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Portrait Experience: AUTHENTICITY

Updated: Oct 28, 2019

Authenticity! What does it mean to you, is it important?

Throughout the portrait planning experience, Justine brought me into her world, and really opened up to me about what matters most to her and her family. I SO commend her for trusting me, and sharing exactly who she is and what her family stands for. Developing trust between client and photographer is a key factor in creating authentic portraits!

Justine and I chatted like old friends, and ended up finding lots of similar ground. (Ex...neither of us know the first thing about makeup!) After their daughter gave me a tour of the home, we decided what kind of look suited their style most! We decided on Bradford Greenhouses in Barrie, ON for the location. Fun, spring outfits were perfect for this family. We had Jordan Ashley Hair & Makeup help us out with the most beautiful, natural look! Some of the things we planned were purely aesthetic; but we also dug deeper, and tapped into the subtle but very important messages that these portraits would convey. Most importantly, these portraits had to feel deeply maternal and nurturing. (Click arrow on image below to show more)

I asked Justine what she thinks the most important thing was that her parents taught her, that has stayed with her…”to enjoy the little things in life”. That’s an amazing rule to live by! Literally every time I turned around in their home, I was swept into whimsical fun-and-wonderment land by their eclectic decor, endless DIY furnishings (#goals!) and some pretty bad-ass wall signs (no "Live, Laugh, Love" signs on these walls!) Their home exuded a really fun and relaxed, yet still very polished feel. Their environment says just that - enjoy the little things! When I brought the idea of ice cream to Justine, she was so excited and agreed it would be the PERFECT addition to their portraits. Centered around the pink strawberry ice cream, we coordinated pink nail polish, a pink hair bow, and during the shoot I surprised Justine's daughter with a fun pair of pink heart sunglasses! Add an adorable toddler denim jacket, and hubby in a striped blue button up and you've got a look that sends all the messages we'd hoped to! (Click arrow on image below to show more)

By the end of the planning phase of Justine’s portrait experience, we had uncovered a beautiful way to express her family’s unique personality, and preserve history with her family's maternity portraits. Justine was especially excited with the "backwards" approach of discussing how to display her future portraits BEFORE shooting them. When I explained my heirloom album to Justine, I could tell that high quality keepsakes were something she really placed a lot of value in. I couldn't agree more! The album they ended up ordering at the Portrait Reveal will be something they'll be able to pick up, look through and cherish forever. I'm honestly getting a little teary eyed writing this as I picture her and Stu, old and gray, kids long grown up, looking back on this beautiful reflection of everything they stand for! That’s building legacy!

Also this happened, and I make zero apologies for sharing this many portraits of a messy ice cream covered toddler. THEY ARE SO GOOD. (Click arrow on image below to show more)

It’s all about helping you build your legacy! This blog is for parents who want to be HEARD! Let me help guide you through the process of creative fine art portraits that express who your family is, your values, what you stand for, and all of your crazy quirks! We’ll talk about how you can use portrait art to express your family’s truth, and how to print and display your images so that they stand the test of time. My goal is to provide you with high quality archival artwork that you know will last for generations.



"Hillary is legitimately the BEST photographer we have ever worked with! I know the phrase "She went above and beyond our expectations" can be over used, but seriously it's true! Hillary exceeded any and all expectations we could have had for our maternity photos. She thought of everything, down to the very last detail. She is so creative and talented. There wasn't one photo I didn't love at the reveal.
We have had our photos taken before by other photographers, and I was always happy with how they turned out. But that's exactly it. Other photographers just seem to take your photos with some pretty scenery or a background, and yes they turn out nice and your family looks great but do they really emit your familys personality or values?
Working with Hillary was an experience. She takes the time to really get to know you and your family. She comes up with fantastic ideas tailored to your family (things you probably wouldn't even think of yourself). And then she does this amazing thing. She takes the time to create something special for your family to cherish for years to come. An album to look back at, or a beautiful, unique piece of artwork for your home.
Hillary does not just capture your familys special moment, she creates and personalizes the entire experience.
I would highly recommend Hillary to anyone. She made us feel so comfortable through out the photo shoot, and I truly think it is because she takes the time and effort to get to know you. You can tell she loves what she does and it shows in every photo she takes!"
-Justine G.

There is NOTHING more satisfying to me as an artist than to be assigned a project, uncover the concepts to communicate, and express them through art! I want to hear your inspiring, quirky or compelling story - let's chat! Book A Consult

Please subscribe to my blog to follow along with how Justine's album turns out, future custom fine art family portrait experiences, and local business spotlights! Next week we'll be hanging out again at Bradford Greenhouses to get some insider info...greenthumb or not, you'll want to check this one out!

In the comments, I'd love to hear what concepts you pull from these images!


Hillary West

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