Vermilion Grad Photographer | The Dress!

Dragon Hare Studios – This young lady, I’ve known for a few years now.  I had the honor of photographing her older sister’s grad portraits.  The cool part of what I do is that clients become more than clients to me, they become friends!

Through the year, as we created her grad portraits in a few personal locations, Elizabeth would share her long search for THE dress.

It was so fun when I got the text with a photo of this one!  I tell you though, it’s been really hard to not share the images we have created before the dress was worn on grad!

Congratulations my friend, I’m so proud of your accomplishments thus far and look forward to hearing all about your journey in the future!

Class of 2020, it’s now your turn!  I’m ready to create amazing portraits for you to celebrate your last year of high school!  I’d love to work with you!  Contact us at 780 853 4277!

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Dragon Hare – Vermilion Portrait Studio

To our Dragon Hare Family,

For the past almost eight years, our studio has been located in the Lakeland Mall in Vermilion.  Across those years, I have created a lot of art within those walls.

Seven years ago, a beautiful boy came into our life that was more fragile than his older siblings.  From almost the first day, we have struggled to balance his health challenges with the other four children and our studio.

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It hasn’t been easy, but I like to think that we were able to cover up how hard it has been to keep going.

This past winter was brutal.  We watched our son lose the strength he worked so hard to gain the year before.  He now requires daily therapy. Due to his lack of diagnosis and his age, we have no help with it.

We just learned he has more than a dozen food allergies that requires us to completely change how we cook.  I’ve never made cashew cheese or coconut yogurt, but I need to learn how.

It has become clear in the past few months that something has to change because I feel like I’m juggling a lot and failing at it all.  I don’t like feeling like that.

I simply can’t keep up, I can’t make it look seamless anymore.

My portrait art is such a huge part of who I am.  It’s my heartbeat, my zen if you will.

Vermilion Family Portraits with archers

On THE worst day of the past year in battling the world of medical challenges, I went out and created an album of images for a client that were by far my best.  I came home smiling when I had left crying. I was able to find joy when I couldn’t find it anywhere else.

I can’t give that up.

But I can slow down a little.

We can close the studio and I can do my art on a part time basis until we find a doctor that can identify what is going on, diagnose it so we can get help right now as what we do for him, it isn’t working anymore.

This isn’t goodbye.  Dragon Hare is not closing.  It’s not that at all. Only the four walls that my gear sat in is changing.

My portrait art is such a huge part of who I am.  It’s my heartbeat, and it’s my happy place.  Out of all the stress of dealing with the challenges of our youngest son, having that creative outlet has saved my sanity.


So what does it mean to our clients?  It means for now, I can’t do passports in a studio.  But, I can do them on location instead.  It means I have to come to you for portraits and it means I can focus on a level of customer service that I was giving up just to get by.

It broke my heart to walk out of that studio the last time this week because it is so me.

But my son is me too and right now, he needs me to do this.

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So please note, this is not goodbye.  It’s more a I need to slow down so please bear with me until I find solid ground again.

Our number, our email, our website – all of that remains the same.

I will just see you at your place instead of mine.

Thank you for your understanding through this transition and I hope that someday, sooner rather than later, I’ll be back to full time.



Vermilion Farm Portraits

Dragon Hare Studios – I recently served as a stop on the Race of Vermilion!  At my stop, teams had to learn photoshop and take a photography quiz.

This was one of the questions:Vermilion farm portraits

When I reviewed the answers with the team, it was really fun for me to see the reactions as most teams took extra time after to spy the secrets that these images reveal.

If you look very closely at these two images, you will see that the sky and the wedding dress is over exposed on the left. The subject’s faces are actually in shadow as the sun is up/behind them. This means that the sky/dress are actually a brighter exposure than the bride/groom.
Look at the richness in colors in the balanced image, look at the detail in the dress, the sky, suit and their faces. In the left image, can you see clearly their faces or the lace that bride chose to wear for her groom?
You can’t.  Why?  Because they are overexposed!  They are blown out!  A white sky in a portrait is a sign that the photographer did not control or balance the exposure.  A white wedding dress with no detail means also that the photographer did not control the exposure.
In order to create the image on the right, I have to balance the difference of exposure between the ambient and the subject’s faces that are in shadow. I either have to take away light from the sun or add light to bring the exposure on them up.
Many of the teams asked if this was a photoshop trick?  Did I replace the sky with a blue one?
This is not a photoshop trick – the secret is in the details, a sky swap would still have left the dress overexposed with no details!  The colors and richness that you see in the grass, the canola, the clothing and the flowers would still be washed out like the left image if I had just replaced the sky!
Balancing the exposure takes considerable knowledge of gear, light and exposure, as well as some math to get the job done!  I would much rather get the colors, exposure and details correct in my camera than spend time in photoshop fixing poor exposure control!  For this reason, we carry a lot of fire power with us on location so we can compete with the sun!
The next time you hire a photographer, look carefully at their portfolios.  Look at the dress and the sky in their work!  Balancing light takes a lot of experience, training and gear!  If the vast majority of their images are overexposed, or they say their favorite time to photograph is on cloudy days (on cloudy days there are no dark shadows so the exposure is closer together and easier to expose), well now you know why!
At Dragon Hare, we have fire power to ensure every detail of your day is recorded and not forgotten!
Thank you to all the teams that braved the Race of Vermilion and came out to the studio!  It was a lot of fun for us to share our love of Vermilion family portraits with everyone!

Vermilion Grad Photography | The Old Homestead

Dragon Hare Studios – Elizabeth and her family took me out to their family’s old homestead.  We spent the evening listening to Dad share his stories and memories from growing up on this beautiful property!  We found old toys in the trees and I laughed when I discovered the decorated two seater outhouse which made for a fun backdrop for Elizabeth.

The farm had a lake on it which made a stunning background for one of Elizabeth’s portraits, especially with the trees decorated for fall and the sky a soft palette of pinks and purples!

Class of 2019, if you’d like outdoor casual portraits before old man winter arrives, please let us know!  We’d love to create a stunning portrait to celebrate your graduation!

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vermilion fall family portraits