Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Free Engagement Session Giveaway!

First things first, I would like to thank everyone who made my 2009 wedding photography season such a success - especially all my couples and the couples-to-be for choosing me to photograph your weddings!

I wanted to start 2010 by doing a fun contest…so here is the low-down!

Who Can Enter:
Anyone with a creative idea. [Yes that’s you!] If you have already booked with Avenue Photo you can enter your idea for another portrait session, a post wedding shoot or a trash the dress session.

How to win:
Come up with a great idea for an engagement shoot. The more creative the better!
Simply post your entry as a comment to this blog post AND email me a copy [so that I have a way of contacting you]
Final date for entries is February 14 2010.

What you Get:
The winner will receive a FREE engagement shoot with me, that includes: a high resolution DVD of all colour corrected images, an online gallery [password protected], and your choice of an 11x14 print or a Guest Book.

Finalists will be chosen by me, based on what I think is the best idea. But you will get the final say by voting by your favourite finalist!
Engagement shoot has to take place before the end of 2010 and will be featured on the blog.
Engagement shoot location must be within 100km of Toronto
Absolutely no purchase necessary [When I say FREE, I mean it. It’s $0, nada, nil, none, and entirely free of charge]



Larissa January 14, 2010 at 7:12 a.m.  

Great idea for a contest Mags! ;) Good luck!

Bea C. January 15, 2010 at 5:42 p.m.  

I always thought it would be cool to do our engagement shoot and the CNE at night, the crowds, the rides, the lights. I think it would the pics would be so unique.

Linda Wang January 19, 2010 at 8:14 p.m.  

I think it'd be super cool to do a photo shoot in a kitchen baking/cooking together. For me there's nothing that showcases all the good things about a relationship better: it's got teamwork (cutting/measuring), laughter (flour flying everywhere, cutting funny shapes out of cookie dough, placing a pommelo peel on one's head), and sensuality (feeding each other, the food itself). And the best part is, at least for my fiance and I, it's one of the most natural, comfortable and familiar places to be in.

Anmari January 20, 2010 at 3:44 p.m.  

I have thought a lot about what would be a great engagement shoot that would really tie into myself and my fiance.

What I came up with was a downtown date.

We would start at Yonge and Bloor subway station (where we met for the first time) and jump on the subway south to Union (where we first took the VIA train together to meet his family). At union we can continue on through the skywalk to the base of the CN tower (where we went on one of our very early dates)

All along the way untilizing the interesting scenery of the subway system, union station (inside and out) and the CN tower exterior to make for a really different and interesting shoot!

Anonymous January 20, 2010 at 10:40 p.m.  

My fiance surprised me one warm summer night early in our relationship. He told me to bring some warm clothes, hop into his truck and not to peek in the back. All I could see was the entire back of the truck tarped in black. We lived downtown toronto and he wouldn't let me know where we were going. We started driving out of the city and before I knew it we were in the countryside and we continued to drive on, windows down, music up just enjoying a gorgeous summer evening! He finally began to slow down, rounded a corner and turned into a drive in movie theatre! He knew I have always wanted to go! He peels back the tarp and doesn't he just have a huge camp set up complete with blankets, pillows and an amazing picnic. We wined and dined and laughed watching movies all night, cuddled up under the covers! So! My idea would be a vintage theme shoot in a drive in movie theatre. Fun vintage shots as the sun sets and shots of us cuddled in blankets watching a movie and shots walked around hand in hand among the cars. Maybe it could even have a 50's theme, vintage dress, sweater vest, old school movie snacks. Most importantly it would be re-living an incredible night in the beginning or our relationship and remembering to get out once and awhile and just have fun!

Colleen January 21, 2010 at 12:00 p.m.  

My fiancé is a plumber who works as a foreman on construction sites. It would be fun to do a shoot on a construction site. Especially with me in a suit and him in his work clothes...I'd probably bring some props along that work to my personal interests, like wine tasting, and geeky stuff like my laptop and iPhone, cause you can't get them away from me.

It would be fun to play off our differences in the shoot.

Thanks for the contest!

Veronica January 22, 2010 at 10:57 a.m.  

I think the perfect engagement session for us would reflect the trip we got engaged on. We bought an old 1973 Winnebago, fixed it up, and then drove to Newfoundland in it. We broke down at least once every day and it was the ultimate test of a relationship!!! The Winnebago has SO much character and would be the best back drop for an engagement shoot. It's just like us: Quirky, fun, refuses to give up, sometimes has a bad day but always pulls through it!

amy January 24, 2010 at 8:25 a.m.  

My husband-to-be and I are not the traditional kind of wedding folk. We are very much down to earth and enjoy the peace and quiet of living in a small town (north of the city). Our 2 dogs (Hank the pug and Winne the boxer) are very much an important part of our life. I'd like to have to have photos taken in our town. Old main street architecture, down by the lake and pier with the dogs running around. Nothing fancy, no posed shots in costume. Just something that reflects us and our everyday. (We also play in a folk/rock band called The Gnomes)

Tracey January 25, 2010 at 10:27 a.m.  

While wedding photos may be a little bit more formal, engagement photos are a great way to show your playful and carefree sides. For us, the Toronto Zoo would fit the bill perfectly as it is a place that has special meaning to us! I think that it would combine that child-like quality with the innocence of love and the hope of forever. It would be all about finding those shots with animals in the background, eating ice cream cones, and generally just playing around.

Other fun ways to use your engagement photos: I’m all about maximizing time and doing double duty, so I’m thinking ahead to the actual wedding!

- Creating save the date cards or making table numbers for our wedding: Taking pictures of the two of us holding up various numbers or dates in various locations. It’s a great way to decorate the tables or to send out those cards!

- In lieu of favours, we are donating to a charity that means a lot to both of us. We were thinking about incorporating special colours or flowers into our pictures and displaying them at our wedding with a sign letting them know about the donations. (i.e. Wearing a few pink accessories if you are donating to breast cancer research or carrying daffodils for the Canadian Cancer Society)

Engagement sessions should be fun! I think that it gives you the chance to show just who you are as a couple! Just be yourself and let those personalities shine through! (without worrying how silly you might look!!)

tarsaye January 26, 2010 at 6:35 p.m.  


I thought an engagement shoot featuring the theme of "You turned my world upside down" would be pretty special.

I picture a playground as the location, and lots of upside-down photos -- hanging from monkey bars, doing handstands, etc. Sometimes both members of the couple are upside down, sometimes just one (a la Spiderman!). But the shoot would not only speak to the theme, but be lighthearted and show how much fun the couple has together.

Dana January 26, 2010 at 9:17 p.m.  

We would absolutely love to have our engagement photos taken on the Toronto Islands!

We would take the ferry across, and rent bicycles to ride down the boardwalk, rent a boat together, go into the jumbo maze, walk down to the light house, have a picnic together and head back on the ferry as the sun is setting on gorgeous downtown Toronto.

We love to have fun and we are both very easy going and love to laugh. This photo shoot would be so wonderful for us have and to look back on 50 years later, cherishing the memories we created.

Shannon January 28, 2010 at 3:29 p.m.  

I think doing the pictures in one of the accessible rail yards for example near the Wallace Street footbridge in the South Junction area of Toronto or near the Scarlett Road rail yard where there is a nice bridge over the Humber near Scarlett and Dundas.

Carla January 29, 2010 at 11:57 a.m.  

I love the sea, and I think that having an engagement session underwater would be amazing. Whether scuba-diving or snorkeling somewhere with tropical fish and/or mammals. Paired with beach or boat shots, I think it would really emphasize both a sense of adventure and tranquility of water.

Erika & Ryan February 1, 2010 at 11:56 a.m.  

Love this image!!! good luck on the contest

Sunnysoleil February 3, 2010 at 3:04 p.m.  

Wow! Great ideas out there ladies!
Well I'm part of BB and maybe you've seen some other posts, but we're having a surprise wedding taking place at our "engagement party"

We have a 1920's-30's theme, so I would like to start off as though we are shooting a game of golf in our 30's attire.

Then I would like to do a fake day of wedding getting ready session and place it in a booklet with the last picture of us standing face to face as though we were saying our vows.

This would be handed out to our guests 5 minutes before we open the doors and they finally realize what is going on, the last photo representing what is about to take place before them.

And on the very last page of the booklet, a note saying, "The engagement has been called off...because the couple is getting married instead!"

Cari February 3, 2010 at 8:08 p.m.  

The perfect engagement photoshoot for us would be based on the golden age of Hollywood. Set in the Distilary District in downtown Toronto, with a theme of 1930's Hollywood Glamour, with a modern twist. Think of movie stars like Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth,Clarke Gable and Cary Grant. My fiancee's a film buff so this would be perfect.

Mareika Lubkiewicz February 5, 2010 at 10:54 a.m.  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
number 55 February 11, 2010 at 5:21 p.m.  

y fiance and I have had a whirlwind relationship...we haven't even been together a full year yet! When we got together last spring I had already made plans to go on a mission trip for six weeks of the summer, as I had for the past two years prior. We said our goodbyes one early morning in late June at Pearson International Airport, and I was gone, not to return until early August! While I was away, we mostly communicated by email, with a little bit of texting and a couple of very short phone calls. I joked that I had forgotten what his voice sounded like.

Needless to say, we were both very much looking forward to our 'reunion' at the end of the trip! The evening my flight landed there was a major electrical storm and my plane was stuck on the tarmac for 2 hours. By the time I got out and we got home, it was well past midnight.

We never ended up sleeping that night...and by the time we realized how late it was it was almost sunrise. We decided to just stay up until the sun came up. We went down to a local park that runs along the lake and we watched the sun rise sitting on the cold concrete, drinking Starbucks coffee, and taking pictures of the seagulls and ducks in the water. It was one of the most romantic moments of our relationship.

SO! I have two ideas for an engagement shoot.

I would love to do one at the airport because I think it could be amazingly beautiful in terms of the shots...the airport is significant to both of us because of that trip, and also because this summer, my fiance will be accompanying me on the mission trip! It will be our first big 'travel adventure' as a couple. However, I don't know what the logistics of doing an e-shoot at the airport might be, maybe not realistic!

For sentimental reasons, I would love to have a sunrise e-shoot at the park where we watched the sun rise that morning. I love the lighting early in the morning, as the sun slowly makes the sky change colours...

Jin February 14, 2010 at 12:11 a.m.  

Our proposal story is actually quite funny and unique. We had dinner plans with friends but my fiancee had to run an errand and so we drop by the Distillery district. While waiting for him in the car, I find a book by Scott Schuman aka The Sartorialist. He is my favourite fashion blogger and just had a new book published. I flip through the book, knowing that this was a surprise gift for me, and lo and behold, amidst all the street fashion images, I find a picture of my fiancee with a sign that read, "meet me at the Christmas tree!" I jump out of the car, skip over to the tree and long story short, I see him with another sign, but this time it read, "will you marry me?" I'm a mushy girl and normally would've cried but before I was able to answer, I am interrupted by a random couple who needs directions! They fail to see my nervous fiancee holding a sign asking me to marry him! I panic, and during those frantic seconds, I look back at my confused and shocked fiancee, still holding up the sign, and I look back at the couple waiting for my help. Then I laugh and tell the lovely couple, "I'm sorry but I think I'm being proposed to...?!" Then finally they see my fiancee, and embarrassed and shocked themselves, apologize profusely and leave. At this point, I'm howling with laughter and run over to my fiancee, still holding up the sign. I say yes, still laughing, and everything else is history!

That night was very special to both of us for obvious reasons. I would love to recreate the mood by having an engagement shoot at the Distillery district. The unique part would be that we would have various signs with different messages to each other. The feel would be tongue in cheek and filled with laughter, just like the night we got engaged. An example of a msg on one of the signs would be something like, "soon to be a Mrs", which I would be holding up, laughing. Having this prop is unique and personal to us as a couple, which is why I think this would be a fantastic engagement session!

Arjuna February 14, 2010 at 1:35 p.m.  

Being a south asian couple, we don't wear wedding gowns at our weddings but oddly enough its always something I've wanted to wear!

I'm thinking of wearing a 'wedding-dress' inspired cocktail knee-length dress(hoping to get it custom-made) for an engagement shoot with my fiance with the story backdrop of Taylor Swift's Love Story song - it fits us so perfectly. Too many struggles, mostly cultural to make our love story happen and I want our shoot to exemplify that! Our videographer is also shooting during our engagement shoot so it would be a great tie-in to have a story and see it all come together.

The bride would be in this wedding dress waiting for her Romeo (as in the song), with the finale shot of a re-inactment of a proposal. (The shots in between would be of things they had done - sneaking out into a garden, at the beach, etc). All this set on a hot summer's day with the sun shining in the background, ideally in a farm-like/lush green environment somwhere. The whole lighting for all the pics would have a very yellowy/sunny tone.

Thanks so much for offering this cool contest:) Good luck to everyone!

Anonymous March 8, 2010 at 8:29 a.m.  

Is it fair for people to go on web sites and ask strangers to vote for their idea just so they can get the prize? One of your contestants is doing that.

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About Avenue

My name is Margaret Diotalevi, I'm a photographer + graphic designer.

With images, I tell stories.

My work is fresh + modern with a touch of flare! I offer photography + design services for all of your lifestyle needs, anything and everything, from the 'will you' to the 'i do', from bellies to babies and everything in between!

Hopefully you like what you see, and if you do maybe we can work something out.

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See you soon!
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