Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I used to think there was something wrong with me. Something I couldn't quite put my finger on. I knew I was always an anxious person and take a mild anti-anxiety to calm my very highs and very lows...which, has been a saving grace for me and my creativity. I was always so distracted by my own anxiety about everything that I had no time to focus on anything artistic. But I now know this goes deeper than an innate mood. And I owe it all to a friend who introduced me to a book called Quiet.

Looking back to when I used to work in an office, I now understand why I wouldn't want to go to work. Or why I would have major panic attacks and feel like the whole world was crashing in on me. It's because I am an introvert. No, this doesn't mean I'm socially inept or a recluse. I just recharge better alone. Most offices force you to be in open concepts with no privacy, walls to hide behind or doors to think quietly. Management encourages staff to brainstorm in crammed meeting rooms with flip charts. I thought there was something weird about myself that when it came to a staff luncheon, I would pretend to be on the phone rather than take part in the meeting. I remember one particularly jerky creepy office manager who used to scold anyone who didn't participate in staff events as a "social retard."

I broke free of the captivity of scrutinous eyes and tight quarters with no privacy and now flourish in my own controlled environment; a mixture of social with shooting and quiet while editing. I no longer call in sick or dread going to work. I no longer have panic attacks that feel as though my heart will explode out of my chest.

I've been bookmarking some of my favourite parts of the book. They say that 50% of us are introverts so I'm sure this will relate to some of you. I once worked for a company that published the results of all the employees' Meyers-Briggs personality traits. At first, I thought this was invasive. But I came to see the merit in understanding that my manager for example, was not standoffish or rude. She simply was an introvert. I think this book is great for anyone with children who fit this profile as it discusses the types of environments these kids will flourish in. It's also good for management to understand probably half of their demographic...especially the technicians and programmers. Perhaps if they had a safe place, an office with a door where they could do their best thinking, they would be happier in their work environment. It definitely helped me to understand myself better, the types of environments I feel comfortable in and most of all recognize that I am not crazy. Just quiet. Well, sometimes anyways :)

* I had always imagined Rosa parks as a stately woman with a bold temperament, someone who could easily stand up to a busload of glowering passengers. But when she died in 2005 at the age of ninety-two, the flood of obituaries recalled her as soft-spoken, sweet, and small in stature. They said she was "timid and shy" but had "the courage of a lion." They were full of phrases like "radical humility" and "quiet fortitude." What does it mean to be quiet AND have fortitude, these descriptions asked implicitly. How could you be shy AND courageous? Parks herself seemed aware of this paradox, calling her autobiography Quiet Strength-a title that challenges us to question our assumptions. Why shouldn't quiet be strong? And what else can quiet do that we don't give it credit for?

* Introversion--along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness and shyness-is now a second class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man's world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.

* Now that you're an adult, you might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book. Or you are told that you're "in your head too much," a phrase that's often deployed against the quiet and cerebral. Of course, there's another word for such people: thinkers.

* Everyone waited for Laura to reply, but she couldn't think of anything to say. So she just sat there. Blinking. All eyes on her. Her clients shifting uneasily in their seats. Her thoughts running in a familiar loop: I'm too quiet for this kind of thing. She imagined the person who would be better equipped to save the day: someone bold, smooth, ready to pound the legal table. In middle school this person, unlike Laura would have been called outgoing, the highest accolade her seventh grade classmates knew, higher than "pretty" for a girl or "athletic" for a guy. Laura promised herself that she only had to make it through the day. Tomorrow she would go look for another career. Then she remembered what I'd told her again and again: she was an introvert, and as such she had unique powers in negotiation--perhaps less obvious but no less formidable. She probably prepared more than everyone else. She had a quiet but firm speaking style. She rarely spoke without thinking.

* Introverts in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. Many have a horror of small talk but enjoy deep discussions.

* But even if you answered every single question as an introvert or extrovert, that doesn't mean that your behavior is predictable across all circumstances. We can't say that every introvert is a bookworm or every extrovert wears lampshades at parties any more than we can say that every woman is a natural consensus-builder and every man loves contact sports. As Jung felicitously put it, there is no such thing as a pure extrovert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in the lunatic asylum.

* If we assume that quiet and loud people have roughly the same number of good (and bad) ideas, then we should worry if the louder and more forceful people always carry the day. This would mean that an awful of of bad ideas prevail while good ones get squashed.

* I worry that there are people who are put in positions of authority because they're good talkers, but they don't have good ideas. It's so easy to confuse schmoozing ability with talent. Someone seems like a good presenter, easy to get along with, and those traits are rewarded. Well, why is that? They're valuable traits, but we put too much of a premium on presenting and not enough on substance and critical thinking.

* Studies have shown that, indeed, introverts are more likely than extroverts to express intimate facts about themselves online that their family and friends would be surprised to read, to say that they can express the "real me" online, and to spend more time in certain kind of online discussions. 

* He discovered his introversion as a junior in college when he realized he was getting up early in the morning, just to savor time alone with a steaming cup of coffee. He enjoyed parties but found himself leaving early. Other people would get louder and louder and he would get quieter and quieter.

* The high reactive babies were not misantrhopes in the making; they were simply sensitive to their environments. High reactive children may be more likely to develop into artists and writers and scientists and thinkers because their aversion to novelty causes them to spend time inside the familiar environment of their own heads. High reactives pick other vocations where  you're in charge: you close the door, pull down the shades and do your work. You're protected from encountering unexpected things. 

* The more reactive a child's amygdala, the higher his heart rate is likely to be, the more widely dilated his eyes, the tighter his vocal cords, the more cortisol (a stress hormone) in his saliva-the more jangled he's likely to feel when he confronts something new and stimulating. As high reactive infants grow up, they continue to confront the unknown in many different contexts, from visiting an amusement park for the first time to meeting new classmates on the first day of kindergarten. We tend to notice most a child's reaction to unfamiliar people--how does he behave on the first day of school? Does she seem uncertain at birthday parties full of kids she doesn't know? But what we're really observing is a child's sensitivity to novelty in general, not just to people.

* Your sweet spot is the place where you're optimally stimulated. You probably seek it out already without being aware that you're doing so. Imagine that you're lying contentedly in a hammock reading a great novel. This is a sweet spot. But after half an hour you realize that you've read the same sentence five times; now you're under stimulated. So you call a friend and go out for brunch--in other words, you ratchet up your stimulation level--and as you laugh and gossip, you're back inside your sweet spot. But this agreeable state lasts only until your friend--an extrovert who needs more more stimulation that you do, persuades you to accompany her to a block party where you're now confronted by a seas of strangers. Your friends' neighbours seem affable enough, but you feel pressured to make small talk above the din of music. Now--bang, just like that--you've fallen out of your sweet spot, except this time you're overstimulated and you'll probably feel that way until you pair off with someone on the periphery of the party of an in-depth conversation, or bow out altogether and return to your novel.

* If fast and slow animals had parties, some of the fasts would bore everyone with their loud conversation, while others would mutter into their beer that they don't get any respect. Slow animals are best described as shy, sensitive types. They don't assert themselves but they are observant and notice things that are invisible to the bullies. They are the writers and artists at the party who have interesting conversations out of earshot of the bullies. They are the inventors who figure out new ways to behave while the bullies steal their patents by copying their behavior.

* The popular press is full of suggestions that introverted leaders practice their public speaking skills and smile more. But Grant's research suggests that in at least one important regard--encouraging employees to take initiative--introverted leaders would do well to go on doing what they do naturally. Extroverted leaders on the other hand, may wish to adopt a more reserved, quiet style. They may want to learn to sit down so that others might stand up. Which is just what a woman named Rosa Parks did naturally.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Industry mixer

We are soon hosting an industry mixer at our home for photographers/videographers all over this region. Please contact me if you are interested in joining and I will extend the details of the invitation.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Great Expectations

Someone once told me I live a delusional life on Facebook. I mean, don't we all? If Facebook is my delusion, then this blog is my reality and in some ways, my therapy. I rarely share my feelings in real life so I thank you for letting me dump my pain in verbiage. And still coming back with no judgement. Or maybe some judge. Some use it as ammunition. Some thank me. Some get to know me on levels that they never could in real life. Some never will know me and some will forever be there.

We all post about the joys about our lives, but what about the nuances of our despair? The truths and the sorrows?

My job keeps me just busy enough to mostly forget about my hurt and pain but every once in a while it seeps in and the tears pour out unexpectedly. Today was one of those days. And the tears wouldn't stop.

We attended a funeral for a fine and wonderful lady by the name of Florence. Lovingly referred to as Flo, she welcomed my mom and I into her home and arms for 20 years. She was the grandmotherly grandma who baked pies, and always had a kind word for me. She was the mom of my (former) stepdad. For 20 years, we all co-existed like blended families do; as forced families trying to make sense of each other, and it wasn't easy. My teenage years were confusing as I didn't know myself, let alone this person who was in a father figure role. To be frank, it's probably fair to say that we couldn't stand each other. And then one day, things fall apart and you aren't family anymore. It's weird.

And yet today, we all wept as if we were family. We laughed at our past issues. We hugged and shared feelings that were never shared. My stepdad said words that I had never heard from him: I am so proud of you. I expected him to say this for years and he never did. Then again, maybe I didn't do anything worthy of being proud of. Maybe the problem is in life, we have too high expectations of each other. I see it daily. Women are struggling with their body image. Mothers are striving to be as good as the others. Friends expect secrets to be kept. Relationships are expected to just work. And then when you take a step back, grow older and wiser and reflect, you can understand that perhaps everyone is just doing the best that they can. Perhaps they did the best they could. Perhaps we can forgive and move forward armed with the knowledge of our mistakes and the wisdom of a prophet.

Perhaps we just need the time and space away to understand that everyone is unique, that we shouldn't cast judgement and most importantly, life is too damn short.

While Flo's grandson played the guitar and choked back the lyrics to "Amazing Grace" and "You are my sunshine", I had a thought. What if we just all could accept each other for who we are, for the good and bad days, respect the bonds that we've shared, honour the times spent together and if it doesn't work, carry forward as friends, at the very least?

What if we could just stop expecting so much and take the time to accept?

What if.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Faith in humanity

We sat glued to the tv for almost 18 hours yesterday. At 3 in the morning, we got word of the chaos that was ensuing on the streets of our neighbouring country. And watched the final minutes as the son of a bitch got cornered and captured.

I will never forget where I was and what I was doing during 9/11. The sheer terror of the unknown and what was to ensue next.

I literally remember the other night before bed thinking....it's sure been awhile since we've heard of terrorist events, and low and behold the next day we hear about the Boston marathon bombings.

The live coverage showed a city paralyzed with fear. Empty streets with the exception of the armed forces and media coverage. I wondered what the spouses and families were feeling as they saw their loved ones on TV, reporting live with what would later make unbelievable and historical footage....I feel I too would be torn to "get back" and out of the way in case yet another bomb went off and also trying to document the unbelievable moments that took place.

The gory and gruesome photos that have surfaced are heartwrenching, but it is the photos that document the humanism, the acts of kindness that really restore my faith in humanity. Human beings running towards the chaos trying to help. The strangers. The physicians. The police.

These are our heroes.

May God have mercy on evil's soul and may the long road to recovery for the survivors be filled with God's grace and watchful eyes.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Heaven and earth

From the moment Wendy and Michael walked in our door my husband and I knew they were different. 

Meeting with them to do our maternity photo session has been a long time coming, with the unexpected loss of our son last year- we had to obviously cancel our maternity session. Wendy was very supportive and understanding, but also instilled hope in our hearts that we will one day get to work with them for a maternity and newborn shoot.

Wendy was actually one of the first people we announced our current pregnancy to. She was genuinely sweet and we were able to book our April 2013 session with her.

Being a very shy and self conscious person, I knew I didn't really feel comfortable taking bare belly shots, during our session, they did not force us to do anything we didn't feel comfortable doing.

What I noticed happening during our session was (with their encouragement and positive feedback ) my confidence was becoming greater and greater. They made me feel like I was actually able to take a nice photo. Wendy then asked if I was interested in doing some belly photos with just her in private, something told me I should try, and so I did. I think this is something I would have regretted not doing. I thank her so much for this!

It's not often people hire photographers or other people running businesses, that can instantly feel like your friends. My husband and I are very grateful for Wendy and Michaels help in capturing some of our first precious milestones of our new baby boy, as well as so beautifully capturing special memories of our angel baby.

Looking forward to many more sessions together! 

Eric & Katie Frankum

Sunday, April 14, 2013

You get what you give

Don't give up
You've got a reason to live
Can't forget
You only get what you give.

Happy Sunday Lovers.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Costa Rica wedding week...in video

I didn't have my tripod so please excuse the amateurish shake in the video...just thought there were some moments that simply couldn't be captured by still photos alone. Enjoy the highlights of the wedding week.

Videographers, we are looking to team up with you for our wedding packages.

Contact me to discuss.



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Don't stop believing. ~Costa Rica Riu Palace Wedding Photographer

All love stories that end up with a happy ending seem to have a period of time where the love wasn't so grand. Ups and downs. Breakups and makeups. Come to think of it, all good relationships that are worth keeping and clinging onto are the ones where you can prove to each other and the world that, despite and against all odds, you can grow and learn from distance and separation, and ultimately find your way back to the familiarity of each other's arms.

Meet Lea and Steve.

Lea "had me at hello" with her first enthusiastic email to me. She had been searching for photographers and had seen our recent work from a mutual friend's wedding. I quickly scanned through her email to see the words jump off the page as if to blind my eyes. Costa Rica Wedding.

"BABE!", I screamed downstairs. "A friend of Krissy's just asked us if we are available in April!!" And so we were. We met Lea and Steve at a local Ancaster pub over drinks and dined on our mutual love of white Belgian beer and deep fried dill pickles. I usually anticipate how these meetings initially play out.The guys are bored and uninterested, trying to maintain a poker face about price, and the brides can't hold their excitement back. Steve's main concern was finding a photographer that would blend into their fun and large group of guests. Lea and I instantly compared similarities. OMG. I LOVE SHOPPING AT WINNERS TOO!! DO WE HAVE THE SAME FRONT TEETH? HAVE YOU SEEN THAT HILARIOUS YOU TUBE VIDEO WHERE THE BRIDE FALLS IN THE WATER?

All wedding consultations start out with us finding common ground with our couples. Men quickly realize that Michael is more like a buddy than a vendor. And women just as quickly find out how much I love my career and how invested we are in their experience. The seasons changed, fall and winter quickly came and went and before we knew it, it was time to embark on our first South American adventure.

In the six months leading up to the wedding, Lea and I feverishly exchanged text messages about life, love and her upcoming nuptials. I realized something when we showed up to their stag and doe during the biggest snow storm to have hit for a couple of years. We really loved these two. These were no longer clients, but friends who's family and wedding party warmly opened their arms to us.

85 of us boarded the plane including their friends, family, grandparents, cousins arriving from Spain, a cousin from Australia, makeup and hair stylists and photographers. We arrived to beautiful Costa Rica and Michael and I instantly fell in love. I would have to say from a vendor's perspective, it was the least intimidating country we have travelled to in terms of worrying about our equipment, security etc. After a breathtaking winding countryside bus ride and a local stop for beer, we arrived to our palace for the week. Paradise.

It wasn't until later in the week when I realized barely anyone knew each other at the beginning of the trip. The first five minutes were slightly awkward. The group sort of set up camp in a spot near the bar, pool and beach and that was our spot for the week. The five minute awkwardness of not knowing anyone quickly passed and before I knew it, we were chatting with all the guests as if we had known each other for years.

I can honestly say in hindsight that because of Lea and Steve's wedding, they have brought together so many different groups of people into what seems like lifelong friendships. At the airport on the way home, everyone was exchanging contact information and excitedly planning for the reunion party to view all the photos.

During the week Michael and I would bring our cameras to various events such as the pool, excursions, rehearsal dinner and I even sent the girls to the beach to do a sunset girlfriends photo shoot. One of the guests asked us if we were paid to take photos for the week. In all truthfulness, destination wedding photographers are hired for the day of the wedding and in some cases, the day after. They justify their costs because of the risk to equipment, the exhaustion of working in extreme conditions and missing a full week's work back home, and in some cases, two Saturdays which could potentially be wedding weekends. With that being said, there is something very special and enchanting to me about a destination wedding. Unlike home, you spend a week with your couple and their loved ones and really get entrenched in who they are as people, and what their connections are with their guests.

We have been told that a huge part of what makes us successful wedding photographers is the human approach we have with our clients and their special people. There is absolutely no way that even the most talented wedding photographer could draw out the emotion they need from people for true, gritty, heart wrenching photos, if they don't have the social capabilities to connect. I'm not saying that there isn't a place for second shooters or photojournalistic approaches because there absolutely is. But shooting a wedding in it's entirety is a whole different beast. Remember me, the introvert? Yah, that has pretty much had to take a backseat to the extremely social and extroverted role it takes to be a wedding photographer. I'm still exhausted after a shoot and need my quiet and down time. But when the day comes, it's show time. And we are prepared, ready and on. We work with blinders on. We are blind to the cold and hot weather. We are blind to the emotional drama that often ensues on the most important yet stressful day of someone's life. We are blind to it all and our focus is 100% on the wedding. It has to be. You can't miss a moment. You have to work fast, anticipate reactions and be ready to change your camera settings without hesitation or a second thought. You also have to have a great relationship and connection with your couple. There is no point in creating wonderful photographs if the couple looks back at them and remembers their experience with their photographer with disdain.

The week was hot as hell. But not as humid as our Mexican weddings. We had no issues with our cameras fogging up. The nights were balmy and cool. And Lea and Steve's wedding day was beautifully overcast; the pillowy clouds making for the perfect natural softbox and no harsh shadows.

We arrived to Lea's door first thing in the morning to deliver some gifts and plan for our day. I peeked in the room to see all the bridesmaids in tears. Oh boy. This was going to be an emotional day. The girls headed off to breakfast while we quickly worked to photograph the dress and not be seen by any of the guests scattered across the resort. I had a plan for a few photos and when we arrived to her room on the other side of the resort, I realized the furniture on the huge rooftop terrace was no longer there. Michael made some phone calls and arranged for the staff to lug the couch that I wanted back across the resort to the terrace. We blew up balloons for her bridal shoot. The terrace was all white and the pop of colour I thought would look gorgeous.

Michael headed to the groom's room which was perfectly organized and clean by the groomsmen. In full suits, they weaved and bobbed through the resort taking photos with no complaints. Meanwhile, in the bride's room, their friend and hairdresser quickly worked to finish up hair so we would have time for photos. It was a tight timeline. But we got the photos we needed.

Lea's dad rounded the corner and the tears started. They are a very close family. We arranged for Steve to come to the same spot Lea was at; almost a first look but they did not see each other. The photo we got was pure magic. From where I stood, I witnessed two excited and nervous people who hadn't seen each other yet. And I was photographing them simultaneously. It was an epic moment I won't soon forget.

With any destination wedding, people stop and stare. I don't know what it is but they do not get out of the way for photos. We have some classic beach shots with your cliche speedo-goer in the background.
People love weddings. People adore love stories. And people love to look at beautiful brides. All brides are gorgeous. But I have to say....beauty is so much more about the soul and less about the looks. Obviously Lea is jawdroppingly gorgeous, but her soul and her heart are about as beautiful as they come. There were times on the trip where I would quietly sit on the sidelines and just watch as she ensured everyone from the hired help to her fiance's nonna was included and comfortable. When things didn't go to plan, she didn't miss a beat or bat an eyelash. She has class and rolls with the punches. She is loved and truly, one of a kind.

Steve and his groomsmen awaited. He looked handsome and emotional. The guy that I had got to know as a partyer and jokester was standing awaiting his gorgeous bride. An orchestral rock song played and everyone rose from their seat.

The ceremony, toasts and group photos came and went. Once we were finished with the bridal party and bride and groom shots, we had the rare time to go back to our room, shower off the day's heat and change  for the reception. Sometimes, just that 45 minute break is all it takes to feel renewed and refreshed. The reception was a covered terrace entwined with twinkle string lights. Lea's brother and his girlfriend did an absolutely AMAZING job as MC's. We have been to a lot of weddings and the MC can really make or break an event. At certain points in the evening, I was left awestruck at how confident, talented and young these two were. It was apparent in their introductions just how tight knit a group everyone was.

Lea and Steve's family and bridal party said their speeches. I've never laughed and cried so much;  often points in the evening at the same time. It was obvious these two families were close. It was pointed out that Lea's family is just like Steve's, minus the prosciutto.

The party continued and the dance moves intense! The final song would find Lea and Steve on their friend's shoulders chanting Don't stop believin' !!

And that's exactly it. During their entire young, adolescent and adult lives, they never stopped believing. Nobody did. Everyone knew they would end up together. And so they did.

And it was an ABSOLUTE privilege to be included and witness this amazing union.

Lea and Steve, we love you. Thank you for including us, thank you for your appreciation and above all, thank you for your friendship. Thank you for one of the most unforgettable wedding experiences we have ever been a part of. May your lives be blessed with love, respect, family and forever.



* Special thanks to Emilio for carrying our bags on the wedding day, Chloe for assisting with some photos and both Katie's (Caity) for being so helpful with timelines and basically anything else we needed and Mark & Dom for cleaning up the room for photos! Thanks to everyone else who made this week possible and perfect for Lea and Steve. It absolutely takes a team of concerted efforts to pull off a day like this.