Red Deer Grad Photographer

Red Deer Grad Photographer

So what were your grad photos like? Polaroids in your parents’ living room? Awkwardly posed on your front step? Did you even get grad photos? Mine were taken on my dads film camera, rushed and last-minute, with our intoxicated neighbour outside, wondering if the limo was there for her birthday…

Even though the moment was a little stressful (starting with the salon not having my appointment in their books, me having to use duct tape instead of my ill-fitting undergarment, and the limo being late) it was still one I won’t forget. I remember my dress, my tiara, the whole thing… the feeling of finally finishing school and facing the big, scary world. It is a huge accomplishment and comes with feelings of both pride and fear.

Not only is it a goal achieved by the grad, but also the parents. See, my kids are still small. We are still dealing with diaper changes, cartoons, books and songs before an early bedtime, help with zippers, and teaching manners. But I know that it all goes by quickly, and I will wish for the nights that they wake up to cuddle, and prefer mommy and daddy over anyone else. Soon they will grow more and more into the people they were made to be- leaving their dependance on us behind, and taking on the world as best they know how. It’s a scary thought, but I am so excited to see them achieve it all. And one of those milestones they will work for is graduation.

We don’t have prom here, so the closest thing we have is high school graduation… the ceremony is in the morning (complete with the gown, receiving the diploma, and throwing the hat), then in the evening, we dress up in our fanciest gowns, get our hair done, makeup, the whole nine-yards, and have dinner and a dance with our closest family members. After this, there’s an all-night party. It’s a big day. As it should be.

See, this is a big deal. I remember my principal saying that this is the biggest day of your life, so far. And it will only be shadowed by your wedding day, and the day you may have kids. Most of us glazed over all the speeches, waiting for the party in a few hours- but that stuck with me. The biggest day of your life, so far….. and it deserves a celebration!

Grad photos can be anything you want them to be. They can be the simple polaroid taken in an out-dated living room, or a snapshot amidst the stress of the afternoon, or something professionally captured and mounted on the wall. Either way- you need to remember these special days. Celebrate your kids’ accomplishments. Grad is a time that they will always remember- it’s the time when life is simple and easy, and they are faced with a multitude of possibilities. Capture it.

I have had the opportunity to take some grad photos of some stunning girls… both in a casual setting, and in their fancy dresses. These sessions are separate from the actual day- because as I stated, the day of graduation can be very rushed. We set out an afternoon to grab some photos that show who they are, right now.

I would have loved to have had a graduation session like these; granted, I certainly wouldn’t have rocked it like these girls!

Special thanks to Deer Prudence Thrift for hooking us up with the clothes for the casual session, and Ever-Green Greenhouses for allowing us to photograph in their space.

So, what were your photos like?


Red Deer Grad Photographer

Red Deer Grad Photographer

Grad Photography Red Deer

Red Deer Grad Photographer

Grad Photography Red Deer

Grad Photography Red Deer

Red Deer Grad Photographer

Grad Photography Red Deer


Red Deer Grad Photographer

Grad Photography Red Deer

Red Deer Grad Photographer


Thank you for sticking around, and showing all the love and support with this new blogging adventure I’m on. I will have more posts coming up, including more sessions, why I believe in photographing kids and not just whole families, what is involved in the different types of sessions, and some that are just plain informative (all with some of my photos, of course.)


Salt Flats Stylized Session

Do you have one of those friends that is always there to kick you in the bum when you need it? Like, they see the potential in you, and don’t let you forget it, or give up, or give in….

I do. Her name is Candice, and we haven’t been friends that long, but it feels like we have. See, she’s a fellow photographer. Another boss babe. A mamapreneur. A goal digger. Whatever the label, she’s that. And she does not hesitate to remind me of what she sees in me (and she tends to see way more than even I do).

So, when she asked me to come to a Salt Flats Stylized Session workshop in Utah, my initial response was a big old, ‘nope.’ I don’t have the money. I don’t know if I can get someone to watch my kids. The guys putting it on mainly shoot weddings and I don’t want to learn about photographing weddings. I can’t get on a plane. (I don’t fly well. At all.) I don’t even know the guys putting on the workshop. Again, I don’t have the money.

And her response (that I knew was coming), was ‘we’ll figure it all out- you need to come.’ So that’s what we did. We drove 15 hours one-way (to avoid the plane). We figured out the finances. She talked to the photographers putting it on, and they weren’t teaching wedding photography. They were teaching about business development. And personal development. Two things I could use some help on.

The two photographers were Montana Dennis ( and Chad DiBlasio ( Both have some serious talent.

But, like I said, we weren’t there talking about wedding photography. Or anything technical. Not even social media. We were talking about value. What we put value on, and how it differs between people. And how to value yourself.

We all stayed in a house together for a few days. We ate and drank together. We talked about some really deep stuff. And laughed and even cried. It was well-needed. Not just for my business, but for me.

On the second day, we all packed into a few cars and took a 2 hour drive out to the Bonneville Speedway in the Salt Flats. This place is insane. It used to be this enormous salt lake, but it’s dried up and left this thick crust of pure salt. It’s huge. Like miles and miles of salt. And the Bonneville Speedway is where they break records for the fastest vehicles on earth. Seriously google it- it’s crazy.

Chad and Montana (neither of which are from Utah) had organized a few models for us to photograph and it was a dream. One model from Arizona, a boyfriend and girlfriend, and a couple girls they met the day before, working at Anthropology in the mall. We rotated between them all, taking unreal photos in this mystical place. I took my shoes off to feel it and it wasn’t super comfy. It hurt, actually. Super pokey. (Us Canadians compared it to the look of a frozen lake… but so much cooler)

And I tasted it. Cause hey, it’s just salt!

One thing that’s been on my bucket list for years, is to ride in a car with a professional driver and go ridiculously fast. I don’t want to drive it, cause I would be scared (and I don’t drive standard)… so, since we were in the best place to do so, we tried it. In a Honda Fit. The tiniest car that they have at the rental place. And probably the tiniest engine too. But Chad pushed it to it’s tiny maximum and we broke 100 mph. I was pumped. To see a video of us driving out there, check out my instagram (@belovedlifephotography)

And a trip to the states isn’t complete without visiting Hobby Lobby (Candice’s first time!) and Target. And Chick-Fil-A! That chicken is unbelievably tasty.

We turned back and drive another 15 hours home. Through an incredible snowstorm. Stayed in a bare minimum hotel in Montana, where we watched reality TV and ate pizza. And car karaoked 90’s songs like you wouldn’t believe.

I’d say it was worth listening to that friend who recommended this crazy trip- wouldn’t you?




I’d love it you stick around for future posts, and thanks for being here for this one.

Who is Danielle? Beloved Life Photography

Welcome to my first official blog post as Beloved Life Photography… Some of you may have noticed a change around here, including my business name. I have been “This Beloved Life” since 2006, but recently rebranded and dropped the first word, hopefully making it easier to remember…

Now that that’s out of the way- I’ll tell you a bit about me… Danielle.

I’ve been a photographer since 2006, when I mainly photographed weddings. I’ve now done over 100, and still love to make photos that the bride and groom cherish, but I’ve changed my role, and have been assisting other photographers for a few seasons. It really is a great part of what I do, since I am not wanting to stop wedding photography, but now have more time for my family and other sessions. I simply photograph for the day, then hand over my memory card and relax- no editing for me. And I work with some incredible girls who rock the whole wedding photographer thing… seriously. Shout out to and

My new inspiration is portraits.

Single, powerful, connected photos of people from toddler to grad. Girls, boys, confident, shy, outgoing, or relaxed… I love themed photo sessions (think Circus-inspired, Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, or the Lost Boys… without cheesy costumes)

But I also feel that simple, natural portraits can portray something that the parents (or even the child) has never seen in themselves. And that is my magic.


Some random things about me:

  • I have a son that is six and he loves Pacman and Minecraft. He hates vegetables and haircuts.
  • My daughter is three and is easily bribed with candy and Paw Patrol. She eats anything and everything but is still teeny tiny (I envy this trait)
  • My husband (of 12 years!) works super hard so I can stay home with my kids (and support my thrift store shopping addiction)
  • I love anything that has to do with the Beatles
  • I love Jesus and have dreadlocks and tattoos…a rare combination
  • The Edmonton Oilers are my favourite hockey team and I’ve been a faithful fan throughout their terrible last few years.
  • If I could hire out one job I really dislike, it would be cooking. I hate cooking.



People sometimes ask where I came up with my business name… and it’s all based around the word, ‘beloved.’ This word has always been a powerful one to me. People always say, ‘I love you. I love her. I love him. I love tacos. I love….’ But when someone says, ‘She’s mine. He is my beloved.’ it just made it deeper and stronger. It’s my power word. So I wanted a business name that used that word, but wasn’t limited to weddings (since that’s what I was photographing at the time)… so I thought about what I wanted people to value.

This BELOVED life.

Another thing people ask me about a lot is my hair (or they just stare and try to figure it out, which is cool too). I’ve had my dreads since 2016 and I love and hate them. They are an excellent conversation piece (yes, I wash them. Yes, I’ll probably have to cut my hair to get them out. I get them maintained every few months, and yes, they are heavy. If it wasn’t in dreads, my hair would be almost down to my bum, and no, nothing lives in them. As far as I know.) But just like anyone else, I often think of changing my hair, but it took a long time and lots of work, so I’m not ready yet. (Sorry mom)



Beloved Life Photography

My first job was bussing tables at a restaurant on Gasoline Alley, Red Deer. My favourite job (aside from photography, obviously) was teaching preschool. I only did this for a year before I got pregnant with my first, but I’d love to go back one day. The stories those kids tell….and seriously, who wouldn’t want to play and read books all day?

Beloved Life Photography

I am super close to my parents. Not only do we see them multiple times per week, but they live literally 5 minutes from us. They help get my son to school, babysit when I have sessions, help with random projects (like completely gutting and renovating our whole house), and make us supper (remember how much I despise cooking?)… oh! And they randomly show up to shovel my walk and driveway. I know…I can’t believe them either. They are the hardest-working people I know. My mom works at a school AND runs her own home staging business. (Central Alberta Home Staging)

Red Deer Photographer

This is me photographing my daughter… she cried and fussed the whole time- so never feel bad if your kids act out during a session. It happens to ALL of us!

Beloved Life Photography


If you’ve read this far, you are a trooper.

Thanks for hanging out with me. I have some exciting posts coming up and would love to share them with you.

And in the comments: What was your first job? Dream job? And what job would you hire out if you could?



Photos by Candy Koated Photography