Posted by traceylheppner on
i love divine appointments. “what?”, you say??? you know, when you are in the right place at the right time?
that’s EXACTLY what happened when i first met Suzanne. we had several mutual friends. i was in a coffee shop for a couple hours in kelowna, bc. i thought i’d text her and see if, in the off chance, she wanted to meet up for a quick coffee being she lived in kelowna. well..she came, we chatted, drank coffee, and that the was how i first met suzanne. it was awesome!
her heart is really in her work. and she is a dreamer; i love that in people. we also share a love for all things ITALY (what is it that i am constantly meeting fellow italy lovers lately? it must be another sign!) i was so glad when she agreed to be featured on my #FF blog post. i love featuring all the fabulous people i know who have mad skillz in the industry. :)
without further delay, i’m pleased to introduce Suzanne. :)
TLH: what is the favorite part of what you do (business wise)?
Suzanne: The emotions. To put it simply, I love … love.
I love the look of love in a father’s eye when he looks at his daughter when he’s about to walk her down the aisle and trying to keep himself composed.
I love the way a daughter looks at her Dad with all the trust in the world knowing that she has been loved completely by the first man in her life.
I love the way a little boy wraps his arms around his favourite auntie and blows kisses on her cheeks. Or the way a little girl looks at a bride like she’s a princess and dreams about herself as a bride one day.
I love the heartfelt speeches at the receptions, the tearful moments when someone’s voice cracks or they need a moment to compose themselves.
I love it when people aren’t scared to show their emotions as raw and exposed as they are.
These moments fill up my heart, I “feel” their love and I always walk away loving what I do because they’ve made me feel so good about life and love.
TLH: how did you get started? everyone asks, i know, but peeps wanna know!
Suzanne: By sneaking in my Mom’s closet peeking at the Christmas presents early and seeing a camera!!
The camera ended up being for my brother, but I pestered her enough I got one shortly afterwards. I was probably 8 or 9 and that was it I was bit by the camera bug.
Then at the age of 9 my mom took me to Europe and exposed me to the works of the great European artists at the Louvre in Paris. I have loved art ever since.
My artistic family next door had a photographer friend and I remember looking at his work and being so inspired that I too could do this one day.
Once I was in high school I took photography classes and was from then on found with a camera strung around my neck. I didn’t go straight to university, I wasn’t what you’d call an “academic” kid back then. I wanted to get on and experience life, travel, have FUN!
So I did all that and went to university when I was 26 as a music major, art history minor ( played classical piano my entire life) hoping to be a teacher and get my summers off! Raising kids while doing this proved to be a challenge both emotionally and financially so I ended up going back to the world of cosmetics
managing one of the largest stores in a Canadian chain. Good business experience for sure, but definitely not soul fulfilling and I chafed at being inside day after day punching a clock.
All of these years I kept dabbling in my photography taking courses here and there shooting family & friends. Finally at 40 I was able to give up a “responsible” job and dive into photography full-time when my husband’s business had grown enough that I no longer had to worry about bringing in a paycheque.
So I assisted a couple of photographers for one wedding season and then started my own business. The learning curve was huge the first couple of years, building a website, learning all of the programs ( PS +Lightroom). I probably spent a good two years sitting in front of my computer talking online tutorials ( thank goodness for Scott Kelby!)
Also. Image Explorations in Shawnigan Lake was amazing for me. I was able to study with the greats, Kevin Kubota & Scott Robert LIm there. I studied again with Kevin in Italy in 2010 which was a wonderful experience.Then this last year I was lucky enough to spend 5 days with the amazing Jerry Ghionis, gleaning more amazing information and learning his tricks to the trade.
TLH: if you could live anywhere in the world for a year, money not an issue, where would it be and why?
Suzanne: Well you know the answer to this one!! ITALY!!!
Oh how I love Italy. My mom took me there when I was 9 and I fell in love with it then. I loved the warmth of the people, the smells & sounds of the environment. I loved the colours, the gardens, the architecture, the art.
I love the pace of Italy. How people seem to savour life and do not rush through it. I feel like I can just sit and watch and take everything in and not for a second feel guilty about it.
I love the countryside most of all with it’s hidden little secret spots surrounded in peace & quiet with just the chirping of birds for company.
Italy makes me feel creative and really brings out the best in me. I feel at home there more than any place I’ve been before.
TLH: favorite story/memory of past client/work/project
Suzanne: That would have to be my story of 1992. the year my life changed.
This was the year that my birth mother Irene found me. I was 26 at the time, on my own with my daughter Tasmine who was 2. My life was pretty quiet, maybe a little lonely. I had some special friends and a little family ( 2 brothers and my adoptive Mom, but little else).
My entire life I had wished for a large loving musical family ( I was a piano playing music nut from a young age) as the one I grew up in was a different entity. I was always curious about my birth parents, who they were as people, what nationality they were, and in turn who I was. I was missing a piece of my identity.
It was strange the first time we spoke. Her voice sounded like mine, with the same inflections, we found so many similarities it was uncanny. I had grown up in a family not looking like anyone else, physically different than everyone else, I thought differently too.
When when my Mom found me I was just about to spend the weekend at a roping clinic at a local ranch, it turned out she rode as well. . At the same time I found out my Dad’s name and called him before anyone else had the chance to, I wanted to hear his reaction ( ok I’m a bit of a brat!)
It turns out he was a musician playing in a country band with his father. Funny, he thought I was a bride calling to book him for my wedding! My wish for a musical family had been granted.
My mother & I met soon after that, and soon after that she brought Tasmine & I out to Manitoba to meet her/my family and my Dad & his/my family. That was an overwhelming amazing experience to put it mildly.
Well, to make a long story short, my Mom & Dad ended up rekindling their relationship falling in love all over again and got married a couple of years later, Myself and my daughter were in their wedding party.
They were everything I had always dreamed of as a family. I never thought I would be so lucky.
My adoptive Mom grew very close to my birth parents and when she grew sick with cancer it was my birth Mom who came out to help me with her. It was my birth mom who gave the prayers at her service, it was my birth fathers voice that I heard singing behind me.
So maybe this explains why I take such pleasure in photography. I treasure family, life & love so very much.
I love watching for the similarities between children & their parents, I love seeing the love for each other in their eyes because I know how it feels to have that in my life myself.
So, to answer your question some of my favourite photos are of that of my family & extended family :)
TLH: what is your favorite foods to eat? to make? to buy?
Suzanne: Blueberries & Peanut butter & BBQ Chicken!!I’m not a foodie per se. I love good food & wine, but more importantly it’s the company & the atmosphere that I care about. Give me some good music, great conversation & laughter, I’ll be happy with that more than I care about the food.
TLH: where do you see yourself in your biz and life in 5 years?
Suzanne: Ok, big dreams here!!
For my work to become world renowned, that my work becomes loved for it’s “feel”.
To work part of the year in Italy ( not the entire year because I want to be near my children and their children) and own a small home in the countryside there that I can restore with “love”
To be happy & healthy in a peaceful loving world filled with my family & friends.
TLH: how do you want to be remembered?
Suzanne: As a caring, loving, artistic soul who always had a smile on her face.
check out more of Suzanne on the interwebs at: