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Flashback | Venice by Day

What you’re about to read over the next two Fridays is simply one of the most romantic first dates ever! I kid you not, it’s pretty awesome! It spans over two days and one night.

Day one began with a proposal. Not ours, but a friend of ours proposed to his soon-to-be wife as we sailed into Venice. Pretty nice proposal, huh? It was my first time in Venice. Paul asked me to spend the day with him and offered to show me around the city. We wandered through the winding alleyways and happened upon a pizzeria. My introduction to authentic Italian cuisine. After an incredible pizza, we set out to explore “The Floating City.” It was mind-blowing! We held hands as we strolled past historic buildings, cathedrals, and canals.

Paul stopped at a local floral stand and purchased a fragrant bouquet of lavender daisies for me. Carrying the flowers in my arms, made me feel just as lovely as Sophia Loren in a classic foreign film. All the women would jealously glare at me with my flowers, and then scowl at their men. It was a perfect day, and then… my camera fell to the ground and (sniff) died. Can you believe it? Here I was, in Venice, one of the most breathtaking locations in all the world and no way to document my visit. Paul felt sorry for my loss, so he took me to a cafe and bought me an espresso to make me feel better. Have you ever tried an Italian espresso? It tastes awful. I do not like them. I held my nose and downed it like it was cough syrup, which made Paul laugh hysterically. (Fact, he still, to this day, giggles at that mental image!) After the espresso (and a bellini), we continued on our walk and Paul took photos for me with his trusty travel-sized Canon camera.

Our first date story, continues next week… stay tuned for gondola rides and starry, starry nights.

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Awana | Harvest Bible Chapel



Our faith in Christ is important to us, individually and professionally. We love the Lord and the fact that we attend a church that honours God and His Word. One way that we choose to serve God is to use our photography and video for church ministry. Recently, we created a short video for our Children’s Ministry Awana program. Awana (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed) is our church’s mid-week ministry for children in Senior Kindergarten through Grade 5. It is designed to disciple children and encourage a strong biblical foundation in their lives.

We filmed the Party With The Pastors – Kids Style event last month. It was such a blessing to produce this short video and we hope that it educates others on the benefits of this amazing program. Awana is held Wednesday evenings at Timothy Christian School from 6:30pm-8:15pm. For more information, contact Harvest Bible Chapel in Barrie.

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Flashback Friday | Santorini



Continuing with the story of how we met… Five days later, Paul and I decided to go on a photo department group outing in Greece. The ship anchored, so we all gathered and took a tender to the pier. The village of Santorini sits majestically atop a mountain, like a heavenly ivory palace. It is a breathtaking sight to behold! There are only three travel options from the pier: donkey, gondola or a climb up the steep, cobbled hill. We chose the donkey ride!

I was petrified and scraped up a good portion of my leg (thank you, Mr. Donkey), but it was well worth the adventure. Once atop the hill, we strolled through the narrow streets of Santorini. We found an obscure restaurant with a lovely veranda high above town to sample the fare. We sipped on authentic frappes, and wolfed down a delicious entree of chicken, potatoes, fresh tomatoes, and Greek salad. Yummy! The food, just like the backdrop, was gorgeous. We even tried the octopus! That day, Paul and I realized that we both do not know how to cut food properly. It was love at first bite (wocka wocka wocka). We knew it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

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WPPI | The Fun Continues



Our little boy, Noah, accompanied us to the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International convention in Las Vegas this year. As you can tell by our “home movie,” he was really excited to arrive! My mother, so graciously, babysat while we were busy participating in all the programs the conference had to offer.

Despite the unseasonably chilly Vegas weather, we spent our Sunday morning driving through, and marveling at the beauty, of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area about 20 miles outside the city. It was an awe-inspiring sight that really put us in the right perspective and mindset for WPPI 2011.

Throughout our four day stay, we sat through numerous platforms, Master Classes and other thought-provoking seminars. We met some truly remarkable photographers (and cinematic videographers) who are changing the face of this industry. We strolled through the expansive trade show (seriously, the largest we have ever seen!) and attended a few photographer meet-ups sponsored by Showit. One, truly remarkable, Showit event was Photog Unite, a gathering of photographers who love Christ and choose to make it a priority to worship Him at WPPI. Unite contained glorious worship music, prayer and even invited a local pastor to preach a poignant message to emphasize the importance of not making things about you, but about God. Amen!

Overall, it was such a blessing to attend WPPI 2011! We can’t wait until next year!


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Flashback Friday | How We Met

Back in April 2005, I worked as a featured production show vocalist for Princess Cruises. I traveled extensively with other cruise lines companies prior to my placement at PCL, but never had the chance to tour the Mediterranean. Finally, I received a contract affording me the opportunity to spend a glorious summer in Italy, France, Greece, Turkey and Spain! I planned to spend my days exploring the treasures and ancient ruins in Europe. Never in my wildest dreams could I ever have imagined that I would meet the love of my life, Paul.

After a week of being onboard, I signed up to assist a passenger shore excursion for the day in Cannes/St. Paul de Vence. Generally, only one escort is allowed per tour; however, Paul and I were assigned to the same bus. I had no idea, at the time, that we were on the same ship! He introduced himself and asked if he could sit in the seat next to mine. The rest is history. We spent the entire day with one another, taking gorgeous photos of the walled village of St. Paul de Vence, eating divine crepes in an adorable cafe overlooking the French countryside, and sipping on cappuccinos in the park. That day filled me with an overwhelming sense of joy and truly made me appreciate the beauty of life. I had no idea that this was just the beginning…

Travel Note: In France, they put whipped cream on their cappuccinos! Bonus!

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Desert Photo Shoot WPPI



Last month, we traveled to Las Vegas for WPPI, an international wedding portrait and photography convention, at the MGM Grand. It was our first time attending the conference and it was… extraordinary! We are already making plans to go back next year.

Melanie has some serious skills when it comes to signing up fast for popular courses, which was a good thing because the Gray Photography (Zach + Jody Gray) Master Class sold out in no time! Having met them before at their business workshop (and from following their blog), I knew that their class was going to be amazing! A Master Class is meant to be 2 hours in a classroom setting, not very hands on. However, because Zach + Jody are awesome, they decided it would be more their style to bring everyone who wanted to come, out into the desert for a sunrise hands-on photo shoot. We headed out to Jean, NV at the crack of dawn with a caravan of cars (including a Mustang), and a couple of models. We shot for hours, with several set-ups, and it was incredible! It was freezing cold, but no one seemed to mind at all because the lighting was so hot!

The Grays emphasize delivering an experience that is above and beyond a couple’s expectations, and that is just what they did for all the attendees of their workshop! Below are some of the killer in-camera images from our early morning shoot.

Noah’s First Haircut


Sunday was a huge day in the Darlington household. It was the day our youngest member, 15-month old Noah, received his very first haircut. What a big boy! His mane was getting to be a bit unmanageable, so we both decided it was imperative for him to go to the hairdresser. Noah sat up straight and behaved like a pro throughout his visit. We were so proud of him.

We decided to bring a camera and some other gear to document this momentous event in our young son’s life. They probably thought it was a bit extravagant setting up a miniature studio in the middle of the salon, but it was worth it! Our baby’s growing up!

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Jen + Darren: Feb 26 2011

Even in the middle of winter, they’ve go their love to keep them warm!

We met Jen last year at the Timpano Bridal Show and were thrilled when she chose us to film this important day in her and Darren’s life.

We loved their winter wedding! The scene was so picturesque, in fact, that the serene snowflakes falling gently in the background provided the inspiration for the cake design. Truly a brilliant concept!

The burnt orange and olive colour scheme of the decorative accents were a brilliant contrast to the winter weather. Jen + Darren had one of the largest bridal parties we’ve ever had the great pleasure to work with. There were six bridesmaids, six groomsmen, a maid of honour, a best man, a dapper little ring bearer, an adorable flower girl, and of course, the lovely couple. It was quite an impressive group!

What an amazing time! What an exciting day! Congratulations to you both! We had a blast!

The soundtrack for this piece is “White Dress” by the incredibly talented Ben Rector. Click here to purchase the song.

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Welcome to Darlington Studios!

We are super thrilled to be adding a blog to our website! We have so many weddings and events to showcase and fun ideas to share with you! We keep things simple over here. We like our blog posts like we like our Starbucks coffee order, short and sweet. Stay tuned for exciting blogs to come! Thanks for stopping by!