Brock and Tiffany: Chilliwack Engagement Photographer

Half an hour into our three hour long coffee date, Tiffany placed both hands on the table and said, “I think there’s something you should know about me.”

Now not gonna lie I was a little nervous. I had no idea what to expect. She continued, “You know how you have that deep sentimental love of mountains that leaves you in awe, gives you goosebumps and makes you kind of obsessive.” “Ummmm, yes.” “Well, I feel the same way about….elephants.”

I knew in that instant we would be a GREAT fit. She went on to tell me how much she adores elephants. Elephant clothes, home decor, jewelry, books, movies, and anything even remotely elephant related. Check out the tiny elephant earrings she wore for her engagement photos!

Brock, knowing her deep love of elephants decided to propose to her at the zoo in front of the elephant habitat in Seattle. Only problem was when they got there, there was no elephants :( He decided to go ahead with his plan anyway, and Tiffany said YES!

These two are my ideal couple in so many ways! They are so easy to talk to, so warmhearted, they welcomed me into their lives and happily sat with me for 3 hours over coffee talking food, books, TV shows….you name it, we talked about it! We talked about how cantaloupe is definitely the filler fruit in a fruit salad and anyone who thinks other wise is just plain crazy ;) and about our mutual love of Outlander, and all books in general.

I love how easy these two laugh together. And the full out gut busting laughs. They are so playful, and so silly and they just let themselves be themselves! When I asked them to run towards each other as if they were in an airport and hadn’t seen each other in years, they said the only thing missing was the music. haha seriously. LOVE. And then they ran towards each other and had the best laugh/kiss ever! It made me immediately come up with many more silly things for them to do, and they fully embraced all of them!

Brock and Tiffany, I can’t WAIT for your wedding, and wish it was sooner than 2017! I’m hoping for a few coffee/wine/Wendel’s dates in between?! Yes?!

 

2016 Mentorship Opportunity

Photography has always been my dream job. It started when I was younger and wanted to be a photographer for National Geographic. To travel the world and take photos of amazing landscapes and animals with crazy zoom lenses while hiding out in a tree fort sounded like the most ideal job in.the.world.

That turned into a portrait/model photographer in highschool and then eventually wedding photography in college, but to me, being a photographer always sounded like it was up there with being an astronaut or a ballerina. It was one of those jobs that sounds cool, but no one actually does….one of those jobs that’s so far-fetched it’s even further than being a dream.

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When I first started I booked a whopping ZERO weddings my first year. I was so disappointed and I wondered constantly if I should pack it in and call it a day before I got too much further in and risked even more disappointment. As a last resort, I emailed a few photographers I really admired and much to my further disappointment only a few of them replied, and those that did reply weren’t exactly the nicest :( I felt so defeated.

I watched a lot of Creative Live and tried to absorb as much information as I could. I just wanted to learn and better myself anyway I could. The one way every article and workshop I took in advised was to second shoot for someone. To find a mentor. To find a more experienced photographer who was willing to share ideas and information. However, everytime I tried to reach out and find photographer friends/mentors, it was met with negativity. I felt so discouraged and I remember telling Marco, a bit tearfully, that if I was ever at a place in my business where I had information that would help someone, I would never hoard it. I would always always try to help and share with others as much as I could.

Last year I invested in business coaching that changed my business, and me, in so many ways! And for the better! Balancing work and life has become less of a struggle and it gave me a clear idea of where I wanted my business to go. One of those ideas that I fell in love with was to have ONE second shooter for all my weddings. I gave it a try last year and had my husband and a close friend do the majority of my second shooting for me and I LOVED it. I realized that it by far is what’s best for me and most importantly my clients. Weddings are such an intimate event, and your photographer is with you from the start to the finish of the day. Most of my clients hire me not only for photos, but also because we are a good fit personality wise. I want to make sure I am bringing a second shooter to every wedding that I not only trust, but know will also be a good fit with my clients as well! I also saw it as an opportunity to give back, invest in someone and share what I’ve learned over the last 6 wedding seasons!

I am so excited for this idea to become a reality again for this year. Although my husband enjoys me bossing him around for a day ;) he loves his career as a financial advisor too much to second shoot all my weddings with me, and my close friend decided to focus on furthering his career! So this year I am on the hunt for a new second shooter/best friend.

I say best friend jokingly but also entirely seriously! I want someone who will be a good fit personality wise and I am definitely looking for personality over experience. This position would be ideal for someone who is passionate about photography whether it be family, portrait or wedding photography, who is getting started or just a few years in who wants to learn more about business and photography from me. I just ask one thing if you’re considering applying – don’t hold yourself back with thoughts of “I’m not good enough.” Dare greatly :)

The position will include mentoring, and full business coaching as well as getting to second shoot all of my local BC weddings. There may be one or two overnight weddings required as well. The second shooting hours will be paid. I value your work and time as a photographer and in exchange for your commitment to learning for the year and bettering yourself, I will commit to sharing as much information as I can!

Below are my expectations of what I am looking for commitment wise –

  • commitment to my 2016 wedding dates
  • commitment to a pre-wedding season one day workshop
  • commit to meet all my couples beforehand either in person, or via skype
  • commit to wedding debrief sessions
  • A willingness to be all in, to have a sense of adventure, and to put up with/share in my sentimentality ;)

To apply email me at justine@justine-russo.com by Sunday February 7 to get the process started. Please don’t be shy! And don’t you dare mutter or even think the words, “I’m not enough…” I will find you and shake your shoulders! haha!

If you think of someone who would be right for this as well please share it with them!

Can’t wait to celebrate with wine! :)

Conn and Francesca: Burnaby Wedding Photographer

Conn and Francesca got married last October in Burnaby and I am WAY behind on blogging! haha so far in fact they’re already pregnant with their first baby!! ;) Their wedding was FUN. I know fun is a relative term, but it’s the only one I can think of to explain it. A sentimental Italian woman married an Irishman. Not to draw on any stereotypes but the ones that come to mind were true and SO SO FUN. There was so much wholehearted laughter, so many hugs, and ridiculously amazing ideas for goofy photos. There was alcohol present throughout the entire day, and goofiness was encouraged! It was amazing!

Langley Wedding Photographer (19)

Francesca is a sentimental to the core. I met her many many years ago when we went to highschool together for grade 8 and 9. I had always adored her but we lost touch other than on Facebook for a few years.  She has a big personality and an even bigger heart. She is one of those women that you instantly notice when you walk into the room….she may not be the tallest ;) but she’s the one with the massive smile on her face, talking animatedly and making everyone around her feel welcome and loved.

Conn is exactly the same! I liked him instantly and could see why Francesca adored him! These two are magic together. They are so passionate about each other and they love every minute of the life they are building together.

I love meeting the wedding party because I find it says so much about the couple and who they are as people for who they choose to be in their wedding party. Conn and Francesca’s was filled with lifelong friends and family who had the most abundant amount of love for these two. Their friendships were the easy, relaxed, goofy and deep kind, the kind that only comes from knowing someone for years.

Their reception was full of good food, and dancing. Everyone piled onto the dance floor! There was kids everywhere just giving every dance move their everything. Francesca’s Nonna was making rounds with homemade Italian desserts, and the Irish Whiskey bottles were floating around.

Conn and Francesca, it meant the world to me to get to be a part of your day! Marco and I had the BEST time and I wish we could do it all over again!!! I can’t WAIT to meet Baby when he/she arrives!! Love you two!

Conn’s Mom was the best…and she so obviously ADORES her kids. She partied with them every chance she could and they adore her right back!

Their wedding favours were Italian Biscotti and Irish Breakfast tea :)

 

Leave them some love below or hit LIKE!

Highlights of 2015!

This is one of my absolute favourite posts of the year. My sentimental heart loves looking back on the last year of engagements and weddings and re living each and every moment while I pick out the highlights that really stuck with me!

I finished my business coaching earlier this year and made the decision in 2014 to take less work in 2015 to focus on focusing my brand and really investing in the couples I had the opportunity to work become friends with. It was AWESOME!! I had three hour coffee dates with couples, met for wine with a few more, and I had an absolute blast celebrating with each and every one of you!

This year was one that meant so much to me. It marked a real change in both me and my business. I completed business coaching and had huge doubts that it would work. I worried that my decision to work less would bite me in the ass and end up with very little work at all. I worried that it would affect my family negatively and put me in a worse off position. To me it felt like a risk to change my branding, and specialize in engagements and weddings. It felt like a risk to take less work and focus on solidifying my brand.

It turned out to be the best decision I have EVER made. I made new friends that have quickly become super close friends. At times working less was challenging, but I had the time to invest deeper with my couples, and to challenge myself creatively. I had time away from work entirely, to have more beach days, and days at home with my family. I had opportunities to travel and see bucket list places like Moraine Lake, Banff, Yoho, Glacier National Park (hmmm more mountains haha) I had time to focus more on myself than I have in YEARS.

We bought a CrossFit gym with friends of ours (also a past couple!) and I had the time to work on the social media and branding for the gym. It has been SUCH a refreshing year and I am so grateful something inside told me to do it. Trust that voice inside. It’s usually right!

I am so incredibly grateful for the last year. I can’t thank everyone enough who was a part of it, and before I get too sentimental, here are some of my favourite moments!

 

 

 

 

 

Mike and Allison: Manning Park Engagement Photographer

This session I have been holding hostage for way too long. It’s one of my MOST favourite sessions to date, and I’ve been keeping it to myself. Perhaps for too long, but I was nervous not everyone would love it as much as me. I was worried it wouldn’t be as special anymore.

Manning Park Engagement Photo (20)

You see, Manning Park is my most favourite place in the entire world. I’ve been camping there every single summer since I was 8 years old, I grew up there. I know that park better than I know my own backyard (seriously, it’s pathetic, my backyard isn’t that big), and it’s one of those places when I see other people say they’re going there, some irrational part of my brain goes, “ahem, that’s MY spot.” I am naturally a VERY sentimental person, but when it comes to Manning I get even more sentimental. I get goosebumps when I talk about it with others, and my Dad on MANY occasions has been known to say at family dinners, “hey….in 6 months we will be sitting around the picnic table at Manning…..”

When I suggested Manning for a location to Mike and Allison and they got so excited, I knew it was going to be a good day!

My husband and I met Mike and Allison almost two years ago at Dan and Emily’s wedding in Cancun! We hit it off with them right away and loved seeing them at parties Em and Dan held! When I saw the photos of Mike proposing at Centre Ice at ROGERS ARENA (best idea ever!! They’re HUGE Canucks fans!) I was over the moon happy for them!! When Allison first booked, she mentioned how much she LOVED sunset photos, so we stalked the weather network and were so excited to see sun in the forecast for Manning!

We drove up and it was solid cloud. Not even blue sky peeking through. Straight grey, dreary, blah cloud. Not even nice bright cloud. Not gonna lie we were both bummed. But the trees were a gorgeous vibrant yellow so we decided to make the most of it!! We explored all my favourite spots! We walked along Lightning Lake, we went out to Rainbow Bridge, and pulled over for some photos along the river!

We decided to end their shoot up at the Alpine Meadows. From down at the lake, the alpine was buried in clouds, but in the back of our minds we were hopeful it might be above the clouds, and if not foggy photos were pretty epic too! The drive up was SOOO foggy….until about 3/4 of the way up. It started to break, and then the sun poured through an opening and it lit up the forest like it was covered in sparkles. I hadn’t thought about the fact that the alpine would have frost! It hadn’t even crossed my mind! The trees were COVERED! By the time we got up to the top it was a crazy mix of sunset and fog and I’ve never been so excited! The fog lit up like it was on fire!

The drive down I am sure I drove Marco nuts (he was my chauffeur for the day!) I don’t know how many times I got him to pull over! Poor Mike and Allison, I had told them we were done, but every corner had a more epic view of the sunset!! haha I am SO glad we did it cause they turned out to be some of my favourites!

Mike and Allison, I had the ABSOLUTE best day!!! Thanks for driving up to Manning with me and braving the crazy weather and my constant pulling over haha! I can’t WAIT for your wedding this June!! :)

Love you guys :)

Jus

 

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