsor.  The event co-ordinator contacted them and asked if they would like to be part of this event and help raise money for the charities.  They accepted and on their way to Windsor they came.   The idea was that attendees could pay to have their photo taken with Zeus with 100% of the money going directly to the Humane Society (meaning neither I, nor the family received any portion of this money or any monies at all).  This was 100% donated services and time.  Before I met the family, I was already told how awesome they were.  However, that still didn’t “prepare” me for just how amazing they were.  Mother, Father, Daughter & Son came along with Zeus.  And I fell in love instantly.
Now, like I said, I am a Registered Vet Tech (RVT) and I have been working at my clinic for 11 years.  Nothing in my 11 years prepared me for what I was going to see when I saw Zeus- when I say he is the Worlds Tallest Dog, he truly is (really, he’s in the Guinness Book!)   And you think you’ve seen big dogs, until you’ve seen Zeus!  There were so many other Great Dane’s in attendance, even some Irish Wolfhounds and they all looked huge.  Until Zeus walked up.

So of course I need to address something that became an issue when Zeus was “crowned”  (World’s Tallest Dog last year)  by those around who took it upon themselves to make ignorant comments based upon zero knowledge and credentials.  His size.  He is huge.  But he is lean.  And in a world’ where obesity is an epidemic, not only among humans but animals too, we have become all too comfortable with seeing overweight pets.  In fact, when a dog that is considered a great body condition score, they are looked upon as “too skinny” or “malnourished”, when in fact, they are perfect.  It pains me when I hear about people “bragging” about how fat their dog or cat is or when the “fattest cat” is highlighted on a news report.  All dogs, but especially giant breeds should be kept at a normal body condition and weight for their health.  Giant breeds, such as Great Danes are at a higher risk of joint, spine and hip issues as they get older and any extra weight will only serve to exacerbate this problem.

Zeus is incredibly lucky to be part of this family.  He has the best veterinary care and is on an a very high quality diet (which I was very happy and impressed to hear).  Aside from his wonderful veterinary care and nutrition, he is the utmost loving family.

Zeus’ photoshoots were 1 hour each, twice each day (for a total of 4 hours).  When he needed a break, he took one.  When he needed a drink, he took one. And in between he slept like a baby.  Our number one concern was that Zeus remained comfortable and happy throughout the entire day.  And we completely succeeded.  My other concern was that I might have to turn lots of people away due to time constraints for the photos.  I am so pleased to say that this did not need to happen!  I shot just over 200 families/portraits during that 4 hours. (which is just over 1 minute on average per photo)  And we raised over $2000 for the Humane Society!!! How amazing is that!?!?

And I can assure you, this is not a post that is up for debate nor will I tolerate any ill-comments.  Thank you!!! Clarissa-Marie-Photography-Andrea-Broughton-copy Clarissa-Marie-Photography-Diane-Bevan-copy Clarissa-Marie-Photography-Donna-Hicks-copy Clarissa-Marie-Photography-Mary-Serdachny-copy

My parents, my father is also 6’4″!!!!!

 

 

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My oldest daughter, who is almost 6, reaching up to touch Zeus on his back!!                                                        Zeus’ dad was kind enough to take this photo of myself, my husband, oldest daughter and our Shep/Husky

Angela & Matthew ~*Happy 1st Anniversary*~

Angela and I have been friends from a long time….and now that I am thinking about it, it’s about 15 years!  I am a couple years older than her and so I have a bit of a “big sister” feeling when I think of our friendship over the years.  I have watched her grow from an adorable pre-teen to a smart aleck teenager to an intelligent, gorgeous, successful woman.  Although we have some “lost years” as our lives went in different directions, the friendship was just the same as if there never was a break when we crossed paths again years ago!  When Angela started dating Matthew, I could tell this was different.  He is an incredibly nice guy!  I was so excited and proud as I watched Angela & Matthew say “I do” 1 year ago.   When they asked me to do their 1st anniversary photos I was so excited!  And the more we shot, the more excited I became.  These two are IN LOVE.  And not just “we just got married and we love each other” but “I absolutely cannot live without your love and you by my side for a single moment of the rest of my life” Love.   And it is obvious that they each think the other is incredibly sexy and are so naturally loving towards each other!  I had an amazing time.   Happy 1st anniversary Angela & Matthew!

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Prom!

I have worked at my veterinary clinic for more than 10 years (I started there young) 🙂  We are a tight bunch of co-workers, having less than 10 of us working closely every day.  Our sweet groomer had been talking about this prom- and I offered to shoot the preparation, beauty and excitement of the magic of prom.  Ava is a very special wonderful teenager, I remember being a teenager and getting ready for prom- and both are hard and exciting and nerve-wracking!  I feel a sense of pride knowing how hard it is to be yourself and not worry about what others think and that Ava is doing just this, being herself.  I could tell that Ava was a bundle of nerves when I first arrived and as we went on, I could see her beginning to relax.  I was in LOVE with the hairpiece that was chosen! (even contrary to the hair stylist’s opinion) 🙂

I hope this night was a night to remember and look back on with a smile and fun memories.

 

 

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