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!

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

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

How to prepare for a wedding + A little Engagement love in Saskatoon!

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Hey guys!

Well it has been a fantastic week of shooting. I am soo excited about some of the projects and shoots that took place! Monday was ahhhmazing and spent with a total of 7 fabulous and talented women to create a vintage Editorial shoot and I am extra excited about sharing the results of that shoot!

Fall has treated me well so far. The colors, the leaves, the trees, that perfect golden hour … they all mix together for the perfect photo formula! I am so lucky to have a beautiful wedding tomorrow that will showcase all the beautiful colors outside right now and I can’t wait!

So. I wanted to talk a little bit about how I prepare for a wedding! I got an email a couple of weeks ago from an aspiring photographer who had some questions for me and one of the things he asked was how I prepare for a wedding. So I would love to share that answer publicly here and hope that it gives others a clear image of what should go into the preparation of an upcoming wedding. Let’s break it down!

THE WEEK BEFORE A WEDDING

– Taking excellent care of yourself – If I feel a cold coming on, I am downing the OJ like no one’s business and resting up. It’s important to take good care of yourself during the wedding season, because neither you or the bride & groom want a sick photographer!

-Cleaning your camera – I clean my sensor at least once a week, especially if I am anticipating a wedding on the weekend

-Scout the locations – During the week I take the time to scout specific locations I would like to use at the EXACT scheduled time that we would be there for photos.. In the past I have chosen an amazing location only to be disappointed when the sun is in the wrong spot to showcase what I wanted. Be aware of the sun and pinpoint the location to the time of day!

THE DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING

-Purchase/get ready the batteries for your flashes.

-Gas up your vehicle.

-Charge all of your batteries for both your primary camera and your backup camera

-Clean all your lenses

-Make sure you have your camera bag ready. For me this includes making sure my “wedding bag” is stocked with all the things I need.. mmm note to self: New blog post idea!

-DON’T eat anything spicy or anything that will cause gas the next day or um… other ugly tummy troubles. This is the LAST thing you want to deal with on a wedding day.

-Plan what to wear. Nothing too dressy, but nothing to casual. You need to be comfortable as to move around freely so keep this in mind.

-Chillax! Ain’t no body want an overworked photographer! Take this opportunity to pop in your favorite show and relax. Drink copious amounts of water and eat well.

-Go to bed early. Sleep is key. You have to be on your A-GAME the next day!

THE MORNING BEFORE A WEDDING

-Charge up your phone. It’s important to have a phone with you on the day of a wedding in case the bride/groom need to reach you, to check the time, check inspiration photos, or even click a few phone shots for Instagram.

-Format your memory cards – DO THIS EVERY TIME!! SERIOUSLY!

-Check and double check your bag to make sure all of your batteries are there, your memory cards and your flashes

-Go over your itinerary! If you don’t have one, that’s an issue for another blog post!! Memorize your clients names and make sure you know where to be at what time.

-Eat a healthy meal. This is important since it may be hours before your next one!

-Relax and listen to some easy going music. I personally love Agnus & Julia Stone and some Lana Del Ray

-Click through some inspiration photos of different poses you want to try or looks you want to achieve that day.

-Breath. Know that you are going to do a great job and have confidence.

Alright guys!! I hope this helps some of you to be better prepared for weddings!

On another note, I wanted to share some engagement photos that were done here in Saskatoon a few weeks ago! The couple, Brittany and Jason are both so amazing and when I met with them for the first time to book their wedding (This upcoming November!) we clicked immediately! I love their sense of humor and the love they share for dance. I am really excited to photograph their wedding in a couple of months and would like to share with you a few images from their engagement session with me 🙂

Stay Amazing,

Martine

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

Saskatoon Engagement Photography

bj12

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!

Adventures in Cabos Mexico & websites I am following and loving!

Destination Wedding Cabos Mexico

Destination Wedding Cabos Mexico

Hey everyone!

I can’t believe this weather is FINALLY starting to warm up… after the deep freeze we have been having here, we no doubt deserve it!
Nonetheless I hope everyone has been staying warm and fuzzy during the cold times and enjoying these last few melting days!

WELL… I just got back from Los Cabos Mexico and it was in one word. Fantastic. I finally got the chance to relax a little bit, read some books, go for a swim or two, and soak up the awesome photo locations around me. Do not be mistaken though, there was some good hard work involved with my trip! I was blessed enough to have two of the kindest, nicest and let’s be honest super good looking clients while away on this destination wedding and their wedding day was a success! We started by driving into the town of San Jose and doing some photos with the wedding party around town, and wound back up at their beach resort in San Lucas for a beautiful ceremony at dusk overlooking the beautiful view of Lovers Beach. Afterward, the couple and their friends & family celebrated and partied at their beach house and danced to a mariachi band who totally livened the party up! It was a great night and at the end of the day when my head hit the pillow I was out like a light.

We also stuck around San Lucas for some fabulous engagement and family shots with their sweet little 3 year old daughter who wasn’t a fan of my camera, but warmed up to me by the wedding day when she realized I had a purse full of candies as bribes haha! After our engagement shoot I was walking down the beach looking for a water taxi, when I noticed a Pelican that had washed up on the shore and was laying in pain, struggling to stay alive. I was instantly very concerned and heartbroken for him as when I looked closer, I realized he had swallowed something that was too large to pass through his throat and it had gotten stuck in his throat. It was now painfully cutting right through his throat and sticking out. It was incredibly sad to watch him struggle for his life, trying to bring this large bone back up without success. When I knew that he was going to allow me to touch him and help him, another tourist and I held him and I tried to slowly work the object back up his neck and un-lodge it from his throat. Then yes, I actually reached in his throat and removed the item, which was a hideously large and very sharp animal bone of some sort. Unfortunately our efforts were too late, and he died seconds later right in our hands. I am sure the cluster of Mexican’s that had been watching thought we were some crazy Canadians for trying to save this Pelican’s life…. but I am a sucker for animals and I just hate to see them suffer. I water taxied it back to my hotel with tears in my eyes. I know I can be such a baby sometimes!

I also had the amazing opportunity to work with a model I had connected with almost a year earlier, and we planned a creative shoot! Crissty Santana is a gorgeous blonde who has done modeling several times for Maxim and other magazines like FHM. I was so excited to have the chance to work with her! Through her, I also got to meet Lupita, who is one of the most talented makeup artists and hairstylists I have worked with! What a blessing to have such a fantastic team of talented woman to spend the day with. I had originally planned for a different kind of shoot, but when I put the outfit I had made for her together, we realized that she looked more like a magnificent bird than anything else. We decided to agree that she was a beautiful black Crow. My brother is a huge fan of Crows, so I was pretty excited about this concept! Absolutely personally loved the outcome from this shoot, but more than anything the chance to meet such kind and amazing people from different countries is what excites me the most and makes me happy! Now I just have to pray that someone else takes me with them to Cabos soon so I can shoot with these lovely ladies again! Here are a couple of shots from our creative shoot in Cabos!

The Crow Photoshoot with Crissty Santana

The Crow Photoshoot with Crissty Santana

The Crow Photoshoot with Crissty Santana

The Crow Photoshoot with Crissty Santana

The Crow Photoshoot with Crissty Santana

The Crow Photoshoot with Crissty Santana

To continue my adventures, I was very excited to do a extended bride and groom session with Katrina and Dustan and we headed to one of the poorest areas of the city first for some photos! I personally LOVE seeing these parts of the country, because most people like to stay trapped in this little Americanized resort bubble and don’t seem to realize what’s REALLY out there. As always the people in Mexico are some of the most genuine and nicest people to be around and we were lucky to have an awesome cab driver that day who even stopped and bought some cerveza’s for us in the middle of our shoot! YUM! It sure hit the spot. From there we went to a beautiful resort location where you could get down to some rocks by the ocean… Let me tell you! Climbing on these rocks was no easy task! There were hundreds of sea urchins in the little pockets of water all over the rocks so you had to be extremely careful where you were stepping. When I saw Katrina and Dustan approach the edge of a rock, there were dozens of extra large and very creepy looking crabs that started skittering out of the rocks and into the water! Ugh. Not to mention the rocks were sharp and jagged and just not that much fun to walk on. All in all… worth the photos in my opinion. We ended our day with the sun going down on Lovers Beach. I still can’t get over the gorgeous rock formations on this little island and I couldn’t have been more blessed with these fantastic photo locations! Here are a couple of photos so far from this Destination Wedding!

Destination Wedding Cabos Mexico

Destination Wedding Cabos Mexico

Destination Wedding Cabos Mexico

Destination Wedding Cabos Mexico

 

By the end of the week though, I was more than ready to come home to my boys! I had been missing them like crazy! Since I have been home, I have been doing never-ending amounts of cleaning, finishing up on edits from some recent shoots and weddings and catching up on tons of emails, messages and Facebook activity that I missed while I was away. In the midst of all of this, one of my favorite things to do is read from some of my favorite websites and blogs of people that I follow. I would love to share some of the websites/blogs that I am following right now that inspire me every time I open them!

1. Mind Body Green

SOO great! Chalked full of healthy articles and info. I always find an article that’s interesting or informative every time I open one of their emails and one of my favorite parts of the day is reading through their website while I drink my tea in the mornings.

2. Skinny Taste

What can I say? I love to cook good food and I also love healthy food. This is just a food porn website that I love to follow as often as I can. Everything looks pretty delicious and it gives me inspiration for my cooking!

3. Women’s Health

I Love this magazine. So it comes as not surprise that I love flipping through there easy to navigate website and short informative articles. It’s a website I have been frequenting for years!

4. Allison Braun – The Business Joyologist.

Seriously. I love this woman. Not only because she is a dear friend and I have known her for years, but because she is one of the smartest most business savvy woman I know and I am always inspired reading her newsletters and blog posts. It’s something I always welcome and look forward to seeing in my inbox!

5. The Pioneer Woman

EEK! Love this woman and have all of her cookbooks… Not only is she a great food photographer (which we know I love too!), but she is packed full of great info, little tidbits of fun and super awesome recipes. This is why I love this woman and have to visit her blog at least once every couple of days.

So there you have it! A little bit of my daily reading and inspiration.

Well after such a great trip, it has me all pooped out and I must go continue tackling the never-ending laundry that comes with living with three boys. I hope you all have a wonderful and fabulous week with many great blessings!

xoxo – M

 

 

I have been so neglectful… again!

Wow… can you believe it!? Last time I posted there was snow on the ground! I am so ashamed, I have been so neglectful of my poor blog again. However I must say I have been keeping up regular posts on both Instagram (#martinesansoucy) and twitter (also #martinesansoucy) and of course dear Facebook. My worst enemy and my best friend. Do other photographers find Facebook hard to use? One minute you are posting updates and the next you are clicking on some random person’s photo and off you go into the land of nothingness that is Facebook. I have been trying my very best to leave that obsession behind and concentrate solely on work when I am logged on. Never-mind Pinterest… I banned that from my life months ago due to countless hours of sheer waste spent on that site. Not to mention it makes me feel like I have to be wonderwoman/wondermom/wondercrafter/wondercook/wonderdesigner! So many awesome looking things that I would LOVE to have the time to do in life, but knowing I never will so albums of silly little dream boards build up until … sigh I will probably never get to anything from there. 

Well the summer is officially underway.. I have had so many amazing and awesome weddings in the past few months. I can hardly contain my excitement about some of them. Honestly it’s a little ridiculous how excited I can get about these things. First in May there was an amazing Pakistani wedding with such an amazing couple Sadaf and Saad who I grew to fall in love with over the weekend’s events. There were so many traditions that intrigued me and I felt truly blessed to be photographing two of the most kind-hearted wonderful people I have ever met. Sadaf is in a word…. stunning. Absolutely stunning. Her Sari’s were beautiful, the colors vibrant and beautiful. Saad was pretty handsome as well haha he looked great in a suit and his traditional attire.  I think one of my favorite parts from the weekend were the dances and the music. Surprisingly I actually even knew a few of the songs that came on, since I love Indian and Hindi music and listen to it often.  It was just a fabulous weekend and here are a couple of my favorite shots from it!

Pakistan Wedding Photography

Pakistan Wedding Photography

Pakistan Wedding Photography

Pakistan Wedding Photography

Pakistan Wedding Photography

Pakistan Wedding Photography

 

 

Another favorite wedding was a few weeks ago right here in Saskatoon! Ashley & Codie Prevost were both just such amazing people to spend the day with… not to mention totally gorgeous!! What made this day extra special… honestly when I heard the rumble of a 67′ Mustang I was totally hooked. I mean totally hooked. So I grabbed the opportunity to do a few shots of the guys by this fantastic car and it was absolutely worth it. 100%. What else made this day fantastic? We had a colossal downpour about mid-way through the photos and when the sun broke through, it was seriously gorgeous and amazing. Here are a couple of my very favorite shots from this day! 

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

Mmmm so many to list it’s so hard to choose which ones to share with you! Another day that stands out was Stacie & Graham’s wedding. I just loved this couple and what a fun group of people to spend the day with! It also started off as a rainy day and ended in complete bliss on a country roadside with the couple and their guitar. Stacie was just a beautiful bride and Graham just a super great guy! The day ended with a drive in Stacie’s dad’s convertible car and we managed some wonderful shots of the two of them riding off with the cloudy sunset. It was a beautiful way to end a wonderful day. Here are a few of my favorite shots from that day 🙂 

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

Saskatoon Wedding Photography

 

Sigh… how can I even begin to describe some of the other weddings I have shot recently? They have ALL been amazing and special. I have even gotten to see old wedding clients at some of the weddings I have shot this year and it has been so awesome to see them together and happy! I feel pretty blessed to have some amazing clients. I was out in Cudworth a couple of weeks ago for a wedding and this past weekend I was in Moose Jaw. This upcoming weekend I have one wedding in beautiful Saskatoon and one in Moon Lake!

As much as I LOVE my job and weddings and love, I am SO ready for my family vacation coming up soon! It’s been a chaotic crazy summer and there are so many exciting events coming up. In fact, if you check out the most recent Flow Magazine here in Saskatoon you will find one of my promo photos for Roofstock! It’s an upcoming event with musician’s playing on the roof of Winston’s and it’s totally going to rock  your little world so if you are interested please check out the details! Here’s a shot from that little shoot!

Roofstock at Winston's

Roofstock at Winston’s

 

In the midst of being super busy I am making some changes in my personal life and it’s been very positive for me! I am also doing a lot of experimenting in photography and looking forward to much more this winter when I have some breathing time. I am not going to lie… I am a little excited for winter, now that I have another Destination Wedding coming up. That always gets me inspired for bigger and better things 😀

Okay, it’s time for one more Facebook post and then bed! I will TRY my hardest to not neglect my poor blog again even if I don’t make a photo update, it would be nice to keep it up with my life. 🙂

Night everyone – M

 

 

Adventures in Jamaica Pt 2- My near (camera) death experience with waterwalls!

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography

Ahhh finally I have come out of my coma of exhaustion and sickness! What a relief after over two weeks! So what have I been up to? Mostly editing, and also trying to clear out my house for a mega-sized garage sale. Time to clear out some of my hoarder style collections and some of my precious photography props. I hate to see them go, but I really can’t keep everything!

So I hope everyone in Saskatoon has been keeping warm, in this deathly horrid weather we have been having. It’s been … epic to say the least. It doesn’t help that my trusty old van left me stranded with the boys at Safeway yesterday and has basically been acting like a piece of junk for the last few weeks. Great.

So let’s talk about my experience with Dunn’s River Falls, which was where we decided to end our day taking photos in beautiful Jamaica! What a fun/scary time! Basically what happened was, I thought I could handle being in the waterfalls as well, with my camera around my neck. However, what I didn’t think about was, how slippery the rocks were, and how it might have benefited me to bring water shoes for this whole scenario. So a few minutes into our session, I stepped off of a log under water and realized that I was tumbling/falling/tripping/slipping deep into a rocky waterfall grave. As I sunk lower and lower and fell more and more I raised my camera higher and higher. Boy, it must have been quite a sight. It might be exaggerating to say that the only thing you could see out of the water was the top of my head, my arm and my camera… but no it was actually pretty close to that. The groom said afterwards he just wasn’t quite sure who to save; the photographer or the camera! When in doubt.. ALWAYS save the camera! I can definitely survive whatever outcome there is from a fall like this, but my camera would not be so lucky. We had a good laugh about it afterwards and we had a lot of fun! So it just proves to those of you who may think my job is all fancy and frills.. I am in the business of taking risks, putting myself in awkward and potentially dangerous situations (I have done everything from laying on my stomach in the middle of a highway, to getting knocked over by strong stormy ocean waves). Is it worth it though? 100% and I will only continue to push my limits AND my camera’s limits until one of us breaks haha hopefully it will be the camera.

I can’t wait to share more of my Jamaica adventures with you all and more great images from this fantastic wedding!

For tonight, I am going to cozy up with my book and maybe even make myself a cup of hot chocolate (if the boys haven’t completely raided the mix already). Get some good zz’s and work like a maniac tomorrow.

Love & peace – M

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography