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Darren + Laura | Expecting

Friends and family have been patiently awaiting the delivery of Darren + Laura’s little peanut and SHE (surprise!) arrived last night! I’m so excited to share some photographs her parents asked me to make, as their chosen family photographer, in the time leading up to her birth!

In my line of work, I get to share some really special times with some really special people. Maybe at the beginning, they are planning one of the most memorable days of their lives; we meet for tea, create some engagement photographs together, keep in touch between, and then it arrives: the wedding day! There are hugs, laughs, tears, speeches, and honeymoons … and then there’s back to “real life”. The jobs. The adjusting to married life. The dreams of what comes next!

As couples I’ve had the opportunity to photograph over the years start growing their families to include new homes and children, I’ve had  my own little dream growing – a dream that Darren + Laura were on board with and were gracious to be my guinea pigs with!

My dream is to photograph families in a way that shows who and where they are in this moment; I want to be help people document their “right nows” so that years down the road, when Darren + Laura’s little daughter has long since left her parents and started her own life, they can all look back together and share these little things, these memories that are a part of who they have become. It’s not about having everything be polished to perfection and ready for a magazine, but about celebrating real life and being honest instead. It’s the crazy (amazing!) retro wallpaper in the entranceway they may laugh about later, the parents’ wedding pictures displayed in the living room that gave the now-grown child an extra sense of family security and love when she was small, the big fireplace that warmed the family up after long winter plays at the park up the road, and the rooms that were painted with love and care and help from grandparents, excited to be sharing in the stories and victories of their children and future grandchildren.

It’s these little things that make up a family’s history; these little things that no one photograph can tell the full story of, or any family session in the park alone can give sight into, but something that I might be able to document even just a little bit of, for families to hold on to through the years.

Darren + Laura, thank you for sharing these special life moments, for believing in this dream, for trusting my vision, and for opening your home to me. May you and your daughter look back on these images one day and be reminded of the excitement of waiting for your firstborn, and of the love, warmth, and joy that filled your home in anticipation of her joining you there. I can’t wait to meet your new little lady, witness your journey into parenthood, and continue this story for you and your family. XO

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August 16, 2014 - 7:10 AM

Ottawa Photographer, Black Lamb - I love these lifestyle maternity photos. Very nice.

erin, the dancing bride.

two of the loveliest people were married this past Sunday; congratulations Erin & Jeremiah on the stormiest of wedding days. XO

Courtney Clarke Phootgraphy | www.courtneyclarke.comvancouver island dancing bride

February 18, 2014 - 10:07 PM

shannon grochowski - hahaha love it! Congratulations guys! I think Nathan has the best expression by far! hahah

Always Will

Here we are; autumn has arrived. Autumn just so happens to be my favourite season. It’s also my birthday season, which usually catapults me into a time of looking back and reflecting on the year that has passed and trying to remember where I was at last year in terms of my business, creativity, and life in general.

2012 has been an UNREAL year of meeting beautiful people and photographing love. There have been lessons learned, new things accomplished, and more to come before 2012 is over I am sure! THANK YOU and love to each person who has been a part of my 2012!!!

It’s also been a year of being busy. Too busy. Too busy to find time to blog. Too busy to get images to my beautiful couples as fast as I would like. Too busy to really focus on personal growth outside of my business sometimes. And too busy to be the kind of wife I’d love to be for my hubby. What I need right now is a season of renewal. Of slow. Of calm.

Personal goals as I head into my 26th year of being include more balance. I know, I know – it’s a vague and elusive goal. Balance for me includes SLOWING DOWN. NOT being busy to the extreme. It includes more regular work hours and having/making the time to share with you the beautiful people I get to photograph online. It includes more time spent with friends and family, more time in the beautiful world out there and less time inside my little office. Hold me accountable, friends!

In other news, John & I had a chance to go see Royal Wood live in concert at St. Ann’s this past Sunday as an early birthday gift for me and it was AMAZING! It was my first time hearing any songs from his latest album and I enjoyed all of them so much. Music is a big part of my life – I like singing along when I’m editing, and grooving when I’m folding laundry, and head-nodding to the beat during my drives to anywhere – and I think I might just start sharing more of it on the blog as well.

Royal Wood is a personal fave music choice of mine; I have my CBC-listening-husband to thank for turning me on to his talent (and also to listening to CBC for that matter). Royal Wood’s music is solid and his song “I’m So Glad” is the one that John & I consider to be “our song”; needless to say, there were silent tears streaming down my cheeks on Sunday while listening to that particular song live and snuggling in closer under my honey’s arm. So beautiful and such a treat to hear a musician whose live performance was so spot on! I think that as a creative, it’s really important and inspiring to witness another creative in their element, which Royal Wood definitely was! If you’re in AB or east of AB, you might be in luck for checking out one of his live shows on the rest of The Glory Tour.

So there we have it. A return to the online word with a wee little confessional. Cheers to almost 26! Thankful for everything in my life right now, especially a man who cheers me on through the crazy seasons of life, holds my hand, and helps keep me focused on what’s important.


“Hold me like you always will
And I will be renewed.”

–  from “Always Will” by Royal Wood –

Photos above by the amazing Tonhya Kae, taken last year at our anniversary session in Seattle!

January 3, 2013 - 10:18 PM

Kim Spears - Such a CUTE post Courtney !! xo

Sarah & Steve | Engagement Sneak Peek

Meet Sarah & Steve. I have known these two for a while and I ADORE them. You know when you have two friends that are both so amazing on their own, and then they fall in love, decide to get married, and totally rock as a couple? That’s Sarah & Steve – seriously one of the best couples. Ever.

These two made me laugh so hard today I could hardly stand up at some points during their session and I love them all the more for it – for having such fun-loving, relaxed personalities and for letting me photograph them!

Sarah & Steve – you two are such beautiful people and I CAN’T wait for your wedding – it’s going to be AMAZING and such an awesome start to your beautiful married life together! Thank you for asking me to help you remember this time in your lives! Excited to share more of your engagement images here soon! XOXO

May 26, 2012 - 11:44 PM

Charotte - I feel like i have just met the son i have always wanted. I do believe even with the challenges that life will bring. Sarah and Steve with their love for God and for each other will continue strong on the path to a deeper understanding of each other and thier purpose as they grow as husband and wife.

May 27, 2012 - 6:21 AM

erin - I’ve only just met Sarah and Steve this year but in the short time I’ve known them they have renewed my belief that the perfect love does exist.

I wish you all the best, may your years together be a pleasant stroll along the beach, may you carry each other when you need it, may God carry you when times are tough and may you exit the rough patches stronger and more fortified than when you entered.

June 2, 2012 - 8:05 PM

Lara - What a sweet shoot. They’re adorable. I love that last shot especially.

August 1, 2012 - 4:54 PM

Byrona - Third photo: breathtaking. This is such a beautiful couple, and you’ve definitely captured that. :)

January 19, 2013 - 7:20 PM

Carolyn - Gorgeous couple!

Because of You | Eskimo Love Song Wedding Vows

Eskimo Love Song – Wedding Vows

You are my husband (wife)
My feet shall run because of you
My feet shall dance because of you
My heart shall beat because of you
My eyes see because of you
My mind thinks because of you
And I shall love because of you.

There’s something so beautiful about traditional wedding vows. But, when a couple chooses to write their own vows or include
something a bit more untraditional, I swoon.

The Eskimo wedding vows Emily & Thomas shared with each other were some of the most beautiful I’ve heard a couple exchange.

Take Me to the Ocean & Wedding Day Second Shooters | One Frame

Today I had the loveliest time outside at the beach photographing Loukia & Roy (and their little fur baby)! I could tell straight away that Loukia & Roy are best friends in every way and have been looking forward to photographing them together ever sine we first met! Excited for your upcoming wedding (and to share more of these images)! XO

And on to today’s vlog post about second shooters!

Garden Love & Delivery Timelines | One Frame

Let’s start today’s post off with a little love in the garden shall we? Rebecca & Chris – you two are so much fun and I had a great time getting to know you both better today and photographing your beautiful love! Thank you for choosing me to be your photographer! XO

 And now for vlog #27!!! Enjoy!

April 27, 2012 - 10:26 PM

Rebecca - Oh Courtney! So lovely!! What a precious moment you’ve captured. We loved spending this afternoon and evening with you, being ‘shot’ by you! Thank you so much!!

Canada Photo Convention 2012

Oh, photography conferences!!! Today I returned home from the first annual Canada Photo Convention (which I’m pretty sure should be renamed “WPPI, You’re Amazing, but CPC is the BEST Photo Convention of ALL TIME!”) and I’m on such a creative high right now. I love what I do and feel completely refreshed (even while running on a complete lack of sleep from go-go-go scheduling and staying up late talking with newfound photographer friends) from witnessing so many talented, talented photographers share their hearts and photography with the attendees.

On the ferry ride home I felt like I was seeing moments and details in a completely different light and cannot explain the gratitude and overwhelming wonder I have for the abundance of JOY in my life right now. Talk about a great way to head into a weekend of engagement sessions, eh?!

HUGE thank you goes to Jasser Abu-Giemi, a rocking photographer from Edmonton, AB, for planning EVERYTHING and making this conference happen! Just barely 24 hours out from the last presentation of the 2012 conference, and I’ve already purchased my ticket for the 2013 conference! See you there!!!

Thank you also to each of the inspirational speakers who were so wonderful, so humble, so approachable, and so giving of their time and knowledge. I’m thrilled that I can take with me a little bit of each of you from every slideshow that struck my heart chords and brought me to tears, or mini-conversation shared between classes, or page of notes scribbled just trying to keep up with your brilliance! Thank you for SHOWING UP BIGTIME!!!

And thank you to a special guest for today’s vlog post! (and the lovely Kelsey Goodwin for her filming and directing!)

In case I didn’t explain it clearly enough in today’s vlog (it would seem clarity sometimes escapes me when filming at 2AM!), Tim King, an event and travel photographer based out of San Diego, travelled up to Vancouver, BC for the convention. Tim also happens to be the kick-starter behind the 30 Day Vlog Challenge! Awesome timing for the challenge and the conference to overlap, right? With only 30 bloggers taking part in the 30 day blogging community worldwide, I thought I’d take advantage of the chance opportunity to ask Tim in person how his crazy idea for vlogging 30 days consecutively came about! Thanks for participating in this post, Tim!

April 27, 2012 - 1:29 PM

Brian Van Wyk - Hahaha! Oh Tim! I am rolling on the floor laughing right now. It was funny to witness in person, but so much better through an iPad. Good times, C, T and K. :)


Remember that one time some photographer went almost a full day before realizing there was no video lined up for vlog #21? Ya…

So, because I’ve told myself NO MORE WORK tonight, I’m giving you special folks a repeat performance of my entry video to win a seat to a photography workshop in Seattle back in January. I wasn’t chosen to attend, but I did tune in to their online broadcast and loved learning via the Interwebs! Such a cool thing to have workshops available over the internet! Plus, I had a lot of fun with my lovely sister and videographer extraordinaire, Rachel, coming up with the content for this video! Thanks for the help lady! xo

Thank You! | One Frame

Ahhhhh, some days I just have to pinch myself! I LOVE what I do and today I feel like I’ve been hit with an especially large dose of gratefulness for having so many people  who believe in me and allow me keep on dreaming.


Meet Dustin & Kristina – excited to share more of these two soon! Goodness, they are waaaay too adorable together!

Super Hero Powers and a Justin Bieber-loving Baby!

Waiting with baited breath for Justin to serenade her with Baby. Watch out Selena Gomez – we have a baby with Bieber fever over here!

And then the smiles come out…One play is never enough and Camryn surprised us both by clicking the replay button all on her own!

Thanks Leanne and Camryn for sharing a great little playdate with me! xoxo

April 20, 2012 - 5:05 PM

Leanne - I laugh everytime I look at that first pic. You perfectly captured Camryn’s anticipation followed by her pure joy xo

Behind the Scenes of The Hunger Games Styled Shoot!

It’s been just over a month since my new website launched and the Hunger Games Styled Shoot I organized was featured on The Wedding Chicks; such an exciting time with lots of appreciation for the shoot and its inspiration coming in – even now!

My sister and photography assistant Rachel took a little video on her iPhone 3GS on the day of the shoot, but because we kept everything so private leading up to the reveal on The Wedding Chicks blog, I kind of forgot altogether that she had taken that video for us! So, today’s vlog will give you a little look into our mucky location and how a styled shoot looks…before the photos are released to the world! Keep in mind the difference in wardrobe from our talented professionals to our lovely models – from coats and scarves and boots to a wedding dress! Jill, thank you for braving this shoot for us! xo

Also, looking back on our shoot, I’m thrilled with how everything came together and cannot thank everyone involved enough – I was totally blessed to photograph the talents of such an amazing team! I think the one thing I would have changed now though is that I would have considered contacting a professional videographer to document the shoot for us; it’s nice to have a different sort of visual record – especially with anything “Behind the Scenes”. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for next time!

Photography Assistant, Moral Support, and BIG TIME Cheerleader: Rachel Broughton
Floral Design: Erica Smolders of Rook & Rose Floral Design Boutique
Table & Food Styling: Erica Smolders & Ellie Chapple of Rook & Rose Floral Design Boutique
Makeup Artist: Lindsay Archdekin
Hair Stylist: Danielle Bennett
Model (Katniss): Jill McQuary
Model (Prim): Grace with Coultish Management
Stationery Design: Joann Lee of TingTing Paperie
Furniture Sourcing: Leanne McKeachie Design
Cake: Ooh La La Cupcakes
Bridal Gowns: Blush Bridal Boutique
Bridal Gown Designer: Pronovias
Stylist: Khloe Campbell
Stylist Assistant: Whitney Buczkowski

Also, in other Hunger Games Styled Shoot related news – check out this interview on Bella Sugar with our amazing hair stylist, Danielle Bennett, on her inspiration for the Katniss looks. And don’t forget to stop by the Ooh La La Cupcakes location at 1391 Hillside Avenue to view the special little display they have up with the cake and images from the shoot! When you do, their Red Velvet cupcakes are a MUST TRY!!! They are so, so good! Enjoy!

April 18, 2012 - 4:52 PM

Jessica Frey Photography - Court – you look gorgeous today!! Love getting to see some behind the scenes of this infamous photo shoot :) I love that I’ve now read the books and looking back would have shrieked like Jen in Vegas during our roomie sneak peek! You are amazing :)

April 18, 2012 - 9:01 PM

Rebecca - Love the behind-the-scenes look at a shoot! Also love that you can hear all the sloshing going on! Can’t wait for next Friday’s shoot with you :)

April 19, 2012 - 10:28 AM

Courtney - So glad you enjoyed it – and the sloshing! Crazy right?! We were working in a puddle! I’m so excited for our session together next week too! It’s going to be so much fun!

Keep Comm and Carry on!

Before you read any further…GO SIGN THIS PETITION PLEASE!!! Everything is explained below, but I want to make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to help out by signing the petition. It will take you less than 2 minutes I PROMISE!

You might remember me sharing a post last year about visiting Camosun College as a seminar speaker for the Applied Communication Program – the same program I graduated from only two years previous! Well, sadly it was just recently announced that this program will no longer continue after the current first year class graduates in April 2013 because of some very unfortunate budgets being cut by the BC Government to Camosun College.

This news has been disheartening to alumni and current students and faculty alike. If you live in Victoria BC, chances are extremely high that you know someone who graduated from this program; we are everywhere! We’re in radio stations, TV newsrooms, government positions, design firms, communications offices, and so many other places (including running our own successful businesses!) that it’s completely hard to believe this program would ever be discontinued!

So today I found myself back on campus with one of my fellow alumni, the wonderful Jennifer Lancaster, and we occupied Village Now, the on-campus radio station that has been hit especially hard with the program’s cancellation, but a notice to immediately close the radio station’s online broadcasting. Meaning the current students, who will be finishing their last year of the program this upcoming fall may not receive the practical education of what it’s like to work in a radio station similar to what they would find in the working world.

During my time at the Applied Communciation Program, I interned at Village Now (which back then was called Village 900) for the summer (the same summer I married John actually!) and it was one of the highlights of the program for me.

A new digital media communications program has been proposed to Camosun College but there is no confirmation of its acceptance yet. I can’t stress enough how important it is for Victoria to continue with some sort of hands on media training.

So PLEASE if you have a moment, go sign the PETITION. Want some more information on this situation? Check out these links:

Thank you to Earle Thompson for this photo of Jennifer and I at the station today during our shift! Happy squinty eyes!!!

Thank you Jennifer for co-hosting with me, and for filming today’s vlog and sending it over in time for me to make today’s vlog challenge deadline!

If I Wasn’t a Photographer…

…what would I be instead?

The video is just a quick little intro to something I’ll be diving into more with tomorrow’s post, so give the video a play and check out the audio track at the bottom of the post! The audio is an interview I did as part of my education at Camosun College’s Applied Communication Program and features the man responsible for bringing murals to the little Vancouver Island town of Chemainus! PS…I was still going by my maiden name back then – hence the Courtney Broughton sign off!

Enjoy and come back for a visit tomorrow – exciting news about where I’ll be tomorrow from 12-2pm!

A Little Something Different | Family Photography

Today I have the pleasure of sharing some of my favourite people with you! This is the family of my best friend, Alea, and I love them! We had SOOOO many giggle moments during our time together, and some soft, sweet moments too! I can’t speak highly enough of this family and I’m so honoured that they asked me to take some images for them this past Christmas! Love you all!

Today’s Vlog post is at the bottom and talks a bit about photographing at night!

Dan & Brenda – you two are just the BEST! And Brenda, you are gorgeous!I am not opposed to fun during photo sessions, and this session was bursting at the seams with fun!Alea’s Dad recounts some humorous tales from Alea’s childhood.When in front of the Parliament Buildings at Christmastime….bust out some fake gang signs. Seems only natural!
Thanks to hubby John for these two images AND for being the greatest assistant for the night! It was pretty chilly!My bestie is the cutest! Hands down!!!I met up with Alea and her sister the next day for some daytime photos (and some bubble tea afterwards!) and LOVE the joy in these images!

April 14, 2012 - 5:06 PM

Alea - Oh wow! What an honour to be on your website Courtney. You can do wonders with a flash at night! Thanks for creating great memories bestie:)

Back it up!

Yes, today’s post comes just a little delayed – I’ll chalk it up to Vimeo being weird (hence the YouTube upload) and being busy working away on taxes today!

These are just a few everyday-ish moments that I would hate to lose from hard drive malfunction or negligent image backing up. These images are from a mini getaway John & I took this past February to Parksville; it was a pretty rainy trip, but exactly what we needed – full of relaxing and just hanging out together. No work. Little to no time spent online. Just together, and absolutely wonderful.

I love John’s hands. These are the hands that reached for mine at the end of the aisle on our wedding day. These are the hands I will hold forever. These are the hands that will one day hold our babies (should we be so blessed). Woo! Makes me teary just thinking about that – and these images are just from an A&W breakfast together! I would hate to lose even a second of our life together in images again. Back your images up, my friends.

OK, now that I’ve shared some recent fave images from my personal collection, here’s a little song to remind you to get “backin up” YOUR images! Also, I’m sharing this because Schmoyoho is on my list of favourite things and I think almost everything they touch (or auto tune) is golden. Seriously, check out the rest of their videos…if you’ve never seen their version of Double Rainbow or Winning, we can’t be friends anymore. I kid! I kid! But go watch those!

bkr what?!

Today is Good Friday, so for those who celebrate Easter as the death and resurrection of Jesus as I do, I’d love to point you to my friend Laura’s blog. She posted a collage today of some sky writing that was done in Sydney, Australia for Good Friday.  ✝ = ♥

I’ve noticed that some bloggers are incredibly consistent at featuring weekly “Favourite Things Friday” posts; given that it’s Friday today, I thought I’d give it a go with a product I have fallen completely in love with! So here it is, Vlog #6 (almost one week in!).

You can visit Clear Skin Victoria at #1-1015 Cook Street; I had never been in before picking up my bkr and loved their bright, cozy office with lovely stained glass windows and very friendly staff. I’m certain I’ll be back! They are open tomorrow (Saturday) from 10am-4pm but will be closed for Easter Monday.

To learn more about the bkr team (and to find locations outside of Victoria, BC that offer this product), visit the bkr website or the bkr Facebook page.

Here’s my happy little bkr family; julep for me and grey for John!


Pinterest: It’s A Love Thing

If you haven’t yet heard of Pinterest, you are missing out! I first joined this online community just over a year ago and have found so much inspiration browsing the “pins” other users share. Here’s today’s vlog post, a little look into what the idea behind Pinterest is!

Already on Pinterest? Let’s connect! I can be found riiiiiight here:

(and I write this FULLY aware that it’s a super basic intro post – I know some of you are seasoned professional Pinterest pinners by now!)

A friend of mine created the artwork pictured below as a gift for me after noticing I had repinned this pin onto my “DIY” board. So sweet!

April 5, 2012 - 1:48 PM

Katrina - Yay for a new iPhone and iPad! Loving your vlogs :)

April 6, 2012 - 11:10 AM

Heather - Courtney! I am so enjoying your vlogs! Your new website and blog are fantastic… I love how much they show your personality. They are unique and engaging – I think you are amazing…!


Darcy & Jordan’s Wedding Photobooth! | Vlog #4

Oh my goodness: PHOTOBOOTHS!!! I LOVE them! A photographer friend I admire recently referred to me as a “photo booth master” when recommending my photobooth services and it totally made me light up!

I think what I love so much about offering Photobooth services is the permission it gives guests to be silly, to play, and to reveal things about themselves that they might usually hide with a “camera smile” when in front of a stranger’s camera.

It’s an opportunity to forget about perfection and simply just have fun – you know, laugh “the ugly laugh” and maybe even snort out loud when you see the fabulous costume get-up your friends decorate themselves with! And really, shouldn’t all wedding guests have this kind of fun on days where the whole purpose is to celebrate and be joyful for the exciting commitment their friend/family has made?!

Yes, this is what I love about Photobooths.

So, for today’s Vlog, I have 5 tips to help you set the groundwork so your wedding/event Photobooth will the best thing EVER! PS…guess who figured out how to film the RIGHT way, and not mirrored?!



Now for some of the Photobooth images from Darcy & Jordan’s wedding! Darcy & Jordan had already chosen their photographer, Curtis Pelletier, to photograph their beautiful spring wedding, but decided they wanted a Photobooth as well! So, Curtis connected us and I had a great time photographing guests while Curtis went out with the wedding party and created some gorgeous images for them on the property. Thank you for connecting us, Curtis!

Usually I bring a backdrop for Photobooth set-up, but with the wedding and reception taking place at the gorgeous Church & State Wines here in Brentwood Bay, we were able to simply use the beauty of their wall of wine as a stunning backdrop!

Darcy was SO into the Photobooth – love her expressions!!!This little guy embodies everything I love about Photobooth! I’ve never seen anyone enjoy cheerleading pompoms so much!Updated family portrait, anyone?!

To book Photobooth Services for your wedding or event, please connect with me here!

April 4, 2012 - 9:43 PM

Laura-Jane - Love the one of the wizard and the baby! Totally a Dumbledore and baby Harry Potter moment…

April 5, 2012 - 6:59 PM

Stéphanie Prest - Your photos are great and so fun! I love the photobooth set up and you have done a very nice job with it. Well done.

An Introduction to the 30 Day VLOG Challenge

Today marks the start of a personal challenge to not only BLOG for 30 days, but to VLOG (aka: video blog) for 30 days! If you’d like to learn more about this challenge and view the videos of other participants, visit The 30 Day Vlog Challenge website!

If you are viewing this post (or any of the next 29 posts!) on a mobile device, you can access the video directly on your mobile by installing the free Vimeo app.

And, I PROMISE I will be working at reducing my use of “Ummm” as a filler word!

April 1, 2012 - 5:05 PM

Lara Eichhorn - Cool! Looking forward to seeing more vlogs, and seeing how your office comes along. I’m working on my own “office” (aka living room) decor as well.

April 1, 2012 - 8:18 PM

Jessica Frey - Wonderful idea! So proud of you and cant wait to see your gorgeous face for 30 days!! Congrats on a fun first post!

April 1, 2012 - 8:57 PM

Rebecca van G - Awesome!! Excited to see new stuff every day for the next 30 days! :)

April 3, 2012 - 2:06 PM

Lindsay & Mark | Victoria Engagement Photographer | Vlog #3 » Courtney Clarke Photography | Victoria BC Wedding, Beloved, and Portrait Photographer - […] is Day 3 of the 30 Day Vlog Challenge, but you can find today’s video at the very bottom of this post. Let’s see if you can […]

Katniss, The Girl Who Was on Fire

When I was younger, my parents used to have a wall clock hanging in their bedroom that had an image of a ballerina in motion and the quote: If you can dream it, you can achieve it. I’m thrilled that 2012 so far has been a year of dreaming and pushing myself to dream even bigger. I haven’t completed a “101 things to do in 1001 days” list like I’ve seen on so many other photographers blogs, but I know that the past three months of this new year have definitely helped me reach some unwritten goals and dreams with my photography.

Last night I had the chance to watch The Hunger Games – the first movie to go along with the book series. And I loved it! For a book adaptation, I thought they did a pretty great job. It’s incredible seeing a world you’ve created in your own imagination come to life, and I might have let out a few squeals of excitement in the theatre! The biggest difference between my imagination’s version and the movie’s version was just the people of the Capitol; I think I pictured them more like Lady Gaga and less “flowery” – you might understand what I mean if you watch the movie!

As promised, today I am sharing Part Two of The Hunger Games inspired shoot on the blog – the portion of the shoot that was inspired entirely by the character of Katniss, The Girl Who Was on Fire! I’m also excited to announce that my very sweet friend Leslie Kerrigan, creator of Seniorologie (an inspirational blog for senior photography) is featuring the images on her blog today also! Now when I say “senior photography” I’m not talking about photography for the elderly – I’m talking about photography for high school seniors, or Grads as we call them in Canada! This is a really big genre of photography in the States and an area I’ve also been dreaming about growing with in my own photography, so it’s a big honour to be featured on Leslie’s site! Jill, our “Katniss” was actually one of the first grads I ever photographed and I was thrilled when she agreed to model for this shoot! You just never know when I may call up photo subjects from the past for special projects like this one!

Apart from this text, my blog post here is images only (with a few extra images for my blog readers that you won’t find on the Seniorologie post!), but please check out the Seniorologie post for my interview all about the shoot, what amazing professionals contributed their talents, how the concept started, the inspiration board for creating this look, and what it’s like shooting in your own backyard with a smoke machine!

Thank you again to the amazing team of women who collaborated on this shoot; each of you are so incredibly talented and I’m blessed to be able to celebrate this shoot with you! XOXO

Photography Assistant: Rachel Broughton
Makeup Artist: Lindsay Archdekin
Hair Stylist: Danielle Bennett
Assistant Stylist & Dress Designer: Whitney Buczkowksi (Whitney designed & created the red dress from scratch and then she and Khloe completed the look on the day of the shoot! So much talent!)

The Hunger Games 1The Hunger Games 2The Hunger Games 3The Hunger Games 4The Hunger Games 5The Hunger Games 6The Hunger Games 7The Hunger Games 8The Hunger Games 9The Hunger Games 10The Hunger Games 11The Hunger Games 12The Hunger Games 13The Hunger Games 14The Hunger Games 15The Hunger Games 16The Hunger Games 17

March 24, 2012 - 12:52 PM

Lara Eichhorn - Very cool, Courtney! I love the smoke, and especially the ones with her shooting the bow.

March 25, 2012 - 2:18 AM

Amber Goodwin - Beautiful shots Courtney!! I love them all. The makeup is beautifully done and the smoke definitely adds to the images!

March 26, 2012 - 8:55 AM

Cecilia Flaming - LOVE IT! Courtney, these shots are amazing and I love the Hunger Games theme… especially drawn to the photos where she’s holding the bow & arrow! gorgeous!

March 26, 2012 - 11:55 AM

Stefanie Fournier - LOVE it Courtney! The last photo is definitely my favourite. I’m going to the movie tonight. :)

March 29, 2012 - 1:54 PM

LeiLani @ Elle Golden Photography - Um, yeah. These are like the best thing ever. Love doesn’t even begin to describe it. WOW.

April 1, 2012 - 7:32 AM

BFace - Cool theme but it would be Cooler if your model knew how to use a bow and arrow

April 1, 2012 - 2:00 PM

Courtney - Thanks for your comment Bart. We actually had Jill (our model) draw the bow correctly at first, but realized it could be a safety hazard to the on-site assistants if it was released accidentally, so we chose to have her just hold it and not risk any injuries! Safety first!

April 3, 2012 - 2:07 PM

Lindsay & Mark | Victoria Engagement Photographer | Vlog #3 » Courtney Clarke Photography | Victoria BC Wedding, Beloved, and Portrait Photographer - […] lovely look for this session, as well as both looks for the Hunger Games inspired Bridal Shoot and Fashion Shoot posted here recently (how could she NOT be included in these shoots after that amazing […]

April 20, 2012 - 5:27 PM

Get Ready for Hunger Games-Themed Weddings « – Where Fashions Gets Their Diva - […] Games fan, pure and simple (She also did a “Katniss, Girl on Fire” shoot which you can see here). Carmen Santorelli, another self-professed Hunger Games fan, also shot a full-on fantasy spread, […]

April 21, 2012 - 12:51 AM

Fashion ModREn » Get Ready for Hunger Games-Themed Weddings - […] Games fan, pure and simple (She also did a “Katniss, Girl on Fire” shoot which you can see here). Carmen Santorelli, another self-professed Hunger Games fan, also shot a full-on fantasy spread, […]

Katniss | One Frame.

You might remember back in this post I mentioned that The Hunger Games wedding inspired shoot that has been showing up all over the internet was actually one half of a TWO part Hunger Games inspired shoot. If it sparked your curiosity and you’re wondering what the other half might be, then here’s a little teaser for you!

A full post (and another feature!) will be available for viewing tomorrow, but for now, here’s just one frame to get you excited for The Hunger Games movie release weekend! Who’s excited to see the movie?!

Assisted by Rachel Broughton
Model: Jill McQuary
Make Up by Lindsay Archdekin
Hair Styling by Danielle Bennett
Fashion Styling by Khloe Campbell
Dress Designed and Created by Whitney Buczkowski

March 23, 2012 - 11:35 AM

Jessica Frey Photography - ooooh!! Can’t wait friend!! More high fives :)

March 23, 2012 - 11:53 AM

Brent and Anna - Live View Studios - Looking forward to seeing it!

March 24, 2012 - 10:47 AM

Katniss, The Girl Who Was on Fire » Courtney Clarke Photography | Victoria BC Wedding, Beloved, and Portrait Photographer - […] promised, today I am sharing Part Two of The Hunger Games inspired shoot on the blog – the portion of […]

March 26, 2012 - 4:28 AM

Emily Anne - This is SO amazing!!!! Seriously, this is awesome! I love the Hunger Games, and this shoot is TOTALLY in sync with theme. 😀 Super cool! You should do more set photo shoots cause this one ROCKS! 😀

In Celebration

Ahhhh the beginning…such a daunting place to start! Where is best to even begin on a post about things so close to my heart? With thanks. The past couple of weeks have been beyond amazing with the encouragement and love shown from so many people towards my work, the new website, and the Hunger Games shoot. I’m so very thankful and grateful for everyone’s sweetness and support! Thank you!

While it’s been a joyful season, it has also been a season of contemplation.

Today marks the first anniversary of the passing of my Dad’s Dad; my Granddaddy. He lived an incredible life, generously sharing his time, faith, handiwork and good humour with others, and left a beautiful impact on so many people. Even with 79 years of life, his time came quickly and unexpectedly, and if you ask anyone who knew him, too soon. It’s still hard to believe he’s no longer here, but there is a great peace knowing he is with our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, it’s been a tough day sorting through photos, remembering, and celebrating the man who was a big part of why I was so proud to be a Broughton before I became a Clarke.

There are many things about Grandaddy that I miss: his deep laugh, his funny sense of humour (and silly faces!), listening to stories about his morning walks or his motorcycle-riding younger days, and hearing my Dad pick up the phone with his usual “Hellloooo Father!” anytime Grandaddy would call.

Sleepovers at Grandma & Grandaddy’s always meant CFAX 1070 while Grandaddy whirred up the machine to grind his morning coffee.

Grandaddy (aka: the dishwasher). Such a gentleman to clean up after Grandma and I when we made Grandma’s famous chutney in 2010.

The image above was actually taken before I’d even launched Courtney Clarke Photography – back in February 2009. I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to have a session with my grandparents. Being able to photograph the people I love most (and the people that others love most in their lives) is an honour and a gift.

It’s days like today, when I’m reflecting on the beauty one person can add to our world that remind me how finite my “todays” are and to choose wisely where I invest my time and love with each one.

During my stay in Vegas last month for the 2012 Wedding & Portrait Photographers International conference, I listened to some super talented photographers speak and though they spoke on different topics, the thought I took from almost every single one was to really make what I do count. Make life count. Don’t let fear have a hold on my dreams. As the following quote goes, “this is your ONE wild and precious life. use it.” Easier said than done, but I’m thankful to have a strong start to 2012 and plan to continue nurturing and honouring this one wild and precious life I’ve been given. What a gift!!!

 Thank you to fellow photographer Emily Scott for allowing me to share this page from her notes from Mary Marantz’s Platform Class at WPPI. I LOVE Emily’s clean and beautiful way of recording her notes.

March 22, 2012 - 9:29 AM

Rachel - Beautifully written Courtney! Granddaddy was an amazing man and I miss him too! Love you!

It’s Here!!!

The past week I’ve been back in action, returning emails and phone calls after spending a week away in Las Vegas for a photography conference! Last year was my first time attending the conference and I learned so much and met some incredible photographers; this year was no different – just a continuation of a completely amazing time away getting inspired and meeting other amazing photographers! It basically feels like summer camp…for photographers!

But aside from the emails and excitement of new wedding inquiries, I’m really excited to announce today is the LAUNCH OF MY NEW SITE AND BLOG!!! I’ve been working away on these two for a while and I’m so thrilled to have finally designed them to a place where I feel ready to release them to you! There might be a few changes as we go along, but I’m SO excited to hear what you think of the new look! I’ve been saving some great announcements and images for the launch, so there should be lots of new content coming your way in the coming weeks!

Greatest thanks to Rachel, John, my Mom & Dad, Darleena, Dave, Tamara, Kathy, Jesse, Jon-Mark, Charissa, Natalie, Abby, Kristi, Brian, Stephanie, Ariel, and Rebecca for some awesome beta testing and constructive feedback! You each helped so much and I appreciate having you as extra eyes during the process! And an especially big thank you to every single beautiful face on the website – your choice to have me photograph your special moments and relationships means the world to me and there would be no new website to speak of without you!

There are many blog posts to be shared ahead, but for now, here’s the view from The Palms, where I spent an evening at a super mod penthouse suite with a group of amazing women photographers from all over the States while in Vegas. City of lights indeed!

Thanks also to Tonhya Kae for the image of me in the new blog header! I LOVE the session John and I had with her this past summer! xo

March 6, 2012 - 11:26 AM

Dave Traynor - Nice work Courtney. The new site is gorgeous and the tone is just right. You’ve done a great job positioning yourself and your business. I look forward to following you as your business grows.

Happy Birthday to the Bestest Little Sister Ever!

Today is my little sister Rachel’s birthday! There truly aren’t enough words I could write into this birthday dedication post to give you an idea of what a beautiful person and friend she is to me!

Rachel came on the scene when I was just over three years old and ever since, my little sister has been fireball, tearing past me, challenging herself, excelling at everything she does and encouraging me to get a move on in different aspects of my life and work. It has always been this way.

I remember that after months of begging, she was finally allowed to get her ears pierced on her fifth birthday. Not to be outdone, my eight-year-old self (who hadn’t given any thought to having my ears pierced at all before this time) decided to have my ears pierced immediately following Rachel’s turn. When Rachel was eight or nine, the three-meter diving board became a fun new adventure for her at the pool. My eleven-year-old self, usually the one to avoid diving boards altogether during swim class (yes, even the measly one-meter board), decided it was unacceptable to be shown up by my fearless younger sister and took the plunge off the three-metre board one afternoon…even though it did take me about five minutes of standing at the very tip of the board to finally get up the nerve to jump into the water. In the end, I think the only thing that actually sent me off the diving board was the mantra “If Rachel could do it, so can I!”.

Dearest Rachel. You have shown me braveness. You have shown me perseverance. You ALWAYS make me laugh. I’m so proud of you, Rachel, and I admire so many of the qualities that you have! I’m thankful you’re my sister and friend and I’m grateful for the generous support you give me always. I love you and wish only the best and the brightest for you this year! xoxo

Rachel often comes along to assist me with weddings! I’m blessed to have such a fun companion who is so on top of things! Our post-wedding giggle fits on the drive home are always the nicest way to end each wedding day.

January 15, 2012 - 9:46 AM

Rachel - Aw that is so sweet Courtney! Thank you so much. You are the bestest big sista ever…and most amazing photographer! Love you

January 16, 2012 - 9:35 AM

Faith - So sweet!

Darren & Laura | A Wedding Preview

On a day that many Victorians may have considered chilly and bleak, love, warmth, and beautiful music by the Victoria Doukhobor Choir filled the sanctuary at St. Ann’s Academy for Darren & Laura’s ceremony.

It was such a joy to see Laura’s amazing family again, and to get to know Darren’s wonderful family (many clad in kilts and the Thomas family tartan!). What a perfect wedding day! And so very Christmasy!

A full blog post will be coming once the full wedding collection is completed, but for now, a few to enjoy during your first week of wedded bliss! xo

Victoria BC Wedding Photography Courtney ClarkeLaura’s sapphire engagement ring is so beautiful and unique to her taste! I’m thrilled I could get the blue to stand out in this image for her!
Victoria BC Wedding Photography Courtney ClarkeSuch a beautiful, emotional ceremony! I loved all the personal touches Father William added to this part of the day!Victoria BC Wedding Photography Courtney ClarkeVictoria BC Wedding Photography Courtney ClarkeVictoria BC Wedding Photography Courtney ClarkeVictoria BC Wedding Photography Courtney ClarkeVictoria BC Wedding Photography Courtney ClarkeDarren & Laura – thanks for having Rachel and me photograph your wedding! We loved celebrating with you!

December 12, 2011 - 4:35 PM

Becka Williams - What a great day, it was a beautiful ceremony, followed by a beautiful reception. Thank you for letting us be there for your special day Laura and Darren! Congratulations, and all the best.
xoxo Becka

December 12, 2011 - 5:43 PM

Laura Planden Thomas - Fabulous photos Courtney and Rachel. Thank you SO much for being there for us on our day! Courtney i LOVE the photo of my ring, i’ve never seen it that blue before, blew me away 😉 And the silhouette photos are stunning! Thank you again! You did an amazing job!

December 12, 2011 - 6:50 PM

Hilary Planden - Courtney & Rachel; thanks so much for all your work and talents in recording a wonderful day. There was so much going on that it was reassuring to know you were always there recording our memories (and in addition, it was just nice to have you as part of the gang, whether taking photos or not!). Thanks again

December 12, 2011 - 9:00 PM

Allan Thomas - Beautiful pictures! It makes a special day even more memorable! Well done!

January 15, 2012 - 1:56 PM

Jessica Frey Photography - Oh, I absolutely adore this wedding! What a beautiful couple – and that ring shot is wonderful, Courtney!! Thanks for sharing!

One Frame.

What a week it has been – a great one that is! I’m thrilled that December has arrived and this weekend will include putting up the Christmas tree!

This weekend has some fun things in store for me: a Cuban music concert, a couples session for Christmas cards, a Christmas Party complete with the Photobooth set up tomorrow, some time with my hubby and the book I’m currently enjoying/devouring! Can’t wait!

Here’s one frame from Sarah & Jordy’s engagement session. These two are so fun-loving and adorable together and after being rained out at their engagement session for 15 minutes and hiding in their car, we got to enjoy a breathtaking Victoria sunset at the top of Mt. Doug. Definitely worth waiting it out I’d say. Their engagement session was a blast – more to come of these two for sure.

Victoria BC Couples Photographer Courtney Clarke

PS…this week I met a personal goal of blogging consecutively from Monday-Friday AND I even managed to put together a little blog for the Victoria Tea Festival about leaping into the world of loose leaf tea as well! If you want to check that post out, you can find it right over thatta way.

December 5, 2011 - 1:37 PM

Kathy Paton - this is beautiful Courtney! i always love silhouette portraits! so classic and timeless.

Winning in Life.

Happy December!!! OK, this is one of THOSE cheesy posts about loving life! Consider yourself warned, people.

About a month and a half ago I entered two images from my 2011 wedding season into the Professional BC Wedding Awards, recently referred to as the “WOscars”, or the “Wedding Oscars”. The first awards took place last year, but this year was my first time attending and I so enjoyed it! I talked my husband into attending with me (most dashing date ever!) and was happy to find out kind of last minute that local Victoria photographer friends Jesse Holland and Kelsey Goodwin were also attending!

Not really knowing what to expect of the evening, I was blown away by amazing decor (there was even a red carpet and the most humungous disco ball I’ve ever seen in my life!), the evening’s program, seeing so many familiar faces and friends in the industry, and meeting new friends too! Vancouver’s The Wedding Belles hosted and they did an incredible job keeping the attendees engaged as they opened envelope after envelope revealing the talented wedding professionals who won each award!

I went into the event looking forward to seeing all the talent across the board and catching up with Vancouver friends who I don’t often have the chance to see, which was awesome! Having submitted a couple of images for judging, I was extra excited to see who would win each category. Unfortunately I didn’t leave with an award, but it was great to see all the images that caught the judges’ eyes and did win.

It would have been such an honour to come back to Victoria an award winner, but I’m reminded of just how blessed and fortunate I am in so many other ways. Blessed to have my husband’s company for a quick trip to Vancouver – especially when it came to SkyTrain transportation (I don’t know how you Vancouverites do it! Victoria is definitely more my size of a city and I’m just glad I didn’t have to get around solo!). Blessed to have an amazing sister who has supported me every step of the way in my photography and often accompanies me to weddings and helps keep things running smoothly for me. Blessed by each of the couples I have the opportunity to photograph. For example, just a few hours before the awards, my bride-turned-friend Darleena sent me the sweetest text message, knowing that I had submitted an image from her wedding to the awards:

Good luck tonight!!! Have tons of fun. And no matter what, I think you’re the best photographer!!!:)

So, you probably think Darleena’s pretty much amazing for sending over some encouragement, right? Wrong – she’s even more awesome than amazing! Just last weekend, as she was working through some of her wedding thank you cards, she also sent me a note including the heart-melting excerpt below:

Courtney, I truly cannot even begin to imagine not having you there on our wedding day!! Words honestly cannot express how much joy it brings me to go through our wedding pictures and to watch our slideshow for the bazillionth time. You are an awesome photographer, and I am really happy that you are now a part of my life!!

Darleena’s note was a perfect reminder going into the awards that while receiving an award would be incredible, when the couples I photograph are in love with their images, and I have all those things I listed above (and more!) to be thankful for, I’m winning. And not in a creepy Charlie Sheen way either (phew, no chance of my face “melting off” as per this awesome Schmoyoho/Charlie Sheen song).

This image of Darleena and her groom Doug is one that I submitted for Best Bride & Groom Together portrait. I’m really looking forward to sharing their intimate Sooke wedding as I get caught up on blogging the 2011 wedding season! I LOVE how Darleena’s dress was so flowy!

The following image was from Nicole & Colin’s wedding and was submitted for Best Bridal Group Photo. This was actually my first ever composite flash image – it’s tricky to explain, but basically for a group this large, it would be impossible to light each face from the same one light source in one take. So, for this image I had my second photographer running around and lighting each pair or individual separately and then I edited the images and pieced them all together in Photoshop afterwards! Nicole is a sweetheart and I’m really thankful we became fast friends over our pre-wedding tea dates. Plus, she’s a great inspiration to get in better shape – she even managed to get me out to spin class with her a few weeks ago! How am I so lucky to have so many incredible brides to photograph and hang out with? Seriously?! So blessed.

These images represent just TWO of the fourteen amazing couples and weddings I’ve photographed this year – each unique and incredible in their own way! What a privilege it has been to be chosen as the wedding photographer for each of these marriages! I’ve loved meeting and photographing all of you!

Thanks also to everyone who has ever rooted for me, referred friends my way for photos, and given me a word of encouragement in any way, shape or form. I’m so thankful for the kindness you have shown me. XO

A little bit of colour

Fall is by far my favourite time of the year – I just love everything about it, from the colours to the sound of walking through crunchy leaves! Every time fall comes around, I keep high hopes that the season will be everything I wish for it to be: crisp and sunny and bright!

A few weeks back I had an especially out-and-about day between errands and an interiors shoot and I had to drive past Elk Lake Park about four times; unfortunately there was no time to stop and enjoy the view, even though the sun was out and the vibrant colours of fall were shining across the glassy water. If you know the Victoria area and you’ve driven past Elk Lake Park in the fall, you might have noticed what I’m talking about; it can be a breathtaking sight on a crisp, clear, sunny day. I was itching to stop, get out and take photos, but with a schedule to keep, I headed on to finish my day as planned, and promised myself I’d stop by another day for photos – as long as the sun was still shining strong.

After a few gloomy days (and some extra windy days) later that week, I thought I might have lost my chance altogether for the 2011 fall season…until one afternoon when the sun was particularly bright. In a split-minute decision, I flipped my laptop closed and made the drive out to the lake to get my images, and I’m so glad I did! Taking a few moments to slow down and enjoy the colours of fall was just what I had needed that day.

What a beautiful city we live in! Cheers to making time to do the things we love and enjoy the beauty around us!

November 29, 2011 - 3:52 PM

Faith - Gorgeous!

One Frame | A & A

I have so very many things to be thankful for, in my life in general, and also with my photography: the people I meet, the love stories I get to hear (and then tell through my images), and the relationships I make with the people I photograph – to name just a few!

So often, as I’m editing through a session or a wedding, I have the biggest smile on my face – maybe it’s a combination of the music I’m listening to and the moments on the screen in front of me, but I get all mushy and can’t help but smile. And be thankful.

Ariel & Armando have asked me to save their blog post for the New Year, as some of their engagement images might just find their way to friends and family as Christmas gifts, but they’ve allowed me to share one for now. So this is the image I chose – just a snippet of the joy, love, and laughter that surrounds these two when they are together. It’s the real, little moments like these that are always the closest to my heart.

Courtney Clarke Photography Salt Spring Engagement Session

One Frame.

There’s always a little ball of excitement that bubbles up inside of me when I release a complete wedding collection to a couple! Today, that ball of excitement is for Adele & Philip, a couple whose wedding day was warmed to perfection by the loveliest speeches from family and friends, and the golden sunshine that spilled down on the apple orchards surrounding them!

Maybe it’s just those excitement bubbles getting to me, but this image from their wedding day melts my heart a little; pure sweetness!courtneyclarkeblog_victoria_wedding_photography_adelephil_oneframe

October 10, 2011 - 11:47 PM

Brooke - This is stunning. Love the contrast

Adele & Philip | Photobooth

Adele & Philip had a wonderfully warm weekend for their wedding up at Merridale Ciderworks! Their wedding day was so full of love, laughs, family, friends, and kind words from the heart! I loved photographing them and I’m so glad they chose to have the photobooth running during a portion of their reception!

Here are a few of the fun photobooth images for your viewing until Adele & Philip’s wedding blog post arrives! Enjoy!

Meet Katie, flowergirl and photo-bomber extraordinaire! I loved meeting you Katie!Meet Adam & Ruth. Ruth loves magic and Adam loves snazzy conductor hats and I love that they trusted me to photograph their wedding last year (although Adele might tell you she found me first!). It’s such a special honour to be asked to photograph two weddings in one family in two years! Thank you Matthews family!Meet Robbie, just about the most awesome dude around. At the end of Adele & Philip’s wedding, Robbie let me know that I’ll be photographing his wedding…one day! Looking forward to it Robbie!
Every once in a while photographers end up in front of the camera, like for this one with Brian Van Wyk and I! Thank you Brian for coming along to second shoot Adele & Philip’s wedding with me! PS…it should be noted that these photos were taken with one of my Nikon cameras, so Brian handed a Canon camera to me! Not mine!

Adele & Philip’s full photobooth gallery can be viewed at the Courtney Clarke Photography client galleries site!

September 3, 2011 - 2:12 PM

Charissa - <3 <3 Love love love!!! Great day!!

Jenn & Jason | Maternity

Jenn & Jason are incredible people and I have no doubt they are going to be such amazing parents for their little one! If you’ve been following my work for a bit, you might recognize Jenn & Jason ; last year (pre-blog days), I had the honour of attending their wedding as a second photographer and had the best time getting to know these two and their friends and family…plus, I fell in love with Portuguese weddings; the Portuguese community sure knows how to throw a party and has a special way of making someone new to the group (like a wedding photographer) feel like part of the family! Love that!

When these two let me know they were expecting a baby, I was so excited, and was even more thrilled when they asked me to take maternity and newborn images for them! We had a great night stopping in at a few different spots and I think Jenn is absolutely gorgeous! Baby is expected to join the party very soon, so Jenn won’t be pregnant for much longer, but I’m so glad we had a chance to take some images before baby gets here because I think Jenn wears pregnancy so well; leave Jenn some comment love if you feel the same!

These next few are definitely some of my favourites from our time together!I love it! Such a gorgeous mama!

Congratulations Jenn & Jason! So excited to meet your little sweetheart!

Headed up North!

Happy Friday! Today is a pretty exciting day! As you are reading this my sister Rachel and I are driving all 510.52 km (according to up to Port Hardy, BC for the wonderful marriage of Jamie & Andrew!

Despite having both been Vancouver Island born and raised, Rachel and I have never actually made the trek that far up the island; I’m pretty excited to make the trip, photograph an awesome couple, and have some quality sister time along the way! Our plan includes driving without stopping as much as possible on the way up so we make it on time for the wedding rehearsal, but on our way back to Victoria on Sunday we’re hoping to take some time to explore the island!

Image from

If you’re well-acquainted with the northern parts of our beautiful island and have a recommendation of a “must see” location for us on the way home, please let us know in the comments section below! I’m really hoping to visit some new spots, whether it’s a scenic, not-t0-be-missed beach, or your absolute favourite coffee shop of all time, please don’t hold back from sharing!

June 3, 2011 - 3:29 PM

Jessica Frey - Have fun!! Sounds like an adventure awaits you two ladies…hope the weather is beautiful and can’t wait to see the photos from the wedding!

April 10, 2012 - 8:29 AM

All You Need is Love | Jamie & Andrew’s Port Hardy Wedding » Courtney Clarke Photography | Victoria BC Wedding, Beloved, and Portrait Photographer - […] assistant extraordinaire (and lovely sister!) Rachel and I packed up my tracker and made the looong trip up to Port Hardy! On the drive up, there was a lot of giggles, singing along to the radio, and excitement for the […]

You Light up my Life!

OK, so that was arguably the cheesiest post title I’ve ever posted, but it sums up my day for this past Sunday…or the first half of the day anyway!

Sunday was a gorgeously sunny day in Victoria and I had the pleasure of taking part in two super fun activities: a afternoon lighting course hosted by Kerrisdale Cameras Victoria and taught by Al Smith, and an evening engagement session with the lovely in every way Miss Lindsay and her wonderful fiancé Mark!

As a self-employed professional, I have the great joy of choosing which professional development courses and workshops I want to take and which skills I want to tackle next! It can be a daunting task, with so many incredible workshops to choose from across the globe hosted by a number of incredible photography industry leaders; I feel incredibly fortunate to have attended workshops in Newport Beach, Las Vegas and Vancouver in the past year alone!

When I heard Al was teaching a local off-camera flash workshop I decided to jump in and try it out; off-camera flash is something I’d like to start incorporating into my photography bit by bit (and I thank you in advance for your patience in front of my lens as I learn and experiment)!

Thank you Kerrisdale for putting on the workshop, thank you Al for demystifying off-camera flash systems for me, and thank you also to our model Leanne for joining us for the day (and enduring the chilly tunnel as we set up our lighting systems)! Brave girl!

Here are some of my images from the fun we had at the workshop! As you can see from this first image below, we backlit Leanne with a flash that had a blue gel to give her that blue rim light around her hair and the edges of her sweater!

Fellow photographer, and friend, Jesse Holland shares some of her images with Leanne (hidden just behind Jesse), Caitlin, and Chris.
Al got his turn in front of the lens too; Jesse has the “official image” for this shot riiiiight here—I just wanted to show the lighting set-up!Once we had experimented with the blue gel, we added in another flash with a red gel to give some differentiation in the background!Al getting his serious instructional face on!For the next series of images, we shot with a bit of a different set-up. As you can see in the image below, we had three flashes on a rig together, which we took turns positioning around our model while everyone got a chance to learn and shoot!Jesse, you are absolutely adorable! I have no idea how you can balance so well with this photographer stance, but you work it out just fine!Things got a little silly at this point, with Al taking a turn to play with dandelions…while suited up with bluebells and daisies to boot! The following images were taken without flash.Again, Jesse has the official images of Al’s dandelion escapades, which she and Al are scrolling through below.Thanks again to everyone who brought this workshop together; it was a great learning opportunity!

May 31, 2011 - 8:55 AM

Jesse - I was only just now (with this post) informed that I was the “official” photographer for some of those shots! I love that you also captured my “potty pose” photo taking stance too; my poor knee only allows me to crouch down a few ways. These are great though! And I had a great time with you all!

May 31, 2011 - 10:17 AM

Jessica Frey - Lovely Court!! I think it may be a “Jessica” thing to be captured by your camera in that monkey pose! haha…hugs friend, great work!

Smiles & Sunshine

Congratulations to Amy-Leigh for winning the Anniversary Session giveaway with me through Weddings in BC! I’m so excited to meet you and eventually celebrate your 1-year wedding anniversary with a special anniversary session!

Thank you so much to the brides who entered the giveaway! Including today, you could still win 7 other wonderful prizes (and a dream honeymoon!!!) through Weddings in BC, so visit their site to get in on the goodness! While you’re there, don’t forget to create an account for a free monthly magazine and leave me some vendor love! Instructions on how to do that are riiiiight here!  I just received my magazine in the mail today and it is gorgeous! Love it!

Hope you’re making it through a gloomy Victoria Wednesday alright! Here’s a little touch of smiles and sunshine to brighten your day! These little monkeys are two of my sweet younger cousins! I’m working through their family session today, and their energy has been making me smile, so I thought I’d share!

May 25, 2011 - 10:59 PM

Candice Broughton - Very nice Courtney – so excited to see the rest!

Photobooth Albums & Four-Leaf Clovers

I LOVE getting mail. Like, I really love it! Of course I don’t mean bills—I’m talking about opening the mailbox to find invitations to the weddings I photograph, notes from my sponsor child in El Salvador, magazine subscriptions or handwritten letters! Surprise me by sending something in the mail and I will love you forever!

Last week I designed and ordered a sample photobooth album of the UVic Nursing Student Society’s Grad Reception Photobooth. And I had to wait. It only took a little over a week from placing the order to receiving it, but waiting for my little album was a test of patience for sure!

It finally arrived and I’m so excited to share! Measuring 10″ x 8″, this 40-page album is the perfect size for a coffee table book! In addition to wedding and portrait photography, I also offer photobooth services for wedding receptions and other events. Should the couples I get to work with choose to have a photobooth at their wedding, an online gallery and an album like the one pictured below is included with that service! Photobooths are fun way to engage your wedding guests and have photos of everyone who celebrated with you! For couples serving buffet style dinner receptions, photobooths can offer an alternative to photographing wedding guests at reception tables by having your guests filter through the photobooth on their way to the food line!

Like what you see? Let’s get the conversation started at courtney[at]courtneyclarke[dot]com to talk about having a photobooth at your wedding! If you’re more tactile than visual, I’m happy to share this album with you in person!

On a completely unrelated side note, last Friday I found two four-leaf clovers growing side by side through a little crack in my driveway!
I’m not the superstitious type, but I thought it was a nice way to head into a weekend!

May 11, 2011 - 10:03 PM

Rachel - Nice book! The pictures are fun!

May 12, 2011 - 9:45 AM

Poly - Love it!!! You are so creative and talented!

May 13, 2011 - 1:43 PM

Carolyn - love the four leafed clover!

Oh, the Costumes! | 2011 UVic NSS Grad Reception

Disclaimer: This post is full of text and photos! I hope you find as much joy scrolling through it as I did photographing, editing, and writing for it!

One of the things I love most about what I do is the opportunity I have to meet so many incredible, fun-loving people—a special evening a couple of Saturday nights ago proved to be no different! Last year a friend connected me with the University of Victoria’s Nursing Student Society to photograph their 2010 UVic NSS Grad Reception and do a photobooth; photobooths are a great option for events (weddings, business parties, you name it!) and I had an absolute blast photographing their reception, so when I was asked back for this year’s reception by the wonderful Sarah Anne Koster (thanks for rooting for me, Sarah!), I was thrilled!

This year I wanted to do something different—I figured for this very special group of brilliant individuals, ready to start out on sparkling careers bettering the lives of patients and others around them, I’d like to try something new, so instead of packing up the big white backdrop I’ve often carted to events or weddings, I daydreamed of how I could make this photobooth the best ever! The idea to construct my own custom backdrop came to mind, but without any sewing skills, the idea quickly fizzled…that is, until my generous Auntie Chris (recently turned Brentwood Bay neighbour!) offered to help me create what I was thinking of! We made the connection that she could make my photobooth daydreams come true on a Wednesday…but the event was happening that Saturday. Was it a challenge? You bet! Was it impossible? Not with her amazing sewing skills!

We headed to the fabric store on Thursday, and after drawing up markings with an eyeliner pencil, enjoying a little wine, nursing some handcramps from cutting, and realizing we (and everything around us) was covered in glittery sparkles from some of the fabric, we were well on our way to having a fun new backdrop. I really have to give complete credit to Christine for all the sewing—I never even touched the sewing machine…and that’s probably a good thing! By Friday afternoon, Christine had completed the sewing portion of the backdrop and I LOVE how it turned out! Plus, the gold and glitter streams of fabric completely fit the “Hollywood Glam/Red Carpet” theme the grad class had chosen for their evening! Thank you so, so much Auntie Chris for making this backdrop happen!

This year’s grad reception was held at the Fairmont Empress and I set up the photobooth in the gorgeous Palm Room, which was a perfect setting! During the evening, guests could drop by and have their photos taken in their beautiful gowns and handsome suits! Oh, and they could get all glammed up with wacky costume pieces! This photobooth was not only improved by the generosity of my aunt and her sewing skills, but also by a fellow photographer, Tamara Poppitt, and her suitcase of fun! The day before the event, Tamara offered to lend me her suitcase of props and costume pieces; I picked up the suitcase on my way to the event and didn’t even have a chance to open it before setting up the photobooth, but all the orange feathers bursting from the hinges were promising and I knew whatever else was in that suitcase was going to be great! Thank you T!

The last big thank you of this blog post goes to my lovely sister, and assistant, Rachel! Rachel was a great help during the event, but if you really wanted to see how we work together, you should have seen us carrying all the gear from the car to the venue; let’s just say there was a lot of wind, and a lot of giggles as a certain unnamed pair of girls struggled with a great many number of bags through the streets of Victoria, barely able to see straight because of the violent pull of the wind on their hair. Rachel, you are a trooper! Thanks for laughing through the struggles with me!

Without further adieu, I present to you some of my favourite images from the 2011 UVic NSS Grad Reception! In homage to those graduates who rifled through the costume suitcase to find the perfect accessory to their formal attire, a majority of the images in this blog post are of costumed guests! These images are just a small collection of all the wonderful graduates in attendance, so if you remember having your photo taken but can’t find it in this collection, you can view and order from the full event collection right over HERE. I’ve enabled the gallery so you can order watermark-free digital copies (individual images or the entire gallery!) as well as prints! Just explore the “Downloads” tab of the shopping cart feature! For the couples and groups featured in this blog post, feel free to head on over to the Courtney Clarke Photography Facebook Fan Page and tag to your heart’s content—I don’t know everyone’s names, but I’ve just uploaded an album there, so I’ll leave this part up to you!

Of course I love photographing everyone, but this first couple was one of my favourites to visit the photobooth; their creativity for posing was hilarious! They totally had me laughing, so you’ll see them pop up (or, in the spirit of the bunny ears, should I say “hop” up?!) throughout this post!

Even without costumes, the photobooth still brought out all kinds of fun!

The bunny ears and pink garland necklace were some of the most popular items of the evening; photobooth perfection!

The next couple of pictures feature one of the honourary un-costumed couples to make this blog post! Breaking form a little, but how could I not, with the cute look they’re giving each other in the image below?! I think these two might have had the biggest smiles I saw all night, and they were so, so sweet! Thanks for visiting the photobooth!

You can see why I had to include a few more images of this fun couple, right?! I’m pretty sure they were made for photoboothing together!

Thanks again to all the magnificent graduates who stopped by the photobooth! Congratulations on your many achievements—wishing you all the best as you continue to grow and explore your field! I sincerely hope our paths cross again in the future and I have more opportunities to photograph you all!
April 25, 2011 - 11:02 AM

Rachel - Fun pictures Courtney! I love the props and the background!