Rita & Rami Expecting - And then there were 3

1 + 1 = 3

Pardon my math but in this case it's true.  The beautiful Rita & handsome Rami wanted a fun way to announce to their families & friends that they're expecting.  I was delighted & honored they asked me to photograph them for this occasion so we got to work on ideas for the playful theme Rita had envisioned.  A red bike & tricycle, some simple signs, baby shoes & a super sweet onesie would do just the trick.  Theme & props check...I knew just the perfect location, my favorite spot to walk Maple The Ridgeback!  We picked a beautiful summer night & despite some strong winds we lucked out big time with some beautiful light before sunset.  In the end, we had a lot of fun shooting & I feel the pictures capture the warmth this couple exudes.  Please join me in congratulating these two wonderful parents-to-be in the comments below!

Rita & Rami Expecting 8.jpg
Rita & Rami Expecting 18.jpg



April & Jason's Winter Engagement Session

Old Opponent, New Friend: 

Looking back, Jason (or Dale & Daler as he's known to his buddies) & I played against each other growing up in minor hockey but it wasn't until we played together for a brief stint in Bakersfield, California that we became good friends.  He showed me the ropes & we hung out during the many hours that practice & games failed/neglected to fill.

Meeting April:

Following my retirement from pro hockey, he kept playing, and started dating April which is when I eventually met her while giving them a tour of Gary Roberts High Performance Centre as a place for him to train in the off-season.  At the time, I remember giving them the full tourwhile being mindful to take breaks & ask April about herself as I could tell Jason really loved her.  She was always smiling, super on the ball & I could tell she was a perfect match for my man J!


April on How They Met:

We met in the last semester of grade 12, sat beside each other in math class. I asked him when he started going to our school and he said he had been there for the whole 4 years. We became friends and realized we lived around the corner from each other. We were friends for 5 years and finally he said: if we’re going to try then let’s try so we picked September 8 as the date to decide...4 years later we got engaged!

April Books Jeremie Before He Even Starts Photographing People:

Fast forward a few years, April started seeing some of my landscape work and without even knowing that I was eventually going to photograph weddings OR when Jason was going to propose she told me:

Jeremie you’re going to shoot our wedding...if Jason ever proposes!

At the time, I loved her confidence, soaked in her compliments about my work & knew eventually I'd be honored to capture their special day.. it excited me but seemed far off as I hadn't shot anything serious involving humans yet.

The Proposal:

Fast forward to a few more months... Jason was down on his knee & I had quit my day job to dive head first into shooting portraits, engagements & weddings.  Things were coming together nicely for April...

Jason's romantic proposal took place at the Distillery District & despite all the hints previously dropped by April..she had no idea..

We went to the distillery district on my only day off with a group of friends. My grandpa had given us tickets and we were on our way to the exit when Jay suggested we take a picture at night under the heart statue. We were posing for a picture (my brother and his girlfriend came specifically to take pictures of it for us) and he got down on one knee. I didn’t know what was happening and then I saw the ring. I said yes and all of our friends came out to celebrate (only a few knew what was happening).

As so many of their friends, I was extremely happy for April & J!

Weathering Long Distance:

With J away for hockey & them dating long distance for many years, it had been a long time coming despite what a great match & deep friendship they shared.

I think because we have that friendship base we really understand each other and respect each other, which has made long distance for years easier than it would have been if we hadn’t built that base.

4th Times A Charm:

Things were coming together nicely for April until it came time to plan + execute the engagement shoot.  We were going for winter vibes (as their wedding is during the summer of 2017) & each time we went to shoot it was either freezing rain the entire day or 15 degrees and sunny.  It was a bit (very at times) discouraging for her as she had her hair & makeup appointments planned & really wanted to get the photos done by March 26th for her shower.  I felt for them, I was excited but really wanted to wait & be patient for those perfect conditions to really get those special photos & tell their story the most beautiful way possible.

With a lot of faith, optimism & trust on all our parts we waited patiently for the right day.  A few days before our final shoot I sent this text:

Game Time:

As I wished & truly believed it would, it snowed a ton the day before & we got sunny (yet cold) weather the day of the shoot.  I was giddy with excitement, things were visually perfect & we could manage the cold with lots of breaks.

Sheppard's Bush:

We met in the parking lot where Jason & April were finishing off some warm tea from Tim Horton's (how Canadian) before we set off onto a trail I had previously scouted while walking my dog a few days prior.  April traded in her Tim's cups for a pair of Steve Madden pumps to really add some awesome contrast should we decide to do some full body shots throughout.  There was way too much snow to wear anything but shoes or boots so they were carried.

Coats off for the pics was a must & soon after we all stopped to laugh at how cold it was.  They were already looking so natural & at ease.

Coats back on, we continued walking deeper into the wild winter wilderness before finding some beautiful sunshine to backlit my wonderful subjects. Coats off.

Further down the trail, a bridge overlooking a mostly frozen stream.  We admired the view & feeling of tranquility as the water trickled by as our only soundtrack.

By this point things were cold, Jason's feet were already frozen, my hands were numb but no one was complaining.  I was already so impressed by these two troopers.  I reminded them smiling:

The cold is only temporary... the pics will last forever!

I wanted to move on but I just kept seeing such nice pockets of light and fresh snow which framed Japril (yes I just gave them a combined celeb name).  I said already for the 3rd time in this location:

Just ONE more pics guys, it’s too good to pass up

Coats back on, we trudged through the snow for another 15 mins before finding another great spot where I could have envisioned them sitting enjoying each others company.

Coats didn't come off this time. Smiles Remained.

My famous words again:

Oh guys, I’m sorry, look at that sunshine & the snow blowing, this is legendary!

They played along...

Our wishes were materializing in front of our very eyes with beyond imaginable conditions.  The sun was shining, golden snow flakes were flying.  This time I said something slighlty different:

Just a FEW more guys, this is just too good!

As we looped back towards the parking lot to hit up the sugar shack (Syrup Evaporator Sheds), a large hill needed to be conquered.  No one complained, we battled, breathing deeply & April led the charge.

After being out for an hour in the cold, we had got it all, time to run back to the car, pump the heat before heading to our next destination to change & get some different feeling shots at sunset.

It's All About You - The Centre for Complimentary Health in King City:

This was the original location I had suggested due to it's beautiful pond (which wasn't frozen due to all the warm weather), west facing field, barn & variety of rustic spots.  The founder, Annette Nolan, is a good friend of mine & my fiancée's.  Jessica, is lucky to call this beautiful place home as one of her two clinics.  Annette has always been the most gracious and kind of women to both of us and she was happy to let us use the property + change in the warmth.

While they were changing, I took some time to capture THE ring of April's dreams.  The symbol of commitment Jason had saved up for so secretly.

The sun was quickly setting and with that the temperature really dropping.  The field was windy making for good dress pictures but freezing hands.  They brought their A game, Jason in a nice classy sweater, April a flowing elegant red dress.  Before they had time to think I had already asked them to scale a nearby ridge as the last rays of light illuminated the snow being kicked up by April.

Yelling, I asked them to give me their best "I love you body language" as I played with different crops and silhouettes before we all agreed we were nearing frost bite & needed a moment to thaw.

BUT before we headed back to the cars I said...

Just ONE...(You know how it goes by now)...CLICK. CLICK. WOW. CLICK.

Cryogenic Thawing nearly complete it was show time but they didn't know that.  The clouds in the sky earlier gave me an indication we might be in for a special show that night.

I knocked on their window & leaned in to talk over the blasting heat.

Guys, we have to do ONE more shot in the field. Just trust me.

When April saw the sky she read my mind in saying, the boots need to come off for this, I don't want them in the shot.  I would never have asked her to do that as we were all already frozen BUT like I said before.

The minor frostbite is only temporary, these photos will last forever

I quick exposure test, we were good to go this was a one time shot as I knew her feet wouldn't be able to handle another run.  She kicked them off carefully outside of my frame and ran towards Jason as if in a legendary no boot winterized dirty dancing scene.  Jason lifted her up effortlessly, she pointed her toes with grace & heavens soft light shone upon them.

OMG my feet are so cold, lift me back to my shoes (please).

One more thaw session while I set up an off-camera light for what I hoped would be more than a typical barn shot.  This was really really the last shots here as daylight turned to dusk.

Rink - Downtown Newmarket:

Two of the last shots we wanted to get to pull the whole story together were April & Jason on a rink & a sparkler shot which April had fallen in love with months and months before.   Both required it being really dark & we were all starved so I suggested we grab a quick bite together at Ground Burger Bar a highly rated spot right in downtown Newmarket by Ferry Lake.

We were well fed, warm (except for our toes) & happy, the only problem was that despite keeping my batteries and gear as warm as possible in my car & in my inside coat pocket, the cold had finally drained my flash batteries & I wasn't able to get as creative as I would have wanted at the rink with off-camera flash.  Nonetheless, we got the original shot we had envisioned.  I love the contrast of the ice, the blue toned lights, the dark long shadow & Jason's wheels next to April's heels.  Thanks to it being shallower than the pond, we were happy to discover the rink was frozen.

Wheels & Heels

The Sparkler Shot:

Forever ago when she made her revelation about me going to shoot her wedding, April had shared a really cool long exposure sparkler shot which I had figured out how to do & assured her we could get.  When it came time to making it happen it took a few tries but I really like the way it turned out despite how silly I looked spinning around them at the time.

Overall it was a really fun, relaxed and comfortable shoot despite the bitter cold.  We rocked it together & I'm so grateful for people as open & easy going as me.  It makes it so fun to experiment & tell their story in the most natural way possible.

In the planning stages, I found it a bit hard to wait out the not so ideal conditions. I obviously love to shoot, was excited to work with them & wanted deeply to get them their shots but am glad that in the end I payed attention to my inner voice telling me to wait each time conditions weren't perfect.  Like they always do, my ever present optimism & gratitude came through in the end.

After the shoot April & Jason expressed the following gratitude which had me feeling out of this world:

On Facebook:

3 cancelled shoots due to no snow or too much snow & rain, Jeremie Dupont never lost hope & kept us positive that the 4th time would be the charm. You were right !! Thank you for making our first milestone for our wedding such an amazing, adventurous & fun filled moment. We appreciate that you almost got frostbite, tackled hills, rivers, and ice rinks for us! You are a genius!!! The end result is something we will cherish forever. Can’t even imagine our wedding photos to come!

Closing Remarks:

Just like the patience & trust required for April & Jason's relationship to overcome distance, we waited it out, understood each other & ended up going through the most amazing experience together.  I'm so happy to share these photos with them, their friends & their family in hopes of doing chapter one of their love story justice.  I can't wait to experience & capture their wedding next year!

I hope that anyone else reading this who doesn't know them personally is inspired by the imagery & timeless lessons of hard work, persistence, patience, trust, all-while being open/welcoming of change or events not exactly how or when we imagine them unfolding.  They rarely do & depending on our attitude towards adversity, detours or delays along the way, things often end up better than we could ever imagined when we just surrender & let go.

All Is Well,


Engagement Shoot at Scarborough Bluffs with Charlotte & Julien

When I met the wonderful Charlotte and Julien, it was way back in our high school days at Ecole Catholique Cardinal Carter which is in Aurora and now called Ecole Catholique Renaissance.  Although they were in the grade above me to start school, we graduated together as I had fast tracked my courses over 3 years so that I could go play hockey in the states for my NHL draft year.

We didn't have a ton of classes together but whenever we would hang out it was fun and always natural.  I loved them as friends and I was really happy to see them start dating, so when I recently saw they got engaged over facebook, I was even more ecstatic and assumed they had been together since.

The short story would be to say that Charlotte and Julien are high school sweethearts but unless you know them well, you know it hasn't always been easy.  Due to many years of long distance, they decided to take a few breaks throughout the years despite their strong feelings for each other.

We dated from the end of high school and were long distance for first year university. It lasted about a year and a half where it got kinda messy, we were on and off, never official in between but we’d act all romantic when we were together (laughs) it was confusing for everyone
— Charlotte

They even stopped talking completely at one point entirely but as fate would have it Julien broke his ankle while he was in Toronto...

I went to the hospital to visit him
— She grinned again
That was also a turning point for us and for him, because that’s when he got into wall trampoline and moved away from tramp competitions

Where things really changed is when Charlotte moved to Montreal in 2011 to do her masters degree.

He was one of the reasons I chose MTL, I knew we had to be closer in distance to try it out for real again

Once she moved they saw each other a lot and eventually got back together for good!

The rest is history!
— They said with a smile on their faces

When it came to popping the question, Charlotte and Julien were exploring some ancient Mayan ruins and she had a feeling he might do it there.

It was too busy with people, so I decided to wait
— Julien
He almost did it at the top of the pyramid but didn’t... I thought he might do it there so when he didn’t I was disappointed
— says Charlotte thinking back smiling.

She was ready to go home but he wanted to keep on exploring the ruins. So they biked around and stopped at a very secluded place. He got up on a platform and pretended to find something on the floor to lure her in.

When I got close, he turned around on his knee and was holding the ring! I was in shock (laughing), I said is this for real?! And he said yes! I started jumping and shouting we’re gonna get married!
— Charlotte on the moment Julien asked

Now that you have their powerful & unique backstory, it's time for the details and pics of their Toronto engagement session.

Currently, Julien works in the Mayan Riviera Mexico for a show run by Cirque du Soleil called Joyà.  He was only in town for a weekend and with all their plans to see family and friends, we were limited to Sunday morning for sunrise or sunset at Scarborough bluffs.  A week or so out, I had suggested sunrise as it would make a for a more unique and interesting shoot.

I was in Minden (far north) at a wedding Saturday night and was prepared to get up at 3AM to meet them in Toronto for sunrise but when I checked the forecast we all agreed it was best to postpone until that afternoon as sunrise wouldn't yield much with all the clouds and rain.

When time came around to meeting up it was still raining so I suggested we meet at Balzac's in Distillery District for some coffee, to get caught up on their story and hopefully snap some cute pics in a cozy/dry setting.  Things didn't last long there as it was packed and photography not allowed even for paying customers!

Balzacs Engagment Pic

We managed to get a few cute pics before being asked to stop.  The above being my favorite (as it's just so reflective of their personalities), we headed outside into the rain for a few more European cafe style shots on the cobblestone.

Venturing further into the Distillery District we found some more fun picture ops before deciding we really wanted to get some cozy cafe shots.

Thus, we jumped in one car and went to visit my favorite coffee spot in the city: Rooster Coffee House on Broadview near the Danforth. Big shout out to them for their consistently amazing moods, service and laid back approach.  For something different I shot from outside looking in.

Although there wasn't rain on Rooster's outside windows like I would of hoped (in focus rain, out of focus couple), the reflections from outside of Charlotte and Julien were perfect and made for some real sweet shots of the two.

As sunset was only a few hours away it was time to venture to Scarborough Bluffs Park for the real fun.  When we got there the skies were providing nice drama and the rain only spitting by this point.  We ventured on together, I had fun simply walking with as I watched the way Char and J moved and interacted.  The journey to the location, made for some really natural and intimate looking pics.

Small river overcome, we continued along, and with each step the path got muddier...time for piggy backs.

When we got to the bluffs we basically had the place to ourselves besides some crazy tourist who had decided to swim while it was 15°C and raining out.

Arriving at the Bluffs

Arriving at the Bluffs

It made for some good entertainment.

The natural laughs and smiles were coming on easily as the strong Julien casually picked up the petite and graceful Charlotte, holding her nicely for lots of romantic shots.

The energy among these two was magnetic and the backdrop stellar. All I tried to do was give them subtle direction, while making sure not to miss any precious moments.

To end at this spot, we decided to have a little fun.  Julien showed off his athleticism and Charlotte her grace.

In order to get to a willow tree we wanted to shoot at, it was either walk 15 mins back and around or 1 minute through a thigh high stream.  The sun was going to be setting soon, so time was of the essence.  Can you guess which way this awesome couple decided to take?!

Might as well!

Might as well!

Being the gentleman he is, Julien first brought over most of the clothes, umbrellas and then held Charlotte's hand as they waded through the surprisingly warm water, while I made sure not to submerge any of my gear.

At this point, I was starting to realize just how happy and content I felt with what I was doing.  I was shooting an awesome couple, having a blast, it was raining just a tiny bit, the sky was beautiful, sunset was coming, it was just utterly awesome on top of awesome!

After a successful crossing, the peaceful willow served as a perfect backdrop for some nice portraits of the betrothed.

We were all a bit wet and cold, so as the sun was beginning to set, we headed to the nearby bluffers beach park wrapped in blankets to finish our shoot off on the sand.  Both of these beauties love to travel which is why they brought this suitcase as a symbol of their wanderlust personalities.

The entire atmosphere was turning beautiful shades of first blue, then purplish red, due to the sun now being between the clouds & the earth allowing it to reflect it's light all over.

With the sun finally able to reach us and the rain in the distance we were all blown away when not one, but two rainbows appeared over Lake Ontario!

With the last remaining rays of daylight, we hit the blankets for some cuddles (because who doesn't like cuddles?)

To end the night, we shot another passion C and J love to work on together, which is Acro Yoga! 

As I was setting up my lighting, I caught them snuggling even when the camera wasn't supposed to be on.

When we were all set up, lighting tested, I used an off camera flash to add a unique back lit effect to their postures, and thanks to the beautiful shapes they made with their bodies, I couldn't be happier with the way these turned out!

Char & Julien Low Res-121.jpg
That’s a wrap!
— Julien exclaimed with a backflip
If anything, I hope that these images and blog demonstrate that even when real life has it’s challenges, like long distance relationships and/or rain during photo shoots, if things feel right in your heart, you love someone or something and you’re willing to weather the storm (literally) to make it work, what often happens in the end, is things fall into place better than you could have ever expected.

The universe conspires in what seems like random ways, a broken ankle & masters program in Montreal for example.  In the end, the light prevails, you get sunshine and in this very special case you even get rainbows.

I hope their story serves as inspiration for those who love someone or something, realize it's not always easy, but is most surely worth it in the end.

Anything is possible when your heart and good intentions are aligned.

Lastly, thank you and big high fives to Julien & Charlotte for being so real, so fun AND my first engagement shoot! You put faith in my passion, hard work & love for telling beautiful stories, I hope you feel like I did you guys justice!

Love & Be Persistent My Friends,