Looking Back: The Wild At Heart Workshop

To view the actual images taken at The Wild at Heart Workshop, click  HERE.

It’s been exactly one year since I attended the Wild At Heart Boudoir Workshop, but ever after capturing thousands of photos that magical weekend, it took a global pandemic and me being quarantined at home for me to actually sit down and write about it.

Ever since I took an interest (and became OBSESSED) with the art of Boudoir Photography, I’ve always looked online for inspiration.  Who are the Masters at creating such intimate art that really speaks to my heart?  Who’s work did I want my images to aspire to?  It was then when I discovered the body of work created by Jasmin Pickens.  When she announced she was teaming up with Jessica Rae, another insanely talented boudoir photographer and educator extraordinaire, to create an intimate and intensive boudoir workshop in the deserts of Southern California, I did not hesitate to reserve one of the 5 spots available.  I lucked out as it was sold out in no time!  I packed my bags, kissed my family goodbye for now and flew from the Vancouver spring chill to the sunny Palm Springs Desert.  

I eventually drove up to Yucca Valley to a beautiful rancher in the middle of the desert where I met such amazing fellow photographers from Canada and the US, and the talented Jasmin and Jessica.  I was pretty excited to meet these two talented women in person.  I would be roomies with these creatives for the next few days to just learn and shoot.  It was just exactly what I needed.

After a time to settle and introduce ourselves, we didn’t waste any more time as models started arriving and getting ready.  We were photographing models in the different rooms and corners of the house with two groups led by either Jessica or Jasmin.  We eventually drove up to Joshua Tree and continued shooting with the most gorgeous desert landscape as our backdrop.  We eventually ended our day shooting during sunset with a beautiful Reclamation Dress.

The next day we woke up before dawn to photograph as the sun rose in front of us.  I never woke up that early for a shoot but I know now how priceless and so worth it it is.  It was then when I captured one of my most favorite shots I ever took!  As the day progressed, another batch of models arrived and we were free to photograph them inside the house and around the property, practicing what we had learned from our teachers.  Later that afternoon, after the models left we eventually all agreed that we would take ourselves, along with a bottle of wine, to the desert and photograph each other.  With not a care in the world, it was then when we let go of any hang ups, and emotional and physical baggage and be free with the desert wind while being photographed by one another.  I have to admit: As a boudoir photographer, I hadn’t walked the walk nor had I been in front of the lens in this type of nature until this moment.  It was then when I really experienced the therapeutic, self-healing and liberating effects of an intimate photo session for myself.

I am proud of the photos that were taken that amazing weekend, but behind those photos lie a collection of memories that I will keep close to me.  My biggest take away from the workshop?  To be more free.  

To allow freedom when I shoot.  Not everything needs to be perfectly placed.  Movement in photos has a certain beauty that cannot be duplicated, posed or staged.

Also, to allow more freedom as a woman.  It’s okay to go out of your comfort zone for the hell of it.  I used to live my life spontaneously but  I’ve lost touch with that side of me ever since I had children.  I needed to be reacquainted with that side of me that weekend in the desert… and I’m so glad I did.  Now more than ever I strongly believe that once in a while, every woman needs to reconnect with their inner wild child.

Enough with the chatter, let’s check out some of the MAGIC taken from The Wild at Heart Workshop by clicking  HERE.

Beyond the Haze: Jen & Mike’s Engagement Session

Okay so it looks like I haven’t posted  since 2016 (Yikes!) and I have quite the catch up to do.  I do think that now is the time to pick up this long lost ball that I dropped and start sharing some of my recent work.

I have known Jen and Mike for many many years and earlier in the spring when they asked me to photograph their wedding, I could not refuse.  Fast forward to only a couple of days before their wedding in Harrison Lake, BC excitement and anticipation has overcome me.  I feel inclined and stoked to share their photos from their engagement session last month.  It took place in Buntzen Lake and the docks of White Pine (We spent countless days floating in those waters many moons ago, during our younger and care-free days, but let’s not go there), when the smoke and haze from the BC forest fires had made their way to southern BC.  I have to admit I was a little worried on how the session would turn out, but together with the lakeside mountainous backdrop, it made for such gorgeous images!  Thanks again BC, you truly are beautiful!  

To follow my adventures as a wedding photographer this weekend or to see my recent work, follow me on instagram (@mjphotovan)… Who know’s when my next blog post will be (kidding not kidding!).

Photograhy: Yours truly
Hair + Makeup: A Perfect 10 Beauty, www.aperfect10beauty.com

Good Vibes Only with MD Designs

“I have a such good feeling about this!” Megan from MD Designs said to me on our drive to the shoot, just beaming with excitement.  Having photographed her for her engagement photos a couple of years back, and knowing how much of a great experience it was photographing her, I was really stoked to create some amazing images for her new website.  Megan had recently took a giant leap and left the corporate work to start her own design studio.  Specializing in branding, website design and everything in between– online and in print, she is a designer, a mastermind of ideas and draws inspiration from her travels and our own backyard.  She has the ability to juggle multiple killer ideas for multiple clients at a time which amazes me.  Megan has a colourful personality to match her talent and I wanted to bring that out in her photographs while staying true to her brand.  In today’s world where people refer to social media for everything you must have high-impact and striking images that elevate your brand to grab the attention of your future clients.  Why settle for mediocre images to represent your business that you have invested your heart and soul into?

We shot at a newly painted alleyway in downtown Vancouver buzzing with selfie-takers, tourists and people shooting hoops.  There was indeed an infectious good vibe in the air that day which set the tone of our session.  We had a few different coloured backgrounds to work with and also discovered hidden gems (thanks to a fellow photographer and fashion blogger).  It didn’t take long for us to complete the session leaving us super pumped with the images we took.

My time with Megan has made me realize that I need to shoot outside more.  Nothing beats having this great multifaceted city as my background.  She also made me realize that as long as you keep a positive mind and a happy heart, everything else will just fall into place.

For those who are thinking of freshening up your business and branding, check out Megan at www.mddesigns.net.

Some kind words from our client:

“I hired MJ Photography for my personal branding photos and because my work is very creative I wanted the images to be unconventional and feel personal at the same time. I don’t know how Marissa did it, but she captured my true brand essence. The images speak for themselves! It was such a fun experience to shoot with Marissa and never in my life have I ever LOVED photos of myself this much. I feel extremely proud to showcase these images on my website and marketing materials. I never felt overly posed, was 100% comfortable and was never rushed. Marissa’s talent and professionalism are absolutely stellar, second to none. I felt that she truly cared about my shoot, my brand and me! Marissa understood exactly what I needed, took my concepts and transformed them into images that perfectly encompassed the evolvement and growth of both me and my business. If you are looking to take your brand and business seriously, you need professional branded photography and you need to hire an expert. I will be rebooking with MJ Photography in the future and I have recommended her to all of my clients. Invest in quality images to take your brand and your business to the next level!” 

Megan Dufresne
Owner and Creative Director
MD Designs

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