A Photographer’s Bucket List | Ottawa, Lanark & the Valley
I have been working on this list for what feels like years, if not over a decade, which is how long I have been running my portrait studio, just over 12 years now. During that time, I have had plenty of opportunities to work with amazing clients in beautiful locations, but I also have my creative mind working behind the scenes or scenarios, locations, and styled portraits that I would love to do. They would be a dream to photograph, and not just for my portfolio, but rather to get them onto client walls because I want them to exist for YOU too. Thus, this blog post serves as a visual representation of the list that I want to get through in my career. So let's call it my photography bucket list.
Stephanie's Photography Bucket List
If any of these scenarios or groupings or locations speak to you, and you would love to participate and create those images together, please reach out. My contact information is at the bottom of this post, and let's make magic happen. I also have a Pinterest vision board of my Bucket List so that you can get the visuals of what I am imagining better than the cute little cartoon stick drawings that I could possibly do.
CurATED eXTENDED fAMILY pORTRAITS
I photograph a lot of maternity and families with growing children, and I also sometimes do extended family portraits, I would absolutely love to do a curated extended family portrait where everyone is coordinated just like our regular sessions, but with certain props that really bring the full picture together so that they make amazing statement piece wall portraits. Secondary props like a vintage ladder or a lovely settee or beautiful couch, and just bring everyone together so the grandparents, great-grandparents if they are around, all the way down to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That's what I want; all of the generations, everyone happy, and that statement art piece on everyone's walls. That is the dream.
aLL tHE cHILDREN
Speaking of maternity clients and families with growing babies & children, I would love to photograph larger families more often. Families with four, five, six, or more children, and just those emotional connections and fun moments between all of those family members, while they are still small & young. We all know that the default parent in that family is not in many pictures; they are either behind the camera taking the pictures or there aren't as many as they would like to exist because they are so busy caring for the children, so I would love and be honored to be able to capture that heirloom family portrait for larger families. I do have a few location options that I would love to host those sessions, so I will go through the locations on my bucket list later in the post.
Studio Babies In A Row
The next subject I would love to photograph is a group of young sitter babies in the studio. Not necessarily triplets or quadruplets, but a handful or more babies of the same STAGE. I would like them all to be able to sit unassisted (preferably that they can't quite crawl yet so that they actually stay put and you know side-by-side in a row on the white backdrop). The babies being super cute, dressed in some of the available outfit options at the studio, of maybe future best friends. I'm thinking for besties who had their babies close together, or for mom groups who get together when they have newborns of the same age to get out of the house and then you make friends with the moms and eventually, these babies turn into children who are growing up together and being friends, and it would be amazing for them to look back on these five, ten, twenty years from now and be like "yeah, I'm still best friends with you-know-who" and really be able to look back and down memory lane and enjoy those moments, and for moms to see how grown up their children have become.
Child Personality Sessions
Another one that I would love to do is of young children; kids that are able to respond to prompts and directions. I call these personality sessions, so when your child goes through either a developmental or physical change. For example, if they just got their first pair of big kid glasses, or they haven't quite lost their baby teeth but you know that they're gonna start falling out so we capture those adorable toddler smiles before they officially grow into a big kid, or after they've lost their first couple of teeth to have those toothy smiles or those holy teeth smiles, and all the facial expressions & emotions just to see all of the different versions of them. And especially if you do that personality portrait and want to display the collection of them, I have a nine-grid framed art piece at the studio that was specifically designed for sessions like these and document the details. They can have them in their room, you could do the same photo every year, or they are great for those big changes and to really see the growth and changes in your child. They are a perfect way to compare between siblings as well. I know that my two kiddos definitely looked like they were twins born a couple of years apart, and I know other families that have children that are very close in age yet look nothing alike. It's really cool to see the similarities and the uniqueness between siblings, and these personality sessions are a great way to showcase that.
Get Lost In Those Eyes, Cheek to Cheek
While we are on the topic of siblings, I want to do a series of what I'm calling "the family eyes", where you have the siblings or parent&child pair go cheek-to-cheek or ear-to-ear depending on the size of their heads. Babies have bigger heads that are technically smaller but proportionally bigger so those are usually the ears and the chubby cheeks and oh I just get so excited thinking about it. Where you get to compare the eyes so sometimes siblings have the exact same eyes sometimes they have completely different. It depends on genetics and it's really a fun way to see again those differences and similarities and especially with children and their parents. It's it's such a fun series to to look through. So I'm very much looking forward to doing that.
Location, Location, Location
And then the the rest of my bucket list right now are locations and while most of them are available in Ontario where the studio is in Almonte near Ottawa there are some that I definitely have to travel to do these. So if you're up to travelling with me then reach out and let's plan it.
These spots on my bucket list are not necessarily a specific location, rather of a specific type of background or generalized types of locations so that there's some flexibility and we could absolutely make it happen.
One that I really want to do this year, two actually, is at an Apple Orchard. I really want to do a newborn session in the spring blossoms where we get beautiful family portraits holding your baby, and we can also do the posed newborn setup too. I have a few flowering trees at the studio so there's always the possibility of having it as one setup as part of a full studio newborn session as well. I'm super excited for that!
But my biggest bucket list item for the Apple Orchard is when the apples are actually on the tree at picking time in the fall. I want to do more of a curated family portrait session where the kids get to climb up the old wood ladder to pick some fruit, dressed up in vintage outfits, and just have fun with it and capture that experience in addition to the more posed stills as well. It will be such a beautiful wall portrait for a textured heirloom canvas! This is one location that I'm for sure going to do this year with my own family as well.
Lavender Farm & Peony Farm
Another beautiful location that I really want to photograph is a lavender farm. I know there's one about an hour outside of Ottawa and there are a few in the GTA where I grew up, so I'm happy to travel to those with you (or to photograph a pregnant person and/or couple who lives closer to those farms). If you are expecting and will be somewhere between the 30 to 35 week mark during lavender season (typically through June and July), and you want to take advantage of the studio's client closet, then I definitely want to hear from you. I am still looking for a peony farm in Ontario...
And in the August/September timeframe is when sunflowers bloom and I would absolutely love to do either a maternity or family session in a sunflower field, or work with a dress-wearing individual (I am thinking a light flowy or fitted black dress with a sunhat) whether a little girl, blogger, business owner, or high school graduate.
Neutral Fields (Brownery & Florals)
And of course the neutral fields are life, and the bread & butter of my business. BUT the bucket list part is that I would love to do it with a family with young children and them being able to actually run through the field and have neutral flowers in addition to what I like to call 'brownery'. So either the the blades of more of that yellow brown toned grass that are alive and supposed to be that colour when the weather is warm (not just the beautiful dead browns in the fall) or more of a wildflower field. I really want to do that! Where I used to spend my summers as a child there were fields of daisies and of whatever the wild baby's breath is called and it so so so beautiful. I am looking forward to photographing a family or some dress-wearing besties at that type of location.
Romance On the Water
We've all seen the movie with the red-haired individual, where the couple sits romantically in their rowboat. Whether it is a canoe or boat or whatnot, on the river or lake or pond (still water), I really want to incorporate that vibe into a session. I love nature; I was a boy scout growing up and spending long periods of time in nature is a big part of how my personality developed, so I'd really like to be able to capture the love between a couple enjoying their romantic date and honour that connection. So if you are an outdoorsy couple and you're up for adventure, I would love to join you. We can even try to find somewhere perhaps that has mountain-like views to do that too.
Sunset on the Beach
I would absolutely love to capture a family or a couple on the beach at sunset. There's lots of little beaches locally and there are some bigger ones if we drive a little ways out, so it's absolutely doable within the Ottawa area. I know of a few low-traffic spots right near the the studio as well. I want to capture the serene of you enjoying yourselves on the beach, perhaps stepping into the water a little bit to get those fun interactive images, and create scenic portraits that would look amazing over the fireplace or in the master bedroom.
Another fun spot that I'd really love to do a best-friends or couple session is at a carnival or a fair. Those fun, colourful places where you have the snacks on a stick, the carnival games, the Ferris wheel, etc. and what starts out as an afternoon in beautiful soft light turns into bold sunset hues, and then after dark with all of those amazing colourful lights. I'd really love to capture the movement of the rides in the background, of besties enjoying their adventure or a couple enjoying their carnival snack.
I would love to do a vineyard picnic, and there are a few local vineyards that would be perfect for this. I would love to photograph a couple that is willing to dress up extra fancy, so whether it's an engagement session, an anniversary session or maternity as long as only the non-pregnant persons drink the wine. I'd really like to be able to capture that luxury picnic and dancing in the vine rows and just have that as a fun evening experience that ends in you staying for date night. Even better if they have string lights set up.
I really want to photograph a pregnant person (and their family) in the middle of a completely brown forest with a dusting of snow, like the first snow barely covers the ground and the leftovers of the the milkweed and the cotton-looking brownery peeks through. I also like the idea of the adventurous option of kiddos wrestling in the snow or making snow angels as a family.
Nursery or Greenhouse
And last but not least on my current bucket list for locations is a nursery or greenhouse. I would love to capture a person's branding portraits or a maternity session in a nursery or greenhouse. So with all of the greenery and the florals, whether it's the middle of winter or in summer, it is an amazing place to get that pop of natural color yet still stay within the neutral organic realm, which you know that is what I love and do best.
And a bonus spot because I've already technically done it with my own children since we live here in the little hallmark town of Almonte, but I would love to adventure out to different small towns and get those beautiful heritage locations and well-known landmarks in the background of those portraits. Even downtown Ottawa would be nice; on one of the skyscraper rooftops so you can actually see the skyline and get amazing sunset portraits from up there. Not everyone is outdoorsy, and that is totally okay.
If there is anything on this list that you vibe with or are super into and want to work with me, reach out and let's get your discovery call scheduled. We will deep dive into details at the in-home consultation and pre-session planning meeting. I am so excited to create artwork for you and to truly personalize these sessions for you and your family (no matter how big or small). And as a thank you for letting me check off that item from my bucket list (and share it everywhere!), I have a bonus gift for you to accompany your print order.
Pure Natural Portraits (Stephanie de Montigny)
Pregnancy through Baby’s First Year & Beyond
Almonte / Ottawa, Ontario | (613) 371 – 4594
Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org