hey, I'm bella
High energy kids drive my sessions. If couples have an adorable vibe, I embrace it! Maternity sessions can be fun and playful.
Some children are shy (I'm shy!). Newborns thrive in a quieter setting. My session can be more introspective, focusing instead on connection.
Sexy? Loud? High Fashion? I'm game for it all. I thrive off your energy and your vibe. I can even take it up a notch with posing and lighting.
My journey as a photographer evolved into a storyteller when I was finally able to be honest with myself and my expectations of what a 'family photography session' should be. I want you to picture your favourite photo of your childhood or of your child right now. My guess is that it wasn't a forced photo where your baby was demanded to smile at the camera. It's of a moment in time that wasn't any important day at all. What made the photo special was the expression, the story that goes with that image.
Every parent's struggle
Every parent tells me that as soon as their phone comes out, their child stops doing whatever precious thing they were doing. The glint in their baby's eye just disappears. With every session, I create the space and the opportunity for those fleeting moments and memories to be captured. My sessions are built in a way that allows you and your family to warm up, to let down your guard and to allow me to observe. I will put you at ease and yet always guide you as a professional to look your best. Most of all, I give you permission to relax, play and be yourselves.
behind the scenes
I am a very honest person. This is me. I am simple and practical. This is how I dress for my family sessions because I want to be comfortable with getting on the ground, and in the water to get the images I'm proud of. This is a peek behind the scenes of two of my 2020 sessions. Please note that I will be masked for all of my sessions for the foreseeable future.
I realized that by letting go of expectations, I opened myself up to possibilities. It made me a better listener. It made me become a more refined storyteller. Children now lead each of my sessions. With this, I've finally found a way to showcase the spirit of your family through my art of storytelling. My style is now much more documentary in nature with a hint of direction to ensure your photos are a polished interpretation of the everyday. This will create images that will be unique for your family and not contrived or repetitive from year-to-year. By falling back to an observer role, I can focus on composition, light and the details to create images that blend art with reality. My skill lies in adapting when things 'go wrong' just as much as when things 'go right'.
When I first started newborn photography, I tried to emulate what was popular. Pictures of babies with their naked bums in the air with adorable little hats were what every new parent wanted. It was always such a struggle to get some of the babies calm enough to do these poses. Not all babies were sleepy and puddles of soft, pliable limbs.
a lightbulb went off in my head
After many years of walking away defeated with exhausted new parents that were surviving on minutes of sleep a night, a lightbulb went off in my head. What if I just used the home that was already created? Parents have spent so much care and effort to style it just so. What if I let the baby pose in a way that was comfortable to them? If they needed to be held, we did just that. I now knew the answer to my problem and that was to embrace lifestyle newborn sessions. This realization changed my entire approach to newborn photography. And now, I'm applying that same philosophy to all areas of my work.
to be featured
Ever since the first day I started, I knew I wanted to showcase ALL families. In my heart no family should be hidden because they didn't 'check off the boxes' of what the media said was 'worthy'. I firmly believe that all families of all shapes, colours and beliefs should be showcased. The way I was able to show such a diverse portfolio is because of my model releases. I want to share what makes you and your loved ones unique. I do not hide anyone. I show 100% of the families I photograph. It is an honour to be chosen to photograph you. No one should ever be made to feel lesser.
My second reason is to show how I handle skin tones of all types. I want to show diversity in my portfolio. I want people to feel proud and comfortable in their own skin. I do not edit people's skin differently from one race to another. I do not use filters that adjust or lighten the skin. I do not alter the colours of the outfits that you chose. I do not fake a sun that wasn't present during our session. I will enhance what was present, but I will never 'fix' what was never a flaw in the first place. I want to show truth in what I do. My art lies in my ability to frame an image creatively, not to stick a filter on the photo that might cause you to cringe in 5 years time.
My third reason is that I want to prove that I can photograph every type of family and child. There is no "difficult child", no "awkward family". I want to show consistency in my work to build trust. You are rightly wary because some photographers only showcase their 'best work'. To those who follow me and are still deciding if I can make their family look like the ones in my portfolio. The answer is yes. Help me show them.
Please know that if you choose the privacy option, I will respect that and understand your decision. This is your own why. I just wanted to share mine.
My path here is a bit different than most. I have a background in engineering and accounting/auditing. Like every good Asian daughter, I wanted to make my parents happy. With my first paycheck I bought a camera. I was instantly addicted to capturing life's details and observing people's interactions. When I moved from Toronto to Boston, I found myself without a job but with a fresh start. I got my first gig off Craigslist (crazy!) and have been fully booked ever since. The family that had booked me on Craigslist still keeps in touch with me to this day and I've photographed them quite a few times since. I've been featured in numerous publications both online and in print (Martha Stewart Weddings, Boston Magazine, The Knot). 8+ years later, you've stumbled onto my page.
I am candid, communicative and caring. For those that know me, they know I have a pretty wicked sense of humour to get people to relax. My goal always is to ensure you are heard and that you are comfortable throughout the process. In my portfolio you can see each family's genuine happiness and comfort in their body language. It takes a lot to create the environment of trust. The rave reviews from my families afterward show you how much they care about me in return. This environment of trust builds from the beginning and I honestly attract the kindest families that allow me to create consistently strong images with heart in order to tell their story.
I often hear the complaint that partners hate family photography
It doesn't have to be that way. From the same person, I hear that they're INCREDIBLE parents though, and LOVE playing with the kids. It's just that they hate taking pictures.
My style will fit perfectly for you and your family. My session thrives on play. The story is built upon the connection your partner has with your children. No one said you had to keep with the tradition of painful family photos. When we force ourselves to do things we don't enjoy, that's when things become stressful. Change the definition of what a family photography session can be. Start having fun. Start playing. Start by just being yourselves.
Imagine life before photography was invented. And just do that.
Kids should have the freedom to have fun and be themselves. Who said the photo session had to be sitting and smiling at the camera for 20 minutes? I would be bored out of my mind. Let them play and their personalities will shine bright. Give them what they want and we'll get our moments in return.
"She was conscious of making us all look good in the right lighting and angles."
She was patient and worked to position our baby, Ryan, and listened to my ideas for a couple specific pictures I wanted to try to get for Christmas and family portraits. She is detail oriented, attentive, and listens to the personalized client wishes. I highly recommend her to anyone wanting beautiful photographs of special moments!
"she captured every moment so beautifully and in its rawest form."
We originally discovered Bella through her family and newborn photos, and immediately booked her to take our engagement photos in Beacon Hill. Through the booking process we were so impressed with the wedding photos popping up on her website and her professional yet warm and friendly nature that we decided to hire her to shoot our wedding in Columbus, Ohio. I can say without a doubt that Bella not only made our actual wedding day much calmer and less hurried than I could have ever imagined. Each photo captures the people and the feelings from the day, and we couldn't have asked for more. She captured the specific details I had asked for in addition to the poses and moments that stem from her creative flare.
She's not only tremendously talented, but she's sincere, kind, and radiates an energy that makes it clear how much she adores her job and is dedicated to doing her very best job for you. These qualities, in addition to her actual photography skills, make her inimitable and one of the very best out there.
This could be you....
"I have been amazed with the beautiful moments she captures with such grace."
Somehow she can find a smile or a look even when our kiddo is not interested in being photographed. Her way with children is unmatched; she can engage and distract while also setting up great lighting and scenery. I love following her Facebook page and enjoy all the lovely photos she shares, which speak for themselves of her incredible talent.
embracing light and movement
a clean editorial edit that won't go out of style
with gentle direction, posing and guidance
crafting your session so that elements work in harmony not in competition
set to music in a keepsake slideshow
Understanding who you are, your way of play, your family's style, connection and adapting to what you need at this moment.
Fake "cheese" smiles, stiff poses, giant bows, complicated set pieces and making your family a Pinterest clone.
"Bella did a phenomenal job with the baby, but best of all with my jaded/photographer-kid-syndrome older two (who were not-quite 3 and not quite 6 at the time). I printed an album from the images I got from our session and I will treasure it forever. She got truly amazing portraits of our family!"
— Mira, mom of 3 and family photographer
inspired by MY style?
I book my sessions about 2 months in advance. I announce openings on my newsletter and on social media. Prior to your session, we will finalize locations and outfit choices. You'll receive a questionnaire with access to outfit planning tools.
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