Because you’re worth it ~

Posed or not posed?  This image was the first one I chose to share with the family after their session, because it quite perfectly shows the family dynamics. I do call it an outtake, but I also love it for that very reason. But read on. . .

©Marlene Palamarek-Painted Light Photography 2015

This family is as real as it gets. They are doing their own thing, half of them not really paying attention to the photographer, however, they are still posed. In my studio, I pose people. I ask them to sit a certain way, in a certain place, in order to make a perfectly (or near perfect) composed portrait. And then I let them do what they naturally do while keeping that pose. This is part of my job as a portrait artist, to pose my subject. Portrait photography has been this way since the 19th century.  People sat still and posed for long exposures. Posing is, in my opinion, and will always be, a necessity when composing a portrait, without it you have scattered or boring, snapshot images. Posing is necessary to achieve balance. Interest. Think triangles. Think about the last picture you saw with everyone in a straight line. Your eye goes from the left of the image, to the right, and keeps on going. There is nothing there to hold your interest.  But WAIT! You say you don’t want a posed picture because it looks too fake? Do you want to look like you just rolled out of bed and your kid snapped your photo, or do you want to look your best, with your best features captured, sitting/standing at the right angle, hopefully photographed at the right angle to hide that double chin, etc. . .  an experienced photographer WILL work with you to help make that portrait beautiful, because you’re worth it. 

ain’t no selfie here!

I don’t often get the chance to photograph teenagers, I mean ones that aren’t in a grad gown or tuxedo, or part of a big family grouping . . this one was super fun because she was super fun to work with! Kids of this age are generally pretty cool about being photographed, heck, the selfie revolution is here!! While I’m not very “hip” about the selfie taking, I do believe Miss H and I hit the ball outta the park during her session with me. We had fun, and we made some great images. This is one very sweet, very awesome girl. A girl who is extremely lucky to have a mom that wants to have professional portraits of all of her kids at this age. You don’t have to do it every year, but please, do it at least ONCE.  xoxo

low key image of brown haired young woman dressed in red sweater and jeans with plaid scarf

low key image of brown haired young woman dressed in red sweater and jeans with plaid scarf

low key image of brown haired young woman dressed in red sweater and jeans with plaid scarf

low key image of brown haired young woman dressed in red sweater and jeans with plaid scarf

low key image of brown haired young woman dressed in red sweater and jeans with plaid scarf

Baby Girl for Christmas ~ Lacombe Alberta Photographer

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Christmas and New Years. . .Introducing 7 days new. . . Gracie ~

©Marlene Palamarek-Painted Light Photography 2015

©Marlene Palamarek-Painted Light Photography 2015

©Marlene Palamarek-Painted Light Photography 2015

Dominican 2015 ~ One day I WILL-part 3

“It may be that the satisfaction I need depends on my going away, so that when I’ve gone and come back, I’ll find it at home.”
Rumi ~

Before I left for the Dominican, all I could see, bigger than ever in my mind, was my need for a new kitchen. I joked to my husband, “a week should be plenty of time for you to put in a new kitchen right?” It’s been the bane of my existence for years. . . how important is a new kitchen to me now?  The images in this post are from the feeding program. The kitchen is bare, but look at what they can do with it!!!



Dominican 2015 ~ One day I WILL-part 2

If you missed part one, read here first part 1

“a photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera, than by what is in front of it”  ~  I think many people will take away something different from this message. . .

I just watched this video, that really made me think about my experience in the Dominican. I look at my collection of images, and I realize that they are primarily of people. Faces. As much as I wanted to photograph more of the environment, I found myself more drawn to the people. I knew very little about their personal stories, but I started out assuming that they were unhappy because of their circumstances. What I found in many was a happiness, and it almost caught me off guard. We are a culture that is obsessed with THINGS. The need to have more, finds its way into our lives, no matter how many possessions we own. When a bare home, sometimes not much more than some tin sheets thrown together, is all you have, the ability to smile still exists. . .  Did I come to this place with a preconceived notion of how things should be?  I couldn’t put my camera down, it was almost like I thought I could learn more about them by photographing them and studying the images. It’s like an obsession. I want so much to visit these villages again. . .learn more, about them, and about myself. A little observation. . . In just one week I have gotten to know a different me. . . I like who she is, but she needs to expand her horizons a LOT more. . . there is so much out there for her to experience with her camera. . .  🙂

My takeaway ~ I believe, knowing yourself as an artist, who you are, your beliefs, how you connect with your subject, your level of compassion, is ALL a huge part of the photograph.  I have to add, and this is a big one for me, your life losses. Losing my mother has definitely shaped my work in a beautiful way. . .


dom5 dom4 dom2 dom3 dom1

in the spirit of giving ~ red deer photographer

This year I’m doing something a little different . . . I want to help you help others in need. It’s all about the giving. Paying it forward.

To do this, all you need to do is purchase a photography session. ($110+gst) (good for one to 6 people). You will also GET a gift certificate (e-gift or printed) to GIVE to someone who would love a professional portrait but honestly cannot afford one. (limited to family or child portrait) They will also receive an 8×10 print from their session. It is up to you if you want to add extra prints to their gift. This offer is only valid for the next two weeks. It would be nice to have these gifts done for Christmas, so in order to make that happen, you need to purchase your session before November 19th.

Go on, help a family get that portrait they so desperately need.  Thank you for making someone’s Christmas. xoxo ~ Marlene


Dominican 2015- garden of compassion

“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”

Mar, Krista and Emily, (and our truly amazing tour guide Shelley) it truly was an honor to accompany you on this trip. I am grateful to have been given the chance to experience this beautiful place. On the outside, it is no garden, but once you make your way through the weeds, the beauty is found, and for that, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart. xoxo




Dominican 2015 – One day I WILL – part 1

It started with a comment I made on a Facebook picture post a few years ago. This friend of mine, this amazing woman I am proud to know, I wanted to just follow her around in this faraway place, and photograph her doing what she was obviously meant to do.  The images she shared over the last few years made my heart ache but at the same time I felt that THIS was the one thing I could do in my life to feel like I had given back in a more substantial way. Something more fulfilling than my everyday life.

Many of you reading this post know I recently jumped at the opportunity to do just that. A few days before we were to depart, my friend shared that post from years ago with me, the post where I said I would love to join her. . . it was about to happen, and I almost couldn’t believe it.
Our group of 23 (which started out as just 10 people) was on it’s way to the Dominican to volunteer for a week. Most of us had no idea what was in store during our visit, but thanks to our organizers and the meetings we attended before the trip, I felt at least somewhat prepared for what we would encounter. Finally the day of departure was upon us!!!
Our itinerary was dedicated to the Dominican Feed the Kids program. We spent 3 days during the week, helping with the feeding program in the village of Ascension, which happens on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Imagine only having 3 “meals” a week… even at 3 meals a week they have their favorites, and it’s NOT pasta 🙂 Wednesday was our first day in the village, we saw the children in a separate room singing with instruction, while waiting for their meal to be served. They are holding little polaroid photos of themselves, one of the volunteers brought a camera to give the children instant gratification, and THAT it was!! What an awesome idea!!




Lot’s of help in the kitchen today!  IMG_3128

Finally, time to eat IMG_3130

We had time to tour through the local’s shops  . . . IMG_3167





and thankfully we had lots of time to visit and get to know all of the amazing people of this village. . .but my friend already knew all of them, and they were so very happy to see each other again . . .IMG_3190




The children have this amazing knack for making you feel taken care of. . . their hearts are as big as their bodies, which made it so much harder to leave this place. .

They are all consumed, at the same time, by one electronic device 🙂  (no pushing, no shoving, and no grabbing) IMG_3242

the children loved to be photographed. . .as long as they got to see the back of my camera immediately afterwards. . .



Stay tuned for PART 2! (too many images to share all at once)





the gift of photography ~ red deer family photography

The gift of photography is a wonderful thing to receive on any day, but when it means I get to meet family members for the first time, it really is a gift for me too. I had been seeing pictures of these beautiful babies on gramma’s facebook (gramma is my cousin!!). So I knew I was in for a treat.
We spent the first part of the session outside so big sister could rid herself of some car seat energy 🙂 What a great opportunity to capture her doing what a two year old does. Love that age. Little sister was happy and content being in mama’s arms, her eyes big, as she watched her sister run around and play. If you were to zoom in on the photo of her on her mommy’s shoulder, you would see me there 🙂 The catchlights from the open blue sky are so crisp and clear.
We then went back to my studio, and put the “fancy dresses” on 🙂 I got to use my newly purchased (just that morning in fact) 1920’s buggy, which was great. The greens in her dress matched perfectly!
We got some great images of some happy little girls and their beautiful parents, images that will be passed down to the girls and their children and grandchildren, because mommy was smart enough to purchase prints to put up on display. 🙂 Ummm, I would love to see a photo of what she does with those prints someday soon!! 🙂

©Marlene Palamarek-Painted Light Photography 2015
©Marlene Palamarek-Painted Light Photography 2015
©Marlene Palamarek-Painted Light Photography 2015
red deer baby photographer
red deer baby photography
red deer baby photography
red deer children photographer
red deer family photographer
red deer baby photographer
red deer baby photographer
red deer family photographer
red deer baby photographer
©Marlene Palamarek-Painted Light Photography 2015
©Marlene Palamarek-Painted Light Photography 2015

Waiting on baby “G” – Lacombe Maternity Photographer

When I walked into this nursery, this lovely, pinterest styled nursery, my heart skipped a beat. What ever did we do before Pinterest?? It was decorated in the most lovely soft colors and the best boyish style a little guy could ask for. He’s got a beautiful mama who knits, a loving sister in the (CAN YOU SAY PINK?) room right next to him, and a dad that loves to hunt. All of that rolled into just a couple short weeks until we all get to meet him.

in home maternity session

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