Legacy Letter Films - Your Authentic Love Story

If you are like me, you'll see Valentine's Day as more of an item on your To Do list, somewhere between "Pick up milk" and "Fold 5 piles of laundry", than an actual holiday.  
It's not that you are anti-love, it's that shoving all of the beauty and magic of LOVE into one pink and red sparkly box overflowing with plastic roses, cliche hearts and forced sentimentality doesn't mesh with your reality of what authentic Love is.
Authentic Love is so much more than that.

Authentic Love is so BIG. Bigger than one day could ever hope to contain. It's HUGE. It's committing to sharing your life with someone. It's creating New Life together and putting their needs above your own. It's pursuing a healthy, loving, grace-filled relationship with yourself. It's becoming a caretaker for a parent or grandparent no matter what it costs you.
And Authentic Love is so small. You can find it in the tiniest moments of your life, whispering to you - this is love. In flashes of toothless baby smiles, in the text your husband sends you each morning that says simply, "Good Morning! I hope you have a great day!", in chubby fingers covered in marker drawing picture after picture of Mommy and Me.

“Real love is always chaotic. You lose control; you lose perspective. You lose the ability to protect yourself. The greater the love, the greater the chaos. It’s a given and that’s the secret.” 

You will have days when it all feels like too much.
But you will also have days when the sacred beauty of your life will sneak up on you and remind you that it is there.
Tiny hands stroking your face after an endless day.  
Loving arms that wrap around you tight gathering up strength with love's embrace.
You'll have days where you laugh so hard at the ridiculous thing your kid just said that juice comes out of your nose.
You'll have days where you look around and think, "I need to remember ALL of this", and you'll try your best to hold onto the memory of those moments.
Friends, today is the day to rediscover the sacred beauty of your everyday life and the love that fills it.

 Love is always there, waiting for us to notice it.

Let me help you notice it. Let me help you capture it and keep it safe for you on days when life overwhelms you and you can't see the beauty of your love story.
For the entire month of February I will be offering specially priced "Legacy Letter" Films to help you express your Authentic Love Story.

These stress-free, custom films will include the following:
- Up to 3 hours of Lifestyle filming in your home and surrounding area (up to two locations)
- 1 hour of voice recording your personal Legacy Letter
- Custom music soundtrack mix (by my musician husband)
- Collaborative Letter Writing via email (for those who need a bit of help expressing themselves)
- Wardrobe guidance and session planning via email.
- Your custom 2-4 minute film posted to social platforms for easy sharing with friends and family and available for digital download

Film Session Bookings are specially priced this February only at:
Weekend (Saturday only) $299.  
Weekday Bookings are $249.

Daytime booking only, no evenings.
Limited sessions per week.
Sessions begin at 9:30 am.

Add on's that can be purchased for a fee include:
- Add Gorgeous Keepsake USB loaded with your custom film for archiving - $50
- Add Lifestyle family Photo Session to the Film package (very limited availability, special pricing) - $400
Email: saltandlightstudio@gmail.com to book your session. First come first serve, please provide one or two possible dates.
I hope you will join me this month in honouring the everyday ordinary miracle of your love story. I hope you'll say yes to capturing more than reusable cheesy props and forced smiles. Let's capture the Legacy of the Love you pour into your family every day. Let's capture your love dancing, baking, jumping on beds, tickling, tea-partying, snuggling, playing and living your life. Let's capture the chaos and the beauty and the love that fills your days in big and small ways.

Until Next Time,


Write your Story: A visit to the Tin Barn Market

"Collect Things you Love
that are Authentic to you,
and your house becomes
your Story.
Write your story."

-Tin Barn Market

I believe that one of the greatest gifts we have is the gift of self-expression.

The ability to say something worth saying, about ourselves and our world.

Our voices matter.  Our perspectives matter.

I believe we all have something to say if we have the courage to say it.

That's why I adore style and Home Design.  It is an opportunity to speak without using words; a chance to tell people about you and what you value.

I can't tell you how much I cringe thinking of the vibrant, dynamic families I know who have given in to the "Neutral" home design concept.

Now before you start shouting at your computer about "Resale Potential" and "Making your home appealing to most";  I want to say,  I get it.  There can be valid financial reasons why people choose to go neutral with their home design.  (And to be clear, I am not talking about the clean Minimalist style which is a legitimate expression of values like simplicity, order, and minimalist living.)  But here's the thing.....I also think a heap tonne of people are just afraid.  Yup, afraid to make a statement with their space.  Maybe even afraid to put their true personality, opinions and values out there for others to easily see.

Would you be surprised then if I told you that Neutral Design is in itself a statement of your personality, opinions and values?

I wonder, when you look around your home, do you like what it says about you?  Go ahead and take stock of those builder beige walls and generic brown couch - do they feel like you?

Now think about a space you've been to, a friends home or a great restaurant with tonnes of personality and ambiance.  Remember what it felt like to be in that space.

Great design isn't about trends, it is the place where function and feelings come together to create a space that speaks of the people who inhabit it.  The things in your home are then connected to you, they have purpose, they have meaning, they are worthy of their place in your space.

It's not surprising then that great design can be polarizing because it says SOMETHING and not everyone will resonate with it's message.

There will always be some who make the "What-on-earth?!" face at my burnt orange retro 70's couch, avocado green spaghetti lamp and modern black and white rug, while others declare it all to be "Retro Fabulous!!!" and imagine themselves with fondness back in the living rooms of their childhood.

Neutral design, however, does not elicit strong opinions from anyone. 
It inspires no feelings. 
It is middle of the road, nothing to be offended by, regular and plain.  
It is invisible, unremarkable and ordinary.

In short, it offers no perspective or point of view.

Neutral Design has no voice.

At the risk of being highly controversial here, I will say that I believe Neutral Design to be the equivalent of blending in.  It is opting out of expressionism and decision making. And there are those who are okay, with that - those who don't see or think of their home as an extension of themselves;  those who don't value expressing themselves with their style.

But if you looked around your room a moment ago and felt disconnected from your space, chances are your neutral design is saying all the wrong things about you.

One of the reasons I do what I do is to give women an opportunity to speak their truths.  I am an advocate for and supporter of women and girls and their families.  By encouraging authentic hearts, and big feelings through expressive art, women and girls can share their raw, real, and beautiful stories to a world that, too often, is more interested in our exteriors than our thoughts, feelings and opinions.

Just like with great expressive photography, great authentic design can help you claim your space and and give you a voice to say things worth saying.

Your one-of a kind distressed robin's egg blue desk, then, isn't simply a generic thing that hold up your computer and paperwork, it is a piece of emotional significance carefully selected to express your value for heritage, quality and uniqueness where you can dream and connect and be inspired.

Shouldn't your home be a place where you are surrounded by reminders of who you are and what you value most?  Shouldn't it be more than an unremarkable neutral shell that has no real connection to your life, your authentic story?

If you are craving a way to add some of yourself into your home decor, there is no better place to start than at the Tin Barn Market.

This amazingly inspiring space is not only full of beautiful unique items, it is owned and operated by two equally amazing and inspiring women entrepreneurs.

This is a place where values like Community, Creativity, Uniqueness, Style, Connection and Quality ooze out of every single found, vintage, re-claimed, re-purposed, handmade item you find.

It is a place where you can write the authentic story of you into the blank spaces of your home.

Until Next time,


The Space you take up.

"Your daughter may not listen to what you say, but she notices everything you do. Nothing will teach her how to be brave better than what she learns each time she sees you being brave yourself."

-Margie Warrell

When my daughter was a toddler I started a blog.

Like many moms, I felt lonely and isolated and needed a place to put my feelings into words; a place to connect with others feeling the same way.

My blog was a bit unique - it was a commentary about our life but written from my baby's perspective, rather than my own.

To protect our identity (as was standard practice back in 2008), I gave everyone pseudonyms.  My baby daughter, the "author" became "BlogBaby" and I was known as "BabyMama".

At first, it was an amazing experience.  I connected with some AMAZING mothers from all over the world and formed kindred friendships, some of whom I am still connected with today.

I found a lot of happiness being a part of the bigger blogger community and on days when things seemed too dark and overwhelming, these very real friendships pulled me through.

But I also learned something about myself through the experience.

I learned that I hide.

In fact, I had subconsciously set up my blog like a front (nothing to see in back officer...).

By writing from my baby daughter's perspective, I could let her be the focus.  Every beautiful inch of her chubby cheeked adorable baby perfection was out there to be celebrated, but I?  I was hiding behind those happy baby cheeks.  And I wasn't always happy.

There was, in fact, so much more to me than just being a "BabyMama" and by blogging from the perspective of my child, I felt like I couldn't honor those other parts of me.

It is so easy for us mothers to hide behind our kids.

We turn conversations right around to little Susie's successes at ballet whenever anyone asks us how we are doing.

We let the focus be on their accomplishments, their needs; all under the guise of "putting the kids first".

We post every.single.thing.our.kids.do.or.say on Facebook but carefully craft what we show of ourselves. 

We push them in front of us in photos to hide our never-quite-right bodies.

And why?  Why do we do this?

We do it because it is easier.

We let ourselves become just a little bit invisible because sometimes we feel invisible and some days it is just really really hard to fight those feelings.  

And some days, we want to be invisible because we don't feel like enough.

And other days, we are consumed by how much of us there actually is and invisibility seems preferable to people looking directly at every insecurity we have.  

Being a mother is hard.  It is a sacred gift that most of us don't feel qualified to be given.

But being brave isn't about not being afraid.

Brave is that positively-certain-you-are-not-enough voice in your mind being pushed back into the dark pit from whence it came.  Brave is in the battle.

It's stepping out from behind our kids and participating in our lives.

It's saying, "I am enough exactly as I am."

Letting your children know that you value yourself is a life changing lesson for them.  It ensures that the children you raise will become adults with the confidence to put themselves out there, too.  They won't hide but will embrace their own imperfect beauty when those not-enough or way-too-much voices push themselves into their minds, one day.

When we, as women, make ourselves smaller (or more invisible) pushing the world's attention onto our kids, we diminish the world they live in.  We strip it of vital, whole and complicated female role models.  We allow mothers to become background props, caricatures and stereotypes. 

We also make it even harder for other mothers to come out of hiding.

We add to the collective shame and guilt mothers feel when they bravely declare themselves to be a whole human being even when they don't present the perfect picture of motherhood.  And we side-eye mothers who dare to show themselves as more than a mother - as someone who is part of but also exists apart from motherhood.

When we own the space we take up in the world, we add untold beauty and strength to the woven tapestry that is our family, our communities and our world.  

Do you want to raise Brave children?

Own the space you take up in the world.

Every beautiful inch of you.

Until Next Time,


Why this is a safe place not to be safe.

“I don't think anyone aims to be typical, really. Most people even vow to themselves some time in high school or college not to be typical. But still, they just kind of loop back to it somehow. Like the circular rails of a train at an amusement park, the scripts we know offer a brand of security, of predictability, of safety for us. But the problem is, they only take us where we've already been. They loop us back to places where everyone can easily go, not necessarily where we were made to go. Living a different kind of life takes some guts and grit and a new way of seeing things.” 
-Bob Goff

Recently I stumbled upon a song called, "Renegades" by X Ambassadors.  It has become my new anthem.

I put it on every morning after I drop my kidlets off at school, crank the volume up to max and sing my heart out.  Sometimes, I even bust my moves (sorry neighbors!).

The song is catchy with a great back beat and driving emotional lyrics.  It is no surprise, then, to find it climbing up the charts.

The song itself is essentially about zigging when everyone is zagging.  It's about finding your unique voice and not being afraid to destroy the box.

It's about living a life that is in contrast to what most people are doing.

It's about being more.

When I started my photographic journey at 17, I had no idea where it would take me.  I only knew that this art form was a way of narrating the things happening around me.  It was my voice but I didn't know what I wanted to say with it yet.

Over the past 20 years, having photographed numerous weddings, families, kids and couples, I've done my very best to learn from the experts who have come before me and to "do what they do". And what I've learned is this:

I am a Renegade.

Let me get very real on you here, most photography is boring.

There, I said it. (Let the controversy begin)

It's not that photographers want to be boring, they are just stuck.

Stuck in trying to do what the experts say to do.  Stuck trying to make a living in an oversaturated market where everyone and their dog is a photographer.  

In order to appeal to the masses, they follow the recommended portrait options;  the tried and true and lucrative Mini Session model, with it's stock of reusable props and repetitive but highly efficient posing.  The pre-set up studio model with every backdrop and light ready for the revolving door of faux smiling clients in traditional matching sunday best.  The go-to location model that allows photographers to deliver consistent, predictable, standardized results in places they know well so that clients get images exactly like those shown in the clients portfolio every.single.time.

They photograph everyone and everything in order to meet the needs of most.

Let me be clear, none of these photography business models are bad.  I have met many skilled and talented photographers in my time, delivering good solid work.

But none of these business models is exceptional.

None of them will deliver results that are Box-Destroyingly-Take-My-Breath-Away Imagery. Pictures that make you cry and grin your biggest non-staged grin because you can feel them.

None of them will ooze with meaning and value that is FAR more than a pretty picture of half-hearted smiles could ever deliver.

Being a Specialized Photographer means serving a smaller group of people.  People you connect with on a deeper level.

It means being specific about the "Who, What, Where, Why and How" of your work.

It means having some folks not "get it" while others are jumping up and down yelling, "Yes, yes, and double yes, I so hear you!"

Some of you will read this and say, "But Lisa, I really do like my traditional family pictures done by so-and-so."

If this is you, I say, "That's great!!  I'm so so happy you've found something that works for you."

But I also believe with my whole heart that there are a special group of you out there that yearn for something that is unique and deep and meaningful and different than what you've experienced before.

Some of you are longing for images that will pull you out of the endless cycle of "doing what people do".  Images that let you claim your own space;  your own voice.

And to you I say, "This is a safe place not to be safe."

If that's you, I invite you to zig with me as I open up my calendar for Fall sessions 2015.

Until Next Time,


At Home with You - the Challen/Vandermaar family

When this sister soul contacted me way back in January she was inquiring about a traditional cake smash session to celebrate her tiny person turning the big 1.0.  If you know me at all, ya'll know what my face probably looked like when I read the words "cake smash".  Yup, not really my thang.  Turns out, it wasn't really her kind of thang either.

After filling in our in depth questionnaire and visiting Katie at her gorgeously designed home, I discovered that Katie is a creative soul who shares the same values I have for all things handmade and unique.  She has a modern esthetic and a love of vintage pieces.  She comes from a heritage of strong creative entrepreneurs;  her parents own a fabulous winery (Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery) in the Finger Lakes region of New York State and her sister is the incredible force behind the gourmet wood fired pizza restaurant, The Copper Oven.  Hearing about the connection Katie has to her family and this amazing area she grew up in, it became increasingly obvious that what Katie truly needed was a session that captured what she truly values most - her people, her tribe, in this place that means so much to her.

What Katie needed was images that were true.  And real.  And raw.  And beautiful.  Images that celebrate who she is and where she comes from.

With that in mind, we headed on an adventure down to Ovid, New York and spent 12 hours capturing the tenderness and gratitude that radiates through this family.  I photographed Katie and her husband, Brian and their precious little tiny person, along with her adorable parents and sister, brother-in-law and their two little people.

I've put together some of my favorites from our day together into a 6 minute video.  There are SO many more images from our day, it was pretty rough picking favourites, I'll tell you.

I am so grateful and humbled to have been allowed into this Mama's heart story.  To be allowed into the depth of her world full of ordinary everyday miracles was nothing but tender joy.

“After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” 
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

Until Next Time,