Category Archives: he said

what a month! | vancouver commercial, wedding and {modern glamour} photography studio

So we haven’t blogged in several weeks. (editors note: this was written 2 weeks ago on October 8th) Sorry about that. I know we said we’d keep you all up to speed on what’s happening. It’s been busy… wonderful… and exciting.  We’ve returned to a little bit of commercial shooting for a lumber company, we shot a magnificent wedding and we attended a big Women in Biz Network Conference and met some great people, but the biggest thing we were working on… well let me tell you a little bit about that.

Last Friday we were preparing a BIG announcement. We were signing the lease on a NEW STUDIO; however, Sarah had to go to city hall before the renovations began to get some permits and such to be sign off…. And they said ‘no’. She appealed it, but for zoning reasons (they didn’t think our business was related enough to the business that is running below– a hair salon), and since we were a shared space and entrance, they would not permit it.

While we were disappointed about the decision, we are sure there is a greater reason than just the city saying no and we are excited to resume the search for a new studio space for our little business to grow. While the city may have denied the zoning, the woman Sarah met at city hall was helpful and did try to make it work for us and has given us some very helpful information. Plus, having met the fabulous owner of the hair salon we were going to be working with… I’m sure some great things are in store for future collaborations.

We do love the space we are in and look forward to welcoming many of you into it for your own {modern glam} experience. And with a little assistance from a great company that makes portable ‘window light’, our days will continue to be bright throughout the winter.

Plus since we are staying in our space, I don’t have to make any new experience videos quite yet 😉

So let me leave you with one of our more recent ones we did with Chef Maribel-


Thanks for checking in. We are working on our content to get back on our blogging cycle soon.

yup! we’ve become “those” people | he said

healthy life!Wow. Every once in a while I re-realize what a shift our family has made in such a short time.

We’ve done morning smoothies (fruit smoothies) for a number of years, but in the last year we have become green smoothie folks. Yes, the entire family. 2x per day. Our fruit smoothies have become accompanied by kale, carrots, spinach, cucumber as well as a number of ‘super foods’ like hemp hearts, chia seeds and flax seeds.  Shortly after that began, it quickly spread through our kitchen.  Organic fruits. Brown rice. Black rice. Kale. More kale. Organic carrots. More spinach. Organic tofu… and local when possible.

Today at lunch Sarah looked at the bag of chips on the table… made with chia, flax, kale and quinoa and said “We really have become ‘those people’ haven’t we?”

Yes. Yes we have. And wow do we all feel better for it!

I still get confused by all the ‘nutrition information’ that we get bombarded with… but I’ll save that for another post.



ok, I’m going to gloat! | vancouver award winning modern portrait photographer

So I had a different blog post set-up for today, but then got an email that an image I’d entered in the “shadow & light” category of a photo contest had won. (it’s actually even an image that I was going to include in my other post, oddly enough)

I think the reason I am most happy about this is that I have entered 2 other photo contests before (which I did win), but they were both for genres that I don’t really photograph much (one for newborn and one for pets)., where as this one is for a portrait!

This has certainly encouraged me now to want to look into more photo contests.

Here is the winning image. Simple, clean with contrast and a kind, warm hearted subject.

natural light modern portrait of a tattooed man in black and white


Thank you for letting me gloat a little. I’m excited about these little things that are happening for our studio.



back to school | he said | vancouver work from home dad and portrait photographer

Well it’s official, we have a child in kindergarten, which means we have a child out of the house 5 days a week, PLUS Isla is going 3 days a week in the afternoons. I’m a little overwhelmed by the aspect of that time, also a little intimidated. I have already push pressure on myself to achieve GREAT things in that 90 minutes of childless quietness 3 days a week.

The state of our house is currently… a little disheveled, as are our minds; although, less now than a week ago, as Sarah and I were just away for a 2 day business retreat where we plastered the walls with post-it notes that were filled with goals, tasks and dreams; getting everything that was jumbled in our minds into one place.

We know what we have is for pretty much everyone, we’re just figuring out how to let everyone know A) that we exist B) what kind of service it is we offer, and C) what it can do for them.

And so starting in 2 weeks (Oliver is in a slow phase in process), Sarah and I will have 90 minutes, 3x per week to work on that tri-fold mission.

We believe everyone is beautiful and everyone deserves to see themselves that way… and they will.


try to please… | he said

word art by Sarah Smith of PHOTOBIN PHOTOGRAPHY
cute donkey silhouette photo from:

Are you familiar with the story of the old man, the boy and the donkey? There is a VERY important lesson to be learned from it.

If you haven’t heard it before, here it is: A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?”So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours and your hulking son?”

The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them.

“Try to please all, and you will please none.”

I like the alternative way of declaring the lesson: try to please everyone and you can kiss your ass goodbye.

To me: it’s not about just pleasing ourselves all the time, or just pleasing our spouse all the time (although they aren’t wrong when they say “Happy wife. Happy life” or “Happy mama, happy home”), it’s about considering the wants of all, but not trying to please everyone.

I find that when I want to please everyone, one of 2 things happens.

  1. It’s a mishmash that just doesn’t work for anyone
  2. I freeze in indecision of how to make it all work and nothing happens

Well, that’s something I’ve been working on and know I will continue to for a long time.


identity crisis | he said

Identity crisis. Who am I? Am I a husband? A father? A son? A man? All of them? Can I be all of them… wholly all of them? I know as a Gemini, I have at least 2 thoughts on EVERYTHING, and that may be a contributing factor to the multitude of voices in my head. It gets busy in this noggin’.

Then the external voices get added. My wife’s. My children’s. My parents. My in-laws. My friends. The writings from numerous religious scriptures I read (from different religions). All of them asking of me to do things, or telling me what I should do.  Who am I? Am I me? Am I them? Am I we?

I’ve felt a need to figure this out. In a house with so many ‘voices’ and ‘demands’ it’s been difficult to find the time… or quiet. I am a husband. A father. A business owner. An artist. A playmate. A son. A caregiver. But most of all right now: I am confused.


love everything… even yourself | vancouver portrait photographer, father and all around good guy

Why do I do what I do? The simple reason is love.

I love photography.
I love being social with people.
I love the reaction people have to discovery how beautiful they are.
But mostly….
I love my daughter and want to change the world she lives in.

That’s not too dramatic right?

The first educator or our little girls are their mothers and before they understand language and what we say, they understand what they see and what we do. If mom stands in front of the mirror and takes a deep depressive sigh with a frown on her face… guess what baby understands?

I’m not trying to convince people to put on a brave face or any other kind of mask. It’s about loving ourselves… now. As we are. And please understand I’m not trying to preach to anyone.

I’ve had a challenge with this myself. And still do. I’m a large chested, big hipped, extended belly guy. I’ve never said that before. It’s embarrassing for me to acknowledge it. Or it was. I have been the guy that wears a t-shirt swimming. I don’t know where it started. When other kids made fun of me for my belly stretch marks or when my dad patted my teenage tummy and said “What is this?”, or when I began comparing myself to the oogled after guys that the girls I liked would crush on in the magazines. However it was, it became a part of me and how I lived on the inside.

This last year, I began taking off the shirt at the pool as I took Oliver swimming. I had to come to terms with: this is me now.

Can things change? Sure, I’ve lost 60lbs in the last few years. And they will change more, but I don’t need to wait for that ‘some day’ to accept myself. I’m sure that you’ve all read the heard that old line “there rare 7 days in a week and ‘someday’ is not one of them”. Well I’m done waiting for someday to come.

Oliver tells me when he’s serious about something that “he will show me with his actions, not his words.” And I must do the same.

You are extraordinary. You are all extraordinary.

Let us not just tolerate or accept ourselves. Let’s learn how to LOVE ourselves… for our children.

Everyone is beautiful and everyone deserves to see themselves that way.

tutu’s and tool belts (a.k.a. it’s in the girl’s aisle)| vancouver work from home daddy of a blue and pink

We are a Lego family.  Everyone loves building it. Both our kids started with Duplo, but very early on (around 2 yrs old) both were allowed to upgrade to the smaller Lego as they didn’t put it in their mouths.

Oliver and Tobin at the LEGO Master Builder Event

Oliver and Tobin at the LEGO Master Builder Event

For Oliver’s 5th birthday, his Nani (Sarah’s mom) bought him a giant Chima Croc boat that was for 8+, and Oliver built it himself… by himself in his room, in about 3 hours. In fact

for the last 2 weeks Oliver has been anxiously waiting for the introduction of Lego Master Builders to Canada. For the last week he put all his instructions away and “built from (his) imagination like a Master Builder will”. And Isla has observed and followed suit.  Isla is almost 3 yrs old now. She builds from her imagination but she also builds from instructions.  She has 4 little Lego Friends animal’s sets and she can build them in their entirety, with help (as in ‘turn it around’ or ‘on the other side’) by herself.

So for a friends birthday party, we went to buy a present at Toys-R-Us yesterday and of course we made the mandatory stop in the Lego section.

find it in the girls aisle... not cool

<—-  I’ve seen this sign before, but hadn’t read it. Just saw that it was Lego Friends (which I do have an issue with) and moved on.

Digression about my Lego Friends issue: a regular 186 piece Lego set involves on average 3-6 accessory type pieces, while their ‘girl’ Lego sets seem to contain 3-4x that, leaving less bricks for actual building, and their models are often more simplistic (for identical age ranges). Lego Friends characters have breasts and don’t fit with other Lego mini-figures, also the accessories sometimes contain things like martini glasses and bottles (these actually came with a small set that also includes… a car)

Back on topic: Both Isla and Oliver like Lego Friends, both kids LOVE the Lego Friends Animals. Just like Oliver, Isla likes Chima, LegoCity and Ninja Turtles Lego and she loves Lego Batman. The idea of ‘Lego for girls’ being simplistic is extremely bothersome to me, that act of moving it away from all other Lego is unbelievable…. and as I write this, surprisingly more upsetting than I thought.  My inner caveman wants to go rip someone’s Lego head off.

My daughter loves to wear tutu’s and tool belts (and my son loves to wear tool belts and tutu’s).


 This is Lego for girls was (these ads are from 1979-1981):

vintage lego ads2

I’m not sure what to do now. Do I go all Canadian and write a strongly worded letter? Do I start a campaign to petition them to evolve? Is there something else I can do to affect change?  I’m not sure and would love your feedback.

I know my first step: stop shopping at stores that split them this way and encourage a dialogue about undefining what our little girls should be.


one from the heart | vancouver work from home father and portrait photographer


Goodness my own platform to speak from? I’m exciting to see what Tuesdays will bring from the ‘he said’ stand point.

I’m trying to think of a brilliant way to start this off, but to be honest, I’m just not coming up with anything.  It was a LONG Monday.  As a work from home father I often get to spend a lot of time with the kids through the course of the day. We still put in full time hours for our business, just most of the time those 8-10 hours of work happen when the kids are in quiet time or asleep at night.  Despite all that time with the kids when a day comes along that I have to spend working in the office, Oliver generally comes in and demands (or rather with multiple requests) that I come play with him and even for as much time as I have already spent with him, I feel like such a neglectful father for saying “no, I can’t” repeatedly to him.  Parental guilt.  It’s all relative isn’t it?  Oliver gets more time in one day with me, than many other kids do with their fathers over the course of several days to a week, but on a day when he only gets to spend 4-6 hours with me he acts like I haven’t given him any.  There is a balance in there somewhere and I’ll just have to continue to search and find it.  The most important thing I keep trying to put into action is it’s not the amount of time, but the quality of the time. 4 hours with my kids that I spend 75% of checking my computer and iPhone does not mean they had me for 4 hours.

I love my children and I need to show them with my actions, not just tell them with my words. That has been the lessen that I’ve been teaching Oliver this last month (to do more than to say) and it’s important that I exemplify that to them.

Well not a ground breaking first entry, but something I’m glad to have shared. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a beautiful day.

Tobin – he who takes the shots at PHOTOBIN PHOTOGRAPHY

our content commitment | vancouver modern glamour portrait studio


overcome your fear and work hard for your deams

these words sat on my desktop over the past year to keep me focused!

Hi and thanks for stopping by!

Well, after a year of irresponsible blogging (as in not knowing what the heck we were doing and thinking no one was going to listen anyway, silly us ;)) we are reformed and ready to make the change.  If you decide to join us on this journey we promise to be consistent, educational, informative, opinionated, authentic and maybe even entertaining.  This is where you will get to know us and we would LOVE the chance to get to know you too so feel free to comment and start a conversation.

Yes, we are a photography studio but our blog won’t be just photo talk.  My (Sarah’s) hope is that we become a diverse resource.  As we go through this journey of life we are not JUST a photography studio, we are a married couple (for over 16 years), we are parents of young children, we are embarking on whole food cooking, we are running a business AND a household and we are doing all of this together.

To help us be consistent in our blogging (and to let you know what you can look forward to) here is our content commitment to you… though we do allow (and hope you do too) for some small variances should something super awesome happen that we want to share.

Mondays- HELLO BEAUTIFUL!– this is where I (Sarah) will share my primping and pampering tips and tricks as well as my favourite finds.  I will blog and even vlog some step by step demos.  For this one I will reach deep into my decade of esthetic expertise.

Tuesdays- HE SAID– this is where Tobin gets to share what’s on his mind.  The rants, raves and other inner workings of my modern man not put through the Sarah filter… okay, well, maybe a little filtered but, hey, I’m a totally control freak. 🙂  Tobin will share his thoughts on everything from smoothies to movies to tips on surviving crazy wife syndrome and everything in between.

Wednesdays- SHE SAID– my turn!  Here I will share what it really is like “behind the curtain”.  I will candidly share what it’s like systemizing the family and the business, balancing the notion of “having it all” with the reality of it, cooking, cleaning, co-parenting and co-working with my soul mate.  But I’m not JUST going to share but I’ll let you know what I’m doing about it.  Recipes, crafts, trials and triumphs will all be shared here.

Thursdays- PHOTOGRAPH RESPONSIBLY– this is for you photographers out there.  Tobin and I will take turns talking about our business and photography in general.  Tobin will talk the technical stuff (I’m not a photographer AT ALL) and I’ll talk business (though Tobin has AMAZING insight in business too so he’ll share as well).  What we are doing, what is working and what isn’t working.  Tobin will vlog tips and tricks from how to take a better selfie to how to pose.  We would also LOVE to know what your questions are for us.

Fridays- THEY SAID– this is where we will feature one of our clients.  We will share their story, either through their own words and photos or a video of their experience.  We can talk about what we do until we are blue in the face but we want you to hear from the people that really know what they are talking about.  The ones who have experienced for themselves!

Some posts will be long (we both can get going sometimes when given a soapbox to stand on) but some will be short and we are excited for this journey to begin.  I hope you’ll join us.

Thank and have a beautiful day!