I have the absolute pleasure as being one of the vendors associated with Pop Up Weddings Calgary, and Sam + Jozie happened to be one of the couples I was lucky to photograph! The decided to have an intimate wedding at Reader Rock Garden in Calgary, and Erin and her team created an amazing day perfect for them. I can’t say enough about Sam + Jozie! They’re down to earth and one of the sweetest couples I’ve ever met. Their wedding day was an absolute blast to shoot, despite pouring rain off and on the entire day.
Sam started the day getting ready with her twin sister, friends, and mom, and then wanted to have a special moment with her dad pre-ceremony. They ended up having beers and snacks at Reader Rock Garden cafe beforehand, just the two of them. Their outdoor ceremony was emotional, full of laughter and insanely perfect. The smiles on both their faces as they said stood in front of their loved ones and said “I Do!” said it all. Those smiles also didn’t dissipate throughout the rest of the day. Even with a slight sprinkling of rain during the family photos and portrait session couldn’t dampen their day.
This is one of my favourite locations in Calgary if you are looking for a small venue that doesn’t seem like it is in the middle of a big city. It is so peaceful and calm, and always makes for wonderful photos. Enjoy scrolling through some of my favourite from the day!
Jill + Russ have loved BC for a long time and decided to have a Lake Country wedding, which they invited me out to photograph. I was thrilled because it meant I could spend a weekend camping in my tent, which is my favourite accommodation. Seriously, I would much rather stay at a secluded campground than a five star hotel. Call me crazy, but that’s me!
This wedding was close to my heart because I have been good friends with these two for a few years. Jill + Russ’s wedding was so intentionally crafted and each choice they made represented them perfectly! They opted to have a first look because they wanted to share the moment privately. Jill said it helped get her nerves out too. I loved that this allowed us to do some pictures at the house before the festivities began.
Their Lake Country wedding ceremony took place at a local park, on the beach, overlooking the beautiful lake. There were gorgeous willow trees above them that were absolutely stunning while also providing some much needed shade for their guests. I loved how they had a ceremony including Russ’s two boys, in which they tied cloth around all of their hands symbolizing the unity of their family. Russ had the most touching vows I have ever heard and it turned every single person into a sobbing mess.
Afterwards, I took Jill + Russ around the park to get some intimate shots of them, and even made Jill traipse out onto some rocks in the water. I am always so glad that couples are willing to do this for me, and trust my artistic vision. On the way out we spotted a motorcycle with a side car, and Russ absolutely refused to leave before getting a picture with Jill stuffed in the side car. I think it is still one of my favourites!
Their evening ended back at the house in Lake Country, which had a gorgeous backyard. Everyone enjoyed drinks and food as the sun set. The speeches at this wedding were wonderful, and really showcased how great a pair they are. The whole day was warm, intimate, and full of laughter. Plus, instead of a cake at the end of the night, they had milk and cookies. How great is that?!
Erin and Bart wanted to incorporate a bit of adventure and hiking into their engagement shoot, and decided somewhere in Banff National Park would be perfect. We hiked into Johnston Canyon just before sunset and ended up being the only ones on the entire hike. It was so calm and peaceful, and unlike how I had ever seen it before. Usually the trail is packed with tourists, so it was quite a treat having no one else around.
My hubby and dog tagged along on the shoot, and we spent the evening exploring the caverns and caves of Johnston Canyon. They also brought their dog, and being a huge dog person, I always love when couples want to incorporate their pups into the session. The four of us had a great time hiking and chatting along the way, and it was such a joy spending time with these two.
Erin and Bart were so easy to work with and had fun making each other laugh. When we got into the cave, it was hilarious trying to relay what I wanted them to do over the crashing noise of the waterfall. My hubby and I ended up recreating the pose from a distance so they could see what I was trying to shout!
*This spot is always a favourite with couples, but I want to mention that this cave has now been closed to public access to protect the nesting habitat of black swifts. The park is handing out pretty hefty fines to trespassers, so unfortunately I won’t be shooting at this amazing location anymore. Since I am a Biology graduate, I like to nerd out a lot, so for anyone else that is interested, the reason the park has done this is because this cave is the only known nesting sites of black swifts in Alberta, so it is obviously of great importance that they are not disturbed.*
When Erin from Pop Up Weddings YYC and I decided to do a winter styled elopement, we knew there had to be an element of adventure to it. Often a lot of brides will opt for a summer/spring/fall wedding allowing them to wear their wedding dress without having to wrap up warm and risk the frostbite that comes with -30 degree weather! This is why some winter elopements can be overlooked. We wanted to change that and show just how magical and romantic a mid-winter elopement could be.
This styled shoot features an incredible landscape of a frozen waterfall, an ice cave, cozy outfits, and most importantly a real couple, Jemmica and Jon, celebrating their love in the snow.
Our design inspiration came straight from the beautiful mountains of Canada. I first hiked into this waterfall a few years ago and always had it on my radar for a future photoshoot. I knew the bright blue ice and soft snow would make for a stunning an intimate elopement location. We shot in freezing temperatures and out came this wintery scenery with subtle hues making it almost magical. It was quite an adventure as we had to hike in for a few km across ice, and we went through more hand warmers than I thought possible!
All in all we had an absolute blast, and I can’t thank Jemmica and Jon enough for being absolute troopers.
Kristi and I met working at Earls when I first moved to Calgary, and I was delighted to be asked to photograph their backyard wedding. We already connected for their beautiful engagement photos as Fish Creek Park, and I knew their wedding would be just as amazing! Having had a backyard wedding myself, these are definitely one of my favourite venues for weddings! They always seem to be so personal and intimate and really reflect the couple perfectly. Kristi + Bryce’s house is absolutely stunning and sits adjacent to Fish Creek Park. Everything was to take place in the backyard and they had a perfect sunny day for it.
Kristi was a vision is her ballgown dress and looked like a princess. Her daughter Sayge was in awe of how she looked and couldn’t wait for the ceremony to begin. Kristi and Bryce were married under a giant tree in their backyard which provided a stunning backdrop. They had a heartfelt ceremony, complete with a part to honour Sayge and celebrating their union as a family.
After the ceremony in the backyard, we headed to Fish Creek Park with the bridal party for pictures. I think Kristi and her maids were the most stunning group I have ever seen. Not to mention, their dresses were just perfect against the treed background. But I can’t leave the boys out of this either, their navy blue suits were classic and made them look pretty damn sharp. Kristi has loved dance she was a little girl and her gracefulness really showed through as I was taking portraits of her.
We returned to their backyard, and were greeted by self serve stations of amazing food catered by Fork + Farm. My favourite, obviously, was the candy truck stationed out front. It was a huge hit with all the kids…and myself. Just kidding, the adults indulged too and it was awesome. Highly recommend getting a candy truck folks! I loved their style of just casual seating with stations around the yard to go and fill your plate with. They had everything from Paella, to sliders, to shrimp skewers and it was all phenomenal.
They rest of the evening was relaxed and full of fun and laughter. The dance floor saw some amazing one on one battles which had everyone in stitches. After some wonderful speeches, the sun set and I enjoyed photographing the dancing the general chilling that the rest of the evening brought. Congrats Kristi and Bryce and I wish you all the best with your new little addition that just arrived!
Welcome to my all-time favourite Banff adventure session set in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta which was recently featured on Rocky Mountain Bride. Paula + Johnny are dream clients and I am even more lucky to consider them good friends. They both had dreams of getting married in the mountains where they spend most of their free time. Unfortunately, Paula’s mom was very ill and so they opted to get married where she lived in Ottawa. Paula’s mom ended up passing before their wedding, but it was a beautiful day, full of love, and showcased what a strong bond Johnny + Paula have together. See the blog post of it here!
We decided instead to do a Banff adventure session in the mountains once they got back to Calgary. Both Paula and Johnny are very active and love the outdoors, they even did a hiking engagement shoot! So, when I suggested that we hike up a mountain with all their wedding gear, they didn’t hesitate to say yes!
We hiked up the East end of Rundle Mountain in Banff, without knowing what kind of views it would provide. It was a hike that none of us had done so we figured it would be a good one to try. Oh man, it did not disappoint! Johnny somehow managed to put Paula’s wedding dress and all his suit items into a giant backpacking backpack and hauled it 5km up the mountain. Paula brought a backpack full of lunch and water for them both. They kicked my butt up the mountain, and also had no qualms about getting dressed at the top in -20 degree (celsius) weather!
I loved that Paula had her beautiful wedding dress and thermal underwear and hiking boots underneath. Needless to say we kept the session fairly short before Paula lost feeling in her arms. Fortunately, it was incredible scenery that didn’t need long to capture.
See more of this incredible shoot on the Rocky Mountain Bride blog here!
Julia + Taylor had probably my favourite outdoor wedding of all time this past year. It reminded me so much of my own, so naturally I was fairly biased and loved everything about it. You may remember these two from their engagement shoot that we did in the mountains? They celebrated their day at an amazing house (mansion?) and property in Priddis, just south of Calgary. I love an outdoor wedding where everything happens in one place, because then the timeline for the day is so much smoother and easier to figure out. Julia and Taylor chose to stick to tradition and forgo a first look, so I hung out with each of them separately before the ceremony.
Taylor and the boys got ready in the barn, and we had a fun time taking pictures in the classic cars that were around the property. The were an easy group to get along with and they certainly kept Taylor laughing the whole time. I absolutely love his smile – slightly goofy but really lets his emotion show through. After I was done photographing the boys, I headed over to the girls who were chilling and drinking champagne in the bathroom. I know it sounds odd, but wait till you see the pictures of the bathroom. It’s bigger and nicer than my bedroom! I took Julia out onto the balcony for some epic portraits and fortunately the smoke from the forest fires has dissipated a bit so we could see the amazing scenery.
Their ceremony overlooked the spectacular backdrop that the Priddis property backs on to, and the valley and hills were just visible through the smoke. I loved that I could walk around in a circle around the whole ceremony, and get every angle. I also ran up to the balcony to get a shot of the whole scene. It was a truly beautiful location to say their vows to each other.
After the ceremony, Julia, Taylor, and I roamed the property taking pictures as we went. The positive side of having some smoke in the air, was that it nicely filtered the light and made it flattering no matter what direction I was shooting. J+T were so natural and easy to work with. It was effortless getting beautiful and natural emotion out of them.
We joined the guests for an evening full of delicious burgers, hilarious speeches, and one heck of a party. This one will go down in my history books, so enjoy some of my favourites!
I had so much fun with my 2017 adventure wedding giveaway, that this year, I have decided to do an adventure elopement giveaway! I want to offer all adventurous couples out there a chance to win full coverage for their elopement anywhere in the world.
Being outdoors is what I live for, and I want to capture spontaneous and adventurous couples in wild places. Do you and your partner enjoy hiking, canoeing, climbing, or breathing in the fresh mountain air? Are you planning an outdoor elopement? (outdoor venue, cabin, mountain setting, or other fun location)? Canada or International! If this sounds like you, enter to win a free adventure elopement giveaway!
Scroll down for all the details!
Here is what’s included:
– full elopement coverage by Laura Barclay Photography
– 300-400 high resolution edited images
– an online, password protected gallery of all your images
**Contest is open to all couples, so feel free to tag with your engaged friends who are the adventurous type!**
Here’s how to enter this amazing giveaway:
1) Follow Laura Barclay Photography on Instagram
2) Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
– First and last names
– Phone number(s)
– Dream elopement date + location
– A photo that best represents the two of you as a couple
– A little about your elopement! What do you envision/have planned?
– Some sentences that describe the two of you as a couple… your love story! I want to hear how you two got together and why you’d love to win this giveaway!
– Please state that you read the rules and that you agree to the terms of the giveaway.
You have until MARCH 25 to enter! Good luck!
The Official Rules for the Laura Barclay Photography 2018 Adventure Wedding Elopement Giveaway:
You must be 18 or older to enter, and have an elopement date set between May 1st, 2018 and December 31st, 2018. Your elopement can take place in Canada or internationally.
Couples who have already booked or inquired with Laura Barclay Photography are not eligible to participate in this giveaway.
Please do not enter this giveaway if you are already booked with another photographer. I am not out to steal business from other photographers.
Your date must still be available in my schedule to be considered, or your date must be flexible.
You must have a set date for your elopement when entering this giveaway, or be able to set a date within 2 weeks of winning.
The Laura Barclay Photography giveaway entries will be accepted from today, until March 25th, 2018 at 11:59pm MST. I will then choose three couples who must be available to chat some time in March/April, 2018, because I want to make sure that we are a great fit! The winner will be notified via phone/email at the number and address provided and will be announced on my instagram at the end of April.
Should you win this giveaway, and if your elopement is taking place more than 100 kilometers from Calgary, you must agree to pay for all travel expenses for Laura Barclay Photography. I will make all travel arrangements but will keep the costs low…don’t you worry!
A contract must be signed and returned to Laura Barclay Photography within 2 weeks of winning, along with any travel expenses that will need to be paid for the actual wedding day.
Only one couple will be awarded this giveaway, full coverage of professional photography by Laura Barclay, and approximately 300-400, high resolution digital photos.
This adventure elopement giveaway prize cannot be sold, traded, transferred, or exchanged for cash or any other item or service.
The winning couple also agrees to be featured on www.laurabarclay.ca, as well as on any other publication that Laura Barclay Photography wishes to submit to. The names and images of the winning couple will be used by Laura Barclay Photography for promotional purposes.
By participating in this adventure elopement photography giveaway, you agree to be bound by these official rules.
Last year around this time I ran an adventure wedding giveaway and was contacted by Roshni + Christer. After reading a bit about them, I knew I had to learn more about them and their wedding. When I ran my giveaway, I was looking for a couple doing something a bit out of the ordinary and whom I could relate to. Roshni is originally from the States and Christer from Denmark, but they met while traveling. They have been living in various countries all over the world since meeting. What drew me to choose Roshni and Christer to win my giveaway was how kind they were when I met them over skype, and how they shared my love of traveling and experiencing different cultures.
They decided to have a desert wedding, based at Roshni’s aunts house just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. I was thrilled when we planned to photograph the wedding on Saturday and then spend an hour in the Valley of Fire on the Sunday as a little day-after adventure session. This was a dream couple and location to shoot, and couldn’t wait to tell them that they were the lucky winners!
I had the privilege of staying with the families for three full days, and we spent time playing games, enjoying amazing food, and generally having amazing conversations. It was fascinating to hear that Roshni was a negotiator for the government, which had her placed in different countries for 1-2 years at a time. It sounded like incredibly challenging work, but the places she got to live and experience had me green with envy.
After playing a game of Kubb with their friends and families Saturday morning, it was time for their wedding ceremony. They both wore traditional Indian dress, and both the red and royal blue colouring was spectacular in the desert setting. They had a traditional Indian ceremony, with Roshni’s uncle explaining each step to those that didn’t know each significance. The ceremony was filled with love, colour, and tradition, and I loved every minute of it.
After the sunset ceremony, their guests ate and danced the night away. One of Roshni’s cousins who is a very successful chef, made incredible Indian dishes. There was also traditional Bollywood dancing with the bridal party performing a choreographed routine.
The next day we headed to the Valley of Fire for a sunset day-after adventure session and it was incredible. As soon as we got to the canyon, I immediately wished I could photograph them for days! Sadly we only had just over an hour, but we had a blast wandering around and taking pictures. It was spectacular scenery and a vast difference from the cool blue mountains I am used to in Alberta. I was so thrilled to be a part of their day and was so stoked on how well my adventure wedding giveaway ended up working out!
Now for some exciting news… I’ll be doing another giveaway this year – this time for a full adventure elopement! Stay tuned for this announcement and, in the mean time, enjoy the photos from Roshni + Christer’s Nevada desert wedding!
Well I am overwhelmed as I sit down and try to write a year end review as an adventure elopement + wedding photographer for 2017. This year was full of amazing milestones and highs, and also major challenges and hardships. As my second full wedding season spent in Calgary after moving from Ontario, I had set some pretty tough goals for myself which I was thrilled to end up surpassing.
One of my goals was continue increasing my client base as an adventure elopement + wedding photographer, and joining with Pop Up Weddings Calgary helped me to do just that. They create epic elopements that are intimate and special, while creating fun alternatives to traditional weddings. This opportunity allowed me to shoot in some pretty unique locations (like Village Brewery), and meet incredible couples that wanted their special day to reflect exactly who they are as a couple. Many people find wedding planning very stressful and elopements focus on what really matters: two people in love, celebrating the fact that they want to spend the rest of their lives together. No muss. No fuss. Each elopement couple I had this year were so happy with their decision. They chose to authentically do whatever the heck they wanted rather than “what’s expected” or “what everyone else does”.
Another goal was to shoot epic adventure sessions, and I love that people are crazy enough to join me. From a hiking engagement session, to mountaintop cliff edge wedding photos, to exploring the desert in Nevada during a day after session, I truly found my calling as an adventure elopement + wedding photographer and something I want to focus more and more on. Having started out as a landscape photographer while I traveled parts of the world, adventure weddings and elopements are seriously my jam. If you’re not afraid to get your dress a little dirty and are willing to embrace whatever the day may bring, lets connect! This year brought me all across Canada, to Maui, France, Spain, Scotland, and Nevada. I can’t wait to see where my adventures take me in 2018!
For 2017 I also wanted to connect more with other photographers, so I second shot as much as a could, went to some monthly photog meet ups, and decided to go to my first ever photography workshop. Camp collective is an intimate camp for photographers that centers around nature, connection, and creativity. It was amazing to meet so many like-minded badass individuals, and push my boundaries – not only artistically, but also by opening up and being vulnerable. Connecting on a close level with others and hearing that we all have challenges and frustrations is really quite comforting. Yay for not being alone!
Now for a more personal note. This year was hard. Extremely hard at times. At the beginning of the year my parents left for 13 months to live and work in South Africa. While they were away, my grandmother’s health declined and she was in and out of the hospital all year. I spent almost every second or third day visiting and chatting with her, and on her bad days, just sitting beside her bed editing while she napped. She has been in my life since I was very young, and we often had many chats about our Christmases spent together and my grandfather, whom I was very close to. She also was a very accomplished lady and I cherished hearing about her travels and adventures that she had when she was younger. In the late summer, her health took a turn for the worse and I knew the time was nearing. It was heartbreaking seeing her go through such a drastic change over a couple of months. It also was especially hard on her that her family all lived overseas. In the end, she ended up passing away only a few weeks before my mom (her step-daughter) returned home, which was extremely tough for them both. I am so grateful that I was by her side and provided company and comfort over the year. It made me extremely grateful for this amazing career I have chosen, and the flexibility it provides me. I miss her dearly.
Another challenge I was faced with was when I randomly decided to visit the optometrist for the first time in about 20 years. I have always had perfect vision so was honestly just too lazy to ever bother before. At the exam they found a sizeable hole in my retina and they weren’t able to tell me much else except that I have a huge blind spot in my right eye. About 1/4 of my vision is actually blocked in my right eye. I never noticed because your brain fills in the missing information – pretty incredible right?! A retinal specialist told me that this was either a deformity that I was born with, or something that was possibly getting worse over time which would eventually lead to blindness in my right eye. Pretty terrifying to say the least considering my love of photography and sports.
It shook me pretty hard that the main aspects that I have centered my life around could be drastically affected or not even possible anymore. After months of follow up visits and far too many eye drops, I am happy to announce that the hole is not getting any bigger so fortunately this is probably something I was born with. I will continue to have follow up checks to make sure, but for now I am so grateful that I will be able to follow my passion and continue to capture epic love stories in wild places.
Finally, the night before my last wedding of the year, my worst nightmare happened. I have been severely allergic to peanuts my whole life. Somehow I have managed to go 30 years without ever having a severe reaction. But that perfect record came to an end at the rehearsal dinner of my two clients. Apparently everyone in the world knows what a Móle sauce is…except for me. I thought it looked like delicious bbq pork. As soon as my tongue and roof of my mouth started swelling I knew I was in trouble. I had to quickly explain to the bride what was happening and apologized profusely for having to cut out early. Not wanting to make a scene by calling an ambulance, I ended up taking an uber to a nearby hospital. Fortunately, after a few hours of IV antihistamines and a shot of epinephrine I was as good as new. I photographed their stunning wedding the next day doped up on Benadryl. Luckily I was having so much fun that the drowsiness didn’t get to me! Not to say there is ever a good time to go into anaphylactic shock, but the night before a wedding, while in a foreign country, and on my own, was not ideal. Let’s hope I can go the next 30 years without another reaction!
If you are still reading, thank you. I appreciate that you are interested in a snapshot of what this year looked like. To end on a more positive note, I am going to list my three favourite things from 2017:
1. My hubby and I bought our first home and I still can’t believe how perfect it is. Adulting, while being terrifying, is incredibly awesome!
2. I was fortunate enough to travel and shoot in 6 different countries this year. I don’t believe that any book or lesson is ever better than traveling and interacting with different people/cultures. Each new place I visit is always humbling and eye opening. I am truly grateful for all the couples that I get to photograph, near and far. Each and every one of you has gotten me to where am I today. Thank you for trusting my vision, creativity, and craziness.
3. I ended the year second shooting for the incredible Carey Nash in Lake Louise. He is a world renowned photographer who I have looked up to for a long time, and I was humbled to join him for a day and simply shoot and chat as we made our way around Banff & Lake Louise. For how established he is, I have never met anyone so kind, funny, and down to earth. Despite being socked in with snow everywhere we went, he created amazing images and left me, yet again, inspired for the future. Thank you.
Finally, I am going to leave you with a few of my favourite images from this spectacular year. Thanks for following along and listening to my ramblings.
Merry Christmas to you all, and I wish you nothing but the best for 2018!