Hilary Spencer Creative Photography » Creative photographer specializing in weddings, engagements, and family photography. I'd like to make you smile.


I am so beyond blessed to announce that I have jumped head-first into a new facet of photography that I had yet to conquer personally: Baby sessions. I have previous experience with newborns, babies, and toddlers having spent some time shooting for a local studio, however I had never reached out on my own to tackle the tricky yet oh-so-rewarding soft-noggin’d creatures. Thanks to a wonderful, welcoming handful of families that have invited me into their homes (of which I turned upside down for a few crazy, creative hours) I am full-speed ahead and loving every moment of my new-found specialty. I am infatuated with the tiny, fragrant, wide-eyed wonderkins staring into my lens, and really… I get this feeling like I should have been here all along.


So here is to a new year filled with lots of screaming, crying, smiling and giggling. From iPhone white noise to dancing grandmothers, I’ve got my tickle trunk locked and loaded; coming to a crib near you.


Stay tuned for full sessions on the good ol’ website, hilaryspencer.ca.


This is going to be a rambler, I can feel it.

New Sara Barielles playing in the background, the dog is asleep, nothing is in my way, so I’m gonna ramble. Hold onto your knickers.

I need to talk about waking up.

Quick story for you, before things get too profound. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a morning person. I’m not a bright, bubbly, “Oh the birds are singing!” kind of a person. I’m a “shoot the birds and close the blinds, I’ll see you next week” if you’re lucky enough to get more out of me than a muffled groan in protest. I have to, have to set an alarm. Two alarms. Three alarms. It’s alarming how many alarms I actually set (har har). These are alarms on my phone, and I usually leave my phone far away from my bed to ensure my zombie self gets up and at’em to turn them off, hopefully and optimistically assuming that at some point in my journey I will WAKE UP. This… doesn’t always happen. I’ll bolt out of bed at the most undecent hour, turn off the alarm (snooze), and crash back into bed. Cue: the dance of the thousand snooze buttons.

Now. The sleeping wonder that (unfortunately) shares the bed with me does not appreciate this morning routine. I want to say that I’ve gotten better lately, but he’ll protest otherwise I’m sure. It’s as though I don’t have any conscious thoughts about actually staying awake after getting out of bed; I autopilot back under the sheets and have no conscious choice but to obey my body. It’s ridiculous. It’s not normal. Is it? Let a sister know.

The connection for this morning-glory story to the aformentioned profoundness is that… in recent weeks…

I’ve woken up.

This… is profound. I’ve woken up… creatively, business-wise, idea-wise, ambition-wise; I’ve woken up wanting to push again. Push? At what? Oh, that little thing that I forgot I love to do. That, my friends, is as sincere as I can get with a snoring dog drooling on my toes: I FORGOT I loved photography. Totally forgot that the subtle focus of rain drops on kittens (wait, what?) and toothy, gleeful grins that get my heart racing and eyes shining. I love what I do. And I do it, because I love it.

So where have I been before this revelation of epic proportions? Drowning in self-pity, in my negative levels of self-assuredness, drowning in the complete disbelief in myself and my talent. I decided that because I’m not making a million dollars and taking photographs of Miley Cyrus twerking, I’m not worth a single penny of anyone’s thoughts or business. This is just insane thinking, folks (much like the a fore-mentioned performance of the fallen Disney star). Insane.

If you can’t believe in yourself, WHO CAN?!

I can assure you: caps were needed in that last sentence.

So lets flash forward: how did I wake up? It was a normal day, totally unexpected; out of nowhere, my heart filled with something other than self-hate. I suddenly went OH. Weddings. Love. Light. Love. Photography… love? Love.

A friend has been diligently tweeting and posting over at her wedding planning blog, and I had read a tweet or two that morning. My head got thinking, my heart got beating, and I made a plan to get off the train and buy a wedding magazine. I had a wedding to shoot in the next week or so at this point, so I figured, inspiration is needed anyways. Magazines: expensive! But am I really prepared to say that my inspiration, my love and pride in myself, isn’t really worth $6? If there were any moment in which to spend some cash, this was it. I bought my shiny, beautifully-bound WeddingBells and hugged it like a bomb that would explode if I let go.

As I skimmed slowly through those slick pages, my heart opened up again. I kid you not, it’s as though I had closed a door inside me somewhere, locked it up, and hung up a sign that said “Given up; try again later”. Down goes the sign, and I’m off running through pages and pages of glossy, gorgeous inspiration. It was a real Grinch moment: heart growing so big, it was bound to burst out in a rowdy rendition of Here Comes The Sun.

And that was it.

I went home and blogged (hence the sudden re-appearance, I’m sure you noticed that). I blogged and I edited and I planned. I emailed clients that I hadn’t scheduled yet. I emailed old friends and made plans. I organized. I fantasized. I woke up.

I shot the wedding that I had been nervous about, and it was amazing. So inspirational and wonderful. I’ve since had several shoots, and two more coming up this weekend. I’ve got new projects planned. I’ve got ideas. I’ve got aspirations. I may not be where I want to be yet, but I am closer now with my heart open and my eyes focused. I don’t know what made me suddenly snap that morning (the wedding tweets, a bad batch of coffee? Who’s to say, really.) but I am so thankful for my change of heart. This, I feel, is what I’m meant to do. One way or another… I will inspire others, and continue to amaze myself with the possibilities ahead of me.

Profound, right? I told you so.

NOW: The homework.
I normally don’t care about this side of the blogging business, but I would love love love if you would leave a comment about a struggle you’ve had lately. About a great morning of triumph over your bad thoughts. A quip about some bad coffee. Don’t care; comment. It would mean the world to my tiny brain and over-sized heart that is now full of love, love, love.

  • retro_rose - August 29, 2013 - 2:58 am

    You've always been amazing Hil.ReplyCancel

  • Jillian Lisa - August 29, 2013 - 3:22 am

    This was really lovely to ready Hilary! I think we all struggle, especially in arts-driven careers. Ultimately though, I am excited for my career in music and I am SO happy that you have become more inspired than ever to keep shooting. Looking forward to more posts :)

    Jill (lake RA!)ReplyCancel

  • Robynne Henry - August 29, 2013 - 5:10 am

    Just stating for the record: you have been, and always will be amazing. I loved reading this blog post, it really felt like I was talking to you and listening to you face to face.
    My struggle, as of late, is also doubting myself when it came to something I love. I doubted my writing, the thing I want to make into my own career.
    My Ah HA moment came late at night while I was scouring the net, envying a writer or two in the process when someone messaged me.
    They asked me my opinion on a book I haven't reviewed yet for my own blog, and if I'd seen the movie yet. I admitted I hadn't, because I was in the process of reading the book. She told me that we had the same taste in books, and had thought of me when she thought of seeing the movie.
    I also had a friend message me about some books that are in need of a good home, and she said she thought of me first because of my blog and that I'm a reader.
    It was what made me realize not only were people 'reading' me, but they trust me.
    It made me sore, and lit a fire under me.
    Not only do I want to continue to move toward becoming a better writer, but I want to continue my blog.
    Keep up all the good work, Hilary! I, for one, love seeing your growth and new ideas. <3ReplyCancel

  • mllryc - August 29, 2013 - 1:52 pm

    &dear friend who has graciously awaken and has always been an inspiration of mine, this diligent friend of yours woke up discouraged this morning. i could explain my discouragements, but i already have. and though far a part, we never miss a beat. it's hard to be inspired and on top of things when you have no idea where it's all going. but even you who had locked up recently, have always been bolder about your dreams. today it is my turn to have needed the pep talk from your blog. have an amazing day hilary and open your eyes and your heart to every magical moment you are so great at capturing. and today, see all those amazing things for me too. cause i want to pull the sheets over my head this very morning and call it a day already. xo. i'll see you soon darlin <3.ReplyCancel

  • Courtney - August 29, 2013 - 3:54 pm

    My dearest Hilary,

    From the day I first saw your work, I was in love. Your keen eye, your passion, your drive; it was always there and so you. Like a musician who's voice you can recognize without being told who it is, your work is specifically yours. And it's beautiful. I am so so glad that you've fallen back in love with yourself and your work. It breaks my heart that you ever lost it, but sometimes we have to lose to realize how valuable and vital it is to our entire existence. It also hurts my heart that I had no idea you were feeling this way. And cue my own awakening…

    I'm tired. Mostly of being tired. But also of feeling lonely. I have so many wonderful people in my life, but I don't see them or speak to them nearly enough. I also don't share my truths often enough and let myself feel genuinely. So I'm going to. I'm going to change to feel better about me. And I'm going to change to spend more time and effort on those who matter. Those beautiful, ridiculous, weird, and perfect people I call my friends, they're getting more me time. It's somewhat selfish, because I need them, but I hope that we all feed off of each other. (P.s. this includes you). I find myself thinking of friends often, but never even bother to text and let them know that. So enough is enough. A change is gonna come and the time is now.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts so eloquently, as always, and please never lose that passion of yours. It's far too beautiful.

    XO CourtReplyCancel

  • Hilary Spencer - August 30, 2013 - 7:27 pm

    I am sick, sick, SICK as a dog (colds come out of nowhere!), but reading these comments made my day. Blogger won't let me comment back specifically to each one, but thank you to everyone who have ultimately affirmed my love for the arts, and writing (which I have always been back and forth about). You are all wonderfully talented people and I am so so glad to be able to call you my friends, and that I can help in any way with motivating your hearts. <3ReplyCancel

  • […] spoke a while ago about waking up, and part of that process had to do with overcoming the crushing sensation I got whenever I came […]ReplyCancel

Savannah is one of those people that come into your life and you take note. Incredibly smart, talented and kindhearted, Savannah picked me to be the one to capture her wedding day; how could I not accept? Joel is a match and a half for Savannah, and they had the most beautifully put together celebration I’ve ever seen.
Beyond all that, Savannah took the time to write a glowing review for me, and while I cannot read through it again without tearing up, I thought I’d share her kind words that almost speak more to her character than mine.

“After a not so great experience with our engagement photos, we decided to contact Hilary for our wedding photos. Everyone we spoke to had amazing things to say not only about Hilary but also the quality of her work. From our first meeting together, Hilary made us feel at ease ensuring she would capture every moment of our special day. Sometimes, I thought she was more excited about my wedding than I was. Hilary exceeded our expectations throughout the day capturing over 800 individual memories that we will be able to cherish and look back on. She was always quick to return phone calls/emails/texts, always showed up on time, and was consistently professional throughout the planning process and on our wedding day. We had such a great experience with Hilary Spencer Creative Photography we can’t wait to do our “Trash the Dress” photo shoot with her. Hilary – thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts for doing such a wonderful job capturing a new chapter in our lives together.”

I cannot say more to the amazing person that Savannah is, and the happiness that her and Joel have together and always.

 …and yes, you read that correctly; my very first Trash the Dress will be one for the books!

The Details
Makeup: Orly Kahn-Waldman
Reception Venue: Deer Creek Banquet Hall & Golf Course
Video: Shyah Yan Zarrabi


This song needs to be shared with the blogosphere. It warms my heart every year around this time, and whether good or bad my memories attached to this melody flood back to me every time I hear it. At least two years now I’ve listened to Winter Song for the full month of December and beyond, alone or with others, and I can’t help but force y’all to hear it too.

 There’s something about this time of year. Yes, the commercial hype of the holiday season is jammed down our throats with little room left after eggnog and candy canes, but the world changes. It shifts. There is a subtle change that tickles my senses and makes me think positively no matter what is happening around me. Something about the chill in the air and the crunch on the ground makes me yearn for that mug of tea (or coffee, or cocoa) and a warm hand to hold. I’m a sucker for the romanticized holiday season, but this year something is very different. Without the stresses of school I can, for once, appreciate the holidays without looming fear of deadlines and marks (granted work provides that stress, without written academic record, at least). I can finally breathe in the chill without rushing to class, decorate the house without procrastinating an essay (just photo editing), and smile without the hidden frown for what is hiding beyond the academic semester.

I feel like time has slowed just enough to let me savour the season, and there has got to be a rule instated that each household have a pet in attendance for the holidays. Something about his little nose (growing bigger) on my hand and his warmth next to me slows down my heartbeat enough to really take everything in. A dog’s life is a steady cacophony of unbearable joy towards his humans, and I can’t help but be thankful that I get to share my monotonous day to day happenings with not only the love of my life, but the new part of my life I didn’t know I could love this much. 

To those breathing in the chill, or soaking in the sun, I hope your December beginning is heartwarming and light. Keep smiling, friends.