Let’s start fresh

Alright guys, it’s about to get real REAL fast. I have literally written and rewritten this post a gazillion times. Actually no…this is an entirely new post while the old one sits in the ‘draft’ section of my blog. The original was going to mention all the reasons why I have been so absent this past year on my site/blog and end it off with a ‘year-end’ slideshow of all the awesome weddings and shoots that I was really fortunate to be a part of in 2016. Part of me still wants to do that because I’m truly proud of the work that I’ve created and the people I got to meet who trusted me to capture their special day but the rest of it wasn’t all that spectacular so I’m going to spare you all the crummy details.

There are so many mixed emotions when it comes to the New Year and the whole goal setting/resolution craze. Some people think it’s a crock while others really believe that they will lose 100lbs in 30 days. I’m all for goal setting and if you need a new date to do it, so be it. I typically set myself up with a monthly goal in my planner (which are usually business oriented) and have daily ‘to-dos’ (which have actually included things like ‘wash your hair’). I need lists and I need to be reminded of things so I’m all about aspirations, goals, dreams, resolutions, whatever you want to call them. Whether they are as big as climbing Mount Everest or as small as getting your car detailed (actually it took me over 2 years to do that), I get it and I’m behind you every step of the way!

This year is a bit different for me and I’ve decided to start it here with this post. I’m excited to start fresh and I want to start it on a positive note. I don’t want to list the hundreds of reason why I wasn’t able to blog every week or complain about how busy and crappy life got. We’ve all had our share of ups and downs but the way I see it is that I’ve been blessed with a brand new day, heck I’m lucky enough to even just write about my big plans for this upcoming season in my new agenda.

Anyway, you get it and I’ll get to the point…I’m really excited about this fresh new start! Let’s talk about a couple things you might not know about me and my personal life. This might also shed some light on why I’ve been absent and might help with why I’ve chosen to do certain things differently for my business this year.

First, after what felt like FOREVER, our house has finally been built! It’s been almost 3 years since that dreadful fire took everything we had. We’ve slowly been moving since the end of October and are still getting adjusted to a normal life of not living in boxes and storage units or having to spend my days on the phone with insurance people, contractors, etc. Let me tell you guys, the tears, the anger, the hopelessness, the struggle…it was all too present in our everyday lives and I have chosen to put it behind me. FAR FAR away! Now we have a brand new house that we get to enjoy and watch our little ones grow up in. Cheers to that!!!!!

Secondly, you heard me say it – ‘little ones’. We are expecting our second baby soon! Like in a week soon ha!!! We might not have the nursery done yet but we are super excited to welcome this new addition into our already crazy lives and new home.

With those 2 big milestones, I’ve decided to really look into what is important in my life and for my family. That really meant putting a lot of focus on my work too because let’s face it – it’s what takes up most of my time.

Which brings me to what’s in store for MJP. Even though I still continued to work full-time photographing so many lovely people and couples the past year, I spent a bit of time ‘away’ as well. I took a step back to try and focus on what makes me happy and the reasons why I continue to do this. I think after the last few years, I lost track of that immensely and just hid behind my ‘About me’ section hoping people would still think that I spent my Sundays taking bubble baths and perusing through aisles and aisles full of junk at flea markets. Don’t get me wrong – I still love doing those things! But times have changed and I have other more pressing things to get to on most Sunday mornings. That brings me to my #1 goal of 2017:

A website overhaul

I’m working on it as we speak and hoping to have it done by the end of the month (as in February). I want my website to speak for me and my work. I have also decided to start fresh there too and my blog will only hold brand new 2017 content. I realize many of you like to go back and view old posts but I am ready for a new start. Don’t get me wrong – I am extremely proud of the work that I’ve shared over the last 9 years. There’s been some incredible weddings and shoots and it’s always nice to reminisce but I no longer want to go back in time. I want to live in the present moment, declutter, move on. It’s important for me and I hope we’re on board with this together!

New focuses

I am first and foremost a wedding photographer and will continue to be. After speaking with my husband about how to reach that level of happiness we have been wanting, we’ve decided to slow things down a little bit. I have decided to cut back on bookings and am taking on a smaller amount of weddings per year. This will allow me to give my 100% to the clients that I do have without over scheduling myself. My business was once my only ‘child’ and I worked NON STOP. It’s become clear that I can’t do it all while juggling a family. I have burnt myself out in the last year and I realize that I really can’t function well when I have too much going on.

With weddings still being my #1 specialty, you might have noticed that I have been delving into ‘intimate’ sessions a little bit more. This is because I absolutely ADORE them! I have found a true passion in photographing so many beautiful ladies throughout the years and want to do more of it. This is why my new website will mainly display my wedding and intimate work.

That being said, I have also decided to cut back on certain things that I won’t have much time for. Although I loved seeing families grow, newborn photography was just not my calling and I will no longer be doing this type of work for the time being. I will however take on a limited amount of lifestyle family sessions throughout the year so don’t hesitate to contact me to book one of those! It’s always nice to change things up a bit.

Workflow system

When I get burnt out, I tend to run and hide from what it is that will get me out of that rut. Everything becomes too overwhelming and I crash. I let things go far too long without sitting down and focusing on priorities or setting goals for myself that getting back on track is excruciatingly difficult. I got to that point at the end of the year. I just didn’t even know where to start again. Through my hands up and pretty well gave up. I’m just now getting back on track because of this new goal.

This is another biggie for me because I spent a lot of time jotting things down about how I could better myself at this. I have quite a few things on my ‘to-do’ list when it comes to my workflow and I’m excited to get on them and follow a much better system this year. Starting with taking on less work, my clients will experience something so much greater and I will benefit from it as well. Here’s to eliminating stress and just being more organized in my every day life! I’m really excited to update you all with how this is working out for me this year.

Well that’s pretty much it! I did have some smaller, more ‘point form goals’ to share but I think I’m going to leave it at that. Those are all big items that I’ll be tackling in the next few months and I will make sure to update you all on how it’s all working out for me and what I’ve implemented in order to get them accomplished. Thanks for stopping by and if you’ve made it this far – thanks for reading. Hopefully we are all on the same page with this ‘fresh start’ thing because I’m pretty excited about it! Let’s do this….

A look into the ‘Intimates’

**EDITED TO ADD: We only have 2 spots left for the fall boudoir shoot weekend**

I have photographed many couples in the 9 years of my photography career. So many happy people getting married and it’s my responsibility to document it all. It’s pretty amazing that I get to call this my job. Photographing couples and newlyweds is hands down my most favorite thing to do but during my down time in the off season months, I spend my time doing the next best thing. Boudoir.

I like to call these sessions ‘intimates’ as my goal is to capture gorgeous woman in their most private, confidential and personal state.

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It’s no wonder that at first, one would be nervous to share such a vulnerable side with someone they hardly know (and to do it in barely no clothes to boot!). But rest assured, once we get started the anxiety diminishes and we have such a great time!

I’m going to be honest with you here for a minute. One of the reasons I offer these sessions is out of pure selfishness. The satisfaction that ensues after one of these ladies leaves the studio is truly amazing. Seeing her leave with that smile and extra skip in her step is like nothing that I experience photographing anything else.

Making these wonderful ladies feel the way they should feel on a daily basis is my goal. I see these women all different shapes, sizes, colour and it reminds me of all the beauty we have here in the world. I want every single one of them to know that they are unique and absolutely gorgeous just the way they are. Inside and out.

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A new fitness milestone, a wedding gift to your future husband, even a gift to yourself for your 40th. No matter the reason – it’s a great idea! Here’s what some had to say about their experience:

‘I have worked with Melissa several times over the years—engagement, wedding, newborn and family shoots—and each time has been a great experience and the pictures are beautiful. But my recent boudoir shoot was a whole new level of amazing. Not only was she helpful in making me comfortable with the process, it was so much fun! I can’t recommend Melissa’s talent as a photographer enough, and her boudoir shoots are not to be missed’. – C

‘Melissa was absolutely amazing during my boudoir photo session. I was so nervous and concerned about my body before the shoot and that all fell away once we started. She made me feel so comfortable. She also made me feel so beautiful! She was so encouraging and really made the experience something special for me. I would do it again in a heartbeat!’ – K

‘I was extremely nervous the days leading up to the shoot. In fact, I almost backed out at the last minute. I could never picture myself as ‘sexy’. Well Melissa and her team made me feel more then that! I felt absolutely beautiful and Melissa made the shoot fun and easy too. She gave great direction the entire time and we laughed throughout the entire session. I originally did this shoot for my husband, but looking back – I did it for myself. It was really good for me to let go. It was an amazing experience and I recommend it to anyone!’ – J

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Often, I will only advertise my next marathon on my Facebook page and have a limited number of sessions that I take on each year. Private sessions can certainly be done as well. Contact me to find out more and to book your intimate session with me!

 BIG thank you to the ever amazing makeup artist, Dee Dee Butters for her amazing work and always making the ladies feel fabulous as well 🙂

Jen & Cedric’s snowy engagement

When I book winter shoots, most people are really hoping for that beautiful slow, thick snow fall. We didn’t get much of that this year until later on in the season and we certainly got it for Jen and Cedric’s session! The snow started coming down just as I was on my way to meet them and I was getting really excited. The rapidly lowering temperature never fazed them and we frolicked around making the most of the wintery landscape.

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Stephanie & Jeff, a winter time engagement

It’s been a while since I’ve posted but it’s been an uncommonly busy winter for me with other projects. Shoots have also been quite plentiful for this time of year but I blame the warmer weather for that!

Stephanie, Jeff and I (and how can I forget their furry friend) met on a gorgeous afternoon and watched the sun go down in the horizon. Having only spoken to Stephanie by email, it was great to finally meet them in person and I look forward to their wedding day in the fall!

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Chloe & Brandon’s perfect fall wedding

Remember these two? Well they got married this past fall and it was glorious. In my 8 years of photographing weddings, I have seen MANY people in love. Although, I have never seen it like I did on Chloe and Brandons day. There was absolutely no way to wipe the smiles off their faces and no way you can pull Chloe out of Brandon’s arms. Knowing them has made the sun shine a little bit brighter in my life and I can only believe that they do the same to others who meet them.

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Kristin & Jim’s wedding at Sand Rd. Maple Farm

Kristin and I have known each other for 20 years now and we’ve never lost touch. She is one of my closest friends and I was honoured to not only stand by her as a bridesmaid but also to photograph her wedding this past fall (with the huge help of my assistant Jessica who also decorated!).

I met Jim quite a while ago, and upon getting to know what a wonderful person he was – I knew I had the perfect match for him. The moment that Kristin and Jim laid eyes on each other, it was fate.

Watching them making a promise to each other in church that day and then sing to one another during their first dance, was so precious to me. No two people could deserve such happiness then Kristin and Jim.

I couldn’t be happier for you both and I love you more then words can say!

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Haleigh & Adam’s windy wedding at Evermore

Ever since Haleigh and Adam’s engagement session, I’ve been so excited to photograph them again but this time as they exchanged vows at a gorgeous new venue in Almonte. It definitely didn’t leave me disappointed. Everything about their day was absolutely magical. From the way the barn was beautifully decorated, the windy ceremony, to the insanely epic sunset at the end of the day. Absolutely unforgettable.

Get ready for an overload of visual gorgeousness. Could I have used enough adjectives in this post?!

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