I'm Tired of Winter!

It's the end of April, and I'm starting to see images of spring flowers and apple blossoms show up on my Instagram feed from other photographers around the country...and today I woke up to snow...again.  I'm really getting tired of winter!!  Being a Canadian and living in Calgary, I know that I only have a couple of nice months that I can do outdoor sessions.  That's why this year I've been really working on my in-studio portraits.  Indoor sessions have many benefits and I enjoy them, but there is something I absolutely love about shooting outside.  I love the sun and the fresh air, and I love the beautiful trees and flowers.  The greenery creates such gorgeous backgrounds.

It's all the rage in fashion and glamour photography right now to have a "flower wall" set.  I know many photographers who have them for their studios, and athough I like them I've been thinking about building a different kind of set.  I've been dreaming abount building a "green wall".  I wanted to create a realistic feeling of being outdoors, while being warm and dry inside.  So, I've been collecting silk greenery with the dream of someday having enough to build it.  Silk greenery is expensive so I've been hitting Value Village, saving my Michaels coupons, and begging friends for their cast-offs.  I finally saved enough to create a small green wall and recently made Hannah pose for me so I could test it out.  It's still pretty small, but I was able to test a few different lighting scenarios with it and it's everything I had hoped it would be!  Once it gets a bit bigger I'll be able to offer it as a background option for my clients.  

So, enjoy this little taste of the outdoors, on this cold snowy day!

On another note,  Hannah often helps me with my photo sessions, and I often make her model for me when I'm trying out new things.  We have a lot of fun together...usually...when we aren't hangry...haha!  The result of all this shooting and modeling is that we have a ton of photos of her. She doesn't want to post all these photos of herself on her personal Instagram account, so we weren't sure what to do with them.   Hannah doesn't have any aspirations to be a professional model, but she models for me a lot, and she has also been asked to model for other photograhers...so we decided to start her a new Instagram account just for her portfolio. So, here's a few more images we took the same day because I had to have some more shots of that dress and that choker!!  

There's a story that goes with the last image.  Hannah is part Danish.  We recently watched the show Vikings on the History channel and Hannah realized that she has very Danish/Viking features.  So, we had some fun and played around with her eye makeup to give her that Viking shield maiden look. We call these her "Lagertha eyes"!

You can find Hannah's portfolio account on Instagram @hannah_elzbth.

PPOC 2017 National Image Salon

Some of you may be aware that I am a member of the Professional Photographer's of Canada (PPOC).  I earned my first accreditation with them back in 2015 in "Environmental Portraiture". If you would like to see my accreditation submissions you can view them here.  Once you become an accredited member of the PPOC you are then eligible to earn higher professional designations and enter their annual national print competition.  So, this year I decided to be brave and enter!

I was allowed to enter four images and I entered them all in the "Portrait" category, which some say is one of the most difficult categories to score well in.  Having been through the accreditation process I knew how high the standards were, so I felt that I would be very happy if even one of my images got accepted.  Well, to my surprise, three of my images got accepted!  

The judging was live streamed online so I was able to watch the judges pull up my images and critique them.  It was a very hard thing to watch as the judges deliberated and argued over my images!!  The judges have to come to a majority decision, so if one of the judges didn't like the image he had to try to convince the other judges to agree with him, or vice versa.  It was painful to watch, but in the end I was really pleased with the results and I learned a TON of things that will help me improve and learn and grow as a photographer.

Here are the three images that were accepted.

"The Sweet Sound of Spring"


 "Before She Dances"


"In The Bloom Of Youth"

Here's a little more information about the PPOC National Image Salon taken from their website.

"One of the cornerstones of the Professional Photographers of Canada is the PPOC Annual Image Salon. This juried exhibition showcases the best of the best. Within this Salon Exhibition, you will find the most creative, the newest and most cutting edge, and finest technically executed images produced by our members.
This inspirational collection of images displays the level of excellence Canadian photographers have achieved. Some of the best photographic talent in the world lives and works in Canada, and enters this PPOC image competition in the hopes of being selected for the Salon Exhibition.
Active/Accredited members of PPOC are invited to submit images annually to a juried exhibition.  A group of highly qualified judges, all of whom have obtained their Craftsman of Photographic Arts or Master of Photographic Arts designation, and have been trained as jurors, assemble to review submissions.  These jurors have the monumental task of viewing in excess of 800 images, setting aside any personal bias and judging objectively, to determine those images worthy of being accepted into the Salon Exhibition."

Best of 2016

Wow...where do I start?  

On a personal level, 2016 was a very challenging year for me and my family, but God is good and He brought us through our various trials. Our family is stronger and our faith is stronger, and for that I am very thankful.

On a business level, 2016 was a great year!  I hate to admit it, but I didn't really have any firm goals for my business when I started it. I just knew that I loved creating beautiful portraits, and so I just jumped in and started doing it.  I truly love it so much that I would do it for free, but the sad fact of life is that an income is required to live...so I have to charge for my work.   So not only do I have to learn and grow as a photographer, I have to learn and grow as a business woman, and that's been a focus for me this year.  

One of the most amazing realizations I had this year is that most of the clients I've worked with this year have become friends!  I didn't realize that would happen when I started my business. Maybe it's because a glamour/beauty portrait session exposes so many insecurities and fears that we women share, and it is a deeply personal experience, so talking though it with my clients gives us this connection.  We laugh, we talk, we share, and through this we become friends.  And this is something that I didn't expect...but it's an incredible blessing...and I want to give all of my new friends a big hug!  

Trying to narrow down my favorite images from 2016 was tough!!  My goal this year was to expand my portfolio, so I shot a wide variety of portraits, including babies,kids, grads, maternity, families, business portraits, and glamour,  so they are all very different.  There were SO many images that could have made it into my top favorites for 2016, but I had to force myself to really narrow it down. I hope you enjoy this little year in review video and that you love these images as much as I do.

I'd like to wish all of you a Happy New Year.  I'm excited for 2017 and can't wait to meet more new friends and create more beautiful portraits.  

Mortensen Photography - Best of 2016 Video

52 Selfies Challenge!

I'm a women's portrait photographer, and you know what I've learned? Most women hate the way they look. This is true no matter their age, or weight, or beauty.  This is so common that many women hide from the camera and don't even exist in photos. That's SO sad! I know it's true for me and has been most of my life, even as a teen. I've always struggled with my weight and avoided being in front of a camera.  

Sue Bryce, my photography mentor, put out a challenge to photographers to start their own 52 Selfie Facebook groups. The groups purpose is to help women build eachother up and create a place trust, self love, and positive body image, and to stop the self hate.

"THIS IS NOT ABOUT VANITY Its about Self Love STOP THE SELF HATE. The best way to Love something is STOP hating it. STOP RESISTING it. You are Perfect NOW" ~Sue Bryce

So that's what I did.  I started a private Facebook group called 52 Selfies with Mortensen Photography  and I am inviting you to join. 

The rules are:

1. Take one selfie per week and post it to this private group.
2. Say something nice about yourself.

The rules aren't complex or difficult, but they are hard!  Most women go around quietly hating themselves, so posting a weekly selfie and saying something nice about yourself is extremely challenging!!   I am personally finding it difficult as well, but I am being brave, and posting my own weekly selfie, along with photo challenges, tips, and inspirational posts.  

Come join us, and invite your girlfriends to join us too.  Let's build eachother up!

Click here to request to join the group


Airdrie Bridal Fair

Hannah and I spent the day at the Airdrie Bridal Fair!   My makeup artist, Jenn Caspell of  Painted Sparrow Artistry ,  was able to snag the last table at the event and so we went in together to share the space.  Jenn was the mastermind behind the beautiful shabby chic display, which went really well with each of our brand colors, and the photographs I had to display.   I met lots of lovely ladies today and had many of them enter my giveaway for a free makeover and photoshoot.   Thanks to Jenn and Hannah for all their hard work making it a fun and successful day!