suburbia hair spa inc. and a whole lot of gorgeous. edmonton photographers. by Cheryl Lukasewich

I truly do love networking with other professionals that surround the photography industry so it was awesome to meet up with Thyda from Suburbia Hair Spa Inc. in St. Albert to photograph some promotional material for her salon. Not only do they offer cuts and styling for both men and women but they also rock out makeup, manicures, pedicures and men's shaves! Check out some of my favorite photos from the shoot! Props to the hard work put in by an excellent team:

Hair/Pedicure: Suburbia Hair Spa Inc. Makeup: Hamana's Artistry Models: Amelia Neo (Numa Models) and Amanda Buyco


I love networking but my true passion is as an Edmonton wedding photographer!  Check out some of my wedding work here and shoot me an email if you're looking for a photographer for your wedding!












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Photographers Edmonton, Edmonton Wedding Photographers, St. Albert Wedding Photographers

my peeps. edmonton photography. by Cheryl Lukasewich

The last two years I've pulled together a personal project: a shoot where I invite my beautiful friends, old and new, to get together to hang out, celebrate our friendship and for the making of my own memories. These women love me, encourage me, believe in me and invest in me in spite of my mistakes and shortcomings. They love me through it all and that's pretty ridiculously special. It's pretty tricky to organize a lot of women to get together all at once so there are definitely a few friends who are missing from these photos. To them and to the women below: Thanks. Your friendship fills my heart and feeds my soul. I love you.

Meet my peeps:

Katie. A friend for about 9 years whom I met through a church small group. She's a believer in quality time and sharing the real stuff of life.

Edmonton Photography


Linnette. I've known her for about 10 years through my church (she's my pastor's wife) and, slowly but surely, I've learned to open my heart to a space where I can be myself (vulnerable and a bit stubborn). Linnette loves pretty big and has nurtured our relationship through grace and immense kindness.


Cassidy. Cassidy's is Linnette's daughter so I've know her for about the same amount of time. She's grown into a beautiful, generous, kind and softspoken woman and is a delight to have in my life.


Cassie. Another friend through church whom I've gotten to know better over the last 3 or 4 years. Cassie is constant and consistent. She is soft, vulnerable, an encourager and a delight to know.


Christina. A local photographer whom I met while she was photographing a friend's gorgeous mountain wedding in BC last December. She's become a dear friend, a supportive work colleague and a recent workout buddy <3


Janelle. I've know Janelle since birth (or pretty close to it). We were both country kids (where a 15 minute drive to each other's house is considered "close"). Our parents hung out together so our friendship has had a lot of years to grow. This girl is made of the REAL good stuff :)




Kim. A great friend from church who I get a renewed, rich appreciation for everytime we hang out. She is strong, loyal and incredible.


Denise. She was a bit older than me growing up but we end up really connecting in the years post-graduation. I love this former-roomie's heart and contagious laugh. She's pretty great :)


Claire. This amazing woman introduced me to the love of my life, my husband, Noel. And then she proceeds to love me through the gritty stuff of life. I've probably cried with each of these friends but no doubt Claire has seen a majority of those tears (FYI crying is my go-to response for amazing, happy things, too. Any emotion I have comes out first and foremost through my eyeballs). Love. This. Lady.


Lee-Ann. I met Lee-Ann about 5 or 6 years ago when we both worked at a local daycare together. Work-friendship slowly seeped outside the daycare walls and I'm so glad it did!  Lee blessed me, too, by hiring me to photograph her wedding last year! Sweetest girl I know, no joke.


Alora. If you follow my Aeris work at all you've no doubt seen me brag about this girl on many occassions. We met 3 years ago through photography (check out her work here!) and although our work has kept us connected we've developed a friendship that has transcended into something pretty real and pretty awesome.


My girls, my peeps.


Shout out to Katie's husband, Dennis, for manning the tripod for these group shots!

I did a girlfriend shoot last year, too! You can check it out here if you're interested :)

alora. my second shooter. my friend. by Cheryl Lukasewich

Back in 2011, my second year of business, I put out a plea on a local women photographer's forum looking for someone to second shoot with me at what was sure to be an incredible wedding (check it out here).  Up until this point my uncle, a math teacher and photography/yearbook instructor, had been shooting my (first few) weddings alongside me.  He made the bold and exciting decision to move his family to Nairobi, Kenya, and up till then I had no idea how to go about finding someone to shoot weddings with me.  So I put out my request.  I promptly got a message from Alora.  She sent me a link to view her portfolio (which was gorgeous) and I agreed she should come shoot with me.  Due to circumstances I can't recall, Alora and I weren't able to meet prior to the wedding so, on the morning of the wedding I was excited when I got a knock on my door.  Imagine my surprise when a teenager, 16 years old, stood there with gear in hand. And that's where it began.

I'm 10 years older than Alora but that doesn't matter in the least.  What began with my random request turned into a beautiful pairing and an incredible friendship.

A second shooter has many roles (at least when they're shooting with me).  They're there to catch different angles from my own, look for candid moments in between the organized shots, carry my gear, hold my light, fix the bride's train, carry the bouquet, look for crooked ties, help me stay organized, keep me calm, listen to my concerns and, in Alora's case, even help pull me together during a few tearful moments (shooting a wedding, though so incredibly joyous, can be a bit stressful at times).

Alora has done all that and more with me and for me.  But the girl has wings.  She's moving forward in her own business and pursuing her own dreams in her career and, as sad as it makes me to not always have her with me when I work, I'm also pretty thrilled.  Although she loves weddings and is so skilled at them her real passion lies with photographing couples in general as well creating gorgeous, ethereal portraits.

Alora has shot a lot of weddings with me and will be shooting a few with me this year as well (maybe I'll be able to snag her a few times in the next few years, too).  Regardless of how much we work together in the future I wanted to let the world know how much I love this girl and to send her lots of e-hugs.

Check out some shots I took recently of this awesome gal and then head over to her website, too, to check out her mad skills (maybe give her a "like" on her facebook page, too)!

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swept. an edmonton bridal experience. by Cheryl Lukasewich

Ok folks, listen up! If you follow Aeris Photography on facebook you may have seen a few posts I've recently shared about something incredible: SWEPT. SWEPT is a brand new, innovative, inspiring bridal show experience that you WANT TO ATTEND!! :) 2013-12-18_0001.jpg

*photo courtesy of Erin Walker Photography

Have you ever attended a bridal show before? You know the kind where you show up to an agricom, pay your fee and make your way through a crazy herd of people strolling by hundreds of booths and filling your plastic bag with pamphlets, free pens and magnets, entering draw after draw in hopes that you might win anything from anyone. Yah, those ones. Nothing wrong with shows like this but have you ever walked away more uncertain than when you walked in? Erin Walker, my pal, photografriend and the creator of SWEPT can relate. Read this excerpt about where Erin got the idea for SWEPT:

"[SWEPT] started out as a tiny idea, way back when i first attended a bridal show with a friend a few years ago. i expected the event to be like a wedding….i thought it would be beautiful, i thought i would leave inspired and pampered and instead i was left wanting more. the bridal show was just another trade show. there was no special atmosphere, and it felt like everyone was just trying to hand me pamphlets and sell me things. no matter where i looked in edmonton, there was no experience like the one i was hoping for at a bridal show.

fast forward a couple years and i was working in the wedding industry myself. i’ve learned more about the wedding industry from being a part of it than i ever would have seen at a bridal show! i’ve realized that some of the best and most creative moments i’ve had in my photography career have been collaborating with other creatives. the florists, planners, and designers we have in this city are unbelievable! working with other artists is inspiring, and it pushes me further in my own creativity.

realizing that creativity fuels creativity brought me full circle back to my experience at the bridal show with my friend years ago. what if we could create an experience where wedding vendors could collaborate and be creative, and brides could experience an over-the-top gorgeous event that would inspire them in planning their own wedding. this is where the idea for swept was born."

So here's what SWEPT looks like:

Enter a gorgeous venue (Edmonton's Royal Glenora Club) and get swept into an experience:

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The Beauty Room - Be inspired by all things beautiful. Have a look at gorgeous gowns, get your groom measured for the perfect suit, have a look at some gorgeous hair and makeup looks for the year and get pampered by some of Edmonton's finest beauty professionals. Ask questions and receive answers from some top names in Edmonton's wedding industry.

The Inspiration Room - Get swept away by details! Floral arrangements, perfect tablescapes, gorgeous stationary...browse and breathe deep while sipping champagne and dreaming of your special day!

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The Sweet Room - A room every bit as scrumptious as it sounds. Come taste, dream and chat with cake designers.

The Groom Room - A room for the fellas. Get your man inspired in his own right by learning about signature cigars, the perfect beer to suit his taste and more!

It gets better! Have a look a some of the AMAZING vendors participating in SWEPT:

and so much more!!

So I can tell you want to come, yes?? Yes. SWEPT is taking place on Sunday, January 26, 2014. Tickets are pre-purchase only so get them now right here while you're already dreaming about it! Enter the coupon code GORGEOUS and get $5 your ticket!  Even more awesomeness??!  I'm giving away two free tickets!  To enter to win visit my Aeris facebook page, share the SWEPT promo post and comment beneath it OR share this blog post on your facebook page and message me to tell me you did it!  Winner will be chosen randomly on Monday, January 13!


While you're dreaming of your wedding I have to of course give a shout out to Erin Walker Photography so check her out! Along with shooting my own weddings I've also had the pleasure of second shooting for Erin and you can have a look at some of my own shots from weddings I've shot with her here, here and here! Both Erin and I still have availability for 2014 so give her a shout here or contact me here if you're looking for a photographer to capture your fabulousness!

things that rock my world. dani press. by Cheryl Lukasewich

I've been debating for some time adding a section to my blog for things that rock and so voila! Here's edition one! Since I started my own business I have come to have a new, fairly profound respect for small business owners. Owning and running a business is hard. Making a living from your own business takes a long time. Putting a service and/or product out into the world is daunting and incredibly personal and so, when I see a small business/small business owner working their butt off - pouring their blood, sweat and tears into their dream - and then seeing that they have the drive and work ethic to commit and see it through well then, I get excited. I want these people to see success because not only are they awesome people in their own right but their products are amazing as well!

Meet Dani. I went to school/church with Dani growing up although I'm a bit older than her so we weren't in the same circles. Regardless, we know each other. She's one of those people that I've had the privilege of creeping on via facebook for the last few years and I found it super cool when I found out she started her own stationary business, dani press (and here she is applying her hustle to the best darn indigogo campaign in her efforts to raise $10,000 to get dani press spread around the world - check it out!!).


Dani's a globe-trotter with a dream to keep people connected, inspired and motivated all through the power of words and getting that little something special in the mail.  Her cards are amazing and I can guarantee you they'll make you truly think and stir up memories about each exact person you could envision sending her cards to. If you love sentiment, thoughtfulness, non-cheesiness and most of all, people, then you should consider investing in dani and her kick-butt business. As if her work doesn't stand on it's own dani press also sends a percentage of every card sold to support These Numbers Have Faces, a charity organization that promotes leadership and entrepreneurship training and gives university scholarships to students in Africa.

Have a look at just a few samples of Dani's awesome work below and then head on over to to stock up on some cards of your own. Own a shop? Contact Dani here to see how you can get her awesomeness in your store!

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*all photos courtesy of :)

Since you're here you're probably thinking that both dani press AND Aeris Photography are awesome so check out some more of my own work here and shoot me an email if you're also awesome and think our awesomeness should combine at your wedding! :) :)

velvet and pete. in love. edmonton couples photography. by Cheryl Lukasewich

A few months ago I received a facebook message on my Aeris page from a local woman, Kerry, who had a few questions about photography and photo editing. I noticed (via facebook creeping) that we happened to know a lot of the same people which, along with talking about photography, opened up other avenues of conversation. Kerry has a start-up story similar to mine (she started learning photography due to the intense desire to have a hobby) and I found that a lot of her questions were quite similar to the questions I had a few years ago. Now I by no means claim to be a master of photography (maybe when I'm 90?  I love to think I'll keep learning and growing for the rest of my life!) but I was more than happy to meet up and chat/get to know her/swap stories/etc. We ended up setting up a time to meet and photograph together. Kerry found a beautiful couple, Velvet and Pete, to model for us and we spend some time chatting, posing and photographing their love. Thanks, Velvet and Pete!!!

**Shout out time: Velvet is an Arbonne consultant in Sherwood Park and Edmonton. I'm an absolute convert to their anti-aging skin care line (seriously, after using it for a few weeks I had 3 people tell me my skin looked "radiant" and "glowy") so feel free to contact Velvet to set up your own Arbonne party at :)

Here's a look at some of my favorite shots from our time together!  Check out more of my couples photography in my engagement and wedding posts! 2013-11-22_0001.jpg 2013-11-22_0002.jpg 2013-11-22_0004.jpg 2013-11-22_0005.jpg 2013-11-22_0006.jpg 2013-11-22_0007.jpg 2013-11-22_0008.jpg 2013-11-22_0009.jpg 2013-11-22_0010.jpg 2013-11-22_0011.jpg 2013-11-22_0012.jpg 2013-11-22_0013.jpg 2013-11-22_0014.jpg 2013-11-22_0015.jpg 2013-11-22_0016.jpg 2013-11-22_0017.jpg 2013-11-22_0018.jpg 2013-11-22_0019.jpg

my why. part two of my reflections on "the art of authentic posing" workshop by justin and mary. by Cheryl Lukasewich

As you may know I recently attended 2 incredible workshops hosted by the incredible photography duo Justin and Mary. Day one's workshop was all about using natural light and off-camera flash to create dimensional, luxurious images. Day two's workshop, "The Art of Authentic Posing", was yes, about posing but it went deeper than that. I recently blogged another part of my reflections on this workshop (my WHY) which I'd encourage you to look at here. Today's blog post covers a different "Why": When we're striving to capture the love between two people - their hearts, their essence, their passions and love for each other - WHY do we pose them the way we do? Have you ever seen (or done yourself?) one of the following poses when looking at couple's photography?

-the "we look mad at each other" pose - the "we've been doing the dip-kiss pose for 2 minutes straight and now it's getting uncomfortable" pose -the "form a heart with our hands" pose -the "make the bride sit in the middle of the highway" pose -the "let's all jump at once" pose -the "straddle each other" pose -the "bride sits on the ground and her flowers are placed on her train" pose

(for the record, I've done almost all of the above in some form or another since I started photography...).

How about photo editing?:

-the "everything is in black and white except the eyes/flowers/garter/etc." selective color edit -the "green or orange tint" edit -the "reduce clarity dramatically so the image seems dream-like" edit -the "add in clouds-that-weren't-there" edit -the "faces superimposed onto an wine glass/bubble/background" edit

No doubt you've seen a lot, if not all, of these things (I've seen each one on Pinterest with a "MUST have my photographer shoot this" caption. So here's the question: WHY?

Justin and Mary put out the "Why" question as a bit of a challenge. When creating an in image why do we pose couples the way we do? (Editing the way we do is just as relevant). Are you photographing a couple jumping because it actually sums up their personalities and the energy of the day (or better yet, because you caught them jumping around when no one was really watching)? If so, then jump on! Do you have a "dip" shot because your groom grabbed his new bride and made her knees week? If so, rock it out!! If you have a WHY that backs up what you're doing with your couples then go for it! If you don't have a WHY - well then, why are you doing it? Are you doing "selective color" editing because you it's stunning and a timeless addition to a couple's wedding album? Then color selectively!....(that's hard for me to say but if you have a legit WHY...). You get the point, right? It's not that one person's posing and editing is necessarily better than anothers but HAVE A "WHY"! The goal is to create something authentic so just promise me this and ask yourself "Why?" Yes?? Yes!

If you want to photograph (and pose) couple's authentically then seek out that authentic moment! If you're with the couple for formals and they're no longer in an "organic/photo-journalistic" scenario (eg. you're no longer photographing them candidly as they get ready in their hotel room and have moved them to, for example, a field) then do your best to create and facilitate an environment wherein you CAN capture authentic moments. A couple in love is an authentic thing - couples touch, sway, laugh, kiss - so focus on giving couples opportunities to BE IN those natural moments! Your WHY is going to show through in your images and will hopefully attract the type of couples that can identify with you. So no matter what your WHY may be you'll be able shoot more weddings with your dream clients because you've connected with them more deeply than just at a coffee meeting!

I would actually love your feedback on this blog post if you have an opinion. Do you agree/disagree? Have you thought about your WHY? Something to ponder :)

Are you connecting with and excited about what I'm talking about? Looking for your own wedding photographer and think we'd mesh? Shoot me an email and we can get together to chat and see if we're a good fit!

Here's a look at some images I took during the time we had to practice "the art of authentic posing" one on one with our workshop models.

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Since you're here you should check out more of my weddings here :)

my WHY. part one of my reflections on "the art of authentic posing" workshop by justin and mary. by Cheryl Lukasewich

If you follow me at all here on my blog or on my Aeris facebook page you know that my heart and brain are bursting with new and exciting information after having attended 2 workshops hosted by photography duo Justin and Mary in Cannon Beach, Oregon. I previously blogged some tidbits that I learned about off-camera flash and today I'm moving on to some of what I learned from the second workshop, "The Art of Authentic Posing." There are many things I learned from taking this class (I'm pretty sure I'll be digesting that information for quite some time) but the HUGEST thing I took away from this class is actually a challenge to identify and understand my way of thinking; the way and reason I photograph couples. My "Why."

At the beginning of the day Mary asked us to think of our own "Why": Why do we do photography in the first place? Why do we shoot What we do and How we do? My first reaction requires a bit of back story so bear with me if you're interested:

I wasn't someone who starting playing with a camera when I was 3, nor someone who recognized some "calling" after participating in photography classes in high school. Yes, I played around with my dad's old film camera with some friends during a few get togethers in junior high but that was more about playing around with fashion (90's fashion... :/) and makeup. After high school, with no clue what I wanted to do, I applied, was accepted, and went to work at a Mexico orphanage for 6 months. I loved my time there and fell in love with caring for infants (which had been my assignment in the orphange nursery). When I came home I thought about possibly pursuing neonatal nursing - long story short - as much as I love babies I didn't actually want to pursue that. I ended up taking general, university-transfer classes at a local Bible school hoping that along the way I'd have some clue what other program I could apply those classes to when I made up my mind. I'm a pretty empathetic (read: emotional) person so I ended up choosing Social Work, thinking/hoping it would be a good fit. I graduated two years later with a Social Work diploma, got my RSW designation, applied for some jobs, interviewed for one then immediately proceeded to get in my car and cry, terrified that they'd call and offer me the job. I should have known that social work wasn't for me - I really struggled with (aka pretty much hated) my practicums in the field - but I wanted to feel like I had FOUND something, you know??

Fast forward a bit: I was desperate for SOMETHING to be passionate about - a hobby, an interest, ANYTHING. I was venting my frustrations to a friend one day who challenged me to think about what I liked playing around with when I was young - before life decisions came into the picture. I recalled those few times that my friends and I dressed up in junior high - how I took their photos and actually liked them enough to frame them and put them up on my wall. I figured "Why not?" and went out that day, on a whim, and bought my first camera. There's a lot more to this story but again, long story short, I taught myself how to shoot in manual and the love story, and my WHY, began.

It is my personal belief that photography, this crazy thing that I love, is a gift from God JUST FOR ME. I believe God had photography in mind for me my whole life and waited until I as ready as can be to open up and reveal it. I think God DELIGHTS to pour out on his kids and that He has a rich inheritance for each of us to receive THROUGHOUT our lives! The name “Aeris” actually came from my belief that God gave me part of my inheritance early and I’m an “heiress” (get it? Aeris!) of the good things he has for me!

So my WHY? Why do I do photography? The only word that came to me was DELIGHT :)

Have a look at some images I took during the hands-on portion of "The Art of Authentic Posing." All of these images are taken from poses set-up by Mary Marantz (literally, I'm shooting right beside her). All credit for posing goes to her. After her demonstrations we had time to practice what we had learned and set up our own posing but I'll blog those separately.

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off-camera flash. some recent learnings from Justin and Mary's "lighting intensive" workshop. by Cheryl Lukasewich

Ok. So I recently attended two different workshops put together by photographer couple Justin and Mary Morantz from Justin and Mary. The first day's workshop was called "Lighting Intensive" and revolved around understanding and using natural light and a one-light setup to shape light, making it work for you to create a more dynamic image. My mind and heart have been churning and bursting at the seams as I've tried to digest this yummy new information and figure out how to implement what I've learned in new and practical ways when I shoot. I know it will definitely be a journey to make this stuff come "naturally" but I LOVE the journey! How exciting to know that I can continually learn and grow! The following images show a typical tablescape setup complete with a floral centrepiece, tableware and a wedding favor. I've heard a lot of different ways of how to capture details - my go-to has almost always been using either only ambient light (no flash) or using my on-camera flash pointed straight up to bounce directly off the ceiling. I have no qualms with these methods as, obviously, they've worked (well, worked enough) for me in the past but I'm utterly convinced that what I've learned takes things up a notch.   Working with off-camera flash can be really daunting which is why I've semi-avoided it.  I do use OCF and actually study new information when I find it but it often feels like trial and error rather than practicing a science, you know? What I learned here is SO SIMPLE, it's bananas.

Ok, first let's look at a recent image I took "pre-workshop." The reception venue was quite dark (as most receptions are) and so I lit up this display of capcakes by bouncing my on-camera flash straight up. If you look at the shadows around each of the cupcakes you can see that they aren't super directional - You can tell the light was obviously coming from almost directly above.  (excuse the fact that my blog compresses single portrait-orientation images oddly and makes them look kinda yucky).


Now, check out the tablescape images from my workshop. The lighting was, again, quite dark but instead of using my flash on-camera, bounced straight up I used my flash off-camera in a medium-sized softbox. I had an assistant hold the flash directly to the left of the table, angled straight across the table (not angled down towards the table at all). In effect, the flash was 90 degrees from where I was standing. Because the flash is placed inside a softbox the light source becomes 1) larger, 2) less intense and 3) more dimensional. Try to picture where the light is when you look at these.

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Can you see the difference? It's actually incredibly significant! It's such a simple change but the results make everything more luxurious! I'm in love!

I also tried using this OCF setup (with a softbox) with one of the models in our class. In this triptych I started with my assistant holding the softbox to the right of the model, about 90 degrees from where I was standing. Again, the softbox is directed straight across as opposed to angled down at all. In the centre image I got the assistant to move slightly to her left (the assistant's left; not the models) so she was more around 85 degrees from me. The image on the right I moved my assistant a bit more to about 80 degrees from me. Can you see the subtle differences?


I'm in LOVE with this new simple way to "up my game" and can't wait to try it out at my next wedding in December!


Interested in off-camera flash? All you need is one flash and a set of wireless remote triggers (there are also triggers that don't have to be wireless but if you're buying them anyways, I'd recommend wireless). One of the triggers attaches to your flash (off-camera) and the other attaches to the hot shoe on your DSLR). If you shoot Canon, you can also invest in 2 of the 600 EX-RT speedlites (which I have) that have the wireless trigger system built right in!! I'm in LOVE with my 600's and would highly recommend this option but prior to this I used a Canon 580 speedlite (no longer in production, I think) and pocket wizards :)  You can find a medium-sized softbox like this one online or at various photography stores around your city.

friends. edmonton photography. by Cheryl Lukasewich

I have long wanted to photograph all of my girlfriends in one big crazy cluster simply for my own selfish reasons (I love them and thought it would be awesome). Of course, it's immensely difficult to get weather and people's schedules to line up perfectly so several of my beautiful friends were unable to make it but, alas, we made it work with those that could come. I typically reserve my blog posts for weddings and engagements (as they're my favorite thing to photograph and the main focus of my business) but it's impossible to photograph these beautiful women and not share it :)

Here goes:

Alora. My gorgeous, young (she's 18!) friend whom I've come to know and love since I met her 2 years ago when she agreed to second shoot a wedding with me. She's been my partner in photography-crime ever since.

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Katie. We met in a church small group years ago and have enjoyed getting to know each other ever since. Katie's one of those girls who mails you a card just to say something encouraging. I'm a lucky lady to have her in my life.

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Shelley. Shelley's older brother works with my husband. Little did I know my life would change for the better when I met her <3

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Colette. First I met Shelley's older brother, Matt, then her other brother, Tom. Then Tom met Colette and my heart just keeps filling up with how awesome that is. I'm glad you married her, Tom :)

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Kate. Shelley's brother, Matt, met Kate, married her and therefore added her into my life of awesome women. Love.

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And the gorgeous sister-in-laws all together :)


Claire. Words aren't enough. Claire blows my mind with her true and honest friendship. There's a lot of love in my heart for her. Plus, she introduced me to my hubs <3 <3

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Crazy girls.

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Rebekah. Bekah and I go to the same church and her and her husband have come to mean a lot to Noel and I. Bekah is someone I can share my deepest "stuff" with and, not only can she relate, she radiates a lovely heart that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

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Wendy. My sister. Wendy is incredible, resilient, beautiful and so much more. I love her more than words. Wend also brought out her daughters (my nieces), Bridget and Kelsey. I can't believe how grown up they are. My heart is full <3 <3 <3 2013-07-23_0021.jpg 2013-07-23_0022.jpg 2013-07-23_0019.jpg 2013-07-23_0020.jpg 2013-07-23_0023.jpg 2013-07-23_0024.jpg 2013-07-23_0025.jpg 2013-07-23_0026.jpg 2013-07-23_0027.jpg

My ladies <3

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wedding photography tips and information. aeris photography. edmonton wedding photographer. by Cheryl Lukasewich

Here are some tips that I plan on passing onto my brides for their wedding days! Enjoy! · Planning your timeline -I’ll be contacting my brides a few weeks prior to your wedding to request a timeline with the where’s and when’s of your day but here are a few things to consider: - Wedding activities typically take longer than you think. If your ceremony starts and ends on time that’s awesome but assume it will take a little longer. -Are you having a receiving line after your ceremony? If so, do you want me to come pull you away from it after a certain amount of time or do you want it to just run as long as it does? Guests typically want to chat with you so during/after a receiving line so let me know if you want me to keep things on a tight schedule. -How much time have you set aside for photography with your bridal party? “Formal” photos vary in priority from couple to couple. I recommend between 2-3 hours for formals (less than 2 can be a little tight/rushed; more than 3 is rarely necessary).

· Prepping your Getting Ready space -Rarely is a house abundant in beautiful natural light and it’s definitely not a requirement but it definitely is an asset. Consider getting ready in a room with the best natural light. -Consider the overall look and details of the room you’re getting ready in. If you keep pinning images that have a bride admiring herself in a gorgeous, tall mirror then consider purchasing/borrowing a mirror so that photos like that are an option. If you have gorgeous details be aware of their surroundings (cluttered dressers, shoe racks, etc.). I’m a “shoot in your surroundings” type photographer so I shoot things “as they are”. I happen to think that a dresser covered in hairbrushes and makeup is just fine because it says something about the busy-ness and fun of getting ready but just be aware that if it’s there during photos it will likely be IN your photos.


· Bridal Boudoir -A few of my brides have allowed me to whisk them off to a private room for a quick shot of them in their bridal lingerie. Let me know if you’re game for this :)

· Getting into your dress -I’ve had some brides only want their mom in the room helping them get into their dress for a more “intimate” type feel as well as brides who want their bridesmaids helping them get dressed for a different vibe. Think about if you have a preference. -Again, consider a room with the best light. -Get into it earlier than you think. A lace up dress is never done up in 10 minutes (in my experience).


· Are you doing a First Look? -Are you doing a “First Look” and/or having all of your formals taken prior to your ceremony? This is becoming a common trend and can be really fun (not to mention that you might feel your “freshest” for the photos seeing as you just had your hair and makeup done)!


· Do you have a videographer? -If so, please let me know so that I can plan on having to work around them. Did you hire a professional videographer or is it a friend or relative? Do you feel like either the videographer or the photographer is a priority? These questions might seem harsh however there are reasons why I’d like to know the answers. You’ve paid a few thousand dollars to have me photograph your wedding; if a cousin is video-taping your ceremony (and/or the rest of the day) as more of a favor then it may affect my decision to cut in front of them at certain times to ensure I get an important shot. One bride asked her friend to video tape her ceremony and he set up his gear right in the middle of the centre aisle. Needless to say, he took away a lot of opportune shots by being there and so, in order to get what I needed, I had to step in front of his camera on occasion. On the flip side, if you feel that video is a priority then I can definitely work with/around a videographer with your understanding that I might not get certain angles/shots due to staying out of the videographer’s way.

· Consider an “unplugged” wedding (or at least an “unplugged” ceremony) I 100% understand that your guests want photos of you at your wedding and I’m cool with it. However, something to consider is the number of cameras, phones, even ipads that somehow seem to be snuck into that shot of you walking down the aisle. The industry calls them “Uncle Bob” (the guy who’s in the background or foreground of your wedding, always with his camera up, often in the way of your hired photographer). Like I said, it’s ok. It’s something that happens at every wedding. However, you hired me for a reason so it’s also cool if your guests are invited to leave their cameras away and simply enjoy your wedding :)

2013-05-31_0004.jpg Image on left courtesy of Amber Wilkie Photography. Image on right courtesy of

· Family Photos -If you’re having family photos taken then create a family shot list (I’ll ask you for this a few weeks prior to your wedding as well). Let the family who you’d like to be involved know so that they stick around. -Obviously, I’ll photograph your family photos wherever you’d like but I would really recommend having them done immediately following your ceremony, somewhere right outside the ceremony venue. Family photos taken at a second location tend to take a lot longer than anyone plans for due to the number of cars that need to get to that second location.

· Go easy on the Pinterest requests -Pinterest is AMAZING for ideas and inspiration for planning your wedding. Photographers drool over the idea of shooting a wedding full of pinterest-inspired details but try not to get too caught up in “must-have” shots. I see so many pins that say “Make sure my photographer does this!” and “A photo with my groom doing a fist pump during the first kiss is a MUST!” I’m totally game for trying new things but, your groom might not do a fist pump while he’s kissing you and I always hope that my brides can just stay in the moment and go with what’s happening during their day. Also, I hope you’ve hired me for me and my personal photography style. If there are photos that you really want to try then maybe try to limit the list to around 5 ideas and then understand that I can take that idea and create something (rather than duplicating something) based off of it.

· Laugh and Love the skin you’re in -If you’re hiring me I’m assuming you’ve looked at my portfolio and liked what you saw. I’m also assuming that the things that might have drawn you in are, in huge part, the emotion, fun and laughter I’ve had the pleasure of capturing. I’m assuming you weren’t scouring images for stomach “bumps” or arm size or double chins. I’ve taken a bit of a stand on how I don’t do body altering in my images. Yes, I sometimes make a note of which angle is more flattering than another but I will not interrupt your groom from whispering something into your ear in order to make the scene “more perfect”. What could be more perfect that catching that moment on its own?? So I suggest you just relax. People are drawn to the real you, not a “perfect” you. So just be yourself :)


· Light -Sunny, hazy, photos taken at dusk won’t be the same as midday photos taken in January. Both can be awesome but they won’t be the same. It’s just good to know.


· What if it rains? -Consider bringing matching umbrellas for your bridal party (clear or neutral colored umbrellas are ideal) and maybe even coordinating rainboots. -Although I can absolutely give suggestions for both indoor and outdoor locations it is your responsibility to have a backup plan in place should weather require that we shoot indoors. Be aware that the majority of locations in and around the city require that they are booked in advance and typically come at a cost (even if you don’t end up using it) so I recommend looking into this a few months prior to your wedding.

· And what about snow? -You may not be able to have all of your photos outside during the winter but consider bringing some “cover-up” styling options for a few unique photo ops outside (scarves, cardigans, belts…even toques/beanies!). You’d be surprised at how far a bit of creativity goes!


· Additional fees, permits -Edmonton venues have definitely caught on to the fact that photographers want to shoot everywhere and, unfortunately, that sometimes means that you need permits for certain locations so please plan/book accordingly. -Please also plan to account for parking costs for your limo driver/bridal party transportation and your photographers.

· Food -Bring water bottles and “no-stain” type snacks for your bridal party. This definitely helps keeps energy and spirits up for pictures.

· Footwear -Walking around in heels for hours is draining even for an avid-stiletto wearer. Consider wearing and/or bringing comfy shoes for the walking around parts. -Consider shoes appropriate to your photography locations. Stilettos that sink into the grass if you’re shooting at a park are not fun for any bride/bridesmaid that I’ve seen. Plus, it gets dirt all over the spike of your shoe. Food for thought.

· Feed your vendors -If you have hired me to cover your reception then please have an assigned place for me (and my second shooter) to sit and eat (Don’t forget to feed your DJ, too!). Consider arranging for your photographer’s table to be served near the beginning of the meal so that we can be finished and ready for when the program begins.

· Are you planning a grand exit? -Credit is again due to Pinterest for the plethora of gorgeous “grand exit” ideas. Something to consider is that if you’re doing a grand “Everyone-hold-a-sparkler-in-a-row-so-that-we-can-run-through-it” exit simply because you want an awesome photo of it then remember to account for that exit in the timeline of when your photographer is still scheduled to be present.


· Relax -Rarely is everything perfect and on-time at a wedding. Something may be forgotten. If you can, send someone for it. In the meantime, just relax and roll with it. You get to marry your Love. And that’s awesome.

variety is neat. a grateful reflection on photographic style. by Cheryl Lukasewich

You know what I love?  That when I look around at photographers around me, whether they’re friends, acquaintances, or artists whose work I’ve simply viewed online, that they’re all different.  I love that.  I like that someone can love multiple people’s work even though the work may look worlds apart in style and skill. I was watching a video this morning about a photographer getting sued by his client over wedding photos and I felt gross for the photographer.  I can’t imagine being in his position.  I pour my heart into my sessions and, really, (aside from contractual obligations) that’s all a photographer can really guarantee.  I guarantee that I love photography more and more each day.  I guarantee that I’m trying my hardest to get the best photos I possibly can at each and every session/wedding.  There are so many factors that affect photos: sun, clouds, shadows, weather, people, personalities, etc, etc, etc.  I can’t guarantee how any of those things will be on any given day but at least I can give it my all!

Being part of different forums for photographers (mostly on facebook) I get to see and hear a lot of what clients don’t get to see and hear.  I’ve felt the joy of a photographer who said that her clients were so happy with their photos that they wept.  I’ve felt the hurt of a photographer who was ripped to shreds by a client who was unhappy with her photos despite the fact that the photos were COMPLETELY on par with that photographer’s portfolio.  I’ve felt the tears of numerous photographers who have felt pressure to give discounts and deals to demanding clients whilst the photographer’s themselves are struggling to pay their rent and buy food for their kids.  I’ve cringed at the hurt a photographer felt when another photographer criticized the first photographer’s work and pointed out their flaws without an invite for constructive criticism.  I’ve felt frustrated for photographers whose clients have complained that the photographer did a bad job because they captured the client’s wrinkled clothes, tan lines, and double chins.

May I speak for photographers and just say that each and every one of us are on a never-ending journey of learning.  Sure the photographer who has been shooting for 20 years will likely know more (and charge more) than photographers like me who have been working in the field for significantly less time.  There are ways to lessen things like double chins in photos by getting clients to pose in certain ways that I didn’t know about a year ago.  A year from now I’ll probably learn a new trick and then probably another a year after that (haven’t learned yet how to iron an un-ironed shirt by posing yet, but I’ll let you know).  Bottom line is I promise, we’re doing our best.  And we’re all different (thank goodness for that, right?!).



photography isn't free (or cheap). part two/what we spend our money on... by Cheryl Lukasewich

I've been reflecting a lot on my business and on business in general (the rights and wrongs, the costs, the fees, the fear...).  If you've ever looked into hiring a photographer and were a bit taken aback by the price, I get it.  I heard a while ago the simple statement that "People put their money towards what they value" and that really resonated with me and got me thinking about my own life. I hate debt.  Hate.  It.  I can't wait for debt to be out of my life.  I would say that this is something I value.

I love Starbucks.  Although I don't drink it as much as I used to thanks to my beloved Dolce Gusto machine, there was a (not so distant) time that I was buying a Starbucks every day on my way to my previous job.  I did this for probably about 2 years (*blushing*).  After a few simple calculations I realized that this meant I was spending approximately $100/month on Starbucks.  $100 x 2 years = $2400.  Meanwhile, I'd have myself a few good frustrated cries about how my car payment was brutal (it wasn't; it was $300/month) and be a downer about how frustrated I was that I couldn't get rid of my debt.

Insert epiphany here.

It's not that I couldn't get rid of my debt faster.  It's that I valued my Starbucks more than putting $2400 towards my debt.  There's nothing wrong with spending money on Starbucks.  But I did realize that I wasn't as broke as I thought I was.  This opened a floodgate of realizations for me (did I tell you I love clothes?!) which has actually been incredible.

This simple statement has also helped me to relax a bit more when it comes to business.  I used to be TERRIFIED of charging any more than I charged when I was starting out and building my portfolio (even back when I was charging $100/session I received feedback that I was waayyy too expensive).  Once I realized I needed to do a business plan and charge according to what it costs to run a (successful) business I realized that EVERYONE (like me and my Starbucks) puts their money towards a plethera of random or not-so-random priorities.  So, if someone can't afford me because they'd rather spend their money on other things then that's okay and I don't need to take it personally!!  Pretty liberating, no?

I was perusing my InStyle magazine (yep...I value a subscription to that magazine...) and saw some of the following things that people value (no judgement, believe me, just lots of "Aha" moments):

-Rain boots - $70

-Wedge shoes from J.Crew - $198

-A gorgeous dress from Lida-Baday - $850

-Louis Vuitton Handbag - $1000

-Gaming system (PS3 or the like) - $250

- iPhone - $649

-Eating out 2 times a week at a decent restaurant - $60

-Taking a cab - $30

-Leather Belt - $70


Yes, I know that, genuinely, not everyone can afford a $300 photo session.  But I also feel released from thinking I need to lower my rates (and my chance of my business becoming successful) because someone tells me they can't afford it (while they walk towards their nice car with their Starbucks in hand with their InStyle tucked under their arm in their J.Crew wedges).


photography isn't free (or cheap). part one. by Cheryl Lukasewich

Some tidbits about my journey from want-to-find-a-hobby-photographer to trying-to-run-a-successful-business-photographer :)

  • It was not my plan to do photography professionally when I first picked up a camera in 2006 (Canon Powershot).
  • I taught myself most of what I know and then took a 12 hour class on understanding my DSLR with Metro Continuing Education to help cement the things I thought I knew and correct the things I was wrong.
  • I got a better camera (Canon Rebel XT).
  • I started to love it.
  • My sister and her husband were probably the first people to insist on paying me. Rather than assume that they'd get a deal because they were family they said that that was one of the reasons WHY they wanted to pay me (because they believe in investing in people and HELPING them succeed rather than wishing me well but wanting me to photograph them for free).
  • I gave some ridiculously sweet deals to some parents I knew through my previous day job in order to build my portfolio and get my name out there. Incredible experience (except for one client who decided to berate me and verbally attack the images I gave her one by one...not fun).
  • I started getting better.
  • I latched on to an incredible mentor (Jeff from Trident Photography) and he let me shoot with him throughout the span of about a year.
  • I kept learning.
  • I started getting more inquiries.
  • I started Aeris Photography.
  • A friend from high school hired me to shoot her wedding (eeeek!!!!).
  • I got more inquiries (Awesome!) and then realized that after time driving, shooting, editing, and starting to invest in products like discs, etc. that I was coming out of a $100 session with about $4.
  • I raised my prices to what "sounded" like a good number for my business (I was off lol).
  • I purchased a website to build and paid the yearly fee.
  • I shot some more weddings and other family and portrait sessions.
  • I got better.
  • I realized that I was burning out having a full-time job plus spending my evenings and weekends shooting and editing.
  • I upgraded my camera (Canon 50D).
  • I shot more weddings and other family and portrait sessions.
  • I dropped to part-time at my other job so I could dedicate more time and energy to my photography clients and shoots.
  • I upgraded to a fantastic pro camera (Canon 5D Mark II).
  • Fast forward through more time and shoots.
  • Did a business plan (FINALLY!!!) and used ACTUAL information and formulas to determine what it actually costs to make a business succeed.
  • I raised my prices so that I can actually lead my business towards success!
  • More shoots.
  • Married my love, Noel, and quit my day job to pursue Aeris as a full-time business :)

I've heard that it's not uncommon for businesses to not see any profit for the first few years so that gives me hope. I also KNOW that God gave me this skill and desire for a reason. I also have an incredible network of supportive friends and family who believe in me and desire for me to see success (*blushing* husband is my biggest cheerleader. LOVE HIM!). I know photography can seem like a hefty expense but really, a photographer either has to treat it like a hobby or a business. If it's a hobby then that's awesome if people want to pay you a bit of money! If it's a business and you charge like it's a hobby then you're not going to get anywhere. You'll sink because "hobby money" just doesn't even begin to cover the costs of running a business (or paying taxes on the money you earn!).

Here's a visual to sum up my journey. Photo on the left was taken in 2012, photo on the right was taken in 2008 :)