What is Lifestyle Photography?

What is Lifestyle Photography?

An Explanation of what Lifestyle photography is by Samantha of SC Parker Photography

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How to find a great wedding photographer

How to find a great wedding photographer

Wedding Photography, Getting Married? Tips on Choosing your photographer!

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iMedia

Recently Jeng and I had the opportunity to go to iMEDIA Social Media Conference on behalf of Junior League. It was really amazing! So much information and not enough time to see it all. I was able to attend info sessions on Instagram, SEO, and organizing your social media.

Here are my key takeaways from each iMEDIA conference session:

Instagram Stories

Presented by Linda Hoang & Suzy Kenny

  1. Your story can make you relatable. Tell a story, maybe behind the scenes look at activities and events and use story highlights to summarize your trip
  2. Engage people, ask their opinion or fill in the blank
  3. Stories should more content than your posted Instagram photos. Have more content in the story and a nice visual clean look on your grid
  4. Be sure to keep your brand in mind and be consistent
  5. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make sure to switch it up! Have variety: selfie camera, then front video next, gifs, selfie video with text, and emojis!
  6. DON’T OVERTHINK IT, JUST DO IT

 

Content for people by the people: UGC and micro influence in 2018

Presented by Brittany Dakins & Chris Mulkin

When you have an influencer sharing your post you have to disclose that they are sponsored posts or ads with #sponsored or #ads especially if they are being paid!

 

SEO 101 Part 2 Introduction To Technical SEO Factors

Presented by Bryan Smith

BIG QUESTION: Is your website crawlable?

Google your website an see what Google knows. Is it mobile friendly?

There is a free search to test it. Google “mobile friendly test” and “google mobile website speed test.” to see how fast your website and whether it’s mobile friendly.

 

Social media organization

Presented by Liz Pittman

  1. Send a good morning message everyday to followers
  2. Use Buffer: Social Media Management Platform for scheduling posts.
  3. Content calendars are great to plan out your posts.  Make sure nothing is too closely related when posting on multiple streams
  4. Prep 2 weeks in advance

 

Final Instagram tips

Presented by Kaddy Hobbins

  1. Find a better version of you and engage with their audience
  2. Follow back people you know
  3. VSCO app on phones is great to edit pictures
  4. Are you using a business account if you’re not an individual?

 

Whew, that’s the most of my journey and I was only there 1 of the 2-day event. It is an awesome event that you can learn so much from. I definitely recommend it to anyone curious on to up their social media game and I’m looking forward to bringing these to my future placements.

Have a great day! 

#spent #brainoverload #funtimes #imedia18 #imedia18JLE  

 

Links: Post M-F using wrike (Free for 5 users- $9.80 - $34.60/user) or Recurpost ($0-$50/month), Everwall ($39 per event)- for events to sort of all your social media posts, Iconosquare ($7-$59/ month), Buffer($29USD/Month) Yoast , Moz, Raven or Streaming Frog, UTM,Socialblade.com, wrike (Free for 5 users- $9.80 - $34.60/user) or Recurpost ($0-$50/month)

 

Back home in YEG

Back in YEG

It is so exciting for me to be back on home soil. I had an amazing adventure but am glad to be back with friends and family. After living in Ashington, England until June 2017, I came home through Winnipeg to see my dad and watch Dry's hockey tournament.

Since then, I have had a rollercoaster ride after starting my photography business full-time. I’ve also scored three acting jobs: an ATB Hand modeling commercial, an Adidas commercial where I was a screaming fan in the background, and this spring, Mark and I will be in a Brick commercial. :)

 

Recently, I was introduced to Anderson Career Training Institute or ACTI, a government-funded program which teaches new entrepreneurs how to run a business. In the first ten weeks of the program we learned about bookkeeping, law, marketing, social media, stress reduction, time management, and so much more! We now meet weekly with our mentorship group for extra encouragement and advice from our ACTI mentors.

I also met some amazing people in my class and we have kept in touch! They are a great support system as well as good friends and resources.

I am in Jasper right now catching up on my blogging;  it has been too long, and I hope to keep up with it on a regular basis.

I am very excited to announce that I launched my first email campaign this month!  Dawn Carter with TopFlight Writing Agency is an excellent writer helping me with my 12-month campaign. :D I am so appreciative of her and all she does!

 

Northumberland to the Netherlands

The sweet little town of Ashington, with you wonderful hosts Brian and Nicola (B and N). This is a luxurious getaway from our overcrowded, over sensory and non-English experience. Time to mix with the locals and get some good ole fashion TLC. This Gluten Free house is the best for my cravings... but not the best for my health. Time to get back on the horse with these 6:00 am runs three days a week and Metafit workouts three days a week 😊.

Northern England very much reminds me of Northern Ireland. I wonder how much Scotland will be the same. 

 

London was lovely my brain is going to explode with all that I have learned about history at the museums. I have to say, the Imperial War Museum, first floor on world war one was very impressive. Also, Churchill's museum was interactive with some technology I have not seen.

I am now fully caught up in World War I and II, as well as learning about Churchill, I did not know very much about him before coming here. 

Another trip to Abbey Road which was lovely and all the other main attractions. 

Off to Europe... Vimy Ridge was an amazing experience. It is so sad all of the men and women who have lost their lives there or had to live in the trenches during the most brutal trench war. I am honored I was able to experience this memorable sight in my life. Thank you, to everyone who lost their lives fighting, in the many wars throughout history, to give us freedom. 

 

Sunderland-Final home game in a VIP box suite. They even gave us GF food. It was lush!

Köln (Cologne, Germany) - Final game of the season, bringing Koln into next year’s European Ledge. 

FC Köln vs Mainz 2-0

"Cologne secured major European football for the first time in 25 years following a comfortable final-day win over Mainz."

-Bundesliga newsletter

Köln(Cologne, Germany)-(International Ice Hockey Federation) IIHF World Championship Final Game.

 Canada vs Sweden 2-1 Sweden in the shootout.

 

Amsterdam, Holland- Europa League final, Manchester United vs Ajax Amsterdam, final home season game. Okay, I was not at this game, but oh boy it is worth talking about the fans.

 

These games were a mind-blowing experience of countries pride in their team. I have to say Football fans are the wildest!

The Amsterdam game did not even start until 9:00 PM, but people started drinking at 9:00 AM!

 

The Köln Soccer Match everyone stormed the field when they won. They hugged and kissed the players, chanting and setting off fireworks. The tram(train) to and from the game was ridiculous, packed with drunk sweaty men singing game chants. People cut out pieces of the pitch(field, grass) a show I will never forget 😊.

 

Thank you Brain, Nicola and Mark, for the excellent adventure in Europe. 

 

Until next time...

Goodbye Taiwan, Hello China

It is always sad when good things come to an end. Taiwan has been an amazing home to me for the last nine months. Not driving but using Ubikes and public transportation to get around has been so nice and convenient the people to kind and helpful. I will miss all of the amazing people I have met and hopefully we will see each other again. 

 

China, Part two:

 After a lovely challenge of getting a visa in Hong Kong, we are off for a nine-day private tour in Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai. 

Each city having its own tour guide and driver. My first private tour ever, I used the company China Highlights. It was a bit expensive but in hind sight, well worth it. I usually go on group tours with Intrepid 10-18 people. The private tour is nice, you can hear all the information your guide is saying, people are not waiting on you to show up on time 😉 and you can adjust your tour as you please. 

All of the guides were good, first one was more personable, others a little robotic and stuck in the countries ways...

The tour even supplied almost every breakfast and lunch which was very nice. 

 

Got to do all the usual’s:

Jingshan Park (Coal Hill), The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, The Mutianyu Great Wall (with round way cable car), Hutong Tour in Dongcheng District, Summer Palace with Boat Ride and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony{which was beautiful!}, 

 

Xi'an:

We stayed in Xi’an’s old city. Saw The Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Xian City Wall with Bicycle {very bumpy on old bikes}, Hanyang Tomb, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Muslim Quarter,  Yuyuan Garden, some shopping at markets,

 

Shanghai:

Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Museum, Shanghai Old Street, The Bund, Former French Concession Precinct, and best of all met my childhood friend Ge’nan for a drink on a roof top bar. 😊 I had also met Ge'nan in NYC when she was there. 

 

To top all of this, three nights out of the city near Disneyland!

Shanghai Disney is the newest park with some of the best rides ever. The Tron ride is nuts! It is a rollercoaster where you sit on a bike that looks like Batman's bike. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride is unlike the other parks. It has a big screen with new technology. You feel like you are being lifted above and below the water. When you are caught in the cross fire of the ships, you are so close you feel to be right in the action.

 

I definitely will go back, such an amazing experience. Although the lines were long, for the amount of people there, it was not bad. Especially if you wait until after the fireworks to go on the rides. 😉

 

Now it's off to England!

Beautiful Taiwan

Not much to say for March yet. Here are some shots of Taiwan cityscape, as well as views from some of the mountains I have climbed. I have also included some abstract work I did for fun. The second set of photos are from exploring in the Hong Kong area.

Hong Kong Trip again! :)

Southeast Asia

My first time in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangkok, Thailand. Intrepid was a wonderful tour as usual and the group was phenomenal.

Even though the Khmer people (Cambodians) have very little, they are the most light spirited and happy people I have ever met. I have learned so much about the communist history and war on this trip. It is truly tragic what these wonderful people were put through only ending in the late 70's. Well, the killing ended then; the communist ruling is still in question today. 

Regardless, it was an amazing adventure to learn and appreciate what South East Asia has to offer.

 

On a food note, Vietnamese food is everything I imagined. It is like Vietnamese restaurants in Canada, only better! I will definitely be going back to these magnificent countries. 

Birthday fun!

This month is my birthday, I'm turning 27. My wonderful boyfriend made it very special.

Mark suprised me with a birthday luch with our second family here in Taiwan. We also went on a tour with our cab driver Arch to take pictures of waterfalls and make wishes to send  into the night sky. Such an amazing two days! Thank you Mark. ;)

There is no place like home for the holidays!

As amazing as this experience has been it was so amazing to get to be in Canada for Christmas. Seeing family and friends was a breath of fresh air. It was a beautiful site to see snow and frosted trees... but man did it get cold! Feeling -20°C again was a slap of wind chill welcome home. The trees looked beautiful with all of the frozen frost and snow on them. During the break we went skating, where I was able to experience skating with a hockey stick and puck for the first time 😄. We ate so much delicious food as well.

I love my family with all my heart, I am so blessed to have such amazing people in my life. Thank you everyone for spending time with me and showing so much love. <3

Taiwan is not China!

This island is an amazing place. The people are so friendly and willing to help. There is so much unspoken respect. The government set up a public bicycle system called Ubike. One can use their metro card and scan a bike in and out. It is 5NT (New Taiwan Dollar) for the first half hour then 10NT every half hour after. The bikes are regularly maintained and people do not damage or vandalize them. 

 

I have traveled down the West Coast to Taichung and down to the South Kaohsiung. Both wonderful in their own way. Taichung is a smaller city with more consistent weather. The walking for pedestrians is not as friendly as Taipei and they do not have a MRT only a bus system, but the bus is free if you have a metro card.  Kaohsiung has a metro but only in the shape of a t so getting to the corners of the second biggest city in Taiwan can be inconvenient. Kaohsiung has hot weather year round as it is closer to the equator. 

 

I have traveled North Yangmingshan National Park for beautiful mountain views of Taipei and New Taipei. Further North/East to Jiufen, a small-town community living in the mountains and the Golden Waterfall of a old mining town, there you can see the Yin Yang sea. A beautiful mix of yellow and blue from the sea and the sanded waters. 

-Old street in Jiufen is a famous spot for tourists to try some tea and experience the markets. I was able to go to the famous steps of old street. 

-Traveling further down the east coast by train you come to the wonderful beach town of Hualien. This is close to the Taroko National Park and the Taroko Gorge, a magnificent site full of marble rocks. 

-Hualien is a great place for artists, history lovers and foodies. People are very laid back and there is so much to explore. You can rent a scooter, if you dare, to explore further down the East cost, which I intend to do before the end of this trip. 

I will add to the rest of this island exploration when I can. Hopefully, I can add diving and surfing to this blog as well. :)

South Korea

My introduction to South Korea was my significant other saying “Want to go to Korea for the weekend? We can go to the border and see into North Korea.” My first thought was that I certainly have no interest in going anywhere near North Korea. Especially with all of the nuclear test they have been doing lately, just not my cup of tea. Of course, the experience of being able to go to such a historic place did excited me, so it was off to Seoul. As soon as we arrived, such a great idea, we were given a quick guide card on the basic Korean language. Hello, Goodbye, thank you, please etc. I feel every airport should give out a card like this. It is small enough to carry around and pull out to use. It is very much respectful to try and speak the language of the country you are in.

 

 A great start on our Korean adventure was to go to a world heritage site specifically Changdeokgung. Such a beautiful place and garden. it was very humbling being where kings and royalty once were. Next up, was the National Museum of Korea. Where I learned about the past of North and South Korea. In Canada you do learn about Korea but not nearly as in-depth as this museum. It was great, it gave the history of the dynasty and different rulers and kings. There was even other sections for different countries. I could learn about China, India, Indonesia and Japan; all of these wonderful countries history in one place.

 

Of course, we had to see a baseball game! I saw one in Japan and Korea was very similar. The opposing fans would cheer and chant the whole game, while there opponent was batting. So much energy and excitement! I saw a 4D video game here which was cool. You sit in these chairs with 3D glasses and controls. The once I saw was a driving game. The chairs move and lift your around creating the 4th dimension of reality. 

 

The subway system is a bit dated, with no air-conditioning. They have “relief goods storage” containers, which had about 34 or so gas masks in them. There’s a Chemical, Biological and Radiological mask on top and smoke masks on the bottom. I recently learned the subway stations act as bomb shelters in case of North Korean attacks. The other masks are, of course, in case of fire.

I have learned in Asia when it is a national holiday, a type of Independence Day, they put their countries flag everywhere. Along the roads about every three meters. It really makes the city look beautiful. 

 

Ah, bibimbap. This is where my love for it began and Kimchi as well. I also have a new interest in Ginseng. I bought some Red Korean Ginseng when I was there, as it is said to have great health benefits. As well as be stronger and less demanding on brewing instructions than ones from other countries. Also, Chicken and beer, I can’t have the beer of course, but this is big here. The chicken wings are spectacular!

 

As a photographer, there are so many beautiful landscapes and city streets to capture. The night market is always a colourful with the different look of Asian foods, and don’t forget delicious. Tons of temples and shrines to explore and capture from many angles.  The original city gates are still in place their original place, now in the middle of the city streets. Again, the history mixed with city life is so unique.

 

The North Korean border, Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Freedom Bridge and 3rd infiltration tunnel. This is a DO NOT MISS. You get to go in the 'third tunnel', one of the three so far found, in which North Korea tried to sneak underground to attack South Korea after their peace agreement. The boarder can be defined by the power poles South Korea’s are white and North Korea's are grey. South Korea still has farmers living and growing in the South portion of the DMZ. North Korea has a fake village posted on their side. Showing how "prosperous and much better" life is over there. This is a brilliant history lesson and has taught me so much about this beautiful country. The people are also very respectful, helpful and nice. 

I kind of went off on a rant with this one. I will try to keep it shorter next time, lol :)

 

Thank you, South Korea, for your hospitality I hope I will be able to return one day. Maybe even explore the North with in my lifetime. 

 

Hong Kong/ Disney

I know it has been a while since I have blogged.. Life has been very busy learning to adapt to this new and wonderful culture. I have had the pleasure to travel to Hong Kong twice this month and early October. Both experiences were different and wonderful. I was in Hong Kong in 2011, although I got to see Victoria peak back then, I didn't really get the 'Hong Kong experience' having only one day there my first time around. 

 

This time I stayed more towards the south of Hong Kong island at Ovolo hotel which I strongly recommend. (Ovolo Southside, 64 Wong Chuk Hang Rd, Hong kong) The hotel is on the opposite side of Victoria peak, near ocean park. The hotel view is amazing, it has full floor to ceiling windows with automatic curtains. You get  free mini bar in the room full of pop, water, juice ect., free food and drink during happy hour everyday!, free pool, a delicious restaurant on site, free breakfast, a roof top bar and wonderful helpful staff. You have to book on their website thought! The view is a mix of city in the middle of mountains. To get their, is a bit out of the town centre but there are frequent busses and in January 2017 the MRT will run right next to the hotel. :) 

 

Anyway, while in Hong Kong it was Moon Festival. There was a lot of people celebrating with outdoor picnics anywhere they could find to sit. That is what the moon festival is about spending time with your family in the moonlight.

 

I also had the pleasure of experiencing HongKong Disney... twice! which was so fun and magical. It was a Halloween experience. Hong Kong Disney is perfect, as it is a small park and in one day you are able to cover basically everything! It is only one park, unlike Tokyo and the US usually having two amusement parks. 

 

It was a great experience I recommend Hong Kong to everyone for the following reasons: Canadians do not need a visa, mix of city and mountains, amusement parks, hiking, shopping, night markets and beaches all in one area.

 

Thanks for reading and I will have more to come in October.

Samantha Parker

 

 

Taipei to Kaohsiung

This is my exploration of Taiwan North to South. This is a beautiful country and I have much more to experience this year.

The photos in order.

Taipei: Xindian District, Da'an Park, Beitou Hot Springs, Tamsui District, Taipei 101. Then the beautiful but industrial Kaohsiung city. Which is the second largest city in Taiwan. The big temple is the largest Confucius Temple in Taiwan. 

Tokyo DisneySea and Disneyland

Welcome to one of the most magical and happiest places on earth.  

My three day Disney adventure started at the exclusive Disney Sea. Then a day at Disney land and the third day with the 3-day magic pass, you can choose which park to go to. Disneyland was the winner and was enjoyed on the third day as well. 

Disney sea was different but cool. They had similar rides like the tower of terror. Although their tower theme was at the New York Harrison tower.  He was an explorer that went around the world and stole artifacts for his collection. This ride was one of the only thrilling rides in Disney sea. It was very fun and exciting! :)

I also enjoyed the roller coaster in the  "Lost River Delta" which also had Indiana Jones adventure, which was basically the same as California. Some of the songs were still in English but the speaking was in Japanese. 

We also went to the center of the earth in "Mysterious Island". We then went to the "Arabian Coast" this is the only place in Disney Sea where you can get curry popcorn. Oh yes, popcorn is big here there's caramel, salt, black pepper, honey, milk and white chocolate, curry, and the most popular soy sauce and butter.

They also had an "American waterfront area" Duffy and friends are very big here as well. I found 90% of the rides we mild. No real rush of excitement very tame rides. 

 

Day 2 Disneyland

Really exciting today! Disneyland the way it should be. :) It felt like home going here. One thing I love about Tokyo Disney is the staff is always smiling over the top with niceness and happiness. In fact, all of Japan I have experienced is very smiley and respectful.  :D

 

Disneyland began with a Jungle Cruise, which was similar but with cool effects and a bit better than California. Also completed Star Tours, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean(with Jonny Depp) and all of the kid's rides. We even got a free fast pass to Pooh's Honey Hunt. Which was very good you could not see the tracks and was very engaging constant movement. The honey room smelled like honey! 

Day 3 was a packing day to get ready for Taiwan.

Later in the day, I returned to a lovely Thai restaurant in the mall by the Grand Nikko hotel. Disneyland consisted of a lot of shopping and riding the best rides. I went to Mickey's house and met him for the first time. I got a couple photos of him as well. :D

 

Domo Arigatou Gozaimashita

Which means Thank you the formal way

I had so much fun and so many amazing memories here at Tokyo Disneyland, Disney Sea, and Kyoto.

I am off to Taiwan and will not be able to blog as much but I will still post some photos.

Thanks for reading!

Tokyo, Japan

Good morning Tokyo!

Welcome to the fashion district of Japan. We arrived in Tokyo to the Grand Nikko which is a very fancy and stylish hotel located on the Odaiba man-made island.  

We visited the Harajuku area filled with shops and Harajuku girls, So stylish! We then wandered over to the "time square" of Tokyo, Shibuya. Lights, action, and people o the people. Still an amazing experience of Japan.

Today we are off to Disneyland!!!

 

Have a great day! Samantha Parker 

Nagoya, Japan

Welcome to Nagoya! Home of Mr. Baseball. Today we stayed at an Airbnb if you have not tried it I strongly recommend it. Our host even picked us up and s dropping us off at the Train station. He drives a nice Lexus Rx. He says he has his own business and eight houses he rents out. Nishiama is our wonderful host. He let us stay in this spacious apartment, see photos below. 

We went to Nagoya Dome to watch the Chunichi Dragons vs the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. The game was tied mostly with little scoring. But it was exciting being in the big dome and listening to the chanting from the fans. 

We also headed to Sakae which was like a mixture of Vegas,  Paris and London.  We sang karaoke at Big Echo. So much fun! Don't be fooled when they say you can pay more for one drink they are referring to fountain pop. 

I will have mini Josh Donaldson with me on my travels as well, Oh the things he will see. :)

Today we are off to Tokyo and soon Tokyo Disneyland!!

 

Japan Day 3 

Today we went to the Imperial Palace, Kinkakuji Temple(which is the beautiful golden temple), and Kiyomizudera temple with the beautiful views of the mountain. We also went to the  Maiko museum, which we got to visit the peaceful gardens and take a photo with a Geshia. 

Tomorrow on to the next town, talk then!

Samantha