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"Quality Time" Personalized Portraits by GTA Photographer Hillary West

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

My Creative Process...

One of my biggest obsessions is helping families create “forever portraits” that really speak their truth - printed portraits that your kids are going to cherish forever!

While quick, easy, and posed (or candid) photos have their place in our lives, I truly believe it to be an amazing act of love to do something more for your family’s portraits. Because people like us want to be heard, seen and understood for everything that we are. We want to be remembered exactly as we were - not just posed in some pretty scenery!

There are so many things that our brains interpret, process and create emotional reactions to that we don’t consciously process. These are the things I want to make sure we get just right in our portrait planning phase! Check out the planned details below, and the reasons why they were included!

White sheets & twinkle lights:

  • Pure, innocent, magical childhood...Jamie's son is really into superheroes and dress up, so including his imagination into this shoot was super important!

Blanket fort:

  • Safe at home, quality time, imagination, play and snuggles...


  • Jamie told me one of their very favourite things to do is stay in, order pizza and watch a movie! Well, don't we all get pizza on the nights when we go NAH to cooking, because spending quality time together in that moment is infinitely more important than cooking a fancy meal!? Yes!


  • Well, that is just exactly how we all feel when we make the time and space for each other to do really amazing things, like a superhero photoshoot with Mom in a fort!

I’ve been talking a lot about legacy over the last year - when I asked Jamie what kind of legacy she wants to leave behind she (rightfully) needed some time to think about it. The next time we talked, she explained that her son himself was literally going to be her legacy.

I love that answer SO MUCH!

Our portrait experience begins with a quick phone chat, and then we set up a time to discuss ideas in more depth. You’ll also get the chance to answer my questions - I’ve curated an assortment of leading questions that always bring out totally personalized answers. Some of the questions keep it light and fun, and some are more telling of what really matters to you and your family at a deeper level. Reading your answers gives me a really great idea of who you are, and what really matters to you and your family. Then, I just let that sit.

I’ve learned over the years that a crucial part of the creative process is not to force it - I simply take all the information possible, and over the course of a few days, my brain will insist on sifting through it all to find what the most important and most inspiring elements are. And then, once I’ve hit some points of inspiration, it just rolls from there really easily!

It’s literally my favourite thing to do! In another life, I most definitely work in an ad agency, because art direction in my JAM! Taking concepts and bringing them to life through inspiring visuals is so rewarding, so fulfilling to me, and entirely way too addictive!

What makes you totally unique and interesting? What do you want to be remembered as? I would LOVE to tell that story!

Share this post if you’re into portraits that truly represent all that you are <3

If you want to chat about it, I’ll just be over here dreaming up my next client’s fun, creative and totally customized portraits!

All the love,

Hillary West

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