Five years ago I was on a subway headed home, trying desperately to keep my composure as I moved further and further away from the job I then considered my dream. I arrived at my apartment and took my dog to the park where, at last alone, I broke down and sobbed on a somber picnic table, a swirl of panic, disappointment and shame ricocheting through my thoughts. I had been laid off that morning and my career was suddenly an all-consuming black hole of doubt.
Faced with the decision to move cities and rebuild (again) or take a stand and try to avoid having to ever work for another corporation, I decided to open a teeny photography studio, then called LLB Creative. And I was terrified.
At the time, being your own boss wasn’t trendy. At the time, people didn’t understand what I was trying to do. At the time I felt a deep embarrassment for not being a part of the corporate career path that I had studied and trained so hard to be a part of. I faced a constant onslaught of questions: “How are you possibly going to make enough money?” “80% of all start ups fail you know.” “Photography is more of a hobby though, right? Nobody really makes it work professionally.” Needless to say, for a long time I was drowning in a sea of doubt.
What a difference between then and now. Now, half a decade later, after more work than I can possibly describe, that photography studio is called Gooseberry. It is a joyful, bustling place with lively commercial projects, an on-going agenda dedicated to exploring creativity, three full-time divisions (photography, branding and an art print shop) and daily adventures of all shapes and sizes.
I cannot believe that year five is here and because I’m an introspective sort of person, who loves to document life’s various milestones, I thought it would be fun to put some of my biggest business lessons learned through experience down on paper. So here goes, in no particular order: (more…)
It’s time for another installment of our editorial fashion series called TASTE! This edition, “Big Hair, Donut Care” is all about capturing that glorious ‘I-don’t-care-what-anyone-thinks’ feeling that so often accompanies the morning after a big night out with even bigger hair. The team and I are back at it again! Here’s the whole editorial series if you’re interested: (more…)
The beautiful spring weather is FINALLY here and with it, Gooseberry’s annual Toronto Mother’s Day Mini Sessions photo event! This limited space only photo event fills up quickly so be sure to reserve your spot today! Details below: (more…)
The creative entrepreneur’s mind is often colourful and chaotic. Sometimes your ideas explode out into the world, other times they roll around in your brain amidst quiet introspection. This vibrant branding photoshoot brought to life the story of a budding business woman who is destined to stand out. (more…)
Bright natural colours, a love of nature and an affinity for flowers — this personal branding shoot had all of our favourite elements! It’s amazing how shooting in nature can soothe the soul. Stress evaporates, a calmness settles over the shoot and all you can see is the beauty that Mother Nature has so kindly provided as a backdrop. Here’s more from this shoot if you’re interested. (more…)
When one goes to the theater, one must get dressed up to the nines (and beyond!) That’s exactly what we did for this glamorous Sex and the City inspired personal branding photoshoot. The lights were bright, the clothing divine and the results akin to a little bit of movie magic. Here’s the rest of this look if you’re interested. (more…)
Make your brand and your business your own. This is the number one thing I tell EVERY entrepreneur who I work with. There is no point mimicing others in your field. Be brave and add a healthy dollop of imagination to your brand so that it stands out. This is what I love to do and what Gooseberry is all about. If nobody in your field is doing it, that’s your sign to do it! The always lovely Erica Fox ran with this belief 100% in her vibrant, editorial and fashion-forward branding photoshoot centered around the theme of self-love, self-appreciation and self-confidence.
On set, a gorgeous Valentino gown in ravishing red (which I’m now personally completely obsessed with, by the way), an infectious laughter, shadow play and a Vogue-inspired aesthetic. Here are the results if you’re interested…
On Saturday Gooseberry hosted its debut Tea Talk Business Coaching Event! This is a monthly program that we created to help support, encourage, educate and inspire entrepreneurs to make their dream jobs come true! More than a workshop, our Tea Talks are designed to be group coaching sessions with Gooseberry so you can really dive in to any questions you may have about your specific business, challenges or goals and come away with an action plan.
Our first topic was “How to turn your IT factor into a winning formula: Creating a cohesive and memorable brand that can be monetized” and it was such fun to explore the strategic pillars of building a brand, as well as chat with wonderful business owners about their branding journeys! Here are a few photos and a video from the day if you’re interested! (more…)
Ah, modern day life and the cell phone. It seems like the two are completely intertwined, so much so that our phone is often the first thing we reach for when we wake up and the last thing we look at before we go to sleep. As a busy business owner being overly attached to the phone is a constant struggle – there are emails to reply to, social media comments to make, candid on-the-go photos to take and so much more!
Studies from ivy league universities around the world are discovering a direct correlation between cell phone use (read: addiction) and depression or anxiety, which is alarming to say the least. Over the past few months I’ve been actively experimenting with diminishing my cell phone time without impacting my work productivity and here’s what I’ve found. (more…)
You know what always feels great? Dreaming up a really imaginative photography concept and then making it happen! That’s exactly what Gooseberry Studios got up to a few weeks ago with some talented creatives for a brand new Fashion Editorial Series called TASTE which will be on-going this year. We cooked up a big idea, even bigger hair and a fun vintage-inspired vibe topped off with decadent desserts! Here’s the full editorial if you’re interested: (more…)
It’s not everyday you have to shoot around every kind of weather imaginable, but that is exactly how creating the Santana Canada Boots Winter Lookbook shoot unfolded. We arrived at our location (three and a half hours out of the city) to a downpour of rain, which then turned into sleet, then into freezing rain, then a touch of hail and finally into a full on blizzard. The snow in these final images is real — can you believe it? Frozen fingers, lots of laughter and keeping toasty in our luxury winter footwear made for an unforgettable winter fashion photo shoot! It was like frolicking around inside a snow globe! Here is part of the final collection if you’d like to see:
Close your eyes. Imagine sitting in a beautiful sun-drenched coffee shop with a piping hot beverage in hand and eight equally driven entrepreneurs. You’re sitting across from a passionate business owner who owns multiple successful brands and is there entirely to answer you questions and offer guidance custom-tailored for your journey.
It’s an afternoon of chattering about business how-tos, marketing strategies, brand building secrets and getting the whole self-employed dream to a place of stability so you can actually LIVE comfortably doing what you LOVE.
Now, open your eyes, because this isn’t just a day-dream — it’s an affordable real life Toronto business and blogging event called The Gooseberry Tea Talks, now open for registration! (more…)
One of Gooseberry’s 2018 goals is to shoot more personal photography projects, which is why we’re delighted to introduce the TASTE Fashion Editorial Series — an on-going Toronto fashion photography project that combines imaginative creative looks with popular Toronto restaurants to celebrate the idea of indulging in life’s little luxuries. What I’ve always adored about fashion photography is the promise of playing make believe. For a brief moment you can completely escape into a story, another world, a deliciously dramatic plot. Our amazing team will be working on a fresh TASTE Fashion Editorial installment every month this year to bring together a collection of creatively challenging pieces designed to inspire and entertain.
The first edition of this series is called “Beauty and the Brunch,” a tongue and cheek narrative about a (fictional) woman who adores brunching on her own terms, complete with faux-fur, bold eyeshadow and sassy glam glam glam. Here’s the full shoot if you’re interested:
Fashion photography is true escapism, especially when you work with somebody who is eager and open to direction so we can transform just another streetstyle shoot into something memorably editorial. Fashion photography, much like fashion itself, should be compelling. It should be original. It should be different and drenched with attitude.
These are the things Gooseberry accomplished during this spring Toronto fashion photoshoot punctuated by tulle and buttery Italian leather pumps — and it’s going down in studio history as one of our favourites to date! How exactly did we pull it off? Ah, well, a little mystery never hurt anyone. See the full shoot after the jump! (more…)
Last year I had one simple business goal – to sustain. The studio had grown quickly over the previous years and I didn’t want to risk growing too quickly and then becoming unstable. So I decided to slow things down and to make maintaining my jam-packed schedule and improving work flow processes my goal.
I know, I know, not the most exciting ambition to commit to paper, but a necessary one that allowed me to take the time to tweak, refine and nurture the studio and give myself a full 365 days to figure out my next steps to take my business to the next level.
Well, the new year is here (although I can hardly believe it) and it’s finally time to put my next goals into action – and for the first time ever, I’d like to share the main ones with you, if you’re interested. (more…)
Ah, the end of the year – it’s a magical time! Not only do we get swept away by the excitement of the holiday season, but our creative brains also start thinking ahead to all of the wonderful things we hope to accomplish in the new year. (Hi, my name is Laura, and I’m a goal setter – you?)
In order to give your business the best start in the New Year, there are a number of tasks I always recommend tackling either before you sign off for eggnog and sugar cookies or first thing when you get back. This practical to-do list will help you kick off 2018 stress-free so that you can channel your refreshed energies into new exciting projects. (more…)
Every December (for the fourth year in a row now) I pack up my portable studio set up and travel to run a Holiday Themed Dog Portrait Photobooth to raise money for the wonderful Sit With Me Rescue. This organization works tirelessly to help dogs in need from all walks of life and it is truly a pleasure to be able to give back in some small way to a cause that is near and dear to my heart. This year I opted for a festive Tiffany blue background. A bit of artificial snow on the ground and a gorgeous custom-crafted white fire hydrant by my lovely friend and assistant Sondra, and we were ready for some holly jolly fun! Here’s a little peak at some of the results if you’re interested! (more…)
Why do we only get our photos taken with our significant other when we get engaged or married? What about capturing all of those wonderful everyday moments that make up our actual lives with another person? I always imagine couples looking back on portraits of themselves together in their youth when they’re retired — imagine that magical feeling that you’d get! So when the lovely Jem Castor asked if her fella could tag along on a fashion shoot, I was more than happy to run with the concept! I took them to the most darling cosy icecream parlour in downtown Toronto. They split a milkshake, sipped rich espressos and cuddled up together for a truly dreamy couple’s portrait session. Take a peek here!