My top 10 BRUTALLY HONEST wedding pet peeves!

Saskatoon Destination Wedding Photography

Saskatoon Destination Wedding Photography

Hey guys!

This week has been mega crazy.. I have a really exciting little adventure happening next weekend and I CANNOT wait to share the results. This weekend my goals are to get some work done, clean my room, get my boys to clean the house, watch American Sniper, make some healthy smoothies and slow cook a rack of ribs to perfection (because I know how and it’s ahhhhmazing!).

I have been thinking a LOT about weddings lately, probably because I have an abundance of them to photograph again this year. So I thought I would compose my list of top 10 absolutely most annoying and irritating pet peeves that happen at weddings. Keep in mind, nothing is personal, BUT these things tend to happen a lot and sometimes I have to keep people in check which is neither fun nor enjoyable for me. So without further ado, here is my brutally honest top 10 wedding pet peeve list:

1. GET OUT OF MY SHOT! If I could swear on here I probably would, or maybe I should. But seriously. I really appreciate it when I get a really beautiful shot of the bride walking down the aisle or the bride and groom coming down the aisle after the wedding and there are some big bums and a whole lot of smart phones in the photo. Just perfect. NOT. Don’t get me wrong, I like big butts and I cannot lie, but within a wedding photo not so much. I am begging you… if you are a guest or family member at a wedding keep your phones inside the pews and confines of your seat. DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT stick your phones out into the aisles. Chances are (hopefully) your family members or friends have paid good money for a quality photographer who is there to capture the moments that are only going to look second rate, crappy and blurry on your phones. So leave the photo taking to the professional who is seething inside at the sight of your screen. (If getting a photo of the bride and groom is really that important to you, there will be plenty of opportunities to pull them aside at the reception)

2. DON’T TAKE MY SHOT. Soooo actually this has annoyed me SO much, that I ended up putting it in my contract. During the bride and groom photos and the wedding party photos, I do not allow ANY photography or videography because that is MY creative time with the bride and groom & their friends. NOT YOURS! Too many times I have come home from a wedding to find a distant blurry crappy version of the photo that I envisioned and took and inside it makes my blood curl. It’s like having a crappy study partner in school who let you do ALL the work and then did a second rate presentation of it while taking all the credit. WRONG. I hate it. I hate it so much guys. I really do. Chances are I have spent a good amount of time figuring out the right location, the right spot for lighting and years of experience has taught me how to pose people so that they don’t look contorted or strange and you just come behind me and take the shot… with your phone. It’s disrespectful. It really is, and it needs to stop! Don’t be the homework stealer. Just don’t.

3. DON’T DIRECT MY SHOOT! Please. Do I come into YOUR work and tell you how to do your job? NO. But maybe I should. I have very rarely had this issue with a bride or groom, however on occasion you get that one wedding party member who is a “photographer” (I use that term loosely because I believe everyone considers themselves a photographer these days) and feels the need to direct where you may want to take the photo, and what pose you want everyone to do. First off. You have to trust that your friends have hired me because they trust my experience and vision. Second off, you are NOT the professional. And if you are, I hope one day to be a bridesmaid at a wedding YOU are shooting at so that I can make your whole day a miserable crap-storm. 😀  Most of the time, your idea for a location or spot is in a terrible place for lighting and your pose idea makes you all look fat. So please. Stop. Just let down your control guard and TRUST ME. If you don’t, I WILL post the photos that you directed and you will not be a happy camper.

4. RESPECT THE CAMERA BAG! Do not touch, do not move, do not tug on, do not drunk fight around my camera bag. Seriously. I am a crazy lens changer sometimes and I have open lenses sitting in my bag with one compartment possibly open that could come spilling out, crack and break if you try to move it without my consent. My bag is filled with thousands of dollars of expensive equipment and you need to respect that. I actually had someone come and TUG hard on the back of my bag while I was wearing it on my back to try and move me out of the way for a photo. After being jerked back several times, I was pretty mad, I am NOT going to lie. I respond well to the words “Excuse me” and always try to be respectful of others. I expect you to do the same. My camera and bag are totally off limits. I do not want to turn around and have a panic attack because suddenly my bag is gone. Someone wanted to get a photo in a spot where my bag was so they took it upon themselves to move it while I was shooting a family photo. It’s just unacceptable. So guys, respect a photographers equipment and their bag. Do not touch it, for a deadly curse will fall upon you if you do.

5. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP ARTIST/HAIRSTYLIST! It really is quite disheartening when I see a beautiful bride who decided it might be fun to have a close friend or family member do their makeup. In rare circumstances the bride or their friend might be really awesome at doing their own makeup and they look great! You are spending an obscene amount of money on your wedding and on your photography so I do not believe the extra spurge on a professional makeup artist and hairstylist is going to break the bank. The number one reason to hire a professional is because they are EXPERIENCED. They know and have the right products to use on you to withstand a long day of possibly crying, extreme heat or cold, and extensive drinking. Yes, your makeup DOES need to be considerably darker for photos, however there is a fine line between darker for photos and trashy. You may not be able to master that line, but your professional makeup artist will. Trust me, it makes all the difference in the world for the end product of your photos and I strongly encourage hiring professional makeup artists and stylists. It maximizes your assets and already beautiful face, it makes my job easier and you will be much happier with your end result. (You can view a list of referred Saskatoon makeup artists and stylists on my wedding investment page at http://martinesansoucy.co.nr)

6. CLEAN UP! I LOVE, love, LOVE getting ready photos. I really do. So do most of the brides who I talk to. They dream of having beautiful getting ready photos and stunning surroundings with girls getting ready and veils getting draped over their faces and shoulders. HOWEVER, these shots are not going to be AS possible if you do not clean up the space you want the photos in. NOW as a mom of three boys I understand mess. I understand chaos. Trust me, I understand it better than anyone. BUT if I was having professional photos taken that I was PAYING for in my home, you better believe I would try to have my space as clean as I possibly could to maximize the end result of my images. Don’t get me wrong, I often make something out of nothing and use tiny spaces to get the shot I need but is it optimal? No. I don’t mind moving a few things here and there and cleaning up a couple of things, but I have had rooms where half the session (that the bride and groom are paying for) is spent moving things around and moving junk out of the way. I respect that it is a crazy busy day, I respect the mess, I respect the chaos, but don’t expect Vera Wang commercial type images if you don’t clean up your space for me.

7. BE A BETTER BRIDESMAID! Wowzers! This could be a whole blog post. Really it could. Brides, I want to make clear that on the day of your wedding and the days or maybe even months leading up to your wedding these girls are your betches! Yes, they are your friends, sometimes family, rarely enemies, but they are truly there to serve the purpose of making your life easier, providing emotional support and standing by your side. Yes, yes, yes I know that it is 2015 and maybe unorthodox to have this mindset, but this is my opinion and I think it’s a pretty good one. TOO MANY TIMES I have had emotionally distraught brides over something that a bridesmaid or maid of honor is doing or more commonly, is NOT doing. Guess what? I AM A BRIDESMAID! Not just a photographer, but because of bad bridesmaid skills I have been a dress cleaner, a dress mender, a seamstress, an emotional counselor, a shoulder to lean on, a problem solver and a friend. NO. I do not mind being all of these things. In fact, I take great pleasure in being able to comfort and help my brides in any way that I can and I love that about my job. THAT BEING SAID, some of the best candid moments I have captured are between maid of honor and bride or of the bridesmaids primping and fawning over the bride. As as bridesmaid you are there for emotional and physical support. If your girl spills something on her dress, you shouldn’t be somewhere off in the corner drinking and ignoring her, you should be at her dress with a baby wipe dabbing away like the friend you need to be. I really seen so many sad brides on the happiest days of their lives because of the lack of respect and friendship their girls are offering them … and that my friends is no good. So, if you are asked to be a bridesmaid, just know that you are signing a contract of binding friendship and support on your friends wedding day.

8. TEST THY SHOES! This is a wedding commandment. I hear a lot of griping, complaining and moaning over shoes. I LOVE shoes. I can not wear heels because I would fall and break my ankles and that’s a crying shame because I love a pretty heel or stiletto. Sadly I am stuck wearing my flats like an old lady.. so maybe this pet peeve is purely made with jealous motives. On a serious note though, I LOVE seeing all the beautiful heels that brides bring to a wedding but I have seen too many with blistered and bleeding ankles at the end of the day! This is just not right. Let’s avoid this. Step 1: Wear your heels to the mall for a shopping trip and a walk around the town that lasts about 6-8 hours at least. If possible try to do this on a hot day if you have a summer wedding because feet tend to swell in the heat. If they are still comfy as can be you have a winner. If not, please please bring a comfy second pair of flats or sandals. Most of your photos are not going to show your shoes because hopefully your wedding dress is not ankle length (unless it’s meant to be). So we will get your shoe shots and some pretty shots showcasing your shoes, but then let’s get you back into comfort. Yes, beauty is pain, but let’s not let that be the motto on your wedding day.

9. NIX THE RECEIVING LINE! This is just MY personal opinion and I am definitely not going to get upset or angry if anyone decides to have a receiving line. HOWEVER, if you have more than 100 guests, please consider not having a receiving line. They are time suckers and more often than not have been the difference between getting just a few bride and groom shots or a lot of great bride and groom shots. Receiving lines can be pretty dragged out, especially with a huge guest list, leaving you with Aunt Helga chattering on for 5-10 minutes about going through menopause, or Great Uncle Edward going on about his new wife who is way too young and will also shake your hand for 2 minutes. There is this little party afterwards called the reception that is an awesome way for those who want to chat to hit you up for some conversation and shameless selfies at the bar. In my opinion receiving lines are outdated and eat up a lot of time that you could be using to start drinking excessively and taking really amazing photos!

10. TAKE YOUR BABY OUTSIDE! Sigh… maybe I will totally get beat up for this one, but it drives me bonkers when a baby starts wailing in the middle of the ceremony and no one takes the baby outside to soothe it. I now pronounce you husband and … whaaaaaaaaaaaaa (blood curdling scream).. nothing says consummation, love and life long happiness like a pissed off baby. Babies are so cute, yes. I love babies, yes. Do I love them crying and screaming during what is supposed to a special moment in people’s lives? No. I know that you don’t want to miss a second of this well documented wedding (because obviously I’m there :-D) but you need to have respect for the bride and groom and let them have their moment. Unless it’s the bride and groom’s child or baby (which could make for an interesting shot), screaming babies and for that matter screaming children or children who run rampant all over ceremonies should be immediately removed.

Okay guys, do you hate me now? I really felt like I needed to throw down the honesty on this one. In no way, shape or form have any of these experiences altered my opinion of brides or grooms, made me hate my job or anything of the sort. However, if these things were eliminated, I would enjoy my job that much more.

What’s YOUR biggest wedding pet peeve? (I know so many brides will say people who don’t RVSP haha) I would love to hear from you! Comment in the box below!

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Where did 2014 go and how I feel about 2015! + My jam list

Editorial Photography by Martine Sansoucy

Editorial Photography by Martine Sansoucy

Yup. As always at the beginning of every year I am determined to keep up with the blog. Write every day I tell myself… okay, maybe once a week, I could probably handle once a month. And here it is folks, my one blog post for the year! haha not quite, I did have three or four…

So this year I am just not going to make any promises. Things are busy, I am NOT going to lie! That’s why.. some sacrifices (like writing in a blog), have to be made. 2014 was in the door and out the window. I don’t really know where the year went! My boys and I had many summer adventures including our once a year camping trip including grumbling and moaning as we went for nature walks, many many games of Apples to Apples, delicious food that I actually had time to cook, naps, sunset photos, tons of trips to the corner store, lots of my hair falling out, etc, etc.

I also took a trip to BC to visit my dad with my one of my boys and stocked up on incense from China Town. I painted my kitchen yellow, then, I painted my living room light peach (which looks more like pink admittedly), and we FINALLY got new flooring put in our living room. I read many, many books. Business books, fictional books, non-fictional books, self help books, health books, and pretty much any type of book that you can think of. Oh yeah, did I mention I like books?

I watched a LOT of great TV.. I blew through some shows pretty quickly that I became obsessed with. They included Orphan Black, Broadchurch, Homeland, Mr. Selfridge, Broad City, Masters of Sex, Tyrant and Outlander. All totally ridiculously good shows. I listened to a LOT of music. Especially Jamaican music and Hip Hop. I did a LOT of laundry. Because three boys generate an atrocious amount of laundry, but at the same time have an invisible vortex where all socks disappear to.

A lot of things really came together for me. I have been reading, staying inspired, feeling motivated. To do this, I really had to cut people and things out of my life. Sometimes it involved housework. Most of the time it involved cutting out negative people, or people who were draining on my energy. Let me tell you…this helps! I learned a lot about industry friendships in 2014 and some of those lessons were… harsh to say the least. I got stabbed in the back, burned, cheated, and hurt. The bottom line? Trust no one but yourself and be careful with friends in your industry. I make a list every six months of people or things that are negative in my life or drain my energy and I try to eliminate as many on the list as I possibly can. It came with some tough choices and losses last year, but in the end I am a much happier and healthier person!

I photographed some weddings. Scratch that, I photographed a LOT of weddings. I saw some really beautiful dresses, I met some really amazing couples and I had a pretty amazing year! I also won Planet S”s Best Professional Photographer of 2014 and was I ever surprised! What an amazing honor and so humbling to receive. That was a huge boost for my self confidence and has been keeping me motivated to push forward in my career. I always want to continue to push my boundaries, try new things, improve, improve, improve… I still have SO much to learn!

I took the boys to Mexico for a Christmas vacation and my mom came too! It was AHHMAZING to finally be in Mexico with my family! I have admired Mexico on destination weddings for so long, wishing I could share my experiences with my family and I finally got to! We did one excursion too many (totally my fault for over planning) and I probably had one too many shots of Tequila with my mom (it doesn’t take much for me), resulting in a rather wobbly ride to the airport. OOPS!  It’s definitely something we plan to do again and we all had such a blast!

To sum it up, my year was one busy place to be, and let me tell you it came with it’s real challenges too. Raising three boys on your own is NOT easy. The one thing that is always tiring and never-ending is trying to explain to people why I’m tired and just want to chill out when I finally have a moment of time. They think I just have my business and my editing, but are forgetting I have a family at home, a rather large one, that I am 100% financially and emotionally responsible for all of them and I am on my own. It’s not personal, I just have priorities. The boys are getting larger and smellier, my Costco bill is getting higher, the smell of their feet is getting ranker, the never ending piles of laundry are growing and my house is shrinking more and more every day. It’s definitely been a constant balancing act between work and kids, but it’s something that improves every year. It takes a lot of practice but it can be done!

So what’s up for 2015? I just have this feeling… that it is absolutely going to be an amazing year! So many exciting things happening, so many opportunities, amazing clients, plans, travels, and road trips with the boys.

GUESS WHAT!? It has been over a MONTH since I had my last Pepsi.. (almost 40 days to be exact!) I completely quit pop (with the exception of a little cup on the plane), and I can honestly say it’s probably been 10 years since I went even close to a month without Pepsi or pop. So I am pretty darned proud of myself!

I am ready to shove 2014 out the door. Slam the door in it’s face and never look back. I have some new plans that do not involve things in 2014 and I’ve never been one to linger in my past. Every day, every week, every month I have goals, lists, plans and actions to make it happen. Guess what? I have already been crossing things off my lists. This is the year people!

I have some serious business goals.. I write them down. I have vision boards, I am determined. I have some serious personal goals. I even use stickers like a child to mark my accomplishments. Seriously. I am excited about the year! I am excited about life! I have connected with some amazing people already this year, people that could change the direction of my career and lead to much bigger things! 2015 is the year to hustle and grind. Wake up and hustle. Hustle till you make it!

I’m calling on everyone to make this the year you hustle and make shit happen!

I am still ever growing obsessed with music and I have to admit it’s my favorite part of driving. I am loving so many artists and so many different genres of songs that it makes me crazy sometimes. Even though some of these are sooo old school I wanted to share my ever so clever list of songs that I have been putting on repeat lately! P.S I have to admit I omitted a few songs with especially explicit lyrics

1. Aluna George – You Know You Like It

2. Kelly Rowland – This is Love

3.The Weeknd (Kygo Remix) – Often

4. Birdy – Shelter

5. Popcaan – Unruly Rave

6. I-Octane – Love Di Vibe

7. Davido – Aye

8. ZZ Ward – Last Love Song

9 .Sevyn Streeter ft. Chris Brown – It won’t Stop

10. Elley Duhe – The Little Things

11. Miguel – Simple Things

11. Tinashe – Feels Like Vegas

12. Wilkinson – Afterglow

13. Make It Burn Dem – Skrillex ft. Damian Marley

14. Glycerine – Bush

15.The Fly’s – Got you where I want you

16. Michal Jackson – The way you make me feel

17.Wax – Music & Liquor

18. Akon – Don’t Matter

19. Nelly – Just a Dream

20. Childish Gambino – Sober

I would love to hear from you! What are YOUR hustle plans in 2015? Are you using vision boards, writing lists, keeping a Pinterest Board, etc? What are YOU doing to make it happen?

Love, peace & chicken grease (only sometimes though because it’s fattening) – Martine

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Boudoir at the Sheraton Cavalier + Shameless self promotion

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Hey guys!

It’s the weekend! It’s the weekend AND I don’t have a wedding! It feels weird to be honest. Although I don’t have a wedding I am photographing six glorious sessions this weekend ranging from engagement, to child and family and last night I even had a super awesome session with one of my former wedding clients and her horse. If you can imagine.. the sun setting, a beautiful girl in her dress and a gorgeous blue eyed horse.. well you will have to wait to see the previews!

I have to start out with a little bit of shameless self promotion and I hope you don’t mind! First off, let me say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all of the support so far from friends, family and fans. It truly means the world to me and my endeavors would be nothing without you all. Sooo with that being said I would LOVE your continued support for these three things!

#1. I would LOVE to be nominated for the top professional photographer in Saskatoon by Planet S! You can vote for me HERE

#2. Two of my photos have made the finals for a photography award by Bride Canada! This is exciting! Your likes on the photos count as 33% towards the final voting so your help is definitely appreciated! I have put the links below to LIKE the photos so if you have just a few seconds help a sister out!

Bride Canada Engagement Finalist!

Bride Canada Engagement Finalist!

Click HERE to like this photo!

Bride Canada Engagement Finalist!

Bride Canada Engagement Finalist!

Click HERE to like this photo!

Okay! Moving on to other awesome things. Did I mention in my last post that things have been BUSY this year? haha well that’s an understatement. Before all the chaos of wedding season hit I had the chance to photograph some truly beautiful and amazing women at the Sheraton Cavalier for one of my favorite types of sessions – Boudoir. That’s right, I got all close and personal with some Saskatoon beauties and collaborated with Jennilee Cardinal Schultz from Vamp Makeup and Sara Whyte from Alchemy Salon to get them primped from head to toe.

So I am excited to share with you some of the more “tame” images from these sessions and a little flashback to some vintage boudoir sessions done a couple years ago with Makeup artist & Hairstylist Tamsen Rae!

So I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend and watch out for my next blog post with my first featured wedding of the year!

Stay amazing,

Martine

Credits:

Between the sheets boudoir sessions: Thank you to the Sheraton Cavalier for their beautiful room and amazing service!

Makeup by Jennilee Cardinal Schultz at Vamp Makeup

Hair by Sara Whyte at Alchemy Salon

Styling & Photography by Martine Sansoucy ©2014 All Rights Reserved.

Flashback vintage boudoir sessions: Thank you to my mom for the amazing pillows and fabrics used for this set!

Hair & Makeup by Tamsen Rae

Styling, set design and photography by Martine Sansoucy ©2014 All Rights Reserved.

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Boudoir sessions at the Saskatoon Sheraton Cavalier

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Vintage Boudoir session in Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Getting healthy + The raddest fitness trainer in Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Hey guys,

Sigh.. I promised myself to keep up regular posts, but what can I say? Life got busy. Business got busy. That’s a good thing! Now, I have so much catching up to do! So be prepared for a few blog post blasts coming your way in the next couple of weeks to get caught up on my favorite shoots and weddings of the summer!

I have to warn you. Changes are coming! Good changes. This year I have been slowly accumulating information and making small steps towards branding my business in an entirely new way for 2015. I am really excited to be announcing some new changes for the new year and the launch of my new website as well. It has been a slow and progressive process to make these changes and I am hoping (fingers crossed!) that all of my hard work will pay off.

Change is hard! It takes time! It takes perseverance! It takes DEDICATION. No one knows this better than Saskatoon personal trainer Debra Coutts. For everyone who knows me well, they know that weight loss is something I have struggled with off and on for the past few years since having kids. A few months ago, I put it out there that I wanted to make some changes and asked for names of excellent personal trainers. One name kept popping up over and over again… Debra’s name!

When I met Debra for the first time, it was like a breath of fresh air. I mean, this woman ACTUALLY cares! She wants people to be healthy, she wants people to be fit, and she wants people to be happy. That’s a rarity in this lifetime if you ask me! Not only does she care, but one look at her tells you she has a lot of dedication to her own health & fitness and it sure has paid off. Debra went on to win a 6 week ab challenge and absolutely nailed it, won it and took home the prize. The greatest prize? The boost of self confidence and some knockout abs. The first time I trained with Debra, it seemed innocent enough at first. We kept up a steady stream of chatter while she went Biggest Loser on my butt and the kicker came afterward. I couldn’t move my arms for a week! From then on, walking into the gym, I could tell just by the look on her face what she had in store. She pushed me, she motivated me, and even when road blocks like crappy knees and a bad back arose, she moved around those stealthily, coming up with new and unique exercises that fit my needs.

Debra is awesome. She is someone who I can definitely aspire to be like in health and fitness. She is a motivator and a mentor. In my opinion, everyone needs someone like this in their lives.

Part of Debra’s prize was a free photo-shoot of her hard work on camera! I was so honored and thrilled to be a part of her rewarding journey and I am sharing some of the photos from the session with you now. For inspiration, advice, tips, tricks or motivation check out Debra’s page and like her at Debra Coutts – Fitness Junkie

Stay amazing,

Martine

Credit: Hair & Makeup for shoot by Danielle Konjolka of Studio Rouge Saskatoon

Photos from 6 Pack Ab Challenge contest – Peter Carvell

Photography by Martine Sansoucy ©2014 All Rights Reserved.

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Just look at those abs!

Just look at those abs!

Laughter really does do the body good!

Laughter really does do the body good!

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Why I love my camera, & why it’s time to say goodbye… Ode to my camera

Sometimes it's time to say goodbye..

Sometimes it’s time to say goodbye..

PHOTOGRAPHER READER WARNING:

This blog post may cause some (and by some I mean MOST) photographers to feel uncomfortable, cringe, shake their heads, and in some cases wince. It may also cause a deep internal disagreement in regards to my slightly abusive relationship with my camera. Please feel free to post your comments & feelings in the comment box below.

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO…

I LOVE my camera..

No not just the way you love your TV, or your computer, or your mp3 player. I mean I really LOVE my camera. It comes everywhere with me. It is an extension of me. It’s flown thousands and thousands and thousands of miles across the country and half way across the world more times than I can count. It’s come with me on countless hours of road trips across beautiful Canada. It’s attended every major event in my kids lives, in my life, in my families lives. It’s been in waterfalls, oceans, and rivers. It’s been dropped, kicked, blatantly covered in ocean waves, and I have even accidentally bumped someone on the head with it. It’s seen my house messy, it’s seen my house clean. It’s seen all of my most private moments, and covered other people’s most special moments. It’s been in many different people’s homes, in different countries and it’s broken the ice with strangers across oceans. It’s sat on my lap like a baby, been hugged to my chest, zipped up in my jacket in -40 Saskatchewan weather and it’s swung carefree from my neck. It’s been in weather so hot the lens rubber fused itself to the camera and it’s been by my side through every love scene, every moment of laughter, every child temper tantrum and every tragic event I have ever witnessed. It’s also followed me to drunken parties and taken drunken photos (and no, I will not be held responsible for those), it’s been to black tie events, street parties, music festivals, car shows, put in the eye of a vicious storms, and thrown onto my car seat in a hurry. It has even seen a crashed plane in the middle of a busy Saskatoon road. It has been there to sooth my pain, my depression and my anxiety, and it has rejoiced in my happiness. It has been there through my worst moments and my best moments, and it has helped me to gain a tremendous amount of confidence with it by my side. It is NOT just a camera.. it’s my lifeline. A friend, a confidant and in some ways the love of my life. It truly is a miracle invention that in some ways has saved my life. It’s a connection between my feelings and my perspective and it allows me to share it all with the world.

I want my camera to be like my books. I don’t want to “baby” my camera. I don’t want to pick up a pristine camera, with tight dials and buttons. I want to pick up something comfortable, that knows my fingers, and the palms of my hands when it fits into them perfectly. I want to see scratches, bruises, character and I want it to look like it has lived. Used, worn, full of life. My camera is just that. It is scratched. It is bruised. It is worn. It is in fact starting to rust in some spots and it is just PERFECT. It has been through so much with me. I have treated it kind, and I have treated it unkind. I have put it through situations, weather conditions and tested the water resistant claims to the very limits. It has had sand stuck in the dials and sweat on the screen. It has been submerged in waves, covered in sand and bounced up and down on my chest during long walks in different parts of the world. I have put it in situations I have no business putting it in. I have pretty much done everything to it other than deliberately and literally beating the crap out of it.  I have taken so many photos with it, I did in fact burn out the motor. Again, it was packaged and shipped across the country for a fix and returned to me weeks later to get back to work with me. Yet, it still remains. Trusted and true. And I LOVE it.

Ahhh sigh.. but it is time to say, goodbye. It has been a few years since I brought my camera home and finally I am ready to move on. Lately it has been showing the stretch marks of it’s labor and although it is still my trusty old camera, I have decided it’s time for a trusty new camera. Now it’s not goodbye forever, and it will become my daily “around the house” camera, but it is time for it to retire it’s sore old bones and let some young little thang take it’s place doing the hard work. So in just two more weeks, I say goodbye to my trusty old camera (and the hippy strap that adorned it) and I will be moving on with a new camera. I am excited to see what this new camera has in store for me. What boundaries we will break, what adventures we will go on, and what experiences we will have.

Sometimes we just have to say goodbye to something good, to let something better into our lives.

So… farewell my sweet camera. I love you for all that you are, all that you were and all that you have given me.

xoxo

Martine

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The most common misconception about Mexico…and Universal rules of safety for travel!

Small town in Huatulco Mexico - Android photo!

Small town in Huatulco Mexico – Android photo!

Hey guys!

At the moment I am feeling very good and very positive because I am on some very strong pain killers for my passing kidney stone… at least let’s hope it passes without issue! So I apologize in advance if anything I say sounds… out of whack or otherwise strange. It’s probably just me talking, but I will blame it on the pain killers anyway.

So IT’S A WRAP! I just returned home from my last destination wedding of the year (so far anyway!), and it was in beautiful and lovely Mexico! Now this wasn’t my first time to Mexico, or even my second time in Mexico. I have now been to Mexico a few times and I have to say the people who think they know what they’re talking about when they talk of Mexico really have no clue what they are saying. Unless you’ve visited Mexico and immersed yourself into local life with the Mexican’s please feel free to shut your mouth at anytime. I am always blown away by the kindness, generosity and overwhelming sense of feeling welcomed every time I visit Mexico, and despite obvious and significant language barriers they are just wonderful people who are proud of their country and want you to enjoy your stay so much so that you will return.

After visiting a small town in Mexico with my clients for some unique and off the grid wedding photos, I decided I wanted to spend a day in that town. The locals were so friendly and curious about our being there, that it made me feel both welcome and in safe hands. So on my last day in Mexico I caught a cab back to this lonely little town enveloped in road side huts with plastic chairs offering none other than cold Coronas and the Universal drink; Coca Cola. When I told the driver to drop me off by the side of the road, he raised his eyebrows a little and asked me in broken English if I knew where I was going. I just looked at him and smiled with one word, explorar. He just smiled and told me he would be there at the same spot to pick me up in a few hours and I went off to do exactly that… explore.

The roads were a mixture of sand and dirt, dispersed with rocks every now and again and I felt my feet grow easily tired with my really cute but obviously cheap sandals. I kicked them off and ended up walking bare footed down the roads. I must have walked for at least an hour. Stopping to admire the lush tropical gardens filled with plantains and cactus, the happy children running around chasing chickens and roosters that were randomly ambling across the roads. I was tempted to pet one of the many stray dogs that wandered around homeless and starving, many with hanging nipples from no doubt having litters of puppies who would also end up wandering the small town streets homeless.  Along the outskirts of the town, there were little farms. Huts made with palm leaves and fronds where inside sitting on a broken down looking stool a round bellied Mexican leaned up against a table snoozed lazily in the hot sun. Almost every Mexican I passed, smiled with such sincerity it reached their eyes and welcomed me with an “Hola” or a “Como estas?”

As my luck would have it, I saw the same yellow broken down bug car in the middle of a lot fenced with barbed wire. This was close to where my clients and I had ventured off for some photos and I instantly recognized the simplistic and minimal playground beside it. As I took a few photos with my phone (yes I really do take photos with my phone), some friendly voices trailed off behind me and I turned around. A woman I recognized stood there with a child on her hip and four other children crowding around her smiling broadly at me. “Hola!” I said, happy to see these familiar faces once again. This family had followed myself and the bride and groom around while we took photos there a couple of days earlier and had even led us to a beautiful spot by their local river for some nice shots. For the next few minutes, we tried and mostly failed at making some awkward small talk with each other and I then continued on my way. They waved me off with enthusiasm and a friendliness I would be hard pressed to find from strangers anywhere here in Saskatoon.

As I made my way into and across the town, I was greeted by several other friendly strangers and realized at one point that I was being followed by a little boy around the age of ten. He kept staring at me and smiling as I walked along, sometimes catching up to me and sometimes falling behind me. We wound up in a small downtown area where I stopped at a small gated store and bought Cokes for both myself and him and sent him on his way with a stick of gum from my purse. Eventually the heat caught up with me and I wound up back at a little restaurant my clients and I had visited a couple of days earlier and sat down letting the cool taste of a Corona travel down my throat and send warm fuzzies right down to my toes.

I had at least another hour before the driver would come back to the town to pick me up and I decided to have one more walk around the outskirts of the town, where I admired the many beautiful tropical gardens. As I was walking along a back road covered in canopies of trees and lined with widely dispersed little tiki huts and half houses with tin sheets for roofs, a woman and her teenaged son approached me with some amount of eager shyness and held out a bowl for me. Inside the bowl was a medley of grilled vegetables including cactus, carrots, potato and what I later researched to be something called chayote. It was lightly spiced and had been grilled in butter. They smiled and nodded as I took the bowl and tried some of the delicious veggies, thanking them. They really were delicious! It didn’t take long before the woman took me by the arm and had me in a large wire fenced yard sitting in a plastic chair eating a full meal with them. The silence at times was awkward but was filled with the laughter and chaos of her other four young children, three boys and a girl. One of the little boys excitedly ran to a tree by their yard and started kicking something around until one of his brothers ran and kicked it back to him. I sat and reflected. This is one of the first stories I told my boys when I got home. The thing he was kicking around was a dirty and beaten up empty YOP bottle and it was hanging from a tied bit of rope to a tree. Yet this simple thing brought these two boys so much joy and laughter. My boys were probably fighting over the wii back at home and complaining that they need more Lego sets (even though they have enough Lego to supplement a small country). The woman spoke little to no English and I struggled to find the right words to say with my small but every day growing Spanish vocabulary. However just like Coca Cola a smile is always Universal and so basically my chicken and hot bean dinner was accompanied by many many smiles and words of gracias. Would this act of generosity by a stranger happen in Saskatoon? No… most likely not. Even though the chicken was slightly dry and beans really aren’t my all time favorite, it was hands down the best meal I had eaten while on my trip to Mexico. Not for the food, but merely the kindness and sweetness of company I shared, as quiet and mis-understood as it was. Before saying good bye, the woman and I hugged and the warmth in her eyes sent me away from this little town feeling like I just won the lottery. By the time my driver came around the corner of our meeting spot I was grinning from ear to ear like a doped up idiot.

As the day turned into night, the driver and I chatted between broken English and Spanish and he ended up taking me out for a beer and to see some beautiful look out points around Huatulco. The sights were spectacular and wonderful and as the sun set over the beautiful city below I reflected on my experiences in Mexico. I have been to some of the crummiest and most poor areas of Mexico and also some of the most beautiful and touristy spots in Mexico and it always remained the same. I saw such beauty in all of my surroundings and the locals proved to me time and time again that they cared for my safety and welcomed me into their country with open arms. I can’t say the same for a lot of other countries out there that are supposed to be “safer” and “better” countries to visit according to a general consensus. In fact the overall attitude from a lot of people makes me angry and bitter when it comes to my protective nature of this country and others like Jamaica. You can go to Mexico and be shown into a complete strangers home for supper, or you can come to Canada and see news of 5 completely innocent people being stabbed to death in a senseless murder, followed by more stabbings the next night in Regina. Right now, Mexico is looking decidedly safer. Now I know that was a loaded statement that a lot of you might not appreciate. However I think it’s important to remember that you can certainly get yourself into trouble ANYWHERE that you go. There are acts of human cruelty and senseless crimes that happen ANYWHERE in the world. The fact is, just as we should always try to leave our judgement of a person to personal experience rather than third party word, I do feel that you should be extending the same courtesy to visiting Mexico.

I have come up with a list of UNIVERSAL rules of safety that you should be using ANYWHERE that you travel to. Heck you should even use these rules in your OWN city. They are all common sense and all completely practical!

1. Always ask permission before taking someone’s photo. I am sure you would not appreciate some random stranger on the street taking YOUR photo without asking. It’s rude and obnoxious and just because someone might not speak the same language as you doesn’t give you the right to snap away. So always ASK.

2. If you see or witness an altercation, do NOT get involved. This is common sense anywhere and it’s how people get killed.

3. Don’t buy drugs. Just don’t.

4. Don’t walk around alone at night in questionable areas. Heck I don’t walk around on 20th street in Saskatoon alone at night, so just use your brain.

5. Don’t flash your money around like some sort of millionaire, because you are most likely not, and people might consider this an invitation for petty theft. Similarly, don’t go to a sketchy neighborhood, set your bags down and walk away.

6. If you are in questionable surroundings, wear a shoulder bag, and always keep a little something extra tucked away on your body somewhere (for girls a bra or the inside pocket of LuLu’s or workout pants works perfectly, for guys you are on your own with this one).

7. A smile is better than a thousand words. If I see anyone who is looking suspicious or giving me an uncomfortable look, I smile and nod. It instantly softens them and they typically smile back. Smile often and stay safe.

8. If you see any sort of political protest, war, debate, speech, etc, stay the eff out of it. Because really.. it’s none of your business.

9. Respect dress codes. If you visit a country where no one is wearing a tank top, then you probably shouldn’t either.

10. Be friendly and open. No one likes a stuck up snob. No one. If you go into a country feeling insecure and scared, then negative energy is what you will attract. If you go into a country and are friendly and open with people, then those are exactly the type of people and experiences you will attract. If in doubt, always smile.

I love travel and I believe you are in control of what your experiences will end up like no matter where you go. I love Mexico and I WILL be returning 🙂 I hate the common misconception that the country is dangerous and should not be visited. I don’t think anyone will be warning Mexican’s against visiting Winnipeg, even though it’s been labeled the murder capital of the country. Just use your common sense.

I would love to hear about YOUR positive experiences in Mexico and would love for you to comment below!

Stay posted for more photos of Mexico and also some wedding posts about the last two Destination Weddings I had. For now, I will be recovering from my kidney stone and working on some edits.

xoxo – M

Drinks with my new amigo!

Drinks with my new amigo!

For my boudoir babes: How to prepare for your boudoir session!

Saskatoon Boudoir Photography

Saskatoon Boudoir Photography

Can you BELIEVE how cold it has been here in Saskatoon? Seriously, like what is happening with -50 weather? I have to say, the way the sun has been coming out these days and the dirty disgusting slushy melting roads have me doing a little happy dance. Could it be that spring is finally around the corner? Well. It better be. (Shakes finger at my window!)

I am SOOO excited about some very fun and very interesting little projects and specials I have coming up! One of them is… a boudoir special! Most of you who know me, do not know me to be a boudoir photography specialist. I consider myself to specialize in all things love photography related like weddings, engagement, families and of course the wild and crazy editorial & fashion stuff I love to kick out when I am feeling particularly inspired and have some free time. HOWEVER… it may shock you to know that in my first and part of my second year of photography I had a little empty character home to use for dozens upon dozens of boudoir sessions and mini glam sessions and I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVED it! What’s not to love about making a woman feel as beautiful as she is? However, as of these late years my time has been eaten up by all of these love sessions and other fun stuff, so I am very excited to be teaming up with makeup artist Jennilee Cardinal Schultz and hair stylist Sara Whyte to do a weekend special in May for some super lovely ladies! Before you ask, it is completely booked up, but it never hurts to contact me of course about future specials just like this one (which I do plan to do more often). In fact I have a GRUNGE ROCKER/SEXY GLAM special in the works for September with Makeup artist and Hairstylist Danielle Konjolka from Studio Rouge which is guaranteed to be pretty kick a$$!

So initially, I was going to make this “post” a private letter to all of the boudoir babes who have booked with me for the weekend. I think it is SO important to be properly prepared for your boudoir session to make the MOST of what will be an amazing photo-shoot! I decided what the heck? I might as well make this public as I know there are so many woman out there getting boudoir sessions done that could benefit from this information!

So without further ado… here are my best and finest tips for prepping yourself for your boudoir session!

1. Hire a makeup artist.

If you’ve booked with me, this is already a big CHECK on your list! Hiring a professional makeup artist is important. Why? They are professionals! They know what colors are going to compliment your skin tone and the color of your eyes just perfectly, and they know how to blend in or airbrush on that foundation to make you look flawless and cover up unsightly blemishes! They know what kind of makeup will compliment you in front of a camera and they also know the fine line between going darker for photos and trashy. Point blank, the end product of your photos is greatly impacted by whether or not you have a professional makeup artist and I can honestly say it’s 100% worth it. *Bring your own false lashes for your makeup artist to put on please, because that is also 100% worth it. If you don’t have any or don’t know what to get, bring an extra $10 and our makeup artist Jennilee will have some provided for you!

2. Flawless hair.

While your at it, make sure you book a professional hair stylist! Again a big CHECK on your list if you’ve booked with me! Beautiful hair helps frame a beautiful face and it can make a world of difference in your photos! Do you ever find yourself almost skipping with glee out of your Salon after a fresh cut and style? Taking endless selfies and Instagraming that sh$t  for the world to see because you feel so gosh darned good!? Well don’t you want to feel this wonderful for your photo shoot? Remember that the sexier you FEEL the sexier you ARE and the more that is all going to translate through the camera! Hairstylist Sara Whyte would like you to wash your hair the day before and have it dried for your shoot! Don’t go near it with a straightener that day and leave the rest up to the pro!

3. So you think your blonde.

Shave. Wax. I don’t care what you do… but get rid of it. You think you have a blonde little stache going across your upper lip that no one notices? Well, my camera notices all the small details. Especially when I am up close and personal! Wax it. $10 at almost any salon, done, gone, vamoosh. Legs… shave, wax, gone! Bikini line.. please do! Armpits, please don’t forget these or any other areas that you think might be seen through my lens. It’s hair, and we ALL have it. There is nothing at all to be ashamed about, but unless your a hippie who’s totally down with rockin that stuff please do some maintenance and you will feel & look smooth and sexy for your shoot!

4. Eyebrows.

Don’t go too thin or invisible, but don’t rock the uni-brow either or go around looking like your surprised all the time. Maintain and get them done professionally before your shoot. Again a $10-15 adventure at any local trusted salon.

5. Water. Hydrate. Drink!

I think makeup artist Jennilee Cardinal Schultz said it best “Drink lots of water in the days before the shoot. (even 2 weeks prior would be ideal!) Like way too much water. It seriously makes the biggest difference in skin.” Ladies, we already know of the many many amazing health benefits of water (including weight loss holla!), so there is just no reason not to be utilizing this amazing and relatively free (from the tap!) tool.

6. What NOT to wear:

Sigh… the most commonly asked question. What should I bring/wear to the shoot? I bet you think I am going to say “Damn girl, bring your sexiest bikini or bra and panties set!” WRONG. I know, and you know that unless you FEEL sexy, you are not going to LOOK sexy! If you feel sexiest in your man’s oversized tee.. bring it! If you feel sexiest rockin some jean shorts and a bra, bring it! If you feel sexiest wearing a little pink teddy bring it on! If you feel sexiest wearing a wife beater and a pair of bikini bottoms, I am not stopping you! Honestly I have seen girls look hot damn sexy wearing nothing but an over-sized off the shoulder SWEATER and so let me make clear; You are not required to bring the latest and greatest lingerie set off La Senza’s rack. I am asking that you bring WHATEVER it is that makes you FEEL hot damn sexy! That feeling will translate through my camera and your confidence levels are going to soar! I am here to help you feel as comfortable as possible during your shoot and I will be gently nudging you outside of your comfort zone to get the sexiest out of you. But please, don’t feel as though there are any obligations to rock something you are absolutely not comfortable with. Some “suggestions” are:

-Ripped jeans

-Cowboy boots

-High heels

-Fishnet stockings.. or stockings

-Your man’s favorite jersey or an oversized tee

-Flirty sundress

-Bra/panties

-Corset

-Lingerie/teddy set

-Flowing feminine nightie

-A sexy piece of fabric (like silk or sheer)

-Sexy costume … (hot nurse, maid, school girl.. )

-Swimsuit or bikini

-Jean shorts

-Bouncy or pleated skirt

-See through top or wife beater

-Your mans tie

-Your mans coveralls, carhartt’s or work apparel

– Baseball, football, basketball, your man’s sport of choice

-Football or baseball socks

-Loose plaid button down shirt and a cowboy hat with rope

-Apron, heels and cooking supplies..

-Vintage netting headpiece, smoke and black corset with stockings

You get the idea ladies.. be creative and try to customize the shoot either to yourself OR your significant other.

8. A mirror is a girls best friend.

Gather inspiration. Hit up Pinterest (and yes I am on it! – Search Martine Sansoucy) and pick out your favorite photos and your favorite poses. Practice them in front of a mirror and get to know your angles. What side do you look best on? Print off and bring some of your favorite photo inspiration to your shoot! This will definitely help myself and you in knowing what kind of shots you would like and what you are looking for during your shoot.

9. Accessorize!

I love love LOOOVE accessories! If you don’t, it’s time you did. Bring them, and bring lots. Earrings, necklaces, shoes, belts, bracelet’s, rings… bring it all. I find that longer dangly necklaces tend to work better for boudoir sessions as it draws the eye downwards and doesn’t suffocate the neck and chest area.

10. Relax.

It doesn’t hurt to say a little “om” the morning of your shoot and do a little meditating, yoga or spa-like activity before your shoot. I will be bringing a lovely little speaker system and I encourage all of my lovely little boudoir babes to bring their very most favorite music to jive to or get sexy to for our shoot! If you don’t have any, I have plenty but I can’t guarantee you won’t be rockin out to Bob Marley or random soundtrack music (because I am a soundtrack Nazi). Just breath. Relax. And prepare to have fun!

With that said, it’s time for my nightly podcast and bedtime for me,

I hope this has helped you ladies in getting ready for what will be an amazing experience!

xoxo – M

Content by ©Martine Sansoucy 2014 All rights Reserved. Please feel free to PIN this post and SHARE it on FB!

Photography by Martine Sansoucy – http://martinesansoucy.co.nr

http://facebook.com/saskatoonphotography

306.371.1332 or agasteche@yahoo.ca