Christina Parker Photography

"Preserving Time for Generations to Come"

The Extended Family Session March 23, 2015

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Just before Christmas I was asked to do an Extended Family Session of 27 people! This is like asking someone to do a wedding! Even though I don’t do weddings (well…I do, but only for my close family or friends), the same principles apply for doing an extended family session.  So, I’m glad that I have had a few weddings under my belt to understand how to prep for such a hugh crowd!

Considering, we live in a cold climate, and the sun goes down by 4:30 pm, It was best to consider doing this session indoors.  I did it indoors in a gym, to have control over my lighting, and keeping everyone safe from the cold, the wind, and a place to run around in, when it wasn’t their to turn to be photographed.

One of the first things, I needed to do was to figure out the best way to have an extended backdrop.  I called “The Camera Store” in Calgary, they practically laughed through the phone, to tell me I was out of my mind, and that I better get over to the hardware store to construct my own backdrop stand out of pvc piping.   I only had a 10 day window of when they wanted to do this session, so I was really trying to figure out quickly what I could do to bring this together.  Checked online for other stores that might have something that could extend the backdrop stand, and delivery could be a hold up.

Then I called “Strobepro” a local store, in Calgary, where they sell non brand names.   They were extremely helpful, and we worked it through, of how to combine 2 stands, into one, with additional support, of a 24″ feet crossbar and the best lighting scenario.

I then went to the Camera Store, to pick up a roll of beige “mocha” savage seamless paper, as the clients had brown tones in their home.  The plan was to use the whole roll, length wise as my backdrop, and the rest of the floor.  To be safe, I decide to set up 2 nights prior for a trial run.  Yes, it was a lot of work, to do this, but it was so worth it, as I discovered, I didn’t have enough clamps, to hold the paper, for the backdrop, and I would need to buy more.  It also helped me, realize that I needed to bring extension cords, and what other things I was missing.

My son, who I tempt to act as my assistant (as who else may inherit all my equipment some day) painstakely came along for the ride!   For the sake of experimenting only, I used a roll of white paper, I had on hand.

This indeed could work!  The only thing, I realized the day of the session, that my big roll of mocha paper, wasn’t as big as I thought, and I had to go home and get this white paper to cover the floor. This made me have to touch up more on my seams of where the backdrop hit the floor.  I did use a light meter, to have even light across, by getting it right in camera, it saves a whole lot of time, afterwards.

Just like a wedding, you start with everyone as a big group, and then you narrow it down.

It’s all about grandma and grandpa, and their children, and grandchildren, so they get placed in the middle, on my fancy couch.  Then work your way out, grouping the family together.  A whole another topic, could be on the colour and style of dress.

Not everyone cooperates as well, so its good to take multiple portraits.

You can see in my after post processing, how I have had to cover up the gym lines on the floor, and clean up the clamps, all this is done in photoshop.

In the group of 27, I had to fix just a few faces. Can you tell which ones?

The use of chairs help with some variety, in heights so all their heads are not on the same plane, and placing hands on shoulders help create interesting triangles.

Slowly break the family down into different units.  Like, all the men, (dad, sons, and son-inlaws).   Can you see the imaginary triangles that could be formed with the men?

With the ladies, add some connection, with their arms…although some take it a little too far, and may touch one another a little inappropriately!

Then focus on every family.  It really doesn’t matter what order.  I actually did the children first, and then their family, at the end.

and the children

And the child, and this was able to be accomplished all within 2 hours.   Phew!! Mission Accomplished!


I’m been delayed… February 22, 2014

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I have taken a lot of food pictures in the last week, although I haven’t posted them!! I have had 2 major photography events, plus a baby session, and some extra ones to fulfill, so I’m going to jump back on board soon!! Thank you for your patience!!  


Knock it off!! Day 18 – 365 Photo Calendar Project January 19, 2014

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I love the positive attribute of this quote…Just remove the T, and you have Can!! You can love to wear this bracelet! I’m reducing my jewelry. it’s sterling silver, and will be up for grabs, on my facebook photography page .  Refer a friend to follow my project, and  give me a like, or two. This bangle can fit at least a size 7 wrist. and will be rewarded to a lucky fan. 



Camera: 50 mm Iso 100, 7.1,  1/125 


Boston Part 2 May 2, 2013

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The Next Day, I headed up to Cambridge, to Harvard Square and before I went I read all about the “John Harvard” statue, so I know why some students call it the 4 lies! The #1 lie. Harvard was not established in 1638, but in 1636! Wow, isn’t that truly amazing!! #2 lie. Harvard was not established by John Harvard, he was instead someone that gave a lot of money to get the school started. #3 lie. The statue, isn’t “John Harvard”…no one knew what he even looked like, instead it’s to be a student. #4 lie! Don’t touch the golden shoe, well you can…but I won’t be shaking your hand if you do. #4…was quite funny, as everyone that comes up to take a picture with the John Harvard statue, has to just hold his golden shoe…and the reason you don’t want too, well its known that Harvard Students have a ritual of urinating on it!! I had quite the chuckle, watching everyone take their picture with his shoe!

There must also be a secret also contained in some of the outside walls of the buildings. I saw 2 grown men, one on either side of the arch way of this building, whispering in the cracks, and the other one could hear what one was saying. I went and explored, and saw no apparant speaker hiding within. Then I did my internet research ” Sever Hall, the red brick Romanesque-styled work of Henry Hobson Richardson, also contains a mysterious crypt (an architectural quirk of its designer) and a curious arch at the entrance that looks onto Tercentenary Theatre. Those who stand to one side of the rounded entryway and whisper while facing the building can be heard clearly by those standing on the other end of the wall’s curve!” and if you’re whispering on your cell phone at the arch, another person can hear the entire conversation!

I love the engravings on the entrance ways and buildings! The dark tunnel picture of the “Harvard Book Store” if you were entering it from the bookstore side reads “Enter to Grow In Wisdom”. When you leave Harvard Yard going towards the book store, and look up, it reads “Depart to Serve Better Thy Country and Thy Kind”. Other engravings were ” Open Ye Gates, That the Righteous Nation, that Keep the Truth May Enter In” and on another building, “What is Man, that thou are mindful of him”

To get a true student life restaurant, head to “Mr. Bartley’s” voted best burger in the USA by the wall street journal! Great student life, the movie “the social network” was featured here. I love reading all the stuff they have on the walls…”this is your brain, with diagrams of eggs”…”the exam test”
Another great food place, was “Felipes” where you can get a burrito meal for about $6. Another great restaurant we went to ” Grafton Street Pub and Grill”, excellent service and excellent food! I wished I could of had room for dessert!

The “Please Go Away…often” sign was found on a wall outside a bank, in Harvard Square, perhaps, they often get people needing money, hanging around there.

So many churches around too. Can definitelyharvard wm dm cparker photo feel the liberty of forward thinking, as well as religion in the air. Christina


Boston Part 3 March 15, 2013

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Today, is May 15, 2013, 1 month to the exact date of the Boston Marathon and today has ended my travelling that started on March 6. I have been on 3 trips between these dates without my husband, Mike. After experiencing the Boston Marathon, and coming close to the “what if’s”..We treasure our relationship even closer.

Mike had a had harder time with this marathon, and his hips were hurting at about the 30 km mark, at “Heartbreak hill”, he had come so far, and his determination kept him running, as he wasn’t going to back down, to walk the boston marathon. I watched the starting of the men’s runners on our tv hotel in Cambridge, and then walked over the bridge to the downtown core. I was seeing the wheelchair riders come in. I had some time to spare. I walked down towards the finish line of the flags, way to crowded! but thought it was so neat to see the international flags, so I took a picture of the flags. Then I went into the restaurant “Uno” to have some lunch, paying close attention to the time, so I wouldn’t miss Mike.

Near the end of my lunch, I heard the defeatening cheers, as the first runners cross the finish line. I walked back, near the 26 mile mark, where a clock was visible by the sign, to wait for Mike to come in, (Orange shirt/white hat). If you really want to get cheered on, wear an all pink neon suit! He ran by me, at the 3 hrs:12 secs time on the clock, and disappeared past the finish line, and into the crowds. As a spectator, that meant I had to do a lot of circling, around the big buildings. There were people selling their art, etc. I went to the family meeting area “PQ”…and waited….and waited” ..then I walked back to a park area where he said, he thought there would be buses to take runners back. No one was really there, other than a fairy being entertained with a harp…and then the thought occurred to me, that he probably went for a massage, so I went back to the “PQ” area (about 1 1/2 blocks behind the finish line) and crossed the road, to see if he was stretching, when I heard the first explosion go off. A man beside me, said, “Was that a gun?”…I repeated it, not thinking it was. Another person, responded, “No, I think it was a transformer.”. In my head, I’m thinking, a transformer, would be “pop..sizzle”.. it sounded like a canon or an explosion. No one said anything, and then we heard it again. The people near me just waited and listen, confusion filled the air. At this time, Mike was also looking for me, he heard the explosions, and saw the smoke from the 1st one, from where he was standing, although we didn’t see each other.

As more ambulances and police zoomed by, then the crowd I was standing in, decide it was time to leave, when the police started pushing everyone back. We heard bits of information along the way, about the bomb exploding near the finish line, then saw a man and daughter walk by with a bandage head and neck. Those around, our eyes got big, and more people tried calling on their phones. First bit of information, someone who had an office above the finish line, took a picture, and said, “a bomb when off near the finish line, and people were missing limbs”. Some were panicked as they didn’t know where their runners or family members were. Later, I glanced on a tv in a restaurant showed a bit of more real information, and that we had heard that there was a fatality. I still felt calm, I knew Mike had past the finish line. He was near freezing walking another 6 km back to the hotel with his foil blanket. Many police, Many ambulances, fire trucks, bomb squads, uncover police poured out to clear the traffic and at least 3 helicopters in the sky. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, “These things don’t happen in Canada.” Not realizing, that there might of been more explosions, we really didn’t know how much danger the area could of been in. Mike and I didn’t find each other until we both were back in our hotel, about 2 hours later, with our hotel phones ringing, and pages of facebook messages asking if we were okay. We barely knew what had just occured. Mike had just arrived 2 minutes before I did. It was surreal. The”what if’s” did hit me, after we returned home, as I was standing near the 2nd explosion for at least 2 hours prior. Thank you for all the love, concern, and prayers on our behalf, it was much appreciated. The heros that have endured their injuries, will for sure, go through their stages of grief and will stand together, to represent an icon, that Boston is Strong. I’m sure as the year passes, we will see more about their stories on TV. I’m not yet sure, if Mike will run Boston again, but for now, I think we can cross it off the list! Boston 2013


What happens when? March 6, 2013

A smile is your own facial signature with each one being unique and is often the first thing another will focus on when looking at your face.  What happens when your smile is not like others?   For thousands of children and adults their smile is affected by a cleft.  Matthew was one of those babies born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate and this is his story.



Matthew came into the world on a warm afternoon in August 2009 with a complete bilateral cleft lip and palate. 

His cleft was on the severe side and it quickly became apparent that the simple things that most take for granted would be a challenge.  Feeding Matthew was a challenge as he didn’t have the oral structure needed to suck from the breast or bottle.  He met with a team of specialists who from the day he was born created a treatment plan.  This plan included weekly hospital visits, weekly dental visits, an oral appliance (NAM-nasoalveolar molding device), and hearing tests which all led up to his first surgery, his lip repair in December 2009. During the 4.5 hour surgery his plastic surgeon fused the muscles in his lip, joined the three segments of his cleft together, lifted and shaped his flattened nose.  For the first time in his life, Matthew no longer had a cleft lip.  His wide smile was no longer and his new smile would be one that people wouldn’t stare at negatively or with pity.  Matthew started puréed foods at 6 months old like other babies his age.  With Matthew’s cleft palate he would often choke and aspirate the food that had entered his nasal cavity.  We stayed away from hard cereals or other typical teething food as pieces could and sometimes would get lodged along the side of his nasal passage.  Matthew did continue to have speech therapy and frequent dental care until his palate repair in September 2010 where the same plastic surgeon closed the gaping hole in his palate.

Matthew still has years of treatment which include bone grafting, orthodontic, and other facial surgeries but until then he is a thriving three year old who loves reading books, playing with his siblings, and most of all playing with his trains.  Matthew’s determination, will, and spirit continue to inspire those who work with him. ~post written by Amanda L. Matthew’s Mom!

With your donation of $24, 100% will go towards operation smile, to help repair other children across the world! You will receive 1, desk size print or a headshot image.   Can I count on your support April 4-April 6, 2013?  Please book your session time at




December Journey December 5, 2012

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Do you remember, anxiously waiting for the first of December? Each of my children, anxiously plea for their own special advent calendars before the 1st of the month. Cheap chocolate that can be found in skinny boxes, that have pictures of Santa and his elves, with numbers scattered all across the box.  It was a challenge just to find the right number, and then you would open one up each day of the week, to reveal the hidden goodie, of usually a chocolate in shape of a wreath, bell, or a stocking!   Advent calendars have gotten deluxe over the years, now you can buy them to reveal lego pieces, that will build a scene!  This month, I am going to be doing a photography journey through the month of December of anything that might catch my eye, that day.  You may even be able to recite, my made up verse,  that relates to December, or Christmas, with on the 1st day of Christmas, by true love send to me.

On the 1st Day of December,   a client shared with me, her little man, who I dressed in green”…..and I totally forgot, that grandma is Irish, and of course, loves the colour of this one!

Come see the days you may have missed at: