Yesterday the weather got GORGEOUS here in Vancouver, like spring in January. So after doing some work at a nearby cafe, I headed over to my favourite community garden to see if there were any more flowers blooming and just to savour the warm air.

I walked by a small koi pond that they have at the edge of the garden. I take photos there often but today I thought…how could I take this from a different angle than my usual shot?

So I propped my iPhone lengthwise (a great trick if you don’t have anything to prop it against) and went over to the other side of the little pond. I let myself move however my body wanted to as the camera clicked and took a number of photos.

When I looked at the photos I was totally shocked as this was not at all the kind of photo I thought I was taking. Being backlit and silhouetted it made it look like early evening while it was actually still really bright outside and only late afternoon. Of course I was totally happy with the shot yet totally in awe of how different our photo can come out than we expect it will.

That’s one of the things I adore about seeing the world through our cameras. It’s often not what we expect or what we can even see with our eyes. There is such magic in that.  Time and time again the camera helps me tell stories in ways I couldn’t have imagined or expected, having them come out much more magical than I could have planned.

Here’s the thing though. When people tell me about their resistance to taking selfies or about how they feel about themselves in photos and the stories they see in their photos, it is absolute. They are sure they are not photogenic or they hate photos of themselves. It’s a conclusion they’ve made and I hear in their voice that they don’t expect to see a different result (but are willing to try). 

So it makes me SO happy when they take Be Your Own Beloved and the unexpected happens and they come to the group to share their awe of the photo they just took and the woman they see in it, in themselves..

That is what is so incredible about taking our own photo. We truly can’t predict what type of photo is going to appear. And it is really the opposite of absolute.

It is expansive.

Full of potential.



Wildly unexpected.

We truly can’t know what photo will appear, especially if we really let ourselves out of our comfort zone and experiment. Of course, some of them will be the kind of photos we are used to but when we don’t stop when we usually put down the camera and keep shooting…the unexpected appears.

I have a feeling if you love taking photos, you’ve experienced one or many of these moments of seeing something entirely unexpected through your lens.

So why can’t this be true of taking our own photo too?

This is really what the process of the Be Your Own Beloved is about. Well, and life too. Giving you permission to experiment and keep taking photos after when you might normally put the camera down. To help you experience the unexpected in you and to see yourself in a new way!

So next time you try taking a selfie and notice yourself sure of what the outcome will be before you’ve even taken the photo…let’s choose to stay open to possibility, to the unexpected not just from our camera but from ourselves!



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Re-write the St

Seeing ourselves with compassion through our cameras isn’t about taking one image of ourselves that solves it all. It is a conversation.

One that we need to choose to begin.

It is a dialogue between ourselves, our old stories and the new ones that await us.

It is inviting ourselves into (and not avoiding) moments when we get to choose the new story, even when that is vulnerable and we might come face to face with those old stories of critique. It is there that we choose compassion.

You can change the story of how you see yourself.

Because we are the narrators of our own story. While it might not feel good to realize this…we choose our stories of critique. I know, I wanted to blame it on everyone else and it kind of stung to realize how much control I had over my own critique. But the good thing is that it means we can choose a different one.

Before I started taking self-portraits I had no idea how I was going to re-write that story. How, on a daily basis was I going to be able to remind myself of that love I wanted to choose to see.

That is at the core of what the Be Your Own Beloved class will help you do. Through these playful activities (yup, changing the story can even be fun) we commit to not hiding our love away from ourselves.  This class can be your guide to changing those stories.

I’m SO excited about this session of Be Your Own Beloved as I’ve got a whole new addition to the class. I’ve been working behind the scenes on creating a collection of extra resources to help you on the journey. Articles (if you’ve been wondering why I’m blogging less lately it’s cause I’ve been saving the content for the participants) as well as videos to answer your questions. Of course, as always, I am also available during class to answer technical or creative questions!

If you’re wondering if Be Your Own Beloved might be a fit for you, don’t hesitate to click that Contact button on the menu above and send me a message!

So…I have one more question for you? Are you ready to change the story of how you see yourself? 

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_MG_0101-2wsI set the table with photo books and magazines, ready for us to dig in and get inspired as we warmed up to getting out our cameras.

This was last night, at the gorgeous Luminous Elephant Studio run by my friend Madelyn Mulvaney.

On the other gorgeous table I’d gathered creative props from around the studio for us to photograph, inspiration galore and behind each item fairy lights adorned the walls adding a sparkle to our shots.

_MG_0171wsEverywhere you look in this space there is something that catches your eye and is just asking to be photographed. It is really a wildly inspirational place to get playful with our cameras.


As I awaited their arrival, I did what I do to get grounded and set the timer on my own camera and got playful with the props we’d soon by using in class.

_MG_0187wsThen they arrived, such incredible women with exciting reasons that brought them to want to learn more about their camera. We swooned over images in those books, the potential of what we could capture with our cameras growing by the minute.

Then we got our cameras out and played. While this is a Learn to Use Your Camera class, it is grounded in learning experientially which means getting playful with our cameras, experimenting and learning by doing. So we got started getting acquainted with the feeling of the camera in our hands, where all the buttons were and the flow of how learning to shoot feels.  I know for me, intellecutally learning about photography is one thing, but it doesn’t always mean we get (and retain) how to make it happen, camera in hand outside of class. So that is what we began.

In the coming 4 weeks we’ll experience and learn so much more, camera in hand. We’ll dig more into learning about light next week, then get acquainted with aperture, shutter speed, ISO, shooting manually and more.

You can register for the full session here and if you’d like to jump in and join us for the whole package, next week I’ll be arriving early for an optional catch-up session with those who are joining in late and missed the first week.

You are also most welcome to come for 1 night if you’re craving a refresher on an element of photography and your camera. Here’s what our focus of each week is:

Week 2: Light

Week 3: Aperture

Week 4: Shutter Speed

Week 5: Shooting Manually

Though of course, the best deal is the whole program but if you’d like to drop in each class is $55.

I love this last photo that was the only one I captured that got a little slice of life of the class with our tea cups at rest (cause our cameras were in our hands), lenses and iPhones waiting for their turn and the rest of us standing on chairs shooting from above or playfully arranging items in our own way to experiment taking photos of.

Seriously, it felt luminous in there. Luminous and lovely and you are welcome too. I’ll have tea (and even champagne) awaiting you!


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  • Alison M

    Love this! And love that you are bringing your vision of more in-person workshops to life is such a gorgeous way. Wish I could go!ReplyCancel


Over the holidays, most of my family gathered together in Portland. We have our routines when visiting there which include lots and lots of walks. When I had been there for my Nephew’s Birthday, he had received a cool kids camera from a good friend (its a VTech Kidizoom Camera).

So when we arrived for Christmas, I asked if he wanted to try it out and he was mighty excited. I was amazed how quickly he understood and could maneuver around the camera, capturing and checking out the photos. It was soon coming along on all our adventures.

I’m sure I was glowing every time the camera came with us. He knows I love taking photos so it was great to be able to talk to him about something I’m so passionate about.  A super sweet moment happened when he, unprompted, aimed his camera at his feet and took a foot selfie on purpose. I’ve made him get in enough foot photos of the two of us that I’m sure that just felt natural to him!

I so hope that it ends up being something we do together on our visits!



As well, just as we were about to leave to head back up to Vancouver, I remembered that while I had taken lot of selfies with him, I hadn’t had a photo of the two of us taken though I had made sure to take a photo (or photos) with him and each family member.  Remember…sometimes we’ve got to pass the camera to other people! So glad I did cause now it’s my new favourite photo of the two of us!


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  • Donna Lange

    What a sweet connection, it is very special! I have a special connection to my granddaughter, we just seem to be mad about each other from the first moment!ReplyCancel

  • My aunts were such an important part of my life growing up. And still are!

    It makes me so happy to see you filling that role so awesomely.ReplyCancel

  • Looks like you guys had fun, isn’t he a cutie?!ReplyCancel

  • If you weren’t my friend, I’d totally want you to be my auntie. You rock. And so does that nephew of yours.ReplyCancel


I once followed it without knowing

Letting its ever-changing beauty become habitual

Then it was gone.  Or at least I was too caught up

in shadows to see it.


Now it is always visible to my eyes, even when absent

it stays subtle for many months and then bursts out

falling between tree branches

leaving its patterns, impermenant art on building walls

that always stop me in my tracks


I walk down my tree lined street

the light and shadow

pulse between hot and cold

singing to me

you are alive

you are alive

you are alive


I listen.


(from this post in the archives written June 10th, 2011 over at my old blog…and still very much true)

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