Pamela + Josh | Newfoundland Intimate Wedding Photographer | Canadian Elopement Photographer

Pam + Josh's day was so filled with laughs, so much palpable love, and stunning wintery forest scenes. These two got engaged in October, and were just too excited about marrying each other to wait any longer. They were married in the cold, stark central Newfoundland January, and it was something wonderful to behold. 
 

I have never seen two people more excited to marry each other. <3 

 

Amanda + Kris | Vintage St. John's Wedding | Montreal Elopement Photographer

Getting to know Amanda + Kris, and their sweet sweet families, was such a joy. Their beautiful, intimate wedding was on a chilly, windy day at the end of October in St. John's, and every moment of the day was so filled with honest love and their nearest and dearest people. It was one of those days that makes me hopelessly grateful for how I get to spend my days. xoxo

2016 // On Business, Fear and Personhood

     Near the end of 2015, I had a conversation with a fellow photographer who asked why I had all but given up and put my camera away. I remember telling him that I didn't feel the spark anymore: that my photography business no longer felt like the right path for me and that I would likely soon close up my business for good.

    At that time, I had just released an album with my band and was on tour in Gros Morne, supporting myself by working long and late nights in a restaurant in St. John's, and I was desperately unhappy. I had become a stranger to myself.

I realized almost immediately upon uttering the words that I WAS LYING.

    It's so plain to see now looking back how thoroughly I was governed by fear. It was fear that whispered to me over and over, "you're not cut out for this." Fear manifests itself in a hundred forms, and for me that time frame was so saturated by fear that it filled every space. Fear that I could never fit a "professional" mold, that my progress wasn't matching that of other photographers or entrepreneurs, that I wasn't original enough, that I didn't have the guts to follow through with my ideas, that I wasn't extroverted enough to make it in a business like this, and mostly fear of the vulnerability it takes to build a personal brand. Fear of getting to know myself well enough to find out what I truly wanted and who my target clients were. Fear that my rock and roll friends would think I was terribly lame for wanting to be a wedding photographer. (It feels so silly to write but this was a big one at the time).

 Once I started succumbing to fear in any one aspect of my life or business, it rushed in and sank me.  

 

     I am forever grateful for that conversation in Gros Morne, because it pulled me away from my fear for long enough to see myself whole from the outside, to take an honest look at who I was and who I wanted to grow into. 
     

 

     2016 rang in cold and bright and so full of the heart that had been missing from my intentions for so long. There were so many ways in which it was one of the hardest years of my life, but I am choosing to look back with gratitude at the ways in which 2016 helped me out of the dark. 

     Making the decision to open bookings again, and to rebuild my business out of love rather than fear was one of the best decisions of my life. I re-opened with a commitment to being unapologetically authentic to myself, building a brand that could match that, and committing to connecting with clients that share my beliefs and philosophies, and as a result I have spent the year with some of the most wonderfully adventurous, wild-hearted and genuine couples and clients and I could not be any more grateful. 

IMG_6442.jpg
 

"DON'T ASK YOURSELF WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS. ASK YOURSELF WHAT MAKES YOU COME ALIVE AND THEN GO DO THAT. BECAUSE WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS IS PEOPLE WHO HAVE COME ALIVE." - HOWARD THURMAN

 

I found this quote in the beginning of 2016, in the early days of restructuring and designing my new brand, and hung it on my office wall. It has become the mantra that keeps the fear at bay. 

I have never felt so alive. I have never felt so free. And I am so grateful. Here's to 2017, glowing wild and bright before us. Here's to another year rising above the fear that holds us back from what makes us truly happy. xoxo

Katie + Frank | H O M E Session | Newfoundland In-Home Couple Session | St. John's Engagement Photographer

Katie + Frank | H O M E Session | Newfoundland In-Home Couple Session | St. John's Engagement Photographer

Every time I shoot a H O M E Session I fall a little more in love with them, and with the idea of spending my winter cozying up with awesome couples! 

Katie & Frank have such a cozy space, so full of light and love and their personal style. I just loooove their decorating style, with tons of gorgeous reclaimed wood touches (like their amazing hand-made pallet wall!) and industrial bulbs. It's so awesome to see how people create a space that suits them so well. 

Coffee and cuddles and Ellie the pup and dancing in the kitchen. So much love. xo

Top Elopement Destinations in Newfoundland

I am SO excited for the Adventurous Elopements coming up in 2017 that I wanted to put together some tips and suggestions for those dreaming and planning their own intimate or adventurous elopement ceremonies. I will be publishing different topics on Elopement Planning every few weeks, so leave me a comment or send me a note if there is a specific topic you would like me to cover!! 

1. BRIMSTONE HEAD, FOGO ISLAND // CENTRAL

Fogo Island is a magical escape any time of year. Barrens that stretch for miles, wild seas, and the best meteor showers you will ever see. The landscape makes for some stunning, moody photos. Plus it has to good luck to say your vows on one of the four corners of the earth, right?? 

IMG_0714.jpg

2. FLATROCK // AVALON

The rocky cliffs in Flatrock are so unique and magnificent: the perfect place for your totally unique elopement nuptials. Flatrock is also conveniently located just a 15 minute drive north of St. John's for those not wanting to venture too far from the city.

IMG_7657.jpg

3. GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK // WEST COAST 

 

Confession: I couldn't choose just one spot in Gros Morne. Who could choose between the lawn of the Woody Point Lighthouse with Gros Morne Mountain in the background, the Lookout Trail before the Tablelands, Lobster Cove Head, or the magificent beach in Norris Point where the water is always what I call Bonne Bay Blue? Not me. Gros Morne is the ideal destination for folks who love being in the wild.

IMG_6864.jpg

4. PORT REXTON BREWERY // BONAVISTA PENINSULA

For those who want a quirky, offbeat elopement (or intimate wedding!) This new brewery is a more industrial feel, or an indoor option, located close to the east coast with some absolutely killer brews. Port Rexton also offers the amazing Skirwink Trail, with amazing coastal views for your photos. 

IMG_8077.jpg

5. EAST COAST TRAIL // AVALON

The East Coast Trail stretches the Eastern coast of the Avalon Peninsula - and there is a section of the trail for literally every landscape type. Whether you're in for a sort walk to some crazy incredible coastal views and secluded forests, or totally down for a hike in to some of the more unique locations, the trail has some of the best views in Eastern Newfoundland. 

IMG_8528.jpg

6. LARK HARBOUR // WEST COAST 

Just 45 minutes outside Corner Brook and around the corner from Gros Morne, Lark Harbour and the nearby Bottle Cove and Cedar Cove are some of my all-time favourite Newfoundland views and make an incredible elopement destination. Think the majestic mountains of Gros Morne without any of the crowds or tourists. These mountains are amazing and the sunsets on the ocean in Bottle Cove are life-affirming. Warning: the road down the Bay of Islands is treacherous. Because you won't be able to peel your eyes off the incredible scenery and on the road.

7. PETTY HARBOUR // AVALON

Most folks eloping near St. John's tend to go for Cape Spear or Signal Hill, but these spots are suuuuper windy and can be a bit overrun with tourists. My suggestion? Skip both and make the turn to Petty Harbour. This quaint fishing village near Cape Spear has some incredible coastal views, a sweet harbour and some sweet businesses to pop by (how about a coffee shop to warm up in, decorated like an eclectic cabin? Or Chafe's Landing's famous fish and chips??) 

8. YOUR PLACE

The most meaningful place to hold the ceremony for your elopement is somewhere that holds significance to your relationship. Somewhere you like to hike, the location of a meaningful date or anniversary, or the place you've both been dreaming of visiting for ages. Get creative! Have fun! This island is so full of beauty and uniqueness. 

More about my ADVENTUROUS ELOPEMENT packages can be found HERE!

If you have any other topics / questions that you'd like to hear about in regards to elopements or intimate weddings, I'd love to hear them! I will be posting planning tips every few weeks throughout the winter, so feel free to get in touch with any questions you have! 

Maddie | Snowy Forest Self Love Session

Photography can be healing. Vulnerability can be healing. Showing your heart to a stranger is a beautiful thing. Something really magical happened here at the lake; something I don't think I could put into words. But I can show you.

Katie + Ken // St. John's Engagement Session // Newfoundland Wedding Photographer

It was such a joy to finally get to meet Katie & Ken and hang out with them in St. John's last week! We went for a little adventure in one of their favourite spots in Pippy Park for their Engagement Session. These sweet folks' wedding at Grenfell next fall is one that I am already eagerly awaiting! 

Alycia & Devon // Gros Morne Engagement // Newfoundland Engagement Photograhers

I was so excited that Alycia and Devon were down for a trip up to Gros Morne for their Engagement Session. We wandered along the beach in Norris Point to where the sun was shining on those spectacular jagged rocks, explored our way to Rocky Harbour and caught the sunset on the Boardwalk. Alycia couldn't stop giggling. It was the best.

Taylor | Moody Ocean Self Love Session

We walked along the riverbed in the fading light and talked about our weakened hearts. About the kind of heartache that steals your personhood and makes you feel like you've lost a part of what makes you whole.

She said, "I want to capture that. I want a photograph that shows what this feels like."

And so we captured the vulnerability. It was dark, it was painful. But it was important.

Then, like a reckoning, we rounded the corner and the sun was there, melting into the Atlantic. We watching the gold and pink waves for a moment, before Taylor was running into the water, laughing and screaming. Healing.

Introducing H O M E Sessions // Newfoundland Engagement Photographer // St. John's Wedding Photographer

Over the last few months, I have had the feeling growing stronger in my heart that I want to offer something special to those couples who walk a different path in life. I am so passionate about offbeat weddings, weddings that are carefully and thoughtfully crafted by two souls promising forever in the most unique ways, but what about those couples who are walking a different path altogether? 

 

For those who decide marriage isn't the right path, or it isn't necessary to validate the life they are already leading together. For those who want to travel the world first or start their family before they walk down the aisle. For those who don't believe in the aisle. For those facing obstacles. For those who don't believe in forever, but are fully committed to celebrating the love that exists right now.  

I introduce to you H O M E Sessions. A session all about celebrating the space that you are creating together in the world at this very moment. A session that captures your little corner of the globe, as it reflects you and the personal choices you make together. A Session that helps you focus on the RIGHT NOW.

 


If you love dancing in the kitchen while you cook breakfast together on Sunday morning, or cuddling on the couch watching your favourite shows on rainy days, or drinking coffee out of your favourite mugs, or whatever makes your space yours, I can't wait to capture those moments. If you have a stellar record collection or decor that you're proud of building together, I want to see that. 

 


These sessions are an incredibly intimate way to showcase the most raw, natural love in a space that is so unique to you, and I am so excited to open these up for booking. 

I have 4 H O M E Sessions available in Corner Brook or Gros Morne and 5 in St. John's available before Christmas.

Corner Brook [ November 6 // 13 // 20 // 27 ] & St. John's [ Oct 28 // Oct 31 // Nov 1 // Dec 17 // Dec 18 ]

I also have Gift Certificates for H O M E Sessions available until Christmas. 

Get in touch at info@heathernolanphotography.com or via the Inquire tab to ask any questions or to inquire about these or other dates for a session of your very own!

My Top 5 Tips for Rocking Your Engagement Session

Engagement Session Season is well underway, and I wanted to put together some tips for my 2017 & 2018 couples to help prepare them for their upcoming sessions. For a lot of couples, their Engagement Session is the first time they are professionally photographed together, and so many folks come in with a lot of nerves.

Here are my top 5 tips to make your Engagement Session a TON of fun, and not an event to stress over (and, subsequently, how to ensure that you will LOVE your photos!):

1. MAKE A DATE OF IT

Your lives are super hectic, and I get that. But you've committed to being here with me in this meadow for an hour, so why not commit to a little extra prep time? Make a date of it. Spend the afternoon listening to records together or dreaming up plans for future travels or have a coffee date together and go for a stroll somewhere lovely. Do something that makes you feel close. By the time we meet up, you'll be fresh and full of love for having spent the time together, and your photos will show that closeness right from the beginning of the session.

2. BE ALONE

I have a tendency to keep repeating "I'm not here! Pretend I'm not here!" during photo sessions, because I want you to be as real as you can be. In the end, these photos are not for me. They are for you two to have and to cherish and to visually remind you of what love that real feels like. This only works if you remember that I am not there, and that you two need to be totally present with each other. Be vulnerable. Be open. Be Honest. Be alone together.

3. BE YOURSELVES

Just do you. If you're the kind of people who are always joking and laughing or throwing sarcasm around, awesome! If you are quiet and cuddly, that's wonderful. If there is a specific way you like to sneak up behind him and lay your chin on his shoulder, I want to see that. This is the part where we forget the images of what we think an engagement session on pinterest is supposed to look like, and craft a session full of what it looks like to be the two of you. The result will be memories, rather than poses. 

4. WEAR WHAT YOU WEAR

One thing that so many couples get wrapped up in is trying to match outfits and build the perfect look, but just as trying to recreate someone else's session won't create memories, trying to recreate an outfit from pinterest will leaving you feeling off your game and not like yourself. Wear what you wear. Wear what feels comfortable and natural and confident. Don't not dress up, if that's what you like to do, but don't feel like you have to.

5. HAVE FUN WITH THE LOCATION

There's no rule that says you need to have a photo session at Quidi Vidi. Or Signal Hill. These are great locations that can be fun, but it can be so much more meaningful to choose a spot that means something to you, or to choose an adventure. Have a sweet at-home session in your kitchen, because you love cooking together or because you are homebodies who are proud of the space you've built together. Or on the East Coast Trail because you both love hiking there, or in your favourite coffee shop. Have a fire on the beach because the ocean soothes you, or let's drive to Brigus because it reminds you of that time you went to the Blueberry festival together when you were dating. This is such an awesome opportunity to have an adventure. Don't just make it something to cross off the wedding to-do list!