We’d ‘known’ Bethany through Instagram for a while before she contacted us. She liked our posts, and felt that her style meshed with our own… little did any of us know that her initial email would lead to a friendship formed over eyelashes and vegan doughnuts (okay, and the occasional beer). We met over coffee one afternoon and swapped kid stories before realizing we’d drifted off track – we were there to discuss family photo sessions, something that Bethany is a pro at, and something that neither Carina or I had ever done. Instagram doesn’t count – which after seeing the final results of the session, we now understand… but more on that later. For now, we’d like to give you a little behind-the-scenes look at what you can expect from a professional photo shoot with you and your family.
First up was my shoot – dubbed the Urban Family shoot because let’s face it, I don’t venture far from the city, so why not capture me in my natural environment? Bethany scoped out some locations in and around Chinatown and gave me an address and instructions to drive to the top of the parking garage and park and wait for her. Dressed in “clothes we would wear out, but felt comfortable in,” we parked and I had just enough time to pat down some fly-away curls and wipe the toothpaste off a few cheeks before she came around the corner. We got straight to work.
While I do feel at ease in front of the camera, working with a professional is what makes the process a lot easier – especially if you trust that their vision extends beyond what you can see… and sometimes imagine. As you can see in the shots here (taken with my iPhone, and compared to the final shot), sometimes you just have to go with it and have a good laugh. I’m super-cheesy and the older I get, the more I realize that these moments with my kids are impossible get back, so I will give my all while I have them. I also seem to look back every 2 years at photos of myself and say, “wow, I looked so young back then!” So why not embrace that now, knowing that in 2 years time, I will look at these shots and think “I used to be a babe!”
Bethany had us move to an amazing alley way, where we got some bright graffiti shots, and I also got a headshot out of it, too. This was a bonus for me for sure, as I often speak at conferences or have book events, and haven’t been able to get around to having a shot taken that says, “I am someone who speaks with authority on that subject, and I’m a hip chick, thank-you-very-much.” Right?! We then moved on to some more wall shots (she knows my affection for walls in this city) and finally we ended on a super high-note at Bestie and had some sausages and beer (root beer for the dudes, who said they were drunk from it).
Fast forward a week and a half, and Carina and I met for the photo viewing session. One tip I could give for this is be prepared to shed a tear when you see your kids in black and white, wide-eyed, with their larger than life eyelashes framing their huge bright eyes. The quality is unreal – it surpassed all my expectations – you get to step back and see who your little one has become, and also catch a glimpse at who they will be in the future. It was an experience I will always remember and one that I hope to repeat every few years… it even makes me want to get a fireplace just so that I can have a spot to put my little family photos on.
I’ve never been a particularly photogenic person. Never one to shy away from the camera, but upon viewing the resulting pic it’s usually with a side of, “uhhhhh, can you delete that?” In recent years, I’ve resigned myself to the “eh, whatever” shrug and have let my image fly around the interweb with an out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitude.
When the opportunity came to get family pictures done by Bethany, a little butterfly fluttered in my stomach. Maybe two butterflies. One was named Excitement (YES! a family portrait to love and cherish forever!), and the other was named Nervousness (ergh my face).
Bethany proposed we take our shoot to Quarry Rock in Deep Cove, which the Thiedeke family was stoked on, since the Outdoors is pretty much our second home. The forecast called for rain on the day we were scheduled, but we all decided to just go for it – since when were we afraid of a little misty rain? On the day of the shoot, we met Bethany at a coffee shop in the heart of Deep Cove where we chatted about our kids, life in Vancouver, and donuts. She snapped away while the kids laughed and I was immediately put at ease by her warmth and friendliness. The kids were clearly comfortable around her, and Cyrus and I were feeling good. It was time to get the shoot started.
As soon as we stepped outside, we were standing in torrential rain. Our dressy clothes covered by giant rain jackets, and our boots squelching in oozing mud as we clambered over glistening roots and slippery rocks. Bethany’s hulking assistant (her ever-patient fireman husband) was laden with our bags, umbrellas, and sometimes all our jackets. Here and there, we would tear our rain gear off to take a quick shot, and then scramble back to pull them on again to shield ourselves from the pelting rain.
Although we were in that downpour for a good two hours, it was only at the very last minute that my 5 year-old finally announced “I just want to be dry!” I looked down at my shivering leather pants and marvelled at how Bethany had so seamlessly guided our crew through a potentially treacherous and miserable afternoon, and made it a hilarious adventure.
When Bree and I met Bethany at her beautiful studio later that week to see the pictures, that flutter of nervousness came again. We ate gluten-free donuts and watched our pictures come up on her screen. I was amazed. Despite being clothed in raingear, hair wet and sopping, the photos were absolute magic. She completely captured the Thiedeke vibe – deep, saturated forest tones, warm and relaxed faces, and stunning backdrops. Not only were there these beautiful photos of our family, but we also had a fantastic adventure to share along with them. Our kids will always remember it: that time we hiked up a forested mountain in the rain to get our pictures taken with Bethany.
Did someone say what I think they said? That’s right. Bethany has kindly offered to give a photo session away to one of our readers! SRSLY. This Sunday we will randomly choose a Peaks subscriber for this awesome (photo) opportunity… and we will then contact that lucky peep! Here is the fine print:
The giveaway winner will receive an hour portrait session in Vancouver, an online viewing gallery and slideshow, an in-studio viewing session, and an 8×10 matted print of their choice. The winner must use the session before November 30th, 2014.