Category Archives: Leslie Oakes Photography

Engagement Sessions

I want to fill you in on my engagement sessions! Some of my wedding packages include an engagement session, so it’s important that I tell you about them.

You may be thinking, “What are engagement photographs for? Everyone already knows we’re getting married.”

That’s an excellent question and I have an excellent answer.

Engagement sessions actually serve a utilitarian purpose. Many people use their engagement sessions for their “Save the dates,” wedding planning website, invitations, or even as an announcement to the world that they’re tying the knot. Many couples often use photographs from their engagement session for wedding thank you cards.

So, what to expect. It’s all pretty straightforward. You and I work together to create a customized session. For example, we can shoot at the place you two had your first date, head to your favorite park or go somewhere that makes you reminisce about something the two of you might only ‘get’.

Regarding what you wear, I always say to wear what you feel comfortable in. As we customize your session, including the location and props, I’ll provide you with tips and advice on how to dress for the day of your session. And, of course, you can always bring a few different outfits and options for the shoot.

As I mentioned above, some of my wedding packages come with an engagement session. If you want to just have me do your engagement session photos though; or if you want to tack it on to a different wedding package don’t hesitate to ask! I will gladly send you a welcome package detailing everything.

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The McDonald family and co.

It takes some organizing getting everyone together sometimes, especially when everyone has jobs, school, LIFE to navigate. The studio can take a large group, and this was a pretty large group.

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Studio session with Sean, Eban and Ealish

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What IS a mini session?

What IS a mini session?

In short, a mini session is essentially an abbreviated standard session. Once you’ve signed up for a time slot, you just show up (a little early) for your session. Then, when it’s your turn, you simply stand in front of the camera and work it. When your 60 minutes is up, the next client steps into the spotlight and you can run off on your merry way.  Because mini sessions are shorter (roughly 60 minutes for each client), you pay less money than you would for a standard session. Pretty sweet, huh?

The thing about mini sessions is that a lot of them have themes, usually for holidays or seasons. I also like to take the less thematic route and instead offer a series of spring, summer and fall mini sessions on location or take a montage of head-shots (Instagram, selfie, pulling faces style). I do offer a winter session, but this really is for the brave. Winter is beautiful; it is also very cold!

Obviously, a mini session needs to run smoothly and stay on schedule so that every family gets their 60 minutes. Plus, nobody likes to be stressed out. Here are five easy ways you can make sure your mini session goes off without a hitch!

1. Be on time. And by on time, I mean 10 minutes early! Make sure you have everything ready to go, as well. When you’re ready to step up as soon as it’s your turn it makes a world of difference.

2. Check and read your emails to get the information about your mini session theme. Because there could be props and that sort of thing, I may be giving suggestions for colours or clothing to wear to prevent clashing with the background.

3. Make sure your children are well rested and fed. A kiddo with a full belly and plenty of sleep is one who is happier to be in front of the camera.

4. Dress comfortably. When you (and/or the kids) are in clothes they feel comfortable in, the photos turn out that much better. Try not to wear clothes that constrict or are made from itchy materials. Take it from someone who’s been photographing people for years: your discomfort shows!

5. Get excited! Make a day of planning out what you’ll wear and spend a few extra minutes in front of the mirror pampering yourself. Why not?




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What to expect when I photograph your baby

What to expect when photographing your baby:


Before the session: When contacted I recommend that a newborn is photographed by the 7 days old mark. It is not essential, but is more likely to guarantee a sleepy baby. In fact, if you make an appointment while pregnant, I will pencil in a time around the due date and when he/she arrives give a permanent time after the birth.

During the session:

  • These sessions can last as long as 3.5hours because of changing, feeding etc. The baby calls-the-shots here, and everyone involved is a slave to them and I am no exception; this is why I make newborn sessions longer than the others.
  • Babies generally don’t mind being dressed rather than undressed; so to arrive in a sleeper without a vest underneath is perfect. If you would like to be in a photo with your baby, I suggest light colours (no patterns) as this photographs cleanly, simply and beautifully.
  • Be prepared for messes. Babies do not hold anything back, not matter how messy. I have been spit up on etc. (it isn’t a problem) but cloths and wipes will likely be needed and are much appreciated.

After the session: Once the images are edited (my aim is within two weeks), I will post them in an online gallery for viewing. You will be emailed login details, and can pass these along to family and friends if you wish. Every photographer has their own style and their own formula as to how they consider a successful baby shoot will go. While I do not photograph babies exclusively, this is what you can expect when I photograph your new addition.

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Baby Lucas


Introducing George & Loretta’s new baby; Lucas.

It’s funny, but I haven’t had much luck with babies who sleep through their photo sessions lately. Little Lucas was another one who wasn’t particularly interested, or was too interested; depending on how you look at it.

There was a window where he did sleep, and I really did make the most of it… I had to. The rest of the time he was content being held cosily wrapped up while feeding… not that I’m complaining, I’m a sucker for babies!

Also posted in Child, Portraits Tagged , , , , , |

Ah… the memories.

Two months ago I was in India and it was fantastic! I decided that I should put in a bit of time to go through personal photos I had taken while I was there and, of course, share some with you.

One thing that is in the background of every memory you take away with you, are the vibrant colours:


The second has to be the pace of life. True there is a lot of movement of vehicles and people, however it has a calmness and order to it and India is actually a very easy place to relax in:


Lastly, it has to be the sky. You really have never seen anything like it, and I wish I could have done it justice:


It was SO HARD to choose the photos I liked the most, and this was just a taste of the hundreds of photos I had taken while I was there. Fortunately I can put as many as I want in the photo book I’m assembling.

– Leslie –

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A short tutorial



A Quick Tutorial

Multiplicity is a pretty straightforward process. I would recommend that the photos are taken with the camera mounted on a tripod, and if you are going to be in the photo multiple times use the timer function. (I used a remote trigger with a delay of six seconds.)

First load the five photos to be used into Photoshop. Select two (to start with) and switch the view so that they are side-by side:

Press Ctrl a to select the photo from one window and use the move tool to move the selected photo into the same window as the other lining them both up.

There will now be two layers: “Background” and “Layer 1”

Use the eraser tool and rub over the photo at the point that the item you want added to show through (from below) the photo you can see.










When you are finished adding to the photo (Right click the layer and) merge them together.

Once the photo is flattened then crop/straighten and make any aesthetic adjustments desired.

Have a little fun with it!!


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Meet Charlie

Meet Charlie

My daughter Caitlin had to have her hamster Sammy put down last week. He had a tumour and it was for the best, but unfortunately she hadn’t had him very long. SO after her tears dried she decided that she wanted another hamster.

We thought about it and decided on the idea of going to the Scottish SPCA. They had some young hamsters newly in so went along on Saturday and had a look.

The animals were kept in clean, sizeable cages and were all very well looked after. The person on duty that day was nice enough to show Caitlin some of the other animals, which he knew all by name, background and temperament. It has completely converted me to getting any of our pets from there in the future.

Caitlin went away with Charlie, an eight week old hamster whose owners found themselves with after an “unexpected” pregnancy (discovered after buying their hamster). He was well handled so is really friendly, interactive and has a lovely temperament.  He’s cute too! Completely black apart from a white line under his chin and white paws that look gloved. (He looks like a tiny bear wearing a suit!)

I encourage you all to consider getting your pets from the Scottish SPCA as well. The entire process was a positive one, and my ten year old holds it as one of her favourite experiences.

December in October?

December in October


It snowed this week. I know that you already know this, unless you live under a rock, but even if you do you’ll have Facebook and SOMEONE would have mentioned it. The first snowfall is always striking. Not so much in how it looks, because the flakes are more slushy than fluffy, but more in how everyone reacts.

The children wanted to build a snowman (they had to resort to plan B though and rake up leaves and play in those instead), panic stricken people rushed to the shops and cleared off shelves expecting to be trapped in until February, and there were people who reacted like I did and were happy to stay in pyjamas for the day and drink hot chocolate (I’m sure I wasn’t the only one).

It’s raining now though everything is back to normal in time for the end of the October holiday on Monday… What happened to those two weeks, they flew by in a bit of a blur? I did manage to get a few things done in between catching up on things too boring to mention, including portraits and orders and (quite excitedly) sorting out my website.

Hopefully you’re at least a bit better rested than you were when it started… you’ll need to be. First thing Monday is going to be a struggle.


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