My “Smile” Moment of the Day

You all might remember the session I did with the family who was visiting from out of town for the Olympic Games a little while ago. I just recieved the most beautiful email from the grandfather (AKA “Bubba”) who hired me to take their family photos and wanted to share. I love my job everyday, but feedback like this helps me to really appreciate how lucky I am to be able to meet and work with wonderful families all the time. It’s funny because as I was reading all the little moments that stood out to “A” from our session, I was thinking how I never had a second thought about standing in the rain or the littlest guy sliding in the mud (mud and boys just go together and it’s all par for the course in photographing families haha!). I really do love my job and especially working with kids. I don’t mind if these sorts of things happen during a session and I’m more than happy to work with families that come to me to do what it takes to get some great photos no matter what it takes. So thank YOU to this family for hiring me and trusting me to get the job done. I have enjoyed working with you so much and can’t wait to show you the whole gallery! Without further ado here is the wonderful email that made me smile today in the midst of editing sessions, ordering prints, albums and products, cleaning my house and reading and researching…THIS is what photography is about for me:

“About two months before the beginning of the Olympic Games, I began looking for a professional photographer to take some portraits of our family while we would be either in Whistler or Vancouver. My daughters are in Calgary and Markham, ON while Melissa and I are in Burlington, ON so it’s not easy to get everyone together. But we have been Olympic fans for a long time and love our Canadian Team so it seemed like a good opportunity to do this, although it was a bit of shot in the dark of how to find a high quality photographer.

After googling Whistler and Vancouver professional photographers I sent about a dozen inquiries explaining that we were a family of ten including four children and the next day got a very nice note from Ashleigh Wells amongst several other replies over the next week. I proceeded to ask Ashleigh and a few others for samples of their work with large groups.

Again, Asheigh responded first and I was very impressed with what she had given me the code for to see on her website. It was obvious of the degree of quality. Easily the best from what I could see. It also seemed that she was interested in us as a family and seemed to be honest with what she could do and the limitations that might occur because of the weather.

Although Whistler was probably our first choice, at that point I made the decision to ask Ashleigh if she would do the work for us and we agreed on a date of Feb 26th and discussed the possible weather problems. Our schedule was very busy with events and we really had no other options. Leading up to the Games we e-mailed a few times and talked on the phone a couple of others and arranged to have the session done at New Brighton Park near where my daughters were staying the last three nights of our trip. At all times Ashleigh was so pleasant and sounded so confident that I never worried that she would let us down.

We arrived in Vancouver on Feb. 19th and went on to Whistler that night. Of course there was beautiful weather there for a few days but when Ashleigh phoned me on the 24th the forecast was calling for a lot of rain in Vancouver. We agreed to talk again on Thur night the 25th but the truth was, I was getting discouraged as the rain continued with no sign of letting up. It did not look good at all and on Thur night we were all getting disappointed with the possibility that this family photograph might not happen. Ashleigh then said that she would call me at 8:00 Friday morning.

It was actually 7:30am when I got the call! Not too awake but really happy when Ashleigh told me that at 1:00 in the morning she had thought of a place to take the pictures – Simon Fraser University. Not quite the mountainous setting we had in mind but under the circumstances it was perfect! With hurried phone calls to ‘H’ and ‘C’, we all got ready and with Ashleigh’s ongoing phone directions made our way to SFU where we saw this young woman standing in the rain at the corner with a camera bag and a smile and waving us to turn there.

The rest is pretty self explanatory by the photos that Ashleigh has posted. In all of our estimations they are wonderful! We are so pleased with the quality and thoughtfulness that went into the pictures. Aside from the obvious talent of her art, I think I speak for all our family in saying that this was a special experience. Three of my grandchildren are between the ages of two and five and after a week away from home being in a different setting was difficult but Ashleigh has a wisdom and maturity way beyond her years and we were so impressed at how she made everyone feel so comfortable and cared about. When our five year old ‘C’ went off sliding down a hill in the rain and mud [he’s a very talented tyke goalie so no other explanation is really needed!] there was not a hint of exasperaton or impatience from our pro. She just calmly said “‘C’ can sit beside his ‘Bubba’ [that’s me] and no one will be able to see the mud.”

I didn’t start out intending this to be an essay, but sometimes we get lucky and this was one of those times and I wanted to tell it like it was.

Ashleigh, I am so grateful to have found you and that you never gave up on making this work for us. There was a time or two when I almost did! Aside from your professional talent I just want to say that you are a special young woman and I wish you much success in whatever your life brings.


And because no blog post is complete without a photo…here’s one of the little man who decided to take a slide in the mud before he actually took a dive…
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