Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sink or swim

Someone once told me that she only worries about her own front door step in life. This was in response to my question regarding how she managed to stay out of office politics and drama. A few weeks ago, a group of friends got together for some food and drinks at a local pub. The guys were discussing the catty nature of women and how they are never quite sure if they are supposed to support their wives by getting involved, or just let them figure it out themselves. This discussion got a little more heated as we delved into fictitious scenarios.

One of the husbands quipped that if the world was coming to an end and he was only allowed certain people in his magical make believe boat to get away, his family would surely be the ones on the boat. We teased and joked Michael as he started showing up to more events on our street, that he wanted to make sure he was at least considered to be included on the boat.

The truth is, when push comes to shove in a natural disaster, it is our family that we ensure are okay first. Friends are amazing and sometimes in life, even more important to us than some of our relatives. Who can we turn to though when we really need them? When people casually say they are there for us, what does that really mean and when we redeem that offer, has the offer suddenly expired? Or are they merely out of stock?

Being a fatherless only child, I've placed so much importance on my friends in my life. Last night we had a bride and groom to our home for dinner to discuss their nearly-here wedding. Once we finalized the details of the timeline, we were able to enjoy the rest of our evening; more as friends and less as client/vendor. Weddings are such an emotional milestone in our lives, and often times, the way we envision it and the people we envision to be part of it, do not necessarily line up with how things actually transpire. I've spoken to countless people who no longer speak to their wedding party or who hold grudges for things gone awry during their planning process. It's a hard lump to swallow. Believe me, I know.

After we were married, so much about my priorities in life changed. My new husband and our immediate families were where my time and focus and effort and love were spent. We will never regret asking our parents to stand up for us at our wedding. We never have to look at photos and shudder or wonder why we had ever considered this person as an option. We never have to wonder what they are up to. We never hold contempt because they couldn't be bothered with their bridal party duties. The truth is, we couldn't have made a better decision.

Friends come and go. Things are always temporary and changing. Who you may invite to your wedding now may not necessarily be who you would invite 2 years from now. We feel the same way. People fall back on their promises. They disappear and then reappear years later. People disappoint you. They listen with keen ears to your problems, yet stab you right in the back. They befriend people, even if they know those same people have hurt you. I've been guilty in life of being attracted to attractive looking people, even if at their core, they aren't good people and you deep down know they do not have your best interests at heart. When you peel away all the sparkles, what is there left? Have you ever been in a scenario where you know you are talked about, but remain faithful anyways? Why do we do this to ourselves? In business, there is a saying: "How things begin is how it ends" so if you have a hunch right away, it's best to tap into that intuition and run like hell in the other direction.

We all move on with our lives and although we say we're there for people, we call them our "best friends", we put our faith and trust into colleagues, friends, neighbours, and acquaintances, when it comes down to it.....if there was one boat, and you had to choose the people who would fill it, ask yourself, who would that be?

Family is everything. People say I've changed. I definitely have. I love my friends, but it's more important to me to take care of my own front doorstep. And to understand in the fictional scenario,
who we would make room for in our boat.

Ask yourselves, are the people in your lives making your boat sink? Or worthy of jumping aboard?

Sail away with me honey.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Website changes

Hey Hey! Making some changes to my website in the next few months. Today's changes include the intro song (the other one was becoming too obnoxious after a year), songs to the galleries "I will",  "I do" and "I did" as well as "Flirt". I've also added updated information on our pricing packages under "Investment".

The promo video will be ready in the next month or so and I will of course be tweaking my galleries as more events roll in.

Please let me know what you think of the new changes.

Wendy Alana Photography



Eliara: Pre-Communion

It was many, many years ago when I was in the wedding party of these two, now parents of three gorgeous girls. Fate and circumstance (and Facebook) brought us back together last summer for a trip down memory lane and a family photo shoot. I love it when I photograph clients who are as obsessed with pictures as I am.

Eliara, a middle child of three has an upcoming Communion so last night was spent photographing her. This little girl was right in her element. She is used to smiling in her many dance competitions and their entire house is covered, floor to ceiling in family photos.

After enjoying some homemade pasta, sauce and vino, we said goodnight to these beautiful angels and they waved from the window in their jammies, making me promise there would be a sleepover soon.


Monday, March 26, 2012


The weekend warmth was quickly replaced this morning with a familiar chill that I thought was packed away with all our heavy coats. I headed North East of Toronto for a newborn shoot and although the city's traffic was as prevalent as ever, capturing the first moments of a beautiful baby boy were so very worth it. 

Francesco Jude's pictures will be up on the blog tomorrow. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Use the good dishes.

You know the poem Use the good dishes? This is how I've been feeling lately. If you've seen the movie Friends with money, you can appreciate Jennifer Aniston's character and how, amongst her rich friends, she savoured any free samples of expensive cosmetics she could get her hands on.

Yesterday I went to the MAC counter and couldn't wait to hand in my six empty containers in exchange for one free lipstick. The sales person noticed that my lipstick was still almost full. I recalled leaving a nightclub almost 12 years ago, and walking away with a gift bag of cosmetics, and one of the products was a lipstick, in the shade of Twig. I never really used it and I'm sure the shelf life was well earlier than a decade so I decided to say goodbye. It's funny how when you can't afford such expensive products, you truly savour those moments and products. I just could never part with it.

I'll never forget my girlfriend and I trading our poor, urban, 20-something year old stories. She was so excited to have bought a 100 ml bottle of Burberry Brit perfume. If you could have seen the moment that it fell off the counter, shattering into a million beautiful fragranced pieces, and her face of sheer heart break, you too would never forget it.

Last night I had a photo shoot with my girlfriend. It is so amazing to photograph someone who knows what poses flatter her body and is comfortable with herself. I was testing some lighting for our video promo shoot on Sunday, and my wireless triggers fell and broke.  In a time where Michael has lost his job, every penny counts at this point. I shrugged it off, because things could always be worse.

People ask me if I am afraid when I bring my "good camera and lenses" out to photograph non-paid events. I refuse to baby and coddle my equipment and miss out on a good moment out of fear that it will be stolen or ruined. What's the point in waiting to use the good stuff?

Today, I found every expensive cosmetic sample that I've ever received and put it all on my face. This concoction of products probably will do more harm than good. My point is, there is no better time than now to use the good dishes, the fine china, the expensive towels, the sharp lenses, the vintage wine, and high end face creams.

Who knows how much time we have? We may as well make it count. And enjoy the fine life now.

Here are a few photos from our photo shoot last night. Shanon looks like a Hollywood starlet. The photos filled my heart with joy (and so did the fact that my husband was able to fix my triggers in time for our first wedding this season.)



Monday, March 5, 2012

I survived Ruby & Slava's workshop (and other recent challenges)

This was supposed to be our year. Things were coming together for our business. Our marriage was stronger than ever. Life was good. And then, one day after the next, setbacks were upon us.

The common supportive thread of advice we have been given is to find reason in our misfortune. At the exact time you are feeling the sting of suffering, it's hard to see the forest through the trees. Or however that expression goes.

An initial irritant has since allowed me to re-examine my work, my website and my approach to business.
A troublemaker has allowed me to question myself, my friendships, privacy and trust. And then the inevitable happened. The seemingly worst thing happened. Michael lost his job.

After the initial shock wore off, we sat and revelled in our loved ones' supportive words. Everything happens for a reason. Right. Heard it all before.

And just like that, the information God's were punctual, tactical and of course humorously ironic. A forwarded message presented itself to Michael about a food blogging job in gorgeous British Columbia which would require the chosen candidate to eat at a different restaurant every day for 365 days, photograph and write about it, complete with a salary, urban apartment and of course a gym membership to work off all those sumptuous calories. He read the opportunity aloud to me and I had to chuckle. Who knows what the future has in store for us.

At the crack of dawn yesterday, I embarked on a previously arranged and fun filled weekend in Toronto with my girlfriend. Prior to this on Friday night, four friends discussed the strength of their friendships, their pact to stick together and their mutual love for each other. While others tried to tear them apart, their bond remained unbreakable and the offenders wound up defeated.

It was an unusually frigid and blustery day; a stark contrast to the recent unusual milder temperatures of a Canadian February. A group of likeminded women met at the beautiful ING Cafe downtown. Slava Micic is an international photographer, web designer and travels the world with her husband. What an amazing inspiration this 27 year old stunner has become to her fans. She just arrived home from Brazil, was stopping in Toronto to host the workshop and attend Fashion Week and then return to her Vancouver home. Ruby of Suite XIII specializes in P.R. but also has a thriving photography business. Kat is a knowledgeable and passionate photographer who also coordinates amazing art programs to inner city kids who could never otherwise afford such equipment. Together, the three of them hosted a workshop that was tailored to their student's specific questions.

We spent the morning in small groups discussing lighting, weddings, life, aperture and anything else that came to mind, over ING's steeped coffee, liquid sugar and whatever else we fancied.  Five directionally challenged women hopped into a compact car and tried to navigate South versus North. Hilarious. (I only lived in Toronto for 10 years!) Armed with our cameras and appetite, we headed to the stylish and beautiful Holt Renfrew Cafe on Bloor St. We traded photographer's war stories and laughed like old friends. As someone who inherently takes responsibility for planning and ensuring people's comfort level, it was much appreciated to have an entirely organized day, including breakfast, lunch and snacks.

Workshop details (it was previously scheduled in London)

We couldn't resist stopping into Yorkville's Anthropologie where I have been dying to get Michael and I some monogrammed mugs. 7000 square feet of absolute eye candy. I will definitely be back.

Only in Yorkville would dogs be allowed into malls, yet cameras not. We briskly snapped some photos through the midtown streets and then nestled into Hazelton Lanes' beautiful space. We gathered around and learned, discussed and shared. We were presented with a certificate that boasted "I survived Slava & Ruby's Photoshop Workshop."

For $99, we were given an entirely planned day that lasted until almost dinner time, breakfast and lunch and snacks, paid parking, photo adventures, knowledge sharing, and a virtual gift basket of downloads to help us with our editing, blogging and photography careers. It even had a music track list customized especially for our workshop. So wonderfully thoughtful and personable. We walked away with full bellies and even happier hearts. What an amazing day. All I have to say is, Liquify!

My girlfriend and I headed to our beautiful hotel and reminisced about our day over dinner and cocktails on Queen Street. I arrived home this morning and reflected on this month's past events.

Sure, there are pitfalls, setbacks and misfortunes. But in that single nugget of hope buried amongst the thousands of doubts, there surely is truth in finding a reason in everything.

And I'm amazingly fortunate for our journey. Keep dreaming. Here are some of my photos and I can't wait to see our day from the other's perspectives.



 Here are the photos from Slava's perspective....