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When Krister and I got married, we both agreed we wouldn’t have children.  I loved photographing babies, and photographing births and babies of our brides and grooms I started falling in love with birth, and with babies.  I was scared for a while to admit I wanted a child.  What if Krister didn’t?  But Krister seemed to decide he wanted one at about the same time.  He would say things like, “If we had a kid we would….” and “when we have a kid”.  Yay!  We took a look at our destination weddings, and chose our “start trying date” carefully (so I would be able to travel to the weddings we had booked).  Within a couple of weeks we were expecting!

I obsessed over a name.  Naming our little girl was the most important decision for me.  A name is something that follows a person, that defines a person… that influences a person’s perception of a person before they ever meet or know one another.  We wanted something beautiful, etherial, but something that could be shortened into cute little nick names.   We had 15 possible names on the list, and kept going back and forth between them.  Then one morning, I woke up and said, “what about Elowyn?”  Krister agreed, and we named our little girl before she was born!


Next, I started obsessing about Elowyn’s baby room.  I needed to get it finished early, because my due date was in July (right in the middle of “wedding season”).  At one of our last destination weddings, when I was getting larger and hotter, I literally spent 20 hours (and I know this because of my internet bill) looking at baby room ideas and researching custom made bedding.  In the very end, I ended up choosing the first set I found when randomly walking around the mall with my friend Sarah.  I felt it would be too busy… that I wouldn’t be able to relax in Elowyn’s room, but Krister reminded me that the room wasn’t for me.  I felt it would be a happy and fun room for a baby to grow up into toddlerhood.  The crib, change table and rocking chair were kijiji finds, some of which I painted white.  My friend built the bird house nigh-light, and my mom re-covered my rocking chair to match!  My dad spent hours sanding and painting to make the room perfect.

I had my midwives booked (the amazing Sabrina & Leesha) at the Lucina Birthing Centre the moment I found out I was pregnant.  I wanted the most natural birth possible.  I wanted to “become one” with all women around the world and experience something that was truly feminine, a passage into motherhood.  I took a hypo birthing class, and embraced it even though it was the furthest thing from what my personality would normally choose.  I loved my choices, and couldn’t wait to give birth in a pool in a large room with stained glass windows and beautiful decor.  Then I found out Elowyn was breech.  The “bum” we had been drumming on throughout my pregnancy had always been her head!

My birth ended up being in a hospital, and I was still trying for natural when I told the nurse I was “feeling something”.  I wasn’t nearly ready to push and Elowyn had stuck her little foot out!  A C section was not what I had planned.  I felt so sad as I was being wheeled in to the operating room.  But hours later, I was holding my little girl… finally!  The emotion I felt is one that cannot be described.  It was like the biggest surprise, and the greatest peace I’ve ever felt.  When I held my baby girl all was right with the world. I felt my heart break and overflow with love all at the same moment.  I knew that I loved being a mom from that very moment.

Krister and I are so in love with Elowyn…. today she is 9 and a half months old, and I will be celebrating my very first Mother’s Day.  She has made our lives complete, and given us so much joy.  She is such an amazing, happy little girl.  She loves crawling, climbing, screaming, cuddling and eating absolutely any food I eat.  She is a social butterfly, loves swimming and enjoys a game a patty-cake any day.  She smiles easily at us and at complete strangers.  When she gets ready for bed at night she says “bye bye” and waives her hand at all of her animals and the owls on her wall.  She says “uh-oh”, “dada” and “mama”.  When I look at her my heart swells with love, and I realize that I am experiencing something that bonds me with other women all around the world.  I am experiencing the amazing, life-altering joy of being a mom and watching my little one grow.

To all of the moms out there where are taking a moment to reflect on how amazing it is to be a mom I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day!

Love, Susan

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There is nothing more exciting, more thrilling than becoming a mom or a dad for the very first time.  The enormous amount of love you feel for this beautiful baby you have felt, but never seen before the moment you hold them in your arms is greater than anything experienced until this point.  The closeness you feel with this little one is as big as the dreams you have for his future.  True love.

That is why, when parents are comfortable with it, I love photographing them with their babies skin on skin.  I feel there is a wholesomeness to the photos, a real-ness… a beauty that is just breathtaking.  I can’t believe I didn’t photograph newborns when I first began as a photographer.  But then again, that was also at the point in my life when I didn’t want to have children.  As our past brides and grooms began having babies, I couldn’t help but want to follow them on this next chapter in their journey and document it.  And… I think I fell in love with the thought of having my own little one as well along the way!

I couldn’t picture not photographing little newborns.  When I go through a week without a photo shoot I feel a bit of withdrawal!  The cuddly little, sweet-smelling, soft and squishy little cutie pies truly make my day.

Most sessions involve a lot of photographs of baby alone in this prop or that prop.  This session I photographed a little differently.  Because mom is a photographer herself, I decided to give her images that she couldn’t create on her own…. the moments of her with her little one, and with her husband and her little one as a family.  Here are a few I love.

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Michelle and Donald’s wedding was one of the smallest weddings I have ever photographed.  Smallest, but full of emotion, and so very sweet and intimate!  Michelle and Donald invited their closest friends to stand up for them.  The weather was warm even though some fresh snow covered the ground.  I’ve decided that boutonnieres made with a simple ranunculus flower are my favourite.

I am so in love with ranunculus! The Art Gallery of Alberta was so much fun to photograph in as the light came in through the windows.  It is truly one of the indoor places we enjoy photographing the most for a great modern feel.  The structure is so beautiful and full of great natural light.  The colours are so unobtrusive that it makes a perfect backdrop for photographs! We headed to a parking lot downtown for a few outdoor photographs before taking some photographs by a pool in the couple’s apartment.  I absolutely loved the beautiful reflections.  It was truly so much fun to share in the intimacy and beauty of Michelle and Donald’s wedding.

A tip for students and new wedding photographers: Before taking a photograph, examine the natural light you have to work with.  If you have any pockets of light, consider using these for dramatic lighting (see image of bride alone looking up).

A tip for bride’s and grooms: When choosing a ceremony or reception site, consider selecting a place that is open to and beautiful for photography.  If your ceremony site and reception site are not great for photographs, then consider booking a place to have photographs taken in should the weather not cooperate on your day.  There are many spaces in and around Edmonton that are really beautiful to fit a variety of “feels” or themes, so when we meet to plan your details we’d be happy to recommend some of our favourite spots!

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There is nothing that is more of a miracle than birth.  Even when Krister and I were convinced we did not wish to have children, I loved witnessing a brand new baby coming into this world.  The first time I photographed a birth it was for a former bride/groom of ours.  I loved the couple, and witnessing them go through the anticipation, pain, love and wonder of their little boy coming into the world hooked me on photographing births from that time on!

This story was similar.  Oksana and Ryan were a wonderful couple that Krister and I had the privilege to photograph on their wedding day in the Dominican Republic.  On our 3 hour drive to some amazing trash the dress locations we got to know them better, and when Oksana let me know she was pregnant I was so excited for them!  Now a friend of mine, I knew I’d love to be there for their miracle.  Luckily they wanted me there too ;).

Oksana was called into the hospital without any notice, and I made it to the Grey Nuns Hospital in time to be a part of the anticipation, the eagerness, and witness the beauty of the moments just before the two became a unit of three.  When Kaleb was born I could barely contain my excitement.  It is great at moments like these to have a lens to hide behind.  I’ve shed not a few tears on wedding days or baby photo shoots behind my camera.  Kaleb was so little, so amazing… so perfect.  As family entered and met the little one for the first time ever I had the amazing job of capturing all of these firsts.  “Special K” will always hold a little place in my heart.  Thank you so much Oksana and Ryan for allowing me to capture his beginning!

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  • Chris Anderson - Awesome series! And glad you could make it on time! Great to hear that you shed a few behind the camera during this session. We’re lucky in that we get to hide behind the camera sometimes ;)ReplyCancel

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