How can I keep my most treasured photos safe?

Saving Fort McMurray's Photos

Quality images of your loved ones are something that increase in value over time. You can never go back and decide later on to take photos of your children at that stage that has past. So once you have taken them what are you supposed to do with them? Because losing something that increased in value daily is something you’ll feel the sting of forever.

Timeless exceptional quality family picture

So when you have a picture that melts your heart, the first thing you have to do is PRINT IT! Print it on a keychain so you can love it overtime you start your vehicle. Print it on the holiday card so everyone else can love it too. Print it for the wall, so when you’re relaxing in your house it’ll make it feel like a home. Print it in a book so you can sit around on Christmas eve and flip through it with the family every year, creating traditions your children will treasure. With printing options so readily available to consumers there is no excuse not to print your images. Your soul will thank you for feeding it daily with visions of your loved ones. That said, as a professional I always recommend printing with archival quality, which is only available through professional labs. So what’s the difference? The difference is, when my 1 year old colours on her 30×40 newborn photo, the marker washes off. The difference is, 10 years later when consumer products are yellowing and becoming desaturated, the archival prints look exactly the same as the day they arrived. They are generational pieces that your grandchildren will admire.

Professional photography that will become more valuable as the years go by

Once an image is printed there’s no risk a corrupt file will take it away from you. However, in Fort McMurray we all know that printing images in our home doesn’t mean they’re safe forever. This is why it’s crucial you store your digital files in multiple locations. Hard drives can go corrupt with a tiny bump, exposure to an extreme temperature, exposure to moisture, or even just wear out over time. Again, in Fort McMurray we understand better than anyone that if something is stored in one physical location it could be lost in an instant. Personally I keep an external hard drive in my home, and another in a second physical location. I recommend having files sent to grandma or another family member who will keep them safe for you.

brother and sisters play at sunset in Wood Buffalo
Hard drives aren’t the only option for storage. Another storage solution that everyone should use is cloud storage! With options like dropbox available for free you can store your photos where you can reach them at the click of a button. Plus dropbox is free unless you’re using an extensive amount of space, which most people don’t do unless they’re trying to optimize the app for business. If you take home videos you’d like to save as well I highly recommend using Vimeo to store. It gives the option to keep your files private but let you access them through multiple devices.

The best activities for families in Fort McMurray should be photographed to keep forever

Lastly, I want to touch on the importance of making sure you’re saving your full resolution files. Screen captures, screenshots, social media uploads and mobile downloads are often compressed versions of files and are not going to be printable with any reasonable quality. Often we get busy with life and think we’ll get to things later, then suddenly you see a picture of your newborn who just started school and decide you need a giant wall print to remind you of how small that little academic once was. Make sure you are preserving your files so there are no regrets later. Or, even better, talk to your photographer and let them print the images for you, so you can enjoy them all those years between birth and school!

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Fort McMurray’s Power People – Look the part!

Living in the heart of Canada’s economy means we brush shoulders with the whose-who of economic powerhouses, and sometimes don’t even realize it. Earlier this year I was wrapping up my third maternity leave when one of my favourite local organizations, the Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association (NAABA), contacted me to inquire about headshots for their board members. The wonderful thing about working for people who are your champions is that they don’t keep things to themselves so I was able to continue to meet and photograph empowering people through the connections made by that group! As I’ve met more and more people with overwhelming achievements it has become clear that those with success are passionate about empowering others towards their own achievements.

9professional business owners and leaders in Ft mac represent themselves with beautiful pictures that make me look good

The result was a transformation in direction for Life and Portraits, because it quickly became evident that helping brand inspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders though a custom, modern headshot is something I love! Every photographer wants to hear that clients love their images, but a headshot moves past loving images to hearing that people love THEMSELVES in the images.

So how do you get a great headshot?

Like most things, you begin with the end in mind! Think about the message you want to send; the background, pose, angle, lighting, expression and wardrobe will all play a part in sending an intentional feeling to the viewer. Headshots are only valuable if people recognize that they are YOU, so don’t try to look like a stranger, be you on a great day! That also means that if you have a drastic change in appearance, it’s time for a new headshot. Want to make it easier? Call me! I’ll send you a short questionnaire and do the planning. Then while you tell me about your venture and passion the genuine glow from your pride will flow through into the images.

COMING SOON – Life and Portraits is stepping up the headshot experience in studio, with tethered shooting, which means the monitor will be available for us to see images as they’re taken and do proofing in session to make sure you have the image(s) you love before you even walk out the door!

Fort McMurray headshot photographer does a self portrait

Are you ready to look the part on LinkedIn? Grab clients attention on your “about me” page? Get the highest interaction you’ve had all year with a Facebook profile update? Finally stop putting off marketing yourself within your business? If I’m talking to you then it’s time for you to talk to me!

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Sweet Sleepy Baby Boy: Fort McMurray Newborn Photographer

The impact of Family Photography on quality of life

Photos are the perfect mothers day gift for all ages, here a newborn baby boy is photographed professionally with his mom for the first time
The first professional image of a woman after she becomes a mother always comes with a bit of hesitation. Your body has been through the most incredible ordeal it will ever experience, you’re surviving on less sleep than you ever have before, and you are slightly concerned there may be bodily fluid of some sort in your hair. However, you’ll look back in a year and think about how thankful you are that you pushed past the discomfort of getting in front of the camera around 1 week postpartum and capture this image with this tiny baby you now revolve around. This tiny baby that no longer fits in your right hand, or your left elbow, but instead has legs that dangle to your knees.

Professional heirloom image of a new mom, her own mom, her newborn son, and her sister
Everyone warns you that it happens quickly, and of course they’re right. My first baby will be eight years old this summer and having a baby in the house again has made me really recognize how much my oldest is not a baby anymore, or even a little kid. So when this new grandma looked over at me and expressed sadness that she will miss so much when she has to of back home, because she knows he’ll grow so fast, I could see in her eyes she wasn’t talking about 6 day old baby J. She held back the tears in her watery eyes looking at her baby girl now holding a baby of her own, staring proudly and I could see that she was brought back to the moment it was her holding her baby girl.

Posed newborn photography session in YMM
Photographs are can be taken on phones or cameras at home and any photograph is better than no photograph. However, a professional photography session is an experience. It is when you can slow down and reflect on your life, feel those moments you haven’t let come through for a while, and get everyone important in the frame. It’s when you’re forced to get close with loved ones even if you didn’t know you needed that hug but OH it feels so good! It’s slowing down to breathe, to notice details, to be aware of your senses.  And in the end, it’s the opportunity to decorate your home so you can bring a piece of the peace to your everyday. It’s the opportunity to make a book that you can go through as a tradition on special occasions or on tough days to pick you back up.
YMM Photographer for safe and professionally polished newborn heirloom photos best gift ever
YMM professional photographer qualified through APNPI and safety certified captured perfect six day old newborn with bonnet in studio
apnpi qualified newborn photographer poses baby boy in Huck Finn pose with romper in Fort McMurray

There is not getting these first days back, so take a few hours out, and invest in someone you trust with a portfolio you love.


Crystal Mercredi – Life and Portraits

Award Winning Photographer with:

The National Association of Professional Child Photographer

Qualified Photographer and Safety Certified through:

The Association of Professional Newborn Photographers Internationale


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Reflecting on the first year through quotes and photos

“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.”- Andy Warhol

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“Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.”  – Nathaniel Hawthorne

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“A photograph is the pause button of life” – Ty Holland

Fort McMurray photographer takes image of baby sleeping for family heirloom
“We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone” – Katie Thurmes

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“The trouble is, you think you have time.” – Buddha

Mercredi Media, Fort McMurray, YMM

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” – Mark Twain

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“All the while I sit and think
Of times there were before
I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door”- J.R.R. Tolkien

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“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr Seuss

Fort McMurray photographer celebrates a child
“Time is the devourer of everything.” – Ovid

YMM Photographer captures big personality in small children , life and portraits


I love you so much my sweet baby, and promise to never let the time pass without capturing who you are to savour forever. Happy birthday.

xoxo – momma

and in this goodbye my baby, and hello my toddler (Super cute hat from Colour Me Pretty)

Fort McMurray Photographer takes pictures of baby learning to walk to celebrate her birthday


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Cold days are made for cuddling in Fort McMurray

Family Photography in Fort McMurray

Come along with this family of 4 on a chilly fall day for a little lesson on how to stay warm on a cold day…

Little girls go for a walk with their parents in wood buffalo o explore the outdoors and have heirloom quality family photos created
Wear deliciously perfect sweaters like these to die for knits by Miou Kids, if you’ve never seen them in person you are missing one of life great treats! They are like wearing a warm hug, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also get a nice warm hug from your sister!
Siblings deserve luxurious photographs to commemorate their relationship as they grow and change to remind them of the love they
Sweet little girls cuddling to stay warm in the frigid temperatures of Fort McMurray
Let your little one wrap their arms around you nice and tight. One day it will be the last time you lift your little one in your arms, and you won’t even know it at the time. It sneaks up on you, and then suddenly you realize it’s been a while and they’re too big for it. Take advantage of the years when they happily jump up into your arms and squeeze them just a little bit tighter for a little bit longer.
loving daddy and his little girl cuddling and creating memories through photographs
She won
Mommy kisses are a great way to keep warm too!
Fort McMurray mother and daughter displaying affection and comfort with each other for the camera.
   Last but not least, never miss the opportunity to capture a great photo with the love of your life. So often (like always) our children become the all-encompassing focus of our lives, but taking a second to get in close and cuddle with the person who gets you most is surefire magic.  
Fort MMurray photographer captures genuine emotion for husband and wife

Short and Sweet Fine Art Sessions are the perfect opportunity to catch just a taste of your family’s love on a chilly day without being outside in the cold too long. Before you book a photo session consider carefully what you plan to do with the photos. This session resulted in prints throughout the family’s home to enjoy daily and cherish forever. Photographs have the ability to enrich your life by immortalizing the relationships within your family before they inevitably grow and change. Time is the one thing we can never regain, so do the closest thing and get some amazing images of this time in your life.

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Where is Delightful Perception Photography? What is Life and Portraits?


Fort McMurray Photographer Crystal Mercredi new business name
Posed maternity photography in YMM studio glamorous

Delightful Perception Photography started as a hobby, turned into a fundraising opportunity, which then turned into a small business focussed on family photography needs. However, as the years have past its really become an obsession (a good friend says I should use the word passion and she’s probably right) and a huge part of the Mercredi households way of life. Through the years I’ve realized that while I love photographing families and children, I also have an obsession/passion for helping small businesses and people in their professional capacities. I’ve always loved supporting small business, but I’ve realized I have also learned a bit about business over the years, and continue to every day. It turns out I REALLY love working with small businesses! So why does all of this matter? Well, I feel a bit silly when I’m quoting for a commercial or corporate job and signing off with my whimsical and silly Delightful Perception Photography. So to be more inclusive of the direction I’m going I felt it was important to change it. The new name, Life and Portraits, feels like my big girl photographer name. It’s important to me to push myself to always become better with my compositions, with my lighting capabilities, with the range of work I can produce, and the quality of work I’m producing. The new name gives me room to grow and the expectation of timeless work focussing on what’s important to you.

lifestyle photography in Fort McMurray to capture the relationship between you and your child

What photography means to me has also changed. It’s just honestly no longer about the cute outfits and setups. I look back at the photos I’ve done of my own children in those setups and I think “Why did I do that? Why am I blocking his face with those sunglasses? Why am I distracting from my subject so much? These photos aren’t about the subject, they’re about the photo.” I want photos that are about your children, not the tutu, not the likes on Facebook, not a cool photo technique. I want the photo to capture your relationship with your child. You want a photo to make you CRY…or LAUGH, but you want it to make you FEEL! Let yourself travel through time when you see it so it brings you right back to what life was like at that time. No gimmicks, pure, honest, beautiful, lifestyle or posed art to celebrate your life as it is now.

Photographer captures beautiful graduate celebrating her accomplishments and her current life
Qualified and safety certified posed newborn baby photography in YMM
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Advice for a Happy New Year – From Your Photographer’s Kids

Fort McMurray Memories

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I asked my kids to help me out with this one, and give me their advice for how to have a great 2018. Here’s what they had to say:

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This one took a bit of interpretation as my littlest doesn’t talk quite yet (well she does but it’s not a language I understand). I took this to mean “Don’t hide from your problems, instead take a bite out of them!”

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My super charming, not-so-little boy, said to tell jokes and have lots of tickle fights!

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And my oldest says to dance to the music in your head <3

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But most of all they all agree to make sure to prioritize spending quality time with the people you love the most.

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Happy New Year from my family to yours, here’s to making new memories with the ones who mean the most to us <3

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Mom Life is the Best Life – Fort McMurray Maternity Photography

I have a new shirt (from my favourite local day to day clothing shop Colour Me Pretty) and it says “Mom Life is the Best Life” which I thought was the perfect title for this next blog because this stunning lady is going to be a mommy any day now!

Beautiful baby belly photography in YMM Alberta when you

Everyone’s journey to becoming a parent is a little bit different. When this mommy-to-be talks about her baby her eyes literally sparkle. She’s the kind of excited that makes you feel extra thankful for your own babies as well as excited for her.

Fort McMurray best Professional Maternity Photographer

Pregnancy is so beautiful, however I hear over and over from expecting moms (and remember the feeling myself) that they don’t feel beautiful. Every expecting mom I talk to thinks she is the exception that doesn’t look like the other beautiful pregnant women, and that she is bigger and not as defined in shape. I think we often have a hard time seeing ourselves as beautiful as we are to others, but also in these suddenly foreign looking bodies it can be extra difficult.

Beautiful Pregnant Heirloom Gift Photography Luxury

Can you believe she told me that she didn’t look like the women in the really nice maternity photos on Pinterest? I If you don’t feel the most beautiful photos have women that look like you, then it’s time to make the most beautiful photos with you! So pin away <3

Beautiful Amazing Pregnant Body

And top it all off with a little bit of fun! No mommy-to-be’s were injured or in danger during the creation of these images 😉

Pregnant maternity mommy baby newborn fun photography heirloom value quality professional best luxury gift heirloom

Bodysuit is part of the Glow Bodysuit Collection by Sew Trendy Accessories


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Are you living too fast? – Fort McMurray Maternity Photographer









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In a world of fast food, fast fashion, fast photography and plenty of instant answers are you taking the time to slow down and enjoy the journey? You’re probably documenting your life with your phone, because we are blessed to have amazing technology at our fingertips, but what are you doing with it once it’s documented? I know I stumble across my videos on Facebook memories or occasionally when I’m cleaning out old hard drives, which make for fun evenings of reminiscing. Our children change so much, so quickly though, that I feel I want daily reminders of who they used to be. I want reminders of who I used to be.
YMM expecting mother celebrates her body with beautiful photos

And so I started a photo wall and now am onto a second, and it’s changing my life. I slow down. I take the time each day to look at each photo, and each photo makes me feel something different than the others. It’s like having the opportunity to see my life flash before my eyes, without a terrible circumstance causing it haha. For me, it’s not about having a hundred images, its about having a handful of amazing images you’ll want to put on your wall so you can see them, enjoy them and relive them every single day.

Beautiful maternity photos in YMM studio by professional award winning photographer

As a photographer though, I see how this fast paced world we live in can make us forget or postpone things that improve our quality of life the most, and I myself have been plenty guilty of it! Don’t postpone spending time with family. Don’t postpone going on that hike, or that skate, or making that craft. Don’t postpone hanging your photos on your wall so you can enjoy your own story everyday.

Professional Photographer Capturing Gorgeous mommy-to-be in Fort McMurray before she has baby

Once we’re hanging photos again, really hanging them, as art not with a magnet on the fridge in a temporary way that will result in later filing it in a drawer, or worse throwing it out; then we start to see the value in investing in quality images. Suddenly those iPhone shots, while they are certainly priceless and meaningful, aren’t up to par as the only source of capturing the amazing life you have created. Suddenly hiring your neighbour because they bought a nice camera isn’t quite good enough to capture the most precious people in your life. Suddenly you realize your photos are more valuable than your daily coffee  – I love coffee but even it can’t bring me the daily happiness of seeing my kids being sweet to each other posted on my real life wall each day.

Fort McMurray Pregnancy, baby, photographer, fine art, quality of life, expecting, newborn

Take the time to celebrate yourself. You have a short window and then it’s gone, and someday when you look back you regret not celebrating this point in your journey. Whether it’s a pregnancy, a new baby, a milestone, or a phase, live it and capture it so you can relive it once it’s gone.

Contact me if you’d like to have your life captured with love so you can enjoy it forever.

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What’s the real value and purpose of a photograph? Illustrated with a Fort McMurray Family

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the value of photography. Thinking about what causes a photo to be valuable, who it’s for and what the purpose of the photo really is. I love taking a multitude of different types of photos so take a read with me about my interpretation of their importance and I’d REALLY love for you to share your opinions of the value for the photos you want in your life.

The purpose of a posed, smiling, family picture is to capture loved ones together at regular points in their lives. Families change, people change and the photo freezes time. The body language tells more over the years than people may realize, like a little girl growing up knowing her mommy cuddled her so close, and in her arms is where she felt most safe. This is often the type of photo people as for to print for their mantle or walls. It’s a photo you can display next to a similar style photo taken the year before or a few years before to show how time has past.

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However, my favourite things about the posed photos is the moments in between. When something truly genuine slips in like a kiss for a little sister who is biting her nails because she’s a bit shy in front of the camera. Don’t hide those young habits (that some of us never outgrow), it shouldn’t be about apparent perfection, you’re who these photos are for. It’s not about a Facebook share or a christmas card, it’s your life. It’s your children. Of course I’m not against a Facebook share! I do that ALL THE TIME, as my parents live in the southern USA and we don’t see them as often as we’d like. But thinking long term, I want our photos to be something my children can look at when they’re grown, proudly put on their walls to remind them of their relationship with me and of how much I love them. I want them to share photos with future generations. I want them to have flashbacks when they see the photos to being that little kid.

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 Hands down my favourite photos are the ones that show a connection between loved ones, especially mothers and their children. A connection that can’t be faked, or rehearsed, that you feel when you look at a photo even if you don’t know the people you’re looking at. The photos that can make you cry if they’re set to the right music.
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Fort McMurray Family Photography
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I value most the photos that make you feel. Whether it’s the feeling in the photo or flashing you back you to a memory of your own. I hope when you see a photo like this you remember when your children were young and ran to you in joy and sorrow because you were their answer to everything. I hope you have a photo that can take you back to that moment. A photo that gives you a flash back into what may now seem like a previous life so far removed.

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This is the kind of photo I want to see everyday and hope moms have of themselves. The photo that shows you that you are an amazing mother. The photo that shows you that you did take the time to play and connect. We all get lost in the schedules and “supposed to’s” sometimes but so often we are too hard on ourselves, expecting an unrealistic perfection and more energy than even coffee could possibly provide. I want you to have the photo that shows you that you’re giving your children and awesome childhood. I want you to see how you look through their eyes.

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I want to slow down and take the time to cuddle. I want to see on my walls, that I have made cuddling a priority. I want you to see on your walls how much your children love you so in the moments when things are hard you can see how important you are by looking around your house.

…and dads matter too….

YMM Photographer, Fort McMurray, Alberta

…but lets face it, they always get to be the fun ones!

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Photograph of Dad playing with his daughter
Don’t forget about some full family fun!

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YMM; Family; Fun; Alberta;

Of course there are also the photos to show the sibling relationship. In this case 2 sisters 2 years apart, who are sure to be close for life.

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Each child’s individual personality needs to be captured because we all know they change so fast! The mannerisms and silliness disappear too quickly.

Lastly, as much as I treasure the images of children the most (I really do, there’s no comparison haha) I also believe it’s important for parents to have photos together, without their children. Why? Who does that? The answer is NOT ENOUGH COUPLES! You love each other! Sometimes it’s easy to forget that because you’re busy! I know you’re busy! But isn’t it amazing when you get 2 seconds together nice and close, where you can hear each others voices and really look at each other?

Even if there’s a little chaos behind the scenes?

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Let your walls tell your story so you can enjoy your story everyday.

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